Tag Archives: Boeing 777-200

Missing Malaysia Airlines remains the biggest aviation mystery of our time, Bluefin-21 fails to find anything so far

 

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Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) missing flight MH 370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014 with Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRO (msn 28420) remains missing with all of its 239 passengers and crew members. It remains the biggest aviation mystery of our age. The underwater drone called “Bluefin-21″ has failed to find any remains of the presumed to have crashed airliner.

Here is an update on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 from CNN:

“The underwater drone scanning for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 finished its seventh mission Sunday (April 20), having covered about half its intended territory without finding any sign of the missing plane.

The Bluefin-21 drone started its eighth mission soon after the previous one ended Sunday morning, surveying the bottom of the southern Indian Ocean for traces of the Boeing 777.”

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Yesterday Hishammuddin Hussein, Minister of Defence and Acting Minister of Transport issued this briefing:

Introductory Statement

I would like to begin this with a message.

On behalf of the Malaysian Government and specifically the MH370 SAR team, we would like to extend deepest sympathies and condolences to those on board the tragic incident involving the South Korea ferry that departed from Incheon planned for Jeju. We empathies and can imagine how difficult it can be for the families and the SAR team coping with the situation. All our thoughts and prayers are with them.

I will now continue with MH370.

We have now entered day 43 of the search operation for the MH370. It has been six weeks since we started the operation in which we have continuously refined the search area in the quest to locate the missing aircraft. We have pursued every possible lead presented to us at this stage and with every passing day, the search has become more difficult.

Search Updates

On Thursday, I spoke with Angus Houston and he has briefed me on the images captured from the Bluefin – 21 AUV. I can confirm that the Bluefin – 21 has captured clear and sharp images of the seabed while its search mission in the underwater search area. However, from all 6 missions conducted, no contacts of interest have been found to date. Bluefin – 21 AUV’s seventh missing has been commenced this morning.

From the images, Angus has also confirmed me that the terrain of the seabed is undulating and the Bluefin – 21 is focusing on the immediate search area based on the pings that have been detected. Some media reports have stated that it would take Bluefin -21 anywhere from six weeks to two months to scan the entire underwater search area. This is incorrect. The immediate search area that the Bluefin – 21 is now scouring should be completed within the next week.

As Prime Minister Abbott stated earlier this week, and I quote –

“We will regroup and reconsider the SAR operations, if there are no new updates in the given time” – end quote.

I have to stress that this is not ti stip operations but to also consider other approaches which may include widening the scope of the search and utilizing other assets that could be relevant in the search operation.

The search will always continue. It is just a matter of approach. All efforts will intensified for the next few days with regards to the underwater search.

I would also like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Malaysian government, to again thank Australia on narrowing the search area and doing all they can in the search for MH370.

Updates on Ministerial Committees

As I announced a few weeks ago, three ministerial committees have been established. They have been working tirelessly and I will now update you on their progress.

The next of kin committee, led by Hamzah Zainuddin, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, is working closely with various Governments especially the countries whose nationals were on board MH370. From the meetings with the representative embassies and high commissions, various issues that needed urgent attention were addressed.

Hamzah has also discussed with his counterparts in Beijing and both sides have exchanged views and discussed ways and means to deal with the situation with regards to the families of those on board.

The technical committee, led by Aziz Kaprawi, Deputy Minister of Transport, has developed and drafted the proposed structure and Terms of Reference of the Aircraft Accident Investigation Team For MH370 in accordance with the Malaysian Civil Aviation Regulations 1996 (MCAR 1996) and Annex 13 – Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation, Chicago Convention.

The structure was developed after consulting the experts from the Air Accidents Investigation Brach, United Kingdom (AAIB), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), United States, Australia Transportation Safety Board (ATSB) and Air Accident Investigation Department, China. The proposed team would comprise of local and international experts.

We have also spoken with the ASEAN secretariat on the possibility of appointing some of our counterparts to come on board. This is in accordance with the ASEAN Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation Relating to Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation that was signed in 2008.

The Asset Deployment committee has identified private companies that have the capabilities for deep water salvage and recovery work, and other national assets that can be deployed to support this operation. Local companies such as DEFTECH and Boustead have been tasked to discuss with their international collaborative partners such as SAAB, DCNS (Direction des Constructions Navales) and other to identify the relevant assets and instruments required for the search operation.

I have also been in consultations with Jean Paul Troadec given his experience in handling Air France 447 in deploying private commercial assets to assist in their search operations.

Concluding Remarks

As we move on to the next phase of the search, I am humbled that more friends from other nations have been expressed their willingness to assist and support our efforts to locate MH370.

Thank you.

 

 

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The search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 switches to Bluefin 21

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) missing flight MH 370, remains missing. The search for MH 370 has been long and frustrating to everyone involved. The fate of Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRO (msn 28420) (above) and the 239 souls on board remains a true aviation mystery. It may remain the greatest mystery of our lifetimes.

A new oil slick has been discovered near where the four series of pings were located west of Australia in the Ocean Ocean. There has been no sign of any wreckage from 9M-MRO.

According to CNN, the search for MH 370 enters a new phase with the underwater vehicle Bluefin 21 taking center stage.

However Bluefin 21 faces plenty of challenges in finding the missing Triple Seven. This article explains how the side-scan sonar works on Bluefin 21.

Read the full story: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRO lands at the Kuala Lumpur base in the past.

Malaysia Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

Alitalia launches Venice-Tokyo service, cancels its order for 12 Airbus A350-800s

Alitalia (2nd) (Rome) on April 3 launched nonstop service between Venice and Tokyo (narita). The new route will operate two days a week: AZ 788 will depart on Thursdays and Saturdays at 1.30 PM and will land in Tokyo at 9.40 AM (local time) the following morning. From Tokyo Narita, AZ 789 will depart every Wednesday and Friday at 12.25 PM (local time) and will arrive in Venice at 8.20 PM.

Alitalia has a total of 19 weekly frequencies to Japan: 14 frequencies a week, of which 7 are from Rome Fiumicino, 5 from Milan Malpensa and 2 from Venice, which connect these three Italian airports with Tokyo Narita; 5 flrequencies a week connect Rome Fiumicino with Osaka.

Venice has become the third Italian city, after Rome and Milan, to host intercontinental flights operated by Alitalia and, above all, for the first time, Alitalia offers the citizens of Venice and the Veneto region a direct service to the Far East.

The service between Venice and Tokyo will be operated by one of Alitalia’s Boeing 777-200 ER aircraft, the flagship of its long-haul fleet, which can accommodate 293 passengers on board divided into three classes of travel: Magnifica business class (30 seats), Classic Plus premium economy class (24 seats) and Classica economy class (239 seats).

In other news, Alitalia has canceled its order for 12 Airbus A350-800s and 12 options. The order was originally placed in June 2008 by Air One.

Copyright Photo: Reinhard Zinabold/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-243 ER I-DISO (msn 32857) taxies at Toronto (Pearson).

Alitalia (2nd): AG Slide Show

Australian Angus Houston: “I’m now optimistic that we will find the aircraft, or what is left of the aircraft, in the not too distant future.”

AMSA Map 4.9.14

According to Reuters, Australian officials today (April 9) reported “two new “ping” signals” had been detected in the search for Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) missing flight MH 370, boosting confidence after more than a month of searching for the missing Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRO (msn 28420) with 239 souls on board.

According to Reuters, “The signals, which could be from the plane’s black box recorders, bring to four the number of overall “pings” detected in recent days within the search area by a U.S. Navy “Towed Pinger Locator”(TPL).”

Angus Houston, head of the Australian agency coordinating the search, said “I’m now optimistic that we will find the aircraft, or what is left of the aircraft, in the not too distant future.”

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

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The Joint Agency Coordination Centre today issued this statement:

Up to 11 military aircraft, four civil aircraft and 14 ships will assist in today’s search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Today AMSA has planned a search area of about 75,423 square kilometres.

The centre of the search area is approximately 2261 kilometres north west of Perth.

A weak front is moving in from the south east, expected to bring scattered showers.

The underwater search continues today, with ADV Ocean Shield at the northern end of the defined search area, and Chinese ship Haixun 01 and HMS Echo at the southern end.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau continues to refine the area where the aircraft entered the water based on continuing ground-breaking and multi-disciplinary technical analysis of satellite communication and aircraft performance, passed from the international air crash investigative team comprising analysts from Malaysia, the United States, the UK, China and Australia.

Top Map: AMSA. The top map shows today’s search area and also the location of the areas where the pings were heard by the Australian ship ADV Ocean Shield on April 6 and the Chinese ship Hai Xun on April 5.

Malaysia Airlines: AG Slide Show

Bottom Map: AMS. A close-up map of the pinger locations found by ADV Ocean Shield.

AMSA Ocean Shield Pinger Map 4.9.14

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Video: From Malaysia Airlines:

 

Did Malaysia Airlines missing flight MH 370 purposely avoid Indonesian airspace?

AMSA Map 4.6.14

CNN is reporting the following today (April 6) concerning missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370:

“A senior Malaysian government source told CNN that Flight 370 flew around Indonesian airspace after it dropped off Malaysian military radar. The plane may have been intentionally taken along a route designed to avoid radar detection, the source said.

In the search for the plane in the Indian Ocean, a Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01 picked up two signals, one on Friday and another on Saturday, that were only 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) apart, authorities said.”

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

CNN Video:

If true, this would show intent by someone in the cockpit to avoid radar detention by avoiding flying over western Indonesia before heading south into the Indian Ocean.

Meanwhile search teams have shifted to new areas to search (see map above) adding more credence to the Chinese ping reports. A British ship with elaborate detection equipment is moving into the area detected by the Chinese.

Map: AMSA.

Chinese ship discovers a pulse signal in the southern Indian Ocean, is this missing flight MH 370?

AMSA MH 370 4.5.14 Search Map

According to CNN, “A Chinese patrol ship looking for signs of Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) flight MH 370 in the southern Indian Ocean discovered Saturday a pulse signal with a frequency of 37.5 kHz, state news agency Xinhua reported.

“That is the standard beacon frequency” for both so-called black boxes — the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder, said Anish Patel, president of pinger manufacturer Dukane Seacom.”

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

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The Joint Agency Corrdination Centre of Australia issued this statement today:

Up to 10 military planes, three civil jets and 11 ships will assist in today’s search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. Today ADV Ocean Shield and HMS Echo continue underwater search operations.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has determined a search area of about 217,000 square kilometres, 1700 kilometres north west of Perth.

Today’s search area will focus on three areas within the same vicinity.

The weather forecast for today’s search is fair, with possible showers in the search area.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau continues to refine the area where the aircraft entered the water based on continuing ground-breaking and multi-disciplinary technical analysis of satellite communication and aircraft performance, passed from the international air crash investigative team comprising analysts from Malaysia, the United States, the UK, China and Australia.

 

Malaysia Airlines today issued this statement:

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1. Introduction

It’s been almost a month since MH370 went missing.

The search operation has been difficult, challenging and complex.

In spite of all this, our determination remains undiminished.

We will continue the search with the same level of vigour and intensity.

We owe this to the families of those on board, and to the wider world.

We will continue to focus, with all our efforts, on finding the aircraft.

2. Investigation into MH370

As per the requirements set out by the ICAO in Annex 13 of the International Standards and Recommended Practices, Malaysia will continue to lead the investigation into MH370.

As per the ICAO standards, Malaysia will also appoint an independent ‘Investigator In Charge’ to lead an investigation team.

The investigation team will include three groups:

- an airworthiness group, to look at issues such as maintenance records, structures and systems;

- an operations group, to examine things such as flight recorders, operations and meteorology;

- and a medical and human factors group, to investigate issues such as psychology, pathology and survival factors.

The investigation team will also include accredited countries.

Malaysia has already asked Australia to be accredited to the investigation team, and they have accepted.

We will also include China, the United States, the United Kingdom and France as accredited representatives to the investigation team, along with other countries that we feel are in a position to help.

3. Formation of committees

In addition to the new investigation team mentioned above, the Government – in order to streamline and strengthen our on-going efforts – has established three ministerial committees.

Firstly, we have established a Next of Kin Committee. Hamzah Zainuddin, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, leads this committee.

This committee will oversee all aspects regarding the Next of Kin of those on board MH370, providing families with information on the search operation, and offering support after the search operation has been concluded.

The committee will co-ordinate with relevant foreign governments, and will complement the work already being done for the families by Malaysian Airlines.

The second committee oversees technicalities, specifically, the formation and the appointment of the investigation team. Abdul Aziz Kaprawi, the Deputy Minister of Transport, leads this committee.

The third committee takes over issues related to the deployment of assets for the search operation. Abdul Rahim Bakri, the Deputy Minister of Defence, leads this committee. This committee will work with foreign counterparts involved in the search operation, and liaise closely with the Australian Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre.

4. US-ASEAN Defence Forum

This morning, I returned from the US-ASEAN Defence Forum, which I attended in my capacity as Defence Minister.

At the forum, I updated our ASEAN counterparts, and the United States, on the latest developments in the search for MH370.

I also spoke to officials from other countries involved in the multi-national search operation.

The spirit of co-operation at the meeting, and the support offered, was commendable.

During my bilateral meeting with US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Secretary Hagel reiterated his commitment that the United States would continue to support the search operation, and will provide whatever assets are deemed necessary.

I thanked Secretary Hagel for the United States’ unwavering support, which has included both the deployment of naval and air assets, sophisticated underwater search equipment, and assistance from the FBI, the NTSB and the FAA.

At the Forum, I also received strong support from our ASEAN partners in the search for MH370.

I would like to read out the joint statement issued by the ASEAN Ministers, which I believe underscores the tremendous spirit of co-operation within ASEAN, in the face of this difficult search operation:

“We, the Defence Ministers of the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations express our deepest sympathies to the family members of the passengers and crew on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

We acknowledge that the member nations of ASEAN have participated in the search operations directly and indirectly since the plane went missing on 8th March 2014.

From the South China Sea, the Andaman Sea to the Indian Ocean – ASEAN has continued to assist in every way possible, true to the spirit of regional cooperation and friendship without any hesitation in sharing of information, assets and expertise.

We believe that Malaysia has done its level best in its response to this unprecedented predicament given the sheer scale of the Search and Rescue (SAR) operation which is the biggest and most complex we have ever seen.

We reaffirm our commitment for greater cooperation between each member nationespecially in the field of disaster management under the framework of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response. This incident stressed upon us the importance of information and resource sharing as we strive to be in the utmost state of readiness in mitigating potential calamities and risks.

ASEAN’s unity will remain solid and is totally committed to assisting Malaysia in coordinating this massive SAR to locate MH370. We are resolute in finding a closure to this tragic chapter in aviation history. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families in these difficult times.”

5. Concluding remarks

Before I end, let me touch on some unfounded allegations made against Malaysia.

These allegations include the extraordinary assertion that Malaysian authorities were somehow complicit in what happened to MH370.

I should like to state, for the record, that these allegations are completely untrue.

As I have said before, the search for MH370 should be above politics.

And so I call on all Malaysians to unite; to stand by our armed forces as they work in difficult conditions, with their foreign counterparts, thousands of miles from home; and to support all those who are working tirelessly in the search for MH370.

