Wednesday, September 2, 2015

United Airlines Boeing 737-924 (30128/1052) N71411

Arrives at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) from Oakland International Airport (OAK/KOAK) this evening at 18:47 pst as "UAL2216" bringing home the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (The California Angels to me having grown up here) following a series with the Oakland A's.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Bombardier Challenger 300 (BD-100-1A10) (c/n 20337) N3337J

Arrives at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on September 2, 2015.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Boeing delivers 14 Dreamliners, strong cash flow seen

Boeing delivered 14 of its 787 Dreamliners in August, exceeding for the second straight month its 10-a-month target and suggesting strong financial performance later in the year, people familiar with the situation said on Wednesday.

The tally, likely to be confirmed by Boeing on Thursday, means the company has managed to deliver an average of just over 11 of the high-tech planes a month so far this year. That puts it on track to easily meet its target of 100 for 2015.

The 787, Boeing's newest plane, has a lightweight carbon-fiber composite fuselage and is designed to be more fuel efficient than previous aircraft.

The high pace of deliveries comes because Boeing is getting caught up on jets it had in the pipeline, but that had not been delivered. It does not mean the 787 assembly lines in Washington and South Carolina are running faster than their combined production rate of 10 planes a month. In August, 10 of the planes came from Everett, Washington, and four from North Charleston, South Carolina, one of the sources said.

The high delivery suggests Boeing likely is bringing in additional cash, since the bulk of payment comes when planes go to customers. That is likely to please investors, who are closely watching Boeing's cash generation, analysts said.

The planes that are boosting the delivery tally include some of the so-called "terrible teens," early production units that needed additional work, according to the people familiar with the matter.
Industry sources have said these were sold at substantial discounts to list price of about $265 million.

A Boeing spokesman declined to comment on delivery totals, other than to say they do not always match production rates.
The spokesman said Boeing is on track to produce by year end its first 737 MAX plane, a new version of the best-selling 737.

Boeing began MAX production in May and received the first MAX fuselage on Aug. 21 from supplier Spirit Aerosystems Inc. Boeing has booked 2,831 orders for the new plane, which is designed to be more fuel efficient than current models and is due to enter service in 2017.

(Alwyn Scott - Reuters)

Dreamliners for Kenya Said to Be Stalled With Ex-Im Funding Gap

Two Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliners for Kenya Airways Ltd. are stranded outside a Seattle-area factory because the financing fell apart and the U.S. Export-Import Bank isn’t available to help bridge the gap, two people familiar with the matter said.

Boeing, Aviation Finance Co. and the African Export-Import Bank are still trying to work out financing with struggling Kenya Airways, said the people, who aren’t authorized to speak publicly.

The Dreamliners together list for about $450 million, a price that is typically subject to discounts.

The jets are the first Boeing aircraft to be left in limbo because of the shutdown of the Ex-Im Bank, a longtime source of funding for overseas sales, especially for buyers that find it hard to borrow commercially.

Ex-Im loan guarantees and other support have been unavailable since the bank’s charter lapsed in June amid congressional critics’ complaints that the agency amounts to “crony capitalism.”

“This definitely takes away one of the arrows in Boeing’s quiver when it comes to riskier credits,” said George Ferguson, senior analyst for air transport with Bloomberg Intelligence. Europe’s Airbus Group SE still has access to such financing, “so that gives them a competitive advantage.”

Urging Patience

Kenya Airways and Boeing declined to discuss details of the financing status of the two Dreamliners.

Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said the planemaker was “working closely” with the airline, while Kenya Airways Chief Executive Officer Mbuvi Ngunze said he would comment on the terms when they’re completed.

The Nairobi-based carrier is losing money, selling older aircraft and working with Afreximbank on a bailout. In adding 787s, it has a chance to cut operating costs because the jets -- Boeing’s most-advanced model -- feature lightweight composite construction that boosts fuel economy.

Built in Charleston, South Carolina, the 787s bound for Kenya Airways are now in temporary storage at Boeing’s main wide-body aircraft plant in Everett, Washington. They’re the last of nine 787-8’s ordered by the airline, and have been ready for delivery since midyear, according to Uresh Sheth, who has been tracking the handover delays in his All Things 787 blog.

Kenya Airways financed the first six of the planes through Ex-Im, which provided an $835.1 million authorization to the carrier last year, according to the bank’s website. Afreximbank, the African trade bank, has said it helped work on that transaction.

Lessor Exits

A seventh plane was financed in April by from Ireland-based AWAS Aviation Trading Ltd. and Aviation Finance. Since then, AWAS has dropped out, and Dublin-based Aviation Finance has stepped in to provide direct financing to the airline.

AWAS and Afreximbank didn’t respond to telephone messages or e-mails requesting comment.

“I can confirm we are working with Boeing, KQ and Afreximbank to find a better solution for Kenya,” Aviation Finance CEO Douglas Brennan said Wednesday in a telephone interview, using the airline’s two-letter code. Like Boeing and the airline, he declined to give details.

Boeing probably would find it easy to line up a new buyer for the planes because Dreamliner production slots are sold out through the end of the decade.

Closing the deal with Kenya Airways will be more difficult without Ex-Im support, Ferguson said. “You only really need Ex-Im financing when the public markets break down.”

(Felix Njini & Julie Johnsson - BloombergBusiness)

Boeing could face 737 production gap as it shifts to Max

Some analysts are warning Boeing may be facing a production gap between the current 737 model and the arrival of the 737 Max, a problem it also faces with the 777X series.
Seattle-area aerospace analyst Scott Hamilton on Wednesday predicted a production gap of more than 100 aircraft.
What this means is that Boeing may not have enough firm orders for the current model, the 737 NG, to keep production lines running at full throttle until the new 737 Max fully replaces the older model.
Boeing may not be able to ramp up to 52 planes per month by 2018, which is the first full year of Max production, Hamilton said.
This is a problem that Boeing and Airbus both have been encountering, especially as they’ve been re-engining current models rather than building entirely new ones to increase efficiency. The re-engined planes use the same production line, which can create problems in the transition.
Teal Group Analyst Richard Aboulafia echoes Hamilton’s caution, saying that the issue isn’t so much a shortfall as Boeing’s aggressive plans to increase production.
The 737 lines in Renton are now running at 42 monthly, but are scheduled to increase to 47 monthly, and then ramp up to 52 by 2018.
“I never expected them to bridge the gap (between the NG and the Max), but they did,” Aboulafia said on Wednesday. “But they kept raising the maximum target rate for ramp. That’s hubris.”
This is not a new worry and in a brief last year, entitled “Rethinking the 737 rate hike,” Aboulafia warned that factors as variable as cheap fuel, high interest rates, or a global slowdown, could make Boeing’s production boost plans untenable.
As concerns about a global economic slowdown grow and fuel prices continue to remain low, Aboulafia said Wednesday that he hoped Boeing would have the good sense to start rethinking the 737 ramp-up.
"I hope sanity would prevail,” he said.
In his piece, Hamilton said Boeing leadership is feeling the pressure of all those issues.
“The 737 gap increasingly is worrying 'Longacres,' where Boeing Commercial Airplanes is headquartered in Renton,” he wrote.
But Boeing disagrees with the two analysts, and issued a statement Wednesday.
“We are on track to complete the bridge from the Next Generation 737 to the 737 Max well ahead of the schedule required to ensure a smooth transition between the two airplanes toward the end of the decade,” the statement said.
Whatever the case, there’s no hammer over Puget Sound workers. If Boeing does decide to pare back its planned 737 rate increases, employment at the Renton site will stay as it is.
There’s no sense that Boeing will have to scale back current production. The unfilled orders for the 737 remain unprecedented, a total of 5,730 aircraft, of which 2,899, or 51 percent, are for the older model.
(Steve Wilhelm - Puget Sound Business Journal)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Cessna 525B CitationJet CJ3 (s/n 525B-0263) N888PS

Captured this afternoon at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) sporting "jetBed" titles on the engine cowls.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Gulfstream G650 (s/n 6160) N660GA

This is the latest G650 to arrive at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) having arrived on August 28, 2015 from Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport (SAV/KSAV) as "GLF9" at 12:16pm PST.
She is captured this morning on the Gulfstream service center ramp, (September 1, 2015) being prepped for the paint shop.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Gulfstream G450 (s/n 4186) N511AK

Though I have spotted and photographed this aircraft several times in the past, the light was just perfect yesterday (August 31, 2015) and I could not pass up the chance to shoot her in such stunning light as she departed Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB).

(Photos by Michael Carter) 

Gulfstream G550 (s/n 5294) N117AL

Operated by AML Leasing Company, this lovely aircraft is captured departing Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on August 31, 2015.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Personal luxury — Greenpoint to make their first 777 flying yacht

Now it's possible to own a personal Boeing 777, the jet that is becoming the flagship of the Boeing commercial fleet.
Kirkland-based Greenpoint Technologies has landed a contract to install a luxury interior in a Boeing 777-200LR, the first time the company will convert Boeing’s largest twinjet for a private buyer.
The work is to be completed at Greenpoint’s wide-body hangar in Moses Lake, Washington. The jet is to arrive there in early 2016. Such conversions can cost upwards of $100 million.

The Boeing 777-200LR is the longest-range version of the model, able to fly more than 17 hours nonstop with a full load of passengers.
Greenpoint won’t say who is buying the jet, standard practice in the world of VIP aircraft.
“It’s an honor to be selected for this prestigious 777 VIP completion program. Greenpoint’s focus on wide-body aircraft makes this program a fantastic opportunity to showcase our unsurpassed capabilities,” said Greenpoint CEO Scott Goodey, in a statement. “The Boeing 777-200LR offers an ideal platform for a VIP interior.”
This first conversion likely will open the door to future luxury conversions of Boeing’s newest big jet, the re-engined and larger 777-9, once that becomes available five years from now.
Greenpoint already designs and builds yacht-like interiors for Boeing 747s and 787s, the other two wide-body jets Boeing builds.
Greenpoint was acquired in June 2014, by Zodiac Aerospace, of France. Greenpoint employs 450, and is one of the largest aerospace companies in Kirkland.
In addition to creating fancy interiors for private aircraft, Greenpoint also is know for inventions such as an elevator from the ground for 747-8s, and sleeping quarters for personal crews.
(Steve Wilhelm - Puget Sound Business Journal)

American to debut new heritage jets this fall

American Airlines will debut its last three heritage jets this “autumn”, says chief integration officer Beverly Goulet.
Three Boeing 737-800s will sport liveries reminiscent of AirCal (merged with American in 1987), Reno Air (merged with American in 1999) and Trans World Airlines (TWA, merged with American in 2001), her presentation at the Boyd International Aviation Forecast Summit in Las Vegas today shows.
Asset Image
The liveries will join Allegheny, America West Airlines, Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA), Piedmont Airlines and US Airways heritage aircraft, as well as an American retrojet, in the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier’s fleet.
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American Airlines' US Airways heritage livery
Widely popular with employees and customers alike, US Airways began the heritage livery programme following its merger with America West in 2005. It has since been expanded to airlines that merged with American following the American-US Airways merger in 2013.
However, the programme only includes airlines that merged directly with American or US Airways – so no Empire Airlines (merged with Piedmont in 1985) and Ozark Air Lines (merged with TWA in 1986) – since the 1980s.
Heritage is a popular theme at American. It debuted a series of eight heritage amenity kits for international premium passengers earlier this year that are widely sought by passengers.
(Edward Russell - Flightglobal News)

Alaska to take first 737 Max 8 in 2017

Alaska Airlines plans to take delivery of its first Boeing 737 Max 8 early in late 2017, says its vice-president of capacity planning John Kirby.
The Seattle-based carrier will take delivery of its first 737 Max about six months after launch customer Southwest Airlines takes its first aircraft, he says at the Boyd International Aviation Forecast Summit in Las Vegas today.
“Boeing has indicated that it may be ready a little early,” says Kirby.
Alaska previously anticipated its first 737 Max 8 in 2018.
The airline has firm orders for 37 737 Max aircraft, including 20 737 Max 8s and 17 737 Max 9s, Ascend Fleets shows.
Alaska operates a fleet of 143 737s, including 27 737-400s, 14 737-700s, 61 737-800s and 41 737-900ERs, Ascend shows.
 (Edward Russell - Flightglobal News)

NokScoot eyes Hawaii flights

Thai long-haul low-cost carrier NokScoot is eyeing service to Honolulu in the future, and plans to operate the flights with shareholder Scoot’s Boeing 787s.
Nok Air chief executive Patee Sarasin, however, thinks it could be another two years before the airline arrives in the Aloha State.
“Honolulu is a destination, I believe the Thai people will love it,” he says at the Boyd Group International Aviation Forecast Summit in Las Vegas. “Honoulu is an 11-hour direct flight from Bangkok.”
Sarasin tells Flightglobal that NokScoot could operate its Boeing 777-200s to Honolulu, but will prefer to deploy Scoot’s 787s. NokScoot is a joint venture between Nok Air and Singaporean low-cost carrier Scoot.
Scoot operates a fleet of seven 787s and has orders for 13 more, Flightglobal’s Ascend Fleets shows.
NokScoot will operate the Honolulu flights from its base at Bangkok Don Mueang, says Sarasin.
He also raises the possibility of partnering with Hawaiian Airlines. “We are going to talk with them, they can take passengers from us on to Los Angeles.”
NokScoot’s expansion plans hit a roadblock recently when ICAO placed a “red flag” on Thailand’s aviation regulators after the country failed to meet a deadline to resolve safety concerns found in an audit. This led to Japan and South Korea restricting new flights from Thailand, impeding NokScoot’s plans to begin service there.
Sarasin says the airline continues to work with Thai authorities on the issues, and hopes that the red flag will be lifted by the end of the year. In the meantime, the airline plans to start charter flights to Tokyo Narita in October since scheduled flights are currently prohibited, he says.
(Ghim-Lay Yeo - Flightglobal News)

Korea’s T’way Air extends services to North America

Korea’s longest established low-cost carrier (LCC) T’way Air has been granted a Foreign Air Carrier Permit (FACP) by the US Department of Transportation. This will allow the carrier to extend its current regional passenger services to North American destinations, as well as provide cargo capacity on the same routes.

With LCC carriers now taking some 50% of all passenger traffic in Korea, regional LCC operators are looking overseas for continued growth.

Initially, T'way will run a daily Boeing 737-800 schedule from Incheon, Seoul to US Protectorate Guam’s Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport, starting late September. In October, it will introduce a 3X-week service from Daegu International to Guam, via Osaka Kansia International.

The move to North America for T’way comes on the heels of the imminent arrival of Asiana Airlines’ new LCC subsidiary Seoul Air, which will compete directly with T’way on its established Korea-Japan regional routes.

More importantly, the carrier will now be able to fly charter services to other mainland US territories and cities, opening up the possibility of direct competition with Asiana on routes to its mainland destinations such as San Francisco, New York, Seattle and Chicago.

Three other Korean LCCs currently offer Korea to Guam services—Jin Air, Jeju Air and Air Busan—even before Seoul Air takes to the skies. This reinforces T’way Air’s recent commitment to change strategy outside its regional niches to continue expanding.

(Jeremy Torr - ATWOnline News)

Russia's Sukhoi pushes Superjet sales in Asia

Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Corp. is pushing Superjet SSJ100 aircraft sales in Southeast Asia as part of a new strategy to expand its emerging market commercial sector sales by 30%. Following a visit to the region earlier this year by a high ranking Russian delegation, SSJ100s have been delivered to Cambodia, Laos and potentially Vietnam.

Vientiane-based Lao Central Airlines will start operations later this year with a single SSJ100, and has options on another two of the aircraft. Sky Angkor Airlines, based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is to take a single SSJ100 in December for use on regional schedules, with two more in the pipeline.

Sukhoi has claimed sales to date of 13 SSJ100s to various buyers in Laos and Indonesia, and has established a new Sino-Russian leasing company to lease at least 100 of the aircraft to Southeast Asian operators over the next three years.

The new leasing entity will base operations in Xixian, Shaanxi province and will spend $3 billion on the aircraft.

Additionally, the recent Russian delegation to the region—which included Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Yuri Slyusar—said it had talks with Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air on potential deals for the SSJ100, although this has not been confirmed.

Russia’s United Aircraft Corp. (UAC), of which Sukhoi is a subsidiary, is also known to be actively seeking to establish an MRO presence in the region to bolster SSJ100 sales. Initial indications are the MRO center could be in Vietnam.

(Jeremy Torr - ATWOnline News)

Surging E-Jet sales have Embraer mulling production increase

With E-Jet sales outpacing Embraer’s current production levels, the manufacturer will have to consider production increases starting as soon as next year.

The Brazilian manufacturer has already sold 131 E-Jets this year (a mix of current generation E-Jets and E2 aircraft) and, though declining to provide a specific number, hints that E-Jet sales could top 150 aircraft this year on the heels of 149 units sold in 2014.

“We have several [sales] opportunities and this number [131 units sold] can go up substantially” by the end of 2015, Embraer Commercial Aviation VP-marketing Rodrigo Silva e Souza told ATW on the sidelines of the Boyd Group International Aviation Forecast Summit in Las Vegas.

Embraer will produce 95-100 E-Jets this year (it delivered 92 commercial aircraft last year), but if current sales trends continue, that likely won’t be a high enough level of production in coming years.

“We have the capacity to increase production if necessary,” Silva e Souza said. “A small increment [of increased production] next year is possible … We have produced close to 150 aircraft a year in the past. If we plan accordingly, we can increase to those levels” in future years. The E-Jet backlog has reached a record 531 aircraft.

A big reason for the robust sales is that airlines are interested in both current generation E-Jets to meet more immediate needs and E2s to meet future demand. “The airlines need the [E-Jet] technology in the short term, so they can’t wait for the new [E2] technology to explore opportunities rising now,” Silva e Souza said.

Interest in current generation E-Jets is coming from US airlines looking to replace 50-seat regional jets with dual-class 76-seat E-175s and emerging economies building internal domestic markets.

Many airlines in developing economies are also interested in E2s, Silva e Souza said. “China is growing its domestic [air travel] market and we see a lot of potential for our aircraft to build the regional network in China,” he explained.

Embraer has completed the wing assembly for the E-190-E2, which is slated for first flight in the second half of 2016. The wing-fuselage joining will come “some months from now” and the PW1900G geared turbofan (GTF) engine should be delivered by Pratt & Whitney by the end of this year, Silva e Souza said.

“We see thorough interest in both airplanes [current generation E-Jets and E2s] and in many cases we’re in discussions about both airplanes with the same customer,” he said.

(Aaron Karp - ATWONline News)

Republic Airways gets a big dose of bad news today from its pilots

Republic Airways late today hit a brick wall it may not have anticipated in its increasingly strained efforts to get a new contract with International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Local 357.
Jim Clark, president of Local 357 which represents 2,200 Republic pilots — some of whom who operate regional flights out of Chicago for United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines — said in a interview the general president of the national IBT decided today not to present Republic's last, best and final contract offer to Local 357 rank and file for a vote.
Clark was informed of the national IBT decision earlier this afternoon — a decision he subsequently conveyed to Republic management.
The national IBT had the final say on the proposed contract. Local 357's seven-member executive board already had voted not to present the contract to rank and file for a vote.
A Indianapolis, Ind.-based Republic Airways spokesman did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.
Local 357 president Jim Clark said he directly communicated the IBT general president's decision to Republic management this afternoon.
Clark said it remains to be seen if Republic management is willing to go back to the bargaining table now that it is clear the airline's last best and final contract offer will not be voted on by Local 357 rank and file pilots.
If Republic opts not to return to the bargaining table, one scenario, according to Clark, could be a 30-day cooling off period, after which the possibility of a pilots strike could loom.
But Clark today emphasized it's still too early to know if a strike is a likely option at this juncture.
(Lewis Lazare - Chicago Business Journal)

**Breaking News** Russia’s Aeroflot to acquire Transaero Airlines

Russia’s largest airline, Aeroflot, will acquire Transaero Airlines, according to a Transaero statement.

A government commission backed the acquisition in a meeting led by First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, Transaero said.

“In the interests of the development of the commercial aviation and creating one of the largest in the world group of airlines, the commission has approved the acquisition of JSC Transaero Airlines by Aeroflot Group,” the statement said. “The shareholders of Transaero Airlines believe this measure will serve the interests of passengers, personnel and partners of the airline.”

No other details of the transaction were released.

In May, Transaero reported a 2014 net loss of RUB14.5 billion ($255 million). Aeroflot Group reported a 2015 first-half net loss of RUB3.54 billion, narrowed from a net loss of RUB1.91 billion in the year-ago period.

(Linda Blachly - ATWOnline News)

Virgin America CEO predicts big fare hikes by US airlines in 2016

Virgin America CEO David Cush predicted big fare increases by US airlines, and urged the US government to protect the “competitive structure” of the industry.

“My expectation is in 2016 and 2017, we’re going to see considerable increases in flight tickets [in the US] simply because you have the Big Four airlines [American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines] controlling 85% of the market,” he told the Boyd Group International Aviation Forecast Summit in Las Vegas. “When you have an oligarchy, it operates as an oligarchy, which means lowering capacity and raising prices. What we’re going to see is higher fares across the industry.”

Virgin America is coming off its best-ever quarter financially in the second quarter, and the US airline industry as a whole was highly profitable in the first half of 2015. But Cush said Virgin America and other smaller US airlines face a major competitive disadvantage going forward because the consolidated legacy US airlines are squeezing them out of domestic US regional flight networks, narrowing the number of passengers with access to the smaller airlines.

“In general, we’re favorable towards consolidation,” Cush said, but he added that the inevitable consolidation-driven “pricing pressure” hasn’t arrived yet. “The government allowed consolidation to occur, but it’s the government’s responsibility to make sure competition is there,” he said. “Giving low-cost carriers access to the regional feeds that the legacies have set up is critical.”

Cush said it is “impossible” for airlines like Virgin America to set up a regional domestic network to compete with the likes of American, United and Delta. Cush has sought to arrange interline agreements to allow Virgin America to place its code on legacy airlines’ hub-feeding domestic flights from smaller markets, but has been rejected. “Virgin America has no domestic interline agreements with any domestic carriers simply because they’ve refused us. We’ve asked all of them,” he said. “These guys understand their dominant position in the small markets and they’re cutting off competition.”

Asked by ATW what mechanism the US government should use to remedy the situation, Cush said the Department of Transportation (DOT) could force American, Delta and United to add the codes of carriers like Virgin America to their regional flights. “Part of the DOT’s mandate is to preserve competition … and that’s a place the DOT has not done its job as well as it should have,” Cush explained. “Perhaps the government needs to step in … It’s important for 90% of the consumers that are not [living near] hub airports. For the total competitive structure of the airline industry, it’s very important.”

Cush emphasized that he doesn’t want to see the government picking winners and losers, but he wants it to ensure American, United, Delta and Southwest don’t use their position to stifle competition with other airlines in the US market. “Congress doesn’t have to get involved in telling airlines where to fly,” he said. “But the simple fact of the matter is, I’m from Shreveport, Louisiana, and we used to have five airlines operating into Shreveport. Now we have three. And you can’t fly to Memphis from Shreveport anymore.”

(Aaron Karp - ATWOnline News)

US Airways to officially retire on October 17, 2015

The next milestone for the American Airlines-US Airways integration is Oct. 17 when the US Airways brand will be retired. At that time its reservations system will cutover to American’s Sabre system, American chief integration officer Beverly Goulet stated.

“The reservations system migration is the largest customer-facing event left,” Goulet said at the Boyd Group’s International Aviation Forecast Summit. On Oct. 17, all tickets will be sold through American Airlines’ website, and the US Airways designator code will cease to exist. The two carriers have been operating with a single operating certificate since April.

Goulet described the reservation system migration as “drain down.” On July 18, American published a schedule that had no changes until Oct. 17. For travel after that date, all tickets booked on US Airways’ website will automatically be booked through American’s.

The integration team has been migrating tickets booked before July 18 for travel after Oct.17 on US Airways, which was about 10% of the total number of US Airways tickets. US Airways airport ticket agents are training on the new system, and American has reduced the schedule at legacy US Airways hubs on Oct.17, building in more time to allow ticket agents to process tickets on the new system.

American has been changing the signs at airports and expects to finish that project by October 17. At airports where US Airways and American are not co-located, the American is working on getting the message on where to check in to passengers. At some airports, American has shuttle buses beyond security to take passengers to the right gates, Goulet said.

The fleet integration is continuing as planned. Goulet noted that the two airlines overlapped on just three aircraft types: Boeing 757s and Airbus A319s and A321s. On these aircraft, the carrier is working to harmonize the cabin footprint.

The remainder of US Airways fleet will be repainted in American’s livery by the middle of next year, Goulet said All wide-bodies have already been repainted. Cabin trim and finish—which includes bulkheads—will occur as aircraft come in for maintenance. American also is repainting its legacy aircraft in its new livery, painting the unpainted silver aircraft as they come in for maintenance. This process will be completed by mid-2017, Goulet said.

American will not get to full operational integration for another year or two, Goulet said. The carrier expects to begin “route swaps,” where legacy US Airways aircraft or American aircraft can be swapped in on a given route in order to match aircraft size with demand. Even when that begins next year, the carrier must operate a legacy US Airways aircraft with legacy US Airways flight and cabin crews, she said.

Route swaps, together with no longer operating codeshares with US Airways, will “unlock some fairly substantial revenue and cost synergies,” Goulet said. The carrier expects more revenue synergies from the reservation system migration, she said.

(Madhu Unnikrishnan - ATWOnline News)