Tag Archives: Boeing 777

National Geographic Magazine introduces a new TV series called “Ultimate Airport Dubai”

National Geographic Magazine (Washington) through its National Geographic Channel has introduced a new TV series called “Ultimate Airport Dubai” which will focus on the operations of fast-growing Dubai International Airport (DXB), the home of Emirates.

DESCRIPTION

Less than 55 years ago, Dubai International Airport was a vast desert of sand. 
Today, it is a modern mecca of international air travel. 

With a staggering 344,000 flights, 57 million passengers and 2 million tons of cargo flying in and out each year, it is the world’s third busiest airport for international passengers. 

In Ultimate Airport Dubai, step behind-the-scenes of Dubai International’s three massive terminals, including Terminal 3 – the largest building on earth by floor space, measuring 359 football pitches in size! 

With unprecedented access to all facets of this mega facility, the series follows some of the 60,000 staff working hard to keep it safe, secure, and on schedule.

EPISODE GUIDE

Series 1

  • Ultimate Airport Dubai: Episode 1
    The new concourse is trialed to test if it’s on schedule to receive 15 million passengers and 33 of the mighty 389-million-dollar Airbus A380s.
  • Ultimate Airport Dubai: Episode 2
    The construction team behind the new concourse feel the heat as more than 200 volunteers test whether it’s ready to be used by the public.
    Next Showing:  
    Wednesday 1 January at 3:00AM – National Geographic Channel
  • Ultimate Airport Dubai: Episode 3
    The pressure is on as engines, cargo and construction materials all go missing – pushing an airport already near-capacity to breaking point.
    Next Showing:  
    Wednesday 1 January at 3:45AM – National Geographic Channel
  • Ultimate Airport Dubai: Episode 4
    Over a million passengers pass through Dubai International Airport every week. Meet the people behind the scenes making everything run smoothly.
    Next Showing:  
    Wednesday 1 January at 4:30AM – National Geographic Channel
  • Ultimate Airport Dubai: Episode 5
    Over a million passengers pass through Dubai International Airport every week. Meet the people behind the scenes making everything run smoothly.
    Next Showing:  
    Wednesday 1 January at 5:15AM – National Geographic Channel
  • Ultimate Airport Dubai: Episode 6
    Duty Manager Khalil has to help a family stranded in the terminal, while Controller Nargis must free a cargo of meat stuck in the desert heat.
  • Ultimate Airport Dubai: Episode 7
    David Robson must greet some temperamental VIP passengers and Dispatcher Nizel has a problem when a brand-new A380 goes missing.
  • Ultimate Airport Dubai: Episode 8
    Passenger Operations has to cope with a group of stranded tourists, and a missing passenger puts a curfew-critical flight to Sydney in jeopardy.
  • Ultimate Airport Dubai: Episode 9
    Although Dubai International tries to prepare for every scenario, more than one million passengers each week inevitably bring unusual challenges.
  • Ultimate Airport Dubai: Episode 10
    John has seconds to drive on runways looking for debris and engineer Mian must work out why a jet won’t move after its parking brake is released.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. Completing its final approach into DXB is Emirates’ Boeing 777-31H ER A6-EGZ (msn 41081).

Emirates: AG Slide Show

Watch Season 1, Episode 1:

Cathay Pacific orders an additional Boeing 747-8 freighter and three 777-300 ERs

Cathay Pacific Airways (Hong Kong) and Boeing (Chicago) announced the airline has ordered an additional 747-8 Freighter and three 777-300 ER (Extended Range) airplanes. The order, valued at about $1 billion at current list prices, will bolster Cathay Pacific’s 747-8 Freighter fleet and 777-300ER fleet to 14 and 53, respectively.

Hong Kong’s flag carrier is in the midst of renewing its freighter fleet with newer, more efficient airplanes, while also looking to strengthen its position as a market leader in the air cargo business.

The 747-8 Freighter gives cargo operators the lowest operating costs and best economics of any large freighter airplane while providing enhanced environmental performance. At 250 feet, 2 inches (76.3 m) long — 18 feet, 4 inches (5.6 m) longer than the 747-400 Freighter — the 747-8 Freighter gives customers 16 percent more revenue cargo volume compared to its predecessor with nearly equivalent trip costs and lower ton-mile costs.

The Boeing 777 is the world’s most successful twin-engine, long-haul airplane. The 777-300ER is equipped with the world’s most powerful GE90-115B commercial jet engine, and can seat up to 386 passengers in a three-class configuration with a maximum range of 7,930 nautical miles (14,685 km).

Hong Kong’s flag carrier operates 55 777s, including 38 777-300 ERs and an all-Boeing freighter fleet that includes 13 747-8 Freighters. With this order, Cathay Pacific will have 21 777-9X airplanes, 15 777-300 ERs and one 747-8 Freighter on order with Boeing.

Top Copyright Photo: Nick Dean/AirlinersGallery.com. Brand new Boeing 747-867F B-LJI (msn 39247) lifts off the runway at Paine Field near Everett, Washington.

Cathay Pacific: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. The Stretch Triple Seven is becoming the mainstay of the Cathay Pacific long-range passenger aircraft fleet as the Boeing 747-400 replacement. Sleek Boeing 777-367 B-KPN (msn 36165) steadily climbs away from the runway at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

American Airlines to re-bank its hubs to increase revenue

American Airlines‘ (Dallas/Fort Worth) new management led by new CEO Doug Parker is re-banking its hubs to increase revenue starting with the Miami hub in August according to the Dallas News.

Previously the old AA management had developed a “rolling hub” concept like other carriers did after the 9/11 attacks rather than a true “all at once” hub of the past. Parker is going back to the true hub concept which will increase revenue and allow for more quick connections. However during storm events, it can also stretch the hub facilities including runway capacities and available gates. Summer afternoon thunderstorms affect many of the hubs, especially Miami and winter snow and ice storms affect the northern hubs. When the weather is fine, the hub usually works well and it makes money. When things back up due to weather or a security-related event, the hub can unravel quickly leading to missed connections.

Like other carriers, American is now going back to a banked schedule for its hubs.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Brian Peters/AirlinersGallery.com. American’s newly-repainted Boeing 777-223 ER N791AN (msn 30254) in the Oneworld scheme arrives at Los Angeles.

So far in our reader’s poll the current new AA tail is winning by 58 percent of the votes. Have you voted in our informal poll on which AA color scheme should be adopted for the total fleet? If not vote here: CLICK HERE

American Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

euroAtlantic Airways celebrates 20 years of flying

euroAtlantic Airways (Lisbon) is celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2013.

The airline was established as Air Zarco by Tomaz Metello and the largest Portuguese leisure corporation, Pestana Hotels and Resorts, on August 25, 1993. The charter airline adopted the name of Air Madeira in 1997 until May 17, 2000 when the current name of euroAtlantic Airways – Transportes Aéreos S.A. was adopted.

Copyright Photo: Pedro Baptista/Flyingphotos. Former Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-212 ER CS-TFM (msn 28513) departs from the Lisbon base with a large 20 Years 1993-2013 emblem.

euroAtlantic Airways: AG Slide Show

euroAtlantic logo

Video: Just Planes Video:

Company video:

FedEx misses second quarter Wall Street estimates but still reports net income of $500 million, up 14%

FedEx Corporation (FedEx Express) (Memphis) today reported earnings of $1.57 per diluted share for the second quarter ended November 30, compared to $1.39 per share last year. Last year’s second quarter results were impacted by $0.11 per diluted share due to the effects of Superstorm Sandy.

“FedEx posted solid second-quarter earnings, reflecting improved performance at FedEx Express, as the profit improvement plan introduced more than a year ago continues to gain momentum,” said Frederick W. Smith, FedEx Corp. chairman, president and chief executive officer. “The power of our broad global portfolio continues to drive our growth and I am confident we are well on our way to achieving the ambitious goals we have set.”

Second Quarter Results

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

• Revenue of $11.4 billion, up 3% from $11.1 billion the previous year

• Operating income of $827 million, up 15% from $718 million last year

• Operating margin of 7.3%, up from 6.5% the previous year

• Net income of $500 million, up 14% from last year’s $438 million

Operating income and margin increased primarily due to yield and cost management at FedEx Express. Results also benefited from the favorable comparison to last year’s Sandy-impacted results, lower pension expense and a modest benefit from the voluntary employee severance program.

In October, FedEx Corporation announced the authorization of a new share repurchase program of up to 32 million shares of common stock, which augmented the 7.4 million shares then remaining under the previously authorized repurchase program. During the second quarter, the company repurchased 7.2 million shares of FedEx common stock, increasing the fiscal 2014 year-to-date purchase total to 10.0 million shares. The second quarter share repurchases had no effect on the quarter’s earnings per share, but are expected to improve full year earnings by $0.04 per share.

Outlook

FedEx is increasing its forecast of full-year earnings per share growth to 8% to 14% above last year’s adjusted results, compared to its previous growth range of 7% to 13%. This outlook reflects share repurchases made to date but does not include any benefit from additional share repurchases. Share repurchases are expected to continue, but the timing will be at the company’s discretion. The outlook also assumes the market outlook for fuel prices and continued moderate economic growth. The capital spending forecast for fiscal 2014 remains $4 billion.

“We remain on track to deliver a solid increase in earnings this fiscal year,” said Alan B. Graf, Jr., FedEx Corp. executive vice president and chief financial officer. “FedEx Express reported significant year-over-year improvement in earnings during the quarter, aided by continued execution of our profit improvement programs and by ongoing cost reduction initiatives. We continue to look for additional ways to improve efficiencies and remain committed to increasing long-term shareowner value.”

FedEx Express Segment

For the second quarter, the FedEx Express segment reported:

• Revenue of $6.84 billion, down slightly from last year’s $6.86 billion

• Operating income of $326 million, up 42% from $230 million a year ago

• Operating margin of 4.8%, up from 3.4% the previous year

Revenue decreased slightly due to lower express freight revenue and lower fuel surcharges, mostly offset by increased base package yields. U.S. domestic revenue per package increased 2%, as higher rates and weight per package were partially offset by lower fuel surcharges. U.S. domestic average daily package volume decreased slightly.

FedEx International Priority® (IP) revenue per package increased 3% while average daily volume declined 5%. Within the IP category, average daily volume for the lower-yielding distribution services declined while IP average daily volume, excluding these distribution services, increased 1%. FedEx International Economy® average daily volume grew 10%.

Operating income and margin improved year over year due to higher base package yields, lower pension expense, and lower net expenses from ongoing cost reduction activities.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. A beautiful takeoff portrait of FedEx Express’ Boeing 777-FS2 N852FD (msn 37723) after a stop at Anchorage, Alaska (click on the photo for the full-size view).

