Saturday, May 31, 2014

Bombardier CSeries program grounded due to engine failure

Bombardier CSeries flight test aircraft FTV1
Bombardier has grounded the CSeries flight test program while it investigates an engine failure that occurred May 29 on flight test aircraft FTV1 during ground testing.
While Bombardier has confirmed “an engine-related incident,” Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) confirmed in a statement that “a Bombardier CS100 aircraft experienced an engine failure during ground testing.” TSB has dispatched an investigator to Bombardier’s facility in Mirabel, Quebec, where the engine failure occurred.
The CSeries is powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1500G geared turbofan (GTF) engines. Pratt spokesman Ray Hernandez told ATW that Pratt “is working with Bombardier to understand the incident that occurred on May 29. At this time, it is premature to discuss the incident in detail.”
Bombardier said in a statement that “the CSeries aircraft flight test program will resume once the investigation [into the engine failure] is completed.”
Entry into service for the CSeries has already been delayed by Bombardier to the second half of 2015. It is unclear how the May 29 engine failure will affect that timeline.
The CSeries is the first application for Pratt’s GTF program. GTF engines are also slated to power the Airbus A320neo, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. MRJ, Embraer E-Jet E2 and Irkut MC-21.
Briefing reporters last week at Pratt’s headquarters in East Hartford, Connecticut, Pratt president Paul Adams said the CSeries “and the engine are doing extremely well” in flight testing.
There was an apparently minor incident with a GTF engine flying on Pratt’s Boeing 747SP flying testbed aircraft on April 29. “That April 29 incident in Mirabel was a minor anomaly with a test engine, which is common during flight testing,” Hernandez said. “Examination of that engine revealed that there was no apparent damage and we were able to run it again the next day.”
(Aaron Karp - ATWOnline News)

Friday, May 30, 2014

PEOPLExpress to launch in June

PEOPLExpress, a new airline reviving the name of 1980s low-cost airline, will begin service in June on routes that have been left behind by the bigger airlines as they consolidate service, CEO Jeff Erickson told CNBC on Friday.

Starting June 30, PEOPLExpress will begin service from its Newport News/Williamsburg, Virginia, hub with one round-trip flight daily to Pittsburgh and one to Boston, and two daily to Newark, New Jersey. Additional flights from the hub will be added through the summer: West Palm Beach, Florida (from July 15); Atlanta (from Aug. 1); and New Orleans and St Petersburg/Clearwater, Florida, (from Aug. 28.).
The goal is to focus on underserved routes. "With the exception of the service from here to Atlanta—which starts Aug. 1—everything else has no nonstop competition," Erickson said during a phone interview from Virginia.
Within five years it hopes to be in 24 cities, he said.

PEOPLExpress airlines re-emerges.
Introductory fares will start as low as $76 each way, but much like Spirit and Frontier airlines, PEOPLExpress will charge for add-ons including checked and overhead bags.

The first checked bag will cost $20, and a second will be $25. Carry-on bags in overhead bins will cost $25 per bag per flight segment. An exit-row seat will cost an extra $25 each way while 12 bigger "Living Large" seats on each plane will cost an extra $59 per flight segment.

 Advance seat assignments cost $15 each way. And even on-board beverages will be available for purchase with the "complimentary snacks," according to the company's press release.
Better customer service will separate PEOPLExpress from the other low-cost carriers, Erickson said. "You do it by caring, by listening," he said. " If you go back and read the history of the first PEOPLExpress, they really created a good feeling among their passengers. You do it by solving their problems."
The initial hub will be at the Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport, but as the company grows, future hubs are intended for Pittsburgh; San Antonio, Texas; New Orleans; and Atlantic City, New Jersey, Erickson said.
"I think there is a real opportunity as some of the other airlines are distracted by completing their merger or focusing on slots that came available," Erickson said in an interview. "Our entire focus has been to recreate the PEOPLExpress brand at airports that have a demonstrated a history of traffic but no longer have the service." 
Technically, the airline will start its first year as a different airline as it awaits full approval from the Federal Aviation Administration. "Vision Airlines, dba PEOPLExpress" will operate with leased 150-seat Boeing 737-400s and the employees will be Vision Airlines workers but in the PEOPLExpress uniform with a refreshed version of the airline's 1980s silhouette logo.
The old PEOPLExpress was based at Newark until it was acquired by Continental, which was then acquired by United. "Other than the name there is no affiliation, however a number of our employees previously worked for the old PEOPLEexpress," Erickson said.
The privately held PEOPLExpress hired Erickson six months ago to get the airline off the ground. He was CEO of Trans World Airlines at the time of the TWA Flight 800 crash off of Long Island, New York, in 1996, and he also was the founding CEO of Reno Airlines in the early 1990s, which he said has many parallels to this current start-up.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe was expected at the airline's launch announcement Friday. "One of the keys to economic development and creating jobs in the Commonwealth is the ability of the state to connect people and enterprises from other parts of the country and the world to our communities and vice versa," McAuliffe said in a statement ahead of the event. "The launch of PEOPLExpress will be another asset strengthening Virginia's first-in-class business environment."
 (Amy Langfield - CNBC)

UTair Express unveils Superjet 100 livery

UTair Express Sukhoi Superjet 100
UTair Express Sukhoi Superjet 100
Russia’s UTair subsidiary, UTair Express, has unveiled the livery on its first of six Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100) aircraft, ahead of its official delivery date in June.
UTair signed a lease agreement for six SSJ100s in the long-range version with Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Co. and VEB Leasing at the MAKS Airshow in 2013. The deal is valued at $217.2 million at current list prices. VEB Leasing will purchase the aircraft for delivery to UTair.
The aircraft, which is configured with 103 economy-class seats, has a maximum range of 4,578 km; by comparison, the SSJ100 range is 3,048 km. The required runway length for the LR version is 2,052 meters.
UTair Express operates regional flights from Moscow to Voronezh, Tambov and Ulyanovsk. It also operates flights from Surgut to Tyumen and Ekaterinburg. It launched its first international flight from Moscow to Vilnius April 1.
According to a carrier statement, the aircraft was painted by Spektr-Avia in Ulyanovsk. The aircraft’s interior is currently being installed.
(Polina Borodina - ATWOnline News)

Boeing and Japan Transocean Air finalize 737-800 deal

Rendering of 737-800 in Japan Transocean Air livery
 Rendering of 737-800 in Japan Transocean Air livery
Okinawa-based Japan Transocean Air (JTA), a member of JAL Group, has finalized an order for 12 Boeing 737-800s in an order valued at $1.1 billion at list prices. The arrival of the new aircraft in 2016 will mark the start of the airline’s fleet renewal program.
As part of the agreement, JTA will also have the flexibility to switch to the 737 MAX family of aircraft.
“This order is a key part of our strategy to bring the highest levels of comfort, amenity and convenience to the people of Okinawa, by continuing to operate the most reliable and fuel-efficient aircraft available today and in the future,” Manabu Sato, president of Japan Transocean Air and executive officer at Japan Airlines, said.
Based in Okinawa, Japan’s southernmost major island chain, Japan Airlines Group member JTA currently operates a fleet of 737-400 aircraft on domestic routes linking Okinawa with major Japanese cities as well as other Okinawa islands.
(Linda Blachly - ATWOnline News)

Airline employees busted for smuggling money through Boston Logan

Five airline employees have been charged in a sting operation with using their security clearances to secretly smuggle more than $400,000 in cash through Boston's Logan Airport.

Four ground operations crew members of JetBlue Airways and one Delta Air Lines customer service ramp agent were arrested Thursday on charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the Transportation Security Administration.

Federal prosecutors say they used their security clearance to circumvent TSA checkpoints and smuggle cash to secure areas. In return, each allegedly received a payment from a cooperating witness who posed as a member of a drug-trafficking organization while working with law enforcement.

An attorney for one of the men says the government "created a crime" by enticing his client and the others.

(Associated Press)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Gulfstream G550 N563GA

Turns onto Rwy 30 for departure.

Short final to Rwy 12.

Gulfstream G550 (c/n 5463) N563GA tbr N514VA upon delivery, performed a customer flight on May 14, 2014 and is captured departing on and returning from said flight.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Gulfstream "Supersonic"

Asked about Aerion’s redesigned supersonic business jet announced this week at EBACE, Gulfstream Aerospace president Larry Flynn said, “I think everyone knows Gulfstream has had an interest in supersonic and we have a small research and development project that has been under way for several years.

The project is mostly focused on suppressing the sonic boom.

Our intentions would be to fly a supersonic airplane over land. We want to have that capability, because we think that airplane will be more valuable and flexible.”

Flynn said Gulfstream had met with Aerion but decided not to participate in the project because “we’ve got enough on our plate internally. So we just wouldn’t be able to do them justice.” However, he does think there’s demand for a supersonic business jet, even one priced north of $100 million.

“Oh, there’s a market for it,” Flynn said. “I think it is a larger market if the airplane can be flown over land. We’re convinced that speed is important. Witness the G650, where we’ve been focused on speed and range and have been successful. All of our [G650] customers are flying at Mach 0.90.”

(R. Randall Padfield - AINOnline Aviation News)

Gulfstream G650's at Long Beach Airport

David Geffen's new G650 (c/n 6061) N221DG, ex N661GA rests on the Gulfstream service center ramp on May 21, 2014. 

Gulfstream G650 (c/n 6091) N691GA rests on the Gulfstream service center ramp on May 21, 2014 following it's arrival from Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport (SAV/KSAV) on May 19, 2014.
(Photos by Michael Carter) 

Gulfstream to offer G650 to U.S. Air Force

A very short final to Rwy 30.

Gulfstream G650 (c/n 6035) N712KT, ex N880MD arrived at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on May 22, 2014 for a short visit to the Gulfstream service center.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Gulfstream will offer the G650 to the US Air Force as a replacement for the service's ageing fleet of air-to-ground surveillance and targeting aircraft, chief executive Larry Flynn confirms to Flightglobal.

The 30m (110ft)-long G650 can be adapted to meet the USAF's still-emerging requirements for an aircraft to replace the Northrop Grumman E-8C JSTARS fleet, which are based on used Boeing 707s acquired in the late-1980s.

"We think we absolutely have [the right aircraft] and the government can save a lot of money," Flynn says. Boeing and Bombardier also attended an "industry day" event hosted by the air force last month.

It believes that acquiring a new platform avoids a $10.5 billion bill required to upgrade and sustain the E-8C.

The replacement plan was unveiled earlier this year, but the service is still working to define exactly what it wants and to obtain funding approval.

Documents released by the USAF in early May indicate the replacement aircraft must accommodate a crew of between 10-13 and a belly-mounted radar between 3.9-6m long. That compares with the 7.3m-long APY-7 radar and 18-member crew on the E-8C.

Boeing is expected to offer a ground surveillance version of the next-generation 737, which is already adapted for maritime surveillance as the P-8A for the US and Indian navies.

Although shorter and narrower than the 737, the G650 is still large enough to accommodate the air force's requirement, Flynn says. "The stuff they want to put in it will fit in a 650," he says.

Gulfstream has supplied several versions of the G550 to US and foreign militaries. But the JSTARS replacement is the first known attempt by Gulfstream to offer a militarised variant of the G650, which entered service about 18 months ago.

Gulfstream's bidding strategy is to team with a defence contractor to serve as the integrator, Flynn says.

(Stephen Trimble - Flightglobal Aviation News)

Asiana receives first A380

South Korean carrier Asiana Airlines has received its first Airbus A380-841 (c/n 152) HL7625 at a ceremony in Toulouse.

Asiana's A380s are configured with 495 seats across three classes on the upper and lower decks: 12 first, 66 business and 417 economy class seats.

The airline’s first class features suites on the lower deck, with a personal seat pitch of 211cm and a 32in (81.3cm) personal inflight entertainment (IFE) screen. The full-flat seats in business class are in a 1-2-1 staggered layout for easier aisle access. A bar and lounge are available on the front section of the business class, which is located on the upper deck.

Economy class seats have a 11.1in IFE screen, and slimmer seats that allow up to 34in of legroom. Economy class is divided between the upper and lower decks.

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Asiana Airlines
Starting 13 June, Asiana will deploy the aircraft on select regional destinations such as Tokyo, Osaka, Hong Kong and Bangkok for several weeks, before operating it on the daily Seoul Incheon-Los Angeles route from 15 August.

(Firdaus Hashim - Flightglobal Aviation News)

Indian Air Force (IAF) C-17A (F-267) CB-8008

Turns onto Rwy 30.

Kicking up a dust cloud as she performs a high power engine run on Rwy 30.

Poses for us in the late afternoon sun.

Smile for us!

Todays (5/15/2014) flight now canceled, she taxies back to the Boeing ramp after discovering an engine issue following the high power run.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

IAI 1125 "Astra" and Gulfstream G150 N365GA

Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) 1125 "Astra" (G100) (c/n 72) N365GA on short final to Rwy 30 at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on May 3, 2011. This aircraft was used as a product support team aircraft until being replaced by the G150 pictured below. **The disposition of the above aircraft is unknown at this time.**

Gulfstream G150 (c/n 225) N365GA one of the companies product support team aircraft, taxies on "lima" towards a Rwy 30 departure at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on July 18, 2013 sporting this striking livery.
(Photos by Michael Carter) 

Gulfstream G150 N247PS

Gulfstream G150 (c/n 252) N247PS is one of the companies support aircraft and is captured arriving at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on November 14, 2013.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Honda hopes for FAA certification of its HondaJet in early 2015

 (Photo by Honda)

To most, Honda is a maker of the everycar — affordable, safe, practical, fuel efficient road transportation that neither excites nor offends. To some, it's also a maker of motorcycles. To a few, it's the maker of Asimo, the perennially entertaining humanoid robot that makes appearances at trade shows.

(Photo by Honda)
No one would peg Honda as a maker of futuristic jet aircraft, though.
The Japanese auto giant has been quietly researching small jets since the late 1980s, debuting the HondaJet as a multimillion-dollar experiment over a decade ago in 2003. The six-passenger bullet cruises at 420 knots — about 0.63 Mach — and gets power from a pair of specially designed turbofans developed through a joint venture with General Electric.
(Photo by Honda)
What makes the HondaJet really unusual, though (besides the fact that it's being made by the same company that makes the Civic) is a unique engine mount that gives the plane its trademark appearance. Where most jets of this size have engines mounted on either side of the rear of the fuselage, the HondaJet's HF120 turbofans rest on pedestals that rise from the wings.
(Photo by Honda)
The advantage, Honda notes, is that the configuration frees up significant additional space inside the cabin. As a bonus, it also just looks downright sci-fi.
Honda just announced this week that the first production HondaJet is now in final assembly. The road to this point hasn't been an easy one — the high-tech transport has been beset with delays, most recently due to an engine failure during testing — but the company says it's tracking for FAA certification in the first quarter of 2015.
(Photo by Honda)
Start saving your pennies: the aircraft will command around $4.5 million when it goes on sale.
(Chris Ziegler - The Verge)

A jetBlue "Eco" plane?

jetBlue A320-232 (c/n 1849) N547JB "Forever Blue" arrives at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on May 20, 2014 sporting a green rudder.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

COMAC readies to deliver first ARJ21-700

Workers labor near the almost completed COMAC ARJ21-700 passenger jet at a final assembly and manufacturing center in Shanghai , China, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. China’s state-owned plane maker Comac said Wednesday they were ready to deliver their first regional airliner and were on track to deliver their greater distance-flying narrow-body airplane to customers in 2018.
 (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, Pool)

A state-owned aircraft maker said Wednesday it is ready to deliver China's first homegrown regional airliner and should complete a bigger plane in 2018.

The first two of the ARJ21-700 regional jets have been completed for a Chinese carrier, Chengdu Airlines, and are coming to the end of the certification process, according to Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd. The company said it has 252 orders.

China launched the ARJ21 project in 2002 in an attempt to break into the Western-dominated aircraft market. The plane was promised for 2007 but delivery was pushed back due to technical problems.

China is expected to become one of the world's biggest aircraft markets over the next two decades. Boeing Co. forecasts total demand at 5,580 planes worth a total of $780 billion.

The ARJ21-700 can seat 78 to 90 passengers depending on its configuration, with a range of 2,225 to 3,700 kilometers (1,300 miles to 2,300 miles). Comac said it successfully completed test flights in North America in March and April and has flown 13,000 kilometers (8,000 miles).

The company is targeting China's domestic market and flights to Southeast Asia.                                                                              
"We first want to develop our business in China and then gradually we will go to the international market," Comac executive Tian Min told reporters at Comac's assembly and manufacturing center in Shanghai.

Comac's larger C919 is a single-aisle jet meant to compete with Boeing and Airbus Industrie. It can seat up to 168 passengers and has a planned range of 4,000 to 5,100 kilometers (2,500 to 3,200 miles).

The C919 is an official initiative "for China to re-capture the value in aircraft manufacturing that currently goes offshore to Airbus and Boeing," said industry analyst Will Horton of CAPA Centre for Aviation. "With such a large objective, accomplishments will come gradually."

The company has received 400 orders from 16 customers, including aircraft leasing company GE Capital Aviation Services. Low cost carrier Ryanair and British airlines have signed memorandums of understanding about their intention to purchase planes, Tian said.

He wouldn't disclose price but said developers were focused on controlling costs.
Most orders have come from China's state-owned airline industry under government instructions to support the program.

"Global aviation remains pessimistic on the C919, given the ARJ21 delays," said Horton.

On May 15, the first front fuselage of a C919 was delivered by a supplier to Comac, Tian said. He said the plane will be assembled in the second half of 2014, its maiden flight is due at the end of 2015 and the first delivery to a customer is slated for 2018.

Longer term, Comac is cooperating with Russia to build a next-generation wide-body plane. The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday during Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to China. Tian said Comac is working on a feasibility study with Russia.

From its beginning in 2008, Comac has focused on developing the two passenger planes. It has grown from 3,800 employees to 8,300.

Earlier news reports said the C919 maiden flight was due in 2014, with delivery in 2016. Tian said those reports were wrong, and Comac always planned for its maiden flight to be 90 months from the project launch.

(Louise Watt - Associated Press)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Airbus says A380 will evolve to compete with Boeing 777X

Airbus will keep evolving the design of its A380 superjumbo in response to Boeing's latest jetliner, the 777X, which has been bolstered by "unacceptable" Washington state subsidies, the head of the European planemaker said on Monday.
Speaking on the eve of the Berlin Airshow, Fabrice Bregier, the chief executive of the plane-making unit of Airbus Group (AIR.PA), lashed out at the $8.7 billion in tax breaks as transatlantic tensions flared anew over mutual charges of unfair aid.
Boeing denies the tax breaks were unfair and said Airbus was receiving banned European support.
Airbus said the 777x presented a challenge to its superjumbo.

"We will face after 2020 the challenge of the Boeing 777X. It is clear that as the challenges evolve, the A380 will have to evolve as well," Bregier told reporters, without elaborating.

Bregier said he had grown more optimistic about a possible revamp of the A330 wide-body jet because of strong demand from airlines, but insisted no decision had been taken.

Airbus plans to decide later this year whether to upgrade the wide-body jet with new engines to provide fuel savings and better compete with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

"I am probably more optimistic than I was in January because, in January, I discarded the idea, but I can't tell you whether we will launch it or not," Bregier said.

Reuters reported on Friday that the European Union is considering raising the stakes in the world's largest trade dispute by challenging the Washington state tax breaks as part of compliance proceedings at the World Trade Organization.

Airbus has said the tax breaks distort the economics of building Boeing's largest ever twin-engine jet in the state, where most of its commercial operations are based.

Boeing has denied this and said the aid was available to all aerospace companies in the state, including Airbus suppliers.

Bregier reacted angrily to Boeing's statement that it only receives a "fraction" of the state tax incentives.

"This is bullshit," he told the press briefing.

He called on the European Commission to do more to level the playing field against what he saw as unfair competition, and also urged monetary authorities to increase support for European exporters with their currency policies.

"Europe is the only part of world that doesn't look at its currency from the point of view of support to its export industry," he said, noting the Japanese yen had been sharply devalued because of action from policymakers.

"We can sustain an exchange rate of $1.35 - above it is different - but I believe that an acceptable exchange rate for European exporters is $1.25," Bregier said.

He added that Europe had to gain credibility in the way it managed its currency.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Gulfstream announces G650ER

(Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation)

Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. today announced the new G650ER, an ultra-long-range aircraft that can travel 7,500 nautical miles/13,890 kilometers at Mach 0.85 and 6,400 nm/11,853 km at Mach 0.90. This represents an increase of up to 500 nm/926 km over the range of the G650, which entered service in 2012.

“The G650ER provides our customers with greater mission flexibility and the longest range of any business jet,” said Scott Neal, senior vice president, Worldwide Sales and Marketing, Gulfstream. “It’s the only business aircraft in the world capable of traveling 7,500 nm.

This opens up significant nonstop city pairs, including New York to Hong Kong, Dallas to Dubai and San Francisco to Delhi. G650ER owners in Dubai will be able to reach most of the contiguous United States. From Hong Kong, operators can connect with the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. Thanks to the G650ER, the world just got a little smaller.”

A Gulfstream G650ER set two speed records during flight testing earlier this year. The aircraft flew 6,947 nm/12,866 km from Los Angeles International Airport to Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne, Australia, at an average speed of Mach 0.86. It landed with fuel well in excess of the National Business Aviation Association’s (NBAA) instrument flight rules (IFR) reserves.

The flight, into head winds as high as 13 knots, took 14 hours and 58 minutes.

After positioning to Hong Kong, the G650ER flew 7,494 nm/13,879 km to Teterboro, N.J., accomplishing the 14-hour and 7-minute journey at an average speed of Mach 0.865 and again landing with fuel in excess of NBAA IFR reserves. The two records are pending approval by the National Aeronautic Association and, once approved, will be forwarded to the Fédération Aéronautique International for confirmation as world records.

“The capabilities of the G650ER are due in part to its twin Rolls-Royce BR725 engines, the latest and most advanced member of the BR700 engine series,” said Russell Buxton, president, Civil Small and Medium Engines, Rolls-Royce. “The BR725 incorporates technology from the market-leading Trent widebody engine family and was designed with excellent fuel efficiency and ample thrust margins that support the G650ER’s enhanced performance.”

The G650ER will share the same cabin, avionics and systems as the G650 and is undergoing Federal Aviation Administration certification. Current G650 owners and order-holders will be able to upgrade their original G650 to a G650ER beginning in the first quarter of 2015.

(Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Canadian cargo carrier Cargojet to aquire more 767Fs


It was only a week ago that we published the news that Cargojet had begun expanding its fleet in preparation for servicing the Canada Post/Purolator contract that will go into effect next year. With the lease of two 767-200Fs from Air Transport Services Group, Cargojet doubled its widebody fleet from two freighters to four – all 767-200Fs leased from ATSG.

At the time, we said we believed the carrier would add more 767 freighters, likely -300Fs, and now, just seven days later, that is what has happened. Cargojet is purchasing two 767-300BCFs from Guggenheim Aviation Partners (GAP).

These are two of the three ex-Thomson Airways 767-300s acquired by GAP in late 2012, all slated for conversion by Boeing to BCF freighter configuration. GAP leased the first (26256) to Denmark-based Star Air in March of this year, and has now found a home for the other two. Conversion of one (26064) is already completed, and that freighter will likely be handed over to Cargojet next week, following some predelivery work. The other (26063) is in the final stages of conversion at ST Aero’s Paya Lebar facility in Singapore and is expected to be redelivered to GAP and then onward to Cargojet by the end of this month.

And if you remember last week’s post on Cargojet, we noted that the term of the leases on the two 767-200Fs was unusual. “Up to three years” was the way ATSG described it. We believe that this is because Cargojet is looking to upgrade its 767-200Fs to -300Fs and that once it acquires these -300Fs, it will return the -200Fs.

Whether these new 767-300Fs will be conversions (both Boeing and M&B Conversions have active 767-300 P-to-F programs) or whether Cargojet will lease or buy a used freighter, is not known. In theory, the carrier could even order new-build 767-300ERFs from Boeing, but this seems unlikely.

(David Harris - Cargo Facts)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Lufthansa to celebrate 2014 World Cup

Over the next few weeks, lucky passengers flying on certain Lufthansa aircraft will be part of something that has not happened in over 60 years.

To celebrate Football’s World Cup in Brazil, Lufthansa will be removing the traditional Lufthansa logo found on the front part of the aircraft and replace it with a World Cup inspired “Fanhansa” logo.

The first aircraft to debut the livery will be an Airbus A321 on May 16 that will depart Munich as Flight 2066 and fly to Hamburg and London. In all, 8  aircraft will sport the new look including 1 A340-600, 2 747-8i's, 1 A320, 2 747-400's and 3 A330's.
What I do know is that the newest 747-8i (D-ABYO) has had the logo applied and will show it off when she starts flying in a few days.

Frank Koch, HAM WD623, beschneidet den Fanhansa Schriftzug.
A Lufthansa Technician prepares one of the Fanhansa logos.

Over the coming weeks, Lufthansa, er, Fanhansa will be getting into the World Cup spirit with several promotions and celebrations that you’ll find at airports, online and on board.

The big promotion is the opportunity for those passengers who fly aboard a ‘Fanhansa’ jet to be entered to win a ticket on Lufthansa to Brazil.

(Lufthansa Flyer)

Gulfstream G650 N1TF

 Taxies on "Delta" towards a Rwy 30 departure.

 Rolling on Rwy 30.

Rotates at "Delta 3."

Climbing above two G-IV's at the Gulfstream service center.

Gulf States Toyota Inc. G650 (c/n 6065) N1TF is captured departing Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) bound for Houston (HOU/KHOU) at 14:32 pst on May 13, 2014.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Gulfstream G550 N351GA

Gulfstream G550 (c/n 5451) N351GA tbr N451GV when delivered, arrives back at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) as "N351GA" at 14:47 pst on May 13, 2014.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

IAI 1124A Westwind N43RP

Taxies on "Delta" towards a Rwy 30 departure.

IAI 1124A "Westwind" (c/n 332) N43RP operated by RLP Management Inc. is captured at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on May 12, 2014.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Republic Airways Embraer 190 visits Long Beach Airport

Republic Airways Embraer ERJ-190-100IGW 190AR (c/n 19000481) N177HQ rolls for take-off on Rwy 30 at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) bound for San Jose International Airport (SJC/KSJC) as "Brickyard 6058" at 16:11 pst on May 12, 2014.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

jetBlue CEO Dave Barger may depart next year

David Barger, president and chief executive officer of JetBlue Airways, at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's 13th annual Aviation Summit in Washington, on April 3, 2014
(Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)
David Barger, president and chief executive officer of JetBlue Airways, at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's 13th annual Aviation Summit in Washington, on April 3, 2014.
When his contract ends in February, Dave Barger, JetBlue Airways’ chief executive, will probably be ready for a vacation. Barger, 56, is considering leaving in the new year, according to a report in Bloomberg News. At least that’s how JetBlue director Ann Rhoades sees it: “I’d be crazy to tell you he isn’t obviously thinking about it,” the veteran human resource executive told my Bloomberg colleague Mary Schlangenstein. JetBlue did not return a call today seeking comment.
If Barger ends up leaving the airline, here are six big factors driving his departure:
1. Investors aren’t pleased. The U.S. airline industry has been financially rejuvenated over the past six years, with bankruptcy reorganizations and mergers all the rage. Yet the flush times have not arrived for JetBlue, which has paled next to the financial firepower displayed by most of its peers. JetBlue shares are down 21 percent since Barger took over in May 2007 and 54 percent over the past decade. In a note upgrading JetBlue earlier this month, JPMorgan analyst Jamie Baker noted the short time left on Barger’s contract as a positive for the stock.
2. The board wants a smooth transition. The first—and only—time JetBlue switched CEOs, it ousted the airline’s founder, David Neeleman, following an operational meltdown in February 2007. The storm’s effect on JetBlue “mortified” Neeleman, who recorded a video apology and went on David Letterman’s TV show with further mea culpas. The board concluded that Neeleman was a visionary entrepreneur but not a great operations guy and talked him into stepping aside—a process that was far from graceful. Neeleman remains angry still and doesn’t hesitate publicly to criticize JetBlue’s management team. As a result, JetBlue’s board wants a nice, quiet, coordinated succession whenever Barger leaves. The end of his contract provides such an occasion.
3. Barger doesn’t come cheap. JetBlue directors set his base salary at $600,000 but have continued to award him generous stock grants. Barger’s compensation has surged from $1.6 million in 2011 to $3.1 million last year, mainly because of JetBlue’s revenue growth and sustained (if relatively small) profit over the past five years. But the industry has changed dramatically, and JetBlue’s performance-compensation metrics appear archaic to most analysts, who consider Barger overpaid for what his tenure has brought: higher costs and negative stock returns.
4. He’s not a union guy. True, few airline executives love collective bargaining agreements, but Barger is decidedly among the least enamored of having a union in his company. Less than a month ago, JetBlue’s 2,500 pilots voted to join the Air Line Pilots Association even after Barger agreed to a 20 percent wage hike in a bid to stave off the union. The company had successfully avoided that fate twice before, but the third time was no charm for Barger, who spoke of his personal disappointment with the outcome. And the pilots may not be the last, as other unions hope to organize other JetBlue work groups.
5. The prospect of a merger looms. One of the industry’s favorite “What if?” games involves predicting potential JetBlue buyers. As the Big Four airlines consolidated their market dominance, carriers such as JetBlue and Virgin America are now considered odd ducks. Where do they fit in? How do they work financially if jet fuel prices surge the way they did in 2008? The large feeder traffic JetBlue carries into New York’s major international airport, JFK, could be a valuable asset for a larger airline. Barger was around at JetBlue’s birth in 1999 and doubtless he considers the airline his baby. It’s not easy to see him as the CEO who would sell it.
6. It’s been a long flight. In the airline business, 15 years is akin to an eternity, and seven serving as CEO is a tough grind, considering the complexity of such an operation. Even if investors loved him, Barger is probably ready for a new challenge—if not a long rest.
(Justin Bachman - Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

Virgin Atlantic considers 787-10

Virgin Atlantic Airways, poised to receive its first Boeing Co. Dreamliner, is considering whether to add the stretched 787-10 version of the world’s first composite jet.
“It would make a lot of sense for us to have some -10s,” Chairman Richard Branson, 63, said in an interview yesterday in Dallas. “We are definitely exploring that.”

Acquiring the largest 787 model would let Virgin Atlantic fly more passengers on the long-haul routes for which the Dreamliner was designed. Crawley, England-based Virgin Atlantic has 16 firm orders for the 787-9, the mid-sized offering in the three-jet Dreamliner family, with options for five more.
Virgin Atlantic would be more likely to place new orders for the 787-10 versus converting some of its -9 orders to the bigger plane, said Branson, the U.K. billionaire and founder of Virgin Group Ltd. The 787-9 seats 280 people, while the -10 will hold 323 passengers, according to Boeing’s website.

The airline will get its initial 787 in September. Dreamliners will boost Virgin Atlantic’s fuel efficiency and let the carrier sustain its image for flashy customer service. Virgin is known for touches such as motorcycle pickups for passengers and an array of onboard entertainment options.

‘Look Stunning’

“We’ve got completely new seats, completely new entertainment systems, completely new bars, a completely new lighting system,” Branson said, declining to provide specifics. “It’s going to look stunning and will give Virgin Atlantic a real shot in the arm.”

Virgin Atlantic has 38 Boeing and Airbus Group wide-body planes in its main fleet, along with four leased single-aisle Airbus jets for its Little Red operation in the U.K.
Boeing began offering the 787-10 last year, with deliveries targeted to begin in 2018. The twin-engine jet is a longer version of the 787-9, which is in turn a stretched variant of the first Dreamliner, the -8. Boeing’s list price for the 787-10 is $288.7 million, though airlines usually get discounts.
Branson was in Dallas to help rally support for his partly owned U.S. airline, Virgin America Inc., as that carrier seeks to sublease two gates from American Airlines the city’s Love Field airport. He owns a stake in Burlingame, California-based Virgin America, which last month reported its first annual profit.

Delta Air Lines Inc. agreed in December 2012 to buy a 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic. The carriers won antitrust clearance for joint trans-Atlantic operations last year, giving Virgin access to a network across North America, including more than 40 cities beyond New York.

(Mary Schlangenstein - Bloomberg News)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

787-9 first delivery still on schedule for mid-2014


Boeing’s 787-9 is nearing entry into service with launch customer Air New Zealand, and is on schedule for a mid-year start of operations.

So far the programme has been seemingly unscathed by the developmental and testing breakdowns that plagued the introduction of the 787-8 – more than three years late – in 2011.

Functional and reliability testing – the last step in the certification process – has started on a 787-9 in All Nippon Airways livery, after the flight-test team accumulated 550 flights and 1,300 flight hours since first flight in September 2013.
As a group of journalists were allowed to tour one of the four 787-9 test aircraft for the first time on 29 April, at Boeing Field in Seattle, company officials again emphasised how the painful lessons from the 787-8 should lead to a smoother path to certification and a reliable start to operational service for the 6m (20ft)-longer variant.

Most of the reliability improvements added to the 787-8 since entry into service with All Nippon Airways in October 2011 have been rolled into the first 787-9 on the production line, says Mark Jenks, vice-president of 787 development.

“Air New Zealand is going to have essentially all of the improvements that we’ve driven from the -8. In addition, where we’ve made changes on the -9 where something is unique, we’ve taken additional steps to make sure we don’t have reliability issues with those unique components,” Jenks says.

For example, the 787-9 introduces a hybrid laminar flow control system embedded in the vertical fin. Boeing is keeping details of the invention a closely guarded secret, but the goal is to reduce drag significantly in cruise flight by preventing the airflow around the fin from transitioning to a turbulent stream.

Although the system is a first on a commercial airliner, Boeing is confident it has found a practical design that will meet reliability goals at the start of operational service.

“It’s very elegant,” Jenks says. “So we really don’t expect to have any issues with respect to the basic reliability of the system.”

Boeing officials acknowledge airlines may feel wary about the prospect of introducing a new variant of the 787. The 787-8 is still struggling to meet the industry standard – a 99.5% dispatch rating – more than two years after entering service. Two battery explosions in 2013 grounded the fleet for four months.

Although the overall programme schedule remains on track, the 787-9’s development has involved challenges. Most challenging has been the design of the mid-body fuselage section. A bottleneck developed on the production line in Charleston, South Carolina, as workers struggled to seamlessly add the stretched mid-body section into the production flow with the 787-8.

Boeing officials have since said the issue is under control, and the bottleneck almost cleared.

Jenks acknowledges that side-of-body join – a section that caused a major redesign and delay on the 787-8 – also posed problems on the 787-9.

“There were a few frankly really minor adjustments we made through the process on the lower side of body for the -9,” Jenks says. “But nothing major. That’s why we were able to pretty much meet our schedule.”

(Stephen Trimble - Flightglobal News)