Monthly Archives: February 2012

Frontier continues to add new service from Orlando

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) announced today it will add new year-round, nonstop service between Orlando, Forida (MCO) and Bloomington/Normal, Illinois (BMI). Additionally, the airline will increase its existing nonstop service between Orlando and Madison, Wisconsin (MSN) from seasonal to year-round and will upgrade the aircraft used on the route from a 99-seat Embraer ERJ 190 operated by Republic Airlines (2nd) to a 138-seat Airbus A19. The Bloomington/Normal service, also operated with Airbus A319s, will operate three days each week, begins on May 25, 2012; the year-round, twice-weekly Madison service will launch on May 27, 2012.

The news of the two new routes comes on the heels of an announcement yesterday by Frontier of new year-round, nonstop service between Orlando and both Allentown, Pennsylvania (ABE) and Harrisburg, Pa. (MDT) beginning in May. Frontier also recently announced that it would begin service between Bloomington/Normal and Denver in May.

This brings the total number of Orlando destinations to 10.

Copyright Photo: James Helbock. Benny, the North American Grizzly Bear graces the tail of Airbus A319-112 N951FR.

Click on the “Benny” tail below to see all of the Frontier tales and names.

Frontier Slide Show: CLICK HERE

The updated route map showing the new routes:

Click on the map to expand.


Spirit Airlines is coming to Minneapolis/St. Paul on May 31

Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) today announced that it will start nonstop service from Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport to Chicago (O’Hare) and Las Vegas. On May 31, 2012, Spirit will begin three daily nonstop flights between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Chicago (O’Hare) and daily nonstop service between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Las Vegas.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum.

Spirit Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air employees receive $54 Million in 2011 annual bonuses

Alaska Air Group (Seattle/Tacoma) paid annual bonuses totaling $53.8 million today to nearly all of its 12,800 employees for exceeding the company’s 2011 operational and financial goals. The bonus of about 6.7 percent of annual pay, or more than three weeks pay for most workers, is in addition to $1,000 in bonuses, on average, that each employee earned last year for achieving monthly on-time and customer satisfaction targets. The combined monthly and annual bonuses amounted to nearly $72 million.

Nearly $33 million in annual bonuses — 61 percent of the total — is being paid to some 6,300 Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air employees in the Puget Sound area. Another $7.6 million is being paid to employees in the Portland, Ore., area while $5.3 million is going to workers throughout the state of Alaska.

Bonuses in Alaska Air Group’s Performance Based Pay Plan are determined by meeting specific company-wide goals for safety, customer satisfaction, cost control and profit that are approved annually by the board of directors. Annual bonuses have averaged 5 percent since the plan was formed in 2003.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing.

Alaska Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Alaska Horizon Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Horizon Slide Show: CLICK HERE

China Southern Airlines to acquire 10 Boeing 777-300 ERs

China Southern Airlines (Guangzhou) has agreed to buy 10 Boeing 777-300 ERs, as the airline plans to expand its capacity to meet growing demand in Asia-Pacific and China. The prospective order is subject to final approval by the CAAC.

Copyright Photo: John Adlard. The stretched Extended Range Triple Seven will be a new type for China Southern. The carrier currently operates four Boeing 777-200s and six 777-200 ERs.

China Southern Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Etihad Airways to launch flights to Basra in southern Iraq on April 15

Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) will launch flights to Basra in southern Iraq on April 15 .Basra becomes the 84th destination in the carrier’s global network and the third city it flies to in Iraq. Etihad Airways already operates services to the capital, Baghdad, and Erbil, in the country’s north.

Etihad will assign Airbus A320s to the Abu Dhabi-Basra route with 16 Pearl Business class seats and 120 seats in Coral Economy class. The new route will operate four times a week.

Copyright Photo: OSDU.

Etihad Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Airberlin now uses less fuel per operation than any other network carrier in Europe

Airberlin (Berlin) is working hard to become more efficient as the cost of fuel rises. Fuel efficiency has improved by another 1.5 percent for 2011.

The company has issued this report:

“Airberlin ended 2011 by setting a new record. Germany’s second largest airline managed to improve its fuel efficiency by another 1.5%, reducing its average specific fuel consumption to 3.5 liters per 100 passenger kilometers flown (PKM). This means that airberlin uses less fuel per service operated than any other network carrier in Europe.

During a presentation in Dusseldorf on Friday, Hartmut Mehdorn, CEO of airberlin, commented that “Environmental protection has become one of the criteria of competitiveness. The careful use of resources leads to a sustainable reduction in costs and has a beneficial impact on the environment. Customers view this as providing added value, an area which airberlin would like to develop further.”

The savings made in 2011 amounted to nearly 19,800 tons of fuel over the 12 months, which corresponds to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 62,000 tons. This record-breaking achievement is the result of efforts made within the company. A large contribution to the new savings has been made by measures which provide more precise and up-to-date information for flight operations, such as weather, temperatures or flight path. The optimisation of flight times on turboprop and jet aircraft and a more refined approach to aircraft loading also help to reduce fuel consumption. airberlin has also succeeded in standardising other measures with its partner airlines, such as the washing of engines, and in doing so has strengthened its activity aimed at protecting the environment.

In the field of air traffic, fuel is one of the most significant factors, alongside political policy, which drive prices upwards. Reducing fuel consumption is therefore a matter of utmost importance. Environmental protection is given top priority at airberlin. In 2012, the company aims to reduce its average specific fuel consumption to 3.4 liters per 100 PKM. This corresponds to an additional reduction of 100,000 tonnes in CO2 emissions.”

The rising cost of fuel on a worldwide basis is going to cull out those airlines which are not as efficient. It will be a survival of the fittest.

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean.

Airberlin Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Ryanair is suing ExxonMobil for overcharging on fuel + other news

Ryanair (Dublin) is making a lot of news lately (probably intentional to stay in the news) (see also Wizz Air). First, the company is suing ExxonMobil for overcharging on the cost of fuel for the past seven years according to this report by The Guardian.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Next, the ultra low-fare airline is again calling on the Irish government to sell its 25 percent share in Aer Lingus to Ryanair. The company is boasting only it can operate both airlines according to the Irish Times.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Further Ryanair’s flamboyant CEO (Michael O’Leary) has criticized the Boeing 737 MAX design and is also talking to the Chinese about a possible COMAC C-919 order according to this article by Flightglobal. Ryanair’s concept of flying with “standing room only” passengers has also been nixed by regulators.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Finally the airline has announced 26 new summer routes from London’s Stansted and Luton Airports with over 260 additional weekly flights to Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Spain. Ryanair is betting Londoners will want to escape the Summer Olympics.

Copyright Photo: Arnd Wolf.

Ryanair Slide Show: CLICK HERE



Allied Pilots Association files lawsuit with AMR Bankruptcy Court “to clarify legal gray area”

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) is experiencing more push-back from its employee groups. The latest challenge is coming from its pilots represented by the Allied Pilots Association. The APA has issued the following statement concerning their lawsuit presented to the AMR Corporation Chapter 11 bankruptcy court.

“The Allied Pilots Association (APA), certified collective bargaining agent for the 10,000 pilots of American Airlines, filed an action for declaratory judgment today with the bankruptcy court asking the judge to clarify how the Railway Labor Act and Section 1113 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code interrelate.

“Our objective is to enhance the prospects of a consensual agreement between the Allied Pilots Association and airline management in the ongoing restructuring negotiations,” said APA President Captain Dave Bates. “APA believes that a consensual agreement between our union and airline management is in our company’s long-term best interests. Accordingly, APA has asked the bankruptcy court to clarify a legal gray area regarding rejection of airline industry collective bargaining agreements in bankruptcy.”

While Section 1113 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code outlines procedures for rejecting existing labor contracts during their term, the comprehensive collective bargaining agreement between APA and American Airlines expired in 2008. Since then, APA and American Airlines have been negotiating under federal labor law provisions that prohibit airline management from changing rates of pay, rules and working conditions until the National Mediation Board (NMB) finishes mediating toward an agreement.

“The Railway Labor Act provides specialized procedures for peaceful resolution of labor contracts in the airline industry, and the conflict between the bankruptcy code and the Railway Labor Act’s requirements has not been thoroughly adjudicated,” Bates said.

Under the terms of the Railway Labor Act, the status quo period remains in force until the NMB declares a negotiations impasse and proffers binding interest arbitration. APA has been seeking such a proffer from the NMB. If either party declines the proffer, a 30-day cooling-off period begins.

“While the Railway Labor Act permits self-help by both parties, in a significant Chapter 11 proceeding such as AMR’s reorganization, it is conceivable that the White House would appoint a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) before the end of the cooling-off period to prevent disruption to interstate commerce,” Bates said.

The PEB would examine the unresolved bargaining items and issue a settlement recommendation.

“The Railway Labor Act represents the more promising path to a consensual agreement by offering multiple options for dispute resolution at different junctures in the bargaining process,” Bates said.”

Copyright Photo: Luimer Cordero.

American Slide Show: CLICK HERE


Wizz Air to move operations from Bucharest Baneasa to Otopeni on March 25

Wizz Air (Budapest) will move its entire Bucharest Baneasa Airport operations to the newer Henri Coanda (Otopeni) Airport on March 25, 2012.

Wizz Air has received official confirmation about the closure of Baneasa airport to commercial aircraft traffic which will result in the need to move its operations to Otopeni.
Meanwhile Ryanair and Wizz Air are battling for the Hungarian market in the wake of the collapse of MALEV Hungarian Airlines (Budapest). Ryanair has alleged that Wizz Air’s ownership structure violates the European Union ownership rules and has asked the EU to investigate its ownership structure. Wizz Air stated its ownership structure has not changed since it was first reviewed by the EU according to this report by
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best.