Details On The Boeing KC-46A and 787 Systems



Italian KC-767 Refueling a USAF B-52

The KC-46A proposal from Boeing to the US Air Force is based on the civilian Boeing 767-200ER (Extended Range variant with additional fuel tanks generally installed at the expense of cargo carrying capabilities). The passenger variant first delivered in 1984 equipped with either 2 x Pratt and Whitney PW 4062 (with 63,000 pounds of thrust) engines, 2 x GE CF6-80C2B6F (rated at 60,000 pounds thrust) or 2 x CF6-80C2B7F. Department Of Defense In various Statements Of Objectives communications to suppliers,the Department Of defense indicated that basic airframes would be delivered minus specific components; such as the Large Aircraft Infrared Counter-Measures (LAIRCM), the Guardian Laser Transmitter Assemblies (GLTA) and the Wing Refueling Pods. The basic unencumbered airframe with protective covers on all fuselage subsystems attachment points will be in fact very much like a basic 767-200. Various Boeing provided artist’s renderings of the KC-46A show the aircraft with aerodynamic Blended Winglets from Boeing Aviation Partners. These lift devices attach to the tip of the aircraft wings and provide aerodynamics efficiency by basically extending the length of the wings. They provide very low cost performance improvements on aircraft without structural modifications or major system re-design. Naturally these systems are proliferating with airlines because of the cost savings in fuel consumption (frequent visitors to Newark airport KEWR will notice the winglets on Continental Airlines Boeing 767, 757 and 737) . Boeing Aviation Partners have obtained Supplemental Type Certificates for modifying Boeing 737-300, 737-500, 737-900, 757-200, 757-300, 767-300ER and 767-300ERF with the blended winglets. They are marketed as Buyer Furnished Equipment (BFE) or Seller Purchased Equipment (SPE) for installation during aircraft production. We have not however been able to identify Boeing 767-200 series Supplemental Type Certificate for the Boeing Aviation Partners Blended Winglets with Federal Aviation Administration at this point.

Center Line Refueling Boom

The most significant airframe modification on the KC-46A is the installation of the FRU (Fuselage Refueling Unit) housing; the pressurized cabin used the boom operator. The centerline flight refueling boom that terminates the boom operator cabin uses fly-by-wire V-tail ‘ruddervators’. This advanced technology (5th generation according to Boeing) is supplemented by camera systems available to the boom operator delivers a greater precision across a wider envelope of flight parameters. We anticipate that the primary supplier of boom refueling kits for the KC-767 International Tanker (and also the KC-10A program ) ; UK-based Smiths Aerospace has been acquired by General Electric in January 2007 and currently operate as part of General Electric Aircraft Systems.

Hose Drum Units (HDU).

The KC-46A HDUs hose and basket systems allow compatibility with NATO aircraft (Eurofighter Typhoon, Tornado family, Rafale, Saab Gripen etc..) and US Navy and Marine Corps ( V-22 Osprey, F-18E/F etc..). The KC-46A is set to be operating one centerline hose that is retractable using a pulley systems, and according to DoD’s Statements Of Objectives two optional wing mounted systems provided as kits including two pods, two pylons (one pylon per pod), and associated hardware required to install the pods on the aircraft (e.g., pod-to-aircraft harness assemblies, o-rings, gaskets, bolt). On February 24th 2011, Cobham Plc. A United Kingdom supplier of aerospace and defense systems announced that it had been selected by Boeing to supply 30 pairs of wing mounted aerial refueling pods as well as all the centerline drogue systems covering the 179 projected KC-46A. Components will be manufactured at Cobham Mission Equipment Division facility at Davenport, Iowa.

Counter Measures and Defensive Systems

The sensitive nature of military systems installed on the KC46A makes it very difficult to identify key components and capabilities, however the Air Force Request For Proposals documents describe the presence of passive and active defensive countermeasures. A full suite of Directional Infrared Counter Measure (DIRCM) systems providing advanced protection against Infra Red targeting systems such as MANPAD ( Man Portable Air Defense Systems). The suite comprises 3 turrets attached to the fuselage that provide Large Aircraft Infra Red Counter Measures (LAIRCM) Defensive Systems and also supplemented by Guardian Laser Transmitter Assemblies (GLTA). These systems will be provided by Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation, Electronic Systems, Land and Self Protection Systems Division, Rolling Meadows, IL.

We also identify integrated defensive systems of a more passive nature as their sole role is to provide the crew with enhanced tactical information in order to improve survivability. These systems include SA (situational awareness) tactical displays incorporating Radio Frequency based enemy detection systems, IFF (Identification Friends or Foes), tactical data link and Aircrew Laser Eye Protection (ALEP).

Electrical Systems

Boeing main marketing pitch to the Air Force was that although The Boeing 767 was originally conceived in 1978, the newer tanker would nonetheless benefit from all the technological advances that have been realized by the manufacturer. In 2003 during the initial phase of the RFP the highly successful Boeing 777 was the most advanced Boeing commercial aircraft ever. However the 777 has been supplanted by the revolutionary 787. Logically we have turned to the 787 program in order to uncover some of the core systems that will deliver value to the Air Force. What we have found is that the Boeing 787 electrical systems are built to provide efficiency and passenger comfort to an unprecedented levels. We are therefore convinced that the passenger transport requirement on the KC-46A does not justify the level of technological advances (and probably cost) introduced with the Boeing 787. However we are convinced that Boeing will still turn to its main 787 electrical systems supplier Hamilton Sundstrand for at least part of the Tanker main electrical system.

-Auxiliary Power System (APS)

-Environmental Control System (ECS)

-nitrogen generation system (NGS)

-Electrical Power Generating and Start System (EPGSS)

and Remote Power Distribution system (RPDS)

These subsystems would be assembled at Hamilton Sundstrand APSIF (Airplane Power Systems Integration Facility) in Rockford, Illinois alongside 787 major electrical systems.

Avionics Systems (We Are Revealing The Boeing 787 And 747-8 Entire Suite Of Avionics As They Apply In Part To The KC-46A)

We are now revealing what we thinks is a very complete list of the Boeing 787 Avionics systems.

We believe that successful Federal Aviation Administration certifications for the 787 program will make it possible to integrate most of the same systems in the KC-46A, as well as the 747-8. In that way Boeing will only have to receive one set of certifications for 3 different models. This approach will also guarantee that although based on a 1970 era design the KC-46A will be a state-of-the-art aircraft delivering strong value to the Air Force and the taxpayers.

We identify Rockwell Collins as the main avionics systems supplier on the 787 and thus 747-8 and KC-46A programs. We observe that the Boeing 787 (and therefore the KC-46A) uses 4 x 15,1” LCD AFD dashboard navigation displays and 1 x 15.1” look-down display on the main center console while

the Boeing 747-8 will have a 5 x 15.1” LCD AFD main dashboard navigation displays plus another look-down 15.1” navigation display supplemented by 3 x TCP-2100 smaller display on the center console almost identical to the Boeing 787.

Boeing photo.The 787 full-flight simulator shown here is one of two located at the Boeing Flight Services Seattle training campus

787 Display and Crew Alerting Hardware

-Four Graphics Generator Module (GGM-2100).

-Five Adaptive Flight Displays (AFD-2100) are 15.1” LCD screen on the Boeing 787 glass cocpit

-Two Heads-Up Displays (HCU-2200 & HPU-2200)

-Two Multi-Function Keypads (MKP-2100)

-Two Cursor Control Devices (CCD-2100)

-Two Display Control Panel (DCP-2100).

-Two Remote Light Sensors (RLS-2100) The RLS senses ambient light allowing the AFD to compensate LCD brightness levels

787 Communication Sub Systems

-Two High Frequency Systems (HFS-900D)

-Two Couplers, HF (CPL-920D)

-Three very high frequency receivers (VHF-2100)

-Three very high frequency antennas (VHFA-2100)

-Two satellite receiver/transmitters (SRT-2100)
-Two High Gain Antennas (HGA-2100)

-Two Diplexer, Low Noise Amps (DLNA-2100)

-Two SATCOM HGA Antenna Adapter Plates (SAA)

-Three Tuning & Control Panels (TCP-2100)

787 Surveillance Subsystem

-two integrated surveillance systems (ISS-2100)

-one Alerting & Transponder Panel (ATP-2100).

-two Traffic System Antenna (TSA-2100)

-two antenna receiver/transmitter (RTM-2100)

-one antenna pedestal (DRV-2100)

-one antenna flat plate (WFA-701X).

787 Audio Subsystem

-three Audio Control Panels (ACP-2100)

-four Audio Jack Panels (AJP-2100)

-four Audio Gateway Units (AGU-2100)

-four Headsets (HDST-2100)

-two Flight Deck Speakers (SPKR-2100)

-Hand Microphone Jack Panel (HMJP)

787 Recorder Subsystem

-Two Enhanced Airborne Flight Recorder (EAFR-2100).

-One Recorder Independent Power Supply (RIPS-2100).

-One Area Microphone & Preamplifier (AMP-2100).

Under a rigorous and much disputed KC-X program, the Air Force has been able to decrease KC-46A unit cost to about $195 million. Our 2002 (year of the KC-X RFP) price list had the Boeing 767-200ER bracketed between $101 million and $112 million adjusting for inflation this price would be $242 million today.

Overall the selection of the KC-46A is characterized by tremendous reduction in program management risks thanks to the highly regraded Boeing 767 record. However significant difficulties have impacted the 787 program, bringing into question the maturity of both out-sourcing major technology component systems and its underlying management. Very recently the 787 testing and certification process seems to have regained momentum, auguring well for the KC-46A. Overall we are convinced that the KC-46A lower cost per unit and its commonality with airlines’ 767s is offering the Air Force the lowest possible cost alternative for replacing the KC-135 family. We are looking forward to the KC-Y program that will feature a replacement candidate for the robust USAF KC-10 fleet. We can anticipate that very strong proposals will come from the larger and incredibly successful Boeing 777 (now available as a-200 variant Long Range Freighter) or some sort of Boeing 787-9 derivative.

