Saturday, October 21, 2017

Netjets Bombardiar Global 5000 (c/n 9555) N104QS

Taxies to then departs from Rwy 30 at Long Beach Airport (LGB/KLGB) on October 20, 2017.
(Photos by Michael Carter)

United Airlines becomes latest carrier to put economy passengers in rows of 10 seats

If you hate the middle seat on a plane, you probably won’t like the new seat configuration on United Airlines Boeing 777s.

The Chicago-based company announced that it is the latest carrier to reconfigure the seating on the Boeing 777-200 to add 21 additional seats.

The plane, to be used starting this winter primarily for long-haul flights, will have 50 lie-flat business class seats — known as Polaris seats — and 242 economy seats. United said it plans to configure about 90 Boeing 777-200 planes over the next few years.

The good news is that the legroom for the economy seats will remain about the same as before. The distance between the back of one seat and the back of the next — known as the “pitch” in industry jargon — will be 31 inches for economy seats and 34 inches for “Economy Plus” seats.

But to fit the extra seats, the economy and “Economy Plus” seats will be arranged in rows of ten across instead of nine.

American Airlines has already configured some of its 777-200s with ten seats across to fit 289 passengers, 42 more than under a previous layout. The Fort Worth carrier said it has plans to reconfigure those planes again to add premium economy seats, but economy passengers will still sit in rows of ten.

(Hugo Martin - Los Angeles Times)

Southwest shares photos from first 'unmanned' Boeing 737 Max 8 flight with all-female crew

As Southwest staffers aboard a Boeing 737 prepared for takeoff on Oct. 18, they looked around and noticed something unusual.

From the pilots to the flight attendants that day, the crew on the new Max 8 aircraft was entirely female.

A Southwest spokesperson told HuffPost that, upon realizing they were the first all-female crew to operate one of the company's new Boeing 737 Max 8 airliners, the women snapped a series of photos of the happy, unintentional event, which the company later shared on Twitter. The airline also confirmed that all the women pictured were employees of Southwest, who were operating a flight from St. Louis to San Francisco.

From a group photo of staffers in the aisle to shots of the two pilots in the cockpit (and also hamming it up in front of an engine), the sweet images clearly struck a chord with the Twitterverse, who blew up Southwest’s post with 20,000 likes and 300 comments. Some praised the airline for celebrating its female staffers, while other bemoaned the fact that all-female flight crews were so scarce that their existence had to be lauded.

(Southwest Airlines)

Southwest has actually staffed an entire plane with female employees in the past, though not on a Max 8 aircraft. The company even says it's "not uncommon" to see an all-female crew on one of its flights, as women make up 40 percent of its workforce.

According to the nonprofit Women in Aviation Inc., however, a mere 6.7 percent of working pilots today are female.

(Fox News)

Singapore Airlines to finalize $13.8 billion Boeing order next week

Singapore Airlines Ltd said on Friday it will finalize an order for 39 Boeing aircraft worth $13.8 billion at list prices when Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visits Washington D.C. next week.

The airline said in February it would order 20 777-9 and 19 787-10 wide-bodies as part of plans to modernize its fleet over the next decade, but the deal is yet to be finalized and placed in Boeing's order book as a Singapore Airlines order.

The deal was viewed as a major blow to Airbus SE as it battles against Boeing in the wide-body market. Airbus has lagged Boeing in net orders in the first nine months of the year, with 271 at the end of September versus 498 for its U.S. rival.

Lee told CNBC television on Thursday that he hoped an agreement would be signed with Boeing to buy more aircraft for Singapore Airlines during his U.S. visit from Oct. 22 to 26.

More details about the order would be revealed after the signing ceremony in Washington, a Singapore Airlines spokesman said.

The airline in February said it had also acquired options to order six more aircraft of each type.

Boeing in June booked orders for 20 777Xs and 19 787-10 aircraft for an unidentified customer or customers, making it possible the Singapore Airlines aircraft are already counted in this year's net orders. Boeing declined to comment.

Singapore Airlines is investing in modern, fuel efficient aircraft while at the same time undertaking a strategic review designed to help cut costs amid growing competition from Chinese and Middle Eastern rivals.

While the Boeing order is worth $13.8 billion at list prices, airlines typically get discounts on jet orders. Jefferies in February estimated the deal's value at closer to $6.5 billion, or about a tenth of the U.S. plane maker's annual volume.

Singapore Airlines is the launch customer for the 787-10, a stretch version of the Dreamliner, having made 30 firm orders in addition to the 19 announced in February. Boeing completed final assembly of the airline's first 787-10 earlier this month ahead of delivery in the first half of 2018.

(Jamie Freed - Reuters)

China Southern to buy 38 Boeing jets worth $5.65 billion

China Southern Airlines has signed a deal to buy 38 aircraft from U.S. planemaker Boeing Co with a combined price tag of $5.65 billion, the Chinese carrier said on Friday.

China's largest airline by passenger numbers has agreed to buy 8 B777-300ER wide body jets and 30 B737-8 narrow bodies, the Chinese firm said in a stock exchange filing.

The planes will be delivered between 2019 and 2020 and will be funded through China Southern's own funds and loans from commercial banks, the company said.

The carrier said the deal would help its "two hub" strategy with plans for a presence at a second major airport being built in Beijing as well as its hub in southern Guangzhou. It added this would "boost the firm's competitiveness in the market".

The new Beijing airport is scheduled to open in October 2019. It will relieve pressure on Beijing's existing international airport, currently the world's second largest by passenger volume.

Two of China's three major airlines, China Southern and China Eastern Airlines Corp, will relocate to the airport on completion, accounting for roughly four-fifths of the new airport's total traffic.

China Southern said the actual price it would end up paying for the Boeing aircraft was still under negotiation, but that it would likely be substantially lower than the listed price as is customary for major airlines.

In April, China Southern signed a deal worth nearly $6 billion to buy 20 aircraft from Boeing's European rival, Airbus SE.

Airbus has lagged Boeing in net orders in the first nine months of the year, with 271 at the end of September versus 498 for its U.S. rival.

(Adam Jourdan - Reuters)

Will Boeing Build More 767s?

Two major Asian carriers have said this week that they plan to spend a combined total of about $19.5 billion on new passenger jets from Boeing. But those deals could pale if Boeing decides to restart production of its 767-300ER.

According to a report at Leeham News, Boeing is considering restarting production of the largest version of its 767 family due to discussions with customers interested in taking 50 to 60 of the aircraft. The last passenger version of the 767-300ER rolled off the line in 2014.

The 767-2C is the basis for Boeing’s KC-46A Air Force tanker, and the company posted a total of 38 in its order backlog for the plane.

The current list price for the 767-300ER is $201.4 million per copy, but when Boeing sold the last copies in 2014, the planes were selling for $70 million or less, Leeham News noted. The 767-300 freighter costs $203.5 million and the company had a backlog of 63 at the end of September.

Boeing continues to study its so-called new mid-range aircraft (NMA), sometimes called the 797, as a replacement for the 767 in a range segment that the company’s current models don’t cover. The 787 Dreamliner is too much airplane and the 737-10 is not quite enough.

Boeing sees a market for 2,000 to 4,000 NMAs over the next two decades, but market consensus is at the lower end of that scale. If a 797 were greenlighted next year, it would take about seven years to get the plane into service, say by 2025. Boeing could conceivably begin kicking out 767s in as little as three years.

Getting a 767-300ER back into production could happen sooner at lower cost than building a brand-new aircraft and put Boeing back in competition with the Airbus A321neo and the A321LR, both of which address the market for a passenger jet with a range of around 4,000 to 5,000 nautical miles.

Restarting production of the 767 does not kill Boeing’s prospects for a new 797. The economics of the 767 only work if the plane is sold a significant discount to its list price because the operating costs are higher than Airbus aircraft with new, more fuel-efficient engines.

Having a competitive plane until the 797 is ready gives Boeing a story to sell to customers looking at an Airbus alternative. There is substantial value to Boeing in just that aspect of resurrecting the 767.

(Paul Ausick - 24/7 Wall St)

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Airbus A350 Is Not The Boeing 787 -- But Delta Loves It

(Delta Airlines)

Let’s just say upfront that the Airbus A350 does not evoke any of the three turns of phrase so commonly applied to the Boeing 787.

It is not a “Dreamliner,” the brand name Boeing so successfully coined. It is not a “game changer,” the description used to vast excess to describe the airplane that opened once unthinkable routes like San Francisco-Chengdu and London-Austin. It is not a “moonshot,” the word used, almost derisively, by the former Boeing CEO who famously said that today’s “more-for-less world will not let you pursue moonshots.”

Rather, the A350 is just a very good next-generation aircraft. Certainly, Delta thinks so. Delta has labeled the A350 its flagship aircraft, moving the designation from the Boeing 747, which it is retiring this year.

The A350 will initially be based in Detroit, entering service with an Oct. 30th flight to Tokyo Narita. Service to Seoul will be added in November, with Beijing in January, Shanghai in April and Amsterdam in the spring. All were once Boeing 747 flights for Delta.

At a media event in Atlanta on Wednesday, Delta CEO Ed Bastian told reporters that three years ago, Delta considered ordering the 787. “I love the airplane,” Bastian said, but “Boeing couldn’t deliver on the timeline we were looking at” and “the price point was better” for the A350.

Delta rolled out the A350-900 for a two-hour flight that flew north along the Appalachian Mountains into West Virginia and Kentucky before turning south toward Atlanta. A Federal Aviation Administration inspector flew in the cockpit with the pilots.

First Officer Laura Edwards, who formerly flew the Boeing 767, said she was drawn to the A350 due to “the advanced technology on the flight deck and [in] the controls. The different technology makes life easier.”

Also aboard the flight, Robbie Schaefer, Delta manager of onboard products, said the carrier has rolled out new cabin products Delta One and Delta Premium Select on the A350. Next year, it will modify its 18 Boeing 777 interiors to include some or all of them.

The A350 has 306 seats including 32 Delta One suites, which feature private compartments with doors, lie flat seating and ample room: 48 Delta Premium Select seats with up to 38 inches of pitch and seat width of 18.5 inches, and 226 coach seats with 31 to 32 inches of pitch.

Aerospace consultant Scott Hamilton said the A350-900 offers more range than the 787-10, the latest Dreamliner version. “The A350-900 is longer range, somewhat heavier and carries somewhat fewer passengers than the 787-10,” he said.

“Because the 787-10 has more passengers, its [cost per available seat mile] is a couple of percentage points lower over a 5,000-mile trip,” Hamilton said. It is the 787-9, operated by United, that opened historic new routes led by San Francisco-Chengdu, the first commercial flight from the U.S. mainline to interior China, and that now operates on three of the world’s 10 longest flights, led by number three Los Angeles-Singapore, which is 8,700 miles.

Still, United intends to follow Delta into the A350 business. The carrier said last month that it will take delivery of 45 Airbus A350-900 aircraft starting in 2022.

(Ted Reed - Forbes)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Here is the key Boeing gives airlines when they buy a $270 million 787 Dreamliner

(Benjamin Zhang)

 Qantas took delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on Tuesday.
Boeing presented Qantas with a ceremonial key to the plane.
The Dreamliner will allow Qantas to offer non-stop service between the Europe and Australia.

On Tuesday, Qantas took delivery of its first 787-9 Dreamliner at Boeing's Everett, Washington factory. After the paperwork had been signed and a substantial amount of money transferred into Boeing's coffers, it was time for the Australian national airline to finally get its plane.

But first, Boeing vice chairman Ray Conner presented Qantas CEO Alan Joyce with a key to the Dreamliner. The polished key came complete with a Boeing 787 keychain and an accompanying jewelry box, fitting for an with airliner with a list price of $270.4 million.

Admittedly, the key is purely ceremonial and isn't required to operate the aircraft. Boeing usually reserves the pomp and circumstance of a key presentation for special occasions.

For Qantas, this is certainly a special occasion.
(Benjamin Zhang)

The new Boeing Dreamliner, one of eight destined to enter the Qantas fleet by the end of 2018, will play a major role in the airline's future international expansion plans. Qantas will use four of the planes, including the one it acquired on Tuesday to launch its new non-stop between Perth, Western Australia, and London.

This will be the first non-stop scheduled passenger flight between Australia and Europe. (In 1989, Qantas did fly one of its Boeing 747-400 jumbos from London to Sydney. However, that was a one-off publicity stunt with no passengers on board.)

"One of the big advantages of the Dreamliner is that it gives us a range of destinations we couldn't have done before," Joyce told Business Insider in an interview. "It gives you better economics because it's 20% more fuel efficient and with a lot lower maintenance cost given the new technology. That means there are routes we could have done before with distance, but couldn't do economically that now come onto the radar screen."

"For Qantas, it also starts overcoming the tyranny of distance we have," Joyce added.

(Benjamin Zhang)

After all, the 9,008 mile-long flight will be the third longest scheduled commercial flight in the world, right after Air India's 9,400-mile flight from Delhi to San Francisco and Qatar Airways' 9,032-mile flight from Doha to Auckland, New Zealand.

The Perth to London route will overtake the airline's 8,531-mile non-stop flight between Sydney and Dallas, Texas. That flight is operated by Airbus A380 super-jumbos.

(Benjamin Zhang)

 (Benjamin Zhang - Business Insider)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Delta Announces New Routes for the Airbus A350

Delta is the first U.S. airline to take delivery of a next-generation Airbus A350 jet. The airline will begin operating commercial flights using the new plane later this month, starting with a route from Detroit to Toyko Narita followed by subsequent routes from Detroit to Seoul Incheon and Beijing.

At a launch event yesterday in Atlanta, though, the airline announced even more routes that it intends to fly with the A350.

Here is a full list of routes that we know about so far:

Detroit (DTW) – Tokyo (NRT) starting October 30, 2017
Detroit (DTW) – Seoul (ICN) starting November 18, 2017
Detroit (DTW) – Beijing (PEK) starting January 17, 2018
Atlanta (ATL) – Seoul (ICN) starting March 24, 2018
Detroit (DTW) – Amsterdam (AMS) starting March 31, 2018
Detroit (DTW) to Shanghai (PVG) starting April 19, 2018

There are two interesting things to note here. First, it appears that the A350 fleet will, at least at first, be based out of the airline’s hub in Detroit, so all these flights except the one originating in Atlanta will be flown out of there.

Second, it looks like the airline will try to use these planes to consolidate its network to Asia out of the Midwest and the East Coast, funneling passengers through Detroit, while just a single route to begin with will operate in the other direction to Europe, flying to the airline’s SkyTeam partner, KLM’s, hub in Amsterdam.

Delta has a total order of 25 A350s, so we should eventually start seeing them fly to a number of other destinations as well as the airline uses them to retire older jets.

Part of what makes this such an exciting development is the introduction of an all-new all-suites business class cabin onboard. The A350 will have 32 of these new suites onboard, arranged in a 1 – 2 – 1 configuration. The Thompson Vantage XL seats all have closing doors, and recline to beds that are 21 inches wide and up to 81 inches long. They will also feature 18-inch hi-res touchscreen entertainment systems and 2Ku Wi-Fi.

Delta’s A350s also have 48 of the airline’s new Premium Select economy seats and 226 Main Cabin regular economy seats.

(Eric Rosen - Forbes)

Southwest Airlines gives up two planned routes to Mexico City

Southwest Airlines is giving up a pair of coveted slots at Mexico City’s airport as the Dallas-based carrier shifts its growth focus elsewhere, including other leisure-friendly destinations in Mexico.

Southwest won the rights to operate four additional flights in and out of Mexico City earlier this year after Delta Airlines and Aeromexico were forced to give them up as part of a joint venture between the carriers.

The decision to relinquish the valuable rights comes at a time when Southwest is in the midst of an international growth-spree, launching service to 16 international destinations since 2014. That includes a heavy focus on popular tourist destinations, including Mexican beach towns, Jamaica and the Bahamas.

Southwest was one of several carriers to gain new access this year at Mexico City International Airport, where the number of daily flights is limited due to space and capacity constraints.

Two of Southwest’s four slots, an industry term for takeoff and landing rights, were used to add flights from Houston. But Southwest decided not to launch flights to Mexico City from Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale, both of which were scheduled to begin next summer.

Instead, the airline offered up those two slots to other carriers at no cost. This week, the U.S. Department of Transportation reallocated them to Mexican low-cost carrier VivaAerobus.

A Southwest spokesman said the decision is part of a strategy to focus its Mexico City service through Houston’s Hobby Airport, already a key international gateway for the carrier that provides one-stop access to more than four dozen U.S. cities. Southwest operates four daily flights between Houston and Mexico City.

“Southwest is bullish about Mexico City service over a longer term yet is refocusing on other growth priorities in the nearer term,” spokesman Brad Hawkins said in a statement.

Hawkins said the carrier plans to continue growing its service to other Mexican destinations, including Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos.

A total of 24 slots were made available at Mexico City’s airport as a condition to a deal that will allow Delta and Aeromexico to coordinate more closely on schedules and pricing and share revenue from flights between their respective countries. Another four slots were made available at New York’s Kennedy International Airport.

In addition to Southwest, JetBlue, Alaska Airlines, Volaris and VivaAerobus all received slots at Mexico City's airport that once belonged to Delta or Aeromexico.

(Conor Shine - The Dallas Morning News)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Gulfstream G-V (c/n 598) N808JG

This lovely aircraft captured at Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA/PHKO) on October 12, 2017 is operated by Jet Green LLC.

(Photo by Michael Carter)

Gulfstream G-IV (c/n 1069) N813PD

Operated by Quogue Aviation II LLC, this gorgeous aircraft is captured resting in the morning sun on the Signature ramp at Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA/PHKO) on October 12, 2017.

(Photo by Michael Carter)

Hawaiian Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-95-30 (717-2CM) (55151/5041) N490HA "O'o"

Taxies to then departs on Rwy 35 at Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA/PHKO) Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on October 12, 2017.

(Photos by Michael Carter)

Hawaiian Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-95-30 (717-2BL) (55182/5138) N494HA "Koa'e Kea"

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.

(Photo by Michael Carter)

Big Island Air Cessna 208B Grand Caravan (c/n 208B5054) N2150

This colorful machine is captured resting in the gorgeous morning sun at Kona Inernational Airport at Keahole (KOA/PHKO) Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on October 12, 2017.

(Photo by Michael Carter)

Paradise Helicopters Bell 407 (c/n 53101) N808PH

Captured at Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA/PHKO) Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on October 12, 2017.

(Photo by Michael Carter)

Paradise Helicopters Bell 407 (c/n 53503) N407WH

Arrives at Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA/PHKO) Kailua-Kona, Hawaii following a sightseeing flight along the Kona Coast on October 12, 2017.

(Photos by Michael Carter)

Transair Cargo Shorts SD3-60 (c/n 3722) N221LM

Rests in the morning sun at Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA/PHKO), Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on October 12, 2017.

(Photo by Michael Carter)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Island Air Dehavilland Canada DHC-8-402Q (c/n 4554) N863WP "Kulana Pono"

Smokes the mains on Rwy 35 at Kona International Airport at Keahole  (KOA/PHKO) Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on October 12, 2017.

(Photo by Michael Carter)

Air India takes delivery of final 787-8 Dreamliner

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.

(Jay Menon - ATWOnline News)