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Tag Archives: London

Aegean Airlines adds more routes for the winter and next summer

Aegean Airlines (Athens) is adding more destinations and frequencies to its existing network. Aegean has announced the operation of nine additional international flights from Athens, compared to the winter of 2013.

Aegean will also extend the operation of 8 summer seasonal flights into the winter period. The airline will also resume flights from Athens to Cairo. The winter timetable will operate from October 26, 2014 until March 28, 2015.

2014 summer flights from Athens to Stockholm, Copenhagen, Manchester, Zurich and Marseille will be continued into the winter season.

During the winter season, beginning on October 26, Aegean will continue to operate flights to Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Amman, while the company will resume flights to Cairo after a three year hiatus.

The company is also increasing the frequencies on routes from Athens to Barcelona, Berlin, Budapest, Düsseldorf, Geneva, Vienna, Prague, Warsaw, Rome and Tel Aviv.

Aegean will also increase the size of its fleet with the order of seven new Airbus A320s, equipped with the new “Sharklets” on their wings, which will be delivered directly from the manufacturer. The deliveries of the seven new aircraft will begin in June 2015 and will be completed in early 2016.

Aegean currently operates 205 international routes, from its eight Greek bases.

Increased frequencies on existing routes:

Athens – Barcelona from 3 to 4 weekly,
Athens – Berlin from 3 to 5 weekly, additional frequencies in Christmas season
Athens – Budapest from 2 to 3 weekly, additional frequencies in Christmas season
Athens – Dusseldorf from 2 to 4 weekly
Athens – Geneva from 3 to 4 weekly
Athens – Vienna from 4 to 5 weekly, additional frequencies in Christmas season
Athens – Tel Aviv from 5 to 6 weekly
Athens – Prague from 3 to 5 weekly, additional frequencies in Christmas season
Athens – Warsaw from 4 to 5 weekly
Athens – Rome from 9 to 12 weekly

For the Summer 2015 schedule, the airline will launch of 23 new routes. These new routes are mainly focusing on Corfu, Irakleion and Rhodes according to Airline Route.

Planned new summer service:

From Corfu to Paris and Rome

From Heraklion to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Geneva, Istanbul (Sabiha Gokcen), London (Gatwick), Metz, Milan (Malpensa), Nantes, Prague, Rome (Fiumicino), Stockholm (Arlanda), Stuttgart and Toulouse

From Rhodes to Amsterdam, Geneva, Larnaca, Lyon, Stuttgart, Tel Aviv and Vienna

Copyright Photo: Pedro Pics/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 SX-DVJ (msn 3365) departs from London (Stansted).

Aegean Airlines: AG Slide Show

Aegean is celebrating this award from Skytrax:

Aegean FA-Best Regional (Aegean)(LRW)

 

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

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

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

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

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

American Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

Air China to increase the Beijing-London Heathrow route to double daily

Air China (Beijing), to meet market demand, starting October 26, 2014, will increase its Beijing – London (Heathrow International Airport) service to two daily flights.

The newly added flights are flights CA855/6. The outbound flight departs from Beijing at 14:30 and arrives in London at 17:50 local time. The inbound flight departs from London at 20:25 local time and arrives in Beijing at 14:45 Beijing time. The original daily flights CA937/8 are operated as normal – the outbound flight leaves Beijing at 12:30, and the inbound flight departs from London at 17:40.

After the schedule expansion, the Beijing – London (Heathrow) service as a whole is operated with Airbus A330-200 aircraft. Its Business Class is configured with 180-degree full-flat seats whose ergonomic design can fully meet the needs of premium business travelers looking to have a fortifying rest during the flight. All classes of service are outfitted with personal entertainment system (AVOD) and power sockets, keeping passengers entertained for the duration of the flight. In addition, on its China-Europe routes, Air China also offers such services as seasonal healthy meals and chauffeured transfers for VIP passengers.

As a member carrier of the Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline network, Air China has been actively expanding its European route network. Currently, Europe has become Air China’s largest overseas market, and Air China now operates over 100 flights between China and Europe a week, enabling passengers to travel from Beijing nonstop to 20 European cities such as London, Paris, Frankfurt, Rome, Moscow and Madrid. At the same time, relying on the extensive route network of the Star Alliance, Air China can easily fly passengers to 1,328 destinations in 195 countries.

Copyright Photo: Royal S. King/AirlinersGallery.com. Brand new Boeing 777-39L ER B-2006 (msn 44931) is decorated in a special “Love China” motif and is pictured after its first flight on September 16, 2014. B-2006 is the last of an initial order of 30 stretched Triple Sevens.

Air China: AG Slide Show

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

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

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

British Airways: AG Slide Show
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Emirates and Jetstar Airways to expand their codeshare agreement

Emirates (Dubai) and Jetstar Airways (Melbourne) have announced the expansion of their codeshare and frequent flyer relationship, to 30 routes across the Asia Pacific region providing more choice to Emirates customers.

From October 26, 2014*, Emirates will grow its codeshare on Jetstar to include Jetstar Airways services between Melbourne and Ayers Rock (Uluru), Christchurch to Wellington in New Zealand and three new destinations in south-east Asia from Jetstar Asia’s hub in Singapore.
The new codeshare services from Singapore will connect Emirates passengers to Penang in Malaysia, Yangon in Myanmar and Medan in Indonesia.

The additional destinations complement the current 25 routes announced in February this year.

Effective immediately, Skywards members can now also earn Skywards Miles when they book economy Starter Plus, economy Starter Max or Business Max fares on international routes with Jetstar Airways, Jetstar Asia, Jetstar Japan and Valuair, as well as domestic routes within Australia and New Zealand if they connect to an international flight.

All Emirates’ passengers on Jetstar flights will receive boarding passes on check-in at their first international departure point for connecting international service.

*subject to government approval

Top Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Emirates Boeing 777-31H A6-EMM (msn 29062) arrives in London (Heathrow).

Emirates: AG Slide Show

Jetstar Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: John Adlard/AirlinersGallery.com. Jetstar Airways’ seventh Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, the pictured VH-VKH (msn 36233) was delivered on August 14, 2014.

Royal Jordanian to expand Boeing 787 flights to Bangkok, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur in October

Royal Jordanian Airlines (Amman) inaugurated Boeing 787 service as planned on September 1 from its base at Queen Alia International Airport to London Heathrow Airport.

The pictured Boeing 787-8 JY-BAA is the first of five that will join the RJ fleet during this year as part of the company’s strategic plan to modernize its long-range fleet of aircraft, replacing the currently operating Airbus A340s and A330s.

As previously reported, JY-BAA was received on August 27, 2014, Royal Jordanian becomes only the second airline in the Middle East to operate the 787.

Royal Jordanian is the first airline worldwide to take delivery of a Boeing 787 with the latest Thales in-Flight entertainment system called AVANT. The system offers passengers the next level of in-flight entertainment with 17” touchscreens in Crown and 10.6” touchscreens in Economy Class.

RJ chose to configure its Dreamliner to carry 24 passengers in business class and 246 in economy.

Customers in all classes will experience an improved cabin environment featuring LED mood lighting, larger windows, bigger overhead bins, lower cabin altitude and enhanced ventilation systems and reduced noise levels among other features.

Royal Jordanian will continue to expand its 787 operations. Effective October 12 the new type will be assigned to the Amman-Bangkok-Hong Kong route (four days a week). For the other three days a week, effective October 15, the aircraft will fly the Amman-Bangkok-Kuala Lumpur route.

Copyright Photo: Wingnut/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 787-8 JY-BAA (msn 37983) taxies across the ramp at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Royal Jordanian: AG Slide Show

Delta Air Lines announces new routes, employees will build additional homes for Habitat for Humanity

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will launch daily nonstop service between Manchester International Airport and New York John F. Kennedy International Airport from June 2, 2015 as it increases its network between the U.K. and North America. The airline will also begin flying its first nonstop service between London-Heathrow and Newark Liberty International Airport effective March 29, 2015. Both routes will be operated in conjunction with joint venture partner Virgin Atlantic Airways (London).

Delta’s new Newark operation is part of a network update by Virgin Atlantic where Delta will operate one of Virgin’s two Newark services while Virgin Atlantic will start its first daily nonstop Manchester to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport service.

Delta has operated services from Manchester since June 1991 when its maiden flight departed from Atlanta. Virgin Atlantic, meanwhile, has served the market since 1996 and also operates services to Orlando and Las Vegas from Manchester.

The updated joint venture network from London-Heathrow brings the daily number of services to the New York area to 10. Eight of these flights will operate to JFK and two to Newark.

Additionally Delta will launch a new Los Angeles-San Antonio, Texas route in April 2015. This new route will be operated by Compass Airlines.

In other news, Delta Air Lines employees from across the country will build or renovate affordable single family homes with Habitat for Humanity. This year’s fall builds will take place in six cities, including Delta’s hubs in Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City and Seattle as well as in Los Angeles, a key international gateway for the airline. More than 2,300 Delta employees will participate in the projects, which began on September 8 and continue through October 17.

During the two-and-a-half-month long project, Delta will celebrate its 200th build with Habitat for Humanity. This milestone will be commemorated with the Seattle build, which will be partially funded through proceeds from Delta’s in-flight recycling program. This is the sixth home Delta has funded by recycling aluminum cans, plastic bottles and other materials from flights. More than 1 million pounds of material were recycled in 2013, and more than 8.5 million pounds have been recycled since the start of the program in 2007.

Through local and national support, Delta employees have helped build or rehab 199 Habitat homes in 11 countries around the world. Habitat is one of Delta’s core community partners in its Force for Global Good, a program that encourages employees to make a difference in the communities where they live, work and serve.

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-332 ER N171DZ (msn 29690) in the special “Habitat for Humanity – Force for Global Good” livery, departs from London’s Gatwick Airport in the past.

Delta Air Lines (current): AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic to operate the new Boeing 787-9 between London Heathrow and Newark, will it drop Little Red?

Virgin Atlantic 787-9 (10)(Flt)(Virgin Atlantic)(LR)

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is getting its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (G-VAHH, msn 37967) later this month. The airline will also 264-seat introduce its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the London (Heathrow)-Newark route starting on January 19, 2015 per Airline Route. This will be the third route for the new type. The 787-9 will enter revenue service on October 28 on the London (Heathrow)-Boston route as previously reported.

Virgin Atlantic logo (large)

In other news, the airline is not commenting on media speculation that it may be considering dropping its Little Red (operated by Aer Lingus) operation due to poor loads. Little Red operates feeder flights from London (Heathrow) to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester.

Read the full story from The Telegraph: CLICK HERE

Image above: Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Operated by Aer Lingus, Airbus A320-214 EI-EZV (msn 2001) of Little Red arrives at the London (Heathrow) hub.

Garuda Indonesia extends the Jakarta-Amsterdam route to London Gatwick today

Garuda Indonesia Airways (Jakarta) is extending its presence in Europe by launching a new service from Jakarta to London (Gatwick) via Amsterdam today (September 8), as part of the airline’s transformation program “The Quantum Leap 2011-2015″. London serves as the airline’s second gateway in the region after Amsterdam. By launching the five times weekly service to London, Garuda Indonesia is now able to provide the first direct link between Indonesia and the United Kingdom.

Therefore, starting today, the Jakarta – Amsterdam – Jakarta flight changed to become Jakarta – Amsterdam – London (Gatwick) – Amsterdam – Jakarta.

The schedule for Jakarta – Amsterdam – London is as follows (all times local):

Flight No Origin Destination Departure / Arrival Days of Operation

GA088 Jakarta Amsterdam 00.40 LT – 09.40 LT Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun
Amsterdam London 11.45 LT – 11.50 LT Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun

GA089 London Amsterdam 13.10 LT – 15.15 LT Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun
Amsterdam Jakarta 17.00 LT – 11.40 LT* Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun

*(+1 day)

The new service will be operated by Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft capable of carrying 314 passengers, in a three-class cabin configuration featuring its globally praised First Class, brand new business class service concept, and the world’s best economy class (Skytrax Global Airline Awards 2013).

According to the airline, “the fleet is equipped with “Inflight Connectivity” facilities, including “WiFi Onboard” and “Live TV” services for passengers in all classes and a “chef on board” for “First Class” passengers. The “Inflight Connectivity” facilities enable passengers to remain connected to the internet and continue their business activities during the flight or simply access their favorite entertainment, such as live soccer games via the sports channel, and many other entertainment options.”

Following its entrance into the SkyTeam global airline alliance on March 2014, Garuda has decided to make Amsterdam, The Netherlands, its hub for Europe and beyond. In order to make this hub effective and most convenient for its customers, the airline started flying direct and nonstop between Jakarta and Amsterdam on May 30, 2014.

Garuda Indonesia joined SkyTeam global alliance as its 20th international member, and second Southeast Asia member.

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-3U3 ER PK-GIC (msn 40075) departs from Paine Field before it was handed over to the carrier.

Garuda Indonesia: AG Slide Show

Air France-KLM to retire the Martinair McDonnell Douglas MD-11 freighters in 2015 and 2016, will expand Transavia leisure flights

Air France (Paris) and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam) (Air France-KLM Group) issued this statement about its shrinking and unprofitable freighter fleet including Martinair‘s (Amsterdam) McDonnell Douglas MD-11 freighter fleet:

At its meeting on September 4, 2014, the Air France-KLM Board of Directors examined the findings of the strategic review of its full-freighter operations which was launched earlier this year.

