JFK International Airport

3.3974096795966 (2934)
Posted by kaori 04/13/2009 @ 23:11

Tags : jfk international airport, airports, transportation, business

News headlines
It's cheaper to fly shuttle into JFK - Boston Globe
My pal Chris Reidy and I wrote a piece yesterday about Delta Air Lines trimming last-minute, walkup fares on its shuttle service from Boston to New York's LaGuardia Airport by as much as 60 percent to $129 one way, essentially bringing it in line with...
British Airways offering cheaper business class flights - Just the Flight
Club World customers are offered amenities including audio and video on demand, a fully flat bed and access to lounges at Heathrow Airport and New York JFK. Richard Tams, British Airways' head of UK and Ireland sales, said: "These are amazing savings....
Privacy advocates call for end to airport 'virtual strip searches' - Prison Planet.com
“Airports in 20 US cities, such as JFK in New York City and LAX in Los Angeles, have used or plan to use MMW tech this year,” noted Live Science. “Other countries have also begun using or evaluating MMW for airport screening, including the UK,...
Immigration Officials May Have Let International Fugitive Into US - FOXNews
Last week a federal judge issued an arrest warrant for the man, who flew into New York's JFK International Airport in early April. According to the court documents, immigration officers fingerprinted him during the "arrival process," which "resulted in...
Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt: Back in the Big Apple - The Gossip Girls
They never seem to stay in one place for very long, and yesterday (May 17) Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt were spotted arriving at JFK International Airport in New York City. The blissful newlyweds looked happy to see the paparazzi as they deplaned,...
JFK International Airport - Digital Signage Expo
JCDecaux, American Airlines and JFK Airport, leveraged the high-traffic airport to increase revenue streams and create a unique commuting experience. C-nario provided breakthrough digital signage solutions to generate a high-impact campaign....
Delta Shuttle Launches New Fares; Walk Up Fares Up to 60 Percent Lower - PR Newswire (press release)
The new one-way Delta Shuttle fare between New York's LaGuardia Airport and Boston's Logan International Airport is $129*. The fare between New York's LaGuardia and Reagan National Airport is $169*. Additional taxes/fees/restrictions/baggage charges...
JetBlue Airways Provides Full Refund Assurance for 2009 and Hot ... - PR Newswire (press release)
Flights as low as $49 (b) are also available between New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Boston, MA; Buffalo, NY; Burlington, VT; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, ME; Rochester, NY; Syracuse, NY; and Washington, DC/Dulles airports....
Heavy-sulphur fuel grounds planes - Trinidad News
He said international flights which arrived during the afternoon would take longer to resume, saying they should be re-started by this morning. Several international flights, such as one from JFK Airport in New York, were being diverted last night...
DOT Scraps Auctions For NYC Airport Slots - Wall Street Journal
DOT had sought to auction 10% of the take-off and landing slots at JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International airports. The move was expected to push some airlines to move flights to less-congested, off-peak times, and also allow new entrants into...

O'Hare International Airport

O'Hare International Airport (USGS).png

O'Hare International Airport (IATA: ORD, ICAO: KORD, FAA LID: ORD), also known simply as O'Hare Airport or O'Hare, is a major airport located in the northwestern-most corner of Chicago, Illinois, United States, 17 miles (27 km) northwest of the Chicago Loop. It is the largest hub of United Airlines (whose headquarters are in downtown Chicago) and the second-largest hub of American Airlines (after Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport). It is operated by the City of Chicago Department of Aviation, associated with an umbrella regional authority.

In 2008, the airport had 881,566 aircraft operations, an average of 2,409 per day (64% scheduled commercial, 33% air taxi, 3% general aviation and <1% military). O'Hare International Airport is the second busiest airport in the United States, behind JFK International Airport with 69,353,654 passengers passing through the airport in 2008; a -8.96% change from 2007. O'Hare also has a strong international presence, with flights to more than 60 foreign destinations. O'Hare was ranked fourth in 2005 of the United States' international gateways, with only John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, Los Angeles International Airport and Miami International Airport, serving more foreign destinations.

O’Hare International Airport was voted the "Best Airport in North America" for 10 years, by readers of the U.S. Edition of Business Traveler Magazine (1998 - 2003) and Global Traveler Magazine (2004 - 2007).

Although O'Hare is Chicago's primary airport, Chicago Midway International Airport, the city's second airport, is about 6 miles (10 km) closer to the Loop, the main business and financial district.

The airport was constructed between 1942 and 1943, as a manufacturing plant for Douglas C-54s during World War II. The site was chosen for its proximity to the city and transportation. The two million square-foot (180,000 m²) factory needed easy access to the workforce of the nation's then-second-largest city, as well as its extensive railroad infrastructure. Orchard Place was a small pre-existing community in the area and the airport was known during the war as Orchard Place Airport/Douglas Field (hence the location identifier ORD). The facility was also the site of the Army Air Force's 803 Special Depot, which stored many rare or experimental planes, including captured enemy aircraft. These historic aircraft would later be transferred to the National Air Museum, going on to form the core of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's collection.

Douglas Aircraft Company's contract ended in 1945 and though plans were proposed to build commercial aircraft, the company ultimately chose to concentrate production on the west coast. With the departure of Douglas, the airport took the name Orchard Field Airport. In 1945, the facility was chosen by the City of Chicago, as the site for a facility to meet future aviation demands. Though its familiar three-letter IATA code ORD still reflects the early identity of the airport, it was renamed in 1949, after Lieutenant Commander Edward "Butch" O'Hare, USN, a World War II flying ace, who was awarded the Medal of Honor.

By the early 1950s, Chicago Midway International Airport, which had been the primary Chicago airport since 1931, had become too small and crowded, despite multiple expansions and was unable to handle the planned first generation of jets. The City of Chicago and the FAA began to develop O'Hare as the main airport for Chicago's future. The first commercial passenger flights were started there in 1955 and an international terminal was built in 1958, but the majority of domestic traffic did not move from Midway, until completion of a 1962 expansion at O'Hare. The arrival of Midway's former traffic instantly made O'Hare the new World's Busiest Airport, serving 10 million passengers annually. Within two years, that number would double, with more people passing through O'Hare in 12 months than Ellis Island had processed in its entire existence. In 1997, annual passenger volume reached 70 million; it is now approaching 80 million. At this time of writing, United serves its flagship hub with 650 daily departures, but the carrier's utilization of O'Hare peaked at over 1,000 daily flights in 1994.

O'Hare Airport is municipally connected to the city of Chicago via a narrow strip of land, approximately 200 feet (61 m) wide, running along Higgins Rd, from the Des Plaines river to the airport. This land was annexed into the city limits in the 1950s, to assure the airport was contiguous with the city to keep it under city control. The strip is bounded on the north by Rosemont and the south by Schiller Park. The CTA Blue Line was extended to the airport in 1984.

1057 fatalities have occurred as a result of accidents en route to or from Chicago O'Hare.

O'Hare's high volume and crowded schedule can lead to long delays and cancellations that, due to the airport being a major hub, can affect air travel across the United States. Official reports rank O'Hare as one of the least punctual airport in the United States based on percentage of delayed flights. In 2004, United Airlines and American Airlines agreed to modify their schedules to help reduce congestion caused by clustered arrivals and departures. Because of the air traffic departing, arriving, and near the airport, air traffic controllers at O'Hare and its nearby facilities are among the leaders in the world in terms of number of controlled flights per hour.

City management has committed to a $6 billion capital investment plan to increase the airport's capacity by 60% and decrease delays by an estimated 79 percent. This plan was approved by the FAA in October 2005 and will involve a reconfiguration of the airfield and addition of terminal space. Four runways will be added and two decommissioned in order to give the airfield an eight-runway parallel 6+2 configuration similar to that in Dallas. This plan was very controversial as the added improvements can increase the air traffic only slightly with the FAA rules.

The Modernization Plan is now under construction, and an additional runway and Air Traffic Control Tower were commissioned on November 20, 2008. The new north runway, designated 9L/27R, will initially serve as a foul weather arrival runway, addressing one of O'Hare's primary causes of delay. An extension of Runway 10/28 (formerly 9R/27L) to 13,000 feet (4,000 m) was opened in September, 2008, facilitating the shortening and eventual closure of the equally long Runway 14R/32L.

Design efforts are underway for the remainder of the program, which includes three runway projects, a new western terminal complex and an automated people mover system. The O'Hare Modernization Program has submitted an application to the Federal Aviation Administration to use approximately $180 million in Passenger Facility Charges to fund design work, which will begin in early 2009.

Some land acquisition is necessary for the modernization, requiring approximately 2,800 residents to be relocated. The program will expand the airport's capacity to over 3,800 operations per day, up from the present capacity of 2,700 and will vastly increase passenger throughput. It will also improve the ability of very large aircraft such as the A380 to operate.

Flight caps in place since 2004 expired on October 31, 2008. Ironically, American Airlines eliminated over 60 daily flights at O'Hare because of soaring fuel prices. United announced similar cutbacks. Recent worldwide economic difficulties further complicate the forecasts for airport demand.

The OMP had developed a nationally-recognized program that incorporates “green” principles into virtually every facet of design and construction. This program, detailed in the OMP Sustainable Design Manual (SDM), tracks sustainable design initiatives for occupied buildings and civil construction projects.

The neighboring communities of Bensenville and Elk Grove Village have been centers of resistance to the expansion plan, in which some residents and businesses will be required to relocate. Bensenville and Elk Grove Village formed the Suburban O'Hare Commission to fight the expansion. So far, they have not had much success. The commission did receive a temporary injunction against portions of the city's expansion project; however, it was soon overturned. The Suburban O'Hare Commission has also been instrumental in pushing for a third regional airport in south suburban Peotone, which it claims would alleviate congestion at O'Hare. However, no airline has committed to the proposed airport, and planning efforts moved very slowly during 2007-2008.

In 1995, the Chicago/Gary Airport Compact was signed by the cities of Chicago and Gary, Indiana, creating a new administration for the Gary/Chicago International Airport just across the state line. While markedly smaller than the proposed Peotone site, this airport already has more land and a longer main runway than Midway Airport. Gary is also many miles closer than Peotone to downtown Chicago. In addition public transportation is already in place to the Loop via the South Shore Line. Indiana and the FAA have provided significant funding for a Gary runway expansion, currently under construction.

Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) in Rockford, Illinois has also marketed itself as an alternative for congestion at O'Hare. However, it is at least a 1-1/2 hour trip to Rockford from the Chicago Loop. Currently there is no direct transportation service from downtown Chicago or O'Hare to the Chicago Rockford International Airport, but airline service at the airport continues to grow. Larry Morrissey, the current mayor of Rockford, has pushed for a high-speed rail connection between the two airports to make the Rockford airport a more convenient alternative to O'Hare.

General Mitchell International Airport (MKE) in Milwaukee has consistently attempted to increase its usage by Chicago and Northern Illinois customers. There is a direct Amtrak rail service connecting Chicago with Mitchell Airport. The trains operate 7 round trips each day, taking under 75 min. from the Chicago loop.

O'Hare International has four passenger terminals. Two or more additional terminal buildings are envisioned. There is the possibility of a large terminal complex for the west side of the field, with access from I-90 and/or the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway, if the runway reconfiguration is completed.

United Airlines and United Express is the largest airline at Chicago O'Hare carrying 48.79% of the passengers. American Airlines and American Eagle is the second largest carrying 39.89% of passengers.

For complete information on flights to and from Chicago O'Hare International Airport, please see the airport's website.

Chicago O'Hare International Airport provides 186 aircraft gates throughout four Terminals (1, 2, 3, 5) and nine concourses (B, C, E, F, G, H, K, L, M).

Concourse B has 21 Gates: B1–B12, B14–B21, B22, and B22A-B22B. Concourse B currently serves 84 airports as of JUN 4 2009.

United Airlines runs a shuttle service between Concourse C and Concourses E & F. The shuttles are accessed via stairways near Gate C-9 and Gate E-2A.

The original 1955 passenger terminal for international flights, was replaced with the modern Terminal 1, designed by Helmut Jahn, in 1987.

Terminal 2 was built in a large airport expansion in 1962, along with the original portion of Terminal 3. It was United's sole terminal until the current Terminal 1 was built. In the 1960s/70s/80s it served United, Ozark, Braniff, Eastern, Northwest, Continental and Piedmont. In addition to Concourses E/F (which remain today), there was also an 11-gate Concourse D, which was demolished to make room for new Terminal 1.

In early 2009, Delta Air Lines will move to Terminal 2 from its current home at Terminal 3 to align its operations with Northwest Airlines. At approximately the same time, Continental Airlines will move from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1 as part of its planned move from SkyTeam to the Star Alliance and codesharing with United Airlines.

United Airlines runs a shuttle service between Concourse E and Concourse C. The shuttles are accessed via stairways near Gate E-2A and Gate C-9. Shuttles run every 5-7 minutes between 5:30am and 10:00pm.

Concourse F has 14 gates; however, several gates can handle multiple flights at the same time, effectively bringing aircraft capacity to 26: F1(A-D), F2(B-D), F4(A,B), F5, F6(A,B), F7B, F8-F10, F11(A-E), F12, F12(A-C), F14.

Gates with the alpha designation in parentheses are those that board/disembark passengers through a single doorway. Passengers board/disembark aircraft using airstairs, walking along designated pathways, utilizing stairs/elevators to access the gate area. United Airlines is in the process of converting these "outside operations" gates used by United Express into jet bridge operations to increase passenger comfort and ultimately enhance safety and security.

Additional gates – F5B and F7A – are currently under construction which will increase capacity to 28 aircraft. Construction of these gates are scheduled to finish before summer.

Terminal 3 was also built in the 1962 capital program. During the 1960s, and pre-airline deregulation, Concourse G served TWA, with a few gates reserved for Air Canada. Concourse H & K served American and Delta while Concourse K also served the large "regional" carrier North Central (later known as Republic Airlines). Terminal 3 was significantly expanded in 1983, with the construction of Concourse L for Delta Air Lines, which was initially known as the "Delta Flight Center". Concourse L also handled some international departures until the completion of Terminal 5 in 1993. Notably, Delta Air Lines will move from Terminal 3 to Terminal 2 Concourse E in early 2009, the home of merger partner Northwest Airlines. At this time, it is unknown what airline will take over the current Delta gates on Concourse L.

Renovations at Terminal 3 were recently completed, which ran from January 2004 to late fall 2007.

Terminal 4 was O'Hare's interim international terminal from 1984 until 1993, located on the ground floor of the main parking garage. International passengers would check in at Terminal 4 and be taken directly to their aircraft by bus. Since the opening of Terminal 5, Terminal 4 has been changed into the airport's facility for CTA buses, hotel shuttles, and other ground transportation. The T4 designation will be used again in the future as new terminals are developed.

Terminal 5 provides 21 Gates on one Concourse.

There are two main cargo areas at O'Hare that have warehouse, build-up/tear-down and aircraft parking facilities. The Southwest Cargo Area, adjacent to Irving Park Road, accommodates over 80% of the airport's all-cargo flights, divided among 9 buildings in two tiers. The North Cargo Area, which is a modest conversion of the former military base (the 1943 Douglas plant area), also receives air freighters. It is adjacent to the northern portion of Bessie Coleman Drive.

Two satellite cargo areas have warehouse and build-up/tear down facilities, but aircraft do not park at these. Freight is trucked to/from aircraft on other ramps. The South Cargo Area is along Mannheim Road. The East Cargo Area, adjacent to Terminal 5, was formerly the airport's only cargo section but has now mostly evolved into an airport support zone.

Although all-cargo flights are important, an even greater amount of global air cargo flies in the cargo holds of passenger aircraft.

With the opening of new runway 9L/27R in November 2008, there are now 7 primary air carrier runways, arranged tangentially in 3 pairs of parallel sets. The largest is Runway 14R-32L, 13,000' x 200'. Runway 10/28 is now also 13,000' long but is narrower with a width of 150'. Runways 9L, 10, 14L, 14R, 27L, 27R and 28 have Category III ILS (Instrument Landing System), allowing trained aircrews to conduct landings with as little as 600 feet (180 m) of horizontal visibility. All other runway approaches except 4L have full Category I ILS. Due to its location and prevailing winds, runway 4L is seldom used for landings. Therefore, it is equipped with a localizer, the horizontal guidance component of an ILS system, but does not have a glideslope, the vertical component.

All but two of O'Hare's runways intersect, which can create problems in times of inclement weather, congestion at the airport, or high winds. There have been several near-aircraft collisions at O'Hare in recent years. The proposed redevelopment, which essentially eliminates active runway intersections, is intended to alleviate collision hazards at O'Hare.

Three runways of the original 1943 airfield's four have been upgraded to modern standards. Additional runways were constructed in 1955, 1968, 1971 and 2008. In 2003, old Runway 18-36 was permanently closed—its short length and problematic placement no longer justified its continued certification. Runway 18-36 is now shown as taxiway WT on current airport charts.

The proposed redevelopment would entail removal of the 2 northwest–southeast runways, construction of 4 additional east–west runways, and extension of the 2 existing east–west runways. The two existing northeast–southwest runways would be retained. Currently, 1 of the 4 new runways has been constructed (9L/27R), and 1 of the 2 extensions (10/28) has been completed.

Runway 32L is sometimes used for departures in a shortened configuration. Planes access the runway from its intersection at taxiway T10 (common) or taxiway M (not common). This shortens the effective length of the runway but allows operations on runway 10-28 to continue without restriction.

The proposed runway re-configuration program at O'Hare would also improve the airport for the A380 Super-Jumbo aircraft. As part of the runway re-configuration program, on July 5, 2007, the runway previously designated 9R-27L became Runway 10-28, and on August 30, 2007, Runway 9L-27R became 9R-27L.

On September 25, 2008, a 3,000-foot (910 m) extension to 10-28 was opened.

Access within the airport complex can be accomplished using O'Hare's Airport Transit System (ATS), a 2.5 mi (4 km) long automated people mover system that operates 24 hours a day, connecting all four terminals and the remote parking lots. The system began its operation in 1993, and will be soon undergoing a US $90 million enhancement to add 24 new cars and to extend the line to a new remote parking garage.

A large air cargo complex on the southwest side of the field was opened in 1984, replacing most of the old cargo area, which stood where Terminal 5 now exists.

The hangar area has multiple buildings capable of fully enclosing aircraft up to the size of the Boeing 747.

The original Douglas plant on the northeast side evolved into a United States Air Force Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve facility after World War II.

Beginning in 1947, the airfield was assigned to Continental Air Command (ConAC). The 338th Bombardment Group flew B-29 Superfortresses from the airfield between June 12 and June 27, 1949. The B-29s were replaced by the 437th Troop Carrier Group, flying Curtiss C-46 Commandoes until being activated for the Korean War on March 14, 1951. Its aircraft and personnel were deployed to various units in South Korea and Japan, with the group being inactivated immediately afterwards.

During the Korean War, the ConAC reserve units were withdrawn and O'Hare was reassigned to Air Defense Command's Central Air Defense Force.. The 62d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron was transferred to the station flying F-86 Sabres. The 62d FIS remained at O'Hare until October 1, 1959, becoming part of the ADC 56th Fighter Group, and later being upgraded to the F-86D interceptor version of the Sabre. In addition, the federalized Oregon Air National Guard 142d Fighter-Interceptor Wing was stationed at O'Hare from March 1, 1951 to February 6, 1952.

Other Air Defense Command (ADC) squadrons assigned to the 56th FIW at O'Hare Airport were the 42d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (1953-1955) (F-86D) and the 63d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (1955-1958) (F-86D/L) In 1960, the need for active duty ADC bases was diminishing and the Air Force inactivated its active-duty ADC units at O'Hare and returned the station back to Continental Air Command (later resesignated Air Force Reserve) to base reserve units under the 2840th Air Reserve Training Wing.

In 1961, the Illinois Air National Guard's fighter unit at O'Hare transitioned to an air refueling mission and was redesignated as the 126th Air Refueling Group, flying the KC-97 Stratotanker. In 1976, the 126th transitioned to the KC-135 Stratotanker, was redesignated as the 126th Air Refueling Wing (126 ARW) and was placed under the operational claimancy of the Strategic Air Command (SAC). Following the deactivation of SAC in 1992, the 126 ARW came under the claimancy of the newly-established Air Mobility Command (AMC).

O'Hare Air Reserve Station was also home to the 928th Tactical Airlft Wing (928 TAW), later the 928th Airlift Wing (928 AW), of the Air Force Reserve Command, flying the C-130 Hercules. The 928th was operationally gained by the Tactical Air Command (TAC) until 1975, the Military Airlift Command (MAC) until 1992, and following the deactivation of SAC, TAC and MAC, by the newly-established Air Mobility Command (AMC) from 1992 forward.

The 1993 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission recommended the closure of O'Hare Air Reserve Station as proposed by the municipal government of the City of Chicago and the transfer of both the 126 ARW and 928 AW to new facilities to be constructed at Scott AFB, Illinois, with much of the associated costs to be borne by the City of Chicago. The 1995 BRAC Comission modified the closure of O'Hare Air Reserve Station as recommended by the 1993 BRAC by deactivating the 928th Airlift Wing, rather than relocating the unit, and distributing its C-130 aircraft to Air Force Reserve C-130 units at Dobbins ARB, Georgia and Peterson AFB, Colorado.

The 126 ARW moved from the former O'Hare Air Reserve Station at O'Hare International Airport to Scott AFB, Illinois in 1999 as recommended by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission's Report to Congress in conjunction with the closure of the Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard facilities at O'Hare.

Following the closure of the O'Hare Air Reserve Station, the former USAF facilities were redeveloped for air cargo and general aviation. Signature Flight Support services private aircraft in this area.

To the top

Los Angeles International Airport

Los Angeles International Airport with Marina Del Rey in the foreground and Palos Verdes Peninsula in the background.

Los Angeles International Airport (IATA: LAX, ICAO: KLAX, FAA LID: LAX) is the primary airport serving Los Angeles, California, the second-most populated metropolitan area of the United States. It is often referred to by its airport code LAX, with the letters usually pronounced individually (IPA: /ɛl.eɪ.ɛks/). LAX is located in southwestern Los Angeles in the neighborhood of Westchester, 16 mi (26 km) from the downtown core.

With 59,542,151 passengers in 2008, LAX is the sixth busiest airport in the world and is served by direct flights to North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East. The airport is a major hub for both United Airlines and Alaska Airlines, a focus city for American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and from May 1 Allegiant Air as well, and an international gateway for Delta Air Lines.

The airport also functions as joint civil-military facility, providing a base for the United States Coast Guard and its Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles facility, operating 3 HH-65 Dolphin helicopters.

LAX is the busiest airport in California in terms of flight operations, passenger traffic and air cargo activity, followed by San Francisco International Airport (SFO). LAX is also the only U.S. airport to serve 3 or more international destinations with ridership of 1 million passengers or more per year (Tokyo-Narita, London-Heathrow, Taipei).

Although LAX is the busiest airport in the Greater Los Angeles Area, the region relies on a multiple airport system because of its vast size. Many of the area's most well-known attractions are closer to alternative airports than to LAX; for example, Hollywood and Griffith Park are closer to Bob Hope Airport in Burbank; while John Wayne Airport in Orange County is close to Disneyland, the Honda Center, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, and other Orange County attractions. Long Beach Airport is close to some of the coastal attractions known to Southern California, like Palos Verdes and Huntington Beach. LA/Ontario International Airport is closer to the Inland Empire region's cities of Riverside, and San Bernardino of Southern California.

The airport occupies some 3,500 acres (5 sq mi; 14 km2) of the city on the Pacific coast, about 15 mi (24 km) southwest of downtown Los Angeles. LAX is one of the most famous locations for commercial aircraft spotting, most notably at the so called "Imperial Hill" area (also known as Clutter's Park) in El Segundo from which nearly the entire South Complex of the airport can be viewed. Another famous spotting location sits right under the final approach for runways 24 L&R on a small grass lawn next to the Westchester In-N-Out Burger restaurant, and is noted as one of the few remaining locations in Southern California from which spotters may watch such a wide variety of low-flying commercial airliners from directly underneath. The airport's coastal location exposes it to fog, during which flights are occasionally diverted to LA/Ontario International Airport in Ontario, San Bernardino County 47 mi (76 km) to the east.

In 1928, the Los Angeles City Council selected 640 acres (1.00 sq mi; 2.6 km2) in the southern part of Westchester as the site of a new airport for the city. The fields of wheat, barley and lima beans were converted into dirt landing strips without any terminal buildings. It was named Mines Field for William W. Mines, the real estate agent who arranged the deal. The first structure, Hangar No. 1, was erected in 1929 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Mines Field was dedicated and opened as the official airport of Los Angeles in 1930, and the city purchased it to be a municipal airfield in 1937. The name was officially changed to Los Angeles Airport in 1941, and to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in 1949. Prior to that time, the main airport for Los Angeles was the Grand Central Airport in Glendale.

Until this time, the entire airport was located east of Sepulveda Boulevard. As the airport expanded westward to meet the Pacific Ocean, a tunnel was completed in 1953 so that Sepulveda Boulevard would pass underneath the airport's runways. It was the first tunnel of its kind.

In 1958 the architecture firm Pereira & Luckman was contracted to design a master plan for the complete re-design of the airport in anticipation of the "jet age". The plan, developed along with architects Welton Becket and Paul Williams, called for a massive series of terminals and parking structures to be built in the central portion of the property, with these buildings connected at the center by a huge steel-and-glass dome. The plan was never fully realized, and shortly thereafter the Theme Building was constructed on the site originally intended for the dome.

The distinctive white "Theme Building", designed by Pereira & Luckman architect Paul Williams and constructed in 1961, resembles a flying saucer that has landed on its four legs. A restaurant that provides a sweeping view of the airport is suspended beneath two intersecting arches that form the legs. The Los Angeles City Council designated the building a cultural and historical monument in 1992. A $4 million renovation, with retro-futuristic interior and electric lighting designed by Walt Disney Imagineering, was completed before the "Encounter Restaurant" opened there in 1997. At one time, tourists and passengers were able to take the elevator up to the roof of the "Theme Building", but after the September 11 attacks, the rooftop was closed off to everyone for security reasons. It was once said the rooftop would reopen for public use, but that was determined to be a rumor.

The first jet service appeared at LAX in 1959, transporting passengers between LAX and New York. The first wide-bodied jets appeared in 1970 when TWA flew Boeing 747s between LAX and New York.

In 1981, the airport began a substantial $700 million expansion in preparation for the 1984 Summer Olympics. To streamline traffic flow and ease congestion, the U-shaped roadway leading to the terminal entrances was given a second level, with the lower level dedicated to picking up arriving passengers and the upper level dedicated to dropping off departing passengers. Two new terminals (Terminal 1 and the International Terminal) were constructed and Terminal 2, then two decades old, was rebuilt. Multi-story parking structures were also built in the center of the airport.

On July 8, 1982, groundbreaking for the two new terminals were conducted by Mayor Tom Bradley and World War II aviator General James Doolittle. The $123 million, 963,000-square-foot (89,500 m2) International Terminal was opened on June 11, 1984 and named in Bradley's honor.

In 1996, a new 277 foot (84 m) tall air traffic control tower, with overhanging awnings that shade the windows and make the building vaguely resemble a palm tree, was constructed at a cost of $29 million.

In 2000, prior to Los Angeles hosting the Democratic National Convention. fourteen acrylic glass cylinders, each up to ten stories high, were placed in a circle around the intersection of Sepulveda Boulevard and Century Boulevard, with additional cylinders of decreasing height following Century Boulevard eastward. The cylinders, lit from inside, slowly cycle through a rainbow of colors, and provide an additional landmark for visitors arriving by air at night. This was part of an overall facelift that included new signage and various other cosmetic enhancements.

At various points in its history, LAX has been a hub for TWA, Air California, Continental, Delta, PSA, USAir, Western Airlines, and the Flying Tiger Line.

Starting in the mid-1990s under Los Angeles Mayors Richard Riordan and James Hahn modernization and expansion plans for LAX were prepared only to be stymied by a coalition spearheaded by residents who live near the airport angry at noise, pollution and traffic impacts of the existing facility. In late 2005 newly elected L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was able to reach a compromise allowing some modernization to go forward while efforts are made to encourage future growth be spread among other facilities in the region.

On July 29, 2006, Runway 7R/25L was closed for reconstruction until March 25, 2007. The reconstruction was to move the runway 55 feet (17 m) south to prevent runway incursions and prepare the runway for the next generation of Airbus A380. The newly moved runway also has storm drains, and enhanced runway lighting, something that the other 3 runways do not have. The reconstruction of runway 25L made way for a central taxiway in between runways 25L and 25R. The central taxiway between runways 25L and 25R was completed in 2008.

On September 18, 2006, Los Angeles World Airports started a $503 million facelift of the Tom Bradley International Terminal. Improvements include installing new paging, air conditioning and electrical systems, along with new elevators, escalators, baggage carousels and a digital sign that will automatically update flight information. Also a large explosives-detection machine will be incorporated into the terminal's underground baggage system, in which the federal government will fund part of the system.

According to the Los Angeles Times, in February 2007, many airlines flying outside of the United States have reduced flights to LAX and moved to other airports, such as San Francisco International Airport and McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada due to outdated terminals. Airlines flying out of the Tom Bradley International Terminal have reduced flights because the International Terminal is 22 years old and has not been upgraded.

In response to the report, the $500 million Tom Bradley International Terminal project began immediately.

On March 19, 2007, the Airbus A380 made its debut at LAX, landing on runway 24L. LA city officials fought for the super-jumbo jet to land at LAX, in addition to making its US debut in New York's JFK airport.

On August 15, 2007, the Los Angeles City Council approved a $1.2 billion project to construct a new 10 gate terminal to handle international flights using the A380. Adding the first new gates built since the early 1980s, the new structure is to be built directly west of the Tom Bradley International Terminal on a site that is occupied mostly by aircraft hangars with passengers ferried to the building by an underground people mover extending from the terminal. It is expected to be completed in 2012.

On March 31, 2008, the Los Angeles Times reported that international airlines were once again flocking to LAX's Tom Bradley International Terminal and have added or are announcing several flights to a variety of existing and new destinations. The weak dollar has caused a surge in demand for US travel, and among the new airlines at LAX are V Australia and Emirates Airlines. In addition, Korean Air, Qantas, Air China, and Air France are all adding new routes, and Brazilian carriers TAM Airlines and OceanAir are planning to begin service, as is a new British airline that will be offering all-business-class round trip flights on the busy Los Angeles-London route. Most of the new flights will start in mid to late 2008 and will raise the number of travelers to the airport to pre-9/11 levels. The influx of new flights comes amidst the renovation of the airport and underscores LAX's status as the international gateway of the US West Coast.

