Month: March 2013
TOLOUSE, France. — On March 21st TAM’s first Airbus A-320 with “Sharklets” took off from Toulouse Blagnac for try out flights. Once the airplane is painted in TAM’s full livery, it will be registered as PR-MYY. The Brazilian carrier will be the second Latin American airline to fly the Airbus “Sharklet”. Colombian flag carrier AVIANCA was the first one to operate the new airliner.
PARAMARIBO, Suriname — The board of directors of Surinam Airways (SLM: Surinaamse Luchvaart Maatschappij) has approved the acquisition of an additional aircraft to SLM’s fleet to complement regional routes, according to chairman of SLM’s Supervisory Board Gerard Brunings. Brunings said, “This decision has nothing to do with the pending discussion to fly to Haiti. Haiti has yet to be settled.” He said that the two Boeing 737s that SLM currently has in its fleet aren’t enough to service regional routes and that a third aircraft is needed to ensure a seamless operation. SLM will acquire a Boeing 737-3Q8, similar to the two Boeings in its current fleet in mid-April. The new aircraft will receive a major overhaul and will be repainted in SLM’s livery. By mid-June the aircraft will be ready for commercial service. According to vice president of SLM, Clyde Cairo, this third Boeing will serve as a backup to stabilize regional operations. Cairo added that the additional aircraft will be used for charter operations, SLM tours and increase frequency.
“In addition, we look to increase frequency on existing routes and expand to other locations, where SLM later in the year will make more announcements,” Cairo said. There is speculation that SLM will later in the year fly to New York, Haiti and more cities in Northern Brazil. Flights to New York will be operated via Guyana. There is talk about additional SLM flights out of Guyana to Miami with the addition of this Boeing. DELTA Airlines is leaving Guyana in May and the government of Guyana has offered SLM incentives to fill this void. A DELTA employee familiar with the Guyana route, who preferred to remain anonymous, said, “Many DELTA flights in and out of Guyana face problems; there are baggage issues, theft, drugs and fines and it’s costing the airline a lot of money.”This source also confirmed that the load factor on DELTA’s Guyana route is very good. SLM’s operation regionally and the trans-Atlantic routes have often been disrupted due the lack of a back up aircraft and has been costing the airline heavily. The transatlantic route, where only one aircraft is deployed, an Airbus A-340-300, often experiences delays and cancellations. This, compounded with hefty EU fines, has cost the airline a lot of money. Once the lease of the Airbus 340 expires, SLM is looking to acquire two Boeing-767s, according to information coming out of Paramaribo.
LIBERIA, Costa Rica — For 2014 three well known brand names of International Resorts will open its doors in the Costa Rican Golden Coast, the province of Guanacaste. First Hyatt’s Andaz will open in the spectacular Papagayo Bay, just 25 minutes away from Liberia International Airport. The second will be the AMResort Dreams that will be located in Costa Santa Elena near Salinas Bay, and finally the Melia Paradisus Papagayo, at the bay with the same name. Melia Hotels relinquished the management of the ultra-luxurious Playa Conchal Resort to Westin two years ago. Know as the Golden Coast, Guanacaste is pulling back again world know hotel chains. The opening of these three resorts and three other smaller hotels will create up to 4000 new jobs in the province.
Dreams Las Mareas: http://costasantaelena.com/en/dreams-las-mareas/
LIBERIA, Costa Rica. — The Daniel Oduber International Airport, better known as Liberia International is expected to grow in the next three years to become Central America’s #1 “Leisure Airport”. The growth of this airport will be triggered by the future opening of five hotels and resorts in the Costa Rican Golden Coast. Alvaro Conejo, President of the Guanacastean Chamber of Tourism informed today that starting in December 2013 the group of new hotels will include: Enjoy Hotel in Panama Beach (96 rooms), in July 2014 the Courtyard Marriott at Papagayo Bay, and by the end of that year Hyatt Andaz Resort (153 rooms), Melia Paradisus Papagayo (379 rooms) and Dreams Las Mareas in Salinas Beach (447 rooms). The opening of these resorts will create up to 4000 new jobs in the Northern province of Costa Rica, well known for its breathtaking beaches and a great adventure destination. Francisco Cordero, Commercial Director for Liberia International Airport coincided that more airlines from the U.S., Europe and South America are expected to operate flights to the aiport (the new terminal was opened in January 2012), known as the “gateway to the Costa Rican Riviera”. As of today American Airlines operates flights from Miami and Dallas/Ft. Worth; DELTA from Atlanta and Minneapolis; Jetblue from New York-JFK; Frontier Airlines from Denver; United Airlines from Houston, Newark and Chicago; USAirways from Charlotte; Air Canada from Toronto and Montreal; WestJet from Toronto and COPA Airlines from Panama City.
HAVANA, Cuba. — In April 1949 the Spanish flag carrier IBERIA started flights between Madrid and the Cuban capital Havana. Sixty four years later the airline will have on April 1st, 2013 its last flight to the island nation. The end of an era. For the Spanish carrier Cuba and the Dominican Republic are non-profitable destinations, reasons for the suspension of the air service. IBERIA operated daily flights from Madrid/Barajas International Airport to Havana with wide-bodied Airbus A-340-600s. The traffic between Spain and Cuba is huge but now it will have to be attended by the twice weekly flights of Cubana de Aviacion and the daily operation of Air Europa.
