Monthly Archives: November 2018

United Airlines expands partnership with Copa Airlines and Avianca

United Airlines Boeing 777-224 ER N78017 (msn 31679) (Star Alliance) LHR (Keith Burton). Image: 944609.

United Airlines today announced it has reached an agreement with Compañía Panameña de Aviación S.A. (Copa Airlines), Aerovías del Continente Americano S.A. (Avianca) and many of Avianca’s affiliates, for a joint business agreement (JBA) that, pending government approval, is expected to provide substantial benefits for customers, communities and the marketplace for air travel between the United States and 19 countries in Central and South America.

Many more choices for customers

By integrating their complementary route networks into a collaborative revenue-sharing JBA, United, Avianca and Copa plan to offer customers many benefits, including:

  • Integrated, seamless service in more than 12,000 city pairs
  • New nonstop routes
  • Additional flights on existing routes
  • Reduced travel times

Drive economic benefits for consumers and the communities we serve

The carriers expect the JBA to drive significant traffic growth at major gateway cities coast to coast, which is expected to help bring new investment and create more economic development opportunities. Further, the JBA is expected to provide customers with expanded codeshare flight options, competitive fares, a more streamlined travel experience and better customer service, resulting in significant projected consumer benefits.

Better serve our customers

Additionally, allowing the three carriers to serve customers as if they were a single airline is expected to enable the companies to better align their frequent flyer programs, coordinate flight schedules and improve airport facilities.

“This agreement represents the next chapter in U.S.-Latin American air travel,” said Scott Kirby, United’s president. “We are excited to work with our Star Alliance partners Avianca and Copa to bring much-needed competition and growth to many underserved markets while providing a better overall experience for business and leisure customers traveling across the Western Hemisphere.”

“We are delighted to further solidify our existing partnership with United Airlines and look forward to increasing service options for our customers by working more closely with Avianca,” said Pedro Heilbron, Copa Airlines’ chief executive officer. “We believe this agreement benefits our passengers by providing competitive fares and a superior network of more than 275 destinations throughout Latin America and the U.S., and promotes further growth and innovation within the airline industry in the Americas.”

“We are certain that together we are stronger in the United StatesLatin America market than any of the three airlines individually,” said Hernan Rincon, Avianca’s executive president – chief executive officer. “This partnership will allow Avianca to strengthen its position as a first-level player in the airline industry in America as we will expand our scope in the continent with United and Copa, offering better connectivity to our customers.”

JBAs drive competition that benefits customers

Although JBAs have been proven around the world to benefit consumers and enhance competition, currently 99 percent of the U.S. carrier passenger traffic that makes connections in Central and South America does so without a JBA. Competition in the U.S.-Latin American market has grown and includes a diverse set of carriers offering service across multiple price points. Yet the market lacks a comprehensive revenue-sharing, metal-neutral network of carriers and the associated heightened competitive forces that drive value and better consumer experiences. The JBA represents an innovative, best-in-class new product offering that will make competition in this robust market even stronger.

“Our analysis shows that a metal-neutral JBA among United, Copa and Avianca will provide substantial benefits to consumers traveling between the relevant countries,” said Dr. Darin Lee, executive vice president of economic consulting firm Compass Lexecon and airline industry expert. “This JBA will enable United, Copa and Avianca to compete more effectively, offer competitive fares, and increase service, encouraging innovation and establishing a more robust and vibrant marketplace.”

To enable the deep coordination required to deliver these benefits to consumers, communities and the marketplace, United, Copa and Avianca plan to apply in the near term for regulatory approval of the JBA and an accompanying grant of antitrust immunity from the U.S. Department of Transportation and other regulatory agencies. The parties do not plan on fully implementing the JBA until they receive the necessary government approvals. The JBA currently includes cooperation between the U.S. and Central and South America, excluding Brazil.  With the recently concluded Open Skies agreement between the U.S. and Brazil, the carriers are exploring the possibility of adding Brazil to the JBA.

