United reports its third quarter results

United Airlines Boeing 737-924 ER SSWL N68817 (msn 42747) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 936871.

United Airlines (UAL) has announced its third-quarter 2017 financial results.

  • UAL reported third-quarter net income of $637 million, diluted earnings per share of $2.12, pre-tax earnings of approximately $1.0 billion and pre-tax margin of 9.9 percent.
  • Excluding special charges, UAL reported third-quarter net income of $669 million, diluted earnings per share of $2.22, pre-tax earnings of $1.0 billion and pre-tax margin of 10.4 percent.
  • UAL repurchased $556 million of its common shares in the third quarter, bringing the year-to-date share repurchases to $1.3 billion.
  • UAL delivered the best-ever third-quarter consolidated on-time departures in the history of the company, and employees earned $11 million in bonuses for operational performance.

“I could not be prouder of how our employees are raising the bar both in terms of serving our customers, as well as delivering record-setting operational performance. Not only did they manage to keep our operation moving through back-to-back natural disasters, but the United family banded together to help one another take part in one of the largest relief efforts in our airline’s history,” said Oscar Munoz, chief executive officer of United Airlines. “Even with the challenging environment in the third quarter, we continue to set the stage for United’s long-term success and investing in the right strategy for our future.”

During the quarter, the company cancelled approximately 8,300 flights as a result of severe weather in southeast Texas, Florida and parts of the Caribbean. The operational disruption reduced third-quarter pre-tax income by an estimated $185 million.

Third-Quarter Revenue

For the third quarter of 2017, revenue was $9.9 billion, roughly flat year-over-year including an estimated $210 millionloss of revenue from severe weather during the quarter. Third-quarter 2017 consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) was down 3.7 percent compared to the third quarter of 2016. Cargo revenue was $257 million in the third quarter of 2017, an increase of 14.7 percent year-over-year primarily due to higher international freight volume.

Third-Quarter Costs

Operating expense was $8.8 billion in the third quarter, up 6.0 percent year-over-year. Consolidated unit cost per available seat mile (CASM) increased 3.0 percent compared to the third quarter of 2016 due largely to higher fuel and labor expense. Third-quarter consolidated CASM, excluding special charges, third-party business expenses, fuel and profit sharing, increased 2.6 percent year-over-year, driven mainly by higher labor expense.

Liquidity and Capital Allocation

UAL generated $577 million in operating cash flow and ended the quarter with $6.3 billion in unrestricted liquidity, including $2.0 billion of undrawn commitments under its revolving credit facility. Capital expenditures were $1.1 billion in the third quarter.

In the third quarter of 2017, UAL raised $400 million of unsecured debt with an interest rate of 4.25 percent. The company contributed $160 million to its pension plans and made debt and capital lease principal payments of $222 million. In the quarter, UAL purchased $556 million of its common shares at an average price of $67.08 per share. As of Sept. 30, 2017, the company had approximately $553 million remaining under its existing share repurchase authority.

For the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2017, the company’s pre-tax income was $3.3 billion and return on invested capital (ROIC) was 14.9 percent.

“As we balance United’s customer, employee and shareholder priorities going forward, a key focus remains returning cash to shareholders and we continued this during the third quarter, repurchasing $556 million of stock, which brings our year-to-date repurchase total to $1.3 billion,” said Andrew Levy, executive vice president and chief financial officer of United Airlines. “Our balance sheet remains strong as evidenced by the 4.25 interest percent rate on the $400 million of unsecured debt raised during the quarter.”

For more information on UAL’s fourth-quarter 2017 guidance, please visit ir.united.com for the company’s investor update.

Third-Quarter Highlights
Customer Experience

  • New Customer Solutions Desk rolled out system-wide with a dedicated team to develop creative solutions to ensure customers reach their final destinations when their travel plans don’t go as expected.
  • Named the 2017 Airline of the Year in recognition of United Polaris business class experience at the International Flight Services Association (IFSA) Compass Awards.
  • Unveiled a bag tracking feature in the United mobile app which allows customers to track their checked bags from check-in to arrival.
  • Retrofitted the first Boeing 767-300ER aircraft with the United Polaris business class.
  • United Polaris earned Global Traveler magazine’s “Outstanding Innovations” award at the Global Traveler’s fifth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards.
  • Became the first U.S.-based airline to offer a new option to check in and learn about flights without the touch of a finger through a new United skill for Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot.
  • Officially announced the final flight of the Boeing 747-400 as it retires, with the final voyage on Nov. 7, 2017 from San Francisco to Honolulu.

