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Republic Airways Holdings’ second quarter net income increases 23% to $24.6 million, Frontier Airlines reports pre-tax 2Q income of $13.7 million

Republic Airways Holdings Inc. (Republic Airlines 2nd) (Indianapolis) reported diluted earnings per share of $0.46, which is a 15.0% increase from the $0.40 per diluted share result in the second quarter of 2012. Net income increased 23.0% to $24.6 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2013, compared to net income of $20.0 million for the same period last year. Operating revenues totaled $664.4 million, a decrease of 8.7%, compared to $728.1 million for the second quarter of 2012.

“We are pleased to report improved financial results for the second quarter, driven primarily by the year over year improvement in our small regional jet operations at Chautauqua,” said Republic Chairman, President and CEO Bryan Bedford. “Our process to sell Frontier continues and I am very pleased that we were able to reach tentative labor agreements with both our Flight Dispatchers and Flight Attendants, which remain subject to membership ratification. I am thankful for the continued professionalism and dedication of my 10,000 co-workers on behalf of our passengers.”

Republic Segment Summary

Republic’s pre-tax income improved 45.8% to $27.7 million from $19.0 million in the prior year’s second quarter, due mainly to the redeployment of idled 50-seat aircraft and the successful completion of our Chautauqua restructuring efforts in late 2012.

Total Republic revenues decreased $20.6 million, or 5.8%, from the second quarter of 2012 to $336.8 million in the second quarter of 2013. Fixed-fee service revenue increased $34.9 million, or 12.4%, to $316.9 million, despite the removal of fuel expense and related reimbursement on our United E170 fixed-fee agreement, which accounted for $25.1 million of revenues in the prior year’s second quarter. The majority of the increase in fixed-fee revenues relates to Republic’s Q400 agreement with United that began in the second half of 2012 and Republic’s E190 charter agreement, which began in January 2013. Republic passenger service revenue decreased $56.1 million due to a reduction of pro-rate operations with Frontier, as aircraft previously operating in pro-rate service were either transitioned to other fixed-fee agreements or sold.

Fuel costs for Republic decreased $42.3 million to $12.1 million for the quarter, due mainly to the removal of fuel expense on our United agreement as noted above. The fuel cost per gallon, including into-plane taxes and fees, increased to $3.34 per gallon in the second quarter of 2013, compared to $3.26 per gallon in the prior year’s second quarter. The fuel cost per gallon related to our fixed-fee charter agreement is generally higher than our pro-rate operations with Frontier and is treated as a pass through cost under the agreement.

As of June 30, 2013, Republic operated a fleet of 232 aircraft. Within our fixed-fee commercial and charter agreements, Republic operated 70 aircraft with 44-50 seats and 157 aircraft with 69-99 seats. In addition, Republic operated five 99-seat aircraft under the pro-rate agreement with Frontier, down from seventeen, 99-seat aircraft operated in pro-rate service during the second quarter of 2012.

The Company expects to take delivery of 18 Embraer ERJ 175 aircraft to operate under its American capacity purchase agreement by the end of 2013. Additionally, the Company expects to place into service the final six Q400 aircraft under its United capacity purchase agreement over the next two quarters.

Frontier Segment Summary

For the quarter ended June 30, 2013, Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) posted pre-tax income of $13.7 million, which is down slightly from $14.1 million of pre-tax income for the quarter ended June 30, 2012.

Frontier’s capacity, as measured by available seat miles (ASMs), was down 10.1% from the prior year’s second quarter, as a result of operating fewer Airbus aircraft. Frontier’s total revenues decreased 11.6% to $327.6 million for the quarter, compared to $370.7 million for the same period in 2012. Total revenue per ASM (TRASM) decreased 1.6% to 11.98 cents in the second quarter of 2013 from 12.18 cents in the second quarter of 2012.

Fuel costs decreased from the prior year’s second quarter by $22.6 million to $114.2 million for the quarter. The fuel cost per gallon, including into-plane taxes and fees, decreased to $3.14 per gallon in the second quarter of 2013, compared to $3.35 per gallon in the prior year’s second quarter. The second quarter of 2013 results included a loss on fuel hedges of $1.7 million, or $0.05 per gallon.

The operating unit cost for Frontier, excluding fuel, was 7.27 cents per ASM for the second quarter of 2013, a 1.3% increase compared to 7.18 cents per ASM for the same quarter of 2012.

As of June 30, 2013, Frontier operated 52 Airbus aircraft, compared to 58 Airbus aircraft as of June 30, 2012. All six aircraft removed were returned to lessors.

Recent Business Developments

On June 17, 2013, the Company announced it had reached a tentative agreement (TA) on a new five-year contract with the Transportation Workers Union (TWU) Local 540 Dispatchers. This TA is currently being voted on by union membership and we expect the voting results on August 1, 2013.

On June 24, 2013, the Company announced it had reached a TA on a new five-year contract with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Local 135 Flight Attendants. This TA is currently being voted on by union membership and we expect the voting results on July 29, 2013.

On July 15, 2013, the Company announced that it had entered into an agreement with an affiliate of the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) for the financing of 47 Embraer E175 aircraft. These aircraft will provide service under the terms of the capacity purchase agreement with American Airlines announced in January. The first aircraft was delivered on July 15, 2013, and is scheduled to go into service with American on August 1, 2013.

Balance Sheet and Liquidity

The Company’s total cash balance increased $44.8 million to $439.1 million as of June 30, 2013, compared to December 31, 2012. Restricted cash increased $53.2 million, to $200.3 million, from December 31, 2012. The Company’s unrestricted cash balance decreased $8.4 million, to $238.8 million, from December 31, 2012. A condensed consolidated balance sheet and cash flow statement have been included in the tables section of this release.

