Ukraine International adds its first Boeing 777

UIA's first Triple Seven, ex Asiana HL7596

Ukraine International Airlines (Kiev) on February 16, 2018 received the first out of four wide-body long-haul Boeing 777-200ER aircraft.

The aircraft passed an official registration procedure in Ukraine and received the UR-GOA registration number. Boeing 777-200ER aircraft accommodates 361 passengers in three-class seating configuration, i.e. Business Class, Premium Economy Class, and Economy Class. UIA expects to operate the UR-GOA aircraft on its long-haul routes to New York, Beijing, and Bangkok.

Leased from the world’s leading lessor AerCap, the aircraft is equipped with Panasonic Corporation individual IFE system. Every seat is equipped with personal screen with a vast content menu, including feature movies, music, and computer games. To promote Ukraine’s cinematograph, passengers of Boeing 777 will be offered a variety of Ukrainian movies. The content is available in four languages, i.e. Ukrainian, English, Chinese, and Russian.

Moreover, passengers will be able to track the aircraft in real-time mode by using the interactive touch-sensitive 3D-map with 3D globe image, 100 city guides, including 20 cities of Ukraine, Kids map – Animals App, and other information.

USB-units and electrical power sockets are installed in all cabins with Wi-Fi connectivity available during the flight.

The aircraft is equipped with Bruce Aerospace Sky Interior modern lighting system which is customized so that the lighting regime changes according to natural environment. The latter helps create a special atmosphere and add extra comfort to the passengers’ long-haul trips.

“The arrival of Boeing 777 redefines the UIA service, – noted Evgeniya Satska, UIA Communications Director. – We expect that our brand new aviation product will be highly appealing to both travelers from Ukraine and transit passengers. The latter empowers us to keep boosting transit traffic at Kiev Boryspil International Airport and developing our country’s transit potential.”

Arrival of the UR-GOA aircraft is the initial stage of the UIA long-haul fleet development. Three more fully reconfigured Boeing 777 aircraft are scheduled to arrive in Q1 – Q3 2018. Prior to reconfiguration, the aircraft will undergo heavy maintenance checks including tests and checks of all systems, key components, and units. The maintenance and reconfiguration will be performed by Air France Industries KLM Engineering and Maintenance, Amsterdam.

UIA operates 43 aircraft including 27 medium haul Boeing 737 NG aircraft. Currently, UIA fleet’s average age amounts to 11.9 years.

Copyright Photo: Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 777-28E ER 2-AERA (UR-GOA) (msn 28681) AMS (Ton Jochems). Image: 939909.

Ukraine International aircraft slide show:

Videos:

Advertisements

Icelandair increases service to Tampa

Icelandair Boeing 757-256 WL TF-FIU (msn 26243) (Northern Lights - Aurora Borealis) LHR (Wingnut). Image: 925482.

Icelandair has announced they will be increasing  their seasonal nonstop service from Tampa International from twice a week to four times a week. The airline was on-hand at Tampa Bay International to showcase their special northern lights livery, Hekla Arora (above). Local media and business leaders were welcomed onboard to experience the comfort and service that passengers receive when flying Icelandair. They also had a chance to view the northern lights show onboard the plane.

Flights will operate from Tampa Bay International on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays starting this fall and return from Keflavik on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

The flight to Iceland is just around seven hours and when flying to The U.K, Scandinavia or Continental Europe, Icelandair allows passengers the opportunity to stopover in Iceland for up to seven nights at no additional airfare.

Copyright Photo: Icelandair Boeing 757-256 WL TF-FIU (msn 26243) (Northern Lights – Aurora Borealis) LHR (Wingnut). Image: 925482.

Icelandair aircraft slide show:

Atlas Air Worldwide reports record fourth quarter results, strong outlook for 2018, will add four more Boeing 747-400s

Airline Color Scheme - Introduced 2000

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. has announced record fourth quarter and full-year 2017 revenue, record fourth-quarter earnings and robust full-year earnings growth, and a continued strong outlook in 2018.

“2017 was an exciting year for Atlas and we expect that to continue in 2018,” said President and Chief Executive Officer William J. Flynn.

“The strategic initiatives that we have put in place over many years have transformed our company. Our focus on express, e-commerce and fast-growing Asian markets has broadened our customer base and fleet. As a result, we were well-positioned to capitalize on market dynamics and deliver fourth-quarter and full-year volumes, revenues, EBITDA and net income that grew sharply compared to the prior-year.

“In addition, our fourth quarter and full-year results benefited from the passage of the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in late December, which generated a significant gain related to the revaluation of our net deferred tax liabilities.

“We expect the new tax legislation to have a positive impact on economic activity and corporate growth. On passage of the law, we were pleased to provide a one-time bonus of $1,000 to our global personnel in recognition of their hard work and commitment to the company’s growth.”

Turning to 2018 and beyond, Mr. Flynn stated: “We are operating in a strong airfreight environment, underpinned by global economic growth.

“We see tremendous opportunity for continued growth in the express and e-commerce markets, fueled by a bourgeoning middle class with higher levels of disposable income. Further globalization will require expansive and time-definite air networks to facilitate the international flow of goods.

“From a regional perspective, we believe Asia is key. It is an important geography to global trade, the source of 40% of global airfreight demand, and the main contributor to the expanding global middle class.

“In addition to the demand we are seeing for our aircraft and services, we are capitalizing on the quality, scale and scope of our operations to drive our revenues and earnings to greater levels. As a result, we expect our adjusted net income to grow by a mid-twenty-percent level in 2018 compared with 2017, including the benefit of a lower corporate income tax rate.

“By comparison, even without any benefit from tax reform, we would have expected our 2018 adjusted net income to grow by a teens percentage.”

Fourth-Quarter Results

Volumes in the fourth quarter of 2017 increased 18% to 71,563 block hours, with revenue growing 19% to a record $628.0 million.

Reported income from continuing operations, net of taxes, during the period totaled $209.5 million, or $6.71 per diluted share, compared with $28.7 million, or $1.12 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2016. Reported results for the latest quarter included a $130.0 million benefit related to the revaluation of our deferred tax liabilities as well as an unrealized gain on outstanding warrants of $23.7 million. Results in the year-ago period included an unrealized loss of $27.9 million on outstanding warrants.

On an adjusted basis, income from continuing operations, net of taxes, in the fourth quarter of 2017 increased 13% to a record $66.6 million, or $2.43 per diluted share, from adjusted income of $59.0 million, or $2.24 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. EBITDA, as adjusted, increased 14% to $162.7 million.

Record ACMI segment revenues and contribution in the fourth quarter of 2017 were primarily driven by significant growth in block-hour volumes, partially offset by higher line maintenance and labor-related operational disruptions. Block-hour growth during the period reflected 747-400 flying for several new customers, 747-8 flying for Cathay Pacific Cargo, additional seasonal flying for express operators, and the ramp-up of 767-300 operations for Amazon. Five new 767-300s were placed in service for Amazon during the quarter, raising the current number to 12, in line with our expectations when we began ramping up this new service in 2016 and in line with our expectations for a total of 20 aircraft by the end of 2018.

Prime Air (Atlas Air) Boeing 767-36N ER (F) N1093A (msn 30111) ONT (Michael B. Ing). Image: 937468.

Above Copyright Photo: Prime Air (Atlas Air) Boeing 767-36N ER (F) N1093A (msn 30111) ONT (Michael B. Ing). Image: 937468.

Prime Air-Atlas Air aircraft slide show:

Higher Charter segment contribution during the period was primarily driven by an increase in commercial yields, partially offset by higher maintenance costs, the redeployment of 747-8 and 747-400 aircraft to the ACMI segment, and labor-related operational disruptions. Higher average rates during the quarter primarily reflected the impact of strong commercial yields.

In Dry Leasing, higher segment contribution primarily reflected a reduction in interest expense due to the scheduled repayment of debt related to dry leased 777 aircraft and the placement of additional 767-300 converted aircraft.

Reported earnings in the fourth quarter of 2017 also included an effective income tax benefit rate of 95.7%, due mainly to the revaluation of our deferred tax liabilities as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. On an adjusted basis, our results reflected an effective income tax rate of 31.4%.

Full-Year Results

Volumes in 2017 increased 20% to 252,802 block hours, with revenue growing 17% to a record $2.16 billion.

For the twelve months ended December 31, 2017, our continuing operations generated income of $224.3 million, or $8.68 per diluted share, which included the $130.0 million benefit related to the revaluation of our deferred tax liabilities, partially offset by an unrealized loss on financial instruments of $12.5 million related to outstanding warrants. For the twelve months ended December 31, 2016, our income from continuing operations totaled $42.6 million, or $1.70 per diluted share, including the negative impacts of transaction-related expenses and warrant accounting totaling $25.0 million.

On an adjusted basis, income from continuing operations in 2017 increased 17% to $133.7 million, or $4.93 per diluted share, compared with $114.3 million, or $4.50 per diluted share, in 2016. EBITDA, as adjusted, rose 12% to $428.6 million.

Reported earnings in 2017 also included an effective income tax benefit rate of 56.5%, due mainly to the revaluation of our deferred tax liabilities as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. On an adjusted basis, our results reflected an effective income tax rate of 28.4%.

Cash and Short-Term Investments

At December 31, 2017, our cash, cash equivalents, short-term investments and restricted cash totaled $305.5 million, compared with $142.6 million at December 31, 2016.

The change in position resulted from cash provided by operating and financing activities, partially offset by cash used for investing activities.

Net cash provided by financing activities during 2017 primarily reflected proceeds from our issuance of convertible notes and our financings of 767-300 aircraft, partially offset by payments on debt obligations. During the fourth quarter of 2017, we completed the financings of six additional 767-300 aircraft, which generated cash of $145.8 million.

Net cash used for investing activities during 2017 primarily related to capital expenditures and payments for flight equipment and modifications, including the acquisition of 767-300 aircraft to be converted to freighter configuration, spare engines and GEnx engine performance upgrade kits.

2018 Outlook

We expect to report strong earnings growth in 2018.

We begin 2018 with solid demand from our customers for our aircraft and services. With the essential building blocks we have set in place, we see opportunities to grow with existing customers and to add new ones.

Globally, economic activity is expanding. The airfreight market is strong, and airfreight tonnage continues to grow from record levels.

As a result, we expect significant growth in our volumes, revenue and adjusted EBITDA in 2018. We see volumes rising to around 300,000 block hours, revenue growing to approximately $2.5 billion, and adjusted EBITDA of about $500 million.

We anticipate that our full-year 2018 adjusted net income will grow by a mid-twenty-percent level compared with 2017, including the benefit of tax reform. Without tax reform, we would have expected our adjusted net income to grow by a teens percentage this year. We expect our full-year 2018 adjusted income tax rate to be approximately 17%.

Given the inherent seasonality of airfreight demand, we anticipate that results in 2018 will reflect historical patterns, with more than 70% of our adjusted net income occurring in the second half. In addition, we expect adjusted EBITDA of approximately $90 million in the first quarter of 2018, and adjusted net income to be approximately double adjusted net income of $8.3 million in the first quarter of 2017.

For the full year, we anticipate total block hours will increase approximately 19% compared with 2017, with about 75% of our hours in ACMI and the balance in Charter. To meet the anticipated increase in ACMI and Charter demand, we have entered into operating leases for six Boeing 747-400 freighter aircraft. Two of these aircraft entered service in the third quarter and fourth quarter of 2017; four will enter service throughout 2018.

Aircraft maintenance expense in 2018 is expected to total approximately $315 million, mainly reflecting an increase in daily line maintenance due to the anticipated growth in block hours. Depreciation and amortization is expected to total approximately $220 million. In addition, core capital expenditures, which exclude aircraft and engine purchases, are expected to total approximately $100 to $110 million, mainly for parts and components for our fleet.

Top Copyright Photo: Atlas Air Boeing 747-47UF N415MC (msn 32837) ANC (Michael B. Ing). Image: 925067.

Atlas Air aircraft slide show:

Reuters: Stobart Group is considering a bid for Flybe

Named "Spirit of The Regions"

From Reuters:

British infrastructure and support services firm Stobart Group is considering bidding as part of a consortium to acquire struggling regional carrier Flybe.

Shares in Flybe soared 26 percent on Thursday on the news to 43.5 pence by 1541 GMT, valuing the carrier at almost 105 million pounds.

“A number of potential structures have been considered including taking a non-controlling interest in a vehicle to acquire 100 percent of Flybe likely to be in cash,” Stobart said in a statement.

Reuters had reported earlier on Thursday that Stobart was in talks about a possible deal.

Flybe said it had not received an approach from Stobart about a possible offer and added: “Flybe shareholders are strongly advised to take no action at this stage.”

A spokesman for Stobart declined to identify possible partners in any bid for the airline.

Stobart is eyeing Flybe after the carrier was left vulnerable by a slump in its share price.

Shares traded at more than 90 pence in 2015 but had plunged to as low as 30.75 pence in December 2017, according to Thomson Reuters data, after the airline was hit by faltering demand for its flights.

In other news, Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, has given its 650-strong pilot workforce a brand new look that complements the striking purple uniforms of its cabin crew.

The new navy uniform for its pilots features a stylishly fitted jacket with distinctive platinum epaulettes and stripes that clearly designate the rank of Captain (four stripes), Senior First Officer (three) and First Officer (two).

Designed with full crew participation, the brief was for it to be a quality, comfortable, user-friendly outfit to better reflect the airline’s forward looking image than the previous somewhat dated look.  Flybe worked closely with PVM, another Exeter-based business which has been supplying the airline with uniforms for over 10 years, to design and source the new uniform.

The updated look was given its first proud airing at the home ground of the Exeter Chiefs rugby team and current English Premiership champions, of which Flybe is a long-standing sponsor.  One of Flybe’s Exeter-based Senior First Officers pitched in and took flight in a line-out taken with three Chiefs’ players, England International Thomas Waldrom, Scotland International Moray Low and second row player Jonny Hill.

Copyright Photo (all others by Flybe): Flybe (British European 2nd) Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) G-JEDU (msn 4089) AMS (Tony Storck). Image: 938065.

Flybe aircraft slide show:

 

Spirit Airlines to add new service to St. Croix

Spirit Airlines Airbus A319-132 N505NK (msn 2485) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 930207.

Spirit Airlines has announced, beginning on May 24, 2018, it will connect Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) with nonstop service to St. Croix’s Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (STX). The service will run three times per week on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

The new route will be operated with Airbus A319 aircraft.

The Caribbean island will become Spirit’s 65th destination, following last week’s addition of Columbus, OH, and upcoming new service to Richmond, VA; Guayaquil, Ecuador; and Cap Haitien, Haiti.

 

Spirit continues to rebuild to its full historic Caribbean scheduled service levels.  On March 10, service to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and to San Juan and Aguadilla in Puerto Rico all return to pre-storm, daily service. On April 12, Spirit will also celebrate expanded service to Kingston, Jamaica for the summer season and new nonstop service to Cap Haitien, Haiti. Spirit intends to resume its Saturday-only service to St. Maarten on May 5, 2018.

Copyright Photo: Spirit Airlines Airbus A319-132 N505NK (msn 2485) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 930207.

Spirit Airlines aircraft slide show:

Route Map:

DHL Express officially opens its new Brussels Hub

DHL Express on February 22, 2018 opened its new regional hub at Brussels Airport. The state-of-the-art hub is equipped with the most recent logistics technology and will almost quadruple the capacity of DHL Express in Brussels to 42,000 shipments per hour. The hub, an investment of over 140 million euros including lease expenses, has seen the creation of an additional 200 new DHL jobs to date at the airport, three years earlier than initially planned.

Ken Allen, CEO DHL Express said: “Brussels plays a crucial role in the worldwide DHL Express network. Brussels Hub is one of our largest hubs in the world and because of its location in the logistics heart of Europe, it also plays an important role in connecting companies from this region with the world. This new hub is a key part of our worldwide investment plan and will support our growth, the efficiency of our network and the high level of quality for which customers turn to DHL Express.”

The new 36,500m² hub (including warehousing and offices) almost quadruples the capacity of DHL Express in Brussels. At full capacity, the hub’s two automated sorting systems can process up to 42,000 packages per hour, making it the fifth largest hub in the global DHL network. It offers air and ground links to a broad number of European destinations, as well as direct intercontinental connections to the Americas, Middle East and Africa.

As part of DHL’s GoGreen program the new hub reduces the company’s ecological footprint by 768 tons of CO² per year, thanks to its more efficient sorting techniques and better insulation. It is also certified to the TAPA ‘A’ security standards.

Photo: DHL Express.
  

Cathay Pacific to fly seasonally to Cape Town

Cathay Pacific Airways Airbus A350-941 B-LRD (msn 038) HKG (Javier Rodriguez). Image: 935957.

Cathay Pacific Airways has announced it will offer seasonal service from Hong Kong to Cape Town, South Africa starting on November 13, 2018. The new route will operate three days a week until February 18, 2019 with new Airbus A350-900 aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Cathay Pacific Airways Airbus A350-941 B-LRD (msn 038) HKG (Javier Rodriguez). Image: 935957.

Cathay Pacific aircraft slide show: