Friday, December 5, 2014

More TBIT pix

After my previous post about the construction on the Tom Bradley International Terminal, it occurred to me that I had neglected to show you the newly-opened gates on the east side of the southern wing of the new TBIT. These gates are accessed via the C-10 alley, which also serves the west side of Terminal Four. In this shot, taken early this morning, all four of the new gates are occupied. The Qantas B747 is on gate 159, which can handle an A380. Next is a United B777 on gate 157; the adjacent United Dreamliner is on gate 155; and the American B777 is on gate 153. To the right of American, you can see where there is provision for one more gate (151), although it clearly is quite some time in the future.

Those of you who have been keeping track have no doubt noticed that we lost a gate in the process: Before the renovation, the C-10 wing of the TBIT had six gates: 101 through 106. Right now, we have the four you see, with a fifth to come. This loss is certainly offset by the five new gates on the west side of the southern wing (148-156). 

Meanwhile, on the north side, the jetways have been removed from the recently closed gates in the D-10 alley:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Shot of the day

I know the colors look funky, but I promise that I've done no fiddling with this shot except adding the watermark; this is how it came out of the camera.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

One last look

Now that most of the southern end of the revamped Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) is open, work is about to commence on the northern end. Demolition of the old terminal is set to commence this week. As you can see in this shot, taken yesterday, gates 119, 120, and 121 have already been closed and concrete removal has begun. I am surprised that the jetways are still in place; when work started on the southern end, the removal of the jet bridges was the first visible sign of work commencing:

Just as it happened in the C-10 alley, aircraft operations in the D-10 will be restricted by the demolition and construction work. This will primarily mean that aircraft operating out of the gates deep in the alley (30, 31A, 31B, and 32) will have to be towed onto their gates in order to avoid jet blast issues with the construction area. The additional time required will slow things down a bit, and the north-side ground controller will have to accommodate more aircraft on the taxiways while they wait their turn for the alley. The upside is that there will be no widebody aircraft in the D-10 alley for the duration of the construction project, so the wait times will not be as onerous as they might otherwise be. The affected carriers will be Allegiant, Frontier, JetBlue, Spirit, and Virgin America. Allegiant and Jet Blue will likely be the least affected, as they rarely use the deepest gates in the alley. I don't have the construction schedule to hand, but if the north side proceeds much the same as the south side, the whole thing will be done, with the new gates on the east side of the northern wing of the TBIT open for service, by this time next year.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

All quiet

Thanksgiving weekend in the US is traditionally the busiest travel period of the year. The busiest travel day of the year is usually either the Wednesday before, or the Sunday after, the holiday. For those of you outside the states, our Thanksgiving holiday falls on the fourth Thursday of November, regardless of the date. This year, LAX is again projected to be the busiest airport in the country: Nearly two million passengers are expected to pass through LAX during the five-day holiday travel period, which starts on the Wednesday before and runs through the following Sunday. As you might expect, most of this travel actually takes place on one of those two days; the intervening days are slower than normal. On the actual day, for instance, LAX ran about 1,200 operations this year. On an average Thursday, we would have between 1,700 and 1,800 operations. Things were very slow on Friday as well, with several hundred fewer operations than normal. One example I can offer is this shot of Terminal One, which is now completely Southwest Airlines. It was nine in the morning, and Southwest hadn't moved a single airplane yet. Their first departure of a normal day is usually around six in the morning; on the day after Thanksgiving, their first departure pushed off the gate a bit before ten.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bye-bye birdie?

Thai Airways has a limited presence at LAX, namely four weekly B777 flights to Seoul, South Korea. Formerly, there had been a non-stop flight to Bangkok in an A340-500, which at the time was one of the longest scheduled airline flights in the world: Sixteen to eighteen hours in the air. That flight was discontinued in 2012, and marked the departure of half of the A340-500 operations* at LAX. The replacement flight to Seoul does continue on to Bangkok, and has recently been upgraded from a B777-200ER to a B777-300ER. There has been talk of Thai bringing an A380 to LAX, but so far all I've heard is talk.

Something that has not been a regular sight at LAX is a B744 in Thai colors. We had one pass through a couple of weeks ago, though -- on its way to Mohave. Mohave is one of the places where airliners get parked; Victorville, California, is another. There are also several locations in Arizona where airlines and leasing companies store aircraft. Is this aircraft going into storage? I don't know; there's not much information on the web about Thai retiring its B744s, although some other types are known to be on the way out and many other airlines are parking their B747-400s. Since most of the airports that host parked airliners also offer heavy maintenance facilities, it could be that this airplane will return to the skies in the not-too-distant future.