Top Copyright Photo (all others by the airlines): United Airlines Boeing 777-224 ER N78017 (msn 31679) (Star Alliance) LHR (Keith Burton). Image: 944609.

United aircraft slide show (Boeing):

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Boeing delivers Fiji Airways’ first 737 MAX airplane

"Island of Kadavu", Fiji's first MAX 8

Boeing has delivered the first 737-8 MAX 8 for Fiji Airways, which plans to use the fuel-efficient, longer-range version of the popular 737 jet to expand and modernize its single-aisle fleet.

Above Photo: Fiji Airways. Continuing a rich tradition, this is how our Fijian community in Seattle proudly accepted our new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft at the official key handover and will be farewelling it tonight when it departs Seattle headed for its new home!

Fiji Airways plans to take delivery of five MAX 8 airplanes, which will build on the success of its fleet of Next-Generations 737s. The MAX incorporates the latest technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets, and other airframe enhancements to improve performance and reduce operating costs.

Compared to the previous 737 model, the MAX 8 can fly 600 nautical miles farther, while providing 14 percent better fuel efficiency. The MAX 8 can seat up to 178 passengers in a standard two-class configuration and fly 3,550 nautical miles (6,570 kilometers).

Based at Nadi International Airport, Fiji Airways serves 13 countries and 31 destinations/cities including Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands (Oceania), the United States, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. It also has an extended network of 108 international destinations through its codeshare partners.

In addition to modernizing its fleet, Fiji Airways will use Boeing Global Services to enhance its operations. These services include Airplane Health Management, which generates real-time, predictive service alerts, and Software Distribution Tools, which empowers airlines to securely manage digital ground-based data and efficiently manage software parts.

Top Copyright Photo: Fiji Airways (2nd) Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 DQ-FAB (msn 64307) BFI (Steve Bailey). Image: 944495.

Fiji Airways aircraft slide show:

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Alaska Airlines suspends operations at Anchorage due to earthquake damage

Alaska Airlines has issued this statement:

We understand there’s considerable damage being reported at Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage, Alaska, due to a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit this morning. There are no reports of any injuries to employees or guests at the airport.

As a precaution, Alaska Airlines is suspending operations at the airport until at least 12:30 p.m. Pacific (11:30 a.m. Alaska) to allow for a thorough safety assessment of the facility and infrastructure. We are pausing arrivals and departures in and out of Anchorage during this time.

Photo: Frank K./Wikipedia.

ANC issued this status report:

 

The airport is open. The arrivals and departures ramps are closed. The commercial curb where taxis and shuttles arrive is available, follow traffic control.

TSA is screening passengers. Check with your airline for current information.

The N/S Terminals have sustained some cosmetic damage. Water mains were ruptured. All elevators and escalators are out of service. Electrical Power is working, and backup generators are on standby.

Video:

Boeing delivers its 2,000th airplane to China

Celebrating the 2000th Boeing aircraft for China

Boeing today delivered its 2,000th airplane to a Chinese operator, a 737 MAX for Xiamen Airlines. The milestone and the pace at which it was reached reflect the accelerating growth in the world’s largest commercial aviation market.

Boeing delivered its first 1,000 airplanes to Chinese airlines over four decades. The next 1,000 Boeing jets have now been delivered over the past five years. The rapid pace continues as one in four Boeing-made commercial jet goes to a Chinese operator, either through direct purchase or lease.

XiamenAir 737 MAX 8 C1 Flight: Milestone 2000th Boeing Aircraft for China – November 29, 2018

The new 737 MAX delivered today sports a special logo commemorating the milestone. It is the eighth MAX airplane to join fast-growing Xiamen Airlines, which operates the largest all-Boeing fleet in China with more than 200 jets. The carrier also uses Boeing Global Services to improve the efficiency of its network and operations. Xiamen is the first Chinese airline to use Optimized Maintenance Program, which leverages Boeing AnalytX to recommend customized airplane maintenance plans.

“We’re pleased to be a part of this historic delivery for Boeing and China,” said Che Shanglun, chairman of Xiamen Airlines. “In our 34-year history of operations, Xiamen Airlines has steadily grown, doubling our fleet size over the past five years and achieving profits for 31 years in a row. Throughout that time, Boeing has been a valued partner in our growth and expansion by providing safe and reliable airplanes.”

Xiamen Airlines is one of Boeing’s more than 30 commercial customers in China. In all, Boeing-made jets comprise more than half of the greater than 3,000 jetliners flying in the country.

China’s commercial fleet is expected to more than double over the next 20 years. Boeing forecasts that China will need 7,690 new airplanes, valued at $1.2 trillion, by 2038. Boeing also forecasts China will experience strong growth in the commercial services market with demand growing $1.5 trillion over the next 20 years, accounting for 17 percent of world demand.

China also plays a major role in building the world’s jetliners. The Chinese aerospace manufacturing industry supplies parts for every Boeing jet, including the 737 MAX, 777, and 787 Dreamliner. In December, Boeing and the Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC) are set to deliver the first 737 MAX airplane from a completion and delivery center in Zhoushan, China. The facility will handle interior work and exterior painting of 737 MAXs for the Chinese market. Final assembly work will continue to be done at Boeing’s factory in Renton, Wash.

Boeing activity in China is valued at more than $1 billion in economy activity in China. This includes procurement from Boeing’s extensive supply base, joint venture revenues, operations, training, and research and development investment.

Top Copyright Photo (all others by Boeing): Xiamen Air Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 B-1136 (msn 43831) (2000th Boeing aircraft for China) BFI (Joe G. Walker). Image: 944602.

Xiamen Air aircraft slide show:

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American Airlines celebrates unveiling of new concourse at New York’s LaGuardia Airport

American Airlines on November 29 joined New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo; Rick Cotton, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; representatives from LaGuardia Gateway Partners (LGP) and LaGuardia Airport (LGA) team members to celebrate the unveiling of a new concourse at LGA’s Terminal B. American will begin operating flights out of the new concourse December 1.

The construction of the new concourse is the first step in the reimagining of Terminal B, where American has exclusively operated since December 2017. The $5.1 billion transformation of the rest of Terminal B is scheduled for completion in 2022 and is led by the Port Authority, LGP, American and other airport stakeholders.

The new concourse is filled with world-class technology, innovation, best-in-class amenities and services, including notable brand names like FAO Schwarz, Shake Shack, and M∙A∙C, and provides a preview of what the completed project will offer.

Over the next few years, two new concourses featuring 35 gates will be built at Terminal B. The two concourses will be connected to the main terminal by dual pedestrian bridges spanning an active taxiway, allowing customers and aircraft to move about seamlessly. The project includes a new 840,000-square-foot main terminal with soaring ceilings and corridors filled with natural light.

LGA is not American’s only hub or gateway getting an extreme makeover. With its airport partners, American has spent and committed billions of dollars for projects at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Miami International Airport (MIA), Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Washington, D.C., O’Hare International Airport (ORD) in Chicago and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), where the airline recently broke ground on a $1.6 billion project.

All images by American Airlines.

Finnair prepares for possible changes in domestic and regional flights due to Norra pilots’ industrial action

Norra - Nordic Regional Airlines ATR 72-212A (ATR 72-500) OH-ATG (msn 757) HEL (Ton Jochems). Image: 937416.

Finnair has issued this statement:

Norra’s pilot union FAPA ry. has informed about industrial action regarding standby work for its pilots as of Dec 1. Norra operates many of Finnair’s domestic and regional flights.

Due to the industrial action, Finnair prepares for changes in domestic and regional flights in December. Flight cancellations are possible.

To minimize the impacts to our customers’ travel plans, Finnair leases an ATR aircraft with pilots and cabin crew from Danish DAT. The leased aircraft will be used to flights that might otherwise be cancelled.

