Tag Archives: Boeing

Eastern Air Lines operates its first revenue flight

Eastern (2nd) 737-800 WL N276EA (14-737)(Grd) MIA (LC)(LRW)

Eastern Air Lines (2nd) (Miami) after initially announcing it would start revenue passenger operations on the morning of May 27, the new airline and HavanaAir delayed the first charter flight to May 28. The historic first flight, flight EE 3145 departed Miami bound for Havana at 2:26 pm (1426) on May 28 per FlightAware.

Copyright Photo: L. Apso. This historic photo above captures Boeing 737-8AL N276EA (msn 35070) taxiing out to the runway at Miami International Airport on its first revenue flight to Havana on May 28.

Today (May 29) N276EA is operating a round trip to Camaguey, Cuba.

WestJet’s flight attendants approve the new contract, today launches flights to Scotland

WestJet logo

WestJet (Calgary) announced its flight attendants have voted in favor of a new work agreement with 81.7 percent of eligible flight attendants voting.

The airline continued;

A tentative agreement was negotiated between WestJet and the WestJet Flight Attendant Association Board (FAAB), the association representing its flight attendants, and was agreed to on April 21, 2015. Voting began on May 22, 2015, and ended May 28, 2015, at 9 a.m. MDT. Items in the ratified five-year agreement include compensation, work rules, standardized processes and a formal framework for discussion between WestJet flight attendants and the airline.

FAAB is a subgroup of WestJet’s Proactive Communication Team (PACT), the wholly-elected employee association representing close to 9,000 WestJetters. This is the first ratified agreement between WestJet and its flight attendants.

In other news, WestJet today (May 29) launches nonstop daily service between Halifax and Glasgow, Scotland, with same-aircraft service beginning in Toronto. The inaugural flight on WestJet’s #TartanTail leaves Toronto Pearson tonight at 6:10 p.m. EDT (1810) with a brief stop at Halifax Stanfield International Airport, before departing for Glasgow at 10:45 p.m. ADT.

“Today’s launch of service to the U.K. marks the start of another exciting chapter in the history of WestJet,” said Gregg Saretsky, WestJet President and CEO. “As Canada’s low-fare leader for nearly 20 years, we have dedicated ourselves to liberating Canadians from the high cost of air travel. With our service to Ireland and the U.K., we are making it more affordable than ever before to travel overseas, whether for business or leisure. As we prepare to take delivery of our first Boeing 767-300ER aircraft in July, this overseas experience continues to position us to be a truly global carrier in the years to come.”

Copyright Photo below: Joe G. Walker/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8CT C-FUMF (msn 60128) at Boeing Field was handed over on January 29, 2015.

WestJet aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

SAS signs a new one-year contract with the Norwegian Pilot Union (NSF), strike avoided

 

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Scandinavian Airlines-SAS (Stockholm) has issued the following statement:

SAS has signed a new modern collective bargain agreement with the Norwegian pilot union NSF. The negotiations have reached its objective after a strike that lasted for seven days and involved 17 pilots. SAS has now agreed with all of its pilot unions on new collective bargain agreements that create conditions for future expansion.

Job security, reduced complexity and SAS need to act faster in relation to the market’s demand have been central parts in the negotiations for a new collective bargain agreement with the pilot unions during this spring. The Norwegian pilot union NSF signed the agreement as the last of the pilot unions and the agreement is now subject to a member voting.

The new collective bargain agreement is in force for 1 year and valid from April 1, 2015.

Copyright Photo below: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-683 LN-RRD (msn 28301) arrives in Zurich.

SAS aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Delta confirms its four new destinations and expansion plans for Seattle/Tacoma

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Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) has confirmed it is adding service from its hub at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Boston; Orlando; Pasco, Washington; and Victoria, British Columbia. Victoria is a new destination in Delta’s network and is subject to foreign government approval. Delta will also expand its existing Bozeman, Montana, service from Seattle/Tacoma.

