Author Archives: Bruce Drum

About Bruce Drum

I have started the ultimate digital photo library of the fascinating world of airliners and airlines. The goal is to have the complete history of all airlines and the various aircraft operated. I have been photographing airplanes since 1965. Join us in this adventure.

Southwest Airlines celebrates 50 Years with a special podcast series

Best Seller - The original three Boeing 737-200s, original titles

Southwest Airlines this week celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the carrier’s first commercial flights, which took place on June 18, 1971. To offer Customers and Employees a unique perspective on stories from the airline’s colorful history, Southwest®, L.A. Times Studios, and At Will Media partnered to create the airline’s first public-facing episodic podcast series, called “Is This Seat Open?” which includes 20 episodes.

The podcast title, “Is This Seat Open?” draws upon Southwest’s open-seating policy, which is one of the ways the Company uniquely stands out in the industry and has been in place since the airline’s founding in 1971. “Is This Seat Open?” is available on all podcast platforms, including iHeartRadio, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more. There are currently 10 episodes available, with additional episodes launching on June 15 and June 22 for a total of 20 episodes in the series.

Stories are best told by the people who experienced them firsthand, so the narratives in this podcast are vibrantly depicted by some of the People who were a part of Southwest’s iconic moments through the carrier’s 50-year history. Southwest Employees Quinnie Jenkins, a Manager in Community Outreach, and Lucas Hershberger, an Inflight Supervisor, host the podcast.

The podcast project includes a companion website, latimes.com/isthisseatopen, which features photos, archival content, videos, news clips, and write-ups for further context and information about each story.

The podcast episodes feature moments throughout Southwest’s history, beginning with stories from the early years of the airline up to present-day, including:

  • Who Was Herb? Hear about Southwest Founder, Herb Kelleher, from the perspective of his daughter, Ruth.
  • Fare Play & Bottle of Booze: Southwest’s Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Ryan Green shares how a 1973 marketing masterstroke saved the fledgling airline and helped it turn its first annual profit.
  • Bringing Dad Home: Now retired Southwest Pilot Bryan Knight reveals how Southwest helped him honorably lay to rest his late father, a Vietnam veteran who had been missing for 52 years.
  • Go-Go Boots, Khakis, & Jams: Southwest Employee uniforms have been iconic throughout the carrier’s 50 years of flying. Kelli Bartlett, a Flight Attendant who has been with Southwest for more than four decades, recalls each unique uniform throughout the years and describes the current 75 bold, striking, and casual-yet-professional pieces worn today.

Anyone can tune in to the podcast on the ground, and Southwest Customers can listen to “Is This Seat Open?” via iHeartRadio free of charge through the Inflight Entertainment Portal on their personal devices. Customers who already have the iHeartRadio app installed on their devices can play the podcast directly from the app while onboard Southwest flights.

To learn more about Southwest’s 50th Anniversary and the five-decade-long history of friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel, visit Southwest50.com.

Due to licensing restrictions, iHeartRadio may not be available onboard WiFi-enabled international flights. The iHeartRadio product is available only on WiFi-enabled aircraft. “Is This Seat Open?” is funded by Southwest Airlines and produced by L.A. Times Studios and At Will Media. The Los Angeles Times newsroom was not involved in the production of this podcast.

A “retrojet” plane

1971 – Present

Pure Heart: The Evolution of the Southwest Corporate Logo

On June 18, 1971, a Boeing 737 “red bellied warrior” with the Southwest name took off from Love Field in Dallas, carrying its first paying Customers and launching a revolution that democratized the skies.

At a time when air travel typically was limited to elite “jet setters,” and airlines were introducing more class-based fare structures, Southwest was leveling the playing field. Its low fares; first-come, first-served mentality; and Fun-LUVing Attitude marked a departure from traditional airlines and helped define the Southwest business model. By the mid-1970s, Southwest had emerged as a true industry disruptor, but capturing the airline’s Heart in a corporate identity wasn’t a task for the faint of heart.