The Company’s debt decreased to $1.98 billion as of June 30, 2013, compared to $2.12 billion at December 31, 2012. As of June 30, 2013, approximately 90% of the debt is at a fixed interest rate. The Company has significant long-term lease obligations for aircraft that are classified as operating leases and are not reflected as liabilities on the Company’s consolidated balance sheet. At a 6% discount factor, the present value of these lease obligations was approximately $0.9 billion and $1.0 billion as of June 30, 2013, and December 31, 2012, respectively.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Republic Airways (Republic Airlines 2nd) Embraer ERJ 170-100SU N821MD (msn 17000042) departs from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Frontier Airlines (2nd): AG Slide Show

Republic Airways (Republic Airlines 2nd):

AG Slide Show

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Southwest Airlines to fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico (replacing AirTran)

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) and its wholly owned subsidiary AirTran Airways announced an extension of flight schedules for travel through November 1, 2013. In extending both carriers’ bookable inventory, Southwest introduces four new nonstop routes, including the first Southwest service from Des Moines to the West through Las Vegas, and the return of seasonal service in three markets. The carrier also announced new Southwest Airlines service between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood and San Juan, a conversion from AirTran service in the market, beginning on September 29, 2013.  Southwest Airlines begins its initial service in San Juan, Puerto Rico on April 14 with nonstop service between both Tampa Bay and Orlando.  AirTran introduces additional seasonal flying to and from Florida.

Southwest’s new markets:

  • Two daily nonstop flights between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood and San Juan
  • One daily nonstop flight between Nashville and Pittsburgh
  • One daily nonstop flight between Atlanta and San Diego
  • One daily nonstop flight between Des Moines and Las Vegas
  • One daily nonstop flight between Jacksonville and Chicago

Southwest’s returning seasonal markets:

  • One daily nonstop flight between Indianapolis and Orlando
  • One daily nonstop flight between Jacksonville and Las Vegas
  • One daily nonstop flight between Orlando and Minneapolis-Saint Paul

AirTran’s new markets:

  • Seasonal service between Orlando and Houston (Hobby)
  • Seasonal service between Orlando and New Orleans
  • Seasonal service between Fort Myers and Columbus
  • Seasonal service between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood and Pittsburgh

Top Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-7H4 WL N944WN (msn 36659) with extra “Free Bags Fly Free” markings arrives on runway 9L at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

AirTran Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Tony Storck. The special AirTran schemes are not expected to survive the integration into Southwest. The pictured Boeing 737-7BD WL N354AT (msn 36725) in the special Georgia Aquarium  “Dolphin 1″ scheme is due to become N7724A with Southwest.

JetBlue names San Juan a “focus city”

JetBlue Airways (New York) has named its growing San Juan operation a “focus city”. During a ribbon-cutting ceremony held yesterday (June 28) in celebration of JetBlue Airways’ new home at Terminal A in San Juan’s Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU), the airline’s President and CEO Dave Barger, together with Puerto Rico’s Governor Luis Fortuno, announced that San Juan has become the sixth focus city in JetBlue’s 71-city network.

San Juan joins Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, New York and Orlando as the sixth focus city in JetBlue’s network. The designation of San Juan as a focus city in JetBlue’s growing route network underscores the airline’s ever-increasing commitment to the Puerto Rican community and its expansion into the new Terminal A at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, which will be able to accommodate further growth.

In Puerto Rico, JetBlue currently serves Aguadilla, Ponce and San Juan, with service to 13 nonstop destinations, nine within the continental US: Boston, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Hartford/Springfield, Jacksonville, New York, Newark, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach and; four within the Caribbean: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and St. Croix. The airline has announced it will begin the only direct nonstop to Washington Reagan National Airport, its 14th city out of San Juan, on August 23, 2012.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum.

JetBlue: 

American Airlines cancels 296 flights at DFW yesterday

American Airlines Boeing 737-823 N907AN (msn 29509) MIA (Bruce Drum). Image: 100043.

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) cancelled 296 flights yesterday due to the hail damaged aircraft at its Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) hub. American and American Eagle have cancelled already around 1900 flights since the hail storm hit the airport.

Read the full report from Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum.

American Slide Show: CLICK HERE

US Airways launches flights to 14 new destinations from Washington, D.C.’s Reagan National Airport

US Airways (Phoenix) yesterday (March 25) began new service to 11 communities and improved service to three from Washington, D.C’s Reagan National Airport. The airline launched nonstop flights to Birmingham, Ala.; Fayetteville, N.C.; Islip, N.Y.; Little Rock, Ark.; Jacksonville, N.C.; Pensacola, Fla.; Tallahassee, Fla. and Ft. Walton Beach, Fla. US Airways will be the sole carrier to provide service to customers in these communities to Washington’s downtown airport.

New service also began to Memphis, Tenn.; Omaha, Neb. and Ottawa, Ontario.  These communities are currently served by other carriers at Reagan National. In addition to the 11 new communities the airline did not previously serve, it has also added improved service on existing routes between Reagan National and Savannah, Ga.; Bangor, Maine and Hartford, Conn.

On March 21, the airline also announced that it would begin service to six additional communities from the District’s downtown airport. Once these flights commence in June and July, the airline will have a total of 22 new routes served from Reagan National. The new flights are a part of US Airways’ plan to focus on its core service areas of Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Phoenix and Charlotte, N.C.

Beginning July 11, 99 percent of the airline’s available seat miles (ASMs) will operate to or from its core service areas and US Airways Shuttle that operates hourly between Washington, Boston and New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum.

