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Darren Shannon

Darren Shannon
JetBlue Adds Haiti To Network, Interlines With Silver Airways 

JetBlue Airways’ Caribbean footprint has grown with the addition of Haiti to the airline’s network.

The carrier now serves Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au Prince daily from its base at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and twice daily from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

“We see great opportunities with our new service to Port-au-Prince,” says President and CEO Dave Barger of the airline’s 24th international destination.

Tel Aviv To Be First Market Served By Air Canada’s 787s 

Air Canada’s first Boeing 787 scheduled service will be introduced in July on a nonstop service between the carrier’s Toronto Pearson International Airport hub and Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. The airline says it will take delivery of all 15 787-8s on order in the spring and will operate the first three on domestic and international preview flights before inaugurating scheduled service.

Indigo Partners Takes Ownership Of Denver-Based Frontier Airlines 

William Franke’s Indigo Partners has purchased Frontier Airlines from Republic Airways more than two months after the deal was first publicly announced.

The sale, which has been valued at $177 million, transfers Denver-based Frontier’s stock, debt and rights to a 2011 order for Airbus A320neos to the investment firm once closely associated with Spirit Airlines.

Spat Erupts Between Estonia Air, Air Lituanica 

A war of words has erupted between Air Lituanica and Estonia Air, with both sides accusing the other of breaching contractual obligations. The Estonian carrier initiated the public spat by issuing a release stating it was “forced to terminate” a route sharing deal “due to repeated breaches by Air Lituanica,” although it would not specify the problem. Vilnius-based Air Lituanica, in response, claimed the unilateral revocation stemmed from failure to agree contractual terms, and that Estonia owes it LTL5.7 million ($2.2 million).

Fastjet’s Second International Route Will Be Zambia’s Capital 

Tanzania-based low-cost carrier Fastjet on Feb. 1 is scheduled to launch its second international route, with the inauguration of a twice-weekly Airbus A319 service between its base at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam and Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka.

“Building on the successes of the past year, the launch of our second international route to Lusaka moves Fastjet further along the path to becoming a truly pan-African carrier,” says Fastjet’s interim chairman and CEO Ed Winter.

With Court Approval In Hand, American And US Airways Eye Dec. 9 Merger 

AMR Corp. and US Airways are seeking to close their merger on Dec. 9, the Nov. 27 approval of the Dallas/Fort Worth-based carrier’s reorganization plan by the bankruptcy court overseeing its Chapter 11 restructuring.

Judge May Approve AMR's Merger With US Airways Before Nov. 28 

Judge Sean Lane, who is overseeing AMR Corp.’s Chapter 11 reorganization, yesterday said a decision on the airline’s proposed merger with US Airways could be made in the next few days and likely before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday on Nov. 28. Approval, which is expected, will allow the two operators to proceed with their consolidation and unite by their new deadline of mid-December. The two companies had planned to complete the merger in August, but this was deferred while the companies settled a dispute with the U.S. Justice Department.

U.S. Lawmakers Want DOT To Oppose EU ETS 

Lawmakers from the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Aviation Subcommittee late last week sought assurances from Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx that he would protect domestic airlines from the EU’s plan to enforce its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The legislators say Foxx should attempt a negotiated settlements with the EU, but if that fails, “the Secretary should exercise his authority to prohibit U.S. civil aircraft from participating in the ETS.”

Lawmakers Seek DOJ Guarantees For Small Communities In AMR, US Airways Merger Deal 

A bipartisan group of leading lawmakers from the House of Representatives and Senate committees overseeing the airline industry have expressed concern about the U.S. Justice Department’s (DOJ’s) recent accord with AMR Corp. and US Airways and are seeking guarantees from the regulator that services to small communities will be maintained after the two airlines merge.

Parties Takes Sides As U.S. Readies To Review Inflight Use Of Cell Phones 

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reignited the debate over the inflight use of cell phones, and could relax the current ban on telephone calls after a meeting in December.

“We have circulated a proposal to expand consumer access and choice for inflight mobile broadband. Modern technologies can deliver mobile services in the air safely and reliably, and the time is right to review our outdated and restrictive rules,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says in a statement.

‘New’ American Likely To Launch In Mid-December
American and US Airways merger nears; consolidation will likely continue.
Southwest Offers Gate-To-Gate Wi-Fi 

Southwest Airlines yesterday started offering gate-to-gate access to its Wi-Fi service for small portable electronic devices (PEDs) operating in “airplane mode,” just three weeks after the FAA lifted restrictions on wireless usage below 10,000 ft. Southwest, which uses a satellite-based broadband service provided by Row 44, says it has vetted all new procedures through its Safety Risk Management process and will bar the use of laptops and devices larger than a tablet during taxi, takeoff and landing.

Irish Eyes Could Smile On WestJet 

Canadian low-cost carrier WestJet, in a surprising move, late last week announced plans to add a transatlantic route to its network. Pending government approvals, starting June 15, 2014, the carrier will launch seasonal Boeing 737-700 nonstop service between St. John’s International Airport in Newfoundland and Dublin Airport in Ireland. The service, which will originate and end in Toronto to connect with WestJet’s network, will be operated until Oct. 5, the airline says.

Delta Presses For Love Field Gates 

Delta Air Lines continues to press its case for access to slots and gates being divested by AMR Corp. and US Airways under the recently agreed merger concession package with the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) by announcing plans for 18 daily nonstop flights to five cities from Southwest Airlines’ base at Dallas Love Field starting in October 2014, but only if it is assigned new rights at the Texas airport. Delta currently leases two gates at Love Field from AMR, but the DOJ is requiring these to be assigned to a low-cost operator under the merger concessions deal.

AMR Corp., US Airways Weeks From Creating The World’s Largest Airline 

AMR Corp. and US Airways are just weeks from finalizing their proposed merger, following a settlement deal with the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) that calls for the divestiture of slots at Washington Reagan National Airport and New York LaGuardia Airport as well as gates at Boston Logan International, Chicago O’Hare International, Dallas Love Field, Los Angeles International and Miami International airports.

The deal comes three months after the DOJ filed a court motion to stop the merger based on claims it would stifle domestic competition.

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