Monthly Archives: September 2014

Snowbird Airlines is coming to London Gatwick starting on December 6

Snowbird A320-200 (14)(Flt)(Snowbird)(LRW)

Snowbird Airlines (Helsinki) starting on December 6 is planning to operate twice-weekly Airbus A320 service from Enontekiö to London (Gatwick) and return per Airline Route.

Enontekiö is located in northern Finland in Lapland and is an ideal viewing location for the winter northern lights.

According to Helsinki Times, the launch of the carrier has been delayed due to slumping Russian economy and a dispute with the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (KKV).

The virtual charter airline was planning to start operations on October 2 with a wet leased SmartLynx Airlines Airbus A320 (YL-LCM).

Read the full story: CLICK HERE

Images: Snowbird Airlines.

Snowbird logo

Video:

Frontier Airlines is coming to Miami starting on December 20 along with Chicago O’Hare and Philadelphia

Frontier MIA ORD and PHL $14.95 banner

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Miami) is coming to Miami starting on December 20 with new routes operating to Chicago (O’Hare), Denver, New York (LaGuardia) and Philadelphia. The fast growing airline is also coming to Chicago (O’Hare) and Philadelphia. Frontier also serves nearby Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood (near Miami) and Trenton, NJ (near Philadelphia).

The airlines issued this short statement and initial low air fares available today:

Today is a big day for Frontier, we’re announcing new routes to/from three new cities: Miami, Chicago O’Hare, and Philadelphia! You can now fly from Miami to Denver, New York LaGuardia, Chicago O’Hare and Philadelphia; from Chicago O’Hare to Las Vegas, Tampa and Miami; and last but not least from Philadelphia to Cancun, Orlando, Miami and Tampa. Starting in the spring of 2015 you can fly from Philadelphia to Atlanta, Charlotte, and Chicago O’Hare!

 

Frontier Airlines: AG Slide Show

Frontier MIA, ORD and PHL introductory fare

Emirates to help manage TAAG Linhas Aereas de Angola

Emirates (Dubai) has issued this statement:

Emirates and the Republic of Angola, in its capacity as the majority shareholder of TAAG Linhas Aéreas De Angola (TAAG Angola Airlines) (Luanda), announced the signing of a Management Concession Agreement* which will see Emirates take a role in the management of TAAG. The agreement lays the foundation for both airlines to jointly leverage commercial opportunities in Africa and beyond.

The ten year Management Concession Agreement* was signed by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group and H.E. Augusto da Silva Tomás, the Minister of Transport for Government of Angola.

This initiative is to further the Republic of Angola’s vision to create a world class Angolan carrier with the support of Emirates. As part of the agreement*, Emirates will work closely with the Angolan government and TAAG Linhas Aéreas De Angola to formulate and implement a business plan, provide management support and devise fleet and route network strategies, whilst bringing synergy through the complementary networks. Emirates will not contribute equity under this agreement* but appoint four senior managers to work for TAAG Linhas Aéreas De Angola.

Both airlines will also cooperate across a wide range of areas including bilateral code-sharing on cargo and passenger services, participation of customers in both airlines’ frequent flyer programmes and passenger and cargo handling. Emirates has also committed to allocate its resources to staff and crew training on best-in-class business and operational processes and systems.

TAAG Linhas Aéreas De Angola will additionally explore business opportunities with DNATA, in particular its passenger and cargo handling, flight catering and travel services. dnata, part of the Emirates Group, is the largest provider of air travel services in the Middle East and employs about 23,000 staff in 38 countries.

Angola is Africa’s second largest oil producer with a strong mining sector, and is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, making it an attractive business destination.

Emirates’ first point in Africa was Cairo, launched in 1986, and the airline has since grown a strong presence on the African continent, serving 22 passenger destinations today: Abidjan, Accra, Addis Ababa, Cairo, Cape Town, Casablanca, Dakar, Dar el Salaam, Durban, Entebbe, Johannesburg, Khartoum, Lagos, Luanda, Nairobi, Tripoli, Tunis, Harare, Lusaka, Conakry, Algiers and Abuja.

