Monday, 23 July 2018

Showing off easyJet's first A321neo

The low-cost airline easyJet took its first brand new Airbus A321neo to the Farnborough International Airshow last week, to show off the new bright bird. 

easyJet CEO Johan Lundgren was joined by UK Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling, Airbus CEO Tom Enders and President of CFM International Gaël Méheust at Farnborough to celebrate the delivery of the A321neo which - with a 235 seat configuration -  is easyJet’s largest capacity aircraft now in its fleet. The aircraft was flown into the airshow by an all-female flight crew.

 Just over a year ago easyJet announced an agreement with Airbus to convert 30 existing A320neo orders to the A321neo aircraft with a 235-seat configuration, part of the existing easyJet Airbus agreement dating from 2013.  

The first easyJet A321neo is based at London Gatwick Airport and will fly to popular destinations such as Malaga, Alicante and Palma. The aircraft has around 30% more seats on board compared to an A320 and 50% when replacing an A319.

Johan Lundgren, easyJet’s CEO said, “We are delighted to mark the delivery of our first A321neo aircraft today. This larger aircraft will enable us deliver our strategy of securing and growing our number one positions at Europe’s leading and slot-constrained airports.  It will also provide easyJet with the lowest operating costs in the single-aisle aircraft category with unit cost savings which are estimated to be up to 9% better than an A320neo and around 21% better than an A319.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Volaris release its second quarter figures

Volaris, the ultra-low-cost airline serving Mexico, the United States and Central America, today announced its financial results for the second quarter 2018.

Newcastle - Auckland and Hobart - Perth more new routes for Virgin Australia

A new Virgin Australia service between Newcastle and Auckland will be launched on 22nd November the airline has confirmed.  The route will be served by a Boeing 737-800 and will be operated on Tuesday's, Thursday's and Sunday's. 

The flight VA199 will depart Newcastle at 1930 arriving in Auckland, New Zealand at 0025,  VA198 Departs Auckland at 1710 to arrive Newcastle at 1845.  

The city pair hasn't been served directly for 16 years and the route launch announcement was attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack MP.  He said, Newcastle Airport is a major gateway into New South Wales and now plays an important role in global connectivity by facilitating travel and tourism opportunities between Australia and New Zealand.

The Finnair Study - on reducing CO2

Finnair study: Finns want to reduce the CO2 impact of flying, prefer direct measures such as biofuels and carbon captures
Finnair conducted a consumer research study during summer 2018 to find out what Finns think of the different ways to reduce or compensate emissions resulting from aviation. According to the study’s results, the majority of Finns are ready to pay to reduce the emissions caused by air travel, but want the proceeds from possible additional charges to go directly to environmental work. Responsible travel is thus increasingly important for Finnish travellers.

BlugaXL's first flight.

The new massive transport aircraft from Airbus has taken to the skies for the first time last week and was a massive success.

The BelugaXL's first flight lasted four hours and eleven minutes and was under the control Captain Christophe Cail, Co-Pilot Bernardo Saez-Benito Hernandez and Test-Flight Engineer Jean Michel Pin. Meanwhile, monitoring the aircraft systems and performance in real-time at the flight-test engineers (FTE) station were Laurent Lapierre and Philippe Foucault.

Following the first flight, the BelugaXL will undergo some 600 hours of flight test over 10 months to achieve Type Certification and entry into service later in 2019.

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Caught on video the crash of a C47 aircraft in Texas

The thirteen passengers have a lucky escape on Saturday morning when the historic C-47 twin-engined aircraft they were on crashed on take off.

The World War II era C-47 Dakota was called the "Bluebonnet Belle" and crashed at the Burnet Municipal Airport in Texas as it was trying to take off and just about made it into the air before lurching to the side where one wing struck the ground. 

According to local media, all 13 passengers on-board at the time were able to vacate the aircraft, however, eight people were injured, seven with minor injuries and one person needed to be airlifted to hospital after suffering significant burns.  

The aircraft caught fire after the crash which also set alight to some of the grass, which was extinguished by the airport's fire service. According to media reports, the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the cause of the crash along with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Video below

Pilot strike action causes Royal Air Maroc to cancel dozens of flights

Industrial action by disgruntled pilots at the Moroccan national airline Royal Air Maroc causes the airline to cancel over a dozen flights over the last two days.