The new service includes:

One daily year-round flight to Boston’s Logan International Airport beginning April 4, 2016.
One daily year-round flight to Orlando International Airport beginning December 19, 2015.
Three daily year-round flights to Tri-Cities Airport in Pasco beginning November 1, 2015.
Three daily year-round flights to Victoria International Airport beginning April 4, 2016.
One daily year-round flight to Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport beginning August 1, 2015, expanded from Saturday-only seasonal service.
Flights to Boston and Orlando will operate using Boeing 737-800 and 757-200 aircraft, respectively. Bozeman, Pasco and Victoria service will be operated by Delta Connection carrier SkyWest Airlines using two-class, 65-seat Bombardier CRJ700 regional jets.

The new service is part of Delta’s previously announced plans for 2 percent system capacity growth for 2015.

Boston and Orlando service will connect Seattle/Tacoma with the third and fifth largest markets on the East Coast. Boston service will also provide customers one-stop access through Seattle/Tacoma to the top five destinations in Asia.

By August, the airline will operate 128 flights to 36 destinations from its West Coast hub.

Earlier this month, Delta celebrated the start of service from Seattle/Tacoma to Boise; Sacramento; Sitka, Alaska; and Ketchikan, Alaska along with the expansion of service to Fairbanks and Juneau, Alaska. Service to Denver begins on June 4, and service to Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii begins in December. Delta will also expand service to Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in October along with Palm Springs, Calif.; and Tucson, Ariz., in December.

During the summer, Delta offers 10 long-haul international flights from Seattle/Tacoma, providing as much long-haul international service from Seattle/Tacoma as all other airlines combined. This includes the top five destinations in Asia and three of the top four destinations in Europe. Delta is the only carrier to offer nonstop service from Seattle/Tacoma to Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Paris, Shanghai and Tokyo-Haneda.

Locally, Delta recently opened a 7,000-square-foot corporate office just outside Seattle in downtown Bellevue. The airline has also invested $15 million in its facilities at Sea-Tac, including its Delta Sky Club and lobby renovations, Sky Priority services, new gate area power recharging stations, expanded ticket counters and enhancements to the international arrivals area. Delta people are active members of the Seattle community, working to serve their neighbors both in and out of the airport.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 757-232 N6713Y (msn 30777) arrives at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Delta Air Lines aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

 

Eastern Air Lines to operate its first revenue flight tomorrow

Eastern Air Lines (2nd) (Miami) will start revenue passenger operations tomorrow (May 27). The first flight will be depart from Miami International Airport (MIA) at 10 am (1000) bound for Havana, Cuba.

The airline made this announcement:

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After 24 years, 4 months and 7 days, Eastern resumes revenue flight operations tomorrow. MIA-HAV-MIA. Time to re-earn our wings…

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com.

 

Ryanair full year profit jumps 66% to €867 million on renewed customer service, will lease in six aircraft

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Ryanair (Dublin) announced a full year net profit of €867 million ($947.7 million) for the fiscal year ending on March 31.

The company issued this statement:

Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, said:

“We are pleased to celebrate Ryanair’s 30th Birthday by reporting this 66% increase in net profit which demonstrates the enduring strength of Ryanair’s lowest fare/lowest cost model which has been transformed by the success of our “Always Getting Better” (AGB) customer experience program. AGB has attracted millions of new customers to Ryanair.

Highlights of the past year include:

– Traffic up 11% to 90.6 million as load factors rose from 83% to 88%

– Unit costs ex fuel were flat (including fuel they fell 5%)

– Net profits rose 66% as net margin jumped from 10% to 15%

– Earlier loading of schedules led to materially stronger forward bookings

– AGB Year 1 program delivered, Year 2 improvements rolled out

– Ryanair Labs is transforming our digital and mobile platforms

– Lead customer order for 200 x Boeing 737 Max 200 aircraft

– 2nd Eurobond issue (€850m @ 1.125% coupon) lowers our finance costs.

Business Development:

Over the past year we have relentlessly improved our lowest fare/lowest cost model. We have expanded into primary airports, added business schedules and extended long term low cost growth deals at major bases including London (STN) and Dublin where the Irish Government has rebooted tourism by abolishing the travel tax.

