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Continental Wins US Postal Contract September 26, 2006

Posted by Andrew in Commercial Aviation, Continental, Uncategorized.
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This morning, legacy carrier Continental Airlines was awarded a US Postal Service contract valued at $258 million. The agreement, which makes Continental the second largest passenger carrier that also carries mail, will last for five years. Continental, along with many other carriers, has begun to diversify and implement alternative ways to generate revenue in addition to carrying passengers. The latest contract is seen by some analysts as a reward for Continental, which has been carrying mail for the USPS for the past seventy-two years.

Source: Reuters

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Lufthansa Places Order for Airbus Aircraft September 20, 2006

Posted by Andrew in Airbus, Boeing, Lufthansa, Uncategorized.
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German carrier Lufthansa announced this morning that it hard ordered both long-haul and short-haul aircraft from Airbus, with deliveries beginning in the coming months. As a stopgap measure, Lufthansa will receive five A330 aircraft over the next two years to make up for delays in the A380 program. In addition, the carrier is taking on ten short-haul A320 and fifteen A321 aircraft. The order for the A320 and A321 serves to both replace aging aircraft and bolster the size of the fleet. Still, Lufthansa management left open the possibility for an additional thirty commitments to the A320 family. Even with the recent order, Lufthansa may still make a substantial order for more long-haul aircraft. According to industry sources, Lufthansa management is contemplating the purchase of up to one-hundred aircraft in the coming months. With today’s order only accounting for one-third of that maximum number, could a larger Boeing or Airbus order be in store?

Source: Reuters

Russian Mogul Salvages Aeroflot-Boeing Order September 19, 2006

Posted by Andrew in Uncategorized.
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Facing the collapse of a three-billion dollar order between Aeroflot and Boeing, Alexander Lebedev, a man with a thirty-percent stake in the Russian carrier, took matters into his own hands this morning. Rather than risk the implosion of the deal, Mr. Lebedev signed a deal to purchase twenty-two long range aircraft on behalf of Aeroflot, floating his own assets as collateral. Aeroflot faced a Boeing imposed deadline on whether to select either the Boeing 787 or the Airbus A350 XWB. The board of Aeroflot’s refusal to make a commitment to either aircraft posed a problem for both Boeing, which is fast selling out of production slots of its twin-engine, 787 aircraft. With Boeing unwilling to reserve slots for any longer, Aeroflot risked losing the earlier production slots if it did not make a formal commitment by the agreed upon date. Boeing refused to comment on the order– only confirming that a deal had occurred. Lebedev’s company reportedly “signed the deal to keep Aeroflot’s options open in case the airline’s full board eventually decides to buy the Dreamliner.” Still, some analysts are skeptic of board approval for the order. In recent months, Russian interests have purchased a significant stake in the parent company of Airbus. Could a sole Airbus A350 XWB order be a way of furthering Russian influence over the predominantly European Airbus? For now, Ledebev begs to differ.

Source: Reuters

Canadian Carrier CanJet Shutters Doors September 5, 2006

Posted by Andrew in Commercial Aviation, Uncategorized.
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Citing high fuel costs and a turbulent industry, Canadian upstart CanJet will shutdown all scheduled passenger service after September 10. The carrier, which utilized a fleet of ten Boeing 737-500 aircraft, flew to fourteen destinations in Canada and the United States. The Halifax based airline joins a slew of of other Canadian airlines put out of business by much larger carriers in recent years; namely, Air Canada and Westjet. At its peak, CanJet could only garner five percent of the Canadian market. On the shutdown of Canjet, the airline’s CEO, Julie Gossen, said: “Unfortunately, our airline, over the years, has been faced with many uncontrollable challenges within the industry including high fuel costs, continual increases to airport fees as well as increases in competitive capacity on our primary routes.” While the suspension of scheduled passenger service will benefit the two largest players in the Canadian market, travelers in the Atlantic province will particularly miss the carrier. Canjet will continue to serve the Canadian people; only it will morph from its current form into a charter carrier, utilizing some of the aircraft that currently comprise its fleet. On news of the suspension of passenger service, rival low-fare airline Westjet stock rose three percent.

Source: Reuters

Aeroposte Relaunch August 26, 2006

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Welcome to the new Aeroposte website. The Aeroposte team decided to update the look of the website and switch hosting services because our old provider didn’t suit our future direction. A few months ago, Aeroposte management teamed up with a news aggregation company, Newstex. Now, with their support, our stories are licensed to major corporations who need to obtain their information in secure environments. Newstex’s selection of this website to join their select community of providers is a strong vote of confidence in our organization. While we may be growing, with the planned rollout of podcasts and other features in coming months, we will continue to provide commercial aviation news in a concise, but intelligent form.

Delta Pilots, Management Avert Strike April 15, 2006

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Up until midday Friday, many analysts and Delta employees were convinced that Delta’s pilots would go on strike over the Easter weekend. Such a strike would have the potential to bring the legacy carrier to its knees; however, late Friday afternoon a tentative agreement was forged between the pilot’s union (ALPA) and Delta management. Representatives from both parties were tight-lipped about specific details, but the deal likely means that both sides made concessions, ultimately moving toward their goal of making Delta Airlines profitable again. The agreement still must be ratified by Delta’s 5930 pilots. A few weeks prior to the tentative agreement, 95% of Delta’s pilots voted to authorize a strike. Delta pilot Keith Rosenkranz, senior Delta pilot, summarized the rationale for Delta pilots to strike: “There does come a point when you have to stand up for your profession and the things that you negotiated in good faith, and if the company is not willing to recognize that then I’m not going to vote for something that continues to take.” Bolstered by the favorable news, a Delta spokesperson encouraged passengers to “book with confidence.” Still, Delta has to overcome a multitude of issues, like the restructuring of one of its regional affiliates, Comair, before it can eke out a profit. The road to profitability is long for Delta, and as Lee Moak, the chairman of the union’s executive committee at Delta, said: “We will not hurry… but will proceed in an unrushed, methodical manner.”

Continental Develops Plan to Deal with Venezuela-U.S Dispute March 18, 2006

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In response to the Venezuelan government’s threat to revoke the operating rights of U.S airlines as of March 30, Continental Airlines announced on Friday that they had drafted plans to accommodate passengers booked from April until the crisis was resolved. The carrier plans to allow all passengers to exchange tickets without penalties, in addition to issuing full refunds for those who plan to cancel their trips to Venezuela entirely. The dispute between Venezuela and the United States stems from a disagreement over aviation rights. In a bid to convince the U.S FAA to allow Venezuelan airlines to enter U.S airspace, which were banned a decade ago, the Venezuelan government has threatened to refuse entry to all American flights as of March 31st. Currently, Continental, which serves Venezuela from Houston, Texas, and Newark, New Jersey, is the only carrier that flies nonstop to the South American country of Venezuela. Although Continental has not altered its schedules in anticipation of a ban on American carriers, Americans can still gain admittance to Venezuela if they fly on carrier’s of a different nationality, like Air France of France or Lufthansa of Germany.

Northwest Pilots Strike Tentative Deal March 5, 2006

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Photo: Aeroposte Editor

Northwest Airlines and union officials representing pilots at the nation’s fourth largest airline reached a tentative pay-cut deal late Friday night. Although few details of the agreement have been released, Northwest management reported that they successfully negotiated the $358 million in savings they sought at the onset of the arbitration process. Both sides most ratify the pact before the cost-savings can be implemented. The agreement defused the potential for a strike, which had been authorized by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) if the bankruptcy court judge imposed these cuts without union consent. Mark McClain, the head of the Northwest branch of ALPA , characterized the agreement as “a painful but necessary part of a successful restructuring of Northwest Airlines.” Following in the footsteps of embattled legacy carrier United Airlines, which recently emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Northwest has used its bankruptcy status as leverage against the traditionally strong unions representing airline employees. These pay-cuts are the second round of salary adjustments at Northwest, which slashed pilot pay 15% in 2003. According to Airline labor relations expert Daniel Petree of Embry-Riddle University, Northwest is hardly out of danger though: “If I were on either side of the bargaining table I wouldn’t assume my work is done”, he quipped in an Associated Press article.

Jetblue Shares Rise on News of Song Cutbacks February 25, 2006

Posted by Andrew in Uncategorized.
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Jetblue Airways shares rose six percent on the news that Delta Airlines plans to further cutback the number of flights between New York to Florida. Jetblue competes heavily with Delta low-fare subsidiary Song on these routes. Delta attributed the reduction in frequency of flights to “a seasonal pull down in capacity for May, which is one of the lowest demand periods to Florida.” Some analysts belief the changes will be permanent, as Delta prepares to shutdown Song and fold its aircraft back into the mainline Delta fleet. Despite Delta’s statement that the changes would only be temporary, brokerage JP Morgan upgraded Jetblue’s rating from “underweight” to “neutral.” In addition to the cuts in Florida, Delta plans to slightly reduce the number of flights to Los Angeles and Seattle. Delta spokesman John Kennedy said these changes were “partly due to the airline integrating Song into its network and adding first-class seats to its flights.” Even so, with less competition on its bread and butter New York to Florida flights, Jetblue Airways expects the move to boost the carrier’s financial fortunes.

International Coalition Investigates Cargo Price-Fixing February 15, 2006

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Investigators acting on behalf of the American government and the European Union conducted a series of raids on more than twelve airlines yesterday. Although spokespersons for the European Commision and the US Department of Justice refused to provide details about the probe, reports of the investigation have emerged through formal press releases sent out by the targeted airlines. It is believed that the joint coalition is trying to determine whether “there has been collusion in the air cargo industry to fix prices on surcharges for fuel, security and insurance.” The investigation has targeted the cargo divisions of several high-profile air carriers, including American Airlines and Air France. A host of other airlines are being investigated, including United Airlines, UPS, SAS Airlines, Atlas Air Worldwide Holding Inc.’s Polar Air Cargo unit, Japan Airlines Corp., Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., British Airways PLC, Germany’s Lufthansa AG, Luxembourg’s Cargolux Airlines and Lan Chile. Sources familiar with the investigation report that most airlines are closely cooperating with the authorities, although there are complaints that the investigating bodies have not fully disclosed their intent. Although currently there is little public information to support the claims of price-fixing and collusion, the discovery of illegal cooperation may serve to tarnish the reputations of some of the most respected airlines in the world. The bottom-line of these airlines may be affected as well, as harsh penalties will be dealt out to offending carriers who tried to further their profits in the burgeoning air cargo market.