Gulf Air resumes flights to Erbil strengthening its regional network

Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, has announced the resumption of its direct services between Bahrain and Erbil in Iraq; further strengthening the airline’s existing Iraqi routes of Baghdad and Najaf.

The airline’s services to Erbil will commence on February 2, 2020, and will see Gulf Air’s three weekly flights between Bahrain International Airport and Erbil International Airport operated with an Airbus A320 aircraft.

 

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Cathay Pacific Group plans fleet optimization

Cathay Pacific Group will optimise the passenger fleet of its airlines – Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon and HK Express – in order to allow each airline to achieve their full development potential by leveraging their respective unique strengths.

The move is also designed to maximize each airline’s operational efficiency and synergy. This will be good for not only the Group and its airlines, but also the travelling public and our home hub, with better connections through Hong Kong that will strengthen its position as Asia’s leading international aviation hub.

In total, the Group has existing orders for 65 new aircraft that it will receive by 2024, as part of the fleet modernization plan. This includes the delivery of 21state-of-the-art Boeing 777-9 aircraft, 12 modern Airbus A350 and 32 A321neo aircraft between 2020 and 2024.

Following a comprehensive review of its airlines’ fleets, the Group has decided that Cathay Dragon will operate the first 16 of these narrow-body A321neo aircraft upon delivery from 2020 to 2022. The remaining 16 aircraft, meanwhile, will join the HK Express fleet from 2022.

 

The first Airbus A220 for Air Canada rolls out of the painting hangar

Air Canada’s first Airbus A220 was unveiled this week when it rolled out of the painting hangar at the A220 final assembly line in Mirabel.

In December, Air Canada will become the first Canadian airline to take delivery of this Canadian-designed and developed aircraft when it receives the first of its 45 A220s on order. The A220 features an innovative cabin design, as well as significantly lower emissions and a reduced noise footprint.

The A220-300 for Air Canada will provide passengers with superior comfort in a 137-seat dual-class cabin layout. Air Canada’s brand-new A220-300s will replace the flag carrier’s existing mainline fleet of smaller, older narrow-body aircraft and support the airline’s hub and network growth, creating one of the world’s youngest and most fuel efficient fleets.

Now that the aircraft is decked out in Air Canada’s livery, it has moved to pre-flight activities in the A220 flight line hangar in Mirabel, before taking off for its first flight later this fall.

Currently, there are 94 A220 aircraft flying with six operators on regional and transcontinental routes in Asia, America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, proving the great versatility of Airbus’ latest family member. The A220 has an order book of 530 aircraft as of the end of October 2019.

Photo: Airbus.

Turkish Airlines will start to fly to Xi’an, China

Turkish Airlines has made this announcement:

Beginning its flights to China back in 1999 with Beijing destination, Turkish Airlines is connecting Xi’an to its flight network as its fourth destination in mainland China after Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou on the 20th year of its presence in the country.

After the meeting between Turkish Airlines Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee, M. İlker Aycı and Secretary of the Shaanxi Province Party Committee, Hu Heping on November 5, 2019, an agreement was made for Turkish Airlines to start its flights to Xi’an destination.

Xi’an flights will initially be three frequencies a week as the flights are being planned to start at the end of 2019 while they are set to increase gradually as the 2020 summer schedule begins. With the launch of Xi’an flights, Turkish Airlines’ reciprocal flights to China will increase to 24 flights a week.

In other news, Turkish Airlines has also announced its Ulaanbaatar flights, which are operated as Istanbul – Bishkek (FRU) – Ulaanbaatar (ULN) – Bishkek (FRU) – Istanbul, will be operated as 3 flights per week as Istanbul – Ulaanbaatar (ULN) – Istanbul as of January 1, 2020

FLT NBR START END DAYS DEP ARR
TK 362 01/01/2020 27/03/2020 1.3.5.. IST 19:55 9:20 ULN
TK 363 02/01/2020 28/03/2020 .2.4.6. ULN 10:50 14:30 IST

All times are in LMT.

 

Southwest Airlines extends the Boeing 737 MAX grounding to March 6, 2020

Southwest Airlines, like American Airlines, has extended the grounding of its Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 fleet to March 6, 2020 with this update:

Southwest Airlines continues to monitor information from Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the impending 737 MAX software enhancements and training requirements. We remain confident that, once certified by the FAA, the enhancements will support the safe operation of the MAX.

We have removed the MAX through Feb. 8, 2020 to offer reliability to our operation and stability for our Customers. Based on continued uncertainty around the timing of MAX return to service, the Company soon plans to proactively remove the MAX from its flight schedule through March 6, 2020.

By proactively removing the MAX from scheduled service, we can reduce last-minute flight cancellations and unexpected disruptions to our Customers’ travel plans. The limited number of Customers who have already booked their travel and will be affected by our amended schedule will be notified of their re-accommodated travel according to our flexible accommodation procedures. Our current revision removes roughly 175 weekday flights from our schedule out of our total peak-day schedule of more than 4,000 daily flights.

We offer our apologies to our Customers impacted by this change, and we thank them for their continued patience.

 

American pushes the MAX 8 date to March 5, 2020

American Airlines made this announcement for the Boeing 737-8 MAX 8:

American Airlines remains in continuous contact with the Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation and Boeing. Based on the latest guidance, American anticipates that the resumption of scheduled commercial service on American’s fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft will occur March 5, 2020. Once the aircraft is certified, American expects to run exhibition flights, or flights for American team members and invited guests only, prior to March 5.

Frequently asked questions

Question: When will American run a schedule change and inform customers who were booked on a MAX from January 16 through March 4?
Answer: American had previously cancelled service on the MAX through Jan. 15. On Nov. 17, American will run a formal schedule change, and customers who were previously booked on a MAX through March 4 will see their reservation updated on aa.com.

Question: Will there be additional changes to the schedule once the MAX returns to commercial service?
Answer: American expects to gradually phase in the MAX for commercial service and will increase flying on the aircraft throughout the month of March. Since American will gradually phase the MAX into our operation over the course of a month, additional refinements to our schedule may occur. Affected customers will be contacted directly.

Question: My flight wasn’t scheduled to be on a MAX. Will it be canceled?
Answer: A flight that was not scheduled as a MAX flight might be canceled to enable our team to cover a MAX route with a different aircraft, in order to affect the smallest number of customers. In total, approximately 140 flights will be canceled per day through March 4.

Question: How will customers know if they are impacted?
Answer: American’s Reservations team will contact affected customers directly by email or telephone beginning Nov. 17. Customers who booked through a travel agent will be contacted by their agency directly.

Question: What is American’s policy for when the MAX returns?
Answer: Details regarding policies and procedures for customers who do not wish to fly on the MAX once the aircraft enters scheduled service March 5 will be released in the coming weeks.

Question: My flight was canceled and I don’t want to rebook. Can I get a refund?
Answer: Yes. If a flight is canceled and a customer chooses to not be rebooked, they may request a full refund by visiting aa.com/refunds.

Allegiant Air announces a new base in Des Moines

Allegiant Air has made this announcement:

State and local officials joined executives from Allegiant Travel Company today as the company announced plans to establish a two-aircraft base at Des Moines International Airport (DSM).  The announcement heralds the leisure airline’s 20th base of operations, a $50 million investment which will locate two Airbus A320 aircraft in Des Moines, bringing at least 66 new, high-wage jobs to the community.  The Las Vegas-based carrier will begin base operations at DSM on May 14, 2020.

Allegiant began service at DSM in 2003 and currently offers eight non-stop routes – to Orlando-Sanford, St. Pete-Clearwater, Punta Gorda, Destin-Fort Walton Beach and Sarasota, Florida; Phoenix-Mesa, Arizona; Los Angeles, California; and Las Vegas, Nevada.  Allegiant in 2018 carried more than 232,000 annual passengers through Des Moines, and is on track to eclipse that number in 2019.