United Airlines moves up the retirement date of its last Boeing 747

United Airlines Boeing 747-422 N177UA (msn 24384) LHR (Keith Burton). Image: 910644.

United Airlines today (January 11) issued this statement to its employees:

“There’s something very special about a Boeing 747. It’s the one aircraft that even casual travelers can easily identify. And we know that the experience of traveling on one, or flying one, is unforgettable.

As deeply connected as we all are to this iconic aircraft, the time has come to retire our 747 fleet from scheduled service. Last March, we announced that this would occur by the end of 2018; now we plan to operate our last 747 flight in the fourth quarter of this year.

It’s a bittersweet milestone — this jumbo jet with its unmistakable silhouette once represented the state-of-the-art in air travel. Today, there are more fuel-efficient, cost-effective and reliable widebody aircraft that provide an updated inflight experience for our customers traveling on long-haul flights.

For these reasons, we’re saying farewell to the Queen of the Skies, which has been part of our fleet since we first flew the aircraft between California and Hawaii in 1970.

We’ll be working with all of you who fly or work on the 747s to ensure a smooth transition to other fleets. Our forward-looking fleet plan will cover 747 replacements and anticipated growth opportunities. And of course, we’ll honor the 747 with an unforgettable retirement celebration — we’ll keep you posted with more details on her final flight in the months ahead.

Thank you for all that you are doing. I am so proud and excited about the great future we’re building together as we create the best airline in the world.

Sincerely,

Scott Kirby – President, United Airlines

Copyright Photo: United Airlines Boeing 747-422 N177UA (msn 24384) LHR (Keith Burton). Image: 910644.

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airBaltic announces new Bombardier CS300 routes for 2017

airBaltic Bombardier CS300 YL-CSA (msn 55003) AMS (Marco Finelli). Image: 936523.

airBaltic has received its second of its 20 Bombardier CS300 jets on firm order. The modernized fleet will ensure growth of the carrier with at least 10 additional routes and 16% more tickets on sale in 2017.

The second CS300 aircraft, registered as YL-CSB, departed from Montreal Mirabel shortly before midnight local time on the last day of 2016 and arrived in Riga in 2017. The flight time was seven hours and 11 minutes and aircraft covered 6582 km non-stop between the Canadian and Latvian airports.

The pictured YL-CSA, the first CS300, is seen at Amsterdam. On December 14, 2016 this airBaltic CS300 operated the first commercial flight. With 120 passengers aboard, including local media, the flight departed Riga and landed in Amsterdam. airBaltic is operating the CS300 aircraft in a 145-seat, two-class configuration. The airline has ordered a total of 20 CS300 aircraft.

airBaltic has announced new CS300 routes for 2017:

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Since entering revenue service with Swiss, the CS100 aircraft has completed more than 1,600 flights — carrying over 156,560 passengers, covering over 1,181 500 km and serving 18 destinations.

Copyright Photo: airBaltic Bombardier CS300 YL-CSA (msn 55003) AMS (Marco Finelli). Image: 936523.

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Island Air (again) takes delivery of a Bombardier Q400

Island Air (Hawaii) Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) N681WP (msn 4543) HNL (Ivan K. Nishimura). Image: 936494.

Island Air (Honolulu) is again a Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) operator. The pictured DHC-8-402 (Q400) N681WP (msn 4543) was delivered on December 20, 2016. It is seen in Honolulu on December 29, 2016 in another new livery after its ferry flight from Oakland. The second Q400, registered as N682WP (msn 4546) was handed over on January 5, 2017.

As previously reported on March 31, 2014, Island Air placed a firm order for two Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) NextGen turboprop airliners and also took options for four additional Q400 NextGen aircraft. The aircraft are being delivered with a dual-class, 71-seat configuration.

The airline took delivery of its first two Bombardier Q400s in 2006. However in September 2006 the airline announced that it was withdrawing the aircraft from its inter-island service the following month.

This new batch of Q400s will replace its older ATR 72-200s.

Island Air is Hawaii’s leading regional airline and second oldest carrier.

Copyright Photo: Island Air (Hawaii) Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) N681WP (msn 4543) HNL (Ivan K. Nishimura). Image: 936494.

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Allegiant announces 17 new routes, a new base and a new destination

Allegiant Air Airbus A320-214 N221NV (msn 1288) FLL (Jay Selman). Image: 403422.

Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) has announced it is starting 17 new routes with a new base of operations and service from a new U.S. city: Louisville, Kentucky.

The company announced its largest expansion into a Florida destination with a new base in Destin/Fort Walton Beach in the Panhandle.

New routes announced include:

Seasonal nonstop service to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) from:

Kansas City, Missouri — begins May 3, 2017
Austin, Texas — begins May 4, 2017
Cleveland — begins May 12, 2017
Peoria, Illinois — begins May 24, 2017
Louisville, Kentucky — begins May 24, 2017
Columbus, Ohio — begins May 25, 2017
Springfield, Missouri — begins May 25, 2017
Indianapolis — begins May 26, 2017
Washington, D.C. / Baltimore — begins May 31, 2017
Pittsburgh — begins May 31, 2017
New York City / Newark, New Jersey — begins June 2, 2017

Seasonal nonstop service to Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) from:

Louisville, Kentucky — begins May 26, 2017

Year-round nonstop service to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) from:

Indianapolis — begins May 19, 2017

Year-round nonstop service to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) from:

Louisville, Kentucky — begins May 19, 2017

Year-round nonstop service to Punta Gorda Airport (PGD) from:

Louisville, Kentucky — begins May 25, 2017

Year-round nonstop service to Orlando-Sanford International Airport (SFB) from:

Louisville, Kentucky — begins May 24, 201

Year-round nonstop service to St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) from:

Louisville, Kentucky — begins May 24, 2017

All routes will operate twice weekly.

Copyright Photo: Allegiant Air Airbus A320-214 N221NV (msn 1288) FLL (Jay Selman). Image: 403422.

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Boeing completely drops its long-standing customer codes for all aircraft types

Jiangxi Air Boeing 737-800 WL B-1558 (msn 42935) BFI (Joe G. Walker). Image: 936425.

Boeing has been moving towards droping its long-standing tradition of using customer codes (i.e. United = 22, American = 23, Lufthansa = 30 as examples) as part of the official aircraft designations (757-222, 737-823, 747-830 etc.) since the Boeing 707.

However with the introduction of the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, which was first Boeing type to drop the customer codes (they are simply 787-8s, 787-9s etc.), Boeing has been moving towards a more simplier method of officially designating its aircraft. Now a new method has been adopted by the manufacturer and is being carried forward with all new aircraft including the upcoming Boeing 737 MAX.

According to the Puget Sound – Boeing Test Flights blog;

“Boeing will no longer use customer codes on the 737, 747, 767, 777 lines bringing them in alignment with the 737 MAX and 787 lines. These changes have already been made on the FAA Certificates. The changes are effective with the following Line numbers for each respective Production Line.

737 Line Number 6082 onward will not have a customer code in the designation – for example Southwest’s new 737-8 N8519R is officially a Boeing 737-800 (msn 36910) (not a 737-8H4).

747 Line Number 1534 onward will not have a customer code in the designation (instead it will use the 747-8F or 747-8I designation).

767 Line Number 1102 onward will not have a customer code in the designation – for example FedEx’s new 767-3 N144FE (msn 42726) is now officially a Boeing 767-300F.

777 Line Number 1422 onward will not have a customer code in the designation – for example United’s new 777-3 N2332U is officially a Boeing 777-300ER (msn/ln 62643/1461).

Copyright Photo: Joe G. Walker/AirlinersGallery.com. For example, the pictured Xiangxi Air B-1558 (msn/ln 42935/6220) was delivered by Boeing on December 28, 2016 and is officially a Boeing 737-800 under the revised method.

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Havana inaugural isn’t Alaska’s first flight to Cuba

When Alaska Airlines began service to Havana on Jan. 5, it wasn’t the first time the airline had flown to Cuba. In the early 1970s, Alaska flew U.S. Military Airlift Command charter flights t…

Source: Havana inaugural isn’t Alaska’s first flight to Cuba

Travel Service finalizes its order for five Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplanes

Travel Service, the Czech airline company that operates scheduled flights under the SmartWings brand, has finalized an order for five Boeing 737 8 MAX airplanes, valued at $550 million at current list prices.

Travel Service previously placed an order for three 737 MAXs at the Paris Air Show in 2013 and currently operates a mixed fleet that includes 32 Boeing 737s.

The 737 MAX incorporates the latest technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets and other improvements to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market.

The 737 MAX will be 14 percent more fuel-efficient than today’s most efficient Next-Generation 737s – and 20 percent better than the original Next-Generation 737s when they first entered service.

Travel Service is the largest Czech airline company, operating regular flights under the SmartWings brand, charter flights and private flights in the Business Jet category. Travel Service planes are flying to more than 300 airports on 4 continents. Travel Service is present on market not only in the Czech Republic but also in Slovakia, Poland and Hungary, where the company has its subsidiary companies.

Image: Boeing.

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