Friday, April 29, 2011

Strike enters 4th day; Air India to operate 39 flights

Air India on Saturday further reduced its operations to 39 domestic flights out of its regular 320 as the strike by its pilots entered the fourth day inconveniencing passengers. “We have curtailed more than 52 per cent of our domestic flights and operating on only trunk routes that is too metro cities,” an AI spokesperson said.

“Under the contingency plan, we have reduced the number of flights as we do not have any pilots,” he said. While 21 flights will be operated from the national capital, Air India’s Mumbai operations have almost come to a standstill as the airline may operate just five flights between 9 and 11 30 am, an AI spokeswoman said in Mumbai. The national carrier did not undertake any operations from Mumbai before 9 am.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Air India strike update April 28

Air India’s scheduled normal operations, on a daily basis, includes 320 flights. In view of the experience yesterday, the Operations Department drew a contingency schedule for 28th April 2011 wherein operations were reduced by 18% - which amounts to a total of 45 flights. Accordingly, the number of flights as per its contingency schedule will be 45 flights less than normal. Till 1200 hrs, the contingency plan has worked as scheduled and Air India has operated 58 flights. The number of flights cancelled since 0001 hrs today is 16.

Meanwhile Air India has strengthened its Call Centre operations with a view to keep its passengers informed and to ensure that minimum inconvenience is caused to them. The numbers of ‘floor walkers’ have also been increased at major airports to assist the passengers being accommodated on other airlines or in revalidation / refund of tickets, as desired by the passengers.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Southwest plane skids off runway

A Southwest Airlines plane slid off a runway Tuesday during heavy rain at Chicago Midway International Airport. Southwest Flight 1919 had just landed in route from Denver when the Boeing 737-700 ran off the runway, the airline said in a statement. There were no immediate reports of injuries, it said.

The report is the latest in a series of embarrassing incidents for Southwest Airlines, which came under scrutiny earlier this month when a ruptured fuselage ripped a hole in one of its B-737s at 34,000 feet and then again when reports surfaced that one of its planes came within 176 yards of a small aircraft. The National Transportation Safety Board said in a statement it was investigating Tuesday's incident. There were 134 passengers and five crew members on board at the time of the incident, the NTSB said.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

JetBlue to add fast-track security option

JetBlue plans to add a "fast-track" security option that will give top-fare customers access to elite security lanes at airports where such an option exists. To lure more travelers to buy the airline's "Even More Legroom" seats, JetBlue said Thursday it will offer a fast-track security option for those who buy the roomier seats. That benefit, which will let passengers jump to the front of the security line at certain airports, will begin in a few months. Other airlines including American and United Continental offer similar incentives for first and business class passengers and some coach passengers who pay extra. JetBlue doesn't have first or business class.

Southwest, the largest low-cost carrier in the U.S., also offer a similar options. Customers who by its most-expensive "Business Select" fares get access to priority security lanes at airports where they exist.As for JetBlue, its move comes as it -- like other airlines -- tries to increase the amount of revenue it extracts from each of its passengers. Such "ancillary" fees can add as much as $20 or more to the amount an airline collects from passengers above the fares they paid to board the flight.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Flybe reports passenger increase on sun routes

Flybe, Europe’s leading regional airline and the UK’s Number One Domestic carrier, gives a snapshot on the travel trends emerging within the UK as a result of the Easter break.

Family friendly destinations key for British holidaymakers

Flybe’s seven routes into Paris Charles de Gaulle are particularly busy with passenger numbers up by 19% over Easter 2010, with travellers using them for convenient access to Disneyland Paris and the rest of the world through Flybe’s codeshare with Air France.

Sun routes soaring

Across its extensive network, Flybe’s sun routes, including its service between Exeter and Alicante, are up by 9% over the Easter period last year. In particular, Flybe’s passenger numbers to regional France have also been boosted 72%, enhanced by new routes to Nantes from London Gatwick and Manchester.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

TAM reports domestic demand grows 25% in March

Brazilian National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) disclosed today the operational data for the month of March 2011.

Domestic market
In the domestic market, which includes Pantanal’s data, we achieved a demand growth (in RPK) of 25.2%, combined with an increase of 14.6% in the supply (in ASKs), compared with March 2010, which led to an increase in the load factor of 5.8 p.p. to 68.7%. Our market share in the domestic market was 41.8%. In March we had high concentration of leisure passengers mainly due to the carnival holiday that, this year, happened in March, which led to an increase in load factor and a consequent mid single digit reduction in yield, since those passengers buy their tickets in advance and use reward tickets from the loyalty program.

International market

In the international market, compared to the same month last year, we saw a rise of 26.7% in demand with a 12.1% increase in supply resulting in an increase of 9.3 p.p. in load factor reaching 80.3%. Our market share among Brazilian carriers in March was 86.1%. In the international market, the demand of passengers traveling between Brazil and abroad remained strong. The international yield in dollars remained stable compared with the previous month.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

JetBlue to ease booking flights to Europe, Cape Cod

JetBlue will make it easier for customers trying to book flights on some of its partner airlines to Europe, Asia, and South America and places in the Northeast, like Cape Cod. The New York carrier, the largest at Logan, says that its website will now offer connections to flights run by American Airlines, Aer Lingus and Cape Air.

In the past couple of years, JetBlue has cut agreements with various airlines to offer customers the convenience of arranging for connecting flights to destinations the airline doesn't serve. For instance a pact with American lets JetBlue customers connect to American flights to Europe, Asia and South America; one with Aer Lingus gives travelers access through Boston or New York's JFK to Ireland; and a third with Cape Air links passengers to Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, Provincetown and Hyannis, Mass.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Qatar Airways Cargo adds three new routes

Qatar Airways Cargo has announced an expansion of its dedicated freighter routes with new services to Hanoi, Kozhikode and Bengaluru. Freighter operations to Kozhikode and onto Bengaluru, formerly known as Bangalore, are served with an Airbus A300 freighter on the route boosting Qatar Airways Cargo freighter capacity in India by an additional 40 metric tonnes a week.

Cargo flights from Doha to Hanoi begin on April 15, stopping in Hong Kong on the return sector. The weekly service is operated with one of the airline’s dedicated Boeing 777 freighters and follows the successful launch of passenger flights to the Vietnamese capital in November 2010. Qatar Airways also operates scheduled services to Ho Chi Minh City and is the only Gulf carrier flying to Vietnam.

Cargo flights from Doha to Hanoi begin on April 15, stopping in Hong Kong on the return sector. The weekly service is operated with one of the airline’s dedicated Boeing 777 freighters and follows the successful launch of passenger flights to the Vietnamese capital in November 2010. Qatar Airways also operates scheduled services to Ho Chi Minh City and is the only Gulf carrier flying to Vietnam.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

East Coast reveals surge in passengers

East Coast is welcoming latest statistics which show how its trains are winning the battle for custom against the airlines on its key Edinburgh and Newcastle to London routes. Figures published today by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) show that in the last five years, East Coast’s market share on the routes linking Edinburgh and Newcastle with London, has risen significantly.

East Coast’s market share on the Edinburgh to London route grew from 21% in 2008 to 27% last year; while its share on the Newcastle to London route grew from 59% in 2008 to 64% last year.

Over the last 18 months, East Coast’s market share on both the Edinburgh and Newcastle to London routes has seen a growing surge, as challenging economic conditions led to increasingnumbers of passengers taking advantage of its value for money advance purchase tickets.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

United reinstates fee for last-minute award tickets

United Airlines announced on Thursday that it will reinstate a fee for frequent-flier tickets booked at the last minute. Beginning June 15, the carrier will charge $75 to customers without elite frequent-flier status when they book an award ticket within 21 days of their departure date. Premier-level frequent fliers will be charged $50 while Premier Executive members will face a $25 fee. United's top-level Global Services and 1K members will still be able to book last-minute award tickets at no charge.

United currently does not charge a fee for close-in award-ticket bookings, though the new fee structure mirrors what merger partner Continental currently charges."As we continue the changes under way at United Airlines and Continental Airlines, we're revising certain Mileage Plus and OnePass award fees to make them consistent across both programs," United said in an e-mail to its frequent-flier members on Thursday.

Elsewhere, United says that "for General members, most award fees are going down or staying the same."For example, the fee will drop to $75 from $150 for non-elite fliers changing their origin or destination cities on award tickets that are issued before June 15. The same change applies to non-elite customers who add, change or remove a connecting city from an award ticket issued prior to June 15. Global Services and 1K members will not be charged.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sendai: Airport's remarkable reopening aided by U.S. military

A Japan Airlines flight from Tokyo Haneda landed at Japan's once-battered Sendai Airport on Wednesday, marking the return of commercial passenger flights there for the first time since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.While passenger airline schedules remain limited at Sendai, the service resumption is a striking turnaround for an airport that was seen on video being swallowed up by a tsunami wave just over 30 days ago.

"I didn't think we would be able to restart operations so soon," Shinichiro Ito, All Nippon's CEO, is quoted by Bloomberg News as saying at the airport's reopening ceremony on Wednesday. "The airport was a mountain of debris." Still, Air Transport World writes that Sendai Airport "President Katsuhiko Ito cautioned that the airport isn't likely to fully re-open for at least a year, noting that some facilities are still mud-covered and more debris needs to be cleared."

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Air France A380 Collides On JFK Taxiway

US investigators have impounded an Air France A380 which collided with a smaller jet at New York's John F. Kennedy airport on Monday but the airline says transatlantic A380 flights will be unaffected. The Airbus superjumbo, the world's largest airliner with a wingspan of almost 80 metres (yards), hit the tail section of a Bombardier CRJ regional jet which spun in a quarter turn on the taxiway, according to amateur video. A CNN correspondent on the Air France flight to Paris reported that he felt a "slight rumble akin to hitting a patch of rough pavement" as the plane with over 500 people on board was moving on the ground at about 8.15pm local time on Tuesday.

The correspondent said about a foot of the Air France superjumbo's left wing appeared to be damaged. Air France confirmed the incident and said both aircraft had been "immobilised" pending an investigation. A spokeswoman declined to estimate the time and cost of repairs to the wing. Air France, which flies five times a day to New York including one flight using the Airbus double-decker, will operate its daily A380 flight on Tuesday as normal, she said.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

United Airlines Offers Bonus Award Miles When Booking Cruise Travel

United Airlines is giving customers many reasons to book cruises through the airline's new United Cruises service. Depending on the length of the stay, customers can earn up to 10,000 miles. When customers book a room using their Mileage Plus Visa Card before April 30, 2011, United Cruises will double the amount of miles earned. Mileage Plus members can also earn up to 20,000 total Mileage Plus award miles when they book a balcony or suite stateroom before the same date, and can earn up to 40,000 award miles if they book a balcony or suite stateroom with their Mileage Plus Visa card for a stay of at least 13 nights.

United launched United Cruises on Jan. 20, 2011, offering customers a convenient way to book travel on 19 different cruise lines to destinations worldwide, including the Caribbean, Bahamas, Alaska, Europe, Mexico and Bermuda. Cruise lines available through United Cruises include name brands like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Celebrity and Disney. Customers receive a 110 percent best price guarantee and savings of up to 75 percent off of the brochure rate on sailings when booking on United Cruises.

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Airlines raise fares, offer some deals

Airlines again are seeking to boost round-trip ticket prices $10 on many domestic routes, while quietly offering huge limited-time discounts between other U.S cities. US Airways on Thursday raised most of its domestic round-trip fares by $10, and three competing airlines — Delta, American and Continental — matched the increase Thursday and Friday. It was the 10th attempted rise in fares this year by airlines, which have been raising prices to meet escalating jet-fuel prices says Seaney, CEO of On March 1, American Airlines successfully raised most domestic round-trip fares $10 — the sixth successful attempt to raise fares $4 to $10 this year, Seaney says. If the current increase sticks, it would be the seventh since Jan 1.

American, United Airlines and Continental Airlines made three subsequent attempts in March to raise fares $10, but the increases didn’t stick, because other airlines didn’t match the prices, he says. While fares on many routes went up $10 last week, there were huge price reductions on others. Some price drops lasted less than a day, and the number of tickets sold at bargain prices was limited.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Emirates boosts South American services

Emirates Airlines is set to boost its service to South America with the launch of a new service to Rio de Janeiro and extension to Buenos Aires. Launching early next year, the iconic cities will now offer a faster link to Dubai and over 100 destinations worldwide. Last year Emirates Airlines was recognised by the World Travel Awards Middle East’s Leading Airline Website. His highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman Emirates Airline, said: “Both Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro are rightly renowned as world-class leisure destinations as well as important business and trading centres.

“Our research has shown that there is a high demand for these cities from across our network.”The Dubai-Rio de Janeiro-Buenos Aires service will be operated by a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft offering eight First Class Private Suites, 42 lie-flat seats in Business and 304 seats in Economy. “Brazil has been part of the Emirates network since 2007 when we began flights from Dubai to Sao Paulo,” added Sheikh Ahmed. “With the country playing host to both the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympics, Brazil will be further catapulted into the world’s spotlight, and we will be in a prime position to transport sports enthusiasts to these renowned events.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

American Airlines adding more flights in markets

American Airlines is adding more flights in existing markets and rolling out new international and domestic service to give customers more scheduling options. The airline said Tuesday that it will now have daily nonstop service between Los Angeles and Shanghai. It will have another daily nonstop route between New York and Budapest, Hungary. Flights between Chicago and Helsinki, Finland will start on May 1.

American affiliate American Eagle will provide new nonstop service to Albuquerque, N.M.; Boise, Idaho; El Paso, Texas; Houston Bush Intercontinental; Oklahoma City; Phoenix; Salt Lake City; Sacramento, Calif. and Tucson, Ariz. All of the flights will depart from Los Angeles. American will increase its daily service from Miami to Madrid from one flight it two flights. It will also raise the number of flights between New York JFK and Barcelona to 11 weekly flights from seven. In addition, American will restart daily seasonal service between Boston and Paris; Chicago and Dublin, Ireland and New York and Manchester, England.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Southwest airlines: US to order emergency checks of older 737s

The US government will order emergency checks of dozens of Boeing 737s after Southwest airlines was forced to ground planes over safety concerns. Southwest cancelled hundreds of flights after a five-foot tear opened in the fuselage of a plane 20 minutes after taking off from Phoenix on Friday. The Federal Aviation Administration has now ordered fuselage inspections of older 737-300, -400, and -500 models, involving what could be time-consuming and repetitive electromagnetic checks. "This action is designed to detect cracking in a specific part of the aircraft that cannot be spotted with visual inspection," FAA administrator Randy Babbitt said. Boeing will offer its own advice to airlines outlining specific inspection steps. The FAA said most of the 80 jets needing checks in America are planes flown by Southwest, and have accumulated high numbers of take-offs and landings. Foreign regulators are expected to adopt the FAA order for airlines they regulate, covering another 95 planes worldwide. Southwest is already carrying out its own round of voluntary emergency inspections following Friday's emergency in Arizona.

Flight 812 was heading from Phoenix to Sacramento when the tear opened in the fuselage. Southwest has struggled with fatigue cracking on its older aircraft, which safety experts and other industry insiders attribute to the aggressive way it uses those planes. Friday's incident was the second time in two years that a Southwest plane experienced a fuselage rupture soon after takeoff at more than 30,000 feet. Both planes landed safely. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the latest incident andis likely to take a fresh look at Southwest's maintenance practices and FAA oversight of the carrier. "They are going to be pushed very hard on this," said one safety expert familiar with the thinking of transportation investigators. Southwest cancelled 600 flights over the weekend and another 70 yesterday as it worked to inspect planes and get them back into service. Southwest hoped to complete the checks on Tuesday.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hawaiian Airlines reaffirms commitment to Japan

Hawaiian Airlines today reaffirmed its commitment to Japan and its broader plan of expansion in Asia. President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Dunkerley said, “The earthquake and the tsunami which hit Japan on March 11 devastated the littoral communities in North Eastern Japan. All of us at Hawaiian send our deepest sympathy to those who have lost loved ones and who themselves face an uncertain future as the process of rebuilding gets underway. As a company, and as citizens of an ocean side community with close ties to Japan, we have a special connection to those in need in Japan and we are engaged in a broad array of efforts aimed at supporting them as they rebuild their lives. We wish we could do more.

“While other airlines have announced service reductions to Japan, we have no plans to reduce our daily service to Tokyo, and we remain committed to launching new service to Osaka beginning July 12. It is clear from our current results that we are seeing a significantly less severe downturn in traffic than is being reported by other companies in the airline and tourism sectors. At the same time, discussions with our travel partners in Japan indicate that while a downturn is currently upon us, they expect a recovery in bookings after a short interval.”

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ethiopian Airlines receives $40m loan from African Development Bank

The African Development Bank Board of Directors approved a second lien corporate loan of $40 million to Ethiopian Airlines in Tunis on March 23, 2011. The approved loan is an additional fund for partial financing of the purchased five Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, besides what has been availed by Citibank N.A., African Finance Corporation (AFC) and Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (PTA). “Ethiopian would like to thank the management and Board of the African Development Bank for their support. The support vividly reflects AfDB’s firm commitment to advance the growth of aviation in Africa”, said Ato Tewolde G. Mariam CEO of Ethiopian Airlines.

The African Development bank supports the continent’s economic and social development by promoting investments as well as providing its regional member countries with technical and financial assistance. Ethiopian Airlines has ordered the most modern aircraft direct from the manufacturers to meet the growing demand for increased capacity and additional destinations, ensure the comfort of its customers as well as build an environmentally friendly fleet. The orders include ten 787-Dreamliners and ten 737-800s from the Boeing Company as well as twelve A-350-900s from Airbus. Ethiopian recently has received three of its Boeing 777-200LRs and will receive two more in April and July of this year.