Friday, June 5, 2020

United Airlines closing three of four international bases for flight crew

United Airlines Holdings Inc. is closing three out of four international bases for flight attendants, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters, saying it is not able to sustain the bases in the current environment.

Airlines are bleeding cash as the coronavirus pandemic has decimated the aviation industry, with international flights hit especially hard by government travel restrictions and a lack of demand.

Chicago-based United is closing its Frankfurt, Hong Kong, and Tokyo bases effective Oct. 1, while keeping London, United's head of inflight services John Slater said in the Friday memo to crew.

About 840 flight attendants will be affected by the decision, a spokeswoman said, but will be able to transfer to U.S. bases for the October flying schedule, depending on their eligibility to work in the United States.

United has received about $5 billion in government payroll aid under the CARES Act which bans any forced job cuts before October. It has rolled out voluntary early outs for staff including flight attendants in an effort to reduce its headcount and cut costs in the months ahead.


(Tracy Rucinski - Reuters)

Friday, May 29, 2020

Gulfstream G650 (c/n 6437) N637GA

(Photo by Michael Carter - Aero Pacific Images) 

On short final to Rwy 30 at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) arriving as "GLF66" from Savannah - Hilton Head International Airport (SAV/KSAV) at 12:08 pst on May 28, 2020.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

TUI to start flying from June as lockdown measures are eased

(Photo: Getty)

Travel giant TUI is planning to resume flights to main holiday destinations in Europe by the end of June.

“We are planning to start flying again from end June, in time for summer vacation,” chief executive Fritz Joussen told Rheinische Post in Germany.

He said the Spanish island of Mallorca, a favourite hot spot for German travellers, would be likely to be the first destination.

“We want to resume flight traffic to Mallorca from mid-to-end June. Austria, Greece, Cyprus, Croatia, Bulgaria are also well-prepared,” Joussen told the paper.

Earlier this month, TUI, the world’s largest tourism group, said it would cut 8,000 jobs and look to shed 30% of its costs as it gears up for a July restart to European tourism.

The decision comes as airlines look to ramp up flights from next month.

Last week Easyjet said it will start flying again from June 15 in the UK and France as lockdown measures are eased.

The company will restart a small number of flights on routes where there is sufficient customer demand to support profitable flying.

When flights resume customers and cabin crew will be required to wear face masks and no food will be made available.

Meanwhile Ryanair plans to restore 40% of its flights from July 1, while British Airways is due to make a “meaningful return” to service in the same month.

The global aviation industry has taken a battering from the impact of coronavirus, with most airlines only going ahead with a handful of flights.

Britons have been warned against all but essential travel, in line with many other countries, while the prospect of a compulsory two-week quarantine for people returning to the UK could put even more people off flying.


(Mark Shapland - Yahoo Finance UK)

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Blue 1 MD-95 (717-23S) (55066/5054) OH-BLM

(Kodachrome K64 Slide) (Photo by Robbie Shaw)

Captured arriving at London Heathrow (LRH/EGLL) on October 10, 2010.
Originally destined for Heartland Air as N601HL but was not taken up (NTU) instead being delivered to SpanairLink / AeBal as EC-HUZ "Velldemossa" on May 16, 2001.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Gulfstream G500 (c/n ? ) XA-FEM

(Photo by Michael Carter / Aero Pacific Images)

Captured today in the Gulfstream paint shop at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB), this aircraft is destined for a Mexican customer who is obviously upgrading to this from their current G550 (c/n 5281) XA-FEM.

EasyJet founder loses bid to oust management in strategy showdown

EasyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou failed in his attempt to oust the airline's top three bosses on Friday, giving it a brief respite in its battle for survival during the coronavirus pandemic.

With air travel brought to a halt and easyJet planes parked up around the world, Haji-Ioannou had stepped up his public campaign for management to scrap a $5.6 billion order for 107 new Airbus planes that he says they cannot afford.

A virtual shareholder meeting was called for the removal of the chairman, chief executive, finance director and one other director that turned into a proxy vote on the British budget airline's overall strategy.

EasyJet said more than 99% of votes cast by independent shareholders backed the board. Haji-Ioannou's family is easyJet's biggest investor with a 34% stake.

"The airline industry is facing unprecedented challenges and the board's immediate priority has been to take the necessary steps to successfully guide easyJet through this period of uncertainty," Chairman John Barton.

"The board seeks good relationships with all of the company's shareholders and hopes to be able to re-engage constructively with Sir Stelios."

Management says that the company's financial position is strong enough to get through the crisis and the new planes are needed to replace ageing jets and will help it stay competitive when flying restarts.

Having founded easyJet in 1995, Haji-Ioannou quit the board in 2010 and has clashed several times with management since.

His opposition to the Airbus deal is such that he offered a 5 million pound reward to anyone with information that could lead to the cancellation of the order earlier in May.

Haji-Ioannou said he would continue his search to find out why the Airbus deal was going ahead.


(Sarah Young - Reuters)

Amazon Prime Air Seen Surging Fivefold to 200 Jets, Rivaling UPS

Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Air fleet will grow to about 200 planes -- up from 42 now -- in the next seven or eight years, creating an air cargo service that could rival United Parcel Service Inc., according to a study.

“At a time when many other airlines are downsizing due to the pandemic, Amazon’s push for faster and cheaper at-home delivery is moving ahead on an ambitious timetable,” said the report issued Friday by DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute of Metropolitan Development. “Amazon Air’s robust expansion makes it one of the biggest stories in the air cargo industry in years.”

Amazon unveiled the air cargo service in 2016, prompting speculation that it would ultimately create an overnight delivery network to rival delivery partners UPS and FedEx Corp.

Prime Air operates out of smaller regional airports close to its warehouses around the country, helping Amazon quickly move inventory to accommodate one- and two-day delivery. For that reason, some analysts have dismissed Amazon as a potential competitor to UPS and FedEx since it can only offer limited service to a small number of destinations and seems designed to handle Amazon packages.

Key to its ability to take on the entrenched players, the report says, is Amazon’s new $1.5 billion facility near Cincinnati that will accommodate up to 100 planes and as many as 200 flights each day. Amazon’s lack of a central hub has kept it from competing in the overnight delivery services offered by UPS and FedEx, which have more planes flying to more destinations.

“The massive investment being made in a large hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, however, could change everything,” the report says. “This hub appears to be the linchpin to Amazon’s efforts to develop a comprehensive array of domestic delivery services.”

A separate report released Monday noted Amazon’s lack of a central hub in concluding it was not a competitive threat to FedEx, which has a hub in Memphis, or UPS, which has one in Louisville. FedEx’s network can offer 9,000 daily flight connections, UPS’ 5,500 and Amazon Air just 363, according to the report from Bernstein.

“The viability of a commercial overnight offering from Amazon remains very limited,” Bernstein analyst David Vernon wrote. “Offering a low cost on shipping to a small number of markets every so often will never be a serious competitive threat.”


(Spencer Soper - Bloomberg)

Thursday, May 21, 2020

American Airlines MD-83 (53623/2276) N973TW

(Photo by Michael Carter / Aero Pacific Images)

Arrives at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) on January 23, 2010.

Originally delivered to Trans World Airlines (TWA) on September 10, 1999 following her first flight August 31, 1999.

Still active today with Iranian carrier Caspian Airlines as EP-CAS.

Gulfstream G650 (c/n 6418) N618GA

(Photo by Michael Carter / Aero Pacific Images)

Captured on short final to Rwy 30 at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) following a pre-delivery test sortie this morning.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Air France terminates A380 fleet with immediate effect


(Photo - Air France)

Air France has accelerated plans to phase out its Airbus A380 fleet and will retire the aircraft immediately rather than in 2022 as previously scheduled.

Air France grounded its A380s on 16 March as the coronavirus pandemic began to take a toll on operations, before ultimately suspending the majority of its scheduled passenger flights. Air France-KLM has today announced the “definitive end” of the French carrier’s Airbus A380 operations.

”Initially scheduled by the end of 2022, the phase-out of Airbus A380 fleet fits in the Air France-KLM Group fleet simplification strategy of making the fleet more competitive, by continuing its transformation with more modern, high-performance aircraft with a significantly reduced environmental footprint,” the group says.

Prior to the pandemic, the airline had already begun withdrawing the first of its A380s in February as part of the planned phase-out over the next three years. The first aircraft entered storage at Ireland West Airport near Knock on 20 February under the care of Eirtrade Aviation.

Five of the Airbus A380 aircraft in the current fleet are owned by Air France or on finance lease. A further four are on operating lease. Air France-KLM says the impact of the A380 phase-out write down is estimated at €500 million and will be booked in the second quarter of 2020 as a non-current cost/expenses. The fleet is powered by Engine Alliance GP7200s.

In December Air France-KLM Group said it was ordering another 10 Airbus A350-900s, which would be used to replace the company’s A380s.


(Graham Dunn - FlightGlobal News)

UK Bizjet Confiscated in Nigeria over Covid Violations


An Embraer Legacy 600 operated by UK-based charter provider Flairjet—a subsidiary of Flexjet Ltd.—was impounded this week and its crew arrested and placed in quarantine after allegedly violating Nigeria’s Covid-19 travel restrictions. According to reports, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority is investigating whether the aircraft, registered as G-ERFX, was engaged in commercial operations despite airspace closure in the country due to the pandemic.

The reports state Flairjet was granted a permit for a humanitarian flight on May 13 and, according to its flight plan, the 13-seat Legacy departed London Stansted Airport on May 17 with six passengers on board. After a stop in Spain, it landed in Nigeria with a total of seven passengers. At Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, it was determined by Nigerian officials that Flairjet actually was conducting a revenue flight with a plan to return with another seven passengers on board.

Hadi Sirika, the country’s Minister of Aviation, tweeted, “Flair Aviation [sic], a UK company, was given approval for humanitarian operations, but regrettably we caught them conducting commercial flights,” adding “there shall be maximum penalty.”

In response to an inquiry from AIN, Flairjet responded: “We are continuing to respectfully work with the Nigerian authorities and the British consulate to resolve this situation for this flight. However, because it is an evolving situation we cannot say anything further at this time.”


(Aviation International News (AIN)

Gulfstream’s G280 Adds To City-pair Records

Gulfstream Aerospace’s G280 set another city-pair speed record while demonstrating steep approach capability on a mission from Burlington (Vermont) International Airport to the UK's London City Airport. The February 16 transatlantic trip spanned 2,735 nm in 6 hours and 10 minutes, averaging a speed of Mach 0.83. Aircraft, as well as crews, flying into London City must be certified for the airport's steep approach procedures required by the short runway and noise-abatement rules.

The city-pair record is among 75 that the G280 has collected. In another record nod this year, the super-midsize business jet completed a 2,515-nm flight from Hawaii's Kahului Airport to Phoenix in 4 hours and 57 minutes. The G280 also averaged a cruise speed of Mach 0.83 on that January 5 mission.

“These latest city-pair speed records are further proof of the aircraft’s superior performance capabilities bolstered by its advanced wing, robust airframe, and powerful engines,” said Gulfstream president Mark Burns.

The twinjet, which Gulfstream said is the only one in its category to be certified for EFVS-to-land operations, can fly four passengers 3,600 nm at Mach 0.80 or 3,000 nm at Mach 0.84. Some 200 G280s are in service worldwide.


(Aviation International News (AIN)

L-3 Communications Boeing 757-26D(WL) (24473/301) N473AP

(Photos by Michael Carter / Aero Pacific Images)

This was a very nice surprise visitor at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on December 11, 2019 seen on short final to Rwy 30.

Originally delivered to Shanghai Airlines as B-2810 on August 3, 1990 and ending her commercial airline service with French carrier OpenSkies as F-HAVI "Violette" on April 24, 2018.

JetBlue Airbus A320-232 (c/n 2647) N632JB "Bear Force One"

(Photos by Michael Carter / Aero Pacific Images)

Sporting the special "Boston Bruins" livery, "Bear Force One" turns onto the rolls for takeoff on Rwy 30 at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on February 24, 2020.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

21 Air Boeing 767-241(ER)(BDSF) (23801/170) N999YV

(Photo by Michael Carter / Aero Pacific Images)

Short final to Rwy 25L at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) as we enjoy an absolutely gorgeous day here in Southern California, February 23, 2020.

Federal Express (FedEX) McDonnell Douglas MD-11(F) (48548/521) N608FE "Colton"

(Photo by Michael Carter / Aero Pacific Images)

Short final to Rwy 25L at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) as it zooms past the famous Proud Bird restaurant on December 24, 2019.

Aeromexico Boeing 787-9 (44426/637) XA-ADG "Guadalupe"

(Photo by Michael Carter / Aero Pacific Images)

Arrives at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) following a flight up from Mexico City (MEX/MMMX) on February 25, 2020.

Air Tahiti Nui Boeing 787-9 (62710/847) F-OVAA "Bora, Bora"

(Photo by Michael Carter / Aero Pacific Images)

Arrives at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) as it prepares to land on Rwy 24R on February 22, 2020.

United Airlines Boeing 787-10 (40926/948) N12010

(Photos by Michael Carter / Aero Pacific Images)

Climbs from Rwy 25R at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) on February 24, 2020 sporting the carriers new livery.

Qatar Airways Boeing 777-2DZ(ER) (36015/825) A7-BBC

(Photo by Michael Carter / Aero Pacific Images)

Arrives at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) on a partly cloudy but gorgeous afternoon in Southern California on February 22, 2020.