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Tag Archives: Boeing 777-200

Kuwait Airways selects Boeing for 10 777-300 ERs

Kuwait Airways (Kuwait City) has selected Boeing (some good news for Boeing) with an intent to acquire 10 Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft.

Boeing issued this statement:

Boeing is pleased that Kuwait Airways has announced its intent to purchase 10 777-300 ER (Extended Range) airplanes worth $3.3 billion at current list prices.

“We appreciate the start of a new partnership with Kuwait Airways,” said Marty Bentrott, vice president of Sales for Middle East, Russia and Central Asia, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Boeing looks forward to an enduring relationship with Kuwait Airways and we are excited to see that the 777-300 ER airplane, which is the preferred long-haul carrier for so many airlines around the world, will now play an important role in the airline’s fleet strategy and expansion.”

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Kuwait Airways also has 10 Airbus A350-900s on order. The airline was on the cusp of becoming an all-Airbus airline. It’s Boeing 777-200 fleet (pictured) is being phased out but this new order will restore the Boeing name in Kuwait. Boeing 777-269 ER 9K-AOB (msn 28744) completes its final approach to London (Heathrow).

Kuwait Airways aircraft slide show:

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KLM introduces a new cabin interior and entertainment system for its Boeing 777-200 fleet

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam) has made this announcement concerning the upgrading of its Boeing 777-200 fleet:

Previously, the World Business Class cabins aboard KLM’s Boeing 747-400 fleet were renovated. The Boeing 777-200 is now up for a full metamorphosis. In addition to the new World Business Class interior, designer Hella Jongerius has now also designed a new Economy Class interior.

KLM 777-200 Seat

The new Economy Class seats offer travellers more legroom and a whole new inflight entertainment system, featuring a larger 9-inch, HD-quality touchscreen, interactive 3D cards and a ‘seat chat’ app that allows travellers to communicate with passengers who are seated elsewhere in the cabin.

 

KLM 777-200 Seat Back

The renovation of all 15 Boeing 777-200s will be completed by the end of 2015.

The Boeing 777-300 fleet and other aircraft will then be renovated. In addition, two new 777-300s, featuring the new interior and inflight entertainment system, will join the KLM fleet in 2015.

KLM’s total Boeing 777 fleet with then consist of 25 aircraft.

KLM 777-200 Seat Tray

 

More legroom and more comfort in Economy Class The smart design of the new Economy Class seats creates extra legroom, thus ensuring greater comfort.

In addition, the ergonomically optimised headrests offer improved neck support. Specially designed cushions as well as durable, high-density materials and a power outlet add to passenger comfort and control.

And last but not least: the new inflight entertainment system offers access to more than 150 movies and 200 TV shows in many languages, including many local movies. Another key improvement is that the new seats are the lightest in their class. Less weight means lower fuel consumption and, hence, lower CO2 emissions. The introduction of the new inflight entertainment system in both Business and Economy Class offers enough diversion for a trip around the globe and beyond – together with travel companions, in the company of fellow passengers or individually.

Luxurious personal space in World Business Class Together with the introduction of the new Economy Class, KLM has introduced a new World Business Class interior aboard its Boeing 777 fleet. Naturally, the standard matches that of the new World Business Class interior introduced aboard the Boeing 747 fleet. The design revolves around the new full-flat seat. The positioning of the new seats in the cabin and various other smart design elements ensure maximum privacy while sleeping or working. The pallet of warm colors – that differ per seat – and plenty of storage space ensure greater comfort and more personal space for passengers. In combination with the bigger soft cushions and luxurious new blankets, all this ensures a warm and friendly atmosphere in the new World Business Class.

The 16-inch screen, operated with a touchscreen handset, adds to the luxurious Business Class experience. Furthermore, passengers have a dual-screen option that allows them to watch a movie and simultaneously play a game or chat. KLM is proud that it can now also offer its customers the superb new Business and Economy Class aboard its 777-200 fleet.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-206 ER PH-BQB (msn 33712) prepares to land in Bangkok.

KLM aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

Air France is coming to Vancouver

Air France (Paris) is coming to Vancouver. The airline will launch the Paris (CDG)-Vancouver route on March 29, 2015 with five weekly Boeing 777-200 ER weekly flights.

Copyright Photo: Ole Simon/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-228 ER F-GSPB (msn 29003) taxies at the Paris (CDG) hub.

Video: Just Planes goes for a ride on the Boeing 747-400:

Air France Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

NokScoot is granted its AOC, still prepares to launch operations in early 2015

NokScoot (NokScoot Company) (Bangkok-Don Mueang)  is the new joint venture between budget airline Scoot (Singapore) (49%) and Nok Air (Bangkok) (51%). The new airline will commence scheduled low-fare flights from Bangkok’s downtown Don Mueang International Airport in the first quarter of 2015 with three ex-Scoot Boeing 777-200s. Scoot is replacing its Boeing 777-200s (above) with new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. Boeing 787-9 9V-OJA (msn 37112) is being prepared currently by Boeing for delivery.

Video: Scoot’s first Boeing 787 being assembled:

NokScoot received its Air Operators Certificate (AOC) on October 30, 2014.

Video: Nok Air welcomes Scoot:

Top Copyright Photo Jacques Guillem Collection/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by NokScoot). The current ex-Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-200s with Scoot Air will soon become redundant which was a driving reason for the joint venture.

NokScoot logo (large)

NokScoot 10.2014 Ad

FedEx Express requests NMB mediation for a new pilots contract

FedEx Express (Memphis), a subsidiary of FedEx Corporation (Memphis), has formally requested assistance from the National Mediation Board (NMB) to expedite its ongoing pilot negotiations. The NMB is the U.S. governmental agency that oversees labor agreements for entities covered by the Railway Labor Act (RLA), such as airlines, railroads and express companies.

The company and its pilots, who are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), have been engaged in contract talks for more than a year. The current contract became amendable on February 25, 2013 and the two sides reached a tentative agreement on 20 of the 31 contract sections in September 2014.

Under the RLA, the terms and conditions of the existing contract between the company and ALPA do not expire until the full multi-step RLA process is exhausted. In the meantime, the progression of negotiations into the mediation stage has no impact on company operations or its ability to provide highly reliable service to customers.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-FS2 N862FD (msn 37733) arrives on a cold day at Anchorage.

FedEx Express Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

 

Etihad Airways to increase the Dallas/Fort Worth route to daily service due to high demand

Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) will increase the frequency of its new service to Dallas/Fort Worth to daily from April 16, 2015, to meet the demand from business and leisure travellers on the ultra-long-haul route.

Dallas/Fort Worth will be introduced into Etihad Airways’ global route network on December 3, 2014 with an initial three flights per week service, prior to the upgrade. It is the airline’s sixth route in the United States, alongside New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, which launches on November 18, 2014.

A Boeing 777-200 LR aircraft will be operated on the route, offering a total of eight seats in First Class, 40 seats in Business Class, and 177 seats in Economy Class.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Ex-Air India Boeing 777-237 LR A6-LRE (msn 36304) completes its final approach to Los Angeles.

Etihad Airways: AG Slide Show

American Airlines and Jetstar Japan announce a codeshare agreement

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) customers will have greater access to domestic Japanese destinations starting on October 22, 2014, thanks to a new codeshare agreement between American and Jetstar Japan (Tokyo-Narita).

Under the new arrangement, American Airlines will place its ‘AA’ code on services operated by Jetstar Japan between Tokyo Narita International Airport and Fukuoka, Matsuyama, Okinawa (Naha), Osaka (Kansai) and Sapporo (Shin Chitose), with first flights under the codeshare starting on October 26, 2014.

Jetstar Japan is a partnership between the QANTAS Group, Japan Airlines, Mitsubishi Corporation and Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation. It operates 18 Airbus A320 aircraft across 10 destinations in Japan.

Top Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. American’s Boeing 777-223 ER N776AN (msn 29582) slips into the clouds over the London area after departing from Heathrow Airport.

American Airlines (current livery): AG Slide Show

Jetstar Japan: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Jetstar Japan’s Airbus A320-232 JA15JJ (msn 5701) arrives at the Tokyo (Narita) base.

Delta Air Lines reports a third quarter net profit of $357 million

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) today reported financial results for the September 2014 fourth quarter. Key points include:

Delta’s pre-tax income for the September 2014 quarter was $1.6 billion, excluding special items, an increase of $431 million over the September 2013 quarter on a similar basis. Delta’s net income for the September 2014 quarter was $1.0 billion, or $1.20 per diluted share, and its operating margin was 15.8 percent, excluding special items.

On a GAAP basis including special items, Delta’s pre-tax income was $579 million, operating margin was 7.5 percent and net income was $357 million, or $0.42 per diluted share.

Results include $384 million in profit sharing expense in recognition of Delta employees’ contributions toward achieving the company’s financial goals, which makes a year-to-date profit sharing accrual of $823 million.

Delta generated $910 million of free cash flow during the September 2014 quarter. The company used its strong cash generation in the quarter to reduce its adjusted net debt to $7.4 billion and return $325 million to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.

Delta Air Lines Q3 Earnings INFO

Revenue Environment

Delta’s operating revenue improved 7 percent, or $688 million, in the September 2014 quarter compared to the September 2013 quarter, driven by continued strength in corporate and domestic revenues. Traffic increased 3.7 percent on a 3.2 percent increase in capacity.

Passenger revenue increased 6 percent, or $522 million, compared to the prior year period. Passenger unit revenue (PRASM) increased 2.4 percent year-over-year with a 1.9 percent improvement in yield. Seat-related products and other merchandising initiatives increased revenues by nearly $50 million versus the prior year period.

Cargo revenue increased 7 percent, or $15 million, on higher freight yields and volumes.

Other revenue increased 15 percent, or $151 million, driven by joint venture, SkyMiles revenues, and third-party refinery sales.
Comparisons of revenue-related statistics are as follows:

Cost Performance

Consolidated unit cost excluding fuel expense, profit sharing and special items (CASM-Ex2), was up 0.3 percent in the September 2014 quarter on a year-over-year basis as the benefits of Delta’s domestic refleeting and other cost initiatives offset the company’s investments in its employees, products and operations.

Excluding special items, total operating expense in the quarter increased $320 million year-over-year driven by higher revenue- and volume-related expenses and $135 million higher profit sharing expense. These cost increases were partially offset by lower fuel expense and savings from Delta’s cost initiatives.

Excluding mark-to-market adjustments,3 fuel expense declined $23 million driven by lower market prices and higher refinery profits. Delta’s average fuel price was $2.90 per gallon for the September quarter, which includes $63 million in settled hedge gains. Operations at the refinery produced a $19 million profit for the September quarter, a $16 million improvement year-over-year.

Non-operating expense declined by $63 million excluding special items as a result of lower interest expense and a $23 million increased contribution associated with Delta’s 49 percent ownership stake in Virgin Atlantic.

Tax expense, excluding special items, increased $629 million compared to the prior year quarter, as the company now recognizes tax expense for financial reporting purposes following the reversal of its tax valuation allowance at the end of 2013. Delta’s net operating loss carryforwards of more than $13 billion largely offset cash taxes due on future earnings.

On a GAAP basis, consolidated CASM increased 12 percent and total operating expense was up $1.4 billion compared to the September 2013 quarter primarily due to special items associated with fleet restructuring and mark-to-market adjustments on fuel hedges settling in future periods. GAAP fuel expense increased $609 million on a year-over-year basis primarily driven by the hedge performance including mark-to-market adjustments. GAAP fuel cost per gallon for the quarter was $3.23. Non-operating expenses for the quarter increased by $56 million as a result of a $134 million special item for loss on extinguishment of debt resulting from Delta’s debt reduction initiatives. On a GAAP basis, tax expense was $222 million in the quarter.

Cash Flow

Adjusted cash from operations during the September 2014 quarter was $1.3 billion, driven by the company’s September quarter profit, partially offset by the normal seasonal decline in advance ticket sales. The company generated $910 million of free cash flow. Adjusted capital expenditures during the September 2014 quarter were $411 million, including $322 million in fleet investments. During the quarter, Delta’s net debt maturities and capital leases were $301 million. On a GAAP basis, cash from operations for the September 2014 quarter was $1.4 billion and capital expenditures were $457 million.

With its strong cash generation in the September 2014 quarter, the company returned $325 million to shareholders through $75 million of cash dividends and $250 million of share repurchases. For the first nine months of 2014, the company has returned a total of $776 million to shareholders, including $176 million in quarterly dividends and $600 million in share repurchases.

Delta ended the quarter with $6.4 billion of unrestricted liquidity and adjusted net debt of $7.4 billion. The company has now achieved nearly $10 billion in net debt reduction since 2009.

December 2014 Fourth Quarter Guidance

Following are Delta’s projections for the December 2014 fourth quarter:

4Q14 Forecast

Operating margin

10% – 12%
Fuel price, including taxes, settled hedges and refinery impact

$2.69 – $2.74
Consolidated unit costs – excluding fuel expense and profit sharing
(compared to 4Q13)

Up 0 – 2%
Profit sharing expense

$200 – $250 million
Non-operating expense

$175 – $200 million
System capacity (compared to 4Q13)

Up ~3%
Special Items

Delta recorded a $657 million special items charge, net of taxes, in the September 2014 quarter, including:

a $397 million charge for fleet and other items, primarily associated with the decision to accelerate the retirement of Delta’s 747 fleet as part of its Pacific network restructuring;
a $215 million charge for mark-to-market adjustments on fuel hedges settling in future periods;
an $87 million charge for debt extinguishment and other items, primarily associated with Delta’s debt reduction initiative; and
a $42 million gain related to a litigation settlement.

