Friday, 31 July 2015

VENEZUELA: Beer Shortages In Venezuela, Troops Occupy Caracas Warehouse

The head of Venezuela’s liquor store federation has warned beer production has reached ‘zero hour’ amid widespread shortages in raw materials.

Empresas Polar breweries suspend operations amid row with government of President Nicolas Maduro over economic ‘sabotage’

Venezuela’s largest beer manufacturer is shutting some of its breweries, blaming a lack of imported barley, as its parent company remains locked in a wider dispute with the country’s government.

The federation of beer brewers announced on Thursday that the beer-making subsidiary of Empresas Polar would suspend operations at two of its six plants owing to the shortage. Polar is Venezuela’s largest privately held company and distributes a majority of the country’s beer.

Venezuelan troops, meanwhile, occupied a Caracas warehouse complex used by Empresas Polar and Nestlé, workers and company officials said on Thursday. The government says the land is needed for housing for the poor.

A Nestlé spokesman, Andres Alegrett, said the company had been informed by the facility’s owner that the area was being expropriated and the firm was preparing alternative means of distribution.

Venezuela is suffering what is believed to be triple-digit inflation and severe shortages of staples including cooking oil, toilet paper and sugar that businesses blame on the socialist government’s economic policies. The government says an “economic war” is behind the problems.

The brewery closures announced on Thursday could affect a quarter of domestic beer production, according to the beermakers’ federation, which also said the plants could start gearing up again as soon as next month if raw materials came through as expected.

President Nicolas Maduro has accused Polar of sabotaging the economy by hoarding goods and intentionally creating shortages, a charge the company has denied.
Venezuela legislative elections date set for 6 December
Read more

Polar has also been is embroiled in a dispute with union workers demanding pay raises. Members of some of the dozens of unions representing Polar workers have shut down breweries and limited distribution of the small bottles of light beer that are favoured in Venezuela.

While there are no signs of shortages on shelves so far, the company says it is struggling to get deliveries to the central part of Venezuela.

This month the head of Venezuela’s liquor store federation warned the nation was about to run out of beer because producers had reached “zero hour” amid widespread shortages in raw materials.

Days later he was detained for reasons that remain unclear.

CANADA: Porter Airlines seat change may have been sparked by religious accommodation, says passenger

Christine Flynn believes she was asked to move from her assigned seat on a Porter Airlines flight because the man sitting next to her, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, did not want to sit next to a woman. She said the man did not speak to her directly or make eye contact.

Airline says seating changes for religious reasons are very rare.

A former Halifax chef wants an apology from Porter Airlines, alleging she was asked to move from her seat to accommodate a man who did not want to sit beside a woman for religious reasons.

Christine Flynn, 31, said she was buckled in and waiting for Porter Airlines Flight 121 from Newark, N.J. to Toronto to take off early on Monday morning when an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man approached.

Christine Flynn believes she was asked to move from her assigned seat on a Porter Airlines flight because the man sitting next to her, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, did not want to sit next to a woman. She said the man did not speak to her directly or make eye contact. (CBC)

"He came down the aisle, he didn't actually look at me … or make eye contact. He turned to the gentleman across the aisle and said, 'Change.'"

Flynn said she was confused at first, wondering why the man was speaking to the other passenger and gesturing toward her. The man didn't speak to her directly, but Flynn said it's clear to her that he didn't want to sit next to her because she's a woman.

Flynn said she might have been willing to accommodate the man had he spoken to her directly and politely asked her to switch seats. She admits language may have been a factor — saying his English "wasn't terrific" — but said his refusal to even make eye contact was offensive.

"He could have made a plan, he could have put in a request," Flynn said in an interview Wednesday on CBC Radio's Metro Morning. "When someone doesn't look at you, and when someone doesn't acknowledge you as person because of your gender, you're a lot less willing to be accommodating.

"Leaving it to the last minute and expecting me to move is appalling. He's expecting me to fall in to that archetypical feminine role and acquiesce."
'This is ridiculous'

When the first passenger refused to switch seats, the man then asked another passenger in the row behind to switch with her, she said.

Finally, she said, a flight attendant approached and asked if there was a problem.

'I should not have to move because someone has a problem with my uterus.' - Christine Flynn

"I said, 'This man is refusing to sit next to me because I am a woman.' At that point, another man behind ... offered to switch with me and the airline attendant said, 'Would you be willing to move? and I said, 'Absolutely not. This is ridiculous,'" she said. "I was without words."

Eventually the man was seated next to another male passenger and the flight departed.
Religion 'rarely' a factor

Flynn says she's frustrated she was asked to move and upset others on the flight were willing to help the man.

"I have a problem with that. He [the flight attendant] probably, maybe, didn't realize that asking a woman to move because the fact she had a uterus made the man next to her uncomfortable ... I don't think he even would have put it together that that's kind of insulting and maybe even discriminatory," she said.

"If someone had refused to sit next to me because I was gay and maybe they were some kind of old-school religion that doesn't like gay people no one would have switched with him. It would have been off the table," she said.

Porter Airlines spokesman Brad Cicero confirmed that the situation occurred but said the flight attendant "did his best to manage the situation as efficiently and reasonably as possible in order to avoid an unnecessary delay."

Porter does its best to accommodate seating preferences, he said in an email Tuesday.

"Most often, this involves families wanting to sit near each other, or something as simple as a passenger preferring a window seat. Religious preferences are very rarely a factor."

He said because the flight was almost full, there were limited options to move anyone.
Other passengers asked to assist

"Only a few seats were available, and no row was entirely unoccupied," Cicero said. "The flight attendant politely asked Ms. Flynn if she would be able to change seats. She declined, so the flight attendant began asking other passengers if they would be willing to assist. Someone did agree to move and it was not perceived to be a particularly contentious situation by the flight attendant."

Flynn said she hopes to hear from the airline.

"I'd like an apology," Flynn said. "There really should be a policy around this. If people are going to get on flights and demand that they sit next to someone of the same sex, there should be an area where they can go. I should not have to move because someone has a problem with my uterus."

According to an April 9 article in the New York Times, conflicts between ultra-Orthodox Jewish men and female passengers on flights are becoming more common, with several flights from New York to Israel being delayed or disrupted over the past year.

UGANDA: Drug Trafficking On The Rise

Nearly three weeks later, police are still stuck with the body of an unidentified man who died when one of the drug pellets he was carrying in his stomach burst.

His body is lying in the mortuary at Mulago hospital. He was picked up dead in Kiwawu village on the Kampala-Mityana highway on July 12; and no one has gone to claim his body yet. This man between 45 and 55 years had no distinguishing features such as scars, tattoos, or birthmark and is possibly, a non-Ugandan.

At post-mortem, 41 narcotic pellets were retrieved from his stomach out of which one had opened up. The type of narcotic drug has since been identified as heroin weighing about 500 grammes worth $60,000 (about Shs200m).
Dr Moses Byaruhanga, the police pathologist, says the victim could have collapsed after reacting to the drugs released from the torn pellet.

The body was found in a decomposing state and appeared to have been lifeless for about 36 hours.

The pellets suggest that they had been swallowed about four hours earlier in preparation to smuggle them to a particular destination, most likely out of the country.

On February 18, police at the airport arrested Rogers Valenti, a Uruguayan, with 40 packs of liquid narcotic drugs which he had stuffed in his stomach. While in custody, he expelled one condom filled with liquid narcotic drugs.

What police say
Mr Lodovick Awita, the Entebbe airport police commandant, says Valenti’s condition deteriorated after he threw up whereupon he was taken to Mulago Hospital where he died upon arrival.

Although some of the drug traffickers have died or been arrested, there are those who have successfully smuggled the drugs. For instance, a local daily recently reported a story of Olivia, a Ugandan girl, who made four trips to London in nine months, each time swallowing 120 pellets of cocaine.

This girl once slipped through the hands of customs officers at Gatwick Airport in the UK, but three of her friends were arrested and detained. Olivia decided to quit the job after she saw a drug pellet protruding through a man’s stomach after he failed to defecate soon enough.

People who stuff drugs in their bodies do so to earn huge amount of money within the shortest period. One earns commission depending on the amount of drugs they have smuggled.

Much as this appears to be a quick way to make money, it’s a very deadly enterprise that stresses the body and mind when inserting the pellets into the body.

Dr Byaruhanga says he has experienced four cases of people who have died after stuffing drugs, for the 13 years he has been practicing pathology.

How traffickers die
He says the victims all died after cocaine pellets opened up in their stomachs, adding that cocaine and heroin are the most smuggled drugs because they are highly demanded by drug lords.
Dr Byaruhanga says pellets get stuffed into the stomach through the mouth when someone is made to lose consciousness. The pellets are wrapped into a soft, slippery material known as cellophane.

The inserters make sure they don’t rupture the throat including other internal organs during stuffing.

The stuffing is done when the person is about to board a plane. They calculate very well the time the person would spend on flight.

“Drug couriers do not eat or drink anything while on board. This is because feeding speeds up digestion and makes them pass out the drugs before their destination,” he says.

By the time they arrive at their destination, they are already weak, dehydrated and exhausted. Plane managers become suspicious of any person who refuses to drink or eat anything while on the flight. That is how they get arrested while on flight or upon arrival.

Mr Awita says it is difficult to know the degree of drug smuggling because they only arrest those who smuggle drugs through the airport. “Such people are not easy to notice because we don’t have sensors that can detect drugs in the stomach.

