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NOT a good one for OneWorld, with BA also experiencing BIG problems at LHR T5 !!! :blink: :blink: :blink:

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This coming March, the historic U.S./EU Air Services Agreement, dubbed "Open Skies," will go into effect. Since its signing last year, industry watchdogs, academics, and various interest groups have chimed-in on what its ultimate impact will be. Concerns over the Agreement's establishment of a timetable for negotiations coupled with a list of hotly-contested agenda items has animated some of the more substantial discussions about the merits and future prospects of the Agreement. In the meantime, British Airways has opted to waste no time in taking advantage of the Agreement's opening of flight routes between the United States and Europe to both sides' respective air carriers. Starting in June, OpenSkies-a new airline owned and operated by British Airways-will begin offering service from New York to either Brussels or Paris. It won't be for everybody, however.


According to a brief report by Aviation Week, the Boeing 757 aircraft which will be used to fly the route will feature a three-class seating configuration with economy comprising a mere 30 of the expected 82 seats. The 24 business-class seats will convert into six-foot long flat beds, while the 28 premium economy seats will feature a 52-inch pitch. This plan deviates from earlier speculation that British Airways would add an all-business class flight on the transatlantic route. The airline's Chief Executive, Willie Walsh, admitted to The Guardian that such a venture would simply not be sustainable outside of Heathrow and that OpenSkies is intended to "complement rather than compete" with the airline's longstanding Heathrow services.


Naturally, announcement of the new venture has been met with some criticism. Paul Charles, Director of Communications for Virgin Atlantic, remarked: "[OpenSkies] is clearly different from what they planned and it has no permission to fly into New York's JFK airport. BA will have to give up current services so it can fly into JFK." This may mean that the new airline will be forced to use Newark Airport for its hub. On the labor end of things, the head of the pilots' union noted that while it "welcomes BA's decision to innovate and establish a wholly owned subsidiary company to take advantage of the new open skies agreement between the USA and EU but we have issues with BA on how the new service should be structured."


When OpenSkies launches in June, it will initially operate with a lone aircraft before seeing an additional one added before the close of 2008. British Airways is hopeful that OpenSkies will have four aircraft total by 2009 with the possible additions of Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Madrid, Milan, Zurich, and Geneva to its list of European destinations. Doing so will enter it into tight competition with veteran carriers such as United Airlines and American Airlines in the U.S. and European carriers such as Lufthansa and Air France-KLM. Even so, Walsh is optimistic about the new airline's prospects and the role of British Airways in the future of air transport between the U.S. and Europe: "By naming the airline OpenSkies, we're celebrating the first major step in 60 years towards a liberalised US/EU aviation market which means we can fly between any US and EU destination. It also signals our determination to lobby for further liberalisation in this market when talks between the EU and US take place later this year."

Edited by Isaac

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NOT a good one for OneWorld, with BA also experiencing BIG problems at LHR T5 !!! :blink: :blink: :blink:


I've got a T5 transfer in Sept...be very afraid. Hopefully all sorted out by then though.


A mate of mine and his partner are affected by the AA MD80 grounding. They're traveling on DONE4s and their next segment was supposed to be LGA-ATL - the AA RTW desk found them seats on a DL flight instead.

Edited by Keith T

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American Airlines cancels 570 flights for Friday:


American Cancels 570 Flights For Friday

American Airlines CEO: "I Take Full Responsibility"


American Airlines said Thursday it expects a massive round of flight cancellations to extend into Saturday, but added that all the grounded aircraft were expected to be back in the air by Saturday night.


The Texas-based airline said it canceled 922 flights Thursday to fix faulty wiring in hundreds of jets and would cancel another 570 flights on Friday.


This week, Federal Aviation Administration inspectors, who have been conducting stepped-up surveys of compliance with safety rules called airworthiness directives, said 15 of 19 American jets they examined flunked. That left the airline no choice but to ground all 300 of its MD-80s, the most common jet in its 655-plane fleet.


"We have obviously failed to complete the airworthiness directive to the precise standards that the FAA requires, and I take full responsibility for that," said Gerard Arpey, American's chairman and chief executive.


"We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused our customers," Arpey said. "American will do whatever it takes to assist those affected by these flight changes and our employees are working hard to ensure that we remain their choice for air travel. This includes compensating those inconvenienced customers who stayed overnight in a location away from their final destination."


The airline also advised customers who had to stay overnight to go to its Web site to get information about compensation.


Counting Friday's cancellations, American has scrubbed more than 3,000 flights since Tuesday. It said 100 of its 300 MD-80s had been inspected and were back in service as of Thursday morning. The airline said it expected an estimated 130 MD-80s to be in service by Thursday evening.


It said all of its MD-80s were expected to be in service by Saturday night.


It was estimated that more than one in three American Airlines flights have been canceled over the last three days. On Wednesday, American canceled more than 1,000 flights, nearly half its schedule. On Tuesday it canceled about 460 MD-80 flights.


It's the second wave of cancellations at American over the wiring. At issue is how the cords used to secure bundles of wires for the auxiliary hydraulic systems are spaced and lined up.


The FAA has tightened inspections of planes at all U.S. carriers since the agency came under fire for letting Southwest Airlines fly planes that had missed safety inspections. American and Delta Air Lines both canceled flights in late March to perform wiring-related inspections and repairs.


Other carriers flying MD-80s have followed American's example.


Midwest Airlines grounded 13 airplanes Thursday to reinspect a wiring harness, while Alaska Airlines said it canceled 14 flights Wednesday to conduct wiring inspections on its nine MD-80s.


Midwest Airlines voluntarily canceled all of its flights involving the Boeing MD-80 aircraft on Thursday to make sure the wiring component is in compliance with a recent Federal Aviation Administration directive.


A Delta Air Lines spokeswoman said the airline was likely to ground "a handful of flights" Thursday as well.






