Friday, October 30, 2009

Boeing KC-7A7 Tanker Program

Take a look at this great new promotional movie produced by Boeing on the KC-7A7 Tanker program.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Obama Signs Defense Budget which includes 10 C-17A's

President Barack Obama signed a $680 billion defense budget Wednesday that includes funding for up to 10 new Boeing C-17s, though Congress will decide in December just how many jets are ultimately ordered.

The bill signed by Obama at the White House - who previously objected to continued C-17 production - comes after months of uncertainty on the massive cargo plane's future, which had been scheduled to end production in mid-2011.

The new defense budget includes the $2.5 billion needed to build 10 more C-17s, though it doesn't specify exactly how the money will be spent.

That will be decided during negotiations between Senate and House members in December, when billions included in the budget are effectively divvied up for dozens of military projects, including C-17 production.

The House earlier this year had approved about $650 million for just three C-17s, but signaled it would likely support the 10 planes approved by the Senate when it agreed to include the $2.5 billion in the bill sent to Obama.

Congresswoman Laura Richardson, D-Long Beach, who sat on the House-Senate committee which finalized the bill signed by Obama, said support remains strong to purchase 10 planes, which would keep the plant and its 5,000 workers going through 2012.

"With the President signing the Defense Authorization Act into law today, the Long Beach workforce and residents are one step closer to extending the C-17 line into 2012 and preserving 5,000 local jobs," Richardson said following the signing ceremony at the Rose Garden. ""The House and Senate have both passed their versions of the appropriations bill, and a joint conference will finalize funding; however, $2.5 billion was included in the Authorization Act and is sufficient to place an order of 10 C-17s."

Richardson said Congressman Jack Murtha, D-Penn., who chairs the Defense Appropriations Committee in the House, has signaled support for the Senate's overwhelming desire to fund 10 C-17s, which the upper chamber approved in early October on a 93-7 vote.

"I have and will continue to reach out to Chairman Murtha to make sure the C-17s are adequately funded, though all of his responses have been positive," Richardson said. "Once the conference committee meets, I am confident that a resolution will be worked out providing appropriations for the necessary C-17s."

Meanwhile, in Long Beach, Boeing officials remain cautious despite Wednesday's news.

"It's not over yet," said Boeing Spokesman Jerry Drelling. "We continue to remain optimistic that when (Congress) meets to discuss defense appropriations in December, the support will remain for 10, or close to 10, C-17s. We're grateful for the support Congress continues to give for this important aircraft."

Throughout the summer and early fall, the White House had asked Congress to end funding for the plane, saying the 213 ordered are enough for the nation's military and humanitarian needs. Boeing delivered the 190th C-17 to the Air Force on Wednesday, which it plans to base at Charleston Air Force Base in South Carolina.

Obama alluded to the C-17 and other "pet projects" championed by senators during the signing ceremony and praised lawmakers for stripping some $35-billion in funding for the F-22 fighter jet and a new White House helicopter fleet.

"Wasting these dollars makes us less secure," Obama said Wednesday. "And that's why we have passed a defense bill that eliminates some of the waste and inefficiency in our defense process. Today we have proved that change is possible. It may not come quickly or all at once, but if you push hard enough, it does come."

Earlier this summer, as Congress was negotiating the defense bill, he indicated his desire that they not include more funding for the plane, which made its introduction in 1993.

"The administration strongly objects to funding for unrequested C-17 airlift aircraft," the White House stated at the time. "Analyses by the DOD have shown that the C-17s in the force and on order, together with the existing fleet of (Lockheed) C-5 aircraft, are sufficient to meet the Department's future airlift needs, even under the most stressing situations."

Still, despite his position, the $2.5 billion included in the budget wasn't enough to prompt a veto.

But Obama's objections, backed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, indicate the Boeing airlifter may have a more difficult time securing domestic orders next year - a fact that has prompted the company to aggressively market the aircraft abroad.

Already, more than a dozen C-17s have been collectively sold to the United Kingdom, Qatar, Canada and Australia in recent years, as well as a NATO-led consortium based in Hungary.

The United Arab Emirates has expressed interest in purchasing four of the heavy-lift aircraft and is expected to announce a deal soon, while the Indian Air Force is exploring purchasing as many as 10 C-17s in coming years, though negotiations are in very early stages and any aircraft are not likely to be built before 2013.

For those reasons, the domestic order this year could serve as a bridge until more foreign orders are drummed up. The federal government estimates closing the plant and re-opening could cost in excess of $1 billion.

Boeing says it needs about 12 orders annually to justify high labor and production costs and reassure its suppliers of the need to continue investing in C-17 parts.

In recent years, C-17s - along with heavy-lift helicopters - have been used extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan to ferry supplies and troops between remote military outposts, largely replacing the vehicle convoys regularly used in the early days of both wars that were often destroyed by roadside attacks and bombs.

The effort, supporters say, has helped cut troop casualties while speeding up delivery of supplies. The C-17 is the globe's only large cargo plane able to land on unpaved, short landing strips in remote regions inaccessible to other large aircraft such as Lockheed's C-5.

The jet is capable of carrying large armored vehicles and tanks, tons of supplies or dozens of troops and their equipment, depending on need.

For example, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell lauded the plane's usefulness Oct. 1 as it began delivering the first of more than 6,600 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected, or MRAP, vehicles to troops in Afghanistan. The "life-saving" vehicles will replace many of the armored Humvees currently in use, which have been criticized as inadequate navigating much of Afghanistan's rugged terrain, Morrell said.

Several hundred will be delivered into the region per month - primarily aboard C-17s - as the military gears up for what's expected to be an intense fight against insurgents based in mountain hideouts.

The C-17 has also frequently been called into service to deliver medical supplies, food, water and other necessities in the wake of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, and more recently, the earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga in late September.

Shortly after that disaster, the Defense Department reported dispatching a fleet of C-17s based in Washington state and loaded with hundreds of laptop computers, pallets of medicine, tents, radios and satellite terminals, as well as nurses and doctors to help in the relief effort, to the tiny string of South Pacific islands.

