August 04, 2006

US Airways Lowers Shuttle Fares to Boston

Great news if you fly the shuttle between New York and Boston.  US Airways has lowered its 14-day advanced purchase fare to $100 round trip -- 54% below its previous fare.  While JetBlue has similar fares available, sometimes you just don't want to bother dragging your butt out to JFK in traffic.  (Delta has since matched the fares).

August 4, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 05, 2006

Mexican Officials Shut Down Aerocalifornia

Mexico's Civil Aviation Department announced that they have shut down low cost carrier Aerocalifornia because its safety standards were not up to snuff.  Aerocalifornia, which flies to 22 cities in Mexico and Los Angeles, stranded about 2,000 passengers over the weekend.  The airline has 90 days to prove its safety standards or it faces losing its operating license. 

April 5, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (12)

March 29, 2006

Hooters Air Shuts Down as Scheduled Carrier

I'll spare you the neverending jokes about Hooters Air going bust, but I will let you know that the airline will cease scheduled air service beginning April 17th.  Although it will continue to offer charter flights, the airline succumbed to high fuel prices for its flights to Myrtle Beach.  I still think the idea made sense and if fuel prices were ever to drop again, we could see an, er, enhanced Hooters Air flying again.  Or not.

March 29, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

March 28, 2006

Malaysia Airlines to Cut 6,500 Jobs

If you thought that only US airlines are in trouble, take a look at the sad story of Malaysia Airlines.  Once a vibrant domestic and international carrier, the airline has faced an onslaught in its domestic market from Air Asia, which has taken the Ryanair model of all-but giving away a good chunk of its tickets.  After making small changes here and there, Malaysia Airlines announced a massive overhaul of its operations, eliminating 6,500 jobs (about a quarter of its workforce) and turning over 96 of its 115 domestic routes to Air Asia.  The carrier will also reduce its fleet by half.  If you can imagine American basically turning over its Dallas operations to Southwest, that's what happened here.  That all said, Malaysia still has a world-class premium international product, so it won't be disappearing from international travel any time soon.

March 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 27, 2006

Styrian Spirit Closes Down

I hope you didn't have tickets on Austrian regional carrier Styrian Spirit any time soon.  The small carrier shut down over the weekend, stranding hundreds of passengers and costing 152 employees their jobs.  The airline served a handful of cities in Europe using 4 regional jets.

March 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 23, 2006

The EU Bans 92 Airlines

The European Union banned 92 airlines (at least 89-to-92 of which you've never heard of) from flying to its member countries.  The list (seen in full here) is heavy on African airlines, including a whopping 50 based in the Democratic Republic of Congo (the epicenter of the questionnable airline universe, apparently).  Of the 92, you may have heard of Ariana Afghan, Phuket Airlines and Air Koryo (North Korea's flag carrier).  In case you were wondering, the best airline name ln the list is Kyrgyzstan's Reem Air.

March 23, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 15, 2006

US May Suspend Venezuelan Flights

The US Department of Transportation warned Venezuela's government that if it chooses to follow through with its threat to stop US airlines from flying to Venezuela, that the US would forbid Venezuelan carriers from flying to the US.  Said the US ambassador to Venezuela:

"Hopefully that will not happen, because if that happens, it is not only possible or probable, but an absolute certainty the US government and Transport Department would suspend flights by Venezuelan airlines."

March 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 06, 2006

Cheap $1 Fares to Cancun?

USA 3000 has been advertising cheap $1 fares to Cancun, a price that has made people rather excited.  But here's the rub (and isn't there always a rub?):  the fare is good for the outbound portion.  The return trip starts at $199.  While this is still a good deal, this is also a giant lump of crap.   Smartertraveler.com has a good article about this here.

March 6, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 03, 2006

Air Gabon International to Launch

With financial and operational help from Royal Air Maroc, Gabon's new flag carrier Air Gabon International has launched.  While this isn't huge news for you (unless you're flying quite a bit to Gabon), it's part of a larger trend that's good for African aviation.  African airlines have been notoriously under-funded and poorly run, leading to an unacceptable number of crashes.  However, in the past couple of years partnerships such as this one (Air Sengal's partnership with Royal Air Maroc, for example) are bringing first-world safety and operational standards to the region.  This will benefit everyone, whether you travel quite a bit in Africa or you're there for a once in a lifetime trip. 

March 3, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 02, 2006

Helicopter Tickets Now Bookable for JFK Flights

Due to the overwhelming (?) popularity of my story a couple of weeks ago about new helicopter service from lower Manhattan to JFK airport, I thought I'd let you know that you can now book tickets on US Helicopter at flyush.com.  The 8 minute flight costs $139 each way, but it will eventually jump up to $159.  As readers have pointed out, a car service to JFK costs about $70 (and up) and can take an hour or so.  It's not a bad deal...

March 2, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 01, 2006

10% Off Midwest Airlines Flights

(Thanks to the View from the Wing blog for the heads up):

Thanks to Hertz, you can get 10% off any Midwest Airlines flight over $200 by entering the coupon code HGMIDWEST when buying at Midwest's website.  Flights must be purchased by May 15th and are good for travel through June 16 (a handful of blackout dates apply).  Always nice to see airline coupons out there.

March 1, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 28, 2006

Ryanair's Founders to Launch Mexican Airline

The Ryan family, which founded Ryanair, announced that is has joined forces with one of Mexico's largest bus companies to launch a low cost carrier aimed at Mexicans with family in the US.  The new carrier, reportedly named AeroBus, will launch in September and will likely target US cities with large Mexican populations, such as Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Houston.

February 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

SirLankan Airlines Is Looking to Hire Pilots

Are you an out of work pilot looking for a new airline to join?  I may have something for you.  SriLankan Airlines has lost 30 of its 200 pilots since late 2005, a situation that has gotten so dire that it actually cancelled 2 London-bound flights last week because of a pilot shortage.  You should know that these pilots have left because they were offered better deals elsewhere.  Even so, if you're willing to bear the indescribable traffic in Colombo, this may be a job for you.

February 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

February 24, 2006

Venezuela May Cancel Flights from US

Venezuela's government has announced (sorry, Spanish only...too lazy to translate) that they have cancelled all of Delta's and Continental's flights from the US to Caracas beginning March 1.  Most of American Airlines' flights are affected as well (though not the flights from Puerto Rico).  As you may know, the US is in a bit of a pissing match with the Venezuelan government over oh-so-many issues.  This probably stems from the US refusing to allow Venezuelan airlines to fly to the US on safety grounds.  The affected airlines are still showing the flights as available after March 1st, so the governments may be negotiating.

February 24, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (3)

February 21, 2006

Airlines Lost 10,000 Bags a Day in 2005

Did an airline lose your bags last year?  You're not exactly alone.  US carriers lost 10,000 bags a day in 2005, the highest number since 1990.  The rate of lost bags increased 23% over 2004.

The worst offender?  US Airways, which lost 9.62 bags per 1,000 passengers.  Well done.  Incredibly, this is 30% higher than the next airline (Delta).  Gee, and why do people go insane trying to stuff their bags into overhead compartments?

February 21, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Biman Bangladesh Passengers Stranded

No matter how bad your flight delays are this week, they're nothing compared to passengers who were scheduled to fly on Biman Bangladesh this past week.  Bangladesh's flag carrier faced mechanical difficulties on 3 of the 5 DC-10s it uses for international service, forcing it to strand passengers around the globe.  In the past week alone, the carrier has changed its international schedule 17 times.  I'm sure Dhaka has its lovely parts, but being forced to spend an extra week there cannot be a happy experience.

An airline spokesman says that they are trying to lease additional aircraft to clear the backlog of passengers.

February 21, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 17, 2006

The State of Pilot Pay

The always-great Ask the Pilot column at Salon.com takes a look at the state of pilot pay.  It ain't pretty.  You can read all the details in the piece, but suffice it to say, pilots aren't getting rich.  Salaries for regional jet pilots begin at an unbelievable $16,000 a year.  Roughly what the dude behind the counter at Starbucks makes.  And at least Starbucks isn't going bankrupt.  Top pay is 40-50% below where it was before everything went to hell a couple of years ago.  And while you may snicker at the tales of pilots making $300,000 a year for a handful of work days each month, those days are over.  Well worth a read...

February 17, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 16, 2006

El-Al Installs Anti-Missle Systems on Aircraft

As you may know, El Al doesn't screw around when it comes to security.  To that end, El Al has installed anti-missle systems in all of its aircraft, becoming the first carrier to do so.  The Israeli-built system, called Flight Guard, releases diversionary flares if its sensors detect an incoming missle.

Development of the systems, which cost about $1 million a piece, was put on the fast track after al Qaeda attempted to shoot down an El Al aircraft in Kenya back in 2002.

According to the linked article, we shouldn't expect many other airlines to jump on board with this.  On the other hand, the chance of an aircraft going down because of a missle attack is incredibly remote -- a DHL A300 cargo plane was struck by a missle in Baghdad in 2004 and landed without incident (well, getting hit with the missle was an incident, but the landing was not).

February 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

February 13, 2006

Turkish Airlines Plane Skids Off Runway at JFK

A Turkish Airlines A340 skidded off the runway while landing at JFK airport last night.  No one was injured, but it took workers about an hour to get passengers off the plane.  New York City received about 27 inches of snow yesterday, so investigators are (obviously) looking into whether weather played a role.

February 13, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 10, 2006

Sir Freddie Laker, Dead at 83

Sir Freddie Laker, the aviation pioneer responsible for introducing cheap fares across the Atlantic, died Thursday at the age of 83.  Laker ran Laker Airways, a British carrier, that flew the Laker Skytrain from London to New York.  The airline offered $100 fares in 1977, 2/3 below what competitors were charging, making it possible for people to travel across the Atlantic on a whim for the first time (yes, Icelandair also had cheap fares at that point, but they required a stop in Keflavik---Laker was nonstop).  Who needed a hot meal when the fare was so cheap? 

Pan Am matched their fares in 1981 (after colluding with other airlines), and knocked the budget airline out of business.

Laker is the reason you can fly to London for $100 today, and his vision---stuff 'em in, and take out the frills---has been adopted by most US airlines today.  We can thank (and blame) him for the way industry looks, but without his idea, we'd all be paying $1000 to fly to London.  And who would want that?

February 10, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 07, 2006

Lebanon Publishes Airline Blacklist

tJust as several European countries have done recently, Lebanon has published a blacklist of airlines that are now forbidden to fly to the country.  As I've mentioned here before, just because you haven't heard of an airline doesn't mean that it's not safe.  However, in this case, I'd say that if you haven't flown these airlines, consider yourself lucky.  A partial list of airlines and countries whose airlines have been banned include:

The Central African Republic's Africa Airlines, the Democratic Republic of Congo's Central Air Express, and Nigeria's International Air Tours Limited.

And all airlines from Afghanistan, Angola, Chad, Djibouti, Ecuador, Eritrea, Ghana, Guinea, Congo, Libya, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Tajikistan, Togo, and Turkmenistan.

You may not be flying to Lebanon anytime soon, but you have to credit them for taking a stand here (even if that stand is against airlines from Tajikistan).

February 7, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Virgin America Hires Ex-AA CEO Carty

It looks like Vrigin America is getting closer to launch.  The fledgling carrier announced that it has hired ex-American Airlines CEO Donald Carty to be its Chairman.  Several articles have suggested that Carty's connections in Washington will be helpful as the airline seeks to wave off concerns about its level of foreign ownership.

You may (or may not, how the hell would I know) remember that Carty left AA amid a barrage of criticism regarding significant executive pay packages while at the same time securing large pay cuts from hourly employees.

February 7, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 06, 2006

Saudi Low Cost Airline to Launch This Year

Saudi Arabia will get its first low cost carrier when Sama launches later this year with flights between Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.  If you live someplace like Cincinnati where you pay through the roof for many flights, you may be wondering why Dammam, Saudi Arabia, can attract low fares but your flight to Des Moines costs a fortune.  Reasonable question.  Perhaps you should ask Prince Bandar bin Khalid al Faisal, who has invested in the new Saudi airline.

February 6, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 26, 2006

Nonstop Flights from US to Iran?

The Iranian government has sent a letter to the US asking to have nonstop flights between the two countries reinstated after 20 years of connections.  The Iranian government (which is always levelheaded and reasonable) appears to suggest that the flights are necessary because of missing luggage.  Says an Iranian aviation official:
"(Passengers) have repeatedly complained about wasting time and losing their baggage on connecting flights."

Yes, the Iranian government would like the flights re-started because they're tired of having their luggage lost.  That's diplomacy.

January 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 25, 2006

Qantas' Chairwoman Detained

The head of Qantas Airways said that she was detained at LAX because she was considered a security risk.  Margaret Jackson was held because she had a bunch of aircraft diagrams in her briefcase (makes sense), but the security guard didn't believe that a woman could run an airline.  She's not the most PC person in the world, as she noted:

"And I said, 'I'm the chairman of an airline. I'm the chairman of Qantas'. And this black guy, who was, like, eight foot tall, said, 'But you're a woman'."

This black guy.

She managed to convince the guy that she was not a terrorist (lots of Australian women terrorists out there?) and she was released.

January 25, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2)