Saturday, February 27, 2010

Second Gulfstream G650 performs First Flight

(Photo Gulfstream Aerospace)

Savannah-based Gulfstream Aerospace announced Friday a second ultra-large-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream G650 N652GA (cn 6002) has completed its first flight.

The second test plane - known as T2 - took off from Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport at 12:50 p.m. Thursday with senior experimental test pilots Gary Freeman and Scott Buethe in the cockpit.

The aircraft flew for 2 hours and 33 minutes, reaching an altitude of 37,000 feet and a speed of Mach 0.80 before landing back in Savannah.

In a company first, both G650 flight-test aircraft - T2 and T1 - were airborne simultaneously.

"T2 performed extremely well during the initial tests of its integrated flight control system and handling," said Gulfstream senior vice president Pres Henne. "We plan to make half a dozen flights to assess basic system functionality before proceeding to more intensive testing."

Freeman said conditions were gusty and blustery, but the T2 handled well.

"To control the aircraft precisely requires small, light control input from the pilot. It's an easy jet to fly," Freeman said.

The G650 flight-test and certification plan involves five aircraft and an estimated 1,800 hours of testing. Each aircraft is used for a specific series of tests, with T1 focused on performance and flight controls, T2 on systems and T3 on avionics.

T1, which spent about six hours in the air Thursday, has completed 18 flights over more than 43 hours. The aircraft has reached a maximum speed of Mach 0.90 and a top altitude of 47,000 feet.

Gulfstream expects to receive concurrent G650 certification from the Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency in 2011.

The G650 completed its first flight Nov. 25 and remains on schedule for entry into service in 2012.

The G650 offers the longest range at the fastest speed in its class. It's capable of traveling 7,000 nautical miles at Mach 0.85 and has a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.925.
(Savannah Morning News)

Gulfstreams of Interest Today at Long Beach

(Photo by Michael Carter)

Gulfstream G-IV (cn 1452) N603KE, (ex-N603KF and ex-N603PM) arrived from Anchorage, Alaska (ANC/PANC) at 1909.

Parked on the Gulfstream ramp;

G-V (cn 510) B-8092, (ex-N513MW) operated by Deer Jet.

C-37A (cn 5247) N847GA tbr 09-0501.

G550 (cn 5262) painted but registration and tail logo are covered (unknown owner).

United Finalizes 787 Purchase

(Boeing Media Relations)

Boeing and United Airlines have finalized an order for 25 787-8 jetliners. The agreement includes the opportunity to purchase another 50 Dreamliners.

"Boeing and United Airlines share an 80-year partnership," said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "United, which launched the Boeing 777, now begins a new chapter with the 787 Dreamliner, the most technologically advanced commercial jetliner ever built."

The order is valued at $4.2 billion at average list prices.

"United's Boeing 787 order represents a substantial investment in our future and will enhance the significant progress we are making in improving the global competitiveness of our company while providing the opportunity to open new profitable markets and serve a broader range of international destinations," said John Tague, president of United Airlines.

United expects to take delivery of the 787s at the same time it will begin to retire its Boeing 747s and 767s operating on international routes.

(Boeing Media Relations)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Republic Airways Orders Bombardier CSeries Twin-jet

(Photo Bombardier)

US-based Republic Airways Holdings has ordered 40 Bombardier CSeries aircraft and placed options on 40 more.

The company has signed a purchase agreement for the CS300 variant of the twin-jet.

Republic Airways Holdings says the aircraft will be configured with 138 seats, in a single cabin arrangement.

The Indianapolis-based company owns several US operators including Chautauqua Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Lynx Aviation, Midwest Airlines, Republic Airlines and Shuttle America.

Deliveries are to begin in the second quarter of 2015. The aircraft will be fitted with Pratt & Whitney PW1000G engines and the carrier has signed an exclusive 15-year maintenance deal with the engine supplier.
(David Kaminski-Morrow - FlightGlobal News)

North Runways Okay at LAX

Despite Federal Aviation Administration calls to further separate the two north runways at Los Angeles International as a way to reduce runway incursions, a report released last week by experts working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration says such a large construction project is not necessary, because "the risk is so low."

The report bolsters city officials and local residents who oppose the FAA proposal because of cost and because it might require a neighborhood reconfiguration. In previous years, LAX has had more runway incursions than any other U.S. airport.

LAX further separated its two southern runways in 2007 to address the problem. The number of incursions dropped to eight in 2009 from 21 in 2007.

"Conclusions that the north airfield is safe enough now are not an argument against doing everything possible to make it even safer," the FAA says.

LAX and the FAA also agreed last week to install a permanent runway safety light system, following a prototype that was placed last year to prevent runway incursions. The radar-controlled system warns pilots if it is unsafe to cross or enter a runway. The FAA plans to finish installation by 2012.

(Roger Yu - USA Today / Today in the Sky)

NTSB Wants to Listen to Cockpit Crew Conversations

Government investigators are making an unprecedented push to use "black box" voice recordings to routinely monitor pilots' conversations and make sure cockpit crews are focusing on their jobs.

The move represents the first time that workplace monitoring could extend into the nation's cockpits and has drawn intense fire from pilots' unions who say that the plan is intrusive. The black box recorders have until now only been used in accident investigation.

The recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) comes amid a string of serious distractions during flight, including the fatal crash near Buffalo after two pilots chit-chatted in the cockpit and two Northwest Airlines pilots who flew 100 miles past their destination because they were using their personal laptops.

"It is essential to understand what is going on in the cockpit if we are to achieve further reductions" in accident rates, NTSB Chairwoman Debbie Hersman said in a written statement to USA TODAY.

The NTSB has no regulatory power but it has recommended the black box idea to the Federal Aviation Administration. The recommendation calls for airlines and unions to monitor the recordings as a way to watchdog the workplace.

Investigators say the effort is part of a broader trend to reduce misbehavior and inattention by transportation workers in the age of instant messaging and cellphones. But some worry that the proposal could undermine other safety efforts by sowing distrust among pilots.

"It's an intrusion on privacy," said Mike Michaelis, chairman of safety at the Allied Pilots Association, the American Airlines union. "It's the wrong way to go safety-wise."

The agency said that the recommendation isn't intended to violate privacy. It suggested that the recordings be scrutinized for safety trends. The reviews should be done anonymously and could not be used to punish individual pilots, the agency said.

"This is not a case of Big Brother spying on pilots," NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt said.

NTSB board members said their recommendation was prompted by the Feb. 12, 2009, crash near Buffalo that killed 50 people. The pilots' chit-chatting was a violation of federal regulations and came before they mishandled a warning and lost control.

Regional airlines endorsed the concept of using the cockpit voice recorder as an auditing tool after the Buffalo crash. Support has also come from powerful members of Congress.

"This is the next frontier of safety that we must not put off," Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., the chairman of the Transportation Committee, said at a recent hearing.

Pilots have been wary of the crash-hardened recorders since they were introduced in 1967. Currently, accident investigators are the only ones who listen to the recordings. The NTSB releases a transcript of the recording but never makes the recording itself public.

Capt. John Prater, president of the Air Line Pilots Association union, said reviewing the recorders could make pilots uneasy about speaking up about safety issues in the cockpit.

Bill Voss, president of the Flight Safety Foundation, said he would prefer to see other safety initiatives before cockpit recordings are monitored.

The recorders capture conversations and background noises in the cockpit. As of April 7, 2012, they must record the last two hours of a flight; previously, the devices only recorded 30 minutes.

(Alan Levin - USA Today)

Swiss Announces New San Francisco Service

Beginning June 2, Swiss International Air Lines will add service to San Francisco. The carrier will fly one daily round-trip flight to Zurich. Swiss will use Airbus 340 jets on the route. San Francisco will become Swiss' eighth North American destination. The others are Boston, Chicago, New York, Newark, Los Angeles, Miami and Montreal.

(USA Today - Today in the Sky)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A few notable movements at Long Beach today

Aerolinx LLC G-V (cn 506) N33XE arrived from Aspen-Pitkin County Airport (ASE/KASE) at 1336.
C-17A 02-2111 (P-111) departed for McChord AFB at 1447 following a stay at the Boeing mode center.
C-20B (cn 470) N770GA (86-0201) rolls for takeoff at 1705 for a short 7 minute test hop.

(Photos by Michael Carter)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

C-17A Production to Slowdown

Qatar C-17A A7-MAA (F-208/QA-2) under tow to the paint shop at Long Beach (LGB/KLGB) on February 17, 2010.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Boeing is cutting back production of its C-17 Globemaster from 15 to 10 jets annually in an effort to extend the Long Beach assembly plant's life beyond 2012.

The move is likely to result in future layoffs among the plant's 5,000-strong workforce, but how many and when will not be decided until later this year or early 2011, said Boeing spokesman Jerry Drelling.

Workers had been warned in recent months that job losses were possible because of reduced domestic demand for the massive cargo plane, Drelling added.

"We're still completing the analysis of any reduction in workforce, and we're striving to mitigate the impacts on our employees as much as possible," Drelling said. "But it's something that needs to be done given reduced demand domestically and to ensure the aircraft remains affordable in years to come."

The scaling back of production, expected to begin in mid-2011, comes as Boeing aggressively pursues international orders from customers that include India and possibly Saudi Arabia.

India submitted a formal request in January with the Department of Defense to negotiate the purchase of 10 C-17s, but those jets would not likely get built until 2013, forcing Boeing to scale back production to keep the plant operating long enough to secure foreign orders.

"This move allows us to reduce the annual production rate and lay the foundation to extend the line beyond 2012 with new and existing orders, preserving the C-17 as an affordable option for the future requirements of international and domestic customers," Drelling said.

Boeing has built 194 C-17s since production began in the early 1990s, and has 38 jets on order, including 29 for the U.S. Air Force, six for the United Arab Emirates, two for Qatar and one for the United Kingdom.

Qatar, which has purchased three C-17s so far, retains the option for two more and is expected to sign a deal in coming months.

Saudi Arabia has also reportedly expressed interest in purchasing several C-17s in coming years, but formal talks have not begun.

Boeing's announcement comes nearly a month after President Barack Obama requested in his proposed 2011 defense budget that domestic funding for the C-17 end, saying the 223 in service and on order are enough for the nation's needs.

President Obama had also sought to end support for the plane last year, but was overridden by the Senate and House, who included $2.5 billion for 10 more C-17s in the final defense budget. Those planes will be built in 2011 and 2012.

Still, given the mood in Washington and President Obama's insistence that funding must end for "unnecessary" military equipment, Boeing has focused increasingly on foreign orders.

To date, the aerospace giant has sold C-17s to Canada, United Kingdom, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and a NATO-led peacekeeping force based in Hungary.

Most of those nations have used the plane for humanitarian missions, including after the recent earthquake in Haiti, where dozens of C-17s from across the globe were called in to deliver tons of medical supplies, food, water, personnel and other relief aid to the devastated island nation.

The plane is favored because of its enormous payload and ability to land on short, unpaved runways.

Just hours before Boeing's announcement Tuesday, Long Beach Councilman Robert Garcia met with Congressmembers in Washington to gauge support for the C-17 as part of a diplomatic mission to the nation's capitol.

"We spent a considerable amount of time talking about the C-17, and my sense is that there remains strong support for keeping the plant open," Garcia said. "(Congress) understand how important this is to Long Beach and to the country. It's a critical asset."

Garcia was joined in Washington by Third District Councilman Gary DeLong and Long Beach Government Affairs Director Tom Modica.

"Ensuring the continuation of the C-17 plant and keeping those 5,000 jobs in Long Beach is my top priority right now," Garcia said. "It's on the top of most of our lists."

Drelling said the production cutback should be sufficient to sustain the line well into 2013. He said the plan is to build 15 jets this year, 13 in 2011 and 10 in 2012.

"We feel it will both buy us more time and help up maintain an affordable price for future orders, as well as giving the (Department of Defense) more time to consider their future airlift needs," Drelling said.

(Kristopher Hanson - Long Beach Press Telegram)

Friday, February 19, 2010

First Egypt Air 777-300(ER) takes to the Skies

The first 777-36N(ER) (38284) SU-GDL departs on her
first flight from Paine Field (PAE/KPAE) this morning.
(Photos by Joe G. Walker)

Last Passenger Flight for Finnair MD-11

Flight AY022 from Delhi to Helsinki on Monday, 22 February is the final passenger flight in scheduled traffic of Finnair's MD-11 aircraft. Finnair began its successful conquest of Asia with the wide-bodied MD-11 at the turn of the millennium, and this type of aircraft has been in the company's service for nearly 20 years.

To date Finnair's MD-11 fleet has behind it around 400,000 flying hours and more than 50,000 landings. Overall, Finnair's MD-11s have carried around 14 million passengers.

"In 1990 Finnair introduced the MD-11 on a flight from Helsinki to Las Palmas, becoming the first airline in the world to operate the aircraft. In its time the aircraft, which is excellent in terms of its performance, represented state-of-the-art technology," says MD-11 Fleet Chief Rabbe-Holger Wrede.

"Over the years Finnair has been one of the pioneers in the use of the best modern technology and now it's the right time to move on to new, more environmentally friendly aircraft. Our long-haul fleet now consists of Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft. In 2014 our fleet will be further supplemented by totally new Airbus A350 aircraft," explains Finnair's SVP Communications Christer Haglund.

The company's long-haul fleet will now consist only of A340
and A330 aircraft, which will harmonise the long-haul fleet with the European fleet and its A320 series aircraft. The fleet modernisation significantly improves both profitability and environmental efficiency. The new Airbus long-haul aircraft consume 20 per cent less fuel per passenger than the MD-11 they replace.

Of all the world's network airlines, Finnair now flies its scheduled flights with the most modern fleet. The average age of Finnair's aircraft is under six years.

The two MD-11 owned by Finnair are on sale. The possibility of continuing to use them in Finnair's cargo traffic is also being assessed.


Pilot Lands Hot Aircraft at LAX

A man who allegedly made an unscheduled landing Friday at LAX airport in a single engine plane that had been reported stolen was arrested.

According to the FBI the man also landed his plane at Palm Springs Airport. He apparently refuled there before taking off to Los Angeles.

23 year old Skye Turner landed the Cirrus SR22 airplane at LAX around 2:30 a.m., according to Laura Eimiller of the FBI and Los Angeles police Officer Cleon Joseph.

"It was an unscheduled landing, and it was suspicious" so airport police took the man into custody, Eimiller said.

Authorities contacted the registered owner of the aircraft, who said it had been stolen, Eimiller said. The plane was reported stolen in San Diego, Joseph said.

Turner was booked on suspicion of theft of an aircraft and held on $20,000 bail, he said.

Investigators were trying to determine if any federal laws were violated, Eimiller said.

Police do not believe terrorism was a motive in the incident, Joseph said.

(KPSP Local 2 News Services - Desert Television LLC)

C-17A Makes Emergency Landing at Long Beach

New C-17A 08-8195 (F-217/P-195) made her first flight today but returned to Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) at 1726 after declaring an emergency due to a fuel leak. Following it's arrival on Rwy 30 the aircraft turned off the Rwy at taxiway "Bravo" and came to a stop at which time the flight crew evacuated the aircraft. Fire crews approached the aircraft to inspect the fuel leak and after determining that there was no chance of fire had the aircraft towed back to the C-17A flight ramp.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gulfstream G650 Sales

This is a very interesting article from January 30, 2010

While Gulfstream Aerospace earnings for calendar year 2009 were down significantly from a year ago, its parent company was optimistic the business jet manufacturer will begin to rebound in 2010.

"Our aerospace sector finished an exceedingly difficult year with a solid fourth quarter," said Jay Johnson, CEO of General Dynamics.

"We're seeing continued strength in order activity as well as substantially fewer customer defaults and improved service volume," Johnson told analysts in a conference call this week.

Although Gulfstream sales and operating earnings were down for the fourth quarter as compared with the fourth quarter 2008, they were up compared with the third quarter 2009.

"Gulfstream's proactive approach to managing production and internally driven cost-cutting initiatives protected profitability in an unpredictable and decidedly difficult market," Johnson said.

Sales for 2009 totaled $5.2 billion, down 6.2 percent, due primarily to a 15 percent reduction in the company's services business and fewer green aircraft delivered, Johnson told analysts.

A green aircraft is one that has completed the initial phase of manufacturing and has received a certificate of airworthiness from the Federal Aviation Administration. It's called "green" because it's actually painted with a green protective coating that is washed off before the aircraft gets its final coat of paint.

While last year's recession hurt sales of business jets, orders for new aircraft picked up in recent months, Johnson said, adding all indications point to market improvement in 2010.

"Orders are outpacing deliveries in the fourth quarter, and our backlog now stands at $19.3 billion."

Of those orders, 60 percent are international, with "a great diversity in customer mix," Johnson said.

"Our large-cabin backlog is sold out for 2010 and about three-quarters sold in 2011, with a solid start on 2012," he said.

Flight testing of Gulfstream's new flagship jet, the G650, is on track, with "no speed bumps," Johnson said.

"Our 650 backlog remains robust, with nearly 200 in the queue," he said.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

jetBlue Celerates it's 10 Year Anniversary

jetBlue along with celebrating it's 10 year anniversary, introduced a special "10 Year Anniversary" livered aircraft. A320-232 (cn 2075) N569JB "Blues Brothers" will sport the carriers commemorative livery.
(Photos Courtesy of jetBlue)

What began 10 years ago as a modest venture into the rough-and-tumble world of air travel has morphed into one of the city's top success stories of the past decade.

JetBlue Airways marked 10 years of international travel Friday with a celebration at Long Beach Airport, its West Coast base, where the carrier served some 2.3 million passengers in the past year.

Since its first flight out of Long Beach in August of 2001, about a year after the New York-based carrier's launch, JetBlue has carried more than 14 million people into and out of the city to and from destinations across North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

"JetBlue has been a great partner with the community...employing about 700 people locally and becoming an important asset for this city," said Mayor Bob Foster, who joined city leaders, JetBlue and airport executives and airline workers for the milestone birthday. "JetBlue has woven into the community."

JetBlue's presence has coincided with tremendous growth at the airport, which for decades languished behind other regional airports like Los Angeles and John Wayne internationals, despite its regional proximity and available space.

Since 2001, when JetBlue arrived, passenger flights have jumped 390 percent in Long Beach, from 591,000 passengers to 2.9 million in 2009.

And much of that increase is directly attributable to the low-cost carrier, whose passengers have consistently constituted about 75 percent of total traffic at the airport.

Other carriers include Alaska, Horizon, Delta and U.S. Airways.

"Long Beach Airport would not be what it is today without JetBlue," said Mario Rodriguez, Long Beach Airport Director. "The airline has brought a lot of people to Long Beach that might not otherwise have visited."

Rodriguez also believes the carrier's presence has had a moderating influence regionally on passenger flight costs in recent years.

With 29 daily flights to 13 destinations, including New York City, Washington D.C., Seattle, Oakland and San Francisco, JetBlue and Long Beach have become major competitors to some of the region's larger and more established carriers and airports.

"They've pretty well set the bar for low-cost carriers and passenger service," Rodriguez said.

In fact, JetBlue was founded in the late 1990s by former employees of Southwest Airlines, which like JetBlue offers low-cost, no-frills flights to major urban centers across the country.

With an initial fleet of just 10 jets, JetBlue now operates 151 aircraft, profoundly impacting the 74-year-old Long Beach Airport's buildings, parking lots, rampways, runways and hangars.

In late 2009, officials broke ground on a $49-million, five-level, 1,989-slot parking garage just steps from the main terminal.

They're also pushing tens of millions into terminal improvements, airport security and other infrastructure to handle growing passenger loads.

"Long Beach was a great choice for us because of its location, low cost and room for growth...and passengers tend to enjoy it because its less crowded and easy to access," said Robert Land, a jetBlue spokesman. "It's been a solid relationship."
Another tail design will be introduced this year "Building Blocks" which was designed by one of jeBlue's Long Beach employees, Troy Bokosky.

JetBlue's LGB Traffic

Total Passenger Traffic at Long Beach Airport since JetBlue's arrival in 2001

2001: 591,572 passengers

2002: 1.5 million

2003: 2.9 million

2004: 2.95 million

2005: 3 million

2006: 2.7 million

2007: 2.9 million

2008: 2.9 million

2009: 2.9 million.

Source: Long Beach Airport

(Kristopher Hanson - Long Beach Press Telegram)

jetBlue CEO talks about the Ups and Downs the past 10 years at Long Beach Airport

To celebrate JetBlue Airways Corp.'s 10th anniversary Thursday, President and CEO David Barger wanted to visit crewmembers and business partners within its network cities.

But a severe East Coast snowstorm Wednesday would dampen the celebration for Barger, who ended up staying in New York Thursday to deal with the weather's effect on flights to and from area airports, including John F. Kennedy International.

"I wanted to be in Boston, wanted to come out to Long Beach and because of the snowstorm I didn't get to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale," said Barger, who was at Long Beach Airport on Friday to celebrate the anniversary with city and airport officials.

It's fitting, really, that a snowstorm would mark the milestone of a company whose first flight - which carried dignitaries from Buffalo, N.Y., - happened during an ice storm.

"If there's a message to other entrepreneurs, don't start an airline in Buffalo in February, because the weather can be kind of tough," he joked. "We were a little bit delayed. ... But I think people realized that, 'Hey listen, this is really special,' and that's what we've seen from day one and we've seen it over thelast 10 years."

Barger, 52, has seen the New York-based company wing through its ups and downs - from its rapid rise in 2000 as an innovative air carrier vowing to bring humanity back to air flight to rising fuel prices, an uncertain economy and a 2007 snowstorm that stranded hundreds of passengers at JFK, an event that prompted a company wake-up call and the appointment of Barger as CEO.

Ten years later, Barger - whose 32 years of experience in the airline industry have included New York Air and Continental Airlines - reflected on JetBlue's growth, where the company sees itself in the next decade and its future as the largest commercial customer at Long Beach Airport, JetBlue's West Coast hub.

'Visionary' leader

Barger - whose passion for airlines came from his father, a United Air pilot for 37 years - was part of the team that founded the company 12 years ago with founder David Neeleman, whom Barger called a "visionary."

JetBlue quickly made its impact on the airline industry, offering passengers affordable fares, leather seating and dozens of cable channels.

"We wanted to enhance the comfort for our customers," said Barger, adding that the company over the years removed 12 seats from its airplanes to provide more legroom. "I think you can be profitable without gouging the traveling public."

In August 2001, JetBlue launched its second focus city in Long Beach with two daily flights to JFK, which occurred because of Neeleman's familiarity with the LA Basin, Barger said.

"Long Beach fell into that same kind of camp in terms of great airport, under-utilized, big population catchment and we thought, `hey, this should work,"' he said.

Meanwhile, Barger took over as CEO in 2007 during a controversial time for the company, which had been criticized for stranding passengers on planes snowbound at gates or stuck on runways on Valentine's Day.

The event changed the company and led to the investment in technology and leadership.

"It was tough to look in the mirror February 2007," he said. "We dropped the ball that day, really for that week, but we're a much stronger company as a result of it."

JetBlue, like many companies in the airline industry, faced several challenges in the last decade, from the Sept. 11 attacks to rising fuel prices and an unstable economy.

Barger said JetBlue has managed to weather them by slowing the company's growth. For example, last year JetBlue took delivery of nine airplanes instead of the 36 originally planned.

"We're still a growth story, but I think we just wanted to catch up with some of the growth that we had in the first several years of the company," he said.

This approach has allowed JetBlue to be profit for four straight quarters and deliver positive free cash flow at the end of the year, a first for the company.

"So many airlines think you can hit the reset button - bankruptcy, furlough your staff, pay cuts. We haven't done any of that in 10 years."

Pleased with changes

During his 45-minute visit with the Press-Telegram, Barger addressed some Long Beach issues, including comments he made last year to an industry blogger about JetBlue possibly leaving Long Beach because of terminal improvement delays. The comments sparked concerns among city officials and the community.

Barger preferred to be "forward-looking," especially now that long-awaited improvements to the airport's parking structure and gate hold area are being made.

"The ground experience - it's very important, we believe, to match the air experience," he said "We needed to see investment and we're very pleased that it's taking place."

He also addressed the city's airport noise ordinance, which restricts the number of flights and fines airlines for taking off or landing between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Barger said over 90 percent of the delays into Long Beach have been driven by East Coast air traffic controllers because of weather.

"Time performers is important to this company and our home on the East Coast has the most congested airspace," he said.

To offset that, JetBlue has built more of a buffer between the last scheduled flight and the curfew hour.

Asked about growing in Long Beach, Barger said he will leave that up to residents.

"I think we could. ... Are we going to try to push that and make that happen? No," he said. "We're going to live within history and the ordinance that's been put into place. That's what good citizens do."

(Karen Robes - Long Beach Press Telegram)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Horizon to Discontinue Long Beach - Portland Service

Horizon Airlines has announced on their employee website, that the carrier will be dropping it's service between Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) and Portland International Airport (PDX/KPDX) on April 20th. The CRJ-700s that are used on the route will instead be used to add additional flights between Portland (PDX/KPDX) and Burbank Airport (BUR/KBUR) and Portland (PDX/KPDX) and Ontario International Airport (ONT/KONT).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

AEI Launches MD-80 Freighter

Aeronautical Engineers Inc. announced formal launch of an MD-80SF passenger-to-freighter conversion program focusing on modification of MD-81, MD-82, MD-83 and MD-88 series aircraft. It expects initial certification by summer 2011 and plans to certify the program with FAA, EASA, and CAAC. According to AEI, the MD-80SF will offer up to 12 88x108-in. ULDs including a custom 108-in. container, 47,000 lb. of upper deck cargo capacity and up to 4,400 cu. ft. of main deck volume. Conversions will take 75 days. Development costs are "being fully funded by AEI including the purchase of prototype aircraft."

(ATWOnline News)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Boeing 747-800F takes to the Skies

The Boeing Company's new "Next Generation" 747-8F took to the skies on her maiden flight today at 1239 pst from Boeings Everett facilities. "Boeing 501 Heavy," 747-8R7F/SCD (35808/1420) N747EX which will be delivered to launch customer CargoLux climbed into a clear but hazy Washington sky as an excited throng of Boeing employee's and special guests looked on.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Photo of the Day / Westjet 737-8CT

(Photo by Joe G. Walker)

Our photo of the day comes to us from Seattle, Washington were Westjet Airlines took delivery of Boeing 737-8CT (37092/3165) C-GWSZ ex-N1787B yesterday, 02/05/2010. The aircraft sports a special livery - "Guarante" / "Care-Antee" and is captured as she departs Boeing Field (BFI/KBFI) on her delivery flight bound for Calgary (YYC/CYYC).

Friday, February 5, 2010

Boeing 787's take to the Skies

787 (ZA001) N787BA rotates as it departs at it's maximum gross takeoff weight.

ANA 787 (ZA002) N787EX rotates as it departs on another test flight.
(Photos by Joe G. Walker)

Today for the first time Boeing had both 787 test aircraft in the air at the same time performing flight tests. The aircraft departed Boeing Field (BFI/KBFI) on the test flights under cloudy conditions.

Photo of the Day / Turkish Airlines Boeing 737-8F2 "FCBarcelona"

Turkish Airlines 737-8F2 (35738/2592) TC-JGY taxi's at Birmingham (Elmdon) (BHX/EGBB) sporting this special livery celebrating it's sponsorship of "Football Club Barcelona."
(Photos by Gordon Stretch)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Copa Airlines Increases Flights at LAX

Starting June 30, 2010 COPA Airlines will add a second daily flight between Panama City (PTY/MPTO) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX). The flights will be operated with Boeing 737-800 aircraft, the schedule is as follows;

CM 472 - PTY 11:48 / LAX 15:51
CM 473 - LAX 08:30 / PTY 17:48

Frontier Announces Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) Schedule

As reported previously on APF, Frontier Airlines officially announced it's new service to Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) which will commence on May 14, 2010. The carrier will operated two daily flights except Saturdays between Denver (DEN/KDEN) and Long Beach Airport. The flights will be operated with Embraer E190 aircraft provided by Republic Airlines, the schedule is as follows;

DEN - LGB: Depart 0840 - Arrive 1015
DEN - LGB: Depart 1810 - Arrive 1945

LGB - DEN: Depart 0645 - Arrive 1005
LGB - DEN: Depart 1100 - Arrive 1419

New C-17A Delivered to USAF

C-17A 08-8194 (F-217/P194) was delivered to the USAF this morning at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB). The aircraft departed Boeings C-17 facilities at approximately 0930 bound for it's new home at McChord AFB.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

2011 Defense Budget Doesn't look good for the C-17A

President Barack Obama strongly rejected continued funding for Boeing's C-17 in his proposed fiscal year 2011 budget Monday, calling future spending on the Long Beach-built jet "waste, pure and simple."

"We save money by eliminating unnecessary defense programs that do nothing to keep us safe," Obama said. "One example is the $2.5 billion that we're spending to build C-17 transport aircraft. Four years ago, the Defense Department decided to cease production because it had acquired the number requested - 180. Yet every year since, Congress had provided unrequested money for more C-17s that the Pentagon doesn't want or need. It's waste, pure and simple."
Boeing officials reacted to the statement diplomatically, saying they believe there is future need for the aircraft both domestically and internationally.

"While we do not comment on our lobbying activities, we can say that Boeing is focusing our efforts on the demand for affordable, reliable and capable airlift globally," said Boeing spokesman Jerry Drelling. "We intend to aggressively seek international sales of the C-17."
The C-17 supports some 5,000 jobs at Boeing's production, sales and research plant in Long Beach.

The president had also suggested in 2009 that Congress not support additional dollars for the heavy airlift cargo plane. Despite his request, Congress funded 10 jets for the U.S. Air Force at a cost of $2.5 billion. The president's suggested budget is only a proposal, as Congress holds ultimate authority on spending, so his call to end C-17 production will need approval by both the House and Senate. Obama can veto spending projects approved by Congress, but federal law allows a presidential veto to be overridden by a two-thirds majority of both houses.

Area Congress members could not be reached Monday for reaction to the President's latest call to end C-17 funding, but California Sen. Barbara Boxer said in a statement that she strongly disagreed with Obama's assessment. "While I agree with President Obama's focus on job creation in his new budget, this is one area where we don't agree," Boxer said. "I will work to restore funding for this program that is important for so many of our military and humanitarian missions."

The plane has traditionally enjoyed strong support from lawmakers in California and the 44 states where suppliers are based. The C-17 has seen extensive use in Iraq, Afghanistan, and more recently, ferrying relief aid to earthquake-stricken Haiti. Along with the United States, C-17s are owned by Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and a NATO-led consortium based in Hungary. The Indian Air Force is also considering purchasing 10 of the jets.

But while Boeing looks for international orders, company officials believe domestic production is vital to keep the plant and its suppliers across the country operating. Boeing estimates it needs 12 to 15 orders annually to justify high production costs.

"U.S. orders will ultimately be needed in the future to keep the line open," Drelling said. "It is important to preserve this vital airlift program that is the only military wide-body manufacturing capability in the United States."

Currently, C-17 production is expected to end in mid- to late 2012, though Boeing has entered into formal negotiations with India for 10 planes, which could push production into 2013.
Other recent orders have come from the United Arab Emirates, which purchased six C-17s in early January and the United Kingdom, which added one to its existing fleet of six a few days later.

Increasingly, the C-17 has been used for humanitarian efforts. The plane has been used to haul tons of medical aid, food, water and personnel in the wake of such disasters as Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, the earthquake and tsunami that struck American Samoa and Tonga in September and most recently, the earthquake in Haiti.

The plane can carry up to 170,000 pounds of equipment and land on remote, unpaved runways as short as 3,000 feet, making it unique among the world's heavy-lift aircraft. The U.S. Air Force has a C-17 fleet of about 194 with roughly a dozen more on order. It was first introduced in the early 1990s as a more-efficient alternative to Lockheed's C-5 aircraft.

Last year, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., led a spirited attempt to strip funding for more C-17s in the federal defense budget, but his amendment was eventually voted down in a bipartisan 68-30 vote. And in October, over strong objections from the White House, the Senate and House jointly agreed to purchase 10 more C-17s.

The federal government estimates restarting the plant after closure would cost in excess of $1 billion. "Preserving this program provides an affordable option to the U.S. Air Force and Congress if they need to fill what we believe is a growing demand for airlift," Drelling said.

(Kristopher Hanson - Long Beach Press Telegram)

Long Beach Airport Awards Available Slots

Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) received formal requests from JetBlue Airways, Delta, Allegiant and Frontier Airlines for six available carrier slots, according to Juan Lopez-Rios, airport leasing and business development officer. All four airlines submitted their requests by a 4 p.m. deadline on January 29. LGB is allocating one slot to Delta and one to JetBlue; Allegiant and Frontier will each have two slots. New LGB airlines have 90 days to begin service from March 1, Lopez-Rios says.

The airline must then operate service continuously for 180 days to finalize the allocation.“If any of these air carriers relinquish a slot, then we would go back to the other carriers that were interested in [additional] slots,” he adds. Alaska Airlines recently gave up five slots and United Parcel Service surrendered one of two. According to airport officials, this is the greatest number of available slots since JetBlue began service at LGB in 2001.

The airport uses various methods to determine allocation, depending on the available slots and total requests. The allocation process works in “rounds.” There is some preference to carriers new to LGB, Lopez-Rios says.“In the past there [have been] so many entrants, there aren’t enough to go around,” he says. “Then, in order to assign the slots, we go to a drawing.”For a drawing, the airport would designate a date so that representatives from each airline could attend.

The two guiding documents are the airport’s noise ordinance and the slot allocation resolution, says LGB Public Affairs Officer Sharon Diggs-Jackson.The noise ordinance currently caps commercial slots at 41 and commuter slots at 25. (Commuter slots are for aircraft less than 75,000 pounds.) Alaska’s subsidiary Horizon Air now operates at LGB, using commuter slots because of its smaller planes. There are still 16 commuter slots available.Airserv President Kevin McAchren says new airlines could translate into new business: “We could use the business,” he says. “It’s been terribly slow for us.”

(Stacy Lawrence - Long Beach Business Journel)