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Tag Archives: MIA

Western Global Airlines starts cargo operations from Miami

WGA logo

Western Global Airlines-WGA (Sarasota/Bradenton and Lakeland) launched new cargo service from Miami International Airport on Friday, November 14, becoming the 39th all-cargo airline to serve the global gateway.

Western Global is scheduled to operate four weekly international cargo flights from MIA to South America using its fleet of owned and operated McDonnell Douglas MD-11F freighter aircraft. WGA’s inaugural Miami arrival was celebrated with a traditional water cannon salute (below).

Western Global MIA inaugural

Photo credit: Miami International Airport (MIA).

The new carrier, which began operations on August 4, 2014, will serve the major cargo centers of South America, including Colombia. Colombia is MIA’s top international trade partner by weight, with 241,000 tons of goods valued at $7.1 billion moving between the two markets in 2013, headlined by cut flowers. Those strong numbers directly contribute to MIA’s standing as America’s #1 airport for international freight, and the addition of WGA will further strengthen the Gateway of the Americas’ top ranking.

Western Global Airlines’ founder and CEO Jim Neff, who previously founded and owned Southern Air Inc. before selling it in 2007, said, “The driving force behind WGA is to offer the marketplace a new, large-scale, customer-oriented wet lease and charter platform focused on low cost, flexible service, and high reliability. We are pleased to build on our extensive resources and experience to support the Miami-South America air trade as it continues to reach record levels.”

The MD-11Fs are painted white but do not carry any titles.

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SkyWay Enterprises Shorts SD3-60 N380MQ crashes into the Caribbean Sea near St. Maarten with two pilots on board

SkyWay Enterprises Inc. (Kissimmee, FL) Shorts SD3-60 N380MQ (msn SH3702) with two crew members was operating flight SKZ 7101 from St. Maarten to San Juan on October 29 on behalf of FedEx Express per Aviation Herald. The aircraft, while departing the airport, crashed into the Caribbean Sea approximately two nautical miles west of the airport. One body was recovered and the other is missing.

Read the full report from The Daily Herald: CLICK HERE

Skyway Enterprises Inc. operates Shorts 330s, Shorts 360s and Learjets from as far west as Portland Oregon (PDX) to as far east San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU) in both scheduled and “On Demand” service. Skyway Enterprises Inc. has F.A.A. authority to operate throughout the United States, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Skyway Enterprises Inc. has an aircraft to suit your every need and desire for the rapid movement of your cargo.

The history of SkyWay Enterprises (from its website):

SkyWay Enterprises, Inc. was founded in 1981 as a Cessna Aircraft dealer to support it’s FAA approved flight school. In December 1983, SkyWay became a certified FAA air carrier and purchased its first learjet. SkyWay then began providing on-demand charter service for the air transportation of freight.

By 1984, SkyWay added a second Learjet to meet the increasing demand for air transportation of freight and expanded its services to accommodate passengers. In 1985, as demand for SkyWay’s services continued to increase, SkyWay purchased two more Learjets bring the fleet to a total of four aircraft.

In 1987, as SkyWay continued to diversify, it entered into the Air Ambulance service and continued to increase its executive passenger and freight services. SkyWay was also awarded a contract by the Environmental Research Institute of Michigan for scheduled service from Michigan to Florida. During this time, two additional Turboprop aircraft where added bringing the fleet to six aircraft.

During 1989, while the automotive market was struggling, SkyWay looked for an area that was less prone to the cyclic changes of the Detroit area and relocated to Kissimmee Florida. This offered more independence and provided more business opportunities in the Southern U.S. and Caribbean.

Once in Florida, Kissimmee Aviation Services Inc. began as a sister company of SkyWay providing a Fixed Base Operation service to the Kissimmee Municipal Airport. Also at the time, charter services to the Bahamas and other Caribbean islands started increasing in demand.

In 1994, SkyWay started a more central satellite base in Louisville, KY (KJVY) providing supplemental service to UPS and other freight services such as Kitty Hawk AirCargo, Active Aero, Grand Aire and many others. SkyWay also added two Shorts 330s to it’s fleet allowing for the capacity of a DC-3 with the reliability of a Turboprop aircraft.

In February of 1998, SkyWay purchased two Shorts 360 aircraft formally operated by American Eagle. Two days after this purchase, the two Shorts 330s operated by SkyWay were destroyed by a tornado at the Miami International Airport. After this happened, SkyWay personnel began an intensive program to convert the newly purchased 360s from passenger to cargo configuration. With a concerted effort on everyone’s part, the FAA required STC was approved within 90days of purchase. SkyWay once again would rely on a Shorts to satisfy the needs of its customers in transferring heavy cargo by air. Later that year, SkyWay went on to purchase two additional Shorts 330’s replacing the two that where recently destroyed in Miami. SkyWay also won the purchase of a Military version of the Shorts 330, a C-23 Sherpa from the U.S. Airforce. What makes the C-23 unique is its capability to open in the rear and take “oversized” cargo loads.

With the rapid expansion of the company now moving forward, SkyWay was being awarded contract runs throughout the U.S. and Caribbean. These contracts allowed SkyWay to expand its fleet even further with a purchase of 11 more Shorts 360 aircraft from American Airlines. These aircraft, at the time, where stored in the desert and the project of resurrecting and safely transferring them to Florida was accomplished within 45 days.

SkyWay is constantly striving to provide continued reliable service to the air cargo industry and currently provides contracted services to such companies as: UPS, Airborne Express, DHL, Avon Cosmetics, FedEx and many other cargo forwarders. SkyWay continues to pursue new routes and new customers, exploring new avenues and striving to provide superior service to ensure growth within the air cargo industry.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Sister ship Shorts SD3-60 N385MQ (msn SH3707), formerly operated by Simmons Airlines (American Eagle) rests between flights at Miami International Airport.

American to restore the Miami-Frankfurt route next year

American Airlines‘ (Dallas/Fort Worth) CEO Doug Parker announced the airline would restore the Miami-Frankfurt route in the first half of 2015 according to the Miami Herald. The route is expected to be operated with Boeing 767-300 ERs.

Update: On November 3 American confirmed this comment with this announcement:

American Airlines will launch new service to Germany with daily flights between Miami International Airport (MIA) and Frankfurt Airport (FRA) beginning May 14 with a Boeing 767-300 aircraft.

American’s Miami hub provides connections to more than 130 domestic and international markets in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America.

The flights will depart Miami at 2:45 p.m. (1445) daily, arriving in Frankfurt at 6:15 a.m. (0615). Flights will depart Frankfurt at 10:30 a.m. (1030) daily, arriving in Miami at 2:55 p.m. (1455). American Airlines now has four daily peak season flights to Frankfurt from its hubs in Miami, Dallas/Fort Worth, Charlotte, and Philadelphia.

The airline offers expanded service for customers through its Atlantic joint business with British Airways, Iberia and Finnair and its oneworld alliance partners, with more than 80 routes across the Atlantic.

American is expanding the Miami hub as it celebrates 25 years of expansion at Miami International Airport. American Airlines started serving MIA with a single DFW-MIA route originally with Boeing 707s. However with the acquisition of the Latin American routes from Eastern Airlines (1st), the hub started to grow to the 341 daily flights today.

Lufthansa operates its Airbus A380s on the route.

Read the full story: CLICK HERE

MIA Hub Terminal Map: With the recent expansion American Airlines has expanded from the North Terminal (Concourse D) back into the older Concourse E.

American MIA Hub Terminal Map

Copyright Photo: Ariel Shocron/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-323 ER N343AN (msn 33082) with Oneworld titles arrives at the Miami hub.

American Airlines (Current Livery): AG Slide Show

American Airlines Historical Liveries Slide Show:

Envoy Air’s Embraer ERJ 145 operations continue to shrink, the Miami pilot and FA base to be phased down by April 2015

Envoy Air (formerly American Eagle Airlines 2nd) (part of American Airlines Group) (Dallas/Fort Worth) continues to shrink its Embraer ERJ 145 operations as its parent continues to replace its flying with larger aircraft from other associated AE carriers..

Pedro Fábregas, President and CEO of Envoy, has informed its employees that the parent American Airlines Group has decided to phase down and finally close the Miami pilot and flight attendant base in April 2015.

According to the memo, with the December 18 schedule, Envoy will operate 37 daily departures from Miami International Airport (MIA), using 12 50-seat Embraer ERJ 145 (EMB-145) regional jets. This is a big drop off from the 60 flights operated at the hub on October 1, 2014 with its 23 ERJs. The ERJ 145 aircraft and crews that will no longer be needed in MIA will be assigned to replace Envoy operations in other locations for the planned retirement of the 44-seat ERJ 140 (EMB-140) aircraft.

No Envoy pilots or flight attendants will be furloughed as a result of the schedule change.

Envoy is phasing out its pilot and flight attendant base in MIA. This will begin in January 2015 and will be completed by April 2015.

Republic Airlines will replace the smaller Envoy ERJ 145s with its newer and larger Embraer ERJ 175s.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Envoy Air’s Embraer ERJ 145LR (EMB-145LR) N697AB (msn 14500875) taxies to the runway at the Chicago O’Hare hub.

American Eagle-Envoy Air: AG Slide Show

 

American to add four new domestic destinations from the Miami hub on March 5, starts Cap-Haitien service today

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) will launch new service between its Miami hub and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), Kansas City International Airport (MCI), Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) and San Antonio International Airport (SAT) on March 5, 2015.

With these new routes, American will serve more than 130 domestic and international destinations from its Miami hub, providing customers ideal connections to Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America.

These new routes will be served with Boeing 737-800 aircraft and will operate on the following daily schedule (all times local):

MIA-AUS

Departs AUS at 6:10 a.m. CT
Arrives at MIA at 9:58 a.m. ET

Departs MIA at 7:50 p.m. ET
Arrives at AUS at 9:58 p.m. CT

MIA-MCI

Departs MCI at 6 a.m. CT
Arrives at MIA at 10:09 a.m. ET

Departs MIA at 7:55 p.m. ET
Arrives at MCI at 10:05 p.m. CT

MIA-SLC

Departs SLC at 12:59 a.m. MT
Arrives at MIA at 7:50 a.m. ET

Departs MIA at 7:55 p.m. ET
Arrives at SLC at 11:11 p.m. MT

MIA-SAT

Departs SAT at 6:10 a.m. CT
Arrives at MIA at 10:03 a.m. ET

Departs MIA at 7:50 p.m. ET
Arrives at SAT at 9:58 p.m. CT

American begins new daily service today (October 2) between Miami and Cap-Haitien, Haiti (CAP), adding a new international destination to the airline’s network. The new route supplements American’s long-standing service to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-823 N965AN (msn 29544) departs from the Miami hub.

American Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

You can have the 1970s “Pan Am Experience” at Air Hollywood

Air Hollywood Pan Am Experience photo

Air Hollywood, the studio in Hollywood where many movies involving airliners are filmed, is now offering the “Pan Am Experience” to help “passengers” relive the golden age of air travel  on the original Pan Am of the 1970s. Prices range from $297 for the First Class experience and $197 for Clipper Class. The “experience” never leaves the ground, it occurs inside the mock Boeing 747 cabin that is used for making movies. Air Hollywood describes the experience:

Air Hollywood logo

From its birth in 1927, Pan American Airways was the pioneer airline whose routes spanned 6 continents and more than 80 countries. Almost a century later, the name Pan Am is still a very powerful brand, and inside this Southern California motion picture studio sits an exact replica of the airline’s Boeing 747 and everything that made it so special.

Your Pan Am experience starts on the main deck with a cocktail and beverage service in the First Class cabin. Each stewardess that greets you will be adorned in her original 1970’s Pan Am uniform. Our Pan Am crew will offer various video & audio selections while you sit back in your Pan Am Sleeperette seat and sip a cocktail.

Soon after, you’ll climb the winding staircase where the crew will set your table for a truly memorable dining event. In classic Pan Am style, you’ll be offered your favorite cocktail and served a delightful gourmet meal. Everything from the china to the glassware is authentic with careful attention to the exquisite service delivery of the era and menu offerings of Pan Am.

After dinner, you will have an opportunity to view the vast collection of airline memorabilia and view other film production sets.

For the first time since Pan Am ceased operations, you can now relive the magic of this golden era in travel. We cordially invite you to personally experience this unique “flying” opportunity in the tradition of Pan Am.

Air Hollywood Pan Am Experience cabin

Prices:

Air Hollywood Pan Am Experience Prices

All photos above by Air Hollywood.

For more information: CLICK HERE

Pan Am (1st) Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-121 N751PA (msn 19655) “Clipper Midnight Sun” displays the classic 1976 livery of the first and original Pan Am.

Icelandair is coming to Portland, Oregon next summer

Icelandair (Keflavik) will begin seasonal nonstop service from Portland, Oregon to Reykjavik, Iceland via Keflavik International Airport beginning on May 20, 2015 and continuing through October 21, 2015. With this new route, Icelandair now provides flights to its third gateway in the Pacific Northwest region of North America, and 14th overall in the United States and Canada.

Icelandair’s 2015 route network is the largest in the airline’s history with flights to more than 20 destinations throughout Europe. As a result of this announcement, the Portland metro area’s 2.3 million residents will gain access to one of the regions fastest elapsed flying times to popular European destinations including London, Copenhagen, Paris, Stockholm and Munich. With low fares in three cabins of service, personal in-flight entertainment, on-board Wi-Fi access, and the exciting option of booking an Icelandair Stopover in Iceland at no additional airfare for up to seven nights, Icelandair is excited to bring this refreshing new alternative to Oregon.

Service from Portland International Airport (PDX) will operate on Wednesdays and Fridays with departures at 3:40 pm (1540), arriving at Icelandair’s hub at Keflavik International Airport the following morning at 6:15 am (0615), with a total flight time of just over seven hours. Return service departs Keflavik on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:15 pm (1715), with same-day arrival in Portland at 6:15 pm (1815).

Icelandair offers service to Iceland from Boston, New York-JFK, Washington (Dulles), Seattle/Tacoma, Denver, Toronto (Pearson) and Edmonton, with seasonal service from Newark, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Sanford (near Orlando), Portland, Vancouver, Halifax, and Anchorage.

Route Map:

Icelandair PDX 9.2015 Route Map

The company is also increasing the frequencies next summer on the Newark, Toronto and Washington routes.

In other news, an Air Iceland pilot allowed his passengers to get an up-close view of the simmering Bárðarbunga volcano. Icelandair posted this report and photos on their website:

Icelandair Group passengers Erla Vinsý and Odee were two of a few lucky customers on board a recent flight with our sister company Air Iceland during the morning of September 3, 2014. With the flight path routing over central Iceland, the chance of seeing the volcanic fissure eruption in the Bárðarbunga area quickly turned into a rare opportunity thanks to clear skies, and the Air Iceland pilot didn’t let the moment pass them by. Taking a short detour via a circle back around the eruption area, passengers on both sides of the aircraft were treated to an aerial view of the eruption while flying safely over the center of the action, allowing Erla and Odee to take these unique photographs of Iceland’s nature and power in action. With brightly-colored lava seeping through the earth’s crust and steam billowing from below the surface, the passengers and crew of this Air Iceland flight were provided a memory they won’t soon forget. Tourists in Iceland are now booking all available charter flights for sightseeing into the uninhabited interior of Iceland where the volcano is putting on its show. For amateur and professional photographers and filmmakers alike, this is the chance of a lifetime. We would like to thank Erla and Odee for sharing their photographs with us!

Bárðarbunga volcano photos

Copyright Photo: Luimer Cordero/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 757-256 TF-LLX (msn 29311) arrives in Miami with a partial livery.

Icelandair: AG Slide Show

The proposed return of the Air Florida brand as a public charter carrier

Air Florida (3rd) (St. Petersburg/Clearwater) is the latest return of an historic brand following the return of PEOPLExpress and Eastern. The paper airline has posted this plan and information on their new website:

Air Florida Kiss Us Hello

Air Florida is a privately-held start-up carrier, incorporated as a Florida Corporation In 2014. The company has filed for registration of all logos and indicia of the iconic carrier (Air Florida 1st, 1971-1984), and will operate initially as a public charter carrier.

The carrier Is expected to name the executive team of Aviation Solutions, Inc., of Dallas, TX to manage all phases of operation.

We have reached an agreement In principle with Xtra Airways of Boise, ID for the provision of multiple Boeing 737-400 aircraft (and crews) on an ACMI lease program.

Air Florida (3rd) logo (small)

The carrier is also in discussion for a similar lease arrangement for one McDonnell Douglas MD-11 aircraft for long-haul service, initially proposed to be (Los Angeles-St. Petersburg/Clearwater-San Juan.

While Air Florida will indeed provide leisure travel services from under-served airports In the Northeast and Midwest to various destinations in our home state. Many of the cities in our launch service will become focus cities upon further expansion. The carrier will offer connecting flights and point-to-point service between Northeast and Midwest destinations.

In addition to providing both low-fare leisure and business travel, a key philosophy behind the start-up is a return to the original Air Florida’s K.I.S.S. (Keep It Sweet & Simple) principles. Air Florida does not intend to add hidden or ‘A La Carte’ fees to its fares, but will work to keep fares low while offering our customers what should be expected in air travel.

Air Florida 8.2014 Proposed Route Map

We intend to commence service in early 2015 with service from St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Daytona Beach and Ft Lauderdale/Hollywood to Chicago (Gary), St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Allentown (Lehigh Valley) and Worcester.

The would-be airline is currently in discussions to lease Embraer EMB-120 turboprops as feeder flights for its proposed long-range routes operated with Boeing 737-400s.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. The 1979 blue and green color scheme of the original Air Florida is seen on Boeing 737-2T4 N56AF (msn 22369).

The original Air Florida aircraft slide show: AG Slide Show

ABX Air to return four Boeing 767-200F freighters to DHL

Air Transport Services Group, Inc. (Wilmington, Ohio) announced its airline subsidiary, ABX Air (Wilmington, Ohio), has received termination notices from DHL affecting four DHL-owned Boeing 767-200 freighter aircraft that ABX Air leases and operates within the U.S. under terms of the Crew, Maintenance and Insurance (CMI) agreement between the companies. DHL sought bids to operate the aircraft from other vendors earlier this year.

The notices are effective in late December 2014 for two aircraft, and in January 2015 for the two remaining aircraft. This reduction in CMI operations for DHL will likely reduce ATSG’s earnings from continuing operations by less than one cent per share in 2015. Excluding those four aircraft, ATSG currently operates 21 freighter aircraft over scheduled routes for DHL, including 17 Boeing 767s and four Boeing 757s.

Related to this announcement, Atlas Air announced it will expand its service for DHL Express’ North American route network using four additional Boeing 767-200 freighter aircraft owned by DHL. Atlas Air expects to start flying the first incremental aircraft in December 2014, and to operate all four by the end of January 2015.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. ABX Air’s Boeing 767-281 (F) N798AX (msn 23431) arrives in Miami in DHL colors.

ABX Air: AG Slide Show

DHL: AG Slide Show

American Airlines announces new routes to Viracopos International Airport in Campinas, Brazil

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) has announced it is adding new service to Viracopos International Airport (VCP) in Campinas, Brazil, from American’s hubs at Miami International Airport (MIA) and New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK). This will mark American’s 10th destination in Brazil.

To operate these new routes, American will transition one daily frequency between Miami and Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) and select weekly frequencies between JFK and GRU. The new flight from JFK to VCP will operate three times per week beginning on December 1, 2014, and the daily flight from Miami to VCP will be launched on December 2, 2014, pending government approval. Both routes will be operated with Boeing 767-300 ER retrofited aircraft featuring fully lie-flat Business Class seats with all-aisle access.

By December, American will operate all of its flights between MIA and GRU with Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft, to better match demand for premium seating between these two important destinations. With this change, all flights between GRU and DFW, JFK and MIA will be operated with American’s 777-300 ER. The aircraft features a three-class cabin configuration with fully lie-flat seats in First and Business Class, international Wi-Fi, and more customer and cargo capacity than any other aircraft currently in American’s fleet.

US Airways service from Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) to GRU will be discontinued beginning October 1, 2014. Charlotte customers will still have access to GRU through American’s Latin America gateway in MIA. American will also continue to serve GRU from its hubs in Dallas/Fort Worth, JFK and Los Angeles.

Beginning this winter, the airline will make the following seasonal schedule adjustments to Europe:

American Seasonal Adjustments

In addition, flights to Milano Malpensa Airport (MXP) in Milan, Italy, will now be split between JFK and MIA, with four weekly frequencies from JFK and three from MIA between Jan. 6, 2015, and March 28, 2015.

Campinas Airport is the home of Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras which has also announced new long-range routes from Campinas with its new Airbus A330s.

The Campinas area is a city of around five million people and about a one hour drive from Sao Paulo.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-323 ER N382AN (msn 25451) arrives in New York (JFK).

American (current livery): AG Slide Show

American Airlines Group to repaint the American and US Airways Boeing 757 fleets

American Airlines Group (American Airlines and US Airways) (Dallas/Fort Worth) has informed its employees about the repainting of the American Airlines and US Airways fleets into the 2013 American brand.

In the June 26 issue of Arrivals, the employees were briefed on the repainting process.

Highlights: As expected, the aging fleet of McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82s (MD-82s) and DC-9-83s (MD-83s) of American will not be repainted. This type is being phased out and will be gone in 2018. However the AAG has made the decision to repaint the 35 Boeing 757-200s of American and the 16 Boeing 757-200s of US Airways into the new livery. So far none have been repainted. We are likely to start seeing some soon, especially at US Airways. All will be repainted by the fourth quarter of 2016.

All of the American 777-200s have now been repainted (above).

US Airways has started repainting the Airbus A320 family aircraft: 700, 701, 702, 703, 809, 814, 819, and one other have been repainted. 579, 580, and 581 were all delivered new in American colors. The first Airbus aircraft to be repainted were the former Star Alliance liveried aircraft.

All new arrivals for both American and US Airways are of course, painted in the new American look.

We are likely to still see the American 1968 classic livery lingering on until the fourth quarter of 2017. The American Boeing 737-800s will be the last type to be fully repainted.

Here is the graph sent to the employees:

American-US Airways repainting of the fleet (LRW)

Top Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. All of the Triple Sevens have been repainted. Boeing 777-223 ER N790AN (msn 30251) arrives in New York (JFK).

American Airlines (current livery): AG Slide Show

American Airlines (historic liveries): AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Video: Painting a Boeing 777:

Middle Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. American currently operates 35 Boeing 757-200s as the type is gradually being retired. Boeing 757-223 N624AA (msn 24582) of American Airlines taxies to the gate at the Miami hub painted in the classic 1968 livery.

Bottom Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com. US Airways is now down to just 16 Boeing 757-200s. Boeing 757-2B7 N938UW (msn 27246) prepares to land in Stockholm (Arlanda).

LAN is facing a possible mechanics strike on June 26 in Lima, LAN Cargo breaks ground on a new hangar at Miami

LAN Airlines (Santiago) may be somewhat impacted by a possible strike by 70 percent of its LAN Peru (Lima) mechanics maintaining  LAN and TAM aircraft. The mechanics are based in Lima, Peru.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation-ITF has issued this statement:

The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) LATAM network reports that it is hearing of concerns from passengers due to fly on LAN and TAM planes during a strike expected to begin in Peru on June 26. Unions report that more than 200 mechanics – over 70 percent of all LAN Peru mechanics – will not be certifying airplane flights during the strike, which is expected to affect operations across Latin America, including during the World Cup.

LAN Peru aviation mechanics are responsible for the security of the flights of LAN and TAM Airlines (the LATAM Airline Group), and their function is fundamental to the maintenance of the aircraft and the safety of flights.

On June 26-27 a strike is likely to take place, called by the SITALANPE trade union, which represents 70 per cent of all those mechanics. This is expected to result in cancellations and delays across the region. The mechanics are unequivocal: their labor is not replaceable because they are certified to work on the aircraft. “We are the ones that review the planes each time that they land and if we do not sign the logbook of the aircraft, they do not leave. Without our approval, no plane will be able to fly and therefore the whole company will stop,” explained Juan Carlos Talavera, a LAN Peru aviation mechanic and press secretary of SITALANPE.

Lima, Peru, is the central hub for maintenance work in the holding company that includes both the LAN and TAM Airlines. The Peruvian mechanics maintain the cargo and passenger aircraft for LAN Argentina, LAN Chile, LAN Ecuador, LAN Peru, and TAM and LAN Cargo.

Dario Castillo Alfaro, the leader of the LAN Chile mechanics’ union, commented: “Our mechanics’ union is supporting the Peruvian workers and is ready to express its solidarity and support. As Chileans, we are depending on our Peruvian co-workers to protect the aviation sector in Latin America from the kind of cost cutting in operations that threatens the security of our passengers. As LAN and TAM workers we know that on behalf of passengers and aviation workers, it is our obligation to inform customers of potential problems and risks. The future of aviation in South America is being threatened by the company’s refusal to negotiate in Peru and Argentina.”

In other news, LAN Cargo (Santiago), an affiliate of LATAM Airlines Group, S.A. and part of South America’s largest airline group comprised of LAN Airlines and its affiliates and TAM Airlines, officially broke ground on a new 98,242-square-foot state of the art maintenance hangar facility at Miami International Airport. The hangar will be LATAM Airlines Group’s first maintenance hangar in the United States. The project represents an investment of more than $15 million dollars and is estimated to create more than 300 new direct and indirect jobs in the first five years, further increasing LATAM Airline Group’s participation and commitment to economic growth in Miami-Dade County and the State of Florida.

The new facility includes state of the art design, technology, and meets the highest standards of environmental compliance. The innovative roof design with the tail cupola will accommodate Boeing 777-300 and Airbus A350 size aircraft, and still meet the applicable structure height requirements.

On June 23 ITF issued this subsequent announcement:

This week, the aviation unions of the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) Network of LATAM Unions in Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia will be taking action to support the mechanics of LAN Peru and the flight attendants of LAN Argentina. The workers will inform passengers in the airport about the actions.

The passengers need to know that the demands of the LAN and TAM Airline workers are fair and that the company has the resources to resolve the conflicts. Aviation labour conditions impact the quality of life of workers and potentially the high standards of service on flights.

LAN Peru Mechanics

On June 26th and 27th, a planned strike of the mechanics union (SITALANPE), who represent 70 percent of the workforce, would affect flights in the country and the region. Licensed aviation mechanics are required to certify all aircraft.

LAN Argentina Flight Attendants

In Argentina, the flight attendants have suffered time and again delays in their collective rights. Since 2005, when the company began operations in Argentina, LAN has refused to sign a collective agreement to regulate the flight attendants’ working conditions.

LAN Peru union leader reports detention and threats in the Lima Airport

Juan Carlos Talavera Flores, the press secretary of the SITALANPE union of Peru, has reported that he was detained on Friday, June 20th. He reports that during his detention he was threatened by a security staff from the airport. The security staff introduced himself as being sent by LAN Peru. Mr. Talavera explained that this security staff member told him that LAN Peru was going to bring a legal notary to verify his assumed illegal actions.

Mr. Talvera explains that it was a confusing, frightening and strange action by LAN Peru to intervene with his detention. The leader of the mechanics union states that the police, and the security personnel of the airport sent by LAN Peru, detained him while he was distributing information to the passengers about delays and cancellations which would occur during the upcoming LAN Peru strike of June 26 and 27.

At the police station, the union leader reports that he was searched unfairly for drugs and incriminatory evidence. At the jail, he was threatened. Hours later he was released without charges.

Juan Carlos Talavera Flores, is a leader in the international solidarity campaign to protect aviation standards in South America. His detention was made while he was distributing information in the Jorge Chavez Airport in Lima and answering questions from passengers about the upcoming industrial actions and strikes in LAN and TAM airlines.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. LAN Cargo’s Boeing 767-316F ER CC-CZZ (msn 25756) approaches the runway at Miami International Airport (MIA).

LAN Cargo: AG Slide Show

LAN Airlines (Chile): AG Slide Show

 

US Airways to fly 4 American routes from Miami

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) and US Airways (Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth) as part of the integration and cross-fleeting process, is adjusting its routes, aircraft and crews to better match the markets with the aircraft types. As part of this strategy, US Airways will add Airbus A319 aircraft on the following routes starting on September 3 from the American Airlines Miami hub per Airline Route:

Boston 1 daily

Houston (Bush Intercontinental) 1 daily

Newark 1 daily

Washington (Reagan National) 1 daily

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. US Airways has started the rebranding process to the American Airlines 2013 livery. The first aircraft that were repainted were the Airbus A319s that were formerly painted in the now historic Star Alliance livery. US Airways’ Airbus A319-112 N703UW (msn 904) now painted in the American brand arrives at Baltimore/Washington (BWI).

American Airlines-US Airways: AG Slide Show

American Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

CBS 4 in Miami to detail the safety upgrades to runway 12-30 at Miami International Airport

MIA Runway 12-30 Upgrades (CBS 4)(LRW)

CBS 4 in Miami is doing a special TV presentation called “The Big X” on the new safety upgrades to the diagonal runway 12-30 at Miami International Airport (MIA). The story runs tonight at 11 pm (2300) local time (EDT) on  channel 4 in Miami. It will also appear on cbsmiami.com after its airing.

Runway 12-30 is on a 528-day rehabilitation project. The project will add LED lights that use much less power and last many years without replacement.

Copyright Photo Above: CBS 4/Brian Andrews.

FAA Airport Diagram for MIA:

MIA FAA Airport Diagram (LRW)

Airport Runway Statistics:

MIA Runway Information (LRW)

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

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

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

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

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

Virgin Atlantic-Delta ATL LAX schedule

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

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

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

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

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

Delta Air Lines: AG Slide Show

Virgin Atlantic: AG Slide Show

 

AmeriJet announces a new West Coast cargo hub at Reno, Nevada

AmeriJet International, Inc. (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood and Miami) has announced its U.S. growth plan, including agreements with the Rickenbacker and Reno airports for the development of two domestic air cargo hubs in Ohio and Nevada.

On July 7, AmeriJet will begin daily operations between its new hubs providing long-haul air freight service connecting eleven cities coast to coast for intercontinental and domestic freight.

Amerijet’ s Pamela Rollins, Sr. V.P. Business Development said, “Amerijet’ s dedicated B767 wide body cargo planes will operate exclusively between these hubs and will provide our customers with additional options for expedited and heavyweight domestic freight. We believe this product fills the need for select services once the mainstay of companies such as Burlington Air Express, Kitty Hawk, Emery and other all cargo carriers who did not survive the economic turmoil of the last decade. Our new freighter service is ideal for shipments moving on long-haul lanes over 1,500 miles, especially those in need of time-critical and high-value, temperature controlled or hazardous material shipments.”

“This exciting new coast-to-coast freight service will benefit both businesses and consumers that count on efficient and cost-effective supply chain solutions,” said Elaine Roberts, President & CEO of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, which operates Rickenbacker International Airport. “Rickenbacker is well-equipped and perfectly positioned to meet Amerijet’s needs as a key hub for this service and we look forward to building a strong, successful partnership with them.”

“Amerijet’s selection of Reno-Tahoe International for its west coast operation is amazing news for our airport and our community,” Marily Mora, President/CEO of Reno-Tahoe International Airport, said. “Their unique, cost-effective business model, that will blend air cargo with trucking, is a perfect fit for our growing list of distribution centers. We are proud to welcome Amerijet, and their CEO Dave Bassett, to our community.”

Rollins further added “This service connects Seattle/Tacoma, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Reno on the west coast with Columbus, Chicago (O’Hare), Detroit, Philadelphia, Newark and Atlanta on the east coast with 1-2 day service. Our customers are going to benefit from late local cut-off times, typically between 7-9pm and early recovery times, including Saturdays. This new network will also connect to our Miami Hub providing our customers with a faster and cost effective way to seamlessly move their freight between our domestic and international routes.”

AmeriJet International, Inc. is full‐service multi‐modal transportation and logistics provider, offering U.S. Domestic and International, scheduled all‐cargo transport via land, sea, and air. Amerijet connects over 30 major cities in the U.S. with more than 600 destinations worldwide, providing global transportation solutions for customers throughout the Americas, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Formerly operated by Delta as a passenger aircraft, converted Boeing 767-232 (F) freighter N743AX (msn 22218) approaches the runway at the Miami International Airport (MIA) cargo hub.

AmeriJet International: AG Slide Show

Thomas Cook Airlines to add new routes from Manchester to Miami and New York

Thomas Cook Airlines (UK) (Manchester) is returning and will commence scheduled passenger services at Miami International Airport (MIA) effective on May 3, 2015. Thomas Cook plans on operating twice-weekly nonstops between Manchester and MIA utilizing Airbus A330-200 aircraft. The new route is seasonal and is expected to be operated for eight months.

The airline is also starting three times a week service from Manchester to New York (JFK) starting also in May.

The airline currently operates from Manchester to Orlando and Las Vegas.

Copyright Photo: Arnd Wolf/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 G-OMYT (msn 301) with the new Thomas Cook Group “Sunny Heart” logo on the tail arrives in Munich.

The new Thomas Cook Group “Sunny Heart” logo:

Thomas Cook Group logo

Thomas Cook Airlines (UK): AG Slide Show

AmeriJet to start a new cargo operation at Rickenbacker International Airport on July 7

AmeriJet International, Inc. (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood and Miami) has announced its selection of Rickenbacker International Airport as one of its key air cargo hubs connecting eleven cities within the U.S.. Amerijet continues to spread its wings and has signed a long-term lease agreement with the Rickenbacker Airport for a 20,000 square foot facility, including five loading dock doors, located at 2566 Jerrie Mock Ave, Columbus, Ohio 43217. Service from Rickenbacker starts on July 7, with dedicated Boeing 767 wide body freighter service for intercontinental and domestic freight coast to coast.

AmeriJet International, Inc. is a full-service multi-modal transportation and logistics provider, offering U.S. Domestic and International, scheduled all-cargo transport via land, sea, and air. AmeriJet connects over 600 destinations worldwide, providing global transportation solutions for customers throughout the Americas, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Schedules from the Miami hub: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Ex-Delta Boeing 767-232 (F) N743AX (msn 22218) arrives back at the Miami cargo hub.

AmeriJet International: AG Slide Show

AmeriJet logo

Service Area Map:

AmeriJet Service Area Map

Company Video:

American Airlines to bank its flights again at Miami International Airport

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) is switching from a “rolling hub” to a more traditional “banking hub” at Miami International Airport (MIA) on August 19. With this change MIA will have 10 distinctive banks throughout the day. The change will help improve the revenue synergies for the company because it will allow for quicker and more competitive connections (each hub competes against other hubs for the quickest and easiest connections). The move will also increase the number of possible connections.

MIA has four runways so it can handle the inbound and outbound complexes.

Of course during afternoon thunderstorms in the summer months a banking hub will be more of a challenge as there is less room for any weather delays. If one complex is delayed on the ground by a thunderstorm, the following arriving complex will have to wait for that departing complex to depart.

 

American is doing the same thing at Chicago (O’Hare) (ORD) and Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) throughout 2015. American does not have any re-banking plans at Los Angeles (LAX) or New York (JFK) right now due “to a variety of factors including gate space and slot constraints.”

 

American explained this change to its employees:

American's MIA Hub (American)(LR)

American Banking Hub (American)(LR)

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-823 N816NN (msn 31081) arrives at Miami International Airport on a clear day.

American Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

The new Eastern picks the Boeing 737-800 as its first aircraft type, will Spirit Airlines beat it to Miami?

Eastern (2nd) 737-800 WL (Eastern)(LR)

Eastern Air Lines Group, Inc. (Miami), better known as the proposed “new Eastern”, has apparently selected the Boeing 737-800 as its first aircraft type. The new version of Eastern had previously looked at the Airbus A319 and later the A320.

On their website, the group has added a rendering of a Boeing 737-800 with Winglets in Eastern colors (above) with this photo caption:

This is the current artists rendering of an Eastern Boeing 737-800 in the Eastern livery. This aircraft, the “Spirit of Captain Eddie Rickenbacker” is expected to be delivered to Eastern in late Summer 2014.

Eastern logo (large)

As previously reported, in January 2014, the new Eastern filed an application with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity.

When the first aircraft arrives, the new proposed airline will then go through the final Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 121 certification process leading to an Air Operators Certificate (AOC).

The new airline has proposed using Miami as its new hub.

Spirit logo

 

Spirit Airlines is reportedly in negotiations to bring some of its ultra low-fare operations to Miami. Spirit Airlines has looked at Miami briefly in the past but decided to keep all of its South Florida operations at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL).

Read the report from Brian Andrews of CBS Miami: CLICK HERE

Image: Eastern Air Lines Group, Inc.

Eastern Airlines (1st) Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Spirit Airlines Slide Show: AG Slide Show

TAP Portugal to open a new route to Bogota and Panama City in July, will add two ATR 42-600s

TAP Portugal (Lisbon) will be flying to Bogotá and Panama City four times a week starting in July. The new will operate on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, with flights departing from Lisbon at 12 noon (1200) and arriving in Bogotá at 3:55 pm (1555). The flight then leaves for Panamá at 4:55 pm (1655), arriving there at 6:25 pm (1825). The return flight departs for Lisbon at 7:40 pm (1940), where it arrives at 11:00 am (1100) the following day (all local times).

The new route will operate with Airbus A330-200 aircraft with a seating capacity of 268.

TAP Portugal starting on July 1 will introduce new ATR 42-600 aircraft, replacing Beechcraft 1900Ds. TAP is also adding new service to Oviedo. The airline issued this statement:

TAP has announced the eleventh new route it will launch in 2014. The new route will connect Lisbon and Oviedo from July 1.

The launch of the Oviedo service has been made possible because of an important change to the fleet operated by PGA — Portugália Airlines (Lisbon), with the replacement of two 19-seater Beechcraft 1900D aircraft with two 46-seat ATR 42-600s, which also have a longer range.

Oviedo will become the eighth Spanish city with direct TAP flights, joining Madrid and Barcelona (which have direct flights from Lisbon, Porto and Funchal), Seville, La Coruña, Bilbao, Malaga and Valencia.
In 2013, TAP carried 944,000 passengers between Portugal and Spain, a 6% increase from 2012.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-223 CS-TOF (msn 308) of TAP Portugal arrives at Miami International Airport.

TAP Portugal: AG Slide Show

PGA-Portugalia Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

AeroMexico adds a fourth daily seasonal flight from Mexico City to Miami

AeroMexico (Mexico City) has announced the launch of its fourth daily seasonal flight between Miami and Mexico City as of April 11.

Below are the carrier’s schedules for this city pair:

Miami – Mexico City* Mexico City – Miami*
AM 433** 2:30 a.m. 5:06 a.m. Daily AM 432** 1:00 a.m. 4:57 a.m. Daily
AM 429 7:00 a.m. 9:49 a.m. Daily AM 412 9:36 a.m. 1:38 p.m. Daily
AM 423 3:00 p.m. 5:49 p.m. Daily AM 422 12:44 p.m. 4:54 p.m. Daily
AM 413 6:08 p.m. 8:57 p.m. Daily AM 428 7:45 p.m. 11:44 p.m. Daily

* Times published are local to each country and are subject to change without notice.

**New seasonal flight.

All four daily flights will be operated with Boeing 737-700 aircraft configured with 124 seats, including 12 seats in AeroMexico’s Clase Premier front cabin, and will depart from Terminal H at the Miami International Airport. The terminal features benefits such as electronic check-in terminals and restaurants located close to the boarding gates.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-752 XA-GMV (msn 35118) arrives at Miami International Airport (MIA) with a special promotional Los Cabos logo.

AeroMexico: AG Slide Show

Aerolineas Argentinas orders four Airbus A330-200s

Aerolíneas Argentinas (Buenos Aires) has signed a purchase agreement for four Airbus A330-200s to renew and consolidate their widebody fleet. Aerolíneas Argentinas will announce the engine selection at a later date.

Argentina’s flagship carrier will deploy the new A330 aircraft for medium and long haul routes from their Buenos Aires hub to destinations throughout Latin America, Europe and the United States. The airline currently operates eight Airbus A340-300s (above), four A340-200s and four A330-200s.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. The new Airbus A330-200s will help replace the older aging Airbus A340-200s and A340-300s. A340-313X LV-CSF (man 128) lands on runway 27 at Miami International Airport.

Aerolineas Argentinas: AG Slide Show

American to drop the Newark-Los Angeles route on March 6

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) is planning to end nonstop service on the Newark-Los Angeles route on March 6 according to Airline Route. American will continue to operate from New York (JFK) to Los Angeles.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-823 N965AN (msn 29544) departs from the Miami hub.

American Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

Avianca to resume Bogota-London flights, grounds its Fokker 50s

Avianca (Colombia) (Bogota) has announced it will resume regular service between Bogota and London (Heathrow) in July. Airbus A330s (above) are expected to be operated on the restored route.

