IATA chief says further airline mergers essential

TOKYO, April 12 (Reuters) – Further mergers among airlines are essential in order to cut costs and improve competitiveness in an industry seen sustaining combined losses of $2.8 billion this year, the head of airline industry body IATA said on Monday.

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“Mergers and consolidation is a must … I strongly support consolidation,” Giovanni Bisignani, director-general of the International Air Transport Association, told few reporters in Tokyo.

Asked about a possible merger between United Airlines (UAUA.O) and US Airways (LCC.N), he said he would not comment on individual deals.

IATA said on March 30 that airlines were climbing out of recession with strong rises in passenger travel and cargoes in February. Passenger demand in February was up 9.5 percent from a year earlier, while supply increased by only 1.9 percent. [ID:nLDE62T0SK]

(Reporting by Yumiko Nishitani)

US Airways Reports February Traffic Results

TEMPE, Ariz.–(Business Wire)–
US Airways Group, Inc. (NYSE: LCC) today announced February and year-to-date
2010 traffic results. Mainline revenue passenger miles (RPMs) for the month were
3.9 billion, down 4.7 percent versus February 2009. Mainline capacity was 5.0
billion available seat miles (ASMs), down 5.3 percent versus February 2009.
Passenger load factor for the month of February was 77.6 percent, up 0.4 points
versus February 2009.

US Airways President Scott Kirby said, “Our February consolidated (mainline and
Express) passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) increased
approximately eight percent versus the same period last year while total revenue
per available seat mile increased approximately nine percent on a year-over-year
basis. The revenue environment continues to show material signs of improvement
with corporate booked revenue up more than 35 percent on a year-over-year
basis.”

With more departures than any carrier on the East Coast, US Airways` February
operations were severely impacted by the extreme weather in that region. Due to
the length and severity of the storms, flight operations were suspended for a
total of six days at three of the hardest hit major airports (three days at
Washington National, two days at Philadelphia, and one day at New York-
LaGuardia).

These weather-related cancellations drove a completion factor for February of
92.9 percent. The corresponding cancellation rate of 7.1 percent is the highest
since the merger of US Airways and America West in 2005, exceeding the previous
high by 3.3 points, or 87.9 percent. US Airways` preliminary on-time performance
as reported to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) was 75.3 percent. The
Company estimates weather related cancellations reduced February’s revenue by
approximately $30 million. In addition, due to its storm-related reduction in
ASMs, the Company estimates a benefit to PRASM of approximately one-half of one
percentage point.

The following summarizes US Airways Group`s traffic results for the month and
year-to-date ended February 28, 2010 and 2009, consisting of mainline operated
flights as well as US Airways Express flights operated by wholly owned
subsidiaries PSA Airlines and Piedmont Airlines.

US Airways Mainline

FEBRUARY
2010 2009 % Change

Mainline Revenue Passenger Miles (000)
Domestic 3,020,588 3,232,490 (6.6 )
Atlantic 375,812 378,812 (0.8 )
Latin 456,528 432,087 5.7
Total Mainline Revenue Passenger Miles 3,852,928 4,043,389 (4.7 )

Mainline Available Seat Miles (000)
Domestic 3,735,066 4,039,918 (7.5 )
Atlantic 623,079 631,481 (1.3 )
Latin 603,879 566,933 6.5
Total Mainline Available Seat Miles 4,962,024 5,238,332 (5.3 )

Mainline Load Factor (%)
Domestic 80.9 80.0 0.9 pts
Atlantic 60.3 60.0 0.3 pts
Latin 75.6 76.2 (0.6 ) pts
Total Mainline Load Factor 77.6 77.2 0.4 pts

Mainline Enplanements
Domestic 3,190,467 3,403,824 (6.3 )
Atlantic 91,473 98,112 (6.8 )
Latin 327,962 341,099 (3.9 )
Total Mainline Enplanements 3,609,902 3,843,035 (6.1 )

YEAR TO DATE
2010 2009 % Change

Mainline Revenue Passenger Miles (000)
Domestic 6,353,625 6,710,358 (5.3 )
Atlantic 862,510 834,784 3.3
Latin 929,848 850,291 9.4
Total Mainline Revenue Passenger Miles 8,145,983 8,395,433 (3.0 )

Mainline Available Seat Miles (000)
Domestic 8,060,480 8,503,245 (5.2 )
Atlantic 1,368,716 1,343,626 1.9
Latin 1,252,312 1,135,360 10.3
Total Mainline Available Seat Miles 10,681,508 10,982,231 (2.7 )

Mainline Load Factor (%)
Domestic 78.8 78.9 (0.1 ) pts
Atlantic 63.0 62.1 0.9 pts
Latin 74.3 74.9 (0.6 ) pts
Total Mainline Load Factor 76.3 76.4 (0.1 ) pts

Mainline Enplanements
Domestic 6,617,578 7,003,531 (5.5 )
Atlantic 211,685 216,113 (2.0 )
Latin 664,395 671,681 (1.1 )
Total Mainline Enplanements 7,493,658 7,891,325 (5.0 )

Notes:
1) Canada, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands are included in the domestic results.
2) Latin numbers include the Caribbean.

US Airways Express (Piedmont Airlines, PSA Airlines)

FEBRUARY
2010 2009 % Change

Express Revenue Passenger Miles (000)
Domestic 137,840 148,355 (7.1 )

Express Available Seat Miles (000)
Domestic 209,951 241,407 (13.0 )

Express Load Factor (%)
Domestic 65.7 61.5 4.2 pts

Express Enplanements
Domestic 499,594 554,389 (9.9 )

YEAR TO DATE
2010 2009 % Change

Express Revenue Passenger Miles (000)
Domestic 282,834 294,786 (4.1 )

Express Available Seat Miles (000)
Domestic 454,081 497,446 (8.7 )

Express Load Factor (%)
Domestic 62.3 59.3 3.0 pts

Express Enplanements
Domestic 1,034,906 1,101,886 (6.1 )

Notes:
1) Canada is included in domestic results.

Consolidated US Airways Group, Inc.

FEBRUARY
2010 2009 % Change

Consolidated Revenue Passenger Miles (000)
Domestic 3,158,428 3,380,845 (6.6 )
Atlantic 375,812 378,812 (0.8 )
Latin 456,528 432,087 5.7
Total Consolidated Revenue Passenger Miles 3,990,768 4,191,744 (4.8 )

Consolidated Available Seat Miles (000)
Domestic 3,945,017 4,281,325 (7.9 )
Atlantic 623,079 631,481 (1.3 )
Latin 603,879 566,933 6.5
Total Consolidated Available Seat Miles 5,171,975 5,479,739 (5.6 )

Consolidated Load Factor (%)
Domestic 80.1 79.0 1.1 pts
Atlantic 60.3 60.0 0.3 pts
Latin 75.6 76.2 (0.6 ) pts
Total Consolidated Load Factor 77.2 76.5 0.7 pts

Consolidated Enplanements
Domestic 3,690,061 3,958,213 (6.8 )
Atlantic 91,473 98,112 (6.8 )
Latin 327,962 341,099 (3.9 )
Total Consolidated Enplanements 4,109,496 4,397,424 (6.5 )

YEAR TO DATE
2010 2009 % Change

Consolidated Revenue Passenger Miles (000)
Domestic 6,636,459 7,005,144 (5.3 )
Atlantic 862,510 834,784 3.3
Latin 929,848 850,291 9.4
Total Consolidated Revenue Passenger Miles 8,428,817 8,690,219 (3.0 )

Consolidated Available Seat Miles (000)
Domestic 8,514,561 9,000,691 (5.4 )
Atlantic 1,368,716 1,343,626 1.9
Latin 1,252,312 1,135,360 10.3
Total Consolidated Available Seat Miles 11,135,589 11,479,677 (3.0 )

Consolidated Load Factor (%)
Domestic 77.9 77.8 0.1 pts
Atlantic 63.0 62.1 0.9 pts
Latin 74.3 74.9 (0.6 ) pts
Total Consolidated Load Factor 75.7 75.7 – pts

Consolidated Enplanements
Domestic 7,652,484 8,105,417 (5.6 )
Atlantic 211,685 216,113 (2.0 )
Latin 664,395 671,681 (1.1 )
Total Consolidated Enplanements 8,528,564 8,993,211 (5.2 )

Notes:
1)Canada, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands are included in the domestic results.
2)Latin numbers include the Caribbean.

US Airways is also providing a brief update on notable company accomplishments
during the month of February:

* Launched year-round service from Charlotte, N.C. to Melbourne, Fla.; offering
Melbourne customers the ability to connect to more than 125 domestic and
international destinations through the airline`s largest hub. All three daily
flights will be operated by wholly owned US Airways Express carrier PSA
Airlines, utilizing 70-seat Bombardier CRJ700 regional jets.
* Announced a new bilateral codeshare agreement with Brussels Airlines. This
agreement, subject to both U.S. DOT and Belgium government approval, will
provide a convenient, single-source booking, ticketing and baggage connection
option for more than 20 new destinations in Europe and Africa, including points
in Gambia, Senegal, Cameroon and Kenya. Customers may purchase tickets starting
April 3 for flights April 7 and beyond at www.usairways.com or by calling
1-800-428-4322.

About US Airways

US Airways, along with US Airways Shuttle and US Airways Express, operates more
than 3,000 flights per day and serves more than 190 communities in the U.S.,
Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Central and South
America. The airline employs more than 31,000 aviation professionals worldwide
and is a member of the Star Alliance network, which offers its customers more
than 19,700 daily flights to 1,077 airports in 175 countries. Together with its
US Airways Express partners, the airline serves approximately 80 million
passengers each year and operates hubs in Charlotte, N.C., Philadelphia and
Phoenix, and a focus city at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. And for
the eleventh consecutive year, the airline received a Diamond Award for
maintenance training excellence from the Federal Aviation Administration for its
Charlotte hub line maintenance facility. For more company information, visit
usairways.com. (LCCT)

Forward Looking Statements

Certain of the statements contained or referred to herein should be considered
“forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities
Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements may be
identified by words such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “intend,” “anticipate,”
“believe,” “estimate,” “plan,” “could,” “should,” and “continue” and similar
terms used in connection with statements regarding the outlook, expected fuel
costs, revenue and pricing environment, and expected financial performance and
liquidity position of US Airways Group (the “Company”). Such statements include,
but are not limited to, statements about future financial and operating results,
the Company’s plans, objectives, expectations and intentions, and other
statements that are not historical facts. These statements are based upon the
current beliefs and expectations of the Company’s management and are subject to
significant risks and uncertainties that could cause the Company’s actual
results and financial position to differ materially from these statements. Such
risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the following: the
impact of significant operating losses in the future; downturns in economic
conditions and their impact on passenger demand and related revenues; increased
costs of financing, a reduction in the availability of financing and
fluctuations in interest rates; the Company’s high level of fixed obligations
and its ability to fund general corporate requirements, obtain additional
financing and respond to competitive developments; any failure to comply with
the liquidity covenants contained in the Company’s financing arrangements; the
impact of the price and availability of fuel and significant disruptions in the
supply of aircraft fuel; provisions in the Company’s credit card processing and
other commercial agreements that may affect its liquidity; the impact of union
disputes, employee strikes and other labor-related disruptions; the Company’s
inability to maintain labor costs at competitive levels; the Company’s reliance
on third party regional operators or third party service providers; the
Company’s reliance on automated systems and the impact of any failure or
disruption of these systems; the impact of changes to the Company’s business
model; competitive practices in the industry, including the impact of industry
consolidation; the loss of key personnel or the Company’s ability to attract and
retain qualified personnel; the impact of conflicts overseas or terrorist
attacks, and the impact of ongoing security concerns; changes in government
legislation and regulation; the Company’s ability to operate and grow its route
network; the impact of environmental laws and regulations; costs of ongoing data
security compliance requirements and the impact of any data security breach;
interruptions or disruptions in service at one or more of the Company’s hub
airports; the impact of any accident involving the Company’s aircraft or the
aircraft of its regional operators; delays in scheduled aircraft deliveries or
other loss of anticipated fleet capacity; the impact of weather conditions and
seasonality of airline travel; the cyclical nature of the airline industry; the
impact of possible future increases in insurance costs and disruptions to
insurance markets; the impact of global events that affect travel behavior, such
as an outbreak of a contagious disease; the impact of foreign currency exchange
rate fluctuations; the Company’s ability to use NOLs and certain other tax
attributes; and other risks and uncertainties listed from time to time in the
Company’s reports to and filings with the SEC. There may be other factors not
identified above of which the Company is not currently aware that may affect
matters discussed in the forward-looking statements, and may also cause actual
results to differ materially from those discussed. The Company assumes no
obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement to reflect actual
results, changes in assumptions or changes in other factors affecting such
estimates other than as required by law. Additional factors that may affect the
future results of the Company are set forth in the section entitled “Risk
Factors” in the Company’s Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31,
2009 and in the Company’s other filings with the SEC, which are available at
www.usairways.com.

-LCC-

US Airways Group, Inc.
Dan Cravens, 480-693-5729

Copyright Business Wire 2010

IDB gets financing for purchase of HSBC building

JERUSALEM, March 1 (Reuters) – Israel’s Property and Building (PTBL.TA) said it had signed a term sheet with Bank Leumi (LUMI.TA) for a $210 million on Monday, 10-year credit to finance its acquisition of the HSBC headquarters in Manhattan.

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Property and Building and Koor Industries (KOR.TA), both subsidiaries of Israeli holding company IDB Holding Corp (IDBH.TA), signed a deal on Oct. 4 to acquire the New York building from HSBC (HSBA.L) for $330 million.

The deal with HSBC should be finalised by mid-April, Property and Building said in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. It said it expected to sign a binding loan agreement with Leumi over the next few weeks.

Property and Building said the building would serve as collateral for the loan. Property and Building and Koor will also each put up $52.5 million in guarantees to secure the credit.

The HSBC complex at 425 Fifth Avenue and 1 West 39th Street consists of two buildings, one 29 stories high and the other 12 stories with a total of 865,000 square feet (80,000 square metres).

HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank, which reported full-year profit on Monday, will remain the main tenant in the building for 10 years with an option to extend its lease. [ID:nLDE6200IU]

IDB said it will receive $45 million in rental income in the first year while operating expenses will total $18.5 million.

Property and Building and its parent company are investors in Elad IDB Las Vegas LCC, which acquired a Las Vegas Strip site to build a $5 billion resort casino.

IDB is also the controlling shareholder in Cellcom (CEL.TA) (CEL.N), Israel’s largest mobile phone operator, and Super-Sol (SAE.TA), the country’s biggest supermarket chain. (Reporting by Joseph Nasr, Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

Human-induced land cover changes can influence regional climate

Washington, August 9(ANI): Scientists have analyzed seven different climate models to come to the conclusion that human-induced land cover changes (LCCs), such as the clearing of forests for farming, can affect climate.

To study the regional and global effects of LCC, A. J. Pitman from Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, analyzed seven different climate models.

Each model simulation was run several times, with prescribed land cover reflecting conditions in 1870 and in 1992.

The researchers found that in all models, LCC has a statistically significant regional effect on latent heat flux and near-surface temperature.

Furthermore, they found that LCC affect temperature only in the region where the land cover change took place, not in remote regions.

While all models show significant regional effects, these vary across models for several reasons arising from differences in the implementation of the LCC, different land surface models, and different ways of representing the landscape.

The researchers concluded that it is essential to include LCC in future regional and global climate studies but that it is not feasible to impose them in a common way across multiple models for the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment. (ANI)