Aeroplanes don’t make money when they’re not flying – so imagine the anger at United Airlines, who have been forced to put two brand new Boeing 777-300s into storage because their new Business Class seats have been delayed.
But it wasn’t all bad news for U.S. airlines this week – The electronics ban might benefit them and we now know that’s set to last until October. Then American Airlines bought a stake in China’s largest airline by passenger numbers for a pretty sum of $200 million USD.
Unfortunately, the much-loved Virgin America brand is set to fly into the sunset. Alaska Airlines, who bought the Virgin brand last year, has announced that it will retire the Virgin America name in 2019.
United Airlines Putting Aircraft into Storage – Because of Seat Delays
27th March 2017 – Courtesy Skift
United Airlines has reportedly put two brand new Boeing 777’s into storage because of delays it’s experiencing in receiving new business class seats. The aircraft are to be fitted with United’s new Polaris product – the airline’s flagship Business Class seat.
United CEO, Oscar Munoz, has already said he is “not happy” with the production problems faced at seat manufacturer Zodiac. Delays are said to be so bad that United has sent in a management team to oversee production at the aerospace firms base in Wales.
The new Polaris seat is to be fitted onto 13 new Boeing 777-300 aircraft that United has on order. 69 777-200s and 767s are also to be retrofitted with the new Business Class product.
— Woodys Aeroimages (@woody2190) March 25, 2017
American Airlines to Take a $200 Million Stake in China Southern Airlines
28th March 2017 – Courtesy Business Insider
China Southern Airlines has agreed to issue $200 million USD in shares to American Airlines. The news followed days of speculation that American was planning a takeover of the China-based airline.
This isn’t the first time that a U.S. airline has invested in a Chinese carrier. Delta Air Lines already owns a 3.55% stake in rival China Eastern Airlines. With this investment, American is looking to buy into one of the largest aviation markets in the world. China Southern is already the largest Chinese airline by passenger numbers.
Electronics Ban to Last Until October
21st March 2017 – Courtesy Gulf Business
There is a seemingly endless supply of news about the recently implemented electronics ban that has come into force on certain direct flights to the USA. The ban came into effect on the 25th March and it’s now being reported that the U.S. issued directive will expire on October 14th.
However, just because the current version of the order is due to end on that date it doesn’t mean that American authorities won’t extend it past that date. Officials from a number of affected countries including the UAE are said to be working closely with their American counterparts to understand what needs to be done to have the restrictions lifted.
The Virgin America Brand is to be Retired in 2019
22nd March 2017 – Courtesy Alaska Airlines
Following the acquisition of Virgin America by Alaska Airlines last year, a decision has been made on the fate of the Virgin brand – and it’s not good news. The Virgin America name is set to be retired at some point in 2019. However, Alaska has promised to adopt many of the brands best assets across the fleet.
Alaska Airlines has said that their “goal is to create a warm and welcoming West Coast-inspired vibe.” The decision was made after 10 months of thorough research – but while the brand was well loved, Alaska needed to offer “consistency and efficiency.”
Cathay Pacific Starts Flights to Tel Aviv, Israel
26th March 2017 – Courtesy Cathay Pacific
This week, Cathay Pacific flew its inaugural flight to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. The airline used its latest aircraft, the Airbus A350 for the 12-hour journey from Hong Kong to Israel. The service was originally intended to fly between the two cities 4-times weekly but was quickly upgraded to 5-times a week due to the strength of advance booking.
“We have been highly encouraged by the overwhelming reception that our new Tel Aviv service has received. Increasing the frequency of our operations to five times a week will provide greater convenience to business and leisure customers travelling between these two great cities,” said Paul Loo, Cathay Pacific Director of Corporate Development.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.