News release from American Airlines:


Update: American Airlines Cancels Approximately 570 Flights On Friday As MD-80 Aircraft Inspections Continue


FORT WORTH , Texas – American Airlines has canceled approximately 570 flights on Friday, April 11, as it works to complete the inspections of its MD-80 fleet. The airline continues efforts to re-accommodate customers affected by this week’s activity.


As of Thursday afternoon, 132 MD-80 aircraft were returned to service. Inspections will continue overnight, with approximately 170 MD-80s expected to be available for service on Friday morning.


These inspections were conducted to ensure compliance with a Federal Aviation Administration directive related to the bundling of wires in the wheel well of the MD-80 aircraft. American Airlines apologizes for any inconvenience this activity has created for our customers.


On Thursday American Airlines canceled over 930 flights related to the MD-80 inspections. That follows the cancellation of 1,094 flights on Wednesday and 460 canceled flights on Tuesday.


Customers who were scheduled on a flight that was canceled may request a full refund or apply the value of their ticket toward future travel on American Airlines. Additionally, customers scheduled to travel on any MD-80 flight April 8-13, even if their flight has not been canceled, may rebook without a change fee to any AA flight with availability in the same cabin as long as their travel begins by April 17.


Customers who were inconvenienced with overnight stays should go to AA.com where a link has been established to request information about compensation. Customers also are encouraged to continue to check AA.com or to contact their travel agents for flight status information.






News release from Yahoo:


American cancels 570 flights Friday


FORT WORTH, Texas - The cancellation of thousands of flights this week will cost American Airlines tens of millions of dollars, the company's chief executive said Thursday, but he said the nation's largest carrier can withstand the losses.


American said it canceled another 570 flights Friday and disruptions will continue through Saturday as it continues to check electrical wiring in all 300 of its MD-80 aircraft.


CEO Gerard Arpey said he took full responsibility for the airline's failure to comply with a federal safety rule designed to prevent electrical fires in the planes.


American scratched more than 900 flights Thursday, the third straight day of major cancellations, while its mechanics worked overtime to check the aircraft and comply with the rule. The company said all its MD-80s would be back in service by Saturday night.


Arpey said neither the airline's mechanics nor the Federal Aviation Administration were to blame for the more than 3,000 canceled flights so far this week.


The airline canceled more than 400 flights for the same reason two weeks ago. But the repairs done then didn't meet FAA standards, resulting in this week's debacle.


On Wednesday, Arpey's top lieutenant suggested that American had fallen victim to a suddenly more aggressive FAA. The agency has been under fire since disclosures last month of its lax enforcement of safety rules at Southwest Airlines Co.


In measured tones, Arpey said Thursday that the FAA "obviously is under their own set of scrutiny and pressure right now," but was only doing its job of "holding airlines to exacting standards."


Arpey said it was too early for the airline to estimate the cost of the cancellations. AMR is running a tab for meals, hotel rooms and $500 travel vouchers for stranded passenger and it lost revenue when it booked people on other airlines. On the other hand, it has saved what it would have spent for fuel on those 2,500 flights.


"I think it will be in the tens of millions of dollars," Arpey said of the final cost. But he said the airline had built up enough cash and paid down debt to deal with the loss. He said the carrier has business-interruption insurance, but he doubted that it would cover the cancellation-related losses.


American got some good news on Wall Street. Shares of parent AMR Corp., which fell 11 percent the day before, rose 70 cents, or 7.6 percent, to $9.87 Thursday.

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Got this email today:


April 11, 2008


Dear Keith T,

As one of our most valued customers, please accept my apology on behalf of American Airlines® to you, your family and your fellow AAdvantage® customers for disrupting so many peoples' lives with the recent flight cancellations related to the inspection of our MD-80 aircraft fleet.


As you can imagine, American's decision to cancel thousands of flights this week was difficult, and it undoubtedly created concern among our best customers – even those who had no travel plans during the period.


If in your travels you were among the many who have been personally affected, I sincerely regret the inconvenience you have experienced. Our employees will continue to work around the clock to accommodate all who still need to reach their desired destinations. We anticipate returning to a full schedule by Monday.


While the media reports have documented the reasons why American took this action and the steps we're taking to re-accommodate and compensate affected customers, I've also attached an explanation of the events for your understanding. It's a bit complex, but at the end of it all, please know this:


First, your safety and the safety of our employees remains our number one priority.


Second, we will learn from this experience, and we will get better.


Finally, we wholeheartedly appreciate your loyalty to American Airlines, and we remain committed to earning your business each and every day.




Dan Garton

Executive Vice President



P.S. You may have already contacted us via AA.com® or by writing directly to Customer Relations. Let me reassure you that we will respond directly to your contact just as quickly as practical.






American Airlines MD-80 Fleet Inspections


Background: : In 2004, American Airlines was the lead airline working with Boeing to develop a Service Bulletin to correct wiring exposure and chafing in the MD-80 auxiliary hydraulic pump wire bundle. The concern was that exposure and chafing could cause fire in the wheel well. An Airworthiness Directive (AD) was issued in September 2006, giving MD-80 operators, including American, 18 months to address this issue. American completed the Service Bulletin in November 2006, followed by adjustments deemed necessary by American's structural engineers to comply with the AD well ahead of a March 2008 deadline.


In recent weeks the Federal Aviation Administration significantly increased its emphasis on monitoring the adherence to Airworthiness Directives that apply to various U.S. airlines. With respect to American Airlines' MD-80 fleet, we had a detailed issue that we believed had to be addressed immediately to remain compliant with the FAA; if found in non-compliance, we would have been instructed to stop flying our airplanes.


What is the specific nature of the issue?

The issue surrounds questions raised by the FAA about the way American implemented the Engineering Change Order (ECO) addressing the MD-80 auxiliary pump wiring Airworthiness Directive (AD). American fixed the item well within the specified AD timeframe. The work being done now centers on a need to change the way in which American complied with the AD regarding such items as the spacing of the ties on the wiring bundles and the direction of the retention clips and lacing cords. We are highly confident that this is not a safety of flight issue because the wire bundle is secure. It is a matter of how the work was done, not whether aircraft were protected from the threat of wire exposure and chafing that could cause fire.


