Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hawaiian Airlines Finalizes A330-800neo Order

By Jack Harty / Published December 18, 2014

Hawaiian Airlines will become the first U.S. airline to operate the Airbus A330-800neo_HawaiianA330-800neo as it finalized a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Airbus for six A330-800neo aircraft.

The carrier signed the MOU–which would make it the U.S. launch customer–with Airbus after the A330neo program was launched at the Farnborough Air Show which put the A350-800 XWB’s future in doubt as Hawaiian canceled its A350-800 order for the A330neo.

EXTRA: Hawaiian Air Cancels A350-800, Converts to A330-800neo; Analysis

At the start of Farnborough, Airbus had 34 orders for the -800 which was down from 120 orders; over time, carriers switched their orders to the -900 variant. During an interview at Farnborough, Airbus’ CEO, Fabrice Bregier, all but confirmed the demise of the A350-800, but he did note that Airbus would keep the A350-800 on offer so long as orders remained. 

EXTRA: Report: The Launch of the A330neo Hastens the Demise of the A350-800

However, Hawaiian’s MOU with Airbus for the six A330neos was its replacement for the A350 orders it placed. For Hawaiian, it would be easier to introduce the A330neo aircraft into its fleet as it already operates 19 A330-200 aircraft and has six A321neo aircraft on order.

“The A330-800neo is an aircraft which meets all of our needs,” said Mark Dunkerley, President and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines. “It is the right size, with the right range and costs, and shares much commonality with our A330-200 fleet. Our customers and crew love the aircraft and we are thrilled that it will continue to be Hawaiian’s widebody mainstay for far into the future.”

“Working with Hawaiian Airlines is a unique pleasure because their team is truly visionary when it comes to choosing aircraft,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “The A330-800neo is perfectly suited to Hawaiian’s unique route structure, offering a great balance of range and capacity that will allow the airline to expand its reach to new audiences.”

There are still a few carriers such as Aeroflot and Asiana who have the A350-800 XWB on order. It’s not clear whether they will keep the -800 on order, switch to the -900 or order the A330neo. Only time will tell as the number of A350-800 orders continue to decrease.

Hawaiian’s finalized order comes about a month after Delta announced an order for 25 A330-900neo and 25 A350-900 XWB aircraft. Delta plans to utilize the A330-900neo aircraft on its Transatlantic network while Hawaiian will use them to strengthen its Pacific network.

EXTRA: ANALYSIS: Delta Order for A350; A330neo Hinged on Pricing, Availability

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Contact the author at Jack.Harty@AirwaysNews.com.

 

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Star Alliance’s CEO Provides an Update

By Benét J. Wilson / Published December 18th, 2014

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ohit Nandan, CMD of Star Alliance’s newest member airline, Air India (left); Calin Rovinescu, CEO of Air Canada and Chairman of the Star Alliance Chef Executive Board (CEB) and Star Alliance CEO Mark Schwab during a press conference in New Delhi, India, on the occasion of a Star Alliance CEB meeting.

DELHI, India – Building on Air India’s resources and network, fixing a gap in South America and co-locating members are among the topics discussed by Star Alliance CEO Mark Schwab at the group’s annual CEB meeting here December 17.

The admittance of Air India into the Star Alliance gave members instant access to the world’s fifth-largest aviation market and one that is growing at a very fast pace, said Schwab. “For the Star Alliance, Air India fills a gap in our network that will let members serve this growing region,” he said. “We had member carriers serving India, but we needed an Indian partner. That network now has access to 94 airports and 3212weekly departures from India.”

The Star Alliance has more than 200 million frequent flyers around the world, and  adding Air India gives them more opportunity to earn and use miles, said Schwab. “And we continue to work on infrastructure projects that enhance our offerings to customers,” he said. “For example, we now have a live interchange of frequent flyer miles between carriers. Before, members used to send that data after the fact.”

The Star Alliance has been working to fix the gap left in its network after Brazil’s TAM left, said Schwab. “On December 15, we added destinations on a different geography. A subsidiary of Avianca brought in service to Ecuador, which makes more flights available on the West Coast of South America,” he said. TAM left tojoin the oneworld alliance.

A year ago at its Vienna meeting, the Star Alliance announced it would be integrating Avianca Brazil, a sister company of Avianca Holdings, said Schwab. “We are well into the integration with Avianca Brazil, and will give an exact joining day soon,” he said. “TAM leaving left a gap,so we need a second carrier to replace TAM.  We are in talks to do this, but it would be premature to name that carrier until the deal is resolved.”

Answering a question about space for Star Alliance carriers at Delhi’s Indira Ghandi International Airport, Schwab said that in general, he talks to airports early in the design process and beyond so they can co-locate member carriers. “Co-locating facilities helps with coordination among members and offers a better passenger experience,” he said. “The work we did at the London Heathrow Queen’s Terminal is  based on that.”

But there are no active discussions to relocate Star Alliance carriers in Delhi, said Schwab. “Instead, we’re focusing on enhancing the connection experience from domestic to international and international to domestic flights,” he said.

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Contact the editor at genet.wilson@airwaysnews.com.

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Etihad Airways Showcases First 787 and A380 Abu Dhabi

By Jack Harty / Published December 18, 2014

This story will be updated later today with cabin pictures from the event.

Earlier today, Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, opened up its first Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 to the media in Abu Dhabi,Etihad - A380 marking the first time the carrier showcased the aircraft’s cabin.

The event was also a celebration of a busy and successful year. Etihad Airways continued to expand its reach; took delivery of its first A380 and 787; introduced new cabin interiors; unveiled the new ‘Facets of Abu Dhabi’ livery; and introduced new uniforms.

Earlier this year, Etihad revealed its initial interior and route plans for the A380 and 787, but the A380 stole the show as it will have the only three-room suite in the sky known as the Residence by Etihad™.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “As we have done so many times in our short history, we are reshaping the landscape of modern air travel in our own way.” Additionally, he went on to say that “today is the culmination of many years of hard work and tremendous endeavor by hundreds of people both in our airline and outside.” He also went on to say that “with the launch of these aircraft, we usher in a new era of unparalleled luxury, comfort and service. These innovations represent our vision for the future.”

Etihad’s A380

Etihad has ordered 10 Airbus A380s. It received its first one earlier this year; it will receive one later this year, four in 2015, three in 2016, and two in 2017. The airline will fly its inaugural A380 flight on December 27, 2014 between Abu Dhabi and London. In May, the carrier also said that it hopes to eventually fly the A380 to New York JFK and Sydney.

EXTRA: Etihad Unveils New Livery on First A380

The A380 will have a capacity for 498 passengers in three seating classes, and the carrier will offer one of the most unique A380 experiences: the ultra-luxurious Residence by Etihad™.

There will be two VIP suites (which can accommodate up to twp passengers in each cabin) in The Residence located at the front of the upper deck. The suites are a 125 square foot, three room, private cabin for the VIPS. It comes with a butler, a lounge room, large 32 inch LCD TV, two dining tables, a double bed, and a private shower (can only be used for a four minute shower). Plus, The Residence will cater to the individual tastes of every VIP traveler.

The Residence

Etihad Airways will also offer First Apartments. They will have an area of 39 square feet equipped with a 30.3 inch reclining lounge chair, a separate ottoman which converts into an 80.5 inch long and 26 inch wide fully flat bed, a chilled mini-bar, a vanity with mirrors for make-up and stocked with luxury branded amenities, and a personal wardrobe.

The A380 will have 70 Business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. They have been newly designed for the A380 and 787. They allow customers to work, play and rest. They boast a 22 inch wide seat and separate ottoman which form a lie-flat bed up to 80.5 inches long together, a sturdy 16″ x 18″ dining table, and a full height screen between the seats for privacy.

The A380 will have 416 economy seats. The seats are known as Economy Smart Seats which boast a ‘fixed wing’ headrest, a 19 inch wide seat, a 32 inch seat pitch, a 6 inch recline, in-seat entertainment, and a pillow and blanket.

Boeing 787-9

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Photo by JDL Multimedia

Etihad Airways will begin daily Boeing 787-9 service between Abu Dhabi and Dusseldorf from February 7. Later on, the carrier plans to launch 787 flights to Mumbai and Washington Dulles.

