Monthly Archives: October 2012

Air New Zealand promotes the new “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” movie with a new safety video

Air New Zealand (Auckland) today (October 31) issued this unique new safety video. The airlines also issued this statement:

Hobbits, Dwarves and Wizards will take flight as Air New Zealand launches its latest onboard safety video, ‘An Unexpected Briefing,’ today.

The safety video is inspired by the upcoming fantasy adventure The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), which is the first in a trilogy of films from director and Kiwi Sir Peter Jackson. The video has been created in conjunction with the Academy Award-winning Weta Workshop (The Lord of the Rings films) and features appearances from Jackson, as well as the unforgettable character, Gollum, and descendants of J.R.R Tolkien, author of the timeless masterpiece The Hobbit on which the trilogy is based.

Customers who pay close attention to the safety video could win a once-in-a-lifetime Middle-earth experience in New Zealand. Hidden within the video are secret Elvish codes. Viewers who spot the codes can then visit www.airnzcode.com/hobbitmovie to unlock the door to Bag End and be in to win a trip for two to New Zealand, including a tour of the Hobbiton movie set, a visit to the Weta Cave in Wellington, and double passes to the red carpet global premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Air New Zealand General Manager Marketing and Communications Mike Tod says ‘An Unexpected Briefing’ is a further reflection of the world class creative talents of New Zealanders.

“This latest safety video inspired by The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is another example of how New Zealand is a hotbed for creative talent. Our partners at Weta Workshop and Weta Digital, which brought Gollum to life inside the aircraft, have helped us demonstrate again that if you want to engage with audiences in a unique way, our nation has immense creative capability,” Mr Tod says.

“Sir Peter Jackson and the team at Warner Bros. Pictures in the United States were fantastically supportive during production of the video. To have Gollum step off the movie screen for the first time and into an Air New Zealand aircraft is incredibly special and Sir Peter Jackson delivers a superb cameo. He should come out from behind the camera more often!”

Two great grandsons of The Hobbit author J.R.R Tolkien, Mike and Royd Tolkien, also make a cameo appearance in the safety video. Royd Tolkien, who features in the video with prosthetic hairy Hobbit feet, says the opportunity to be part of Air New Zealand’s association with The Hobbitmovies was too good to miss. “They’ve done a great job of capturing the essence of The Hobbit films and it was a privilege to be invited to participate.”

Kiwi Dean O’Gorman, who plays the Dwarf Fili in the movie, can be spotted amongst the passengers in the safety video, along with two super-Hobbit fans from TheOneRing.net – the web’s largest Tolkien fan site. Mr Tod says the release of ‘An Unexpected Briefing’ marks the official start of Air New Zealand’s two-year global marketing programme dedicated to The Hobbit Trilogy.

“We will invest several million dollars in Australia, Asia, the United States and Europe on uniquely Air New Zealand marketing efforts related to The Hobbit movies to attract more tourists to New Zealand. We are also working extremely closely with Tourism New Zealand on a range of initiatives, including supporting bringing several hundred journalists to experience Middle-earth,” he says. A forthcoming feature of Air New Zealand’s support of The Hobbit Trilogy will be a themed aircraft which will be prior to the movie’s global premiere in Wellington on November 28.

About The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the first of a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. The three films tell a continuous story set in Middle-earth 60 years before “The Lord of the Rings,” which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in the blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar®-winning “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.”

The screenplay for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro. Jackson is also producing the film, together with Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner and Fran Walsh. The executive producers are Alan Horn, Toby Emmerich, Ken Kamins and Carolyn Blackwood, with Boyens and Eileen Moran serving as co-producers. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and the second and third films of the trilogy are productions of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), with New Line managing production. Warner Bros. Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international distribution licensing being handled by MGM.

The central film in the Trilogy, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” will be released on December 13, 2013, and the final film, “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” will be released worldwide on July 18, 2014. All three films in the trilogy were shot in 3D 48 frames-per-second and will be released in High Frame Rate (HFR) 3D, other 3D formats, IMAX and 2D.