Why ground the entire MD-80 fleet?

It became clear based on the number of questions the FAA raised that there would be a high percentage of aircraft that would not be found to be in full compliance of the Airworthiness Directive. Working with the FAA we were unable to find an alternative solution to regaining compliance – for example, a multi-day period to rectify the issues – so we had no choice but to ground the aircraft. While it has been a major disruption to AA's operation, everyone recognizes the need to ensure that the MD-80 fleet is in complete compliance and is working to restore the MD-80s back to service as quickly as possible.


Who is completing the work and why is it taking longer than the previous MD-80 inspections?

There are three levels of American employees accomplishing the work. American has assigned a team of employees – aviation maintenance technicians, quality assurance inspectors, and engineers – to inspect the aircraft and ensure full technical compliance, as well as to make any additional adjustments. As our aircraft return to service, the FAA is inspecting those aircraft to ensure compliance.


What is the airline doing for customers?

We are doing everything possible to take care of our customers as expeditiously as possible while facing the fact that our resources have been stretched to their limits. We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience and know that this kind of interruption of travel plans is unacceptable. While customers are dislocated we are providing meals, hotels and ground transportation; for those stranded overnight, we will offer vouchers for future travel on American Airlines. Customers who were inconvenienced with overnight stays can go to AA.com where a link will guide them to instructions on how to receive compensation.


What is the company doing to make sure it doesn't happen again?

American plans to contract with an independent third party to review American's compliance processes. This work will help ensure that all procedures strictly adhere to the technical elements of every directive so American can avoid this type of schedule disruption in the future.

Edited by Keith T

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JAL to Enhance Ties with Vietnam Airlines



Tokyo, Apr 14, 2008 (Jiji Press) - Japan Airlines is set to strengthen its ties with Vietnam Airlines as part of efforts to reinforce the Oneworld global airline network, which has no Southeast Asian member, Jiji Press learned Monday.


JAL and Vietnam Airlines currently operate joint flights between Japan and Vietnam under a code-sharing agreement.


JAL plans to provide knowhow on customer services, booking systems, aircraft maintenance and flight operations, informed sources said.


By reinforcing the alliance, the Japanese firm will help Vietnam Airlines improve the quality of its services and technologies to levels in line with Oneworld standards and invite it to join the network, which currently has 10 members, including such firms as American Airlines, British Airways and Qantas Airways on top of JAL, the sources said.


Having a Southeast Asian airline join the network is an important task facing the Japanese airline, JAL President Haruka Nishimatsu has said.


JAL hopes that Vietnam Airlines' participation in the Oneworld network will help increase the number of flights between Japan and Vietnam, and improve flight connections and customer services.


Vietnam Airlines, established in 1956, began full international flight services after the unification of North and South Vietnam in 1976. Its flight network covers 41 foreign cities, including Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka.


By Jiji Press, © Jiji Press

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...which has no South-East Asian member... :blink:


How about CX ? :huh:


Very interesting development indeed :good:

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How about CX ? :huh:


That depends on whether you consider HKG part of SE Asia I suppose. I personally reckon it's more North Asia. :pardon:

Edited by Keith T

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American In Talks With Continental, US Air


April 26, 2008

American Airlines has had early-stage merger talks with US Airways and is in advanced talks for an alliance with Continental Airlines, sources briefed on the situation said on Friday.


News of the talks comes after Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines announced nearly two weeks ago they planned to merge to become the world's largest airline, seeking to counter rising fuel prices, a weak economy and a growing competitive threat from European carriers as trade barriers fall on trans-Atlantic travel.


American Airlines' talks with Continental are focused on forming an alliance that could share passengers, much like the SkyTeam partnership that includes Air France-KLM, Alitalia, CSA Czech Airlines, Delta and Northwest Airlines, the people said.


Alliances have flourished in the industry because they generate profits through marketing programs and flight code-sharing without the headaches of combining operations.


But Continental is also in advanced talks with United Airlines for a full merger, the sources said. Continental will choose either the merger or the alliance, not both, sources said.


Meanwhile, United Airlines is also in serious merger talks with US Airways, and will choose to merge with either Continental or US Airways soon, the people said.


American's talks with US Airways were not serious at this point, one person said.


Aviation consultant Bob Mann said a US Airways-American Airlines merger would not be a marquee matchup and would give American, currently the largest US carrier, little extra depth overseas.


"It doesn't match Northwest-Delta and it would not match the global presence of a Continental-United, if that were going to happen," Mann said. "But I think if Delta-Northwest does happen and Continental (and United) does happen, about the only thing left on the board is US Airways."


All of the airlines declined to comment.


Continental, which has said it would prefer to remain independent unless the competitive landscape changes, had laid most of the groundwork for a merger with United even before Delta and Northwest announced their deal, the sources said.


Under the terms being negotiated, Continental Chief Executive Larry Kellner would be CEO of the combined airline and UAL CEO Glenn Tilton could be chairman, the people said. Other details are still being negotiated in what would be another all-stock deal.


Combining United with Continental would create a company with a combined USD$35 billion in revenue and nearly 100,000 employees, surpassing the Delta-Northwest combination.


But that merger may not happen. United Airlines, whose shares plunged 40 percent when it reported a quarterly loss earlier this week, is also talking to US Airways.


Analysts have said a merger of United and US Airways would be less complex than a United/Continental combination.


JP Morgan analyst Jamie Baker said earlier this week a deal between United and US Airways could be easier when it comes to aligning pilot pay, combining fleets and cutting flights and seats.


Baker also said the merger would be easier because United and US Airways already have code-share agreements and are part of the Star Alliance.


"United was interested in America West in 1998, US Air in 2000. Today, both are available under one roof," Baker said. America West and US Airways merged in 2005.


After racking up USD$35 billion in losses and finally emerging from a five year slump in 2006, US airlines are hoping mergers could give them greater market power to reduce flights and raise fares.