Lastly, as I mentioned on Wednesday, while I was at the US-ASEAN Defence Forum, I spoke by telephone to the British Secretary of State for Defence, Phillip Hammond, regarding the nuclear-powered submarine HMS Tireless.

I hereby confirm that the submarine is now in the search area and helping in the search operation.

Map: AMSA.

Malaysia Airlines: AG Slide Show

Austrian Airlines introduces “Life Ball 2014″ on Boeing 777 OE-LPB

Austrian 777-200 OE-LPB (03-Life Ball)(Grd)(Austrian)(LR)

Austrian Airlines (Vienna) has introduced a “Life Ball 2014″ decorated Boeing 777. The airline received financial support from the Vienna Tourist Board to promote the event. Austrian Airlines has branded former Lauda Air Boeing 777-2Z9 ER OE-LPB (msn 28699) to promote the upcoming Life Ball 2014.

Copyright Photo: Austrian Airlines.

Austrian Airlines: AG Slide Show

Delta relocates key flights to Terminal 3 at London’s Heathrow Airport next to Virgin Atlantic

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) and Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) today mark another major step forward in their partnership as Delta relocates some of its key services to join Virgin Atlantic at Heathrow Terminal 3. The move comes as both airlines start flying their new and aligned summer schedules that offer customers more choice and flexibility while reducing onward transit times.

From today, Delta moves its arrival and departure terminal for several important business markets including its London to New York-JFK, London to Boston, and new London to Seattle services to Heathrow’s Terminal 3. The move enhances convenience and a seamless customer experience. For example, on the world’s most important business travel market between London Heathrow (Terminal 3) and New York JFK (Terminal 4) Delta and Virgin Atlantic will now operate from the same terminal and make it easier for customers to manage their travel plans including any last minute flight changes. The two airlines have also introduced a dedicated New York to London schedule with the customer in mind.

The new routes announced by Delta and Virgin Atlantic include Delta’s new West Coast service between Seattle and London Heathrow which commenced flying on March 30, 2014. And in co-operation with Virgin Atlantic, Delta will also operate a second daily service between London Heathrow and Detroit Metropolitan Airport effective June 2, 2014. The service will be particularly appealing to corporate customers needing an early morning arrival into London while offering more schedule choice for customers between London and the U.S. Midwest.

The two airlines’ summer schedule includes a total of 32 peak daily nonstop flights between North America and the U.K.. Of these, 25 flights will operate between London Heathrow and popular U.S. destinations such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta and Washington.

Delta and Virgin Atlantic also provide a competitive offering for the New York to London travel market. It is designed with business travelers in mind and offers a total of nine daily nonstop flights. The schedule includes departures every 30 minutes during the early evening peak and then hourly until 22:30 from New York-JFK to London Heathrow. From London Heathrow to New York-JFK there is a spread of seven daily flights including two late afternoon and early evening departures. These services will be complemented by two daily nonstop flights between New York’s Newark airport and London Heathrow.

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-232 LR N703DN (msn 32222) of Delta holds in position for runway clearance at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Delta Air Lines (current): AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic Airways: AG Slide Show

 

Searchers shift their search to a new northern area, five aircraft spot new floating objects

AMSA Map 3.28.14

The search for Malaysian Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) missing flight MH 370 with Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRO (msn 28420) with 239 souls on board has shifted to a new area in the Indian Ocean after new analysis of the data and the spotting of new objects by a Royal New Zealand Air Force Lockheed P-3 Orion in this new area. The new area is approximately 680 miles further north of the previous search area which did not yield any confirmed debris from flight MH 370. The new analysis is due to new computations that MH 370 could have been flying faster and may have run out of fuel earlier.

According to AMSA a total of five aircraft spotted objects today in the new area. A ship will be in the new area tomorrow.

Read the full report from CNN: CLICK HERE

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The Australia Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) which is leading the search from Perth, Western Australia has issued this statement about the change:

[Date]

We would like to update you on some credible information AMSA has received from the ATSB which will see the search area refocused today.

The AMSA search for any sign of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has been shifted to an area north following advice from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

An international air crash investigation team in Malaysia provided updated advice to the ATSB, which has examined the information and determined an area 1100 kilometres to the north east of the existing search area is now the most credible lead as to where debris may be located.

The new search area is approximately 319,000 square kilometres, about 1850 kilometres west of Perth.

The Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation (AGO) is re-tasking satellites to capture images of the new area.

Weather conditions are better in the revised area and ten aircraft have been tasked for today’s search.

They include two Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P3 Orions, a Japanese Coast Guard Gulfstream 5 jet, a Japanese P3 Orion, a Republic of Korea P3 Orion, a Republic of Korea C130 Hercules, a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P3 Orion, a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force Ilyushin IL-76, a United States Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft, and one civil Australian jet acting as a communications relay.

Four of the ten aircraft are overhead the search area, with a further six planes to fly over the area today.

A further RAAF P3 Orion has been placed on standby at RAAF Base Pearce in WA to investigate any reported sightings.

Six ships are relocating to the new search area including HMAS Success and five Chinese ships.

Chinese Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) patrol ship, Haixun 01, is in the search area.

HMAS Success is expected to arrive in the search area late tomorrow night.

A US towed pinger locator and Bluefin-21 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle have arrived in Perth to assist with location and recovery of the black box.

The depth of the water in the search area is between 2000 and 4000 metres.

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Meanwhile Malaysia Airlines issued this statement today:

Introductory statement

Today, the search for MH370 has been further refined. The international investigation team continue working to narrow the search area, and shed further light on MH370’s flight path.

We are, as always, grateful for the continuing co-operation of our partners in this difficult and intensive search.

Whilst search operations are on-going, we continue to focus our efforts on caring for the families. In Cabinet this morning, we discussed the importance of continuing to support the relatives of the passengers and crew.

1. Refined search area

On Monday, the Prime Minister announced that based on new data analysis, Inmarsat and the AAIB had concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor, and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth.

On Tuesday, I confirmed that further study of this data would be undertaken to attempt to determine the final position of the aircraft. The Malaysian investigation team set up an international working group, comprising agencies with expertise in satellite communications and aircraft performance, to take this work forward.

The international working group included representatives from the UK, namely Inmarsat, AAIB, and Rolls Royce; from China, namely the CAAC and AAID; from the US, namely the NTSB, FAA, and Boeing; as well as the relevant Malaysian authorities.
The group has been working to refine the Inmarsat data, and to analyse it – together with other information, including radar data and aircraft performance assumptions – to narrow the search area.

Information which had already been examined by the investigation was re-examined in light of new evidence drawn from the Inmarsat data analysis.

In addition, international partners – who continue to process data in their home countries, as well as in the international working group – have further refined existing data. They have also come up with new technical information, for example on aircraft performance.

Yesterday, this process yielded new results, which indicated that MH370 flew at a higher speed than previously thought, which in turn means it used more fuel and could not travel as far. This information was passed to RCC Australia by the NTSB, to help further refine and narrow the search area.

The Australian authorities have indicated that they have shifted the search area approximately 1,100 kilometres to the north east. Because of ocean drift, this new search area could still be consistent with the potential objects identified by various satellite images over the past week.

This work is on-going, and we can expect further refinements. As the Australian authorities indicated this morning, this is standard practice in a search operation. It is a process of continually refining data which in turn further narrows the search area. With each step, we get closer to understanding MH370’s flight path.

Searches must be conducted on the best information available at the time. In the search for MH370, we have consistently followed the evidence, and acted on credible leads. Our search and rescue efforts have been directed by verified and corroborated information. This latest refinement of the search area is no different.

2. Satellite images

Last night, Japanese authorities announced they had satellite images which showed a number of floating objects approximately 2,500 kilometres southwest of Perth. Early this morning we received separate satellite imagery from the Thai authorities which also showed potential objects.

These new satellite images join those released by Australia, China, France, and Malaysia, all of which are with RCC Australia. The range of potential objects, and the difficulty in re-identifying them shows just how complex this investigation is. We remain grateful to all our partners for continuing to assist in the search operations.

3. Concluding remarks

The new search area, approximately 1,680 kilometres west of Perth, remains in the Australian area of responsibility.

Australia continues to lead the search efforts in this new area, and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority gave a comprehensive operational update earlier today. As more information emerges, they will be issuing frequent operational updates, including on assets deployed.

I would like to echo their statements that the new search area, although more focused than before, remains considerable; and that the search conditions, although easier than before, remain challenging.

For the families of those on board, we pray that further processing of data, and further progress in the search itself, brings us closer to finding MH370.

Map: AMSA. The new search area (in green) is 1,850 kilometers (1,155 miles) directly west of Perth .

Malaysia Airlines: AG Slide Show

Turkmenistan Airlines takes delivery of the first of two new Boeing 777-200 LRs

Boeing (Chicago and Seattle) has delivered a 777-200 LR (Longer Range) (777-22K LR EZ-A778, msn 42296) passenger aircraft to Turkmenistan’s national flag carrier, Turkmenistan Airlines (Ashgabat). The airplane is the first of two new 777-200 LRs Turkmenistan Airlines has on order. The delivery coincided with the opening of a new terminal at the Ashgabat International airport.

Previously Turkmenistan took delivery of the pictured 777-22K LR EZ-A777 (msn 39548) on August 31, 2010.

Turkmenistan Airlines’ fleet modernization plan started in 1992 when the airline became the first in the Commonwealth of Independent States to order airplanes from Boeing. The airplane will join Turkmenistan’s fleet of airplanes, which currently include seven 717-200s, three 737-300s, four 737-700s, five 737-800s and four 757-200s.

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean/AirlinersGallery.com. EZ-A777 departs from Paine Field near Everett, WA.

Turkmenistan Airlines: AG Slide Show

Has missing flight MH 370 finally been located? French satellite shows a new large debris field of 122 shiny objects

AMSA Indian Ocean Search Map 3.26.14

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) missing flight MH 370 with Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRO (msn 28420) with 239 souls may have finally been located (subject to on-site ship confirmation).

According to CNN, “Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency (MRSA) received new satellite images from France that were taken on March 23. The images showed 122 potential objects in one area of the Indian Ocean. Some of the objects were as much as 23 meters in length. Some appeared bright, possibly indicating solid material. They were located about 2,500 kilometers from Perth. “This is another new lead that will help direct the search operation,” said Acting Minister of Transportation Hishammuddin Bin Hussein on Wednesday.”

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has issued this update for today (March 26):

Today’s search for any signs of the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft in the Australian Search and Rescue Region is now underway.

A total of six countries are now assisting in the search and recovery operation – Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Japan, China and the Republic of Korea.

A total of seven military and five civil aircraft will be involved in today’s search activities. One Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft from China departed Perth around 8am for the search area.

A Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P3 Orion aircraft NZ P-3K2 departed for the search area around 9.10am.

A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P3 Orion is scheduled to depart Perth around 11am. A US Navy P8 Poseidon is due to depart around 2pm.
A Japanese P3 Orion is due to depart Perth around 3pm.
A second RAAF P3 Orion is scheduled to depart for the search area around 4pm.

A Republic of Korea P3 Orion is due to depart around 5pm.

Two civil aircraft have now departed Perth for the search area. The remaining three civil aircraft will depart for the search area between 10am and midday.

A total of 34 State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers from Western Australia will be air observers on board the five civil aircraft.

HMAS Success and China’s polar supply ship Xue Long are now in the search area.

 

Malaysia Airlines just issued this statement:

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Introductory statement:
The search for MH370 continues. Our efforts are now focused in the southern Indian Ocean, where a multi-national team, led by Australia, is combing the waters trying to find debris from the flight.
Our determination to find MH370 remains steadfast. As we have said all along, we will never give up trying to find the plane – in order to bring closure for the families, and to establish exactly what happened to MH370.

1. New satellite images:
Australia, China and France have already released satellite images, showing objects that may be related to MH370.
Yesterday, on 25 March, the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency (MRSA) received new satellite images from Airbus Defence and Space, which is based in France. The images were taken on 23 March.
MRSA analysed the images and – in one area of the ocean measuring some 400 square kilometres – were able to identify 122 potential objects.
Some objects were a metre in length; others were as much as 23 metres in length. Some of the objects appeared to be bright, possibly indicating solid materials.
The objects were located approximately 2,557 kilometres from Perth. We will issue handouts relating to this new information, after this press conference.
MRSA’s findings were immediately forwarded to the Australian Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Perth yesterday. It must be emphasized that we cannot tell whether the potential objects are from MH370. Nevertheless, this is another new lead that will help direct the search operation.
We have now had four separate satellite leads, from Australia, China and France, showing possible debris. It is now imperative that we link the debris to MH370. This will enable us to further reduce the search area, and locate more debris from the plane.
2. Operational update:
Australia is leading the search effort in the southern Indian Ocean, based out of Perth. Malaysia continues to play a co-ordinating role. All countries involved are displaying unprecedented levels of co-operation; that has not changed. Australia has divided the search area into two sectors, East and West.

Today the weather has improved, and twelve planes will travel to the search area – six in the East sector and six in the West.
In the East sector, searches will be conducted by:

- one Australian P3 Orion, and three Australian civilian aircraft.

- one Chinese Ilyushin IL-76.

- one New Zealand P3 Orion.
In the West sector, searches will be conducted by:

- one US P8 Poseidon.
- one Korean P3 Orion.

- one Japanese P3 Orion.

- two Australian P3 Orions, and one civilian aircraft.
Two ships will also join the search operations.
Yesterday ‘HMAS Success’ was redeployed to the south of the search area due to bad weather. Today the ship has returned and will support the search operation in the West sector. Meanwhile, the Chinese ship ‘Xue Long’ has today been deployed to the East sector.
A Japanese Coast Guard gulfstream aircraft left Subang this morning for Perth, to join the search operation.
As I mentioned yesterday, the search operations in the northern corridor, and in the northern part of the southern corridor, have been called off. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent diplomatic notes to all relevant countries to formally inform them of this change.
Before I continue, I would like to convey our appreciation to the Australian authorities, and in particular to Prime Minister Tony Abbot, for making such an extraordinary contribution to the search operation.

 

3. Chinese Special Envoy
Today, the Prime Minister met with His Excellency Zhang Yesui, the Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Special Envoy of the Government of China. I also met with His Excellency this afternoon.
During our conversation His Excellency conveyed China’s commitment to continue and intensify the search operation in any way possible, and to deploy any assets that may be required.
Malaysia has provided his His Excellency and his delegation with a full update on the latest information from Inmarsat.
His Excellency and his delegation also received a comprehensive briefing from the international technical team.

4. International Working Group
As I mentioned yesterday, based on the new information provided by Inmarsat, we have established an international working group. The agencies involved in this working group include: Inmarsat, AAIB, the Chinese CAAC and AAID, NTSB, FAA, Boeing and Rolls Royce, as well as the relevant Malaysian authorities.
The role of the working group is to help try and refine the Inmarsat data and, if possible, more accurately determine the final position of MH370.

5. Further information
I should like to note that the CEO of Malindo Airlines, Chandran Rama Murthy, has joined me on stage today, and will be able to answer any questions that you might have.

As I announced yesterday, MAS is now taking a lead in communicating with the families and is conducting their own press conferences. MAS will hold another press conference tomorrow.
Concluding remarks
New satellite images continue to provide clues in the search for MH370. And with improved weather conditions, aircraft are now able to investigate objects of interest.
I would like to thank once again our international partners for their continued support and assistance. The search for MH370, and the investigation into what happened on board the flight, is now a truly international effort.

Malaysia Airlines: AG Slide Show

Bad weather and rough seas disrupts the search for debris from Malaysia Airlines missing flight MH 370

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Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) missing flight MH 370 with Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRO (msn 28420) with 239 souls on board remains lost somewhere in the remote south Indian Ocean. So far, no confirmed debris has been located from the missing flight.

According to Reuters, “bad weather and rough seas today (March 25) forced the suspension of the search for any wreckage of the missing Malaysian jetliner that officials are now sure crashed in the remote Indian Ocean with the loss of all 239 people on board.”

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) which is leading the search from Perth, Western Australia, issued this map and statement today:

AMSA Search Areas for MH 370 3.25.14 (AMSA)

 

A search and recovery operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft in the southern Indian Ocean will resume on Wednesday, March 25.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed on Tuesday the focus is now on search and recovery of any objects related to the ill-fated Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

A visual search will resume tomorrow when the weather is expected to improve after gale force winds and heavy swells resulted in the suspension of the search operation on Tuesday.

As many as twelve aircraft are expected to be involved in the search tomorrow, including seven military aircraft and five civil aircraft.

HMAS Success will return to the search area and conduct a surface sweep of an area identified on Monday afternoon by a Royal Australian Air Force P3 Orion as the location for several objects of interest.

A total of six countries are now assisting in the search – Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Japan, China and the Republic of Korea.

India has also offered to join the search and recovery operation.

China’s polar supply ship Xue Long (Snow Dragon) and three other Chinese ships are expected to arrive in the search area on Wednesday.

 

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Malaysia Airlines today issued this statement:

By: Tan Sri Md Nor Md Yusof, Chairman of Malaysia Airlines

As you will be aware, last night the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak, announced new evidence regarding the disappearance of MH370 on March 8.

Based on this evidence, the Prime Minister’s message was that we must accept the painful reality that the aircraft is now lost and that none of the passengers or crew on board survived.

This is a sad and tragic day for all of us at Malaysia Airlines. While not entirely unexpected after an intensive multi-national search across a 2.24 million square mile area, this news is clearly devastating for the families of those on board. They have waited for over two weeks for even the smallest hope of positive news about their loved ones.

This has been an unprecedented event requiring an unprecedented response. The investigation still underway may yet prove to be even longer and more complex than it has been since March 8. But we will continue to support the families – as we have done throughout. And to support the authorities as the search for definitive answers continues. I will now ask our Group Chief Executive¸ Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, to provide you will with fuller details of our support for the families.

By: Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, Group Chief Executive Officer, Malaysia Airlines

I stand before you today not only as the Group Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Airlines, but also as a parent, as a brother, as a son. My heart breaks to think of the unimaginable pain suffered by all the families. There are no words which can ease that pain. Everyone in the Malaysia Airlines family is praying for the 239 souls on MH370 and for their loved ones on this dark day. We extend our prayers and sincere condolences.

We all feel enormous sorrow and pain. Sorrow that all those who boarded Flight MH370 on Saturday 8th March, will not see their families again. And that those families will now have to live on without those they love. It must be remembered too that 13 of our own colleagues and fellow Malaysians were also on board.

And let me be very clear on the events of yesterday evening. Our sole and only motivation last night was to ensure that in the incredibly short amount of time available to us, the families heard the tragic news before the world did. Wherever humanly possible, we did so in person with the families or by telephone, using SMS only as an additional means of ensuring fully that the nearly 1,000 family members heard the news from us and not from the media.

Ever since the disappearance of Flight MH370 Malaysia Airlines’ focus has been to comfort and support the families of those involved and support the multi-national search effort. We will continue to do this, while we also continue to support the work of the investigating authorities in the Southern Indian Ocean.

Like everyone else, we are waiting for news from those authorities. We know that while there have been an increasing number of apparent leads, definitive identification of any piece of debris is still missing. It is impossible to predict how long this will take. But after 17 days, the announcement made last night and shared with the families is the reality which we must now accept. When Malaysia Airlines receives approval from the investigating authorities, arrangements will be made to bring the families to the recovery areas if they so wish. Until that time, we will continue to support the ongoing investigation. And may I express my thanks to the Government and all of those involved in this truly global search effort.

In the meantime, Malaysia Airlines’ overwhelming focus will be the same as it has been from the outset – to provide the families with a comprehensive support program. Through a network of over 700 dedicated caregivers, the loved ones of those on board have been provided with two dedicated caregivers for each family, providing care, support and counsel. We are now supporting over 900 people under this programme and in the last 72 hours, we have trained an additional 40 caregivers to ensure the families have access to round-the-clock support.

In addition, hotel accommodation for up to five family members per passenger, transportation, meals and others expenses have been provided since March 8 and that will continue.

Malaysia Airlines has already provided initial financial assistance of $5,000 per passenger to the next of kin. We recognize that financial support is not the only consideration. But the prolonged search is naturally placing financial strain on the relatives. We are therefore preparing to offer additional payments as the search continues.

This unprecedented event in aviation history has made the past 18 days the greatest challenge to face our entire team at Malaysia Airlines. I have been humbled by the hard work, dedication, heartfelt messages of concern and offers of support from our remarkable team. We do not know why, and we do not know how this terrible tragedy happened. But as the Malaysia Airlines family, we are all praying for the passengers and crew of Flight MH370.

Copyright Photo and Map: AMSA.

 

Chinese Il-76 spots “suspicious objects” in the southern Indian Ocean today

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A Chinese Ilyushin Il-76 search aircraft has spotted “suspicious objects” in the southern Indian Ocean today (March 24) according to Reuters, quoting a Xinhua news agency report. The crew spotted two “relatively big” floating objects and several smaller white ones dispersed over several kilometers, Xinhua reported. The object could be from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 with missing Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRO (man 28420) and its passengers.

Read the full report from Reuters: CLICK HERE

In addition and Australian aircraft has also spotted additional debris.

According to CNN, “military radar tracking shows that the aircraft changed altitude after making a sharp turn over the South China Sea as it headed toward the Strait of Malacca, a source close to the investigation into the missing flight told CNN. The plane flew as low as 12,000 feet at some point before it disappeared from radar, according to the source.”

This would suggest a possible massive decompression or fire on board and the crew was trying to get back to land and a lower altitude.

Read the full report from CNN: CLICK HERE

Some missing airliners are never found. In June 1960, Northwest Airlines flight 2501 vanished over Lake Michigan. It has never been found:

The loss of flight MH 370 has been a struggle for the state-owned flag carrier. The presumed crash will also have a financial toll for the carrier. The airline has been struggling to be profitable. Bloomberg Businessweek discusses the financial health of the airline.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Forbes: Boeing 777 controls cannot be hacked: Read the full story: CLICK HERE

Finally Malaysia Airlines has issued this short statement and a video from its CEO Ahmad Jauhari:

As the search and rescue mission of flight MH 370 continues to prove to be an uphill battle, Malaysia Airlines has not wavered in our efforts to offer compassion and support. Throughout this entire period Malaysia Airlines has provided complete cooperation to the SAR team. However, our priority has always been the well being of the family members of our passengers and the crew on board.

Video:

Malaysia Airlines: AG Slide Show

French satellite spots potential debris from missing flight MH 370

According to Reuters, “new French satellite images show possible debris from a missing Malaysian airliner deep in the southern Indian Ocean, Malaysia said Sunday (March 23), adding to growing signs that the plane may have gone down in remote seas off Australia.”

According to the Malaysian authorities:

“This morning, Malaysia received new satellite images from the French authorities showing potential objects in the vicinity of the southern corridor,” the Malaysian Transport Ministry said in a statement. “Malaysia immediately relayed these images to the Australian rescue co-ordination center.”

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Therefore the remote southern Indian Ocean area (around 1,500 miles southwest of Perth, Western Australia) is the most likely resting place for missing Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) flight MH 370 with Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRO (man 28420) (above) with its missing passengers and crew members.

However no confirmed debris has been found from the missing Boeing 777 9M-MRO. The southern Indian Ocean is one of the most remote spots in the world. If you wanted to get lost or disappear, this would be the area.

Here is the press briefing statement yesterday (March 22) of  Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia Minister of Defence and Acting Minister of Transport:

Introductory statement

Diplomatic, logistical and technical efforts continue in the search for MH370. As we intensify the search and rescue operations, the overall emphasis remains the same: using all available means to narrow the search areas in both corridors.

1. Operational update

In the northern corridor, in response to diplomatic notes, we can confirm that China, India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Laos, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan have verbally informed the search and rescue operation that based on preliminary analysis, there have been no sightings of the aircraft on their radar.

With respect to the southern corridor, today two Chinese Ilyushin IL-76s will arrive in Perth to begin operations. The Shaanxi Y-8 which arrived yesterday will be operating from Subang air base in Malaysia. China is also sending an additional two ships from the Andaman Sea to join the five Chinese ships already in the southern corridor. Two Indian aircraft, a P-8 Poseidon and C-130 Hercules, arrived in Malaysia at 18:00 last night to assist with the search.

HMS Echo is currently in the Persian Gulf and is en route to the southern corridor. The ship is equipped with advanced sensors that allow it to search effectively underwater.

2. Australian search area

Five aircraft and two merchant ships were involved in the search and rescue operations in the vicinity of the objects identified by the Australian authorities, which are approximately 2,500km southwest of Perth. Despite improved visual search conditions yesterday, there were no sightings of the objects of interest.

Operations continue, and today they plan to search an area of approximately 10,500 square nautical miles.

The Rescue Co-ordination Centre Australia anticipates that 6 aircraft, 4 military and 2 civilian, will be visually searching the area. Two merchant vessels will also be present during search operations, and HMAS Success was due to reach the search area at 14:30 today.

Generally, conditions in the southern corridor are very challenging. The ocean varies between 1,150 metres and 7,000 metres in depth. In the area where the possible objects were identified by the Australian authorities there are strong currents and rough seas.

A cyclone warning has been declared for Tropical Cyclone Gillian, which is located in the southern corridor. Very strong winds and rough seas are expected there today.

3. Family briefings

The briefing for families in KL yesterday went well. The briefing in Beijing, however, was less productive. Despite the best intentions, I understand there were tense scenes.

I have received a report from the Malaysian high-level team, as well as a copy of the declaration from the Chinese families. I have asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the authorities in China, to investigate what happened.

We will continue to engage with the families. We are working hard with Chinese authorities and the Chinese working group to create a more conducive environment for the briefings. I have instructed my technical team to do a review of both briefings so that we can improve them.

We appeal to all parties to be understanding during this extraordinary and difficult time. My pledge to all the families, wherever they are, is the same: we will do everything in our power to keep you informed.

4. Transcript

The original transcript of the conversation between MH370 and Malaysian air traffic control is with the investigations team, where it is being analysed.

As is standard practice in investigations of this sort, the transcript cannot be publicly released at this stage. I can however confirm that the transcript does not indicate anything abnormal.

5. Cargo manifest

On the matter of MH370’s cargo, the cargo manifest is with the investigations team, and will be released in due course.

Preliminary investigation of the cargo manifest has not shown any link to anything that might have contributed to MH370’s disappearance.

As was stated yesterday, all cargo carried on MH370 was in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organisation and International Air Transport Association standards.

6. Concluding remarks

Over the past two weeks, the search for MH370 has taken many twists and turns. From satellite images to eyewitness accounts, we have followed every lead and investigated every possibility.

Today we are focused on leads from the satellite images announced by the Australian authorities on Thursday. We continue to be updated by the Australian authorities on an hourly basis.

I know this rollercoaster has been incredibly hard for everyone, especially for the families. We hope and pray this difficult search will be resolved, and bring closure to those whose relatives were on board.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all 26 countries who are with us in this effort; from ordinary people to the highest levels of government.

I would also like to pay special tribute to the men and women from all countries who are putting themselves in harm’s way in the search for MH370.

As we speak, people are sailing through a cyclone to help find the missing plane. We are immensely grateful to all our partners for their efforts.

Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com.

Malaysia Airlines: AG Slide Show

China claims to have spotted a new large floating object on satellite images

Malaysia logo-1

China, according to CNN,  has discovered “new satellite images showing a large object floating in the southern search area” of the Indian Ocean.

The object is 22 meters long and 30 meters wide, (72 feet by 98 feet), Hishammuddin Hussein announced. He told reporters he’s just gotten the information, and China will release more details in “coming hours.”

Unfortunately the Chinese satellite image is four days old!

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

The search for MH 370 debris has also been hampered by the ever-worsening ocean debris problem.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

It is now night time in Perth, Australia and the southern Indian Ocean.

So far no debris from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 with Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRO (man 28420) has been discovered and verified.

Meanwhile Malaysia Airlines addressed the issue of lithium batteries with this statement:

Malaysia Airlines wishes to clarify that the lithium ion batteries carried onboard MH370 on 8 March 2014 was in compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) requirements where it is classified as Non Dangerous Goods.

Malaysia Airlines: AG Slide Show

Two objects are spotted floating in the Indian Ocean

Malaysia logo-1

Two large objects have been spotted by satellite floating in the Indian Ocean around 1,500 miles southwest of Perth, Australia. It will take several days to confirm if they are from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370.

The Australia Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is leading this search of the Indian Ocean.

Read the full story from Reuters: CLICK HERE

Malaysia Airlines issued this statement concerning the debris:

1.    Australian satellite images

At 10:00 this morning, the Prime Minister received a call from the Prime Minister of Australia, informing him that ‘two possible objects related to the search’ for MH370 had been identified in the Southern Indian Ocean. The Australian authorities in Kuala Lumpur have also briefed me on the situation, and the Australian Foreign Minister has spoken to the Foreign Minister of Malaysia.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) continues co-ordinating the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft within Australia’s search and rescue area, with assistance from the Australian Defence Force, the New Zealand Air Force, and the US Navy.

AMSA’s Rescue Co-ordination Centre (RCC) Australia has received satellite imagery of objects possibly related to the search for MH370.

RCC Australia received an expert assessment of commercial satellite imagery today. The images were captured by satellite. They may not be related to the aircraft.

The assessment of these images was provided by the Australian Geospatial Intelligence Organisation as a possible indication of debris southwest of Perth.

As a result of this information, four aircraft have been re-orientated to an area 2,500 kilometres southwest of Perth.

A Royal Australian Air Force P-3 Orion aircraft arrived in the area at about 10:50AM.

Another 3 aircraft have been tasked by RCC Australia to the area, including a second RAAF Orion, a Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion, and a US Navy P-8 Poseidon.

The Poseidon was expected to arrive early this afternoon. The second RAAF Orion was expected to depart RAAF Base Pearce, Perth, mid-afternoon. The New Zealand Orion was due to depart this afternoon.

An RAAF C-130 Hercules aircraft has been tasked by RCC Australia to drop datum marker buoys to assist in drift modelling. They will provide an on-going reference point if the task of relocating the objects becomes protracted.

A merchant ship that responded to a shipping broadcast issued by RCC Australia on Monday was also expected to arrive in the area this afternoon.

The Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Success is en route to the area but is some days away. The ship is well equipped to recover any objects located and proven to be from MH370.

Every effort is being made to locate the objects seen in the satellite imagery. It must be stressed that these sightings, while credible, are still to be confirmed.

2.    Assets deployed

The search for MH370 is a multinational effort. I will now give you an update on the assets which have been deployed.

During the course of this operation, the Chief of the Defence Force has spoken to his counterparts from countries including:

•        Australia

•        China

•        India

•        Indonesia

•        Japan

•        Maldives

•        Nepal

•        New Zealand

•        Singapore

•        Thailand

•        Vietnam

•        The UK

•        And the USA.

All were very supportive, and all offered their assistance. As the focus of the search has moved from the South China Sea and Straits of Malacca to the northern and southern corridors, our international partners have continued to provide whatever support they can.

A number of assets have been deployed at different phases of the search and rescue operation.

Currently, there are 18 ships, 29 aircraft and 6 ship-borne helicopters deployed along the northern and southern corridors, as follows:

Aircraft

In the northern corridor, there are 4 aircraft:

•        2 from Malaysia

•        1 from Japan

•        And 1 from the US.

In the southern corridor, there are 25 aircraft:

•        2 from Malaysia

•        5 from Australia

•        3 from China

•        4 from Indonesia

•        2 from India

•        4 from Japan

•        1 from New Zealand

•        2 from South Korea

•        1 from the UAE

•        And 1 from the USA.

Ships

All 18 ships are in the southern corridor:

•        6 from Malaysia

•        1 from Australia

•        5 from China

•        And 6 from Indonesia.

This deployment includes 6 helicopters:

•        3 from Malaysia, and 3 from China.

Until we are certain that we have located MH370, search and rescue operations will continue in both corridors. I can confirm that Malaysia is sending 2 aircraft to Kazakhstan, and the UK is planning to send 1 ship to the southern corridor.

In addition to the assets I just listed above, a number of countries in the northern corridor are carrying out search and rescue operations within their own territory:

•        China is using every means possible, including 21 satellites, to search the area within its borders, and is ready to send more ships and aircraft wherever they are needed.

•        In Cambodia, 4 helicopters are conducting search operations within Cambodian territory.

•        The Laos Air Force is carrying out search operations within Laos.

•        Singapore are using their International Information Fusion Centre, where a Malaysian representative is stationed, to notify mariners and help with the search.

•        The Thai military are conducting search operations in the northern part of Thailand with all available aircraft.

•        And Vietnam are conducting search operations within their territory using an unspecified number of aircraft.

Together this represents a significant international force deployment. I am thankful for the co-operation of our partners as we continue to focus on finding MH370.

3.    Family care

The high-level team I announced yesterday is leaving for Beijing this evening.

I would also like to confirm that representatives from the Malaysian government spoke to the families who were present here yesterday.

In addition, the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to China, and the Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia, will lead a briefing today for the Chinese families who are here in Kuala Lumpur.

Also in attendance will be the Department of Civil Aviation, the Armed Forces, the Royal Malaysia Police, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and MAS. A similar briefing will also be held for the other families.

4.    Concluding remarks

For families around the world, the one piece of information they want most is the information we just don’t have: the location of MH370.

Our primary focus has always been to find the aircraft. And with every passing day, our efforts have intensified.

Yesterday I said that we wanted to reduce the area of the search. We now have a credible lead. There remains much work to be done to deploy the assets. This work will continue overnight.

 

 

Search Area:

Search Area Indian Ocean

Photo courtesy of AMSA:

Satellite imagery provided to Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) of objects that may be possible debris of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in a revised area 185 km (115 miles) to the south east of the original search area in this picture released by AMSA March 20, 2014. A Search aircraft are investigating two objects floating in the southern Indian Ocean off Australia that could be debris from a Malaysian jetliner missing for 12 days with 239 people on board, officials said on Thursday. REUTERS-Australian Maritime Safety Authority-Handout via REUTERS

Was missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 sighted in the Maldives?

Maldives Map

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) missing flight MH 370 with Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRO (msn 28420) with 239 souls on board may have been sighted on the remote island island of Kuda Huvadhoo in the Maldives (south-southwest of Male). Islanders spotted a Jumbo Jet with a red stripe flying low over their island at 6:15 am local time on March 8. The distance from the last reported position of MH 370 to Kuda Huvadhoo is around 2,000 miles.

Read the full account from the International Business Times: CLICK HERE

Read another report from Sydney Morning Herald: CLICK HERE

Map Google Maps.

Meanwhile Malaysia Airlines has issued this 21st media statement:

The passengers and crew on-board flight MH 370, their families and loved ones, have been at the center of every action Malaysia Airlines has taken as a Company since we first learned the flight disappeared.

The Malaysian Government is coordinating an unprecedented international search effort covering 2.24 million square nautical miles. With this simply enormous area we cannot determine how long it will take to locate the aircraft.

Considering these challenges, our caregivers have informed the family members of the missing passengers and crew that we have taken the decision to continue to provide information and assistance through the further enhanced Family Support Centre (FSC) based in Kuala Lumpur which has been operational since March 8, 2014 rather than the various Family Assistance Centers (FACs).

The Family Support Centre will continue to proactively provide relatives waiting for news at home with daily updates. In addition to personal phone calls, Malaysia Airlines will now send out SMS blasts with brief updates to the families. We have also set up an email address for family members as a channel for them to communicate with us. Updates via the Malaysia Airlines website are also available.

This Family Support Centre will be open round-the-clock and will house family support representatives trained to assist those who are seeking answers and further information. The representatives will be divided into four shifts with ten staff handling each shift. This will ensure that someone is available to attend to the families at all times. The centre will also have Mandarin speaking personnel.

Below are the toll-free numbers that has been set-up for eight different countries. A back-up number is also given to the families in the event they are not able to reach the toll-free number. The number to call to get in touch with this centre is +603 8777 5770.

Countries            Toll-free number

China                    10-800-130-1364 (South China) / 10-800-713-1404 (North China)
Malaysia                 1800-81-4819
Indonesia               001-803-015-203-7708
Australia                1800-198-163
US/Canada             877-504-4210
New Zealand          080-045-4029
India                     000-800-100-3449
France                   080-091-2622

All this while, the families have always been briefed first, followed by the media and then the public whenever new information surfaces. However, the often conflicting information and wild speculation have caused a major distress to the families.

The Airline continues to work closely with the authorities and we appreciate the help we are receiving from all local and international agencies during this critical and traumatic period.

Our top priority remains to provide any and all assistance to the families of the passengers and crew.

Bloomberg Businessweek explores the question of whether Malaysia (the government and the airline) can restore its public image.

Read the article: CLICK HERE

Malaysia Airlines (aircraft slide show): AG Slide Show

If Malaysia Airlines missing flight MH 370 went into the southern Indian Ocean, it’s a lonely place, was the captain politically motivated?

MH 370 in southern Indian Ocean

Investigators are now looking at the possibility that Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) missing flight MH 370 made either a north turn or a south turn once it was in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The satellite data revealed by Prime Minister Najib suggests the airliner could be anywhere in either of two arcs: one stretching from northern Thailand to the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, or a southern arc heading from Indonesia to the vast southern Indian Ocean. If the missing flight with Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRO (msn 28420) and 239 souls on board took a turn to the south it could have not picked a more desolate spot on earth except for the polar regions.

According to this article by Reuters, a plane could crash in this area without a ship spotting it or even radar picking it up. In short, it is a lonely place.

So far no trace of missing flight MH 370 has been found. Searchers are now switching to the Indian Ocean but it is a vast area and will be a daunting task. The aircraft could have flown another 2,200 miles after it was last spotted off the northwest coast of Malaysia. That leaves a lot of ocean territory (see map above) to search.

According to Reuters in the article, “The southern Indian Ocean, between Indonesia and Australia, is broken up only by the Australian territories of Christmas Island, home to asylum seeker detention facilities, and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands some 2,000 km (1,240 miles) northwest of Perth. The Cocos Islands have a small airport to serve the islands’ combined population of just 3,000 people.

Further south, the only habitation is the handful of research stations on the scattering of tiny French-run islands including Kerguelen – a group of volcanic outcrops between Africa, Australia and Antarctica. While home to several powerful astronomical scanners and radar, there is no airport and it is seen extremely unlikely the aircraft could have made it that far.”

In summary, MH 370 may never be found and could become the biggest aviation mystery in history. Let’s hope there is some closure for the grieving families.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Meanwhile investigators are also searching for a motive and an answer to the large “why?”. Investigators are investigating the backgrounds of the pilots, crew members and passengers on board missing flight MH 370.

Was this disappearance meant to embarrass the ruling government of Malaysia which has not done a good job of handling this crisis?

Reuters reports the captain (who had a simulator in his home) had postings on his Facebook page suggesting the pilot was a political opponent of the ruling Malaysian government coalition that has ruled Malaysia for the past 57 years since independence.

Read the full article from Reuters: CLICK HERE

Timeline of events: CLICK HERE

Malaysia Airlines issued this 19th media statement late yesterday:

Further to the statement by the Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak earlier today into the ongoing search for Flight MH 370, Malaysia Airlines has shared all available information with the relevant authorities since the moment we learned that the aircraft had disappeared, in the early hours of Saturday 8th March. This includes the very first indications that MH370 may have remained airborne for several hours after contact was lost, which the Prime Minister referred to today.

This is truly an unprecedented situation, for Malaysia Airlines and for the entire aviation industry. There has never been a case in which information gleaned from satellite signals alone could potentially be used to identify the location of a missing commercial airliner. Given the nature of the situation and its extreme sensitivity, it was critical that the raw satellite signals were verified and analysed by the relevant authorities so that their significance could be properly understood. This naturally took some time, during which we were unable to publicly confirm their existence.

We were well aware of the ongoing media speculation during this period, and its effect on the families of those on board. Their anguish and distress increases with each passing day, with each fresh rumour, and with each false or misleading media report. Our absolute priority at all times has been to support the authorities leading the multinational search for MH370, so that we can finally provide the answers which the families and the wider community are waiting for.

We remain absolutely committed to sharing confirmed information with family members and the wider public in a fully open and transparent manner. However given the nature of the situation, the importance of validating new information before it is released into the public domain is paramount.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families of the 227 passengers and our 12 Malaysia Airlines colleagues and friends on board flight MH 370. They will remain at the center of every action we take as a company, as they have been since MH 370 first disappeared.

Today the airline issued this short statement:

The current general enquiry number +60378841234 for the MH 370 incident will change effective Monday, 17 March 2014 at 12.00 noon.

Moving forward, families of passengers and crew of MH 370 may call +603-87775770. This is a dedicated number for families only.

For media queries, kindly contact +603 8777 5698/ +603 8787 1276.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the passengers and our colleagues on board MH 370 as well as their families and loved ones.

The mystery of Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370 deepens

Andaman and Nicobar Islands Map

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) missing flight MH 370 operated with Boeing 777-2H7 ER 9M-MRO (msn 28420) remains missing with no sign of debris. There are reports the the airliner may have flown for up to five hours after the after radar contact was lost (the transponder was turned off). The mystery is deepening and the search area is broadening once again.

According to Reuters, “military radar data suggests a Malaysia Airlines jetliner missing for nearly a week was deliberately flown hundreds of miles off course, heightening suspicions of foul play among investigators, sources told Reuters on Friday.

Analysis of the Malaysia data suggests the plane, with 239 people on board, diverted from its intended northeast route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and flew west instead, using airline flight corridors normally employed for routes to the Middle East and Europe, said sources familiar with investigations into the Boeing 777′s disappearance.

Two sources said an unidentified aircraft that investigators believe was flight MH 370 was following a route between navigational waypoints when it was last plotted on military radar off the country’s northwest coast.

This indicates that it was either being flown by the pilots or someone with knowledge of those waypoints, the sources said.”

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

If the Reuters report is correct, this means the aircraft was flying (for whatever reason) towards the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (see map above) or beyond into the Indian Ocean. This will probably broadened the search area towards and possibly into the Indian Ocean.

Oddly today (March 14), a 5.5 magnitude earthquake struck in the sea off the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the U.S. Geological Survey reported via CNN.

Another report also deepens the mystery. Chinese researchers have reportedly detected a “seafloor event” in the waters between Malaysia and Vietnam around 2:55 am on Saturday. This is about 72 miles (116 km) northeast of the last known position at 1:30 am.

Read the full report from the Indian Express: CLICK HERE

Malaysia Airlines has issued this latest statement:

Malaysia Airlines reiterates that we will continue to give our full support in cooperating with the search and rescue mission which is coordinated by the Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia (DCA) under the purview of the Ministry of Transport, Malaysia.

Malaysia Airlines is fully aware of the on-going media speculations and we have nothing further to add to the information we have already provided.

Our primary focus at this point in time is to care for the families of the passengers and crew of MH 370. This means providing them with timely information, travel facilities, accommodation, meals, medical and emotional support.

Malaysia Airlines will continue to provide regular updates to the general public via the media and our website on all matters affecting MH 370.

CNN Video: 9M-MRO is most likely at the bottom of the sea:

CNN Video: A tour of the Boeing 777 cockpit:

Malaysia Airlines Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Malaysia Airlines retires MH 370 and MH 371 flight numbers, 9M-MRO may have flown for four hours after losing contact, no debris found

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) has retired the affected flight numbers and issued this statement:

As a mark of respect to the passengers and crew of MH 370 on March 8, 2014, the MH 370 and MH 371 flight codes will be retired from the Malaysia Airlines’ Kuala Lumpur- Beijing-Kuala Lumpur route.

With effect from March 14, 2014, the new flight number to replace MH 370 and MH 371 will be:-

MH 318 – Kuala Lumpur – Beijing

MH 319 – Beijing – Kuala Lumpur

There are no changes to the frequency of our services and we will continue to operate double daily services to Beijing.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families of our colleagues and passengers of MH 370.

In other news, the Wall Street Journal is reporting U .S. investigators helping to probe the disappearance of MH 370 now believe the Boeing 777-200 may have flown for four hours after losing contact with air traffic controllers due to the engine date. If true, this would dramatically require the widening of the search area.

However this information seems to be in dispute, as Reuters is reporting Malaysia Airlines has said previously that the Rolls-Royce Trent engines stopped transmitting engine condition reports  when contact with the missing 9M-MRO was lost.

Meanwhile planes and ships were searching an area of the South China Sea where Chinese satellite images had shown what could be aircraft debris, but had so far searchers have not found any debris from MH 370.

Read the full report from Reuters: CLICK HERE

The Australian explores the question of whether the crew passed out due to oxygen starvation because of a possible fuselage leak. The Australian  looks at Helios Airways crash in Greece. Read the full article: CLICK HERE

In summary, there is a lot of conflicting information and reports out there and really no one as this time knows the true location of the lost Boeing  777-2H6 ER 9M-MRO (msn 28420). No debris from the aircraft has been located despite some interesting reports. The direction the aircraft may have taken after losing radio contact and the distance it may have flown are all in dispute among the parties involved. Hopefully we will soon have closure on this tragedy.

Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com. Where in the world is 9M-MRO? As incredible as it seems in this modern age, this missing airplane is becoming reminiscent of the long-time search for the much smaller Amelia Earhart’s missing Beechcraft in the South Pacific Ocean.