Qantas launched service with the Airbus A380 on October 20, 2008, using the west side remote gates. The select day service goes to/from Melbourne and Sydney to Los Angeles.

Before the 1930s, existing airports used a two-letter abbreviation based on the weather station at the airports. So, at that time, LA served as the designation for Los Angeles International Airport. But, with the rapid growth in the aviation industry, the designations expanded to three letters, and LA became LAX. The letter X does not otherwise have any specific meaning in this identifier. Portland International Airport in Oregon and Jacksonville International Airport in Florida also have similar codes: PDX and JAX. "LAX" is also used for the International Port of Los Angeles located in San Pedro and for the Amtrak-serving Union Station in downtown. All three along with the Atlanta designation (ATL) have become culturally eponymous and are often used in shorthand as an indicator of identity by local residents.

LAX handles more "origin and destination" (i.e. not connecting) passengers than any other airport in the world. It is the world's fifth-busiest airport by passenger traffic and eleventh-busiest by cargo traffic, serving over 60 million passengers and more than two million tons of freight in 2006. It is the busiest airport in the state of California, and the third-busiest airport by passenger traffic in the United States based on final 2006 statistics. In terms of international passengers, LAX is the second-busiest in the U.S. (behind only JFK International Airport in New York City), and 26th worldwide.

LAX connects 87 domestic and 69 international destinations in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania. Its most prominent airlines are United Airlines (18.24% of passenger traffic, combined with United Express traffic), American Airlines (14.73%) and Southwest Airlines (12.62%). Other airlines with a presence on a lesser scale include Delta Airlines (7.33%), Alaska Airlines (4.74%), Northwest Airlines (3.79%), and Continental Airlines (3.76%). Mexicana operates the most flights of any non-American airline.

LAX has nine passenger terminals arranged in a "U", also called a "horseshoe." The terminals are served by a shuttle bus.

United Airlines/United Express operates the most departures from the airport per day (210), followed by American Airlines/ American Eagle (126), and Southwest Airlines (123).

United Airlines operates to the most destinations (61), followed by American Airlines (34), and then Alaska Airlines/Horizon (29). United Airlines operates the most international trans-Pacific destinations (3). Lufthansa, Air France, and United each serve two destinations in Europe for the most there, and Alaska Airlines and Mexicana Airlines have the most destinations in Latin America (11).

In addition to these terminals, there are 2 million square feet (186,000 m²) of cargo facilities at LAX, and a heliport operated by Bravo Aviation, Continental Airlines and Qantas each have maintenance facilities at LAX although neither carrier operates a hub there.

Terminal 1 has 15 gates: 1-3, 4A-4B, 5-14. Terminal 1 was built in 1984 and is the largest of all the terminals in number of gates.

Note: Some TACA/LACSA arrivals are processed at the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

Terminal 2 has 11 gates: 21-21B, 22-22B, 23, 24-24B, 25-28. Terminal 2 was built in 1962 and was the original international terminal, it was completely torn down and rebuilt in 1984. Terminal 2 has CBP (Customs and Border Protection) facilities to process arriving international passengers.

Note:: Northwest Airlines' operations will be moved to Terminal 5 with Delta Airlines by June 2009.

Note: V Australia's and Alaska Airlines' international arrivals from airports without United States border preclearance are processed at the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

Terminal 3 has 12 gates: 30, 31A, 31B, 32, 33A, 33B, 34-36, 37A, 37B, 38, . Terminal 3 opened in 1961 and was Trans World Airlines' terminal. It formerly housed some American Airlines flights after acquiring Reno Air and TWA in 1999 and 2001, respectively, then moved all American flights to Terminal 4.

Note: American Eagle commuter flights operate from a remote terminal 0.3 mi (500 m) west of Terminal 4. "Gate 44" serves as the shuttle bus stop at Terminal 4. The Eagle terminal is also connected by shuttle buses to Terminals 2 (Gate 22A), 3 (Gate 35), 5, and 6, because of Eagle's codesharing with Northwest Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska Air, Delta Air Lines, and Continental Airlines respectively.

Terminal 4 has 14 gates: 40, 41, 42A, 42B, 43, 44 (bus to American Eagle satellite terminal), 45, 46A, 46B, 47A, 47B, 48A, 48B, 49B. Terminal 4 was built in 1961 and in 2001 was renovated at a cost of $400 million in order to improve the appearance and functionality of the terminal. An international arrivals facility was also added in the renovation serving American Airlines flights.

Terminal 5 has 14 gates: 50B, 51A-51B, 52A-52B, 53A-53B, 54A-54B, 55A, 56, 57, 58A, 59. Western Airlines had occupied this terminal since its opening in 1962, and then Western was merged with Delta Air Lines on April 1, 1987. Terminal 5 was re-designed, expanded to include a connector building between the original satellite and the ticketing facilities, and remodeled from 1986 through early 1988. It was unofficially named 'Delta's Oasis at LAX' with the slogan 'Take Five at LAX' when construction was completed in the summer of 1988. Many of these gates are no longer used due to the economic crisis of 2008 and Delta's reduced flight schedule. Northwest Airlines, a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, will move its operations to Terminal 5 from Terminal 2 to be adjacent to Delta by June 2009 .

Terminal 6 has 14 gates: 60, 61, 62-62A, 63-66, 67A-67B, 68A-68B, 69A-69B. This terminal has changed little from its opening in 1961; in 1979, new gates were expanded from the main building, as is obvious from the rotunda at the end. Four of these gates have two jetways, which can accommodate large aircraft.

Terminal 6 hosts airline tenants with a variety of relationships with the Airport. Continental built and owns the Connector Building (which links the Ticketing and Satellite buildings), and leases much of the space in the Ticketing Building. Continental in turn leases some of its Connector gates to Delta, supplementing its base at Terminal 5. United leases space from the Airport in Terminal 6, in addition to its base at Terminal 7. Most of the Satellite gates can feed arriving passengers into a sterile corridor that shunts them to Terminal 7's customs and immigration facility. Other airlines, such as AirTran, Sun Country, Frontier, and Spirit, lease space and operate at Terminal 6 under a monthly tariff agreement. Also, one foreign-flag airline, Copa, departs from Terminal 6.

Terminal 7 has 11 gates: 70A-70B, 71A-71B, 72-74, 75A-75B, 76, 77. This terminal opened in 1962. Five of these gates have two jetways, which accommodate large aircraft. Terminal 7 is the home to United Airlines, which operates a major hub at the airport. The terminal has been renovated and has the United Red Carpet Club and International First Class Lounge.

Terminal 8 has 9 gates: 80-88. This terminal was added for smaller jets and turboprops in 1988 and formerly served Shuttle by United flights. In 2002, United moved all non-Express flights to Terminals 6 and 7. United Express is the regional division of United Airlines operating flights generally under 2 hours long.

The Tom Bradley International Terminal has 12 gates, including six on the north concourse and six on the south concourse. In addition, there are nine satellite gates for international flights located on the west side of LAX. Passengers are ferried to the west side gates by bus.

This terminal opened for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games and is named in honor of Tom Bradley, the first African-American and longest serving (20 years) mayor of Los Angeles, and champion of LAX. The terminal is located at the west end of the passenger terminal area between Terminals 3 and 4. There are 34 airlines that serve the Tom Bradley International Terminal and the terminal handles 10 million passengers per year.

The terminal is currently undergoing major renovations to facelift and modernize the entire facility and add more building space for baggage screening equipment. The renovations include refreshed check in space with inline baggage screening, three large alliance aligned lounges plus one unaligned lounge (to replace the multiple airline specific lounges) and fully facelifted departures and arrivals areas. These renovations are expected to be completed by 2010. The current renovations do not add any new gates.

On November 17, 2008, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa unveiled vision design concepts for LAX's Bradley West and Midfield Concourse projects. Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), along with city officials, selected Fentress Architects in association with HNTB to develop a design concept for the modernization of LAX – transforming the airport with a design that both dramatically enhances the passenger experience and re-establishes it as a modern U.S. gateway in a competitive global market.

The emphasis of the modernization is to dramatically improve the passenger experience from curbside to airside with a design that adeptly captures the vibrant spirit of the City and establishes a new, refreshingly convenient functionality.

Upon entry into Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT), centralized security would enhance way-finding and lead departing passengers into the Great Hall, where they can choose from a variety of world-class concessions and retail offering. The traveler will sense the enormous impact of having a space open to natural light, with both high ceiling and glass curtain walls.

International passengers arriving at TBIT would be guided through the concourse on an elevated secured corridor. The corridor would be open to the ceiling above, allowing maximum natural daylight to welcome passengers to Los Angeles. The enlarged corridor would allow for changing public art exhibits that introduce travelers to the diverse culture of Los Angeles. These passengers would have shorter waiting periods in the expanded passport control and baggage claim areas. Interactive graphics through the passport control and baggage claim areas would welcome passengers not only to Los Angeles, but to the United States.

There is still much to be done before the first shovel is in the ground. Each of these projects must first complete a rigorous environmental review process.

Terminals not listed here do require a land side connection, where you would have to leave the terminal and walk or use the LAX Transfer Bus to connect and re-clear security in the connecting terminal. Such connections can be time consuming and do normally require set minimum connections times to be considered a legal connection.

LAX can be reached using the Century Boulevard exit (and several more northern exits) on Interstate 405, or the Sepulveda Boulevard exit on Interstate 105. Like all other California airports (with the exception of San Francisco International), LAX does not have direct freeway access; all visitors entering by car must pass at least one traffic light-controlled intersection to transition from the freeway into the airport's main loop road.

Out of a number of bus systems, many routes (local, rapid and express) of the LACMTA, Line 6 of the Culver CityBus system, Line 8 of Torrance Transit, and the regular as well as the rapid buses of the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus system's Line 3 all make stops at, among other nearby stop locations, the LAX City Bus Center in Parking Lot C. on 96th St., where shuttle bus "C" offers free connections to and from every LAX terminal, and at the Green Line Station, where shuttle bus "G" connects to and from the terminals.

The FlyAway Bus is a shuttle service run by the LAWA, which travels between one of three terminals, and stops at every LAX terminal. The service is operated 24 hours a day with each line operating at least one trip per hour, with more trips in daytime, with the exception of the line to and from Westwood, which does not run in the early morning hours. The one way ticket price is $6 cash for adults ($5 from Westwood), $4 for seniors (65 and older)/disabled/medicare, and free for children under age two. All terminals offer optional remote passenger and baggage check-in services for $5 per person. All lines use Los Angeles's system of High Occupancy Vehicle lanes to expedite their trips.

China Airlines operates private bus services from LAX to Monterey Park and Rowland Heights for its passengers.

Shuttle bus "G" offers a free connection to the Aviation/LAX station on the Metro Green Line. The line was originally intended to connect directly to the airport, but budgetary restraints and opposition from local long-term parking lot owners impeded its progress. A Metro Rail extension to LAX is a part of both LAX and Metro's master plans.

Taxicab services are operated by nine city-authorized taxi companies and regulated by Authorized Taxicab Supervision Inc. (ATS). ATS maintains a taxicab holding lot under the 96th Street Bridge where, at peak periods, hundreds of cabs queue up to wait their turn to pull into the central terminal area to pick up riders. A number of private shuttle companies, among them Prime Time Shuttle, SuperShuttle, and Roadrunner Shuttle provide door-to-door airport transportation as well. Roadrunner Shuttle, apart from shared ride vans, also offers Limousine and Bus services to LAX airport. X-Press Shuttle operated door-to-door airport transportation until 2001, when they lost their contract to maintain a shared ride vans station at LAX.

The United States Coast Guard operates an air station at LAX, covering Coast Guard operations in various Southern California locations, including Catalina Island, which are part of the Coast Guard's Eleventh District. Missions include search and rescue (SAR), Law enforcement, aids to navigation support (such as operating lighthouses) and various military operations. In addition, Coast Guard helicopters assigned to the air station deploy to Coast Guard cutters. The air station currently maintains and operates 3 HH-65 Dolphin helicopters.

The Flight Path Learning Center is a museum located at 6661 Imperial Highway and was formerly known as the "West Imperial Terminal." This building used to house some charter flights (Condor Airlines) and regular scheduled flights by MGM Grand Air. It sat empty for 10 years until it was re-opened as a learning center for LAX.

The center contains information on the history of aviation, several pictures of the airport, as well as aircraft scale models, flight attendant uniforms, and general airline memorabilia such as playing cards, china, magazines, signs, even a TWA gate information sign.

The museum claims to be "the only aviation museum and research center situated at a major airport and the only facility with a primary emphasis on contributions of civil aviation to the history and development of Southern California". However, there are other museums at major airports including the Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum adjacent to Washington Dulles Airport, the Royal Thai Air Force Museum at Don Muang Airport, the Suomenilmailumuseo (Finnish Aviation Museum) at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, the Frontier of Flight Museum at Dallas Love Field, and others.

To the top

El Al

El Al Lockheed Constellation, 1951

El Al (Hebrew: אל על‎, skyward) (El Al Israel Airlines Ltd) (TASE: ELAL) is the national airline of Israel. It operates regular international passenger and cargo flights between its hub at Ben Gurion International Airport and destinations in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, and North America, as well as domestic connections to Eilat.

Since its inaugural flight from Geneva to Tel Aviv in September 1948 the airline has grown to serve 48 destinations on four continents. As the former national carrier of Israel, El Al has played an important role in Israel's humanitarian rescue efforts, airlifting Jews from Ethiopia, Yemen, and other countries where their lives were at risk. The airline holds the world record for the most passengers on a commercial aircraft, a record set by Operation Solomon when Jewish refugees were transported from Ethiopia. El Al is widely acknowledged as the world's most secure airline, after foiling many attempted hijackings and terror attacks through its security protocols.

In September 1948 Israel's first president, Chaim Weizmann, attended a conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Weizmann was scheduled to fly back to Israel in a government aircraft, but due to an embargo imposed on Israel at the time, this was not possible. A C-54 military transport aircraft was instead converted into a civilian plane to transport Weizmann home. The aircraft was painted with the El Al/Israel National Aviation Company logo and fitted with extra fuel tanks to enable a non-stop flight from Geneva to Israel. It departed from Ekron Air Base on 28 September, and returned to Israel on 30 September. After the flight, the aircraft was repainted and returned to military use.

The airline was incorporated and became Israel's official carrier on 15 November 1948, although it used borrowed aircraft until February 1949, when two unpressurized DC-4s were purchased from American Airlines. The acquisition was funded by the Israeli government, the Jewish Agency, and other Jewish organizations. The first plane arrived at Lod Airport on 3 April 1949. Aryeh Pincus, a lawyer from South Africa, was elected head of the company. The first international flight, from Tel Aviv to Paris (refueling in Rome), took place on 31 July 1949. By the end of 1949, the airline had flown passengers to London and Johannesburg. A regular service to London was inaugurated in the middle of 1950. Later that year, El Al acquired Universal Airways, which was owned by South African Zionists. A state-run domestic airline, Israel Inland Airlines, was founded in which El Al had a 50% stake.

El Al's cargo service was inaugurated in 1950 and initially relied on military surplus C-46 aircraft. The same year the airline initiated charter services to the USA, followed by scheduled flights soon afterwards. From its earliest days the operation of the airline in keeping with Jewish tradition has been a source of friction; when the Israeli prime minister David Ben Gurion was forming his first coalition, the religious parties would not join unless Ben Gurion promised that El Al would serve only kosher food on its flights and would not fly on the Jewish Sabbath.

As the national carrier, the airline was involved in several covert operations. In the early 1950s, El Al airlifted over 160,000 immigrants to Israel from India, Iran, Iraq and Yemen as part of Operation Magic Carpet and Operation Ezra and Nehemiah. In 1960, Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann was captured and flown from Argentina to Israel on an El Al aircraft.

In 1955, after using Lockheed Constellations for several years, the airline purchased two Bristol Britannia aircraft. El Al was the second airline in the world to fly this plane, after the British Overseas Airways Corporation. In 1958, El Al ran a newspaper advertisement in the US featuring a picture of a "shrunken" Atlantic Ocean ("Starting Dec. 23, the Atlantic Ocean will be 20% smaller") to promote its non-stop transatlantic flights. This was a bold step: the airline industry had never used images of the ocean in its advertising because of the widespread public fear of airline crashes. The advertisement, which ran only once, proved effective. Within a year, El Al's sales tripled.

Despite the purchase of its Britannias and inauguration of non-stop transatlantic flights the airline remained unprofitable. When Efraim Ben-Arzi took over the company in the late 1950s, the Britannias were replaced by de Havilland Comet 4, Boeing 707, and Douglas DC-8 jets. The first year that El Al turned a profit was 1960. That year, more than 50 percent of the passengers flying into Israel arrived on El Al flights. On 15 June 1961, the airline set a world record for the longest non-stop commercial flight: an El Al Boeing 707 flew from New York to Tel Aviv, covering 5,760 miles (9,270 km) in 9 hours and 33 minutes. By this time El Al was carrying 56,000 passengers a year — on a par with Qantas and ahead of established airlines like Loftleidir. In 1961, El Al ranked 35th in the world in the number of accumulated passenger miles. El Al's success continued into the late 1960s. In 1968, regular flights to Bucharest were inaugurated, and cargo flights began to Europe and the USA. The airline also established a catering subsidiary, Teshet Tourism and Aviation Services Ltd. All these ventures brought in a profit of $2 million that year.

In 1968, El Al experienced the first of many acts against the airline. On 23 July, the only successful hijacking of an El Al aircraft took place, when a 707 carrying 10 crew and 38 passengers was taken over by three members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The aircraft was en route from Rome to Lod. The hijackers diverted it to Algiers. Bargaining with the hijackers went on for 40 days. Both the hijackers and the passengers, including 21 Israeli hostages, were eventually freed. On 26 December of the same year, two PFLP members attacked an El Al aircraft at Athens Airport, killing an Israeli mechanic. The Israeli Defense Forces responded on 29 December with a night-time raid on Lebanon's Beirut Airport, destroying 14 planes on the ground belonging to Middle East Airlines, Trans Mediterranean Airways and Lebanese International Airways. On 18 February 1969, Palestinians attacked an El Al plane at Zurich Airport killing the copilot and injuring the pilot. One Palestinian attacker was killed and others were convicted but later released. Between September and December 1969, bomb and grenade attacks occurred at El Al offices in Athens, West Berlin, and Brussels. This wave of violence culminated in the failed hijacking of an El Al 707 by Patrick Arguello and Leila Khaled on 6 September 1970, as part of the Dawson's Field hijackings.

El Al acquired its first Boeing 747 in 1971. Many felt it was a risky purchase, given the high cost of the plane and fear of attacks, but El Al operations flourished after the purchase. Another 747 was delivered in 1973 and was used to inaugurate non-stop service from Tel Aviv to New York. In the air for 13 hours, and flying against prevailing winds, it was recorded as the longest commercial flight in the world.

In the mid-1970s, El Al began to schedule flights from airports outside of Israel that departed on the Jewish sabbath and landed in Israel after it had finished. The religious parties in the government claimed that this was a violation of Jewish law and contrary to the agreement signed in the early days of the state, in which El Al promised to refrain from flying on the sabbath. In 1981, the newly re-elected prime minister Menachem Begin, promised to abide by the agreement. Outraged, the secular community threatened to boycott the airline. In August 1982, El Al workers blocked Orthodox and Hassidic Jews from entering the airport.

In 1977, El Al established a charter subsidiary then known as El Al Charter Services Ltd., but later renamed Sun D'Or International Airlines Ltd. Two years earlier, the airline had suffered its first losses since the late 1950s, largely a product of the global recession. The management changed three times towards the end of the 1970s, until Itzhak Shander was named president. As the political situation in Iran deteriorated, El Al began to airlift Jews to Israel. All the airline's infrastructure in Iran was eventually destroyed. El Al flights to Cairo were inaugurated in April 1980, following the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty. In late 1982, after a long period of labor disputes and strikes, El Al operations were suspended. The government appointed Amram Blum to run the company, which lost $123.3 million in the fiscal year ending April 1983. The airline also sold its stake in Arkia at this time.

Operations resumed in January 1983 under receivership. The government purchased two new Boeing 737 aircraft and announced plans to acquire four Boeing 767 jets at the cost of $200 million. Within four years, El Al was profitable again. It broke another record, since then surpassed, in May 1988 with a non-stop flight from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv, a journey of 7,000 nautical miles (13,000 km) in 13 hours and 41 minutes. Flights to Poland and Yugoslavia were inaugurated in 1989.