On top of the ongoing reduction of the full-freighter fleet, and facing a slower than expected recovery in demand, the Board of Directors has decided to reduce the full-freighter fleet based in Amsterdam to 3 aircraft in operation by the end of 2016. Five MD-11s will be phased out on an accelerated basis during 2015 and 2016.

By then, the Group will operate five full-freighter aircraft: 2 Boeing 777Fs in Paris and 3 Boeing 747 ERFs in Amsterdam, compared with a total of 14 in 2013.

The group intends to find alternative employment internally for all affected staff. It will engage in consultations on this matter with the Works Council and trade unions of the companies involved.

The Group will remain a major player in the cargo sector in Europe through its extensive belly network effectively supplemented by a limited number of full-freighter aircraft.

This adjustment of the full-freighter fleet is part of a broader strategic vision designed to increase cargo contribution to the group. Other measures include a strong focus on specialized products such as pharmaceuticals and express, as well as investment in state-of-the-art IT infrastructure and E-developments, further cost reduction and expansion of partnerships.

In other news, the Air France-KLM Group will expand its leisure operations under the Transavia brand with new bases outside of Paris and Amsterdam. The Group issued this statement:

At its meeting on September 4, 2014, as proposed by its Chairman and CEO Alexandre de Juniac, the Air France-KLM Board of Directors approved the group’s development project on the leisure market in Europe.

This development will take place under the Transavia brand from the two existing airlines – Transavia France and Transavia the Netherlands – and new bases will be opened in other European countries.

This project will strengthen the development of Transavia France (Paris) and Transavia Airlines (Amsterdam) in the Netherlands. The terms of these developments are the subject of consultations in both countries.

The group is positioning itself as a major player in this rapidly growing market in Europe.

This project is part of the group’s new plan for growth and competitiveness, Perform 2020, which will be presented in details to investors and to the press on September 11.

Air France-KLM have also unveiled its new “Perform 2020″ program which replaces its “Transform 2015″ program. Here is the formal plan:

Air France-KLM unveiled its new Perform 2020 strategic plan.

Perform 2020 is the successor to Transform 2015, which represented the first phase in the Group’s turnaround. While maintaining the imperatives of competitiveness and the ongoing strengthening of the Group’s financial position, this growth plan will focus on the following three strategic areas:

  •   Selective development to increase exposure to growth markets
  •   A product and services upgrade targeting the highest international level
  •   An ongoing improvement in competitiveness and efficiency within the framework of strictfinancial disciplineAir France-KLM’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Alexandre de Juniac, made the following comments:
    “Transform 2015 will be completed by the year end having fully delivered on its objective of significantly improving the Group’s competitiveness and delivering a €1 billion-plus reduction in costs. Perform 2020, the strategic plan we are launching today, will be supported by two main levers: growth, which we are looking to capture in a number of areas, and competitiveness combined with financial discipline which should continue to ensure firm foundations for the development of Air France-KLM. This is why the ambitious initiatives we are launching today will go hand in hand with redoubled efforts to reduce costs and restructure activities which remain loss-making. By 2020, we will have built an air transport Group focused on a leading long-haul network at the heart of global alliances, with a portfolio of unique brands, restructured short and medium-haul operations with a reinforced presence in the low cost segment in Europe, leadership positions in cargo, maintenance and catering, and a significantly improved risk profile both operationally and financially.”

    1 See definition in appendix
    2 At constant currency, fuel price and pension cost

Business review

In an environment which remains challenging but with profitable growth opportunities across all the Group’s markets, Air France-KLM plans to reinforce its key strengths, namely its network, its products and services, and its brands, while adjusting its portfolio of activities.

The development of the passenger hub business based on an upgraded product offer, an increased customer focus and a stronger positioning of brands. Benefiting from the broadest long-haul network on departure from Europe, the Group will be able to continue to capture growth opportunites particularly via the reinforcement of strategic partnerships.

The Group will maintain strict capacity discipline with growth in passenger capacity expected to be around 1% to 1.5% for the 2015-2017 period.

The Group will continue to restructure its point-to-point operations, aiming at a return to operating breakeven by 2017. In addition to the full impact of the measures launched in 2013, this objective will be reached thanks to new initiatives to restructure the network and reduce costs, together with the creation of a single business unit combining HOP and the Air France point-to-point operations.

The accelerated development of Air France-KLM in the European leisure market, under the Transavia brand, based on the two existing companies – Transavia France and Transavia Netherlands – and new bases to be created in other European countries. In a growth market, the Group plans to build on the results achieved within the framework of Transform 2015 to move to a more pan-European scale. By 2017, Transavia will rank amongst the leading low cost carriers in Europe, operating a fleet of 100 aircraft and carrying more than 20 million passengers. This business should contribute an additional €100 million of EBITDAR in 2017. With profitability being impacted by ongoing ramp-up costs, the Group is targeting operating profits by 2018.

The finalization of cargo repositioning: a significant reduction in the full-freighter fleet, from 14 aircraft in operation in 2013 to 5 aircraft at the end of 2016, should enable this business to return to operating breakeven in 2017 (versus a loss of €110 million in 2013 and a €200 million loss including bellies). The group will maintain a small full-freighter fleet as an important commercial lever to support its revenue premium on bellies. The Group will remain a major player in the European cargo sector thanks to its extensive belly network, but with only very limited remaining exposure (15% of capacity) to full-freighter volatility.

The recent development of the maintenance business has proven successful, with increased profitability and rapid growth in the order book. The Group will pursue its growth in this segment, particularly in engines and components, including via targeted acquisitions. This business should generate an additional €50 million to €80 million of EBITDAR in 2017, depending on acquisitions.

From a selective capex management while adopting a disciplined approach to growth opportunities. financial perspective, Air France-KLM plans to pursue the reduction in its unit costs and The Group will leverage the structured approach implemented within the framework of Transform 2015 to maintain unit cost reduction at an annual rate of 1% to 1.5%. To achieve this target, the group will go beyond traditional efforts directed at reducing unit costs (e.g. reduction in external expenses, purchasing policy and renewal of the long-haul fleet). This will involve the ongoing restructuring of uncompetitive activities and implementing a systematic review of processes using benchmarking based on profit centers. It will also entail negotiating with staff on the achievement of productivity gains paving the way to growth.

A progressive increase in fleet capex will be undertaken within the framework of strict capex control. Investment will remain below its pre-2012 level. Dedicated sources of funding will be allocated to significant development opportunities to ensure control over credit ratios. For example, the first phase in Transavia expansion will be financed by the €339 million proceeds generated from the partial disposal of Amadeus shares on September 9.

Medium-term financial targets to 2017

As a result of all these initiatives, Air France-KLM has set itself the following Group financial targets:

  •   EBITDAR up by 8% to 10%5 per year between 2013 and 2017
  •   An adjusted net debt/EBITDAR4 ratio of below 2.5 in 2017
  •   Base businesses to consistently generate annual positive free cash flowThese targets are consistent with a ROCE of 9% to 11% in 2017.

Read the analysis by Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Martinair’s McDonnell Douglas MD-11 (F) PH-MCS (msn 48618) prepares to land at London’s Stansted Airport.

Air France: AG Slide Show

KLM: AG Slide Show

Martinair: AG Slide Show

Transavia Airlines (Netherlands): AG Slide Show

Transavia Airlines (France): AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Transavia Airlines’ (Netherlands) Boeing 737-8K2 PH-HZA (msn 28373) with a Kulula underside taxies at the Amsterdam base.

 

Qatar Airways to fly nonstop to Cape Town and Phuket

Qatar Airways (Doha) has announced that commencing on November 3, the airline will operate a new nonstop five-times-weekly service between Doha and Cape Town, South Africa.

Cape Town, which is currently served three-times-a-week via Johannesburg, is one of the airline’s most popular African destinations. Now, thanks to continuous growth of the airline’s fleet and increasing passenger demand to the South African city, the airline is offering nonstop services to Cape Town for the first time.

The route will be operated by Qatar Airways’ Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft which features 22 seats in Business Class and 232 seats in Economy Class, with the latest interactive inflight entertainment system featuring over 1000 options available in all cabin classes.

In other news, Qatar Airways introduced its Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft on the Vienna route on September 1, 2014.

Qatar Airways is the first airline to commence scheduled 787 Dreamliner service to Vienna.

Finally, Qatar Airways on October 26 is introducing Doha-Phuket nonstop flights, replacing a one stop service via Kuala Lumpur. Airbus A330-200 aircraft will operate daily on this new route.

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 787-8 A7-BCK (msn 38329) prepares to land at London (Heathrow).

Qatar Airways Aircraft Slide Show: CLICK HERE

 

Philippines retires its last Boeing 747

Philippines-Philippine Airlines (Manila) today (September 1) operated its last Boeing 747 revenue flight. The last flight with a Boeing 747-400 touched down from San Francisco early this morning at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, ending an era that has spanned 35 years according to Philippine Flight Network.

The Boeing 747 entered service with Philippine Airlines in December 1979, when the carrier took delivery of its first Boeing 747-200B. PAL added its first Boeing 747-400 in November 1993.

Boeing 747-4F6 RP-C7473 (msn 27828) operated the last flight. RP-C7473 departed San Francisco on August 31 for the last time with 285 passengers on board according to PFN.

Read the full story with photos from Philippine Flight Network: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Sister ship Boeing 747-4F6 RP-C8168 (msn 27827) was a familiar sight at Los Angeles International Airport.

Philippines-Philippine Airlines:AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-2F6B N741PR (msn 21832) holds short of the runway at London’s Gatwick Airport.

 

Norwegian Air International calls on the DOT to grant its application

Norwegian Air International (subsidiary of Norwegian Air Shuttle) (Norwegian Long Haul) (Dublin) today (August 26) filed its reply to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) notice of August 4, 2014 requesting comments on the meeting between the U.S. Government and the European Commission. Norwegian Air International urges the Department to grant its application for an exemption and a foreign air carrier permit without further delay.

Norwegian Air International is joined by many supporters, who have also filed in support of its application, including the Irish Aviation Authority, U.S. Travel Association, American Society of Travel Agents, European Low Fares Airline Association, the Oakland, Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood airport authorities, Federal Express, and Atlas Air. The American public deserves more choice and lower fare options for flights between the U.S. and Europe. The U.S. economy will benefit from the increased tourism, and Norwegian’s fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners—the largest of any European airline—represents thousands of jobs at Boeing and Boeing’s suppliers throughout the U.S.

In the Notice, the Department summarized the views of the European Commission that a party to the Open Skies Agreement cannot unilaterally deny an airline’s application based on the so-called “social dimension” article of the agreement. “The Commission’s position echoes what we have been saying from the beginning, and we trust that the clear views of the Commission answer once and for all our opponent’s objections in this regard,” said Asgeir Nyseth, CEO of Norwegian Air International. “We look forward to the Department approving our application so that we can enjoy the same rights afforded to every other European airline serving the U.S. market – rights guaranteed to us under the Open Skies Agreement.”

As described in its prior filings, Norwegian Air International promises to offer the American public competitive fares, award-winning service that is responsive to market preferences and demand, and increased service to previously-underserved markets. Norwegian Air International’s support for the U.S. aviation industry is evidenced by its multibillion-dollar commitment to Boeing, its hiring of hundreds of U.S.-based cabin crew, and its support for hundreds of jobs at U.S. airports and the communities it will serve. It will provide new competition for Americans flying to Europe in a market that is dominated by three immunized airline alliances that currently control nearly 90 percent of the market.

The public interest in promoting service authorized by the Open Skies Agreement strongly supports the grant of Norwegian Air International’s application. The grant of the application will enable the Department to protect the important opportunities made available to U.S. carriers by the European parties to the Open Skies Agreement. It will afford an airline of Ireland, one of America’s closest partners in Europe, access to route authority it fully deserves under the Open Skies Agreement.

Open Skies has succeeded beyond all expectations, and it has done so because America made a principled decision to focus on fostering competition and new opportunities, not on protecting the existing market shares of a small number of incumbent carriers that already dominate the market. Three former Secretaries of Transportation — Andrew Card, Norman Mineta, and Mary Peters — have confirmed that these guiding principles of breaking down barriers and increasing competition are the core values the U.S. has sought to promote in open skies agreements. “If the Department wishes to stay the successful course of Open Skies, and promote a pro-growth, pro-competition, pro-consumer policy, the Department should grant Norwegian Air International’s application without further delay,” Norwegian International stated in today’s filing.

Over six months after Norwegian Air International completed its application, and with a regulatory docket filled with hundreds of pages of pleadings, the Department must now make a decision. It is time to let Norwegian Air International fly, and give consumers the choice they deserve.

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Norwegian Long Haul’s Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner EI-LNE (msn 34796) with Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen on the tail holds short of the runway at London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW).

Norwegian: AG Slide Show

Aeroflot to return to Tbilisi, Georgia

Aeroflot Russian Airlines (Moscow) on October 26 will resume service to Tbilisi, Georgia from Moscow (Sheremetyevo). The resumed route will be operated on a daily basis with Airbus A320 aircraft per Airline Route.

On the financial side, Aeroflot has reported on its first half results: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 VP-BWH (msn 2151) approaches the runway at London (Heathrow).

Aeroflot: AG Slide Show

 

QANTAS to boost services between Melbourne and Los Angeles

QANTAS Airways (Sydney) will boost services between Melbourne and Los Angeles, and between Sydney and Santiago, from early 2015, and introduce a new schedule providing the flexibility of morning, midday and evening departures between Australia and the US.