FedEx Express: AG Slide Show

Video: How FedEx turns a Boeing 757 freighter in 55 minutes:

Video: FedEx has great TV advertisements that have won several marketing awards. Here is the latest for Christmas 2013:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Qatar Airways: AG Slide Show

Air India gets another chance to join the Star Alliance

Air India (Mumbai) is getting another chance to join the Star Alliance. At their board meeting held in Vienna on December 13, the Chief Executives of the Star Alliance member airlines decided unanimously to recommence the integration process with Air India.

The Indian national carrier was originally accepted as a future member of Star Alliance in December 2007, but the integration process was halted in July 2011. The suspension was a joint decision which allowed Air India to focus on completing its merger with Indian Airlines, without the distraction of the work required for full integration into the Star Alliance network.

Copyright Photo: Yannick Delamarre/AirlinersGallery.com. The Boeing 777-300 ERs are now the mainstay of the international fleet. Boeing 777-337 ER VT-ALK (msn 36309) departs from Paris (CDG).

Air India: AG Slide Show

Cathay Pacific introduces its third edition “Spirit of Hong Kong” logo jet

Cathay Pacific 777-300 B-KPB (13-The Spirit of Hong Kong)(Grd) HKG (Cathay Pacific)(LRW)

Cathay Pacific Airways (Hong Kong) on December 9 unveiled the third edition of the airline’s “Spirit of Hong Kong” livery at a special ceremony held at Hong Kong International Airport. The new livery marks the climax of the recent “The Spirit of Hong Kong” campaign run by the airline.

Cathay Pacific Chief Executive John Slosar officiated at the livery unveiling ceremony, held in the hangars of the Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Ltd (HAECO). Guest of Honour at the event was Mrs Carrie Lam, Chief Secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. More than 200 other guests, including government officials, aviation partners, campaign winners and their friends and relatives, were in attendance.

The livery design, painted onto one of the pictured Boeing 777-367 ER B-KPB (msn 35299), carries the silhouettes of the 110 “The Spirit of Hong Kong” winners. The campaign was launched by the airline in July in support of the Hong Kong SAR Government’s own “Hong Kong: Our Home” campaign, and called on Hong Kong people to submit creative entries that illustrated the true spirit of the city.

The contest attracted an overwhelming response from the public, with more than 5,000 high-quality entries received, all of which demonstrated the true spirit of Hong Kong and what the city means to the contestants.

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, John Slosar said: “We launched ‘The Spirit of Hong Kong’ campaign to encourage people to share what makes them proud of their home city and to promote this city’s extraordinary spirit. Having had such a great response to the campaign, we are now excited to be able to highlight that spirit through this unique livery. Our third ‘Spirit of Hong Kong’ aircraft will fly around our global network, helping to highlight the qualities that make this city so special.

“Cathay Pacific has been the home carrier of Hong Kong since 1946. For six decades we have been growing together with Hong Kong, supporting the city and its people every step of the way. We will continue to uphold the Hong Kong spirit, support our home, and infuse the city with positive energy as we move forward together,” Mr Slosar added.

At the ceremony, Mrs Carrie Lam said, “Cathay Pacific’s ‘The Spirit of Hong Kong’ campaign echoes the theme of the Government’s ‘Hong Kong: Our Home’ initiative launched earlier this year.  I look forward to seeing the ‘Spirit of Hong Kong’ livery spreading the Hong Kong spirit, which values people from different cultures, backgrounds and generations and encourages creativity, to the whole world.”

“The Spirit of Hong Kong” campaign called for entries that best represented the spirit of Hong Kong in terms of the relevance of the message, the ability to inspire, creativity and presentation quality. Two-hundred weekly winners were selected by public voting, while a judging panel separately selected 100 Top Winners and 10 Champions. A total of 620 round-trip tickets were given to the winners to enjoy trips to destinations around the networks of Cathay Pacific and sister airline Dragonair.

Cathay Pacific began highlighting the spirit of its home city in 1997, when the airline created a special livery for one of its aircraft that showcased the Hong Kong skyline in celebration of the transfer of sovereignty. In 2000, the airline unveiled its second “Spirit of Hong Kong” aircraft, created through a livery design competition, that highlighted the resilience of Hong Kong and urged people to come together to overcome the challenges the city faced.

The latest “Spirit of Hong Kong” aircraft was set to begin its mission soon after the unveiling ceremony, carrying silhouettes of 110 of the city’s people to destinations around the world.

Copyright Photo and Images: Cathay Pacific.

Cathay Pacific (see the previous logo jets): AG Slide Show

Cathay Pacific 777-300 B-KPB (13-The Spirit of Hong Kong)(Drawings)(Cathay Pacific)(HR)

Video (how the design was selected):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

American Airlines: AG Slide Show

Air India finalizes the deal to sell five Boeing 777-200 LRs to Etihad Airways

Air India (Mumbai) has finalized the details in order to sell five Boeing 777-200 LR (Longer Range) aircraft to Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi). As previously prorated, the two airlines signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) in October. The aircraft will be delivered by March 2014 according to this report by The Economic Times.

The 777-200 LR is a new type for Etihad Airways.

Read the full story from The Economic Times: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-237 LR VT-ALH (msn 36307) is relatively new as it was delivered to Air India on August 28, 2009.

Air India: AG Slide Show

Etihad Airways: AG Slide Show

American Airlines and American Eagle cancel nearly 500 flights today at DFW

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) issued this short statement concerning its largest hub at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) due to a winter ice storm:

Because of the anticipated winter weather American Airlines and American Eagle have proactively canceled nearly 500 flights in and out of the DFW Airport through 11 a.m. central time Friday, December 6.

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. American Airlines’ Boeing 777-223 ER N790AN (msn 30251) arrives at Los Angeles International Airport.

American Airlines: AG Slide Show

American Eagle: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. American Eagle Airlines’ (2nd) Embraer ERJ 145LR (EMB-145LR) N928AE (msn 14500911)  lands at Baltimore/Washington.

Qatar Airways is coming to Dallas/Fort Worth

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

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

Qatar Airways’ Boeing 777-200LR Business Class

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

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

Qatar Airways: AG Slide Show

 

JAL to introduce “JAL Sky Suite 777″ service to Frankfurt in April

JAL-Japan Airlines (Tokyo) announced today its new “JAL Sky Suite 777″ service will be introduced between Tokyo (Narita) and Frankfurt in April 2014.

JAL Sky Suite 77 service boasts increased comfort and functionality in all four classes. According to JAL, the revamped aircraft has yielded favorable feedback from customers since it was launched on Tokyo (Narita) and London route in January 2013. It won a Good Design Award in 2013 and Skytrax’s Best Business Class Airline Seat of the year for 2013.

JAL Sky Suite 77 has been introduced between Tokyo (Narita) and London, between Tokyo (Narita) and New York, and between Tokyo (Narita) and Paris as well as between Tokyo (Narita) and Los Angeles.

Between Tokyo (Narita) and Frankfurt (JL407/JL408):

Class

Name of seat

Number of Seats

First Class

JAL SUITE

8 seats

Business Class

JAL SKY SUITE

49 seats

Premium Economy

JAL SKY PREMIUM

40 seats

Economy Class

JAL SKY WIDER

135 seats/147seats

 

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. JAL’s Boeing 777-346 ER JA731J (msn 32431) wears a special “JAL Sky Suite 777″ logo on the rear fuselage at its approaches London’s Heathrow Airport.

JAL-Japan Airlines: AG Slide Show

Air New Zealand unveils its latest Hobbit theme aircraft for the new movie “The Desolation of Smaug”

Air New Zealand 777-300 ZK-OKO (13-Hobbit-Smaug)(Grd) AKL (Air New Zealand)(LR)

Air New Zealand (Auckland) has done it again. The champion of promotion today launched it latest Hobbit-theme aircraft, this time with Smaug, the dragon, emblazoned on Boeing 777-319 ER ZK-OKO (msn 38407) (above) now flying to Los Angeles for the movie premier.

The airline issued this statement:

The Official Airline of Middle-earth today announced the key elements of its global marketing campaign two weeks ahead of the premiere of the second film in The Hobbit Trilogy, which is a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures.

A key feature of the airline’s campaign, titled Middle-earth is closer than you think, is a competition to give three Hobbit movie fans from around the world the money-can’t-buy opportunity to attend the world premiere movie screening with a friend. A fourth lucky entrant will win a once-in-a-life-time Middle-earth experience for two in New Zealand.

The video Just Another Day in Middle-earth stars Air New Zealand flight attendants, pilots, aircraft engineers, an aircraft marshall, baggage handlers and airport staff as themselves, with a cheeky film-inspired twist, and more than 120 extras. It aims to inspire travellers from around the world to take their own unexpected journey – with the key message ‘Middle-earth is closer than you think’.

The video also features Kiwi Dean O’Gorman, who plays dwarf Fili, and the voice of Sylvester McCoy, The Hobbit Trilogy’s Radagast the Brown.

Dean O’Gorman says the video captures both the magic of The Hobbit films and the unique personality of Air New Zealand.

“The cast and crew have been travelling to New Zealand so much over the past few years the airline’s become like a second home to some of them and they just love the uniquely Kiwi service. It was great to be involved in this video and see so many Air New Zealand staff having a bit of fun with all the Hobbit film references.”

Viewers of the video from around the world can enter for their chance to win one of four trips of a lifetime for two to their choice of either Middle-earth (New Zealand) or to the premiere of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in Los Angeles, including airfares, accommodation and rental car.

Another feature of the Air New Zealand marketing campaign will be the unveiling of a Boeing 777-300 aircraft in special Hobbit film-inspired livery on December 2 in Auckland (see above). The flying billboard will leave that night for Los Angeles where it will touch down in time for the The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug premiere.

Head of Global Brand Development Jodi Williams says there is a common perception that New Zealand is tucked away at the bottom of the earth and the perceived distance barrier stops some travellers considering the country as a destination.

“For travellers from the majority of Air New Zealand’s long haul destinations, including Shanghai, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Hong Kong and Tokyo, Middle-earth is just a sleep away.”

Tourism New Zealand figures from last year’s marketing activity around The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey show 82 percent of international survey respondents stated the campaign increased their interest in New Zealand. 8.5 percent of international visitors to New Zealand during January-March this year said The Hobbit Trilogy was a factor in stimulating their interest in New Zealand and one percent said it was the most important factor.

Air New Zealand, The Airline of Middle-earth image.

From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson, director of “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy, comes “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”  Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, with Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield.  The international ensemble cast is led by Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, and Orlando Bloom as Legolas.  The film also stars Mikael Persbrandt, Sylvester McCoy, Aidan Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Graham McTavish, Adam Brown, Peter Hambleton, John Callen, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, William Kircher, Stephen Hunter, Ryan Gage, John Bell, Manu Bennett and Lawrence Makoare.

