Monthly Archives: May 2017

Air Iceland becomes Air Iceland Connect

Flugfelag Islands-Air Iceland de Havilland Canada DHC-8-202 Dash 8 TF-JMK (msn 446) AEY (Wingnut). Image: 925729.

Air Iceland, as of May 24, 2017, has a new name: Air Iceland Connect.

The airline continued;

There are a number of reasons for the new name, including our increased activity in foreign markets, a significant increase in foreign tourists, increased co-operation with Icelandair and to simplify marketing, as the company’s dual name system has meant a significant increase in costs and has caused some passengers inconvenience and led to misunderstandings.

“We have used the name Air Iceland for years, but by adding the word Connect, we are showing our connection to Icelandic nature and destinations, connecting with our foreign destinations such as Greenland, Scotland and Northern Ireland and distinguishing ourselves slightly from Icelandair. This is a global, descriptive name, and we are convinced that it will create a strong airline brand in the international aviation market,” says Árni Gunnarsson, Managing Director of Air Iceland Connect.

“The company has been working on these changes for some time, renewing the fleet, increasing co-operation with Icelandair, receiving more and more foreign tourists and defining our market policy even better. It is the next logical step to do away with this dual naming system and introduce one descriptive and global brand,” says Árni.

The name change will, of course, take some time, and the domain www.flugfelag.is will remain active but will forward the user to the company website at www.airicelandconnect.com

In addition to a complete renewal of Air Iceland Connect’s fleet, in which Fokker airplanes were replaced by new and better Bombardier Q400 and Q200 airplanes, the company has in the last few months scheduled flights between Akureyri and Keflavík, increased flights to Greenland and Scotland and from 1 June, a new destination will be added, Belfast in Northern Ireland.

Above Copyright Photo: Flugfelag Islands-Air Iceland de Havilland Canada DHC-8-202 Dash 8 TF-JMK (msn 446) AEY (Wingnut). Image: 925729.

Route Map:

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Monarch Airlines leases a Boeing 737-800 for the summer

Summer lease for crew familiarization for upcoming 737 MAX 8s

The pictured Pegasus Airlines TC-AAY is seen arriving at the Birmingham base on May 18, 2017 on lease for the summer for crew familiarization before the new Boeing 737 MAXs arrive.

The new type will be operated this summer as G-ZBAV.

Copyright Photo: Monarch Airlines Boeing 737-82R WL TC-AAY (G-ZBAV) (msn 40874) BHX (Ian Bowley). Image: 937834.

Alaska Airlines to offer nine daily departures from Paine Field in 2018

Alaska Airlines has issued this statement:

Air travel will get a lot easier for flyers living in Snohomish County and North King County, Washington, next year when Alaska Airlines introduces commercial service from Paine Field – Snohomish County Airport. Subject to government approvals, starting by fall of 2018, more than a million North Sound travelers will enjoy shorter commutes to the airport and up to nine daily departures.

Alaska Airlines plans to operate nine daily departures from Paine Field using a fuel-efficient fleet of Boeing 737 and Embraer 175 aircraft.

Groundbreaking on the new terminal is expected in early June, with full details of Alaska’s routes as well as ticket sale information to be announced in early 2018.

Image: Alaska Airlines.

Batik Malaysia takes delivery of the first Boeing 737 MAX 8

Batik Malaysia becomes the first operator of the Boeing 737 MAX 8

Boeing on May 16, 2017 marked the first delivery of the new 737 MAX. The airplane, a 737 MAX 8, was handed over to Batik Malaysia (Malindo Air) at the Seattle Delivery Center. The Malaysia-based airline will be the first to put the 737 MAX into commercial service.

Every airplane will feature the new Boeing Sky Interior, highlighted by modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals, LED lighting that enhances the sense of spaciousness and larger pivoting overhead stowage bins.

The 737 MAX is the fastest-selling airplane in Boeing’s history. To date, Boeing has received almost 3,700 orders from 87 customers across the world.

Top Copyright Photo: Batik Malaysia Boeing 737 MAX 8 9M-LRC (msn 42985) BFI (Joe G. Walker). Image: 937790.

Bottom Photo: Boeing.

