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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From Air New Zealand: How did the kiwi get to New Zealand?

The kiwi is much more than just a native New Zealand bird, it’s an iconic symbol of the nation. Although the kiwi is a bird, kiwi are not able to fly. This isn’t unusual in New Zealand, which is home to more species of flightless birds than anywhere else in the world. The unique location and history of the country has meant historically birds didn’t need to fly to avoid land-based predators, they could happily forage and nest on the ground.

The fact the kiwi could only really have evolved in New Zealand, combined with their quirky characteristics, makes them the perfect symbol to represent the unique characters you’ll meet on a trip to New Zealand.

Although kiwi can’t fly there is one way for them to get up in the air, as Pete the Kiwi found in the video below.

The great kiwi mystery

One mystery that still baffles experts is how the kiwi found its way to New Zealand in the first place. The kiwi’s closest relatives live 1000s of kilometres away in Madagascar and Australia, which is a long journey for a flightless bird travel. Although the kiwi is a strong swimmer, it’s not likely to have paddled all the way.

There’s a few theories as to how the kiwi did it, it might have used stepping stones or small islands that have long since sunk back into the water. It could also have been that kiwi evolved from a New Zealand ancestor that lived millions of years ago, before the many islands on Earth broke away from the main land masses that exist today.

However, one of the strongest theories is that the many years ago an ancestor of the kiwi could still fly, and that over the centuries this ability was lost due to there being no ground-based predators to attack the kiwi.

Kiwi facts

You can find more facts on the New Zealand Department of Conservation website.

  • There are 68,000 kiwi left in New Zealand.
  • The unmanaged kiwi population is declining at a rate of 2% a year because of predators introduced by humans.
  • Kiwi usually live to between 25 and 50 years of age.
  • They are the only bird with nostrils at the tip of the beak, meaning they have a great sense of smell.
  • Their powerful legs make up a third of their bodyweight, making them fast runners.

If you want to learn even more about the kiwi, one option is to fly to New Zealand where you can see them in the wild or in captivity at the many zoos and ecological centres. You can also learn more about this amazing bird and efforts to save them on the Kiwis for Kiwi website.

Island Air files for Chapter 11 reorganization after its new Q400s are threatened

Hawaii Island Air, Inc. (Island Air) announced on October 16, 2017 it is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in an effort to continue normal operations while navigating through legal challenges recently presented by the lessors of its aircraft. The bankruptcy filing was caused by threats of legal action to ground the aircraft and strand hundreds of passengers. The filing prevents the threatened action and allows Island Air to continue interisland service for its customers.

The airline continued;

During the reorganization process, Island Air expects to fly its scheduled routes as normal and honor all previously purchased tickets and confirmed reservations. In addition, there will be no changes to the Island Miles frequent flyer and other customer service programs, including Kupuna & Keiki Saver Fare, Island Biz corporate travel program, and military and group travel programs.

On October 12, 2017, while in the process of negotiating its aircraft leases with its lessors, Island Air was very surprised that the lessors served them with notices of termination of the leases and demands to surrender its airplanes.

Prioritizing its customers, employees and the communities it serves, Island Air made the difficult decision to file for bankruptcy protection. Continuing to operate under the protection of the United States Bankruptcy Court will allow Island Air to maintain its service to its customers, provide continued employment to its more than 400 valued employees, and ensure a revenue stream so its vendors are paid.

“Island Air will continue to hold our customers and employees, as well as our invaluable vendors, as our main priorities during this reorganization process,” said David Uchiyama, Island Air president and CEO. “Once we have completed the reorganization process, Island Air expects to emerge as a stronger airline with a solid financial structure that will allow us to continue to meet the demands of Hawai‘i’s dynamic interisland market, while positioning us for future growth and expansion.”

As with all companies experiencing a growth in demand, there is an adjustment period. Island Air narrowed its 2017 first quarter loss while revenue continued to rise, making this the airline’s highest quarterly revenue since before 2013 when Island Air was required to begin reporting its financial data to the DOT due to the size of its aircraft. In the second quarter of 2017, the airline earned $12.5 million in revenues, its highest quarterly revenue in more than a decade. In the first quarter of 2017, Island Air flew 172,200 passengers (over double the previous quarter’s figure of 75,102). Additionally, Island Air has increased marketing in North America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

In January 2016, Hawai‘i-based investment company PacifiCap acquired controlling interest in Island Air from Ohana Airline Holdings, LLC (OAH), which is wholly owned by Oracle corporation founder Larry Ellison. Since that time the airline has been focused on improving operations, increasing efficiencies and elevating service to customers. This has included strategic investments in equipment and supplies, including upgrading its aircraft fleet, as well as expanding training and resources for employees. In addition, Island Air is currently modernizing its information technology system, which when fully implemented will enhance online reservation and bookings, expand digital services and improve interface with codeshare and interline airline partners.

Founded in 1980 as Princeville Airways, the company was renamed Island Air in 1992 and has been serving the Islands of Hawai‘i for 37 years. Island Air currently offers approximately
200 flights each week between O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island, and employs more than 400 individuals throughout the State of Hawai‘i.

Photos: Island Air.

The End of an Era: Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-400 Combis will retire on October 18

From the Alaska Airlines Blog:

After a weeklong fishing trip in Yakutat, Alaska, retired Captain David Olson found himself on one of the last flights of the 737-400 combis – a plane he piloted for two years straight when he first started flying for Alaska Airlines nearly 36 years ago.

The unique cargo-passenger aircraft will officially retire Oct. 18.

“It’s truly nostalgic,” he said aboard Flight 66. “They’ve been around a long time and brought me some great memories, especially fishing holes.”

Cargo in the front, passengers in the back

reindeer 400 The end of an era: Alaska retires unique cargo passenger ‘combi’ planesA combi is the mullet of airplanes — it’s half cargo in the front and 72 passengers in the back. For decades, it’s served as a lifeline for communities in Alaska that aren’t well connected to the outside world.

Eventually, our five combis will be replaced by a fleet of three dedicated 737-700 freighters, one of which is already in service.

Each combi flight holds four cargo containers called “igloos” — weighing anywhere from 12,000 to 14,000 pounds. The combi can carry just about anything, including boxes of groceries, bouquets of flowers, brand-new cars or even reindeer.

Wayne Coleman, Alaska Airlines lead ramp service agent in Juneau, said “If it fits, it can fly.”

wayne The end of an era: Alaska retires unique cargo passenger ‘combi’ planes

The combi is also used as a way for people get from point A to point B in the nation’s largest state.

“Here, you can’t just hop in a car and drive to where you need to go like you can in the Lower 48,” Coleman said. “If you want to get somewhere, you have to hop on a boat or a plane.”

Getting goods from one city to another in Alaska can be challenging due to its sheer size and rugged terrain.

Recently, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska spoke on the U.S. Senate floor about the important role the combi has played for those who live in her home state.

“It’s really the end of an era,” she said. “They were specifically designed for the special challenges of a very large state, and over their lifespan they have delivered every imaginable thing via airplane in Alaska.”

201 The end of an era: Alaska retires unique cargo passenger ‘combi’ planes

The Milk Run

milk run poster1 The end of an era: Alaska retires unique cargo passenger ‘combi’ planesOn a special route coined “The Milk Run” (it’s literally how people get their milk), Flight 66 flew from Anchorage to Cordova to Yakutat to Juneau earlier this month.

Olson’s coolers of freshly caught silver salmon were stored in the front of the plane, and arrived to Seattle in time for them to still have that straight-off-the-boat taste, like they have every time, he said.

“The best part about these combis is they get sensitive cargo like fish to where it needs to go in plenty of time,” he said. “It’s how a lot of communities in Alaska thrive and how the Lower 48 gets most of its seafood.”

The Milk Run is a daily circuit of Alaska Airlines flights that leave Anchorage and stop about every 45 minutes to deliver goods to towns in Southeast Alaska. From those locations, smaller airplanes usually deliver the cargo and passengers to dozens of nearby villages.

Alaska Airlines is the only major airline in the U.S. to have combi planes, so any flight crews that have had the opportunity to work on this plane are now a part of aviation history.

Out with the old, in with the new

freighter The end of an era: Alaska retires unique cargo passenger ‘combi’ planesAfter a decade of demanding treks, the five 737-400 combis will be replaced by three dedicated 737-700 freighters. One freighter is already actively in service up in Anchorage and two additional cargo planes are still undergoing the conversion process.

All the new freighters are expected to be in service by the end of the year. The combis will likely live out their remaining years as converted freighters with outside parties.

“It’s bittersweet to see their run come to an end, but they were due to retire,” said Jason Berry, Alaska Air Cargo managing director. “As we modernize our fleet we have to make those tough decisions and knew it was time to find new solutions.”

The new 737-700 freighters are the first ever to be converted from passenger jet to cargo plane. They will have 20 percent more cargo capacity, and passengers will now fly separately in new Boeing 737s.

“Although we are sad to see them go we are excited to bring these new freighters to the state of Alaska,” Berry said. “We will be able to continue to serve all of the communities we have served previously and we will be able to offer more lift, more capacity and run on a schedule that is ideal for our cargo customers.”

The evolution of the combi

Before Boeing combis joined our fleet in 1966, Alaska had a long history of carrying a mix of people and cargo – from cows to cars, and anything else they could fit through the doors of our aircraft.

In 1981, Alaska Airlines acquired the first of what would eventually become a fleet of nine Boeing 737-200QC combis – the QC stands for “quick change” because it featured a movable partition, which allowed it to add or remove seats based on how much cargo and how many passengers were onboard.

Pilots said they were especially fond of the -200 combi for its sports car-like handling, powerful engines and ability to get in and out of airports with short runways.

In the all-freight configuration, the 737-200 combis carried up to six cargo containers. The palletized floor allowed for passenger seating to range from 26 with five cargo pallets to 111 in the all-passenger configuration.

Eventually high fuel prices, and increasing maintenance costs and its declining reliability led to its phase-out between 2005 and 2007. The last retired 737-200QC is now at the Alaska Aviation Museum in Anchorage.

Alaska replaced its fleet of nine -200 combis with five 737-400 combis and one -400 freighter. After a lengthy retrofitting and certification process, the first -400 combi began service in 2007.

Even as the aircraft have changed over the years, Alaska remains dedicated to carrying people and cargo throughout the state of Alaska and beyond.

Photos : 2017 Milk Run

Southwest Airlines introduces a new “Disney Pixar Coco” logo jet

Coco plane. Southwest Airlines. Stephen M. Keller

Southwest Airlines is celebrating Disney∙Pixar’s all-new, big-screen adventure “Coco” in high-flying style this fall with a comprehensive program that includes a Boeing 737-700 aircraft emblazoned with the vibrant “Coco” logo and artwork inspired by the film.

The aircraft will fly among the carrier’s nearly 100 destinations throughout the United States, Mexico, Central America, and Caribbean through the end of 2017.  As the largest domestic carrier in the U.S. serving more than 115 million passengers yearly*, Southwest Airlines connects People every day to what is important in their lives.  With Disney∙Pixar’s “Coco,” Southwest connects its Customers to an all-new story that’s both exciting and inspiring. The film opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2017.
*Based on latest U.S. Dept of Transportation data of O&D passengers.

“‘Coco’ is about a boy with big dreams and a strong connection to his family,” says Director Lee Unkrich. “These themes really lend themselves to teaming up with a company like Southwest. And after working for nearly six years to bring this story to life, we were all so excited to see ‘Coco’ on the side of an airplane.”

Customers are encouraged to spot the “Coco” plane and share their photos using #CocoAndSouthwest.  Southwest is also giving families the opportunity to enter for a chance to send their family on an adventure of a lifetime by entering the Southwest Family Flyaway sweepstakes between October 1-25, 2017, to win roundtrip air travel for four to Los Angeles; four tickets to the Disney∙Pixar “Coco” U.S. premiere and party on November 8, 2017; a two-night stay at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood; and a $1,000 VISA® gift card for travel expenses.  To view the full rules and to enter, visit familyflyaway.com.

Additionally, Southwest is sharing the adventures of “Coco” with Customers onboard flights beginning Nov. 1, with the launch of the Disney∙Pixar “Coco” OnDemand Channel, featuring complimentary movie clips and trailers to get everyone excited about “Coco” in 3D this Thanksgiving. Be sure to tune-in ahead of the film’s Nov. 22 theatrical debut.

Later this fall, the music of “Coco” will come to life onboard the “Coco” aircraft with a Live at 35® inflight concert performance by Anthony Gonzalez, who voices Miguel in the movie. Customers will experience the sounds and culture up-close and in-the-moment as Anthony sings a song from the upcoming film accompanied by a guitarist.

Photos: Southwest Airlines.

Air Malta to add five new routes for the summer 2018 season

Malta - airmalta.com (Air Malta 2nd) Airbus A319-111 9H-AEL (msn 2332) LHR (SPA). Image: 926424.

Air Malta will start operating a twice weekly scheduled service to the city of Malaga every Monday and Friday from March 26, 2018. This is the first time that the Maltese airline is introducing scheduled services to the city and through this route, Air Malta will be resuming its services to Spain.

The flight schedule will operate as follows:

Monday

KM590

Dep.

Malta

19:35

Arr.

Malaga

22:30

KM591

Dep.

Malaga

23:30

Arr.

Malta

02:15

 

 

Friday

KM590

Dep.

Malta

05:25

Arr.

Malaga

08:20

KM591

Dep.

Malaga

09:10

Arr.

Malta

11:55

 

 

Air Malta will also be operating twice-weekly summer service to Lisbon (effective March 25, 2018), and weekly service to St. Petersburg (March 30, 2018) and Stockholm (Arlanda) (May 1, 2018) and three weekly flights to Venice (March 26, 2018).

Copyright Photo: Malta – airmalta.com (Air Malta 2nd) Airbus A319-111 9H-AEL (msn 2332) LHR (SPA). Image: 926424.