Malaysia Airlines:

Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 was possibly headed towards the Indian Ocean

Malaysia logo-1

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) missing flight MH 370 with 239 people on board remains lost and has become a bigger mystery. The search area has now been broadened. Malaysia is now asking for international help, especially from Europe, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to review the conflicting radar data.

Malaysia Air Force chief has denied military and government reports the Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRO (msn 28420) turned around and headed west to the Malacca Strait although this area is now part of the official search area.

The transponder was apparently turned off when it apparently turned to the west.

In summary, no one knows for sure where flight MH 370 has gone and there has been no confirmed debris found from the flight. It remains a mystery.

Read the full report by the BBC: CLICK HERE

New Straits Times has been comprehensively covering this story – here are all of their local articles: CLICK HERE

Pictorial video from New Strait Times:

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Questions and answers on the MH 370 disappearance from the New York Times: CLICK HERE

Time Magazine: 6 mysterious airplane disappearances in aviation history: CLICK HERE

Malaysia Airlines has issued this statement:

Malaysia Airlines’ primary focus at this point in time is to care for the families of the passengers and crew of MH370. This means providing them with timely information, travel facilities, accommodation, meals, medical and emotional support. All these costs are borne by Malaysia Airlines.

We have deployed teams of caregivers consisting of trained MAS staff and volunteers from Mercy Malaysia and Tzu Chi Foundation. These caregivers are stationed at five different locations at Beijing and four different locations in Kuala Lumpur.

As of now, we have 115 family members in Kuala Lumpur and they are taken care of by 72 different caregivers. At least one caregiver is assigned to each family together with a Mandarin translator for the families from China.

The caregivers have been keeping the families updated on the search and rescue efforts as well as provide emotional support.

Equal amount of initial financial assistance are being given out to all families of passengers and crew over and above their basic needs. This amount is extended to families of all crew and passengers in Malaysia as well those from other nations.

We regret and empathise with the families and we will do whatever we can to ease.

 

 

Japan Airlines and S7 Airlines to expand their code share agreement

Japan Airlines (JAL) (Tokyo) and S7 Airlines (Novosibirsk), both members of oneworld®, have agreed to further expand the code share flights with adding 12 domestic destinations in Russia from March 19, 2014.

The new codeshare routes between Moscow (Domodedovo) and domestic cities in Russia includes Saint Petersburg, the second largest city in Russia, and also Sochi, which is the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games as well as other attractive cities. 

Routes between Moscow (Domodedovo) and domestic cities in Russia

 

・Moscow = St. Petersburg

・Moscow = Perm

・Moscow = Samara

・Moscow = Ufa

・Moscow = Kazan

・Moscow = Chelyabinsk

・Moscow = Yekaterinburg

・Moscow = Volgograd

・Moscow = Nizhny Novgorod

・Moscow = Krasnodar

・Moscow = Rostov

・Moscow = Sochi

* Code share flights are subject to government approval.

* All of the above flights are operated by S7.

* Flight schedule and dates are subject to changes. Please visit JAL website for the latest information.

Top Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. JAL-Japan Airlines’ Boeing 777-246 JA8985 (msn 27652) in the special Tokyo Disney Resort – 30th Anniversary livery taxies at Fukuoka.

JAL-Japan Airlines: AG Slide Show

S7 Airlines: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Arnd Wolf/AirlinersGallery.com. S7 Airlines added its first Airbus A321, the pictured A321-211 VQ-BQH (msn 3070) in September 2013.

 

Emirates arrives in Boston

Emirates (Dubai) yesterday (March 10) launched its daily, nonstop service between Dubai and Boston. Boston becomes the airline’s eighth US destination and the 142th on its global network which links key tourism and trading destinations across six continents.

The inaugural flight EK 237 departed from Terminal 3, Dubai International at 09:45 hours, carrying a delegation of senior airline executives including: Tim Clark, President, Emirates Airline; Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Executive Vice President & Chief Operations Officer; Hubert Frach, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President Commercial Operations West; and Hiran Perera, Emirates’ Senior Vice President Cargo Planning and Freighters.

Also travelling on the inaugural flight was a VIP delegation from the UAE including: His Excellency Abdulrahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman, Dubai Chamber; His Excellency Mohammad Khamis Bin Harib Al Muhairi, Director General, The National Council of Tourism and Antiquities; Rahul Agarwal, Manager of Recruiting, McKinsey & Co; Chadi Chahine, Chief Financial Officer, Smith Nephew.

Emirates will operate daily flights between the two cities with a Boeing 777-200 LR (Longer Range) aircraft in a three-class configuration, offering eight seats in First Class, 42 in Business Class and 216 in Economy Class.

In addition to passengers, Emirates SkyCargo will operate bellyhold cargo space to help transport goods to and from Boston – such electronics, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, machine parts, leather products, consumer commodities, as well as New England’s finest lobster. Emirates SkyCargo can carry up to 15 tons per day.

EK 237 will depart Dubai at 09:45 and arrive in Boston at 15:15. The return flight, EK 238, will take off from Boston at 23:15 and land in Dubai at 19:30 the next day.  

Emirates began passenger services to America in 2004 with the launch of daily nonstop flights from New York JFK to Dubai, and now offers daily flights to Washington (Dulles), Houston (Bush Intercontinental), Dallas/Fort Worth, Seattle/Tacoma, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by Emirates). Boeing 777-21H LR A6-EWB (msn 35573) approaches the runway at Washington’s Dulles International Airport (IAD).

Emirates: AG Slide Show

Did Malaysia Airlines missing flight MH 370 fly west into the Strait of Malacca?, Cathay Pacific flight reports metal objects floating in the water off the South China Sea near Ho Chi Minh City

MH 370 Malacca Strait Map

Malaysia’s military believes it traced the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 flight MH 370 into the Malacca Strait (northwest of Kuala Lumpur) according to this report by Reuters. According to the military, the aircraft changed course after passing over Kota Bharu and took a lower altitude and headed west to this large body of water (see map above).

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRO (msn 28420) is still missing with 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board. The previous oil slick in the Gulf of Thailand (north of Kota Bharu) has been identified as not coming from the missing aircraft. No wreckage has been found in the Gulf of Thailand from the missing and presumed crashed airliner.

Meanwhile Malaysia has identified and issued photos of the two Iranians who used the stolen passports.

Read the full Reuters report: CLICK HERE

Video: Report on the two Iranians:

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Meanwhile the chief of Interpol says he does not believe the missing airliner was due to terrorism.

Read the full report from Reuters: CLICK HERE

The New York Times offers this “Questions and Answers” (to common questions) on the missing MH 370: CLICK HERE

A Cathay Pacific Airways flight has reported a relatively large metal debris area off the Vietnam coast near Ho Chi Minh City.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Map of the area where the Cathay Pacific Airways flight has reported the floating metal debris:

Malaysia-Vietnam Cathay Pacific Debris Map

At least two passengers used stolen passports to board Malaysia flight MH 370, U.S. Navy joins the search for the missing Boeing 777

Malaysia MH 370 Map-1

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) flight MH 370 operated with Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRO (msn 28420) still remains missing. However a vessel from Singapore participating in the search has found “suspicious objects” according to the Los Angeles Times. The objects have no yet been conformed as coming from the aircraft. 40 ships 22 airplanes are searching a larger area around the discovered oil slick (see above). The U.S. Navy has joined the search. There are also some indications that the aircraft may have turned around according to the radar records.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Meanwhile at least two passengers travelled on flight MH 370 with stolen passports (some media reports have it at four passengers) adding to the suspicion of terrorism in bringing down the flight. According to CNN, the two passengers who used the stolen passengers appear to have purchased the tickets together. The passengers were using Beijing as a connection point for on-going travel to Europe.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

5 theories on what could have happened to MH 370 according to the The Straits Times: CLICK HERE

Malaysia logo-1

Malaysia Airlines issued this statement on March 9:

More than 24 hours after the lost of contact with Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370, the search and rescue teams are still unable to detect the whereabouts of the missing aircraft.

The airline is doing its utmost to provide support to the affected family members, this includes immediate financial aid.

The airline has deployed a team of 94 caregivers consisting of well-trained staff and also Tzu Chi Foundation members to provide emotional support to the families. The airline will also be deploying another set of caregivers to Beijing later today.

Last night, a Malaysia Airlines’ Senior Management team arrived at Beijing to address the media and met with family members. Families of affected passengers in Kuala Lumpur were also met by the team.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines will set up a command center at Kota Bharu, Malaysia or Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam as soon as the location of the aircraft is established and the airline will make the necessary arrangements.

The airline is continuously working with the authorities in providing assistance. In fearing for the worst, a disaster recovery management specialist from Atlanta, USA will be assisting Malaysia Airlines in this crucial time.

On Monday March 10 Malaysia Airlines issued this statement for the missing airplane:

The purpose of this statement is to update on emergency response activities at Malaysia Airlines.

On notification of the incident the following steps have been taken:-

The EOC:-

1. Activation of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in the early morning of 8 March 2014. The EOC is the central command and control facility responsible for carrying out emergency management functions at the strategic level during a disaster.

2. In addition to the EOC, various departments of Malaysia Airlines are also addressing to all the different needs during this crisis.

Family Management

1. Malaysia Airlines is working closely with the government of China to expedite the issuance of passports for the families intending to travel to Malaysia, as well as with the immigration of Malaysia on the issuance of their visas into Malaysia.

2. Malaysia Airlines is deploying an additional aircraft to bring the families from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur on 11 March 2014.

3. When the aircraft is located, a Response Coordination Centre (RCC) will be established within the vicinity to support the needs of the families. This has been communicated specifically to the families.

4. Once the Response Coordination Centre is operational, we will provide transport and accommodation to the designated areas for the family members.

5. Our oneworld partners have been engaged to help bring family members in other countries aside from China into Kuala Lumpur.

Search and Rescue

1. Malaysia Airlines has been actively cooperating with the search and rescue authorities coordinated by the Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia (DCA) and the Ministry of Transport

2. DCA has confirmed that search and rescue teams from Australia, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines, New Zealand and the United States of America have come forward to assist. We are grateful for these efforts.

We also want to address a few common queries from the media.

We are receiving many queries about how the passengers with the stolen passports purchased their tickets. We are unable to comment on this matter as this is a security issue. We can however confirm that we have given all the flight details to the authorities for further investigation.

We also confirm that we are making necessary arrangements for MH 370 passengers’ families from Beijing to travel to Kuala Lumpur. However, flight details of the families’ arrival are highly confidential. This is to protect the privacy and well-being of the families during this difficult time and to respect their space. Our position is not to reveal any information on the flight or movements of the families.

Malaysia Airlines’ primary focus at this point in time is to care for the families of the passengers and crew of MH370. This means providing them with timely information, travel facilities, accommodation, meals, medical and emotional support. The costs for these are all borne by Malaysia Airlines.

All other Malaysia Airlines’ flights are as per schedule. The safety of our passengers and crew has always been and will continue to be of utmost importance to us.

The airline continues to work with the authorities and we appreciate the help we are receiving from all local and international parties and agencies during this critical and difficult time.

Malaysia Airlines reiterates that it will continue to be transparent in communicating with the general public via the media on all matters affecting MH 370.

Video: Follow MH 370 on radar via Flightradar24:

CNN explores the question of question of why there so few facts for the missing 777: CLICK HERE

Map: Google Maps.

Malaysia Airlines: AG Slide Show

Breaking News: Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 is missing, Vietnamese Navy says it crashed into the sea south of Phu Quoc Island, oil slick spotted, two stolen passports were used to board the aircraft

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) flight MH 370 (operated with the pictured Boeing 777-2H7 ER 9M-MRO, msn 28420) departed Kuala Lumpur at 0041 local time on March 8 bound for Beijing, China. The flight has gone missing and did not enter Chinese airspace.  Radar contact was lost with the aircraft near Vietnam airspace over water (Gulf of Thailand). The aircraft was last reported to be flying at 35,000 feet. There was no communication from the crew about any problem. Search and Rescue units are now searching for the aircraft.

According to CNN, “the Vietnamese Navy confirmed the plane crashed into the Gulf of Thailand. According to Navy Admiral Ngo Van Phat, a regional commander, military radar recorded that the plane crashed into the sea south of Phu Quoc island.”

However no debris has been located.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Read the latest report from Reuters: CLICK HERE

A 12-mile oil slick has been discovered between Malaysia and Vietnam by a Vietnamese Navy Antonov An-26 according to the New York Times. The last reported position of the aircraft was between Malaysia and Vietnam. It is unclear if this is from the aircraft.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

There are now reports that at least two stolen passports were used to board the aircraft which is now raising the question that this may have led to a possible terrorist attack.

The Telegraph explores this issue (along with a picture of the oil slick): CLICK HERE

Phu Quoc Island is on the border of Vietnam and Cambodia, southwest of Phnom Penh and west of Ho Chi Minh City (Google Maps):

Phu Quoc Island (Map) MH 370

The airline initially issued this statement:

We deeply regret that we have lost all contacts with flight MH 370 which departed Kuala Lumpur at 12.41 am earlier this morning (March 8) bound for Beijing. The aircraft was scheduled to land at Beijing International Airport at 6.30 am local Beijing time. Subang Air Traffic Control reported that it lost contact at 2.40 am (local Malaysia time).

Flight MH 370 was operated on a Boeing 777-200 aircraft. The flight was carrying a total number of 239 passengers and crew – comprising 227 passengers (including 2 infants), 12 crew members. The passengers were of 13 different nationalities. Malaysia Airlines is currently working with the authorities who have activated their Search and Rescue team to locate the aircraft. Our team is currently calling the next-of-kin of passengers and crew.

Focus of the airline is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilize its full support. Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members. The airline will provide regular updates on the situation.

The airline will provide regular updates on the situation. Meanwhile, the public may contact +603 7884 1234 for further info.

Malaysia Airlines issued this latest update midday on March 8:

Malaysia Airlines is still unable to establish any contact or determine the whereabouts of flight MH 370. Earlier today (March 8), Subang ATC had lost contact with the aircraft at 2.40 am. The last known position of MH370 before it disappeared off the radar was 065515 North (longitude) and 1033443 East (latitude).

We are still trying to locate the current location of the flight based on the last known position of the aircraft. We are working with the International search and rescue teams in trying to locate the aircraft. So far, we have not received any emergency signals or distress messages from MH 370. We are working with authorities and assure that all sources are deployed to assist with the search and rescue mission.

The passenger manifest will not be released until all families of the passengers have been informed. The flight was carrying a total number of 239 passengers and crew – comprising 227 passengers (including 2 infants) and 12 crew members.

We are deploying our “Go Team” to Beijing which will depart Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 4.30 pm with a team of caregivers and volunteers to assist the family members of the passengers.

The passengers are of 14 different nationalities. All crew on-board are Malaysians.

Please take note that the earlier statement did not include the number of Indian nationals. This was due to confusion between the country code of Indonesia and India.

The below table shows the latest number of passengers and their nationalities:-

Nationality Total
China/Taiwan 154 including infant
Malaysia 38
India 5
Indonesia 7
Australia 6
France 4
USA 3 including infant
New Zealand 2
Ukraine 2
Canada 2
Russian 1
Italy 1
Netherlands 1
Austrian 1

Our focus now is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilize our full support.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members.

Shortly after midnight, Sunday March 9 local time, Malaysia Airlines issued this update:

Malaysia Airlines humbly asks all Malaysians and people around the world to pray for flight MH 370.

