Tag Archives: charlotte douglas international airport

Joel Chusid’s Airline Corner – June 2015

Joel Chusid’s Airline Corner – June 2015

Assistant Editor Joel Chusid

Assistant Editor Joel Chusid

 

 

 

 

 

By Assistant Editor Joel Chusid

Common Sense Left at Home

People traveling do the strangest things on the spur of the moment. Take the young Italian couple who, due to traffic, missed their Ryanair flight home from Malta. The door was closed, stairs removed and engines running when Enrica Appolonio and Matteo Clemento got to the gate. Undaunted, the couple pushed through an adjacent security exit and ran out onto the tarmac to signal the pilots to let them on. You see, it was Enrica’s birthday and she was going to miss spending it with her friends and family. Instead, the couple were arrested, hauled into court and spent the occasion in jail, not to mention a $2600 fine. Meanwhile in Charlotte Douglas International Airport, a man stripped stark naked at the gate when told his US Airways flight to Jamaica was overbooked. The crowd of onlookers, which included children, looked on for nearly 40 minutes, and several snapped pictures which are now easily found online.

The Bees Have It

Just a few weeks apart, bees caused aircraft to return or divert their flight. An airliner from FlyBe, no pun intended, was on its way from Southampton to Dublin when it was discovered that a bee had crawled into a sensitive instrument. The crew had to return to Southampton to have the insect removed.

On the other side of the Atlantic, an Allegiant Air flight enroute from St. Petersburg/Clearwater Airport to Niagara Falls had to divert to Orlando/Sanford, to remove a wasp that had done the same thing, entering a sensor. Indeed, these can be safety issues. In both cases, the flights were delayed for bee removal reasons, good fodder for cocktail party conversation.

Someone Didn’t Leave the Light On

A delayed American Eagle regional jet departed Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport for a short 125 mile flight to Wichita Falls, Texas, an airport I know well. As the flight approached the airport, the crew noticed the runway lights were turned off. Unable to reach anyone to turn them on, the flight circled for 30 minutes. Passengers were informed of the problem, and the plane returned to DFW. At smaller airports without 24 hour staffing, it is not unusual for the pilot to be able to turn the lights on remotely, but in this case the crew did not have the proper radio frequency.

All You Wanted to Know About Airport Carpets

Yes, Virginia, there’s a website for this, too. The site www.carpetsforairports.com reviews dozens, if not hundreds, of airport carpets with a simple globe search method, and uses creative descriptions to rate them. You’ll want to check out the lily pad patterned carpet in Darwin, Australia, learn that the carpet color changes every two years in Mexico City or that the Louis Armstrong New Orleans Airport resembles either ”an architectonic exploration of form in space or the wiring diagram for a 1957 Pontiac Chieftain”. The biggest disappointment is reserved for Italy, where most airports are carpet-less. Beware of the “toxic” carpet in Sydney, Australia which has “poisoned travelers who have casually walked on it in bare feet”. But the most interesting one is Portland, Oregon, where the much loved carpet has nearly 14,000 followers on its own Facebook page! The famed carpet has appeared on socks, hats and clothing, most of which the fervent fans have created themselves.

Air Wisconsin CRJ200 flight evacuated after passenger’s lithium battery sent smoke into the cabin

Air Wisconsin (American Eagle) (Appleton) flight ZW/AA 4010 from Charlotte to Richmond on Saturday (April 25) with Bombardier CRJ200 (CL-600-2B19) N430AW (msn 7719) was evacuated after landing at Richmond. The 42 passengers and three crew members safely evacuated the regional jet on the taxiway after a lithium battery from one of the passengers sent smoke through the cabin according to NBC Channel 12. The flight attendant used the fire extinguisher to douse out the fire in the hand luggage according to the report.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. N430AW in US Airways Express colors arrives at the Charlotte hub.

US Airways Express-Air Wisconsin aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

AG No Ads-Top Notch

US Airways flight 445 makes an emergency landing in Denver with smoke in the cabin

US Airways (Phoenix) flight US (AWE) 445 from Charlotte to Denver made a safe emergency landing at Denver International Airport yesterday (March 4) after smoke reportedly filled the cabin. Passengers safely evacuated the pictured Airbus A321-211 registered as N188US (msn 1724) (now painted in American Airlines colors). The 158 passengers and six crew members used the emergency chutes to safely evacuate the aircraft.

Video Below: By CalNinjaMonkey.

American Airlines issued this statement:

American Airlines confirms that US Airways Flight 445, from Charlotte Douglas International Airport to Denver International Airport was involved in an incident at Denver this afternoon. While taxiing to the gate, the pilot was alerted to possible smoke in the cabin. The passengers and crew deplaned via the slides and are all in the terminal.

We are in contact with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Airbus A321 had 158 passengers and six crewmembers.

Read the full account from CBS 4 in Denver: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A321-211 N188US (msn 1724) arrives at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT).

American Airlines-US Airways aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

AG WAN-Powered by AG

 

American Airlines introduces a combined AAdvantage frequent flyer program

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) today released this announcement about its frequent flyer program:

American Airlines AAdvantage® and US Airways Dividend Miles® members will become part of the same frequent flyer program in the second quarter of 2015. The AAdvantage loyalty program will combine mileage balances and align elite levels and qualification criteria. It will also introduce the new upgrade policy for elite status members flying on American and US Airways.

In early 2015, members who have an account in both programs will have the opportunity to match their accounts. This is the next step before the program integration, which will offer customers a more seamless experience whether their flight is on American or US Airways. American began offering reciprocal benefits to AAdvantage and Dividend Miles members in January 2014, just one month after the close of the merger.

A comprehensive explanation of the changes for AAdvantage and Dividend Miles members can be found at aa.com/aadvantage2015.

AAdvantage Elite Status Membership Levels

AAdvantage offers three levels of elite status membership – AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Platinum and Gold. Customers will continue to qualify for elite status based on elite-qualifying miles, points or segments. The current 100-segment threshold for Executive Platinum will continue until Dec. 31, 2014. On Jan. 1, 2015, the segment qualification requirement for Executive Platinum will be 120 segments for the 2016 membership year.

When the programs are combined, the four elite status levels in the Dividend Miles program will be mapped to the three elite status levels of the AAdvantage program:

American Elite Graph

Combining Accounts in the Second Quarter

For customers who have an account in both programs and have matched their accounts early in the year, American will move their current Dividend Miles elite-qualifying activity, award mileage balances and Million Miler balances into their existing AAdvantage account in the second quarter of 2015. AAdvantage elite status will be based on the member’s combined elite-qualifying activity from 2014 to determine status valid through February 2016. At the same time, their year-to-date 2015 qualifying balances will be combined to determine status through February 2017. If combining a member’s elite qualifying balances results in their reaching a new elite status level, American will honor that status level when the programs combine.

For Dividend Miles members who do not have an AAdvantage account, American will create one for them. Each of these members’ balances will then be transferred automatically to the new account in the second quarter of 2015.

For AAdvantage members who do not have a Dividend Miles account, no action is needed; they will retain their existing AAdvantage number and account.

500-Mile and Complimentary Upgrades

Once the programs combine in the second quarter of 2015, all elite members will receive complimentary, auto-requested upgrades on eligible American-marketed and operated flights less than or equal to 500 miles. Executive Platinum members will continue to receive complimentary upgrades on all 500-mile upgrade eligible flights, regardless of the length of the flight. Additionally, all complimentary upgrades will be automatically requested for each member at the time of booking. Elite member upgrade benefits will continue to work differently for American and US Airways flights initially until the airlines are on a common reservation system later in 2015.

The upgrade policy for elite members traveling on American-marketed and operated flights in eligible markets will be as follows:

American Elite Graph 1

Additional Benefits

AAdvantage Executive Platinum and Dividend Miles Chairman’s Preferred members now receive a complimentary alcoholic beverage and snack item when those members travel on US Airways flights in the Main Cabin, as they receive on American.

Starting Jan. 1, 2015, before the programs are combined, bonus miles for AAdvantage members on Business Class tickets on American and US Airways will increase from 25 to 50 percent to align with what Dividend Miles members receive today. Executive Platinum and Chairman’s Preferred members will also enjoy complimentary same-day flight changes on American Airlines.

Once the programs are combined in the second quarter of 2015, AAdvantage members will be able to redeem miles for upgrades and AAnytime® Awards for travel on American and US Airways flights. Executive Platinum members in the combined program will receive eight systemwide upgrades as they do in the current program today, and those upgrades will be valid on both American and US Airways marketed and operated flights.

Since January 2014, American has rolled out enhanced benefits to members flying on either airline, including:

1. The opportunity to earn and redeem miles on American or US Airways, with all eligible travel on either airline counting toward elite status qualification in the program of that member’s choice

2. Reciprocal benefits for elite status members when flying either airline, including First and Business Class check-in, complimentary checked bags and priority security and boarding

3. More lounge access, with reciprocal club access for Admirals Club® and US Airways Club members

4. Easy access to the combined company’s expanded network through the codeshare between American and US Airways, which allows the ability to sell seats on both airlines’ flights

5. Bringing US Airways into the award-winning oneworld® alliance, offering more options across the Atlantic and an easier and more rewarding global travel experience to Europe and beyond

6. The ability to easily stay connected while customers fly with Monthly Traveler and Daily Wi-Fi passes, valid on both American and US Airways

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. The first US Airways Airbus A330-200 to be repainted is the pictured A330-243 N288AY (msn 1441) departing from the Charlotte hub.

American Airlines Aircraft Slide Show (Current): AG Slide Show

American Airlines-US Airways:

AG Slide Show

American-US Airways pilots agree on a protocol for pilot seniority integration, will it lead to a final list?

U.S. Airline Pilots Association (USAPA), representing the pilots of US Airways (Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth) (and the pilots of the former America West Airlines) (Phoenix), stated it has reached a tentative agreement on a protocol with the Allied Pilots Association (APA), the union representing the pilots of American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth). The tentative agreement lays out a process for the seniority integration of the two pilot groups according to The Street.

However according to article by Forbes, the previous bitter split between US Airways (East) pilots and America West (West) pilots at US Airways, could reemerge as work continues on a final seniority list. Will the new American Airlines inherit the seven-year old US Airways-America West pilot dispute? Forbes explores this question.

Read the full interesting article: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Freshly repainted with new American titles, US Airways’ Airbus A319-132 N838AW (msn 2615) painted in America West’s 2005 heritage livery, taxies to the gate at the Charlotte hub. N838AW symbolizes this hot button issue better than any other AA-US aircraft.

American Airlines (current): AG Slide Show

American Airlines-US Airways: AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

America West Airlines: AG Slide Show

American Airlines announces new routes to Viracopos International Airport in Campinas, Brazil

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) has announced it is adding new service to Viracopos International Airport (VCP) in Campinas, Brazil, from American’s hubs at Miami International Airport (MIA) and New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK). This will mark American’s 10th destination in Brazil.

To operate these new routes, American will transition one daily frequency between Miami and Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) and select weekly frequencies between JFK and GRU. The new flight from JFK to VCP will operate three times per week beginning on December 1, 2014, and the daily flight from Miami to VCP will be launched on December 2, 2014, pending government approval. Both routes will be operated with Boeing 767-300 ER retrofited aircraft featuring fully lie-flat Business Class seats with all-aisle access.

By December, American will operate all of its flights between MIA and GRU with Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft, to better match demand for premium seating between these two important destinations. With this change, all flights between GRU and DFW, JFK and MIA will be operated with American’s 777-300 ER. The aircraft features a three-class cabin configuration with fully lie-flat seats in First and Business Class, international Wi-Fi, and more customer and cargo capacity than any other aircraft currently in American’s fleet.

US Airways service from Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) to GRU will be discontinued beginning October 1, 2014. Charlotte customers will still have access to GRU through American’s Latin America gateway in MIA. American will also continue to serve GRU from its hubs in Dallas/Fort Worth, JFK and Los Angeles.

Beginning this winter, the airline will make the following seasonal schedule adjustments to Europe:

American Seasonal Adjustments

In addition, flights to Milano Malpensa Airport (MXP) in Milan, Italy, will now be split between JFK and MIA, with four weekly frequencies from JFK and three from MIA between Jan. 6, 2015, and March 28, 2015.

Campinas Airport is the home of Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras which has also announced new long-range routes from Campinas with its new Airbus A330s.

The Campinas area is a city of around five million people and about a one hour drive from Sao Paulo.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-323 ER N382AN (msn 25451) arrives in New York (JFK).

American (current livery): AG Slide Show

US Airways to add a second daily Charlotte-London Heathrow flight

US Airways (American Airlines Group) (Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth) is adding a second daily flight from its Charlotte hub to London (Heathrow) starting on September 13. The second flight will be operated with Airbus A330-200 equipment according to The Charlotte Observer. The second flight was made possible by the acquisition of the arrival and departure slots purchased from Cyprus Airways (Larnaca).

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: David Neal/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 N283AY (msn 1076) departs from the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) hub.

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Frontier Airlines launches the Bakersfield-Denver route

Frontier Airlines (2nd) (Denver) yesterday (May 16) launched nonstop service from Bakersfield, California (BFL) to its hub in Denver, Colorado.

The service will operate on 138-seat Airbus A319 aircraft.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-111 N938FR (msn 2406) approaches the runway at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT).

Frontioer Airlines (2nd): AG Slide Show

Nine US Airways flight attendants become ill, flight diverts to Dublin

US Airways (Phoenix) flight 715 en route from Venice to Philadelphia was forced to divert to Dublin yesterday (May 10) after nine flight attendants on board became ill, according to CNN.

The flight attendants complained of “nausea, running eyes and dizziness” according to US Airways spokeswoman Michelle Mohr.

185 passengers were on board the Airbus A330-200. The pilots and passengers did not report any ill feelings.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 N281AY (msn 1041) rotates from the runway at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) hub.

US Airways: AG Slide Show

American Airlines Group reports a record first quarter net profit of $480 million

American Airlines Group (American Airlines and US Airways) (Dallas/Fort Worth) today reported its first quarter 2014 results.

First quarter 2014 net profit was a record $480 million. This represents a $777 million improvement versus the company’s combined first quarter 2013 net loss of $297 million.

Excluding net special credits, the company reported a record first quarter net profit of $402 million. This represents a $340 million year-over-year improvement versus the company’s combined net profit of $62 million excluding net special charges in the first quarter 2013.

First quarter 2014 pretax margin excluding net special credits was 4.1 percent, a 3.6 point year-over-year improvement.

The company ended the quarter with $10.6 billion in total cash and short-term investments. Since the close of the merger, the company has used more than $542 million of cash to reduce its diluted shares outstanding by approximately 20 million.

For the first quarter 2014, American Airlines Group reported a record GAAP net profit of $480 million. This compares to a net loss of $341 million in the first quarter 2013. The company’s GAAP results for the first quarter 2013 reflect AMR Corporation prior to the merger.

The company believes it is more meaningful to compare year-over-year results for American Airlines and US Airways on a combined basis, which is a non-GAAP formulation that combines the results for AMR Corporation and US Airways Group. Therefore, it includes the results of US Airways Group for the full period. See the accompanying notes in the Financial Tables section of this press release for further explanation of this presentation, including a reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP financial information.

First quarter 2014 net profit excluding net special credits was a record $402 million. This compares to a combined non-GAAP net profit of $62 million excluding net special charges for the same period in 2013. Excluding net special credits, first quarter 2014 diluted earnings per share was $0.54.

“We are very pleased to report a record profit in our first full quarter as a merged company,” said Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines Group. “Our team of dedicated professionals did an excellent job of taking care of our customers despite particularly difficult weather conditions throughout the quarter. We are excited for the future and expect our synergies to build as we continue to integrate our operations.”

Merger Integration

Since closing the merger on December 9, 2013, the company has made significant progress in integrating American Airlines and US Airways. Key accomplishments:

Launched the world’s largest codeshare, offering customers improved access to the company’s global network by allowing them to book flights on both airlines’ networks

Provided reciprocal benefits for airport lounge and frequent flyer elite members, including priority check-in, waiving fees for checked bags, complimentary access to preferred seats, priority security lines, early boarding and priority baggage delivery

Enabled AAdvantage® and Dividend Miles® members to earn and redeem miles when traveling across either airline’s network

Joined operations at 58 airports, including Phoenix and Miami hubs

Moved US Airways into the oneworld alliance on March 31 and to the trans-Atlantic joint venture with American, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair on April 3

Aligned award travel options, checked baggage policies and inflight services for First and Business Class customers

Announced Sabre as the new Passenger Services System for the combined company

Closed the sale of the slot divestitures required by the U.S. Department of Justice at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). In total, the company received $381 million in cash from the DCA sales and the sale of slots at New York’s LaGuardia (LGA) Airport, which closed in the fourth quarter 2013.

Revenue and Cost Comparisons

On a combined basis, total revenues in the first quarter were a record $10 billion, up 5.6 percent versus the first quarter 2013 on a 2.0 percent increase in total available seat miles (ASMs). Driven by a record yield of 17.03 cents, up 3.2 percent year-over-year, combined consolidated passenger revenue per ASM (PRASM) was also a record for the first quarter at 13.67 cents, up 2.9 percent versus the first quarter 2013.

Total combined operating expenses in the first quarter were $9.3 billion, down 0.3 percent over first quarter 2013. Combined first quarter mainline cost per available seat mile (CASM) was 13.50 cents, down 2.7 percent on a 2.7 percent increase in mainline ASMs versus first quarter 2013. This cost improvement was largely due to a 4.8 percent decrease in year-over-year mainline fuel prices. Excluding special charges, fuel and profit sharing, mainline CASM was up 4.0 percent compared to the first quarter 2013, at 8.96 cents. Regional CASM excluding special charges and fuel was 16.62 cents, up 5.0 percent on a 3.2 percent decrease in regional ASMs versus first quarter 2013.

Liquidity

As of March 31, 2014, American had approximately $10.6 billion in total cash and short-term investments, of which $947 million was restricted. The company also has an undrawn revolving credit facility of $1.0 billion. Approximately $750 million of the company’s unrestricted cash balance was held in Venezuelan bolivars, valued at the weighted average applicable exchange rate of 6.32 bolivars to the dollar. This includes approximately $94 million valued at 4.3 bolivars, approximately $611 million valued at 6.3 bolivars and approximately $45 million valued at 10.7 bolivars, with the rate depending on the date the company submitted its repatriation request to the Venezuelan government.

In the first quarter of 2014, the Venezuelan government announced that a newly-implemented system (SICAD I) will determine the exchange rate (which fluctuates as determined by weekly auctions and at March 31, 2014 was 10.7 bolivars to the dollar) for repatriation of cash proceeds from ticket sales after January 1, 2014, and introduced new procedures for approval of repatriation of local currency. The company is continuing to work with Venezuelan authorities regarding the timing and exchange rate applicable to the repatriation of funds held in local currency. The company is monitoring this situation closely and continues to evaluate its holdings of Venezuelan bolivars for potential impairment.

Since the merger, the company paid $542 million in tax withholdings for employees in lieu of issuing shares of common stock as compensation as permitted under the Plan of Reorganization, thereby reducing the number of shares expected to be issued under the Plan by approximately 20 million. Additionally, the company has elected to utilize the cash settlement feature for the remaining $22 million principal amount of US Airways Group 7.25% convertible notes due May 15, 2014, which will further reduce diluted shares by approximately 4 million shares.

Special Items

In the first quarter, the company recognized a combined total of $78 million in net special credits, including:

$137 million in net special credits consisting primarily of the gain on the sale of slots at Reagan National Airport offset in part by integration and merger-related expenses

$47 million in non-operating special charges due primarily to non-cash interest accretion on bankruptcy settlement obligations

$8 million in non-cash deferred income tax provision related to certain indefinite-lived intangible assets

$4 million in regional non-operating charges

Additional Integration Related Developments

Distributed $11 million to employees for baggage handling and on-time performance in the month of January; this distribution of $100 per employee is part of the company’s Triple Play program which measures on-time arrivals and baggage performance as reported in the DOT’s Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR)

Conducted first joint Captain Leadership Training with newly promoted captains from both airlines

On April 9, Piedmont flight attendants ratified a new five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement
Opened a new Admirals Club lounge at the company’s Philadelphia (PHL) hub

Fleet/Network Developments

As part of its plan to modernize its fleet by replacing older aircraft with newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft, the company inducted 12 new Airbus A321 aircraft into service between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and JFK and San Francisco International Airport (SFO). American is now the only U.S. carrier to offer three classes of service between these key markets.

The company also took delivery of one Airbus A330-200 aircraft, five Boeing 737-800 aircraft and one Boeing 777-300 aircraft during the first quarter.

Revealed new Boeing 767-300 and 777-200ER cabin retrofits, which feature lie-flat seats with direct aisle access in Business Class

In April 2014, the company exercised its option to purchase (and thus terminated its existing lease financing arrangements) for 62 Airbus A320 family aircraft scheduled to be delivered between first quarter 2015 and third quarter 2017. In connection with this decision, the company also exercised its right to convert firm orders for 30 Airbus A320 family NEO aircraft (scheduled to be delivered in 2021 and 2022) to options to acquire such aircraft.

Top Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. American Airlines’ Boeing 767-323 ER N346AN (msn 33085) taxies at Zurich.

American Airlines: AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. US Airways is now planning to operate the last Boeing 737 revenue flight on August 18 at the Charlotte hub. Boeing 737-4B7 N450UW (msn 24933) arrives back at CLT.