Network and Fleet

  • Announced several new routes:
    • New international nonstop service between Houston and Sydney, nonstop seasonal service to Mazatlan, Mexico, increased seasonal service to popular ski destinations and more options for Seattle-area customers with daily service between Paine Field and Denver and San Francisco.
    • Announced new seasonal service between Denver and London; Newark, New Jersey, and Porto, Portugal and Reykjavik, Iceland; San Francisco and Zurich; and Washington Dulles and Edinburgh, Scotland. Additionally, announced expanded year-round service between Newark and Rome.
  • Announced an agreement with Airbus to modify its A350 order resulting in a conversion of the model type from the A350-1000 to the A350-900, an increase in the order size from 35 to 45 aircraft and a deferral of the first delivery to late 2022.
  • Took delivery of one Boeing 787-9 aircraft, four Boeing 737-800 aircraft and nine Embraer E175 aircraft.
  • Finalized agreements to take delivery of two additional used Airbus A320 aircraft by the end of 2017.

Operations and Employees

  • In response to the recent catastrophic weather events Harvey, Irma and Maria, United and its employees came together to keep the operation moving and take part in relief efforts:
    • Operated 84 additional flights to provide additional seats and deliver needed relief supplies to impacted areas.
    • Operated 46 relief flights, flying more than 2,000 evacuees out of impacted areas.
    • Flew 767 flights with larger aircraft in order to carry more people and supplies. The combination resulted in over 13,600 additional seats to impacted areas.
    • Delivered over 1.7 million pounds of relief supplies to aid the recovery in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.
    • Customers and employees, with supporting funds from the company, raised and contributed more than $9 million to community and employee assistance.
  • Continued to improve the mobile tools used by employees, including the first release of the “in the moment” care app, and new functionality in flight attendant tools to better serve customers. These tools were the basis for the company receiving the CIO 100 award.
  • Announced partnerships with three world-class design and apparel companies – Brooks Brothers, Tracy Reeseand Carhartt – to inspire and create a new line of uniforms for the carrier’s more than 70,000 front-line employees.

Copyright Photo: United Airlines Boeing 737-924 ER SSWL N68817 (msn 42747) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 936871.

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FlyValan to fly from Genoa to Trieste, Geneva, Zurich, Barcelona and Brussels

Named "Liguria"

FlyValan is a new Italian airline based in Genoa. The upstart is now planning to launch operations on November 27, 2017.

FlyValan will connect Genoa with five cities: Trieste, Zurich, Geneva, Barcelona and Brussels .

“We will first use a single aircraft, an ATR 72-500 with 68 seats and is named  ”Liguria“.

In February, the new airline will take delivery of a second airplane, and at the end of the business plan the company will have five aircraft.

FlyValan will connect Genoa with Trieste three times a week, while the remaining cities will be linked twice a week.

FlyValan’s goal is to explore new routes, which are underserved or unserved.

FlyValan isn’t a low-cost category but rather it’s a ‘boutique airline’. Fly Valan is different from other companies, primarily by:

  • having a qualified, Italian-speaking crew;
  • special on-board travel retail that features the diversity and trends of local businesses. These businesses, in turn, will be able to discover a new way of communication and cooperation with international clients who will soon arrive in Liguria on FlyValan Company aircrafts;
  • The FlyValan Magazine, which will be published every four months. This magazine will inform the clients about events taking place in Liguria and will also reveal the secrets of these beautiful lands, as to promote exciting information about them and their establishment on the market.

Schedule

The beginning of our flights will be held on November 27.

Monday
FXP121 GOA BRU 07:45 10:00
FXP122 BRU GOA 10:50 13:05
FXP131 GOA BCN 18:30 20:20
FXP132 BCN GOA 21:10 23:00
Tuesday
FXP241 GOA TRS 07:40 09:10
FXP242 TRS GOA 10:00 11:30
Thursday
FXP441 GOA TRS 07:45 09:15
FXP442 TRS GOA 10:05 11:35
FXP421 GOA BRU 17:00 19:15
FXP422 BRU GOA 20:10 22:25
Friday
FXP531 GOA BCN 06:55 08:45
FXP532 BCN GOA 09:50 11:40
FXP541 GOA TRS 14:00 15:30
FXP542 TRS GOA 16:20 17:50

 

* Please note that due to the involvement of the aviation authorities, the starting date of the operations is subject to change.

Copyright Photo: FlyValan (operated by FlyCompass) ATR 72-212A (ATR 72-500) 2-DCBT (msn 747) ZRH (Rolf Wallner). Image: 939606.