Our AGB program is transforming our customer experience, our service, and the way we listen and respond to our customers. We have won substantial traffic and share gains in all markets. We are now the No. 1 or No. 2 airline in most EU countries except France and Germany (where we are a rapidly growing No. 3). Since our Year 1 AGB program has been so successful we have launched our Year 2 program as part of our strategy to make Ryanair Europe’s most customer friendly, as well as its lowest fare, airline.

This combination of lowest fares and improving customer experience has led to higher load factors and double digit traffic growth. To facilitate this growth we have ordered 183 Boeing 737-800’s for delivery from 2014-2018, and 200 Boeing 737 Max 200’s from 2019-2023 (including 100 option aircraft). These aircraft will deliver at lower US$ rates and much lower Eurobond finance rates which (with 8 extra seats and 18% more efficient engines) will transform our aircraft costs and enable us to lower fares, which underpins our traffic and market share growth, while maintaining and/or growing margins.

Operations:

Our summer 2015 fleet of 320 aircraft is insufficient to handle the demand for Ryanair’s low fares. We will lease-in 6 aircraft in the peak period (7 in 2014) to help meet this surging demand. We expect over half of our growth to occur at primary airports such as Brussels, Lisbon, Rome, Athens, Copenhagen, Berlin, Cologne, Dublin and London (STN). Much of this growth is being stimulated by our Business Plus and Family Extra services which have been key features of our AGB program and our successful entry/growth at these primary airports.

We continue to deliver industry leading punctuality despite the occasional and repeated damage inflicted on our operations by unjustified ATC strikes and airspace closures or by adverse weather in different European regions during the winter schedule as follows:-

Last year we set out a strategy to drive stronger forward bookings, encourage customers to book earlier to avail of lower prices and deliver higher load factors. These higher load factors have helped to reduce unit costs and boosted ancillary sales. I am pleased that forward bookings, as we enter the S15 peak (June to Sept), are on average 4% ahead of last year, and we expect this will lead to a 2% points rise in load factors from 88% to 90% in FY16 especially as customers enjoy our AGB service improvements.

Revenue and Costs:

We celebrate the 30th anniversary of Ryanair first bringing low fares to Europe ( July 8, 1985) by growing our traffic 11% to 90.6 million customers. This generated revenue growth of 12% which was a pleasing result given we had no new aircraft deliveriesin summer 2014. Ancillary revenues grew at a slightly faster rate than traffic so total revenue rose 12% to over €5.6 billion.

Unit costs which benefited from lower unhedged fuel prices (10% of volume) fell by 5%. Excluding fuel our unit costs were flat, which was an impressive performance in a year where we made a substantial move to more expensive primary airports without compromising our 25 minute turnarounds. The fact that we maintained flat unit costs (ex-fuel) while many competitors saw their unit costs rise means that our cost leadership over competitors has widened during the last year. This bodes well for our growth, especially as we move into airports and routes where our competitors are charging markedly higher fares. This price advantage has helped Ryanair win substantial market share from competitor airlines in Dublin and London (STN), in particular.

Hedging:

Over the last year we have taken advantage of currency and fuel price weakness where possible, to establish a very favourable hedge position as follows:

– oil is 90% hedged for FY16 at $92 pbl

– oil is 36% hedged for FY17 at $69 pbl

– US$ OpEx is 90% hedged for FY16 & FY17 at $1.33 & $1.19 respectively

– US$ CapEx is 100% hedged for FY16, FY17 & FY18 at $1.37, $1.34 & $1.23 respectively

This favorable US$ hedging will deliver significant aircraft, maintenance and fuel savings over the next 2 years, even before we engage in further oil hedging during periods of price weakness.

Balance Sheet and Shareholder Returns:

Our rising profits are generating significant free cash flows, which has enabled us to deliver substantial returns to shareholders. In Feb. 2015 we paid our 3rd special dividend of €520 million (€0.37 per share) and then launched our 6th share buyback under which we hope to buy and retire €400 million of ordinary shares by the end of August. This will bring the cash returned to shareholders over the past 8 years to almost €3 billion.