It has been more than 24 hours since we last heard from MH 370 at 1.30 am. The search and rescue team is yet to determine the whereabouts of the Boeing 777-200 aircraft.

An international search and rescue mission from Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam was mobilized this morning (March 8). At this stage, they have failed to find evidence of any wreckage. The sea mission will continue overnight while the air mission will recommence at daylight.

We are dispatching all information as and when we receive it. The situation in Beijing is also being monitored closely. As many families of passengers are in China, we have deployed our “Go Team” to Beijing with a team of caregivers and volunteers to assist the family members of the passengers.

Immediate families of passengers are advised to gather at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Travel arrangements and expenses will be borne by Malaysia Airlines. Once, the whereabouts of the aircraft is determined, Malaysia Airlines will fly members of the family to the location.

Our sole priority now is to provide all assistance to the families of the passengers and our staff. We are also working closely with the concerned authorities in the search and rescue operation

Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRO (msn 28420) is pictured arriving at Stockholm (Arlanda) before the accident.

Malaysia Airlines (slide show of their aircraft): AG Slide Show

We will update this initial report with more information as it becomes available.

Satellite Weather – Southeast Asia from Meteoblue. The current weather appears to be mostly clear over Vietnam:

Satellite SE Asia 3.8.14

Other Airline News: CLICK HERE

CNN Video:

Japan Airlines introduces a new “Samurai Blue Jet” in support of its FIFA football team

JAL-Japan Airlines 777-200 JA8985 (14-Samurai Blue Jet)(logo)(JAL)(LR)

JAL-Japan Airlines (Tokyo) on February 26 in partnership with Family Mart (a national chain of Japanese stores) unveiled this special “Samurai Blue Jet” livery on Boeing 777-246 JA8985 (msn 27652) at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. The new logo jet supports Japan’s national football team in the upcoming FIFA World Cup championship series in Brazil this year.

The special sticker (above) includes the logo of the Japan Football Association (JFA) and photos of 400 supporters who submitted their photos for selection according to the airline.

JA8985 was previously one of JAL’s six Disney Happiness Express logo jets which are being retired. The special logo jet will fly over Japan until July 2014.

Read the full story from ZipanguFlyer: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Japan Airlines:

JAL-Japan Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

Emirates announces its new service to Chicago O’Hare starting on August 5

Emirates (Dubai) today announced that it is launching a daily service to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, Terminal 5 from August 5, 2014. The service will be operated by a Boeing 777-200 LR powered by GE90 engines.

Chicago will become the airline’s ninth gateway in the USA, following soon after the commencement of its services to Boston, Massachusetts on March 10, 2014.

Emirates is the largest operator of Boeing 777 aircraft in the world, with a fleet of 122 passenger and 10 freighter Boeing 777s currently in its fleet, and is a launch customer of Boeing’s new 777X having placed the largest single order in commercial aviation history for 150 of them valued at $76 billion in November 2013.

The new service will operate as flight EK 235 from Dubai International Airport at 09:45 hours (9:45 am) arriving into Chicago at 15:25 (3:25 pm). The return flight, EK 236 will depart O’Hare at 20:35 hours (8;35 pm), arriving into Dubai at 19:10 (7:10 pm) the next day.

Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-21H LR (Longer Range) A6-EWF (msn 35586) returns to the Dubai hub and base.

Emirates: AG Slide Show

Asiana Airlines is changing its cockpit culture as a result of the July 6 crash

Asiana Airlines (Seoul) is changing its pilot training program according to this report by Reuters. As a result of recommendations from the NTSB concerning the July 6, 2013 crash at San Francisco. Asiana is now encouraging its flight crews to talk more and to challenge each other as a way of changing its corporate culture.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-28E ER HL7500 (msn 28685) taxies at Istanbul (Ataturk).

Asiana Airlines: AG Slide Show

Korean Air is coming to Houston

Korean Air (Seoul) will launch four flights a week for its Seoul (Incheon) hub to Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) on May 2 according to Airline Route. The new route will be operated with Boeing 777-200 ERs.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-2B5 ER HL7530 (msn 27945) of Korean Air  arrives at Toronto (Pearson).

Korean Air: AG Slide Show

American Airlines to launch the Dallas/Fort Worth-Shanghai route on June 11

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) today announced the schedule for its new service between Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport (PVG), further strengthening its commitment to serving the Asia-Pacific region. Customers can begin booking flights on the new route Sunday, Feb. 2, for travel starting June 11.

Operated as part of American’s joint business agreement with fellow oneworld® alliance member Japan Airlines (JAL) (Tokyo), the new route complements American’s existing service to Shanghai from its hubs at Los AngelesInternational Airport (LAX) and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). Through oneworld member airlines and their affiliates, American’s customers have access to more than 145 destinations within Asia. In addition, customers traveling from Shanghai will now have access to nearly 200 destinations throughout North, Central and South America through American’s extensive network out of Dallas/Fort Worth.

The new route will operate daily with a Boeing 777-200 aircraft on the following schedule:

Daily DFW-PVG Service Schedule (all times local)

AA 127
Departs DFW at 10:55 a.m.
Arrives at PVG at 2:55 p.m. the following day

AA 128
Departs PVG at 4:50 p.m.
Arrives at DFW at 6:10 p.m.

Last year, American also announced that it will begin its first-ever nonstop service to Hong Kong, reinforcing American’s commitment to strengthen its global presence and meet customer demand for travel to key international markets. The service to Hong Kong from Dallas/Fort Worth, also launching June 11, will add a new destination to the airline’s international network.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-223 ER N752AN (msn 30260) completes the final approach to the runway at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

American Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

American Airlines (historical): AG Slide Show

Malaysia Airlines to end Los Angeles flights on April 30

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) will end service to Los Angeles on April 30 per Airline Route. The carrier currently serves LAX from Kuala Lumpur via Tokyo (Narita) four days a week. The carrier has been serving the route since July 1986.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Malaysia Airlines assigns the Boeing 777-200 ER to the long-distance route. Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRL (msn 29065) with the special 50 Years – 1963-2013 Jubi Emas logo departs the runway at Los Angeles International Airport.

Malaysia Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

United Airlines announces additional flights to Newark for the Super Bowl

United Airlines (Chicago) has announced increased service between its hub at Newark Liberty International Airport and Denver and Seattle/Tacoma for the Super Bowl being played in New Jersey. Newark Liberty is the airport most convenient to MetLife Stadium, where the Denver Broncos take on the Seattle Seahawks on February 2, 2014.

For those traveling to the title game, United has added two flights each from Denver and Seattle/Tacoma to Newark Liberty on both January 30 and January 31, 2014. For fans returning home, the airline has added four additional flights back to Denver and three additional flights back to Seattle/Tacoma on February 3, 2014:

Inbound Flights to Newark Liberty
DepartureCity Flight DepartureTime Arrival Time Aircraft Seats Date
Seattle 1212 9:45 a.m. 5:31 p.m. Boeing 777 267 Jan. 30
Seattle 1252 11:30 p.m. 7:23 a.m. (Jan. 31) Boeing 777 267 Jan. 30
Denver 1189 2:58 p.m. 8:29 p.m. Boeing 777 267 Jan. 30
Denver 1112 5:30 p.m. 10:52 p.m. Boeing 777 267 Jan. 30
Seattle 1297 12:43 p.m. 8:29 p.m. Boeing 777 267 Jan. 31
Seattle 371 9 p.m. 5:04 a.m. (Feb. 1) Boeing 757 182 Jan. 31
Denver 204 9 a.m. 2:39 p.m. Boeing 757 182 Jan. 31
Denver 1155 4:05 p.m. 9:27 p.m. Boeing 777 267 Jan. 31
Outbound Flights to Denver and Seattle
Arrival City Flight Departure Time Arrival Time Aircraft Seats Date
Denver 347 8:29 a.m. 11:04 a.m. Airbus A320 144 Feb. 3
Denver 202 10 a.m. 12:35 p.m. Airbus A320 144 Feb. 3
Seattle 1233 10 a.m. 12:57 p.m. Boeing 777 267 Feb. 3
Seattle 521 noon 3:12 p.m. Boeing 757 182 Feb. 3
Seattle 548 2:59 p.m. 6:03 p.m. Boeing 757 182 Feb. 3
Denver 363 6:59 p.m. 9:32 p.m. Airbus A320 144 Feb. 3
Denver 254 8:10 p.m. 10:43 p.m. Airbus A320 144 Feb. 3

United offers these flights in addition to the carrier’s regularly scheduled New York-Denver and New York-Seattle/Tacoma service. The airline regularly operates five daily flights each way between its Denver hub and both Newark Liberty and La Guardia airports, and two daily flights each way between Seattle/Tacoma and Newark Liberty.

United in New Jersey

United is New Jersey’s largest airline, offering more flights and more seats from the Garden State – and from the entire region, including New York – to more destinations around the world than any other airline. United offers 400 flights each day from Newark Liberty – the region’s premier trans-Atlantic gateway – to more than 150 destinations in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Newark Liberty’s location and high-frequency rail service make it the most convenient hub airport for travelers originating in north and central New Jersey, parts of New York City including Wall Street, and southern New York state. Newark’s largest private employer, United employs more than 13,000 aviation professionals in the state.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-222 ER N222UA (msn 30553) taxies at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).

United Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

United Airlines (historic): AG Slide Show

Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand agree to form an alliance, Singapore to operate its Airbus A380s to New Zealand

Singapore Airlines (Singapore) and Air New Zealand (Auckland) have agreed to form an alliance enabling Air New Zealand to fly the Auckland-Singapore route again and Singapore Airlines to operate the Airbus A380 to New Zealand for the first time.

The A380 would be operated daily by Singapore Airlines between Singapore and Auckland, progressively replacing an existing daily service with the smaller Boeing 777-300 ER. Air New Zealand would launch daily services between Auckland and Singapore using newly refitted Boeing 777-200 ER aircraft, taking over five flights currently operated by Singapore Airlines and adding two more weekly flights, increasing the frequency to daily.

Subject to regulatory approvals, the carriers would aim to boost their existing capacity between Singapore and New Zealand by up to 30% year round over time.

Singapore Airlines’ daily Singapore-Christchurch service would continue as part of the alliance.

The proposed alliance would enable Air New Zealand passengers to access codeshare travel on the Singapore Airlines network to the United Kingdom, Europe, South East Asia and Africa, as well as on the network of its regional subsidiary airline, SilkAir. Singapore Airlines’ customers would be able to access codeshare travel across the Air New Zealand domestic network and to selected international destinations.

The alliance would see Air New Zealand’s ‘NZ’ code return to Singapore Airlines’ network for the first time since 2007. Air New Zealand last operated to Singapore in 2006.

The parties are seeking approval for the alliance from the Competition Commission of Singapore and the New Zealand Minister of Transport.  Pending approval, flights could commence as early as December 2014.

Top Copyright Photo: Andi Hiltl/AirlinersGallery.com. Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A380-841 9V-SKR (msn 082) gracefully climbs away from the runway at Zurich.

Singapore Airlines: AG Slide Show

Air New Zealand: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-219 ER ZK-OKA (msn 29404) arrives at London (Heathrow).

British Airways to return three GSS Boeing 747-8 freighters to Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings in April

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. (Atlas Air) (New York) has announced it intends to pursue new ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance) placement opportunities for three 747-8 Freighter aircraft currently operated for British Airways plc by Atlas Air Worldwide’s 49%-owned UK subsidiary, Global Supply Systems Limited (GSS).

The action follows notice from British Airways, a unit of International Consolidated Airlines Group, S.A., regarding British Airways’ strategic decision to exit dedicated cargo-freighter service and to return the aircraft to GSS in April 2014 pursuant to the terms of the existing ACMI agreement between the parties.

Effective with the termination of the agreement, the three 747-8Fs will be redelivered to the company by GSS. Through GSS, the company also will receive contractual early termination fees from British Airways.

Meanwhile Qatar Airways (Doha) will operate five Boeing 777F freighter flights between Hong Kong and London for IAG Cargo (British Airways) starting on May 1. IAG Cargo issued this statement:

IAG Cargo has announced it has signed a long-term commercial agreement with Qatar Airways to purchase capacity on Qatar Airways-operated air cargo freighters, effective from May 1, 2014.

Qatar Airways will operate five Boeing 777F flights a week between Hong Kong and London on behalf of IAG Cargo, providing continuity of service for IAG Cargo customers.

The agreement marks a transition for IAG Cargo and follows the company’s decision to transfer freighter operations from its current provider, Global Supply Systems.

IAG Cargo connects 350 destinations worldwide, serving the world’s economic hubs with cargo-friendly wide-bodied planes. Through its Constant Climate network, it has one of the largest networks globally for handling temperature-sensitive air cargo.

Qatar Airways is already a partner with IAG through the oneworld global alliance which it joined in October 2013. The airline is taking delivery of a further three Boeing 777F aircraft during 2014.

Top Copyright Photo: Rainer Bexten/AirlinersGallery.com. This decision will end British Airways World Cargo and Global Supply Systems. GSS operated Boeing 747-87UF G-GSSD (msn 37562) in British Airways World Cargo colors departs graceful from Cologne/Bonn.

British Airways World Cargo (GSS): AG Slide Show

Qatar Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-FDZ A7-BFA (msn 36098) of Qatar Airways Cargo taxies at Amsterdam.

United Airlines’ flight 89 to Beijing hits turbulence, returns to Newark, five FAs hurt

United Airlines‘ (Chicago) flight UA 89 from Newark to Beijing, China returned to Newark Liberty International Airport yesterday according to CNN after encountering severe turbulence 45 minutes into the flight. The severe turbulence injured five flight attendants who were serving the passengers. The Boeing 777-200 with 189 passengers and 16 crew members landed safely at EWR.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

In other news, United intends to furlough 688 flight attendants after it was unable to get enough of them to take a voluntary buyout. United wants to cut costs by $2 billion in annual expenses. United has already eliminated 1,250 flight attendant positions. United still does not have a single contract for its FAs according to Bloomberg.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-222 ER N219UA (msn 30551) arrives in Los Angeles.

United Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

United Airlines (historic): AG Slide Show

Saudia to return to Manchester

Saudia Airlines (formerly Saudi Arabian Airlines) (Jeddah) will restore the Jeddah-Manchester route in March according to Manchester Evening News. The restored route will be operated three days a week starting on March 28. The carrier will assign the Boeing 777-200 to the route. The carrier last flew to Manchester in 2007.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-268 ER HZ-AKI (msn 28352) taxies into the gate at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Saudia: AG Slide Show

United Airlines prepares to open a renovated Boarding Area E in Terminal 3 at San Francisco

United Airlines (Chicago) and its partners at San Francisco International Airport are preparing to open the newly renovated Boarding Area E in Terminal 3, which will provide United customers ultra-modern, flyer-friendly conveniences that elevate their travel experience.

Scheduled to re-open Jan. 28, the 68,800-square-foot boarding area will reflect the airport’s status as the nation’s premier West Coast aviation hub. Designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, Boarding Area E will offer 10 gates for United customers and will be able to accommodate more than 50 departures each day.

