Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Continental Airlines Commences Los Angeles - Cuba Flights

Continental Airlines will begin offering direct flights from Los Angeles International Airport to Cuba today, two months after President Barack Obama eased travel restrictions to the communist country.

Cuba Travel Services will offer a flight every Tuesday on a Boeing 737-800 operated by Continental Airlines. The flight will take off from LAX at 11 a.m. Most travel from the United States to Cuba has been banned since an embargo was imposed on Cuba in 1962. Cuban-Americans were allowed to visit their families under various policies, however. Then, about five years ago, President George W. Bush placed a three times a year limit on such trips for Cuban-Americans. His administration also more tightly regulated who could accompany them as family members on the trips.

President Obama repealed those restrictions in April. Cuba Travel says it hopes its new flights will be possible with the 100,000 Cuban-Americans living in California. Some 85,000 of those live in Los Angeles. The company also hopes to serve journalists, government officials and researchers, as well as sports teams, educational facilities and other groups. Cuba Travel Services was formed by a group of Los Angeles business professionals to facilitate a better understanding between the United States and Cuba.

(KTLA.Com / KTLA Channel 5)

United Airlines flight bound for SNA declares Emergency

(Photo by Michael Carter)

United Airlines A320-232 N437UA (655) operatring as UAL140 San Francisco (SFO) - Orange County (SNA) arrived safely lastnight (June 29) at 21:16 after reporting smoke in the cockpit and declaring an emergency. Orange County Fire Department crash trucks staged for the aircrafts arrival and made a brief inspection of the aircraft following it's arrival. After landing the aircraft taxied directly to gate 4 followed by numerous OCFD equipement and all passengers were deplanned safely.

Good-bye Kodachrome

As reported last week, Eastman Kodak sadly will end the Kodachrome film line which is scheduled to be phased out by years end. Long time friend and Kodachrome user Bill Hough sent me this article he found in the Wall Street Journel on the films demise......Cheers Michael

The history of photography is in no small part the history of its technology. Equipment is constantly updated and thus constantly becoming obsolete. But while the discontinuance of Kodachrome may not be felt as keenly as that of other recently defunct items -- notably Polaroid's SX-70 film or Kodak's black-and-white printing papers -- the Kodak film has given honorable service for so long (since 1935 in movie cameras, since 1936 in 35mm still cameras) that its demise calls for a send-off more ceremonial than just a quote from the Paul Simon lyric.

All kinds of photographers at one time depended on color slides. During the second half of the 20th century, Kodachrome recorded countless American vacations, memories that in many households have slept undisturbed for years in their 2-by-2-inch cardboard sleeves. The film was also called upon for art-history lectures and elaborate advertisements, by travel and shelter magazines and, beginning in the early 1960s, by news weeklies.

Photo-realist painters and installation artists employed it as a humble tool. The shrewd exhibition "Slide Show," which premiered at the Baltimore Museum of Art in 2005 -- six months after Kodak stopped making projectors -- brought together 19 works (and more than 2,500 slides) by artists as different as Nan Goldin, Dan Graham and Louise Lawler.

Even Ansel Adams, who distrusted color because in his day its reproduction on the page was so iffy, made hundreds of Kodachromes in various formats for commercial jobs during the '40s and '50s. A sample of this unrecognized work will soon appear in the volume "Ansel Adams in Color," to be published this fall by Little Brown.

Sports Illustrated was launched in 1954 as a weekly designed to exploit the emerging potential of color photography. A new celebratory volume published by the magazine, also named "Slide Show," is inadvertently a farewell valentine to Kodachrome. The picture book reproduces slides of famous moments, such as Lynn Swann's diving 1976 Super Bowl catch, caught by Heinz Kluetmeier's lens, complete with the notations added over the years by editors along the white border of the picture after they peered at it through similarly outmoded tools, the loupe and the light box.

Walter Iooss Jr., who began to work at the magazine in 1961, has mixed feelings about the end of the Kodachrome era. "It wasn't like you had a lot of options if you wanted to shoot in color," he recalls by phone from his house in Montauk, N.Y. For portraits and brightly lighted outdoor scenes, it was the go-to film, even though early versions were so slow (rated at ASA 10) that "if you got any frozen action, it was a miracle." The saturation of hues was the selling point and "the grain was sensational. Hands down it was the best color film of the period, until the '80s when Fuji caught up."

Kodachrome was so complicated to develop that amateurs and professionals were on an equal footing in relying on labs to handle the film. No basement darkroom was up to the task. Kodak had the exclusive processing rights until 1954, when the Supreme Court ruled this monopolistic practice unlawful. Among some photographers, says Mr. Iooss, the expensive regimen involved gave the film a "near mystical" status. "There was only a few labs that processed it," he says. In recent years, that number had shrunk to only one. Mr. Iooss is even willing to muster regret for a less-heralded aspect of Kodachrome -- its trim little canisters. With their tight rubber caps, he swears they were "the greatest devices for smuggling contraband of all time."

What he won't lament is "carrying film through airports" where fogging by X-ray machines had been known to ruin a week's work. Or "waiting three or four days for the film to come back." Or "guessing when it was expired." Once you took Kodachrome out of the box -- and photographers at Sports Illustrated would grab "bricks" of unexposed rolls before heading out on assignment -- you never knew when your unused film was out-of-date. "There's a lot I don't miss about Kodachrome," he says.

Art photography, too, is now largely digital. But the American street and landscape photographers, who in the '60s and '70s made color as respectable as black-and-white, often preferred color transparencies over color negative film. William Eggleston urged his friend William Christenberry to try Kodachrome in the early '70s. "I liked the density of the color," says Mr. Christenberry from his home in Washington, D.C. "I like things to be real. Some people think Kodachrome color is surreal, but I never felt that way." A book of this body of work is scheduled to be published next year by Aperture.

Joel Meyerowitz, another leading member of that generation, began shooting with Kodachrome in 1962 and carried it in his bag until a few years ago. Over the phone from Cape Cod, he recalls walking around New York during his youth with the British photographer Tony Ray-Jones: "He and I would shoot with Kodachrome, almost every day, and get expedited service, overnight. Then we would project the pictures on the wall, two or three feet across, and analyze what we had done and what the film would do in certain kinds of light." He and other Kodachrome die-hards rhapsodize about "the luminous skin tones" it could elicit. "If you got the exposure right, you got the most exquisite curve. It held the information in the shadows and the highlights."

Dye-transfer printing -- still the most vivid and long-lasting, not to mention costly, way to reproduce color on paper -- was easier with Kodachrome than with other films, in Mr. Meyerowitz's opinion. Its three color emulsion layers (with filter layers built in) and the complex "subtractive" process required to produce the image was ideal for dye-transfers. "It's as if the film gave back to the dye-transfer lab what was already embedded there," he says. He credits Kodachrome with "instructing me in what the medium was capable of."

Digital technology has transformed picture-making and much else about contemporary life. The pace of change shows no signs of slowing down. But photography, by preserving figments of the present for the future, is innately elegiac.

It shouldn't be too long before songs are written by young men and women concerned that another innovation is taking their JPEGs, TIFFs, GIFs and PNGs away, if they haven't already accidentally erased the files themselves.

(Richard B. Woodward - Wall Street Journel)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Qantas Cancels Orders for 15 Boeing 787 Aircraft

Australia's Qantas cancelled a three billion US dollar order for 15 of Boeing's troubled 787 Dreamliner aircraft, citing a marked deterioration in the global economic environment.
Qantas said in a statement that it had reached agreement to "cancel orders for 15 B787-9s scheduled for delivery in 2014/2015."

Company CEO Alan Joyce said the cancellation had not been influenced by the delay of the aircraft's inaugural flight earlier this week due to a design flaw.
"Qantas announced its original B787 order in December 2005, and the operating environment for the world's airlines has clearly changed dramatically since then," he said.

Boeing on Tuesday delayed the maiden flight and delivery of its 787 Dreamliner for the fifth time, to reinforce the aircraft's structure, and said a new schedule would be available in "several weeks". Already nearly two years behind schedule, the carbon-composite Dreamliner has been touted to usher in an era of lighter, more fuel-efficient planes, and is seen as key to the aerospace giant's future.

The statement said Qantas and Boeing had also agreed to postpone delivery of a further 15 Dreamliners by four years. "The latest delay is disappointing but ... we remain committed to the aircraft as the right choice for (budget offshoot) Jetstar's future international expansion, Qantas' growth, and as a replacement for Qantas' B767-300 fleet," Joyce said. "The B787 will provide international capacity growth and new routes ... and mean lower operating and maintenance costs, greater fuel efficiency and improved environmental performance."

The cancellation takes Qantas' total B787 orders from 65 to 50 by 2017, and follows a decision to more than halve its profit forecast in April and axe up to 1,750 jobs.

Qantas at that time deferred orders for four Airbus A380 superjumbos and 12 Boeing 737-800s, while saying it was in talks to delay delivery of 15 Dreamliners, due to a rapid and significant deterioration in the global economy.

(Yahoo Business News)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Qatar C-17A now on Flight Ramp

(Photo by Michael Carter)

The first C-17A destined for the Qatar Emiri Air Force (F-207) is now on the flight ramp at Long Beach. The second Qatar C-17A (F-208) will be in the paint shop shortly and is going to be painted in a gloss white/tan livery, should be something special to see.

Continental Airlines Celebrates 75th Anniversary with Introduction of Retro Livery Aircraft

Continental Airlines 737-924/ER (33531/2947) N75436 taxies at Boeing Field (BFI) prior to delivery.
(Photo by Joe G. Walker)

Continental Airlines today announced that it is taking delivery this week of another new Boeing 737-900ER, which is painted with a retro livery to commemorate the airline's 75th anniversary on July 15, 2009.

The new aircraft's retro livery, which was originally used on aircraft beginning in 1947 and is called The Blue Skyway, was selected by Continental employees. Continental will fly the new aircraft to its three hubs for anniversary celebration events for employees and retirees. The aircraft will make an appearance at Houston Bush Intercontinental on Thursday, June 25, and at New York/Newark Liberty and Cleveland Hopkins on Friday, June 26.

"I am proud to celebrate this exciting occasion with the Continental team, including both our current 43,000 co-workers, as well as the many retired co-workers who paved Continental's history and made the airline what it is today," said Larry Kellner, Continental's chairman and chief executive officer. "Not many 75-year-olds believe their future will be longer and more vibrant than their history, but that's exactly what we're looking forward to at Continental."

The Early Years Continental traces its history to Varney Speed Lines, started in 1934 by Walter T. Varney primarily to carry U.S. mail. On July 15, 1934, the airline launched its first flight, carrying 100 letters and no passengers between Pueblo, Colo. and El Paso, Texas. At the time, Franklin Roosevelt was president, the average U.S. annual income was about $1,600, a new car cost $625 and a gallon of gas cost 10 cents.

Walter Varney focused on the new airline's fleet, called Continental "America's Fastest" due to its speedier aircraft. A focus on a strong fleet is one thing that hasn't changed over the last 75 years: Continental today flies the newest, most fuel-efficient jet fleet of all the major U.S. network carriers. Varney earlier started a different airline, which became United Airlines. Later this year, the two carriers founded by Walter Varney plan to make an historic reunion by joining together as alliance partners in Star Alliance.

Longtime Leader: Bob Six Varney Speed Lines became Continental Airlines in 1937 under the leadership of the legendary Robert F. Six, who captained the airline into the "jet age" and expanded its reach for more than 40 years. Bob Six laid the groundwork for Continental's reputation for top-notch service and a customer focus.

In 1944, passenger revenue exceeded revenue from carrying mail for the first time in the airline's history. Under Six's leadership, Continental in the late 1940s became one of the first carriers to experiment with coach fares, and established first-class "Gold Carpet Service" in the late 1950s. "One thing that's never changed goes back to Robert Six - we still want to give customers the best experience from the time they board the plane until they get to their destination," says Houston-based Administrator of Manuals and Publications Jo Strauss, who has been with the company since 1968.Bob Six also secured a Continental stronghold in the pacific by creating Air Micronesia, which remains a wholly-owned Continental subsidiary today.

Times of Tumult

In the late 1970s, following the Airline Deregulation Act, through the early 1990s, Continental went through some of its darkest days, struggling through years of financial losses, a gaggle of challenging mergers and acquisitions, and two bankruptcies, as well as labor relations that strained to the breaking point. Even through these grim times, several bright spots emerged: in 1987, Continental established its OnePass frequent flyer program, and in 1992, the airline launched its premium product, BusinessFirst, which provides first-class service at business-class fares.
In addition, Continental's current domestic hubs were formed during this period. In the late 70s and early 80s, following deregulation, Continental's presence in Houston, which began with the airline's first flight into the city in 1951, strengthened into a true hub. In February 1987, Continental's merger with People Express provided the foundation for the carrier to grow and develop a leading presence in the strategic New York market, transforming Newark Liberty into one of the world's premier international global gateways. Continental remains the largest carrier in the New York area today. In July 1987, Continental's Cleveland hub opened, tripling the airline's presence in the city.

From Worst to First

Then, in 1994, Gordon Bethune became CEO and led the company through one of the most dramatic turnarounds in business history, taking it from "worst to first."
Much as Six set the tone on customer satisfaction, Bethune brought to the forefront a culture of employees working together. Bethune and Continental's senior management team also instituted the Go Forward Plan to make sure the whole team had their eyes on the same target. The same working-together culture and Go Forward Plan continue to underlie Continental's success even today.

Continental Today

Current Chairman and CEO Larry Kellner, who has been with the company since 1995, took the helm when Gordon Bethune departed in late 2004. Larry credits Continental's co-workers for the airline's success in recent years. As chairman and CEO, Larry stays focused on open, honest and direct communication with co-workers across the system, taking input from all directions as the company faces today's opportunities and challenges. Additionally, Larry has piloted Continental through years of international growth while continuing to focus on the fundamentals that his predecessors laid down before him: employee relations, customer satisfaction, and building a strong fleet.

"I never thought in my wildest imagination that someday I'd be able to fly all over the world," said DFW-based Customer Service Agent and Ramp Equipment Coordinator Joe Caudle, who in 1951 joined Trans-Texas Airways (later renamed Texas International), which originally served routes in Texas and merged with Continental in the early 1980s. Continental "has gotten better - for passengers, employees, and the airline in general. We probably have the best executive staff in the industry. I credit them for where we stand now - the most admired airline in the world."

During Larry's time with Continental, the carrier has received more awards for customer satisfaction than any other airline, including being named FORTUNE magazine's most admired global airline for six consecutive years on the magazine's annual airline industry list. Despite these honors, the carrier has no intention of resting on its laurels.

Symbolic of Continental's focus on the future, the new retro-painted Boeing 737-900ER will be delivered equipped with an advanced technology GPS Landing System (GLS) that will take advantage of a new NextGen satellite-based landing system being installed later this year at Newark Liberty. Continental is partnering with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the FAA, Rockwell Collins and Gables to make this technology a reality. This is just one of many NextGen technologies and capabilities that Continental has pioneered over the years as the airline works to make operations safer and more reliable, fuel efficient, and environmentally friendly.

Other firsts being initiated in Continental's 75th anniversary year are the introduction of DIRECTV® service, installation of flat-bed seats in BusinessFirst, and service to Shanghai.
"I have been here for over 28 years," said EWR-based 757 Captain Tom Stephens. "I have worked with the best people that I could have wished for. There have been some serious ups and downs. There have been times when the future looked bleak and times when the future looked bright. Through it all we have survived and, for the most part, done it with good humor and the determination to get through the rough spots with confidence that there would be better days. We should look around us now with satisfaction at the Continental we each, in our own way, helped to create."
(Continental Airlines - Press Release)

Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA) "Green Freighter" Commences Operations

Nippon Cargo Airlines "Green" 747-481F/SCD JA04KZ (34283/1384) taxies at Los Angeles on June 20.
(Photo by Joe G. Walker)

Nippon Cargo Airlines is the first Japanese airline company to adopt an innovative new paint system, developed by Mankiewicz Gebr. & Co. of Germany, and will operate an "NCA Green Freighter" with its nose painted green.The newly painted Boeing 747-481F/SCD JA04KZ “NCA Pegasus” became operational as the Green Freighter on Friday, May 8, taking off for Shanghai at 10:25 a.m.*

The improved paint, which incorporates new ingredients, covers the base material of the fuselage with thin layers of paint, effectively reducing the weight of the fuselage by around 45kg per aircraft. This reduction in weight will cut the amount of fuel consumed by about 42 drums per year. The new paint is also weather-resistant, making it less vulnerable to rain and exposure to ultra violet rays, which cause degradation in color and gloss, while there is less paint stripping than with existing paint systems.

This will extend the working life of the aircraft’s paint. It also reduces the amount of cleaning agent to be used and the polluted water that is discharged as it requires less frequent washing. The new paint system has a number of positive effects that help preserve the environment.NCA will actively engage itself in protecting and preserving the environment in order to sustain a prosperous society. We will make our utmost effort to become an Earth-friendly and human-friendly company.

(Nippon Cargo Airlines - Press Release)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New FAA Rules will Enhance Commuter Aircraft Safety

Skywest CRJ200ER N443SW (7638) arrives in San Francisco sporting the carriers "30th Anniversary" livery.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

The Federal Aviation Administration, following up on earlier pledges to enhance commuter airline safety, said Wednesday it will convene a panel to draft recommendations by Sept. 1 on new rules aimed at alleviating fatigue among pilots working for such carriers.

As part of its effort to ramp up commuter oversight, the FAA for the first time also has specifically instructed its inspectors review the performance of less-experienced pilots as well as those who flunked flight tests or require remedial training.In addition, federal regulators will "develop the authority and processes" to ensure that contracts between major airlines and their commuter partners mandate sharing of safety practices, according to FAA documents released Wednesday.

To better identify pilots with repeated lapses in various training settings or at different carriers, the agency called on airlines and unions to commit by July 31 to work together to produce more exhaustive background checks of pilots. The FAA called for an industry-wide policy to require that airlines obtain all FAA records pertaining to an individual pilot before hiring.

Currently airlines must obtain individual waivers from pilots to review their comprehensive training records The moves were prompted by fallout from the Feb. 12 crash of a commuter airliner outside Buffalo, N.Y., which killed 50 people.

The aviation rule making committee dealing with crew-scheduling and fatigue issues will consist of regulators, airline representatives and labor leaders. It is slated to be convened by mid-July, with an ambitious deadline of finishing its deliberations in roughly 60 days.

The multifaceted announcement comes less than two weeks after FAA chief Randy Babbitt presided over an industry-wide summit on commuter airline safety held in Washington. Mr. Babbitt emerged from the summit saying he hoped to move quickly on several fronts, including drafting tougher rules on pilot fatigue within months.

Congressional and public concerns about commuter airline safety have grown since the Feb. 12 crash of a Colgan Air Inc. plane while on approach to land at the airport in Buffalo. Investigators discovered that the captain of the turboprop, flying under contract to serve Inc., failed a number of flight-proficiency tests in his career. The crash also highlighted questions about adequate crew rest and pay for many commuter pilots.

"The FAA is making pilot fatigue a high priority and will work rapidly to develop and implement a new flight time and rest rule based on fatigue science and a review of international approaches to the issue," the agency said in a statement Wednesday. The FAA said it intends to hold at least 10 regional safety forums to firm up previous commitments by airlines, unions and other interest groups. The FAA also promised to work with lawmakers who are working on a variety of bills to enhance commuter-airline safety.

(The Wall Street Journel)

RAF C-17A Returns Home to Long Beach

(Photo by Douglas Kerr)

On Monday June 22, Royal Air Force (RAF) C-17A ZZ172 (F-75 / UK2) arrived at Long Beach Airport (LGB) and parked on Signature the ramp.

Indian Air Force (IAF) Considers C-17A Purchase

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has shortlisted the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III as its new Very Heavy Lift Transport Aircraft (VHTAC).

Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik is quoted by the India Strategic defence magazine as saying that the aircraft had been chosen after a thorough study because of its capability to take off and land on short runways with heavy loads, long range, and ease of operation.

IAF was looking at acquiring ten C-17s initially through the US government’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route, and a proposal in this regard was being considered by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), he said adding that the aircraft should come in about three years after a contract is signed.

(Thaindian News)

Southwest Dispatchers Conerned About Maintenace Flights to Central America

Dispatchers at Southwest Airlines, represented by the Transport Workers Union (TWU), whose job is to guarantee flight safety, have raised “multiple safety concerns” about Southwest Airlines flights to El Salvador for major overhauls.

TWU Local 550 members also have been disturbed by what appear to be “an ongoing close relationship between the FAA and SWA.” The FAA has worked with Southwest to grant waivers for the Central America-bound flights, but the agency has not been forthcoming in answering dispatcher questions about safeguards and regulatory compliance.

The agency’s lack of response to dispatchers, who are charged with FAA compliance and essentially serve as an airline’s safety officers, has become so absurd that the local union has resorted to putting a display on its Web site with the number of days without a response --20 days at the time of this release.

A letter to all dispatchers from the union’s leadership outlining problems with the El Salvador-bound flights can be found at the union’s Web site
www.twu550.org .
Flight dispatchers at Southwest and other airlines are responsible for planning and monitoring the progress of an aircraft journey. Both the pilot in command and the dispatcher are legally responsible for the safety of a flight.

(Business Wire)

First Flight of 787 Delayed once Again

Boeing delayed 787 first flight, expected to take place this week, again yesterday, citing "a series of relatively small areas" on both sides of the aircraft's body in the "upper wing join area" that registered stress levels during static testing that "exceeded expectations."

Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Scott Carson said the manufacturer determined Friday that without reinforcing the areas, the 787 would have to be operated in "such a small envelope" that it "wouldn't be worth it" to start a flight test program that would "not [be] particularly useful to prepare the aircraft for certification." The company did not set a new target date for first flight, saying only that it will announce a new schedule in "several weeks." It did not say whether or how long first delivery to ANA, slated for the 2010 first quarter, would be delayed.

The latest postponement marks the sixth time Boeing has delayed the Dreamliner program and comes after several months in which top executives repeatedly insisted that first flight would take place by the end of the second quarter. At last week's Paris Air Show, Carson reiterated that the company was "absolutely committed" to first flight by the end of this month and VP and GM-Airplane Programs Pat Shanahan told reporters that first flight was "imminent."

"When we were at Paris last week. . .we were of a mind that the aircraft could enter the flight test program," Carson told analysts and reporters yesterday. He revealed that the "anomaly" in question first was discovered "several weeks ago," but until Friday "we thought we had a solution that would allow us to move to the flight test program."

VP and GM-787 Program Scott Fancher said there are 18 1-2-sq.-in. areas on each side of the aircraft that need reinforcement to reduce stress levels. Boeing is working with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which manufactures the 787's wings, and Fuji Heavy Industries, which handles the detailed design and assembly of the center wing box and its integration, to determine a fix. "We're talking about a relatively small number of parts and a relatively simple modification," Fancher said, adding that the solution will likely be "a handful of parts that you can literally hold in your hand that can be added to the structure to provide stress reinforcement." He noted that "several solutions" are being considered.

Once developed, the new parts first will have to be put on the static test aircraft and then on the flight test aircraft. Boeing will need to "proceed with additional [ground] testing" with the new parts before first flight, Shanahan said. Fancher noted that the modifications can be done on the initial flight test aircraft "out in the field" and will be done on all 787s in assembly wherever the aircraft is in the production process.

The fix will be designed to "be retrofitted into the aircraft," Carson explained. He added that while the problem is a "disappointment," it is "quite manageable," and Shanahan emphasized that "this is a structural reinforcement issue, not an issue with materials or workmanship."

(ATWOnline News)

ANA Unhappy with Latest 787 Program Delay Announcement

ANA said yesterday that it is "disappointed" with the latest 787 program delay and is seeking a new delivery schedule from Boeing "as quickly as possible."

First delivery to ANA had been slated for the 2010 first quarter and was already contingent on an aggressive flight test schedule proceeding smoothly. Boeing said yesterday it will be "several weeks" before it announces a new target date for first flight. "As we delay the flight test program. . .there will be some impact [on the delivery schedule], but at this point we don't know the magnitude," Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Scott Carson said.

ANA President and CEO Mineo Yamamoto told ATWOnline in December, when Boeing announced the most recent delay before yesterday, that the multiple delivery postponements had made its "medium-term business plan, whose core component was the 787. . .no longer viable."

Boeing has had 57 cancellations of 787 orders this year and Qatar Airways has indicated it is considering canceling its order for 60. Nevertheless, the Dreamliner order book stands at more than 800 and most customers appear eager to receive the aircraft. Continental Airlines, for example, said yesterday that it is "disappointed" by the latest delay but remains "committed" to the "game changer" plane.

Carson said he began calling airline customers late Monday night to inform them of the new delay. "I think all of them. . .respected our judgment," he said. He added that the manufacturer will keep the 787 production process moving, which could reduce the impact of the delay on later deliveries. VP and GM-787 Program Scott Fancher said, "Our initial assessment is we'll continue to flow the production system, incorporate [the needed modifications] and keep the process flowing."

(ATWOnline News)

Republic Airways Bids for Frontier Airlines Takeover

Republic Airways Holdings has offered to buy bankrupt Frontier Airlines Holdings for $108.8 million, which if approved would allow Frontier to exit bankruptcy and increase Republic's stable of carriers.

"Adding Frontier to the Republic portfolio of operating companies is an opportunity for both companies to build on recent successes and strengthen the Republic organization for the benefit of all stakeholders," Republic Chairman, President and CEO Bryan Bedford said. Its three wholly owned subsidiaries, Republic Airlines, Shuttle America and Chautauqua Airlines, operate under air service agreements with American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Midwest Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways.

The Frontier deal would diversify Republic's holdings and offer a hedge against further reductions in regional flying by its mainline partners. While regional partnerships have been strained as mainline carriers won concessions and reduced flying by regional partners, a number of regional carriers, including Republic, have maintained strong cash reserves.

If the Frontier acquisition is approved it will mark the second takeover by Republic this year. It issued an $8 million line of credit to struggling Hawaiian carrier Mokulele Airlines, which defaulted on the loan in March, allowing Republic to take control.

Yesterday, Frontier filed its proposed plan of reorganization and a motion to approve the investment agreement with Republic, subject to higher and better proposals under a court-supervised auction. A hearing is scheduled for July 13. "This agreement represents a major milestone in our ongoing efforts to position Frontier to emerge from bankruptcy as a competitive, sustainable airline," President and CEO Sean Menke said.

The proposed plan provides $28.8 million in cash for general unsecured creditors and for $40 million of sale proceeds to be applied as repayment of a debtor-in-possession loan held by Republic since March.

(ATWOnline News)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Republic Airways Buys Midwest Airlines

Midwest Connect (Republic Airlines) ERJ-170-100SU N813MA (17000031) climbs from Rwy 25R at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). (Photo by Michael Carter)

Midwest Airlines Inc. is being acquired by Republic Airways Holdings Inc., a move that ends 25 years of local control for the largest airline to fly out of Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport, it was announced Tuesday.

The Midwest name will remain alive under Republic's ownership, and the vast majority of Midwest's 1,640 employees will keep their jobs, said Bryan Bedford, Republic CEO and future CEO of Midwest. Timothy Hoeksema, Midwest's long-time CEO, will retire when the acquisition is completed within a month or so.

But there will be job cuts, coming mainly from the ranks of administrative and back-office employees who are doing similar work performed by their Republic counterparts, Bedford said. Midwest's 112 union pilots and 120 union flight attendants will likely face pay cuts as they are integrated into Republic's labor contract, which pays lower salaries to its union flight crews than what Midwest flight crews earn.

Also, Republic plans to restore some of the destinations Midwest cut last year when the Oak Creek-carrier reduced service by 40% after jet fuel prices spiked. But Republic will be flying Midwest passengers on its Embraer jets. That aircraft has fewer wide Midwest "signature" seats than Midwest's nine remaining Boeing 717 jets, which will be phased out.

It adds up to big changes for Midwest, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this month. But some things will remain the same.

People who've booked future Midwest flights don't have to worry: those tickets will be honored once Republic acquires Midwest. Members of Midwest's frequent flier program will see their awards continue to be honored, Bedford said. And the chocolate chip cookies will still be served.
But the biggest challenge might be for Republic to convince local passengers, many of whom remain loyal to the hometown airline, that Midwest will continue to offer good service.

Bedford said the 94-seat Embraer 190 jets, which Midwest will begin flying non-stop to Los Angeles on Aug. 1, will include 10 seats that are the wide "signature" seats. He said that will help Midwest compete with other airlines, including low-care carriers Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways.

The biggest distinction for Midwest will be that it will fly to more nonstop destinations from Milwaukee than its competitors, Bedford said.

Speculation about Republic possibly buying Midwest had been building among airline industry observers in recent months.

Tuesday's announcement comes just two weeks after Midwest said it was getting additional financing and jet service from Republic. As part of that transaction, Republic said it was lending Midwest $6 million.

Republic's role at Midwest has been growing since last fall, when Republic lent financially troubled Midwest $25 million. That loan, which helped Midwest avoid Chapter 11 bankruptcy, comes due in September. It was tied to the first Midwest-Republic contract, with Embraer 170 jets replacing 16 Boeing 717s, leading to a layoff of 240 Midwest employees.

Under the acquisition terms, Republic will provide $31 million - $6 million in cash, and a $25 million five-year note convertible to Republic stock - to TPG Capital, a Fort Worth-based investment firm that owns a 53% stake in Midwest. Republic also is acquiring Delta Air Lines' 47% stake in Midwest. Delta acquired that stake last year when it bought Northwest Airlines Corp., which joined TPG in the January 2008 purchase of Midwest for $452 million. Northwest had previously written off its investment in Midwest.

Republic is among the few U.S. airlines that is profitable at a time when the recession has hurt demand for air travel. Republic in 2008 reported total revenue of $1.48 billion and posted net income of $84.6 million. It flies regional routes for larger carriers, such as United Express for United Airlines Inc. Midwest accounts for about 5% of Republic's regional airline services revenue.

Republic's revenue and profits have grown steadily since it became a publicly traded company in 2004. Its largest customers for flying regional routes include Delta Air Lines Inc., US Airways Inc., United Airlines, Continental Airlines Inc. and American Airlines Inc. Republic carries a lower cost structure than those larger airlines in part because Republic's pilots earn less money, and because Republic isn't burdened with a heavy pension liability, industry consultant Vaughan Cordle said. "They're a little bit more efficient than everybody else," Cordle said.
With the Midwest acquisition, and Republic's disclosure Monday of its plans to buy Denver-based Frontier Airlines, Republic could end up owning two separate carriers, along with its business of flying regional routes for large airlines. Bedford said buying and operating Midwest and Frontier carries higher risk but also provides a way for Republic to diversify its revenue.

1948: Kimberly-Clark Corp. begins providing air transportation for executives traveling between its headquarters and company mills

1969: The company's expertise in operating a corporate air shuttle leads to the formation of K-C Aviation

1984: K-C Aviation and Kimberly-Clark form Midwest Express Airlines, which begins commercial operations with two planes serving three destinations from Milwaukee.

1989: Under an agreement with Midwest, Mesa Airlines Inc. operates a commuter feeder system for Midwest called Skyway Airlines

1994: Skyway Airlines becomes Midwest Connect

1995: Midwest Express Holdings Inc., the parent company of Midwest Express, holds its initial public stock offering

2003: Midwest Express changes its name to Midwest Airlines.

2007: Midwest fends off a hostile takeover attempt by AirTran Holdings Inc.

2008: Fort Worth-based TPG Capital and Minneapolis-based Northwest Airlines Corp. close on purchase of Midwest, with TPG owning a 53% stake. Later in the year, Northwest is acquired by Delta Air Lines.

2009: Indianapolis-based Republic Airways, which has provided air services and loans to Midwest, announces the purchase of the airline.
(Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel)

Southwest Airlines Customer Service Agents Approve new Contract

Southwest Airlines is pleased to announce that its Customer Support and Services and airport Customer Service Employees represented by the International Association of Machinists (IAM) and Aerospace Workers District 142, voted to ratify the tentative, four-year contract both parties reached last month. The new contract is active through October 31, 2012.

"Customer Service is in our DNA," said Mike Van de Ven, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Southwest Airlines. "Our hard working Customer Support and Services Representatives in the call centers and our airport Customer Service Agents provide outstanding service each day. I'm also proud of the Negotiating Teams for their nine months of effort and for delivering this contract during challenging economic times."

IAM represents more than 5,300 Southwest Airlines Employees.

(Southwest Airlines - Press Release)

Southwest Airlines begins Milwaukee service in November

Southwest Airlines will start flying to Milwaukee on Nov. 1, the carrier announced today.

The Dallas-based airline said it would begin service with 12 daily nonstop flights: three each to Baltimore/Washington and Kansas City, two each to Las Vegas and Orlando and one each to Phoenix and Tampa Bay.

Tickets on those routes purchased by Friday will be priced as low as $35, which the company said was in honor of Wisconsin becoming the 35th state the carrier will serve.

(Houston Chronicle)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Southwest Airlines to begin charging for wi-fi Access

Southwest Airlines Co. will start charging for Internet access on board four of its planes beginning Wednesday.

The airline said Monday it will charge $2 to $12 depending on the length of the flight and the type of device passengers use to connect to the Internet.

Southwest has been testing in-flight Internet access on the four planes for several months free of charge to passengers with a laptop or other device.

Southwest and other airlines see potential revenue in charging passengers to surf the Web or check e-mail during flights.

Delta Air Lines Inc. and AMR Corp.'s American Airlines have announced plans to install Internet access on more than 300 planes each, although far fewer have been completed. Both are charging up to $12.95 — less on shorter flights and for using a handheld device instead of a laptop computer.

(Associated Press)

Virgin Atlantic Buys 10 A330 Aircraft

Privately-owned airline Virgin Atlantic has placed an order for 10 Airbus A330-300 aircraft, the company said on Monday ahead of an official announcement at London's Heathrow Airport.

The 25-year old airline, controlled by Richard Branson's Virgin Group, said the deal was worth USD$2.1 billion. Five of the wide-body aircraft would be delivered in 2011, the other five in 2012, Virgin Atlantic said.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Qantas Flight Experiences Severe Turbulence - 6 Hurt

Qantas Airways Ltd., Australia’s largest airline, said a flight between Hong Kong and Perth experienced severe turbulence overnight resulting in injuries to six passengers and one crew member.

The disruption occurred about 4 hours out of Hong Kong, Sydney-based Qantas said in a statement sent by e-mail today. The captain of flight QF68, an Airbus A330-300, reported damage to two overhead panels in the cabin. Two oxygen masks were also dislodged, it said.
Qantas doesn’t believe the incident is related to others involving A330 aircraft, it said.

Air France flight AF447, an Airbus A330-200, crashed June 1 with 228 people aboard while flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. French investigators have yet to find conclusive evidence on what caused the crash.

Qantas flight QF68 is operating normally and was scheduled to land in Perth, capital of Western Australia state, at 7:30 a.m. local time, the airline said. The incident has been reported to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which will investigate, according to Qantas.


US Airways Announces New Charlotte N.C. - Honolulu, Hawaii Service

US Airways customers will now have more ways to catch the Aloha Spirit when the airline begins nonstop service between its largest hub in Charlotte, North Carolina and Honolulu, Hawaii on the island of Oahu. Daily, year-round service is set to begin Thursday, December 17, 2009.

The new flight will complement US Airways’ daily nonstop service to Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island from its Phoenix hub. It will be operated with Boeing 767 aircraft with seating for 18 in First Class and 186 in the main cabin.

“Hawaii is one of US Airways’ most popular vacation destinations. We’re pleased to add another flight and give our customers on the East Coast easy access to Honolulu and the Island of Oahu,” said Senior Vice President, Marketing and Planning, Andrew Nocella.

“This announcement of nonstop service from Charlotte to Honolulu is great news for the Charlotte passenger and reaffirms the strength of Charlotte Douglas International Airport as a US Airways hub,” said City of Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory.

Customers may book their flight through US Airways’ Web site at usairways.com, by calling US Airways Reservations at 1-800-428-4322 or through their travel agent. Complete air and hotel vacation packages are also available through US Airways Vacations at usairwaysvacations.com. Schedule detail is as follows:

Charlotte – Honolulu US807 - Daily
9:45 a.m.
2:59 p.m.

Honolulu – Charlotte US808 - Daily
5:45 p.m.
7:42 a.m. (next day)

Oahu is the third new nonstop destination from US Airways’ Charlotte hub to be added this year. In April, US Airways resumed service between Charlotte and Paris-Charles de Gaulle and on December 2, the airline will begin its first-ever service to South America with daily, nonstop flights between Charlotte and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

(U.S. Airways Press Release)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Continental Captain Dies During Flight

A Continental Airlines flight from Brussels will be making an emergency landing at Newark Liberty International Airport after the plane’s captain died mid-flight Thursday morning June 18.

Federal Aviation Administration officials say Continental Flight 61 will land at Newark at noon. Newark was the flight’s final destination. It left Brussels at 9:45 a.m.
It’s not known what caused the pilot to become ill or how he died.

Officials say there are two first officers on the flight and a reserve crew as well. One of the first officers is piloting the Boeing 777.

(The Wall Street Journel)

New Runway / Taxiway Warning System at LAX

Federal and local officials unveiled a new warning system on June 11 that is designed to stop runway incursions that for years have endangered planes taxiing to and from terminals at Los Angeles International Airport. The $7-million system relies on radar that is connected to status lights along a runway and eight taxiways deemed to have the highest risk for aircraft accidents. If the radar detects a potential conflict between two planes or an aircraft and a motor vehicle, the lights automatically turn red, alerting pilots to the risk.

Combined with recent improvements to the airport's southern runways, Federal Aviation Administration officials say the warning lights should further reduce the chance of collisions as aircraft move around busy LAX. A similar system at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport has reduced the number of close calls from 10 to three during 2 1/2 years of operation. "We are hopeful that this could be a major solution" to runway incursions, said Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports. "There have been good indications in Dallas and San Diego."From 1999 to 2007, LAX had the most runway safety violations in the nation, including one harrowing incident in which two jets carrying 296 people came within 37 feet of each other.

After a taxiway was added between the two southern runways, the number of incursions at LAX declined from 21 in 2007 to five so far this year. The new lights, which are embedded in the pavement, work two ways. For planes about to land or take off, red lights in the runway will illuminate if another aircraft is crossing downfield. For planes waiting to cross a runway, red lights will come on at intersecting taxiways when another airplane is about to depart or land. Once the lights go off, pilots and motorists traveling on airport roads must still obtain clearance from air traffic controllers before crossing or entering the runway.

"This is a major step forward and another piece of a larger approach to improve runway safety," said Jaime Figueroa, a safety manager in the FAA's runway incursion program. "No single solution is 100% perfect."Lindsey said the Board of Airport Commissioners decided to pay for the warning system with airport revenue rather than wait for federal money -- a move that allowed the signals to be installed almost three years earlier than they would have been. Jon Russell, western regional safety chairman for the Air Line Pilots Assn., said the new warning lights are a significant safety measure, but the devices need to be installed on all taxiways that intersect runways. He said lights were not put in some of the areas where close calls have occurred. "This is a great starting point," Russell said, "but the system is not complete.

"Given their budget constraints, FAA and LAX officials said they selected sites they thought had the greatest potential for collisions. If necessary, they said, lights can be added to other taxiways and runways in the future. Although FAA officials believe the system will contribute to runway safety, they contend that more needs to be done at LAX, such as widening the distance between the two parallel runways on the north side of the airfield. The proposal is undergoing further study, and residents in nearby Westchester oppose the idea because of the potential disruption to their neighborhoods.

"Runway status lights provide a last line of defense against runway incursions," said Ian Gregor, an FAA spokesman in Los Angeles. "The first, and best, line of defense is proper airfield geometry -- the kind of geometry we now see on the south airfield. We strongly believe that Los Angeles World Airports should reconfigure the north airfield similarly."

(Los Angeles Times)

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly Rings Opening Bell at NYSE

Southwest Airlines 737-7H4 N936WN (36643/2909)
arrives Los Angeles. (Photo by Michael Carter)

Gary and some other Southwest people did the honors because today Thursday June 18 marks the 38th anniversary of Southwest's first flights between Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.

Of course, Southwest is bigger today. In six and a half months of 1971, Southwest flew 154.6 million available seat miles. In May 2009, it averaged 278.2 million available seat miles a day. In other words, by 6 p.m. Thursday, the carrier probably will have flown more that day than it did in all of 1971.

Another reason Gary & Co. were in New York is that they're preparing for the June 28 launch of service at New York LaGuardia.As another promotional effort, they're sponsoring a restaurant, the "Southwest Porch" in New York's Bryant Park, just west of the New York Central Library between W. 40 and W. 42 and east of Sixth Avenue. That's nine miles southwest of LaGuardia and 1,562 miles northeast of Southwest's headquarters.

To mark the airline's birthday, Southwest is offering "a complimentary adult beverage for every customer," the airline says in a press release.

We're told Kelly handed out cupcakes and coffee outside the exchange prior to the 8:30 a.m. CDT opening bell, but we have no video of that.

(Dallas Morning News - Airline Biz Blog)

American Airlines Drops more Flights between SoCal and NorCal

A day after American Airlines disclosed it will halt its two daily "nerd-bird" flights between San Jose and Austin, a spokesman for the carrier said its American Eagle affiliate will stop flying between San Jose and San Diego, and drop two daily flights between San Jose and Orange County.

On Monday, when he announced the decision to halt the nerd-bird flights — so named because they cater heavily to technology company employees — American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith insisted the airlines' parent, AMR, wasn't planning to cut other San Jose flights.
But Tuesday, Smith said he had been incorrect and discovered the additional flight reductions to San Diego and Orange County when he rechecked. Smith also said American Eagle will drop three of its five daily flights between San Francisco and Orange County. All of the flight changes will take effect Aug. 25.

Once its five daily flights between San Jose and San Diego end, American no longer will provide any direct service between those cities, Smith said. But passengers will still be able to fly between the two cities, as well as between San Jose and Orange County.

American Eagle will keep five daily flights from Mineta San Jose International Airport to Orange County's John Wayne Airport, Smith said. Southwest Airlines flies an average of about 10 times a day to San Diego and eight times a day to Orange County from San Jose, according to Ed Nelson, the airport's director of air service development. Numerous daily flights to San Diego and Orange County also are available from the San Francisco and Oakland airports.

(Sillicon Valley - MercuryNews.Com)

Airbus Leads Boeing in sales at Paris Air Show

Airbus remained ahead of archrival Boeing Co. in the hunt for orders at the Paris Air Show on Thursday, when a Hungarian airline said it was interested in buying another 50 of its commercial jets.

On the fourth day of the world's largest air show, which has seen far fewer deals than years past, Airbus and Hungary's budget carrier Wizz Air signed a memorandum of understanding for 50 A320 single-aisle passenger jets worth a total of $3.8 billion at list prices.
Airbus' Chief Operating Officer John Leahy said at a signing ceremony that he hopes Wizz Air will firm up its order shortly.

Boeing Co.'s only order so far this week, worth $153 million at list prices, paled beside the $6.25 billion chalked up by Airbus. The Wizz Air commitment is not included in the tally because it is not legally binding.

Separately, China Eastern Airlines announced overnight it is buying 20 A320s, but the deal is an allocation from a bulk order placed by CASGC, a government procurement agency, and not a new deal, Airbus spokesman Justin Dubon said. Boeing shrugged off the Airbus announcements, saying the company doesn't save up orders to announce at air shows.

Yet even Airbus' numbers were diminutive compared to sales in past years. Airlines and governments strapped for cash and credit appeared to have come to the air show mostly as tourists instead of buyers this year, admiring the high-tech hardware but hiding their checkbooks. Airbus' spokesman Stefan Schaffrath said he is "confident there are more orders to come," but time was running out as many exhibitors arrived to the fourth day of the week-long air show with suitcases in hand.

The air show, which has also been haunted by unresolved questions about the crash of Air France Flight 447, opens to the public on Friday. With commercial orders scarce, American defense contractors elbowed into the troubled market for European military transport planes at the air show.

As delays mount for Airbus' troubled new A400M military transport airlifter, Lockheed-Martin and Boeing are offering their proven C-130J and C-17 models as alternatives to the European air forces who are in urgent need of a new transport.

"Many countries in Europe are looking at their airlift requirements and they need to make decisions in the short term," Peter Simmons, spokesman for Lockheed's Air Mobility division, said Wednesday. "We have been approached by a number of countries in Europe to fulfill that role." Boeing also says it has held talks with members of the seven-nation consortium involved in the Airbus program.

The A400M transporter program was launched in 2003 with a joint order for 180 planes from Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey. But Airbus missed a March 31 contractual deadline for the first flight, and is negotiating new technical requirements and commercial terms with the seven buyers.

Analysts say the project could even be on the verge of collapse. The costly delay is especially painful for recession-hit governments.

(Associated Press - AP)

Qatar Airlines CEO Unhappy with 787 Delays

While Boeing works to get it's 787 Dreamliner off the ground, one of it customers, Qatar Airlines, is blasting Boeing for the delay in the plane's delivery and has threatened to pull it's order. Qatar Airlines has ordered or has an option to buy sixty 787 Dreamliners and 24 777s.

Qatar's CEO, Akbar Al Baker, has threatened to cancel them all, but one analyst told me late today he believes Al Baker is just negotiating in public for a better deal and without a doubt using the strongest of language.Al Baker was all smiles at the Paris air show, but in interviews he made it quite clear he is not at all happy with Boeing's delays of the 787.

From Paris al baker told the Dow Jones Newswire; "Boeing doesn't realize how much they are hurting their customers' plans. They're very much mistaken if they think we're going to give them much more time on this issue. Boeing will be left with a load of parked planes."According to Aviation International Al Baker said; "Unfortunately Boeing is not run by commercial people. It is run by bean counters and lawyers. We have some serious issues with them and if they don't play ball with us they will be in for a serious surprise.

"Qatar is one of 60 customers waiting for delivery of the 787 Dreamliner.Boeing Commercial Airlines CEO Scott Carson says; "We've had very few cancellations, probably fewer than 60 in total out of an Order Book of about 3,700 when we started this. "The big question is when will we see the first inaugural Dreamliner flight? Carson says; "We are going to see it, we believe by the end of the month as we've been saying, uh, this will be a terrific event but it is the first step in a long certification process so we're trying to balance the excitement we feel with the reality of the mission still ahead of us."Also Wednesday, on the military side, Boeing announced it may offer up a 777 version of it's aerial refueling tanker when the military re-opens bidding for a 35 billion dollar contract.

This is good news for union members who will build the tanker. They felt they were at a disadvantage last time around.Machinist Union President Tom Wroblewski says; "We didn't get all the information, that maybe the Air Force wanted a bigger plane for a tanker and so I'm glad to hear that Boeing is putting together a plan for both the 767 and the 777.

We think it's good for our members and good for our community."So far this has not been a very successful air show for Boeing. Through Wednesday Boeing had secured just one order for two planes worth about 150-million dollars.Airbus has sold nearly 60-planes worth 6-billion dollars. Boeing chief Scott Carson blames the economy and says he believes the bottom has been hit and there's no place to go in the future, except up.

(KCPQ-TV / Yahoo Biz News)

Alaska Adds Service Between Bellingham and Las Vegas

Alaska Airlines announced June 17 that it will add a fourth weekly flight between Bellingham, Wash., and Las Vegas, starting Monday, Aug. 3. Thrice-weekly service between the two cities is scheduled to begin Thursday, June 25, 2009.

"We're pleased to respond to customer demand for this popular destination," said Steve Jarvis, Alaska Airlines' vice president of marketing, sales and customer experience. "Our nonstop Bellingham-Las Vegas service is a convenient alternative for travel from the Pacific Northwest and Lower Mainland of British Columbia."

The new 2-hour, 30-minute flight will operate between Bellingham International Airport and McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas on Mondays. Service between the two cities starting June 25 will operate on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.

(Yahoo Biz News)

First 787 Destined for ANA Begins Final Assembly

Final assembly has begun on the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner destined for delivery to launch customer ANA (All Nippon Airways) of Japan. ANA and Boeing launched the 787 program with a firm order for 50 of the all-new composite jetliner. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2010.

Boeing and ANA celebrated the occasion with a traditional "Kagami wari" ceremony, the breaking open of a wooden "Taru" (sake barrel) lid with wooden mallets. "This is a great day for the 787 team," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 Dreamliner program. "In 2004, ANA demonstrated great faith in Boeing and the 787 by placing the largest launch order for any new airplane in Boeing history. Since then, the ANA team has been an integral part of developing the 787 family of airplanes.

"Speaking for our entire global 787 team, including our partners, I'd like to say we are honored by ANA's commitment to the Dreamliner," Fancher said. "We look forward to our continued partnership as we prepare the 787 to enter commercial service." "Congratulations to Boeing on the start of the historic assembly of the first 787 Dreamliner for commercial flight," said ANA President & CEO Shinichiro Ito. "As the launch customer, we are delighted and excited to see the achievement of this milestone and to have worked closely together to reach this day. We look forward to the start of the 787 flight test program and delivery into our fleet next year."

The 787 Dreamliner has 865 orders from 56 airlines, making it the fastest-selling all-new jetliner in aviation history.

(Yahoo Biz News)

jetBlue Commences Los Angeles (LAX) Service

New York-based value airline JetBlue Airways today celebrated the launch of new twice daily nonstop service from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the carrier's 56th destination in its route network, to both Boston and New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). LAX joins JetBlue's two other L.A. Basin airports, Burbank and Long Beach, to offer more options and more value to coast-to-coast jetters.

To celebrate, today through June 26, JetBlue is currently offering a special $109 sale fare between LAX and JFK or Boston online at for travel between September 8 and November 11, 2009. At today's celebration JetBlue's CEO Dave Barger will also announced a 'Let the Music Play' campaign with long-standing partner the VH1 Save The Music Foundation, mobilizing people all over the country to make a donation to support music education in public schools in New York, Boston and Los Angeles at. JetBlue pledges to match up to $30,000 donated through the campaign.

"As one of the world's largest entertainment, cultural and business centers, savvy Los Angeles travelers continue to select JetBlue's higher standard of service for their travel needs and today we are excited to give the L.A. Basin even more options -- whether you prefer Long Beach, Burbank, or our newest bicoastal service from LAX," said Dave Barger, JetBlue's CEO. "We are also proud to give back to the community, supporting local sports franchises like the Los Angeles Dodgers, Angels and Clippers as well as local school programs like the VH1 Save The Music Foundation. JetBlue is committed to supporting the people, places and events that matter most to the communities we serve." "Even in these tough economic times, JetBlue is demonstrating that the path to recovery flies through Los Angeles," said Mayor Villaraigosa. "We are thrilled that JetBlue will be offering quality airline service from LAX, one of America's premier airports."

"We greatly welcome the start of JetBlue's new cross-country service, which is sure to be welcomed by air travelers looking for more service options and great value in today's economic environment," said Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports, owner and operator of LAX, LA/Ontario International and Van Nuys (general aviation) airports. "The addition of JetBlue is a reflection of the progress made in our work to revitalize LAX."

"We are thrilled to partner with JetBlue as they expand to Los Angeles," says VH1 Save The Music Foundation Executive Director Paul Cothran. "With their help, we will be able to continue to raise awareness about the importance of a musical education in a child's life, and ensure that additional children have access to the benefits of music study."
As part of today's event, fifth-graders from The Hooper Elementary School Mariachi Ensemble will perform as Los Angeles Dodgers legend Steve Garvey signs autographs and Dodger Ambassadors offer customers free merchandise in celebration of JetBlue's new service.

JetBlue is also hosting a "More, Welcome Los Angeles" launch event and VH1 Save The Music Foundation benefit at Hollywood hotspot MyHouse, featuring performances by musician Robin Thicke and John Rzeznik of The Goo Goo Dolls, a Foundation Ambassador. The event will also be supported by LA INC. The Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, the city of LA's marketing organization. Other partners of the event include Pernod-Ricard, Heineken, Hain-Celestial and Coca-Cola. Invited guests will walk the 'blue carpet' into the venue, where select donation items including signed guitars by Thicke and Rzeznik will be featured as part of the airline's larger online auction with leading global auction site.

JetBlue's new LAX service will be operated with the airline's spacious Airbus A320, which offers roomy, all-leather seating for 150 including the most legroom in coach of any U.S. airline. Customers looking to pamper themselves even further can upgrade to a super-spacious Even More Legroom seat. For just $40 extra each way on nonstop flights to Boston or New York, customers can stretch out and enjoy 38" of seat pitch.

JetBlue's schedule of service to/from LAX:

New York (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX) to
Los Angeles (LAX) New York (JFK)
Depart - Arrive Depart - Arrive
9:00 a.m. - 11:53 a.m. 12:50 p.m. - 9:29 p.m.
6:30 p.m. - 9:47 p.m. 10:40 p.m. - 6:57 a.m. (next day)

Boston (BOS) to Los Angeles (LAX) to
Los Angeles (LAX) Boston (BOS)
Depart - Arrive Depart - Arrive
10:45 a.m. - 1:52 p.m. * 2:45 p.m. - 11:16 p.m. *
7:55 p.m. - 11:07 p.m. 11:59 p.m. - 8:25 a.m. (next day)

* Flight does not operate on Saturdays

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

First NATO C-17A on flight ramp

(Photo By Michael Carter)

The first C-17A 08-0001 destined for NATO is now on the Boeing flight ramp at Long Beach (LGB) being prepared for it's first flight.