Press releases – December 18

Boeing Names Michael Kurth as VP/GM, Unmanned Airborne Systems Programs

David Pitchforth to lead Boeing Defence UK Ltd.

ST. LOUIS, Dec. 17, 2012 — Company veteran Michael Kurth will oversee Boeing’s [NYSE: BA] unmanned airborne systems as of Jan. 1. Kurth, currently managing director of Boeing Defence UK Ltd. (BDUK), will relocate to St. Louis as vice president and general manager, Unmanned Airborne Systems Programs, reporting to Boeing Military Aircraft President Chris Chadwick.

David Pitchforth, managing director for UK Rotorcraft Support, a division of Boeing Global Services & Support, succeeds Kurth. In this position, Pitchforth will oversee BDUK’s entire portfolio of products and services that support the Ministry of Defence and U.S. military programs.

“Mike Kurth has a sterling reputation for excellent performance within Boeing and in service to the United States,” said Chadwick. “With his proven background in managing and executing diverse programs, developing strong customer relationships and opening new markets for Boeing products, there’s no one in the enterprise more suited for this role.”

Most of the company’s unmanned programs had been part of a Missiles and Unmanned Airborne Systems division. Effective Jan. 1, these programs will stand alone under Kurth to emphasize the strong potential of the unmanned market. In order to increase affordability, Unmanned Airborne Systems Programs will share functional support, such as Finance and Legal, with other elements of Boeing Military Aircraft.

Boeing wants to reduce its Defense, Space & Security business unit’s costs by another $1.6 billion by the end of 2015, adding to the $2.2 billion it has identified since 2010.

Kurth, a retired U.S. Marine Corps colonel and graduate of the University of Wisconsin, joined Boeing in 1997. Prior to his current position in the UK, he led Business Development for what is today known as the Boeing Phantom Works advanced technology organization.

Since joining Boeing in January 2009, Pitchforth has been responsible for coordinating rotorcraft support activities and business development in the United Kingdom. To harness the breadth, depth and strength of the entire Boeing enterprise, Pitchforth will continue to work closely with Boeing UK President Sir Roger Bone as part of the in-country team designed to bring the best of Boeing to its commercial and defense customers.

Prior to joining Boeing, Pitchforth was senior vice president, UK Government Business Unit, and Westland Helicopters transformation director for AgustaWestland. Until March 2005, he was managing director and chairman of the Jaguar Racing Formula 1 team, a role that he undertook at the request of the Ford Motor Company.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world’s largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $32 billion business with 60,000 employees worldwide. Follow us on Twitter: @BoeingDefense.

Boeing Raises Dividend 10 Percent and Resumes $3.6 Billion Share Repurchase Program

CHICAGO, Dec. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Boeing (NYSE: BA) Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Jim McNerney announced a 10 percent increase in the company’s regular quarterly dividend to 48.5 cents per share and the resumption of its stock repurchase program with repurchases currently expected to total between $1.5 billion and $2.0 billion in 2013.

“Strong cash generation, consistently solid core operating performance and a positive growth outlook enable us to take these steps to deliver value for our shareholders,” McNerney said. “As returns accelerate on the investments we made in innovative new products, we plan to continue our balanced cash deployment strategy, increasing returns to shareholders, investing in our core businesses and our workforce, and maintaining a strong balance sheet with healthy credit ratings.”

The repurchase program is expected to use the remaining $3.6 billion previously authorized by the Boeing board of directors in October 2007. Boeing plans to begin repurchasing shares following its fourth-quarter earnings announcement in late January 2013.

Boeing plans to make the share repurchases on the open market. The number and timing of shares to be purchased will be based on the level of cash balances, general business conditions and other factors, including alternative investment opportunities. The repurchase program also may be suspended or discontinued at any time.

The dividend is payable March 8, 2013, to shareholders of record as of Feb. 15, 2013.

Caution Concerning Forward-Looking Statements

Statements in this press release relating to the company’s intention to repurchase shares of its common stock under the stock repurchase program are forward-looking statements. There are a number of important factors that could cause actual events to differ materially from those suggested or indicated by such forward-looking statements. These include, among others, the market price of the company’s stock prevailing from time to time, the company’s cash flows, general economic conditions and other factors identified in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it is made, and the company assumes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise, except as required by law.
Contact: Boeing Communications (312) 544-2002


IATA Premium Traffic Monitor – October 2012

We are pleased to send you herewith IATA’s assessment of premium and economy travel in October.

Key points:

  • Premium traffic was just 2.3% higher in October compared to a year ago, down on the September result of 3.8%;
  • Economy class travel was up 4.4% in October year-on-year, slightly weaker than September’s 5.0% growth;
  • Hurricane Sandy was not the cause of weaker international travel in October, accounting for less than half a % point of the fall;
  • In fact premium travel has been slowing for some months, with annualized growth of just over 1% since Q2;
  • Within Europe and the North Atlantic have been the weaker markets, with year-to-date growth a fraction of 2011 performance;
  • By contrast, premium markets connecting the Far East, Africa and Middle East continue to expand robustly;
  • Looking ahead, the weak business environment is showing some signs of stabilizing as previous declines in business confidence reverse;
  • Consequently, downward pressure on growth in air travel, particularly in premium markets, is expected to stabilize over coming months.