Delta recorded a net $157 million special items gain in the September 2013 quarter, including:

a $285 million gain for mark-to-market adjustments on fuel hedges settling in future periods; and
a $128 million charge for facilities, fleet and other items, primarily associated with Delta’s domestic fleet restructuring.

Delta will hold a conference call at 1000 am EDT today.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-232 LR N707DN (msn 39091) departs from London (Heathrow).

Delta Air Lines (current livery): AG Slide Show

Delta Air Lines Aircraft Slide Show (current livery):

Lufthansa Cargo to operate all flights despite a strike by the pilots

Lufhansa Group (Frankfurt) has issued this statement concerning a strike against subsidiary Lufthansa Cargo (Frankfurt):

Good news for customers of Lufthansa Cargo: the airline plans to operate all of its flights despite the walkout announced by the pilots’ union, Vereinigung Cockpit. The strike was set to ground all cargo flights scheduled to depart from Frankfurt on Wednesday (October 8) and Thursday (October 9).

Two flights will be departing earlier than scheduled, allowing them to bypass the strike period. As Lufthansa Cargo usually flies about half of its freight in the bellies of Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines passenger aircraft, the effects for customers will be kept at an absolute minimum.

Lufthansa has shown willingness to compromise in its discussions with Vereinigung Cockpit and offered new negotiations on the disputed issues. The airline therefore has little understanding for this renewed call to a strike and also considers it entirely out of proportion – especially as the minimum age for early retirement at Lufthansa Cargo is already 60 years.

Copyright Photo: James Helbock/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-FBT D-ALFA (msn 41674) arrives at Los Angeles.

Lufthansa Cargo: AG Slide Show

PIA struggles to remain independent, Pakistan may sell off the ailing carrier

PIA-Pakistan International Airlines (Karachi) may be headed towards a split-up or sell off to a Gulf carrier according to this report by Reuters of India. Mohammad Zubair, Pakistan’s privatization czar, told Reuters its financial advisers are now in talks with several airlines about taking over the cash-strapped national carrier. The government wants to sell off the carrier in the next 18 months and also intends to split the airline into two companies. Political opposition will be intense in Pakistan concerning the possible sale according the interview.

According to the report, 10 PIA aircraft are currently grounded due to a lack of spare parts!

Read the full story: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Fred Freketic/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-240 LR AP-BGY (msn 33781) painted in the current 2010 livery arrives in New York (JFK).

PIA: AG Slide Show

American Airlines launches its month-long “Be Pink” campaign to raise funds for breast cancer research

American Airlines Group (Dallas/Fort Worth) will launch its annual “Be Pink” campaign, a month-long, employee-led initiative to raise funds for breast cancer research and awareness. This year’s Be Pink campaign marks the first time the combined company has joined forces for the cause. Throughout the month of October, more than 100,000 American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) and US Airways (Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth) team members will don pink uniform items, serve customers with Be Pink-branded items and lace up their tennis shoes for local walks and events to support the fight against cancer.

Customers will have the opportunity to join the company’s Be Pink efforts with special offers to promote awareness and action against breast cancer, which accounts for one in eight of newly diagnosed cancers among women. During the month of October a minimum $25 donation to American’s Miles for the Cure® program will earn AAdvantage® members 20 bonus miles, instead of 10, for each dollar contributed. Donations can be made at aa.com/BePink.

When customers travel on American during October, they will see pink from the time they book tickets on aa.com, to when they pick up their baggage at their final destination. Employees will be sporting Be Pink uniform items and many of them will be part of awareness teams to raise funds through their participation in local American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks and Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure events. The company’s websites, in-flight American Way magazine, napkins, in-flight menus, cabin messages, complimentary in-flight lemonade and even some boarding passes will “go pink” to serve as symbols of American employees’ determination to find a cure for breast cancer.

American has supported the fight against breast cancer for more than 30 years and is the Official Airline of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. In 2013, American and US Airways raised more than half a million dollars to support the cause through the generosity of employees, customers and corporate contributions. Visit American’s Join Us In Causes That Matter page on aa.com to learn more about how you can join the company’s efforts to create a world without breast cancer.

Miles for the Cure® and Susan G. Komen for the Cure® are registered trademarks of Susan G. Komen.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-223 ER N759AN (msn 32638) with the special “Susan G. Komen” pink ribbon markings departs from Los Angeles in the now old 1968 livery.

American Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

American Airlines (historic): AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

The pilot’s strike against Air France ends, the airline attempts to return to a full schedule

Air France (Paris) is attempting to get back to a full schedule after the strike by its pilots has ended. The airline issued this statement yesterday (September 28):

Air France welcomes the end of the strike action, which it called for firmly and repeatedly. The strike has been costly and damaging. It has lasted too long.

The Company deeply regrets that despite lengthy negotiations since the beginning of the conflict, enabling much progress to be made, the balanced and reasonable protocol to end the conflict proposed by Management has not been signed by the unions. Air France regrets that the pilots’ unions have not seized these opportunities.

Air France confirms its decision to continue the accelerated development of Transavia in France, one of the Group’s key growth factors. This development will take place in the planned competitive economic and social conditions (in particular: development beyond 14 aircraft, a single fleet of Boeing 737, Transavia France operating and remuneration conditions, transfer of Air France pilots on a voluntary basis). As announced, this project will quickly create 1,000 jobs in France (including 250 pilot jobs).

The end of the conflict strengthens the Company’s determination to develop its business model to reinforce its leadership in the context of constructive and balanced social dialogue. The strategic interest of the Company must remain the top priority.

Air France is now totally mobilized to regain its customers’ trust, restore serenity among staff and promote corporate cohesion.

Alexandre de Juniac, Chairman and CEO of Air France-KLM, declared: “The management team, Frédéric Gagey and I are well aware of the trauma that our customers, our employees and our partners have just experienced with this long strike. Our priority is now to join forces around the Air France-KLM group’s growth and competitiveness project, Perform 2020. I would like to thank all those who, in the belief that growth is within our reach if we provide ourselves with the necessary means, have supported our development projects. I would also like to thank all the staff at Air France who, over the past two weeks, have done a remarkable job in extremely difficult circumstances. To all our customers and our staff, I want to express our confidence and our commitment to restore the links and regain momentum”.

The company issued this statement about returning to a full schedule and today’s flights:

Following the end of strike action, Air France is gradually resuming its flight schedule.

Flights already cancelled for Monday September 29 will remain cancelled. Air France operated 45% of its scheduled flights yesterday.

For today, Monday September 29, 2014, Air France is planning to operate almost 60% of its scheduled flights.

The situation will gradually return to normal over 2 to 3 days due to operational and regulatory constraints.

As aircraft have not flown for several days, mandatory checks are required before operations resume. In addition, aircraft and crews must be repositioned at all Air France stations throughout the world and flight crews must be given their legal rest periods before carrying out return flights.

Last-minute changes and disruptions may still occur.

Air France advises its customers to check flight information before going to the airport and not to go to the airport if their flight is cancelled.

The strike, which still did not resolve the underlying issues, may have cost the company over $600 million. Read the analysis by Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

Read the analysis by the New York Times: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-228 ER F-GSPD (msn 29005) completes its final approach to the runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

Air France: AG Slide Show

American files to fly nonstop from Dallas/Fort Worth to Beijing, China

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for the right to operate new service from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) beginning next summer. Once approved, the new route will be the first nonstop flight connecting Beijing and Dallas/Fort Worth.

The new service between Dallas/Fort Worth and Beijing will be operated with a Boeing 777-200 ER aircraft. American is retrofitting its entire fleet of 777-200 ERs to include fully lie-flat Business Class seats, all with aisle access; new seats in the Main Cabin; in-seat entertainment; and international Wi-Fi capability. The new fully lie-flat Business Class seats on American’s 777-200 ERs offer customers the largest space of any 777 Business Class seat offered by any U.S. carrier.

The new flight from DFW will also complement American’s existing service from Chicago (O’Hare) to Beijing and will be American’s 11th route between the U.S. and Asia. Since 2013, American has added new nonstop flights connecting Hong Kong, Seoul and Shanghai to DFW, reinforcing the airline’s commitment to expanding and strengthening its presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

This route will be operated as part of American’s joint business agreement with fellow oneworld® alliance member Japan Airlines. Through oneworld member airlines and their affiliates, American’s customers have access to nearly 150 destinations within Asia.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-223 ER N780AN (msn 29956) arrives in New York (JFK).

American Airlines (current livery): AG Slide Show

Air New Zealand to restore the Auckland-Singapore route

Air New Zealand (Auckland) is resuming services on the Auckland-Singapore route on January 6, 2015, replacing one daily flight operated by its partner Singapore Airlines (Singapore) according to Airline Route.

Air New Zealand last operated nonstop flights to Singapore in October 2006.

The route will be operated with Boeing 777-200 ER aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Colin Hunter/AirlinersGallery.com. Air New Zealand’s Boeing 777-219 ER ZK-OKC (msn 34377) taxies at the Auckland base.

Air New Zealand: AG Slide Show

American Airlines and the Association of Professsional Flight Attendants reach a tentative agreement on a new contract

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) have reached a tentative agreement on a new joint collective bargaining agreement covering more than 24,000 flight attendants.

“We are building an airline that will compete aggressively in a global marketplace. Today’s tentative agreement with our flight attendants is another step forward in our integration,” said Doug Parker, chairman and CEO of American Airlines. “We thank the APFA and the union negotiation team for their leadership and professionalism in representing their 24,000 members. Jim Mackenzie of the National Mediation Board also played a key role and we are grateful for his leadership.”

APFA will be communicating details of the tentative agreement directly to their membership, which will then go to the combined flight attendant membership for a ratification vote.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-223 ER N753AN (msn 30261) climbs gracefully away from London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR).

American Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

AeroLogic adds a new route to Hong Kong

AeroLogic (Leipzig/Halle) on October 26 will add a new weekly cargo route from Frankfurt to Hong Kong via Ashgabat. The return flight will operate nonstop per Airline Route.

The company was established as a joint venture by Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Deutsche Post Beteiligungen Holding AG. The respective companies of the shareholders entrusted Lufthansa Cargo and DHL Express with the operational responsibility.

AeroLogic has its own Air Operator Certificate (AOC), its own traffic rights, and is responsible for all airline operations including aircraft, pilots and network.

The route network includes more than 20 destinations in Europe, in the Middle East, in Asia and North America. During the week, AeroLogic mainly flies to Asia within the express network of DHL Express, and on the weekend to the USA within the network of Lufthansa Cargo respectively.

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-FZN D-AALC (msn 36003) taxies at Paine Field in Everett.

AeroLogic: AG Slide Show

Video:

Jin Air to introduce the Boeing 777 on the Guam route on December 22

Jin Air logo (large)

Jin Air (Seoul) is planning to introduce the Boeing 777-200 ER on the daily Seoul (Incheon)-Guam route on December 12 per Airline Route. It is unclear if Jin Air will be the operator or will sub out the flying.

Jin Air: AG Slide Show

Current Route Map:

Jin Air 9.2014 Route Map

British Airways to resume flights to Kuala Lumpur on May 27, 2015

British Airways (London) will restore service to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia starting on May 27, 2015 from London (Heathrow). The daily route will be operated with Boeing 777-200 ER aircraft per Airline Route. The weakness of Malaysia Airlines flights probably led to the decision to restore the route.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-236 ER G-YMMA (msn 30302) gracefully climbs away from London (Heathrow Airport).

British Airways: AG Slide Show
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FedEx Corporation’s earnings surge in the first quarter to $606 million

FedEx Corporation (FedEx Express) (Memphis) reported its earnings for its fiscal first quarter surged by 24 percent to net income of $606 million. The corporation issued this financial report:

FedEx Corporation today reported earnings of $2.10 per diluted share for the first quarter ended August 31, up 37% from last year’s $1.53 per share.

First Quarter Results

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

• Revenue of $11.7 billion, up 6% from $11.0 billion the previous year

• Operating income of $987 million, up 24% from $795 million last year

• Operating margin of 8.5%, up from 7.2% the previous year

• Net income of $606 million, up 24% from last year’s $489 million

Operating income increased primarily due to higher volumes and increased yields at all three transportation segments. Results in the first quarter also include benefits from lower pension expense and the company’s profit improvement programs. These benefits were partially offset by higher aircraft maintenance expense due to the timing of certain engine maintenance events.

During the quarter, the company acquired 5.3 million shares of FedEx common stock. As of August 31, 2014, no shares remained under the existing share repurchase authorizations. Share repurchases benefited earnings in the quarter by $0.15 per diluted share.

Outlook

FedEx reaffirmed its fiscal 2015 earnings forecast of $8.50 to $9.00 per diluted share. The outlook assumes no net year-over-year fuel impact and continued moderate economic growth. The capital spending forecast for fiscal 2015 remains $4.2 billion.

