Friday, December 28, 2012

Boeing to keep 747-8I destined for Lufhansa as testbed aircraft

Lufthansa and Boeing have agreed that a 747-8 previously allocated for delivery to the airline will now become a dedicated test aircraft for a set of airframe, system and engine improvements due for delivery in late 2013.

The aircraft, Line Number 1435, first flew in April 2011 but has already been used for some upgrade testing and will now continue in this role rather than be refurbished for Lufthansa. The move, which was triggered by the need to flight test a revised tail fuel system for activation on later aircraft, means that Lufthansa’s firm order book backlog reduces from 20 to 19, though the airline hints that this may only be a temporary reduction.

Lufthansa is still scheduled to take five 747-8s as planned in 2013, and 10 more aircraft by the end of 2015 that will incorporate the lighter structure and improved systems and engines. The airline currently has four 747-8s in service.

Explaining the decision, the German carrier’s 747-8 chief pilot Elmar Boje says the extensive flight test modifications already made to the aircraft would mean that, even after post-test refurbishment, the unit would be a non-standard “white elephant” in the Lufthansa fleet. However, he adds the airline’s long-range fleet group is due to decide on adding additional aircraft by the third quarter of 2013, some of which could include 747-8s.

Although the decision effectively shrinks Boeing’s overall 747-8 backlog to 71, the manufacturer is putting a brave face on the move because a variety of upgrade testing, including the General Electric GEnx-2B performance improvement package (PIP), can now be bundled into one dedicated certification effort. “The plan was to use a 747-8F freighter for the PIP flight test, but when we de-activated the tail fuel we needed an -8 Intercontinental” to flight test the revised system, says 747 vice president and general manager Elizabeth Lund. “That’s when we started our conversation with Lufthansa.”

The aircraft, originally destined to be Lufthansa’s fifth 747-8, will be used for flight testing throughout 2013 and refurbished for onward sale in 2014 as either a standard airliner or for possible business jet modification.

“Lufthansa opted to take a new aircraft instead in 2014,” says Lund. “So as a result, we had to pull this one out and delay delivery to next year. Lufthansa reserves the right to add another at the end. We asked to use it, and it was already instrumented for tail fuel testing. So all in all it’s a good business decision by them,” she adds.

Improvements to be tested next year are concentrated on the upgraded engine configuration and tail tank fuel system, though also include updates to the flight management computer (FMC) to incorporate additional required navigation performance features and a ‘quiet climb’ function.

The FMC 3.0 load is scheduled for the end of 2013.

The 747-8 passenger model’s 3,300 gal. tailplane fuel tank was de-activated before the first aircraft entered service after analysis indicated that, under certain fuel load circumstances, the tail tank could induce flutter.

Re-activation of the tail fuel tank will provide added range and improve the aircraft’s performance says Lufthansa’s Boje. The extra weight of the fuel in the aft of the aircraft can be used to assist in trimming the 747-8 to lower cruise drag. The 747-8’s fuselage extension “tends to be nose heavy so we might gain performance,” he adds.

Lufthansa also plans to ask Boeing to study minor software changes to the fuel transfer system which would extend the length of time the fuel remains in the aft tank, which would increase the trim benefit.

(Guy Norris - Aviation Week)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Michael Carter 
Aero Pacific Flightlines 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

G650 emerges from Paint shop at Long Beach Airport

This new G650 (VP-CNR) is captured undertow fresh from the Gulfstream piant shop at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) this afternoon (12/18/2012). I believe it is ex-N603GA (c/n 6034) but I have not confirmed this as of yet. 
(Photos by Michael Carter) 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Southwest Airlines announces new fees

Looking to increase revenue amid tough competition, Southwest Airlines has announced several fee changes, including higher charges for checking a third bag and for failing to cancel a ticket before missing a flight.

The Dallas-based airline — the nation's largest passenger carrier — will continue to charge nothing for the first two checked bags and for changing a flight after buying a ticket.

The changes, announced Friday during an investors' conference in New York, are expected to help the airline increase revenue from extra fees by $300 million annually. The changes are not expected to take effect until 2013.

 Southwest Airlines 737-7H4 (34592/1868) N230WN "Colorado One"
(Photo by Michael Carter)

 The fees for a third bag and for overweight or oversize bags will rise to $75 from $50. The charge for an "early bird" check-in that lets passengers board early increases to $12.50 from $10. The airline has yet to outline the fee for failing to cancel a restricted ticket before missing a flight.

Southwest has long billed itself as the airline that doesn't "nickel-and-dime" passengers with extra fees like many of its competitors. The world's largest airlines are expected to collect $36.1 billion in passenger fees in 2012 — including charges to check bags, buy food and drinks and use onboard wireless Internet.

Southwest Chief Commercial Officer Bob Jordan said the "no-show" fee will generate revenue and give passengers an incentive to call the airline before missing a flight so that Southwest can resell those empty seats.

"So it's a double win there," he said during the investors' conference. "We are still working through the changes but we have made the decision to do it."

(Hugo Martin - Los Angeles Times)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

 Taxies on "Lima" towards a Rwy 30 departure.
G550 (c/n 5338) N550AU rolls for takeoff on Rwy 30 at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) bound for Ted Stevens International Airport (ANC/PANC) in Anchorage, Alaska on December 11, 2012.
(Photos by Michael Carter) 
G550 (c/n 5408) N908GA arrived at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) at 09:06 pst from Savannah-Hilton International Airport (SAV/KSAV) on December 11, 2012.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Singapore Airlines sells 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic to Delta Airlines

Delta Air Lines will spend $360 million to acquire Singapore Airlines’ 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic Airways. As part of the deal, Delta and Virgin Atlantic will launch a transatlantic joint venture (JV).
“Virgin Group and [chairman] Sir Richard Branson will retain the majority 51% stake and Virgin Atlantic Airways will retain its brand and operating certificate,” Delta and Virgin Atlantic said in a joint statement.

The JV will operate on a “metal neutral basis,” the carriers said, adding that both airlines will share “the costs and revenues from all joint venture flights.” The statement continued, “The airlines will file an application with the US Department of Transportation for antitrust immunity, which will allow a closer relationship and coordination on schedules and operations. The transaction also will be reviewed by the US Department of Justice and the European Union's competition regulator and other relevant authorities.”

The airlines expect both the share purchase and JV to be in place by the end of next year.
“Our new partnership with Virgin Atlantic will strengthen both airlines and provide a more effective competitor between North America and the UK, particularly on the New York-London route, which is the largest airline route between the US and Europe,” Delta CEO Richard Anderson said.

Virgin Atlantic CEO Steve Ridgway stated, “This joint venture will deliver much more effective competition at [London] Heathrow. Both airlines are confident that the Department of Transportation will be as convinced as we are of the extensive consumer benefits arising from this joint venture.”
Branson said the agreement with Delta “signals the start of a new era of expansion, financial growth and many opportunities for our customers and our business.”

The two carriers said they will operate “a total of 31 peak-day round-trip flights between the UK and North America, 23 of which operate at London Heathrow. The enlarged network will benefit customers of both carriers by providing greater access to a broader network, improved connectivity
and convenient booking options.”

(Aaron Karp - ATWOnline News)

Corporate jet charter alliance announced at MEBA conference

AirClub, the world’s first corporate jet charter alliance, was announced yesterday at MEBA 2012 in Dubai. The alliance brings together eight of Europe’s business jet charter operators: ACM Air Charter, Air Alsie, Air Hamburg, Corporatejets, Flyinggroup, GlobeAir, Masterjet and PrivatAir.

Between them they operate 106 aircraft, covering a wide spectrum of range and payload capabilities, from the Beechcraft King Air to a VIP Boeing 757. “We will combine the strength, purchasing power and expertise of some of Europe’s leading players within the industry to provide clients with premium service, top aircraft availability and flexibility, as well as the highest possible standard of safety and comfort,” said PrivatAir’s Christian Hatje, who is chairman of AirClub.

For the eight charter operators, which will retain their independence, the alliance will allow them to upgrade their customer service and widen the type of service they can offer. From a purchasing point of view, the alliance membership gives them greater strength, particularly in the areas of fuel provision, insurance and spares.

Having now established the alliance, the priority is to get an online booking service up and running early next year. Following this, AirClub will look at an alliance-wide jet card, although jet cards from any of the eight members can now be used across the alliance.

(Aviation International News)

American Airlines takes delivery of it's first 777-323(ER)

American Airlines took delivery of its first Boeing 777-323(ER) (31543/1053) N717AN yesterday (12/11/2012) as part of the carrier's fleet modernization program and global network strategy.

The delivery makes the Dallas / Fort Worth, based carrier the first US airline to add the 777-300(ER) to its fleet.

American plans to put the aircraft into service early next year on it's Dallas/ Fort Worth (DFW/KDFW) - Sao Paulo - Guarulhos International (Cumbica) (GRU/SBGR) route. 

American will introduce a new livery on the aircraft which was delivered plain white. 

 (Michael Carter - APF Editor)

Friday, December 7, 2012

First Indian Air Force C-17A

The first Indian Air Force C-17A (F-253/IAF-1) CB-8001 is bathed in the bright white light of the flight ramp flood lites on December 7, 2012 just hours after emerging from the production hanger at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB).
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

New Star Alliance member - Shenzhen Airlines

Air China subsidiary Shenzhen Airlines joined Star Alliance Thursday, becoming Star’s 27th member. Shenzhen Airlines is China’s fifth largest carrier.

By joining Star, Shenzhen Airlines hopes to accelerate the pace of its international expansion as well as strengthen the alliance position in China and across Asia. Shenzhen Airlines will add some 400 daily flights to 70 Star destinations, including five new cities for the alliance—Juzhou, Linyi, Qinhuangdao, Shijiazhuang and Zhousan.

“Our customers now benefit from improved access throughout the economical Pearl River Delta and across Southern China ... I feel pretty good with the [Star] network in China,” Star Alliance CEO Mark Schwab told ATW.

Shenzhen Airlines is Star’s second carrier in Mainland China after Air China became a member in December 2007. Air China was Shenzhen’s mentor for the joining process.
Taiwan-based Eva Air is expected to join Star in June 2013.

Shenzhen Airlines operates 116 passenger and cargo aircraft, comprising Boeing 737NGs, 747s, Airbus A319s and A320s. By the end of 2015, the fleet should grow from 122 to more than 170 aircraft by 2015.

The carrier operates bases in Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

(Kurt Hofmann - ATWOnline News)

French Court clears Continental Airlines of criminal blame for 2000 Air France Concorde Crash

Continental Airlines has been cleared of criminal blame for the July 2000 crash of an Air France Concorde aircraft at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.

United Continental Holdings confirmed the decision of a French appeals court today and said in a statement, “This was a tragic accident and we support the court’s decision that Continental did not bear fault. We have long maintained that neither Continental nor its employees were responsible for this tragic event and are satisfied that this verdict was overturned.”

United Airlines and Continental merged in 2010 and received its single operating certificate late last year.
The appeals court decision comes almost two years to the day after another French court found Continental to be criminally responsible for the crash, in which 113 people died. That court concluded that there was a link between safety failures by Continental and the fire that brought down the Concorde.

It held the airline and its mechanic responsible for having manufactured and installed a piece of titanium that fell from a Continental DC-10 that took off from the same runway shortly before the Concorde’s departure.

The airline was fined €200,000 ($265,000) and ordered to pay €1million in damages to Air France.

According to a BBC report Thursday, the appeals court has upheld the damages order, saying Continental still bore civil responsibility.

(Karen Walker - ATWOnline News)
Gulfstream G550 (c/n 5381) N381GA taxies to the Gulfstream ramp on a rainy/gloomy afternoon at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) following it's arrival from Outagamie County Regional Airport (ATW/KATW) in Appleton, Wisconson.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

DeerJet G450 (c/n 4234) B-8250 arrived at approximately 1600 pst and parked at the Gulfstream service center.

DC-9-15(F) returns home to Long Beach

Kalitta Charters II DC-9-15(F) (47086/219) N915CK arrives at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) following a flight from El Paso (ELP/KELP), Texas on November 28, 2012.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

LGB Airport Manager is one of Long Beach's most important leaders

(Photo - Aero Pacific Flightlines Archives)

When Mario Rodriguez took charge of Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) operations in early 2009, the historic regional flying field was a functional landmark full of history but lacking in vision. Since then, he has launched a nationwide branding campaign to put Long Beach’s airport on the map while overseeing the implementation of a $140 million modernization plan, the crown jewel of which—a state-of-the-art concourse—will be opening ahead of schedule this December.

Instead of shrinking down an LAX-type airport model for the future LGB, Rodriguez’s plans called for the restoration of the airport’s historic art deco terminal—including the recently discovered mosaic floors hidden for decades under dingy carpet near the check-in desks—as well as a series of expansion projects that will soon posit the facility at the forefront of air travel.

In the last year, Rodriguez saw three consecutive quarters in which LGB not only had the cheapest airfares in the state, but the second-cheapest in the entire nation. All as the airport prepares to open a partially solar-powered 14,200 sq. ft. concourse that will generate more than a hundred new jobs and house Long Beach-only businesses.

By simultaneously respecting the past and crafting a vision for the future, Rodriguez’s power to give LGB a vision has made Long Beach’s once-overlooked local airport into a regional air travel gateway, one that will continue to be an economic force for the City without being detrimental towards the aura of what makes Long Beach Long Beach.

(Long Beach Post)

Hawker Beechcraft to close several services centers due to bankruptcy

The closing of some Hawker Beechcraft (HBC) factory-owned service centers as a result of the manufacturer’s bankruptcy has changed the way customers have their aircraft maintained, especially in the Southwest U.S. Previously, the factory-owned HBC center in Mesa, Ariz., pulled business from the West Coast, Mexico and other areas.  Other locations that served these markets included facilities in Little Rock, Ark., and San Antonio but these too have closed, meaning that independent HBC-authorized maintenance facilities such as West Coast Aircraft Maintenance in Long Beach, Calif., are picking up a lot of new business. “We’re the only Hawker Beechcraft-approved facility in the Southwest U.S.,” said West Coast sales manager Alfredo Garcia. “We’re in the big leagues now.”

West Coast was awarded Mexican DGAC repair station approval in November, making the company a viable option for maintaining Mexican-registered aircraft. The DGAC approval encompasses the same ratings as West Coast’s FAA Part 145 repair station, which includes airframes from piston singles through Bombardier Challengers and other capabilities such as engine hot-section inspections.

The HBC authorization covers Bonanzas through the Hawker-series jets, including the Premier I/IA, but not the Hawker 400 or Hawker 4000. West Coast also installs King Air modifications such as Garmin G1000 avionics and Raisbeck and BLR Aerospace airframe upgrades.

A “West Coast Edition” King Air 200 is available with the G1000 avionics (including RVSM), BLR winglets, P&WC PT6A-52 engines (by StandardAero) and a variety of Raisbeck mods, including Hartzell propellers, wing lockers, ram-air recovery system, enhanced-performance leading edges and dual aft-body strakes.

(AIN Online News)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Embraer Jet goes down in Indian Ocean

A plane crashed in the Indian Ocean off the Comoros Islands on Tuesday after suffering mechanical problems, but all 29 people on board survived, officials said.

The Embraer jet went down a few minutes after taking off from Moroni airport at about 1 pm local time, they said. The plane, belonging to Inter-Iles, had been bound for the nearby island of Anjouan.
A senior military official who gave his name only as Zarouk and was on board the plane, said aircraft fuel was leaking "like an open tap" upon take-off.

He alerted the pilot who decided to return to the airport, but was unable to land in time, instead crashed into the sea.

Abu Mohamed Ali, director general of Civil Aviation for the Comoros Islands, said all 29 people on board - 25 passengers and four crew - were safe. The pilot suffered head injuries while the rest were unhurt. Fishermen appeared to have led the search-and-rescue operation.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Air New Zealand 777-319(ER) sports new "Hobbit" livery

 The "Hobbit" arrives
 in Los Angeles
 following a flight
 from New Zealand.
Air New Zealand 777-319(ER) (39041/972) ZK-OKP arrived at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) from Auckland (AKL/NZAA), New Zealand as "NZ 2" at 13:54 pst sporting the new "Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" livery which was inspired by the new Peter Jackson movie.  
This is the inaugural flight for this special livery which also sports the carriers new tail livery which is now black with a white Koru.
   The aircraft will depart LAX for London Heathrow (LHR/EGLL) at 4.00pm.

(Photos by Michael Carter)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Here we go again, union at Boeing threatens strike!

Engineers at Boeing have moved closer to a strike after the US aircraft manufacturer's latest offer on two contracts that expire Sunday.

The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) said the new offer still represents a cut in salary and other benefits for the 23,000 members of its two bargaining units, professional and technical workers.

"We're closer to calling a strike authorization," SPEEA executive director Ray Goforth said. "We don't have a date or plans" to call a vote, he added.

Boeing said the offer is much improved over its opening proposal, and reflects the tough competition with Airbus and the needs of price-sensitive airlines.

"It's going to take movement from both sides" to get a deal, said Doug Alder, a Boeing spokesman. "And we made a big move."

The union's current contracts expired on October 6 and a 60-day extension runs out Sunday, canceling the no-strike clause that had prevented the union from staging a walkout.

However, the two sides met on Wednesday in Seattle, where most of SPEEA's members are based, and plan to meet again next week.

"As long as we're continuing to negotiate, work goes on as normal," Alder said.

While a strike was now possible, he noted that the union has not taken a strike-authorization vote.


Boeing churns out 52 jets a month, worth nearly USD$8 billion at list prices, and is stepping up its pace of production to work through a backlog of more than 4,000 orders.

The professional engineers and technical workers could stop production if they walked out.
The standoff has the potential to affect jet production even if the union doesn't call a strike, as engineers could work more slowly and limit their hours, something the union already is asking them to do.

"It is becoming clear Boeing corporate will need additional persuasion" to reach a deal, Bill Dugovich, SPEEA communications director, said in a statement. "Our teams encourage members to continue workplace actions, including refusing to work voluntary overtime and other ‘work-to-rule' actions to bring pressure on Boeing."

Goforth said members were "conducting work-to-rule activities" in Oregon and Washington, and declining overtime during the Thanksgiving holiday. Alder said Boeing had not seen any impact so far.

After Wednesday's meeting, SPEEA said Boeing had restated its plan to eliminate its defined-benefit pension for new hires.

The engineers argue that Boeing has rewarded executives with hefty pay raises and shareholders with a 4.8 percent dividend increase. The company is reporting strong profits and yet is offering engineers less than when the last contract was struck in 2008.

Boeing says its pay and benefit offers are industry leading at a time of high unemployment when many workers are getting modest raises and paying much more of their health-care costs.

The situation puts both sides under pressure. The union knows it is strategic to Boeing.

"They also know they have to deliver at the bargaining table," said Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.

"Boeing has an embarrassment of riches," he added. But the company "has to maintain its reputation of being a tough negotiator to get what it wants."

Boeing's new offer of four-year contracts would give professional engineers annual pay raises of 4.5 percent in the first and third years, and 4 percent in each of the other two years. That's up from 3.5 percent per year in the company's previous offer.

Technical workers, whose work provides a crucial bridge between that of engineers and machinists, would get a 3.5 percent raise in each of the first and third years and a 3 percent raise in each of the other two years. That's up from 3 percent in the first year and 2.5 percent a year in the proposed contract's other three years in the company's previous offer.

Boeing said it also lowered employees' out-of-pocket contribution for health care and eliminated hospital co pays, among other steps, in response to the union's rejection of its first offer. Members voted it down by a margin of about 96 percent.

The negotiations are set to resume on Tuesday.


Qatar C-17A performs a short flight

Qatar Emiri Air Force C-17A (F-252/QA-4) A7-MAE performed a short pre-delivery test sortie on Wednesday November 21.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Myself and the entire APF staff would like to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!
May you and your family have a wonderful day!
Michael Carter
Editor and Chief 
Aero Pacific Flightlines

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Forth C-17A destined for Qatar Emiri Air Force takes to the skies

 One gorgeous aircraft
 on short final
 to Rwy 30 at Long Beach Airport.
Smokes the mains on Rwy 30.
The forth C-17A (F-252/QA-4) N9500R tbr A7-MAE destined for the Qatar Emiri Air Force took to the skies for the first time today at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) returning at 15:21 pst November 20, 2012.
(Photos by Michael Carter) 
 Short final to Rwy 30.
G550 (c/n 5405) N545GA smokes the mains on Rwy 30 at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) as it arrives from Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport (SAV/KSAV) on November 20, 2012.
(Photos by Michael Carter)
G-IVSP (c/n 1312) N4FL ex-9M-ABC arrived from Las Vegas McCarren International (LAS/KLAS) at 14:38 pst.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Took a swing by Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) this afternoon after work and discovered United States Air Force (USAF) KC-135R (717-148) "Stratotanker" (c/n 18504) 62-3521 of the 434th ARW based at Grissom Air foece Base parked on the Signature ramp. Don't know when she arrived and I have no idea when she is scheduled to leave. 
Michael Carter

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A second new G650 arrives at Long Beach Airport

G650 (c/n 6034) N603GA arrived at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) as "GLF47" from Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport (SAV/KSAV) at 10:14 pst.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Another G550 destined for a Chinese customer flies at LGB

G550 (c/n 5364) N764GA returns to Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) following a customer flight.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

"Gulftest 37" departs Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB)

 Taxies on "Delta".
G550 (c/n 5388) N588GA rotates from Rwy 30 as "GLF37" as she departs on a pre-delivery test flight.
(Photos by Michael Carter) 
Gulfstream G280 (c/n 2007) N280FR turns onto Rwy 30 for departure to Honolulu International Airport (HNL/PHNL) at 07:44 pst. To my knowledge, this is the first G280 to visit Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB).
(Photo by Michael Carter)

USAF T-38A stops by LGB

This was a very nice surprise this morning at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB), USAF Northrup T-38A "Talon" (c/n N5733) 64-13304. She is captured taxing on "Delta" towards a Rwy 30 departure at 11:14 pst.
(Photo by Michael Carter) 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

One gorgeous flying machine!

 Feathers blowing in the afternoon wind.
I photographed this magnificant Hawk at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on November 9, 2012. It landed on the perimeter fence (which our resident Hawks normally do not do) just a few feet away affording me this tremendous opportunity.
(Photos by Michael Carter)  

Korean Airlines Gulfstream G-IV departs Long Beach Airport

 Taxies on "Lima" towards a Rwy 30 departure.
 Rolls for takeoff on Rwy 30.
Korean Airlines G-IV (c/n 1188) HL7222 rotates from Rwy 30 at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) at 13:56 pst on November 9, 2012 as "GLF 17" but never returned to the airport (to my knowledge anyway) as flight tracking website "flightaware" indicated that it did. If anyone does know the true destination of this aircraft please advise....thanks!
(Photos by Michael Carter)

New G550 arrives at Long Beach Airport

 Catching the 15 knot crosswind on short final to Rwy 30.
 Short final.
 Storm clouds in the distance over the Mojave Desert.
G550 (c/n 5403) N983GA rests on the Gulfstream service center ramp following it's arrival from Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport (SAV/KSAV) on November 9, 2012 at 14:46 PST.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Alaska Airlines 737NG operates charter flight at Long Beach Airport

Alaska Airlines 737-790 (30794/796) N627AS rotates from Rwy 30 at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) as it returns to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA/KSEA) as "ASA9003" at 15:06 pst on November 10, 2012. It arrived from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA/KSEA) at 14:27 pst as "ASA7618".
(Photo by Michael Carter)

C-17A program and employees survive as Boeing plans SoCal cutbacks

While changes are in the works at Boeing Co.'s local offices, officials said Friday that there will be no layoffs at their Southland locations.

Company-wide, Boeing is reducing its number of defense executives by 30 percent from 2010 levels. Spokesman Todd Blecher said much of that has already happened, and the last 10 percent of cuts will come by year's end.

In Long Beach, home of the company's final assembly plant for the Globemaster C-17 and more than 4,000 employees, the only change is that Nan Bouchard will be the new vice president/general manager of the C-17 program and Southern California consolidation effective Jan. 1, according to Boeing officials.

Current General Manager Bob Ciesla will be moving to another assignment but it has not yet been announced. In Seal Beach, Boeing will relocate employees -- a mix of engineers, legal and marketing -- based in two buildings of 11 buildings to other regional offices. Boeing hopes to vacate the two buildings to be ready for lease by mid-2013, said spokeswoman Brittany Kuhn.

Boeing employees from two buildings in Huntington Beach will be relocated, Kuhn said. The pair is slated for demolition, she said. Kuhn would not say how many employees would be displaced but emphasized that "no jobs are being lost" in the area.

The changes are part of Boeing's overall efforts since 2010 to cut costs. While its commercial airplane business has been expanding, Boeing's defense business is suffering because of tight government spending in the U.S. and other countries.

The shake-up includes disbanding the Missiles and Unmanned Airborne Systems division as of Jan. 1. That unit makes things such as cruise missiles and drones that have been in high demand but which aren't needed as much as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have wound down.

The division's work will be spread to other areas, Blecher said, such as with the Missiles division becoming part of Boeing Military Aircraft's Global Strike division. The missiles and unmanned planes unit had its own finance, communications, human resources and legal staff, but that work will be spread among other Boeing defense units.

Boeing said it has cut defense facilities by 10 percent "and is looking for more over time." It did not say which facilities will be affected. The cuts include moves such as eliminating its defense plant in Wichita, Kan., which will be done by the end of next year.

Two years ago, Boeing's defense business employed 66,300 people. It's down to 60,500 now, a drop of almost 9 percent. Blecher said some workers have gone to Boeing's commercial airplanes side. Employment there has jumped from 80,000 at the beginning of the year to 85,000 now.

At the beginning of 2011, defense and commercial airplanes each made up roughly half of Boeing's business. But defense has stagnated, with revenue rising just 3 percent during the first nine months of this year, and margins turning negative, while commercial airplane growth has taken off as deliveries accelerate.

Dennis Muilenburg, the president and CEO of Boeing's defense business, said in a statement this week: "While funding for the U.S. Department of Defense is under extreme pressure, we're innovating and expanding our core, in the U.S. and around the globe, to sustain and grow our business."

(Karen Robes Meeks - Long Beach Press Telegram)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Atlas Air reports profit despite weak air cargo market

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (AAWH), parent of Atlas Air and Polar Air Cargo, posted third-quarter net income of $33.9 million, up 20.2% over a net profit of $28.2 million in the prior-year period. Revenue rose 13% year-over-year to $409.3 million.

President and CEO William Flynn said the company achieved strong results even as the overall air cargo market has “underperformed expectations this year.” He said AAWH expects “strong, double-digit earnings growth” for the full year, though not as robust as previously anticipated “given the relative underperformance of the airfreight market to date this year and the softer-than-expected peak season that is materializing.”

AAWH earned $62.3 million in operating income in the third quarter, up 43.2% year-over-year. Block hrs. flown in its core ACMI business rose 7.7% to 28,451 and revenue per ACMI block hr. increased 1% to $6,247.

(Aaron Karp - ATWOnline News)

Three more 787-8's for Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines (ET) has agreed to lease three Boeing 787-8 aircraft from the International Lease Finance Corp (ILFC). Delivery is scheduled for the first half of 2015.The aircraft will be powered by GEnx-1B70/75 engines.

ET CEO Tewolde GebreMariam said the agreement was in line with the carrier’s vision 2025 strategic road maps. “Ethiopian is scaling up its fast, profitable and sustainable growth” as it brings its 787 fleet to 13 by 2015, he said.

(Linda Blachly - ATWOnline News)

Hainan Airlines first 787-800

Hainan Airlines first 787-800 (34938/73) B-2728 captured returning to Paine Field (PAE/KPAE) on October 27, 2012 following a pre-delivery test flight.
(Photo by Joe G. Walker)

MD-80SF freighter conversion

An old friend sent this to me a few days ago and I found it very interesting. From what I hear, Everts Air Cargo in Alaska is adding one of these beauties to its fleet.

Indian Navy 737-8FV (P-81) visits Sacramento

Indian Navy737-8FV (P-81 (40610/3702) N393DS tbr IN320 is captured at Sacramento-Mather Field (MHR/KMHR) on October 29, 2012 performing a missed approach.
(Photo by Mike Durbin)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Gulfstream moves closer to 1st G650 delivery

Gulfstream will deliver the first completed G650s to customers "within the next few weeks" as it moves to address a five-year backlog for the ultra-long-range type.

But despite the large orderbook for the the new twinjet, Gulfstream does not plan to consider increasing the production rate for the G650 until it reaches its production "battle rhythm", says Jay Johnson, chairman and chief executive of parent company General Dynamics.

Speaking to analysts in a third-quarter earnings call on 24 October, Johnson says pilot training classes for the first aircraft have been completed and the company is "marching along smartly" towards the first delivery from its completion centre to a client.
The Savanah, Georgia-based airframer had originally planned to deliver 17 aircraft to customers this year but a delay in achieving certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration - which it eventually obtained on 7 September - will reduce that figure, says Johnson. It is scheduled to hand over a further 33 aircraft in both 2013 and 2014, he says.

"To change that, to wick it up, based on the demand, based on the five-year backlog is certainly something we are desirous of doing, but we're not going to turn the rheostat up until we've hit, as I call it, our battle rhythm, and we're just not there yet."

During the quarter, its aerospace division, which includes the Jet Aviation completions and maintenance business, recorded turnover of $1.8 billion, with earnings of $261 million.

Profitablity was "modestly lower" at Jet, says Johnson, "as the business works aggressively to confront overhead absorption issues exacerbated by the European debt crisis" which have hit aircraft ulitisation and MRO work. The business continues to trim the size of its operations in slower markets, he adds, and is taking "positive steps forward".

At quarter-end Gulfstream's backlog stood at just over $16 billion, including approximately five years of G650 production and around 18 months of G450 and G550 deliveries.

The third quarter was Gulfstream's strongest of the year for orders so far, "driven by several multi-aircraft deals placed by North American companies". Year-to-date, North American customers represent nearly 60% of Gulfstream's order book, it says.

Despite the ongoing weakness in Europe, Johnson expects the company to book several multi-aircraft "international deals" in the coming months.

Gulfstream will display both its newly certificated jets, the G650 and G280 at NBAA in Orlando.

(Flight Global News - Dominic Perry)

NASA DC-9-33F makes another visit to Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB)

 Taxies on "Delta" towards a Rwy 30 departure.
 It was very nice to see this aircraft return home to Long Beach!
 Gathering speed for takeoff on Rwy 30.
NASA DC-9-33F (47476/569) N932NA "Weightless Wonder IV" blasts down Rwy 30 as she departs back to Ellington Field Airport (EFD/KEFD), Houston, Texas at 15:27 pst.
(Photos by Michael Carter)   

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Contract Air Cargo 727-200 makes another visit to Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB)

 Short final to runway 30 as it arrives from Oakland County International Airport (PTK/KPTK) Pontiac, MI at 1149 pst.
 Taxies on "Delta" towards a Rwy 30 departure.
Contract Air Cargo 727-2S2F (22936/1830) N215WE rolls for takeoff on Rwy 30 at 16:14 pst bound for Hamilton/John C. Munro Int'l Airport (Hamilton, Ontario) YHM / CYHM.
(Photos by Michael Carter)