Monthly Archives: December 2013

Happy New Year Greetings to all of our loyal readers and supporters

Happy New Year Fireworks

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our loyal readers and supporters the best in holiday wishes for a successful and healthy 2014. Happy New Year to you and your family!

We thank you for your readership and contributions, especially news, photos, corrections and most importantly your friendship during 2013. Readership of  the World Airline News soared by 20 percent this year. Viewership of our “new look” flagship photo library more than doubled in 2013.

For those who ordered our AG color prints and posters in 2013 we thank you for your financial support which makes all of this possible. In 2014 we will be introducing the AG Store which will bring you best in aviation books (including some new airline history and photo books not available anywhere else) and display models.

Thank You.

Bruce Drum and the AG Team

Copyright Photo: Ariel Shocron/

Coming Soon:

AG Store (Square)

Nordwind Airlines takes delivery of its 8th Airbus A321

Nordwind Airlines (Moscow) of Russia successfully took delivery of its eighth Airbus A321-200 aircraft as part of its on-going fleet and network expansion. Airbus A321-232 VQ-BRU (msn 2933) was ferried to Nordwind’s main base at Sheremetyevo Airport on the north side of Moscow on December 29. This is the ninth Airbus aircraft received by Nordwind.

Nordwind’s Airbus fleet now consists of eight A321-200s and the one A320-232 delivered between December 2011 and December 2013.

The new A321, powered by IAE V2500 engines, features a comfortable two class cabin. The new aircraft will be used to increase frequencies to existing destinations on short- and medium-haul routes.

Nordwind Airlines is still expecting to receive two additional A321s by the end of 2014 and will continue to add more in 2015 per its expansion plans.

Currently Nordwind has the fleet of 41 aircraft – 3 Boeing 777-200 ERs, 16 Boeing 767-300 ERs, 8 Boeing 757-200s, 1 Airbus A320-200, 8 Airbus A321-200s and 5 Boeing 737-800s and expects to end 2014 with a consolidated fleet of 50 aircraft.

“With this eighth Airbus 321 aircraft, Nordwind  will continue to expand the fleet with more frequencies and destinations for the convenience of our passengers,” said Oguz Senol Yuce, Deputy General Director, Head of Fleet, of Nordwind Airlines. “Along with two expected deliveries in 2014, we plan to operate 10 A321 in total in 2014 which will allow us to continue our capacity growth at a time when we see positive demand trends. It provides best-in-class efficiency, economics, reliability and passenger comfort that Nordwind needs for its fleet renewal initiative.”

Copyright Photo: Nordwind Airlines. A beautiful capture of the new addition, namely the former Kingfisher Airlines Airbus A321-232 VQ-BRU (msn 2933, ex N933AG and VT-KFR). The airliner is being leased from ACG.

Nordwind Airlines: AG Slide Show

Nordwind logo

Video: Unique safety video:

Tatarstan Airlines shuts down today

Tatarstan Airlines (Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia) today (December 31) is shutting down and will cease all operations. All passengers on the Kazan-Baku route will be transported by Ak Bars Aero (Bugulma, Russia) in the future.

The shut down was due largely to the terrible “dive into the ground” crash of Tatarstan Airlines flight 363 on November 17, 2013 which killed all 44 passengers and six crew members on board. Russia’s air transport regulator Rosaviatsiya recommended the airline’s AOC be revoked after it discovered inadequate training and overworked crews. The revocation was affective today. 

Other noteworthy airline departures in 2013:

Air Cargo Germany (April 18)

Air France by Airlinair (March 31) (all three became Hop!)

Air France by Brit Air

Air France by Regional

Air Italy (2nd) (merged into Meridiana in April 2013)

Air Pacific (2nd) (June 27) became Fiji Airways again.

