Tuesday, March 31, 2009

JetBlue E-190 N298JB comes to LGB

JetBlue's second newest E-190 currently, N298JB (c/n 19000249) passed through LGB today. This aircraft was delivered March 13, 2009 to the airline.

Dave Barger and The Cranky Flyer Part 2

Welcome back to Part 2 of my interview with Dave Barger, CEO of JetBlue. If you missed Part 1 which discusses the problems in Long Beach along with the general product direction, then you might want to go check it out.

In Part 2, Dave and I talk about inflight wi-fi, big changes coming to the TrueBlue program, and some future international partnerships, including Lufthansa. Let’s get on with it.

Click here to read part 2: http://crankyflier.com/2009/03/31/across-the-aisle-from-jetblue-ceo-dave-barger-part-2-wi-fi-trueblue-changes-and-international-partners/

Monday, March 30, 2009

Alaska Airlines 737 with Wi-Fi visits LGB

Alaska Airlines 737-790 N644AS (c/n 30795/1277) was used on the late afternoon SEA-LGB-SEA Alaska flight and appears to be sporting the new Wi-Fi dish on top of the aircraft. The service is currently in the trial phase and will be free for passengers at the start of the service trial. After a successful trial period, the airline will determine the schedule for rolling out the commercial availability of its wireless Internet service to its entire fleet of aircraft. N644AS appears so far to be the only Alaska plane I have seen with this dish.

Dave Barger speaks with the Cranky Flyer about Long Beach and the JetBlue Brand

Across the Aisle from JetBlue CEO Dave Barger Part 1: Keeping the Product Fresh and Long Beach Troubles

While I was at the Phoenix Symposium last week, I had the chance to sit with Dave Barger, CEO of JetBlue to talk shop. I had planned to chat mostly about the airline’s plans to keep the product fresh, but after I mentioned I lived in Long Beach, Dave became quite vocal about the status of things around here. It appears that there’s trouble in paradise, and leaving the airport entirely is not out of the question.

We did get to the product discussion after that, and as you’ll see tomorrow in Part 2, we also talked about the state of wi-fi onboard, some serious upcoming changes to TrueBlue, the airline’s frequent flier program, and some brand new international partnerships on the way. But enough of that. Let’s get to the interview.

Cranky: It’s good to see you again Dave. I always pay particularly close attention to you guys since I live under the usual departure path out of Long Beach. I’m also probably the only guy in my neighborhood who would like to see more flights out of the airport. So, I certainly watch what happens with you and the airport in general very closely. But let’s get to my first question. Many people describe Virgin America as being the “cool” airline, and that’s something that used to be used to describe your brand. What are you guys doing to take back that title?

Dave: Let’s talk about Long Beach for a second. It has been a huge frustration for us. They need to make good on their commitment to improve the airport experience. The City of Long Beach couldn’t have a more committed partner than JetBlue, but it’s been difficult.

Cranky: So what exactly is the problem? Is it that you can’t use your E-190s in the commuter slots?

Dave: We would like to be able to use our E-190s in those commuter slots. That’s the perfect use of those slots, because these aircraft are very quiet. But the best example is that it took us 30 months to build a brand new terminal at JFK but we’re still stuck in temporary trailers in Long Beach. I don’t think communities always realize what an economic tool an airport is. You can’t take commercial air service for granted.

Cranky: How much of an issue is this? Would you consider leaving the airport?

Dave: Well, LAX is part of our LA Basin strategy, but it becomes a necessary part because of the lack of partnership with the City of Long Beach. People might have to go to LAX to use us, because we’re actually wanted there.

Cranky: So you would leave Long Beach?

Dave: I wouldn’t take any option off the table. Municipalities must make good on their commitments. That includes parking, terminals, baggage claim and every other part of the experience. The message I would give is that especially in a recession, you shouldn’t take air service for granted.

Dave: Now, to get back to your question about the product, we want to keep refreshing it. We’ve won the JD Power award 4 years in a row, and we have our Strive for Five program now, but we want to keep improving.

