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Tag Archives: London

WOW Air is coming to Boston and Baltimore/Washington with Airbus A321s

WOW Air (Keflavik) as planned, is coming to Boston in March 2015 with fares starting at $99 one-way. Kleflavik International Airport-Boston Logan International Airport will start on March 27 and operate six days a week with Airbus A321s.

WOW Air will also operate seasonal service between Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI) and Keflavik International Airport with four weekly roundtrip flights starting on June 4, 2015.

For the service from BWI, WOW Air will also utilize Airbus A321 aircraft. The seasonal flights will operate four times per week, on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Top Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 TF-WOW (msn 2457) arrives at London (Gatwick).

WOW Air Aircraft Slide Show:

WOW Air: AG Slide Show

WOW AIr crew-1

 

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Qatar Airways to bring the new Airbus A380 to Bangkok starting on January 5, 2015

Qatar Airways (Doha) will assign the new Airbus A380 to the Doha-Bangkok route starting on January 5, 2015.

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A7-APA (msn 137) climbs away from the runway at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Qatar Airways: AG Slide Show

Aeroflot extends its collective bargaining agreements with it employees

Aeroflot Russian Airlines (Moscow) has extended its collective bargaining agreement with its employees through 2017. The company issued this statement:

Aeroflot management and airline employee trade unions have successfully concluded negotiations that extend the collective bargaining agreement currently in place for the period 2014 through 2017. The collective agreement calls for a wide range of benefits for employees, irrespective of union membership.

Despite the challenging economic environment in Russia, the parties determined it was essential to keep in place all benefits, subsidies and guarantees included in the prevailing collective agreement. The trade unions have maintained the crucial role they have long held in facilitating labor relations. The agreement was signed by the United Representative Body of Aeroflot employees.

The collective agreement will remain in force through December 1, 2017. The range of benefits laid out under the collective agreement is unprecedented in the airline industry. To date the expenses incurred by Aeroflot to maintain these benefits exceeds 3 billion rubles a year.

Employees receive attractive and high salaries that are regularly re-indexed, and in addition receive additional payments (paid annual leave, awards upon retirement, paid public holidays, etc.).

The collective agreement calls for the following benefits:

Adding up to 14 days of holiday time (increasing total annual paid leave to 42 days);
Medical care (treatment at Aeroflot’s own Medical Centre, payment for treatment at other medical facilities, subsidised prescriptions);
Expense-paid holidays in sanatoriums (in 2014 employees enjoyed holidays and sanatorium treatments in Russia and abroad: Crimea, the Mineralnie Vody region of the Caucasus, the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, the Krasnodar region, Slovakia, Israel, the UAE and Turkey;
Non-state pension fund payments;
Company-provided automobiles;
Subsidised air tickets for employees and their families;
Reimbursement of children’s pre-school expenses;
Corporate trainings.
A number of key benefits continue for employees after they have retired from the Company.

Aeroflot has always valued healthy lifestyles for employees, and for that reason leases exercise facilities on their behalf.

Approximately 70% of the cost of employee benefits are allocated to on-board personnel, the airline’s most valued group of employees. In addition to high salaries in line with those at the leading international airlines, pilots receive:

The most holidays in the industry, 70 days off (whereas European carriers typically give pilots 28 days);
Comfortable accommodations when spending the night away from the pilot’s home airport;
Minimum three-star hotel accommodation;
Expense-paid holidays in sanatoriums (in addition to the standard company options, a special program is available to pilots and their families in the Czech Republic);
Per-diem based on average salaried day for days spent on routine medical check-ups;
In the event a pilot leaves the Company due to physical inability to carry out his duties, a one-time payment is made equivalent to 20%-100% of his annual salary;
Injury compensation of USD 5,000-10,000 in the event of health problems;
Non-state pension fund payments (through a dedicated pension plan, “Golden Anchor”)
Subsidised airline tickets, including on high-demand routes, for pilots and their family members.

The current JSC Aeroflot collective agreement was first signed in 2005. The agreement was the result of extensive collective bargaining with JSC Aeroflot by the leading airline employee union, First Trade-union Organisation, of which more than half of all Aeroflot employees are members. The collective agreement was renewed twice, in 2008 and 2011, without modifying the benefits received by employees.

JSC Aeroflot employs approximately 18,000 people in Russia and abroad and is the leading employer in the Russian aviation industry.

In other news, Aeroflot on October 26 Aeroflot is relaunching Moscow — Tbilisi and Moscow — Chisinau service.

Aeroflot will provide daily flights to the capital of Georgia on Airbus A320s from Sheremetyevo Airport Terminal D.

Daily flights to Chisinau will be operated on Airbus A320s from Sheremetyevo Airport Terminal D.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 VP-BRX (msn 3063) departs from London’s Heathrow Airport.

Aeroflot Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

American Airlines and Jetstar Japan announce a codeshare agreement

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

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

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

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

American Airlines (current livery): AG Slide Show

Jetstar Japan: AG Slide Show

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

Full speed ahead; Emirates to continue its growth strategy despite the challenging environment

Emirates Airline (Dubai) has issued this statement on its on-going growth strategy:

Emirates will continue with its growth trajectory, in spite of global challenges like regional political instability, pandemic health issues in Africa and softening economic demand from dropping oil prices.

Speaking today at the Aviation Festival Middle East, Anand Lakshminarayanan, Divisional Vice President Route Planning and Economics said: “Countries recognize the importance of seamless global traffic flows and the multiplier effect to their own economies, and this has been instrumental in our own growth as an airline that attracts business and tourism opportunities. We will not deviate from our hub strategy and our future aircraft deliveries and orders are predicated on our non-stop services, connecting city pairs around the globe.”

Emirates expects to fly 70 million passengers in 2020, and the airline together with its partners in Dubai are already progressing on plans to ensure the right infrastructure is in place to support and capitalise on this growth.

The Aviation Festival Middle East is a platform for airlines, airports and the aviation industry to address strategies for growth and development. On behalf of Emirates, Lakshminarayanan discussed profitable network growth, aero-political access, airport constraints and commercial partnerships. The core of Emirates network strategy and Dubai hub were also discussed, in addition to Emirates’ view on alliances and strategic partnerships.

He cited India as an example where Emirates services have brought positive economic benefits, where the 185 weekly frequencies allotted to the airline directly contribute $825 million to the local economy, according to a study by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER).

Emirates has also been able to capitalize on strategic alliances with QANTAS Airways (Sydney), which has helped spur tourism into Dubai through the partnership. Over 250,000 Australians visited Dubai last year, largely reflecting the convergence of both airlines’ networks. Another mutually beneficial partnership that has supported Emirates’ growing United States network has been with JetBlue Airways (New York), which has grown to a bilateral codeshare agreement, enabling Emirates passengers to connect to over 60 cities served by JetBlue beyond its US gateways.

The airline continues to work on various initiatives, in partnership with Dubai International Airport, to help ease slot congestion. Terminal 4, set to open in 2015, will also help to address overall capacity requirements at the airport.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Emirates is also not afraid of its large and growing Airbus A380 fleet. The airline is also not concerned with the resale market for its A380s. It is happy to have single operator A380s. Emirates is an unique airline. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDQ (msn 080) with Expo 2020 markings departs from London (Heathrow).

Emirates: AG Slide Show

British Airways’ Boeing 787s are due for service work at Boeing

British Airways (London) is taking each of its eight Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners out of service one at a time for routine warranty service work by Boeing at Victorville, California. Starting with the pictured Boeing 787-8 G-ZBJA (msn 38609), each aircraft from the first four deliveries (JA-JD), is expected to take around 10 days for the service work. The last four 787s to be delivered (JE-JH) are expected to take less time since they are closer to the new 787s being delivered. Each of the eight aircraft, when finished, will be the same as new production 787s currently being delivered. This is normal procedure for a new aircraft type as the manufacturer often makes some changes as aircraft roll off the production line.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. G-ZBJA departs from London (Heathrow).

British Airways: AG Slide Show

Lufthansa is facing another two days of strikes by its pilots

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) issued this statement concerning strike action against the carrier today and tomorrow:

Lufthansa is working flat out to devise special timetables for the next two days in response to planned strike action by its Vereinigung Cockpit pilots’ union. The union has called for a nationwide strike affecting all Lufthansa flights operated with Airbus A320-family, Boeing 737 and Embraer aircraft from 13:00 CEST on Monday October 20 to 23:59 CEST on Tuesday October 21.

A first special timetable, valid for the first 24 hours of the strike, was placed on the http://www.LH.com website around 19:00 this evening. A second special timetable for the remaining strike period should be published tomorrow (Monday 20 October) around 13:00. The special timetables are also intended to ensure that Lufthansa services can be returned to normal once the strike is over.

In view of the length of the strike action called, Lufthansa’s short- and medium-haul services are likely to suffer substantial disruption during the strike period. But as part of its special timetable preparations, the company is currently determining which flights can still be operated. Lufthansa’s long-haul services will operate normally tomorrow (Monday); but travellers are still asked to check the status of their flight prior to their departure. The company’s http://www.LH.com website is the best place to do so: since the strike action has been announced on a Sunday, it will be some time before the call centres can be brought up to maximum capacity.

Travellers whose flight is cancelled as a result of the strike action have the options of rebooking or cancelling their ticket free of charge. Customers who have booked a Lufthansa flight for 20 or 21 October can also rebook their ticket once free of charge even if their original flight is expected to operate. Tickets for travel within Germany can also be exchanged for a rail ticket on http://www.LH.com or at any Lufthansa Quick Check-In machine.

The flights of sister Lufthansa Group carriers Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Germanwings, SWISS and Air Dolomiti (operated by OS, SN, 4U, LX and EN) will operate normally during the strike period. Lufthansa Cargo, too, remains largely unaffected. Germanwings is currently studying whether it can operate up to four Lufthansa flights that would otherwise be cancelled as a result of the strike action. And Lufthansa’s personnel are doing their utmost to ensure that travellers – and connecting passengers in particular – can be rerouted via the Lufthansa Group’s Zurich, Vienna and Brussels hubs wherever possible to get them to their destination on time despite the strike action. Customers who have provided contact details will also be informed by email or SMS text message of any changes to their flights.

Lufthansa views the Vereinigung Cockpit’s announcement of its latest strike action as totally incomprehensible and disproportionate. The company also feels that the continuing series of strikes here only confirms that urgent action is needed to review the current strike laws in Germany for companies providing critical infrastructural facilities.

The transitional benefits offered by Lufthansa are still among the best (if not the best) in the world and therefore a significant privilege, the company maintains, and are thus exactly the opposite of the “social slashing” that the Vereinigung Cockpit claims. The company’s concrete offer to redesign these transitional benefits includes a comprehensive retention of current status and privileges and a gradual transition to a sustainable model for all current pilots.

Lufthansa also aims to offer pilots who have joined (or will join) the company since 1 January 2014 the option of early retirement from flight duties. And the company has offered the Vereinigung Cockpit further talks to discuss the financing of the transitional benefits for these newer staff. In response, the company has received no proposals for redesigning the present transitional benefits to date from the Vereinigung Cockpit itself.

Around half of the just under 10,000 pilots within the Lufthansa Group currently work under transitional benefit provisions that only allow them to retire from flight duties at age 60 or over, if at all. Indeed, the Vereinigung Cockpit itself has concluded collective labour agreements incorporating such provisions within the Lufthansa Group. But, Lufthansa maintains, the union is now insisting on provisions for the pilots it represents that would give them benefits which would be exceptionally generous in the aviation industry worldwide.

Lufthansa’s remaining 115,000 employees have made their contribution to ensuring the company’s long-term future and competitiveness in a harsh and unfair global market arena. So Lufthansa does not see the slightest reason why this particular employee group should be solely determined to retain its present status and privileges for decades to come, and to do so even for pilots who are yet to join the company.

Read the analysis from Business Insider: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-114 D-AILU (msn 744) “Lulu Stork” arrives at London (Heathrow).

Lufthansa: AG Slide Show

British Airways to resume Boeing 747-400 service on the London Heathrow-Denver route

British Airways (London) will resume Boeing 747-400 service on the London (Heathrow)-Denver route on March 29, 2015, replacing a Boeing 777-200 ER according to Airline Route. BA last operated the Jumbo on the route in 2003.

British Airways issued this statement:

British Airways announced that customers in Denver will soon be able to enjoy British Airways’ new First class cabin. From March 2015 the Denver to London service will be operated by a four class Boeing 747-400 aircraft.

British Airways began flying to Denver 16 years ago and the airline now offers a daily service to London Heathrow. The Boeing 747 aircraft will provide customers with a choice of World Traveller (economy), World Traveller Plus (premium economy), Club World (business class) and the airline’s flagship brand, First.

Premium First Experience

The First class cabin has 14 suites that are based on classic design and discrete luxury. Features include:

Individual seats that turn into a 6 ft. 6 in. fully flat beds with a simple twist of a button
Signature turn down service includes a luxurious quilted mattress, crisp white cotton duvet and pillow, along with pajamas and luxury amenity kit.
A personal closet and leather-bound writing desk that converts into a dining table
A la carte dining and a buddy seat to enable customers to dine together
A 15” in-flight entertainment screen with extensive TV, movie and audio selections
Lighting and electronic blinds that can be modified to reflect mood and time of day
All British Airways long haul flights include benefits such as free meals and all beverages, as well as free baggage allowance and seat allocation. The airline also provides a “Feed Kids First” service ensures that children are served first, allowing parents to enjoy their own meal.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-436 G-BNLS (msn 24629) departs from London’s Heathrow Airport.

British Airways Slide Show: AG Slide Show

 

Ethiopian Airlines and ANA agree to codeshare

Ethiopian Airlines (Addis Ababa) and ANA (All Nippon Airways) (Tokyo) have signed a codeshare agreement.

From October 26, 2014, the travelling public will enjoy seamless bookings on ANA and Ethiopian Airlines network from Japan to 49 destinations in Africa through joint connecting airports of both carriers in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Paris (CDG), London (Heathrow) on all code shared flights. .

ANA and Ethiopian Airlines started joint Frequent Flyer Program in December 2011 as both carriers are members of Star Alliance.

Top Copyright Photo: Ethiopian’s Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner ET-AOR (msn 34746) is seen up-close at London’s Heathrow Airport, one of the connecting points for the two carriers.

Ethiopian Airlines Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

ANA Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

 

Gambia Bird is unable to resume London Gatwick flights

Gambia Bird Airlines (Banjul) has been unable to resume flights to London (Gatwick) according to Proactive Investors. The west African airline had been planning to resume operations to London on October 17. The UK government through the Department of Transport did not renew its permit to operate to the UK due to the on-going Ebola crisis. The airline has been hit hard by the outbreak.

Previously Gambia Bird had extended the suspension of all flights to and from Monrovia, in Liberia, and to and from Freetown, in Sierra Leone, until September 28. 2014, due to the current public health situation in both countries.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Germania’s Airbus A319-112 D-ASTA (msn 4663) is seen in action at London’s Gatwick Airport.

