Monthly Archives: April 2017

China Southern Airlines orders 20 Airbus A350-900s

China Southern A350-900 (91)(Flt)(Airbus)(LRW)

China Southern Airlines has signed a purchase agreement with Airbus for 20 A350-900s, becoming the latest customer for the aircraft.

China Southern Airlines now operates one of the largest Airbus fleet in the world with more than 300 Airbus aircraft in service, comprising the A320 Family, the A330 Family and five A380s.

 With this latest order, Airbus has recorded a total of 841 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 45 customers worldwide, making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever.

Image: Airbus.

Wow Air takes delivery of its first Airbus A320neo

Wow Air (Keflavik) has taken delivery of its first Airbus A320neo on lease from  Air Lease Corporation (ALC). Wow Air is an all Airbus operator with 12 aircraft in its fleet to date.

The pictured A320-251N TF-NEO (msn 7560) will feature a single-class cabin layout with 180 seats.
The airline has chosen CFM engines to power the aircraft that will operate throughout Europe.
Photo: Airbus.

American’s Doug Parker and Robert Isom issue a letter to the employees on pay

Fellow Team Members:

Today, we are excited to make an announcement that reinforces our commitment to building a foundation of trust at American.

When we merged, we committed that American Airlines team members would be compensated in line with their peers at other airlines. Committing to “pay in line with our peers” is difficult to define in an industry like ours with complex contracts and work rules. American generally has contractual work rules and scope clauses that require us to employ more team members than our competitors, and those add costs to the airline. But we also know that base pay rates are a very visible and meaningful indicator of relative compensation, so we set out to meet our commitment by setting American’s base pay rates at the top of the industry.

With each joint collective bargaining agreement (JCBA) reached, our team has had the highest pay rates in the industry at the time of the signing. For groups who have not reached a joint contract yet, like those represented by the TWU-IAM Association, we implemented pay increases providing the highest average hourly pay rates in the business, even though the other terms of the JCBA have not been resolved yet. These actions have increased the average pay per represented team member by more than 39 percent in the three years since our merger closed.

But as our industry has rapidly evolved and pay increases at other airlines have accelerated, some of our colleagues have fallen behind their peers at other airlines in base pay rates. And, unless their current contracts are modified, they’ll remain far behind for more than two years. Two groups specifically fall into this category today: Our pilots and flight attendants both ratified new five-year contracts in late 2014/early 2015, well in advance of some significant pay increases at our two largest competitors. Today our pilot hourly pay rates are approximately 8 percent lower than the industry’s highest rates, and our flight attendants’ hourly pay rates are approximately 4 percent lower. Absent any action, these gaps would remain at similar levels until those contracts become amendable in December 2019 for flight attendants and January 2020 for pilots.

This doesn’t feel right for the new American, and it doesn’t feel consistent with our commitment. As one of our pilots said after a recent town hall, “We all understood that we would be leapfrogged by other carriers mid-contract, but no one expected this. It is just too much for too long.”

We agree. While the commitment was met when the contract was signed, we never anticipated this large of a gap for this long a period, and we don’t like that it exists, contract or not. Therefore we intend to work with the unions to adjust the hourly base pay rates of all American pilots and flight attendants to levels that are equal to the highest rates currently in place at either Delta or United. We cannot unilaterally implement these increases – APA and APFA must agree to any contractual changes. Because we are not requesting other contractual changes, we do not expect disagreement. If they agree, these changes could be effective as soon as the May crew bid period.

The rest of our contract team members are not affected at this time, either because your pay rates remain at or near industry-leading levels, as they were at the time your JCBAs were reached, or in the case of the TWU-IAM Association, we are still negotiating a JCBA. Specifically for those negotiations, in recent weeks we’ve had productive executive sessions in Washington, D.C., with the assistance of a federal facilitator. And when those talks conclude, our contractual base pay rates will be industry-leading. Regarding our non-contract team members, we assess the market annually and attempt to ensure our compensation is always in line with our competitors, including airlines and other large companies.

But make no mistake: This is a program for everyone at American and these adjustments reflect a real philosophical change that is an important trait of the new American. As we move forward, if we see sizable discrepancies in pay rates between our team members and other major airlines and our contracts are still years away from their amendable dates, we will work to address those discrepancies. Today’s news is not about buying trust because we all know trust cannot be purchased.

Today’s news is about doing the right thing and doing so not because we are contractually required to or because we are locked in a contentious contractual battle. We must continue moving past the days of discontent as we build a new American where team members trust each other and work together with our customers’ care in mind.

We also know pay does not build culture – we have made great progress there but have more work ahead and we must continue to work together to improve the lives of our frontline team members. That work will continue. Today’s action is an important step along that path and we are pleased to be part of an organization that has the courage to take steps like this. We thank the American Airlines Board of Directors and our investors for their long- term focus and their appreciation of the value of supporting our team.

Most importantly, thanks to each of you for all you do for American. Our customers are counting on us to validate the trust they place in us each time they step onboard one of our aircraft. Thanks to the greatest, most professional team in the business, they are always in good hands. It is an honor to work with and for each of you.

Doug Parker Robert Isom Chairman and CEO President

Airbus delivers the first A321neo to Virgin America

Virgin America's first Airbus A321neo, delivered on April 20, 2017

Airbus has delivered the first-ever A321neo to Virgin America now owned by the Alaska Airlines Group. The pictured A321-253N N921VA (msn 7589) was delivered in full Virgin America colors.

The latest generation aircraft powered by CFM International’s LEAP-1A engines was handed over to the all-Airbus operator, at a ceremony in Hamburg, Germany.

Virgin America currently operates a fleet of 63 Airbus A320 family aircraft comprised of A319ceo and A320ceo aircraft powered by CFM’s CFM56-5B engines.

Has Alaska decided to retain the Virgin America brand?

Top Copyright Photo: Virgin America Airbus A321-253N WL N921VA (msn 7589) XFW (Gerd Beilfuss). Image: 937602.

Bottom Photo: Virgin America.

Virgin America aircraft slide show:

Virgin America's first Airbus A321neo, delivered on April 20, 2017

Silk Way announces an order for 10 737 MAX 8s

The first Boeing 737 MAX 8

Silk Way and Boeing announced an order for 10 737 MAX 8 airplanes. The order, valued at $1.1 billion at current list prices, was previously attributed to an unidentified customer on the Boeing Orders & Deliveries website.


Azerbaijan-based Silk Way Group includes 23 companies working in the aviation industry and related services including passenger and cargo airlines. The airline currently operates seven Boeing airplanes, including two 767-300 Freighters, three 747-400 Freighters and three 747-8 Freighters.

Copyright Photo: Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 SSWL N8701Q (msn 42554) BFI (Steve Bailey). Image: 931526.

Boeing completes a successful first flight of the new 737 MAX 9

The Boeing 737 MAX 9 on April 13, 2017 completed its first flight in the skies above Puget Sound. The 737 MAX program achieved the milestone on schedule, beginning a comprehensive flight-test program leading to certification and delivery.

The airplane completed a successful 2 hour, 42-minute flight, taking off from Renton Field in Renton, Wash., at 10:52 a.m. local time and landing at 1:34 p.m. at Seattle’s Boeing Field.

Piloted by Boeing Test & Evaluation Capts. Christine Walsh and Ed Wilson, the airplane performed tests on flight controls, systems and handling qualities. The MAX 9 will now undergo comprehensive flight testing before customer deliveries begin in 2018.

The 737 MAX 9 is the second member of Boeing’s industry leading 737 MAX family, with a maximum capacity of 220 passengers and a range of 3,515 nautical miles.

Photo: Boeing.

Avianca Brasil adds its first passenger Airbus A330-200, to serve Miami

Avianca Brasil, one of Brazil’s largest airlines, announced today it has taken delivery of its first passenger A330-200 aircraft. The carrier will receive two additional planes of the same family in the coming weeks, which will launch its long-haul operations from Sao Paulo international airport to Miami (USA) and Santiago (Chile).

The new Avianca Brasil aircraft are configured in two classes of service: 32 seats in Business and 206 in Economy.

The company official stated Business class customers will be offered a superior experience. The 1-2-1 seating arrangement will ensure greater privacy and comfort; seats recline to a fully-flat position. These premium travelers will have an advanced on-demand entertainment system, with a wide variety of movies, TV series and games, viewable on 15-inch touchscreens. The seats will also feature control panels, auxiliary lighting, support tables, USB connection, power outlets and adjustable head rests.

In Economy, comfortably configured in a 2-4-2 arrangement, passengers will enjoy an individual entertainment system equipped with 9-inch touchscreen monitors, plus remote controls, power outlets, USB ports, and adjustable head and foot rests.

The new jets will also feature the latest LED ambient lighting technology, designed to provide an enhanced travel experience. Pedreira informed that in the future the carrier will equip its A330 aircraft with wi-fi connection – Avianca Brasil was the first South American carrier to provide internet aboard, in September, 2016.

Miami is set to be the first destination to be launched. Ticket sales began yesterday for travels from June 23. Flight 8510 will leave Sao Paulo (GRU) at 11:55 PM, landing in the United States (MIA) at 7:25 AM. Then, Flight 8511 will depart Miami at 7:30 PM, arriving in Brazil at 5:00 AM(local times).

In July, at date yet to be announced, the company will launch the Sao Paulo – Santiago route with the new A330s.

The pictured Airbus A330-243 PR-OCX (msn 1657) was delivered on March 29, 2017.

All photos by Avianca Brasil.