Alaska Airlines and JetBlue interested in buying Virgin America

The low cost airline has put itself up for sale and offers by the two airlines are due by the end of this week. A preferred buyer could appear really soon, but a final deal will take longer to complete.

Image Copyright: Virgin America

Virgin America, a subsidiary of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, has been operating since 2007, but has been profitable since the last two years: it reported earnings of $201.5 million in 2015. Its homebase is at San Francisco International, mostly operating flights between the west and east coast of the US.
An acquisition by JetBlue would mean that the airline would expand its network on the west coast, particularly in Los Angeles and San Francisco, eliminating a competitor on lucrative trans-American routes and complementing their hub at New York’s JFK airport.

Image copyright: JetBlue

If the airline merged with Alaska Airlines, it would mean that Alaska could be able to expand their network in Mexico and eliminate a competitor on the West Coast.
Image copyright: Alaska Airlines

The analyst Helene Becker told Bloomberg that a merger with “JetBlue would make the most sense from an aircraft, network and product offering perspective”. An example is that both JetBlue and Virgin America only operate Airbus aircraft part of the A320 family, which means JetBlue wouldn’t need to train new crews to pilot the new planes. Alaska Airlines though, which only operates planes from the 737 family, would be forced to train new pilots for the new planes.
Bloomberg also reported that an undisclosed Asian customer might be interested in purchasing Virgin America, though it would mean it had to partner with a US bidder under foreign ownership rules governing US airlines.


Norwegian launches their third route to Las Vegas

Norwegian has announced that from the first of November they will start flying between Oslo and the gambling capital, Las Vegas. Norwegian currently flies to Las Vegas from Copenhagen and Stockholm and is starting this route due to large amounts of demand for the route to be flown from Norway too. The route will be flown once a week, on Tuesdays, and will be served with their smaller 787-8 Dreamliner.

Norwegian is also doubling the number of weekly flights between Oslo and Los Angeles, which will now be flown twice weekly, also with their 787-8.

Image Copyright: Norwegian Air Shuttle


Airplane crashes in Îles-de-la-Madeleine

Image Copyright: Annie Corriveau/Radio-Canada

An American-registered airplane has crashed in Îles-de-la-Madeleine (also known as the Magdalan Islands). There are no survivors.

The aircraft was carrying 7 passengers. One of them being Jean Lapierre, who was a Canadian television broadcaster and a former federal politician. No further information has been released at the time and the cause of the crash is unknown. The region had heavy fog and frozen rain at the time of the crash, several flights had been cancelled due to the weather conditions.

The aircraft was a Mitsubishi MU-2B-60 from 1982, registered as N246W.

Malaysia Airlines will reactivate one 747

Malaysia Airlines will bring back their Queen of the Skies again due to a shortage of planes capable of flying nonstop to Europe. Their current fleet dedicated to Europe consists of 4 A380s, which all serve their Kuala Lumpur – London/Heathrow route. After retiring their 777s and dedicating the 2 other A380s for pilgrim charter flights to Saudi Arabia, extra fleet capacity in the airline is tight. When their A380 enters maintenance next month, the 747 will take over as the 4th long haul aircraft.

A picture from reveals that the 747 is being repainted with a special Malaysia Airlines “retro” livery. Image copyright: M. Sofian

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