Sunday, October 31, 2010

Orange Dog Freedom Flights

Rolling out on Rwy 12.

Nice noseview look at a G-III.

Gulfstream G-III (c/n 340) N557JK is used by "The Orange Dog" organization to transport homeless dogs to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada where the lucky canines will be placed in loving "forever" homes as they are referred to. Check out the link below for more information on this wonderful orginization. (Photos by Michael Carter)

Bellanca mishap at Orange County (SNA/KSNA)

Bellanca (c/n 390-78) N5535K had a minor mishap this afternoon at approximately 16:20 when it went into the dirt just off Rwy 19L and ended up on it's nose. Both occupants of the aircraft were okay and in the above photo the Orange County Fire Department has already righted the aircraft.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Turkish Airlines 777-35R/ER TC-JJC

Turkish Airlines Boeing 777-35R/ER (35164/660) TC-JJC "Karadeniz" is captured at London-Heathrow (LHR/EGLL) sporting "Official Partner of Manchester United" titles.
(Photo by James Mepsted)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Gulfstream G550 destine for Morroco takes to the skies

Taxies on "Delta" towards Rwy 30 on October 28.

Rotates from Rwy 30 on October 28 as it departs at 13:51 on a pre-delivery test flight.

Holds short of Rwy 30 as it readies to depart at 08:40 on a customer acceptance flight on October 29. (Photos by Michael Carter)

This new Gulfstream G550 (c/n 5271) N971GA is destined for a Morrocan customer and will be registered as CN-AMS once delivered.

jetBlue A320-232 (c/n 2671) N633JB "Major Blue" now sports the carriers new "Barcode" tail livery. (Photo by Michael Carter)

Sunrider Corporation MD-87 N168CF

Turning off Rwy 12 at "Delta 3."


McDonnell Douglas MD-87 (49670/787) N168CF is owned and operated by the Sunrider Corporation which is based in Torrance, California. This gorgeous "DAC" aircraft is kept at the AirFlight facilities at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB). In the above photos, the aircraft is captured arriving at Long Beach on October 27, 2010 at 15:51.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

New Australian Gulfstream G550 passes through Long Beach

G550 (c/n 5287) VH-PFL ex N587GA (previous post) arrives back at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on October 29 as it passes through on it's way to Australia.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Friday, October 29, 2010

G550 (c/n 5287) N587GA departed Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) Wednesday October 27, at 07:54 bound for Savannah-Hilton Head (SAV/KSAV). The aircraft is seen holding short of Rwy 30 just prior to departure.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Southwest Airlines looks at European and Asian code share partners

Low-cost US carrier Southwest Airlines plans to expand international service over time and would likely offer flights to Asia and Europe through partnerships, its chief executive said on Thursday.

"What is a deficiency for us right now that we intend to address is international," Gary Kelly said in an interview.

Southwest on Thursday announced a partnership with Mexican carrier Volaris to offer flights to five Mexico cities. Southwest will be able to offer service to the Caribbean once it completes its acquisition of discount rival AirTran, which flies there. The deal is expected to be completed in the first half of 2011.

Kelly said Southwest expects to decide soon whether it will add bigger Boeing planes that could be used to fly to Hawaii and Caribbean cities.

"I would see us serving Asia, Europe, South America, Australia with an international connection, partner-like product that we have with Volaris," Kelly said.

Southwest also said on Thursday that it planned to launch daily non-stop flights from Newark to Chicago and St. Louis in March 2011.

Kelly said Southwest had a cost advantage against bigger airlines that would enable it to offer lower fares as it enters new US markets.

He said Southwest's policy to not charge fees for checked baggage or flight-plan changes were key factors that distinguish it from legacy airlines and give it an advantage with value-seeking consumers.

Kelly said his company's costs were roughly half those of legacy airlines.

"We'll continue to be the competition in the United States for the high-cost carriers," Kelly said.


Kelly said he wouldn't be surprised to see more industry consolidation but made no predictions. In light of Delta Air Lines' 2008 acquisition of Northwest Airlines and the just-completed merger of United and Continental, he said he wasn't sure what else could happen among US legacy carriers.

But he added that more merger deals among regional carriers that are pressured by rising fuel costs and shrinking market share was a logical expectation.

"With United and Delta being so large and so dominant, it does put other smaller airlines -- like us, too, frankly -- in a position of at least thinking about how are we going to remain competitive," Kelly said.

Kelly said Southwest looked at entering the regional airline business but was not comfortable with the market size or economics of individual trips.

He said the AirTran purchase would allow Southwest to close a hole in its route map with entry to Atlanta. He added the acquisition would enable his company to grow in ways not possible without it.

"We have found a way to unlock our potential. That's what really excites me about the AirTran deal," Kelly said.


Allegiant reports 3rd quarter loss

While nearly all US airlines saw their earnings rise in the third quarter, Allegiant Air parent Allegiant Travel Co. reported net income fell 4.5% to $13.2 million from $13.8 million in the year-ago quarter. The carrier cited the "effects of the slowdown in the general economy," for the lower result.

“Unlike business-oriented carriers, this slow down, combined with our substantial growth, led to smaller unit revenue increases than anticipated,” Allegiant Chairman and CEO Maurice Gallagher stated. “As we have done in the past, we have reduced capacity in the coming quarters to allow us to push unit revenues accordingly. This is critical as we continue to see increases in our energy costs per passenger.”

Revenue rose 22.9% to $163.6 million while expenses increased 29.7% to $144.1 million, producing an operating profit of $19.5 million, down 11.2% from $21.9 million in the prior-year quarter. Ancillary revenue totaled $50.1 million in the quarter, up 24.7% over last year and represented 31% of total revenues.

Scheduled traffic rose 23.8% to 1.36 billion RPMs on a 24.1% increase in capacity to 1.51 billion ASMs, producing a load factor of 89.6%, down 0.3 points. Yield lifted 3.8% to 7.68 cents as scheduled service RASM rose 3.6% to 6.89 cents. CASM was 8.75 cents, up 6.3% and CASM ex-fuel was 4.9 cents, down 0.6%.

Looking forward, Gallagher said Allegiant is continuing to expand the number of small cities served. On Wednesday, it announced it is consolidating its Orlando operation back to the original base at Orlando Sanford. “Our current plans for first quarter 2011 show modest capacity growth of 4% to 7%, but the change in same store capacity is forecast to be down almost 8% year-over-year during that period,” Gallagher said.

(Linda Blachly - ATWOnline News)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Southwest Airlines announces codeshare with Volaris

Southwest Airlines is excited to launch a new product that allows Customers to book international flights by connecting with Volaris, Mexico's second-largest airline. Starting Nov. 12, Customers can book service from 20 Southwest cities to five Volaris Mexican destinations (Cancun, Guadalajara, Morelia, Toluca/Mexico City, and Zacatecas), for travel starting Dec. 1. The new service will connect through Los Angeles International Airport, Oakland International Airport, and San Jose International Airport and will create up to 85 additional flight itineraries.

