Category Archives: Major News

Images: First Alaska Airlines 737-900ER In New Branding

Still no site of this scheme in the sun in Seattle, even on a dull overcast sky it still looks sharp!

Still no sight of this scheme in the sun in Seattle. Even on a dull overcast sky the new Alaska Airlines scheme still looks sharp!

Photos and Story By: Brandon Farris / Published: February 05, 2015

On a typical, gloomy wet afternoon in Seattle, the first new re-branded Alaska Airlines 737-990ER (N494AS, MSN 41729/LN 5768) took to the skies for the first time this week.

The aircraft rolled out of the Boeing paint hangar earlier in the week at Boeing Field adorned in the new livery.

300_4965With Alaska Airlines having just unveiled the new scheme just ten days prior, this 737-990ER was shrouded in some secrecy on the Boeing Renton flight line prior to its first flight on Wednesday January 27th. It rolled out of the final assembly line with a white rudder and its winglets masked by some sort of plastic wrap to help mask its identity prior to the Alaska unveiling event last Monday. With the flight line in full view of photographers from a viewing park, this was done so as not to spoil the debut of the new livery.

This 737 will be the 150th in the fleet barring Alaska retiring a 737-400 or 737-700 prior to the delivery of N494AS.  It will be the 36th 737-900ER and 48th 737-900 overall after they took delivery of N493AS on Friday just after the MAX completed its first flight, that one was still in the interim scheme.

Alaska Airlines was the launch customer for the initial batch of 737-900s but after not achieving the expected range they switched to the 737-800 for the majority of the fleet before going back to the 737-900ER after if had proven its legs. Alaska still has another 29 737-900ER’s on order along with 20 737 MAX 8s and 17 737 MAX 9s.


Editor’s noteOur readers now have access to our weekly eNewsletter, which includes a recap of our top stories of the week, along with the subscriber-only exclusive Weekend Reads column and Photo of the Week from our extensive archives. The newsletter comes out every Saturday morning. Stay in the know; click here to subscribe today!

Contact the editor at roberto.leiro@airwaysnews.com

Contact the photographer at brandon.farris12@gmail.com

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ANALYSIS: Air Canada Returns to Hamilton

By: Nicolas Bernier / Published: February 4, 2016

As previously reported by Airline Route in January, Air Canada announced yesterday it would resume daily flights to John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport in Hamilton (YHM) with up to two daily services, starting on May 24, 2016. The airline is returning to Hamilton after it pulled back during the summer 2008. High fuel prices and the economic crisis made the 50-seat CRJ uneconomical.

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Photo: LC Laverdure

Flights will be operated by regional partner Jazz Aviation LP under the Air Canada Express banner. The Montreal-based carrier will operate two flights on the CRJ 200, with the exception of Saturday. The detailed schedule is shown below:

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 18.46.03The schedule will meet the needs of both O/D passengers, as well as connecting passenger in YUL. According to the airline, customers will be able to catch a flight to Halifax and St. John’s in eastern Canada, and Europe-bound flights such as Rome, Geneva, Barcelona, Paris, and Lyon.

“Located in the heart of the populous Golden Horseshoe of Southern OntarioHamilton is a convenient departure and arrival point for the business community as well as tourists, visiting friends and relatives,” said Benjamin Smith, President of Passenger Airlines at Air Canada. “This is the only non-stop service between Hamilton and Montreal and is part of our strategy to increase and strengthen our presence in the Greater Toronto Area as well as in Montreal.”

“We’re thrilled with Air Canada’s announcement to begin operating non-stop flights from Hamilton to Montreal this May,” said Frank Scremin, President & CEO at John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport. “Montreal is one of the Airport’s most requested destinations; not only is it an important business market but also a great getaway city, and we’re extremely happy that passengers can now fly directly to Montreal from Hamilton.”

More Flexibility between Montreal and Toronto

The new flight to Hamilton will offer a new travel option for those traveling between Montreal and the Toronto metropolitan area. Hamilton International Airport is located around 49 miles southwest of Toronto-Pearson close to Lake Ontario. Currently, customers have the choice to fly to either Toronto-Pearson or Toronto City from Montreal, and now Hamilton will be part of the game. AirwaysNews made a table to compare the different travel options for next summer.

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 19.50.52The air corridor between Montreal and Toronto is the busiest in Canada, with flights departing every 30 minutes during peak hours on weekdays. Customers can benefit from thousands of seats in each direction every day.

The ticket prices are somewhat similar, but there is a notorious difference in both the number of seats available and tof flights to/from Hamilton. YHM is an option for those customers who do not wish to go through the congested airports of Pearson and Billy Bishop.

It would not be a surprise if Air Canada would add frequencies and even some more routes out of Hamilton. NewLeaf Travel, the “first” Ultra-low-cost carrier in Canada announced earlier this year that it would begin operating flights to Hamilton starting in February. However, flights have been postponed until Spring because the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has to revise the licensing regulations for Indirect Service Providers.

RELATED: Meet Canada’s New ULCC: NewLeaf Travel

RELATED: ANALYSIS: Will Canadian Skies Turn Over a NewLeaf Thanks To New Entrant ULCCs?

RELATED: Canadian ULCC NewLeaf Postpones Service

Current Service to Hamilton

Four airlines are currently serving Hamilton International Airport with regular, seasonal, and charter flights. Air Transat and Sunwing Airlines offer winter seasonal flights to Mexico and the Caribbean. Canadian North operates charter flights to Fort McMurray, Halifax, and Saskatoon. Finally, WestJet Airlines flies year-round to Calgary with seasonal service to Cancun, Orlando, Punta Cana, and several cities across Canada. More than 332,000 passengers went through YHM in 2014.


1475805_10202224574510743_2017186540_nNicolas Bernier is an AirwaysNews.com contributor that has been an aviation passionate since he was young. Nicolas likes travelling, plane spotting, and writing. He lives in Montreal, Canada and studies in Aviation Business Administration at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. You can follow him on Twitter @nickbernier7, or email him at    nicolasbernier7@gmail.com


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American to Offer Free Snacks and More Entertainment in Main Cabin

By: Staff / Published: February 1, 2016

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A sample of the new snack options that will be available to Main Cabin passengers on American on all domestic flights starting in April. / Photo courtesy of American Airlines

Just as free snacks in economy return to the “Friendly Skies” at United today, American announced that it will begin offering complimentary snacks again and more free movies, TV shows and music in the Main Cabin.

RELATED: United Airlines to Introduce New (and Free) Snacks in Economy

Customers traveling on flights departing prior to 9:45 a.m. will receive Biscoff® cookies. On flights departing after 9:45 a.m., customers will have a choice between Biscoff® cookies or pretzels, rotated on a seasonal basis. American’s Food for Sale items will also be available for purchase on all flights.

Complimentary snacks in the Main Cabin will be available initially on American’s transcontinental routes, but by April, complimentary snacks will be available in the Main Cabin on all domestic flights.

The new snack options are the same options Delta offers on its flights. However, from today, the Atlanta-based carrier will also offer for purchase three different Luvo-branded wraps. These will be available only for passengers in Delta Comfort+ and in Main Cabin on flights greater than 1,400 miles within the U.S., the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico.

But wait, there’s more!

American will begin offering complimentary meal service in the Main Cabin on all flights between Hawaii and Dallas/Fort Worth starting in May. Among legacy carriers, this service will be unique to American as neither Delta nor United offer complimentary meals in economy on flights to Hawaii, even on flights from the east coast to the island. Hawaiian is the only U.S. airline currently to offer free meals in economy on domestic flights.

“We want customers to choose American every time they fly,” said Fernand Fernandez, American’s vice president – Global Marketing.  “We are giving our customer more choices to enhance their personal flying experience by offering new service and new entertainment options in all cabins.”

More Free Entertainment Options

Meanwhile, American is expanding its complimentary entertainment on domestic flights equipped with in-seat entertainment. Customers will now be able to choose from up to 40 movies, 60 TV shows and 300 music albums. In addition, live television channels are now available on long-haul international flights with Wi-Fi, operated by Boeing 777-300ER, retrofitted 777-200ERs and 787-8s. Customers can enjoy news, sports and entertainment as they happen with four satellite channels in all cabins, making American the first U.S. airline to offer complimentary, international live TV.

Other Product Investments

Customers flying on long haul international and transcontinental flights in the premium cabins starting this March will have new amenity kits, and International First and Business Class customers on select transpacific flights will also have new, pure cotton luxury sleepwear.

Also later this year, American’s new International Premium Economy product will debut when it takes delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. American Airlines will be the first U.S. carrier to launch an International Premium Economy class. Nevertheless, other carriers offer a similar product such as AA’s oneworld partners British Airways, Japan Airlines and Qantas.

RELATED: American Airlines to Launch International Premium Economy


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Image Gallery and Personal Reflections From Boeing 737-8 MAX First Flight

The new Boeing 737-8 MAX fights a crosswind approach into Boeing Field to complete its first flight.

The new Boeing 737-8 MAX fights a crosswind approach into Boeing Field to complete its first flight.

Photos and Story By: Brandon Farris / Published: January 31, 2015

On Friday the Boeing 737-8 MAX took to the skies for the very first time beginning a year long flight test campaign that is expected to wrap up in the first quarter of 2017.

The MAX is Boeing’s response to Airbus and its NEO which just had its first delivery to Lufthansa earlier this month in the form of the A320. Boeing was able to get MAX off the ground ahead of schedule by three days as it wasn’t expected to actually fly until Monday February 1st which is a good sign as the manufacturer actually gets a head start on its test campaign.