From January 21, 2015, QANTAS will increase its Melbourne to Los Angeles service from a daily service to ten per week and from February 20 will increase its Sydney to Santiago service from three to four per week.

The new services are the result of some schedule adjustments across the Pacific allowing for increased Boeing 747-400 flying time, one of the key elements of the QANTAS Transformation Program announced earlier this year.

“As part of our strategy to build a stronger QANTAS, we’ve introduced a new approach to aircraft utilization so we can take advantage of opportunities in the market. It means adjusting our schedules across the network to ensure our fleet spend less time on the ground and more time in the air, as we have done with our new Airbus A380 Dallas/Fort Worth service starting next month,” added Mr Hickey.

“This new schedule also builds on 25 supplementary services to the US and South America over the Christmas holiday period. The new schedule also enhances connections for our customers right across the US,” added Mr Hickey.

Customers connecting through to destinations across central and eastern parts of the United States will now have three options from Sydney – a morning and evening service to Los Angeles, and afternoon service to Dallas/Fort Worth.

“We recently announced new codeshare services with our partner LAN from Santiago to six destinations across South America and will now operate A380 services to both Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles, connecting with codeshare partner American Airlines to more than 100 destinations across North America.

Adjustments will be made to the timing of some of our flights across the Pacific in order to facilitate the improved schedule options for our customers.

Fleet and network adjustments are earmarked to save up to $600 million over three years for the QANTAS Group from the overall $2 billion cost reduction target that is at the centre of the airline’s turnaround plans. Increased aircraft utilisation and accelerated retirement of older, non-reconfigured Boeing 747s form part of this.

These changes come in a year of the 60th anniversary of QANTAS services to the US. In 1954, QANTAS operated a Lockheed Super Constellation from Sydney to San Francisco – its first trans-Pacific route to North America.

Summary of Schedule and Network Changes:

QANTAS Summary of Changes

Copyright Photo: Richard Vandervord/AirlinersGallery.com. The Boeing 747-400 is gradually leaving the QANTAS passenger fleet. Boeing 747-438 VH-OJS (man 25564) in the special Socceroos color scheme arrives in London (Heathrow).

QANTAS Airways: AG Slide Show

Planely Speaking: Power Shift; Gulf Carriers Threat to Alliance Airlines

Guest Editor Aaron Newman

Guest Editor Aaron Newman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Editor Aaron Newman

Power Shift; Gulf Carriers Threat to Alliance Airlines

By Aaron Newman

There are not many days that go by without seeing news come from the Middle East’s emergent airlines. Emirates Airline (Dubai), Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) and Qatar Airways (Doha) have been populating the headlines with large aircraft orders, launching new routes, new state-of-the art airports, and lavish onboard improvements. These three airlines have made established legacy carriers across the globe uneasy as they present a real threat to the established airlines bottom line. Alliance airlines like British Airways, KLM-Air France, Lufthansa, American and United have long dominated trans-oceanic high-yielding business markets. Are these industry mainstays slowly losing their grip?

Emergence of Gulf CarriersGulf Carriers - Come fly with us

Rapid economic development of Persian Gulf countries in the 1970’s and 80’s were due largely in part of the discovery of vast oil and gas reserves and the growth of OPEC. This caused large amounts of capital to flow into these small Gulf nations. Over time, small oil nations began looking for ways to diversify their country’s portfolio in a fear that oil reserves will eventually run out. These three state owned airlines are now an integral part of their countries respective economies. Qatar Airways for example, claims to count for 11% of the state’s GDP. Supported by friendly regulatory environments, government spending on airport infrastructures, and new, reliable long-haul aircraft, these carriers have transitioned from small regional airlines to global mainstays in a decade’s time.

 

 

Keys to Success

Access to cheap capital; the Gulf States have access to large cash reserves from oil and gas resources. This enables Persian Gulf nations to finance rapid growth, and offers support with airport development and infrastructure.

Graph Source: wsj.comGulf Carriers Taking Off

Regional competition; the Gulf airlines cooperate on many issues but also vigorously compete with each other, creating the need for efficient operations and continual product development to attract new customers.

Geography; the Middle East is ideally placed to link major global population centers. It sits at a cross-road between Europe, Africa and Asia.

Emerging market demand; demand from emerging markets is rising fast as a rapidly growing middle class has the time and money to consider travelling by air for leisure and business. The Gulf is located between the mature economies of Europe and the emerging markets of South East Asia, India, China and Africa.

A New Formidable Opponent

The Gulf airlines have combined home markets of only 7.5 million people, and so must rely on connecting passengers with a hub and spoke system. European airlines have been particularly hard hit by this, watching their natural customers travel on Gulf carriers instead of the country’s national carrier. Christoph Franz, former CEO of Lufthansa Group, highlights the challenging future of his prior company on a new Emirates route from Lisbon to Dubai saying , “we are talking about passengers who until now were primarily attracted by flights from Lisbon to Munich, in order to go on to Asian destinations. At least part of them are not flying via Germany anymore,” he says. “In the beginning we were talking about a competitive threat on paper – now we are talking about reality in our markets” (ft.com).

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Etihad Airways Airbus A340-642 A6-EHF (msn 837) departs from London’s Heathrow Airport.

In a June warning to its investors, Lufthansa cautioned the possibility of downward revisions to the airlines earnings outlook. Chief Financial Officer Simone Menne cited pricing pressure from the Gulf carriers’ expansion into Europe as a major contributing factor. Gulf airlines, which are adding capacity in major European cities such as Paris and London, are also ramping up service in secondary cities like Barcelona and Hamburg. This means that they’re grabbing market share from the European carriers not only at their hubs, but also at their spokes.

Competing on American SoilGulf carriers - Average Age

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gulf three now send nearly 120 large, new planes weekly to a growing number of American cities (WSJ.com). Though the United States and Canada are geographically better positioned than their European counterparts, the Gulf carriers still pose a credible threat. Airlines and governments in North America have been fighting back where they can. In Canada, the government has limited the number of planes that Etihad, Emirates and Qatar can land at its airports–a move to protect Air Canada, and its partner Lufthansa.

Graph Source: Emirates.

“Essentially, these are not airlines—they’re governments,” said Delta CEO Richard Anderson. “They have the ability to gain advantages in markets because profitability doesn’t matter.” He said the U.S. government should revisit its air treaties with other nations to ensure there is “equity” in commerce (wsj.com). Many industry analysts say U.S. opposition has slight chance of slowing down the Gulf carriers in the deregulated era. Washington is unlikely to alienate its Mideast allies, and Boeing, the U.S.’s biggest exporter, gets 10 percent of its wide-body orders from the Gulf carriers.

Looking Into the Future

With a backlog of more than 500 wide body aircraft orders, do not expect these airlines growth to subside. According to a recent report by Credit Suisse, Etihad Airways, Emirates, and Qatar Airways will increase the number of seats offered on their Europe-to-Asia flights between 8 and 18 percent a year between now and 2020 (thefinancialist.com). I believe you will continue to see these airlines enter more secondary markets to grab market share from legacy carriers. I envision cities like Chengdu, Sapporo, Brasilia, and Charlotte N.C. as cities that Gulf carriers will have their eyes on for future growth. With new airports and new aircraft, growth is inevitable; at this point it is not a matter of if Gulf carriers will continue to grow, but it appears to be a matter of when and where.

What can European, Southeast Asian and North American airlines do in response to the new threat to their long-haul business? Airlines must first cut costs. This is critical, particularly for European airlines to remain competitive. For example, Lufthansa needs to reduce costs on flights to Southeast Asia by 40 percent to stay competitive. Another example, according to Credit Suisse, Air France and IAG (British Airways Parent Company) has 30 percent higher unit costs on flights to Southeast Asia than some Asian competitors, Turkish Airlines, and Emirates (thefinancialist.com). Secondly, airlines could reduce route competition and shelter revenue by developing mutual partnerships with the Gulf carriers.  These relationships would make it easier for both Eurasian and North American carriers to get more customers into the Middle East, India and developing nations in Africa with little investment required. As the saying goes; if you can’t beat em,’ join em.’

Emirates: AG Slide Show

Etihad Airways: AG Slide Show

Qatar Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDJ (msn 009) of Emirates arrives at London (Heathrow).

 

Cathay Pacific’s first half net profit rises to $44.7 million, will retire its Airbus A340s by the end of 2017

Cathay Pacific Airways (Hong Kong) reported a first half net profit of HK $347 million ($44.7 million), up from a net income of HK $24 million ($3.1 million) in the same period a year ago.

The airline issued this first half report:

The Cathay Pacific Group reported an attributable profit of HK $347 million (all amounts in Hong Kong dollars) for the first six months of 2014. This compares to a profit of HK $24 million in the first half of 2013. Earnings per share were HK 8.8 cents compared to earnings per share of HK 0.6 cents for the corresponding period in the previous year. Turnover for the period rose by 4.6% to HK $50,840 million.

A number of factors had a significant negative impact on the Group’s business in the first six months of 2014. The principal adverse factors were reduced passenger yield, continued weakness and over-capacity in the air cargo market, the continued high fuel price and a weak performance from an associated company, Air China.

Fuel remains the Group’s most significant cost. In the first half of 2014 fuel costs increased by 5.2% compared to the same period in 2013. Fuel accounted for 37.9% of total operating costs, which represents a 0.9 percentage point decrease compared with the corresponding period in 2013. In the first half of 2014, hedging activities resulted in a gain of HK $1,024 million. A significant amount of this gain is unrealised. Cathay Pacific continues to increase fuel efficiency by modernising its fleet. It is also focused on controlling costs.

The Group’s passenger revenue in the first six months of 2014 increased by 4.4% to HK $36,520 million compared to the same period in 2013. Capacity increased by 5.3% as a result of the introduction of new routes (to Doha and Newark) and increased frequencies on existing long-haul routes. The load factor increased by 2.3 percentage points to 83.6%, but the increase in passenger numbers was at the expense of yield, which fell by 3.5% to HK 66.6 cents. Passenger demand was strong in all classes of travel on long-haul routes. Demand on regional routes was generally robust, although strong competition put downward pressure on yield and demand was weak on certain Southeast Asian routes.

The Group’s cargo revenue for the first half of 2014 was HK $11,663 million, a rise of 3.4% compared to the same period in the previous year. Yield for Cathay Pacific and Dragonair decreased by 6.9% to HK $2.17. Capacity increased by 10.8%, while the load factor rose by 0.8 percentage points to 63.2%. Over-capacity in the industry remains a major concern and has made it difficult to increase rates. The airlines continued to manage capacity in line with demand in the first half of 2014. More cargo was carried in the bellies of passenger aircraft, reflecting increased use of Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft. Its new cargo terminal in Hong Kong is operating smoothly and now provides services for airlines outside the Cathay Pacific Group.

The Cathay Pacific Group continues to modernize its fleet. In the first six months of 2014 it took delivery of five new aircraft: two Boeing 777-300 ERs, two Airbus A330-300s, and (for Dragonair) one Airbus A321-200. Two Boeing 747-400 passenger aircraft were retired during the period. As part of agreements entered into with The Boeing Company in 2013 the airline is selling its six Boeing 747-400F freighters back to The Boeing Company. Four of these freighters are now parked and all six will have left the fleet by 2016. In the first half of 2014, we planned the accelerated retirement of 11 Airbus A340-300 aircraft. Four of these aircraft will be retired by the end of 2015 and the remaining seven will be retired by the end of 2017. At June 30, 2014 it had 90 aircraft on order for delivery by 2024. In the second half of 2014, Cathay Pacific and Dragonair will take delivery of 11 new aircraft. Two of them were delivered in July and two of them were scheduled to be delivered in August. Four Boeing 747-400 passenger aircraft will be retired, two of them were retired in August.

Cathay Pacific introduced passenger services to Doha and Newark in March and has announced the introduction of services to Manchester and Zurich from December 2014 and March 2015 respectively. Flights were added on the Chicago, Los Angeles and Osaka routes. The airline stopped flying to Abu Dhabi, Karachi and Jeddah but improved its schedules on other Middle Eastern routes. Dragonair started flying to Denpasar-Bali and Penang and increased services on a number of other routes. For cargo, Cathay Pacific tagged Mexico City onto its Guadalajara cargo service and increased it from two to three flights per week. It began flying freighters to Columbus in the United States in March. It will add Calgary in Canada to the network in October.

New Business Class, Premium Economy Class and Economy Class seats have been installed in all Cathay Pacific’s Boeing 777-300 ER and long-haul Airbus A330-300 aircraft. Installation of new Regional Business Class seats is almost complete. The update of First Class seats in Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft will be finished by March 2015. New Business and Economy Class seats had been installed in 23 Dragonair aircraft by the end of June. The first Dragonair aircraft to be fitted with new First Class seats entered service in February.

The Group (which accounts for its share of Air China’s results three months in arrear) recorded a loss from Air China in the first half of 2014. Air China’s results were adversely affected by a difficult operating environment and substantial foreign exchange losses caused by the depreciation of the Renminbi. In June, Cathay Pacific announced a substantial injection of capital and loans into Air China Cargo by its shareholders. This injection is to provide funds to assist the carrier to renew its fleet and improve the performance of its main cargo business.

Cathay Pacific Chairman John Slosar said: “The operating environment for the Cathay Pacific Group – and the aviation industry as a whole – remains challenging. We face significant competition in our passenger business. This makes it difficult to maintain yields. The air cargo business remains problematic because of excess capacity. Intense competition similarly puts pressure on yield. On the plus side, we continue to strengthen our passenger network and the connections available through Hong Kong. The high quality of our products and services increases our attractiveness to passengers. We expect our new freighter fleet and new cargo terminal to allow us to compete successfully in the air cargo market in the long term.

We expect business to be better in the second half of 2014. Our financial position remains strong and will enable us, despite the current difficult trading conditions, to maintain the quality of our products and services and to continue with our long-term strategic investment in the business. As always, we remain committed to strengthening the world class aviation hub in our home, Hong Kong. Finally, we are particularly pleased that in July, Cathay Pacific was named the World’s Best Airline in the annual World Airline Awards run by Skytrax. This is the fourth time we have received this award, which is decided by public voting.”

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. As the report indicates, Cathay Pacific is accelerating the retirement of its older Boeing 747-400F freighters and the pictured Airbus A340-300s. In the first half of 2014, Cathay Pacific accelerated retirement of its 11 Airbus A340-300 aircraft. Four of these aircraft will be retired by the end of 2015 and the remaining seven will be retired by the end of 2017. Airbus A340-313 B-HXL (man 381) completes its final approach to London (Heathrow).

Cathay Pacific: AG Slide Show

British Airways to suspend flights to Freetown and Monrovia due to Ebola virus fears

British Airways (London) is suspending the London (Heathrow)-Freetown-Monrovia until at least the end of the month due to Ebola virus fears.

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/Airlinersgallery.com. Boeing 767-336 ER G-BZHA (msn 29230) arrives at the London (Heathrow) hub.

British Airways: AG Slide Show

Air India to introduce the Boeing 787 to Singapore on August 24

Air India (Mumbai) will now introduce the Boeing 787 on the daily Mumbai-Chennai-Singapore route on August 24 (moved up from October 25). The 787-8 will replace an Airbus A330-200 on the route per Airline Route.

Air India took delivery of its 16th Boeing 787-8 (VT-ANQ) on July 17, 2014. The aircraft departed Charleston on July 20, 2014 and arrived in Delhi on the following day.

As an example of what Air India has to deal with in India, Air India cannot sell 51 seats on its daily flight from Mumbai to Newark according to Bloomberg Businessweek. The culprit? Giant billboards at the end of runway (that would not be tolerated in the West) force the carrier to lighten the load and losing revenue in the process.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 787-8 VT-ANN (msn 36285) arrives at London (Heathrow).

Air India: AG Slide Show

 

Ryanair posts a fiscal first quarter net profit of $264.1 million, an increase of 152%

Ryanair (Dublin) has announced a fiscal first quarter (Q1) net profit of €197 million ($264.1 million), an increase of 152% over last year.

The ultra low-fare airline cautioned that this result was distorted by the timing of a very strong Easter in Q1 with no holiday period in the prior year comparable. Traffic grew to 24.3 million as load factors rose by 4% points to 86%. Average fare rose by 9%, boosted by a strong Easter period, while total revenues were up 11% to €1.496 billion. Unit costs fell by 2%, excluding fuel they rose by 1%.

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said:

“Q1 profits were boosted by a strong Easter (but are somewhat distorted by the absence of Easter on the prior year Q1). The earlier launch of our summer schedule and actively raising our forward bookings has delivered a 4% increase in load factor to 86% and enabled us to better manage close-in yields. Ancillary Revenues rose 4% in line with traffic growth, as airport and baggage fee reductions were offset by the rising uptake of allocated seating.“

New Routes and Bases.

Our four new bases at Athens, Brussels, Lisbon and Rome are performing strongly, as customers switch to Ryanair’s lower fares and our industry leading customer service. Our strategy to raise forward bookings continues to drive higher load factors and we expect to release our summer 2015 schedule in mid-September, some 3 months earlier than last year.

This winter we will open four new bases in Cologne, Gdansk, Warsaw and Glasgow (Intl.) as well as substantially increasing new routes and frequencies at Stansted and Dublin as we invest heavily in our network to build schedules on key city pairs to make them more attractive for business customers.

We are overrun with growth offers from primary European airports whose incumbent flag and regional carriers continue to cut capacity and traffic. These new airports along with our existing 69 bases offer Ryanair significant growth opportunities as the first of our 180 new Boeing order delivers this September. These new aircraft, with the benefit of the much weaker US$, will drive significant cost efficiencies over the next 5 years.

Customer Experience Improvement.

Our “Always Getting Better” program has delivered significant improvement to the customer experience. In addition to the initiatives launched last September which included allocated seating, free second carry-on bags, and an easier to use website with a “fare finder” facility, we launched our family product in June. In July we released our industry leading mobile app (including mobile boarding passes) which has been very positively reviewed by independent commentators and our customers and has reached 1m downloads in the 10 days since its release. In September we will launch Ryanair’s business service which will include same day flight changes, bigger bag allowances, premium seat allocation, and fast-track through security at many Ryanair airports. This new service along with our new routes, improved schedules and wider GDS distribution, will make Ryanair’s low fares much more accessible to, and attractive for business customers. We will continue this winter to rapidly develop both our website and mobile platform to deliver more innovative features and services in addition to the lowest fares to our customers.

Fuel

We are 90% hedged for FY15 at approx. $96 p.bl, which will deliver savings of €50m this year at current market rates. This is lower than the €70m previously guided due to increased volumes in H2. We have also hedged 55% of our H1 FY16 fuel needs at approx. $95 p.bl and weaker US$ which will deliver a 2% fall in our unit fuel cost at current market rates.

Bond Issue

The BBB+ rating awarded by S&P and Fitch makes Ryanair the highest rated airline in the world. This rating reflects the strength of our Balance Sheet and our highly cash generative business model and enabled us in June to issue our first €850m unsecured Eurobond at a coupon of 1.875% fixed for 7 years. This attractively priced financing (which was 7 times oversubscribed) will further reduce our aircraft ownership costs over the next 5 years.

Shareholder returns

In FY14 we completed €482m of share buybacks as part of our commitment to return €1 billion to shareholders over a 2 year period. We now plan to return another €520m via a special dividend of 37.50 cents per ordinary share (subject to AGM approval) to be paid in Q4 FY15. This brings the total returns to shareholders since 2008 to over €2.5bn which is more than 4 times the €585m originally raised from shareholders since our 1997 IPO.

Outlook

Based on these Q1 results and our strong forward bookings it is clear that we are on track to deliver a strong H1, during which traffic will grow by 3%, and fares will rise by 6% subject to late booking fares in Aug. and Sept. However we would strongly caution both analysts and investors against any irrational exuberance in what continues to be a difficult economic environment, with some company-specific challenges in H2.

We expect H2 to be characterized by a much softer pricing environment as many competitors are lowering fares, partly in response to Ryanair’s strong forward bookings. Added to this Ryanair will aggressively raise capacity this winter by 8% (7% in Q3 and 10% in Q4) to take advantage of growth discounts and build out business friendly frequencies from Dublin and Stansted in particular. These initiatives will inevitably put downward pressure on fares and (mindful of last winter’s weak pricing environment) we continue to expect H2 yields to fall by between 6% to 8% which will result in full year yields rising by only 2%. Unit costs (ex-fuel) for FY15 will rise by approx. 4%, which is slightly better than the 5% increase we originally guided, due to higher H2 traffic volumes which will be positive for unit costs.

In summary, we now expect full year traffic to grow by 5% to 86m. This increased traffic and higher load factors, combined with a slightly improved performance on unit costs allows us to cautiously raise our full year profit after tax guidance (from the previous range €580m to €620m) to a range of €620m to €650m. However this guidance, which is about a 21% rise over last year’s net profit, is heavily, reliant upon the final outturn for H2 yields over which we currently have zero visibility”.

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8AS EI-CSW (msn 29935) in the old small-titled 1994 livery arrives at Stansted Airport near London.

Ryanair:

 

Malaysia Airlines considers a new name, brand and livery

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur), owned by a majority share by a holding company of the Malaysian government, is considering changes in the the wake of the two tragic accidents this year.

According to RT.com, the government is considering a rebrand, a different ownership restructure, a possible new name and an adjustment of its route network.

Malaysia Airlines is very likely to change.

As far as the livery, the two ill-fated Boeing 777-200 ERs wore the older 1987 livery (above) which features the red and blue Kelantan Wau Bulan (Moon Dragon Kite) tail logo which has been seen in the headlines over and over, especially with the debris in eastern Ukraine. Any brand refresh would probably retire this iconic and historic logo.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Richard Vandervord/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8FZ 9M-MLH (msn 31723) is pictured in action at Phuket, Thailand in the 1987 color scheme.

Malaysia Airlines: AG Slide Show

Below Copyright Photo: Ivan K. Nishimura/AirlinersGallery.com. Malaysia refreshed the red and blue Kelantan Wau Bulan (kite) livery in 2010 with this new twin arc look while retaining the kite tail logo. Boeing 737-8H6 9M-MSE (msn 40147) passes through Honolulu on delivery.

Below Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. When Malaysia introduced the new Airbus A380, the airline unveiled this special A380 livery (for only the A380s) in 2012. The red and blue kite morphed into a blue kite for the A380s. Is this enough of a change? Probably not. Airbus A380-841 9M-MNB (msn 081) departs from London (Heathrow).

Bottom Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati/AirlinersGallery.com. When MSA was split into Malaysian Airline System (MAS) and Singapore Airlines, Malaysian (later Malaysia Airlines) originally introduced this livery in 1972. As you will note, the original livery featured a red and white kite tail logo. Dropping this historic logo will be a tough decision for the airline but unfortunately it is now a tarnished logo. Boeing 737-2H6 9M-MBH (msn 20926) prepares to depart from the gate at Kuala Lumpur.

Poll:

 

Can Malaysia Airlines survive two major air disasters?

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) is still in crisis mode after the savage downing of flight MH 17 over the Russian-speaking rebel-held area of the eastern Ukraine. The airline now avoids flying over the Ukraine.

Yesterday the flag carrier issued this statement about MH 17:

“Following the agreement Prime Minister Najib Razak brokered with rebel leaders, Malaysia has taken custody of flight MH 17’s black boxes. As the Prime Minister said, they will be passed to the international investigation team for analysis.

The international investigation team, led by the Netherlands, has decided to pass the black boxes to the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch for forensic analysis. It is normal procedure for black boxes to be sent for analysis to the nearest laboratory authorized by the International Civil Aviation Association.

The black boxes will therefore be flown to Farnborough, UK, accompanied by Malaysian experts and other members of the international investigation team.”

Meanwhile on the financial side, the airline is also hurting. Load factors and yield are reportedly declining given the attention the airline is receiving in the media.

Previously on May 15 the airline reported a growing quarterly net loss of RM443 million ($139.5 million) for the three months ending on March 31, 2014 compared to a loss of RM279 million ($87.8 million) for the same quarter a year ago.

Bloomberg Businessweek is exploring the question of whether the airline can survive as we know it given this double tragedy and declining fortunes and cash flow.

According to the magazine, “MAS executives are focusing on finding a way to save the company. The carrier this week is going to present a plan to its parent, state-run Khazanah Nasional, Bloomberg News reported. Bankruptcy is one option. Taking the company private is another.”

Most likely the carrier will continue to operate in some form but it will probably change.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Can Malaysia Airlines, with declining numbers, remain an Airbus A380 operator? The A380 is the flagship aircraft for the carrier but if it can’t fill the seats it may be the wrong aircraft for the airline. Airbus A380-841 9M-MNF (msn 114) arrives in London (Heathrow) with special “100th A380″ markings.

Malaysia Airlines: AG Slide Show

Emirates is coming to Budapest on October 27

Emirates (Dubai) will commence services to Hungary from October this year with a daily flight to the capital of Budapest.

Starting on October 27, Emirates will offer 278 seats per day on the Dubai-Budapest route, operating a wide-body A330-200 aircraft in a two class configuration.

The Airbus A330-200 will offer 27 seats in Business Class and 251 Economy Class seats.

Flight EK 111 will depart Dubai at 0820 and will arrive at Budapest Airport at 1135. The return flight, EK 112 will depart at 1505 and will arrive at Dubai International Airport at 2330.

Besides Budapest, Emirates is launching two other destinations to Europe: Oslo on September 2 and Brussels on September 5.

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 A6-EAH (msn 409) is pictured on the final approach to the runway at London (Heathrow).

Emirates: AG Slide Show

 

SkyWork Airlines is coming to Southend Airport

SkyWork Airlines (Bern) is adding a new destination in the London area for winter schedule effective on October 26. Bern Airport will be connected twice a day with London’s “sixth airport”, customer friendly London Southend Airport. The aircraft departs from Bern at 6.45 am (0645) local time. The evening flight from Southend to Bern leaves at 8.00 pm (2000) local time. Dornier 328-100 aircraft will be operated on the route.

Other destinations for the winter include Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Hamburg, Vienna and Palma de Majorca which is operated seasonally on weekends. There will be a reduction in the number of weekly flight for these routes.

Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. SkyWork Airlines is planning phase out its last remaining Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) (HB-JGA). HB-JGA (msn 4198) taxies at Zurich.

SkyWork Airlines: AG Slide Show

SkyWork logo

The current summer route map:

SkyWork 7.2014 Route Map

 

Air India joins the Star Alliance today

Air India (Mumbai) is joining the Star Alliance today (July 11).

Air India is assigning the new Boeing 787 Dreamliners (above) to its strategic routes. The company now has 15 787-8s in service. The 15th Boeing 787-8 (VT-ANC) was delivered to Air India on June 20, 2014. The aircraft departed Charleston, South Carolina on June 24, 2014 and arrived in Delhi on the following day.

The Star Alliance issued this statement:

Star Alliance, the way the Earth connects, welcomed Air India as a full member of its global family of airlines, opening the national carrier’s strong domestic network in the fifth largest aviation market to Star Alliance customers worldwide.

Air India now offers all Star Alliance customer benefits across its network and Air India’s customers enjoy the same benefits when they travel on any of the other 26 Star Alliance member airlines.

“This is an important day for us. We have said for many years that we needed a strong home carrier in the Indian market and by welcoming Air India to our Star Alliance family, we have achieved this goal” said Star Alliance Chief Executive Mark Schwab. “We know that the ‘new’ Air India is looking forward to providing the Star Alliance customer benefits to many more travellers.”

Rohit Nandan, Air India Chairman and Managing Director said, “Air India is proud to be a member of this prestigious airline Alliance. From today, we open up a completely different world for our passengers, who can now travel to over 1,300 destinations right across the network and enjoy world-class service, better connectivity and seamless travel wherever they go.”

Air India adds a total of 400 daily flights and over 40 new destinations in India to the Alliance network.

The biggest growth will come from its home market which has up to now been served by 13 Star Alliance members flying to 10 destinations and holding a 13% market share. As a result of the addition of Air India, the Alliance’s market share in India has risen to 30%. Globally, passengers further benefit from a wider choice on routes connecting North America, Europe, Asia and Australia via the Indian Subcontinent. In total the Star Alliance network counts 27 member airlines, offering more than 18,500 daily flights serving 1,316 destinations in 192 countries.

Air India now offers through check-in to the final destination for connecting flights operated by any Star Alliance member airline for both passengers and baggage, hence providing seamless travel. Passengers benefit as they do not need to collect their boarding passes for connecting flights at the transfer airports and, where permitted by local customs regulations, baggage will also be sent through to the final destinations.

Reciprocal frequent flyer benefits between Air India’s Flying Returns programme and those of the existing member carriers are now activated. These provide customers with more options in earning and redeeming, upgrading and obtaining Star Alliance Gold status.

Flying Returns members who hold Maharajah Club or Golden Edge Club status now automatically also have Star Alliance Gold status, giving them access to more than 1,000 lounges across the global network. Gold status customers can also check in at specially designated counters, are offered an increased baggage allowance and receive priority boarding and baggage delivery. All these benefits are also provided by Air India to customers holding Star Alliance Gold status in other frequent flyer programs.

Air India’s network comprises 50 destinations in India and 33 internationally, serving 23 countries. The addition of over 40 unique destinations domestically offers passengers excellent connectivity between major business centres. New destinations include the industrial hubs of Aurangabad and Vadadora; Indore, which is home to many pharmaceutical producers; textiles and engineering centre Coimbatore and Jamnagar, India’s “Oil City”. Air India also serves popular tourist destinations such as Goa, Kochi, Madurai and Jaipur.

As part of its Star Alliance membership, Air India now participates in several of the Alliance’s fare products and business solutions.

For the business travel sector, Air India flights can be included in Star Alliance Corporate Plus agreements, which are aimed at large multinational companies. For the Conventions and Meetings market, Air India will now offer Star Alliance Conventions Plus and Meetings Plus, the dedicated products for the meetings and conventions industry*.

Air India also boosts the attractiveness of the Alliance’s most popular fare product, the Star Alliance Round the World Fare (RTW). Available in First, Business and Economy Class, this fare allows customers to travel around the globe making use of the 27 member airline network. Customers can now make use of all Air India flights when booking their RTW fare, either through the Book & Fly online booking tool*, via an airline or through a travel agency.

Some of Air India’s flights will also be included in the Star Alliance Circle Pacific Fare which allows circular round-trips covering the Asian countries bordering the Pacific, the main international hub airports on the Pacific Coast of Canada and the USA, as well as the South Pacific (mainly Australia and New Zealand).

And finally, Air India is now included in the Asia Airpass alongside all other Asia based Star Alliance member airlines. This special coupon and mileage based fare is available to all overseas visitors to the region travelling on a Star Alliance member airline and allows customers to travel around Asia, selecting from a total of 277 destinations.

Previously the airline issued this statement:

Air India has scripted a new chapter in India’s aviation history by becoming the first airline from India to be inducted into the world’s leading global airline consortium, Star Alliance. On June 23, 2014, the Star Alliance Central Executive Board voted in favor of Air India to become its 27th member airline. Air India will start offering the alliance benefits and privileges to customers from July 11, 2014.

The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. The member airlines are: Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines-SAS, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Swiss International Air Lines, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, Thai Airways International and United Airlines.

Star Alliance FAs (Star Alliance)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: Star Alliance. The flight attendants of the member airlines.

 

Overall, the Star Alliance network presently offers more than 18,000 daily flights to 1,269 airports in 193 countries.

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 787-8 VT-ANH (msn 36276) arrives at London (Heathrow).

Air India: AG Slide Show

Ryanair to launch three new routes to and from Scotland on October 26

Ryanair (Dublin) has announced significant growth for Scotland with three new routes between Edinburgh and London (Stansted), Glasgow and London (Stansted) and Glasgow and Dublin (three times daily), as well as a new base at Glasgow International (Ryanair’s 69th in total).

Ryanair’s existing once daily flight from Glasgow Prestwick to Dublin will now switch to Glasgow International as part of an expanded three times daily business service between Glasgow and Dublin. Despite this switch Ryanair remains committed to its long standing base at Prestwick where the airline has a major maintenance facility and is currently in discussions with Glasgow Prestwick and the Scottish Government, its new owners, to explore growth opportunities to/from Prestwick Airport.

From October 26, 2014, Ryanair will base three Boeing 737-800s at Edinburgh, one at Glasgow (International) and one at Glagow (Prestwick).

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8AS EI-DLB (msn 33584) taxies at Nantes.

Ryanair: AG Slide Show

Norwegian launches Boeing 787 flights from London Gatwick to Los Angeles, New York and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood

Norwegian Long Haul (Norwegian Air Shuttle) (Norwegian.com) (Oslo) this week has expanded its Boeing 787 operations, this time from London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW). On July 2 the fast-growing airline launched Gatwick-Los Angeles service. Yesterday (July 3) Norwegian started Gatwick-New York (JFK) flights and today it will commence Gatwick-Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood service.

According to Norwegian,  “almost all of the 291 seats on Norwegian’s 787 Dreamliner are fully booked on the launch trips to Los Angeles, New York and Fort Lauderdale.”

The airline continued (translated from Norwegian), “The launch of long-haul routes from London Gatwick is an important part of Norwegian’s global growth strategy and in a few years, it is Spain’s turn. We are excited that Norwegian’s routes between London and the United States are now running. We think that everyone should be able to afford to fly, even between Europe and the USA. The trans-Atlantic market has for too long been dominated by a few large airlines with expensive tickets and limited flexibility”, says CEO Bjorn Kjos.

In 2013, Norwegian launched the only low cost long-haul routes between the United States and Scandinavia, and between Asia and Scandinavia.

This past year, according to Norwegian, 100,000 Americans have flown with Norwegian and 200 000 passengers have traveled from Europe to the United States with the company.

According to Norwegian, “Currently Norwegian employs 300 American cabin crew at the base in Fort Lauderdale and in New York and 200 at the base in Bangkok. Norwegian had over 6,000 applications for the 300 posts in the United States. 150 pilots fly its 787 Dreamliner and 40 more pilots will be employed, including the base in New York.

Norwegian currently has seven 787 Dreamliners in service. By 2018 the company will have a long-haul fleet of 17 Dreamliners.

Norwegian’s current long-haul Boeing 787 routes:

From New York (JFK): Stockholm (ARN), Oslo (OSL), Copenhagen (CPH), Bergen (BGO and London (LGW)

From Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood (FLL): Stockholm (ARN), Oslo (OSL), Copenhagen (CPH) and London (LGW)

From Los Angeles (LAX): Stockholm (ARN), Oslo (OSL), Copenhagen (CPH) and London (LGW)

From Oakland, CA (OAK): Stockholm (ARN) and Oslo (OSL)

From Orlando (MCO): Oslo (OSL)

From Bangkok (BKK): Oslo (OSL) to Stockholm (ARN)

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 787-8 EI-LNE (msn 34796) with Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen on the tail arrives in New York at JFK International Airport (JFK).

Norwegian: AG Slide Show

Emirates to serve Mauritius with two daily Airbus A380 flights

Emirates (Dubai) will serve Mauritius with double daily Airbus A380 service from December 1.

This second A380, which will operate as flight EK 703/704, replaces the existing Boeing 777 operation and increases Emirates’ capacity on the route by 19%, further meeting the demand on the route and demonstrating the growth of Mauritius as a global destination.

Services between Dubai and Mauritius and vice versa is operated in codeshare with Emirates’ long-time partner Air Mauritius.

The upgraded A380 service leaves Dubai as EK 703 at 1000, arriving at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport at 1645. It returns as EK 704 leaving Mauritius at 2300, landing at Dubai International Airport at 0540 the following day.

Emirates is the first airline in the world to operate an Airbus A380 service to a destination in the Indian Ocean. The airline currently has 49 A380s serving 26 destinations around the world, more than any other airline globally.

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDH (msn 025) approaches the runway at London (Heathrow) with special “6000th Airbus aircraft” markings.

Emirates: AG Slide Show

 

British Airways tests a “happiness blanket” for its premium passengers

British Airways Happiness Blanket (British)(LR)

British Airways (London) is testing a “happiness blanket” for its premium passengers. The airline issued this short statement and video:

“What if you could measure how you’re feeling when you fly with us? Well now you can, thanks to the Happiness Blanket.

This revolutionary device monitors your happiness then changes colour to reflect your mood.

We tested our Happiness Blanket on a real fight between London and New York.”

Copyright Photo: British Airways.

British Airways: AG Slide Show

Video:

US Airways to add a second daily Charlotte-London Heathrow flight

US Airways (American Airlines Group) (Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth) is adding a second daily flight from its Charlotte hub to London (Heathrow) starting on September 13. The second flight will be operated with Airbus A330-200 equipment according to The Charlotte Observer. The second flight was made possible by the acquisition of the arrival and departure slots purchased from Cyprus Airways (Larnaca).

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: David Neal/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 N283AY (msn 1076) departs from the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) hub.

US Airways: AG Slide Show

British Airways to open the London City-Dublin route on October 26

British Airways (London) on October 26 will start daily London (City)-Dublin flights. The new route will be operated by BA CityFlyer.

In other news, British Airways customers will have access to new destinations and scores more routes when the airline adds its flight code to more than 170 Vueling Airlines (Barcelona) services.

According to the airline, “This significant move for the two International Airlines Group (IAG) airlines heralds the beginning of a closer relationship with more codeshare routes planned for the future.”

British Airways customers will be able to book Vueling flights through all BA sales channels, including ba.com, and collect Avios on these bookings. The codeshare routes are largely centred on Vueling’s operation in Italy with 37 international and 11 domestic routes available from Vueling’s Rome Fiumicino base. These include the destinations, new to BA customers, of Brindisi, Palermo, Lamezia, Valencia, Split and Nantes. Other new routes on offer through the codeshare include Heathrow to Bilbao and La Coruña, Cardiff to Malaga and Alicante, and Edinburgh to Barcelona. Tickets for the codeshare routes go on sale from June 17 for travel from June 24, 2014.

BA European Cabin (LRW)

Finally, British Airways has unveiled newly-designed seats and cabin interiors for its short-haul aircraft flying across its European and domestic networks from Heathrow and Gatwick.

Fitting-out work begins this week on the first of the 95 Airbus short-haul aircraft, installing elegant new designs that take inspiration from the airline’s most recent fleet entrants, the A380 and Boeing 787.

According to the airline, “The elegant charcoal grey leather seats are slimmer and ergonomically designed to enable the addition of extra seats in the Euro Traveller (economy) cabin to allow more low fares.

Innovative design maximizes personal space and comfort, with chair backs devised to provide more knee space for the customer behind. Customers can also make use of an eye-level seatback tablet-holder, which can also provide storage for magazines. A four way moveable headrest provides comfort and support. And the seat back table moves in and out to provide optimum positioning.

The new Club Europe, featuring a silver British Airways speedmarque on the front wall, will maintain its 2:2 configuration with the middle seat free. The seats will be bridged with a stylish new ‘central console’ table, providing Club customers with improved functional space. This table provides inlaid leather mats for drinks, snacks and personal devices, freeing up the main table for work or a meal.

Contemporary LED lighting systems, inspired by the airline’s newest long-haul cabins, will include blue tones for boarding, a relaxing candlelit mood for dining and a restful gentle white for cruising and landing.

As part of its investment in short-haul for Club Europe customers, British Airways has also recently invested in significant re-designs of its domestic lounges in Belfast, Glasgow and Edinburgh.”

The new cabin is a testament to British design. The new seats are manufactured by B/E Aerospace in Kilkeel, Northern Ireland, the leather for the seat covers and pads on the ‘central console’ is supplied by Andrew Muirhead & Son Ltd in Glasgow and the decorative stitching on the Club Europe seats has been developed by Prototrim, a car seat design and dressing specialist based in Milton Keynes.

