New Boeing C-17A (P-199) 08-8199 destined for McGuire AFB has emerged from the paint shop and is now on the flight ramp at Long Beach (LGB/KLGB). In the above photo taken April 27, the aircraft is seen on a gloomy Tuesday morning being prepped for her first flight.
Southern California Aircraft Spotting (Featuring Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX), Gulfstream News, plus Domestic and International Airline News
Thursday, April 29, 2010
New C-17A on Boeing flight ramp
New Boeing C-17A (P-199) 08-8199 destined for McGuire AFB has emerged from the paint shop and is now on the flight ramp at Long Beach (LGB/KLGB). In the above photo taken April 27, the aircraft is seen on a gloomy Tuesday morning being prepped for her first flight.
Allegiant Air takes gamblers to Laughlin, Nevada
Second Turkish AF G550 flies
The second G550 destined for the Turkish Air Force, departed Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) this morning at 0820 on a pre-delivery test flight arriving back in Long Beach at 1332.
Cleveland Indians depart from Long Beach
Continental Airlines 737-824 (31634/1440) N34282 ferried from Ontario International Airport (ONT/KONT) to Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) yesterday, April 28 arriving at 1718 as COA1930 to pick-up the Cleveland Indians. Following a 4-3 loss to the Anaheim Angels the Indians arrived at KLGB and departed at 2048 bound for Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport (CLE/KCLE) on COA1901.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Cessna 208 Caravans on Floats at Orange County
Sunday, April 25, 2010
New York Yankees limp out of Orange County
Dornier 328jet Visits Orange County
Corporate Flight International Dornier 328-310 328jet (3174) N38VP arrived at John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA/KSNA) from Las Vegas - McCarran International Airport (LAS/KLAS) at 1504 as VHT38 and parked on the Signature flight ramp. It departed SNA at 1552 again as VHT38 on it's return trip back to LAS.
Sky Airlines third A320 Readies for Delivery
The third A320 for Turkish Airline Sky Airlines was rolled out of the paint shop at Nottingham/Leicester/Derby-East Midlands (Castle Donington) (EMA/EGNX) recently. A320-232 (c/n 1194) G-MEDE tbr TC-SKT "Kemer" is late of BMI British Midland.
New Egyption Start-up Airline
Friday, April 23, 2010
Southwest Airlines Introduces "Florida One"
Dep TPA 10:45 - Arr JAX 11:30
Dep JAX - 12:20 Arr PBI 13:25
Dep PBI 14:05 - Arr FLL 14:30
Dep FLL 15:10 - Arr MCO 16:15
Dep 17:10 - Arr RSW 18:00
Dep RSW 18:45 - Arr DAL 20:35
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
USAF and McChord AFB take delivery of new C-17A
New G550 performs test hop at Long Beach
New G550 (c/n 5260) N960GA tbr ZK-KFB departed Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) at 1100am returning 13 minutes later at 1113am.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Delta Airlines Operates two Baseball Charter Flights into Orange County
Boeing 737-832 (30816/952) N3760C operated DAL8882 arriving from Lester B. Pearson International Airport (YYZ/CYYZ) in Toronto at 20:11 bringing home the California Angels.
Airbus 319-114 (1520) N328NB operated DAL8894 arriving from Seattle-Tacoma International (SEA/KSEA) at 20:23 bringing the Detroit Tigers into town to play the Angels.
Can You Say Huge? I knew you could!
This is not a Blimp. It's a sort of flying Queen Mary 2 that could change the way you think about air travel. It's the Aeroscraft, and when it's completed, it will ferry pampered passengers across continents and oceans as they stroll leisurely about the one-acre cabin or relax in their staterooms.
Unlike its dirigible ancestors, the Aeroscraft is not lighter than air. It's 14 million cubic feet of helium hoist only two-thirds of the craft's weight. The rigid and surprisingly aerodynamic body, driven by huge rear-ward propellers, generates enough additional lift to keep the behemoth and its 400-ton payload aloft while cruising.
During takeoff and landing, six turbo-fan jet engines push the ship up or ease its descent. This two-football-fields-long airship is the brainchild of Igor Pasternak, whose privately funded California firm, Worldwide Aeros Corporation, is in the early stages of developing a prototype and expects to have one completed by 2010.
Pasternak says several cruise ship companies have expressed interest in the project, and for good reason - the craft would have a range of several thousand miles, and, with an estimated top speed of 174 mph, could traverse the continental United States in about 18 hours.
During the flight, passengers would view national landmarks just 8,000 feet below, or, if they weren't captivated by the view, the cavernous interior would easily accommodate such amenities as luxury staterooms, restaurants even a casino.
The automated system will draw outside air into compartments throughout the ship and compress it to manage onboard weight.
(On a pressurized plane, windows like these would explode outward. The Aeroscraft would not fly high enough to need pressurization )
The company envisions a cargo-carrying version that could deliver a store's worth of merchandise from a centralized distribution center straight to a Wal-Mart parking lot, or, because the helium-filled craft will float, a year's worth of supplies to an offshore oil rig.
'You can land on the snow, you can land on the water, 'Pasternak says. 'It's a new vision of what can be done in the air.'
Aeroscraft Purpose - Long-range travel for passengers who are more concerned with the journey than the destination.
U.S. Navy F/A-18's Visit Long Beach Airport
"Super Hornet" F/A-18F (166455) (c/n F090)
(Photos by Michael Carter)
Two U.S. Navy F/A-18's arrived at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on Friday afternoon April 16 at 13:58. The aircraft are to perform a high speed fly-by just prior to the start of the Long Beach Grand Prix being held today (Sunday April 18) in downtown Long Beach across from the HMS Queen Mary.
** The F/A-18's departed Long Beach Airport at 12:22.**
Friday, April 16, 2010
Long Beach Airport Modernization Plan Approved
The Cultural Heritage Commission unanimously approved the Certificate of Appropriateness for the Terminal Area Improvements on Monday, April 12. The next step towards getting a shovel in the ground is an Approval to Bid and Site Review by City Council; targeted for late summer 2010.
New building construction will total 34,750 square feet, bringing the overall terminal buildings (including existing) to 73,770 square feet. Designed to be compatible with the historic terminal, materials and color schemes will be kept within the Airport's Streamline Moderne style.
"We're focused on exceeding our customer's expectations," said Airport Director Mario Rodriguez, "but not at the expense of our historic building. In fact, we have found a way to maintain and enhance the character of the Long Beach Cultural Heritage Landmark entrusted to us, while providing better customer service for our passengers and our airline partners."
Prior to voting in favor of the project, Commissioner Becky Blair stated that, "the project perfectly balances modernization with art deco."
Mike Kowal, President of Long Beach HUSH2, a homeowner group that previously opposed the project, told the commission that, "this project is fantastic." Mr. Kowal also praised Airport Director Mario Rodriguez and staff for their transparency and their willingness to listen and work with the community.
The concourse project will support 340 jobs and provide modern waiting areas and concessions to exceed customer expectations. Additional amenities include consolidated passenger screening, historic exhibits and a garden and palm court designed to celebrate Long Beach's temperate climate. The project consists of removing temporary trailers used as holdrooms. In their place, one-story permanent holdrooms will be constructed. All improvements will take place on the west side of the historic terminal.
The new passenger terminal concourse is one of four components of the Airport Modernization Plan (AMP). Every phase of AMP was designed with customer convenience and satisfaction in mind. Maximizing the passenger's experience and cost control are LGB priorities.
AMP's first phase is the new 1,989-space parking structure, which is well on its way with construction occurring on the former site of parking lot C. The second phase of AMP is the air carrier ramp improvements, also underway, which includes
greening the commercial ramp. Only one component being the addition of in-ground electric power, which will allow planes to "plug-in," to facilitate boarding and servicing without auxiliary power units, thus reducing emissions and fuel consumption. Phase three is the long-awaited new passenger concourse. Finally, AMP will conclude with the restoration of the historic 1941 terminal.
(City of Long Beach - Press Release)
NATO C-17A "PAPA 3" Returns to Long Beach
We now have a total of 6 six C-17A's at various locations around the airport, the above mentioned, Qatar AF A7-MAB (F-209/Q2) - airline livered a/c, 06-6165 (P-165) Dover, and 96-0002 (P-34) Charleston all parked under the control tower by Building 98. Of course we have our two new a/c 08-8187 (P-197) and 08-8198 (P-198) both on the C-17A flight ramp.