In other news, the company has also announced its has temporarily grounded its remaining Fokker 50s. The company issued this statement:

“In line with the fleet renovation and modernization plan, Avianca S.A. is in the process of renewing its regional fleet by replacing the Fokker 50s with ATR 72-600 aircraft. The company currently operates a combined turbo prop fleet, consisting of four F okker 50s and four brand new ATR 72s.

In spite of the high technical standards and strict preventive maintenance processes, the company has in place, on January 28, a malfunction on one of the engines of a Fokker 50 operating on the Cali-Tumaco route before take-off. After performing all the proper inspections and going through all the safety procedures, Avianca S.A. has taken the preventive decision to temporarily ground its Fokker 50 fleet.

This preemptive security measure will allow Avianca S.A. and the engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney to establish the causes of the event, and implement the necessary corrective measures that will guaranty the aircraft ́s operational reliability.”

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 N948AC (msn 948) rotates off the runway at Miami International Airport (MIA).

Avianca (Colombia): AG Slide Show

Sky King ceases all operations

Sky King‘s (Lakeland) remaining employees were notified on January 26, 2014 that Sky King, Inc. was ceasing operations. On January 6, 2014, President Frank Visconti was replaced by Dr. Daniel Carson, formerly of Vision Airlines. According to this article by AviationPros.com, Lakeland Linder Regional Airport Director Gene Conrad confirmed the charter airline has suspended operations at LAL.

Sky King in late 2013 returned most of its fleet as it lost some business including many of its charters flights to Cuba.

The company never really recovered after Direct Air went out of business on March 13, 2012 causing Sky King to filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on March 16, 2012. It filed again on August 31, 2012.

The company originally commenced operations in July 1990, based in Sacramento, California. Its first customer, the NBA Sacramento Kings, was the reason for its name which was also the name of an old TV show.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Luimer Cordero/AirlinersGallery.com. Most of the aircraft did not have titles. Boeing 737-4Q8 N916SK (msn 24706) wore C&T Charters titles, one its Cuban charters clients.

Sky King: AG Slide Show

Will the Eastern name and brand return to Miami? CEO Ed Wegel wants to fly Airbus A320s in Eastern colors

Eastern Air Lines Group, Inc., (2nd) (Miami) has filed an application with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity.  Eastern plans on commencing its Part 121 certification with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) shortly and has retained legal counsel and consultants for this purpose.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to launch an airline bearing the iconic Eastern Air Lines name,” said Eastern’s President and CEO Edward Wegel. “We have recruited a world class board of directors and a highly experienced management team to guide and lead this effort.”

Eastern logo (large)

Eastern Air Lines Group, Inc. was formed to re-launch Eastern Air Lines as a passenger airline using the Airbus A320 aircraft from its main base of operations at Miami International Airport (MIA).  Eastern’s headquarters is located in Building 5A at MIA.

Eastern Air Lines Group, Inc. is not affiliated with the former Eastern Air Lines, which operated from 1928 to 1991 as one of the largest U.S. domestic air carriers.

For more information visit www.easternairlines.aero and follow @FlyEastern.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. The original Eastern Airlines was the U.S. launch customer of the Airbus A300. Airbus A300B4-103 N213EA (msn 092) taxies to the gate (now American Airlines’ Terminal D on the north side) at Eastern’s old Miami International Airport hub. Eastern sold its Latin American routes to American Airlines.

Eastern Airlines (original): AG Slide Show

American Airlines Group reports its combined fourth quarter and full year financial results

American Airlines Group Inc. (American Airlines and US Airways) (Dallas/Fort Worth) today reported fourth quarter and full year 2013 results.

  • As the result of the merger which closed on Dec. 9, 2013, US Airways Group became a subsidiary of AMR Corporation which changed its name to American Airlines Group Inc. (AAG)
  • Fourth quarter 2013 combined net profit was $436 million on a non-GAAP basis excluding net special charges. This represents a $478 million improvement versus the company’s combined fourth quarter 2012 non-GAAP net loss of $42 million excluding net special credits
  • 2013 combined net profit was $1.9 billion on a non-GAAP basis excluding net special charges, a $1.5 billion improvement versus the company’s combined 2012 non-GAAP net profit of $407 million excluding net special charges
  • The company ended the year with $10.3 billion in total cash and investments. Since the merger, the company has used more than $300 million of cash to reduce its diluted shares outstanding by approximately 14 million

For the fourth quarter 2013, AAG reported a GAAP net loss of $2.0 billion, which includes $2.4 billion of net special charges. This compares to a net profit of $262 million, which includes $350 million of net special credits in the fourth quarter 2012. AAG’s GAAP financial results include the results for US Airways only for the period from the completion of the merger on Dec. 9, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2013.

For full year 2013, GAAP net loss was $1.8 billion, which includes $3.1 billion of net special charges. This compares to a full year 2012 net loss of $1.9 billion, which includes $1.7 billion of net special charges.

The company believes it is more meaningful to compare year-over-year results for American Airlines and US Airways on a combined basis, which is a non-GAAP formulation that combines the results for AMR Corporation and US Airways Group. Therefore, it includes the results of US Airways Group for the full period (not just the period since the merger closed). See the accompanying notes in the Financial Tables section of this press release for further explanation of this presentation, including a reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP financial information.

Fourth quarter 2013 combined net profit was $436 million on a non-GAAP basis excluding net special charges. This compares to a combined non-GAAP net loss of $42 million excluding net special credits for the same period in 2012. Based on a diluted share count of 742 million, fourth quarter 2013 diluted earnings per share was $0.59 on a non-GAAP basis.

For 2013, the company’s combined net profit was $1.9 billion on a non-GAAP basis excluding net special charges. This represents a $1.5 billion improvement over the company’s combined 2012 non-GAAP net profit of $407 million excluding net special charges.

“The early returns on our merger are very positive,” said Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines Group Inc. “Our teams are working well together and our customers are already beginning to see the benefits of our combined network. We have much work ahead, but believe we are on our way to restoring American as the greatest airline in the world. These financial results are evidence of the strong foundation we have in place and we anticipate improving upon these results as we further integrate our operations in 2014.”

Merger Integration 

Since closing the merger on December 9, 2013, the company has made significant progress in integrating American Airlines and US Airways. Key accomplishments include:

  • Launched the first phase of codesharing which offers customers improved access to the company’s global network by allowing them to book select flights on both airlines’ networks
  • Provided reciprocal benefits for Club members and Elite members, including priority check-in, waiver of fees for checked bags, complimentary access to preferred seats, priority security, early boarding and priority baggage delivery
  • Allowed AAdvantage® and Dividend Miles members to earn and redeem miles when traveling across either airline’s network
  • Trained more than 85,000 customer-facing employees

Revenue and Cost Comparisons

On a combined basis, total revenues in the fourth quarter were $10.0 billion, up 8.7 percent versus the fourth quarter 2012 on a 3.4 percent increase in total available seat miles (ASMs). Fourth quarter combined consolidated passenger revenue per ASM (PRASM) was 13.64 cents, up 5.0 percent versus the fourth quarter 2012, driven by a 5.3 percent increase in yield.

Strong demand and high load factors led to 2013 total combined revenues of $40.4 billion, which were up 4.7 percent versus 2012. Full year combined consolidated PRASM was 13.67 cents, up 2.6 percent versus 2012.

Total combined operating expenses in the fourth quarter were $9.7 billion, up 7.0 percent over fourth quarter 2012. Combined fourth quarter mainline cost per available seat mile (CASM) was 14.17 cents, up 4.2 percent on a 3.6 percent increase in mainline ASMs versus fourth quarter 2012. Excluding special charges, fuel and profit sharing, mainline CASM was flat compared to the fourth quarter 2012, at8.49 cents. Regional CASM excluding special charges and fuel was 15.73 cents, up 1.8 percent on a 1.6 percent increase in regional ASMs versus fourth quarter 2012.

For the full year 2013, total combined operating expenses were $37.8 billion, up 0.6 percent versus 2012. Excluding special charges, fuel and profit sharing, combined mainline CASM decreased 3.1 percent to 8.37 cents versus 2012. Regional CASM excluding special credits and fuel increased 1.1 percent to 15.38 cents versus 2012.

Liquidity and Financing Transactions

As of December 31, 2013, American had $10.3 billion in total cash and investments, of which $1.0 billion was restricted. The company also has an undrawn revolving credit facility of $1.0 billion. Approximately $710 million of this unrestricted cash balance was held as Venezuelan bolivars, valued at the weighted average applicable exchange rate of 6.04 bolivars to the dollar. The period of time to exchange those funds into dollars and repatriate them has been increasing and is presently more than a year. On January 24, 2014, the Venezuelan government announced that a newly-implemented system will determine the exchange rate (currently 11.36 to the dollar) for repatriation of income from future ticket sales, and introduced new procedures for approval of repatriation of local currency. American is working with Venezuelan authorities regarding the timing and exchange rate applicable to the repatriation of funds held in local currency.

During the fourth quarter, the company elected to pay approximately $300 million in tax withholdings for employees under the Plan of Reorganization in lieu of issuing shares of common stock, thereby reducing the number of shares issued under the Plan by approximately 13 million. On January 9, 2014, the first distribution date, the company paid approximately $23 million in additional employee tax withholdings in lieu of issuing approximately 1 million shares of common stock. The company may make a similar election on future distribution dates as both a service to our team members and an indication of our confidence in the value of our common stock.

Additional balance sheet and liquidity detail will be included in the company’s Form 10-K to be filed in February.

During the fourth quarter, the company engaged in these additional financing transactions:

  • Completed the American Airlines offering of the Series 2013-2B EETC in aggregate face amount of $512 million and the Series 2013-2C EETC in aggregate face amount of $256 million
  • Amended the American Airlines term loan facility and the revolving credit facility to lower the applicable LIBOR margins to 3.0% for both offerings. As part of this amendment, the LIBOR floor with respect to the term loan facility was reduced from 1.0% to 0.75%
  • Utilized the floating rate debt market to refinance eight US Airways aircraft (six A321s and two A320s) at significantly reduced rates
  • Financed two US Airways spare engine deliveries with a floating rate debt facility originated in 2012 while negotiating an interest rate reduction for the entire facility
  • On Jan. 16, 2014 the company also amended the US Airways term loan facility, to lower the applicable LIBOR margin from 3.0% to 2.75% for Tranche B1. In addition, the LIBOR floor was reduced from 1.0% to 0.75% on both the Tranche B1 and Tranche B2 loans

Special Charges

In the fourth quarter, the company recognized a combined total of $2.4 billion in net special charges, including:

  • $2.2 billion in net reorganization charges consisting primarily of a deemed claim to employees, professional fees and estimated allowed claim amounts
  • $497 million in operating expense net special charges primarily related to the pilot memorandum of understanding that became effective upon merger close, merger related costs and professional fees and a charge related to the pilot long-term disability obligation
  • $324 million in non-cash income tax benefits primarily related to gains recorded in Other Comprehensive Income, offset in part by a charge related to deferred tax liabilities on indefinite lived assets
  • $31 million in operating revenue net special credits related to a change in accounting method resulting from the modification of the company’s AAdvantage® miles agreement with Citibank
  • $21 million in non-operating net special charges primarily related to interest charges to recognize post-petition interest expense on unsecured obligations

Notable Accomplishments

Additional Integration Related

  • On December 9, 2013, US Airways Group became a subsidiary of AMR Corporation which changed its name to American Airlines Group Inc. The company’s common stock began trading on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker “AAL”. Union presidents and more than 1,000 of the company’s employees joined American’s senior management team for the televised NASDAQ opening bell ceremony
  • Announced the new leadership team through the Managing Director level
  • Co-located our revenue management team to ensure the company is executing pricing and revenue management strategies as one organization
  • Took the unprecedented step of asking team members to vote to select the aircraft livery of the merged carrier. More than 60,000 team members participated

Fleet/Network

  • Continued to modernize its fleet with new, fuel-efficient aircraft. The company inducted thirteen Airbus A320 family aircraft, two A330-200 aircraft, five Boeing 737-800 and one Boeing 777-300 aircraft into its fleet
  • Signed agreements with Bombardier Inc. and Embraer S.A. to purchase 90 new 76-seat regional jets that will replace smaller, less efficient 50-seat regional aircraft scheduled for retirement
  • Began nonstop service between its largest hub at Dallas/Fort Worth and Bogota, Colombia and Roatan, Honduras and announced proposed new service between Dallas/Fort Worth and Hong Kong and Shanghai
  • Began nonstop service between its Miami hub and Curitiba and Porto Alegre, Brazil
  • Expanded the company’s international reach from its hub at Charlotte, North Carolina with the announcement of new, seasonal summer service to Barcelona, Spain; Brussels, Belgium; Lisbon, Portugal and Manchester, England
  • Announced the company will begin service to Edinburgh, Scotland from its Philadelphia hub this summer
  • Held the grand opening of an expanded Terminal F in PHL, the exclusive home of US Airways Express. The airport project which was managed by the company, quadrupled the facilities central area to 37,000 square feet and added 20 new food, beverage and retail outlets for our customers

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. American’s Boeing 767-323 ER N388AA (msn 27448) arrives at the Miami hub.

American Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

American Airlines (historic): AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

The National Airlines name re-enters the Miami market

National Airlines (5th) (Orlando) is a familiar airline name in South Florida. Three previous airlines with that name have operated at Miami International Airport (MIA). The current National Airlines, now based in Florida, is now operating Cuban passenger charter flights for the various Cuban charter companies at MIA.

Travel to Cuba is booming. According to this report by Brandenton.com, 394 charter flights departed MIA for Cuba during December 2013. Charter flights to Cuba are also permitted from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood and Tampa. National has joined a group of airlines that operate these special flights.

