Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Due to inclement weather the groundbreaking ceremony has been moved to the west side of the airport at the Toyota AirfFlite Hanger located at 3280 AirFlite Way. The hangar is located just east of Cherry Avenue and just south of East Wardlow Road.
General Parking: available in the lot located at 2750 East Wardlow Road. A map is attached for your reference.
The ceremony will begin at 10 A.M. Because this is a large hanger, it will be quite cool inside; please dress warmly.
Should you have any questions, please contact the Long Beach Airport Public Affairs office at (562) 570-2678.
"Celebrating our 10th anniversary this year with the crewmembers who create and deliver the JetBlue Experience every day has given me a renewed sense of how different JetBlue is," Mr. Barger said. "I think our future is full of opportunities and potential, and I am honored to have been asked to remain as CEO through the next five years."
"On behalf of JetBlue's board of directors, I want to applaud Dave for his tireless commitment to the airline and thank him for committing to leading our crewmembers well into our second decade," said Joel Peterson, chairman of JetBlue's board of directors. "I look forward to seeing Dave's people-first leadership style strengthen all that makes JetBlue unique as we grow and evolve."
Mr. Barger joined JetBlue in 1998, before the airline was named or had a single aircraft. He succeeded founder David Neeleman as Chief Executive Officer in 2008. Prior to joining the JetBlue team, Mr. Barger had risen from a frontline airport customer service representative with New York Air to Vice President of the Newark hub for Continental Airlines.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
MP Aviation LLC 727-21 N30MP (c/n 18998/239) arrived from Ontario Intl (KONT) at 10:50am and parked at AirFlite.
A C-17 took off at 11:54am on a test flight.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
The early finish date will save the city about $85,000 per month for round-the-clock shuttles carrying passengers to a leased remote parking lot, which costs the airport about $1.8 million annually.
Meanwhile, the new structure is expected to generate $350,000 for the airport per month, said Long Beach Airport Director Mario Rodriguez.
"So we're going to be saving a lot of money on those shuttles and the remote parking lease, which is leased from Boeing, and it's going to be a much-improved parking situation for passengers, who will be able to park just a few feet from the main terminal," Rodriguez said.
The project's contractor, ARB Inc. of Lake Forest, began work in December 2009 on roadway and infrastructure improvements, then began building the five-level, 1,989-space parking structure in April.
Solar panels are being integrated into the garage's superstructure.
Upon completion, engineers expect the new roadway to Lakewood Boulevard, coupled with more lanes in and out of the parking areas, to significantly ease traffic flow and passenger congestion around the airport.
The garage is also expected to accommodate the airport's growing passenger volumes, which have surpassed 3 million annually, more than double the figure just five years ago.
Work on the garage is supporting 450 jobs and is being financed wholly through airport bonds, passenger and parking fees and federal stimulus grants.
The airport has pledged to pay the bond off within 30 years and without pulling money from the city's ailing general fund, which supports public safety, libraries, street repairs and other critical needs.
The garage update comes as airport officials prepare to begin work on a new passenger concourse, runways, aircraft ramps and terminal modernization.
Those projects, with a combined cost of roughly $75 million, include simple upgrades like new paint, lights and restrooms, along with more complex environmental measures.
Solar panels, for example, will eventually provide between 15 and 20 percent of the airport's total power usage, while engineers will electrify airplane parking slots to allow jets to "plug in" after landing, eliminating the need for diesel auxiliary motors to handle such tasks as baggage handling and air conditioning.
By electrifying the slots, the level of toxic jet exhaust wafting into nearby neighborhoods and schools will be slashed.
Here is the video:
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Lynden Air Cargo L382 Hercules N406LC (c/n 382-4676) ferried in the other day after dropping off an engine to Delta Air Lines at LAX.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Today Allegiant Air announced service between Long Beach and Las Vegas starting December 15, 2010. Allegiant is celebrating the announcement with a FLY FREE to Las Vegas or Long Beach offer. Just purchase one air and hotel package with Allegiant by Nov. 20, and the second person flies free. The new flights will operate four times weekly with service Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Friday and Sunday flights will depart Las Vegas at 5:55pm arriving in Long Beach at 7pm. Flights leaving Long Beach will depart at 7:50pm arriving in Las Vegas at 8:55pm. Thursday flights will depart las Vegas at 6:25pm arriving in Long Beach at 7:30pm. Flights leaving Long Beach will depart at 8:20pm arriving in Las Vegas at 9:25pm. Monday flights will depart Las Vegas at 7am arriving in Long Beach at 8:05am. Flights leaving Long Beach will depart at 8:45am arriving in Las Vegas at 9:50am (all flight times are local).They are giving away 150 tickets today in Long Beach at 5pm but you must be on Twitter to see the details.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Since 2001, when an untested, quirky New York-based carrier named JetBlue picked Long Beach as its West Coast hub, annual passenger traffic has exploded from less than 550,000 to more than 3 million.
JetBlue's surprising success — the airline grew while its larger competitors imploded in the wake of 9-11 — was critical in the years that followed, attracting several other startup and established carriers to Long Beach and helping expand the number of destinations from six to 20, including financially critical connections to New York, Washington, D.C., and Seattle.
"We've got intense competition north, south, east of us...there's no shortage of options, but the airport has managed to maintain what people love about it — the short wait times, quick access, etc. — while meeting the demands of the airlines, which is no easy task," said Mario Rodriguez, an industry veteran who took over as airport director in 2009, hired from a pool of nearly 50 candidates.
"And it continues to amaze me that people go out of their way to use Long Beach (Airport), which is in effect a kind of `boutique' airport, in the sense you can expect great service, but not in the sense that you'll be paying a huge premium for that privilege," Rodriguez said. "In this day and age of security and long lines, people are dying for something simpler. They want less hassle, quality customer service ... the kind where you're not looked at as a distraction by (airport or airline) staff if you have a question or need a bit of help, and just easy in and out."
According to surveys by the Department of Transportation, Long Beach has one of the quickest "car-to-terminal" times in the nation, averaging about 20 minutes from the time you exit your car to the jet boarding line.
The airport, which is undergoing a $140 million modernization project, is also one of the cheapest for both airlines and passengers.
Jet landing fees are nearly 40 percent cheaper than the national average, and passenger tickets are 30.5 percent cheaper than the national average, according to a 2010 California Department of Transportation survey.
The city has also been vigilant in storing funds generated by passenger facility charges, or PFCs, which are charged to commercial airline passengers at each leg of a journey. While the airport didn't begin collecting the fee until 2003 - years after other airports - the collection coincided with the sharp rise in overall traffic.
This money, coupled with several federal and state stimulus grants, transportation funds and general aviation fees, have helped the airport build up a sizable chest as it prepares for several major upgrades.
In an October credit rating report by Fitch Inc, a major international credit rating agency, the organization placed Long Beach in its second-highest category, saving the airport millions in securing funds for long-term modernization and capital improvements.