N8701Q is the first of four Boeing 737-8 MAX test airplanes and will eventually be delivered to the launch customer Southwest Airlines in November of 2017. This photo review displays all angles from the departure from Renton, a couple of inflight photos from Boeing and then on to the arrival and post flight press conference at Boeing Field.

Renton Departure

The morning begins at 5:45am to my buzzing alarm, an excitement begins to settle in as my brain quickly clicks to realize the fact that the Boeing 737-8 MAX is about to take to the skies on its first flight While it was not scheduled until 10am, media had to meet at 7:45am and Seattle traffic on a Friday morning soggy commute is not a reason you want to miss your date with history.

As expected the traffic was in full force and we arrives into Renton on a raining morning at about 7:15am to wait for the bus to the Renton Airport. As we wait with other members of the media, Boeing sent out an email alert that the first flight had been moved up to 9:30am to depart ahead of the winds and squally weather that could prevent the first MAX to take to begin its first mission. We arrived airside at about 8:20am. Between the rain, slight wind we were still able to feel a palpable buzz in the air.

As thousands of employees make their way to designated viewing areas along the runway, even in the pouring rain, nearly every single one of them is walking with a smile on their face as they understand what an important step this is for the carrier in the narrowbody market. To your everyday average traveler, the Boeing 737-8 MAX looks just like any other 737 that has been gracing the skies for the past 49 years seen around the globe as nearly 9000 in total have been delivered to hundreds of airlines.

CEO Ray Conner awaits in the rain.

CEO Ray Conner awaits in the rain.

As the rain continued to pour a “Thank You Team” with a 737 tail banner lifted above the crowd to a cheer as the clock continues to get closer to showtime. Finally, at 9:40am. Boeing MAX 1, IA001, N8701Q, dubbed the “Spirit of Renton” began to taxi out of the East Side stall four and takes a left turn down taxiway Bravo for the end of runway 34.

Thank You Team banner

Thank You Team banner

At 9:45, Boeing MAX 1 lined up on 34 as it waits for the T33 chase plane to set up for the departure. Aas the T33 made its run down the west side of the field, the Spirit of Renton released the brakes and began its roll down 34 for a max power take off. Using about 2/3rds of the runway, the first Boeing 737-8 MAX rotated gracefully into the Seattle sunshine and lifted off at 9:46am to begin its two and a half hour first flight to monstrous applause and roars from the crowd that was even louder then the departure as the new CFM Leap-1B engines quietly propelled the aircraft skyward. Those who have helped build the 737 into the workhorse that the aircraft has turned into for some airlines as they watch the latest edition of it take to the skies after nearly 50 years of sweat and blood that have been sacrificed for the type.

Following the take off, all the media hopped back onto the bus to head back for our cars. From there it was a mad rush down to Boeing Field as you had to get there quickly just in case the aircraft has an issue and needs to return early.

As luck would have it the flight would continue to go to plan and we arrive to the latest news that it was still about an hour and a half out. In the interim, we were given a quick look at the new Seattle Delivery Center where most 737s are handed off to customers.

Senior VP Pat Shanahan gives the camera a smile after the MAX lifts off for the first time.

Boeing Senior VP Pat Shanahan gives the camera a smile after the MAX lifts off for the first time.

While we were driving over Boeing shared these two great images with the media from inflight and showed the Boeing 737-8 MAX with its gear up at a cruising altitude between FL 150 and 250 above the inclement weather below.

Seattle Arrival

Most of the media were tracking the flight on many different resources from Flightaware to Flightradar24 and watched what the airplane was doing. After much anticipation, at about 12:15pm we received word that it’s time to head back out to the runway to capture the first landing of the Boeing 737-8 MAX. Everyone kept an eye to the skies and their viewfinders as The Spirit of Renton edged ever to so close to Boeing Field in an attempt to be the first to spot in and alert everyone to where it was in the approach process.

Around 12:45pm she broke into view on top of the Port of Seattle cranes and began her final approach path down for 13R, crabbing most of the way down as Captain Ed Wilson (pilot-in-command) and Captain Craig Bomben fight a strong crosswind on the approach. As they shoot the top of the runway numbers one final strong tap on the rudder straightened the MAX out for the center line. They gracefully floated down about 1500 feet down the runway before finally making contact back with the ground and threw the CFM Leap-1B engines into reverse thrust and bring the aircraft to a quick halt.

After exiting the runway, the Spirit of Renton taxied down taxiway Bravo to the Boeing Seattle South Gate where it was marshalled to a stop, the Leaps were shutdown, and MAX was towed into the Boeing ramp to the awaiting journalist, VIPs, staff, and executives.

After N8701Q blocked in, where the press conference was going to be held, ground agents pull up the staircase and opened the main cabin door. Captain Wilson and Captain Bomben emerged from the cabin with a triumphant but understated thumbs up as they deplane. Greeting them is Boeing CEO Ray Conner and their families with copious smiles to go around.

 

From there the press conference is held with the two pilots and one of the 737 bosses who take questions from the media about the flight and program, then the time comes for pictures with members of the 737 team and the pilots infront the MAX before the pilots are dragged away to a post flight briefing to discuss with the engineers how the flight went and bring up anything significant that happened.

Overall the Boeing 737-8 MAX is one sharp looking aircraft in comparison to the NG 737s now being delivered. While the Split-Scimitar was a visual and more importantly fuel burn upgrade to the current 737s in comparison, the new winglet on the MAX become the centerpiece. The chevrons on the back of the CFM Leap-1B engines, echoing  the 787 and 747-8, are very eye appealing. The 737 MAX overall will surely be a welcome addition to the skies.

RELATED: The First Boeing 737 MAX Takes to the Skies

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Editor’s noteOur readers now have access to our weekly eNewsletter, which includes a recap of our top stories of the week, along with the subscriber-only exclusive Weekend Reads column and Photo of the Week from our extensive archives. The newsletter comes out every Saturday morning. Stay in the know; click here to subscribe today!

Contact the editor at roberto.leiro@airwaysnews.com

Contact the photographer at brandon.farris12@gmail.com

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EXCLUSIVE GALLERY: Boeing 737 MAX Taxi Tests Complete

016_3856All Photos By: Brandon Farris / Published: January 29, 2015

The Boeing 737 MAX completed its last major hurdle as it prepares for its first flight today. Our photographer Brandon Farris was on hand to capture this gallery of the historic first taxi ever for the 737 MAX, N8701Q, that will eventually be delivered to Southwest Airlines.

RELATED: The Boeing 737 MAX Makes First Flight

 


Editor’s noteOur readers now have access to our weekly eNewsletter, which includes a recap of our top stories of the week, along with the subscriber-only exclusive Weekend Reads column and Photo of the Week from our extensive archives. The newsletter comes out every Saturday morning. Stay in the know; click here to subscribe today!

Contact the editor at roberto.leiro@airwaysnews.com

Contact the photographer at brandon.farris12@gmail.com

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Countdown to Launch: The Boeing 737 MAX Timeline

By Staff / Published: January 27, 2016

With the Boeing 737 MAX’s successful maiden voyage on Friday, January 29, AirwaysNews takes a look at the history of the program, which officially launched with Boeing’s Board of Directors giving the go ahead on August 30, 2011.

737 MAX Rollout / Photo by Paul Thompson

The first Boeing 737 MAX was dubbed the “Spirit of Renton” (Photo: Paul Thompson)

The 737 MAX is the fourth generation family member of the Boeing 737 program, and to date, it has received over 3,000 orders from more than 60 customers worldwide.

RELATED: Inside Boeing’s 737 Configuration Studio

About ten years ago, Boeing started to work on the development of a clean-sheet replacement for the Boeing 737. The project, known as Project Yellowstone (Y1), was devised as a a smaller version of the 787 Dreamliner, boasting a carbon fiber fuselage and double aisle. in 2011, the project was finally shelved for various reasons, including being unable to find a feasible method to scale down the carbon fiber fuselage. Although, Boeing intends to have a clean-sheet replacement for the Boeing 737 by 2030.

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The Airbus A320neo (Photo: Airbus)

In 2010, Airbus decided to go ahead with its A320neo program. The ‘neo’ suffix stands for “new engine option”, which brings two new engine models produced by Pratt & Whitney and CFM, and also includes some upgrades to the current A320ceo (current engine option) which is intended to replace. The program posed a threat to the future of the Boeing 737 program, especially as Airbus received positive feedback from its customers. The program definitely increased the pressure on Boeing.

RELATED: Onboard the Inaugural Airbus A320neo Low-Key Lufthansa Launch

RELATED: Airbus A320neo: Delivered!

Back to the Drawing Board

The manufacturer realized that airlines wanted more fuel efficiency above anything else. So, the decision was made to make upgrades to the Boeing 737, and on August 30, 2011, Boeing’s Board of Directors approved the 737 MAX project.

Boeing 737-MAX-7-8-9 Artwork K65781

Boeing 737 MAX -7, -8, -9 Artwork. (Image: Boeing)

The 737 MAX program was devised with three variants: the 737 MAX 7, 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 9. These are based on the 737-700, 737-800 and 737-900, all of them variants of the current 737 Next Generation family aircraft.

Among the improvements to the MAX include the new CFM LEAP-1B engine. Boeing says the MAX will have an eight percent lower operating cost than Airbus’ A320neo family, thanks to fuel efficiency and maintenance advantages. The new split-scimitar winglets on the MAX will save 1.8% more fuel than the current blended winglets by Aviation Partners which entered into service in 2004. Boeing also says the MAX will burn about 20 percent less fuel than first 737NGs, which rolled out for the first time almost two decades ago.

RELATED: The Boeing 737 NG Family

ANALYSIS: CFM Missing On the LEAP-1B Would Be a Major Blow to Boeing 737 MAX

After Boeing’s Board of Directors approved the MAX program, there were some doubts as to how committed Boeing was to the program. At the time of the announcement, only one customer was disclosed, despite Boeing previously reporting that it had 700 firm orders from nine different customers.

Boeing 737 MAX 8

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 Rendering. (Image: Southwest Airlines)

All doubts were blown away when Southwest Airlines announced that it would place a firm  order for 150 737 MAX 8 aircraft as well as options for 150 more on December 13, 2011. Southwest also announced that it would be the launch customer for the MAX, which would be the second time it would be the launch customer of a new generation of the 737. The following month, Norwegian Air Shuttle announced an order of 100 737 MAX 8 aircraft, and in February 2012, Lion Air announced an order for 201 737 MAX 9 aircraft. Later on in 2012, Aeromexico, Alaska Airlines, GOL, United, and a few other airlines placed orders for the 737 MAX.

2013 was another big year of orders for the 737 MAX program; Boeing received orders from Air Canada, American, FlyDubai, Icelandair, Turkish, WestJet, and a few leasing companies. Plus in July, Boeing completed the final configuration for the 737 MAX 8, and it launched the 737 MAX 7 variant with Southwest.

There were also a number of orders for the MAX in 2014; Ethiopian, Monarch, and a few other airlines placed orders for the MAX. In September, Boeing announced that it would offer a high density version of the 737 MAX 8 which was dubbed the 737 MAX 200, launched by Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair. The high density version will be able to seat up to 200 passengers in a single-class high-density cabin, and Boeing says it will be about 20% more cost efficient per seat than existing 737 models.

Ryanair 737-MAX 8 Artwork K66200

Ryanair 737-MAX 200 Artwork

RELATED: Ryanair Launches the Boeing 737 MAX 200

Later in the fall, Boeing announced that production of the first 737 MAX fuselage stringers–which run the length of the fuselage to provide stability and strength were under construction at the manufacturer’s Fabrication Integrated AeroStructures in Auburn, Washington. They were then shipped to Boeing partner, Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita, Kansas, to be incorporated into the first 737 MAX fuselage.

RELATED: Boeing Starts Building First 737 MAX Parts

Taking the 737 to the MAX

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First 737 Max front wing spar. The automated machine drills 30,000 spars per day. Photo by Chris Sloan / AirwaysNews

2015 was an even bigger year for the program. At the very end of May 2015, Boeing started the assembly of the wings for its first 737 MAX right on schedule at its Renton factory; wing assembly is considered the official first step in building any aircraft.  The wing load began in Boeing’s new Panel Assembly Line (PAL) which itself opened just a few months earlier. The new PAL replaces the original system dating back to the 737 program launch in the 1960s. With an assembly daily rate of eight panels—currently at 75% of automation—each upper and lower wing skin panel will require 2,500 fasteners to be completed. Four wings are produced each day with 84 per month.

RELATED: Inside Boeing’s 737 Renton Factory As They Take It To “The MAX”: Part One / Part Two

RELATED: Boeing Starts Building the First 737 MAX

On August 13, 2015, Spirit Aerosystems rolled out the first Boeing 737 MAX fuselage, and it was then delivered by rail to Boeing’s final assembly facility in Renton, Washington. Spirit Aerosystems produces approximately 70 percent of the Boeing 737 structure, including fuselage, pylon, thrust reverser and engine nacelle.

RELATED: Spirit Aerosystems Completes First Boeing 737 MAX Fuselage

737 Max; Renton Factory; 1st 737 Max on line; Aerial View from Front; K66444-03

737 Max; Renton Factory; 1st 737 Max on line / Photo courtesy of Boeing

About a month later, the first Boeing 737 MAX entered into the Final Assembly Stage, again right on schedule, and the 737 MAX entered final assembly just as Airbus opened up its new A320 Final Assembly Line in Mobile, Alabama. The MAX is being built on a third production line in Renton, called a surge line. Boeing had to reconfigure the floor space at the factory to make room for this new line, in order not to interrupt current 737NG production.

Faced with the challenges of taking the 737NG production to 42 aircraft per month by mid-2014, and at the same time adding in the production of the new MAX without causing production disruptions, Boeing opted to open a third “temporary” line dedicated to the MAX. Unlike the main two lines, the surge line is not a moving line. Progressively, the MAX will be merged into the existing two lines as the 737NGs phase out, but depending on demand and the increased production rate to 52 per month, the temporary line could become permanent.

RELATED: Boeing to Trim 777 Production, to Boost 737 Build Rate

RELATED: The First Boeing 737 MAX enters into Final Assembly Stage

Quietly on November 30, the first 737 MAX aircraft rolled off the assembly line to the paint hangar, exactly the day scheduled four years ago

On December 2, 2015, the first Boeing 737 MAX was rolled out. During the roll out, Keith Leverkuhn, vice president and general manager, 737 MAX, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, explained: “Today marks another in a long series of milestones that our team has achieved on time, per plan, together. With the rollout of the new 737 MAX – the first new airplane of Boeing’s second century – our team is upholding an incredible legacy while taking the 737 to the next level of performance.”

RELATED: Boeing Introduces its First 737 MAX

The first MAX was painted in Boeing’s MAX house livery similar to the Dreamliner livery, but uses teal instead of blue.

The aircraft, 1A001, has been undergoing pre-flight preparation and testing since rolling-out of the factory. After type certification, it will go to launch customer Southwest Airlines in the third quarter of 2017. The next 2 aircraft are in final assembly with the 4th entering soon.

The program will be over 50 years old by the time the MAX enters service with Southwest. This makes it the longest running and best selling airliner of all time. To date, more than 8,888 737s have been built since it took to the skies for the first time in 1967.

On Friday, January 22, Boeing announced that the flight testing window for the 737 MAX program opens on Friday, January 29. And as expected, and under a typical cold and rainy morning, in Seattle, the 737 MAX took to the skies over Washington on Friday, January 29.

RELATED: The Boeing 737 MAX Makes First Flight

To date, Boeing has received more than 3,000 orders for the MAX; it has received 60 orders for the MAX 7; about 1,700 for the MAX 8; more than 400 for the MAX 9; and about 660 orders have not specified the variant.


Editor‘s noteOur readers now have access to our weekly eNewsletter, which includes a recap of our top stories of the week, along with the subscriber-only exclusive Weekend Reads column and Photo of the Week from our extensive archives. The newsletter comes out every Saturday morning. Stay in the know; click here to subscribe today!

Contact the editor at roberto.leiro@airwaysnews.com

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WestJet Announces New Routes, Cuts in Western Canada

By: Nicolas Bernier / Published: January 26, 2016

WestJet Airlines announced yesterday that it will be adding several new routes to its network for the summer of 2016. The table below shows a summary of the new flights.

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 3.39.02 PMWestJet will be competing with the flag carrier of Canada on all its new routes, except Vancouver to San Diego and Calgary to Thunder Bay. Air Canada operates two daily CRJ 200 service operated by Air Georgian from its largest hub to the Music City. The Calgary-based airline will see more competition on its route from Toronto to Los Angeles as Air Canada offers six daily flights and American Airlines flies once a day. This route is so popular during the summer that Air Canada deploys its new Boeing 787-9. Vancouverites can now fly down south and enjoy the beaches and other attractions the city of San Diego has to offer.

“We are excited about our schedule and connectivity out of Toronto“, said Bob Cummings, WestJet Executive Vice-President, Commercial. “By this summer we will operate more than 120 flights per day from Toronto including new services to NashvilleLos Angeles and Boston in addition to our previously announced daily service to London, England. Building on our already strong connectivity into Toronto from across Canada is a key element of our strategy for profitable growth.”

Added Frequencies

According to the press release, Canada’s second largest airline is enhancing its schedules for business travellers with added frequencies in select markets.

The air carrier will also be adding more service between Montreal to Toronto-Pearson and Ottawa to Toronto-Pearson. Both routes will operate a peak of 12 daily flights starting on June 15, 2016. WestJet is also increasing frequencies between Toronto-Pearson and Fredericton and Ottawa to Halifax; adding one and two daily flights respectively. As of March 5, 2016, there will be three daily flights on each routes, operated by Q400s. Customers will be able to purchase  a seat on those new flights on January 31, 2016.

The airline also announced increased service from its hubs in Toronto and Vancouver. More flights will be added from Vancouver to Los Angeles, Honolulu, and Maui,  and from Toronto to Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and Myrtle Beach. The seasonal flights from Orlando to Halifax and St. John’s will now be operated year-round.

“We look forward to offering guests more options in their travel schedules along with our recently enhanced Plus product, WestJet Connect and continued WestJet Rewards program improvements. WestJet is an attractive option for business travellers across Canada,” said Cummings.

During the summer of 2016, the airline says it will operate close to 4,590 flights per week to 101 destinations, including 38 domestic, 27 in the US, 33 in the Caribbean and Mexico, and three in Europe.