US Airways Express-Republic Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Frontier Airlines adds new flights from Milwaukee

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (subsidiary of Republic Airways Holdings, Inc.) (Denver) announced it will launch new seasonal nonstop service between Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport (MKE) and Seattle/Tacoma (SEA) and will increase service to Phoenix (PHX) this winter. The MKE-SEA flight will be operated by Republic Airlines (2nd) Embraer ERJ 190s.

Twice-weekly nonstop service to SEA will be provided for the peak holiday travel season December 16, 2010, through January 4, 2011. A second daily nonstop service to Phoenix will be provided February 14 through April 17, 2011.

Frontier also announced that it would be increasing its nonstop service between Indianapolis International Airport (IND) and Cancún, Mexico (CUN) to twice-weekly flights with a new Sunday flight from Feb. 13 through April 17, 2011. Frontier offers nonstop service between Indianapolis and Cancún on Saturdays from November 6, 2010 to May 1, 2011.

Both the MKE-PHX and IND-CUN flights will be operated with Airbus A319s.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Please click on photo for more details.

Aerolineas Argentinas to join SkyTeam in 2012

Aerolineas Argentinas (Buenos Aires) is planning to join the SkyTeam Alliance in 2012.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Please click on photo for additional details.

US Airways and Mesa Air Group extend their contract

US Airways (Phoenix) and the Mesa Air Group, Inc. (Phoenix) have announced they have reached an agreement in principle to extend their code share agreement covering 38 Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft for an additional term of 39 months to September 2015. Under the term sheet, Mesa Airlines, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Mesa Air Group, will continue to provide regional jet service under the US Airways Express banner. The agreement is subject to approval by Mesa’s and US Airways Boards of Directors and the Bankruptcy Court overseeing Mesa’s restructuring.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Please click on photo for more background information.

Under the agreement Mesa will continue to provide US Airways Express service out of US Airways’ hubs in Phoenix, AZ and Charlotte, NC utilizing aircraft in Mesa’s current fleet.

Pinnacle Airlines Bombardier CRJ200 diverts to Fargo

Pinnacle Airlines (Delta Connection) (Memphis) Bombardier CRJ200 diverted to Fargo yesterday. The Minneapolis/St. Paul to Grand Forks flight made an emergency landing at Fargo due to “suspicious condition in the lavatory” by a passenger who was questioned. There were no injuries and no charges resulted from the incident.

Pinnacle Flight DL 4375 operated with a Bombardier CRJ200 left MSP at 9:15 a.m. (0915) and diverted to Fargo.

Read the full report from INFORUM:

CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Pinnacle Airlines’ Bombardier CRJ200 (CL-600-2B19) N8588D (msn 7588) approaches MSP for landing.

Southwest Airlines is positioned to order larger Boeing 737-800s

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) is positioned to convert some of its Boeing 737-700s on order for larger 737-800s. The decision to bring the Boeing 737-800 into the WN fleet moved yet another step closer to reality yesterday as the Board of Directors for the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA), representing more than 5,800 Pilots, unanimously approved a tentative agreement reached with the Company. The tentative agreement will now be presented to the full SWAPA membership for a ratification vote.

If approved by a majority vote of the Pilots, their current contract will be extended by one year, becoming amendable August 31, 2012, and also include the potential for wage rate increases based on the Company’s financial performance.

Last month, the Executive Board of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 556, representing more than 9,700 Southwest Flight Attendants, unanimously approved a tentative agreement reached with the Company. The tentative agreement is currently being presented to all members of TWU 556 for a ratification vote.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. This is not the first time WN has operated larger aircraft than the 737-700. Click on the historic photo for the full story.

United Airlines files for Los Angeles-Shanghai authority

United Airlines (United Continental Holdings, Inc.) (Chicago) has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for authority to begin daily nonstop service between the airline’s Los Angeles hub and Shanghai, starting on May 20, 2011. In addition, Continental Airlines applied for authority to place its CO code on the United-operated flights between the two cities.

The proposed flights from Los Angeles will depart at 1:33 p.m. (1333) and arrive at Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 5:55 p.m. (1755) the next day. Service from Shanghai, beginning on May 21, 2011, will depart at 7:50 p.m. (1950) and arrive in Los Angeles at 4:47 p.m. (1647) the same day.

United intends to operate the service with three-cabin Boeing 777-200 ER aircraft, which offer customers service in United First ®, United Business ® and United Economy ®.

United currently serves Shanghai daily from Chicago (O’Hare) and San Francisco. Continental serves Shanghai daily from Newark.

Additionally, United Airlines is boosting service into Mexico City from its hubs in Chicago (O’Hare), Denver, Los Angeles and San Francisco. United will launch a second daily flight from Los Angeles to Mexico City beginning on October 15, and a third daily beginning pn January 4, 2011. From Chicago, United’s current Saturday-only service to Mexico City will become twice-daily beginning November 4. From San Francisco, daily service to Mexico City becomes twice-daily on November 4. From Denver, United will offer once-daily service to Mexico City between December 16 and January 3, 2011. All flights will be operated with Airbus A319 and Airbus A320 aircraft.

From Washington Dulles, United currently offers daily service to Mexico City.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Boeing 777-222 ER N787UA (msn 26939) arrives from Tokyo (Narita) at Seattle/Tacoma.

Frontier Airlines is considering other “marketing” options with other larger airlines

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) is in discussions about possible new “marketing agreements” with other larger airlines according to this article in Bloomberg.

Read the full report:

CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Airbus A319-111 N942FR (msn 2497) taxies to the gate at Los Angeles.

