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Continental Barter with Unions Pays Off February 28, 2005

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Continental Airlines reached a tentative agreement with its union groups today to dramatically cut costs. Continental, one of the leanest and most efficient legacy carriers, still needed to cut its costs further to put itself in a good position once the industry rebounds. Continental management struck deals with the pilot’s, flight attendant’s, and mechanic’s unions. The changes will be ratified at the end of March, and soon after the wage and benefit reductions will go into effect. This labor agreement makes it possible for Continental to purchase new Boeing 737-800, 757-300, and 787 aircraft in the immediate future. The deadline on a board decision for the purchase of these new aircraft has been extended one month from February 28th. Chief Executive Officer Larry Kellner was quoted as saying “I know a reduction in pay and benefits is painful. However, these agreements, along with the reductions from the rest of our work groups, will put in place the tools we need to be successful and grow our company, securing the careers and retirement of all Continental employees. We will all continue to work together to deliver a strong future for Continental and its people.”

Flyi Reports Huge 2004 Loss February 26, 2005

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Independence Air, a former United Express feeder that converted itself to a low-fare airline, released its year end financial statements on Friday, the 25th of February. The airline lost $192.2 million in 2004, compared with a $82.8 million profit operating a UEX feeder in 2003. The huge losses were blamed on high fuel costs, the early retirement of turboprop aircraft, legal charges stemming from the need to protect themselves from a hostile takeover, and a plethora of other unforseen expenses. On this news, a powerful investor urged Independence Air management to put the airline up for sale.

Rumor: Ryanair Cuts Sweet Deal with Boeing February 25, 2005

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On February 24th, Ryanair announced that it would order seventy more 737-800 aircraft from Boeing. The deal was valued at roughly $4 billion, but the price is well below the list price for the type of Boeing 737 Ryanair purchased. It’s no secret that airlines use hardball negotiating tactics to get a good deal from the airplane manufacturers. The individual price paid per aircraft by Ryanair is not far below the list price- but industry insiders believe that Boeing agreed to fit winglets to the new 737’s, normally an additional expensive option. If this rumor holds up- then Ryanair negotiators arbitrated a terrific deal. The winglets add several hundred miles to the 737’s range, this in turn gives Ryanair an advantage over other competitors because it airplanes can fly further and more efficiently. With the addition of this order, Ryanair now has on order 255 737’s, to be delivered through 2012.

Jetblue to Fly to Burbank February 24, 2005

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Keeping with its slow, but focused nation-wide expansion, Jetblue Airways announced that they will start flying to Burbank, California, as of May 24. Initially, the only Jetblue flights to Burbank will originate from Jetblue’s east coast hub, John F. Kennedy International. In the beginning Jetblue will offer three daily round trips, but the airline expects to increase that number to four by July 15. Introductory fares will start at $99 one way; however, the average one-way fares will be between $124 and $299. Burbank is the seventh destination Jetblue serves in California.

Independence Air Stock Soars on News of Refinancing Deal February 22, 2005

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Independence Air, struggling to avoid liquidity, reached an agreement with the majority of its creditors to delay payments and vastly reduce its regional jet fleet size. Independence Air plans to return 24 of its Bombardier Canadair Regional 200 Jets by July. After July, the low-fare airline’s fleet will be 1/3 smaller than it was when Independence Air ceased operating as a United Express operator. In addition, the Flyi was able to cancel the leases on 21 of the turboprops it used while flying for United Express, thus saving the airline an additional $13.5 million. The stock market responded favorably to the news, and Independence Air’s stock climbed 14% on the day.

Continental Teams up with Air France February 21, 2005

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Continental Airlines today announced that they would begin codesharing with France’s national airline, Air France. Continental seeks to make Air France’s extensive European and Middle-eastern route network available to its customers by initiating this codeshare. Passengers will be able to utilize Air France’s network via Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, France. According to the release, miles can be accrued on Air France flights and then transferred to the Continental Onepass mileage program. This latest announcement is an extension of the Skyteam alliance, a codeshare network of seven airlines headlined by Continental and Delta Airlines.

Airtran Encroaches Upon US Air’s Charlotte Hub February 20, 2005

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Airtran, in a move strikingly similar to Southwest’s invasion of USAir’s Pittsburgh hub, has released a press release stating that “it is prepared for a tough battle on US Airways’ home turf when it begins flying out of Charlotte-Douglas International Airport on May 4.” AirTran President and Chief Operating Officer Robert L. Fornaro commented that “[Airtran] expect(s) US Airways to compete vigorously, (but) [Airtan] thinks [it]can compete with anybody.” Atlanta based Airtran plans to drastically undercut other carriers exorbitantly high fares on the Atlanta to Charlotte route, when it begins offering four roundtrips between the two cities starting May 4. US Airways has not yet officially commented, although they are expected to match Airtran’s fares, just as they matched Southwest’s fares at their other hub, Pittsburgh.

Frontier Receives Two More A319’s February 20, 2005

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(Photo: Gerd Beilfuss)

Frontier Airlines, a low-fare carrier based at Denver, Colorado’s super efficient airport, received on February 18th its 35th and 36th Airbus A319. The airline flies a mixed fleet of Boeing and Airbus narrow-body aircraft; however it is removing its old Boeing 737 aircraft in favor of an all Airbus fleet. Unlike Jetblue Airways, which operates Airbus A320’s, Frontier flies the small cousins of the A320, the small A318 and the slightly larger A319. Frontier, best known for its aircraft’s colorful tails adorned with animals, also unveiled the new tail livery, ‘Mariner’. Mariner is a Crowned Conure, a species of parrot with extremely colorful feathers. Frontier Airlines will lease these 132 seat Airbus A319’s from General Electric Capital Aviation Services (GECAS).

Aeroposte Poll February 13, 2005

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In its effort to create a close-knit community of readers, Aeroposte requests that its readers posts any feedback they have about our website (design, tone of articles, etc.) under the comments section of this post. In honor of surpassing the 500 visit mark, Aeroposte is proud to unveil our new slogan: “Aviation news without the jargon.” As always, Aeroposte will continue to deliver the latest aviation news and factoids to our loyal readers in our unique flavor, of course via the Aero-Poste.

Alaska Airlines Announces Service Between Dallas and Anchorage February 12, 2005

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Beginning June 19, Alaska Airlines will offer twice-daily service between Anchorage, Alaska, and Dallas, Texas. The flight will stop in Seattle, Washington, to refuel and pickup additional passengers. Alaska Airlines will utilize its largest aircraft, the Boeing 737, for this route. Fares will be initially priced at $244 round trip, however, tickets must be purchased by February 28. According to Alaska’s executive vice president of marketing and planning: “The addition of Dallas is a continuation of Alaska’s strategy to selectively expand our network from Seattle and was facilitated by another carriers recent suspension of service between Seattle and Dallas/Fort Worth.” The total flight time from Dallas Fort-Worth to Anchorage will be roughly five and a quarter hours.