”We apologize for the inconvenience this situation may cause to our customers. We do our best to ensure that our customers get to their destinations smoothly,” says Jaakko Schildt, Chief Operating Officer, Finnair.

Finnair communicates about the cancellations and changes in carrier directly to customers affected via SMS and/or e-mail. If a flight is cancelled, Finnair re-routes customers to their destinations. Customers can also choose to change the travel date +/- 2 days of the original date or apply for full refund for an unused ticket.

Top Copyright Photo (all others by the airline): Norra – Nordic Regional Airlines ATR 72-212A (ATR 72-500) OH-ATG (msn 757) HEL (Ton Jochems). Image: 937416.

Norra aircraft slide show:

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TAP Air Portugal to add Chicago and Washington

First Airbus A330neo

TAP Air Portugal aims to double operations in North America in the next years and is expanding again, adding two new routes to the United States in 2019 with nonstop service from Lisbon, to Washington, DC and Chicago.

TAP will commence five round-trip flights per week between Chicago O’Hare and Lisbon on June 1, 2019, and then add five weekly round-trips between Washington-Dulles and Lisbon on June 16, 2019.

Flights will depart Chicago O’Hare at 6:05 PM, arriving in Lisbon at 7:50 AM (next day).  Returning flights leave Lisbon at 1:05 PM, arriving at O’Hare at 4:05 PM.  From Washington Dulles, flights will depart at 10:40 PM, arriving in Lisbon at 10:50 AM (next day).  Returning flights leave Lisbon at 4:30 PM, arriving at Dulles at 7:40 PM.

TAP is the launch carrier for the brand new Airbus A330-900neo aircraft, with 19 planned for delivery until the end of 2019.  In all, TAP has a new fleet of 71 brand new aircraft being delivered until 2025, also including 19 A320neos, 17 A321neos, and 14 A321 Long Range jets. This huge fleet growth allows TAP to launch new destinations and spread the global network offered to the airline’s costumers.

The A330neo will feature the new Airspace by Airbus cabin.   The economy cabin now comprises two categories:  Economy and EconomyXtra. The configuration and design provide a fresh atmosphere, with more legroom, deeper seat recline, and new seat covers in shades of green and gray in Economy, and green and red in EconomyXtra.

In TAP’s Executive business class, the configuration now comprises 34 new fully-flat reclining chairs that are more than six feet long when fully reclined.

Also, TAP has powered up its new business class chairs to include USB slots and individual electrical sockets, connections for headphones, individual reading lights, and more space, including more storage room.

“We have 10 gateways in Brazil with service from Portugal.  We believe we can support the same number to the US.  So, we have several more new destinations in North America in our planning.  USA are already TAP’s third major market worldwide and has great potential for further growth. Our network beyond Lisbon is also growing.  We now serve 55 destinations in Europe and 17 in Africa and most of our passengers fly with TAP to final destinations beyond Portugal”, says Antonoaldo Neves, TAP’s CEO.

TAP introduced the Portugal Stopover program in 2016 to further attract the ‘beyond Lisbon’ guest.   Travelers to all of TAP’s European and African served destinations can enjoy up to five nights in Lisbon or Porto along the way, for no extra airfare.

The Portugal Stopover comprises a network of more than 150 partners who provide exclusive offers for Stopover customers for hotels and shopping discounts and even a free bottle of Portuguese wine in participating restaurants.

Travelers can also enjoy a stopover in Lisbon or Porto even if their final destination is in Portugal, such as:  Faro (Algarve); Ponta Delgada or Terceira (the Azores); and, Funchal or Porto Santo (Madeira).

Top Copyright Photo (all others by the airline): TAP Portugal – Air Portugal Airbus A330-941N F-WWKM (CS-TUA) (msn 1819) FAB (Antony J. Best). Image: 942899.

TAP aircraft slide show:

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