FedEx Corp. reported a net profit of $464 million for its fiscal first quarter ended Aug. 31, up 22% from net income of $380 million in the prior-year period. Despite the profit rise, the Memphis-based express delivery carrier lowered per share earnings guidance for its full fiscal year ended May 31 from $6.35-$6.85 to $6.25-$6.75, reflecting slower-than-expected global economic growth.
"The US and global economy grew at a slower rate than we anticipated during the quarter," executive VP and CFO Alan Graf said. He added that a "rapid decline in demand" for its air-reliant FedEx Express unit, "particularly from Asia," led to the earnings downgrade. Also, the company said FedEx Express shipping rates would rise by a net average of 3.9% for US domestic, US export and US import services, effective Jan. 2, 2012.
FedEx's companywide revenue grew 11% year-over-year in the fiscal first quarter to $10.52 billion while expenses increased 11% to $9.78 billion, producing an operating profit of $737 million, up 17% from $628 million in the year-ago period. FedEx Express saw its operating income dip 19% year-over-year to $288 million as revenueincreased 12% to $6.59 billion but expenses jumped 13% to $6.3 billion. The unit's fuel costs leaped 43% to $1.08 billion.
FedEx Express "operating income and margin [4.4% compared to 6% in the August 2010 quarter] decreased as package volume declines accelerated during the quarter due to slowing global economic growth," the company said. "The package volume declines were more pronounced in certain premium services."
John Wayne Airport is pleased to announce a new seasonal destination from Orange County. United Airlines will offer four-day-a-week service from John Wayne Airport (SNA/KSNA) to the Mammoth Yosemite Airport (MMH) beginning December 16, 2011 and extending through April 15, 2012.
"Direct, non-stop flights to Mammoth are a great addition to JWA's service options. United Airlines is making it easy for Orange County skiers and snowboarders to reach one of their favorite resorts." said Alan L. Murphy, Airport Director.
Travelers looking to take a trip to Mammoth this winter can now log on to www.united.com to book their flight. The Friday through Monday service will depart JWA at 2:30 p.m. and arrive at Mammoth at 3:49 p.m. Return flights will depart Mammoth at 12:15 p.m. and arrive at JWA at 1:36 p.m. United will serve this destination with a CRJ700.
A last-minute decision to scrub the first delivery of the latest generation Boeing 747 was caused by "contract issues" with the European customer, a Boeing executive said on Monday.
Boeing said on Friday it would not make the planned first delivery of its 747-8 Freighter to Cargolux, set for Monday. The plane maker, which had planned three days of celebrations to mark the long-awaited first delivery, did not disclose the problem and referred questions to the customer.
"We had a party planned for today," Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, told a conference in Barcelona. "We have some contract issues which need to be resolved and we are working on that," he told the ISTAT aircraft trading conference.
Air France KLM revealed its long-awaited order for new-generation, long-range aircraft Friday, stating that its board approved the order of 50 firm aircraft plus 60 options. A spokesperson confirmed to ATW that the 50 firm aircraft are evenly divided between Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s. Air France KLM cautioned that the orders are "still subject to the finalization of discussions with the manufacturers."
The airline group said the orders and options will comprise a mix of A350s and Dreamliners, adding that "consistent with the provisional fleet plan, this order will result in the group's operation of 73 next-generation aircraft through 2024: 43 A350-900s and 30 787-9s." This indicates it anticipates to firm at least 23 options in a first stage. Airbus said in a statement that Air France KLM's order for 25 A350-900s "will be firmed up shortly."
The first 787-9 will enter into service with KLM in 2016 and the first A350-900 with Air France in 2018. "Later, both airlines will operate both types of aircraft," the group said. It is the company's first joint long-haul aircraft order since Paris-based Air France and Amsterdam-based KLM merged in 2004. The new aircraft will replace older widebodies as well as support growth.
The group said it had not yet made a choice of engines to power its 787s. The A350-900s will be equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, as it is the only engine "provided for this aircraft by the manufacturer," it specified.
A source confirmed that the group and Rolls had a falling out earlier this year over the latter's refusal to allow Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance, the group's aircraft maintenance department, to offer third-party maintenance on Trent engines. Air France KLM said in the statement Friday that within "the framework of this order, Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance is confirming its commitment to position itself as a key market player for the maintenance of these aircraft and their engines."
The company said memoranda of understanding will be signed with Airbus, Boeing and Rolls shortly and finalized contracts are expected before the end of the year. "The acquisitions are scaled to a size that can be financed through cash flow generated from group operations," it added.
The Boeing Company on Sept. 15 celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first flight of the C-17 airlifter. On Sept. 15, 1991, test aircraft T-1 took off from the Boeing Long Beach site on a two-hour flight that proved the engineering and design concepts of the aircraft and marked the beginning of the program.
T-1 flew by Long Beach again on Sept. 15, 2011, in a re-creation of its milestone flight.
"The first flight of T-1 ushered in a new era in military and humanitarian airlift," said Bob Ciesla, C-17 program manager for Boeing. "Twenty years ago, when I was working in flight test for this new airlift program, I could not anticipate just how critical the C-17 would become for the U.S. Air Force and its allies. The success of the C-17 Globemaster III program extends beyond Boeing's employees and supplier partners -- who have proudly engineered and built the world's greatest airlifter for two decades -- to exceed the expectations of customers around the globe who fly the jet every day."
The C-17 has flown more than 2 million hours in its 20-year history, supporting worldwide airlift missions that transport troops and supplies to global hot zones and bring aid to those in need during humanitarian crises.
"There is no question that the C-17 has set the bar high," said Ciesla. "The program has performed on cost and on schedule for more than a decade. Now we are entering a new stage with a production-rate reduction from 15 to 10 aircraft per year, extending the life of the C-17 line to 2014 and beyond."
The C-17 aircraft has achieved a number of record-breaking milestones -- more than any other airlifter in history -- and set 33 world records during initial flight testing at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The C-17's records include payload to altitude and time-to-climb, as well as a record for short-takeoff-and-landing in which the C-17 took off in less than 1,400 feet, carried a payload of 44,000 pounds to altitude, and landed in less than 1,400 feet.
During the past 20 years, Boeing has delivered 235 C-17s -- 211 to the U.S. Air Force, including active duty, Guard and Reserve units, and 24 to international customers including the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, Qatar Emiri Air Force, United Arab Emirates Air Force and Air Defence, and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations. India became the newest C-17 customer in June, when India's Ministry of Defence signed an agreement with the U.S. government to acquire 10 C-17s that will be delivered in 2013-2014.
Brussels Airlines is adding ex Swiss International A330-223 (c/n 229) HB-IQA to it's fleet. The aircraft is captured at Manchester International (Ringway) (MAN/EGCC) as it readies to depart back to Zurich after receiving the livery of it's new operator.
Boeing confirmed Friday it will deliver the first 747-8 freighter to launch customer Cargolux Sept. 19 at Paine Field in Everett. Production and development issues several times delayed the 747-8F; Cargolux was originally scheduled to get its first aircraft in the third quarter of 2009.
The 747-8F gained US FAA and EASA certification last month. Cargolux has 13 747-8Fs on firm order. The cargo carrier will put the aircraft into revenue service immediately from its Luxembourg base. It will take delivery of the second General Electric GEnx-2B67 powered 747-8F Sept. 21 and a third aircraft is scheduled to join its fleet in October.
Cargolux president and CEO Frank Reimen said, "In a sense, history is repeating itself. We were pioneering the cargo industry when we put the first 747-400 freighter into revenue service in 1993. This is what we do once again with the 747-8 freighter."
Cargolux, Europe's largest all-cargo airline, became the 747-8F launch customer when it signed a contract for 10 in November 2005. It placed a follow-on order for three additional aircraft in March 2007 and holds two options and 10 purchase rights.
Computer generated image of an A320 in Air Australia livery.
Brisbane-based Strategic Airlines announced Friday it will be renamed Air Australia later this year.
The carrier said last month it would launch flights from Brisbane and Melbourne to Honolulu Dec. 14 after receiving approval from US Dept. of Transportation (ATW Daily News, Aug. 15). Those flights will be operated by Airbus A330s with 30 business-class seats and 244 in economy.
Launched in 1991 as an aircraft broker, the airline obtained its own AOC in 2009 as a charter operator. It now operates scheduled passenger service on routes including MEL-Phuket, Brisbane-HKT, BNE-Bali, BNE-Port Hedland and Perth-Derby. Domestic MEL-BNE flights will commence from December.
The new image and livery was designed by CumminsRoss in Australia. According to executive director Sean Cummins, the task was as much about design as it was about communication.
"The challenge was to convey a modern Australian aviation product, for a company with its own heritage and an instant sense of familiarity and likeability," Cummins said. "Green is our key color with a hint of gold and subtle silver-grey representing gum trees, koalas and gray kangaroos." He noted that the Air Australia symbol is a "stylized boomerang, the most striking icon of flight in the Australian lexicon. Because of the company's strong history as a defense force charter company we have also incorporated the rising sun, also a strong Australian symbol also found on the Australian Army badge."
In addition to rights to fly to the US, Strategic has also gained approval to operate services between Australia and China. "We are now assessing potential opportunities and working on all regulatory requirements with China regulators," the airline stated.
Captured at Zurich-Kloten (ZUR/LSZH) just after a passing rain shower, is Air Berlin A330-223
(c/n 288) HB-IQH which is a ex Swiss International Air Lines machine. The aircraft sports small non-standard Air Berlin titles as it is rumored that it will receive "OneWorld" titles sometime this fall.
An improperly labeled fiberboard box containing 33 lithium battery-powered electronic devices has landed the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in hot water with the US Federal Aviation Administration, and highlights the ongoing risk of shipping the batteries on cargo aircraft. The safety regulator has levied a $175,000 civil penalty on MIT, alleging that the university had shipped the box via FedEx from Cambridge to Seattle on 25 August 2009. "The package was discovered with smoke and flames coming from it while it was moving on a conveyor at the FedEx sorting facility in Medford, Massachusetts," the FAA says in a 2 September release. "Two of the devices in the package heated and melted, which caused the surrounding cushioning and packaging to catch fire," the FAA continued. "Because the package was not properly labeled and marked, Federal Express employees did not know the shipment contained hazardous material. They made several unsuccessful attempts to extinguish the flames with a fire extinguisher." The FAA notes that the batteries "were not packaged in a manner that would prevent a short-circuit that could create sparks or generate a dangerous quantity of heat", nor was the box marked as containing dangerous goods. Since the time of the incident, safety officials have repeatedly have raised concerns about lithium battery shipments, most recently with the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Association (IFALPA) asking for revised ICAO regulations for shipping the batteries.
According to IFALPA, lithium batteries have been responsible for over 40 reported incidents since 1990, involving smoke, fire, extreme heat or explosion in aircraft cabins and cargo holds. Two pilots were killed in September 2010 when their UPS Boeing 747-400F crashed near Dubai after an in-flight cargo hold fire and smoke in the cockpit. Investigators determined that there were ion battery packs onboard that had not been labeled as hazardous materials.
MIT has 30 days to respond to the FAA's enforcement letter.
Operated by Honeywell Inc., G450 (c/n 4036) N922H is captured sporting special "Green Jet Fuel" titles which were applied to the aircraft for this years Paris Air Show. The aircraft performed it's first Transatlantic Biofuel Flight enroute to the show. It is seen resting at San Francisco International Airport (SFO/KSFO) on August 27, 2011.
G-IVSP (c/n 1429) N777KK is operated by the Kohler Company and is captured during a visit to San Francisco International Airport (SFO/KSFO) on August 30, 2011, *Note "The Bold Look" titles on the tail which add to this quite stunning livery.
Gulfstream G550 (c/n 5319) N519GA tbr B-8137 holds short of Rwy 30 as it readies to depart to Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport (SAV/KSAV) on August 23, 2011 for onward delivery to it's new Chinese customer.
G550 (c/n 5327) N772GA returns to Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on September 1, 2011 following a customer acceptance flight.
G550 (c/n 5070) HB-JEP ex-N870GA arrives at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) following a flight from Reno (RNO/KRNO) on September 3, 2011.