EXTRA: Etihad Unveils First Boeing 787

The first five Boeing 787s will carry 235 passengers in three classes (8 First, 28 Business, and 199 Economy). The airline will also fly a 787 configured in a two class cabin. The two-class 787s will not have First Class suites; instead, they will boast a larger Business Class cabin.

Etihad’s eight Boeing 787 First Class suites will be in a 1-2-1 configuration. They offer a chilled mini-bar, complete privacy, a 26 inch wide lounge chair that converts to a comfortable 80.5-inch long fully-flat bed, an in-seat massage, a 23″ x 20″ dining table, and a personal wardrobe.

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The 28 Business class seats (“Business Studios”) will be in a 1-2-1 configuration. They have been newly designed for the A380 and 787. They allow customers to work, play and rest. They boast a 22 inch wide seat and separate ottoman which form a lie-flat bed up to 80.5 inches long together, a sturdy 16″ x 18″ dining table, and a full height screen between the seats for privacy.

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The 787 will have 199 Economy Smart Seats which boast a ‘fixed wing’ headrest, a 17.2 inch wide seat, a 31-33 inch seat pitch, a 6 inch recline, in-seat entertainment, and a pillow and blanket.

The airlines popular Flying Nanny service will also be offered to passengers on long-haul flights. Plus, the airline will have prayer areas which can be curtained off.

Uniforms:

At the A380 and 787 cabin unveiling event, Etihad also held a fashion show to unveil its new cabin crew uniforms which incorporate the same colors used for the cabin interior and new aircraft livery. The new uniforms mark the first major uniform re-launch since the airline’s formation in 2003.

The new uniforms were created by Italian Haute Couturier Ettore Bilotta Etihad - Fashion - 2at his atelier in Milan. In a press release, the airlines says “the new uniform exudes a classic elegance seldom seen in the aisles of modern airliners, and cleverly merges dramatic elements of old world haute couture from 1960s Paris and Rome, with the more contemporary fashions evident on the runways of London, New York, Milan and Tokyo.”

Ettore Bilotta said: “Since the launch of Etihad in 2003, I have come to know the airline, its teams and management, very intimately, and have developed a style which has evolved as the airline has grown. For me it has essentially been about dressing a brand and an ethos.”

Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial Officer of Etihad Airways said: “Ettore, working with our teams, has once again delivered a new uniform which will showcase our brand with characteristic flair at every city on our ever-growing network. Baumgartner went on to say: “The world has been paying very close attention to us this year and our new collection will not disappoint. It is the embodiment of the Etihad Airways brand, service ethos and unshakeable commitment to excellence, marking our arrival as a leader of sophisticated flying.”

“This is not just a uniform. This is pret-a-porter concept – a future lifestyle statement and homage to the golden age of glamorous flight. It is about bringing back classic elegance, allure and richness to our men and women in a style which will become their signature look. No matter where you are in the world, you will know this is Etihad,” Aubrey Tiedt, Vice President Guest Services at Etihad Airways said.

The new uniforms are made from 100% Italian wool while featuring an intricate jacquard design and were made in various locations across Italy, with additional manufacturing taking place in Shanghai, Tunis and Bucharest by a dedicated team which totalled approximately 400 staff.

In a press release, the carrier explains some of its color choices and uniforms:

  • A warm chocolate brown has been chosen as the base color for the different uniform variations, with a deep purple accent color for cabin crew and lounge teams, and a burnt orange accent colour for ground crews and Special Services teams. Bilotta has also taken the unusual step of breaking up the main primary shades by introducing all the secondary colours as accents on blouses and accessories.

  • Female cabin crew, ground and lounge teams will wear a skirt suit, Etihad - Fashion - 5accessorized with fitted gloves, belt, hat and scarf. Hats worn by the crew are now more aerodynamic and ‘retro’, inspired by the iconic stars of the Hollywood Silver Screen and the sweeping formations of the Emirati desert sand dunes. The new style is classic and enduring, reminiscent of the much-admired designer collections of airline crews in the heyday of international air travel.

  • Male cabin crew will wear a three-piece suit, while male ground Etihad - Fashion - 3crew will wear a two-piece suit. Accessories will also include belts and gloves. Male lounge agents will wear new Food & Beverage uniforms in line with those worn by the onboard Food & Beverage Managers. A classic trench coat adds a sense of catwalk drama to all the variations of the uniform and can be worn in all types of weather. The light-weight coat is versatile and foldable, reducing cost and allowing easy carriage.

  • All gloves, scarves and neckties feature intricate geometric patterns Etihad - Fashion - 6and fretwork. The same level of detail is also evident on matching accessories such as new slim-line handbags, which have been made to the dimensions of a tablet device.

  • For Etihad Airways’ acclaimed Butlers, the airline has combined historic British butler attire with new world design to reflect Etihad Airways’ modern and globally recognised style. The fabric colours used for this uniform are warm brown for the long-tailed jackets and ties, ivory for the trousers and waistcoats and white for the shirt and gloves. The tones used reflect some of the subtle colours evident in The Residence by Etihad, and also the airline’s new ‘Facets of Abu Dhabi’ corporate livery.

The new uniforms will be introduced system-wide from December 27.

Following today’s events in Abu Dhabi, the A380 and Boeing 787 aircraft will continue test operations before starting commercial flights. 

This story will be updated later today with cabin pictures from the event.

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Contact the author at Jack.Harty@AirwaysNews.com.

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The Airbus A350 XWB: A Timeline

By AirwaysNews.com Staff / Published December 18, 2014

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Image courtesy of Airbus

With the first Airbus A350 XWB Extra Wide Body scheduled to be delivered to launch customer Qatar Airways on Monday, December 22, AirwaysNews decided to take a look at the history of the program, which officially launched with production go ahead on December 1, 2006, with the first flight on June 14, 2013.

EXTRA: See our Airbus A350 timeline from the beginning here.

The A350 XWB was seen as a response to both the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the 777. The aircraft’s use of advanced durable, lightweight, and low-maintenance materials such as carbon-fiber reinforced plastic, advanced aluminum, and titanium comprise more than 70 percent of the aircraft. Airbus claims the lighter weight fuselage and wings, coupled with the new, more-efficient Rolls Royce Trent engines not only makes it 25 percent more fuel efficient then aircraft it is due to replace, but is substantially quieter as well (up to 14 db below ICAO Chapter 4 regulations).

EXTRA: The Airbus A350 XWB: Being There At The Maiden Flight

The manufacturer initially planned for three models in the family: 423130_415322555150701_1565671891_nthe A350-800, -900, and -1000, which seat between 270 and 350 passengers in typical three-class layouts with maximum range between 8,480 and 10,300 nautical miles. The A350 family has already secured 778 firm orders from 41 customers worldwide including additional industry luminaries Air France/KLM, US Airways, Hawaiian, Emirates, Ethiad, Aeroflot, Air Lingus, TAM, Singapore Airlines, and Thai. Though Hawaiian switched their 6 orders from the virtually cancelled A350-800 to the A330 neo earlier this week.

The airplane received its first orders in 2007, first from Finnair, then launch customer Qatar, followed by Singapore, LATAM, and USAirways.

In comparison to the larger Airbus A380 and its rival, the Boeing 787, the A350 has had a relatively smooth development phase. The European company didn’t subcontract and outsource the production process quite to the extent that Boeing did with the 787.

The final assembly of MSN-1, the A350 prototype began on 424997_399603156722641_1189561605_nApril 5, 2012. On February 7, 2013, the European Aviation Safety Agency certified the A350’s Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. Less than three weeks later, the first A350 rolled out of the final assembly line on February 26, 2013.

EXTRA: Full Airbus A350 Maiden Flight and Airbus Delivery Center Gallery

By March 26, 2013 Airbus announced the auxiliary power unit (APU) and Trent engines had 526494_607852802564341_1820961581_nbeen installed on MSN-1. April bought two major order announcements: a new A350 customer from British Airways’ parent International Air Group and additional aircraft from Singapore Airlines. After a flurry of production news in the months before, Airbus went into “radio silence” about the MSN-1’s final assembly.

As the 2013 Paris Air Show approached, things began to heat up, when A350_XWB_out_of_paint_shot_with_teamMSN1, rolled out from the paint shop on May 13. But Airbus eschewed a splashy rollout and didn’t notify the press about the milestone event. French network TV 3 captured fuzzy video of the aircraft, then Airbus released pictures later that day of the aircraft painted in a relatively subdued house livery surrounded by employees.