The airline cancelled ten flights on Friday, four on Saturday, and so far four have been axed on Sunday with more short notice disruption to schedules likely, as the industrial relations worsen. The airline and its pilots have been negotiating for months over a whole raft of issues, but things are not going well. A "heavy social climate" exists in the airline according to the pilots association, adding that it was "exacerbated by 20 months of sterile social dialogue."

The airline says 'Social Tensions' are causing the disruption and that strike action "will have a devastating effect" on the carrier and the association had an "absence of willingness to see the company's development."

Could the A320neo become a military surveillance aircraft?

Airbus is considering its best-selling jetliner for military use.

Having made its mark in the commercial airline sector, the A320neo is now being considered by Airbus for new applications: as a highly-capable and cost-effective platform for ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) duties and as a military transport.

The variant – designated A320M3A – would be designed to fulfil a range of ISR roles, particularly maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare. It also can be outfitted with modular roll-on/roll-off payloads for airlift missions ranging from carrying passengers, troops and VIPs to medical evacuation (medevac) and transporting cargo.

Airbus’ consideration of the A320M3A is in response to market demand, spurred by the growing use of more capable ISR systems – which require physically larger host platforms with increased electrical power and more efficient cooling systems than previously were the case for C4ISR aircraft.  

Did you see the story of the woman planning to sue American Airlines after not being allowed to fly on a free ticket.

One mile at a time site is sharing an incredible rant from a woman who was denied boarding on an American Airlines flight due to her tatty, scruffy jeans and then has a rant on Facebook live for over half an hour about it.  It is quite some watch, ranting and swearing all the time, leaving her crying child who is clearly distressed and embarrassed by her mother's attitude. She's travelling on a free ticket by the way, which makes her outburst and rudeness even more surprising.  See for yourself the story on One Mile at a Time. It is a disgraceful way to behave when travelling on a free or reduced ticket, to be honest, it's not a nice way to behave even if you're on a full fare ticket. In the video rant, she says several times that her daughter is starving and crying, yet she doesn't do anything to comfort her child, nor take her to get some food, despite being only a few metres away from restaurants in the terminal, which some may say is child neglect. Yet, in another video, she's seen and proudly boasts about stealing sodas and snacks! 

HiFly's colourful entry into A380 operations

This is perhaps a bright new era for the double-decker Airbus A380 jet aircraft as the first 'second hand' example starts its operational life with a new operator.
Hi Fly's first A380 formerly flew with Singapore Airlines  Photo Hi Fly

Hi fly, is the European wide-body wet lease specialists, flying an all-Airbus fleet and are now the new operators of an Airbus A380 that previously flew with Singapore Airlines for 10 years.  It is the first of the type to enter 'second hand' service and makes the start of a new era for Airbus and the A380 programme. 

The whole Airbus A380 programme is relatively young, the first of the type entered into in October 2007, so when MSN006 finished its lease with Singapore Airlines, the leasing company looked toward Airbus for support in finding a new operator.  “From the beginning, we knew it would be good for us to help build a market for second-hand aircraft,” said Catherine Bras, Airbus’ A380 business development platform leader. “We think this is a great opportunity to show what the aircraft can do. There may be some airlines that were hesitant to commit long-term who can now try out an A380 and see what it can do for them. This could help create new routes and expand the market base.”

Sunwing adding new winter flights

Sunwing Airlines has recently announced a number of new services in recent days.

From December 18, 2018, until April 16, 2019, the airline will run a service from Montreal to Mazatlan, Mexico, The weekly flight will take place on Tuesdays on a Boeing 737.  Leaving at 0730 the flight will arrive at 1145 and on the return, it will depart Mazatlan at 1240 landing back into Montreal at 1940.

Mazatlan is often called the Pearl of the Pacific, popular with tourists for its serene lagoons and stretches of sandy beach, with the Golden Zone home to world-class resorts.

The holiday airline is also starting a service from Quebec City this coming winter to Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, running from Monday 17th  December to 15th April 2019.  “With the announcement of Puerto Vallarta as a new destination, Sunwing is further diversifying its flight offering from Quebec City's Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB) with an exciting option for passengers in the Greater Québec City area." Said, Mathieu Claise, Director, Government and Public Affairs of YQB.

More French flights for Emirates

The Dubai based Emirates has announced that it will introduce two additional flights to Lyon and one to Paris per week, to complement the carriers existing schedule.  

The increase in frequency from five to seven between Dubai and Lyon will make the route a daily service, while the extra flight to Paris takes the number of flights to the French capital to 21 a week.  

The Lyon flights will start on 2 August 2018, and will operate on a Tuesday and Thursday at the same time as the current flights, which depart Dubai as EK081 at 1435hrs and arrive in Lyon at 1930hrs. The return flight, EK082, leaves Lyon at 2155hrs and arrives in Dubai at 0615hrs the next day. Both flights will be operated by an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER in a three-class cabin configuration, with eight private suites in First Class, 42 lie-flat seats in Business Class and 304 spacious seats in Economy Class.

The additional Paris flight will start on 7th August 2018, and will operate as the third daily every Tuesday morning. Flight EK071 will depart Dubai at 0405hrs and arrive in Paris at 0925hrs, while the return flight leaves Paris at 1125hrs and arrives back in Dubai at 2000hrs.

As with Emirates other flights between Dubai and Paris, the airline’s flagship A380 will be used on the route. It will also have three-class cabin configuration, with 14 privates suites in First Class, 76 lie flat seats in Business Class and 429 seats in Economy Class.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Hainan Airlines signs deal with BBC for inflight content.

Hainan Airlines and BBC Global News today signed a major new deal at a special signing ceremony at the BBC's headquarters in London to celebrate their partnership.

Yufei Wang, Vice President, Branding, Hainan Airlines and Jim Egan, CEO, BBC Global News, spoke about the significance of this strategic commercial partnership which will see BBC StoryWorks, the award-winning content marketing division of BBC Global News, produce digital and video content for Hainan Airlines to mark the launch of its new route and the beauty of its destinations. 

Jim Egan said: "We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with such a prestigious Chinese brand as Hainan Airlines. We look forward to working closely with them, developing and delivering a range of creative content that will bring their brand and services to life for our global audience."

Dutch aviation tax public consultation starts

Flying to or via Amsterdam could become more expensive if the Netherland's government proposal to introduce an aviation tax on passengers, comes to fruition.  A public consultation has been launched according to local media.  

If the government goes ahead with the proposal, from 2021 passengers would have to fork out an additional €3.80 / $4.40 / £3.40  per passenger on European routes and €22.00 / $25.75 / £19.67 per person for those on intercontinental flights.  The government says the new tax would make an average additional €200 million a year, which could be used for various things including the environment. 

Whilst the government is keen for the levy to be introduced, opposition to it is strong from many from the aviation industry.  The Royal Schiphol Group - the company that runs the main airports of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Eindhoven along with the national carrier, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines insist the tax would have a detrimental effect on air traffic as well as the economy in general. The International Air Transport Association, European Regional Airlines Association and Airlines for Europe have all publically expressed opposition to the tax being introduced. 

easyJet's A321neo in service schedule

easyJet released its schedule for operations for its new Airbus A321neo aircraft this week for scheduled services between 1st August to 27 October 2018.

Here's the provisional schedule for the A321neo operations services, however, expect changes, some at short notice.

London Gatwick – Agadir  7th Aug – 11th Sep  1 x week
London Gatwick – Alicante  from  1st Aug  3 x week
London Gatwick – Athens  from 3rd Aug 1 x week (2 x week from 3rd Sept)
London Gatwick – Faro  6th Aug  – 27th Aug  1 x week
London Gatwick – Fuerteventura  6th Aug – 27th Aug 1 x week
London Gatwick – Gran Canaria  from 1st Oct  1 x week
London Gatwick – Kefallinia  from 1st Aug    1 x week (possible increase to 3 x week)
London Gatwick – Lisbon  from 5th Aug  1 x week
London Gatwick – Malaga  2nd Aug  – 27th Oct 3 x week  (1 x week from 26 Sep)
London Gatwick – Malta  from 3rd Oct 1 x week
London Gatwick – Tenerife South  from 2nd Oct  1 x week
London Gatwick – Vienna  from 3 Sep 2 x week
London Gatwick – Zakynthos  5th Aug  – 16th Sep 1 x week

easyJet has configured the new Airbus A321neo's with 235 seats in a single class cabin and recently showed off the new arrival at the Farnborough International Airshow.  

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