Virgin tells Alaska “I do”; What now for rejected suitor JetBlue?

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Tilden made clear in an investor/media conference call Monday that Alaska been looking for opportunities to grow for a couple of years and made an initial approach to Virgin America in late fall last year.

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Bihrle Applied Research Inc

Bihrle Applied Research Inc. (BAR) is an aeronautical research & development company specializing in the development of flight-representative software math models for commercial and military fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft, including full-envelope modeling and aircraft upset recovery modeling.

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AIR TRANSPORT

What 2019 Taught Us About the U.S. Airline Industry

Article | July 15, 2022

For U.S. airlines, the fourth earnings season is now complete. And as is customary these days, all players produced solid profits. Collectively, Delta, American, United, Southwest, Alaska, JetBlue, Hawaiian, Spirit, and Allegiant reached a double-digit operating margin, topping 10 percent on nearly $46 billion in revenues. For all of 2019, they earned 11 percent on $184 billion. The year before: 10 percent on $175 billion. No other country has an airline industry so stable and profitable. What were the highlights of the final quarter of the final year of the decade? Here’s a review:

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BUSINESS AVIATION

What’s Interesting About 2019’s Busiest International Routes?

Article | January 28, 2022

Have you ever thought about which routes around the world see the most traffic? What would your guesses be? Every year, the organization OAG (Official Airline Guide) puts out a publication detailing the world’s busiest routes. Their 2019 report had some interesting findings. Here’s what it revealed.

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BUSINESS AVIATION

Why The Airbus A220 Is The Plane Of The Future

Article | December 28, 2021

The Airbus A220 isn’t really a new aircraft. Bombardier first flew the CSeries in September 2013, with its entry into service in July 2016. And yet, the A220 seems to be answering problems that we’re not quite having yet. Airbus predicts a need for 7,000 A220s over the next two decades, and that’s probably not too overoptimistic. Here’s how the A220 is the plane of the future, today. The landscape of aviation is changing. In the past, airlines operated on hub and spoke models, passengers were happy to fit around schedules and the price of jet fuel was so low that efficiency wasn’t a huge consideration. Clearly, aviation today is very different.

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Why Does Aegean Want To Buy Croatia Airlines?

Article | February 10, 2020

Croatia Airlines is on sale, and Aegean Airlines expressed an interest to buy it. Why did the Greek flag carrier do this, and what plans could it have for Croatia Airlines? For several years now, the government of Croatia has been trying to sell Croatia Airlines. The national airline is loss-making and has not launched a single new route in 2019.

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Spotlight

Bihrle Applied Research Inc

Bihrle Applied Research Inc. (BAR) is an aeronautical research & development company specializing in the development of flight-representative software math models for commercial and military fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft, including full-envelope modeling and aircraft upset recovery modeling.

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AVIATION TECHNOLOGY

Archer Selects Molicel to Supply Battery Cells for its Production Midnight™ Aircraft

Archer | November 17, 2022

Archer Aviation Inc., a leader in electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, and E-One Moli Energy Corp. (Molicel), an industry-leading supplier of lithium-ion battery cells, today announced they have entered into a memorandum of understanding for Molicel to manufacture and supply the battery cells for Archer’s production electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, Midnight. Archer is focused on building an aircraft tailored to the needs of intra-city travel, optimizing its Midnight aircraft to perform back-to-back short distance flights of about 20 miles with approximately 10-minute charging cycles in-between. Batteries are an important consideration in achieving Midnight’s desired payload, range and charging time. The ability to operate eVTOL aircraft in dense, urban environments requires state-of-the-art, reliable battery cells that can deliver high power, low impedance and fast charging capabilities. Molicel’s advanced battery technology and fast growing production capacity make them an ideal partner for Archer as it continues on its ramp to commercialization. Last year, Molicel announced plans to establish its first Gigafactory in Taiwan, which is scheduled to ramp up production in 2023. The facility will have the capacity to produce 1.8 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of battery capacity annually. Molicel's high-performance cells also offer a significant cycle life when utilized in Archer's battery pack and, as a result, reduce the long-term operating cost for its Midnight production aircraft. Partnering with a world-class battery supplier that can reliably manufacture cells at scale, allows Archer to reduce its certification risk, as well as its development timelines and costs. “Molicel understands that safety and reliability are paramount but that we still must ensure we are living up to our shared values of social responsibility and sustainability, We’re proud to leverage Molicel’s 40+ years of high volume manufacturing experience in the battery industry to deliver on the promise of the electrification of the aviation industry and further Archer’s mission to unlock the skies - freeing everyone to reimagine how they move and spend time.” Adam Goldstein, Archer’s CEO. With this relationship with Molicel, Archer continues its push towards commercialization. Archer now has more than 64% of its suppliers for its bill-of-materials selected, including many global leaders in the design, development and manufacturing of aircraft components. Molicel is devoted to work as battery cells’ key partner for leading players in eVTOL application. By the collaboration with Archer today, it shows a good model that our high performance power cell technology, state-of-the-art commercial production capabilities and expansion plans are key values that we add on to partners. We hope to see the great impact that Midnight will introduce to the marketplace technology wise, safety wise and most importantly, to prove a profitable business model which a new technology can offer to the world while being sustainable and responsible for the environment, said Casey Shiue, President of Molicel. Molicel’s 40 years of industry leading experience in the battery industry, as well as its fast growing production capacity, were decisive factors in Archer’s decision to select Molicel to supply batteries for Midnight. Molicel focuses on demanding, high-performance applications of its batteries, with its technology already in use across space, advanced automotive and power tool applications. About Archer Archer is designing and developing electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft for use in urban air mobility networks. Archer’s mission is to unlock the skies, freeing everyone to reimagine how they move and spend time. Archer's team is based in Santa Clara, CA. To learn more, visit www.archer.com. About MOLICEL With over 40 years’ rechargeable lithium-ion knowhow and innovative technology research and development, MOLICEL® is famous for its excellent power density product which presents high discharge and fast charge capability balanced with good energy density. The company has been recognized as the first choice for world leading makers in applications such as sports car/motorcycle, VTOL, aerospace and heavy-duty tools. MOLICEL®’s R&D and engineers hold core competences in material research, cell design and advanced manufacturing along with testing capability. These four cornerstones make this medium size but tech-leading cell maker stands in a very competitive position in the market. MOLICEL® belongs to the energy business of Taiwan Cement Corporation (TCC). TCC is the first listing company in Taiwan stock market. The group has business units in the field of power plant, renewable energy and BESS.

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AVIATION TECHNOLOGY

United Becomes First U.S. Airline to Invest in Biofuel Refinery

United Airlines | November 16, 2022

Today, United Airlines Ventures (UAV) announced a strategic investment in NEXT Renewable Fuels (NEXT), which is permitting a flagship biofuel refinery in Port Westward, Oregon, with expected production beginning in 2026. NEXT is a Houston-based company developing the biorefinery which, at full production, could produce up to 50,000 barrels per day of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), renewable diesel, and other renewable fuels. UAV could invest as much as $37.5 million into NEXT, as long as the company meets certain milestone targets. "Right now, one of the biggest barriers to increasing supply and lowering costs of sustainable fuel is that we don't have the infrastructure in place to transport it efficiently, but NEXT's strategic location and assets solve that problem and provide a blueprint for future facilities that need to be built, We believe this investment will not only bolster NEXT's ambitions and create near-term solutions to expand our SAF supply, but further demonstrates our commitment toward producing SAF at the scale necessary to decarbonize the aviation industry." Michael Leskinen, President of United Airline Ventures. NEXT's biorefinery offers several unique benefits including access to a deep-water port, an existing industrial-grade dock, and multi-modal logistics options, which facilitates access to feedstock options and fast-growth SAF offtake markets on the west coast. NEXT has secured an agreement with BP for sourcing 100 percent of its feedstock, further de-risking supply issues smaller facilities have historically experienced. NEXT has also received a crucial air permit from the State of Oregon. Once all the necessary approvals and permits are obtained and the biorefinery is operational, it has the potential to be used as a platform to scale SAF and deploy additional future technologies. The clean fuels industry is taking off and our access to feedstocks, multi-modal distribution, and major industry players positions us to be a leading SAF supplier on the West Coast," said Christopher Efird, CEO and Chairperson of NEXT. "United's investment in NEXT strengthens our resolve to be one of the clean fuels leaders in the transportation sector. Today's announcement marks UAV's fifth SAF-related technology investment, and its first investment directly in a biorefinery. United has been an industry leader in advocating for alternative jet fuel for years – including investing in more SAF production than any other airline in the world and flying the world's first passenger flight using 100% SAF in one engine. United also launched the Eco-Skies Alliance program, which among its 30 corporate participants, has collectively purchased more than 7 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel. Launched in 2021, UAV is a first-of-its-kind sustainability-focused ventures fund that targets startups, upcoming technologies, and concepts that will complement United's goal of net zero emissions by 2050 – without relying on traditional carbon offsets such as voluntary offsets or planting trees. To date, UAV's portfolio includes SAF producers and other companies advancing technologies including carbon utilization, hydrogen-electric engines, electric regional aircraft and air taxis. About United United's shared purpose is "Connecting People. Uniting the World." From our U.S. hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., United operates the most comprehensive global route network among North American carriers. United is bringing back our customers' favorite destinations and adding new ones on its way to becoming the world's best airline.

