Industry News


Industry News

Industry news is more important to career development and the job search than many aspiring career pilots realize. What new regulations that could affect your career lurk just over the horizon?

Which airline is thinking about buying another carrier? That could affect you directly if you work for the acquired carrier. Who is ordering new airplanes? If new aircraft are an addition to the carrier’s existing fleet, it will have to hire more pilots to fly them. How is the industry—and individual airlines—doing financially? While a company’s financial situation can change over time, you should know how an airline stands when you apply.

Honeywell forecasts steady global helicopter demand
In its 17th annual Turbine-Powered Civil Helicopter Purchasing Outlook released March 1, Honeywell Aerospace expects that 4,750 to 5,250 civilian-use helicopters will be delivered during the next five years. Overall, five-year demand for turbine-powered, civil helicopters remains steady versus the 2014 forecast, although the 34-percent share of demand from the United States and Canada reflects an 8-point increase attributed to stronger North American buying plans. Light single-engine helicopters continue to be the most popular class, with almost half the new purchase interest; intermediate and medium twin-engine helicopters earned about 31 percent. In North America, 27 percent of operators plan utilization increases and only 6 percent plan decreases.

[POSTED MARCH 3, 2015]

Bombardier CS300 makes first flight
Bombardier’s first CS300 airliner successfully completed its first flight Feb. 27, departing Montréal-Mirabel International Airport at 11 a.m. EST and returning at 3:58 p.m. The second model in the company’s CSeries line of technologically advanced single-aisle, mainline jets—designed for 100 to 149 seats—it reached 41,000 feet and 255 knots. Five CS100 aircraft have logged more than 1,000 flight test hours, and the company expects it to receive certification in the second half of this year, said Rob Dewar, vice president for the CSeries Program. “The CS300 airliner is expected to follow about six months later.”

[POSTED MARCH 3, 2015]

Southwest continues Love Field expansion
Southwest Airlines on Feb. 26 published schedules for 16 additional flights, including service to eight new nonstop cities, from Dallas Love Field. A previously announced long-term sublease of two gates from United Airlines made the flights possible. Beginning Aug. 9, 2015, Southwest will offer once-daily nonstops between Love Field and Boston; Charlotte; Detroit; Omaha, Nebraska; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina; and Salt Lake City. Also on August 9, Southwest will add additional nonstops between Dallas and Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Baltimore; Houston; Little Rock, Arkansas; Chicago; and Seattle/Tacoma. Charleston, South Carolina, also will receive daily nonstop service.

[POSTED MARCH 3, 2015]

Flight attendants seek cleaner cabin air
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) says it’s pushing for improved air quality in aircraft cabins to protect both crew and passengers. “Most Americans go to work with the expectation of breathing clean air, but until we achieve better standards for cabin air quality, flight attendants don’t have this guarantee,” said AFA International President Sara Nelson, who will be in London in late February to steer an International Transport Workers’ Federation meeting on cabin air quality. The union wants the airline industry to stop using engine bleed air for cabin air supply, or use filters to stop circulating contaminated air. Current bleed air systems can introduce potentially toxic engine oil fumes into the cabin, the union said.

[POSTED FEBRUARY 24, 2015]

Virgin America to launch new Love Field flights
Virgin America will launch five new daily nonstops from Dallas Love Field to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on April 28. The airline has served Austin, Texas, since 2013, with nonstop flights from San Francisco International Airport; it increased Austin-San Francisco service in 2014. That spring, the airline launched a campaign that garnered more than 27,000 signatures in support of the carrier’s desire to increase service at Love Field, where Southwest Airlines is the dominant carrier. Virgin America obtained two gates at the Dallas airport. With the new flights, the airline will offer 19 daily departures from Love Field.

[POSTED FEBRUARY 24, 2015]

Alaska orders 6 next-gen Boeing 737s
Alaska Airlines announced Feb. 18 that it would purchase six more Boeing 737-900 Extended Range aircraft, valued at $594 million based on current Boeing list prices. Alaska is replacing its remaining 737-400s with 737-900ERs, which carry 25 percent more passengers on the same amount of fuel. Boeing is expediting delivery of four of the new jets, increasing to 19 the number of aircraft the airline will receive next year, said Andrew Harrison, Alaska Airlines executive vice president and chief revenue officer. The remaining two will follow in 2017.

[POSTED FEBRUARY 24, 2015]

Delta employees earn $1 billion in profits
Delta Air Lines employees received profit sharing payments Feb. 13 as part of the company’s $1.1 billion total payout for 2014, the largest payment in the company’s history. Total individual payouts will equal more than 16 percent of employees’ eligible 2014 earnings, the company said. “It is essential for our employees to have an ownership stake in our business and share in the record-breaking achievements they helped create,” said Richard Anderson, Delta’s chief executive officer. The 2014 payout is a record for the airline industry, and among the highest for any U.S. corporation, the company said. This is the fifth consecutive year Delta rewarded employees with profit sharing.

[POSTED FEBRUARY 17, 2015]

Southwest adds more Love nonstops
Southwest Airlines on Feb. 12 announced new nonstop flights between Dallas Love Field and 10 other cities. Beginning April 8, the airline will launch new service between Dallas and Charleston, South Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis; Memphis; Milwaukee; Panama City Beach, Florida; Portland, Oregon; Sacramento, California; San Jose, California; and Seattle. The Charleston service will operate on Saturdays only, and the Panama City Beach service will operate on a seasonal basis. Southwest also will increase the number of daily nonstops between Santa Ana/Orange County, California, and Love Field effective April 8. The flights were made possible by Southwest’s acquisition of rights to two additional Love Field gates.

[POSTED FEBRUARY 17, 2015]

American announces first 787 routes
American Airlines will begin domestic service with its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners between Dallas/Fort Worth International and Chicago O’Hare International airports beginning May 7, before launching internationally between Dallas and Beijing Capital International Airport on June 2. The new aircraft also will also operate between Dallas and Ministro Pistarini International Airport in Buenos Aires beginning June 4. American will deploy the 787 to additional markets in 2015 as it takes delivery of additional aircraft; it has ordered 42 and has rights to acquire 58 more.

[POSTED FEBRUARY 17, 2015]

PSA to add 24 CRJ900s
PSA Airlines, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group, has been selected by American to operate 24 new Bombardier CRJ900 NextGen aircraft. The announcement comes after American exercised 24 of its 40 CRJ900 NextGen aircraft options, acquired as part of its large regional jet order announced in December 2013. Deliveries of the 76-seat regional jets, to operate under the American Eagle brand, are scheduled from November 2015 to August 2016. Dayton, Ohio-based PSA’s 1,900 employees operate nearly 400 daily flights to more than 80 destinations. The airline’s flight crew bases are in Dayton; Knoxville, Tennessee; and Charlotte, North Carolina.

[POSTED FEBRUARY 10, 2015]

…and GoJet gets 7 CRJ900s
GoJet Airlines, a wholly owned subsidiary of Trans States Holdings, Inc., announced Feb. 10 that it will operate seven Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft under the Delta Connection regional service brand. Deliveries are set to begin in June 2015 and continue through October. The addition of these CRJ900 aircraft continues Delta Air Lines’ domestic fleet optimization plan, which is focused on reducing 50-seat regional jets while improving the overall customer experience. GoJet currently operates 47 CRJ700 aircraft, 22 of which are in service for Delta. It has been a Delta Connection carrier since 2011.

[POSTED FEBRUARY 10, 2015]

American pilots approve contract
The Allied Pilots Association (APA), representing 15,000 pilots at American Airlines, announced Jan. 30 that its members approved a new five-year contract providing immediate pay raises of 23 percent and subsequent annual raises of three percent for the next five years. The agreement also places all of the airline’s pilots—from American and merger partner US Airways—under one contract. “Today’s results provide immediate and significant pay increases to our pilots, and represent another step forward in our integration,” said American Airlines President Scott Kirby. According to an APA tweet, the vote was 66 percent in favor and 34 percent opposed, with 94 percent of pilots voting, The Street reported. It said the pay raise—retroactive to Dec. 1—likely influenced the vote, even though a couple of contract clauses troubled many pilots.

[POSTED FEBRUARY 3, 2015]

Southwest to offer more Dallas destinations
Southwest Airlines announced Jan. 30 that it will add new destinations from Dallas’ Love Field, made possible by acquiring the rights to two additional gates. Beginning in April, Southwest will offer daily nonstop flights to nine new cities from Dallas—including Memphis, Milwaukee, and Seattle—and will increase the number of nonstops to destinations added after the October 2014 expiration of Wright Amendment restrictions on long-haul flying at Love Field.

[POSTED FEBRUARY 3, 2015]

Delta taps Boeing 717s for West Coast shuttle
Delta Air Lines said Feb. 2 that it will introduce Boeing 717 aircraft on eight of 15 daily flights between Los Angeles and San Francisco international airports in June, offering 40 percent more seats on its hourly nonstop Delta Shuttle. The mainline 717s seat 110 passengers; the remaining seven daily flights will continue to be operated by Delta Connection partner Compass Airlines using 76-seat Embraer E175 aircraft. Delta is expanding its 717 fleet, acquiring a number of former AirTran jets no longer needed by all-737 Southwest. Delta launched hourly nonstop shuttles between the cities in September 2013.

[POSTED FEBRUARY 3, 2015]

Cheap fuel boosts profits, airline stocks
Since September, jet fuel prices have dropped by about half, boosting profits for most airlines. Industry analysts expect this year’s profits at the four largest U.S. carriers to surpass their 2014 results. United and Southwest executives recently gave a favorable 2015 forecast combining the cheap fuel with stronger travel demand, according to an Associated Press article published on the travel information website Skift. United Continental Holdings Inc. has predicted first-quarter profits higher than what was expected by many analysts, while Southwest Airlines Co. expects to save $1.7 billion on its 2015 fuel bill; both companies said their fourth-quarter profit was lower than the prior year’s because of losses on fuel-price hedge contracts. American Airlines is the only major U.S. carrier that was not hedging fuel prices.

[POSTED JANUARY 27, 2015]

Alaska, Horizon employees get bonus payouts
Employees at Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air on Jan. 26 received annual bonuses of more than 9 percent of their annual salary—for most workers, more than five weeks’ pay. The bonus is in addition to the approximately $1,000 in 2014 monthly bonuses that most employees earned for achieving on-time and customer satisfaction goals. The combined monthly and annual bonuses total nearly $116 million, the highest in Alaska’s history, and are part of the company’s incentive-based pay program.

[POSTED JANUARY 27, 2015]

Compass sued over FMLA
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) sued Compass Airlines Jan. 22 to arbitrate two contractual grievances over the company’s alleged violations of flight attendants’ rights under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Compass, owned by Trans States Holding and operated as a Delta connection carrier, has refused for more than a year to schedule these grievances, the union said. AFA is asking the federal court to order Compass to honor its contract and to comply with its legal duty under the Railway Labor Act to arbitrate these grievances.

[POSTED JANUARY 27, 2015]

Allegiant pilots authorize strike
Pilots at Allegiant Air, represented by the Airline Professionals Association (APA) Teamsters Local 1224, on Jan. 16 voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike against the carrier. The vote, in which 98 percent of voting pilots authorized the union to call a strike, does not mean that a strike is going to happen immediately. “It does, however, mean that the situation is fluid,” said APA Teamsters Local 1224 President Daniel Wells. “If Allegiant continues to stonewall in negotiations and continues to disregard the federal court’s injunction ordering it to restore the pilots’ work rules, then a pilot strike at Allegiant Air will be very realistic.” The union said it intends to seek assistance from the National Mediation Board under the Railway Labor Act’s dispute provisions. The pilots said they have been in negotiations with Allegiant for two years with little to no progress.

[POSTED JANUARY 20, 2015]

Airbus eyes consolidation, production changes
Airbus announced that it will limit 2015’s new product offerings to the just-launched long-range A321neo variant, suggesting a period of consolidation, AIN Online reported Jan. 13. The company said it delivered 629 airliners, beating its 2014 targets; A320 narrowbodies accounted for 490 of them. Orders for the A380 superjumbo reportedly have slowed. During Airbus’s annual press conference in Toulouse, company executives said other objectives include meeting delivery schedules and adjusting production rates. Fabrice Bregier, Airbus president and chief executive, would like to deliver “around 650” aircraft this year, AIN said.

[POSTED JANUARY 20, 2015]

Delta to launch daily service between Los Angeles and Shanghai
Delta Air Lines plans to begin daily nonstop service between Los Angeles International and Shanghai-Pudong Airport on July 9, 2015, pending U.S. Department of Transportation and foreign government approval, the airline announced Jan. 14. Delta said that the Los Angeles market makes up 25 percent of all U.S.-Asia demand. Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, seating 291, will be used on the route.

[POSTED JANUARY 20, 2015]

FAA issues SMS rule
The FAA has issued a final rule that requires most U.S. passenger and cargo airlines to implement a safety management system (SMS) by 2018, AIN Online reported Jan. 7. SMS is “an organization-wide approach to mitigating risk in airline operations” that proactively predicts accident causes through the analysis of data, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta explained at a press conference. More than nine out of 10 U.S. air carriers already share some data with the FAA or voluntarily participate in a SMS program, AIN reported. Carriers’ SMS plans must be submitted to the FAA by early September.

[POSTED JANUARY 13, 2015]

NetJets hiring new pilots while seeking wage, benefit concessions
An escalating labor dispute between NetJets, Inc., and its workforce entered a new phase Jan. 7 when the Columbus, Ohio-based fractional jet operator announced plans to hire new pilots while continuing to demand compensation and benefit cuts from current pilots and other unionized workers, said the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP), the union representing NetJets’ more than 2,700 pilots. While union leaders are pleased that NetJets has returned furloughed pilots to work and will hire new pilots amid increased demand, they said the company continues to demand concessions at the bargaining table. “The touted growth and profitability have in no way tempered management claims that compensation and benefit cuts from pilots and other workers are necessary because its wealthy customers are demanding cheaper prices,” NJASAP President Pedro Leroux said. The pilots’ union and NetJets, a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, have been negotiating a new labor contract for more than a year.

[POSTED JANUARY 13, 2015]

Delta makes deal with pilots to retain international flights
In a first-of-its-kind agreement in the aviation industry, Delta Air Lines Inc. has told its pilots that it will continue to operate its own international flights—and will not outsource service to its partner, Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., Bloomberg Businessweek reported Dec. 31. Delta in 2013 purchased 49 percent of Virgin, based in England, raising concerns among Delta’s pilots that jobs could be lost if the airline shifted trans-Atlantic flying to Virgin. The move comes ahead of pilot contract discussions, which are scheduled to begin in April.

[POSTED JANUARY 6, 2015]

American pilots’ union accepts contract offer
After meeting for two days, the board of directors of the Allied Pilots Association—which represents about 15,000 pilots at American Airlines after the carrier merged with US Airways in December 2013—voted late Jan. 3 to accept the airline’s latest contract proposal, The Dallas Morning News reported. The agreement, which must be ratified by the union’s membership, will give pilots an immediate 23-percent pay increase, said American spokesman Casey Norton. The new joint collective bargaining agreement also places former American and US Airways pilots under the same contract.

[POSTED JANUARY 6, 2015]

American seeks LAX to Tokyo Haneda flights
American Airlines on Jan. 5 applied to the United States Department of Transportation for permission to operate daily nonstop service between Los Angeles International Airport and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (HND). Per the U.S.-Japan bilateral agreement, U.S. airlines may operate only a total of four daily round-trip flights at Haneda Airport, and American wants DOT to award it Delta Air Line’s existing route authority from Seattle. Delta Air Lines also serves Haneda from Los Angeles, Hawaiian Airlines from Honolulu, and United Airlines from San Francisco. In December, the DOT instituted a carrier-selection proceeding to determine whether current service between Seattle and Haneda should be reallocated to another airline. American would use Boeing 777-200 aircraft on the route.

[POSTED JANUARY 6, 2015]

…while Hawaiian seeks Kona-Haneda service
On the same day as American, Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. requested DOT approval to begin daily nonstop service between Kona International Airport, on the island of Hawaii, and Haneda Airport in Tokyo. It made the request after Delta reduced the frequency of its Seattle-Haneda service from daily to seasonal. In its application, Hawaiian said that its existing Honolulu-Tokyo service has been “by far the most, if not only, successful route” of the four Haneda slot pairs granted to U.S. carriers in 2010, and that Kona continues to be a top destination for Japanese travelers. The airline would use Airbus A330-200 aircraft on the route.

[POSTED JANUARY 6, 2015]

First Chinese-built airliner gets Chinese type certificate
The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China has obtained a type certificate for its ARJ21-700 regional jet following a development and certification effort of more than 12 years, AIN Online reported. The Civil Aviation Administration of China on Dec. 30 issued a type certificate for the twinjet, which is powered by GE CF34-10A engines and will be China’s first domestically produced airliner. The jet carries 90 passengers in economy configuration and is expected to enter service in the spring.

[POSTED JANUARY 6, 2015]


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