KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam) is the last passenger operator of the McDonnell Douglas MD-11. KLM operated 10 285-seat MD-11s. Each MD-11 was named after famous women in history.
The airline will operate its last regularly scheduled revenue passenger flight on October 25 between Montreal (Trudeau) and Amsterdam. KLM has also announced an one hour farewell flight for $139 on November 11 from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.
More form KLM: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. The MD-11s are currently being operated to both Toronto and Montreal. MD-11 PH-KCB (msn 48556) departs from Toronto (Pearson) bound for the Amsterdam hub.
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
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.
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.
Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) has announced a new initiative to encourage paperless boarding throughout its network, saving passengers time and money. Beginning tomorrow, September 2, 2014, customers who require the assistance of a ticket agent to print their boarding pass at the airport will pay a $5 charge per boarding pass printed. Customers who use a mobile boarding pass on their mobile device or tablet, or check-in online and print their boarding pass at home will save themselves the small fee, while helping the carrier keep fares low and ticket lines short.
Throughout 2013, Allegiant worked with many small and mid-size airports throughout its system to introduce mobile boarding pass scanners at the security checkpoints in every airport the carrier serves. Fifty-five of the airports Allegiant serves did not previously have scanners in place. Allegiant purchased scanners for these airports, worked with the airports and TSA to have them approved and installed and reached out to other carriers serving the airports to ensure that the mobile boarding pass scanners the company installed could be used by other airline passengers.
Travelers can avoid paying $5 to have their boarding pass printed at the airport by checking-in online or on the Allegiant2Go mobile app and using express bag drop or proceeding directly to the gate. Through the Allegiant2Go mobile app, available for free on Apple and Android mobile devices, customers may check-in for their flight 24 hours prior to scheduled departure, add seat assignments, priority boarding or additional baggage and receive their boarding pass directly on their phone or tablet. The mobile boarding pass option will save travelers the time and trouble of waiting in ticket counter lines.
This charge does not apply to passengers who are ineligible for advance check-in such as passengers traveling with pets in the cabin, or to passengers with disabilities who are unable to print or download boarding passes.
Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) N881GA (msn 49708) departs from Las Vegas.
Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) today announced new, nonstop service from Cincinnati to Las Vegas beginning on December 18.
The new flights will operate twice weekly between the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) and Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) beginning on Thursday, December 18, 2014. This announcement brings the total number of destinations served by Allegiant from CVG to seven, including service to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood and Mesa (near Phoenix) announced just last month.
Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) N424NV (msn 49421) departs from Las Vegas McCarran International Airport.
Western Global Airlines-WGA (Sarasota/Bradenton) according to ch-aviation, will begin cargo operations with a fleet of two McDonnell Douglas MD-11 freighters (N415JN, msn 48415 and N435KD, msn 48435). Both freighters will be leased from Neff Air. The company has issued this statement:
Western Global Airlines LLC (WGA), a low cost, high quality all-cargo carrier, announced on August 4 that it received final FAA certification and has been issued a Part 121 Air Operator Certificate. In addition, WGA has been certified by the U.S. DOT to be fit, willing, and able to engage in interstate and foreign air transportation of property and mail. WGA plans to commence operations immediately.
Founder and CEO, Jim Neff, said, “We are very pleased by these approvals. As the first newly certified U.S. based wide-body air cargo operator in almost a decade, WGA is poised to offer the global marketplace a new large-scale, customer-oriented platform, focused on low cost, flexible service and high reliability. We also expect to benefit from the relative shortage of wide-body cargo carriers in the market today.” In addition to being WGA’s CEO, Mr. Neff also serves as CEO and Chairman of Helsinki based Nordic Global Airlines, Ltd. (NGA) and has had an unparalleled career in air cargo and aviation dating back to Flying Tiger Line, Continental Airlines, Emery Worldwide and Burlington Air Express. He was the founder and CEO of Southern Air Inc. from 1999 until 2010.
Mr. Neff added, “For me, this is the culmination of a lifelong dream. Having created and built the air systems for many of the leading U.S. based cargo operators over the past 30 plus years, I believe that the current global economic reality calls for freighter services to be both lower cost and more responsive to customers. This is the driving force and the vision behind WGA.”
WGA’s management team was hand-picked by Mr. Neff from among the industry’s most knowledgeable and experienced innovators. The company will begin operations with a fleet of MD-11Fs leased from Neff Air LLC, an affiliated leasing company which owns ten GE powered MD-11Fs and two GE powered 747-400BCFs directly without debt. WGA’s business plan is based on enabling its customers to profitably grow their air cargo business by seamlessly outsourcing all or part of their freighter operation to WGA. WGA’s sister company, NGA, has been providing low cost, flexible, and reliable service to the European market for the past three years with a fleet of four MD-11Fs leased from Neff Air. Going forward, the company expects to develop the WGA/NGA platforms jointly to achieve marketing and operational synergies to maximize service responsiveness, flexibility, and operating efficiencies.
Orange Air, LLC (Sanford) is a relatively new FAR 121 Air Carrier located at the Orlando Sanford International Airport in Sanford, FL (north of Orlando).
The charter airline received its Air Operators Certificate (AOC) on June 3, 2014. On June 10, 2014 it operated its first charter flight.
Orange Air strives to be a leading service provider of passenger air charter for Commercial Customers, US and International Government Agencies and US Defense Contractors providing the safest, most reliable, highest quality service and to be the most competitive 121 non-scheduled airline in the industry.
Copyright Photo: Orange Air. The crews stand in front of the first aircraft, former Belle Air McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82 (MD-82) N918AV (msn 49104, ex ZA-ARD).
Martinair‘s (Amsterdam) days could be number. The cargo subsidiary of the Air France-KLM Group could be sold to a third party and even shut down i.e. “internal restructuring”. The cargo divisions of the Air France-KLM Group continue to bring down the group financially. As part of its first half financial report, the Group issued this statement concerning the cargo divisions, including Martinair:
Second Quarter 2014 cargo revenues amounted to 669 million euros, down 5.1% and by 1.9% on a constant currency basis. Faced with a slower than expected recovery, the group continued to reduce full-freighter capacity (down 8.6%). In consequence, total capacity decreased by 2.0%. Traffic decreased by 1.6%, leading to a 0.3 point increase in load factor to 63.2%. Unit revenue per Available Ton Kilometer (RATK) increased by 1.1% on a constant currency basis (-2.1% on a reported basis).
The operating result improved slightly to -45 million euro, up 5 million euros.
The recovery in demand being slower than expected, the group has initiated a strategic review of its full-freighter business, with different scenarios under consideration. Having already decided in October 2013 to reduce its full-freighter fleet to 2 aircraft in Paris and 8 aircraft in Amsterdam by 2015, the group is now looking to further reduce its Amsterdam-based full-freighter exposure either through a partnership with a third party or through internal restructuring. In consequence, the group has recorded an impairment of 106 million euros in its Second Quarter 2014 accounts.
First Half 2014 cargo revenues amounted to 1,344 million euros, down 4.3% and by 1.6% on a constant currency basis. Traffic was stable for a -1.5% decline in capacity, leading to a 1.0 point increase in load factor to 64.0%. Unit revenue per Available Ton Kilometer (RATK) was stable on a constant currency basis (down 2.7% on a reported basis).
On a constant currency basis, cargo unit cost was down 1.7% in the First Half (down 3.9% on a reported basis). The operating result improved by 21 million euros to -79 million euros.
Will Martinair be sold or disbanded? It is unlikely to remain as it is today.
Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas MD-11 (F) PH-MCY (msn 48445) taxies at the Amsterdam base.
Swiftair (Madrid) McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) registered EC-LTV (msn 53190) operating for Air Algerie (Algiers) as flight AH 5017 from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso to Algiers with 110 passengers and 6 crew members is missing. Contact with the airliner has been lost over Mali near Gao about 50 minutes after the takeoff. Both airlines have announced they have lost contact with the crew.
According to Reuters, the country of Burkino Faso stated the flight had asked ATC to alter its course due to a storm. There was a known sandstorm in the area according to local reports.
Swiftair said on its website the flight took off from Burkina Faso at 0117 GMT and was supposed to land in Algiers at 0510 GMT but never reached its destination.
Two French Air Force Mirage 2000 jets based in west Africa have been dispatched to try to locate the missing airliner according to Reuters.
Reuters is now reporting the plane has crashed:
“An Air Algerie flight crashed on Thursday en route from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Algiers with 110 passengers on board, an Algerian aviation official said.”
Update: The wreckage has been found near the city of Gao, Mali (see the map below). There are no survivors of the 116 passengers and crew members on board.
Read the full report from The Telegraph: CLICK HERE
Update: From CNN:
“France has declared a three-day mourning period to commemorate the victims of the Air Algerie flight 5017 crash, French President Francois Hollande declared on Saturday (July 26).
Following a meeting with families of the victims, Hollande said flags will fly at half-staff on government buildings from Monday through Wednesday.
Fifty-four of the 118 victims were French nationals.
The second flight data recorder from has been found in Mali, a U.N. official said Saturday (July 26).”