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Photo by Chris Sloan

By foregoing the traditional rollout event, the media frenzy went into overdrive that Airbus would attempt to fly the aircraft for the first time just before the Paris Air Show, to permit a fly-over at the world’s premiere aviation event. Pictures of the A350 XWB logo emblazoned on the under-belly of the aircraft only added fuel to the fire of speculation. This would mean the aircraft would embark on its first flight and the test program just one month after roll out. By comparison, the 777 took two months to go from roll out to first flight; the A380 took three and a half months and the Boeing 787 took nearly two and a half years.

EXTRA: Airbus Gives Major A350 XWB Program Update: Rival 777X In The Crosshairs

Despite constant comments by Airbus executives that a “Paris Air Show fly over would be nice but not necessary,” that “the plane will fly when it is ready to fly”, and vague statements that “the first flight will come sometime in the summer,” it was clear Airbus was aiming to steal some of the thunder from Boeing’s once-again airborne Dreamliner.

On June 2, Airbus reported that the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-84 engines were run for the first time on MSN1 following the start-up of the APU as part of the preparations for the aircraft’s maiden flight. Two days later, the aircraft was photographed moving under its own power, with high speed ground tests captured a day later. On June 11, Airbus reported that the initial ground taxi tests were complete, and that the A350 would take to the skies for the first time on June 14 at 10:00 a.m. Toulouse time.

EXTRA: The Airbus A350 XWB: Being There At The Maiden Flight

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The first A350 XWB takeoff on its maiden flight. Photo by Chris Sloan

At 9:15 a.m. on June 14, the media were transported via buses to a large field parallel to runway 14R/32L where the A350 would make its maiden take-off.  After the first flight, A350 Test Pilot Frank Chapman noted that “though this is an incredible moment, it is only the first hour of a year-long, 2,500 hour, five flight test campaign…The cockpit and many other aircraft systems are much further ahead than the A380 was on its first flight.”

Didier Evrard, the EVP and Head of the A350 Program offered a briefing after the four hour and five minute flight. “This (first flight) is one event, a very significant event, but the program is a fast moving body and this is just the first step,” he said. “Our next challenges are maturity at EIS and production ramp-up. The A380 program has been rich in lessons for this program and has led to us to deeply rework our practices.” Exactly one week after MSN-1’s first flight, the aircraft made a historic pass over the Paris Air Show as part of its third test flight.

Progress Since the A350 First Flight

In October 2013, Airbus invited from around the world to provide an update on the background of the A350, new market developments, and how they believe their new aircraft stacks up to the competition.

EXTRA: Second Airbus A350 Airplane Takes to the Skies as Program Sales Continue to Soar

Airbus’ Evrard said that so far between MSN001 and MSN003, the second test aircraft, the A350 has performed more than 80 test flights with 403 flight hours logged. “It’s not a sprint, it’s a really long lasting race. You need to make sure that the whole chain is strong enough to deliver this new phase,” he said.

Hugues Van Der Stichel, Experimental test pilot, VP Flight Test Regulation offered a list of key achievements logged by the A350 so far:

  • Aero clean and landing configurations are completed;
  • Settings for the air brakes are completed;
  • The flight envelope has been opened;
  • The A350 is now cleared in normal law up to FL430;
  • System tests including failure cases and a RAT (ram air turbine) in-flight extension have been completed;
  • Auto-flight is functional, and the first autoland was performed on F4; and
  • Landing gear free falls have been performed.

MSN001 and 003 were already in the air, and the plan is to get MSN002 and 004 in the air by February 2014. Qatar Airways will be receiving MSN006, whose first flight was scheduled for December 2013.

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Photo by JDL Multimedia

MSN002 has progressed to be the first cabin-fitted aircraft, with window panels, cabin crew rest compartment, an aft galley, and “hat racks.” Cabin “0,” which is used for virtual flight testing is located in Hamburg, Germany, is also giving airbus a feel for how a real A350 will perform while in service. First “flight” was on July 25th, 2013, simulating from Tenerife to Finkenwerder with two pilots, eight flight attendants, and 129 passengers for a five-hour flight.

In terms of the in-flight product, four customization definition freezes have been declared since 2011, meaning four airlines have chosen the layout of their aircraft; what is inside the cabin. The A350 programme started with a handful of options, such as the Panasonic eX3 IFE system and Recaro CL3620 seats, but has evolved from 2011 to present. Systems such as the Panasonic eXlite and Thales TopSeries Avant are now available for section, as are a variety of bars, sets, and other options such as floor path marking.

EXTRA: Press Fly on A350 XWB

Airbus is also investing for increased flexibility to manufacture the 350, adding and reconfiguring assembly bays. Currently Airbus is at a production rate of one per month, upping the rate to three per month by the end of 2014, just after a planned entry-into-service. It also outlined plans to increase production facilities as it aims for 10 aircraft a month within four years of entering service in the 2017-18 timeframe.

Qatar Airways Comes to Toulouse

On February 14, 2014, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker visited Launch-customer-Qatar-Airways-Chief-Executive-Officer-Akbar-Al-Baker-far-left-is-welcomed-by-Airbus-Chief-Operating-Officer-Fabrice-Bregier-centre-and-staff-at-the-A350-hangar-in-Toulouse-France.Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France, to get an update on the A350 XWB testing program. At the time, the manufacturer took a moment to unveil a special Airbus and Qatar Airways hybrid livery for test aircraft MSN4. The aircraft was branded with “launch customer” titles and sported a modified Oryx Qatar Logo.

EXTRA: Airbus Reveals Hybrid Airbus/Qatar Livery as A350 XWB Testing Progresses

MSN4 joined the A350 flight test fleet for external noise and lightning tests, avionics development and certification and training for first customer pilots and maintenance teams. It was rolled out soon after MSN3 had completed cold weather testing in Iqaluit, Canada. Since A350 flight testing began in June 2013, more than 900 flight test hours have been performed across 200 test flights.

During the 2014 Farnborough Air Show, Airbus announced that it would offer an Airbus A330neo. With this announcement, the future appeared bleak for the Airbus A350-800 which would be the smallest member of the A350 XWB family. At the time, there were only 34 orders for the -800, down from 120. Many carriers switched their commitment to the -900. As far as the 34 orders were concerned, Airbus’ CEO, Fabrice Bregier, all but confirmed the demise of the A350-800, but he did note that Airbus would keep the A350-800 on offer so long as orders remained.

EXTRA: Report: The Launch of the A330neo Hastens the Demise of the A350-800

Qatar Airways is the launch customer of the A350 XWB, with entry into

A350_XWB_route_proving_trip_4_landing_02service (EIS) at the time was scheduled for later in 2014. The airline has 80 A350 family aircraft on order, including 43 smaller A350-900s and 37 larger A350-1000s. These aircraft, along with outstanding orders for 10 Airbus A380s, 26 Boeing 777-300ERs, 36 Airbus A320neos, 14 Airbus A321neos, and 21 Boeing 787-8s, will be used to fuel Qatar Airways’ massive growth ambitions.

The Qatari national carrier has a massive new home at Hamad International Airport in Doha in May, and has launched new routes around the globe, including service to Miami, Dallas/Fort Worth and Philadelphia.

“I am pleased with what I have seen during my visit. It gives me every confidence that the programme is well on track for our first delivery in 2014,” said Al Baker. “At Qatar Airways, we are eager to open a new chapter of efficient and comfortable air travel and the A350 XWB will do this for us.  The aircraft will give us that extra edge in economics and comfort to further boost our route expansion.”

The pace on the FAL quickened as Airbus began to reach for its goal of 10 aircraft (currently at 1 per month) produced per month with Vietnam Airways’ first A350 entering production on October 1, 2014 followed by Finnair’s first on December 9th.

The A350-900 XWB received EASA certification on September 30, 2014 followed by ETOPS 370  minute certification on October 15, 2014. Just a day later on October 16, Qatar’s first A350 MSN-006 made its first flight. FAA certification came on November 13, 2014.

On December 4, the launch customer for the A350 announced it would take delivery of the first Airbus A350 XWB at the manufacturer’s plant in Toulouse, France, on December 13, with a media event scheduled for December 15 in Doha. But suddenly on December 10, Airbus released a statement saying there would be a delay, with no rescheduling date or reason given.

EXTRA: First Airbus A350-900 XWB Delivery Delayed Until Further Notice

The carrier had planned to start using the A350 on its Doha-Frankfurt route starting in January 2015. “The delivery of our first A350 XWB aircraft, as global launch customer, is a highly anticipated event in the relatively young history of Qatar Airways and the second significant fleet milestone for our airline, having recently taken delivery of our A380 aircraft,” said Al Baker in a statement at the time.

EXTRA: Airbus: 2014 Delivery of A350 to Qatar Airways Still Possible

But the first A350 will still be delivered to Qatar Airways before the end of 2014. A few days after Airbus announced that the delivery was postponed, the manufacturer announced that delivery would now take place on December 22.

To date, Airbus has received a total of 778 orders minus the 6 from Hawaiian for Airbus A350 XWB family aircraft. Currently, there are 26 orders for the A350-800 variant. There are 577 orders for the A350-900 and 169 orders for the A350-1000.

LINK TO A350 XWB CURRENT PRESS KIT

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Contact the editor at benet.wilson@airwaysnews.com

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Etihad Kicks Off Service to DFW

By Austin Speaker / Published December 17, 2014

Artists offered henna body art applications in front of a distinctively Middle Eastern backdrop

Etihad Airways launched service to its sixth US destination–Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas,– from Abu Dhabi on December 3.  The flight currently operates three times weekly (Sunday, Wednesday, Friday) using a 777-200LR, and it will begin daily service in April 2015.  Arriving passengers will have the advantage of US Customs Pre-clearance, bypassing customs at DFW and allowing their baggage to be checked through to their final destination.

In order to kick off the new service, Etihad hosted a launch party at the Hall of State at Fair Park—a building which celebrates Texas’s history and culture.  Models of the first and business class seats on various aircraft types were on hand to allow guests to experience the onboard product. Most of the models were for the two newest aircraft types—the A380 and 787—neither of which will be used to serve DFW.  Notably absent was the model of The Residence—the only three-room suite in the sky.  Catering featured many of the products available onboard, and music featured Italian trio Il Volo.

The First Apartment aboard Emirates' A380 fleet

The First Apartment aboard Emirates’ A380 fleet

EXTRA: Etihad Airways Reveals its A380 and 787 Routes and Interiors

President and CEO James Hogan was on hand to offer Texans a resounding “Howdy,” Italian trio Il Volo performed at the launch eventand His Excellency Abdulla Alsaboosi, the UAE’s Consul General for Los Angeles, spoke about the vital economic connections between Texas and the UAE, particularly for the energy and tourism industries.  Alsaboosi even highlighted the service being offered by Etihad’s biggest competitor, Dubai-based Emirates.

DFW has received a great deal of attention from the Middle East Big 3 carriers this year.  Qatar Airways The Hall of State was filled with guests from Etihad, American Airlines, and a variety of other partnersbegan daily service to Doha in July using a 777-200LR, and Emirates upgraded their daily flight from a 777-200 to an A380 in October.  Abu Dhabi is DFW’s 18th new international destination of 2014.

EXTRA: Emirates to Fly the A380 to DFW

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Contact the author at austin.speaker@airwaysnews.com

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A Response to Holiday Air Travel Pet Peeves

By Jack Harty / Published December 17, 2014

Beware! December 19 is only two days away. OK, I think I know what you may be asking yourself; what is happening on December 19? That is a very valid question, and if you plan on traveling by air on Friday, I would recommend that you read on to find out. international-baggage-claim-at-mia-2011_16182

Airlines for America (A4A) projects Friday, December 19 to the the busiest air travel day of the winter season, with just over 2.5 million passengers expected to take to the U.S. skies.

Although, air travel is a great mode of transportation, it can create a lot of pet peeves. Honeywell Aerospace recognizes that flying can be difficult, and it conducted an air travel survey in which it uncovered a mass of passenger pet peeves that plague millions of airline travelers each year.

Please take a moment to make sure that your seat belts are securely fasted because some of the results may seem a bit surprising.

First, let’s provide a quick background on the survey. Kelton, a global insight firm, conducted the survey on behalf of Honeywell. The survey answers consist of 1,041 answers from Americans ages 18 and over who have taken at least one flight in the last 12 months. They were invited to participate in the survey via an email invitation between November 14 and 24, 2014.

Now, let’s get to the good stuff.

92% of those surveyed admitted that taking to the skies during the holiday season would be stressful, and for some, air travel during the holidays is so stressful and daunting that they would skip time-honored traditions just to avoid it.

  • 57% said they would give up watching their favorite holiday parade to dodge flying.

  • 31% said they would give up one of their holiday presents to avoid braving the holiday airport rush.

  • More than 25% said they would give up connecting with loved ones from afar on social media (27%) or taking pictures of holiday festivities (27%).

Air travel is daunting for a variety of reasons, but sometimes its not frequent delays, lost baggage, or the recycled air that would cause somebody to avoid air travel. Sometimes, people will avoid air travel because other passengers make it difficult.

In the movie Up in the Air, Ryan Bignham’s (played by George Clooney) sister tells Ryan: “You’re awfully isolated the way you live.” His response: “Isolated? I’m surrounded.” Even if one is traveling by air alone, they are surrounded, and for 70% of those surveyed, it’s difficult to accept other passengers’ faults.

  • Nearly three in ten expressed that they would most want to avoid “the arguer” while dealing with the challenging baggage and security check lines, while others say this about “the line-cutter” (17 percent) or “the disorganized traveler” (15 percent).

  • Plug your nose. The No. 1 in-flight passenger attribute Americans most want to avoid is “the smelly traveler” (41 percent).

  • Emitting unpleasant smells is also the quickest way to become the most unwanted airline seatmate, with passing gas (64 percent) and not wearing deodorant (60 percent) considered top passenger blunders.

flierfauxpas

Photo courtesy of Honeywell Aerospace

For some travelers, a big pet peeve is being stuck next to a little one, especially when they misbehave or cry the entire flight. 37% of those surveyed believe children should have a designated section of the aircraft on flights lasting more than two hours; 40% of women feel this way, compared with 31% of men.

  • Seventy-two percent consider confronting a fellow traveler who was not stopping their child from kicking their seat.

  • Twenty-nine percent who have done something in response to a child issue on their flight have been so bold as to ask a parent to reprimand their child.

  • Forty-five percent think all passengers should get free ear plugs in the case of a screaming baby.

So, how does one survive the unfriendly skies? Should they say something to an airline/airport employee? According to the survey, 53% said they have done something to combat the pet peeves that are brought along with air travel.

Some experienced flyers shared some of their secrets to surviving on-board disturbances.

  • Many have taken direct action by asking a flight attendant to fix the issue (43%) or confronting a passenger who was causing a disturbance (27%).

  • Two in five (40%) have asked to move to another seat, escaping the situation in a civil manner, and 30% admit to taking a sedative or sleeping pill to dull their own reaction to the disturbance.

After Honeywell compiled all of the survey results, it wants to remind air travelers to remember to “Keep Calm and Fly On With Honeywell.”

The company wants the 41% that want to stay away from the “smelly traveler” to know that “Honeywell technology keeps your flight comfortable and clean by refreshing the air on a plane 25−30 times an hour, which is more often than a train, hospital or office building.” Additionally, its wants the 26% “that get annoyed by canceled or delayed flights, Honeywell provides numerous pieces of technology to airlines, including 3-D weather radar that helps airplanes avoid hail, lightning and turbulence while flying; and advanced airport technology that enables more planes to land during times of peak travel, congestion or bad weather, thereby reducing delays and keeping things on time.”

EXTRA: Don’t Be That Passenger: 10 Tips to Avoid #flierfauxpas This Holiday Season 

Although, Honeywell has a lot of great solutions to help air travelers up_in_the_air02cope with these pet peeves this holiday season, we do need to account for the small percentage of people that do not get annoyed by air travel at all. As Ryan Bingham says: “All the things you probably hate about travelling -the recycled air, the artificial lighting, the digital juice dispensers, the cheap sushi- are warm reminders that I’m home.” 

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Contact the author at jack.harty@airwaysnews.com

 

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US DOT Evaluating Future of Delta’s Seattle/Tokyo Haneda Slots

By AirwaysNews Staff / Published December 16, 2014

Delta-767-SEA-JDL-1

Image Credit – JDL Multimedia

The Department of Transportation (DOT) ruled Monday that it will evaluate whether Delta Air Lines will be able to keep the slot it uses to operate seasonal flights between Seattle and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.