In January 1990, North American Airlines began providing feeder services in the US to El Al gateways. El Al held a 24.9 percent stake in the airline until selling it back to Dan McKinnon in July 2003. By this time, El Al was operating a fleet of 20 aircraft, including nine Boeing 747s, and had begun replacing its aging Boeing 707s with the Boeing 757. Early that year, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, El Al inaugurated regular flights to Moscow. No airlifts from the former Soviet Union were possible at the time but permission was granted in 1991. Charter flights commenced in August 1991, with immigrants also occupying all available seats on El Al's scheduled routes. In cooperation with Aeroflot, El Al flew more than 400,000 Jewish immigrants to Israel within a three year period.

On 24 May 1991, an El Al Boeing 747 cargo plane airlifted a record-breaking 1,087 Ethiopian Jews from Addis Ababa to Israel in the framework of Operation Solomon. Two babies were born during the flight. The plane carried twice as many passengers as it was designed for. In less than 36 hours, a total of 14,500 Ethiopian Jews were flown to Israel.

On 27 April 1994 El Al got its first Boeing 747-400.

El Al flights were inaugurated to the Far East and, in 1995, El Al signed its first codesharing agreement with American Airlines. In February 1995, the receivership under which the airline had technically been operating since 1982 came to an end. In June 1996, El Al recorded another milestone: its first flight from Israel to Amman, Jordan.

In 1996, El Al recorded $83.1 million in losses, due to the resumption of terrorist activities and the government's open-skies policy. To keep its planes flying during this period, El Al introduced flights "to nowhere": passengers were offered various kinds of in-flight entertainment as the plane circled the Mediterranean. One-day shopping trips to London and visits to religious sites in eastern Europe were also promoted.

In 1997, El Al opened a separate cargo division. El Al's first Boeing 777 embarked on its maiden flight in March 2000. Later that year the controversy over flights on Shabbat erupted again, when the airline announced that it was losing $55 million a year by grounding its planes on Saturdays. After the first phase of the long-delayed privatization of the company commenced in June 2003 and 15 percent of El Al's shares were listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange the policy regarding sabbath flights was expected to change.

In 2004 Knafaim-Arkia Holdings, the parent company of Arkia Israel Airlines, acquired a large stake in Arkia and intended to seek full ownership. However, due to Israeli anti-trust laws, Knafaim-Arkia was forced to sell its shares.

As of 2007, the company employs 5,417 staff globally and has a fleet of over 30 aircraft. During 2005 the airline transported 3.5 million passengers, a rise from 3.2 million in 2004 and 2.8 million in 2003. 60% of the airline's passengers are Israeli. In 2006, El Al posted a $44.6 million dollar loss on revenues of $1.665 billion. The company is facing four lawsuits, two of which have been approved as class actions, that could potentially cost the company a total of $176.2 million. El Al spends $100 million a year to conform with the airline security measures required by Israel's Shin Bet security service. In early 2007, El Al opened a new King David Lounge at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. New lounges at Heathrow airport in London and JFK International airport in New York had also opened in late 2007.

In 2007, El Al invested NIS 1 billion in the purchase of two new Boeing 777-200s that included an updated El Al decal. The aircraft are fitted with upgraded seats with adjustable hedrests and legrests. Each seat is equipped with a touch-screen entertainment system. The first aircraft, named "Sderot", completed its maiden voyage from New York to Tel Aviv on 26 July 2007. The second, "Kiryat Shmona", was delivered at the end of August 2007. As of March 2007, El Al's major shareholders are Knafaim Holdings (42%), the State of Israel (13%), and the Employee Union (8%).

Following a degradation of Ben Gurion Airport to category 2 by the FAA in February 2009, an IATA member has warned the airline that it may appear on the European blacklist of banned carriers, along with Arkia, Israir and Sun d'Or International Airlines. The European Union has yet to make an official statement on the matter.

El Al uses today the Amadeus system for online bookings.

Unlike other airlines where pilots can speak to Air Traffic Control in their native language, El Al pilots are required to speak to Air Traffic Controllers in English at all times, regardless of the situation. This includes speaking to controllers in Tel Aviv.

As a target for many decades, El Al employs stringent security procedures, both on the ground and on board its aircraft. These effective, though sometimes controversial, procedures have won El Al a reputation for security. In 2008, the airline was named by Global Traveler Magazine as the world's most secure airline.

Passengers are asked to report three hours before departure. All El Al terminals around the world are closely monitored for security. There are plain-clothes agents and fully armed police or military personnel who patrol the premises for explosives, suspicious behavior, and other threats. Inside the terminal, passengers and their baggage are checked by a trained team. El Al security procedures require that all passengers be interviewed individually prior to boarding, allowing El Al staff to identify possible security threats. Passengers will be asked questions about where they are coming from, the reason for their trip, their job or occupation, and whether they have packed their bags themselves. The likelihood of potential terrorists remaining calm under such questioning is believed to be low (see microexpression). At the check-in counter the passengers' passports and tickets are closely examined. A ticket without a sticker from the security checkers will not be accepted. At passport control passengers' names are checked against information from the FBI, Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Scotland Yard, Shin Bet, and Interpol databases. Luggage is screened and sometimes hand searched. In addition, bags are put through a decompression chamber simulating pressures during flight that could trigger explosives. El Al is the only airline in the world that passes all luggage through such a chamber. Even at overseas airports, El Al security agents conduct all luggage searches personally, even if they are supervised by government or private security firms.

Undercover agents (sometimes referred to as sky marshals) carrying concealed firearms sit among the passengers on every international El Al flight. All El Al pilots are former Israeli Air Force pilots.

The cockpits in all El Al aircraft have double doors to prevent entry by unauthorized persons. A code is required to access the doors, and the second door will only be opened after the first has closed and the person has been identified by the Captain or First Officer. Furthermore, there are reinforced steel floors separating the passenger cabin from the baggage hold. This is intended to strengthen the plane in case of an explosion.

Following an attempt to shoot down an Israeli airliner in 2002, all aircraft in the fleet have been equipped with an infrared countermeasures system called 'Flight Guard', developed by Israeli Aerospace Industries to defend them against anti-aircraft missiles. Although comparable systems such as CAMPS are now available for civilian aircraft, there is no information to date about any other airlines deploying such a system. Switzerland and other European countries have expressed concern that flares dropped by the Israeli system could cause fires in the vicinity of an airport. However none of the higher risk countries that El Al aircraft fly to have raised any concerns.

Critics of El Al note that its security checks on passengers include racial profiling and have argued that such profiling is unfair, irrational, and degrading to those subject to such screening. Supporters of El Al argue that there is nothing inherently racist about passenger profiling and that special scrutiny of Muslims may often be necessary for security purposes.

The airline was also criticised by the Hungarian courts for refusing to search luggage with the passenger present, acting against Hungarian domestic laws which stipulate that only authorized officials are able to undertake such searches. A civil case was brought to Supreme Court of Israel on 19 March 2008 alleging that El Al's practice of ethnic profiling singles out Arabs for tougher treatment.

Matmid is El Al's frequent flyer program. It was launched in 2004 following the merger of El Al's previous frequent flyer programs. Matmid has five tiers: Matmid, Matmid Silver, Matmid Gold, Matmid Platinum and Matmid TOP Platinum. Points accumulated in the program entitle members to bonus tickets, flight upgrades, and discounts on car rentals, hotel stays, and other products and services. Points are also awarded for travel with partner airlines, as well as for nights at partner hotels and for credit card purchases.

Points can also be collected on El Al's codeshare flights.

The King David Lounge is the name adopted by El Al for special airport lounges, which serve the airline's premium class passengers. In total, there are five King David Lounges worldwide at key airports such as Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion, Paris-CDG, New York City-JFK International, London-Heathrow, and Los Angeles-International.

All King David Lounges offer drinks, snacks, newspapers and magazines (Israeli and foreign), while some lounges also offer free Wi-Fi internet access. The King David Lounge at Terminal 3 at Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion airport has a separate section for first-class passengers, equipped with telephone, shower facilities and a spa.

It was announced in December 2007, that El Al would start a large code-sharing agreement with American Airlines in early 2008 following the cancellation of codeshare agreements between Delta and El Al as a result of Delta's launch of non-stop service between New York (JFK) and Tel Aviv, competing directly with El Al.

El Al has a cargo branch, El Al Cargo, which became independent in 1997. As the national cargo airline of Israel, it operates to destinations in Asia, Europe and North America. Before 2001, when the Israeli air cargo market opened up to competition, El Al Cargo enjoyed a monopoly. Now its main competition comes from CAL Cargo Air Lines.

El Al's historic, superseded livery featured a turquoise/navy blue stripe down the side of the aircraft, and a turquoise tailfin with the flag of Israel at the top. El Al's logo was featured above the front run of windows on each side of the plane in the turquoise/navy scheme. The new livery features a blue stripe with a thick silver border on the bottom that sweeps across the side of the aircraft near the wing, disappears over the top of the plane and reappears at the bottom of the tailfin. The El Al logo is part of the design, although it has been changed slightly since then.

To the top

US Helicopter

Airports served are shown as red dots. Routes are shown by orange lines.

George J. Mehm Jr.

US Helicopter is an independent air shuttle service that operates regularly scheduled helicopter flights from Manhattan to Newark and JFK airports. Flights leave from Downtown (near Wall Street) and Midtown (East 34th Street) Manhattan Heliports to Delta Air Lines Terminal 3 at JFK International Airport (JFK) and to the Continental Airlines Terminal C at Newark Liberty International Airport. There are also flights to and from Bridgeport, Connecticut.

The company offers seasonal service to East Hampton, New York and Belmar, New Jersey. East Hampton flights take 35 minutes and Belmar flights take 18 minutes. These flights cost $799 and $326, respectively, and operate annually from June to September. They also have an annual fare sale in the fall for $99.

Flights to the airport last eight minutes and cost $159. Flights operate on weekdays from 7:15 am to 7:45 pm, with service on the hour to JFK and Newark, then back to the Manhattan Heliports at half past the hour. The company also offers chartered service to popular locations including The Hamptons, Washington, D.C., Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods and Atlantic City. Working with the air traffic control and FAA, the helicopters operate on special dedicated flight paths between the heliports and airports. The fleet consists of 8-seat Sikorsky S-76 dual engine helicopters with first class executive leather interiors, each operated by two pilots. US Helicopter is the only scheduled helicopter airline service in the United States certified by both the United States Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration. During the summer, US Helicopter flies to the Hamptons for around $200 each way.

Each heliport is equipped with a VIP lounge/waiting area, as well as TSA screening capability. They also have roomy leather chairs, two 42" LCD monitors and Bloomberg Terminals. Passengers traveling via Delta Air Lines to JFK or via Continental Airlines to Newark are checked-in at either Manhattan heliport. There, they obtain boarding passes and baggage receipts to their final destination. These passengers remain in secure areas, eliminating the need to go through customary airport security again at the airport. Passengers traveling with other airlines can connect to the appropriate terminal to complete the check-in process and proceed through security to their flight gate.

The company started service in March 2006. Service to the East 34th Street Heliport was added in September 2006 and to Newark Liberty International Airport in November 2006. Flights from Newark operate from a secured area at Gate 71 in Continental Airlines' Terminal C.

To the top

South African Airways

South African Airways "new" Business Class seat on display in 2006

South African Airways (SAA) is South Africa's flag carrier and largest domestic and international airline company, with hubs in Cape Town and Johannesburg. It is also known in Afrikaans as Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens (SAL), although this version of the name no longer appears on the airline's livery.

In 1934, Union Airways was bought by South Africa's government, and renamed South African Airways on 1 February. The first cities served were Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. The following year, also on 1 February, South African Airways took over South-West African Airways which had since 1932 been providing a weekly air-mail service between Windhoek and Kimberley.

In the 1930s SAA entered the international market with flights to Kenya and Uganda at British East Africa. The main aircraft of SAA in the 1930s was the famous Junkers JU-52, affectionately known as Tante-Ju. Eleven of these flew for SAA. Other types used in the 1930s included eighteen Junkers JU-86's, which served from 1937 onwards, as well as four Airspeed "Envoy" light twin airliners.

The slow growth continued during the 1940s, though the airline was effectively closed for the duration of WWII. In 1944 SAA began operating the Lockheed Lodestar to restart domestic services and by 1948 SAA was operating nineteen examples. These were withdrawn in 1955.

On November 10 1945 SAA achieved a longtime company goal by operating a route to Europe when an Avro York landed in Bournemouth, England, after the long flight from Palmietfontein near Johannesburg. These were replaced by the DC-4 "Skymaster"'s from 1946 onwards, which in turn was replaced by the Lockheed Constellation on international routes in 1950. Also of note in the post war era was the DC-3 Dakota, of which eight served with SAA, the last example being withdrawn as late as 1970.

The 1950s saw the advent of the jet age with the addition of the Boeing 707 to the airline's fleet. In 1953 SAA made aviation history when it became the first airline outside UK to operate the world's first pure jetliner, the De Havilland Comet, on lease from BOAC. In November 1957 the "Wallaby" service to Perth, Australia was added. SAA's first 707 landed in Europe in October 1960 with a nine-hour flight to Athens. Two years later, SAA's jets would allow the airline to fly nonstop from South Africa into the UK and SAA's other European destinations. Johannesburg-New York route, via Rio de Janeiro, opened on February of 1969. Later in 1971, SAA added the Boeing 747-200 'Jumbo Jet' to its fleet, followed in 1976 by the long range 747-SP and the Airbus A300, and in 1983 by the 747-300 EUD.

The next few years would be marked by steady but slower growth. Many countries refused to trade economically with South Africa, and this affected the airline. While many airlines were growing fast on the international market, SAA's growth rate was far behind most. Many African countries, except South Africa's neighbours, refused to let SAA use their airspace, but by then SAA had acquired a fleet of six 'Special Performance' Boeing 747 SPs, reducing the need for stopovers.

A major development for the airline during the 1970s was the opening of a route to Asia, with Boeing 747 flights to Hong Kong being launched. In 1980, when SAA began flights to Taipei, South Africa became one of the few countries in the world at that time to recognize the government of Republic of China in Taiwan.

SAA celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1984. In this year the South African government made a controversial decision when it signed a treaty with Somalia to give extensive military aid to the repressive regime of Siad Barre in exchange for an exclusive contract to service Somali air travel. This turned out to be economically nonviable since few Somalis could afford airline tickets, and due to the incessant civil disorder in the country, few people wanted to go to Somalia.

SAA's services to South America were cut back in 1985 because of lack of demand, with services to Buenos Aires stopped, but those to Rio de Janeiro continued.

Due to international condemnation of the apartheid regime during the 1980s, SAA itself faced hostility, with its offices being attacked. SAA's London office was daubed with red paint, while in Harare, Zimbabwe, its offices were badly damaged after protesters went on the rampage.

The U.S. Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 banned all flights by South African-owned carriers including SAA. In 1987, SAA's services to Perth and Sydney in Australia were ended, in light of Australia's opposition to apartheid. On November 28 of that year, disaster struck the airline, when a 747, the Helderberg (South African Airways flight 295) flying from Taipei to Johannesburg crashed into the Indian Ocean, near Mauritius, killing all passengers and crew.

With the demise of apartheid, beginning in 1990, SAA was able to shake off its pariah image, restoring services to old destinations, introducing services to new ones and expanding into the rest of Africa, and into Asia. June 1 of 1990 was also an important day for SAA, as South African companies signed a domestic air travel deregulation act. Later that year, SAA was chosen as the Best Airline to Africa by London magazine Executive Travel.

1991 saw the arrival of SAA's first Airbus A320 jet, and its first Boeing 747-400 jet, named Durban. The airline resumed flights to New York City's JFK International Airport for the first time since the United States imposed economic sanctions on South Africa in 1986, and South African's planes were able to fly for the first time over Egypt and Sudan.

1992 saw South African enter the Miami market (from Cape Town) by flying into Miami International Airport, and re-enter Australia. This year also saw code sharing agreements with American Airlines and Air Tanzania. That year also saw direct flights to Southeast Asia including Bangkok and Singapore.

In 1993 the airline began services to Manchester and Hamburg, and a code sharing agreement was reached with Brazil's Varig.

In 1994, a feeder service (SA Express) began flying domestically. This year saw the birth of the airline Alliance, which was a partnership between SAA, Uganda Airlines and Air Tanzania. Also South African greeted its passengers in four different languages during domestic flights: English, Zulu, Afrikaans and Sotho, while passengers on international flights were also greeted in the destination's local language. Nevertheless, this "Alliance" withered against intense competition from Kenya Airways (& affiliated Precision Air). The Tanzanian government is subsidising Air Tanzania while it disentagles the relationship with SAA.

In 1995, Lufthansa started a code sharing agreement with SAA, and SAA commissioned Herdbuoys Diefenbach Elkins to lead South African's change of image. This year, South African's Voyager and American Airlines' AAdvantage frequent flier clubs joined together.

1996 saw flights to Singapore discontinued, with Bangkok becoming an Asian hub for the airline, and South African Olympic athletes were carried to Atlanta aboard 747 Ndizani. SAA won Executive Travel's best airline to Africa award for the third time.

In 1997, SAA introduced its new image and livery, dropping the springbok emblem, and the old national colours of orange, white and blue. The new livery was based upon the new national flag, with a sun. The airline's name on its aircraft was changed to simply 'South African', with the Afrikaans name Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens being dropped. The airline started online ticket sales and formed an alliance with SA Airlink and SA Express.

As a symbol of the new rainbow nation, one of SAA's 747-300's, named Ndizani was painted in bright colours and could frequently be seen at various international airports. Now that Ndizani has been withdrawn from service, there have been calls to paint another SAA aircraft in these striking colours.

In 1998 services to Buenos Aires and São Paulo's Guarulhos Airport restored, services to Copenhagen Airport stopped, and a new airline President in the figure of Coleman Andrews. The arrival of the very well paid (in South African terms) Mr Andrews saw a very comprehensive and somewhat controversial overhaul of the airline by the American CEO, shaking up the way the airline was run. Mr Andrews was brought in by Transnet, the state-owned parent company, to remedy the problems of deserting customers, which Transnet's own market research had revealed was caused by 'failure to fly on time, unfriendly and minimally trained staff, poor food and SAA fares being 12- 25% above its competitors'. This era at SAA is covered in the book JETLAG, SA Airways in the Andrews Era, by South African journalist Denis Beckett.

In 1999 South African and Delta Air Lines started code sharing on flights from Atlanta to South Africa. Those flights took place on South African Airways planes.

2000 saw South African arrive at Ft. Lauderdale's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and order 21 more Boeing 737s for its domestic routes.

In 2001, South African won the Best Cargo Airline to Africa award from Air Cargo News - (even though South African is mostly a passenger airline) - and South African Airways signed a code sharing agreement with Nigeria Airways, to provide service from the United States to Lagos, using South African 747s. (This code share agreement is no longer in effect, and SAA's flights to/from the United States no longer stop in Nigeria.) The airline earned a spot on the Zagat Survey's top ten international airlines list, opened a new website and named Andre Viljoen as Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

In March 2002, under CEO Andre Viljoen, South African Airways asked Airbus Industrie to overhaul its fleet at a cost of $3.5 billion. SAA took advantage of a slump in the order books of the aircraft manufacturers (Boeing and Airbus). The entire airline industry was still staggering, after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 in the USA, which lead to new airplane orders either, being deferred or cancelled altogether. SAA was in a buyers market and with the demise of Swissair, which had A340-600’s about to be delivered, made a huge impact on Airbus clinching the SAA deal. Some people may argue that the SAA fleet renewal, with the replacement of some Boeing products with Airbus products, might have been partly a political decision, with Boeing selling planes to South African Airways during the Apartheid-era. However, there is no concrete evidence to substantiate this claim.

In 2002 SAA ordered nine A340-600 widebodies, six A340-300s, 11 A319s and 15 A320 aircraft. Three of the A340-600 aircraft came from International Lease Finance Corp. The new Airbus A319s replaced the ageing Boeing 737-200 fleet, but the Boeing 737-800's continue in service, because SAA cancelled the A320 order before any aircraft were delivered.

In late 2002, South African Airways made a successful bid for a 49 per cent stake in Air Tanzania. This was SAA's first acquisition of a foreign airline. The merger failed in 2006 when new SAA management felt that the arrangement was an unprofitable mistake made by previous SAA managers.

In March 2004 South African Airways announced its application to join Star Alliance. The alliance accepted the application in June, with SAA joining as a full member in April 2006.

In July 2004, Andre Viljoen resigned as CEO of SAA, the media speculated he resigned due to the heavy losses SAA suffered in a R6-billion hedging loss.

In August 2004, Khaya Ngqula was appointed as CEO of SAA. A new chairman, Professor Jakes Gerwel, was appointed in the same month.

In 2005, it became the first non-Saudi airline to fly a direct Hadj service to Medina in Saudi Arabia.

In July 2005, SAA started 4 times weekly Johannesburg-Accra-Washington, D.C. service with a Boeing 747-400. Service was increased to a daily service in July 2006, and the 747-400 was replaced by an Airbus A340-600. Also, because SAA could not obtain rights to fly passengers between Ghana and the US, the stop in Accra was replaced with a stop in Dakar. Accra will remain an SAA destination, however. In 2007, SAA retired the last of its 747-400 fleet from active SAA service.

On June 6th, 2006, South African Airways' codeshare alliance with the US Airline, Delta Air Lines, was terminated. South African's participation in the Star Alliance caused tension between the airlines as it is a major competitor of Delta's SkyTeam Alliance.

In May 2007, SAA launched a deep and fundamental restructuring initiative which aimed to ensure that the airline became profitable on a sustainable basis. The restructuring had four main pillars, namely to simplify and rightsize the business as well as reskill and incentivise employees.

On April 10, 2006, SAA formally joined Star Alliance. SAA began code-share service with United Airlines.

South African Airways is an airline partner of Skywards, the frequent flyer program for Emirates Airline. Skywards members can earn miles for flying South African and can redeem miles for free flights. The airline also has a partnership with El Al Israel Airlines.

SAA operates intercontinental routes to Buenos Aires, São Paulo, New York City, Washington, D.C., London, Frankfurt, Munich, Mumbai, Hong Kong and Perth. Most international and intercontinental flights operate from Johannesburg. The only intercontinental route from Cape Town is to London. SAA also operates numerous domestic and regional routes.

SAA used to name its aircraft (such as the Boeing 707, Boeing 727, Boeing 737-200 and Boeing 747) after geographical features in South Africa, such as rivers, cities, towns and mountain ranges. However, SAA aircraft are no longer named.

In 2006, two 747-400s, delivered in 1990 and 1991 (ZS-SAV "Durban" and ZS-SAW "Bloemfontein"), were sold to Cathay Pacific Airways and converted to B747-400BCF or Boeing Converted Freighters. Cathay values these B747-444 as they have the same Rolls-Royce RB211 engines as Cathay's passenger fleet, making maintenance much faster and cheaper than if the freighter used General Electric or Pratt & Whitney engines.

In June 2007, SAA confirmed earlier speculation that the airline's restructuring plan means there will be no new aircraft purchased for an unspecified time period.

The average age of South African Airways fleet is 5.0 years in March 2009.

The only sucessful hijacking of a SAA flight took place on 24 May 1972 when a Boeing 727 (ZS-SBE) was hijacked on route from Salisbury in Rhodesia (now known as Harare, Zimbabwe) to Johannesburg. Two Libanese, Kamil and Yagi, took control of the aircrafted by packing dynamite sticks on the hatracks. They were armed with a pistol.

They forced the pilot, Captain Blake Flemington, to return to Salisbury where they landed and re-fuelled with 12 hostages remaining on board. They were bluffed by the captain into thinking that they were en route to the Seychelles, whilst he was in fact heading for Blantyre in Malawi. After landing the passengers used nightfall to go into the cockpit, where they climbed down the emergence escape rope. By the time the hijackers realised this, the captain, one passenger, and a flight stewrad, Dirk Nel, remained on the aircraft.

The two hijackers started fighting with each other for possession of the dynamite fuse. In the ensuing chaos, the three captives escaped, leaving the two hijackers on board. The Malawi security forces started shooting and the two surrendered.

They were jailed for two years on a charge of being in possession of an undeclared firearm on board an aircraft. After serving one year of their sentence, they were released.

On 5 June 2007, it was announced that SAA paid ZAR 55 million to the South African government's Competition Commission. The penalty was imposed because of anticompetitive behaviour such as price-fixing. This fine was in addition to a ZAR 45 million fine paid by SAA on 31 May 2006 as a penalty for SAA's attempts to prevent travel agents from dealing with rival air carriers.

To the top



S.C. „Compania Națională de Transporturi Aeriene Române – TAROM” S.A., commonly known simply as TAROM, is the flag carrier airline of Romania. Its main base is the Henri Coandă International Airport in Bucharest (formerly known as the Otopeni airport). The airline operates scheduled domestic services and international services to destinations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. 95% of TAROM is owned by the Romanian Government (Ministry of Transport). The brand name TAROM is an acronym for Transporturile Aeriene ROMâne (Romanian Air Transport). The airline transported 1.69 million passengers in 2007 (a 32.1% increase compared to the previous year); this makes TAROM the second-fastest growing airline in Europe, after Brussels Airlines.

TAROM was founded in 1920 under the name CFRNA - (French-Romanian Company for Air Navigation). The airline used French-built Potez aircraft for its passenger/mail service between Paris and Bucharest via several cities in Central Europe. In 1925, the city of Galaţi became the first destination in Romania served by regular flights. In 1926 the airline changed its name to CIDNA (The International Air Navigation Company). In 1930, the company adopted the name LARES (Liniile Aeriene Române Exploatate de Stat) while 1937 saw the merger of LARES with its competitor SARTA (Societatea Română de Transporturi Aeriene).

After World War II, when the Soviet Union had extended its influence across Eastern Europe, the airline TARS (Transporturi Aeriene Româno-Sovietice) was established on 8 August 1945, jointly-owned by the governments of Romania and the Soviet Union. Domestic operations were started from Bucharest (Baneasa Airport) on 1 February 1946. The company's Soviet share was purchased by Romania and, on 18 September 1954, the airline adopted the name of TAROM - (Transporturi Aeriene Române - Romanian Air Transport). By 1960, TAROM was flying to a dozen cities across Europe. 1966 saw the operation of its first trans-Atlantic flight. On May 14, 1974, it launched a regular service to New York City - (JFK International Airport).

Being part of the group of the airlines belonging to Soviet Bloc states, TAROM operated Soviet-design Li-2, Ilyushin Il-14, Ilyushin Il-18, Ilyushin Il-62, Antonov An-24, and Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft. An exception was made in 1968 when it bought the BAC One Eleven in 1968 for European and Middle East destinations, and in 1974 when TAROM acquired Boeing 707 aircraft for its long haul operations. In 1978 a contract was signed with the UK to manufacture the BAC One Eleven near Bucharest. Meantime the 707 and Il-62 long range aircraft were operating New-York (via Amsterdam, later London and finally Vienna), Abu-Dhabi-Bangkok-Singapore, and Karachi-Beijing. TAROM was the only Soviet Bloc airline to operate flights to Tel Aviv, Israel.

It was only after the collapse of the Comunist Party in 1989 that the airline was able to acquire more Western-built jets. By 1993, TAROM had introduced long haul flights to Montreal and Bangkok, using Ilyushin Il-62, and Airbus A310 aircraft.

During the 1990s, TAROM replaced its long-haul fleet of Boeing 707s and IL-62s with three new A310 jets. In 2001 the airline cancelled its non-profitable long haul services to Bangkok and Montreal and also terminated services to its remaining intercontinental destinations of Beijing (in 2003), Chicago (in 2002), and New York City (in 2003).

TAROM terminated loss-making domestic services to Craiova, Tulcea, Caransebeş, and Constanţa) and focused its activity on service to key destinations in Europe and the Middle East. 2004 was the first profitable year of the last decade.

TAROM is recovering from a difficult period that began in the 1990s, when losses of up to $68 million a year were registered, caused by unprofitable routes. At the beginning of the new millennium, the airline initiated a program that was aimed at restoring profitability. This was achieved by terminating loss-making intercontinental services.

TAROM has decided to focus its operations on Bucharest (Henri Coandă International Airport) (OTP) and Cluj-Napoca International Airport (CLJ). Codeshare agreements with foreign partner airlines are in place for several international routes. To meet competition from Carpatair, which uses the city of Timişoara in Western Romania as its hub city, TAROM has initiated direct international flights from Sibiu, Cluj-Napoca and Bacău. In June 2005 it was announced as one of the future associate members of SkyTeam alliance, initially due to join by 2006. A fleet upgrade program started in 2006 with the acquisition of the first two Airbus A318 (from a total of four ordered) which resulted in a fleet increase from 16 planes (in Nov. 2006) to 22 (as of 2007).

In May 2008 Tarom was once again endorsed as a soon-to-be SkyTeam associate member, this time by Air France.

The airline has a frequent flyer programme Smart Miles.

The airline serves 48 destinations in 22 countries (Europe, Middle East and northern Africa) including 11 domestic destinations. The busiest domestic routes are Bucharest - Cluj (operated with Boeing 737 and Airbus A318 ) and Bucharest - Timişoara (sometimes operated with Airbus A310).

In November and December 2006, Tarom took delivery of its first two Airbus A318-111, becoming only the second commercial operator of this type of aircraft in Europe, after Air France. In the fall of 2007, two more Airbus A318 have joined the fleet, bringing the total number of aircraft to four. The Airbus A318 planes are being used on routes from Bucharest to Brussels, Frankfurt, Munich, Paris and Vienna . After reintroducing the 2 Airbus A310 to the fleet, Tarom realized their inefficiency and decided to sell them. Tarom Executives stated discussions with Airbus and Boeing are still underway, but 3 Boeing 737-800 have been chosen as replacements and joined the fleet over the course of three months, beginning in November 2008, with the last one being delivered on January 24, 2009.. In order to meet demand on the domestic market, Tarom decided to expand its fleet with 2 ATR 72-500, to be delivered in 2009.

The average fleet age of the TAROM fleet is 8.7 years.

TAROM - Technical Division is an aircraft maintenance provider. It employs 800 staff and specializes in maintaining ATR, Boeing 737 series, Airbus A310 and A320 aircraft. Other maintenance providers in Romania are Aerostar SA in Bacău and Romaero located at Băneasa Airport, Bucharest.

In 2006 TAROM was scheduled to join SkyTeam as an associate member (sponsored by Alitalia), but the entry into the alliance was postponed until 2008.

On 7 May 2008 SkyTeam signed a SkyTeam Alliance Associate Adherence Agreement (SAAAA) agreement with the TAROM, indicating the airline is on the track to join the alliance as an Associate airline.

To the top

Source : Wikipedia