Top Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Sister ship McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) M814NK became EC-KCX on delivery (msn 49619).
Bottom Copyright Photo: Javier Rodriguez/AirlinersGallery.com. The ill-fated DC-9-83 (MD-83) EC-LTV at Palma de Mallorca before the tragic crash.
Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) has announced new, nonstop jet service from Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood beginning on October 9, 2014 and Mesa (near Phoenix) beginning on November 12, 2014. In addition, Allegiant will also add additional weekly flights to Sanford (near Orlando), St. Petersburg/Clearwater and Punta Gorda all in Florida.
Allegiant began its service at Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport in February 2014 with nonstop flights to Sanford. The carrier has since added nonstop flights to two additional Florida vacation destinations as well as seasonal summer service to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This announcement will more than double Allegiant’s footprint at CVG, increasing from seven weekly flights to 18, serving six destinations. Cincinnati is the fastest-growing origination city in Allegiant’s 15-year history, and the carrier attributes the expansion to the overwhelming demand for low-cost, nonstop flights to leisure destinations.
The new flights to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood will operate four times weekly between Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). The new flights to Mesa will operate twice weekly between Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (AZA).
Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) N876GA (msn 53469) sets down at the Las Vegas base.
Aero Air (Hillsboro, OR) as we previously reported, acquired the Butler Aircraft (Redmond, OR) air tanker operation, including its three aging Douglas DC-7s, located at the Madras Airport, according to the Madras Pioneer. This air tanker operation is now known as Erickson Aero Tanker. Seven former SAS McDonnell Douglas DC-9-87s (MD-87s) are being acquired and at least four will be converted to air tankers. This is a new use for the versatile DC-9.
The new name comes from co-owner Jack Erickson, who was the founder and former owner of Erickson Air-Crane.
The new company has been awarded the next generation air tanker contract by the U.S. Forest Service. Erickson Aero Tanker has now received a FAA Supplemental Type Certificate for the DC-9-87 and in May placed the first aircraft into its fire fighting contracts which is a new role for this former airliner.
Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. The pictured DC-9-87 (MD-87) N293EA (msn 53209) was originally delivered to Iberia as EC-635 (later EC-FFA) on June 20, 1991. It would also serve with SAS as SE-DMN.
Video: Air Tanker 101, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-87 (MD-87), is seen dropping retardant on the Shirley Fire near Lake Isabella, California on June 15, 2014. The video was filmed by Tim Walton of Photo One Productions.
Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) on June 6 started seasonal nonstop jet service between Great Falls, Montana and Los Angeles. Allegiant now operates Great Falls’ only nonstop service to Los Angeles in addition to Las Vegas and Mesa (near Phoenix). The new flights will operate twice-weekly through September 8, 2014.
The company on June 6 also inaugurated new nonstop, seasonal jet service between Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Los Angeles via Los Angeles International Airport.
As is customary on new Allegiant routes, the new flights will initially operate twice weekly, beginning through September 8, 2014, flying nonstop from The Eastern Iowa Airport (CID) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and becoming the only nonstop service from Cedar Rapids to any destination in California.
Copyright Photo: Jacques Guillem Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) N416NV (msn 49555) holds for runway clearance for its departure from the Las Vegas base.
Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) yesterday (June 5) celebrated the start of nonstop seasonal jet service between Kalispell, Montana and Los Angeles. Kalispell is the gateway airport for Glacier National Park.
Los Angeles becomes Allegiant’s third destination from Kalispell, joining current flights to Oakland and Las Vegas. The new flights will operate twice weekly between Glacier Park International Airport (FCA) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) beginning today through September 7, 2014.
In addition, Allegiant yesterday (June 5) also launched seasonal nonstop jet service between McAllen, Texas and Los Angeles. McAllen serves the southern Rio Grande Valley and South Padre Island.
Allegiant offers McAllen’s only nonstop services to Las Vegas, Southern California and Florida. The new flights will operate twice weekly between McAllen-Miller International Airport (MFE) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) through September 7.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 N880GA (msn 49625) approaches the runway at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) today (May 29) began new nonstop, seasonal jet service between Lexington, Kentucky and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The new flights operate twice weekly beginning today through August 10, 2014, flying nonstop from Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport (LEX) to Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR) and becoming the only nonstop service from Lexington to any destination in South Carolina.
Allegiant first began service at Blue Grass Airport in November 2008 with nonstop service to Sanford and today serves five vacation destinations from the airport including Sanford, Punta Gorda, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, St. Petersburg/Clearwater and Myrtle Beach. Lexington becomes one of eight Allegiant cities with nonstop service to Myrtle Beach, including four new cities in 2014.
In addition, Allegiant today also began new nonstop, seasonal jet service from Columbus, Ohio to Myrtle Beach. The new flights will operate three times a week until September 7, 2014, flying nonstop from Rickenbacker Charter Terminal (LCK) to Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR). Myrtle Beach becomes the fourth destination available to Allegiant travelers flying out of Rickenbacker.
Allegiant first began service at Rickenbacker Charter Terminal in October 2012 with nonstop service to Sanford. In the last year and a half, Allegiant has added nonstop service to both St. Petersburg/Clearwater and Punta Gorda and has carried more than 15,000 passengers between Columbus and the company’s sunny destinations. Columbus becomes one of eight Allegiant cities with nonstop service to Myrtle Beach this summer.
Finally, the company operated its first nonstop flight between Syracuse and Myrtle Beach. The new nonstop flights will operate twice weekly between Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR) and Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR). Myrtle Beach becomes the second destination offered to local Allegiant travelers after less than a year in the Syracuse market.
Allegiant first began service at Syracuse Hancock International Airport in November 2013 with nonstop service to St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport.
Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) N874GA (msn 49643) approaches the runway at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS).
Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) on May 15 started three new routes and restarted another:
Allegiant restarted nonstop jet service between Colorado Springs and Mesa via the Phoenix/Mesa Gateway Airport. The service will operate twice weekly and becoming the only nonstop service from Colorado Springs to any destination in Arizona. Allegiant first began service at Colorado Springs Airport in February 2002 with nonstop service to Las Vegas and previously offered service to Mesa from 2010 to 2012. Mesa joins Las Vegas as Allegiant’s second nonstop destination from Colorado Springs.
Additionally at Mesa, Allegiant launched the first nonstop flights between Stockton and Mesa via Phoenix/Mesa Gateway Airport. The new nonstop flights will operate twice weekly. Mesa becomes the third destination offered to Allegiant travelers flying out of Stockton. Allegiant first began service at Stockton Metropolitan Airport in June 2006 with nonstop service to Las Vegas. Since then, Allegiant has added nonstop seasonal flights to Honolulu.
In the East, Allegiant also started nonstop, year-round jet service from Cincinnati to St. Petersburg/Clearwater. Allegiant originally announced the route as seasonal nonstop service on March 4, 2014, and after seeing overwhelming demand for the flights, decided to offer the flights year round. The twice weekly service to the Tampa Bay area is the carrier’s third route from the CVG Airport. Allegiant currently flies to Sanford (near Orlando) and Punta Gorda. Finally on May 15,
Allegiant started new nonstop, low-cost air service from Asheville to Palm Beach, a new Allegiant destination. The new nonstop flights will operate twice weekly between Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) and Palm Beach International Airport (PBI). Palm Beach becomes the fifth destination offered to Allegiant travelers flying out of Asheville. Allegiant currently flies to St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Sanford (Orlando), Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood and Punta Gorda. Allegiant first began service at Asheville Regional Airport in November 2011 with nonstop service to Sanford. Since the start of operations in Asheville, Allegiant has taken more than 60,000 passengers on vacation.
Copyright Photo: Steve Bailey/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82 (MD-82) N406NV (msn 49900) taxies past the camera at Boeing Field-King County Airport (BFI) in Seattle in the old 2003 livery.
Lufthansa Cargo (formerly German Cargo) (Frankfurt) on its website has introduced a new tracking service using FlightRadar 24 that shows you in real time where each of their aircraft and flights are located.
Copyright Photo: Bernhard Ross/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas MD-11F D-ALCR (msn 48581) is pictured at the Frankfurt cargo hub.
Centurion Cargo (Miami) and Sky Lease Cargo (Miami) (both owned by Alfonso Conrado Rey) will retire its nine McDonnell Douglas MD-11F freighters over the next two to three years according to a report by Cargo Facts. The two carriers are adding larger Boeing 747-400F freighters.
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Centurion Cargo’s McDonnell Douglas MD-11F N985AR (msn 48430) taxies at a snowy Amsterdam, its European terminus.
Centurion Cargo Route Map:
Allegiant Travel Company (Allegiant Air) (Las Vegas) reported net income of $34.2 million for the first quarter, up 7.2 percent from the same quarter a year ago. The travel company issued the following financial results for the first quarter 2014, as well as comparisons to prior year equivalents:
“We are very proud to report our 45th consecutive profitable quarter,” stated Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Allegiant Travel Company. “We are pleased to produce another profitable quarter despite significant operational challenges and unusually high one-time costs that impacted our overall financial performance. This was a very difficult operational quarter as we navigated through significant flight crew availability issues stemming from external factors that occurred last year. I am happy to report that our Team Members overcame this adversity and pulled together another solidly profitable quarter.”
