Simple Flying | December 16, 2021
Major US airline executives faced questioning from the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on Wednesday. One of the topics that came up were recent cuts to some regional routes, including some market exits. Several others offered their input. However, it was United’s CEO, Scott Kirby, who had the most to say. According to his testimony, nearly 100 regional aircraft are parked at United due to the ongoing pilot shortage.
United has regional jets parked over pilot shortage
“We have almost 100 airplanes effectively grounded right now – regional aircraft, because there’s not enough pilots to fly them, which means we just can’t, at the moment, fly to all the small communities that we would like to.”
-United’s CEO, Scott Kirby
United Airlines made headlines just a few months ago when it pulled service to a handful of destinations, mainly those receiving regional services, due to these pilot shortages. With so much appetite from large mainline carriers for pilots and continued growth in the low-cost sphere, there are not enough pilots to meet demand. In addition, training pilots is no easy task, and the cost to enter the industry has been highlighted as a barrier to training pilots.
United’s CEO emphasized the different ways United was looking at alleviating the problem. One of them is the United Aviate Academy, which only recently saw its first class of students start their education on the way to becoming a pilot. United has also made a considerable push at various levels to get people to become pilots, including sending a Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to highlight the Aviate program and the various pathways for entering United as a pilot.
“Service to small communities is incredibly important to American Airlines. We serve some 230 cities in the United States. Obviously, a number of those are smaller communities…and we would like to serve more, frankly, over time.”
-CEO of American Airlines, Doug Parker
American Airlines highlights that part of its sizable brand and presence is focused on connecting the small- and medium-sized cities to the rest of the world. American has traditionally used regional jets to expand its domestic network to new cities.
Regional pilots are a vital part of the industry
While flying a CRJ or an Embraer regional jet might not be the flashiest job in the aviation world, it is one of the most important for airlines. Regional jets are part of an extensive feed network that airlines build up as a method of supporting its hubs and moving vital cargo around the country and the world.
Moreover, regional pilots are a pipeline to mainline service. Outside of hiring from the military, private, or cargo world, US airlines often recruit from the regional carriers. However, the demand up from regionals to mainline carriers is outpacing the number of pilots that regional airlines are hiring. This is due to various issues, including a lack of more widespread funding to help send people to training.
Avelo Airlines | December 27, 2021
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced the availability of its TSA PreCheck® expedited screening program for Avelo Airlines Customers. Starting today, traveling to one of Avelo's 19 popular East and West Coast destinations becomes faster and smoother for TSA PreCheck-enrolled Customers.
TSA PreCheck is an expedited screening program that enables low-risk travelers to enjoy an efficient screening experience. At most airports, travelers enrolled in TSA PreCheck avoid removing shoes, belts, liquids, food, laptops, and light jackets. In November 2021, 94% of TSA PreCheck members waited less than five minutes. Avelo Customers can apply for a five-year TSA PreCheck membership for just $85.
"Providing Avelo Customers with a quicker, smoother and more relaxing airport experience is a big part of the different and better kind of airline we are building, The availability of TSA PreCheck is an important enhancement in the convenient and seamless journey our Customers appreciate when flying on Avelo."
-Avelo Chairman and CEO Andrew Levy.
A Different, Better and More Affordable Travel Experience
Avelo's everyday low fares have no change or cancellation fees. There is also no charge for Customers who choose to make reservations by phone. Additionally, Avelo offers several unbundled travel-enhancing options that give Customers the flexibility to pay for what they value, including priority boarding, checked bags, carry-on overhead bags, and bringing a pet in the cabin.
Avelo's single-class, fuel-efficient fleet of Boeing Next-Generation 737 mainline jets offer a more spacious and comfortable experience than the regional jets historically utilized at the smaller airports Avelo serves. Customers may choose from several seating options, including seats with extra legroom, as well as pre-reserved window and aisle seating.
Avelo became America's first new scheduled airline in nearly 15 years when it initiated service on April 28, 2021, from its first base at Los Angeles' Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR). Avelo launched service from its East Coast base on November 3 at Southern Connecticut's most convenient airport – Tweed-New Haven Airport (HVN).
Avelo is distinguished by its Soul of Service Culture. The culture is grounded in a "One Crew" mindset that promotes teamwork, understanding and kindness. By caring for one another and owning their commitments, Avelo Crewmembers provide a smooth, enjoyable, reliable and caring experience for its Customers.
About Avelo Airlines
Avelo Airlines was founded with a simple purpose — to Inspire Travel. The airline offers Customers time and money-saving convenience, very low fares, and a refreshingly smooth and caring experience through its Avelo Soul of Service culture. Operating a fleet of Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft, Avelo serves many popular destinations across the U.S., including its West Coast base at Los Angeles' Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) and its East Coast base at Tweed-New Haven Airport (HVN).
Aerkomm Inc. | January 20, 2022
Aerkomm Inc. ("Aerkomm" or "the Company") (Euronext Paris: AKOM;OTCQX: AKOM), a development stage service provider of In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity solutions for the airline industry using Ka-band technology, today announced that it entered into a joint venture (the "Joint Venture") agreement (the "Agreement") with Sakai Display Products Corporation ("SDPJ"), a company incorporated under the laws of Japan, and PanelSemi Corporation ("PanelSemi"), a company incorporated under the laws of Taiwan, on January 10, 2022.
Through this Joint Venture, Aerkomm will develop and commercialize a tile antenna ("Tile Antenna"). The Joint Venture will be operated through a to-be-established California corporation ("Newco"), which will be owned initially 100% by SDPJ. Aerkomm will license to Newco its intellectual property, know-how and research and development results related to the Tile Antenna. SDPJ will provide Newco with working capital to develop the Tile Antenna proof of concept ("POC"). Upon approval of the POC, Aerkomm will contribute the intellectual property to Newco in exchange for 52% of the equity interest in Newco, and SDPJ and PanelSemi collectively will contribute $20 million in cash (less the contributions funded prior to the POC approval). SDPJ will hold 45% of Newco's equity interest and PanelSemi will hold the remaining 3%.
Moreover, according to the Agreement, SDPJ will invest €7.5 million in Aerkomm via private placement upon approval of the POC.
In the event that the POC is not achieved within 11 months following the signing of the Agreement, the Joint Venture will be terminated, at which time we will terminate the intellectual property license to Newco and Newco will remain 100% owned by SDPJ.
"This agreement marks the first step in our partnership with SDPJ and PanelSemi. The joint venture will facilitate the development of a tile antenna to further our technological capabilities and better serve our customers. Looking ahead, we look forward to opportunities to expand our business and developing new industry-leading technology."
-Mr. Louis Giordimaina, CEO of Aerkomm
About Aerkomm Inc.
Aerkomm Inc. (Euronext Paris: AKOM;OTCQX: AKOM), operating through its wholly owned subsidiary, Aircom Pacific, Inc., is a development stage service provider of in-flight entertainment and connectivity solutions for the airline industry. The Company strives to become a leading provider of a wide range of in-flight broadband entertainment and connectivity services, including Wi-Fi connectivity, cellular networks, movies, gaming, live television, and music. Aerkomm aims to reshape the market for in-flight entertainment and connectivity services by offering on-board connectivity to its airline partners and passengers for free, generating revenue through advertising and on-board transactions.
McDonald Property Group | December 24, 2021
The Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA) Commission voted unanimously today to authorize a Development and Entitlement Agreement that will lead to a ground lease for approximately 198 acres of surplus property at the Southern California airport. The 55-year lease will generate approximately $275 million over the first 10 years, which will support ongoing airport improvements while keeping costs down for airlines.
The OIAA determined the property, located east of Haven Avenue, north of Jurupa Avenue, south of Airport Drive and west of Carnegie Avenue, is unsuited for typical airport use, making it surplus to the airport's aviation/aeronautical needs. (See accompanying ONT aerial photo showing surplus property to be leased.)
"We are pleased and proud to move forward with the first of several major real estate transactions to monetize vacant property since the airport was transferred to local control in November 2016, As envisioned in the OIAA strategic business plan, the ongoing revenue stream will help ONT fund vital safety, security and infrastructure projects while keeping airport costs to airlines low. As a result, ONT will become even more attractive for airlines to inaugurate and increase flight schedules."
-Alan D. Wapner, Mayor pro Tem of the City of Ontario and President of the OIAA Board of Commissioners.
CanAm Ontario LLC, a venture formed by San Antonio, TX-based USAA Real Estate Company and McDonald Property Group of Newport Beach, CA, will develop the vacant property for industrial use in compliance with the Airport Compatibility Plan required under State Law.
Steven Ames, Managing Director-Investments, USAA Real Estate Company, sounded a note of optimism following the Board's action.
CanAm Ontario was selected following a competitive process which began with 17 bidders managed by CBRE Group, Inc., a global leader in real estate services and investment headquartered in Los Angeles.
The deal calls for a non-refundable $10 million deposit to OIAA. After allowing time for CanAm Ontario to obtain local jurisdictional entitlement and environmental approvals, rental revenue to the OIAA will start at $25 million in the first year, increasing in five-year increments, resulting in revenue of $90.6 per year in the final five years. The net present value of the agreement is $625 million.
"The air carriers at Ontario support efforts that keep operating costs low, which benefits anyone who uses the airport, This is an example of the Authority's continued efforts to provide funding for airport improvements while reducing airline costs".
-Trey Hettinger, Chair of the ONT Airline Affairs Committee representing the Signatory passenger and cargo airlines operating at ONT.
Airport officials noted that special consideration was given to ensure the transaction complies with applicable federal laws and Federal Aviation Administration policies and provide lease revenue exceeding fair market value as determined by three independent appraisals. Federal law requires that revenues generated by the airport be used for airport purposes.
About Ontario International Airport
Ontario International Airport (ONT) is the fastest growing airport in the United States, according to Global Traveler, a leading publication for frequent fliers. Located in the Inland Empire, ONT is approximately 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles in the center of Southern California. It is a full-service airport which, before the coronavirus pandemic, offered nonstop commercial jet service to 26 major airports in the U.S., Mexico, Central America and Taiwan.
About the Ontario International Airport Authority (OIAA)
The OIAA was formed in August 2012 by a Joint Powers Agreement between the City of Ontario and the County of San Bernardino to provide overall direction for the management, operations, development and marketing of ONT for the benefit of the Southern California economy and the residents of the airport's four-county catchment area. OIAA Commissioners are Ontario Mayor Pro Tem Alan D. Wapner (President), Retired Riverside Mayor Ronald O. Loveridge (Vice President), Ontario City Council Member Jim W. Bowman (Secretary), San Bernardino County Supervisor Curt Hagman (Commissioner) and retired business executive Julia Gouw (Commissioner).