Boeing Awarded $35 Billion Contract To Build New Air Force Tanker

This picture shows a Royal Australian Air Force A330 MRTT whose KC45 variant just lost the competition to Boeing Company KC46A that will be based on a modernized Boeing 767.

Defense officials announced to day that the Boeing Company was being awarded the $30 Billion plus contract to build the US Air Force next tanker. The announcement was made February 24th,2011 at the pentagon in presence of Air Force Chief of Staff  General Norton A. Schwartz and deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III. The contract apportions initial $3.5 Billion for early engineering work and manufacture of four aircraft followed by another 14 aircraft by 2018 for a grand total of 179 aircraft.

Officials expressed confidence that the Boeing offering was superior to EADS proposition in delivering value to the tax payer and badly needed capabilities to the Air Force. The rigorous 372 mandatory requirement process finally determined that the KC46A variant of the Boeing 767 would become the US tanker of the future, to the detriment of EADS KC45 derived from the proven Airbus 330 MRTT solution.

A difficult contract.

On our April 20th 2010 General Accounting Office review, we observed that European company  EADS was entering the latest round of the competition on its own ( after having lost support form US based Northrop Grumman). At that point EADS was confident that a tanker platform based on the Airbus 330 MRTT (Multi Role Tanker Transport already flying with 4 air forces) could be built in a specially constructed manufacturing plant in Mobile, Alabama.

This latest announcement should mark the closing chapter for one of the most tumultuous Air Force acquisition program to date.  The program was first initiated in 2003 as an Air Force lease for 100 KC-767 from Boeing.  Allegations of corruption in the grossly overpriced contract involving Boeing executives led to criminal conviction and the first failure to find a new tanker. By February 2008, the EADS-Northrop  Grumman team had been officially awarded the contract that was overturned in June of  the same year after GAO determined that the Air Force had made errors during the bidding process. By spring of 2010 EADS had been left without its US partner Northrop Grumman to battle with Boeing.  In all likelihood the current ruling will survive an EADS challenge and the KC46A will become the Air Force tanker of the future relieving the dramatic operational shortcomings of the aging KC-135/KC-10 fleet.

Israel New UAV Presented To Defense Minister

Jerusalem Post reported visit of Ehud Barak Israel defense minister to IAI facility.

During a visit to Israel Aerospace Industries  on Tuesday February 22nd, 2011, defense minister Ehud Barak was introduced to IAI Malat (aviation products division) latest Unmanned Air Vehicle ‘The Ghost”. The new UAV design is a three feet long tandem twin rotors weighing less than nine pounds. The new UAV is said to be designed to provide ground commanders tactical reconnaissance functions in urban environment. Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) conducted within asymmetrical warfare concept make strenuous demands for real-time intelligence capabilities for ground commanders and tactical planners. The new vertical take-off and landing capable UAV is nimble enough to be able to enter windows of building’s upper floors. Ideally such systems would provide target acquisition for various tactical weapons as well as subsequent damage assessment. The urban warfare environment requires visual reconnaissance through optico electronics sensors of platoon, sections and individuals such as snipers, as well as locating crew-served and man-portable fire support (rocket launchers, mortars) and anti-aircraft systems.

Skymark Airlines To Acquire Four Airbus 380

The Tokyo-based low cost airlines is set to become the first japanese airline to operate the Airbus 380 super jumbo.The airline founded in 1998 operate a current fleet of 18 Boeing 737-800 out of Haneda (Tokyo International Airport). Its network comprises a integrated mesh network linking 13 destinations in Japan using Haneda and Kobe as main hubs. The contract was signed at Airbus Toulouse headquarter by Skymark Airlines President, Shinichi Nishikubo last Thursday, February 17th, 2011.

The airline will likely use the new Airbus 380 to start new international long haul service out of its base at Tokyo International. To date Singapore Airlines, Air France and Lufthansa. The Airbus 380 offers innovative airline economics as well as service differentiation. With a range of 8,300 nautical miles, and a double deck structure capable of accommodating between 525 passengers (in traditional three-class configuration) but up to  853 in a ultra high density single-class layout is highly valuable to Asia-Pacific operators.  In that region five additional airlines are awaiting delivery of their Airbus 380 aircraft; Asiana Airlines, China Southern, Korea Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and Thai Airways while Qantas and Singapore Airlines already operate them.

According to Airbus, total firm orders for the A380 stand at 244 from 19 customers worldwide and 43 aircraft have been delivered to five customers Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Air France, Qantas and Emirates Airlines.

Oil Prices Jumpy As Libya’s Situation Worsen

Mohamed Bouazizi
Mohamed Bouazizi

Oil markets appeared to enter a new cycle of volatility as tension is escalating in Libya the 17th world largest producer of oil with 1,789,160 barrels a day (source: US Department Of Energy year 2009). In London ICE early trading Monday morning, futures contract deliveries for April showed the Brent trading at $US 104.3 +1.7% . Growing concerns for instability in the middle and Libya’s internal situation taking a turn for the worst during the week end promises further volatility. The region sensitivity to popular uprisings that have already deposed two long servicing dictators and further threatening more nations is showing repercussions to financial markets. Sunday’s visit to Saudi Arabia by US Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Mullen points to shared concerns both in Washington and Riyadh.

In Libya the situation is headed towards another escalation of violence this Monday as various western nations have issued travel warnings to their citizens regarding the embattled country. Gaddafi’s son Saif al islam’s vow to ‘fight to the last man standing’ live on government television late Sunday night was clear indication of more violence in order to quell the seven days old uprising. To date the government had carried out a systematic massacre against protesters using a variety of military tactics employing sustained use of machine gun fire as well as snipers ambushes. The toll for these combined attacks is reported to have passed the 200s killed with injured approaching the 1,000.

Isolation and Chaos

However the Gaddafi clan appears even more isolated after a string of defections from Libya’s ambassadors in India and at the Arab League. More significantly the reported fall of Benghazi, Libya second largest town into protesters hands. Benghazi’s fall would confirm a shift of the army’s loyalty in favor of the protest movement. It has been very difficult from sketchy news accounts to ascertain the army’s disposition as most of the violence on the ground seems to have been attributed in larger numbers to various militias loyal to Gaddafi’s sons.

In any event the sightings of ‘black African mercenaries’ hired by Gaddafi massacring unarmed Libyan s are likely to force the army undoubtedly to the protesters side especially in a nation that has seen spats of racial violence against black African immigrants in the past.

The ‘black African mercenaries’.

We find that the appearance of ‘black mercenaries’ pro-Gaddafi militias is highly plausible as fellow African dictators would naturally support Colonel Gaddafi in light of long standing close relationships and mutual assistance. Gaddafi constantly supported financially and militarily other African dictators and even alleged warlords. On numerous occasions during his 42 years reign the dictator would send Libyan troops to sub Sahara Africa countries in order to save embattled dictators. A Libyan army foray into Uganda’s in a futile attempt to save Idi Amin regime from a Tanzanian military invasion in 1979. An involvement in Centre Afrique with Bokassa first and later with Patasse. Then in Chad with rebel Goukouni Oueddeye and later with president Deby. Finally the brutal civil wars fought in Liberia and Sierra Leone of the 90’s for which many experts have found Libya to be a major provider of training and logistics in collaboration with protege Blaise Compaore president of Burkina Faso. The list is longer.

An unlikely End for Gaddafi

The situation appears in effect very bleak for Gaddafi’s survival. With this latest massacre to his credit, Gaddafi would find it difficult to stay off the International Criminal Tribunal short list even in the event of a miracle survival from the current crisis. Enduring resentment in the west and very little sympathy from the ‘great champion Pan-Africanism’ in the Arab world diminishes his prospects for a peaceful exile. With the sustained momentum for revolutionary changes that his fall would highlight, he would also prove to be a very encumbering liability for all of his African dictators/friends. In all there seems to be virtually no way out for Gaddafi and his defiant sons as we enter another volatile day.

Useful Glossary Of Terms For Commercial Aviation Data And Statistics

We are presenting a comprehensive glossary of commercial aviation terms. We are hopeful that it will help readers capture more efficiently some of the key aspects of our analysis. As well we are confident that it can also help navigate more efficiently the numerous financial documents, news articles, research papers …etc that are available to the public. We are giving special attention to global airlines by incorporating terms extracted from Lufthansa and Air France-KLM glossaries. Although most of the terms are clearly referring to the US Bureau Of Transportation Statistics which we believe provide by far the most relevant source of data in order to conduct insightful commercial aviation data analysis.

Actual Arrival Times (BTS)

Gate arrival time is the instance when the pilot sets the aircraft parking brake after arriving at the airport gate or passenger unloading area.  If the parking brake is not set, record the time for the opening of the passenger door.  Also, carriers using a Docking Guidance System (DGS) may record the official gate-arrival time when the aircraft is stopped at the appropriate parking mark.

Actual Departure Times (BTS)

Gate departure time is the instance when the pilot releases the aircraft parking brake after passengers have loaded and aircraft doors have been closed. In cases where the flight returned to the departure gate before wheels-off time and departed a second time, report the last gate departure time before wheels-off time.  In cases of an air return, report the last gate departure time before the gate return.  If passengers were boarded without the parking brake being set, record the time that the passenger door was closed.  Also, carriers using a Docking Guidance System may record the official gate-departure time based on aircraft movement.  For example, one DGS records gate departure time when the aircraft moves more than 1 meter from the appropriate parking mark within 15 seconds.  Fifteen seconds is then subtracted from the recorded time to obtain the appropriate out time.

Air (BTS)

Air service for shipments that typically weigh more than 100 pounds using commercial or private aircraft. Includes air freight and air express.

Air Freight (BTS)

Property, other than express and passenger baggage transported by air.

Air Taxi (BTS)

A classification of air carriers established by which operate small aircraft, and do not hold a certificate of public convenience and necessity.

Air Time (BTS)

The airborne hours of aircraft computed from the moment an aircraft leaves the ground until it touches the ground at the end of a flight stage.

Air Traffic Liabilities (BTS)

The value of transportation sold but not used or refunded; i.e., (1) liabilities to passengers, or (2) liabilities to others. These include payables to other airlines for portions of inter-airline passenger trips – amounts the ticketing carrier owes the performing carrier. Also included are amounts the ticketing carrier owes to passengers prior to flights – which remain unearned revenue until air transportation is provided.

Air Trip (BTS)

Any trip in which the type of transportation used to cover most of the miles on that trip was either by commercial airplane or a personal or corporate airplane.

Aircraft And Traffic Servicing Expenses (BTS)

Compensation of ground personnel, in-flight expenses for handling and protecting all non-passenger traffic including passenger baggage, and other expenses incurred on the ground to (1) protect and control the in-flight movement of the aircraft, (2) schedule and prepare aircraft operational crew for flight assignment, (3) handle and service aircraft while in line operation, and (4) service and handle traffic on the ground after issuance of documents establishing the air carrier’s responsibility to provide air transportation.

Aircraft Configuration (BTS)

The type of payload an aircraft was designed to carry: passenger, cargo, or both.

Aircraft Days Assigned (BTS)

The number of days that aircraft owned or acquired through rental or lease (but not inter-change) are in the possession of the reporting air carrier and are available for service on the reporting carrier’s routes plus the number of days such aircraft are in service on routes of others under interchange agreements. Includes days in overhaul, or temporarily out of service due to schedule cancellations. Excludes days that newly acquired aircraft are on hand but not available or formally withdrawn from air transport service.

Aircraft Hours (BTS)

The airborne hours of aircraft computed from the moment an aircraft leaves the ground until it touches the ground at the end of a flight stage.

Aircraft Operating Expenses (BTS)

Expenses incurred directly in the in-flight operation of aircraft.

Airline ID (BTS)

An identification number assigned by US DOT to identify a unique airline (carrier). A unique airline (carrier) is defined as one holding and reporting under the same DOT certificate regardless of its Code, Name, or holding company/corporation.

Airport Code (BTS)

A three character alpha-numeric code issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation which is the official designation of the airport.

Arrival Delay (BTS)

Arrival delay equals the difference of the actual arrival time minus the scheduled arrival time. A flight is considered on-time when it arrives less than 15 minutes after its published arrival time.


Available seat kilometres (ASK) measures an airline’s passenger carrying capacity. It is the seating capacity multiplied by the number of kilometres flown. It is used to compare one airline’s capacity with another.

Assets (BTS)

Current Assets include cash, accounts receivable, notes receivable. Long-term assets include net carrier operating property.

Available Seat Miles (BTS)

The aircraft miles flown in each inter-airport segment multiplied by the number of seats available for revenue passenger use on that segment.

Available Seats (BTS)

The number of seats available for revenue passenger use on a flight segment.

Average Miles Per Shipment (BTS)

The 1993 CFS excluded shipments of STCC 27, Printed Matter, from calculation of average miles per shipment. This was done after determining that respondents in the 1993 CFS shipping newspapers, magazines, catalogs, etc., had used widely varying definitions of the term shipment. In the 1997 CFS, numerous efforts were made during data collection and editing to produce consistent results from establishments shipping SCTG 29, Printed Products. As a result, average miles per shipment for printed products is included in calculations for the 1997 CFS.


Computer Reservation System. CRS provide information on airline schedules, fares and seat availability to travel agencies and allow agents to book seats and issue tickets.


Cabotage is the transport of goods or passengers between two points in the same country by an airline belonging to another county.

Cash flow (Lufthansa)

Measure of a company’s financial and earnings potential. It is calculated as the difference between the inflow and outflow of cash and cash equivalents generated from ongoing business activities during the financial year (see “consolidated cash flow statement” ).

Cash value added – CVA (Lufthansa)

Parameter for measuring performance of value creation. When the cash flow generated in a period (EBITDAplus) is greater than the minimum cash flow required to cover the cost of capital, the CVA is positive and value is created (see chapter “Value-based management” ).

Cancelled Flight (BTS)

A flight that was listed in a carrier’s computer reservation system during the seven calendar days prior to scheduled departure but was not operated.

Carrier Code (BTS)

Code assigned by IATA and commonly used to identify a carrier. As the same code may have been assigned to different carriers over time, the code is not always unique.


Route Profit Centre: The Air France network is divided into six different geographic sectors: France, Europe, Africa & Middle East, Americas, Asia and Caribbean & Indian Ocean.

Certificate Of Public Convenience And Necessity (BTS)

A certificate issued to an air carrier under 49 U.S.C. 41102, by the Department of Transportation authorizing the carrier to engage in air transportation.

Certificated Air Carrier (BTS)

An air carrier holding a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity issued by DOT to conduct scheduled services interstate. Nonscheduled or charter operations may also be conducted by these carriers. (same as Certified Air Carrier)

Certified Air Carrier (BTS)

An air carrier holding a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity issued by DOT to conduct scheduled services interstate. Nonscheduled or charter operations may also be conducted by these carriers. (same as Certificated Air Carrier)

Charter Flight (BTS)

A commercial passenger vehicle trip not scheduled, but specially arranged. The charter contract normally commits the carrier to furnish the agreed to transportation service at a specified time between designated locations.

Chief purser (AF-KLM)

Supervises the cabin crew on board wide-bodies. He or she is generally assisted by pursers.

Class of travel (AF-KLM)

Corresponds to a certain quality of services offered to the customer. This level of quality corresponds to a cabin class. Air France offers different classes of travel: Espace Première, Espace Affaires, Tempo Challenge, Tempo or Alizé.

Codeshare (BTS)

An arrangement whereby a marketing carrier’s code is used to identify a flight operated by another carrier. The marketing carrier may make reservations and issue tickets for the operating carrier’s flights.


In accordance with a code sharing agreement, two partner airlines offer services on the same aircraft, each with their own brand, their own IATA code and their own flight number.

Commuter Air Carrier (BTS)

An air taxi that provides scheduled passenger service between two points at least 5 days a week.

Completed Departures (BTS)

Takeoffs made at an airport. (same as Departures Performed)

Coordinated airport (AF-KLM)

These are airports where in order to operate the airport is coordinated, and each airline has been allocated a slot by an independent coordinator, according to previously established rules. In Europe all the major airports are coordinated.

Coupon (BTS)

A piece of paper or series of papers indicating the itinerary of a passenger. An airline ticket includes an auditor’s coupon, flight coupons, and a passenger receipt.

Departure Delay (BTS)

The difference between the scheduled departure time and the actual departure time from the origin airport gate

Departures Performed (BTS)

Takeoffs made at an airport. (same as Completed Departures)

Departures Scheduled (BTS)

Takeoffs scheduled at an airport, as set forth in published schedules.

Destination (BTS)
For travel period trips, the destination is the farthest point of travel from the point of origin of a trip of 75 miles or more one-way. For travel day trips, the destination is the point at which there is a break in travel.

Destination Of Trip (BTS)

The place reported by a respondent as the destination of the trip. If more than one place is visited on the same trip, the place which is the farthest point from the origin is considered the destination of the trip.

Distance Shipped (BTS)

The distance between origin and destination for a shipment. For the distance shipped intervals table, the distance is calculated based on the great circle distance between the origin and destination ZIP Code centroids. All other distance-related data (i.e., ton-miles and average miles per shipment) are based on the mileage calculations produced by Oak Ridge National Laboratories.

Diverted Flight (BTS)

A flight that is required to land at a destination other than the original scheduled destination for reasons beyond the control of the pilot/company.

Domestic Operations (BTS)

All air carrier operations having destinations within the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Duration Of Trip (BTS)

Number of nights spent away from home on a trip and includes nights spent at the destination, nights spent en route and nights spent on side trips. It is possible for a trip not to involve an overnight stay from home; a traveler could take a trip of 100 miles or more and return on the same day.


French Civil Aviation Authority. Reports to the French ministry of transport, the DGAC is in charge of air safety in France.

Dow Jones Sustainability Index

The Dow Jones Sustainability World (DJSI World) index comprises, among the 2,500 biggest companies in the Dow Jones index, 10% of the most economically, environmental and socially efficient companies.


The EASA is a European Union body responsible for regulations concerning civil aviation in all EU countries. The Agency also provides expertise when drafting European Union legislation.

EBITDA (Lufthansa)

Financial indicator denoting earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation. Depreciation relates to items of property, plant and equipment and amortisation to intangible assets – both terms apply equally to non-current and current assets. The figure also includes impairment losses on equity investments accounted for under the equity method and on assets held for sale.


European civil aviation conference Represents the European civil aviation regulatory authorities of the

Elapsed Time (BTS)

The time computed from gate departure time to gate arrival time.

Employed (BTS)

A person is considered employed if there is a definite arrangement for regular full-time or part-time work for pay every week or every month. A formal, definite arrangement with one or more employers to work a specified number of hours a week, or days a month, but on an irregular schedule during the work month is also considered employment. A person who is on call to work whenever there is a need for his (her) services is not considered employed.

Equipment Class (BTS)

A three character alpha-numeric code designated by the Official Airline Guide (published by the U.S. Department of Transportation) which specifies the type of aircraft being used for the flight from the point of origin.

Equity method (Lufthansa)

Accounting method for measuring income derived from a company’s investments in associated companies and joint ventures. Under this method, investment income equals a share of net income proportional to the size of the equity investment.


Extended-range Twin-engine Operations

Flight Equipment (BTS)

All types of property and equipment used in the in-flight operation of aircraft.

Flight Number (BTS)

A one to four character alpha-numeric code for a particular flight

Flying Operations Expenses (BTS)

Expenses incurred directly in the in-flight operation of aircraft and expenses related to the holding of aircraft and aircraft operational personnel in readiness for assignment for an in-flight status.

Form 41 Financial Statistics (BTS)

The statistics collected on the financial forms submitted monthly, quarterly, semiannually, and annually to BTS by each large certificated air carrier subject to the Federal Aviation Act of 1958. The four classes of financial and operating statistics collected on individual schedules of the Form 41 Report are grouped as follows: (A) Certification, (B) Balance Sheet Elements, (P) Profit and Loss Elements, and (T) Traffic and Capacity Elements.

Form 41 Report (BTS)

The schedule of forms submitted monthly, quarterly, semiannually, and annually to BTS by each large certificated air carrier subject to the Federal Aviation Act of 1958.

Form M (BTS)

Class I and II motor carriers are required to annually submit financial, operating, and employment data to Bureau of Transportation Statistics using Form M. Also known as the Motor Carrier Annual Report Form M.

Form QFR (BTS)

Class I motor carriers are required to submit financial and operating data to Bureau of Transportation Statistics each quarter using Form QFR. Also known as the Motor Carrier Quarterly Report Form QFR.


Inflight meals are stored and prepared in the galley. Besides being to keep food and beverages carts, there is also storage for chinaware and cuttlery as well as ovens and refrigerators.


Global Distribution System:
A computerized information and reservations system, enabling travel agents to visualize the inventory available for various products supplied by professionals in the tourism industry (airlines, hotel chains, car hire, etc.) In 1987, Air France, together with Iberia, Luftahansa and SAS set up Amadeus.


A go-around or balked landing is used to describe a manoeuvre whereby the pilot, for whatever reason, decides to abort the landing. The go-around procedure may also be dictated by the control tower because of weather conditions or because the runway is not clear.


Ground proximity warning system: decision-making aid used to alert pilots of an obstacle

Great Circle Distance (BTS)

The shortest distance between two points on the earth’s surface.


Hedging Policy: Financial mechanism used by Air France KLM and other airlines to minimize the effects of hikes in the cost of  fuel. It involves buying a certain quantity of jetfuel at a certain date at a prearranged price. Two other kinds of financial products, options and swaps, are used in this type of financial strategy.

Hold baggage (AF-KLM)

Baggage carried in the aircraft hold, at the airline’s responsibility. Hold baggage is checked and labelled. Air France is developing the “intelligent” baggage tag using RFID technology allowing to track the bag’s movements.

Hub (AF-KLM)

An airline’s central airport where arrivals and departures are scheduled to coincide so that connecting times are reduced. At  Paris-Charles de Gaulle passengers arrive in six connecting time bands throughout the day. Usually  part of a ‘hub and spoke’ strategy, passengers and goods from surrounding airports (spokes) are transferred via ‘feeder flights’ to their joint
final destination or vice versa.


International Air Transport Association Set up in 1945 in Havanna, Cuba, IATA represents most of the world’s airlines. It’s mission is to encourage the development of air transport through the unification and coordination of  international standards and regulations.

IATA airport code

International coding system defined by the IATA association, comprising a 3-letter code.

IATA year

The fiscal calendar year adopted by many airlines, including Air France, which begins on 1 April and ends on 31 March of the following year, allowing carriers to monitor operations more easily on the basis of IATA “defined seasons” (winter and summer).


International Civil Aviation Organization: Set up at the Chicago Convention in 1944, it was designed to define the texts, standards and recommendations necessary to regulate civil aviation.  The headquarters are located in Montreal.


In Flight Entertainment: An electronic entertainment system provided for passengers including video, audio and telephony. In the most recent cabin fittings this is also interactive.


Instrument flight rules (IFR) are a set of regulations and procedures for flying aircraft whereby aircraft instruments provide navigation and obstacle clearance (together with instructions from the Air Traffic Control). See also VFR (visual flight rules).


International Financial Reporting Standards: Accounting standards used by listed companies in the European Union for their consolidated accounts. Adopted on 1 January 2005, it has made it easier for investors to compare the financial perforamance of European companies.


ILS (Instrument Landing System) is a radio system used for precision guidance when landing aircraft, particularly in bad visibility. This equipment significantly improves landing precision by combining lateral and vertical guidance.

Impairment (Lufthansa)

Losses recognized on the carrying amount of assets. Impairment charges are recognized when an asset’s “recoverable value” (the higher of fair value less costs to sell and value in use) is below its carrying amount. By contrast, depreciation or amortization is the systematic allocation of the depreciable amount of an asset over its useful life.

Inertial Navigation Unit

A computer that tells the aircraft where it is in relation to the Earth’s surface in three dimensions, with no external radio or satellite assistance.

In-Flight Time (BTS)

The total time an aircraft is in the air between an origin-destination airport pair, i.e. from wheels-off at the origin airport to wheels-down at the destination airport.


IOSA certification is obtained after a series of audits carried out within airlines. These audits are conducted by organizations accredited by IATA and are based on close to a thousand different aspects related to the safety of air operations, such as flight and ground operations, operational control and even maintenance. IOSA certification ensures that the airline’s safety procedures meet the highest standards of the international aviation industry. Air France has obtained IOSA certification.


The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) was created in 1988 by two UN bodies; the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and  the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The IPCC’s role is to provide decision-makers with objective information on climate change in a clear and methodical manner based on the latest scientific, technical and socio-economic literature. In 2007 the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace prize.

ISO 14001

International standard promoting the quality of environmental policies.  First published in 1996, ISO 14001 has become a strategic reference in terms of environmental management. The company which requests certification is audited by an accredited, international independent body. ISO 14001 is based on three requirements: • ensure compliance with environmental regulations; • prevent pollution; • constantly seek to improve environmental performance. Air France entrusted the Quality, Environment and Sustainable Development Division with the task of obtaining ISO 14001 Certification in October 2007. The target is to achieve certification by summer 2008.


Joint Aviation Authorities


A jetway or overhead walkway may be more or less at a slope and is used to connect an aircraft to the airport building.


Unit used to measure airspeed. I knot = 1.852 kilometers an hour or 1.1507 miles per hour

Kyoto Protocol

The purpose of the Kyoto Protocol is to combat climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions.  The Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 marked the awareness on an international scale of the risk of climate change.  The richest countries, for which a reduction in growth did not seem acceptable but which were responsible for most of the emissions, made a commitment to stabilize their emissions at 1990 levels by the year 2000.  The Kyoto Protocol of 1997 reflects this determination in terms of quantitative, legally- restrictive commitments. In the protocol, 39 industrialized countries including Europe, Russia, Japan and Australia which ratified the agreement In December 2007, will reduce their emissions of six greenhouse gases between 2008 and 2012 by 5.2% compared to the year 1990, in order to combat global warming. The targets differ from one country to another: Target for Europe: – 8% Target for France: 0% (given its nuclear power stations, France only needs to maintain the same level of emissions as in 1990).

Large Certificated Air Carrier (BTS)

An air carrier holding a certificate issued under 49 U.S.C.41102, as amended, that: (1) Operates aircraft designed to have a maximum passenger capacity of more than 60 seats or a maximum payload capacity of more than 18,000 pounds; or (2) conducts operations where one or both terminals of a flight stage are outside the 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. (same as Large Certified U.S. Air Carriers)

Large Certified U.S. Air Carriers (BTS)

An air carrier holding a certificate issued under 49 U.S.C.41102, as amended, that: (1) Operates aircraft designed to have a maximum passenger capacity of more than 60 seats or a maximum payload capacity of more than 18,000 pounds; or (2) conducts operations where one or both terminals of a flight stage are outside the 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. (same as Large Certificated Air Carrier)

Late Flight (BTS)

A flight arriving or departing 15 minutes or more after the scheduled time.


An agreement under which a property owner allows an operating carrier to use a means of transport during a specified period. There are two main types of lease: dry lease and wet lease.

Liabilities (BTS)

Current liabilities include accounts payable, notes payable, taxes payable, and current portion of long-term debt. Long-term liabilities include long-term debt.

Long haul

Long-haul flights usually last over five hours

Maintenance Expense (BTS)

All expenses, both direct and indirect, specifically identifiable with the repair and upkeep of property and equipment.

Market (Using DB1B Data) (BTS)

A Market in DB1B data is created by a trip break. Trip Breaks are points in the itinerary at which a passenger is assumed to have stopped for a reason other than changing planes. For example: an itinerary BOS-LAS-BOS would have two markets BOS-LAS and LAS-BOS. The trip break occurred at LAS.

Market (Using T100 Data) (BTS)

Market data are passenger, freight, and/or mail that enplane and deplane between two specific points, while the flight number remains the same. If the flight number changes a new market begins. For more details go to

Marketing Carrier (BTS)

An air carrier that issued a flight reservation or ticket under a code share agreement.

Medium haul (AF-KLM)

Medium-haul flights usually lasts less than five hours and for Air France generally refer to European flights.

Mile (BTS)

A statute mile (5,280 feet). All mileage computations are based on statute miles.


The Microwave Landing System (MLS) is an all-weather, precision landing system that will be fitted in the next few years to supplement the already operational Instrument Landing System (ILS).

Montreal Convention

An international convention designed to unify certain rules governing international air transport, signed in Montreal on 28 May 1999 and ratified on 28 June 2004 by EU countries. The Montreal Convention introduced the principle of carriers’ civil liability for victims of air disasters. With additional and more detailed provisions it will eventually replace the Warsaw Convention.

Multiple Modes (BTS)

Parcel, U.S. Postal Service or courier shipments or shipments for which two or more of the following modes of transportation were used: private truck, for-hire truck, rail, shallow draft vessel, deep draft vessel, or pipeline.


A nautical mile or sea mile is a unit of length, measuring 1,852 metres.

Non-Revenue Traffic (BTS)

Passengers and cargo transported by air for which no remuneration or token service charges are received by the air carrier. Airline employees, officers and directors, or other persons, except for ministers of religion, who are traveling under reduced rate transportation authorized by 49 U.S.C. 41511(a) and 14CFR part 223, as well as travel agents, cargo agents, and tour conductors traveling at reduced fares are also considered non-revenue traffic.

Non-Scheduled Service (BTS)

Revenue flights, such as charter flights, that are not operated in regular scheduled service.

Non-operating Income And Expense (BTS)

Interest income and expense, unusual foreign exchange gains or losses, and capital gains or losses in disposition of property and equipment.

Operating Carrier (BTS)

An air carrier engaged directly in the operation of aircraft in passenger air transportation.

Operating costs

Costs arising from normal operating conditions in a company.

Operating Expenditure (BTS)

Expenses from wages and salaries, operating supplies, insurance expenses, and other miscellaneous expenses.

Operating Expenses (BTS)

Expenses incurred in the performance of air transportation, based on overall operating revenues and overall operating expenses. Does not include non-operating income and expenses, nonrecurring items, or income tax

Operating noise

Actual noise perceived on the ground during aircraft maneouvre (departure and approach).

Operating Region (BTS)

One of six regions used to describe the region where an air carrier operates: International (Atlantic, Pacific, and Latin America), System (all regions covered by an air carrier), Domestic (U.S.), Atlantic, Pacific, Latin America. For those carriers with international flights, the operating region is determined by where its flights leave and enter the U.S.

Operating result (Lufthansa)

Measure of profitability denoting the operating result calculated as the result of operating activities, adjusted for book gains and losses, write-backs of provisions, exchange rate gains and losses on the measurement of non-current borrowing as of the reporting date and income and expenses relating to other periods

Operating Revenue (BTS)

Revenue from the transportation of property or passengers by motor carrier.

Operating Revenues (BTS)

Revenues from the performance of air transportation and related incidental services. Includes (1) transport revenue from the carriage of all classes of traffic in scheduled and nonscheduled services, and (2) non-transport revenues consisting of Federal subsidy (where applicable) and revenues for services related to air transportation.

Origin (BTS)

Starting point of a trip.

Other Transport-Related Revenue (BTS)

Revenues from services such as in-flight sales, rentals and sales or services, supplies and parts.


Airlines overbook flights to compensate for passengers who reschedule or opt not to fly (‘no-shows’).

Payload (BTS)

Equal to the certificated takeoff weight of an aircraft, less the empty weight, less all justifiable aircraft equipment, and less the operating load (consisting of minimum fuel load, oil, flight crew, steward’s supplies, etc).

Peak-period Trip (BTS)

Any travel day trip that began between 6:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. or from 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Person Miles of Travel (PMT) (BTS)

A measure of person travel. When one person travels one mile, one person mile of travel results. Where 2 or more persons travel together in the same vehicle, each person makes the same number of person miles as the vehicle miles. Therefore, four persons traveling 5 miles in the same vehicle, make 4 times 5 or 20 person miles.


Leg-room or distance between two seats.

Promotion And Sales Expenses (BTS)

Cost incurred in promoting the use of air transportation generally and creating a public preference for the services of particular air carriers. Includes the functions of selling, advertising, and publicity, space reservations, and developing tariffs and flight schedules for publication.


Percentage of flights which have left/arrived on time or within 15 minutes


Supervises the cabin crew (flight attendants) on a flight.

Passenger Mile (BTS)

One passenger transported one statute mile. Total passenger miles are computed by summation of the products of the aircraft miles flown on each inter-airport flight stage multiplied by the number of passengers carried on that flight stage.One passenger transported one statute mile. Total passenger miles are computed by summation of the products of the aircraft miles flown on each inter-airport flight stage multiplied by the number of passengers carried on that flight stage.


Atmospheric pressure (Q) at Field Elevation


Atmospheric Pressure (Q) at Nautical Height


Quick Return Flight: Code used in aviation to signify that an aircraft is returning to base due to a technical incident.

Ramp To Ramp Time (BTS)

The time computed from the moment an aircraft first moves under its own power for purposes of flight, until it comes to rest at the next point of landing.


Percentage of flights performed compared with scheduled flights

Reporting Carrier (BTS)

The carrier that submitted data to the Office of Airline Information for a given passenger segment.

Revenue (BTS)
Pertaining to activities for which remuneration is received by the carrier.

Revenue Passenger Mile (BTS)

One revenue passenger transported one mile in revenue service. Revenue passenger miles are computed by summation of the products of the revenue aircraft miles on each inter-airport segment multiplied by the number of revenue passengers carried on that segment.

Revenue Ton Mile (BTS)

One revenue ton (2,000 pounds) transported one statute mile.


RPK is a measure of an airline’s sales volume and corresponds to number of fare-paying passengers carried muliplied by the number of kilometres flown.


Revenue tonne-kilometre (RTK) is defined as one ton of load (passengers and/ or cargo) carried for one kilometre.

SB (Service Bulletin)

The SB is issued by the aircraft or the equipment manufacturer to provide users with recommendations for modifying or replacing parts or to warn them that a particular check is required.
SB recommendations are not mandatory. Contrary to ADs, SBs do not directly affect aircraft airworthiness.

Scheduled Departure And Arrival Times (BTS)

A takeoff or landing scheduled at an airport, as set forth in published schedules

Scheduled Departure Time (BTS)

The scheduled time that an aircraft should lift off from the origin airport.

Scheduled Departures (BTS)

Takeoffs scheduled at an airport, as set forth in published schedules. (same as Departures Scheduled)

Scheduled Service (BTS)

Transport service operated pursuant to published flight schedules, including extra sections and related non revenue flights.

Scheduled Time Of Arrival (BTS)

The scheduled time that an aircraft should cross a certain point (landing or metering fix).

Schengen Zone

The Schengen Zone, set out in the Treaty of Amsterdam,  allows for the free circulation of population (EU national or otherwise) within a designated zone stretching over the 24 countries of the 27 countries in the European Union and four other non-EU countries that have fully implemented the agreements (Island, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein).  Once a passenger has entered the territory of one of the member states, flights are considered domestic and passengers are  not required to undergo further border controls.

Seat block

Quota of seats allocated for a specific flight  to a travel agent or other carrier by the operating airline.

Seat Mile (BTS)

The aircraft miles flown in each inter-airport segment multiplied by the number of seats available on that segment for revenue passenger use.

Seats Available (BTS)

Installed seats in an aircraft (including seats in lounges) exclusive of any seats not offered for sale to the public by the carrier; provided that in no instance shall any seat sold be excluded from the count of available seats.

Segment (BTS)

A pair of points served or scheduled to be served by a single stage of at least one flight at any given time.

Segmented Trip (BTS)

A trip that includes at least one transfer.


System for allocating aircraft arrival/departure times for each airline.


Period when flight crews remain on call for the airline in the event of unforeseen incidents, sick leave or absenteeism.

Station manager

In charge of supervising operating teams and monitoring activities at the airport, such as passengers, ticketing, information desks or operations.

Summer Schedule

Defined by IATA as the 7-month period running from the last Saturday in March to the last Saturday  in October.

Sustainable Development

Development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own (definition supplied in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development in the Brundtland Report).

T-100 (BTS)

A section of Form 41, which includes non-stop segment and on-flight market data. Air carriers are required to periodically file Form 41 with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Taxi-In Time (BTS)

The time elapsed between wheels down and arrival at the destination airport gate.

Taxi-Out Time (BTS)

The time elapsed between departure from the origin airport gate and wheels off.


Used by aircraft and connects from the ramp to the runway or to other airport facilities such as hangars.

Ton Mile (BTS)

One ton (2,000 pounds) transported one statue mile. Ton-miles are computed by multiplying the aircraft miles flown on each inter-airport segment by the number of tons carried on that segment.

Total Itinerary Yield (BTS)

Itinerary fare per itinerary miles flown. The itinerary includes all segments of a journey from origin to destination.

Tour of duty

A tour of duty comprises a series of flight legs (usually 2) flown by a flight crew. In Air France, long-haul tours of duty usually last for 3 days, while on medium-haul they last from 1 to 4 days.

Traffic revenue (Lufthansa)

Revenue generated solely from flight operations. It comprises revenue from transporting passengers and cargo as well as related ancillary services.

Transport-Related Expenses (BTS)

All expense items applicable to the generation of transport-related revenues

Transport-Related Revenues (BTS)

Revenues from the transportation by air of all classes of traffic in scheduled and nonscheduled service.

Travel agent

The travel agent takes bookings on behalf of tour operators or airlines. They receive  “fees” for the services they provide or, more rarely, a commission from the airlines.

Travel Day (BTS)

A 24-hour period from 4:00 a.m. to 3:59 a.m. designated as the reference period for studying trips and travel by members of a sampled household

Turnover (AF-KLM)

AIR FRANCE KLM turnover corresponds to all revenue generated by the AIR FRANCE KLM Group in its three core activities (passenger, cargo, maintenance) and related activities.


Unaccompanied Minor: Children aged between 4 and 12 years old may travel alone. Airlines take charge of the children during the flight. Air France provides this service free of charge


UT Universal Time: Preferred usage for giving times rather than GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). Time zones around the world are described in UTC.

Value Of Shipment (BTS)

The dollar value of the entire shipment. This is defined as the net selling value, f.o.b. plant, exclusive of freight charges, and excise taxes. The value data are displayed in millions of dollars.


Visual Flight Rules: A set of aviation regulations that define the minimum weather conditions needed to fly an aircraft.


Visual Meteorological Conditions: Term used in aviation to define conditions whereby pilots have sufficient visibility (refers to certain visibility minimums, cloud ceilings and clearances) to fly the aircraft according to VFR (visual flight rules), which may vary depending on the airspace.

Warsaw Convention

The Warsaw Convention  was signed on 12 October 1929 and amended in 1933, 1955 and 1966. It governs the transportation of persons, baggage and freight by aircraft in exchange for payment. The Montreal Convention will eventually replace the Warsaw Convention but at the moment they coexist.

Wet lease

A wet lease is a leasing arrangement whereby one airline (lessor) provides an aircraft, complete crew, maintenance, and insurance.

Winter Schedule

Defined by IATA as the 5-month period running from the first Sunday after the last Saturday in October to the Friday preceding the last Saturday in March

Working capital (Lufthansa)

Financial indicator for assessing a company’s liquidity, measured as the difference between its current assets and its current liabilities.

Yield (Lufthansa)

Financial term referring to revenue generated by one fare-paying passenger carrried for one kilometer (RPK).