As Volaris grows, additional Southwest cities will open international destinations, continuing Southwest's commitment to network expansion. To learn more about the carrier's international connect product, check out Southwest's blog at

"In 2008, we announced our intent to offer Customers international service by utilizing a partnership with Volaris. Today, we are proud to introduce our one-of-a-kind connecting product that will foster Southwest's growth by providing Customers the ability to book international destinations to Volaris' expanded network," said Bob Jordan, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Planning for Southwest Airlines. "This is an important day for Southwest and Volaris Employees; we have worked diligently to create a unique product that will uphold our high levels of Customer Service, stimulate additional revenue for both carriers, and offer great new destinations for both airlines' Customers."

The connecting service will provide Southwest and Volaris Customers a convenient transaction and travel experience. Southwest's international connect portal will conduct two separate transactions, one with Southwest's reservations system and one with Volaris' reservations system. The newly developed technology will connect the two transactions and provide Customers with an easy booking experience and one low fare. Customers traveling on an international connection will be required to check in with each carrier, but luggage will be transferred by the airlines and delivered to the final destination. Southwest Customers can book travel and learn more about Volaris' service, policies, and procedures at .

"We are proud of the great work both airlines have completed in the past two years. This partnership will strengthen our growth strategy and will solidify our service in the United States," said Enrique Beltranena, CEO of Volaris. "The objective of this partnership is to provide a convenient and affordable itinerary for our Customers, while offering a higher level of service on both sides of the border."

Southwest has created an international desk staffed with bilingual Customer Service Agents to support this effort. Customers can call 1-888-329-8776 for assistance with their travel. If calling internationally, Customers can use 011-888-829-8776.

About Volaris

Volaris is a Mexican high-efficiency airline aimed at offering customers a unique travel experience—starting with the easy ticket purchasing process right through the On-Time Guarantee on all flights. With 21 Airbus A320 family aircraft, Volaris has the youngest and most modern fleet in Mexico reaching 24 airports and 35 routes across the country. From the start of operations in March 2006, the airline guarantees travelers comfort and reliability delivered by more than 1,500 employees making up the Volaris family and dedicated to strengthening the airline's commitment to excellent service and single-class treatment in a human way.

(Southwest Airlines - Press Release)

LAN to buy Aires Columbia

Aires Columbia 737-73V (32415/1260) G-EZJT (tbr HK-4675).
(Photo by Keith Burton)

Chile's dominant airline LAN said on Wednesday it has agreed to purchase Colombian airline Aires for USD$33 million.

LAN said in a release it could take between 30 and 60 days to finalise the acquisition.

The move comes on the back of third quarter results on Tuesday which showed net profit more than doubling from a year ago to USD$106.2 million on the strength of its passenger and cargo business.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Michelle Obama departs from Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB)

Off the deck at 14:44.

Climbs into the Southern California Sky.

A lovely profile view of this gorgeous C-32A.

Gear up!
(Photos by Michael Carter)
The First Lady Michelle Obama was in the Los Angeles area the past two days, making a visit to the International Womans Conference here in Long Beach on Tuesday October 25 then making a number of campaign stops today in support of several area Democrats who are in tight races for next Tuesday's elections.
In the above photos we see the First Lady's USAF Boeing C-32 (757-2G4) (29026/787) 98-0002 climbing from Rwy 12 at Long Beach Airport during south traffic operations due to mild "Santa Ana winds" blowing in the Southland.

jetBlue announces seasonal service between Long Beach and Anchorage

JetBlue Airways today is pleased to announce plans to expand its award-winning service and in-flight experience to new frontiers with the addition of its 65th BlueCity: Anchorage, Alaska. Effective May 26, 2011, the value carrier will launch seasonal daily nonstop service from Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) to Ted Stevens International Airport (ANC/PANC), the northernmost city in JetBlue's expanding route network. Flights are on sale now for as little as $119 (a) each way today through Friday, Oct. 29 at for travel starting May 26, 2011. JetBlue will be the only airline to serve Anchorage from Long Beach, where it will also offer travelers a host of convenient connections to cities across the United States.

"During the peak summer travel months, Anchorage is in high-demand for California residents and we are pleased to continue offering our Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Orange County customers more variety and more options to the places they want to go," said Scott Laurence, vice president of route planning for JetBlue Airways. "Among many other things, Alaska is known for its wide-open spaces and friendly people - a perfect match to the JetBlue Experience! We offer the friendliest customer service in the skies, more legroom than the other guys, a first checked bag free and complimentary live entertainment on personal seatback TVs. We look forward to welcoming you onboard!"

"I congratulate JetBlue on this exciting new route servicing the Long Beach Airport," said Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster. "The airport is undergoing several new changes such as a new parking structure and terminal building. The new route to the north will be another welcome addition for Long Beach residents and visitors alike."

"We are excited to add Jet Blue to the list of carriers that serve Alaskans and our guests," said John Parrott, manager of Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. "This serves as an indicator of the health and vitality of the tourism industry in Alaska."

JetBlue's schedule between Anchorage and Long Beach:

Long Beach (LGB) to Anchorage (ANC)
Depart - 7:40 p.m. / Arrive - 11:57 p.m.

Anchorage (ANC) to Long Beach (LGB)
Depart - 01:10a.m. / Arrive - 07:33 a.m.

(jetBlue Press Release)

Allegiant moves all Orlando (MCO/KMCO) operations to Sanford (SFB/KSFB)

Allegiant has decided to consolidate all its Orlando flying at Sanford International Airport (SFB/KSFB) from February 2011, just one year after splitting its Orlando operation by moving some flights to Orlando International Airport (MCO/KMCO).

The US low-cost carrier announced that of all its Orlando International flights will move to Sanford between 1 February and 4 February 2011. Allegiant says it currently operates 29 routes to and from the Orlando area, including 10 at Orlando International and 19 at Sanford.

"Our customers prefer the convenience and simplicity of Sanford, and we're pleased to respond to their overwhelming requests to return all of our Orlando service to the airport," says the president of Allegiant parent Allegiant Travel, Andrew Levy. "Additionally, the substantially lower airport operating costs coupled with the more efficient operating environment at Orlando Sanford made this the right decision for Allegiant."

Allegiant only began serving Orlando International early this year. Between February and March it moved 10 of its Sanford routes to Orlando International, which is about 54km south of Sanford and is closer to Walt Disney World and other major Orlando-area tourist attractions. At the same time the carrier also based five of its Boeing MD-80s at Orlando's main airport.

Allegiant now says these 10 routes and five aircraft will shift back to Sanford. It adds that "by consolidating the operations to a single airport in the Orlando area, Allegiant is able to keep costs down and offer its customers the best travel deals".