The screenplay for “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro, based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. Jackson also produced the film, together with Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner and Fran Walsh. The executive producers are Alan Horn, Toby Emmerich, Ken Kamins and Carolyn Blackwood, with Philippa Boyens and Eileen Moran serving as co-producers.

New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Present a Wingnut Films Production, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”  The film is a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), with New Line managing production.  Warner Bros. Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television distribution being handled by MGM. www.thehobbit.com

Copyright Photos: Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand (see the other special theme aircraft): AG Slide Show

Videos:

Joel Chusid’s Airline Corner – November 2013

Guest Editor Joel Chusid

Hello Kitty Takes to the Skies 

Guest Editor Joel Chusid

Guest Editor Joel Chusid

In 1974 the “Hello Kitty” character appeared in Japan on a vinyl change purse targeted to young girls, and it crossed the Pacific to the U.S. two years later. Today it is a multi-billion dollar phenomenon with over 50,000 products ranging from dolls and stickers to products aimed at more mature audiences such as debit cards, electric guitars and wines. But Taiwan-based EVA Air took it to a whole new level in 2005 when it premiered a “Hello Kitty” themed jetliner, used on domestic and intra-Asia flights. The experiment ended in 2009, but due to pressure from the public, EVA dedicated three new wide-body Airbus A330-300s with the theme.  But even that wasn’t enough, and the plane took off more than anyone expected. Today EVA Air has no fewer than five Hello Kitties, specially-painted and appointed Airbus A330s, both -200s and the larger -300s, flying on its system, including trans-Pacific, to Los Angeles. The theme extends well beyond the livery.  Flight attendants wear Hello Kitty aprons (even the male attendants?) and serve themed meals.  The variety of Hello Kitty items aboard defies imagination, from boarding passes and baggage tags to headrest covers, pillows, soap dispensers; even toilet paper and air sickness bags bear the Hello Kitty emblem. Oh yes, the Business Class cabin also follows the theme, although instead of the bright pink and other colors used throughout, it’s more discreetly appointed in a neutral gray. See for yourself: http://evakitty.evaair.com/en/

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. EVA Air Boeing 777-35E ER B-16703 (msn 32643) in the new Hello Kitty – Sanrio Family scheme lands in Los Angeles.

Slide Show (see the other Hello Kitty logo jets): AG Slide Show

Ten, now Eleven?

The original Boeing 747 jumbos had eight seats across the economy class cabin. I recall a 2-4-2 configuration, much like many airlines have today on their slightly narrower, but still twin-aisle Airbus 330s and some Boeing 777s. But times have changed.  Emirates was the first airline to install ten seats across on its Boeing 777s, and many other airlines followed. At this past November’s Dubai Air Show, Tim Clark, the President of Emirates, told the media he would favor an eleven seat across version, if it could be worked out. Emirates is by no means alone, since it’s understood that the more seats filled, the more revenue an airline brings in. Consider Russia’s Transaero, which has opted to put 652 seats on its new twin-deck Airbus A380s, which normally hold 470-520 passengers.  Most of those seats, 616 to be exact, will be dedicated to economy class, to be used on long haul flights like Moscow to Bangkok or the Dominican Republic.  Talk about a long, long ride with over 600 of your closest friends! Air Austral, a French airline that flies between Paris and Reunion in the Indian Ocean, announced plans in 2008 to buy two all-economy A380s with an astounding 840 seats, but they reversed that plan more recently, and it’s questionable if they will take the airplane at all.

Wonderful Copenhagen

Speaking of Russia, passengers tend to imbibe quite a bit more when flying. Over the years there have been many stories in the media about drunken passengers and even crews on some of the Russian airlines, yes, the ones in the cockpit, occasionally taking nips, or a bit more.  A recent easyJet flight carrying enthusiastic football fans from Moscow to Manchester diverted to Copenhagen to offload not one, but seven drunken passengers. They probably got to enjoy Copenhagen, but I’m sure they’d rather have been at the game.

Inflight Entertainment, to Some

To the delight of, or dismay to some, passengers flying over the holidays will get to view some of the more creative inflight safety videos.  As long as the required safety information is delivered, whether by flight attendants doing it personally over a PA, an audio recording or a video, the regulatory agencies are satisfied.  Some airlines have been getting more and more creative and light-hearted in designing these. American uses a diverse group of actual employees.  Delta has a new holiday-themed video, which features everything from Santa, elves, a yule log, an ugly Christmas sweater, mistletoe and even a dreydel in the aisle. Air New Zealand has had a tradition of creating some of the more unusual ones such as with Richard Simmons, a hobbit-themed video (“Welcome aboard Air Middle Earth”) and one that featured flight crew with clothing painted on their bodies (“The Bare Essentials of Safety”). The most recent additions, depending on the aircraft, can be found starring TV host and survival expert Bear Grylls or the ageless Betty White whose slow-paced version is aimed at seniors. But Virgin America has the glitziest with the “Safety Dance”, featuring a high tempo montage of music and dancing, clearly aimed at a hip, younger audience.  They’re all available for your viewing, whether you’re flying or not, online.  Look ‘em up and decide for yourself if you’d be entertained or turned off.  I enjoyed them all… the first time.

Free daily airline news from World Airline News: CLICK HERE

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

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

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

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

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

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

American Airlines: AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

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

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

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

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

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

United Airlines: AG Slide Show

Oops! Hint: When you are courting Boeing to stay in Washington State, it is always a good idea to use a photo of a Boeing aircraft (not Airbus)!

The Washington Aerospace Partnership through the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce took out a full-page advertisement in the Wednesday Seattle Times. “The Future of Washington” ad made a pitch to keep the new 777X in Washington State (the machinist union recently voted down the proposed Boeing contract extension). Boeing is now actively looking at other lower-cost locations. There was only one problem with the ad created by an unspecified advertising agency: the ad featured an Airbus aircraft!

Read the full story (with a photo of the ad) from the Boeing Blog of The Seattle Times: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Note to the advertising agency: This is a Boeing 777, more specifically a 777-346 ER of Japan Airlines. Our worldwide team of photographers know quite well their aircraft and we always strive to get the best shots. We are always standing ready to help any advertising agency with the exact aircraft and the best, most dramatic shots. Contact us.

Meanwhile the issue continues. The machinists are fighting to preserve their pensions. Boeing under the 777X contract extension proposal wanted to freeze the pension benefits. Here is an opinion page article in the New York Times that presents the viewpoint of the Machinist rank and file members: CLICK HERE

Boeing knows in the new world order there is always someone ready to work for less, with less paid benefits and other cities and states (or countries) willing to welcome their lucrative and giant manufacturing program to their location with tax incentives. The cost of labor affects the final selling price. Every politician who wants to stay in office, fights for new jobs. Chicago-based Boeing is probably now factoring in the cost of moving, building new facilities and training new employees (like Airbus is doing in Mobile, Alabama) versus what it will take money-wise to get a new contract extension from the IAM. Although they are separate types of aircraft (wide body versus narrow body), the Seattle area machinists are really now competing against the Mobile area future aircraft assemblers for wages and benefits. They are also competing against future workers in Charleston in the right-to-work South Carolina should Boeing decide to expand that facility for the 777X. In reality, on a global scale, every worker today, doing the same type of work, is competing against a lower paid employee somewhere in the world. It is a global village.

There are tough decisions ahead for both sides.

Alitalia is likely to cut up to 2,600 jobs to reduce costs

Alitalia (2nd) (Rome) is likely to eliminate between 2,500 and 2,600 positions, including 1,300 are fixed-term contracts and possibly 220 pilots, 400 cabin staff and 600-700 ground workers according to this report by Reuters citing union sources familiar with the latest cost-cutting plan.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-243 ER EI-DBM (msn 32782) approaches New York (JFK) for landing.

Alitalia: AG Slide Show

Etihad Airways orders from both Airbus and Boeing, becomes the biggest 787 customer

Etihad 777X and 787 (Boeing)(LRW)

Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) today announced an order for 56 Boeing widebody airplanes with options and purchase rights for 26 additional airplanes at the start of the 2013 Dubai Airshow.

In addition, the airline has ordered 30 787-10s, the newest and largest member of the 787 Dreamliner family. When today’s order is combined with the carrier’s previous order for 41 787-9s, Etihad Airways becomes the world’s largest airline customer for the Dreamliner family with a total of 71 787s on order. The order includes options and purchase rights for an additional 12 787-10s.

Today’s announcement also marks the 1,000th order for the 787 Dreamliner family since its launch in 2004. The 787 has reached this milestone faster than any other twin-aisle airplane in aviation history.

Etihad’s order also includes one additional 777 Freighter for its cargo fleet, with options for two additional 777 Freighters.

According to Boeing, advanced technology including a new composite wing, all-new engines and superior aerodynamics will result in the incredible fuel efficiency promised by the 777X family.

The 777-9X, with around 400 seats, will be the largest and most efficient twin-engine commercial jet in the world with 12 percent lower fuel consumption and 10 percent lower operating costs over the competition. It will have the lowest operating cost per seat of any commercial airplane and no competitor in its market segment.

The 777-8X will be the most flexible commercial jet in the world with breakthrough economics and greater range capability than today’s 777.

The 787-10 is the third and longest member of the super-efficient 787 family. With its greater passenger and cargo capacity, high degree of commonality and its passenger-pleasing features, the 787-10 will complement the family while setting a new benchmark for fuel efficiency and operating economics. The 787-10 will be 25 percent more efficient than airplanes of its size today and more than 10 percent better than anything offered by the competition for the future.

Final assembly and flight test of the 787-10 are set to begin in 2017, with first delivery targeted for 2018.

In addition, Etihad Airways also ordered from Airbus. Etihad Airways also announced a firm order for 50 A350 XWBs, 36 A320neo aircraft and one A330-200F as part of its fleet modernization strategy. The contract was signed today at the 2013 Dubai Airshow by James Hogan, Etihad Airways CEO and Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO.

The order comprises 40 A350-900s, ten A350-1000s, one A330-200F, 26 A321neo’s and 10 A320neo’s. Etihad currently operates a fleet of 23 A320 Family aircraft, 25 A330s and 11 A340s. The new aircraft will fit seamlessly into the airline’s existing long-haul fleet delivering operational efficiencies and cost savings.

The A350 XWB (Xtra Wide-Body) is an all-new mid-size long range product line comprising three versions. The new Family, whose fuselage cross-section is optimized to accommodate Airbus’ 18-inch economy seat-width for long range passenger comfort, will also bring a 25 percent step change in efficiency compared with existing aircraft in this size category. Scheduled for entry-into-service in 2014, the A350 XWB to date has already won 764 firm orders from 39 customers worldwide.

The A320neo is offered as an option for the A320 Family and incorporates new more efficient engines and large “Sharklet” wing tip devices, which together will deliver up to 15 percent in fuel savings. At the end of October 2013, firm orders for the NEO stood at 2,487 from 44 customers, making it the fastest selling commercial airliner ever and underlining its market leadership position.

The A330-200F is the all-freight version of the best-selling A330 Family. It is the world’s most modern mid-size freighter and can carry 70 tons of payload with a range capability of up to 4,000 nm. To date, Airbus has won more than 1,280 orders for the various versions of the A330, with over 1,010 aircraft currently flying with more than 100 operators worldwide.

Images: Boeing (above) and Airbus (below).

Etihad Airways: AG Slide Show

Etihad A320-200neo (03)(Flt)(Airbus)(LRW)

Etihad A350-900 (03)(Flt)(Airbus)(LRW)

Boeing launches the 777X today with orders from Lufthansa, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways and Emirates

Boeing 777-9X (Boeing)(LR)

Boeing (Chicago) today formally launched the 777X program at the 2013 Dubai Airshow with a record-breaking number of customer orders and commitments for the newest member of its twin-aisle product family. Agreements for 259 airplanes from four customers across Europe and the Middle East provide a strong foundation to support development and production of the airplane.

Representing the largest product launch in commercial jetliner history by dollar value, 777X orders and commitments include Lufthansa with 34 airplanes; Etihad Airways with 25; Qatar Airways with 50 and Emirates with 150 airplanes. The combined value of the agreements is more than $95 billion at list prices.

The 777X builds on the passenger-preferred and market-leading 777, which today commands 55 percent of market share in its category in terms of backlog, and 71 percent of the in-service fleet worldwide. The 777X family includes the 777-8X and the 777-9X, both designed to respond to market needs and customer preferences.

The 777X builds on the best-in-class dispatch reliability from today’s 777, as well as offering more market coverage and revenue capability that surpasses the competition. The 777-8X competes directly with the A350-1000, while the 777-9X is in a class by itself.

Opening new growth opportunities for airlines, the 777-9X offers seating for more than 400 passengers, depending on an airline’s configuration choices. With a range of more than 8,200 nautical miles (15,185 km), the airplane will have the lowest operating cost per seat of any commercial airplane.

The second member of the family, the 777-8X, will be the most flexible jet in the world. The airplane will seat 350 passengers and offer an incredible range capability of more than 9,300 nautical miles (17,220 km). In addition, the airplane will have unmatched takeoff and payload capability compared to the competition.

The 777X introduces the latest technologies in multiple places, including the most advanced commercial engine ever – the GE9X by GE Aviation – and an all-new high-efficiency composite wing that has a longer span than today’s 777. The airplane’s folding, raked wingtip and optimized span deliver greater efficiency, significant fuel savings and complete airport gate compatibility.

Like the 787 Dreamliner which was launched as the 7E7, the 777X will be formally named at a later date. Design of the 777X is underway and suppliers will be named in the coming months. Production is set to begin in 2017, with first delivery targeted for 2020.

Boeing 777X Comparsion Chart

According to Reuters, Boeing will firm up the configuration of the aircraft in 2015 and plans to have a detailed design by 2016.

Production will begin in 2017, with the first test flight scheduled for 2019 and first delivery in 2020.

The Launch Customers:

Emirates 777X (Boeing)(LR)

Etihad 777X (Boeing)(LR)

Lufthansa 777X (Boeing)(LR)

Qatar 777X (Boeing)(LR)

Videos:

LATAM swings to a net profit of $52 million in the third quarter

LATAM Airlines Group (LAN Airlines and TAM Linhas Aereas) (Santiago and Sao Paulo) swung to the black in the third quarter with a net profit of $52 million versus a loss of $49 million a year ago for the same period.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Read the analysis by Reuters: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Rodrigo Cozzato/AirlinersGallery/com. LAN Cargo’s (LAN Airlines Chile) Boeing 777-F16 N778LA (msn 41518) departs from Viracopos Airport near Sao Paulo.

LAN Airlines: AG Slide Show

TAM Linhas Aereas: AG Slide Show

Reuters IAM Interview: “If Boeing wants to do a retest, talk to us. The ball is in their court.”

Boeing logo

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), representing 31,000 Boeing workers in Washington State, as previously reported voted down the latest Boeing contract extension offer to build the proposed 777X in the Seattle area by a 2 to 1 margin. According to this interview and report by Reuters, IAM President R. Thomas Buffenbarger said it was up to Boeing to resubmit a new offer to the workers. The union chief voiced concern in the interview that work in the Seattle area will dwindle down after the current contract expires in 2016.

Several states are now putting together incentive packages to bring the 777X to their area. Boeing’s board had recently voted to speed up the the 777X. Boeing is likely to announce the formal launch of the new jet at Dubai Airshow with an order from Emirates.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

The “new American” to operate under the umbrella of the American Airlines Group Inc.

AMR Corporation (Dallas/Fort Worth), whose principal operating subsidiary is American Airlines, Inc. (Dallas/Fort Worth), and US Airways Group, Inc. (Phoenix) today announced that they have applied to list the common stock of the combined company on the NASDAQ Global Select Market. Upon closing of the merger and AMR’s emergence from Chapter 11, the combined company will be renamed American Airlines Group Inc. and will use the ticker symbol “AAL.” Additionally, the common stock of both US Airways Group, Inc. and AMR Corporation will be cancelled and shareholders will receive equity interests in American Airlines Group Inc. per the terms of the Merger Agreement and Plan of Reorganization.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. American Airlines’ Boeing 777-323 ER N721AN (msn 31546) prepares to touch down in New York (JFK).

American Airlines: AG Slide Show

Alitalia’s board approves the new plan, Air France-KLM vote against it

Alitalia’s (2nd) (Rome) board of directors yesterday approved a revised business plan, promising “severe cost cuts” to make the Italian airline more profitable but did not include specifics according to this report by Reuters.

Air France-KLM Group, which owns 25 percent of the Italian carrier, voted against the plan but it did not address the long-term debt issue.

Read the full story: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Alitalia’s Boeing 777-243 ER EI-ISB (msn 32859) turns on the taxiway at Los Angeles International Airport.

Alitalia: AG Slide Show

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

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

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

Copyright Photo: Lufthansa Cargo.

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

Lufthansa Cargo: AG Slide Show

Air Canada reports 3Q adjusted net income of C$365 million

Air Canada (Montreal) today reported adjusted net income of $365 million or $1.29 per diluted share in the third quarter of 2013 compared to adjusted net income of $229 million or $0.82 per diluted share in the third quarter of 2012, an increase of 59.4 per cent.  Third quarter 2013 EBITDAR amounted to $626 million compared to EBITDAR (excluding benefit plan amendments) of $551 million in the third quarter of 2012, an increase of $75 million . On a GAAP basis (which includes special items), Air Canada’s net income was $299 million or $1.05 per diluted share compared to net income of $359 million or $1.28 per diluted share in the same quarter of the previous year, during which Air Canada recorded a special operating expense reduction of $127 million in Benefit plan amendments relating to changes to the retirement age under one of its collective agreements. No comparable operating expense reduction was recorded in the third quarter of 2013.

“I am extremely pleased to report Air Canada’s best quarterly performance in the Corporation’s history, surpassing previous records for adjusted net income and EBITDAR,” said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our operating leverage for the quarter was significant, as we achieved a 59.4 per cent improvement in adjusted net income based on increased total revenues of 4.6 per cent for the quarter.  These results underscore the momentum that has been achieved in executing on the foundations of our transformation strategy – sustainable profitability and positioning Air Canada as a stronger national and global competitor.

“In the quarter, we announced a series of significant developments in achieving our priorities: We successfully completed the $1.4 billion refinancing of our 2010 notes, significantly lowering our cost structure, strengthening our balance sheet and improving our credit profile.  We completed the transfer of all 15 Embraer 175 aircraft to Sky Regional, our Air Canada Express partner, an important step in Air Canada’s regional diversification strategy and our ongoing cost transformation program.  We finished construction of a new state-of-the-art Operations Centre that is designed to significantly improve operational capabilities and efficiencies of our global network.  To further develop Toronto Pearson as a truly global hub and even stronger North American gateway, we recently concluded an enhanced cooperation agreement with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA).  In addition, we implemented an expanded commercial agreement with Air China, to serve additional points in China on a codeshare basis with our Star Alliance partner.

“I am particularly pleased to see the stock market’s endorsement of the strategy that our team has developed. This was reflected in our stock price more than tripling over the past year.  Moreover, our commitment as a progressive employer and investment in the well-being of our employees has also been recognized with the recent naming of Air Canada as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers.

“Looking ahead, we will take delivery of the final three of five new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft by February 2014 , and we are actively preparing to begin integrating the first six of 37 Boeing 787 aircraft into our widebody fleet in 2014.  For the summer of 2014, we announced a major European expansion as these new widebody aircraft enter Air Canada’s international fleet allowing for the transfer of current aircraft to Air Canada rougeTM in order to operate in leisure markets on a more cost competitive basis.

“Our operational performance has also shown continued improvement. On-Time Performance (OTP) for the quarter improved over 20 percentage points compared to the previous year, the third consecutive quarter of significant year-over-year gains.  I would like to thank our employees for their on-going focus on taking care of our customers while operating a safe and efficient airline.  Their professionalism, collaboration and dedication, combined with Air Canada’s award-winning product has once again been recognized by this year’s Ipsos Reid Business Traveller Survey, released in September, that confirmed that Canada’s frequent business travellers recognize Air Canada as their preferred airline by a growing margin – the widest margin versus our domestic competitors since 2008,” concluded Mr. Rovinescu.

Third Quarter Income Statement Highlights

Third quarter 2013 system passenger revenues were $3,177 million , an increase of $148 million or 4.9 per cent over the third quarter of 2012, on a 2.9 per cent growth in traffic and a 2.0 per cent improvement in yield.  Passenger revenue per available seat mile (RASM) increased 1.8 per cent from the third quarter of 2012 on the yield growth.  Air Canada reported a passenger load factor of 86.2 per cent for the third quarter of 2013, 0.1 percentage points below the third quarter 2012 record load factor.  In the premium class cabin, passenger revenues increased $12 million or 2.1 per cent on yield growth of 3.8 per cent as traffic declined 1.7 per cent from the third quarter of 2012.

Operating expenses increased $160 million or 6 per cent from the third quarter of 2012.  As a result of changes to the terms of the ACPA collective agreement related to retirement age, which are not subject to regulatory approval, Air Canada recorded an operating expense reduction of $127 million in Benefit plan amendments in the third quarter of 2012 related to the impact of those amendments on pension and other employee benefit liabilities.  No such operating expense reduction was recorded in the third quarter of 2013.

