Sunday
Jun192011

Air Canada begins Toronto-Gander non-stop route

Yesterday Air Canada started a seasonal, daily non-stop round trip between Toronto, the largest city in Ontario, and Gander, a town of about 10,000 in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.  The flights will operate between Lester Bowles Pearson International Airport (IATA: YYZ; ICAO: CYYZ) in Toronto, and Gander International Airport (IATA: YQX; ICAO: CYQX) in the interior of the island of Newfoundland.

Toronto is Canada's largest city (2.5 million) and largest metro area (5.1 million), and is home to the CN Tower, the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere.  In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Gander was lauded as the most hospitable small town in Canada.  Its airport played a crucial role, providing the nearest feasible landing space for 39 aircraft, many flying trans-Atlantic itineraries, which were ordered by NORAD to land as soon as safely possible, in the wake of the attacks.

Gander International Airport's longest runway is 10,200 feet long, plenty long enough to accommodate any jet capable of flying trans-Atlantic.  Incidentally, the Toronto-Gander Air Canada route will be operated with the Embraer E-190, according to Air Canada's press release from this past February.  The departure and arrival times listed on the several-months-old press release are consistent with current search results from Air Canada and from www.kayak.com/flights.

Air Canada's Vice President for Network Planning, Marcel Forget, explained that the new seasonal route enables residents of Gander and the surrounding communities to have one-stop access to all destinations reachable via Toronto-Pearson, emphasizing Pearson's connections to the United States.

For the three days following 9/11 during which airspace was closed, Gander's residents extended incredible hospitality to more than 6,000 visitors, which represented a temporary population spike of more than 50 percent.  In an understated and classically Canadian manner, they rendered assistance quietly, never asking to be recognized on a large scale for their unquestionably large-scale generosity.  This extraordinary collective gesture from Canadians became known as Operation Yellow Ribbon.

VIDEO PLAYED DURING THE 2010 VANCOUVER WINTER GAMES ABOUT OPERATION YELLOW RIBBON

The air traffic control center in Gander is often the last control center in communication with eastbound traffic before the Atlantic Ocean, and is often the first control center in communication with westbound traffic coming in off the Atlantic Ocean.  Because of its historic importance to North American civil and military aviation, many streets in Gander are named for aviators, such as Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, and Eddie Rickenbacker.

Air Canada was founded in 1936 as Trans-Canada Airlines.  It took its current name in 1965.  It acquired poorly-performing Calgary, Alberta-based Canadian Airlines in 2001.  Air Canada operates hubs at Pearson International, Pierre Elliott Trudeau International (IATA: YUL; ICAO: CYUL) in Montreal, Calgary International (IATA: YYC; ICAO: CYYC), and Vancouver International (IATA: YVR; ICAO: CYVR).  Edmonton, Alberta; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and the national capital Ottawa, Ontario are focus cities for the airline.

Air Canada is a publicly traded company headquartered in Montreal, and traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

related story

Air Canada begins flights between St. John’s and London (May 28, 2010)

original story (Air Canada)

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Saturday
Jun182011

United recovering from system-wide breakdown, cancellations

The Chicago-based United Airlines suffered a computer glitch last Friday evening that snarled the airline's traffic on the ground, the reservation system on its website, and its computer systems at a number of airports.  Shutdown was total for about five hours, from about 7:15 in the evening, Central Daylight Time, to the early minutes of Saturday morning, CDT.

Word of the shutdown spread quickly across the country (and world), when ticketed passengers for Friday evening flights took to Twitter and Facebook to vent their frustrations.  Many travelers stayed overnight at the airport where they were stranded.  There was confusion among travelers, some of whom thought the fallout was out of proportion to the actual seriousness of what happened.  As late as Saturday afternoon, no explanation to stranded travelers, from the airline, was forthcoming, according to the Associated Press.

Itinerary change fees were waived for anyone whose United Airlines flight was compromised by the glitch.  Schedules were most negatively affected at United hubs.  The airline's largest is O'Hare International (IATA: ORD; ICAO: KORD) in Chicago, where "it could take several days" for the backlog of stranded travelers to be resolved, according to an Associated Press report printed by the Chicago Tribune.

United Airlines also operates large hubs at Dulles International (IATA: IAD; ICAO: KIAD) near Washington, D.C.; Denver International (IATA: DEN; ICAO: KDEN); San Francisco International (IATA: SFO; ICAO: KSFO); and Los Angeles International (IATA: LAX; ICAO: KLAX).  It operates an overseas hub at Narita International (IATA: NRT; ICAO: RJAA) east of Tokyo, Japan.

United is in the process of merging with Houston-based Continental Airlines.  The Houston Chronicle recently reported that the move will cost Houston 1500 jobs, though the Tribune recently reported that only 1300 jobs will be created in Chicago as a result of the merger.

related stories

Continental jobs will stay in Cleveland for five years (September 16, 2010)

Department of Justice approves United-Continental merger (August 27, 2010)

original stories

United Airlines Resumes Flights Today After Computer Outage (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

United blames outage on network connectivity issue (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

United recovering from canceled, delayed flights (Yahoo Finance)

United Flights Getting Back on Track After Major Computer Glitch (www.dnainfo.com)

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Saturday
Jun182011

Delta Air Lines codeshare with Air Nigeria update

The codeshare agreement recently negotiated by Delta Air Lines and Air Nigeria is being gradually rolled out over the next few weeks.  The codeshare will be one-way, and will be very limited in scope, extending to only two round-trip routes, both operated by Delta.  Earlier this week, one of those routes went into effect, according to press releases from both airlines.  That route is Delta's round trip between its hub at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (IATA: ATL; ICAO: KATL) in Atlanta and Murtala Muhammed International Airport (IATA: LOS; ICAO: DNMM) in Lagos, the largest Nigerian city.  On July 4 this year, Delta's round trip between Kennedy International Airport (IATA: JFK; ICAO: KJFK) in New York and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (IATA: ABV; ICAO: DNAA) in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, will become part of the codeshare.

High-ranking representatives of both airlines were happy with the agreement.  Kinfe Kahssaye, CEO of Air Nigeria, praised the agreement as an important step toward positioning Nigeria as the primary African gateway between Africa and North America.  Delta's senior Vice President for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, Perry Cantarutti, said that Africa is "an important part of Delta's international network strategy."  Delta is the only United States-based airline with two Nigerian destinations in its network.

Negotiations between venture capitalist Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group and the Nigerian government produced Virgin Nigeria Airways in 2004.  Virgin Nigeria Airways commenced operations in 2005, using the aforementioned Murtala Muhammed International Airport as its main hub.  In late 2009, Virgin Nigeria Airways rebranded itself as Nigerian Eagle Airlines.  Then in 2010, it rebranded itself again, as Air Nigeria, following acquisition by new owner Jimoh Ibrahim.

Delta Air Lines was founded as Huff Daland Dusters (a crop dusting company) in Louisiana in 1924.  It changed its name to Delta Air Service, and commenced operations as a passenger airline five years later.  Delta relocated its main offices to Atlanta, Georgia in 1941.  It completed a merger with Northwest Airlines in 2008.  Consolidation was accomplished in 2010.  It is the world's largest airline by fleet size, number of destinations, and passenger revenue.

original stories

Delta Starts Codeshare Flights with Air Nigeria (Delta Air Lines)

Delta Starts Codeshare Flights with Air Nigeria (Air Nigeria)

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Thursday
Jun162011

Korean Air flies first Airbus A380 today

Korean Air will fly the first Airbus A380 operated by any air carrier based in northeastern Asia today.  The flight will operate from Incheon International Airport (IATA: ICN; ICAO: RKSI) in the South Korean capital city of Seoul to Narita International Airport (IATA: NRT; ICAO: RJAA) in the Japanese capital city of Tokyo.  Cho Yang-ho, chairman of Korean Air's holding company Hanjin Group, explained that the company took a "calculated risk" when it signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus at the Paris Air Show in 2003.

Cho cited the superior fuel efficiency of the A380 (compared to the models the A380 is replacing on many routes worldwide, such as the Boeing 747) as Korean Air's rationale for investing in the A380 less than two years following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2011, a time of rising fuel prices and rising costs of doing business in the industry.  Airbus reported that Korean Air ordered a total of ten of the A380 model, with five to be delivered by the end of this year, and the other five to be delivered by 2014.

Airbus also explained that Korean Air eventually intends to use the A380 to operate routes to long-haul destinations from Incheon International, such as Kennedy International Airport (IATA: JFK; ICAO: KJFK) in New York, Charles de Gaulle Airport (IATA: CDG; ICAO: LFPG) in Paris, and Los Angeles International Airport (IATA: LAX; ICAO: KLAX).  Korean Air currently uses the Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 777-200, and the Boeing 747-400 to operate these non-stop routes, according to search results returned by the airline ticket booking engine at www.kayak.com/flights.

The -800 is the specific variant of the A380 that will be operated by Korean Air, and is the most popular variant of the A380 in use by the six airlines that currently fly the model.  Those airlines are, alphabetically, Air France, Emirates, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Qantas Airways, and Singapore Airlines

Korean Air added some posh touches to its A380s, that in some ways go beyond what the A380s of the other five operators feature.  Its seating arrangement includes 94 "prestige class" seats that lay flat.  The Korean Air A380 passenger capacity will be 407, far lower than the capacities on the A380s flown by the other five carriers.  Korean Air's A380s will also feature a bar lounge and a duty free shop.

[Pictured above is the delivery ceremony at the Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France, on May 25 this year.]

original stories

The A380 enters commercial service with Korean Air (Airbus)

East Asia's first A380 goes into operation today (Korea JoongAng Daily)

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Thursday
Jun162011

Air France starts seasonal Paris-San Francisco route in A380

Earlier this month, Air France commenced a seasonal non-stop round trip in the Airbus A380, between Charles de Gaulle Airport (IATA: CDG; ICAO: LFPG) in Paris, to San Francisco International Airport (IATA: SFO; ICAO: KSFO).  The route is flown twice a day on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday; and is flown once a day on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, according to search results returned by the airline ticket booking engine at www.kayak.com/flights.  The westbound flight is scheduled at 11 hours 10 minutes long, and the eastbound flight is scheduled at 10 hours 25 minutes long, according to www.kayak.com.

Air France-KLM Group teamed with Delta Air Lines in a trans-Atlantic joint venture, in 2008.  Air France's press release on the seasonal Paris-San Francisco route explains that it is conducted "in partnership with Delta," even though Delta currently has no Airbus A380 airplanes in its fleet.

The seasonal route is scheduled to terminate on September 4 this year, according to Air France.

original story (Air France)

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