Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ethiopian Airlines stands behind 787 "Dreamliner"

Ethiopian Airlines, one of whose Boeing 787 Dreamliners caught fire at Heathrow airport last month, said it had full confidence in the plane and is pressing ahead with its order for eight more.

"The airplane is undergoing a challenging time to mature, but it's improving," said chief executive Tewolde Gebremariam.

"I have strong confidence in this airplane. It is the future in aviation," he told a news conference after the airline announced a near tripling of net profit.

The incident at Heathrow and a separate technical problem on a second 787 owned by Britain's Thomson Airways raised new questions about an aircraft seen as crucial to Boeing's future.

Boeing has asked airlines to inspect up to 1,200 aircraft to gather data on an emergency beacon made by Honeywell that has come under scrutiny following a fire on the Dreamliner that was parked at Heathrow.

Tewolde said the Ethiopian carrier, which has five Dreamliners, said it is negotiating compensation with Boeing but gave no details.

Asked if there were plans for more orders, Tewolde said: "We are evaluating more orders but Boeing is also busy until 2018 onward."

Operating revenue at Ethiopian Airlines climbed to 38.5 billion birr in 2012/2013 from 33.8 billion a year earlier. Operating profit rose to 2.7 billion birr from 1 billion, helped by growth in its fleet, destinations and passenger numbers.

The carrier said it planned to expand routes between African states and Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

It wants to expand its fleet to 112 planes from 60 and carry 18 million passengers over 92 routes by 2025.

It would also cement Addis Ababa's status as a regional hub by expanding maintenance and retail overhaul, catering and ground services.

(Aaron Maasho - Reuters)

Westjet announces 737 MAX order

Canada's WestJet Airlines Ltd said on Thursday it has reached a preliminary agreement to purchase 65 737 MAX aircraft from Boeing Co , moving to expand its fleet with more fuel-efficient aircraft.

The 737 MAX series is due to enter production in 2015, with deliveries to customers starting in 2017. It is the latest version of Boeing's top-selling 737 jet, which has been in production for more than four decades.

The narrow-body 737 MAX is set to compete with the A320neo made by Airbus . Boeing said in May it expects the craft to burn 13 percent less fuel than current 737 models.

Calgary-based WestJet said it plans to buy 40 of the 737 MAX 8 aircraft and 25 of the smaller 737 MAX 7 planes, with delivery to begin in September 2017. The MAX 8 will accommodate between 162 and 175 passengers, while the MAX 7 will fit 126 to 140 passengers.

WestJet also said that 15 of its existing Next-Generation 737 aircraft orders, currently scheduled for delivery between December 2014 and 2018, will be filled by 737 MAX aircraft instead.

Including the new orders, WestJet's future Boeing 737 aircraft deliveries total 92. WestJet's current fleet consists of 103 Boeing Next-Generation 737s and four Bombardier Inc Q400 NextGen aircraft.

WestJet expects to sign a final purchase agreement for the 737 MAX aircraft before the end of September.

The airline said it now expects capital expenditures to range between C$210 million and C$220 million for the third quarter of 2013, and between C$690 million and C$710 million for the full-year.

It previously forecast C$100 million to C$110 million for the third quarter and C$610 million to C$630 million for the full year.

WestJet's move comes as competition among Canadian airlines is heating up, with Air Canada , the country's largest airline, boosting capacity with the launch of its Rouge airline this summer. Rouge, a low-cost carrier, is aimed at high-volume leisure travel heading to the Caribbean, the United States and other international markets.

WestJet itself recently launched Encore, a regional carrier aimed at competing head-to-head with Air Canada on some routes to smaller cities and towns where Canada's biggest airline has enjoyed a monopoly.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sulton of Johor's G-IV at Long Beach

The Sultan of Johor's Gulfstream G-IV (c/n 1106) 9M-ISJ has been at the Gulfstream Service Center at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) for quite sometime undergoing a "D' check I believe (don't quote me on that!). She performed a customer acceptance flight this afternoon as "GLF37" and is captured returning at 18:16 pst following the flight.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Learjet 35 N135AJ

Learjet 35 (35-036) N135AJ operated by Aviation West Charters Inc. arrives at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on August 20, 2013.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Southwest Airlines 737-8H4 N8325D

Southwest Airlines 737-8H4 (37003/4255) N8325D prepares to taxi to Rwy 19R at John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA/KSNA) on August 21, 2013 bound for San Jose (SJC/KSJC).
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Gulfstream G550 N551CS visits Long Beach

 Taxies on "Delta" towards a Rwy 30 departure.

 Rolling for takeoff
on Rwy 30.
Gulfstream G550 (c/n 5264 ex N564GA captured at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on August 20, 2013.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Monday, August 19, 2013

New Italian G450 passes through Long Beach

Taxies on "Lima" towards a Rwy 30 departure.
Rolling for takeoff
on Rwy 30
on a simply gorgeous evening in SoCal.
Rotates off Rwy 30.

Climbs into the lovely evening skies above Long Beach.
Gulfstream G450 (c/n 4279) I-XPRA ex N279GA departed Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) this evening at 17:40 pst bound for an unknown destination.
(Photos by Michael Carter) 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Gulfstream G650 N927MC

Gulfstream G650 (c/n 6052) N927MC ex N602GA rests in the Gulfstream paint shop at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on August 16, 2013.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Qualcomm Inc. G650 visits Long Beach Airport

Operated by Qualcomm Inc., Gulfstream G650 (c/n 6017) N886WT is captured arriving at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) following a 24 minute from McClellan-Palomar Airport (CRQ/KCRQ) on August 14, 2013.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Gulfstream action at Long Beach - August 14

Operated by Suburban Properties 3 Inc., G-IV (c/n 1032) N2DF arrives at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) at 17:08 pst from Wichita Mid-Continent Airport (ICT/KICT).

G550 (c/n 5213) N888HK rolls for takeoff on Rwy 30 at 16:48 pst bound for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX).

G550 (c/n 5322) N900ES is operated by Earth Star Inc. and caught rolling for takeoff on Rwy 30 at 17:58 pst  destined for Bob Hope Burbank Airport (BUR/KBUR).
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Saudi A320 arrives in Long Beach

Airbus A320-214X CJ Prestige (c/n 3164) HZ-A2 arrived at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) this evening from Bangor International Airport (BGR/KBGR) at 18:50 pst and parked at the AirFlight facilities.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

I was finally able to get photos of the right-side of Indian Air Force C-17A (F-259) CB-8003 this past Thursday August 8, 2013 which sports English titles.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Mexican registered G-IV arrives at Long Beach

Operated by Grupo Omnilife SA de CV, G-IV (c/n 1064) XA-AEX arrives from El Paso (ELP/KELP), Texas at 1633 pst on August 8, 2013 sporting this very striking livery.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

G550 (c/n 5436) N936GA arrives at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on August 8, 2013 following a flight from Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport (SAV/KSAV). Normally arriving wearing a green "Ambertech" finish this bird arrived sporting a non descript all white livery.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

New G550 arrives at Long Beach

New G550 (c/n 5439) N539GA arrived this morning at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) from Savannah - Hilton Head International Airport (SAV/KSAV).
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Last C-17A for the USAF

C-17A (P-223) 10-0223 destined for Charleston Air Force Base, is the last C-17A to be delivered to the USAF as it currently stands.
She is caught on the Boeing flight ramp at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on August 6, 2013.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Monday, August 5, 2013

jetBlue to introduce "First Class" on A321's in 2014

JetBlue, known for shuttling vacationers from Northeast cities to the warmth of Florida and the Caribbean, is making a play for corporate road warriors.
Starting next year, the all-coach airline plans to offer 16 lie-flat seats on flights between New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco. It's the first time the egalitarian carrier will have a second class of service.
The transcontinental routes are the most profitable and highly contested domestic markets for airlines. Business class tickets frequently sell for $4,000 roundtrip. American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are all in the process of putting lie-flat beds in their premium cabins on those routes.

Virgin America, which also flies from coast to coast, has a traditional first class cabin with larger seats.
"Transcontinental routes have had high premium fares we believe we can beat," CEO Dave Barger said in a statement.
The New York-based airline announced the new seats at the start of a business traveler conference Monday in San Diego.
JetBlue Airways Corp. said the seats will debut on its new Airbus A321 planes in the second quarter of 2014. The planes will have 16 seats in the front cabin and 143 in the back. Four of the 16 business class seats will have doors and are being marketed by JetBlue as "private suites" similar to what Dubai-based Emirates Airway and Singapore Airlines offer their top customers.
Other A321s not configured for the transcontinental service will have 190 seats. The airline did not say if the 34 inches of legroom that coach passengers current have on their jets — one of the most generous spaces in the industry — would change with either configuration.
The 16 premium cabin seats will offer air cushions with adjustable firmness, a massage function, a 15-inch widescreen television and a "wake-me-for-service" indicator if a passenger chooses to sleep in.
Jim Corridore, an analyst with S&P Capital IQ, said he is skeptical that JetBlue can start a price war with other airlines for premium seats. Further, he worries that JetBlue will be unable to offset the loss of the 31 coach seats with higher-fare passengers.
"The real benefit of lie-flat seats comes on international routes," Corridore said.
The move comes a week after JetBlue announced dismal second-quarter earnings. Its income fell by nearly one-third, missing Wall Street expectations, as maintenance and other costs climbed faster than revenue.

The 13-year-old airline had benefited over the past decade from new planes with lower maintenance costs and lower wages because of its young staff. Now, as it ages, those cost benefits are starting to erode and the airline must find new ways to bring in revenue.
Its average flight in the quarter was 84.9 percent full with paying customers, down from 85.3 percent a year earlier. And the average one-way fare dipped to $157.51 from $159.58 last summer.
JetBlue can't grow much more in New York, where take-off and landing slots are restricted by the government. It has grown in Boston to become that city's largest airline. But Boston lacks the population base for the airline to expand much more. Barger has eyed Washington D.C., but that airport also has government caps on the number of daily flights.
The airline has built its loyal customer base on vacationers who like the free, live TV, extra legroom and lack of fees for the first checked bag. Barger has been trying to lure more business travelers with mixed results.
After an initial spike Monday morning, the company's stock closed up a penny at $6.51 a share.

 (Scott Mayerowitz - Associated Press)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Boeing biggest buyer of old 747s

Auto dealers have long been willing to take an old clunker off a potential buyer’s hands in order to clinch a sale of a shiny new model. Now airplane makers are following suit. Boeing is acquiring previous versions of the 747 from airlines ordering its new, tough-to-sell 747-8. Of the 19 older 747s that have changed hands so far this year, Boeing has snapped up seven, according to data compiled by Ascend Online Fleets. That makes it the biggest buyer of the used jets in 2013.

While the purchases put Boeing on the hook for finding new operators, it helps nurture demand for the newer 747-8—among a class of fuel-thirsty four-engine aircraft that airlines frown upon these days. New sales are pivotal to keeping 747 assembly lines humming as Boeing slows output 13 percent to 1.75 planes a month and stashes some unsold 747-8s in desert storage. “It unloads a problem [from airlines] to Boeing,” says Douglas Kelly, senior vice president for asset valuation at aviation consultant Avitas. “It’s just like trading in your car.”

While Boeing declined to comment on specific customers or aircraft sales, the Ascend data show that this year’s sellers of 747-400s to the world’s largest planemaker are all buyers of the 747-8 family, which includes both passenger and all-freight versions. The buyers are Korean Air Lines and Cathay Pacific Airways, as well as Cathay’s Dragonair unit and its cargo joint venture with Air China.

Production of the 747-400 ended in 2009. New features on the 747-8 include improved engines and an elongated version of the fuselage hump that gives the plane its distinctive profile. It entered commercial service in 2011, two years late, after Boeing diverted engineers to the delayed 787 Dreamliner.
Potential buyers for the 747-8 are dwindling as cargo companies increasingly ship freight by rail or in the bellies of passenger versions of large twin-engine jets such as Boeing’s 777s, favored for their fuel economy and low maintenance costs, says Richard Aboulafia, an aviation consultant.

Purchasing older 747s is “a pretty smart move on the part of Boeing,” says aviation consultant Michel Merluzeau. The latest 747s, which retail for about $350 million each, have drawn only five orders this year. But there were also five cancellations, according to Boeing’s website. “I think it’s one year at a time for that program,” Merluzeau says.

Boeing’s buybacks help 747-8 customers avoid recording losses on older planes they would otherwise struggle to sell amid a global glut of used jumbos, Avitas’s Kelly says. With demand weak for air freighters, conversions of passenger 747s to carry cargo have dried up, he says, curtailing one of the usual options for airlines to extract value from aging aircraft. About 75 747-400s are parked in deserts around the world, according to Ascend, and valuations have tumbled. A 1992-vintage 747-400 that was appraised at $41.6 million in January 2008 is valued at $16.7 million now, Kelly says.

Korean Air, which has sold six 747-400s to Boeing since 2010, agreed in June to buy five 747-8s as part of a planned $3.6 billion aircraft purchase. The carrier is the second-largest global operator of the 747-400 and one of the biggest buyers of the latest version of the 747-8, according to Ascend.

Cathay Pacific, which has ordered 13 of the new 747s outfitted to carry only freight, sold one 747-400 to Boeing this year, as did Air China Cargo, which is 49 percent-owned by Cathay. Dragon-air sold Boeing three of the jets.
Lately, planemakers are particularly eager to deal on four-engine models. Last year, Boeing even bought five of its rival Airbus’s A340s—a four-engine widebody no longer in production—from China Eastern Airlines, which was taking 20 of Boeing’s 777s in a $6 billion deal based on full list prices (which are often discounted for early or multiple purchases).

Airbus has acquired three of the nine A340s sold this year after buying back 10 of the jets in 2012. “In some exceptional cases, Airbus has bought back A340s to support new business,” Andreas Hermann, vice president and head of A340 re-marketing at Airbus, said in an e-mail. “Regardless of the negative perception of some, the A340-500/600 continues to provide efficient lift for long haul.”

Boeing officials remain optimistic that the cargo market will revive, bringing new orders for the latest version of a jumbo jet that’s been a freight-hauling workhorse since the 1970s.
In some ways, the 747-8 is a victim of Boeing’s engineering success: The 777’s extended range version has a maximum distance of 7,725 nautical miles (14,305 kilometers), giving airlines the ability to use a twin-engine plane on routes once reachable only by four-engine jumbos. A 747-8 outfitted to carry passengers has a listed range of 8,000 nautical miles.

With 53 unfilled 747-8 orders, Boeing has enough work to keep the 747-8 production line busy through the end of 2015, figures George Ferguson, senior aerospace analyst for Bloomberg Industries. “They see a mission for those aircraft,” he says. “The market isn’t exactly telling us that.”

(Julie Johnsson - Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

German Air Force A340-313X visits Long Beach

German Air Force (GAF) A340-313X (c/n 274) 16+01 "Konrad Adenauer" performed four missed approaches this morning at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) as "GAF883 Heavy." The U.S.A.F. was using the aircraft for some type of equipment testing. 
This is the first A340 to ever visit Long Beach so it very nice to witness this milestone, to bad our "June Gloom" in August was with us this morning .
(Photos by Michael Carter)