American Airlines CEO ask Employees to Decide the New Tail Design

Future American AirlinesNow that the merger between US Airways and American Airlines has been completed, there is still a question that American employees must answer:

  • Do you like the previous or the new tail livery design of our airplanes?

In a newsletter sent to employees on Monday, CEO Doug Parker asked them to decide the look of the American Airlines tail design.

“I think the newly painted aircraft look extremely nice and have heard the same from many of you,” Parker said. “So, we aren’t going to mess with the fuselage. That just leaves the tail.”  Parker said he personally likes both designs and is open to the choice made by employees.

American Airlines posted the announcement that employees would make the decision on their Twitter account later in the evening.

Employees have until January 2 to choose between the original logo with a blue eagle between a red ‘A’ and blue ‘A’ or the new American flag design.

Capt. Ivan

Asiana Airlines’ first Airbus A380 performs its maiden flight

A380_Asiana_landing_02Asiana Airlines’ first A380 has successfully completed its maiden flight. The A380 flew on Friday from Airbus’ facilities in Toulouse, France to the aircraft manufacturer’s site in Hamburg, Germany, where it will undergo painting and cabin furnishing.

Asiana Airlines will become the twelfth operator of the A380 when it takes delivery of its first aircraft in the second quarter of 2014. The airline has firm orders for six A380s and will operate the aircraft on its primary routes from Seoul to the US.

Source:  Airbus – Press Release

Nok Air and Scoot get together to create a new Airline

Nok Air - Boeing 737-800

Thailand’s Nok Air and Singapore’s Scoot plan to set up a new budget carrier in Bangkok amid growing demand for low-cost travel in the region.

The airline, will be called NokScoot and operate on medium and long-haul routes.

Both companies will make an initial joint investment of S$80m ($64m, £39m)

Nok Air, which is Thailand’s second-largest budget carrier, will own up to 51% of the venture.

Nok Air Chief Executive Officer Patee Sarasin said they were “excited” at expanding overseas.

“It has always been Nok’s goal to offer Thais more choice and more value, of which this venture is yet another example. We’re also excited at the opportunity to encourage more inbound tourists, to boost the Thai economy,” he said.

Scoot Airlines - Boeing 777-300Scoot Chief Executive Officer Campbell Wilson added: “Thailand is Asia’s premier tourist destination and logical hub for Scoot to expand to.”

Rival budget carrier Tiger Airways also announced plans on Monday to form a new low-cost airline, this time in Taiwan.

It plans to set up Tigerair Taiwan through a joint venture with China Airlines, Taiwan’s biggest carrier.

Tigerair said it would hold a 10% stake in the new company, which is aimed at tapping the budget-conscious travel market in North Asia.

Tiger Airways, which is majority-owned by Singapore Airlines, also announced an agreement to enhance connectivity between flights with India’s Spicejet, and to form a partnership with Scoot.

Shares in Singapore-listed Tiger Airways rose by about 3%, bucking an overall drop in the broader market.

 Source:  BBC News

Time is Up for Qantas

The australian government cannot fix the commercial disaster of Qantas. The airline is in crisis and in need of radical surgery and the first partial limb to be harvested and auctioned to the highest bidder will undoubtedly be its lucrative Frequent Flyer program.

The next might be the budget carrier Jetstar. Qantas will retain some stake but the company has little choice but to engage in a giant hangar sale.

Despite its impeccable airline safety record, from a financial perspective Qantas is careering towards a crash. It has endured numerous external shocks since it was privatised in the early 1990s – the bombing of the World Trade Centre, SARS, the global financial crisis and the industrial relations-inspired grounding of the fleet.

But it now faces its first operating loss in the six months to the end of December. Qantas is solvent but bleeding at the rate of up to $300 million per half year, and these losses could deepen.

Qantas has so far survived most of the external shocks, but has been felled by simple competition.

Despite the rhetoric, times in the airline industry have been far tougher than they are today.

Tourism statistics show that even though consumer confidence is low we are still spending plenty on travel and holidays.

But the emergence of a fierce and well-funded competitor in Virgin Australia has knocked Qantas around and exposed the strategic mistakes of the dominant carrier which refused to budge from its position of holding 65 per cent of the local market. Instead, it added more capacity into the local market – running flights that too often were only two-thirds full. It was outfoxed by Virgin.

Any rescue for the carrier will come with a fair share of pain and dislocation. More than 1000 jobs will be lost, costs will be slashed and local maintenance facilities closed.

The heady days of Qantas financing the colonisation of Asian destinations like Hong Kong and Japan using the Jetstar brand must be reined in. The new strategy is austerity. But this won’t be enough.

The clock is ticking for the increasingly out-of-favour chief executive Alan Joyce, who needs to raise money and fast. His first port of call was the government but following an initial burst of interest from Joe Hockey, the trail to Canberra lost some heat. There are still conversations about debt guarantees but there is nothing like a political uniformity of view.

The door may be open for some changes to foreign ownership down the track but Qantas’s current problems are more urgent.

The airline needed the government to stop its competitor, Virgin, from raising money to continue to finance a market share war. Joyce was never going to receive that Christmas present.

Qantas must fix its own problems, which is what management is paid well to do. Another option would be for Qantas to seek fresh funds from its shareholders, but the money wouldn’t come cheap and Joyce is loath to go there.

With the share price hovering just above $1, an equity issue would have to be discounted deeply below that level.

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China Enforces Airline Pilots to be CAT II Qualified

Starting from Jan 1, 2014, flight crews operating into Beijing’s International Airport, one the nation’s 10 busiest must be ILS Cat II Approach qualified to land when visibility falls below 400 meters.

The new requirement will be applied only to China based airlines and is part of the effort of the Civil Aviation Authority of China to improve on-time performance in an area where one for four flights is delayed due to low visibility and airspace congestion.  Low visibility caused by smoke has delayed more than 200 flights in a 24 hour period at Shanghai airport.

In January, Beijing suffered its worst bout of air pollution with PM2.5 readings hitting at least 886. Shanghai’s air pollution index surged to a record 482 on Dec. 6 into the “severe” level, the highest of a six-tier rating system. The haze also caused traffic congestion the nation’s commercial hub as the government took emergency steps such as ordering cars off the road and factories to cut production.

Capt. Ivan

Asiana Recruits ANA Veteran to Manage Safety Program

Asiana Airline’s new chief safety officer vowed yesterday to improve safety at the nation’s second-largest air carrier after a fatal accident in San Francisco in July.

Yamamura Akiyoshi, who spent more than 40 years at Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) as a pilot, safety officer and auditor, began his new job as senior executive vice president of safety and security management at Asiana this week.

It is the first time Asiana has given the top safety job to a foreigner. Akiyoshi, who also worked as a safety auditor for the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said that although there are many differences between Korea and Japan’s airline businesses, safety is the highest priority in any country.

“I assure you that we at Asiana Airlines will continuously improve and enhance our aviation safety by strengthening independent oversight,” Akiyoshi told a press conference at the company’s headquarters in western Seoul. “I will apply the know-how I have acquired during my career in aviation safety at ANA and IATA to identify and mitigate risks and construct an improved systematic safety management suited to Asiana Airlines.”

Akiyoshi said he was positive about working here after experiencing the warm culture of the country as an ANA pilot flying Boeing 767 planes between Korea and Japan.

The 65-year-old is reviewing and analyzing Asiana’s safety management system and hinted there could be some changes. He emphasized that safety is something not only one person or division can achieve, but every team – maintenance and engineering, cabin,  airport services and cargo should be involved.

The Meiji University graduate said he was in Shanghai when Asiana Flight 214 crashed during landing at San Francisco International Airport, resulting in the deaths of three Chinese and injuring more than 180 passengers. Akiyoshi said he felt deeply sorry for the victims and their families.

He declined to comment on the ongoing investigation by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, saying he would inspect Asian’s safety system again when the accident report is released. He is scheduled to attend an NTSB hearing on the crash next week in Washington.

 “Every airline has its own safety culture, and we will abandon unnecessary things and collect good things from others,” Akiyoshi said. “I want to help Asiana create its own safety culture.”

Source:  Korea JoonAng Daily

Thai Lion Air Makes Maiden Flight

Thai Lion Air, a subsidiary of Indonesia’s largest private airliner Lion Air, made its maiden flight on Wednesday from Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport to the northern city of Chiang Mai.

The airline flies the route twice a day using Boeing B737-900 Extended Range (ER) aircraft.

Thai Lion CEO Capt. Darsito Hendroseputro said the launch of the airline would help Thailand’s air passenger market and reinforce Bangkok’s position as a leading international air hub.


“We have two B737-900ERs in the fleet and we plan to add two more in February. The additional aircraft will be used to increase frequency on existing routes and to launch new domestic and international services such as the Bangkok-Hat Yai and Bangkok-Singapore routes,”

He said the company originally planned to add these two in March 2014, but then decided to move the schedule forward.

He also said that the airline aimed to launch daily non-stop flights from Bangkok to Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur next year.

Source:  The Jakarta Post

Boeing 747-8 an 787 Dreamliner – High Altitude Icing

Fifteen airlines have been warned about the risk of ice forming on Boeing’s new 747-8 and 787 Dreamliner.

The issue – affecting some types of engines made by General Electric when planes fly near high-level thunderstorms – prompted Japan Airlines to cancel two international routes.

There have been six incidents since April when aircraft powered by GE engines lost power at high altitude.

The Boeing 747-8 series and the new 787 Dreamliner are the only types of aircraft affected by the high-altitude icing issue.

The new warning was given to airlines including Lufthansa, United Airlines and Japan Airlines.

It says aircraft with the affected engines – GE’s GEnx – must not be flown within 50 nautical miles of thunderstorms that may contain ice crystals.

As a result, Japan Airlines (JAL) has decided to withdraw Dreamliners from service on the Tokyo-Delhi and Tokyo-Singapore routes.

“Boeing and JAL share a commitment to the safety of passengers and crews on board our airplanes. We respect JAL’s decision to suspend some 787 services on specific routes,” a Boeing spokesman said, according to Reuters news agency.

A GE spokesman told the agency the aviation industry was experiencing “a growing number of ice-crystal icing encounters in recent years as the population of large commercial airliners has grown, particularly in tropical regions of the world”.

He said GE and Boeing were hoping to eliminate the problem by modifying the engine control system software.

British airways use Rolls Royce engines on their Dreamliners. They are not affected by the warning, says the BBC’s Ben Geoghegan.

Despite the issues, the Dreamliner is still considered to be one of the most advanced planes in the industry and remains popular.

Boeing has received orders for more than 1,000 jets since its launch.

Last month, it announced plans to raise production of the 787 Dreamliner to 12 per month by 2016.

That would be an increase from its target for the end of this year of 10 planes a month.

Source:  Reuters

U.S. to allow expanded electronic device use on flights

Airline passengers will soon be able to use certain electronic devices throughout their entire flight after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration ended a long-standing ban on Thursday.

Mobile phone calls remain barred under Federal Communications Commission rules. But fliers will be free to keep smartphones, tablets and e-readers running in “airplane” mode.

Delta Air Lines Inc and JetBlue Corp quickly filed plans with the FAA to show that their aircraft can tolerate radio signals from electronic devices, a condition required by the regulator.

The change is likely to boost the use of gadgets such as Amazon Inc’s Kindle readers or Apple Inc’s iPad.

“Most commercial airlines can tolerate radio interference from portable electronic devices,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said at a news conference at Reagan National Airport near Washington, D.C. “It’s safe to read downloaded materials, like e-books, calendars and to play games.”

Passengers will be able to connect with an airline’s WiFi network and can use Bluetooth accessories, such as wireless mouse and headphones.


A big winner from the change could be Gogo Inc, whose shares closed 4.5 percent higher. The company supplies Internet service to about 80 percent of U.S. aircraft.

The FAA’s move is “another favorable tailwind,” Gogo Chief Executive Michael Small told Reuters.

The FAA’s decision is likely to move more passengers toward “always-on” connectivity, said Jonathan Schildkraut, an analyst at Evercore Partners in New York.

“Any increase in time spent connected is viewed as a positive,” he said.

Technology fans have recently decried the “high cost to the traveling public” of passengers not having unfettered access to their mobile devices.

“More than 105 million hours of disrupted technological activity on domestic flights is projected in 2013 — an estimated 104 percent increase since 2010 – due to the FAA ban on the use of devices during takeoffs and landings,” according to a May 2013 study by the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitcan Development at Chicago’s DePaul University.

The FCC in May started deliberations on a proposal that would offer a new type of in-flight broadband service promising U.S. fliers higher Wi-Fi speeds and better connections. The proposal, which has been pushed for years by wireless equipment maker Qualcomm Inc, seeks to open up more radio airwaves for airborne Internet access.

In a statement, acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clybourn said the agency continues to study how best to promote consumers’ and businesses’ ability to use wireless devices on aircraft and elsewhere.

As a practical matter, cellphones should be kept in airplane mode during flight, the FAA’s Huerta said. Without this setting, cellphones would continue to search vainly for a signal while aloft, draining batteries.

Huerta said the guidance applies to U.S. airlines throughout their domestic and international routes.


Huerta said he sought updated guidance on the matter, since the current policy was put in place about 50 years ago.

Among those giving input to the FAA for the long-awaited decision were representatives of airlines, plane manufacturers, passengers, flight attendants and the mobile technology industry.

A committee set up to recommend how the rules should change started work in January on what was to be a 6-month project. It later got a 2-month extension to work on guidance on how airlines could assess the safety risk posted to critical flight systems.

A backer of the change, the Consumer Electronics Association on Wednesday urged the agency to ease restrictions before the busy holiday travel season. It said the FAA’s move “will bring policy on in-flight use of devices up to speed with the 21st century.”

Huerta said that in some cases of extremely low visibility, for perhaps 1 percent of all U.S. flights, some landing systems may not be able to tolerate radio interference, and in those cases passengers should follow the advice of flight crews.

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA applauded the decision as it pushed for “uniform technical, operational, and training standards that will allow for the safe, managed expansion of PED usage by passengers.”

The U.S. Travel Association, an industry group, praised the move as a “common-sense, win-win” policy.

But one lawmaker warned airlines and fliers to curb their enthusiasm and focus on safety first.

“Having access to e-mail or a movie is not worth compromising the safety of any flight,” said Senator Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

Source:  Reuters

Photo:  Reuters

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