Southwest Airlines says "Buh-Bye" to Westjet
"We prefer the existing terms of our agreement with WestJet. Upon reviewing the number of changes that WestJet has requested, we have decided that it is in the best interest of both parties to move forward independently," said Southwest's Executive Vice President of Strategy and Planning Bob Jordan. "We remain interested in exploring the possibility of one day offering service to Canada if it makes sense for Southwest and for our Customers. That would not rule out future codeshare relationships with Canadian carriers, or flying north of the border ourselves."
Long Beach Aviation Friends (LGB Airport Supporters)
Minutes April 14, 2010 Meeting
1. Chief Pilot, Barbara Velten, called the meeting to order at 6:40 pm at Air Flite, 15 members attended.
2. Barb introduced Christine Edwards from the Airport Staff who reported on the latest construction and plans at LGB. Christine showed a video of the plans for the new passenger gate facility at the airport. They hope to have the new gates ready by the end of 2011. LGB is converting to LED lighting on the taxiways and runways on the airfield. When completed this will result in a 90% power reduction for the airfield
3. Christine announced that she is retiring from the airport on April 30th. She talked about her experiences at LGB and Orange County. Barb Velten thanked her for all she has done for the airport and her support of the Long Beach Aviation Friends. She will be missed.
4. Barb Velten introduced Nancy Baggott, Director of the Transportation Security Administration for the Long Beach Airport. She gave an excellent talk about all the actions that TSA is taking to keep the transportation system safe and moving. She suggested that we check the web site www.TSA.gov. There is a lot more going on that just xraying baggage. LGB can expect to see the new full body scanners in the future.
5. Barb Velten announced that the next meeting will be held on July 14th ,our second anniversary as an organization, and will feature a bus tour of the perimeter of Long Beach Airport. This will be a members only event and reservations will be required.
6. At the July meeting, we will elect officers for the coming year. If you are interested in being an officer, send an email to Barb at LongBeachAviationFriends@verizon.net.
7. The meeting adjourned at 8:30 pm.
Christine Edwards reporting on the new passenger gate plan.
Nancy Baggott answering a question from Jacked Up Photos CEO Darryl Bustamante.
Corporate CRJ700 Arrives in Long Beach
Thursday, April 15, 2010
New G550 Readies for Delivery
*Update* The Latest on the AeroUnion A300F Crash
The AeroUnion aircraft came down during poor weather at night on 13 April, following a service designated flight 302 from Mexico City.
Mexico's transportation ministry states that the flight-data and cockpit-voice recorders have been secured, adding: "This information will be crucial for determining the probable cause of this accident."
Both the ministry and Airbus confirm the airframe as serial number 78, a General Electric CF6-powered aircraft registered XA-TUE.
The 31-year old twin-jet, among the earliest Airbus models, had originally been delivered to Air France as a passenger aircraft in May 1979.
It was converted to a freighter in 1998 and operated by carriers including Canada's ICC Air Cargo before being transferred to Mexico City-based AeroUnion in 2002.
Airbus states that the aircraft had carried out 27,600 cycles and accumulated 55,200 flight hours.
The transportation ministry states that the jet was airworthy. It confirms that the aircraft came down between the airport perimeter fence and an access road, and was destroyed by impact and fire.
Monterrey Escobedo Airport is connected at its northern end to the main Miguel Aleman highway by an access road which runs parallel to, and west of, the main runway 11/29. It is unclear whether the aircraft was attempting to land or aborting its approach at the time of the crash.
While the ministry puts the time of the accident at 23:19, Airbus says it occurred shortly after 23:30.
Airbus is sending a team to Mexico to support the inquiry, and the airframer adds that France's Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses will also be involved.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
AeroUnion A300F Goes Down in Mexico
( Photo by Michael Carter)
AeroUnion A300B4-203(F) (c/n 078) XA-TUE "Margo" has unfortunately crashed at Monterry (MTY/MMMY) Mexico. Intial reports indicate that all three crew members and two persons on the ground have been killed. It appears, that the crash occurred at 2302 (local time) as the aircraft was departing as flt. TNO302 bound for Los Angeles (LAX/KLAX).
The aircraft was originally delivered to Air France as F-BVGM on May 31, 1979. The aircraft also saw service with Air Seychelles and Malaysian Airlines before being bought by P-G Aviation (N828SC) and converted to a freighter in early 1999. The aircraft was then leased to and operated by International Cargo Charter as C-FICB "Justin Edward" until being sub-leased to AeroUnion in 2001 and re-registered to XA-TUE.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Orange County (SNA / KSNA) Memories
Alaska Airlines Announces Additional Service Between Portland, Oregan and Hawaii
"We're excited to provide our Portland customers with additional nonstop service to the Hawaiian Islands," said Joe Sprague, Alaska's vice president of marketing. "With its beautiful beaches, historic sites and endless sunshine, Honolulu is a great complement to our existing Portland-Maui nonstop service. Including these new flights, Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air will serve the Portland market with 90 daily departures — more than twice that of any other airline."
Sep 20 - Portland-Honolulu
Sep 20 - Honolulu-Portland
Hawaiian Airlines and AirTran Airways top airlines of 2009 according to a recent survey
At the bottom were three regional carriers: American Eagle, Atlantic Southeast and Comair. Atlantic Southeast and Comair are owned by mainline carrier Delta, which was ranked fourth from last.
Hawaiian has been No. 1 for three of the last four years in the ratings, which are compiled by private researchers based on a combination of airlines' records in four categories: on-time performance, mishandled baggage, denied boardings due mostly to overbookings, and consumer complaints to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
AirTran has been battling Hawaiian for the top spot. It was No. 1 three years ago and finished second last year as well.
Overall, fewer passengers boarded planes last year, but those who did were generally treated better than in the past. Planes were more likely to land on time and bags were less likely to get lost.
As a result, passengers reported fewer complaints even while cash-strapped airlines reduced flight schedules and charged for everything from bags and pillows to prime spots in boarding lines.
U.S. air travel surged to about 770 million passengers in 2007, when airline performance suffered a near meltdown. Performance began improving two years ago as the economy took a toll on air travel. Passengers dropped to about 750 million in 2008 and fell to 704 million last year.
"We kind of turned a little bit of a corner in '08 and we're glad to say they're continuing that generally positive (trend) for the consumer," said Dean Headley, a Wichita State University professor and co-author of an annual analysis of airline quality. "Every airline that we looked at in '08 and '09 got better."
One cloud in the otherwise friendly skies was a slight increase in denied boardings, mostly due to overbooking. The increase was the natural result of fuller planes caused by a decrease in the number of scheduled flights, Headley said.
American Eagle had the highest rate of involuntary denied boardings at 3.76 per 100,000 passengers. Low-cost carrier JetBlue had so few denied boardings that its rate showed up as zero.
The improved service "does not mean we have fixed the system," cautioned the report's other co-author, Purdue University professor Brent Bowen.
Regional airlines, which are a growing share of flights and now account for half of all departures, have generally ranked at the bottom of the list, he noted. The rankings have been compiled for two decades.
Hawaiian — which flies to 10 U.S. mainland cities along with the Hawaiian Islands and to the Philippines, Australia, Samoa and Tahiti — has some advantages over other airlines. Many of its flights are short hops between islands in a climate generally favorable for flying, Headley noted.
Passengers didn't check as many bags last year, perhaps in part due to baggage fees. That may be one reason why fewer than four bags per every 1,000 travelers were lost or damaged. The rate for lost bags last year was second best in the last 20 years and about half what it was in 2007.
AirTran fared best last year, with a mishandled bag rate of 1.67. The worst: Atlantic Southeast, at 7.87.
The recession hit airlines hard, and they have scrambled for ways to generate income other than by raising fares. U.S. airlines collectively lost $8 billion in 2009, although regional carriers as a group were profitable, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
More than 79 percent of airline flights arrived on time in 2009, 3.4 percent better than a year earlier. Fourteen of the 18 airlines included in the analysis improved their on-time performance from the year before. At the bottom was Comair, with only 69 percent of flights on time. Only slightly better was Atlantic Southeast, 71.2 percent.
Fewer than one in every 100,000 passengers filed complaints with the Department of Transportation, down slightly from the previous year. Southwest again had the lowest complaint rate — 0.21 complaints per 100,000 passengers. Delta, whose regional partners had the worst baggage and on-time performance, had the highest complaint rate, 1.96.
Good-bye Midwest Airlines
Republic CEO Bryan Bedford said in an interview that travelers associated the Frontier name with low fares, while Midwest was seen as more of a high-price airline. That was an important consideration at Midwest's Milwaukee base, which has become a hot spot of competition with low-cost carriers Southwest Airlines and AirTran.
Bedford said travelers may see the Midwest name on some jets until October 2011. The company is also merging the frequent-flier programs of the two airlines.
Midwest was struggling last summer when Republic bought it for $31 million. By then, Republic was already doing some of Midwest's flying. By the end of the year, Republic grounded Midwest's old fleet and did all of Midwest's flying with Republic planes and crews.
Republic bought Frontier out of bankruptcy protection in October. Bedford said at the time that it planned to keep both brands. But on Tuesday, he said every technology or customer service change was multiplied by two.
"We just can't have double the spending in order to actually run our business," he said. "Maintaining two brands is just not cost-effective for us."
Because of fleet and union issues, Republic will continue to run what amounts to two different airlines under the Frontier name — the crews and planes that originally came from Frontier, and the Republic-operated jets that will now fly under the Frontier name.
Bedford said Midwest's famous chocolate-chip cookies will be served on all the Frontier planes. Wi-fi service will be available on the Republic-operated planes, and may expand later to the Frontier-operated fleet, Bedford said.
The company said in January it would pick between the Frontier and Midwest names. Bedford said travelers in Milwaukee seemed more willing to part with the Midwest name. In Denver last month, dozens of people marched to keep the Frontier name and the "spokesanimals" painted on the tails of its planes.
"Frontier just has a much stronger emotional connection with the folks there," he said.
Bedford said Frontier would add a plane with Wisconsin's state animal, the badger. It wasn't as easy as some of the other animals on its planes.
"It's hard to find a cute badger," he said.
Qatar C-17A Returns to Long Beach
The second C-17A (F-209/QA-2) A7-MAB delivered to the Qatar Emiri Air Force and which sports the Qatar Airlines livery arrived back in Long Beach (LGB/KLGB) yesterday (April 12) at 1:28pm (1328) and parked on the Boeing ramp in front of Building 98 which is located next to the LGB tower. The aircraft will be here for a few days as she receives some scheduled upgrades and mods.
Photo of the Day / G-IVSP N925JS
This gorgeous G-IVSP (cn 1269) N926JS ex-N250LB is captured as she taxies at Geneva International Airport (Coinrin) (GVA/LSGG) recently.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Air Canada Commences Orange County Service
April 8th, 2010 Air Canada operated it's inaugural flight to John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA/KSNA). Flight ACA787 operated with A319-114 (546) C-GBIP (pictured above) arrived at 7:55pm from Lester B. Pearson Airport (YYZ/CYYZ) in Toronto, Canada. The following morning Flt ACA786 (operated by the same aircraft) made the inaugural return back to Toronto departing at 08:08am. This will be a daily flight and there are future plans to add another new route between Vancouver B.C. and Orange County using an Embraer ERJ190 which has already completed the required noise performance test flights.
Friday, April 9, 2010
Photo of the Day / Thai Airlines Retro Livery 747-4D7 HS-TGP
Thai Airways International (TG) Boeing 747-4D7 (26610/1047) HS-TPG "Thepprasit" was originally delivered to the carrier on November 11, 1994. The aircraft was caught recently departing London-Heathrow (LHR/EGLL) sporting a retro livery which is a cross of Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and Thai International Airways.
African Airlines Association Upset over EU Blacklist
AFRAA Secretary General Nick Fadugba said the "ultimate beneficiaries" of the list are "European airlines which dominate the African skies to the disadvantage of African carriers." The organization pointed out that "the majority" of African airlines banned from the EU "have never operated scheduled flights to Europe, do not plan to do so and have no aircraft with the range to fly to any EU state." It added that the list contains "many airlines that only exist on paper and are not operational." Rather than improving EU airspace safety, the list serves unfairly to undermine confidence in African airlines generally, AFRAA asserted.
Boeing 1st Quarter 2010 Deliveries Up
The company said 86 of its deliveries were of its 737 Next Generation.