Boarding Area E will offer an up-close view of the airfield and the Bay Area from a 23-foot-high window wall. Customers will enjoy several other amenities, including:

  • The “Flight Deck” – an interactive information and entertainment area for guests to enjoy and explore
  • Comfortable seating options that include the iconic Fritz Hansen “egg” chairs and swivel lounge chairs
  • Dining and concession options from Bay Area vendors, such as Klein’s Deli
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Nine state-of-the-art work stations and access to more than 375 power outlets
  • A yoga room
  • An interactive kids’ play area designed by Bay Area artist Eric Staller

Additional Investments

United is making other investments in Terminal 3, including a new reception area for the airline’s Global Services customers and a new check-in area for MileagePlus Premier customers, both scheduled to open in September.

Also:

  • United recently began construction of a new Station Operations Center, from which the airline manages its departures, arrivals and customer service at the airport. The center is scheduled to open in April.
  • United anticipates moving its existing Terminal 1 Boarding Area B operations to Terminal 3 by mid-May, simplifying connections for customers.
  • A new United Club is scheduled to open during the summer of 2015.

San Francisco Leadership Announcement

Additionally, United today announced it has appointed Mike Hanna, the airline’s managing director of San Francisco operations and customer service, to the position of vice president, underscoring the importance of the San Francisco hub.

Since Hanna assumed leadership of the hub in May 2012, United’s operational performance has improved significantly, with baggage-handling reliability up 25 percent in 2013 versus 2012, and “controllable delays” – those not attributed, for example, to inclement weather – down nearly 50 percent for mainline flights and more than 40 percent for regional flights. Satisfaction among San Francisco customers, as measured from post-travel surveys, has increased six-fold since mid-2012.

United at San Francisco International Airport

United is the largest carrier at San Francisco International Airport, offering nearly 300 daily flights to 90 destinations worldwide, more than any other airline from the Bay Area. From its San Francisco hub, United also offers more nonstop trans-Pacific service to and from the United States than any other airline. With nearly 30 daily nonstop flights to 20 international destinations, United will add two more international destinations from San Francisco this year, when it begins nonstop service to Taipei, Taiwan, in March and to Chengdu, China, in June.

Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-222 ER N786UA (msn 26938) arrives at the San Francisco hub.

United Airlines: AG Slide Show

American and US Airways start to align customer benefits, gates and counters

American Airlines Group Inc. (Dallas/Fort Worth) today will begin to align customer benefits, creating a more consistent experience for those traveling on flights operated by American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) and US Airways (Phoenix). This is the first of many actions the airlines will take over the coming months as part of the integration process.

The benefits customers traveling on both airlines will begin to experience today include:

  • AAdvantage and Dividend Miles members can earn and redeem miles when traveling across either airline’s network. All travel on eligible tickets on both airlines will count toward qualification for elite status in the customer’s program of choice.
  • Elite members of each airline can enjoy select reciprocal benefits of both the AAdvantage and Dividend Miles programs, including First and Business Class check-in, priority security and priority boarding, complimentary access to Preferred Seats, priority baggage delivery, and checked bags at no charge, consistent with the current baggage policies for each carrier.
  • Members of the American Admirals Club or US Airways Club will have reciprocal club benefits, providing them access to the 35 Admirals Clubs and 19 US Airways Clubs. In addition, American AAdvantage Citi Executive cardholders will have access to US Airways Clubs.
  • Airport and Web check-in timeframes will be aligned for both US Airways and American.
  • Boarding announcements will align to accommodate elites of both carriers.
  • Airport ticket counters and gates at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport are now co-located.

Employees at American and US Airways have undergone joint training in preparation for changes effective today. As American Airlines Group Inc. works to fully integrate operations, employees of both airlines will be armed with the tools, information and resources needed to deliver a superior level of service to the combined carrier’s loyal flyers.

Additional customer benefits will roll out as both airlines continue to combine operations. While full alignment will take time, customers can expect the following benefits in the coming months:

  • A codeshare agreement to provide easy access to each airline’s global network. The first phase of the codeshare is expected to be available in the coming weeks.
  • US Airways’ exit from the Star Alliance on March 30, 2014 and entry into the oneworld® alliance onMarch 31, 2014.
  • Co-location of additional ticket counters and gates in key markets, including Miami and Phoenix, as well as other domestic and international stations is expected to completed by the end of the first quarter.
  • Alignment of select frequent flyer program policies, including upgrades.

As American and US Airways work through the integration process, the two airlines will continue to operate separately, with individual loyalty programs, reservations systems and websites. Customers should continue to check in for flights and conduct business with the airline operating their flight just as they did before the close of the merger.

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-223 ER N774AN (msn 29581) approaches the runway at Los Angeles International Airport.

American Airlines: AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. The US Airways special schemes will remain, albeit soon with American Airlines titles. A319-132 N822AW (msn 1410) in the Nevada – Battle Born lands at Baltimore/Washington (BWI).

ANA and Garuda Indonesia move closer with a new partnership, both airlines will launch a Tokyo Haneda-Jakarta route

ANA (All Nippon Airways) (Tokyo) and Garuda Indonesia (Jakarta) have announced a comprehensive partnership under which the two airlines will code share on flights between the two countries and will allow passengers to be able to collect and redeem miles on Frequent Flyer Program of both airlines.

From March 30, 2014, ANA will operate new route between Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and Jakarta Airport, followed by Garuda Indonesia opening the same route from the first quarter of 2014. These new flights will increase the number of weekly flights operated by the two carriers between Japan and Indonesia to 53 – comprising 14 ANA flights and 39 Garuda Indonesia flights. Both airlines will be providing improved and expanded customer service concurrent with this agreement and network expansion.

ANA and Garuda will allocate code share flight numbers to flights between Japan and Indonesia operated by each airline.
Passengers on ANA flights arriving in Jakarta will be able to travel on to maximum of 10 Indonesian routes such as Jogjakarta or Denpasar on code share flights operated by Garuda Indonesia while passengers on Garuda Indonesia flights arriving at Haneda Airport, Narita Airport or Kansai International Airport will be able to travel on to maximum of 11 Japanese routes such as Chitose or Nagoya using code share flights operated by ANA.

The two airlines will also start discussions on a partnership between their respective mileage programs. The details of joint mileage program, including the start date, will be announced separately on both companies’ websites when decided.

Top Copyright Photo: John Adlard/AirlinersGallery.com. ANA’s Boeing 777-281 JA702A (msn 27033) arrives in Fukuoka.

ANA: AG Slide Show

Garuda Indonesia: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 PK-GPM (msn 1214) of Garuda Indonesia approaches Amsterdam for landing.

Qatar Airways expands its code-share agreement with US Airways, will launch a new route from Philadelphia to Doha on April 2

Qatar Airways (Doha) today announced the expansion of a code-share agreement with US Airways (Phoenix) for flights via Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). The agreement will provide millions of Americans the opportunity to fly internationally with Qatar Airways out of PHL using the seamless connection service on select code-share flights operated by US Airways.

Qatar Airways will launch daily nonstop service from Philadelphia to Doha, Qatar on April 2, 2014.

The partnership will further expand the opportunities of U.S. travelers flying internationally who want to use Qatar Airways’ growing list of destinations. Connections to PHL through US Airways are available from the following cities:

  • Los Angeles, CA (LAX)
  • San Francisco, CA (SFO)
  • Chicago, IL (ORD)
  • Boston, MA (BOS)
  • Miami, FL (MIA)
  • Tampa, FL (TPA)
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL)
  • Palm Beach, FL (PBI)
  • Fort Myers, FL (RSW)
  • Las Vegas, NV (LAS)
  • Phoenix, AZ (PHX)
  • Charlotte, NC (CLT)
  • Raleigh-Durham, NC (RDU)

Qatar Airways and US Airways’ code-share and frequent flyer partnership, which launched in 2009, focused on flights between Doha and the United States and Europe, as well as connecting flights from select European gateways to Doha.  The code-share agreement will provide customers the convenience of a single combined ticket for Qatar Airways and US Airways operated connections, and will include the benefits of one-stop check-in and automatic baggage transfer.  In addition, the airlines’ frequent flyer program members may earn miles or points while traveling on all flights of the other carrier and may redeem award tickets as well.

Qatar Airways joined the oneworld® alliance on October 30, 2013 and US Airways will become a member on March 31, 2014.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-2DZ LR (Longer Range) A7-BBA (msn 36012) arrives in London (Heathrow).

Qatar Airways: AG Slide Show

AMR Corporation and the US Airways Group come together as the American Airlines Group

AMR Corporation (Dallas/Fort Worth) and US Airways Group, Inc. (Phoenix) today announced the completion of their merger to officially form American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ: AAL) and begin building the new American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth).

According to the new airline group, “The new American has a robust global network with nearly 6,700 daily flights to more than 330 destinations in more than 50 countries and more than 100,000 employees worldwide.  The combined airline has the scale, breadth and capabilities to compete more effectively and profitably in the global marketplace. Customers will soon enjoy access to more benefits and increased service across the combined company’s larger worldwide network and through an enhanced oneworld® Alliance. US Airways will exit Star Alliance on March 30, 2014 and will immediately enteroneworld on March 31, 2014. With an expanded global network and a strong financial foundation, American will deliver significant benefits to consumers, communities, employees and stakeholders.”

Although American and US Airways have come together as one company, the process to achieve a Single Operating Certificate is expected to take approximately 18 to 24 months. In the meantime, customers should continue to do business with the airline from which travel was purchased just as they did before the merger.  In short, it is “business as usual.”  The airlines’ separate websites, aa.com and usairways.com, as well as the two airlines’ reservations systems and loyalty programs, will continue to operate separately until further in the integration process.

Customer benefits of the transaction to be rolled out over time include:

  • A codeshare agreement between American and US Airways, creating more convenient access to the combined company’s global network
  • More choices and connectivity, with nine hub airports across the U.S.
  • Global access to a stronger oneworld alliance – including joint businesses with British Airways, Iberia and Finnair across the Atlantic and with Japan Airlines and Qantas across the Pacific – creating more options for travel and benefits both domestically and internationally
  • Reciprocal American Admirals Club and US Airways Club benefits and reciprocal elite recognition
  • Upgrade reciprocity
  • Consolidation of loyalty programs and expanded opportunities to earn and redeem miles across the combined network
  • Full integration of policies, websites, kiosks and customer-facing technology to ensure a consistent worldwide travel experience
  • Co-location of ticket counters and gates in key markets
  • With firm orders for more than 600 new mainline aircraft, American will have one of the most modern and efficient fleets in the industry, and a solid foundation for continued investment in technology, products, and services

Customers will begin to see enhancements to their experience in early January, including the ability to earn and redeem miles when traveling on either American Airlines or US Airways, reciprocal American Admirals Club and US Airways Club benefits, and reciprocal elite recognition.  The combined airline expects to share more details around these key customer benefits early next year.

As the integration process is underway, American’s new Find Your Way site, aa.com/findyourway, will connect customers to key information throughout the merger integration process.  Additionally, customers should visit aa.com and usairways.com, which will continue to be regularly updated with news on any fee, policy and procedure changes.

Employees of the new American will benefit from being part of a company with a more competitive and stronger financial foundation, which will create greater career opportunities over the long term.  The completed merger also provides the path to improved compensation and benefits for employees.

Alignment of pay, benefits, work rules and other guidelines for employees of both airlines will be phased in over time so that all changes can be carefully considered.  Represented employees will continue to work under their respective Collective Bargaining Agreements, with the modifications provided under the negotiated Memoranda of Understanding for certain groups.  American’s non-represented Agents, Representatives and Planners will operate under their current terms and conditions of employment with merger-related adjustments.

The combination is expected to deliver enhanced value to American Airlines’ stakeholders and US Airways’ investors.  The transaction is expected to generate more than $1 billion in annual net synergies by 2015.

The common and preferred stock of American Airlines Group will trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbols “AAL” and “AALCP,” respectively.

Rothschild is serving as financial advisor to American Airlines, and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, Jones Day, Paul Hastings, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and K&L Gates LLP are serving as legal counsel.  Barclays and Millstein & Co. are serving as financial advisors to US Airways, and Latham & Watkins LLP, O’Melveny & Myers LLP, Dechert LLP and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP are serving as legal counsel to US Airways. Moelis & Company and Mesirow Financial are serving as financial advisors to the Unsecured Creditors Committee. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Togut, Segal & Segal LLP are serving as the Unsecured Creditors Committee’s legal counsel.

Copyright Photo: Brian Peters/AirlinersGallery.com. Repainted with the new tail markings, Boeing 777-223 ER N791AN (msn 30254) departs from the DFW Hub in the “new look” AA Oneworld livery. N791AN is the first American aircraft to appear in the updated Oneworld color scheme.

Video: A “Thank You” from outgoing CEO Tom Horton of the American Airlines:

American Airlines: AG Slide Show

Qatar Airways is coming to Dallas/Fort Worth

Qatar Airways (Doha) today announced it will be extending its footprint in the USA by announcing its seventh gateway to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW). Service will commence on July 1, 2014. The move was expected due to its new Oneworld relationship with partner American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth).

The Dallas/Fort Worth route will be operated with the airline’s flagship Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, which features a two-class design with 42 Business Class lie-flat seats in a 2-2-2 configuration (below).

Qatar Airways’ Boeing 777-200LR Business Class

Qatar Airways currently flies to four destinations in the United States – New York (JFK), Washington (Dulles), Chicago (O’Hare) and Houston (Bush Intercontinental). The airline will nearly double its footprint in the United States with the addition of three new routes in 2014: Philadelphia (April 2, 2014), Miami (June 10, 2014) and now Dallas/Fort Worth (July 1, 2014).

Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-2DZ LR A7-BBE (msn 36017) taxies at Paris (CDG).

Qatar Airways: AG Slide Show

 

AMR asks the bankruptcy court to approve the DOJ agreement leading to a merger with US Airways Group

AMR Corporation (American Airlines) (Dallas/Fort Worth) has asked the bankruptcy court to approve the settlement agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) permitting it to merge with the US Airways Group (US Airways) (Phoenix) according to this report by Reuters. One group of consumers opposed the merger, otherwise no one is objecting to DOJ settlement according to the AMR lawyers.

Bankruptcy Court Judge Sean Lane said he would offer a ruling in 24 to 36 hours.

If approved, the new merged group would become the American Airlines Group.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. The rapid repainting of the American fleet in the new 2013 look has likely hit the “tipping point” that incoming CEO Parker is now unlikely to change due to the delay in getting the merger approval. This livery will probably remain as the color scheme of the “new American” once the merger is completed. The new American is really America West Airlines (due to the ongoing management) doing business soon as American Airlines (formerly US Airways). Boeing 777-223 ER N770AN (msn 29578) climbs away from Los Angeles.

American Airlines: AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

United Airlines to drop the Seattle/Tacoma-Tokyo Narita route on January 16

United Airlines (Chicago) is giving up on the Seattle/Tacoma-Tokyo (Narita) route on January 16, 2014 according to The News Tribune. This was one of United’s first trans-Pacific routes, operated since April 1983. Delta is back-filling United’s departure with increased flights from SEA to Asia. United’s Star Alliance partner, ANA, will also continue to serve the route.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Meanwhile United will launch a new route connecting the Houston (Bush Intercontinental) hub and Munich starting on April 24, 2013 per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. United’s Boeing 777-222 ER N222UA (msn 30553) taxies to the gate after landing at SeaTac on a flight from Tokyo (Narita).