Enerjet optimizes flight operations with Lido/FMS and Lido/iRouteManual

The Canadian airline Enerjet has decided for the Lido/iRouteManual navigation charts for the iPad and Lido/FMS navigation database from Lufthansa Systems. Both companies recently signed a contract to this effect.

Enerjet will use the Lido/iRouteManual iPad solution as the primary navigation source during all phases of flight. The app delivers professional navigation charts for instrument flight rules (IFR charts) to the iPad. Lufthansa Systems’ dynamic worldwide enroute chart provides superior de-cluttering for best readability at any zoom level. Enerjet is the first Canadian airline to fly completely paperless with the iPad. The Lido/FMS (Flight Management System) navigation database allows optimization of the flight route and supports the autopilot onboard modern aircraft. The navigation data is based on worldwide aeronautical information which is updated every 28 days according to the AIRAC cycle.

Enerjet is a charter airline headquartered at Calgary International Airport in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The airline’s state of the art Boeing 737-700 Next-Generation Aircraft is available for charter to Canadian companies, organizations and groups, for domestic and International charter flights.

oneworld News

oneworld wins two more ‘best airline alliance’ awards

18 December 2012
oneworld® has collected two more “best airline alliance” awards – named the World’s Leading Airline Alliance in the World Travel Awards for the 10th year running and retaining the Best Airline Alliance title in the second annual awards presented by Australian Business Traveller.

After last week collecting the Best Airline Alliance awards for the third year running by Global Traveler in the leading business travel magazine’s GT Tested Reader Survey 2012 Awards, it means that oneworld has retained all three of these leading “best alliance” accolades.

It also holds both alliance awards for the quality of wines served by member airlines – Global Traveler’s Wines on the Wing and Business Traveller’s Cellars in the Sky.
The World Travel Awards have been described by the Wall Street Journal as the “Oscars of the travel industry”.  With this year’s success, oneworld now has retained number one spot as its “leading airline alliance’ for a full decade.

Among the individual airline winners, American Airlines was named the World’s Leading Airline to North America and also North America’s Leading Airline, while LAN was honoured as South America’s Leading Airline.

For full details, see

Australian Business Traveller presented its debut industry awards in 2011.  oneworld was named its best airline alliance then – a title it retained in its 2012 honours, announced today.

The judges said: “oneworld partner airlines can take you almost everywhere a business traveller needs to go – a selection now bolstered through the inclusion of airberlin, with Malaysia Airlines and Qatar to follow.  It’s easy to rack up oneworld frequent flyer points and status – and that status counts for plenty, with the oneworld Emerald tier opening the doors at some stunning First Class lounges even if you’re flying Economy.”

In the individual airline categories, British Airways and Qantas were judged first equal for Best International First Class Seats, while Qantas was honoured also for Best International Premium Economy and Best Australian Lounges.  Cathay Pacific took prizes for Best International Business Class and Best International Lounges.

For full details, see Australian Business Traveller

About oneworld
oneworld aims to be the first choice airline alliance for the world’s frequent international travellers.   It brings together some of the best and biggest names in the airline business – airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Qantas, Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines, and around 30 affiliates.  Malaysia Airlines is on track to join on 1 February 2013, followed later by SriLankan Airlines and Qatar Airways.
Between them, oneworld’s active member airlines and members elect:
    •    Serve some 860 airports in almost 160 countries, with more than 9,300 daily departures.
    •    Offer some 550 airport lounges for premium customers.
    •    Carry almost a million passengers a day on a combined fleet of more than 2,500 aircraft.
    •    Generate nearly US$ 120 billion annual revenues in total.
oneworld enables its members to offer their customers more services and benefits than any airline can provide on its own.  These include a broader route network, opportunities to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles and points across the combined oneworld network and more airport lounges.   oneworld also offers one of the most extensive ranges of alliance fares.

For more news from oneworld, see



Mumbai, December 18, 2012: Jet Airways, India’s premier international airline, and its low fare brand JetKonnect, have undertaken steps to minimize guest inconvenience in the likelihood of flight disruptions and cancellations on account of fog this winter season.

In case of anticipated flight delays/cancellations, guests are requested to check the status of their respective flights before leaving for the airport by calling the Jet Airways and JetKonnect call centres on 3989 3333, as also the airlines’ toll-free numbers 1800-22-55-22 and 1800-22-30-20 respectively.

Flight status/updates can be retrieved via the airlines’ Jet Mobile facility wherein guests may send an SMS: Jet (Flight number) to 56388. This service is also advertised on NDTV 24X7, India’s leading news channel.

In the event of flight disruptions due to fog, the airline plans to deploy additional aircraft for relief/additional flights, where possible. In case of flight diversions, operations out of alternate airports have been planned, while certain existing scheduled services will be re-routed or combined to ensure smooth operations during the fog period.

Consequent to the above, certain Jet Airways and JetKonnect flights have been re-scheduled, effective December 15, 2012 to January 15, 2013.

In terms of flight operations, all Jet Airways and JetKonnect aircraft are equipped and maintained to national and international standards for all weather operations (AWO), and our flight crew are trained and qualified to operate under these conditions.
The following flight has been cancelled with immediate effect until January 15, 2013: 9W 2647/2648 (Delhi-Gorakhpur-Delhi)

The airline will also provide the electronic media with regular flight updates throughout the day to ensure that passengers are constantly updated on the latest flight situations.

Jet Airways and JetKonnect will provide facilities to travellers affected due denied boarding, delays or cancellations in flights, as specified in the CAR issued by the regulator (DGCA).

Pilot Workshop’s Monthly Audio Lessons with Rod Machado

We are thrilled to introduce a unique, monthly audio program featuring one of our favorite flight instructors – Rod Machado.

Each month, Rod will deliver fresh audio content designed to renew and refresh your flying fundamentals. Learn new tips and techniques, or reinforce the good habits and skills you have developed over the years.

This program is appropriate for all pilots, from new students to Airline Transport Pilots and everyone in between.

Each lesson is approximately one hour in duration and can be played on your computer, smartphone or MP3 player (the files are formatted for easy import into iTunes or Android). As an option, we will also mail you an audio CD each month containing the lessons.

Listen to these audio programs in your car, at the gym or in your favorite chair. These fast-paced lessons are delivered with humor and a unique style that Rod is famous for.

We are offering special, introductory pricing for the “charter” subscribers. You’ll receive a 50% discount off the regular subscription price and also get access to Rod’s private online discussion forum.

More details here…

This offer ends on December 23rd at midnight. Take advantage of this special, one-of-a-kind opportunity…you will have some fun and learn something really valuable in the process!


Mark Robidoux

P.S. You can earn WINGS credits for each monthly audio program you complete!

British Airways’ Pilots Switch To iPads

Posted on Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

British Airways is equipping its 3,600 pilots with iPads to further improve customer service and operational efficiency levels.

The move, which follows the airline’s rollout of iPads across its cabin crew and ground operations teams, is part of the company’s £5bn investment in new products and technology to provide the best possible flying experience for British Airways’ customers.

By having access to additional real-time operational data, shared with ground colleagues, pilots will be able to plan the flight more efficiently using the most accurate information available pre-departure.

This means our flight crew can provide customers with faster and more accurate flight information than ever before. With the latest operational updates customers will be better informed and able to make plans if their flight time has changed for any reason.

Pilots will also be able to use historic and current data, supplied by the customer, to provide an even more personalised service during the flight.

British Airways’ director of flight operations, Captain Stephen Riley said: “As pilots we want to deliver a safe and memorable experience for each and every British Airways customer, on every single flight.

“The iPads will help us to achieve this goal by giving us the means to provide a more personalised service and share more timely flight information with our customers and colleagues.”

Aircraft to Employee Ratio in Air India

As on 31.01.2012, the aircraft to employee ratio in Air India was 1:237. There is no benchmark for aircraft : employee ratio in the industry. It varies from airline to airline depending upon the nature and extent of functions performed in house as well as the operational network of that airline. Most of the airlines have outsourced majority of their non-core functions such as aircraft major maintenance activities, ground handling activities, vigilance, transport, medical, civil engineering, etc. and also do not maintain departments such as Raj Bhasha, Internal Audit, etc. where as Air India performs these functions in house. The Government has approved hiving off the MRO and Ground handling business by Air India to its subsidiary companies viz. Air India Engineering Services Ltd. (AIESL) and Air India Air Transport Services Ltd. (AIATSL), which would bring down the number of employees in Air India and improve the Aircraft: Employee ratio to 1: 92.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Civil Aviation Shri K.C. Venugopal in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.

Complaints of NRIs Regarding AI Flights

Ministry of Civil Aviation is receiving complaints from NRIs highlighting their difficulties faced during Air India flights. The complaints mainly correspond to Kerala-Gulf sector and relate to cancellation of flights, hike in air fare and flight timings etc.

Kerala-Gulf is a strategic market for Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express. Air India Express is trying to hire/recruit dedicated pilots for its fleet so that schedule integrity is maintained. It has chalked out a detailed time bound plan to recruit pilots so that scarcity of pilots can be addressed. Air India Express is a Low Cost Carrier, hence, fare is always kept at a lower level but it has to be commercially viable also. Air India Express also operates additional flights during festival season like Onam, Eid and school vacations to mitigate the difficulties faced by the passengers.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Civil Aviation Shri K.C. Venugopal in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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