It was a smooth landing for Qantas Flight 7 arriving from Sydney. The Airbus A380 landed at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport at 1:21 p.m. CDT.
The world’s largest commercial passenger jet is now flying the longest commercial flight in the world.
On Monday, Qantas Airways began using the Airbus A380 on its route between Sydney and Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. The trip takes aboout 15 hours and 30 minutes and travels close to 8,600 miles.
Qantas has used a Boeing 747-400 since it launched the route in 2011 but by upgrading to the larger A380, the Australian carrier can operate a direct flight to Sydney. Before today, the carrier could fly nonstop from Sydney to DFW but had to stop in Brisbane on the return.
DFW Airport spent $2.8 million to add a jetbridge at Terminal D’s Gates 15 and 16 to accommodate the double-decker plane.
Qantas will operate six flights a week, dropping its Tuesday flight but since the A380 carries 484 passengers, the carrier will increase its seat capacity on the route by 10 percent per week.
The A380 offers 14 individual first-class suites that have electronically adjustable seats with a multi--zone massage function. The seats have been designed to add a dining table to accommodate two passengers traveling together who want to dine as if they’re at a restaurant.
Qantas is part of American Airlines’ Oneworld alliance and also has a partnership with Emirates Airline. Emirates, which operates a nonstop flight between DFW and Dubai, will begin using an A380 on its DFW route on Wednesday.
-Flights going in and out of Chicago-area airports continued to face delays this weekend following a fire at the Federal Aviation Administration regional facility on Friday. About 500 flights were canceled on Sunday, according to this Chicago ABC-affliate report.
-Tired of trying to redeem your frequent flier miles and not finding the flight you want? So is Congressman Alan Grayson who asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to investigate the mileage programs. According to Bloomberg News, the DOT's office of Inspector General began auditing the programs which have more than 300 million members. "The watchdog is looking into whether airlines properly disclose rule changes in the programs and the various taxes and fees associated with mileage awards," the article said.
-A couple of weeks ago, after Southwest Airlines unveiled its livery, the Dallas-based carrier let the media tour their training and operations facility. Here's a look at how flight attendants train for emergencies, along with a few reporters perfecting their sliding technique down an emergency exit slide.
The Fort Worth-based carrier launched its first flight to China from DFW when it initiated service to Shanghai and Hong Kong in June. At the launch event, American chief executive Doug Parker said China is an “area that is strategically important for us.”American said it expects to start flying the route next summer and will use a refurbished Boeing 777-200ER with lie-flat business seats.
"The pending addition of Beijing and recent additions of Shanghai and Hong Kong elevate Dallas/Fort Worth to one of the primary connecting hubs between Asia and destinations within the U.S. as well as Mexico, Central and South America," said American's chief marketing officer Andrew Nocella.
American currently flies to Beijing from its hub in Chicago. It also operates flights to Shanghai from Chicago and Los Angeles. American has applied to the Department of Transportation for a route between DFW and Beijing.
DFW almost got direct flights to China in 2006 when American applied for routes to Shanghai. However, the airline withdrew its application when it couldn't reach an agreement with its pilots to staff the 16-hour-plus flight.
When the carrier announced its Hong Kong and Shanghai flights, local leaders said they hoped the carrier would consider adding flights to China’s capital city.
DFW Airport chief executive Sean Donohue said at a symposium in May that China is a burgeoning consumer travel market and hoped Beijing was next on American’s list.
"The growth opportunities in China from an aviation standpoint, I've never seen anything like it, " Donohue said. "In the future, there will be even more opportunities to cities you haven't even heard of like Guangzhou or Chengdu."
The deal, which was reached last Friday between management and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, includes immediate pay raises for flight attendants at both American and US Airways and will last for five years if it is approved by the flight attendants.
However, it does not include a profit-sharing plan which the union had negotiated in its previous contract. The profit sharing only paid out once to the flight attendants but with American reporting quarterly profits right now, some flight attendants had wanted to see profit-sharing reinstated.
The APFA said its executive committee voted unanimously to send the tentative agreement out for a ratification vote which will be held later this fall.
Keep reading for the full message from the APFA to members.
Tentative Agreement Highlights
September 24, 2014
Today in Washington, D.C., the APFA Executive Committee voted unanimously, and the entire APFA Board of Directors supported its decision, to submit the Tentative Agreement (T/A) to the full APFA membership for a ratification vote. In the coming days, APFA will be distributing extensive information about the T/A and posting full and final language online. The Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) and members of APFA leadership will also begin a tour of each of the bases, conducting road shows (see attached schedule) for Flight Attendants to hear the details of the T/A firsthand and ask questions about it. In the meantime, some of the highlights of our industry-leading T/A, brought to you by the dedicated Flight Attendants and professionals of the JNC, are provided below:
SCOPE/LABOR PROTECTIVE PROVISIONS (LPP)
401(k)/DEFINED CONTRIBUTION PLAN
Per the APFA Constitution, after voting unanimously to accept the T/A, the Joint Negotiating Committee made a thorough presentation to the APFA Executive Committee and the Board of Directors. Per the APFA Constitution, the Executive Committee voted to submit the T/A to the membership for a ratification vote.
In addition, the Board of Directors, consisting of the Base Presidents from each base in the system (LAA and LUS), unanimously passed a resolution endorsing the EC’s decision to send the T/A out for ratification.
The T/A will not become a contract unless and until the membership ratifies it. There will be a 30-day balloting period during which all APFA members in good standing (no more than 60 days in dues arrears) will be eligible to vote. Ballots and instructions will be mailed to Flight Attendants’ home addresses.
Should the T/A fail a ratification vote, the economic terms of our contract (wages, premiums, sick, vacation, medical and 401(k)) will be decided in final and binding arbitration. As the Negotiations Protocol Agreement states, the arbitration panel will be required to establish a contract that is at least equal in value to the current LUS and LAA CBAs – “the floor” – and is market-based in the aggregate (defined by United, Continental, and Delta) – “the ceiling.” To reach the ceiling, the current combined costs of the LAA and LUS contracts would have to be increased by $111 million. The total value of the T/A is $193 million. The difference - $82 million – is the negotiated premium above what could be achieved in arbitration.
Achieving this industry-leading T/A required a tremendous amount of hard work. Flight Attendants should be proud of the tenacious efforts of our Joint Negotiating Committee. Stay tuned for more information on the T/A and be sure to attend one of the road shows at your base!
*As of October 1, 2014
||New T/A Rates|
|Joint Negotiating Committee
Times and locations will be announced soon!
October 6-7, 2014
October 24, 2014
October 8-9, 2014
October 27-28, 2014
October 10, 2014
October 29, 2014
October 13-14, 2014
October 31-November 1, 2014
October 15-16, 2014
November 3-4, 2014
October 17, 2014
November 5-6, 2014
October 20, 2014
November 7, 2014
Southwest Airlines announced on Wednesday that it has agreed to purchase 3 million gallons a year of an eco-friendly jet fuel from Red Rocks Biofuels.
The Dallas-based carrier said the low carbon renewable jet fuel will be used in Southwest's operations in the Bay Area of California with the first delivery expected in 2016.
"Our commitment to sustainability and efficient operations led us on a search for a viable biofuel that uses a sustainable feedstock with a high rate of success," said Southwest supply chain vice president Bill Tiffany.
The fuel is made from forest residues, Red Rocks Biofuels said. It's first fuel plant will convert about 140,000 tons of woody biomass feedstock into 12 million gallons of jet fuel per year.
-Two American Airlines flights made emergency landings at Dallas/Fort Worth early this morning, NBC-affiliate KDFW reported in this article. No injuries occurred on either flight but mechanical problems prompted both aircraft to return to DFW.
-CrankyFlier a.k.a Brett Snyder weighed in last week on Southwest Airline's livery in this blog post. "I like the heart a lot, and I don’t mind the new livery, but the disappearance of that iconic red belly made me sad," Snyder wrote in his astute assessment of Southwest's media days.
-And Virgin America is ramping up its marketing campaign as it will begin flying out of Dallas Love Field on October 13. The airline is moving its operations from DFW to Love after the Wright Amendment restrictions expire next month and of course, Sir Richard Branson will be on hand and will throw party in Dallas, featuring country singer Kasey Musgraves.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporters Andrea Ahles and Gordon Dickson give their opinions on Southwest Airlines' new "Heart" livery and discuss the growing mountain of road debt in Texas. The aviation and transportation writers also talk about relief flights from Cabo San Lucas and Scotland's recent indepedence vote in this latest edition of the Air, Land & Sea podcast.
The program, called Dynamic Weather Routes and created by NASA, has been tested by American, saving the carrier 3,500 flying minutes on 500 flights during the test period.
“NASA-developed technologies are on every aircraft that is flown today,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who visited American’s network operations center Friday to see the program at work. “We like to say that NASA is with you when you fly.”
The program automatically and continuously searches for alternative flight paths for aircraft that need to avoid severe weather.
This month, it was used to reroute a flight from Dallas/Fort Worth Airport to New Orleans so it could fly around storms in East Texas. Instead of traveling over northern Arkansas and then south over Mississippi, which would have taken an extra 30 minutes, the software found a route between the storm cells that added only 22 minutes.
“It allows the flights to thread the needle,” American aircraft dispatcher Mike Sterenchuk said. “About 80 percent of the [alternative flight route] requests we’ve sent in pay the dividends and give us that fuel savings opportunity.”
By using the new route, the flight to New Orleans saved about $1,600 on fuel, he said. American expects to eventually use the program throughout its network, not just on DFW flights.
NASA said the software could save 20 to 40 minutes on flights operating during severe weather. Other airlines and the Air Force are also interested in using the software, Bolden said.
Details of the new contract were not available on Friday and the new contract will need to be ratified by the 24,500 flight attendants represented by the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.
“We are building an airline that will compete aggressively in a global marketplace,” said American chief executive Doug Parker. “Today’s tentative agreement with our flight attendants is another step forward in our integration.”
The APFA's leadership team will meet in Washington D.C. next week to review the agreement before deciding to send the contract out for a vote, the union told its members in a hotline sent out on Friday afternoon.
"The contract is by far the leading the industry with the network carriers. I think it finally brings us to where we need to be," APFA president Laura Glading said in an interview.
She credited the union negotiators and American's management team for being able to reach a deal within the 150-day time frame the two sides had previously agreed to.
"[American CEO] Doug Parker had always said he couldn't pay network wages until he had a network carrier, and now that he has one, he has definitely stepped up and shown us he is willing to do that," Glading said. "Our team had very tough decisions. They worked very hard. They were very tenacious and they made sure we were able to get everything we needed to get."
The union and the company had until today, September 19, to reach a deal on a joint bargaining agreement. If the two sides had not reached a deal, they would have gone into binding arbitration to determine a new contract.
Negotiators had been meeting almost around the clock since Sunday to try to hammer out a new contract.
"We actually were supposed to negotiate until the end of today and we realized at some point last night we had reached a deal," Glading said.