 

Delta plans to expand its flagship Airbus A350-900 service to Europe and China

Delta's first Airbus A350, will become N501DN

Delta Air Lines has scheduled its flagship Airbus A350-900 aircraft on one of four daily flights between Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, effective March 31, 2018. Amsterdam will be the first trans-Atlantic destination for Delta’s A350 aircraft, offering customers an elevated travel experience in every class of service throughout their flight. Delta will also deploy the A350 on Detroit-Shanghai service beginning April 19, 2018.

With the addition of Amsterdam, Delta will fly five international routes from Detroit using the A350. The first aircraft is scheduled to enter service later this month between Detroit and Tokyo-Narita on Oct. 30, with service to Seoul, Beijing and Shanghai starting Nov. 18, Jan. 17 and April 19 respectively.

The aircraft features the award-winning Delta One Suite and an all-new cabin of service in Delta Premium Select, as well as an enhanced Main Cabin. Delta is the North American launch carrier for the A350.

Highlights of Delta’s A350 include:

Delta One Suite

The award-winning Delta One Suites offer up to 32 customers a private, personal experience, with a full-height door at every suite for enhanced privacy and comfort. Each suite features a fully flat-bed seat with direct aisle access, as well as more stowage for personal items, larger in-flight entertainment screens and memory foam enhanced comfort cushions.

Delta Premium Select

Designed with comfort in mind, Delta Premium Select offers more personal space with up to 38 inches of pitch, seat width of 18.5 inches, seven inches of recline and adjustable leg and head rests. Customers will arrive well-rested thanks to upgraded pillows, blankets and amenity kits to give them all the travel essentials they need to settle in.

Main Cabin

Customers benefit from free seatback in-flight entertainment on high definition screens, in-seat power ports at every row and high capacity overhead bins. Meanwhile, the A350 features larger windows and optimized cabin pressure, temperature and humidity to help customers feel more refreshed after a long-haul flight.

​The aircraft is equipped with high-speed 2Ku internet connectivity and customers will have access to free mobile messaging while on board through iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Copyright Photo: Delta Air Lines Airbus A350-941 F-WZGP (N501DN) (msn 115) TLS (Eurospot). Image: 938227.

 

Alaska to expand San Diego operations with new service to Albuquerque

Delivered on April 27, 2017

Alaska Airlines continues to expand service for San Diego guests with the addition of new daily nonstop flights to Albuquerque starting on October18, 2017. The new route is Alaska Airlines’ sixth new nonstop destination to launch from San Diego since August, as the airline continues to expand along the West Coast. Alaska Airlines will have 45 peak day flights to 29 nonstop destinations from San Diego by the end of 2017.

Alaska Airlines hot air balloon lights up the Albuquerque sky

“We continue to invest in our San Diego focus city, with nine new nonstop destinations in 2017,” said John Kirby, Alaska’s vice president of capacity planning. “Whether traveling to Boston for business or Hawaii for pleasure, San Diego travelers will love our convenient schedules, affordable fares and award-winning loyalty program.”

Summary of new service:
Start Date City pair Departs Arrives Aircraft Frequency
 

Oct.18

 

Albuquerque- San Diego 2:30 p.m. 3:30 p.m. E175 Daily
 

Oct. 18

 

San Diego – Albuquerque 4:37 p.m. 7:19 p.m. E175 Daily
*Flight times based on local time zones.

The new San Diego to Albuquerque flights will be operated by Horizon Air 76-seat Embraer 175 jets, which offer similar features as a mainline aircraft including first class and premium class services and in-flight Wi-Fi. The E175 features 12 seats in first class, 12 seats in premium class and 52 seats in the main cabin.

Copyright Photo: Alaska Horizon (Horizon Air) Embraer ERJ 170-200LR (ERJ 175) N622QX (msn 17000651) SEA (Michael B. Ing). Image: 938965.

Lufthansa Group submits a concept for establishing a re-structured Alitalia

Alitalia's first Boeing 777-300

The Lufthansa Group submitted an offer letter on October 17, 2017, expressing its interest in establishing a “NewAlitalia”. Lufthansa has opted not to make an offer for the complete Airline but has stated interest in only parts of the Global network traffic and European and domestic point-to-point business.

The offer includes a concept for a newly structured Alitalia with a focused business model (“NewAlitalia”), which could develop long-term economic prospects.

The responsible commissioners have agreed to maintain confidentiality regarding the details of the offer.

Copyright Photo: Alitalia (3rd) (Societa Aerea Italiana) Boeing 777-3Q8 ER EI-WLA (msn 35783) ZRH (Andi Hiltl). Image: 939460.