The new interiors, to be fitted across the Airbus fleet over the next 12 months, are the most dramatic of a series of changes to the airline’s short-haul flights. It has already introduced a range of new fare options including hand-baggage only, semi-flex and day returns, which are proving enormously popular with customers. Following the success of day return fares from London, the company will today start rolling out day return fares for European travellers coming to London.

The new cabins will also deliver significant environmental benefits, saving an estimated five per cent in CO2 per passenger/km, contributing toward the airline’s target of reducing net carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2050.

To enhance its short-haul services British Airways is in discussions with Inmarsat about leading Europe in a new era of broadband in the air. Starting with UK domestic routes they intend to roll-out Europe’s first ground-based 4G broadband network giving customers the internet access they expect on the ground while in the air.

Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. Embraer ERJ 190-100SR G-LCYN (msn 19000392) of BA CityFlyer with the special “7,000 Embraer” sticker taxies at Zurich.

British Airways: AG Slide Show

British Airways-BA CityFlyer: AG Slide Show

 

Virgin Atlantic to introduce the new Boeing 787-9 on the Boston route

Virgin Atlantic 787-9 (10)(Flt)(Virgin Atlantic)(LR)

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) has announced it will introduce its new 264-seat Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the London (Heathrow)-Boston (Logan) route on October 28. The first 787 is due in September with 16 on order. After BOS, the 787 will be deployed to other U.S. East Coast cities from London. London Heathrow-Washington Dulles 787 service will start on December 17 and London Heathrow-New York JFK will follow on February 28, 2015.

Virgin Atlantic issued this statement:

We’re delighted to reveal the plans for our new $5 billion Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner fleet, continuing our investment in our customer experience. Flying from ‘old’ England to New England, the aircraft’s first route will be between London Heathrow and Boston, with the service scheduled to start on October 28 and fly six times a week.

It’s 30 years since Sir Richard Branson took Virgin Atlantic’s inaugural flight across the Atlantic from London Heathrow to New York Newark on the June 22, 1984. To celebrate this 30th milestone, the new 787 aircraft is named ‘Birthday Girl’ and features some very special paintwork. For the first time ever, our iconic Virgin Atlantic ‘Flying Lady’ will be displayed face on – and she is carrying a celebratory champagne flute!

Setting the bar

After the Boston launch, we’ll deploy our Dreamliners on other key London to US East Coast markets initially, with subsequent services between Heathrow and Washington, Heathrow and Newark and Heathrow and New York JFK scheduled to start in the following five months. As the fleet grows, the aircraft will also benefit passengers on longer-haul routes where the on-board experience and fuel efficiency benefits are even further amplified.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming this aircraft to our fleet,” said our chief executive Craig Kreeger.

“For the last 30 years we’ve been proudly serving and delighting our customers and we know the Dreamliner will set us the bar to take that even further, bringing with it new innovations and a cutting edge product for them to enjoy.”

“The 787-9 will represent over half of our fleet by 2018, which demonstrates our commitment to the Dreamliner as the centrepiece of our future fleet. We’re looking forward to the next 30 years.”

Virgin Atlantic will be the first European carrier to take the larger Boeing 787-9 version of the Dreamliner, with the first aircraft planned for delivery in late September. Our aircraft will initially be configured with 31 Upper Class, 35 Premium Economy and 198 Economy seats.

Upper Class passengers will enjoy a new iteration of our ‘Upper Class Suite’ which incorporates all of the popular features of this, along with some new design elements. There is a refreshed Premium Economy cabin with an even more comfortable seat design and a social space where customers can stretch their legs and mingle with other passengers – the Wander Wall. Economy seats will be best-in-class with the Recaro 3620 model. Passengers throughout the aircraft will benefit from access to wifi connectivity, with the latest in in-flight entertainment, and dynamic mood lighting throughout.

New efficiencies

As well as the passenger benefits, the Boeing 787-9 will bring us major commercial and environmental benefits. Radically improved fuel efficiency means it is 21% more efficient on a per flight bases than the equivalent sized aircraft in our fleet, allowing it to be a major driver of both our return to profitability and our commitment to improve carbon efficiency by 30% before 2020.

It also has a 60% smaller noise footprint than aircraft of a comparable size, meaning large areas around Heathrow airport will be less affected by our operations with these aircraft. The 787-9 is key in achieving the industry leading commitments we set out in our Noise Management Strategy last autumn.

Further details around the look and feel of the interior of our new Dreamliners will be revealed soon.

Image: Boeing and Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Atlantic: AG Slide Show

Germanwings to fly the Dusseldorf-London Stansted route

Germanwings (2nd) (Cologne/Bonn) will fly the Dusseldorf-London (Stansted) route starting on August 22. According to Airline Route, the route will initally be operated with Bombardier CRJ900s but will be upgraded to the pictured Airbus A319 starting on October 26.

Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-132 D-AGWS (msn 4998) holds short of the runway at Zurich Kloten Airport (ZRH).

Germanwings: AG Slide Show

 

Air Canada moves into Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 2

Air Canada (Montreal) yesterday (June 18) moved into the new Terminal 2 joining United Airlines at London’s Heathrow Airport. Air China and ANA also made the move. The airline issued this statement.

The arrival of Air Canada flight AC 856 from Toronto (Pearson) at 07:04 GMT marked the official move of all Air Canada flights and operations to London Heathrow Airport Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal. The modern and spacious facilities of Heathrow Airport’s new terminal provide customers with an improved travel experience including faster customs and immigration border control upon arrival and check-in and security clearance on departure. Eligible Air Canada and Star Alliance customers will have access to Air Canada’s newest international Maple Leaf Lounge also offering a stylish and inspiring environment in which to relax or work before a flight.

Air Canada check-in and baggage drop off are located in Zone A of the check-in lobby and offer the latest technology including quick and easy self-service kiosks, fast baggage drop-off and dedicated full-service check-in counters. The new terminal provides a wide variety of shopping, dining and seating options in a light, airy and spacious building.

Top Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-333 ER C-FIVQ (msn 35240) completes its final approach to the runway at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Air Canada: AG Slide Show

Air Canada-Air China-ANA Chart LHR (LRW)

Qatar Airways to start a new route to Tokyo Haneda tomorrow, Airbus A380 to be introduced now to London Heathrow on August 1

Qatar Airways (Doha) is set to continue its expansion into the Far East tomorrow (June 18) when it launches its newest destination, Tokyo Haneda International Airport. The addition of its newest destination will double the airline’s service to the city of Tokyo with up to two flights a day. The route, which will be operated by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, will be Qatar Airways’ third into Japan, joining Osaka and Tokyo’s Narita International Airport.

With the commencement of flights to Tokyo Haneda, the number of flights to Japan rises from 14 to 21 frequencies each week.

In other news, Qatar Airways is now planning to introduce the new Airbus A380 on August 1 to London (Heathrow) and Paris (CDG) on August 15 according to Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Gerd Beilfuss/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 F-WWST (msn 137) has now become A7-APA for its handover.

Qatar Airways: AG Slide Show

 

Cyprus Airways sells two London Heathrow slots to American Airlines

Cyprus Airways (Larnaca) has announced it has reached a final agreement with American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) to sell two slots at Heathrow Airport in London.

Cyprus Airways will receive $31 million for the two slots which will ensure Cyprus Airways’ liquidity through 2015. The sale is part of Cyprus Airways’ restructuring plan.

Cyprus Airways will transfer the historic Larnaca – London Heathrow route to another London Stansted effective on September 14.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A321-231 5B-DCO (msn 2730) completes its final approach into London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR).

Cyprus Airways: AG Slide Show

American Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

 

Air Canada to convert the Toronto-St. Maarten route to Rouge, St. John’s-London route to convert to year-round

Air Canada (Montreal) will convert the Toronto (Pearson)-St. Maarten route to an Air Canada rouge route on December 20. The twice-weekly route will be operated with Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft per Airline Route.

In other news, Air Canada has announced its nonstop St. John’s-London (Heathrow) route will now operate year-round beginning on October 26, 2014.

Flights will operate three times a week on Monday-Thursday-Saturday leaving St. John’s at 00:40, arriving in London at 09:15, departing from London at 11:05 and arriving back in St. John’s at 13:05.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-333 ER C-FMWU (msn 25585) now with Air Canada rouge arrives back at the Toronto (Pearson) hub.

Air Canada: AG Slide Show

Air Canada rouge: AG Slide Show

 

British Airways delays the introduction of the Airbus A380 to Washington Dulles

British Airways (London) is delaying the introduction of the Airbus A380 on the London (Heathrow)-Washington (Dulles) to October 2 (from September 1) according to Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Airbus A380-841 G-XLEE (msn 148) taxies to the gate at Los Angeles International Airport.

British Airways: AG Slide Show

Video: A tour of the Airbus A380:

Terminal 2 opens as the Star Alliance terminal at London Heathrow Airport

London Heathrow T2 Terminal (LHR)(LRW)

The first phase of the rebuilding of Terminal 2 at London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) opened today (June 4) for the Star Alliance. United Airlines operated the first flights from the new T2.

The Star Alliance has issued this statement:

LHR T2 Opening Day (LHR)(LRW)

The new Terminal 2 – the home of Star Alliance at Heathrow – threw open its doors to welcome its first passengers, marking the start of a new travel experience for the 12 million Star Alliance passengers who pass through this leading UK airport every year. Star Alliance member airline United is the first to move in to the new facility, known as Terminal 2 | the Queen’s Terminal for her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

All 23 Star Alliance airlines operating Heathrow will move over the next six months: the first time all member airlines will be collocated at the airport. “After many years of planning and construction, tests and optimisation, we at Star Alliance are proud to welcome the first passengers into the new terminal,” said Star Alliance CEO Mark Schwab. “It is particularly fitting that one of our five founder members, United, should operate the first flights from this terminal, which sets new standards for Alliance customer service and seamless travel at this important hub airport.”

The first flight to arrive at the new terminal was United’s service UA 958 from Chicago, which landed at 05:43 local time and reached gate B38 at 05:49, six minutes ahead of schedule. The Boeing 767-300 had 178 passengers and 11 crew on board.

Terminal 2, designed by lead architect Luis Vidal, was jointly developed by Heathrow, Star Alliance and its member carriers, with the aim of establishing a true seamless hub at one of the world’s premier international airports. Optimised for today’s air traveller, the facilities of the 23 Star Alliance airlines are integrated to an unprecedented level – laying the groundwork for customer service excellence.

Once all airlines are in residence, connections for transfer passengers will be smoother than ever before at Heathrow, with a standardised minimum connection time of just 60 minutes. Move dates for the remaining 22 airlines have been carefully planned to ensure that each group of airlines has time to embed its operations before the next set of carriers moves in.

Air Canada, Air China and ANA will be the next new occupants, transferring their operations to T2 from June 18th. In July, Aegean, EVA Air, THAI, and Turkish Airlines will move in, together with Avianca – which will launch a service between London and Bogota on July 4th. After a break for the European summer holiday period, moves will resume in September with EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines and Singapore Airlines. Then finally, October sees the arrival of Air New Zealand, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, South African Airways, SWISS and TAP Portugal.

A positive tone for the passenger journey is set by the architectural design of the terminal, which uses natural light to create an open and airy atmosphere. Its open-plan check-in facility is directly adjacent to the security area. Passengers exit security on the top level of a two-tier international departures hall, with a clear view out onto the airport. This is just one example of the logical passenger flows that underpin the terminal’s design.

Departing and arriving passengers pass through the building on different levels, guided by clear signage. Transfer passengers follow a separate channel from the arrival gate to security and then join the departing passengers flow. Technology is integrated into the terminal experience and will be used throughout to give the passenger control of their journey. The check-in area has been specially designed for speed and efficiency.

Airlines are grouped in zones, while a row of 81 common use self-service kiosks can be used by any passenger to check in and/or print a bag tag before they proceed to a bag drop desk to hand their luggage to an agent. Full-service traditional check-in desks are provided for the use of First Class, Business class and Star Alliance Gold passengers. Premium passengers also have a fast-track option to speed them through the security checks.

Eight out of 12 gates at the T2B satellite will allow self-boarding, meaning passengers simply pass through a mechanical barrier to board their flight. Four airline lounges will be available for premium passengers, including those with Star Alliance Gold status. These are located in the main terminal building and the satellite, so eligible passengers can relax close to their gate.

The 23 Star Alliance airlines serving Heathrow are Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca*, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI, and United. Together they operate over 121 flights per day to 45 destinations in 25 countries. Each of these flights acts as a gateway to the full Alliance network of more than 18,000 daily flights to 1,269 airports in 193 countries. The strong Star Alliance hub at Heathrow is expected to act as a catalyst for growth in global passenger traffic to London and to increase the attractiveness of Heathrow as an international transfer airport. It will enhance Heathrow’s standing for the truly frequent international traveller.

In addition, United Airlines issued this statement:

United Airlines today (June 4) became the first airline to operate a flight at London Heathrow Airport’s new Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal. United flight UA 958, a Boeing 767 from Chicago, arrived at gate 38B at 5:49 a.m. local time.

United flight 958 was the first of United’s 17 scheduled flight arrivals at Terminal 2 today. The airline also is scheduled to operate 17 departures from the terminal today, bringing all of its operations at Heathrow – previously split between Terminals 1 and 4 – “under one roof” for the first time.

