Monthly Archives: August 2013

November 25 set as the trial date in the American – US Airways merger request

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) and US Airways (Phoenix) will go to trial on November 25 against the Department of Justice, six states and the District of Columbia. U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly set the trial date. The date was sooner than the DOJ wanted which means they will have to do their research much faster.

The DOJ, the six states and DC entered the lawsuit in the court on August 13 to block the proposed merger. This trial will probably serve as one of the final hearings in the merger request since the DOJ is critical in any approval. In other words, a judge could determine the fate of the two airlines.

The airlines are likely to argue that Southwest Airlines (which was not counted in the original DOJ data) is a formidable competitor and a merger is necessary to stay competitive against WN and other fast-growing ultra low fares carriers like Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air (they have a good point). They are also likely to argue that air fares have gone up not as a result of the recent mergers but continuously rising fuel costs.

The DOJ meanwhile would prefer to compare the AA-US merger against the previous mergers of United Airlines-Continental Airlines and Delta Air Lines-Northwest Airlines and their international routes.

The other critical point bound to be discussed in detail at the trial is the slots the proposed merged carrier will have at Washington’s super high yield Reagan National Airport. The new AA would be a super carrier at DCA if the merger is now approved. AA-US will likely have to give up more concerning DCA.

Lawyers for both sides are likely to exchange millions of documents according to this report by Reuters. If you are an airline route analysis junkie, this is the “trial of the century”.

As many as 50 people could testify at the trial. Will other airline CEOs testify at the trial?

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/ American’s Boeing 737-823 N989AN (msn 33205) prepares to land at Dulles International Airport in Virginia near Washington, DC.

American Airlines: AG Slide Show

Have you seen the “new look”

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/ US Airways’ Airbus A321-231 N535UW (msn 3993) climbs away from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

British Airways is set to introduce the Boeing 787 to Toronto

British Airways (London) is preparing to introduce the new Boeing 787-8 on its first long-haul route from London (Heathrow) to Toronto (Pearson) on September 1. The airline has released this statement for the impending new long distance service:

British Airways is debuting its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft with an inaugural long-haul flight between London (Heathrow) and Toronto (Pearson) on September 1 . The flight will arrive from London on Sunday afternoon at 14:55 local time and depart the same evening at 19:20, marking the first long-haul service for the airline’s new fleet.

Canadians will now be able to enjoy new levels of comfort and reduced jet-lag on their trips to Europe thanks to improvements in air quality, mood lighting, quieter cabins, and lower air pressure. The Dreamliner will fly exclusively between Toronto and London in September and beginning in October, between New York and London .

British Airways plans to add 24 new Dreamliner 787s to its fleet over the next four years. This is part of the airline’s investment of more than £5 billion worldwide in new aircrafts, smarter cabins, elegant lounges and new technologies to make life more comfortable in the air and on the ground.

The new aircraft accommodates 214 passengers, 35 in Club World (business class), 25 in World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and 154 in World Traveller (economy). The three newly designed cabins feature high quality materials, comfortable seats and increased bag storage. Customers in British Airways Club World cabin can take advantage of wide, full-flat beds and Club Kitchen, a snack bar open throughout the flight.

The 787 also has the largest windows of any commercial airliner, offering customers views of the horizon from every seat.  Instead of pull down blinds, each one has its own dimmer switch.

British Airways’ 787 is fitted with the airline’s new Thales entertainment system.  Each seat features a television screen and customers can choose from more than 700 hours of movies, TV and music, including 230 TV programs, 70 movies and 400 music albums and interactive games. Travelers can also communicate and play games with friends elsewhere on the aircraft using an in-seat chat system.

As part of its Dreamliner launch, British Airways has partnered with Toronto International Film Festival (T.I.F.F.) sponsor Variety.  As part of the airline’s commitment to the entertainment industry, British Airways will co-present the magazine’s popular studio at the festival.  Visitors to theVariety Studio will experience signature elements of the British Airways Dreamliner service.

 Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/ Boeing 787-8 G-ZBJA (msn 38609) departs from Stockholm (Arlanda).

British Airways: AG Slide Show


Boeing opens a 787 training facility at its Miami campus

Boeing Miami-Rick Scott (Boeing)(LR)

Boeing (Chicago) yesterday (August 29) marked the launch of 787 customer training in Miami, site of the company’s largest commercial aviation training campus. AeroMexico (Mexico City) and LAN Airlines (Santiago) are the first two customers to train on the 787 suites at the Boeing Flight Services Miami campus.

Boeing has greatly enhanced its overall training capability in Florida following an announcement in March 2013 that the company would relocate training devices from Seattle to Miami. To better serve airlines and meet growing personnel training requirements, two 787 full-flight simulators are now located at the Miami campus as well as an additional Next-Generation 737 full-flight simulator and 717, 747 and 767 simulators. An additional 777 simulator will locate in Miami later this year. These seven devices will bring total capability in Miami to 17 full-flight simulators across airplane types, making the campus one of the largest commercial flight training facilities in the world.

According to Boeing, “the consolidation of Boeing flight training campuses in the Americas is designed to bring training closer to where customers operate, reducing travel times for airline crews and the costs of sending students for training. Miami is an international hub for commercial aviation training and provides geographic diversity within the framework of Boeing’s global commercial training network – and convenience that airlines prefer.”

Boeing Flight Services, a business unit of Commercial Aviation Services, operates a geographically diverse network of 20 flight and maintenance training campuses on six continents. In addition to Miami, Boeing offers 787 training in strategically located campuses in Singapore, Shanghai and London.

Top Copyright Photo: Boeing. At the opening event attended by Florida Governor Rick Scott as well as a number of other federal, state and local officials, community leaders and airline customers, Boeing also established Miami as its pro forma flight training campus for the Americas — the location where airline crews will receive the initial training provided to Boeing customers for new model airplane introductions. Florida Governor Rick Scott (left) and Sherry Carbary, vice president, Boeing Flight Services (right) are seen inside the 787 simulator at the Miami campus.

Bottom Copyright Photo: Boeing. Pictured here is the advanced 787 full-flight simulator at the Miami campus.

Boeing Miami 787 Simulator (Boeing)(LR)

United Airlines wants to operate the Boeing 787 to Chengdu, China

United Airlines (Chicago) today applied to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for authority to begin nonstop service linking the airline’s San Francisco hub with Chengdu, China, the fourth-largest Chinese city, effective June 9, 2014.

United intends to use the world’s most advanced passenger airplane, the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, to operate three-times-weekly service to Chengdu. If approved, Chengdu will be the ninth destination United serves in the Asia/Pacific region nonstop from San Francisco, from which United offers more nonstop trans-Pacific flights from the United States than any other carrier – nearly twice as many as any airline from any West Coast city.

The proposed flights, subject to government approval, will depart San Francisco International Airport at 1:35 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and arrive at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport at 6:50 p.m. the following day (all times local). Service from Chengdu will depart at 10 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and arrive at San Francisco International Airport at 8:50 a.m. the same day.  Flying times will be approximately 14 hours, 15 minutes westbound and 13 hours, 50 minutes eastbound.  This new nonstop flight will shave nearly four hours off the typical travel time between the two cities.

Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in southwest China, is the country’s fourth largest city, with a population of approximately 14 million in the urban area. In recent years, Chengdu has been one of the country’s fastest-developing cities economically, and more than 200 Fortune 500 companies have a presence in the city. Sichuan is famous as the natural habitat of the giant panda and home to one of China’s most popular cuisines.

From San Francisco, United provides access to more than 300 destinations worldwide, with nonstop service to 80 destinations on five continents – more than any other carrier. The airline operates more nonstop China-U.S. flights, and to more cities in China, than any other airline.

United started nonstop service to mainland China in 1986 and today serves Beijing with nonstop flights from Chicago (O’Hare), Newark, San Francisco and Washington (Dulles); Shanghai with nonstop flights from Chicago (O’Hare), Los Angeles, Newark and San Francisco; and Hong Kong with nonstop flights from Chicago (O’Hare), Newark, San Francisco, Guam, Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Copyright Photo: KSK/ United’s Boeing 787-8 N26902 (msn 34822) gracefully climbs away from the runway at Los Angeles International Airport.

United Airlines: AG Slide Show

Air Koryo wants to expand to Southeast Asia and Europe

Air Koryo (Pyongyang) has been limited in its operations mainly due to international sanctions against North Korea. According to this report by the Telegraph quoting the North Korean state media, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), state-run Air Koryo wants to expand to Southeast Asia and Europe. In addition, approved travel to North Korea will now be offered year round.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

What is like to travel to North Korea on Air Koryo? Read this report by CNN: CLICK HERE

Air Koryo logo

Copyright Photo: Richard Vandervord/ Any photo taken in North Korea is a rare photo. Tourists (and photographers) are now able to visit this rarely-seen country. This venerable Tupolev Tu-134B-3 P-814 (msn 66368) is still operating in the country. P-814 is seen on the ramp at Sondok, North Korea. The older Russian-built aircraft, namely the Ilyushin Il-62s and Tupolev Tu-134s and Tu-154s have reportedly been banned from flying over neighboring Chinese airspace. If Air Koryo wants to expand it will have to upgrade its aging fleet. The airline has recently added newer Antonov An-148s and Tupolev Tu-204s.

Air Koryo (take a look at the fleet behind the curtain): AG Slide Show

WestJet to acquire 65 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft

WestJet (Calgary) announced today it has entered into a letter of intent (LOI) to purchase 65 737 MAX aircraft from Boeing, consisting of 40 737 MAX 8 and 25 737 MAX 7 aircraft, with delivery scheduled to begin in September 2017.

The 737 MAX aircraft will be equipped with CFM International LEAP-1B engines, and is expected to reduce fuel burn and CO2 emissions by 13 per cent as compared with the most fuel-efficient single-aisle aircraft currently available. Additional design updates, including Boeing’s Advanced Technology winglets and the Boeing Sky Interior, will also contribute to these improvements in fuel efficiency and WestJet’s overall guest experience. Boeing currently has firm orders from five other airlines in North America for its 737 MAX aircraft.

The airline will substitute 15 of its existing Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft orders currently scheduled to deliver between December 2014 and 2018, with Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, for a net increase of 50 committed deliveries to its fleet plan. Including this pending order, WestJet’s future Boeing 737 aircraft deliveries total 92, with commitments for the proposed Boeing 737 MAX 7 and MAX 8 aircraft, including substitution rights to the 737 MAX 9, scheduled for delivery from 2017 through 2027. WestJet notes that as a result of the flexibility built into its fleet plan, which includes its lease renewal options but excludes any potential sales other than the previously announced sale of 10 737 Boeing Next-Generation aircraft in 2014 and 2015, the fleet could be as large as 162 737 Boeing aircraft or as few as 120 737 Boeing aircraft a decade from now.

As a result of this pending order, WestJet now anticipates its capital expenditures to range between $210 million and $220 million for the third quarter of 2013, and between $690 million and $710 million for the full-year 2013. Previously, WestJet’s guidance was between $100 million and $110 million for the third quarter of 2013, and between $610 million and $630 million for the full-year 2013. The increase in full-year 2013 capital expenditure incorporates reduced deposits forecasted in the fourth quarter of 2013 as a result of the Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft substitutions. Including this pending order, WestJet’s cumulative aircraft capital expenditures from 2014 to 2017 will be lower than previously expected due to the substitution of 15 existing Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft orders that were scheduled to deliver between December 2014 and 2018 to Boeing 737 MAX aircraft delivering in 2017 and beyond.

WestJet expects that a definitive purchase agreement will be entered into prior to September 30, 2013.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/ WestJet’s current fleet consists of 103 Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft. Boeing 737-8CT C-GWSA (msn 34153) approaches Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport.

WestJet: AG Slide Show

Allegiant to add Concord, North Carolina, its 99th U.S. city

Allegiant AIr (Las Vegas) has announced new, nonstop jet service between Concord, North Carolina (near Charlotte) and Sanford, Florida via Orlando-Sanford International Airport, beginning on December 20, 2013. Concord will be the 99th U.S. city served by Allegiant.

The new flights will operate twice weekly between Concord Regional Airport (JQF) and Orlando-Sanford International Airport (SFB) year-round.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/ McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83) N420NV (msn 49424) prepares to land at Los Angeles International Airport.

Allegiant Air: AG Slide Show

QANTAS Group returns to being profitable, halving its losses on international routes

QANTAS Airways (Sydney) is already reaping the benefits of its new relationship with Emirates (Dubai) and the changes it has already made on its international route structure. The QANTAS Group has been shedding unprofitable international routes, cutting jobs, reducing capital spending and selling assets in order to reduce its debt. The QANTAS Group reported a fiscal year underlying profit before tax of A$192 million ($171.5 million), a statutory profit before tax of A$17 million ($15.1 million) and a statutory profit after tax of A$6 million ($5.3 million) for the year ended June 30, 2013.

QANTAS Domestic, Jetstar Airways and QANTAS Loyalty were all profitable, while QANTAS International halved its
underlying EBIT losses.

On the domestic front which is softening, QANTAS is facing stiff competition from Virgin Australia Airlines (Brisbane).

Read the analysis by Reuters: CLICK HERE

Read the full report from QANTAS: CLICK HERE

In other news, QANTAS also announced a series of improvements to its international network:

The improvements are:

    • Starting a new route, PerthAuckland*, to be offered on a seasonal basis between early December and the end of January, operated by a QANTAS A330 aircraft twice per week.
    • Upgrading one return SydneyHong Kong service to an Airbus A380 aircraft, increasing the number of A380 return services on this route from four to five per week.
    • Increasing frequency to daily on Brisbane–Los Angeles* using the aircraft made available by the A380 upgrade on the Hong Kong route.
    • Retiming Qantas’ existing SydneyChristchurch* service so that it connects with more international services from Sydney and complements the existing Emirates service on this route.

QANTAS Alan Joyce and Gareth Evans

QANTAS Group Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce and Gareth Evans head the briefing.

*Subject to regulatory approval

The schedule is being progressively loaded from today for travel after 27 October 2013

Perth–Auckland New route, seasonal.Two return services per week, departing Perth on Friday and Saturday, using a QANTAS A330. First service from Perth will be 6 December 2013.Last service from Auckland will be 1 February 2014. Adding almost 1,000 seats per week to what is currently a monopoly route over the busy Christmas and summer holiday period.An internationally configured A330 with Skybeds used on the route.
Sydney–Hong Kong Upgrading one return service per week from a B747 to A380.Increases the number of A380 services on this route from four to five per week, with the remainder operated by B747s. 4 November 2013 Increase in capacity by almost 5 per cent per week.Additional A380 flying into Asia.
Brisbane–Los Angeles Increase in the number of services on this route from six to seven using a B747. 2 December 2013 Additional convenience of a daily service from Brisbane.Increase in capacity on this route by about 15 per cent per week.
Sydney–Christchurch QANTAS flight retimed from morning to evening, meaning that the return flight (Christchurch to Sydney) arrives in Sydney at 8:50am instead of 3:55pm. Qantas code available on Emirates flight from Christchurch, which leaves at 4:55pm to arrive in Sydney at 6:15pm. Qantas code also available on Jetstar flight from Christchurch, which leaves at 6.35am to arrive in Sydney at 8.05am. 27 October 2013 Greatly improved onward connections for customers flying from Christchurch to Sydney and then to onward international and domestic flights.Removes need for South Island residents to fly via Auckland to connect with key international flights out of Sydney.Complements the existing Emirates service by providing a double daily service scheduled at either end of the day.

Copyright Photo: John Adlard/ Airbus A380-842 VH-OQD (msn 026) is pictured in action at the Sydney base.

QANTAS Airways: AG Slide Show

DOJ rejects AA-US request for a November trial, still wants a March trial

The Department of Justice (DOJ) (Washington) has rejected the request of American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) and US Airways (Phoenix) for a speedier trial on November 12 on its merger request. The DOJ and six states and the District of Columbia (DC) have filed a lawsuit to block the merger. The DOJ and this group still want a March 2014 trial because of the research required.

Read the full story from USA Today: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/ American Airlines’ Boeing 737-823 N968AN (msn 30095) arrives at the number one hot spot in the merger fight, Washington’s slot-controlled Reagan National Airport.

American Airlines: AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Air Lituanica to add both Prague and Munich in September

Air Lituanica (Vilnius) will add two new routes next month. The new carrier will add a new route to Prague, Czech Republic on September 20 and another to Munich, Germany on the following day. Both new routes will be served with the second Air Lituanica Embraer 175. The 86-seater is being leased from the manufacturer’s subsidiary ECC Leasing. Also from September 15, the company‘s aircraft will fly to Amsterdam not once but twice a day.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/ Embraer ERJ 170-100LR ES-AEB (msn 17000106) taxies at Amsterdam.

Air Lituanica: AG Slide Show

Route Map:

Air Lituanica 8:2013 Route Map