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.

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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