We only do through checking including monitoring every visitor till they go back. Smugglers do not easily reveal their counterparts,”

In such scenarios police check travel documents or liaise with Interpol to know where the perpetrator had picked or is taking the drugs.

The Transfer of Convicted Offenders Act passed in 2012 empowers the minister “in appropriate cases to extend the provisions of this Act to countries not in the Commonwealth,” but it is limited by the fact that Chinese anti-drug laws do not correspond with those in Uganda.

The Act amends the provision of Penal Code Act that does not offer deterrent sentence for offenders.

AUSTRALIA: Passenger suing Etihad Airlines for $227,000 after being seated next to ‘grossly overweight’ passenger

Etihad Airways has lost a court bid to have James Andres Bassos’s case thrown out of the District Court in Brisbane.

A MAN who claims he hurt his back when he was forced to sit for hours on a long flight beside a space-invading fat passenger is suing an international airline for $227,000.

Etihad Airways has lost a court bid to have interior designer James Andrew Bassos’s claim struck out.

Mr Bassos was flying economy class from Abu Dhabi to Sydney in October 2010 when he was seated next to a “grossly overweight” man who “encroached into his seat”, the court heard.

In his Brisbane District Court claim, Mr Bassos, 38, who is from Moorooka but is now living in United Arab Emirates, claimed the other passenger was frequently coughing and “expelling fluid from his mouth”.

Mr Bassos claimed he ended up with a back injury and aggravation of a previous back problem after being forced to twist and contort his body to avoid contact.

Mr Bassos said after five hours of discomfort he complained, but his request to be given another seat was refused.

After another half-hour he again asked to move and was allowed to use a crew seat for an hour, before returning to his seat, the court heard.

After another stint in the crew seat Mr Bassos said he had to return to his allocated seat for an hour-and-a-half before landing.

Mr Bassos later told a doctor that after landing in Sydney he was escorted from the aircraft by Australian Federal Police, but not detained, and flew on to Brisbane.

Mr Bassos filed a claim against the airline in 2012 for damages for personal injuries resulting from an “accident”, defined as an “unusual or unexpected event external to the passenger”.

Etihad claimed there was no accident.

Judge Fleur Kingham did not agree with the airline’s argument that the claim was one arising from cramped conditions that were usual or to be expected.

She said she was not satisfied that Mr Bassos had no real prospect of success with his claim.

An Etihad Airways spokesperson said it would be inappropriate to comment in detail while legal proceedings were under way.

“Etihad Airways will continue to oppose the action and now that Mr Bassos will finally face a medical assessment in December 2015, as directed by court, we believe that the matter will proceed to an early conclusion,” the spokesperson said.

“The safety and comfort of Etihad Airways’ passengers and crew is of paramount importance and the airline has a zero tolerance policy towards unruly behaviour.”

MEXICO: Mexican beaches hit with tonnes of seaweed

Tonnes of seaweed has washed ashore on Mexico's Caribbean coast, covering the usually pristine white beaches.

Workers are battling to clear the seaweed across more than 112 miles (180km) of coastline.

It is not clear what has caused the seaweed to wash ashore.

TASMANIA: Shark kills diver in front of daughter

A diver has died after being attacked by a shark in front of his daughter, off the Tasmanian coast in Australia.

The pair were collecting scallops near the town of Triabunna on Saturday morning when the attack happened.

The woman returned to their boat with the shellfish, but became concerned after her father, who was in his late 40s, did not resurface.

She jumped back into the water to check on him and saw him being mauled by "a very large shark", according to police.

"She immediately returned to the surface where she raised the alarm through setting off a flare and by making an emergency phone call," said Tasmania Police Inspector David Wiss.
Earlier sighting

Sailors in the area rushed to the scene and hauled the man from the sea using the air line he was attached to.

But his injuries were too severe and he was pronounced dead.

A 4.5m (15ft) great white shark was spotted in the area on Friday.

Diver Danny Smith said he briefly came face to face with the creature before swimming away.

"It had no intention of biting me, I believe, it just sort of cruised past to see what I was," he added.

The last fatal attack off the Australian coast occurred in February, when a Japanese man was killed at Shelly Beach near Ballina.

Meanwhile, an Australian surfer who escaped a shark attack in South Africa live on television has returned to the water.

Mick Fanning, 34, posted a picture of himself early on Saturday near his Tweed Heads home in northern New South Wales saying: "First surf back. Feels so good."

YEMEN: End of a former Braniff International Boeing 747SP in war-torn Yemen

The pictured Boeing 747SP-27 7O-YMN (msn 21786) was operated by Yemenia (Yemen Airways) (Sana’a) as a presidential airplane for the government. However the country of Yemen is currently locked in a civil war and a governmental crisis since 2011. The “government” of Yemen in essence is now gone and so is their presidential aircraft.

The war-torn county has become a conflict zone between the Houthis and Islah, as well as the al-Qaeda insurgency.

In September 2014, the Houthis took over Sana’a, forcing Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar to flee the country, and prompted the formation of a new “unity government” including a variety of Yemeni factions. A draft constitution was discussed that would split Yemen into six federal regions, but the Houthis rejected the proposal. Hadi, his prime minister and cabinet resigned on January 22, 2015 amid a political impasse against the Houthis and ongoing violence in the capital.

Three weeks later, the Houthis declared themselves in control of the government in what Abdul-Malik al-Houthi called a “glorious revolution”, although opposition politicians, neighboring states, and the United Nations decried the takeover as a coup d’état. Most of Yemen’s political factions and the international community have refused to recognise the Houthis’ authority, and UN-brokered talks on a power-sharing deal are ongoing. However, on February, 21, 2015 Hadi rescinded his resignation and declared he was still the legitimate president in Aden. Hadi called on government institutions to gather in Aden, which he proclaimed on March 21, 2015 was Yemen’s “economic and temporary capital” while Sana’a remains under Houthi control.”

7O-YMN has now been discovered as destroyed at Aden this month after Saudi-backed Yemeni forces recaptured Aden. The exact date of the destruction is unknown.

Meanwhile on March 30, 2015, as previously reported, Yemenia was forced to suspend all operations due to the on-going military conflict in the divided county which affected its base at Sana’a International Airport. Some aircraft, including 7O-YMN, had been moved to Aden as it was deemed to be relatively safe. However it was not safe for 7O-YMN.

This is the unglamorous end of this “Queen of the Skies”.

MSN 21786 started its airline career on April 23, 1980 when it was delivered brand new from Boeing to Braniff International Airways (Dallas) as N604BN

The Jumbo would next migrate to Aerolineas Argentinas as LV-OHV on September 12, 1980 where it would serve AR for almost 10 years.

The airframe would next enter the VIP transport market, flying for the government of Qatar as the Qatar Amiri Flight as A7-AHM on February 7, 1996. Next it would move to Yemenia for the Yemen government on November 26, 2000 as 7O-YMN. The jetliner has been flying in Yemen colors for the past almost 15 years until this final blow. A sad end indeed.

TURKEY: Turkish Airlines to extend the Johannesburg route to Durban

Turkish Airlines (Istanbul) has announced it will extend the current Istanbul (Ataturk) – Johannesburg route to Durban this fall. Durban will become the third destination for the carrier in South Africa.

Turkish currently has the fourth largest flight network with 276 destinations in 110 countries.

In other news, the carrier started daily service to Dammam flights from/to Istanbul (Sabiha Gökçen International Airport). Damman becomes the 22nd destination from the secondary airport of Istanbul.

VENEZUELA: Avior Airlines to add 12 used aircraft and its first European route

Avior Airlines (Barcelona, Venezuela) is expanding. According to this report by Reuters, the Venzuelan carrier is adding six Airbus A340-300s, four additional Boeing 737-400s and two Boeing 737-300s. The first “new” aircraft is due in September. This will allow the carrier to retire its aging Boeing 737-200s.

The airline is also planning to add new routes to Peru, Uruguay and Madrid, Spain, its first European destination.

THAILAND: New Gen Airways takes delivery of its first Boeing 737-800 in a revised livery

New Gen Airways (Sabaidee Airways dba) (Bangkok-Don Mueang) has taken delivery of its first Boeing 737-800, leased from ILFC. The pictured ex-Air Jamaica/Caribbean Airlines Boeing 737-8Q8 is currently registered as N645AR (msn 30645, ex 9Y-JMA) and will become HS-NGG. The new jetliner, painted in an updated livery for the new airline, passed through Honolulu on delivery.

The new Thai airline started passenger operations in January 2014 with older Boeing 737-400s. The carrier currently has four Boeing 737-400s.

In other news, the airline announced a new scheduled route from Krabi International Airport to Nanchang, China. The new route was started on July 15. Previously New Gen operated charters on this route.

MALTA: Air Malta launches its “Sky Spa” experience onboard

Air Malta on July 16 launched – The Sky Spa – the first ever free in-flight spa experience onboard a commercial short-haul flight.

Flights KM 116/7 to/from London Gatwick were chosen to introduce the innovative exclusive onboard service of spa treatments which no other airline offers free of charge to passengers travelling in Economy.

This initiative was made possible by teaming up with Myoka Spas, well known in the spa and beauty industry in Malta. It will be available on selected flights.

Two professional therapists welcomed passengers with various beauty product samples and later pampered them with complimentary and luxurious treatments including hand, feet and neck massages whilst listening to relaxing music.

Air Malta’s lucky customers were also presented with a 20€ voucher for use at any Myoka Spa in Malta, making it a truly unforgettable surprise.

This experience is just the beginning and part of a series of similar projects that Air Malta will be launching in the near future aimed at enhancing customers experience and showing that the airline Cares More.

MALAYSIA: One year tragic anniversary of the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17

Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) today issued this statement concerning the one-year anniversary of the tragic shoot-down of flight MH 17:

July 17 marks the one year anniversary of flight MH 17.

Malaysia Airlines, together with the governments of Malaysia, Australia and the Netherlands, are honoring those lost by offering our deep condolences to families and friends affected by this tragedy.

In observance of the one year anniversary, the Government of Malaysia held a memorial event on July 11, 2015, at Kompleks Bunga Raya, KL International Airport, Sepang. The Government of Australia and the MH 17 Aviation Disaster Foundation, with support from the Government of Netherlands, will also be having a remembrance ceremony on July 17, 2015, in Canberra and Nieuwegein respectively.

Malaysia Airlines has made arrangements for family members to attend the memorial event at one of these countries by providing flight tickets, accommodation and transfers to the event venue.

The airline would like to take this opportunity to thank the Government of Malaysia, Australia and Netherlands, our many international friends, our employees, our loyal customers, and the people of Malaysia who have provided tremendous and heartfelt support to Malaysia Airlines and the families of the passengers and crew during this difficult time.

Today, we remember and honor those lost and keep their family and friends in our hearts.


MH 17, July 17, 2014

Top: In support, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines issued this statement and symbol.

Note: The government of the Netherlands is preparing to issue its aircraft accident report on the intentional destruction of flight MH 17.

MEXICO: Volaris arrives in New York

Volaris (Controladora Vuela Compania de Aviacion, S.A.B. de C.V.) (Mexico City) on July 15 opened a new nonstop route from Guadalajara to New York (JFK). The new route operates on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The carrier now operates 140 routes to 62 destinations, of which 23 are international and 38 domestic.

CHINA: Lucky Air takes delivery of the first Boeing 737-800

Lucky Air takes delivery of the first Boeing 737-800 in the new livery, opens the Kunming-Phuket route.Lucky Air (Kunming, Yunnan, China) on July 14 took delivery of the first Boeing 737-800 painted in the new 2015 livery.

In other news, Lucky Air today (July 16) inaugurated the Kunming-Phuket route.

USA: Eastern Air Lines to operate from Houston for Havana Air Charters

Havana Air Charters (Miami) continues its expansion into the Cuba market with their direct air carrier partner Eastern Air Lines Group, Inc.

Havana Air logo

Havana Air will begin weekly, nonstop service from Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport to Havana, Cuba giving U.S. West Coast gateway cities a more convenient and faster route to Cuba.

Havana Air is one of the largest providers of passenger traffic to the island, currently operating some 65 flights a month to Havana from Miami with additional service to Santa Clara and Camaguey.

Havana Air utilizes Eastern Air Lines Boeing 737-800 (Next Generation) aircraft, on the weekly flights, which will operate on Wednesdays starting in August.

Key Facts:

Havana Air will operate, with Eastern, weekly on Wednesdays, from Houston to Havana

Havana Air operates twice daily service to Havana and weekly service to Camaguey and Santa Clara from Miami.

Havana Air’s operations are supported by Eastern Air Lines Boeing 737-800 (Next Generation) aircraft, supporting some 65+ flights to Cuba monthly.

Havana Air is a licensed 14 CFR 380 Airline Charter Operator and holds OFAC CSP License # CU-2013-305073-2.

In other news, Eastern has added its second Boeing 737-800 (N277EA) as announced on their Twitter page:

COLOMBIA: VivaColombia is coming to Miami

VivaColombia (Medellin) is coming to Miami International Airport. The low-fare carrier is intending to start daily scheduled passenger flights from Bogota and Medellin, Colombia to Miami starting on December 2, 2015.

VivaColombia operates A320 aircraft and commenced operations on May 25, 2012.

SWEDEN: SAS to retire the last Blue1 Boeing 717 on November 6

Scandinavian Airlines-SAS (Stockholm) is now planning to phase out the last Boeing 717 with subsidiary Blue1 (Helsinki) on November 6. The last 717 flight is expected to be flight SK724 from Stockholm (Arlanda) to the Helsinki base according to Airline Route.

As previously reported, Blue1 will sell its entire Boeing 717-200 fleet to Volotea and Delta Air Lines and replace them with Boeing 737-600s transferred from Scandinavian Airlines.

NORWAY: Norwegian reports a second quarter profit of $56 million, load factor increases to 85%

Norwegian today reported its second quarter results for 2015. The pre-tax result (EBT) was 456 million NOK ($56.0 million), an improvement of 593 million NOK ($72.8 million) from the previous year. The load factor for this period was 85 percent with strong progress in all of Norwegian’s markets. This also applies to the long-haul operation, where the load factor was over 90 percent and the passenger number has more than doubled since the same period last year.

The load factor for the second quarter was 85 percent, up five percentage points from the same quarter last year. Norwegian’s long-haul operation had an even higher load factor of 91 percent. During the second quarter, the airline carried 324,000 passengers on its long-haul network. This means that passenger figures for the long-haul operation has more than doubled since the same period last year, where the passenger number was 139,000. Norwegian currently operates 434 routes in Europe, USA and Asia – 21 of which are long-haul routes. All in all, Norwegian has 28 long-haul destinations for sale, with more to come within just a few weeks, including London Gatwick – Boston.

During the second quarter, Norwegian took delivery of a new 787 Dreamliner and two Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Today, Norwegian has a long-haul fleet of eight Dreamliner aircraft. Four more Dreamliners will be added to the fleet next year; all of which will be a bigger version of the ones Norwegian operates today.

Solid growth in all markets

Seven million passengers chose to travel with Norwegian in the second quarter – an increase of nine percent. Norwegian’s strongest growth in terms of passenger numbers was at London Gatwick, with Oslo Airport as a close runner up. The Spanish airports are also experiencing a solid rise in number of Norwegian-passengers. During this quarter, Norwegian has launched domestic routes in Spain, new routes to the Caribbean, as well as new routes between the Caribbean and the cities of Boston, New York and Washington DC.

Despite a weak Norwegian krone, the unit costs are down, ensuring the company’s competitiveness in the future. The fuel prices have decreased, which more than outweighs the effects of a weak Norwegian krone. New aircraft consume considerably less fuel than older aircraft, which gives Norwegian a significant competitive advantage. Norwegian boasts one of the world’s youngest aircraft fleets with an average age of just four years.

During the second quarter, Norwegian’s total revenue was almost 5.9 BNOK, up 16 percent from the same quarter last year. Norwegian’s long-haul routes had a revenue growth of 60 percent. Norwegian’s production growth (ASK) for this quarter was 8 percent, while the company’s traffic growth (RPK) was 15 percent, which reflects that each of Norwegian’s passengers on average flies significantly longer than they did before. In addition, more and more passengers are purchasing optional extras on board.

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/ Norwegian is phasing out the last of the older and less fuel efficient Boeing 737-300s. The last of the type is expected to be retired at the end of the current summer season. Boeing 737-31S LN-KHB (msn 29264) is pictured departing at Southend.

UGANDA: Victoria International Airways (

Victoria International Airways ( (Entebbe) was a Ugandan airline in 2006 and 2007. It was proposing to become the Ugandan flag carrier and planned to operate Boeing 737-200s. One 737 was actually painted and two were leased and operated. Operations started on October 1, 2006 but quickly ended on January 10, 2007. It appears the government’s investment money of $250,000 for 20 percent of the stock is now gone.

USA: Delta to lead off the 2Q airline sector earnings reports today

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) today leads off all U.S. airlines with the financial results for the second quarter. Lately the U.S. airline sector has been hit hard on Wall Street over growing concerns about overcapacity and “discipline”. Many investors will be keying on Delta’s announcement today.

Delta is webcasting its conference call and will be discussing its second quarter (“June Quarter”) results at 1000 (10 am) EDT with CEO Richard Anderson, President Ed Bastian and CFO Paul Jacobson.

We will have the full 2Q financial details when they are released.

Other known airline and manufacturing reporting dates (others are welcome):

Boeing July 22

Alaska Air Group July 23

JetBlue Airways July 23

Southwest Airlines July 23

United Airlines July 23

Spirit Airlines July 24

American Airlines Group July 24

Ryanair July 27

UPS July 28

Hawaiian Airlines July 28

IRELAND: European Commission approves with concerns IAG’s proposed acquisition of Aer Lingus

The European Commission (Brussels) has issued this statement concerning the proposed acquisition of Aer Lingus (Dublin) by the International Airlines Group (IAG) (London):

European Commission logo

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Irish airline Aer Lingus by International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG).

IAG is the holding company of British Airways, Iberia and Vueling. The clearance is conditional upon commitments offered by the parties to address the Commission’s concerns regarding the transaction as notified.

The Commission had concerns that the merged entity would have faced insufficient competition on several routes.

The Commission also found that the merged entity would have prevented Aer Lingus from continuing to provide traffic to the long-haul flights of competing airlines on several routes.

European Commissioner in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said: “By obtaining significant concessions from the airlines the Commission has ensured that air passengers will continue to have a choice of airlines at competitive prices after IAG’s takeover of Aer Lingus.

The five million passengers travelling each year from Dublin and Belfast to London will be able to choose among several strong carriers.

And we are also protecting passengers travelling on connecting flights between Ireland and the rest of the world.”

The clearance decision is conditional upon the following commitments, which address the Commission’s concerns:

The release of five daily slot pairs at London-Gatwick airport to facilitate the entry of competing airlines on routes from London to both Dublin and Belfast ; and Aer Lingus continuing to carry connecting passengers to use the long-haul flights of competing airlines out of London- Heathrow, London-Gatwick, Manchester, Amsterdam, Shannon and Dublin .

The Commission’s investigation

The Commission’s investigation found that the transaction, as initially notified, would have led to high market shares on the Dublin-London, Belfast-London and Dublin-Chicago routes. The merged entity would have faced insufficient competitive constraints from the remaining players which could ultimately lead to higher prices.

The Commission also analysed whether there was a risk that IAG would prevent passengers flying on Aer Lingus’ short-haul flights, from Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Knock and Belfast, from

connecting with long-haul flights operated by competing airlines out of other European airports, including Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Dublin and Amsterdam.

IAG submitted commitments to release five daily slot pairs at London Gatwick which can be used on the specific routes of concern, namely Dublin-London and Belfast-London.

The availability of these slots, and other incentives such as the acquisition of grandfathering rights after a certain period of time, facilitate the entry of competing airlines.

Furthermore, IAG made a commitment to enter into agreements with competing airlines which operate long-haul flights out of London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Amsterdam, Shannon and Dublin so that Aer Lingus will continue to provide these airlines with connecting passengers.

Passengers will therefore continue to have a choice to use other airlines than IAG when connecting at these airports, for instance on Heathrow-New York, Gatwick-Las Vegas, Manchester-Orlando, Amsterdam-Singapore, Shannon-Chicago, and Dublin-Chicago.

These commitments adequately address all competition concerns identified by the Commission.

The Commission therefore concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or a substantial part of it. The transaction was notified to the Commission on 27 May, 2015.

Companies and products International Consolidated Airlines Group (“IAG” ) of the United Kingdom, is the holding company of British Airways, Iberia Líneas Aéreas de España S.A. and Vueling Airlines S.A.

Aer Lingus of Ireland is currently mainly owned by the Republic of Ireland and Ryanair, a competing carrier. Other significant shareholders include Etihad Airways.

Both IAG and Aer Lingus provide air transport for passengers, air transport for cargo, airport ground handling services and landside cargo handling services.

Merger control rules and procedures

The Commission has the duty to assess mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a turnover above certain thresholds (see Article 1 of the Merger Regulation) and to prevent concentrations that would significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.

The vast majority of mergers do not pose competition problems and are cleared after a routine review.

From the moment a transaction is notified, the Commission generally has a total of 25 working days to decide whether to grant approval (Phase I) or to start an in-depth investigation (Phase II).

The commitments offered by the Parties will be made available as of 16 July under the case number

The International Airlines Group (IAG) issued this statement:

IAG logo

International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) welcomes the decision by the European Commission to approve its Offer for Aer Lingus.

IAG has offered the following remedies to the EC as part of the regulatory process:

Five daily slot pairs will be made available to other airlines at London Gatwick for flights between the airport and Dublin or Belfast.
Specifically, two of the five daily frequencies must be operated between Gatwick and Dublin.
One daily frequency must be operated between Gatwick and Belfast.
The other two frequencies can be operated between Gatwick and either Dublin or Belfast.
Other airlines can apply for seats on Aer Lingus’ shorthaul network for their transfer passengers, on normal commercial terms.

SERBIA: Air Serbia to operate the last Boeing 737-300 flight on October 24

Jat Airlines (Belgrade) rebranded and relaunched operations as Air Serbia (Belgrade) under its new ownership group on October 26, 2013. The new look airline replaced its older Boeing 737-300s with newer Airbus A319s and A320s. The remaining ex-Jat Airlines Boeing 737-300s were shifted to its lower-cost Aviolet (Belgrade) brand. The 737-300s, operated by Air Serbia, never wore the Air Serbia livery.

Air Serbia is operating the Aviolet brand during the 2015 summer season to five countries: Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain and Egypt, and a total of 19 destinations, which include Antalya, Catania, Cephalonia, Chania, Corfu, Dalaman, Girona, Heraklion, Hurghada, Karpathos Kos, Milas-Bodrum, Palermo, Palma de Mallorca, Rhodes, Santorini, Sharm el Sheikh, Skiathos and Zante.

Now the company is planning to operate the last Boeing 737-300 revenue flight on October 24. According to Airline Route, the last flight will be a roundtrip from Belgrade to Vienna on this date, subject to further changes.

It is unclear if Air Serbia will also retire the Aviolet brand on this date.

USA: Boeing gets ready again for the 2015 NFL football season in support of the Seattle Seahawks

Boeing (Chicago, Seattle and Charleston) is getting ready for the upcoming 2015-2016 National Football League (NFL) season and in particular the hometown Seattle Seahawks team. The company has painted a different 747 in the “12th Fan” livery with “In it to win it!” titles.

The 747 will perform at the annual Boeing Seafair Air Show at Lake Washington in Seattle on August 2.

USA: United Airlines to end two routes from Guam

United Airlines (Chicago) will drop two routes from Guam in late September. The carrier will end the Guam – Cairns route on September 26 and the Guam – Seoul (Incheon) route on September 30 per Airline Route.

UNITED KINGDOM: British Airways to operate the Airbus A380 daily to Singapore, Miami to start on October 25

British Airways (London) will go to a daily Airbus A380 operation the London (Heathrow) – Singapore route on February 24, 2016 instead of early March, 2016. As previously reported, the Super Jumbo will also be introduced on the London (Heathrow) – Miami route on October 25.

Also on October 25, BA will introduce the new stretched Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (below) on the London (Heathrow) – Delhi route.

LATVIA: airBaltic to operate winter weekly flights to Salzburg, will start two new routes from Tallinn

airBaltic (Riga) will operate weekly winter seasonal Boeing 737 service from Riga to Salzburg from December 26, 2015 through March 19, 2016.

Additionally, next summer, the carrier will launch two new routes from Tallinn, Estonia. Tallinn – Amsterdam service will be launched on March 27, 2016 and Tallinn – Stockholm (Bromma) will commence on the same day per Airline Route.

USA: Boeing forecasts rising demand for commercial airline pilots and technicians

Pilots in Simulator; Pilots on flight deck; Female Co-Pilot; Male African-American Pilot; K66420-03

Boeing (Chicago, Seattle and Charleston) has released a new forecast showing continued strong demand for commercial airline pilots and maintenance technicians as the world’s airlines add 38,000 airplanes to the global fleet over the next 20 years.

Boeing’s 2015 Pilot and Technician Outlook projects that between 2015 and 2034, the world will require 558,000 new commercial airline pilots and 609,000 new commercial airline maintenance technicians.

“To help address this need, Boeing trained last year a record number of pilots and technicians at 17 training campuses around the globe and has invested in a comprehensive Pilot Development Program to train early stage pilots to become qualified commercial airline pilots,” said Sherry Carbary, vice president, Boeing Flight Services. “We will continue to increase the amount of training we provide, enabling our customers to satisfy the world’s growing appetite for air travel.”

“The challenge of meeting the global demand for airline professionals will not be solved by one company alone,” Carbary added. “Aircraft manufacturers, airlines, training equipment manufacturers, training delivery organizations, regulatory agencies and educational institutions are all stepping up to meet the increasing need to train and certify pilots and technicians.”

Boeing’s 2015 Outlook projects continued increases in pilot demand, up more than 4 percent compared to the 2014 Outlook. For maintenance technicians, demand increased approximately 5 percent.

Overall global demand for these skilled resources will be driven by continued economic expansion, resulting in an average requirement for about 28,000 new pilots and more than 30,000 new technicians every year.

The 20-year projected demand for new pilots and technicians by region is:

Asia Pacific – 226,000 pilots and 238,000 technicians
Europe – 95,000 pilots and 101,000 technicians
North America – 95,000 pilots and 113,000 technicians
Latin America – 47,000 pilots and 47,000 technicians
Middle East – 60,000 pilots and 66,000 technicians
Africa – 18,000 pilots and 22,000 technicians
Russia / CIS – 17,000 pilots and 22,000 technicians

The Pilot and Technician Outlook is Boeing’s long-term forecast of the demand for pilots and technicians and its estimate of personnel needed to fly and maintain the tens of thousands of new commercial jetliners expected to be produced over the next 20 years. The forecast is published annually to factor in changing market forces affecting the industry. Boeing shares the outlook with the public to inform airlines, suppliers and the financial community of trends in the industry.

TAIWAN: EVA Air finalizes its order for five Boeing 777F freighters

EVA Air (Taipei) and Boeing (Chicago, Seattle and Charleston) have finalized an order for five 777F Freighters. The order, valued at more than $1.5 billion at list prices, will represent the first 777F Freighters to join EVA Air’s fleet, and the first to be delivered to a Taiwanese airline.

Boeing first announced EVA Air’s intent to order the five 777 Freighters at the 2015 Paris Air Show last month.

The Taiwanese airline plans to use the new freighters to bolster its fleet on trans-Pacific and Asian routes in an effort to meet growing demand in the air cargo market.

EVA Air currently operates more than 35 Boeing airplanes, including 20 777-300 ERs. With 13 additional 777-300 ERs on order – both direct purchased and leased – EVA will become one of the largest 777 operators in the world. The carrier plans to grow its operational twin-aisle fleet to more than 60 airplanes by the end of 2025.

The 777 Freighter is the world’s largest and longest range twin-engine freighter, capable of flying 4,900 nautical miles (9,070 kilometers) with a full payload at general cargo market densities.

FRANCE: Airbus’ Runway Overrun Prevention System (ROPS) certified by EASA for A330 Family aircraft

Airbus’ Runway Overrun Prevention System (ROPS) certified by EASA for A330 Family aircraft, Korean Air to be the first customer.

Airbus has achieved EASA certification of its innovative Runway Overrun Prevention System (ROPS) technology on A330 Family aircraft. This on-board cockpit technology, which Airbus has pioneered over several years, is now certified and available on all Airbus Families. ROPS is an alerting system which reduces exposure to runway overrun risk, and if necessary, provides active protection.

Korean Air will become the first A330 operator to implement ROPS on its A330s in service in the coming months.

This EASA certification of ROPS on the A330 marks a key milestone in making ROPS available for line-fit and retrofit to all Airbus models. ROPS was first approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on the A380 in October 2009 and to date is currently in service or ordered on most of the A380 fleet. ROPS is also part of the A350 XWB’s basic configuration, and in August 2013 was also certified for the A320 Family.

“Already in service on the A380, A350 and A320 Families, ROPS is the result of years of continuing research by Airbus,” said Didier Lux, Airbus’ SVP Head of Customer Services. He adds: “This EASA certification for ROPS on the A330 Family is an example where innovative technology and services meet for the benefit of operators and aviation safety, and is thus an important step to offering the enhanced operational benefits across all our aircraft.”

Runway excursion – meaning either an aircraft veering off the side of the runway, or overrunning at the very end – remains the primary cause of civil airliner hull losses, particularly as other formerly prevalent categories of aircraft accidents have now largely been eliminated. Furthermore, various industry bodies including the EASA, NTSB, Eurocontrol and FAA recognize this and are fully behind the introduction of effective measures by commercial aviation stakeholders to eliminate the risk of runway excursions.

BRAZIL: TAM to reduce its domestic operations in Brazil

LATAM Airlines Group S.A. and TAM S.A. (TAM Linhas Aereas) (Sao Paulo), announced that TAM will adjust its domestic network in Brazil.

In order to allow TAM Airlines to remain committed with its long term sustainable development and growth plans for Brazil, the Company has decided to implement an adjustment to its domestic network at this time.

Given the impact of the challenging economic scenario in the country, caused by an increase in inflation and an appreciation of the U.S. dollar versus the Brazilian real, resulting in a slowdown in the airline industry, TAM is now implementing a gradual reduction of its domestic operations in Brazil of approximately 8% to 10%. As a result, the company has revised its capacity growth (ASK) guidance for this year for the domestic market in Brazil from 0% growth to a contraction of 2 to 4% as compared to 2014.

TAM has been working to adopt several measures to limit the impact of this adjustment on its employees. Nonetheless, the Company estimates it will reduce its staff by less than 2%, considering its normal turnover. Given the Company’s mid-term growth plans, this adjustment will not impact flight crew personnel. TAM will provide support to the affected employees with an outplacement program.

In order to guarantee the best service to its passengers, TAM will continue to serve all domestic destinations that it currently operates.

The Brazilian airline industry has suffered from declining demand, according to National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) data. Furthermore, data from the Market Readout of the Brazilian Central Bank released on July 10 indicates that the market projects a further decline of the Brazilian GDP, in 2015, with estimates revised down from a contraction of 1.3% to a 1.5% decline. They also estimate that inflation should end the year at over 9%, while the U.S. dollar is expected to continue to strengthen against the Brazilian real.

“TAM is taking this measure to face the difficult economic scenario of the country. It is necessary to make adjustments to our network while maintaining the connectivity we offer our passengers, and strengthening even further the Company’s competiveness in Brazil ”, said Claudia Sender, CEO of TAM S.A.

“We continue to believe in the country’s recovery and this adjustment in no way affects the Company’s long-term strategy, which include the renewal of the fleet, the feasibility study for the Northeastern hub and the continuous strengthening of our hubs in Brasília and São Paulo/Guarulhos”, she added.

AUSTRIA: Austrian Airlines is dropping the Vienna – Dubai route

Austrian Airlines (Vienna) will drop the nonstop Vienna – Dubai route due to “over capacity” and the route is “unsustainable” for the carrier.

Austrian Airlines will no longer offer direct flights to Dubai. Passengers of the Lufthansa Group will still be able to reach this city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the future by flying via Frankfurt, Zurich or Munich. The over capacity, built up in recent years, resulted in fierce price competition as up to 800 seats per day were on offer. This ultimately made the Vienna-Dubai route unsustainable for Austrian Airlines.

Austrian Airlines has been offering flight service to the largest city in the UAE since 1996. The last Austrian Airlines flight will take place on September 13, 2015 from Vienna to Dubai, and from Dubai to Vienna on September 14, 2015.

“Unfortunately, the Vienna-Dubai route has become unsustainable for us. The capacities which will become available will be deployed for attractive, new destinations, such as Miami, Mauritius and Colombo in Sri Lanka starting in October“, says Austrian Airlines CCO Andreas Otto.

As of October 16, 2015, Austrian Airlines will operate flights to Miami in the USA five times per week. Starting October 27, 2015, the national carrier will fly every Tuesday to Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. And from October 29, 2015 onwards, Austrian Airlines will offer nonstop flight service twice a week to Mauritius.

USA: Hawaiian to acquire three ATR 72 freighters to operate under the ‘Ohana by Hawaiian brand

Hawaiian Holdings, Inc., parent of Hawaiian Airlines (Honolulu), today announced plans to acquire three ATR 72 turboprop aircraft in an all-cargo configuration to expand its interisland shipping services. The new operation will launch in the first half of 2016, starting with flights between Honolulu International Airport (HNL) and Kona International Airport (KOA), Kahului Airport (OGG), Līhuʻe Airport (LIH) and Hilo International Airport (ITO), with well-timed connections from Hawaiian Airlines’ mainland and international network.

The ATR 72 fleet can carry up to 18,000 pounds of cargo and will be able to handle five 88-by-108-feet aircraft pallets or up to seven LD3 containers, skidded cargo and oversized shipments. Express services for smaller shipments will also be available on its 160 daily B717 flights throughout the day.

The flights will be branded ‘Ohana by Hawaiian and operated by Empire Airlines, which also operates the 48-passenger ATR 42 turboprop service (above). The livery of the aircraft will feature the same kapa tail patterns created by Hilo-based artist Sig Zane and his son Kūha’o

“Since launching the ‘Ohana by Hawaiian passenger operation in March 2014, we have established a track record of providing a reliable and efficient service for travel within the islands with an on-time arrival rate of 94 percent,” said Hadden Watt, managing director of ‘Ohana by Hawaiian. “We expect to deliver the same reliability and high-quality of service to our cargo customers for their interisland shipments.”

The new cargo operation will create more than 100 new Hawai’i-based jobs in various areas of air transportation including pilots, mechanics, ground handlers, sales, customer service and management positions.

Hawaiian Airlines was the first U.S. airline certified to ship cargo in 1942, and has provided high-quality overseas shipping and customer service to international customers, freight forwarders, carriers and many others in the industry for more than 70 years as the flagship carrier of the Pacific.

USA: Allegiant announces further expansion in Memphis

Allegiant Air (Las Vegas) has announced further expansion in Memphis with the addition of twice weekly nonstop service to Austin, Texas and St. Petersburg/Clearwater beginning on October 1, 2015.

Allegiant began service to Memphis last May with flights to Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood, Las Vegas and Sanford (near Orlando).

USA: FedEx Express to acquire 50 additional Boeing 767-300F freighters

FedEx Express (Memphis), a wholly owned subsidiary of FedEx Corporation (Memphis), has agreed to purchase 50 additional 767-300F aircraft from The Boeing Company. In addition to the 50 confirmed orders, FedEx also has options to purchase a total of 50 767F aircraft.

The 50 firm-order aircraft will be delivered from fiscal 2018 through fiscal 2023. Total capital spending for fiscal 2016 remains at $4.6 billion. The impact to capital spending in fiscal 2017 from this new order is immaterial. With this order, FedEx Express now holds a total of 106 firm orders for 767Fs from The Boeing Company through fiscal 2023.

The newer 767Fs will help the company retire its older aircraft. From this fleet plan as of May 31, 2015, the company was planning to retire the Airbus A310s in 2016 and the McDonnell Douglas MD-10-10s and MD-10-30s in 2021. This may now be expedited with this order.

The order will also help Boeing keep the 767 line going.

CANADA: Air Canada rouge to start Vancouver – Cancun flights

Air Canada rouge (Toronto-Pearson) will start weekly Boeing 767-300 ER service between Vancouver and Cancun on February 15, 2016 for the winter season per Airline Route.

In other news, Air Canada will make the Calgary – Portland, OR a year-round service.

ZIMBABWE: Rainbow Airlines to start operations next month

Rainbow Airlines (Harare) is a new airline in Zimbabwe. The carrier is planning to inaugurate service on the Harare – Johannesburg route on August 27 with a 128-seat Boeing 737-300 according to this report by News Day.

USA: Jetstar Airways is planning to retire the last Airbus A330-200 in September

Jetstar Airways (Melbourne) is planning to phase out and retire the last Airbus A330-200 in September. According to Airline Rouge, currently (subject to change) the last scheduled international route with the A330 will be on September 24 between Honolulu and Brisbane (arriving on September 25) as flight JQ 006. There are no scheduled A330 flights after this date.

The Airbus A330-200s have been replaced with newer Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

BRAZIL: Avianca Brasil joins the Star Alliance

Avianca Brasil (OceanAir Linhas Aereas dba) (Sao Paulo) issued this statement:

At a special ceremony held at Guarulhos International Airport today (July 22), the Star Alliance member carriers welcomed their newest member, Avianca Brasil.

Avianca Brasil is the fastest growing airline in the country. From 2010 to 2014 it increased its market share from 2.6% to 8.4%. Until May of 2015 the airline continued this trend, reaching a cumulative market share of 9%.

Further growth is predicted as Avianca Brasil and the other Star Alliance carriers serving the country will connect more passengers through the main Brazilian hubs in São Paulo – Guarulhos, Rio de Janeiro – Galeão and Brasilia.

In total 13 member carriers (Air Canada, Air China, Avianca, Avianca Brasil, Copa Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP, Turkish Airlines and United) now serve Brazil, which further strengthens Star Alliance’s position as the alliance with the most airlines in this market. Avianca Brasil adds 15 new destinations in Brazil to the existing 12 which the Star Alliance member carriers already served, bringing the total to 27.

USA: Alaska Airlines and Hainan Airlines move one step closer

Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) has announced a new mileage-sharing agreement with fast-growing Hainan Airlines (Haikou and Beijing). This will give Alaska and Hainan more opportunities to connect passengers and also to move one step closer especially at the SeaTac hub in a growing competition with Delta Air Lines (Atlanta). Alaska issued this statement:

Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma)is enhancing its unique partner portfolio in Mileage PlanTM by adding China-based carrier Hainan Airlines. Hainan operates a modern fleet to over 90 destinations throughout the world. From Seattle/Tacoma, Hainan flies nonstop to Beijing and Shanghai, and offers an extensive network throughout China, including several top destinations for Pacific Northwest business travelers. Hainan also flies from San Jose, California to Beijing.

Members of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan can begin earning miles on Hainan starting July 23, and through Oct. 31, 2015 the airline is offering double miles.* Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club members also will be able to earn double miles on Alaska flights, starting July 23, through Oct. 31, 2015.

“Alaska is expanding its international partner portfolio with the addition of Hainan, giving our Mileage Plan members more ways to earn miles for their travel from the West Coast to Shanghai and Beijing and on connecting flights within China,” said Andrew Harrison, Alaska Airlines executive vice president and chief revenue officer. “Hainan offers business and main cabin service with distinctly Chinese touches such as traditional tea service, which will appeal to our culture-savvy Northwest customers. And with double miles, our customers can reach their next adventures faster.”

Hainan offers business class passengers 180-degree flat seats with turndown service, gourmet cuisine created with unique Chinese culinary skills and award-winning wines on trans-Pacific flights. Business class passengers also receive complimentary private limo service both at U.S. and China gateway cities.

Harrison added that Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members will be able to redeem miles on Hainan later in 2015, and that Alaska and Hainan will continue to enhance their partnership by recognizing and extending elite reciprocal benefits to members of Mileage Plan and Fortune Wings Club by fall. Earned flight miles on Hainan currently qualify toward elite status in Mileage Plan.

“Seattle/Tacoma was Hainan’s first North American gateway, opened in 2008, and since then we have carried hundreds of thousands of people between the U.S. and China,” said Hou Wei, Hainan Airlines vice president. “We have long connected passengers to and from Alaska Airlines and are excited to be able to offer members of Alaska’s Mileage Plan the ability to earn miles on Hainan. Hainan’s Fortune Wings Club members will also be able to earn miles on Alaska Airlines flights.”

THAILAND: Thai is dropping Los Angeles and Rome

Thai Airways International (Bangkok) is ending two long-haul routes per Airline Route. The flag carrier will drop the Bangkok (BKK) – Seoul (ICN) – Los Angeles route on October 25. The route is currently operated four days a week with Boeing 777-300 ERs. This means Thai will no longer serve the United States.

Thai is also ending the Bangkok – Rome (FCO) route on the same day.

JAPAN: Boeing signs a formal agreement with two key Japanese partners for the new 777-8X and 777-9X

Boeing (Chicago, Seattle and Charleston) and key Japanese partners today (July 23) signed a formal agreement for significant work on Boeing’s new 777X airplane.

The agreement finalizes last year’s announcement by Boeing, Japan Aircraft Industries (JAI) and Japan Aircraft Development Corporation (JADC) of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to provide approximately 21 percent of the major airplane structure components for the 777X. The contract includes fuselage sections; center wing sections; pressure bulkhead; main landing gear wells; passenger, cargo and main landing gear doors; wing components and wing-body fairings.

JAI consists of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), ShinMaywa Industries (SMIC) and NIPPI Corporation (NIPPI). JADC is a non-profit foundation established to enhance the competitiveness of the Japanese aircraft industry.

Boeing has partnered with Japanese aerospace companies for nearly five decades to develop and manufacture the Next-Generation 737, 737 MAX, 747, 757, 767, 777, 787 Dreamliner, and now the 777X.

In 2014, Boeing purchased more than $5 billion of goods and services in Japan, supporting tens of thousands of aerospace jobs. With this agreement in place, the company expects to purchase a total of approximately $36 billion of goods and services from Japan between 2014 and the end of the decade.

Building on the passenger-preferred and market-leading 777 family of airplanes, the 777X family includes the 777-8X and the 777-9X, both designed to respond to market needs and customer preferences. The 777X program currently has 306 firm orders from six customers. Production is set to begin in 2017, with first delivery targeted for 2020.

USA: Alaska Air Group reports a record second quarter

Alaska Air Group (Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air) (Seattle/Tacoma) today reported a record second quarter GAAP net profit of $234 million.

Alaska Air Group, Inc., today reported second quarter 2015 GAAP net income of $234 million, or $1.79 per diluted share, compared to $165 million, or $1.19 per diluted share in the second quarter of 2014. Excluding the impact of mark-to-market fuel hedge adjustments of $6 million ($4 million after tax, or $0.03 per diluted share), the company reported record adjusted net income of $230 million, or $1.76 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $157 million, or $1.13 per diluted share, in 2014.

“We’re pleased to report our 25th consecutive quarterly profit and our best quarterly result ever,” said CEO Brad Tilden. “I want to thank our employees for their hard work and for always putting our customers first. We are focused on running a strong and balanced company that will produce the right outcomes for all of the stakeholders who depend on us, not just this quarter but over the long-term.”

Financial Highlights:

Reported record second quarter net income, excluding special items, of $230 million, a 46% increase over the second quarter of 2014.
Reported adjusted earnings per share of $1.76 per diluted share, a 56% increase over the second quarter of 2014 and ahead of First Call analyst consensus estimate of $1.73 per share.
Earned net income for the second quarter under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) of $234 million or $1.79 per diluted share, compared to net income of $165 million, or $1.19 per diluted share in 2014.
Recorded $58 million of employee incentive pay in recognition of Air Group employees’ progress on meeting customer service, safety, operational and financial goals.
Generated record adjusted pretax margin in the second quarter of 25.7% compared to 18.3% in 2014.
Generated 20.9% adjusted pretax margin for the trailing 12-month period ended June 30, 2015, compared to 14.9% for the same period in the prior year.
Achieved trailing 12-month after-tax return on invested capital of 22.0% compared to 16.1% in the 12-month period ended June 30, 2014.
Repurchased 2.5 million shares of common stock for $160 million in the second quarter of 2015, and 4.1 million shares of common stock for $262 million during the first six months of 2015, representing 3.1% of the total shares outstanding at the beginning of the year.
Paid a $0.20 per-share quarterly cash dividend on June 4, 2015, a 60% increase over the dividend paid in the second quarter of 2014.

USA: Southwest Airlines reports a record second quarter net profit

Southwest Airlines reports a record second quarter net profit.
Southwest Airlines (Dallas) today reported a record second quarter GAAP net profit of $608 million.Southwest Airlines today reported its second quarter 2015 results:

Record quarterly net income, excluding special items1, of $691 million, or $1.03 per diluted share. This represented a $206 million increase from second quarter 2014 and exceeded the First Call consensus estimate of $1.02 per diluted share.
Record quarterly GAAP2 net income of $608 million, or $.90 per diluted share.
Record quarterly GAAP operating income of $1.1 billion. Excluding special items, record quarterly operating income of $1.1 billion, resulting in an operating margin3 of 22.5 percent.
Returned $430 million to Shareholders through dividends and share repurchases during second quarter 2015, and $811 million during first half 2015.
Return on invested capital, before taxes and excluding special items (ROIC)1, for the 12 months ended June 30, 2015, of 28.2 percent, compared with 17.1 percent for the 12 months ended June 30, 2014.
Subsequent to June 30, 2015, the Company amended and extended its co-branded credit card agreement with Chase Bank USA, N.A. (Chase), which is expected to provide generous rewards to the Company’s co-branded credit cardholders and significant future value to the Company’s Shareholders. The Company currently estimates its second half 2015 GAAP operating revenues will increase approximately $400 million from the combined impact of the amended agreement and the effect of a change in accounting methodology4.

Gary C. Kelly, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are delighted to report another strong quarter of earnings. Our net income, excluding special items, of $691 million, or $1.03 per diluted share, is an all-time quarterly high and represents our ninth consecutive quarter of record profits. Operating income, excluding special items, increased 40.2 percent year-over-year, producing a strong 22.5 percent operating margin. We significantly expanded our margins and generated very strong cash flows during first half 2015, allowing us to return $811 million to Shareholders through dividends and share repurchases so far this year. In addition, we intend to launch a $500 million accelerated share repurchase program soon. We have a solid investment grade balance sheet, and we are pleased with the recent upgrade to Baa1 by Moody’s. For first half 2015, our record profits have earned our outstanding Employees a record $308 million profitsharing accrual, nearly doubling first half 2014’s contribution. For the 12 months ended June 30, 2015, our ROIC was an outstanding 28.2 percent, far surpassing our cost of capital. Our 2015 results, thus far, are exceptional, and our current outlook for the second half of 2015 is also strong, laying a solid foundation to surpass 2014’s ROIC.

“Fuel savings5 in second quarter 2015 were nearly $500 million, which led to a reduction in our second quarter 2015 unit costs, excluding special items, of almost 12 percent year-over-year. Second quarter 2015 economic fuel costs were $2.02 per gallon, compared with $3.02 per gallon in second quarter 2014. Based on our existing fuel derivative contracts and market prices as of July 20, 2015, we expect significant year-over-year fuel savings again in third quarter 2015, with economic fuel costs currently estimated to be approximately $2.20 per gallon, as compared with third quarter 2014’s $2.94 per gallon.

“We also were very pleased with our overall cost performance. Our cost control efforts, ongoing fleet modernization, and improved aircraft utilization resulted in a 1.8 percent year-over-year decline in our second quarter 2015 unit costs, excluding fuel and oil expense, special items, and second quarter 2015’s record profitsharing expense of $182 million. Based on current cost trends, and excluding fuel and oil expense, special items, and profitsharing, we expect third quarter 2015 unit costs to decline approximately one percent and full year 2015 unit costs to decline approximately two percent, both compared with the same year-ago periods.

“Our second quarter 2015 operating unit revenue performance was impacted by challenging year-over-year comparisons, longer average stage length, higher average seats per trip (gauge), and a softer yield environment. Still, we grew second quarter 2015 operating revenues 2.0 percent to a record $5.1 billion on a year-over-year increase in available seat miles (ASMs) of 7.0 percent. Demand for our popular low fares remained strong throughout the quarter resulting in a record 84.6 percent load factor. Our second quarter 2015 unit revenues declined 4.7 percent, as expected, driven largely by the 5.4 percent decline in passenger revenue yields, both as compared with second quarter last year. The year-ago results included $47 million in additional passenger revenue due to a change to previously recorded estimates of tickets expected to spoil in the future, which impacted second quarter 2015 year-over-year unit revenue comparisons by approximately one percent. Another two to three percent of the second quarter 2015 year-over-year unit revenue decline was driven by a 4.6 percent increase in average stage length and a 2.4 percent increase in gauge, both as compared with second quarter 2014.

“We continue to be extremely pleased with our development markets in Dallas. They are remarkably strong, surpassing system average margins and returns. In April, we launched nine additional daily nonstop flights, bringing our total daily flights out of Love Field to 166. By August 2015, we are scheduled to operate 180 weekday departures to 50 nonstop destinations.

“Our international expansion is also progressing, as planned, and producing expected results. We began service to Puerto Vallarta (PVR) in June and announced daily service between PVR and Denver beginning in November 2015, pending foreign government approval. We are excited to begin service by the end of this year between eight international cities and Houston (Hobby), including inaugural service to Belize City, Belize in October 2015, and Liberia, Costa Rica in November 2015, both pending foreign government approvals.

“Earlier this month, we were delighted to amend and extend our long-standing partnership with Chase for our co-branded credit card agreement. Beginning in third quarter 2015 and continuing thereafter, we expect to realize significant revenue enhancements. Since we re-launched our award-winning frequent flyer program in 2011, we have nearly doubled the size of our program, in terms of membership, and grown our credit card program, proportionately.

“While some yield softness has continued into July, demand thus far remains strong. Based on current bookings and revenue trends, and including the estimated benefit to operating revenues from our amended co-branded credit card agreement, we are currently estimating third quarter 2015 unit revenues to decline a modest one percent from third quarter 2014. Taking into consideration the ongoing impact of increased stage and gauge, as well as 18 percent of our network under development in third quarter 2015, we are very pleased with our third quarter revenue outlook.

“Overall, our network performance is exceptional. For this year, we are growing our ASMs approximately seven percent, year-over-year. The annualized impact of our 2015 expansion is expected to contribute the majority of 2016’s year-over-year capacity growth. As we continue to optimize our network, we are currently planning to grow our total 2016 ASMs in the five to six percent range, year-over-year, with the goal to sustain strong margins and ROIC levels in line with 2015.”


During second quarter 2015, the Company’s fleet increased by ten to 689 aircraft at period end. This reflects the second quarter delivery of six new Boeing 737-800s and five pre-owned Boeing 737-700s, as well as the retirement of one Boeing 737 Classic aircraft. The Company continues to manage to roughly 700 aircraft in 2015 and continues to expect to grow its net fleet approximately two percent, year-over-year, in 2016. As an extension of its fleet modernization initiatives, during second quarter 2015, the Company designated its 31 Boeing firm orders in 2016 as 737-800s rather than 737-700s and added 31 pre-owned 737-700 aircraft scheduled for delivery through 2018. In addition, subsequent to June 30, 2015, the Company canceled the 12 737NG options scheduled for delivery in 2016.


(1) A revenue passenger mile is one paying passenger flown one mile. Also referred to as “traffic,” which is a measure of demand for a given period.

(2) An available seat mile is one seat (empty or full) flown one mile. Also referred to as “capacity,” which is a measure of the space available to carry passengers in a given period.

(3) Revenue passenger miles divided by available seat miles.

(4) Seats flown is calculated using total number of seats available by aircraft type multiplied by the total trips flown by the same aircraft type during a particular period.

(5) Seats per trip is calculated using seats flown divided by trips flown. Also referred to as “gauge.”

(6) Calculated as passenger revenue divided by revenue passenger miles. Also referred to as “yield,” this is the average cost paid by a paying passenger to fly one mile, which is a measure of revenue production and fares.

(7) RASM (unit revenue) – Operating revenue yield per ASM, calculated as operating revenue divided by available seat miles. Also referred to as “operating unit revenues,” this is a measure of operating revenue production based on the total available seat miles flown during a particular period.

(8) PRASM (Passenger unit revenue) – Passenger revenue yield per ASM, calculated as passenger revenue divided by available seat miles. Also referred to as “passenger unit revenues,” this is a measure of passenger revenue production based on the total available seat miles flown during a particular period.

(9) CASM (unit costs) – Operating expenses per ASM, calculated as operating expenses divided by available seat miles. Also referred to as “unit costs” or “cost per available seat mile,” this is the average cost to fly an aircraft seat (empty or full) one mile, which is a measure of cost efficiencies.

(10) Aircraft in the Company’s fleet at period end, less Boeing 717-200s removed from service in preparation for transition out of the fleet.

USA: United Airlines announces its highest-ever quarterly profit

United Airlines (Chicago) today reported its largest quarterly profit ever, reporting a second quarter 2015 net profit of $1.3 billion, or $3.31 per diluted share, excluding $67 million of special items.

United Airlines (UAL) today reported second-quarter 2015 net income of $1.3 billion, or $3.31 per diluted share, excluding $67 million of special items. Including special items, UAL reported second-quarter net income of $1.2 billion, or $3.14 per diluted share. These results are a record quarterly profit for the company.

The company’s Board of Directors authorized an additional $3 billion share repurchase program, which the company expects to complete by the end of 2017.
In the quarter, UAL prepaid approximately $800 million of debt, contributed approximately $620 million to its pension plans and returned approximately $250 million to shareholders as part of its existing $1 billion share buyback program.
UAL earned an 18.2 percent return on invested capital for the 12 months ended June 30, 2015.

“This quarter’s record results reflect the progress we’re making on our long-term plan, and I’d like to thank the United team for their great work,” said Jeff Smisek, UAL’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “The $3 billion share repurchase program we announced today demonstrates the confidence we have in our future. We will continue to invest in our customers, assets and our people, and remain committed to improving our balance sheet, expanding our margins and improving our return on invested capital, and expect our third quarter pre-tax margin to be between 13.5 and 15.5 percent, excluding special items.”

Second-Quarter Revenue and Capacity

For the second quarter of 2015, total revenue was $9.9 billion, a decrease of 4 percent year-over-year. Second-quarter consolidated passenger revenue decreased 3.4 percent to $8.7 billion, compared to the same period in 2014. Ancillary revenue per passenger in the second quarter increased 6.7 percent year-over-year. Second-quarter cargo revenue decreased 1.3 percent year-over-year to $229 million. Other revenue in the second quarter decreased 9.6 percent year-over-year, mostly due to the reduction in sales of fuel to a third party. The corresponding expense decline from this reduction appears in third-party business expense.

Consolidated revenue passenger miles increased 0.7 percent and consolidated available seat miles increased 2.3 percent year-over-year for the second quarter, resulting in a second-quarter consolidated load factor of 83.9 percent.

Second-quarter 2015 consolidated PRASM decreased 5.6 percent and consolidated yield decreased 4.1 percent compared to the second quarter of 2014.

“This quarter, we continued to build and refine our route network, including announcing the move of p.s. transcontinental service to our global gateway hub at Newark Liberty Airport and forming a long-term partnership with Azul Brazilian Airlines. These decisions will enhance our network and provide our customers with more choice and convenience,” said Jim Compton, UAL’s vice chairman and chief revenue officer. “We will continue to improve our leading network by focusing on our strengths, while investing in our people, fleet and products to increase revenue and deliver a flyer-friendly customer experience.”

USA: American Airlines Group reports its highest quarterly profit in company history

American Airlines Group (American Airlines and US Airways) today (July 24) issued this financial statement for the second quarter:

American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL) today reported its second quarter 2015 results.

Reported record quarterly net profit of $1.9 billion excluding net special charges, a 27 percent increase versus the second quarter 2014
Reported record quarterly GAAP net profit of $1.7 billion, a 97 percent increase versus last year’s second quarter
Repurchased over $750 million of common stock and authorized an additional $2 billion share repurchase program
Declared a dividend of $0.10 per share to be paid on August 24, 2015, to shareholders of record as of August 10, 2015

American Airlines Group’s second quarter 2015 net profit, excluding net special charges, was a record $1.9 billion, or $2.62 per diluted share versus a second quarter 2014 net profit excluding net special charges of $1.5 billion, or $1.98 per diluted share. The Company’s second quarter 2015 pretax margin excluding net special charges was a record 17.2 percent, up 4.4 percentage points from the same period last year.

On a GAAP basis, the Company reported a record net profit of $1.7 billion, or $2.41 per diluted share. This compares to a GAAP net profit of $864 million in the second quarter 2014, or $1.17 per diluted share.

See the accompanying notes in the Financial Tables section of this press release for further explanation, including a reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP financial information.

“Reporting the highest quarterly profit in our history is another indication that our team is on the path to restoring American as the greatest airline in the world,” said Chairman and CEO Doug Parker. “These results are especially remarkable considering the significant and successful work underway to integrate two airlines. The more than 100,000 dedicated team members of American Airlines are doing a phenomenal job and we are grateful for their commitment to our customers.”

Revenue and Cost Comparisons

Total revenue in the second quarter was $10.8 billion, a decrease of 4.6 percent versus the second quarter 2014 on a 1.9 percent increase in total available seat miles (ASMs). Consolidated passenger revenue per ASM (PRASM) was 13.57 cents, down 6.9 percent versus the second quarter 2014. Consolidated passenger yield was 16.28 cents, down 6.1 percent year-over-year.

Total operating expenses in the second quarter were $8.9 billion, a decrease of 10.5 percent compared to the second quarter 2014, due primarily to a 36.9 percent decrease in consolidated fuel expense. Second quarter mainline cost per available seat mile (CASM) was 11.87 cents, down 12.8 percent on a 1.5 percent increase in mainline ASMs versus the second quarter 2014. Excluding net special charges and fuel, mainline CASM was 8.77 cents, up 2.5 percent compared to the second quarter 2014. Regional CASM excluding special charges and fuel was 16.02 cents, up 1.4 percent on a 5.5 percent increase in regional ASMs versus the second quarter 2014.

Cash and Investments

As of June 30, 2015, the Company had approximately $9.7 billion in total cash and short-term investments, of which $747 million was restricted. The Company also had an undrawn revolving credit facility of $1.8 billion.

American continues to invest in its product. As part of an extensive fleet renewal plan that has made American’s fleet the youngest of any U.S. network airline, the Company expects to spend $5.4 billion on new aircraft this year. During the second quarter, the Company took delivery of 24 new mainline aircraft and nine new regional aircraft and retired 34 older mainline and eight older regional aircraft. In addition to this fleet renewal program, American is in the midst of investing $2 billion to further enhance its product, including improvements to aircraft interiors, international Wi-Fi connectivity and upgrades to its Admirals Club lounges.

In the second quarter, the Company returned $823 million to its shareholders through the payment of $70 million in quarterly dividends and the repurchase of $753 million of common stock, or 17.3 million shares, at an average price of $43.53 per share. When combined with the dividends and shares repurchased during the first quarter, the Company has returned approximately $1.1 billion to its shareholders in the first half of 2015, including $943 million of shares repurchased under the existing $2 billion share repurchase program approved in January 2015.

Due to the Company’s strong financial performance, its projected cash flow and the repurchase activity to date, the American Airlines Group Board of Directors has authorized an additional $2 billion share repurchase program to be completed by December 31, 2016. This brings the total amount of share repurchase programs authorized in 2015 to $4 billion. The Company also declared a dividend of $0.10 per share to be paid on August 24, 2015, to shareholders of record as of August 10, 2015.

Share repurchases under the share repurchase program may be made through a variety of methods, which may include open market purchases, privately negotiated transactions, block trades or accelerated share repurchase transactions. Any such repurchases will be made from time to time subject to market and economic conditions, applicable legal requirements and other relevant factors. The program does not obligate the Company to repurchase any specific number of shares or continue a dividend for any fixed period, and may be suspended at any time at the Company’s discretion.

Approximately $629 million of the Company’s unrestricted cash and short-term investment balance was held in Venezuelan bolivars. This balance includes approximately $621 million valued at 6.3 bolivars per U.S. dollar and approximately $8 million valued at 12.8 bolivars per U.S. dollar, with the rate depending on the date the Company submitted its repatriation request to the Venezuelan government. These rates are materially more favorable than the exchange rates currently prevailing for other transactions conducted outside of the Venezuelan government’s currency exchange system.

During 2014, the Company significantly reduced capacity in the Venezuelan market and is no longer accepting bolivars as payment for airline tickets. The Company is monitoring this situation closely and continues to evaluate its holdings of Venezuelan bolivars for additional foreign currency losses or other accounting adjustments, which could be material, particularly in light of the additional uncertainty posed by the recent changes to the foreign exchange regulations and the continued deterioration of economic conditions in Venezuela. More generally, fluctuations in foreign currencies, including devaluations, cannot be predicted by the Company and can significantly affect the value of its assets located outside the United States. These conditions, as well as any further delays, devaluations or imposition of more stringent repatriation restrictions, may materially adversely affect the Company’s business, results of operations and financial condition.

Special Items

In the second quarter, the Company recognized $150 million in net special charges, including:

$231 million in merger related integration expenses, including $221 million in mainline special charges and $10 million in regional special charges
$77 million in net special credits, including a $68 million credit for bankruptcy related items, principally consisting of fair value adjustments for bankruptcy settlement obligations
$11 million non-operating net special credits comprised of a $22 million gain associated with the sale of an investment, offset in part by $11 million in charges principally related to non-cash write offs of unamortized debt discount and debt issuance costs associated with refinancing the Company’s secured term loan facilities
$7 million in tax special charges related to certain indefinite-lived intangible assets


(1) The 2015 second quarter mainline operating special items totaled a net charge of $144 million, which principally included $221 million of merger integration expenses related to information technology, professional fees, severance, share-based compensation, fleet restructuring, re-branding of aircraft and airport facilities, relocation and training. These charges were offset in part by a net $68 million credit for bankruptcy related items primarily consisting of fair value adjustments for bankruptcy settlement obligations. The 2015 six month period mainline operating special items totaled a net charge of $447 million, which principally included $437 million of merger integration expenses as described above and a net $99 million charge related to the Company’s new pilot joint collective bargaining agreement. These charges were offset in part by a net $73 million credit for bankruptcy related items primarily consisting of fair value adjustments for bankruptcy settlement obligations.

The 2014 second quarter mainline operating special items totaled a net charge of $251 million, which principally included $163 million of merger integration expenses related to information technology, professional fees, severance, share-based compensation, re-branding of aircraft and airport facilities, relocation and training as well as a net $38 million charge for bankruptcy related items primarily consisting of fair value adjustments for bankruptcy settlement obligations and $37 million in charges related to the buyout of leases associated with certain aircraft. The 2014 six month period mainline operating special items totaled a net charge of $114 million, which principally included $365 million of merger integration expenses, $40 million in charges primarily related to the buyout of leases associated with certain aircraft and a net $5 million charge for bankruptcy related items, all as described above. These charges were offset in part by a $309 million gain on the sale of Slots at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

(2) The 2015 and 2014 second quarter and six month period regional operating special items principally related to merger integration expenses.

(3) The 2015 second quarter nonoperating special items totaled a net credit of $11 million and primarily included a $22 million gain associated with the sale of an investment, offset in part by $11 million in charges principally related to non-cash write offs of unamortized debt discount and debt issuance costs associated with refinancing the Company’s secured term loan facilities. The 2015 six month period nonoperating special items totaled a net credit of $19 million and principally included the $22 million gain associated with the sale of an investment as described above and a $17 million early debt extinguishment gain associated with the repayment of American’s AAdvantage loan with Citibank. These special credits were offset in part by $20 million in charges principally related to non-cash write offs of unamortized debt discount and debt issuance costs associated with the debt refinancing as described above and the prepayment of certain aircraft financings.

The 2014 second quarter and six month period nonoperating special items were primarily due to non-cash interest accretion of $2 million and $33 million, respectively, on bankruptcy settlement obligations.

(4) The 2015 second quarter and six month period tax special items were the result of a non-cash deferred income tax provision related to certain indefinite-lived intangible assets.

During the 2014 second quarter, the Company sold its portfolio of fuel hedging contracts that were scheduled to settle on or after June 30, 2014. In connection with this sale, the Company recorded a special non-cash tax provision of $330 million in the second quarter of 2014 that reversed the non-cash tax provision which was recorded in other comprehensive income (OCI), a subset of stockholders’ equity, principally in 2009. This provision represents the tax effect associated with gains recorded in OCI principally in 2009 due to a net increase in the fair value of the Company’s fuel hedging contracts. In accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, the Company retained the $330 million tax provision in OCI until the last contract was settled or terminated. In addition, the Company recorded a special $7 million non-cash deferred income tax provision related to certain indefinite-lived intangible assets in the 2014 second quarter. The 2014 six month period included the $330 million non-cash tax provision related to the settlement of fuel hedges discussed above as well as a special $15 million non-cash deferred income tax provision related to certain indefinite-lived intangible assets.