Virgin America to lease four Airbus A320s from Sahaab Aircraft Leasing

Virgin America (San Francisco) will lease four Airbus A320-200s from Sahaab Aircraft Leasing, a subsidiary of the Jazeera Airways Group.

Read the full report from Reuters:

CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Airbus A320-214 N625VA (msn 2800) taxies to the gate at Seattle/Tacoma.

American Airlines receives U.S. DOT approval to fly from Los Angeles to Shanghai

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) has received U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) approval to fly between Los Angeles and Shanghai, China.

The company issued the following statement:

“We are very pleased that the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) has granted us the authority and frequencies needed to begin new service between Los Angeles and Shanghai, the largest market for travel between the United States and China that is not presently served by a U.S. airline. These new flights will enrich American’s customer service offering to China and will expand American’s schedule at Los Angeles International Airport, one of its five cornerstone cities.

“We thank DOT officials for their expedited review of our request and we look forward to launching these new daily flights on April 5 using 247-seat Boeing 777 aircraft, which feature 16 First Class, 37 Business Class and 194 Economy Class seats.

“This has been a terrific week for the employees, customers, and shareholders of American Airlines. We have launched our new joint business with our immunized trans-Atlantic and oneworld partners, British Airways and Iberia. We have announced new service from New York Kennedy to Budapest, as well as a second Barcelona flight, plus new service from Chicago O’Hare to Helsinki and a second flight between Miami and Madrid. In addition, DOT has tentatively granted trans-Pacific antitrust immunity for American and its oneworld partner Japan Airlines.”

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Boeing 777-223 ER N785AN (msn 30005) taxies to the runway at Miami.

American Airlines to recall 545 flight attendants and 250 pilots

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) today announced that it is sending recall notices to 545 flight attendants and 250 pilots. Several factors contributed to the company’s ability to recall, primarily its efforts to capitalize on new international flying and business opportunities with British Airways and Iberia, continuing to strengthen its cornerstone hubs, and preparing for it’s pending alliance with Japan Airlines.

The first group of 25 pilots will be recalled in mid-November, and the company will continue to recall at a rate of approximately 30 per month. For flight attendants, recall notices will be sent in phases. The first notices will be issued to approximately 225 flight attendants this month; subsequent notifications will follow later in the year.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Boeing 737-823 N936AN (msn 29532) completes the river approach at Reagan National Airport in Washington.

JetBlue Airways to fly from Jacksonville to San Juan

JetBlue Airways (New York-JFK) today announced plans to continue expanding its San Juan, Puerto Rico focus city at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport with daily nonstop service to Jacksonville, Florida beginning on May 19, 2011. The new route will be the only nonstop service between the Caribbean and Jacksonville, Florida.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Airbus A320-232 N534JB (msn 1705) climbs away from runway 27R at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood.

American Eagle starts Miami-Gainesville and LaGuardia-Minneapolis/St. Paul service

American Eagle Airlines (2nd) (Dallas/Fort Worth) yesterday (October 1)began nonstop service between Miami International Airport (MIA) and Gainesville Regional Airport (GNV) in Gainesville, FL. Executive Airlines (San Juan) operates the service with 64-seat ATR 72-200 turboprop aircraft.

In addition, American Eagle yesterday also launched four daily nonstop flights between New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport (MSP). Eagle flies the route with Bombardier CRJ700 regional jet aircraft, featuring Eagle’s new First Class service.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. ATR 72-212 N270AT (msn 270) of Executive Airlines operating under the American Eagle brand taxies to the gate at the Miami hub.

AirTran Airways adds more Sun Belt flights

AirTran Airways (Orlando) announced new nonstop service from Tampa to Key West, as well as additional flights to Tampa, San Juan, Phoenix and Orlando beginning this winter.

The company will also begin nonstop flights between Milwaukee and Phoenix on December 13, 2010.

Service between Akron/Canton and Orlando will start on December 21, 2010.

New flights between Milwaukee and Tampa will also start on March 8, 2011.

Finally a new route between Baltimore/Washington and San Juan will be available starting on April 5, 2011.

Southwest Airlines announced its intends to acquire and merge AirTran Airways.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Boeing 737-76N N289AT (msn 32673) approaches Las Vegas for landing.

JetBlue Airways wants to grow without any merger

JetBlue Airways (New York-JFK) wants to grow organically rather than growing through a merger according to this report by Reuters.

Read the full story:

CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. This was the first tail design for jetBlue Airways, introduced in 1999. Airbus A320-232 N636JB (msn 2755) taxies to runway 9L at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood.

Tomorrow will be the last day of Continental Airlines

Continental Airlines (Houston) will operate for the last time on September 30 with the last flights of the day. Officially on October 1, 2010 Continental and United Airlines (Chicago) will be merged as “equals” although the United name will survive. Oddly CO’s 1991 livery will live on as the merged airline’s color scheme.

Boeing 737-924 ER N53442 (msn 33536) is the first CO airplane to receive UA titles. Aircraft 285 and 124 should follow.

The first new UA revenue flight is expected to depart Houston (Bush Intercontinental) on Friday morning. More information to follow.

We will be honoring the history of CO over the next few days with additional historical photos.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Honoring the past, Boeing 737-924 ER N75436 (msn 33531) departing Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood was painted in the 1947 “Blue Skyway” livery (initially this livery was introduced on metal fuselages).

Continental Airlines on Flickr Slide Show:

CLICK HERE

Continental Airlines on AG Slide Show (press >):

CLICK HERE

Air Transat to lease two additional Airbus A330-200s

Air Transat (Montreal) has signed an agreement with CIT Aerospace for the long-term leasing of two Airbus A330 wide-body jets.