Gambia Bird: AG Slide Show

Gambia Bird logo-1

Gambia Bird’s operating area is ground zero for the Ebola affected areas:

Gambia Bird 10.2014 Service Area

Gambia Bird Aircraft Slide Show:

 

Royal Jordanian brings the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Geneva

Royal Jordanian Airlines (Amman) today (October 18) inaugurated Boeing 787 Dreamliner service to Geneva.

Royal Jordanian 787 arrives at GVA (IATA)

Above: Twitter photo by IATA. The arrival was greeted with the traditional water cannon salute.

In other news, RJ announced a new policy for checked luggage, based on the piece concept instead of the weight concept. The new policy will be effective for ticketing on October 15, 2014, for travel as of November 2, 2014 to all RJ destinations.

Checked baggage allowance to all destinations except North America

Crown Class

Two pieces, the weight of the first is up to 30kg and the weight of the second is up to 23kg.The sum of the three dimensions of one piece must not exceed 158cm/62 inches

Economy Class

One piece, with a weight up to 30kg.
The sum of the three dimensions of one piece must not exceed 158cm (62 inches).

Infants Fare

One piece with a maximum weight of 10 kg/22 lbs the sum of the 3 dimensions must not exceed 115cm/45 inches, and a carry-on fully-collapsible child stroller/push-chair, or infant carrying basket or infant car seat, which may be carried in the passenger cabin subject to the availability of space.

Children Fare

The same baggage allowance as passengers paying full adult fare.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 787-8 JY-BAA (msn 37983) arrives at London (Heathrow).

Royal Jordanian Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

 

British Airways to bring the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Montreal starting on March 29, 2015

British Airways (London) today announced that from March 29, 2015, Montreal will be served by the airline’s new Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet, marking the first scheduled Dreamliner service between Montreal and London.

British Airways operates a daily service between the two cities and provides connections to more than 130 cities beyond London. The first Dreamliner received by British Airways made its inaugural flight to Toronto one year ago and last month Calgary became the second Canadian city to receive the most modern aircraft in the airline’s new fleet.

Updated Cabins

The new aircraft accommodates 214 passengers: 35 in Club World (business class), 25 in World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and 154 in World Traveller (economy). The three newly designed cabins feature high quality materials, comfortable seats and increased bag storage. Customers in British Airways Club World cabin can take advantage of wide, full-flat beds and Club Kitchen, a snack bar open throughout the flight.

The 787 also has the largest windows of any commercial airliner, offering customers views of the horizon from every seat. Instead of pull down blinds, each one has its own dimmer switch.

Enhanced Entertainment

British Airways’ 787 features the airline’s new Thales entertainment system. Each seat has a television screen and customers can choose from more than 700 hours of content, including 230 TV programs, 70 movies and 400 music albums and interactive games. Travelers can also chat and play games with friends elsewhere on the aircraft using an in-seat chat system.

Copyright Photo: AirlinersGallery.com. Up-close taxiway action of BA’s Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner G-ZBJD (msn 38619).

British Airways: AG Slide Show

British Airways Aircraft Slide Show:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Delta Air Lines Q3 Earnings INFO

Revenue Environment

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

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

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

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

Cost Performance

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cash Flow

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

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

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

December 2014 Fourth Quarter Guidance

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

4Q14 Forecast

Operating margin

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

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

Up 0 – 2%
Profit sharing expense

$200 – $250 million
Non-operating expense

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

Up ~3%
Special Items

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

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

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

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

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

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

Delta Air Lines (current livery): AG Slide Show

Delta Air Lines Aircraft Slide Show (current livery):

Finnair’s board approves the incentive plan for its pilots

Finnair (Helsinki) as part of the agreement with its pilots announced last month, has received board of directors approval for a one-time, long-term incentive plan for its pilots. The company issued this statement:

The Finnair Board of Directors has approved a one-off long-term incentive plan for Finnair pilots. The plan is a part of the savings agreement between Finnair and the Finnish Air Line Pilots’ Association (SLL) that brings Finnair 17 million euros in permanent annual savings. The savings agreement was contingent on the realization of the incentive plan.

The plan period is 2015-2018 and the prerequisite for rewarding pilots based on this plan is the materialization of the agreed cost savings over this time period. In addition, the company share price must at least be 4 euros at the end of the incentive plan. If these conditions are met, the pilots are entitled to a cash payment. The amount of the payment is based on the Finnair share price. The total reward to pilots amounts to 12 million euros if the share price is 4 euros or a maximum of 24 million euros, if the share price reaches at least 8 euros. Divided over the four year period, the annual earnings potential for an individual pilot is equivalent to 5-10 per cent of annual base salary.

Finnair plans to hedge the additional costs above the 4 euro share price with a market-based call option. If the conditions of the plan are met, the associated total cost over the four year period is thus limited to approximately 12 million euros. The closing price of Finnair share was 2.39 euros on 10 October 2014.

The number of pilots eligible to participate in the plan is approximately 700. The cash reward will be paid to pilots in spring 2019, provided that the aforementioned performance criteria are met.

“With this incentive plan the savings agreement negotiated with pilots enters into force, which is essential to improve Finnair’s competitiveness. If the plan’s performance criteria are met, Finnair shareholders will have enjoyed a significant increase in the company’s valuation and the pilots will receive a one-time compensation for the permanent savings they have agreed on,” says Finnair’s CEO Pekka Vauramo.

“I am also very pleased that we reached a negotiation result with our cabin crew. With both pilots and cabin crew we negotiated significant savings agreements that support the company’s growth. In return for savings, Finnair gives its cabin crew protection from redundancies for the next two years, protection from outsourcing and a pension incentive as well,” says Vauramo. “The agreed changes in the collective labour agreements and other savings measures are not easy for our flying personnel or other employee groups with whom we have made savings agreements. I am grateful that our employees have responsibly contributed to the negotiated solutions. This is quite exceptional in our industry and demonstrates the kind of commitment to Finnair’s future that I am very proud of.”

The share prices for target and maximum level rewards are identified solely for the purpose of this incentive scheme, and they shall not be considered as guidance on Finnair’s share value.

Finnair used PCA Corporate Finance as an advisor in the planning of this incentive plan.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A321-231 OH-LZL (msn 6083) with Sharklets departs from London’s Heathrow Airport.

Finnair Aircraft Slide Show:

Finnair: AG Slide Show

Cathay Pacific is facing a contract showdown with its pilots next week

Cathay Pacific Airways (Hong Kong) is facing a showdown with its pilots this coming week. 51 percent of the Hong Kong Aircrew Officers Association voted down the company’s offer on an online poll. The carrier said it was disappointed with the vote. The airline had offered a 10 percent salary increase over three years. Contract talks will start next week.

If the talks fail, the pilots may got to invoke a “contract compliance”, a form of a strike. This slow down action if implemented could have an impact on operations.

Read the full report from Malaymail Online: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Cathay Pacific Airways’ Boeing 747-467 B-HOO (msn 23814) taxies at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Cathay Pacific Aircraft Slide Show:

Cathay Pacific: AG Slide Show

KLM is coming to Edmonton starting on May 3, 2015

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam) will launch Amsterdam-Edmonton Airbus A330-200 flights starting on May 3, 2015. The new route will be operated four days a week per Airline Route. The airline has not yet officially announced this new route.

Copyright Photo: AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-203 PH-AOK taxies at London’s Heathrow Airport.

