AIRLINE NEWS.

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Australian airlines outperformed operators in the US and Europe in on- time performance in Jan., according to the first official figures on domestic flight punctuality released by the government. The Bureau of Transport and Regional Services statistics showed that 87.1% of departures and 86.7% of arrivals operated by the major carriers were achieved within 15 min. of scheduled times. Western Australia Regional airline Skywest was the leading performer with 95% of its flights for the month landing and taking off on-time. It finished ahead of Qantas with 87.3% of departures and 89.5% of arrivals conducted on-time, compared to Virgin Blue with 84.4% and 83.8% of departures and arrivals on-time.

Air France signed a new code share agreement with Air Europa for flights between France and Spain that strengthens their existing code sharing

Air India will launch direct service from Los Angeles to Mumbai/Bombay on June 11 2004. The only direct flights available from the West Coast to India, the new thrice-weekly Boeing 747-400 service will reduce flying time to India by several hours. To celebrate the new service, Air-India is offering special roundtrip Introductory Fares (Price depends on departure date):

* $6,499 in First Class

* $3,870-$4,410, Executive Class

* $1,099-$1,590, Economy Class

These special fares are available June 11 to Sept. 30 and are valid for stays of up to six months. Tickets must be purchased by April 30 2004; other restrictions apply. Air-India flight 136 will depart from LAX's Tom Bradley International Terminal B at 7:20 p.m. PST every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, and arrive in Mumbai at 3:45 a.m. (two days later, local time). Return flight 137 departs Mumbai at 7 a.m. and arrives at LAX at 4:20 the same day. Both eastbound and westbound flights include a brief stopover in Frankfurt to disembark and board passengers. The carrier will continue to offer code-share flights daily from Los Angeles and San Francisco via Singapore Airlines, and from Los Angeles via Malaysian Airlines.

Air Polonia launched twice-weekly flights between Brussels South Charleroi and Katowice. On April 26 2004 the Polish LCC will introduce a thrice-weekly service to Warsaw.

Air Service will start a thrice-weekly service between Brussels South Charleroi and Pescara tomorrow.

AirTran Airways launched a two-day fare sale April 6 for flights to or from Atlanta and Philadelphia. The reduced fares are available for purchase through April 7 and are good for travel through June 16 2004. They require a 14-day advance purchase. Examples of some of the one-way fares are Philadelphia to Boston for $34, to Denver for $119 and to Los Angeles for $99. From Atlanta, the fares range from $69 to Miami and $109 to Las Vegas. Fares are not valid on Fridays and Sundays. Travel is not permitted on May 31 (Memorial Day).

Aloha Airlines has named its First Class Navigator Class and will now refer to coach as Voyager Class. Glenn Zander, president and CEO, said that as other airlines continue to cut back on food and other amenities, "branding our in-flight service as Navigator Class and Voyager Class differentiates what we do and how well we do it." The names reflect Polynesian voyaging canoes. When it takes delivery of new 737-700s, it will name them after stars that guided the navigators to and from Hawaii. Aloha uses all-leather seats in both classes, offers a complimentary Mai Tai and macadamia nuts, and a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie.

American Eagle will start new seasonal service to Nassau, Bahamas, from Dallas-Fort Worth. The carriers will operate one flight daily with a 70 seater CRJ-700 regional jet from June 10 to Sept. 7 and then starting up again on Dec. 15 2004.

In a similar decision to one made by United to terminate its United Connection contract with...

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