Notable company highlights:
Integrated A320 aircraft into scheduled operations. Ended the quarter operating three A319 and seven A320 aircraft
A319 and A320 fleet accounted for 17.9 percent of total ASM production during the quarter
Integrated two MD-80 aircraft configured with 166 seats to the fleet in March. Ended the quarter operating 53 166 seat MD-80 aircraft
Completed the reconfiguration of the 757 fleet from 223 seats to 215 seats and added six Giant Seats per aircraft
Announced a seasonal base in Myrtle Beach, SC, which will support two aircraft beginning in late May
Announced 12 new routes to begin operation in the second quarter
Returned $114 million to shareholders through share repurchases and a special dividend paid in January
In April, prepaid $121.3 million term loan facility using unrestricted cash and proceeds from a new $45.3 million loan through Wells Fargo Bank, collateralized by 53 MD-80 aircraft
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) N420NV (msn 49424) brings another group of vacationers to the Las Vegas base.
Due to demand, Allegiant changes the new Cincinnati-St. Petersburg/Clearwater route to year-round service
Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) has expanded scheduled service between Cincinnati and St. Petersburg/Clearwater from seasonal summer service to year-round.
Nonstop flights from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) to St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) will begin on May 15, 2014.
Allegiant first took flight from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport on February 12, 2014, with service to Sanford (near Orlando), and shortly thereafter, celebrated the start of service to Punta Gorda on February 14, 2014.
Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) N868GA (msn 49554) departs from Las Vegas.
World Airways‘ (Atlanta) CEO John Graber informed staff today (March 27) the company would cease operations immediately. In addition, North American Airlines (New York) will see a reduction in flying. World operated its last flight yesterday (March 26). The company was not able to obtain further funding to keep it flying.
World Airways issued this statement:
“Today (March 27) World Airways announced that the company operated its last flight on Wednesday, March 26. World Airways was founded in 1948 and operated cargo and passenger charter flights using Boeing 747-400 and McDonnell Douglas MD-11 aircraft. The U.S. Military was their primary customer.
Global Aviation Holdings and many of its subsidiaries, including World Airways, began restructuring on November 12, 2013. World Airways has been in the marketplace for some months seeking funding to help it restructure in chapter 11 bankruptcy, and has been unable to secure that financing. Tuesday, World Airways’ first lien holder declared World in default on its loan and stopped providing the airline funding. World Airways has started the process of winding down its operations. Today the company laid-off 325 employees, including 109 pilots and 146 flight attendants.
Eric Bergesen, World Airways’ Chief Operating Officer, said, “The battle to save World has been difficult. A lot of people have worked hard to try to save our airline. Despite this regrettable outcome, I sincerely thank each of our employees for their dedication and continued support as we attempted to build a future for the company.”
North American Airlines will continue operations with plans to emerge from bankruptcy in the near future. North American was founded in 1989 and operates passenger charter flights using Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft.”
World Airways has been a long time operator going back to May 1948.
Previously on November 12, 2013, parent Global Aviation Holdings and its subsidiaries, including its two operating airlines World Airways and North American Airlines, filed voluntary petitions again for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for Delaware. During the reorganization, Global Aviation Holdings announced it intended to continue to operate.
Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. It has been stormy skies for World Airways lately. McDonnell Douglas MD-11F N382WA (msn 48411) arrives at Baltimore/Washington (BWI).
Video: The many exploits of World Airways through the years:
Insel Air Aruba (Aruba) will introduce a new route from Aruba to Miami on April 11 with six flights a week.
This will be followed by Aruba-Valencia service starting two days later on April 13.
Finally on June 18 the airline will launch a twice-weekly route to Georgetown, Guyana on June 18.
Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82 (MD-82) PJ-MDD (msn 49972) with “Aruba” titles taxies at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT).
American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) today (March 5) is ending scheduled McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82/83 (MD-82/83) “Super 80″ service at New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA) according to Airline Route. The aging type was being deployed on the Chicago (O’Hare)-LGA route.
Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. The older AA aircraft are now being repainted in the new livery as they will be replaced. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82 (MD-82) N3507A (msn 49801) departs from runway 27R at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) today announced new, nonstop jet service on 12 routes, including a new destination in the Allegiant network – Palm Beach, Florida.
New routes announced include:
Seasonal Nonstop Service to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) from:
- Cedar Rapids, Iowa – begins June 6, 2014 with fares as low as $92*
- Great Falls, Montana – begins June 6, 2014 with fares as low as $88*
- Kalispell, Montana – begins June 5, 2014 with fares as low as $89*
- McAllen, Texas – begins June 5, 2014 with fares as low as $99*
Seasonal Nonstop Service to Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR) from:
- Cincinnati, Ohio – begins May 30, 2014 with fares as low as $59*
- Columbus, Ohio – begins May 29, 2014 with fares as low as $54*
- Lexington, Kentucky – begins May 29, 2014 with fares as low as $54*
- Syracuse, New York – begins May 29, 2014 with fares as low as $64*
Seasonal Nonstop Service to St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) from:
- Cincinnati, Ohio – begins May 15, 2014 with fares as low as $59*
Year-Round Nonstop Service to Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) from:
- Asheville, North Carolina – begins May 5, 2014 with fares as low as $64*
Year-Round Nonstop Service to Phoenix-Mesa International Airport (AZA) from:
- Colorado Springs, Colorado – begins May 15, 2014 with fares as low as $49*
- Stockton, California – begins May 15, 2014 with fares as low as $58*
Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) N420NV (msn 49424) prepares to land in Las Vegas.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines (Dhaka) as planned, operated the last revenue passenger flight of a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 yesterday (February 24). The last flight was a charter flight (flight 008) from Birmingham with the pictured DC-10-30 S2-ACR (msn 48317) with 200 passengers eager to fly the last flight. The DC-10 type has flown passengers for nearly 43 years and continues today as a freighter with several cargo airlines.
Read the full report from the BBC: CLICK HERE
Top Copyright Photo: Nik French/AirlinersGallery.com. S2-ACR departs from Birmingham on the the next-to-last charter flight.
Bottom Copyright Photos: Allan Huse. A picture of the flight crew and the cockpit for the last flight from Birmingham. The seats in the middle were not sold. Only the window and exterior aisle seats were sold on the last flight.
Video: Amateur video of one of the enthusiast charter flights from Birmingham:
Biman Bangladesh Airlines (Dhaka) today (February 20) operated the last McDonnell Douglas DC-10 passenger flight in the world with DC-10-30 S2-ACR (man 48317). The final flight today flew from Dhaka to Birmingham, England via a refueling stop in Kuwait City. Current plans are reportedly to scrap the wide body airliner for its parts and residual metal value.
Before the final disposition of S2-ACR, Biman will operate scenic flights from Birmingham this weekend. The airline issued this statement about the scenic flights:
Due to an overwhelming response from aviation enthusiasts from around the world, we are going to operate scenic flights on the weekend of February 22, 23 and 24 from Birmingham Airport. The first flights to go on sale will operate on the Monday, February 24 at 0900, 1200 and 1500 with a block time of an estimated one-hour. If as expected, they sell out quickly we open up the Sunday, February 23 flights up for the same times of 0900, 1200 and 1500. As these sell out then we will open up the Saturday flights also at the same times – 0900, 1200 and 1500. As with the last commercial flight from Dhaka, we are keeping the prices for these scenic flights at reasonable levels with prices of ₤150 for a window seat and ₤100 for an aisle seat. Please note that for the last commercial flight ever on Monday February 24 @ 1500, prices have been set slightly higher at ₤200/₤150. In order to keep the flights as “special” as possible we are only selling 152 of the 319 seats on the aircraft – therefore all are window or aisle seats.
Read the full story from the BBC: CLICK HERE
The retirement came as a result of a new Boeing 777-300 ER delivery. Biman issued this statement on the new arrival of 777-3E9 S2-AHM (msn 40120):
Biman Bangladesh Airline’s newest aircraft, the Boeing 777-300 ER is the world’s largest twinjet aircraft, this long-range wide-body plane is popularly known as the “Triple Seven”. Our newest 777-300 ER is the third extended range 777 to join our modern fleet.
The latest 777-300 ER is named “Akashprodip” and replaces the retired DC-10 for long-range flights to serve destinations such as Frankfurt, Rome, London, and Birmingham.
Biman’s Managing Director and CEO Kevin Steele personally took delivery of latest 777-300 ER from Boeing’s Seattle headquarters on February 6. The new plane, painted in Biman’s bi-colored livery, traveled on a nonstop flight from Seattle to Dhaka.
The receiving ceremony of the newest 777-300 ER was held February 11, 2014 at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. At the ceremony she said, “Biman acts as the representative of Bangladesh abroad and it flies across the world as the symbol of our independence.”
Biman will soon take delivery of its fourth Boeing 777-300 ER, named “Rangaprobhat” on March 21. The delivery is part of a ten aircraft contract with Boeing. Future plans are to secure two Boeing 737-800s and four Boeing 787-8s by 2019.