Cranky: What does that mean in practice? What can customers expect to see?

Dave: The question is not “how do you create a club atmosphere when people get on the plane?” We’re not talking about mood-lighting or cool-colored seats. We don’t think you have to order from your seatback. Our focus in on the whole cabin as opposed to just First Class, not just the 8 seats up front. It’s LiveTV, it’s XM Radio, but it’s building the brand for the long term.

Looking back, I wish I would have pressed a little more on this subject, but time was short, and I had a lot to discuss. Come back tomorrow and I’ll have Part 2 with his thoughts on inflight wi-fi, changes to the TrueBlue program, and new international partnership opportunities.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Southwest Airlines Brings Troops From Iraq To LGB

Southwest Airlines 737-7H4 N215WN (c/n 32487/1723) arrived as SWA7158 from McGuire Air Force base (KWRI) at 11:51am and parked at the terminal. The plane was bringing in Military Police (MP) who have been serving in Iraq. The plane ferried to Phoenix Sky Harbor Intl (KPHX) as SWA8681 at 1:01pm.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday 3-28-09

Swift Air Boeing 737-4B7 N801TJ (c/n 24892/1944) arrived as SWQ801 from Denver Intl (KDEN) at 3:02pm and parked at Signature. The plane brought in the Colorado Avalanche Hockey team. The plane ferried to Salt Lake City Intl (KSLC) at 4:30pm as SWQ801.

NetJets Boeing 737-7BC BBJ N127QS (c/n 30327/356) arrived from Grand Junction Regional (KGJT) at 3:07pm and parked at Signature. The plane departed to Jacqueline Cochran Regional (KTRM) at 4:30pm.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday 3-27-09

Today JetBlue Airways A320-232 N779JB (c/n 3811) "Blue Ribbon" was parked and moved to remote around 7:00pm. Currently this is the newest A320 in the JetBlue fleet. Also JetBlue will be recycling old names used on aircraft that have been sold and using them on the new aircraft as they arrive into the fleet. Top photo is of N779JB this afternoon while the second photo of E-190 N203JB was taken last week.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday 3-22-09

Gulfstream G450 N458GA (c/n 4158) was towed to the Gulfstream paint shop at 06:32am.

Swift Air Boeing 737-4B7 N802TJ (c/n 24874/1936) ferried in as SWQ802 from Phoenix Sky Harbor Intl (KPHX) at 6:06pm and parked at Signature. The plane departed back to Phoenix Sky Harbor Intl (KPHX) as SWQ802 at 8:58pm carrying the Phoenix Coyotes hockey team. This aircraft is still painted in the basic livery used for flying around Senator and Presidential Candidate John McCain during the summer and fall of 2008.

Saturday 3-21-09

Gulfstream G450 N458GA (c/n 4158) arrived from Savannah/Hilton Head Intl (KSAV) as GLF17 at 3:29pm in green primer and parked on the Gulfstream ramp.

Allegiant Air MD-87 N952MA arrived as AAY6211 from Reno/Tahoe Intl (KRNO) at 4:15pm. The plane ferried to San Diego Intl (KSAN) as AAY6212 at 4:55pm.

US Department of Commerce Gulfstream G-IV(SP) N49RF (c/n 1246) arrived as NOAA49 from Anchorage Intl (PANC) at 7:48pm and parked on the Gulfstream ramp.

Tail numbers noted at Gulfstream: N353VA

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday 3-20-09

Boeing C-17A Globemaster III 05-5142(P-142) departed at 4:27pm after being loaded up with the remainder of USAF ground eqiuptment and helicopters after President Obamas visit yesterday.

March 20th Long Beach Aviation History

March 20, 1927 – Aircraft industry launched in Long Beach. Air Pullman cars to be produced at International Aircraft factory.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Air Force One departs Long Beach Airport

At 5:48pm local, Air Force One departed LGB on rwy 12. The VC-25 taxied from taxiway Alpha onto the runway and lined up. A minute later she was rolling down the runway with the airplane being airborne with less than 2,000 ft of runway left. The plane dissappeared into the fog about 1/2 after the end of the runway and 2 minutes later it was seen flying overhead towards Las Vegas. The plane was cleared Seal Beach, Daggett, Las Vegas to final destination and at an altitude of 33,000 ft. Pictures will be posted in a few weeks when my film comes back from processing.

Obama Visits Long Beach for 9 minutes

On Wednesday afternoon, Air Force One landed at Long Beach Airport at 3:03pm and parked on taxiway Alpha on the north side of the airport. President Obama spent about 9 minutes in Long Beach from the time that he touched down on Air Force One till the time he departed on Marine One. At 3:12pm President Obama was in Marine One with the doors closed, and the helicopter blades started turning. Within 2 minutes, four military helicopters took off from various points at the airport and followed Marine One into the air. The group of helicopters headed southeast, toward Orange County, where the president was speaking at a town hall meeting in Costa Mesa.

Today the President will be arriving back at LGB between 5-6pm after taping a segment on the Jay Leno Show. Air Force One is scheduled to depart the airport at 6pm, heading back to Andrews Air Force Base. I will have photos of Air Force One arriving and departing LGB within a couple of weeks after I have had the film processed.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday 3-17-09

Boeing C-17A Globemaster III 07-7185 (P-185) arrived from a test flight at 3:52pm.

March 17th Long Beach Aviation History

March 17, 1924 – Four Douglas built planes (the Seattle, Chicago, Boston, and New Orleans) leave Santa Monica, CA for Seattle – the official start of the first round the world flight.

March 17, 1960 – Long Beach Airport is declared 6th busiest in nation.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday 3-16-09

NetJets Gulfstream G-IV(SP) N416QS (c/n 1316) arrived from Santa Monica Muni (KSMO) at 3:35pm and parked on the Gulfstream ramp.

Tail numbers noted at Gulfstream: N445QS, N516GA, B-8091

Air Force One Coming to LGB 3-18-09

Arrival: VC-25 Wednesday March 18th - 3pm
Departure: Thursday March 19th - pending confirmation

President Obama has several events scheduled around Los Angeles including a town hall at the Orange County Fair Grounds, visit to a electrical vehicle plant, and appearance on the Tonight Show on Thursday.

JetBlues CEO's Guide to Jetting Videos

As part of their ongoing “Welcome, Bigwigs” campaign, JetBlue will release a series of witty instructional “How to jet with JetBlue” videos online on Monday aimed at those private-jet-riding executives not accustomed to flying with other people. Check them out at www.welcomebigwigs.com

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday 3-15-09

There is a C-17A Globemaster III parked at Building 98 in front of the B-1B Bomber that arrived earlier in the day.

Boeing C-17A Globemaster III 03-3114 (P-114) arrived at 1:50pm. The plane departed at 2:40pm.

A Marine Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion landed on 25L at 7:20pm and parked on the Boeing C-17 ramp. The helicopter was towed to the C-17 paint shop where two other Marine CH-53E's are parked. Something is going on.

JetBlue Airways A320-232 N768JB came in tonight and still does not have a name on the nose of the airplane.

LGB Airport Advisory Commission Meeting

The agenda for the Airport Advisory Commission meeting, scheduled for March 19, 2009, is now available on the Airport's website, www.lgb.org.

To access the agenda click on the link below, or from the website click on About Us, then Advisory Commission.


In addition to regular Airport updates we will introduce our new Airport Director, Mario Rodriguez.

Please note, for this meeting only there is a location change to the Long Beach Marriott.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday 3-13-09

Gulfstream G550 N550RP was towed from the Gulfstream paint shop to the Gulfstream ramp at 7:47pm.

Long Beach Airport Full-Scale Triennial Exercise April 24, 2009

Long Beach Airport and the Long Beach Fire Department are sponsoring a full-scale exercise (drill) Friday, April 24, 2009 – 2200 hours (10:00 p.m.). To maintain FAA certification, various emergency response agencies are required to conduct a triennial emergency exercise in which the response and operational readiness can be evaluated and tested. The drill will simulate a 6.4 magnitude earthquake two miles north of the Airport. This is meant to test the initial response of emergency personnel, Airport staff and Airport tenants. A minimum of 100 volunteers are needed for various assignments, including playing an injured person, family member, etc. To participate, volunteers must be at least 18 years old and may be asked to stand and/or walk for up to one hour without rest, in the outdoors. To volunteer, please contact Long Beach Airport Public Affairs Assistant Maricela de Rivera at Maricela.deRivera@longbeach.gov

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

717 site still has movie plans

LONG BEACH - Plans to develop movie studios at the former Boeing 717 manufacturing facility in East Long Beach will move forward without delay despite a "technical snag" in the deal to close escrow, studio officials said Monday.

Long Beach Studios Chairman Jack O'Halloran said that the snag - the absence of an appraisal required by the lender - will be resolved as early as March 23.

"We have not gotten any less aggressive than where we were," said O'Halloran, who thought the appraisal would have been done at the beginning of the month. "We just need the appraisal, which we'll have. They walked the land today, so we should have it by the 23rd, then we'll come right back in and finish this thing."

Long Beach Studios CEO Jay Samit cited the economy as a factor for the delay.

The upheaval in the real estate market has affected how cautious appraisers are with their valuations.

"With the whole equity crisis and the crazy mortgages of a few years ago, appraisers do everything by the book, which means the stuff takes longer than it used to," Samit said.

Boeing had considered many uses for the property since it closed down operations of the 717 jet in May 2006, including entertainment production for movie studios, storage for electronic servers, indoor recreation or indoor storage for RVs and trailers.

Long Beach Studios officials announced in September that they had purchased the 77-acre property at East Conant Street and Lakewood Boulevard for an independent film production facility.

The $500 million project, to be completed in 2010, would feature state-of-the-art soundstages, including an underwater stage and a motion-capture stage, sets that mimic a range of locations from European streets to urban streets and suburban cul-de-sacs, as well as a private hotel and bungalows to host cast and crew members.

The property had been in escrow, but after getting an extension, "the deadline came and went," said Boeing Co. spokesman Glen Golightly.

"There's a lot that goes into making a deal to buy a property and especially something as huge as 717 commercial property," Golightly said. "It just didn't come together and we're still talking to them."

Meanwhile, Boeing is putting the property back on the market - a move that opens it up to other potential buyers.

"We felt we had to put the property back on the market because we have a responsibility to sell the property and get some jobs into Long Beach," Golightly said.

"We've been working with them for a long time and it's been great working with them, but bottom line is we want to sell the property and it's them or somebody else."

Golightly said there could be an interim use for the property, such as RV parking and storage for electronic servers.

Still, Long Beach Studio officials seemed confident that the 717 facility will be home to making movies.

"We have some major productions eagerly waiting to start, and Boeing's been a good partner throughout this whole process," said Samit.

"It's going to be so good for the city of Long Beach," O'Halloran said. "It's going to be great. We just had a glitch. It's very tough in this day and age, especially in the last four months.

"But we have an aggressive lender. Everything's in place. Everything's there. We just need the appraisal."

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Parking is Long Beach Airport priority

For the Long Beach Airport, providing parking for thousands of its daily customers will be one of the most critical issues it will face in 2009.

Right now, roughly 45 percent of the airport's 4,935 parking spaces are in a remote lot on Boeing property, which airport officials lease month to month.

But recent plans by Long Beach Studios LLC to purchase the former Boeing 717 manufacturing site and the parking lot the airport has been leasing have prompted airport officials to expedite a multimillion dollar parking garage expansion that had been experiencing delays.

"Without that parking, our business model does not work," said Chris Kunze, who served as the airport's interim director.

Airport officials are keeping their fingers crossed on an $85 million to $88 million stimulus package submission that could fund several projects, including a new 3,200-space parking garage that would be outfitted with solar panels and retrofitting the existing garage, which would also have solar panels.

The airport's parking garage expansion is about 60 percent designed, Kunze said.

If stimulus money is not available, airport officials will look into the bond market sometime approaching summer and, it is hoped, break ground in mid-to-late summer, Kunze said.

"It's critical for us to have that parking capacity," he said. "That is probably our No. 1 priority - either through the stimulus grants or using airport revenue bonds - is to go ahead and construct that as soon as possible."

As for business, Long Beach Airport posted steady numbers in 2007-2008 with 3 million passengers annually, while drops in passenger traffic were seen at rival airports such as Los Angeles International and Ontario International airports.

For January 2009, the number of airline seats and passengers at Long Beach Airport were up over last year. Also, all 41 commercial flight slots have been allocated and JetBlue - which carries about 80 percent of passengers - appears to be doing well, Kunze said.

"We are fortunate in Long Beach," he said. "We do have a very strong marketplace with over 6 million living within our primary market service area and because of that, our passenger counts have not come down. A lot of airports have."

And while one of its cargo carriers, Airborne Express, relinquished its slot last month, Kunze is confident that the slot will soon be filled. Three passenger airlines have expressed interest, a good position for the airport because it generates more revenue and makes passenger counts rise, Kunze said.

He expects to make an announcement about reallocating the slot this month.

"We're doing quite well, considering what the industry is going through," he said.

"The challenge is to keep costs low. Unlike other airports, we can't grow our airline business because of noise ordinance requirements."

It's one of several issues new airport director Mario Rodriguez will encounter.

Rodriguez, who served as deputy director at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, took over management of Long Beach Airport Feb. 23.

Aside from managing a 125-person staff and a $28 million budget, Rodriguez also will be working with the community on a neighborhood sound attenuation program, which the airport began developing in 2008.

Airport officials expect to be ready to go with Phase I of acoustically treating 10 homes on a pilot program basis soon, Kunze said.

The City Council also authorized the airport to move forward with design of terminal improvements to replace the modular rented facilities with permanent facilities, another upcoming challenge.

"We're so constrained on the site here, there's not a lot of room where you can go ahead and build improvements in an area that doesn't impact anybody and then just have a ribbon cutting," Kunze said. "You've got to figure out how to build something over a two- to three-year process without significantly interrupting our ongoing operations, which will be a challenge."

JetBlue Airways recieves 29th slot

This past week, the Long Beach Airport held a drawing for the only available slot at the airport. The drawing was between JetBlue Airways and Sun Country Airlines. The slot became available on December 5, 2008 when Airborne Express pulled out of Long Beach. Tom Berg who is General Manager for JetBlue at Long Beach pulled the winning ticket for the slot. The Sun Country representative who was present for the drawing said that they were looking for any available slots at Long Beach Airport to move their one daily flight from LAX where they fly to from Minneapolis/St Paul Intl.

Sunday 3-8-09

NetJets Gulfstream G-V N507QS (c/n 625) arrived at 1:16pm from San Francisco Intl (KSFO) and parked on the Gulfstream ramp.

Sun Country Airlines 737-8BK N808SY (c/n 33021/1667) arrived as SCX8800 from Minneapolis/St Paul Intl (KMSP) at 9:40pm and brought in the Minnesota Wild hockey team. The plane parked at Signature and was two hours late leaving MSP due to maintenance. The plane ferried back to Minneapolis/St Paul Intl (KMSP) as SCX8800 at 10:20pm.

Tail numbers noted on the Gulfstream ramp: N225CX

Friday, March 6, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tuesday 3-3-09

Boeing C-17A 07-7184 (P-184) took off at 10:58am and flew the pattern for rwy 30 before doing a fly-by down rwy 30 and departing off to Charleston AFB.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday 3-1-09

Today JetBlue Airways A320-232 N775JB (c/n 3800) "Canard Bleu" arrived at LGB from John F Kennedy Intl (KJFK) at 11:43am on it's first revenue flight. The aircraft then departed to McCarran Intl (KLAS) at 6:14pm and then finally arriving back to LGB tonight at 8:48pm. The name "Canard Bleu" was actually worn on a former A320-232 N508JB (c/n 1257) before being sold to Blue Wing of Germany as D-ANNC.