Boeing said last month it will accelerate planned increases in production of two of its popular wide-body aircraft to accommodate heightened demand from airlines that had curbed orders in the last two years because of the economic crisis.
The improved outlook by the world's No. 2 plane maker may represent the start of a rebound in demand for Boeing and Airbus planes as the global airline industry recovers from a downturn.
Blocked Flights - Where is Your Aircraft?
A very interesting read for those of us who utilize flight tracking programs.
Air Canada Announces New Premium "lie-flat" Product to Los Angeles
The carrier announced on 8 April that one of its four daily Los Angeles-Toronto flights will be operated from 1 June with a Boeing 767-300ER configured with "its executive first service with lie-flat suites". An Air Canada spokesman says this is the first time the Star Alliance carrier has "put lie-flats on a regularly scheduled route in the transborder market".
Air Canada's lie-flat seat, which is now on board 53 of the carrier's 56 widebodies including 27 of its 30 767s, has typically only been available on long-haul services to Asia, Australia, Europe and South America.
The spokesman says Los Angeles-Toronto "is a strong business market for us; hence the decision" to up-gauge one of the flights to a 767-300ER from its long-haul fleet.
Air Canada now uses a mix of Airbus A319s, A320s and A321s on the route, according to Innovata. On the flight that will switch to the 767-300ER, which is a 9:10am departure from Toronto and a 12:40pm departure from Los Angeles, a 140-seat A320 is currently used.
The spokesman says 767-300ERs with lie-flat suites will be used year-round on this flight. Air Canada's refurbished 767-300ERs are configured with 211 seats including 24 lie-flat suites.
Air Canada claims it will be the only carrier in the Los Angeles-Toronto market offering a premium product that meets "international premium class standards". According to Innovata, American Airlines is the only other carrier operating non-stop flights between Los Angeles and Toronto. American currently operates one daily flight on the route with a Boeing 737-800.
Air Canada says the introduction of a widebody aircraft on one of its Los Angeles flights is part of a plan to increase capacity by 51% this summer on routes between Toronto and California.
U.S. Coast Guard Challenger Visits Long Beach
100th Delivery of Embraer Phenom 100
Gulfstream G-II/TT Hits Fuel Truck at Boeing Field
A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman reports that a small jet's (G-II/TT N706TJ (cn 212) ex-N807CC) wing tip hit the cab of a fuel truck Thursday evening at Boeing Field (BFI/KBFI) in Seattle, temporarily trapping the driver.
FAA spokesman Mike Fergus says the jet apparently was taxiing to a runway when the wing tip on the pilot's side hit the fuel truck. He says there was no fuel leak.
Rescue crews were able to get the truck driver out by cutting through the truck's roof. He was described as injured but alert and conscious during the rescue. Details on his condition were not available.
The plane is a Grumman turbo-jet registered to Jetstar Air Inc., of Beverly Hills, Calif. The truck was from Galvin Flying Services.
The collision is under investigation.
A spokesman for Galvin Flying Services declined to discuss the driver's condition or any details of the crash.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Spirit Airlines to charge for Carry-on Bags
The low-cost carrier is taking the blows that come with being the first to seize on an unpopular, but possibly lucrative idea. That does not mean that it will be the last.
A few years ago, paying up to USD$45 to stow a piece of luggage in the overhead bin seemed as unthinkable as installing a pay toilet in coach class. But it's a new day for US airlines as many struggle daily for survival in a volatile business with razor-thin profit margins.
One of the ways to do that is to think up as many new fees as they can, and hope enough other airlines do the same thing, forcing passengers to deal with it or not fly at all.
Some people voiced support -- tepid support -- but most have nothing good to say about the carry-on fee.
"Now it's like there's nothing sacred anymore," said Adam Barrera, 24, a Houston-based blogger on cars. Barrera said he flies about three times a month, usually on Continental Airlines. He has never flown on Spirit.
Florida-based Spirit, which flies to 40 destinations in the United States, the Caribbean and Latin America, shrugged off criticism, noting that it would lower its fares to offset the new carry-on bag fee. Bags placed under the seat in front of a passenger remain free.