Air Transat’s fleet currently includes 13 Airbus A310s, which will be gradually withdrawn from service, and Airbus A330s. Five of the latter are currently in use, three more will be in operation by the end of this year and an additional three in 2011, including the two A330-200s announced here, bringing the total of A330s to eleven at the end of 2011.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Airbus A330-243 C-GPTS (msn 480) is pictured on final approach for runway 9L at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood in the previous 1998 livery.

JetBlue Airways teams up with ViaSat

JetBlue Airways (New York-JFK) and ViaSat Inc. announced their intent to create a new inflight broadband for commercial aviation, using ViaSat’s innovative high-capacity satellite technology.

ViaSat and JetBlue have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the provision of in-flight broadband access and other services for customers on JetBlue’s fleet of more than 160 aircraft using ViaSat advanced Ka-band satellites. Under the arrangement, ViaSat will provide Ka-band antenna components and SurfBeam®2 modems for installation on the airline’s Embraer ERJ 190 and Airbus A320 aircraft types along with two-way transmission bandwidth services using the WildBlue-1 and high-capacity ViaSat-1 satellites. JetBlue subsidiary, LiveTV LLC, will manage the integration of the ViaSat broadband and related components onboard the aircraft as well as providing the Wi-Fi enabled services into the overall cabin experience.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Airbus A320-232 N645JB (msn 2900) climbs away from runway 27R at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood.

Allegiant Air continues to add new routes, will also fly for Peppermill Casinos

Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) has announced new, nonstop jet service between Grand Rapids, MI and Punta Gorda, FL (near Fort Myers) will begin on November 18.

The new flights will operate twice weekly between Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) and Charlotte County Airport (PGD), with service on Thursdays and Sundays. Flights will depart Grand Rapids at 7 a.m. (0700) arriving in Charlotte County Airport at 9:45 a.m. (0945). Flights leaving Charlotte County Airport will depart at 10:25 a.m. (1025) arriving in Grand Rapids at 1:20 p.m. (1320) (all flight times are local). The carrier will utilize a full-size, 150-seat DC-9-82/83 (MD-80) jet aircraft on the route.

The company also announced new, nonstop jet service between Idaho Falls, ID and Mesa, AZ (near Phoenix) will begin on November 12.

The new flights will operate twice weekly between Idaho Falls Regional Airport (IDA) and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (IWA) with service on Mondays and Fridays. Flights will depart Idaho Falls at 12 p.m. (1200) arriving in Mesa at 2 p.m. (1400). Flights leaving Mesa will depart at 9:20 a.m. (0920) arriving in Idaho Falls at 11:20 a.m. (1120) (all flight times are local).

Allegiant also announced that it has entered into a three-year, fixed-fee agreement with Peppermill Casinos, Inc. Under the agreement, Allegiant will provide air transportation for the casino company’s three Wendover, NV properties. Allegiant expects to generate more than $20 million in revenue over the three-year term of the agreement. The agreement is subject to earlier termination by either party.

By March 1, 2011, Allegiant will base one 150-seat, DC-9-80 (MD-80) series jet aircraft in Wendover to provide charter services to a number of small cities throughout the United States for the Peppermill’s three Wendover resort properties: Montego Bay Casino Resort, Rainbow & Hotel Casino and Peppermill Hotel & Casino. The travel company will establish a base in Wendover with more than 20 employees, including maintenance, flight crews and stations personnel.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Allegiant also operates three smaller DC-9-87 (MD-87) aircraft. N949MA (msn 49779) taxies to runway 9L at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood.

Mesa Air Group proposes to make US Airways a part owner

Mesa Air Group (Phoenix) is proposing to issue 10 percent of its post-bankruptcy stock to US Airways in exchange for a new US Airways Express contract under its restructuring plan filed September 17 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York.

Read the full report from Bloomberg Businessweek:

CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Mesa’s Bombardier CRJ900 (CL-600-2D24) N919FJ (msn 15019) taxies to the runway at Charlotte.

Allegiant Air to fly Greensboro-Punta Gorda

Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) announced new, nonstop jet service between Greensboro, NC, and Punta Gorda, FL (near Fort Myers) will begin on November 18.

The new flights will operate twice weekly between Greensboro (Piedmont Triad International Airport) (GSO) and Punta Gorda (Charlotte County Airport) (PGD), with service on Thursday and Sunday. Flights will depart GSO at 2 p.m. (1400) arriving in Charlotte County Airport at 3:50 p.m. (1550). Flights leaving Punta Gorda will depart at 1:10 p.m. (1310) arriving in GSO at 3 p.m. (1500) (all flight times are local). The carrier will utilize a full-size, 150-seat DC-9-82/83 (MD-82/83) jet aircraft on the route. The company also offers nonstop flights from GSO to the Sanford and St. Petersburg, FL.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) N872GA (msn 53295) taxies to runway 9L at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood.

UAL Corporation’s stockholders approve the merger of United and Continental

UAL Corporation, the parent company whose primary subsidiary is United Airlines (Chicago), announced yesterday (September 17) that its stockholders approved the merger of a wholly owned subsidiary of UAL with and into Continental Airlines (Houston), clearing the way for the merger to close by an expected date of October 1. More than 98 percent of the votes cast and 84 percent of the shares outstanding were voted by UAL stockholders in favor of the transaction. More than 98 percent of the votes cast and 75 percent of the shares outstanding were voted by Continental stockholders in favor of the transaction.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Although the United name will survive, many observers are lamenting the loss of this sharp-looking scheme for United Airlines which was introduced in 2004 and will now be retired. This merger will also end the long reign of the “U” logo which was first introduced in 1974 in another form.

