Delta Propels the Future of Flight Training

Delta Propels the Future of Flight Training

Delta Propels the Future of Flight Training

This past Tuesday, Delta Air Lines announced a new pathway to the flight deck via the Delta Propel Flight Academy. In partnership with Skyborne Aviation Academy, who is located in Vero Beach, Fla., the carrier will offer a route for aviators to progress from student pilots to a commercial pilot for the airline. The program is currently accepting applications with a slated start in June of this year. 

Students wishing to participate in the pathway program will be eligible to apply to Propel after completing their first certificate or rating with Skyborne. If accepted into the Propel Pathway, applicants will receive a conditional job offer and follow the progression path of the program. 

Similar to United Aviate Acadamy in Arizona, the Atlanta-based carrier will have student pilots trained from student to flight instructor, and then offered employment with Skyborne to work as a flight instructor until they reach their required flight time of 1500 hours to progress to flying an airliner. Participants will then have the option to fly for one of Delta’s regional affiliates: Endeavor Air, Republic Airways or SkyWest Airlines. After completing the required service requirements at a connection partner, participants will flow to Delta in 42 months or less. 

ATP flight school estimates the cost to start from zero hours to a commercial pilot with flight instructor certificates to be just under $97,000 — a large sum of money to commit at the start of a career. Skyborne breaks down the cost for Porpel academy to be $83,955, plus housing and required extras, bringing the total to $92,064.

Delta understands the hardship faced by the large cost upfront, so the major carrier is offering $20,000 in financial support to eligible student pilots. Additionally, the airline will cover the cost of interest on student loans from select lenders, helping students cover the investment in their careers. The program is expected to take students from zero hours to flight instructors in one year. 

Skyborne’s facility is in Vero Beach, Fla. where weather is conducive to flight training year-round. The flight school operates a fleet of 50 aircraft consisting of Piper Warriors, Arrows and Seminoles. The school boasts a newly renovated 12,000-square-foot training facility on its campus. By establishing this partnership, Skyborne will see an uptick in students flowing through their program and an influx of flight instructors who will be working for the school after completing their training. The partnership also affords Delta the opportunity to have pilots trained at an already well-established school beginning in a mere couple of months. 

The Propel Pathway was established in 2018 by Delta to, as the company states, “select and develop the next generation of pilots.” The program has now four established pathways through Company, College, Community and most recently Propel Flight Academy. So far, the program has generated 100 pilots to Delta flight decks, with another 700 in the program flying for regional partners or at other stages in the program. Along with flying for Delta’s regional partners, participants of the program also have career progression options of flying for Wheels Up or flying military aircraft for the Air National Guard or Reserves.  

Delta is the most recent major U.S. airline to announce a flight program affiliated with their company. United Airlines operates its own in-house Aviate Academy in Arizona, and American Airlines has Cadet Academy in partnership with flight schools like CAE and other partners in Arizona, California, Oklahoma and Texas.

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JSX Elevates Flying Experience with Starlink and Rapid Growth

JSX Elevates Flying Experience with Starlink and Rapid Growth

JSX Elevates Flying Experience with Starlink and Rapid Growth

It’s been a year of constant growth and development for JSX. After moving its corporate headquarters from California to Dallas almost five years ago, the air carrier has been hard at work refining its product and growing its network across the country. While Las Vegas to Los Angeles may have been JSX’s original bread and butter, the semi-private flights are gaining momentum across the country with unique route opportunities popping up everywhere.

Over the past few years, JSX has proven to offer a fresh experience to air travel, sprinkling in unique services and offerings throughout a passenger’s journey. Passengers seem to want more as the air carrier experiences nonstop year-over-year growth.

From 2019 through today, JSX has grown its annual enplanements by 118%. While 2022 was the air carrier’s busiest year with over 30,000 revenue flights flown, this number is expected to grow by over 65% in 2023. This year, JSX expects to record about $500 million in revenue and the air carrier’s CEO predicts that this number will grow to over $1 billion in the next five years.

More Airports, More Airplanes, More Opportunities

All regularly scheduled U.S. airlines operate as Part 121 carriers and have access to just 517 airports across the country. JSX, however, operates as a Part 135 carrier, allowing the air carrier to access over 1,500 airports nationwide. As long as the airport has at least 5,000 feet of runway pavement, JSX can land its jets there.

Throughout the industry, legacy carriers such as American, Delta, and United have been affected by a pilot shortage and have shifted focus to newer, larger jets such as the A321neo and 737 MAX 10 that allow for more seat capacity per flight. As a result, these carriers continue to pull out of smaller, regional markets. Between 2019 and 2022, regional airlines in the U.S. saw a 34% dip in flight traffic, over 18% more than medium and large airports across the nation.

Despite a significant nationwide rebound in air travel over the last two years, JSX CEO Alex Wilcox is confident that the major airlines will likely not return to the small airports that they have pulled out of, leaving thousands of seats out of smaller markets that have proven demand. Wilson believes that this will provide a significant opportunity for JSX as it expands its point-to-point route network. Since its inception, the air carrier has found it relatively easy to stimulate demand at airports with competition versus airports where JSX is the only carrier providing flights.

JSX operates from private terminals and hangars at the various airports it serves. (Photo: Mateen Kontoravdis | AirlineGeeks)

While the thesis of the air carrier’s network began in California on routes less than 500 miles, JSX has slowly embraced longer flights and expanded eastward. Since 2018, the air carrier has been adding flights from its new home in Dallas as well, connecting the state to its West Coast network as well as Austin and Houston. Despite heavy intra-Texas competition, the air carrier is expecting to launch a new city within the state over the next 12 months. JSX also recently began operating flights to New Mexico as well, flying all Taos Air flights.

The air carrier has also found success along the East Coast since the first flight touched down in Miami in November 2021. New flights to Martha’s Vineyard and Portland, ME are being added from White Plains and additional growth along the East Coast is expected over the next few years. The air carrier is also actively looking at opening a base in Florida to complement its Dallas and West Coast bases.

As an exclusive Embraer E-135 and E-145 operator, you would expect JSX to be flying older, worn out aircraft. And while the jets may be over 20 years old, each JSX aircraft goes through the air carrier’s signature “Planecycling” program prior to entering service. This sustainable reconfiguration breathes new life into the old cabins of each jet the air carrier acquires.

The E-145 can accommodate up to 50 passengers, but JSX has just 30 seats onboard each aircraft in a 1-1 configuration. Each seat has at least 34-inches of legroom and a power outlet. The air carrier also removed the overhead bins and added bright lighting to give the cabin a spacious, airy feeling.

There are currently 16 E-135s in the fleet. These jets exclusively operate short, California routes. JSX also has 21 E-145s in its premium 1-1 configuration. The air carrier recently acquired over 40 additional E-145s and plans to retrofit and add one more jet to its fleet every six weeks over the next few years.

Additionally, JSX recently signed a lease in a vacant hangar next door to the Frontiers of Flight Museum at Dallas Love Field. This will serve as its headquarters, maintenance facility, and future passenger lounge. The space is expected to open in October 2023 and will offer an upgraded experience for passengers traveling with from Dallas. A new Operations Control Center is also being built near the hangar.

The airline has ambitious expansion plans over the next 10 years. (Photo: Mateen Kontoravdis | AirlineGeeks)

With over 1,000 employees, additional aircraft joining the fleet, and operations spreading across the country, JSX is ascending to new heights. While certain routes are profitable, the air carrier is not yet collectively profitable. Executives at JSX expect profitability soon, though they didn’t mention a timeline. The air carrier is privately owned with high profile backers including JetBlue and Qatar Airways.

An Unmatched Experience with Starlink WiFi

As the air carrier grows and welcomes new customers, it has heavily focused on refining the passenger experience. Customers flying JSX will always depart or arrive at a private terminal, away from the busy crowds in the cities the air carrier serves. In fact, JSX customers are advised to arrive for the flight just 20 to 30 minutes before departure.

JSX is the world’s first carrier to feature a Starlink antenna on its aircraft. (Photo: Mateen Kontoravdis | AirlineGeeks)

Once onboard, passengers have access to SpaceX’s Starlink wifi from takeoff to touchdown. Connecting to Starlink is extremely easy. All you have to do is turn on the WiFi signal after switching to airplane mode and select the “Free JSX Starlink WiFi” network. There are no pop up menus or other requirements and the wifi is completely free throughout the trip.