RELATED: WestJet to Launch Year-Round Non-Stop Service to London Gatwick
EXTRA: WestJet’s 767s Take Off with ETOPS Certification, Begin Non-Stop Service to Hawaii

Reduction in Service

The struggling economy in Western Canada is paying the price and is having an impact on air travel. For its summer 2016 schedule, WestJet is discontinuing its service between Edmonton and Kamloops. The change will take into effect on March 5, less than a year since the launch. WestJet will continue to operate its two daily between Calgary and Kamloops. The frequency between Edmonton and Abbotsford will drop from 21 to 14 weekly. One flight from Edmonton to Grande Prairie will be removed, but twice daily service to Edmonton, and three daily flights to Calgary will remain on the schedule. A flight between Calgary and Edmonton has also been withdrawn. The airline has decided to  shift some of  its capacity to Eastern Canada.

Air Canada also announced cuts in service back in November 2015. It said it would cancel service between Edmonton to London-Heathrow and Regina, and from Calgary to Terrace/Kittimat due to an economic decline in Alberta.


1475805_10202224574510743_2017186540_nNicolas Bernier is an AirwaysNews.com contributor that has been an aviation passionate since he was young. Nicolas likes travelling, plane spotting, and writing. He lives in Montreal, Canada and studies in Aviation Business Administration at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. You can follow him on Twitter @nickbernier7, or email him at    nicolasbernier7@gmail.com


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BONUS GALLERY: Alaska Airlines Unveiling Ceremony

An overall pic of the entire reception where employees had a reception around the new brand.

An overall pic of the entire reception shows the new Alaska Airlines logo on the screen and employees meet around the new brand.

All Photos By: Brandon Farris / Published: January 26, 2015

We have a full detailed in-depth gallery from Alaska Airlines unveiling ceremony on Monday where 1,800 employees got to be the first to see the new branding and how the carrier kept its heritage with the new scheme.

 


Editor’s noteOur readers now have access to our weekly eNewsletter, which includes a recap of our top stories of the week, along with the subscriber-only exclusive Weekend Reads column and Photo of the Week from our extensive archives. The newsletter comes out every Saturday morning. Stay in the know; click here to subscribe today!

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First Boeing 737 MAX Flight Expected Friday, January 29

By Staff / Published: January 23, 2016

IMG_4456

Photo by Paul Thompson

As long as Mother Nature and other factors cooperate, the first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft is expected to take to the skies over Washington on Friday, January 29.

RELATED: Boeing Introduces the 737 MAX

The 737 MAX has received over 3,000 orders from more than 60 customers worldwide.  Although the Airbus A320neo has received more orders than the MAX program, the Boeing 737 overall is still the world’s best-selling commercial aircraft throughout history.

DSC1220

Photo by Paul Thompson

RELATED: Inside Boeing’s 737 Renton Factory As They Take It To “The MAX”: Part One / Part Two

Boeing’s Board of Directors approved the 737 MAX program on August 30, 2011, and there are to be three variants of it: the 737 MAX 7, 737 MAX 8, and 737 MAX 9. The first 737 MAX 8 is expected to be delivered to its launch customer, Southwest Airlines, sometime during the third quarter of this year as long as all flight testing goes according to plan.

The 737 MAX production has been moving fairly quickly.  Boeing started building the first 737 MAX in June with final assembly occurring just a few months later. On December 8, the aircraft was rolled out.

737MAX; 737MAX-8; 737MAX Rollout; Renton Factory;Crowds around plane ; K66476-14; 2015-12-08

Photo courtesy of Boeing

Improvements to the MAX include the new CFM LEAP-1B engine. Boeing says the MAX will have an 8 percent lower operating cost than Airbus’ A320neo family, thanks to fuel efficiency and maintenance advantages. This April rumors surfaced that the LEAP-1B was suffering from an underwhelming fuel burn performance of 4-5% during testing. The new split winglets on the MAX will save 1.8% more fuel than the current blended winglets by Aviation Partners, in service since 2004.

ANALYSIS: CFM Missing On the LEAP-1B Would Be a Major Blow to Boeing 737 MAX

Besides Boeing’s announcement, it was also a big week for Airbus as it delivered its first A320neo to Lufthansa, and Lufthansa will fly the world’s first A320neo flight on Sunday.

AirwaysNews will have live coverage of the first flight Friday, January 29 on Twitter and Facebook. Once departing from the Renton FAL, it will complete some initial flight testing over Washington state, and it will most likely return to Boeing Field where Boeing’s flight test operations are based.

RELATED: Boeing Starts Building First 737 MAX Parts

RELATED: Boeing Starts Building the First 737 MAX

RELATED: The First Boeing 737 MAX enters into Final Assembly Stage


Editor‘s noteOur readers now have access to our weekly eNewsletter, which includes a recap of our top stories of the week, along with the subscriber-only exclusive Weekend Reads column and Photo of the Week from our extensive archives. The newsletter comes out every Saturday morning. Stay in the know; click here to subscribe today!

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United Airlines to Take Delivery of 40 Boeing 737-700s In A Blow to the CSeries

By: Staff / Published: January 21, 2016

In a likely blow to Bombardier’s anemic selling new CSeries, United will take delivery of 40 Boeing 737-700s to replace some of the smaller, older planes, operated by its regional carriers.

We are continuing to move United forward and announced today we would take delivery of 40 new Boeing 737-700 aircraft, which will enter the fleet beginning in mid-2017. These aircraft give our customers the experience they want with first class seats, Economy Plus and Wi-Fi, while enabling us to reduce 50-seat flying.

Brett Hart, United Airlines acting CEO.

United_Airlines_Boeing_737-700;_N27724@LAX;10.10.2011_622km_(6482450875)United’s current Boeing 737-700 fleet seat 118 passengers, with 12 business class, 40 Economy Plus and 66 Standard Economy seats. A sub-fleet used in its Micronesia operations has a seating configuration for 124 seats. The Chicago-based carrier said it plans to replace more than half of the 50-seat regional jets in its fleet by 2019.

“Our customers have a preference for an improved travel experience, including first class seats, Economy Plus, and Wi-Fi. These aircraft are an efficient way to meet those needs while reducing 50-seat flying,” said Gerry Laderman, United’s acting chief financial officer.

RELATED: United Airlines 2016 Fleet Plan

The decision represents a major setback for Bombardier, which has been seeking potential customers for its CSeries aircraft beyond the current orders which stands at 243 planes. Bombardier’s sales team had been courting United in a bid to offer the 100 to 160-seat CSeries and showed off the aircraft to the airline’s senior management team and employees this past November as part of a demonstration tour to prospective customers. Delta however is considered a very strong potential buyer in light of positive comments made by DL President Ed Bastion in an earnings call yesterday.

RELATED:  Analysis – Will Delta Order the CSeries?

REPORT: Where Are the Sales for Bombardier’s CSeries Jet?


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United CEO Oscar Munoz is Out of the Hospital

by Staff / Published January 15, 2016

Oscar Munoz UA CEOUnited Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz is out of Northwestern Medicine’s Heart Transplant Program in Chicago, and is well on his way to recovery and progressing towards a return to the company in 2016. Munoz replaced the embattled Jeff Smisek in early September of 2015, but after just a month on the job, Munoz suffered a heart attack. However, despite the immediate health challenges, United’s board of directors was optimistic enough about Munoz’s initial job performance that they rewarded him with a five-year employment contract.

After being released, Munoz sent out the following letter to employees:

Munoz’s Letter

To my United Family –

Greetings and Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday.

My family and I are deeply grateful for your thoughts and prayers. It’s given us strength and lifted our spirits.

I’m excited to let you know that today I’m headed to my Chicago home following my heart transplant. With the help of the amazing and caring team at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, I feel as strong as ever. My doctors have been impressed with my progress and foresee a quick recovery. I feel great, and it won’t be long before we are working side by side again. Until that time, I expect to participate in key meetings and be involved in strategic planning.

My new heart makes me feel like I’ve been given a new set of wings, and that reinforces my confidence that, with the wings we all share, we can soar in our quest to make United a great airline for our customers and a cherished place to work. I will be relying on this sense of team purpose as I transition back. We have some important decisions ahead of us, and we can move forward with the necessary boldness only if we have a shared trust, confidence and respect.

I know that a lot of you spent time away from family and friends these past few weeks getting our customers home to their loved ones. Thank you. Your hard work in the face of challenging conditions was exceptional, and our customers noticed. I couldn’t be more proud of what you did and am pleased to share that we received our highest customer satisfaction performance for the holiday period in more than three years! It’s a fantastic achievement.

As I thought about my return, I gave careful consideration to what greater things we can do together, and that has spurred my recovery. We’ve made a lot of positive changes these past few months thanks to your efforts. Take pride in these accomplishments and our success. Remember, even better days lie ahead if we stay focused on consistently earning our customers’ trust. Keep up the great work, and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Warmly,
Oscar Munoz


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Meet Canada’s New ULCC: NewLeaf Travel

By: Nicolas Bernier / Published January 6, 2016

NewLeaf Travel Company Inc. has announced today  that it would begin operating commercial flights on February 12. The Winnipeg-based startup airline is Canada’s first ultra low-cost carrier.

2016-launch-routemap

NewLeaf Travel’s Route Network

The flights will be operated by Flair Airlines, a charter airline founded in 2003 in Kelowna, British Columbia. The air carrier possesses a fleet of five Boeing 737-400s, one Embraer 175, and a Dornier 328. Flair Airlines will operate the Boeing 737 on behalf of NewLeaf in an all-economy configuration of 156 seats, and it will also provide the crew and maintenance.