Emirates currently flies daily to Luanda, Angola’s capitol. EK 793 leaves Dubai at 1005hrs and arrives in Luanda at 1500hrs. The return flight, EK 794, departs Luanda at 1800, touching down in Dubai eight hours later at 0510.

* The agreement will only take effect after a number of conditions have been satisfied, including the receipt of various government and regulatory approvals.

Top Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Emirates Airline Boeing 777-36N ER A6-ECO (msn 37706) taxies at Toronto (Pearson).

Emirates: AG Slide Show

TAAG: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Marcelo F. De Biasi/AirlinersGallery.com. TAAG’s Boeing 777-3M2 ER D2-TEG (msn 40805) arrives in Sao Paulo (Guarulhos).

Lufthansa cancels 25 long-haul flights today from Frankfurt

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) today is dealing with another strike by its pilots, this time affecting its long-haul flights from the Frankfurt hub. The airline issued this statement:

Owing to the renewed strike announced by the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) pilots‘ union, Lufthansa has cancelled 25 long-haul flights from Frankfurt for Tuesday, September 30. A total of 57 intercontinental flights were originally scheduled from Frankfurt tomorrow and 32 of those are planned to depart. Of those 32 flights, 26 will be flown by volunteer pilots, two others will depart earlier and four have been deferred to the following day (Wednesday).

The Lufthansa hub in Munich will not be impacted by the strike: Flights to and from Düsseldorf and short-haul flights from and to Frankfurt will also operate as scheduled. Furthermore, flights operated by the Lufthansa Group airlines Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Germanwings, Swiss and Air Dolomiti (OS, SN, 4U, LX, EN) will not be affected either.

This fifth strike action within just four weeks will hit Lufthansa in the busiest air-traffic month of the year. Both the number of scheduled flights as well as capacities are traditionally at their highest level over the year at the end of September. Moreover, it is especially difficult at the end of the month to change crewing rosters and get pilots to volunteer for flights because planning options are restricted by the monthly limits on pilots’ flight-duty hours. Furthermore, Lufthansa is barred from resorting to night flights by the stringent night-flight ban after 11 p.m. at its home base in Frankfurt.

“Even if we manage under these difficult conditions to get more than half our scheduled long-haul flights from Frankfurt off the ground with volunteer crews tomorrow (Tuesday), the walkout will again severely damage our reputation and erode confidence in our airline’s reliability. The VC union’s repeated resort to strike action will damage Lufthansa with unforeseeable consequences for all 120,000 employees, including the pilots”, emphasized Kay Kratky, member of the Lufthansa German Airlines Board with responsibility for Operations and the Frankfurt Hub. “We apologize explicitly for the measures taken by the VC union, which is the only collective bargaining partner at Lufthansa intent on uncompromising and inconsiderate pursuit of its individual interests.”

Copyright Photo: Long-haul flights to the United States are severely impacted today. Airbus A340-642 D-AIHW (msn 972) taxies at Los Angeles.

Lufthansa: AG Slide Show

The first Boeing 737-800 for the new Eastern will arrive in early December as N276EA

Eastern (2nd) 737-800 WL (Eastern)(LRW)

Eastern Air Lines (2nd) (Miami) has announced they are planning to take delivery of the first Boeing 737-800 during the first week of December 2014. The first aircraft will be registered as N276EA (msn 35070, ex Kenya Airways 5Y-KYB) which has been reserved by Eastern Air Lines with the FAA. N276EA will be named the “Spirit of Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker” according to the new airline. The new Eastern is going through the FAA certification process.

Image: Eastern Air Lines (2nd).

The original Eastern Airlines (2nd) Aircraft Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Video: Eastern Airlines TV commercials for the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s:

Video: By George Mihal. Eastern aircraft at Charlotte (old terminal) circa 1956 including a Lockheed Constellation.

 

The Airbus A350-900 receives EASA certification

Airbus A350 Test Fleet in Formation 1 (Airbus)(LRW)

Airbus (Toulouse) has announced the new A350-900 received its Type Certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on September 30, 2014. The certified aircraft is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification will follow shortly.

The EASA A350-900 Type Certificate was signed by EASA’s Executive Director, Patrick Ky. The document was handed over to Airbus’ Executive Vice President Engineering, Charles Champion and Airbus’ A350 XWB Chief Engineer, Gordon McConnell.

Qatar Airways will take delivery of the first A350 before the end of the year. Our fleet of five test aircraft (above) completed the certification campaign, on time, cost and quality with more than 2,600 flight test hour

At the end of May 2014, the A350 XWB had received 750 orders from 39 customers worldwide.

All images by Airbus.

A350 XWB Inovations (Airbus)(LRW)

Airbus A350 Test Fleet in Formation 2 (Airbus)(LRW)

The changing face of Dallas Love Field, Delta Air Lines to exit Love Field on October 12

DAL Love Field Entrance (City of Dallas)(LR)

Dallas Love Field will dramatically change on October 13 when the Wright Amendment expires. With an expanding new terminal design and a different set of airlines, the airport is evolving with new long-range routes.

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will end its Delta Connection operations at Dallas’ Love Field on October 12. According to the Dallas News, the City of Dallas has served notice to the carrier that it can no longer accommodate the carrier after that date with gates in the new Terminal 2. Delta has served DAL since 2008 with service to Atlanta from Terminal 1. Previously Delta served Love Field when it was the only airport for Dallas. Delta currently subleases the two gates from American Airlines. Those two gates will go to Virgin America. On October 13 the Wright Amendment will expire.

According to Wikipedia, the Wright Amendment of 1979 was a federal law governing traffic at Dallas Love Field with some provisions also applying to other airfields in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex including Fort Worth Meacham International Airport and Addison Airport. It originally limited most nonstop flights from Love Field to destinations within Texas and neighboring states. Additional states were added to the permissible area in 1997 and 2005. In 2006, the amendment was repealed but left some restrictions intact until October 13, 2014 but with an added restriction on the number of gates allowed.

Dallas Love Field is named after Moss L. Love, who while assigned to the U.S. Army 11th Cavalry, died in an airplane crash near San Diego, California on September 4, 1913, becoming the 10th fatality in U.S. army aviation history. His Wright Model C biplane crashed during practice for his Military Aviator Test. Love Field was named by the United States Army on October 19, 1917.

Read the full article: CLICK HERE

Meanwhile the City of Dallas has issued this description of its new DAL Terminal 2:

DAL logo

The new Love Field Airport will increase efficiency for travelers while maintaining the convenience that Love Field currently offers passengers. In the new design, the terminal will decrease in size approximately 25 percent by replacing a large amount of unused and outdated space with modern and efficient facilities. The three original concourses will be demolished and consolidated into one convenient, centrally located concourse for all airlines. In addition to the new concourse, the check-in and baggage claim areas will be redesigned. The main lobby space will be renovated but will retain the overall structure and volume of the original design. This portion of the facility is the symbolic heart of the terminal complex and a vital part of the passenger processing operation. In addition, the LFMP will more than double the amount of available airport concessions – yet another tremendous benefit for Love Field Customers.

DAL Love Field Baggage Claim

Terminal 2 Baggage Claim.

Southwest Airlines has been operating from the new Terminal 2. Southwest Airlines previously announced that it would be adding new flights to Baltimore/Washington, Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando, Washington (Reagan) and Chicago (Midway) on October 13, 2014. Southwest also announced that on November 2, 2014, it would add new service to Atlanta, Nashville, Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Los Angeles, New York (LaGuardia), Phoenix, San Diego, Orange County and Tampa. On March 10, 2014, Southwest announced that in 2015, it would add new service to Boston, Oakland, Panama City Beach, Portland (Oregon), and San Jose, California.

Virgin America begins Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington (Reagan National) service on October 13, 2014) followed by New York (LaGuardia) on October 28, 2014.

In the new Terminal 2, Southwest Airlines operates from Gates 1-10, 12, 14, 16, 18-20, On October 1, 2014 United Express will operate from Gates 15 and 17 and Virgin America will operate from Gates 11 and 13.

Read the analysis by Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

Terminal 1 closes on October 1, 2014.

DAL Terminal Map

Current Terminal Map (City of Dallas)

DAL Love Field original terminal

The original Dallas Municipal Airport, Love Field (City of Dallas).

All images by the City of Dallas.

Video by Southwest Airlines of the new DAL Terminal:

Video by Southwest Airlines: A Day at Dallas Love Field:

Air China takes delivery of its first Boeing 747-800 Intercontinental

Air China (Beijing) has taken delivery of the pictured Boeing 747-89L B-2485 (msn 41191) yesterday (September 29), its first 747-800 Intercontinental.

Boeing issued this statement:

Boeing and Air China celebrated the delivery of the airline’s first 747-8 Intercontinental. Air China is the first carrier in Asia to operate the passenger version of the new, fuel-efficient 747-8. The new airplane is the first of seven 747-8 Intercontinentals Air China has on order.

“Air China has been operating 747s since the 1980s,” said Song Zhiyong, president of Air China. “This iconic airplane has played an important role in Air China’s international development and has also witnessed many milestones of the reform and opening-up of China. We are very proud to introduce the new 747-8 into our fleet to continue its tradition into the future.”

Air China, the flag carrier of the People’s Republic of China, will operate the new airplanes as it continues to expand its international routes.

The 747-8 Intercontinental will bring double-digit improvements in fuel consumption and emissions over its predecessor, the 747-400, while generating 30 percent less noise. The airplane’s interior, inspired by the 787 Dreamliner, includes a new curved, upswept architecture giving passengers a greater feeling of space and comfort, while adding more room for personal belongings. The 747-8 Intercontinental is powered by GE Aviation’s GEnx-2B engines.

Boeing’s partnership with Air China dates back to the 1970s. In addition to the 747-8 Intercontinental, Air China also has 15 787-9s on order. Air China has received all of its 20 777-300 ERs in the last three years and is one of the largest 737 operators in China.

Air China will deploy the new type on the Beijing-Frankfurt route starting daily on January 2, 2015 per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Brandon Farris/AirlinersGallery.com. B-2485 is pictured at Boeing Field in Seattle on a test flight.

Boeing 747-8 Customers (Boeing):

Boeing 747-800 Customers

Video: The National Geographic documentary on the Boeing 747-8:

Air China: AG Slide Show

 

Joel Chusid’s Airline Corner – September 2014

Guest Editor Joel Chusid

Watch Your Vowels

Guest Editor Joel Chusid

Guest Editor Joel Chusid

With millions of passengers flying every day, some are bound to end up at the wrong destination. I’m not talking about diverted or cancelled flights, or even what airlines call “misboards” when someone board the wrong airplane by mistake which, despite all the security regulations and precautions, still occasionally happens. But booking the wrong destination can happen, especially with so many people booking online. There are multiple cities in the U.S. with the same name (Bloomington, Lafayette and Springfield come to mind), but globally there are Londons in Canada and England and Panama Cities in Florida and Panama, and many more examples. Spelling and pronunciation errors can cause someone going to Oakland, California to end up in Auckland, New Zealand or the wrong La Paz, in Mexico or Bolivia. Airline staff are used to this, but they make mistakes, too. An Australian couple bound for the World Cup in Salvador, Brazil this past summer, ended up in San Salvador in El Salvador due to an airline booking error and had to watch the game on TV instead. An American dentist and his partner, anxious to see the Alhambra booked a first class vacation trip to Granada, Spain through British Airways last year. Upon landing in London, they proceeded to their connecting flight to Grenada, with that single vowel causing the mixup. Twenty minutes into the flight, they noticed their flight on the inflight map was headed out over the ocean, at which point they were past the point of no return. Nine hours later they ended up on the island of Grenada in the Caribbean. Since the dentist had a conference in Lisbon, Portugal at the end of the vacation, they flew to Miami and on to London. The little vowel error caused them to be on seven flights over three days and spend over $34,000 in airfares and in lost salary, for which the dentist sued British Airways since their agent erred. The case was finally dismissed last month in a Washington court. Let this be a lesson to you: watch your vowels.