The airport is in the middle of a multiyear, $140million modernization program involving a new parking garage, passenger concourses, jet tarmacs, landscaping and roadways.
"The Stable Outlook reflects (the airport's) positive enplanement performance through the economic downturn, a manageable capital plan projecting healthy debt service coverage ratios including the issuance of additional bonds, and the continued presence and commitment of JetBlue to maintain a stable schedule of service at the airport," Fitch reported.
"The Outlook also captures LGB's ability to maintain a low-cost per enplanement over the next three- to five-year period, ensuring its low-cost position in the Los Angeles air basin." Fitch said.
The airport's growth, executed within the framework of one of the nation's strictest municipal noise ordinances, has also been an economic boon to the city's convention and tourism industries, generating by some estimates in excess of $100 million annually for area restaurants, hotels, transportation firms and event planners.
The airport is also becoming an important business travel hub, with daily links to Northern California, Denver, Phoenix, Chicago and other cities. In late 2008, Conde Nast Traveler polled 1,800 international travelers on airports, and Long Beach ranked seventh-best overall in the U.S for business travelers, best for baggage handling and third in convenience of connections.
The airport also boasted five of the world's top 15 airlines, according to the survey.
"I think the fact that a lot of our airlines are reporting 80 to 90 percent capacity proves that people are not only pleased with the airlines and the service there, but the airport itself," Rodriguez said. "You have some people coming from West L.A. or the Valley or places closer to LAX or Ontario (Airport), but they keep coming back because of the uniqueness."
The modernization project, now entering its middle phase, is designed to accommodate the airport's maximum projected capacity in coming years, a figure estimated at about 3.8 million.
"One thing we're going to guarantee is that this airport maintains the same feel and people have the same experience once modernization is complete," Rodriguez said. "That's our advantage, and it's something no other regional airport can even come close to offering, or ever will."
Monday, November 1, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
USAF Boeing C-32 (757-2G4 c/n 29026/787) 98-0002 departed LGB from RWY 12 at 14:45 local. The plane was taking Michelle Obama back to D.C. after she was in Long Beach for the International Womens Conference where she gave a key speech. The plane used the call sign of Executive One Foxtrot for the flight.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
"During the peak summer travel months, Anchorage is in high-demand for California residents and we are pleased to continue offering our Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Orange County customers more variety and more options to the places they want to go," said Scott Laurence, vice president of route planning for JetBlue Airways. "Among many other things, Alaska is known for its wide-open spaces and friendly people - a perfect match to the JetBlue Experience! We offer the friendliest customer service in the skies, more legroom than the other guys, a first checked bag free and complimentary live entertainment on personal seatback TVs. We look forward to welcoming you onboard!"
"I congratulate JetBlue on this exciting new route servicing the Long Beach Airport," said Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster. "The airport is undergoing several new changes such as a new parking structure and terminal building. The new route to the north will be another welcome addition for Long Beach residents and visitors alike."
"We are excited to add Jet Blue to the list of carriers that serve Alaskans and our guests," said John Parrott, manager of Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. "This serves as an indicator of the health and vitality of the tourism industry in Alaska."
JetBlue's schedule between Anchorage and Long Beach:
Depart LGB - 7:40pm
Arrive ANC -11:57pm
Depart ANC - 1:10am
Arrive LGB - 7:33am
JetBlue will offer travelers a variety of in-flight entertainment options on its signature seatback TVs on every flight to/from Anchorage, including complimentary first-run movies from top Hollywood studios. JetBlue's service will be operated with the airline's fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft, also featuring convenient, assigned seating; a first-checked bag free; complimentary and unlimited name brand snacks and drinks; comfy leather seats; more legroom than any other carrier in coach (b); and award-winning customer service.
Friday, July 23, 2010
A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department helicopter dumped fuel near the Port of Long Beach and made an emergency landing this afternoon at Poly High School.
The Air-5 Sikorsky rescue helicopter was on a maintenance flight check when one of the helicopter's two engines failed at 12:40 p.m., Sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker said. The crew immediately headed back to Long Beach Airport, he said.
"While en route, the pilots detected a sudden loss of a significant amount of engine oil, and prepared for an emergency landing," Parker said. "In order to land safely, it was necessary, under emergency procedures, to offload some fuel to lighten the aircraft over downtown Long Beach from an altitude of about 1,000 feet."
The aircraft released 100 gallons of jet fuel over the Port of Long Beach and downtown before landing on Poly High's baseball field, officials said.
The two pilots and two mechanics aboard the helicopter were uninjured, and no one on the ground was hurt, Long Beach Fire Department spokesman Steve Yamamoto said.
Summer school is in session at Poly High, 1600 Atlantic Ave., but it's in the morning. Students who were using other sports fields there said they didn't see the helicopter arrive.
The landing didn't damage the aircraft or school property, Yamamoto said.
The flight path in which the fuel was released was roughly from the old Long Beach Naval Shipyard on a direct flight path to the high school, Parker said. The path included the naval yard, port loading docks, some residential areas and downtown Long Beach.
Yamamoto said fuel also spilled onto the Golden Shore RV Resort at the western edge of downtown, where one person was struck. Paramedics were called to the scene but determined that the person hadn't been injured, he said.
The Fire Department received several calls from the public complaining of an unknown liquid falling from the sky on them, Parker said. There were no reports of hospitalizations, he said.
According to a hazardous material spill report from the California Emergency Management Agency, two fuel sheens, one 300 feet long and one 100 feet long, were initially reported on the water in Long Beach Harbor near Pier F.
At 1:38 p.m., personnel from a ship sighted a sheen almost 1,000 feet long and 500 feet wide, according to the report. Cleanup of the spill is being handled by National Response Corp. Environmental Services, the report says.
Parker said the helicopter blades are being dismantled so that the main aircraft body can be loaded onto a truck.
Boeing C-17 08-8200 (P-200) departed on 7/20 at 1:41pm on its first flight. The plane returned later in the afternoon. This plane will be delivered to McGuire AFB.
Raytheon 727-223 (c/n 22467/1765) N289MT arrived from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) at 12:05pm on 7/20 and parked at Signature. The plane performed about 5 noise test flights before departing back to LAX later that afternoon.
The Bahrain Amiri Flight 747-4P8 (c/n 33684/1324) A9C-HMK arrived from Phoenix Sky Harbor Intl (KPHX) where it had done 3 missed approaches. The 747 performed three missed approaches at LGB before returning to Victorville (VCV/KVCV) where the airplane originated from. Interesting enought the plane used a Fed Ex call sign. The flight number was FDX9091. Maybe Bahrain bought the antimissle system from Fed Ex and they were testing it on the plane? Who knows.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
LAS VEGAS – Allegiant Travel Company (NASDAQ: ALGT) and its subsidiary low-cost airline, Allegiant Air, LLC, today announced nonstop jet service to Long Beach, Calif., and Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz., from Colorado Springs, Colo., will begin September 15. The company, known for its great travel deals, will offer fares as low as $29.99* one-way to and from Southern California and Arizona.