Air Canada’s adjusted cost per available seat mile (adjusted CASM), which excludes fuel expense, the cost of ground packages at Air Canada Vacations and unusual items, decreased 3.4 per cent compared to the third quarter of 2012.  The 3.4 per cent reduction in adjusted CASM was in line with the adjusted CASM decrease of 3.0 per cent to 3.5 per cent projected in Air Canada’s news release dated October 3, 2013 .

In the third quarter 2013, Air Canada recorded operating income of $416 million compared to operating income of $423 million in the same quarter in 2012.  As discussed above, an operating expense reduction of $127 million was recorded in Benefit plan amendments in the third quarter of 2012 while no such operating expense reduction was recorded in the third quarter of 2013.

Financial and Capital Management Highlights

At September 30, 2013 , unrestricted liquidity (cash, short-term investments and undrawn lines of credit) improved to $2,412 million or 20 per cent of 12-month trailing revenues ( September 30, 2012 – $2,135 million or 18 per cent of 12-month trailing revenues).

Adjusted net debt amounted to $4,104 million at September 30, 2013 , a decrease of $33 million from December 31, 2012.   Despite adding US$285 million of debt related to the two Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft delivered in June and August 2013 , Air Canada was able to reduce net debt by maintaining positive cash from operations.

In the third quarter of 2013, negative free cash flow of $249 million declined $96 million from the third quarter of 2012, largely due to the addition of one Boeing 777 aircraft, partly offset by an increase in cash flows from operating activities due to better operating results.

For the 12 months ended September 30, 2013 , return on invested capital (“ROIC”) was 10.8 per cent versus 7.7 per cent at December 31, 2012.   Air Canada has targeted achieving an ROIC of 10 to 13 per cent by 2015.

Current Outlook

For the fourth quarter of 2013, Air Canada expects its system ASM capacity, as measured by available seat miles (ASMs), to increase in the range of 3.0 to 4.0 per cent when compared to the fourth quarter of 2012.

Air Canada expects its full year 2013 system ASM capacity and domestic ASM capacity to increase in the range of 2.0 to 2.5 per cent when compared to the same periods in 2012 (as opposed to the increase of 1.5 to 2.5 per cent disclosed in Air Canada’s news release dated October 3, 2013 ).

For the fourth quarter of 2013, Air Canada expects adjusted CASM to decrease 2.0 to 3.0 per cent when compared to the fourth quarter of 2012.

For the full year 2013, Air Canada continues to expect adjusted CASM to decrease in the range of 1.5 to 2.0 per cent from the full year 2012, consistent with the revised outlook provided with the October 3, 2013 traffic release.

Air Canada continues to expect its full year 2014 system capacity to increase by 9.0 to 11.0 per cent when compared to the full year 2013.  This projected increase in capacity, which is being deployed primarily on international markets, is consistent with the fleet plan discussed in Air Canada’s Third Quarter 2013 MD&A.  The projected capacity increase is due to the addition of five high-density Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft (the first two having been delivered in June and August 2013 , respectively, and the remaining three scheduled for delivery between November 2013 and February 2014 ), the scheduled arrival in 2014 of the first six Boeing 787 aircraft, and the planned growth from Air Canada rougeTM.

Air Canada’s outlook assumes Canadian GDP growth of 1.25 to 1.75 per cent for 2013 and Canadian GDP growth of 2.0 to 3.0 per cent for 2014.

Air Canada also expects that the Canadian dollar will trade, on average, at C$1.03 per U.S. dollar for the fourth quarter of 2013 and the full year 2013 and that the price of jet fuel will average  89 cents per litre for the fourth quarter of 2013 and the full year 2013.

The following table summarizes Air Canada’s above-mentioned outlook for the fourth quarter and full year 2013 and related major assumptions:

 

Fourth Quarter 2013 versus 
Fourth Quarter 2012
Full Year 2013 versus 
Full Year 2012
Current Outlook
Available seat miles (System) Increase 3.0% to 4.0% Increase 2.0% to 2.5%
Available seat miles (Canada) n/a Increase 2.0% to 2.5%
Adjusted CASM (1) Decrease 2.0% to 3.0% Decrease 1.5% to 2.0%
(1) Excludes fuel expense, the cost of ground packages at Air Canada Vacations and unusual items
Major Assumptions -
Fourth Quarter 2013
Major Assumptions -
Full Year 2013
Major Assumptions
Canadian dollar per U.S. dollar 1.03 1.03
Jet fuel price – CAD cents per litre 89 cents 89 cents
Canadian economy 2013 Annualized Canadian GDP
growth of 1.25% to 1.75%
Canadian GDP growth of
1.25% to 1.75%

 

For the full year 2013, Air Canada continues to expect:

  • Depreciation, amortization and impairment expense to decrease by $115 million from the full year 2012.
  • Employee benefits expense to increase by $70 million from the full year 2012.
  • Aircraft maintenance expense to decrease by $40 million from the full year 2012 level, which includes a favourable maintenance return provision adjustment of $32 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The following table summarizes the above-mentioned projections for the full year 2013:

Full Year 2013 versus 
Full Year 2012
Depreciation, amortization and impairment expense Decrease $115 million
Employee benefits expense Increase $70 million
Aircraft maintenance expense Decrease $40 million

 

The outlook provided constitutes forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws and is based on a number of additional assumptions and subject to a number of risks.  Please see section below entitled “Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Information.”

Non-GAAP Measures

Below is a description of certain non-GAAP measures used by Air Canada to provide additional information on its financial and operating performance.  Such measures are not recognized measures for financial statement presentation under Canadian GAAP and do not have standardized meanings and may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other public companies.  Refer to Air Canada’s Third Quarter 2013 MD&A for reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures.

  • Adjusted net income (loss) and adjusted net income (loss) per diluted share are used by Air Canada to assess its performance without the effects of foreign exchange, net financing expense on employee benefits, mark-to-market adjustments on derivatives and other financial instruments recorded at fair value and unusual items.
  • EBITDAR is commonly used in the airline industry and is used by Air Canada to assess earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, impairment and aircraft rent as these costs can vary significantly among airlines due to differences in the way airlines finance their aircraft and other assets.
  • Adjusted CASM is used by Air Canada to assess the operating performance of its ongoing airline business without the effects of fuel expense, the cost of ground packages at Air Canada Vacations and unusual items, such as impairment charges and benefit plan amendments, as such expenses may distort the analysis of certain business trends and render comparative analyses to other airlines less meaningful.
  • Free cash flow is used by Air Canada as an indicator of the financial strength and performance of its business because it shows how much cash is available for such purposes as repaying debt, meeting ongoing financial obligations and reinvesting in Air Canada.
  • Adjusted net debt is a key component of the capital managed by Air Canada and provides a measure of the airline’s net indebtedness.  Adjusted net debt is calculated as the sum of total long-term debt and finance lease obligations and capitalized operating leases less cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments.
  • Return on invested capital is used by Air Canada to assess the efficiency with which it allocates its capital to generate returns. Return is based on Adjusted net income (loss) (as discussed in the section above), excluding interest expense and implicit interest on operating leases. Invested capital includes average long-term debt, average finance lease obligations, the value of capitalized operating leases (calculated by multiplying annualized aircraft rent expense by 7) and the market capitalization of Air Canada’s outstanding shares.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-333 ER C-FRAM (msn 35250) approaches Tokyo (Narita) for landing.

Air Canada: AG Slide Show

Korean Air finalizes its order with Boeing

Korean Air (Seoul) and Boeing (Chicago) have finalized an order for five 747-8 Intercontinentals and six 777-300 ER (Extended Range) jetliners that was announced as a commitment during the Paris Air Show in June. In addition, Korean Air has also announced an order for one additional 787 Dreamliner. The value of the combined order is valued at $3.9 billion at current list prices.

With this order Korea’s flag carrier expands its backlog of 747-8 Intercontinentals and 777-300ERs to 10 each. The order also increases Korean Air’s 787 backlog to 11.

Korean Air is currently the only airline in the world to order both the passenger and freighter variations of the 747-8. The airline also became the first international carrier to simultaneously operate both the 747-8 and 777 Freighter.

Korean Air’s current fleet of 90 Boeing passenger airplanes consists of 737, 747 and 777 airplanes. The airline also operates an all-Boeing cargo fleet of 27 747-400, 747-8 and 777 Freighters. The airline’s Aerospace Division is also a key Boeing partner on both the 747-8 and 787 programs, supplying the distinctive raked wing-tips for each model.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Korean Air’s Boeing 777-3B5 ER HL8275 (msn 37651) arrives in Los Angeles.

Korean Air: AG Slide Show

Ethiopian Airlines to take delivery of its first Boeing 777-300 ER on November 7

Ethiopian 777-300ER (03)(Flt)Ethiopian)(LR)

Ethiopian Airlines (Addis Ababa) will take delivery of its first Boeing 777-300 ER on November 7. Boeing 777-36N ER ET-APX (msn 42101) is the first of four and is currently being painted for the handover.

The new 777-300 ER will operate on Ethiopian’s dense routes such as from Addis Ababa to Guangzhou (China), Washington (Dulles) D.C., Dubai and Luanda. The aircraft is scheduled to serve the Addis Ababa – Luanda route three times a week, as of November 10, 2013, and three times a week on the Addis Ababa – Guangzhou route starting on November 15, 2013.

In other news, Ethiopian will extend its system to Singapore on December 3, 2013 with three weekly flights. The new flights to Singapore will be operated with Boeing 767-300 aircraft with 24 seats in Ethiopian Cloud Nine Business Class and 211 seats in Economy class.

Flight Days From To Departure Arrival
ET626 TU/THU/SA Addis Ababa Singapore(via BKK) 00:40 18:15
ET627 TU/THU/SA Singapore(via BKK) Addis Ababa 22:45 06:25

Image: Ethiopian Airlines.

Ethiopian Airlines: AG Slide Show

Boeing delivers the first Boeing 777-300 ER to Kenya Airways

Boeing (Chicago) has delivered a 777-300 ER (Extended Range) to GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) for lease to Kenya Airways (Nairobi). The pictured 777-36N ER 5Y-KZZ (msn 41818) was handed over on October 24.

Kenya Airways’ 777-300 ER is configured with 400 seats, 28 in Premier World and 372 in Economy, and features USB ports, power sockets and an all-new in-flight entertainment system throughout the cabin. The airplane can fly up to 7,825 nautical miles (14,490 kilometers) and is equipped with GE90-115B engines, the world’s most powerful commercial jet engine.

Kenya Airways is set to take delivery of a further two 777-300 ERs, including an additional lease, as part of the carrier’s 10-year strategic plan dubbed ‘Project Mawingu.’ The Nairobi-based carrier plans to increase its fleet size from 44 airplanes to 107 by 2021 and destinations from the current 62 to 115. Currently the airline operates an all-Boeing long-haul fleet of four 777-200 ERs and six 767-300 ERs.

