Monthly Archives: September 2013

Southwest Airlines breaks ground on a new international terminal at Houston’s Hobby Airport

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) today (September 30) broke ground on a new international terminal at William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), marking the official start of construction on the $156 million project.

Once completed, the five-gate facility will accommodate regional international flights for Southwest Airlines, with service reaching destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, and the northern cities of South America.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker, as well as local and state dignitaries, joined Southwest Airlines Employees in the brief ceremony before work immediately began.

A 2012 study commissioned by the Houston Airport System indicates that the new terminal will generate more than 10,000 jobs across the Greater Houston metropolitan area and will provide an economic impact of $1.6 billion. The study estimates that the terminal will bring in an additional 1 million passengers a year to Hobby Airport.

The terminal project, fully funded by Southwest Airlines, includes a new five-gate international terminal, expansion of the existing security checkpoint, and upgrades to the Southwest Airlines ticketing counter area.

In support of the project, and in anticipation of the expected increase in passenger traffic, the Houston Airport System will be making significant investments of its own, constructing a new multi-level parking garage and making improvements to the existing roadway system.

Southwest Airlines anticipates its first international flights out of Houston Hobby’s new international terminal will begin in late 2015 to destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, and the northern cities of South America.

Copyright Photo: Fernandez Imaging/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-7H4 N279WN (msn 32532) with the special “Summer of Love – Cirque du Soleil” emblem taxies at the Houston (Hobby) hub.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

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Delta to equip its 11,000 pilots with Microsoft Surface 2 tablets

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) is equipping its 11,000 pilots with the Microsoft Surface 2 tablet, which will be used initially as an electronic flight bag to replace heavy paper-based flight kits containing navigational charts and aircraft operating and reference manuals. Device rollout to pilots flying the Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 fleets will start later this year and all Delta cockpits are projected to be paperless by the end of 2014.

The Surface 2 will run on the Windows RT 8.1 platform and provide flight crews easy access to essential tools and the most up-to-date flight-related resources, including navigational charts, reference documents and checklists while saving the airline $13 million per year in fuel and associated costs.

Electronic flight bag to support real-time access to resources

Delta’s electronic flight bag will leverage Jeppesen’s industry-leading FliteDeck Pro application built specifically for the Windows platform. The interactive software gives flight crews quicker and more efficient access to key, real-time information and resources such as dynamic charts and navigation utilities that help them better manage the safe operation of their aircraft.

With the Windows RT 8.1 operating system, pilots will be able to open two applications side-by-side, offering, for example, the opportunity to assess weather information alongside proposed flight paths. The Live Tile user interface in Windows 8.1 can feed up-to-the-minute information to crew members while the Surface 2’s true high-resolution 1080p touchscreen display adds detail to maps and other resources.

Delta expects to receive approval from the FAA to use the tablets during all phases of flight next year, a process that follows an extensive period of testing on board Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 aircraft. Approvals for all subsequent fleet types are expected by the end of 2014. The Surface tablets fully integrate handheld technology in the flight deck, streamlining organization of necessary materials and ensuring continuity of information accessed by pilots while giving them the latest tools to drive operational and cost improvements. The reduction of paper in the cockpit also reduces clutter and allows pilots to spend more time focusing on flying the aircraft as they will benefit from an intuitive user interface that features functions to find information faster, without having to hunt for appropriate manuals in flight bags or page through paper documents.

“The integration of the electronic flight bag is part of Delta’s broader move to upgrade flight deck equipment, deploy technology enhancements and take advantage of airspace modernization efforts,” said Dickson. “With these improvements, we’re able to reduce the airline’s environmental impact while providing a great deal of flexibility to continue to add mobile technology solutions into our flying operations.”

Maximizing efficiencies for environmental benefit

Rolling out the Surface 2 tablets across the entire fleet and eliminating paper in the cockpit means the carrier will remove traditional 38-pound pilot flight bags maintained on board aircraft for each pilot. That critical weight reduction is expected to reduce fuel usage by an estimated 1.2 million gallons per year which translates to a 26-million-pound reduction in carbon emissions — the equivalent of taking more than 2,300 passenger cars off the road. Additionally, the tablet will cut the airline’s paper usage by 7.5 million sheets annually and save an estimated 900 trees each year.

In the coming years, Delta plans to expand the functionality of the EFB equipment and increase the efficiency of the operation by providing pilots with electronic dispatch and flight release information, access to real-time weather forecasts, up-to-the-minute operational information and dynamic communication with aircraft technicians on the ground.

The move to a paperless cockpit follows Delta’s industry-leading launch of handheld devices for its 19,000 flight attendants that runs on Windows Phone-based software. Delta flight attendants began using the Nokia Lumia 820 in August and are able to access customer and flight information while using Dynamics for Retail technology for easy onboard customer purchases.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. The rollout will start with pilots flying the Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 aircraft. Boeing 767-332 ER N1603 (msn 29695) taxies to the active runway at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Delta Air Lines: AG Slide Show

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American Airlines to hire 1,500 pilots over the next five years

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) today announced it is beginning the process to recruit and hire approximately 1,500 new pilots over the next five years, American’s largest pilot hiring in more than a decade. American will open the job posting Oct. 1, with the first new-hire class expected to begin training this winter.

According to the airline, “American’s ability to welcome new pilots is a result of its broad fleet renewal efforts that include taking delivery of new single-aisle Airbus aircraft and a mix of narrow body and wide body Boeing aircraft, an expansion of flying to international destinations important to customers, projected pilot retirements and the Federal Aviation Administration’s new rest and duty time rules that come into effect in 2014. Today’s news reflects the measurable progress and momentum the airline has achieved through its restructuring, along with its strengthened financial position.”

American currently anticipates the need to initially hire approximately 45 to 50 pilots per month through at least summer 2014, including pilots from American Eagle Airlines, Inc. and the appropriate balance from external sources. The comprehensive hiring process will include an online assessment evaluating each pilot’s skill set, experience and compatibility with American’s brand values; interviews; and a multi-step background check process. Interested candidates are encouraged to visit aacareers.com.

Copyright Photo: Brian Peters/AirlinersGallery.com. A beautiful ramp portrait of brand new Airbus A319-115 N9004F (msn 5745) with Sharklets. The new addition joined the AA fleet on August 19, 2013.

American Airlines: AG Slide Show

Alaska Airlines orders five additional Boeing 737-900 ERs

Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) and Boeing (Chicago) announced today the carrier is exercising options to purchase five additional Boeing 737-900 ER (extended range) aircraft. The five new aircraft are worth $481 million at Boeing’s current list price. Two of the aircraft will arrive in 2015 followed by two more in 2016 and one in 2017.

Today’s order supplements the 31 aircraft on firm order for delivery by the end of 2017. Alaska Airlines expects to have 134 Boeing 737s in its fleet by the end of 2014.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Delivered new to the carrier on December 18, 2012, Boeing 737-990 ER N408AS (msn 41732) taxies to the gate at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport hub.

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Alaska Airlines: AG Slide Show

SAS completes the sale of Wideroe

Scandinavian Airlines-SAS (Stockholm) today announced it has completed the sale of subsidiary Wideroe (Widerøe’s Flyveselskap AS) (Oslo).

The airline issued this statement:

On May 3, 2013, SAS announced that an agreement had been signed to sell 80% of the shares in Wideroe’s Flyveselskap AS (Wideroe) to an investment group consisting of Torghatten ASA, Fjord1 AS and Nordland Fylkeskommune. The transaction was expected to be completed during September 2013.

SAS has today (September 30) transferred 80% of the shares in Wideroe to the investment group. The total transaction proceeds amount to approximately SEK 2 billion, including aircraft related transactions, which will reduce SAS’ net debt by a
corresponding amount. Approximately half of the total transaction proceeds are strengthening SAS’ cash and cash equivalent position. In addition, the transaction will reduce the previously announced negative effect on SAS’ shareholders’ equity from amended reporting rules for pensions by approximately SEK 1 billion.

SAS has reserved MSEK -300 in the second interim report 2012/2013 resulting from the sale of Wideroe. The final capital result will be reported in the fourth interim report 2012/2013.

SAS will divest the remaining shares in Widerře during 2016.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Wideroe’s (Widerøe’s Flyveselskap AS) Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) LN-WDF (msn 4244) is portrayed at a stop at Torp (Sandefjord).

Wideroe: AG Slide Show

 

Sichuan Airlines receives its first Airbus A321 with Sharklets

Sichuan A321-200 WL D-AZAE (B-9967)(91)(Grd) XFW (Airbus)(LRW)

Sichuan Airlines (Chengdu), the largest all Airbus operator in China, took delivery of its first A321 aircraft equipped with Sharklets fuel saving wing tip devices on September 26. The pictured A321-231 B-9967 (msn 5470) will also be the first A321 with Sharklets to be operated in China. The A321, powered by IAE V2500 engines, features a comfortable two class cabin, seating 194 passengers with 8 in business class and 186 in economy.

Sichuan Airlines is China’s largest all Airbus operator. It introduced an A320 in 1995 to become the first Chinese airline to operate an Airbus fly-by-wire aircraft. It was also the first airline to operate Airbus A321 in China. In 2009, the airline received the first A320 assembled at the Airbus Tianjin Final Assembly.

At the end of August 2013, Sichuan Airlines operated a fleet of six A330s and 75 A320 Family aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Airbus. Airbus A321-231 D-AZAE (msn 5470) became B-9967 on the hand over.

Sichuan Airlines: AG Slide Show

Air Namibia takes delivery of its first Airbus A330-200

Air Namibia A330-200 V5-ANO (99)(Grd) TLS (Airbus)(LRW)

Air Namibia (Windhoek), the national airline of the Republic of Namibia, took delivery of its first A330-200 from Airbus at a ceremony in Toulouse, France on September 26. The aircraft is the first of two A330s being leased by Air Namibia from US lessor Intrepid. The airline’s A330 features a two-class cabin layout seating 244 passengers which comprises 30 business class seats and 214 economy class seats.

Air Namibia started commercial services with its first Airbus aircraft in 2006 with an A340-300. The airline currently operates four A319s on regional routes, as well as two A340-300s on its flagship service from Windhoek to Frankfurt.
Copyright Photo: Airbus/P. Masclet. The pictured A330-243 V5-ANO (msn 1451) was handed over to the national carrier on September 26.
Air Namibia: AG Slide Show
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