Smokes the mains on Rwy 35 at Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA/PHKO) Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on October 12, 2017 as it arrives from Hilo International Airport (ITO/PHTO) on the eastern side of the Island of Hawaii.
Air India has received its final Boeing 787-800 aircraft, completing an order placed more than a decade ago.
Air India in 2006 placed orders with Boeing for 68 aircraft—27 787-800s, 15 777-300ERs, eight 777-200LRs and 18 737-800s.
The airline has taken delivery of most of the aircraft, except three 777s that are expected to be delivered early next year. Most of these aircraft are on sale-and-leaseback arrangement, under which the seller leases the aircraft back from the purchaser for a long-term period.
Air India’s fleet stands at 119, the second-largest fleet in the country after IndiGo, which has 141 aircraft. Air India also flies the most international passengers.
The airline was founded in the 1930s by the Tata Group before being nationalized after Indian independence in 1947. However, it has failed to make profit since its merger with Indian Airlines in 2007.
Air India, which manages a major share of the country’s domestic air travel market, has been lagging behind other carriers, despite the domestic aviation market’s rapid growth. The airline has been faced financial losses for years because of high operating costs and some of the lowest fare prices in the world and stiff competition from local carriers, which include Jet Airways, IndiGo, GoAir, SpiceJet and Vistara.
In June, the Indian government approved plans to privatize national carrier Air India.
A JetSuite jet sits at Buchanan Field Airport in Concord, Calif., on Wednesday, March 29, 2017. The airline will soon launch a direct flight from Oakland International Airport to Hollywood Burbank Airport. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group)
A growing airline that promises a way for passengers to ditch long security lines and crowds at baggage claim is offering a new flight between Oakland International Airport and the Hollywood Burbank Airport.
JetSuiteX — a division of private jet operator JetSuite — is launching its “private for public” service in mid-November at the airports. Travelers will be able to access the flights at private terminals in each airport, allowing them to skip the normal security lines and instead arrive at the airport about 20 minutes before departure.
“JetSuiteX was created to be the ultimate travel hack for time-starved travelers, especially those going between LA and the San Francisco areas, who are tired of waiting in line after line, just to wait some more,” said Alex Wilcox, founder and CEO of JetSuiteX, in a news release. “Our customers get to arrive refreshed when they skip things like spending more time in an airport than in air, getting herded through lines or feeling the discomfort of boarding a plane with 100 other people.”
The flights will depart three times a day on every day except for Saturday. For prices that start at $129 each way, travelers can bring up to two pieces of luggage totaling 50 pounds, have “business class-style leg room,” and free cocktails and snacks, according to JetSuiteX.
The service will also add to the Oakland airport’s growing list of nonstop destinations.
“(The airport) is in the midst of an extended period of passenger traffic growth, made possible in large part by a significant increase in nonstop destinations served,” said airport director Bryant Francis in a statement. “Introducing new charter-style flight options at Oakland dovetails with our goal of offering more choices to the growing Bay Area customer base, many of whom live closest to (the airport). We hope JetSuiteX’s new local service proves to be both popular and successful.”
JetSuiteX drew attention last year when it debuted the first commercial travel service — to Burbank and Las Vegas — that Concord’s Buchanan Field Airport had seen in decades. For travelers near the airport who aren’t squeamish about flying on a smaller, 30-seat jet, the service could deliver passengers to Los Angeles or Las Vegas quicker by allowing them through a shorter security process at private terminals instead of the typical TSA lines.
JetSuite also launched a non-stop flight between San Jose and Burbank earlier this year, jetting between private terminals at Mineta San Jose International Airport and the Hollywood Burbank Airport twice a day except for Saturdays.
Up-to-date schedules can be found at JetSuiteX.com.
In an era of $200 flights to Europe, coach airfare to the Hawaiian Islands remains costly. A flight can range from $500 to $1,000 or more round-trip, particularly during high season. Delta has a nonstop from LAX to Honolulu from Dec. 19 to Dec. 29 for $877 on Kayak.com. A round-trip from Chicago (ORD) to Honolulu on United on the same dates came up at $1,195.
Flights to popular neighbor islands like Maui, Kauai or the Big Island are often even more expensive than flying to Honolulu. And while there are occasional sales, the distance from the West Coast to Hawaii (2,400 miles from SFO, 2,550 from LAX) makes the Pacific a moat that limits competition.
That may finally be changing, as Southwest Airlines announced this week that they will begin selling tickets to their most requested non-destination, Hawaii, in 2018. To support this service, Southwest also announced it will launch an application for Federal Aviation Administration authorization for Extended Operations (ETOPS), a critical licensing and permit process for extended long-distance (such as over-ocean) flights. The announcement didn't go into details, but Southwest is probably trying to get ETOPS-180 certification, which means a twin-jet is certified to operate up to three hours away from the nearest diversion airport.
To announce its upcoming Hawaiian service, Southwest did a satellite announcement from Waikiki Beach, with President Tom Nealon introducing the governor of Hawaii. While the announcement stated that tickets would go on sale in 2018, many questions went unanswered. These included when the tickets would go on sale, dates projected for the first flights, where the flights would take off from (the range of the 737 MAX makes the West Coast the likely launchpad), classes of service (all-coach has been the Southwest standard), which islands would be served, and of course pricing.
Also unclear was whether any 737 MAX aircraft have been delivered to the FAA for ETOPS certification. According to The LA Times, Andrew Watterson, Southwest's executive vice president and chief revenue officer, said it might take the FAA one to two years to approve Southwest’s application for long-term service to Hawaii.
While the announcement was short on information, it was long on platitudes. Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly, who apparently didn’t make it to Hawaii, said, "A day long-awaited by our customers, fans and more than 55,000 of the world's most-loved airline employees is finally within sight — a day that will showcase your hospitality, about as far southwest as you can go in the U.S.”
Currently, six airlines offer service to the islands, including Alaska, Hawaiian, Virgin America (now part of Alaska), United, American and Delta. All, save Hawaiian, are majors. Occasional attempts by low-cost carriers (most recently Allegiant) to crack the market have come and gone.
Cited reasons for failure include a limited good-paying business travel market, costs of operations, a small local market (only 1.4 million people live in Hawaii) and low margins with leisure travelers. Then there's the worldwide network connections offered by the major airlines, which few low-cost carriers can match.
While clearly many questions need to be answered, Southwest may be different. Southwest currently serves 101 destinations in the United States and nine other countries. The airline has more than 4,000 departures a day during peak travel season. More than 100 million people fly Southwest each year, and the airline currently has seven destinations served by more than 150 flights a day, including Chicago (265), Baltimore (234), Las Vegas (218), Denver (209) and Dallas (180).
The “Southwest effect” may lower fares when the airline enters a market, but will passengers balk at flying its single-aisle 737s to Hawaii? While some dream of luxurious jumbo jet travel to the islands, the reality is that United, Delta and Alaska are already operating 737s to Hawaii. More likely, Southwest’s reputation as a "fun" airline may make it a popular choice to "get the party started" en route.
Vague as it was, the announcement was enough to drop shares of Hawaiian Airlines, already contending with a planned expansion of United service to the islands, by 2% on Thursday. The chilling words? Andrew Watterson, executive vice president of Southwest, said, “We anticipate fares will drop.”
Virgin Atlantic Airways has transferred one of its daily trans-Atlantic flights to U.S. ally Delta Air Lines so that some of its own Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes can be grounded for an engine fix.
Delta took over the London Heathrow-New York John F. Kennedy International service Thursday and will operate it until Oct. 31 using older Boeing 767s and possibly 777s. That will allow the Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc Trent 1000 turbines that power Virgin’s Dreamliners to receive attention, according to Craig Kreeger, the U.K. carrier’s chief executive officer.
“It’s a substitution that gives us a little bit more resilience as we’ve had some parts issues with our 787 engines,” Kreeger said in an interview. “This ensures that we’ll have sufficient capacity. It’s circumstantial, it’s not a strategy.”
Rolls-Royce said Aug. 1 that as many as 500 Trent 1000s would need earlier-than-expected maintenance because of wear issues affecting the fan blades. The problem was first identified last year when ANA, the 787’s launch customer, reported turbine damage on three planes. Virgin operates 13 787s out of an order for 17, and also took some out of service in April.
“We have a clear service management plan in place with all operators to undertake this work and minimize disruption,” Rolls-Royce said in a statement, adding that the interval for the work will be kept “as short as possible.”
Not all Rolls-powered 787s will need early attention, the U.K. manufacturer said. Additional maintenance costs on the Trent 1000 were the biggest component of 59 million pounds ($78 million) in technical costs that the company posted in the first half.
Delta, which bought a 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic in 2012, said in a statement that such route changes “show the benefit of the Delta and Virgin Atlantic partnership and how we work together.”
Virgin said last month that starting next March it would take one of its partner’s U.K.-U.S. flights, giving it six of eight daily services across the pair’s joint venture. Delta will meanwhile upgrade to Airbus A330s from 767s on routes between Heathrow and JFK, Atlanta and Detroit.
Another day, another problem for the Airbus A380. Today’s issue is directly related to that of Sept. 30, when an engine “came apart” on an Air France A380 flying from Paris to Los Angeles with 496 passengers and 24 crew aboard.
The engine explosion over Greenland led to an unscheduled landing at a Canadian Forces base at Goose Bay, Labrador, and an unplanned 24-hour plus delay in the passengers getting to their destinations. You can see an uncensored passenger video of the three-engine emergency landing here and here, including applause for the pilots. Engine components have been found in Greenland as well as on the arrival runway at Goose Bay.
The engine failure led directly to today’s news, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airworthiness Directive (AD) calling for visual inspection of fan hubs used in the engines of SE A380 aircraft with Engine Alliance (EA) engines.
The FAA issued the AD because it determined the “unsafe condition…is likely to exist or develop in other products of the same type design.”
The Engine Alliance is a 50/50 joint venture between General Electric and Pratt and Whitney, a division of United Technologies. (A380s powered by Rolls-Royce engines are not affected by the directive.)
Specifically, the FAA emergency airworthiness directive requires owners and operators of Engine Alliance (EA) Model GP7200 series engines to visually inspect the engines. The operators are tasked with removing the fan hub if defects are found and replacing it with an airworthy part. Otherwise, the directive notes, failure of the fan hub could lead to an “uncontained release” of the hub, which could result in damage to the engine and the airplane.
The emergency AD was prompted by the uncontained engine failure which occurred on an EA GP7270 turbofan engine with 3,527 cycles since new, a relatively high use engine. The FAA specified that engines with 3500 cycles since new need to be inspected within two weeks. Engines with less than 3500 cycles since new need to be inspected within 5 weeks.
The GP7200 engines are reportedly in some 60% of the Airbus A380 superjumbos currently in service. Airlines operating the affected aircraft include Air France, Emirates (which operates nearly half of the world supply of A380s) Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways and Korean Air Lines. The airlines have so far not commented on how the inspections might affect their service.
Meanwhile, the FAA stated that it considers the AD “interim action” as “an investigation to determine the cause of the failure is on-going.”
As of now the A380 aircraft and the damaged engine are apparently still sitting in Labrador. Investigators are trying to deal with the “transport logistics” required to get the damaged engine back to a plant in Britain for examination while getting the damaged aircraft off the runway and back to Europe for repair and return to service.
Boeing’s $8 billion order from Iran Air could be jeopardized if President Donald Trump’s declaration Friday reverses the slight thaw in dealings with Iran. If Boeing were to lose the entire order as relations deteriorate, the biggest hit would be to 777 production in Everett.
Boeing has plenty at stake as President Donald Trump condemns — without actually renouncing — the Iran nuclear deal.
Boeing has finalized one deal to sell 80 jets to Iran, worth an estimated $8 billion at standard prices, and it is negotiating others.
Its discussions with Iranian officials are conducted under two U.S. government licenses, the first allowing Boeing to initiate sales conversations and the second a specific license to nail down details of the agreement to sell the 80 jets to Iran Air.
That sale was finalized in December under the Obama administration, as was a parallel deal Airbus made with the same airline for 98 airplanes, plus another two jets sold indirectly. At the time, Boeing’s deal was the largest by an American company with Iran since the 1979 Iranian revolution and subsequent seizure of the U.S. Embassy there.
Iran’s fleet of some 250 airliners is badly in need of modernization — most planes were purchased before the revolution, and its airlines have been prone to accidents.
For Boeing and its archrival Airbus, that presents an immediate opportunity to win orders that could establish the nation’s airlines as long-term customers — if agreements aren’t torpedoed by political moves on either side.
Trump said Friday he “cannot and will not” certify the Iran nuclear deal is in America’s national-security interests, but he won’t withdraw from the landmark 2015 accord or immediately reimpose sanctions.
Noting Iran “is not living up to the spirit of the deal,” Trump also warned he would terminate the agreement unless its shortcomings are addressed.
Trump is kicking the issue over to Congress, asking lawmakers to come up with legislation that would automatically reimpose sanctions should Iran cross any one of numerous nuclear and non-nuclear “trigger points,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said in remarks released before Trump’s announcement.
Boeing’s Iran Air order — for 50 single-aisle 737 MAX 8s, 15 current model 777-300ER widebodies and 15 new model 777-9X widebodies, with deliveries supposed to begin next year — is worth about $8 billion after standard industry discounts, based on market-pricing data from aircraft-valuation firm Avitas. The Airbus order is worth about $8.7 billion.
Both deals are considered firm orders in commercial terms, meaning that Iran Air paid the two jet manufacturers the required initial deposit, which is typically 1 percent of the total list price. For the Boeing order, that would be about $170 million.
Airbus chose to book the sale at the end of 2016 and then rushed to deliver the first airplane, an A321, in January, just before Trump’s inauguration. Two A330s were subsequently delivered to Iran.
Boeing, because of the political uncertainty around the purchase as Trump came into office, chose not to formally add the deal to its order book. That allowed Airbus to win the order race last year, outselling Boeing by 63 airplanes.
Since then, both plane makers have continued to talk with Iranian airlines and have inked further tentative agreements.
At the Paris Air Show in June, Boeing announced an agreement with Iran’s Aseman Airlines to buy 30 single-aisle 737 MAXes. Airbus announced agreements with Iran’s Airtour Airline to buy 45 single-aisle A320neos and with Zagros Airlines to buy 20 A320neos and eight widebody A330neos.
If U.S. sanctions are reimposed, all these deals would be killed. Because Airbus jets contain more than 10 percent U.S. content, they too require a license from the U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Control to be sold internationally.
The future of all these jet sales remains very unclear, however.
The Iran nuclear deal specifically allowed Iran to unfreeze overseas financial assets and to buy commercial aircraft. If the deal is not killed completely, it’s even possible Congress could reintroduce limited sanctions that would leave intact the licenses to buy jets.
The fact that Trump did not impose any sanctions “is definitely good for both Boeing and Airbus,” said Douglas Harned, a Bernstein analyst who tracks Boeing.
Even without renewed sanctions, hurdles remain. Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with Teal Group, an aviation and defense consulting firm, said the Iranian airlines could yet have trouble financing their orders, partly because banks are unlikely to loan them money until Iran signs the Cape Town Agreement, an international treaty that includes provisions for repossessing capital assets like planes.
If Boeing were to lose the entire order, the biggest hit would be to 777 production in Everett.
Iran’s order for current model 777-300ERs would help fill a looming gap in production in 2019 that has already led Boeing to cut the 777 rate.
And the 777-9X portion of the order would help solidify the prospects of that new airplane, due to start delivery in 2020. The current order book for that plane is heavily dependent on the three large Gulf carriers, all of which have seen growth falter in the past year.
In a statement, Boeing said it will “remain in close touch with U.S. regulators for any additional guidance.”
“We continue to follow the U.S. government’s lead in all our dealings with approved Iranian airlines,” Boeing said.
That rumbling you hear is coming out of the Middle East, where a comment from an airline executive sent the rumor mill spinning. The comment came from Emirates president Tim Clark, who said in an interview with Reuters that the airline is open to cooperation with local competitor Etihad Airways. Clark added that a full merger was “unlikely” but up to the owners, which are for Emirates the government of Dubai and for Etihad, the Abu Dhabi government.
Was cold economic reality behind Clark’s eyebrow-raising “cooperation” statement? Emirates, which is already reportedly cutting some service, might benefit from consolidation. “Oil revenues haven’t flowed in that part of the world so the governments are tightening their belts”, says Seth Kaplan, managing partner of Airline Weekly. Whether the two airlines partner, cooperate or actually merge, he adds, “It’s something they need to consider; Etihad is not going to make money anytime soon.”
The three allegedly "massively-subsidized Gulf airlines" (Emirates, Etihad and Qatar) have been accused of violating the Open Skies agreement, which gives them access to the US market, reportedly receiving more than $50 billion in subsidies since 2004.
Etihad, whose reservation page includes a "Reserve chauffeur" button, hasn’t specifically commented on Emirates’ interest. But the airline, which reportedly had money-losing investments in Air Berlin and Alitalia, did say, "We constantly seek opportunities for innovative collaboration with other organizations, where it makes business and commercial sense.”
A combination might also cut down on overcapacity, while pilots, mechanics, and flight attendants already trained on particular aircraft operated by both airlines could be easily integrated into a merged carrier.
In addition, as Kaplan notes, Dubai World Central (DWC) when completed will be the world’s largest airport with an ultimate capacity of 160 million passengers and 12 million tons of cargo per annum. The new airport is in southwest Dubai, just an hour and a quarter from Abu Dhabi.
“Emirates has been struggling for the last few years. Etihad is an airline that has never been viable. There’s a very compelling case for consolidation; the reason not to do is is politics,” says Kaplan. “That’s a question for the highest level of Abu Dhabi’s government. You’ll lose non stop flights from Aub Dhai all over the world.”
Whatever arrangement Emirates and Etihad eventually agree to may have a cost to Airbus, particularly in relationship to its troubled A380 program. As Clark of Emirates noted, “There are many areas that the airlines could work together on like procurement.”
Etihad operates some 77 AirBus aircraft, including 10 A380-800s, the largest passenger planes in the world. Emirates operates some 98 of the giant A380s. So between them, the two airlines account for fully half of the 216 A380s delivered to date. (The third Gulf competitor, Qatar, has an additional 8 A380s.)
With cancellations up and the production line slowing, the consolidation that might help these airlines could end up being another nail in the coffin of the A380. As Kaplan puts it, “The A380 is such a troubled program. It’s clearly a financial disaster for them. It hasn’t sold well, it’s not what airlines wanted. You have to sell 500 seats profitably or not fly.”
Would nationalism, politics and pride prevent Abu Dhabi from merging its money-losing airline with Emirates? Perhaps. But as Kaplan notes, even the fabled wealth of the Gulf has its limits. After all, even after investing hundreds of millions of dollars, the government of Qatar shut down Al Jazeera America.
Jet Airways said on Wednesday it had agreed to buy 75 Boeing 737 Max aircraft, and that it could purchase another 75 to help it expand in a booming Indian market.
Jet said in a statement that deliveries of the single aisle jets are expected to start in mid-2018. and a decision on adding an equal number of narrow-body aircraft "will be made over the coming few months".
An order for 75 737 MAX 10 jets would be worth as much as $9.3 billion based on list prices, although airlines typically get discounts for large orders.
Reuters reported in June that Jet, which is part owned by Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways, was in talks to buy either Boeing's 737 MAX planes or aircraft from Airbus SE's A320neo family.
Airlines in India have hundreds of aircraft on order as they look to tap into a market growing by nearly 20 percent a year thanks to rising incomes and low cost fares.
Jet Airways has the second largest market share in India behind InterGlobe Aviation's IndiGo.
Southwest Airlines Co. is finally going to start flying to Hawaii, and a top executive says ticket prices will get cheaper.
Flights to the state will begin next year or in 2019, the discount carrier said. The initial service will be from California, said Chief Revenue Officer Andrew Watterson, without elaborating on specific routes.
“We see prices higher than they need to be and we anticipate lowering fares,” Watterson said in an interview.
Southwest is adding Hawaii to its network -- after years of requests from travelers and employees -- with help from Boeing Co.’s upgraded 737. The latest version of the planemaker’s best-selling jet, the 737 Max, can fly farther and is more fuel efficient than older models. Southwest this month became the first North American airline to fly the new model.
“For us, it’s the perfect fit for Hawaii,” Watterson said. “The Max has got 14 percent better range and 14 percent better fuel burn” than the airline’s 737-800 planes.
A new reservation system that allows for more complicated itineraries and overnight trips is also allowing Southwest to add Hawaii flights. The Dallas-based airline in the coming weeks will begin seeking federal approval to operate its planes on extended over-water routes. That process typically takes about a year to 18 months and flights to Hawaii can’t begin until it’s completed. Ticket Sales
Tickets will go on sale next year, Southwest said in a statement late Wednesday. Even if Hawaii flights start in 2018, they won’t alter fleet or capacity plans for the year, the company said.
Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International is dominated by Hawaiian Holdings Inc., carrying 56 percent of passengers at the state’s busiest airport, according to the U.S. Transportation Department. United Continental Holdings Inc. follows with 16 percent. Hawaiian also dominates Kahului, the second-busiest, with 51 percent.
Hawaiian fell 2.3 percent to $39.10 at 10:31 a.m. in New York, after tumbling 6 percent, the most intraday since Sept. 19. Southwest and United were little changed.
Hawaiian didn’t respond to a request for comment before normal business hours in Hawaii. United didn’t immediately comment. ‘Crowded Marketplace’
The new service will test whether Southwest, long known for short routes, can compete against larger carriers on flights that take more than five hours from the U.S.’s West Coast. While some rivals offer premium cabins with roomier seats, full meals and more legroom, Southwest’s no-frills service is all coach class. The carrier serves only snacks.
Starting in December, United plans to boost service on 11 routes between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii. The carrier is adding flights to the islands from its hubs in Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
“We don’t see Southwest having success in Hawaii due to an inferior product and an already crowded marketplace,” Hunter Keay, a Wolfe Research analyst, said in a note to clients this week, in which he speculated on potential service. “We expect Southwest will bleed margins here for a couple years before scaling back or exiting outright.”
Watterson said Southwest will be ready to compete for passengers flying in coach. The airline already adjusts snack offerings based on flight duration, such as its service from Oakland, California, to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. That route is longer than Oakland to Maui, Hawaii, said Watterson.
On other carriers, “most people won’t have lie-flat seats, most people won’t get a hot meal,” he said. “Most people are flying economy and our economy product is spot on.”