Despite these pay-outs we still finished the year with €364 million in net cash and a balance sheet rated BBB+ by both S&P and Fitch Ratings, the highest rating of any airline worldwide. We expect our Eurobond program, (under which we have raised €1.7 billion unsecured at blended rates of 1.50% p.a.) will lower our financing costs, boost profitability and continue to strengthen our balance sheet.

Regulation:

Europe’s airline industry continues to be blighted by over-regulation which frequently places producer monopoly protection above the interest of consumers, or growth in tourism and jobs. Examples such as Europe’s discredited ETS system, the shambles of our single sky project and the failure to prohibit ATC strikes (either by “no strike” legislation, or binding arbitration) allows the ATC Unions to regularly and repeatedly close Europe’s skies.

The UK CMA’s 2013 divestment ruling under which this UK regulator orders one Irish airline to reduce its minority stake in another, solely on the basis of “secret” evidence that no other airline would bid for Aer Lingus while Ryanair held a minority 29.8% shareholding, has now been hopelessly disproven by IAG’s offer. We have written to the CMA calling on them to reverse this ruling but have been amazed that they (in their provisional decision) have claimed that the IAG bid for Aer Lingus (which they predicted would not happen) is not a “change of circumstances”. We believe the CMA will be totally discredited if they do not reverse this manifestly erroneous ruling.

In the meantime our approach to the IAG offer remains unchanged. The Board of Ryanair will consider any offer (should we receive one) from IAG on its merits, if or when it is received.

Ryanair strongly supports the development of additional runway capacity in the London market. We believe that the market should be free to develop 3 new runways, one each at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted which is the only long term solution to the capacity crisis in the South East, and which will encourage all 3 airports to deliver additional capacity quickly and cost efficiently.

Outlook:

Thanks to our lowest fares, our growth into primary airports and the remarkable impact of our Year 1 AGB program, we continue to experience strong demand and forward booking momentum. Average load factors in the first 4 months of 2015 grew by 10%. While this will slow to 1% or 2% over the peak summer months (due to high p/y comparables) forward bookings are on average 4% ahead of this time last year, as our earlier schedules, lower prices and AGB customer program, particularly at primary airports attracts millions of new customers to Ryanair.

While our traffic growth this year will be strong, (up 10%), it would be foolish not to expect some irrational pricing response from competitors who cannot compete with our lowest costs and fares. Ryanair will remain vigorously “load factor active/price passive”. Therefore, even with the benefit of lower oil, aircraft and financing costs we may suffer periods of fare/yield weakness especially during the H2 winter season. This is why our yield guidance remains cautious at broadly flat in H1 but down 4% to 8% in H2 for a forecast FY yield decline of 2%. If this decline proves accurate then we believe that lower unit costs in FY16 will still provide a 10% improvement in profits, which should (subject to H2 yields over which we have no visibility) rise to a range of €940 million to €970 million for the full year to March 2016.”

Hannah Maundrell Editor in chief of money.co.uk comments:

“Who ever thought we’d see Ryanair’s customer focus heralded as exemplary? Their impressive profits should act as a clear lesson to any company that thinks low prices excuse poor standards. Consumers want value for money, and they want to be treated fairly. Ryanair is proof that it’s never too late to turn things around.”

Copyright Photo below: Guillaume Besnard/AirlinersGallery.com. Ryanair will have to lease in six aircraft this summer to meet demand. Ryanair Boeing 737-8AS WL EI-EKJ (msn 38497) with “Comunitat Valenciana” sub-titles departs from Barcelona.

Ryanair aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Choice Aire starts operations to Atlantic City with a Swift Air Boeing 737-300

Choice Aire logo

Choice Aire (Miami) started public charter flights between Miami and Atlantic City on May 21 with the pictured ex-US Airways Boeing 737-3B7 N529AU (msn 24411) (below) operated by Swift Air (USA) (Phoenix).

The travel company is planning to operate additional public charters on the following routes:

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Photo: Choice Aire.

Choice Aire (Swift Air USA) 737-300 N529AU (15)(Grd)(Choice Aire)(LRW)