"We're pleased to bring two more affordable and convenient ways for our customers to get away," Andrew C. Levy, Allegiant President, said. "In 2002, we began serving Colorado Springs residents by offering nonstop flights to Las Vegas. We now look forward to offering the community the only nonstop, low-cost service to Long Beach and Phoenix-Mesa."
"The Allegiant service to Las Vegas has been a very successful route at Colorado Springs Airport," Mark Earle, Colorado Springs Airport Director of Aviation, said. "The addition of new nonstop Allegiant service to Phoenix and Long Beach means our customers will now have low-cost service to three of our top destinations."
The new flights will operate five times weekly between Colorado Springs Airport (COS) and Long Beach Airport (LGB) with service Wednesday and Saturday. Flights will depart Colorado Springs at 9:25 a.m. arriving in Long Beach at 10:40 a.m. Flights leaving Long Beach will depart at 11:20 a.m. arriving in Colorado Springs at 2:30 p.m. (all flight times are local).
The new service to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (IWA) will operate on Wednesday and Saturday. Flights will depart Colorado Springs at 3:10 p.m. arriving in Phoenix-Mesa at 3:55 p.m. Flights leaving Phoenix-Mesa will depart at 6 a.m. arriving in Colorado Springs at 8:45 a.m. (all flight times are local).
The airline commented market research and input from local community leaders indicate the Colorado Springs community will welcome the new nonstop flights and low fares to both Long Beach and Phoenix-Mesa. Allegiant will utilize 150-seat, MD-80 series, jet aircraft on the routes. Allegiant began low-cost, nonstop service to Las Vegas Feb. 14, 2002.
Southern California is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. Stretching from San Diego to the northern most outskirts of Los Angeles County, Southern California is celebrated for its breathtaking scenery, theme parks, world-famous beaches, unsurpassed shopping, diverse nightlife and renowned entertainment. With landmarks like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Santa Monica Pier and the Queen Mary to its world-famous theme parks like Disneyland, Universal Studios and SeaWorld, Southern California is full of entertainment.
With breathtaking scenery, endless sun, unmatched resorts and miles of world-class golf courses, Phoenix-Mesa is a gateway to all that Arizona has to offer, including the Grand Canyon, Scottsdale, Tempe and Sedona. Not only is the area considered "The Golf Capital of the World," but also the "Resort Capital of the World," with numerous four- and five-diamond resorts. These premier resort communities feature shopping, dining, spa, activities and luxury accommodations for the perfect getaway to Arizona's unique Southwestern hospitality.
Allegiant is more than an airline, it is a full-service travel company that offers great value to its customers through its hotel, car rental and entertainment packages. The company partners with more than 30 of Southern California's most exciting hotel properties, including: Hyatt Regency Long Beach, Best Western Pavilions, Best Western Stovall's Inn, Crowne Plaza Anaheim Resort, Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa and Sheraton Park Hotel at the Anaheim Resort. The company also partners with more than 40 of Arizona's most exciting hotel properties, including: Arizona Biltmore, Wigwam Golf Resort & Spa, Sheraton Crescent Hotel, Arizona Golf Resort, Hyatt Place Phoenix-Mesa, JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa and the Phoenician. Allegiant provides low-cost car rental service through its partnership with Alamo Rent a Car.
Allegiant's $29.99* one-way introductory fare is limited, must be purchased by Aug. 4, 2010 and is valid for travel through Jan. 31, 2011. Introductory fares are not available on all flights. After the introductory fare period, regular one-way fares on the route start as low as $49.99 one-way.
Reservations can be made on the airline's website at www.allegiant.com or by calling the company's travel experts at 702-505-8888.
NASA T-38 N920NS (c/n N.5956) arrived at 5:02pm from Miramar MCAS (KNKX) as NASA920 and parked at Signature. The plane departed to El Paso Int'l (KELP) at 6:38pm as NASA920.
NASA T-38 N917NA (c/n N.5953) arrived at 10:46am from El Paso Int'l (KELP) as NASA917 and parked at Signature. The plane departed back to El Paso Int'l (KELP) at 1:38pm as NASA917.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
"Southeast Idaho residents will appreciate the simple facility design and easy customer experience at Long Beach Airport," Andrew C. Levy, Allegiant president, said. "We are confident our customers will continue to enjoy Allegiant's popular low-fare, nonstop flights and hotel packages to and from Southern California."
The route will operate twice weekly between Idaho Falls and Long Beach Airport, with service Monday and Friday. Flights will depart Idaho Falls at 2 p.m. arriving in Long Beach at 3:10 p.m. Flights leaving Long Beach will depart at 3:50 p.m. arriving in Idaho Falls at 7 p.m. (all flight times are local). The carrier will utilize a full-size, 150-seat MD-80 jet aircraft on the route. Allegiant began nonstop flights to Las Vegas Nov. 11, 2005, and service to Los Angeles June 3, 2010.
Reservations can be made on the airline's website at www.allegiant.com or by calling the company's travel experts at 702-505-8888.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Allegiant will operate five non-stop flights weekly to Stockton and three to northern Washington, just across the border from Vancouver, Canada.
The airline's first flight to Long Beach, from Bellingham, Washington, arrived just after 5 p.m. Thursday, carrying about 140 people aboard an MD-80 jet.
Long Beach Airport Director Mario Rodriguez said the new carrier should push annual passenger volumes well above 3 million.
"It's a good deal for the Long Beach community and the airport because we have new jobs, new revenues and new locations that expand the airport's reach," Rodriguez said.
The airline is the sixth to service Long Beach Airport, which city leaders contend remains on the few bright spots in a depressed local economy.
"We're hoping that with this new airline we can attract more people to spend a day or two in Long Beach, and get to love the city and come back," said Val Lerch, a Long Beach City Councilwoman whose Ninth District borders the airport. "And when they come back and visit the shoreline and eat at our restaurants and take in the atmosphere, they spend money, money, money."
The small, low-cost carrier signed a deal with Long Beach in late 2009 for service to Washington and Central California, though they may end up switching flight destinations based on demand.
Allegiant Spokeswoman Sabrina LoPiccolo said the airport was a perfect fit because of its famously short wait times and low carrier rates.
"Going to an airport like Long Beach is a perfect fit and gives us more opportunities to expand as well as fitting in with our business model, said LoPiccolo.
With Allegiant, Long Beach now has six airlines serving 17 destinations across the country.
Allegiant arrives just as the airport is launching a multi-year modernization plan that includes a nearly $140-million makeover with new passenger terminal, jet tarmacs, parking, food court and screening lanes.
Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department Cessna T210M N732WQ (c/n 21061836) took off at 10:52am and there was several puffs of smoke coming from the aircraft. The plane did a 360 turn and almost landed on rwy 12 with the gear up but then circled around and landed on rwy 25R. The plane taxied back to the Sheriffs ramp with the fire department in trail.
Allegiant Air MD-87 N945MA (c/n 49725/1552) arrived from San Diego Intl (KSAN) at 6:41pm as AAY5275. The planed departed to Laughlin/Bullhead Intl (KIFP) at 7:35pm as AAY5275.
Mid East Jet 757-200 N757MA (c/n 28463/739) arrived from Bangor Intl (KBGR) at 7:04pm and parked at AirFlite. The plane brought in a Prince from the Mid East region and his family. The plane ferried to Washington Dulles Intl (KIAD) at 8:04pm.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Nine of the ten negotiators involved in talks for a labor contract covering about 1,700 workers in Long Beach and Carson have called for ratification in a vote scheduled Wednesday.
If approved, workers would end all picketing and return to the job Thursday, resuming production on a jet widely used to deliver military and humanitarian goods across the globe.
Representatives of the United Aerospace Workers, which initiated the strike May 11, said the new 58-month contract is an improvement over the deal rejected by 80 percent of its members in early May.
They promised to return to work Thursday if more than 50 percent of workers approve the plan.
"(Boeing) and the union will work together to resume daily operations at Boeing Long Beach and ensure a smooth and safe return to work for all employees at the site," union leaders said in a statement. "Upon ratification...the union will terminate its strike and picketing against the company, as well as all actions intended to negatively influence the company's relationships with customers, investors, educational institutions, government and community officials, and regulatory agencies."
Boeing and the union resumed talks under supervision by a federal mediator on June 3 after weeks of stalemate.
Workers walked off the job in a dispute over healthcare and pension benefits, which were revised in two days of talks overseen by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, an officially neutral agency often called in to help end labor disputes.
Under the new plan, workers would get a $4,000 payment in lieu of a raise this year, followed by 3 percent annual raises in the following years. Basic retirement benefits would also increase, from $79 under the previous plan to $81 monthly for each year with the company or its predecessor, McDonnell Douglas.
Employee contributions to healthcare plans were also reduced, from a proposed 15 percent to 13 percent, beginning in 2014.
The deal also extends by 12 months the length of the contract, an indication the company is secure that foreign orders will keep production humming well into the decade.
"We're hoping to see, and we have seen, a lot of interest in international orders, and we further hope to be building this aircraft for a long time to come," said Cindy Anderson, a Boeing spokeswoman.
Congress is currently considering a request by the Indian Air Force to purchase 10 C-17s, and further interest is rumored among U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia, Japan and Pakistan.
The United States Air Force operates more than 190 of the massive jets, and several more are owned by the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Qatar and a NATO-led force based in Hungary.
The jets are used primarily to deliver supplies and troops to military bases and aid zones across the world, but can be quickly converted to airlift wounded soldiers and disaster victims.
The C-17's massive cargo space is also used to transport the presidential limousine, and is currently being used to ferry oil booms and cleanup materials to assist in the oil spill devastating the Gulf of Mexico.
Wednesday's vote is scheduled from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the union's hall in Lakewood.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
The Las Vegas-based company and one of Long Beach Airport's newest carriers Thursday announced that it will be offering nonstop services between Stockton and Long Beach starting July 1.
The new flights will operate Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays to and from Stockton Metropolitan Airport and Long Beach Airport with service.
Flights leaving Stockton at 11:05 a.m. will arrive in Long Beach at 12:20 p.m. Flights will leave Long Beach at 1 p.m. and arrive in Stockton at 2:15 p.m.
The company is offering limited introductory one-way fares for $29.99 if purchased by June 23 for travel completed by Jan. 31, 2011. Visit www.allegiant.com or call 702-505-8888 for more details on the offer.
"We're pleased to bring yet another affordable and convenient way for our customers to get away," Allegiant president Andrew C. Levy said in a statement.
"In 2006, we began serving San Joaquin Valley residents by offering nonstop flights to Las Vegas. We look forward to offering even more low-cost service to the community with our new flights to Long Beach."
Allegiant Air and Colorado-based Frontier Airlines - which announced twice a week trips to Denver - picked up the remaining daily commuter slots,topped at 41 because of a noise-ordinance program.
Last month, Allegiant announced new flights to and from Bellingham, which is just below the Canadian border and minutes away from Vancouver.
Flights operate three times a week with service on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays will leave Long Beach at 5:45 p.m. and arrive in Bellingham at 8:30 p.m. Flights from Bellingham will leave at 2:30 p.m. and arrive in Long Beach at 5:05 p.m.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
The new flights to and from Bellingham, which is just below the Canadian border and minutes away from Vancouver, will operate three times a week with service on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
Flights using a 150-seat, MD-80 series jet aircraft will leave Long Beach at 5:45 p.m. and arrive in Bellingham at 8:30 p.m. Flights from Bellingham will leave at 2:30 p.m. and arrive in Long Beach at 5:05 p.m.
To celebrate its new flights to and from Long Beach, Allegiant is offering one-way fares between the two cities for as low as $49.99 when purchased by June 2. Visit www.allegiant.com or call the company's travel experts at 702-505-8888 for more.
"We are pleased to bring our unique brand of low-cost and nonstop jet service to the Long Beach community," Andrew C. Levy, president of Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Co., said in a statement. "We believe the simple facility design and easy customer experience at Long Beach Airport is a perfect fit for the Allegiant customer. We look forward to offering affordable and convenient access to the greater Bellingham and Southern British Columbia communities."
Allegiant Air joins Colorado-based Frontier Airlines as Long Beach Airport's newest carriers, picking up the remaining daily commuter slots, capped at 41 under a noise-ordinance program. (Last week, Frontier began launching twice-daily trips to Denver.)
"We are pleased to welcome Allegiant to the Long Beach Airport," Long Beach Airport Director Mario Rodriguez said in a statement. "Passengers from the Northwest will now have nonstop access to Long Beach's many tourist attractions and business centers, as well as major Southern California attractions. This additional service is another indicator that Long Beach Airport is committed to providing excellent customer service."
Saturday, May 15, 2010
LONG BEACH - Fueled-up on free champagne and eager for a weekend of revelry, 110 passengers flew into Long Beach aboard a specially chartered JetBlue flight Friday honoring Gay Pride Weekend.
The traditionally quick and uneventful flight from San Francisco to Long Beach was transformed into a party replete with pink cocktails, pink cupcakes, flight attendants' uniforms in pink and 90 minutes of entertainment from comedian Pam Ann.
The idea of a JetPride flight comes as the New York-based carrier has grown gradually more involved in the city's second-largest annual event, which draws some 70,000 people to Long Beach annually, second in size only to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
JetBlue has been a Pride Weekend sponsor for five years, but this year offered round-trip tickets for $79 and numbered its Friday morning flight No. 1969 in honor of the famous 1969 Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village, N.Y., which began the modern gay rights movement.
"It's just our way of showing a little bit of support for Pride Weekend and letting people know of our presence in two of the country's most gay-friendly communities, San Francisco and Long Beach," said Mark Rogers, a JetBlue marketing manager. "We're always looking for ways to continue outreach."
JetBlue has long operated daily trips between the cities, but noticed an uptick during Pride Weekend in recent years.
Long Beach Pride Co-President Sergio Macias estimates 76 percent of this weekend's revelers will visit from outside Long Beach, with about 13 percent coming from outside California. An economic study estimates the event, now in its 27th year, generates about $10 million of direct spending in Long Beach and more than $20 million for the regional economy. Weekend events include a festival from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and Sunday at Marina Green Park and Rainbow Lagoon along Shoreline Drive, and a parade kicking off at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Temple Avenue and Ocean Boulevard.
An economic study estimates the event, now in its 27th year, generates about
$10 million of direct spending in Long Beach and more than $20 million for the regional economy.
Weekend events include a festival from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and Sunday at Marina Green Park and Rainbow Lagoon along Shoreline Drive, and a parade kicking off at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Temple Avenue and Ocean Boulevard.
(Kristopher Hanson - Press Telegram)
Friday, May 14, 2010
Frontier becomes the fifth major commercial carrier at Long Beach Airport, where passenger volumes have more than tripled since low-cost airline JetBlue made the city its West Coast hub in 2001.
Colorado-based Frontier, founded in 1994, plans to operate 99-seat Embraer 190 and 107-seat Airbus 318 jets on flights scheduled to depart Long Beach at 6:45 a.m. and 11 a.m. daily.
Frontier also began service Friday to Fairbanks, Alaska and Grand Rapids, Mich., from its Denver base.
Frontier and another newcomer, Allegiant Air, which begins flights from Long Beach this summer, fill out the airport's remaining daily commuter slots, capped at 41 under a noise-ordinance program.
The new flights should push annual passenger traffic here above 3 million, drawing in new revenue for the airport, city and area merchants and hotels.
"Attracting a new carrier amidst this tumultuous time in the aviation industry speaks to our fiscal solvency and prime (location)," said Airport Director Mario Rodriguez, who is overseeing a $200-million airport modernization plan through 2013 to help with increasing passenger volumes.
Frontier joins airlines JetBlue, Horizon, Delta and US Air offering daily flights out of Long Beach. The bulk of those, 30, are operated by JetBlue, while Allegiant has signed on to take the remaining two slots, said Airport Spokeswoman Sharon Diggs-Jackson.
Frontier expects its two daily flights to cater to a mix of vacationers and business travelers seeking to avoid crowds at the region's larger, more congested airports.
In the coming weeks, Frontier Airlines will further its push into the West Coast with service between Denver and Santa Barbara, said Daniel Shurz, the carrier's president of strategy and planning.
He said the airline will offer indirect service from Long Beach to more than 70 destinations domestically and in Mexico and Costa Rica, many with a single layover in Denver.
Some 1,700 line workers began a strike just past midnight, surrounding the plant with hundreds of picket signs a week after workers overwhelmingly rejected Boeing's "best and final" deal for a new 46-month contract.
"We strongly believe the company's offer was unethical and disrespectful, and while we didn't prefer a strike, the members are strongly behind it if that's what it takes," said Stan Klemchuk, president of United Aerospace Workers Local 148, which represents the striking workers. "A strike is a lose-lose for everybody, but the pension and medical issue is simply too important to let go."
Boeing management said the plant's roughly 3,000 other workers reported as usual, but the sprawling production floor next to Long Beach Airport will remain dark until the dispute is resolved.
"We will be deploying our contingency plans that we have in place in the event of a strike," said Boeing spokeswoman Cindy Anderson. "Company facilities will remain open and all employees (except strikers) will be expected to report to work unless otherwise notified."
Boeing said C-17 suppliers in 43 states, including California, are not yet being affected, though a prolonged strike - believed to be more than 90 days - could force some to limit or halt production.
Still, suppliers have "a long lead time," Anderson said, though a specific time frame was not given.
Workers remain hopeful that negotiations will be renewed in coming days, but say they're prepared to wait it out. Striking workers are being paid reduced wages and benefits by the union.
"We're hoping this doesn't drag on too long, and we'd like to go back to building the planes as soon as possible, but we won't go back to the table as long as the company isn't willing to make some movement," Klemchuk said.
Many workers, whose average age is 55, say they're fighting to preserve existing retirement benefits.
"This is about our future," said Reni Nevels, a 25-year veteran. "We've put years of blood, sweat and tears into this plant, many of us going back to the McDonnell Douglas days, and we feel we've sacrificed through our careers for the promise of a decent retirement."
Boeing purchased the plant from McDonnell Douglas in the 1990s.
Workers here have built more than 200 C-17s for the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and a NATO-led air force involved in humanitarian missions. The Indian Air Force is also currently pursuing the purchase of 10 C-17s for military and relief efforts, and several other countries, including Saudi Arabia, are rumored to be interested in purchases.
Boeing has called upon a federal labor mediator to help arbitrate between the parties, though no formal talks have yet been scheduled.
The C-17 plant has not experienced a strike since its inception in the early 1990s, though other Boeing plants have been targeted frequently in recent years.
An eight-week walkout by 27,000 workers outside California in 2008 caused delays in research and production of Boeing's massive Dreamliner 787 jet and an updated version of its popular 747, but the company still managed a $1.31 billion profit in 2009.
The strike comes at a time of uncertainty surrounding the C-17 s future. The Pentagon has stopped new orders, and President Barack Obama specifically targeted the plane for defense budget cuts in his proposed 2010 budget.
Boeing plans to end production in mid-2013, though foreign orders could extend the line well past mid-decade.
The $250 million C-17 has become a workhorse for some of the globe's largest militaries, hauling vehicles, troops and supplies to battle zones across the world.
And it has also become a staple vehicle in relief efforts, ferrying tons of medical supplies, food, water and other relief items to disaster zones including Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and most recently, quake-stricken Haiti.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Corrigan, a Southland resident, flew from Long Beach to New York in July 1938, then famously claimed he got his bearings crossed on his return trip. He ended up 27 hours later outside Dublin in Ireland -- after having his request to fly there denied by American authorities who said his 1929 Curtiss Robin monoplane was unsafe.
Until he died in 1995, Corrigan claimed his transatlantic flight had been a mistake resulting from cloud cover and a broken compass. But some of his acquaintances told journalists that Corrigan had always wanted to emulate Charles Lindbergh.
Corrigan was born in Texas in 1907, son of a railroad engineer and a school teacher. His parents divorced and his mother brought him to Los Angeles in 1922.
Five years later he was working as an aircraft mechanic at Ryan Airlines in San Diego, where he helped put together Lindbergh's "Spirit of St. Louis."