"I would pay USD$5 for guaranteed space right over my seat, like a locker," said John DiScala, editor-in-chief of JohnnyJet, a travel information site, who has not flown Spirit. "But USD$45?"
Still, Spirit's sales have jumped 50 percent since the airline unveiled the new fee and fare cut versus the previous week, CEO Ben Baldanzas said on Wednesday.
"On its face, (the fee) is maybe repulsive to some people," Baldanzas said in an interview. "But at the same time, we've lowered the base fares by more than the amount of the fee."
Roughly 18 percent of Spirit's available seats are now being sold at a penny plus the cost of fuel and taxes.
For some people, a baggage fee could be a good thing, or at least tolerable. Many passengers grumble about the large bags that people bring on board planes instead of paying to check them. For others, the fee might not cancel out the low cost of a discount airline's fares.
"With Spirit, it's very clear what you're going to receive," said Jay Sorensen, a consultant with IdeaWorks. "A rock-bottom, low fare, and for a tremendous number of customers that is what is most important."
Spirit is charging passengers USD$45 for carry-on bags if they pay at the gate. But if they pay at the ticket counter or online, the fee is USD$30.
It costs less -- USD$25 -- to check your first bag, if you pay online.
This strategy is deliberate, Baldanzas said, to lessen the time it takes to turn around an aircraft. Spirit estimates it will save 5-7 minutes per flight with this new fee, saving as much as 20 hours a day.
This extra time is critical to Spirit's goal of boosting its number of hours flown by 10 percent in 2010 and another 20 percent in 2011, Baldanzas said.
Spirit is too small to sway the industry in favor of a carry-on bag fee, but it is reasonable for major airlines to look into it, said Morningstar equity analyst Basili Alukos.
"I think about it, and it makes sense for airlines to charge for carry-ons," Alukos said. "There is more of a convenience for bringing your bag on the place. It basically reduces the time you would want to wait."
The airline industry has been battered in recent years by low-fare competition, volatile fuel prices and a weak economy that eroded travel demand.
Major carriers have fought back with capacity cuts and tweaks to their business models that rely much more on ancillary revenue from new fees for items and services that once were included in the ticket price.
One of the most controversial fees was for checking a single bag. More than any other, the single bag fee opened the door for new fees. Industry watchers say there is always room for more.
So far, no major airlines have announced charges to match the Spirit carry-on bag fee. But none has ruled it out.
"We have taken no action on this," said a spokesman for American Airlines. Continental declined to comment.
Spirit has said that items such as umbrellas, cameras, coats and strollers will not be charged.
A lingering question is how many more fees passengers can deal with.
"I know there is a welling of unhappiness at the nickel and diming of passengers," said Standard & Poors' analyst Jim Corridore. He said travelers could fight back by finding alternatives to air travel.
"I will not be at all surprised if someone else tries it (the fee)," he said. "My personal opinion is that it's too much for the passenger."
U.S.Airways and United Talk Merger
New C-17A on Flight Ramp
Allegiant Air Announces New LAX-Eugene Service
"We are very pleased with the continued success Allegiant Air has found in the Eugene market," said Eugene Airport director, Tim Doll, A.A.E. "Los Angeles has been an underserved market for quite some time and, once again, Allegiant Air is stepping up to provide much needed nonstop service between EUG and LAX."
The new flights will operate two times weekly between Eugene and Los Angeles with service Thursday and Sunday. Beginning June 3, flights will depart Eugene at 6:30 p.m. arriving in Los Angeles at 8:40 p.m. Flights leaving Los Angeles will depart at 3:40 p.m. arriving in Eugene at 5:50 p.m. (all flight times are local). Allegiant Air offers low-cost, nonstop service to three other destinations from Eugene: Las Vegas, Phoenix and San Francisco-Oakland area.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
New Southern California based Airline
Check out the following link for more info on the new airline and take a look at the carriers website (link above).
Friday, April 2, 2010
New Southwest Airlines Theme Plane?
The aircraft departed (BFI/KBFI) April 1 before sunrise bound for Moses Lake - Grant County International Airport (Larson AFB) (MWH/LRN) in Washington State. Following a short stay it departed headed to Lake Charles - Chennault International (CWF) in Louisiana. No one saw the aircraft depart so it is still a big mystery....stay tuned!