Top Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by Biman). McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 S2-ACR 9msn 48317) arrives at London (Heathrow) on a previous flight.
Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) on June 6 will resume two routes from Los Angeles. The ultra low fare carrier will resume twice weekly service to both Billings, Montana and Pasco (Tri-Cities), Washington per Airline Route. Both routes were dropped in August 2012.
Allegiant today also began new nonstop jet service between Burlington, Vermont and Sanford International Airport (near Orlando) in Florida.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 N422NV (msn 49381) prepares to land at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Orange Air (flyorangeair.com) (Sanford, Florida) is a new paper airline that is in the process of obtaining its Air Operators Certificate (AOC). The airline on its website is advertising as “Coming Soon” although no announcement has been made. The would be airline has reportedly taken delivery of the former Spirit Airlines (N804NK) and Belle Air (ZA-ARD) McDonnell Doug;as DC-9-82 (MD-82) as N918AV (msn 49104). N918AV was ferried from Sanford to Opa-locka on January 30 with an Orange Air tail logo according to Skyliner.
Allegiant Air‘s (Las Vegas) business plan is to enter a small market and initially fly twice-weekly to a vacation destination. If it fills up the airplanes, it adds additional days of the week. If the new speculative route does not pan out, the airline quickly drops the airport and the route.
This is the case for both Charlottesville, Virginia and Manhattan, Kansas, both university towns. Allegiant began flying to Charlottesville in November to Sanford, Florida (near Orlando). This route did not work and the ultra low-fare airline is dropping the route on February 23, 2014 according the USA Today and pnj.com.
Manhattan received Allegiant service on November 7, 2013 to Mesa, Arizona (near Phoenix). It too will be dropped on February 23.
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
In other news, Allegiant Air today announced a month-long campaign to spotlight local travelers, commemorating the 15th anniversary of the carrier’s first scheduled service. According to the carrier, “The campaign will celebrate Allegiant’s success and commitment to making leisure travel possible with real stories from loyal customers who have changed the way they travel because of the carrier’s unique brand of low-cost, nonstop service.”
Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) N424NV (msn 49421) approaches the runway at the Las Vegas base.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines to now retire the last DC-10 on February 20, will host enthusiast flights from Birmingham
Biman Bangladesh Airlines (Dhaka) has delayed the retirement of its last McDonnell Douglas DC-10. Here is the updated message by the airline:
On, or about February 14, 2014 this three-engine wide-body will be withdrawn from scheduled service and prepped by engineering for its final flights. The last commercial flight will be on Thursday, February 20 when flight BG 1015 takes to the skies at 0830 from Dhaka enroute to Birmingham in the United Kingdom. Operating via Kuwait this flight will arrive in Birmingham the same day at 1620. Priced at only ₤ 600 (plus taxes) for a window seat or ₤ 500 plus taxes, for all the other seats, we have kept the pricing at minimal levels to ensure the flight is accessible to as many as possible.
But this is not its final operation. Due to an overwhelming response from aviation enthusiasts from around the world, we are going to operate scenic flights on the weekend of February 22, 23 and 24 from Birmingham airport. The first flights to go on sale will operate on the Monday, February 24 at 0900, 1200 and 1500 with a block time of an estimated one-hour. If as expected, they sell out quickly we will open up the Sunday, February 23 flights up for the same times of 0900, 1200 and 1500. As these sell out then we will open up the Saturday flights also at the same times – 0900, 1200 and 1500. As with the last commercial flight from Dhaka, we are keeping the prices for these scenic flights at reasonable levels with prices of ₤150 for a window seat and ₤100 for an aisle seat. Please note that for the last commercial flight ever on Monday February 24 @ 1500, prices have been set slightly higher at ₤200/₤150. In order to keep the flights as “special” as possible we are only selling 152 of the 319 seats on the aircraft – therefore all are window or aisle seats.
We want to make sure these flights only sold to aviation enthusiasts and not to third parties or wholesalers, so you must book on-line at www.biman-airlines.com. For the last commercial flight ever, on February 24 @ 1500, we have teamed up with Ian Allan travel in the UK at www.ianallantravel.com/aviationtours/ who will also sell tickets.
Biman Bangladesh is the last passenger operator of the DC-10.
Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 S2-ACQ (msn 47817) arrives at London’s Heathrow Airport.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) yesterday (January 6) as planned and previously announced, operated its last DC-9 flight. The pictured McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51 N773NC (msn 47775) (above) and crew had the honor of operating the very last DC-9 revenue flight as flight DL 2014 between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Atlanta.
With the cold temperatures in both MSP and ATL there was not the traditional water cannon salute.
N773NC was originally delivered to North Central Airlines on October 26, 1978. With the merger with Southern Airways it became Republic Airlines on July 1, 1979. With the Republic merger into Northwest Airlines it took on the red tail on October 1, 1986. Finally it joined the Delta fleet on October 29, 2008 with the Delta-Northwest merger.
Delta operated 13 DC-9-51s in January up to the last flight operated by N773NC. Five DC-9-51s were retired in 2013, six in 2012 and 10 in 2011 according to Airliners.net. One DC-9-51 will be reserved for a museum. Delta is reportedly holding on to two DC-9-51s as spare aircraft for a few days while the newer Boeing 717s replace the DC-9-51s. The other DC-9-51 will end up in the desert where they will be broken up for the parts and the recyclable metal.
Read the full story from the Associated Press: CLICK HERE
Read the full story from Time: CLICK HERE
In other news, Delta is expanding the number of routes served by the new Boeing 717. The airline is introducing the 717 from Atlanta to Augusta (April 1), Chicago (Midway) (April 1), Dallas (Love Field) (October 13), Fayetteville (April 1) and Houston (Bush Intercontinental) (April 1) per Airline Route.
Top Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51 N773NC (msn 47775) faithfully served four airlines right up to the last flight. N773NC arrives at MSP.
Bottom Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. The Boeing 717 started operating to Baltimore/Washington (BWI) yesterday (January 6) with the DC-9-51 retirements. Delta painted the first ex-AirTran Airways Boeing 717 in September 2013, namely the pictured N935AT, which is pictured arriving at BWI. Delta is leasing the entire AirTran fleet of 88 Boeing 717s from Southwest Airlines (Dallas). The new type was introduced on September 19, 2013 between the Atlanta hub and Newark. The DL 717s feature 12 seats in First Class, 15 seats in Economy Comfort and 83 seats in Economy. N935AT was originally delivered to TWA as N402TW on April 11, 2000.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines (Dhaka) is currently now planning to operate the last passenger McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 revenue flight on January 30 on a regular flight between Kuwait City and Dhaka as a stand-by aircraft. This retirement is always subject to change due to operational requirements. Biman currently has two DC-10-30s which are also the last passenger DC-10s operating in the world. The airline is offering a ferry flight to Birmingham and possible scenic flights in the UK in which it will sell seats.
Previously CEO Kevin Steele issued this statement on November 10, 2013:
There has been a lot of interest lately from press, aviation enthusiasts and the general public, on what will be happening with Biman’s last DC-10s, which will be phased out in the coming months with the arrival of new aircraft. These are the last flying passenger DC-10-30 aircraft in the whole world. So I thought I would take this opportunity to brief you with the latest news, which will be updated when further firm news becomes available.
Biman currently has 2 DC-10-30s flying. As their fuel consumption is higher than other aircraft in our fleet, they are used sparingly. One of those DC-10s will come to the end of its economic life on November 10, 2013 and will be scrapped locally. The last DC-10 will continue normal flying until December 7, 2013, the start of the revised schedule for the fog period here in Dhaka. Thereafter, it will only be used as a standby aircraft, in case another aircraft in our fleet become unserviceable for any reason. We will not be scheduling it on any route though.
This last DC-10 will continue as a standby aircraft until sometime in February 2014. The exact date is not known yet, as it is being coordinated with the arrival of our brand new Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft from Boeing. We expect to know the exact date in early January 2014.
The last DC-10 is being donated to a museum in the USA, a fitting end for an aircraft that has served Biman loyally and well over many years. Accordingly, we will then offer for sale, as a last opportunity to travel on a passenger DC-10, anywhere in the world:
a. Seats on a last flight Dhaka to Birmingham (UK). Note this will need a technical stop
b. 2 (or more if demand requires it) one hour ‘scenic tours’ to/from Birmingham
c. We are unsure if the US authorities will give us traffic rights on the Birmingham to USA
sector. If they do, this will also be offered for sale.
d. We are also discussing with the UK Post Office, about the carriage of ‘Last day Covers’
on the last sector Birmingham-USA, for sale at a later date.
Tickets will only be sold via our website, hopefully from early January, so do not buy tickets elsewhere, we want these tickets to go to genuine aviation enthusiasts. If there is a demand for more ‘scenic tour’ flights at Birmingham, we can consider these too.
We hope you will join with us in celebrating the farewell of a loyal, beautiful aircraft, but also to recognize that the time has now come for Biman to equip itself with the very latest in new aircraft and technology.
Copyright Photo: Michael Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 S2-ACQ (msn 47817) prepares to land in Singapore.
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) has now officially announced on what we previously reported. The airline today issued this statement on the last Douglas DC-9 flight in the history of the airline.
Delta Air Lines on January 6, 2014 will retire its remaining Douglas DC-9 aircraft following flight DL 2014 scheduled to depart Minneapolis/St. Paul for Atlanta at 4:20 p.m. (CST) (1620), the last scheduled commercial flight of the DC-9 by a major U.S. airline.
“The DC-9 has been a workhorse in our domestic fleet while providing a reliable customer experience,” said Nat Pieper, Delta’s vice president – Fleet Strategy. “The aircraft’s retirement paves the way for newer, more efficient aircraft.”
Since 2008, Delta has removed or retired more than 350 aircraft from its fleet including 50-seat Bombardier CRJ200s; SAAB 340Bs and McDonnell Douglas DC-9s; while adding economically efficient, proven-technology aircraft such as the Boeing 777-200 LR; two-class, 65 and 76-seat regional jets and variants of the 737 and 717, largely on a capacity-neutral basis.
The DC-9 retirement comes just months after Delta began taking delivery of its orders of 88 Boeing 717-200 aircraft and 100 Boeing 737-900 ER aircraft, which began entering service in October and November, respectively. Each aircraft features a First Class cabin and slim-line seats throughout Delta’s Economy Comfort and Economy cabin along with Wi-Fi connectivity and in-seat power ports. Additionally, the Boeing 737-900 ER offers on-demand entertainment throughout the cabin. Delta also recently announced its order for 40 Airbus aircraft including 30 narrowbody A321s, which will begin to be delivered in 2016.
Delta was the launch customer for the original 65-seat version of the DC-9-14 in 1965 as the airline replaced propeller aircraft on high-frequency, short-haul domestic routes. The twin-engine plane was removed from the Delta fleet in 1993, but larger variants reentered service following the merger with Northwest Airlines; those aircraft joined Northwest after it acquired Republic Airlines in 1986. Delta has flown a total of 305 DC-9s since 1965.
To acknowledge the DC-9’s retirement, the last flight has been tagged DL 2014 noting the final year of service, while the preceding flight operating from Detroit to Minneapolis/St. Paul will be flight DL 1965, the aircraft’s initial year of service.
The last DC-9 to be operated by Delta is the pictured DC-9-51 (top). It is unclear at this time which aircraft will be flown on the last historic flight.
Well done Delta for recognizing and honoring your rich history.
Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51 N787NC (msn 48149) arrives at the MSP hub.
Video: Inside the cockpit of DC-9-51 N774NC:
Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) although not yet officially announced, but published in the schedules, is currently planning to operate the last McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51 on January 6, 2014. An appropriately named flight DL 1965 will operate from Detroit to Minneapolis/St. Paul departing DTW at 3:39 pm (1539) and arriving at MSP at 4:43 (1643) followed by flight DL 2014 which will operate from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Atlanta as the last scheduled flight, departing MSP at 7:20 pm (1920) and arriving at ATL at 8:47 pm (2047) local time. An unspecified DC-9-51 will operate the last flights. Photos of the last flights are welcome.
Delta has been gradually dwindling down the former Northwest Airlines (and North Central Airlines) DC-9-51 fleet with 10 retirements in 2011, six in 2012 and four so far in 2013. According to Airliners.net, 14 were still in service as of November 19, 2013. One of these 14 aircraft will operate the last revenue flight on January 6, 2014. The aircraft will be ferried to the desert and eventually broken up for scrap metal.
This is actually the second Delta retirement of the DC-9. Delta previously retired its last original DC-9-32 on January 1, 1993. With the merger of Northwest Airlines on October 29, 2008, the DC-9 type was re-introduced back in the Delta fleet under the Delta name.
Delta Air Lines took delivery of its first 65-seat Douglas DC-9-14 (N3304L) (see N3314L below) on September 18, 1965. The new type entered revenue service on November 29, 1965 as flight DL 791 on the Atlanta-Memphis-Kansas City route.
177 total DC-9s were operated. Delta in its history operated the following DC-9 types:
1 DC-9-15 (leased from Jet International)
Information from the Delta Museum:
Top Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51 N773NC (msn 47775) completes its final approach into Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Bottom Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Douglas DC-9-14 N3314L sits at the old Atlanta maintenance base on January 27, 1970. The original delivery color scheme of the DC-9-14s included this forward-pointing widget which was later changed to the standard upright widget.
Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) will add new seasonal, nonstop jet service between Portsmouth and Punta Gorda Airport beginning on February 12, 2014. The new flights will operate twice weekly between Portsmouth International Airport at Pease (PSM) and Punta Gorda Airport (PGD).
Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) N422NV (msn 49381) lands in Las Vegas.
SAS operates its last McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82 (MD-82) flight, ending a long relationship with Douglas airplanes
Scandinavian Airlines-SAS (Stockholm) operated and quietly retired their last McDonnell Douglas DC-9. The last MD-80 was operated on October 26, 2013 on flight SK403 from Stockholm-Arlanda to Copenhagen. This is the first time SAS will be without a Douglas aircraft in its fleet. SAS has operated every Douglas and McDonnell Douglas type since the DC-3 (except the DC-5 and the MD-11).
The last revenue flight (flight SK 403) was operated by McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82 (MD-82) SE-DIR “Nora Viking” (msn 53004) between Stockholm (Arlanda) and Copenhagen on October 25. A special employee-only farewell flight was flown by DC-9-82 (MD-82) LN-RMM (msn 53005) on October 26 over Denmark.
DC-9-82s SE-DIR, OY-KHE (msn 49604) and LN-RMM all operated on the last day of revenue operations (October 25).
One of the aircraft will be donated to the SAS Museum outside of Oslo.
According to a Danish newspaper, the SAS MD-80s operated 3,134,900 flights with the 66 aircraft in the fleet. 2,977,195,000 km were flown since the type was introduced in October 1985.
All of the above information is from Airliners.net.
In other news, SAS recently finalized its Airbus long-haul order. On June 25, 2013, SAS and Airbus signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the order of 12 new long haul aircraft.
This month, SAS and Airbus signed the final long haul aircraft order agreement comprising 4 A330-300 Enhanced and 8 A350-900 plus 6 options for A350-900. The Airbus A330 will be delivered 2015/16 and the Airbus A350 will be delivered from 2018.
Copyright Photo: Moritz Riemer/AirlinersGallery.com. DC-9-82 (MD-82) OY-KHE (msn 49604) in the Star Alliance livery arrives at Copenhagen.
UPS (United Parcel Service) (UPS Airlines) (Atlanta) has announced diluted earnings per share of $1.16 for the third quarter of 2013, a 9.4% improvement over adjusted results for the same period last year. Total revenue was $13.5 billion, up 3.4% driven primarily by U.S. e-commerce shipments and strong European export growth.
For the three months ended Sept. 30, 2013, UPS delivered more than one billion packages worldwide, an increase of 4.6% over the prior-year period.
Daily package volume growth was led by International export and U.S. Domestic Ground, up 6.7% and 3.0%, respectively. Customers around the globe continue to seek lower cost solutions as demonstrated by the 11% jump in International deferred export products per day.
Last year, on a reported basis, third quarter diluted earnings per share was $0.48 as a result of an after-tax, non-cash charge of $559 million to restructure pension liabilities for certain employees.
“UPS is continuing to build global capabilities that position the company to meet the evolving supply chain needs of customers,” said Scott Davis, UPS chairman and CEO. “We are making investments in emerging markets, healthcare distribution and our worldwide retail delivery models, ensuring that UPS delivers both the solutions customers require and the returns our shareowners expect.”
For the nine months ended Sept. 30, UPS generated $3.6 billion in free cash flow after capital expenditures of $1.6 billion. The company paid dividends of $1.7 billion, an increase of nearly 9% per share over the prior year, and repurchased 33 million shares for $2.9 billion.
U.S. Domestic Package
U.S. Domestic third quarter operating profit was $1.2 billion, up nearly 16%, and operating margin expanded 140 basis points over the prior year adjusted result, to 14.4%. Revenue increased 5.0% to $8.3 billion. Volume growth, cost reductions due to efficiency gains and safety improvements, as well as the benefit of one additional operating day, contributed to the improvement.
On a reported basis, third quarter 2012 U.S. Domestic operating profit was $129 million and operating margin was 1.6% as a result of the pension restructuring charge.
Total U.S. Domestic revenue per piece was up 1.0%, as higher base rates were mostly offset by lower fuel surcharges, decreased average package weight and changes in both product and customer mix.
Daily package volume was 2.3% higher than the same period last year, driven by e-commerce shipments with growth in both B2C and B2B. Next Day Air volume declined 3.3% due to a contraction in letter shipments.
International revenue increased 2.5% to $3.0 billion on daily package volume improvement of 6.5%. Daily export shipments were 6.7% higher, with European exports up nearly 10%, while growth out of Asia was flat. Non-U.S. Domestic volume was up 6.3%, driven by strong growth across Europe and Canada.
Total operating profit was $417 million, a decline of $32 million on a year-over-year basis, due to a $75 million negative impact from currency and fuel. Operating margin of 13.8%, remains industry leading.
Currency-neutral export revenue per piece declined 5.4%, primarily driven by growth in lower-yielding deferred products. Lower fuel surcharges and changes in trade lane mix also pressured yields.
UPS has expanded its presence and service portfolio in Mexico, helping businesses bring manufacturing closer to U.S. consumers. Recently announced offerings include the industry’s first guaranteed ground service from the U.S., Preferred LCL Ocean service from Asia and expanded retail presence in Northern Mexico.
Supply Chain & Freight
Operating profit improved 7%, to $201 million and operating margin expanded 60 basis points, to 8.9%. Revenue in the segment was down slightly from the prior year period to $2.25 billion, as growth in UPS Freight was offset by declines in the Forwarding business.
The Distribution business improved operating profit and margin despite continued investment in Healthcare infrastructure and technology. Revenue growth in Healthcare and Mail Services was offset by a decline in the High Tech sector.
In Forwarding, both operating profit and margin expanded. Growth in Ocean forwarding and Brokerage, as well as cost management activities, drove the improvement.
UPS Freight LTL revenue climbed 5.5% as a result of improved tonnage and rate increases. Operating margin for the business unit declined slightly, due to higher compensation and benefit expense.
Copyright Photo: Ivan K. Nishimura/AirlinersGallery.com. UPS Airlines’ McDonnell Douglas MD-11 (F) N286UP (msn 48453) taxies at Honolulu.
Allegiant Travel Company (Allegiant Air) (Las Vegas) reported the following financial results for the third quarter 2013, as well as comparisons to prior year equivalents:
|Unaudited||3 months endedSept 30,|
|Total operating revenue (m)||$||228.9||$||216.9||5.5||%|
|Operating income (millions)||$||29.2||$||28.7||1.7||%|
|Net income (millions)||$||17.1||$||16.9||1.0||%|
|Diluted earnings per share||$||0.91||$||0.87||4.6||%|
“We are very proud to report our 43rd consecutive profitable quarter,” stated Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Allegiant Travel Company. “We are pleased to produce another profitable quarter and be able to return cash to shareholders through our share repurchase program. In addition, I am proud to announce that Andrew Levy has been added to our Board of Directors and will also assume the role of Chief Operating Officer. His proven leadership abilities and extensive operational and financial expertise, as well as a deep understanding of the airline business, will be invaluable in his new role as COO.”
“Finally, we were significantly challenged operationally at the end of September many of our MD-80s were taken out of service due to an evacuation slide issue. Through the tireless efforts of our Team Members, we were able to minimize the disruption to our customers. I am very thankful to all of those individuals who worked extremely hard to put the operation back together in such a short amount of time.”
Notable Company Highlights
- Completed the acquisition of five Airbus A320 aircraft. The company now owns seven A320s
- Repurchased 491,000 shares for $47 million during the third quarter, average purchase price of $95.85 per share
- Announced service from nine existing cities to Punta Gorda (Southwest Florida) to begin in the fourth quarter
- Announced service to 12 new cities with service beginning in the fourth quarter and first quarter
- Announced 29 new routes which will begin operation in the fourth quarter
- Average aircraft in service was flat versus last quarter as we retired three MD-80 aircraft and temporarily grounded two MD-80 aircraft early in the quarter
- Increasing MD-80 operating fleet from 52 at the end of the year to 53 in the first quarter of 2014
Third Quarter 2013 Revenue Performance
- 15th consecutive quarter of year over year increases in total average fare, 4.8 percent higher than a year ago
- Florida TRASM grew by 9.6 percent despite 12.7 percent growth in ASMs
- Same store markets, those which were operated in both the third quarter 2013 and 2012, generated a 5.0 percent increase in TRASM
- Grew scheduled load factor to 90.8 percent despite a 4.2 percent increase in seats per departure
- The September slide interruption resulted in approximately $1 million in refunds given to customers
|Average fare – scheduled service||$86.94||$82.30||5.6||%|
|Average fare – ancillary air-related charges||$38.99||$37.05||5.2||%|
|Average fare – ancillary third party products||$5.06||$5.59||(9.5||)%|
|Average fare – total||$130.99||$124.94||4.8||%|
|Scheduled service passenger revenue per ASM (PRASM) (cents)||8.14||7.89||3.2||%|
|Total scheduled service revenue per ASM (TRASM) (cents)||12.26||11.98||2.3||%|
|Average passengers per departure||150||143||4.9||%|
|Average scheduled service stage length (miles)||932||910||2.4||%|
ASMs = available seat miles
PRASM = scheduled passenger revenue per scheduled available seat mile
TRASM = (scheduled passenger revenue + ancillary air revenue + ancillary third party revenue) per scheduled available seat mile
Third Quarter 2013 Cost Performance
- Fuel expense per ASM declined 3.9 percent primarily due to a 5.8 percent increase in ASMs per gallon versus last year, which more than offset a 1.9 percent increase in average cost per gallon
- Operating expense excluding fuel was negatively impacted by lower aircraft utilization and approximately $2 million in expense attributable to the evacuation slide interruption. The expense associated with the slide event is isolated to September and resulted in higher aircraft lease rentals expense as we contracted with other carriers for sub-service of aircraft to move some of our customers, higher station operations expense due to customer interrupted trip costs, and increased salary and benefits expense due to additional overtime
- Salary and benefits expense per passenger increased 15 percent versus last year primarily due to an increase in the number of full time equivalents to support our growth, higher stock-based compensation expense and the continuation of the higher pay band for pilots which began in November 2012. The current pay band will continue through April 2014 when it will be subject to adjustment based on a trailing 12 month profitability test. Based on our forecasted profitability, we currently expect the pilot pay band to remain unchanged
- Depreciation and amortization expense per passenger increased 8 percent primarily due to a change in estimated MD-80 engine residual values and useful life, and operating a larger contingent of 166 seat MD-80 aircraft
- Other expense per passenger increased 31 percent due to a higher write-down of engine values in our consignment program compared to the prior year, non capitalizable information technology development costs, crew training for our growing Airbus fleet and costs to support a seasonal operating base in Los Angeles
|Operating expense per passenger||$114.54||$108.92||5.2||%|
|Operating expense per passenger, excluding fuel||$63.37||$56.85||11.5||%|
|Operating expense per ASM (CASM) (cents)||10.58||10.29||2.8||%|
|Operating expense, excluding fuel per ASM (CASM ex fuel) (cents)||5.85||5.37||8.9||%|
|Average block hours per aircraft per day||5.1||5.2||(1.9||)%|
*Total system includes scheduled service, fixed-fee contract and non-revenue flying.
Fourth Quarter 2013 Cost Trends
- Salary and benefits expense is expected to increase due to additional staff required to support our growth
- Maintenance and repair expense is expected to be slightly higher than fourth quarter 2012. For the full year, maintenance expense per aircraft per month is expected to be $100 thousand to $105 thousand as previously guided
- Aircraft utilization is expected to decline 1.5%, which will pressure ex fuel unit costs when compared to fourth quarter 2012
- Depreciation and amortization expense is expected to increase as seven A320 aircraft are scheduled to enter service in the fourth quarter. For the full year, depreciation per aircraft per month is expected to be between $92 thousand and $95 thousand, as previously guided
Third Party Products Performance
- Rental car days increased 6.5 percent primarily due to a 18 percent increase in Florida passengers
- Hotel net revenue excluding the effect of an air discount was higher by 39 percent versus last year. The company has phased out offering an air discount which has historically subsidized hotel sales
|Supplemental Ancillary Revenue Information
|Gross ancillary revenue – third party products||$28.7||$28.3||1.4||%|
|Cost of goods sold||($19.6||)||($18.5||)||5.9||%|
|Ancillary revenue – third party products||$8.6||$9.0||(4.4||)%|
|As percent of gross||30.1||%||31.9||%||(1.8)pp|
|As percent of income before taxes||31.3||%||33.6||%||(2.3)pp|
|Ancillary revenue – third party products/scheduled passenger||$5.06||$5.59||(9.5||)%|
|Hotel room nights (thousands)||144.4||163.4||(11.6||)%|
|Rental car days (thousands)||195.3||183.3||6.5||%|
*Includes payment expenses and travel agency commissions.
Balance Sheet Highlights
- Repurchased 491,000 shares for $47 million and have over $43 million in repurchase authority remaining. Year to date, the company has repurchased 880,991 shares at an average price of $85.64 per share
- Issued $48.0 million in debt secured by four Airbus aircraft
- Pre-paid $10.5 million in debt secured by four 757 aircraft
- Spent $84.5 million in capital expenditures in the third quarter, the majority of which was driven by the purchase of five Airbus A320 aircraft
- Closed a $10 million debt financing in October, secured by our new headquarters building acquired earlier this year
|Total Allegiant Travel Company stockholders’ equity||$402.4||$400.5||0.5||%|
|Nine months ended September 30,|
*Unrestricted cash includes investments in marketable securities.
At this time, Allegiant Travel Company provides the following guidance to investors, subject to revision.
|Guidance, subject to revision|
|Revenue guidance||October 2013||4Q13|
|Estimated PRASM year-over-year change||5 to 7%||3 to 5%|
|Estimated TRASM year-over-year change||1 to 3%||0.5 to 2.5%|
|Fixed fee and other revenue guidance||4Q13|
|Fixed fee and other revenue (millions)||$3 to $5|
|Departure year-over-year growth||(4) to 0%||8 to 12%|
|ASM year-over-year growth||4 to 8%||10 to 14%||8 to 10%|
|Departure year-over-year growth||2 to 6%||8 to 12%|
|ASM year-over-year growth||8 to 12%||10 to 14%||13 to 15%|
|CASM ex fuel – year-over-year change||4.5 to 6.5%||4 to 5%|
|Capital expenditures (millions)||$170 to $180|
CASM ex fuel – cost per available seat mile excluding fuel expense
|Aircraft fleet plan by end of period|
|MD-80 (non 166*)||1||-|
*166 refers to MD-80s that have been converted to 166 seat aircraft, non 166 refers to those aircraft that will not be converted
Aircraft listed in table above include only in service aircraft
In other news, the company announced new, nonstop jet service from Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport to Orlando-Sanford International Airport starting on February 12, 2014 and Punta Gorda Airport beginning on February 14, 2014.
This announcement marks the 100th U.S. city served by Allegiant’s low-cost, nonstop service to popular vacation destinations, more than any other low-cost carrier in the U.S.
Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Allegiant Air’s McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82 (MD-82) N408NV (msn 53246) in the Blue Man Group special livery lands at the Las Vegas hub and base. Allegiant moved to Concourse A at LAS on October 15.
Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) yesterday (September 20) grounded upwards of 30 McDonnell Douglas MD-80s (DC-9-80s). The cancellation of flights was due to an inspection of the emergency chutes of its 52 MD-80s.
Allegiant issued this statement:
Allegiant announces it has discovered a compliance issue which will require immediate re-inspection of many slides in its MD-80 fleet. The Company has already begun the re-inspections and expects to complete the process by the end of September. MD-80 aircraft will be placed back in service as soon as possible after the slides pass re-inspection. In the meantime, Allegiant will take as many as 30 MD-80s out of service and delay, reschedule or cancel a number of flights over the next several days.
“We apologize for the disruption to our passengers and ask that they please remain patient as we work to correct the issue, reschedule affected flights and accommodate any passengers impacted,” said Andrew Levy, Allegiant Travel Company President. “Allegiant is committed, above all else, to the safety of our passengers and crew, and we are dedicated to working around-the-clock to ensure that all of our fleet meets the highest standards.”
At this time, it is unknown how long the disruption in flight schedule will last.
The company has secured sub-service on seven aircraft from other carriers to assist in operating its Sunday and Monday flight schedule and expects to have 22 MD-80 aircraft in service by Saturday. Allegiant expects delays and reschedules to continue, but is working around-the-clock to re-accommodate and update passengers.
During a thorough incident review earlier this week, Allegiant maintenance became aware of a discrepancy in its slide maintenance schedule. In 2007, the original manufacturer recommendation for slide maintenance schedule changed from once every three years to once a year for slides older than 15 years. Allegiant discovered that many of the slides had not been inspected within the last year and did not comply with this recommendation. This prompted Allegiant to proactively remove aircraft from service until all slides could be brought into compliance. To inspect and overhaul the slides, the slides must be removed and sent to a regulated inspection and maintenance facility.
Allegiant teams are working to accommodate all affected passengers and will offer the following compensation:
- Flights delayed less than four hours: $100 voucher for future travel
- Flights delayed 4-6 hours: $150 off voucher for future travel
- Flights delayed 6 or more hours: $200 voucher for future travel
- Reschedule flights: Full refund and $200 voucher for future travel
For passengers delayed overnight, hotel accommodations and meals will be provided. For travel and compensation questions, please call Allegiant Customer Care at 702-505-8888
Read the full report from Reuters: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Officially designed as a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83), N417NV (msn 53347) prepares to depart from Long Beach.
Allegiant AIr (Las Vegas) has announced new, nonstop jet service between Concord, North Carolina (near Charlotte) and Sanford, Florida via Orlando-Sanford International Airport, beginning on December 20, 2013. Concord will be the 99th U.S. city served by Allegiant.
The new flights will operate twice weekly between Concord Regional Airport (JQF) and Orlando-Sanford International Airport (SFB) year-round.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) N420NV (msn 49424) prepares to land at Los Angeles International Airport.
Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) today announced new, nonstop jet service on 18 routes, including 10 cities new to the Allegiant network. Today’s announcement will mark the 99th U.S. city served by Allegiant’s low-cost, nonstop service to popular vacation destinations, more than any other low-cost carrier in the U.S.
Allegiant will now offer service to travelers in the New York City area, providing a low-cost travel alternative to the beaches of Southwest Florida via Long Island MacArthur Airport and Stewart International Airport.
New routes just announced include:
Nonstop Service to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (AZA) in Mesa, AZ from:
- Fort Wayne, Indiana – begins Oct. 30, 2013 with fares as low as $99* roundtrip
- Manhattan, Kansas – begins Nov. 7, 2013 with fares as low as $99* roundtrip
Nonstop Service to Orlando-Sanford International Airport (SFB) in Sanford, FL from:
- Bismarck, North Dakota – begins Nov. 23, 2013 with fares as low as $99* roundtrip
- Charlottesville, Virginia – begins Nov. 21, 2013 with fares as low as $99* roundtrip
- Clarksburg, West Virginia – begins Nov. 14, 2013 with fares as low as $99* roundtrip
- Concord, North Carolina – begins Dec. 20, 2013 with fares as low as $99* roundtrip
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – begins Nov. 14, 2013 with fares as low as $99* roundtrip
- Portsmouth, New Hampshire – begins Oct. 25, 2013 with fares as low as $99* roundtrip
- Springfield, Illinois – begins Nov. 22, 2013 with fares as low as $99* roundtrip
- St. Cloud, Minnesota – begins Dec. 18, 2013 with fares as low as $99* roundtrip
- Tulsa, Oklahoma – begins Oct. 25, 2013 with fares as low as $99* roundtrip
Nonstop Service to St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE), FL from:
- Columbus, Ohio – begins Nov. 23, 2013 with fares as low as $99* roundtrip
- Elmira, New York – begins Nov. 1, 2013 with fares as low as $99* roundtrip
- Fargo, North Dakota – begins Nov. 23, 2013 with fares as low as $99* roundtrip
- Sioux Falls, South Dakota – begins Nov. 1, 2013 with fares as low as $99* roundtrip
- Stewart, New York – begins Oct. 31, 2013 with fares as low as $99* roundtrip
- Syracuse, New York – begins Nov. 7, 2013 with fares as low as $99* roundtrip
Nonstop Service to Punta Gorda Airport (PGD) in Punta Gorda, FL from:
- Islip, New York – begins Dec. 20, 2013 with fares as low as $99* roundtrip
Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82 (MD-82) N406NV (msn 49900) completes its final approach into Baltimore/Washington.
Finnair (Helsinki) added its first long-haul international route on May 15, 1968 from Helsinki to New York (JFK) via stops in Copenhagen and Amsterdam. The new route was opened with new Douglas DC-8-62CFs, the first having arrived in Helsinki on February 8, 1968.
Tomi Tervo on the Finnair Blog looks back at this pioneering route for the carrier:
- by Tomi Tervo
You always get that extra little buzz when it says ‘AY 005’ on the flight preparation papers. One long-haul flight out of many, but for us it’s the oldest and most traditional one. Finnair’s first long-haul destination was New York, and the route ran via Copenhagen and Amsterdam on a DC-8 aircraft. Pilots, at least, remember Charles Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic 86 years ago as a milepost in aviation history. For the pilot, crossing the Atlantic no longer means bearings twirled with a plotter as messy lines on a route map, or rough navigation with tops and hyperbolae of positions, cigarette stubs in the ashtray next to three weatherworn aviator hats. Nowadays, the route is operated with an Airbus 330, with modern equipment to enable a safe crossing of the ocean with two pilots, without navigators or aviation engineers. However, there still is something special about it from the viewpoint of the pilot.
The route to New York isn’t run of the mill. The flight planners choose the route according to favourable large air currents. Sometimes we fly from the south from above Northern Scotland. This time the route runs from above Iceland and over Greenland. Unlike on the continent, when flying above the ocean we are off the radar and beyond the reach of air traffic control’s monitoring. In addition, there are no radio transmitters in the middle of the ocean so there is no undisturbed, continuous speech connection to air traffic control. The third thing to pay attention to is the shortage of alternate airports. The pilots should always have their eye on the nearest alternate airport along the route that is located no less than two (sometimes three) hours away from the plane. On this flight, the alternate airports are Keflavik and Goose Bay. The Greenland terrain is high and mountainous. When flying above it, the pilots revise the special procedures in case a malfunction is detected in one of the engines or pressurisation and altitude has to be decreased.
