Friday, 22 February 2019

$1.7 billion revenue for Air Lease Corp in 2018

One of the major leasing firms, Air Lease Corporation announced its financial results for the year and three months ended December 31, 2018, earlier this week.

The figures released show the firm achieved revenues of $450 million for the three months ended December 31st, 2018, that's an increase of 12.9%.  For the whole year, the revenue was $1.7 billion, an increase of 10.8%.
Cayman Airways 737 Max leased with ALC                     Photo ALC

“We had a solid fourth quarter, concluding another successful year for ALC generating pre-tax return on equity of 14.3% and $1.25 billion of operating cash flow for the full year 2018. We are now in our tenth year of operation and expect to reach $20 billion in assets in 2019 with a strong balance sheet. We have good momentum on lease placements and a strong outlook on aircraft sales and financing, already issuing $700 million of senior unsecured notes in January. We remain confident and optimistic looking forward,” said John L. Plueger, Chief Executive Officer and President.

Highlights included :

Cathay Pacific Group releases combined traffic figures for January 2019

Cathay Pacific Group released combined Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon traffic figures for January 2019 that show an increase in the number of passengers carried and a decrease in cargo and mail uplifted compared to the same month in 2018.

Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon carried a total of 3,127,437 passengers last month, an increase of 7.4% compared to January 2018. The passenger load factor increased 1.9 percentage points to 86.1%, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), increased by 7.1%.

The two airlines carried 166,735 tonnes of cargo and mail last month, a decrease of 3.4% compared to the same month last year. The cargo and mail load factor fell by 3.8 percentage points to 61.6%. Capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs), was increased by 0.8% while cargo and mail revenue freight tonne kilometres (RFTKs) decreased by 5.2%.

Delta proposes flights between Haneda, Tokyo’s city airport, and 5 new US cities and American also announces new plans for Tokyo services

Delta proposes flights between Haneda, Tokyo’s city airport, and 5 new US cities

Delta A350                                         Photo Delta
The giant US carrier Delta has filed an application this week, with the Department of Transportation because it wants to launch a major route expansion programme to Japan.  The Trump supporting airline is seeking approvals to launch daily daytime services between Tokyo-Haneda airport and Seattle, Detroit, Atlanta, and Portland, Oregan.  It also would like to start twice-daily services between Haneda and Honolulu.

Whilst major competitor American Airlines has also confirmed that it will submit applications to operate additional service to Tokyo Haneda (HND) from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX) and Las Vegas (LAS). The Delta and American decision to expand services to Japan is a direct result of the US and Japan reaching a tentative agreement last month to expand access at HND, which would open up to 12 additional daytime slot pairs for US carrier operations.

“Tokyo is an important hub for our Pacific Joint Business with Japan Airlines,” said American Airlines President Robert Isom. “Enhanced service at Haneda would give our customers better access to downtown Tokyo and open up JAL’s domestic network with flights to destinations like Osaka, Sapporo and Fukuoka.”

Delta’s proposed routes would be the only direct service currently offered by U.S. carriers between Haneda, Tokyo’s preferred airport for business travellers and the closest to the city centre, and the communities of Seattle, Portland, Atlanta and Detroit.

Together with the carrier’s existing service to Haneda from Minneapolis/St. Paul and Los Angeles, these new routes would bring Delta’s proven operational reliability and exceptional service to more customers travelling between a broad network of U.S. cities and Tokyo’s preferred airport.

Qantas shows strong performance results

The Australian airline Qantas delivered a strong first half profit despite a $416 million (27%) increase in its fuel bill.

Underlying Profit Before Tax was $780 million and Statutory Profit Before Tax was $735 million compared with the record first half result in FY18 – a $179 million drop at the underlying level.

Reducing the gap between the increased fuel bill and fall in earnings shows that the Group succeeded in substantially recovering much of the higher fuel cost through a 5.7 per cent increase in unit revenue, which was helped by disciplined capacity management.

This strong revenue performance also helped the Group deal with a rise in non-fuel costs, including the impact of a weaker Australian Dollar and higher commission costs, to post record profits in its domestic flying business and Qantas Loyalty.

  • Underlying Profit Before Tax: $780 million (down $179 million)
  • Statutory Profit Before Tax: $735million (down $105 million)
  • Fuel cost: $2.0billion (up $416 million)
  • Record result for Qantas Domestic, Jetstar Domestic and Qantas Loyalty[1] (opens in new window)
  • Net free cash flow: $218 million
  • Statutory Earnings Per Share: 30c
  • Return On Invested Capital: 19.3%
  • Up to $500 million shareholder return: interim dividend increased to 12 cents per share fully franked, plus an on-market buyback of up to $305 million
  • Higher fuel costs for FY19 expected to be fully recovered by end-of-year
  • Major environmental program to remove 100 million single-use plastic items, slash waste to landfill by 75%.

American Airlines Prepares for a Big Summer in Charlotte

American Airlines is getting ready for a big summer in Charlotte with more flights, new destinations and a refreshed Admirals Club, which reopens today. The airline plans to operate more than 700 daily flights out of Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) by the end of this year.

“With new gates opening at the end of this year, increases in frequencies on popular routes, new international service and a renovated Admirals Club, there’s so much to look forward to in Charlotte,” said Vasu Raja, Vice President of Network and Schedule Planning for American. “We’ll continue to be the best airline with the most choices in Charlotte for business and leisure customers.”

Increased service.........
CLT is on track to grow from an average of 664 daily flights today to more than 700 daily flights by the end of 2019. And part of that growth begins this summer as American adds more service to popular destinations, opening additional access to American’s vast network.

“This is an exciting time for our 11,500 Charlotte-based team members and our customers,” said Dec Lee, Vice President of Charlotte Hub Operations. “We are creating a world-class customer experience, providing access to more than 160 destinations in 23 countries.”

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Qantas wins big at the Business Traveller Cellars in the Sky 2018 Awards

The Business Traveller Cellars in the Sky 2018 Awards, which recognise the best business and first class wines served by airlines worldwide in the last year, were presented on Monday, February 18th at The Langham, London, by Charles Metcalfe, co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge.

Qantas was the evening’s biggest winner, taking the coveted Gold Medal for Best Overall Cellar, as well as the top spots in the Best First Class White, Best First Class Sparkling (jointly with Air France and Cathay Pacific), Best First Class Cellar, Best-Presented First Class Wine List, and Best Business Class Fortified / Dessert Wine categories.

Alaska Airlines deepens Bay Area commitment with plans for new San Francisco International Airport lounge

Alaska Airlines unveiled plans to build a new 8,500-square-foot top floor lounge at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Located in Terminal 2, guests will be treated to the highest viewpoint of any other domestic lounge at SFO with stunning sights of the Bay and runway. Expected to open in 2020, the Alaska Airlines SFO lounge is the company's first in Terminal 2 and is part of a multi-year commitment to invest in new and existing lounges with guests' every comfort in mind.

Two new routes from Kyiv to Athens and Thessaloniki in Greece for Wizz Air

Photo Wizz Air
Wizz Air, is one of the fastest growing airlines in Europe, it is also the leading low-cost carrier in Ukraine, and from 20th May its vast route network grows once again with two more destinations added to operations from its Kyiv base.

The airline will start two new routes from Kyiv to Athens and Thessaloniki in Greece the firm confirmed recently.  The Kyiv-Athens route is commencing on May 21st with 2 weekly frequencies, on Tuesdays and Saturdays. While flights on a route between Kyiv and Thessaloniki are commencing on May 20md and will be operated 2 times per week, on Mondays and Fridays. 

Norwegian leaps forward as largest non-North American airline to serve New York City in 2018

The World’s Best Low-Cost Long-Haul Airline, Norwegian, was the largest non-North American airline to serve the New York and New Jersey area in 2018, according to the latest Port Authority of New York data.

The airline carried an amazing 2,004,896 passengers during 2018 according to the Port Authority's latest figures, which means the budget airline was miles ahead of all other European carriers, including the UK's British Airways.

Norwegian became the leading airline in transatlantic traffic in a record-breaking year for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey who surpassed 50 million international travellers for the first time. “Norwegian has continued its growth in passenger numbers in a fiercely competitive and critical market across the Atlantic to the New York City area. We see this as a positive indicator that passengers on both sides of the Atlantic continue to embrace and support our award-winning service and our disruptive model on transatlantic routes. Being the number one European airline to serve the New York City Area is a tremendous achievement and we will continue to offer high a quality product, inflight service and value fares moving forward.” said Bjørn Kjos, Chief Executive Officer.

Ryanair to open new French base at Toulouse, increase aircraft based in France and launch more routes

There is a massive multi-million dollar  French investment ahead for Ryanair, the budget carrier announced this week.

The low-fare-high-fee carrier will open a new French base at Toulouse, signalling a $200 million investment. As part of its Winter 2019 schedule, with 2 new based aircraft and 20 routes (11 new – 8 international), which will offer more than a million customers each year through Toulouse Airport. It is also launching its biggest ever Bordeaux and Marseille Winter schedules with one new based aircraft at each airport (6 aircraft in total), and 9 new routes.

WestJet's dreamliner debut

WestJet's Dreamliner made its official commercial debut yesterday when it operated its first revenue flight from Toronto's Pearson International Airport to Calgary.

The "First revenue flight on the Dreamliner has been years in the making," said Arved von zur Muehlen, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. "There are big things in store for tail 901 as it is the first 787 that will take WestJet global."

The aircraft will operate on domestic flights for crew training and regulatory compliance before the first scheduled international flight between Calgary and London Gatwick on April 28th.

WestJet took delivery of its first of 10 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners in January 2019 and the second Dreamliner arrived on February 19, 2019. The airline will receive the third aircraft in March. Hub locations and routes for the remaining seven aircraft have not yet been announced.

Delta climbs in Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies rankings

Delta is one of Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies Worldwide for the second consecutive year – the only airline on the who's who of tech disruptors including Apple, Microsoft, Google and Rocket Lab.

Delta's 2018 deployment of biometrics to streamline the customer experience, combined with its groundbreaking weather app that enhances safety and comfort in flight, earned it the No. 2 spot among travel companies – up four positions from 2018.  "Taking customers from curb to gate with increasing ease," Fast Company wrote.

"Technology is second only to our employees as Delta's greatest competitive advantage," said Gil West, Chief Operating Officer. "Our team's ability to think big, start small and learn fast means we can rapidly scale technology and innovative processes to respond to what customers say is most important in their travel experience." 

Jet's jet operations are not getting any easier...

Photo Jet Airways
The troubled and beleaguered Indian airline Jet is facing more operation difficulties as a raft of international aircraft leasing firms are all set to ground more of Jet's jet's over unpaid bills and doubts over a government rescue deal could save the carrier.

It's being reported by local media that some lessors have begun the process for moving some aircraft out of India, to prevent Jet trying to fly them. “There’s some talk that the money is going to come but lessors have heard this for too long,” one anonymous leasing source told Reuters this week.

It is understood that nine aircraft have so far been grounded by various lessors, with an additional four on notice of imminent lease suspension.  It is also understood that two aircraft that are currently outside of India for maintenance reasons will not be returning to the airline, unless unpaid bills are settled.

Drone sightings halt operations at Dublin Airport

Drone chaos strikes at Dublin Airport!    The busiest Irish International airport became the latest international gateway to be disrupted by drone sightings over the airfield today.

All flight operations were suspended on Thursday morning following confirmed sightings of a drone over the airport. The suspension started at 1149 local time out of an abundance of caution, the airport operators saying safety was its key priority.

A pilot reported a drone sighting to the Irish Aviation Authority at the airport, approximately at 11.30am.  This prompted the suspension of flights by air traffic control. Which is understood to be agreed and preplanned procedures for drone attacks or sightings. 

There were no further sightings of the drone during a 30-minute suspension of flights, so the airport reopened for normal operations. However, many flights were delayed either arriving or departing due to the drone incursion.  A few flights were diverted away from Dublin during the incident which is estimated to have cost over €75,000.

"Flight operations have now resumed @DublinAirport following an earlier drone sighting. We apologise for any inconvenience. The safety and security of passengers is always our key priority." Dublin airport offered via social media.

The local airport police questioned aircraft enthusiasts at the airport during the incident, however, their task in locating and apprehending the illegal drone operator was greatly hampered by a number of social media users, including MrNeeson, claiming they were flying the drone over the airport.

The Dublin drone attack is the latest in a series of major international airports being targeted by illegal operations by drone users. London Gatwick was closed for more than 30 hours in December last year following repeated drone sightings over the airfield.  Just days later London Heathrow had to halt arrivals briefly after a drone was spotted in the arrivals flight path. Towards the end of last month, Newark's Liberty Airport in New Jersey halted some operations after a drone was spotted flying just 30 metres away arriving aircraft. Dubai International Airport also saw flights suspended for a short period last week due to drone activity.

(Images Dublin Airport)

Airbus to have major presence at Australia’s Avalon 2019

The European giant, Airbus will be one of the largest exhibitors at Avalon 2019 with a presence covering its entire range of products and services, including commercial and military aircraft, helicopters, and unmanned and space applications. The air show will be held at the Avalon Airport in Geelong, Victoria, from 26th February to 3rd March.

At the exhibition hall, the Airbus stand (#1M16 in Hall 1) will feature scale models of the new A350-1000 long-range airliner, the H145M twin-engine helicopter, the C295 maritime patrol aircraft, and the new-generation Eurostar Neo communications satellite.

Visitors to the stand will also be able to experience the capabilities of various Airbus products via the latest augmented and virtual reality HoloLens applications. These will include a tour of the new A330neo mid-size widebody, the H145M fitted with the HForce weapons system and a specifically tailored Taipan MRH-90 Multi Role Helicopter.

Special addition to Korean Air's livery to celebrate its 50th birthday

To celebrate its 50th anniversary the leading airline of Korea, Korean Air has announced that it will paint a special celebratory emblem and slogan on ten of its aircraft.

The special aircraft livery will depict the number 50 with a plane flying over it alongside the slogan “Beyond 50 Years of Excellence”. The number 50 symbolises Korean Air’s 50th anniversary and features a stylised taegeuk design. Taegeuk is the iconic mark of the Korean Flag.

The slogan “Beyond 50 Years of Excellence” emphasises Korean Air’s contributions during the last 50 years to Korea’s airline industry, and also highlights the national carrier’s ambitions to make the next 50 years even better for the company. Employees of Korean Air took part in the design and selection process of the emblem and slogan.

Flying Challenge launched in Mirabel to interest local young people in aeronautics by Airbus

Flagship programme comes to Quebec through a partnership with Mirabel Youth Centres Association

Photo Airbus
The first Canadian edition of the Airbus Foundation Flying Challenge has been launched in Québec, in partnership with the Mirabel Youth Centres Association – bringing the total number of sites conducting this flagship program of the Airbus Foundation to 17 worldwide.

The Airbus Foundation Flying Challenge is a youth activity and mentoring program involving 50 local students to interest them in aerospace and raise their awareness about training and future employment opportunities in the field.

“We are very proud to be launching the first ever Airbus Foundation Flying Challenge in Canada here in Mirabel, next door to the A220 partnership headquarters,” said Philippe Balducchi, Head of Airbus Canada and CEO of the A220 Partnership. “The Flying Challenge offers a fantastic opportunity to A220 employees to engage with young people from our local community by providing them with support and inspiration on their educational journeys.”

Austrian Airlines to offer more flights to Paris, Amsterdam and Copenhagen

Austrian Airlines aircraft in Vienna                                                             Photo Austrian Airlines
Austrian Airlines has confirmed it will increase frequencies to some other key European destinations in the upcoming summer flight schedule which are in addition to the previously announced expansion of its offering primarily to Germany. 

The carrier will offer twelve more weekly flights to Paris than in the summer flight schedule for 2018. On balance, Austria’s home carrier will offer a total of 39 weekly flights to the so-called “City of Love”. 

One additional daily flight connection to Amsterdam will be offered, or seven more flights each week. Overall, Austrian Airlines will have 34 weekly flights to Amsterdam in its portfolio. 

Travellers to Copenhagen can also be pleased with the addition of four weekly flight connections. Thus, Austrian Airlines will operate 31 flights per week on the Vienna-Copenhagen route. All the above-mentioned changes apply to flights starting on 1 May 2019 and are bookable as of today. 

Wizz Air add new route to its Polish operation as strikes loom at Luton

Photo Wizz
One of Europes fastest growing airlines has announced it will start a new route connecting Gdansk Poland with Bodø, in Norway.  The new service from Wizz Air will start on 22nd May and will become the firms 146 destination and is seen as a key demonstration of the airlines commitment to the Polish aviation industry. 

Bodø, the northernmost point of the beautiful Kystriksveien Coastal Route is the gateway to Norway's true north. Bodø is known as the Sea Eagle Capital as the islands around the city support the world's densest concentration of white-tailed sea eagles. Bodø offers a varied assortment of adventures, like kayaking or golfing under the midnight sun. Take a tour on a fast passenger boat, or fish in the world’s strongest tidal current, or if you like hiking in the stunning nature, there cannot be better trails for you than the ones around the city. Bodø hosts two large music festivals, “Parkenfestivalen” and “Nordland Musikkfestuke”, both attracting thousands of people.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Aviation Capital Group confirms funding for a Boeing 747-8F cargo aircraft for AirBridgeCargo

Photo AirBridgeCargo
Aviation Capital Group, a leading aircraft operating lessor, announced this week that it has structured, arranged, and provided a guarantee of a loan by MUFG Bank Ltd. (MUFG) to finance a portion of the purchase price of one Boeing 747-8F aircraft delivered to 
AirBridgeCargo (ABC) Airlines, one of the world’s leading air cargo carriers.

The ABC financing utilized ACG’s Aircraft Financing Solutions (AFS) program. The AFS program complements ACG’s operating lease business by providing customers with cost-effective aircraft financing solutions. Among operating lessors, ACG believes that it has created a unique aircraft financing program.

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