KLM: AG Slide Show

The EU puts additional pressure on the DOT to approve the application of Norwegian Air International

Norwegian Air Shuttle (Norwegian.com) (Oslo) currently operates its Boeing 787s to the United States under its Norwegian Long Haul division (Oslo). The company would like to move the operation to Ireland as Norwegian Air International where the aircraft are registered. The European Union (EU) through its European Commission has request an “urgent” meeting with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) about the pending application. Several union groups have opposed the application. The EC issued this statement:

In an unprecedented move, the European Commission requested an urgent meeting between the European Union and the United States to discuss Norwegian Air International’s pending application for a foreign air carrier permit before the U.S. Department of Transportation. The extraordinary meeting, which is being requested by the Commission on behalf of the European Union as a party to the U.S-EU Open Skies Agreement, sends a clear message that the European Union is closely watching Norwegian Air International’s application, to fly to the U.S from several cities in Europe which has been pending for over eight months.

Norwegian Air International welcomes the European Union’s action to protect the rights of European airlines under the U.S.-EU Open Skies Agreement, which obligates parties to grant operating authority “with minimum procedural delay.” Asgeir Nyseth, CEO of Norwegian Air International, said, “We are confident that the Department of Transportation will do the right thing and grant our application without further delay.”

Norwegian Air International’s application has taken nearly four times as long as applications of other European carriers applying for the same authority. “We look forward to bringing new competitive and affordable fares on new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft to the U.S.-Europe market,” said Nyseth. With over 300 U.S. based crew, and plans for a pilot base in New York, Norwegian’s new service will bolster the U.S. economy through increased tourism, jobs, and support of the nation’s largest exporter, Boeing.

Copyright Photo: Robbie Shaw/AirlinersGallery.com. Norwegian Long Haul’s Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner EI-LND (msn 35310) with Norwegian Marthoner Grete Waitz on the tail holds shot of the runway at London’s Gatwick Airport. The flight was headed to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Norwegian: AG Slide Show

Qatar Airways today inaugurates Airbus A380 service to London Heathrow

Qatar Airways (Doha) today (October 10) finally inaugurated Airbus A380 service on the Doha-London (Heathrow) route becoming the 12th airline to operate the Super Jumbo.

From Airbus:

Twelve airlines have taken delivery of more than 140 A380s, which are operating on routes around the world as of September 2014. In total, more than 65 million passengers have flown on Airbus’ 21st century flagship jetliner since its 2007 service entry.

Singapore Airlines took delivery of the first A380 in October 2007, and began operations with Singapore-Sydney service. This carrier also is successfully using its A380s on long-haul routes to destinations such as London, Paris and Zurich, as well as for the approximately 3-hour-plus Singapore-to-Hong Kong flight, and on the intra-Asia service linking Singapore with Tokyo.

Emirates – the largest single A380 customer – has expanded its route network since inaugurating operations with the double-deck jetliner in July 2008. In addition to service from Dubai to Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong, London, New York, Paris, Seoul, Sydney/Auckland and Toronto, Emirates is now flying A380s on the shorter-haul, but high-density Dubai-Jeddah route.

Service on the North Atlantic was introduced by Air France, which has operated its prestigious Paris-New York flight with the A380 since November 2009. Air France replaced two mid-sized “classic” widebody aircraft with the A380 on this route, allowing the airline to offer the same capacity with much higher economic efficiency, at significantly lower fuel consumption, and with lower emissions. The carrier also is using its A380s on flights from Paris to Tokyo and Johannesburg.

QANTAS has been operating its A380s since September 2008 from two cities in its Australian home market – Sydney and Melbourne, providing the jetliner’s first service to Los Angeles on the U.S. West Coast, along with routes to Dubai, London and Hong Kong. Lufthansa joined the ranks of A380 operators in May 2010 – deploying its growing fleet on routes between Frankfurt and Beijing, Houston, Johannesburg, San Francisco, Singapore and Tokyo.

Korean Air, which has a long-standing relationship with Airbus that dates back to 1974, received its first A380 in May 2011 and has ordered a total of 10 aircraft to help expand its global route network. As Airbus’ sixth international operator, Korean Air flies the A380 from its Seoul hub to selected destinations in Asia, North America and Europe.

The no. 1 A380 for China Southern Airlines entered revenue service in October 2011 with round-trip flights linking Beijing and Guangzhou. After this introductory domestic service, the airline began using the A380 on international routes starting with flights between Guangzhou and Los Angeles in October 2012.

In May 2012, Malaysia Airlines became the fifth airline in the Asia-Pacific region – and the eighth worldwide – to incorporate the double-deck A380 into its fleet. Malaysia’s A380s are used in operations from Kuala Lumpur to London, Paris and Hong Kong.

Thai Airways International (THAI) became the ninth airline worldwide to incorporate the A380 into its fleet in September 2012. The carrier’s A380s – which seat 507 passengers in a premium three-class layout – provide service to Frankfurt, Tokyo and Paris after being used on Bangkok-Hong Kong and Bangkok-Singapore routes upon initial entry into service.

British Airways became the 10th airline to receive an A380 in July 2013 and inaugurated its long-haul operations with the double-deck jetliner between London and Los Angeles two months later.

In May 2014, Asiana Airlines took delivery of its first of six A380s on order, which is a key element in the South Korea-based carrier’s future vision and fleet modernisation strategy. Asiana – the 11th operator worldwide to receive Airbus’ 21st century flagship jetliner – initially will deploy its no. 1 aircraft from Seoul on regional services in Asia to Tokyo, Hong Kong and Bangkok; to be followed by long-haul routes to Los Angeles in the U.S.

Qatar Airways became the world’s 12th airline to add the A380 to its fleet during September 2014. Airbus’ 21st century flagship jetliner is taking this Gulf airline to new heights, enabling it to carry passengers even further while providing an unrivalled in-flight experience. Qatar Airways is scheduled to begin service with its initial A380 from Doha’s Hamad International Airport to London Heathrow.

Qatar will inaugurate A380 to Paris (Charles de Gaulle) on November 1 and a second flight to Heathrow on December 1.

Map of A380 operators and routes operated: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. This historic photo shows the first, Airbus A380-861 A7-APA (msn 137), arriving at London (Heathrow) as flight QR 03 at 1225 local time. The flight back to Doha departs as flight QR 04 at 1415 each day.

Qatar Airways: AG Slide Show

Videos:

 

Austrian Airlines finally finds labor peace with its pilots and cabin staff, flight operations to return to Austrian on March 1, 2015

Austrian Airlines‘ (Vienna) flights and aircraft (except one Boeing 777) are currently operated by Tyrolean Airways and its staff. Representatives of the pilots, flight attendants and management of Tyrolean Airways (Austrian Airlines Group) agreed on a new collective wage agreement effective December 1, 2014. The new contract will allow flight operations to once again be transferred back to Austrian Airlines on March 1, 2015. The company issued this statement:

Following a new and intense round of negotiations, the management and Works Council for the flight and cabin crew of Tyrolean Airways agreed last night on the cornerstones of a new Group collective wage agreement for the approximately 3,200 members of the flight staff. A framework agreement to this effect was already signed by the social partners. The Supervisory Board of Austrian Airlines also gave its stamp of approval to the proposal solution.

“I am relieved. The agreement is the best of all the options open to Austrian Airlines. We managed just in time to prevent the possible reorganization of the airline”, says Austrian Airlines CEO Jaan Albrecht. “The negotiating partners demonstrated a sense of responsibility. I pay tribute to them.”

The framework agreement serves as the basis for a new Group collective wage agreement which will be drafted in detail and already apply to the approximately 900 pilots and 2,300 flight attendants as of December 1, 2014. The agreement regulates future salaries and retirement benefits, working time and career development for the cockpit and cabin crew. The parties to the negotiations agreed not to disclose any details about the agreement.