For its first 10 years, Southwest never formalized its corporate logo. But its identity was still unmistakably unique—from what were known as Hostesses (Flight Attendants) in go-go boots and hot pants to its desert gold, red, and orange airplanes. These planes were so much a part of the Company’s early identity that two Southwest planes today are painted desert gold as “retrojet” livery.

Although it didn’t become the official brand mark of the airline until 1981, the tri-color parallelogram had been used in one way or another since Southwest took flight in 1971. Inspired by a Ramp Agent’s uniform, the colors—orange, red, and desert gold—mirrored the paint on Southwest jets and were intended to create the illusion of an airplane tail in motion.

On its 20th anniversary in 1991, with the introduction of the “heart with wings” logo, the Company introduced the Heart that has since become synonymous with Southwest.

“The Heart, of course, is for LUV,” said Colleen Barrett, Southwest President from 2001 to 2008. The addition of wings was a given. “After all, we issue wings to first-time flyers and Unaccompanied Minors, and . . . Flight Attendants wear winged name tags,” she said. “When we decided that we were going to have an anniversary logo, it seemed natural that wings would be a part of that.” Even after the anniversary year, the wings stuck.

While it was never an official logo, the “takeoff image” became an important visual component of Southwest marketing in the 1990s and early 2000s. The Company had built its following around a brand promise that gave people the “freedom to fly,” so using imagery that reflected that sense of freedom was a natural extension of the brand. It appeared frequently in Southwest advertising and was featured in early iterations of the Southwest website.

The next evolution of the Southwest logo came in 2014—a big year for the airline on all counts. With the Wright Amendment finally repealed, Southwest expanded into big-time markets like New York and Washington, D.C., and added international destinations, as well. It also successfully integrated AirTran Airways into its operations. No longer the underdog of the 1970s, Southwest was ready for a brand identity that better reflected its status as an industry trailblazer and trendsetter.

Southwest assembled a creative task force to tap more than 40 years of the Company’s history in an epic evolution of its visual identity. The task, was to take everything Customers and Employees love about Southwest and turn it into a one-of-a-kind brand visualization.

Even as the identity evolved, the livery remained the same—with the bold brand colors reminding the world that Southwest isn’t like other airlines, and the Heart symbol on the belly of the plane conveying it as the airline with Heart and Hospitality. Every decision backs up the fact that the Values that put Southwest in the air in 1971 are the same Values that will take it into the future. The modern refresh stays true to Southwest’s DNA while incorporating bolder, more modern colors, reflected across all facets of the business: planes, airports, corporate communications—even snack packaging.

When it comes to the business of branding and marketing, Colleen said, “we must never allow the marketing of Southwest to be so strategic that we lose our heart and soul.” With the Heart as the emotional punctuation of the brand moving forward, Southwest reaffirms its commitment to keeping its Values and Culture at the core of its corporate expression.

Top Copyright Photo: The “Original Three 737s” rest at the DAL base on a slow day in the early days. Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-2H4 N21SW (msn 20345) (original fleet and livery) DAL (Bruce Drum). Image: 101942.

Southwest Airlines aircraft slide show (old liveries):

WestJet introduces service to Amsterdam from Calgary

WestJet today announced that it is expanding its international network to include one of the world’s most connected cities, Amsterdam, Netherlands. As the airline with the most flights from Calgary, the new service from WestJet’s hub will operate on the 787 Dreamliner, starting August 5, 2021.

WestJet’s service between Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) and Calgary International Airport (YYC) will operate two-times weekly beginning August 5, 2021 and will increase to three-times weekly as of September 9.

The route will be operated on WestJet’s 787 Dreamliner, featuring the airline’s lie-flat seats available in the business cabin along with on-demand dining and entertainment. The new service is timed to ensure that transatlantic flights departing from Calgary to Amsterdam are scheduled to support late-day departures and daytime arrivals. Convenient connections are available via Amsterdam to dozens of world-class destinations, including Athens, Berlin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Munich, Vienna, Venice and more.

787 service to London, Gatwick returns in July

As of July, WestJet will be operating to London, Gatwick (LGW) from Calgary International Airport (YYC) and Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ). Service from Calgary will operate two-times weekly, while flights from Toronto will depart three-times weekly.

Details of WestJet’s service between Calgary and Amsterdam:

Route Frequency Start Date
Calgary – Amsterdam 2x weekly Aug. 5 – Sept. 5, 2021
3x weekly Sept. 9 – October 31, 2021
Amsterdam – Calgary 2x weekly Aug. 6 – Sept. 6, 2021
3x weekly Sept. 10 – November 1, 2021

Details of WestJet’s service to London, Gatwick:

Route Frequency
Calgary – London, Gatwick 2x weekly
Toronto – London, Gatwick 3x weekly

 

Icelandair reduces annual use of disposable plastic by 20 tons

Icelandair has made this announcement:

Icelandair Group’s corporate responsibility strategy puts great emphasis on reducing the airline’s environmental footprint. One of the projects Icelandair is working on now is to greatly reduce the use of Single use plastics onboard. A large step in that direction is the recent decision to minimize the use of bottled water. The airline estimates this change will reduce the use of plastic by up to 20 tons per year, compared to 2019.

Icelandair had planned to make this change in 2020, but it was delayed because of changes in onboard service related to COVID-19 safety measures. In 2019, Icelandair passengers used 1.6 million bottles of water. Icelandair is still committed to offering excellent service, and passengers will of course be offered water, free of charge.

This is one of many projects Icelandair is working on towards a greener and more sustainable future. Icelandair Group’s corporate responsibility strategy is based on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The company has focus on four of the UN‘s Sustainable Development Goals; Responsible Consumption and Production (Goal 12), Climate Action (Goal 13), Gender Equality (Goal 5), and Decent Work and Economic Growth (Goal 8).

Air Canada to put its first Boeing 767-300F into service from Toronto to to Miami, Quito, Lima, Mexico City and Guadalajara

Air Canada and Air Canada Cargo today announced the initial list of planned routes for the Boeing 767-300ER freighters scheduled to enter service this fall. Air Canada is in the process of fully converting several of its Boeing 767 aircraft into dedicated freighters in order to fully participate in global cargo commercial opportunities.

When the first converted 767 freighters enters service in October, they will fly primarily out of Toronto Pearson International Airport, and will operate on routes linking Toronto to MiamiQuitoLimaMexico City and Guadalajara, the first time Air Canada Cargo will serve this destination. Additional destinations to be served in early 2022, include HalifaxSt. John’sMadrid and Frankfurt as more freighters enter service.

Air Canada has begun the process of converting certain of its Boeing 767s that have been retired from its passenger fleet into fully dedicated freighters. As part of that process, all seats are removed from the aircraft, a large door is cut into the fuselage to allow for loading of palletized cargo, and the floor is reinforced to carry additional weight. Air Canada Cargo plans to have two freighters in service by the end of 2021, with more to join the fleet in 2022.

The addition of dedicated freighter aircraft to Air Canada’s fleet will allow Air Canada Cargo to provide consistent capacity on key air cargo routes, which will facilitate the movement of goods globally. With these freighters, Air Canada Cargo will enhance its capabilities to transport goods such as automotive and aerospace parts, oil and gas equipment, pharmaceuticals, perishables, as well as handling the growing demand for fast, reliable shipment of e-commerce goods.

In the fall of 2020, Air Canada successfully concluded a collective agreement amendment with its pilots represented by the Air Canada Pilots Association for contractual changes to enable Air Canada to competitively operate dedicated cargo aircraft in the cargo marketplace.

Since March 2020, Air Canada has operated more than 9,000 all-cargo flights using its wide-body passenger aircraft as well as certain temporarily modified Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft, which have additional available cargo space due to the removal of seats from the passenger cabin.

South Africa to sell its 51% share of SAA to Takatso

South African Airways is being saved with new private investors. The government has agreed to sell 51% of the stock in the flag carrier.

Under the agreement, SAA will now be majority owned by the Takatso Consortium (meaning “aspire” in SeSotho) with a 51% control of the shares.

The South African government will hold the remaining 49% of the shares.

The Takatso Consortium is composed of Harith General Partners (which owns Lanseria Airport) and Global Aviation, which will together control 51% of the national carrier.

SAA through reorganization, has cut its workforce by almost 80% and cut its liabilities to around N$2.6 billion.

Global Aviation partially owns Lift, the new South African airline which launched operations on December 10, 2020.

Lift is a joint venture between former Kulula.com CEO Gidon Novick, former Uber executive Jonathan Ayache, and aircraft leasing company Global Airways, a South African-based ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, and Insurance) company operating a fleet of Airbus A320 and A340 aircraft.

Lift currently operates three Airbus A320s.

Aer Lingus announces details of Aer Lingus Regional replacement schedule

Aer Lingus has announced details of a replacement schedule for Aer Lingus Regional customers.

Aer Lingus Regional had been operated by Stobart Air under a franchise agreement. Late on the evening of 11th June, Stobart Air notified Aer Lingus that it was ceasing operations with immediate effect.

Teams across Aer Lingus have been working through the night progressing alternative flying operations from tomorrow to provide a service for Aer Lingus Regional customers.

Photo: Embraer

Of the twelve routes immediately impacted by Stobart Air’s decision to cease trading, Aer Lingus will operate five routes and for at least the next week BA CityFlyer will operate two. Alternative operations for the outstanding routes are still being determined.

All impacted customers are being contacted directly and offered details of an alternative flight where feasible. All impacted customers also have the option of a full refund.

Aer Lingus wishes to apologise to Aer Lingus Regional customers who have been affected by Stobart Air ceasing operations.

Aer Lingus (Mainline) will operate the following routes:

Dublin / Edinburgh; Dublin / Manchester; Belfast City / Manchester; Belfast City / Birmingham; Belfast City / Edinburgh;

BA City Flyer will operate the following routes:

Belfast City / Exeter; Belfast City / Leeds Bradford

Alternative operations for flights on following outstanding routes are still being determined.

Dublin / Kerry;  Dublin / Donegal;

Customers scheduled to travel on the Belfast City / East Midlands; Dublin / Glasgow; Dublin / Newquay routes are being offered alternative flights

African Premier Airlines is looking for a Part 121 AOC

African Premier Airlines is a prospective new U.S. international airline. The company is a U.S.-based company, headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area, that is in search of a Part 121 carrier license which is suitable for the company to acquire and convert for their international use.

Wayne L. Sprauve is the Chairman and CEO (240 883-2041).

Delta passengers and crew subdue an off-duty flight attendant on LAX-ATL flight

Delta Air Lines flight DL1730 from Los Angeles to Atlanta was forced to divert to Oklahoma City after an off-duty flight attendant disrupted the flight:

From CNN:

“An off-duty Delta Air Lines flight attendant apparently commandeered the intercom on an Atlanta-bound flight Friday night, leading to a scuffle that forced the plane to land in Oklahoma City, an airline spokesman said.

Crew members and passengers of Delta Flight 1730 subdued the man after he assaulted two flight attendants and, according to Oklahoma City police, said he was “going to take the plane down.” A passenger said other travelers described the man as strange and that he wore a helmet along with elbow and knee pads.”
Read the full story:

Air Europa to operate 87% of its routes to the Americas from July

Air Europa Boeing 737-85P WL EC-MPG (msn 60586) ZRH (Rolf Wallner). Image: 952418.

Air Europa has made this announcement:

From July we will operate 87% of the routes to America, with flights to Miami, New York, Panama, Salvador de Bahia etc.

From our hub in Madrid we will connect with 11 European destinations and more than 20 Spanish domestic destinations.

Top Copyright Photo: Air Europa Boeing 737-85P WL EC-MPG (msn 60586) ZRH (Rolf Wallner). Image: 952418.

Air Europa aircraft slide show:

Air France to serve close to 200 destinations this summer

Larger 2021 titles

Air France has made this announcement:

In line with the gradual reopening of French borders and the lifting of certain travel restrictions, Air France teams at the airport and on board are fully mobilized to help customers reunite with their loved ones or reach their holiday destinations.

This summer, Air France plans to serve close to 200 destinations worldwide, including more than 110 destinations in France, Europe and North Africa.

On the short and medium-haul network, in addition to its usual schedule, this summer Air France will operate 81 seasonal routes including 23 new ones. More than 40 summer routes will be served on the domestic network, on departure from Paris and the French regions, notably to Corsica, with direct flights to the Mediterranean island offered from Paris, Bordeaux, Caen, Lille, Lyon, Pau, Rennes, Strasbourg and Nantes.

In Europe, this offer mainly concerns leisure destinations, such as Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy, on departure from Paris and the French regions. Overall and compared with summer 2019, Air France will increase its capacity to Greece by almost 80%, and its capacity to Portugal by nearly 25%.

On long-haul routes, the removal of the essential reasons to travel to most French Caribbean destinations will allow us to increase capacity on these routes that are essential to ensuring territorial continuity. This summer, Air France will operate up to 3 daily flights to Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe), Fort-de-France (Martinique) and Saint-Denis de la Réunion on departure from Paris-Orly and Paris-Charles de Gaulle, facilitating connections with the entire Air France network.

In July and August 2021, the Air France flight schedule will represent 65% of the capacity offered during the same period in 2019, compared to 40% in May.

To support the increase in frequencies, the Air France maintenance teams are working hard to bring 10 medium-haul and 12 long-haul aircraft out of storage. In total, 181 Air France aircraft will be in operation this summer.


Flight schedule for July and August 2021 on departure from Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly to France, Europe, North Africa and the French Caribbean –

France Ajaccio,  Aurillac,  Bastia,  Biarritz,  Bordeaux,  Brest,  Brive,  Calvi,  Castres,  Clermont Ferrand,  Figari,  Lourdes/Tarbes,  Lyon,  Marseille,  Montpellier,  Nantes,  Nice,  Pau,  Perpignan,  Rennes,  Toulouse
Europe Alicante, Amsterdam, Athens, Basel/Mulhouse, Barcelona, Bari, Belgrade, Bergen, Berlin, Bilbao, Billund, Birmingham, Bologna, Bucharest Budapest, Cagliari, Catania, Copenhagen, Corfu (new), Cork, Dublin, Dubrovnik, Düsseldorf, Edinburg, Faro, Florence, Frankfurt, Geneva, Gothenburg, Hamburg, Hanover, Helsinki (new),  Heraklion, Ibiza, Istanbul , Kiev, Krakow, Las Palmas (new), Lisbon, Ljubljana, London, Madrid, Malaga, Malta (new), Manchester, Milan, Moscow, Munich, Mykonos, Naples, Newcastle, Nuremberg, Olbia, Oslo, Palermo, Palma De Mallorca, Pisa (new), Porto, Prague, Rhodes (new), Rome, Santorini, Seville, Sofia, Split, St. Petersburg, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg and St. Petersburg. Petersburg, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Tbilisi, Thessaloniki, Turin, Valencia, Warsaw, Venice, Vienna, Yerevan, Zagreb, Zurich
North Africa Agadir (new), Algiers, Casablanca, Djerba, Monastir (new), Oran, Marrakech, Rabat, Tangier (new), Tunis
French Overseas Departments Cayenne, Fort-de-France, Papeete, Pointe-à-Pitre, Saint-Denis de la Réunion, Saint-Martin

Top Copyright Photo: Air France Airbus A330-203 F-GZCF (msn 403) CDG (Manuel Negrerie). Image: 953531.

Air France aircraft slide show: