Tag Archives: Airbus A321-271NX WL

Swiss trials a new concept to reduce food waste on board

Swiss International Air Lines Airbus A321-271NX WL HB-JPB (msn 10115) ZRH (Rolf Wallner). Image: 955097.

Swiss International Air Lines is trialling the possibility of offering its customers unsold food items at reduced prices on its services from Geneva, in collaboration with its partner “Too Good To Go”.

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) has long put a firm emphasis on environmental issues within its corporate culture, and takes sustainable actions at various levels to ensure the optimum use of resources in its business and operations. To the same ends, the company is seeking to reduce the volumes of fresh food items which remain unsold on its flights and must therefore be thrown away. SWISS already uses historical sales data for each flight to tailor its fresh product uplifts as closely as possible to likely passenger demand. But the company is now taking a further step in this direction, by teaming up with its partner “Too Good To Go” to offer at reduced prices any fresh food items which remain unsold. To test customer acceptance, a trial of the new approach is being conducted in August and September on the last flights of the day from Geneva on SWISS’s European network.

A simple procedure

The new concept consists in offering any fresh food items that remain unsold on certain services at the end of the flight concerned. These items’ availability is communicated via an inflight announcement, and interested passengers are offered a bag containing one, two or three such fresh food items at one third of their usual price. The bag’s contents are not revealed in advance, and remain a surprise for the purchaser.

The new approach is being trialled in collaboration with “Too Good To Go”, the world’s biggest app platform for connecting companies with users to reduce food waste. “Managing waste on board is an important part of our commitment to greater sustainability, “ stresses SWISS CCO Tamur Goudarzi Pour. “We hope to significantly reduce unused food on board our aircrafts by introducing this service. Thinking about sustainability in all our products, services and processes is part of our SWISS DNA.”

“The first results from these trials have been promising,” adds SWISS’s Head of Western Switzerland Romain Vetter. “The new approach has been well received by our passengers on the flights concerned. We’re now awaiting a final analysis of the trials’ findings to decide if we should extend it to further routes.”

Top Copyright Photo: Swiss International Air Lines Airbus A321-271NX WL HB-JPB (msn 10115) ZRH (Rolf Wallner). Image: 955097.

Swiss aircraft slide show:

Transat A.T. Inc. reports its results for third quarter of 2021

Air Transat Airbus A321-271NX WL C-GOIF (msn 8876) LGW (Richard Vandervord). Image: 954944.

Transat A.T. Inc., one of the largest integrated tourism companies in the world and Canada’s holiday travel leader, announces its results for the third quarter ended July 31, 2021.

“We’re very pleased we were able to resume operations as scheduled on July 30 and move into the restart phase where our activities can gradually expand, and particularly as we look forward to a winter season that promises to be much busier than the last one. While we must continue to exercise caution given the evolving health situation, and although a full return to normal is still some time away, we’re very keen to get the crisis behind us,” stated Annick Guérard, President and Chief Executive Officer, Transat.

“Beyond resuming our operating activities, gradually recalling our employees and delivering training, we’ll be using this period to implement our strategic plan. We’ve announced two new destinations in the United States for the winter, we’re working on optimizing our capital structure, and we’re engaging in a number of discussions towards entering into airline partnership agreements. Our ambitions are high, but we’re on the right track,” Mrs. Guérard added.

The global air transportation and tourism industry has faced a collapse in traffic and demand. Travel restrictions, uncertainty about when borders will reopen fully, both in Canada and at certain destinations the Corporation flies to, the imposition of quarantine measures and vaccination and testing requirements both in Canada and other countries, as well as concerns related to the pandemic and its economic impacts are creating significant demand uncertainty, at least for fiscal 2021. For the first half of winter 2021, the Corporation rolled out a reduced winter program. On January 29, 2021, following the Canadian government’s request to not travel to Mexico and the Caribbean, and the introduction of new quarantine measures and COVID-19 testing requirements, the Corporation announced the complete suspension of all its regular flights and the repatriation of its clients to Canada.

Starting July 30, 2021, the Corporation partially resumed its operations and gradually rolled out a reduced summer program. The Corporation cannot predict all the impacts of COVID-19 on its operations and results, or precisely when the situation will improve. The Corporation has implemented a series of operational, commercial and financial measures, including new financing and cost reduction measures, aimed at preserving its cash. The Corporation is monitoring the situation daily to adjust these measures as it evolves. However, until the Corporation is able to resume operations at a sufficient level, the COVID-19 pandemic will have significant negative impacts on its revenues, cash flows from operations and operating results. While progress on vaccination and the lifting of certain restrictions have made it possible to resume operations at a certain level during 2021, the Corporation does not expect such level to reach the pre-pandemic level before 2023.

Preserving cash is a priority for the Corporation; with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Corporation has taken the actions discussed in the Overview section of the MD&A included in our 2020 Annual Report. Other opportunities are being evaluated to achieve this objective and the following additional actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic were taken during the nine-month period ended July 31, 2021:

  • The Corporation completed its efforts to obtain long-term financing. As described in the Financing section of the MD&A, the available financing therefore represents a maximum of $820.0 million, of which $585.1 million was drawn as at July 31, 2021. Of the drawn down amount, a total of $265.1 million was used to repay travelers who were scheduled to leave after February 1, 2020, for which a travel credit had been issued due to COVID-19 and who had requested to be reimbursed.
  • During the quarter ended January 31, 2021, two Airbus A330s and one Boeing 737-800 were returned to lessors early. These are in addition to the three Boeing 737-800s and one Airbus A330 that were returned in advance to their lessors during the fiscal year ended October 31, 2020.
  • The Corporation continuously adjusts its flight program as the situation evolves. Since the resumption of its airline operations on July 30, 2021, Transat offers once again a reduced program of international flights departing from Montréal and Toronto that it intends to enhance gradually.
  • The Corporation is negotiating with its suppliers, including aircraft lessors to benefit from cost reductions and changes in payment terms, and is continuing to implement measures to reduce expenses and investments.
  • The Corporation is continuing to make use of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy [“CEWS”] for its Canadian workforce, which enables it to finance part of the salaries of its staff still at work and, until August 28, 2021, to offer employees on temporary layoff to receive a portion of their salary equivalent to the amount of the grant received, with no work required.
  • As at July 31, 2021, cash and cash equivalents totaled $429.4 million.

Third-quarter highlights

Since mid-March of 2020, restrictions on international travel and government-imposed quarantine measures have made travel sales very difficult. Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Corporation suspended its airline operations on January 29, 2021 for the second time since March 2020, until their partial resumption on July 30, 2021. These factors caused the fall in revenues. The Corporation recognized revenues of $12.5 million during the quarter, an increase of $3.0 million or 31.4% compared with 2020. In 2021, revenues were mainly driven by the activities of the Corporation’s incoming tour operator in sun destinations.

Operations generated an operating loss of $98.4 million compared with $132.0 million in 2020, an improvement of $33.6 million. Transat reported an adjusted operating loss1 of $50.9 million compared with $79.9 million in 2020, an improvement of $29.0 million. The decreases in operating loss and adjusted operating loss1 were due to the unfavorable settlement of fuel derivative contracts in the third quarter of 2020.

Net loss attributable to shareholders amounted to $138.1 million or $3.66 per share (diluted) compared with $45.1 million or $1.20 per share (diluted) for the corresponding quarter of last year. In 2020, the net loss attributable to shareholders was mitigated by a gain in the fair value of fuel-related derivatives and other derivatives of $67.7 million, related to the significant recovery of fuel prices during the quarter. The deterioration of the net loss attributable to shareholders was also accentuated by the $15.9 million foreign exchange loss recorded in the third quarter of 2021, mainly due to the unfavorable exchange effect on lease liabilities related to aircraft, following the weakening of the dollar against the U.S. dollar. During the third quarter of 2020, the Corporation recognized a $28.5 million foreign exchange gain, resulting mainly from the favorable exchange effect on lease liabilities related to aircraft. Excluding non-operating items, Transat reported an adjusted net loss1 of $115.6 million or $3.06 per share for the third quarter of 2021, compared with $139.8 million or $3.70 per share in 2020.

Nine-month period highlights

As a result of the above-mentioned factors, the Corporation recorded a decrease in its results for the nine-month period ended July 31. Moreover, for the first half of winter 2021, demand was very weak and the Corporation’s capacity represented a fraction of the 2020 level. For the nine-month period as a whole, the Corporation recognized revenues of $62.0 million, a decrease of $1.2 billion or 95.1% compared with 2020, and operations generated an operating loss of $282.9 million, compared with $186.6 million in 2020, a deterioration of $96.3 million. Transat reported an adjusted operating loss1 of $155.5 million compared with $31.4 million in 2020, a deterioration of $124.1 million.

Net loss attributable to shareholders amounted to $268.2 million or $7.11 per share (diluted) compared with $258.5 million or $6.85 per share (diluted) for the corresponding nine-month period of last year. Excluding non-operating items, Transat reported an adjusted net loss1 of $328.0 million or $8.69 per share for the nine-month period ended July 31, 2021, compared with $198.9 million or $5.27 per share in 2020.

Financial position

As at July 31, 2021, cash and cash equivalents amounted to $429.4 million, compared with $576.4 million on the same date in 2020. This decrease was mainly attributable to a significant decrease in business and to refunds of travel credits, partially offset by drawdowns on the credit facilities.

In total, the available financing represents a maximum of $820.0 million, of which $585.1 million was drawn down as at July 31, 2021. Of the drawn down amount, a total of $265.1 million was used to repay travelers who were scheduled to leave after February 1, 2020, for which a travel credit had been issued due to COVID-19 and who had requested to be reimbursed.

Deposits from customers for future travel amounted to $262.8 million, compared with $638.1 million as at July 31, 2020, a decrease of $375.3 million. This change was due to refunds of travel credits made during the third quarter of 2021.

The working capital ratio was 1.27, compared with 0.93 as at July 31, 2020. The improvement in working capital resulted from the travel credits refunded during the period and financed partly by the drawdowns on the unsecured credit facility to refund travelers and drawdowns on credit facilities.

Customer deposits as at July 31, 2021 included these travel credits issued for cancelled trips related to COVID-19 amounting to $159.3 million, compared with $504.6 million as at April 30, 2021. On April 29, 2021, the Corporation entered into an agreement with the Government of Canada that also allows it to borrow an amount of $310.0 million to issue refunds to certain travellers. Following this agreement, at the end of August 2021, the Corporation had received requests for about 80% of the amount of credits issued and made refunds for more than 90% of amounts claimed. Customers had until August 26, 2021 to submit their refund requests.

Off-balance-sheet agreements, excluding contracts with service providers, stood at $544.5 million as at July 31, 2021. This amount mainly consists in commitments to take delivery of the seven A321neoLRs undelivered as at that date.

Outlook

The current situation shows encouraging signs such as the level of bookings observed and the increase in the vaccination rate. However, it remains impossible for the moment to predict the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on future bookings, the partial resumption of flight operations and financial results.

The Corporation has implemented a series of operational, commercial and financial measures, including cost reduction, aimed at preserving its cash. The Corporation continues to monitor the situation daily to adjust these measures as it evolves. Please see the Risks and Uncertainties section of the Corporation’s MD&A for the year ended October 31, 2020 for a more detailed discussion of the main risks and uncertainties facing the Corporation.

Consequently, for now the Corporation is not providing an outlook for summer 2021 or winter 2022.

Top Copyright Photo: Air Transat Airbus A321-271NX WL C-GOIF (msn 8876) LGW (Richard Vandervord). Image: 954944.

Air Transat aircraft slide show:

JetBlue reports GAAP pre-tax earnings of $57 million in the second quarter of 2021

"O Beautiful For Spacious Skies"

JetBlue Airways Corporation today reported its results for the second quarter of 2021:

  • Reported GAAP diluted earnings per share of $0.20 in the second quarter of 2021 compared to diluted earnings per share of $0.59 in the second quarter of 2019. Adjusted loss per share was ($0.65)(1) in the second quarter of 2021 versus adjusted diluted earnings per share of $0.60(1) in the second quarter of 2019.
  • GAAP pre-tax earnings of $57 million in the second quarter of 2021, compared to a pre-tax income of $236 million in the second quarter of 2019. Excluding one-time items, adjusted pre-tax loss of ($309) million(1) in the second quarter of 2021 versus adjusted pre-tax income of $238 million(1) in the second quarter of 2019.

Operational and Financial Highlights from the Second Quarter

  • Reduced second quarter 2021 capacity by 15% year over two, which is in-line with our planning assumption.
  • Second quarter 2021 revenue declined 29% year over two. Adjusted for a 1.5 point benefit from a renewed co-branded credit card agreement, the result is at the better end of our prior expectations of a 30 to 33% decline year over two. This was driven primarily by continued momentum in leisure demand throughout the quarter
  • Operating expenses declined 27% year over two. Excluding special items, adjusted operating expenses declined 7%(1) year over two, which is in-line with our prior planning assumption. CASM ex-Fuel declined meaningfully from a 41% increase year over two in the first quarter, to a 19% increase in the second quarter.
  • JetBlue’s Adjusted Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, Amortization and Special Items (Adjusted EBITDA) in the second quarter of 2021 was ($86) million(1), better than the ($115) to ($165) million range previously expected. This was mainly the result of improving underlying revenue trends, the contribution from our co-branded agreement, and our discipline in controlling costs.

Balance Sheet and Liquidity

  • During the quarter, JetBlue significantly reduced net debt(1) by $1.2 billion to $0.9 billion, which is now below pre-pandemic levels. As of June 30, 2021, JetBlue’s adjusted debt to capital was 55%(1).
  • JetBlue ended the second quarter of 2021 with approximately $3.7 billion in unrestricted cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments, or 46% of 2019 revenue.
  • JetBlue repaid $89 million in regularly scheduled debt and finance lease obligations and fully repaid a term loan of $722 million during the second quarter of 2021.

Fuel Expense and Hedging

The realized fuel price in the second quarter 2021 was $1.91 per gallon, a 12% decline versus second quarter 2019 realized fuel price of $2.16.

As of July 27, 2021, JetBlue has not entered into forward fuel derivative contracts to hedge its fuel consumption for the third quarter of 2021. Based on the forward curve as of July 19, 2021, JetBlue expects an average all-in price per gallon of fuel of $2.09 in the third quarter of 2021.

JetBlue, Barclays, and Mastercard Renew Long-Term Partnership Agreement

Yesterday, JetBlue announced a multi-year extension of their co-branded credit card agreements with both Barclays and Mastercard. The partnership renewal will extend and expand JetBlue’s consumer credit card portfolio. The agreements will center on the continued delivery of innovative, digital-centric card offerings that meet consumer’s evolving needs and foster engagement and loyalty.

JetBlue currently estimates that the impact from the renewed agreement will deliver approximately an incremental one point to our annualized revenue and margin.

Our Recovery Plan and Actions Taken to Position JetBlue for Future Success

“In the second quarter, we saw strong signs that consumer confidence and travel demand is returning, with second quarter revenue doubling compared to the first quarter driven by pent-up demand,” said Robin Hayes, JetBlue’s Chief Executive Officer.

“As we turn to recovery, we continued to generate positive cash from operations in the second quarter, and we expect continued improvement in our operating performance as we progress towards a full recovery. We are creating a path to restore our earnings power to beyond 2019 levels and generate long-term value for our owners in the years ahead. Our attention is now squarely on rebuilding our margins and repairing our balance sheet.”

Revenue and Capacity

“We are pleased to see further month-on-month improvement into the peak summer months, with demand momentum across all of our geographies. We ended the quarter with load factors in the mid-80s with June capacity largely back to pre-pandemic levels, compared to an average load factor in the mid-60s in the first quarter,” said Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue’s President and Chief Operating Officer.

“For the third quarter of 2021, our planning assumption for revenue is a decline of between (4%) and (9%) year over two, another quarter of strong sequential improvement of approximately 20 points. We expect unit revenue to continue to improve on top of increasing capacity, with load factors in the mid-to-high 80s this summer. We have seen days with average load factors in the 90s.

For the third quarter of 2021, our planning assumption is for capacity to be between flat to down (3%) year over two, given the strong sequential improvement in demand. Throughout the pandemic, we have been nimble in adjusting our capacity deployment to the prevailing demand environment. We’ll maintain this approach given the continued uncertainty on the course of the pandemic caused by variants.”

Financial Performance and Outlook

“Our second quarter Adjusted EBITDA(1) came in better than the range we anticipated in early-June. This was mainly the result of improving underlying revenue trends, the benefit from our renewed co-branded agreement, and our discipline in controlling costs,” said Ursula Hurley, JetBlue’s Acting Chief Financial Officer.

“For the third quarter, we estimate our EBITDA will range between $75 and $175 million dollars, reflecting continued sequential improvement in demand partially offset by continued cost pressures from fuel prices, and airport rents and landing fees. We expect to remain in positive EBITDA territory through the end of the year, and expect to generate pre-tax profits in July and August.

We are committed to generating better than pre-pandemic earnings in the next few years by growing revenue and controlling costs, and we are confident that we are on the right path to expand margins in a sustainable way.

We are now squarely focused on repairing our balance sheet, lowering our total cost of debt, and growing our unencumbered asset base. We reduced our net debt by over 50% to under $1 billion dollars at the end of June. Both our net debt and weighted average cost of debt now sit below pre-pandemic levels.”

Notes

(1) Non-GAAP financial measure; Note A provides a reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures used in this release and explains the reasons management believes that presentation of these non-GAAP financial measure provides useful information to investors regarding JetBlue’s financial condition and results of operations.

(2) The Company has not reconciled its Adjusted EBITDA planning assumptions to net income because net income (loss) is not accessible on a forward-looking basis. Items that impact net income (loss) are out of the Company’s control and/or cannot be reasonably predicted. Accordingly, a reconciliation to net income (loss) is not available without unreasonable effort.

Top Copyright Photo: JetBlue Airways Airbus A321-271NX WL N2086J (msn 10032) FLL (Andy Cripps). Image: 952648.

JetBlue Airways aircraft slide show:

Swiss reduces dismissals for operational reasons, will reduce its fleet by 15%

First A321neo, delivered September 18, 2020

Swiss International Air Lines has has made this announcement:

Swiss is currently faced with structural changes to its market, and expects to see a lasting 20-percent decline in customer demand in the medium term. Thanks to a constructive consultation procedure, however, the corresponding workforce reduction of 550 dismissals for operational reasons, including dismissals in the event of non-acceptance of changed employment terms, is smaller than was expected as recently as last month. In total, SWISS will have downsized its workforce by some 1,700 full-time equivalents by the end of 2021, with two thirds of this reduction achieved through voluntary measures and natural staff turnover. As projected, the SWISS aircraft fleet will also be reduced by 15 per cent. SWISS is living up to all its social responsibilities in all these actions, and is ensuring that these unavoidable dismissals for operational reasons pay maximum regard to all social considerations.

Against the background of the structural ramifications of the coronavirus crisis and what is expected to be a lasting 20-per-cent decline in customer demand in the medium term, Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) initiated the consultation procedure which was required by law in view of its planned restructuring (see here for details) on 6 May. At the time, up to 780 SWISS employees among the company’s ground and flying personnel potentially faced dismissal for operational reasons (or dismissal in the event of their non-acceptance of changed employment terms) as a result of the projected 15-per-cent reduction in the size of the SWISS aircraft fleet.

After the conclusion of the consultation period which had subsequently been extended to a full three weeks, SWISS was able to reduce the number of such unavoidable dismissals for operational reasons to 550 together with its social partners. By the end of 2021, SWISS will thus have downsized its workforce by around 1,700 full-time equivalents or over 20 per cent, with two thirds of this reduction achieved through voluntary measures and natural staff turnover. The size of the SWISS fleet will be reduced by 15 per cent as previously envisaged. The rescaling and transformation of the company under its ‘reach’ strategic programme should result in savings of some CHF 500 million.

Fewer dismissals for operational reasons following consultation procedure

The consultation procedure conducted offered SWISS’s social partners, its employees and their representatives the opportunity to submit suggestions on how potential dismissals could be avoided or reduced in number and/or how their impact could be mitigated. Over 770 such suggestions were received from the company’s employees. As a result, SWISS has been able to lower the total number of dismissals for operational reasons required from 780 to 550, a reduction of around one third. The 550 dismissals include 58 employees who will simultaneously be offered revised employment terms such as a reduction in their degree of employment or a change to their function, who will thus have the option of remaining with the company under the new terms.

SWISS is therefore compelled to issue ordinary notice to terminate employment to 492 employees in and outside Switzerland. Of these, 334 are cabin personnel, 101 are ground personnel and 57 serve in SWISS Technics. No reductions are being made to the company’s cockpit corps numbers; but in consultation with the Aeropers pilots’ staff association, the present cockpit staffing surplus will be managed in particular through a prescribed corps-wide work hours reduction, subject to agreement thereto by Aeropers members.

“I am truly sorry for all our employees who are being served notice,” says SWISS CEO Dieter Vranckx. “And it is with the deepest of regret that we are having to take this radical action in response to the structural changes that our industry is experiencing. We are convinced, though, that this is the right course to take if we are to repay our bank loans, regain our ability to invest and retain our competitive credentials.”

SWISS will now aim to promptly conclude this phase of uncertainty and implement its rescaling and transformation with all possible speed. The dismissals required will be effected with full observance of all the stipulations made by the Swiss Confederation in connection with its guarantees for SWISS’s bank loan facilities, with full application of the relevant ‘Sozialplan’ severance benefits plans and with full regard to all further social considerations. All the employees concerned will also be offered the extensive services and support of a partner outplacement agency.

15 percent fleet reduction confirmed

The present SWISS fleet of more than 90 of its own aircraft and those operated on its behalf by Helvetic Airways under wet-lease arrangements will be reduced by 15 percent from its 2019 size as planned in response to the decline in demand. Which five Airbus long-haul aircraft (A330s or A340s) and which ten short-haul aircraft will be withdrawn to this end is yet to be decided. On the short- and medium-haul fleet front, the reduction in the number of Helvetic Airways aircraft operated on SWISS’s behalf will be proportionately higher than the number of SWISS’s own aircraft withdrawn. SWISS is also considering modifications to its route portfolio, reductions in frequencies and a delayed resumption of services to some long-haul destinations.

“In the future SWISS will be smaller. But it will also be more focused, more digital, more efficient and more sustainable,” says Vranckx. “The transformation planned will be conducted over the next three years through our ‘reach’ strategic program, with which we aim to realign our company to the changed market situation and achieve sustainable cost savings of some CHF 500 million.”

SWISS’s current production is still substantially below that of pre-pandemic times. In high summer, capacity is likely to be at around 50 to 55 percent of its 2019 levels. For 2021 as a whole, SWISS expects its total production to be about 40 percent of that of 2019.

In June and July SWISS will newly fly or resume services to 49 destinations from Zurich and Geneva, and will operate a total of 125 routes in high summer.

Top Copyright Photo: Swiss International Air Lines Airbus A321-271NX WL HB-JPA (msn 9417) ZRH (Rolf Wallner). Image: 951392.

Swiss aircraft slide show:

JetBlue announces JFK – LHR service to start on August 11

"Blue With A View"

JetBlue Airways today announced it will make its highly anticipated entrance into the transatlantic market with nonstop service between New York’s John F. Kennedy international Airport (JFK) and London Heathrow Airport (LHR) starting August 11, 2021. New York’s Hometown Airline® will further enhance its U.S. and U.K. schedules with nonstop service between New York-JFK and London Gatwick Airport (LGW) starting September 29, 2021. London service from Boston, where JetBlue is the leading airline, will start in Summer 2022.

Flights on both routes will operate daily on JetBlue’s new Airbus A321 Long Range (LR) aircraft with 24 redesigned Mint suites, 117 core seats and the sleek and spacious Airspace cabin interior (below).

JetBlue is set to take delivery of three A321LRs in 2021, all operating on the JFK routes. Additional A321LRs scheduled for 2022 will operate Boston service. The A321LR platform – offering the range of a wide-body but with the economics of a single-aisle aircraft – will allow JetBlue to effectively compete with the airline’s award-winning service and low fares on flights between the U.S. and London.

Seats on both Heathrow and Gatwick routes are on sale starting today with low fares for U.S.-based travelers starting at $599 roundtrip for the airline’s award-winning core experience and starting at $1,979 roundtrip for JetBlue’s premium Mint experience. U.K.-based travelers can enjoy special introductory roundtrip fares starting at £329for core and £999 for Mint.

Schedule between New York (JFK) and London Heathrow (LHR)
Daily Beginning August 11, 2021

JFK – LHR Flight #007

LHR – JFK Flight #20

10:10 p.m. – 10:10 a.m. (+1)

6:10 p.m. – 9:43 p.m.

Schedule between New York (JFK) and London Gatwick (LGW)
Daily Beginning September 29, 2021

JFK – LGW Flight #43

LGW – JFK Flight #44

7:50 p.m. – 7:55 a.m. (+1)

12:00 p.m. – 3:33 p.m.

Top Copyright Photo: JetBlue Airways Airbus A321-271NX WL N2029J (msn 9054) JFK (Fred Freketic). Image: 949317.

JetBlue aircraft slide show:

Swiss plans restructuring in response to structural market change, fleet to shrink, jobs at stake

First A321neo, delivered September 18, 2020

Swiss International Air Lines made this announcement:

In view of the continuing global coronavirus pandemic and the resulting structural changes in its markets, SWISS has concluded that a restructuring of the company now seems unavoidable. In the medium-term future, the company expects to see a structural decline of 20 per cent in overall demand. In response to this, the SWISS aircraft fleet should now be downsized from its 2019 extent by a projected 15 per cent. With due regard to the workforce resizing via voluntary measures and natural staff turnover that has been under way since 2020, this would also entail a total workforce reduction of around 1,700 full-time positions or over 20 per cent. It could also entail forced dismissals for up to 780 ground and flying personnel. SWISS has now initiated a consultation procedure to find solutions that are as socially responsible as possible, in collaboration with its employees and its social partners. Despite the restructuring measures now taking shape, all the stipulations of the Swiss Confederation in connection with its bank loan guarantees would continue to be met. SWISS will also continue to pursue its premium positioning, maintain its operations from both Zurich and Geneva and ensure that Switzerland remains connected with the world.

One year on from the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic, air transport activities remain very subdued. The impact of COVID-19 on aviation has been far more substantial than was the case with previous exogenous shocks, and has shaken the industry to an unprecedented extent. Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) also finds itself confronted with the greatest challenge it has faced in its corporate history. The company responded swiftly to the pandemic’s outbreak and initiated comprehensive cost-saving measures to counter the crisis and the growing threat to its liquidity (for further details please see the media release on SWISS’s 2021 first-quarter results of 29 April 2021).

Restructuring now seems unavoidable

In view of the continuing absence of any industry recovery, a restructuring of SWISS that extends beyond the cost-saving measures already initiated now appears inevitable. “It has grown increasingly clear that our market is undergoing structural change, and that despite the actions which we were swift to take in response, a restructuring of our company now sadly seems unavoidable,” says SWISS CEO Dieter Vranckx.

In the medium-term future, SWISS expects to see a structural decline of 20 per cent in overall demand. “With our new ‘reaCH’ strategic program, we are aligning ourselves to the changed market situation,” Vranckx continues. “reaCH includes a corporate resizing and transformation that should achieve sustainable overall cost savings of some CHF 500 million. Our aim is to repay our bank loans as promptly as possible and to sustainably retain our competitive credentials and regain our ability to invest.”

Aircraft fleet likely to be downsized 15 percent

The present SWISS fleet of 90 of its own aircraft and the transports of Helvetic Airways which operate SWISS services on SWISS’s behalf under wet-lease agreements will be resized in line with the decline in demand, and is likely to be reduced by 15 percent from its 2019 size. As a result, the short- and medium-haul fleet would be downsized from 69 to 59 aircraft through the withdrawal of Airbus A320-family equipment and a reduction in the wet-lease operations. On the long-haul front SWISS plans to reduce its fleet from 31 to 26 aircraft, by withdrawing five of its long-haul Airbuses.

As a result of the declines in demand, frequencies are likely to be reduced from their 2019 levels on both short- and medium-haul and long-haul routes. In addition, services may not yet be restored at all on a few direct intercontinental routes. All these plans and proposals would continue to pay full regard to the Swiss Confederation’s proviso when guaranteeing the requisite bank loans, i.e. that SWISS’s flight program should continue to be developed in proportion to the overall flight program of the airlines of the Lufthansa Group.

Up to 780 employees could be affected

The envisaged downsizing of the SWISS aircraft fleet and the adoption of further measures would also have an impact on the size of the future SWISS workforce1. By the end of 2021, the company will already have reduced this by over 1,000 full-time equivalents (FTEs) through a combination of voluntary personnel measures and natural staff turnover. But a further downsizing now looks impossible to avoid. As part of the resizing planned, up to 780 employees (650 FTEs) could be affected: around 200 ground personnel, 60 at SWISS Technics, 400 cabin personnel and 120 cockpit personnel. The resulting overall elimination of some 1,700 FTEs would be a reduction of more than 20 per cent from the workforce’s 2019 level.

In view of the structural change that is now being seen in the market, this action would need to be taken regardless of any further extension of the present short-time working arrangements. “I immensely regret that, after so many years of success with such a great team, we now have to consider such a painful step,” says CEO Vranckx. “Unfortunately, the situation remains challenging in the extreme, and continues to demand rigorous cost discipline and efficiency. We are convinced, though, that with the restructuring we envisage, we would emerge from this crisis all the stronger and all the more able to return SWISS to sustainable success in the ‘New Normal’.”

Consultation procedure initiated

The consultation procedure that has now been initiated in connection with the envisaged restructuring will see SWISS work with its social partners, its employees and their representatives to find further solutions which could keep the numbers of any forced dismissals required as low as possible and could ensure that any such dismissals were conducted with optimum regard to their social ramifications. This, too, would comply with the provisos under which the Swiss Confederation undertook to guarantee SWISS’s bank loans.

‘Sozialplan’ severance benefits plans are already in place for all SWISS personnel groups except its cockpit personnel. Since the present collective labour agreement for the company’s cockpit personnel includes protection from dismissal, a solution will now need to be found with the pilots’ AEROPERS association at the negotiating table to tackle the structural cockpit staffing surplus.

The consultation procedure and the subsequent evaluation phase are expected to be concluded by mid-June. SWISS will then communicate its corresponding decisions.

Premium positioning remains – even stronger emphasis on sustainability

As The Airline of Switzerland, even after any restructuring and with a smaller aircraft fleet, SWISS will still operate a large part of its previous network and thus continue to perform its mission of meeting the air transport needs of the Swiss economy, the people of Switzerland and the Swiss tourism sector in line with the new demands. To these ends, SWISS also remains fully committed to its two Swiss operating locations of Hub Zurich and Geneva, and will continue to provide direct intercontinental air services that keep Switzerland connected with the world. SWISS’s premium positioning will also remain unchanged: the company will, for instance, continue to offer a First Class on all its long-haul flights.

The resizing and transformation envisaged under the reaCH program also extend to an even stronger alignment of the SWISS business model to both sustainability considerations and structural change in the working world. This will centre in particular on steadily further modernizing the SWISS aircraft fleet, using sustainable aviation fuel and further developing and refining intermodal transport solutions. By adopting new work models and agile corporate structures, SWISS will also pay due and full regard to the structural changes in the working world; and the company will further continue to exploit all the new possibilities which are opened up by ever-growing digitalization.

Collaborations will also be intensified within the Lufthansa Group, with further synergies tapped. SWISS also aims to continue to strengthen its position within the Group by developing further competence centers, not least in the commercial area. And the already well-established collaboration with sister carrier Edelweiss will also be further pursued.

1 pre-pandemic as of 2019: 9,500 employees or 7,550 full-time equivalents

Top Copyright Photo: Swiss International Air Lines Airbus A321-271NX WL HB-JPA (msn 9417) ZRH (Rolf Wallner). Image: 951392.

Swiss aircraft slide show:

UK Civil Aviation Authority confirms regulatory approval for JetBlue

"Bid You A-Blue"

JetBlue Airways has completed the final step in its attempt to fly transatlantic to London.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority issued this statement:

The UK Civil Aviation Authority can confirm that it has on April 19 provided regulatory approval to the US-based airline, JetBlue, which will enable the airline to operate transatlantic routes between London, New York and Boston.

This approval marks the first scheduled foreign carrier permit that has been issued to a new operator since the UK’s exit from the European Union. All non-UK air carriers that wish to undertake commercial services to, from or within the United Kingdom are required to hold a Foreign Carrier Permit before any flight is undertaken.

Top Copyright Photo: JetBlue Airways Airbus A321-271NX WL N2039J (msn 9016) (Balloons) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 952583.

JetBlue aircraft slide show:

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi launches new routes to Almaty and Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, the newest national airline of the UAE has announced the launch of its latest routes from Abu Dhabi to Almaty and Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan, starting in the middle of May 2021. With the launch of Almaty and Nur-Sultan, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi adds a further two routes to the already on sale thirteen routes.

The flight to Almaty will be operated 2 times per week on Mondays and Fridays, while Nur Sultan will be operated on Thursdays and Sundays, also 2 times per week.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi has the youngest fleet composed of four brand new state-of-the-art Airbus A321neo aircraft, offering the lowest fuel burn, emissions and noise footprint.

First aircraft for Wizz Air Abu Dhabi

Above Copyright Photo: Wizz Air (Abu Dhabi) Airbus A321-271NX WL D-AVZJ (A6-WZB) (msn 9429) XFW (Gerd Beilfuss). Image: 950938.

Route Operating Days Starts Fares from*
Abu Dhabi – Almaty Monday, Friday 14 May 2021 AED 159
Abu Dhabi – Nur Sultan Thursday, Sunday 13 May 2021 AED 159

*One-way price, including administration fee.

JetBlue to launch service to Georgetown, Guyana on December 11

JetBlue Airways today announced a revised launch timeline for new nonstop service between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Georgetown, Guyana’s Cheddi Jagan International Airport (GEO). Flights will initially operate up to four times weekly on JetBlue’s new Airbus A321neo aircraft beginning December 11, 2020 with seats available for purchase starting today.

Guyana becomes the fourth country in South America JetBlue serves and grows the airline’s presence in the Caribbean and Latin America to nearly 40 destinations. The new nonstop flights between New York City and Georgetown will be made possible by the A321neo’s extended range and fuel efficiency.

Schedule between New York (JFK) and Georgetown (GEO)

Beginning December 11, 2020

JFK – GEO Flight #1965

GEO – JFK Flight #1966

3:40 p.m. – 10:13 p.m.

11:59 p.m. – 5:00 a.m. (+1)

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321-231 WL N996JL (msn 8342) (Prism) JFK (Fred Freketic). Image: 945823.

Copyright Photo: JetBlue Airways Airbus A321-271NX WL N2029J (msn 9054) JFK (Fred Freketic). Image: 949317.

JetBlue A321neo aircraft feature the Collins Meridian seat – which is the widest seat available for the single aisle Airbus family of aircraft – with enhanced cushion comfort, adjustable headrests, power connections at every seat and the most legroom in coach (a). Inflight entertainment is powered by Thales AVANT and ViaSat-2 connectivity. With this system – featuring 10.1 inch, 1080P high definition screens, more than 100 channels of live television with DVR-like pause and rewind functionality, picture-in-picture function and more – JetBlue offers customers expanded entertainment choices in nearly every region the airline flies (b).

The A321neo – the newest aircraft type to join JetBlue’s growing fleet of more than 250 aircraft – boasts a 20% increase in fuel efficiency which supports some 500 nautical miles of extended range. The longer-range flying capabilities of the A321neo open up a host of new markets which JetBlue’s existing fleet could not serve with nonstop flights. Each JetBlue Airbus A321neo is powered by two Pratt & Whitney GTF engines, which produce a smaller noise footprint and lower operating costs.

JetBlue initially announced the new route between New York City and Georgetown in September 2019, but temporarily paused the sale of seats and adjusted the launch schedule in response to changes in global travel demand.

JetBlue aircraft slide show:

Tailfins:

JetBlue inaugurates its first Airbus A321neo revenue flight

"David Neeleman", 1st A321neo, in new "Balloons" tailfin

JetBlue Airways today announced its newest aircraft, the Airbus A321neo, has officially entered scheduled service marking the start of a new and exciting future for the customer-favorite airline’s modern fleet. Featuring increased fuel efficiency, an extended range and the very best in customer comfort, the aircraft will benefit the airline’s customers, crewmembers and investors.

The new aircraft officially entered scheduled service today as flight #1 from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), which commemorated JetBlue’s first revenue route nearly 20 years ago when the airline first took to the skies.

At a very special gate-side event at JFK’s Terminal 5, JetBlue’s current CEO Robin Hayes and President and Chief Operating Officer Joanna Geraghty were joined by JetBlue founder David Neeleman. When Neeleman and Dave Barger brought together a group of aviation veterans more than 20 years ago to create JetBlue, Neeleman’s vision of creating a low-cost airline that would bring humanity back to air travel was an instant sensation that shook up the industry. In the years since, JetBlue has grown into one of the most recognized and awarded airline brands in the world. As the airline approaches 20 years of service in 2020, JetBlue invited Neeleman to collaborate with the airline’s design team for the new aircraft’s eye-catching and vibrant tail pattern, dubbed “balloons,” which includes five different colored balloons, representing the five values (Safety, Caring, Integrity, Passion and Fun) which were selected by Neeleman and JetBlue’s founders long before JetBlue even had a name. To celebrate Neeleman’s legacy, JetBlue’s first A321neo – tail number N2002JB – is named in his honor.

JetBlue’s A321neo aircraft features state-of-the-art interiors designed to lighten and brighten customers’ journey and facilitate seamless living – the idea that you don’t have to stop living your life just because you’re in the air. All of these features were borne out of feedback received from crewmembers and customers on how to make JetBlue’s inflight experience even better. Some of the amazing new features available on the aircraft include:

  • New Welcome Area: The NEO features a completely redesigned welcome area outfitted with residential finishes, full-height edge-lit partitions, and custom flooring designed to create a striking first impression.
  • Enhanced Boarding Experience: Sky blue mood lighting and uplifting boarding music will create a laid-back and fun ambiance as Customers make their way onto the aircraft.
  • Brand New Seats: JetBlue’s stylish new seats were designed to maximize comfort with enhanced memory foam cushions, adjustable headrests and more living space. They’re also the widest seats on the market and offer the most legroom in coach (a).
  • Redesigned Seatback Pockets: With feedback from customers and crewmembers, JetBlue reinvented the seatback pocket with an elastic “gadget panel” stowage, mesh pockets for water bottles or personal devices and a larger pocket for laptops
  • Easy to Reach Power: With a USB port in each seatback monitor and repositioned AC power ports located in front of each seat, travelers can relax knowing they will arrive with a full charge across all devices.
  • All New: The Pantry®: JetBlue’s take on an inflight snack bar has been completely reinvented and will serve as an onboard gathering place for customers to stretch their legs and grab a free refreshment or some extra snacks throughout the flight.
  • Cutting-Edge HD Seatback Screens: With 100+ channels of DIRECTV®, hundreds of movies, full seasons of binge-worthy TV shows, and custom seatback games, JetBlue customers will never be bored. Plus, travelers can follow their flight on a new 3D moving map and pair a personal device with the seatbacks to use as a remote.
  • Expanded Fly-Fi® Coverage: JetBlue is the only airline to offer free high speed Wi-Fi at every seat, on every plane. Equipped with Viasat-2, the A321neo will offer expanded coverage on more than 99% of JetBlue’s route network, including over water and international cities (b).

The A321neo – the newest aircraft to join JetBlue’s growing fleet of more than 250 aircraft – boasts a 20% increase in fuel efficiency which supports an extended range of some 500 nautical miles over the A321. While the A321neo will operate throughout JetBlue’s existing network, the longer-range flying capabilities of the aircraft open up a host of new markets which the airline’s existing fleet could not serve with nonstop flights, including new service from New York JFK to Guayaquil, Ecuador beginning this December 5, and to Georgetown, Guyana, beginning April 2, 2020.

Additionally, each JetBlue Airbus A321neo will be powered by two Pratt & Whitney GTF engines, which produce a smaller noise footprint and offer lower operating costs compared with today’s engines.

JetBlue has 85 A321neo aircraft on order including 13 A321LR (Long Range) aircraft for service to London from New York and Boston beginning in 2021, as well as 13 A321XLR (Xtra Long Range) aircraft which the airline intends to use to serve a variety of European cities.

Top Copyright Photo: JetBlue Airways Airbus A321-271NX WL N2002J (msn 8823) LGB (Michael Carter). Image: 947430.

JetBlue Airways aircraft photo gallery: