Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2015: 242,760
2014: 363,407
Total: 1,164,361






Thoughts on the U.S. Export-Import Bank Shutdown and Why it Matters

Boeing is one of the largest exporters of anything in the United states in terms of dollar value - Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Boeing is one of the largest exporters of anything in the U.S. in terms of dollar value – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Before their summer recess, the U.S. Congress didn’t get many things finished; some would say intentionally. Most crucial for those of us in the aviation realm is the “sunsetting” of the U.S. Export-Import Bank. What is this bank, exactly? Well, it’s almost more of an underwriter.

Founded in 1934 by executive order, but affirmed into its own agency by law in 1945, the Export-Import Bank of the United States exists to offer insurance, loan guarantees, and other financial products to foreign customers. Why? Well, the goal of the bank is to provide American jobs and revenue to American companies while selling the goods abroad.

Screen shot of the bank's website taken on July 2, 2015

Screen shot of the bank’s website, taken on July 2, 2015

Who is America’s largest exporter in terms of real dollar value? Boeing!

What does Boeing do? Well, you are reading this site – you probably have an idea. Boeing, especially Boeing Commercial Aircraft, depends on the Export-Import bank to offer competitive financing rates to international customers. Or, if financing rates have already been obtained externally, offering an extra back stop for customers that do not have a long history of highly-rated credit.

The Ex-Im bank is not a lender of last resort – they are a paramount of financial virtue and do everything by the book. More importantly for those of us in America, they can sometimes offer better rates than the commercial markets in the name of continuing U.S. trade. Truly, to explain the Ex-Im bank’s importance would require a thesis-length article with lots of graphs. No one, but me, wants to read that. So let’s keep it simple, shall we?

Continue reading Thoughts on the U.S. Export-Import Bank Shutdown and Why it Matters

Growlers in the Pattern: EA-18s Practice Carrier Touch-and-Goes

An EA-18G Growler from VAQ-129 climbs out of NOLF Coupeville in Full Afterburner

An EA-18G Growler from VAQ-129 climbs out of OLF Coupeville in full afterburner

Picture this: the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and yellow dandelions are beginning to bloom in the green grass.  Sounds pretty good, right?  As AvGeeks, what could make this better?  Well, how about the sound of jets?  Not just any jets but fast moving jets, the kind that are flown by the U.S. Navy.

Interested?  You might want to head about 90 minutes northwest of Seattle and check out the NOLF (aka OLF) Coupeville. I recently got to experience all of the above, and more, and figured I should share what I experienced.

Continue reading Growlers in the Pattern: EA-18s Practice Carrier Touch-and-Goes

Going Above & Beyond: Taking a Flight to Nowhere to Check out Alaska Airlines’ Passenger Product

It's not every day that you see any sort of 737 in the Museum of Flight parking lot. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

It’s not every day that you see any sort of 737 in the Museum of Flight parking lot – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Over the past few years, Alaska Airlines has been making gradual enhancements to its overall product. New seats from Recaro, in-seat power, Wi-Fi from Gogo, Starbucks coffee, and tablet-based in-flight entertainment (IFE). These improvements have all come together to create a product Alaska is calling Alaska Beyond. The most noticeable addition to their product is improving upon their dining options.

To complete the Alaska Beyond project (the last few aircraft will be reconfigured by the end of April), Alaska decided to have a party. Now, that’d be great on its own, but they made it even more impressive by taking a 737-990ER (N462AS, if you wondered) out of service for a day, and gave a two-hour demonstration of the product in flight. Who was to attend? Well, media, stakeholders in the Alaska Beyond product (including Tom Douglas, three-time James Beard award-winning chef), and Alaska’s 0.01% top-tier frequent flyers.

Woodinville Winery, Chateau Ste. Michelle has formed a new partnership with Alaska Airlines. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Seattle-area winery Chateau Ste. Michelle has formed a new partnership with Alaska Airlines – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Inside the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field, Alaska got the party started with wine from their newest partner, Chateau Ste. Michelle, along with Beecher’s cheese.

After enjoying the ground party, we were ready to head into the sky. We began to head back to the parking lot (yes, the parking lot) to embark on our flight.

Continue reading Going Above & Beyond: Taking a Flight to Nowhere to Check out Alaska Airlines’ Passenger Product

“France is in the Air” Inaugural Flight to Vancouver

Air France's inaugural Paris to Vancouver flight touches down on YVR's  Rwy 08L, just after noon on a rainy Sunday.

Air France’s inaugural Paris to Vancouver flight touches down on YVR’s Rwy 08L, just after noon on a rainy Sunday

C’est magnifique! Air France’s first flight to Vancouver International Airport (YVR) touched down in a huge spray of water on a soggy Sunday afternoon. The Boeing 777-200ER landed on YVR’s Runway 08L, after a nearly ten-hour flight from Paris – Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG).

This inaugural flight ran a bit late, arriving at 12:04 PM. The normal schedule has Flight AF374 departing CDG at 10:35 AM, arriving YVR at 11:50 AM, the same day. The return flight, Flight AF379, leaves YVR at 1:55 PM, and arrives CDG at 8:35 AM the following morning.

Flags flying from the cockpit, AF374 taxiies to the gate at YVR.

Flags flying from the cockpit, AF374 taxiies to the gate at YVR

After touchdown, the 777 received a special escort by YVR’s emergency services along Taxiway Mike, before having the traditional “new airline water cannon salute” from two fire trucks. Mind you, with the monsoon-like rain, it was tough to see the water arch!

Then, with Canadian and French flags flying from the cockpit windows, AF374 taxiied to Gate 65 at YVR’s International Terminal.

Continue reading “France is in the Air” Inaugural Flight to Vancouver

Ryanair to Fly Across the Atlantic? Using Which Aircraft?

A Ryanair 737 taxis for a test flight at Boeing Field. Photo - Andrew W. Sieber FlickerCC

A Ryanair 737 taxis for a test flight at Boeing Field – Photo: Andrew W. Sieber | FlickerCC

Ryanair might soon start trans-Atlantic flights, but what does it mean?

At face value, this may seem like an earthshaking headline; after all, Ryanair has been either threatening or strongly implying that they will fly from various European airports to the United States.

But again, the truth is always in the details. Yes, Ryanair will be arriving on U.S. soil, but not tomorrow — not even next year. You see, the exact wording of the approval came in the form as part of their five-year plan.

Continue reading Ryanair to Fly Across the Atlantic? Using Which Aircraft?