QANTAS’ first Boeing 787 will arrive in Sydney on October 20

QANTAS Airways has unveiled its first Boeing Dreamliner, the game-changing aircraft that will open up new routes and new levels of comfort for travellers.

The latest addition to the QANTAS fleet, the 787-9 Dreamliner features next generation seating in Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class (below), with more space and a lower passenger count than most of its competitors.

Other Dreamliner features include larger windows to create a greater sense of space, better air quality to help reduce jetlag and ride dampening technology to minimise the effects of turbulence. It is also quieter, more fuel efficient and generates fewer greenhouse emissions than similarly-sized aircraft.

At a ceremony at the Boeing factory in Seattle, QANTAS Group CEO Alan Joyce said the first Dreamliner signaled the start of an exciting new era for the national carrier and for the travelling public.

“The Dreamliner makes routes like Perth to London possible, which will be the first direct air link Australia has ever had with Europe. And it means other potential routes are now on the drawing board as well.

“There are lots of elements that combine to make the QANTAS Dreamliner special. The seats, the lighting, the entertainment, personal storage, right through to the special crockery, cutlery and glassware that weighs on average 11 per cent less.

“We’re working with sleep specialists, dieticians and other scientists at the University of Sydney to see how adjustments to our inflight service can improve wellbeing and help people adjust to new timezones,” added Mr Joyce.

The interiors of the aircraft and seating were shaped by Australian industrial designer David Caon who has collaborated with QANTAS on cabin upgrades and its lounges in Singapore and Hong Kong.

A total of eight Dreamliners will be delivered to QANTAS by the end of 2018, enabling the retirement of five of the airline’s 747s (below).

QANTAS Airways Boeing 747-438 VH-OJL (msn 25151) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 921533.

Above Copyright Photo: QANTAS Airways Boeing 747-438 VH-OJL (msn 25151) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 921533.

Two Dreamliner routes have been announced so far – Melbourne to Los Angeles starting in December this year and Perth to London starting in March next year. Additional flights from Brisbane have also been flagged.

The name ‘Great Southern Land’ was chosen for the first aircraft out of 45,000 suggestions from the travelling public. Each Dreamliner will be named after something that is uniquely Australian, including animals, places and literature.

As part of the aircraft unveiling in Seattle, Australian band, Icehouse, performed its anthemic 1982 song Great Southern Land, the inspiration for which came to singer and songwriter, Iva Davies, as his Qantas flight crossed the country’s red centre.

The Dreamliner is painted in QANTAS’ updated livery, first revealed in late 2016 in preparation for new aircraft entering the fleet and the airline’s centenary in 2020. This marks only the fifth time the iconic Flying Kangaroo has been updated, with those updates traditionally coinciding with the introduction of a significant new aircraft type.

The Dreamliner, registered as VH-ZNA, is scheduled to land in Sydney on the morning of  October 20, 2017 after it performs a flyover of Sydney Harbour, weather and air traffic control permitting.

All photos by QANTAS Airways except the Boeing 747.

JetBlue to serve Minneapolis/St. Paul from Boston

JetBlue Airways Airbus A320-232 N605JB (msn 2368) (Mosaic) FLL (Bruce Drum). Image: 100791.

JetBlue Airways on October 17, 2017 announced it is bringing its award-winning service and low fares to Minneapolis/St. Paul, which will become the airline’s 65th nonstop destination from Boston Logan International Airport. The addition further strengthens JetBlue as the leading airline in Boston, serving as Logan’s largest carrier in both number of flights and customers. The airline will operate three daily roundtrip flights between Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) and Boston Logan starting May 3, 2018. Minneapolis is the largest domestic market not served by JetBlue and seats are on sale today starting at $89 one way (a).

Flight Schedule Between Boston (BOS) and Minneapolis (MSP)
Beginning May 3, 2018
BOS – MSP Flight #835 MSP – BOS Flight #2236
6:30 a.m. – 8:48 a.m. 6:00 a.m. – 9:50 a.m.
BOS – MSP Flight #1735 MSP – BOS Flight #836
1:02 p.m. – 3:21 p.m. 9:30 a.m. – 1:21 p.m.
BOS – MSP Flight #2235 MSP – BOS Flight #1736
7:29 p.m. – 9:50 p.m. 4:01 p.m. – 7:58 p.m.

Flights between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Boston will be operated on JetBlue’s Airbus A320 aircraft.

Copyright Photo: JetBlue Airways Airbus A320-232 N605JB (msn 2368) (Mosaic) FLL (Bruce Drum). Image: 100791.

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