Saturday, April 25, 2009

LGB Has Full-Scale Triennial Exercise

Last night (Friday 4-24), LGB had it's full scale triennial excercise or in basic terms, full scale airport emergency drill. It involved an A320 that had just been boarded with passengers when there was a fuel leak while the fueler finished up which turned into an explosion of the right wing. Captain Stephen Toernblom (your author) was assisted by First Officer Cabel Parker (photo above) in helping the in flight crew get as many passengers off the aircraft. Both pilots were uninjured. There were a lot of emergency vehicles from difference cities. Overall the excercise went well and even the famous Chuck Norris made an appearence to watch the whole thing.

Friday 4-24-09

JetBlue Airways second newest E-190, N304JB (c/n 19000257) passed through LGB and carries the name of "Midnight Blue" and a tail design of "Squares" as seen in the photo above. The name "Midnight Blue" was originally worn by A320-232 N527JB (c/n 1557).

JetBlue Airways A320-232 N768JB (c/n 3760) passed through LGB and still does not carry a name on the aircraft.

It's been reported that starting in June, Horizon Airlines will fly 1 flight to Seattle, WA and 1 flight to Portland, OR using their Bombardier Dash 8 Q400's. This is good news for us photographers as they have several of the Q400's painted up in special colors and should hopefully make their way through LGB.

JetBlue says it plans to stay in Long Beach

JetBlue Airways Corp. on Thursday said it plans to remain at Long Beach Airport -- two days after the airport's director met with JetBlue officials in New York and following weeks of speculation about whether the airline would stay.

In a conference call with analysts, JetBlue Chief Executive officer Dave Barger responded to reports earlier this month that JetBlue might pull out of Long Beach Airport because of the lack of progress on long-awaited improvements there. Barger said he is "disappointed" with the current facilities, but he is encouraged by recent talks with airport officials.

Barger also said that the the company will "aggressively defend" itself against growing competition on routes and pricing from rivals after posting a first-quarter profit that topped Wall Street expectations.

He said JetBlue plans to remain at the airport, where it is the largest airline, even when it begins service to nearby Los Angeles International in June. JetBlue also serves Los Angeles-area customers at Burbank Airport.

"Burbank and Long Beach and LAX can all work well together - That's how we are currently looking at it," Barger said.

High-level meeting

Long Beach Airport's new director, Mario Rodriguez, flew to New York this week and met with Barger and his top executives Tuesday, Rodriguez said Thursday.

Rodriguez told the Press-Telegram that the group discussed improvements to passenger waiting areas, security checkpoints, restrooms and concession areas. The key discussion was how to fund the projects, he said.

"The gist of the meeting was to come up with a business solution that benefits both parties," said Rodriguez.

City officials have estimated that between $50 million and $65 million in bonds would be needed to expand the terminal from the current 56,320 square feet to 89,995 square feet. Another $65 million in bonds are needed to build a new parking garage.

Rodriguez has cautioned against increasing enplaned passenger fees at the airport to finance bonds, particularly during a recession.

He said Thursday that a general airport revenue bond could be financed through increased revenue that he expects from concessions and parking. Fees at parking lots have already been increased to finance the new parking structure construction.

Rodriguez said repairs to common areas of the terminal also can be funded with existing passenger facility charges.

To improve exclusive-use facilities for JetBlue, the airport's other four passenger airlines or freight carrier UPS, each company would finance the necessary bonds through a lease agreement, Rodriguez said.

"For anything that they need for exclusive use, they will sign a long-term lease for that space to back a bond," he said.

These methods should avoid significant increases to enplaned passenger costs, he said.

"We believe that with the PFC (passenger facility charges), concessions and enhanced revenues, we will be covering all debt service," Rodriguez said. "There may be a slight increase in the enplaned passenger cost."

The improvements also will be done in phases, not all at once, Rodriguez said.

"We're trying to run the airport like a business," Rodriguez said. "We're trying to make sure that the improvements that we do will be financially feasible, and most importantly that the airport stays as a viable business entity into the future."

Rodriguez said he plans to present options and a timeline for the airport projects to the City Council in May.

Furthermore, Rodriguez said he plans to negotiate long-term leases with all of the airlines, which are now on month-to-month leases. That process will take about a year, he said.

On Monday, an appeal of a lawsuit by the Long Beach Parent-Teacher Association against the city over the airport's environmental and noise impacts will go to court. The lawsuit has blocked progress on the airport improvements, but if a second ruling comes down in the city's favor, the airport improvements shouldn't face any more legal obstacles.

New JetBlue flights

Aiming directly at the growing presence of Southwest at major eastern airports, JetBlue also said Thursday it will launch four daily nonstop flights from Boston's Logan Airport to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) on Sept. 9.

Dallas-based Southwest last week announced plans to start flying that route and expects to begin service on Oct. 1.

Forest Hills, N.Y.-based JetBlue will offer fares starting at $39 - $10 cheaper than Southwest's lowest fare.

JetBlue has launched aggressive sales on various routes - especially transcontinental trips - as competition from Southwest and Virgin America heats up.

JetBlue also plans to start service from New York to Barbados, adding to a large number of flights from its home base at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to the Caribbean. Pending government approval, the Barbados flights will begin on Oct. 1.

The Forest Hills, N.Y.-based company said earlier Thursday it earned $12 million, or 5 cents per share, compared with a loss of $10 million, or 5 cents per share a year earlier.

JetBlue and low-cost carrier AirTran, which also posted a quarterly profit, were bright spots in the sector as other U.S. carriers posted losses.

It was the first time JetBlue made a profit in the first three months of the year since 2005, mostly due to lower fuel costs. The first-quarter is typically a seasonally weak period for airlines.

Adjusted to exclude a one-time charge, JetBlue's net income for the quarter would have been $20 million, or 8 cents per share.

Revenue fell 3 percent to $793 million, from $816 million in the first three months of 2008.

JetBlue ended the first quarter with about $634 million in cash and cash equivalents.

Shares rose 6 cents to $5.64 in midday trading.

(Press Telegram)

Sen. Boxer joins fight to save Boeing's C-17

U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Kit Bond, R-Mo., announced Thursday that they are leading a bipartisan effort to save the Boeing C-17 program.

Though Defense Secretary Robert Gates has recommended discontinuing funding for the Long Beach-built military cargo plane, Boxer and Bond said a joint news release that they want to put the C-17 in the Fiscal Year 2009 Supplemental Defense Appropriations Bill.

The senators are circulating a letter to their colleagues calling on the Senate Appropriations Committee to include funding in the bill to procure 15 additional airplanes.

A final, signed letter will be sent to the Appropriations Committee, Boxer spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz said in an e-mail sent from the Senate floor.

Failing that, Boxer will consider her options on the Senate floor, Ravitz said, adding "right now, we are focused on working with the Appropriations Committee on this matter."

Boxer also issued a statement:

"The C-17 has an impressive record of providing airlift support to our troops serving in combat zones and those working on humanitarian missions at home and around the world.

"Given the kind of missions we anticipate in the future, it would be foolhardy to shutter this line when we are unsure of our future airlift needs and we are making strides in developing an overseas market for these aircraft."

In the letter, Bond and Boxer say that the C-17 has been an "indispensable asset" since it began service in 1993.

Reps. Laura Richardson, D-Long Beach, and Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach, have gone to bat - they made appropriations requests and are lobbying their peers - for the cargo plane in the House of Representatives.

A Boeing spokesman affiliated with the C-17 could not be reached Thursday, but the company has said in the past that it supports the politicians' efforts.

At stake are some 5,000 jobs at the Long Beach Boeing plant and a network of 30,000 supplier jobs nationwide.

Some feared that the C-17 line would close this year, but the line will continue until at least August 2010, thanks to a $2.95 billion Air Force contract to build 15 more planes.

Though Gates and the Pentagon make recommendations on the military budget, Congress controls the purse strings.

Where President Obama stands on the C-17 is unclear. Obama expressed strong support for the plane earlier this year, but Gates, a cabinet member, has said the country must plan for a different type of combat future that doesn't necessarily require additional C-17 purchases.

(Press Telegram)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

JetBlue Announces First Profit in the First Quarter Since 2005

-- Operating income for the quarter was $73 million, resulting in a 9.3% operating margin, compared to operating income of $17 million and a 2.2% operating margin in the first quarter of 2008.

-- Pre-tax income for the quarter was $20 million, which includes a special charge of $8 million related to the valuation of JetBlue's auction rate securities. Excluding this special charge, JetBlue's pre-tax income for the quarter would have been $28 million. This compares to a pre-tax loss of $16 million in the first quarter of 2008.

-- Net income for the first quarter was $12 million, or $0.05 per diluted share. Excluding the special charge, JetBlue's net income for the quarter would have been $20 million, or $0.08 per diluted share. This compares to JetBlue's first quarter 2008 net loss of $10 million, or $0.05 per diluted share.

"Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our crewmembers, we reported our first profitable first quarter in four years," said Dave Barger, JetBlue's CEO. "Despite a challenging economic environment, we continued to outperform the industry in unit revenue growth during the quarter. We believe our unique value proposition, strong brand, and award-winning customer service will continue to differentiate JetBlue within the industry."

Operational Performance

Operating revenues for the quarter totaled $793 million, representing a decline of 2.9% over the first quarter of 2008 driven in part by a 5.4% decline in capacity. For the first quarter, revenue passenger miles decreased 8.0% to 6.0 billion, resulting in a first quarter load factor of 76.0%, a decrease of 2.2 points year over year.

Yield per passenger mile in the first quarter was 11.69 cents, up 2.5% compared to the first quarter of 2008. Passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) for the first quarter 2009 remained flat on a year over year basis at 8.89 cents and operating revenue per available seat mile (RASM) increased 2.7% year-over-year to 9.98 cents.

Operating expenses for the quarter decreased 9.9%, or $79 million, over the prior year period. JetBlue's operating expense per available seat mile (CASM) for the first quarter decreased 4.8% year-over-year to 9.06 cents. Excluding fuel, CASM increased 8.9% to 6.36 cents.

Fuel Expense and Hedging

JetBlue modified its fuel hedge portfolio at the end of 2008. During the first quarter, approximately 9% of JetBlue's fuel consumption was hedged, resulting in a realized fuel price of $1.96 per gallon, a 25.9% decrease over first quarter 2008 realized fuel price of $2.65. JetBlue realized $56 million in fuel hedging losses during the first quarter.

"By restructuring our fuel hedge portfolio at the end of last year, we essentially prepaid a portion of our 2009 fuel expense during 2008," said Ed Barnes, JetBlue's CFO. "As a result, we realized significant cash savings from lower fuel prices during the first quarter."

JetBlue has hedged approximately 8% of its remaining projected fuel requirements for 2009. JetBlue expects an average price per gallon of fuel, including the impact of hedges, of $1.93 in the second quarter and $1.90 for the full year 2009. At the end of the first quarter, JetBlue had posted approximately $63 million in cash collateral with fuel hedge counterparties related to its remaining 2009 fuel hedge contracts.

Balance Sheet Update

JetBlue ended the first quarter with approximately $634 million in cash and cash equivalents. In addition, JetBlue had $221 million of auction rate securities, net of unrealized losses, at the end of the quarter. JetBlue recorded an $8 million accounting charge in the first quarter to reflect a decline in the market value of some of its auction rate securities. The accompanying financial tables contain further information regarding this charge.

Effective January 1, 2009, JetBlue adopted FASB Staff Position APB 14-1, Accounting for Convertible Debt Instruments That May Be Settled in Cash upon Conversion (Including Partial Cash Settlement), or FSP APB 14-1. This FSP required a change in accounting for certain of JetBlue's convertible debt instruments, resulting in the reclassification of a portion of them to equity and a higher effective interest rate in prior periods. JetBlue's results for all prior periods presented herein have been adjusted to include the impact of the adoption of this new standard.

"With our continued focus on generating positive free cash flow and maintaining financial strength, we believe we are well positioned to address today's recessionary environment," said Barnes. "Despite the economic environment, we expect to earn a profit every quarter this year, which is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our outstanding crewmembers."

Second Quarter and Full Year Outlook

Looking ahead, for the second quarter of 2009, JetBlue expects to report an operating margin between eight and ten percent. Pre-tax margin for the quarter is expected to be between one and three percent. PRASM is expected to decrease between two and five percent year over year. RASM is expected to decrease between zero and three percent year over year. CASM is expected to decrease between six and eight percent over the year-ago period. Excluding fuel, CASM in the second quarter is expected to increase between 15 and 17 percent year over year. Capacity is expected to decrease between one and three percent in the second quarter and stage length is expected to decrease roughly seven percent over the same period last year.

For the full year 2009, JetBlue expects to report an operating margin between 11 and 13 percent. Pre-tax margin for the full year is expected to be between four and six percent. PRASM for the full year is expected to decrease between one and four percent year over year. RASM for the full year is expected to increase between one and negative two percent year over year. CASM for the full year is expected to decrease between eight and ten percent over full year 2008. Excluding fuel, CASM in 2009 is expected to increase between nine and 11 percent year over year. Capacity for the full year 2009 is expected to be in a range of negative one to positive one percent compared to 2008 and stage length is expected to decrease about four percent over full year 2008.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

JetBlue discussion brewing at Beer & Politics

LONG BEACH - The future of JetBlue at Long Beach Airport is on tap at next week's Beer & Politics gathering.

The airline's CEO has complained about the pace of terminal and parking improvements at Long Beach Airport, but the process has been slowed by a lawsuit, environmental reviews and strong public interest. The company says that it was promised better facilities when it became the airport's largest tenant nine years ago.

Council members Gary DeLong and Tonia Reyes Uranga and Airport Director Mario Rodriguez are due to participate. Beer & Politics is at 7 p.m. April 28 at Gallagher's Pub & Grill, 2751 E. Broadway. Go to

- John Canalis

(Press Telegram)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tusday 4-21-09

USAF Lockheed C-130H2 89-9101 (c/n 5216) departed LGB at 2:54pm.

Boeoing C-17A Globemaster III 96-0002 (P-34) "Spirit of the Air Force" with the 437th AW was damaged as a result of a wheels-up landing at Bagram airfield, Afghanistan Jan 30, 2009 and is now parked in front of building 98 beneath the tower.

Allegiant Air MD-87 N945MA arrived as AAY5211 from Laughlin/Bullhead Intl (KIFP) at 4:40pm. The plane ferried back to Laughlin/Bullhead Intl (KIFP) as AAY5212 at 5:10pm.

Alaska Airlines 737-700 N613AS arrived at LGB in the early evening and broke. The linkage for the inboard flap broke after departure from SEA when the flaps were being retracted. This caused the plane to want to roll slightly to the left and the pilots thought it was a trim issue. When the F/O was doing his post flight walk around at LGB, he discovered the inboard flap down about 20 degrees and the broken linkage inside. Since both LAX and SEA MX did not have this part, it would come from Boeing and be flown down in the morning.

Monday 4-20-09

A C-130H2 arrived from Edwards AFB and was parked at the north blast wall run up area. The aircraft actually broke down when it arrived here. The USAF serial number is 89-9101 (c/n 5216) from Maxwell AFB Reserve 908th Airlift Wing. A Second C-130 was also suppose to arrive but it broke down at Edwards. The planes are scheduled maintenance as part of the Avionics Modernization Program by Boeing.

Long Beach Grand Prix Aircraft

Below are some of the tail numbers and aircraft that were here for the Grand Prix race over the weekend. Thanks to Myron for the information.

N500PR CRJ-900
N1RL CRJ-900
N502RP G-150
N500CG LEAR 45
N484T CESSNA 750
N585T CESSNA 750

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Future of Long Beach Airport Needs Leadership

I would like to invite you to follow this link, fill in a few blanks, which will cause your letter to be printed off and sent directly to the Mayor of Long Beach and City Council before this Tuesday's Council meeting.

It takes about 30 seconds to do, and will make a huge statement that the city and the visitors to the city's airport, have had enough and are ready to take action.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday 4-19-09

Allegiant Air MD-87 N945MA arrived as AAY5194 from Laughlin/Bullhead Intl (KIFP) at 5:52pm. The plane departed back to Laughlin/Bullhead Intl (KIFP) as AAY5195 at 7:06pm.

A UPS 767-300ER arrived as UPS912 from Phoenix Sky Harbor Intl (KPHX) at 6:05pm. It's odd that UPS brings in a 767 on a Sunday. ABX used to do it when they flew here in the past.

McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51 N682RW arrived at 7:56pm from Boeing Field Intl (KBFI) and parked at AirFlite. The plane brought in the Detroit Tigers baseball team who have a 3 game series against the Angels.

Tail numbers noted at Gulfstream: N511QS, 165094 (US Navy C-20G)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday 4-18-09

Four Northrop T-38C Talons did a flyover at LGB and then landed at 1:43pm. The airplanes parked at Signature and are going to do a flyover at the Long Beach Grand Prix tomorrow. The airplanes are from the 12th Flying Training Wing at Randolph AFB, Texas and have a tail code of RA.

Tail numbers noted at Gulfstream: N506QS

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Chamber campaigns for JetBlue

By Paul Eakins, Staff Writer
Posted: 04/14/2009 10:34:36 PM PDT

LONG BEACH - The Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce has started a letter-writing campaign to put pressure on city officials and keep JetBlue at Long Beach Airport.

The effort is in response to news this month that JetBlue CEO Dave Barger isn't happy with the lack of progress on terminal improvements at the airport and might consider leaving Long Beach. City officials say the improvement project, which also includes a new parking garage, has been slowed by public opposition and lawsuits.

But Chamber President and CEO Randy Gordon said the city needs to move things along, and quickly.

"We want to send out the message that we're very concerned about JetBlue, and we certainly do not want to lose a great airline, an award- winning airline, that has made a substantial investment here over the years and has been an economic driver for this community," Gordon said Tuesday.

JetBlue has been flying out of Long Beach since 2000, employs 600 people locally and is the largest airline at the airport.

On Monday, Gordon posted a statement outlining the chamber's concerns with a link to a form letter that he hopes chamber members and the the public will sign in support of city action.

The statement and letter are available at

Gordon said he already has received 132 letters, and not all of them are from chamber members or even Long Beach residents. Some are from area Long Beach Airport users who simply want JetBlue to stay, he said.

Gordon said he plans to send the letters to Mayor Bob Foster and the City Council before next Tuesday's meeting.

The council isn't necessarily at fault, he said, but action is needed now.

"We're not trying to place blame here because we don't know exactly where the blame goes," Gordon said.

However, some of that blame could be leveled at the Long Beach Unified School District and its Parent-Teacher Association, which filed lawsuits in 2006 contesting the city's environmental impact report on the planned airport improvements. The two groups said the report didn't take into account the effect of airport noise on nearby schools.

A judge ruled over a year ago in favor of the city, but the PTA appealed the ruling. The case will be heard April 27, after which, city officials have indicated, the airport improvements should be able to begin.

However, how the terminal improvements would be funded is still up in the air, as airport officials have been reluctant to raise passenger fees. A parking fee hike already has been implemented to pay for the new parking garage.

Gordon recognized these delays have been a factor, but said Barger's comments show there is a real possibility that JetBlue could leave.

"All we know is that this thing has taken a long time," Gordon said.

"We'd just like to see some progress being made."

(Press Telegram)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Moving Planes

There was not much to report this weekend so I took a few photos while moving a plane or two.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The overlong JetBlue story

Is a promise a promise? Only if an airport owner means it.

In the long-running saga of JetBlue Comes to Long Beach, see if you can tell who's in the right.

The airline's CEO says nine years is too long to wait for Long Beach to live up to its promises, and the company might move its flights to LAX. Long Beach officials say the airline's CEO should have aired his recent complaints at City Hall rather than in an online interview, that the city is moving as fast as possible, and anyway, those promises weren't in writing.

So both sides are right, factually. But this isn't about facts so much as feelings. Former Councilman Mike Donelon gets it right, in a letter to the editor elsewhere on this page, when he says the city has treated JetBlue like a wet dog. The current councilman from North Long Beach, Val Lerch, also got it right Tuesday when he said "... it is time we send a message to other business enterprises that we are a city that keeps its promises."

No, the promises weren't in a contract, but they were promises. And yes, the JetBlue CEO could have been more deferential toward Long Beach, but why should he? And yes, JetBlue could move its flights to LAX if there were a strong business reason, but no, that time isn't now, because its Long Beach flights are heavily booked and its Long Beach passengers, despite the jerry-rigged temporary facilities, love flying out of Long Beach.

Is there any more to say? Actually yes, Long Beach needs to be cautious about raising fees to pay off loans to finance airport expansion and a new parking structure. But even that is overstated, since Long Beach fees are a bargain compared to elsewhere (and when was the last time you heard a passenger complain about an airport fee?).

A lot of people are being defensive here, except of course for JetBlue's plain-spoken CEO, Dave Barger, who has no need to be. As Lerch and Councilman Gary DeLong have said, it's time to get past the excuses and get on with the project. Even the most ardent foes of airport expansion prefer JetBlue and its relatively new and quiet jets to the odd assortment of airlines that have come and gone, including a fair number that are gone for good.

Enough verbiage. More action, please.

Of course City Hall first has to dispose of an appeal by the Long Beach Parent- Teacher Association of a misguided lawsuit that likely will produce nothing more than still another delay.

Rep. Richardson pushes for C-17

CONGRESS: She wants military budget to include Boeing plane.
By John Canalis and Gene Maddaus, Staff Writers

Back in Washington, D.C., after a diplomatic trip to Cuba, U.S. Rep. Laura Richardson said Wednesday that she is fighting a Defense Department recommendation to end production of the Long Beach-built Boeing C-17 Globemaster.

The Long Beach Democrat, serving in the 37th District, had already met with Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., who chairs the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, about restoring funding recommendations for the military cargo plane.

"Just because (Defense Secretary Robert) Gates or the president does not initially put C-17s in the budget does not mean additional C-17s will not be funded," Richardson said of Pentagon proposals. "We're often left fighting and building the case of why the C-17 needs to continue, and I will continue the same efforts."

Though Gates and the Pentagon make recommendations on the military budget, Congress controls the purse strings. The C-17 has many high-profile supporters, including U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who chairs the Intelligence Committee and sits on the powerful Appropriations Committee.

The Obama administration has sent conflicting messages in regard to the cargo plan.

Though Gates is part of the cabinet, and finds the C-17 program outdated for the type of sporadic warfare the nation is likely to encounter in the future, President Obama expressed support for the C-17 program earlier this year on his administration Web site: "We need greater investment in advanced technology, ranging from the revolutionary, like Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and electronic warfare capabilities, to essential systems like the C-17 cargo and KC-X air refueling aircraft, which provide the backbone of our ability to extend global power," he wrote.

Richardson noted that the cargo aircraft has non-military uses, such as domestic and international relief operations.

Ceasing production and then trying to restart it when the military needs more planes is viewed as a risky proposition. Boeing has said in past years that if the C-17 line is closed, it will be closed for good.

"Building those planes is not something you can stop and start," Richardson said. "It's a billion-dollar affair to turn on the switch and turn off the switch."

Boeing Co. spokesman Jerry Drelling said the company is committed to the program but did not have any updates on its status with lawmakers.

"We really appreciate her support," he said of Richardson. "She has been a longtime supporter of the C-17."

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach, has also said he would go to bat for the C-17 in Washington. Rohrabacher's earmark requests for the 2010 federal budget include $4.2 billion for the C-17 program.

At stake are 5,000 jobs at the Long Beach Boeing plant and a network of 30,000 supplier jobs nationwide. An effort to extend the C-17 line, Boeing has been working to secure more international contracts. Some feared that the C-17 line would close this year, but the line will continue until at least August 2010, thanks to a $2.95 billion Air Force contract to build 15 more planes.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Council responds to JetBlue

AIRPORT: Mayor seeks `professional conduct' by carrier in expansion talks.
By Paul Eakins, Staff Writer

LONG BEACH - Mayor Bob Foster and some City Council members had strong words for JetBlue executives Tuesday as they discussed last week's news that the airline is unhappy with the lack of progress on planned improvements at Long Beach Airport.

Those news reports stemmed from comments made by JetBlue Chief Executive Officer Dave Barger in a blog that JetBlue might consider leaving Long Beach.

"Everyone wants to see a quality airport," Foster said. "I know the frustration. It probably has taken too long."

Then, speaking directly to several JetBlue representatives who were in the audience at City Hall, Foster continued: "The one thing I would ask for everybody involved in this is professional conduct. You're asking it from this council, I'm asking it from you.

"I would ask JetBlue, everyone from the CEO on down, let's conduct ourselves as real partners, as real professionals. If you have a problem, if you have an issue, bring it to my office or bring it to a council member's office, don't do it in the press."

The discussion began with a motion by Vice Mayor Val Lerch to have City Manager Pat West give a report to the council on the airport expansion's progress and timeline. Lerch too had strong words, though they were in support of JetBlue's position.

"We're a city that made a commitment. We're a city that made a promise and shook hands and wrote a contract with a business that wanted to operate in this city," Lerch said.

"After nine years, it is time that we start building the enhancement to the terminal ... it is time that we had adequate parking ... it is time that we send a message to other business enterprises that we are a city that keeps our promises."

Lerch said he would rather have a park in the middle of Long Beach than an airport, but since the airport is there, it should be the best possible.

"JetBlue is the devil that we know," Lerch said. "I'd much rather have JetBlue, the devil I know, than some other devil in here trying to break our noise bucket (the airport noise ordinance) over and over again."

But Bixby Knolls resident John Deats challenged whether the city had ever made an official agreement with JetBlue to improve the airport, an argument that Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske said she supported.

Lerch argued that by publicly planning the airport improvements and approving an environmental impact report for the project, Long Beach had signaled its intent to do the work.

Deats made another point with which Foster said he agreed - that Barger's comments would make the city's effort to finance bonds for the airport project more difficult.

Between $50 million and $65 million would be needed to expand the terminal from the current 56,320 square feet to 89,995 square feet, while another $65 million in bonds are needed to build a new parking garage, officials have said.

Councilwoman Rae Gabelich said the council hasn't dragged its feet on the project, which was proposed in 2002 and has taken many forms.

"I was concerned and upset really about the insinuation that this council has stymied the process," Gabelich said.

She noted that a lawsuit by Long Beach Unified School District and the Long Beach Parent-Teacher Association over the city's environmental report delayed the project.

A court ruled in the city's favor, but the PTA appealed the decision. The case will be heard April 27, after which West will present his report on the airport timeline, the council voted Tuesday.

The new airport director, Mario Rodriguez, said the city should be careful not to increase passenger fees during tough economic times in order to finance bonds for the improvements.

Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske said the council has been prudent to take its time on the project.

"It would be highly irresponsible of this council to move forward on anything until we have put together ... a way to finance the terminal expansion as well as the parking structure," Schipske said.

However, sharing Lerch's frustration, Councilman Gary DeLong said: "We've been in this nine years and we have yet to break ground on anything, not a terminal, not a garage, not a nothing."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Pentagon's aircraft shift may hurt LB

JOBS: With new budget priorities, 5,000 positions could be at stake.
By Muhammed El-Hasan, Staff Writer

Two major military aircraft programs that support thousands of Southern California jobs - including Boeing's Long Beach-based C-17 line - could lose their funding if Congress supports Pentagon budget priorities announced Monday.

A third program with a major local presence could see reduced funding, according to the Defense Department proposal.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the nation should stop pouring billions into the futuristic, super- expensive F-22 jet fighters and the C-17 Globemaster, a heavy-duty military transport plane.

He also recommended reduced funding for the F/A-18 Super Hornet. While assembled in St. Louis by Boeing Co., the Super Hornet's center and aft fuselage are made in El Segundo by Northrop Grumman Corp.

Boeing builds the C-17 in Long Beach with subcontractors in the South Bay. The F-22 and super Hornet also have local subcontractors.

The Pentagon, Gates said, wants to move away from both outdated weapons systems conceived in the Cold War and futuristic programs aimed at super-
sophisticated foes.

"We must rebalance this department's programs in order to institutionalize and finance our capabilities to fight the wars we are in today and the scenarios we are most likely to face in the years ahead," Gates said.

He also recommended expanding spending on equipment that targets insurgents, such as $2 billion more on surveillance and reconnaissance equipment. That would include funding for 50 new Predator drones such as those that have rained down missiles on militants hiding along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

With recession unemployment rising, Congress may balk at many of the cuts in Gates' proposed $534 billion budget for the coming year.

Still, despite all the talk of cuts, the total figure would rise from $513 billion for 2009, and Gates spoke of using money more wisely, not asking for less.

Gates' announcement may mean that the 5,000 jobs at the Long Beach plant (as well as its 30,000 suppliers) may be at risk, said Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

"This would represent a significant hit to the local economy if this comes to fruition," Kyser said. "And you have a down economy and you lay off people and that's just going to slow down the economy."

In an effort to extend the C-17 line, Boeing has been working to secure more international contracts. Some feared that the C-17 line would close this year, but the line will continue until at least August 2010, thanks to a $2.95 billion Air Force contract to build 15 more C-17s.

Some of the Pentagon's defense priorities go counter to those of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican whose district includes Long Beach. Rohrabacher's earmark requests for the 2010 federal budget include $4.2 billion for the C-17 program and $3.7 billion for more F-22s.

Rohrabacher said Monday that the C-17 and F-22 represent important programs "hiring thousands upon thousands of people, not only in Southern California, but elsewhere."

"I have recently visited Afghanistan and Iraq, and there's no doubt that the C-17 is a workhorse that enables our troops to get their job done and to be safe," Rohrabacher said. "And to cut the C-17 at a time when you're claiming to be concerned about jobs is absurd.

"At a time when the administration is basically supporting the spending of billions of dollars in the name of stimulating the economy and creating jobs, it's going to pull the plug on a program that already employs thousands and thousands of people. ... It totally reflects a distorted value system."

Gates says the Pentagon won't continue the F-22 program beyond 187 planes already planned. Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed, the nation's largest defense contractor, has said almost 95,000 jobs could be at stake.

While Lockheed Martin Corp. builds the F-22, nearly 380 companies in California supply the F-22 program.

The aircraft work amounts to annual revenue of about $575million for California contractors.

Gates also hopes to buy just 31 Super Hornets next year, down from 45 this year.

Tuesday 4-7-09

Gulfstream G450 N512RJ was towed from the Gulfstream paint shop to the Gulfstream ramp at 9:28pm.

Tail numbers noted on the Gulfstream ramp: N450AB, N4UB

Long Beach Aviation Friends Meeting April 8th

Hello to all of you. Just a reminder. Tomorrow Wednesday, April 8th, is our regular quarterly meeting. We have a very interesting program planned. Peggy Zaun, Customer and Aviation Relations Manager at AirFlite and Nancy Baggot – TSA, Federal Security Director have agreed to talk to us about their organizations and the impact on Long Beach Airport. And of course we will have our usual displays of airport history.

We had hoped that Mario Rodriguez, our new Airport Manager, would attend our meeting but out-of-town scheduling will not allow him to be there. He has assured us he plans to attend our July meeting.

Remember the meeting is tomorrow Wednesday, April 8, at 6:30 p.m. at AirFlite. Hope to see you all there.

Monday 4-6-09

Two Boeing F/A-18 Hornets landed at 5:55pm and parked at Signature. They departed at 10:30pm.

Tail numbers noted at Gulfstream: N7GU, N889TC

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Lazy Saturday

Since there was not a lot of activity, I had some time today to take the photos above.

Saturday 4-4-09

Sunrider Corp MD-87 N168CF (49670/1453) arrived at 12:13pm from Anchorage Intl (PANC) and parked at AirFlite.

Long Beach Airport improvements may not pan out as envisioned

Officials, under pressure from JetBlue, say money is a factor in planning.
By Paul Eakins, Staff Writer

LONG BEACH — Improvements at the Long Beach Airport could be scaled down or may be just done in phases, but they aren't going to be exactly what has been previously discussed, city officials said this week.

Following news Wednesday that JetBlue isn't happy with the lack of progress on the airport expansion, city officials revealed the facility may not even grow as much as planned.

Officials at JetBlue, which is the largest flight provider at the airport with 29 of 41 daily departure slots, have said they can't rule out leaving the airport altogether.

The City Council had certified an environmental impact report that allows the airport terminal to grow from 56,320 square feet to 89,995 square feet, but airport officials said they've been discussing scaling it down with the airlines. Efforts to improve the airport began in 2002 but have been stymied by public opposition, lawsuits and other challenges.

Council members Val Lerch, Dee Andrews and Gary DeLong have asked city staff for an update on the airport improvements at Tuesday's 5 p.m. council meeting in City Hall.

So, how big — or small — might the terminal improvements be?

"We don't know the exact size," airport spokeswoman Sharon Diggs-Jackson said. "The discussions are ongoing."

Christine Edwards, the Airport Operations Bureau manager, said characterizing the new airport plan as smaller is "premature." She said it may ultimately be completed in phases, rather than all at once. The chief concern, she said, is cost.

For the rest of the article, please go here:

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday 4-3-09

Gulfstream G450 N944AL (c/n 4124) was towed from the Gulfstream ramp to the Gulfstream paint shop at 10:52pm.

Gulfstream G550 N899SR was towed from the Gulfstream paint shop to the Gulfstream ramp at 10:57pm.

Tail numbers noted at Gulfstream: N808T

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Could JetBlue depart Long Beach Airport?

AIRLINE: Officials say the carrier is weary of airport improvements' slow pace.
By John Canalis and Paul Eakins, Staff Writers

LONG BEACH - Citing frustrations with the slow pace of improvements at Long Beach Airport, a JetBlue executive said Wednesday that the airline cannot rule out leaving or reducing services at the city-owned airport.

Company spokeswoman Jenny Dervin said the carrier is not formally considering leaving the airport but that "everything is on the table," as it evaluates its Southern California strategy.

"It's fair to say that we love Long Beach," she said of JetBlue's West Coast hub, "and we love Long Beach as much as our customers do, and as much as our employees, and we want it to work, and if it doesn't, we'll have to make a decision."

Dervin said the carrier has grown weary of the pace of improvements at the city-owned airport. The company wants a new terminal - though the city is considering scaling back the 89,000-square-foot expansion proposal - to replace temporary trailers and a new parking structure.

"Our expectations were that Long Beach would absolutely be a JetBlue anchor for our West Coast operations, and all of the things that are associated with that - first-class terminal, parking for our customers and the ability to grow responsibly and have a great community partner," Dervin said of when JetBlue began service at the airport in 2000. "What we have today is barely better than what we started with."

At the same time, she said, the company is "highly committed to staying in Long Beach and making it what was promised to us when we arrived there."

Several city officials said they had not been told that JetBlue is weighing its regional strategy and that the approval and funding processes for the parking lot and terminal are indeed moving forward, albeit slowly.

For the rest of the article, please go here:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

JetBlue says "More Than The Other Guys!"

Building on the "welcome aboard" advertising campaign, JetBlue has now been welcoming everyone aboard who wants more from an airline and now is advertising that they give you more comfort, more free entertainment and more customer satisfaction for free than any other airline. "More Than The Other Guys" is competitive and clear, focusing on what consumers want right now – value and more for their money. Above are two ads that have been run in newspapers, on billboards and busstops as well.

Polls Are Now Closed

The voting period for the two polls on here have closed. Here are the results based on your votes:

What commuter airline would you like to see serve LGB next?

1. Horizon Airlines - 55%
2. Continental Express - 33%
3. Lynx Aviation - 11%
4. Midwest Connect - 0%

What new city would you like to see served from Long Beach?

1. Denver - 45%
2. New Orleans - 27%
3. Anchorage -1%
Reno - 1%
Tampa - 1%
6. Monterrey - 0%

Stay tuned for new polls to come!