Tag Archives: 50th Airbus A320

Virgin America teams up with Netflix, introduces an Airbus A320 House of Cards logo jet

Virgin America A320-200 WL N281VA (15-Netflix-House of Cards)(Titles-1)(Virgin America)(LRW)

Virgin America (San Francisco) has announced a new partnership with Netflix and will offer free in-flight WiFi access that allows new and existing Netflix members to enjoy the entire Netflix catalog of films and award-winning shows. As a result, the carrier has also introduced a Netflix and House of Cards logo jet scheme on the pictured Airbus A320-214 N281VA (msn 6669).

The airline issued this statement and photos:

Virgin America logo-1

Netflix, the world’s leading Internet TV network, and Virgin America, the low-fare, upscale airline known for offering next generation entertainment and connectivity, announced they are joining forces to provide complimentary in-flight WiFi access that allows new and existing Netflix members to enjoy the entire Netflix catalog of films and award-winning shows.

Virgin America Netflix Onboard (VA)(LRW)

Beginning yesterday, Netflix users onboard Virgin America’s new ViaSat WiFi-equipped aircraft will be able to stream the best programming available in the skies, including the hit series House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black, to their phones, tablets, and laptops at no cost through March 2, 2016*. The experience is made possible by Virgin America’s recent connectivity partnership with ViaSat, which brings significantly faster WiFi to the airline’s 10 new airbus A320 aircraft being delivered from fall 2015 to mid-2016. In addition to offering free streaming through its new ViaSat WiFi network, as of next month, Virgin America will also offer House of Cards seasons 1-3 for free on the airline’s recently upgraded Red® touch-screen seatback in-flight entertainment platform – so travelers can binge-watch through their own devices or their seatback.

Virgin America A320-200 WL N281VA (15-Netflix-House of Cards)(Titles-2)(Virgin America)(LRW)

Virgin America and Netflix kicked off their #NetflixOnboard partnership on September 29 with the surprise unveiling of a House of Cards and Netflix-branded aircraft (above) and an appearance by Michael Kelly, the Emmy-nominated star of the Netflix original series House of Cards. Kelly’s character Doug Stamper, who serves as President Frank Underwood’s loyal consultant and Machiavellian fixer, will drop in on Virgin America Flight 1 from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA). Guests onboard the flight will be able to binge-watch Netflix content in Virgin America’s mood-lit cabin and will be treated to a signature Whiskey Whistleblower cocktail, while Kelly – as Doug Stamper – dispenses some tongue-in-cheek, morally-ambiguous political advice over the aircraft’s intercom before take-off.

 

As the only airline based in Silicon Valley, Virgin America has long been known for its innovative in-flight experience – including being the first (and still only) U.S. airline to offer WiFi on every flight and power outlets at every seat. Virgin America has one of the youngest fleets in the industry, with custom-designed, mood-lit cabins, comfortable leather seating and a personal seatback entertainment platform that offers every guest their own seatback touch-screen with movies, live TV, interactive maps, videogames, a 3,000 song library and an on-demand menu, which allows flyers to order a cocktail or snack from their seatback any time during a flight.

Earlier this summer, Virgin America announced a new connectivity partnership with ViaSat to bring even faster WiFi to the airline’s 10 new Airbus A320 aircraft being delivered from fall 2015-mid-2016. The partnership leverages ViaSat’s satellite-based in-flight internet service to enable Virgin America’s guests to experience internet speeds similar to what they expect at home – offering WiFi connectivity that is 8 to 10 times faster than any other onboard WiFi system, with the freedom to watch and now stream online directly on any connected device when in-flight. This month the first aircraft with the new ViaSat WiFi service entered service, paving the way for guests to watch all of their favorite Netflix content from the comfort of their plush leather seats. The new ViaSat service* will be rolling out to about one aircraft a month through June 2016 – and the WiFi service will be complimentary for travelers until March 2, 2016. In addition to being the only U.S. airline to offer fleetwide WiFi as of 2009, Virgin America has made continuous investments in its in-flight connectivity system, including upgrading its full fleet to the latest generation ground-based WiFi system as of 2014 and now investing in the most advanced satellite-based WiFi system with ViaSat for its next 10 aircraft deliveries.

Virgin America also recently announced it was implementing a significant upgrade to its Red® in-flight entertainment system, which will allow guests to binge-watch entire seasons of certain Netflix originals, including House of Cards Season 1-3. The new Red Beta creates an even more immersive in-flight entertainment experience with higher resolution capacitive touch screens, Android-based software that allows for faster, real-time updates, and three times more content – including full seasons of favorite television shows, more interactive maps, videogames including classics like Pac Man and Asteroids – along with the first surround-sound listening experience to be offered by an airline.

*How #NetflixOnboard works:

Guests on aircraft equipped with the new ViaSat WiFi service will be notified by the Virgin America in-flight team that they can access high-speed WiFi. Guests can then open their browser and login for free by selecting the “VirginAmerica” ViaSat network and will then be prompted to either login to their existing Netflix account or to create a new, 30-day free trial account, after which they will then be connected to the Netflix service at 35,000 feet, just like they would on the ground. Existing account holders will be able to access Netflix through their mobile device, tablet or laptop onboard ViaSat equipped Virgin America aircraft at no additional cost through March 2, 2016, while new members can sign up to enjoy a free 30-day free Netflix trial – good for use both in the air, on Virgin America’s ViaSat-equipped aircraft, or on the ground.

Photos: Virgin America.

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Syphax Airlines suspends all operations

Syphax Airlines (Sfax, Tunisia) yesterday (July 30) announced it had suspended all operations from Tunisia.

Syphax logo-2

The company was launched in 2011 by Mohamed Frikha, CEO of TELNET Group, Syphax Airlines is a limited company.

The airline commenced operations on April 21, 2012 as previously reported.

Syphax was based at Sfax Thyna, and its network consisted of international destinations, mainly to France and Turkey.

Tunisia has seen a dramatic drop in tourism after it suffered severe blows following the Bardo National Museum attack and the Sousse attack in 2015.

Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-112 TS-IEF (msn 3853) wears a special livery as the “Official Airline of the Carthage Eagles”, the Tunisia national football (soccer) team.

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Lufthansa Group reports a first quarter profit of €425 million ($474 million)

The Lufthansa Group (Frankfurt) reported a net profit of €425 million ($474 million) for the first quarter. Here is the full report:

Lufthansa Group logo

The Lufthansa Group has reported a positive course of business for the first quarter of 2015. At total revenue of nearly 8 per cent higher, the EBIT and adjusted EBIT both rose by EUR 73m. Both key performance indicators were thus 30 per cent higher than in the previous year. The Group closed the first quarter with an adjusted EBIT of EUR -167 m (previous year: EUR -240 m).

Simone Menne, Chief Officer Finance and Aviation Services of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, says: “All operating business segments were able to increase their results in the first quarter. Above all, Swiss International Air Lines (Zurich) and Lufthansa Cargo (Frankfurt) have done better than in the previous year. But Lufthansa German Airlines has also shown a positive development, although it was worse hit by strikes and other one-off effects than in the previous year.”

The Group result rose significantly more strongly than the adjusted EBIT in the reporting period. With a plus of EUR 677 m in comparison with the same quarter in the previous year, the Lufthansa Group achieved a consolidated result of EUR 425 m. An extraordinary effect from the premature exchange of JetBlue swaps made a significant contribution to this development. This transaction alone improved the financial result without an effect on equity by EUR 503m.

The result was once again overshadowed by the consequences of the strike called by the trade union Cockpit among the pilots of Lufthansa German Airlines, Lufthansa Cargo and Germanwings on a total of six days between January and March 2015. Flight cancellations caused by strikes led to a burden on the result of EUR 42m. Due to weaker advance bookings in the following quarters as a consequence of the strike, Lufthansa expects a further burden on the result of EUR 58m.

Cash flows, which are important in view of high total investments, developed positively in the reporting period. Cash flow from operating activities rose to EUR 1,394m (previous year: EUR 855m), the free cash flow improved to EUR 532m (previous year: EUR 195m).

The actuarial interest rate for valuing pension obligations declined further in the first three months of the year, in Germany from 2.6 per cent to 1.7 per cent now. Thus the arithmetic pension burden rose by EUR 3.4bn. This was contrasted with a growth in pension assets of around EUR 500m. The equity ratio fell by 5.7 percentage points to 7.5 per cent now.

“This development shows once again how volatile the key figure ‘equity ratio’ has become since the introduction of the new IFRS accounting standards. We are not alone in this situation. However, other groups have already made the necessary structural change from a cover oriented to a contributions oriented pension commitment. Here, more urgently than ever, we need sustainably financeable solutions in place of obsolete structures. We can only achieve this together with our collective bargaining partners,” says Simone Menne.

Operating costs and income showed strong fluctuations in comparison with the same quarter in the previous year. What was decisive here was the significantly lower oil price, the continuing weakness of the euro and low interest rates. Fuel costs were EUR 209m lower than in the same quarter in the previous year, while expenses on fees went up by nearly 7 per cent, despite the lower number of flights and passengers. The weak euro and the rise in pension expenses also led to an increase in staff costs of nearly 7 per cent.

Simone Menne summarised the interim report for the first three months of the year: “We see positive developments in the result and in cash flow. This shows we are on the right course. At the same time, we continue to see great pressure to act. The enormous pension burdens are putting considerable pressure on our equity. And we cannot accept the continuing increase in fees or the development of our unit costs. Great efforts remain to be made here in order to strengthen the international competitiveness of all the business segments of the Lufthansa Group.”

Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. Swiss and Lufthansa Cargo did better than in the same quarter than the previous year. The aging Swiss Airbus A340-300s will be replaced with the new Boeing 777-300 ERs on order. A340-313 HB-JMK (msn 169) taxies at the Zurich hub.

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SAS launches its summer schedule with 11 new routes

Scandinavian Airlines-SAS (Stockholm) has started it summer schedule with 11 new routes. The airline issued this report on the new routes and summer services:

SAS is launching its summer timetable for 2015 with a number of new destinations from Scandinavia. Eleven new routes are being launched and many popular summer destinations are also returning.

From March 29, SAS will gradually be introducing its summer timetable and launching a total of eleven brand new routes, both from its main Scandinavian hubs and regional airports such as Gothenburg and Bergen.

New Routes

From Sweden

– Stockholm–Budapest: Departures on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. First departure March 29. No departures during the high season.
– Stockholm – Riga: Departures daily. First departure 29 March.
– Stockholm–Faro: Departures on Saturdays, plus Wednesdays in the high season. First departure April 4.
– Stockholm–Ankara: Departures on Thursdays. First departure July 2.
– Gothenburg–Alanya (Gazipasa): Departures on Wednesdays. First departure July 1.
– Gothenburg–Dublin: Departures on Saturdays, plus Wednesdays and Sundays in the high season. First departure April 11.

From Denmark

– Copenhagen–Edinburgh: Departures on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and daily during the high season. First departure March 29.
– Copenhagen–Ankara: Departures on Saturdays, plus Mondays and Wednesdays in the high season. First departure June 6.

From Norway

– Oslo–Salzburg: Departures on Saturdays. First departure May 23.
– Bergen–Gothenburg: Departures on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. First departure March 30. No departures during the high season.

Summer routes re-opening

Sweden

From Stockholm to Chania, Cagliari, Olbia, Biarritz, Palermo, Pisa, Pristina, Bristol, and Bodø, Pula, Bologna, Milan, Alanya.
From Gothenburg to Pula, Nice, Athens, Pristina, Alicante, and Palma de Mallorca.

Denmark

From Copenhagen to Dubrovnik, Split, Pula, Montpellier, Biarritz, Chania, Thessaloniki, Palermo, Naples, Pisa, Gazipasa, and Alicante.
From Billund we are also re-opening the route to Gazipasa in Turkey.

Norway

From Trondheim to Malaga and Barcelona. From Bergen to Split, Dubrovnik, Nice, Malaga, Barcelona, and Alanya (Gazipasa).
From Stavanger to Split, Nice, Malaga, Barcelona, and Alanya (Gazipasa).
From Kristiansand to Split.
From Oslo to Dubrovnik, Pula, Olbia, Pisa, Palermo, and Pristina.

Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A321-232 OY-KBF (msn 1807) prepares to touch down in Tenerife Sur.

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Will Lufthansa retire the Germanwings brand earlier?

Lufthansa (Frankfurt), in the wake of the tragic crash of Germanwings (2nd) (Cologne/Bonn) flight 4U 9225 in the French Alps, is facing some tough decisions on the future of its low-cost subsidiaries. Before the crash, Lufthansa was planning to gradually phase out the Germanwings brand and shift a number of routes to the new Eurowings (Dusseldorf) low-cost brand.

According to Airline Route, on October 25, 2015, a total of 55 Germanwings routes  (and the 4U code) operating from Cologne/Bonn, Dusseldorf and Hamburg were due to be transferred to Eurowings and the EW code.

The Germanwings brand was expected to be gradually phased out with no end date specified. However with this tragic loss and the now apparent criminal act, will Lufthansa close out the tarnished Germanwings brand sooner?

Lufthansa has touted the success of its low-cost subsidiaries. Is this strategy now in jeopardy with the tragic loss of Germanwings flight 4U 9225?

Fortune explores this question: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: The current red and orange brand was introduced with much fanfare in 2012. Airbus A319-112 D-AKNT (msn 2607) taxies at London (Heathrow).

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Bottom Copyright Photo: Arnd Wolf/AirlinersGallery.com. The ill-fated Airbus A320-211 D-AIPX (msn 147) is pictured taxiing at the Cologne/Bonn hub in the previous 2002 yellow and maroon livery.

Current route map from Cologne/Bonn:

Germanwings 3.2015 Route Map

Wizz Air takes delivery of its 50th Airbus A320

Wizz-wizzair.com (Hungary) A320-200 WL F-WWIC (HA-LYE)(04)(Tko) TLS (Airbus-P. Pigeyre)(LRW)_edited-1

Wizz Air (Hungary) (Budapest) has taken delivery from Airbus of its 50th A320 Airbus aircraft during a special ceremony in Toulouse, France, taking the total of its A320 fleet to 52. The carrier was one of the first Eastern European Airlines to take delivery of an A320 with Sharklet fuel saving wing tip devices in April 2013. Wizz Air, an all Airbus operator, has ordered a total of 112 aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Airbus/P. Pigeyre. The pictured Airbus A320-232 F-WWIC became HA-LYE (msn 6131) when it was delivered on June 10.

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