Monthly Archives: May 2012

Horizon Air introduces the SDSU Aztecs logoplane

Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) today (May 31) unveiled a specially painted Aztec plane with San Diego State University’s logo and hallmark scarlet and black colors before a crowd of cheering students, alumni, faculty and people traveling through San Diego International Airport. The unveiling of the Horizon Air (Alaska Horizon) Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) N414QX (msn 4061) was timed to celebrate the start of Alaska Airlines’ new San Diego flights to Fresno, Monterey and Santa Rosa, California, which will begin on June 4 and 5.

Like other university-themed aircraft operated for Alaska Airlines by its sister carrier, Horizon Air, the Aztec aircraft was painted at no cost to San Diego State University.

Following the unveiling in Terminal 1, fans, students and 15 radio contest winners will depart on the Aztec plane’s inaugural flight along the Southern California coast, and over the Coachella Valley and Salton Sea.

Aztec plane trivia:

  • The Bombardier Q400 has a wing span of 93 feet, 3 inches, and measures 107 feet and 9 inches in length.
  • The plane accommodates 76 passengers and four crew members.
  • With a cruising speed of 414 mph, the plane can fly at a maximum altitude of 25,000 feet.
  • A crew of eight people worked around the clock for seven days at Associated Painters Inc., of Spokane, Wash., to paint the plane.
  • The painting required 32 gallons of white paint, 10 gallons of red paint and four gallons of black paint. In addition, about 2,000 sheets of sandpaper and 10,000 yards of masking tape were also used.
  • View a one-minute time-lapse video of the plane as it was painted at

The San Diego State University plane is the ninth university-themed aircraft flown by Horizon Air since 2008. Other paint themes include the universities of Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington, Boise State, Montana State, Oregon State and Washington State.

New San Diego – intra-California routes

In conjunction with the SDSU plane’s unveiling, Alaska Airlines is starting new nonstop daily service from San Diego to Fresno/Yosemite, Monterey and Santa Rosa/Sonoma County on June 4 and 5.

Summary of new service
San Diego-Fresno:
Start date City pair Departs Arrives Frequency
June 4 San Diego-Fresno 9:15 a.m. 10:50 a.m. Daily
June 4 San Diego-Fresno 8:45 p.m. 10:20 p.m. Daily
June 4 Fresno-San Diego 7:15 a.m. 8:42 a.m. Daily
June 4 Fresno-San Diego 6:45 p.m. 8:12 p.m. Daily
San Diego-Monterey:
Start date City pair Departs Arrives Frequency
June 4 San Diego-Monterey 6:55 p.m. 8:37 p.m. Daily
June 5 Monterey-San Diego 7:30 a.m. 9:12 a.m. Daily
San Diego-Santa Rosa:
Start date City pair Departs Arrives Frequency
June 5 San Diego-Santa Rosa 9:45 a.m. 11:50 a.m. Daily
June 4 Santa Rosa-San Diego 4:25 p.m. 6:22 p.m. Daily
All times are based on local time zones

The three new routes will be served by Horizon Air’s twin-engine Bombardier Q400 turboprops.

Along with the new intra-California routes and Aztec plane unveiling, Alaska Airlines also announced today it will operate five flights a week between San Diego and Orlando, starting on October 11, 2012.

Top Copyright Photo: Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air.

Alaska Airlines: 

Alaska Horizon: 

Horizon Air: 

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Bottom Copyright Photo: James Helbock. N414QX arrives from Portland at San Diego today for the ceremony.

ALC leases 13 aircraft to Air China

Air Lease Corporation (ALC) (Los Angeles) has announced it has entered into 12 year long term lease agreements with Air China (Beijing) for 13 new jet aircraft delivering in 2013 and 2014 which consist of nine new Boeing 737-800s and four new Airbus A321-200s.

Copyright Photo: John Adlard.

Air China: 

Canadian North and WestJet sign an interline agreement

Canadian North (Yellowknife) has announced an interline agreement with WestJet Airlines (Calgary), effective on May 24, 2012. This agreement allows for the convenience of booking travel with both airlines on one ticket, checking in for Canadian North and WestJet flights at the same time, as well as through-checking luggage all the way to the final destination.