On 1 February, service to Allentown, Pennsylvania; Knoxville, Tennessee; and Greenville, South Carolina will move back to Sanford. On 2 February, service to Des Moines in Iowa and Youngstown in Ohio will move to Sanford and on 3 February service to Grand Rapids, Michigan will shift back.

Finally on 4 February, flights to Lexington, Kentucky; Springfield, Missouri; Tri-Cities, Tennessee; and Huntington, West Virginia will move to Sanford.

Orlando Sanford International Airport, in its own press release today announcing Allegiant's decision to consolidate its Orlando operation at Sanford, says the 10 routes which moved earlier this year represented about half of Allegiant's previous activity at Sanford. Through the first three quarters of this year, Sanford's domestic traffic was down 39% to 607,000 passengers.

Orlando Sanford International Airport CEO Larry Dale says the airport "received over a thousand emails from people telling us how important it was these flights to operate here. It is very good news indeed to have all of Allegiant's Central Florida operations back at [Sanford], especially given the outpouring of support from the travelling public."

(Brendan Sobie - FlightGlobal/International News)

Another Interesting insight on Southwest Airlines purchase of AirTran Airways

The acquisition of AirTran Airways by Southwest Airlines sees consolidation move into the US low-cost sector, writes Lori Ranson in Washington

Maturity in the North American market continues to manifest itself rapidly with the landmark acquisition of AirTran Airways by Southwest, ushering the first true-scale consolidation in the US low-cost sector.

The acquisition allows Southwest to achieve 25% growth much faster than it would on its own, while accelerating the race to hit its 15% target of return on invested capital.

Expansion of the Southwest franchise should replace an AirTran management team "not sufficiently focused on generating acceptable returns, while susceptible to costly market share skirmishes, such as Milwaukee", declare analysts at JP Morgan. They estimate Southwest's yields on short-haul flights are as much as 30% higher than AirTran's, while Southwest's yield premium on short-haul flights is 16%.

Summarising AirTran's decision to ultimately accept Southwest's offer company chief executive Bob Fornaro says: "We're a pretty scrappy company. We've done a lot with very little in many ways. It's a tough industry. You've got to put yourself in a position where you can win."


If they endorse the $1.4 billion acquisition, AirTran shareholders stand to receive a premium for their shares north of 60%, and Southwest gets cherished access to a gaping hole in its route network - Atlanta. "I think the story here is about Atlanta," says Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly. "I think it is about us bringing in more competition, bringing more low fares. We see a number of city pair opportunities to go in, lower fares and stimulate traffic in classic Southwest fashion."

But not all industry watchers are convinced Southwest will encounter ease in working its magic in Atlanta. In an extensive analysis of the deal, Denver-based consultancy The Boyd Group International concludes Atlanta has already witnessed the "AirTran effect". Its analysts argue "Southwest is replacing an existing low-fare airline, not introducing low fares to Atlanta". Its analysis sees only two markets in the top 25 origin and destination cities from Atlanta where Southwest could have a material effect - Newark and Salt Lake City.

Although Southwest pledges to grow Atlanta, Boyd Group's analysis argues that challenges exist to expansion, and Southwest will need to rely on a more traditional bank structure to profitably execute that growth.

Those analysts point to the often-publicised myth that Southwest is a point-to-point purist, arguing that at 10 of the carrier's top 19 airports, flow passengers account for more than a third of traffic. Boyd's analysts warn that in Atlanta "fast turns for the sake of utilisation won't work". They believe the levels of connecting traffic necessary to make Atlanta successful "are far in excess of what it [Southwest] is accomplishing today, even at Midway".


Southwest's access to Atlanta gained through the AirTran acquisition has spurred speculation that Atlanta powerhouse Delta might be worried. But experts dismiss that theory, arguing that legacy-low cost competition is entrenched throughout the USA. "Network carriers already compete with the low-cost sector for nearly 85% of their domestic revenues," says Massachusetts Institute of Technology airline analyst William Swelbar. While noting there could be some new competition on the 37 markets that AirTran serves, but are not presently on Southwest's route map, "for the most part those cities already enjoy the low fares delivered via AirTran's initial entry".

In its analysis, the Boyd Group concludes that since AirTran has entered most of the largest O&D markets in Atlanta, Delta has in almost all cases been able to maintain a revenue yield premium in markets competitive with AirTran.

AirTran's passengers in Atlanta have also had product offerings that Southwest plans to dissolve including a premium class and assigned seating. "At this point in time we are not assuming that we will be open to assigning seats, charging for bags, having dual class services, anything along those lines," Kelly says.

Introduction of the Southwest brand in Atlanta could drive a small benefit for Delta, note JP Morgan's analysts. "At the margin the elimination of assigned seats and ability to upgrade may also shift some additional corporate share to Delta, though certain passengers seem to rather enjoy the more egalitarian, predictable Southwest experience."

Headlines may focus on Southwest's invasion of Delta's hub, but Swelbar of MIT believes US low-cost carriers Frontier and Spirit Airlines could be the big losers. Frontier is now confined to traffic bases at Denver and Milwaukee, "and that makes them vulnerable", he says. Fresh from unveiling plans for a $300 million initial public offering, Spirit now faces a combined Southwest-AirTran focused on carrying traffic to Spirit's Caribbean stronghold.

Despite the 20-route overlap of AirTran and Southwest being more than Delta/Northwest and Continental/United, JP Morgan's analysts see "no unique hurdles" in the deal being endorsed by US regulators. "Given Southwest's well-documented consumer benefits, it seems unlikely to us that the Department of Justice would mandate any significant divestitures," it says, adding it does not appear to pose any issue of concentration in slot-constrained, sought-after markets.

(Lori Ranson - FlightGlobal/International News)

Precision Conversions to commence 757-200 combi conversion program

Precision Conversions has followed Pemco World Air Services' lead in launching a passenger-to-combi conversion programme for the Boeing 757, after securing an order from Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) subsidiary Cargo Aircraft Management.

Ohio-based ATSG will use its three 757-200 Precision Conversions Combi (PCC) aircraft to replace McDonnell Douglas DC-8 combis. These are operated by subsidiary Air Transport International on charters, primarily for the US military.

Oregon-based Precision has converted 27 757 passenger aircraft into freighters since certificating its 757-200PCF in 2005. It will take the company about 12 months to certificate the 757-200PCC, sales and marketing vice-president Brian McCarthy said at the Cargo Facts Aircraft Symposium in Miami.

The first 757-200PCC is to be re-delivered to ATSG in late 2012. It will accommodate 10 full-size pallets and seat up to 58 passengers.