 

Interactive LHR Airport Map: CLICK HERE

Star Alliance Terminal 2 LHR Ad (LRW)

Copyright Photos: London Heathrow Airport and the Star Alliance. LHR Terminal Map (LHR)(LRW)

Ethiopian today adds a new route to Vienna, Austria

Ethiopian Airlines (Addis Ababa) has announced the start of four weekly flights to Vienna, Austria starting today (June 2).

Ethiopian flights to Vienna will bring the total number of its international destinations across five continents to 82. The city will mark the 9th European city served by the airline. Thru commercial cooperation with Austrian Airlines, a fellow Star Alliance member with strong network in Central Europe, Ethiopian aims to provide seamless and convenient connectivity options for travelers between Africa and European cities such Prague, Bratislava, Warsaw, Budapest, and Bucharest, subject to regulatory approval.

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-3BG ET-ALH (msn 30565) arrives in London (Heathrow).

Ethiopian Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

Aegean Airlines reports a first quarter net loss of $11.4 million

Aegean Airlines (Athens) reported a first quarter net loss of $11.4 million. The company issued this statement:

Aegean reports first quarter 2014 results with consolidated revenue of €133.9 million, and after-tax losses during the seasonally weakest quarter of the year of €8.4 million ($11.4 million). On a pro-forma basis, i.e. assuming consolidation of Olympic Air in the respective period last year, losses narrowed compared to after-tax losses of €13.2 million in the first quarter of 2013 while revenue showed a 1% rise.

It is noted that results are not comparable with reported parent results of 2013 given the fact that the latter set of results did not include Olympic Air (Athens) as the acquisition was completed in October 2013.

Αegean Airlines and Olympic Air carried 1.6 million passengers in the first quarter of 2014, 12% more versus the previous year. Domestic network passengers increased by 17% to 930 thousand while international network passengers reached 700,000, 6% higher versus last year. Load factor improved by 1.8 percentage point to 73%.

Operating cash flow improved significantly resulting to an increase in the company’s cash and cash equivalents to €274 million from €239 million in December 2013.

Mr. Dimitris Gerogiannis, Managing Director, commented:

“Following the acquisition of Olympic Air, the initial benefits from network synergies are already evident and along with our new pricing policy are translated to improved load factors and increased connecting traffic during this seasonally weakest quarter for the year.

Pre-bookings for the summer season as well as our traffic results for April 2014 confirm the positive trend. Our investment in expanding our network and capacity with the addition of 5 airbus aircraft and 17 new international destinations as of May/June, takes place within a rising demand environment. On the other hand, available capacity offered is substantially increased by the majority of operators active to the Greek market.

As far as Olympic Air integration is concerned, implementation is progressing in line with targets, with the full synergy and scale economies benefits expected to mature with the next 12 months. At the same time, innovation and services that add value to our customers remain a top priority.”

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 SX-DVV (msn 3773) of Aegean Airlines taxies at London (Heathrow) while promoting the new Acropolis museum.

Aegean Airlines: AG Slide Show

Olympic Air (3rd): AG Slide Show

 

 

Norwegian to continue to expand operations at London Gatwick

Norwegian Air Shuttle (Norwegian.com) (Oslo) continues to add new routes from its growing operation at London’s Gatwick Airport. The fast-growing low-fare airline will add two additional routes from LGW on September 15 per Airline Route: Berlin (Schoenefeld) and Warsaw.

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-86N LN-NOG (msn 35647) completes its final approach to the runway at London (Gatwick).

Norwegian:

Delta and Virgin Atlantic unveil a new schedule between London Heathrow and Atlanta and Los Angeles, Virgin Atlantic to fly to Atlanta

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) and Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) will transfer operations for nonstop flights connecting London-Heathrow to both Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport this winter, offering more choices for the airlines’ customers on key routes across the Atlantic.

Effective October 26, 2014, Delta will begin operating one of two daily Heathrow-Los Angeles flights currently operated by Virgin Atlantic. This new Delta service will mark the airline’s first nonstop flight between Los Angeles and London Heathrow and is Delta’s seventh nonstop destination between London and the United States. Virgin Atlantic will begin operating one of Delta’s three daily flights between Heathrow and Atlanta. The two airlines will codeshare on each other’s operated services, allowing Delta and Virgin customers seamless access to the expanded network.

This announcement also shows how the partnership, which launched on January 1, 2014, is increasing the network of each carrier. Virgin Atlantic will have access to Delta’s Atlanta hub, the busiest airport in the world, for the first time, providing expansive and unprecedented access for Virgin Atlantic customers to connect to points throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. The airline will now be able to offer more than 100 additional international and domestic connections to its customers. This brings the total number of connections available through the partnership to more than 200.

Delta and Virgin Atlantic’s new winter 2014 schedule between Heathrow and Los Angeles and Atlanta:

Virgin Atlantic-Delta ATL LAX schedule

Combined, the two airlines operate a total of 32 peak daily nonstop flights between North America and the U.K., including 24 flights between London Heathrow and popular U.S. destinations. Delta recently co-located its New York, Boston and Seattle routes into Terminal 3 – Virgin Atlantic’s home at Heathrow Airport. This move provided additional choice and flexibility to customers while reducing onward transit times.

Virgin Atlantic will continue to operate two daily services to Los Angeles and Delta will continue to fly three daily services to Atlanta, until October 26, 2014.

Delta will continue to operate its Atlanta, Detroit and Minneapolis/St. Paul services from London Heathrow’s Terminal 4.

Virgin Atlantic will operate its Atlanta flight from Heathrow Terminal 3.

Copyright Photo: Luimer Cordero/AirlinersGallery.com. Virgin Atlantic is coming to Atlanta. Airbus A330-343X G-VKSS (msn 1201) is pictured arriving in Miami.

Delta Air Lines: AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic: AG Slide Show

 

Qatar Airways to deploy its second Airbus A380 on the Doha-Paris route starting on July 3

Qatar Airways (Doha) has announced its second Airbus A380 aircraft will commence operations on the route to Paris (Charles De Gaulle) from Doha’s new hub, Hamad International Airport.

Qatar Airways recently announced that the first of its 13 Airbus A380 aircraft on order will commence operations on the QR 003 and QR 004 flights on the route to London-Heathrow and return starting on June 17. Following this, the airline has now confirmed that its second A380 will be used to fly to Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport from Doha from July 3, on flights QR 39 and QR 40.

Featuring a tri-class configuration of seating in First, Business and Economy Class, over two decks, the A380 is the largest passenger jet in the world and will provide a superior traveller experience to the Qatar Airways’ customers.

The new First Class A380 seat, recently revealed at the world’s leading travel show, ITB Berlin, features a 90-inch seat pitch, transforming into a fully flat bed, together with an expansive choice of entertainment options displayed on individual 26-inch television screens.

Hamad International Airport (HIA), Qatar Airways new home as of May 27, has been designed to specifically cater to the A380 aircraft, with six contact gates designed especially for the super jumbo. In addition, the maintenance hangar at HIA – which is the largest in the world – is able to accommodate two A380s simultaneously.

Qatar Airways is also celebrating a year of intensive fleet growth and recently becoming a member of the oneworld global alliance network. In addition to the 13 A380 aircraft the airline currently has on order, Qatar Airways is also set this year to welcome the first of 80 Airbus A350 aircraft, the world’s newest aircraft, as Airbus’ launch customer. This forms part of Qatar Airways plans to significantly expand its fleet with 300 additional aircraft, worth more than $50 billion (US), on order, including the Boeing 787 and 777X.

Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 17 years of operation, to the point where today it is flying a modern fleet of 134 aircraft to 139 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.
Over the next few months, the network will grow further with new routes to Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport, Turkey (May 22, 2014), Edinburgh, Scotland (May 28, 2014), Miami, USA (June 10, 2014), Tokyo Haneda, Japan (June 18, 2014), Dallas/Fort Worth, USA (July 1, 2014) and Djibouti (July 27, 2014).

Top Copyright Photo: Gerd Beilfuss/AirlinersGallery.com. The first A380, the pictured A380-861 F-WWST (msn 137) will become A7-APA on delivery.

Qatar Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Qatar Airways.

Qatar A380-800 F-WWST (A7-APA)(06)(Flt)(Qatar)(LRW)

 

British Airways to introduce five new routes from London Gatwick in the summer of 2015

British Airways (London) will start five new routes from the London (Gatwick) hub starting on April 26 and April 27 to Bodrum (Turkey), Cagliari (Sardinia, Italy), Dalaman (Turkey), Heraklion (Crete, Greece) and Rhodes (Greece). The routes will be operated with Airbus A319s per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-131 G-EUOF (msn 1590) lands at EuroAirport serving the Basel/Mulhouse/Freiburg area.

British Airways:

 

IAG reduces its first quarter loss to $206.3 million

International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) (British Airways, Iberia and Vueling Airlines) (London) today (May 9, 2014) presented Group consolidated results for the first quarter and the three months to March 31, 2014.

IAG period highlights on results:

. First quarter operating loss €150 million ($206.3 million) (2013: operating loss of €278 million – $382.3 million) before exceptional items
. Revenue for the quarter up 6.7 per cent to €4,203 million, up 7.6 per cent at constant currency
. Non-fuel costs up 3.8 per cent, up 4.8 per cent at constant currency
. At constant currency, first quarter passenger unit revenue down 1.4 per cent (excluding Vueling down 0.5 per cent) and non-fuel unit costs down 6.2 per cent (excluding Vueling down 4.2 per cent)
. Fuel unit costs for the quarter down 8.9 per cent, 7.4 per cent at constant currency
. Cash of €4,004 million at March 31, 2014 was up €371 million on 2013 year end
. Adjusted gearing remains at 50 per cent

Willie Walsh, IAG Chief Executive Officer, said:

“We’re pleased that our quarterly operating loss has reduced significantly from €278 million last year to €150 million, especially as Vueling’s quarterly losses were not included last year as they weren’t in the Group. At constant currency, revenue was up 7.6 per cent and non-fuel costs rose 4.8 per cent.

“Iberia has almost halved its losses from quarter one last year with an operating loss of €111 million compared to €202 million. The airline continues to benefit from restructuring and these figures don’t reflect the impact of recent pay and productivity agreements which took effect in April. While the restructuring remains work in progress, Iberia is gradually resuming some routes including longhaul services to Santo Domingo and Montevideo.

“British Airways made an operating loss of €5 million in the quarter, compared to a €72 million operating loss in 2013. The airline has increased capacity within a controlled cost environment and benefited from the efficiency of its new Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 aircraft.

“Vueling made an operating loss of €30 million and has managed to keep its losses flat while growing capacity. The airline continues to grow with its main focus in southern Europe”.

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. British Airways’ Airbus A380-841 G-XLEB (msn 121) approaches the runway at London’s Heathrow Airport.

British Airways: AG Slide Show

Iberia: AG Slide Show

Vueling Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

Emirates Group records its 26th consecutive year of profitability

The Emirates Group (Emirates) (Dubai) today announced its 26th consecutive year of profit and company-wide growth, ending the year in a strong position despite competitive pressure and a global economic environment that is only slowly recovering. The financial fiscal year ending on March 31, 2014 also marked an unprecedented level of investment across the Group, continued expansion of its global footprint, and the achievement of new capacity milestones.

Released today in its 2013-14 Annual Report, the Emirates Group posted an AED 4.1 billion ($1.1 billion US) profit, up 32% from last year. The Group’s revenue reached AED 87.8 billion ($23.9 billion), an increase of 13% over last year’s results, and the Group’s cash balance remained strong at AED 19.0 billion ($5.2 billion).

The Group also continued to invest in and expand on its employee base, increasing its overall staff count by 11% to over 75,000-strong representing over 160 different nationalities, across its more than 80 subsidiaries and companies. Revenue per airline employee increased by 4% to AED 1.9 million (US$ 0.5 million).

Similar to the last financial year, the Group declared a dividend of AED1 billion ($280 million) to the Investment Corporation of Dubai.

Emirates performance

In 2013-14, Emirates increased capacity by 5.9 billion Available Ton Kilometres (ATKMs), the largest capacity increase in the airline’s history in a single year. This brings Emirates’ total passenger and cargo capacity to 46.8 billion ATKMs at the end of the financial year. The airline also marked a new record of over 1 million block hours in terms of fleet production.

Emirates received 24 new aircraft during the year, including 16 Airbus A380s, six Boeing 777-300 ERs and two Boeing 777Fs, bringing its total fleet count to 217. The airline remains the world’s largest operator of the Boeing 777 and Airbus A380 – both aircraft being amongst the most modern and efficient wide-bodied jets in the sky today.

With the delivery of new aircraft, Emirates launched nine new destinations: Boston, Manila-Clark, Conakry, Tokyo-Haneda, Kabul, Kiev, Sialkot, Stockholm-Arlanda and Taipei-Taoyuan, as well as a new service between Milan and New York.

Emirates revenue for the first time surpassed AED 80 billion, at a new record of AED 82.6 billion ($22.5 billion). While the average price of jet fuel remained high, it was slightly lower compared to last year and has supported Emirates’ bottom line improvement. Emirates’ fuel bill increased by 10% over last year to reach AED 30.7 billion ($8.4 billion). Total operating costs increased by 12%, compared to a revenue increase of 13% over the 2012-13 financial year.

The airline successfully managed increased competitive pressure across all markets to record a profit of AED 3.3 billion ($887 million), an increase of 43% over last year’s results, and a healthy profit margin of 3.9%.