Continental Airlines’ stockholders approve the merger with United Airlines

Continental Airlines (Houston) announced that its stockholders voted overwhelmingly to approve the merger of United Airlines (Chicago), a wholly-owned subsidiary of UAL Corporation with and into Continental at a special meeting held yesterday (September 17) in Houston, Texas. More than 98 percent of the votes cast and 75 percent of shares outstanding were voted in favor of the transaction.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Under terms of the merger the Continental name will disappear but this color scheme will survive. Boeing 737-924 ER (Extended Range) N38403 (msn 30120) waits its turn for departure from Seattle/Tacoma.

Alaska Airlines to start two new routes to Guadalajara

Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) will inaugurate service between San Jose, CA and Guadalajara, Mexico, starting on December 15, 2010, and between Sacramento, CA, and Guadalajara, starting on December 16, 2010.

The new flights will be operated with Boeing 737-800 aircraft, accommodating 16 passengers in first class and 141 in the main cabin.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Is a sombrero coming for the Eskimo on the tail with the new focus on routes to Mexico? Boeing 737-890 N570AS (msn 35185) with the Lei around the Eskimo (used to promote the new routes to Hawaii) waits its turn for takeoff at the SeaTac hub.

AirTran to fly Tampa-San Juan

AirTran Airways (Orlando) announced plans to Puerto Rico with twice daily flights from Tampa, FL. JetBlue has announced it is expanding service on the same route.

The new flights will begin on April 5, 2011.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Boeing 737-76N N289AT (msn 32673) prepares to land at Las Vegas.

Allegiant Air to fly Northwest Arkansas-Mesa

Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) has announced new, nonstop jet service between Northwest Arkansas Airport (Fayetteville) and Mesa, AZ (near Phoenix) will begin on November 18.

The new flights will operate twice weekly between the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA) and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (IWA) with service on Thursdays and Sundays. Flights will depart Northwest Arkansas at 8:25 p.m. (2025) arriving in Phoenix-Mesa at 10:05 p.m. (2205). Flights leaving Phoenix-Mesa will depart at 4:20 p.m. (1620) arriving in Northwest Arkansas at 7:45 p.m. (1945) (all flight times are local). The company offers nonstop service to three other destinations, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Sanford, FL (near Orlando).

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) N866GA (msn 49910) is pictured on final approach at Las Vegas.

World Atlantic Airlines starts its certification process

World Atlantic Airlines (Miami) on September 10 started its FAA proving flights, hopefully leading to its AOC and Part 121 certification. The new charter airline plans to operate for federal agencies.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. The first aircraft for the new company is this ex-Alaska Airlines McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) N802WA (msn 53052).

Sun Country Airlines receives a judicial approval for its plan to exit bankruptcy protection

Sun Country Airlines (Minneapolis/St. Paul) yesterday (September 10) announced the confirmation of its plan of reorganization which allows the company to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The plan was confirmed by Judge Robert J. Kressel during a court hearing on September 10 in Minneapolis and was overwhelmingly approved by the creditors eligible to vote. The plan provides for cash payments to certain creditors, as well as a distribution of equity in the reorganized company to other creditors.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Ex-Gol Boeing 737-7Q8 N712ST (msn 28219) taxies to the active runway at Seattle/Tacoma.

Copa Airlines to fly to St. Maarten

Copa Airlines (Panama City) announced new service direct from Panama City to the Caribbean island of St. Maarten (St. Martin), beginning on December 18, 2010.

The new flight will depart Panama City (PTY) on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 12:22 p.m. (1222), arriving in St. Maarten (SXM) at 4:17 p.m. (1617). The return flight will depart on the same days at 5:30 p.m. (1730), arriving in Panama City at 7:44 p.m. (1944).

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Boeing 737-7V3 HP-1377CMP (msn 30462) taxies to the South Terminal at Miami International Airport.

US Airways’ pilots protest pay and the slow pace of contract talks

The US Airline Pilots Association (USAPA), representing the pilots of US Airways (Phoenix) are picketing at the Philadelphia International Airport today (September 8) to bring attention to what it believes to be US Airways’ deliberate efforts to drag out contract negotiations since 2005, while benefiting from paying its pilots the lowest wages among the major airlines.

In September 2005, US Airways and America West Airlines announced a merger of the two carriers. In USAPA’s view, that attempt at consolidation has not gone smoothly.

Because of the separate pilot contracts, US Airways is really two airlines (East and West) operating under the same brand but the flight crews and aircraft are not mixed.

According to the union, the US Airways pilots entered contract negotiations with management in November 2005 under the terms of a Transition Agreement at the time of the US Airways-America West merger. In April 2009, USAPA requested a National Mediation Board (NMB) facilitator to assist the parties in reaching an agreement, but US Airways rejected that proposal. In November 2009, USAPA applied directly to the NMB for federally-mediated talks. The NMB granted that request in January 2010. NMB-mediated contract negotiations are currently ongoing.

USAPA believes that, should US Airways management fail to adequately address the pilots’ concerns, contract talks could reach an impasse and end in a self-help situation.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Belonging to the East fleet, Airbus A319-112 N733UW (msn 1205), dressed in the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers brand, taxies to the runway at Charlotte. The NFL begins a new football season on September 9.

Delta retires the last DC-9-31/32 from scheduled service

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) has retired the last Douglas DC-9-31/32 from scheduled service. The last flight was flight DL 2106 from Detroit to Manchester, NH on September 6. A few aircraft will be retained through October as operational spares and as charter aircraft.