“It was very difficult to find a viable solution. However, ultimately the shared desire helped us achieve our goal“, says Klaus Froese, Managing Director of Tyrolean Airways and chief negotiator on the employer’s side. “On the basis of the agreement that has been reached, especially thanks to the targeted legal certainty, we have now laid the foundations for the good development of our company.”

A key aspect of the negotiated solution is also the transfer of flight operations to Austrian Airlines effective March 1, 2015. In this connection special severance payments were agreed upon.

“Due to the agreement we now have a new starting point for a new, unified Austrian Airlines – flown by Austrian, operated by Austrian. We can now concentrate on designing the future. This includes the modernization of the fleet“, Jaan Albrecht adds.

Austrian Airlines employs a total staff of 6,300 employees. The fleet is comprised of 78 aircraft, which fly to about 130 destinations from its home airport in Vienna.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Austrian Airlines’ (operated by Tyrolean Airways) Boeing 737-6Z9 WL OE-LNM (msn 30138) arrives at London (Heathrow).

Austrian Airlines: AG Slide Show

Etihad Airways to introduce the Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A380 both on December 27

Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) is now planning to introduce the new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on December 27 on the Abu Dhabi-Dusseldorf and Abu Dhabi-Doha routes per Airline Route. The new type will also be operated to Brisbane (starting on June 1, 2015), Moscow (Domodedovo) (starting on June 1, 2015), Mumbai (starting on January 1, 2015) and Washington (Dulles) (starting on January 1, 2015).

Etihad is also scheduling the Airbus A380 inaugural flight from Abu Dhabi to London (Heathrow) also on December 27.

Copyright Photo: Bernie Leighton/AirlinersGallery.com. This overhead view shows Boeing 787-9 A6-BLA (msn 39646) being prepared for its formal delivery to the carrier.

Etihad Airways: AG Slide Show

Finnair to open a new summer route to Split, Croatia and reaches a savings agreement with its cabin crews

Finnair (Helsinki) is opening a new route to the Croatian city of Split, operated on Tuesdays and Saturdays from May 5 to October 3, 2015. Scheduled service to the popular gateway to the Dalmatian coast will be flown with Airbus A320 aircraft.

Elsewhere in Croatia, Finnair flies daily in the summer to historic Dubrovnik, south of Split and also on the Dalmatian coast.

Earlier this year Finnair announced new European destinations including Dublin, Athens and Malta, as well as new scheduled services to Chania, Heraklion, Kos and Rhodes in Greece; Catania and Naples in Italy; Marmaris in Turkey; Mallorca in Spain; Paphos in Cyprus and Innsbruck in Austria.

In other news, Finnair and the Finnish Cabin Crew Union (SLSY) have reached a savings agreement in the negotiations related to Finnair’s savings program.

The agreement brings Finnair 18 million euros in permanent annual savings. Approximately 75% of the savings materialize during this agreement period and 25% in the future through changes to the employment terms of new cabin attendants. In return, Finnair gives cabin personnel protection from redundancies for the next two years, protection from outsourcing and pension incentive. The savings impact of the outsourcing contracts already made were acknowledged in the targets of the agreement.

As a result of the savings agreement, Finnair is no longer planning on further outsourcing of cabin services. As announced on 1 September, however, Finnair has already signed a contract with OSM Aviation to outsource cabin services on Singapore and Hong Kong routes, and this will go ahead as planned.

In October 2012 Finnair began a 60 million euro cost savings program – additional to the 140 million euro cost savings program begun in August 2011 – mainly in personnel-related costs. After the agreement signed with SLSY, Finnair has reached savings agreements with almost all of its personnel groups. Savings measures continue in the areas where savings targets have not been reached.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 OH-LXC (msn 1544) arrives at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Finnair: AG Slide Show

British Airways to add four short-haul routes from London Heathrow for next summer

British Airways (London) is adding four European short-haul routes from London Heathrow for the next summer season per Airline Route. Service to Corfu (four weekly flights) starts on May 1, Kos (twice-weekly) starts on May 2, Olbia (twice-weekly) starts on May 2 and Split (twice-weekly) starts on May 3.

Copyright Photo: Wingnut/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-131 G-EUOH (msn 1604) “The Dove” taxies at London’s Heathrow Airport.

British Airways: AG Slide Show

 

Air Canada and ACPA reach a tentative agreement for a new pilot contract

Air Canada (Montreal) today announced that it has reached a new agreement with the Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA), subject to ratification, on collective agreement terms for ten years.

The agreement is subject to ratification by the Association’s membership comprising the airline’s approximately 3,000 pilots as well as to certain openers and benchmarks over the 10 year period. Details of the agreement, reached before the expiration in April 2016 of the current collective agreement, will not be released pending ratification by the Association and approval by the Air Canada Board of Directors.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Air Canada’s Boeing 777-333 ER C-FRAM (msn 35250) departs from Heathrow Airport in London.

Air Canada: AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic to shut down Little Red next year

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is shutting down its Airbus A320 feeder operation operated by Aer Lingus (Dublin). The feeder flights known as “Little Red” will end on September 26, 2015. The operation currently feeds London (Heathrow) from Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester. Manchester flights will end sooner on March 28, 2015.

The Little Red operation is flown by four wet leased Airbus A320s.

Aberdeen flights began on April 9, 2013
Edinburgh flights began on April 5, 2013
Manchester flights began on March 31, 2013

On October 6 the airline issued this statement:

Little Red was launched in March 2013 as an attempt to reintroduce consumer choice on key domestic services after British Airways’ takeover of bmi gifted them a monopoly on these routes. Over the past eighteen months, Little Red has delivered for consumers, leading the way on customer service and on-time performance at Heathrow. Flying well over a million passengers between London, Scotland and Manchester, Little Red also offers convenient onward connections to the rest of Virgin Atlantic’s worldwide network.

Bookings grew steadily for the service in the first part of 2014 with the airline enjoying excellent customer feedback. However the demand has been predominantly from point to point customers rather than connecting traffic. High levels of connections onto Virgin Atlantic’s long haul network have always been important to the success of Little Red.

Chief Executive Craig Kreeger has committed to returning Virgin Atlantic to profit by the end of this year and the airline is on track to deliver that, however Little Red has unfortunately not been able to make a positive contribution to Virgin Atlantic’s network.

Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive Craig Kreeger said:

“Little Red came about through an enduring passion at Virgin Atlantic to make a difference for our customers. We really wanted it to be a success and everyone involved worked extremely hard and has given it their best efforts.

“It was always a huge challenge on behalf of the consumer, as the totally inadequate number of slots made available by the European Commission did not deliver close to BA’s network position, even when supplemented by our own slots to fly between Heathrow and Manchester. The time lag between the takeover of bmi and our entering the market also meant Little Red initially faced an uphill battle to win recognition and convert customers to its services.

“While this challenged environment meant Little Red ultimately did not deliver the results we had hoped, this certainly will not dampen our enthusiasm to try new things in the future. We have always fought for what we believe is best for our customers and we will continue to do so.

“We’re very grateful for all of the support and goodwill shown to Little Red in Scotland and Manchester, where we received a warm welcome. I would also like to personally thank the Little Red team who have been fantastic ambassadors providing exceptionally high levels of customer service. We look forward to continuing to work with the Little Red cabin crew as we will be offering them roles on our long haul operation when these services end.”

The President of Virgin Atlantic, Sir Richard Branson, said:

“When the competition authorities allowed British Airways to take over British Midland and all of its slots, we feared there was little we could do to challenge BA’s huge domestic and European network built through decades of dominance.