During a recent demo flight, I experienced the fastest internet connection I’ve ever had while inflight. The download speeds were faster than the typical speeds I experience on the ground. Starlink wifi allows passengers to easily stream their favorite services such as YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu, eliminating the need for the air carrier to offer pre-selected content. You can quickly

Wilcox also teased that the air carrier is in the process of becoming the first to be certified by the FAA for inflight videoconferencing on applications such as FaceTime and Zoom.

JSX is the only air carrier in the world to offer Starlink, though more airlines such as Hawaiian Airlines and AirBaltic are expected to adopt the technology in the future. Each aircraft in the fleet will feature Starlink wifi. The installation process is done in house by JSX and takes approximately eight hors per aircraft.

While the wifi works at stellar speeds, the onboard service is also an impressive feat of flying with JSX. Once airborne, passengers on all flights are offered free alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages as well as a wide range of snacks. Drink choices include local and trendy picks from the various regions that the air carrier serves

Passengers traveling on flights over 500 miles are treated to the JSX long-haul experience. This includes hot towels and fresh cold food for all. Some choices include a Mediterranean Mezze, Thai Noodles, and a Chicken Wrap. Upon landing, passengers can collect their baggage airside as they deboard. While customers can earn United and JetBlue points when flying on JSX, the air carrier is also planning to launch its own unique loyalty program in the near future.

Every seat is a window seat on JSX with beautiful avgeek views for all! The airline has ambitious expansion plans over the next 10 years. (Photo: Mateen Kontoravdis | AirlineGeeks)

From convenient private terminals, industry leading wifi, and enhanced onboard offerings, JSX is working to innovate and set a new standard for the air travel experience. The air carrier continues to grow and offer a unique alternative to the traveling public as leisure demand reaches new records.

  • Mateen Kontoravdis

    Mateen has been interested in aviation from a very young age. He got his first model airplane at six and has been airplane spotting since he was nine years old. He has always had a passion for aviation and loves learning about different aspects within the industry. In addition to writing for AirlineGeeks, Mateen is also an editor for his high school’s newspaper. You can also find him on Instagram (@Plane.Photos) where he enjoys sharing his aviation photography with thousands of people everyday.

Mateen Kontoravdis
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RwandAir Continues Fleet Expansion with New Airbus A330-200   

RwandAir Continues Fleet Expansion with New Airbus A330-200  

RwandAir Continues Fleet Expansion with New Airbus A330-200  

RwandAir, the national flag carrier of Rwanda, has recently received its third long-haul aircraft, an Airbus A330-200, which will allow the airline to further expand its long-haul operation between Europe, Middle East and Africa. The aircraft, registered 9XR-WX, is based at the carrier’s hub in Kigali and offers customers a leading experience in the skies with 30 seats in business class and 222 seats in economy class.

RwandAir has a mix of regional and long-haul routes, with a focus on connecting underserved markets and driving economic growth in the region.

This acquisition is part of RwandAir’s ambitious expansion plans to strengthen its presence in the global aviation market. The airline has been rapidly growing its fleet size and route network over the past few years, with a focus on connecting Rwanda to the rest of Africa and beyond. With the addition of the new Airbus A330-200, RwandAir’s fleet size will now stand at 13 aircraft, consisting of three long-haul, one freighter, and nine short-haul aircraft.

“We are delighted to welcome another Airbus A330 to our young and expanding fleet,” RwandAir CEO Yvonne Manzi Makolo said in a statement. “Our customers can expect the best service from us and we look forward to offering a new level of comfort and connectivity on board our new aircraft as we continue to expand our reach across the globe.”

The airline is set to operate the new wide-body aircraft to its key destinations in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, including London, Brussels, Lagos, and Dubai. This will provide customers with greater flexibility and more travel options. RwandAir has been building a strong reputation for its quality of service, reliability, and efficiency, and is expected to continue growing in popularity among travelers.

As the airline continues to grow and expand, it will be interesting to see how it continues to innovate and adapt to the changing needs of the aviation industry.

In addition to the new aircraft, RwandAir also received its first dedicated freighter aircraft in November 2022. The carrier has been expanding its cargo services to meet the growing demand for air freight in Rwanda and the rest of Africa.

The freighter aircraft will enhance RwandAir’s cargo capacity and support the country’s economic growth by improving its connectivity with global markets.

RwandAir’s expansion plans are in line with the Rwandan government’s vision to transform the country into a regional hub for business, tourism, and trade.

The airline’s growth strategy is expected to create new job opportunities, increase tourism, and improve Rwanda’s connectivity with the rest of the world. With the acquisition of the new Airbus A330-200 and other recent developments, RwandAir is well-positioned to become a major player in the global aviation industry.

  • Victor Shalton

    Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Victor’s love for aviation goes way back to when he was 11-years-old. Living close to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, he developed a love for planes and he even recalls aspiring to be a future airline executive for Kenya Airways. He also has a passion in the arts and loves writing and had his own aviation blog prior to joining AirlineGeeks.
    He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration at DeKUT and aspiring to make a career in a more aviation-related course.

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Caring chat with flight attendants inspires guest to pick up the tab – for the entire plane 

Caring chat with flight attendants inspires guest to pick up the tab – for the entire plane 

Sylvia N., a Portland-based flight attendant, has had a lot of conversations with guests in her nearly 30 years with Alaska Airlines, but one with a woman seated in 1A on a recent flight from Dallas to Portland, will be hard to forget.

During the flight, Sylvia had been chatting with the guest, who seemed genuinely interested in how she and her fellow flight attendants were doing.

“She wanted to know how it had been flying during the hardships of Covid and how they had all gotten through it,” she said. “So, I took some time to explain how it impacted us—as flight attendants and me personally—and we had a wonderful conversation.”

Shortly thereafter, the guest seated in 1A said she wanted to do something special to thank Sylvia and her co-workers. She asked Sylvia if she could pay for the entire plane’s food and drinks.

Sylvia got chills. The crew asked the guest if she really wanted to do that, which was followed by an immediate, “yes.”

That’s when we all (flight attendants) started to tear up,” Sylvia said. “It was an incredible act of kindness.”

“What Sylvia did to make a personal connection with this guest, and then for the whole crew using the Care Framework to make this happen, just warms my heart,” said Michaela Littman, MD of inflight operations. “Our flight attendants are truly remarkable.”

With such a unique request, the crew had to discuss logistics. They needed to find a solution to carry out this guest’s wishes, but everyone had already received their meals and drinks. The crew ended up going back through the cabin to refund each guest, charging it to the First Class guest, as requested.

Another First Class guest who witnessed the kind act, asked Sylvia for some paper. Later int he flight, the guest returned with handfuls of handwritten notes thanking the flight attendants.

Among the messages were notes that said:

“You impact so many lives with your service”

“Thanks for your cheerful, professional service.”

“You’ve made my day brighter when I needed it most.”

Upon landing, Sylvia thanked the two guests in First Class for their kindness. “To have one guest buy a plane-full of food and drinks for everyone was above and beyond, but then to have the handwritten notes was overwhelming in the best way possible,” she said.

Sylvia said this had happened only once before in her career – when a guest on a Las Vegas flight paid for everyone’s drinks.

“Each one of our guests has a story,” she said. “You just don’t know what compels people and why.”

A little kindness truly can change the world.”

– Flight Attendant Cheryl G., who was also part of the amazing flight experience.

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A First Look at SkyWest Charters

A First Look at SkyWest Charters

A First Look at SkyWest Charters

SkyWest Charters this week rolled out the first aircraft in a livery differentiating it from other aircraft in its parent company’s fleet.

Two aircraft registered N923SW and N877AS are confirmed as airframes that will operate for SWC. There is a third plane wearing the SWC livery but the registration of it is unknown and more will be added as time goes on. The current three planes have been painted for at least a month but have been kept under wraps by the airline while doing proving flights and getting certified for operations. SkyWest did not respond to a request for comment regarding SWC.

SkyWest has been having a rough time over the last year. They requested to terminate over 30 communities served by the Essential Air Service — a government subsidy-based program intended to provide small communities with regular air connectivity — around the country in March 2022. Their reasoning behind the massive termination was the pilot shortage airlines in the U.S. are currently facing.

Now, just over a year later, the company’s answer to this shortage is reaching its final stages before being able to fly passengers. The answer: take out 20-seats from its Bombardier CRJ-200s, leaving them with only 30 seats so they can operate under different regulations under Federal Aviation Administration rules and operate them as “public charters” rather than “scheduled passenger flights.” As a result, the company can hire crew with fewer hours to fly these planes. It’s not unheard of as JSX, Contour and other airlines already operate under the “public charter” certification.

Service components such as aircraft, ticket counters and other fixed services will operate under SWC branding and will not be associated with any one major legacy carrier on board or in the airports at which the airline will operate. SWC cited a “codeshare with United and Delta” in these communities on the EAS proposals, but then later went back and made a revision to the proposals making it an interline partnership rather than codeshare.

SWC has submitted multiple of proposals with the Department of Transportation to fly these planes on EAS routes. These include the communities of Jamestown and Devils Lake both of which are in North Dakota, as well as Vernal and Moab, Utah. And it is likely that they will propose SWC flights to more cities in the coming months.

The communities in Utah weren’t in the original 31 cities they requested to terminate, meaning that no city in the SkyWest system or otherwise is safe from the 30-seat CRJ. As of yet the DOT has not yet awarded a contract with the EAS option due to no active or approved certificate, meaning the process is still ongoing.

  • Joey Gerardi

    Joe has always been interested in planes, for as long as he can remember. He grew up in Central New York during the early 2000s when US Airways Express turboprops ruled the skies. Being from a non-aviation family made it harder for him to be around planes and would only spend about three hours a month at the airport. He was so excited when he could drive by himself and the first thing he did with the license was get ice cream and go plane spotting for the entire day. When he has the time (and money) he likes to take spotting trips to any location worth a visit. He’s currently enrolled at Western Michigan University earning a degree in Aviation Management and Operations.

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Auckland Airport Commences Integration for Domestic and International Terminals

Auckland Airport Commences Integration for Domestic and International Terminals

Auckland Airport Commences Integration for Domestic and International Terminals

After twelve years of consulting with the airlines, Auckland, New Zealand’s Airport will start the biggest redevelopment project of combining its domestic and international terminal. Auckland Airport — the main gateway to New Zealand — has struggled to combine two terminals for years. The pandemic has paused the integration program as a result. The scheme is a significant investment for the airport since the opening of the airport.

According to the airport, the 57-year-old terminal is near its capacity and “hasn’t been for some time.” Auckland said the aeronautical fees of the current domestic terminal are 40 – 50% less than other airports in Australia and New Zealand in response to the aging facilities. The scheme could employ up to 2,000  workers at the height of constructions.

“A new domestic terminal integrated into the international terminal will make Auckland Airport fit for the future, providing a much-improved experience for travellers – something they’ve clearly and repeatedly told us they want,” Carrie Hurihanganui Auckland Airport’s Chief Executive said.

The combined terminal is set to complete between 2028 and 2029 with a 3.9 billion New Zealand Dollars ($2.44 billion) price tag. Auckland said the new combined terminal would add floor space across two levels to the existing international terminal, including upgrade to airfield pavement. The new facilities could save passenger’s time, decreasing the domestic flight to international transfer times to a five minutes indoor walk.

Auckland emphasised the importance of the sustainability and the new investment could make the airport more sustainable.

According to Airports Council International, the airports around the global are going to spend $2.4 trillion on airport infrastructure over the next two decades, of which more than half of the investment will take place in the Asia Pacific Region. The airport handled 9.6 million passengers at the domestic terminal and 11.5 million international passengers before Covid.

After two and half years, Auckland has made a recovery from the pandemic, turning in the black in the first half of the financial year of 2023. Earlier,  New Zealand rolled out the red carpet for the Chinese visitors. The Chinese government has given a green light to the travel agency to organize the sightseeing tours to New Zealand in the early phase of reopening its border.

The travellers from China have arrived in Auckland at the right time as the number of North American visitors has been seen decreasing after the peak season. The Chinese visitors fill the gap and provide a late summer boost.

China is New Zealand’s second largest visitor market before the pandemic. In the wake of the surge of travel demand, Air New Zealand, China Eastern Airlines and Southern Airlines are going to enhance their services to Auckland by adding flight frequencies to seven-times-a-week.

Will Lee

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