AirAsia (Japan) (August 31) (relaunched as Vanilla Air)

Airberlin Turkey

American Eagle Airlines-Executive Airlines (2nd) (March 31)

Arkefly (now operating as Arke)

Armavia (March 29)

Augsburg Airways (October 26)

Aurela Aircompany (February 18)

Avient Aviation (April 5)

Bahrain Air (February 12)

Batavia Air (January 31)

Belle Air (Albania) (November 25)

Belle Air Europe (Italy) (November 26)

Brindabella Airlines (December 14)

Brit Air (March 31)

Capital Cargo International Airlines (March 11)

Condor Berlin (April 30)

DAE (Dutch Antilles Express) (August 24)

Danube Wings (November 20)

Delta Connection-Pinnacle Airlines (July 31)

Dniproavia (January 8)

Donbassaero Airlines (January 14)

Evergreen International Airlines (December 31)

Flybe-Suckling Airways (April)

FlyNonstop (October 29)

Georgia Skies (Pacific Wings Airlines) (March 31)

Gestair Cargo (Une) (became Cygnus Air again)

Jat Airways (October 26) (reformed as Air Serbia)

Lufthansa Regional-Augsburg Airways (October 26)

Meridiana fly (became Meridiana)

Mongolian Airlines Group (April 18) (became Hannu Air)

Nasair (November 13) (became Flynas)

OLT Express (Germany) (January 27)

Orbest Orizonia Airlines (Spain) (February 20)

Regional (Compagnie Aerienne Europeenne) (March 31)

Ryan International Airlines (January 11)

SAT Airlines (merged in October with Vladivostok Air to form Aurora Airlines)

SEAIR-South East Asian Airlines (June 7) (became Tigerair Philippines)

Sky Airlines (Turkey) (June 4)

Skywest Airlines (Australia) (May 5) (became Virgin Australia Regional Airlines)

TACA (El Salvador) (May 28) (now operating under the Avianca brand)

Tampa Cargo (June) (became Avianca Cargo)

Tiger Airways (Australia) and Tiger Airways (Singapore) (July) (now operating as Tigerair)

Vladivostok Air (October) (merged with SAT Airlines to form Aurora Airlines)

Zest Air (Zest Airways) (August 16)

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/ Formerly with United Airlines, Boeing 737-322 VQ-BAP (msn 24665) taxies past the camera at Antalya.

Tatarstan: AG Slide Show

The 2014 Ryanair Cabin Crew Charity Calendar sells out

Ryanair (Dublin) has confirmed that all 10,000 copies of its 2014 Ryanair Cabin Crew Charity Calendar has sold out, raising €100,000 for its charity partner, Teenage Cancer Trust, the only UK charity dedicated to improving the quality of life and survival chances for young people aged between 13 to 24 who are battling cancer.
The €100,000 proceeds from the Ryanair 2014 Cabin Crew Charity Calendar brings to €700,000 the total raised by Ryanair’s brilliant cabin crew for charity since the first calendar was published in 2008 and Ryanair will present the proceeds to Teenage Cancer Trust in the New Year.
Video: The making of the calendar. Happy New Year!
Ryanair: AG Slide Show

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of scheduled airline service

1914 ad for the St. Petersburg Airboat Line

The St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line (St. Petersburg, Florida) was the first scheduled airline in the world using a fixed-winged aircraft. The airline provided schedule airline service between St. Petersburg, Florida and neighboring Tampa. The service commenced on January 1, 1914.

According to Wikipedia, visionary P.T. Fansler brought in Thomas W. Benoist to start an airline service using his new airboats to create an airline service. Even though the two cities share the same Tampa Bay with causeways criss-crossing the bay today, in 1913 the two growing cities were a full day apart due to the circuitous land passage around the bay.

On January 1, 1914 the SPT Airboat Line became the world’s first scheduled winged airline service. That same day, Antony H. Jannus piloted the airline’s Benoist Type XIV on its first flight between St. Petersburg and Tampa. Due to widespread media coverage by the St. Petersburg Times, there were reportedly over 3,000 spectators at a parade accompanied by an Italian band at the departure point. An auction was then conducted for the first round-trip ticket. It was won with a final bid of $400 by the former mayor of St. Petersburg, Abram C. Pheil. Pheil boarded the wooden, open-air craft for the 23-minute flight that rarely exceeded an altitude of 5 feet (1.5 m) above the waters of Tampa Bay.