Besides this Thai B744, I've also recently seen an Air New Zealand B744 and a KLM MD-11 pass through LAX on their way to the desert.

* - The other A345 user at LAX was Singapore, who flew theirs non-stop to Singapore, a similarly long (16-17 hours) flight that has since been discontinued in favor of a flight to Tokyo that then continues on to Singapore. We no longer see A345s on a regular basis at LAX; both Singapore and Thai have dropped the type from their fleets. Etihad brought one in during their first weeks of operation here earlier this summer, but they now use B777s.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Where are they now?

Last month, a regular visitor to ye olde blog left a comment asking about the still-born series (Who's who: ) that looked at the airlines at each of LAX's terminals. The answer is that I had the poor sense of timing to attempt such a series just as LAX started playing a game of musical terminal assignments. Case in point: US Airways. At the outset of the series, back in February, US Airways flew out of Terminal One. Within a month, they had relocated to Terminal Three. Now, after spending less than a year there, US Airways has relocated again, this time to Terminal Six. This move puts US Airways on the same side of the terminal complex as merger partner American, who operates out of Terminal Four. US Airways moved into four gates United relinquished; these were gates that United had acquired with the merger with Continental.

Other changes that have happened or are in the works:
  • Air China will be moving from Terminal Two to the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT)
  • Air France has finished consolidating their operations at the TBIT
  • Air New Zealand will also be moving to the TBIT
  • AirTran has been subsumed by Southwest and has virtually disappeared from the scene at LAX
  • KLM has moved to the TBIT
  • Virgin Australia, who bounced from Terminals Three, Two, and Five, has landed at the TBIT
There are doubtless many others, but those are some of the ones that come readily to mind. Stay tuned: When the dust settles, we'll continue a terminal-by-terminal look at who flies at LAX.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Feelin' the Love

 After some thirty-five years, the provisions of the Wright Amendment have expired, allowing expanded airline service at Dallas Love airport. Since 1979, airlines at Love have only been allowed to fly from Love to destinations in Texas and its neighboring states. Southwest was the main target of this legislation, as all the carriers at Love had been required to move to DFW when that airport opened in 1974. Southwest had not existed when the agreement to relocate all airline operations was signed, and claimed that as (at that time) it only operated within the state of Texas, the Civil Aeronautics Board had no jurisdiction. Thus Southwest's in-state operations were tolerated at Love airport, while all other air carriers flew out of DFW. Then the Airline Deregulation Act was passed in 1978, and Southwest announced plans to expand service outside of Texas beginning in 1979. The Wright Amendment (to the International Air Transportation Act of 1979) was designed to protect the huge investment of the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, along with all the participating airlines, in DFW airport. The amendment was sponsored by Jim Wright, a congressional representative from Fort Worth. It restricted airline service from Dallas Love airport to Texas and its adjoining states (New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana). In 1997, the Shelby Amendment added Alabama, Mississippi, and Kansas to the list of states that could be served from Love field. Missouri was included as a result of the Bond Amendment in 2005.

Meanwhile, in 2004 Southwest announced its intention to pursue repeal of the Wright Amendment. Not surprisingly, American Airlines took the opposing side, and advocated against repealing the amendment. A compromise bill was passed in 2006 that put into place a gradual loosening of the flight restrictions at Love Field. The final date was October 13th of this year, making Love open to airline flights to any city in the nation. On that day, both Southwest and Virgin America initiated service between LAX and Dallas Love Field. Dallas is a new non-stop destination for Southwest from Los Angeles. While Virgin America had previously been offering flights into DFW, those flights are now flown into Love Field. 

So LAX now has airline service to both major airports in the Dallas area: American and Spirit fly into DFW, while Southwest and Virgin America fly into Love.

For more about the Wright Amendment, I suggest this Wikipedia entry:  Wright_Amendment

Saturday, October 25, 2014

LAN Dreamliners: They're back!

LAN was the first airline to bring the 787 into LAX on scheduled service, but the Dreamliners disappeared in the wake of the burning battery debacle. Once that was ironed out, United brought their B787s back -- and in fact we're now starting to see United's new stretched -9 Dreamliners. Earlier this year, United's Dreamliners were joined by 787s flown by Norwegian Air Shuttle. Conspicuously absent were the LAN Dreamliners, which had been replaced by B767s. But last week, we started to see LAN 787s again. I caught this one departing around lunch time.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

And now, for more sport

I've been wanting to catch the Qantas World Cup B747 for some time now, so even though it was really hazy last week, I grabbed this photo from the catwalk. I believe the Virgin America Airbus in the lower shot is the same one that sported a mustache last season:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Something else new

Last month, in fact the same week that Frontier and Spirit announced their new liveries, Southwest introduced its new paint scheme. I've seen it at LAX a couple of times now, but this was my first chance to catch it with the camera. Unlike the complete makeover at Spirit, the new Southwest paint has definite ties to the old:

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Something old, something new

We've seen this US Airways Airbus with its retro PSA livery before, but now it wears the new American name and logo on the fuselage. Thanks to CG for the photo!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Shot of the day

I gather from this that even the guys with the oil want more fuel-efficient aircraft!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

We've got Spirit, yes we do!

Spirit recently announced that they will be repainting their aircraft in this eye-catching scheme. This was the first one to pass through LAX, late last week. Thanks to CG for the photo!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bonus Boeing shot

This shot was originally going to be in yesterday's post, but it didn't fit with the Big Blue Boeing theme, so instead it gets a post of its own. The B727 in the background is noteworthy for having winglets, along with upgraded engines from an MD-80 installed; this mod is rarely seen on a -100. The B757 in the foreground happens to be Mexican Air Force One.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Big Blue Boeings!

After my last post, the Blogger dashboard showed a very inauspicious number of posts, so I hurried to put together another one. So here are some more Boeing shots. It would appear that the color blue is a common factor in all of these shots.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

And now, for sport

Wow -- two posts in one weekend. Clearly somebody needs a social life. Meanwhile, there was recently in Brazil a little get-together about some ball games. Excuse me, matches. While I didn't follow the World Cup closely, I did hear about it hear and there. A couple of B747s might have clued me in.

A little closer to home, San Francisco has a baseball team:

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Boeing pix

This is for all of you who believe that I can only take pictures of A380s. I grant that recent posts would lead one to that conclusion, so today's post will be exclusively Boeing products. The opening features an AeroMexico B737-800 with the new split scimitar winglets developed by Aviation Partners. United was the first carrier to put these on their planes; I also have seen them on Alaska, Southwest, and WestJet.

Kalitta Air (callsign: Connie) is a regular at LAX, but rarely seen during daylight hours. I got lucky last week when they showed up -- not only during the day -- but also on Runway 24 Left:

Next, we have another arrival:

Now that FedEx has retired their B727s, the B757 is the smallest FedEx airplane we see at LAX. At the moment, I believe we get two per day; the remainder of the FedEx flights are A300s, DC-10s, and MD-11s. 

United is the first carrier to bring the stretched B787-9 to LAX. The shot above shows a B787-9 getting towed onto the gate, while a "normal" B787-8 rolls for departure. Below, a B777-200 passes behind in a shot taken slightly earlier.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Air New Zealand bids farewell to the B747

Air New Zealand B747s disappeared from the LAX scene over a year ago, and today was the type's final day with the carrier. The final revenue flight was from San Francisco to Auckland, New Zealand. Air New Zealand has operated B747s since 1981, but has opted (like many other carriers) to replace the type with newer, more fuel-efficient B777s and B787s. According to The New Zealand Herald, the aircraft utilized for the final flight is the same one (ZK-NBV, seen here) that made the last LAX appearance, in the summer of 2013.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

More super shots

I lucked into a nice shot of Asiana landing on Runway 24 Left this weekend. Since I knew it would be featured here, I took a look through the cameras to see what else I had in the same vein. The opening shots are mine; the remaining four I believe are credited to CG (again).

Emirates arriving on Runway 24 Left, with a KLM B747-400 on Taxiway Echo. This summer, we've been getting two KLM flights per day, both in B744s. Some of you may recall that the last two summers, the additional seasonal flight was often operated with MD11s, but not this year.

Three of a kind! To produce this shot, the ground and tower controllers had to work together, since we have some draconian restrictions on A380s on the runway and the adjacent taxiway at the same time. The British Airways jet would have had to wait in position on the runway until the Air France jet could approach the position seen here. Not seen in this shot are the dozen other aircraft that are normally departing about this same time; the A380s most likely were held back until everyone else was out of their way.

While I was gone on MINI Takes The States, Los Angeles got rain. In late July, which is virtually unheard of. Nonetheless, here is a sequence of shots showing Korean departing Runway 24 Left. Check out the spray!


This post features most of LAX's A380 operators; the only ones not shown are Qantas and China Southern. As of this writing, LAX gets eleven or twelve A380s a day. I hear that there are more that would like to come, gate space permitting. Here's the current breakdown of operators, and how many A380s they bring to LAX daily:

Air France: 1
Asiana: 1
British Airways: 2
China Southern: 1
Emirates: 1
Korean: 2
Singapore: 1
Qantas: 2 or 3

For those of you who want to see them in person, your best time is between about ten in the morning through around four in the afternoon. That will let you see most of them except for China Southern, who usually arrives closer to six in the afternoon. As many have lamented, most A380 operations occur on the north side of the airport. Don't despair, though: Sometime next year, that will change, albeit possibly only temporarily, when a runway construction project will push them all to the south side. More details will be forthcoming if/when I get them.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Super shots

Thank you for your patience while I was traversing the country on MINI Takes The States with Ryan's MINI. While I was away, CG grabbed a couple of super shots for you.

Asiana started their A380 service between Los Angeles and Seoul, South Korea this week, giving all you A380 spotters one more reason to come to LAX. The flight was previously operated with a B777-200, and arrives late morning and departs in the early afternoon.

Speaking of spotting, here's another A380 that I've seen a couple of times, but have been unable to catch with the camera. CG to the rescue again:

Friday, August 1, 2014

A330 vs B777 at LAX

A quick note today, inspired by some recent comments about Airbuses and Boeings at LAX. While it seems like we're getting more A330s lately, there are five carriers at present bringing A330s into LAX on a regular basis:
  • Aeroflot
  • Air Berlin
  • China Eastern
  • Fiji
  • Hawaiian
The newest of these is China Eastern, who just started bringing A330s to LAX earlier this summer. Hawaiian is by far the most prolific A330 operator at LAX. The others each have one or two flights per day apiece. We also have several more occasional A330 operators at LAX:
  • Air Canada
  • Delta
  • Korean
  • Qantas
The above are all passenger airlines; we do not currently have any cargo operators using A330s at LAX. Nearly all A330 operations at LAX are in the -200 model; we don't have any regular flights utilizing the longer -300. However, Air Canada, Aeroflot, and Delta have been known to bring them in from time to time.

Meanwhile, the list of B777-200 operators at LAX is twice as long:
  • Asiana
  • Air France
  • Air New Zealand
  • All Nippon
  • Alitalia
  • American
  • Delta
  • El Al
  • Thai
  • TransAero 
  • United
If we include operators of the longer -300 model, we get an even longer list:
  • Air China
  • Air France
  • Air New Zealand
  • All Nippon
  • American
  • Cathay Pacific
  • EVA
  • Japan Air
  • Korean
  • Philippines
  • Saudia
  • Thai
  • TransAero
  • Turkish
  • Virgin Australia
About -ER and -LR models: to ATC at LAX they are essentially the same as their parent model, because for simplicity's sake we treat all B777s as if they are the -ER/-LR version. Most of the B777s we get at LAX are in fact -ER or -LR versions of their respective models; we don't gain any operational advantage from the occasional short wing variants that may pass through. In addition to the passenger carriers already listed, we do have several cargo operators using B777s at LAX:
  • AeroLogic  (callsign German Cargo)
  • China Cargo  (callsign Cargo King)
  • China Southern
  • Fedex
  • Southern Air

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Shot of the day

Yours truly is currently on a cross-country road trip with MINI Takes The States. In the meantime, here's a sight that's becoming less and less common at LAX: Two passenger B747s together.

Friday, July 18, 2014

More Eurowhite

After my post from earlier this month, one might suppose that I don't like the current trend of airline liveries. But as always, there's the exception that proves the rule, and this is it. Above and immediately below are Iberia's new colors on an A340-600. I apologize for the poor photos, but you get the idea.

And now, take a look at the livery that is being replaced by what you've seen above:

A definite improvement, wouldn't you say? Meanwhile, from the department of Just Because, another shot of the new Air New Zealand livery, this time modeled on a B777-200, which we don't see very often at LAX in New Zealand colors: