Monday, September 22, 2008

New Movie Studio to open at former Douglas Aircraft Company site

A large, independent film production facility is planned for a property formerly used as Boeing's 717 passenger plane factory near the Long Beach Airport.

Long Beach Studios, LLC this week reached a deal with Boeing on the vacant property, which currently is in escrow, said The Boeing Co. spokesman Glen Golightly.

The approximately 77-acre property -- now occupied by two hangars -- formerly served as Boeing's 717 passenger plane plant before ceasing operations in 2006.
Long Beach Studios "will be the

If Long Beach Studios has its way, where Boeing 717s once inched down a Long Beach assembly line, film crews and actors will be making movies in 40 planned soundstages, according to the company's Web site. (Jeff Gritchen / Staff Photographer)largest independent production facility in the world," according to its Web site.

When completed, the facility would contain "40 soundstages ranging in size from 12,000 to 200,000 square feet, and over 300,000 square feet of full-service rental office space," according to the Web site.

Jay Samit, an executive with Long Beach Studios, declined to share specifics of the project when reached by the Press-Telegram. He also declined to confirm the details expressed on the Web site, which does not specify a location for the facility.

The Web site also indicates that post-production facilities and screening rooms are envisioned at the site. The property is east of Lakewood Avenue, north of East Conant Street and west of Faculty Avenue, Golightly said.

The property is south of an access road that turns into East Lew Davis Street. Mayor Bob Foster and several other city officials declined to comment on the sale, citing an agreement with the parties involved that they wouldn't discuss the matter publicly until the deal had been finalized. "The mayor's going to respect that request," said Becki Ames, Foster's chief of staff. "In any sort of situation where you have multiple parties, complex financial transactions, complex issues, ... the role of the city is not to do promotion until a deal is done."

However, City Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske of the 5th District, where the Boeing site is located, said Thursday that she too had learned that the property was in escrow.

About five months ago, Schipske visited the site with executives involved with the project.
Schipske said that she was told that the hangars would be used for sound stages, one of which might even be modified with a giant water tank for water filming.

"The reason they like it so much is not only the large piece of property, but it's the hangars, because those are instant sound stages," Schipske said. She was optimistic about the production facility's potential effects on Long Beach's economy. "This is the kind of industry that most of the time is pretty recession-proof," Schipske said. "If they truly can pull this off and put it together there, this would be an incredible plus for Long Beach."

A gain for 5th District If realized, the project also would benefit Cal State Long Beach students, said Craig Smith, chairman of the CSULB Film and Electronic Arts Department. Long Beach Studios has offered CSULB free use of a professional soundstage for students, he said.

The facility at Long Beach Studios would represent a vast improvement from the smaller one that students currently use, Smith said. "We have a mini-sound stage now that's so small it shouldn't even be called a soundstage," he said.

"The new one will be on a professional Hollywood scale." The new stage would put the CSULB film and television program "on par" with programs at Chapman University and USC, he said. "Another thing that's great about this is that it will be a wonderful opportunity for our students to find employment," Smith said. "They will need a lot of interns and student workers."

While the film studio may be a boon for Long Beach, it could cause problems for the Long Beach Airport. The airport now uses a portion of the Boeing property as a satellite parking lot, and completion of a planned new parking garage appears to be at least months away.

Of the airport's 4,935 parking spaces, 2,142 are in Lot D on the Boeing site at the corner of Conant Street and Lakewood Boulevard, according to airport spokeswoman Sharon Diggs-Jackson.

Airport officials said this summer that planned terminal improvements and the construction of a new parking garage are facing delays and that they couldn't give a timeline for the projects.

(Long Beach Press Telegram)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Qantas Takes Delivery of it's First A380

Qantas A380-841 VH-OQA (cn 14) "Nancy Bird Walton" arrives in Singapore on its delivery flight to Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Andrew Hunt)

Australia's Qantas took delivery of its first A380 superjumbo on Friday and said it was in talks with Airbus to buy more.

Qantas took delivery of the first of 20 double-decker planes it has ordered some two years later than scheduled following problems in assembling the world's largest airliner. Airbus denied reports its target of 12 A380 deliveries in 2008 was threatened by new delays and chief executive Tom Enders said he was "ready to bet a magnum of champagne that we will deliver more than 11". "I confirmed our target two days ago and I confirm it again today," Enders said.

The Qantas plane is the seventh A380 to be delivered this year and the eighth since the first plane rolled off the assembly line at the end of 2007. Airbus plans to deliver another five this year including two more to Qantas.

Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon said the airline had started discussions with Airbus about adding to the 20 A380s it has ordered and was also in talks about buying its mid-sized A350. The A350 lost out to Boeing for that size of plane two years ago when Qantas opted for 65 787s, becoming the biggest customer for the larger of two variants.

Qantas is the third airline to take delivery of the A380 after Singapore Airlines and Emirates. It will enter service from Melbourne to Los Angeles on September 20 and fly the Sydney-Los Angeles route on September 24.

Qantas indicated bookings at the main airline and low-cost Jetstar unit were surprisingly resilient given the growing financial turmoil. It said it had experienced no problems so far with debt funding due to the credit squeeze. "In the last four weeks we have had very buoyant intakes from Qantas and Jetstar in all classes," Dixon said.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Grumman Albatros Visits Long Beach

Grumman Albatros HU-16B N44HQ (51-025) made a surprise visit to Long Beach Airport (LGB) on Thursday afternoon September 11th. It is owned by the N44HQ LLC and is spending time in the water by the HMS Queen Mary near downtown Long Beach. Hope to get down this afternoon when the sun appears to see for myself and hopefully get some photos of her in the water.

All Photos by Michael Carter

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Horizon Air to Connect Santa Barbara and Sacramento

Horizon Air CRJ-702 N619QX (cn 10246) arrives in Los Angeles on a lovely afternoon. (Photo by Michael Carter)

Horizon Air announced it will begin new twice daily service between Santa Barbara (SBA) and Sacramento (SMF) on November 9th. One of the new flights will continue to Portland (PDX). Horizon Air will utilize the 70 seat CRJ-700 on the route providing a quick and comfortable flight for traverlers.

Horizon Air made the decision to operate the route with the announcement that ExpressJet would discontinue it's service on September 2nd. Horizon Air will also continue to operate it's daily service to Seattle (SEA).

Horizon Air will offer the following flights:

Depart (SBA) / Arrive (SMF)

7:00 am / 8:20 am (except Sunday)

5:00 pm / 6:20 pm (except Saturday)

Depart (SMF) / Arrive (SBA)

8:50 am / 10:10 am (except Sunday)

7:40 pm / 8:59 pm (except Saturday)

Depart (SBA) / Arrive (PDX)

5:00 pm / 8:20 pm one-stop (except Saturday)

Depart (PDX) / Arrive (SBA)

5:45 pm / 8:59 pm one-stop (except Saturday)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Air Charter Express DC-8-63(F)

Slow news day today for SoCal aviation so I decided to share this gorgeous photo of DC-8-63(F) (46097/503) operated by Air Charter Express as 9G-AXB.

The aircraft was originally delivered to Eastern Airlines as N8755 on 12/14/1969. The aircraft was sold to SAS on 02/22/1974 and served the carrier as OY-KTH and LN-MOF as "Blue Viking" it also served with Scanair as "Thyra Viking." During it's years with SAS the aircraft was sub-leased to IcelandAir and Air Algerie.

In mid-1989 the aircraft was sold and converted to a DC-8-63(F) and re-registered as N793AL serving with Challenge Air Cargo. It also saw service with Arrow Air and Air Tansport International (ATI) before being bought by Airborne Express in April 1993 and re-registered N815AX.

This lovely aircraft is seen at Manchester Ringway International Airport (EGCC) on August 24th, 2008 resting before it's next flight. (Photo Courtesy of Nik French / 360 Spotter)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Frontier Airlines changes terminals at LAX

Frontier Airlines announced it is getting a new home at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Starting Monday, Sept. 8, 2008, Frontier will reside in Terminal 6, with flights departing and arriving from Gate 67A. Incoming passengers with checked luggage will go to baggage claim A. The airline currently operates out of Terminal 3.

"Los Angeles has one of the busiest airports, and it's one of Frontier's top destinations," said Frontier Vice President of Customer Service, Cliff Van Leuven. "Our new space in Terminal 6 is more spacious and provides us the room to continue to get our customers from check-in to takeoff with ease."

Frontier serves LAX with six daily nonstop flights to Denver International Airport. The airline reminds its customers to always leave adequate time to get to the airport before the 45 minute check-in cutoff.

Frontier A319-111 N930FR (cn 2241) taxies at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) after arriving from Denver. (Photo by Michael Carter)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Great Lakes Airlines Adding flights at Ontario International Airport (ONT)

In the wake of airline scheduling cutbacks, Great Lakes Airlines is adding flights at LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT). Beginning Sept. 8, Great Lakes starts service to Visalia and Merced in California, and Prescott and Phoenix in Arizona. The airline will use Beechcraft 1900D aircraft.

“With other airlines recently cutting destinations and frequencies at ONT, we welcome the arrival of Great Lakes Airlines,” said Jess Romo, ONT’s manager. “Passengers now have flights to new destinations in central California and Arizona.”

“Great Lakes is excited to bring our convenient and reliable service to ONT,” said Chuck Howell, CEO of Great Lakes Airlines. “Our new daily flights will give residents in Visalia and Merced, California as well as Prescott, Arizona the opportunity to do business in the L.A.Basin or connect to one of several destinations served by the airport.”

Great Lakes Airline is offering four daily flights departing ONT at 8 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., and 3:09 p.m. and 5:45 p.m.
The four flights arriving at ONT include a 7:45 a.m. and 2:49 p.m. from Visalia, and 11:03 a.m. and 5:18 p.m. from Prescott.

ONT is a medium-hub, full-service airport with commercial jet service to major U.S. cities and through service to many international destinations. ONT is located in the Inland Empire, approximately 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles in the center of Southern California. The airport is the centerpiece of one of the fastest-growing transportation regions in the United States. ONT's service area includes a population of six million people living in San Bernardino and RiversideCounties and portions of north OrangeCounty and east Los AngelesCounty.

ONT is one of four airports owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), a Los AngelesCity department that oversees an airport system in the nation’s second largest metropolitan area. The other airports owned and operated by LAWA are Los Angeles International, LA/Palmdale Regional and Van Nuys General Aviation.

Great Lakes is currently providing scheduled passenger service at 50 airports in fourteen states with a fleet of Embraer EMB-120 Brasilias and Raytheon/Beechcraft 1900D regional airliners.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Aero Sahara to operate Boeing 717s

New Libyan start-up Aero Sahara plans to use 2 Boeing 717-200 aircraft. The new airline will be based in Benghazi and plans to add more 717s as it routes expand. No date has been set for the carriers start-up nor has it aquired any aircraft at this time.

Midwest To Return 16 717-200's to Boeing

Midwest CEO T. E. Hoeksema has announced that the carrier has reached an agreement with the Boeing Company and it's Boeing Capital Corporation on renegotiated leases for it's fleet of Boeing 717s. Under the terms of the agreement, the airline will continue to fly nine of the original 25 Boeing 717s under lease for our mainlinefleet, returning 16 to Boeing this fall.

The remaining 9 airplanes will be re-configured into the recently announced "Midwest Class" going from 88 2x2 seating to 99 seats (40 2x2 & 59 2x3).

United Offers Seasonal service Between Los Angeles and Melbourne

United Airlines is to operate a daily non-stop flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles to cater for increased demand over the Christmas period. This service will be in addition to the current daily services from Sydney to Los Angeles and Sydney to San Francisco.
The Melbourne to Los Angeles non-stop service will commence on 17 December 2008 and the last flight will operate from Melbourne on the 1 February 2009.
“Traditionally, we have seen an increased demand for flights during the peak Christmas travel period. We are delighted to be able to meet this demand by adding a seasonal non-stop service from Melbourne,” said Alison Espley, General Manager of United Airlines Australia and New Zealand.
After the peak period, United will resume service from Melbourne to Los Angeles via Sydney.


UA827 (2245 - 0900) / B747-422

UA826 (1400 - 0910) / B747-422

John Wayne Airport Posts August 2008 Statistics

Delta 737-732 N302DQ (29648/2683) taxies to the gate following it's arrival in Orange County. (Photo by Michael Carter)


Airline passenger traffic at John Wayne Airport decreased in August 2008 as compared to August 2007. In August 2008, the Airport served 833,655 passengers, a decrease of 11.9% when compared to the August 2007 passenger traffic count of 946,426.
Commercial Carrier flight operations decreased 9.7%, while Commuter Carrier (air taxi) operations decreased 29.9% when compared to the same levels recorded in August 2007.
Total aircraft operations decreased in August 2008 as compared to the same month in 2007. In August 2008, there were 18,982 total aircraft operations (take-offs and landings), a decrease of 35.3% when compared to 29,326 total aircraft operations in August 2007.
General aviation activity, which accounted for 58% of the total aircraft operations during August 2008, decreased 45.6% when compared to August 2007.

All-Cargo Carriers: 1,179 tons Passenger Carriers (incidental belly cargo): 109 tons
(Current cargo tonnage figures in this report are for July 2008)