The airlines also face a renewed sense of urgency to cut costs as jet fuel prices have more than doubled since the start of last year.


The carriers will be forced to make decisions in the coming weeks as they would like to have any mergers approved under the administration of President George W. Bush, which is considered more merger-friendly but ends in January.


All talks have been ongoing since January this year, after people heard that talks between Delta and Northwest had become serious. Delta and Northwest announced their merger April 14 in an all-stock deal then valued at just above USD$3 billion.


The Justice Department has said it would, if necessary, weigh multiple merger proposals in the airline industry and try to complete any reviews before the Bush administration leaves office.


While there is broad industry belief that the Northwest/Delta combination stands a good chance of being approved, some competition experts believe a follow-on deal could face a tougher challenge due to a further narrowing of competition that could lead to higher fares and fewer choices for travelers.




Something will happen in the US in the foreseeable future: that's for sure !!! :blink: :blink:


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Some good news of your favorite airline :pardon:


Finnair Q1 Profits In Line, Increases Fuel Cost View


April 29, 2008

Finnair posted first quarter profits roughly in line with expectations on Tuesday, but increased its view for fuel costs and expects the slowing economy to hit air traffic demand.


The national airline also repeated its forecast that the operating result for the first half of the year would be at last year's level.


"It is very difficult to give an outlook beyond that as it depends on external factors to such a great extent," Chief Executive Jukka Hienonen said, citing a weakening outlook for global economy.


The airline reported January-March earnings per share of 0.05 euros, down from 0.10 euros a year ago.


Finnair's passenger and cargo demand were at a reasonably good level, Hienonen said, but the booking horizon was shorter than before.


Transferring higher fuel costs to ticket prices would require dismantling of the current overcapacity in the sector, he said.


"The peak in fuel prices has been incomprehensible," Hienonen said. "We should start seeing worse-performing players dropping out of the game."


Finnair raised its fuel cost forecast to more than 23 percent of turnover, compared with an earlier estimate of 22 percent.


"Finnair's comments don't reflect confidence as much as they did three months ago. The latter part of the year is still quite open considering the fuel price moves," Pohjola Bank analyst Pekka Spolander said.


The airline has hedged 68 percent of scheduled traffic's jet fuel purchases during the next six months, it said.


"Expensive jet fuel has choked the life out of several airlines on different continents. If the present state of affairs continues, there will surely be more bankruptcies and mergers to come," Hienonen said.


Finnair's sales rose 9 percent to EUR577 million (USD$904 million) in the first quarter.


Finnair said its EUR80 million restructuring program, finished last year, would show in its profits in full this year.


Finnair's bigger Nordic rival SAS reported a deeper-than-expected first-quarter pretax loss on Tuesday and said it would cut about 1,000 jobs in a new short-term "action plan".




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American Airlines Inc. is talking about a partnership with Continental Airlines Inc. and British Airways PLC, American and British Airways said Wednesday.


The talks don’t involve any plans for a merger, but possible ties on frequent-flier programs, code-sharing and possibly a renewed attempt to get antitrust immunity for American’s and British Airways’ existing trans-Atlantic alliance.


The airlines gave little detail of what is being discussed.


“British Airways is exploring opportunities for co-operation with American Airlines and Continental Airlines,” British Airways said in a terse announcement. “Further details will be announced when appropriate.”


American spokesman Charley Wilson confirmed that the Fort Worth-based carrier has been having conversations with British Airways, its partner in the Oneworld global alliance, and Houston-based Continental.




Also carried in various other news sources.

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British Airways In Talks With American, Continental


May 1, 2008

British Airways said on Wednesday it was in discussions with two of its largest US rivals, American Airlines and Continental Airlines, which a source briefed on the matter said was about a potential alliance.


Such a collaboration would create a powerful force in the lucrative trans-Atlantic market, bringing Britain's flag carrier into closer co-operation with American, the world's biggest airline by traffic, and Continental, the US No. 4.


"British Airways is exploring opportunities for co-operation with American Airlines and Continental Airlines," the company said in a brief statement, without elaborating.


American Airlines confirmed it was in talks with BA. "AMR is exploring opportunities for cooperation with British Airways," a spokesperson said. A Continental Airlines spokeswoman declined comment.


The source briefed on the matter said earlier in the week that Continental Airlines was in "advanced talks" with BA about an alliance, which would help the duo streamline costs while sharing revenues.


Continental said on Sunday it would not seek a merger with another airline, calling off talks with United Airlines, saying instead it would carry on reviewing its alliances with other carriers.


American and BA already have an alliance through the 10 member oneworld alliance, but have twice tried and failed to win antitrust immunity for it. If Continental opted to join with BA and American Airlines, it would likely spell the end of its trans-Atlantic codeshare arrangement with BA's rival Virgin Atlantic.


Limited immunity from US antitrust laws permits air carriers to coordinate schedules, route planning, and services over international routes. It offers more seamless connections and other benefits that can maximize revenue. Alliances with immunity have been coveted and lucrative, and easier to pull off internally and with regulators than a merger.


Regulators have long been concerned that stronger American/BA ties would jeopardize competition at London's Heathrow Airport for other US carriers. But air travel restrictions have eased under a US/EU "Open Skies" agreement that took effect in March, creating new opportunities for trans-Atlantic air services.


Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines, which struck a merger deal earlier this month, received approval earlier this month from US transportation regulators to broaden their alliance with Air France-KLM, Alitalia and other overseas partners.


A full merger between BA and one of the US carriers is unlikely, given that US law caps foreign ownership of US airlines at 25 percent of voting stock. European carriers are hoping that the second stage of "Open Skies" will lift those limits by 2010, but US union groups and politicians are broadly against it.


Earlier this year Lufthansa bought a 19 percent stake in US discount carrier JetBlue Airways, but no full-scale trans-Atlantic mergers have been attempted.


The BA spokesman would not comment on the possibility of a full-blown merger. ABN AMRO analyst Andrew Lobbenberg said that it would not be allowed by regulators.


BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh told a conference earlier on Wednesday that restrictions barring the possibility of a merger with a US rival should be lifted.


"Airlines may be more sympathetic to consolidation than in other eras (due to the tough climate)," he told the Institute of Directors conference in London.




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Royal Jordanian Q1 Revenues Rise 31 Percent


May 1, 2008

Royal Jordanian (RJ), the first Arab state carrier to be privatized, said on Wednesday revenues rose 31 percent in the first quarter of 2008, driven by robust passenger traffic.


Chief Executive Samer Majali said operational revenues rose in the first quarter to JOD140 million dinars (USD$197.4 million) against JOD107 million in the same period last year.


RJ reduced its net losses by 22 percent to JOD2.97 million for the first quarter compared to the same period last year. The airline posts better revenues in the peak summer season, with passenger traffic substantially higher.


The airline's 2007 net profit rose 22 percent to JOD20.4 million (USD$28.7 million) against the previous year.


Airline officials say the carrier's main challenge in 2008 was to offset the impact of higher fuel prices that now constituted around 40 percent of total expenses, up from a third in a typical year.


Energy importers like Jordan have been hit by a five-fold increase in oil prices during the last six years.


RJ saw a 17 percent rise in passenger traffic in the first quarter, while seat factor rose to 68 percent from 66 percent.


Last December the government sold 71 percent of the airline to international and local investors in an initial public offering.


Foreign investors, including the Beirut-based investment firm controlled by the Mikati family, which acquired a 19 percent shareholding, now own at least 40 percent of the carrier's capital.


Local investors, including the government, which still retains a 29 percent stake, have a majority shareholding that exceeds 51 percent to ensure the carrier maintains its right to fly under bilateral accords.


RJ was able to expand its network of 55 directly served destinations to 700 as the only Arab airline in the international airline oneworld alliance, which includes British Airways, American Airlines and Australia's Qantas.


The airline's strategy was to create Amman as a regional hub for the Levant region by expanding its regional network and tapping booming air passenger demand in the Middle East.




Oneworld seems to work really well for RJ !!! :good:


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American Airlines To Cite FAA For Flight Fiasco


May 2, 2008

American Airlines is poised to say in a report to be delivered on Friday that it wouldn't have had to cancel over 3,000 flights last month if a tentative agreement it had with local aviation officials hadn't been overruled, according to a newspaper.


The Wall Street Journal report will say that the carrier thought it had a "hand-shake" pact with regional Federal Aviation Administration managers, through which it meant to repair wiring systems on its MD-80 planes on a schedule that would not have forced it to cancel flights, which left over 300,000 passengers stranded last month.


But FAA headquarters overruled those local officials and pressed forward with a tougher enforcement plan literally overnight, the report said, according to the Journal.


The report, to be delivered to the US Department of Transportation, is also expected to say that FAA officials did not check any of the affected planes or raise doubts about the initial wiring work until March 2008, the Journal reported.


The FAA and American Airlines were not immediately available for comment.




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British Airways Aware Of T5 Issues Before Opening


May 8, 2008

British Airways Chief Executive Willie Walsh said on Wednesday he was aware of problems with Heathrow's Terminal 5 building before its opening and had discussed delaying its first day.


Speaking to the British Government's Transport Committee, Walsh said delays to the building of the terminal had led to a compromise on both baggage systems testing and staff familiarization with the terminal's workings.


The March opening of the USD$8.6 billion Terminal 5 descended into chaos, as hundreds of flights were cancelled and thousands of items of baggage lost.


Baggage systems failed, while staff struggled with parking, access and security problems in what was seen as a disaster for BA, the UK as a whole and airports operator BAA, owned by Spain's Ferrovial.


Asked whether he had been aware of problems before the opening, but had decided to go ahead with it anyway, Walsh said he had.


"We believed that, while there were known risks, the opening would be successful," he said.


He said that with hindsight he realized the airline had "compromised" on both the testing of baggage systems and the familiarization of staff with the new building before the opening day.


"The training program was not sufficient. The environment was a building which was not fully complete -- a building different from that entered on day one," Walsh added.


He said the decision to go ahead with the opening of the terminal on the scheduled day had been reviewed on a weekly basis.


But he added that a delay would have cost BA significantly more than the GBP16 million pounds it has already declared as the cost of the opening days' chaos.


"The cost to BA would have been significantly greater than the costs incurred by the disruption, by many times," he said, adding that a postponement would likely have been by a 'season', or six months, rather than weeks.


Earlier BAA Chief Executive Colin Matthews and Chairman Sir Nigel Rudd were both quizzed by the committee, but both refused to apportion blame for the fiasco.


Matthews said his priority was to perfect the process for passengers, while noting that other airport openings, such as Denver and Hong Kong, had suffered similar difficulties. :blink:




American Repairing More Planes


May 8, 2008

American Airlines is rushing to complete wiring repairs on a group of A300 jets, but this time the carrier is not canceling any flights, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.


Mechanics have done maintenance work on some of American's A300s, but Federal Aviation Administration managers approved an alternate timetable under which the airline can keep flying those planes while it slowly fixes them, the report said.


The work is being done overnight at American's hub at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport, the Journal said.


American grounded more than 3,000 flights last month over problems with wiring systems on MD-80 planes, leaving over 300,000 passengers stranded.




so....not only MD80's have wiring problems, but A300's too !!! :blink:


Ex-Qantas Exec To Serve 8 Months For Price Fixing


May 9, 2008

A former Qantas vice president will serve eight months in prison as part of a plea agreement for conspiring to fix prices for shipping air cargo, the US Department of Justice said on Thursday.


The agreement was part of a wide-ranging investigation of the air transportation industry by the Justice Department's antitrust division that has also led to guilty pleas by Japan Airlines, British Airways and Korean Air Lines.


Bruce McCaffrey, formerly a Qantas vice president for freight for the Americas, agreed to plead guilty to price fixing, serve prison time and pay a USD$20,000 fine, the department said in a statement.


The plea agreement must be approved by a court.


McCaffrey is accused with going to meetings and having other communications with people from other carriers to discuss cargo rates to be charged on some routes to and from the United States, the department said in a statement.


Qantas itself pleaded guilty to conspiring to fix prices between January 2000 and February 2006, and agreed to pay USD$61 million in fines.


In April, Japan Airlines agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to fix air cargo prices and paid a USD$110 million fine. British Airways and Korean Air Lines pleaded guilty last year and paid USD$300 million fines.


In February 2006, US and European officials raided airlines on both sides of the Atlantic as part of the probe.




British Airways To Move More Flights To T5


May 9, 2008

British Airways and airports operator BAA said on Friday they would move a new phase of long haul flights to Heathrow's Terminal 5 building on June 5.


The two companies last month postponed the move to "at least June 5" following the chaotic opening of the new terminal, which saw flights cancelled, passengers stranded and baggage lost.


They confirmed flights to and from eight long haul destinations would now move to T5 on that date, including those to New York and Beijing. "Terminal 5 is now working well," BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh said in a statement.




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Lufthansa started it all: a retro-look on their Airbus A321...others followed soon, like Iberia with the A319 and Austrian with the A320: now Finnair will also paint one of their A319 in a retro-look (similar to the 1960's Convair 440). Flight-attendant will also wear the Convair-era uniforms :yahoo:

This all because it will be Finnair's 85th anniversary this year; we, in AMS, hope to see the plane often, due to the 60 years of continuous service between HEL and AMS this year too :pardon:


On another topic: AY will introduce their 3rd Russian destination in September - Ekatarinburg, after Moscow and Sankt Peterburg...


OT: why cannot MAS do a similar thing with the ex-Hibbies ? guess, the 'old scheme' is rather blant, but nice to show your heritage to the public...

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The Register UK: Heathrow 777 crash: Siberian cold to blame?


The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) yesterday issued a further update (pdf) on its investigation into the 17 January crash-landing of a Boeing 777 at Heathrow following an otherwise uneventful long-haul flight from Beijing.


Initial speculation into the cause of the accident, which saw BA038 (G-YMMM) suffer reduced thrust in both engines and fall short of the runway, centred around possible bird strike, fuel flow problems, or an autothrottle glitch. The AAIB explained earlier this year:


The first officer took control for the landing at a height of approximately 780 ft, in accordance with the briefed procedure, and shortly afterwards the autothrottles commanded an increase in thrust from both engines. The engines initially responded but, at a height of about 720 ft, the thrust of the right engine reduced. Some seven seconds later, the thrust reduced on the left engine to a similar level. The engines did not shut down and both engines continued to produce thrust at an engine speed above flight idle, but less than the commanded thrust. The engines failed to respond to further demands for increased thrust from the autothrottles, and subsequent movement of the thrust levers fully forward by the flight crew.


The latest update stresses:

Extensive examination of the aircraft and detailed analysis of the recorded data have revealed no evidence of an aircraft or engine control system malfunction. There is no evidence of a wake vortex encounter, a bird strike or core engine icing. There is no evidence of any anomalous behaviour of any of the aircraft or engine systems that suggests electromagnetic interference.


The fuel has been tested extensively; it is of good quality, in many respects exceeding the appropriate specification, and shows no evidence of contamination or excessive water. Detailed examination of the fuel system and pipe work has found no unusual deterioration or physical blockages. The spar valves and the aircraft fuel boost pumps were serviceable and operated correctly during the flight.


However, the AAIB adds: "The high pressure (HP) fuel pumps from both engines have unusual and fresh cavitation damage to the outlet ports consistent with operation at low inlet pressure.


"The evidence to date indicates that both engines had low fuel pressure at the inlet to the HP pump. Restrictions in the fuel system between the aircraft fuel tanks and each of the engine HP pumps, resulting in reduced fuel flows, is suspected."


Quite what may have caused these "reduced fuel flows" remains to be seen, and while the AAIB notes that during the flight "there was a region of particularly cold air, with ambient temperatures as low as -76°C, in the area between the Urals and Eastern Scandinavia", offering a possible fuel-freeze scenario, it explains:


The Met Office described the temperature conditions during the flight as ‘unusually low compared to the average, but not exceptional’. The lowest total air temperature recorded during the flight was -45°C, and the minimum recorded fuel temperature was -34°C. The specified fuel freezing temperature for Jet A-1 is not above -47°C; analysis of fuel samples taken after the accident showed the fuel onboard the aircraft complied with the Jet A-1 specification and had a measured fuel freezing temperature of -57°C. The aircraft was operated within its certified flight envelope throughout the flight.


The AAIB concludes:


The focus of the investigation continues to be the fuel system of both the aircraft and the engines, in order to understand why neither engine responded to the demanded increase in power when all of the engine control functions operated normally. Under the direction of the AAIB, extensive full scale engine testing has been conducted at Rolls-Royce, Derby, and fuel system testing is ongoing at Boeing, Seattle.


The engine test cell at Rolls-Royce was altered to enable the introduction of calibrated restrictions at various locations in the engine and aircraft fuel feed systems to replicate the engine fuel and control system response.


The primary challenge at Boeing is to create the environmental conditions experienced on the flight over Siberia, at altitudes up to 40,000 ft, in which to test a representation of the aircraft fuel system.


These tests are collectively aimed at understanding and, if possible, replicating the fuel system performance experienced on the day and the potential for formation of restrictions. In addition, work has commenced on developing a more complete understanding of the dynamics of the fuel as it flows from the fuel tank to the engine.

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The crash of British Airways (London) flight 38 at London Heathrow Airport in January of this year could have possibly been caused by abnormally cold weather conditions over Russia, air investigators have now said. Experts have homed in on fuel flow as the key issue which led to the crash landing of the Boeing 777. The Air Accident Investigations Branch (AAIB) released a report saying that the drop in temperatures to -105°F (-76°C) may have caused the fuel in the aircraft to thicken during the flight. This translated in the aircraft being unable to get additional thrust required during the landing phase. Further tests are required to determine exactly what happened. In its report the AAIB has focused on the “region of particularly cold air” between the Urals and Eastern Scandinavia during the 10-hour flight from Beijing to Heathrow. It found that temperatures plummeted far lower than would have been expected for the region.


While the average freezing temperature of aviation fuel is -53°F (-47°C), tests showed that the fuel used on the airliner does not turn to ice until -71°F (-57°C). Tests also found that the fuel temperature throughout the flight never dropped below -29°F (-34°C). Even if the fuel had not become frozen it could have thickened to an unusual extent, which could have restricted its flow. Further testing on fuel is being carried out both at Rolls-Royce’s engine plant in Derby and Boeing’s factory in Seattle. A number of other theories have been ruled out by the AAIB that include birds flying into the engine or possibly ice blocking the engine intake.

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Statement on Engineering Industrial Action Latest News

Sydney, 14 May 2008

Qantas said today it had put in place measures to minimise the impact on customers during the Australian Licensed Engineers Association's (ALAEA) four-hour stop work meeting on Friday.


The Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Mr Geoff Dixon, said while Qantas did not expect any significant issues as a result of the proposed overtime bans commencing tomorrow, there would be delays as a result of Friday's action between 2pm and 6pm.


"To address this, we have cancelled a limited number of domestic services during that period. We have begun contacting affected customers and re-booking them on other services and everything will be done to get them to their destination as quickly as possible."


Mr Dixon said the ALAEA was, as it always did when in dispute with the airline, raising questions about safety.


"Of course, it is no coincidence that when the union is on a crusade for more money it decides to play the 'safety card'," he said.


"Safety is our top priority - we never have and never will compromise this."


Information on schedule changes will be available on qantas.com.



Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3759)



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Strike's been called off after the ACTU (Australian Council of Trade Unions) intervened.




QANTAS today narrowly averted strike action by its aircraft engineers, after union bodies deferred planned stop work meetings.


The airline (ASX: QAN: quote) has failed to reach an agreement over wages with the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association, which had called for four-hour stoppages for the next two Friday afternoons.


Shares of Qantas were up 24 cents, or 7 per cent, to $3.75 by late afternoon, having earlier risen to a five-week high of $3.75. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index was 0.3 per cent higher.


Steve Purvinas, the Federal Secretary of the ALAEA, said the union has deferred any work stoppages "until further notice", after intervention by peak body the Australian Council of Trade Unions but would continue to pursue its claims for a 5 per cent annual wage rise.


"The ACTU gave us some advice today that they believe we should postpone our stop work meetings and (ACTU president) Sharan Burrow will write to Geoff Dixon to seek further meetings," Mr Purvinas told Dow Jones Newswires.


Union members planned the stoppages after rejecting Qantas' offer of a 3 per cent annual increase over the next four years.


Mr Purvinas said earlier that reports the union had accepted a 3.5 per cent pay rise were incorrect.


Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon said earlier today the airline will not concede to the 5 per cent wage claims and planned to use existing management with aircraft engineering expertise to help its fleet remain in the air during the planned work stoppages.


Mr Dixon wouldn't comment on reports the airline is preparing to replace its unionised engineering workforce with non-union labour recruited in Asia and the Pacific.


"If it's escalated by the union after these first two disputes we'll make other contingencies, but they're our own confidential contingencies at this stage," he told Dow Jones Newswires.

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British Airways profits soar 45%

British Airways has reported a 45% rise in annual profits but warned that economic uncertainty and high fuel costs pose challenges.


BA made a profit of £883m in the year to 31 March, which BA boss Willie Walsh called an "outstanding" result.


Mr Walsh said he would not be taking an annual bonus because of the problems at the opening of Heathrow's Terminal 5.


The airline warned that the problems with the move to Terminal 5 would hurt its earnings this year.


Nevertheless, its shares closed up more than 4% in trading on Friday.


'Volatile market'


BA said the first quarter of the current financial year would be particularly difficult, with crude oil prices at $115 a barrel, almost double the $58 a barrel seen a year ago.


The airline's bill for the six million tonnes of jet fuel it uses in an average year was £124m higher than the previous year, despite significant hedging and a weaker dollar.


However, total operating costs were down 0.7% as a result of lower staff costs.


"We operate in a volatile market and this year has been no different," Mr Walsh said.


"We have continued to work hard on our costs savings to deliver these strong results."


BA said that shareholders would receive their first dividend since 2001 and added that staff would share a £35m bonus.


However, Mr Walsh said he had turned down his annual bonus - which could have been worth up to £700,000 - after taking responsibility for the problems at Terminal 5.


"I thought it would be inappropriate that I be paid a bonus," he told BBC News, adding that his decision had not been affected by concerns about how the media would react should he have taken the money.


"I didn't do it for press reasons. I have made it very clear that I was bitterly disappointed about the way we performed at the opening of Terminal 5."


The airline forecast that revenue would rise by about 4% in the current financial year but Mr Walsh said the upcoming period would be "very challenging".


He also admitted that fares may have to rise to offset the soaring cost of fuel.


Analysts are cautious about profit forecasts for BA this year, Merrill Lynch saying the firm faced "uncertainty" over fuel costs and the general economic picture.


Tough year


British Airways has been beset by problems in 2008.


In addition to high fuel prices, its pilots have threatened to strike over the launch of a new subsidiary and the opening of Terminal 5 was regarded as a disaster.


Staff at the new terminal were not able to get into work, thousands of bags were mislaid and flights were cancelled.


In early April, the airline said that the chaos surrounding the opening of Terminal 5 had so far cost about £16m.


However, because the £4.3bn building opened just days before the end of the past financial year, the bulk of the financial impact from the fiasco will be incurred this year.

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Cathay Pacific Mulls Route Cuts


May 18, 2008

Cathay Pacific Airways, Hong Kong's dominant airline, is considering cutting its money-losing routes because of high fuel prices, the South China Morning Post said on Saturday, citing the airline's CEO as warning in an internal newsletter.


"We will have to make sure that our fleet is flying the most suitable and economic routes for each of our aircraft types," the newspaper quoted Chief Executive Tony Tyler as saying in CX World.


"This will mean to allocate capacity to our strongest and most profitable markets, and to reduce or eliminate routes that are draining cash," Tyler said.


The airline was studying profit dynamics of all destinations and no decision would be made until August on any route reduction, the newspaper cited the carrier's Chief Operating Officer John Slosar as saying.


Cathay had to pay about 60 percent more in average jet fuel cost per tonne in the first 4 months of 2008, against the level last year, Tyler said, adding that fuel costs account for 30 percent of the carrier's operating costs.


Cathay Pacific's shares have fallen 19 percent so far this year, underperforming an 8 percent drop in the broader Hang Seng Index.


Oil prices surged to a record high near USD$128 a barrel on Friday as a bullish price forecast from investment bank Goldman Sachs drowned out an offer of more supply from OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia.




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American Airlines To Slash Jobs, Charge For Bags


May 21, 2008

American Airlines' shares fell 24 percent on Wednesday as it said it will cut thousands of jobs, retire old aircraft and charge passengers to check bags in a move to counter record fuel prices and a weak US economy.


American said it would reduce domestic capacity by between 11 percent and 12 percent in the fourth quarter, its biggest service cutback since the attacks of September 11, 2001.


"The airline industry as it is constituted today was not built to withstand oil prices at USD$125 a barrel and certainly not when record fuel expenses are coupled with a weak US economy," AMR Chief Executive Gerard Arpey said in a statement.


"The industry will not and cannot continue in its current state," Arpey told shareholders at the company's annual meeting in Fort Worth, Texas on Wednesday.


As all the major US airline stocks slumped amid a brokerage downgrade for the sector, AMR shares fell USD$1.98 to close at USD$6.22.


US crude oil futures rose to a record above USD$133 on Wednesday, more than twice the price a year ago.


American Airlines plans to charge USD$15 for many passengers' first checked bag starting in mid-June, an unprecedented move by a major US airline as it tries to claw back more of its extra fuel costs.


Rivals are considering following suit.


A spokeswoman for United Airlines said it was "seriously studying" American's USD$15 charge and a spokeswoman for Delta Air Lines said it was looking at every area of its business, but "at this time" has no plans to charge for a first checked bag.


American said it would take at least 75 mainline and regional aircraft out of its fleet, including some of its old MD-80s, which were grounded last month because of maintenance issues.


Only last month, it had projected a 4.6 percent drop in capacity from the fourth quarter of 2007.


The capacity cut will mean work force reductions at American and its American Eagle regional unit.


Asked if the job cuts would run into the thousands, Arpey said they would and added that every work group will be impacted.


"We are not doing our best by employees if one of our considerations is not being competitive," Arpey said.


More than 100 employees protested outside the annual meeting, calling for management changes.


"Our message is that we want new leadership," said Laura Glading, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.


American's USD$15 checked bag fee will not apply to international flights, some of its AAdvantage reward program members, or people with full-fare tickets.


The company also increased fees for services such as reservations, pet handling and oversized bags. Most of the increases range from USD$5 to USD$50.


In the last two years, most US carriers have removed capacity from less profitable domestic routes and introduced charges for checking extra bags as they try to keep up with rising fuel costs and fierce competition.


Shares of United Airlines parent UAL fell 29.5 percent to USD$8.15, Continental Airlines fell 13 percent to USD$14.20 and Delta Air Lines fell 16.4 percent to USD$5.77.




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Qantas grounds jets, cuts services/jobs




Reflecting moves by several US airlines to ground some aircraft rather than fly on uneconomic routes, Qantas has announced its plans to exit several low-yielding routes, including the Sydney-Gold Coast route in order to cut costs.


The airline said the domestic cuts equate to the grounding of six jets.


Within a week, Qantas said it will follow through with extra cuts to its international network.




Qantas plans to "ground" two Boeing 767s, retire one ageing 737 and speed up the retirement of its fuel-guzzling fleet of four 747-300s.




Mr Dixon said the Qantas Group would manage the reduction in ASKs by:


* retiring one B737 aircraft;

* grounding two B767 aircraft and one Jetstar A320 aircraft;

* cancelling the delivery of one Jetstar A321 aircraft;

* accelerating the retirement of its four B747-300 aircraft, currently operating trans-continental services to Perth, by December; and

* adjusting the flying patterns of other aircraft, including reducing the utilisation of the B747-400 fleet.




In the domestic market, Mr Dixon said:


* Qantas would exit its Gold Coast-Sydney and Ayers Rock-Melbourne routes and reduce Ayers Rock-Sydney services from August;

* Jetstar would exit its Sydney-Whitsunday Coast, Adelaide-Sunshine Coast, and Brisbane-Hobart routes from July; and

* Jetstar would reduce services on some Adelaide, Avalon and Cairns routes by August.




"Qantas remains a fundamentally strong company, with a good balance sheet and a commitment to investment that includes a $35 billion order for aircraft," Mr Dixon said.


"We must make these hard decisions now, however, if we are to ensure the ongoing strength of Qantas, preserve the jobs of the vast majority of our current workforce, and position ourselves for growth when the trading environment improves."




He said that the magnitude of the changes would require a reduction in staff numbers.


"This week we will launch an accelerated leave program to mitigate the requirement for redundancies, but it is inevitable that a reduction in staff numbers will be necessary in selected parts of our business," Mr Dixon said.


"As always, we will communicate with our people. In the first instance, redundancies will be carried out on a voluntary basis."


Mr Dixon said that in addition:


* the pay for all of the company's senior executive group would be frozen; and

* the normal July pay review for the remaining 1,000 executives would be deferred.

Edited by Keith T

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