With this delivery, Kenya Airways is also working with Boeing to support the Alaskan Sudan Medical Project (ASMP) by carrying 10,400 lbs (4,717 kilograms) of humanitarian supplies on the 777-300 ER’s delivery flight to Kenya. ASMP will use the supplies to build medical clinics, drill water wells and construct bio-sand filters for clean water in the Jonglei region of South Sudan. The humanitarian cargo will also include water pumps and agriculture equipment to support local farmers, fulfilling the ASMP’s mission statement of saving lives through health, clean water and agriculture.

Kenya Airways operates a fleet of more than 25 Boeing airplanes including, 777s, 767s and 737s. The carrier serves more than 60 destinations across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe and has nine 787 Dreamliners currently on order from Boeing.

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-36N ER 5Y-KZZ (msn 41818) climbs beautifully from the runway at Paine Field near Everett.

Ethiopian Airlines: AG Slide Show

Etihad Airways and Emirates are expected to place large orders next month at the Dubai Air Show

Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) according to Reuters, is expected to place a large order shortly for additional Boeing jets, including the new Boeing 777X mini-jumbo and additional 787s.

Etihad is nearing its 10th anniversary on November 12.

Etihad’s order could pre-empt a widely expected large order for 100 or more 777X from rival Emirates Airline (Dubai) when it hosts the Dubai Air Show in November.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Etihad Airways is already a Boeing 777 operator for both passenger and cargo operations. Boeing 777-3FX ER A6-ETN (msn 39689) completes its final approach at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Etihad Airways:

AG Slide Show

Qatar Airways is coming to Miami

Qatar Airways (Doha), not surprisingly, given its expanding relationship with American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth), is coming to Miami. The fast-growing carrier will add the Doha-Miami nonstop route on June 1, 2014 with Boeing 777-200 LRs. The route will operate initially four days a week according to the Miami Herald. This will open a lot of Asian one stop connections via Doha’s new Hamad International Airport for South Florida passengers.

The Doha route will be the longest passenger route from MIA at 6,6667 nautical miles, making it one of the longest air routes in the world.

Qatar Airways will join the Oneworld alliance on October 30, 2013.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Update: Qatar Airways made the news official on Monday, October 21 with this announcement:

Qatar Airways, the national carrier for Qatar, has announced Miami (IATA code: MIA) to be its sixth destination to the U.S. beginning on June 10, 2014.  The airline will offer nonstop flights from its hub in Doha four-times per week aboard a Boeing 777.

Qatar Airways currently operates to Chicago (O’Hare), Houston (Bush Intercontinental), New York (JFK), and Washington D.C. (Dulles), in the U.S. and will add Philadelphia in April 2014.   The airline will operate a Boeing 777-200 LR to Miami with a two-class configuration with 42 seats in Business and 217 seats in Economy.

Qatar Airways will begin operations to and from Miami (MIA) as per below schedule effective June 10, 2014:

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday

QR777    Departs DOH 08:40 hrs        Arrives MIA 17:20 hrs                     Travel time: 15:40

 

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday

QR778    Departs MIA 21:15 hrs          Arrives DOH 18:20 hrs +1 day         Travel time: 14:20

Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 16 years of operations, currently flying a modern fleet of 129 aircraft to 131 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and The Americas.

In 2013, Qatar Airways has launched ten destinations to date – Gassim (Saudi Arabia), Najaf (Iraq), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Chicago (USA), Salalah (Oman), Basra (Iraq), Sulaymaniyah (Iraq), Chengdu (China), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), and most recently Ta’if (Saudi Arabia).

Over the next few weeks and months, the network will grow further with Clark Manila International Airport, Philippines (October 28) and Philadelphia, USA (April 2, 2014).

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. Qatar Airways Boeing 777-2DZ LR A7-BBG (msn 36101) prepares to land at Johannesburg.

Qatar Airways: AG Slide Show

United Airlines applies for San Francisco-Tokyo Haneda authority

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

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

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

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

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

United Airlines: AG Slide Show

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

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

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

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

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

Financial Progress

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

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

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

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

Revenue Performance

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

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

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

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

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

Operating Expense

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cash Position

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

Fleet Renewal and Transformation

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

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

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

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

Pending Merger with US Airways Group

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

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

Operational Performance

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

Recent Business Highlights

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

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

Restructuring Progress

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

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

Reorganization and Special Items

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

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

Capacity Guidance

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

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

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

American Airlines: AG Slide Show

American Airlines is coming to Hong Kong

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) today announced it plans to launch its first-ever nonstop service from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) and Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) next year.

The new daily service between DFW and Hong Kong will be operated with a Boeing 777-300 ER, marking the first time American will deploy its flagship aircraft to Asia. The new service between DFW and Shanghai will be operated with a 777-200 aircraft. Pending regulatory approval, customers can travel on these new routes beginning summer 2014.

Both routes will be operated as part of American’s joint business agreement with fellow oneworld®alliance member Japan Airlines. The service to Hong Kong will add a new destination to American’s international network, and the service to Shanghai complements American’s existing service from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). Through oneworld member airlines and their affiliates, American’s customers will have access to more than 145 destinations within Asia. Also, through American’s extensive network out of Dallas/Fort Worth, customers traveling from Shanghai and Hong Kong will now have access to nearly 200 destinations throughout North, Central and South America.

In addition to welcoming the 777-300 ER to Asia with the launch of service to Hong Kong, American will take delivery of and deploy additional 777-300 ER aircraft to key international markets in 2014, including routes from American’s hub in Miami for the first time. American will begin operating the 777-300 ER on one of its two daily flights from Miami to London Heathrow (LHR) in January, and one of its four daily flights from Miami to Sao Paulo (GRU) in November 2014. American will also operate an additional 777-300 ER between New York JFK and London Heathrow in March. By the end of 2014, American will have 16 of the 20 777-300 ER aircraft it has on order deployed throughout its network.

With the introduction of an additional 777-300 ER between JFK and London Heathrow, customers will have the opportunity to travel in fully lie-flat First Class or Business Class seats on all 12 frequencies American operates together with British Airways between the two airports, providing more fully lie-flat seats than any other airline partnership in the market.

Together, American and British Airways provide customers in the competitive New York to London travel market more service than any other airline partnership, with 17 daily nonstop flights from New York-area airports to London-area airports. In addition to the combined 12 daily trips between JFK and London Heathrow, British Airways also offers direct access from Newark to London Heathrow and the only service by any carrier between JFK and London City (LCY), giving business travelers more convenient access to the financial district in the heart of London.     

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. American’s new Boeing 777-323 ER N722AN (msn 31547) arrives in London at Heathrow Airport.

American Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

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

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

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

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

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

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

Alitalia (2nd): AG Slide Show

Air France: AG Slide Show

KLM: AG Slide Show

Etihad Airways to buy five Boeing 777-200 LRs from Air India, will fly to Los Angeles

Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) has announced its plans to acquire the five Boeing 777-200 LRs (Longer Range) from Air India (Mumbai). The airline issued this statement:

The two carriers signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) in Mumbai earlier this week paving the way for the deal.

The 777-200 LRs will be used on the airline’s new route between Abu Dhabi and Los Angeles, which starts on June 1, 2014.

Etihad Airways currently flies to New York (JFK), Chicago (O’Hare), Washington (Dulles), DC and Toronto (Pearson) in North America, and to São Paulo in Brazil, and has stated its ambition to add new services to both continents.

Subject to approvals, the aircraft will be delivered to Etihad Airways from the beginning of 2014 and each will be re-fitted in a three class cabin configuration consistent with similar aircraft in the Etihad Airways fleet.  It is expected the first aircraft will enter service in April 2014.

The purchase comes as Etihad Airways finalizes details on a new fleet order which will meet its organic growth and expansion requirements to 2025 in line with its rolling network plan.

The Boeing 777-200 LR, of which less than 60 were manufactured, has a design range of 17,370 km, allowing it to connect almost any city in the world from Etihad Airways’ hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

The five Air India 777-200 LR aircraft, which Etihad Airways is purchasing, are on average, six years old, helping the airline to maintain its overall position of having one of the most modern fleets in the industry.

Etihad Airways’ current fleet will reach 87 aircraft by year end, with 14 new deliveries from aircraft manufacturers during 2013.

In other news, Etihad has announced it will increase its share in Virgin Australia Holdings to 19.9 percent. At 19.9 percent, Etihad Airways has reached the threshold approved by Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board in June 2013.

Etihad Airways and Virgin Australia Airlines (Brisbane) signed a 10-year strategic partnership agreement in August 2010 that includes code-sharing on flights, joint sales and marketing activities, and reciprocal earn-and-burn on their respective frequent flyer programs.

For more information, please see: CLICK HERE

Finally, Etihad Airways and airBaltic (Riga) have announced a new Abu Dhabi-Riga joint route which will start on December 16, 2013.

The announcement follows the signing of a codeshare agreement between the two airlines.  Subject to regulatory approvals, airBaltic will operate the new four weekly return flights using a 116 seat Airbus A319 aircraft.

With seating capacity for 14 Business class and 102 Economy class passengers, the flights will operate on a split schedule, ensuring optimal connectivity over each airline’s respective hubs in Abu Dhabi and Riga.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Air India’s Boeing 777-237 LR VT-ALD (msn 36303) prepares to touch down at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Air India: AG Slide Show

Etihad Airways: AG Slide Show

Cathay Pacific to add flights to both Los Angeles and Chicago O’Hare

Cathay Pacific Airways (Hong Kong) today announced that it will add a fourth daily direct flight from Los Angeles to Hong Kong on June 1, 2014 and three additional direct flights from Chicago (O’Hare) to Hong Kong on August 2, 2014, bringing the number of flights from the Windy City to 10 per week (subject to government approval).

These additional North American flights come on top of Cathay Pacific’s recent announcement that it will launch a daily direct service from Newark to Hong Kong on March 1, 2014. This will complement the airline’s current four-times-daily service from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York. Cathay Pacific also operates two daily flights from San Francisco.

The fourth Los Angeles frequency will be operated by Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft, with a consistent product offering of First, Business, Premium Economy and Economy Class seats and Cathay Pacific’s award-winning cabin services. Also operated by Boeing 777-300 0ER aircraft, all Chicago flights offer Business Class, Premium Economy Class and Economy Class products.

Details of the new flights are included in the schedule below (all times local):

LOS ANGELES (LAX) (June 2014, subject to government approval)

Flight no From To Departure/Arrival Days of operation
CX883 LAX HKG 2355/0545+2 Daily
CX881 LAX HKG 0115/0700+1 Daily
CX885 LAX HKG 1255/1855+1 Daily
CX893* LAX HKG 0940/1525+1 Daily
CX880 HKG LAX 2340/2155 Daily
CX882 HKG LAX 1625/1435 Daily
CX884 HKG LAX 1255/1110 Daily
CX892* HKG LAX 0930/0755 Daily

* Newly added flights. To commence on June 1, 2014.

