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? A proposal is pending, for example, that could eliminate the longstanding FAA regulation that required airline pilots to leave the cockpit when they turn 60.

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 modest business aviation growth
In its 23rd annual Business Aviation Outlook released Oct. 19, Honeywell is forecasting up to 9,450 new business jet deliveries worth $280 billion from 2014 to 2024. Slightly higher aircraft deliveries, combined with modest list price increases and the continuing popularity of larger jets, result in an increase of about 7 to 8 percent in projected delivery value over the 2013 forecast. Survey findings tell Honeywell that the operators interviewed plan to make new jet purchases equivalent to about 23 percent of their fleets over the next five years, either as replacements or in addition to existing aircraft—a level of interest several points lower than the past four survey cycles, but in line with average responses through 2006. The forecast anticipates a 4 percent average annual growth of the global business aviation industry over the next decade. A more detailed report of the summary is available on AOPA Online.

[POSTED OCTOBER 21, 2014]

Mitsubishi rolls out regional jet
Mitsubishi rolled out its new MRJ regional jet in Nagoya, Japan, on Oct. 18—the first commercial aircraft launched by a Japanese manufacturer in 50 years, AIN Online reported Oct. 18. The company has committed some $1.7 billion to the project, which has been under development for seven years and is intended to provide a 20-percent improvement in fuel efficiency over existing models. At the time of the rollout, Mitsubishi had firm orders for 191 regional jets. With first flight scheduled for early next year, the company anticipates logging some 2,500 flight-test hours to receive simultaneous Japanese and FAA certification.

[POSTED OCTOBER 21, 2014]

Judgment forces National Air Cargo into reorganization
National Air Cargo, Inc., a freight forwarder specializing in difficult-to-move cargo, announced Oct. 20 that it has filed a voluntary petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. Parent company National Air Cargo Holdings, Inc., National Airlines, and its other subsidiaries are not affected by National Air Cargo’s move. The judgment involves a claim that NAC Inc. breached an agreement by failing to finance aircraft leases through Global BTG, which NAC is appealing. NAC operates a fleet of Boeing 747-400 cargo aircraft, and leases Ilyushin IL-76, Antonov AN-124, and other aircraft as needed.

[POSTED OCTOBER 21, 2014]

Airline group lobbying for FAA reauthorization bill
Nicholas Calio, president and CEO of industry trade organization Airlines for America, is already lobbying in advance of next year’s FAA reauthorization debate. He told lawmakers they must “level the competitive playing field” for U.S. carriers, which face strong competition from airlines in the Middle East and Asia. “Currently, our supposedly deregulated environment is dismal,” he said during a recent industry luncheon, specifically citing Dubai-based Emirates Airline, which enjoys a more favorable regulatory environment than American carriers, Air Transport World reported Oct. 9. Flights operated by a U.S. airline provide 60 percent more jobs than a foreign-airline flight, Calio said. Tax, regulatory, and infrastructure challenges—as well as air traffic control performance—also should be addressed by the FAA reauthorization legislation, he added.

[POSTED OCTOBER 14, 2014]

Southwest embraces Wright Amendment expiration
Southwest Airlines marked the expiration of a law known as the Wright Amendment, which was imposed in 1979 to limit the reach of Dallas’ Love Field airport, on Oct. 13 when the carrier began new nonstop flights from the airport to the first of 17 destinations. Service began immediately to Denver, Chicago Midway, Baltimore/Washington International, Ronald Reagan Washington National, Las Vegas, Los Angeles International, and Orlando. Additional service is scheduled to begin Nov. 2 to Phoenix, Orange County/Santa Ana, San Diego, Tampa Bay, Ft. Lauderdale, La Guardia in New York, Atlanta, and Nashville. Flights to San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., begin in early January 2015.

[POSTED OCTOBER 14, 2014]

Alaska, flight attendants tentatively agree to 5-year contract
Alaska Airlines and the Association of Flight Attendants announced Oct. 9 that they reached tentative agreement on a new five-year contract for the carrier’s 3,300 flight attendants. Once the tentative agreement is approved by union leadership, Alaska’s flight attendants will conduct a ratification vote that is expected to be completed in December. “The association’s negotiating committee is pleased with the results of the parties’ bargaining efforts and we are looking forward to presenting this tentative deal to leadership for approval,” said Jeffrey Peterson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants Master Executive Council at Alaska Airlines. “Then it will be up to the membership to determine the next steps in the process.” Under the Railway Labor Act, which governs collective bargaining agreements in the airline industry, contracts do not expire; instead, they become amendable. The prior contract was effective in 2010 and became amendable in May 2012.

[POSTED OCTOBER 14, 2014]

Baltia progressing through FAA certification
Baltia Air Lines announced Oct. 13 that it has entered the performance assessment phase of the FAA air carrier certification process. It consists of a table-top exercise, mini-evacuation demonstration, and proving flights. “Passing through Phase II was a major accomplishment in the certification process,” said Sheryle Milligan, chief of operations. Baltia, based at Willow Run Airport near Detroit, plans to operate Boeing 747 aircraft between the United States and Europe after it receives certification.

[POSTED OCTOBER 14, 2014]

Boeing to increase 737 production rate
Boeing announced Oct. 2 that it will increase 737 production to 52 airplanes per month in 2018, in response to strong market demand from customers worldwide. Once the increase is implemented, the company expects to build more than 620 of the single-aisle airplanes per year—the highest rate ever for what Boeing said is the world’s best-selling commercial airplane. Boeing currently produces 42 airplanes per month at its Renton, Wash., factory, and previously announced plans to increase the production rate to 47 airplanes per month in 2017.

[POSTED OCTOBER 7, 2014]

Frontier expands in Chicago, shifting to O’Hare
Frontier Airlines is expected to announce four more flights from its new base at O’Hare International Airport as the Denver-based low-fare airline, which currently operates 18 Airbus A320s and 35 Airbus A319s, transitions from the city’s Midway Airport, the Chicago Tribune reported Sept. 30. Frontier’s first flight from O’Hare, on Sept. 15, was to Washington’s Dulles International Airport. “It’s a huge market. O’Hare is the preferred airport,” Frontier CEO Dave Siegel told the newspaper. “You have two legacy carriers there [United Airlines and American Airlines], but it’s still an underserved market.” Siegel said getting into O’Hare has been a priority for him since he took over at Frontier in 2012; the carrier obtained a gate there as a result of the American/US Airways merger.

[POSTED OCTOBER 7, 2014]

New Eastern to receive first jet in December
The new Eastern Air Lines will take delivery of its first aircraft, a Boeing 737-800, in early December, according to the website ch-aviation. World Airline News reported that the leased jet will be named the “Spirit of Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker,” for the founder in 1926 of the original Eastern Air Lines. In May, the start-up signed an initial order with Boeing for 10 737-800s and purchase rights for 10 737 MAX 8 aircraft. Recently it also firmed an existing memorandum of understanding with Japan’s Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation for 20 MRJ90s, with purchase rights for 20 additional aircraft. The Miami-based company is undergoing FAA air carrier certification.

[POSTED OCTOBER 7, 2014]

Boeing forecasts world air cargo to double
Boeing projects that air cargo traffic will grow at an annual rate of 4.7 percent over the next 20 years, with global air freight traffic expected to more than double by 2033, the company said Oct. 7 when it released its biennial World Air Cargo Forecast at the International Air Cargo Forum and Exhibition. Global air cargo traffic began to grow again in second quarter of 2013, with growth reaching 4.4 percent for the first seven months of 2014 when compared to the same period a year earlier. If this trend continues, Boeing said 2014 will be the highest growth year for the air freight industry since 2010. With the increased cargo, the world freighter fleet also is expected to grow, with deliveries of 840 new factory-built cargo aircraft and 1,330 passenger airplanes converted to freighters. More than 52 percent of those deliveries are expected to replace retiring airplanes, while the remainder represent growth, according to Boeing.

[POSTED OCTOBER 7, 2014]

American to launch new Miami service
American Airlines announced Oct. 2 that it will launch new domestic service from Miami International Airport to four destinations next spring. Flights from Miami to Austin-Bergstrom International and San Antonio International airports in Texas; Kansas City International Airport; and Salt Lake City International Airport will begin March 5, 2015. The new routes will be served with Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

[POSTED OCTOBER 7, 2014]

July brings highest U.S. airline job growth in two years
The employee count at scheduled U.S. passenger carriers climbed to 386,243 in July in the largest year-over-year increase—1.3 percent—since June 2012, according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported by Air Transport World. July was the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year growth in full-time-equivalent (FTE) employment numbers, up 4,944 FTE positions over July 2013 and an increase of 1,000 since June 2014. Leading the charge were Alaska Airlines, with a 4.4-percent increase in FTE positions, and Delta Air Lines, up 2.5 percent.

[POSTED SEPTEMBER 30, 2014]

Delta expects increased Minneapolis boardings
Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines Inc., told Minnesota business leaders Sept. 23 that he expects the airline’s passenger count from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to increase 8 percent by 2019, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reported. Anderson, who was the CEO of Northwest Airlines, said the facility is the best-run airport in the world. “[It is] incredibly efficient and everything is done professionally there,” he said during a luncheon hosted by Airport Foundation MSP.

[POSTED SEPTEMBER 30, 2014]

Union says Allegiant pilot attrition increasing
Attrition is accelerating at Allegiant Air as pilots, even senior captains with many years invested, are leaving the carrier for companies offering better working conditions, better schedules, and increased compensation and benefits packages, according to Airline Professionals Association Teamsters Local 1224, which represents Allegiant’s pilots. Flights have been cancelled because of a lack of crews, said the union, which is urging management to address the underlying conditions responsible for the shortages. “The Teamsters have presented the company with a comprehensive proposal, to which they have refused to reply,” said Teamsters Local 1224 President Daniel Wells. Since the pilots voted for Teamster representation in August 2012, the union said, working conditions deteriorated and some benefits were reduced below prior negotiated levels.

[POSTED SEPTEMBER 30, 2014]

American to launch new Beijing service
American Airlines has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation to launch new service from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to Beijing Capital International Airport, the carrier announced Sept. 25. The first nonstop flight between the two cities would begin next summer. Boeing 777-200ER aircraft would be used on the route. American already operates between Chicago and Beijing.

[POSTED SEPTEMBER 30, 2014]

Southwest announces new service to Costa Rica
Southwest Airlines announced Sept. 12 that it has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation to add its first Central American destination, with daily roundtrip service between Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport and San Jose, Costa Rica, beginning March 7, 2015. Costa Rica will be the sixth foreign country served by Southwest Airlines and the first new destination in the carrier’s network after completing the integration of subsidiary AirTran Airways late this year. Tickets to San Jose, Costa Rica, will be sold when government approvals are secured.

[POSTED SEPTEMBER 16, 2014]

American gets OK for electronic flight attendant manuals
American Airlines, which said it was the first airline with a paperless cockpit, now has become the first mainline carrier to receive FAA approval to provide flight attendants with electronic manuals, accessible through a handheld tablet. By no longer printing and shipping updates, the carrier said it will save $300,000 annually—in addition to nearly $650,000 in annual fuel costs from replacing 5-lb. paper manuals with lightweight, 5.3-inch Samsung tablets. The eManuals will roll out to former US Airways flight attendants after the merged carriers achieve a single operating certificate, anticipated in mid-2015.