New Leaf

Flights are available to/from seven airport nationwide: Abbotsford (BC), Halifax, Hamilton (ON), Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg. Below is a table which include the new city pairs along with their corresponding introductory fares. The complete schedule can be found here.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 6.38.10 PMFlights will start as low as $89 one-way. This price might seem a bit expensive for a ULCC, but after conversion to US Dollars, it is about $63 USD, which is in the range of American ULCCs such as Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines.

According to Statistics Canada, the average cost of a one-way flight in the first quarter of 2015 was $247.60, a 2.2% increase from the same quarter of the previous year. NewLeaf wants to reduce ticket prices to the market which has been lead by Air Canada and WestJet for the past two decades.

To cut expenses, the airline has decided to fly to second-tier airports with lower landing fees. For example, instead of flying to Vancouver and Toronto-Pearson, NewLeaf will serve Abbotsford, BC and Hamilton, ON respectively. Similar to Southwest Airlines, tickets can only be purchased through the air carrier’s website and not on third party websites or agencies. Customers can book their future travel as of today on the airline’s website.

NewLeaf also follows the path of American low-cost carrier, Allegiant Air, where flights do not operate daily but only occur once or just a few times weekly. It aims at serving leisure travellers primarily instead of business travellers.

New Fees 

The shown fares above only include a seat on the plane. Passengers who wish to bring their bags with them to their final destination will have to pay extra. A carry-on bag costs $25 if paid online, $35 at the airport check-in, and $80 at the gate. A checked bag is about the same price as the carry-on. The checked bag fee is already imposed on Air Canada and WestJet so passengers should not be surprised. However, the carry-on fee is new and is a common fee on ULCCs.

Seat selection is also a bit different then other Canadian air carriers. Selecting a seat in the first half of the aircraft will cost between $15 and $20 depending if customers select the seat at web or airport check-in. Seats in the rear half of the aircraft cost $5 less. Passengers can enjoy more legroom when selecting an exit row seat ($25-$35).

Customers flying aboard NewLeaf should print their boarding pass at home or they will have to pay $10 to print it at the airport. Beverages and snacks are not on the house and passengers should expect to pay for water. For an extra $20 at the time of booking, passengers can change or postpone their trip without paying the change fees.

All the other fees such as unaccompanied minors, change fee, and priority boarding also apply to the airline.

Ultra Low-Cost Carriers in Canada

WestJet Airlines was launched in 1996 as a low-cost carrier but decided to move away from this business model in the last few years. Porter Airlines would be currently the closest cheapest airline of Canada even though it does not consider itself a true LCC.

If NewLeaf takes much market share over the years as it builds up, WestJet and Air Canada will have to find a way to respond to the competition. The new airline does not compete on any routes with AC and WJ for now, but this could change in the future. Delta Air Lines launched a special booking fare a few years ago to compete with ULLCs on certain competing routes.


1475805_10202224574510743_2017186540_nNicolas Bernier is an AirwaysNews.com contributor that has been an aviation passionate since he was young. Nicolas likes travelling, plane spotting, and writing. He lives in Montreal, Canada and studies in Aviation Business Administration at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. You can follow him on Twitter @nickbernier7, or email him at nicolasbernier7@gmail.com


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First A320neo Delivery Postponed Until January

By: Staff / Published: December 30, 2015

Citing documentation issues, Airbus has announced that it will be unable to deliver the first Airbus A320neo before the end of 2015. The delivery is now expected to occur sometime within the next one to five weeks, but no official date has been set.A320neo_first_flight_air_to_air_3

Unfortunately for Airbus, it will miss its target of getting the first A320neo delivered “in late 2015″ by just days, but earlier this month, it became apparent a delivery before the end of 2015 would be very close.

Earlier this month, Airbus announced that it would hand the first A320neo over to Lufthansa rather than Qatar Airways, but Al Akabar, Qatar’s CEO, said that he expected a “Christmas miracle” and “that Airbus will deliver the A320neo before the end of the year.” The change in the launch customer was due to operational constraints in place for the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engine, pending some hardware and software changes which were to be implemented “within a matter of weeks,” and Qatar did not want to take delivery of the new aircraft if it had operational restrictions.

REPORT: Airbus to Swap A320neo Deliveries, Lufthansa Becomes Launch Operator

Despite the switch, it still looked possible that the first A320neo could occur before the end of 2015, but IndiGo Airlines was notified on December 21 that its first A320neo will not be delivered on-time due to “industrial reasons.” The airline expected to receive on December 30, and as of now, it does not know when it will receive its first aircraft.

RELATED: Airbus to Delay IndiGo’s A320neo Delivery

Lufthansa will still be the launch customer when its takes delivery of the first A320neo next month, despite the delay. In Air Transport World (ATW) story on the delay, they confirmed that “a Pratt & Whitney spokesperson told ATW the PW1100G geared turbofan engine was ‘ready to enter service and meeting or exceeding all performance requirements’ and that the reason for the postponement was ‘primarily a documentation issue.’”

You can read the full Air Transport World Story here.


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Bombardier Hosts CSeries Event, Jet Certification Achieved

By: Nicolas Bernier / Published December 18, 2015

Bombardier held a press conference this morning to announce the certification by Transport Canada of the CS100, the smallest member of the CSeries family aircraft. Canadian government representatives, including the Minister of Transport Honorable Marc Garneau, and top program leaders of the CSeries project were present at the event to address the media.

“I am happy to confirm that Transport Canada has delivered a Type Certificate for the CSeries aircraft,” said Marc Garneau. “After a careful examination of the CSeries’ design, production, and assembly, Transport Canada approved the design, airworthiness, limitations, and operating conditions of the aircraft.”

François Caza, Vice President, Product Development and Chief Engineer explained how certification is an important step in the program. Type Certificate is important because it allows to move forward to the next step, which is the delivery phase.

“Our highly skilled Flight Test, Ground Test and Engineering teams, along with our suppliers, have successfully designed, developed, tested and certified this best-in-class aircraft — introducing multiple new technologies resulting in the aircraft exceeding the performance targets we committed at program launch,” said Mr. Caza. “I applaud our employees’ innovation, dedication and engagement on achieving this key milestone. I am confident we will execute on our next commitments with the same diligence and excellence.”

Rob Dewar, Vice President, CSeries Program, covered an overview of the CSeries program along with specifications and performance. He stated that the aircraft offers a 20% lower fuel burn and provides unbeatable operating economics. The CSeries has the widest seats and the widest windows in its class. There is space for a carry on bag for each passengers on the plane.

Alain Bellemare, President and CEO of Bombardier made a clear statement for the people who doubt of the manufacturer’s ability to sell the aircraft. “Not only have we reached our objectives, but we even surpassed them at the performance level of the aircraft. We have the best aircraft in the world in the 100 to 150-seat market segment. We are very proud of this.” “Today, we can celebrate together.”

During a Q&A session, Dewar said that the next step is to start training the pilots, and to get certification with the EASA and the FAA. First roller out in March 2013, everything is on track for entry into service of the CS100  to Swiss at the second quarter of 2016. When a reporter asked if Porter still had an order with Bombardier, Cromer said it was affirmative and that Bombardier was still in talks with Porter Airlines in figuring out how it plans to strategically use the aircraft. Jets are currently not allowed to fly to Toronto City Airport due to noise constraints, but Cromer assured “the footprints in terms of noise of this aircraft are amazing.”

ANALYSIS: Porter Airlines Future is Uncertain Without Toronto City Runway Extension

Last month, the Quebec government bailed out Bombardier, so now it has a direct stake in any future success of the project. That came on the same day the company announced a $3.2-billion writedown on the project which has seen many delays and cost overruns. Currently, the Greater Montreal area is the third largest aerospace production hub in the world and it contributes every year more than $29 billion in the Canadian economy.

As of today, the Montreal-based manufacturer has received 243 firm orders and 603 commitments for both models of the aircraft, the CS100 and the CS300. Swiss will be the launch customer of the CS100 and the aircraft is expected to enter service with Swiss in the first half of 2016. The multinational company said the larger CS300 is on track to receive its Type Certificate within the next six months and is scheduled to enter service in the second half of 2016.

EXTRA: CSeries Factory – How Bombardier is Building Their New Jets
EXTRA: Airways Visits Bombardier’s CSeries Customer Experience Centre
EXTRA: Report: Where Are the Sales for Bombardier’s CSeries Jet?

Tour of the CSeries
Following the press conference, the media was invited to take a tour of the interior of the CS100 and a prototype of the CS300.

Below is a gallery of the CS100. I was unable to take pictures of the CS300 because it contained confidential equipment inside the airframe. The CS300 was not configured with seats but had water tanks all over the cabin. An engineer at Bombardier told me those reservoirs simulate the weight of the seats and of the passengers. The crew is also able to monitor the centre of gravity of the aircraft.

RELATED: CSeries CS300 Achieves First Flight


1525a4bNicolas Bernier is an AirwaysNews.com contributor that has been an aviation passionate since he was young. Nicolas likes travelling, plane spotting, and writing. He lives in Montreal, Canada and studies in Aviation Business Administration at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. You can follow him on Twitter @nickbernier7, or email him at nicolasbernier7@gmail.com


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KLM Trades DFW Route for Salt Lake City as it Shakes Up Commercial Strategy

By: Rohan Anand / Published December 18, 2015

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has decided to refrain from resuming its summer seasonal service to Dallas/Ft. Worth, and instead will focus its attention on larger SkyTeam markets in the U.S.,  namely adding a link from Amsterdam to Salt Lake City, a hub for joint venture partner Delta Air Lines.

KLM had previously intended to resume its 5-weekly DFW service on May 2, 2016, but inventory was removed from GDS schedules on December 15. Several hours earlier, KLM had opened reservations for its new Salt Lake City – Amsterdam route, also slated to commence on May 5, but presumably this will operate in lieu of the DFW route resumption. The Dutch carrier has been serving North Texas since March 2008, although the route was converted from year-round to seasonal in Winter 2011 due to low demand in the off-season.

The decision to drop DFW and add Salt Lake reflects a broader strategic move between KLM, its transatlantic JV partner Delta and new code share partner, Jet Airways of India, to build market share in tactical hubs while also leveraging scale where necessary.

KLM bows out of North Texas given the surge in Middle Eastern carrier presence at DFW

KLM’s withdrawal from Dallas/Ft. Worth is a blow to an airport that has enjoyed being in “growth mode” over the past 5 years by attracting a variety of new international airline entrants. Since 2011, DFW has lured service from Qantas, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad, Japan Airlines and will soon add airberlin to its roster of foreign carriers in 2016. Predominant hub carrier American Airlines has also expanded massively to Asia from DFW and to secondary destinations in Central and South America.

The challenge for KLM at DFW has been multi-fold: for one, the local market between DFW and Amsterdam is not large with roughly 25 passengers-per-day, each way (PDEW). Much of the inbound traffic into Amsterdam is dependent on the strength of the Oil and Gas (O&G) market, which is currently in a slump. As such, the DFW – Amsterdam route is built largely on connecting traffic over Amsterdam to Africa, India and the Middle East.

It was not coincidental that KLM suspended seasonal operations on its DFW route the same period during which Emirates entered Dallas/Ft. Worth – in February 2012. The route continued to operate during summers 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 – although the more recent summer period was the first year during which KLM had to fare against all three Gulf Coast carriers. During the prior periods, Qatar had commenced DFW service in mid-July and Etihad arrived in December 2014.

Prior to the entrance of Emirates Airline in February 2012, KLM had been one of three European carriers – along with Lufthansa and British Airways – offering nonstop service to the European continent. The bread-and-butter traffic for these routes were sixth freedom passengers traveling to onward destinations in Africa, India and the Middle East. However, today, all three major Gulf carriers offer year-round service from DFW to their respective hubs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha, and subsequently, the value of KLM through Amsterdam is muted.

By and large, the Dallas/Ft. Worth to India market is most conveniently served via the Gulf Coast carriers given the massive presence of all three in primary, secondary and tertiary markets in the subcontinent. Conversely, KLM only serves one destination in India – New Delhi – and JV partner Delta discontinued its Amsterdam – Mumbai flight in March 2015. Sister carrier Air France serves Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore from its Paris Charles de Gaulle hub. But beyond these markets, the breadth of SkyTeam in India is fairly limited.

Indian_Market_Share

Per the graphic above, courtesy of CAPA, the market share breakdown for international air traffic into India, measured on seats, denotes that Emirates, Etihad and Qatar command the 3rd, 4th and 5th largest presences in India.

The impact of KLM’s withdrawal from DFW will be minimized somewhat by the arrival of airberlin in May 2016, who will offer 4 weekly round-trips to Dusseldorf on a year-round basis. DFW airport has prioritized Europe as a focus area for growth over the next several years. The advantage that airberlin offers as a Oneworld member is to allow DFW feed traffic beyond Dusseldorf to continental Europe. Although KLM may play a similar role via its Amsterdam hub, the presence of SkyTeam Alliance in DFW is not strong enough.

DFW’s loss is Salt Lake City’s gain as KLM opts to deploy capacity in larger US SkyTeam hubs without Gulf Carrier presence

The Dutch carrier announced on Monday that it will be commencing year-round service to Salt Lake City on May 5, 2016, the same week that its DFW route was slated to resume. The Amsterdam – Salt Lake City flight will operate thrice weekly (initially starting at 2 frequencies per week before increasing to 3 on July 4, 2016). KLM has indicated that it will operate alongside joint venture partner Delta’s daily service to Amsterdam, which is slated to resume on March 21, 2016. Delta launched Salt Lake City – Amsterdam summer 2015 on a seasonal basis. It is unclear whether Delta will maintain a year-round presence in the SLC – Amsterdam market, but it is assumed that KLM will continue to operate its Salt Lake City route through the winter period.

Delta has been gradually adding transatlantic service from its Salt Lake City hub since 2008, when it first launched year-round service to Paris on a 767-300ER. Delta added Amsterdam in summer 2015 and will also commence seasonal service to London Heathrow in summer 2016, flown in conjunction with its joint venture agreement with Virgin Atlantic. By July 2016, Salt Lake will boast 4 peak-day flights to three European markets, or 24 weekly round trips, to London, Paris and Amsterdam.

It certainly helps that Salt Lake City is essentially Delta and SkyTeam’s gateway to the Mountain west region of the United States, and the airport provides ample connections to smaller markets in the Western region of the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Hawaii without significant backtracking through other SkyTeam bastions in Seattle and Los Angeles. Salt Lake is a popular origin and destination market based on tourism and leisure alone, and also boasts a growing financial services sector. Delta supposedly has committed to increase seat capacity at Salt Lake City by 8% over the next five years, according to CAPA.

Finally, it is also advantageous that Salt Lake City is not a capacity-restricted airport with regards to airspace, facilities or runways, an issue that has been challenging for Delta and SkyTeam partners at its other international West Coast gateways in Seattle and Los Angeles. Even at DFW, the facilities at the international Terminal D are becoming increasingly constrained during peak arrival and departure banks, which has prompted hub carrier American Airlines to move some wide-body and international flights to depart from domestic terminals and gates.

The decision to pull the plug on DFW and launch SLC coincide with the new Jet Airways partnership

The shifts in Delta and KLM’s transatlantic network reflect a broader strategic revision around their Amsterdam hub, which will be the largest beneficiary of a new partnership with India’s Jet Airways in March 2016. KLM and Delta announced the new partnership with Jet on December 14, revealing that Jet Airways will move its Brussels scissor hub operations to Amsterdam and carry KLM and Delta codes on routes to Delhi and Mumbai. Delta and KLM will also carry Jet Airways’ code on 11 transatlantic routes offered by both carriers.

Currently, Jet Airways operates a scissor hub from Brussels to four intercontinental destinations: Delhi and Mumbai in India, and Newark and Toronto in North America. Service to Newark will be dropped while the remaining three routes will be migrated to Amsterdam. Delta and KLM will place their codes on Jet Airways’ domestic routes from New Delhi and Mumbai to Hyderabad, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Goa, Kolkata in India, as well as Dhaka, Bangladesh, Kathmandu, Nepal and Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Simultaneously, Jet Airways will place its code on Delta and KLM flights operated from Amsterdam to New York JFK, Newark, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Edmonton.

Notably, Delta and KLM flights from Amsterdam to Delta’s primary SkyTeam hubs – including Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Seattle and Salt Lake City – have been excluded from the partnership agreement in the interim period. It is possible that the codeshare may be extended in the future to include these routes. However, the logic behind this exclusion could be that the Gulf Coast carriers are notably absent from the aforementioned cities, with the exception of Atlanta (Qatar Airways) and Seattle (Emirates). From a loyalty and revenue perspective, it therefore isn’t as critical to offer reciprocal benefits on these routes since the threat of competition against the Gulf carriers is minimal on these routes.

Of course, there still exists an Elephant in the room: Jet Airways’ current partnership with Etihad Airways. Delta and KLM have adopted a resistant stance against the growth of the Middle Eastern carriers in the U.S. and Europe, claiming that such airlines are subsidized by their respective governments to operate loss-making routes and steal market share from privately owned carriers. The viability (or lack thereof) of Delta and Air France – KLM’s services to India alone has been a case study of accusations that SkyTeam has alleged against the Gulf carriers for unfair competitive practices.

Yet, Jet Airways has boldly been partnered with the alleged “enemy” for several years since Etihad Airways acquired a 24% stake in Jet in 2013, valued at $379M USD. The two carriers received regulatory approval from both the UAE and India to substantially increase in seat capabity between the two countries, alongside change of aircraft gauge for Indian and Emirati carriers flying between Abu Dhabi and India. Even while Indian carriers were placed under Category 2 restrictions from flying to the U.S. in 2014, Jet was able to circumvent this by wet-leasing its 777-300ERs to be flown from Abu Dhabi to San Francisco and New York, operated by Etihad crews.

Purportedly, Jet’s decision to close its Brussels hub has been in the works for several years, but earlier indications appeared to suggest that the carrier would consolidate its major long-haul operations out of Abu Dhabi and withdraw hub operations out of Europe altogether. As such, the decision to move to Amsterdam is a major game-changer in terms of strategy, but also appears to suggest that Jet sees major value in coordinating with KLM and Delta to boost its off-line presence in the U.S. and Canada. Etihad is incapable of expanding in Canadian cities due to the bilateral restrictions in place between the U.A.E. and Canada, and Etihad has slowed its expansion into the U.S. in recent years compared to rivals Emirates and Qatar.

Furthermore, the local market between Amsterdam and the North America is far larger than from Abu Dhabi. Based on seat capacity alone, data from CAPA and OAG show that weekly seat offerings between Abu Dhabi and North America will stand at roughly 16,000 seats during Summer 2016, whereas the number is 80,000 between Amsterdam and North America during the same period. Of those 80,000 seats, roughly 70,000, or 87.5%, are operated by Delta and KLM. Even though not all of those seats will be included in the Jet Airways partnership, the impact will be substantially larger for Jet to tie up with Delta and KLM rather than go at it alone with Etihad.

Jet Airways walks away as the biggest winner: can the relationships stay balanced?

The game-changing strategy for Delta and KLM to partner with a friend of the enemy is merely the latest step in a global saga over the purported “threat” of the Middle Eastern carriers. Ultimately, however, Delta and KLM gain more access to India via Amsterdam, although the value of offering passengers itineraries that involve double connections over Amsterdam and Delhi or Mumbai is somewhat questionable. Meanwhile, Jet Airways increases its off-line presence in the United States and Canada via Delta and KLM, whose presence in both countries is not only stronger, but more welcomed. Finally, KLM and Delta will focus growth in markets unaffected (or yet to be affected) by the Gulf carriers to protect transit traffic over SkyTeam hubs in Europe, hence moving the KLM service from DFW to SLC.

Jet Airways will walk away as the largest benefactor from these movements, but will also need to maintain a careful balance of its relationships between two foes. Put simply, SkyTeam carriers do not like the Gulf airlines, period. Indian carriers, moreover, tend to be more fluid when it comes to evolving commercial strategy, and this is not generally perceived as a positive in the global aviation realm. The fact that Jet has managed to pull two opponent airline groups into each arm is a major feat: insuring that it walks abreast without stumbling with one, the other or both will be another task altogether.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article, as well as any of Rohan’s published articles on AirwaysNews, are strictly his and do not reflect opinions of his employer in any capacity.


Editor’s noteKeep up with AirwaysNews by subscribing to our weekly eNewsletter. Every Saturday morning, subscribers get a recap of our top stories of the week, the subscriber-only exclusive Weekend Reads column wrapping up interesting industry stories and a Photo of the Week from the amazing AirwaysNews archives. Click here to subscribe today!

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Boeing Introduces Its First 737 MAX

Story and Photos by: Paul Thompson / Published: December 8, 2015

On Tuesday morning in Renton, Washington, thousands of Boeing employees were on hand as the company introduced the very first of the fourth generation of its 737 — the 737 MAX, dubbed Spirit of Renton. With 2,955 orders from 60 customers as of press time, the 737 throughout its history is the world’s best-selling commercial aircraft.

IMG_4456The aircraft introduced this morning is painted in a Boeing’s MAX house livery, similar to the Dreamliner livery, but teal instead of blue. Registered 1A001, the aircraft will now undergo pre-flight preparation in the factory before departing for Renton to continue flight test readiness as it is the first of four MAX aircraft that will be used to test and certify the program with the FAA. After type certification, it will go to launch customer Southwest Airlines in the third quarter of 2017. MAX test aircraft 1A002 is nearly complete on the assembly line, and the wings for aircraft 1A003 sit on the line, ready to be joined with the fuselage in the days to come.

737MAX; 737MAX-8; 737MAX Rollout; Renton Factory;Crowds around plane ; K66476-14; 2015-12-08

Photo Credits: Boeing

Boeing; Flight Test Photo; 737 MAX Renton; 1A001; Steve Brown environmental portrait, data recorder, instrumentation racks, magazine photo shoot

Photo Credits: Boeing

“Today marks another in a long series of milestones that our team has achieved on time, per plan, together,” said Keith Leverkuhn, vice president and general manager, 737 MAX, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “With the rollout of the new 737 MAX – the first new airplane of Boeing’s second century – our team is upholding an incredible legacy while taking the 737 to the next level of performance.”

RELATED: Boeing Starts Building First 737 MAX Parts

RELATED: Boeing Starts Building the First 737 MAX

RELATED: The First Boeing 737 MAX enters into Final Assembly Stage

MAX test aircraft 1A002. Photo by Paul Thompson

MAX test aircraft 1A002. Photo by Paul Thompson

The MAX is being built on a third production line in Renton, called a surge line. Boeing had to reconfigure their floor space at the factory to make room for this new line, in order not to interrupt current 737NG production. During a MAX assembly line tour on Monday morning, Boeing noted that 1A001 actually rolled off the assembly line to the paint hangar on November 30th, exactly the day scheduled four years ago. Boeing VP and General Manager, 737 MAX, Commercial Airplanes said, “The team has met all of the milestones that we had set for the program, including wing loading into the wing-body join, the fuselage on dock day, the wing-body join on time. Power on, on time. Culminating with rollout on time. Very proud of the team.”

RELATED: Inside Boeing’s 737 Configuration Studio

RELATED: Inside Boeing’s 737 Renton Factory As They Take It To “The MAX”: Part One / Part Two

At Tuesday morning’s ceremony, Leverkunh said, “Today marks another in a long series of milestones that our team has achieved on time, per plan, together. With the rollout if the new 737 MAX — the first new airplane of Boeing’s second century — our team is upholding an incredible legacy while taking the 737 to the next level of performance.”

MAX test aircraft 1A002. Photo by Paul Thompson

MAX test aircraft 1A002. Photo by Paul Thompson

Boeing says the MAX will burn 20 percent less fuel than first 737NGs, which were rolled out nineteen years ago this week, on December 2nd. Southwest was also the launch customer for the NG series, in this case the -700, taking delivery of their first -700 on December 17, 1997.

SPECIAL: The Boeing 737 NG Family

The stretched -900 series debuted in 2000, and eventually led to the end of 757 production, with Boeing saying that the -900 or the 787-8 could fill that mission gap. Meanwhile, Airbus’ stretched A321 is what many airlines are now choosing to replace their 757s, with domestic legacies like American and Delta both adding A321s. Many within the industry expect that Boeing is currently developing an enhanced 757-style derivative, what is tentatively called the NMA, or “Next Midsize Aircraft,” likely to be dubbed the 797 once it is officially on the market, entering service no earlier than 2022.

Boeing did have a clean sheet aircraft in development prior to the MAX, internally called Project Yellowstone, or Y1. Many thought it to be a sort of mini Dreamliner, with two aisles and a carbon fiber fuselage. However, Boeing shelved the project, partly due to being unable to feasibly scale down the carbon fiber fuselage technology.

The MAX-8 was launched by Boeing on August 30, 2011. Once again, Southwest Airlines was the launch customer, with an order for 200 aircraft, including options. Southwest also launched the MAX-7 in 2013 by converting existing -700NG orders to the MAX.

CFM LEAP engine, at the 2015 Dubai Air Show. Photo by Paul Thompson.

CFM LEAP engine, at the 2015 Dubai Air Show. Photo by Paul Thompson.

Improvements to the MAX include the new CFM LEAP-1B engine. Boeing says the MAX will have an 8 percent lower operating cost than Airbus’ A320neo family, thanks to fuel efficiency and maintenance advantages. This April rumors surfaced that the LEAP-1B was suffering from an underwhelming fuel burn performance of 4-5% during testing. The new split winglets on the MAX will save 1.8% more fuel than the current blended winglets by Aviation Partners, in service since 2004.

ANALYSIS: CFM Missing On the LEAP-1B Would Be a Major Blow to Boeing 737 MAX

Test aircraft 1A002's main landing gears are swung open and closed. Photo by Paul Thompson.

Test aircraft 1A002’s main landing gears are swung open and closed. Photo by Paul Thompson.

Airbus’ A320neo, equipped with Pratt and Whitney’s PW110G, received joint type certification from the EASA and FAA on November 24th, with the first customer delivery expected before year’s end, to Qatar Airways. The neo has received over 4,300 orders, from over 75 customers to date, giving it a 60 percent market share currently. But then again, the Airbus A320neo did come to market twenty months before the MAX.

RELATED: Airbus A320neo Receives Joint EASA and FAA Type Certification

MAX test aircraft 1A002. Photo by Paul Thompson.

MAX test aircraft 1A002. Photo by Paul Thompson.

What’s next for the MAX? Leverkunh said, “We’re going to be spending some time with the plane, getting it ready for its first flight in early 2016. We’re going to fly it low and slow to begin with, to make sure we understand the handling characteristics, to make sure what we modeled and what we saw in the wind tunnel are correct.” Next will come the flutter tests, where they test the dynamic response of the airplane. Boeing will go on to produce the MAX -7, -9 and MAX 200, which is a high-density seating configuration for the -8. A first flight date for the MAX has not been set, other than “early 2016.” Production and entry into service dates have not been announced for the programs following the -7.

It’s a bit unusual for Boeing to introduce an aircraft with such little fanfare. Here in Seattle, only a handful of media were on hand for what amounts to a photo op. At the official rollout ceremony, media are completely excluded, saving the event for Boeing employees only.

The 737NG is the most reliable commercial airplane flying today, making a big part of the testing program focused on reliability. Boeing has coined a term, “Right at first flight” — making sure the systems are put together in a way that they not only know how they function, but can expect just how reliable they’ll be. Throughout flight tests, the MAX will be operated just like an airline would operate it, to all climates and conditions.

Thus far, the MAX program has performed with flying colors in contrast to the 787, which entered service burdened by years of delays, followed by battery issues and a 3-month fleet grounding once already in service. But it’s fair to note that the MAX is an updated version of a legacy airframe that will be fifty years old once it enters service.


IMG_7483Paul Thompson is a freelance aviation and travel writer, with over 14 years of experience in the airline industry. In his free time, he enjoys leisure travel, photography, and enjoying local craft beers wherever he goes. He lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife and two daughters. He may be reached on Twitter at @FlyingPhotog.


Editor‘s noteOur readers now have access to our weekly eNewsletter, which includes a recap of our top stories of the week, along with the subscriber-only exclusive Weekend Reads column and Photo of the Week from our extensive archives. The newsletter comes out every Saturday morning. Stay in the know; click here to subscribe today!

Contact the editor at roberto.leiro@airwaysnews.com

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Delta Launches ‘Delta Comfort+’ Fare

By Contributor / Published November 14, 2015

On Saturday, Delta Air Lines officially launched a “Delta Comfort+” fare type in its reservation system which makes it the first U.S. legacy airline to sell extra legroom seats as its own fare.IMG_7670

For future travel starting May 16, 2016, customers will have the option to book the Delta Comfort+ fare; customers who purchase this will be able to select Comfort+ seats which offer:

  • Customers can take advantage of Sky Priority Boarding instead of boarding in Zone 1
  • There is dedicated overhead bin space for Comfort + customers
  • Extra leg room
  • Free wine, spirits, and regional craft beers for customers 21 and over
  • Snacks on all flights with a premium snack basket being offered on flights over 900 miles
  • Complimentary access to everything on Delta Studio

Plus, Delta has begun installing curtains between main cabin and Comfort+ seats on some of its MD-88 aircraft; eventually, all of the fleet will have this divider.

EXTRA: Op-Ed: Is Delta’s Comfort + A Third Class?

Initial Comfort+ Upgrades

The new fare type comes just 11 months after Delta announced many new upgrades to its existing product, including re-branding Economy Comfort to Comfort+. The airline also made upgrades to its First Class and Delta One products as well as expanded a bit more on its Basic Economy and Main Cabin products.737_ComfortPlus

When the announcement was made last December, there was mixed reaction. Many people were happy to hear that Delta would begin enforcing dedicated overhead bin space for those seated in Comfort+ as long as flight attendants actually enforced it, and many were happy with the addition of the free wine, spirits, and regional craft beers for customers 21 and over, complimentary Delta Studio Access, and snack basket on flights over 900 miles. Plus, Delta re-branded the seats with new seat covers that closely matched the new first class seat covers.

But, there were some negative reactions.

Gold Medallion members lost complimentary access to select Comfort+ seats at the time of booking as they now had-and still do-to wait until 72 hours before departure to select seats. Additionally, Delta began to advertise even more to up-sell more of the seats to customers which disappointed some elites as it would become a bit harder to select them at time of booking or just a few days before departure.

The Changes With the New Fare Class

With the debut of the new airfare, there are not really any new changes to the product; the changes are all about who has access to these seats and when.4d30e37a-2d28-4511-bd59-66923e49b87d

Diamond and Platinum Medallions will be able to continue to select Comfort+ seats at the time of booking for free, unless they book a Basic Economy (E fare) ticket. Gold Medallions will still have access to select Comfort+ seats for free at three days before departure, and Silver Medallions will still be able to select them for free starting at the time of check-in. There are some changes on how Medallions will be able to select the seats at the window they can select them.

Certificates?

Although, many have reported that Delta’s elite services phone line agents are saying that Gold Medallions will receive four certificates each year that would allow them to select Comfort+ seats at the time of booking while Silver Medallions will receive two per year for each year they re-qualify for status. In a way, this is much like how Diamond and Platinum Medallions receive a certain number of global and/or regional upgrade certificates each year.

Upgrading to Delta Comfort+

Over the course of last week, Delta made some changes to their website, especially how it displays Medallion Upgrade Requests to allow the ability for Gold and Silver Medallions to automatically request an upgrade to Comfort+ as long as seats are available at the window that they can select the seats for free; now if there are only middle seats available and customers have selected to be auto-upgraded, they will be upgraded to the middle seat. This part has given some Medallions mixed feelings about the opportunity to upgrade–especially when just middle seats are available–as some say an aisle in the main cabin is much better than a middle in Comfort+.

Selecting Delta Comfort+ Seats for Diamond and Platinum Medallions

Now should a Platinum or Diamond Medallion opt to purchase a Main Cabin fare, they will have to select a regular Main Cabin seat; then, Delta will re-issue the ticket and then they can select a Comfort+ seat for free should they decide to. One phone agent explained that when the ticket is re-issued, they will be in a W fare class which is to help for “better inventory control.”

Companion Access

Another change Delta has made that will be effective May 16, 2016 is that Medallions will only allow one companion to sit with you in Comfort+, and they will receive access to the seats for free at the time that the person with the lowest Medallion status can access the seats.

The companion change is getting a mixed reaction; some are happy that it’ll only be one companion as sometimes an entire party of eight can take up all of the extra legroom seats on a regional jet, but others are not happy as this will mean that some parties will have to split up or not get to select a Comfort+ seat.

Choices, Choices, and More Choices

With the addition of the “Delta Comfort+” fare, customers may have the option to select from four different fare types on some routes, ranging from Basic Economy to First/Delta One, which come all at different prices.2b065540-1666-4372-a2f8-5daa3d11b867 2

Should a customer select a Main Cabin fare, Delta does offer the option to redeem SkyMiles to upgrade to the Comfort+ fare type.

Additionally, customers can purchase an award ticket for “Delta Comfort+,” and yes, these award levels are a bit more than purchasing a regular Main Cabin award ticket. There is no concrete information on how many more miles it’ll cost you for the new fare as Delta removed its award chart from its website several months ago.

“Everything we do starts with customers, and based on their overwhelmingly positive feedback, we have invested to make Delta Comfort+ even easier to purchase,” said Tim MapesDelta Senior Vice President – Marketing. “Today, customers on Delta can choose from a range of flight experiences based on their particular interests, and we’ve updated the way search results display on delta.com to showcase the distinct product features that accompany each product.”

Premium Economy Product?

Now, is “Delta Comfort+” a premium economy product? Not necessarily; they still charge for checked-bags and does not offer complimentary meals domestically. There are definitely some benefits that come along with Comfort+, however, but for now, we could say that this is the U.S. version of a premium economy product.

Could this be just another step in Delta becoming the first U.S. airline to offer a premium economy product? Only time will tell; it has been rumored that more changes will come coinciding with the debut of the A350 in 2017, but for now, we will just have to stay tuned.


Editor’s note: Keep up with AirwaysNews by subscribing to our weekly eNewsletter. Every Saturday morning, subscribers get a recap of our top stories of the week, the subscriber-only exclusive Weekend Reads column wrapping up interesting industry stories and a Photo of the Week from the amazing AirwaysNews archives. Click here to subscribe today!

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WOW Air to Launch Flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco

By: Nicolas Bernier / Published November 6, 2015

WOW Air has announced on Monday its fifth and sixth destination in North America. The airline will fly to the United States West Coast cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco starting in the summer of 2016. This announcement follows the successful launch of transatlantic routes to Boston and Baltimore earlier this year.

The Icelandic low-cost carrier will take delivery of three new Airbus A330-300 aircraft. Each plane will be able to carry 342 passengers in a single-class configuration. The standard seat pitch will be 30 inches, but passengers can pay an extra fee to enjoy four more inches of legroom. These aircrafts will be the first wide-body planes in their fleet.

According to the airline, the Brits will be able to connect in Keflavik from London-Gatwick and fly to Los Angeles four times a week and to San Francisco five times weekly. Customers will be able to purchase tickets to fly to California in January 2016.

WOW Air is expanding in North America rapidly. In March 2015, it started nonstop service between Keflavik and Boston. In June, it launched flights to Baltimore. In September, it announced new year-round flights to two Canadian cities, Montreal and Toronto to begin in May 2016.

RELATED: Wow Air Expands with Flights to Canada

“We are thrilled to add Los Angeles and San Francisco to our fast growing network. This is a game changer for WOW air as we cement ourselves as the industry leader in the ultra-low-cost long haul category. With the addition of these long range A330-300 aircraft to our fleet, we will be able to offer fares from Europe to the US West Coast far cheaper than our competitors whilst maintaining great service with a smile, as we did with our routes to Boston, Washington DC, Toronto and Montreal,” said Skúli Mogensen, founder and CEO of WOW Air. “We have had a tremendously positive response to our low prices on our current transatlantic routes and this gives us confidence that passengers will take up the chance to travel even further afield. Equally, we’re sure Californians will welcome our super low fares to Europe.”

The airline says its current routes to the United States operate all year-round and have an average load factor of 90% and above. It has brought down prices industry-wide by 30% between Boston and Keflavik. Iceland’s largest air carrier, Icelandair, operates the route year-round as well.

WOW Air expects its annual passenger capacity to double from 840,000 in 2015, to over 1.6 million in 2016. Since its launch in November 2011, the airline now flies to 20 destinations in Europe and the United States using a fleet of three narrow-bodies Airbus A320s and two A321s.

EXTRA: Icelandair to Add Summer Seasonal Flights to Montreal

EXTRA: AirwaysNews High Flyer Interview: Skuli Mogensen of Wow Air


1525a4bNicolas Bernier is an AirwaysNews.com contributor that has been an aviation passionate since he was young. Nicolas likes travelling, plane spotting, and writing. He lives in Montreal, Canada and studies in Aviation Business Administration at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. You can follow him on Twitter @nickbernier7, or email him at nicolasbernier7@gmail.com


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