Carrying a record 44.5 million passengers, up 13% from last year, Emirates maintained a robust Passenger Seat Factor at 79.4%, nearly consistent with last year’s results in spite of a 15% increase in seat capacity by Available Seat Kilometers (ASKMs). This highlights the strong consumer desire to fly on Emirates’ state-of-the-art aircraft.

Passenger yield remained steady at 30.4 fils (8.3 US cents) per Revenue Passenger Kilometer (RPKM).

Emirates also improved its premium seat factor despite lingering economic uncertainty and strong competition in many markets. Premium and overall seat factor for the airline’s flagship A380 aircraft outperformed the network, underscoring the popularity of Emirates’ premium and A380 product amongst passengers.

Over 18 million passengers had flown on an Emirates A380 when the airline marked its fifth anniversary of A380 operations in August 2013. In 2013-14, Emirates introduced A380 services to Barcelona, Brisbane, London-Gatwick, Los Angeles, Mauritius and Zurich, bringing to 27 the total number of destinations served by its popular flagship aircraft. Emirates’ Los Angeles service is also the world’s longest A380 flight at 16 hours and 20 minutes.

Highlighting its sound financials and investor confidence, Emirates raised a total of AED 12.0 billion ($3.3 billion) through a variety of financing structures, mainly to secure its ongoing fleet expansion. Further, eight of the aircraft delivered in the financial year were funded through two corporate bonds issued in early 2013 which raised AED 6.4 billion ($1.8 billion) in funding.

Significant financing milestones achieved during the year include the issue of a second Enhanced Equipment trust Certificate through a lessor, which tapped into the US capital market to fund four A380s. Another major landmark was achieved through the refinancing of two A380s through the first ever floating rate capital market bond backed by a COFACE (the French Export Credit Agency) guarantee. Emirates closed the financial year with a healthy AED 12.7 billion ($3.4 billion) cash flow generated from operating activities.

Revenue generated from across Emirates’ six regions continues to be well balanced, with no region contributing more than 30% of overall revenues. East Asia and Australasia remained the highest revenue contributing region with AED 23.8 billion ($6.5 billion), up 14% from 2012-13. Gulf and Middle East revenue increased 17% to AED 8.3 billion ($2.3 billion), and Europe revenue increased 16% to AED 23.4 billion ($6.4 billion), reflecting new destinations as well as increased frequency and capacity to these regions.

Across the rest of the globe Emirates saw strong revenue increases from Africa up 15% to AED 7.7 billion ($2.1 billion), The Americas up 11% to AED 9.2 billion ($2.5 billion) and West Asia and Indian Ocean with AED 8.3 billion ($2.3 billion) in revenue, up 3%.

Focusing on customer touch points, Emirates opened a new dedicated airport lounge in Rome, and upgraded its lounges in Paris Charles De Gaulle, London Gatwick and Bangkok. Emirates also announced plans for a new 300-seat contact centre in Budapest to support future growth and supplement its language and response capability, and continued to invest in its onboard product including the installation of Wi-Fi and “live” TV.

In its first full year of operations, the newly commissioned Concourse A at Dubai airport for Emirates’ growing A380 fleet witnessed a significant passenger throughput with 37% or 8.2 million Emirates passengers departing Dubai enjoying the new state-of-the art facilities, spacious lounge areas to board 27,000 flights.

Looking forward to 2014-15, Emirates has to date announced five new passenger routes including Abuja, Brussels, Chicago-O’Hare, Kano and Oslo.

Defying the industry trend, the 2013-14 financial year has been a strong one for Emirates SkyCargo who for the first time reported a revenue over $3 billion to reach AED 11.3 billion ($3.1 billion) mark, a 9% increase over last year.

Contributing 15% of the airline’s total transport revenue Emirates SkyCargo continues to play an integral role in the company’s expanding operations.

Emirates SkyCargo’s tonnage strongly increased by 8% to reach a remarkable 2.3 million tons in a flat and challenging airfreight market, highlighting its ability to grow revenues against the industry norm.

This year, freight yield per Freight Ton Kilometre (FTKM) decreased by 1%.

At the end of the financial year, the Emirates SkyCargo freighter fleet had grown to 12 aircraft – ten on operating lease and two on wet lease.

Copyright Photo: Wingnut/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDI (msn 028) taxies across the ramp at London (Heathrow).

Emirates: AG Slide Show

 

EasyJet to use cutting-edge technologies including drones to inspect the aircraft

EasyJet (London-Luton), the UK’s largest airline, has announced it will be applying new and innovative technologies to help operate its fleet of 220 Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft even more efficiently and reduce delays while maintaining its industry leading punctuality and safety records.

Commenting on these advances, chief executive of easyJet, Carolyn McCall, said:

“We have examined and assessed cutting edge technology across many different industries and are now applying a range of new technologies to the aviation sector for the first time to help us run our fleet of aircraft more effectively, efficiently and safely.”

“The advantage of these emerging technologies is threefold – freeing up our engineering team to undertake more skilled tasks, keeping our costs down which in turn keeps our fares low and helping to minimise delays so maintaining our industry leading punctuality for our passengers.

“Safety is our number one priority and so all of these new technologies will be applied by our experienced engineering and flight crew to ensure our leading safety record is maintained.”

DRONE AND ROBOTIC TECHNOLOGY

The airline has announced it is working with Coptercraft, Measurement Solutions and Bristol Robotics Laboratory to modify existing technology so that drones can be employed to inspect its fleet of Airbus aircraft. The drones will be programmed to scan and assess the planes reporting back to engineers on any damage which may require further inspection or maintenance work. The drones are currently in development with a view to trialling them in the coming months and introducing them into operation as early as next year.

Ian Davies, Head of Engineering for easyJet, commented;

“Drone technology could be used extremely effectively to help us perform aircraft checks. Checks that would usually take more than a day could be performed in a couple of hours and potentially with greater accuracy.”

Dr Arthur Richards, Head of Aerial Robotics at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, a partnership between the University of Bristol and the University of West England, commented:

“Aircraft inspection is a great application for drones. Coupled with smart navigation and computer vision, they can get accurate data from really awkward places.

“We look forward to working with easyJet to develop safe, effective and efficient drone systems for this challenge.”

3D AUGMENTED REALITY TECHNOLOGY

Alongside the drone technology, easyJet is looking at deploying 3D Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technology by Epson and Vuzix which enables a remote engineering team to see exactly what a pilot or engineer is seeing using virtual reality glasses. The glasses use the world’s first high definition see through display system, providing augmented reality helping easyJet to remotely diagnose a technical issue.

This technology will be especially useful in some of the airline’s more remote airports across its network – the airline currently flies to 138 airports with some as far away as Sharm el Sheikh and Tel Aviv.
Currently engineers and pilots have to email pictures and call easyJet’s Operations Control Centre to try and resolve the issue over the phone. easyJet is also currently trialling similar video technology from Vidcie and XO Eye that allows live streaming between the engineer on the ramp and easyJet’s OCC.
OCC will also be able to provide live information to the engineers and pilots in real time, along with technical assistance through an integrated handsfree head set.

Ian Davies continued:

“3D augmented reality technology is key to easyJet reducing longer delays when an aircraft is down route. This will help us get greater clarity on any technical issues which occur hundreds of miles away. By wearing the augmented reality glasses, pilots or engineers down route can transmit live pictures and data to the

EasyJet Operations Control Centre at Luton giving them direct access to visual information making it easier for them to resolve any technical issue.”

APPS

EasyJet’s engineering department has also worked with Output42 to develop their own bespoke apps which will allow our engineers to perform certain day-to-day issues more efficiently and enable easyJet to return aircraft to service more quickly. For example, one app helps engineers identify and replace damaged fan blades (for example, after a bird strike) more quickly by scanning fan blades and automatically ordering a suitable replacement blade from the airline’s inventory.

The apps are in different stages of development and we expect to be trialling a range of them over the course of the summer.

PAPERLESS AIRCRAFT

EasyJet will complete the fitting of Panasonic Toughpads, in place of laptops and printed navigational charts, in all of its cockpits by the end of this month. This means that the airline is already nearing a completely paperless plane. These tablets will also make easyJet one of the first airlines to use this type of device in all phases of flight and on the ground. By replacing heavy printed log books easyJet expects to reduce fuel costs by around $500,000 each year. Every kilo of weight taken off easyJet’s fleet of aircraft saves around $20,000 per year.

In addition, new ‘e-paper’ technology created by Sony, could see easyJet completely eradicate printed forms in the cabin; this would mean an entirely paperless plane. This new Digital Paper is the latest lightweight design from Sony which makes it feel like the user is writing on paper. Completed forms can be quickly saved into a central database enabling the airline’s operational team quick and easy access to information on all of the aircraft. Trials will start in the coming months.

INFLIGHT MONITORING AND PROGNOSIS

EasyJet is working with FlightWatching to install a state-of-the-art early fault prognosis tool which can provide the airline’s operations and engineering staff with live updates directly from all of its aircraft as they fly.

The system is an innovative web-based software system from FlightWatching called WILCO which can receive real time values of aircraft system parameters via the ACARS messaging system. This data is then transformed into an animated schematic that can be used to predict any potential issues or to troubleshoot known technical faults before the plane lands. This means the prognostic tool will enable the ground-based engineers to start investigation mid-flight and ensure that the correct engineering resource or parts are available for when the flight lands, thus increasing efficiency.

EASYJET’S FLEET – BACKGROUND INFORMATION

EasyJet operates its fleet of aircraft in strict compliance with all manufacturers’ regulations, often exceeding them. The airline employs a highly skilled workforce of 237 engineering staff as well as outsourcing to external suppliers in many bases across its network.

EasyJet’s engineering department has a track record in innovation, last year working alongside Airbus and Nicarnica Aviation to prove its ash detection technology which is expected to be fitted onto an easyJet aircraft within the coming months.

EasyJet recently placed an order to acquire 35 current generation A320 aircraft for delivery between 2015 and 2017 under its existing agreement and 100 new generation A320neo aircraft for delivery from 2017 until 2022.

EasyJet employs 2500 pilots operating on its 220 Airbus aircraft across its network of more than 680 routes.

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-111 G-EZEZ (msn 2360) now promotes the destination of Napoli (Naples) in Italy. It previously promoted the now delayed Berlin Brandenburg Airport and Willy Brandt (1913-1992).

EasyJet (UK): AG Slide Show

US Airways and British Airways start their codeshare partnership today

US Airways (Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth), part of American Airlines Group, today announced the launch of its codeshare agreement with trans-Atlantic joint business partner and fellow oneworld® member British Airways (London), further enhancing its relationship with the British carrier. Beginning today, customers can book tickets on codeshare flights for travel beginning on May 14.

Launched in a phased approach, the codeshare will initially cover nearly all of the two carriers’ trans-Atlantic flights. Customers will now have access to British Airways flights to London from 21 destinations in the United States, and British Airways will place its code on US Airways flights to Charlotte and Philadelphia from 17 destinations throughout Europe.

The remaining flights in the codeshare will be implemented in phases and will include British Airways routes from London to more than 70 destinations throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and US Airways flights to nearly 40 destinations in North America and the Caribbean. Customers can expect to have access to all codeshare flights by the end of this summer.

US Airways expects in the coming weeks to begin implementing codeshare agreements with the other member airlines in the trans-Atlantic joint business, Iberia and Finnair, providing customers easy access to the joint venture’s combined global network.

As part of the joint business relationship, members of the US Airways Dividend Miles and British Airways Executive Club frequent flyer programs are able to earn and redeem miles on flights operated by the other carrier, providing another valuable benefit to customers. In addition, customers will be able to earn miles when traveling on codeshare flights operated by the other airline.

US Airways joined the joint venture as an affiliate member earlier this year, and will remain as such until it fully integrates with American Airlines as part of their merger to create the largest airline in the world.

Top Copyright Photo: Rodrigo Cozzato/AirlinersGallery.com. US Airways’ Airbus A330-243 N288AY (msn 1441) arrives in Sao Paulo (Guarulhos).

US Airways: AG Slide Show

British Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-336 ER G-STBA (msn 40542) beautifully climbs away from the runway at London’s Heathrow Airport hub.

 

Thomas Cook Airlines to operate long-haul flights from London’s Stansted Airport

Thomas Cook Airlines (UK) (Manchester) has announced that for the summer schedule of 2015, it will operate long-haul flights from London’s Stansted Airport to Orlando, Cancun and Las Vegas, becoming the only airline to offer a long haul program from the airport.

Last year, Thomas Cook Airlines announced that from this June it will operate two aircraft from Stansted  Airport – using the larger Airbus A321 aircraft replacing the existing Airbus A320 – bringing an increased amount of flights and holidays which are now on sale for holidaymakers from the East and South East of England to a range of new destinations.

With the long-haul flights on a larger Airbus A330, the additional flights in 2015 will begin on the weekend of Friday, July 17, 2015 with two flights a week to Orlando and one per week to both Cancun and Las Vegas – and continue up until August 17, 2015.

In other news, the airline also announced that for the summer of 2015, it will operate a weekly flight to Las Vegas from Glasgow Airport following a series of one-off flights to the U.S. in recent summers. Operating each Monday with the Airbus A330 fleet, the new flights in 2015 will begin on Monday 4 May 4, 2015 and continue until October 31, 2015.

Previously the airline announced new Airbus A330 routes from Manchester to both New York (JFK) and Miami.

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 G-OJMC (msn 456) approaches the runway at London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW).

Thomas Cook Airlines (UK): AG Slide Show

Thomas Cook (UK) Sunny Heart logo

 

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