United Airlines: AG Slide Show

Lufthansa Cargo takes delivery of its first Boeing 777F freighter, will enter service on November 19 to New York

Lufthansa Cargo 777F D-ALFA (03)(Ldg) FRA (Lufthansa Cargo)(LR)

Lufthansa Cargo (Frankfurt) finally accepted its first Boeing 777F freighter, the pictured 777-FBT D-ALFA (msn 41674) on November 8. D-ALFA arrived at the Frankfurt base the following day. The new freighter will enter revenue cargo service on November 19 with nonstop service to New York (JFK).

Copyright Photo: Lufthansa Cargo.

Video: Behind the scenes at Lufthansa Cargo (in German):

Lufthansa Cargo: AG Slide Show

United Airlines applies for San Francisco-Tokyo Haneda authority

United Airlines (Chicago) has applied to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for authority to provide daily nonstop service from the airline’s hub at San Francisco International Airport to Haneda Airport in downtown Tokyo. United applied for the Haneda Airport slot pair used by American Airlines for New York (JFK)-Haneda service, which the carrier announced on October 16, 2013, it will terminate.

United proposes to begin the new service from San Francisco in the summer of 2014, using existing aircraft in its fleet, subject to government approval.

From San Francisco, United and the United Express carriers operate more than 300 daily flights to more than 90 cities in North America, Asia, Australia and Europe. With nonstop service from San Francisco to Beijing, Hong Kong, Osaka, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney and Tokyo Narita, and beginning next year to Taipei and Chengdu (subject to government approval), United’s San Francisco hub serves more destinations across the Pacific with more nonstop flights from the United States than any other airline, and nearly twice as many as any other airline from the U.S. West Coast. United also operates daily nonstop flights to Tokyo Narita from Chicago, Denver, Guam, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington.

The proposed San Francisco-Haneda flights will complement United’s daily San Francisco-Tokyo Narita service, which will continue to operate and offer alternative time-of-day departures and arrivals, as well as options for passengers who prefer to travel to Tokyo Narita or are making connections there.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-222 ER N222UA (msn 30553) lands at SeaTac (Seattle-Tacoma International Airport).

United Airlines: AG Slide Show

AMR reports a third quarter net profit of $420 million, excluding reorganization and special items

AMR Corporation (Dallas/Fort Worth), the parent company of American Airlines, Inc., (Dallas/Fort Worth) reported results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2013. Key highlights include:

  • Net profit of $530 million, excluding reorganization and special items, a $420 million improvement year-over-year; on that basis, it is the most profitable quarter in company history
  • Revenue of $6.8 billion, up 6.2 percent year-over-year; the highest quarterly revenue total in company history
  • Consolidated unit costs, excluding fuel and special items, improved 5.0 percent year-over-year, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of unit cost reduction
  • AMR ended the third quarter with approximately $7.7 billion in cash and short-term investments, including restricted cash, compared to a balance of approximately $5.1 billion at the end of the third quarter of 2012
  • American continued its fleet renewal, taking delivery of ten fuel-efficient Airbus A319s, eight Boeing 737-800s, and one Boeing 777-300 ER in the quarter, while also placing into service four Embraer ERJ 175s operated by one of its affiliated regional carriers
  • American and US Airways Group are vigorously defending the lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice seeking to enjoin their planned merger and continue to move forward with developing a merger integration plan
  • American accrued $59 million in employee profit sharing in the quarter, and has accrued a total of $65 million for employee profit sharing this year. The anticipated distribution would be the first profit sharing payout in thirteen years

“We are pleased to report our highest quarterly net profit in American’s history, excluding reorganization and special items, thanks to the hard work of the entire American team,” said Tom Horton, AMR’s chairman, president and CEO. “Continued execution on our product, network and alliance strategy, combined with cost efficiencies from restructuring and fleet renewal, creates strong momentum towards our planned merger with US Airways. And we are especially pleased to set aside $59 million this quarter in expectation of making our first profit-sharing payout since 2001 to our people who have done so much to put American back on top.”

In the third quarter of 2013, GAAP net profit was $289 million, a $527 million improvement compared to the prior-year period. Excluding reorganization and special items, the third quarter 2013 net profit was $530 million. This is a $420 million improvement compared to the prior-year period. In the quarter, AMR had $241 million of reorganization and special items, which are detailed below.

Financial Progress

AMR continued to drive profitability and significant margin expansion in the third quarter, achieving a pre-tax margin of 7.8 percent, excluding reorganization and special items, an improvement of 6.1 points over the prior-year period, and a GAAP pre-tax margin of 4.2 percent, an improvement of 7.9 points compared to the third quarter of 2012.

On a trailing twelve month basis, the third quarter marked AMR’s seventh consecutive quarter of improved pre-tax margins.  This margin expansion is driven by the realization of restructuring efforts to improve the operational and financial performance of the company, and AMR expects to realize additional improvements as the company continues to implement new terms reached with certain vendors and suppliers. AMR also expects results going forward to be bolstered as it competes more effectively by better matching aircraft size with demand through the continued deployment of the new Airbus A319 narrowbodies and the new two-class large regional jets, both of which started entering into service in the third quarter.

“As we continue to deliver substantial margin expansion and record results, we are positioning the company for long-term success,” said Bella Goren, AMR’s chief financial officer. “In addition, our financing activities have significantly enhanced our liquidity, and are enabling us to pay down high-interest debt and efficiently fund our impending emergence from the restructuring process.”

In the third quarter of 2013, AMR strengthened its liquidity and reduced its effective interest rates through several key transactions. AMR completed a private offering of $1.4 billion of enhanced equipment trust certificates with a coupon of 4.95 percent. The proceeds from this offering were used to pay off in full three prior aircraft financings with coupons of 8.625 percent, 10.375 percent, and 13 percent. The third quarter also marked the closing of an $850 million term loan, secured by American’s South American slots, gates, and routes, incremental to the $1.05 billion term loan secured by the same collateral that closed in the second quarter.

Revenue Performance

For the third quarter of 2013, AMR reported record consolidated revenue of approximately $6.8 billion, up 6.2 percent versus the same period last year. Consolidated passenger revenue was approximately $6.0 billion, an increase of 6.4 percent – and the highest quarterly passenger revenue in company history. Mainline and regional passenger revenue and cargo revenue each increased year-over-year as total operating revenue in the third quarter of 2013 was approximately $399 million higher than the third quarter of 2012.

“American’s solid revenue momentum continued in the third quarter, with especially strong performance at our domestic hubs, and in the Atlantic and Caribbean regions,” said Virasb Vahidi, American’s chief commercial officer. “We’re particularly pleased with our strength across the Atlantic, reflecting the success of our joint business with British Airways, Iberia and Finnair.

Through this partnership, we offer our customers more New York-London travel options than any other alliance, with 17 daily nonstop flights from New York area airports. This is yet another example of putting the customer at the center of everything we do.”

Consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (unit revenue) increased 3.4 percent versus the same quarter last year, to an all-time record for any quarter of 13.79 cents per available seat mile (ASM). Mainline unit revenue at American increased 4.0 percent versus the prior-year period, reaching an all-time record for any quarter of 13.11 cents per ASM.

The company’s unit revenue performance was driven by record passenger yield, or revenue per passenger mile, of 16.36 cents per mile, a 4.0 percent year-over-year improvement, and strong mainline and consolidated load factors, or percentage of seats filled, of 85.0 percent and 84.3 percent, respectively.

Operating Expense

For the third quarter, AMR’s consolidated operating expenses decreased $248 million, or 3.9 percent, versus the same period in 2012. Mainline and consolidated cost per available seat mile (unit cost) in the third quarter decreased 7.4 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively.

Excluding special items, AMR’s consolidated operating expenses decreased $52 million, or 0.8 percent, year-over-year.

Fuel expense in the third quarter increased $40 million year-over-year on a 2.9 percent increase in ASMs. Taking into account the impact of fuel hedging, AMR paid $3.04 per gallon for jet fuel in the third quarter of 2013 versus $3.12 per gallon in the third quarter of 2012, a 2.6 percent decrease.

Excluding fuel and special items, mainline and consolidated unit costs in the third quarter of 2013 decreased 5.4 percent and 5.0 percent year-over-year, respectively, primarily driven by the company’s restructuring efforts. This was the fourth consecutive quarter of non-fuel unit cost reduction.

In addition, AMR achieved an operating profit of $713 million and an operating margin of approximately 10.4 percent, an improvement of approximately $451 million and 6.3 points, respectively, over the prior-year period, excluding special items in both periods. On a GAAP basis, AMR realized an operating profit of $698 million and an operating margin of approximately 10.2 percent, an improvement of approximately $647 million and 9.4 points, respectively, over the prior-year period.

An unaudited summary of third quarter 2013 results, including reconciliations of non-GAAP to GAAP financial measures, is available in the tables at the back of this press release.

Cash Position

The company ended the third quarter with approximately $7.7 billion in cash and short-term investments, including a restricted cash balance of $935 million, compared to a balance of approximately $5.1 billion in cash and short-term investments, including a restricted cash balance of approximately $847 million, at the end of the third quarter of 2012. The increase was generated by operating activities and by financing initiatives in 2013.

Fleet Renewal and Transformation

In the third quarter, American made significant progress on its fleet renewal program, adding new, efficient and more comfortable aircraft.

  • The newest member of America’s fleet – the Airbus 319 – went into service in September, flying from Dallas/Fort Worth to Charlotte, Cleveland, Memphis and Wichita. These modern and fuel-efficient aircraft represent an important milestone in the company’s journey to transform the travel experience for its customers. American took delivery of ten A319s in the third quarter.
  • The company launched its first service with the 76-seat Embraer ERJ 175 operated by one of its affiliated regional carriers. This large regional aircraft in a two-class cabin configuration allows the company to better match supply and demand with the right amount of schedule frequency.
  • American also took delivery of eight Boeing 737-800s and one Boeing 777-300ER.

In the fourth quarter, American expects to take delivery of its first five Airbus A321 trans-con aircraft – specially configured with fully lie-flat First and Business Class seats. These aircraft are anticipated to enter service in January 2014.

Through the third quarter, American has taken delivery of 43 out of the 59 new mainline aircraft slated for delivery in 2013, including seven Boeing 777-300 ERs.

Pending Merger with US Airways Group

  • In the third quarter, American and US Airways Group continued preparing for their planned merger announced on Feb. 14, 2013.
  • On Aug. 13, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and certain states filed a lawsuit to enjoin the merger.
  • American and US Airways Group are vigorously defending the lawsuit. The trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 25. The company is confident that the merger would provide significant customer benefits and enhance competition in the airline industry.
  • On Oct. 1, American and US Airways Group announced they reached an agreement with the Texas Attorney General to support the proposed merger of American and US Airways Group.
  • American and US Airways Group continue to move forward with developing a merger integration plan designed to ensure a positive outcome for their customers, employees and stakeholders.

The merger is conditioned on the satisfactory resolution of the pending antitrust litigation with the DOJ and other customary closing conditions.

Operational Performance

American ran a solid operation during the busy summer travel season, achieving an on-time arrival rate of 79.5 percent, its best third quarter performance since 2010. American’s improved operational results for the quarter also include a completion factor of 99.0 percent, its best since 2010.

Recent Business Highlights

American has a strong commitment to its customers, its people, and the communities it serves. Recent American highlights include:

  • Launching new codeshare agreements with Bogota-based LAN Colombia and Sao Paulo-based TAM Airlines, which will add new service to key destinations and increase American’s network connectivity in the Latin American region, further strengthening American’s relationship with LATAM Airlines Group
  • Strengthening its global presence to best meet customer demand by announcing that American will launch its first-ever nonstop service from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) and Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) next year
  • Opening its Flagship Check-In for premium customers at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, making it American’s fourth airport to offer this enhanced customer experience
  • Announcing plans to hire 1,500 new pilots over the next five years. The company has offered to recall all of its furloughed pilots and will begin the new recruiting later this fall.  This is in addition to the hiring and training underway for 1,500 new flight attendants and the more than 1,200 Premium Services Representatives, Airport Agents and Reservations Agents who have joined the American team this year

Restructuring Progress

On Sept.12, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York stated that it would enter an order confirming American’s Plan of Reorganization (the Plan). The next steps the company seeks to take are to achieve antitrust clearance and consummate the Plan and the company’s pending merger with US Airways Group.

The effective date of the Plan and American’s emergence from restructuring are expected to occur simultaneously with the closing of the merger with US Airways Group.

Reorganization and Special Items

AMR’s third quarter 2013 results include the impact of $241 million in reorganization and special items.

  • Of that amount, AMR recognized a $151 million loss in reorganization items resulting from the filing of voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 by certain of its direct and indirect U.S. subsidiaries on Nov. 29, 2011. These items primarily consist of professional fees, as well as allowed and estimated allowed claim amounts.
  • In conjunction with the repayment of the existing financings, the company incurred cash charges of $19 million, included in interest expense, and a charge of $54 million, included in Miscellaneous, net, related to the premium on tender for the existing financings and to the write-off of unamortized issuance costs.
  • The company’s results for the third quarter also include special charges and merger-related expenses of $15 million.

Capacity Guidance

AMR estimates consolidated capacity in the fourth quarter of 2013 to be up approximately 3.5 percent versus the fourth quarter of 2012, primarily driven by the combination of an estimated 1.5 percent year-over-year increase in the average stage length per operation flown, and by new or increased capacity into South Korea, Mexico and Central and South America.

For the full year 2013, consolidated capacity is estimated to increase approximately 1.5 percent versus the prior year.

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-223 ER N778AN (msn 29587) arrives at London (Heathrow).

American Airlines: AG Slide Show

Air France-KLM: The Alitalia business plan is not suitable

Air France-KLM Group (Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines) (Paris and Amsterdam) with 25 percent of the stock is the key to Alitalia’s (2nd) (Rome) survival. According to this report by Reuters quoting internal sources, the group has stated privately the Alitalia rescue plan and capital infusion “fell short of its requirements, particularly in terms of debt restructuring.”

However, the source added that Alitalia was “of strategic interest” to Air France-KLM.

Meanwhile Willie Walsh of the International Airline Group (British Airways, Iberia and Vueling Airlines) has spoken out against the state aid for Alitalia and has called on the European Commission to stop the Italian government’s efforts to prop-up the failing flag carrier.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Alitalia’s Boeing 777-243 ER I-DISU (msn 32858) climbs from the runway at Tokyo (Narita).

Alitalia (2nd): AG Slide Show

Air France: AG Slide Show

KLM: AG Slide Show

Alitalia to start twice-weekly Venice-Tokyo (Narita) flights on April 2, 2014

Alitalia (2nd) (Rome) on April 2, 2014 will launch a new twice-weekly route linking Venice with Tokyo (Narita). The new route will be operated with Boeing 777-200 ERs according to Airline Route.

In other news, Italian transport minister Maurizio Lupi expects Air France-KLM to strongly reaffirm the value of Alitalia and strengthen its role according to a report by Reuters. AF-KL own 25 percent of AZ and will soon announce its intention with the Italian flag carrier.

read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Stephen Tornblom/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-243 ER I-DISE (msn 32856) departs from the runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

Alitalia (2nd): AG Slide Show

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