Earlier this year, Alabama-based Pemco became the first conversion house to embark on a 757 passenger-to-combi programme, with National Air Cargo as launch customer. The Michigan-based operator is due to receive four of the aircraft in the fist half of next year. The Pemco product accommodates 10 pallet positions and 46 passengers in premium economy seating.

(Brendan Sobie - FlightGlobal/International News)

Boeing temporaily halts deliveries of 787 sections

The Boeing Co. on Tuesday said it would tell suppliers to halt deliveries of sections for its 787 Dreamliner for two weeks because of delays at the company that makes a key part for the tail of the plane.

Boeing, the world's second-largest commercial plane maker after Airbus said the halt in shipments would not affect its first Dreamliner delivery date. The plane is nearly three years behind its original schedule.

Loretta Gunter, spokeswoman for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said the change in the shipment schedule relates to Italian supplier Alenia Aeronautica, which makes horizontal stabilizers for the Dreamliner. Alenia is a unit of Italian defense and aerospace company Finmeccanica.

A source close to Alenia said the company was working with Boeing to resolve the issues related to the stabilizer and that it had put in place a recovery plan that Boeing had agreed to.

"It is absolutely normal that adjustments to the schedule of such a program are made," the source said, adding that much more significant factors were responsible for schedule changes for the 787 program in past years.

Over the summer, Boeing moved to inspect its 787 planes after it disclosed a "workmanship" issue affecting horizontal stabilizers.

The company has repeatedly delayed first delivery of the fuel-efficient, carbon-composite Dreamliner due to problems in the supply chain.

In August, Boeing announced another delay that moved first delivery to All Nippon Airways to the middle of the first quarter of 2011. That delay was due to the availability of a Rolls-Royce PLC engine.

The company this month named the former manager of its 747 aircraft program to a role advising suppliers for its commercial airplane division as it looks to improve manufacturing processes.

Boeing has taken orders for 847 787s, an unprecedented number of orders for a plane still in development.

Delta Air Lines said in a government filing on Monday that it has reaffirmed its previous orders for 18 787 aircraft, but said it has deferred delivery of those planes until 2020 to 2022. The planes had been set for delivery from 2008 to 2010.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Today at Long Beach (LGB/KLGB)

Allegiant MD-88 (49759/1606) N412NV rolls for takeoff on Rwy 30 bound for Bellingham, Washington (BLI/KBLI). This aircraft was originally scheduled to be delivered to Wardair Canada but was NTU by the carrier. It was bought and delivered to Polaris Aircraft Leasing Corporation and leased to Midway Airlines on December 12, 1989 as N903ML. The aircraft was returned to Polaris in November 1991 and stored until being leased to Air Aruba on March 14, 1992 as P4-MDA, then re-registered as N11FQ in September 1992. In October 2000 the aircraft was again WFU and stored until being leased to Southeast Airlines on September 28, 2001 as N11FQ where it served until December 2, 2004. Out of service for just a short time the aircraft was leased to Air Efata as PK-FTT on December 23, 2005.
(Photo by Michael Carter)
Opra Winfrey was in Long Beach today for the International Womans Conference and we captured her Bombardier BD-700-1A10 "Global Express" (c/n 9187) N54SL arrive at 15:40 to pick her up.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Some other notable aircraft at Long Beach Airport this afternoon:

USAF Boeing C-32A (757-2G4) (c/n 29026/787) 98-0002 - Parked on the Signature flight ramp (Brought in Michelle Obama for the Womans Conference).


G-IV (c/n 1398) N498QS - Gulfstream flight ramp.

G-IVSP (c/n 1452) N603KE - Gulfstream Service Center ramp.

G450 (c/n 4062) N450XX - Gulfstream Service Center ramp.

G-V (c/n 649) N83CW -Gulfsream Service Center ramp.

G-V (c/n 574) N1KE - Signature flight ramp.

G550 (c/n 5045) N560DM - Gulfstream Service Center ramp.

G550 (c/n 5092) VP-CVI - Gulfstream Service Center ramp.

G550 (c/n 5243) B-99888 - Gulfstream flight ramp.

G550 (c/n 5108) N311CG - Mid-field run-up pad / Gulfstream Service Center ramp.

That's it for today's report..........Michael Carter

Interesting BBJ at Long Beach (LGB/KLGB)

Boeing BBJ 737-53A (24970/1977) C-FPHS is caught departing Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) at 15:43 on Monday October 26. The aircraft was originally delivered to Ansett Worldwide Aviation Services on June 26, 1992 as N778YY (ex-Boeing N1789B) and immediately bought by TAG Group USA. The BBJ was re-registered as VR-BOC in September 1993 then again re-registered as VP-BOC in June 1997. On February 18, 2000 the aircraft was bought by Amcur Investments as P4-FZT. The aircraft was again put up for sale and bought by SEB Investments in July 2001 and registered as P4-PHS.
(Photos by Doug Kerr)

Funny add from jetBlue as NY Cabbie charges for bags

In the airline advertising wars, Southwest and JetBlue have come out swinging.
JetBlue has joined Southwest in launching pointed ads aimed at competitors who charge extra fees that irk many passengers.

Charges for checking a bag is a chief target. JetBlue doesn't charge for the first, and Southwest is the only U.S. carrier that allows the first two bags to be checked for free. Most airlines have come to rely on bag fees, which generated more than $1.4 billion during the first six months of this year, according to Robert Herbst of

JetBlue's "You Above All" ads, which began Oct. 15 in print and online, highlight the pitfalls of flying other airlines by showing people's reaction if they faced similar situations on the ground.

Taxi passengers, picked up outside New York's Penn Station, for instance, are outraged when a driver tells them they'll have to pay another $25 for the bags they stashed in the trunk. "If you wouldn't take it on the ground, don't take it in the air," goes the tagline. "Check your first bag for free. JetBlue."

See video of the JetBlue ad

"We have a lot of products and service offerings that we believe are much better than that of our competition," says JetBlue spokesman Mateo Lleras. "We really wanted to do something to bring this out and point out the shortcomings of a lot of our industry."

Southwest has a similar goal with its "Good Cop, Bag Cop" ads, that have been running online and on TV since September.

The tongue-in-cheek spots mimic '70s police shows and are the latest addition to Southwest's "Bags Fly Free" campaign that started last year.

"Southwest is always looking for a way to differentiate ourselves within our own industry," spokeswoman Whitney Eichinger says.

Next up? An ad spotlighting how Southwest doesn't charge a penalty for changing tickets. Other U.S. airlines, which charge up to $150 to revise a domestic itinerary, generated $1.2 billion in the first half of this year. The ad should appear in the next few months, Eichinger says.

The campaigns are unusually in-your-face for the industry, says Lopo Rego, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Iowa.

"Airline advertising tends to be much more soft-spoken as opposed to these very comparative, combative commercials that Southwest and JetBlue (are running)," he says.

Customer service advocates say the ads are clever and speak to travelers' frustrations.

"It's awesome marketing," says John Tschohl, president of the Service Quality Institute. Both JetBlue and Southwest "make fun of the bad customer experience."

If such messages are repeated often enough, he says, "These associations become strong, and the brand becomes uniquely placed in a consumer's mind."

(Charisse Jones - USA Today)

Photo of the Day / Jetran Air MD-81

JetTran Air MD-81 (48098/1060) YR-MDS is caught departing London-Luton (LTN/EGGW) operating for Blue Air.

This lovely "DAC" aircraft was originally delivered to Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) as N942PS "The Smile of San Diego" on May 27, 1982. It was later registered as N818US when PSA was bought by USAir in 1987. On June 18, 2002 the aircraft was bought by the Alameda Corporation and WFU and stored at Bucuresti, Romania in December 2003. On June 19, 2004 MNG Airlines leased the MD-81 as TC-MNS.

(Photo by James Mellon)

Malaysia Airlines introduces new livery

Boeing 737-8H6 (40128/3421) 9M-MXA is captured at Seattles Boeing Field-King County International Airport (BFI/KBFI) sporting the carriers new livery.
(Photo by Joe G. Walker)

Boeing 737-4YO readied for Nok Air

Nok Air is adding this ex Ukraine International 737-4YO (26081/2442) UR-GAR to it's fleet (tbr / HS-DOO). The aircraft is seen at Southend-Rochford (SEN/EGMC) recently as it is being readied for delivery.
(Photo by Keith Burton)

Air Canada to pull out of Orange County (SNA)

Air Canada has informed John Wayne Airport that it will abruptly end service to and from Orange County after its scheduled flights this Friday.

John Wayne Airport officials said they were notified recently that Air Canada would stop flying at the end of the month. A Register review of Air Canada's flight schedule shows the last non-stops will be Friday.

“Essentially, the route unfortunately did not meet our financial expectations and as a result we have decided to discontinue the service,” said Peter Fitzpatrick, an Air Canada spokesman.

The shutdown comes just six months after the service began April 8. The carrier operated a single non-stop flight each way between John Wayne Airport and Toronto's Pearson International Airport. The flights originally used a 120-seat Airbus A319. Air Canada has more recently flown a 93-seat Embraer 190.

The flights are the only non-stop international service to and from Orange County. Passengers who depart from Toronto cleared U.S. customs and immigration at Pearson International before boarding the plane.

In an e-mail, John Wayne spokeswoman Jenny Wedge said Air Canada had told airport officials that the route "is not economically viable."

"The initiation of service during difficult economic times – combined with the fact this was a new market and a new brand - made it particularly difficult for Air Canada to be successful with this service," Wedge wrote. "Passengers who may have flights to/from Orange County after October 31 should be hearing from Air Canada, or their travel agent, but in the meantime may want to contact the airline directly for changes to the schedule."

Air Canada is the second airline this year to announce it was leaving John Wayne Airport less than a year after starting service. Virgin America made a splashy entrance into the Orange County market in April 2009 only to announce in March 2010 that it was leaving to concentrate on service at Los Angeles International Airport. Virgin America gave the airport two months notice, ending flights May 26.

The quick departure of Air Canada from John Wayne Airport comes after a long courting period between the airport and airline. Air Canada rose to the top of John Wayne Airport's waiting list in 2008. It was offered a chance in January 2009 to start service as early as the spring 2009. But the bad economy apparently slowed the move. Airline observers at the time said Air Canada most likely wanted to start service to western Canada to tap into interest in the Winter Olympics that began in Vancouver in February 2010.

The airline brought in aircraft in the summer of 2008 and spring of 2009 to prove they could pass the airport's strict noise standards. But several months passed with no activity. John Wayne Airport officials said they were waiting for word from Air Canada and the airline declined to comment on its plans. When a new airport service plan was presented to county officials earlier this year, it once again included room for flights for Air Canada.

Finally, in late January of this year, Air Canada announced that it would start flying from John Wayne Airport. The destination was not, as expected, to a western Canada and it would not start until after the Olympics were over.

Instead, Air Canada said it would introduce one-flight-a-day service to and from Toronto in April. The announcement was buried in a long list of new services tied to Air Canada's plan to increase flights from the U.S. to Toronto to boost it as a gateway for flights to Europe.

Unlike Virgin America and Continental, who held high-profile ceremonies this year launching new service from Orange County, Air Canada began John Wayne Airport's only international service without fanfare – with little advertising or marketing.

John Wayne Airport currently has only one independent airline on its waiting list for potential new service, Canadian discount carrier WestJet. Two other airlines are on the list: AirTran, which recently announced it will merge with Southwest Airlines, and Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines. Both Southwest and Alaska Airlines already offer service from John Wayne Airport.

Air Canada will use codeshare flights with United Airlines and Continental Airlines to replace the non-stop service. Passengers will change planes and airlines in San Francisco, Denver, Chicago or Newark.

(Gary Warner - The Orange County Register)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Photo of the Day / Turkish Airlines A321-231 "Batman"

Turkish Airlines A321-231 (c/n 3524) TC-JRK "Batman," sports special "50 Years in Germany" / "50 Jahre in Deutschland" markings and in captured arriving at London-Heathrow (LHR/EGLL) on October 25, 2010.
(Photo by Allan Huse)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Photo of the Day / JAL 777-346/ER JA731J

Japan Airlines (JAL) 777-346/ER (32431/429) JA731J "ECO Jet" now sports some new commemorative markings just behind the "JAL" titles. The aircraft is captured arriving at London-Heathrow (LHR/EGLL) today, October 24, 2010.
(Photo by James Mepsted)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Alaska Airlines commences Wi-Fi service on Anchorage - Fairbanks flights

Alaska Airlines has launched Aircell's Gogo® Inflight Internet service on flights between Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska. The service will be complimentary to passengers traveling between the two cities until the remainder of Aircell's network in the state of Alaska goes live later this year.

Using Gogo, Alaska Airlines passengers with Wi-Fi-enabled devices can browse the Web; access online music, games, podcasts and webcasts; send and receive e-mail; and connect to virtual private networks while flying. The easy-to-use service provides passengers with full Internet access on any Wi-Fi-equipped laptop or personal electronic device at speeds similar to wireless mobile broadband services on the ground. Customers can visit for more information about Alaska Airlines' inflight Wi-Fi.

"We are delighted to be making this first step in introducing inflight Wi-Fi in the state of Alaska," said Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines' vice president of marketing. "We look forward to adding service on other routes in the state by the end of the year."

The Gogo system, currently available in the Lower 48 states, is offered to customers traveling across the continental United States for $4.95 and up, based on length of flight and device used. To ensure the service is available in the airline's namesake state, Aircell will expand its network to include Southeast Alaska by the end of the year. A detailed coverage map is available for download from Alaska Airlines' image gallery at

"We're pleased to expand the Gogo network to include the nation's largest state and are on schedule to complete the remainder of network deployment in Alaska by year's end," said John Happ, Aircell's executive vice president of airlines.

Since May, Alaska Airlines has outfitted more than 70 percent of its Boeing 737 aircraft with the Gogo service and expects to complete fleet-wide installation in early 2011.

Aircraft equipped with inflight Wi-Fi have a Wi-Fi symbol located outside the aircraft's boarding door and information about the service in seatback pockets. Gogo is available above 10,000 feet, following an announcement approving the use of portable electronic devices.

(Alaska Airlines Press Release)

Classic London-Heathrow (LHR/EGLL)

BOAC Vickers VC10 SRS 1101 (c/n 812) G-ARVJ, April 1974.

British Airways Vickers VC10 SRS 1151 (c/n 852) G-ASGB.

(Photos by Richard Vandervord)

Marine F/A-18 "Hornets" visit Long Beach on October 22 & 23

F/A-18D (c/n 1444/D144) 165413 of VFMA (AW) -121 "Green Knights" arrives in Long Beach.

F/A-18C (c/n 1331/C416) 165191 on short final to Rwy 30.

F/A-18D (c/n 1102/D093) 164672 VMFA (AW) -121 "Green Knights"

"Green Knights" F/A-18D (1102/D093) VMFA (AW) -121, smokes the mains on Rwy 30.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Photo of the Day / Edelweiss A330-223

(Photo by Adrian Arzenheimer)

Edelweiss A330-223 (c/n 291) HB-IQI "Kiburi" basks in the sun at Zurich - Kloten (ZRH/LSZH). This aircraft is new to the carriers fleet having been originally delivered to Swissair on August 6, 1999 as HB-IQI "Liestal" ex Airbus F-WWKS.
jetBlue A320-232 (c/n 3119) N657JB "Denim Blue" is seen arriving at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on October 22, 2010 now sporting the "Barcode" tail livery.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

AirTran Airlines posts 3rd quarter earnings

AirTran MD-95 (717-231) (c/n 55079/5042) N926AT, ex Trans World Airlines (TWA) N412TW, turns onto Rwy 19R at General Mitchell International Airport (MKE/KMKE) at Milwaukee, Wisconson.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

AirTran Holdings, which has agreed to be acquired by low-cost rival Southwest Airlines, posted weaker-than-expected results on Friday as costs rose. Net income for the Orlando, Florida-based parent of AirTran Airways came to USD$36.2 million, for the third quarter, compared to USD$10.4 million a year earlier.

Quarterly operating revenue rose about 12 percent to USD$667.9 million, compared with USD685.9 million expected by analysts. Operating expenses rose 9 percent, and AirTran noted higher costs for fuel, maintenance and aircraft insurance. AirTran, which flies to cities in the United States and the Caribbean, said the Southwest deal was expected to be completed in the first half of 2011.

Southwest on Thursday reported a quarterly profit against a year-earlier loss and said strength in its business was expected to continue for the rest of the year as consumers seek value. Southwest said the AirTran purchase would allow it to expand low-fare service to major US East Coast markets, particularly Atlanta, a hub city for AirTran.


Long Beach Airport Operations "The Movie"

These are a couple friends from Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB)........this is great! Cheers Michael

Thursday, October 21, 2010

New livery for Bulgarian Air

Bulgarian Air A320-214 (c/n 3780) LZ-FBE arrives at London-Heathrow (LHR/EGLL) sporting the carriers new livery. (Photo by Dave Cook)

Southwest Airlines posts 3rd quarter profit.

Southwest Airlines 737-7H4 (36660/3226) N945WN "Florida One" touches down on Rwy 19L at John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA/KSNA).
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Southwest Airlines Co. is making money as more people travel on the nation's largest discount airline.

Southwest said Thursday it earned $205 million in the late-summer third quarter.

Traffic was up about 5 percent, which along with higher average fares pushed revenue up 20 percent.

CEO Gary Kelly said the outlook for October is excellent too. He predicted revenue per passenger will rise in the fourth quarter even though that's usually a slow period for travel, other than the December holidays.

Dallas-based Southwest joins United, Continental, Delta, American, US Airways and JetBlue in posting third-quarter profits as the airlines benefit from higher fares and growing travel demand coming out of the recession.

The airlines have helped themselves by limiting available seats, which makes flights more crowded and drives up fares. Southwest has set monthly records for high occupancy in 14 of the last 15 months.

The airline said it earned 27 cents per share compared with a loss of $16 million, or 2 cents per share, in last year's third quarter.

Not counting specials items such as changes in the value of fuel hedges, Southwest would have earned 26 cents per share, a penny better than analysts expected, according to a Thomson Reuters survey.

Revenue rose to $3.19 billion from $2.67 billion a year ago, slightly higher than the $3.17 billion that analysts expected.

Southwest shares rose 49 cents, or 3.7 percent, to $13.65 in morning trading.

While revenue is rising, Southwest faces a challenge in controlling costs. Its cost for each mile flown rose more than 7 percent in the third quarter, partly due to losses from fuel-hedging contracts, and the company expects fourth-quarter costs to rise too.

Southwest flies only within the lower 48 states, which means it isn't benefiting from the sharp increase in international travel.

That could start to change with the deal it announced last month to buy rival low-fare airline AirTran for $1.4 billion, as AirTran flies to Mexico and the Caribbean. The deal would also put Southwest in direct competition with Delta in Atlanta, the biggest U.S. city that Southwest doesn't serve already.

Southwest would grow 25 percent by swallowing AirTran. Without the deal, Southwest has no plans to expand its fleet for several years, Kelly said.

Itali Airlines MD-82

Itali Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-82 (49215/1253) arrives at London-Gatwick (LGW/EGKK) operating for WindJet on October 21, 2010. The aircraft was originally delivered to Alitalia as I-DAVA "Cuneo" on February 18, 1986.
(Photo by Terry Wade)

Allegiant Air is now just Allegiant

**This story came out last week but I found it very interesting and thought you might enjoy it like I did..........Michael**

The airline we’ve all come to know as Allegiant Air has a message for customers. It doesn’t want to be known as an airline, and it’s creating a branding campaign to make sure that’s clear. This is really just an extension of what most of us know already — the big money isn’t in flying airplanes but rather with what you do after you land.

Over the last few years, Allegiant has followed the ultra low cost carrier model of trying to keep fares as low as possible in order to get people on board and make money on ancillary revenues. When it started with this strategy in Las Vegas, the airline made a large number of deals with local hotels to package rooms with flights, and that worked wonders. Now Allegiant makes nearly $35 a passenger in ancillary revenue, and a lot of that is money that can’t be made if someone just buys a ticket on the airline. Considering how razor thin airline profits are, this is actually what makes Allegiant profitable at all.

But it’s not just a repositioning, there’s also a call to action here. Allegiant now offers a low price guarantee if you book a package, which is generally more marketing than actual substance. In this case, if you find a cheaper deal, the airline will give you another ticket to that city for free in the future. Then Allegiant will make even more ancillary revenue on your next trip.

Allegiant is also lowering fares further and offering discounts if you book a package. The end result is clear. Allegiant doesn’t want passengers. Allegiant wants travelers to use the company for the entire trip. Considering that Allegiant has found success in this arena so far, it makes sense to try to push it further in that direction from a marketing perspective, something that Allegiant hasn’t really dabbled in very much historically.

So remember, Allegiant is no longer an airline. It’s a travel company that can also fly you to your destination itself.

(Brett Snyder - BNET)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Southwest Airlines announces markets to be served from Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina

Southwest Airlines today announced the destinations it will serve from Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP/KGSP) starting on March 13, 2011.

The carrier will feature seven daily non-stop flights to five destinations. There will be two flights to Baltimore-Washington, two to Chicago Midway and one each to Nashville, Houston Hobby and Orlando.

Southwest Airlines is offering a special deal as part of entering the Greenville-Spartanburg International airport market. The carrier is offering a special two-day fare sale only through 11:59 p.m. PDT on Thursday.

Customers can find fares as low as $30 one-way to any non-stop market to/from GSP and Charleston for travel through April 6, 2011.

In addition to the seven daily non-stop flights to/from these cities, Southwest Airlines' new service will offer direct or connecting service to more than 60 destinations including: Las Vegas, Denver, Dallas Love, Sacramento, and Salt Lake City.

Officials say 35 to 40 jobs will be created to serve at GSP International. We're told hiring will be done internally at first, but the company may go outside to fill all those positions. We're told a possible job fair could be held early next year. Officials also say they'll post the jobs, if available, on their Web site in January.

Southwest Airlines announces destinations from Charleston, South Carolina

(Photo by Michael Carter)

Southwest Airlines today announced the destinations it will serve from Charleston International Airport / Charleston Air Force Base (CHS/KCHS) with service commencing on March 13, 2011. Check out the link below which is a news report from a local Charleston TV station.

American and American Eagle announce new service at LAX

American Airlines and American Eagle have strengthened their commitment to Los Angeles with plans to add 10 new destinations – one international and nine domestic –for a total of 33 additional round trips beginning April, 5, 2011.

New destinations from LAX include (total number of daily flights):

Albuquerque, N.M. (3)
Boise, Idaho (2)
El Paso, Texas (2)
Houston Bush Intercontinental (3)
Oklahoma City, Okla. (1)
Phoenix, Ariz. (4)
Shanghai, China* (1)
Salt Lake City, Utah (3)
Sacramento, Calif. (4)
Tucson, Ariz. (3)

Four of the new routes will be served by American Eagle's Bombardier CRJ-700 fleet, which now features a First Class cabin. All four existing daily flights to Denver also will be upgraded with the addition of CRJ-700 service.

In addition to Los Angeles-Shanghai, American will offer seven additional daily domestic flights from Los Angeles, including two flights each to Dallas/Fort Worth and Miami and one flight each to Chicago, Las Vegas and Orlando. By spring 2011, American and American Eagle will offer 153 daily departures at LAX – a 28 percent increase from today's schedule. The airlines also have flexibility to add more flights and destinations in the future.

"Today's announcement demonstrates our commitment to superior service and travel choices for our customers to and from Los Angeles," said Virasb Vahidi, American's Chief Commercial Officer. "Los Angeles has long been an important market for American and American Eagle and is a critical international gateway for us as well as our oneworld® Alliance partners."

American's latest network enhancements at LAX will complement the 18 international departures offered by oneworld alliance members at the airport, including to such markets as Auckland, New Zealand; Hong Kong; Lima, Peru; London; Melbourne, Australia; San Salvador, El Salvador; and Tokyo.

With the Los Angeles expansion, American continues to strengthen its "cornerstone" network strategy that focuses more flying to and from the markets of Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami and New York. These markets represent top U.S. commerce centers and are significant international gateways, which provide the best connections to American's global network and the networks of its partner airlines in the oneworld Alliance.

"I would like to thank American Airlines for strengthening their commitment to Los Angeles by bringing more flights into our great City and spurring economic development by investing $20 million into their terminal," Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. "Los Angeles, an international global destination, is proud to partner with American Airlines, a world-class airline, to connect more people and to provide more jobs for hard-working Angelenos."

American estimates that its expanded service will add approximately $600 million a year in local economic impact, increasing its total annual economic impact in Los Angeles to approximately $6 billion.

American has a rich historical connection to California. On Jan. 25, 1959, American became the first airline to offer coast-to-coast jet service with Boeing 707 flights between Los Angeles and New York's Idlewild Airport. In 2009, American and American Eagle served more than 9 million customers either traveling to, from or through LAX. The airline continues to grow in the state and, with the additions announced today, American will operate 267 daily nonstop flights to 35 destinations from California, serving cities throughout the United States as well as destinations in the Pacific, Europe, Canada, Mexico and Central America.

Today's announcement is the latest example of American's commitment to Los Angeles. Earlier this month, American, British Airways and Iberia announced the official launch of their Joint Business between North America and Europe by introducing a new Los Angeles – Madrid route (operated by Iberia) that will begin service in spring 2011. American will codeshare on that flight, allowing customers to buy a ticket on and earn AAdvantage® miles on the journey.

Also this month, American received approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation to launch service between Los Angeles and Shanghai. The new route will enhance American's service offering to China when it launches in April 2011, using 247-seat Boeing 777 aircraft which feature 16 First Class, 37 Business Class and 194 Economy Class seats.

Last month American announced new choices for customers between Los Angeles and Mexico through a new codeshare agreement with Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air. Pending regulatory approval, later this year American intends to offer customers the ability to purchase tickets on Alaska Airlines or Horizon Air from or through Los Angeles to the following markets: Mexico City**; Guadalajara**; La Paz (operated by Horizon Air); Loreto (operated by Horizon Air); Mazatlan; Puerto Vallarta; Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo and Manzanillo.

Approximately $20 Million in Facility Upgrades Also Planned

Last year, American Eagle opened a new terminal at LAX. As a result of today's announcement, American Eagle plans to expand the facility by adding four more gates, an investment of approximately $20 million. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2011, giving American Eagle 10 gates at LAX. The American Eagle terminal upgrade will complement American's amenities at Terminal 4, which features 13 gates, expanded curbside check-in with 13 skycap positions, 42 self-service machines, mobile check-in capability, including boarding pass and bag tag issuance, and an Admirals Club with a First Class Flagship Lounge. The airlines offer direct shuttle service between the two terminals.

First Class on American Eagle

With the introduction of nine First Class seats on its Bombardier CRJ-700 fleet, American Eagle now will be able to offer Los Angeles customers a premium product with the same level of outstanding service customers experience on American Airlines. Customers on Los Angeles flights to/from Denver, Houston Intercontinental, Oklahoma City, Phoenix and one daily flight to/from Albuquerque will be able to enjoy Eagle's new complimentary First Class dining service that includes a Continental breakfast with cereal or hot oatmeal and yogurt and a lunch or dinner that includes a fresh salad or a sandwich and dessert. First Class customers receive warm, cleansing towels and mixed nuts prior to their meals, which are served on china. On flights of shorter duration, beverage service will be accompanied by a gourmet snack mix.

"We are proud to begin First Class service to this important cornerstone market," said Dan Garton, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Eagle. "We have served the Los Angeles community for nearly 25 years and are very proud to continue our service and support of the community in which we live and work."

(American Airlines Press Release)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Had a few interesting visitors at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) today, yes even with all the rain today I treked by the airport a couple times to see what of interest might be around.

Gulfstream flight ramp:

G-IV (c/n 1087) N368AG

G-V (c/n 599) N800PM ex-N428WT, N401WJ

G550 (c/n 5108) N311CG ex-N828GA

Plus there were two unidentified G550's on the ramp as well.

Air Carrier Ramp (AOA):

jetBlue A320-232 (c/n 1546) N526JL "Barcode" tail livery.

jetBlue A320-232 (c/n 1827) N546JB "New York Jets" livery. Aircraft arrived at 19:27 from Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL/KFLL) as JBU259. Departed at 20:46 as JBU937 bound for San Francisco International (SFO/KSFO).

Former "Freaked Out" jetBlue F/A pleads guilty

A former JetBlue flight attendant who made a profanity-filled exit via an airliner's emergency chute pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal mischief on Tuesday.

Steven Slater, 38, was ordered to undergo a year-long mental health program and receive alcohol and substance abuse counseling, the Queens District Attorney's Office said in a statement.

A prison sentence of one to three years is to be withdrawn if Slater complies.

Slater became an overnight celebrity after the incident, which began with a dispute with a passenger over overhead luggage. It ended with Slater quitting his job over the loudspeaker system and exiting the aircraft at New York's JFK airport with a couple of beers.

Slater was also ordered to reimburse JetBlue USD$10,000 to cover the costs of repairing the emergency chute he used in August following a stressful flight and a confrontation with at least one of the passengers.

"The defendant finally has recognized the seriousness of his actions and is willing to accept responsibility... Today's disposition... fairly balances the seriousness of the charges against the need for the defendant's rehabilitation," District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement.


jetBlue special "NY Jets" livery.

jetBlue A320-232 (c/n 1827) N546JB now sports this special livery dedicated to the NFL's New York Jets Football team. The aircraft is seen arriving at Ft. Lauderdale (FLL/KFLL) today, October 19, 2010.
(Photo by Dave Campbell)

Photo of the Day / EVA Air MD-11F B-16112

EVA Air Cargo MD-11F (48789/633) B-16112 (ex DAC N90178) was delivered to the carrier on July 29, 1999. The beautiful "DAC Heavy" is captured departing from Rwy 32 at Ted Stevens International Airport (ANC/PANC) at Anchorage, Alaska on September 27, 2007.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Launch customer for 777-200BCF could be announced in early 2011

Boeing is confident of securing a launch customer for its 777 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF) programme by mid 2011, and expects the 777-200ERBCF will be launched ahead of the 777-200BCF.

The manufacturer began offering the 777-200BCF and 777-200ERBCF in the second quarter of this year. The 777BCF programme manager, Ralph Kramer, says Boeing has since been talking to seven or eight airlines about acquiring 777BCFs. But securing a launch customer in 2010, which Boeing last year said it was aiming for, is no longer likely.

"We're thinking now first half, maybe even first quarter of next year, would be launch," Kramer tells ATI and Flightglobal.

But he cautions that "it could go later. It's all about finding the launch customer. You don't do one of these - you need a significant quantity."

Kramer says one big customer or a few smaller customers could give Boeing the quantity it needs to formally launch the programme. FedEx, which along with UPS would be big enough to persuade Boeing to launch the 777BCF with just one customer, confirmed last year that it was evaluating the programme.

Kramer says FedEx is only one of several carriers interested. "We've had people express interest in the 777. There are two we are really working with and the next sub-circle would probably be five or six," he explains.

He categorises the interest in both these groups as "serious". After that there are several other airlines and leasing companies which have expressed "general interest" in the programme.

Kramer says at this point there are not any leasing companies that are considered potential near-term customers. "GECAS and some others are interested. They are looking more down the road."

Boeing previously indicated that the smaller and older 777-200 could be converted ahead of the 777-200ER. Kramer now says the -200ER "seems to be really gaining traction to a point that's what we are really focusing on". But he adds that Boeing is not dropping the non-ER and is still finishing compiling load analysis data on the 777-200BCF.

"We should be ready to go with (the non-ER) even if it came first but the ER seems to be the more market interest at this time," Kramer explains.

Kramer says data so far shows the 777-200ERBCF coming in at a payload of about 81,646kg (180,000lbs) and a range of about 4,000nm. Assuming it can secure a launch customer in 2011 as now anticipated, the 777-200ERBCF will enter service in 2014.

Kramer says Boeing aims to select a conversion shop for the 777BCF next year, about the same time a launch customer is announced or slightly later. He says Boeing issued a request for information last month to "about a dozen" aircraft maintenance firms with passenger-to-freighter conversion capabilities. Responses are due back "later this fall".

As in the case with the 747-400BCF programme, Boeing plans to sell the 777-200ERBCF as a completed conversion and as a conversion kit. For conversion customers, the modification will be done at the shop or shops it selects. For those airlines that elect to buy the kit, they can install the mod at their own maintenance facilities with support from Boeing.

Kramer says Boeing does not expect to offer a conversion programme for the 777-300 as only about 60 of the type were produced. Conversions for the newest 777 models, the -300ER and -200LR, are still at least several years away given they only entered service during the last decade.

For the 777-200, Kramer says availability is limited as there were only 88 aircraft produced, two of which have already been parted out. Of the remaining 86, he says 52 are not in play as they are currently operated by United, All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines. United has no intentions of replacing its 777-200s while ANA and JAL operate their 777-200s domestically, which makes them unattractive for conversion given their high cycles.

Boeing expects more near-term availability for the 777-200ER. This type is much common than the 777-200 and Boeing specifically sees near-term potential on converting some of the oldest 86 aircraft.

(Brendan Sobie - Flight Global News)