Before the Castro regime took over Cuba in 1959, Havana was Miami’s largest international destination.

The Bradenton.com explains the Cuban Charter business: CLICK HERE

National (5th) logo-2

In other news, National Airlines on February 1 will offer daily public charter service from Dubai International Airport to forward operating bases in Bagram, with service to Kandahar and Bastion in Afghanistan coming soon.

Check the schedule below for current flight options:

Origin Destination Schedule * Flight # Days Effective
Dubai, UAE
(DXB)
Bagram, AF (OAI) 06:25 – 09:40 NCR998 Tu 01Feb14 to 30Jun14
Bagram, AF (OAI) 06:45 – 10:00 NCR998 M, W, Th, F, Sa 01Feb14 to 30Jun14
Bagram, AF (OAI) 06:50 – 10:05 NCR998 Su 01Feb14 to 30Jun14
Bagram, AF
(OAI)
Dubai, UAE (DXB) 11:30 – 14:10 NCR999 Tu 01Feb14 to 30Jun14
Dubai, UAE (DXB) 11:50 – 14:30 NCR999 M, W, Th, F, Sa 01Feb14 to 30Jun14
Dubai, UAE (DXB) 11:55 – 14:35 NCR999 Su 01Feb14 to 30Jun14
* Schedule is in local time at airport of departure/arrival.

Top Copyright Photo: Ole Simon/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 757-236 N169CA (msn 25592) arrives at Dubai International Airport (DXB).

National Airlines (1st): AG Slide Show

National Airlines (4th): AG Slide Show

National Airlines (5th): AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: L. Apso. National Airlines is now basing Boeing 757-28A N176CA (msn 24543) in Miami and it is seen on the former National Airlines (later Pan Am) Concourse F at Miami International Airport.

National (5th) 757-200 N176CA (10)(Grd) MIA (LC)(LRW) 1.2.14

Lan Airlines brings the Boeing 787 to Miami

LAN (Chile) 787-8 CC-BBE (04)(Grd) MIA (LC)(LRW)

LAN Airlines (Chile) (Santiago) today (January 3) brought the new Boeing 787-8 to Miami for the first time. The first visit was due to the snowstorm in New York (JFK).

The airline is planning to commence regular once-weekly Santiago to Miami 787 service via Cancun starting on August 9, 2014 per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: L. Apso. Boeing 787-8 CC-BBE (msn 38473) parked at gate J11 in the South Terminal this morning.

LAN Airlines (Chile): AG Slide Show

Miami International Airport reaches 40 million passengers for the first time in 2013

MIA logo

Miami International Airport (MIA) ended 2013 by reaching the 40-million passenger mark for the first time in the airport’s 85-year history and setting a new record for annual passengers for the fourth year in a row. Preliminary numbers show that the watershed moment for MIA came on Friday, December 27, just five days before the end of the year. Since 2010, when MIA hit the 35.7 million passenger mark for the first time, annual passenger traffic at the airport has increased by more than 12 percent.

Thank You For Helping Us Hit 40 Million!

Since December 1, more than 3.1 million passengers have travelled through MIA, including a new single-day record of 139,940 passengers set on December 21.

Miami International Airport 

MIA continued to expand internationally with seven new foreign destinations in 2013: Guadeloupe, Martinique, Cozumel, Milan, Curitiba and Porto Alegre, all by American Airlines; and Calgary by Canadian carrier WestJet. MIA’s global route network will expand further with three new route launches scheduled in the first six months of 2014: Belem, Brazil; Brussels, Belgium; and Doha, Qatar.

Vote on your favorite MIA photo on the Miami International Airport Facebook page. Here is one of the entries:

MIA Photo of the Week

What do 40 million passengers look like? The following facts offer some perspective:

In 2013, MIA moved the equivalent of Argentina’s entire population – or the combined populations of Florida and New York.

The Miami Heat would have to sell out every single regular season home game at the 19,600-seat American Airlines Arena for the next 50 years in order to match MIA’s 2013 passenger total.

Congratulations to the Miami Dade Aviation Department (MDAD) and the airlines serving MIA.

Video: Miam Aviation History 1920s to 1980s:

Bottom Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum (all others by MDAD). Miami International Airport’s well known MIA airport code embraces the initials of the airport and the first three letters of the city of Miami, a very unique combination in airport codes.

WestJet launches nonstop seasonal Calgary-Miami flights

WestJet (Calgary) yesterday (October 28) launched new nonstop seasonal service between Calgary and Miami, Florida, home to the largest cruise ship port in the world. The first flight leaves Calgary International Airport at 1:30 p.m. MDT and arrives at Miami International Airport at 8:45 p.m. EDT .

Details of WestJet’s new non-stop seasonal service between Calgary and Miami are:

Flight Departing Arriving Effective
1500 Calgary at 1:30 p.m. Miami at 8:43 p.m. October 28, 2013
1501 Miami at 9:35 a.m. Calgary at 1:45 p.m. October 29, 2013

The launch marks the start of service four times weekly on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until December 14, 2013 . Effective December 16, 2013 , the service increases to six times weekly (Monday through Saturday).

Miami International Airport is a major hub of American Airlines, one of WestJet’s airline partners. From Miami , WestJet guests have the opportunity to connect to many different AA destinations throughout the United States , Central and South America. WestJet guests may also access Miami via American Airlines codeshare flights from Toronto and Montreal.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com.  Boeing 737-7CT WL C-FEWJ (msn 32769) taxies to the gate at Miami International Airport.

WestJet: AG Slide Show

LAN Colombia joins Oneworld, TAM to join on March 31, 2014

LAN Colombia (formerly AIRES Colombia) (Bogota) yesterday (October 1) joined the oneworld® alliance.

 

LAN Colombia, a company related to LATAM Airlines Group SA (LAN Airlines), has entered oneworld as an affiliate member.   LAN Airlines has been a full member of oneworld since 2000.  All its other passenger airline affiliates have subsequently joined the alliance as affiliate members – LAN Argentina, LAN Ecuador, LAN Peru and, from today, LAN Colombia – and, it was announced today, TAM will enter oneworld on 31 March 2014 with its Paraguayan affiliate to follow on a date yet to be confirmed.
This will bring all of the components of Latin America’s leading airline group into the world’s leading quality airline alliance, building on oneworld’s position as the first choice airline alliance for frequent international travelers within South America and worldwide.
LAN Colombia was welcomed into oneworld at a ceremony this morning at its Bogota base hosted by LAN Colombia’s Chairman Nicolás Cortázar, its Executive Director Hernán Pasman and its Corporate Director Maria Lara, with oneworld CEO Bruce Ashby, flying in from his New York base, LATAM Vice-President Strategic Alliances Soledad Berrios, from LAN Airlines’ Santiago head office, and senior representatives from the other oneworld airlines serving Colombia, led by American Airlines Managing Director Alliances Latin America Eduardo Marcos, from its Dallas-Fort Worth head office, and Iberia Country Manager María Consuelo Sánchez.
LAN Colombia’s Chairman, Nicolás Cortázar, said: “LAN Colombia is very proud to have joined oneworld.  For our company, it represents a significant milestone.  For our country, it significantly improves our access to the rest of the world, helping attract more business visitors and tourists, enabling Colombians to reach more of the world’s most important business centres worldwide and making it easier to travel the world from any of the destinations we serve throughout Colombia.”
Since its launch in December 2011, LAN Colombia has quickly established itself as the second biggest airline in South America’s second largest economy.  In total, it serves 24 airports in four countries with a fleet of 24 aircraft operating 130 departures a day.  It boarded 3.7 million passengers in 2012.
TAM Airlines (TAM Linhas Aereas) (Sao Paulo), a company related to LATAM Airlines Group, will join oneworld® with effect from March 31, 2014, adding the leading carrier in Brazil – Latin America’s biggest economy and largest market for air travel demand – to the world’s leading quality global airline alliance.
TAM’s entry into oneworld with effect from the first flights on March 31, 2014 will follow immediately upon its exit from the Star Alliance with effect from the final flights on March 30, 2014.
TAM serves 60 destinations in 16 countries in Latin America, the USA and Europe, with a fleet of 161 aircraft operating 800 departures daily.  It boarded 38 million passengers in 2012.
Three of oneworld’s existing members – American, Iberia and LAN – already serve three destinations in Colombia, in Bogota, Cali and Medellin.   LAN Colombia expands that to a total of 21 Colombian gateways.
Across South America, oneworld’s established member airlines already serve 71 destinations in 11 countries.  LAN Colombia and TAM add another 56 airports in the region to that network – with LAN Colombia bringing 18 airports on board and TAM.
Worldwide, with LAN Colombia, TAM and the other airlines lining up to join, oneworld will:
  • Serve almost a thousand airports in more than 150 countries, with 14,000 daily departures.
  • Carry 480 million passengers a year on a combined fleet of more than 3,200 aircraft.
  • Generate US$ 140 billion annual revenues.
The addition of LAN Colombia  and TAM from March 31, 2014 represents a cornerstone of oneworld’s biggest membership expansion yet.  Other elements elsewhere in the world include:
  • The addition of Malaysia Airlines, one of this industry’s most frequent award winners, six months ago, further strengthening oneworld’s position in South East Asia, one of the fastest growing regions for air travel demand.
  • The induction on October 30, 2013 of Qatar Airways, the only one of the “Gulf Big Three” carriers slated to join any of the global airline alliances and one of the world’s fastest growing and most highly rated airlines.  This will make oneworld the leading alliance in the Middle East, one of the world’s fastest growing regions for air travel demand.
  • The introduction early next year of SriLankan Airlines, as the first airline from the Indian subcontinent to join any global alliance, which, with Qatar Airways, will make oneworld the leading alliance in the region.
  • The proposed switch by US Airways from Star to oneworld as part of its planned merger with American Airlines, subject to necessary approvals.

 

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. LAN Colombia’ Airbus A320-233 CC-CQN (msn 3319) prepares to land at Miami.

AeroMexico to launch AeroMexico Contigo on October 1

AeroMexico (Mexico City) has  announced the start of its AeroMexico Contigo program as of October 1.

According to the carrier, “the new product will provide migrant customers residing in Mexico or in the United States, who travel frequently between the two countries, a specific Call Center and personal assistance at participating airport check-in counters, to help the passengers fill out their immigration forms, transportation of oversized packages, connections to the airline’s route network and attention on both sides of the border, as well as competitive rates for this important passenger segment.”

The carrier has configured four of its Boeing 737-800 airplanes to offer this new service, with 174 seats. The three front rows – 18 seats – will feature the AM Plus seat configuration, with more legroom and angle in the reclining backrests, among other benefits. The other 156 seats will be in Economy Class.

Some of the destinations featuring the Aeromexico Contigo product include:

Destinations Within Mexico
Guadalajara – Tijuana 28 weekly flights
Culiacan – Tijuana 14 weekly flights

 

Mexico-US Destinations
Guadalajara – Chicago 7 weekly flights
Guadalajara – Ontario 7 weekly flights
Guadalajara – Los Angeles 14 weekly flights
Guadalajara – Fresno 3 weekly flights
Guadalajara – Sacramento 3 weekly flights

In addition to this product’s unique benefits, AeroMexico will continue to provide complimentary on board beverages and entertainment services, and one piece of checked luggage weighing up to 55 pounds, with  a 22 pounds carry-on for travel between Mexico and the United States. Passengers traveling from the United States to Mexico can also check a 50 pounds piece of luggage and carry a 22 pounds bag on board.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. AeroMexico’s Boeing 737-852 EI-DRC (msn 35116) approaches the runway at Miami International Airport.

AeroMexico: AG Slide Show

El Al reports a net profit of $3.7 million in the second quarter

El Al Israel Airlines (Tel Aviv) reported a net profit of $3.7 million in the second quarter. This is a reversal from a loss of $6.1 million in the same quarter a year ago.

The company issued this financial statement:

Profits for this quarter totaled about $3.7 million, compared to a loss of $6.1 million in the second quarter of 2012

Company revenues for the second quarter of 2013 totaled $529.7 million, compared to $516.8 million in the second quarter last year

The ratio of gross profits to turnover increased from 15.1% to 15.5% and totaled $82.0 million compared to $78.1 million in the parallel quarter of last year

Elyezer Shkedy, El Al’s President & CEO:

“The Company continues to match its activities to the realities of the market place and thus continues to become more efficient. During the second quarter of 2013 the Company increased the number of available seats for sale by 7% compared to the parallel quarter of last year, while maintaining a similar level of expenditure and a reduced number of employees. Efficient use and operation of the Company’s aircraft brought about passenger load factors of about 82.4%.

The Company reports a profit as well as positive cash flows, while it continues with its investment plans, including payments for purchases of new Boeing 737-900 aircraft as part of a business transaction for the purchase of six aircraft with options for two more.

The first 737-900 of this contract will enter in service with El Al in October 2013.

As part of the Company’s overall business and operational assessment, El Al continues to reduce the number of aircraft types in operation. During the coming months we plan to remove the fleet of 767-200s, bringing the number of aircraft types we operate to four only (reduced from seven, that included our 747-200s, the 757s and the 767-200s).

During the second quarter, El Al continued to develop its strategic plans in response to world market trend in international civil aviation (including the open-skies policies). The Company is presently crystallizing new plans for short-haul flights using five 737-800s on routes still to be decided by the Company’s Management. The aim is to integrate the new plans and schedules no later than the summer of 2014.

Further to the agreement that was achieved with the Government and the Ministry of Finance when the open skies policy into effect, the Government’s portion for security expenditures for Israeli airlines was increased to 85%, starting 1.5.2013. The balance of the agreement will be implemented during 2013 and in early 2014, if the appropriate terms and conditions of the agreement are met.

The FIMI Investment Company announced that they are giving the Company an extension of 45 days to finalize the conditions for the agreement. This period ends on August 29, 2013. They noted that the negotiations on a new comprehensive labor agreement are advancing slowly.

