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Brian Straus

Strikebreakers let BA schedule more flights, prompt union security concerns 

British Airways yesterday said it was increasing its March 20-22 schedule as "the number of cabin crew offering to work as normal has increased significantly," while Unite called on the UK government to "investigate standards" on flights featuring "strike-busting" crew.

Swiss leads Lufthansa's airline pack 

Lufthansa's full-year result, which included an €8 million ($11 million) operating loss by the Passenger Airline Group, was buoyed slightly by the €93 million operating profit posted by its Swiss International Air Lines subsidiary, the most successful carrier in the LH stable.

Lufthansa targeting 'slight' improvement after rough 2009 

Lufthansa yesterday released details of a year that ended with its first net loss in six years, a €112 million ($152.5 million) deficit that marked a reversal from the €542 million profit posted in 2008, but with an operating profit that reflected "broadly poised and ideally equipped" business segments, according to Chairman and CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuber.

Group revenue slipped 10.3% to €22.28 billion, a drop fueled by an 11.8% decline in traffic revenue to €17.6 billion. Operating result plunged 89.8% to €130 million from €1.28 billion in 2008, but remained positive.

Special items, cuts return Cathay Pacific to profit 

Cathay Pacific Group returned to profit in 2009, posting a HK$4.69 billion ($604.9 million) surplus that was reversed from a restated 2008 loss of HK$8.7 billion, as fuel hedges, one-time gains and capacity and cost cuts boosted the bottom line.

Revenue dropped 22.6% to HK$66.98 billion, but the company benefitted from fuel hedge gains of HK$2.76 billion and HK$1.25 billion from the sale of a 12.5% stake in Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Co. (ATWOnline, Sept. 17, 2009).

Allegiant to add second aircraft type as Hawaii beckons 

Allegiant Air parent Allegiant Travel Co. will add six 757-200s to a fleet currently comprised entirely of MD-80s in order to "expand its leisure travel strategy" with nonstop flights to Hawaii.

United, AirTran add to storm tally 

United Airlines and AirTran Airways yesterday revealed the amount of revenue lost as a result of last month's record-breaking snowstorms in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast US.

UA said the storms cost it $40 million in foregone revenue as consolidated February RASM rose 17%-19% year-over-year as system capacity dropped 5.3%. It would have been down just 1.8% without cancellations resulting from the winter weather. UA flew 7.82 billion RPMs during the month, up 2.1%, while ASMs were down to 9.93 billion. Load factor rose 5.7 points to 78.7%.

Aer Lingus pilots agree to cuts, cabin staff says no 

Aer Lingus received mixed news from the Impact trade union Friday as pilot members agreed to accept the carrier's cost savings package but cabin crew defeated a series of "extremely unpalatable" proposals from the airline.

BA, flight attendants agree to Tuesday deadline 

British Airways and flight attendants represented by Unite set a Tuesday deadline "to determine whether or not a mutually acceptable settlement can be achieved," the UK Trades Union Congress said Friday.

The parties have been negotiating with help from the TUC, doing so in the shadow of a strike authorization passed by cabin staff late last month and subsequent plans by the airline to use volunteers, pilots and 23 wet-leased aircraft to maintain operations (ATWOnline, March 4).

Nizhny Novgorod, Hochtief partner in effort to modernize, expand airport 

Nizhny Novgorod is an economic and industrial center that is Russia's fourth most populous city with nearly 1.5 million residents, but its airport handles only 300,000 passengers per year and is served by just one non-CIS airline (Lufthansa).

Now the regional government is working to change that and has launched a process designed to modernize Nizhny Novgorod International into a facility capable of serving more than 2 million passengers annually in 2014.

Tajik carrier purchases two 737s 

Somon Air of Tajikistan placed an order for two 737-900ERs worth $163 million at list prices, Boeing announced yesterday.

The order represents the Dushanbe-based carrier's first direct order from the manufacturer and Boeing's fourth confirmed purchase this year. It also has sold 25 787-8s to United Airlines, 10 737-800s to Ethiopian Airlines and 20 more 737s to an unidentified customer.

AF KLM unveils summer strategy in line with 'tentative' recovery 

Air France KLM said it plans to reduce its summer schedule capacity by just 0.3% year-over-year, comprising an 8% lift in long-haul ASKs and a 4% reduction in the medium-haul network, as "tentative signs of recovery, depending on the country, have been perceived."

The company will add Abu Dhabi (five-times-weekly from May 3) and Bata (twice-weekly via Malabo) as new AF destinations from Paris Charles de Gaulle and new KLM flights from Amsterdam to Denpasar (four-times-weekly via Singapore) and Aruba (twice-weekly). The summer program begins March 28.

Lufthansa suffers first net loss in six years 

Lufthansa yesterday said it ended a "difficult" 2009 with a net loss of €112 million ($151.9 million), reversed from a restated 2008 profit of €542 million and the company's first full-year deficit since 2003.

Revenue fell approximately 10% to €22.3 billion, while operating profit plunged 90% to €130 million from €1.3 billion in 2008.

Hungarian government reclaims struggling Malev 

The Hungarian government reacquired control of its flag carrier, Malev Hungarian Airlines, spending HUF25.2 billion ($126.7 million) on a 95% stake that will see the airline return to state control after three years as a privately held company.

JDP survey finds North American airports still struggling to meet passenger needs 

Satisfaction with the airport experience "continues to lag behind that of other aspects of the travel industry," J.D. Power and Assoc. reported in its "2010 North America Airport Satisfaction Study", citing a lack of consistency in meeting "expectations of basic needs."

LAX launches international terminal expansion 

The $1.55 billion upgrade of Los Angeles International's Tom Bradley International Terminal was launched late last month as officials broke ground on a project that will transform international travel to/from the airport.

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