Monday, January 31, 2011

New Departure path at John Wayne Orange County Airport

Airplanes leaving John Wayne Airport will soon follow a new route designed to keep them farther from the Back Bay neighborhoods that have long complained about the shriek of jet engines overhead.

The new route better follows the contours of the Upper Newport Bay itself, threading flights between the homes that line its east and west shores. Dozens of flights each day will shift to the new track within the next month.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been tweaking the flight path out of John Wayne in recent years as better technology made it easier for airplanes to fly more-precise routes. It tightened one of the airport's main departure routes in 2009, but also shifted it a few hundred feet to the east.
That put departing planes and all their noise closer to the homes of a community called The Bluffs. The new route is meant to correct that by shifting the flight path back toward the center of the bay, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said Monday.

Three dozen Southwest Airlines flights tested the new route earlier this month. Plotted on a map of Newport Beach, their flight paths merge into a single ribbon heading out over the bay, midway between the east and west sides.

"Let's put it this way: A bit more tolerable," said Don Passaglia, a board member for The Bluffs Homeowners Community Association, who saw the test results. The old route, he said, put planes so close to his house as they took off that "it appears (they're) right over your head."
About 90 flights a day have been using the route that took them over The Bluffs and will switch to the new route within the month. They include commercial aircraft heading east of Las Vegas as well as some business jets.

The airport faced lawsuits from noise-weary residents after its modern terminal was built in 1967. A court settlement in 1985 limited the noisiest flights, capped passenger volume, and restricted the airport's size.

(Doug Irving - The Orange County Register)

ANZ "Crazy About Rugby" A320 passes through LAX

(Photo by Dave Dominico)

Air New Zealand A320-232 (c/n 4553) ZK-OAB passed through Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) on Sunday January 30 on it's delivery flight. The aircraft departed from Toulouse - Blagnac (TLS/LFBO) on Saturday January 29 bound for it's first stop at Gander International (YQX/CYQX). Following it's stop in Gander, the new A320 flew to Denver (DEN/KDEN) before coming to Los Angeles.

(Photo by Mike Durbin)

On Sunday the aircraft arrived at LAX at 09:33 as "ANZ6697" and parked at Gate 21. After taking on fuel the aircraft departed LAX at 11:15 again as "ANZ6697" bound for Honolulu International (HNL/PHNL). The A320 sports a special livery entitled "Crazy About Rugby" and is dedicated to the countries national rugby team.

(Michael Carter - APF Editor)

Orange County Board of Supervisors approves entry of Carl's Jr. in the "Terminal C" at SNA

All of us that work at JWA are really excited about this announcement......something other that McDonalds!

The Orange County Board of Supervisors recently awarded a ten (10) year lease to CKE Restaurants, Inc., parent company of Carl's Jr.® as the Fast Food concessionaire in John Wayne Airport's (JWA) Terminal C, scheduled to open in late 2011. The lease is part of an overall plan to bring more variety and dining choices to passengers traveling through the Thomas F. Riley Terminal.

Carl's Jr. has proposed an extensive menu to include breakfast items, charbroiled burgers and chicken sandwiches, kids' meals, and Mexican fare with their dual-branded Green Burrito® menu, plus desserts and beverages.

"Carl's Jr. was founded in Orange County and is well-known by our customers. This first-class organization is known throughout the West and will bring an additional quick-service dining option for John Wayne Airport passengers," said Alan L. Murphy, Airport Director.

"We're pleased to be bringing Carl's Jr. to John Wayne Airport in Terminal C," said Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc., parent company of Carl's Jr. "We look forward to offering our premium-quality food to the busy travelers and employees at the airport."

Carl's Jr. franchisee James Yeung of Brea will operate the restaurant in Terminal C. CKE Restaurants operates more than 3,100 restaurants in 42 states and 18 countries, including 1,245 Carl's Jr. restaurants and 1,896 Hardee's® restaurants. Carl's Jr. is celebrating 70 years in the quick-service industry, while Hardee's recently celebrated 50 years. CKE has Carl's Jr. and Hardee's restaurants located in several airports in the United States and abroad.

CKE's lease is an important component of the overall concessions plan at John Wayne Airport. The Board of Supervisors also awarded a contract to McDonald's USA, LLC to operate a Fast Food concession in Terminals A and B. In other recent business, the Board of Supervisors awarded leases to HMSHost as the Primary Food and Beverage concessionaire and Paradies-OC, LLC and Hudson Group for News and Gift concessions. Three Specialty concessions were also previously awarded by the Orange County Board of Supervisors - Caterina's, Subway and Vino Volo.

(JWA Press Release)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Russian IAC AR awards type certification to Sukhoi Superjet 100

Russian aircraft certification authority IAC AR on Friday approved type certification for the Sukhoi Superjet 100 clearing the way for first delivery of the long-delayed aircraft, which rolled out in September 2007 and made its first flight nearly three years ago. The program was formally launched by Sukhoi in 2004 as the RRJ (Russian Regional Jet).

"The type certificate confirms the compliance of the aircraft with the IAC certification norms and airworthiness directives thus opening the way to start commercial operation," Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Co. stated, noting that it was also granteda design organization approval certificate from IAC AR.

Launch customer Aeroflot holds firm orders for 30 SSJ100s plus 15 options while Armavia, which has two on firm order with two options, was expected to take first delivery.

(Aaron Karp - ATWOnline News)

AirTran Airways reports 2010 results

AirTran 737-2BD (33924/1940) N288AT arrives at Las Vegas McCarren International Airport (LAS/KLAS) sporting the Georgia State University "Panthers" logo.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

AirTran Airways parent AirTran Holdings posted 2010 net income of $38.5 million, down 71.4% from a $134.7 million profit in 2009. Though its earnings declined, 2010 marked the carrier's eighth profitable year out of the last nine. It is in the process of being acquired by Southwest Airlines.

Fourth-quarter net income was $1.9 million, an 88.7% fall from a $17.1 million profit in the 2009 December quarter, on a 7.9% lift in revenue to $645.5 million. The airline's executives did not discuss the results with analysts and reporters, citing the pending takeover by SWA. In a statement, AirTran attributed the drop in full-year and fourth-quarter earnings to rising fuel costs, noting that the average price of jet fuel per gallon it purchased in the fourth quarter rose 17.2% year-over-year to $2.52. Full-year fuel expense jumped 27.8% to $867.5 million.

Full-year revenue heightened 11.9% to $2.62 billion while expenses climbed 15.1% to $2.49 billion, producing an operating profit of $128.2 million, down 27.6% from a $177 million operating profit in 2009. Annual traffic increased 5.3% to 19.58 billion RPMs on a 3.3% lift in capacity to 24.06 billion ASMs, producing a load factor of 81.4%, up 1.6 points. Yield improved 7% to 12.03 cents as RASM grew 8.3% to 10.88 cents and CASM rose 11.4% to 10.35 cents. CASM ex-fuel escalated 5.8% to 6.75 cents.

(Aaron Karp - ATWOnline News)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Who is the safest Airline in the United States?

To begin with, every major U.S. airline is safe. Very, very safe. David Castelveter of the Air Transport Association of America says the "safety of all U.S. carriers is the best it ever has been" and that he "would not hesitate to fly any carrier." And indeed, when you look at the numbers, commercial air travel in the United States today is about as safe as it gets.

Incidents do happen, just very infrequently. And actual accidents are extremely rare, especially ones with fatalities. According to, the last fatal crash of a commercial U.S. passenger plane was on Feb. 12, 2009, when a Colgan Air regional plane operating as Continental Connection Flight 3407 crashed into a residence in Buffalo, N.Y. The tragedy left 50 people dead, including 45 passengers, two pilots, two flight attendants and one person who was in the house at the time.

We thought a useful exercise would be to look at all of the documented incidents involving commercial U.S. passenger flights in 2010 and then rank which airlines fared the best. It would have been overly simplistic (not to mention, lazy) to leave it at that, so we decided the results would be more accurate if we disregarded the incidents where the airlines weren't at fault. It's not really fair to blame an airline when the incident is the result of a bird collision (33 of them last year, sometimes leading to more damage than you'd think), an unruly passenger (36 cases) or a medical emergency (31 incidents). There were also several episodes of turbulence leading to injuries, and even five instances where a flight was struck by lightning.

Keep in mind, even the incidents that did make the cut should be taken with a serious grain of salt, as many of them are innocuous mechanical issues where the flight crew is taking extra precautions. As Castelveter puts it, "Remember, when a red light goes on in the cockpit, the captain, in an abundance of caution, might opt to divert and have it checked out. That diversion or maintenance check has no reflection on safety."

This study only includes major U.S. carriers with a minimum of 600 flights a day on average. We calculated the number of incidents where the airlines were at fault and then divided that figure by the number of total annual flights, giving us an incident per flight ratio. We used the Aviation Herald and the Federal Aviation Administration as our sources, taking care to avoid duplicates. So, without further ado, we present you our list of America's Safest Airlines:

#8. JetBlue
Incidents per Flight: 0.0000776

17 documented incidents out of approximately 219,000 flights

With only 17 incidents out of approximately 219,000 flights in 2010, our "least safe" airline on this list is still absurdly safe. The most serious event occurred on Aug. 26 on Flight 262, when the plane’s parking brake became engaged during the approach and throughout the landing itself, resulting in a rough touch down at Sacramento International Airport (SMF) in California. All four main gear tires blew out and air traffic control noticed a small fire and some smoke near the landing gear, leading the pilot to order an evacuation. Seven passengers sustained minor injuries during the evacuation process.

#7. American Airlines
Incidents per Flight: 0.0000701
87 documented incidents out of approximately 1,241,000 flights

You know those times when pilots announce over the intercom that you should be seated and buckle up because there's going to be some turbulence ahead? Well, apparently, they're not kidding. While these incidents were not the fault of American Airlines (which means they don't count toward our incidents ratio), the airline had two significant events in 2010 that were turbulence-related. American Eagle (a regional affiliate of American Airlines) Flight 3224 had an incident on June 28 where severe turbulence led to the pilot declaring an emergency landing after a flight attendant told him that "she could not walk and a passenger [was] bleeding out of the mouth." The plane landed safely in Longview,Texas, but the flight attendant and passenger suffered serious injuries, while three other passengers incurred minor injuries.

The other American Airlines turbulence incident of note was Flight 20 on April 29, which resulted in one flight attendant receiving major injuries, and two attendants and three passengers suffering minor injuries.

#6. United Airlines
Incidents per Flight: 0.0000407
49 documented incidents out of approximately 1,204,500 flights

United had a scary moment on Jan. 10, 2010 when the plane’s landing gear on the right side did not fully deploy on Flight 634. Reportedly, the pilot gave fair warning, saying, "We are going to have an unusual landing." The crew initiated brace position and the plane landed in Newark, N.J. with the only partially deployed land gear, shooting sparks up along the runway. Passengers were evacuated by slides. Remarkably, only three passengers received minor injuries. As a courtesy, United refunded passengers' tickets and gave them vouchers toward future air travel.

#5. Delta Airlines
Incidents per Flight: 0.0000386
77 documented incidents out of approximately 1,994,725 flights

While all of these commercial planes have multiple engines (two to four, depending on the aircraft), the airlines take it very seriously when one does go down, usually diverting to a nearby airport. On Sept. 27, the pilot had to shut down the right-hand engine on Flight 116 from Atlanta, Ga. to Stuttgart, Germany, leading to a landing in St. John's, Canada. Four days later, the same plane had to shut down the same engine again. A similar incident occurred on Flight 1921 on Dec. 30, with two passengers obtaining minor injuries during the evacuation.

#4. Continental Airlines
Incidents per Flight: 0.0000260
23 documented incidents out of approximately 884,395 flights

One of Continental's more interesting incidents in 2010 was not the fault of the airline itself. Flight 239 was headed to Newark, N.J. from Miami, Fla. when the plane got too close for comfort with a Gulfstream II, coming within 1.04 miles laterally and 300 feet vertically of the business jet. Air traffic control error was cited as the cause, with the controller's training records showing "numerous recurring writeups for not maintaining positive control of situations, not taking timely action when required, and use of poor control judgment." There were no injuries suffered on board and no damage to the aircraft.

#3. US Airways
Incidents per Flight: 0.0000212
24 documented incidents out of approximately 1,131,865 flights

On Jan. 19, a US Airways Express regional flight overran the runway due to an incorrect flap setting. What's curious about this incident is that the National Transportation Safety Board found the probable cause to be the" flight crewmembers’ unprofessional behavior, including their nonadherence to sterile cockpit procedures by engaging in nonpertinent conversation, which distracted them from their primary flight-related duties and led to their failure to correctly set and verify the flaps."

Sometimes planes can find trouble before they even takeoff. On June 5, US Airways Flight 704 ran into Flight 413 while taxiing to a runway at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) in North Carolina. The taxiing airplane sustained only minimal damage, while Flight 413 received significant damage. There were no injuries on either airplane.

#2. Southwest Airlines
Incidents per Flight: 0.0000203
23 documented incidents out of approximately 1,131,500 flights

Two of Southwest's more troubling incidents in 2010 were related to cabin pressure. More specifically, the loss of it. Flight WN-778 was on its way to Austin, Texas from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. when it had to make an emergency descent due to loss of cabin pressure. The plane had to be diverted to Fort Myers, Fla. where three passengers were transported to local hospitals. Seven other passengers received medical attention at the airport. Flight WN-1777 also had to make an emergency descent near Birmingham, Vt. because of cabin pressure. While the experience must have been more than a little distressful for passengers (with oxygen masks dropping and everything), the plane landed safely with no reported injuries.

#1. AirTran
Incidents per Flight: 0.0000196
5 documented incidents out of approximately 255,500 flights

While all of the airlines on this list are safe, AirTran is the safest with the lowest number of documented incidents per flight in 2010. But even the victor isn't perfect. On Aug. 12, an engine cowling (the covering that is placed around the engine) separated mid-flight on Flight 807 from Indianapolis, Ind. to Baltimore, Md. The flight crew decided to divert to Dayton, Ohio, where they landed safely and without injury. As an interesting postscript, several metal fragments bearing the AirTran colors and "matching the paint scheme of Airtran engines" were discovered in fields near Knightstown, Ind. between Oct. 13 and Oct. 15. It is yet to be determined if the parts actually belonged to the airplane in question.

(Hamooda Shami - U.S. News and World Report)

Today at LAX Part 1

EVA Air Cargo MD-11F (48779/620) B-16109 arrives from Anchorage (ANC/PANC).

AeroLogic 777-FZN (36199/894) D-AALG is caught on short final to Rwy 25L and what a nice surprise it was catching this aircraft.

The latest edition to the Qantas fleet is A380-842 (c/n 29) VH-OQF "Charles Kingsford Smith" which is seen arriving from Sydney, Australia on a lovely morning in Los Angeles.

It is great to have the Qantas A380's back in Los Angeles.

American Airlines 767-223(ER) (22321/130) N320AA now sports the "Flagship Independence" livery dedicated to our Armed Forces personal who are fighting the "War on Terror."

(Photos by Michael Carter)

Today at LAX Part 2

Aeromexico Connect ERJ145LR (c/n 14500803) XA-CLI arrives in Los Angeles sporting the "SkyTeam" livery.

Alaska Airlines 737-490 (28894/3050) N706AS "Genie" is captured on short final to Rwy 24R.

Southwest Airlines 737-7H4 (27849/62) N715SW "Shamu" arrives at LAX on a simply gorgeous morning.

(Photos by Michael Carter

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Today at Victorville (VCV/KVCV) Part 1

McDonnell Douglas MD-95 (Boeing 717-2BL) (55180/5132) N795BC, ex XA-CLF was originally delivered to Midwest Airlines on June 14, 2004 as N918ME. When Midwest Airlines was bought by Republic Airlines the MD-95's were phased out and eventually made their way to MexicanaClick a subsidery of Mexicana Airlines. With the demise of Mexicana the MD-95's once again were without a home and at present are being ferried up from Mexico and into storage at VCV as they await a new operator.

McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 (46942/162) N450AX is operated by 10 Tanker Air Carrier. The aircraft was delivered to National Airlines on June 25, 1975 as N69NA "Betty." When Pan Am and National merged in 1980 the aircraft was painted into the Pan Am livery and named "Clipper Star Light." American Airlines bought this lovely lady on November 25, 1983 and re-registered it as N161AA. She operated with Hawaiian Airlines for a short time but was sold by American Airlines to Omni DC-10 Leasing LLC on July 18, 1997. She was operated by Omni until being WFU and stored at Victorville in December 2003.

Another nice look at DC-10-10 N450AX as she rests in the "Southern California Sun."

McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 (47926/170) N59083 was delivered to Lufthansa on January 3, 1975 as D-ADGO "Bonn." The aircraft was operated by the carrier until retiring her from the fleet and storing her at Marana, Arizona in January 1993. Belgium carrier Sabena leased the DC-10 and re-registered as OO-SLG operating it until June 6, 1997. Continental Airlines then leased the aircraft from June 1997 until September 2004 as N59083 when it was retired from the fleet. Omni Air International was the last carrier to operate her before she was retired for spares to keep "10 Tanker" in the air.

McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 (46595/299) N540AX is another ex Omni Air International bird being used for spares that are dedicated to the tanker program. She was originally delivered to Condor as D-ADPO on November 21, 1979. Omni Aircraft Leasing bought the DC-10-30 on December 12, 1998. Airtours International leased the aircraft for one month in early 1999. Back with Omni the carrier operated the aircraft until September 2003 when she was WFU and stored at VCV.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Today at Victorville (VCV/KVCV) Part 2

Boeing 747-446 (26355/1024) N356AS, delivered to Japan Airlines on March 29, 1994 as JA8910.

Boeing 757-236 (25060/364) N949FD, was originally delivered to British Airways on May 3, 1991 as G-BPEE but was immediately leased to Caledonian Airways "Loch Tay" on May 4, 1991. The aircraft served with the carrier until being returned to British Airways on December 17, 1994 and renamed "Robert Louis Stevenson." She will now be converted to a freighter and be operated by FedEx.

Boeing 767-338(ER) (24317/246) N317CM, was delivered to Qantas on November 23, 1988 as VH-OGC "City of Bendigo."

Boeing 747-121(SF) (19651/25) N747GE was delivered to Pam American World Airways on March 21, 1970 as N744PA "Clipper Star of the Union," and in 1980 she was renamed "Clipper Ocean Spray." She served with Pan Am until December 5, 1991 when she was retired from the carrier and returned to the lessor. The aircraft was leased by General Electric on March 3, 1992 with whom she still serves today.

Lockheed Tristar 500 (293A-1247) HZ-AB1, delivered to Alia Royal Jordanian Airlines on June 14, 1984 then re-registered as JY-HKJ on August 4, 1986. The aircraft was last operated by Al Anwa Aviation and has now taken up what appears to be permanent residency at VCV likey never to fly again unfortunately.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Boeing Reports 2010 Results / 2011 Delivery Expectations for 787 and 747-8

Boeing 787-800 (40690/1) (ZA001) N787BA taxies at Boeing Field (BFI/KBFI) on May 4, 2010 following a test flight.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

The Boeing Company said it expects to deliver 25 to 40 787s and 747-8s this year, roughly equally split between the two types, as it reported that earnings for the 2010 fourth quarter dipped 8%, to $1.16 billion from $1.27 billion in the year-ago period on fewer transport deliveries and higher pension expense. Net income for the year jumped 152%, however, to $3.31 billion from $1.31 billion earned in 2009.

"Boeing delivered strong operating performance and exceptional cash generation from core production and services business in 2010, which helped mitigate the impact of development program challenges," Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney said in a statement.

Revenue fell 6% for the year to $64.31 billion but earnings from operations jumped 137% to $4.97 billion from $2.10 billion in 2009. Fourth-quarter revenue slid 8% to $16.55 billion and operating income plunged 35% to $1.1 billion from $1.69 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes revenue fell 11% to $8.18 billion for the fourth quarter on lower deliveries of the 747 and 777 and 7% to $31.83 billion for the full year. Earnings from operations for the fourth quarter of 2010 plunged 39% to $627 million from $1.02 billion in the year-ago period while full-year operating earnings totaled $3.01 billion for 2010 versus an operating loss of $583 million in 2009 on special items related to the 747-8 and 787 programs.

BCA is producing two 787s per month and expects to reach a rate of 10 per month by the end of 2013, McNerney said during the company's fourth-quarter webcast. ANA is scheduled to receive the first 787 during the third quarter, while Cargolux is scheduled to take delivery of the first 747-8F mid-year. First delivery of the 787-9 is expected in late 2013, he said.

Boeing Corporate President and CFO James Bell said that as of the fourth quarter the 787 program was not in a loss position, although "the cumulative impact of 787 schedule revisions has put pressure on program profitability." The early 787 and 747-8 deliveries will be delivered at "potentially zero margins," Bell said.

For 2011, Boeing expects revenues of $68-$71 billion, reflecting the impact of initial 787 and 747-8 deliveries. BCA expects to deliver 485-500 aircraft this year, up from 462 in 2010 and also expects that orders will exceed deliveries, with annual revenues of $36-$38 billion. The company booked net orders for 530 units last year.

Commenting on a possible 737 successor or a re-engining, McNerney said, "For me, putting our [existing 737] backlog at risk twice—once with a re-engining … and then again with a new airplane—only makes sense if the new airplane wants to be developed in 2025 or beyond…. We're leaning toward development in the 2020 timeframe."

(Perry Flint - ATWOnline News)

Lufthansa to Bring A380 to San Francisco

Lufthansa said it will launch daily Frankfurt(FRA/FRF/EDDF)-San Francisco(SFO/KSFO) A380 service on May 10, marking the entry of the large aircraft to SFO.

(ATWOnline - News)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Another jetBlue A320 wears the "Barcode" tail livery

jetBlue A320-232 (c/n 1785) N537JB "Red, White and Blue" arrives at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) this afternoon sporting the carriers new tail livery "Barcode."
(Photo by Michael Carter)

New C-17A takes to the sky

A gorgeous sight as this lovely lady arrives home back in Long Beach.

C-17A (P-207) 09-9207 is captured on short final to Rwy 30 as she returns from her first pre-delivery test flight at 15:19.

(Photos by Michael Carter)

Lynden Air Cargo receives first L-100 replacment center wing box from Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin has delivered the first replacement Center Wing Box (CWB) assembly for the civil variant of the Hercules, the L-100, to Lynden Air Cargo. This delivery marks the first upgrade of an L-100 with a new CWB.

The new Center Wing Box assembly is the first of three on order for Lynden, an Anchorage, Alaska-based firm that operates a fleet of six L-100s. The installation will be performed by Singapore Technologies Aerospace Engineering using Lockheed Martin-designed tooling. The new CWB will give the Lynden L-100 an additional 15 years of service life.

The CWB sits atop the aircraft's main fuselage and forms the attachment point for the outer wings and the inboard engines. CWBs are manufactured in the company's Marietta, Ga., facility for both the new C-130J Super Hercules and for earlier Hercules models.

Lynden Air Cargo began operations in 1995 and is part of the Lynden family of companies providing multi-modal transportation services including air, ground, marine and logistics companies. Lynden's fleet of Hercules has accumulated more than 125,000 accident-free flight hours since 1997.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 133,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation's 2009 sales from continuing operations were $44.0 billion.

(Lockheed Martin Aeronautics - Press Release)

Alaska Airlines reports fourth quarter and full-year income for 2010

Alaska Air Group, Inc. today reported record fourth quarter 2010 net income of $64.8 million, or $1.75 per diluted share, compared to net income of $24.1 million, or $0.67 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Excluding mark-to-market fuel hedge gains of $28.1 million ($17.4 million after tax or $0.47 per diluted share), the company reported record net income of $47.4 million, or $1.28 per diluted share, compared to net income of $4.4 million, or $0.12 per share, excluding special items in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The company reported full-year 2010 record net income of $251.1 million, compared to $121.6 million in 2009. Excluding the impact of the items noted in the table below, the company reported record net income of $262.6 million, or $7.14 per diluted share for 2010, a $173.9 million improvement from the $88.7 million, or $2.45 per diluted share, in 2009. This marks the company's seventh consecutive year of adjusted profits.

"We are very pleased to report record fourth-quarter and full-year profits. These results were driven by strong revenue growth, excellent cost management, an on-time operation, and promising new markets, " said Chairman and CEO Bill Ayer. "2010 was a record year in nearly every regard and reflects the efforts of the past decade as much as the last twelve months. At the heart of our results are 12,000 dedicated Alaska and Horizon employees. I want to thank them for being open to new ideas and working together to deliver outstanding customer service and operational performance. And though it's been difficult at times, because of our collective perseverance and the structural changes we've made, our future is as bright as it's ever been."

Today Alaska Airlines is also announcing an order for 15 new Boeing 737 aircraft to be delivered in 2012 through 2014, including 13 new B737-900ER (extended range) aircraft, which will be new to the Alaska fleet.

“The 737-900ER will be a great addition to our next generation Boeing 737 fleet. It will improve our already best-in-class rating for fuel-efficiency,” said Alaska Airlines President Brad Tilden. “Depending on the ultimate configuration, the larger 737-900ER will have between 21 and 27 seats more than our existing B737-800 aircraft and will be a perfect fit for our longer-haul and high traffic West Coast markets.”

Alaska Airlines current aircraft order;

Previous Order: 737-800 - 11 with deliveries planned for 3 (2011), 4 (2012), 2 (2013), 2 (2014).

Announced today: 737-800 - 3 with deliveries planned for 2 (2012), 1 (2013).

Announced today: 737-900/ER - 13 with deliveries planned for 6 (2013), 7 (2014).

(Alaska Airlines - Press Release)

Horizon Air retires old livery

(Photo Alaska Airlines)

Horizon Air announced today it is retiring its public brand and will adopt the trademark Eskimo of its sister company, Alaska Airlines, on its fleet. The change follows a shift made earlier this year to a new business model that aligns more closely with the rest of the regional airline industry.

"While our livery is changing, many other important things won't," said Horizon Air President Glenn Johnson. "Horizon will remain focused on meeting customers' needs and providing a memorable experience, including our genuine, personal service and free onboard Northwest wine and microbrews."

As part of the brand change, Horizon's Bombardier Q400 fleet will be repainted with a new paint scheme prominently featuring "Alaska" across the fuselage and the Eskimo on the tail. The plane will continue to include the Horizon logo on the sides of the aircraft, which will now appear in Alaska's dark blue color. A high-resolution image of the new paint scheme is available at Alaska Airlines' online image gallery at

While the brand change has no direct effect on customers, travelers will begin to see changes to airport signage, advertising and planes starting next month. The brand transition will be completed as soon as is practical. During this time, some new Q400s being delivered to Horizon may fly without color until painting can be scheduled. Horizon expects to unveil its first Q400 featuring the new look in February.

Horizon has had a separate brand since Alaska Air Group acquired the airline in 1986. Its existing brand, a stylized sun, has been featured on Horizon planes and at airports since 1991.

(Alaska Airlines / Horizon Airlines - Press Release)

Monday, January 24, 2011

New G550 arrives in Long Beach

G550 (c/n 5314) N834GA arrived from Savannah-Hilton Head (SAV/KSAV) at 10:55.

G-IVSP (c/n 1331) N74GG (ex-EC-KEY, N878G) is seen under tow at the Gulfstream Service Center.

(Photos by Douglas Kerr)

A Couple Aviation Trader ATL-98 Carvairs

I remember the first time I saw one of these lovely beasts at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) in the summer of 1996 and I was totally taken by it's charm. I know "Corney" but none the less a beautiful aircraft built on the Douglas DC-4 airframe.
ATL-98 "Carvair" (27249/9) N89FA sporting Falcon Airways titles, is captured basking in the Tuscan, Arizona Sun.

ATL-98 "Carvair" (10273/4) N103 rests in the Texas sun.

(Photos by Keith Burton)

"Alaska Airlines Arena" at University of Washington

Alaska Airlines and the University of Washington today announced a partnership to rename UW's on-campus basketball arena "Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion." The arena sponsorship is part of a five-year agreement to support University of Washington Athletics approved by the university's Board of Regents today.

Alaska Airlines has committed $525,000 annually in cash and trade for the arena naming rights in addition to the airline's $175,000 ongoing athletics' sponsorship.

"We are thrilled to expand our long-standing relationship with the University of Washington and that the Alaska Airlines name will be associated with the proud history of Hec Edmundson Pavilion," said Alaska Airlines President Brad Tilden. "Husky basketball is a time-honored tradition enjoyed by many in our community, including our customers and our employees."

Court signage, including the Alaska Airlines logo, will be unveiled at tonight's game and exterior signage will be installed within the next eight weeks.

"The Alaska Airlines brand mirrors the excellence that the University of Washington and UW athletics is known for," said UW Athletic Director Scott Woodward. "We are very pleased to grow this partnership with Alaska Airlines, and proud to have their name attached to the arena at one of our most-cherished icons, Hec Edmundson Pavilion."

Hec Edmundson Pavilion is the primary home for the Husky men's and women's basketball teams, volleyball team, and gymnastics squad. The beloved historical building is a monument to Husky athletics. Now in its ninth decade of service, the Washington men's basketball team will be competing in the building for the 82nd season, a stretch that has allowed the UW men's team to compile more wins in the building (883) than any other team in the nation has won in its current arena.

Originally completed in 1927, the arena underwent a $40 million, 19-month renovation between March 1999 and November 2000 to reconfigure its interior. The arena has a seating capacity of 10,000.

(Alaska Airlines - Press Release)

Photo of the Day / United (Continental) 767-424(ER)

United (Continental) 767-424(ER) (29454/864) N69059 climbs from Rwy 25R at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) sporting the combined carriers new livery on January 12, 2011.
(Photo by Steve Griffin)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Panamas' Copa Airlines expands service to U.S. and Canada

Copa Airlines 737-8V3 (33709/1387) HP-1522CMP climbs from Rwy 25R at LAX on January 20, 2011. (Photo by Michael Carter)

Panama's Copa Airlines announced today that it will fly to three new destinations and increase frequencies on other key routes as part of its 2011 expansion plan.

Copa's new routes will begin in June when the carrier adds service from Panama City to Toronto Pearson, Nassau in the Bahamas and Porte Alegre, Brazil.

Copa also will add one daily round-trip flight on five routes from its Panama City hub. Two of those routes are to Florida, where Copa's Miami service will increase to four daily round-trip flights and Orlando will go to three daily round-trip flights. Bogota (up to six daily round-trip flights), Lima (three) and Santiago, Chile, (three) are the other routes.

Copa also plans to reorganize its flight schedule, saying in a press release that it will transition from a schedule of four daily flight banks to a six.

That will begin June 15, with Copa saying it "will allow the airline to better utilize (Panama City's) Tocumen Airport's existing infrastructure as well as offer passengers more and better scheduling options."

(Ben Mutzabaugh - USA Today / Today in the Sky)

Extra fees still do not fly at Southwest Airlines

Even amid rising fuel costs, Southwest says it's not going to to back-track on its no-fee stance.

"If we were to begin to charge change fees, that runs the risk of destroying a lot of good will," Southwest CEO Gary Kelly answered when asked if the airline's no-fee stance is dampening revenue, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

"I'd rather have a customer than a bag fee. We get a lot more money that way," Kelly says, according to the Inquirer.

Kelly's comment on the subject comes as Southwest unveils its latest ad in its "fees don't fly" campaign. That ad takes aim at the change-of-ticket fees charged by rivals.

Like other airlines, Southwest recalculates the fare of customers changing tickets, but it does not charge a penalty for doing so. Most other big carriers charge a $150 penatly, on top of recalculating the fare.

Southwest management has said on numerous occasion that it feels that the airline's no-fee stance has helped it win marketshare from fee-heavy rivals.

(Ben Mutzabaugh - USA Today / Today in the sky)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Boeing compensation to Cargolux for late 747-8F deliveries?

(Photo by Joe G. Walker)

What appears to be compensation to Cargolux, 747-4B5 (24200/748) N794BA, ex Korean Air HL7479 / HL7412 is being readied for delivery at Boeing Field (BFI/KBFI) in Seattle. This aircraft was recently used by Boeing for wake turbulence testing of the 747-8F down in San Bernadino,CA along with 747-8F that is in Cargolux colors. At that time is was still in the Korean Air blue sky colors, but no titles.

The aircraft made a brief appearance at (BFI/KBFI) before returning to Marana. On January 13, under cover of darkness, the aircraft returned to (BFI/KBFI) as "BOE 573". On the nose gear doors is the last three letters of the new (pending) registration of LX-ACV. The aircraft is rumored to be delivered on Wednesday January 26.

Interestingly, if the aircraft is truly registered as LX-ACV, it would be the same registration as one of their first 747s, that was in TransAmerica colors.

(Joe G. Walker - APF Seattle Staffer)

United A319 first Airbus to wear combined CO/UA livery

United A319-131 (c/n 1688) N853UA is captured arriving at Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD/KORD) today sporting the combined carriers new livery, the first Airbus in the fleet to do so.
(Photo by Steven Pinnow)

Southwest Airlines pledges alligence to Boeing 737

Southwest Airlines has underlined its allegiance to the Boeing 737 but has stressed its desire for a more fuel-efficient aircraft, as Boeing continues to consider whether to follow Airbus with a re-engining programme.

"We love the 737. We wish it would be more fuel efficient," said chief executive Gary Kelly during its 20 January earnings call. "At some point we will have a different airplane if Boeing comes forth with a new aircraft."

Kelly says he would prefer a more fuel efficient airplane from Boeing whether it would be via an interim step such as a re-engine programme or an all-new aircraft. "Boeing has told us and I think what I've read recently at least, is that they are looking for a decision on that mid-year," he states.

Southwest is also acknowledging that it will likely reverse its long-standing policy of only operating a single fleet type in the coming years. "At some point, we will likely have another fleet type. We think we can manage multiple fleet types - not 10, but two or three."

In the short term Southwest's fleet will expand to include the McDonnell Douglas MD-95 (Boeing 717-200) once its acquisition of AirTran Airways closes.

In 2011, Southwest revised its delivery schedule to take three additional 737-700s this year for a total of 19, and 20 737-800s in 2012. The carrier also states it is evaluating substituting -800s in lieu of the 71 -700s scheduled for delivery from 2013 through 2016.

Southwest in December firmed plans to substitute 20 firm -700 orders for the -800 with deliveries beginning in 2012.

(Sandra Arnoult - Flight Global / Flight International News)

U.K. Royal Air Force takes delivery of 7th C-17A

(Photos by David Hartley/Rex Features)

The UK Royal Air Force has marked the introduction to service of its seventh and last Boeing C-17 strategic transport during a ceremony attended by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Performed at RAF Brize Norton on 21 January, the event followed the UK's acceptance of aircraft ZZ177 at Boeing's Long Beach site in California last November, and its arrival in the UK on 14 January.

Joining six C-17s delivered to the RAF's 99 Sqn since May 2001, ZZ177 will provide airlift services including supporting the service's "airbridge" between the UK and Afghanistan. The Ministry of Defence says the transport “has been declared ready for operations and will start flying troops and equipment to the frontline at the beginning of February”.

The UK’s C-17s have already amassed more than 65,000 flying hours. “The RAF utilises its C-17s more than any other service today,” says Boeing UK C-17 programme manager Liz Pace.
The RAF and Boeing had planned to host a general media facility to welcome the aircraft at Brize Norton, but this was abandoned within less than 24h of the event to allow only local press to attend. The service's transport super-base falls within Cameron's parliamentary constituency of Witney, Oxfordshire.

The C-17 fleet will from late this year be joined at Brize Norton by the RAF's first of 14 Airbus A330-200-based Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft. The base will also eventually house 22 Airbus Military A400Ms, with the type to be named the "Atlas" in UK service.

(Craig Hoyle - Flight Global / Flight International news)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Southwest Airlines reports $459 million net Income for 2010

Southwest Airlines 737-7H4 (29849/416) N754SW is captured on short final to Rwy 19R at John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA/KSNA) on January 22, 2009.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Southwest Airlines posted net income of $459 million for 2010, more than quadrupling a $99 million profit in 2009, marking the LCC's 38th consecutive year in the black.

Despite a 12.7% year-over-year increase in fuel costs in the fourth quarter, 2010 was a "very satisfying year," Chairman, President and CEO Gary Kelly told analysts and reporters. "Except for fuel, our outlook for 2011 is quite good," he said, citing "tremendous momentum" in revenue generation. "Pretty substantial" fuel hedging in place through 2014, fuel conservation initiatives and "revenue offsets" should allow the LCC to navigate a high fuel cost environment, he stated.

But in response to a question from ATW, he warned that per barrel crude oil prices reaching $120 would pose a serious threat to profitability. "If you look at our 2010 results, there's $1 billion that we have to work with to sustain some level of profitability," he explained. "Every $10 move in crude costs us $300 million, so at what point do we have a problem?" Noting that per barrel crude oil prices, now at just under $90, averaged around $80 in 2010, he said, "A $30-$40 move in crude oil [in 2011] from 2010 [average prices] to reach the $120 range would wipe out profitability, all things being equal … $110 would be alarming, but I think it's clear $120 would be a problem."

On the fleet front, the carrier said it has reached agreement with Boeing to take three of 23 737-700s slated for delivery in 2012 this year while switching the remaining 20 -700s to -800s, all of which will be delivered in 2012. Kelly said the carrier could have 50-100 -800s in its fleet "eventually," noting, "I think our baseline is we could use more than 50 in our route system as it exists today."

He repeated that SWA expects to close its acquisition of AirTran Airways during this year's first half, with early integration activities starting as soon as the second quarter.

Full-year 2010 revenue jumped 16.9% to $12.1 billion while expenses grew 10.2% to $11.12 billion, producing an operating profit of $988 million, nearly four times greater than a $262 million operating profit in the year-ago period. Traffic rose 4.8% to 78.05 billion RPMs on a 0.4% increase in capacity to 98.45 billion ASMs, producing a load factor of 79.3%, up 3.3 points. SWA plans to grow capacity 4%-5% in 2011 compared to 2010, achieved primarily through higher aircraft utilization.

Full-year 2010 yield heightened 10.8% to 14.72 cents as RASM escalated 16.5% to 12.3 cents and CASM rose 9.7% to 11.29 cents. CASM ex-fuel was up 5.8% to 7.61 cents. Fourth-quarter net income was $131 million, up 12.9% from a $116 million profit in the prior-year period, on a 14.8% lift in revenue to $3.12 billion.

(Aaron Karp - ATW News)

C-17A workforce cuts announced by Boeing

Stung by dwindling domestic demand and efforts to slow production, Boeing said it plans to cut 900 more workers from its local C-17 workforce by late 2012.

The downsizing, announced late Wednesday, is the latest in a series of reductions to Long Beach's once-mighty aerospace industry, where employment has dropped from more than 20,000 in the 1990 s to less than 7,000 today.

And it comes on the heels of a painful year in which more than 1,000 local Boeing jobs were outsourced, transferred or simply cut amid a company-wide restructuring program.

About 200 positions at C-17 sub-assembly plants in Georgia, Arizona and Missouri will also be eliminated by late 2012.

Boeing said the cuts are needed to prepare for a reduced C-17 production schedule, which is 14 annually, to 10 beginning this summer.

"This has been a very difficult position, no question about it," said Bob Ciesla, C-17 program manager. "I've been working on the C-17 for 20 years and I personally know a lot of the great people who work on this (jet), so it's weighing heavily on me. But it's simply something that needed to be done."

Ciesla said cuts would be made "across the board," and include assembly workers, accountants, mid-level management, engineering and research, among other areas.

"Reducing the number of C-17 s we delivery every year - and doing that with a smaller workforce - will allow us to keep the production line open beyond 2012, protect jobs and give potential customers more time to finalize their airlift requirements," Ciesla said.

Affected workers will receive 60-day notices beginning Friday, with layoffs staggered monthly through late 2012.

Ciesla estimates about 400 will be let go this year, followed by 500 in 2012.

Stan Klemchuck, president of United Aerospace Workers Local 148, which represents about 1,700 workers in Long Beach, said employees received news of the intended layoffs Wednesday afternoon.

"People are obviously devastated," Klemchuck said. "Between this and recent layoffs at the (Carson) warehouse facility, it's been overwhelming. The jobs are just drying up."

Mayor Bob Foster released the following statement on the layoffs announcement: The C-17 program is an important economic asset for the State, the region, and the City. While Boeing's announcement today is difficult and disconcerting, it is not entirely unexpected, as the Federal government has decreased orders for this workhorse aircraft.

"Our rich history of aerospace manufacturing makes this an emotional day for Long Beach, as the C-17 plant is the last of what was previously a robust aerospace manufacturing industry in California. The impacts from these reductions will affect the State and the region, and is not constrained only to Long Beach," Foster said.

"We will continue our efforts to support Boeing in generating additional orders to preserve the thousands of jobs that remain, and our Workforce Investment Board will commit resources to assist affected employees during this difficult period."

Boeing, the city's largest private employer, announced cutbacks come in the wake of recent plans to transfer 800 engineering and research position to Oklahoma by year's end and close a parts and supply warehouse in Carson this summer.

Boeing said it's closing the 300,000-square-foot Carson site after nearly 20 years to save money, and will be outsourcing the work to a contractor in Santa Fe Springs.

More than 160 jobs are affected by the plant closure.

Boeing said that where possible, affected employees will be offered positions elsewhere in the company.

Layoff counts may also be reduced through attrition and retirement, though it remains to be seen how many people will volunteer for an early exit.

The latest round of cuts will bring Boeing's C-17 production payroll to about 2,800 by late 2012, from the current 3,700 employees.

Another 3,500 work in Long Beach in Boeing sales, marketing, research, design and other programs, with an additional 1,000 or so employed at the company's satellite facility in Seal Beach.

The C-17 has been widely popular since production began in 1993. The U.S. Air Force has purchased 206 to date, with others owned by Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

India and Kuwait have placed orders for a combined 11 C-17 s, and Boeing is reportedly talking with other nations that include Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman and South Africa.

If approved as expected in coming months, the deal with India's Air Force should keep Long Beach's C-17 production line humming through 2013 - only with a reduced workforce.

(Kristopher Hanson - Long Beach Press Telegram)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chinese Government approves 200 airplane deal with Boeing

The Chinese government on Wednesday formally approved orders for 200 Boeing aircraft, a mix of 737s and 777s, for delivery to Chinese airlines from 2011-2013, clearing commitments valued at $19 billion at list prices that the manufacturer has booked over the last several years.

The announcement was part of a series of purchase agreements with US companies valued at $45 billion approved by Chinese officials Wednesday in Washington, where Chinese President Hu Jintao and US President Barack Obama engaged in high-level meetings. Also announced was a GE Aviation-AVIC avionics joint venture. Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney was among the US business executives who attended a Wednesday meeting with Hu and Obama.

The manufacturer said building the 200 aircraft "positively impacts more than 100,000 jobs including those at Boeing and with its thousands of suppliers throughout the US." Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Jim Albaugh said in a statement, "We value China's support for our products and its confidence in Boeing … This deal is a win-win for the Boeing-China partnership, which is approaching its 40th anniversary."

Beyond adding to the atmospherics of Hu's visit, there does not appear to be any real importance to the timing of the announcement, which relates to aircraft already in Boeing's backlog. On the other hand, official approval of aircraft deliveries may be significant given that CAAC is promising to strictly control Chinese carriers' fleet additions in 2011, requiring airlines to limit capacity growth while improving aircraft utilization and load factors. China's total commercial aircraft fleet is expected to reach 1,827 units by the end of this year with an increase of 290 aircraft and the phasing out of 67.

Boeing in November predicted China will become the world's No. 2 aircraft market over the next 20 years, requiring 4,330 new commercial aircraft valued at $480 billion and tripling its fleet size. It believes China will become its "largest commercial airplane customer" in the future.

(Aaron Karp - ATW News)

Beech 18's in South Florida

Beech 18's were also on our list to shoot and we found four which are represented below.

Beech C-45H (c/n AF-817) N6NA "Expeditor" sits in a remote section at Opa Locka Executive Airport (OPF/KOPF) having seen better days.

Beech H-18 (c/n BA-749) N8476H is seen at Ft. Lauderdale (FLL/KFLL) on January 13.

Operated by Aztec Airways, Beech G-18S (c/n BA-494) N9690R was spotted at Ft Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE/KFXE) on January 12.

Beech G-18S (c/n BA-559) N961GP which is operated by Suncoast Airlines departs Ft. Lauderdale (FLL/KFLL) on January 12.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

South Florida Douglas DC-3's

While on our trip to Miami and Ft Lauderdale, we were on the look out for Douglas DC-3s and we did manage to photograph several of these Classic propliners. There were many more that we spotted but these were the only ones we could get close enough to for photos.

C-47 (c/n 6135) "SkyTrain" YV1854 rests in the morning sun at Opa Locka Executive Airport (OPF/KOPF) on January 15.

Florida Air Transport Douglas DC-3 (c/n 19286) N15MA is captured resting between flights at Ft. Lauderdale (FLL/KFLL) on January 13.

Douglas DC-3C (c/n 19999) N437GB operated by Atlantic Air Cargo soaks up the sun at Opa Locka Executive Airport (OPF/KOPF) on January 15.

Atlantic Air Cargo Douglas DC-3C (c/n 13854) N705GB is seen at Opa Locka Executive Airport (OPF/KOPF) on January 15 waiting for another flight.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

American Airlines orders two 777-300 aircraft

American Airlines, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of AMR Corp., today announced it has entered into a purchase agreement with the Boeing Company under which American will acquire two Boeing 777-300ERs to support its global network strategy and to capitalize on international growth opportunities. The two aircraft are expected to be delivered in late 2012.

"These additional widebody aircraft will bolster our network strategy, particularly the international growth opportunities we expect from our joint businesses with oneworld® partners in the trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific markets," said Tom Horton, President, AMR Corp., the parent company of American Airlines and American Eagle. "We value the combination of size, range and performance of the 777-300ER, as well as the extensive customer amenities it offers. The seating capability of the aircraft will give us growth flexibility in slot-constrained airports and provide us with greater ability to serve new long-haul markets."

"American Airlines is an industry leader whose vision and disciplined approach to growth has made it one of the largest airlines in the world," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Jim Albaugh. "American is the first carrier in the United States to order the 777-300ER. These new airplanes will complement their large fleet of 777-200ERs by offering additional flexibility in serving nonstop routes while providing increased efficiency and reliability."

(American Airlines - Press Release)

Douglas Aircraft Company (DAC) propliners at Opa Locka Airport

DC-7B (45345/928) N836D operated by the Historical Flight Foundation rests in the sun at Opa Locka Airport (OPF/KOPF) following a flight which took 30 aviation photographers and enthusiasts (myself included) on a 1 hour long flight along the South Florida coast cruisning at 500ft above the crystal clear Atlantic Ocean......what a flight it was!

DC-6A (43720/373) N70BF (built as an R6D-1/C-118B) operated by Florida Air Transport is captured at Opa Locka Airport (OPF/KOPF).

ARDCO DC-4 (27359/DO 305) N460WA (built as a C-54E-15 Skymaster) is seen at Opa Locka Airport (OPF/KOPF) on January 15, 2011 taking a break before it's next flight.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Korean Air to commence A380 service to LAX on October 1st

Korean Air unveiled its initial Airbus A380 service schedule, saying it will launch daily short-haul flights from Seoul Incheon to Tokyo Narita and Hong Kong June 1. It will add Bangkok in July. Regarding long-haul routes, it will launch A380 flights from ICN to New York JFK from Aug. 2 and from ICN to Los Angles starting Oct. 1. The carrier is slated to take delivery of five A380s this year.

Initially, ICN-JFK flights will be operated thrice-weekly, ramping up to daily Sept. 1. ICN-LAX A380 flights will be operated daily from the start. KE's A380s will be configured for 407 seats: 12 first class, 84 business and 301 economy.

It has 10 on order total; after this year, the remaining five will be delivered by 2014. "The introduction of the super jumbo aircraft is expected to increase passengers from China, Japan, and East Asia transferring to the US and Europe, accelerating [ICN's] goal of becoming a global aviation hub," KE stated.

(Geoffrey Thomas - ATW News)

Virgin America places large Airbus order

A320-214 (c/n 3465) N637VA "An Airplane Named Desire" taxies at San Francisco International (SFO/KSFO) on September 6, 2008.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Virgin America placed a firm order for 60 Airbus A320s including 30 A320neos, marking the first firm order for the re-engined narrowbody offering. Indian LCC IndiGo last week signed an MOU with Airbus to place an order for 180 A320s including 150 A320neos.

The VX order, which was officially signed at the end of 2010 and formalizes and expands on an MOU reached at last summer's Farnborough International Airshow, also marks Airbus's 10,000 aircraft sold. VX has yet to announce its engine choice.

“At just three years old and at a time when many carriers are contracting, we’re pleased to be growing and bringing our award-winning service to new markets,” said VX President and CEO David Cush.

Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders told media, “We hit our 5,000th order in August of 2004—after more than 30 years. To achieve the 10,000th order just over six years later is a ringing endorsement of our product line.”

Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson said that Virgin affiliated airlines are “committed to investing in the next generation solutions that will make air travel more sustainable … The A320neo will help us get there, by lowering costs and reducing our impact on the environment.”

(Geoffrey Thomas - ATW News)