Inside Air Travel - Airlines to lend a helping hand

by AirGuide Online - The Best Source for Global Air Travel

A number of airlines have stepped up to help with relief efforts for those affected by the devastating tsunami that hit several countries in Southeast Asia last week. Air Canada, Northwest Airlines, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways and Emirates are just a few that have agreed to operate special flights to transport supplies to the region. SAS has opened up an airlift between Scandinavia and Thailand and Qantas also operated several special flights to bring travelers home to Australia. In addition, several carriers, including Cathay Pacific, SAS, SIA, AC, Delta Air Lines and Wizz Air, have donated funds to the relief efforts. Jan 4, 2005

Air Guide
Air Berlin will begin a thrice-weekly service from Leipzig to London Stansted Feb. 4 2005. Jan 4, 2005

Air Europa signed a firm contract with Boeing for three 737-800s as part of its ongoing fleet renewal program. Deliveries are expected to begin in Jan. 2006 and the order is valued at $195 million at list prices. The airline currently operates 25 737-800s and will take delivery of two more this year. Jan 4, 2005

AirTran Airways announced that the airline's pricing department checked the 713 markets in which AirTran Airways files fares and did not have to lower one fare after Delta Air Lines introduced its new "SimpliFares" yesterday. Jan 6, 2005

AirTran Airways will begin one daily nonstop flight between Newport News-Williamsburg and Tampa Feb. 9 2005. Jan 4, 2005

Alaska Airlines announced that it will begin offering meals for purchase on many of its Mexico flights beginning Jan. 9, 2005. Debuting on nonstop flights from Seattle and California to Los Cabos, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, Loreto and Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Mexico, the new program will give passengers who previously were offered snack and beverage service the opportunity to buy a freshly made meal for their flight. Jan 6, 2005

Aloha Airlines filed for Chapter 11 last week, becoming the second Hawaii-based carrier to seek bankruptcy protection after Hawaiian Airlines filed for Chapter 11 in March 2003. Privately owned Aloha said that despite an 8% increase in enplanements in the third quarter, it was unable to post a profit in the period owing to rising fuel costs and lower ticket prices. Through Nov., the airline said it had paid $24 million more for fuel than in the same period in 2003, a 48% increase. Jan 4, 2005

American Airlines broadly matched Delta's new fare structure, reducing the highest fares and lowering fares for last-minute travel in thousands of markets throughout the continental U.S. In most markets, the Saturday-night stay requirements have been eliminated. The new fares make it even easier to check fares and book flights through American's AA.com Web site. Here are highlights of American's new domestic fares, available throughout most of the continental United States:

  • Highest Coach and First Class fares are lower
  • Saturday-night stay requirements have been eliminated in most markets
  • There are fewer fare levels in each market
  • Round-trip discount fares are available with a zero-, three-, seven-, or 14-day advance purchase; a one-night minimum stay may be required.
  • The new fares apply to flights operated by American Airlines, American Eagle and AmericanConnection. Jan 6, 2005

    Austrian Airlines winter sale fares are here. The independent traveler can experience Whirling Dervishes or the Viennese Waltz or the Bolshoi Ballet or "The Sound of Music" or the Romanian Rhapsody or the music of Budapest's native sons Bartok and Liszt or delicious Weiner Schnitzel or authentic Hungarian Goulash or visit to Prague's Old Town or delight in fresh-powder skiing in the Austrian Alps with one of these new Austrian Airlines winter sale fares for departures from New York/JFK and Washington, DC/Dulles for travel now until March, 16th 2005. "Many independent travelers want the opportunity for a unique experience in addition to traveling to a unique destination. These fares offer both, with a minimum of restrictions," said Herbert Koschier, Austrian Airlines' General Manager &endash; North America, who made the announcement today.

    Round-trip fares for departures from New York/JFK:

  • Vienna, $379. Istanbul, $502. Moscow, $585. Bucharest, $ 478.
  • Budapest, $376. Prague, $412. Salzburg, $ 412. Innsbruck, $ 412.

    Round-trip fares for departures from Washington, DC/Dulles:

  • Vienna, $461. Istanbul, $488. Moscow, $549. Bucharest, $534.
  • Budapest, $362. Prague $432. Salzburg, $495. Innsbruck, $495 .

    All fares are for round-trip, Economy Class, midweek travel (Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday). Taxes and fees are extra, ranging from $81 to $136, depending upon the destination. Tickets must be booked and purchased by January 20, 2005, and are valid for travel until March 16, 2005. These fares require a three (3) day advance purchase and are subject to availability. There is a minimum Saturday night stay over required and travel is limited to maximum 30 day stay. Consult your travel agent or call Austrian Airlines at (800) 843-0002. Jan 5, 2005

    Boeing released its year-end commercial airplane orders numbers, capping a strong year in which it successfully launched the all-new 7E7 Dreamliner and 747 Special Freighter programs and enhanced its popular 777 family by delivering the first 777-300ERs and offering a freighter based on the 777-200LR.

    Net orders increased nearly 14 percent to 272 in 2004 from 239 in 2003, reflecting improving conditions in the commercial aviation market. Also, as announced yesterday, Boeing delivered as planned 285 commercial airplanes during 2004. On stronger demand, Boeing plans to increase production in 2005 to approximately 320 airplanes, with further increases expected in 2006.

    During 2004 Boeing logged a total of 126 customer-announced orders and commitments for the 7E7 Dreamliner, including 56 7E7s booked as firm orders. Overall Boeing has received deposits from customers securing nearly 250 7E7s, which essentially commits the first two years of planned production deliveries.

    Eight airlines have joined the 7E7 Dreamliner launch team in just eight months after its April 2004 launch: ANA and Japan Airlines from Japan; First Choice and Blue Panorama from Europe; Continental and Primaris airlines in the United States; Air New Zealand; and Vietnam Airlines.

    Other Boeing Commercial Airplanes highlights in 2004 included:

  • Assembling a global team to develop 7E7 engines, systems and structures.
  • Rolling out the 500th 777; assembling the first 777-200LR, the longest-range commercial airplane in the world; and starting moving-line operations on the 777.
  • Delivering the 1,500th Next-Generation 737, a milestone reached sooner on the Next-Generation 737 than any other commercial airplane in history.
  • Adding three new 777-300ER customers and securing 27 orders for that airplane, including ones from premier carriers Singapore Airlines, Emirates, and Etihad Airways. Also added an order for four 777-200ERs from Air New Zealand, a new customer for that model.
  • Winning 10 new orders from five customers for the 747-400 freighter, which maintains a substantial market share advantage in the large cargo aircraft segment.
  • Launching the 747 Special Freighter and winning 20 orders for the aircraft.
  • Teaming with Boeing Integrated Defense Systems to win the U.S. Navy's Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft program.
  • Introducing services innovations such as Integrated Materials Management, the Electronic Flight Bag, Airplane Health Management, and expanding the use of MyBoeingFleet.com.
  • Working closely with the United States Trade Representative to bring an end to government subsidies for Airbus and create a level playing field for the commercial aviation industry.

    Bombardier confirmed that the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China has allowed operators to resume passenger services using CRJ200s. Three Chinese airlines operate the type: China Eastern Airlines, Shandong Airlines and Shanghai Airlines. The CRJ200s were grounded by CAAC on Nov. 23 2004 as a precautionary measure following a Nov. 21 accident in Baotou, Inner Mongolia, involving a China Eastern aircraft. Jan 4, 2005

    China Eastern Airlines will purchase six 737-700s for $240 million, the Associated Press reported. The aircraft will begin arriving in Jan. 2006. Jan 4, 2005

    CSA Czech Airlines will start a four-times-weekly service from Prague to Sarajevo on March 28 and a thrice-weekly service to Skopje from May 17 2005. Jan 4, 2005

    Delta Air Lines' plan to cut its most expensive fares and ax a Saturday-night stay-over rule for cheaper tickets could be a boon to business travelers. But some rivals balked at the idea and analysts warned the move could reduce the already struggling industry's revenues as much as $3 billion a year if every carrier followed suit. Jan 6, 2005

    Delta Air Lines faced a stark choice. It could watch low-cost carriers slowly eat its domestic business alive or it could opt for potentially life threatening surgery in the hope of securing a brighter future. It chose the operating table. But rather than more cost cutting which has become an inevitable part of doing business Delta is radically changing its fare structure. By cutting prices, scrapping requirements such as Saturday night stays, and pushing for more online bookings it is moving towards a low-cost carrier fare model. That had to happen one day. Unfortunately, Delta and its legacy carrier peers do not yet have the lean cost bases to go with it. Airlines Forecasts calculates that domestic unit costs for low-cost carriers remain over 35 per cent below those of legacy rivals. In addition, legacy operators remain saddled with underfunded pension liabilities and rickety balance sheets. Over time, Delta's fare simplification will have some cost benefits and should help win back customers. But the pain of reduced revenues will be felt first. If rivals respond aggressively, pressure on industry yields could increase without a commensurate rise in passenger numbers. Already under the cosh from high oil prices and overcapacity, the industry is not in a financial position to enter a fares war. The silver lining is that the pain might finally force some capacity out of the industry. The odds on struggling carriers such as US Airways failing to reach the end of the year have clearly shortened. Jan 5, 2005

    Emirates has further upped momentum on its relief efforts for the tsunami-affected countries in South Asia. Emirates SkyCargo has been flying its Boeing 747-400Fs loaded with relief items, including food, tents, utensils, clothes, linen and medicines, from across its network to affected countries in the region. Two of the shipments, from Cairo and Dubai, totalling nearly 209 tons, were delivered to the International Federation of the Red Cross in Colombo. In the past week, Emirates has carried a total of more than 501 tons of relief goods in its freighters and scheduled flights from 11 if its destinations - Netherlands, France, Germany, Sweden, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Philippines, Singapore, and Australia - to Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India and Maldives. More than 110 tons were sent free of charge on behalf of various organizations including the Consulate General of Sri Lanka, Dubai Humanitarian City, International Association of Human Values and Al Boghari General Trading. Emirates' partnership with SriLankan Airlines also has enabled it to leverage its own network to help SriLankan to connect with various cities that have offered humanitarian help, and to carry shipments free of charge.

    Over the next few days, Emirates will coordinate and transport several more shipments to countries devastated by the tsunamis on December 26 2004. Meanwhile, Emirates' staff in Munich have put together a container full of food and clothing that will be transferred to Dubai on one of the airline's regular flights and onwards to Colombo on Sri Lankan Airlines. From Dubai, the airline procured and transported more than 13 tons of food and medicines to Colombo over the New Year weekend and nearly 22 tons of much-required shipments of bottled water to the Maldives in the initial days of the disaster. Supported by Emirates Airline, Dnata and five other companies, the Dubai-based Airport Emergency Team (AET) of the Disaster Resource Network (DRN) was deployed at Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport. Its mandate is to help manage all humanitarian cargo arriving on charter flights into the country, enabling a quick turnaround of aircraft, and the efficient dispatch of relief goods to the affected areas Jan 6, 2005

    Emirates will launch its thrice a week non-stop services to the Seychelles from January 2, 2005. Emirates' first flight EK 705 will depart Dubai at 02:10 and touch down at Seychelles International Airport on Mahe Island at 06:45. Return flight EK 706 will take off from the Seychelles at 08:00 on the same morning and arrive at Dubai International Airport at 12:30. The Airbus A330-200 aircraft which Emirates will use on this new route offers 54 seats in Business class and 183 in Economy, along with up to 15 tons of cargo. Operating every Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday, Emirates' new service will boost connections between the picturesque islands of the Indian Ocean and Dubai, one of the world's fastest-growing commercial hubs. Jan 3, 2005

    Bulgaria's Hemus Air added a second BAe 146 to its fleet. It also began weekly service from Sofia to Cairo and twice-weekly service from Sofia to Cologne. Jan 4, 2005

    KLM reduced its fares on all flights from Amsterdam to 66 European destinations by as much as 40%. The airline said the price cuts are in response to "increasing competition in the European air travel market and a drop in average airfares." Jan 4, 2005

    LAN Airlines launched twice-weekly service from Santiago to Pucon, Chile. Jan 4, 2005

    Included in the fare sale is travel on Midwest Airlines and Midwest Connect. Midwest Airlines Signature Service features seating altered from standard coach to a roomier two-by-two configuration; Midwest Airlines Saver Service provides low-fare flights between Milwaukee and popular leisure destinations. Midwest Connect provides connections throughout the Midwest Airlines and Midwest Connect route system, and point-to-point service between select markets. Fares are valid Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays only. Travel is not permitted July 1-4. Travelers who book roundtrip flights on Midwest Airlines Web site will save an additional 3% off advertised sale fares when they use promo code JAN03. For reservations or more information, visit http://www.midwestairlines.com , call Midwest Airlines Reservations at 414-570-7000 (outside Milwaukee, 800-452-2022) or contact a travel consultant. Jan 1, 2005

    Midwest Airlines is offering reduced fares for travel January 9 through May 31, 2005, and also for travel June 1 through September 30, 2005. Fares are available Sunday, January 2 through midnight Central time Thursday, January 6, 2005, and must be purchased at least 7 days in advance of departure. Jan 1, 2005

    Southwest Airlines is further pressing its Pennsylvania assault on US Airways, with plans to begin flying to the bankrupt carrier's former Pittsburgh hub this spring. Analysts said the new flights, planned for May, could speed the demise of US Airways Group Inc., which remains the dominant carrier in Pittsburgh. The nation's seventh-largest airline, which has been crippled by fare wars with Southwest and other airlines, has said that if it can't reduce labor costs it could begin liquidating assets this month. Jan 6, 2005

    Swiss International is participating in the collective effort organised by Swiss Solidarity for the benefit of the victims of the Asian tsunami. From tomorrow, January 5, through until Sunday, January 9 2005, Swiss International will donate CHF 10 for every booking received via http://www.swiss.com. In addition, 10 per cent of the January revenue from duty-free sales on board Swiss International flights will go to Swiss Solidarity. The undersea quake and subsequent sea surge in Asia have prompted an unprecedented global relief effort. Swiss International expresses its solidarity with the victims and actively supports the relief work by donating funds to Swiss Solidarity. From January 5 to 9 Swiss International will donate CHF 10 to the relief fund for every flight booked over http://www.swiss.com. Until the end of January, 10 per cent of all revenue from duty-free sales on board Swiss International flights will go to Swiss Solidarity. Swiss International will also make cargo space available free of charge in the short term for organisations such as the Red Cross and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Jan 4, 2005

    Trade Air of Croatia took delivery of two ex-American Airlines F100s. The carrier, which currently is operating three Let L-410 turboprops, plans to use the jets on charter flights to Western Europe from several Croatian cities. Jan 4, 2005

    United Airlines announced several initiatives to assist with the tsunami relief effort in Asia, including the donation of available cargo space to ship relief supplies to southern Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and other coastal areas on the Indian Ocean. Jan 5, 2005

    Flight attendants at United Airlines overwhelmingly voted to authorize the Assn. of Flight Attendants to call for CHAOS (create havoc across our system) strike activities should a federal bankruptcy court permit management to abrogate its collective bargaining agreements with its employees. Of the eligible voters participating, 88% voted in favor. "United flight attendants have spoken loudly and clearly: They will not allow their employers to exploit the bankruptcy process and strip them of their rights. They are ready to fight," union head Greg Davidowich said. United said it regretted that AFA continues to take actions that are "simply not helpful" and urged the union to sit down directly with management to negotiate a new deal. Court proceedings are expected to begin Jan. 7 2005. Jan 4, 2005

    United Express on Feb. 15 2005 will launch two daily non-stop flights between San Francisco and Colorado Springs, two daily non stops between Los Angeles and Reno, two daily non stops between Chicago and Myrtle Beach and four daily non stops between Washington Dulles and Myrtle Beach. United Express carrier SkyWest Airlines will operate the San Francisco-Colorado Springs and Los Angeles-Reno flights using 50-seat regional jets, while Air Wisconsin will fly the Myrtle Beach routes also with 50-seat RJs. Jan 4, 2005

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