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COMMERCIAL AVIATION

CDB Aviation Leases Six A320neos to Air India

CDB Aviation | November 14, 2022

CDB Aviation, a wholly owned Irish subsidiary of China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co., Limited (“CDB Leasing”), announced on the sidelines of Airline Economics Growth Frontiers Asia Pacific 2022 conference the signing of lease agreements for a fleet of six Airbus A320neo aircraft with India’s leading airline, Air India. CDB Aviation is among the first aircraft leasing companies to secure the placement of Air India’s additional A320neo aircraft under the recently announced multi-stage transformation plan since the purchase of the airline by Tata group, which aims to increase the carrier’s fleet and help it boost both domestic and international operations. The aircraft will be delivered in the second half of 2023. “Our commercial team is delighted to have worked closely with Air India to help solve their fleet requirements with these new Airbus narrowbody aircraft from our orderbook, These fuel-efficient, new generation aircraft are well suited to support Air India’s fleet revitalization initiatives, positioning the airline for sustained growth and profitability.’’ Ryan Barrett, CDB Aviation’s Head of Asia Pacific. Commenting on the agreement, Nipun Aggarwal, Chief Commercial Officer of Air India, said: “This is an important agreement, which will help us to strengthen our fleet with state-of-the-art aircraft. This will boost our connectivity, especially on the short and medium-haul routes, and is an important step ahead in our transformation journey. India is an increasingly important region for CDB Aviation, being the second largest Asia Pacific market for new aircraft deliveries, with nearly 1,000 Boeing and Airbus jets in its orderbook,” explained Peter Goodman, CDB Aviation’s Chief Commercial Officer. “Our commercial team remains steadfast in its outreach efforts across Asia Pacific, leveraging our platform’s resources and scale to support the region’s airlines in restoring their networks and growing their fleets. About Air India Founded by the legendary JRD Tata, Air India pioneered India’s aviation sector. Since its first flight on October 15, 1932, Air India has an extensive domestic network and has spread its wings beyond to become a major international airline with a network across USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Far-East, South- East Asia, Australia and the Gulf. Air India is a member of Star Alliance, the largest global airline consortium. After 69 years as a government-owned enterprise, Air India and Air India Express were welcomed back into the Tata group in January 2022. The present management at Air India is driving the five-year transformation roadmap under the aegis of Vihaan.AI to establish itself as a world-class global airline with an Indian heart. www.airindia.in About CDB Aviation CDB Aviation is a wholly owned Irish subsidiary of China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co., Limited (“CDB Leasing”), a 36-year-old Chinese leasing company that is backed mainly by the China Development Bank. CDB Aviation is rated Investment Grade by Moody’s (A2), S&P Global (A), and Fitch (A+). China Development Bank is under the direct jurisdiction of the State Council of China and is the world’s largest development finance institution. It is also the largest Chinese bank for foreign investment and financing cooperation, long-term lending and bond issuance, enjoying Chinese sovereign credit rating.

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AVIATION TECHNOLOGY

Archer Selects Molicel to Supply Battery Cells for its Production Midnight™ Aircraft

Archer | November 17, 2022

Archer Aviation Inc., a leader in electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, and E-One Moli Energy Corp. (Molicel), an industry-leading supplier of lithium-ion battery cells, today announced they have entered into a memorandum of understanding for Molicel to manufacture and supply the battery cells for Archer’s production electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, Midnight. Archer is focused on building an aircraft tailored to the needs of intra-city travel, optimizing its Midnight aircraft to perform back-to-back short distance flights of about 20 miles with approximately 10-minute charging cycles in-between. Batteries are an important consideration in achieving Midnight’s desired payload, range and charging time. The ability to operate eVTOL aircraft in dense, urban environments requires state-of-the-art, reliable battery cells that can deliver high power, low impedance and fast charging capabilities. Molicel’s advanced battery technology and fast growing production capacity make them an ideal partner for Archer as it continues on its ramp to commercialization. Last year, Molicel announced plans to establish its first Gigafactory in Taiwan, which is scheduled to ramp up production in 2023. The facility will have the capacity to produce 1.8 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of battery capacity annually. Molicel's high-performance cells also offer a significant cycle life when utilized in Archer's battery pack and, as a result, reduce the long-term operating cost for its Midnight production aircraft. Partnering with a world-class battery supplier that can reliably manufacture cells at scale, allows Archer to reduce its certification risk, as well as its development timelines and costs. “Molicel understands that safety and reliability are paramount but that we still must ensure we are living up to our shared values of social responsibility and sustainability, We’re proud to leverage Molicel’s 40+ years of high volume manufacturing experience in the battery industry to deliver on the promise of the electrification of the aviation industry and further Archer’s mission to unlock the skies - freeing everyone to reimagine how they move and spend time.” Adam Goldstein, Archer’s CEO. With this relationship with Molicel, Archer continues its push towards commercialization. Archer now has more than 64% of its suppliers for its bill-of-materials selected, including many global leaders in the design, development and manufacturing of aircraft components. Molicel is devoted to work as battery cells’ key partner for leading players in eVTOL application. By the collaboration with Archer today, it shows a good model that our high performance power cell technology, state-of-the-art commercial production capabilities and expansion plans are key values that we add on to partners. We hope to see the great impact that Midnight will introduce to the marketplace technology wise, safety wise and most importantly, to prove a profitable business model which a new technology can offer to the world while being sustainable and responsible for the environment, said Casey Shiue, President of Molicel. Molicel’s 40 years of industry leading experience in the battery industry, as well as its fast growing production capacity, were decisive factors in Archer’s decision to select Molicel to supply batteries for Midnight. Molicel focuses on demanding, high-performance applications of its batteries, with its technology already in use across space, advanced automotive and power tool applications. About Archer Archer is designing and developing electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft for use in urban air mobility networks. Archer’s mission is to unlock the skies, freeing everyone to reimagine how they move and spend time. Archer's team is based in Santa Clara, CA. To learn more, visit www.archer.com. About MOLICEL With over 40 years’ rechargeable lithium-ion knowhow and innovative technology research and development, MOLICEL® is famous for its excellent power density product which presents high discharge and fast charge capability balanced with good energy density. The company has been recognized as the first choice for world leading makers in applications such as sports car/motorcycle, VTOL, aerospace and heavy-duty tools. MOLICEL®’s R&D and engineers hold core competences in material research, cell design and advanced manufacturing along with testing capability. These four cornerstones make this medium size but tech-leading cell maker stands in a very competitive position in the market. MOLICEL® belongs to the energy business of Taiwan Cement Corporation (TCC). TCC is the first listing company in Taiwan stock market. The group has business units in the field of power plant, renewable energy and BESS.

Read More

AVIATION TECHNOLOGY

United Becomes First U.S. Airline to Invest in Biofuel Refinery

United Airlines | November 16, 2022

Today, United Airlines Ventures (UAV) announced a strategic investment in NEXT Renewable Fuels (NEXT), which is permitting a flagship biofuel refinery in Port Westward, Oregon, with expected production beginning in 2026. NEXT is a Houston-based company developing the biorefinery which, at full production, could produce up to 50,000 barrels per day of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), renewable diesel, and other renewable fuels. UAV could invest as much as $37.5 million into NEXT, as long as the company meets certain milestone targets. "Right now, one of the biggest barriers to increasing supply and lowering costs of sustainable fuel is that we don't have the infrastructure in place to transport it efficiently, but NEXT's strategic location and assets solve that problem and provide a blueprint for future facilities that need to be built, We believe this investment will not only bolster NEXT's ambitions and create near-term solutions to expand our SAF supply, but further demonstrates our commitment toward producing SAF at the scale necessary to decarbonize the aviation industry." Michael Leskinen, President of United Airline Ventures. NEXT's biorefinery offers several unique benefits including access to a deep-water port, an existing industrial-grade dock, and multi-modal logistics options, which facilitates access to feedstock options and fast-growth SAF offtake markets on the west coast. NEXT has secured an agreement with BP for sourcing 100 percent of its feedstock, further de-risking supply issues smaller facilities have historically experienced. NEXT has also received a crucial air permit from the State of Oregon. Once all the necessary approvals and permits are obtained and the biorefinery is operational, it has the potential to be used as a platform to scale SAF and deploy additional future technologies. The clean fuels industry is taking off and our access to feedstocks, multi-modal distribution, and major industry players positions us to be a leading SAF supplier on the West Coast," said Christopher Efird, CEO and Chairperson of NEXT. "United's investment in NEXT strengthens our resolve to be one of the clean fuels leaders in the transportation sector. Today's announcement marks UAV's fifth SAF-related technology investment, and its first investment directly in a biorefinery. United has been an industry leader in advocating for alternative jet fuel for years – including investing in more SAF production than any other airline in the world and flying the world's first passenger flight using 100% SAF in one engine. United also launched the Eco-Skies Alliance program, which among its 30 corporate participants, has collectively purchased more than 7 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel. Launched in 2021, UAV is a first-of-its-kind sustainability-focused ventures fund that targets startups, upcoming technologies, and concepts that will complement United's goal of net zero emissions by 2050 – without relying on traditional carbon offsets such as voluntary offsets or planting trees. To date, UAV's portfolio includes SAF producers and other companies advancing technologies including carbon utilization, hydrogen-electric engines, electric regional aircraft and air taxis. About United United's shared purpose is "Connecting People. Uniting the World." From our U.S. hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., United operates the most comprehensive global route network among North American carriers. United is bringing back our customers' favorite destinations and adding new ones on its way to becoming the world's best airline.

Read More

COMMERCIAL AVIATION

CDB Aviation Leases Six A320neos to Air India

CDB Aviation | November 14, 2022

CDB Aviation, a wholly owned Irish subsidiary of China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co., Limited (“CDB Leasing”), announced on the sidelines of Airline Economics Growth Frontiers Asia Pacific 2022 conference the signing of lease agreements for a fleet of six Airbus A320neo aircraft with India’s leading airline, Air India. CDB Aviation is among the first aircraft leasing companies to secure the placement of Air India’s additional A320neo aircraft under the recently announced multi-stage transformation plan since the purchase of the airline by Tata group, which aims to increase the carrier’s fleet and help it boost both domestic and international operations. The aircraft will be delivered in the second half of 2023. “Our commercial team is delighted to have worked closely with Air India to help solve their fleet requirements with these new Airbus narrowbody aircraft from our orderbook, These fuel-efficient, new generation aircraft are well suited to support Air India’s fleet revitalization initiatives, positioning the airline for sustained growth and profitability.’’ Ryan Barrett, CDB Aviation’s Head of Asia Pacific. Commenting on the agreement, Nipun Aggarwal, Chief Commercial Officer of Air India, said: “This is an important agreement, which will help us to strengthen our fleet with state-of-the-art aircraft. This will boost our connectivity, especially on the short and medium-haul routes, and is an important step ahead in our transformation journey. India is an increasingly important region for CDB Aviation, being the second largest Asia Pacific market for new aircraft deliveries, with nearly 1,000 Boeing and Airbus jets in its orderbook,” explained Peter Goodman, CDB Aviation’s Chief Commercial Officer. “Our commercial team remains steadfast in its outreach efforts across Asia Pacific, leveraging our platform’s resources and scale to support the region’s airlines in restoring their networks and growing their fleets. About Air India Founded by the legendary JRD Tata, Air India pioneered India’s aviation sector. Since its first flight on October 15, 1932, Air India has an extensive domestic network and has spread its wings beyond to become a major international airline with a network across USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Far-East, South- East Asia, Australia and the Gulf. Air India is a member of Star Alliance, the largest global airline consortium. After 69 years as a government-owned enterprise, Air India and Air India Express were welcomed back into the Tata group in January 2022. The present management at Air India is driving the five-year transformation roadmap under the aegis of Vihaan.AI to establish itself as a world-class global airline with an Indian heart. www.airindia.in About CDB Aviation CDB Aviation is a wholly owned Irish subsidiary of China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co., Limited (“CDB Leasing”), a 36-year-old Chinese leasing company that is backed mainly by the China Development Bank. CDB Aviation is rated Investment Grade by Moody’s (A2), S&P Global (A), and Fitch (A+). China Development Bank is under the direct jurisdiction of the State Council of China and is the world’s largest development finance institution. It is also the largest Chinese bank for foreign investment and financing cooperation, long-term lending and bond issuance, enjoying Chinese sovereign credit rating.

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