“To remedy this, we were offered a meagre package of slots with a number of constraints on how to use them and we decided to lease a few planes on a short term basis to give it our best shot. The odds were stacked against us and sadly we just couldn’t attract enough corporate business on these routes. We will stop flying the Little Red services between Manchester and London at the end of March 2015 and the Aberdeen and Edinburgh services at the end of September 2015.

“The team did their absolute best to make a go of it and I thank them all for their amazing efforts. In the meantime, keep flying on Little Red where you’ll continue to get amazing offers and great service.”

Virgin Atlantic would like to thank its customers and teams in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Heathrow and Manchester as well as its partner Aer Lingus, for their loyalty and commitment to Little Red and looks forward to continuing to work with them on the service over the next 12 months.

Passengers can continue to book with Little Red with confidence until this time and frequent fliers will be able to enjoy special loyalty benefits for doing so. There will be an increased earning incentive per-sector as well as a significant reduction in the number of Flying Club miles needed to redeem a flight.

The airline remains committed to its operations in both Manchester and Scotland. Its existing services from Manchester to Orlando, Barbados and Las Vegas will continue, with the addition next summer of a new daily Virgin Atlantic flight between Manchester and Atlanta. In Scotland, the popular seasonal service from Glasgow to Orlando will continue with eight extra return flights just announced for summer 2015, alongside a new route between Glasgow and Las Vegas.

The decision on the airline’s short haul carrier follows a major review of Virgin Atlantic’s wider network. Last month the airline announced a network update delivering five new daily transatlantic flights and an ambition to grow to record levels of sustained profitability by 2018. This will be supported by a major programme of work that will see £300m invested into customer experience.

Read the analysis by City Index: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Aer Lingus’Airbus A320-214 EI-DEI (msn 2374) in Virgin Atlantic’s colors arrives at London (Heathrow).

Virgin Atlantic: AG Slide Show

IAG’s Willie Walsh: London Heathrow expansion is a “lost cause”

International Airline Group’s (IAG) (British Airways, Iberia and Vueling Airlines) (London) CEO Willie Walsh has stated the politicians of Britain lack the “character” to push for a third runway at London’s crowded Heathrow Airport (LHR) according to a report by The Guardian. According to Walsh the expansion of LHR is a “lost cause”.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Ariel Shocron/AirlinersGallery.com. Terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport. T5 was opened in 2008, the main building is the largest free-standing structure in the United Kingdom. Terminal 5 is currently used exclusively by IAG carriers, especially British Airways and Iberia. Prior to March 2012, the terminal was used exclusively by British Airways. The terminal is designed to ultimately handle 35 million passengers a year. Despite this new terminal, the airport cannot expand without a third runway.

British Airways: AG Slide Show

Video: The three options for a third runway at LHR offered by the airport:

Below Copyright Photo: Dave Glendinning/AirlinersGallery.com. LHR is the main hub of British Airways.

Bottom Copyright Photo: Richard Vandervord/AirlinersGallery.com. A crowded ramp scene at LHR in the past.

British Airways brings the Airbus A380 to Washington Dulles, adds three routes from London Gatwick

British Airways (London) yesterday (October 2) began flying its new 469-seat Airbus A380 aircraft between London Heathrow and Washington Dulles International Airport. This marks the first and only nonstop A380 service between the two nations’ capitals. The airline also officially unveiled its new, improved business and first class lounge for customers departing from Washington D.C.

British Airways will initially operate five A380 services a week from Washington Dulles. This will increase from the end of October to a daily A380 service, in conjunction with the daily flight BA 292, operated by a Boeing 747-400 and the thrice weekly flight BA 264, operated by a Boeing 777.

British Airways has ordered 12 A380s for delivery by 2016. The airline currently has six A380s in service. The first flight was operated with the pictured Airbus A380-841 G-XLEB.

British Airways currently flies its A380 aircraft from Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Johannesburg, with Singapore beginning on October 28 and San Francisco in April 2015.

In other news, British Airways has added another three new routes to its 2015 London Gatwick schedule. Seville in Spain, Funchal in Madeira and Las Palmas in Gran Canaria with the first flights from March 29, 2015.

The news follows announcements on eight other new London Gatwick routes, taking the total number of destinations British Airways flies to from London Gatwick to over 50 for Summer 2015.

From December this year, new winter sun and ski destinations will include Fuerteventura, Friedrichshafen and Grenoble.

Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands will operate from December 13 this year and other sunshine routes launching for summer 2015, will include Cagliari in Sardinia, Heraklion in Crete, Rhodes in Greece and Bodrum and Dalaman in Turkey.

The services to all three destinations will be served by a mixture of Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft from London Gatwick.

Top Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by BA). Airbus A380-841 G-XLEB (msn 121) taxies at Los Angeles to the gate.

Below Photo: The cabin of the Airbus A380:

British Airways A380 Cabin

British Airways: AG Slide Show

 

Alitalia retires the Air One brand

Alitalia (2nd) (Rome) as planned, retired the Air One (Rome) brand on September 30. As of today, the former Air One services are now being operated under the Alitalia brand although the parent will only operate some of the routes. Alitalia will assume some of the routes at the end of this month with their own branded aircraft per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Dave Glendinning/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-216 EI-DSW (msn 3609) taxies from the gate at London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR).

Air One: AG Slide Show

Snowbird Airlines is coming to London Gatwick starting on December 6

Snowbird A320-200 (14)(Flt)(Snowbird)(LRW)

Snowbird Airlines (Helsinki) starting on December 6 is planning to operate twice-weekly Airbus A320 service from Enontekiö to London (Gatwick) and return per Airline Route.

Enontekiö is located in northern Finland in Lapland and is an ideal viewing location for the winter northern lights.

According to Helsinki Times, the launch of the carrier has been delayed due to slumping Russian economy and a dispute with the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (KKV).

The virtual charter airline was planning to start operations on October 2 with a wet leased SmartLynx Airlines Airbus A320 (YL-LCM).

Read the full story: CLICK HERE

Images: Snowbird Airlines.

Snowbird logo

Video:

Joel Chusid’s Airline Corner – September 2014

Guest Editor Joel Chusid

Watch Your Vowels

Guest Editor Joel Chusid

Guest Editor Joel Chusid

With millions of passengers flying every day, some are bound to end up at the wrong destination. I’m not talking about diverted or cancelled flights, or even what airlines call “misboards” when someone board the wrong airplane by mistake which, despite all the security regulations and precautions, still occasionally happens. But booking the wrong destination can happen, especially with so many people booking online. There are multiple cities in the U.S. with the same name (Bloomington, Lafayette and Springfield come to mind), but globally there are Londons in Canada and England and Panama Cities in Florida and Panama, and many more examples. Spelling and pronunciation errors can cause someone going to Oakland, California to end up in Auckland, New Zealand or the wrong La Paz, in Mexico or Bolivia. Airline staff are used to this, but they make mistakes, too. An Australian couple bound for the World Cup in Salvador, Brazil this past summer, ended up in San Salvador in El Salvador due to an airline booking error and had to watch the game on TV instead. An American dentist and his partner, anxious to see the Alhambra booked a first class vacation trip to Granada, Spain through British Airways last year. Upon landing in London, they proceeded to their connecting flight to Grenada, with that single vowel causing the mixup. Twenty minutes into the flight, they noticed their flight on the inflight map was headed out over the ocean, at which point they were past the point of no return. Nine hours later they ended up on the island of Grenada in the Caribbean. Since the dentist had a conference in Lisbon, Portugal at the end of the vacation, they flew to Miami and on to London. The little vowel error caused them to be on seven flights over three days and spend over $34,000 in airfares and in lost salary, for which the dentist sued British Airways since their agent erred. The case was finally dismissed last month in a Washington court. Let this be a lesson to you: watch your vowels.