Air New Zealand: 

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Royal Brunei Airlines introduces a new livery

Royal Brunei Airlines(RB) (Bandar Seri Begawan) revealed a new livery and logo on October 30, 2012 at an event held at Hangar 1, Brunei International Airport. The new livery and logo was revealed

 on an Airbus A319, which was painted by RB’s own in-house engineering team.

Attending the event was the Minister of Communications, Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdullah bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar as Guest of Honour, as well as RB’s Chairman and Board of Directors, staff and other invited guests.

Included in the guest list were some of the country’s national icons: Two of Brunei’s Olympians, Maziah Mahusin, Brunei’s first female Olympian who represented Brunei at the London Summer Olympics in the 400m run, Ak Hafiy Tajuddin Pg Rositi who represented Brunei at the London Summer Olympics in the 400m run, the Under-21 football team who were the champions of the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy in March 2012, and the Kilimanjaro team an all female team who raised the Brunei Flag at the highest peak of Mount Kilimanjaro in 2001.

Prior to the reveal, Royal Brunei Airlines has been releasing teasers of its redefinition of travel to in the local market, both via print and online adverts and the “Smile Squad”; who has been sparking public curiosity over the past two weeks. The Smiles Squad has been spotted in different parts of the country, spreading genuine smiles and good cheer to the public.

Mr. Dermot Mannion, Deputy Chairman of RB, said “Over the next year, we will be redefining the Royal Brunei Airlines flying experience, starting with our classic styled new livery and logo. This redefinition is not merely an ad campaign, but rather a long term commitment to our passengers to create a family-like, peaceful and tranquil atmosphere with high class customer service.

The new livery and logo is the first step on RB’s rebranding journey. Over the next year, the national carrier will be rolling out a new website experience (including new social media experience), new uniforms and new lounge and ticket office environments.

The completion of the rebranding process will be timed to coincide with the entry into service of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on September 1, 2013, making RB the first airline in South-East Asia to take delivery of this ultra modern aircraft.

Image: Royal Brunei Airlines.

Royal Brunei Airlines: 

 

Republic Airways Holdings issues a statement concerning subsidiary Chautauqua Airlines

Republic Airways Holdings (Indianapolis) today issued the following statement concerning its subsidiary Chautauqua Airlines (Indianapolis):

Republic Airways Holdings Inc. today (October 31) announced it has reached agreements with several key stakeholders which, combined with other initiatives taken, including placing idled aircraft back into revenue service, will mitigate future negative cash flows at its Chautauqua Airlines subsidiary on average by approximately $45 million annually over the next five years.

“This is an important milestone in our Chautauqua restructuring effort,” said Bryan Bedford, chairman, president and CEO of Republic Airways. “These agreements take us about three-quarters of the way to our stated need of $60 million in average annual cash flow improvements at Chautauqua in order to stabilize and secure its future. We still have approximately two-thirds of our small jet fleet of 70 aircraft operating under capacity purchase agreements (CPAs) with less than two years remaining, so we are focused on ensuring both our labor productivity and long-term maintenance costs of these aircraft remain competitive.”

The Company also announced it has amended its CPA between Chautauqua Airlines and Delta Air Lines to provide for the operation of an additional seven Embraer ERJ 145 aircraft for a period of one year for each aircraft. All seven aircraft are expected to be placed into service with Delta before the end of 2012. Prior to the amendment, Chautauqua operated a total of twenty-four Embraer ERJ 145 aircraft under a CPA which continues through May 2016.

“The deployment of these seven aircraft, combined with our other recent CPA activity, means we will have placed all remaining idle 50-seat regional jet aircraft back into revenue service by the end of 2012. Ensuring our 50-seat aircraft remain active under agreements with our major airline partners is an important component of our Chautauqua restructuring effort,” said Bedford.

Meanwhile the Teamsters Local 357 issued this statement:

Pilots who fly for one of the nation’s largest regional airline companies say it’s not a lack of qualified pilots, but rather a lack of pay and respect that’s grounding airplanes and could cause a ripple effect in the nation’s air transportation system.