[POSTED SEPTEMBER 16, 2014]

Aviation career fair emphasizes maintenance
National Aviation Academy (NAA) is hosting a fall career fair on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is open to the public and military friendly. Representatives from a variety of companies will accept resumes and interview perspective candidates for aviation maintenance and avionics positions. Companies currently scheduled to attend include: Aerotek, American Flyers, Boeing South Carolina, Bombardier Learjet, Cape Air, Eagle Creek Aviation Services, Endeavor Air, General Atomics Aeronautical, GoJet Airlines, Honeywell, Kelly Services, Lockheed Martin, Naples Jet Center, Pall Aerospace, Pemco, Republic Airways, SkyWest Airlines, Thales Avionics, Trans States Airlines, and United Airlines. The event will be held at 6225 Ulmerton Road in Clearwater, Florida, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information call NAA at 800-659-2080.

[POSTED SEPTEMBER 16, 2014]

Southwest pilots applaud denial of temporary NAI authorization
The Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association, and other pilot and flight attendant labor unions, commended the U.S. Department of Transportation Sept. 3 for denying Norwegian Air International a temporary foreign air carrier operating authorization. NAI is a subsidiary of Norwegian Air, which is located in Norway, and has sought to operate service to the United States as an Irish airline—where it operates no flights and has no history of operations. Only the temporary application has been denied, not the full application approval for a foreign carrier exemption. Southwest’s pilots have opposed NAI’s “flag of convenience” strategy that would locate the airline outside its home country of Norway. The NAI application for a foreign carrier operating authorization is opposed by airline employees and management across the United States and Europe, SWAPA said.

[POSTED SEPTEMBER 9, 2014]

American announces $957 million in aircraft financing
American Airlines, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group Inc., announced Sept. 3 that it has priced an offering of two classes of enhanced equipment trust certificates with an aggregate face amount of approximately $957 million. American plans to use the proceeds to acquire equipment notes secured by five Airbus A319-112 aircraft, seven Airbus A321-231 jets, and five Boeing 777-323ERs.

[POSTED SEPTEMBER 9, 2014]

United accepts first 787-9 in North America
United Airlines on Sept. 4 became the first North American carrier to take delivery of the Boeing 787-9, a stretched version of the Dreamliner configured with 252 seats. It is the first of 26 new Dreamliners United has on order. Airline technicians will perform United-specific software installations and hardware upgrades; it is expected to enter domestic service in late September. The 787-9’s extended range—8,550 miles, compared to the 787-8’s 8,200—will enable United to launch Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia, service Oct. 26.

[POSTED SEPTEMBER 9, 2014]

Southwest opens new listening center
Southwest Airlines on Aug. 26 unveiled a Listening Center designed to engage with employees and customers in real time. Located at Southwest’s Dallas headquarters, the airline said the center is the first of its kind in the domestic airline industry. It integrates traditional media, social media, and operational data to allow various functions to quickly respond to problems or changing conditions. The center is staffed around the clock, seven days a week, with employees from the customer relations, communication, and marketing departments. The center works closely with the airline’s network operations control center, and has staffed a satellite listening center within the NOC to relay real-time feedback from customers as operational challenges arise.

[POSTED SEPTEMBER 2, 2014]

SkyWest declares 77th consecutive dividend
The board of directors of SkyWest, Inc. on Aug. 27 declared a quarterly dividend of $0.04 per share to shareholders of record at the close of business on Sept. 30, 2014. The company’s 77th consecutive quarterly dividend will be paid Oct. 6. SkyWest is the holding company that owns SkyWest Airlines, based in St. George, Utah, and ExpressJet Airlines, based in Atlanta. SkyWest Airlines operates under contract to United Express, Delta Connection, American Eagle, and US Airways Express carriers, while ExpressJet Airlines operates under the United Express, Delta Connection, and American Eagle banners. The company operates approximately 3,800 daily departures using a fleet of about 757 regional aircraft.

[POSTED SEPTEMBER 2, 2014]

Alaska introduces Seattle-Baltimore service
Alaska Airlines launched daily round-trip service between Seattle and Baltimore on Sept. 2, continuing expansion of its Seattle hub. Combined with service between Seattle and Detroit beginning Sept. 4 and Seattle-Albuquerque service starting Sept. 18, Alaska said it will offer 273 peak-day departures to 78 destinations from Seattle. “Seattle-Baltimore is a great complement to our existing service to Reagan Washington National Airport from our West Coast hubs of Seattle; Los Angeles; and Portland, Oregon,” said Joe Sprague, senior vice president of communications and external relations for the airline.

[POSTED SEPTEMBER 2, 2014]

A4A seeks national airline policy
Strategies that would update technologies and comply with new regulations—while keeping costs down—are the subject of discussion among executives from airports, airlines, and aircraft manufacturers in Las Vegas this week. At the Boyd Group International Aviation Forecast Summit there, Nicholas Calio, CEO of the Airlines for America trade organization, called for the creation of a national airline policy to address the growing federal tax burden on airlines and their customers, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported Aug. 25. The industry needs a national airline policy to help air carriers reduce flight delays, boost the number of flights, serve more destinations, and hold down ticket prices, Calio said.

[POSTED AUGUST 26, 2014]

Business aviation rebounds in Q2

Following a tepid performance in the first quarter of 2014, business aviation made a strong comeback in the second quarter of the year, according to Jet Support Services, Inc. JSSI, which provides maintenance support and financial services to the segment, tracks the number of hours that business aircraft have flown by region, industry, and aircraft type, and releases it on a quarterly basis. According to JSSI’s Business Aviation Index, Q2 2014 global business aviation activity grew by 8 percent quarter over quarter, and by 3 percent year over year. “After a tough first quarter, economic activity in the United States has picked up considerably, translating into a corresponding uptick in business aviation,” said Neil Book, JSSI’s president and CEO. “Consumer spending increased, leading to increases in hiring and inventory levels. With corporate investments on the rise and businesses feeling more confident about the prospects for future economic growth, it is no surprise that the use of business aircraft, as tools for generating additional business, is on the rise as well.”

[POSTED AUGUST 26, 2014]

UPS pilots seek end of Part 117 exemption
On the first anniversary of the fatal crash of United Parcel Service Flight 1354, UPS pilots are calling for an end to the exemption of all-cargo airline operators from FAR Part 117, the new pilot rest and operating rules. At 4:47 a.m. Aug. 14, 2013, the flight crashed on approach to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, killing both pilots. “What we didn’t know then, but suspected, was the role fatigue played in this accident,” said Capt. Robert Travis, president of the Independent Pilots Association, which represents UPS’s pilots. “Once the cockpit voice recorder transcripts were released, there was no doubt.” Part 117, which became effective for passenger airlines on Jan. 4, was the first major revision of pilot flight and duty limits and rest requirements in 60 years. However, all-cargo airlines are exempted from Part 117 for “political” reasons, which the union said was noted last week by the Federal Air Surgeon, Dr. James Fraser. “A tired pilot is a tired pilot, regardless of the plane he or she may be flying,” said Jim Hall, former NTSB chairman. “By excluding cargo pilots from Part 117, the FAA is failing to adhere to its mission of making safety the first priority in aviation." The CVR transcript can be read online.

[POSTED AUGUST 19, 2014]

Southwest moves to new Love terminal
Two months before the Wright amendment expires on Oct. 13, eliminating restrictions on where flights from Dallas Love Field Airport can operate, Southwest Airlines has completed its move into a new terminal at the airport. The last flights departed from the old terminal Aug. 14, the Dallas Morning News reported. The longstanding dispute over flights from Love Field, which dates to the opening of what is now Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, was resolved in 2006. In addition to elimination of the flight restrictions, the city is spending $519 million to rebuild the airport, including a new 20-gate terminal. Southwest will operate 16 of those gates.

[POSTED AUGUST 19, 2014]

…as Virgin America expands Love Field schedule
Virgin America announced Aug. 14 that it will expand its schedule from Dallas Love Field effective April 29, 2015, adding one additional daily nonstop round trip each to Washington Reagan National Airport, San Francisco International Airport, and Los Angeles International Airport—for a total of four daily flight pairs on each route. This service is in addition to the four daily nonstop round trips to New York’s La Guardia Airport that will begin Oct. 28, 2014, and the three daily nonstop roundtrip flights to Washington, San Francisco, and Los Angeles that begin Oct. 13, 2014.

[POSTED AUGUST 19, 2014]

United employees earn performance bonus
United Airlines announced Aug. 12 that it is rewarding eligible employees with a cash bonus for exceeding the airline’s on-time arrival and departure performance goals for July. Eligible employees also earned an additional cash bonus for exceeding United’s customer satisfaction goal for July, resulting in a total payout of $125 per eligible employee for the month. The carrier said that despite challenges across the system and runway construction at San Francisco, one of its largest hubs, it ended the month with its best July on-time performance in four years.

[POSTED AUGUST 19, 2014]

American reports higher combined July traffic
American Airlines Group on Aug. 8 reported 20.8 billion revenue passenger miles for July, up 1.1 percent compared to July 2013. Total capacity for the combined American/US Airways was 24.4 billion available seat miles, up 3.1 percent compared to a year ago. The passenger load factor of 85.1 percent was 1.7 points lower than July 2013, however. The company believes it is more meaningful to compare year-over-year results for American Airlines and US Airways on a combined basis.

[POSTED AUGUST 12, 2014]

American/US Air merger settlement could boost domestic fares
Reduced U.S. airline capacity, exacerbated by the federal government’s settlement of the American Airlines-US Airways merger, is leading to higher airfares, according to aviation information provider OAG. “The North American domestic market is the only region in the world that will see a decline in airline capacity this month,” with 1 percent fewer available seats than a year ago, said John Grant, OAG executive vice president. “A contributory factor is slot divestitures by American Airlines-US Airways that were required by the Department of Justice, which other carriers are failing to fully absorb.” Grant said divested slots at La Guardia and other airports were intended by the Department of Justice to go to low-cost carriers—but most of those carriers have failed to significantly increase domestic capacity. The 1 percent fall in U.S. domestic capacity from August 2013 to August 2014 generally is composed of capacity reductions by American/US Airways, Delta, and United, with modest capacity increases by the larger low-cost carriers.

[POSTED AUGUST 12, 2014]

Spirit flight attendants reach tentative agreement
Spirit Airlines flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, announced a tentative agreement with management Aug. 7 on a new contract that includes immediate pay increases, as well as protection of healthcare and key quality of life provisions. The agreement, reached with the assistance of the National Mediation Board, would cover nearly 1,400 flight attendants at the airline. The agreement was unanimously approved by AFA’s Spirit Airlines leadership and will be sent to the membership for ratification. Full details of the tentative agreement will not be made public until union members have had an opportunity to review the terms. Flight attendants at the carrier rejected an earlier management offer.

[POSTED AUGUST 12, 2014]

Boeing forecasts rising demand for pilots, technicians
Boeing is forecasting continued growth in demand for commercial aviation pilots and maintenance technicians as the global fleet expands over the next 20 years. Boeing’s 2014 Pilot and Technician Outlook, released July 30, projects that the world’s airlines will require 533,000 new pilots and 584,000 maintenance technicians between 2014 and 2033. The 2014 outlook projects continued increases in pilot demand, which is up approximately 7 percent compared to 2013; and in maintenance training, which increased just over 5 percent. Pilot demand in the Asia Pacific region now comprises 41 percent of the world’s need. The Middle East region saw significant growth since last year’s outlook because of increased airline capacity and orders for wide-body airliners which require more crew members. The complete outlook is available on Boeing’s website.

[POSTED AUGUST 5, 2014]

New Eastern completes equity round
Eastern Air Lines said July 31 that it has closed its current round of equity funding, with a major investment from Vincent Viola. Viola, an investor and entrepreneur, is a former chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange, and currently is chairman of Virtu Financial. Eastern Air Lines Group, Inc. was formed to re-launch Eastern Air Lines as a passenger airline based at Miami International Airport; it has ordered 10 Boeing 737-800 aircraft and has options for 10 more. Eastern began accepting pilot applications in June.

[POSTED AUGUST 5, 2014]

Baltia pilots complete training
Baltia Air Lines announced July 31 that training of its initial cadre of pilots and check airmen was completed on July 30. “This concludes both ground and simulator training,” said Sheryle Milligan, chief of operations for the new carrier, which is in the process of obtaining FAA air carrier certification. Based at Willow Run Airport in Michigan, Baltia plans to operate Boeing 747 aircraft between the United States and Europe.

[POSTED AUGUST 5, 2014]

United posts fiscal turnaround
United’s reported second-quarter income of $919 million represents a 51-percent increase from the second quarter of last year—and a significant improvement over the $609 million loss during the first quarter. “Our team is focused on improving our operations and service and on continuing to improve year-over-year revenue performance and cost control,” said United Continental Holdings CEO Jeff Smisek, adding that the company will repurchase $1 billion in stock. Increased hub airport utilization contributed to the financial performance, Travel Pulse reported July 25. So did United’s per-passenger ancillary fees—eight percent higher during the second quarter—and internal consolidation, the website reported.

[POSTED JULY 29, 2014]

American reports highest quarterly profit in history
American Airlines Group Inc. on July 24 reported that its non-GAAP second quarter 2014 net profit, excluding net special charges, was $1.5 billion—a record for any quarter in the history of American Airlines. The company said its GAAP net profit for the quarter was a record $864 million. American also said it was making more than $2.8 billion in debt and aircraft lease prepayments, will repurchase $1 billion in shares, is initiating a quarterly cash dividend, and will contribute an additional $600 million to pension funds. “The fact that we are able to implement this program while still funding our significant product improvements, fleet renewal program, and integration costs is further evidence of the success of our merger,” said Chairman and CEO Doug Parker.

[POSTED JULY 29, 2014]

Southwest announces cash award, profit sharing payments
Southwest Airlines announced July 24 that it will recognize Southwest and AirTran employees with a one-time cash award of $200 each as a thank you for their work related to the company’s achieving a 17.1-percent pretax return on invested capital, excluding special items, for the 12 months ended June 30. Gary C. Kelly, Southwest’s chairman, president, and CEO, said the company’s outstanding second quarter results will result in profit-sharing payments of $127 million. That quarterly figure compares to profit sharing of approximately $228 million for calendar year 2013, which was the largest dollar amount allocated directly to employees in a single year.

[POSTED JULY 29, 2014]

Virgin America moves toward IPO
California-based Virgin America announced July 28 that it has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed initial public offering of its common stock. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not been determined. Barclays and Deutsche Bank Securities are representing the underwriters for the proposed offering.

[POSTED JULY 29, 2014]

U.S. carriers add jobs for 6 consecutive months
Although the gains have been small, U.S. airlines have added jobs for six consecutive months, the U.S. Department of Transportation said July 21. DOT said that America’s passenger airlines employed the equivalent of 385,619 full-time workers—two part-time workers are counted as one employee—in May 2014, up 1.1 percent from a year earlier. American, Delta, JetBlue, and US Airways added jobs while Southwest’s employment fell 0.3 percent and United’s workforce declined 2.5 percent. Smaller, low-fare carriers Allegiant Air and Spirit Airlines saw their workforces increase nearly 13 percent.

[POSTED JULY 22, 2014]

American eschews fuel hedging
US Airways Inc. executives made a tough decision in 2008 when, as fuel prices shot upward, they decided not to hedge fuel—basically, that’s entering contracts to cap fuel prices, the Dallas Morning News reported July 16. Not hedging now is the practice at American Airlines Group Inc., which traditionally had invested in fuel hedges. Because of fuel’s volatility, the cost of hedging outweighs its benefit, said Derek Kerr, American’s CFO.

[POSTED JULY 22, 2014]

Boeing marks 5,000th Next-Gen 737
Boeing rolled out the 5000th Next-Generation 737 the week of July 16. The modified 737-700C, a U.S. Navy C-40A Clipper, will be used as a transport. Boeing’s P-8 maritime patrol aircraft and Airborne Early Warning and Control also are military derivatives of the 737. Using the 737 commercial platform takes advantage of proven efficiencies, manufacturing processes, and performance of the Next-Generation 737 production system, Boeing said. The company has 6,804 orders for Next-Generation 737s and 2,109 for the 737 MAXs. More than 12,000 737s have been ordered.

[POSTED JULY 22, 2014]

Boeing outlook ups demand 4.2 percent over 20 years
In its latest annual Current Market Outlook, released July 10, Boeing projects a demand for 36,770 new airplanes over the next 20 years—up 4.2 percent from the 2014 forecast. Boeing estimated the value of those new aircraft at $5.2 trillion, Airnation.net reported. “This market is strong and resilient,” said Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Boeing projects the fastest growth in the single-aisle market. “We see the heart of the single-aisle market in the 160-seat range,” said Tinseth. “There’s no question the market is converging to this size, where network flexibility and cost efficiency meet.”

[POSTED JULY 15, 2014]

Embraer predicts 6,250 new smaller jets
Embraer has released its Market Outlook 2014-2033, which details the company’s forecast for deliveries of new 70- to 130-seat jet aircraft over the next 20 years. The Market Outlook identifies a need for 6,250 jet aircraft in the 70- to 130-seat capacity category, with most in the 90- to 130-seat segment. Replacement of older aircraft will represent 56 percent of new deliveries, while 44 percent will support market growth. Embraer expects the world fleet of jets in service with up to 130 seats will almost double by 2033. The company expects jets in the 70- to 130-seat category to sustain hub-and-spoke efficiency, complement narrow-body operations, provide an optimal balance of frequency and seats, and encourage new market development with lower-risk, incremental capacity. Those roles will generate significant demand for new aircraft in the segment, Embraer said.

[POSTED JULY 15, 2014]

Pilots say no to cockpit cameras
Cameras in airline cockpit could augment data from cockpit voice and flight data recorders, providing additional insights for investigators, Wired said. The NTSB first proposed the idea in 2000, saying cameras “would provide critical information to investigators about the actions inside the cockpit immediately before and during an accident.” But pilots opposed the NTSB proposal, calling it an invasion of privacy—and the airlines, which would have to pay for new technologies, were not eager to support it. Pilots said privacy safeguards don’t always hold up, and they don’t want to be judged based on a visual recording.

[POSTED JULY 15, 2014]

Trans States orders up to 100 Embraer jets
Embraer S.A. announced July 14 that it has received an order for 50 E175-E2 jets from Trans States Holdings, parent company of Trans States Airlines, Compass Airlines, and GoJet Airlines. The conditional order includes options for an additional 50 jets. At list prices, the order is valued at about $2.4 billion; deliveries are scheduled to begin in June 2020. The Trans States E175-E2s will be configured with 76 seats in a dual-class layout.

[POSTED JULY 15, 2014]

Test now to beat ATP rule change
Pilots who plan to earn an airline transport pilot certificate within the next couple of years should take the ATP knowledge test before Aug. 1, when new rules will extend the training process and could significantly increase costs, AOPA is recommending. Changes resulting from the new Pilot Certification and Qualification Requirements for Air Carrier Operations will require first officers to hold an ATP certificate—meaning that they must have at least 1,500 hours total time—when hired. Lower time allowances for a restricted ATP certificate can be given to university graduates and military pilots. Although the rule primarily will affect air carriers, AOPA is concerned about the impact it could have on Part 61 flight training providers; many could be essentially excluded from airline-career training because of the higher time requirements for their customers.

[POSTED JULY 8, 2014]

Business aviation market rising, survey shows
The business aviation market shows signs of upward movement, according to JetNet IQ’s most recent industry survey, AIN Online reported July 6. The inventory of preowned business jets, which peaked at 18 percent in 2009 and has been declining steadily since, is still about a year from resuming normal levels, according to Rolland Vincent, JetNet IQ creator and director. He noted that while markets such as China and Hong Kong, India, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico are forecast to see 3 percent or better growth in gross domestic product this year—a threshold correlating to increased business aviation activity—they represent only 7.5 percent of the world business-jet fleet.

[POSTED JULY 8, 2014]

Airbus increasing A320 seating capacity
Airbus will increase seating capacity of its A320neo (new engine option) and A320ceo (current engine option) airliners to 189 seats, and is adding 20 more seats for A321neo aircraft—for 240 passengers in a high-density, all-economy layout, Airnation.net reported July 5. The higher seat count is being supported “with intelligent means to give living space to passengers,” Airbus said. “These new A320-family configurations do not compromise on comfort, as they retain the Airbus standard of 18-inch-wide seats in economy,” said Klaus Roewe, Airbus senior vice president for the A320neo program.

[POSTED JULY 8, 2014]

Southwest launches international service
Southwest Airlines launched its first international service July 1, when it launched flights to three Caribbean destinations from three of its U.S. gateway cities. New service links Baltimore/Washington International Airport with Oranjestad, Aruba; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Nassau/Paradise Island in the Bahamas. International service also began from Atlanta and Orlando. Earlier, Southwest announced that all international service offered by wholly owned subsidiary AirTran Airways, including flights to Mexico and the Dominican Republic, would convert to Southwest before the end of this year.

[POSTED JULY 1, 2014]

Great Lakes considering fleet configuration, business strategy
Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd. announced June 30 that it has engaged Raymond James as its investment banker to advise the company about new financing options and strategic alternatives. As part of its assignment, Raymond James also will help Great Lakes evaluate changes to its business and fleet configuration. In March the company certified new FAA operations specifications that have enabled it to hire pilots despite recent regulatory changes that have reduced the number of qualified pilot applicants for the regional airline sector in general. Recent reductions in air service to small communities across the country—also impacted by the pilot supply—necessitate a reinvention of the regional airline industry, the company said. Great Lakes provides scheduled passenger service to more than 30 airports in the Midwest and western United States with a fleet of Embraer EMB-120 Brasilias and Beechcraft 1900D aircraft.

[POSTED JULY 1, 2014]

Baltia trains crews, awaits approvals
Baltia Air Lines announced June 26 that ground training of its initial flight crew cadre was successfully completed on June 25. Baltia, a New York corporation with its base of operations at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Mich., is awaiting government certification. The new carrier said its goal is to become the leading U.S. airline in the trans-Atlantic market, linking major U.S. cities with Russia, Latvia, Ukraine, Belarus, and other Eastern European destinations.

[POSTED JULY 1, 2014]

MPL training concerns IFALPA
There will be 30 or more multi-crew pilot license (MPL) programs around the world, and more than 3,000 cadets in the pipeline, by the end of this year. A competency-based training license, the MPL is focused on training new first officers. However, the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) recently issued a position paper sharing concerns that the more than 1,000 MPL graduates to date have not received adequate training, AIN Online reported June 19. “Even in well managed MPL training programs, several key areas of pilot professional development need focus and improvement,” said the paper. “Specifically, they are basic flying skills, airmanship, CRM (cockpit resource management), and ATC situational awareness.” IFALPA’s primary concern is that competency-based MPL program relies much more on simulation, and not as much on flight time, in comparison with commercial pilot license training. “While simulators are adequate for most skill development, they are inadequate for providing real-world exposure or building the situational awareness and experience necessary for sound judgment and decision making,” the union said. Most MPL curricula run 14 to 24 months before initial operating experience begins, AIN reported; aircraft cockpit time requirements range from 61.5 hours for AeronautX and its Austrian airline partner Niki to 112 hours for Boeing subsidiary Alteon’s program at China Eastern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines. MPL students log two to three times as much experience in flight training devices. Although ICAO recommends 12, some new MPL pilots will have only six takeoffs and landings in the aircraft type they will be flying.

[POSTED JUNE 24, 2014]

Delta says no to A380, yes to pilot hiring
There is not a place for the world’s largest airliner, the Airbus A380, in Delta Air Lines’ current network, Steve Dickson, senior vice president for flight operations, told Reuters on June 16. He cited the efficiency and reliability of smaller twinjets. In early June the carrier ordered 15 narrow-body Airbus A321 jets, for delivery beginning in 2018, which will replace less efficient aircraft that Delta will retire. Many of the A321s that Delta has ordered will be built on a new Airbus assembly line in Mobile, Ala., the manufacturer said. Delta is not seeing a pilot shortage and will continue to hire 50 per month for the foreseeable future—most of them replacing pilots who are retiring, Dickson added.

[POSTED JUNE 24, 2014]

Tampa service part of Alaska strategy
Alaska Airlines launched daily round-trip service between Seattle and Tampa, Fla., on June 20. The pair of daily flights will operate year-round, the carrier said. The new service is part of a plan to increase Alaska’s Seattle departures by 11 percent—from 253 to 280—by next spring. Previously announced new service starting this year will link Seattle with Baltimore, Detroit, Albuquerque, and Cancun, Mexico; new service between Seattle and New Orleans started June 12.

[POSTED JUNE 24, 2014]

House move could affect Norwegian Air plans

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA commended the U.S. House of Representatives June 10 for passing the DeFazio/Westmoreland Amendment, which ensures U.S. airlines and aviation crewmembers are afforded a level playing field for transatlantic flying. The bipartisan amendment attached to the 2015 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Act (H.R. 4745) requires that the U.S. Department of Transportation follow the protocol contained in the U.S.-EU Open Skies agreement. DOT is reviewing an application for a foreign air carrier permit submitted by Norwegian Air International that threatens to undercut labor standards both in the U.S. and in Europe by circumventing worker protections, the union said, by evading international labor laws and creating unfair competition for airlines covered under the Open Skies agreement. On June 11, Norwegian Air International released a statement on the legislation. “We are disappointed the House legislation includes language attempting to pressure the U.S. Department of Transportation into denying Norwegian Air International’s application,” it said. “As with anything new and innovative, Norwegian expected opposition from entrenched interests, and we will continue undeterred in the pursuit of our goal of serving the United States.”

[POSTED JUNE 17, 2014]

Emirates cancels large Airbus A350 order

Emirates Airline has cancelled its order for 70 A350 XWBs, Airbus confirmed June 11. The Dubai-based carrier originally placed the order for 50 A350-900s and 20 A350-1000s in 2007, AIN Online reported. It had planned to take first delivery in 2019. Emirates’ cancellation of aircraft scheduled for delivery beginning in 2019 cuts Airbus’s firm A350 order backlog to 742 aircraft. Airbus describes the A350 XWB series, expected to enter service in six months, as mid-sized, fuel-efficient, wide-body airliners designed for medium to long haul operations. It will offer three passenger versions, carrying 276 to 369 passengers on routes as long as 8,500 nm; pilots will be able to fly all three with the same type rating.

[POSTED JUNE 17, 2014]

United dispatchers ratify agreement

United Airlines announced June 16 that its more than 330 dispatchers, represented by the Professional Airline Flight Control Association and the Transport Workers Union, ratified a new joint labor agreement for all United Airlines dispatchers. Since the merger of United and Continental, the airline said that since it has achieved joint collective bargaining agreements with a majority of the company’s represented workforce, including pilots, fleet service, passenger service, and reservations workgroups. The company is starting an expedited negotiations process with the Association of Flight Attendants.

[POSTED JUNE 17, 2014]

American, IAM reach three tentative agreements

American Airlines and the International Association of Machinists union have reached three tentative agreements covering more than 11,000 US Airways mechanics, fleet service agents, and maintenance training specialists, they announced June 16. The tentative agreements, which continue the labor integration progress at American, cover the workgroups separately and amend premerger contracts. If ratified, the three-year agreements will lead to joint collective bargaining negotiations with their colleagues at the Transport Workers Union to cover more than 30,000 employees at American Airlines, which merged with US Airways on Dec. 9, 2013. Negotiations for a joint flight attendant agreement are under way and unions for pilots, flight attendants, and customer service agents have filed petitions with the National Mediation Board for single carrier status determination to resolve union representation.

[POSTED JUNE 17, 2014]

Low-cost carriers, joint ventures to increase competition
PwC US on June 3 released Tailwinds, its annual report on the airline industry, which shows that the global airline industry is set to face more aggressive competition in the coming year. This competition is being boosted by expansion of the low-cost carrier business model, the rapid growth of airlines in the Middle East, and a rise in joint ventures to increase international flights. Driving efficiencies by becoming a “connected airline” can help airlines better navigate the landscape and stay ahead, the report said. Low-cost carriers continued to gain global market share, increasing to more than 25 percent in 2013 and restraining the yields of legacy carriers. PwC’s report is available online.

[POSTED JUNE 10, 2014]

ALPA seeks parity between U.S., foreign airlines
Some foreign carriers are using “extreme new measures” to gain access to Americans flying internationally, Air Line Pilots Association President Lee Moak said during a press briefing May 29. Moak, a Delta Air Lines Boeing 767 captain, called on the U.S. Department of Transportation to reject a Norwegian Air application for a foreign air carrier permit. He said Norwegian seeks to evade Norway’s labor laws and circumvent international labor agreements by establishing a subsidiary in Ireland to access traffic rights to and from the European Union, including to the United States, for its widebody fleet, AIN Online reported. If accepted, the approach would establish a “flag of convenience” business model like the one that facilitated the U.S. maritime industry’s decline, Moak said, adding that 110 “open skies” agreements allow almost unlimited foreign carrier access to the U.S. market. ALPA said it seeks a level playing field for U.S. carriers that compete with state-owned or state-subsidized foreign airlines.

[POSTED JUNE 3, 2014]

A321s to replace older Delta jets
Delta Air Lines will purchase 15 additional Airbus A321 aircraft for delivery beginning in 2018, the airline announced June 2. The new jets will replace similar, less-efficient aircraft that will be retired from Delta’s fleet. The airline now has 45 A321s on order, with the first scheduled to begin service in early 2016. The model is common with the 126 Airbus narrow-body aircraft in Delta’s current fleet.

[POSTED JUNE 3, 2014]

American gets some United gates at LAX
In the third quarter of this year, American Airlines will take over four gates currently used by United Airlines in Los Angeles International Airport’s Terminal 6, the Daily Breeze reported May 27. American, which has outgrown its existing terminal space at the airport, has for years wanted to expand at the airport, the report said. That space is in Terminal 4—connected to Terminal 6 by a closed underground tunnel—and a commuter terminal. The airline was not ready to talk about its plans for the airport, the article said.

[POSTED JUNE 3, 2014]

Teamsters seek to organize Florida West pilots
The Teamsters Airline Division announced May 29 the start of a new initiative to organize pilots at Florida West International Airways, a cargo airline based out of Miami International Airport. Teamsters Local 1224, an airline-specific chapter based in Wilmington, Ohio, will provide organizers and personnel with knowledge of the international air cargo industry. If they vote to unionize, Florida West pilots will be represented by Teamsters Local 769 in Miami.

[POSTED JUNE 3, 2014]

Dreamliner receives 330-minute ETOPS certification
The FAA on May 28 approved additional extended operations (ETOPS) for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, allowing 787s to be operated up to 330 minutes from a landing field. Since their introduction in 2011, Dreamliners have been allowed to operate up to 180 minutes away from a landing field. The expanded operational permission will allow operators to introduce additional routes, with appropriate approvals from their regulatory agencies. Boeing said the move signals continued confidence in the airplane’s technical capabilities. More than 1,030 787s have been ordered by 60 customers; to date, Boeing has delivered 146 Dreamliners to 19 customers.

[POSTED JUNE 3, 2014]

United reaches new contract with dispatchers, talks with attendants
United Airlines announced May 27 that it has reached a tentative agreement on a new joint collective bargaining agreement with the Professional Airline Flight Control Association, representing dispatchers at the company’s United subsidiary, and the Transport Workers Union, representing dispatchers at its Continental subsidiary. The tentative agreement, reached with the assistance of the National Mediation Board, is subject to ratification by United’s more than 330 dispatchers. United also said this week it has reached agreement with the Association of Flight Attendants to begin a facilitated problem-solving process in an effort to reach a joint collective agreement for the carrier’s flight attendants.

[POSTED MAY 27, 2014]

United Express to pull out of Portland, Ore.
On Sept. 1, United Airlines will drop its United Express flights from Portland, Ore., to Eugene, Redmond, and Seattle/Tacoma, The Oregonian reported online May 23. SkyWest Airlines operated the service using Embraer EMB-120ER Brasilia twin-engine turboprops. The flights are being dropped because they are underperforming in the market, a SkyWest spokesman said.

[POSTED MAY 27, 2014]

American accepts first CRJ900 NextGen jet
American Airlines has taken delivery of its first new Bombardier CRJ900 NextGen aircraft, the website Frequent Business Traveler reported. The new aircraft, unveiled May 20 at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, is the first of 30 new Bombardier jets that the carrier ordered last December; the transaction included options for another 40 CRJ900 NextGen jets. American said that it plans to replace smaller, less efficient regional aircraft with the new model, which will be operated by American Airlines Group subsidiary PSA Airlines. The new model burns as much as 5.5 percent less fuel than older CRJ900s.

[POSTED MAY 27, 2014]

Huerta tells RAA that FAA maximized ATP flexibility
At a meeting May 13 with the Regional Airline Association board, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said that the FAA maximized its available flexibility in considering educational credits and military experience in lieu of flight hours required by federal legislation that recently took effect, AIN Online reported. “Our belief was that Congress was quite clear in its intent. They wanted an ATP; they wanted it to be an hours threshold; we believe we maximized the flexibility we had under the statute,” he told AIN. Before RAA’s convention last week, RAA Vice President Scott Foose said the pilot shortage is not related to low regional carrier starting pay, adding that regulators adopted only three of 14 criteria recommended by a rulemaking committee that would grant credits against the 1,500-hour ATP standard. The association would like the FAA to revisit the additional 11 recommendations.

POSTED MAY 20, 2014]

Increased utilization powering Frontier’s Dulles launch
Frontier Airlines announced May 13 that it will launch new service at Washington Dulles International Airport this fall, with nonstop flights to 14 destinations. The low-cost carrier will begin service Aug. 19 between Dulles and Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Orlando; Minneapolis/St. Paul; and Tampa, Fla. Service to Chicago-O’Hare; Cincinnati; Detroit; Fort Lauderdale; Las Vegas; Memphis; Fort Myers, Fla.; St. Louis; and Jacksonville, Fla., begins Sept. 8. Frontier considers Dulles a focus city; only the airline’s Denver hub and Trenton, N.J., focus city will offer more nonstop destinations. Kate O’Malley, a Frontier spokeswoman, told USA Today that an “increased utilization of our existing fleet” yielded capacity for the new Dulles service; it did not accelerate new aircraft orders or make widespread route cancellations elsewhere, she said.

[POSTED MAY 20, 2014]

Reborn Eastern orders Next Gen 737s
Eastern Air Lines Group, Inc., said May 15 that it has signed an initial order and placed deposits with the Boeing Company for 10 Next Generation 737-800 aircraft, as well as purchase rights for 10 Boeing MAX 8 aircraft. The company was formed to re-launch Eastern Air Lines, which operated from 1930 to 1991, as a passenger airline. A group of professional airline managers acquired the intellectual property of Eastern Air Lines in 2009, and the company applied for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity—a step on the way to required FAA Part 121 certification—in January 2014. According to the company’s website, the first jet will be delivered in late summer 2014.

[POSTED MAY 20, 2014]

Republic CEO calls for changes in negotiations
Bryan Bedford, CEO of Republic Airways, said there must be a change in the way pilot unions negotiate for pay, describing the imbalance of pay between first officers and captains as irrational and counterproductive during remarks at the Regional Airline Association convention. Republic’s pilots refused a recent contract offer that included pay increases of as much as 50 percent for first officers, AIN Online reported May 14. Because of the airline’s pilot shortage, it has grounded 27 smaller regional jets. “We’re going to have to figure out a way to make [flying] a more economically viable career option for people,” Bedford said.

[POSTED MAY 20, 2014]

United Express introduces Embraer 175
United Airlines said May 19 that it has introduced the Embraer 175 aircraft to the United Express fleet, now operated by United Express carrier SkyWest Airlines between Chicago and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, and between Chicago and Boston. The jets offer 76 seats in a three-class configuration. United expects to be flying 70 Embraer 175s by the end of 2015; the new aircraft will replace smaller, less efficient regional aircraft. The model will enter additional markets beginning in June. SkyWest Airlines will operate 175s to and from Chicago O’Hare and San Francisco international airports, while Mesa Airlines will operate the model to and from Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

[POSTED MAY 20, 2014]

Envoy Air to keep flying
Envoy Air—the former American Eagle airline, an American Airlines Group-owned regional carrier—will continue to operate around 200 aircraft for the foreseeable future, President and CEO Pedro Fábregas said in an internal message to employees. “As American has previously stated, 25 of our Embraer 140 aircraft will be retired by the end of 2014 and Envoy will continue to fly approximately 200 aircraft for the foreseeable future—including our 47 larger Bombardier CRJ-700 aircraft,” he wrote, according to a May 8 report by the Dallas Morning News. The carrier’s future was clouded when pilots rejected a new contract demanded by American Airlines Group management in late March. On May 1, William Sprague, chairman of the airline’s ALPA local, told pilots, “The company has made it clear that Eagle intends to park our 59 EMB 140s and transfer our 47 CRJ 700s to another carrier. We don’t know what that drawdown timetable looks like, but we do know…we will need about 47 percent fewer pilots than we have on our list today…[and] we don’t have any aircraft to replace those we will lose.”

[POSTED MAY 13, 2014]

U.S. airline industry reports profits of $12.7 billion in 2013
Delta Air Lines’ reported $2.7 billion in net income for 2013, excluding special items, led the U.S. airline industry’s reported net profit of $12.7 billion for the year—improving from $98 million the previous year, the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported on May 5. It marks the fourth consecutive year net profits were reported to the government, AIN Online reported May 6. In 2013, 26.7 percent of airline operating expenses were spent on fuel, and 24 percent was labor; fuel costs increased by $5 billion over the previous year, and labor increased by $7.8 billion, AIN reported.

[POSTED MAY 13, 2014]

Boeing, Embraer opening biofuel research center
Boeing and Embraer S.A. announced May 12 that they will open a joint research center to advance a sustainable aviation biofuel industry in Brazil. Under a memorandum of understanding, the two companies will perform joint biofuel research, as well as fund and coordinate research with Brazilian universities and other institutions. Research will focus on technologies that address gaps in a supply chain for sustainable aviation biofuel in Brazil, such as feedstock production and processing technologies. When produced sustainably, aviation biofuel’s carbon emissions are 50 to 80 percent lower through its lifecycle than petroleum jet fuel.

[POSTED MAY 13, 2014]

United to offer Panama, Tokyo Haneda flights
United Airlines announced May 7 that it will begin nonstop service between its Denver International Airport hub and Panama City beginning Dec. 3, subject to government approval. The Central America service, which follows the addition of a Denver-Tokyo flight, will utilize Boeing 737-700 aircraft. United also announced May 12 that it will add Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to its route network, with daily nonstop service from San Francisco beginning Oct. 26, also subject to government approval.

[POSTED MAY 13, 2014]

American announces eight new domestic routes
American Airlines, together with US Airways, on May 5 announced eight new domestic routes. Beginning Sept. 3, US Airways Express will offer twice-daily nonstop flights from Grand Rapids, Mich., to both Charlotte and Philadelphia using Bombardier CRJ aircraft. Beginning Oct. 2, US Airways Express will offer three daily flights between Charlotte and Evansville, Ind., and one between Charlotte and Fort Wayne, Ind., also using Bombardier CRJs. On the same day, American Eagle will begin service between Chicago and Bismarck, N.D., and between Dallas/Fort Worth and Bismarck, using Embraer ERJ-145 aircraft. US Airways Express will operate twice daily between Philadelphia and Fort Wayne, and US Airways will provide daily service between Phoenix and Cleveland using an Airbus A320.

[POSTED MAY 6, 2014]

Delta opens bizjet maintenance center
Delta Private Jets opened a state-of-the-art, 40,000-square-foot comprehensive maintenance, repair, and overhaul facility April 29 at its headquarters at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The Delta Private Jets Tech Service Center provides private jet owners and operators with a one-stop MRO facility servicing a broad range of aircraft. It is an FAA-certified Part 145 repair station. Delta Private Jets is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, providing aircraft charters and aircraft management services; it operates a diverse fleet of Bombardier, Cessna, Dassault, Gulfstream, and Hawker Beechcraft jets.

[POSTED MAY 6, 2014]

Investors fund air taxi merger
A group of investors, led by Wellrock Capital Partners, are funding a merger between Kavoo and ImagineAir that they say will create the nation’s largest air taxi service, which will span the eastern United States. After the transaction closes, the companies’ founders will continue to hold a majority of the equity in the business, and day-to-day operations will be directed by ImagineAir management. “Kavoo brought significant market share of the northeast and ImagineAir, which is very established in the southeast, has innovative technology that lowers the cost of operations and improves efficiencies dramatically,” Dennis Hoffman, managing partner of Wellrock, said May 2. “ImagineAir can replace a six-hour drive with a 50-minute flight,” Hoffman said. Kavoo is based in Danbury, Conn.; its charter flights are operated by Eagle Air. ImagineAir is based in the Atlanta area and provides on-demand air taxi service with a fleet of Cirrus SR22-GTS aircraft.

[POSTED MAY 6, 2014]

Regional pilot unions unite over contracts
Craig Moffatt, executive board president of Teamsters Local Union 357, joined the leaders of 12 other regional pilot unions in signing a joint agreement to work together against concessionary contracts and to stand up against airline management efforts to play one group against another. Earlier this month, Local 357 pilots—who work for Indianapolis-based Republic Airways Holdings, which owns and operates regional carriers Chautauqua Airlines, Republic Airlines, and Shuttle America Airlines—overwhelmingly rejected a four-year contract, with 85 percent of those who voted casting votes against. Earlier this year, pilots at Envoy and ExpressJet also rejected new contracts. After six years of negotiations, “Local 357 pilots are more resolved than ever to get a contract that will advance their careers,” Moffatt said. “By standing together, we can stop this race-to-the-bottom game that managements play.”

[POSTED APRIL 29, 2014]

American flight attendants enter contract talks
As record profits for the new American Airlines were announced April 24, flight attendants represented by Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (former US Airways) and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (legacy American) together met with management to submit an opening proposal for a single contract covering the combined workgroup. The negotiations were part of an agreement ratified in February that outlined the process through which a single contract would be reached. Negotiations will maintain an intensive schedule for 150 days. With the assistance of the National Mediation Board and other expedited bargaining methods, the unions anticipate that a new agreement will be in place by early 2015.

[POSTED APRIL 29, 2014]

Virgin America to launch Love Field service
Virgin America announced April 25 that it will begin operating flights from Dallas’ Love Field to New York’s LaGuardia, Ronald Reagan Washington National, Los Angeles International, and San Francisco International airports beginning in October 2014. Earlier this month, the carrier was selected by the U.S. Department of Justice to receive two Love Field gates being divested as part of the American Airlines/US Airways merger settlement. In 2015, the airline plans to add an additional daily flight from Love Field to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington National, for a total of four daily nonstop on each route, and add two new daily nonstop flights to Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Virgin America will move its current operations from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to Love Field in October.

[POSTED APRIL 29, 2014]

Regional carriers feeling pilot shortage
A recent study projected that in the next eight years, the four largest U.S. carriers will have to hire 14,000 pilots—just to replace aviators lost to the mandatory retirement age of 65. The main source of pilots for the mainline carriers, the regional airlines, currently employ about 18,000 pilots. Pedro Fábregas, president and chief executive of Envoy Air Inc.—formerly known as American Eagle Airlines Inc.—told Dallas Morning News writer Terry Maxon that Envoy hired about 52 pilots in the first quarter—as 20 moved each month to parent American Airlines Inc. and more than 20 left for other jobs or other reasons. Some regional carriers have had to park airplanes because they don’t have enough pilots, Maxon reported in the April 19 article. While the pilot shortage will affect airline schedules later this year, some say the most significant impact won’t be felt until 2017.

[POSTED APRIL 22, 2014]

American progressing through merger integration
Stock of the new American Airlines, five months into its merger with US Airways, is up 44 percent since December, when the merger closed, and Wall Street appears pleased with the company’s performance to date. But the merger is in its early stages, and the carrier will be combining work groups, operations, cultures, fleets, and reservation systems for years, Mitchell Schnurman wrote in the Dallas Morning News April 19. “Look, it’s really early. I can’t say that enough as people ask me ‘How is it going?’” American CEO Doug Parker told an investment conference last month. “I don’t want to minimize what’s been done,” [but] “there are bigger things to come that we haven’t had to deal with yet.”

[POSTED APRIL 22, 2014]

Horizon Air dispatchers ratify four-year contract
Horizon Air and the Transport Workers Union announced April 16 that the carrier’s 17 dispatchers have ratified a new four-year contract by an 82-percent margin. Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group, and the TWU reached tentative agreement on a new contract March 19. “This agreement provides a level of stability for Horizon dispatchers, given this current period of uncertainty in the regional airline industry,” said John Plowman, TWU Local 542 president.

[POSTED APRIL 22, 2014]

Southwest employees to share $228 million in profits
Southwest Airlines announced April 14 that it will distribute approximately $228 million—its largest total dollar amount ever allocated—directly to employees through its profit sharing plan this year. The payment is an 88-percent increase over last year’s $121 million. Southwest said it was the first in the industry to offer a profit-sharing plan, and that over 40 consecutive years, it has made $2.5 billion in profit-sharing payments. Because of profit sharing, Southwest employees currently own more than four percent of the company’s outstanding shares.

[POSTED APRIL 15, 2014]

Piedmont Airlines flight attendants ratify new contract
Flight attendants at Piedmont Airlines, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group, have voted to ratify the new five-year collective bargaining agreement that was reached on March 6. The airline’s 180 flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), reached the agreement with the assistance of the National Mediation Board. The union said April 9 that the new contract includes pay increases and work rule improvements, and that it will make available details of the agreement.

[POSTED APRIL 15, 2014]

Global commercial aircraft sector up 8.9 percent, Deloitte says
Global commercial aircraft manufacturers’ revenues increased 8.9 percent in 2013, according to a Deloitte analysis of the top 100 global aerospace companies released April 14. Key industrial metrics—1,274 aircraft produced, 2,858 net aircraft ordered, revenues nearing $105 billion, and nearly eight years of production backlog—contributed to the sector’s record performance. Increased travel demand, especially in the Middle East, India, and China, combined with the replacement of obsolete aircraft with new, fuel-efficient models to drive the demand. The analysis found that 2013 aircraft production levels were 31 percent higher than 2010 and more than twice the levels of 10 years ago.

[POSTED APRIL 15, 2014]

ALPA says pilot shortage a myth—pay is missing
The Air Line Pilots Association told Aviation International News on April 3 that there is not a shortage of pilots—only a shortage of pilots who are willing to work for substandard wages and benefits. ALPA referenced a recent Government Accountability Office report that indicates, relative to projected demand, a large pool of qualified pilots exists. AIN noted that regional airlines and the Regional Airline Association said new rules requiring first officers to have more flight time have caused service reductions to a number of U.S. communities. “As airlines have started hiring to address growth demands and attrition, 11 of the 12 regional airlines we interviewed reported difficulties filling entry-level first-officer vacancies,” said the GAO. “Mainline airlines, since they hire experienced pilots largely from regional airlines, have not reported similar difficulties, although mainline airline representatives expressed concerns that entry-level hiring problems could affect the ability of their regional partners to provide service to some locations.” On Feb. 1, Great Lakes Aviation suspended service to six destinations, and Republic Airways said it will remove from service 27 of 41 Embraer ERJ-140 jets. ALPA said that compared to 72,000 pilot jobs in 2012, statistics showed 137,658 active pilots with ATP and first class medical certificates, all under age 65, on Jan. 30.

[POSTED APRIL 8, 2014]

American does not plan to sell Eagle
American Airlines has no plans to sell its American Eagle affiliate, CEO Doug Parker told Air Transport World—even after the regional’s pilots rejected an amended labor contract that would have provided the carrier with new Embraer E-175 regional jets. “We have no plans to do anything with Eagle at this point other than to own it and have it provide services for American,” Parker said in an April 4 article.

[POSTED APRIL 8, 2014]

Tablets move from cockpit to cabin
Tablet computers aren’t just for airline cockpits anymore; they’re moving into the cabin. Delta Air Lines said April 7 that by this fall, it will equip more than 20,000 flight attendants with handheld Nokia Lumia 1520 phablets. The devices will serve as their on-board manual and in-flight sales device, as well as a platform for future, more personalized in-flight customer service. Providing electronic access to the 500-plus-page, five-pound printed manual carried by every flight attendant is expected to save more than $1 million annually in reduced fuel and printing costs.

[POSTED APRIL 8, 2014]

Mesa’s go! to stop
Mesa Air Group, Inc. announced Mar. 17 that it will cease operations of its Hawaii subsidiary, go!—which has operated since June 2006—effective April 1, 2014. The company said the decision to shut down the low-fare carrier follows significant growth in its flight operations on the mainland, and represents a strategic move to focus on capacity purchase or codeshare operations. Mesa said it will place 30 Embraer 175 aircraft in service with United Airlines beginning in June, and will add four Canadair CRJ-900 aircraft with US Airways as well—after adding nine in 2013. Mesa currently operates 71 aircraft with approximately 407 daily system departures.

[POSTED MARCH 25, 2014]

Southwest to double Washington National flights
Southwest Airlines announced March 24 that it is more than doubling its flights at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, with seven new nonstop routes beginning this summer. The carrier won its bid for 54 takeoff and landing slots—allowing 27 additional daily flights—that became available as a result of a U.S. Department of Transportation settlement with American Airlines and US Airways that allowed those two airlines to merge. Beginning Aug. 10, Southwest will add daily nonstop flights between Washington National Airport and Chicago Midway, Nashville, and New Orleans. Beginning Sept. 30, it will add service to Tampa, Fla., and on Nov. 2, it will add additional daily nonstop service to Akron-Canton, Ohio; Dallas Love Field; and Indianapolis.

[POSTED MARCH 25, 2014]

NetJets unions set informational picket
The NetJets Unions Coalition—an alliance comprised of the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP), the collective bargaining agent for the more than 3,000 pilots flying for NetJets, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 284, representing around 500 NetJets dispatchers, flight attendants, maintenance controllers, mechanics and stock clerks—will conduct informational picketing at the NetJets corporate offices in Columbus, Ohio, on Mar. 28. The unionized employees, all engaged in negotiations with the company, say that NetJets has launched “an unprecedented attack on its unionized employees’ pay, benefits, and working conditions despite rising profits,” and giving profit-sharing checks to managers and nonunion employees at the same time unionized employees are being asked for contract concessions. The flight attendants have been in contract talks for more than three years and requested National Mediation Board assistance in reaching an agreement.

[POSTED MARCH 25, 2014]

Boeing expects balanced new-aircraft financing in 2014
Boeing expects the market for financing new aircraft to remain strong as airline customers continue to demand new, fuel-efficient airplanes. “Globally the liquidity balance looks good as the industry rebalances itself to move away from export credit support, with its more expensive pricing, and more toward reliance on the commercial markets,” Tim Myers, vice president/general manager for Aircraft Financial Services at Boeing Capital Corp., the aircraft builder’s financing and leasing unit, said Mar. 18 at the annual ISTAT Americas conference. Boeing said that airplane financing globally is experiencing a rare balance among primary delivery financing sources—including leasing companies, commercial banks, the capital markets, export credit agencies, and private equity and hedge funds—as global 2014 deliveries head toward an expected total of about $112 billion.

[POSTED MARCH 25, 2014]

Delta challenging Alaska in Seattle
Delta Air Lines is challenging Alaska Airlines and its fellow Alaska Air Group subsidiary, Horizon Air, at their Seattle stronghold—a move that could see Delta push Alaska Airlines into deeper ties with American Airlines, Travel Weekly reported Mar. 16. “One could argue that they are potentially in the crosshairs of a Delta onslaught,” Michael Linenberg, a Deutsche Bank analyst who recently downgraded Alaska Air Group’s stock in anticipation of excess Seattle capacity, told the website. In a March 4 presentation to investors, Delta CFO Paul Jacobson said Delta plans to establish a hub at Seattle to accompany its growing international gateway there. Delta currently flies to six international destinations from Seattle, with service to London, Seoul, and Hong Kong beginning soon. Andrew Harrison, Alaska’s vice president, planning and revenue management, said recently that the airline would reduce its codesharing with Delta and increase codeshare flights with American.

[POSTED MARCH 18, 2014]

Chicago's RTA suing American over taxes
Chicago’s Regional Transportation Authority filed suit March 11 against American Airlines in an effort to force the carrier and its affiliated fuel subsidiary to comply with Illinois law and stop diverting millions in sales-tax revenues owed to local governments and transit agencies in the Chicago area. The lawsuit alleges that American is engaged in an “unlawful scheme” by its fuel subsidiary’s false reporting of the site of bulk jet fuel sales to avoid paying taxes due to the RTA. According to the lawsuit, in 2013 American’s fuel purchasing practices are estimated to have cost the City of Chicago $11.5 million, Cook County $3.8 million, and the transit system $8.3 million. American claims that it purchases jet fuel in the rural community of Sycamore, more than 50 miles west of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, the suit stated.

[POSTED MARCH 18, 2014]

Delta adds Los Angeles services
Delta Air Lines this summer will add additional service from Los Angeles International Airport, adding new daily nonstop flights to Austin, Texas; Boise, Idaho; and San Salvador, El Salvador, the carrier announced March 17. Delta also has filed for approval to begin daily service between Los Angeles and Monterrey, Mexico. Service from Los Angeles to Austin and San Salvador will be operated using Delta Boeing 717 and Boeing 737 aircraft, respectively. Boise and Monterrey will be served by Delta Connection carrier Compass Airlines using 76-seat CRJ-900 aircraft.

[POSTED MARCH 18, 2014]

NetJets employee unions form coalition
Because of what they call minimal progress and unjustifiable demands, the executive boards of the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP) and International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 284 have launched the NetJets Unions Coalition. NJASAP represents the 3,000-plus pilots who fly for NetJets, while Teamsters Local 284 represents approximately 500 dispatchers, flight attendants, maintenance controllers, mechanics, and stock clerks at the company. The unions’ leaders said they have been working to develop the coalition concept since senior NetJets managers made clear their intention to engage all of its organized employees in talks at the same time. For the past 18 months, the unions said, senior management has made clear its intent to extract the maximum possible concessions from each unionized group. “Amid record-setting profits and profit-sharing payouts to nonunion employees, management is seeking to squeeze every penny from its agreements with unionized employees,” NJASAP President John Malmborg said.

[POSTED MARCH 11, 2014]

Southwest hopes to add 2 gates, 12 destinations from Love Field
Southwest Airlines hopes to add 20 flights to 12 new nonstop destinations if the airline is able to acquire two additional gates at Dallas Love Field, the carrier announced March 10. Southwest said that it would add nonstop service to Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; Charleston, S.C.; Detroit; Indianapolis; Memphis; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Newark, N.J.; Philadelphia; Sacramento and San Francisco, Calif.; and Seattle, Wash., if it is able to obtain the rights to two Love Field gates that American Airlines must relinquish under the terms of a U.S. Department of Justice settlement. Southwest has already announced new nonstop service from Love Field to 15 cities beginning later this year, and on March 10 said that it will begin nonstop service in 2015 to Boston; Oakland and San Jose, Calif.; Panama City Beach, Fla.; and Portland, Ore. The company said the upcoming sunset of the Wright Amendment restrictions on long-haul flights from Love Field has created demand from the airport that far exceeds its current gate capacity.

[POSTED MARCH 11, 2014]

National Airlines receives air carrier certification
National Airlines announced March 5 that it had received FAA approval to become the United States’ newest domestic air carrier. The company said it has a long history of supporting governments and militaries around the world, flying cargo in and out of crisis areas, and also operating charter passenger operations for sports teams in the United States, visitors to and from Cuba, and contractors traveling between the United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan. Obtaining U.S. flag/domestic authority will allow National Airlines to offer scheduled passenger flights, throughout the United States and across the globe. The company is headquartered in Orlando.

[POSTED MARCH 11, 2014]

Southwest, other pilot unions fight ‘flag of convenience’ attempt
The Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association is joining other U.S. pilot unions, along with trade group Airlines for America, to fight a Norwegian Air International application to the U.S. Department of Transportation that would help that airline circumvent labor laws in its home country. The union has written to a number of entities that have chosen to support the NAI application, including the Washington Airports Task Force in Washington, D.C.; the Port of Oakland in California; and Orlando International Airport, Orange County, and the Orlando tourism office in Florida. SWAPA, which represents Southwest’s more than 6,800 pilots, said the application is an attempt by a Norwegian-owned entity to capitalize on the EU’s loose labor and aviation oversight regulations by applying for—and receiving—an operating certificate from Ireland, even though none of its aircraft will operate from there; a Singapore-based company will provide Bangkok-based contract pilots to evade EU labor and tax provisions. “This ‘flag of convenience’ strategy is one that has decimated the U.S. maritime industry,” said Capt. Paul Jackson, SWAPA’s governmental affairs chairman. “That industry was once robust and employed over 200,000 U.S. workers. Today the number of jobs has been reduced to around 2,500 due to the offshoring of work through foreign flag registrations of ships seeking the lax labor laws of those countries.”

[POSTED MARCH 4, 2014]

Union chief comments on GAO 2014 Aviation Workforce Report
“I’m pleased that the GAO has confirmed what we in the airline industry have known for years—the starting wage structure in the regional airline industry has not only kept qualified pilots away, it has deterred many from entering the field,” said Capt. David Bourne, Teamsters Airline Division director, on the United States Government Accountability Office’s 2014 Aviation Workforce report, Current and Future Availability of Airline Pilots. “The issue causing the shortage is not a lack of skill; it is the inability for many pilots to survive on wages below the poverty level. When faced with that reality and the investment of the money and time required to enter the industry, there is no incentive for them to make the commitment. When we see pilots paid in a manner commensurate with their skills, training, and professionalism, we will see the shortage abate.”

[POSTED MARCH 4, 2014]

US Airways flight attendants to join with American counterparts
US Airways flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), voted Feb. 28 to ratify an agreement on bargaining and representation between AFA and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA). The agreement establishes a joint negotiations protocol for a single contract at the new American Airlines. A joint negotiating team will spend the next 60 days preparing an opening proposal based on the best of both contracts, as well as input from all flight attendants at the carrier. The agreement also transitions representation for the combined group of 24,000 flight attendants to the APFA.

[POSTED MARCH 4, 2014]

Former Continental pilots sue over union’s treatment
Six former Continental Airlines pilots who now work for the merged United Airlines filed a class-action lawsuit against their own union on Feb. 25, claiming their seniority was unfairly stripped when the two airlines merged in 2010. The lawsuit accuses the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) of breaching its duty of fair representation to the former Continental pilots by favoring a larger group of pilots who worked for United before the merger. Seniority controls pilot pay, rank, schedule, flight routes, types of aircraft flown, and job security in recession layoffs. The lawsuit says ALPA sacrificed member interests to pursue its controversial goal of achieving monopoly status as the only union available to every airline pilot in North America. The former Continental pilots say ALPA favored the United pilots because they had enough votes to switch to a different union if they didn’t get their way—which happened, they said, in 2005, when ALPA provided favorable seniority for America West pilots only to see the larger group of U.S. Airways pilots lead the switch to a new union. The former Continental pilots are asking a federal judge to scrap the arbitration results and order a new, objective combination of the airlines’ pilot seniority lists. The lawsuit can be tracked online.

[POSTED FEBRUARY 25, 2014]

Honeywell forecasts steady global helicopter demand
In its 16th annual Turbine-Powered Civil Helicopter Purchase Outlook, Honeywell Aerospace expects that 4,800 to 5,500 civilian-use helicopters will be delivered from 2014 to 2018. Overall demand remains steady versus the 2013 five-year forecast, with large fleet operator requirements offsetting a moderate softening in new helicopter purchase plans, the company said Feb. 24. Latin America continues to lead all regions in new purchase rates. For the five-year forecast period, 26 percent of civil turbine-powered helicopter purchases will be in the United States and Canada; combined with Latin America, that represents 50 percent of the total global demand. Europe’s share closely follows with 23 percent, with the Asia-Oceania region accounting for 19 percent, and Africa and the Middle East contributing less than 8 percent. “Helicopter replacement cycles and increased operating hours in the law enforcement and oil and gas industries helps sustain demand in those sectors,” said Tom Hart, vice president of defense and space sales for Honeywell Aerospace. “Several new platforms are scheduled to enter service in the next few years and this also is expected to bolster overall demand.”

[POSTED FEBRUARY 25, 2014]

How airlines make complex decisions
How do airlines make critical decisions around fleet planning and scheduling, maintenance, repair and overhaul, capacity planning, flight planning, crew allocation, and price optimization? Through predictive analytics and decision management software such as FICO Xpress Optimization Suite, FICO said Feb. 25. “Sometimes the difference between a flight being profitable or losing money comes down to just a couple of unsold seats,” said a manager at China Southern Airlines. A case study on how American Airlines used the software can be found online.

[POSTED FEBRUARY 25, 2014]

Coalition to investigate Allegiant Air maintenance practices
The Teamsters Aviation Mechanics Coalition announced Feb. 21 that it will launch an investigation into reports of a disproportionate number of engine failures, air returns, and declared emergencies at Allegiant Air. The coalition said it immediately recognized that a comprehensive investigation into the continuing maintenance failures at Allegiant is imperative after interviewing pilots at the airline. “The immediate concern is to identify the underlying cause of these incidents and to offer suggestions to mitigate this unacceptable situation before one of these incidents claims the lives of passengers,” the coalition said in a statement. It was established by the Teamsters Airline Division in 2007 to advance and protect the interests of aviation mechanics.

[POSTED FEBRUARY 25, 2014]

Pilots’ contract rejection will mean smaller American Eagle
American Airlines Group Inc. will shift aircraft and routes from subsidiary American Eagle Airlines Inc. to other regional airlines after officials at American Eagle’s pilots union rejected the company’s most recent contract proposal, the Dallas Morning News reported Feb. 13. American Eagle’s flying will gradually disappear as its parent company contracts with other regional carriers to take over its routes, Pedro Fábregas—American Eagle’s president and CEO—said in a letter to employees. Its 2,700 pilots are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association; its master executive council at the airline voted against sending a proposed contract to the pilots for ratification. No schedule has been set for the changes, but it appears American Eagle will not receive 60 76-seat Embraer jets ordered by American on Dec. 12, and Eagle will continue with plans to retire smaller aircraft in its fleet. American Eagle’s successful ground-handling operations will not be affected.

[POSTED FEBRUARY 18, 2014]

Republic pilots to vote on tentative agreement
The Teamsters Airline Division, which represents the pilots at Republic Airways, announced Feb. 14 that it reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year contract with the airline. Republic’s more than 2,200 pilots are represented by Teamsters Local 357 in Plainfield, Ind., and fly for Republic’s Chautauqua Airlines, Republic Airlines, and Shuttle America. The tentative agreement includes pay increases that the union said will place Republic pilots at or near the top of their regional airline peers. It also includes improvements in work rules, quality of life enhancements, and more flexibility in scheduling. The agreement will be presented to union members for review and a formal ratification vote, which is expected in March.

POSTED FEBRUARY 18, 2014]

…and union says lack of qualifications not causing pilot shortage
Republic Airways Holdings announced that it would operate 27 fewer airplanes the week of Feb. 12 and expects to hire almost half the number of pilots anticipated in 2014 because not enough candidates meet new FAA rules mandating 1,500 hours of experience. However, the issues are more complex, according to Teamsters Local No. 357, which represents the Indianapolis-based airline’s pilots. The pilots say it’s a lack of pay and respect that’s grounding airplanes. “Regional carriers as a whole need to offer better pay and work rules to attract new pilots,” said Local 357 President Craig Moffatt. “The lack of a competitive contract here at Republic contributes to poor quality of life with substandard pay to boot. This, in turn, leads qualified pilots to look elsewhere.” The union reached a tentative agreement last week on a new, four-year contract with the airline.

[POSTED FEBRUARY 18, 2014]

Delta employees share $598 million in profit sharing, bonuses
Delta Air Lines on Feb. 14 paid its employees more than half a million dollars in earned profit sharing, the highest payout in company history, to recognize their performance in 2013. Employees’ individual payouts will equal 8.26 percent of their eligible 2013 earnings. The $506 million in shared profits is being distributed with $91.7 million in Shared Rewards, monthly bonuses Delta employees can earn for meeting corporate operational goals throughout the year, for a total payout of $598 million. Delta said it has paid out nearly $1.7 billion in profit sharing and Shared Rewards during the past four years.

[POSTED FEBRUARY 18, 2014]

Alaska flight attendants reject tentative agreement
Flight attendants at Alaska Airlines, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), on Feb. 14 voted down a tentative agreement with management. “Alaska Airlines flight attendants have collectively declared today that management’s proposal fails to address the needs of flight attendants and does not reflect our true worth,” said Jeffrey Peterson, AFA president at Alaska Airlines. Negotiations began two years ago and, in May 2013, AFA filed for mediation with the National Mediation Board. During negotiations, the union said, Alaska Airlines earned record-breaking profits and continued to earn top awards and accolades for customer satisfaction—with the assistance of its flight attendants. The National Mediation Board will retain oversight of future negotiations.

[POSTED FEBRUARY 18, 2014]

Delta adds Seattle flights
Delta Air Lines said Feb. 10 that it will add new service from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, including nonstop service to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and seasonal nonstop service to Palm Springs International Airport. Beginning Dec. 20 the carrier will operate five daily flights to Phoenix, and an additional nonstop flight to Honolulu. It also will launch one daily seasonal flight to Palm Springs, Calif., and Saturday seasonal service to both Tucson, Ariz., and Jackson Hole, Wyo. The new service to Phoenix, Palm Springs, and Tucson will be operated by SkyWest Airlines using two-class, 76-seat aircraft, while Jackson Hole service will be operated with two-class, 65-seat aircraft. The expanded Honolulu and Anchorage service will be operated by Delta using Boeing 757 and Boeing 737 aircraft, respectively.

[POSTED FEBRUARY 11, 2014]

Union mitigates flight-attendant furloughs at United
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), which represents more than 25,000 flight attendants at United Airlines, on Feb. 7 announced an agreement with United management that averts involuntary furloughs through improved voluntary options. The mutual agreement between AFA and airline management also provides employment for flight attendants originally slated to lose their jobs by offering an enhanced crossover agreement to premerger Continental Airlines employees. “Through collaborative efforts, AFA was able to engage management in meaningful discussions on how to ensure that no flight attendant is forced out on the street without a paycheck. By focusing on feasible, timely solutions, AFA was able to negotiate continued options for all flight attendants while recognizing the value and seniority of those affected,” said Veda Shook, AFA international president.

[POSTED FEBRUARY 11, 2014]

Boeing forecasts $1.9 trillion airplane market in Asia Pacific
Boeing said Feb. 9 that strong economic and passenger growth will be main drivers of new airplane demand in the Asia Pacific region. The manufacturer estimates the region’s airlines will need an additional 12,820 airplanes, valued at $1.9 trillion—and representing 36 percent of the world’s new airplane deliveries—over the next 20 years. Boeing’s data projects that passenger airlines in the region will rely primarily on single-aisle airplanes such as the Next-Generation 737 and the 737 MAX. “New low-cost carriers and demand for intra-Asia travel have fueled the substantial increase in single-aisle airplanes,” said Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. For long-haul traffic, Boeing forecasts twin-aisle airplanes such as the 747-8 Intercontinental, 777, and the 787 Dreamliner will account for 28 percent of new airplane deliveries.

[POSTED FEBRUARY 11, 2014]

United to shutter Cleveland hub
United Airlines announced Feb. 1 that it will close its hub in Cleveland, a move that will eliminate 470 jobs, ABC News reported. In a letter to employees, United CEO Jeff Smisek said that by June, service at the hub—a former Continental facility that he said has not been profitable for more than a decade—will drop from the current 199 flights to 72. The cuts are similar to those that have affected hubs in Memphis, Cincinnati, and Salt Lake City as air carriers have merged in recent years, ABC said.

[POSTED FEBRUARY 4, 2014]

Southwest announces Love destinations
Southwest Airlines announced Feb. 3 the new nonstop destinations it will serve from Dallas Love Field beginning Oct. 13, when restrictions imposed in 1979 by the Wright Amendment expire. The amendment, and its subsequent revisions, limited nonstop jet service from the airport to destinations in only nine states, including Texas; it was enacted to prevent the airport from competing with the then-new Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Southwest will begin nonstop service Oct. 13 from Dallas Love Field to Baltimore/Washington (BWI), Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Chicago Midway. Service will be added Nov. 2 to Atlanta; Nashville; Washington, D.C. (Reagan National); Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood; Los Angeles (LAX); New York (LaGuardia); Phoenix; San Diego; Orange County/Santa Ana; and Tampa.

[POSTED FEBRUARY 4, 2014]

Southwest expanding Reagan National service
Southwest Airlines confirmed Jan. 30 that it has won its bid to purchase 54 takeoff and landing slots—allowing 27 additional daily flights—into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, near downtown Washington, D.C. The slots that Southwest is purchasing became available as a result of a settlement last year between the U.S. Department of Justice and American Airlines and US Airways, which had to divest the slots in order to obtain approval for their merger. Southwest said the additional slots will allow it to increase its Reagan National service from 17 daily departures to 44; new service will be announced later and begin in the third quarter of 2014. Separately, Southwest recently announced new service between Reagan National and Kansas City International Airport beginning Feb. 1.

[POSTED FEBRUARY 4, 2014]

Allegiant pilots to discuss operating, safety concerns
The Allegiant Air Pilots Executive Council announced plans Jan. 29 to begin formal dialogues with Allegiant stakeholders and other influential voices in the financial community, including institutional shareholders, equity analysts, corporate lenders and insurers, to address its operating and safety concerns at the airline, Allegiant Travel Company. Its pilots are represented by Teamsters Local Union 1224 in Wilmington, Ohio. “Allegiant management has turned a deaf ear to serious operational concerns raised by the pilots,” said Capt. David Bourne, director of the Airline Division at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Bourne said the carrier’s failure to invest in infrastructure is taking a significant toll on flight operations, which ultimately could jeopardize flight safety. Dan Wells, president of Teamsters Local 1224, said Allegiant has not acknowledged the shutdown of its training department. “Many Allegiant pilots have been delayed in training for months, which we believe is driving a major increase in outsourcing due to the shortage of company pilots,” he said. “It is very unusual for a company’s training department to be shut down.”

[POSTED FEBRUARY 4, 2014]

Bombardier announces CSeries delay
Bombardier said it will delay the expected first delivery of its new CSeries jets, Frequent Business Traveler reported Jan. 20. The manufacturer, based in Montreal, said more time was needed for flight testing. Bombardier now plans to deliver the first CS100 during the second half of 2015, with the first CS300 delivered about six months later. The company also announced a $2 billion deal with Saudi Arabia-based Al Qahtani Aviation for up to 26 CSeries aircraft; the new airline ordered 16 CS300 jets and has options for 10 more.

[POSTED JANUARY 28, 2014]

Southwest launching international service
Southwest Airlines began selling seats Jan. 27 for the first scheduled international flights flown by Southwest. Beginning July 1, Southwest will operate daily nonstop flights from Atlanta to Aruba and Montego Bay; and from Baltimore/Washington to Aruba, Nassau, and Montego Bay. In this first phase of the carrier’s international conversion plan, subsidiary AirTran Airways will continue its existing international service. Southwest said that nearly all of its 45,000 employees have been involved in technology, training, compliance, operational, and regulatory efforts to make the international service possible.

[POSTED JANUARY 28, 2014]

Flight attendants strike bargaining agreement with American
The unions representing premerger flight attendants at the new American Airlines reached an unprecedented agreement with airline management last week on bargaining for a joint contract, their unions announced Jan. 27. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA represents the premerger US Airways workgroup while the Association of Professional Flight Attendants represents the premerger American flight attendants. The final agreement is based on a deal AFA and APFA reached in December. Negotiations will take place under an accelerated timeline, and all of the merged carrier’s flight attendants will benefit no later than February 2015 from a new contract, the unions said. Premerger US Airways flight attendants will become APFA members; that union will represent the craft at the merged carrier. A ratification vote will begin within 10 days and conclude within 40 days.

[POSTED JANUARY 28, 2014]

New 90-seat regional from ATR remains on hold
Despite increased orders and aircraft deliveries of regional turboprops during 2013, ATR has not convinced shareholders Airbus Group and Finmeccanica to launch a new aircraft, AIN Online reported Jan. 27. Plans for a 90-seat turboprop are stalled as the company waits for approval for a commercial launch. ATR had presented a business-case study and formal proposal in 2012. The manufacturer delivered 74 aircraft, a record, during 2013.

[POSTED JANUARY 28, 2014]

American adjusts to slot divestures
American Airlines Group Inc. announced Jan. 15 planned network adjustments resulting from its required divestiture of takeoff and landing slots at Washington Reagan National and New York LaGuardia airports. The divestitures were mandated by settlements with the U.S. Department of Justice and several states, which allowed American and US Airways to merge. Daily nonstop service is being eliminated between Washington National and Augusta and Savannah, Ga.; Detroit; Fayetteville, Jacksonville, and Wilmington, N.C.; Fort Walton Beach, Pensacola, and Tallahassee, Fla.; Islip, N.Y.; Little Rock, Ark.; Minneapolis; Montreal; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Nassau, Bahamas; Omaha, Neb.; and San Diego. Nonstop service will end between LaGuardia and Atlanta, Cleveland, and Minneapolis—although new service will be added from LaGuardia to Charlottesville, Norfolk, Richmond, and Roanoke, Va.; Little Rock, Ark.; Dayton, Ohio; Louisville, Ky.; and Wilmington and Greensboro, N.C.; and Knoxville, Tenn.

[POSTED JANUARY 21, 2014]

Union countering United plan to furlough flight attendants
United Airlines told the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), which represents the carrier’s flight attendants, on Jan. 15 that it planned to involuntarily furlough nearly 700 flight attendants. Two days later, the union’s president, Greg Davidowitch, said he proposed a package of measures designed to make the involuntarily furloughs unnecessary. “There are any number of solutions that could eliminate any need for an involuntary furlough that have not been fully utilized by management, and could resolve the dispute,” he said, adding that the alternatives address concerns from both sides.

[POSTED JANUARY 21, 2014]

Report: Consolidation helping U.S. airline industry
In a report released Jan. 16, PwC US discusses how merger-driven consolidation will continue to have a significant and positive effect on the domestic airline industry. Aviation Perspectives: The Impact of Mega-Mergers, A New Foundation for the U.S. Airline Industry highlights the expansion of low-cost carriers into major domestic routes and airline operation improvements. A primary reason for the moderate growth in airfares over the past few years has been the expansion of low-cost airlines into many major domestic routes. In addition, mergers have improved overall efficiency in operations; the number of domestic flights decreased more than the number of domestic passengers, as evidenced by increasing load factors. PwC identified four likely near-term trends: sustained profitability; airline business model convergence; ultra-low-cost carriers and mainline unbundling; and competition based on product and service offerings.

[POSTED JANUARY 21, 2014]

American Eagle Airlines to become Envoy
American Eagle Airlines, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group Inc., announced Jan. 14 that the company will change its name to Envoy this spring. The change is being made to give the company a distinct identity and eliminate the confusion between the company's current name and American Eagle, American Airlines' regional flying brand. With the formation of American Airlines Group, the 10 carriers currently providing regional service for the legacy American and US Airways networks—including American Eagle Airlines—all eventually will fly under the American Eagle brand. American Eagle Airlines has more than 14,000 employees and a growing portfolio of business outside of its flying operations, including an aviation ground handling operation.

[POSTED JANUARY 14, 2014]

Soon-to-be Envoy pilots get new contract
The union representing pilots at American Eagle Airlines on Jan. 10 agreed on new contract terms with management. The deal guarantees that American Eagle Airlines pilots will fly 60 new Embraer 175 regional jets ordered last month by parent American Airlines. In addition to the new jets—as well as the possibility of up to 90 additional Embraer 175s—the agreement provides American Eagle pilots with expanded flow-through opportunities. It dramatically enhances the “Eagle-to-mainline flow-through rights for current and new-hire Eagle pilots,” wrote Pedro Fabregas, American Eagle's president, adding that the time required for an American Eagle pilot to advance to American Airlines will be cut almost in half. However, pay rate scales will be frozen until 2018. American Eagle's pilots are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association.

[POSTED JANUARY 14, 2014]

Airbus set delivery record in 2013
Airbus exceeded commercial targets in 2013, delivering a record of 626 aircraft to 93 customers, and booking a record 1,619 gross orders that beat the previous record—set in 2011—by 11 aircraft. Airbus' 2013 orders, based on list prices, are worth $240.5 billion U.S., also a company record. The company reported a record backlog of 5,559 aircraft, or eight years' production, valued at $809 billion at list prices. Airbus said its deliveries in 2013 were up for the 12th consecutive year.

[POSTED JANUARY 14, 2014]

American Eagle to be rebranded
A new name and new logo for American Eagle, the regional carrier of American Airlines, are expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks, The Dallas Morning News reported Jan. 3.Pedro Fábregas, American Eagle's president, told employees that the change is to differentiate the company-owned regional carrier from other regional carriers that fly for American. Eagle executives first considered a name change in 2012, when its parent company began contracting with other regional carriers—Chautauqua Airlines, ExpressJet, Republic Airlines, and SkyWest operate regional flights for American; and US Airways uses several regional carriers—but the idea took a backseat to the recently completed merger of AMR Corp. and US Airways. Other anticipated changes could include a new contract with American Eagle's pilots. The carrier on Dec. 20 proposed a contract for the carrier's more than 2,700 pilots that would guarantee new, larger regional jets—considered critical to the carrier's survival in a changing regional market—if the pilots make concessions to help reduce the airline's costs.

[POSTED JANUARY 7, 2014]

Boeing posts delivery record in 2013
Boeing set a company record in 2013 for the most commercial airplanes delivered in a single year, with 648, the company announced Jan. 6. Unfilled commercial orders stood at 5,080 at the end of the year, another company record. Three commercial airplane programs also set delivery records last year, with the deliveries of 440 Next-Generation 737s, 98 777 aircraft, and 65 787 Dreamliners. Each of Boeing's commercial aircraft production sites—in Everett and Renton, Wash., and North Charleston, S.C.—also posted record aircraft deliveries for the year.

[POSTED JANUARY 7, 2014]

American employees choose new scheme
A new flag design on the tail of new American Airlines jets will stay after a vote by company employees, The Dallas Morning News reported Jan. 2. More than 60,000 of the Fort Worth-based airline's 100,000 employees voted, and 52 percent supported the flag design unveiled a year ago. American jets traditionally have had polished aluminum skins; the painted flag design was announced in mid-2011 after a large purchase of new airplanes with composite skins.

[POSTED JANUARY 7, 2014]

Vote secures 777X construction for Seattle area
An eight-year contract extension approved Jan. 4 by members of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers District 751 (IAM) will guarantee that Boeing's 777X and its composite wing will be built in the Puget Sound area by Boeing employees represented by the IAM, Boeing has announced. This work includes fuselage build, final assembly, and major components fabrication such as interiors and wires. If the contract was not approved, construction could have been moved elsewhere, according to news reports.

[POSTED JANUARY 7, 2014]


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