I do hope that the Company employees grasp the importance of reaching a new agreement. I expect the members of the workers’ committee to act responsibly and to take immediate action to formulate a new collective labor agreement, which, amongst other things, will enable FIMI to become an active investor in El Al; will allow the Company to advance and grow; and will enable the Company to face the open skies policies and the ever-increasing competition successfully.

I’d like to thank the entire El Al family – on the ground, in the air, in Israel and abroad – who work so determinedly and devotedly to overcome the difficult challenges facing us. We are committed to providing our customers with the very finest services and products through our ongoing efforts to surmount and meet the challenging market conditions.”

El Al Israel Airlines published its financial reports summarizing the first half of 2013, as well as for the second quarter of the year. The main points follow:

Financial results for the second quarter 2013:

  • Revenues for the present quarter totaled $529.7 million, compared to $516.8 million in the parallel quarter of last year, an increase of about 2.5%. Revenues from passengers increased by about 4%, the result of the increased number of passengers carried, after offsetting the drop in revenue per passenger-kilometer. Revenues from charter services dropped by about 12.9% as a result of reduced activity of our Sun D’Or charter subsidiary. Cargo revenues dropped by about 6.4% as a result of the reduction ton-kilometer revenues and the general reduction in cargo activities.
  • Operating expenses in the second quarter under review increased by about 2% to about $447.8 million, compared to $438.7 million in the parallel quarter of last year, largely as a result of increased volume of activities, the ratio of which on turnover during the second quarter of 2013 dropped from about 84.9% to about 84.5% during this quarter. In addition to an increase in cost of salaries as explained further on, and changes in currency exchange rates, after offsetting the reduction in fuel expenses – as explained further on. During the 2nd quarter of 2013 the number of permanent and temporary employees in the Company was on average 5,906, compared to 5,938 in the parallel quarter of last year.
  • Aviation fuel costs during this quarter dropped by about $7.5 million compared to in the parallel quarter of last year, a reduction of about 4.0%. Market prices of aviation fuel during the quarter dropped by about 6.9% on average, compared to in the parallel quarter of last year. During the reported quarter the Company recorded costs of $3.9 million as a result of a decrease in fair value of hedging transactions that are not recognized for accounting purposes, compared to costs of about $6.5 million for similar hedging costs in the parallel quarter of last year. On the other hand the increased activities increased fuel costs during the quarter by about $5.8 million, while aviation-fuel hedging expenses grew by about $2.0 million during this quarter, compared to in the parallel quarter of last year ($3.8 million compared to $1.8 million). Fuel costs during the reported quarter totaled about 40.0% of our total operating expenditures, compared to 42.5% in the parallel quarter of last year.
    Cost of salaries during the 2nd quarter of 2013 rose in comparison with the parallel quarter last year. Most of the increase is the result of the strengthening of the shekel exchange rate vis-à-vis the dollar, compared to in the parallel quarter of last year, plus the creeping increase in salaries.
  • Gross profits for the quarter totaled about $82.0 million (a ratio of about 15.5% on turnover), compared to $78.1 million in the parallel quarter last year (a ratio of 15.1% on turnover).
  • The operating profits were about $7.0 million compared to an operating profit of $2.4 million in the parallel quarter of last year.
  • Financing. In this quarter the Company had net financing costs (after offsetting financing revenues) about $2.1 million, compared to net financing costs of $10.4 million in the parallel quarter of last year. The change is largely the result of the benefits of receipts from foreign currency hedging but that was set off by the increases caused by changes in exchange rates.
  • Net profits for the second quarter of 2013 totaled $3.7 million, compared to a loss of about $6.1 million in the parallel quarter of last year.
  • Cash flow from regular activities during the 2nd quarter 2013 totaled about $47.8 million, compared to $14.1 million in the parallel quarter of last year. Cash flow for the first 6 months of the year totaled about $128.3 million.
  • The EBITDA for El Al for the second quarter of 2013 totaled about $31.9 million. Compared to $29.7 million in the parallel quarter of last year.

Results for the first half of 2013:

  • Revenues for the first half of this year totaled about $960.7 million, compared to $945.9 million in the parallel quarter of last year, an increase of about 1.6%.
  • Operating expenditure for the first half of 2013 totaled about $840.9 million, compared to $827.3 million in the parallel quarter of last year, an increase of about 1.6%. The change is largely the result of increased costs of salaries as explained below, while the ratio on turnover remains almost unchanged – about 87.5% in the reported half-year.
  • Gross profits for the six months totaled about 12.5%, reaching about $119.8 million, compared to $118.6 million in the parallel quarter of last year.
  • Operating losses for the first half of 2013 totaled about $29.3 million, compared to an operating loss of about $21.4 million in the parallel quarter of last year.
  • Financing. In the first half of 2013 the Company reported net financing costs (after offsetting financing revenues) of about $9.1 million. This compares to net financing costs of about $18.5 million in the parallel quarter of last year. The change is largely the result of the benefits of receipts from foreign currency hedging but that was set-off by the increases caused by changes in exchange rates.
  • Net losses for the first half of 2013 totaled about $28.8 million, compared to a net loss of about $29.4 million in the parallel quarter of last year.
  • El Al’s EBITDA for the first half year totaled about $20.7 million, compared to EBITDA of $33.1 million in the parallel quarter of last year.

Additional data:

  • As of June 30, 2013 the Company’s cash on hand, cash equivalencies and short-term deposits totaled $121.9 million. It should be noted that during the first half of 2013 the Company invested around $75 million in fixed assets, in accordance with the Company’s multi-annual investment program, in addition to prior financing of the new 737-900s. The Company also repaid current loans totaling $42.1 million and obtained loans of $45.6 million, mainly for the purchase of fixed assets.
  • Company equity, as at  June 30, 2013 totaled $107 million.

 

As reported above, El Al will soon retire its last Boeing 767-200, bringing down the number of aircraft types to four. The carrier had previously retired the last Boeing 757-200 last year.

When the 767-200s joined the El Al fleet, it was the first plane that allowed a direct, nonstop route to Chicago (O’Hare) and Hong Kong. Later on, two 767-200s were used for opening the nonstop route to Miami.

As part of the renewal process, El Al is adding new Boeing 737-900 ER planes.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-27E ER 4X-EAE (msn 24832) taxies at Miami.

El Al: AG Slide Show

Copa Holdings reports 2Q net income of $74.4 million

Copa Holdings, S.A. (Copa Airlines and Copa Colombia) has announced financial results for the second quarter of 2013:

OPERATING AND FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

  • Copa Holdings reported net income of US$74.4 million for 2Q13, or diluted earnings per share (EPS) of US$1.68.  Excluding special items, Copa Holdings would have reported an adjusted net income of $85.0 million, or $1.92 per share, a 45.3% increase over adjusted net income of US$58.5 million and US$1.32 per share for 2Q12.
  • Operating income for 2Q13 came in at US$97.7 million, a 34.5% increase over operating income of US$72.6 million in 2Q12.  Operating margin for the period came in at 16.5%, compared to 14.1% in 2Q12, as a result of lower unit costs.
  • Total revenues increased 14.8% to US$592.0 million.  Yield per passenger mile decreased 4.6% to 16.4 cents and operating revenue per available seat mile (RASM) decreased 2.5% to 12.8 cents.  However, adjusting for a 7.3% increase in length of haul, yields decreased 1.2% and RASM increased 1.0%.
  • For 2Q13, passenger traffic (RPMs) grew 20.4% on a 17.7% capacity expansion.  Consolidated load factor came in at 75.3%, or 1.7 percentage points above 2Q12.
  • Operating cost per available seat mile (CASM) decreased 5.2%, from 11.3 cents in 2Q12 to 10.7 cents in 2Q13.  CASM, excluding fuel costs, decreased 2.6% to 6.7 cents.
  • Cash, short term and long term investments ended 2Q13 at US$848.7 million, representing 35.0% of the last twelve months’ revenues.
  • During the second quarter, Copa Airlines took delivery of one Boeing 737-800 aircraft.  As a result, Copa Holdings ended the quarter with a consolidated fleet of 86 aircraft.
  • For 2Q13, Copa Holdings reported consolidated on-time performance of 89.3% and a flight-completion factor of 99.7%, maintaining its position among the best in the industry.

SUBSEQUENT EVENTS

  • On July 17, 2013, Copa Airlines announced it will begin nonstop service four times a week from Panama to Tampa, Fla., on December 16, 2013.  Tampa will be Copa Airlines’ ninth U.S. destination and its 66th destination overall.
  • On August 7, 2013, the Board of Directors of Copa Holdings resolved to change the Company’s dividend policy to increase the annual distribution to an amount equal to 40% of the prior years’ annual consolidated net income. In addition, dividends going forward will be distributed in equal quarterly installments during the months of March, June, September and December, subject to board approval each quarter.  On August 7, 2013, the Board of Directors also approved dividend payments payable at the end of both 3Q13 and 4Q13, in amounts equal to 10% of the consolidated net income of 2012.
Consolidated Financial &
Operating Highlights
2Q13 2Q12 % Change 1Q13 % Change
Revenue Passengers Carried (‘000) 1,861 1,658 12.2% 1,899 -2.0%
RPMs (mm) 3,475 2,886 20.4% 3,529 -1.5%
ASMs (mm) 4,618 3,923 17.7% 4,590 0.6%
Load Factor 75.3% 73.5% 1.7 p.p. 76.9% -1.6 p.p.
Yield 16.4 17.2 -4.6% 17.6 -6.9%
PRASM (US$ Cents) 12.3 12.6 -2.3% 13.5 -8.9%
RASM (US$ Cents) 12.8 13.1 -2.5% 14.0 -8.2%
CASM (US$ Cents) 10.7 11.3 -5.2% 10.9 -1.5%
CASM Excl. Fuel (US$ Cents) 6.7 6.9 -2.6% 6.5 3.3%
Breakeven Load Factor (1) 61.6% 63.0% -1.4 p.p. 58.7% 2.9 p.p.
Fuel Gallons Consumed (Millions) 60.0 52.1 15.0% 60.1 -0.2%
Avg. Price Per Fuel Gallon (US$ Dollars) 3.08 3.32 -7.3% 3.34 -7.8%
Average Length of Haul (Miles) 1,868 1,740 7.3% 1,859 0.5%
Average Stage Length (Miles) 1,126 1,063 6.0% 1,123 0.2%
Departures 29,357 27,005 8.7% 29,428 -0.2%
Block Hours 84,985 74,678 13.8% 84,490 0.6%
Average Aircraft Utilization (Hours) 10.9 10.6 3.1% 11.3 -3.5%
Operating Revenues (US$ mm) 592.0 515.8 14.8% 641.3 -7.7%
Operating Income (US$ mm) 97.7 72.6 34.5% 142.6 -31.5%
Operating Margin 16.5% 14.1% 2.4 p.p. 22.2% -5.7 p.p.
Net Income (US$ mm) 74.4 32.0 132.6% 113.8 -34.6%
Adjusted Net Income (US$ mm) (1) 85.0 58.5 45.3% 124.4 -31.6%
EPS – Basic and Diluted (US$) 1.68 0.72 132.4% 2.56 -34.6%
Adjusted EPS – Basic and Diluted (US$) (1) 1.92 1.32 45.2% 2.80 -31.6%
# of Shares – Basic and Diluted (‘000) 44,387 44,354 0.1% 44,387 0.0%

(1)Breakeven Load Factor, Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EPS for 2Q13, 2Q12, and 1Q13 exclude non-cash charges/gains associated with the mark-to-market of fuel hedges.   Additionally, for 1Q13 excludes a US$13.9 million charge related to the devaluation of the Venezuelan currency.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8V3 WL HP-1721CMP (msn 40362) prepares to touch down in Miami.

Copa Airlines: AG Slide Show

Delta to begin renovations on Delta Flight Museum, set to open in 2014

Delta Museum (Delta)(LRW)

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will begin renovations funded by a $6.3 million grant from The Delta Air Lines Foundation and will kick-off a corporate sponsorship campaign to refurbish Delta’s historic hangars on the company’s corporate campus. Upon completion of the project, the facility will open to the public as the Delta Flight Museum offering daily tours and a unique private event facility.

The hangars, originally built in the 1940s for Delta’s aircraft maintenance, were repurposed in 1995 as the site of the current Delta Air Transport Heritage Museum. Its mission then was to preserve the history of Delta’s people and culture of exceptional customer service forged by founder C.E. Woolman. The site has served as the backbone of the company’s global headquarters for more than 70 years.

“Returning Delta’s historic hangars to their original glory helps preserve the history and rich Delta employee culture for generations of aviation enthusiasts,” said Tad Hutcheson, vice president – Community Affairs and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Delta Air Transport Heritage Museum. “The new Delta Flight Museum will offer a one-of-a-kind experience for the Atlantacommunity and visitors from around the world.”

The renovation project will last 12 months and is scheduled to be complete in advance of Delta’s 85th anniversary of commercial aviation service on June 17, 2014. Some of the major improvements include the addition of a welcome theater, installation of an elevator and construction of a new mezzanine level.

When completed, the new museum will offer a full-service event space that will accommodate private events for groups ranging from 100 to 1,200 people for a seated meal service. The facility will be among the largest capacity venues in the Atlanta metropolitan area and will offer a variety of scalable rental options.

The entrance to the Delta Flight Museum will offer convenient access for daily visitors and will include dedicated parking for museum patrons as well as capacity for valet parking services to compliment private functions held in the facility.

The Spirit of Delta will continue to be one of the largest items on display in the museum. The Boeing 767-200 (above, caption below) was purchased by Delta employees in 1982 as an expression of thanks to the company and has been located in the museum since being retired from service in 2006.

The renovation also will include preserving the hangar doors by returning them to their original condition and polishing the concrete floors to retain the distinctive markings created when Delta installed the reinforced concrete needed to handle heavier aircraft as it transitioned from the use of propeller planes to the jet age.

New air conditioning and heat controls will provide a comfortable year-round visitor experience inside the large hangar facility. A full Convair 880 cockpit already owned by the museum along with a Boeing 737-200 flight simulator will be installed as permanent exhibits and a new retail store will be built for visitors to purchase aviation memorabilia and Delta-branded items.

The hangars were designated as an official Historic Aerospace Site by The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in Feb. 2011, acknowledging them as the oldest surviving buildings currently in use at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Delta moved its headquarters from Monroe, Louisiana, to Atlanta in 1941 and began use of the hangars as the primary maintenance facility for its daily commercial flight operations. Aircraft maintenance moved to the site of Delta’s current Technical Operations Center in 1960. In 1990, a group of Delta retirees launched an effort to consolidate Delta memorabilia, archival collections and one of Delta’s first 1940s era Douglas DC-3 aircraft. The effort resulted in the creation of the Delta Air Transport Heritage Museum located in the hangar facility donated by Delta.

Top Copyright Rendering: Delta Air Lines.

Middle Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. “The Spirit of Delta” in the form of donated Boeing 767-232 N102DA (msn 22214) worn several different liveries in its career with Delta. Here is the special “Celebrating 75 Years 2004″ livery at Miami.

Delta Air Lines: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Douglas DC-3-357 NC28341 (msn 3278) lands at Baltimore/Washington (BWI).

AeroMexico starts two new routes to Las Vegas and Los Angeles

AeroMexico (Mexico City) on June 20 started serving the new Hermosillo – Puerto Penasco – Las Vegas route.

This new twice weekly flight will be operated with the following schedule:

Las Vegas – Puerto Penasco

Flight Departure Arrival Frequency
AM 2675 4:05 p.m. 6:06 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays

Puerto Penasco – Hermosillo

Flight Departure Arrival Frequency
AM 2675 6:46 a.m. 7:37 a.m. Thursdays and Sundays

Hermosillo – Puerto Penasco

Flight Departure Arrival Frequency
AM 2674 11:30 a.m. 12:32 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays

Puerto Penasco – Las Vegas

Flight Departure Arrival Frequency
AM 2674 1:21 p.m. 3:15 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays

* Times published are local to each country and are subject to changes without notice.

AeroMexico also on June 20 started to serve the Los Angeles – La Paz route with AeroMexico Connect Embraer 190 aircraft equipped with 99 passenger seats.

This new twice weekly flight will be served with the following schedule:

Los Angeles – La Paz

Flight Departure Arrival Frequency
AM 2167 2:20 p.m. 5:44 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays

La Paz – Los Angeles

 Flight Departure Arrival Frequency
AM 2166 11:51 a.m. 1:20 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. AeroMexico Connect’s Embraer ERJ 190-100LR XA-ACI (msn 19000525) approaches runway 9 at Miami International Airport.

AeroMexico: AG Slide Show

AeroMexico Connect: AG Slide Show

The End of an Era: FedEx Express retires the last Boeing 727 today after 35 years

FedEx Express (Memphis) has replaced and will retire the last Boeing 727 (N481FE) at Memphis today.

The company has just issued this statement:

For 35 years, Boeing 727 aircraft were a reliable workhorse for the world’s largest express transportation company. Today, the venerable 727 narrow-body freighter closes an enduring chapter in aviation history as FedEx becomes the last major carrier to retire the aircraft from service. The retirement is part of the company’s aircraft modernization strategy.

The 727’s domestic mission will conclude at 1:30 p.m. CDT as FedEx aircraft N481FE touches down at the FedEx Express World Hub at Memphis International Airport. Greeting its arrival will be more than 1,000 company executives, air operations team members and other guests who will mark the airplane’s historic last flight with a special ceremony.

A departure ceremony at the FedEx hub in Indianapolis, which has served as the company’s primary base for 727 general maintenance checks, begins the historic farewell flight.

 “For more than three decades, our Boeing 727 fleet was instrumental in our company’s domestic growth,” said David J. Bronczek, president and chief executive officer, FedEx Express. “Today, we are opening a new chapter for company growth and opportunity as we continue to modernize our global fleet with more technologically advanced, fuel efficient, lower emission cargo jets.”

History of the 727 at FedEx

Introduction of this larger, mid-size jet freighter to the FedEx fleet was made possible by deregulation of the airline industry in 1977, giving the upstart express carrier access to more domestic markets and bringing immediate operational efficiencies because of greater payload capabilities. FedEx operated only small Dassault Falcons before the industry was deregulated. An exemption then allowed a company to enter the common carrier business if its payloads were less than 7,500 pounds.

It was January 14, 1978 when then-Federal Express took delivery in Memphis of its first 727 aircraft, which was purchased from Eastern Airlines. On that day, Frederick W. Smith, chairman, president and chief executive officer, FedEx Corporation, told several hundred employees and guests at the delivery event, “Many people look at this airplane and believe that Federal Express has arrived at the end of a long road. This is not the end of anything. It is simply the beginning.”

Early FedEx acquisitions of used 727s from other carriers were followed by new aircraft purchases from Boeing, with the last 727 leaving the manufacturer’s assembly line and being delivered to FedEx in 1984. The express carrier at one point was the world’s largest operator of 727s, with 170 of the aircraft in its fleet at any one time.

Modernization of the FedEx Fleet

FedEx began retiring its 727-200 fleet in 2007 and replacing them with more modern Boeing 757 airplanes. The retirement cycle accelerated under the fleet modernization program that through the last several years included more 757 freighters, as well as new Boeing 777 long-range freighters, which are the biggest in the FedEx fleet and the world’s largest twin-engine cargo aircraft. This fall, FedEx begins taking delivery of new Boeing 767 aircraft to replace its aging MD-10 freighters.

As with the other aircraft types being introduced, the 767s will provide significantly improved reliability and are substantially more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly than the aircraft they will replace. FedEx is committed to reducing its aircraft carbon emissions 30 percent by the year 2020 under its fleet modernization program. It expects to source at least 30 percent of its jet fuel from alternative fuels by the year 2030.

“As we celebrate our company’s 40th anniversary, we can look back at an aircraft bloodline that has been impressive,” Bronczek said. “From the small Falcons, which served us well when the company was young, to our 727s, to what is now the largest fleet of express cargo aircraft in the world, our transportation capabilities for global customers is unmatched in the industry. Equally impressive are the innovation, technology and environmental benefits of the new aircraft we are adding.”

Continuation of Service

Not only are FedEx 727s being retired, but nearly half of the fleet has been donated coast-to-coast to aviation schools, colleges and local communities in the last several years.

From Anchorage to Austin, from Billings to Buffalo, from Sioux City to Shreveport and many points between, FedEx aircraft donations support school curriculums that are developing the next generation of aviation professionals. The donated aircraft are also being used for training by emergency response teams at local airports and fire departments.

For FedEx pilots like Capt. Chip Groner, who piloted a 727 for about 10 years, closing the door on 727 operations is a turning point not only for FedEx but for the aviation industry.

“The 727 was a mainstay aircraft and one of the most dependable we ever had in our fleet. More importantly, it was the plane that really put FedEx on the map as an overnight express carrier,” the 35-year FedEx crew member said. “It’s the end of an era, but it’s only natural because of changing technology that improves the fuel and operational efficiencies of today’s new aircraft. The 727, for many pilots, will always be the airplane that really brought the airline industry into the jet age.”

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Still wearing its Eastern Airlines registration, the pictured Boeing 727-25C N8161G (msn 19717) in the original 1973 Federal Express livery, later became N125FE with FedEx.

FedEx Express: AG Slide Show

Video: The MEM Airport water saluted the last FedEx 727 arrival, operated by ex-Braniff Boeing 727-227 (F) N481FE (msn 21463).

Video: This FedEx Boeing 727 was donated to the University of Alaska’s Aviation Department. It is pictured landing for the last time at Merrill Field’s runway 25 in downtown Anchorage.

AeroMexico launches its new AeroMexico Contigo product

AeroMexico (Mexico City) has announced the launch of its new Aeromexico Contigo (Aeromexico with You) product which will offer a host of benefits to passengers  traveling frequently between Mexico and the United States.

The use of the Boeing 737-800 airliner for the Aeromexico Contigo program optimizes operating costs, which then translates into lower pricing. Other benefits include increased legroom, personalized attention by Aeromexico Call Center agents and at participating airport check-in counters.

Destinations to feature the Aeromexico Contigo product include:

Domestic Destinations
Guadalajara – Tijuana 28 weekly flights
Culiacan – Tijuana 14 weekly flights

 

Mexico-US Destinations
Guadalajara – Chicago 4 weekly flights
Guadalajara – Ontario 6 weekly flights
Guadalajara – Los Angeles 14 weekly flights
Guadalajara – Fresno 3 weekly flights
Guadalajara – Sacramento 3 weekly flights

 

It is important to note that the benefits offered through Aeromexico Contigo are in addition to Aeromexico’s existing baggage policy for travel between Mexico to the US, which includes free check in of passengers’ first bag weighing 55 lbs (25 Kg) and one carry-on bag weighing 22 lbs (10 Kg) and for passengers’ traveling from the US a first bag weighing 50 lbs (23 Kg) and one carry-on bag of 22 lbs (10 Kg).

Aeromexico Contigo will begin operation in October 2013.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-852 WL EI-DRB (msn 35115) completes its final approach into Miami International Airport.

AeroMexico: AG Slide Show

Atlas Air starts operating a Boeing 747-800F freighter for Etihad Cargo, Miami becomes part of the round-the-world cargo route

Atlas Air (New York) on May 30 started operating its newest Boeing 747-800F for Etihad Cargo (formerly Etihad Crystal Cargo) (Etihad Airways) (Abu Dhabi). The fully-painted freighter will operate twice-weekly cargo services to and from Miami.

Etihad Airways announced its new round-the-world cargo flight:

The jointly operated routing began on May 30, connecting Etihad Cargo’s Abu Dhabi hub with destinations in Asia, the United States, South America and Europe.

Miami (US), Viracopos (Brazil), and Quito (Ecuador) will become part the round-the-world Abu Dhabi-Hong Kong-Chicago O’Hare-Miami-Viracopos-Quito-Amsterdam-Abu Dhabi freighter service offered with an Etihad Cargo-liveried Boeing 747-8F Freighter.

Earlier this month, Etihad Cargo signed a signed a multi-year Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance (ACMI) agreement with Atlas Air to provide the Boeing 747-8F Freighter with its 138-ton cargo capacity to operate the new schedule.

The three new freighter destinations in the Americas will see Etihad Cargo’s network extend to 92 points across the globe. The carrier’s eight freighters operate to 28 of these destinations.

The Boeing 747-8F Freighter is the largest in Etihad Cargo’s current freighter fleet. The airline also operates three Boeing 777Fs, one Boeing 747-400ERF, one Boeing 747-400F and two Airbus A330-200Fs.

Etihad Cargo will take delivery of two additional freighters in 2013 and 2014, comprising two Airbus A330-200Fs.

Atlas Air previously made this announcement in May:

The 8th Boeing 747-800F freighter will fly on behalf of Etihad Cargo, the cargo arm of Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, pursuant to a multi-year aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance agreement that commences in May 2013.

The new contract between the companies follows a letter of intent announced on April 1, 2013, and complements an existing Boeing 747-400F ACMI arrangement between Atlas and Etihad. The aircraft will be operated in full Etihad Cargo livery.

Copyright Photo: Michael Bolden. The pictured Boeing 747-87UF N855GT (msn 37567) was delivered to Atlas Air on May 18, 2013. The Jumbo Freighter prepares to depart from Miami on its twice-weekly round-the-world cargo route.

Atlas Air: AG Slide Show

Etihad Airways: AG Slide Show

 

United Airlines quietly retires two Boeing aircraft types in late May

United Airlines (Chicago) without any fanfare or publicity retired two classic Boeing types again in late May according to Airline Business. Former Continental Airlines Boeing 737-524 N62631 (msn 27535) operated the last Boeing 737-500 flight (UA 1705) between Cleveland and Houston (Bush Intercontinental) on May 30.

Additionally Boeing 767-224 ER N68159 (msn 30438) operated the last 767-200 flight between Munich and Newark on May 27.

Ironically United had previously retired both types but inherited both types again when the Continental fleet was merged. The 737-500 was previously retired on August 27, 2009 and the 767-200 on March 28, 2005.

Top Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. N62631 when it was with Continental Airlines.

Continental Airlines: AG Slide Show

United Airlines: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Andi Hiltl/AirlinersGallery.com. Sister ship Boeing 767-224 ER N73152 (msn 30431) lands at Zurich.

FedEx accelerates the retirement of 86 aircraft, the last Boeing 727 to be retired on July 1

FedEx Corporation (FedEx Express) (Memphis) announced today it had permanently retired or will accelerate the retirement of 86 aircraft and 308 related engines as it continues to modernize its aircraft fleet and improve the global network of FedEx Express.

The permanent retirement of aircraft and related engines announced today includes:

  • Two Airbus A310-200 aircraft and four related engines;
  • Three Airbus A310-300 aircraft and two related engines; and
  • Five McDonnell Douglas MD-10-10 aircraft and 15 related engines.

The impact of retiring these aircraft, engines and parts resulted in an impairment charge of $100 million recorded in May 2013.

In addition, FedEx will accelerate by several years the retirement of:

  • 47 McDonnell MD-10-10 aircraft and 172 related engines;
  • 13 McDonnell MD-10-30 aircraft and 55 related engines; and
  • 16 Airbus A310-200 aircraft and 60 related engines.

As of July 1, 2013, FedEx Express will complete the final retirement of the Boeing 727-200 fleet.

“We are modernizing our aircraft fleet by retiring older, less-efficient, and less-reliable aircraft and replacing them with modern aircraft to build a fleet with higher reliability and better cost efficiency,” said David J. Bronczek, president and chief executive officer of FedEx Express. “With the planned acquisition of new aircraft and projected slower economic growth than previously forecast, FedEx Express is lowering maintenance costs by aggressively parking and retiring aircraft.”

The impact of accelerating the retirement of aircraft will result in additional year-over-year depreciation expense of $74 million in FY14.

FedEx Express Aircraft Fleet Facts

  • As of February 28, 2013, FedEx Express’s fleet totaled 660 aircraft, including 368 jet aircraft.
  • During the four quarters ended on February 28, 2013, FedEx Express spent $3.8 billion on 1.2 billion gallons of jet fuel.
  • The Boeing 757-200 is significantly more fuel efficient per pound of payload and has 20% additional payload capacity than the Boeing 727 it replaces.
  • The Boeing 767 will provide similar capacity as the MD-10s, with improved reliability, an approximate 30% increase in fuel efficiency and a minimum of a 20% reduction in unit operating costs.
  • The Boeing 767 shares spare parts, tooling and flight simulators with the B757.

Dividend Declaration

The Board of Directors today declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.15 per share on FedEx Corporation common stock, an increase of $0.01 per share over the previous dividend payment. The dividend is payable on July 1, 2013 to stockholders of record at the close of business on June 17, 2013. FedEx remains committed to paying higher dividends to shareowners in years to come.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. The pictured Boeing 727-233 (F) N221FE (msn 20932) was originally delivered as a passenger aircraft to Air Canada as C-GAAA on September 25, 1974.

FedEx: AG Slide Show

Avianca to deploy the Airbus A330 on the Lima-Miami route starting on July 15

Avianca (Bogota) is planning to deploy its Airbus A330-200s on the daily Lima-Miami route starting on July 15 per Airline Route.

Top Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 N948AC (msn 948) taxies to the runway at Miami International Airport dressed in the now old 2005 livery (please click on the photo for the full-size view).

Avianca: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photos: Avianca. The new look for AV. Airbus A320-214 N538AV (msn 5398) is one of the first aircraft to display the new look.

Avianca FA-Cabin (Avianca)(LR)

Avianca A320-200 N538AV (13)(Grd)(Avianca)(LR)

Video:

Historic Photo of the Day – May 30, 2013

Air Jamaica Airbus A300B4-203 6Y-JMK (msn 131) MIA (Keith Armes). Image: 912307.

Copyright Photo: Keith Armes/AirlinersGallery.com. Taken December 8, 1984.

Air Jamaica: AG Slide Show

Frameable Color Prints and Posters: AG All Photos Available

American to fly Miami-Milan Malpensa starting on November 21

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) today announces daily nonstop service between Miami International Airport (MIA) and Malpensa Airport (MXP) in Milan. The new route will start on November 21.

Daily MIA-MXP Service Schedule (all times local):

AA 206

  • Departs MIA at 5:55 p.m. ET
  • Arrives at MXP at 9:35 a.m. CET the following day

AA 207

  • Departs MXP at 11:25 a.m. CET
  • Arrives at MIA at 4:40 p.m. ET

The new service between Miami and Milan will be operated as part of American’s joint business agreement with British Airways and Iberia. Through the airlines’ enhanced relationship, American’s customers have access to more than 125 destinations throughout Europe. In addition to the new service from Miami, American also currently serves MXP from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York. The new route will be operated with a Boeing 767-300 with 218 seats.

Copyright Photo: Luimer Cordero/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-323 ER N7375A (msn 25202) lands at the Miami hub (please click on the photo for the full size view).

American Airlines: AG Slide Show

Historic Photo of the Day – May 29, 2013

AeroPeru (1st) McDonnell Douglas DC-8-62 OB-R-1210 (msn 46142) MIA (Bruce Drum). Image: 101948.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Taken April 1983.

AeroPeru: AG Slide Show

Frameable Color Prints and Posters: AG All Photos Available

Avianca Holdings today retires the TACA brand, updates its logo, livery and product

Avianca Holdings S.A. (Avianca) (Bogota) today (May 28) as planned, formally retired the TACA brand and the previous AviancaTaca Holding company. All aircraft will be repainted in the new Avianca brand. Avianca is updating its logo, livery and product as we previously reported. This announcement will end the history of TACA and AviancaTaca Holding. Our slide show below recalls the aircraft and many liveries of TACA International. The holding company issued this statement:

As announced in late 2012 and after three years of intense work aimed at integration and reorganization of operations and processes, ground and air equipment modernization, and the adoption of industry best practices, the airlines in Avianca Holdings S.A. (formerly known as AviancaTaca Holding S.A.) begin a new stage in their business development under the commercial brand Avianca, with its new visual standards.

Avianca (2013) logo

Honoring the business development reached by Avianca and TACA Airlines with 94 and 82 years of uninterrupted operations, respectively, the new identity bonds the heritage of the route network, envisioning connecting the continent through all cardinal points, capturing in the logo the service provided through the skies of the Americas.

Avianca (2013) Tail (Avianca)(LR)

The image of the “new Avianca” will be displayed in over 160 airplanes, 14 thousand seats onboard, 214 ticket offices, 100 airports, VIP lounges in 25 countries, as well as the corporate buildings in the Americas and Europe. This new image will also dress over 13,000 employees with client service positions -out of the 18,000 total-, and identify our new integrated website, social networks, onboard reading materials, and corporate communications media in general.

This new image highlights a very important chapter in the airline´s history, striving to provide a strong product and service offer in order to become the ideal partner for business and leisure travelers.

Avianca (2013) cabin (Avianca)(LR)

Fabio Villegas, Avianca Holdings CEO said: “The single commercial brand represents a very important milestone for an improved flight offer and an interesting challenge to Avianca’s service capacity. For that reason, the airlines’ background and the professionalism and experience shared by the many generations of men and women who have contributed with their work to Avianca, TACA Airlines, Aerogal, and Tampa Cargo, have become our inspiration.”

“More than 5.100 weekly flights operated on a modern fleet enable us to help our travelers reach 100 destinations in 25 countries throughout the Americas and Europe, provide access to 21.900 daily flights served around the world by Star Alliance member airlines, be preferred by more than 23 million passengers who choose our services yearly for their travel plans and the transportation of 300 thousand tons of goods. This motivates us to assure the “new Avianca”, as the leading airline in Latin America preferred by the world´s travelers,” quoted the executive.

Three years of achievements

Fleet. The combined fleet size between Avianca and TACA Airlines at the moment of their integration was 129 aircraft. Currently the company has 151 aircraft in operation. Within its fleet modernization plan, Avianca recently announced the incorporation of Airbus A320neo airplanes equipped with new generation engines, as well as aircraft fitted with sharklets, which provide a 4% better fuel economy than previous models. Avianca welcomed the first aircraft of this type to its fleet in February.

Tampa Cargo acquired four new A330-200 freighters with cargo capacity of 68 tons in order to strengthen the cargo business. The first aircraft of its type joined the fleet in December of last year.

The company also announced the standing offer to purchase 15 ATR 72-600 aircraft, along with the option to purchase an additional 15 of the same model. This turboprop fleet is intended to serve routes within Colombia and Central America and will join the fleet beginning July this year. Finally, the company has confirmed the purchase order for 15 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, to operate transatlantic routes starting in 2014.

Route Network. Currently, the “new Avianca” covers 100 destinations in 25 countries in the Americas and Europe, through 5,100 weekly flights. The domestic and international connections operate from and to Bogota (Colombia), with more than 2,656 weekly flights, San Salvador (El Salvador), with 532 weekly flights, and Lima (Peru) with 483 frequencies per week. Also connections to and from other Latin American capitals are part of this comprehensive route network.

In addition to its own network, travelers connecting through Avianca are able to reach more than 1,320 cities around the world thanks to code-share and interline agreements with world renowned airlines, granting access to 990 VIP lounges and enjoying multiple benefits provided by the Star Alliance network around the world.

Transported Passengers. As a result of the synergies of the route network, the airlines in Avianca Holdings S.A. have experimented passenger growth. A comparison between 2010 and 2012 reflects an increase of 31.88%. In 2010, the airlines transported 17´510.881 passengers, reaching 20´454.924 in 2011, while in 2012 the number increased to 23´092.533 passengers.

Joining Star Alliance. Avianca and TACA Airlines officially joined Star Alliance on June 21, 2012, which is the largest global airline network in terms of daily flights, coverage, and services. As a result travel advantages and options for our travelers multiplied. In order to be accepted as member airline of the alliance, multiple requirements had to be fulfilled along with several service and operational standards. The “new Avianca” maintains these standards and complies with the periodical audits required.

Avianca Cargo. In 2010 the Cargo businesses of Avianca, TACA, and Aerogal were integrated to Tampa Cargo, building on more than 100 years of experience in the field. After centralizing management, operations, and service the cargo offer underwent a strengthening process. As part of this process the airline announced the acquisition of 4 A330-200 freighters with 68 ton capacity and became the first airline to operate this model in Latin America.

With the expansion of capacity through dedicated aircraft, as well as the bellies of the passenger fleet, the route network was also broadened to meet importer and exporter needs in Latin America, accompanied by the implementation of new integrated technologies for all the business. Today, under the name “Avianca Cargo” this business unit focuses on delivering increased connectivity and services through advanced technology and a highly specialized human team.

Technology. Avianca continues moving forward in the implementation of the latest technology in order to better serve its passengers. In addition to online tools for checking fares, booking reservations, purchasing tickets and seat selections, the airline has been implementing self-check-in modules in 36 of the airports where it currently operates. Travelers can also make use of the web check-in feature for routes in the Americas, allowing them to check-in from the comfort of their home or office.

Passengers may also check-in using their smartphones. This service is initially available for domestic flights in Colombia and Peru, and direct international flights, except Europe, from El Salvador and Medellin and from Bogota to South America, improving check point and boarding times by showing the boarding pass on their smartphones.

VIP Lounges. This past February, Avianca opened its new 2,000 square meter VIP Lounge located in the international terminal of Eldorado Airport in Bogota, aimed at the members of its frequent flyer program, LifeMiles, and business class travelers. In meeting its service improvement plan, the airline will also refresh the VIP lounges in Cali, Barranquilla, Medellin, Cartagena, and San Salvador.

LifeMiles. It was the first joint business deliverable. The unified loyalty program was the result of integrating best practices of both Avianca and TACA, and improving them based on studies on the leading loyalty programs from top airlines around the world. LifeMiles has more than five million members and was recognized by travelers with a Freddie Award in the category of Best Redemption Ability, making it the only loyalty program in Latin America to receive a Freddy Award during the 2013 edition.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. All others by Avianca. A look back at one of the first jets for TACA International. BAC 1-11 407AW YS-17C (msn 093) taxies to the runway at Miami on October 19, 1980.

Avianca: AG Slide Show

TACA: AG Slide Show

Historic Photo of the Day – May 27, 2013

Aerocondor Colombia Airbus A300B4-2C HK-2057-X (msn 029) MIA (Bruce Drum). Image: 102885.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum.

Aerocondor Colombia: AG Slide Show

Frameable Color Prints and Posters: AG Buy This Photo

Avianca Holdings reports net earnings of $75.3 million in the first quarter

Avianca Holdings S.A, (Avianca and TACA) reported net income of $75.3 million in the first quarter of 2013. The company issued this statement:

First Quarter 2013 Highlights

  • Avianca Holdings earns net income of $75.3 million (USD) for 1Q 2013, an increase of more than $75 million over the profit recorded for the same period in 2012.
  • First quarter operating revenues increased to USD$ 1.11 billion, up 5.9% from 1Q 2012 due mainly to a 6.5% increase in passenger revenues driven by an 8.6% growth in passenger traffic over 1Q 2012 figures. Cargo and other revenue increased by 2.5%, primarily as a result of an increase in our Freight and Loyalty revenues.
  • Operating Cost per available seat kilometer (CASK) decreased by 1.5% from 10.98 cents in 1Q-12 to 10.81 cents in 1Q-13 and CASK excluding Fuel decreased by 1.8% from 7.31 cents in 1Q-12 to 7.17 cents in 1Q-13.
  • Operating Income (EBIT) increased to USD$ 108.1 million, a 31.1% increase from USD$ 82.4 million in 1Q-12. Excluding special items in 1Q-12 operating income increased by 48.5%. Operating Margin for 1Q-13 rose to 9.7% compared to 7.8% in 1Q-12, primarily as a result of lower unit costs.
  • Capacity, measured in ASK’s (available seat kilometers), increased by 5.4% during 1Q 2013, mostly due to expansion in our domestic operations in Colombia and Peru. In addition, passenger traffic, measured in RPK’s (revenue passenger kilometers) grew 7.8%, reaching a consolidated Load Factor of 80.8%, surpassing 1Q-12 Load Factor by 2.3 percentage points.
  • In Line with the fleet renewal program, the company continues to incorporate new aircraft. During the first quarter, one (1) Airbus A330 Freighter, one (1) Airbus A330 and two (2) Airbus A320 passenger aircraft (one of which is equipped with sharklets) were incorporated.
  • During the first quarter the Company inaugurated its new VIP lounge in Terminal Eldorado International Airport in Bogotá. Lifemiles members can now enjoy over 2,000 square meters of services and innovations in different environments. The lounge has capacity to simultaneously serve nearly 670 travelers, 505 Gold Elite and 165 Diamond Elite members.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Avianca’s (Colombia) Airbus A320-214 N664AV (msn 3664) arrives at Miami International Airport.

Avianca (Colombia): AG Slide Show

TACA: AG Slide Show

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