Even when above the ocean, the navigation is done normally using GPS (i.e. satellite navigation). However, the waypoints are latitude-longitude coordinates, unlike anywhere else, and there are no earth stations or beacons for a backup. Instead of the magnetic north, the direction reference is the fixed geometric location of the North Pole. ‘Finnair five, cleared to New York via 65N000W, 66N010W, 67N020W….’ reads the air traffic controller for us close to the western coast of Norway. As there is no radar monitoring by air traffic control, the spacing out between the aircrafts is based on following the provided route clearances and speeds with pinpoint accuracy. After receiving the clearance, both pilots carefully cross-check the directions and nautical miles, and that they tally with the aircraft’s navigation equipment. After that, it’s ‘Have a good flight!’ Bit by bit, the voice of the air traffic controller fades beyond the reach of the VHF radios. A little bit of Charles Lindbergh in us starts to stir.
Over the Atlantic, there is a text-based messaging system with satellite connection to air traffic control. But the system is quite new and not entirely without its problems. That is why the progress of the planes is still tracked by radio operators using almost one hundred-year-old HF radio technology. The HF signal bounces between the ocean and the layers of the atmosphere far beyond the horizon, and its range is in theory thousands of miles. But at the same time, the connection is prone to the changes in the day and the sunspot rhythm. There are a lot of noise, scratching sounds and breaks in the connection. ‘Iceland radio, Iceland radio, Finnair 5, position 65N030W at 1810, request SELCAL on DM-BF…’
‘Finnair 5, on boundary…ccchhccccssshhhh… Gander on frequency… eight.. cchhcssh.. niner one….’
(You can listen to the HF radio communications live from this link. Can you make out what they’re saying?)
A new continent. The east coast of Canada, Newfoundland and the vast wilderness. The feeling of already reaching your destination when there are still around three hours to go. Moncton, Bangor, Boston. More and more planes start to circle the skies when approaching New York. We often move in on the John F. Kennedy Airport above the beautiful capes and islands of Long Island. The airport itself is one of the most intense in the whole wide world. As the silhouette of Manhattan looms in the background, the air is swarming with traffic in all directions, at all altitudes. The airport often uses up to three runways simultaneously. There are landings and takeoffs every couple of minutes. Especially during the rush hour, the air traffic controllers read the clearances at the double, with a strong east coast accent. They are tough professionals who expect quality also from the pilots. ‘Finnair five heavy turn right on juliet after landing 757 cross 22R keep rolling join alfa hold short of november charlie monitor groung point niner’, you have to hear and roger your own clearance without delay.
Snowfall and exceptional weather is a chapter of its own. The air traffic in New York may be badly disrupted then. You may be in for a long wait in the air. When the weather forecast is poor, the captain needs to prepare for various scenarios already prior departure by reserving enough fuel. Usually the cockpit receives advance information from Finnair’s New York ground personnel on the available runways, weather and congestion a few hours before landing. We know many of that crew already. One known to all was Maucca Leppälä, who was the Manager of Finnair’s New York ground services for 23 years, but recently retired. Now the operations are led by Ulla-Maija Baker. Greetings to all, it’s always nice to see you.
The hotel transportation runs smoothly in a relaxed atmosphere as the crew discusses what happened on the flight. The blocks of Brooklyn, inner city kids playing basketball and the neon signs of garages and diners blink in the windows. This nation of drivers is returning home on four lanes. Over the radio, I can make out Bruce Springsteen’s guitar, or maybe it’s just my imagination. Arrival at the hotel, saying good evening to all other crew members. Hang up the uniform and put it in the closet. The metropolis quietens down into the early evening as the sun slowly floats down and hides behind the silhouette of New Jersey. That’s us, Charles and I. A brief moment when the silver wings on the uniform’s jacket seem to shine a little brighter than usual.
Top Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by Finnair). McDonnell Douglas DC-8-62CF OH-LFY (msn 46130) sits on the tarmac at Paris (CDG) in the original markings.
Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) has announced today new, nonstop jet service to Southwest Florida via Punta Gorda Airport (PGD) from eight destinations, beginning on October 30.
Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton, PA – begins October 31, 2013 with fares as low as $99.99 each way
Asheville, NC – begins November 2, 2013 with fares as low as $69.99 each way
Bangor, Maine – begins October 30, 2013 with fares as low as $124.99 each way
Cedar Rapids, Iowa – begins December 18, 2013 with fares as low as $99.99 each way
Des Moines, Iowa – begins December 19, 2013 with fares as low as $119.99 each way
Moline/Quad Cities, Illinois – begins November 1, 2013 with fares as low as $99.99 each way
Springfield/Branson, Moissouri – begins October 31, 2013 with fares as low as $89.99 each way
Youngstown, Ohio – begins October 30, 2013 with fares as low as $89.99 each way
The expansion of routes into Punta Gorda will result in two additional McDonnell Douglas DC-9-80 (MD-80) series aircraft based at Punta Gorda Airport.
Additionally the low-fare airline announced new, nonstop, seasonal jet service from Montrose to Los Angeles, California and reintroduction of service to Mesa, Arizona (near Phoenix) beginning December 21, 2013.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82 (MD-82) N423NV (msn 53008) departs from Los Angeles International Airport.
Allegiant Travel Company (Allegiant Air) (Las Vegas) reported a net income of $25.8 million in the second quarter, up 2.3 percent from the same quarter a year ago. This represents the 42nd consecutive profitable quarter.
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) N879GA (msn 53486) approaches the Las Vegas base for landing dressed in the old 2003 livery.
Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) has announced new nonstop jet service between Austin and Las Vegas beginning on October 31.
The new flights will operate four times each week between Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) and McCarran International Airport (LAS).
In addition, the company will also start twice-weekly service between Reno and Oakland on August 30.
Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) N876GA (msn 53469) prepares to land at the Las Vegas base.
Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) has announced new, twice-weekly nonstop jet service between Provo Municipal Airport (PVU) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) beginning on September 26, 2013.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82 (MD-82) N423NV (msn 53008) departs from Los Angeles International Airport.
Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to operate twice-weekly flights from Las Vegas to Hermosillo and San Jose del Cabo in Mexico. Flights, if approved, would start around June 1, 2014 according to this report by Bloomberg Businessweek.
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
USA Today has joined the growing list of media publications now praising the small city strategy of Allegiant Air which they have been flying for years.
Read their take on the carrier: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) N866GA (msn 49910) prepares to land at the Las Vegas home.
Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) is under the financial analysis of the Wall Street Journal in a special detailed article by Jack Nicas that explores why this fast-growing airline is the most profitable airline in the United States. This low-fare airline, which breaks most of the industry “rules”, has been off the radar screens of most of the mainstream media for a long time, except in the smaller cities where a new Allegiant route to Las Vegas, Arizona, California, Hawaii or Florida grabs local headlines. Allegiant has the “lowest costs, fullest planes and highest margins” in the United States according to this article. The secret formula, as we have detailed, is flying mostly older planes that others no longer want from cities that are too small for the others to care about to exciting vacation destinations on a limited number of peak traffic days. Allegiant Air also makes a lot of ancillary revenue from its travel packages, taking a page out of the Ryanair playbook. Allegiant aims to be the total travel package airline for the traveller. The business plan is working well.
Now Allegiant is planning to expand in Mexico. This article details the growth and its expansion plans.
Read the full article: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Most airlines cannot get rid of these older, fuel-guzzling McDonnell Douglas MD-80s fast enough. Not Allegiant, they love the type and only fly their aircraft when they can make money. During mid-week, when most passengers are already at their holiday destinations, Allegiant parks most of its inefficient, fuel-guzzling fleet. Allegiant only flies when it can make money. Departing on a weekend, former SAS McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) departs from Los Angeles International Airport.
Video: Allegiant Air TV commercial:
Finnair (Helsinki) this year is celebrating 90 years of aviation excellence.
- In October 2012, Finnair announced their collaboration with popularFinnish textile and interior design company Marimekko.
- For the next three years, all Finnair aircrafts will feature Marimekko textiles and tableware.
- The collection, featuring Marimekko’s signature patterns, will also adhere to Finnair’s sustainable standards to reduce aircraft weight and fuel consumption.
- Michelin-starred Pekka Terava specializes in classic Nordic flavors and innovative Tomi Bjorck will bring his Asian-infused cuisine to the skies.
- How about a sample menu? Reindeer fillet with mushroom puree, oven baked potatoes and organic barley and butternut squash yellow curry. Yum!
- Beginning June 2013, Finnair will begin operating direct flights from Helsinki to popular destinations including Xian (China), Hanoi (Vietnam), Tel Aviv (Israel), Antalya (Turkey) and Palma (Majorca).
- Now travelers can choose to check-in to their flights with Facebook by linking their profiles with the airline seating maps.
- This March, Finnair also launched a two-month trial of Windows 8-powered HP ElitePad 900 tablets on select aircrafts, a new chapter in wireless in-flight entertainment.
- Every month this year Finnair will be posting a video to their Youtube Channel to celebrate 90 years.
Top Copyright Photo: Stephen Tornblom. Historic Photo (click on the photos for the full-size view): Finnair add its first McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30, the pictured OH-LHA, on January 27, 1975.