The Dutch take over the crash investigation of shot-down Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17

Malaysia MH 17 Tail Debris (LRW)

The Dutch Safety Board has issued this statement:

The Dutch Safety Board took over formal responsibility for the air crash investigation from Ukraine yesterday evening (July 22). The two black boxes have since arrived in the United Kingdom, where they are currently being read out and analyzed by a team of international specialists. The on-site investigation in Ukraine is currently in full swing. Although investigators still do not have safe access to the crash site, work to gather and analyse data from various sources is underway in bothKiev and the Netherlands.

The first priorities will be to gather information from the crash site, analyse the black boxes and coordinate the international team. Ultimately, the air crash investigation should offer victims families and the international community a clear and comprehensive overview of the causes and course of the crash.

With the Dutch Safety Board now heading the investigation, the international investigation team will have more freedom to go about its tasks unhindered. The Dutch Safety Board is also responsible for coordinating all participating investigators and investigation teams from the countries involved (Ukraine, Malaysia, Australia, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The international team currently consists of 24 investigators. A total of four Dutch Safety Board investigators are currently operating inUkraine.

Black boxes

On Tuesday evening (July 22) the two recorders arrived in Kiev from Kharkiv and were handed over to the Dutch Safety Board. They were then shipped by air to theUnited Kingdom, where an international team of specialists is working on the read-out and analysis of the data stored in the recorders. As a part of this effort, the team will also assess whether the black boxes may have been manipulated. The black boxes are expected to provide information relevant to this investigation. The analysis of black box data may take several weeks

On-site investigation

At the time of writing, the investigators have not yet been able to visit the site of the crash and conduct their investigation under safe conditions. In order to conduct an effective investigation, the investigators must have the opportunity to move around the entire investigation site freely, investigate materials and traces from up close and secure them for further study where necessary. At present, the investigators’ safety has not been guaranteed. The Dutch Safety Board and other parties involved are continually working to gain access to the accident site, and are working with other parties to organise effective security so that the investigators can do their work under controlled and safe conditions. Despite the fact that evidence and traces have been damaged or lost, the Dutch Safety Board expects it will be able to gather sufficient relevant information from the crash site.

Over the past few days, investigators have been working on the investigation in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev and in the Netherlands on the basis of available film and photo materials and other sources of information.

Investigation results

All information gathered as a part of this international investigation will be submitted to the Dutch Safety Board. The Dutch Safety Board will subsequently analyse this information, which will serve as the basis for a report and – where necessary – relevant recommendations. Other investigators or investigation boards will support this process and comment on the draft investigation report and its conclusions. The Dutch Safety Board will have the final say as regards the contents and timing of all publications. If the investigation shows evidence of any criminal or terrorist activities, the information will subsequently be submitted to the relevant authorities in accordance with applicable regulations. The Dutch Safety Board’s investigation will focus on ascertaining facts, rather than apportioning blame.

In addition to the international accident investigation, the Dutch Safety Board is also conducting two other independent investigations: an investigation into the decision-making process with regard to flight routes and an investigation into the availability of passenger lists. These investigation reports are expected to be published ahead of the main accident report.

Photo Credit: ANP. The tail section of downed 9M-MRD.


Filed under: Malaysia Airlines Tagged: 777, Air Crash Investigation, Boeing 777, Crash Investigation, flight MH 17, latest new for MH 17, Malaysia Airlines, MH 17

AirAsia scrubs plans to take Indonesian subsidiary public

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Jet Airways chairman says looking to restructure debts, talking to bankers – Reuters India


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TransAsia Airways flight 222 crashes in typhoon-ravaged Penghu Islands, 47 killed

TransAsia Airways (Taipei) 70-seat ATR 72 operating as flight 222 has crashed into residential buildings while attempting to make a landing at Magong Airport today (July 23) in the Penghu Islands with 54 passengers and four crew members on board. 47 people have died (some reports say 51) in the crash according to the Civil Aeronautics Administration and Reuters. The Penghu Islands are west of Taiwan in the Taiwan Straits.

Typhoon Matmo slammed into Taiwan today with heavy rains and strong winds.

TransAsia Airways flight 222 departed Kaohsiung International Airport bound for Magong Airport.

Read the full report from Reuters: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Manuel Negrerie/AirlinersGallery.com.

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TransAsia ATR 72 Crash Map


Filed under: TransAsia Airways Tagged: Airplane Crash, ATR, ATR 72, Civil Aeronautics Administration, Crash, Kaohsiung International Airport, Magong Airport, Penghu Islands, TransAsia Airways, TransAsia Airways flight 222

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Gulf Air adds its first retrofitted Airbus A330-200

Gulf Air (Bahrain) received its first retrofitted Airbus A330-200 aircraft at Bahrain International Airport today (July 23), arriving from Canada. The plane is newly configured for a total of 214 seats in a two-class configuration of 30 Falcon Gold Class and 184 Economy seats with significant enhancements across both cabins.

Gulf Air A330-200 Cabin (Gulf Air)(LRW)

Copyright Photo: Gulf Air.

The revamped A330 product introduces fully-flat bed seats in the airline’s Falcon Gold Class, upgraded seats in Economy Class and a state-of-the-art in-flight-entertainment system throughout, and was designed specifically for Gulf Air, integrating features based on passenger feedback.

Realized by three key partners: Avianor, Zodiac Aerospace and BE, the aircraft’s new Falcon Gold seats convert into fully-flat beds measuring 1.90 meters in length guaranteeing a comfortable night’s sleep. The Falcon Gold seats offer more personal space between seats than the airline’s previous A330 business class product, allowing passengers to sit back and relax in a 22-inch wide armchair that converts easily into the passenger’s desired position. The new Economy Class seats offer passengers the very latest in comfort: a greater recline to compliment an 18-inch seat-width and an adjustable head and foot rest that allows greater passenger relaxation.

All seats in Gulf Air’s upgraded A330 aircraft include an integrated Audio-Video on Demand (AVOD) feature, an individual touch screen (15-inch in Falcon Gold class and 9-inch in Economy) in every seat and high quality headphones. A suite of movies, video and audio titles in several languages are on offer, in addition to games. A USB port is available in every seat to allow passengers to easily charge electronic devices.

Gulf Air’s second retrofitted A330 is scheduled to arrive in early August while the carrier’s A330 fleet retrofit is scheduled to be completed by the last quarter of 2014.

Gulf Air’s A330 aircraft are used primarily on London and Bangkok routes.

Top Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 A9C-KJ (msn 992) taxies at Zurich.

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Filed under: Gulf Air Tagged: 992, A330, A330-200, A330-243, A9C-KJ, Airbus, Airbus A330, Airbus A330-200, Gulf Air, ZRH, Zurich

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Delta reports second quarter net income of $889 million

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) today reported financial results for the second quarter (June quarter). Key points include:

Delta’s pre-tax income for the June 2014 quarter was $1.4 billion, excluding special items1, an increase of $593 million over the June 2013 quarter on a similar basis. Delta’s net income for the June 2014 quarter was $889 million, or $1.04 per diluted share, and its operating margin was 15.1 percent, excluding special items.

On a GAAP basis which includes special items, Delta’s pre-tax income was $1.3 billion, operating margin was 14.9 percent and net income was $801 million, or $0.94 per diluted share.

Results include $340 million in profit sharing expense in recognition of Delta employees’ contributions toward achieving the company’s financial goals.

Delta generated over $2 billion of operating cash flow and $1.5 billion of free cash flow during the June 2014 quarter. As of mid-July, the company has used its strong cash generation in 2014 to reduce its adjusted net debt below $8 billion, contribute more than $900 million of funding to its defined benefit pension plans, and return $550 million to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases.

“Delta’s performance this quarter, with 9 percent top line growth, more than 4 points of margin expansion and $1.5 billion of free cash flow, shows the financial strength and resilience of our company. We expect our September quarter performance will be even stronger, as we expand our operating margins to 15-17% and further improve our profitability,” said Delta chief executive officer Richard Anderson. “All credit goes to Delta people worldwide who not only produced this record financial performance, but also continue to lead the industry in operational reliability and customer satisfaction.”

Revenue Environment

Delta’s operating revenue improved 9 percent, or $914 million, in the June 2014 quarter compared to the June 2013 quarter, driven by continued strength in corporate and domestic revenues. Traffic increased 5.0 percent on a 3.2 percent increase in capacity.

Passenger revenue increased 9 percent, or $772 million, compared to the prior year period. Passenger unit revenue (PRASM) increased 5.7 percent year-over-year with a 3.8 percent improvement in yield. Seat-related products and other merchandising initiatives increased revenues by $45 million versus the prior year period.

Cargo revenue decreased 1 percent, or $2 million, as lower freight yields were partially offset by higher volumes.

Other revenue increased 15 percent, or $144 million, driven by higher joint venture and SkyMiles revenues.

Cost Performance

Consolidated unit cost excluding fuel expense, profit sharing and special items (CASM-Ex2), was flat in the June 2014 quarter on a year-over-year basis as the benefits of Delta’s domestic refleeting and other cost initiatives offset the company’s investments in its employees, products and operations. GAAP consolidated CASM decreased 0.4 percent.

Total operating expense in the quarter increased $249 million year-over-year driven by higher revenue- and volume-related expenses and $222 million higher profit sharing expense. These cost increases were partially offset by lower fuel expense and savings from Delta’s cost initiatives.

Fuel expense declined $168 million driven by hedge benefits, refinery profits and prior year mark to market adjustments that offset higher market fuel prices and higher consumption. Delta’s average fuel price was $2.93 per gallon for the June quarter, which includes $99 million in settled hedge gains. Operations at the refinery produced a $13 million profit for the June quarter, a $64 million improvement year-over-year.

Excluding special items, non-operating expense declined by $58 million as a result of lower interest expense, lower foreign exchange impact, and a $7 million gain associated with Delta’s 49 percent ownership stake in Virgin Atlantic. Including a $111 million special item for loss on extinguishment of debt resulting from Delta’s debt reduction initiatives, non-operating expense for the quarter increased by $53 million.

Tax expense increased $496 million compared to the prior year quarter, as the company now recognizes tax expense for financial reporting purposes following the reversal of its tax valuation allowance at the end of 2013.

“With our domestic refleeting continuing and our cost initiatives taking hold, we have been able to keep our non-fuel unit cost growth below 2 percent for each of the last four quarters,” said Paul Jacobson,

Delta’s chief financial officer. “Not only are these initiatives driving our current performance, but they are also building a foundation for sustaining this performance into the future.”

Cash Flow

Cash from operations during the June 2014 quarter was $2.1 billion, driven by the company’s June quarter profit and the normal seasonal increase in advance ticket sales, which were partially offset by $300 million in contributions to the defined benefit pension plan. The company generated $1.5 billion of free cash flow.

Capital expenditures during the June 2014 quarter were $520 million, including $343 million in fleet investments. During the quarter, Delta’s net debt maturities and capital leases were $851 million.

With its strong cash generation year to date, the company has returned $550 million to shareholders as of mid-July. Through its $0.06 per share quarterly dividend, the company paid $101 million to shareholders. In addition, the company repurchased 12.4 million shares at an average price of $36.33 for a total of $450 million. These repurchases represent $200 million under the May 2014 $2 billion authorization, in addition to completing the May 2013 $500 million authorization.

Delta ended the quarter with $6.0 billion of unrestricted liquidity and adjusted net debt of $7.9 billion. The company has now achieved more than $9 billion in net debt reduction since 2009.

Jacobson continued, “By taking a balanced approach to capital deployment, Delta has been able to invest more than $1 billion in our fleet and other products, while also reducing our debt to its lowest level in twenty years, contributing over $900 million to our pension plans, and returning $550 million to shareholders so far this year.”

Company Highlights

Delta has a strong commitment to its employees, customers and the communities it serves. Key accomplishments in the June 2014 quarter include:

Recognizing the achievements of Delta employees toward meeting the company’s financial and operational goals with $476 million of incentives so far this year, including accruing $439 million in employee profit sharing and paying $37 million in Shared Rewards;

Improving its global network with new service connecting Delta’s hubs in New York and Seattle/Tacoma with the key business destinations of London-Heathrow, Zurich, Rome, Hong Kong and Seoul;

Announcing an order for 15 Airbus A321 aircraft, adding to the 30 aircraft of this type already on order. These economically efficient, proven-technology aircraft will provide an improved customer experience as they replace similar, less-efficient domestic aircraft that are being retired as part of the Delta’s domestic fleet restructuring;

Completing modifications on its international widebody fleet, making Delta the only U.S. carrier to offer full flat-bed seats with direct aisle access in BusinessElite and personal, on-demand entertainment at every seat on all long-haul international flights; and

Celebrating the grand opening of the new Delta Flight Museum, which coincided with the 85th anniversary of Delta’s first passenger service. The museum is housed in the airline’s two original maintenance hangars with exhibits that chronicle more than eight decades of Delta history and the growth and development of commercial aviation.

Special Items

Delta recorded a net $88 million special items charge in the June 2014 quarter, including:

a $69 million charge for debt extinguishment associated with Delta’s debt reduction initiative; and
a $20 million charge associated with Delta’s domestic fleet restructuring.

Delta recorded a net $159 million special items charge in the June 2013 quarter, including:

a $125 million mark-to-market adjustment on fuel hedges settling in future periods; and
a $34 million charge for facilities, fleet and other items, primarily associated with Delta’s domestic fleet restructuring.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 757-2Q8 N709TW (msn 28168) arrives in New York (JFK) with a special tribute to retired New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera “42″.

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Filed under: Delta Air Lines Tagged: 28168, 757, 757-200, 757-2Q8, Boeing, Boeing 757, Boeing 757-200, Delta Air Lines, JFK, Mariano Rivera, N709TW, New York

Dutch Plane Carrying Malaysia Airlines Jet Victims Leaves Ukraine – New York Times


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Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia – The Independent


The Independent

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