On October 25, 2010, the United States and Japan signed a Memorandum of Understanding to make four daily slot pairs available to carriers from each country to provide services between the United States and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. This was a big deal for US carriers. Although many had a significant presence at Tokyo’s Naritia Airport, Haneda was and still is seen as an “airport of opportunities” thanks to being located closer to the city to Tokyo.

In 2010, Delta was granted two slot pairs at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. The carrier opted to serve Haneda from both Detroit and Los Angeles, but in 2013, Delta moved its Detroit/Haneda slot pair to Seattle. This move came as Delta continued to build a large presence in Seattle and built a large portfolio of international flights; it saw Seattle as its gateway to Asia. 

One year after moving the Detroit/Haneda flight to Seattle, Delta announced that the Seattle/Haneda route would become seasonal. The carrier would not operate flights between the two cities from October 1, 2014 through March 29, 2015. The route change to seasonal was due to poor bookings and a general weakness of US carrier service to Tokyo Haneda. 

One month later, American Airlines filed a motion requesting that the DOT revoke Delta’s daily Seattle/Haneda slot pair. Instead, American wants to see the DOT allow American be awarded a slot pair to operate Los Angeles/Haneda flights. In the report, American points out that Delta is operating the Seattle/Haneda flights seasonally, but it will operate it one week every 90 days which is just enough to ensure that it does not automatically lose the slot pair to the DOT. American also says that Delta over promised the consumer benefit of Seattle/Haneda flights.

Shortly after American filed a notion, Hawaiian also got involved. It asked the DOT to reopen the case where Delta was awarded the Seattle/Haneda slot pair and to modify the dormancy condition that would require Delta to provide year-round service. Hawaiian also asked the DOT to institute a new proceeding to develop a factual record before reallocating the slot pair should they decide to go that route. The carrier also said that it would apply to provide year-round service to Haneda from Los Angeles with full utilization of the slot pair should the DOT consider new applications. Finally, the DOT report says Hawaiian “argues that Delta’s Haneda strategy is not about providing service or competition, but “playing keep away” with valuable air service rights – all to protect Delta’s Narita hub.”

So far, United Airlines has remained quiet. Earlier this year, United started serving Tokyo Haneda from its Asian gateway, San Francisco.

Despite the acquisitions, Delta asserts that its in the clear as it is in full compliance how frequently it must operate the route and that the winter had a very low forecast demand. Additionally, the DOT report says:

“Delta asserts that it has firm plans to resume its Seattle-Haneda service on March 29, 2015. Delta further asserts that the public interest case for Seattle-Haneda authority is even stronger today than when the Department originally allowed Delta to move its Haneda gateway from Detroit to Seattle. Delta argues that the Department’s 2013 decision remains correct and that there is no reason to revisit that case. Delta states that it is working hard to make its Seattle- Haneda service a permanent, year-round success, and that by the start of the next winter season Delta will have the support of 35 additional Delta/Delta Connection flights providing feed into its Seattle hub.”

Delta does go on to question American’s attempt to seek Haneda slots since American relinquished its New York JFK/Haneda slot pair, and when it did so, American did not at that time seek slots to operate Los Angeles/Haneda flights.

Based on the December 15, 2014 ruling, the DOT says:

In light of Delta’s extensive winter-season Seattle-Haneda service cutbacks, the submissions of American and Hawaiian and the responses thereto, the Department believes that the public interest requires a fresh examination of whether the best use of the Seattle-Haneda opportunity is to allow Delta to retain the slot pair for Seattle-Haneda service, or whether the public interest would be better served by reallocating the slot pair for service from another U.S. city by another U.S. carrier or by Delta.

Now, the DOT says “parties will be free to argue in favor of maintaining the allocation to Delta for Seattle-Haneda service, or in favor of allocating the slot pair to a different U.S. carrier, or to Delta for a different U.S. city. ”

The DOT is allowing parties to submit applications to an alternative gateway to Haneda. Now, who will submit applications to take over the slot?

It is very likely that American will push for the DOT to award it Delta’s Seattle/Haneda slot pair to operate flights between Los Angeles and Haneda. Although, if awarded, the new flight would overlap Delta’s current flight. Regardless, American is focused on getting the slot pair, and it says that it could start operating the route as soon as next month.

Hawaiian will also likely make a push to be awarded the slot pair.

Will Delta keep its Seattle/Haneda slot pair, or could it relocate it to another city? That remains to be seen, but Delta is focused on keeping the slot pair. One issue with the current slot pair is the timings of the flights in and out of Haneda. Could Delta or another carrier be able to strike a deal to retime the flights to make it better for its customers?

Who will win is the question of the hour. A decision is expected early next year.

Stay tuned…

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Contact the editor at benet.wilson@airwaysnews.com.

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Boeing 787 Dreamliner Celebrates Five Years of Flying

By Jack Harty / Published December 15, 2014

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner took to the skies over Washington 787 First Flight K64825-03for the very first time exactly five years ago today. Despite major delays that caused the first flight to occur two years behind schedule, December 15, 2009 was a dream come true for Boeing.

The maiden flight departed Snohomish County Airport in Everett, Washington at 10:27 am PST, and it landed at Boeing Field in King County, Washington at 1:35 pm PST. Although the weather shortened the first flight by an hour, it did not diminish the employees’ and media’s morale who lined the runways in awe to watch the 787 take to the skies for the very first time.

First flights are always a huge milestone for an aircraft manufacturer. They signify technological innovations, thousands of employees coming together to make what seems like the impossible become a reality, and much more.

The 787 first flight signified more than a first flight milestone for Boeing. The manufacturer was finally able to get its 787 test flight program started, and the Dreamliner became the first brand new Boeing family aircraft to take to the skies in more than a decade.

Unfortunately, the aircraft manufacture would continue to face many headaches and setbacks to get the aircraft ready for commercial service, but now, the aircraft is in service with more than a dozen customers carrying passengers to their destinations every day.

A little over three years ago, Boeing retired ZA001 (the aircraft that flew the 787s maiden flight) to Palmdale, California. During its life, it was the workhorse of the fleet; it flew more than 500 flights that totaled more than 1,326 hours.

Enjoy the videos of the first take off and landing below:

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Contact the author at jack.harty@airwaysnews.com

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Jetlines Places Order for Five 737 MAX Aircraft

By Jack Harty / Published December 15, 2014

Early this morning, Boeing announced that it reached a deal with a new start-up Canadian ULCC, jetliner, for an order of five 737 MAX 7s as well as purchase rights for an additional 16 737 MAXs.

Thanks to this order, the 737 MAX now has orders for 2,562 airplanes from 55 customers worldwide. 

“This agreement with Boeing is a major milestone for Jetlines,” said Jim Scott, CEO of Jetlines. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Boeing and look forward to introducing the 737 MAX 7 into our fleet.”

“Boeing is proud to partner with Jetlines as it begins a journey to offer low airfares to passengers across Canada,” saidBrad McMullen, vice president of North America Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The 737 MAX 7 is perfectly suited to the airline’s needs, and we appreciate the confidence Jetlines has in the airplane.”

Meet jetlines

For some, this morning was the first time that they ever heard ofimageedit_2_8690621383 Jetlines. So, let’s take a moment and meet this new start-up.

Jetlines is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, and it plans to make its mark in Canadian aviation by offering an Ultra-Low Cost Carrier product and selecting routes to avoid direct competition with existing carriers in Canada. It also plans to utilize a single Boeing family of jet aircraft in lieu of turboprop aircraft to attract new passengers.

Currently, the airline is still working on completing the Transaction and the Offerings and completing the Canadian airline licensing process, but the start-up plans to commence domestic Canadian flights in mid-2015 out of Vancouver.

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Contact the author at jack.harty@airwaysnews.com.

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American to Re-launch Cleveland/New York City Flights

By Jack Harty / Published December 15, 2014

After a year hiatus, American Airlines will re-launch flights between Cleveland and New York AE-1-2LaGuardia early next year.

Prior to United Airlines announcing plans to de-hub Cleveland earlier this year, American announced that it would stop flying between Cleveland and LaGuardia. Although, it now looks like the carrier was able to readjust its slots at LaGuardia and will re-enter the market on March 29, 2015.

The carrier plans to operate three daily roundtrip flights on weekdays between the two cities. On Saturdays, the carrier will fly one roundtrip flight, and on Sunday, the carrier will fly two roundtrip flights between the cities. American will utilize Envoy ERJ-140s on these flights.

Meanwhile, other air service changes are occurring in Cleveland.

Based on the updated schedule that came out this weekend, United has will reduce its frequencies between Cleveland and LaGuardia from eight daily roundtrip flights to six. This change will go into affect the same day that American plans to re-enter this market. It’s not clear if this change is due to American re-entering the market.

Delta currently operates five flights on weekdays between the two cities.

Last week,  JetBlue announced that Cleveland will become its newest BlueCity when it launches flights between Boston and Cleveland next year. Now, United has increased its frequency between Cleveland and Boston from four daily flights to five daily flights. Some believe that this change is in direct response to JetBlue entering the market early next year.

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Contact the author at jack.harty@airwaysnews.com

Photos courtesy JDL Multimedia

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Memphis Airport Sees More Cuts

By AirwaysNews Staff / Published December 14, 2014

Delta Air Lines will discontinue service to Chicago, Indianapolis, and memphis-international-airport-concourse-b-2011_16293Raleigh/Durham from Memphis. Additionally, it will now only operate flights between Memphis and Orlando on Saturdays.

The carrier has not said when it plans to end flights to Indianapolis and Raleigh/Durham from Memphis, but it will stop flying to Chicago O’Hare from Memphis on December 31, 2014.

Once the cuts are in full affect, passengers flying on Delta will only be able to fly to Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York LaGuardia, and Orlando (Saturday-only service) from Memphis nonstop. The carrier will offer nonstop seasonal service to Cancun, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City.

Delta says the cuts are due to a pilot staffing shortage; the carrier also says that other markets across the country are also being affected by the shortage as well.

Almost all of the flights that have been cut from Memphis’ route network, including the latest cuts, have been operated by 50 seat CRJ-200 and ERJ-145 aircraft. Currently, the airline is in the middle of retiring these uneconomical 50 seaters in favor for larger regional aircraft.

EXTRA: Flying the Barbie Jet: A CRJ-200 Adventure

The airline will end Memphis service to the following cities on the following dates:

  • Chicago O’Hare-December 31, 2014
  • Dallas/Ft. Worth-January 5, 2015
  • Indianapolis-Date has not been set yet
  • New Orleans-January 5, 2015
  • Pittsburgh-January 5, 2015
  • Washington National-April 6, 2015

Meanwhile, there are other air service changes occurring in Memphis. Frontier Airlines will stop flying between Memphis and Dallas/Ft. Worth. The ULCC plans to cut this route on January 5, 2015.

Although this is not good news for Memphis, the airport is still working on modernizing and consolidating its airport operations.

EXTRA: Memphis’ Modernization Plan

EXTRA: Take a tour of Memphis International Airport

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Contact the editor at benet.wilson@airwaysnews.com

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Flashback Friday: The History of the Airbus A330 Program

By Luis Linares / Published December 12th, 2014

USA A330 - MIA - LFL

American Airlines (US Airways) Airbus A330-300 at Miami International Airport:  Photo by Luis Linares / AirwaysNews

This week’s delivery of the first Airbus A350, the planned replacement of the A330 family, has been rescheduled for December 22. However, the A330 family is not necessarily going to be outdated anytime soon, especially since this year Airbus gave it a second lease on life with the announcement of a neo (new engine option) program for the aircraft.  While we wait for the eventual delivery of the A350 to launch customer Qatar Airways, join us to look back at the A330 on this Flashback Friday.

EXTRA: First Airbus A350-900 XWB Delivery Delayed Until Further Notice

The current generation of the Airbus widebody family, the A340 and the A330, entered service on March 15, 1993, and January 17, 1994 respectively.  The economic and environmental realities that made twin-engine operations preferable over four-engine ones, as well as stiff competition from the Boeing 777 and 787 programs, led to the end of the A340 program in 2011.  Another contributing factor was longer ETOPS certifications for twin-engine widebodies in the Airbus and Boeing families.

The A330 family faced some uncertainty with the launch of the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 programs, especially since Airbus initially dismissed the former as serious competition.  Airbus eventually concluded that a NEO upgrade for the A330 would serve as an effective gap filler for airlines that have to wait longer for A350s or 787s, as well as a viable option for carriers looking for a cheaper aircraft.

Launch

A330-300__Airbus_first_flight

Airbus sales brochure depicting original A300

Concepts for the A330 family date back to the mid-1970s, when Airbus was looking to improve its first widebody, the A300, and to compete against other aircraft of the time, such as the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 and Lockheed L-1011.  The upgrade program broke into two branches, the A340 and A330.  By the mid-1980s, the fly-by-wire system and flightdeck of the narrowbody A320 family were incorporated into the A330/A340 studies.  This would give Airbus an advantage over Boeing in terms of cockpit commonality, which mean shorter transition times for cross-training crews, for both its narrow and widebody series.

A330/340 brocure Airbus sales brochure depicting new A340/A330 family

EXTRA: Airbus sales brochures, history, and memorabilia

A330-300__Airbus_first_flight

The maiden flight of the Airbus A330 on November 2, 1992:  Photo courtesy of Airbus

The official A330 designation came on January 27, 1986, and French domestic airline Air Inter became the launch customer on March 12, 1987.  Northwest Airlines eventually would be the first U.S. customer.  On October 14, 1992, the first A330 rolled out, with the maiden flight taking-off less than a month later on November 2.  For two years, the A330 would be the largest twin-engine aircraft until the roll-out of the Boeing 777-200.

The program received certification by the FAA in the U.S. and the JAA on October 21, 1993.  The testing program, during the Pratt and Whitney engine certification, experienced a tragic setback on June 30, 1994, when an A330 crashed shortly after take-off from the Airbus plant in Toulouse, as the crew tested the autopilot during a one-engine take-off scenario.  Investigators faulted a slow crew response, and Airbus modified SOPs as a result.

Entry into service

A330 engine options

Airbus A330 sales brochure depicting engine options

Air Inter flew the first A330 passenger service on January 17, 1994.  Later that year, Asian airlines Thai Airways and Cathay Pacific received their A330s.  The A330 offered engines from General Electric, Pratt and Whitney, and Rolls Royce.  Airbus opted for a gradual increase in ETOPS limits.  The aircraft entered service with an ETOP-90 rating, which allowed one-engine or decompression operations up to 90 minutes for a suitable diversion destination.  When the active A330 fleet reached 25,000 flight hours, it adopted ETOPS-120, followed by ETOPS-180 after reaching 50,000 hours.  Furthermore, in November 2009, the airplane received an ETOPS-240 approval that stands to this day with the A330.

The full designation for the first in-service-aircraft was A330-300.  Typical passenger layouts include 295 in a three-class configuration and 335 in two classes.  The seat layout in economy is 2-4-2.  Furthermore, at a maximum take-off weight of 534,000 pounds, the A330-300 can fly up to 7,020 miles.  By the time the A330 entered service, it was not only targeting the DC-10 and L-1011, as originally intended, but it was also competing with the Boeing 767 family and the McDonnell Douglas MD-11.  The Boeing 767-300ER proved to be a worthy competitor and forced Airbus to look at A330 variants.

SWR A330 - MIA - LFL Swiss International A330-300 at Miami International Airport:  Photo by Luis Linares / AirwaysNews

Derivatives

In response to the 767-300ER, Airbus shrunk the A330-300 by 15 feet and launched the A330-200, which offered a nine-percent decrease in operating costs, compared to this Boeing competitor.  The first A330-200 flew on August 13, 1997.  After six months of certification flights, leasing company ILFC took the first model and leased it to Canada 3000.  A problem in the gearbox of Rolls Royce-powered of early A330-200s resulted in several inflight engine shutdowns in the Cathay fleet, including the -200s operated by its subsidiary Dragonair.  These carriers grounded their fleet until resolution of the fault.

AZU A330 - FLL- LFL RJA A330-AMM- LFL KLM A330 - DFW - LFL SAA A330 - IAD - LFL
Azul Airlines, Royal Jordanian Airlnes, KLM, and South African Airways A330-200s:  Photos by Luis Linares / AirwaysNews

Operating characteristics of the A330-200 include 253 passengers in three classes and 293 in a two-class layout.  Like the -300, the -200 can take-off at a maximum weight of 534,000 pounds.  However, it can fly farther than the -300 with a range of 8,285 miles.  Airbus’s next move was to introduce an A330 for the cargo market.

