Friday, February 27, 2009

United Arab Emirates (UAE) Orders C-17A

C-17A 07-7185 (P-185) is captured as she starts her engines for the first time on February 26. (Photo by Michael Carter)

The United Arab Emirates and Boeing announced on February 24th that they had reached an agreement for the purchase of 4 C-17A transports. This was very welcome news at the C-17A plant here in Long Beach which follows the 15 plane order finalized by the USAF earlier in the month.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to be New Base for Allegiant Air

Allegiant Air MD-83 N865GA (49998/1800) arrives in
Long Beach on a Laughlin, Nevada charter flight.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Low-cost airline, Allegiant Air, LLC, a subsidiary of Allegiant Travel Company, today announced it will establish a new base in the world-class, leisure destination Los Angeles, with low-fare, nonstop jet service from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) beginning May 1. Flying to/from America’s favorite small cities, Allegiant plans to launch the new service with flights to LAX from 12 markets already served by the carrier. Introductory low fares begin as low as $39* each way.

Bellingham, Wash. (Vancouver, B.C. area) – begins May 2 with fares as low as $78* each way
Billings, Mont. – begins May 22 with fares as low as $69* each way
Des Moines, Iowa – begins May 24 with fares as low as $99* each way
Fargo, N.D. – begins May 23 with fares as low as $99* each way
Grand Junction, Colo. – begins May 1 with fares as low as $59* each way
McAllen, Texas – begins May 24 with fares as low as $99* each way
Medford, Ore. – begins May 1 with fares as low as $69* each way
Missoula, Mont. – begins May 2 with fares as low as $79* each way
Monterey, Calif. – begins May 3 with fares as low as $39* each way
Sioux Falls, S.D. – begins May 23 with fares as low as $99* each way
Springfield, Mo. – begins May 3 with fares as low as $99* each way
Wichita, Kan. – begins May 23 with fares as low as $99* each way

"We’re extremely pleased to add Los Angeles and the Southern California region to our growing roster of world-class leisure destinations," Maurice J. Gallagher, Allegiant Air president & CEO, said. "This is an exciting new market for our airline and our customers. We look forward to a successful relationship with the airport, area resorts and community leaders."
"Allegiant Air has operated successfully in a very challenging aviation marketplace by attracting travelers with the right mix of service options and value," said Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA).

To announce the new route, on online contest took place at the company’s website. Nearly 50,000 entries were made to guess the airline’s newest destination.
The self-proclaimed "Official Airline for Sunshine" will base two 150-seat, MD-80 series jet aircraft at Los Angeles International Airport. This new base will serve as the sixth world-class, leisure destination for the Las Vegas-based airline, which also serves McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas), Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, Orlando Sanford International Airport, St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport and Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport.

With the addition of Los Angeles, Allegiant Air currently provides nonstop scheduled service to 70 U.S. cities. The low-cost carrier provides nonstop service from 40 U.S. markets to Las Vegas, 12 markets to Los Angeles, 15 markets to Phoenix-Mesa, 30 markets to Orlando and 20 markets to the Tampa Bay area and from six markets to Fort Lauderdale. In addition to its scheduled service, the airline also operates charter service throughout the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

Through the company’s Allegiant Vacations division, Allegiant will offer low-cost hotel packages with many premiere hotels in the Los Angeles and Southern California area, including: Sheraton Universal Hotel, Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, Hyatt Regency Long Beach, Hyatt Regency Newport Beach, Marina del Ray Marriott and The Westin Los Angeles Airport. The company will provide low-cost car rental service through its partnership with Alamo Rent a Car.

(Allegiant Air)

TSA Security Proposal won't Fly in Alaska

A new Transportation Security Administration proposal has Alaska pilots and aircraft owners concerned that their aircraft will be over regulated, and may force them to quit flying and scrap their planes. The proposal, dubbed the large aircraft security program, would require the owners of aircraft that have a gross weight of 12,500 pounds or more to implement the same security measures used on commercial passenger and air cargo aircraft in the U.S.
The regulation would require pilots and their mechanics to have criminal background checks, check passengers against the federal "no fly" list, and that flights using these aircraft - both commercially and privately flown - be approved before each departure. The rule would also require some aircraft to carry federal air marshals if directed to by the TSA.

The proposal would also require any airport that hosts these aircraft to have on staff a trained TSA officer and the necessary equipment to screen passengers and crew.
Alaska airports that would be affected by the proposal include Aniak, Dutch Harbor, Galena, Merrill Field, Palmer, Kenai, Lake Hood and Unalakleet and other rural airports used by aircraft for business, commercial and private use. TSA officials would not reply to specifics about the proposed rule. "The only thing that I can say is that we are hoping to learn more about the concerns of the aviation community about this anti-terrorism regulation for aircraft from comments posted on the NPRM docket (notice of proposed rule making)," said a spokesperson for the TSA.

The 260-page proposal, finalized in October 2008 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, says the government should consider all aircraft, from 747s to hot air balloon, to be potential threats, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, which opposes the rule. The costs to conform to such mandates is the main concern for the owners of the aircraft affected. Security measures to facilities could cost as much as $400,000 per airport, according to state DOT officials. Aircraft owners would have to pay for passenger and other security checks.
If the regulation passes, Bush Air Cargo pilot Don Ballard says his airplane would be scrap metal. Ballard flies building materials, supplies and mining equipment to remote locations with a DC-3 aircraft from the Palmer airport.

Aircraft used to fly freight and cargo, business charters and medevacs would be affected.
Alaska large aircraft owners say the proposed regulation would curtail commerce, require expensive changes at state, municipal and privately owned rural airports, and will breach civil rights of rural residents. Lee Ryan, the chairman of the Governor's Advisory Board on Aviation, said direct impacts of the overall aviation industry in Alaska represents $4 billion, making it the fifth largest industry in the state. "This will have impacts in an already stressed industry," said Ryan. Another pilot and private aircraft owner agrees. "The large aircraft security program will impose new and onerous security regulations and restrictions on owners, operators, pilots, and passengers, flying in these privately owned aircraft and at medium and large airports that serve large aircraft," said Lars Gleitsmann, an aircraft owner.

Gleitsmann and 29 others gathered on Feb. 5 at the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum in Anchorage to discuss how to approach the Alaska congressional delegation to stop this regulation from becoming law. If security upgrades at one airport can't be made, owners will have to move their aircraft to airports that meet the TSA requirements.

"This proposal is ludicrous," said John Reffertt, a Palmer resident and co-owner of two C-119 Flying Boxcars that are parked on the Palmer municipal airport's ramp. "This will force me to move the C-119s, where I am paying $200 a month, to Anchorage international - if they will take the aircraft - where I will have to pay $2,000 or more a month to park them."

The TSA estimates that the LASP will cost $190 billion to secure approximately 10,000 aircraft in the nation, and says that aircraft owners will pay for 85 percent of the program.
This amounts to nearly $190,000 per aircraft to create a security program for each aircraft approved by the TSA, criminal background checks of pilots, mechanics and dispatchers, biannual audits of the program, the cost of air marshals, and third-party audits of the passengers and travel authorization, according to estimates by the National Business Aircraft Association.

The regulation would also oppose Alaska state law, by not allowing firearms or items pilots use in emergency survival kits. Only tools or survival gear that can be accessed by the pilot while in flight can be carried. The regulation has a "prohibited items list" that includes 80 items, tools, knives, firearms and even golf clubs, that can't be stored on the aircraft for survival, maintenance or for commercial or industrial use.

"In many cases the aircraft that will need these so called security mandates are not even worth the $190, 000 that will have to be spent to make them legal to fly again," said Gleitsmann.
Alaska aircraft owners and pilots who oppose this regulation hope to convince the Alaska congressional delegation of their position for either a waiver or to stop the rule.
Bart Tiernan, past president of the Alaska Airmen's Association and a large-aircraft owner, said the TSA held several public comment meetings across the country. Notably missing from the meeting list, however, were Alaska and Hawaii, two states that rely most on air traffic using these types of aircraft.

As proposed, the regulations would apply only to aircraft with a maximum gross takeoff weight of 12,500 pounds, but aviation organizations say they worry that the rule would eventually be aimed at smaller aircraft down the road. According to written and audio testimony from the hearings posted online, Ed Bolen, president of the National Business Aviation Association, offered his comments at a hearing in Texas Jan. 28. "The TSA's proposal would overwhelm businesses, airports and others across the general aviation community, at a time when it is beset with challenges in the current marketplace," Bolen said. "Equally unfortunate, the burden the proposal would produce would not result in a clear security benefit." The regulations would affect an estimated 15,000 aircraft, 10,000 operators, and 450 airports nationwide. In Alaska, about 100 aircraft used for freight owned by 25 separate owners would be affected. The number of business aircraft privately owned that fit this category is unknown but substantial, according to Tiernan.

Finally, the TSA is proposing that aircraft operators pay a third party to conduct regulatory oversight and ensure compliance. What has always been a government function would be outsourced, creating privacy concerns and placing the cost burden on aircraft operators.
These requirements, if passed would include fingerprinting and performing background checks on all flight crews, vetting passengers against the government's "No Fly List" before every flight.
"The reality of this regulations is that it will once again add another expense, as an unfunded mandate, require aircraft owners to check their passengers before making a flight and is ridiculous because these aircraft don't have the range to fly anywhere where they could be used as a weapon of destruction, " said Tiernan.

(Alaska Journal of Commerce)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Southwest Airlines "Sports Illustrated One" Passes through Orange County (SNA)

737-7H4 N922WN (32461/2620) "Sports Illustrated One" arrives in Orange County (SNA). (Photo by Michael Carter)
Turns into Gate 2 as it arrives from Denver (DEN).
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Taxies towards a Rwy 19R departure bound for
Sacremento (SMF). (Photo by Michael Carter)

Southwest Airlines latest logo jet "Sports Illustrated One" or "SI One" payed a visit to John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA) this morning. The aircraft arrived from Denver at 10:13 as Flight 739 departing 20 minutes later as Flight 739, continuing service to Sacramento.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

City of Long Beach puts Airport Privatization plans on Hold

City officials in Long Beach, Calif., are temporarily suspending further discussions about privatizing the Long Beach Airport, according to the L.A. Times.

"Our plate is full right now, and a lot of things are happening," Long Beach City Manager Patrick West told the newspaper. The privatization proposal "went to the back burner."

The Long Beach City Council had planned to discuss the controversial issue in a closed session Jan. 6, but postponed it after local citizens and several council members called for opening it to the public. The hearing was postponed, but never re-scheduled.

Late last year, the city received unsolicited inquiries about the sale or long-term lease of the airport from several Wall Street firms, including Citigroup, J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, the LA Times reports.

Privatizing an airport would initially generate a financial windfall, but the controlling public entity — typically, a city government or an aviation authority — would relinquish operational control and future revenue to the private operator.

Long Beach and several other cities are contemplating the option as airport revenues dwindle along with the economy and travel demand. Long Beach is facing a projected $15.7 million revenue shortfall this year, the LA Times says.

The federal government has an experimental program that would allow five airports in the country to be privatized, only one of which can be a hub airport. Chicago Midway is the only applicant still being actively considered, while four other non-hub slots remain available.

(USA Today - Today in the Sky)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Crew of Doomed Aircraft Discussed Icing Conditions

De Havilland Canada DHC-8-402Q (Dash-8) N200WQ (4200) arrives at Manchester, New Hampshire (MHT) on February 7 just five days before crashing in Buffalo, New York.
(Photo by Eric Trum)

The crew of the commuter plane that fell on a house, killing all 49 people aboard and one person on the ground, noticed significant ice buildup on the wings and windshield just before the aircraft began pitching and rolling violently, investigators said Friday.

Continental Connection Flight 3407, bound from Newark, N.J., went down in light snow and mist — ideal conditions for ice to form — about six miles short of the Buffalo airport, plunging nose-first through the roof of a house in the suburb of Clarence.
All 44 passengers, four crew members, an off-duty pilot and one person on the ground were killed. Two others escaped from the home, which was engulfed in a raging fireball that climbed higher than the treetops and burned for hours, making it too hot to begin removing the bodies until around nightfall Friday.

Investigators pulled the black box recorders from the wreckage, sent them to Washington and immediately began analyzing the flight data and listening to the cockpit conversations.
Steve Chealander, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said at an afternoon news conference that the crew of the twin-engine turboprop discussed "significant ice buildup" on the windshield and the leading edge of the wings at an altitude of around 11,000 feet as the plane was coming in for a landing.

The flight data recorder indicated the plane's de-icing equipment was in the "on" position, but Chealander would not say whether the equipment was functioning.
The landing gear was lowered one minute before the end of the flight at an altitude of more than 2,000 feet, and 20 seconds later the wing flaps were set to slow the plane down, after which the aircraft went through "severe pitch and roll," Chealander said.

The crew raised the landing gear at the last moment, just before the recording ran out. No mayday call came from the pilot.

(Associated Press)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Long Beach Airport gets new Director

City Manager Patrick West has named Mario Rodriguez, an aviation expert with 20 years experience in the private and public sectors, as Director of Long Beach Airport. Mr. Rodriguez will start on February 23, 2009.

Mr. Rodriguez will oversee a staff of approximately 125 and an annual operating budget of approximately $28 million. Reporting to Mr. West, Mr. Rodriguez's responsibilities include airport operations, finances and leases, the Airport Noise Ordinance, community outreach and environmental matters."Mr. Rodriguez’s exemplary background in the private and public sector provides him with a unique understanding of the industry, which will be an asset to the Long Beach community as he faces many significant challenges in his new role," Mr. West said. “We conducted a rigorous national recruitment and Mario stood out with the interview panel, which included several community members. Simply put, we are very excited to have Mario join our team.”Mr. Rodriguez was most recently Deputy Director at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, where he was responsible for a staff of 186 and a $25 million annual operating budget. In addition, he oversaw the Airport’s Sound Insulation, Land Acquisition Programs and all aircraft noise monitoring activity.

Mr. Rodriguez’s leadership enabled the rapid recovery of Armstrong International Airport after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Two years later, he was recognized for his expertise in environmental management and awarded the prestigious Environmental Achievement Award from Airport Council International. "Mario's background will be very helpful with on-going airfield improvements projects, as well as the proposed new parking structure and terminal improvements,” said Acting Airport Director Chris Kunze. “Also, his proven track record of working closely with communities put him at the top of the list of candidates.” Prior to coming to Armstrong International, Mr. Rodriguez was tasked with the planning and execution of the Palm Beach County Department of Airports Capital Improvements Program. The Department operates Palm Beach International Airport, two large general aviation airports, and one small training GA airport.

In the private sector Mr. Rodriguez has worked for several multi-national consulting firms and was associated with the execution of airport master plans, design of airside and landside facilities, and construction administration. Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach International Airports were among some of the airports that he has served. “I am very honored to be chosen for this position, and look forward to working for a City that values innovation, fiscal responsibility, environmental sustainability, neighborhood relations and customer service,” Mr. Rodriguez said.Mr. Rodriquez earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from University of Miami in 1987. He sits on several boards and is an accomplished author and speaker on issues affecting the aviation industry, including Business Recovery and Disaster Management.

(Press Release - City of Long Beach)

LAX and United Settle Long Disagreement

Los Angeles World Airports has settled a long-running dispute with its biggest tenant, United Airlines, agreeing to pay the carrier $35 million. Under the agreement announced Monday, United will relinquish four gates at Terminal 6, freeing up space that could be used by other airlines.

"It's valuable real estate," said Kelly Martin, LAWA's attorney. "We've already had several expressions of interest from people who are interested in using those gates."
United also will give up the customs facility in Terminal 7, allowing the airport to charge higher customs fees to airlines. The settlement also ends a four-year dispute over United's use of gates in Terminal 8 for small commuter planes.

Before 2005, those planes used a small remote terminal on the eastern edge of the airport. Passengers had to take a bus to get to the terminal, increasing their travel times.

Having recently declared bankruptcy, United consolidated its operations at LAX in 2005 and moved the propeller planes to Terminal 8.
That was more convenient for passengers, but airport officials claimed that United was stifling competition and contributing to overcrowding at the airport.
If United had given up its gates at Terminal 8, its competitors would have been eager to expand. The dispute wound up in front of a bankruptcy judge, with LAWA demanding that United return to the vacated remote terminal, and United demanding repayment for its rental costs at the shuttered facility.

Under the settlement announced Monday, United will be allowed to keep its propeller planes at Terminal 8 - but only at the gates closest to the street.
Passengers must walk across the tarmac to board the smaller airplanes. Airport officials feared that if commuter planes were boarded closer to the runways, passengers could be blown off their feet by jet engines of passing planes.

Airport officials said the agreement would help end years of rancor with United.

(The Daily Breeze)

New Taxiway Approved at LAX

The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners approved an environmental review Monday for the crossfield taxiway project (known as C-13) at LAX, clearing the way for the first major step in its modernization program.

The airport plans to spend about $150 million on a large new taxiway that can more easily accommodate the Airbus A380, which began service in October.
The taxiway is also a necessary step toward building a major expansion and modernization of the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

Los Angeles airport officials are seeking federal stimulus funding for the entire cost of the project, said Gina-Marie Lindsey, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports.
Construction is expected to begin within a few months, and will involve demolishing several buildings and constructing a new fire rescue station at Los Angeles International.
The environmental report was approved unanimously, and without controversy.

(The Daily Breeze)

Southwest Airlines Testing New Wi-Fi Service

Southwest 737-7H4 N901WN (32545/3462) arrives in Los Angeles sporting the wi-fi dish. (Photo by Michael Carter)

Southwest has become the latest U.S. carrier to push ahead with plans for in-flight Internet access. The carrier announced it "has equipped one aircraft with the technology and is set to equip three additional aircraft by early March 2009." The carrier says it "is also partnering with Yahoo! to offer an in-flight homepage with destination-relevant content. Southwest will be testing the technology for the next few months." Southwest's service will be offered through a partnership with Row 44.

In a press release, Southwest that when customers "board the wi-fi enabled aircraft, they will be greeted with wi-fi placards and onboard instruction sheets. Those interested in using the service during the test period will have the opportunity to log on to the service free of charge via their own personal wi-fi enabled device (laptops, iPhones, wi-fi enabled smart phones, etc.). Cellular technology will not work with the wi-fi service. The service is being offered on a trial basis, and has not yet received final FCC approval."

On Tuesday, Feb. 10, the Wi-Fi enabled jet will be on the following flights today: Flight 20 (Houston-Dallas-Little Rock); Flight 860 (Little Rock-Las Vegas-Los Angeles); Flight 159 (Las Vegas-Burbank-Oakland).

Wednesday, Feb. 11, the jet will fly the following schedule: Flight 1147 (departing Oakland at 6:45 a.m. PT for Ontario and Phoenix); Flight 1791 (Phoenix-San Diego-Oakland); Flight 291 (Oakland-Orange County-Phoenix); Flight 209 (Phoenix-Oakland); Flight 1442 (Oakland-Phoenix).

(USA Today - Today in the Sky)

Southwest Airlines "Sports Illustrated One"

Southwest Airlines unveiled a temporary plane, “SI One,” at New York’s LaGuardia airport this morning in conjunction with the release of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. This plane, N922, is wrapped with a temporary decal featuring the cover model from the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

This partnership with Sports Illustrated gives Southwest unparalleled publicity to the millions of potential Customers living in the largest media market in the world. And it reinforces Southwest Airlines’ Fun-LUVing Attitude to millions of consumers and sports fans from coast to coast. We certainly would have regretted it if the opportunity to be associated with the largest selling magazine issue in the world had instead gone to one of our competitors in the New York market.

As we prepare to begin service to New York’s LaGuardia airport this year, we needed a monumental publicity event to create buzz and awareness in this market. New York is one of the most saturated media markets in the world, and the event to unveil SI One shows New Yorkers and potential Customers that Southwest Airlines is not a “typical” airline. This project is an opportunity to let Customers know we are coming to New York, remind them that Southwest is FUN, daring, and ready to serve, and that we take our business seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

(Southwest Airlines)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

V Australia Arrives in Los Angeles

V Australia's first 777-3ZG(ER) VH-VOZ (35302/745) "Didgeree Blue"
(Photo by Michael Carter)
V Australia 777-3ZG(ER) VH-VOZ (35302/745)
"Didgeree Blue" on short final to Rwy 25L at LAX.
(Photo by Michael Carter)
(Photo by Steve Griffin)

Sir Richard Branson and a few lovely V-Australia flight attendants. (Photo by Steve Griffin)

Sir Richard pops the cork from a Champagn bottle
celebrating V Australia's new Los Angeles service.
(Photo by Steve Griffin)

V Australia 777-3ZG(ER) VH-VOZ (35302/745) "Didgeree Blue" arrived in Los Angeles on Friday afternoon February 6th. The aircraft is the first of seven 360 seat 777-300s to be delivered to the new carrier. Following delivery ceremonies in Seattle, the aircraft ferried to Los Angeles with Sir Richard Branson aboard heading the festivities.

The carrier is scheduled to commence flights between Sydney and Los Angeles on February 27 with flights between Brisbane and Los Angeles to follow on April 18. Thwice weekly flights between Melbourne and Los Angeles will take flight on September 15th.

Air Canada Jazz to Operate New San Diego - Calgary Service

Air Canada announced the introduction of the only daily nonstop service between San Diego and Calgary, Alberta. The new service, starting May 15, 2009, complements Air Canada’s existing daily San Diego–Vancouver nonstop service.

"We are delighted to offer our U.S. customers the convenience of the only daily non-stop services connecting San Diego to Calgary, in addition to Vancouver," said Daniel Shurz, Vice President, Network Planning for Air Canada. "We know our customers appreciate the choice and convenience of more nonstop flights and, with the introduction of these new routes, the airline continues to offer the most extensive route network serving Calgary of any airline. With this new route, Air Canada will now offer nonstop service between Calgary and 34 cities, including nine in the United States."

"We are pleased to welcome this new international nonstop service to Calgary, a major business center and visitor destination," said Thella F. Bowens, President/CEO of the Airport Authority. "Calgary one of Canada’s largest metropolitan areas, in addition to Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, with robust industry leading Canada’s energy sector, world-class events like the Calgary Stampede and a proud Winter Olympics tradition with the Rocky Mountains nearby. We know business people and leisure travelers will benefit from this new route."

Air Canada flight 8307 will depart Calgary daily at 12:55 p.m., arriving in San Diego at 3 p.m. Air Canada flight 8308 will depart San Diego daily at 11:55 a.m., arriving in Calgary at 4:05 p.m. The flights are timed for convenient connections in Calgary to and from Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg and Toronto.

Flights will be operated by Air Canada Jazz, Air Canada’s regional affiliate, onboard 75-seat CRJ-705 aircraft offering a choice of Executive or Economy Class service. The aircraft feature free personal audio-video entertainment at every seat with a choice of 24 movies and 100 hours of TV programming. Montreal-based Air Canada provides scheduled and charter air transportation for passengers and cargo to more than 170 destinations on five continents. Canada's flag carrier is the 14th largest commercial airline in the world and serves 34 million customers annually. Air Canada is a founding member of Star Alliance, providing the world's most comprehensive air transportation network. Air Canada aircraft offer customers individualized seatback in-flight entertainment systems with hundreds of hours of digital audio-visual entertainment.

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority was established by state law in 2003 to operate San Diego International Airport and to address the region’s long-term air transportation needs. San Diego International Airport — funded through user fees and not local taxes — served 18.1 million passengers in 2008 and generates some $10 billion in annual economic impact for the region.

(San Diego Airport Public Relations - Media)

Air Force Deal for 15 new C-17A's Approved

C-17A 07-7183 (P-183) rolls for takeoff on Rwy 30
as it departs on a pre-delivery test flight.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

The U.S. Air Force has awarded Boeing Co. a $2.95 billion contract to build 15 more C-17 Globemaster III long-range cargo jets, a move that extends the life of the production line to summer 2010, Boeing Co. officials announced Friday.

The award for the order, which had been approved by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush in June, is good news for Long Beach, where more than 5,000 people work at the C-17 plant.
The Long Beach plant is Southern California's last major airplane manufacturing line and the city's largest private employer. "Fulfilling this critical airlift need for the Air Force will keep C-17s moving down our production line until at least August 2010, even as we complete existing orders from the Air Force and our international customers," Boeing officials said in a statement. "We will continue to work with Congress and the U.S. Air Force to provide an affordable option for meeting current and future airlift needs."

News reports say the USAF will use the C-17s to transport cargo or troops.
In recent years, Boeing officials have been aggressively pursuing domestic and international contract leads to stretch the Long Beach production line, which at one point expected to deliver its last C-17 in mid-2009.

But the C-17 program has been successful in gleaning international contracts with countries such as Canada, Great Britain and Australia. Also, the program recently signed with Qatar an agreement for the purchase of two airlifters and accepted orders for three Globemaster III long-range cargo jets with costs shared by 10 NATO members and non-NATO members Sweden and Finland.
(Long Beach Press Telegram)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Saudi Arabian Airlines 747SP visits LAX

Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 747SP-68 HZ-AIF (22503/529) arrived at Los Angeles International Airport (KLAX/LAX) at 17:18 PST following a flight from Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport (LFPG/CDG) as flt SVA7725. The aircraft was on the ground only short time before it departed back to Paris at 19:50 PST and carrying the same flt number.

In the above photo, the aircraft is captured on short final to Rwy 25L as the sun sets in the west. (Photo by Michael Carter)