Poll: What’s your favorite historic airline livery? (European division)

We love historic airline liveries here at L.A. Airspace. I’m sure some of my readers feel the same way, even if they’re too proud to admit it. So I ask you this: Among these European airlines, which paint job is your favorite?

For what it’s worth, I go with SAS. Also, I think I have my dates generally correct for the liveries, but if you know the timelines more exactly, please let us know in the comments section.

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Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer and others chide FAA on helicopter noise

Are you a Los Angeles-area resident tired of having helicopters hovering over your home?

The good news is that members of the area’s Congressional delegation, who know how important this issue is to quality of life, are fighting on your behalf. The bad news? The Federal Aviation Administration is not moving as fast to curb this noise as the Congressman and Senators would like.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, as well as Reps. Henry Waxman, Alan Lowenthal, Karen Bass, Brad Sherman, Adam Schiff and Tony Cardenas, expressed their displeasure this week to FAA administrator Michael Huerta. You can find the 56-page helicopter noise report, which they cite in the letter, by clicking here. The production of that FAA noise report was supposed to be the first step is reducing helicopter noise around L.A.

FAA Helicopter Noise Letter

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Attention: Your favorite airline is not a charity

L.A. wants a fair price for L.A/Ontario International Airport, which it has operated since 1967. Staff file photo.

L.A./Ontario International Airport is often empty. But do airlines care? Not really.  Staff file photo.

“Airlines are not a charity.”

This is what an acquaintance of mine – a person who understands airline economics – tells me whenever I ask why an airline is charging a high fare in a particular market or why it has added a new fee. The general gist is that most U.S. airlines are publicly traded corporations with shareholders they must keep happy. They must make business-minded decisions about how and when to fly their planes.

The problem with this strategy, which has become more pronounced in recent years as airlines have learned how they can keep profits up, is that it is leaving air service holes in small and medium sized cities. Many non-hub airports, like L.A./Ontario International Airport in California’s Inland Empire, cannot support a lot of air service in the current economic climate. And airlines are no longer interested in flying routes just because they always have done so.

This is a topic New York Times business travel columnist Joe Sharkey addressed this week. I think he lives in Tuscon, which is facing its own challenges, though it still has flights to most airline hubs. Sharkey writes:

Across the country, cities where airline service has been reduced and long-haul nonstop routes eliminated in recent years are clamoring for new flights. Many dangle financial incentives in the hopes that an airline will add an extra flight or two to the local schedule. The justification they cite is that local airports are powerful economic engines, central to business development and a sense of civic pride.

I suppose the question is whether you think airlines should serve smaller markets almost out of a sense of duty, or whether you think they should be permitted to fly whatever routes are most profitable for them. The market has already spoken on this issue — airlines are chasing profits — but not everyone agrees with what has happened. I hear often from advocates for L.A./Ontario International who believe airlines should add flights there to cut down on the number of car trips local residents must make to LAX. But airlines don’t really care if travelers who live near the Ontario airport must drive more than an hour to get to LAX. How you get to the airport is up to you.

As we know, many airports are chasing relatively little air service. Sharkey writes of Pittsburgh, where the market for new flights is soft:

Hope, of course, springs eternal. For example, Pittsburgh International Airport, still reeling from the effects of US Airways closing its huge hub there in 2004, is offering financial incentives and even looking for a new top executive in a major drive to entice new service. In 2009, with much of its international traffic gone, Pittsburgh offered $9 million in subsidies to persuade Delta Air Lines to begin a nonstop route to Paris. That service operates seasonally five days a week (this year starting April 27).

What do you think? Should airlines be more cognizant of doing the right thing to ensure that midsize cities aren’t left without connections to major cities? Or should they simply be able to fly to whatever cities are most profitable?

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Etihad Airways becomes official airline of Major League Soccer

Etihad is now a Major League Soccer partner. Photo: Etihad

Etihad is now a Major League Soccer partner. Photo: Etihad

In another sign that Etihad Airways, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier, is serious about the United States market, the company announced Tuesday that has become the official airline of Major League Soccer.

According to the release, this means Etihad will advertise on “pitch-side” LEDs, as well on television and digital properties affiliated with the soccer league. Etihad sponsors a bunch of sports properties throughout the world, most of which are unfamiliar to Americans. They include the Manchester City Football Club,  the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship, the Harlequins Rugby Club, and the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Not to knock MLS, but my guess is that partnership rights for the league are relatively reasonably priced. Presumably, we’ll now see Etihad advertising at Stubhub Center, where the L.A. Galaxy and Chivas USA (soon to change its name) play soccer games.

Starting in June, Etihad will fly daily between Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi. According to the release, the carrier is working on building its own lounge for premium customers at LAX. For now, the airline serves New York, Washington, D.C. and Chicago. It is also adding Dallas in December, three times per week.

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Photo: An UberX driver shares a citation he received at LAX

Earlier today, I wrote about one UberX driver who reported that Los Angeles International Airport police were taking an especially tough line today against ride-sharing drivers. Airport police disputed that assertion, with a spokeswoman telling me that there was no heightened enforcement today. She said that LAX police always enforce traffic laws and that drivers, such as my source, know they must have valid commercial insurance to make airport drop-offs and pickups.

The driver sent me a scanned version of the ticket he received. I have redacted his identifying information and the information on his passenger. But here’s what he got cited for:

LAXPD CitationThis is just another notice that if you use UberX or Lyft or any similar service to go to or from LAX, you need to understand your driver might be cited. Airport police officers have taken a much harsher stance against ride-sharing drivers than the LAPD. If your driver is cited, you won’t be in any trouble, but it will cause a slight hiccup in your travel day .

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