Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Several carriers take over Transaero’s Russian Far East routes

Several carriers are taking over Transaero’s domestic destinations to Russia’s Far East after authorities canceled its air operator’s certificate Oct. 26 due to financial and safety concerns.

Aeroflot, VIM Avia and Ikar Airlines (Pegas Fly) will replace Transaero flights on three domestic destinations connecting Moscow with Russia’s Far East. Transaero had been the only airline operating flights from Moscow to Anadyr, Magadan and Blagoveshchensk.

On Oct. 27, Aeroflot launched a weekly A330 Moscow-Magadan flights. VIM Avia started 4X-weekly Boeing 757-200 service on the same route, while Pegas Fly announced 2X-weekly Boeing 767-300 flights to the destination in the IATA winter season 2015/2016.

VIM Avia and Pegas Fly will also operate Moscow-Blagoveshchensk flights 7X-weekly and 3X-weekly, respectively. In addition, UTair started 2X-weekly Moscow-Anadyr 767-200 service on Oct. 25.

Aeroflot also announced a capacity increase on several Russian Far East routes—from Moscow to Vladivostok, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Khabarovsk and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. According to the carrier, all available seats on Far East routes are booked for Transaero passengers. “Only then can empty seats, if some remain, be sold in the market,” according to a carrier statement.

“Russia’s Far East region is particularly responsive in case of transport accessibility as there are no alternatives to air transport. To solve the ticket deficit problems that arose after Transaero ceased flights, we launched additional flights and operated more spacious aircraft. We expect the situation will normalize in the near future, but ask passengers to understand the temporary complexity,” Aeroflot CEO Vitaly Saveliev said.

Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency, Rosaviatsia reported that Aeroflot has carried 1.8 million Transaero passengers through Oct. 26. The airline plans to carry 87,950 passengers through Dec. 15. In addition, there are 67,000 passengers with tickets beyond this date that Aeroflot will issue a refund.

(Polina Montag-Girmes - ATWOnline News)

Boeing completes 737 Max 8 power-on

Boeing has completed the power-on milestone for the first 737 Max 8 as the re-engined and updated single-aisle aircraft is pieced together on a new assembly line in Renton, Washington.

The power-on milestone activated a modernized cockpit featuring four 787-style multi-function displays supplied by Rockwell Collins.

The 737 Max electrical s system was adapted to support the improved cockpit systems, as well as the addition of electronically-controlled spoilers.

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Boeing plans to roll the first 737 Max 8 powered by CFM International Leap-1B engines off the Renton assembly line by the end of the year, with first flight scheduled early next year.

A photo of the first aircraft on the line reveals much progress since the first 737 Max fuselage arrived in Renton in August.

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The aircraft is installed in the first position of a newly-created, third assembly line dedicated for 737 Max flight test aircraft. The line will be repurposes after the flight test aircraft are completed to support Boeing’s plan ramp up 737 production from 42 currently to 47 in 2017 and 52 in 2018.

The first 737 Max 8 is shown in the picture with wings mated to the fuselage. A tail cone is visible in the picture, but not installed. But neither the engines or empennage – including horizontal and vertical stabilizers – are visible in the picture. It’s also not clear from the picture whether landing gear is installed.

(Stephen Trimble - Flightglobal News)

Delta to leave U.S. airline trade group in 2016

Delta Air Lines has decided to split from the trade group Airlines for America (A4A), the airline and the group said on Tuesday, a move that could weaken U.S. airlines' ability to lobby as a united front in Washington.

The split, effective in April 2016, comes after Delta has diverged from the group's position that the private sector should help govern the U.S. air traffic control system, A4A's Chief Executive Nicholas Calio said in a news release.

Delta said in a statement, "The $5 million that Delta pays in annual dues to A4A can be better used to invest in employees and products to further enhance the Delta experience, and to support what we believe is a more efficient way of communicating in Washington."

Disagreements among airlines have rarely resulted in a trade-group split by a player as large as Delta, the third-biggest U.S. airline by capacity, according to industry consultant Robert Mann.

"It means a change in A4A's budget. They'll have to do a little more with less," Mann said.

(Jeffrey Dastin - Reuters)

Boeing, Lockheed lose $55 billion Air Force bomber contract to Northrop Grumman

Boeing's defense business lost big Tuesday, after competitor Northrop Grumman Corp. won a U.S. Air Force contract to build up to 100 advanced bombers worth $55 billion.
Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, in a Pentagon press briefing at the end of the day Tuesday, said the Northrop Grumman team had delivered a better proposal than the Boeing-Lockheed Martin team.
This means that the Puget Sound area won’t win work on what will be the last big military aircraft contract for many years. Had Boeing won, at least some of the manufacturing and engineering would have almost certainly been done in the Puget Sound area.
But on the other hand, by default the selection will make the Puget Sound area an increasingly significant segment of Boeing's military aircraft production.
Boeing is currently building the P-8A submarine hunter in Renton, and the KC-46 tanker in Everett. The two are based on commercial air frames, the 737 and 767 respectively.
Meanwhile Boeing already has shut down its C-17 factory in Southern California. It also is slowing production of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to two monthly in St. Louis, as the order book for the last of Boeing's fighter jets wanes.
Had Boeing and Lockheed Martin won the bomber contract, at least some of the work would likely have been done in St. Louis, as well as in the Puget Sound area.
The new stealthy long-range strike bomber will look a lot like the B-2 bomber built by Northrop Grumman, and that experience likely helped it win the contract.
The Air Force will pay Northrop Grumman $21.4 billion for the first 21 jets as part of the deal in 2010 dollars, which is when the contract proposals began.
While there has been speculation that the Pentagon might lean toward Northrop Grumman to help keep the smaller of the three companies an active military contractor, officials insisted during the press conference that was not part of the decision process.
(Steve Wilhelm - The Puget Sound Business Journal)

5 Things Southwest Airlines Co. Management Wants You to Know

Southwest Airlines reported another quarter of rapid earnings growth last week, with adjusted EPS climbing 71% year over year to a Q3 record of $0.94. After the earnings release, Southwest executives spent about an hour talking to analysts and the media about how they plan to sustain these strong results. Here are five key issues they discussed.
Strong results in Dallas could get stronger
The financial performance out of Dallas has been superb from day one. So the improvement may not be as sharp in those markets as it will be in some others, but nonetheless, I absolutely would expect they will continue to see improvement from that capacity.
-- Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly
The Wright Amendment expired about a year ago, allowing Southwest Airlines to start expanding rapidly at Love Field in Dallas. By the end of Q3, Southwest was offering nearly three times as much capacity as a year earlier. Southwest is starting to lap that growth this quarter.
While most of Southwest's new routes in Dallas have performed very well, their financial performance is likely to strengthen further as they mature. The company also has opportunities to improve its results in Dallas by tweaking its schedule based on what's worked and what hasn't worked as well in the past year. This should drive further margin expansion in Dallas.
Unit revenue continues strengthening
On a unit basis, our third quarter operating revenues declined 0.4% on a 7.6% capacity increase. And we are pleased with this very solid performance, especially considering the impact of increased stage length ... as well as the high percentage of development markets...
-- Southwest Airlines CFO Tammy Romo
Southwest Airlines' unit revenue declined 4.7% year over year in Q2 because of a weakening fare environment in the U.S. Last quarter, Southwest's unit revenue trend improved dramatically, registering a decline of just 0.4%. About 2.5 percentage points of the sequential improvement was driven by Southwest's revised credit card agreement with JPMorgan Chase.
Leaving that aside, Southwest saw solid demand during Q3, which is continuing into Q4. The carrier is also benefiting from the maturation of a large swath of new routes added in the past year or so. As a result, Southwest expects to return to year-over-year unit revenue growth of about 1% this quarter.
Higher aircraft utilization fueling low-cost growth
While we have significant opportunities, we also have significant access to low-cost incremental capacity to pursue these opportunities. And that's through the restoration of our aircraft utilization to more historic levels.
-- Gary Kelly
Southwest CEO Gary Kelly also noted that Southwest has been able to ramp up its growth this year at a very low cost by increasing aircraft utilization. For the past few years, the AirTran integration has hurt utilization as there were always some planes being converted to the Southwest configuration, or in the process of leaving the fleet.
Indeed, while Southwest's capacity rose 7.6% year over year last quarter, it ended the quarter with 692 aircraft, up just 1% from 685 a year earlier. That's a big part of why Southwest has been able to hold its non-fuel unit costs (excluding special items) flat this year, despite a massive increase in profit sharing payouts to employees.
Southwest should get additional gains in aircraft utilization during 2016, though on a more modest scale. The resulting efficiency benefits should offset some of its labor cost headwinds.
Plenty of domestic growth opportunities left
[In the U.S.], we have a variety of opportunities to add nonstop segments. And especially in short-haul markets, if those markets begin to return to pre-2000 traffic levels, we'll have a lot of opportunities to add frequencies in those markets as examples.
-- Gary Kelly
Earlier this month, Southwest Airlines opened its new international terminal in Houston with great fanfare. However, while the international market is a key growth opportunity going forward, Southwest expects the bulk of its growth to remain in the domestic market.
CEO Gary Kelly sees a particularly big opportunity in the short-haul market. Low fuel prices are allowing Southwest Airlines to offer lower fares on shorter routes, stimulating traffic as people opt to fly rather than drive. Other airlines aren't well-positioned to compete in the short-haul market, so Southwest could potentially capture most of the growth in short-haul flying.
Load factor gains may slow, though
Last year, Mike, we were at 83% annual load factor. That's 15 points higher than what we produced 15 years ago in the year 2000. ... So it seems to me unless we continue to evolve more toward trying to fill airplanes up with connections, we're going to be somewhere here in the low 80s.
-- Gary Kelly
One area where Southwest Airlines may be running out of opportunities is in filling empty seats. Historically, the company has had a lower load factor than the industry, which Gary Kelly attributes to its focus on point-to-point traffic. By contrast, many airlines schedule their flights to maximize connecting opportunities, which keeps their planes fuller.
Southwest has increased its load factor from 68% to 83% since 2000, seeing this as a way to boost unit revenue while keeping fares low. Without retooling its flight schedule to optimize connections -- which would be a departure from its profitable point-to-point model -- Southwest may not be able to pack planes much fuller than that. Future unit revenue gains will have to come mainly from higher fares.
(Adam Levine-Weinberg - The Motley Fool)


Embraer boosted by business aviation

Embraer boosted revenues from executive jets by almost 100% in the third quarter thanks to a doubling of deliveries to 30 aircraft.

Revenues for the segment rose from $213 million in the same period in 2014 to $402 million this year.

Commercial jets also came good for the Brazilian manufacturer, with revenues rising by 4.2% compared with the first quarter of 2014, on deliveries up two from last year at 21.

Those improvements helped Embraer offset the effect of sharply lower revenues from the Defense & Security segment, where sales plummeted from $346 million in the third quarter a year ago to $182 million this year. Its KC-390 airlifter is expected to resume flight tests following an eight-month pause later in October.

Overall, Embraer’s operating earnings increased 15% to $158 million.

Embraer Executive Jets marked its 300th Phenom 300 delivery on 15 October 2015, with the aircraft handed over to an undisclosed US customer at its facility in Melbourne, Florida. The light jet has been the most-delivered business jet in the world for the past two years.

(Stephen Trimble - Flighglobal News)

Interjet SSJ100 hits airbridge at Mexico City

An Interjet Sukhoi Superjet 100 hit an airbridge at Mexico City International airport on 25 October while being towed.

Photos posted on Twitter show damage to the aircraft's nose after it was wedged under an airbridge.
No injuries were reported, says Interjet, which says the incident happened while the aircraft was being towed from a hangar.
The airline has launched an investigation into the incident, it says.
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Twitter user @SinEmbargoMX
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Twitter user @lopezdoriga
(Ghim-Lay Yeo - Flightglobal News)

Air Europa revamps livery before 787 arrival

Spanish carrier Air Europa has unveiled a new colour scheme for its fleet ahead of delivery of its own Boeing 787s.

The airline has already painted an Embraer 195 (EC-KRJ) in the revised livery, which comprises a simple blue-and-white design with a revised version of its logo – a lower-case ‘AE’ – on the fin.
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Air Europa says the livery features a “crisper, clearer” typeface which will “serve to make us more visible.”
It says it is undergoing a modernisation processes which demands a “more visual and modern brand.”
Air Europa has been using a 787 leased from Polish operator LOT but is due to take delivery of eight 787-8s and 14 787-9s.
(Flightglobal News)

Aeroflot to take on 747s after Transaero collapse

Russian flag-carrier Aeroflot is to introduce Boeing 747s into its fleet as a result of the fall-out from the collapse of rival Transaero.
The airline has provisionally agreed to lease four 747s as a part of a package negotiated with Sberbank’s leasing arm.
This package includes 10 Boeing 737-800s, which will enter service in 2016, says the federal air transport authority Rosaviatsia.
It has not identified the 747 variant involved, but Transaero operated several 747-400s including four from an Irish Sberbank leasing affiliate, according to Flightglobal’s Fleets Analyzer database.
Rosaviatsia adds that Aeroflot is discussing additional lease of aircraft owned by Russian banks VTB and VEB.
It puts the Transaero fleet at 106 aircraft. “Termination of operations means the airline fleet is not used for transport,” it states. Aeroflot is taking on additional capacity in order to fill part of the void left by Transaero's grounding on 26 October.
Over the weekend of 24-25 October, just before Transaero's operating certificate was withdrawn, several of its aircraft were flown from Moscow to a storage facility at Teruel in eastern Spain.
These aircraft included at least six 747-400s as well as 767-300ERs and around a dozen 737s.
Transaero had been undergoing a fleet modernisation and a number of new Airbus A320-family jets bound for the airline have been flown directly from the assembly line to storage.
This modernisation also included orders for four Boeing 747-8s and four Airbus A380s, as well as A320neo jets. Transaero was also in line to take Sukhoi Superjets and Irkut MC-21s, and was a tentative customer for the A330neo.
Over the first nine months of this year, Aeroflot has expanded its fleet with three Boeing 777-300ERs, six 737-800s and four Superjets, while removing five Ilyushin Il-96s. Its fleet at the end of September stood at 163, the carrier states, while the Aeroflot Group overall has 261.
(David Kaminski-Morrow - Flightglobal News)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Gulfstream G650 (c/n 6050) N650PE

This aircraft has been at the Gulfstream service center here at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) getting some TLC and a registration change (ex N650PR) for the past couple weeks.
Operated by Platinum Equity LLC, this gorgeous bird is caught departing Long Beach Airport bound for Van Nuys Airport (VNY/KVNY) on October 24, 2015.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Gulfstream G-IVSP (c/n 1436) N436QS

This was my first time spotting and shooting this lovely G-IVSP believe it or not which is operated by Netjets. She is captured arriving at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on October 23, 2015 following a flight from San Jose Airport (SJC/KSJC).
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Qatar Emiri Air Force C-17A (F-274 / QA-5) N274ZD tbr A7-MAM

Parked just outside of the C-17A flight ramp and delivery center.

On Monday October 19, 2015 Boeing ferried this C-17A destined for the Qatar Emiri Air Force to Lackland Air Force Base Airport (SKF/KSKF), in San Antonio, TX, departing Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) at 09:39am pst as "BOE74 Heavy."
(Photos by Michael Carter)

U.S. Air Force Northrop T-38A "Talon" (c/n T6021) 67-826 / WM

This was a very nice visitor at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) from Whiteman Air Force Base on Monday October 19, 2015.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Norwegian 3Q profits up; finalizes order for 19 Boeing 787-9s

Norwegian has doubled its third quarter pre-tax profit and ordered 19 Boeing 787-9s, plus 10 options, in a deal valued at more than $5 billion at list prices.

The Oslo-headquartered carrier operates eight 787-8s and has 11 787-9s on order. With this latest commitment, Norwegian’s long-haul fleet will grow to 38 787s by 2020.

“This order of 19 new Dreamliners is a major milestone and enables Norwegian to offer a wide range of new routes to consumers worldwide. The order is also essential to further strengthening the company in the global competition,” Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos said.

Norwegian, which launched long-haul, low-cost operations two years ago, said the new 787s will be used to launch new services and expand its network. Kjos said the airline’s long-haul load factors have “averaged in the nineties,” proving there is demand for budget flights from Europe to the USA and Asia.

Norwegian’s 787-9s will have 344 seats, 35 in premium and 309 in economy, and deliveries from this order will start in 2017. Norwegian’s asset company, Arctic Aviation Assets Ltd., will own the aircraft.

Boeing said that the Norwegian deal is the largest single 787-9 order from a European airline. “Norwegian has led the way in utilizing the exceptional performance of the 787 to develop a successful low-cost long-haul operation.

The addition of 787-9s to the Norwegian fleet will enable it to grow its route structure, while providing more range and capacity with outstanding passenger comfort,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes VP-European sales Todd Nelp said.

Norwegian’s order backlog now stands at more than 150 Boeing aircraft, including 100 737 MAXs, as well as 100 Airbus A320neos.

During the third quarter, Norwegian carried 7.7 million passengers, up 9% on the prior year period, boosted by 15% long-haul passenger growth that nudged its load factor up six points to 91%. Its pre-tax profit for the quarter doubled from NOK505 million ($61.9 million) to NOK1.1 billion, although the prior year was affected by exceptional items.

“The third quarter results show that Norwegian’s long-haul operations and international routes are becoming significantly more important. This is where we see most of the future growth potential, enabling the company to compete in a global market with strong competition,” Kjos said.

He added that UK expansion will continue to be at the forefront of Norwegian’s long-term plans, although the airline has also seen considerable growth in Spain. The Nordic market is stable, with Norwegian seeing “a slight increase” in market share.

(Victoria Moores - ATWOnline News)

Southwest 3Q net profit rises 77.5% on robust capacity growth

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-7H4 (33861/1543) N474WN taxies onto Rwy 19R at John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA/KSNA) on June 20, 2012.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Southwest Airlines earned net income of $584 million in the third quarter, up 77.5% from a net profit of $329 million in the 2014 September quarter, as the carrier continued to grow capacity at a faster rate than other major US airlines.

“We’re real happy with the product we have right now,” chairman, president and CEO Gary Kelly told reporters and analysts, adding, “We want to be America’s low fares leader, and I think we are. We’re the only carrier that doesn’t nickel and dime with bag fees and change fees, so that provides tremendous value.”

Southwest grew capacity 7.6% year-over-year in the quarter and expects to grow capacity 7% for the full year and another 5%-6% in 2016. Kelly said Southwest is taking advantage of growth opportunities at Dallas Love, Washington National and Houston Hobby airports.

Southwest’s third-quarter revenue increased 10.8% year-over-year to $5.32 billion while expenses dropped 2.2% to $4.09 billion, producing an operating profit of $1.22 billion, nearly double operating income of $614 million in the prior-year period.

The Dallas-based airline’s third-quarter traffic rose 8.9% year-over-year to 31.05 billion RPMs on a 7.6% hike in ASMs to 36.36 billion, producing a load factor of 85.4%, up 1 point. Yield declined 5.1% to 15.19 cents.

Kelly asserted that Southwest’s negative third-quarter RASM, down 0.4% year-over-year (PRASM dropped 4%), is misleading on the surface because of various factors, including a continuing increase in the stage length of Southwest flights (up 3.6% year-over-year in the third quarter), operating more higher gauge aircraft and developing new markets.

“There’s quite a bit of noise in those numbers,” Kelly said. “They look very good to me when you tease out the impact of stage length, the impact of gauge [and other factors]. If you’re careful and you look at the analysis, I think you’ll be pretty impressed with the revenue performance.”

(Aaron Karp - ATWOnline News)

Allegiant posts $44.5 million 3Q net profit

Allegiant Air McDonnell Douglas MD-82 (49423/1283) N891GA rolls for takeoff on Rwy 30 at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on March 11, 2011.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Co., parent of Allegiant Air, posted $44.5 million in net profit for the third-quarter, tripling its 3Q 2014 result. The company had reported net income of $14.1 million in the September 2014 quarter. It is the ultra-low-cost carrier’s 51st consecutive profitable quarter.

“[We continue] to benefit from lower energy costs and the profitable growth of our network,” Allegiant Travel Company chairman and CEO Maurice Gallagher said. “[It is] our belief that that growth rates should not exceed the capabilities of our infrastructure. We are … simplifying our operations where possible. Our eventual migration to an all-Airbus fleet is the biggest step in this effort.”

Allegiant has 74 in-service aircraft as of Sept. 30, including 51 McDonnell Douglas MD-80s, 10 Airbus A320s, seven A319s and six Boeing 757s. By the end of the year Allegiant expects to receive five additional A320s and three A319s.

Allegiant’s third-quarter revenue was up 13.2% year-over-year (YOY) to $300 million as expenses fell 5.6% YOY to $222.9 million. The company’s operating profit for the quarter was $77.1 million, more than doubling its performance in the prior-year period. Allegiant’s total ancillary revenue (for air-related charges and third-party products) for the quarter was $117.4 million, up 37.8% YOY.

System traffic grew 19.7% YOY to 2.24 billion RPMs on a 23.3% YOY increase in capacity to 2.6 billion ASMs, producing a load factor of 86.1%, down 2.6 points YOY.

TRASM on Allegiant’s scheduled service fell 8.2% YOY to 11.38 cents due to the impact of the increased September 11 fee and the implementation of a credit card surcharge, Allegiant said; CASM on Allegiant’s total system dropped 23.5% YOY to 8.58 cents; the company’s operating CASM ex-fuel for the quarter was down 11.3% YOY to 5.95 cents.

(Mark Nensel - ATWOnline News)

Alaska CEO: 3Q net result ‘highest quarterly profit ever’

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-990 (30018/1326) N318AS "Spirit of Disneyland II" departs Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) on December 19, 2012.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, reported GAAP net income of $274 million for the third-quarter, up 38.4% year-over-year (YOY). Alaska had net income of $198 million in the 2014 September quarter. In the 2015 first quarter, Alaska’s net take was $149 million; for the 2015 second-quarter, the group’s net profit was a then-record $234 million.

“This was the biggest summer in our 83-year history and represents our highest quarterly profit ever,” Alaska Air Group CEO Brad Tilden said. 

Alaska Air Group’s third-quarter consolidated operating revenue was $1.52 billion, up 3.4% YOY.

Operating expenses were down 5.8% YOY to $1.08 billion, resulting in $433 billion in operating income for the quarter, up 37% YOY. Additionally, the company reported mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments of $5 million in the third-quarter, which came to $3 million after tax, or two cents per diluted share.

“Our $442 million pre-tax profit for the quarter equates to a pre-tax margin of 29.2%, which is 740 basis points higher than last year,” Tilden told analysts and reporters. “In fact, this quarterly profit is larger than all but four of the annual profits we’ve produced in our 83-year history. We expect our margin performance to lead the US industry this quarter and also be better than about 90% of the companies in the S&P 500.”

“Our ROIC for the trailing 12 months is 24.2% … driven by higher revenues, by strong non-fuel-cost performance and by a large benefit from lower fuel costs,” Tilden said. “Despite continued competition 2015 is shaping up to be a year of record profitability.

Pre-tax income for the first nine months of the year is over $1 billion … about $130 million higher than our full-year result for last year. And year-to-date cash flow from operations is $1.2 billion, which is enabling us to reinvest in the business and return a substantial amount of cash to our shareholders.”

The group’s consolidated third-quarter traffic was up 7.7% YOY to 8.88 billion RPMs, with capacity up 8.2% YOY to 10.37 billion ASMs; the consolidated passenger load factor for the group was 85.6% for the quarter, down 0.4 point YOY. Revenue passengers carried totaled 8.62 million, up 7.8% YOY. Alaska Air Group’s regional service—included in the consolidated figures—includes capacity purchased by Alaska from regional carriers Horizon Air, SkyWest and PenAir.

Tilden highlighted Alaska’s 86.4% on-time performance for the year-to-date as “the highest percentage of the US airlines with the exception of Hawaiian.” And he noted the company’s status as launch customer for Boeing’s new Space Bins, which were introduced on Oct. 9.

“We garnered national media attention …these new bins will allow us to carry up to 57 additional bags on each 737-900ER and that’s a 57% increase in bag space,” Tilden said. Alaska intends to have 69 of its aircraft—46% of its passenger fleet—outfitted with Space Bins by 2017.

The consolidated group’s yield was down 3.5% YOY to 14.61 cents as RASM decreased 4.4% YOY to 14.61 cents; CASM ex-fuel was up 2.5% YOY to 8.07 cents.

The group’s mainline operations—Alaska Airlines – carried 6.17 million passengers during the third-quarter, up 7.3% YOY. Traffic increased 7.2% YOY to 7.98 billion RPMs and capacity was 7.8% YOY to 9.28 billion ASMs. Alaska Airlines’ passenger load factor for the quarter came to 86%, down 0.4 points YOY.

(Mark Nensel - ATWOnline News)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Boeing Co. Beech 1900D (c/n UE-327) N1902D

Arrived from Pueblo Memorial Airport (PUB/KPUB) at 14:44 pst on October 21, 2015 and parked on the old Douglas Commercial flight ramp. First time I have seen this airplane.......very interesting!
(Photos by Michael Carter)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Alaska Airlines announces $50 million in new capital investments

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-4Q8 (25099/2334) N762AS taxies at Ted Stevens International Airport (ANC/PANC) in Anchorage, Alaska on May 7, 2013.
(Photo by Michael Carter) 

Alaska Airlines is planning more than $50 million in new capital investment in Alaska during the next few years, company executives said during a visit to Fairbanks last week.

CEO Brad Tilden, who came to Fairbanks to speak at an Alaska Chamber meeting on Tuesday, said during a News-Miner editorial board meeting that the projects include expanded freight service, a new hangar in Anchorage and terminal upgrades at some remote airports. Specific details are still being finalized for many of those plans, which are expected to occur during the next 2-3 years.

The most far-reaching change for Alaska Airlines will be the introduction of three additional Boeing 737-700 freighters to its statewide fleet.

The retrofitted passenger planes will replace the airline’s existing Boeing 737-400 combi jets, which are configured to share passenger and cargo duties. Those combi jets will be phased out by 2017, Tilden said.

(Jeff Richardson - Fairbanks News Miner)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

EVA Airways to buy 24 787-10 Dreamliners

Boeing said Thursday that Taiwan's EVA Airways plans to buy up to 26 jetliners, valued at more than $8 billion at list prices.

EVA Airways intends to purchase up to 24 787-10 Dreamliners, the newest member of the 787 family, and two additional 777-300 ER (extended-range) aircraft, Boeing said in a statement.

"We look forward to welcoming EVA Airways as Boeing's newest member of the 787-10 Dreamliner launch customer group," said Ray Conner, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and chief executive.

"EVA Airways has been a valued Boeing customer over the past few decades and we are honored that they continue to introduce new Boeing widebody airplanes into their growing world-class fleet."

The new 787-10 will be the longest member of the 787 family, joining the 787 and the 787-9.

According to Boeing, the 787-10 will be 25 percent better in fuel and emissions than the airplanes it replaces and will be able to carry 350 passengers.

The 777-300(ER) can carry up to 400 passengers.

Boeing said that EVA Airways was updating its long-haul fleet and the new airplanes will allow it to expand into new markets, particularly in Southeast Asia, Oceania and North America.

The privately owned airline currently operates more than 37 Boeing airplanes in its fleet, including 21 777-300ERs, Boeing said. Its fleet of 69 aircraft also includes 30 Airbus planes.

Dow member Boeing shares rose 1.9 percent to $136.74 in morning trade.

(Yahoo Business News) 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Singapore Air to Take World’s Longest Flight Crown From Emirates


Singapore Airlines Ltd. is poised to regain the title of world’s longest flight with a nonstop service to New York.

The 19-hour journey covering more than 15,300 kilometers (9,300 miles) will beat the proposed 13,821-kilometer flight that Emirates intends to start in February from its Dubai home to Panama City.

Singapore Air will take delivery of an ultra-long range version of Airbus Group SE’s A350 in 2018 for the nonstop service, the carrier said in an e-mailed statement Tuesday.

“This will be the right equipment for Singapore Airlines to make the numbers work for them for the nonstop flights,” said Shukor Yusof, founder of Endau Analytics in Malaysia. “Singapore has the reservoir of business travelers around the region to make this work. This will help Singapore Airlines strengthen its U.S. market, where it was lagging.”

Currently, the world’s longest flight is Qantas Airways Ltd.’s service from Sydney to Dallas.

Airlines globally are again embracing ultra-long range flights on expectations they’ll be profitable as fuel prices have declined and new technologies make planes more fuel-efficient.

Iconic trans-Atlantic flights on the supersonic Concorde were scrapped more than a decade ago, and the shrinking of Wall Street firms and travel cutbacks since the global financial crisis have made it difficult for airlines to lure top-dollar clients.

New Technology

“Our customers have been asking us to re-start nonstop Singapore-U.S. flights,” Singapore Air Chief Executive Officer Goh Choon Phong said in the statement. “We are pleased that Airbus was able to offer the right aircraft to do so in a commercially viable manner.”

The A350-900ULR jet will allow Singapore Air to re-start the world’s longest nonstop flights, between the city-state and both Los Angeles and New York, the carrier said in an e-mailed statement Tuesday. Nonstop flights between Singapore and additional points in the U.S. are under consideration, the carrier said.

Singapore Air had held discussions with Airbus and Boeing Co. on developing a plane with new technology that would allow it to fly nonstop to the U.S. profitably, Goh said in an interview in June. In 2013, the carrier stopped the Singapore to Newark, New Jersey, flights, adding about five more hours to travel between the cities.

The daily, all-business-class flights from Singapore to Los Angeles and Newark ended as the routes were not profitable with four-engine planes, analysts said previously. The airline was using a 100-seat Airbus A340-500. Using a plane with two engines would be more economical, as it’s designed for efficient long-range flights, analysts have said.

Two Engines

Singapore Air will take delivery of seven ultra-long range planes capable of flying up to 19 hours, Airbus said in a separate statement.

Optimized for nonstop flights to the U.S., the two-engine planes will ‎include a modified fuel system to increase fuel-carrying capacity, an increase in maximum take-off weight and other aerodynamic improvements, Airbus said.

Currently, Qantas uses a four-engine Airbus A380 superjumbo on the Sydney-Dallas service. The Emirates flight, which outstrips Qantas’s service by 17 kilometers, will use a two-engine Boeing 777-200LR.

(Kyunghee Park - Bloomberg Business) 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Oman Air takes delivery of its first "Dreamliner"

Oman Air Boeing 787-8 (42378/340) A40-SA.

Oman Air has taken delivery of the first of six Boeing 787-8s from a November 2011 order.

The arrival of the first Dreamliner in Muscat marks the next stage of the airline’s ambitious expansion plans, which will see its fleet grow from around 40 aircraft to 70 by 2020.

CEO Paul Gregorowitsch said the “decision to invest in this game-changing airplane underlines our confidence in the 787 and the value it will add in terms of reliability, operational efficiency and comfort.”

Oman Air has announced it will deploy its first Dreamliner on services to Saudi Arabia and Europe. The carrier has ambitions to use its Muscat International Airport base—which is also being expanded—as a new Arabian Gulf hub for transit traffic.

“We’re proud to have Oman Air join our growing base of 787 customers in the Middle East and around the world,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner.

“Our partnership with Oman Air dates back almost 15 years during which time the airline has been operating the 737 family. We’re delighted to help introduce Boeing twin-aisle airplanes into its growing fleet.”

Boeing has also been contracted by Oman Air for a suite of services to support the entry into service of its 787s and to ensure ongoing efficiency and cost savings for its fleet. These services will help Oman Air minimize the time and cost of maintenance while increasing airplane availability.

Boeing says it has eight 787 customers in the Middle East, operating 175 of the type, with a further backlog of 140. 

(Alan Dron - ATWOnline News)

Ethiopian to decide on extra-long-haul fleet by year end

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam has confirmed to ATW the carrier is evaluating extra-long haul aircraft and hopes to have a decision by year end.

“The extra-long-haul fleet selection is still in progress. There is a committee working on the evaluation and the committee has not yet made any recommendation to the executive management,” Gebremariam told ATW.

Several media outlets reported last week that Ethiopian is considering buying either 15 to 20 Airbus A350-1000s or Boeing 777Xs.

ATW previously reported this evaluation process started in January 2015, “but we hope to finalize it before the end of the calendar year,” Gebremariam said.

According to latest media reports, the carrier deemed the 777X could be better suited its operations, because the high-altitude hub Addis Ababa puts a strain on aircraft performance.

Ethiopian is currently implementing a 15-year strategic plan, Vision 2025, that will see it become the leading aviation group in Africa. The carrier operates a fleet of 76 aircraft.

In the meantime, the Star Alliance carrier is preparing for Airbus A350-900 operations as it is expects to begin taking delivery of its first of 14 of the type from 2016.

According to its website, Ethiopian has a further 20 Boeing 737 MAX 8s, six 787-8s and two 777-200Fs on order.

(Kurt Hofmann - ATWOnline News)

Boeing's Plane Order Book Wins Some, Loses Some

After a September that was almost entirely devoid of news of new plane orders, Boeing finally broke its silence on Thursday, announcing some new plane orders... sort of.

According to the company, the first week of October saw Boeing record nine new 737 plane orders to Brazil's GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes (GOL Airlines). Coincidentally, Boeing lost nine 737 orders to cancellation during the first week of this month.

Of course, that coincidence is no coincidence.

The update

Boeing currently has 5,656 planes in its backlog, unbuilt and awaiting fulfillment. Incorporating this week's latest numbers, Boeing's order book for 2015 now looks like this:
  • 358 single-aisle 737s
  • 54 widebody 777s
  • 52 Dreamliner 787s
  • 48 Boeing 767s
  • Four 747s
That's 516 gross plane orders for Boeing. Minus 69 cancellations, Boeing's net order tally rings up at 447 planes. This is exactly what Boeing had at the start of this month, almost exactly where Boeing stood at the start of last month -- and just 55% of how many airplanes Airbus has sold so far this year.

Parsing your weekly dose of Boeing news

I've been following Boeing for quite some years now, and tracking the company's weekly updates on plane orders for nearly as long. But it wasn't until about April of last year that I finally had the bright idea of asking Boeing to clarify one issue that had been bugging me:

Every once in a while, Boeing will put out a report like the one we saw this week -- one where new plane orders, and usually, single-aisle 737s -- from an identified customer precisely match an equal number of 737 "cancellations" from an unidentified customer. This looks like a coincidence, but as a Boeing representative explained last year, it really is not:

"If there are an equal number of orders and cancellations, it is almost always an NG to MAX conversion," Boeing advised in an email. He was referring to customers who had in the past placed firm orders to buy 737 NG aircraft, but subsequently changed their minds and decided to upgrade to Boeing's newer 737 MAX line of aircraft. And this appears to be what happened at GOL Airlines last week.

Turns out, Boeing's automated order book page simply isn't equipped to describe such simple conversions from one plane type to another, as conversions per se. Instead, the order book reports them as cancellations of one plane type, with simultaneous new orders for the new and improved version.

So does this even matter?

Looked at from one perspective, a customer switching its order from one flavor of 737 to the next sounds like a bit of a nonevent and hardly worth Boeing's time to report at all. In fact, however, such conversions can be significant. Consider: The list price on a 737-800 "NG" aircraft currently stands at just $96 million. In contrast, an equivalent-sized but more fuel-efficient 737 MAX 8 aircraft lists for $110 million.

That's a 15% upgrade in revenues that Boeing gets for upgrading a 737 order from NG to MAX, and depending on contract terms, the price differential could be even greater. For example, list prices on a 737-800 NG for an order placed last year were 3% cheaper. An upgrade from a 2014 "NG" order to a 2015 "MAX" order, therefore, at 2015 prices, might boost revenues from the sale by as much as 18%.

And on a nine-plane 737 contract, that could work out to as much as $150 million extra in Boeing's pocket. And even after costs and taxes, that's worth several million dollars more than a sharp stick in the eye.

(Rich Smith - The Motley Fool)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Looking back: A300-600 P-to-F conversion

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!
(Michael Carter - Editor: Aero Pacific Flightlines)

The next generation of narrowbody passenger-to-freighter conversions has been a major focus for us lately, as conversion houses launch P-to-F programs for the Airbus A320/321 and Boeing 737NG Families, and the day of the 737 Classic draws to a close.

But there has also been a resurgence of interest in widebody freighters lately, and on the conversion side of things, development of the A330 P-to-F is underway at EFW, As with the new narrowbody conversions, the arrival of the A330 conversion program means the end of the line for the A300-600 P-to-F.

That day is not quite upon us yet, and there are still a few A300-600s in Dresden, either in, or awaiting conversion for Chinese all-cargo carrier Uni-Top.

So we thought it appropriate to salute the freighter that has for many years been the workhorse of the express industry, offer this video for your weekend viewing pleasure.

Singapore Airlines A330 suffers nose gear collapse at gate.......ouch!

(News Asia)
Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-343 (c/n 1012) 9V-STG suffered a nose landing gear collapse on 11 October, while the aircraft was parked at Singapore - Changi International Airport (SIN/WSSS).
In a statement, the carrier says the nose gear retracted while the aircraft was undergoing a landing gear system check.
SIA adds that no passengers or crew were on board when the incident occurred at around 08:00 local time. One engineer who was on the aircraft during the collapse was unhurt.
(News Asia)
Photos on social media show the forward fuselage of the aircraft tilted downward, resting on the crumple
"SIA will be co-operating fully with the authorities in their investigations," adds the carrier.d landing gear. The front door of the aircraft appears to have been torn off.
(Aaron Chong - Flightglobal News)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Gulfstream G450 (c/n 4208) N818TS

Captured rolling for takeoff on Rwy 30 at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on October 9, 2015.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Gulfstream G-IV (c/n 1010) XA-AVZ

This Mexican registered G-IV was a very lucky catch this past week. She is seen resting on the Monterey Jet Center ramp at Monterey Regional Airport (MRY/KMRY) on October 7, 2015.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Gulfstream G-IVSP (c/n 1347) N156WJ

Caught on the Monterey Jet Center ramp at Monterey Regional Airport (MRY/KMRY), October 7, 2015.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Sikorsky CH-54A (S-64A) "Skycrane" (c/n 68-18447) N792HT

This gorgeous aircraft is operated by Helicopter Transport Services and is seen resting in the mid-day sun at Paso Robles Airport (PRB/KPRB) on October 8, 2015. All the recent brush fires here in the west has kept this bird very busy to say the least.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Sikorsky S-61N (c/n 61424) N91158

Owned by U.S. Leasing Inc., this lovely Sikorsky S-61N is captured at Santa Ynez Airport (IZA/KIZA) in Santa Ynez, CA. on October 8, 2015.
(Photo by Michael Carter)

Friday, October 9, 2015

Boeing’s new overhead bin design brilliantly fits 50% more carry-ons


Flying on planes has gotten worse and worse over the years, particularly since airlines now charge you extra to check in your bags.

Thankfully, Alaska Airlines and Boeing have decided to make some major improvements to how planes are designed that will open up significantly more space for you to store your bags so you don’t have to check them in.

The Today Show got a look at newly redesigned overhead bins on Boeing’s 737 series of planes that will fit 50% more bags than they could fit before.

The way Boeing redesigned these bins was fairly simple: It increased their depth to make it possible to put more bags in vertically instead of horizontally.

Essentially, Boeing figured if it could make overhead bins with a depth of just over 14 inches, it could squeeze in 50% more bags than it normally could, provided passengers slot their bags in the comAlaska Airlines hopes to have the larger bins fitted in 50% of its planes within two years and you can be sure that other airlines are looking to follow suit — indeed, The Today Show says seven other airlines are talking about expanding overhead bin size as well.

(Brad Reed -BGR / Yahoo Tech)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Southwest poised to add international flights from Houston

Southwest banks on adding international flights in Houston and eventually Fort Lauderdale.

Southwest Airlines Co. showed off a new $156 million Houston airport concourse, a big part of its plan to expand international flights.

Next week, Southwest will begin flying from Houston's Hobby Airport to Mexico City, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos in Mexico; San Jose, Costa Rica; and Belize City, Belize. On Nov. 1, it will add Houston to Liberia, Costa Rica.

Houston "will be our focus for quite some time," Gary Kelly, chairman, president and CEO, said Thursday during a Southwest media event at Hobby Airport. He said the airline would launch a similar campaign to expand international flying from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 2017 or 2018.

Southwest offered no international service when it bought AirTran Airways in 2011. Since inheriting AirTran routes to Mexico and the Caribbean, Southwest has slowly added a few more destinations on its own.

Other airlines are eager to serve Cuba. Kelly said only that Cuba is one of about 50 potential destinations for Southwest.

On another subject, Kelly said Southwest has no plans to start charging for checking a bag or two. Earlier this year, JetBlue Airways imposed bag-checking fees for customers who buy the cheapest tickets. Many Wall Street analysts believe Southwest is losing money by not also charging for bags.

Kelly said, however, that the bags-fly-free approach generates nearly $1 billion a year in extra ticket sales. Charging bag fees now, he said, "would be really dumb."

(Associated Press)