MEXICO CITY, Mexico. — The Mexican LCC Volaris celebrated its 7th birthday with a participation of the 22.1% of the market. Since its creation in 2006, Volaris has transported a total of 27,838,365 passengers. The airlines’ CEO, Enrique Beltranena remembered the low cost airline started with two Airbuses leased from TACA Airlines, from Toluca Airport in Mexico City to Tijuana and seven years later the carrier has 43 airliners and operates to 40 cities in Mexico and the United States. The airline is also well known as the most “cyber savvy” in Mexico with 527,971 followers in Facebook, 323,987 in Twitter and 80,200 in Google. The airline has a code-sharing agreement with the LCC Southwest Airlines and also with the German airline Condor. Volaris is owned by the Salvadoran Kriete Family (co-owners of TACA), the invest fund Discovery Americas and Indigo Partners (a fund led by the former CEO of America West, B. Franke). Volaris will be the second airline (after Avianca) to operate in Latin America the modern Airbus A-320s with “Sharklets”.
MADRID, Spain. — Bolivian flag carrier Boliviana de Aviacion (BoA) is the latest Latin American airline that operates flights to Madrid-Barajas International Airport. Boliviana operates an Airbus A-330-223 (CS-TQW) that once was flown by Vietnam Airlines. The airline operates three times a week flights between Santa Cruz Viru Viru International Airport and Madrid. Boliviana de Aviacion joins now the other Latin American carriers Avianca, Aeromexico, Aerolineas Argentinas, Conviasa, Cubana and LAN with flights to Spain.
BOGOTA, Colombia. — Avianca, the Colombia-based airline, has taken delivery of its first Sharklet equipped Airbus A-320 becoming the first Latin American carrier to take benefit of the new fuel-saving wing-tip devices. The A-320, powered by CFM engines, was delivered in Toulouse, France. Sharklets are made from light-weight composites and are 2.4 meters tall. They are an option on new-build A-320 Family aircraft and allow Airbus’ airline customers to reduce fuel burn by up to four per cent and CO2 emissions by approximately 1,000 tons per aircraft and year. Sharklets offer operators the flexibility of either adding an additional 100 nautical miles range or increased payload capability of up to 450 kilograms. “With the delivery of this new aircraft equipped with Sharklets, Avianca advances the process of modernizing its fleet, while improving efficiency, reducing fuel burn and increasing range,” said Fabio Villegas, CEO of Avianca. “With the Sharklets, Avianca will be the first airline in the region to benefit from much lower operating costs,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “In addition, Avianca’s passengers can fly assured that they are travelling on board the world’s most eco-efficient single aisle aircraft.” Avianca currently operates 98 A-320 Family aircraft, and has 70 on order with the option to be Sharklet equipped. Sharklets are standard on all members of the A-320neo Family. In 2012, Avianca placed an order for 33 eco-efficient A-320neo aircraft along with 18 incremental A-320ceos. With nearly an all-Airbus fleet, Avianca & TACA has purchased 190 aircraft and has a backlog of 72 Airbus aircraft. The A-320 Family is the world’s best-selling and most modern single aisle aircraft Family. To date, over 9,100 aircraft have been ordered and over 5,400 delivered to more than 380 customers and operators worldwide. Airbus has sold more than 750 aircraft throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and currently holds a backlog that exceeds 370.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina. — On March 18th 2013, an article by Francisco Olivera in the Argentinian newspaper LA NACION, declared the government will have to funnel up to $574 million dollars in order to keep the airline running during 2013. Since July 2008, when the Argentinian government took over the ill managed flag carrier and nationalized it, Buenos Aires has given up to $3566 million dollars. Interestingly enough this monumental aid equals to three times the value of American Airlines ($1009 million dollars) and just a little bit more of the value of the French flag carrier Air France ($3200 million dollars). Aerolineas Argentinas is the only state-run airline in Latin America that is part of a global alliance (DELTA’s Skyteam), but just after 5 years, a very expensive flag carrier for the populist government of Cristina Fernandez.
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras. — Honduran President Porfirio Lobo has declared that before he leaves office, the construction of the airport terminal for Tegucigalpa/Palmerola International Airport will begin. The runway of Palmerola was constructed in the eighties by the U.S. government during the hype of the Cold War in Central America, as the Soviet-Cuban supported socialist government in Managua collisioned against the U.S. backed Honduras. After the end of the Cold War, Palmerola was donated by the United States to the Honduras government. The closing of Tegucigalpa’s Toncontin International Airport (the second most dangerous in the world) and the opening of Palmerola has been a priority after the last accident of a TACA Airlines Airbus A-320 on May 2008. The construction of the airport terminal in Palmerola and the two lane highway from Tegucigalpa would cost up to 130 million dollars. The airport terminal would be constructed on the west side of the runway, on the opposite side of the military installations of the Honduran Air Force. The new airport in the Comayagua region to serve the Honduran capital is clearly needed for the growth and development of the country.