Previously Delta retired the type in June 1975 but inherited the type again with the merger with Northwest Airlines.

The DC-9-41s (still unpainted) and DC-9-51s (repainted) continue to operate on scheduled Delta routes.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. DC-9-31 N8929E (msn 45866) prepares to land at Minneapolis/St. Paul hub. None of the DC-9-31/32s were repainted in Delta’s colors due to the impeding retirement.

Frontier Airlines is coming to St. Petersburg/Clearwater

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) has announced it will move its seasonal service between Milwaukee and Tampa International Airport (TPA) to the St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport (PIE) beginning on November 18, 2010. The route will be operating with Airbus A319s operated by Frontier.

In addition to the Milwaukee service, Frontier also announced seasonal twice-weekly nonstop service between St. Petersburg/Clearwater and Omaha (OMA) beginning on January 16, 2011. This route will be flown by Embraer ERJ 190s operated by Republic Airlines (2nd) for Frontier.

In addition Frontier announced the addition of nonstop service from Omaha (OMA) to both San Diego (SAN) and Los Angeles (LAX). The carrier also announced the return of seasonal nonstop service from Omaha to both Orlando (MCO) and St. Petersburg/Clearwater (PIE).

Frontier will utilize Republic Airlines’ Embraer ERJ 190 aircraft on each of these new routes.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Airbus A319-111 N902FR (msn 1515) taxies to runway 34R at SeaTac.

ExpressJet Airlines’ pilots now are “optimistic” for the sale to SkyWest

ExpressJet Airlines’ (Houston) pilots, who are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), met this week to determine their position on the proposed sale of ExpressJet Airlines to SkyWest Holdings, Inc. (St. George) and the planned subsequent merger of the airline with Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) (Atlanta), which was announced on August 4, 2010. The history of airline mergers has shown that pilot support is critical to an airline’s ability to fully realize the financial and operational gains from a merger.

After the August 4, 2010 announcement, the pilots’ union publicly stated a number of requirements that must be met for pilot support of the transaction:

- the transaction must result in a profitable airline that provides long-term stability and progressive career potential for our pilots;

- the transaction must honor the scope and successorship provisions of our collective bargaining agreement;

- management must commit to negotiating a joint collective bargaining agreement that benefits all pilots; and

- there must be a fair and equitable seniority list integration.

The union is now optimistic that the needs of the pilots will be protected.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Embraer ERJ 145XR (EMB-145XR) N13124 (msn 145689) operating as Continental Express prepares to land at Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Comair to slash aircraft and jobs

Comair (Cincinnati) is planning to cut one half of its existing fleet and the corresponding jobs according to this article in Cincinnati.com. Comair will also close its New York (JFK) crew base.

Read the full report:

CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. This Bombardier CRJ100 (CL-600-2B19) N729CA (msn 7265) once proudly proclaimed its hometown CVG hub and city. Times have changed for the subsidiary of Delta Air Lines.

Virgin America to fly to Cancun and Cabo

Virgin America (San Francisco) has announced it will serve San Jose del Cabo International Airport (SJD) and Cancun International Airport (CUN) with nonstop flights from California starting this winter. Nonstop flights launch from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to SJD as of December 16, 2010, from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to CUN as of January 19, 2011, and from SFO-CUN as of January 20, 2011.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Airbus A320-214 N625VA (msn 2800) awaits takeoff clearance at Seattle/Tacoma.

Frontier Airlines to add weekly Denver-Liberia (Costa Rica) service

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) has announced plans to expand its international service with the addition of a second Costa Rica destination. Frontier will launch seasonal service to Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR) beginning Feb. 13, 2011, with weekly nonstop flights to/from its hub at Denver International Airport (DEN). The flight will operate on Sundays with Airbus A319s through August 21, 2011.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Airbus A319-111 N919FR (msn 1980) departs from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood.

Delta to add five new destinations and 14 new flights from Raleith/Durham

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) is building up its services from Raleigh/Durham. Starting on November 11, DL will add new destinations from RDU and 14 new flights bringing the total to 54 flights.

Read the full report from the Triangle Business Journal:

CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. McDonnell Douglas MD-90-30 N902DA (msn 53382) prepares for departure from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood.

Allegiant Air to start Minot-Las Vegas service

Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) has announced new, nonstop jet service between Minot, ND and Las Vegas starting on October 22.

The new flights will operate twice weekly between Minot International Airport (MOT) and McCarran International Airport (LAS), with service on Monday and Friday. Flights will depart Minot at 12:10 p.m. (1210) arriving in Las Vegas at 1 p.m. (1300). Flights leaving Las Vegas will depart at 6:50 a.m. (0650) arriving in Minot at 11:30 a.m. (1130) (all flight times are local). The carrier will utilize a full-size, 150-seat McDonnell Douglas DC-9-80 (MD-80) jet aircraft on the route.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. DC-9-87 (MD-87) N949MA (msn 49779) taxies to runway 9L at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood.

Horizon Air to change its business plan

Horizon Air (Seattle/Tacoma) is planning to give up its branded operations and will enter into a full capacity purchase agreement (CPA) with its parent Alaska Airlines starting on January 1, 2011.

Read the full report from Aviation Week:

CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) N428QX (msn 4160) holds for runway takeoff clearance at the Seattle/Tacoma base.

American Eagle moves into new facilities at Miami

American Eagle Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) yesterday (August 19) celebrated the unveiling of its new location in the North Terminal of Miami International Airport (MIA).