(Long Beach Press Telegram)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Justice Flight at Long Beach

USAJet DC-9-32CF (47690/843) N205US arrived from Laredo International Airport (LRD/KLRD) at 08:51am operating as "Justice205." The aircraft departed at 1:34pm bound for Willow Run (YIP/KYIP) again operating as "Justice205."

jetBlue New "Blueberry Livery

(Photo by Michael Carter)

jetBlue Airways A320-232 (1927) N561JB "La Vie En Blue" rolls for takeoff on Rwy 30 sporting the carriers new "Blueberry" livery.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Samoa Relief Flight Departs from Long Beach

Arrow Cargo DC-10-30(F) rotates from Rwy 12 at Long Beach.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Arrow Cargo DC-10-30(F) N450ML (47831/327) departed Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) yesterday morning (Saturday) at 11:42am PST bound for Apia - Faleolo International Airport (APW/NSFA) on the Island of Samoa carrying a load of much needed relief supplies. Arrow Cargo DC-10-30(F) operating as APW865 arrived from Miami International Airport at 06:46am PST. Local volunteers bulk loaded the aircraft with the supplies and at 11:42am slowly climbed from Rwy 12 at Long Beach Airport.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A few Photos from Long Beach (LGB/KLGB) this afternoon

United Parcel Service (UPS) Airbus A300F4-622R N143UP (826) on short final to Rwy 30 as it arrives from Des Moines (DSM/KDSM).
Delta Connection (Skywest Airlines) Canadair CL-600-2D24 Regional Jet CRJ-900 N816SK (15105) smokes the mains on Rwy 30 as it arrives from Salt Lake City (SLC/KSLC).
Gulfstream G150 N501RP (209) captured on a very short final to Rwy 30.

(Photos by Michael Carter)

New C-17A makes first pre-delivery test flight.

(Photo by Michael Carter)

C-17A 08-8190 (F-212/P-190) departed Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) at 3:01pm on her first pre-delivery test flight. As you can see, the aircraft destined for Charleston AFB is rolling for takeoff on Rwy 30.

Southwest Airlines 737NG visits Long Beach

Southwest Airlines 737-7H4 N211WN (34163/1699) arrived at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) as SWA7580 from Biggs Aaf (Fort Bliss) (BIF/KBIF) at 1:24pm delivering home military personnell returning from Iraq. The aircraft departed at 2:08pm as SWA8613 bound for El Paso (ELP/KELP).

Garuda Indonesia Plans Return to Europe

Garuda Indonesia plans to launch a service on the Jakarta-Dubai-Amsterdam Schiphol route on 1 June next year, marking its long-awaited return to Europe.

The carrier will operate Airbus A330-200s on the route, says Garuda.
Garuda formerly flew to Amsterdam Schiphol and other points in Europe using McDonnell Douglas DC-10s, but it ceased flights in 2004 as part of broader cost cutting measures. The airline has said longer-term it hopes to have non-stop services to Amsterdam and other points in Europe using the Boeing 777s it has on order.

The airline's return to Europe is significant because in 2007 the EU banned all Indonesian carriers over safety concerns. But this year the EU lifted the ban against Garuda, Mandala Airlines, Airfast Indonesia and Premiair.

(Greg Waldron -

Senate and House Approve Funding for more C-17A Production

Roughly $2.5 billion in funding for the production of 10 C-17s has been approved during negotiations between members of the Senate and House as a hotly debated defense budget inches closer to President Obama's desk.

The funding, approved on a 281-146 vote in the House this week, is a significant increase from the roughly $650 million approved by the chamber earlier this year. At the time, the House had approved money for production of just three C-17s, which are built at a plant in Long Beach employing some 5,000 workers.

Negotiations will continue in the coming week on the "appropriations" portion of the nation's defense budget, which specifies exactly how money - including the $2.5 billion earmarked for C-17 production - will be spent.

Congresswoman Laura Richardson, D-Long Beach, said support for the 10 C-17s appears strong in the House, though a final vote on defense budget appropriations will reveal just how strong.
The overall defense budget, which went through weeks of debate on the Senate floor in September and early October and ultimately passed on a 93-7 vote, breezed through the lower house much more quickly, ending with an agreement that C-17 funding as championed by Senate leaders would be included.

The House defense budget also included money for port infrastructure and security, which Richardson said should help fund long-overdue projects like bridge replacement, channel dredging, roadway improvements and security upgrades in the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. "Ports are a vital component of our economy, and in times of war, the role of ports is to connect our forts," Richardson said. "That's why I was committed to ensuring that the final defense bill contained adequate provisions to ensure that the infrastructure surrounding ports, like the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles, is second to none."

In coming weeks and months, Richardson is expected to play a larger role in distribution of federal defense, infrastructure and security funds. On Oct. 6, Richardson was appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, to serve on the Department of Defense Authorization Act committee, which includes a select group of House and Senate members tasked with reconciling differences in the defense spending bills approved in each chamber.

The final defense budget - and its accompanying appropriation directives - are expected to reach Obama's desk in coming weeks. Though he has publicly criticized Congress for including funds to continue C-17 production, which Defense Secretary Robert Gates insists should end in 2011, Obama has not threatened a veto.

The C-17 has seen widespread use in recent years, carrying troops and military cargo to Iraq and Afghanistan, and has been used extensively to help deliver relief supplies in the wake of natural disasters, including the recent earthquake and tsunami that devastated Samoa and neighboring Tonga.

(Kristopher Hanson - Long Beach Press Telegram)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Qantas Delays A380 Deliveries due to Flight Control Issues

Australia's Qantas Airways will see the delivery of its fifth and sixth Airbus A380 aircraft delayed to December owing to a flight trim problem with the fifth aircraft.

The fifth A380 was originally due to arrive this month, says Qantas. "Any suggestion that this aircraft is not able to fly straight would be incorrect," says Qantas. "Qantas has robust contractual provisions in place with all aircraft manufacturers, including Airbus, that govern tolerances around aircraft specifications, including flight trim." Flight trim governs the efficient passage of an aircraft through the air."

(The fifth A380) will be treated no differently to any other destined for our fleet and will be the subject of the usual rigorous pre-acceptance programme that includes test flying by Qantas pilots," says Qantas. "No special team has been dispatched to Europe."

(Greg Waldron -

Sideway Seating may Commence Testing Later This Year

Premier design consultancy Design Q is moving quickly to develop a new high-density sideways seating configuration for short-haul travel, and could begin testing the solution by year-end.

The concept, first reported in August by ATI sister Flight International magazine, entails a row of inward facing seats on each side of the aircraft plus two back-to-back rows down the middle resulting in a configuration whereby passengers are facing each other.

Now dubbed Maxcabin, the fast-moving project was conceived by Design Q to "improve comfort, safety, boarding times and passenger count whilst also reducing internal structures and weight", says Design Q, which was instrumental in the design of Virgin Atlantic's acclaimed "Upper Class" seats.

Several partners are contributing to the analysis of the Maxcabin proposal with a potential crash simulation in December this year, adds the firm.

(Mary Kirby -
(Photo jetBlue)

JetBlue Airways revealed the latest livery design in the airline's LiveTV hangar at Orlando International Airport. The new livery, called "Blueberries," sports a tailfin design of concentric circles in the airline's trademark colors, as well as a new white-cap on the tail.

The fuselage has also been updated: The JetBlue logo is entirely dark blue and featured prominently. All future livery refresh cycles will convert the fuselage logo to the new JetBlue logo.
The new Blueberries paint scheme will be scheduled into the airline's current paint-refresh timeline. JetBlue expects to have five aircraft painted in the new Blueberries livery by year end.

"Over the years we've made our mark on the industry with a distinctive look -- from stylish uniforms, clear and distinctive signage, to tailfin patterns like Mosaic, Stripes, Harlequin and Windowpane," said Dave Barger, JetBlue's Chief Executive Officer. "To keep our look fresh as we approach our 10th birthday, we are proud to introduce Blueberries to our fleet."
(jetBlue Airways - Press Release)

Long Beach Aviation Friends Group attends Special Screening

David Kelly speaking to our group about his new Documentary.
(Photos by Darryl Bustamante)

This evening I along with other members of the Long Beach Aviation Friends group attended a special screening of the film documentary, LONG DAYS WORKING HARD: LONG BEACH DURING WWII, produced by David Kelly of Cal State Long Beach. The documentary features many historical aspects of aviation in Long Beach and film footage not seen for a long time.

There is some great footage of Earl S. Daugherty flying over Long Beach and awesome footage of the dedication and ground breaking ceremonies for the Douglas Aircraft Company (DAC) production facilities where B-17, C-47, A-20, and A-26 aircraft were built during World War II.

This program will be shown on the Public Broadcast System (PBS) later this year or early next year, so keep checking your local listings as you do not want to miss this program.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Airbus (Military) A400M Could Fly Before Years End

Airbus is confident its delayed A400M military transport plane will fly by the end of the year but dismissed a magazine report that its maiden flight could come as soon as November 30 as "fantasy." No date has yet been set for the first flight, a spokeswoman for Airbus Military said on Saturday.

German weekly magazine Focus said the aircraft could take to the skies as soon as November 30, citing sources close to suppliers. "Many dates will be leaked by people who have little knowledge of all the work which is to be undertaken until the first flight and, in particular, all the ground tests which are all dependent on each other," the spokeswoman said. "Therefore any date which may be circulated is a fantasy."

Europe's largest military project, designed to provide badly needed capacity to transport troops and heavy equipment to combat zones such as Afghanistan or to carry out humanitarian relief operations, has been dogged by technical delays and mounting financial losses and is four years late.

Airbus parent EADS is in talks to rescue the 20 billion euro ($29.5 billion) contract with the seven European nations that ordered the plane: Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey.

Sources close to the matter told Reuters earlier this month that technicians had completed engine trials on the A400M, clearing a significant obstacle to its maiden flight.

"We are very confident to be able to fly the aircraft by the end of the year and hopefully before and we cannot confirm any date," the spokeswoman added on Saturday. "It will take to the air as soon as the test pilots are ready."


DAC/MDC "Bitchin Betty"

This is really cool, check out the following link.

Boeing to ink Deal with Long Beach Studios Group on Monday

A much-hyped movie studio is in, a studio executive said Friday, and a Tesla Motors assembly plant may be out at the former Boeing 717 manufacturing site.

Long Beach Studios Chairman Jack O'Halloran said he expects to sign a deal with Boeing on Monday to develop a $375 million movie studio at the 77-acre site, which ceased production in 2006.

"The film studio's definitely happening, it's going to happen," O'Halloran said by phone.
The project, announced a year ago, encountered financial problems and fell out of escrow in March.

Further casting doubt on the project's future was an announcement by electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors in August that the Boeing site and the Downey Studios

Long Beach Studios Chairman Jack O'Halloran property were finalists for a new assembly plant.
O'Halloran said the Long Beach project will be the hub of a chain of five movie studios that will be built around the country. "Which means all the people, the jobs, the training, everything will come out of Long Beach," said O'Halloran, a former boxer and actor who is best known for playing Non, a villain in the movie "Superman2." "It's an amazing deal, it's better than we thought it was going to be and it's phenomenal for Long Beach."

O'Halloran wouldn't give further details, noting that the deal isn't signed yet. City officials have said the movie studio is expected to create 2,500 to 3,000 jobs.
Given that fact, Mayor Bob Foster was guarded in his response Friday.

"I want to see a deal that's inked," Foster said.
John Morris, owner of Smooth's Sports Grille, said Friday that when O'Halloran was eating at the restaurant Thursday the movie studio executive showed Morris a letter of commitment from O'Halloran's investors.

If all goes as O'Halloran plans, when the movie studio is completed it 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 Long Beach Studios Web site, The site also says the studio site would have a 5-star hotel spa.
What this all means for Tesla - and Downey, which has been aggressively courting the company - isn't clear.

Foster said that Tesla and Boeing met about a week ago, so some negotiations for the 717 site may still be in the works. The mayor said the movie studio or Tesla could be a boon for Long Beach. "I just want to make sure that we get a business in there that is very productive and beneficial to the city," Foster said.

Representatives from Boeing and Tesla didn't return phone calls seeking comment Friday evening.

(Paul Eakins - Long Beach Press Telegram)

EU to end Carry-on Liquids Ban

The European Union has similar rules currently in place to those in the U.S. when it comes to carrying liquids on board. But that will be changing.

The EU's top transportation official announced today that once new security screening methods are implemented, passengers will be permitted to carry liquids on board without size requirements. No date was announced for these changes.

EU Transport Commissioner Antonio Tajani told The Associated Press "he is 'resolved to get rid of these awkward and very uncomfortable' checks on passengers when new technology to screen for explosives becomes available."

(Rebecca Heslin - USA Today)

Hawaiian Airlines Welcomes Home its first Airplane

Bellanca CH-300 "Pacemaker" (msn 154) NC251M)
(Photo by Ivan Nishimura)

Hawaiian Airlines today held a special homecoming ceremony
to welcome back the actual airplane that started it all for the
company 80 years ago - a 1929 Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker.

Today's event featured congratulatory remarks from Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle, a traditional Hawaiian blessing by Kahu Richard Kamanu, a hula performance, music by the Royal Hawaiian Band, and pilots and mechanics dressed in 1929-period uniforms. Among the attendees were family members of company founder Stanley C. Kennedy, Sr. and sponsors and volunteers involved with bringing this rare artifact of Hawaii aviation history back to life.

Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian's president and CEO, commented, "For everyone who has ever worked for Hawaiian, the Bellanca is our ancestry and the history of pioneering aviation is in our DNA. It's part of what makes Hawaiian special, and a big reason why we are celebrating our 80th anniversary this year, a milestone that many of the world's iconic airlines never reached."

Governor Lingle congratulated Hawaiian for its 80 years of service to Hawaii. "I'm honored to be part of this historical occasion welcoming back to Hawaii the Bellanca airplane that began the legacy of Hawaiian Airlines. The outstanding service that Hawaiian and its employees provide has not only made the company vital to our state's transportation system and Hawaii's economy, but has also established Hawaiian as a recognized leader in the airline industry."

Earlier this year, Hawaiian acquired the Bellanca, which had been grounded since 2000, from an aviation enthusiast in Oregon and initiated an ambitious restoration project at Port Townsend Aero Museum in Washington to return the plane to flying condition for the company's 80th anniversary on November 11. Support for the restoration was provided by many volunteers both from within and outside the company, and by sponsors Pratt & Whitney, manufacturer of the plane's vintage engine, International Lease Finance Corporation, and Global Aerospace Services. Beautifully restored, the 80-year-old airplane now holds the distinction of being the only remaining Bellanca Pacemaker in the world that still flies.

The Bellanca's history with the company was relatively brief, but its impact was overwhelmingly important to the success of Inter-Island Airways, renamed as Hawaiian Airlines in 1941. In effect, the Bellanca helped get Hawaii's people used to the idea of traveling between the islands by air.

Company founder Stanley C. Kennedy acquired the Bellanca in September 1929 from the factory in Newcastle, Delaware. Kennedy believed people in Hawaii would more readily accept the revolutionary concept of air travel between the islands if they could see and experience the wonders of flight above Honolulu. To prove his faith in flying, he and family members flew on the newly purchased Bellanca from Delaware to San Francisco - a trip that took 28 hours flying time - from where it was shipped to Honolulu.

On October 6, 1929, Kennedy began offering sightseeing tours over Honolulu to great fanfare. Piloted by Captain Sam Elliott, the company's first pilot, the Bellanca carried 76 passengers that first day with an additional 5,000 people coming to John Rodgers Field to watch the flights.
Kennedy's marketing strategy worked. On November 11, 1929, the company launched scheduled air service using two Sikorsky S-38 amphibian planes that carried eight passengers and two crewmembers, and had a top cruising speed of 110 MPH. The inaugural flight from Honolulu to Hilo, with a stop on Maui, took more than three hours. The first flight to Kauai was made the next day and all the islands were soon receiving air service on a regular basis. The company has been serving Hawaii continuously ever since.

The Bellanca was never used for interisland flights. Over the next two years, 1930-31, the company continued to use the Bellanca for Honolulu sightseeing tours to help promote air travel, carrying more than 12,000 people total at a cost of $3 per person.

By 1933, the Bellanca was rarely being used and, having served its intended purpose, was sold. The airplane was soon relocated to Alaska where it had a long career shipping cargo and delivering supplies to hunters and remote villages. In 1964, the plane was moved to Oregon where it remained before being acquired by Hawaiian for its return home to Hawaii.

Renowned for its endurance and distance capabilities, the single-engine Bellanca carries a pilot and five passengers and has a maximum speed of 165 MPH and range of 675 miles. The plane is 8 feet, 4 inches tall, 27 feet, 9 inches long, has a wingspan of 46 feet, 4 inches, and weighs 2,275 pounds empty.

(Hawaiian Airlines - Press Release)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Photo of the Day / LOT - Polish Airlines ERJ170 SP-LDC

(Photos by Adrian Arzenheimer)

LOT - Polish Airlines ERJ170-100ST (17000025) SP-LDC is caught at Geneva International Airport (GVA/LSGG) sporting a lovely commemorative livery promoting the city of Kracow and its surrounding Lesser regions. "Lady with an Ermine", painted by Leonardo Da Vinci, graces the tail of the aircraft, while the original painting is currently on display at the Czartoryski Musem in Kracow.

C-17A Funding Close to being Finalized

After beating back two attempts in the past week to end Boeing's C-17 program, Senate and House representatives are now meeting to finalize a national defense budget that will likely include funding that keeps the Long Beach plant and its 5,000 workers operating through 2012.
Deliberations will revolve around House and Senate versions of the defense bill, which vary in the number of planes.

The House earlier this year approved money for production of just three C-17s, while the Senate version, approved late Tuesday, includes $2.5 billion for 10 C-17s.
A compromise must be reached between the competing bills before it reaches President Obama's desk in mid to late October, though strong support for the plane in both chambers of Congress suggests the final bill will include funding for the 10 planes.

On Tuesday, as Senators overwhelmingly voted down an attempt by Sen. John McCain to end funding for the program, Long Beach-area Congresswoman Laura Richardson was appointed to the bipartisan committee tasked with finalizing a defense bill in coming weeks.
Reached Wednesday, Richardson, whose district includes the C-17 plant, said negotiators are likely to concur with the Senate's request for 10 planes and possibly more.

"I believe we'll get a much larger number than the three the House initially approved," Richardson said from Washington just minutes after meeting with Congressman John Murtha, who is leading negotiations on the House side. "The three included earlier was more of a placeholder number put in at the time to get the bill moved forward. I believe the final number will be more in line with the Senate, and we've submitted a letter signed by 60 House members urging the president to support at least those 10 planes."

Richardson, one of Congress' most junior members, will sit in negotiations with such noted lawmakers as Senators McCain, Joe Lieberman, I-Conn. and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who helped rally support in recent months for continued C-17 production.

Boeing officials, meanwhile, remain cautiously optimistic that the defense budget sent to President Obama will include money for the 10 jets, but acknowledge that the number may be scaled back slightly at the request of the White House and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who argue that no more C-17s are needed beyond the 205 already ordered since 1993.

But despite the White House stance, Obama has not threatened to veto additional C-17 funding, which keeps the plant and its suppliers in 44 states operating through 2012. Without new orders, Boeing had planned to shutter the facility by mid-2011.

"We greatly appreciate the support the C-17 continues to receive," said Boeing Spokesman Jerry Drelling. "We look forward to continuing to work with both (the Air Force) and the Congress to ensure this valuable airlifter is available to support our war fighters and our nation's future airlift requirements."

The C-17 has seen heavy action in recent years, delivering troops and supplies to combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan and ferrying relief supplies for humanitarian missions that include the recent typhoon in Samoa, Hurricane Katrina, a 2008 Pakistani earthquake that left more than 120,000 homeless and the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004.

The jet has also been called into service in recent days delivering a new fleet of heavily armored vehicles to bases in Afghanistan, where they will supplement and eventually replace the current fleet of Humvees. In an effort to continue C-17 production beyond 2012, Boeing is working with several foreign customers that include Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

More than a dozen C-17s have also collectively been sold to the United Kingdom, Qatar, Canada and Australia in recent years, and a NATO-led consortium based in Hungary this week took delivery of a third C-17 to support missions in Europe.

The Indian Air Force has also expressed interest in purchasing as many as 10 C-17s in coming years, but negotiations are in very early stages and any aircraft are not likely to be built before 2013, providing a strong incentive for the Senate to fund production through 2012 in light of a federal study estimating closure and re-opening of the plant would cost in excess of $1 billion.

Boeing estimates it needs about 12 orders annually to justify high labor and production costs and reassure its suppliers of the need to continue investing in C-17 parts.

(Kristopher Hanson - Long Beach Press Telegram)

Southwest Airlines posts Record Passenger Numbers in September

Southwest Airlines Co. boosted its passenger loads in September by more than 11 percentage points from a year earlier, filling 74.7 percent of its seats with paying passengers.

The mark represented the highest September load factor in Southwest's 38-year history. Its previous best came in 1996 when the Dallas-based carrier filled 70.6 percent of its seats. In September 2008, Southwest reported average loads of 63.4 percent.

It also marked the second straight month that Southwest had set a monthly record for passenger loads. Its August loads reached 80.2 percent.

An 8.8 percent jump in traffic drove Southwest's higher numbers in September, even as the airline reduced its flying capacity by 7.8 percent from a year earlier.

And, in a surprise, Southwest said Wednesday that its passenger revenue per seat mile flown increased about 3 percent from a year earlier, its first increase in unit revenue since January.
Southwest's gains in loads paced the industry, but eight of the nation's nine largest carriers also reported that they filled a greater percentage of their seats in September. Only U.S. Airways Inc., whose load factor dropped 0.8 percentage points to 79.3 percent, showed a decline.

Airline analyst Michael Derchin of FTN Equity Capital Markets Corp. praised the industry's performance after a long string of disappointing months.

"September was the first month this year that surprised us positively with the largest domestic airline, Southwest Airlines, reporting a 3% increase in unit revenues, significantly better than anticipated," he said in a report.

Derchin said that September results typically are weak, with leisure traffic dominating the first half. "The fact that load factors held up in the second half of the month, largely a business travel period, bodes well for October, one of the strongest business travel months of the year," he said. "A late Labor Day most likely helped leisure demand early in the month."

While Southwest reported an increase in unit revenue, most carriers were projecting huge declines.

(Terry Maxon -

Horizon Air will Operate Year Round Flights Between LAX and Mammoth

Mammoth Mountain ski area has reached agreement with Horizon Air to begin summer airline service to and from Los Angeles and Mammoth Yosemite Airport (MMH/KMMH) beginning in April.

The Mammoth Times reports and sources confirm that a deal has been signed and an official announcement will be made as early as next week.

Horizon already provides winter flights on a schedule that has grown from one to four flights per day -- with service from LAX, Seattle, Portland, Ore., and San Jose. Winter flight service is from Dec. 17 through April 11. Summer service will begin April 12.

The ski area helps subsidize the winter flights, and the ski area and Mammoth Lakes will subsidize the single daily summer flight.

(Pete Thomas - Los Angeles Times)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Avianca and TACA Plan Wide-Ranging Partnership

Colombia's largest airline Avianca is poised to announce plans for a wide-ranging tie-up with El Salvador's Grupo TACA today.

Further details of the alliance will be released during a conference call with relationship banks and investors of both airlines scheduled for 13:00 US central time.

While the scope of the tie-up is unclear, the facts that Avianca president Fabio Villegas filed a letter with Colombia's financial authorities, and that news is scheduled to be released simultaneously in Bogota, San Salvador and Lima, point to a high profile announcement.

The deal will be seen as a response to plans by Avianca's main southern competitor, the Chilean LAN group, to exchange shares with TACA, its main northern competitor.

Avianca started this month to integrate the operations of its Brazilian affiliate Ocean Air, converting it into a unit managed directly by the airline allowing for a code share agreement on several Ocean Air domestic trunk routes.

In August, Avianca successfully completed a bond offering of more than 500 billion pesos ($250 million) on the Bogotá stock exchange aimed at partly financing its fleet renewal. The newly raised cash could also provide a source of funding for a possible takeover or a merger.
Avianca and TACA share fleet commonality as predominately
Airbus operators.

According to Flightglobal's ACAS database, TACA currently operates 28 A320 family aircraft, including seven A319-100s, 16 Airbus A320-200s and five A321-200s, as well as three Embraer 190s. It also holds orders for five A319-100s, 13 A320-200s and five E-190s.
Avianca holds orders for 12
Boeing 787-8 aircraft, six A330-200s, 27 A320-200s and 14 A319-100s.

The airline currently operates four A319-100s, seven A320-200s, four A330-200s, six 757-200s, three 767-200ERs and two 767-300ERs. It also owns 10 Fokker 50 aircraft and 10 Boeing MD-83s.

The A330s and A320s on order will replace the MD-80s, 757s and 767s, while Avianca plans to use the 12 787s to launch routes to London and Frankfurt.

(Luara Mueller - FlightGlobal.Com)

FedEx MD-11(F) and 777-200(F) Freighters to get new Fire Supression System

FedEx MD-11(F) (48552/530) N594FE smokes the mains on Rwy 14 at Anchorage (ANC/PANC). (Photo by Michael Carter)

FedEx Express announced on 6 October plans to install a new automatic fire suppression system on all 59 McDonnell Douglas MD-11 freighters and new Boeing 777Fs.

A FedEx special projects group developed the proprietary system to solve the problem of suppressing most types of cargo fires on the main deck for up to 3h on ocean-crossing flights, a spokesman says.

The system is certified to suppress flames caused by paper or lumber, gasoline or kerosene and combustible metals such as lithium. Fires caused by electrical equipment, however, must still be extinguished by halon bottles. FedEx will carry electrical cargo in isolation in lower-deck compartments.

The new suppression system detects fires using a network of heat-seeking sensors. After alerting the crew, the system cues an injector system that pierces a cargo container, and sprays an argon-based, biodegradable foam that extinguishes flames within minutes.
If the fire starts inside a package of palletized cargo, the entire pallet is covered by a fire-retardant blanket.

FedEx Express is currently focused on upgrading only its own freighter fleet, a spokesman says. But the system could be sold to other freighter operators in the future, he adds.
The fire suppression system was design by an in-house special projects group of engineers. The same staff also produced a head-up display/enhanced flight vision system (HUD/EFVS) last year for MD-10s and MD11s. The technology, which also included input by Honeywell and Elbit Systems, improves pilot visibility in bad weather.

(Stephen Trimble -

AirTran Considers MD-95 (717) Replacement

AirTran Airways has begun evaluating replacements for its 117-seat Boing 717-200s as its oldest aircraft of that type reach the 10-year mark.

The low-cost operator likes the size of the 717 and would probably not go smaller, AirTran senior director of strategic planning and scheduling John Kirby said at Boyd Group International's Aviation Forecast Summit in Lexington, Kentucky earlier this week. He adds that the carrier is interested in a seating range between 100 and 120.

The Bombardier CSeries is under consideration and the Embraer E-190/E-195 is "logical", but Kirby says the carrier is not ruling out the possibility that Boeing might introduce another aircraft. Boeing ended 717 production in 2006.

AirTran, the 717 launch customer, currently operates 86 of the type, according to Flightglobal's ACAS database. Kirby says the airline has roughly 18 to 20 717s that are either 9- or 10-years old. The average 717 in AirTran's fleet is 6-years old, he adds.

Orlando-headquartered AirTran would like to replace its oldest aircraft five years from now,
which would result in the carrier placing an order in about three years, Kirby says.
AirTran is also contemplating converting some of its outstanding 737-700s deliveries to 737-800s.

The carrier'scontract with Boeing allows for conversions to be made with some notice and the -800's cockpit commonality with the -700 is appealing, Kirby says. The carrier has looked at seating ranges between 160 and 170 but would likely settle on roughly 164 seats, he says.
AirTran has not determined how many -700s might be converted to -800s though Kirby says 20 to 25 conversions might make sense if there is enough demand.

AirTran has deferred a total of 36737 deliveries, with the earliest deliveries scheduled for spring 2011, Kirby says. The airline has a total of 53 737-700s on order and currently operates50 of the 130-seat aircraft, the ACAS database shows.

(Meghan Kuhn -

Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) Rolls Out Quieter Home Program

Today, the Long Beach Airport, in connection with the City of Long Beach, is implementing a Residential Sound Attenuation Program for aircraft noise impacted areas within the 65 dB Community Noise Equivalent Level (CNEL) contour.

The program will be known as the QuieterHome Program (Program). The 2008 65 dB CNEL contour identified 27 homes as eligible for the Program, all of which are near the arrival end of the Airport's main runway 30-12. Funding for the Program is being made available by Long Beach Airport, using FAA approved Passenger Facility Charges (PFC). The funding will be used to install acoustical treamtents to lessen the effects of aircraft noise in the impacted homes.

The acoustical treatments can include the installation of acoustic windows and exterior doors, insulation, ventilation, and air conditioning. The goal of the Program is to achieve a 45 dB interior noise level within each home. An annual review will be conducted of the Program's 65 db CNEL contour and treatment areas will be adjusted accordingly.

Detailed information on the QuieterHome Program is available on the Airport's website,, click on Community Relations and then QuieterHome. Residents can also obtain information via the Program's toll-free line at 888-739-4090, or the Airport's Public Affairs Office at 562 570-2678.

(Long Beach Airport Public Affairs Office - Press Release)

Continental Airlines Announces New Service between Orange County (SNA) / Los Angeles (LAX) and Hawaii

Continental Airlines announced today new service from Los Angeles to Maui and from Orange County to Honolulu. Continental is also planning a second daily flight on the Los Angeles-Honolulu route. The flights begin March 7, 2010.

"With more destinations in the Pacific than any U.S. carrier, we are pleased to offer our customers additional travel options to Hawaii," said Jim Compton, Continental's executive vice president of marketing. "The flights will provide increased convenience to travelers and will complement routes provided by future Star Alliance partners."

The new daily flight from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Maui's Kahului Airport (OGG) will depart at 5:05 p.m. and arrive at 7:45 p.m. The return flight will depart Maui at 9:15 p.m. and arrive at Los Angeles at 5:45 a.m. Continental will operate the flight with a Boeing 737-800 with 160 seats.

Continental's new service between Orange County's John Wayne Airport (SNA) and the Honolulu International Airport (HNL) will initially operate four-times weekly, departing Orange County at 5:20 p.m. and arriving in Honolulu at 8:05 p.m. The return flight will depart Honolulu at 11:10 p.m. and arrive at Orange County at 7:45 a.m., except on Saturdays where it will depart a half-hour later. Continental will utilize a Boeing 737-700 on the new route with 124 seats, and plans to increase the service to daily during the summer.

Continental will utilize a Boeing 737-900 with 173 seats for its second daily flight between Los Angeles and Honolulu, departing at 1:55 p.m. and arriving at 4:40 p.m. The return flight will depart Honolulu at 1:50 p.m. and arrive in Los Angeles at 10:25 p.m.

Continental also serves Hawaii with daily flights from New York, Houston and Guam. Beginning Dec. 18, 2009, Continental will also operate twice-weekly service between Honolulu and Nadi, Fiji.

(Continental Airlines - Press Release)

Gulfstream Aerospace Rolls Out New G250

Gulfstream Aerospace, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) today rolled out the all-new, super mid-size Gulfstream G250 at Ben Gurion International Airport in Israel. First announced in October 2008, the large-cabin, mid-range G250 remains on schedule for customer deliveries in 2011.

The audience celebrating the aircraft’s debut included customers, certifying authorities, supplier representatives and members of the Gulfstream G250 development team, many of whom worked in Tel Aviv with IAI to oversee the building of the all-new Gulfstream G250 aircraft.

“The Gulfstream and IAI teams have done an outstanding job designing this all-new aircraft and overseeing its production,” said Joe Lombardo, executive vice president, General Dynamics Aerospace group. “I want to thank everyone involved for their continued cooperation and collaboration. As you can see, they have created a true Gulfstream, and we’re delighted to welcome it into the family.”

Itzhak Nissan, president and chief executive officer, IAI, said, “The G250 presents another example of what is possible when two great companies collaborate, combining their state-of-the-art engineering with cutting-edge production skills. The teams have produced the best mid-size aircraft of its kind, and I want to join Joe in thanking everyone who worked on the G250. They have proven that such collaboration leads to great success and achievement.”

The G250 offers the largest cabin and the longest range at the fastest speed in its class. It is capable of traveling 3,400 nautical miles at 0.80 Mach and has a maximum operating speed of 0.85 Mach. With an initial cruise altitude of 41,000 feet, the G250 can climb to a maximum altitude of 45,000 feet.

“Our customers played a significant role in the design of this aircraft,” said Pres Henne, senior vice president, Programs, Engineering and Test, Gulfstream. “Because of their input, this aircraft features increased speed and range, excellent takeoff performance, an all-new Gulfstream wing, the signature Gulfstream T tail, best-in-class Honeywell engines and the PlaneView 250™ cockpit based on Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics. Together, these elements make the G250 a best-in-class aircraft and one its owners can appreciate and fly with pride.”

David Dagan, corporate vice president and general manager, Commercial Aircraft group, IAI, said, “The collaboration between the manufacturing and the design teams, using the Integrated-Product-Teams approach, made one and one equal more than two. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this success.”

In terms of passenger comfort, the G250 features the largest cabin in its class, with 17 percent to 35 percent more floor area than any other super mid-size business jet. The additional space provides for a larger lavatory, an improved galley and increased storage. The aircraft also features 19 panoramic windows, industry-leading sound levels, a vacuum toilet system and in-flight access to 120 cubic feet of usable volume in the baggage compartment.
Gulfstream announced the G250 on Oct. 5, 2008, at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Annual Meeting and Convention in Orlando, Fla. The aircraft is on schedule for first flight later this year and is expected to be certified in 2011. Entry-into-service of the G250 is also planned for 2011.

(Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation - Press Release)

Photo of the Day / FedEx 757-23A(F) N918FD

(Photo by Dean Heald)

FedEx is now operating Boeing 757s as evidence in the above photo as N918FD a 757-23A(F) (24290/212) is captured smoking the mains as it arrives in Norfolk (ORF/KORF).

The aircraft was originally delivered to Lineas Aereas Hispania as EC-248 on February 27, 1989 then in April 1989 re-registered to EC-EMV. The aircraft was repo'd in July 1989 and re-registered N510SK. On October 10, 1989 Air 2000 bought the aircraft and re-registered it to G-OOOJ immediately leasing the aircraft to Ansett Airlines on November 4, 1989 on a short term lease. It operated with the carrier until being returned on March 29, 1990. The aircraft then operated with Air 2000 until May 5, 2003 when the aircraft was returned to AWAS and re-registered N290AN. On July 21, 2003 the aircraft was leased to FlyJet and registered G-FJEB.

Noteable Aircraft Movements Tuesday at Long Beach (LGB/KLGB)

Gulfstream G550 (cn 5254) N554GA arrived
from Savannah / Hilton Head (SAV/KSAV) at 0920.
Gulfstream G450 (cn 4028) N881E arrived back at Long Beach Airport at 1617 following a short test flight. The aircraft previously wore registrations N915BD and N628GA.United Parcel Service (UPS) A300F4-622R (829) N146UP arrived from Des Moines International (DSM/KDSM) as UPS2928 "Heavy" at 1623, Long Beach normally receives the Boeing 767-34AF/ER.

(Photos by Michael Carter)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Funding for 10 New C-17A aircraft Survives second Assault

The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday night to maintain funding for 10 C-17 Globemaster IIIs in its final version of the FY2010 Defense Appropriations Bill. With support from 68 Senators, an amendment offered by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to strip funding for the C-17s was defeated for a second time in a roll call vote of 30-68.

Members of the House and Senate are now expected to move quickly to a conference committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate bills. The House version of the bill provides funding for only three C-17s.

(C-17 for America - Boeing Co.)

Long Beach Airport Noise Map to be Discussed at City Counsel Meeting

When aircraft take off from Long Beach Airport, the Gardenia Avenue home of Leslie Reimer and Olga Echerri northwest of the airport's runway shakes with the roar of the jet engines.
Conversations stop, and the couple's dogs begin a frenzied barking as the airplanes soar overhead. "If you came to my house now, you could reach out and touch the planes, it's that bad," Reimer said Monday.

The airport noise happens about 41 times a day, which is the maximum number of commercial flights that are allowed to take off from Long Beach, not including commuter flights, private planes and military aircraft that regularly use the airport.

For two years, airport neighbors such as Reimer and Echerri have been waiting in hope of getting their residences soundproofed under the city's QuieterHome Program.
The City Council is scheduled today to approve a "noise contour" map that outlines which areas are most affected by the airport noise and which residences will be able to take advantage of QuieterHome. The council meets later than usual, at 7 p.m. in City Hall, 333 W. Ocean Blvd.
Unfortunately for Reimer and Echerri, their home won't be among those that will be soundproofed.

The noise contour map, which was created by the Federal Aviation Administration based on data from 18 noise monitors around the airport, lists 27 homes that qualify for QuieterHome. All 27 are at the southern, aircraft-landing end of the airport's main runway.

The noise contour map outlines areas that averaged 65 decibels or higher from aircraft noise in 2008. Normal conversation is about 60 decibels, 70 decibels is the equivalent of a vacuum cleaner, and noises louder than 80 decibels are considered potentially hazardous, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

The QuieterHome Program will retrofit homes with sound-insulating treatments such as acoustic windows, new exterior doors, caulking and sealing of gaps, attic insulation, mechanical ventilation, and upgrades to or installation of air conditioning systems, according to the council agenda report. The program's goal is to reduce interior noise levels to 45 decibels or lower and achieve at least a 5 decibel noise reduction.

The cost of the program is $2.8 million, which will be reimbursed by the FAA, said airport spokeswoman Sharon Diggs-Jackson. Each year, the FAA and airport officials will re-evaluate the noise contour to determine if more homes should join QuieterHome.

Reimer said she and many of her neighbors are "absolutely furious" that their homes are not - in fact, none on the northwest end of the airport runway are - included in the program.
"We've all been patiently waiting, some people holding off not getting (soundproof) windows," Reimer said, adding that when she moved into her house 10 years ago, there were far fewer flights and less noise. "You tolerated the noise these last few years because you knew something would be better down the road."

Diggs-Jackson said that airport officials have never made promises to anyone that their home would be included. "The airport has not sent out any notification as to whether or not they're in the QuieterHome program," Diggs-Jackson said, noting that homeowners won't be notified until after the council approves the plan.

Reimer said that she thought her home would qualify for the program because airport officials have used a map over the past two years that shows areas that are impacted by air traffic noise. Diggs-Jackson said that such maps were used to project future noise impacts, but that they didn't indicate which areas would be included.

Diggs-Jackson said this is the first year the airport has had to use the QuieterHome Program, the result of filling all of the commercial flight slots and seeing an increase in military flights. This shows the effectiveness of the airport's noise ordinance, which restricts the number of flights and fines airlines for taking off or landing between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. "That's a testament to how good our noise ordinance is," she said.

(Paul Eikans - Long Beach Press Telgram)

Revised Douglas Park Plan Approved by Long Beach City Council

The City Council unanimously approved a revised plan for the massive Douglas Park business development Tuesday, despite protests from housing advocates who called for the restoration of a payment to the city's housing trust fund.

The new plan calls for up to 3.75 million square feet of commercial and light industrial uses, up to 250,000 square feet of retail uses and up to 400 hotel rooms at the development located at a 238-acre former Boeing manufacturing site on Lakewood Boulevard north of Long Beach Airport. The plan also includes 10 acres of open space, which would consist of several plaza areas, bike paths, pedestrian connections, street gateways and landscaping. "This is just the kind of project that Long Beach needs, because it means the creation of more jobs," 6th District Councilman Dee Andrews said.

However, the plan eliminates 1,400 housing units that had been proposed for the project when the council first approved it in 2004. Also absent from the plan is a $3 million payment to the city's housing trust fund, although $250,000 that already had been paid into it will remain.
Housing advocate Gary Shelton said that the council should still require that Boeing contribute to the fund, even though it no longer is building housing at the development. He and other advocates said some of the workers at Douglas Park will live in Long Beach and will need housing. You do have the powere this evening to restore that $3 million infusion into the housing trust fund," Shelton said.

Council members Tonia Reyes Uranga and Robert Garcia both expressed sympathy for housing advocates and a desire to increase the housing trust fund, but they still voted for the Douglas Park plan.

Tuesday was the second time that Boeing had taken its revised plan to the council this year.
The council first heard a version of the revised proposal in March, when the residential element had been removed. However, the council told Boeing then to make some changes, such as paying more for infrastructure improvements, traffic mitigation and parks.

The deal calls for Boeing to provide $8.25 million in on-site and off-site infrastructure improvements, a significant jump from the $1 million that had been offered in March.
Boeing also will provide $650,000 for housing and job training, $2.6 million in fee payments, $12.5 million for 10 acres of open public space, $1.6 million for landscape improvements at Carson Street and Lakewood Boulevard, and land for an airport safety zone.

The project is expected to create up to 13,200 jobs and more than $1.2 billion in annual direct and indirect payroll. Work on the first phases of the development, including a 47,500-square-foot Devry University campus on 3.7 acres at Lakewood Boulevard and Conant Street, already has begun.

(Paul Eakins - Long Beach Press Telegram)

Settlement Reached on Terminal Lease at LAX

The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners today approved a Global Settlement Agreement and Release among Los Angeles World Airports; United Airlines, Inc.; and UMB Bank, N.A., as successor indenture trustee; with regard to $59.3 million in outstanding principal for bonds that were issued to finance construction at Terminals 7 and 8 at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in connection with the 1984 Olympics.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, bondholders will receive $75 million as settlement for all of their claims, which exceed $94 million. The $75 million will be funded first from $22 million that is in a disputed rent credit escrow, secondly from the sale of 579,348 shares of United stock, and thirdly from a LAWA payment of up to $52.7 million. Depending upon the value of the United stock at the time it is sold, LAWA expects to pay approximately $49 million in this settlement.

In exchange for its payment under the settlement, United and LAWA will amend and restate United's Terminal 7 and 8 Lease. Under the amended lease, United's rents will increase significantly. Through a phased approach, the rental rates in the lease will ultimately result in United paying full tariff maintenance and operations charges by 2014 and will also permit LAWA to implement a unified capital charge methodology.

The settlement is contingent upon approval of the amended lease by both the Board and the Los Angeles City Council, as well as by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

According to LAWA officials, the benefits of the settlement agreement include the transfer of control of Terminals 7 and 8 back to LAWA and a significant financial future return to LAWA. The settlement also supports LAWA's strategic goal of implementing a unified capital charge for terminal facilities that will create a more sustainable approach to financing future capital improvements.

Finally, the negotiated amendment of United's lease will allow LAWA to recover a higher level of its future maintenance and operating costs without the risks and expense of litigation.

(Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) - Press Release)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Omega Air Tanker Visits Los Angeles

(Photo by Steven L. Griffin)

The Omega Air Tanker arrived this morning at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) to take part in a special event to be held at the Flight Path Learning Center this week. The Boeing 707-321B (20029/790) N707AR arrived at 1135, and parked on the Signature flight ramp.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Photo Highlites from Today at LAX

Continental Airlines 737-924(ER) (33531/2947) N75436
departs sporting the carriers special "75th anniversary" Retro livery.
(Photo by Michael Carter)
Lan Airlines 767-316(ER) (36710/962) CC-CXC now
sports the Aviation Partners "blended winglet" package.
(Photo by Michael Carter)
Delta Airlines 757-232 (30486/953) N6715C wears
a special "Grammy Awards" logo.
(Photo by Michael Carter)
American Airlines 777-223(ER) (32638/376) N759AN sports the special "Susan G. Komen - Race for Breast Cancer Cure" markings. (Photo by Michael Carter)

WestJet Announces New Hawaii Service

WestJet Airlines Ltd. will offer non-stop flights to Hawaii from Calgary and Edmonton starting in March.

The eight week runs will offer non-stop flights from Calgary to both Maui and Honolulu, and Edmonton to Maui, through to the end of April. WestJet, Canada’s second-largest carrier, currently flies to Hawaii, but doesn’t offer non-stop flights.

The Calgary-based carrier will make the official announcement later today and said unlike its main competitor, it will offer non-stop flights from Edmonton to Maui.

The wait is related to aircraft availability. WestJet will take delivery of six new aircraft between now and March, part of its confirmed orders for 54 aircraft through 2016, and those aircraft will be used for the new flights and other new destinations on its winter schedule.

Earlier this year, Air Canada announced it will begin direct flights to Hawaii from Calgary in December. The carrier will offer up to five weekly flights from Calgary.

Canda's biggest airline already offers 15 weekly flights during peak winter from Vancouver to Hawaii.

(Gina Teel - Calgary Herald)

Photo of the Day / Trans Australia Airlines (TAA) DC-9-31 VH-TJN

(Joe Fernandez Collection)

Trans Australia Airlines (TAA) DC-9-31 (47203/401) VH-TJN "Paul Strzelecki" was delivered to the carrier on October 31, 1968. The aircraft served with TAA until being sold to Airborne Express on June 19, 1982 as N907AX.

Volaris Plans to add New Service between Mexico and Los Angeles

Mexican Airline Volaris has applied for U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) authorization to begin service from Morelia (MLM/MMMM) and Zacatecas (ZCL/MMZC) to Los Angeles (LAX/KLAX). Service would begin on November 23 and would be the 3rd and 4th destinations for the carrier between Los Angeles and Mexico were it already serves Guadalajara (GDL/MMGL) and Toluca (TLC/MMTO).

Empty Bladder Saves Gas and CO2 Emissions

All Nippon Airways (ANA) reasons that empty bladders means lighter passengers, which in turn means lighter aircraft and lower fuel use.

The airline will position staff near the boarding gates in terminals to ask passengers waiting for their flight to relieve themselves before boarding the aircraft. It hopes that the weight saved will lead to a five-tonne reduction in carbon emissions over the course of a month.

According to Japan’s NHK television, the airline started the unusual policy on 1 October. Initially intended as an experiment lasting one month and 42 flights, ANA says that it may expand the trial if results are positive and it is well received by passengers.

Flying is the fastest-growing source of carbon dioxide emissions, accounting for more than 600 million tons of the greenhouse gas per year.

A return flight between London Heathrow and New York’s John F Kennedy airport creates approximately 2700lbs (1.35 tons) of CO2 per passenger – more than one-third the yearly emissions of an average person worldwide.

(Tom Chivers -