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

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

Video:

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.

Have you seen the “new look” AirlinersGallery.com photo library?

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
Video:

VietJetAir signs MOU for 42 Airbus A320neo, 14 A320ceo and six A321ceo aircraft

VietJetAir (Ho Chi Minh City) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for up to 92 A320 Family aircraft and will lease eight more from third party lessors. The agreement signed with Airbus covers for 42 A320neo, 14 A320ceo and six A321ceo, plus 30 purchase rights for the A320 Family.

VietJetAir is an existing A320 operator, with eight leased aircraft already in service. The carrier took delivery this week of its ninth A320, delivered new from Airbus via the US leasing company AWAS.

Top Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Formerly with Olympic Air, Airbus A320-214 SX-OAU (msn 4193) became VN-A699 with VietJetAir.

VietJetAir: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Airbus. The first Airbus A320 with Sharklets, the pictured A320-214 F-WWDR (msn 5742), was just handed over to the carrier as VN-A682 on September 26, 2013.

VietJetAir.com A320-200 WL F-WWDR (VN-A682)(11) TLS (Airbus)(LRW)

Alitalia’s Airbus A320-200 EI-EIB makes an emergency landing in Rome

Alitalia (2nd) A320-200 EI-EIB (06)(Ldg) GLA (FS)(LRW)

Alitalia’s (2nd) (Rome) Airbus A320-216 EI-EIB (msn 4249) while being operated on operating flight AZ 63 from Madrid to Rome (Fiumicino), the crew was forced to make an emergency landing at FCO late last night (September 29) after the right main gear failed to deploy. The 151 passengers and crew members safely evacuated the aircraft using the emergency chutes with no injuries.

Alitalia issued this statement (translated from Italian):

Rome, September 29, 2013:
This evening at 21:04, flight AZ 063, coming from Madrid, made an emergency landing in Fiumicino Airport due to failure in the right main landing gear.
No injuries also thanks to the skill of the commander of the flight, with over 15,000 flight hours in the Alitalia Group and previously as a military pilot.
The plane is an Airbus A320, constructed in June 2010.
Read the full story from The Telegraph: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Fred Seggie. EI-EIB arrives at Glasgow prior to the accident.
Alitalia (2nd): AG Slide Show

Delta Air Lines takes delivery of its first Boeing 737-900 ER

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) on Friday (September 27) quietly took delivery of its first new Boeing 737-900 ER. The aircraft, the pictured 737-932 ER N801DZ (msn 31912) (fleet number 3801) with Blended Winglets, arrived at the Atlanta base yesterday morning (September 28).

On August 25, 2011, Delta announced it had ordered 100 Boeing 737-900 ER aircraft for delivery between 2013 and 2018 as it retires older mainline jets and upgrades its fleet.

According to Delta, “the order will enable Delta to add 100 fuel-efficient, state-of-the-art 180-seat aircraft to its fleet, replacing on a capacity-neutral basis older technology aircraft that will be retired from the fleet.  The new aircraft will improve the company’s profitability while providing customers with an industry-leading on-board experience.  With a range of 3,200 nautical miles, the Boeing 737-900ER can operate on any domestic route offered by Delta.”

As previously reported, Delta will take delivery of 12 737-900 ER aircraft in 2013, 19 aircraft per year in 2014 through 2017, and the remaining 12 aircraft in 2018. Each aircraft has committed long-term financing.

As a result of maintenance efficiencies and a 15 to 20 percent improvement in fuel consumption per seat, the Boeing 737-900 ER will have lower unit costs than the older technology Boeing 757 and 767 and Airbus A320 aircraft that it will replace.  The aircraft will be equipped with CFM56-7B engines produced by CFM International, a joint venture of General Electric Company of the U.S. and Snecma of France.

The 737-900 ER will be Delta’s first aircraft to feature Boeing’s new “Sky Interior,” which offers expanded carry-on baggage space, a roomier, more airy cabin and an LED lighting system that provides different color schemes, such as a soft blue sky and a relaxing pallet of sunset colors.

Update: On Monday, September 30, 2013 Boeing issued this statement:

Boeing and Delta Air Lines celebrated the delivery of the carrier’s first Next-Generation 737-900 ER (Extended Range). The delivery is part of Delta’s 100-airplane order placed in 2011 to renew its single-aisle fleet with more fuel-efficient airplanes.

The Boeing 737-900 ER is the newest member of the Next-Generation 737 airplane family. It has the highest capacity and lowest seat-mile cost of Boeing’s single-aisle family. The 737-900 ER will fit seamlessly into Delta’s existing fleet of 737-700 and 737-800 airplanes, allowing Delta to efficiently match capacity to market demand with industry leading economics.

Delta’s new 737-900E R seats 180 passengers and features the new Boeing Sky Interior. This interior is the latest in a series of enhancements for both airlines and passengers. It introduces new LED lighting and curved architecture that welcomes passengers onboard and creates a greater sense of spaciousness and comfort in the cabin. The interior also features modern, sculpted sidewalls and overhead bins that disappear into the ceiling, yet carry more bags.

Top Copyright Photo: Joe G. Walker/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-932 ER N801DZ (msn 31912) lands at Boeing Field (King County) in Seattle after a test flight.

Have you seen the “new look” AirlinersGallery.com photo library?

Delta Air Lines: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Rick Schlamp/AirlinersGallery.com. Another view of N801DZ at Boeing Field.