A state-of-the-art facility housing both American and American Eagle, the new terminal offers customers improved check-in and domestic baggage claim, with an array of shops and restaurants featuring the flavors of South Florida. American Eagle has completed the initial phase of its transition to new departure areas at gates D53, D55 and D60.

The new departure lounge features two concourse-level gates with jetbridges for convenient boarding. When the next phase of construction is complete, lower-level gates will eliminate the need for most shuttle buses to take passengers to awaiting aircraft. A new Skytrain is expected to open in September that will whisk thousands of customers per hour along the 1.4 mile North Terminal concourse, enabling easy connections to American Airlines flights.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum.

Allegiant Air to start Moline/Quad Cities-Las Vegas flights

Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) announced new, nonstop jet service between the Moline/Quad Cities, IL, and Las Vegas will begin on October 14. Fares start at $44.99.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) N866GA (msn 49910) arrives at the LAS hub.

Lynx Aviation gets a reprieve, will keep three Q400s to serve Aspen

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) and the Republic Airways Holdings parent is giving the Lynx Aviation (Denver) division another chance to survive. Frontier announced that Lynx will continue its Denver (DEN) to Aspen (ASE) service under the Frontier brand. Frontier will service the Aspen flights with Lynx’s Bombardier DHC-8-400 (Q400) turboprop aircraft. Service will include one departure per day from October 1 through November 17, two departures per day November 18 through December 15 and four daily departures from December 16 through April 2011. Frontier Airlines is a wholly owned subsidiary of Republic Airways Holdings, Inc. (Indianapolis).

Frontier had announced in late July that it would cease its Denver to Aspen service on September 30. However, the company has made the decision to retain three of its Bombardier Q400 aircraft in order to carry on service to Aspen and several other Colorado locations.

In addition to Aspen, Frontier will use the Q400s to serve other Colorado routes, including Durango and Colorado Springs.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) N501LX (msn 4165) taxies from the gate at the DEN hub.

AirTran Airways to drop the Atlanta-Miami route on October 7

AirTran Airways (Orlando) will drop the Atlanta-Miami route on October 7.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Boeing 717-2BD N895AT (msn 55047) taxies to the gate at MIA.

Air Transat’s pilots call for a strike if negotiations fail

Air Transat’s (Montreal) pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), have voted for a strike if a collective agreement is not reached with their management. In a recent strike ballot issued by the union leadership to the pilot group, an overwhelming 97 percent of pilots voted in favor of a lawful strike, should it become necessary to conclude a fair collective agreement with Air Transat management. The pilots have been in negotiations since January of this year.

On June 25, Canada’s Minister of Labour, Lisa Raitt, appointed Ms. Maureen Flynn to serve as conciliation commissioner. The conciliation time line establishes a series of hard deadlines for negotiators, including a 60-day conciliation period that will expire on September 10, 2010, unless the parties agree to extend the process. Under the Canada Labour Code, both the strike authorization vote and written notification to the company are required steps before any withdrawal of services can begin. At the end of conciliation, a mandatory 21-day waiting period will go into effect, which concludes at midnight on October 1, at which time Air Transat pilots will be in a legal position to strike.

After more than six months of bargaining, substantial issues remain open, particularly in the areas of job outsourcing, pilot fatigue mitigation, and compensation.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Airbus A330-243 C-GITS (msn 271) taxies to runway 9L at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood.

Copa Holdings reports a 2Q net profit of $18.6 million

Copa Holdings, S.A. (Panama City), parent company of Copa Airlines (Panama City) and AeroRepublica (Bogota), announced financial results for the second quarter of 2010 (2Q10).

Copa Holdings reported net income of US$18.6 million for 2Q10, or earnings per share (EPS) of US$0.42. Excluding special items, Copa Holdings would have reported an adjusted net income of $26.3 million, or $0.60 per share, compared to an adjusted net income of US$28.1 million or US$0.64 per share for 2Q09.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Copa Airlines’ Boeing 737-7V3 HP-1377CMP (msn 30462) taxies to the gate at Miami.

WestJet announces new seasonal routes

WestJet Airlines (Calgary) announced the upcoming launch of two new seasonal non-stop services between Quebec City and Cancun and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood.

Starting December 11, 2010, guests from Quebec City and its surrounding area will be able to fly nonstop to Cancun every Saturday until April 30, 2011. Service to Fort Lauderdale will begin December 12, 2010, with one flight every Sunday until April 24, 2011.

WestJet also announced the upcoming launch of a new seasonal nonstop service between Ottawa and Las Vegas. In addition to this new route, WestJet will also increase the frequency of flights from Ottawa to Cancun, Punta Cana, Montego Bay and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood.

Starting on December 9, 2010, guests from Ottawa and its surrounding area will be able to fly nonstop to Las Vegas twice weekly until April 28, 2011. Also starting in December, frequency from Ottawa to Cancun will increase from two to three times weekly, from Ottawa to Punta Cana will increase from once to twice weekly, from Ottawa to Montego Bay will increase from twice to three times weekly, and from Ottawa to Fort Lauderdale will increase from once to twice weekly. These frequency increases are in addition to the recently announced year-round service from Ottawa to Vancouver and Halifax.

WestJet also announced it will launch new nonstop seasonal service this winter between Saskatoon and Phoenix. From December 17, 2010, until April 29, 2011, guests will be able to fly nonstop between Saskatoon and Phoenix once weekly on Fridays.

WestJet also announced it will fly nonstop between Edmonton and Orlando on a weekly basis starting on December 18, 2010.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Boeing 737-7CT C-FEWJ (msn 32769) taxies to the gate at Miami.

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