Airline News September 2005.


Air Astana, probably the most successful of the new airlines created in recent years across the former Soviet Republics, will lose its leader at the end of the month. Lloyd Paxton, who launched the Kazakhstan national carrier in May 2002 is handing over the leadership to Peter Foster, previously CEO of Royal Brunei (and before that with Qatar and for many years Cathay Pacific). Lloyd, an industry veteran totalling 35 years experience with BOAC and British Airways, held the position of president of Air Asana, a unique airline in many ways, established by the government of Kazakhstan (51% ownership) with BAE Systems (49%), who very wisely left the running of the operation to experienced airline people. A modern fleet of three 'new generation' Boeing 737 and two Boeing 757 (plus five Fokker 50 for short haul domestic services) has enabled the airline to operate to western standards and be profitable ($11.5m in the last financial year) competing with some of Europe's majors on certain routes. More 757s are in the pipeline and the airline is known to favour the Boeing 787 for future expansion. Mr Paxton says that he is going to take a holiday, "Starting an airline from scratch and making it work is an all consuming task," he said. "I leave behind a carrier with a terrific work force and an assured future." Sep 26, 2005

Air Scandic seems to have been the latest European (budget) airline to go to the wall. In fact this may have been a blessing in disguise for a group of Everton fans who were unable to board an aircraft at Liverpool Airport and missed their team's stunning defeat in Rumania. In spite of its foreign sounding name Air Scandic is a British, Jersey registered, carrier tied in with Air Cordial who held a CAA AoC. The 'airline' operated a single Boeing 757. The website has failed also. Sep 19, 2005

European aid to fund one-third of proposed A350, Airbus says. Airbus believes European government aid will fund up to one-third of the development on its planned A350 jetliner. Officials expect approval to start work on the plane in October. The U.S. and Boeing object to the government funding and say it would be illegal. The plane will compete with Boeing's 787, which Airbus claims was developed with the help of funds from the U.S. and Japanese governments. Sep 23, 2005

Boeing, Airbus could book record number of orders in 2005. Boeing and Airbus are on track to book a record number of airplanes this year, company executives say. The manufacturers have 1,000 firm orders and commitments for several hundred more planes. The companies warn, however, that they receive payment only as the planes are built and delivered. The jump in orders signals the airline industry is looking beyond its current financial problems and expects future growth. Sep 19, 2005

Alaska Airlines has begun daily nonstop service between Dallas, Fort Worth and Seattle, marking the latest in a series of route expansions. The twice daily flights are timed for convenient connections to cities throughout the Pacific, Northwest and Canada, both on Alaska Airlines and its sister carrier Horizon Air. One of the services offers same-plane continuing service to and from Anchorage. Alaska will operate Boeing MD-80 aircraft on the route, with accommodation of 12 passengers in first class and 128 in the main cabin. The aircraft will be equipped with Alaska's award winning state-of-the-art digEplayer entertainment system, a handheld video-on-demand device, offering customers first-run movies, television programs and other entertainment options from the comfort of their own seats. Sep 19, 2005

Former America West workers get used to carrier's new name. Employees for the former America West Airlines are getting used to calling their carrier by a new name. America West earlier this week completed its merger with US Airways. The combined airline took the US Airways name. The airlines will gradually integrate their operations. Next week US Airways workers at the Phoenix airport will move from Terminal 2 to work with America West employees in Terminal 4. Sep 29, 2005

America West to sell cruises through its Web site. America West Airlines will sell cruises through its Web site via a partnership with travel company NLG. Members of the airline's FlightFund program who book cruises through the site, which offers access to 17 cruise lines, may earn as much as 10,000 miles. Sep 27, 2005

America West workers say good-bye to company name. America West Airlines workers gathered at the company's Tempe, Ariz., headquarters this week to say good-bye to their company's name. The workers viewed memorabilia, including the first company photograph, original earphones still in the bag, posters and company uniforms. America West will lose its name when it merges with US Airways. Sep 20, 2005

America West, US Airways merger is one week away. US Airways and America West Airlines are a week away from merging to become the fifth-largest U.S. airline. Fully integrating the companies is expected to take two years, but no sweeping changes in service are expected at this point. The new carrier will be called US Airways, and the America West brand will be phased out gradually. Sep 19, 2005

American to move to new Dallas terminal by end of October: American Airlines will start flying from Terminal D at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Oct. 29. Problems with a new automated baggage system delayed the airline's move to the new terminal by three months. It will occupy 19 of the 28 gates for international flights and will initially operate 78 daily flights. Eventually, it will operate 114 daily flights. Sep 28, 2005

American launches program aimed at disease prevention. American Airlines hopes a new pilot program will help improve the quality of health care for its employees. The program tracks whether employees' primary physicians are properly treating patients at risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Many employers are exploring similar wellness programs focusing on disease prevention. The approach is designed to prevent the need for expensive medical treatments. Sep 27, 2005

American says 2005 costs will climb because of fuel prices. American Airlines said higher fuel prices will help push its costs up about 12% in 2005 compared with levels a year ago. The airline will likely post a larger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss in 2005 and will ask workers to take pay cuts in 2006, one airline analyst said. American officials say they have no plans to request pay cuts. They are instead working with labor leaders to reduce costs through increased productivity. Sep 23, 2005

American Airlines is in a bullish mood. Whilst its competitors concentrate on non-airline matters (see Delta and Northwest) the world's largest air carrier, while not immune from fuel cost problems, continues to hit its passenger targets and expand with regard to ex-UK services. Next summer it will operate up to 23 daily flights including, for the first time, Newcastle. On the success (or failure) of Newcastle depends American Airlines future growth strategy for UK operations. If the all economy class daily service meets its planned objectives, clearly the airline will look at other UK origination points. From a financial low in 2002, the airline has engaged a cost saving schedule targeted at $4bn of which nearly half has come from labor savings. Staff and aircraft productivity has risen significantly and in the second quarter of 2005 it reported a $58m pretax profit. The airline also announced last week that it is going to fit blended winglets to 20 of its 757s, the fuel saving per aircraft as much as 5%. Sep 19, 2005

American to add San Antonio-Los Angeles flight: American Airlines on Oct. 30 will launch daily nonstop service between San Antonio and Los Angeles. The new service will allow San Antonio fliers to connect to other locations, including Hawaii and Tokyo. Sep 1, 2005

ANA is to introduce an all new economy class seat for use on domestic flights. The new seats will be rolled out from early next month on the airline's Boeing 767-300 aircraft, and thereafter across the entire fleet. Without increasing seat pitch (the distance between seats) the new design increases passenger legroom by 5cm by cleverly changing the position of the magazine pocket from knee level to occupy space behind the tray table, which also makes magazines and safety information more easily accessible. To further enhance amenity, a coat hook and stowage pocket have been provided, and the reclining button redesigned for greater ease of use. Personal space is also enhanced by a slimmer cushion and seat back, which are contoured in a new ergonomic design created to ease pressure on passengers' lower back and knees, allowing them to travel in greater comfort. The seat is also 5% lighter then the previous model. Readers may like to know that ANA carry 536 passengers on their short range Boeing 747s and a surprisingly comfortable 524 on the high frequency 777 Osaka shuttle. (P) Sep 19, 2005

Astraeus, the Gatwick-based charter airline founded in 2001, is to expand. Out goes a Boeing 737 next spring to be replaced by a further 757. An additional 40 cabin crew will be recruited. The Astraeus fleet for next summer is expected to be six 737s, a mixture of -300 and -700 aircraft and four 757-200s. Sep 19, 2005

ATA Airlines pilots approve concessionary contract. ATA Airlines' pilots ratified a three-year contract that will save the bankrupt airline $84.5 million. Chief Executive Officer John Denison said the company will now focus on the final stages of restructuring. Pilots will receive stock options in ATA when it emerges from bankruptcy protection in exchange for pay and benefit cuts under the contract. Sep 29, 2005

AwAir, yet another Asian start up, is to fly between Jakarta and Kuala...

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