Orbital Sciences Corporation Uses Lockheed L-1011 To Launch Craft Into Space

From ARG.

Orbital Sciences Corp (Public, NYSE:ORB) announced on February 7th 2011 that it had successfully launched a a U.S. Government payload into orbit on February 5th 2011 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. On a February 6th 2011 announcement the NRO (National Reconnaissance Office) announced its successful launch of a payload aboard a Minautor I rocket from Space Launch Complex 8, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California , at 4:26 A.M PST on February 6th 2011.The NRO is the joint Department of Defense-Intelligence community organization that, according to its web site “designs, builds and operates the national reconnaissance satellites” and has been officially operating for the past 50 years.Orbital Science Corporation is a relatively small company founded in 1982 and employing approximately 3,700 peoples and is headquartered in Dulles, Virginia. Orbital generated revenues of $1.2 Billion in 2009 with a net income of $37 million. We are taking interest in a company designing and operating profitably a fleet of lower cost Space Launch Vehicles. The company aims at extracting maximum value from expert integration of existing commercial systems, subsystems and components together with US Government sourced excess Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles into space launch vehicles for various payload market segments. In that sense we will see how some of its most successful launch systems integrate entire motor assemblies from surplus US government Minuteman and Peacekeepers ICBM (Inter Continental Ballistic Missile). We’ll even see how one of its launch systems requires being transported and released to an altitude of 30,000 feet by a modified Lockheed L-1011 TriStar airliner prior to igniting its motors on its course into orbit. We will look at major SLV (Space Launch Vehicles) systems in Orbital fleet, namely Pegasus , Minautor I , Minautor IV, Taurus and Taurus II.

Minautor I, IV And Joint Effort With The US Air Force

The launch of February 5th (or the 6th depending on the source) obviously involving a sensitive payload was conducted aboard by a Minautor I SLV. The Minautor I is a very successful program that has achieved 100% rate of success on 20 launches beginning in the year 2000. It was governed by the OSP-2 Orbital/Suborbital Program 2 in which Orbital is supplier for the Space Launch Vehicle and the US Air Force is in charge of managing the program via Detachment 12 ,Launch Test Squadron of the Space Development and Test Wing (SDTW) as part of the USAF Space and Missile Systems Center at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico.

The Minautor I is a ground launched solid propellant rocket that is very versatile and ideally suited for under 738 lbm (335 kq) type of payload. Although the rocket consists of 4 different stages assemblies each incorporating a rocket motor corresponding to each successive phases of the transition into orbit, Minautor I is better described by Orbital as 2-stack vehicle.The lower stack that incorporates stage 1 and 2 rocket motors assemblies is no-other than the same stage 1 and 2 motors found on the old Minuteman (LGM-30) Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (respectively the M55A1 solid propellant 1st stage motor and 2nd stage SR19 liquid injection thrust vectored control subsystem). Due to imposed reductions on strategic nuclear-carrying ICBM under various international treaties, thousands of space-capable propulsion assemblies subsystems became surplus. The US government has been able to transfer ready-to-use Minuteman ICBM rockets motor assemblies to the Orbital Science Corporation for their second life as dedicated orbit lift systems for the Minautor I SLV.The upper stack that incorporates stage 3 and 4 assemblies that house respectively the ATK (Alliant Techservices forporation) produced Orion 50XL and Orion 38 motors.

The Minautor IV is a heavier payload SLV than the Minautor I that can deliver payload of up to 3,860 lbm (1,750 kg) in orbit. This model again brings into play US government supplied boosters from former Peacekeepers LGM-118A ICBMs. The base Peacekeeper booster used by Minautor IV comprises 3 of the lower stage propulsion subsystems for the Minautor IV while the stage 4 assembly motor houses the Orion 38 that we have also seen seen on the Minautor I stage 4 an optional Star 48V can be added to add more velocity on specific payload for orbital entry.

The Pegasus and how a reconfigured Lockheed L-1011 airliner can be used to deliver payload into orbit.

In a program that began in the 1990’s, Orbital was able to develop an aircraft-delivered SLV solutions. The Pegasus rocket designed to carry small payload into orbit is transported attached to the under-belly of a specially fitted Lockheed L-1011 Tristar airliner to an altitude of 39,000 ft (11,900 m) from which it is released at an optimal speed of Mach 0.82. Five seconds after release from the aircraft the Pegasus rocket will ignite motors and transitions to orbit in less than 10 minutes under typical conditions. Because it is very small (16.9 m length) it allows Orbital to offer a very low cost of entry and a flexible space launch alternative.Because it is set to be released at Mach 0.82, the 3 stages Pegasus rocket incorporates wings in stage 1. Flying to 178,900 ft the wings-equipped stage 1 motor assembly section will separate and the craft will continue towards orbit with successively employing stage 2 and stage 3 assemblies’ motors. Mootors employed are all Orion family boost motors supplied by ATK (Alliant Techservices). Stage 1 motor is an Orion 50S, stage 2 uses an Orion 50 and stage 3 has an Orion 38.

The L-1011 “Stargazer” Orbital Carrier Aircraft OCA.

OCA designates the Orbital Sciences Corporation program that employs an aircraft as a launch vector for SLV. Again in this scenario Orbital is consistent in its strategy of extensively employing proven commercially available lower cost technology. It has put to very good use N140SC Lockheed Tri-Star L-1011 re-christened “Stargazer”. The airliner turned OCA a 1974 build previously served in its commercial civilian capacity with Air Canada and Air Lanka. FAA currently lists the aircraft as owned by the Orbital Science Corporation of Mojave, California.

The Taurus and Taurus II

The Taurus SLV is a 1,590-kilogram (3,500-pound) ground launched version of the Pegasus but benefits from a much higher payload capability and therefore has 4 stages/motors assemblies. The lower stage ATK Castor 120 boost motor is used as stage 0 assembly while stage 1 assembly uses ATK Orion 50SG/SXLG, stage 2 assembly ATK Orion 50 or Orion 50XL, and finally stage 3 assembly ATK Orion 38.

Taurus II LSV brings additional increase in payload weight over the Taurus I. It can in fact accommodate up 12,700 lbm (5,750 kg). Using a 2 stages motor/assembly configuration, the Taurus II stage 1 employs 2 heavy lift Aerojet A26-62 motors side-by-side in one assembly. These powerful motors are built under Russian license by Aerojet-General Corporation (subsidiary of Gencorp). The stage 2 motor is the ATK Castor 30A (a variant based on the ATK Castor 120 motor that we have seen in use with Taurus stage 1) and finally has option to accommodate an additional 3rd stage STAR 48V motor also built by ATK.


With cost savings in mind Orbital makes extensive re-use of components in its engineering management approach in order to save cost and increase commonality between various SLV. It is more visible with the modular component-based MACH (Modular Avionics Control Hardware) avionics system that has been deployed across the entire fleet of SLV. Not only do we find MACH with each SLV as the main avionics module comprising flight computer, Inertial Navigation System, telemetry system, electrical power, reaction control system, ordnance driver unit but it is also present across the various assembly stages that comprise each SLV. In this role MACH operates the following functions: nozzle Thrust Vectored Control, flight termination system, ordnance driver unit controlling each SLV and also manage stage separation from the main vehicle. True to its strategy Orbital also incorporates commercially available sub components for its MACH systems. For instance on the Taurus craft, we find an avionics suite powered by a 32-bit microprocessor architecture along with familiar open standards technology such as RS-422 / RS-485 serial link data communication.

Regarding avionics.

With cost savings in mind Orbital makes extensive re-use of components in its engineering management approach in order to save cost and increase commonality between various SLV. It is more visible with the modular component-based MACH (Modular Avionics Control Hardware) avionics system that has been deployed across the entire fleet of SLV. Not only do we find MACH with each SLV as the main avionics module comprising flight computer, Inertial Navigation System, telemetry system, electrical power, reaction control system, ordnance driver unit but it is also present across the various assembly stages that comprise each SLV. In this role MACH operates the following functions: nozzle Thrust Vectored Control, flight termination system, ordnance driver unit

controlling each SLV and also manage stage separation from the main vehicle. True to its strategy Orbital also incorporates commercially available sub components for its MACH systems. For instance on the Taurus craft, we find an avionics suite powered by a 32-bit microprocessor architecture along with familiar open standards technology such as RS-422 / RS-485 serial link data communication.

In all Orbital Sciences Corporation is able to deliver highly flexible lower cost space launch services thanks to a combination of sourcing strategy form government and various commercial partner. While the involvement of organization like Launch Test Squadron of the Space Development and Test Wing (SDTW) dramatically reduces the management risks involved in each mission. However there is inherent complexity in managing the integration of disparate and multi-sourced software, hardware and various sub-components and assemblies. Orbital an ISO 9001:2008 certified presents a very strong operational performance on its LSV program. To date the company boasts 8 successful Taurus missions (100% rate ), 20 for Minautor (100% success rate ), 38 for Pegasus (95% success rate).


French Navy Gets Newer Exocet MM40 Block 3 And Rafale Gets New Meteor BVRAAR Missile

from ARG

Naval Warships to receive newer Exocets missiles for anti-shipping

French DGA (General Directorate for Armament) recently made announcements regarding various advanced weapons systems contracts taken on behalf of the French Ministry of Defense with Europe leading missile manufacturer MBDA.

DGA recently announced that it had received on behalf of the French Navy the first four (4) out of forty five (45) new Exocets MM 40 Block 3 that had been ordered since 2008. Complete delivery of the 45 missiles lot is set to occur before middle of 2013. The Exocet MM40 Block 3 is a ship-borne anti-shipping missile with advanced capabilities in range, targeting and inertial navigation systems. The rocket booster  plus turbojet-powered missile can reportedly cruise and attack targets out to ranges of up 180 km. This latest version of the much famed Exocet will equip two new generations of frigates entering service within the French Navy; the 2 Horizon Class Aerial Defense frigates and subsequently the 11 Fremm (Frigates Multi Mission) set to enter service beginning this year.The Exocet missile has been sold in numbers upwards of 3,500 units in 35 countries since 1972. It has developed a fearsome reputation starting during the Falklands war between Britain and Argentina in 1982 when an aircraft launched Argentinean AM 39 version struck and damaged HMS Sheffield beyond repair.

Rafale fighter jet also to receive new Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air to Air (BVRAAR) missiles from MBDA UK

The DGA also announced a new order for 200 Meteor missiles destined for the Rafale fleet of fighter jets both naval and air force variants. The meteor missile is the result of a joint effort between UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden to provide long range air-to-air missile capabilities for the F-35, Rafale , Typhoon and Gripen fighter aircraft. The meteor is due for delivery starting in 2018. In French Air Force and Navy service, the new missile will complement the modern short range Mica (about 1,000 units for the Mirage 2000 and Rafale fleet) in the air superiority role. Meteor is a Mach 4 capable missile designed for very long range (BVR: beyond visual range) engagements thanks to its combining an inertial navigation system and Thales active radar seeker for target lock-on during terminal phase of flight. Estimated range of engagement is said to be approximately 100 km.

What is DGA?

DGA is the agency responsible for implementing and managing defense acquisitions programs policies within the French Ministry of  Defense. It is  currently overseeing 80 programs with order book valued at Euros 20.9 Billions.

A note on MBDA

MBDA is a multi national industrial group formed in 2001 from leading missiles manufacturing companies mainly from Italy, France and Germany. Major shareholders are composed from BAE Systems (37.5%), EADS (37.5%) and Finmeccanica (25%). The company currently seats on Euro 12 Billion worth of orders and recorded Euro 2.6 Billion worth of orders for the year 2009.


-Direction Generale de l Armement

Southern Air Builds Value With Its Boeing 747 ‘Classic’

From ARG analysis – updated

We’re taking a look at air cargo operator Southern Air, a most promising airline that offers low cost ACMI (Aircraft Crew Maintenance Insurance) services and charter flights. This global airline is based in Norwalk, Connecticut although most flights operate out of Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in the 100-tons cargo carrying segment. Southern Air has attracted a lot of attention not only because of the rapid growth that the relatively young airline has undergone in a difficult market segment. But also because the airline has become home to a very peculiar mix of long range 100-tons freighters. Operating a combination of some 15 Boeing 747-200/300 ‘Classic’ freighters alongside two brand new state-of-the-art Boeing 777 Long Range Freighters is unheard of. Operating in the same market segment the Boeing 777 LRF is probably everything that the ‘Classic’ 747 is not in every respect , not to mention the 40 years age difference between both designs. It appears that Southern Air has found the perfect balance of fleet composition by building differentiated services around the Boeing 777 LRF while still relying in the strength of the 747-200 and some odds -300 variants that form the backbone of its fleet.

Birth of Southern Air , recovering from a post 9/11 bankruptcy (1999-2007)

Constituted in 1999 from the remains of bankrupt Southern Air Transport, the airline had a tumultuous start that led to a post-9/11 chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring process from which it exited in September 2003. At that time CEO James K. Neff anticipating an industry recovery expressed that the airline would likely grow at the rhythm of one to two additional planes to the fleet every year (1). That would complement the 2 Boeing 747-200 ‘Classic’ freighters that were operational right after the re-structuring. The airline had grown to six Boeing 747-200 Freighters by September of 2006 (2) subsequently adding aircraft number seven and number eight before the end of that same month of September (3). In March of 2007, the airline had already shown a very convincing period of sustained growth that culminated by the addition of a ninth and tenth 747-200 freighter (4) to its expanding fleet. By then strong ACMI contracts had been locked in operating on behalf of Nippon Cargo Airlines and Korean Air in and out of Seoul Incheon International Airport.

Acquisition by Oak Hill Partners in 2007.

More dramatically on July 26th 2007 the airline was acquired by private equity investor Oak Hill Capital Partners who had previously owned Cargo 360, an air cargo operator based in Seattle, Washington. Under the agreement Southern Air Inc. would merge with Cargo 360 Inc. combining into a new airline entity Southern Air Holdings, Inc. Southern Air operations was to absorb the 2 Boeing 747-200 freighters plus the single Boeing 747-300 that had made up the Cargo 360 fleet. The new ownership structure would confer “significant minority interest” to the Neff family which had founded Southern Air in 1999 (5). Most significantly the Neff brothers CEO James and CFO Brian CFO were entrusted by the new ownership with pursuing the airline objectives along the same line that had already produced a spectacular success. It was also the sign that Oak Hill had ambitious plans for the airline, a clear testimony to the Neff brother’s foresight in developing an airline with such a unique model. By February and March of 2010 the airline became the 7th operator of the brand new 777 Long Range Freighters. The state-of-the-art twin engine freighter presents operating economics that have the potential to transform the entire industry. Operating as 100-ton freighter able to cover 4,900 miles ( the Boeing 747-200 is limited to 3,500 miles with a similar payload but using four older engines technology) with only two engines. But everyone recognized that it is the 747-200 freighters, the backbone of the fleet that had single handedly propelled Southern Air to the success it enjoys today.

The Fleet: being modern with ancient

From the start Southern Air management deliberately set its focus on one specific variant of a legendary aircraft model: the Boeing 747-200 equipped with four General Electric CF6-50E2 turbofan engines. In the 100 Tons freighter market segment cargo operators were clamoring for the very efficient and modern 747-400. These 747-400 models became readily available as more passengers versions were being pushed out of service in large numbers by very economical newer Boeing 777 which offered much superior operating economics and yield on similarly average routes. A thriving passenger-to-freighter conversion industry could maintain adequate supply of newly converted 747-400 freighters with very low usage, keeping the supply pipeline for large freighters fluid. For a low cost start-up, capital adequacy requirements in order to acquire these aircraft was simply to high or collateral (in the form of other owned aircraft for example) was just not available. And in fact upon exiting bankruptcy in 2003 Southern Air management recognized that because of the 747-400 adoption in that market, Boeing 747-200 had fallen dramatically in value and were stored in abundance. These were still 100-plus tons freighters (capability to carry 108 tons over 3,500 miles) of the 747-400 class but still with lower performing operating economics (for instance requiring a crew of three instead of two for the 747-400). However one could have argued that acquiring later build 747-200 that had came off the assembly line in the mid eighties was not as bad as operating early 1970’s build airframe. First, Southern Air management gambled that a few specific good 747-200 airframes could provide a very robust performance that would allow the airline to compete with even 747-400-equipped operators on certain markets segments. Secondly it was imperative to organically build a strong maintenance and engineering base to support the operations of 747-200 fleet. And third the airline would actively seek additional airframes that could be parted-out in order to provide a continuous supply of spare parts for the active fleet. This applied primarily for engines especially given that engine manufacturers were less likely to maintain significant spare parts inventory for out-of-production older models.

Sorting out the better ‘Classics’

In a January 10th, 2010 interview on new CEO Daniel McHugh (who add replaced James Neff the previous month) indicated that the 747 ‘Classic’ fleet consisted of 12 Boeing 747-200s and 3 Boeing 747-300s operational at that time. In the same article he reiterates the fact that Southern Air has an almost unlimited appetite for 747-200 (with a leaning towards the better maintained airframes) as well as the accompanying General Electric CF6-50E2 engines that were powering most of the airline ‘classic’ fleet and also airframes that could be source of spare parts. The CEO also continuously stressed the airline almost exclusive operational reliance on the General Electric CF6-50E2 engine variant (categorically quoted for its ‘superior fuel burn performance’) probably well into the year 2020. And finally the extraordinary level of Boeing 747 ‘Classic’ core engineering competencies that had been developed and achieved organically by the airline to achieve the success that has been witnessed. To that effect Southern Air is well recognized as a center of excellence for 747 ‘Classic’ maintenance.

Our observations regarding Southern Air’s 747 ‘Classic’ fleet

The build-up period: considering that the airline exited chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with two 747-200 freighters in September of 2003, the company’s website only indicates the addition of ship 747-200 number five acquired from Air France in January 2006, number six in August 2006 from Nippon Cargo Airlines, and number seven and eight acquired both from Polar Air in September 2006. Their press release also suggests that number nine would have been acquired from Martinair early March 2007 and number ten from Atlas Air later in March 2007.

We conducted a review of data available from various public websites (see listing below). Following are the results of our observations.

The active fleet of CF6E50E powered Boeing 747-200 comprises 11 aircraft. Following is their listing ordered by date of aircraft manufacturing:

#1 N748SA built 1975 acquired December 29th 2006 from Martinair (model -206B SUD) converted SUD March 1998, active as of December 2010 old livery (mach 0.84 to Mach 0.85)

#2 N760SA built 1976 acquired February 8th 2007 active as of January 2011

#3 N752SA built 1976 acquired #1 on 26th April 2004 from Air France F-BPVR last seen active June 2010

#4 N754SA built 1978 acquired June 26th 2007 from Atlas Air last seen active in December 2010 with old livery

#5 N761SA built 1979 acquired # on February 25th 2007 from Polar Air Cargo last seen active in December 2010

#6 N753SA built 1979 acquired # January 12th 2006 formerly F-BPVZ Air France last seen active October 2010

#7 N815SA built 1980 acquired # April 20th 2009 seen active as of January 2011

#8 N765SA built 1980 acquired # January 4th 2008 seen active as of January 2011

#9 N758SA built 1984 acquired # from Nippon Cargo Airlines September 1st 2006 last seen active December 2010

#10 N820SA built 1986 acquired # on May 27th 2010 from Air Atlanta Icelandic last seen active December 2010

#11 N783SA built 1987 acquired # February 19th 2008 from Nippon Air Cargo seen active as of January 2011

Furthermore we identified three Boeing 747 ‘Classic’ aircraft that had formed the Cargo 360 fleet and have been incorporated to the Southern Air fleet after the merger of 2007. To all indications these planes are still active. We first notice that they actually comprise two very late build Boeing 747-200s and one Boeing 747-300 all built in the year 1988. So these aircraft are much younger than the early 1970-manufactured 747-200 . We also notice that contrary to our statement regarding the airline sourcing exclusively General Electric CF6-50E2 powered variants, these three ‘Classics’ model are powered by four Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7R4G2 engines and are listed below:

#12 N749SA built 1988 acquired December 16th 2007 (model 3B5M(SF) from Cargo 360 powered by 4x PW JT9D-7R4G2 was N301JD 747-3B5M(SF) airframe number 24194/713 currently active. It is actually a -300 series airframe painted to Southern Air livery (from the Cargo 360 scheme) between December 2009 and March 2010.

#13 N704SA built 1988 acquired October 6th 2008 powered by 4x PW JT9D-7R4G2 from Wells Fargo Bank Fleet  was N298JD 747-2B5F(SCD) airframe number 24195/718 probably still active was last seen painted all white well into December 2010.

#14 N708SA built 1988 acquired January 31st 2008 from Cargo 360 (since July 14th 2006) powered by 4x PW JT9D-7R4G2 was N299JD 747-2B5F(SCD) airframe number 24196/720 with Cargo 360. Painted to Southern Air livery between March 7th and April 18th 2010 is active in the fleet.

The presence of non-GE CF6E50E engines in the Southern Air was certainly imposed by the acquisition from Oak Hill Capital Partners. In any case these were three very recent 747-200 (build model 1988) which had been well maintained by their previous owner Korean Air and had been placed with Cargo 360 on lease from Wells Fargo Bank Northwest so it was a valuable investment.

Subsequently to uncovering the presence of the three Pratt & Whitney powered engines we looked at the planes that were in storage for the airline and we immediately noticed the following:

We uncovered 3 more airframes that had been powered by the PW JT9D-7R4G2 but are all stored at Mojave evidently for parts reserve.

The Pratt & Whitney Reserve comprises:

#15 N798SA built 1986 acquired August 14th 2008 from JAL 4x PW JT9D-7R4G2 stored 2008 seen at Mojave pix November 2010 looked a mess with N818SA, N723SA and two other Southern Air unidentified airframe (that we identify as N740SA and N746SA)

#16 N818SA built 1983 as a 747-346 stored with JAL in July 2009 acquired January 18th 2010 powered by 4x PW JT9D-7R4G2 was ferried straight to storage on January 18th 2010 seen in a picture stored at Mojave: looked good in April 2010. By November 2010 had all engines stripped.

#17 N723SA  built 1987 acquired from JAL  May 16th 2008 stored on the May 21st 2008 powered by 4x PW JT9D-7R4G2 visible on picture from November 25th 2010 at Mojave the plane had been stripped of its engines probably stored since November 28, 2008

Finally we can look at the CF6-E50E powered planes that are kept in storage in support of the 11 active 747 with similar engines, they are four in numbers and are listed below:

#18 N746SA -206 SUD built 1975 became SUD in June 1998 with KLM acquired August 12th 2003 stored as of December 29th 2009

#19 N740SA built 1978 acquired August 15th 2004 from Atlas Air last seen March 7 2009 reportedly stored April 10th 2009

#20 N751SA built 1981 formerly F-GCBE from Air France acquired February 17th 2003 stored December 31st 2008 (last seen November 2008)

#21 N795SA built 1980 acquired September 25th 2008 from Air Bridge Cargo stored since October 24 2010 built 1980 last seen April 10th 2010

We uncovered a few more additional airframe that have been scrapped or in storage. Looking at various aircraft registration listings, we can ascertain that:

N725SA production 21550/344 built in 1978; an SUD from KLM acquired around October 4th 2003 was scrapped probably almost immediately after being acquired

Through FAA records analysis we have found:

-3 aircraft owned by CF6-50 LLC registered at 117 Glover Avenue, Norwalk, CT which we believe are in various stage of storage/scrapping process (N728SA, N729SA, and N288BA)

-6 aircraft are registered to Southern Air

-16 registered to Air Mobility Inc.

the Boeing 777 N774SA N775SA are registered  to WELLS FARGO BANK NORTHWEST NA TRUSTEE

N729SA production 22379/491 SUD built 1980 (KLM) acquired November 16th 2004

N728SA production 21982 built 1980 acquired from Air France F-GCBA stored December 2nd 2004

N288BA production 22710 Boeing 747SR-81 (formerly JA8157) 4x CF6-45A2 built 1981 stored March 27th 2006 (said to be owned by Boeing Aircraft Holding Company has 85 planes including 44x 747) FAA registration claims it is owned by CF6-50 LLC. of 117 Glover Av Norwalk, CT and is most likely stored.

We also uncovered

N730SA another SUD built 1981 from KLM that we believe was in storage since 2004, after having flown with Air Atlanta Icelandic under TF-ARQ. FAA documents indicate that N730SA was de-registered as of March 9th 2009. Most likely scrapped.

Finally we went further to trace the aircraft that the company used at its inception from 1999 on to the exit from chapter 11 re-structuring in late 2003. The four planes that we identify have all been de-registered in the US with title transferred to foreign entities. We believe that they are still providing reliable flight services under Air Atlanta Icelandic.

#1 N742SA built 1981 acquired October 21st 1999 , transferred June 13th 2003 to Air Atlanta Icelandic became TR-ARH last seen July 2009 Air Atlanta Cargo

#2 N743SA built 1982 acquired August 1st 2000 moved to Air Atlanta Icelandic May 16th 2003 became TF-ARL last seen July 2009 Air Atlanta Icelandic

#3 N744SA built 1980 acquired September 14th 2000 transferred to Air Atlanta Icelandic September 10th 2003 became TF-ARM last seen active September 21st 2010 with Air Atlanta Icelandic but probably in and out of storage.

#4 N745SA built 1980 acquired July 11th 2002 moved to Air Atlanta Icelandic April 10th 2003 became TF-ARN had MasKargo markings up to July/August 2009 then unmarked (probably in and out of storage with Air Atlanta Icelandic)

A note on aircraft ownership structure

From public government records we see that Southern Air is leasing 16 of the Boeing 747 from Air Mobility Inc. from 117 Glover Avenue, Norwalk, CT while another 6 are registered to Southern Air of the same address. While the two Boeing 777LRF N774SA and N775SA are owned by WELLS FARGO BANK NORTHWEST NA TRUSTEE evidently the lender.

A word on the 777 Long Range Freighter

With the signature of a Block Space Agreement on October 19th 2009 with Thai Airways International Public Company for all the capacity on the 2 new aircraft these aircraft were evidently to fly under the Thai Airways livery upon their delivery brand new from the manufacturer. In fact they began operating the routes Bangkok-Frankfurt-Bangkok twice a week and Bangkok-Hong Kong-Amsterdam-Bangkok once a week in March/April 2010 following delivery to Southern Air in February/March 2010. Being complete ACMI contracts the aircraft have been painted to the Thai Cargo Livery and are frequent visitors to Frankfurt, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Liege, Maastricht, Hong Kong,

This snapshot of Southern Air Boeing 747 operations confirms the discipline behind the systematic building of capability to support a single aircraft model. Even considering the age of the design, one can not minimize the ability the remarkable payload capacity of the ‘Classic’. But we see that the level of engineering competencies that had to be developed had generated value of its own: the stringent demand for reliable operations from customers like Korean Air, NCA and Lufthansa had to be met. And Southern Air could show that its maintenance and parts supply systems were extremely robust. We have uncovered various schema for aircraft storage and scrapped processes that clearly show that the airline had much deeper pool of retired planes to extract part from than we initially anticipated. Our note for the future is that unfortunately the ‘Classic’ will eventually have to be relegated to less taxing work than the strenuous 6 to 11 hours duration flight that we see them undertaking across Newark, Frankfurt, Seoul, Anchorage etc….

Prospects for the future look strong. On October 6th 2010 the airline signed a charter deal with Lufthansa Cargo Charter Agency. Combined with its US military airlift contracts in and out of Dover Air Force base to Liege and Frankfurt on top supplemented by ad-hoc charter flights, the airline is sitting on solid revenues for the times to come. Management I said to envisions growing its fleet of 777 by another 2 and also acquiring 747-400 in the near future(6).

photo: thanks to Wikimedia commons (#Dontworry)

1.Fairfield County Business Journal , September 1st 2003.

2.Southern Air press release September 1st 2006

3.Southern Air press release September 29th 2006

4.Southern Air press release March 02nd, 2007

5.Southern Air press release July 26th 2007

Snapshots Of Current Boeing 747-200 Freighters Operation

Here is a snapshot of  747-200 currently operating 5:13 pm EST. It is in preview of our upcoming analysis of cargo operators. We will attempt to understand the value of Boeing 747-200 and DC-10 freighters remaining in operation. We feel that MD-11 brings significant value in that segment , so we will consider that model although it is a more recent aircraft. The Boeing 777 Freighter is the newcomer and we will consider the prospects that it offers for the future. We notice that three airlines are involved in this listing:
Southern Air operates a fleet of up to 15 Boeing 747-200F. The airlines had built its fleet around the General Electric CF6 engines as part of its strategic plan , claiming that this engine model was the most efficient in that category, allowing to carry optimally 108 tons over 3,500 miles. Also operates 2 Boeing 777 Freighters.

Atlas Air operates a fleet of up to 18 Boeing 747 including 5 Boeing 747-200 and 1 Boeing 747-300 while the rest are -400 freighters.

Kalitta Air has 17 Boeing 747-200 complemented by 6 Boeing 747-400 operating.

SOO963 Los Angeles Intl (KLAX) – Anchorage Intl (PANC )

SOO815 Dover Afb (KDOV) – Liege (EBLG / LGG)

CKS576 Houston Bush Int’ctl (KIAH)-Newark Liberty Intl (KEWR)

CKS845 Houston Bush Int’ctl (KIAH)-Hato Int’l (TNCC / CUR)

GTI8242 John F Kennedy Intl (KJFK)-Frankfurt-Hahn (EDFH / HHN )

GTI8238 Dover Afb (KDOV)-Frankfurt-Hahn (EDFH / HHN )