“FedEx reported strong first quarter results, as all three of our transportation segments drove higher revenues and improved profitability year over year,” said Alan B. Graf, Jr., FedEx Corp. executive vice president and chief financial officer. “Our profit improvement programs are progressing as planned and we continue to expect strong earnings growth this year.”

2015 Rate Increases

As previously announced, FedEx Express, FedEx Ground and FedEx Freight will increase shipping rates effective January 5, 2015.

FedEx Express will increase shipping rates by an average of 4.9% for U.S. domestic, U.S. export and U.S. import services.

FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery will increase shipping rates by an average of 4.9%. In addition, as announced in May, FedEx Ground will also begin applying dimensional weight pricing to all shipments.

FedEx Freight will increase shipping rates by an average of 4.9%. This rate change applies to eligible FedEx Freight shipments within the U.S. (including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), between the contiguous U.S. and Canada, within Canada, between the contiguous U.S. and Mexico, and within Mexico.

Details of all changes to rates and surcharges are available at fedex.com/us/2015rates.

Corporate Headquarters Costs

Effective this fiscal year, the company ceased allocating to its transportation segments the costs associated with the corporate headquarters division. These costs are now included in “Corporate, eliminations and other.” Prior year amounts in this release have been revised to conform to the current presentation.

FedEx Express Segment

For the first quarter, the FedEx Express segment reported:

• Revenue of $6.86 billion, up 4% from last year’s $6.61 billion

• Operating income of $369 million, up 35% from $273 million a year ago

• Operating margin of 5.4%, up from 4.1% the previous year

Revenue increased due to higher U.S. domestic package volume and international export package yields partially offset by lower freight revenue. U.S. domestic package volume grew 5%, as 8% growth in overnight and deferred box volume was partially offset by lower envelope volume. U.S. domestic yield increased 1% from higher fuel surcharges, changes in service mix and increased rates. FedEx International Priority® volume grew 1%, while FedEx International Economy® volume increased 3%. International export revenue per package increased 3% due to fuel surcharges, higher rates and weight per package.

Operating income and margin improved as higher U.S. domestic package volume, improved international export yield and benefits from profit improvement programs more than offset higher aircraft maintenance expense and lower freight revenues.

Copyright Photo: Steve Bailey/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-FHT N883FD (msn 39285) of FedEx Express climbs away from the runway at Anchorage Ted Stevens International Airport (ANC).

FedEx Express: AG Slide Show

Qatar Airways Cargo to expand to Brussels and Shanghai

Qatar Airways Cargo (Qatar Airways) (Doha) is set to continue its expansion with the launch of two new freighter destinations, Brussels in Belgium and Shanghai in China.

Brussels will be served four times weekly by the Airbus A330F freighter, effective on October 1. The freighter will fly via Entebbe to Brussels on Wednesdays and Sundays and via Nairobi to Brussels on Mondays and Fridays.

A three-times weekly nonstop Boeing 777 freighter service will operate on the Doha-Shanghai-Doha route, effective October 2.

In addition, with effect from October 1, an additional Boeing 777 freighter frequency will be added on the Doha – Hong Kong route, bringing up the weekly frequencies to 14.

Qatar Airways Cargo completed the transition from a manually handled cargo environment to a fully automated cargo terminal at Hamad International Airport when it moved to the new state-of-the-art facility. The brand new cargo terminal at Hamad International Airport offers the very latest technology and five-star service to customers around the globe.

Previously Qatar Airways signed a Letter of Intent for four additional Boeing 777Fs.

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-FDZ A7-BFE (msn 39644) taxies at Paine Field near Everett.

Qatar Airways: AG Slide Show

NokScoot unveils its logo and business plans

NokScoot logo (large)

NokScoot (NokScoot Company) (Bangkok-Don Mueang) as previously reported, is the new joint venture between budget airline Scoot (Singapore) (49%) and Nok Air (Bangkok) (51%). The new airline will commence scheduled low-fare flights from Bangkok’s downtown Don Mueang International Airport in the first quarter of 2015 with three Boeing 777-200s.

The airline has issued its new logo (above).

The joint venture describes its business plan:

NokScoot isn’t just like any other run-of-the-mill low-cost carriers – we don’t just provide low travel fares, we also provide an enjoyable flying experience. So our passengers never have to compromise on their experience when they are travelling with us.

NokScoot puts the fun back into budget travel and NokScoot gets our passengers to wherever they want to, in the way that they want to. And because they get to choose and customise their own travel experience, our passengers don’t just fly. They fly awesome.

Meanwhile Scoot has announced its planned Boeing 787-9 routes for 2015. The airline will operate the new type to Bangkok-Don Mueang (from April 27), Gold Coast (April 28), Hong Kong (from March 29) Perth (March 29), Qingdao (May 26), Shenyang (May 26), Sydney (March 29) and Tianjin (May 25) per Airline Route.

 

Ethiopian Airlines and United Airlines to start a codeshare agreement on August 30

Ethiopian Airlines (Addis Ababa) has announced that it has entered into a codeshare agreement with United Airlines (Chicago), effective on August 30, 2014.

Ethiopian, the biggest airline in Africa, currently flies to 82 international destinations across five continents operating a young and modern fleet, such as Boeing 787 and 777 aircraft. The carrier provides daily services to Washington Dulles Airport (IAD) using the Boeing 777 or Boeing 787 aircraft with convenient and easy connections through its main hub in Addis Ababa (ADD) to 49 cities across Africa.

The new codeshare agreement between the two Star Alliance member airlines covers the Addis Ababa–Washington, D.C. trunk route, as well as points in Africa and the U.S.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-260 LR ET-ANO (msn 40771) of Ethiopian Airlines lands at Washington’s Dulles International Airport (IAD).

Ethiopian Airlines: AG Slide Show

United Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

Emirates today arrives in Chicago

Emirates (Dubai) today (August 6) will arrive in Chicago. The fast-growing airline commenced a daily nonstop passenger service to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport from Dubai.

The new service will operate as flight EK 235, departing from Dubai International airport at 9:45 a.m. (0945) and arriving at O’Hare at 3:25 p.m. (1525) The return flight, EK 236, will depart O’Hare at 8:35 p.m. (2035) and arrive in Dubai at 7:10 p.m. (1910) the next day. The route will be served by the U.S.-built Boeing 777-200 LR aircraft powered by GE90 engines.

In addition to passenger service, the Chicago-Dubai flight will carry up to 17 tons of cargo per flight and increase trade links between the two cities. Emirates began operating cargo service to Chicago in 2013. Currently, Emirates SkyCargo flies a twice-weekly, dedicated freight service out of O’Hare that carried nearly 12,000 tons of cargo last year.

Emirates began passenger services to the U.S. in 2004 with services to New York. The airline has steadily added more U.S. routes over the past decade. Chicago is the ninth U.S. gateway to join the Emirates network, following the launch of the Boston service in March. In the past decade, Emirates has flown more than 9 million people to and from the U.S. and is the airline which carries the most amount of passengers between the U.S. and Middle East. To cater to that demand, Emirates is upsizing services on its Dallas/Fort Worth, San Francisco and Houston (Bush Intercontinental) routes to its iconic double-decker A380 aircraft in late 2014.

Emirates is the largest operator of Boeing 777 aircraft in the world, with a fleet of 128 passenger aircraft and 11 freighters. The airline is a launch customer of Boeing’s new 777X. In November 2013, Emirates placed the largest single order in commercial aviation history for 150 777X aircraft valued at $76 billion. Based on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s aerospace export multiplier, this order will support more than 400,000 jobs in the United States.

The flight to Chicago is scheduled as a 14-hour, 40-minute flight.

Copyright Photo:Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-21H LR A6-EWA (msn 35572) arrives in Los Angeles.

Emirates: AG Slide Show

KLM to launch a new route to Bogota and Cali on March 31

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam) will expand its long-haul service to South America next year. KLM will launch a new scheduled service to Colombia’s capital, Bogota, and Cali, the country’s third-largest city. From March 31, 2015, KLM will fly three times a week operating a Boeing 777-200 on flight KL 745. The circle flights will start in Amsterdam, stopping in Bogota and Cali, and returning directly to Amsterdam. The service will be part of KLM’s new summer schedule and will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-206 ER PH-BQP (msn 32721) in the special “Delft Blue” color scheme taxies at Toronto (Pearson).

KLM: AG Slide Show

 

International calls to secure the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 increase

The crash site of Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) flight MH 17 with the pictured Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRD (msn 28411) in the Russian-speaking rebel-controlled part of eastern Ukraine remains largely unsecured. The world is calling for the crash site evidence to be properly secured.

From CNN:

“Bodies, backpacks, passports and other piles of debris lay splayed across a miles-long area in the remote area in eastern Ukraine where Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 17 came down. The crash site is massive — an international observer called it “one of the biggest crime scenes in the world right now.”

“Concern is growing that the site has not been sealed off as it should have been and that vital evidence is being tampered with. Meanwhile, armed rebels have greeted international observers with hostility.
Experts say that this crash investigation is unprecedented due to the site’s immense size and the lack of access given to investigators.”

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Malaysia MH 17 Crash Site (Google Maps)

Google Maps above: The location of the crash site in the eastern Russian-speaking (disputed) portion of the Ukraine near Donetsk.

Malaysia MH 17 Heartfelt Message

Meanwhile Malaysia Airlines today issued these two statements (and the message above) on the tragic crash of flight MH 17:

The first statement – from the Press Briefing by Liow Tiong Lai, Minister of Transport:

INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT

Today Malaysia Airlines have released the final list of nationalities on board flight MH 17. Each of the numbers represents a life lost, and a family in anguish. After this press conference, Malaysia Airlines will release the full passenger manifest.

Malaysia mourns the loss of all 298 passengers and crew. We feel for their families. And we promise to do all we can to ensure that the investigation is completed, and that justice is done.

ON THE INVESTIGATION:

Malaysia is deeply concerned that the crash site has not been properly secured. The integrity of the site has been compromised, and there are indications that vital evidence has not been preserved in place.

Interfering with the scene of the crash risks undermining the investigation itself. Any actions that prevent us from learning the truth about what happened to MH 17 cannot be tolerated. Failure to stop such interference would be a betrayal of the lives that were lost.

Malaysia calls for all parties to protect the integrity of the crash site, and to allow the investigation to proceed. We urge all those involved to respect the families, and the nations who have lost their sons and daughters in this attack.

Yes, MH 17 has become a geopolitical issue. But we must not forget that it is a human tragedy. Days after the plane went down, the remains of 298 people lie uncovered.

Citizens of eleven nations – none of whom are involved in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine –cannot be laid to rest. Their lives were taken by violence; now violence stops them being accorded their final respect. This cannot continue.

ON DEPLOYMENT:

Earlier today, Malaysia’s special team arrived in Kiev. We ask for continued support from the Ukrainian government, and the other parties involved, as the team seeks to assist the Ukrainian authorities in recovering and identifying the remains of the passengers and crew, and with the wider investigation.

The world has a moral obligation to ensure that the remains of all victims are recovered and treated with respect. We will play our part in fulfilling this obligation. That is why, later today, I will join the Malaysian team in Kiev, where I will work with my counterpart in the Ukraine government, to support efforts to retrieve the remains, and to assist with the investigation.

I will be joined by the Director General of the Department of Civil Aviation, the Malaysian investigator in charge, and the Chairman of Malaysia Airlines. The CEO of Malaysia Airlines is already in Kiev.

ON THE FLIGHT PATH:

On the matter of MH 17’s flight path, I would like to refer to recent reported comments by officials from Eurocontrol, the body which approves European flight paths under ICAO rules.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the officials stated that some 400 commercial flights, including 150 international flights crossed eastern Ukraine daily before the crash. Officials from Eurocontrol also stated that in the two days before the incident, 75 different airlines flew the same route as MH 17.

MH 17’s flight path was a busy major airway, like a highway in the sky. It followed a route which was set out by the international aviation authorities, approved by Eurocontrol, and used by hundreds of other aircraft. It flew at an altitude set, and deemed safe, by the local air traffic control. And it never strayed into restricted airspace.

The flight and its operators followed the rules. But on the ground, the rules of war were broken. In an unacceptable act of aggression, it appears that MH 17 was shot down; its passengers and crew killed by a missile.

CONCLUDING REMARKS

This outrage cannot go unpunished. Once again, Malaysia condemns this brutal act of aggression, and calls for those responsible to be found, and to face the full force of justice without delay.

The second statement from Malaysia Airlines:

Malaysia Airlines is appealing to the family members or friends of those onboard MH 17 to contact the airline. Enclosed is the MH 17 passenger manifest for reference.

In the past 45 hours, the airline together with various foreign embassies have made every effort to establish contact with the next-of-kin but is still unable to identify many more family members.

They are advised to contact Malaysia Airlines’ Family Support Centre at +603 7884 1234 (in Malaysia).

Alternatively the family or friends may call the numbers below in their respective countries:

Netherlands (Malaysia Airlines Amsterdam office) +31 20 521 62 62

Australia (Malaysia Airlines Sydney office) +61 2 9364 3526

Indonesia (Malaysia Airlines Jakarta office) +62 2 1522 9705

New Zealand (Malaysia Airlines Auckland office) +64 9 306 3930

United Kingdom (Malaysia Airlines London office) +44 20 7341 2060

Germany (Malaysia Airlines Frankfurt office) +49 69 1387 1980

Philippines (Malaysia Airlines Manila office) + 63 2 889 1863

As of July 19, 2014, 5:00 pm, the table below shows the latest number of passengers and their nationalities:

Netherlands

193 (including 1 dual Netherlands/USA citizen)

Malaysia

43 (including 15 crew & 2 infants)

Australia

27

Indonesia

12 (including 1 infant)

United Kingdom

10 (including 1 dual UK/S. Africa citizen)

Germany

4

Belgium

4

Philippines

3

Canada

1

New Zealand

1

Total

298

Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines deployed a ferry flight last night mobilizing 212 personnel from various government and media bodies and its staff to Kiev and Amsterdam in a special mission for MH17. A total of 85 Malaysia Airlines’ ‘Go Team’ members have been deployed, of which five members will join Malaysia’s Special Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (Smart) in the search-and-recovery mission at the crash site in the Donetsk region, while 80 other members comprising care givers and the management team will be stationed in Amsterdam to assist the family members of the passengers.

MH 5002 departed Kuala Lumpur at 9.30 pm on July 18, 2014 and arrived in Kiev at 2.58 am (local time) on July 19, 2014 with a two hour transit. The aircraft then continued its journey to Amsterdam at 4.50 am (local time) on July 19, 2014 and arrived in Schipol Amsterdam Airport at 5.30 am the same day.

The mission is also joined by Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport, the National Security Council, Special Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (Smart), Malaysia’s Department of Information, the Royal Malaysian Police, Malaysian Special Air Service, the Royal Malaysian Air Force, Malaysian Armed Forces, Department of Civil Aviation, Chemistry Department, Department of Islamic Advancement of Malaysia and the Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) team as well as participating media.

Finally, Malaysia Airlines requests the cooperation of members of the media to respect the privacy of the grieving families. The airline’s top priority remains to provide care and assistance to the families of the passengers and crew and any information with regards to their movement will not be made public.

Who are the pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine? CNN takes a look at this question: CLICK HERE

Editorial Comment:

On a side note, it was fate that selected Malaysia Airlines to be the target for the Russian-speaking separatists in eastern Ukraine. According to U.S. intelligence, the rebels used recently delivered surface-to-air Russian missiles to bring down flight MH 17. Russia will have to answer for its decision to send these dangerous weapons to the Ukraine, a former part of the Soviet Union and a sovereign nation.

Why Eurocontrol was routing civilian airliners through this known war zone is something that will also have to be answered, especially after two Ukrainian aircraft were previously shot down by the pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine.

Air India and Singapore Airlines aircraft were also in the area at the time of the shoot down and it was fate that selected the Malaysia Airlines flight over these two flights. Fate has not been kind to Malaysia Airlines this year.

Bottom line: The remains of the ill-fated passengers need to be returned to their grieving families.

Where not to fly? The Washington Post has published this map of dangerous areas where the FAA has advised U.S. carriers not to fly: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: James Helbock/AirlinersGallery.com. 9M-MRD arrives in Los Angeles.

Malaysia Airlines: AG Slide Show

Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 crashes in the Ukraine, all feared dead

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) flight MH 17 operating from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with the pictured Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRD (msn 28411) (since repainted) with 280 passengers and 15 crew members, while operating at flight level 330 (33,000 feet) and about 50 nautical miles northwest of Donetsk, Ukraine has crashed. The airliner came down near the village of Shakhtarsk, Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines has confirmed the crash.

The airline issued this statement:

Malaysia Airlines confirms it received notification from Ukrainian ATC that it had lost contact with flight MH 17 at 1415 (GMT) at 30 km from Tamak waypoint, approximately 50 km from the Russia-Ukraine border.

Flight MH 17 operated on a Boeing 777 departed Amsterdam at 12.15 pm (Amsterdam local time) and was estimated to arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 6.10 am (Malaysia local time) the next day.

The flight was carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew members.

According to CNN:

“The aircraft was “shot down” over Ukraine by “terrorists” operating a Buk surface-to-air missile system, according to the Facebook page of Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry. There were 280 passengers killed as well as 15 crew members, Gerashchenko’s post reads.”

Read the full CNN report: CLICK HERE

Read the full updated account (with photos of the crash site) from the BBC: CLICK HERE

Read the report from the New York Times: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati/AirlinersGallery.com. 9M-MRD was once painted in this special “Blue Heliconia” livery but it has since been repainted.

Malaysia Airlines Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Bottom Copyright Photo: Olivier Gregoire/AirlinersGallery.com. 9M-MRD lands in Paris (CDG) in 2011 after repainting.

More information will be added as details are confirmed.

Video:

Video: This video appears to capture the moment of impact:

Video: The Russian surface-to-air missile that is believed to have been fired and taken down the Triple Seven. The missile was allegedly fired from a Russian separatist controlled area in eastern Ukraine:

United Airlines Boeing 777-200 diverts to Midway Island after a declared emergency

United Airlines (Chicago) flight 201 from Honolulu to Guam with 335 passengers and 13 crew members was diverted on July 10 to Midway Island because of a “mechanical issue” according to Channel 10. The Boeing 777-200 (N210UA) landed safely after the declared emergency. A replacement aircraft brought the passengers back to Honolulu on Friday morning.

According to eTurbo News, “A smoke-filled cabin, malfunctioning controls, and a loss of power forced the crew to declare an emergency, and they were able to safely land the widebody aircraft on the former military Midway Island airport at night.”

Midway Island was site of the important battle during World War II.

Read more from HNL RareBirds: CLICK HERE

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

In other news, United is reducing service to Caracas from Houston on September 15 following the actions of American and Delta as previously reported. United will reduce its daily service on the route to four flights a week. The U.S. carriers are reducing service to Venezuela as a result of the Venezuelan government strict rules of removing from the country ticket sales and denying the conversion from Bolivars to Dollars.

In further news, United is adding two routes from Guam on October 27 to both Seoul (Incheon) and Shanghai (Pudong) per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-222 ER N216UA (msn 30549) approaches the runway at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

United Airlines (current livery): AG Slide Show

Qatar Airways arrives in Dallas/Fort Worth

Qatar Airways Dallas Fort Worth Service

Qatar Airways (Doha) as planned, yesterday (July 1) commenced daily, nonstop services between Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and the newly unveiled Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Doha, Qatar. The new route increases Qatar Airways’ extensive global network to seven gateways within the United States and 144 destinations worldwide.

Dallas/Fort Worth becomes Qatar Airways second destination in Texas, representing the airline’s enduring commitment to the region. Along with Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth will serve as a crucial junction between Qatar Airways’ global network, via Doha, and other key destinations across the Southwestern USA, including Austin, San Antonio and Oklahoma City, through our oneworld alliance partners.

The new route flies daily between Dallas/Fort Worth and Doha, departing from Doha at 8:10 am (0810) and arriving into Dallas/Fort Worth at 3:35 pm (1535) the same day. Overnight service to Doha departs Dallas/Fort Worth at 8:00 pm (2000) and lands in Doha at 6:20 pm (1820) the following day. The route is operated with a Boeing 777-200 LR configured with 217 Economy Class seats and 42 Business Class seats.

Outbound passengers to Doha will enjoy fast, convenient connections to key destinations throughout the world, including Delhi, Beijing, Tokyo, Bangkok and Perth, via the world’s newest international hub, Hamad International Airport.

Officially commencing full operations on May 1, Hamad International Airport offers state-of-the-art facilities and is capable of handling over 360,000 flights and 30 million passengers annually, with a fluid capacity of 50 million passengers after full completion.

As one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, Dallas/Fort Worth represents Qatar Airways’ tenth new destination of 2014. The airline operates one of the youngest fleets in the sky and will be adding the highly anticipated Airbus A380s and A350s in the near future.

Copyright Photo: PRNewsFoto/Qatar Airways. The traditional water cannon salute was performed on the first arriving flight at DFW.

Qatar Airways: AG Slide Show

American Airlines Group to repaint the American and US Airways Boeing 757 fleets

American Airlines Group (American Airlines and US Airways) (Dallas/Fort Worth) has informed its employees about the repainting of the American Airlines and US Airways fleets into the 2013 American brand.

In the June 26 issue of Arrivals, the employees were briefed on the repainting process.

Highlights: As expected, the aging fleet of McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82s (MD-82s) and DC-9-83s (MD-83s) of American will not be repainted. This type is being phased out and will be gone in 2018. However the AAG has made the decision to repaint the 35 Boeing 757-200s of American and the 16 Boeing 757-200s of US Airways into the new livery. So far none have been repainted. We are likely to start seeing some soon, especially at US Airways. All will be repainted by the fourth quarter of 2016.

All of the American 777-200s have now been repainted (above).

US Airways has started repainting the Airbus A320 family aircraft: 700, 701, 702, 703, 809, 814, 819, and one other have been repainted. 579, 580, and 581 were all delivered new in American colors. The first Airbus aircraft to be repainted were the former Star Alliance liveried aircraft.

All new arrivals for both American and US Airways are of course, painted in the new American look.

We are likely to still see the American 1968 classic livery lingering on until the fourth quarter of 2017. The American Boeing 737-800s will be the last type to be fully repainted.

Here is the graph sent to the employees:

American-US Airways repainting of the fleet (LRW)

Top Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. All of the Triple Sevens have been repainted. Boeing 777-223 ER N790AN (msn 30251) arrives in New York (JFK).

American Airlines (current livery): AG Slide Show

American Airlines (historic liveries): AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Video: Painting a Boeing 777:

Middle Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. American currently operates 35 Boeing 757-200s as the type is gradually being retired. Boeing 757-223 N624AA (msn 24582) of American Airlines taxies to the gate at the Miami hub painted in the classic 1968 livery.

Bottom Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com. US Airways is now down to just 16 Boeing 757-200s. Boeing 757-2B7 N938UW (msn 27246) prepares to land in Stockholm (Arlanda).

Should United Airlines de-hub Washington Dulles?

United Airlines (Chicago) operates a large international and domestic hub at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). The carrier recently de-hub its mainly domestic hub at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) in an attempt to reduces its loses at CLE. United is trying to cut $2 billion in costs.

This article by Bloomberg Businessweek explores the question of whether United should de-hub Dulles as it too loses money at IAD according to Imperial Capital analyst Bob McAdoo. The Dulles hub competes to a certain degree with its larger (former Continental) hub at Newark International Airport near New York. Ironically United built up the Dulles hub as a competitive move against the Continental hub at Newark and US Airways’ hub at Philadelphia.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-222 N779UA (msn 26941) climbs away from the runway at Washington Dulles International Airport.

United Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

The ATSB announces a new search area for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370

ATSB 6.26.14 Search Map for MH 370

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) today issued this summary and report announcing a new search area for Malaysia Airlines missing flight MH 370 operated with Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRO (msn 28420). Here is the summary (full report link at the bottom):

On March 8, 2014, flight MH 370, a Boeing 777-200 ER registered 9M-MRO, lost contact with Air Traffic Control during a transition of airspace between Malaysia and Vietnam. An analysis of radar data and subsequent satellite communication (SATCOM) system signalling messages placed the aircraft in the Australian search and rescue zone on an arc in the southern part of the Indian Ocean. This arc was considered to be the location where the aircraft’s fuel was exhausted.

A surface search of probable impact areas along this arc, coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, was carried out from 18 March – April 28, 2014. This search effort was undertaken by an international fleet of aircraft and ships with the search areas over this time progressing generally from an initial southwest location along the arc in a north-easterly direction. The location of the search areas was guided by continuing and innovative analysis by a Joint Investigation Team of the flight and satellite-communications data. This analysis was supplemented by other information provided to ATSB during this period. This included possible underwater locator beacon and hydrophone acoustic detections.

No debris associated with 9M-MRO was identified either from the surface search, acoustic search or from the ocean floor search in the vicinity of the acoustic detections. The ocean floor search was completed on May 28, 2014.

Refinements to the analysis of both the flight and satellite data have been continuous since the loss of MH 370. The analysis has been undertaken by an international team of specialists from the UK, US and Australia working both independently and collaboratively. Other information regarding the performance and operation of the aircraft has also been taken into consideration in the analysis.

Using current analyses, the team has been able to reach a consensus in identifying a priority underwater search area for the next phase of the search.

The priority area of approximately 60,000 km2 extends along the arc for 650 km in a northeast direction from Broken Ridge. The width of the priority search area is 93 km. This area was the subject of the surface search from Day 21-26.

Work is continuing with refinements in the analysis of the satellite communications data. Small frequency variations can significantly affect the derived flight path. This ongoing work may result in changes to the prioritisation and locale of search activity.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

The “7th Arc”

You will hear a lot about this term in the coming days. Here is the explanation:

The latest information and analysis confirms that MH 370 will be found in close proximity to the arc set out in the map and labelled as the 7th arc. At the time MH 370 reached this arc, the aircraft is considered to have exhausted its fuel and to have been descending. As a result, the aircraft is unlikely to be more than 20 NM (38 km) to the west or 30 NM (55 km) to the east of the arc.

Based on all the independent analysis of satellite communications and aircraft performance, the total extent of the 7th arc reaches from latitude 20 degrees S to 39 degrees S.

Refinement of the analysis in the coming weeks will reduce the underwater Search Area along this arc to a prioritised 17,500 sq. NM (60,000 sq. km). The prioritised length of the Search Area along the arc is expected to be 350 NM (650 km).
More information about the Search Area will be made available as soon as it is verified.

Map of the “7th Arc”:

ATSB 7th Arc Map

 

NTSB: “Asiana flight 214 crashed when the airplane descended below the visual glidepath due to the flight crew’s mismanagement of the approach and inadequate monitoring of airspeed.”

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) (Washington) yesterday (June 24) issued its probable cause and report on the July 6, 2013 crash of Asiana Airlines (Seoul) flight 214 with the pictured Boeing 777-28E ER HL7742 (msn 29171) at San Francisco. Here is the full statement and link:

In a Board meeting held on June 24, 2014, the National Transportation Safety Board determined that Asiana flight 214 crashed when the airplane descended below the visual glidepath due to the flight crew’s mismanagement of the approach and inadequate monitoring of airspeed. The Board also found that the complexities of the auto throttle and autopilot flight director systems, and the crew’s misunderstanding of those systems, contributed to the accident.

On July 6, 2013, about 11:28 a.m. (PDT), the Boeing 777 was on approach to runway 28L at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, California when it struck the seawall at the end of the runway. Three of the 291 passengers died; 40 passengers, eight of the 12 flight attendants, and one of the four flight crewmembers received serious injuries. The other 248 passengers, four flight attendants, and three flight crewmembers received minor injuries or were not injured. The impact forces and a postcrash fire destroyed the airplane.

The NTSB determined that the flight crew mismanaged the initial approach and that the airplane was well above the desired glidepath as it neared the runway. In response to the excessive altitude, the captain selected an inappropriate autopilot mode and took other actions that, unbeknownst to him, resulted in the autothrottle no longer controlling airspeed.

As the airplane descended below the desired glidepath, the crew did not notice the decreasing airspeed nor did they respond to the unstable approach. The flight crew began a go-around maneuver when the airplane was below 100 feet, but it was too late and the airplane struck the seawall.

“In this accident, the flight crew over-relied on automated systems without fully understanding how they interacted,” said NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher A. Hart. “Automation has made aviation safer. But even in highly automated aircraft, the human must be the boss.”

As a result of this accident investigation, the NTSB made recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration, Asiana Airlines, The Boeing Company, the Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Working Group, and the City of San Francisco.

These recommendations address the safety issues identified in the investigation, including the need for reinforced adherence to Asiana flight crew standard operating procedures, more opportunities for manual flying for Asiana pilots, a context-dependent low energy alerting system, and both certification design review and enhanced training on the Boeing 777 autoflight system.

The recommendations also address the need for improved emergency communications, and staffing requirements and training for aircraft rescue and firefighting personnel.

“Today, good piloting includes being on the lookout for surprises in how the automation works, and taking control when needed,” Hart said. “Good design means not only maximizing reliability, but also minimizing surprises and uncertainties.”

A synopsis of the NTSB report, including the probable cause, findings, and a complete list of the 27 safety recommendations, is available at http://www.ntsb.gov/news/events/2014/asiana214/abstract.html. The full report will be available on the website in several weeks.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-28E ER HL7742 is pictured on approach at Los Angeles International Airport before the accident at SFO.

Asiana Airlines: AG Slide Show

The search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 is likely to move south

ATSB logo

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) missing flight MH 370 of March 8 with 239 passengers and crew members on board remains missing. The next phase of the search is likely to move the search area several hundred miles to the south in the southern Indian Ocean.

The Associated Press first reported this change, citing Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).

The Bluefin-21 will be redeployed in this new area. The exact new area is still being determined.

On May 26 Martin Dolan issued this statement about the search:

By Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner

It’s now been more than 11 weeks since Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 disappeared from air traffic control radar after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on a scheduled passenger service to Beijing.

Despite one of the most intensive and coordinated air and sea search efforts ever undertaken, there has not yet been any sign of the missing aircraft.

The complexities surrounding the search cannot be understated. It involves vast areas of the Indian Ocean with only limited known data and aircraft flight information. While it is impossible to determine with certainty where the aircraft may have entered the water, all the available data indicates a highly probable search area close to a long but narrow arc of the southern Indian Ocean.

It is now highly unlikely that surface debris from the aircraft will be spotted. This means that the most effective way to continue the search is to look for MH370 under the water.

The search will be a major undertaking.

The complexities and challenges involved are immense, but not impossible.

Following an announcement by the Prime Minister of Australia in late April, and at the request of the Malaysian government, the ATSB is planning an intensified underwater search of a 60,000 square kilometre area—roughly the size of Tasmania.

As part of its search operations, the ATSB’s initial work involves:

reviewing existing information, from an expert satellite working group, to refine a search zone of up to 60,000 square kilometres in the southern Indian Ocean
conducting a bathymetric survey to map the search area
consulting with domestic and international authorities—including various oceanographic institutions and private companies—to prepare the plan and specialist services required for the next search phase.
The bathymetric survey— or mapping of the ocean floor— has already commenced, with the Chinese survey ship Zhu Kezhen conducting a survey of the areas provided by the ATSB. Zhu Kezhen will shortly be joined by a contracted commercial survey vessel in June. Taking around three months to complete, the bathymetric survey will give us crucial knowledge of the seafloor terrain needed to begin the underwater search.

The intensified underwater search will aim to locate the aircraft and any evidence (such as aircraft debris and flight recorders) to assist with the Malaysian investigation. The equipment used for the search will likely include a towed sonar, an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle with mounted sonar, and optical imaging equipment. We expect the search to begin in several months and take up to 12 months to complete.

The search will be a major undertaking. The complexities and challenges involved are immense, but not impossible. The best minds from around the world have been reviewing, refining and localising the most likely area where the aircraft entered the water, which is why we remain confident of finding the aircraft.

On May 26 the ATSB issued this detailed statement on the considerations of where it will search for MH 370:

Background

At the request of the Malaysian Government, Australia is leading the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 in the Indian Ocean. The search is a complex operation that involves vast areas with only limited data and aircraft flight information available.

Over-water searches

Over-water aircraft accident locations are usually found by conducting a broad-area aerial search. The search area is generally determined by a combination of:
Position information from ground-based radar systems (maximum range is generally 250 NM)
Position information automatically transmitted from the aircraft at regular intervals

Position reports from the crew

Re-tracing the planned flight route

Eye-witness reports (possibly located on the shore, on other aircraft or on ships)

Uncertainty in the position of an accident location increases with time from the aircraft’s last known position (fix) so the search area will expand accordingly as the position data becomes ‘stale’.

Once floating wreckage is observed, reverse-drift techniques can be used to help determine the aircraft impact location. Only a small-area underwater search is then required to locate the wreckage and map the wreckage field. This underwater search can be aided by the underwater locator beacons fitted to flight recorders. As the beacons have a limited duration of nominally 30 days and to minimise the inaccuracies of the reverse-drift calculations, it is important that an aerial search is commenced as soon as possible and the floating debris is found quickly.

In the case of MH 370:

The aircraft departed Kuala Lumpur at 1641 UTC
The final automatically transmitted position from the aircraft occurred at 17:07 UTC
No radio communications were received from the crew after 17:19 UTC
The final ATC (secondary) radar fix occurred at 17:22 UTC
At 17:25 UTC the aircraft deviated from the planned flight route
The final primary radar fix occurred at 18:22 UTC
The satellite communications log indicated the aircraft continued to fly for another 6 hours
No confirmed eye-witness reports were received
The search in the Australian search and rescue zone commenced on 18 March (10 days after the aircraft went missing)

As a result, the search area for MH 370 has remained very large. A useful comparison is the search for Air France Flight 447 (AF 477), which crashed in the Atlantic Ocean on 1 June 2009. The AF447 aircraft was programmed to send its position automatically every 10 minutes, there were a number of fault messages transmitted via satellite during the last few minutes of flight and it was following the planned flight route. The search for the aircraft began on 1 June and the first surface wreckage was discovered on 6 June, 5 days after the accident. Given the relative accuracy of the aircraft’s last known position, a circular search area of 40 NM was defined (17,240 km²). After a search effort involving five separate phases, the aircraft wreckage was located on the ocean floor almost two years later.

As none of the traditional sources of data could be used to locate the aircraft wreckage from MH 370, it has been necessary to use novel sources of data and analysis techniques. This has led to a larger than typical search area; and there have been changes to its location as validation and calibration checks have been performed and the analysis is refined.

Determining the search area for MH 370

The flight path of MH 370 has three distinct sections; one under secondary radar in which the aircraft transponder was operational and ACARS messages were being transmitted, a primary radar section during which the aircraft was being tracked solely by air defence radar systems and the final stage for which the only information available was the satellite communications log data.

ACARS and radar data

The final ACARS transmission was at 17:07 UTC and provided location reports from the initial stage of the flight as well as a recording of the aircraft fuel remaining. The final secondary radar point was at approximately 17:22 UTC. The final primary radar point was at 18:22 UTC. Figure 1 shows the first and second sections of the flight.

Figure 1: MH 370 Flight path derived from Primary and Secondary radar data:

MH 370 Figure 1

Source: NTSB/Google

Satellite communications (SATCOM) data

Following the loss of primary radar, the only available information was from satellite signalling messages, also referred to as ‘handshakes’, between the ground station, the satellite and the aircraft’s satellite communication system.

For each transmission to the aircraft, the ground station recorded the burst timing offset (BTO) and the burst frequency offset (BFO).

Figure 2: Satellite communications schematic:

MH 370 Figure 2

Source: Inmarsat

Burst Timing Offset (BTO)

The BTO is a measure of the time taken for a transmission round trip (ground station to satellite to aircraft and back) and allows a calculation of the distance between the satellite and the aircraft. Based on this measure, a possible location ring can be mapped on the surface of the earth (Figure 3). An analysis of SATCOM system parameters showed that the accuracy of the rings was ± 10 km. This analysis was validated using recorded BTO values from the initial stage of the flight when the aircraft’s position was known.

Figure 3: Satellite ring derivation:

MH 370 Figure 3

Source: Inmarsat

There were 7 handshakes between the ground station and the aircraft after the loss of primary radar data. The location rings calculated from the recorded BTO values are shown in figure 4.

Figure 4: MH 370 timing (UTC) with corresponding rings arrowed:

MH 370 Figure 4

Source: Inmarsat/Boeing /Google

The information from the BTO places the aircraft somewhere on each ring at the corresponding time. By taking the maximum speed of the aircraft into account, the rings can be reduced in length to arcs – there are some areas of the rings it simply could not have reached.

Burst Frequency Offset (BFO)

The BFO is the measure of the difference between the expected frequency of the transmission and the frequency received at the ground station. This difference is attributed to various sources including the Doppler Effect from the motion of the satellite and the aircraft, as well as some processing effects. Once the known components that contribute to the BFO are resolved, the remainder can be used to estimate the speed and direction of the aircraft. There are a large number of speeds and headings that can be consistent with a BFO recording. These are limited, however, by the operational constraints of the aircraft.

Candidate paths of different speeds were created which met the BTO ring location/time constraints and the predicted BFO values of these paths have been compared with the recorded values. The better the match, the higher the probability that the path was close to that of MH370.
Final handshake message at 00:19 (7th arc)

The 00:19 signalling message (7th arc) was a logon request from the aircraft. This is consistent with the satellite communication equipment on the aircraft powering up following a power interruption. The interruption in electrical supply may have been caused by fuel exhaustion.

Note on the satellite communication

The satellite’s normal function is essentially communication and it was never initially intended to have the capability to track an aircraft. Following the Air France 447 accident, Inmarsat engineers began recording the BTO in order to provide another potential means of geo-locating aircraft in the event of a similar accident.

Aircraft Performance Calculations

Estimates of fuel consumption were calculated from the time of the last recorded fuel quantity, using a range of flight paths and speeds. The results of these calculations were consistent with fuel exhaustion occurring close to the 7th arc.

Validation

Several teams independently provided both satellite communications and performance analysis as part of the validation process. The location of 9M-MRO on previous flights as well as the locations of other aircraft in the air at the same time were all used to validate the techniques.

Other information

Surface search

An international air and maritime force conducted a surface search of drifted regions along the 7th arc from 18 March to 28 April 2014. A drifted region is created by modelling the movement of an area of water over the time period when the surface search is conducted. During this time, no debris was identified to be likely from MH 370.

Underwater search

Acoustic detections possibly related to underwater locator beacons were made by two vessels in the refined probability area from 5 – 8 April 2014. To further investigate these signals, a search of the ocean floor around the detections was performed by a number of vessels. To date no further sign of MH370 has been detected.

Hydrophones

Low frequency hydroacoustic signals present in the Indian Ocean are being examined to determine whether they can provide any information to help define the search area. These signals are recorded by hydrophones as part of the United Nations Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) or the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS).

Use of waypoints

Comparison of possible flight paths with tracks using waypoints is also under consideration.

Air Routes

There is only one published north-south air route in the south-eastern Indian Ocean. Air route M641 connects Cocos Island to Perth and has four waypoints. The air route crosses the area where the four acoustic signals were detected.

Shape of the search area

At the time MH 370 reached the 7th arc, the aircraft is considered to have been descending. A study completed after the Air France 447 accident concluded that the majority of aircraft in loss of control accidents were found within 20 nautical miles (32 km) of their last known position. This provides a reasonable limitation for the size of the search area across the arc.

Additionally the Australian government through the ATSB on May 26 explained how it is searching for missing flight MH 370:

Background

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is leading the underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370. All the available data indicates the aircraft entered the sea close to a long but narrow arc of the southern Indian Ocean.

The search is a complex operation that will involve a range of vessels, equipment and expertise to cover 60,000 square kilometres of ocean floor.

Bathymetric survey

During the first stage of the search, the ATSB is tasking a Chinese PLA-Navy ship to undertake a bathymetric survey of the 60,000 square kilometre search area. A contracted commercial vessel with join the survey in June. The bathymetric survey will provide a map of the underwater search zone, charting the contours, depths and hardness of the ocean floor.

While the ocean depth of the search zone is understood to be between 1000 m and 6000 m, we currently have very limited knowledge of the sea floor terrain facing the underwater search operation. The information we receive from the bathymetric survey will give us crucial data to plan and conduct the intensified underwater search.

How the survey’s done

The operation will involve a ship surveying the ocean floor using multi beam sonar, which is capable of collecting high quality data to water depths of up to 6,000 m.

Multibeam sonar is a common offshore surveying tool that uses multiple sound signals to detect the seafloor. Due to its multiple beams it is able to map a swath of the seabed under the ship, in contrast to a single beam sonar which only maps a point below the ship. Different frequencies are used to map different water depths, with higher frequencies (>100kHz) used for shallow water and low frequencies (<30 kHz) for deep water.

Generally, the multibeam sonar transducer is mounted rigidly to the hull of the survey vessel and its position can be calculated very accurately. Other parts of the multibeam system include auxiliary sensors such as motion-sensing systems and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to ensure accurate positioning, motion sensing and sound speed measurement system.

A modern multibeam sonar transducer typically uses the Mills Cross telescope array. The sound is transmitted from transducers that are perpendicular to the survey track. Consequently, the sound pulses forms a transmit swath that is wide across-track and narrow along-track. The returning sound pulses, which are mainly recording the impedance contrast and seafloor topography, are received by the receivers which are mounted parallel to the survey track. These return beams are narrow across-track.

Unlike the sidescan sonar which commonly produces only acoustic backscatter data (i.e. hardness), the multibeam sonar generates both water depth and seafloor hardness data concurrently.1
How many vessels will be involved in the survey

The Chinese PLA-Navy ship Zhu Kezhen (872) is already in the search area conducting a bathymetric survey of an area provided by the ATSB. A contracted survey vessel will arrive in the search area in early June.

How long it will take?

It is expected that the bathymetric survey will take around three months to complete, but this will depend on a number of factors, such as weather conditions, during the survey operations.
The underwater search will begin when we have enough data from the bathymetric survey to start searching. This means that the underwater search will begin while the survey is still being completed.

On June 4 the ATSB issued a request for specialist help in determining the new search area (all proposals are due by June 30):

The ATSB has released a request for tender to acquire the services of a specialist company capable of conducting a deep-water search under ATSB direction for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370.
Engaged as a prime contractor, the company will provide the expertise, equipment and vessel(s) necessary to undertake an intensified underwater search for the missing Boeing 777 aircraft in the defined zone in the southern Indian Ocean.

While the precise search zone is currently being established by an international search strategy working group, it is expected that the successful tenderer will search an area up to 60,000 square kilometres based on the ‘seventh handshake’ arc where the aircraft last communicated with the Inmarsat satellite. Definition of the search zone will be finalised within two to three weeks.

The successful tenderer will localise, positively identify and map the debris field of MH 370 using specialist equipment such as towed and autonomous underwater vehicles with mounted sonar and/or optical imaging systems.

The intensified search will begin in August 2014 and is expected to take up to 12 months, depending on weather conditions. The successful tenderer will use the data from a bathymetric survey (already underway) to navigate the search zone, which has water depth between 1000 and 6000 metres.

The search vessel(s) used by the prime contractor may also be coordinated with other vessels also undertaking search activities in the search zone on behalf of other countries.

A copy of the request for tender is available on the AusTender website at http://www.tenders.gov.au. Request for tender submissions are due by 5.30pm AEST on June 30, 2014.

At the request of the Malaysian Government, the ATSB is leading the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

Search for MH 370 Facts and Statistics:

Joint Agency Coordination Centre of Australia has issued these statistics on the search for MH 370:

Search for MH 370 facts and statistics

  •   Prime Minister Tony Abbott advised of the establishment of the JACC on 30 March 2014, headed by Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston AC AFC (Ret’d).
  •   Malaysia has lead investigative responsibility and the international accident crash investigation is based out of Kuala Lumpur.
  •   Malaysia, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, New Zealand and Australia were all involved in the visual search.
  •   Over 4,600,000 square kilometres of ocean surface were searched.
  •   345 search sorties were conducted by military aircraft for a total of over 2,998 hours.
  •   Over 30% of the military flights were made by Royal Australian Air Force planes.
  •   Aircraft that were involved in the visual search included:
    • -  8 x Royal Australian Air Force ( 4 x AP-3C Orion, 2 x E-7A Wedgetail, 1 x KA350 King Air, 1 x C-130J Hercules)
    • -  1 x Royal New Zealand Air Force (P-3K2 Orion)
    • -  2 X United States Navy (P-8A Poseidon)
    • -  2 x Peoples Liberation Army Air Force (IL – 76)
    • -  3 x Japan (2 x Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force P-3C Orion and 1 x Japanese Coast GuardGulfstream V)
    • -  2 x Republic of Korea (1 x ROK Navy P-3C Orion & 1 x ROK Air Force C-130H)
    • -  3 x Royal Malaysian Air Force (3 x C-130H Hercules)
  •   Over 25 million litres of aviation fuel was used during the course of the visual search.
  •   Up to 19 ships were used to cover the search area.
    • -  5 x Australian ships (1 x Replenishment Ship – HMAS Success, 1 x Frigate – HMAS Toowoomba including 1 x Seahawk Helicopter, 1 x Frigate – HMAS Perth, 1 x Australian Defence Vessel – Ocean Shield, 1 x Motor Vessel – Seahorse Standard)
    • -  1 x USA ship (1 x Replenishment Ship – USNS Cesar Chavez)
    • -  2 x UK ships (1 x Survey Ship – HMS Echo and 1 x Submarine – HMS Tireless)
    • -  10 x Chinese ships (1 x Destroyer – Haikou, 2 x Amphibious Landing Dock – Kunlunshan & Jinggangshan, 1 x Coast Guard Vessel – Haixun 01, 2 x Ocean going Rescue Vessel – Donghaijui 101 & Nan Hai Jiu 101, 1 x Ocean going Rescue Vessel – Ben Hai Jiu III Wars 115, 1 x Replenishment Ship – Quindao Hu, 1 x Ice Breaker – MV Xue Long including Chinese Helicopter 7102, 1 x Survey Ship – Zhu Kezhen)
    • -  2 x Malaysian ships (1 x Frigate – Lekiu 30, 1 x Replenishment Ship – Bunga Mas Enam BM-6)
  •   Bluefin-21 conducted a sub-surface search of over 850 square kilometres of the ocean floor.

 

FedEx Corporation reports fiscal year net income of $1.56 billion

FedEx Corporation (FedEx Express) (Memphis) reported earnings of $2.46 per diluted share for the fourth quarter ended May 31. Last year’s fourth quarter earnings were $2.13 per diluted share, excluding a $0.98 per diluted share business realignment program charge and a $0.20 per diluted share noncash aircraft impairment charge at FedEx Express. Including last year’s charges, earnings were $0.95 per diluted share.

“An outstanding fourth quarter helped FedEx post solid results for fiscal 2014, and we believe we are well positioned for a strong fiscal 2015,” said Frederick W. Smith, FedEx Corp. chairman, president and chief executive officer. “I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the entire FedEx team for their contribution to our results and their continued commitment to providing outstanding service to our customers and connecting people and possibilities around the world.”

For its entire fiscal year the cooperation reported net income (GAAP) of $1.56 billion.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-FS2 N857FD (msn 37728) climbs into the sky at Anchorage International Airport (ANC).

FedEx Express: AG Slide Show

Qatar Airways arrives in Miami

Qatar Airways Miami Debut

Qatar Airways‘ (Doha) inaugural flight to Miami International Airport (MIA) touched down yesterday afternoon (June 10), commencing service to the airline’s sixth US gateway.

The service marked its 142nd destination worldwide from the central hub in Doha, Qatar.

With this new route, Qatar Airways is the only airline to offer nonstop service between the Middle East and Miami, Florida.

The launch continues a major expansion by the airline into the United States. Nonstop service to Philadelphia International Airport began in April, and the airline will commence flights to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in July.

With Doha’s centralized location, travelers from Miami can reach cities such as Bangkok, Nairobi, Colombo, and Mumbai in an impressive 23 hours or less through a quick transfer in Doha.

The airline recently moved its entire operations to the State of Qatar’s new airport – Hamad International, 60 percent of which is built on reclaimed land.

Qatar Airways’ Doha to Miami route is being operated with a Boeing 777-200 in a two-class configuration of 42 seats in Business and 217 seats in Economy. The aircraft offers seatback TV screens providing passengers with the next generation interactive onboard entertainment system and a choice of more than 1,000 audio and video options.

Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 17 years of operations and is currently flying a modern fleet of 134 aircraft to more than 140 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and the Americas.

Miami joins the airline’s existing Americas destinations: Chicago, Houston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Montreal, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. Qatar Airways is set to launch services to a diverse portfolio of new routes during the coming months, including Tokyo Haneda, Japan (June 18), Dallas/Fort Worth, USA (July 1) and Djibouti (July 27).

Copyright Photo: Qatar Airways.

Qatar Airways: AG Slide Show

Australia to contract out the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370

Malaysia logo-1

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) missing flight MH 370 is entering a new phase in the search for the missing Boeing 777-200. So far, no debris has been found from the missing Triple Seven. All 239 passengers and crew members on board Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRO (msn 28420) remain missing.

According to CNN, “Australia, the closest country to the area where the plane is believed to have entered the ocean, has decided to delegate the management and operation of the new phase to a private company.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which is leading the search at the request of the Malaysian government, said Wednesday it is accepting proposals for the task until the end of June. The new search is expected to start in August, at the earliest.”

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Meanwhile, Y.B. Dato Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, Minister of Defence and Acting Minister of Transport of Malaysia, today issued this statement:

Introductory Statement

It has been 89 days since MH 370 went missing. We have entered a new difficult phase which brings with it new challenges which we will overcome together. Today, I met up with the 4 Ministerial Committees and we discussed on our way forward in the search for MH 370.

Let me begin by stating that the ASEAN Member States have publicly acknowledged in April their solidarity as reflected by the concerted efforts in the search mission of the missing MH370. They also recognised the unwavering support from all Member States in this new phase of this unprecedented search. This was again emphasised at the 8th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting held in Nay Pyi Taw on May 20, 2014.

We also have a firm commitment, formalised by our Tripartite Agreement on the 5th of May 2014, between Malaysia, Australia and China that the search needs to be a continuous and intensified effort.

In the Joint Communique between the People’s Republic of China and Malaysia in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, China and Malaysia have also agreed to work closely together in the next phase of the search operation for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean. This Joint Communique was signed and agreed upon on the 31st of May by both the Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak and the Premier of the People’s Republic of China, Premier Li Keqiang.

The Defence Ministers of the Five Power Defence Arrangement have also reaffirmed their continued support for the search mission of MH 370.

As we enter the new phase of this search, we are grateful for the continuous support that we have received from the international community.

Next Of Kin Committee

With regards to the next of kin, we will continue to engage with the families of those on board MH 370 by providing them with timely updates on the search operation. This initiative has been led by Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun. 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. We also appreciate all that has been done by the Chinese Government on this matter.

Technical Committee

Preparations are well underway for the next phase of the search operations which includes the refinement of the search area. A team of experts set up and led by the Australian authorities in Canberra are currently conducting the re-analysis together with Inmarsat. This team has given me the assurance that the search area remains in the arc of the Southern Corridor.

Asset Deployment Committee

On the asset deployment front, we have been in discussions with several Malaysian companies to deploy highly specialised underwater systems and platforms including the Autonomous Unmanned Vehicles (AUVs), Deep-water towed side scan sonars, Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), and support vessels to deploy these assets to join in the new phase of this search mission.

On that note, I am pleased to announce that PETRONAS has agreed to deploy assets under the Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) approach where Malaysian companies are part of the resources to fund the search operations.

PETRONAS will contribute by providing funds for a Deep Towed Side Scan Sonar. A complete system will accompany the asset with a dedicated support vessel complete with crew members.

Boustead is finalising terms for specialised assets and services to be deployed which will include an Oceanographic Survey Vessel with bathymetric survey capabilities, a Deep Towed Side Scan Sonar for deep sea search and a ROV for recovery purposes.

I also had the opportunity to meet with Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defence for the United States of America during the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore last weekend. I have officially requested for the US to continue its lease for the Bluefin-21 AUV, to provide the Orion Deep Towed Side Scan Sonar and the Curv-21 ROV.

In addition, the Chinese survey ship, Zhu Kezhen, has covered 4,088 km2 as part of the bathymetric survey process.

It is important for all the Malaysian entities involved in this effort to be on the same page- working as one team, flying the Malaysian flag to find MH 370.

Communication, Coordination And Media Committee

On that note, the previously announced Communication, Coordination and Media Committee will be liaising with our Australian and Chinese counterparts. Jailani Johari, the Deputy Minister for Communications and Multimedia, will lead this team, consisting of members from all 4 ministerial committees along with the Director General of the Department of Civil Aviation, the Deputy Chief of the Royal Malaysian Navy and Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun, to Canberra first to acquire the latest updates on the search operation and will then travel to Beijing.

Indeed, this will further strengthen our Tripartite Agreement between Malaysia, Australia and China that the search needs to be a continuous and intensified effort.

Concluding Remarks

Let me stress that the search has not stopped and we will keep searching for the plane for as long as it takes. I would like to conclude by stressing that we will continue with the search operations until we have fully covered the search area. We will strive to explore all possible options in finding MH 370

The search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 may be put on hold until August

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) missing flight MH 370, the greatest aviation mystery, may be entering a new phase in the search. So far the search has resulted in nothing being found. According to CNN, the search for the pictured Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRO (msn 28420) and the 239 passengers and crew members may not resume until August.

According to CNN:

“The underwater search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane will effectively be put on hold this week, and may not resume until August at the very earliest, according to Australia’s top transport safety official.

The new timeline means that once Bluefin-21, the American underwater drone operated by a team on board the Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield, wraps up its work in a couple of days, it will be up to two months, if not longer, until new underwater vehicles are contracted and deployed in the hunt for MH 370.”

Read the full story: CLICK HERE

Is Inmarsat correct in its assumptions of where WH 370 went down? CNN explores this question: CLICK HERE

On May 20 Malaysia Airlines issued this statement:

Following the announcement by the Malaysian Minister of Defence and Acting Minister of Transport on May 19, 2014, the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) is pleased to provide further information on the discussion with Inmarsat, assisted by the AAIB, to get a common descriptor for the Inmarsat satellite data which had been provided to Malaysia Airlines when MH 370 first went missing.

It must be noted that previously where reference has been made to “data communication logs” and “raw data”- they refer to the same set of data.

In moving forward, it is imperative for us to provide helpful information to the next of kin and general public – which will include the data communication logs as well as relevant explanation to enable the reader to understand the data provided. It must also be noted that the data communication logs is just one of the many elements of the investigation information.

In line with our commitment towards greater transparency, all parties are working for the release of the data communication logs and the technical description of the analysis for public consumption.

DCA notes Inmarsat’s full support for the ongoing MH 370 investigation.”

Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com.

Malaysia Airlines: AG Slide Show

Austrian Airlines wants labor peace, proposes a new collective agreement offer, opens up the possibility of merging Austrian with subsidiary Tyrolean Airways

Austrian Airlines (Vienna) and its subsidiary Tyrolean Airways (Innsbruck) have presented to its employees a “framework plan for a collective wage agreement applying to flight personnel throughout the entire Austrian Airlines Group. Following the failed negotiations in 2012, the entire flight operations of Austrian Airlines were transferred to its subsidiary Tyrolean Airways, encompassing about 1,900 employees and all the aircraft. Now the company is making employees a new offer i.e. a new Austrian Airlines Group collective wage agreement as a means of increasing planning certainty and creating the basis for future decisions. Negotiations designed to work out specific details should be concluded by May 31, 2014. This collective wage agreement opens up the possibility to merge Tyrolean Airways and Austrian Airlines in the future.”

The company continued:

“The contents of the offer are based on ten months of joint negotiations with the Works Council, trade union and Austrian Federal Economic Chamber. The new agreement acts as a bridgehead from the past aiming to lead Austrian Airlines into the future. Our employees wish for an agreement and a clear perspective moving forward. They also desire to return to Austrian Airlines. We want to make this possible”, says Austrian Airlines CEO Jaan Albrecht.

The cornerstones of the new Group collective wage agreement:

The cornerstones of the new Group collective wage agreement are new flight duty rules, a new salary scale, a profit sharing scheme based on the net profit, a revised pension fund model as well as a new career model for the cabin and cockpit staff.

The current flight duty rules are based on the former collective bargaining agreement applying to Tyrolean Airlines. The new stipulations more effectively takes into consideration the demands involved in operating a long-haul fleet. In contrast to the rejected negotiated settlement concluded in 2012, the salaries of the senior staff members formerly with Austrian Airlines will not be reduced but will stay frozen at their current status until the new salary scale catches up to this level. A profit sharing scheme for employees based on the company’s net profit is also a new component of the agreement. Austrian Airlines has been operating profitably again since 2013 and will enable its employees to participate in its business success.

Another key feature of the new collective wage agreement is a revised pension fund model. Partial payments will be offered to those employees who were previously covered by the Austrian Airlines company pension plan. Depending on the length of service and the respective position, this ranges from about EUR 15,000 for flight attendants to EUR 305,000 for flight captains. A new career model for the cabin crew and cockpit staff, which also facilitates the transfer between the various staff groups, is also part of the offering.

“The most difficult task was developing a new career model. Other airlines have failed precisely for this reason”, states Klaus Froese, Managing Director of Tyrolean Airways. “The centerpiece of our model is a transparent and fair allocation formula for pilots of the regional fleet and pilots of larger types of aircraft to be appointed to vacant plane captain jobs”, he adds.

Stability and planning certainty for employees and the company:

“We want to offer our employees an improved basis for their own personal career planning. I believe that this package of measures provides a good opportunity for this. Today I have asked the employees to authorize their representatives to carry out negotiations on this”, Froese continues.

Last week the negotiating team presented the principal features of the new collective wage agreement to the Works Council for flight and cabin crew (Betriebsrat Bord) of Tyrolean Airways, the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and the trade union. Now negotiations are to be conducted on specific details of the agreement provided that the Works Council is willing to do so. “I think that we have reached a balanced agreement as the basis for negotiations. Now it is all about getting down to specifics”, Froese says. “However, we have to come to a conclusion after ten months of negotiations. The employees want a solution to be reached, and the company must be able to plan ahead.”

If an agreement can be reached with the Works Council, this would mean much more to the employees than just working in accordance with a collective wage agreement. A collective agreement for the entire Austrian Airlines Group would serve as the basis for a merger of Tyrolean Airways and Austrian Airlines. For the customers, the bottom line is that there would only be one brand. “Flown by Austrian, operated by Austrian“, is the way Froese describes it.

Basis for development of the fleet:

“The restructuring measures implemented over the past few years have put Austrian Airlines in a better financial position. We are once again operating profitably and want to take the next steps into the future. We have Lufthansa’s support for this”, explains Austrian Airlines CEO Jaan Albrecht.

“This year Austrian Airlines will make a forward-looking decision and move ahead with ordering a successor model to its fleet of Fokker aircraft. However, such a significant investment decision cannot be made without a consensus being reached on a collective wage agreement”, Albrecht continues.

At the present time the Austrian Airlines Group has a work force of about 6,300 employees, of which about 3,100 employees comprise the cockpit and cabin staff. A new collective agreement with the ground staff was concluded last year with the help of the trade union and the Works Council.

 

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Tyrolean Airways now operates all Austrian Airlines-titled aircraft except one Boeing 777-200 which Austrian officially maintains on its AOC to keep it active. It is very challenging for both Austrian Airlines and its employees to operate an international airline on a regional airline contract. Operated by Tyrolean Airways-employed flight crews, Boeing 777-2B8 ER OE-LPD (msn 35960) completes its final approach to the runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York.

Austrian Airlines: AG Slide Show

Scoot to receive its first Boeing 787 in November

Boeing (Chicago and Seattle) and Scoot (Singapore) have announced a five-year pilot training agreement to support the airline’s fleet transition to 787-9 Dreamliners.

Under the agreement, Boeing Flight Services, a business unit of Boeing Commercial Aviation Services, will provide 787 flight training to Scoot pilots at Boeing’s Singapore training campus. In 2014 alone, an anticipated 32 Scoot pilots will undergo training.

The 2013 Boeing Pilot & Technician Outlook, a respected industry forecast of personnel demand, projects a requirement for 498,000 new commercial airline pilots and 556,000 new maintenance technicians to fly and maintain the new airplanes entering the world fleet over the next 20 years. In Southeast Asia, 51,500 pilots and 64,700 technicians are needed to fill the gap.

Scoot will acquire 20 Boeing 787-9s beginning in November 2014. A second 787 is due ar the end of February 2015. The airplanes were originally ordered by parent company Singapore Airlines. Scoot currently operates Boeing 777-200s on medium and long haul low-cost flights between Singapore and Sydney, Gold Coast, Bangkok, Taipei, Tokyo, Tianjin, Shenyang, Nanjing, Qingdao, Seoul, Perth and Hong Kong.

Scoot is expected to introduce the new type in December on its routes.

Copyright Photo: Nik French/AirlinersGallery.com. Eventually Scoot will become an all 787 operator (following Norwegian Long Haul) and the pictured Boeing 777-200 ERs will be phased out. Former Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-212 ER 9V-OTA (msn 28507) arrives at Tokyo (Narita).

Scoot: AG Slide Show

In the meantime, Scoot is running a contest (now extended) to name the first Boeing 787 (below).

Scoot Name our 787 Contest (Scoot)

 

United to launch San Francisco-Tokyo Haneda flights on October 26

United Airlines’ (Chicago) application to serve Tokyo’s downtown Haneda Airport from its San Francisco hub has received final approval from the Department of Transportation (DOT), beating out Hawaiian Airlines. United will launch the new route on October 26 with Boeing 777-200 aircraft.

According to DOT, “under a U.S.-Japan agreement, U.S. airlines may operate a total of four daily round-trip flights per day at Haneda Airport, where operations are limited. As a result of prior proceedings, the four flights have been operated by Hawaiian Airlines from Honolulu; Delta Air Lines from Los Angeles and Seattle; and, until December 2013, American Airlines from New York (JFK).

The Department launched a proceeding to award the newly available Haneda opportunity after American Airlines informed DOT that it would be ending its New York-Haneda service. Two airlines applied; United proposed service from San Francisco, California, and Hawaiian Airlines proposed service from Kona, Hawaii.”

Update: On Monday May 12 United issued this statement:

United Airlines today announced it will add Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to its route network, with daily nonstop service from San Francisco effective October 26, 2014, subject to government approval.

Haneda Airport will be the tenth trans-Pacific destination that United serves nonstop from San Francisco, and the third new Asia-Pacific airport – also including Taipei and Chengdu – for United this year.

Flight 875 will depart San Francisco International Airport daily at 6:35 p.m., arriving at Haneda Airport at 10:05 p.m. the following day (all times local). On the return, flight 876 will depart Haneda daily at 12:05 a.m., arriving in San Francisco at 5:15 p.m. the previous day, after crossing the International Date Line. Flying times will be approximately 11 hours, 30 minutes westbound and 9 hours, 10 minutes eastbound.

Effective November 2, 2014, San Francisco arrival and departure times will be one hour earlier due to the end of daylight saving time.

Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-222 ER N218UA (msn 30222) in the Star Alliance color scheme taxies at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) hub.

United Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

Delta’s board authorizes a $2 billion share repurchase program and a 50% increase in dividends

Delta Air Lines‘ (Atlanta) Board of Directors have announced the next phase of the company’s plans to return capital to shareholders, including a 50 percent increase to its dividend and a new share repurchase authorization. The Board has authorized a new $2 billion share repurchase program, to be completed no later than Dec. 31, 2016. In addition, beginning in the September 2014 quarter, the company’s quarterly dividend will increase to $0.09 per share from the current $0.06 per share. Together, these two programs are expected to return an additional $2.75 billion to shareholders through 2016.

“Delta has deployed its strong cash flows to drive value for owners by strengthening its balance sheet through debt and pension reductions while also returning a significant amount of cash back to shareholders,” said Daniel Carp, chairman of Delta’s Board of Directors. “The Board is furthering our long-term commitment to Delta shareholders by substantially increasing our dividend and also providing a flexible vehicle to return additional cash to shareholders through the $2 billion share repurchase program. This next phase of our shareholder return program reflects the Board’s confidence in Delta’s ability to sustain and improve upon its already strong financial performance.”

Balanced Approach to Capital Deployment

In an investor presentation this morning, Delta updated its progress against the balanced capital deployment plan announced by the company in May 2013. With its financial performance and cash flows having exceeded the targets under that plan, Delta announced new plans to further drive shareholder value by accelerating the company’s efforts to reduce debt levels, address its pension obligations, and return cash to shareholders.

Debt: Delta ended the March 2014 quarter with $9.1 billion of adjusted net debt, a reduction of $2.6 billion since the end of 2012 and nearly $8 billion since the company began its debt reduction efforts in 2009. The company expects to reach $7 billion of adjusted net debt in 2015, two years ahead of its originally stated goal, and $5 billion of adjusted net debt by the end of 2016.
Pension: For 2013 and 2014, the company contributed nearly $1 billion each year to its defined benefit pension plans, through a combination of $700 million in required minimum funding and $250 million of incremental funding. This pension funding level, combined with higher interest rates and returns on pension assets, helped lower the company’s unfunded pension liability by 25 percent to just over $10 billion. The company plans to maintain its current $1 billion annual funding level through 2020, with a goal of achieving 80 percent funded status by that date.

Cash returns to shareholders: The company is on track to return $700 million to shareholders by early June 2014, through $200 million of dividends and completing its original $500 million share repurchase authorization more than two years ahead of its June 30, 2016 expiration date. The new repurchase authorization and increase to the quarterly dividend approved by Delta’s Board of Directors are expected to return an additional $2.75 billion to shareholders through 2016.

Repurchases under Delta’s program may be made through a variety of methods, which may include open market purchases, privately negotiated transactions, block trades, or accelerated share repurchase transactions in compliance with applicable regulatory guidelines, including Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 10b-18. Purchases will be made subject to market and economic conditions, applicable legal requirements, and other relevant factors. Delta had approximately 853 million shares of common stock outstanding as of March 31, 2014.

Bloomberg Businessweek article on Delta’s quest for a billion dollars in baggage fees!: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-232 LR (Longer Range) N706DN (msn 30440) climbs away from the runway at Paine Field near Everett, WA with the snow-capped Olympic Mountains in the background.

Delta Air Lines: AG Slide Show

Emirates SkyCargo opens a new cargo center today at Dubai World Central’s (DWC) Al Maktoum International Airport

Emirates SkyCargo (Dubai) starts operations today (May 1) from its new cargo terminal at Dubai World Central’s (DWC) Al Maktoum International Airport.

The official start of operations was marked by the very early morning arrival of an Emirates SkyCargo Boeing 777F Freighter from London (Heathrow), carrying a full load of more than 100 tons of cargo. The load of cargo included vehicles, ship spares, pharmaceuticals, oilfield equipment and an aircraft engine, some of which are for distribution in the U.A.E., while other cargo will be carried onward by Emirates passenger aircraft at Dubai International Airport (DXB) to various markets around Emirates’ network, such as South Africa, China, India and South Korea.
Emirates Media Player

Construction of phase one of the cargo terminal and supporting facilities began in July 2013, and with its completion operations are now in full swing with 250 staff on site. The newly opened terminal is equipped with start-of-the-art technology and will be able to handle 700 000 tons of cargo annually and have 500 staff when phase two, scheduled to be completed by September this year, comes into operation. The terminal has the potential for further expansion to reach 1 million tons.

Emirates SkyCargo currently has a fleet of 12 freighters, 10 Boeing 777Fs and two Boeing 747-400 ERFs, which operate to more than 50 destinations around the world. Cargo arriving on freighters will be transported by dedicated trucking services between DWC and Dubai International Airport along the Emirates Road (E-611) which will be the main corridor for connecting cargo between freighters and the passenger fleet. The current trucking fleet numbers 47, which will be increased relative to future growth requirements.

The newly opened terminal is equipped with state-of-the-art technology. It features a fully automated material handling system which is one of the world’s first to have an automated Quick Dolly Transfer System that enables quick transfer of 6 Unit Load Devices (ULDs) simultaneously. In addition, an automated pallet handling system, advanced storage system, offices, work station areas, modern communication and security systems and many amenities for employees, including canteens have been installed. The perishable area has been designed to handle about 140 000 tons of cargo per annum, featuring three large areas each with different temperature ranges.

The terminal infrastructure also includes 45 truck docks and 80 truck parking spaces, in addition to 12 aircraft stands directly in front of the terminal.

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-F1H A6-EFJ (msn 35610) arrives at London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR).

Emirates Aircraft Slide Show: CLICK HERE

 

Emirates is coming to Brussels on September 5

Emirates (Dubai) today announced that it will launch a new daily service to Brussels, Belgium, from September 5, 2014.

Brussels will be Emirates’ 147th destination, closely following the launch of Oslo, Norway on September 2. The nonstop service will be operated by a Boeing 777 in a three-class configuration. Emirates will be the first international airline to offer a First Class product from Brussels to the Middle East and Asia.

The UAE is home to over 30 Belgian companies and over 3,000 Belgian residents. Emirates currently has over 160 Belgian nationals working in various roles across the company.

Brussels will be the eighth new destination from Emirates this calendar year following the earlier launches of Kiev, Taipei and Boston as well as Abuja and Kano launching on August 1, Chicago launching on August 5 and Oslo launching on September 2, 2014.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-21H LR (Longer Range) A6-EWC (msn 35576) climbs away from the ground at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Emirates: AG Slide Show

WSJ: Kuwait calls in Ms. Roumi to turn around Kuwait Airways

Kuwait Airways (Kuwait City) has a new CEO. Ms. Rasha Al Roumi, 52, has been selected by the Kuwait government to turn around the flag carrier according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Dave Glendinning/AirlinersGallery.com. The Boeing 777-200 ERs are being phase out as the airline becomes an all-Airbus airline. Boeing 777-269 ER 9K-AOB (msn 28744) taxies to the gate at London Heathrow Airport (LHR).

Kuwait Airways: AG Slide Show

 

Delta Air Lines reports a first quarter net profit of $281 million despite more than 17,000 cancelled flights

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) today reported financial results for the first (March) quarter. Key points include:

Delta’s pre-tax income for the March 2014 quarter was $444 million, excluding special items1, an increase of $363 million over the March 2013 quarter on a similar basis.

Delta’s net income for the March 2014 quarter was $281 million, or $0.33 per diluted share, excluding special items1. This is $196 million higher year over year despite $163 million of non-cash tax expense now recognized after the reversal of the company’s valuation allowance.

On a GAAP basis including special items, Delta’s pre-tax income was $335 million and net income was $213 million, or $0.25 per diluted share.

Delta cancelled more than 17,000 flights due to severe weather in January and February, double the number of flights cancelled for weather in 2013. These cancellations resulted in $90 million of lost revenue and $55 million lower pre-tax income.

Results include $99 million in profit sharing expense in recognition of Delta employees’ contributions toward achieving the company’s financial goals.

Delta generated $951 million of operating cash flow and $390 million of free cash flow in the March 2014 quarter. This strong cash generation allowed the company to reduce its adjusted net debt to $9.1 billion, contribute more than $600 million of funding to its defined benefit pension plans, and return $176 million to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.

“The March quarter’s record results in the face of unprecedented weather show the strength and resilience of Delta. By delivering the industry’s best customer service, operational reliability and financial performance, Delta people continue to show that they are the very best in the business,” said Richard Anderson, Delta’s chief executive officer. “Our work is not finished, and there is great opportunity ahead as we expect the June quarter to produce 14% – 16% operating margins. We are transforming Delta into a high-quality S&P 500 company that consistently delivers strong earnings growth and shareholder returns.”

Revenue Environment

Delta’s operating revenue improved 5 percent, or $416 million, in the March 2014 quarter compared to the March 2013 quarter, despite $90 million of lost revenue due to weather-related cancellations. Traffic increased 3.5 percent on a 1.7 percent increase in capacity.

Passenger revenue increased 5 percent, or $357 million, compared to the prior year period. Passenger unit revenue (PRASM) increased 3.2 percent year over year with a 1.3 percent improvement in yield.

Cargo revenue decreased 9 percent, or $21 million, driven by lower freight volumes and lower yields.
Other revenue increased 8 percent, or $80 million, driven by higher joint venture and SkyMiles revenues.”March quarter’s top line growth of 5 percent shows the strength of Delta’s revenue momentum even through the revenue loss from weather and a shift of the Easter holiday traffic into April,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s president. “We see continued revenue strength as we move through the year from corporate revenue gains, the benefits of the Virgin Atlantic joint venture and improved ancillary revenues. These initiatives, coupled with a solid demand environment, should lead to unit revenue growth in the mid-single digits for the June quarter.”

Cost Performance

Total operating expense in the quarter increased $18 million year-over-year driven by the impact of employee investments including $79 million higher profit sharing expense. These cost increases were almost fully offset by lower fuel expense, savings from Delta’s structural cost initiatives, and receipt of a $25 million insurance claim related to Superstorm Sandy.

Consolidated unit cost excluding fuel expense, profit sharing and special items (CASM-Ex2), was 0.3 percent higher in the March 2014 quarter on a year-over-year basis, driven by the impact of employee investments and 1 point of pressure from weather-related cancellations. GAAP consolidated CASM decreased 1.4 percent.

Fuel expense, excluding mark-to-market adjustments, declined $167 million as a result of lower market fuel prices and better settled hedge performance. Delta’s average fuel price3 was $3.03 per gallon for the March quarter, which includes $107 million in settled hedge gains. On a GAAP basis, consolidated fuel expense for the March quarter decreased $109 million year-over-year, driven by lower market fuel prices and mark-to-market adjustments on fuel hedges.

Operations at the Trainer refinery produced a $41 million loss for the March quarter as a result of the same lower market fuel prices that lowered Delta’s overall fuel spend. During the quarter, one of the major crude units at the refinery was taken offline for scheduled modifications which lowered throughput levels. These modifications will yield a higher level of jet and diesel distillates going forward and improve the profitability of Trainer. In addition, refinery profitability was negatively impacted by an increase in Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) expense.

Non-operating expense for the quarter increased by $66 million, driven by a $31 million seasonal loss associated with Delta’s 49% ownership stake in Virgin Atlantic, an $18 million loss on extinguishment of debt driven by Delta’s debt reduction initiatives, and $39 million higher foreign exchange impact, including a $23 million loss associated with the devaluation of the Venezuelan currency. These losses were offset by $34 million lower interest expense.

“The March quarter marks another quarter with non-fuel unit cost growth below 2 percent, and the growing momentum of our domestic refleeting and other cost initiatives provide the platform to maintain this performance,” said Paul Jacobson, Delta’s chief financial officer. “We are addressing all parts of our cost base through executing our structural cost initiatives, lowering our fuel expense with the refinery and hedging, and reducing our interest burden with additional debt reduction.”

Cash Flow

Cash from operations during the March 2014 quarter was $951 million, driven by the company’s March quarter profit and the normal seasonal increase in advance ticket sales. Cash from operations is net of $605 million of contributions made by Delta to its defined benefit pension plans during the quarter. The company generated $390 million of free cash flow.

Capital expenditures during the March 2014 quarter were $570 million, including $514 million in fleet investments. During the quarter, Delta’s net debt maturities and capital leases were $353 million.

In the March quarter, the company returned $176 million to shareholders. On March 14, the company paid $51 million to shareholders, which represents a $0.06 per share quarterly dividend. In addition, the company repurchased four million shares at an average price of $30.94 for a total of $125 million. The company has completed $375 million of the $500 million share repurchase plan authorized by Delta’s Board of Directors in May 2013.

Delta ended the quarter with $5.6 billion of unrestricted liquidity and adjusted net debt of $9.1 billion. The company has now achieved nearly $8 billion in net debt reduction since 2009.

June 2014 Quarter Guidance

Following are Delta’s projections for the second (June) 2014 quarter:

2Q 2014 Forecast

Operating margin
14% – 16%

Fuel price, including taxes, settled hedges and refinery impact
$2.97 – $3.02

2Q 2014 Forecast

(compared to 2Q 2013)

Consolidated unit costs – excluding fuel expense and profit sharing
Up 0% – 2%

System capacity
Up 2% – 3%

Special Items
Delta recorded a net $68 million special items charge in the March 2014 quarter, including:

a $31 million charge associated with Delta’s domestic fleet restructuring;

a $21 million mark-to-market adjustment on fuel hedges; and

a $16 million charge for debt extinguishment and other.

Delta recorded a net $78 million special items charge in the March 2013 quarter, including:

a $102 million charge for facilities, fleet and other, primarily associated with Delta’s domestic fleet restructuring; and

a $24 million mark-to-market adjustment on fuel hedges.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-232 ER N862DA (msn 29734) departs from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Delta Air Lines: AG Slide Show

Japan Airlines will launch JAL SKY NEXT on May 28 from Tokyo Haneda to Fukuoka

Japan Airlines (JAL) (Tokyo) will launch its first JAL SKY NEXT service between Tokyo (Haneda) and Fukuoka on May 28, 2014. A total of 77 aircraft are scheduled to be revamped sequentially and will be progressively introduced on domestic routes.

JAL SKY NEXT logo

JAL SKY NEXT will provide updated cabin interior with all-leather seats and LED lighting. Additionally, the in-flight internet service-JAL SKY Wi-Fi with new in-flight entertainment website will be introduced on domestic routes to deliver more comfortable travel experience and convenience to customers.

The first type with the new service standard will be the Boeing 777-200.

JAL SKY NEXT seats (JAL)

Top Copyright Photo (all others by JAL): Akira Uekawa/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-246 JA8984 (msn 27651) in the special “Sky Eco” livery departs from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.

JAL-Japan Airlines: AG Slide Show

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

 

Malaysia logo-1

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.

 

 

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

AMSA logo

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

Malaysia logo-1

Video: From Malaysia Airlines:

 

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