Friday, September 30, 2011

Allegiant To Discontinue Long Beach Flights

After about 18 months of offering flights out of Long Beach Airport, Allegiant Air will make its final departure from the city Nov. 3.

The change opens up three air carrier flight slots out of the 41 available at the airport. Airport Director Mario Rodriguez said airport staff have already reached out to other airlines and expect to fill Allegiant's slots right away.

"We have more demand than space," Rodriguez said. "When we made calls to airlines, everybody wants those slots because they are a valued commodity."

One of the four airlines already serving Long Beach - Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue or US Airways - could use the slots, or Rodriguez said a new airline could be introduced at the airport. Staff is working now to get the word out about the vacancy and have one or more airlines ready to fill the three slots as soon as Allegiant departs.

News of Las Vegas-based Allegiant's move out of Long Beach Airport comes after Frontier Airline's final departure from Long Beach in April this year. Both Allegiant and Frontier first began serving Long Beach in the spring of 2010.

Rodriguez said Allegiant's decision to cease operations in Long Beach might in part be due to competition from JetBlue. Both airlines offer flights between Long Beach and Las Vegas.

"Allegiant was focusing more and more on Vegas, and JetBlue has a strong presence from here to Vegas," he explained. "Although load factors were high for both airlines, they were competing."

The airport director said Allegiant, which sells airline tickets as well as travel packages, has a different business model than other airlines, and that Allegiant has had a tendency in the past to pull in and out of airports.

Rodriguez said the silver lining of Allegiant leaving Long Beach is that the loss will not mean a loss in destinations offered by Long Beach Airport because Allegiant's routes to Las Vegas will be available through JetBlue.

"We are not going to have any routes changed because we still have flights to Las Vegas," he said. "In fact, now we have the capability of acquiring more destinations than we do now... We will be able to provide more choices and service to new cities."

Rodriguez added that the market in Long Beach is strong and appealing to many airlines. Passenger seat totals from Long Beach Airport have increased by 4% since last year, despite declining trends at other airports.

Another possible benefit to Allegiant leaving Long Beach is that another airline with newer, more environmentally friendly (and perhaps quieter) airplanes may use the slots. Rodriguez said Allegiant's MD-80 fleet consists of more vintage airplanes than some other carriers.

It is unclear if Allegiant, which has expressed interest in offering flights someday between Long Beach and Hawaii, would be interested in returning to Long Beach Airport in the future. Allegiant officials were not available for comment before press time.

Rodriguez said that even if Allegiant isn't the one offering flights to Hawaii in the future, he believes another airline will someday add that route.

Allegiant customers who have purchased tickets or have questions about the change should visit the company's website

(By Ashleigh Oldland - Gazette Newspapers Long Beach California)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Long Beach Hoping To Capture 737-MAX Production

If we'd been around at the time, we would have found Daugherty Field just about the most exciting place imaginable. This was where young pilots in rickety flying machines created an environment that changed aviation history.

That dirt field evolved into the home airport for Douglas Aircraft, which went on to build some of the world's most celebrated airplanes. After a merger with Boeing, the last of the commercial jets, the 717, left the Long Beach assembly lines five years ago, and only the C-17 military airlifter remains in production.

But the manufacture of commercial planes could return to Southern California once again if the Boeing Co., against some considerable odds, chooses the former 717 facility for its expansion plans.

The company needs to refurbish or otherwise create an assembly plant to turn out an updated version of its enormously successful 737. The new model, to be called the 737 MAX, will have new, more efficient engines and other improvements, and be ready for delivery probably in 2014.

Ramping up will require an expanded and refurbished assembly plant, either in Renton, Wash., where the 737 is assembled now, or in another location, such as the million-square-foot 717 facility. The company is assessing which location would make the most business sense.

To their credit, members of the Long Beach City Council decided Tuesday to do everything possible to persuade Boeing that bringing commercial aviation back to Long Beach also is in the company's interest. Also to their credit, they seem determined not to politicize the process.

That's a challenge, since several are busily campaigning for higher office. But it's important, because companies looking for investment opportunities count political dysfunction on the negative side of the ledger.

Boeing already has about 500 orders for the new model, and plans to get as much as half of a market for that size plane which, at $78 million each for the next 20 years, could be worth a trillion dollars.

That's a lot, even for Boeing, and it is very far removed from the air-show days of long ago at Daugherty Field. But how fitting it would be to bring that business home.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday 9-26-11

TY Air Inc 737-7AH N888TY (c/n 29749/456) BBJ arrived from Santa Barbara Municiple Airport (KSBA) at 8:55am and parked at Signature. The plane departed at 10:13am headed to Yuma Mcas/Yuma Intl (KNYL) .

Zero-G 727-227 N794AJAdv(F) (c/n 21243/1197) arrived yesterday from Ellington Field (KEFD) at 10:18am and parked at AirFlite. The plane departed this morning on a flight at 11:06am.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

3 New Puma Helicopters to Replace Aging LASD Sikorskys

The Sheriff's have replaced their Sikorsky Sea King helicopters with three new AS 332 L1 Super Puma helicopters. They will also be replacing their twelve Eurocopter Astar 350 helicopters with new ones.

Details can be read here:

Delta to bring A319 to LGB

As of 11/6, Delta will be switching out their CRJ-900 and replacing it with an A319 once a day. The other flights(which are currently utilizing the CRJ-200) will be upgraded to the CRJ-700.

Wednesday 8-31-11

A Convair 580 belonging to C&M Airways arrived at 1:16pm from El Paso Intl (KELP) and parked at Signature. The plane departed at 5:07pm to Kansas City Intl (KMCI).

About 5:15pm a Boeing V-22 Osprey did a fly-by down rwy 30.