100 Years of Commercial Flight logo

On January 1, 2014 as part of the 100th Anniversary celebrations, a website ( will be launched on  January 1, 2014 to host the centennial celebration. Along with historical and economic reference materials, the website will also be an interactive information hub depicting the value that commercial aviation provides from personal, economic and other perspectives.

The sponsors of Flight 2014 were planning to re-enact the first commercial airline passenger flight using a replica of the original Benoist airboat. Pilot and aircraft constructor Kermit Weeks was planning to take off from St Petersburg, Florida and fly across the bay to downtown Tampa at 10:00 am (1000) US Eastern Standard Time on January 1, 2014, re-tracing the exact path taken by Jannus and Pheil 100 years ago.

However the replica of the Benoist airboat proved problematic for Kermit Weeks. On trials in December 2013 the recreation was unable to generate enough horsepower to take off from a lake underscoring the significance of the original feat 100 years ago. The replica will be on display at St. Petersburg. Instead Kermit Weeks will fly another historic aircraft across the bay on January 1, 2014 to celebrate the historic flight.

Read the full story of the problems of recreating a flyable replica from the Tampa Bay Times: CLICK HERE

The pioneer airline was also the first airline failure, especially in the small airline graveyard of Florida. The airline continued to operate until May 5, 1914. In total, the airline flew over 7,000 miles, conducted 172 flights and carried 1,205 passengers according to Wikipedia citing sources.

See original photos of the opening day on January 1, 1914: CLICK HERE

More on Tony Jannus from CLICK HERE

Above: The original airline schedule, the first airline schedule in the world.

Zhejiang Loong Airlines firms up order for 20 Airbus A320 Family aircraft, starts operations in China

Loongair (Capital) A320-200 B-9962 (13)(Grd) KMG (Airbus)(LR)

Zhejiang Loong Airlines (Loongair) (Hangzhou), based in the capital city of Zhejiang province in Eastern China, has signed its first purchase agreement with Airbus, for 20 A320 Family aircraft, including 11 A320ceo and nine A320neo, becoming the lastest Airbus customer. The agreement follows the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in September at the Beijing Airshow.

On December 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm (1400) local time the first Airbus A320 (B-9962 above) arrived in the rain at Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport (see below) and despite the rain received a water cannon salute. A second leased A320 (A320-214 B-6858, msn 5008) arrived on December 22, 2013.

The airline commenced scheduled passenger operations on December 26, 2013 with the two A320s.

The new airline is flying from Hangzhou to Chengdu , Xi’an, Xiamen, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Kunming, Chongqing, Changsha and Changchun. The airline plans to expand to Hong Kong, Macao, Taipei and in Southeast Asia (please see route map below).

In the first half of 2014, Loongair’s fleet is expected to reach nine aircraft, including six passenger aircraft and three freighters.

Top Copyright Photo: Airbus/Iihutao (all others by the new airline). The airline is operating as Loongair. The pictured Airbus A320-214 B-9962 (msn 5656) was leased from Capital Airlines on December 11, 2013.

Loongair logo

Current Route Map:

Loongair 12.2013 Route Map

Fiji Airways announces two new routes from Suva

Fiji Airways (2nd) (Nadi, Fiji) has announced the introduction of two new nonstop international services from the Fijian capital of Suva.

From May 2014, Fiji Airways will offer twice–weekly nonstop flights between Suva and Sydney, operated by its Boeing 737-700 aircraft, and between Suva and Apia, operated by Pacific Sun’s soon-to-arrive ATR 72 aircraft.

The direct services between Suva and Sydney will operate on Mondays and Friday, with a convenient midday departure from Suva, and an afternoon departure from Sydney.

The new introduction means Fiji Airways will offer three flights from Sydney to Fiji on Mondays and Fridays, with the two current flights to Nadi and the new direct Suva flight from May 2014.

The new schedule means a change to the Suva-Auckland services, allowing for a late evening Suva-Auckland service on Mondays and Fridays, and a morning Auckland-Nadi service on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The new schedule will improve connectivity with ferries and flights to the outer islands for passengers arriving from Auckland.

“The 8 am departures from Auckland to Nadi two times a week mean New Zealanders will now be able to easily travel to the North and the outer islands, allowing them to enjoy the amazing beauty of these regions on the day they arrive,” says Mr Pichler.

The Suva-Apia services will operate late nights on Mondays and Fridays, while the return Apia-Suva flights will operate in the mornings of Tuesday and Saturday. This will now allow Apia passengers to connect on a Fiji Airways service to Auckland, Sydney, Brisbane or Nuku’alofa (Tonga) on the same day.

Pichler explained the strategy behind the expansion in Suva: “As Nadi is our traditional leisure hub, Suva will more and more grow into our business hub.” It is a dual hub strategy where there is one winner – our customers.

Copyright Photo: John Adlard/ Under a rainbow, Boeing 737-7X2 DQ-FJF (msn 28878) is pictured in action at Sydney.

Fiji Airways: AG Slide Show

Fiji Airways logo-1

Route Map:

Fiji Airways 12.2013 Route Map

Air China to upgrade the San Francisco route to Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft on February 11, 2014

Air China (Beijing) starting on February 11, 2014, will upgrade the assigned aircraft on its Beijing – San Francisco route to the Boeing 777-300 ER. By then, Air China’s entire fleet that it uses to serve its destinations in the continental United States – San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Houston – will have been upgraded to the Boeing 777-300 ER.

According to the airline, the “Boeing 777-300 ER represents the best cabin interior design ever in Air China’s history. The First Class and Business Class are outfitted with 180-degree full-flat seats, and the Economy Class seats are designed from an ergonomic perspective to make passengers feel at ease. All classes of service offer personal power outlets and personal entertainment system.”

The surge in tourist numbers and business traveler numbers in recent years has tremendously ramped up demand on the China-US aviation market. To meet that demand and expand its international presence, Air China is increasing capacity for its US operations by continuously expanding its route network and upgrading aircraft types.

Air China’s Summer 2013 – Spring 2014 schedule features a number of new and upgraded China-US routes, with capacity increasing by 33%. Starting on March 31, 2013, Air China increased its Beijing – New York service to 11 weekly flights, and its Beijing – Los Angeles service to 2 daily flights. On July 11, 2013 Air China commenced Beijing – Houston (Bush Intercontinental) nonstop service, the first ever air links between China and the central and southern regions of the United States. On January 21, 2014 , Air China will start Beijing -Honolulu service and will become the first carrier ever to operate between Beijing and Hawaii.

Copyright Photo: Bernhard Ross/ Boeing 777-39L B-2035 (msn 38674) at Frankfurt wears the special “Smiling China” motif.

Air China: AG Slide Show


Japan Airlines to launch “JAL Sky Suite 777” service to Chicago O’Hare on January 20

Japan Airlines-JAL (Tokyo) on January 20, 2014 will launch its new “JAL Sky Suite 777” service from Tokyo (Narita) to Chicago (O’Hare). This will be followed with Narita-Frankfurt service starting in April 2014.

JAL currently operates the new Boeing 777 Sky Suite service to London (Heathrow), New York (JFK), Paris (CDG) and Los Angeles.

JAL Sky Suite 777 logo

JAL is modifying all 13 of its 232-seat Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft to this new level of service.

JAL Sky Suite 777 Seats (JAL)(LR)

Copyright Photo: Akira Uekawa/ Operated domestically, JAL’s new and second special livery to support Japan’s national team for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia has been introduced. The pictured Boeing 777-346 JA8942 (msn 28394) features the image of figure skater Mao Asada on the fuselage. JA8942 entered revenue service on December 26, 2013 with the new markings and is seen on the short final to runway 34L at Haneda Airport in Tokyo on December 28, 2013.

Japan Airlines-JAL: AG Slide Show

Hot New Photos: AG Hot New Photos

Video: Re-defining the 777 cabin:

Air Austral to resume Reunion Island-Mahe, Seychelles service on June 23, 2014

Air Austral (Sainte-Denis, Réunion Island, Indian Ocean, France) will resume twice-weekly Réunion-Mahe flights on June 23, 2014. The route was suspended in May 2013.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/ Air Austral’s Boeing 737-89M F-ONGB (msn 40911) prepares to land in Bangkok.

Air Austral: AG Slide Show

Air Austral logo

Route Map:

Air Austral 2011 Route Map