This week, Republic Airways Holdings announced that it would operate 27 fewer airplanes and expects to hire almost half the number of pilots  anticipated in 2014 due a lack of candidates who meet new FAA rules mandating 1,500 hours of  experience.  However, the issues are more complex according to International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local No. 357 which represents the 3000+ pilots who fly for the Indianapolis-based airline.

“Regional carriers as a whole need to offer better pay and work rules to attract new pilots,”  said Local 357 President Craig Moffatt.  “The lack of a competitive contract here at Republic contributes to poor quality of life with sub-standard pay to boot. This, in turn, leads qualified pilots to look elsewhere.”

The current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) or contract was ratified in 2003 and became amendable in October of 2007. Pilots are covered by the Railway Labor Act, so the contract does not expire. Negotiations began in April 2007 and entered mediation in 2011.  Local 357 pilots have been without a contractual raise or an adjustment of work rules to reflect industry and economic changes for over six years—and counting.

Regional carriers are a key link in the nation’s air-transportation system. Approximately half of the nation’s domestic flights are outsourced to regional airlines rather than flown by a larger carrier.  Republic Airways Holdings owns and operates Chautauqua Airlines, Republic Airlines and Shuttle America Airlines which in turn fly for American, United, Delta and US Airways.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Embraer ERJ 145LR (EMB-145LR) N272SK (msn 145306) arrives at Baltimore/Washington.

Delta Connection/Chautauqua Airlines: 

EVA Air becomes a new Airbus A321 operator

EVA Air (Taipei) of Taiwan has become a new operator of Airbus single aisle aircraft following the delivery today (October 31) of its first A321. The aircraft is being leased from Aviation Capital Group (ACG) and is the first of 12 A321s ordered by the US lessor. The aircraft was handed over at a ceremony in Hamburg attended by Chang Kuo Wei, President of EVA Air.

EVA currently plans to introduce 12 leased A321s into its fleet between now and end-2014 for operation on regional routes. The airline has specified a high comfort two class layout for the aircraft seating 184 passengers. EVA’s A321 fleet will be powered by CFM International CFM56 engines.

EVA Air plans to introduce the new A321 on November 10 on the Taipei (Taoyuan)-Macau route according to Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Gerd Beilfuss. The first, the pictured Airbus A321-211 D-AVZD (msn 5354) at Hamburg (Finkenwerder), became B-16201 at today’s handover.

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EVA Air: 

Spirit Airlines reports third quarter adjusted net income of $25.2 million

Spirit Airlines, Inc. (Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood) today (OCtober 31) reported third quarter 2012 financial results.

  • Net income, excluding special items, for the third quarter 2012 was $25.2 million, or $0.35 per diluted share1. GAAP net income for the third quarter 2012 was $30.9 million, or $0.43 per diluted share.
  • Operating margin, excluding special items, for the third quarter of 2012 was 11.8 percent1. Operating margin on a GAAP basis was 14.5 percent for the third quarter of 2012.
  • Adjusted EBITDAR for the third quarter 2012 was $81.8 million, resulting in an Adjusted EBITDAR margin of 23.9 percent.
  • Spirit ended the third quarter 2012 with $399.1 million in unrestricted cash.

Revenue Performance

For the third quarter 2012, Spirit’s total operating revenue was $342.3 million, an increase of $53.6 million, or 18.6 percent, compared to third quarter 2011 on a capacity increase of 22.7 percent.

Total revenue per available seat mile (“RASM”) for the third quarter 2012 was 11.52 cents, a decrease of 3.4 percent compared to the third quarter 2011, driven by lower load factor and operating yields against very strong results last year.

Passenger flight segment (“PFS”) volume grew 23.2 percent year-over-year in the third quarter 2012 with total revenue per PFS of $121.65. Average non-ticket revenue per PFS for the third quarter 2012 increased 11.5 percent year-over-year to $49.80 while average ticket revenue per PFS for the quarter decreased 12.1 percent year-over-year to $71.85 as Spirit continued its strategy to offer low base fares while increasing revenue from non-ticket sources. In addition, ticket revenue per passenger segment in the third quarter 2011 included the benefit from the Federal Excise Tax holiday.

