Sunday, January 31, 2010

Avient Takes Delivery of 2nd MD-11(F)

Avient has taken delivery of it's second MD-11(F) (48410/495) Z-BVT ex-N575SH. The aircraft which was originally delivered to Korean Air as HL7374 on June 20, 1992 was ferried from Miami (MIA/KMIA) to Liege (Bierset) (LGG/EBLG) on January 27. The MD-11(F) was most recently operated by VarigLog as PR-LGE.

Should Airlines Charge a "Fat Tax" for Obese Passengers?

Should airlines charge overweight passengers more if they need an extra seat? Yes, according to more than three-quarters of respondents in a poll.

A survey by travel website Skyscanner ( found that 76 percent of people believe airlines should charge a "fat tax." Only 22 percent of the 550 people questioned disapproved of introducing extra payments for overweight passengers.

The poll was conducted in the wake of a heated debate that started after Air France was misreported earlier this month to be planning an extra charge for passengers unable to fit into a single seat. Air France has, since 2005, offered overweight passengers the option to buy a second seat at a 25 percent discount.

Skyscanner co-founder Barry Smith said a so-called "fat tax" was a very sensitive issue for airlines who would need to tread carefully so as not to alienate heavier passengers. "On one hand, it's not unreasonable for airlines to charge passengers extra if they occupy more than one seat. On the other, many would argue that it should be the responsibility of airlines to adjust their standard seat size, enabling them to comfortably accommodate all passengers," he said in a statement.

Some respondents to the poll said it was airlines' responsibility to make seats for all shapes and sizes of passengers while others suggested that the charge should be calculated on the weight of the passenger plus their luggage.

In the United States, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines have a policy where "oversize" people need to buy a second seat and can claim a refund if the plane is not full. This followed complaints from neighboring passengers.

The Supreme Court in Canada ruled that obese and disabled people traveling on planes cannot be forced to buy a second seat.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

C-17A "Dream Livery"

Check out this awesome "Dream Livery"

Photo of the Day / Emirates A380-861 A6-EDH

Emirates A380-861 (cn 025) A6-EDH arrives at London-Heathrow Airport (LHR/EGLL) sporting special "6000th Airbus Aircraft" markings just aft of the fwd cabin entry door. (Photo A.J. Best)

FedEx Panda Express

(Photo FedEx)

FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) and the world's largest express transportation company, is donating its logistical services to transport two giant pandas from the United States to China on February 4, 2010. Working in conjunction with the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. and Zoo Atlanta, FedEx Express will fly the pandas non-stop from Washington’s Dulles International Airport to Chengdu, China.

Tai Shan, a 4-and-a-half-year-old male panda born at the National Zoo, and Mei Lan, a 3-year-old female panda born at Zoo Atlanta, will travel onboard a custom-decaled FedEx Express 777 Freighter (777F) – known as the “FedEx Panda Express.” “FedEx is uniquely qualified to make this special delivery given our long history connecting the U.S. to China and our extensive global experience in shipping precious cargo, from packages to pandas,” said David J. Bronczek, president and CEO, FedEx Express. “It is a privilege to serve as the trusted carrier of these rare pandas, and we are proud to support the preservation efforts of this endangered species.”
Currently, conservationists estimate that only 1,600 pandas remain in the wild. Both Tai Shan and Mei Lan are part of global, giant panda conservation programs.

FedEx Express will fly Mei Lan from Atlanta to Washington, D.C., where she will join Tai Shan in preparation for the trans-Atlantic flight. Onboard the 777F aircraft – which is solely dedicated to the pandas’ journey – Tai Shan and Mei Lan will travel in two custom-built transport containers provided by FedEx Express. The pandas will depart Washington, D.C. late morning on February 4 and arrive in Chengdu late afternoon on February 5, approximately 14 ½ hours between take-off and landing.

The pandas’ flight will be shorter than ever before possible as a result of the fuel-efficient 777F aircraft, the world’s largest twin-engine cargo aircraft and the newest addition to the FedEx global fleet. In early January 2010, FedEx launched the 777F into international service with a direct connection from Shanghai to the U.S.

In addition to donating all the necessary air transportation, FedEx Express is also providing ground and logistical support in Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. In both cities, caravans of FedEx vehicles will deliver the pandas to the airport. Local law enforcement will be on hand to ensure a smooth ride for the pandas. FedEx pilots and drivers selected to transport the pandas are some of the company’s most seasoned team members.FedEx Express, the National Zoo, Zoo Atlanta and the China organizers in Chengdu have worked collaboratively to ensure all necessary precautions have been taken to provide a safe and comfortable flight for the pandas. Animal care experts from both zoos have been granted special flight privileges to accompany the pandas onboard the aircraft.

Upon arriving in Chengdu, Tai Shan will be received by the China Wildlife Conservation Association and the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens will take delivery of Mei Lan. Tai Shan will reside at the China Conservation and Research Center’s Wolong Nature Reserve in Sichuan, China and Mei Lan will reside at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.

(Source - FedEx)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Nice Westwind at Long Beach

(Photos by Michael Carter)

Israel Aircraft Industry (IAI) 1124 Westwind (cn 329) N124HS (ex N7HM, N711SE) operated by HSL LLC is captured at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) Thursday 01/28/2010 as she departs on a gorgeous afternoon in SoCal.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Long Beach Airport Action Today

Two interesting aircraft movements today at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) were the following;
KEB Aircraft Sales Inc. MD-87 (49768/1594) N287KB arrived from Stockton Metroplitan Airport (SCK/KSCK) at 0903. The aircraft was originally delivered to German airline Aero LLoyd as D-ALLI on 06/07/1987. Current operator KEB Aircraft Sales bought the aircraft on 01/31/1997. The aircraft departed at 1124 bound for Ft. Lauderdale (FLL/KFLL).
(Photo by Michael Carter)

New C-17A (F-216/P-194) 08-8194 arrives back in Long Beach at 1636 following her second flight. She departed earlier in the afternoon at 1422 bound for Palmdale Airport (PMD/KPMD) for touch and go landing tests.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Air Cargo Demand Up in December

Eva Air Cargo MD-11F (48779/620) B-16109 rotates from Rwy 32 at Anchorage (ANC/PANC). (Photo by Michael Carter)

Air cargo traffic jumped by a quarter in December compared with a year earlier, and passenger demand also picked up, data from the air industry association IATA showed Wednesday in a sign of growing economic recovery.

Freight demand rose 24.4 percent in December, but in 2009 as a whole was 10.1 percent lower than in 2008, while passenger demand rose 4.5 percent for a full-year decline of 3.5 percent, the International Air Transport Association said.

"The industry starts 2010 with some enormous challenges. The worst is behind us, but it is not time to celebrate, said IATA Director-General Giovanni Bisignani, noting that 2009 was the worst year in aviation history in terms of demand.


Boeing 787 on Target for Late 2010 first Delivery

(Photo by Joe G. Walker)

Boeing's UK president is confident it will deliver its first 787 Dreamliner to All Nippon Airways by the end of 2010, and said the worst of the passenger downturn appeared to be over.

"The target is to deliver to the Japanese customer by the end of this year, and we're confident on that," Roger Bone, the president of Boeing UK said Tuesday.

The 787 now has orders of 851 aircraft from various airlines around the world.

"There are signs that the worst of a really dark period is behind us. The impact this year will remain significant for our customers, but the passenger base is beginning to pick up again, which is a good sign," said Bone.

Boeing's 787 twin-aisle, mid-sized plane, which can carry up to 330 people over very long distances, completed its first test flight last month, and Bone is optimistic that the program will hit its targets.

"We're now into an intense testing program, which is running to schedule. Normally the gap from first flight to first delivery to customer is nine to 12 months, and that's the type of schedule we think we will stick to," said Bone.

Bone also said Boeing was confident the European Union's complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) that tax credits received by Boeing from the US government were illegal would be proved false.

He added that the FRES program to provide network-linked vehicles, for which Boeing co-designs systems, was "no longer actual in terms of our calculation of contracts over next couple of years".


Allegiant Air Reports Full Year Profit for 2009

Allegiant Air parent Allegiant Travel Co. posted a record full-year profit of $76.3 million, more than double the $35.4 million reported in 2008.

Operating revenue rose 10.7% to $557.9 million while expenses dropped 2.8% to $435.7 million, boosting operating income more than twofold to $122.3 million from $55.8 million in 2008. Cost cuts came largely from decreased fuel and aircraft leasing expenses.

Allegiant operated 42 MD-80s at year end compared to 36 at the close of 2008 on 136 routes to 69 destinations. Passenger numbers rose 24% to 5.3 million and system RPMs were up 23.3% to 4.76 billion. Capacity increased 22.7% to 5.45 billion ASMs, lifting load factor 0.4 point to 87.4%. Operating RASM fell 9.8% to 10.24 cents against a 20.7% cut in unit cost to 8 cents. CASM excluding fuel rose 1% to 4.97 cents. Ancillary revenue per passenger climbed 12.4% to $33.07, helping to offset a 17.2% drop in average scheduled fare to $70.38.

The fourth-quarter profit of $10.5 million was Allegiant's 28th consecutive three-month period in the black but was down 42.1% from the $18.2 million reported in the year-ago quarter. Operating income slipped 37.1% to $18.1 million on a 10% increase in revenue to $134.7 million.

The company said it sees "an improving pricing environment" ahead and that its 2010 focus will be on upgrading its IT systems to accommodate its expansion. It expects first-quarter capacity growth of around 15%. The fleet is expected to grow to 48 aircraft by the end of the quarter and 52 by year end. It will take delivery of the 18 aircraft purchased from SAS Group during the first half.

Brian Straus

Los Alamitos Army Airfield Secures Funding for Runway Repairs

The National Guard has secured $1.5 million to temporarily fix Los Alamitos Army Airfield's tattered main runway later this year, a development which may alleviate a recent influx of military cargo planes and fighter jets at Long Beach Airport.

The National Guard, which uses the 1,400-acre complex for troop training and housing and to accommodate government and military air fleets, says money to fix the site's heavy aircraft landing strip should be enough to maintain the runway properly for 5 to 7 more years. Work is expected to begin in the fall and last a few months.

Beyond that, forces are working with Congress to garner several million dollars more for longer-term structural repairs and support.

The runway is suffering from "alligator cracking," a term used to describe perpendicular grooves on the 8,000-foot strip which can catch debris and make landings and takeoffs hazardous, said Sgt. Jan Bender of the California National Guard.

"It's been developing for some time from years of natural wear-and-tear, and so we erred on the side of caution when we shut down the main runway" in early 2009, Bender said. "The runway is still open for what we call `mission- critical' landings and takeoffs, but most pilots are urged to use other nearby facilities."

For the most part, those other "facilities" have been Long Beach Airport, which sits just a few miles northwest of the Los Alamitos facility.

Through the end of December, military operations at Long Beach Airport had increased by 48.5 percent from 2008, from 582 takeoffs and landings in 2008 to 864 in 2009. Much of the military and government increase is attributed to traffic from Los Alamitos, which handles such aircraft as Boeing's C-17, as well as Lockheed's C-130 and C-5 transporters and F-16 and F-18 fighter jets.

The Department of Defense lists Los Alamitos as one of the continental United States' most active Army air fields, handling some 1,100 annual takeoffs and landings annually.

While the airport can still handle some of that load on its shorter runways and landing pads, the damaged main runway has caused a massive diversion, Bender said.

For its part, Long Beach has welcomed the increased military and government presence, despite a few complaints from neighbors regarding noise and late arrivals, which constituted about 1 percent of the airport's total noise complaint tally for 2009, according to airport records.

But it has raised the question of Los Alamitos Airfield's future, and prompted federal legislators and the National Guard to begin lobbying for funds to ensure the main runway remains viable for decades.

Airport and National Guard officials are reportedly working with area Congress members, including Rep. Jane Harman, D-Torrance, to secure long-term funding for the site, which officially sits in Republican Rep. Ed Royce's 40th District.

The Long Beach Airport Advisory Commission had been expected to consider a formal appeal to Harman, who sits on the House's Energy and Commerce Committee, regarding repairs to the air strip, but their Jan. 21 meeting was canceled due to flooding.

However, the issue will again be raised during the commission's Feb. 18 hearing at Skylinks Municipal Golf Course, 4800 E. Wardlow Road, in Long Beach.

"We'll give an update of the situation to the airport advisory commission (in February) and leave it up to them to decide if they want to write a letter or make any formal overtures to the appropriate authority or authorities," said Airport Spokeswoman Sharon Diggs-Jackson.

(Kristopher Hanson - Long Beach Press Telegram)

Air Canada Announces New Service to Orange County plus 6 other U.S. Destinations

Air Canada today announced new services for seven more American cities, fortifying its Toronto hub and strengthening its position as the leading transborder carrier with the most daily flights between Canada and the U.S. of any airline.

"This additional service to seven more U.S. cities further solidifies Air Canada's position as the leading transborder carrier between Canada and the U.S. and the Number One foreign carrier flying to the United States -- offering the most flights per day to more destinations in the U.S. than any other international airline," said Ben Smith, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. "It also demonstrates our commitment to drive Toronto's growth as a hub. Air Canada is already the leading carrier at Toronto's Lester B. Pearson International Airport. Centralized in a single terminal, Air Canada's Toronto hub is the most convenient gateway to and from the U.S., offering multiple connection options for passengers travelling anywhere in our global network. Our strategy is to leverage our hub to make it a global transfer point for domestic, transborder and international travellers."

This spring, Air Canada will offer new daily service between Toronto and seven more American cities including: Orange County (Santa Ana) and San Diego, California; Portland, Oregon; Memphis, Tennessee; Cincinnati, Ohio; Portland, Maine; and Syracuse, New York. Flights will be non-stop and conveniently timed for connections with flights on Air Canada's extensive domestic and international network. Customers can earn and redeem Aeroplan miles on each route.

Air Canada is also adding four new international destinations from Toronto this summer. The airline has announced it will begin flying to Athens, Barcelona, and Copenhagen, and offer same-plane, direct service to Brussels through Montreal.

"Today's route announcement is great news for passengers flying between Canada and the US," according to Pamela Griffith-Jones, Vice President, Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA). "We have worked with our airline customers' needs in mind to create opportunities for route expansion. We are very pleased with Air Canada's continued commitment to using Pearson as a connection point with the US, and as a gateway to connect passengers to destinations around the world."

The seven new U.S. transborder routes are:

Orange County, Calif April 6, Daily, Air Canada A319
2010 year round
San Diego, Calif June 17, Daily, Air Canada A319
2010 year round
Portland, Ore June 17, Daily, Air Canada E90
2010 year round
Memphis, Tenn May 17, Twice Daily, Air Canada Jazz CRJ
2010 year round
Cincinnati, Ohio May 17, Twice Daily Air Canada Jazz CRJ
Portland, Maine May 17, Twice Daily Air Georgian Beech1900D
Syracuse, N.Y. May 17, Twice Daily Air Georgian Beech1900D

(Air Canada)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Visit to Victorville (VCV/KVCV)

It was a gorgeous day in SoCal today so we decided to take the new APF Staff Vehicle (Dodge Ram 2500 "Mega Cab") for a spin. We headed to Victorville (VCV/KVCV) to check out some of the aircraft stored there but before hitting the airport we stopped at the "Out Post" an authentic truck stop for a hardy breakfast.

FedEx MD-10-10(F) (46615/76) N381FE arrived at (VCV/KVCV) this past Friday 01/22/2010 for storage.
Boeing 717-231 (55081/5045) now stored at VCV, most recently operated with Bangkok Air as HS-PGQ "Sokhothai" as can be seen by the sporty livery. The aircraft was originally delivered to Trans World Airlines (TWA) on 12/28/2000 as N2414E with whom served until March 2002.

Ex-Midwest 717-2BL (55193/5153) N927ME was delivered to the carrier on 03/07/2006 but now waits in Victorville for her departure to her new operator, Mexicana Click.

Ex-SilverJet 767-216(ER) (23624/144) G-SJET (now reg'ed N480JC) sits engineless at Victorville awaiting her next assignment.

Ex-MaxJet 767-238(ER) (23306/125) N250MY has been a guest at Victorville since the carriers demise in December 2007.
(All Photos by Michael Carter)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Florida Air Transport C-54G / DC-4 in Haiti

A good friend of APF Greg Drawbaugh, recently had the good fortune to accompany Florida Air Transport on an earthquake relief flight to Haiti. The aircraft used on the flight was Douglas C-54G/DC-4 (cn 35944) N406WA, ex-United States Army Air Force 45-0491 which was delivered to the USAAF June 19, 1945. He sent along a cuople photos taken on the trip for everyone to enjoy.

(Photos by Greg Drawbaugh)

Greg was also interviewed by a news crew reporting on the flight, check out the clip.

Today at Long Beach (LGB/KLGB)

It has been raining all week here in SoCal but we finally got a slight break this afternoon, here are few examples of what we captured.

Cessna 525B Citation CJ3 (cn 525B-0306) N949LL.

Catalina Flying Boats Cessna 208 "Super Caravan" (cn 208B0150) N9680B returning from a run to Catalina Island.

jetBlue ERJ-190-100IGW (cn 19000185) N294JB "Room With A Blue"

jetBlue A320-232 (cn 1971) N559JB "Here's Looking At Blue Kid"

jetBlue ERJ-190-100IGW (cn 19000002) N289JB "Blue Complete Me"
(All Photos by Michael Carter)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Southwest Airlines Reports 4th Quarter / Full Year Profit for 2009

Southwest Airlines Co. beat analysts’ estimates as it reported net income of $116 million for the fourth quarter, helping it avoid its first annual loss since 1972.

Excluding special items, the Dallas-based earned $74 million, or 10 cents a share, compared to the consensus estimate of 7 cents a share.

Although the company remained profitable, the results fell short of its earnings a year earlier. Southwest earned $99 million, or 13 cents a share, in 2009, compared to $178 million, or 24 cents a share.

Excluding special items, Southwest earned $143 million, or 19 cents share, in 2009, compared to $294 million, or 40 cents a share, in 2008.

“In what has been, perhaps, the most difficult revenue environment the airline industry has ever faced, we are extremely proud to report our 2009 earnings, which represents our 37th consecutive year of profitability,” Southwest chairman and chief executive officer Gary Kelly said.

“To report any profit in these times is a major accomplishment, and I could not be more proud of our employees who worked so hard to finish the year strong with a fourth quarter and full year profit,” he said.

Kelly said unit revenues, or revenues per available seat mile flown, increased 7.4 percent in the fourth quarter.

By comparison, Continental Airlines reported on Thursday that its unit revenues declined 8.6 percent in the fourth quarter compared to a year earlier, and American Airlines Inc. said Wednesday that its passenger unit revenues fell 4.3 percent.

“With strong revenue and booking trends continuing thus far into 2010, we expect another year-over-year increase in unit revenue for first quarter 2010,” Kelly said.

He said Southwest has no plans at present to increase capacity in 2010.

(Terry Maxon - Dallas Morning News)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New G550 Captured at Long Beach

(Photo by Michael Carter)

New G550 (cn 5244) N800DL ex N744GA, rolls for takeoff on Rwy 30 at Long Beach (LGB/KLGB) as it departs for San Jose (SJC/KSJC) this afternoon.

Los Angeles - Sydney now daily with Qantas A380

(Photo by Michael Carter)

Qantas Airways said today it would significantly increase its Airbus A380 services between the United States and Australia from today.

•Los Angeles-Sydney services will increase from four per week to daily; and
•Los Angeles-Melbourne services will increase from two to three per week.

Qantas Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Alan Joyce, said the move from six to 10 A380 services per week between the two countries followed the recent delivery of the airline's fifth and sixth aircraft.

"The Airbus A380 is the flagship of the Qantas fleet," Mr. Joyce said. "With product and interiors designed by Qantas Creative Director, Australian designer Marc Newson, it offers customers unprecedented levels of space and comfort.

"It is an aircraft that generates strong customer demand and overwhelmingly positive customer feedback. More than 550,000 people have now flown on Qantas A380 services.

"As Australia's premier airline, we are proud to be the only carrier offering A380 services from the U.S., and from March 29, our six-strong fleet will enable us to offer daily A380 services between Los Angeles and Sydney for the first time, and also increase weekly services from Los Angeles to Melbourne."


Check out this Weather Warning in the Los Angeles Area

Here's something totally out of the norm for us here in Long Beach (LGB/KLGB) but extremely interesting. We did have a lot of heavy rain which just ended.

Tornado Warning

1236 PM PST TUE JAN 19 2010








Sunday, January 17, 2010

Photo of the Day / Strategic Airlines A330-223

(Photo by Michael Dawson)

Our photo of the day comes from down under and the beautiful city of Brisbane, Australia. Stategic Airlines first A330-223 (324) VH-SSA "Outback" is caught resting in the afternoon summer sun at Brisbane (Eagle Farm) Airport (BNE/YBBN) on January 16, 2010.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Photo of the Day / Eddy Guals Miami Slide Fest

(Photo by Greg Drawbaugh)

This week is the annual Miami Slide Fest hosted by Eddy Gual, unfortunately I could not make this year. I have however been getting some photo reports from the show and the above was taken today while the group was on the ramp tour at (MIA/KMIA).

Foreign Object Debris (FOD) found in 2nd 787 Fuel Tank

Boeing's second flight test 787 is set to make its second flight, a return trip to Everett, for a thorough cleaning of its fuel tank following the discovery of foreign object debris (FOD).

The FOD was found trapped in the fuel filter following the aircraft's 22 December first flight to Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington.

Boeing confirms that "crews discovered very small amounts of debris" inside the aircraft's fuel tank during a planned non-operating period following first flight.

Programme sources say a piece of cheese cloth left in one of the aircraft's fuel tanks is said to be responsible for the return to Everett, where the facilities to accomplish the cleaning are located.

When crews went into the fuel tank to remove the cheese cloth, additional small objects were found in the tank as well, sources add.

Boeing declines to specify what type of FOD was found, saying only that there were "particulates" found in the tank.

While the FOD issue was being addressed at Boeing Field, site of the company's flight test centre, ZA002 remained on test status, concurrently completing ground hours toward the certification campaign.

The company did not specify how long the cleaning process would take, saying only that it "is expected to be completed quickly".

Boeing believes the FOD was left inside the tank during the manufacturing process and the company has already taken steps to refine the process in the factory to avoid future issues.

While several programme sources familiar with the incident call it a "minor setback" and Boeing insists that the cleaning "won't impact the schedule in any significant way", the discovery slows the pace of early accumulation of flight test hours.

ZA001, sistership to ZA002, continues initial airworthiness trials which are said to be going to smoothly.

ZA001 has completed a total of 14 flights to date since its maiden sortie on 15 December, accumulating nearly 60 hours of flight time in the process.

Boeing has provided itself up to a year to conduct certification for its new long-range twin, but aims to deliver the first 787 to Japan's All Nippon Airways in late September. However, Boeing has provided itself additional margin, officially targeting delivery the fourth quarter.

(Jon Owstrower - FlightGlobal Aviation News)

Southwest Airlines CEO Gives Advice to White House

The White House says it wants to make government more customer-friendly – so it turned to an airline for advice.

In an industry in which companies keep alienating customers with fees and late arrivals, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines has done the opposite. The carrier has managed to embed loyalty in employees and travelers.

So the White House asked on Thursday – how do you do it?

"You need to know what you are," Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly told administration officials at a White House forum on modernizing government. "It's more important for us to be on time and have great employees ... than offer frills."

Kelly was one of several dozen CEOs at the forum, but he was the focus of a discussion on customer service. The forum was another chance for the Obama administration, which has feuded with some parts of the business lobby, to butter up corporate leaders such as Microsoft's Steve Ballmer and PepsiCo.'s Indra Nooyi.

Kelly counseled the administration to find ways to constantly get tips from customers and employees, and avoid single-shot surveys that allow companies to "check the box."

Some of the best ways to communicate with customers don't cost much, he said, citing comments on the airline's blog as valuable feedback that many companies might pay a research firm to generate.

Continental Airlines Announces New Seasonal Alaska Service

Continental Airlines 737-824 (31601/1567) N37290 on short final to Rwy 1L at Las Vegas (LAS/KLAS) on February 26, 2008. (Photo by Michael Carter)

Continental Airlines today announced daily summer seasonal service between Portland, Ore. and Anchorage, Alaska. The nonstop flights will operate from June 10, 2010 through Sept. 6, 2010.

"We're pleased to expand our service to Anchorage with another route from the Pacific Northwest," said Jim Ferea, Continental's managing director scheduling. "The new flights will provide more convenience for our customers and will complement our existing Anchorage service from Seattle and Houston."

The flight from Portland International Airport (PDX) will depart at 6:10 p.m. and arrive at Ted Stevens International Airport (ANC) in Anchorage at 8:55 p.m. The return flight will depart Anchorage at 1:25 a.m. and arrive in Portland at 6:15 a.m. Continental will operate the flight with a Boeing 737-800 with 160 seats.

Continental offers daily nonstop service to Anchorage during the summer from its Houston hub at Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and same plane one-stop service the rest of the year, as well as year-round daily nonstop service from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). In addition, same plane one-stop service from Continental's New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) will resume effective Feb. 11, 2009.

Continental Airlines is the world's fifth largest airline. Continental, together with Continental Express and Continental Connection, has more than 2,400 daily departures throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, serving 130 domestic and 132 international destinations. Continental is a member of Star Alliance, which overall offers 19,700 daily flights to 1,077 airports in 175 countries through its 26 member airlines. With more than 41,000 employees, Continental has hubs serving New York, Houston, Cleveland and Guam, and together with its regional partners, carries approximately 63 million passengers per year.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Australian G550 at Long Beach

New G550 VH-LAL (cn 5259) ex-N959GA is now painted and on the Gulfstream flight ramp at Long Beach (LGB/KLGB).

Other Gulfstreams of note at Long Beach:

G-IV (G300) (cn 1508) N820TM arrived at 1600.

G450 (cn 4112) N703LH, ex-N612GA arrived at 1620.

G-V (cn 556) HB-JES was towed from mid-field run back to the Gulfstream facilities.

Photo of the Day / AirTran 717-2BD N949AT "Orlando Magic" Livery

(Photo by Jay Selman)

AirTran Airways 717-2BD (55003/5004) N949AT, ex N459MD (MD-95-30), N717XD delivered 01/27/2000, now sports the "Orlando Magic" livery and is captured taxiing at Atlanta-Hartsfield (ATL/KATL) recently.

Monday, January 11, 2010

John Wayne Airport December Traffic

Airline passenger traffic at John Wayne Airport (SNA/KSNA) increased in December 2009as compared to December 2008. In December 2009, the Airport served 734,285 passengers, an increase of 6.5% when compared to the 689,589 passenger traffic count of December 2008.

Commercial Carrier flight operations increased 8.7%, while Commuter Carrier (air taxi) operations decreased 57.9% when compared to operations recorded in December 2008.

Total aircraft operations increased in December 2009 as compared to the same month in 2008. In December 2009, there were 17,427 total aircraft operations (take-offs and landings), an increase of 7.4% when compared to 16,226 total aircraft operations in December 2008.

General aviation activity, which accounted for 57% of the total aircraft operations during December 2009, increased 13.5% when compared to December 2008.

John Wayne Airport (SNA) is a self-supporting enterprise, owned and operated by the County of Orange, serves nearly nine million passengers annually and is governed by the five-member Orange County Board of Supervisors.

(John Wayne Airport Press Release)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Photo of the Day / Southwest Airlines 737-2H4

(Photo - Jon Proctor Collection)

A lovely in-flight photo of Southwest Airlines first new 737-2H4 (20369/267) N20SW delivered 06/02/1971 and sporting the carriers original livery.

Friday, January 8, 2010

BCS Charter Flights at Long Beach (LGB/KLGB) Today

Sun Country "SCX8689" 737-8K2 (28380/524) PH-HZI arrived 1012 from Minneapolis (MSP/KMSP) / "SCX8689" departing 1156 to Birmingham (BHM/KBHM).

Continental Airlines "COA1932" 757-33N (32592/1008) N77867 arrived from Los Angeles (LAX/KLAX) 1034 / "COA1909" departing 1211 to Austin (AUS/KAUS).

USAJet "JUS949" MD-83 (53022/1809) N949NS departed 1220 to Tuscaloosa Regional Airport (CTL/KCTL).

Delta Airlines "DAL8899" 757-232 (30486/953) N6715C arrived from Atlanta-Hartsfield (ATL/KATL) at 1338 / Departing "DAL8899" 1506 to Tuscaloosa Regional Airport (CTL/KCTL).

Sun Country "SCX8690" 737-8BK (29660/2355) N811SY arrived from Minneapolis (MSP/KMSP) at 0820 / departing SCX8690 0959 to Birmingham (BHM/KBHM).

Sun Country "SCX8688" 737-8Q8 (30683/1669) N809SY arrived from Minneapolis (MSP/KMSP) / departing "SCX8688" 1052 to Birmingham (BHM/KBHM).

Delta Airlines "DAL8898" 757-232 (24394/264) N654DL arrived from Atlanta-Hartsfield (ATL/KATL) / departing "DAL8898" 1407 to Tuscaloosa Regional Airport (TCL/KTCL).

(Photos by Michael Carter)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

An Interesting Perspective on Allegiant Air MD-80 Purchase

Airline industry followers all know that Allegiant Air (ALGT) flies a fleet of MD-80s, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see the airline pick up a bunch more as they did this week. Digging in to the order, which was for 18 aircraft from SAS, shows how different this airline’s model truly is when compared to just about any other airline.

Allegiant currently operates 46 MD-80s, so this order for 18 MD-80s from SAS is a big deal.It’s not, however, as big of a deal as it may seem at first. Of those 18 airplanes, only 13 will actually be put into service. The remaining 5? Those were bought simply to be used as parts for existing airplanes.

But this is still a big increase for the airline. In addition to two other SAS aircraft bought previously, this will increase the fleet size by nearly a third. These aircraft won’t be fully integrated into the fleet until the end of 2011, but that’s still a large amount of growth.

How are they paying for such growth? Cold, hard cash. Wait, what?
That’s right, they’re paying cash. And you know why? These airplanes are absurdly cheap. Allegiant says that it expects to pay less than $4 million per airplane to acquire it and get it prepared completely to enter service with the airline (new seats, paint, maintenance etc). In fact, in a recent investor report, Allegiant noted that MD-80 prices were falling off a cliff.

The acquisition cost is probably closer to only $1 million. So if we look at buying 13 airplane to get ready for service along with 5 just to hold on to for parts, that’s probably only around $57 million, less than the list price of a single new 737-800. No wonder they’re paying cash.

Allegiant is really the only buyer out there, except for scrap yards. And since Allegiant doesn’t run its airplanes too hard, these can probably be good for many years to come. Douglas used to build planes like tanks. Heck, Delta is still running 40+ year old DC-9s. The SAS MD-80s are mostly early to mid 1990’s vintage, so they still have a long time to go.

But the purchase of those 5 MD-80s for parts is actually a particularly interesting twist to this model. The price of an MD-80 has come down so much that Allegiant can save a ton by simply buying these up and using the parts. That investor presentation had more on this.

It apparently costs about $1 million for Allegiant to overhaul an engine. Now they can buy an entire plane for that price, so they just ditch the old engines, slap some new ones on, and part out the rest of the airplane to use as spares or to sell on the open market for profit. This is one case where the parts are worth more than the whole.

It’s also a great example of how Allegiant continues to keep its costs incredibly low. They’re really looking at all possible angles to find ways to remain highly profitable.

In addition to writing BNET's travel industry blog, Brett Snyder also pens the awardwinning consumer travel blog, Cranky Flier. You can follow him on Twitter under the name crankyflier.

Highlites Today at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB)

USA Jet MD-83 (53022/1809) N949NS (ex Alaska Airlines N949AS) arrives in Long Beach at 1327 as "JUS949" following a flight from Tuscaloosa, Alabama (TCL/KTCL). The chartered flight brought University of Alabama Ulumni in for the BSC Championship game to be played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on 01/07/2009. (Photo by Michael Carter)

jetBlue ERJ-190-100IGW (19000292) N316JB "Usto Schultz" rolls for take-off on Rwy 30 as it departs to San Francisco International (SFO/KSFO) as "jetBlue 1440 at 1531.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Cessna 208B Caravan (208B2070) N516NC operated by NAPA Caravan LLC rotates from Rwy 30 at 1534 bound for NAPA County Airport (APC/KAPC). (Photo by Michael Carter)

United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Purchase Six C-17A aircraft

Boeing and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Air Force and Air Defence today announced that the UAE has signed a contract for the acquisition of six Boeing C-17 Globemaster III advanced airlifters. The UAE, which announced in 2009 that it would modernize its airlift capabilities with the C-17, is the second Middle East nation to order the airlifter.

"The C-17 will give the UAE the ability to perform a variety of humanitarian and strategic lift operations around the world in support of both national and international missions," said Major General Staff Pilot Faris Mohamed Al Mazrouei. "These missions require us to be ready for any contingency at any time and any place, and the C-17 meets our requirements."

Under the agreement, the UAE will take delivery of four C-17s in 2011 and two in 2012. Financial terms are not being disclosed.

"Boeing is pleased that the UAE Air Force has selected the C-17 to meet its airlift requirements for the 21st century," said Jean Chamberlin, Boeing vice president, Global Mobility Systems. "The C-17 consistently posts mission capability rates that are among the best in the world, earning it high marks for its industry-leading quality and reliability."

Boeing will provide support for the UAE C-17s through the C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership, an agreement under which Boeing is responsible for all C-17 sustainment activities, including material management and depot maintenance support.

"As a tactical and strategic airlifter, the C-17 is a perfect fit for the requirements of the United Arab Emirates Air Force," said Tommy Dunehew, Boeing Global Mobility Systems vice president of Business Development. "In addition to being able to land and take off on short, unimproved runways, it has the highest mission capability rate of any airlifter."

The C-17 can carry large combat equipment and troops or humanitarian aid across international distances directly to small austere airfields anywhere in the world. With a full payload of 170,000 pounds, the C-17 can fly 2,400 nautical miles and land in 3,000 feet or less.

There are currently 212 C-17s in service worldwide -- 19 with international customers. The U.S. Air Force, including active Guard and Reserve units, has 193. International customers include Qatar, the UK Royal Air Force, the Canadian Forces, the Royal Australian Air Force, and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations

(Boeing Company News)

Gulfstreams of Interest at Long Beach (LGB/KLGB) 01/05/2010

G550 (cn 5015) N565ST departed at 1308 (destination unknown).

G-V (cn 505) N371JC departed at 1318 (destination unknown).

G200 Galaxy (cn 069) N708QS arrived at 1326 from Kahului, Maui (PHOG/OOG).

IAI 1125 Astra SP (G100) (cn 058) C-FDAX departed for Vancouver, B.C. (YVR/CYVR) at 1506.

(All Photos by Michael Carter)

G550 (cn 5262) N562GA arrived at 1830 from Anchorage, Alaska (ANC/PANC).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sun Country Airlines at Long Beach

737-8Q8 (28237/769) N813SY (ex-Sterling European Airlines OY-SED), arrived at 1311 as Flt. SCX8685, departing to Minneapolis-St.Paul (MSP/KMSP) at 1403 as Flt. SCX8685.

737-8Q8 (30683/1669) N809SY, arrived at 1336 as Flt SCX686, departing to Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP/KMSP) at 1414 as Flt. SCX 686.

737-8Q8 (30689/908) N804SY, arrived at 1424 as Flt SCX8687, departing to Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP/KMSP) at 1514 as Flt SCX8687.

(All Photos by Michael Carter)

Sun Country Airlines operated three 737-800's from Tuscaloosa, Alabama (TCL/KTCL) to Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) today bringing in the University of Alabama Marching Band who will perform at the BCS National Championship game to be played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena this Thursday

Quantum Air Returns two 717's

Skyliners magazine reports that Spanish carrier Quantum Air, has returned two of it's five 717-200 aircraft to their lessor with the three remaining 717's to be returned later this year to be replaced with five MD-82/83 aircraft.

More MD-90-30's Destined for Delta Airlines

According to a report in Skyliners magazine (January/February 2010), Delta Airlines has reached an agreement with China Eastern Airlines to acquire the chinese carriers fleet of 9 MD-90-30 aircraft with deliveries to commence later this year.

Challenges Lie Ahead for 787 Production

While the most visible part of the 787 programme is centred on the start of flight-testing the largely composite twin-engined jetliner, Boeing continues to evolve the Dreamliner's production system while tackling the challenges that lie ahead for the base of global suppliers.

Concurrent flight-testing and production are not new to modern aircraft production, yet the impact of design changes discovered during flight-testing can reverberate back through the already built aircraft and those in process.

"I'm incredibly interested in the flying of the airplane. What's relevant to us is the pull signals [from Boeing] and the changes that come back around from flight test," said Jeff Turner, chief executive of Spirit AeroSystems on 3 December at the Credit Suisse First Boston Aerospace & Defense conference.


Spirit is responsible for fabrication and integration of the forward fuselage of the 787, which includes the flightdeck, as well as the pylons and the fixed and movable leading edges of the wings.

Turner is cautious about the prospect of widespread design changes emerging from flight-testing as Boeing learns more about the capabilities of the aircraft. Even before the first aircraft took to the skies on 15 December, incorporating those changes has been an enormous challenge for Boeing's dispersed supply chain, which as the programme has progressed has agonised over when and where those design changes should make their way into aircraft.

Negotiations over change incorporation has resulted in fully completed sections of the aircraft being shipped to Everett, only to see significant portions of the work later removed and updated at final assembly slowing the flow of the line.

Beyond answering "where and when" the design changes are incorporated, the question of responsibility for paying for the associated design work and incorporation has been anything but uniform during the 787 programme's two years of amassed delays.

Retrofits to aircraft as a result of certification or flight test "is not a novel idea to the industry", says Turner, weary of the potential cost associated with the extent of an unknown number of likely changes.

Those modifications, Turner and other suppliers say, are inevitable as flight-test programmes reveal areas requiring redesign, but to what extent are these necessary and how should the responsibility be shared?

Across the programme, first-tier suppliers recently incorporated a comprehensive package of design changes starting with Airplane 13, delivered to final assembly in Everett in November. The update, mainly focused on the wiring system, dubbed "net change 5" or NC5, allowed Boeing's structural suppliers to harmonise their designs, reducing the need for further re-work after arrival at final assembly.

The road to selecting Airplane 13, programme sources say, was an arduous back-and-forth between Boeing and its top-tier suppliers to determine the point of incorporation of the newest changes to the 787's design.

Buck Buchanan, Spirit's chief operating officer, says of NC5: "We anticipate that being the last major wiring change - we hope."


The March 2008 buyout of Vought's 50% share of Global Aeronautica was the first major outward step allowing Boeing to expand its reach inside Charleston, bringing a direct oversight to the centre fuselage facility to better manage the staff on-site.

Ultimately, the acquisition of Vought's share of the 787's aft fuselage in July, as well as the complete ownership of Global Aeronautica, has allowed Boeing to work within its own operational structure, setting its own timetables for change incorporation while more effectively managing the cost of those changes, say those working directly in manufacturing operations.

The 22 December announcement of the acquisition of the remaining 50% of Global Aeronautica marks the fourth major industrial change at the company's North Charleston site, reflecting an incrementally growing role that initially began as increased oversight and has culminated in the complete ownership and operation of the company's East Coast production base.

Boeing has transformed its own role on the programme, initially fabricating only the tail of the 787 to fabricating the aft fuselage, as well as integrating the centre, representing two-thirds of the 787's fuselage.

But the question remains as to whether Boeing can leverage the initial ambition of its global supply chain and deliver unprecedented cost savings during the production of its all-new jetliner.

"We don't doubt that the technology has already been respected," says Carter Copeland, aerospace analyst at Barclays Capital. "It's actually building it and building it profitably that remains to be seen."

While managing the new expanded facilities at Global Aeronautica and Boeing Charleston, the company will be investing significant resources to increase production flow through the final assembly line inside Building 40-26 at the company's Everett facility, while establishing the planned "surge" assembly line inside Building 40-24 to enable a 10-aircraft a month rate by the end of 2013.

Furthermore, Boeing's selection of North Charleston as the future home to its second 787 final assembly line, the first new commercial facility the company has built since the 1960s, is an estimated $750 million investment.


Boeing faces the challenge of setting up a new final assembly line on the South Carolina site that will initially build three 787s a month, allowing Everett to slow to seven aircraft a month. The Charleston final assembly line is set to be operational by July 2011, with its first 787-8 delivered in the first quarter of

Aravind Melligeri, co-founder and chairman of Quest Global, the engineering consultancy and manufacturer whose aerospace production includes 787 landing gear components it supplies to Messier-Dowty, remarked before the first flight that if Boeing were to rush to full output "the supply chain would be scrambling. We've all been sitting back waiting for this aircraft to fly."

He added that a rate of six a month would be more manageable than the planned 10 aircraft a month.

Boeing defends its plans, saying that it "not rushing to achieve rate". It adds: "Our stated schedule is 10 a month by late 2013. There's an orderly plan in place to meet that goal. Boeing and its partners are working to that plan and are in regular contact to ensure production system health."

Boeing closed 2009 with 16 787s assembled, a number that includes two ground test airframes, six flight-test aircraft, two of which are now flying, plus the first eight production aircraft. Parts for the 17th aircraft had already begun to arrive as the year closed.

The company has been slowly ramping up since the middle of 2009, increasing the deliveries from structural partners with the June arrival of aircraft seven, the first production 787.

Boeing has been receiving parts for each 787 about twice per calendar month, with that number expected to rise early in 2010 as the rate accelerates around mid-February, programme sources say.

As Boeing pushes forward with its ambitious production ramp-up spread across its global suppliers, the company is continually aware of the lessons learnt and now applied.

Pat Shanahan, vice-president of airplane programmes at Boeing and former chief of the 787 programme, said following the 787's first flight: "How you choose your schedule is a big deal. Technically there weren't any obstacles we couldn't overcome. We were running a fast race and we probably shouldn't have made it as challenging. We didn't have to make it as challenging."

(Jon Ostrower - Flight Global News)

Mesa Files Chapter 11

US operator Mesa Air Group has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in order to undergo financial restructuring.

Its joint Hawaiian inter-island operation Go!-Mokulele is not part of the filing.

Mesa Air Group says its business will continue unaffected, including its codeshare arrangements with United Airlines, US Airways and Delta Air Lines.

It has filed its reorganisation petition with the Southern District of New York bankruptcy court.

"This process will allow us to eliminate excess aircraft to better match our needs and give us the flexibility to align our business to the changing regional airline marketplace, ensuring a leaner and more competitive company poised for future success," says Mesa chief Jonathan Ornstein.

While the company has worked with lessors and creditors to restructure its finances, Ornstein says: "We are nonetheless faced with an untenable financial situation resulting primarily from our continued lease obligations on aircraft excess to our current requirements."

Mesa operates a fleet of about 130 aircraft.

(David Kaminski-Morrow / Flight Global News)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Allegiant Air Buys Additional MD-80 Aircraft

Allegiant Air Md-83 (49623/1499) N405NV ex-Nordic Leisure SE-RFA arrives in Las Vegas (LAS/KLAS) sporting "Blue Man Group" titles. (Photo by Michael Carter)

Scandinavian airline SAS said Monday it had contracted to sell 18 MD-80 aircraft to US-based firm Allegiant Travel Company for an undisclosed amount.

The airline said in a statement the sale of the surplus aircraft would reduce its net debt by about SEK200 million Swedish kronor (USD$27.95 million).

SAS plans to divest a total of 21 aircraft as part of its ongoing cost-cutting efforts, including the 18 already sold to Allegiant, the parent company of Allegiant Air, it said.

The Scandinavian airline said it made no capital gain or loss on the deal.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

(Photo by Michael Carter)
Gulfstream G450 (cn 4154) N92HL departed John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA/KSNA) bound for Santa Fe Municple Airport (SAF/KSAF) at 08:04.

Photo of the Day / United Airways (Bangladesh) MD-83

(Photo by James Mepsted)

United Airways (Bangladesh) MD-83 (49790/1643) S2-AEU arrives at London-Gatwick (LGW/EGKK) approximately 15 1/2 hours late allowing for this spectacular winter afternoon photo. The aircraft was originally delivered to Spanair on 10/24/1989 as EC-307 "Sunflower" later being re-registered as EC-ESJ and then again to EC-EZC. Following it's retirement from the Spanair fleet, the aircraft was operated by Aviajet as OE-LHG and then by Flightline as G-FLTL when it sported titles.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Photos from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) January 2, 2009

A319-115XCJ (3356) 9H-SNA operated by Comlux Aviation Malta, graces the skies above LAX as she arrives on a lovely afternoon.

Korean Airlines 747-4B5 (26394/986) HL7488 sports special markings commemorating the Korean Audio Guide Service at the British Museum.

Volaris A319-133 (3045) XA-VOD "Diego" captured on short final to Rwy 25L.

Embraer EMB-135BJ (14501014) N226HY which is operated by Blue Skies EL 600 LLC, arrives in Los Angeles on a simply gorgeous afternoon.

British Airways 747-436 (24629/841) G-BNLS sports special "DreamFlight" titles as this aircraft was used recently to fly disabled and sick children to Orlando, Florida for a visit to Disneyland.
(All Photos by Michael Carter)