Friday, January 30, 2015

Hawaiian Airlines 2014 net profit up 33% to $69 million

Hawaiian Airlines MD-95 (717-22A) (55122/5061) N477HA "Apapane" captured arriving at it the gate at Honolulu International (HNL/PHNL) on October 1, 2012.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Hawaiian Airlines parent Hawaiian Holdings reported net income of $68.9 million for 2014, up 32.9% from $51.9 million in net income for 2013. According to the carrier, it was the best full-year performance since 2010 when the company posted a $110.3 million net profit.

Full-year revenue for 2014 grew 7.4% year-over-year to $2.31 billion as expenses increased 2.4% to $2.07 billion, resulting in an operating profit of $245.1 million, up 83.3% from $133.7 million in 2013.

Hawaiian’s scheduled traffic for 2014 grew 1.9% year-over-year to 13.9 billion RPMS; capacity increased 1.8% to 17.1 billion ASMs; passenger load factor for the year came to 81.5%, unchanged from 2013. Yield grew 3.4% to 14.70 cents.

Hawaiian president and CEO Mark Dunkerley said, “2014 finished on a high note with the company posting much better results than a year ago. 2015 will be another year of improvements as long as demand, fuel and industry capacity in our marketplaces remain as forecast.”

Hawaiian’s 2014 fourth-quarter net income was $11.1 million, falling 35% from $17.1 million in the year-ago December quarter. Fourth-quarter operating revenue was up 8.1% year-over-year to $574.8 million as expenses eased 0.1% year-over-year to $497.5 million, resulting in operating income for the quarter of $77.3 million, more than doubling the $33.8 million the carrier reported in the fourth quarter of 2013.

(Mark Nensel - ATWOnline News)

Cargolux, labor unions in stalemate on new labor agreement

Cargolux 747-8R7F(SCD) (35811/1461) LX-VCF "City of Grevenmacher" smokes the mains on Rwy 7R as it arrives at Ted Stevens International Airport (ANC/PANC) in Anchorage, Alaska on May 5, 2013.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Luxembourg-based Cargolux management continues to be stuck in difficult negotiations with Luxembourg labor unions after rejecting a collective work agreement (CWA) that expired at the end of December. Its conditions remain in place until the end of 2015.

However, management is hopeful it will resolve the stalemate with unions and reach an agreement on a new CWA, which will lay the foundations for securing Cargolux’s economic sustainability and survival in an increasingly difficult and competitive market environment.

A new CWA should bring lower personnel costs—particularly crew—and improved productivity in order to increase Cargolux’s competitiveness and preserve existing jobs.

The LCGB union said the signatory unions have decided to go into conciliation, hoping the conciliation process would lead to a breakthrough in negotiations. If the conciliation process fails, the unions have the right to start industrial action.

The major difference between Cargolux management and the unions lies in the scope clause, which was presented by the unions as a fundamental framework for a controlled global growth while safeguarding jobs in Luxembourg, LCGB said, adding the unions made several proposals in December that resulted in accumulated savings of up to $42 million.

Last September, the LCGB union called on Cargolux pilots to work to rule in protest against plans to add a second aircraft to its subsidiary Cargolux Italia.

(Kurt Hofmann - ATWOnline News)

American pilots ratify labor contract unifying AA/US Airways flight deck crew

American Airlines MD-82 (49256/1158) N244AA arrives at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB).
(Photo by Michael Carter)

American Airlines pilots have ratified a new, five-year collective bargaining agreement that brings all of the flight deck crew of the former American and US Airways under one labor contract.

The contract covering 15,000 pilots was approved by a 65.7%-34.3% margin, according to the Allied Pilots Association (APA), the union representing American’s pilots. APA said 94.6% of eligible pilots participated in the vote.

According to American, the contract gives pilots an “immediate” 23% pay raise and annual 3% raises over the next five years.

APA president Keith Wilson said the higher pay rates led American pilots to make “a business decision” to approve a contract with which they are not entirely happy. “APA will now focus on further engagement with American Airlines management to address ongoing shortcomings in our contract,” Wilson said in a statement. “Our total compensation will still trail industry-leader Delta [Air Lines], while work rules affecting our pilots’ quality of life need meaningful improvement.

There’s a lot of work remaining to achieve the industry-leading contract our pilots deserve.”

The contract ratification was a big win for American management as it navigates the US Airways merger integration process. It also cleans up a lingering issue from the 2005 US Airways/America West Airlines merger: US Airways pilots and America West pilots had still been working under separate labor contracts. Now there is just one contract for all mainline American Airlines Group pilots.

(Aaron Karp - ATWOnline News)

All Nippon Airways places Airbus, Boeing orders

Rendering of 787-10 in ANA livery.
(Boeing)

All Nippon Airways (ANA) has placed orders for Airbus and Boeing aircraft to bolster the airline’s growing fleet.

ANA will purchase three Boeing 787-10 aircraft and five 737-800s. The agreement, when finalized, will be valued at approximately $1.4 billion at current list prices, and ANA will become the first airline in Asia to operate the entire family of 787 "Dreamliners".

ANA, the launch customer of the 787, has taken more 787 deliveries than any other customer at 34 aircraft, with 46 still on order.

ANA has also ordered seven more Airbus A321 aircraft, comprising four A321ceos and three A321neos, in addition to the firm order for 30 A320neo family (seven A320neo and 23 A321neo) aircraft placed in July 2014.

The latest agreement brings ANA’s total order for the A320 family to 37 aircraft, which will gradually replace its existing single-aisle fleet. ANA will be the first Japanese operator of both Sharklet-equipped A321ceo and A321neo.

(Linda Blachly - ATWOnline News)

Southwest Airlines will take over 2 more gates, add flights to 9 new cities at Love Field

Southwest Airlines will launch nonstop flights to nine new destinations from Dallas Love Field in April, the Dallas-based airline announced Friday.

Southwest will sublease two United Airlines gates, bringing the total number of gates under Southwest control to 18 of the airport's 20 gates. Virgin America has the remaining two gates at Love Field.

The new destinations include Seattle, Memphis and Milwaukee. The other six haven't been released yet.

"Customer demand for our new, convenient long-haul nonstop service from Love Field has been even stronger than we anticipated and we are excited now to have the opportunity to offer more flights to more cities from Dallas," said Bob Jordan, Southwest's executive vice president and COO.

Details on the number of flights and fares will be announced soon.

Southwest already has a 90 percent market share at Love Field's existing operations, according to Love Field flight statistics.

Southwest added 15 nonstop flights at Love Field in 2015 as the Wright Amendment restrictions were lifted. For 35 years, the Wright Amendment limited flights out of Love Field to adjacent states.

The restrictions ended Oct. 13. Most recently, flights were launched to San Francisco and Oakland.

Southwest had 4.4 million passengers pass through Love Field in 2014. Traffic in December alone was up 36 percent for Southwest in December, thanks to the long-haul flights.

United carried about 81,000 travelers at Love Field in 2014, according to airport statistics.

(Nicholas Sakelaris - Dallas Business Journal)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Gulfstream G450 OY-APM



Gulfstream G450 (c/n 4305) OY-APM, ex N805GA operated by Maersk is caught departing Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) this morning following a few day visit to the Gulfstream service center.
 
(Photos by Michael Carter)

USAF T-38A "Talon" 64-13270


USAF T-38A "Talon" (c/n N5699) 64-13270 is captured arriving at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) this morning as it makes a surprise visit arriving at 10:59 pst.
 
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Gulfstream G550 I-LUXO

Gulfstream G550 (c/n 5071) I-LUXO is captured on a very short final to Rwy 30 at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) this morning, January 29, 2015.
 
(Photo by Michael Carter)

JetBlue Reveals Complicated New Fare Types and Bag Fees


JetBlue Reveals Complicated New Fare Types and Bag Fees

While passengers in JetBlue’s premium Mint service seats remain comfy, coach passengers on the airline’s A320s will get 1.6 inches of reduced seat pitch starting in 2016.
 (Photo: JetBlue)
 
JetBlue is getting a lot more complicated as the discount airline grows up.
 
JetBlue president Robin Hayes, who will soon take over the CEO reigns from David Barger, said today that the airline will unveil three fare families — where passengers can choose which features they want or don’t want included in the ticket price — in the second quarter. It is already being tested, he added.
 
The three bundles of fares will include one fare type geared for passengers who don’t intend to check a bag.
 
That’s code for JetBlue beginning for the first time to charge bag fees for the first checked bag for some of its tickets.
 
Hayes didn’t reveal any pricing related to bag fees or the detailed characteristics of the new fares, but said JetBlue expects they would generate $200 million annually by 2017.
 
The airline, which debuted business class Mint service on select long-haul flights last year, can expect a backlash when it starts charging for the first checked bags in coach, or its “core” seats, as JetBlue likes to spin it.
 
Even More Seats
 
If the addition of three new fare types with bundles of features isn’t complicated enough, Hayes said JetBlue’s "Even More" seats, which offer extra legroom (38 inches of pitch), expedited security, and priority dibs at overhead bin space, is now subject to variable pricing not only by flight — but also by the positioning of individual seats in the aircraft.
 
JetBlue’s website currently states that an Even More seat “starts” at $10 one-way, depending on the flight, but that verbiage is out of date as the price now actually depends on the flight and the seat position.
 
This sort of “dynamic pricing” can be great for airlines trying to squeeze maximum ancillary revenue out of a preferred seat, but it can be maddening for travelers trying to figure out how much they are going to pay for upcoming flights.
 
JetBlue generated about $25 per passenger, a 3 percent increase in the fourth quarter, from this sort of optional revenue, including fees for second bags and Even More seats.
 
These changes are all part of the evolution of JetBlue from a low cost carrier to one that navigates a middle group between Spirit and Southwest, one the one hand, and American, United and Delta, on the other, all in the name of maximizing profit and pleasing Wall Street.
 
Fly-Fi
 
Hayes said JetBlue’s installation of high-bandwidth Wi-Fi, which the airline calls Fly-Fi, is on track. The Wi-Fi is installed in 100 of JetBlue’s 130 Airbus 320 aircraft, and comes installed as JetBlue takes delivery of Airbus 321s.
 
JetBlue’s fleet of Embraer 190s are slated to begin to get Fly-Fi later in 2015.
 
Hayes said it is not uncommon to see 80 to 100 passengers on a flight using its souped up Wi-Fi service.
 
No Merger Fervor
 
Asked whether JetBlue sees a merger with another airline in its future, Hayes said JetBlue is “still very committed to our organic growth plan.”

Said Hayes: “There’s no change in our focus of building this company one airplane at a time.”
 
And one seat at a time, apparently.
 
(Dennis Schaal - Yahoo Travel)

Japan's Skymark to stop flying Airbus A330 in favor of Boeing-only fleet

Japan's Skymark Airlines said it will stop flying Airbus A330 jets in favor of a single-model fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft to cut costs after the discount carrier filed for protection from creditors late on Wednesday.

"We will stop using the A330s from February," Skymark's chairman, Takashi Ide, told reporters at a news conference in Tokyo on Thursday.

Japan's leading independent budget airline, Skymark sought protection from creditors blaming a weak yen and a dispute with Airbus for its financial straits. It said in a statement on Wednesday its liabilities were 71.09 billion yen (400 million pounds) as of its filing with the Tokyo District Court.

Skymark, which had planned to introduce ten leased A330s into its fleet, currently operates five of the European jets. In July the carrier cancelled an order for six Airbus A380 superjumbos.

In addition to the weaker yen, pushing up leasing costs and other expenses, Skymark is blaming Airbus's demand for a $710 million dollar cancellation fee for its financial troubles.

Skymark's new president, Masakazu Arimori, in Tokyo declined to say how the carrier's filing will affect negotiations with Airbus over the cancellation fee.

Skymark, which has a fleet of 28 Boeing 737s, said on Wednesday that Tokyo-based private equity firm Integral Corp has agreed to provide financing to help the airline restructure, pending court approval.

An Airbus spokeswoman said on Wednesday that the European plane maker was aware of the Skymark filing. "This is now a matter for the courts," she said.

Skymark said using one type of aircraft will help cut monthly operating expenses, a strategy the airline adopted when it began flying in 1998 in an effort to undercut its bigger rivals, ANA and Japan Airlines.

The loss of Skymark as an operator of its jets marks a partial reversal of recent gains by Airbus in Japan, a market long dominated by Boeing. The U.S. firm has deep ties to local aerospace firms in one of Asia's biggest aircraft markets.

Airbus made its big breakthrough in Japan in October 2013, in a landmark deal for JAL to buy 31 wide-body A350 jets with a combined $9.5 billion list price.

(Maki Shiraki and Tim Kelly - Reuters)

LAX: Qantas' sleek first-class lounge is newest at Bradley terminal

At the new Qantas first-class lounge at Los Angeles International Airport, you can relax, eat, work, freshen up with a shower -- all in remarkable style.

Qantas opened its First Lounge last month at the airport's Tom Bradley International Terminal. It's for first-class passengers and top-tier Qantas and Oneworld club members.

It's the third premium lounge to open at the redesigned terminal.

Air New Zealand and Korean Air operate premium lounges at the Bradley terminal. Two more, an Emirates lounge and an international lounge airlines can choose to join, are under construction.
 
There's also room for a sixth lounge that's in negotiation, according to airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles.

So what's the new Qantas lounge like?

The frosted-glass and marble entryway is identical to lounges in Melbourne and Sydney. Marc Newsom designed the space, which has a honeycomb pattern -- at the entrance, behind the bar, in the carpet -- that repeats throughout the 17,500-square-foot lounge.

The accent here is on comfort and service.

For starters, staff members are trained by hotelier Sofitel. And for the comfort part, there are many different kinds of seats to choose from: straight-backed leather couches, burgundy velvet Womb Chairs designed by architect Eero Saarinen (perfect for a nap) and desk-style chairs for those who want to work.

Australian chef Neil Perry drives some of the menu items at a restaurant that seats 74 people. Guests order meals a la carte, which are freshly made at the nearby open kitchen. Servers also offer small plates at the restaurant and bar too.

And then there's the bar, a 48-foot slice of Italian marble where guests can sip California and Australian wines (or anything else they desire). Seven spacious showers serve those who need to freshen up after a long flight.

The only thing missing is a full-on spa.

Qantas also operates a Business Lounge with Cathay Pacific and British Airways passengers. In spring, plans are to add seating and connect the two lounges through the kitchen area.

Delta flight lands in Vegas with pilot locked out of cockpit

Officials say a Delta Air Lines flight from Minneapolis made an emergency landing in Las Vegas on Thursday with the co-pilot at the controls after the pilot was locked out of the cockpit.

McCarran International Airport spokeswoman Christine Crews says none of the 168 people aboard Delta flight 1651 was injured, and the MD-90 aircraft wasn't damaged.

The plane had been headed for Las Vegas, and it pulled into its regular gate at McCarran on time about 12:30 p.m.

Delta spokeswoman Lindsay McDuff says commercial aircraft can be landed with one pilot, and Delta crews are trained for such situations.

Crews says the door malfunctioned, and McDuff says it'll be evaluated by maintenance technicians.

Crews says the emergency was declared 13 minutes before the plane touched down at 12:23 p.m.

(Associated Press)

Qantas donates 747-438 VH-OJA "City of Canberra" to Museum

Qantas will donate its first Boeing 747-400 to Australia’s Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS), which will open it for public display at Illawarra Regional airport, just out of Sydney.
 
The 1989-built aircraft, registered VH-OJA (24354/731) "City of Canberra" will be officially handed over to HARS on 15 March, following a short delivery flight from Sydney airport.
 
HARS is home to Australia’s largest collection of flying and static historical aircraft, and is run by 450 volunteers.

Powered by four Rolls-Royce RB211 engines, VH-OJA broke a record on it's delivery flight August 11, 1989 as it flew non-stop from London to Sydney in 20 hours, 9 minutes and 5 seconds. The record still stands.

Pilots who flew Qantas' first Boeing 747-400
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Qantas

“The record breaking flight of this Boeing aircraft was a technical and symbolic achievement because it showed what was possible with the latest generation of aircraft and that spirit of innovation still drives us today,” says Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce.

“We are excited that by gifting this newly retired aircraft to the HARS museum, we’re helping create a local tourism attraction as well as preserving a bit of our past.”

HARS operates a Lockheed Super Constellation in Qantas colours, and also has other aircraft including a PBY Catalina, Douglas DC-3 and AH-1 Cobra in its collection.

Qantas has previously donated a 747-200 to the Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach, Queensland.

(Ellis Taylor - FlightGlobal News)

McNerney: Drop in fuel prices not affecting demand for Boeing aircraft

Boeing chairman and CEO Jim McNerney said the steep drop in fuel prices in recent months is not hurting the demand environment for new commercial aircraft.

“Lower oil prices have not substantially changed [airlines’] views on fleet planning,” McNerney told analysts and reporters Wednesday while discussing Boeing’s 2014 earnings. “Replacement demand remains an important market driver, with airlines continuing to introduce newer, more efficient airplanes with superior economics and a rapid return on investment in place of older, less efficient models. Notwithstanding a fuel price environment today that is well below the 15-year average, the value proposition for our airplanes remains a compelling one.”

McNerney said that commercial aircraft orders are “more correlated to airline profits” than fuel prices. He added that airlines are not buying aircraft such as the 787 only because of fuel efficiency, but also for “lower maintenance costs, [the ability to generate] higher passenger and cargo revenue, increased residual values, a better overall passenger experience and greater range.”

McNerney said the 787 in particular is “opening up demand between city pairs that wasn’t available before.”

When announcing last month that Air Canada would launch flights in 2015 from Toronto to Delhi and Dubai, CEO Calin Rovinescu said, “The operating economics of [the 787] make this service feasible.”

McNerney estimated that about “20% of the demand for [the 787 is driven by] opening up capacity between city pairs that was not available before because of the performance of the airplane.”

(Aaron Karp - ATWOnline News)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Boeing reports profit of $1.47 billion

Demand for commercial jets airliners boosted Boeing Co.'s fourth-quarter profit by 19 percent, topping Wall Street expectations by a wide margin and offsetting weakness in the defense business.Boeing offered a muted outlook for 2015, however. Falling oil prices, which make jet fuel much cheaper, might hurt airlines' demand for new, more fuel-efficient planes.
 
The shares rose in premarket trading before Wednesday's opening bell.
 
Boeing said that it earned $1.47 billion, or $2.02 per share, compared with $1.23 billion, or $1.61 per share, a year ago.Excluding special items, Boeing said that so-called core earnings rose to $2.31 per share. Analysts expected $2.11 per share, according to Fact-Set.
 
Revenue rose 3 percent to $24.47 billion, also beating FactSet's Street forecast of $23.93 billion.However, Boeing said that adjusted earnings this year will be between $8.20 and $8.40 per share. That is below analysts' forecast of $8.66 per share, according to the FactSet survey.

The company forecast 2015 revenue of $94.5 billion to $96.5 billion, which would easily beat analysts' consensus expectation of $93.25 billion.

Chicago-based Boeing and European rival Airbus are benefiting as airlines around the world go on a shopping spree, helped by rising demand for travel and cheap financing. Boeing posted 432 net orders for new planes in the fourth quarter and 1,432 for all of 2014, pushing its backlog of commercial planes to nearly 5,800 with a record value of $440 billion.

The company is also delivering more planes — 195 in the fourth quarter, compared with 172 a year earlier — helping boost cash flow. Revenue in the commercial-plane segment grew by 15 percent.
 
About one-third of Boeing's revenue comes from defense-related products, and that part of the company is not doing as well, as defense budgets come under pressure. Defense revenue fell 14 percent, led by a 29 percent decline in money from military aircraft.
 
Boeing shares were up $4.22, or 3.2 percent, to $136.70 in premarket trading about 45 minutes ahead of the market open. At Tuesday's closing price, the shares were up 1.9 percent in 2015 but down 3.6 percent in the last 12 months.

(Associated Press)

Skymark Files for Bankruptcy After Failed Airbus A380 Deal

(Airbus)

Skymark Airlines Inc., Japan’s third-largest carrier, filed for bankruptcy protection after running short of cash, highlighting the failure of growth plans that climaxed in the ill-fated purchase of six Airbus Group NV A380 superjumbos.

Skymark filed at the Tokyo District Court with 71 billion yen ($603 million) in liabilities, according to a statement today, with President Shinichi Nishikubo standing down and Chief Financial Officer Masakazu Arimori taking on the role. It will be delisted on March 1, the Tokyo Stock Exchange said.
 
The low-cost carrier, which will get restructuring support from private-equity firm Integral, first flagged in July that there was “material uncertainty” over whether it would remain a going concern following penalty demands for the cancellation of the A380 contracts. Doubts about its ability to fund the planes had led Airbus to terminate the order.

Skymark had announced plans to buy the world’s largest passenger model and start an international business-class service in 2010, breaking from a discount model using Boeing Co. 737 narrow-bodies. Nishikubo said at the time he planned to win market share by charging less than half the price of rivals.

Airbus Aware

The application from Tokyo-based Skymark, which had 2,275 employees as of last March, comes five years after Japan Airlines Corp. became the first major Asia flag-carrier to file for bankruptcy, seeking protection from creditors with 2.32 trillion yen in liabilities. JAL successfully re-listed in 2012.
 
Airbus said today it was aware of the Skymark filing, which was a matter for the courts. After the sides failed to reach a deal on the A380s the planemaker filed a complaint in a London court, the contents of which haven’t yet been made public.
 
Skymark had a net loss of 5.7 billion yen in the six months through September amid tougher competition, the cost of introducing leased Airbus A330s, and a weaker yen. It had 4.5 billion yen in cash and near-cash items as of Sept. 30, down 75 percent on a year earlier, based on data compiled by Bloomberg.

Skymark said in October it planned to halt unprofitable flights from Tokyo Narita airport and return two leased planes from November. The airline said it would also sell and lease back engines, a flight simulator and other assets.

Skymark had also sought a tie up with JAL and ANA Holdings Inc. to continue operations, and said last month it was considering selling shares to an investment fund to raise cash.
 
Skymark shares rose 0.6 percent to 317 yen at the close in Tokyo. The stock has declined for the past four years, and plunged after Airbus terminated the A380 order, worth $2.5 billion at list prices and its sole superjumbo deal in Japan.
 
Skymark had already paid 26.5 billion yen in pre-delivery charges for the double-deckers, including money to the engine supplier, it said in July. It could face demands for as much as 70 billion yen in penalties, Kyodo News reported at the time, citing people familiar with the situation that it didn’t name.

Skymark initially signed a firm contract for four A380s in 2011 and later came back for two more. Airbus said last April that the carrier’s first plane had flown and was heading for cabin installation and final painting in Germany.

(Kiyotaka Matsuda and Andrea Rothman - Bloomberg)

Boeing to Build Air Force One Replacement

The Air Force will let Boeing Co. build the replacement for Air Force One without competition but allow bidding on specialized equipment for the new presidential aircraft, the service informed Congress.
 
Air Force Secretary Deborah James on Wednesday signed a document that justifies keeping Boeing as the sole source contractor to provide three modified 747-8 passenger planes, according to an e-mail notifying congressional committees.

The service determined that Boeing’s aircraft is the only one manufactured in the U.S. “that when fully missionized meets the necessary critically important capabilities” that the president needs, the e-mail said. The competition would be for systems such as the plane’s advanced electronics and communications.

Chicago-based Boeing has been the sole provider of aircraft used by U.S. presidents since 1962, according to its website. While Air Force One is the designation for any plane carrying the president, it usually refers to one of two current 747s outfitted with features that include a presidential suite and conference room and advanced security and communications, according to the White House website.

It can be refueled in midair and serve as a mobile command center if the U.S. comes under attack.
 
James determined a sole-source contract for the aircraft and spare parts “is in the public interest,” the congressional notification said. The decision doesn’t trigger an immediate contract award, as the Air Force continues to complete its acquisition strategy, according to the service.

No Airbus Proposal

Toulouse, France-based Airbus SAS said in 2013 it didn’t intend to make a proposal based on its double-decker A380 jet. Still, the service “intends to incorporate competition” for the aircraft subsystems and “will participate substantially in any competition led” by Boeing, it said.

The Air Force has budgeted $1.6 billion for research through 2019 on the presidential aircraft replacement program. The Air Force is seeking to replace its aging Boeing 747-200 aircraft, which will reach their planned 30-year service life in 2017. The first new Air Force One isn’t expected to be delivered until 2018, when it will be tested before entering service in fiscal 2023.

Boeing spokeswoman Caroline Hutcheson had no immediate comment pending a formal Air Force announcement.

(Anthony Capaccio - Bloomberg)

Transavia unveils new livery

Air France-KLM's low-cost unit Transavia has rebranded amid expansion of its Boeing 737 fleet to take over more of the group's short-haul traffic.

The livery – featuring a restyled logo on the fin and an enlarged brand name, in the carrier's traditional green, on a white fuselage – is intended to convey Transavia's aim of becoming "Europe's leading airline in hospitality", the group says.

Next to the passenger doors, the word "Welcome" is painted on to the fuselage in the languages of countries to be served.

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Studio Dumbar

The aircraft's underbelly features the airline logo and two stylised icons signifying landmarks among the network destinations or symbols of travel for leisure and business passengers. Each aircraft features a different combination of icons.

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Studio Dumbar

Conceived by Dutch design agency Studio Dumbar and digital marketing specialists Mirabeau, the rebranding was "thoroughly" tested in five European countries, the airline says. The test "clearly confirmed that the new design answers Transavia's strategic objectives", it adds.

Air France-KLM is expanding the budget carrier's network to compete with low-cost operators such as EasyJet, Ryanair and Vueling. The Paris Orly-based fleet of Transavia France will grow to around 40 aircraft by 2019.

(Michael Gubisch - FlightGlobal News)

In storage: Top 10 parked airliner types

What airliners are you most likely to find parked? Ascend Fleets data for January 2015 reveals the types with the most non-active examples.

1. Boeing 737 Classic (passenger version)
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Parked 324
In service 741

Of the 1,065 examples of Boeing’s Classic narrowbody in existence, just under a third are in storage.

2. Bombardier CRJ regional jet (passenger version)
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Parked 252
In service 599

The former Canadair 50-seater was once ubiquitous. No more. Almost 30% of the fleet is parked.

3. Boeing MD-80 (passenger version)
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Parked 209
In service 452

Over 31% of the fleet of the ageing former McDonnell Douglas twinjets are idle.

4. Boeing 757 (passenger version)
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Parked 165
In service 504

There is talk of Boeing coming up with a replacement for its popular long-haul single-aisle type.

5. Airbus A320
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Parked 143
In service 3.432

It comes in fifth but only 4% of the most popular variant of Toulouse’s narrowbody family are parked.

6. Embraer ERJ-145
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Parked 112
In service 562

Although 112 of the Brazilian regional jet are parked, many more remain in service.

7. Boeing 767 (passenger version)
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Parked 103
In service 601

As the widebody comes to the end of its likely production life, almost 15% of tall 767s are in storage.

8. Boeing 747 (freighter)
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Parked 85
In service 271

Almost a quarter of the total fleet of the original jumbo freighter are parked.

9. Boeing 737NG
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Parked 81
In service 4,858

A tiny 1.6% of this huge global fleet are currently out of service.

10. Boeing 737-200 (passenger version)
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Parked 80
In service 73

Over half of the remaining fleet of 153 of the venerable narrowbody are out of action.

(Murdo Morrison - FlightGlobal News)

SAS evaluates A340 lease extensions

Scandinavian Airlines is refurbishing the cabins of three Airbus A340s and may extend leases on some of the aircraft, though A330s will form the backbone of the carrier's long-haul fleet.

The SAS Group carrier has eight A340-300s built between 1997 and 2002, in addition to four A330-300s manufactured in 2002 and 2003, Flightglobal's Ascend Fleets database shows. One of the widebodies – an A340 – has been leased to another operator.

Four new A330s are scheduled to join Scandinavian's fleet later this year or next year, replacing the same number of A340s. However, SAS says it might prolong some of the other A340s' leases.

It declined to specify how long the type will remain part of the fleet.

Scandinavian has ordered eight A350-900s and holds options on another six. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2018.

The fuel price decline since last year has played no role in the decision to revamp the A340s' cabins, which was taken in 2013, says SAS.

Swiss maintenance provider SR Technics has been contracted to update the cabins of three A340s and four A330s. The first aircraft, an A330 (registration LN-RKN), is undergoing the interior modification in combination with a heavy C-check and exterior painting at the MRO provider's facilities in Zurich. The aircraft is due to be redelivered to the airline in mid-February.

The next aircraft is scheduled to be completed in March, and the remaining five are due to be finished by the autumn.

SAS declined to comment on the financial impact of the Swiss franc's appreciation in value since the Alpine nation's central bank moved earlier this month to remove a cap on the exchange rate with the euro.

SR Technics downplays any potential negative currency impact. "We shall have to see how things develop," says the MRO specialist. "Right now there is no need for us to take remedial action."

(Michael Gubisch - FlightGlobal News)