CHICAGO (ORD) (August 2014, subject to government approval)

Flight no From To Departure/Arrival Days of operation
CX807 ORD HKG 1530/2020+1 Daily
CX801* ORD HKG 0115/0550+1 Wed, Fri, Sun
CX806 HKG ORD 1155/1350 Daily
CX802* HKG ORD 1825/2020 Tue, Thu, Sat

* Newly added flights. To commence on August 2, 2014.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-367 ER B-KPL (msn 36161) in the Oneworld livery arrives at Los Angeles International Airport.

Cathay Pacific Airways: AG Slide Show

 

Air Canada announces a major international expansion to Europe

Air Canada (Montreal) is undertaking a major expansion of international services to Europe from Toronto (Pearson), Montreal (Trudeau), Vancouver and Calgary . The airline today announced highlights of its Summer 2014 Europe schedule, which includes the introduction of year-round nonstop service from Toronto (Pearson) to Milan (Malpensa), Italy with up to five weekly flights, offering the only nonstop service between Canada and Milan .

In addition, Air Canada will increase its year-round Toronto (Pearson) – Istanbul nonstop service to daily flights from three times weekly. The airline will expand the availability of its new international Premium Economy cabin with its introduction on Vancouver-London Heathrow flights year-round, as well as Montreal-London Heathrow flights during the peak summer travel season. Air Canada will also deploy larger aircraft from its international wide body fleet on flights from Calgary to London Heathrow and Frankfurt , as well as from Montreal to Brussels and Geneva in order to meet travel and cargo demand during the peak summer season.

As part of the Summer 2014 schedule, Air Canada’s leisure carrier subsidiary, Air Canada rouge (Toronto-Pearson), will launch seasonal nonstop flights between Toronto (Pearson) – Lisbon , Toronto (Pearson) – Manchester , Montreal (Trudeau) – Barcelona and Montreal (Trudeau) -Nice. The new routes supplement the leisure carrier’s other popular vacation destinations, including previously announced Toronto (Pearson) – Dublin year-round service.

As new Boeing 777-300 ER and 787 aircraft enter the Air Canada mainline fleet, Air Canada will continue growing Air Canada rouge to reach a total of up to 50 aircraft, as demand warrants. The growth of its leisure carrier, in tandem with the mainline fleet renewal and international network expansion, is a key element of Air Canada’s overall strategy for sustainable, profitable growth, both at the mainline and leisure carrier.

Air Canada will have taken delivery of five new Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft for the mainline fleet between June 2013 and February 2014 , and the first three of 37 Boeing 787 aircraft by the summer of 2014. Air Canada is scheduled to take delivery of six 787-8 aircraft in 2014 and the remaining 31 787-8 and -9 aircraft between 2015 and 2019.

Highlights of the Air Canada mainline Summer 2014 flight schedule:

Toronto – Milan

  • New year-round nonstop service starting on June 18, 2014 with up to five flights per week.  Boeing 767-300 ER service featuring choice of Air Canada Executive First and Economy cabins.
Flight # Depart Toronto
(YYZ)
Arrive Milan
(MXP)
Flight # Depart Milan
(MXP)
Arrive Toronto
(YYZ)
AC842 20:20 10:40 +1 AC843 12:10 15:30

 

Toronto – Istanbul

  • Year-round nonstop service increases from three times weekly to daily flights beginning June 2014 , subject to government approval. Boeing 767-300 ER service featuring choice of Air Canada Executive First and Economy cabins.

Toronto – Rome

  • Aircraft upgauged from Boeing 767-300 ER to Airbus A330-300 service featuring choice of Air Canada Executive First and Economy cabins, from May 1 – October 25, 2014 .

Montréal-London Heathrow

  • Aircraft upgauged from Airbus A330-300 to Boeing 777-300 ER service featuring new international Premium Economy cabin, in addition to Executive First and expanded Economy cabins, from June 15 – September 30, 2014 .

Montréal- Brussels

  • Aircraft upgauged from Boeing 767-300 ER to Airbus A330-300 service featuring choice of Air Canada Executive First and Economy cabins, from March 29 – October 25, 2014 .

Montréal- Geneva

  • Aircraft upgauged from Boeing 767-300 ER to Airbus A330-300 service year-round featuring choice of Air Canada Executive First and Economy cabins.

Montréal- Frankfurt

  • Addition of a second nonstop flight five times weekly from May 16 – October 12, 2014.   The Air Canada codeshare flight will be operated by Star Alliance partner, Lufthansa, and will complement Air Canada’s daily Airbus A330-300 year-round nonstop service,

Calgary-London Heathrow

  • Aircraft upgauged from Airbus A330-300 to Boeing 777-300 ER service featuring choice of Air Canada Executive First and Economy cabins, from June 1 – September 30, 2014 .

Calgary – Frankfurt

  • Aircraft upgauged from Airbus A330-300 to Boeing 777-300 ER service featuring choice of Air Canada Executive First and Economy cabins, from March 29 – October 25, 2014 .

Vancouver-London Heathrow

  • Effective March 1, 2014 , upgauged to Boeing 777-300 ER service year-round featuring new international Premium Economy cabin, in addition to Executive First and expanded Economy cabins.

Highlights of the Air Canada rouge Summer 2014 flight schedule:

Toronto – Lisbon

  • New three times weekly service from June 21 to September 21, 2014 , subject to government approval. Departing Toronto on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, and from Lisbon on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Toronto – Manchester

  • New five times weekly service from June 26 to September 13 . 2014. Departing Toronto on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, and from Manchester on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Montréal-Nice

  • New three times weekly service from June 5 to October13, 2014, subject to government approval. Departing Montréal on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, and from Nice on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Montréal- Barcelona

  • New twice weekly service from June 4 to October 11, 2014 , subject to government approval. Departing Montréal on Wednesday and Friday, and from Barcelona on Thursday and Saturday.

Toronto – Athens

  • Seasonal nonstop service increases from four to five weekly flights beginning June 2014 .

Toronto – Edinburgh

  • Seasonal nonstop service increases from three to five weekly flights beginning July 2014 .

In addition, three popular holiday travel markets currently served by Air Canada’s mainline carrier on a seasonal basis will be converted to Air Canada rouge service beginning summer 2014:

Toronto – Barcelona

  • Up to five times weekly service from May 8 to October 19, 2014 , subject to government approval. Departing Toronto on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, and from Barcelona on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Toronto – Dublin

  • Year-round service beginning on May 1, 2014 .

Montréal- Rome

  • Up to daily service from May 23 to October 19, 2014 .

For the summer 2014 season, Air Canada rouge will continue to operate Toronto – Venice , Toronto – Edinburgh and Toronto / Montreal – Athens after their successful inaugural season in 2013.

All Air Canada rouge flights to Europe are operated with Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft featuring a two-cabin configuration with three customer comfort options including rouge, rouge Plus with preferred seating with additional legroom, and, beginning in winter 2013, Premium rouge offering both additional room and enhanced service. By the Summer 2014 season, the Air Canada rouge wide body fleet will consist of eight Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-333 ER C-FIUR (msn 35242) taxies at Paris (CDG).

Air Canada: AG Slide Show

Air Canada rouge: AG Slide Show

KLM is coming to Santiago, Chile

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam) will extend the Amsterdam-Buenos Aires route to Santiago, Chile starting on February 2, 2014. The airline issued this statement:

From February 2, 2014, flights will be operated with a Boeing 777-300 (KL 701 and KL 702), with a stop in between in Buenos Aires three times a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from Amsterdam and on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Santiago.

To suit its clients’ needs, KLM offers 3 classes on board:

  • 35 seats  in World Business Class for 777-300,
  • 350 seats in Economy Class and
  • 40 seats in the Economy Comfort Zone that offers 10 cm extra room for passenger’s legs, twice the lean back of their seats and priority disembarking.

KLM weekly schedules as per February 2, 2014 are:

Winter schedule:

Departure Time Arrival Time
Amsterdam 20:55 Buenos Aires 07:05
Buenos Aires 09:10 Santiago 11:20
Santiago 13:00 Buenos Aires 14:55
Buenos Aires 16:55 Amsterdam 10:15

Summer schedule:

Departure Time Arrival Time
Amsterdam 21:00 Buenos Aires 06:10
Buenos Aires 08:10 Santiago 09:25
Santiago 11:05 Buenos Aires 14:00
Buenos Aires 16:00 Amsterdam 10:20

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-306 ER PH-BVD (msn 35979) painted in the SkyTeam alliance livery arrives back at the AMS hub.

KLM: AG Slide Show

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

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

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

read the full report: CLICK HERE

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

Alitalia (2nd): AG Slide Show

Willie Walsh: “A number of European carriers will fail this winter”

British Airways‘ (London) and IAG’s CEO Willie Walsh stated in an article published by Travel Weekly, has warned “a number” of European carriers are poised to fail this winter season.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Wearing a Panda face for the launch of the new route to Chengdu, China, Boeing 777-236 G-YMMH (msn 30309) arrives at the London (Heathrow) hub.

British Airways: AG Slide Show

 

British Airways gets ready to fly to Chengdu, China with a Panda Jet

British Airways 777-200 G-YMMH (97-Union flag-Panda Jet)(Nose) LHR (AJB)(LRW)

British Airways (London) as planned, will launch its new thrice-weekly London (Heathrow)-Chengdu, China route on September 22. BA has painted the pictured Boeing 777-236 ER G-YMMH (msn 30309) as a smiling panda. Chengdu is the home of the giant panda.

BA is also adding the lucky (in China) “8” in the flight numbers. Flight BA 89 will depart London Heathrow on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 1530, arriving into Chengdu at 0855 the following day. The return flight BA 88 will depart Chengdu on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 1055, arriving at Heathrow Airport at 1500.

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. G-YMMH is pictured at LHR with the new panda markings.

British Airways: AG Slide Show

Video:

Virgin Australia unveils a new in-flight entertainment system

Virgin Australia Airlines (Brisbane) has officially launched its new wireless in-flight entertainment system, representing a new era in the way travelers experience entertainment in the sky according to the airline.

The entertainment platform is the first of its kind in the Asia Pacific region, giving customers the ability to stream content to their own devices, including smartphones, laptops and tablets, through in-built wireless technology on board.

Following a successful trial earlier this year, Virgin Australia is now extending the wireless innovation across its domestic and short-haul international network. Thirty-seven aircraft are now fitted out with the new technology, including aircraft operating on routes to New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, which went live today.

The roll-out across Virgin Australia’s Boeing 737-800 and Embraer ERJ 190 fleet will be complete before the end of the year.

Since the trial started in August 2012, the App has been downloaded close to 200,000 times.

The wireless in-flight entertainment system supports Wi-Fi-enabled Apple iOS devices (iPad®; iPhone®; iPod touch®), Android devices (phone or tablet) and Windows laptops. To access the system, download the free “In-flight Entertainment by Virgin Australia” App to your phone or tablet, or have the latest version of Microsoft Silverlight downloaded on your laptop.

Copyright Photo: Roy Lock/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-3ZG ER VH-VOZ (msn 35302) taxies to the gate at Los Angeles International Airport.

Virgin Australia: AG Slide Show

Emirates is coming to Boston

Emirates (Dubai) has announced a new trans-Atlantic link with the start of flights to Boston from March 10, 2014.

This will be the airline’s 8th route into the United States, 9th into North America and 12th into all of the Americas.

The flight will be operated by a GE-90 engine-powered Boeing 777-200 LR and brings the winner of the Skytrax ‘World’s Best Airline’ 2013 award into Boston Logan International Airport on a daily basis.

From March 10, 2014, flight EK 237 will depart Dubai at 0945 and arrive in Boston at 1515. The return flight, EK 238, will take off from Boston at 2255 and land in Dubai at 1910 the next day. As part of an agreement with JetBlue Airways (New York), Emirates and JetBlue passengers are able to travel on each other’s flights and earn reciprocal miles.

Emirates started flights to America in 2004, beginning with New York. The airline’s current seven U.S gateways form part of a 134-destination network, served by a fleet of more than 200 modern aircraft, including the airline’s flagship Airbus A380. Emirates’ much-lauded hub in Dubai is equipped with the world’s first purpose-built A380 concourse, housing the largest First and Business Class lounges in the industry.

Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-21H LR (Longer Range) A6-EWA (msn 35572) touches down at Stockholm (Arlanda), a recent new destination for the fast-growing carrier.

Emirates: AG Slide Show

EVA Air brings the new Boeing 777-300 “Hello Kitty” to Los Angeles

EVA Air 777-300 B-16703 (13-Hello Kitty Sanrio Family)(Grd) LAX (PMJ)(LRW)

EVA Air (Taipei) has introduced its popular Hello Kitty jets to US travelers. EVA Chairman and airline Captain K.W. Chang piloted the first long-range edition of the aircraft painted with pop icon Hello Kitty and other Sanrio friends, from Taipei, Taiwan, on its first flight to Los Angeles yesterday (September 18). The Boeing 777-300 ER Hello Kitty Hand-in-Hand jet will be used on three of EVA’s 17 regular weekly flights from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) in Taipei.

EVA Chairman KW Chang initiated Hello Kitty jets to make flying fun and passengers love them.  The new EVA Hello Kitty Hand-in-Hand jet marks the first time Hello Kitty is featured on an aircraft amongst her Sanrio friends.  The bright display of 19 Sanrio characters are shown hand-in hand, in different shapes and sizes, on both sides of the fuselage.

The Hello Kitty jet experience begins at airport check-in with Hello Kitty boarding passes and baggage stickers. Onboard, flight attendants wear pink aprons with Hello Kitty designs and passengers use more than 100 in-flight service items including headrest covers, pillows, tissue, hand cream, liquid hand soap, napkins, paper cups, utensils, snacks and meals.  EVA Air and Sanrio have developed new inflight service item designs for the Hello Kitty Hand-in-Hand jet, including a selection of limited-edition Hello Kitty duty-free products that fans can buy inflight.

In addition to the Hello Kitty Hand-in-Hand jet, EVA Air currently operates five shorter-range Hello Kitty aircraft in Asia  with regional flights between Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Mainland China and Guam.  A member of Star Alliance, EVA offers more flights from Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Toronto and Vancouver to Taipei.

Copyright Photo: Pete Morejon. EVA Air’s newly painted Boeing 777-35E ER B-16703 (msn 32643) “Hello Kitty – Sanrio Family” arrives at Los Angeles International Airport yesterday (September 18) for the first time in the new special livery.

EVA Air: AG Slide Show

EVA Air 777-300 Hello Kitty Logo

Lufthansa orders 34 Boeing 777-9Xs and 25 Airbus A350-900s

Lufthansa logo-1

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) as expected, placed orders for 34 Boeing 777-9Xs and 25 Airbus A350-900s. The group issued issued this statement:

Lufthansa 777-900 (88)(Flt)(Boeing)(LR)

Following a recommendation by the Deutsche Lufthansa AG Executive Board headed by Dr Christoph Franz, the Supervisory Board approved the purchase of 59 ultra-modern aircraft for the Group at its meeting. 34 Boeing 777-9Xs (above) and 25 Airbus A350-900s (below) will be added to the Lufthansa Group’s wide-body fleet. The first of these new aircraft will be delivered as early as 2016. Older Boeing 747-400s and Airbus A340-300s will be phased out by 2025. The new airplanes will primarily serve to replace existing aircraft at Lufthansa.

Lufthansa A350-900 (88)(Flt)(Airbus)(LR)

The investment amount for the Lufthansa Group’s latest order totals EUR 14 billion at list prices and is the largest single private-sector investment in the history of German industry. “This investment will safeguard about 13,000 jobs at Lufthansa alone as well as thousands of jobs at our partners in aviation and other suppliers”, said Christoph Franz, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of the Lufthansa Group, explaining the macroeconomic significance of the investment at a press conference in Frankfurt.

This investment in new technology, efficiency and customer comfort is a continuation of the ongoing fleet modernization that is taking place at the Group’s airlines. Lufthansa operates a wide-body fleet of around 107 aircraft, among them ten ultra-modern Airbus A380s and nine Boeing 747-8s as well as the Airbus A330-300 (18 aircraft). The fleet also includes Airbus A340s (48) and Boeing 747-400s (22). In addition to these, the Group subsidiary Swiss has 31 wide-body airplanes, while Austrian Airlines’ wide-body fleet consists of 12 aircraft.

The aim is to reduce the number of different models and fleet complexity in the Passenger Airline Group segment and also replace existing aircraft with state-of-the-art airplanes. In March, the Group approved the purchase of around 100 short and medium-haul aircraft. This order included six new Boeing 777-300 ERs for Swiss, which are also intended to replace older Airbus A340-300s at the airline.

The new aircraft will be operated by ultra-modern, powerful, low-noise engines – the Airbus A350 by the Rolls-Royce ‘Trent XWB 84′ engine and the Boeing 777-9X by General Electric’s ‘GE-9X’ model. The noise footprint of the new models will be at least 30 per cent lower than today’s aircraft.

Lufthansa: AG Slide Show

FedEx Corporation reports net income of $489 million in the fiscal 1Q, up 7%

FedEx Corporation (FedEx Express) (Memphis) reported earnings of $1.53 per diluted share for the first quarter ended August 31, compared to $1.45 per share last year.

“Growth in overall demand for our broad global portfolio of solutions drove our improved first quarter results,” said Frederick W. Smith, FedEx Corp. chairman, president and chief executive officer. “FedEx Express remains focused on reducing costs while facing challenging global economic conditions. Meanwhile, FedEx Ground continues to generate strong profitability on growing customer demand for its services.”

First Quarter Results

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

• Revenue of $11.0 billion, up 2% from $10.8 billion the previous year

• Operating income of $795 million, up 7% from $742 million last year

• Operating margin of 7.2%, up from 6.9% the previous year

• Net income of $489 million, up 7% from last year’s $459 million

Revenue and earnings increased during the quarter, driven by solid performance at each of the company’s transportation segments. Results include significant headwinds from the net year-over-year impact from the timing lag that exists between when fuel prices change and indexed fuel surcharges automatically adjust, as well as one fewer operating day.

Outlook

FedEx reaffirmed its forecast of full-year earnings per share growth of 7% to 13% from last year’s adjusted results. This outlook assumes the market outlook for fuel prices, U.S. GDP growth of 2.1% and world GDP growth of 2.6%. The capital spending forecast for fiscal 2014 remains $4 billion.

“We remain confident in our full year earnings outlook despite tepid global economic growth,” said Alan B. Graf, Jr., FedEx Corp. executive vice president and chief financial officer. “FedEx Express continued to execute on its profit improvement initiatives during our first quarter. We remain focused and are committed to FedEx Express achieving its $1.6 billion operating profit improvement target by the end of fiscal 2016.”

2014 Rate Increases

FedEx Express will increase shipping rates by an average of 3.9% for U.S. domestic, U.S. export and U.S. import services effective January 6, 2014. The FedEx Ground and FedEx SmartPost pricing changes for 2014 will be announced later this year. FedEx Freight implemented a 4.5% general rate increase on July 1, 2013.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-FS2 N852FD (msn 37723) approaches Anchorage International Airport for landing.

FedEx Express: AG Slide Show

Lufthansa is close to announcing a new order with both Airbus and Boeing

Lufthansa logo-1

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) according to this report by Reuters, is close to announcing a new order for the proposed 406-seat Boeing 777-9X, which Boeing intends to formally launch this year. Lufthansa would be a launch customer like it was with the Boeing 747-800 Intercontinental.

The 777-9X will have new engines and wings and is expected to start flying passengers around the end of this decade.

Lufthansa, which is already a large Airbus operator, is also expected to order between 20 and 25 of the new 314-seat Airbus A350-900. The A350 will enter service in the second half of 2014.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Lufthansa: AG Slide Show

Lufthansa’s transfer of Austrian Airlines employees to cheaper Tyrolean Airways deemed illegal by a Vienna court

Lufthansa Group (Frankfurt) in 2012 orchestrated the transfer of around 2,000 staff members of its Austrian Airlines (Vienna) subsidiary to the cheaper Tyrolean Airways (Innsbruck) subsidiary to reduce overall costs. A Vienna court ruled yesterday (September 2) that the move was illegal and the employees were still employed by Austrian Airlines.

Austrian Airlines stated it would appeal the verdict of the Vienna Labor and Social Affairs Court. The transfer was the heart of the loss-making airline’s restructuring plan and its attempt to return to profitability along with the Lufthansa Group.

Currently Tyrolean Airways is operating all Austrian Airlines-branded aircraft (except one Boeing 777) as Austrian Airlines flights. The one Triple Seven is keeping the Austrian Airlines AOC alive.

Read the full report from Euronews: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Austrian Airlines-branded Boeing 777-2Z9 ER OE-LPA (msn 28698) pictured departing from Tokyo (Narita) is actually being operated Tyrolean Airways-employed crews on the Tyrolean AOC until the Vienna court deemed the crews to be considered Austrian Airlines employees again! What will now happen to the Tyrolean crews who were operating alongside Austrian crews?

Austrian Airlines: AG Slide Show

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