Monday, October 31, 2011

These lovely corportate aircraft "Occupy" the skies above SoCal

Global Express (c/n 9339) VQ-BNP climbs from Rwy 25L at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) on October 27, 2011.

Boeings Corporate 737-7BC "BBJ" (30756/569) N836BA rolls for takeoff on Rwy 30 at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on October 27, 2011.

Beech Super King Air 300 (c/n FA-12) N7202Y returns to Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on October 27, 2011 following a sortie with UAE C-17A (F-238 / UE-4) 1226.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

A rare bird at LAX

U.S. Navy North American Rockwell CT-39G (NA 265-60) (c/n 306-55) 158844 is captured arriving at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) on October 28, 2011.

(Photo by Michael Carter)

A very interesting Amphibian

Searey (c/n 1MK101) N713DS captured on short final to Rwy 30 at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on September 22, 2011.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Malaysia Airlines 1st A380 performs 1st flight

Malaysia Airlines’ first Airbus A380 made its maiden flight Oct. 20 in Toulouse, following completion of final assembly and system tests. It will next travel to Hamburg for cabin installation and painting. The Rolls-Royce Trent 900-powered A380 is the first of six ordered by the carrier, with first delivery scheduled for the second quarter of 2012.

777-300ER Milestone

Boeing has surpassed 300 deliveries of the 777-300ER aircraft type, with an Oct. 21 delivery to Biman Bangladesh. It is the first direct Boeing order from the carrier. The 777-300ER has received 543 orders, as of Sept. 30.

Cathy Pacific set to take delivery of it's 1st 747-8F

Cathay Pacific Airways said that it would take delivery of its first 747-8 freighter from Boeing on Monday after a delay of about nine months.

Cathay ordered 10 747-8F aircraft, with delivery originally scheduled for January 2011.

The superjumbo's launch customer, Cargolux, took delivery of the first 747-8F on October 12.

But industry sources said Boeing was battling to prevent teething problems on the 134-tonne capacity freighter from turning into a wider customer revolt as jittery airlines seize on a chance to curb their exposure to a slump in the global freight market.


Decline in world cargo market could threaten 747-8F furure

Boeing is battling to prevent teething problems on its 747-8 freighter from turning into a wider customer revolt as jittery airlines seize on a chance to curb their exposure to a slump in the global freight market, industry sources said.

The largest plane built by Boeing, a stretched version of its 747 jumbo, has already been hit by a three-week-long dispute over engine performance that delayed delivery to Cargolux, the plane's launch customer. Another buyer cut its order by 25 percent.

Now, the fallout from underperformance risks eating into profit margins elsewhere as Boeing dangles concessions to prevent other customers from jumping on the bandwagon.

Notably, Cathay Pacific, the world's largest international air cargo carrier, reconsidered an order for 10 747-8 freighters. But Boeing assuaged the airline with concessions on a recent order for eight 777 freighters, industry sources briefed on the discussions said.

Boeing and Cathay Pacific declined to comment.

Boeing's rearguard action comes as the company disclosed a new delay to the passenger version of the 747-8 and global airlines warned of cutbacks in fleet sizes following a downturn in the cargo market.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) this week warned of further declines after significant cargo market deterioration in the third quarter. Sagging consumer confidence in the West has slowed the world's trade lanes, and Deutsche Bank said on Friday that Chinese and Indian demand was also weaker.


Boeing chief executive Jim McNerney this week described the fading freight market as a "watch item" when asked whether the economy could affect orders for the 747-8.

"The last couple of months there has been some softening," McNerney said. "But the path on these growth curves is often up and down, quarter by quarter."

Aerospace experts say that while the 747-8 has suffered birth pangs, maneuvering by customers makes sense ahead of an anticipated economic downturn."

"The initial production batch looks underwhelming," said Teal Group aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia. "And given that traffic numbers are underwhelming too, the incentive to defer (orders) has increased significantly.

"For the past three months, the cargo numbers look an awful lot like a double dip (recession)," he said. "Cargo numbers like these are typically advance warnings of things going down."

The problems facing Boeing and engine supplier General Electric fall short of the buyer rebellion and engineering bottlenecks that forced Airbus to suspend plans for a competing freighter version of the A380 superjumbo, after its orders evaporated.

Boeing has 75 orders from eight customers for the freighter version of its updated 747, which lists at USD$319.3 million.

The 747-8 freighter and an upcoming passenger version promise to burn less fuel than previous 747s. The plane also has new wings, a new tail, state-of-the-art engines and a new cockpit.

Although later batches of new planes often perform better than earlier ones, the darkening economic backdrop has given extra urgency to talks to shore up the 747-8, whose problems have distracted Boeing from its main priority of building more than 800 carbon composite 787 Dreamliners.

"Certainly further deferrals, which wouldn't be a surprise, would hurt this (747-8) program even more," said Alex Hamilton, managing director of EarlyBirdCapital. "I wouldn't argue it's an overwhelming success."

In an embarrassing setback to both Boeing and GE, Luxembourg-based Cargolux refused at first to accept the initial 747-8 aircraft because of a 2.7 percent shortfall in the performance of General Electric's engines.

The plane, originally scheduled for delivery on September 19, finally left the Boeing assembly plant near Seattle for Luxembourg with little fanfare on October 12.

Another customer, Atlas Air Worldwide, scrapped three out of 12 orders in September, citing delays and performance, but still hailed the 747-8 as a "cornerstone" of its future growth.

GE said it was making improvements to the engine, which is similar to a model that will power more than half the 787s already sold.

"Fuel burn on the engines has been well-understood for a long, long time," spokesman Rick Kennedy said. "We're fighting like crazy to get there, and we've got a plan that will meet it."

Attention will now turn to other carriers in Asia, which IATA says is the region worst hit by the cargo downturn.

Industry sources say a key test of confidence will be whether Korean Air, the world's second-largest international air cargo player after Cathay Pacific, and Nippon Cargo Airlines, part of Japan’s biggest shipping company Nippon Yusen, weaken their resolve to buy a combined total of 21 747-8 freighter aircraft worth USD$6.7 billion.

Korean Air is scrutinizing the aircraft's performance particularly closely, two industry sources said. The airline declined to comment.

Besides engine woes, the 747-8 freighter is also up to 8 or 9 tons overweight, according to industry reports. Boeing has not confirmed that estimate. Additional weight is common in new planes but can reduce the distance a plane can fly or the amount of cargo it can carry.

Boeing spokesman Jim Proulx, who said weight reduction is part of any plane production program, pointed to numerous advantages of the new planes -- even the first ones assembled.

"It's important to remember that, from the day these airplanes are delivered, they provide airlines a leap forward in performance over the airplanes they replace: double-digit improvements in fuel burn, operating cost and lowered emissions; 16 percent more revenue-generating capacity; 30 percent less noise," he said.

"And we are continuing to make improvements that can be rolled into these airplanes after they're already in service," he said.


The ability of any airline to reduce orders or extract penalties depends on contractual guarantees concerning factors such as fuel burn, payload and range or the ability to link certain cities, which tend to be customized to each airline.

It is harder to cancel planes for performance reasons than for late delivery. Still, the 747-8 freighter is running two years late, which is said to be a typical industry threshold for cancellation clauses.

In such negotiations engine makers can play a decisive role as they have the bargaining power to offset the performance of new engines against spares and maintenance on old equipment.

Nearly all 747-8 freighter buyers have significant quantities of GE engines on previously ordered aircraft, especially Cathay Pacific, a major user of GE-powered 777s, and Korean, which operates or has ordered more than 60 GE-powered planes.

Boeing this week announced a further delay in deliveries of a 467-seat passenger version of the 747-8 to early 2012 from the fourth quarter of 2011.

That version is not yet a major force, with 36 sold and a quarter of those destined for VIPs or governments, but its progress is seen as a useful gauge of the volume of changes coming out of the flight tests as Boeing works to keep the program on track.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Photo of the Day / AirTran MD-95 (717-2BD)

AirTran MD-95 (717-2BD) (55003/5004) N949AT is captured at San Antonio Airport (SAT/KSAT) on September 7, 2011 sporting the "Orlando Magic" livery.

The aircraft is the 4th MD-95 to be built and was used as a test aircraft during the certification process (N717XD). It was finally delivered to AirTran on January 28, 2000.

(Photo by Richard "Rickster" Covington)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA/KSNA) action No. 1

During the past few months we have had gorgeous sun in the late afternoon/evening hours. I have managed to get out on a number of my half-hour lunch breaks to capture some of the action, hope you enjoy the photos.

Frontier A319-111 (c/n  2019) N923FR "Rudy" the Raccoon arrives from Denver International (DEN/KDEN) on May 1, 2011.

Frontier A319-112 (c/n 4254) N953FR taxies on "Alpha" towards a Rwy 19R departure to Denver International Airport (DEN/KDEN) on June 26, 2011. The aircraft is late of Mexicana N254MX.

Delta Airlines 737-732 (29633/2758) N306DQ rests on the "North" ramp on August 29, 2011.

Cessna Caravan (c/n 208B0479) N600HM basks in the afternoon sun on June 5, 2011.

JetSuite Phenom 100 (c/n 50000140) N584JS captured overnighting on the Signature ramp June 6, 2011.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA/KSNA) action No. 2

Piaggio P-180 Avanti (c/n 1098) N132SL departs Rwy 19R on August 29, 2011.

G-V (c/n 520) N767CW operated by Aspen LLC taxies towards a Rwy 19R departure on April 26, 2011.

Continental/United 737-724 (28938/195) N17719 rotates from Rwy 19R on August 29, 2011 now sporting United titles.

Southwest Airlines 737-7H4 (36629/2663) N926WN rotates from Rwy 19R on May 2, 2011 sporting the "Free Bags Fly Here" logo.

"Positive Climb, Gear Up" as Southwest Airlines 737-7H4 (27894/885) N406WN climbs from Rwy 19R on August 29, 2011.

(Photos by Michael Carter)

Techical troubles keep UAE C-17A at Long Beach

United Arab Emirates (UAE) C-17A (F-238/UE-4) 1226 is still at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) one month following it's delivery. The aircraft is captured departing from Rwy 12 at 1021 PST on October 26, 2011 on another test sortie.

(Photo by Michael Carter)  

LAX "Heavies" this past week

Qantas A380-842 (c/n 062) VH-OQJ "Bert Hinkler" under tow on October 27, 2011.

Singapore Airlines A380-841 (c/n 034) 9V-SKI on final to Rwy 24R October 28, 2011.

Delta Airlines 767-332 (25984/427) N139DL departs from Rwy 25R on October 27, 2011 sporting a special "United Way" sticker under the cockpit windows.

Asiana Airlines 747-48EM (28552/1160) HL7428 is captured over the new Tom Bradly Terminal extension as she climbs from Rwy 25R on October 27, 2011.

China Eastern A340-642 (c/n 577) B-6053 is captured departing from Rwy 25R sporting the carriers new "SkyTeam" livery on October 27, 2011.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

JetBlue signs firm order for 40 A320neo aircraft

JetBlue Airways has finalized its firm order for 40 A320neo (new engine option) aircraft previously announced at the Paris Air Show in June. The airline has not yet announced its engine selection for the A320neo order. With this contract, JetBlue also converts 30 of its pre-existing orders for A320s to the larger A321 model with enhanced wingtip devices called Sharklets. In total JetBlue currently has on order 40 A320neo aircraft, 30 A321s and 22 A320s.

“We commenced operations with Airbus aircraft nearly 12 years ago, and have since used the A320 family as the backbone of our fleet, receiving great feedback from our customers and crewmembers,” said Mark Powers, Chief Financial Officer of JetBlue Airways. “Our business model is focused on a sustainable growth strategy with emphasis on cost control, while providing the most comfortable experience to our customers. We believe the A320neo fleet with help us meet these goals.”

“Environmental obligations and higher oil prices demand that our industry continues to optimize its equipment and operations, and the A320neo will allow JetBlue to do just that,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer Customers. “This new order for the A320neo demonstrates that the leadership of the airline knows a good thing when they see it and knows it will benefit their business and their customers.”

The A320neo family is the fastest selling airliner ever, with more than 1200 orders and commitments since its launch in late 2010. The new A319, A320 and A321 models feature a choice of two new engines – the PurePower PW1100G from Pratt & Whitney or the LEAP-X from CFM International. The aircraft also feature large wingtip device known as Sharklets. Together this results in a 15 percent fuel burn reduction, corresponding to an annual carbon dioxide reduction of 3,600 metric tons per aircraft.

(Airbus Press Release)

Photo of the Day / Astar DC-8-73CF

Astar DC-8-73CF (46091/519) N873SJ smokes the mains on Rwy 25L at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) at 1625 PST on October 28, 2011.
(Photo by Michael Breckshot)

The DC-8-63CF was originally delivered to Trans International Airlines on April 15, 1970 as N4868T, the carrier later changed its name to Transamerica Airlines on October 1, 1979. The aircraft was converted to a DC-8-73CF in December 1984. It has operated with numerous carriers during it's life; Air Afrique, UPS, Minerve as F-GESM, Southern Air Transport, Challenge Air Cargo, AeroUSA, DHL Worldwide, and Emery Worldwide before being WFU and stored at San Antonio, Texas in September 2001. DHL Airways leased the big DAC on August 26, 2002 putting her back into service. The carrier changed its name on July 14, 2003 to Astar with whom it still serves.

Gulfstream action at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB), October 27, 2011

G-III (c/n 469) N598GS arrives from John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA/KSNA) at 1646 PST.

G-IVSP (c/n 1217) N979CB departed at 1440 PST.

G550 (c/n 5180) N108DB taxies on "Delta" towards a Rwy 30 departure at 1438 PST.

New G550 (c/n 5340) M-ATPS under tow on the Gulfstream ramp.

New G550 (c/n 5346) M-JIGG under tow to the service center.

(Photos by Michael Carter)

Honeywell Flight test Convair 580 visits Long Beach Airport

Short final to Rwy 30 as it arrives from Seattle-Boeing Field (BFI/KBFI) at 1536 PST on October 27, 2011.

Taxies on "Delta" towards a Rwy 30 departure.

Such a lovely aircraft!

Convair 580 (c/n 2) N580HW rolls for take-off on Rwy 30 for a short flight then a return to Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) to spend the night.

(Photos by Michael Carter)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Air France to commence seasonal A380 service to LAX in May 2012

The October 27, 2011 GDS timetable indicates that Air France will introduce seasonal A380 service between Paris-Charles de Gaulle (Roissy) (CDG/LFPG) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) beginning May 28, 2012. Air France will join the growing number of carriers to operate the A380 into LAX.

As Air France prepares for the additional capacity the A380 will provide, commencing March 25, 2012 the carrier will reduce it's CDG – LAX service from 20 to 15 weekly flights. Air France plans to operate the new A380 service from the Tom Bradley International Terminal not from Terminal 2 where the carrier currently operates.

Planned Schedule:

AF066 CDG 1030 – 1305 LAX 388 D

AF072 CDG 1330 – 1600 LAX 772 x24
AF076 CDG 1910 – 2135 LAX 772 246

AF065 LAX 1550 – 1120+1 CDG 388 D
AF069 LAX 1845 – 1415+1 CDG 772 x24
AF077 LAX 2145 – 1710+1 CDG 772 357

AF066/065 from March 25, 2012 to May 29, 2012 will operate a Boeing 777-300ER.

ANA looks at possible San Jose service next year

Laying down on the job again, Ben Wang checks out the new All Nippon Air (ANA) "First Class" accomadations to be offered on future flights.
(Photo by Vicki Thompson)   

San Jose is in the running for a new flight to Japan, according to officials for All Nippon Airways.

But officials of ANA, which has eclipsed Japan Airlines as that nation’s largest air carrier, aren’t likely to make any announcements on new service between Tokyo’s Narita International Airport and Mineta San Jose International Airport until sometime next year. They’re awaiting additional deliveries of the new, fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet, before making commitments to new airports. ANA is the first airline to take delivery of the jets, having purchased 55 that will arrive in phases over the next four years.

San Jose officials have been negotiating with ANA management for about three years to bring a daily flight to Silicon Valley.

Gary Weiss, ANA’s Los Angeles-based director of market development for the Americas, said Tuesday San Jose is one of 10 cities in the United States that are candidates for new or additional service. The airline now has one daily flight between San Francisco International Airport and Japan, and also serves Honolulu, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Washington D.C.

Though they’re hedging on San Jose, Weiss and other ANA officials were in the Bay Area’s largest city Tuesday to show off new seating and other services being added to its existing fleet of Boeing 777 aircraft. The new seats in economy, business and first class will be offered on flights from SFO beginning Dec. 6. They feature more room, individual video screens and the ability to recline 180 degrees at the higher ticket level.

The display filled the spacious rotunda of San Jose City Hall, the only Bay Area stop for the ANA traveling show. The Silicon Valley setting reflects the geography of the airline’s biggest clients, according to Weiss.

“Seventy percent of our (local) clients are in Santa Clara County and the peninsula,” Weiss said. That group includes such companies as Google Inc. .. , Intel Corp. .. and Hewlett-Packard Co .. .

Carl Guardino, president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, who traveled along with a delegation led by Mayor Chuck Reed to ANA headquarters in Japan earlier this year, said he’s optimistic about San Jose’s chances of securing the flight.

“We haven’t closed the deal, but we are dating,” Guardino quipped when asked about the talks. “I am more than cautiously optimistic.”

He said additional meetings between city and airline officials are scheduled.

Bill Sherry, the city’s director of aviation, said he was more in the “cautiously optimistic” camp.

“We’ve had three years of conversation,” Sherry said. “It has gotten more serious in the last six months.”

ANA’s display comes exactly five years after American Airlines ended its 16-year daily flight between San Jose and Tokyo.

“It is vital this flight be resumed,” Guardino said. “Time is money and it is tremedously inefficient for Silicon Valley CEOs and their employees to drive past the San Jose airport on their way to SFO to suffer through inevitable delays that are based on weather.”

(David Goll - Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal)

flydubai considering future aircraft orders

Unlisted low-cost carrier flydubai is looking to order new aircraft as early as next year and expects to break even soon, the airline's chief executive said on Thursday.

"We should be making an announcement (about orders) in the next year at least or two years maximum," Ghaith Al Ghaith told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai.

However, he ruled out any new orders at the Dubai Airshow, scheduled to open next month.

The Dubai-based carrier's last order was in 2008 when it bought 50 Boeing aircraft, of which it has received less than half. All the aircraft are expected to be delivered by 2016.

"In the last few years both manufacturers Boeing and Airbus came out with very beautiful machines that fit our requirements," said Ghaith.

"The development of this new generation of aircraft makes you think faster and grows your appetite."

He said the carrier was looking at both companies' offerings but no decision had been made so far.

Ghaith added that the company was in the process of completing financing arrangements for planes for next year.

"We should be making some announcements soon. Financing comes from some local companies, some regional and mostly international."

Government-owned flydubai started commercial flights in 2009 and competes with regional low-cost carriers such as UAE-based Air Arabia and Kuwait's Jazeera Airways.

On the company's profitability, he said: "We are close to breaking even right now and will make profit next year."

He added that flydubai was considering increasing ticket prices.

"We will do that in the future if fuel prices continue to rise."

Last year, Dubai announced plans to more than double flydubai's capital to 500 million dirhams (USD$136 million).


Transaero plans to operate 4 A380's


Airbus unveiled a provisional deal to sell four A380s worth USD$1.5 billion at list prices to Transaero Airlines, marking the first sale of Europe's superjumbo to a Russian airline.

The country's second-biggest carrier plans to introduce the world's largest airliner on long-distance flights seating 700 people in three classes, Airbus said on Friday.

It will become the second airline to opt for a high-density seating configuration after France's Air Austral, which has said it will use close to the maximum capacity of 853 seats.

The A380, which entered service four years ago, has a capacity of 525 passengers in standard three-class layout.

"The passenger is still getting a wider and more comfortable seat than on another plane," an Airbus spokeswoman said.

Airbus says the economy seat on its A380 is 5 cm wider than on a 747 using similar cabin layouts.

Transaero carried 6.65 million passengers last year, 32.3 percent more than in 2009, and has a fleet of 64 aircraft, almost all of them Boeing.

It will now be considered the launch customer for the A380 in Russia, the CIS and eastern Europe, Airbus said.

The European plane maker believes traffic in this region will increase at an average rate of 5.6 percent per year over the next 20 years.

The Transaero deal will lead to an engine order for either Rolls-Royce or Engine Alliance, a joint venture between General Electric and Pratt & Whitney.

Transaero will announce its selection between the two suppliers in the near future, Airbus said in a statement.


G550 returns to Savannah for onward delivery

Rolls on Rwy 30 for departure.

Just off the deck, G550 (c/n 5335) N853GA tbr B-LDL is captured departing Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) at 15:05 PST on October 27, 2011 bound for Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport (SAV/KSAV).

(Photos by Michael Carter)  

New G550 performs pre-delivery test flight

Taxies on "Lima" towards a Rwy 30 departure.

Holds short of Rwy 30.

Taxies onto Rwy 30 for departure, she was off the deck just moments later at 08:59 PST

Returns to Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) at 14:41 PST following a pre-delivery test flight on October 26, 2011.

On a very short final to Rwy 30. Once delivered, this new G550 (c/n 5337) N537GA will be registered as B-8156.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

787 enters scheduled service

All Nippon Airways (ANA) flight 7871, the first Boeing 787 commercial passenger service, landed at Hong Kong Oct. 26 after a 4 hr. and 10 min. flight from Tokyo Narita.

The inaugural flight—a special charter—was marked with celebrations of the traditional saki toast at Narita, Chinese dragon dancing at Hong Kong and water hosings by fire tenders on the taxiways of both airports.

But there were also many references to the 40-month delivery delay that launch customer ANA endured to get to this point. “Today, finally, we launch the first flight of the 787 Dreamliner. I am delighted and excited to celebrate this long-awaited day,” ANA president and CEO Shinichiro Ito said.

Capt. Masami Tsukamoto, who supported 787 pilot training and development at Boeing and co-piloted the inaugural flight with Capt. Yuichi Marui, director of ANA 787 flight operations, remarked, “May 2008 was supposed to be the first delivery and there was a three-and-a-half year delay, so it has been a long journey, but finally we have a 787 in our hands so we are very excited.”

Scott Fancher, Boeing Commercial Airplanes VP and GM-787 program, also acknowledged the production delays that became a 787 hallmark. “It has been a very difficult journey. But I can’t tell you how long I have been waiting to hold this boarding pass in my hand,” he said.

Onboard, however, the problems getting to this point were forgotten as passengers admired the multi-hued cabin lighting and the huge windows with electro-chromatic, auto-dimming technology that does away with the need for plastic shields.

Ito said Hong Kong was selected as the first destination because the flight was considered a good way for passengers—a mix of ANA and Boeing executives, VIP guests, media and paying public —to experience the unique amenities and comfort of the 787. ANA’s first international charter flight was also to Hong Kong, back in the 1970s with a 727.

Flight 7872 will depart Hong Kong tomorrow for a return flight to Tokyo. Scheduled services will begin Nov. 1 to domestic Japanese destinations, while international services will start in the following two months beginning with flights to Beijing and Frankfurt.

(Karen Walker - ATWOnline News)

Allegiant Air Reports 3rd quarter loss

Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Co. reported net income of $9.5 million, down 27.9% from $13.8 million in the year-ago quarter, owing mainly to higher fuel prices.

Allegiant chairman and CEO Maurice Gallagher Jr. told reporters and analysts that this year’s elevated fuel prices led the company to restrict capacity and increase fares by 21% in the third quarter.

Revenue rose 17% to $191.5 million while expenses increased 21.2% to $174.8 million, producing an operating profit of $16.7 million, down 14.1% from the prior-year quarter.

Scheduled traffic decreased 0.6% to 1.35 billion RPMs on a 3.3% fall in capacity to 1.46 billion ASMs, producing a load factor of 92.2%, down 2.6 points. Yield rose 21.2% to 9.31 cents as scheduled service PRASM rose 24.5% to 8.58 cents. CASM was 10.97 cents, up 25.4% and CASM ex-fuel was 5.69 cents, up 14.7%.

As of Sept. 30, Allegiant had an operating fleet of 52 MD-80 aircraft and one Boeing 757 aircraft. Gallagher said the company introduced the first of six 757-200s in July, the first step toward its planned launch of flights to Hawaii next summer. It currently operates two routes to/from Las Vegas.

“For a nominal amount of additional fuel burn, we are generating 67 additional profit-potential seats,” he said. “We continue to push ahead with our ETOPS certification from FAA and expect more progress after the first of the year.”

Gallagher said the conversion of the carrier’s MD-80 fleet to 166 seats is expected to be completed by year end. “We now have two 166-seat MD-80s in service on our Bellingham routes. We expect to have 9-10 aircraft available by year end,” he said.

(Linda Blachly - ATW Online News)

Will the US West Coast see ANA 787's?

All Nippon Airways (ANA) is examining the US West Coast as a potential destination for its new Boeing 787 routes.

The Japanese carrier, which began 787 services Oct. 26 with an inaugural flight to Tokyo Narita (NRT)-Hong Kong (HKG) wants to expand its European and North American network with the 787.

ANA has received two of the 55 787s it has on order. A total of 20 aircraft are scheduled to be delivered by the end of the airline’s 2012 fiscal year on March 31, 2013.

“The 787 is said to be a game changer and it will allow us to expand our network,” ANA president and CEO Shinichiro Ito said.

ANA’s first scheduled international 787 routes will include Tokyo Haneda (HND)-Beijing, beginning in December, and HND-Frankfurt, beginning in January. Its first domestic routes will include HND-Itami, HND-Yamaguchi Ube and HND-Matsuyama by the end of March 2013.

ANA estimates the 787’s fuel savings will eventually be worth $130 million a year. Ito said that with just two newly delivered aircraft, it was still too early to determine the exact fuel performance of the aircraft, which ended up heavier than originally designed.

“We don’t expect a substantial gap between performance and expectations but this is the first aircraft and we are examining the performance but need more time,” he said.

The airline’s second 787 passenger flight, NH7872, a special charter, returned from HKG-NRT Oct. 27.

(Karen Walker - ATWOnline News)

Cats do have 9 lives as missing pet cat found alive at JFK

A pet cat missing for two months after escaping its carrier at New York's John F Kennedy Airport has been discovered alive in a customs room, American Airlines said on Wednesday.

The cat, named Jack, was due to fly with its owner, Karen Pascoe, in August to San Francisco where she was starting a new job, the airline said. But it disappeared from its travel container before the flight took off.

It was discovered on Tuesday, the airline said.

Since going missing, the cat developed fatty liver disease, a treatable condition that can develop when a cat is not getting enough food.

Pascoe, who flew to San Francisco without Jack but with a second cat named Barry who arrived safely, was contacted by the airline when Jack was identified by a microchip implanted between his shoulder blades.

During the two months that Jack was missing, a Facebook page was created on its behalf that attracted more than 16,000 subscribers. The page featured reports of possible Jack sightings that proved to be dead ends.

Bonnie Folz, a dog trainer and pet-lover who lives near the airport, volunteered to oversee search efforts, despite having never met Pascoe or Jack.

She said she saw the cat at the office of a local veterinarian on Tuesday night.

"He looks tired but he looks beautiful," she said. "He's got beautiful bright eyes."

Folz, who has helped other people try to locate lost pets, criticized the airline's handling of the pet container, saying she suspected baggage handlers had stacked Jack's crate precariously and failed to secure its door with a zip tie.

Ed Martelle, a spokesman for American Airlines, said he could not comment on how Jack managed to escape. He said the airline would fly Jack to California to be reunited with his owner once he is healthy.

But Folz said she talked to Pascoe, who plans to pick up Jack herself.

Jack has lost so much weight that he likely comes in below the 15-pound (9kg) limit and would be allowed to fly this time with his owner in the passenger cabin, Folz said.


Brazilian carrier Azul orders 11 Embraer aircraft and jetBlue cancels 11 ERJ190 orders

Embraer and Brazilian airline Azul signed an order for 11 jets worth USD$497.5 million, the manufacturer said.

The 118-seat Embraer 195 aircraft are expected for delivery beginning in 2013, Sao Jose de Campos, Brazil-based Embraer said in a statement.

Azul Linhas Aereas, owned by JetBlue founder David Neeleman, has now ordered a total of 52 Embraer regional jets, enough to make its fleet of the regional E-jets the largest in South America.

Separately, an Embraer spokesman said on Wednesday that JetBlue, which Neeleman left in 2008, cancelled an order for 11 of the 106-seat Embraer 190 jets.

Embraer chief executive Frederico Curado said in an interview in June that he saw a risk of JetBlue backing out of the contract, as the airline was revising its fleet plans.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

LGB Airport Director Mario Rodriguez.
(Photo Long Beach Press Telegram)

Long Beach Airport Director Mario Rodriguez has been appointed to a powerful organization representing more than 95 percent of the globe's air travellers.

The Airports Council International represents 1,650 airports in 179 countries and territories, and Rodriguez will sit on the council's North American board of directors.

He'll also remain in his current role overseeing Long Beach Airport, one of the nation's busiest general aviation fields and portal to more than 3 million commercial airline passengers annually.

The post allows Rodriguez to regularly interact with agencies like the Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Homeland Security and Congress, among other influential groups.

Appointed to a 3-year term, he said he'll push for stronger funding for airports, strengthened environmental measures, passenger safety and commercial development, among other issues.

"Topics span from FAA's ability, or in-ability, to fund national infrastructure to environmental issues," Rodriguez said of the board's role. "This gives us the ability to be heard and put our views forward rather than be represented by others that may not be as financially or environmentally aware as us."

Rodriguez said the organization's board meets about three times annually, not including regular teleconfrences. The new role won't hinder his ability to direct Long Beach Airport, Rodriguez said.

"This is actually great for Long Beach...and gives Long Beach a seat at the big table and an opportunity to have a voice in the national arena," Rodriguez said.

Hired in early 2009, Rodriguez previously led Louis Armstrong International Airport New Orleans and was also a director of Palm Beach International Airport in Florida.

He holds a degree in civil engineering from the University of Miami.

(Kristopher Hanson - Long Beach Press Telegram)

New C-17A takes to the skies

C-17A (P-213) 10-0213 "Charleston AFB" returns to Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) at 1732 PST following her first flight on October 25, 2011.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Photo of the Day / UPS MD-11(F)

UPS MD-11(F) (48744/592) N251UP rolls out on Rwy 32 at Ted Stevens International Airport (ANC/PANC) in Anchorage, Alaska on May 1, 2009.

 The aircraft was originally delivered to VASP as PP-SPK on 11/17/1995 with whom it served until being repo'ed on 4/25/2000 . The aircraft was re-registered as N797BA and placed into storage at Victorville, California (VCV/KVCV) on 09/29/2000. UPS bought the aircraft on 04/30/2001 and had it converted to a freighter in August 2001.

(Photo by Michael Carter)

Recent Gulfstream action at Long Beach Airport

G550 (c/n 5348) N948GA arrives from Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport (SAV/KSAV) on October 10, 2011.
(Photo by Douglas Kerr)

G550 (c/n 5304) N550GA on short final to Rwy 30 as she arrives from Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport (SAV/KSAV) on October 17, 2011.
(Photo by Douglas Kerr)

G200 (c/n 108) N726QS rotates from Rwy 30 on October 19, 2011.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

China Southern Airlines takes delivery of it's first A380

Airbus has delivered the first A380 to China Southern Airlines. During a very special celebration ceremony today at the Airbus Delivery Centre in Toulouse, France, the first out of five aircraft ordered was handed over from Airbus President and CEO, Tom Enders to China Southern Airlines Chairman, Si Xianmin.

China Southern Airlines becomes the first operator of the world's most eco-efficient aircraft in China and the 7th globally. Powered by Rolls-Royce Trend-900 engines, the aircraft will be initially operated on domestic routes between the major Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Later on, the airline will deploy the A380 on international routes.

At the ceremony, China Southern Airlines unveiled its spacious and comfortable A380 cabin, featuring a total of 506 seats in a typical three class configuration, including eight luxury first-class suites, 70 lie-flat business-class seats and 428 economy-class seats. Passengers’ well–being will be enhanced through innovative mood lighting including several different lighting scenarios to create a relaxing atmosphere and environment. The state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system makes it easy for passengers to select from a wide variety of audio and video programs and make their long-haul A380 trip something to remember. The cabin also offers seats and lavatories that are easily accessible to disabled passengers.

"We are proud to become the first A380 operator in China,” said Si Xianmin, Chairman of China Southern Airlines. “The introduction of the A380 in our fleet is a very important step for the development of China Southern. This most spacious and modern aircraft enables us, to offer our passengers world-standard comfort on our flights. The economics offered by the A380 will undoubtedly improve our competitiveness on international routes and is the perfect asset to make China Southern Airlines achieve its goal of becoming a leading global carrier.”

"We offer China Southern Airlines our warmest welcome as the newest operator of the A380," said Tom Enders, President and CEO of Airbus. "The A380 has set new standards in comfort, economic efficiency and environmental performance. With the A380, China Southern Airlines will surely play a key role in the top league of the world's leading airlines."

Since entering service in 2007 the eco-efficient A380 has exceeded all expectations, flying more people further at lower cost (some 16 million passengers up to date). The spacious, the quieter cabin and the smooth ride have made the aircraft a favourite with passengers. This has resulted in higher than average load factors and increased profitability on A380 flights, providing airlines with a key competitive advantage wherever they operate the type. Typically seating 525 passengers in a three class layout, the A380 is capable of flying 8,300 nautical miles or 15,300 kilometres.

(Airbus Press Release)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hawaiian Airlines reports 3rd quarter profit

Hawaiian Holdings, Inc., parent company of Hawaiian Airlines, Inc., today reported consolidated net income for the three months ended September 30, 2011 of $25.6 million, or $0.50 per diluted share, on total operating revenue of $455.9 million, compared to net income of $30.5 million, or $0.59 per diluted share, on total operating revenue of $352.0 million for the three months ended September 30, 2010.

Reflecting economic fuel expense, the Company reported an adjusted net income of $30.0 million, or $0.59 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $28.5 million, or $0.55 per diluted share, in the prior year period.

Mark Dunkerley, the Company's president and chief executive officer, commented that "the third quarter marked a return to some better results for our business. Strong demand in each of the major geographies we serve, continued cost control and some small but welcome easing of fuel prices all played a part. Particularly noteworthy has been the return of traffic on our services to Japan. Our results on these routes would qualify as good in any year, let alone the year in which an earthquake and tsunami took such a large human and economic toll."

"Our employees continue to do an outstanding job of taking care of our guests and cargo customers. Their efforts make all of our successes possible."

"Despite the drumbeat of depressing news about consumer confidence, we have not seen a waning in forward bookings. If these bookings continue to hold and if the price of oil does not rise in the remaining months of 2011, we expect the second half of the year to look considerably better than the first half."

Third Quarter Financial Results

The Company reported a 55.2% increase in operating income to $60.9 million in the third quarter of 2011, compared with operating income of $39.3 million in the prior year period.

Third quarter 2011 operating revenue was $455.9 million, a 29.5% increase compared with the third quarter of 2010. Capacity for the quarter increased 16.1% year-over-year to 3.2 billion available seat miles (ASMs), resulting in operating revenue per ASM (RASM) of 14.40 cents, up 11.7% from the third quarter a year ago. Passenger yield (passenger revenue per revenue passenger mile) increased 16.9% to 15.32 cents while load factor declined 1.7 percentage points to 85.2%, resulting in an increase in passenger revenue per ASM (PRASM) of 14.6% to 13.05 cents. Selected Statistical Data is included in Table 2.

Total operating expenses for the third quarter of 2011 increased 26.3% year-over-year to $394.9 million, resulting in an operating cost per available seat mile (CASM) of 12.47 cents, up 8.8% versus the same period a year ago. Third quarter CASM excluding fuel decreased to 8.18 cents, down 2.3% compared to the same period a year ago. A reconciliation of GAAP and non-GAAP financial measures is included in Tables 3, 4 and 6.

Aircraft fuel costs in the third quarter increased 61.1% year-over-year to $136.0 million and represented 34.4% of operating expenses. Hawaiian's average cost per gallon of jet fuel increased 40.9% year-over-year to $3.17 (including taxes and delivery). The financial impact of hedging activities is included in nonoperating income/expenses, and as such is not reflected in fuel expense. Nonoperating expense in the third quarter of 2011 reflects $9.7 million in net losses from Hawaiian's fuel hedging activity.

The Company believes that economic fuel expense is the best measure of the effect of fuel prices on its business as it most closely approximates the net cash outflow associated with the purchase of fuel for its operations in a period. The Company defines economic fuel expense as GAAP fuel expense plus (gains)/losses realized through actual cash (receipts)/payments received from or paid to hedge counterparties for fuel hedge derivative contracts settled during the period. For the three months ended September 30, 2011, economic fuel expense was $138.3 million ($3.22 per gallon), compared with $85.6 million ($2.28 per gallon) in the prior year period. An analysis of economic fuel expense for the three months ended September 30, 2011 and 2010 and pro-forma net income and diluted net income per share reflecting economic fuel expense is included in Tables 3 and 4.

Third quarter 2011 nonoperating expense totaled $13.6 million, compared with nonoperating income of $2.9 million in the third quarter of 2010. During the third quarter of 2011, the Company recognized a nonoperating loss totaling $9.7 million related to fuel hedging activities compared with a nonoperating gain of $2.1 million during the prior year period. During the third quarter of 2011, fuel hedging losses reflect $2.3 million of realized losses on derivative contracts settling in the quarter, the reversal of $1.0 million of previously recorded losses on these same contracts, and $8.4 million in unrealized losses related to fuel derivative contracts settling in future periods.

(Hawaiian Airlines - Press Release)

Will China Southern Airlines cancel it's 787 order?

China Southern Airlines Co., Asia’s largest carrier by passenger numbers, said it may join China Eastern Airlines Corp. in scrapping orders for Boeing Co. 787 planes after delivery of its first plane was delayed until July.

The arrival of the first of China Southern’s 10 Dreamliners on order has been delayed from around year-end because of certification issues, Chief Financial Officer Xu Jiebo said today by phone from Guangzhou, China. He didn’t elaborate on what the hold-up was.

“We won’t rule out the possibility of canceling or adjusting the 787 orders, if there is a huge gap between the plane’s functionality or delivery date and our requirements,” he said. The Guangzhou, China-based airline will seek compensation from Boeing for the late delivery, he said.

China Eastern, the nation’s second-biggest carrier, yesterday swapped orders for 24 Dreamliners for smaller planes, citing late delivery and waning international travel demand. Boeing handed over the first 787 to All Nippon Airways Co. in September, ending more than three years of delays caused by the use of new materials and production processes.

Boeing’s China spokesman Wang Yukui said he couldn’t immediately comment on the China Southern order or the 787’s progress in winning approval in China. Three calls to the Civil Aviation Authority of China went unanswered.

Regulators’ Approval

The Chicago-based planemaker received certification for the 787 from the U.S.’s Federal Aviation Administration, the European Aviation Safety Agency and Japan’s Civil Aviation Bureau in August. Boeing has won orders for more than 800 of the planes, making it the company’s fastest-selling jet ever.

“As we look forward, we expect to see the Dreamliner order base increase, we expect to see more orders, we expect to see more cancellations, especially as we go through mitigation with our customers,” Randy Tinseth, Boeing’s marketing chief, said today in Seoul, in remarks confirmed by the company.

Airlines generally have to pay penalties if they cancel orders, while planemakers face charges if they don’t deliver planes on time or if the jets don’t perform as expected.

Air China Ltd., the nation’s largest international carrier, said by text message that there are no changes in its order for 15 787s. The planes are due to be delivered from the end of 2015 to mid-2018. Hainan Airlines Co.’s 10 787s are also still expected over the next two years, said Wu Feng, a press officer at parent HNA Group.

China Southern fell 8.5 percent in Hong Kong trading, the most in two weeks, to close at HK$4.29. Dow Jones reported the 787 delivery delay earlier today.

Air China, the nation’s biggest international carrier, dropped 6.2 percent to HK$5.78. China Eastern declined 8.8 percent to HK$2.60. Boeing rose 2.7 percent to $63.47 in New York trading.

Shanghai-based China Eastern yesterday said it was switching its 787 orders for 45 737-800s. The carrier is also returning five A340-300s to Airbus SAS in exchange for 15 smaller wide-body A330s.

(Jasmine Wang - Bloomberg Business Week)

Air Italy 757 arrives at San Bernardino International

Air Italy 757-230 (24747/275) EI-IGC arrived at San Bernardino International (SBD/KSBD) on October 13, 2011. The aircraft routed from Verona (VRN/LIPX) - Goose Bay (YYR/CYYR) - San Bernardino (SBD/KSBD).
(Photo by Marco Finelli)

Sky Express, Russia's first LCC to have AOC revoked

Sky Express 737-53A (24922/1964) VP-BFN captured in the U.K. on October 10, 2010.
(Photo by Keith Burton)

Sky Express, Russia’s first low-cost carrier (LCC), will lose its air operator’s certificate (AOC) and operate under a new single AOC with Russian regional carrier Kuban Airlines.

Alexander Neradko, the head of Rosaviatsia—Russia’s Dept. of Aviation/Ministry of Transport—announced the AOC changes as part of the consolidation process between Sky Express and Kuban, which is based at Krasnodar International in Southern Russia.

The owner of Kuban, Russian investment company Basic Element, announced its intent to buy Sky Express in 2010.

ATW understands the new combined airline will operate under the better-known Sky Express brand, but it is not clear if it will remain an LCC.

Sky Express was launched in 2007 by a group of foreign investors, including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Altima Capital. It started operations with two Boeing 737-300s operating several domestic routes and offered a promotional fare of 500 rubles ($18). Later, however, the airline was forced to enter the charter market because it could not sustain the LCC business model in Russia. In 2010 it carried 1.66 million passengers.

On Oct. 11, the Dept. of Aviation suspended the AOC of a second Russian LCC—Avianova. Avianova started flights in August 2009, but investors American Indigo partners and Russian A1 stopped funding. The carrier ceased selling tickets Oct. 3 and made its last flight Oct. 9. Avianova carried 1.54 million passengers in 2010.

(Polina Borodina - ATWOnline News)

230 American Airlines maintenance personnel to relocate from Tulsa to Dallas-Ft. Worth

American Airlines (AA) said it will relocate approximately 230 Maintenance Operations Center (MOC) employees from Tulsa, Okla. to Dallas/Ft. Worth Systems Operations Control (SOC) Center.

AA said the move, aimed at streamlining operations, will take place within the year. It will continue to operate its TUL base with close to 7,000 employees.

“We believe locating the MOC with the SOC will help make American a stronger, more efficient airline,” AA spokesperson Andrea Huguely said. “This move should increase American’s productivity, reliability as well as enhance customer service by focusing on our on-time performance.”

The 260-acre Tulsa MOC was opened in June 1946 and occupies approximately 3.3 million sq. ft. at TUL. AA said it has hired 500 people at the base since the beginning of the year, and that its commitment to TUL remains “as strong as ever.”

(Christine Boynton - ATWOnline News)

Chinese Airlines have bad September, report huge losses

China Eastern Airlines A340-642 (c/n 586) B-6055 arrives at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) on October 13, 2011 sporting the "Better City, Better Life" livery.
(Photo by Michael Carter) 

Chinese carriers reported an aggregate profit of CNY3.7 billion ($582 million) in September, a 38.8% drop compared to total net income of CNY6.04 billion in the year-ago period.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) attributed the profit decline to the economic downturn in the US and Europe, and the decline in international cargo.

The growth in domestic traffic, especially in central and western China, helped to sustain profits.

Revenue rose 17.7% to CNY31.83 billion while expenses climbed 28.1% to CNY27.7 billion. Passenger boardings increased 9.7% year-over-year to 25 million in September. Passengers carried on domestic routes rose 9.8% to CNY23.17 million while international boardings grew 9% to 1.84 million. Load factor improved 1 point to 82.1%.Cargo traffic volume decreased by 3.5% to 506,500 tonnes.

Chinese carriers reported a net profit of CNY29.41 billion for the first nine months, up 6.2% over CNY27.7 billion in the year-ago period.

As of Sept. 30, Chinese airlinesoperated a combined fleet of 1,711 aircraft. During the month, the airlines added 21 aircraft, comprising one Boeing 330-200, four Airbus A321s, four A320s, two A319s, four 737-800s, three Embraer 190s and three E-145s. The airlines phased out three aircraft, comprising one MD-90, one CRJ200 and one 737-300.

(Katie Cantle - ATWOnline News)