The Game Plane

Are you into game shows? Is your idea of a comfortable airline seat in your living room? Here’s a new one for you, courtesy of Allegiant Air. For the past few months, “The Game Plane”, with reality host by Mark L. Walberg has been filming with somewhat captive audiences live on scheduled flights. Broadcasts in syndication began September 20, with real passengers as contestants getting chances to win prizes such as hotel stays in Las Vegas, Orlando and Hawaii. Now if you haven’t heard of Allegiant, they are what can be described as a niche, yet successful, airline, serving smaller cities to leisure destinations usually a few times a week. Think Shreveport to Las Vegas, one of the chosen routes for the game. The games range from “Bye Bye Birdie” (an inflight putting contest), the “Barf Bag Challenge” (choose questions from an array of air sickness bags) to “How Smart is Your Co-Pilot” (one half of a couple is sent to the isolation booth- the airplane lavatory). For some sample pictures, see http://gameplane.herokuapp.com/. Now I have no idea how they deal with turbulence….

Airline Food, Grounded

Some international travelers prefer to eat their meal on the ground before a red-eye flight to maximize rest time, especially when heading eastbound where hours are lost. Indeed, some airline lounges offer premium travelers pre-flight fine dining, especially those in the Middle East where most long haul travel involves an overnight, and even on the U.S. East Coast where most flights to Europe are scheduled to leave in the evening and arrive early. On recent flights on Turkish and Qatar Airways I was blown away by the selection of food, with everything from chefs to olive bars. But now we’re talking about airline food on the ground when you’re not even taking a flight. LSG SkyChefs, in partnership with Allyouneed.com, a German delivery site, has just introduced a test of home airline meal delivery in Germany, Cologne and Dusseldorf, to be exact. The meals are designed after Lufthansa business class meals, are prepared fresh, not frozen, and delivered to homes once a week, on Wednesdays. The meals, however, can be frozen and eaten later and feature both vegetarian and regular entrees, whatever is being served aloft on that day.

Copycat Freeloader

On the other hand, you can do what a “wanna-be” passenger did at Munich, but got caught, similar to what a man did at a Chinese airport for months. The European traveler bought a one way business class ticket from Munich to Zurich. The distance of this flight is only 162 miles. I flew this segment some years ago, and it took longer to get the checked baggage than the flight itself. However, these tickets are relatively expensive, at $895 (yes, you read that correctly), but they permit unlimited cancellation and rebooking without penalty. They also permit access to the premium lounge at Munich, which the guy used 35 times, without ever flying. Each time he checked in, helped himself to the copious food and drink, and then had his ticket refunded and reissued. After a few months of this, airline staff got suspicious, and Lufthansa took the freeloader to court. He was fined $2700, equal to the daily lounge charge.

“Keep Calm and Watch”

With all the stories of “air rage” these days, British Airways has discovered some ways to calm passengers and mesmerize them to relax on long flights. Last spring the airline introduced what one could only call “boring” movies. How about watching a seven hour trail ride to Oslo, or hours of bird feeding or knitting? A British Airways spokesperson equated it with watching the moving flight map. Just recently, a new channel, “Paws and Relax” was introduced, featuring romping dogs and cats. Think “Puppy Bowl” – non-Super Bowl watchers know that at the same time the big game is on, the Animal Planet channel shows the “Puppy Bowl” with furry juvenile canines playing with toys and each other on a little sports field. British Airways also recently tested a “Happiness Blanket” on some travelers between New York and London. A headband worn by the traveler measures electrical fluctuations of the brain, and the blanket turns blue when the user is calm, red when they are anxious or stressed. The blankets were used during mealtime, entertainment and sleep. No idea if this idea is going to be expanded. Some pictures here: http://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/offers/partners/happiness-blanket

Virgin Atlantic is close to making a decision on 5 additional Boeing 787s, updates its fleet retirement plans

Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) is close to making a decision on its five Boeing 787 options according to this report by Bloomberg. The British carrier is updating its fleet plans as it retires its older aircraft types with the new generation aircraft.

According to the report, Virgin Atlantic will retire the last Airbus A340-300 (above) at the end of February 2015. The last five Boeing 747-400s will leave the fleet between September 2015 and July 2016.

Two Airbus A340-600s will be retired at the beginning of 2015.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. The older Airbus A340-300s will be the first to be retired in February. Virgin Atlantic Airways’ Airbus A340-313 G-VFAR (msn 225) climbs away from London’s Heathrow Airport.

Virgin Atlantic Airways: AG Slide Show