Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bombardier to shutdown Learjet 60XR production line

Bombardier will halt production of the $13.7 million Learjet 60XR midsize business jet later this year because of lack of demand, but will continue to deliver its inventory of the eight-passenger twinjet until the end of 2013, it says.

According to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Bombardier delivered three Learjet 60XRs in the first quarter of 2012, matching the number it delivered in the first quarter of 2011. In total, the airframer delivered 19 Learjet 60XRs in 2011.

Delivery numbers for the smaller Learjet 40XR and Learjet 45XR were similarly dismal - two aircraft in the first quarter of 2012 and 24 in total for 2011 - but Bombardier is revitalising those models with more powerful Honeywell TF731 engines, new Garmin avionics, redesigned winglets and cabins in the form of the Learjet 70 and Learjet 75.

Priced at $13.5 million, the Learjet 75, the larger of the two aircraft, is most similar to the Learjet 60XR in price and performance. The Learjet 75 will be available in the first half of 2013, says Bombardier. Both aircraft can carry up to nine passengers in the cabin, but the Learjet 75 will have less range - 2,040nm (3,780km) versus 2,405nm for the Learjet 60XR.

"We're monitoring the market conditions," says Bombardier when asked if production of the Learjet 60XR could resume. "If the demand improves in that segment, we may restart production. But right now our analysis indicates that demand will remain low in the near future."
Read all about the Learjet 60XR at flightglobal.com/learjet60XR.

(John Croft - Flight Global News)

Westjet to add "Premium Economy" on 737 fleet

Canada's WestJet plans to launch a premium economy product on its Boeing 737 fleet and add eight extra seats to each of its 737-800s in a move aimed at growing revenue at the low-cost carrier.

The airline's board approved the plan today, months after the airline's executives first disclosed that it was studying the proposal. The carrier is expected to announce the seat reconfiguration tomorrow when it announces its second quarter financial results.

WestJet currently operates 99 737s, comprising -600s, -700s and -800s. It will receive its 100th aircraft, a -800, in December.

The premium economy product, to be rolled out across all three 737 aircraft types, will involve reconfiguring four rows or 24 seats, WestJet chief executive Gregg Saretsky told Flightglobal in an interview earlier this month.

Simultaneously, the airline will add eight seats to each of its 737-800s, taking the number of seats on board to 174 from 166. Doing so will take the seat pitch down to 31 or 32 inches from 34 inches currently, which will bring the seat pitch in line with what is currently being offered on the airline's -600s and -700s.

WestJet currently has 17 737-800s in service, Flightglobal's Ascend database shows.

The airline expects to begin the seat reconfiguration in the fourth quarter, and hopes to complete it in the first quarter of 2013, said Saretsky. He estimated that the project's cost will be in the "multi-million" dollar range.

WestJet does not expect flight operations to be impacted by the seat reconfiguration, which will involve taking aircraft out of service. Saretsky said that the airline extended leases on three 737s that were to be returned in 2013 earlier this year, and that these three aircraft provide the airline flexibility to take some aircraft out of service for the seat changes.

He also pointed out that the fourth quarter is traditionally the airline's slowest quarter, making it the best time for the seat changes to be made.

             (Ghim-Lay Yeo - Flight Global News)
Finally got over to Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) this afternoon to take a peek at the Gulfstream service center ramp. I have worked 142 hours since July 16th so I haven't had much time to get by the airport to see what's going on, but here is what I spotted this afternoon.

Gulfstream Service Center:

G-IV (c/n 1100) B-8080

G-IV (c/n 1103) C-FHPM  **New airframe for me**

G-IV (c/n 1454)  N454QS

G550 (c/n 5233) HL8200

G550 (c/n 5372) N753GA **Going to a Chinese customer**

Under the tower:   

G-IV (c/n 1111) N511PA

Photo of the Day / FedEx MD-11(F) N596FE

FedEx MD-11(F) (48554/535) N596FE, ex-American Airlines N1764B smokes the mains on Rwy 14 at Ted Stevens International Airport (ANC/PANC) in Anchorage, Alaska on April 30, 2008.

(Photo by Michael Carter) 

Conviasa Airlines selects Embraer E-190 for fleet renewal

Venezuela’s Conviasa Airlines (VO) has agreed to purchase six Embraer E-190 jets. The deal also includes 14 options. According to Embraer, the deal is worth $271.2 million at list prices, based on January 2012 economic conditions, and could total as much as $904 million if all options are confirmed. First deliveries are scheduled by year end.

VO president César Martínez said, “We consider the E-190 jet to be a fundamental part of the process of renovating Conviasa’s fleet. These airplanes will allow us to increase connections on both domestic and international routes.”
Embraer president-commercial aviation Paulo Cesar Silva said the Latin American/Caribbean market is projected to grow at an average of 7% per year over the next 20 years.

(Linda Blachly - ATWOnline News)

Okay Airways hopes to launch new Chinese regional carrier Longjiang Airlines

Tianjin-based Okay Airways (OKA) is seeking approval from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) to launch a new regional carrier—to be named Longjiang Airlines—with the Heilongjiang local government, as it explores the regional market in Northeast China.

“We have submitted our application to the regulator several months ago but so far we are still waiting for green lights,” OKA SVP Liu Jieyin said, without giving details on its ownership structure. According to Liu, the new regional entity will be based in Harbin and will operate regional routes in the Heilongjiang Province and its neighboring province in northeast China.

OKA has 16 aircraft in its fleet, comprising nine Boeing 737s, six MA-60s and one 737 freighter. If the regulator approves the regional carrier, Liu said Longjiang Airlines will operate all six MA-60 aircraft from OKA. If the carrier is successful, OKA hopes to introduce 100 MA-60s in the next 10-15 years to launch more regional carriers based in the Hunan and Anhui provinces, Liu said.

(Katie Cantle - ATWOnline News)

Embraer reports 2Q income

Embraer reported second-quarter net income of $54.3 million on revenues of $1.7 billion, down from $204.7 million in net income in the prior-year period. The company said the profit decline was primarily due to the negative impact of deferred income taxes generated by the 11% appreciation of the US dollar against the Brazilian real, which cost the company $132.2 million.

Its commercial aviation segment generated 68.5% of total net revenues ($1.1 billion) against 15.5% input by defense and security and 15.2% by its executive aviation segment. In last year’s second quarter, commercial aviation generated $888.2 million, or 65.7% of total net revenues.

The company delivered eight E-175s, five E-195s and 22 E-190s in the quarter, totaling 35 commercial aircraft, up from 25 last year. The backlog comprises 1,058 firm orders and 596 options, with 858 deliveries to 60 airlines from 42 countries since its family of E-Jets took off in 2004.

Highlights of the period included the acquisition of five additional E-190s by China’s Hebei Airlines and the first E-190 deliveries to the Ukrainian Aviation Group Alliance, which will be operated by Dniproavia on behalf of AeroSvit.

The unaudited consolidated financial and operating statements, presented in accordance with IFRS, also show an accumulated delivery of 56 commercial aircraft for the first half of 2012, revenues totaling $2.8 billion in the period. Commercial aviation generated 67.4% of this total, or $1.9 billion.

Total debt as of June 30 increased by $167.6 million year-over-year to $2.1 billion, the result of a cash-intensive management strategy emphasizing working capital to support ongoing operations.

The company issued a total of $500 million in senior unsecured notes in June. Its total cash position at the end of the period grew by $156 million year-over-year. Embraer said it is “on track to meet 2012 projected deliveries and revenue guidance.”

 (Edvaldo Pereira Lima - ATWOnline News)

Gulfstream holds to 17 G650's deliveries by years end

This is a very interesting article on the G650 and it's delivery schedule that was forwarded to me by a close aviation friend......enjoy!

Gulfstream still believe they can deliver 17 G650s to customers this year, Gulfstream parent company General Dynamics Chairman And CEO Jay Johnson has said during a Q2 2012 earnings conference call.

Johnson later added some colour to the G650 certification process by saying that ‘nearly’ all the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) check flights have been completed, and that the program was still on track to achieve a full FAA type certificate during the 3rd quarter.

Assuming Gulfstream do receive the full type certificate in the 3rd quarter customer deliveries would begin shortly afterwards, although Johnson did admit that the majority of the 17 customer deliveries would fall into the 4th quarter.

Gulfstream G650 msn 6020 / N520GA in the static display at EBACE 2012

Speaking about orders so far this year, Johnson commented that things had been slow, but this was due to deal closure lead times being longer than expected, but the situation would hopefully be rectified in Q3 & Q4. 60% of G650 orders this year have been from North American clients, with a noticeable slow down in orders from Asia.

This slow down could be attributed to long lead times for new aircraft deliveries. Currently if you were to purchase a G650 you’d not be able to get your hands on the keys for 5 years, whilst with the G550 you’d be waiting 24 months, and the G450 18 months.

Airline lobby groups urge Obama to take tougher stand on EU carbon laws

A coalition of airline industry lobby groups urged the Obama administration on Monday to take more aggressive measures to challenge an EU law that forces airlines that use European airports to pay for their carbon emissions.

Groups including Airlines for America (A4A) and the US Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood calling on them to launch an action under the UN's aviation body, the ICAO, to force the EU to stand down from forcing foreign airlines to comply with the bloc's emissions trading system.

EU countries are among ICAO's 190 members.

"As each day goes by without an EU act to halt or suspend the ETS, the harm to US airlines and aircraft operators and the threat to US sovereignty grow while the US government's credibility is weakened," the groups said.

The coalition sent the letter the day before the departments of State and Transportation host a two-day meeting on July 31 and August 1 in Washington led by the State Department's climate change envoy Todd Stern, who represents the US in UN climate treaty negotiations.

The meeting will "explore whether there might be a basis for a global solution to addressing greenhouse gas emissions from aviation and a global solution that would include the EU," a senior administration official said Monday.

The official said the meeting will not conclude with a draft declaration, but would explore whether opposing countries and the EU could agree on goals and a market-based framework to curb carbon emissions under ICAO.

A large portion of the meeting will likely be spent on a carbon-neutral growth goal from 2020 that ICAO members agreed at their last assembly in 2010, and other "building blocks" for an ICAO agreement, such as market-based measures.

The countries are also likely to discuss whether all countries, including developing countries and emerging economies, would be treated equally under an ICAO agreement, or allow for "special circumstances."

The senior administration official said, however, that countries are "far from any agreement" on whether to adopt a global carbon offsetting measure or a kind of carbon trading market.

The EU has been firm in its insistence that countries comply with its emissions trading system, but has said it would be willing to take part in an ICAO solution if the framework agreed is non-discriminatory, mandatory in every country and more environmentally stringent than the EU's system.

The EU's climate change commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, said in a Twitter message on Monday: "The EU is eagerly waiting for countries meeting in DC to come up with CONCRETE proposals for SUBSTANTIAL aviation emissions reductions."

Hedegaard and other EU officials have complained in the past that ICAO has had more than a decade to come up with a greenhouse gas plan and were doubtful that it could forge a global solution in just a few months.

Brian Havel, director of the International Aviation Law Institute in Chicago, said despite EU doubts about the intentions of the United States and other opposing countries, the fact that they are holding the meeting now suggests they are serious.

"I don't expect any major breakthroughs this week, but the very fact that the meeting is happening suggests some of the non-EU States, notably the US, legitimately want to see a global agreement that breaks the current impasse," Havel said.

With airlines facing their first EU deadline to pay for their emissions in April 2013, they are motivated to work through their differences now "to avoid a potential trade war next spring," he said.


Government appointed arbitrator rules in favor of Air Canada in pilot contract dispute

A Canadian government-appointed arbitrator chose to enforce Air Canada's final offer over one proposed by the union representing its 3,000 pilots, ending a long and bitter contract dispute but angering the pilots.

Air Canada, Canada's biggest airline, said the agreement preserved compensation and benefits for its pilots near the top of industry levels and helped to ensure the sustainability of the company's defined benefit pension fund.

"At the same time, it provides the company with the necessary flexibility to compete effectively in the current industry environment," Air Canada chief executive Calin Rovinescu said in a statement.

The Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA), which has been in on-off talks with Air Canada for more than a year, was swift to condemn the decision by arbitrator Douglas Stanley and suggested that it may affect the safety of the airline as pilots are disillusioned and distracted.

"Air Canada pilots are angry at the way they have been treated by the government and their employer," ACPA said in a statement.

"The safety and professionalism that passengers expect from Air Canada pilots have been put at risk by a corporate culture that refuses to recognize or value our contributions," it said.

A key issue in the talks was Air Canada's desire to launch a separate discount airline, which it says is crucial to future profitability. Pilots strongly oppose the plan, fearing it puts their job security and benefits at risk.

Pilots rejected a tentative agreement reached by its union with the carrier in May 2011, largely because it proposed the creation of a low-cost airline subsidiary.

ACPA president Paul Strachan said the new contract did make mention of a low-cost operation, but did not give further details. He said the agreement also included terms increasing the number of flight hours per month for pilots from a maximum of 90 hours to 118 hours.

"We're taking a step decades back in time in terms of allowable flight time here," he said in an interview.

Air Canada said it would not comment further on details of the new five-year agreement, which will run until April 1, 2016, while it was discussing it with its employees. The previous agreement expired on March 31, 2011.

"With the final offer selection announced, I expect that more details will begin to emerge from Air Canada regarding its previously announced intention to start a low-cost carrier operation," said Robert Kokonis, managing director of AirTrav, an airline consulting company.


Canadian Labour Minister Lisa Raitt appointed Stanley in May after the Canadian government in March halted a planned work stoppage at Air Canada sparked by the airline's decision to lock out its pilots after negotiations failed to reach a deal.

The government, arguing that a shut down of Air Canada would harm Canada's fragile economic recovery, passed legislation to prevent Air Canada's pilots, as well as its mechanics and baggage handlers, from striking and the airline from locking them out.

That legislation sent contract disputes for the two unions to binding arbitration.

"I respect the decision made by Mr. Stanley and am glad that the dispute between Air Canada and the ACPA has reached a conclusion that will ensure stability for the economy, and Canadians," Raitt said in a statement.

Despite the government intervention, Air Canada's operations were hurt by wildcat strikes involving members of both unions in March and April. The short-lived strikes caused a string of flight cancellations across the country.

Both unions have challenged the government law as unconstitutional.

The arbitrator's decision on the pilots' contract follows a separate ruling on June 17, in which an arbitrator chose to enforce Air Canada's final offer, rather than a union-proposed offer, for 8,600 mechanics, baggage handlers and cargo agents.

ACPA said federally imposed arbitration could not bring about the "energized and motivated professional pilot group Air Canada needs to succeed."

"Instead, arbitration has imposed work rules that will cost many pilots their jobs, demoralize the rest and kick other important issues years down the road, where they will fester and undermine any effort to achieve positive culture change at our airline," ACPA president Paul Strachan and chairman Jean-Marc Belanger said in a statement.


Airplane "Geeks" unite!

A friend of mine from the U.K sent this link out for all of us airplane photographers / spotters (Geeks) to enjoy.............yes we are all plane nuts! 


Monday, July 30, 2012

Condor Retro Livery!

 (Photo by Nik French)
 (Photo by Karl Nixon)
(Photo by Keith Wignall)

Condor is now operating Boeing 767-31B(ER) (25170/542) EI-CRF in this glorious retro livery. The aircraft is late of Alitalia "Umberto Nobile."

Thanks to the above photographers for sharing their photos!  

Allegiant Air makes deal for 19 A319's

Las Vegas, Nev.-based Allegiant Air, the low-cost carrier owned by Allegiant Travel Co., said it will lease 19 used Airbus A319s to begin entering its fleet in the 2013 second quarter.

The leisure specialist plans to use the aircraft to support planned capacity growth and to replace at least two older aircraft. “The A319 is a new aircraft type for Allegiant, but we otherwise see this as a continuation of our existing business model,” president Andrew Levy said. “A319 asset values have significantly declined and now mirror the environment we saw when we first began buying MD-80s.”

Allegiant’s fleet currently comprises 58 MD-80s, as well as four Boeing 757-200s it is using to launch Hawaii services; it also owns two additional 757-200s.

The airline said it will lease nine former easyJet A319s from GE Aviation Capital Services and 10 A319s from Cebu Pacific Air; it plans to eventually buy the 10 aircraft from Cebu Pacific. At this time, Allegiant only plans to retire two MD-80s, portending strong capacity expansion over the next several years. All of the A319s are expected to be in service with Allegiant by the 2015 third quarter.

Noting that the A319’s range is 3,600 nautical miles compared to the MD-80’s 1,400 nm. range, Allegiant said the Airbus narrowbodies will open “many new route opportunities.”

Airbus Americas president and CEO Barry Eccleston stated, “A new operator is always great news, but it’s a grand endorsement of the Airbus product line when that operator is a growing low-cost carrier in one of the strongest markets in the world. Allegiant is hyper conscious of both cost and comfort.”

(Aaron Karp - ATWOnline News)

Investigation continues into GEnx engine failure on 787

A GE Aviation GEnx engine powering a newly built Boeing 787 is being prepared to be torn down as part of an investigation after it appears to have shed something that prompted a small grass fire at Charleston Airport (CHS) in South Carolina over the weekend.

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has launched an investigation into the July 28 incident, which involved a 787 during preflight runway testing.

The incident, described by Boeing as “an engine issue,” involved a newly built 787 and led to the fire that prompted CHS to suspend commercial flights for about an hour Saturday afternoon.

Charleston Air Force Base, which owns and has shared use of the airport’s runway, declared an emergency when the fire began, apparently started by something that fell off a jet engine. A US Air Force spokeswoman told local media the debris was examined and determined not to have come from an engine of one of its C-17 military transports.

In a statement, GE Aviation said, “GE Aviation continues to work with the NTSB and Boeing to determine the cause of Saturday's incident during a ground test run in Charleston on a newly built 787. GE is working aggressively to move the engine involved in the incident to a GE facility for an investigative tear down.”

An NTSB spokesman confirmed to ATW that an investigation had begun, but said it was too early for any statements.

Boeing and GE each issued separate statements saying they were not aware of any operational issues that would present concerns about the safe flight of GEnx-powered aircraft. GE said there are about 100 GEnx engine in service and they have accumulated more than 125,000 flight hrs.

The GEnx competes with the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 on the 787. Japan Airlines was the first to put a GEnx 787 into service earlier this year.

“While the investigation is in its early stages, we are unaware of any operational issue that would present concerns about the continued safe operation of in-service 787s powered by GE engines. However, should the investigation determine a need to act, Boeing has the processes in place to take action and will do so appropriately,” Boeing said in a statement.

(Karen Walker - ATWOline News)

Friday, July 27, 2012

China Southern Airlines announces A380 service to LAX

China Southern Airlines (CZ) will operate an Airbus A380 on its Guangzhou-Los Angeles route from Oct.12 to accelerate its international expansion pace.

Industry analysts said Chinese travel to the US has increased after the US government loosened its visa issuance policy for Chinese citizens.

CZ ordered five Airbus A380s and introduced its first A380 last October. It has taken delivery of three A380s, which operate on two domestic routes, Beijing (PEK)-Guangzhou and PEK-Hong Kong. CZ is scheduled to introduce its fourth A380 in the fourth quarter.

The Guangzhou-based carrier has been trying to get regulatory approval to operate the A380 on its PEK routes to New York and Paris but has not yet received it because PEK is Air China’s main operating hub.

(Katie Cantle - ATWOnline News)

Delta Air Lines announces shut down of Comair

Delta Air Lines (DL) said Friday it will shut down regional subsidiary Comair after Sept. 29. Cincinnati-based Comair, which is DL’s only wholly owned regional subsidiary following the sales of Mesaba and Compass Airlines in 2010, had already undergone a major downsizing.

According to Comair’s website, the airline still serves about 60 Canadian and US cities with around 290 daily flights operated under the Delta Connection brand. Formed in 1977, the airline carried 5.6 million passengers in 2011.

DL senior VP-Delta Connection Don Bornhorst said in a statement, “While regional flying has and will remain a key component of Delta’s network, customer expectations and the unit costs of regional flying have evolved. In response, Delta recently announced its plans to reduce the total number of regional jets in its network while adding more mainline flying. This includes reducing the number of 50-seat regional jets from nearly 350 aircraft to 125 or fewer in the upcoming years. As a result of this reduction and changes to its customer-focused business strategy, Delta has made the difficult decision to cease Comair’s operations.”

DL added that shutting down Comair “will not result in any significant changes to Delta’s network, which has enough flexibility to accommodate these changes. Currently, Comair accounts for approximately 1% of Delta’s network capacity. There will be no disruption to customers and no significant adjustments to Delta’s flight schedule or locations served.”

DL said it still plans to serve 49 destinations directly from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky (CVG). Comair president Ryan Gumm told the carrier’s 1,700 employees in a Friday memo that its unit costs were simply deemed too high to continue.

(Aaron Karp - ATWOnline News)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Alaska Airlines reports second quarter profit

Alaska Airlines 737-790 (30343/439) N614AS turns onto Rwy 19R at John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA/KSNA) for departure on June 20, 2012.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Alaska Airlines (AS) more than doubled its net income for the second quarter, earning $67.5 million versus net income of $28.8 million recorded in the year-ago period. Excluding the impact of market-to-market fuel hedge adjustments of $69.6 million ($43.3 million after tax), it reported second-quarter net income of $110.8 million, up 23.7% year-over-year, for its 13th consecutive quarterly profit.

"Significantly higher revenues driven by strong demand, our growing route network and our preferred product led to a record second-quarter profit," Group CEO Brad Tilden said. On Thursday he told journalists and analysts that despite the leadership transition, its 2010 strategic plan remains “the big picture plan.” Alaska Air Group in June named AS president Brad Tilden to succeed Bill Ayer as CEO.

Revenues for the quarter jumped 9.3% to $1.21 billion on a 4.3% rise in operating expenses to $1.09 billion. Among the expenses was a 20.1% increase in variable incentive pay, an 8.6% increase in fuel expense, an 11% hike in aircraft maintenance costs, and a 14.6% increase in food and beverage service expenses. Operating income was $115.8 million, a $58 million increase year-over-year.

AS earlier this month ratified a new six-year contract with its ramp workers. Tilden said he is hopeful they will be able to achieve long-term contracts with all AS and Horizon workers.

The carrier announced it will advance delivery of one Boeing 737-900ER by one month to September. A total of three -900ERs are slated for delivery this year to replace smaller 737-700s.

“Demand for during the quarter was strong,” Tilden said.

GroupVP finance and CFO Brandon Pedersen said the carrier “did a much better job managing supply and demand this quarter,” leading to a jump in load factor. Mainline traffic jumped 9.4% to 6.23 billion RPMs on a 6.4% rise in capacity to 7.13 billion ASMs, producing a load factor of 87.4%, up 2.4 points.

Yield improved 1.9% to 13.85 cents as RASM increased 3.7% to 14.13 cents. CASM ex-fuel lifted 0.3% to 7.46 cents. By year end it expects approximately 20% of its ASMs to be from Hawaii, 20% from California, and about 15% from Alaska.

(Christine Boynton - ATWOnline News)

jetBlue reports second quarter profit

JetBlue Airways reported a second-quarter net income of $52 million, more than doubling its $25 million net profit in the year-ago quarter, and marking its ninth consecutive quarter of profitability and “highest-ever” second-quarter profit. Operating income jumped 51% year-over-year to $130 million, while operating revenues rose 11% to $1.3 billion on a 7.7% increase in operating expenses to $1.15 billion.

Maintenance costs during the quarter soared 58.7% year-over-year. The carrier on Wednesday told reporters and analysts that repairs have become more costly, “particularly engine repairs.” Last quarter B6 said it expected to face significant maintenance cost challenges, and though it originally expected the AVEOS closure to become a “double-digit problem,” it said that with recent progress in terms of recent negotiations, “the problem is downsized to a single-digit number.”

To continue to offset the increased maintenance costs, it has sold six older Airbus A320 spare engines during the quarter and replaced them with new engines purchased at the end of 2011 and earlier this year. B6 said it may continue to sell other older engines, and has negotiated a long-term maintenance agreement covering its CF34-powered Embraer E-190 fleet. It expects CASM, excluding fuel, in the third quarter to increase between 4.5% and 6.5%—with most of the increase driven by maintenance expense and profit sharing expense.

Traffic during the second quarter increased 10.5% to 8.49 billion RPMs on a 5.5% rise in capacity to 9.96 billion ASMs, pushing load factor up 3.8 points to 85.3%. Yield was 13.78 cents, up 1.3% year-over-year, while passenger RASM climbed 6.1% to 11.76 cents and CASM lifted 2.1% to 11.51 cents. CASM ex-fuel rose 5.6% to 6.99 cents.

"Our focused growth strategy in Boston and the Caribbean and Latin America is clearly paying off as we generated record revenues and improved operating margins,” B6 president and CEO Dave Barger said, adding that “demand trends remained solid throughout the quarter.” It plans to increase capacity between 7%-9% in the third quarter and between 6.5%-8.5% for the full year.

(Christine Boynton - ATWOnline News)

US Airways reports second quarter profit

Excluding net special charges, US Airways (US) reported a second-quarter net profit of $321 million, more than tripling its second quarter 2011 net profit (excluding net special charges) of $106 million. It also reiterated its support for a possible merger with American Airlines (AA) telling analysts and journalists Wednesday, “AMR has indicated it is actually open to considering mergers while it is in bankruptcy … We’re certain that any objective analysis [will show] that the best plan … for AMR is a merger with US Airways during the bankruptcy process.”

The insight is a turnaround from its last quarterly earnings report in which US sought a “cooperative and consensual process” with AA management.

The carrier recorded GAAP net profit for the second quarter of $306 million, a $214 million year-over-year jump from $92 million.

"We are extremely pleased to report the highest quarterly profit in our company's history,” US Group chairman and CEO Doug Parker said. “Consumer demand for our product remained strong during the second quarter, resulting in record revenue, passenger yields, and unit revenue performance. These financial and operating results are not only the best in US Airways' history but also among the very best in the industry, proving that US Airways is well-positioned for the remainder of 2012 and beyond.”

Revenues increased 7.2% year-over-year to $3.8 billion, on a 0.7% increase in operating expenses to $3.4 billion. Fuel costs for the quarter fell 4.4% to $906 million and operating income totaled $404 million, a significant jump from 2011 second quarter operating income of $177 million. Mainline traffic grew 0.9% to 16.4 billion RPMs on a 1.4% lift in capacity to 19.4 billion ASMs, producing a load factor of 84.6%, down 0.5 point. Yield improved 6.3% to 14.91 cents.

(Christine Boynton - ATWOnline News)

Aeromexico signs LOI for 737 MAX and 787 aircraft

Aeromexico on Wednesday announced it has signed a letter of intent for up to 100 Boeing aircraft—a mix of 90 737 MAX 8s and 9s, as well as 10 787s. When finalized, the order will be worth $10.8 billion at list prices, according to a statement by both companies.

The MAX aircraft will be powered by CFM International LEAP-1B engines—the sole source engine for the MAX. CFM said the list value of the LEAPs was $2.25 billion. Deliveries of the 737-8 MAX aircraft will begin in 2018, according to AM.

The 787s will be powered by GE Aviation GEnx-1B engines. GE said the total list value of the deal was $400 million. The Rolls-Royce Trent is also available for the 787.

Grupo AM CEO Andres Conesa said the order “will allow us to maintain a flexible structure to grow according to market conditions.”

The commitment for 100 aircraft is in addition to a package of 10 Embraer E190s and 10 leased Boeing 737-800 the carrier announced in 2011, as well as nine 787-9s scheduled to begin deliveries insummer 2013, AM said. It has already leased five 787-8s from International Lease Finance Corp (ILFC) and ordered two from Boeing. In July, it announced it would receive$171 million in Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) financing to support the acquisition of 737s.

(Christine Boynton - ATWOnline News)

Boeing ramp up goals will be realized according to Boeing CEO

Boeing is on track to ramp up 787 production to five aircraft a month by the end of this year and to 10 a month by late 2013, the company’s top executive said Wednesday.

Announcing a strong set of second-quarter and first-half results, Boeing chairman, president and CEO Jim McNerney told financial analysts the company would be focused through the rest of the year on execution, production ramp-up and profitability. “I am confident of our ability to deliver all our goals,” he said.

Those include the 787 ramp-up to 10 a month by late next year and also firming the design of the 737 MAX in 2013 so that it can meet its scheduled in-service date of 2017.
Boeing also announced Wednesday a commitment by Aeromexico to purchase 90 737 MAX 8s and 9s, and 10 787s.

Boeing reported a second-quarter net income of $967 million, a 3% improvement over the same quarter a year ago, on revenues of $20 billion, a 21% increase. For the 2012 first half, revenues were up 25% to $39 billion and net income increased 24% to $1.9 billion.

Increased aircraft productivity was a major contributor to the increases, with commercial aircraft deliveries up 27%.

“We continue to see a positive worldwide expansion in air traffic,” McNerney said. Cargo, on the other hand, is stabilizing, but growth is expected early next year. Customer demand for commercial airplanes is equally divided between fleet renewal and growth.”

McNerney added that total commitments and orders for the MAX stands at 1,200, of which 649 are firm orders.

(Karen Walker - ATWOnline News)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Five ANA 787s grounded due to suspect engine parts

All Nippon Airways is planning to temporarily ground some of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets to replace faulty engine components.

ANA officials say Boeing found poor-quality engine parts in 5 of the airline's fleet and that corrosion may possibly cause engine failure.

The company says it hasn't experienced any trouble with the aircraft so far, but it decided to take precautions by grounding the 5 planes and replacing their parts.

ANA cancelled 2 flights departing from Tokyo's Haneda airport on Saturday.
All Nippon Airways was the world's first airline to put the state-of-the art aircraft into service last November. It currently operates eleven 787s.

(NHK World News)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Long Beach Airport modernization rolls on!

This was in the Long Beach Press Telegram newspaper on July 18, 2012. Great update on the new terminal construction project.........Michael Carter...APF Editor 

Long Beach Airport Director Mario Rodriguez has been in and out of airports more times than he'd like to say.

And no matter the airport, the experience is the same, he said.
"It's going through a concrete building, through a metal tube and another metal tube," said the Long Beach resident. "Everything feels the same."

So when Long Beach Airport embarked on its $140 million modernization project, which will include a new terminal and parking garage and upgrades to the aircraft ramps and facades, those involved sought something different.

Today, work is more than halfway done on the passenger concourse, which will feature two terminal buildings, and 4,200 square feet of outdoor seating with patios,

Jet Blue President and CEO David Barger gets a tour of the Long Beach Airport expansion and renovation project. (Scott Varley / Staff Photographer)

fire pits, cabanas, suspended lights and space for outdoor performances.
The new concourse will also include more than 10,000 square feet of new retail and restaurant space managed by The Paradies Shops, which is bringing in local vendors such as Polly's Coffee, Sweet Jill's Bakery, 4th Street Vine, George's Greek Cafe and second locations for Long Beach Clothing Co., which will be called 562 Experience, and McKenna's on the Bay, whose second restaurant will be named McKenna's on the Fly.

"Long Beach is such a special place, and this is going to reflect it, with outdoor dining and fire pits," Rodriguez said. "It's a whole different concept and feel, more of a resort feel. And it should be. We took the idea from resorts."

Studio One Eleven principal Michael Bohn, whose Long Beach firm was hired by Paradies to design the retail and outside space, said his team sought to capture the modern, crisp waterfront metropolis that is Long Beach, bringing in nautical features and taking advantage of the city's openness and outdoor living.

He also spoke of the Long Beach Marche, a high-end food court that will be modeled less like a cafeteria and more like an open market where passengers can wander through

Long Beach Calif. --07-09-12 - Long Beach Airport Director Mario Rodriguez with a illustration of what the 4th Street Vine dining lounge area will look like. It's all part of the Long Beach Airport 's new $45 million passenger concourse, set to open in 2013. (Stephen Carr / Staff Photographer)

self-serve islands of fresh food or head to food stations serving up Long Beach eats.

"What we're trying to do is make it a memorable and enjoyable place you would want to come to even if you weren't waiting for an airport," Bohn said.
Long Beach follows a national trend among airports in the midst of major renovations to remain competitive.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport recently opened its $1.4 billion terminal for international passengers. In Las Vegas, McCarran International Airport is opening its $2.4 billion Terminal 3. Los Angeles International Airport also is undergoing improvements.
Rodriguez said Long Beach's take on the concourse is different from other airports.

This outdoor area will be part of the Long Beach Airport 's new $45 million passenger concourse, set to open in 2013. (Stephen Carr / Staff Photographer)

"We don't believe that people are comfortable in huge, Taj Mahal spaces," Rodriguez said. "Resorts have comfortable spaces. You're going to get something you haven't gotten from another airport."
JetBlue CEO Dave Barger, who toured the construction site Friday, said he was impressed by the progress. He added that the improvements will benefit the bottom lines of JetBlue and other operators.
"From JetBlue's perspective, at altitude is where customers spend most of their time, but the battle is also won on the ground," Barger said. "People are looking at the price of their tickets, they're looking at the price of their parking, but also how well their ground experience is. This bodes well for our operations."

This artists rendering shows what the outdoor area will look like in the Long Beach Airport's new $45 million passenger concourse, set to open in 2013.

His Reaction was a far cry from 2009, when Barger suggested to an airline industry blogger that JetBlue might pull out of Long Beach because of delays in the terminal improvement project.

The project had been delayed for years as the city fought legal battles over the scale of the expansion and concerns about the potential increase in aircraft noise. Airport officials have maintained that current noise restrictions and a cap on the number of allowed daily flights will remain.

The new concourse is expected to be open in 2013, though the project is ahead of schedule and could be open earlier, Rodriguez said.

"Hopefully, we'll deliver a nice Christmas present," he said.

(Karen Robes Meeks - Long Beach Press Telegram)

USAF C-17A lands at small airport by mistake in Florida

USAF C-17A (P-199) 08-8199 caught on short final to Rwy 30 at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) following a pre-delivery test flight on June 3, 2010.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Air Force officials are trying to figure out why an Air Force C-17A (P-199) 08-8199 based at McGuire AFB and bound for MacDill Air Force Base landed at Peter O. Knight Airport this afternoon, the wrong destination.

The plane, flown by a crew from the 305th Air Mobility Wing at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, was arriving from Southwest Asia carrying 23 passengers and 19 crew when it made an "unscheduled landing," according to Sgt David Carbajal, a McGuire spokesman. There appears to have been no damage to the aircraft or the airport, said Carbajal.

Air Force officials still do not know why the plane landed at the small civilian airfield on Davis Islands. The incident, said Carbajal, is under investigation.

The Air Force is planning to move the plane, said Carbajal, who did not immediately have details about how or when.

The flight was in support of U.S. Central Command, based at MacDill, Carbajal said.

Mistaken landings at nearby airfields are not unheard of across the country, but most occur at night by commercial or general aviation pilots. In 1980, a Delta Air Lines Boeing 727 bound for Tampa International Airport with 90 passengers landed safely in bad weather at MacDill.

The main runway at Peter O. Knight is 3,580 feet long and 100 feet wide, aligned in the same direction as MacDill's runway that is 11,421 feet long and 151 feet wide.

An unloaded C-17A is able to take off on an austere runway 90 feet wide and as short as 3,000 feet load, depending upon its fuel load and local temperatures, according to various Air Force and Government Accountability Office documents.

Ryan Gucwa, a pilot, was getting ready to get in his Piper Navajo and take off from the airport when he looked up and saw "this huge C-17A coming in over the top of the shipping port."

Seeing military airplanes over Peter O. Knight was not unusual, Gucwa said, but "this was only 100 feet off the ground and that is bizarre. Once the wheels touched the ground, I was terrified that there was no way to stop in time."

The nose landing gear of the cargo jet stopped about six to 10 feet from the end of the runway, said Gucwa, who took cell phone video of the landing.

The plane, he said, had markings from McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. Officials there would not immediately comment.

The landing surprised people who work in downtown Tampa office towers.

Frank Kilgore, a pricing manager for Hapag-Lloyd, an international shipping firm with office in the Suntrust Tower, said he heard someone in his office yell that the plane was on a final approach to the small municipal airport on Davis Islands.

"I knew immediately that it was not right," Kilgore said.

Commercial real estate broker Jason Donald was looking out his office window in a downtown skyscraper and saw the plane pass low over the fuel tanks in the Port of Tampa, then turn south towards Peter O. Knight.

"I face directly over the Bay and saw that plane come in so fast and thought to myself 'Never in a million years is he going to make it,'" Donald said. "I was waiting for flames."

There seemed to be a moment when the pilot realized the mistake, Donald said, but too late.

"He was carrying so much speed, I thought, 'This is not going to happen,'" he said. "If his front tire was not in the grass at the end of the runway, he was darn close."

It took about 17 seconds from the time the cargo jet's wheels touched down to time it came to a screeching halt near the end of the runway, according to video taken by Ryan Gucwa, who was at the scene.

The Peter O. Knight Airport is not equipped with a control tower. Aircraft rely on radio communications for landings there.

Federal Aviation Administration controllers at Tampa International Airport provide approach control to aircraft landing at MacDill and hand off aircraft to the MacDill tower when aircraft are about 10 miles out.

Peter O. Knight Airport is temporarily closed as the Air Force works to move the plane, Tampa International spokeswoman Janet Zink said. Neither the C-17A nor the airfield was damaged, airport and Air Force officials said.

(Howard Altman - The Tampa Tribune)

The C-17A departed at approximately 20:30 with absolutly no problem............Michael Carter APF Editor

Two Gulfstreams that I need arrive at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB)

 Operated by 700PC LLC, G-III (c/n 369) N15HE arrives from Van Nuys Airport (VNY/KVNY).
Black & Decker Inc. G550 (c/n 5192) N323BD ex-N492GA arrives from an unknown location, a very nice surprise indeed!

(Photos by Michael Carter)

UTair accepts first 767-200

Russia’s UTair (UT) has taken delivery of its first of eight Boeing 767s, 767-224 (30435/827) VP-BAG late of Continental/United N76156. By the end of the year, UT will get two more aircraft of the type. The rest of the aircraft will be delivered in 2013.

UT, the third largest carrier in Russia, served 5.8 million passengers in 2011, 31.3% more than the previous year.

UT will begin to use the 767s on routes from Moscow to Surgut and Tyumen in Western Siberia; later the carrier will launch domestic flights to the Russian Far East. Though UT has a diverse route network in Siberia and the European part of Russia, it still does not fly to cities in the Far East.

(Polina Borodina - ATWOnline News)

Luxair's future up in the air

Luxair’s (LG) future remains unclear after the state of Luxemburg bought a 12.09% stake from Swiss forwarding and logistics specialist Panalpina for an undisclosed sum last week. “Currently we can’t say what will happen with our shares in LG. The future will tell,” Dany Frank, spokesperson of Ministère du Développement durable et des Infrastructures.

It is also unclear if the state wants to increase its shares. “This question is currently not on the agenda,” he said. Local media reports have said the sale increases Luxembourg’s direct and indirect Luxair stake to 60%. The spokesperson declined to comment on the investment. “No details. This is regarding to the wish of the selling company (Panalpina),” he said.

Nevertheless, LG remains one of the smallest flag carriers in Europe. In a tough environment for European airlines, the future for the carrier looks challenging. “LG is evaluating the development of its strategy to be able to compete best against other carriers in the future,” the spokesperson added.

(Kurt Hofmann - ATWOnline News)

West Atlantic studies fleet renewal

West Atlantic, Europe’s largest regional cargo airline, is looking at taking more Boeing 737s as it seeks to renew its fleet.

The company, formed in 2008 from Sweden’s West Air Europe and the UK’s Atlantic Airlines, was launch customer for the planned Airbus A320P2F freighter conversion. However, the project was cancelled by Airbus in summer 2011, leaving the carrier searching for a new solution for its equipment requirements.

“We’ve since taken on two Boeing 737-300s, which gives you an idea of the direction we’re having to head in, and we’re looking at the -400,” West Atlantic sales director Russell Ladkin said. “That’s the nearest capacity equivalent [to the A3202F] in Europe. “We still operate Lockheed Electras, which have a payload of 15 tonnes and the 737-400 is a logical replacement for that.”

West Atlantic believes that a fleet of about six aircraft is the minimum size to be viable and a mix of -300s and -400s is a likely outcome. “The difference between the two types is that the -400 has space for an extra pallet, which gives a payload of 21 tonnes compared to 17 tonnes,” he added. The A320P2F was planned to have a payload of 21-22 tonnes.

The new aircraft were likely to be acquired over the next 24 months, Ladkin said, but much depended on market conditions. “The continuing economic headwinds are proving to be longer and stronger than we expected and at the moment there is depressed demand.” However, the new aircraft would probably arrive “assuming the market doesn’t get any worse.”

Airbus dropped the A320P2F, citing a weak business case and noting it was difficult to find aircraft to convert that had both sufficient remaining hours and an affordable price tag. Ladkin said he still expected an A320 freighter to arrive eventually, probably after the A320neo started to make older airframes more readily available.

(Alan Dron - ATWOnline News)

11% revenue rise translates into 2Q loss for Korean Air

Korean Air 747-4B5 (28096/1073) HL7495 sports the special livery "Welcome to Korea" which was designed by Korean children, taxies to the gate following its arrival at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) on January 10, 2012.
(Photo by Michael Carter) 

Korean Air (KE) incurred a KRW159 billion ($140 million) net loss in the second quarter, reversed from a KRW21 billion net profit in the year-ago period. Steep foreign exchanges losses and interest expenses helped push KE into the red for the three months ended June 30.

The Seoul-based carrier did boost second-quarter revenue 11.1% year-over-year to KRW3.27 trillion while expenses rose 6% to KRW3.14 trillion, producing an operating profit of KRW129 billion. That was turned around from an operating deficit of KRW20 billion in the 2011 June quarter, when favorable foreign exchange gains helped KE earn a net profit.

The airline said that “Olympic and seasonal demand” in the current quarter may lead to a “gradual” third-quarter recovery. “With stabilized jet fuel prices and exchange rates, the airline is expected to see improvement in profitability,” the company stated.

KE ended the first half with 122 passenger aircraft and 26 freighters in its fleet. It plans to take delivery of one Airbus A380, one Boeing 737NG and one 747F during the second half of the year.

(Aaron Karp - ATWOnline News)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

New C-17A delivered to McChord AFB

(U.S. Air Force Photo by Adamarie Lewis-Page) 

Gen. William M. Fraser III, U.S. Transportation Command commander, visited McChord Field July 17, 2012 as he delivered a new McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) C-17A (P-217) 10-0217 Globemaster III aircraft.

During his short visit, Fraser also took the opportunity to meet with leadership and hold a commander's call for McChord Field Airmen.

"It's an honor and privilege to be here," he said. "This is my first time to visit and to be able to come in the way I did today was something I never expected having the pleasure of doing. To be asked to deliver the C-17A was indeed a privilege and it's something not everybody gets to do."

After the C-17A delivery, the general learned more about the joint base relationship and the 62nd Airlift Wing's unique missions. In addition, he held a mentorship session with leadership.

The mentorship session was followed by a commander's call where Fraser emphasized his appreciation for all Airmen.

"My hats off to each and every one of you who are making the mission happen and I thank you for your service," he said. "I want to thank your families as well because they have to make the same sacrifices as you do."

He also stressed the importance of taking care of yourself.

"In today's environment with the places we go and the things we do, you need to take care of yourself and your family," Fraser said. "Also, it's important to be socially engaged, physically fit, and find some kind of spiritual balance."

As commander of USTRANSCOM, Fraser plans, coordinates, directs and monitors movement and deployment of forces and material necessary to meet military objectives.

USTRANSCOM is the single manager for global air, land and sea transportation for the Department of Defense. The 62nd AW reports to Air Mobility Command, which is a component command of USTRANSCOM.

In the past six months, the 62nd AW has flown more than 5,700 sorties, 21,500 hours, 1,350 missions, moving 47 million pounds of cargo and 16,000 passengers in an effort to provide global airlift and support the USTRANSCOM mission.

"The 62nd AW has made tremendous contributions," he said. "I'm proud of what they're doing because they're really making a difference in the lives of many."

Fraser departed McChord Field later that day continuing his official travels.

"Thanks to JBLM for a wonderful visit," he said. "I want to thank all the Airmen and their families again for their service."

(Staff Sgt. Frances Kriss - 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Lovely G550 arrives at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB)

 Short final to Rwy 30.
Gulfstream G550 (c/n 5111) VP-CKC arrived from Seattle-Boeing Field (BFI/KBFI) this afternoon (7/14/2012) at 14:10 PST and parked at the Gulfstream Service Center.

(Photos by Michael Carter)

Southwest Airlines / AirTran Airways hybrid livery....well sort of!

AirTran Airways 737-7BD (35110/2147) N312AT turns onto Rwy 19R at John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA/KSNA) as it readies to depart to San Francisco (SFO/KSFO) on July 14, 2012. If you look closely at the engine you will see a Southwest engine cowl has been used.

(Photo by Michael Carter) 

NTSB says FAA should have issued an "Airworthiness Directive" on GE CF6-80C2 engine

Delta Airlines Boeing 767-332 (25984/427) N139DL which sports a special "United Way" sticker, attains positive climb as the gear is stowed for flight following it's departure from Rwy 25R at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) on October 27, 2011.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

The US National Transportation Safety Board says an engine fire on an American Airlines Boeing 767-300ER in February would not have occurred had the Federal Aviation Administration issued an airworthiness directive after a similar problem in 2006.

The NTSB in a 12 July letter is recommending that the FAA issue a new airworthiness directive (AD) forcing operators to correct the potential problem.

American flight 837, departing the John F. Kennedy (JFK) international airport for Port au Prince, Haiti, on 8 February with 201 passengers and 12 crew members, experienced a fire in the right engine while climbing through 9,000ft (2,743m). The pilots declared an emergency and returned to the airport for an overweight, but uneventful landing.

Damage to the General Electric (GE) CF6-80C2 engine, including thermal damage to the interior surface of the right thrust reverser cowl and burns on "numerous" wires and cables, was traced to a fire fuelled by jet fuel that had sprayed from a distorted fuel tube flange. Investigators later determined that the leak had been caused by a bracket and a spray shield that were installed in the reverse order.

The same conclusions were drawn from the aborted mission of a Delta Air Lines Boeing 767-300ER that departed Rio de Janeiro for Atlanta in July 2006. In that case, the left GE CF6-80C2 engine experienced a fire at 3,000ft on climb out resulting in a single-engine, overweight landing in Rio.

Ten years before the Rio failure, GE had issued a service bulletin (SB) that introduced a one-piece spray shield and support bracket, in part to eliminate the potential for installing the two individual parts in the wrong order - the root cause of both the American and Delta failures that would follow.

"The SB was initially issued as a category 7 bulletin, meaning that [GE] recommended operators incorporate the SB at their discretion," says the NTSB. "However, following the Delta Air Lines engine fire at Rio de Janeiro, [GE] elevated the bulletin to category 3 in March 2007, meaning that [GE] recommended operators accomplish the SB at the engines' next shop visit."

The American 767 went to the shop two years after the SB was issued, but the change was not made, nor was American required to do so.

"The [NTSB] notes that, unlike an AD that mandates the accomplishment of a particular task, manufacturer SBs are only recommendations to take certain actions. Accordingly, American Airlines was under no obligation to comply with [the SB], even after [GE] elevated the SB to category 3."

American later told the NTSB that its fleet of CF6-80C2-powered 767s "have been operating with a mix of two- and one-piece bracket and spray shields over the past 20 years" and that until the 8 February 2012 engine fire, "there was no economic reason to replace the two-piece bracket and spray shield with the one-piece bracket and spray shield and, thus, the operator had not."

The NTSB says the FAA should have issued an AD requiring operators to replace the two parts with the combined part after the Delta engine fire in 2006, in part since the 767-300ER is approved for extended operations (ETOPS), and as such, would have to operate on a single engine for as long as three hours had an engine fire occurred mid-flight rather than at takeoff.

"The NTSB concludes that, if the FAA had issued an AD to require installation of the one-piece bracket and spray shield on CF6-80C2 engines (as recommended [in the SB]) following the July 2006 Delta Air Lines engine fire at Rio de Janeiro, the engine fire on American Airlines flight 837 would not have occurred," the agency says.

(John Croft - Flight Global News)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Photo of the Day / Airborne Express DC-8-63(AF) N820AX

Airborne Express DC-8-63(AF) (46155/529) N820AX arrives at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on a gorgeous afternoon in April 1997. Originally delivered to Iberia as EC-BSE "Alonso Cano" on December 23, 1970. 

This lovely aircraft operated with Iberia until April 8, 1981 when it was leased to Aviaco "Playa de las Caneras" with whom it operated with until November 1983 when it was sold to International Air Leases Inc. and re-registered as N940JW and leased to Arrow Air. In May 1984 the aircraft was returned and immediatly leased to Quebecair as C-GQBA. In September 1996 the DC-8-63 was bought by Nationair.

Airborne Express bought the aircraft on January 6, 1992 and operated it until September 2005 when it was WFU and stored at Cinncinati. Ohio.    

(Photo by Michael Carter)

California Pacific Airlines debuts its first ERJ-170

If the livery of California Pacific Airlines doesn’t look familiar to you, that is probably because the airline is not operational yet.

California Pacific Airlines first Embraer ERJ-170-100LR (c/n 17000006) N176EC arrives at McClellan-Palomar Airport (CLD/KCLD) on July 6, 2012.
(Photo California Pacific Airlines) 

California Pacific Airlines was founded in 2009 and they plan to start revenue flights by the end of 2012. Earlier this week, their first of four Embraer E-170se, was brought to their homebase at McClellan-Palomar Airport (CLD).

CLD is located in Carlsbad, CA, just north of San Diego. They plan to fly to Oakland, Sacramento, and San Jose, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta.

The airline will have their aircraft configured in a two class lay-out with a total of 72 seats on the inside and an impressive livery on the outside. Their original livery plan was not as nice as this one and with the shades of blue and the wave on the tail, I really like what they ended up with.

This first aircraft for the carrier has an interesting history. It started life as a Embraer demonstration aircraft (PT-SVD) and performed a flight demo at the 2003 Paris Air Show. The aircraft was later delivered to MAT-Macedonian Airlines as PT-SVD becoming the carriers first of the type. In 2006 the aircraft found its way to Cirrus Airlines as D-ALIA and was operated by the carrier until late 2011.  


United Airlines announces special livery for its 787 fleet

United Airlines has announced that the carriers first 787 will sport a special livery that will eventually be seen on their entire Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet. The new livery was inspired by the Dreamliner livery and is the carriers’s way of celebrating the two company’s long history together.

 (Photo United Airlines)

I have to say though, that the special livery is somewhat disappointing to me as I had hoped that United would do something really spectacular for its first 787.

The cabin colors will feature blues and grays, which is consistent with the carriers current fleet. United will also debut a new in-flight entertainment system on the 787 fleet that according to the carrier will offer, “more intuitive browsing and more filtering options.”

(Photo United Airlines)

United, in preparation for its first 787 delivery has installed a full-flight simulator at its Houston base and has commenced pilot, flight attendant, and mechanic training.

Following the first delivery scheduled for September, the carrier will perform a number of operational tests prior to putting the 787 into service. The carrier hopes to have 787's in the fleet before years end. 

United Airlines orders 100 737 Max at Farnborough Airshow

Continental/United Airlines Boeing 737-924 (30118/820) N30401 arrives at Portland International (PDX/KPDX) on August 26, 2011.
(Photo by Michael Carter)  

United Airlines capped a bumper air show for Boeing Thursday with a $14.7 billion firm order for 100 737 MAX aircraft and 50 737-900ERs.

The deal brought firm MAX orders up to 649, and helped close the gap with the 1,454 firm orders for rival Airbus A320neo. With orders and commitments, the MAX total stands at around 1,200, Boeing said.

Unusually, however, the customer did not attend the Farnborough Airshow to make the announcement. Instead, United president and CEO Jeff Smisek appeared at a press briefing in Chicago with Boeing chairman, president and CEO Jim McNerney and new Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Ray Conner in a telecast to Boeing’s Farnborough chalet. Chicago is the corporate headquarters city for both companies.

Smisek said the decision was made based on "the best airplane with the best engines at the best price."

The aircraft will be powered by CFM International engines, which announced the deal was worth $5 billion deal.

Fully aware of the likelihood of a show-stealing announcement by its competitor on the last full business day of the show, Airbus unveiled a slew of new orders and commitments with a total list price value of $6.5 billion. These included a $2.1 billion firm order from Russia’s UTair for 20 A321s; a $1.9 billion firm order from Colombia-based Synergy Aerospace for six A330-200s and three A330-200Fs; a commitment by Irish lessor Avolon for 15 A320neos valued at $1.45 billion; and a memorandum of understanding with Lebanon’s Middle East Airline-Air Liban for five A320neos and five A321neos plus eight options valued at $1.05 billion.

Combined with orders announced earlier this week, including a $4.2 billion order for 26 A350-1000s from Cathay Pacific, Airbus COO-customers John Leahy said the company had logged sales totaling $16.9 billion.

"We are very happy with the results of this show," Leahy said. "Air shows are useful to bring people together and if you are close to a deal you can use them as a deadline to get across the line."

But air shows tend to be a numbers game, and on that basis it was Boeing’s show, beginning the week with a $7.2 billion deal from US lessor Air Lease Corp. for 75 Boeing 737 MAXs and ending with the United coup that brought its sales total at the Farnborough finishing line to 396 aircraft valued at $37 billion.

(Karen Walker - ATWOnline News)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

First 737-800 destined for Kulula (Comair Limited) seen at Seattle

On Monday July 9, 2012, the first 737-800 for Kulula (Comair Limited) was captured at Seattle-Boeing Field (BFI-KBFI) returning from a pre-delivery test flight. The aircraft, a Boeing 737-8LD (40851/4094) ZS-ZWA sports the carriers new livery as well.

(Photo by Joe G. Walker)