Canadian North operates flights to and from Northwest Territories and Nunavut through their southern gateways of Edmonton and Ottawa, allowing for convenient connections across southern Canada with WestJet.

Copyright Photo: Gilbert Hechema. 

Canadian North: 

Saudi Arabian Airlines changes its name back to Saudia, joins the SkyTeam alliance

Saudi Arabian Airlines (Jeddah) has reverted back to its old Saudia name as the airline joins the SkyTeam alliance.

Top Copyright Photo: Rainer Bexten. Despite the “Joining in June 2012” sub-titles on this newly-painted Boeing 777-268 ER HZ-AKA (msn 28344), the airline joined the alliance on May 29, 2012 as the 16th member and also the first in the Middle East.

Bottom Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati. Is there a new color scheme coming for the new (old) name?

Saudia/Saudi Arabian Airlines: 

Boeing delivers the 20th 747-8 to Atlas Air in Panalpina colors

Boeing (Chicago) today (May 31) marked the 20th delivery of its new 747-8F freighter. The airplane, a 747-87UF freighter, registered as N850GT (msn 37570), was delivered to Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. Atlas Air (New York) will operate the freighter on behalf of Panalpina, the Swiss-based freight operator. This marks the first time in Panalpina’s history that an airplane has been painted in the company’s livery.

The 747-8 Freighter will immediately enter service when it departs Seattle for Hong Kong later today. The airplane, named the “Spirit of Panalpina”, will then fly from Hong Kong on to Luxembourg with cargo on board.

Atlas Air has ordered nine 747-8F freighters, two of which they will operate for Panalpina.

The 747-8 freighter offers 16 percent more capacity than the 747-400 Freighter. It is environmentally more progressive, with double digit improvements in fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions and a noise footprint reduction of 30 percent.

To date, Boeing has now delivered 20 747-8s including 16 747-8 Freighters, three 747-8 Intercontinentals to VIP customers and one 747-8 Intercontinental to Lufthansa.

The Panalpina Group is one of the world’s leading providers of supply chain solutions and operates a global network with some 500 branches in more than 80 countries. In a further 80 countries, it cooperates closely with partner companies. Panalpina employs approximately 15,500 people worldwide.

Copyright Photo: Boeing.

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Aegean Airlines’ first quarter net loss deepens due to the Greek economic crisis

Aegean Airlines (Athens) reported its first net loss widened to $30.9 million, up from a net loss of $20.2 million in the same period a year ago. The widening loss was blamed on the Greek financial crisis and higher fuel costs.

In other news, Aegean opened the Athens-Prague route on May 24. The new route will be operated three days a week.

Read the full financial report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Pedro Pics.

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ALSA and Iberia team up for “Bus&Fly”

Spanish bus company ALSA and Iberia (Madrid) today are launching “Bus&Fly”, a service allowing travellers in several Spanish provinces to combine flights and coach travel to/from the airport on a single ticket.

Bus&Fly is Europe’s most advanced intermodal service of its kind, since it can be booked through the global reservations systems used by travel agencies around the world.

The first cities to be served by Bus&Fly are Albacete, Burgos, Lorca, Soria and Valladolid, from which some 66,000 passengers each year use Madrid airport for international flights. As of today the bus terminals on all five cites will have IATA codes, allowing travel agencies around the world to issue the new intermodal tickets, and giving greater international visibility and access to global markets to the cities themselves.

Each day ALSA will offer more than 40 coaches to/from the five cities and Iberia’s Terminal 4 hub in Madrid, where they can reach nearly 100 international Iberia destinations in Europe, the Americas, Africa and the Middle East. Iberia and Alsa have devised timetables to ensure relaxed connections, with ample time for passengers to check their luggage, complete security control procedures and board their flights. To streamline the process further, passengers may obtain their boarding cards on line and their luggage tags from airport check-in kiosks, and then drop their luggage at Iberia’s express counters number 810 and 811.

The launch of Bus&Fly is a new step contributing to intermodality –the use of different means of transport– at Madrid-Barajas airport, which translates into the more efficient use of the airport and of other passenger transport infra- structures, as well as easier access to the airport from the provinces.

About one-third of all passengers who use the airport are making connections to/from other Spanish cities and other cities elsewhere in Europe. Bus&Fly will strengthen the T4 as a hub for Iberia flights and passengers. There are plans to extend Bus&Fly service to other cities in Spain and in other countries in which both Iberia and Alsa operate.

ALSA is a part of the UK’s National Express group since 2005, is Spain’s leading long-distance coach line operator. The parent group supplies coach and rail travel to passengers in the UK, the US, Canada, Spain, and Morocco. In Spain it is the sole road transportation company to cover the entire county with scheduled coach services.  It also operates regional, commuter, and municipal bus services. It has a fleet of 2,459 vehicles and staff of 6,870 people. In 2011 it posted sales of 635.4 million euros, and carried 224.1 million passengers.

Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner.


British Airways unveils its Boeing “Jumbo Jubilee” logo

British Airways (London) has unveiled a “Jumbo Jubilee” logo on a Boeing 747-400. The company issued the following statement:

“One of British Airways’ fleet of 747s is now featuring a very special emblem to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  The celebratory aircraft will be flying its message of congratulations around the world.

Designed by 11-year-old Blue Peter winner, Katherine Dewar from Chester, the official logo has been emblazoned on the side of the British Airways aircraft alongside the words, “Congratulations, Celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee”.

Katherine Dewar said:  “Since winning the competition, its been like a dream come true to see my design in so many different places around the UK but I never expected to see it on a huge jumbo plane!

“I love going on holiday to Florida and hope the next time I do I’ll be lucky enough to fly on this plane so I can look out the window at my design!”

British Airways’ Captain Mark Mannering – Smith said: “As the national flag carrier I can’t think of anything more fitting than British Airways carrying a message of congratulations to Her Majesty around the world.”

Customers travelling on flights arriving into London over the Jubilee weekend (June 2-5) will hear British Airways captains making congratulatory announcements to mark the occasion.

In British Airways’ Heathrow lounges, customers will be offered a regal afternoon tea, including a selection of traditional British sandwiches, sweet treats and a special Jubilee blend of tea from Twinings.

Premium customers in the Business and Concorde lounges will be invited to raise a glass to toast Her Majesty with a champagne cocktail, ‘ Pimms Royale’, or the award-winning English sparkling wine, Balfour Brut.

For those looking for some pre-flight pampering, there’s also a selection of Jubilee treatments at the Terminal 5 Elemis Spa exclusively for British Airways’ First, Club World and Gold Executive Club members.  These customers will be able to choose from four ‘Royal Therapies’ and massage treatments, including Royal Rose facials, hand treatments and musclease foot and body workouts.”

Copyright Photo: British Airways.

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US Airways and TPG are talking about a possible bid for American Airlines

US Airways (Phoenix) and private equity firm TPG Capital (Fort Worth) are talking about a possible joint bid to acquire American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) according to this report by Reuters. A joint bid would give the bid more credibility with the creditors and the bankruptcy court.

TPG Capital, founded by Jim Coulter and David Bonderman, brought Continental Airlines (Houston) out of bankruptcy and turned the company into a money maker.

Read the full story from Reuters: CLICK HERE

Background information on TPG from Wikipedia: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum.

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Virgin America to add San Francisco-Washington Reagan National service on August 14

Virgin America (San Francisco) will add Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA) with a daily nonstop roundtrip flight from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) starting on August 14, 2012.

The airline’s new flight will depart San Francisco daily at 8:00 am PT (0800) and arrive at DCA at 4:05 pm ET (1605). The westbound flight will depart DCA daily at 5:00pm ET (1700) and arrive in San Francisco at 7:40 pm PT (1940). The new DCA service will complement Virgin America’s existing service between SFO and Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) – the airline currently has four daily nonstop flights between SFO and IAD.

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography.

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