Cost Performance

Total operating expenses in the third quarter 2012 were $292.6 million, an increase of $48.5 million, or 19.9 percent, compared to the same period in 2011, primarily driven by fuel and other expenses associated with increased flight volume, partially offset by a gain associated with the sale of four air carrier slots at Ronald Reagan National Airport. Other expense drivers included passenger re-accommodation costs related to flight cancellations and crew-related costs as a result of network scope changes.

Cost per available seat mile excluding special items and fuel (“Adjusted CASM ex-fuel”) for the third quarter 2012 was 6.02 cents, an increase of 4.9 percent year-over-year, largely driven by higher passenger re-accommodation costs related to flight cancellations. Other primary drivers included additional rent for an aircraft temporarily leased from a third-party provider to maintain desired capacity levels during the summer, start-up costs associated with the Company’s seat maintenance program and implementation costs of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.

During the third quarter 2012, the Company incurred start-up costs related to its seat maintenance program of $2.3 million, bringing its total costs incurred related to this program to $5.4 million. Spirit estimates that total start-up costs related to this program will be approximately $7 million with the remaining balance incurred in the fourth quarter 2012.

Selected Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Items

At the end of the third quarter 2012, Spirit had $399.1 million in unrestricted cash and cash equivalents and no restricted cash balance. As of September 30, 2012, the Company had no debt on its balance sheet and total shareholders’ equity of $559.5 million.

During the third quarter 2012, the Company had capital expenditures of $2.5 million, paid $11.5 million in pre-delivery deposits (“PDPs”) for future deliveries of aircraft and spare engines and paid $13.0 million in maintenance reserves, net of reimbursements.

Fleet

Spirit ended the third quarter 2012 with 42 aircraft in its fleet. The Company has two new A320 aircraft scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter 2012, which deliveries would bring the year-end 2012 fleet to 44 aircraft. In addition, in October 2012, Spirit signed a Letter of Intent with ILFC to lease three used A319 and five A320neo aircraft, subject to final documentation. These aircraft are undergoing customary maintenance checks, and the Company currently expects one A319 aircraft to be delivered in December 2012 with two expected to be delivered in January 2013. Delivery dates for the A320neo aircraft will be confirmed after Spirit has made a decision on its engine type selection for the A320neo.

Third Quarter 2012 and Other Current Highlights

  • Recently added/announced new service between (service start date):
– Dallas/Fort Worth and Baltimore/Washington (9/6/12) – San Diego and Portland, Oregon (11/8/12)
– Fort Lauderdale and Baltimore/Washington (9/6/12) – San Diego and Los Cabos, Mexico (11/8/12)**
– Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston (9/20/12) – Dallas/Fort Worth and New Orleans (1/24/13)
– Houston and Chicago (10/4/12) – Dallas/Fort Worth and Oakland/
– Houston and Las Vegas (10/4/12) San Francisco (4/25/13)
– Denver and Phoenix/Mesa (10/4/12) – Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles (4/25/13)
– Chicago and Tampa (11/8/12)* – Dallas/Fort Worth and Cancun, Mexico (4/25/13)
– Chicago and Phoenix/Mesa (11/8/12)* – Dallas/Fort Worth and Minneapolis/St. Paul (4/25/13)
– Minneapolis/St. Paul and Fort Lauderdale (11/8/12)* – Dallas/Fort Worth and Philadelphia (4/25/13)
– Minneapolis/St. Paul and Fort Myers (11/8/12)* – Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Cabos, Mexico (6/13/12)**
– Dallas/Fort Worth and Fort Myers (11/8/12)* – Dallas/Fort Worth and Latrobe/Pittsburgh (6/14/13)
– Boston and Fort Myers (11/8/12)*
  • Announced opening a Crew Base at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on December 1, 2012.

*Seasonal service only

**Spirit has filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) to begin nonstop service between Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Cabos, Mexico and between San Diego and Los Cabos, Mexico, subject to necessary governmental approval.

