Monday, May 31, 2010

Sunday 5-30-10

Jetblue A320-232 N644JB (c/n 2880) was spotted wearing the new Blueberries tail colors and billboard titles.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday 5-25-10

Jetblue A320-232 N571JB (c/n 2125) and N580JB (c/n 2136) were both spotted and photographed this morning in the new "Blueberries" tail and billboard titles.

Sunday 5-23-10

Air Canada A320-211 C-GQCA (c/n 210) which wears the U2 colors, arrived as ACA7031 from Phoenix Sky Harbor Intl (KPHX) at 7:09pm and parked at AirFlite. The plane brought in the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team.

JetBlue A320-232 N570JB (c/n 2099) was noted as being repainted into the new "Blueberries" tail scheme and billboard titles. It should also be noted that N571JB (c/n 2125) departed LGB two weeks ago for Mexico to get repainted, so that plane should be back in service anytime now.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Allegiant offering new Long Beach to Bellingham flights

LONG BEACH -- Long Beach Airport's newest carrier, Allegiant Air, will begin offering nonstop jet service to Bellingham International Airport in Washington on July 1, Allegiant announced Wednesday.

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 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."

(Karen Robes Meeks - Press Telegram)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

JetBlue flies pink for Gay Pride Weekend

(Photo: Jeff Gritchen - The Press-Telegram)

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.

(Kristopher Hanson - Press Telegram)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Long Beach's new Frontier

LONG BEACH - Frontier Airlines made its inaugural flight Friday into Long Beach, launching twice-daily trips to Denver and expanding to 15 the number of cities connecting directly to Daugherty Field.

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.

(Press Telegram - Kristopher Hanson)

Boeing suspends C-17 production in wake of strike

LONG BEACH - Production of Boeing's C-17 cargo jet has been indefinitely suspended after workers walked off the job early Tuesday in a dispute over pension and medical benefits.
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.

(Press Telegram - Kristopher Hanson)

Thursday, May 6, 2010


JetBlue Airways Airbus A320-232 N571JB (c/n 2125) ferried to Plan de Guadalupe Int'l (MMIO/SLW) as JBU6404 at 7:24am. The plane will be repainted there (most likely into the "Blueberries tail and billboard titles) and returned to service soon. I took the last recorded photograph of the plane in the original delivery colors this morning and will have the slides back within a couple of weeks.

Wednesday 5-5-10

Boeing C-17A 08-8198 (P-198) arrived from a test flight at 5:05pm.

Qatar C-17A A7-MAB (F-209) departed at 5:07pm.