Monthly Archives: February 2014

Scandinavian Airlines improves its inflight food service with two new levels

Scandinavian Airlines-SAS (Stockholm) is improving its inflight food service and has issued this translated statement today:

As a part of the continuous development of SAS’ service concept, SAS has developed the onboard food and beverage offering to improve the customer experience. The adjustments follow a broad customer survey and are introduced from beginning of March.

In June 2013, SAS launched the new service concept called “SAS Go & Plus” which has been overall well-received by SAS customers. A customer survey, with more than 4500 respondents, shows that the customers appreciate SAS Go & Plus for its
simplicity and 85% of the customers are positive or neutral to the concept.

There are three main initiatives in the development of SAS Go & Plus:

1. Improvements of the food and beverage offering; adjustments of onboard concept and clarification of the difference between SAS Go & SAS Plus.

2. We introduced SAS Go & Plus to make travel easier for our customers. By clarifying and improving our on board offering we want to ensure a pleasant and joyful overall experience for customers when they choose SAS says Snorre Andresen, Vice President Product Management and Development at SAS.

The first changes to the onboard concept come into effect on March 1 and again on March 20. The improvements of meals are ongoing.

Facts about improvements and adjustments:

SAS improves food experience on board

SAS customers appreciate proper meals on longer flights, and snacks and beverages on shorter flights.

SAS reduces the number of menu variants and introduces a clearer concept for flights within Europe: one for the Nordic region and one for flights to Europe.

SAS Plus includes a new evening meal and drinks served in classic Orreforsglass

Warm bread with the meal.

The cafe offers a selection of fresh food, such as sandwiches salads and hot wraps.

The cafe menu is continually updated with seasonal additions.

The dining experience will be enhanced on intercontinental flights for SAS Go & Plus and Business.

All meals will be renewed or enhanced and the food presentation improved with new design and packaging.

Along with other treats, pre-departure champagne will be re-introduced in Business. SAS Go includes pre-departure water and one non-alcoholic drink together with meals. Alcoholic beverages are included in SAS Business and Plus, and are for sale in SAS Go.

SAS clarifies the difference between SAS Go and Plus:

SAS Plus includes everything, also food and drinks onboard, and with SAS Go food and drinks are for purchase.

Breakfast included in SAS Plus and available for purchase in SAS Go. It is possible to buy breakfast with EuroBonus points.

Coffee, tea and newspaper are as always included for all SAS passengers.

Copyright Photo: Arnd Wolf/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-883 LN-RCY (msn 28324) in the special “Disney Planes” motif taxies at Munich, Germany.

Scandinavian Airlines-SAS: AG Slide Show

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International Airlines Group returns to profitability for 2013

International Airlines Group (IAG) (British Airways, Iberia and Vueling Airlines) (London and Madrid) today (February 28, 2014) presented Group consolidated results for the year to December 31, 2013.

IAG Airlines logos

IAG period highlights on results:

  • Fourth quarter operating profit €113 million (2012: operating loss of €40 million) before exceptional items
  • At constant currency and excluding Vueling and one-offs, fourth quarter passenger unit revenue up 2.7 per cent, and non-fuel unit

    costs down 2.7 per cent

  • Operating profit for the year to December 31, 2013 of €770 million (2012: operating loss of €23 million) before exceptional items
  • Revenue for the year up 3.1 per cent to €18,675 million and passenger unit revenue for the year up 0.6 per cent (3.7 per cent at constant currency)
  • Fuel costs for the year down 2.5 per cent to €5,951 million (2012: €6,101 million). Fuel unit costs down 5.0 per cent at constant currency
  • Non-fuel costs before exceptional items for year down 0.7 per cent at €11,954 million. Non-fuel unit costs down 5.6 per cent, down 2.7 per cent at constant currency
  • Cash of €3,633 million at December 31, 2013 was up €724 million on 2012 year end (December 2012: €2,909 million).
  • Adjusted gearing down 1 point to 50 per cent

Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, said:

“In 2013, we strengthened the Group by acquiring Vueling, embarking on Iberia’s transformation and enhancing British Airways’ revenue performance. This has led to a strong financial recovery and return to profitability with a turnaround of nearly €800 million. Our operating profit was €770 million before exceptional items, with passenger revenue up 5.8 per cent and non-fuel costs down 0.7 per cent.

“British Airways continued its solid revenue performance this year and we’re seeing cost improvements, resulting in an operating profit of €762 million. This is the first full year that it’s benefited from the additional Heathrow slots and greater network flexibility created by bmi’s integration. Both the A380 and Boeing 787 were introduced into the airline’s fleet successfully. The new aircrafts’ economic and environmental performance has been excellent and customers love them.

“Iberia has made huge progress on cost control as its restructuring takes shape and great credit should be given to all those involved. It has reduced its losses in the year, reporting an operating loss of €166 million. The recent pay and productivity agreements between Iberia and its pilot and cabin crew unions are key to reducing the airline’s costs further and providing the foundation for profitable growth.

“Vueling is a great asset and provides a new cultural dimension to IAG. The airline reported an operating profit of €168 million from April 2013, when we acquired it, and expanded its network across continental Europe. To increase capacity while improving profit margins is a tremendous achievement and underlines Vueling’s value to the Group.

“We have shown strong financial management this year. Despite buying Vueling and increasing our capital expenditure, cash was up €724 million versus last year and adjusted gearing was down 1 point to 50 per cent.

“Quarter 4 saw an improved financial performance from all our airlines and we are reporting an operating profit of €113 million before exceptional items. Passenger revenue was up 4.0 per cent and non-fuel costs were down 4.1 per cent”.

Trading outlook:

In 2014 we expect to make steady progress towards our 2015 Group operating profit target of €1.8 billion, with relatively flat unit revenue growth, and margin expansion driven by falling unit costs.

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Vueling has been a good buy for IAG. Formerly operated by Belle Air Europe, Airbus A320-214 EI-LIS (msn 3492) has been repainted at Southend.

British Airways: AG Slide Show

Iberia: AG Slide Show

Vueling Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

RwandAir takes delivery of its first Bombardier Q400

RwandAir DHC-8-400 over Kigali (Rwandair)(LR)

RwandAir (Kigali, Rwand) and Bombardier Yesterday (February 27) celebrated the delivery of a dual-class Bombardier DHC-8-402 (9XR-WL, msn 4464) (marketed as the Q400). RwandAir’s order for the aircraft was announced on April 22, 2013.

RwandAir is now one of 15 operators of Q400 and Q400 NextGen aircraft in Africa, and its Q400 NextGen aircraft joins more than 55 Q400 and Q400 NextGen aircraft that are already in service, or ordered for operation, in 12 countries in Africa. RwandAir is also now the fourth airline operating the dual-class Q400 NextGen aircraft among the five customers that have ordered this configuration to date.

In other news, RwandAir will launch a new route to Doula, Cameroon on March 30, 2014 with four weekly flights departing Kigali every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

RwandAir will operate the new with the new Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft equipped with 7 Business Class and 68 Economy Class seats. The aircraft also operates daily services to Nairobi, Entebbe, Dar es Salaam, Bujumbura and Brazzaville via Kigali.

All images and photos by RwandAir.

RwandAir logo

Cabin photos of the new Q400:

RwandAir DHC-8-400 Cabin Photos (RwandAir)(HR)

China Eastern Airlines orders 70 Airbus A320neo aircraft, will trade-in its seven A300-600s

China Eastern Airlines (Shanghai) has ordered 70 Airbus A320neo aircraft according to Reuters. The new aircraft will be delivered from 2018 through 2020.

China Eastern operates both the Airbus A320 Family and Boeing 737 Family aircraft.

China Eastern will also trade-in its seven remaining Airbus A300-600s.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 B-9950 (msn 5668) with Sharklets arrives in Beijing.

China Eastern Airlines: AG Slide Show

Air China to start Beijing-Vienna-Barcelona flights on May 5

Air China (Beijing) will start Beijing-Vienna-Barcelona service on May 5, 2014, giving travelers an additional easy access to the “Capital of Music” and the “Flower of Europe”.

The four-times weekly service CA 841/2 will be offered on Mondays/Thursdays/Fridays/Sundays. The outbound flight will leave Beijing at 02:10 and arrive in Vienna at 06:10 local time and in Barcelona at 09:25 local time. The return flight will leave Barcelona at 11:25 local time and arrive in Vienna at 13:25 local time and Beijing at 05:55. The service is to be operated with an Airbus A330-300. Onboard, the Business Class is outfitted with full-flat seats. The Premium Economy Class offers 120% of the legroom available in standard Economy Class and great mileage deals. The Economy Class impresses with its ergonomic seats that make journeys less tiring. Personal entertainment systems are available in all classes of service.

For a long time, no nonstop flights have been offered to link East Asia and Barcelona, and there have been very few flights between Beijing and Vienna.

As a member carrier of the Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline network, Air China has been actively expanding its European schedule. Currently, Air China offers more than 100 flights per week between China and Europe, serving such major European cities as London, Paris, Frankfurt, Rome, Moscow and Madrid. The Beijing-Vienna-Barcelona service will bring Air China’s European routes up to 23, offering access to 19 European cities and expanding the carrier’s European network. It will further improve its global network with its hub in Beijing and make it easier for travelers to transit to other parts of the world via Beijing.

Copyright Photo: Michael Stappen/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-343X B-6511 (msn 1110) touches down in Dusseldorf.

Air China: AG Slide Show

Southwest Airlines’ pilot union opposes the application of Norwegian Air International

Southwest Airlines‘ (Dallas) pilots, represented by the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA), issued this statement today in opposition to the application to the DOT by Norwegian Air International of Ireland:

The Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) is joining numerous pilot groups across the United States along with Airlines for America to battle against Norwegian Air International’s application to the Department of Transportation that would provide them the ability to circumvent labor laws of their home country.

SWAPA’s opposition is contradicted by the Washington Airports Task Force who have chosen to support the Norwegian Air International (NAI) application.  SWAPA has written to the Task Force to rethink their position and not oppose the many D.C.-area Southwest Airlines pilots.

NAI is an attempt by a Norwegian-owned entity to capitalize on the EU’s loose labor and aviation oversight regulations. They have applied for – and received – an Operating Certificate from Ireland although not one of their aircraft will operate from there.  They have also contracted a Singapore-based company to staff their cockpits with Bangkok-based contract pilots (to evade EU labor and tax provisions).

“This ‘Flag of Convenience’ strategy is one that has decimated the U.S. Maritime industry,” said Captain Paul Jackson, Chair of SWAPA’s Governmental Affairs. “That industry was once robust and employed over 200,000 U.S. workers. Today the number of jobs has been reduced to around 2,500 due to the offshoring of work through foreign flag registrations of ships seeking the lax labor laws of those countries. Southwest pilots will not stand by and let this happen to the U.S. airline industry.”

“We are not opposing the entrance of an airline that competes fairly and doesn’t use the lax EU laws to drive out labor protections, bringing a questionable level of oversight to their operation,” continued Jackson. “We strongly believe that our product and the work of our industry can stand up to any competitor if they play by the rules in place and do not seek to lower costs at any price.”

Located in Dallas, Texas, the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) is a non-profit employee organization representing the more than 6,800 pilots of Southwest Airlines. SWAPA works to provide a secure and rewarding career for Southwest pilots and their families through negotiating contracts, defending contractual rights and actively promoting professionalism and safety.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-5H4 N527SW (msn 26569) completes its final approach for the runway at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

SWAPA logo

 

American Airlines ends its bereavement fares for family members

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) has ended its policy of extending special fares to family members who must buy a ticket a last-minute flight because of a relative’s death according to the Associated Press.

The change at American now mirrors the policy at merger partner US Airways, which does not offer bereavement fares. US Airways management is now running the “new American”.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-823 N815NN (msn 33208) completes its final approach from the south into Washington’s Reagan National Airport.

American Airlines (current): AG Slide Show