Lufthansa wishes Munich Airport a Happy 25th Birthday

Lufthansa issued this statement:

“Happy Birthday!  25 Years Munich Airport.” This is the branded message a Lufthansa Airbus will be carrying throughout Europe. The plane can also be seen on Saturday, May 20 during Family Day – the airport’s big birthday celebration suitable for the whole family. The message will stay on the Airbus A320-214 with the registration D-AIUQ (msn 6947) until fall. “We have chosen this unusual birthday greeting because we are celebrating a shared 25-year success story. The growth of Lufthansa in Munich is closely connected with that of the airport. Such a close partnership is unique worldwide,” says Wilken Bormann, CEO of Hub Munich.

Shared history

The partnership between Lufthansa and Munich Airport goes back to the very beginning. On May 17, 1992 a Lufthansa Boeing 737 was the last aircraft to depart from the airport in Riem, shortly before 11:00 PM. The following morning, two Lufthansa planes, named “Erding” and “Freising”, landed at the same time on the south and north runways of Munich Airport. The first plane to takeoff at the new airport also bore the Lufthansa logo: on the next day, at 5:59 AM, a Boeing 747 took off on an Alpine scenic flight carrying honored guests.

The first steps in developing the future Lufthansa hub in Munich were taken as early as in1995 with the deployment of two long-haul Airbus A340 aircraft. Three years later, the Lufthansa management board approved the airline’s involvement in what would eventually become Terminal 2. For the first time, an airline and an airport were planning, financing, and building a terminal together. The terminal building opened in 2003, fully tailoring to the needs of transfer passengers. Terminal 2 laid the foundation for more rapid development at the Munich Hub. Just one year after opening, it hosted its ten millionth passenger. In 2010, the supervisory boards of Flughafen München GmbH (FMG) and Lufthansa approved an expansion in the form of a satellite building, which opened in April 2016. Since then, Terminal 2 has the capacity to handle 36 million passengers. Another milestone followed in February 2017 – as Lufthansa and Munich Airport welcomed the first A350. In the future, 15 of these most modern and environmentally friendly long-haul aircraft will be based at the Munich Lufthansa hub. Shortly afterwards, the next joint success followed: Munich Airport’s Terminal 2 was named the best terminal in the world at the London Skytrax Institute’s 2017 World Airport Awards.

Photo: Lufthansa.

Baltia Air Lines to become USGlobal Airways and fly to Europe from Newburgh, NY

USGlobal Airways, a proposed new U.S.-based international airline, on May 11, 2017 announced its intention to operate transatlantic passenger flights between Stewart International Airport and selected European countries covered by the US-EU Open Skies Agreement.

Under prior management, USGlobal Airways (which is currently called Baltia Air Lines, Inc., but is in the process of rebranding) never received U.S. government certification to operate. During 2016, the company underwent significant corporate and operational changes, including new leadership that has made the very significant decision to hub its operation at Stewart International Airport (SWF), approximately 55 miles north of New York City.

Located in Newburgh, N.Y., Orange County, Stewart International Airport is operated by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and caters to a large and affluent demographic that resides in New York City, the Mid-Hudson New York region, Western Connecticut, Northeastern Pennsylvania and Northern New Jersey. Stewart International Airport boasts the third longest runway in the United States, shares its runway with the U.S. Air Force National Guard, and operates as a general aviation and cargo facility thanks to its prime location at the crossroads of Interstate Highways 87 and 84.

USGlobal Airways plans to lease a fleet of Boeing 767-300 aircraft which will carry passengers, cargo and mail between Stewart International Airport to such possible destinations as London, Paris, Barcelona, Nice, Naples, Athens, Warsaw, Budapest, Prague, St. Petersburg and Tel Aviv.

Update: On July 24, 2017 announced it intention to acquire the assets and AOC of Songbird Airways and assume the lease of its Boeing 737-400:

In keeping with my commitment to provide you with quarterly updates on our progress, I am happy to report several accomplishments we have made since last quarter, continuing USGlobal’s transformation and our work to fulfill our goal of being fully operational by the end of 2017. Under our current management team, our priority will be that all material information, good, bad or indifferent, will be disclosed in a timely and legally compliant manner. Towards that end, I hope you find this update informative and helpful.

On May 11, 2017, our board and executive management team members had the privilege of meeting many of you at our special meeting of stockholders and press conference at our new home at Stewart International Airport in Orange County, NY. Many of you voted in person to amend our certificate of incorporation to change our corporate name to “USGlobal Airways, Inc.” and also to effect a reverse stock split of our company’s capital stock. At this time, I am happy to announce that both resolutions were passed with your support. Thank you! We hope to formally change our corporate name and implement the reverse stock split when we obtain regulatory approval to list our common stock on the OTCQB Market, which we hope will occur during the current fiscal quarter.

At the meeting we also announced that we entered into an engagement agreement with GBH CPAs, PC, pursuant to which GBH will serve as our company’s registered independent public accounting firm and will conduct audits for our 2015 and 2016 fiscal years. Getting these audits done and providing the related information to the market is also a major priority for us as this, along with the reverse stock split, when implemented, will set the stage for our becoming a fully reporting, fully trading public company.

In June, our board concluded that the audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015 should no longer be relied upon. This was following an extensive review by our new management team and its advisors of the company’s corporate and financial reporting processes. Through this process, we became aware of numerous discrepancies, including, for example, an aircraft engine lease agreement the old Baltia had entered into with Logistic Air, Inc. in 2010. We also determined that the company’s previous independent auditors failed to properly account for the payments purportedly due to Logistic Air. As such, and as part of our overall turnaround, we have concluded to restate our financial statements for 2015 and 2016 to correct all accounting and disclosure errors and along with our advisors and new auditors are working as expeditiously as we can to complete this review. Taking the time to do this properly has caused unfortunate and frustrating delays, for many of you and for us, but we want you to know that we are committed to getting this right, putting the past behind us, and moving forward with correct historical financial statements as well as improved accounting and financial systems and controls which will be the bedrock of our operations.

As we have worked to fix the challenges of the past, we have also worked to move towards the future with our business plan of becoming an international passenger airline with cargo, mail and charter capabilities. Obtaining FAA carrier certification is the key to our plans, and on June 15, 2017, we entered into a non-binding letter of intent with AerLine Holdings, LLC for the exclusive right to acquire Songbird Airways, Inc. for an aggregate purchase price of $6,200,000. We made a good-faith deposit of $1,000,000 and we recently signed and submitted a formal, definitive purchase agreement to complete the acquisition. Songbird currently has FAA certification, and in addition, a lease agreement for the existing Boeing 737-400 aircraft previously operated by Songbird is currently being negotiated. We have concluded our due diligence review of Songbird and have already confirmed the current status of Songbird’s FAA and DOT certificates. Members of our executive management have had several meetings as well as continued communications with representatives from Songbird and the FAA. We are working to close this acquisition on or before September 15, 2017. This acquisition would be important because it would allow our company to initiate revenue operations immediately by utilizing the same aircraft and air carrier certificate previously operated by Songbird. It also adjusts our business plan to have an initial focus on the Caribbean Islands as well as various domestic and international charter opportunities. Our longer term goal remains a vision to serve unserved and underserved markets between the United States and prospective destinations in the EU and the Middle East, and we plan on phasing in the Boeing 767-300ER aircraft to accommodate this strategy.

In an effort to expand our fleet, in May, we entered into an Aircraft Lease Agreement with Kalitta Air, LLC. to lease a Boeing 767-300ER aircraft which will be equipped for worldwide geographical operations. Although the original plan was to take delivery of the aircraft no later than July 30, 2017, we have made a business decision to delay delivery of this aircraft due to the Songbird acquisition. It is our intent to bring the 767 online sometime in 2018 and commence service to Europe and the Middle-East.

Also in June, we appointed Ambassador Ned L. Siegel as a Director of our company. Ambassador Siegel, has had a long and distinguished career as a senior U.S. government official and over 30 years of business experience. He was appointed by then President George W. Bush as the U.S. Ambassador to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas from October 2007 to January 2009. Ambassador Siegel’s vast experience and his unique set of skills set him apart as a trusted and respected advisor and we are honored to have him on our team.

 

Orion Airways of Cyprus plans to start operations

Orion Airways (Larnaca) is a new start-up passenger airline based in Cyprus that is preparing to launch operations later this year. The new airline describes its goals:

“Based in Cyprus, Orion Airways promises to deliver an “over and beyond the horizon” flying experience to all our travelers!

Our goal is to connect South Eastern Europe to the Middle East, Asia and the whole of Europe so people can fly safely at the most reasonable cost.”

The new airline has painted its first Boeing 737-300 (JY-JAX) (above).

All images: Orion Airways.