The Game Plane

Are you into game shows? Is your idea of a comfortable airline seat in your living room? Here’s a new one for you, courtesy of Allegiant Air. For the past few months, “The Game Plane”, with reality host by Mark L. Walberg has been filming with somewhat captive audiences live on scheduled flights. Broadcasts in syndication began September 20, with real passengers as contestants getting chances to win prizes such as hotel stays in Las Vegas, Orlando and Hawaii. Now if you haven’t heard of Allegiant, they are what can be described as a niche, yet successful, airline, serving smaller cities to leisure destinations usually a few times a week. Think Shreveport to Las Vegas, one of the chosen routes for the game. The games range from “Bye Bye Birdie” (an inflight putting contest), the “Barf Bag Challenge” (choose questions from an array of air sickness bags) to “How Smart is Your Co-Pilot” (one half of a couple is sent to the isolation booth- the airplane lavatory). For some sample pictures, see http://gameplane.herokuapp.com/. Now I have no idea how they deal with turbulence….

Airline Food, Grounded

Some international travelers prefer to eat their meal on the ground before a red-eye flight to maximize rest time, especially when heading eastbound where hours are lost. Indeed, some airline lounges offer premium travelers pre-flight fine dining, especially those in the Middle East where most long haul travel involves an overnight, and even on the U.S. East Coast where most flights to Europe are scheduled to leave in the evening and arrive early. On recent flights on Turkish and Qatar Airways I was blown away by the selection of food, with everything from chefs to olive bars. But now we’re talking about airline food on the ground when you’re not even taking a flight. LSG SkyChefs, in partnership with Allyouneed.com, a German delivery site, has just introduced a test of home airline meal delivery in Germany, Cologne and Dusseldorf, to be exact. The meals are designed after Lufthansa business class meals, are prepared fresh, not frozen, and delivered to homes once a week, on Wednesdays. The meals, however, can be frozen and eaten later and feature both vegetarian and regular entrees, whatever is being served aloft on that day.

Copycat Freeloader

On the other hand, you can do what a “wanna-be” passenger did at Munich, but got caught, similar to what a man did at a Chinese airport for months. The European traveler bought a one way business class ticket from Munich to Zurich. The distance of this flight is only 162 miles. I flew this segment some years ago, and it took longer to get the checked baggage than the flight itself. However, these tickets are relatively expensive, at $895 (yes, you read that correctly), but they permit unlimited cancellation and rebooking without penalty. They also permit access to the premium lounge at Munich, which the guy used 35 times, without ever flying. Each time he checked in, helped himself to the copious food and drink, and then had his ticket refunded and reissued. After a few months of this, airline staff got suspicious, and Lufthansa took the freeloader to court. He was fined $2700, equal to the daily lounge charge.

“Keep Calm and Watch”

With all the stories of “air rage” these days, British Airways has discovered some ways to calm passengers and mesmerize them to relax on long flights. Last spring the airline introduced what one could only call “boring” movies. How about watching a seven hour trail ride to Oslo, or hours of bird feeding or knitting? A British Airways spokesperson equated it with watching the moving flight map. Just recently, a new channel, “Paws and Relax” was introduced, featuring romping dogs and cats. Think “Puppy Bowl” – non-Super Bowl watchers know that at the same time the big game is on, the Animal Planet channel shows the “Puppy Bowl” with furry juvenile canines playing with toys and each other on a little sports field. British Airways also recently tested a “Happiness Blanket” on some travelers between New York and London. A headband worn by the traveler measures electrical fluctuations of the brain, and the blanket turns blue when the user is calm, red when they are anxious or stressed. The blankets were used during mealtime, entertainment and sleep. No idea if this idea is going to be expanded. Some pictures here: http://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/offers/partners/happiness-blanket

Virgin Atlantic is close to making a decision on 5 additional Boeing 787s, updates its fleet retirement plans

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is close to making a decision on its five Boeing 787 options according to this report by Bloomberg. The British carrier is updating its fleet plans as it retires its older aircraft types with the new generation aircraft.

According to the report, Virgin Atlantic will retire the last Airbus A340-300 (above) at the end of February 2015. The last five Boeing 747-400s will leave the fleet between September 2015 and July 2016.

Two Airbus A340-600s will be retired at the beginning of 2015.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. The older Airbus A340-300s will be the first to be retired in February. Virgin Atlantic Airways’ Airbus A340-313 G-VFAR (msn 225) climbs away from London’s Heathrow Airport.

Virgin Atlantic Airways: AG Slide Show

El Al and JetBlue Airways file with the DOT in order to codeshare

El Al Israel Airlines (Tel Aviv) and JetBlue Airways (New York) today filed with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) seeking approval to codeshare.

Subject to government approval, El Al plans to place its “LY” code on select JetBlue-operated flights to/from New York (JFK/Newark).

El Al currently offers up to 22 weekly nonstop flights from Tel Aviv to New York (JFK/Newark) which easily tap into JetBlue’s growing network. With one stop in New York (JFK/Newark), customers may connect between Israel and 35 JetBlue destinations including Boston, Chicago/O’Hare, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Houston/Hobby, Las Vegas, Orlando, San Francisco, San Juan, Washington/Dulles and West Palm Beach. JetBlue currently serves 86 cities across the United States, Caribbean, and Latin America.

El Al and JetBlue have been interline partners since 2010, allowing customers to purchase single-ticket itineraries, combining travel on both airlines.

Top Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. El Al’s Boeing 747-458 4X-ELB (msn 26056) climbs gracefully away from Heathrow Airport near London.

El Al Israel Airlines: AG Slide Show

JetBlue Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Fred Freketic/AirlinersGallery.com. JetBlue Airways’ Airbus A321-231 WL N923JB (msn 5960) with the Prism tail fin awaits its runway departure clearance at JFK International Airport.

QANTAS Airways launches the largest jetliner on the longest route to Dallas/Fort Worth

QANTAS Airways (Sydney) customers will now enjoy the luxury of the world’s largest passenger aircraft on the world’s longest route, with nonstop Airbus A380 services between Sydney and Dallas/Fort Worth which was launched on September 28.

QANTAS recently announced increased services to the USA, and will now offer customers 41 services per week to North America. About half of these services are operated by the pictured Airbus A380 aircraft and the other half by Boeing 747-400s with A380-style interiors.

QANTAS A380 First Class Suite (QANTAS)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: QANTAS Airways. The First Class Suite.

The new Airbus A380 service is the result of several scheduling changes designed to unlock more flying time of the QANTAS fleet, as part of the wider Qantas Transformation program.

QANTAS A380 Business Class cabin (QANTAS)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: QANTAS Airways. Business Class cabin.

QANTAS will operate the new Airbus A380 service six times per week (every day except Tuesdays). Flight QF 7 will depart Sydney at 1310 and arrive at DFW International Airport at 1345 local time (the same day).

The return flight QF 8, will depart DFW at 2215 local time and arrive in Sydney at 0605 two days later (due to an evening departure and the international dateline). Flying time from Sydney to DFW is around 14 hours 50 minutes, and flying time from DFW to Sydney is around 15 hours 30 minutes.

QANTAS A380 Economy Class seats (QANTAS)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: QANTAS Airways. The Economy Class cabin.

Through its codeshare partnership with American Airlines, QANTAS offers onward connections to more than 100 destinations across the USA, with more than 50 of those from Dallas/Fort Worth including Orlando, Boston, Houston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Washington, Toronto, Vancouver, Cancun and Mexico City.

This new service comes in the 60th anniversary year of QANTAS services between Australia and the USA. In 1954, QANTAS operated a Lockheed Super Constellation from Sydney to San Francisco – its first trans-Pacific route to North America.

QANTAS A380 Texas hat tail (QANTAS)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: QANTAS Airways.

SPECIAL LIVERY:

To celebrate the milestone, QANTAS painted its Airbus A380-842 VH-OQL (msn 074) operating the route with a special livery; the kangaroo on the tail (above) features a traditional Stetson hat with a neckerchief in the American-stars print, with a “G’Day Texas” emblem next to the forward doors.

QANTAS A380-800 VH-OQL (G'Day Texas logo)(QANTAS)(LRW)

QANTAS Ambassador John Travolta was at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to greet the inaugural Airbus A380 service from Sydney and said he was proud to help promote the new service (below).

“I’m thrilled to be part of this special and historic moment for QANTAS. It’s exciting news for Americans that the world’s biggest and one of the most luxurious passenger aircrafts is now flying between Dallas/Fort Worth and Sydney,” said Mr Travolta.

QANTAS John Travolta (QANTAS)(LR)

Top Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-842 VH-OQD (msn 026) climbs away from London (Heathrow).

QANTAS Airways: AG Slide Show

Video:

Air France backs off on its Transavia project hoping the pilots will come back to work

Air France (Paris-CDG) is somewhat backing off on its previous proposal to expand the operations of subsidiary Transavia France (Paris-Orly) and Transavia Europe in the hoe the pilots will end their strikes. The on-going strike by the pilots is taking its toll financially.

The company issued this statement yesterday:

On the tenth day of a strike that is heavily penalizing Air France, its customers and its staff, Company management is making the following proposal to promote the rapid resolution of the conflict:

1. Immediate withdrawal of the Transavia Europe project,

2. The further development of Transavia France in competitive economic conditions and accompanied by the safeguards as discussed in the negotiations so far,

3. In these conditions, Air France Management calls on the pilots to return to work immediately.

This balanced proposal meets the unions’ requirements by providing a renewed guarantee that there will be no relocation.

It preserves the Transavia development project, a “made in France” solution to face the competition from foreign low-cost carriers and conquer this rapidly-expanding market.

It meets the needs of employees who want their company to get back on track.

It enables us to find an immediate outcome to this destructive conflict.

Alexandre de Juniac, Chairman and CEO of Air France-KLM, and Frédéric Gagey, Chairman and CEO of Air France, declared: “Our Transavia project is a 100% pro-France project. It is about developing Transavia to encourage growth in France and quickly create more than 1,000 jobs in France (including 250 pilot jobs). With the withdrawal of the Transavia Europe project, there is now no reason to strike because there are no longer any concerns about relocation. We therefore call on the striking pilots to return to work immediately.”

Meanwhile for tomorrow, Air France expects to operate 48% of its flights on Friday September 26, 2014, given an estimated 58% of pilots are planning to strike tomorrow.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A321-212 F-GTAN (msn 3051) gracefully climbs away from London’s Heathrow Airport.

Air France: AG Slide Show

Delta to suspend the Seattle/Tacoma-Tokyo Haneda route for the winter

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will suspend for the winter season the Seattle/Tacoma-Tokyo (Haneda) route on October 1 per Airline Route. The route will be restored on March 29, 2015.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-332 ER N185DN (msn 27961) climbs away from London Heathrow Airport.

Delta Air Lines (current): AG Slide Show

 

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)

 

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.

Air China issued this statement on the arrival of the pictured B-2006 in Beijing:

Air China’s aircraft which sports the “Air China Loves China” color scheme arrived at Beijing Capital International Airport on September 28, Beijing time, and September 29 marks the day of its maiden flight CA 1501 Beijing – Shanghai. After that, it will be operated on routes Beijing-Shanghai/Guangzhou.

The background color of the new artwork is white. The aircraft’s tail is emblazoned with the “Air China Loves China” design, which is a nod to the red national flag painted on the nose. The fuselage is adorned with patterns of red silk, a Chinese cultural element, symbolizing the bond between Air China and China and highlighting the joyous celebration of China’s National Day. The letter “C” in the word “CHINA” is designed in such an artistic way as to wrap the character “love”, conveying to people of Chinese descent around the world the key message that Air China loves China.

According to an Air China executive, Air China’s predecessor was Civil Aviation Administration of China Beijing Branch established on January 1, 1955. Air China’s development in the past nearly 60 years is nothing short of a microcosm of the growing prosperity of the nation. The carrier has gone international and has joined the ranks of the world’s finest airlines. Therefore, the new color scheme worn by the aircraft is intended to express Air China’s congratulations to the mother country. To create an atmosphere of festivity, during the National Day Air China will also place an outdoor billboard and use baggage stickers, boarding passes and vehicle stickers that carry the “Air China Loves China” design to mark the 65th anniversary of the founding of the republic.

Since the first Boeing 777-300 ER of China’s airline industry was put into service by Air China in July 2011, the type has been very popular with travelers. Today, Boeing 777-300 ER has become the leading type on Air China’s key international routes to European and American cities like Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington, Houston, Vancouver, Frankfurt and Paris and hot domestic routes from Beijing to Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou. Of long-range twin-engine jets, Boeing 777-300 ER widebody aircraft has many pluses in terms of both range and passenger capacity. It is more fuel efficient and quieter, aligned with the universally endorsed concept of green flight. AirChina has always been committed to providing better flying space and wonderful travel experience for passengers. On Air China’s Boeing 777-300 ER, ultra-large First Class seats can accommodate 2 people having a meal at the same time; Business Class seats can become full-flat beds; Economy Class seats are designed based on ergonomic principles. First Class and Business Class passengers can have exclusive access to the Central Bar. All classes of service are outfitted with personal entertainment system, power outlets and barrier-free toilets. The mood lighting system can mimic wonderful moments in a day from sunrise to sunset. Boeing 777-300ER has become the preferred choice of business travelers, and is playing an important role in helping Air China expand its presence in the international market.

According to industry experts, Chinese airlines are renewing their fleet of long-range aircraft. With their state-of-the-art technologies and amenities, widebodies like Boeing 777-300 ER and Boeing 747-8 will become the leading types that will help Chinese airlines make inroads into long-haul international markets. In recent years, Air China has seen the number of widebodies delivered to it and the number of its international long-haul routes increasing rapidly, far ahead of the competition. By June 2014, Air China had a fleet of 512 aircraft of Boeing and Airbus families (including those operated by the companies Air China has a stake in). These aircraft are 6.22 years old on average. AirChina has the youngest fleet in China and a reasonable fleet structure featuring both long-range and medium-range aircraft. New aircraft additions will help further extend Air China’s route network.

It is reported in October, Air China’s newly delivered Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental widebody will be put into service. It is anticipated that by the end of the 12th Five-Year Plan, Air China’s fleet (including the aircraft of the companies in which Air China has a stake in) will have reached about 665 aircraft. In the future, Air China will continue to introduce highly efficient, well-performing widebodies like Boeing 787-9 and Airbus 350. By the end of 2015, Air China will have received the delivery of 7 Boeing 747-8s, offering passengers pleasant travel experiences. At present, Air China has become an airline that offers services 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. It operates 323 passenger routes, serving 162 cities in 32 countries (regions). Relying on the route network of the Star Alliance, Air China can fly passengers to 1328 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 20 stretched Triple Sevens. B-2006 was handed over on Friday, September 26.

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).

 

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