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck. Spirit Airlines is now serving Baltimore/Washington. Airbus A320-232 N608NK (msn 4902) prepares to land at BWI.

Spirit Airlines: 

Hawaiian Airlines launches a new route to Sapporo, Japan

Hawaiian Airlines (Honolulu) yesterday (October 30) launched its inaugural flight from Honolulu to Sapporo, Japan, and restored nonstop service between the two cities that had been discontinued by other carriers nine years earlier.

Passengers of the inaugural flight enjoyed a festive island-style send-off at Honolulu International Airport before boarding, featuring Hawaiian music and hula, a traditional Hawaiian blessing, presentation of fresh flower lei, and a special performance honoring the Japanese culture (see above).

The capital city of the island of Hokkaido, Japan’s second-largest and northernmost island, Sapporo is Japan’s fourth-largest city with a population of 1.9 million. Sapporo is renowned for its ski resorts – the city hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics – and the world-famous Sapporo Snow Festival, which annually attracts millions of visitors each February to see its spectacular snow and ice sculptures.

Hawaiian’s Honolulu-Sapporo service is adding 41,000 new air seats to the market annually and the benefit to Hawai’i’s visitor industry will be significant, according to the Hawai’i Tourism Authority.

Hawaiian’s Flight HA 441 departs Honolulu International Airport on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 2:45 p.m., crosses the international dateline, and arrives at Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport at 7:00 p.m. the following day.

The return flight HA 442 departs Sapporo on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday at 9:30 p.m., crosses the international dateline, and arrives in Honolulu at 9:55 a.m. the same day.

Hawaiian will operate its Honolulu-Sapporo flights offering the comfort and roominess of its wide-body, twin-aisle Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft (see below) seating 264 passengers, with 18 in Business Class and 246 in the Main Cabin.

Travelers will enjoy a customized presentation of Hawaiian’s signature inflight hospitality program, combining its celebration of the islands’ culture, people, and Aloha Spirit with entertainment options and special onboard products designed for the Japanese traveler.

Sapporo is the fourth city in Japan that Hawaiian has introduced nonstop service in the past two years following Tokyo (November 2010), Osaka (July 2011), and Fukuoka (April 2012).

Top Copyright Photo: Guests of Hawaiian Airlines’ inaugural flight today from Honolulu to Sapporo, Japan were treated to hula and Hawaiian music before boarding. Photo Credit: Anthony Consillio. (PRNewsFoto/Hawaiian Airlines)

Hawaiian Airlines: 

Bottom Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Boeing 767-33A ER N581HA (msn 28141) taxies to the runway at Los Angeles International Airport.

ILFC delivers an Airbus A320 to Myanmar Airways International

International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), a wholly owned subsidiary of American International Group, Inc. (AIG), announced it has delivered an Airbus A320-200 aircraft to MAI-Myanmar Airways International (Yangon). This A320 is the first commercial jet aircraft of its type to be provided on an operating lease to an airline in Myanmar by a global aircraft leasing company.

“ILFC is very pleased to be the first international leasing company to lease an A320 in Myanmar. We look forward to supporting MAI’s growth and that of the aviation industry in Myanmar,” said ILFC’s Head of Asia Pacific, David Nixon. “ILFC believes MAI will succeed on their plan to offer the region a preferred premium carrier. The A320 delivered to MAI will modernize and expand MAI’s current A320 fleet and offer increased takeoff weight, greater range and improved fuel economy.”

Si Thu, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Myanmar Airways International, commented, “ILFC is one of the best brands in aviation, providing advanced total aircraft fleet solutions to its global partners. ILFC is the right partner for MAI, and the timing of this first ILFC A320 aircraft delivery to our airline will help us expand our fleet and extend our routes in this new era in Myanmar.”

Copyright Photo: Greenwing. This former OLT Express (Poland) Airbus A320-214 EI-EYH (msn 973, ex SP-IAC) became XY-AGO on its lease from ILFC on October 27.

MAI-Myanmar Airways International: