Monthly Archives: January 2014

Flybe announces a major expansion at Birmingham with seven new routes

Flybe (Exeter) has unveiled a major expansion of its operations at Birmingham Airport with the announcement of seven new routes that includes a six times a week service to Florence, in a first for the airport; daily flights to Cologne; a six times a week service to Toulouse; a five times a week service to Alicante and four times a week to Bordeaux, Palma Mallorca and Porto.

Flybe  is also adding three of its 2×2 seat Embraer 175 jets to the airport thereby creating its biggest ever regional base with 12 aircraft, thereby creating more than 50 new Flybe jobs.

Travel is effective from April 10, 2014 to Alicante, Cologne, Florence and Porto; and from May 13 for the remaining three routes (Bordeaux, Palma and Toulouse), the majority of flights will utilize Flybe’s new 88-seat E175 jet aircraft (see above).

The company last week announced it will be boosting the frequency on three of its most popular European routes from the end of March namely those to Hanover, Milan-Malpensa and Stuttgart. 

As a result of the seven new destinations, Flybe will now operate 32 routes to and from Birmingham for the Summer of 2014 with a choice of up to 375 return flights a week totalling an impressive 1.7 million seats.

Copyright Photo: Ole Simon/AirlinersGallery.com. Embraer ERJ 170-200STD (ERJ 175) G-FBJA (msn 17000326) taxies at Dusseldorf.

Flybe: AG Slide Show

Flybe logo

Routes from Birmingham:

Flybe Birmingham 1.2014 Route Map

AirBridgeCargo add its fifth Boeing 747-8 freighter, reports its growth in 2013

AirBridgeCargo-ABC (Moscow), part of Volga-Dnepr Group and Russia’s largest cargo airline, recently celebrated the delivery of the airline’s fifth 747-8 Freighter (VQ-BRJ, msn 37670) on December 27, 2013.

With delivery of the fifth 747-8 Freighter, AirBridgeCargo continues to follow its long-term fleet modernization strategy to further improve the quality of its product. The new aircraft will be used on ABC’s existing route network linking Europe, Asia and the United States via the airline’s hub in Moscow.

At present AirBridgeCargo’s fleet consists of 12 Boeing 747s, including five Boeing 747-400ERFs (Extended Range Freighters), three Boeing 747-400 Freighters and five Boeing 747-8 Freighters.

The carrier achieved a 5% growth in cargo tonnage in 2013, with its highest ever volume of 340,000 tons across its network linking Europe, Russia, Asia and North America.

The airline reported volume growth on all of its major routes and this was matched by a 5% improvement in revenue. AirBridgeCargo’s Freight Ton-Kilometers (FTK) rose 15% in 2013, while its average load factor of 72% show a marginal 1.7% gain over the previous year.

Despite challenging market conditions in 2013, ABC continued with its long-term fleet modernisation strategy and took delivery of two more new generation freighters Boeing 747-8F. With the delivery of its fifth Boeing 747-8F in December 2013, AirBridgeCargo  completed its fleet renewal plan which began two years ago. This investment has reduced the average age of its aircraft fleet from nine years at the end of 2011 to three years at the end of 2013. At present, ABC’s fleet is one of the youngest in the air cargo industry.

AirBridgeCargo took delivery of its first Boeing 747-8F (VQ-BLQ) (see above) in January 2012, with the second and third aircraft joining its fleet in March and December 2012. The fourth new generation freighter entered service with ABC in September last year. As part of the modernization program, ABC removed four older aircraft from its fleet; two Boeing 747-200F, one Boeing 747-300F and a Boeing 747-400ERF. A further 747-400ERF will leave its fleet in 2014.

In 2013, AirBridgeCargo joined the Olympic movement with the delivery of 126 tons of broadcasting equipment as well as 214 tons of sports and lighting equipment for the 2014 Winter Olympics taking place in the Russia City of Sochi in February. The flights were performed using Boeing 747 and Boeing 737 cargo aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Bernhard Ross/AirlinersGallery.com. The first, Boeing 747-8HVF VQ-BLQ (msn 37581) taxies at Frankfurt.

AirBridgeCargo Airlines: AG Slide Show

JAL Group upgrades and introduces “Welcome! JAL New Sky” for its domestic flights

JAL Sky Wi-Fi

JAL Group (JAL-Japan Airlines) (Tokyo) has launched JAL New Sky Project, a thorough revamp of its in-flight products and services under a collective theme “Welcome! JAL New Sky”.

JAL introduces more details on the fully revamped cabin interiors and new in-flight internet service on domestic routes, which the airline released last year. Under the theme of “Pioneering Standard” and following with the project of produces and services aim to provide more comfortable experience and convenience during every journeys on domestic routes, the airline will start to introduce revamped aircraft with updated cabin interiors through May 2014, and the in-flight internet service will be provided from July 2014.

Applicable Aircraft:

Domestic Boeing 777-200/300
Domestic Boeing 767-300/300ER
Domestic Boeing 737-800
(Total of 77 aircraft according to schedule)

From May 2014 according to schedule
(In-flight internet service will start from July 2014)

JAL will provide in-flight Wi-Fi service on domestic routes, and passengers are able to access internet or in-flight entertainment website by using their Wi-Fi enabled personal terminals, Smartphone, tablet or notebook PC.

Passenger can use their own wireless LAN devices to watch Sports, gourmet, music, anime and other plentiful video programs including SKY RURUBU (travel information), flight information and JAL website for free of charge. *Some video programs are examined to be included within fee based service.

JAL is the first Japanese carrier ever to provide in-flight Internet service (fee based) on domestic routes, using Gogo®’s communications satellites. Passengers will be able to access internet, send/receive e-mails and SNS etc. via their own smartphone, tablet and notebook computer and other wireless LAN devices during the flight.

The new leather seating in J-class and Economy class will be made from the same high-quality genuine leather used for seats installed in luxury vehicles. The airline’s plan is to revamp all the cabin seats in both classes on the domestic routes. In addition, carpet installed throughout the cabin will also be replaced to match the redesigned interiors.

Seating in JAL’s popular Class J will offer slightly wider space for passengers to enjoy their time in-flight, and the new genuine leather covered seats will evoke a feeling of luxury. The seat pitch in Class J is 97cm in average which is approximately 18cm more legroom than it in Economy Class.

20140130_SKY NEXT_fig7_en.jpg20140130_SKY NEXT_fig8_en.jpg

Based on the concept “air-like lighting”, the cabin atmosphere can be easily changed according to the flight hours, the season, and the natural rhythm of time to create a relaxing ambience and a feeling of Japan.

 

20140130_SKY NEXT_fig9_en.jpg

First class service will be installed on nine domestic Boeing 767-300ER from the Fall of 2014.

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Copyright Photo: Japan Airlines (JAL Group).
Japan Airlines: AG Slide Show

An inside look at Emirates state-of-the-art aircraft paint shop at Dubai

Emirates (Dubai) has provided this unique inside look at how it operates the world largest state-of-the-art aircraft paint shop:

Emirates, a global connector of people and places, operates the world’s largest fleets of Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s, and to serve these aircraft, it runs the world’s largest state-of-the-art aircraft paint hangar owned by an airline.

Located at Dubai International Airport, Emirates’ paint hangar is more than twice the size of a football field, and has been designed to deliver quality that exceeds even the standards of aircraft manufacturers.

A Boeing 777 is stripped of its exterior paint in the Emirates paint hangar.

In 2013, Emirates’ advanced paint hangar completely stripped 21 aircraft (or nearly 10% of its fleet) of exterior paint and gave them a brand new coat. It took 6,550 hours in total, or 273 days and nights of non-stop stripping and repainting, to complete these “make-overs”.  In addition to these major projects, the paint shop was kept fully engaged with over 60,000 other paint touch-up jobs on the exteriors and interiors of the aircraft, as well as cabin items.

“Our aircraft livery is one of the most recognisable and visible aspects of our brand. It is what people see in the sky, and the first thing our passengers see at their boarding gates. We take pride in maintaining our aircraft to the highest possible standards, and it is important our planes look pristine on the outside as well as on the inside,” said Adel Al Redha, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, Emirates.

“It’s not just about looking good. The paint coat has to withstand fierce weather conditions, including severe wind, bitter cold and searing heat, and an exterior coat that is clean of debris and imperfections improves aerodynamics and reduces fuel consumption. Emirates already flies a young and efficient fleet, but with fuel prices at consistently high levels, every little bit of efficiency counts,” he added.

Emirates previously had a minor paint booth in its Dubai hub to manage minor jobs while outsourcing the big projects to an external supplier.  Building its own paint hangar has helped the airline to better control total quality, and co-ordinate flight operations scheduling. Since the paint hangar started operations in August 2010, it has completed 59 full aircraft “strip-and-repaint” projects and several hundred thousand aircraft component paintings.

After every seven to eight years in service, Emirates fully strips its aircraft of their exterior colour and gives them a brand-new coat. A Boeing 777 requires a team of 26 to 30 people for a full strip-and-repaint project, which is turned around in just 12 to 13 days.

Emirates’ paint hangar operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It employs highly skilled and specialised staff for this purpose, and uses the latest technologies and systems including fully-controlled environments that regulate temperature, humidity and airflow – all of which are critical factors for the perfect glossy coat.

Since the airline’s launch in 1985, all Emirates aircraft wear their white coat with the iconic golden Emirates letters and tail fin in the colours of the flag of the United Arab Emirates.

The branding underwent a subtle change only once in 2000. The flag was redesigned to appear as though it was flowing in the wind and the letters assumed the new Emirates typeface making them softer and more in-keeping with the Arabic calligraphy. The new look had a buoyant tone making it more contemporary, yet retained the classic look which had become well-known since 1985.

Emirates’ first A380, which entered service in August 2008, will be due for a full repaint in 2015. Emirates operates the largest fleet of A380 with 44 in total and an additional 96 on order. It also operates the world’s largest fleet of Boeing 777s with 132 in service and 210 more on order.

Copyright Photo: Emirates:

Emirates: AG Slide Show

Video:

Brussels Airlines announces a major European expansion with nine new destinations

Brussels Airlines‘ (Brussels) CEO Bernard Gustin revealed the new commercial strategy of Brussels Airlines. In recent months, the airline has been working hard on the improvement of its productivity and decreased by 10 percent its cost structure. At the same time the company invested heavily in service and comfort for its passengers. The efforts led to a significant passenger growth, increased passenger satisfaction and improved profitability. This has allowed the company to invest in the expansion of its network. This spring and summer several new routes will be added to the Brussels Airlines schedule. Therefore two additional Airbus A319 aircraft will be added to the fleet over the following months.

In total nine new summer destinations were announced, as well as two new year-round destinations. It is the largest network expansion in the history of the company. With Ajaccio, Athens, Bari, Bastia, Cagliari, Figari, Malta, Montpellier and Seville, the airline is adding popular summer holiday destinations to its portfolio. The new year-round services to Krakow and Warsaw illustrate a strong investment in the Polish market. The flight frequencies to several existing destinations (Florence, Palermo, Marseille, Catania and Madrid) will also be increased, which results in a total of 400,000 additional seats offered in 2014.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-113 OO-SSP (msn 644) climbs away from Geneva.

Brussels Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

 

 

Norwegian hires 170 American flight attendants

Norwegian Long Haul (Norwegian Air Shuttle) (Norwegian.com) (Oslo) has been recruiting for American employees since October 2012 to serve as flight attendants. The airline has received over 5,500 applications for the 300 open positions. So far it has hired 170 flight attendants for based positions in New York and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood. Another 130 FAs will be hired. Some of the recruits have finished their training and are already flying as we previously reported.

All new employees work under U.S. pay standards and conditions.

Norwegian’s long-haul routes in 2014:

Bangkok: Oslo and Stockholm
New York City: Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo and London
Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood: Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen and London
Los Angeles: Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen and London
San Francisco: Oslo and Stockholm
Orlando: Oslo

Copyright Photo: Norwegian. Some of the new U.S. recruits are pictured.

Norwegian: AG Slide Show

Video: New crew members talk about working for Norwegian:

 

Sky King ceases all operations

Sky King‘s (Lakeland) remaining employees were notified on January 26, 2014 that Sky King, Inc. was ceasing operations. On January 6, 2014, President Frank Visconti was replaced by Dr. Daniel Carson, formerly of Vision Airlines. According to this article by AviationPros.com, Lakeland Linder Regional Airport Director Gene Conrad confirmed the charter airline has suspended operations at LAL.

Sky King in late 2013 returned most of its fleet as it lost some business including many of its charters flights to Cuba.

The company never really recovered after Direct Air went out of business on March 13, 2012 causing Sky King to filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on March 16, 2012. It filed again on August 31, 2012.

The company originally commenced operations in July 1990, based in Sacramento, California. Its first customer, the NBA Sacramento Kings, was the reason for its name which was also the name of an old TV show.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Luimer Cordero/AirlinersGallery.com. Most of the aircraft did not have titles. Boeing 737-4Q8 N916SK (msn 24706) wore C&T Charters titles, one its Cuban charters clients.

Sky King: AG Slide Show

Southwest Airlines to add 27 daily flights at Washington’s Reagan National Airport

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) has confirmed it has been notified of its winning bid in an auction for 54 slots–allowing 27 additional daily flights–that will bring more competition to Reagan National Airport, three miles from downtown Washington, D.C.  Details of the carrier’s bid to acquire divested slots remain confidential under terms of the deal and are subject to final approval of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and completion of customary written agreements.  The additional slots will translate to an increase in Southwest’s service at Reagan National from 17 daily departures to 44 daily departures.  The carrier plans to announce destinations, schedules, and fares for the additional flights later this quarter and anticipates it will begin flying in the third quarter of 2014.

The slots that Southwest will purchase at Reagan National became available as a result of a settlement of litigation last Autumn by the U.S. Department of Justice against the merger of American Airlines and US Airways.  In a separate development, Southwest recently announced new service between Reagan National and Kansas City International Airport beginning Feb. 1, 2014.

In addition to Southwest’s presence at Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA) and Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), Southwest offers the greater Baltimore/Washington region more than 200 daily departures from Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI) to nearly 60 cities and, beginning on July 1, 2014, will offer new daily service on Southwest between BWI and Aruba, The Bahamas, and Jamaica, launching a new international chapter for both the carrier and Maryland’s largest airport.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-7H4 N486WN (msn 33852) of Southwest Airlines with the “Free Bags Fly Here” sticker arrives at Washington’s Ronald Reagan National Airport on the River Approach.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

Island Air introduces a new “pineapple” color scheme

Island Air (Hawaii) (Honolulu) has introduced a new colorful livery. The first aircraft to wear the new livery is this former American Eagle-Executive Airlines ATR 72-210 registered as N342AT (msn 345). The turboprop is named “Lana’i”. This new look replaces the short-lived 2012 “Lei” color scheme. N342AT was painted this month on the mainland.

Oracle Corporation’s CEO Larry Ellison acquired most of the island of Lanai from David H. Murdock. On February 26, 2013, Island Air announced the sale of the airline to Ellison. Ellison appointed Paul Casey, former CEO of Hawaiian Airlines and President of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau as the company’s new President and CEO. Casey has trimmed routes and settled on the ATR 72 to serve its routes in Hawaii.

The island airline issued this statement:

Island Air has introduced its new logo. The new symbol for the airline is the native ‘i‘iwi bird, which was prized by the Hawaiian ali‘i.

 

“The new logo is part of our company’s restructuring to align ourselves with an improved and enhanced level of service,” said Island Air CEO Paul Casey. “It symbolizes a revitalized company with deep roots in Hawaiʻi and a strong commitment to the community and our customers.”

 

Signage with the new logo has already been installed at airport ticket counters in Honolulu, Līhuʻe, Kahului, Lāna‘i and Moloka‘i. The new logo will be phased in over the next several months, and also be reflected in Island Air’s digital and print communications, collateral, vehicles, and on the airline’s ATR 72 64-seater aircraft.

 

The ‘i‘iwi bird is a species of the Hawaiian honeycreeper found on the islands of Hawai‘i, O‘ahu, Maui and Kaua‘i. It holds a special place in Hawaiian culture. One of Hawaiʻi’s most beautiful birds, the ʻiʻiwi was prized by Hawaiians for its striking vermillion feathers, which were used to make feather capes, helmets and other symbols of Hawaiian royalty.

 

Island Air also announced its support of The Nature Conservancy, by joining the Hawaiʻi Nature Conservancy’s Corporate Council, for the Environment, as a Corporate Conservator. Island Air’s donation will be used as part of The Nature Conservancy’s efforts to protect and preserve the native habitat of the i’iwi, a threatened indigenous Hawaiʻi species, found in Nature Conservancy preserves on Maui, Kauaʻi and Hawaiʻi Island.

 

“The Nature Conservancy is devoted to protecting Hawaii’s native forest habitat for all native species of animals and plants including the ‘i‘iwi,” said Suzanne Case, The Nature Conservancy’s Hawaiʻi executive director.  “Not only are these forest areas critical to the survival of Hawaiʻi’s globally unique creatures, they are also the source of all the fresh water for our islands.  We are thrilled and grateful to welcome Island Air into the Conservancy’s distinguished roster of sponsors from the business community.”

 

The new logo was designed by Wall-to-Wall Studios in Honolulu.

Copyright Photo: Ivan K. Nishimura/Blue Wave Group. N342AT shines on the ramp at the Honolulu International Airport after its long ferry flight from the mainland.

Island Air (Hawaii): AG Slide Show

Island Air logo

Current Route Map: Island Air has scaled back its operations since the Larry Ellison takeover.

Island Air 1.2014 Route Map

American Airlines to launch the Dallas/Fort Worth-Shanghai route on June 11

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) today announced the schedule for its new service between Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport (PVG), further strengthening its commitment to serving the Asia-Pacific region. Customers can begin booking flights on the new route Sunday, Feb. 2, for travel starting June 11.

Operated as part of American’s joint business agreement with fellow oneworld® alliance member Japan Airlines (JAL) (Tokyo), the new route complements American’s existing service to Shanghai from its hubs at Los AngelesInternational Airport (LAX) and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). Through oneworld member airlines and their affiliates, American’s customers have access to more than 145 destinations within Asia. In addition, customers traveling from Shanghai will now have access to nearly 200 destinations throughout North, Central and South America through American’s extensive network out of Dallas/Fort Worth.

The new route will operate daily with a Boeing 777-200 aircraft on the following schedule:

Daily DFW-PVG Service Schedule (all times local)

AA 127
Departs DFW at 10:55 a.m.
Arrives at PVG at 2:55 p.m. the following day

AA 128
Departs PVG at 4:50 p.m.
Arrives at DFW at 6:10 p.m.

Last year, American also announced that it will begin its first-ever nonstop service to Hong Kong, reinforcing American’s commitment to strengthen its global presence and meet customer demand for travel to key international markets. The service to Hong Kong from Dallas/Fort Worth, also launching June 11, will add a new destination to the airline’s international network.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-223 ER N752AN (msn 30260) completes the final approach to the runway at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

American Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

American Airlines (historical): AG Slide Show