The mechanic and the pilot became friends, and when Lindbergh made the world's first New York-to-Paris flight in 1927, Corrigan determined to try his own transatlantic first.
Eleven years later came the stunt that made him instantly famous in Ireland and around the world.
"Honest, I meant to go to California," Corrigan said in a radio interview in Ireland.
He sailed back to New York and a tickertape parade. He also was greeted by thousands when he flew back to Long Beach, and a parade in his honor was staged in Los Angeles as well.
A year later, Corrigan starred as himself in the 1939 film "Flying Irishman," but the movie tanked and so did his acting career, according to the Los Angeles Times.
He eventually settled on a 20-acre orange grove in Santa Ana, where he and his wife reared three sons and he kept his old plane "Sunshine" in the garage.
In 1988, an Irish airline flew him back to Ireland to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his "wrong way" flight.
Though he reveled in his Irish-American ancestry, it's open to debate whether Corrigan would approve of alcohol-fueled St. Patrick's Day celebrations. According to The Times, Corrigan was a teetotaler who ran on a Prohibition Party ticket in 1946 with the platform slogan "Soak the Drunks With Higher Taxes."
Monday, March 15, 2010
While JetBlue is adding transcon flying at LAX, the overall capacity will remain flat. JetBlue will reduce LGB-East Coast flights and the two roundtrip slots that they've freed up will be redeployed to provide a third daily departure betwen Long Beach and both Seattle and Portland, Oregon, both of which are important for L.A. travelers but that demand increased frequencies.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
NEW YORK - As planes waited to take off from Kennedy Airport, the jargon-packed radio chatter between controllers and pilots was interrupted by a young boy's voice: "JetBlue 171, cleared for takeoff."
An air traffic controller who brought his son to work let the youngster read a few routine messages to pilots - and then brought in another child the next day - in an incident that amused pilots but not the Federal Aviation Administration.
Authorities suspended the controller and a supervisor Wednesday after a recording of the radio calls was posted on the Internet, then reported by a Boston television station.
"This lapse in judgment not only violated FAA's own policies, but common-sense standards for professional conduct. These kinds of distractions are totally unacceptable," FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said in a statement. "This kind of behavior does not reflect the true caliber of our work force."
During his visit, the boy got to squeak out a few more instructions to pilots before signing off, including telling the crew aboard a departing Aero Mexico flight, "Adios, amigos."
On the recording, which lasts about a minute, the elementary-school-age boy appears to repeat instructions fed to him by his father. At no time does the child tell aircraft how to maneuver in flight.
(The Associated Press)
LONG BEACH - The National Transportation Safety Board on Wednesday released its probable cause report of the fatal collision of two small planes May 18 about five miles south of the breakwater.
The NTSB determined the crash was "the failure of both pilots to see and avoid each other's aircraft," according to the report.
The midair collision killed Gary Gierczak, 54, of Los Alamitos, James C. Choo 32, of Torrance and Thomas Ferrell, 32, of the Netherlands, who was visiting family in Westminster.
Detailed accounts from a pilot who witnessed the fatal crash also was listed in the report.
The eyewitness pilot, who was flying south in the immediate area of the collision, noticed a silhouette of what appeared to be a Cessna 172 at his 10 to ll o'clock position. Choo, a certified flight instructor with 1,881 hours of flying time, and Ferrell, a student pilot, were aboard the plane.
The airplane appeared to be performing maneuvers and making turns in a counterclockwise, followed by a clockwise, direction, according to the report.
The witness altered his course slightly to the right, due to the Cessna's proximity, and continued to monitor the Cessna's location, the report stated.
As the pilot looked to his right while turning, he noticed another airplane, traveling at high speed, entering the area from the west and heading east. He couldn't identify the airplane type because the sun had almost set on the horizon. He identified it as a "black object." It was a Cessna 310P piloted by Gierczak, who held an airline-transport pilot license, the highest level license, which allows one to fly as a captain for the airlines. He had 3,378 hours of flying time. The fast moving Cessna 310 remained on an easterly path while the Cessna 172 continued heading south and performing maneuvers. Both planes were at about the same altitudes, the report stated. Shortly thereafter, around 6 p.m., he saw both airplanes collide and "immediately disintegrated into small pieces." The debris from both airplanes descended into the ocean. The pilot reported the collision to air traffic control and circled the area of floating debris until first responders arrived, the report stated. On May 20 and 21, divers with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the Port of Los Angeles police recovered wreckage of both planes and the remains of the three victims on the ocean floor about 80 feet below the surface and five miles south of the breakwater. Both planes had taken off from Long Beach Airport. The Cessna 310 departed about 5:20 p.m. and the Cessna 172 departed about 5:50 p.m., the report stated.
It was a Cessna 310P piloted by Gierczak, who held an airline-transport pilot license, the highest level license, which allows one to fly as a captain for the airlines. He had 3,378 hours of flying time.
The fast moving Cessna 310 remained on an easterly path while the Cessna 172 continued heading south and performing maneuvers. Both planes were at about the same altitudes, the report stated.
Shortly thereafter, around 6 p.m., he saw both airplanes collide and "immediately disintegrated into small pieces." The debris from both airplanes descended into the ocean. The pilot reported the collision to air traffic control and circled the area of floating debris until first responders arrived, the report stated.
On May 20 and 21, divers with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the Port of Los Angeles police recovered wreckage of both planes and the remains of the three victims on the ocean floor about 80 feet below the surface and five miles south of the breakwater.
Both planes had taken off from Long Beach Airport. The Cessna 310 departed about 5:20 p.m. and the Cessna 172 departed about 5:50 p.m., the report stated.
(Phillip Zonkel - Press Telegram)
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Sun Country 737-800 N801SY (c/n 30332/777) arrived from Denver Intl (KDEN) at 2:24pm as SCX8700 and parked Signature Aviation. The plane brought in the Colorado Avalanche hockey team. The plane ferried back to Minneapolis/St Paul Intl (KMSP) as SCX8700 at 3:07pm.
A trucking and crane company will arrive at approx 2200 to load the plane onto a lowbed trailer to be trucked to the port. The plan is to stage the trailer on Globemaster Way around 2200 and to have the Zero towed by AirFlite to TWY B just north of the Wardlow Gate. The crane will pickup the aircraft OVER the fence and place the aircraft onto the trailer. CHP will escort as an oversized load, starting at 0100.
The B-17G "Liberty Belle" N390TH/297849/O-J (c/n 8643) will be on display at Signature Aviation this coming Saturday and Sunday(March 6/7). For tickets to fly on the plane, call (918) 340-0243. For more information on the Liberty Belle and the Liberty Foundation, check out http://www.libertyfoundation.org/
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
The move is likely to result in future layoffs among the plant's 5,000-strong workforce, but how many and when will not be decided until later this year or early 2011, said Boeing spokesman Jerry Drelling.
Workers had been warned in recent months that job losses were possible because of reduced domestic demand for the massive cargo plane, Drelling added.
"We're still completing the analysis of any reduction in workforce, and we're striving to mitigate the impacts on our employees as much as possible," Drelling said. "But it's something that needs to be done given reduced demand domestically and to ensure the aircraft remains affordable in years to come."
The scaling back of production, expected to begin in mid-2011, comes as Boeing aggressively pursues international orders from customers that include India and possibly Saudi Arabia.
India submitted a formal request in January with the Department of Defense to negotiate the purchase of 10 C-17s, but those jets would not likely get built until 2013, forcing Boeing to scale back production to keep the plant operating long enough to secure foreign orders.
"This move allows us to reduce the annual production rate and lay the foundation to extend the line beyond 2012 with new and existing orders, preserving the C-17 as an affordable option for the future requirements of international and domestic customers," Drelling said.
Boeing has built 194 C-17s since production began in the early 1990s, and has 38 jets on order, including 29 for the U.S. Air Force, six for the United Arab Emirates, two for Qatar and one for the United Kingdom.
Qatar, which has purchased three C-17s so far, retains the option for two more and is expected to sign a deal in coming months.
Saudi Arabia has also reportedly expressed interest in purchasing several C-17s in coming years, but formal talks have not begun.
Boeing's announcement comes nearly a month after President Barack Obama requested in his proposed 2011 defense budget that domestic funding for the C-17 end, saying the 223 in service and on order are enough for the nation's needs.
President Obama had also sought to end support for the plane last year, but was overridden by the Senate and House, who included $2.5 billion for 10 more C-17s in the final defense budget. Those planes will be built in 2011 and 2012.
Still, given the mood in Washington and President Obama's insistence that funding must end for "unnecessary" military equipment, Boeing has focused increasingly on foreign orders.
To date, the aerospace giant has sold C-17s to Canada, United Kingdom, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and a NATO-led peacekeeping force based in Hungary.
Most of those nations have used the plane for humanitarian missions, including after the recent earthquake in Haiti, where dozens of C-17s from across the globe were called in to deliver tons of medical supplies, food, water, personnel and other relief aid to the devastated island nation.
The plane is favored because of its enormous payload and ability to land on short, unpaved runways.
Just hours before Boeing's announcement Tuesday, Long Beach Councilman Robert Garcia met with Congressmembers in Washington to gauge support for the C-17 as part of a diplomatic mission to the nation's capitol.
"We spent a considerable amount of time talking about the C-17, and my sense is that there remains strong support for keeping the plant open," Garcia said. "(Congress) understand how important this is to Long Beach and to the country. It's a critical asset."
Garcia was joined in Washington by Third District Councilman Gary DeLong and Long Beach Government Affairs Director Tom Modica.
"Ensuring the continuation of the C-17 plant and keeping those 5,000 jobs in Long Beach is my top priority right now," Garcia said. "It's on the top of most of our lists."
Drelling said the production cutback should be sufficient to sustain the line well into 2013. He said the plan is to build 15 jets this year, 13 in 2011 and 10 in 2012.
"We feel it will both buy us more time and help up maintain an affordable price for future orders, as well as giving the (Department of Defense) more time to consider their future airlift needs," Drelling said.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
LONG BEACH - What began 10 years ago as a modest venture into the rough-and-tumble world of air travel has morphed into one of the city's top success stories of the past decade.
JetBlue Airways marked 10 years of international travel Friday with a celebration at Long Beach Airport, its West Coast base, where the carrier served some 2.3 million passengers in the past year.
Since its first flight out of Long Beach in August of 2001, about a year after the New York-based carrier's launch, JetBlue has carried more than 14 million people into and out of the city to and from destinations across North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.
"JetBlue has been a great partner with the community...employing about 700 people locally and becoming an important asset for this city," said Mayor Bob Foster, who joined city leaders, JetBlue and airport executives and airline workers for the milestone birthday. "JetBlue has woven into the community."
JetBlue's presence has coincided with tremendous growth at the airport, which for decades languished behind other regional airports like Los Angeles and John Wayne internationals, despite its regional proximity and available space.
Since 2001, when JetBlue arrived, passenger flights have jumped 390 percent in Long Beach, from 591,000 passengers to 2.9 million in 2009.
And much of that increase is directly attributable to the low-cost carrier, whose passengers have consistently constituted about 75 percent of total traffic at the airport.
Other carriers include Alaska, Horizon, Delta and U.S. Airways.
"Long Beach Airport would not be what it is today without JetBlue," said Mario Rodriguez, Long Beach Airport Director. "The airline has brought a lot of people to Long Beach that might not otherwise have visited."
Rodriguez also believes the carrier's presence has had a moderating influence regionally on passenger flight costs in recent years.
With 29 daily flights to 13 destinations, including New York City, Washington D.C., Seattle, Oakland and San Francisco, JetBlue and Long Beach have become major competitors to some of the region's larger and more established carriers and airports.
"They've pretty well set the bar for low-cost carriers and passenger service," Rodriguez said.
In fact, JetBlue was founded in the late 1990s by former employees of Southwest Airlines, which like JetBlue offers low-cost, no-frills flights to major urban centers across the country.
With an initial fleet of just 10 jets, JetBlue now operates 151 aircraft, profoundly impacting the 74-year-old Long Beach Airport's buildings, parking lots, rampways, runways and hangars.
In late 2009, officials broke ground on a $49-million, five-level, 1,989-slot parking garage just steps from the main terminal.
They're also pushing tens of millions into terminal improvements, airport security and other infrastructure to handle growing passenger loads.
"Long Beach was a great choice for us because of its location, low cost and room for growth...and passengers tend to enjoy it because its less crowded and easy to access," said Robert Land, a JetBlue spokesman. "It's been a solid relationship."
(Kristopher Hanson - Press Telegram)
LONG BEACH - To celebrate JetBlue Airways Corp.'s 10th anniversary Thursday, President and CEO David Barger wanted to visit crewmembers and business partners within its network cities.
But a severe East Coast snowstorm Wednesday would dampen the celebration for Barger, who ended up staying in New York Thursday to deal with the weather's effect on flights to and from area airports, including John F. Kennedy International.
"I wanted to be in Boston, wanted to come out to Long Beach and because of the snowstorm I didn't get to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale," said Barger, who was at Long Beach Airport on Friday to celebrate the anniversary with city and airport officials.
It's fitting, really, that a snowstorm would mark the milestone of a company whose first flight - which carried dignitaries from Buffalo, N.Y., - happened during an ice storm.
"If there's a message to other entrepreneurs, don't start an airline in Buffalo in February, because the weather can be kind of tough," he joked. "We were a little bit delayed. ... But I think people realized that, 'Hey listen, this is really special,' and that's what we've seen from day one and we've seen it over the last 10 years." Barger, 52, has seen the New York-based company wing through its ups and downs - from its rapid rise in 2000 as an innovative air carrier vowing to bring humanity back to air flight to rising fuel prices, an uncertain economy and a 2007 snowstorm that stranded hundreds of passengers at JFK, an event that prompted a company wake-up call and the appointment of Barger as CEO. Ten years later, Barger - whose 32 years of experience in the airline industry have included New York Air and Continental Airlines - reflected on JetBlue's growth, where the company sees itself in the next decade and its future as the largest commercial customer at Long Beach Airport, JetBlue's West Coast hub. Barger - whose passion for airlines came from his father, a United Air pilot for 37 years - was part of the team that founded the company 12 years ago with founder David Neeleman, whom Barger called a "visionary." JetBlue quickly made its impact on the airline industry, offering passengers affordable fares, leather seating and dozens of cable channels. "We wanted to enhance the comfort for our customers," said Barger, adding that the company over the years removed 12 seats from its airplanes to provide more legroom. "I think you can be profitable without gouging the traveling public." In August 2001, JetBlue launched its second focus city in Long Beach with two daily flights to JFK, which occurred because of Neeleman's familiarity with the LA Basin, Barger said. "Long Beach fell into that same kind of camp in terms of great airport, under-utilized, big population catchment and we thought, `hey, this should work,"' he said. Meanwhile, Barger took over as CEO in 2007 during a controversial time for the company, which had been criticized for stranding passengers on planes snowbound at gates or stuck on runways on Valentine's Day. The event changed the company and led to the investment in technology and leadership. "It was tough to look in the mirror February 2007," he said. "We dropped the ball that day, really for that week, but we're a much stronger company as a result of it." JetBlue, like many companies in the airline industry, faced several challenges in the last decade, from the Sept. 11 attacks to rising fuel prices and an unstable economy. Barger said JetBlue has managed to weather them by slowing the company's growth. For example, last year JetBlue took delivery of nine airplanes instead of the 36 originally planned. "We're still a growth story, but I think we just wanted to catch up with some of the growth that we had in the first several years of the company," he said. This approach has allowed JetBlue to be profit for four straight quarters and deliver positive free cash flow at the end of the year, a first for the company. "So many airlines think you can hit the reset button - bankruptcy, furlough your staff, pay cuts. We haven't done any of that in 10 years." During his 45-minute visit with the Press-Telegram, Barger addressed some Long Beach issues, including comments he made last year to an industry blogger about JetBlue possibly leaving Long Beach because of terminal improvement delays. The comments sparked concerns among city officials and the community. Barger preferred to be "forward-looking," especially now that long-awaited improvements to the airport's parking structure and gate hold area are being made. "The ground experience - it's very important, we believe, to match the air experience," he said "We needed to see investment and we're very pleased that it's taking place." He also addressed the city's airport noise ordinance, which restricts the number of flights and fines airlines for taking off or landing between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Barger said over 90 percent of the delays into Long Beach have been driven by East Coast air traffic controllers because of weather. "Time performers is important to this company and our home on the East Coast has the most congested airspace," he said. To offset that, JetBlue has built more of a buffer between the last scheduled flight and the curfew hour. Asked about growing in Long Beach, Barger said he will leave that up to residents. "I think we could. ... Are we going to try to push that and make that happen? No," he said. "We're going to live within history and the ordinance that's been put into place. That's what good citizens do."
Pleased with changes
Barger, 52, has seen the New York-based company wing through its ups and downs - from its rapid rise in 2000 as an innovative air carrier vowing to bring humanity back to air flight to rising fuel prices, an uncertain economy and a 2007 snowstorm that stranded hundreds of passengers at JFK, an event that prompted a company wake-up call and the appointment of Barger as CEO.
Ten years later, Barger - whose 32 years of experience in the airline industry have included New York Air and Continental Airlines - reflected on JetBlue's growth, where the company sees itself in the next decade and its future as the largest commercial customer at Long Beach Airport, JetBlue's West Coast hub.
Barger - whose passion for airlines came from his father, a United Air pilot for 37 years - was part of the team that founded the company 12 years ago with founder David Neeleman, whom Barger called a "visionary."
JetBlue quickly made its impact on the airline industry, offering passengers affordable fares, leather seating and dozens of cable channels.
"We wanted to enhance the comfort for our customers," said Barger, adding that the company over the years removed 12 seats from its airplanes to provide more legroom. "I think you can be profitable without gouging the traveling public."
In August 2001, JetBlue launched its second focus city in Long Beach with two daily flights to JFK, which occurred because of Neeleman's familiarity with the LA Basin, Barger said.
"Long Beach fell into that same kind of camp in terms of great airport, under-utilized, big population catchment and we thought, `hey, this should work,"' he said.
Meanwhile, Barger took over as CEO in 2007 during a controversial time for the company, which had been criticized for stranding passengers on planes snowbound at gates or stuck on runways on Valentine's Day.
The event changed the company and led to the investment in technology and leadership.
"It was tough to look in the mirror February 2007," he said. "We dropped the ball that day, really for that week, but we're a much stronger company as a result of it."
JetBlue, like many companies in the airline industry, faced several challenges in the last decade, from the Sept. 11 attacks to rising fuel prices and an unstable economy.
Barger said JetBlue has managed to weather them by slowing the company's growth. For example, last year JetBlue took delivery of nine airplanes instead of the 36 originally planned.
"We're still a growth story, but I think we just wanted to catch up with some of the growth that we had in the first several years of the company," he said.
This approach has allowed JetBlue to be profit for four straight quarters and deliver positive free cash flow at the end of the year, a first for the company.
"So many airlines think you can hit the reset button - bankruptcy, furlough your staff, pay cuts. We haven't done any of that in 10 years."
During his 45-minute visit with the Press-Telegram, Barger addressed some Long Beach issues, including comments he made last year to an industry blogger about JetBlue possibly leaving Long Beach because of terminal improvement delays. The comments sparked concerns among city officials and the community.
Barger preferred to be "forward-looking," especially now that long-awaited improvements to the airport's parking structure and gate hold area are being made.
"The ground experience - it's very important, we believe, to match the air experience," he said "We needed to see investment and we're very pleased that it's taking place."
He also addressed the city's airport noise ordinance, which restricts the number of flights and fines airlines for taking off or landing between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Barger said over 90 percent of the delays into Long Beach have been driven by East Coast air traffic controllers because of weather.
"Time performers is important to this company and our home on the East Coast has the most congested airspace," he said.
To offset that, JetBlue has built more of a buffer between the last scheduled flight and the curfew hour.
Asked about growing in Long Beach, Barger said he will leave that up to residents.
"I think we could. ... Are we going to try to push that and make that happen? No," he said. "We're going to live within history and the ordinance that's been put into place. That's what good citizens do."
(Karen Robes Meeks - Press Telegram)