Airbus developed the A330-200F in response to lagging sales of older A300F and A310F freighters.  Studies began in 2001, and the maiden flight took place on November 5, 2009.  The -200F retains and identical size to the -200, except for a higher tail, and can carry 16,800 cubic feet (or 70 tons) of cargo.  One clear external characteristic is a blister shape under the nose to store the retracted nose gear, which is longer than that of the passenger versions in order to make the side cargo door level with cargo loaders.

Avianca A330 Freighter Avianca Cargo A330-200F at Miami International Airport: Photo by Luis Linares / AirwaysNews

Airbus also developed private and military variants of the A330.  In 2012, Airbus introduced a high gross weight 240-ton option for the -200 and -300.  Furthermore, in 2013, the company offered customers a lower weight, high-density variant that could seat up to 400 people in one class with a focus on busy domestic and regional routes, such as those in some Asian countries.

The A330 became the first Airbus widebody to surpass 1,000 deliveries in July 2013.  Cathay Pacific had the distinction of receiving the 1,000th A330.  To date, There are 1,123 Airbus A330s flying.  From the start of the program, 1,139 have been delivered and 1,394 have been ordered.

Life extension

At this year’s Farnborough Air Show, Airbus announced that the A330 program would follow the footsteps of the A320 family by offering more efficient, longer-range neo variants.  In addition to new engines, the upgraded aircraft will have a wider wingspan and winglets similar to those of the A350.  Moreover, Rolls Royce will be the only engine supplier for the A330 neo.

EXTRA: Airbus launches A330neo

The A330-800 neo will replace the -200 and seat 252 in a two-class layout, while the AA330-900 neo replaces the -300 and will carry 310 people in a two-class layout.  The -800 and -900 have a six and ten-seat increase over their predecessors respectively.  Last month, Delta Air Lines ordered 25 -900s, while U.S. lessor CIT ordered 15.

A330neo launch A330neo lanch announcement at 2014 Farnborough Air Show

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Contact the author at luis.linares@airchive.com

Contact the editor at benet.wilson@airwaysnews.com

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Etihad Airways First 787 Takes Flight

By Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Special to AWN / Published December 8, 2014
Updated December 8 at 1730PT

Etihad 787 FF-1 JDLMultimediaEVERETT, WA: Etihad Airways’ first Boeing 787 Dreamliner took flight on Monday. The 787-9 jet is the first of 41 the carrier has on order, and was one of the first few jets to receive the carrier’s refreshed livery.

It was originally set to already be in service between the carrier’s Abu Dhabi hub and nearby Doha, but clearly the schedule has shifted. The airplane was revealed over two months ago in an elaborate display at Boeing’s Everett facility, spending most of that time sequestered on the ramp.

Etihad confirmed the delay late Monday, stating that a revised schedule has the jet entering service to Dusseldorf, Germany on February 1, 2015. Flights to Washington DC and Mumbai are expected to begin from February 15, 2015. A spokesperson for the carrier did not elaborate on a reason for the delay.

As already reported, early models will have a three-class configuration seating 235. Later models will be in a two-class configuration. Check out all the details from Airways’ previous report.

Etihad 787 FF-3 JDLMultimedia Etihad 787 FF-2 JDLMultimedia

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Contact the editor at benet.wilson@airwaysnews.com

Contact the author at Jeremy@JDLMultimedia.com
Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / AirwaysNews

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The Best of Airways: Ozark – The Go-Getter Airline

 By David H. Stringer / Originally Published in Airways, July 2012

OZARK 1

Joseph H. FitzGerald resigned as Ozark Air Lines’s president at the end of July 1963 and was replaced early the following year by Thomas L. Grace, who was recruited from Northeast Airlines.

Grace concluded a lease/ trade agreement with Mohawk Airlines to take 14 Martin 404s, another postwar twin-engine design handed down from the trunk carriers, in exchange for Ozark’s Convair 240s, a type which Mohawk had been flying since 1955. The first two 44-seat Martins went into scheduled service with Ozark on December 1, 1964, replacing DC-3s, after operation on an ad hoc basis during the previous month.

Bigger news was announced in January 1965 at the dedication of Ozark’s new general office building and maintenance base at Lambert Field in St. Louis, when Tom Grace revealed he had signed an order for three Douglas DC-9-15s for delivery early in 1966. Grace also ordered 21 Fairchild-Hiller FH-227s, a stretched version of the F-27 seating 48 passengers, to replace the Martin 404s and F-27s. His goal was to transform Ozark into an all-turbine-powered carrier by the end of 1967.

The DC-9-15 commitment was doubled to six aircraft in July 1965, and in November another order was placed, this time for three stretched Series 31s. Despite the all-turbine goal, Ozark introduced ʻCargo-Getter service with a DC-3 freighter in mid-1965. As a former president of Slick Airways, a cargo carrier, Grace knew the economic possibilities of the cargo business. Demand was such that a second DC-3 was added to the all-cargo schedule, for a total of 16 stations.

OZARK 2Ozark’s first DC-9 arrived in St. Louis on May 28, 1966, and entered service on July 15 to Chicago via Peoria. On board that inaugural flight was Arthur B. Skinner of Kirkwood, Missouri. Skinner had been Ozark’s very first passenger when a DC-3 taxied away from the gate in St Louis in September 1950 with himself as the sole passenger.

On August 6, the first FH-227 arrived from Hagerstown, Maryland. Interiors and galleys were installed in Fort Worth, Texas, by Horton & Horton. The first scheduled FH-227 service took place on December 15, 1966, delayed from December 1 because of system certification. Flight OZ831 left O’Hare for Champaign-Urbana and other points at 0700, fêted with inauguration ceremonies at each stop along its route. Ozark would spend the next several months dealing with five different aircraft types: DC-3, Martin 404, F-27, FH-227, and DC-9.

A merger between Ozark and neighboring local service carrier Central Airlines had been the subject of speculation for years. On September 20, 1966, Floyd W. Jones, chairman of the board of Ozark, and his counterpart at Central, Andrew A. (Jack) Bradford, announced that the two companies would merge. Ozark would be the surviving carrier by purchasing a controlling interest in Central, with each remaining share of Central stock traded for ¾ of a share of Ozark stock.

The combined company would serve 99 cities in 15 states; Central had four DC-9s on order. Less than two months later the deal was called off. Tom Grace stated that “the money market has been tight and we found it untimely to complete the merger.” Perhaps Grace’s words did not tell the whole story, considering Ozark was in the midst of a multimillion dollar aircraft purchase program. Central wound up merging with Frontier Airlines the following year.

From cornfields to the Big Apple Ozark did not need to merge to expand.

OZARK 3Acquiring Central would have been a quick and easy way to add lots of stations and route mileage, as well as problems, to the Go-Getter network. But only three days after disclosing that it planned to merge, Ozark announced a new route to Denver.

The nonstop flight to the Colorado capital from Sioux City, Iowa, would give Ozark a relatively long segment for its DC-9s. This illustrated the need for locals to find suitable stage-lengths—with the possibility of respectable passenger loads—in order to turn a profit with their expensive new turbojets. Keeping the defined rôle of the locals in mind, the Civil Aeronautics Board would have to make some difficult decisions about route expansion.

The best way was to award local service carriers longer distance routes to big markets from smaller ones, bypassing what might be the traditional hub. For example, let Ozark pick up passengers in Waterloo and Sioux City and fly them nonstop to Denver instead of delivering them to Omaha or Minneapolis, forcing them to connect with a trunk to continue their journey to Denver. The locals would still be moving people from small-town America toa major airport, but one that would be outside their traditional territory. Of course, the drawback was the siphoning of prospective customers from the trunks.

OZARK 4Trunk and local differentation blurred even further when the CAB began to award nonstop authority between significant city pairs within the local’s own network. Permission for Ozark to fly nonstop between Louisville and Indianapolis, with service starting in January 1967, was not such a big deal. The cities were only 115mi (180km) apart and Ozark would be competing with Lake Central, another local that had recently entered the market, and with Delta Air Lines. This was followed by nonstop service between St Louis and Milwaukee, a distance of 315mi (500km), but Ozark offered the only nonstop on the route at the time and flew it without subsidy.

Then came the award that really put Ozark’s status into a new perspective. On November 15, 1968, Ozark introduced nonstop DC-9 service between its two biggest stations, Chicago and St. Louis, putting it in direct competition with American Airlines and Delta. Now passengers could board a jet offering both first class and coach cabins (Ozark had introduced two-class service on its DC-9s a few months earlier) and fly nonstop with either a trunk or a local carrier.

OZARK 5In spring 1967, Ozark filed applications to offer service between Chicago and Anchorage, Alaska, via Calgary, Alberta, adding Edmonton to the request two years later. The company also asked for an extensive hub of routes radiating from Omaha, including service from that city to Portland and Seattle. These requests were eventually denied. They certainly had no relation to the carrier’s status as a local service airline, but the tide would turn and Dan Gibbs, director of route development, was ready to introduce Ozark Air Lines to new parts of the continent.

Shortly after the West Coast and Alaska requests were filed, Ozark petitioned for a more plausible nonstop route, to New York and to Washington from Peoria, Champaign-Urbana, and Springfield, Illinois, three stations where Ozark was the only carrier.

Ozark retired the Martin 404 on August 14, 1967, and, with the October 29 timetable, the F-27 also disappeared from the schedule. Three DC-3s continued to soldier on as long as there were airports on Ozark’s system that could not accommodate larger aircraft. A year later Ozark met Tom Grace’s goal of becoming an all-jet airline. The last DC-3 service operated on October 26, 1968, into Columbia Municipal Airport, Missouri. On the following day, FH-227s began serving the new Columbia Regional Airport, with its 6,500ft (1,980m)-long runway, located midway between Columbia and Jefferson City. The FH-227 also took over from the DC-3 at Moberly and Kirksville, Missouri.

OZARK 7Floyd Jones, the bus line owner who financed Laddie Hamilton’s plans for Ozark, died on February 3, 1969, in Springfield, Missouri. Jones, 79 years of age, was still serving as the chairman of Ozark’s board. Hamilton, who had retired ten years earlier because of failing health, outlived Jones by two years.

On the last day of February 1969, Ozark was awarded nonstop authority to Washington Dulles and New York LaGuardia from Peoria, Springfield, and Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, and Waterloo, Iowa. At 956mi (1,538km), the Waterloo to New York route was then the longest awarded to a local service carrier. Service to Washington and New York was inaugurated on April 27. Ozark’s route system now stretched from the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast, or, as the company itself would say, ‘two-thirds transcontinental’.

One more new market, Dallas/Fort Worth, served through Love Field, was added to Ozark’s system in 1969, and, as with the Chicago to St Louis route, service was also permitted nonstop from St Louis to Dallas. Again, the line between local and trunk was blurred. With a fleet of turbojets and turboprops the three swallows were ready to fly confidently into the new decade.

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Contact the editor at benet.wilson@airwaysnews.com

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Flashback Friday: 94 Years of Qantas

By Luis Linares / Published November 21, 2014

QF A330

Qantas Airbus A330-300 departing Sydney Kingsford-Smith International Airport:  Photo courtesy of Qantas

On November 16, 1920, four Australian aviation pioneers founded Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited, today known as Qantas.  Last week, we reported the delivery of a Boeing 737-800 with a 1970s retro livery as part of the airline’s 94th anniversary celebration.  Join us to continue the celebration as we look back at the history of one of the oldest carriers in the world.

Birth

One of the main motivators for establishing air service in Australia 94 years ago had to do with the country’s vast roadless interior, known as the Outback, and its remote, sparsely populated settlements.  The new company started with a water-cooled Avro 504K capable of carrying a pilot and two passengers at a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour.  In 1921, an air-cooled Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2.e with a maximum speed of 72 miles per hour joined the fleet.

The initial services included mail delivery, joy riding, taxi service, and demonstration flights to attract potential customers.  During this initial period, the two biplanes carried 871 passengers more than 33,500 miles without serious mishaps.  Until 1929, Qantas operated from the town of Longreach, which is virtually synonymous with the airline to this day and which also became the nickname of the carrier’s Boeing 747-400s because of their range.

EXTRA:  Homepage of the Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach, Australia

Qantas obtained a license to build de Havilland aircraft at its Longreach facility, where it rolled out DH50s capable of carrying four passengers.  These were the first post-World War I commercial aircraft that had closed cabins not requiring passengers to wear helmets and goggles.  In 1928 Qantas flew the inaugural flight of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, which provided on demand medical services to Outback populations.

In 1930, Qantas moved its headquarters to the coastal city of Brisbane, the capital of Queensland.  At the time of the move, the airline had flown one million miles carrying 10,400 passengers.  On January 18, 1934, Qantas linked up with British Imperial Airways to carry mail from Brisbane to Darwin as part of a mail run connecting Australia to England.  On January 18, 1934 Qantas Empire Airways Limited launched by combining the interests of both carriers.

International service begins

On February 26, 1935, Qantas took over the Darwin-Singapore segment of the Royal Mail from Australia to England, thereby starting international service.  The first international passenger service took place two months later on April 17, using a DH 86 biplane, which operated accident-free until 1938 when growing demand made Qantas opt for larger aircraft.  The Short Empire “C” Class flying boat became the replacement.

QF DH86 QF DH86 interior
Qantas de Havilland DH86:  Photos courtesy of Qantas

The 15-passenger flying boats flew the entire Australia-England route, known as the “Kangaroo Route,” with Qantas crews flying the Australia-Singapore portion and their Imperial Airways counterparts continuing to England.  The trek, which started in Sydney and ended in Southampton, took nine days, with passengers staying in hotels overnight.  Also in 1938, Qantas moved its headquarters to Sydney.

EXTRA:  AirwaysNews photos of Sydney Kingsford-Smith International Airport

World War II

Japanese aggression in Singapore and northern Australia resulted in the downing of three of the 10 flying boats in service.  Two others were destroyed in accidents related to wartime service.  Qantas crews were heroically involved in the use of flying boats to evacuate women and children from war zones.  In 1942, the Australian government recalled the flying boats for wartime service.

QF flying boat interior

The spacious interior of a Catalina flying boat:  Photo courtesy of Qantas

World War II significantly curtailed international service.  Singapore fell in February 1942, essentially cutting off the Kangaroo Route.  In 1943, Imperial Airways, under its new BOAC name, and Qantas agreed to reestablish the route, bypassing Singapore via an Indian Ocean crossing from Perth, Australia to modern-day Sri Lanka.  Qantas crews ferried 19 U.S.-made Consolidated PBY Catalina flying boats, capable of flying 125 miles per hour, from San Diego to Australia. This gave them the experience necessary for the long overwater segment.

The Indian Ocean hop of more than 3,500 miles at the time was the longest nonstop passenger flight ever attempted.  Pilots used celestial navigation to maintain radio silence.  The fuel required for such a long distance limited payload to three passengers and 152 pounds of diplomatic and armed forces mail.  The Indian Ocean crossings lasted 28 to 32 hours, depending on winds, and became vital to maintaining Australia-England lines of communication.

The Catalinas flew 271 Indian Ocean crossings carrying 648 passengers and covering 932,000 miles by the time the operation ended on July 18, 1945.  In 1944, Qantas adopted the kangaroo logo to symbolize this long hop that connected Australia and England.  Another important feat was that these aircraft never experienced an engine failure during take-off or first 10 hours of flight, which would have required ditching because of the very heavy fuel weight.

Post-World War II

QF DC-3

Qantas Douglas DC-3:  Photo courtesy of Qantas

In 1946, Qantas embarked on a rebuilding and modernization plan for its fleet.  That year, the iconic “workhorse of the skies” Douglas DC-3 entered service with Qantas.  The airline also ordered four Lockheed L-749 Constellations, which at the time were revolutionary, given their long-range and pressurized cabin. Furthermore, additional Catalinas joined the fleet, as well as another flying boat, the Short S.25 Sandringham,

1947 saw the privatization of Qantas, when the government bought BOAC’s shares, followed by those of Qantas.  That same year, the Constellations arrived and reduced the Kangaroo Route duration to four days.  The DC-4 Skymaster entered service with Qantas in 1949 on new service to Hong Kong.  North America became a Qantas destination in 1953 with Constellation flights to San Francisco and Vancouver via Fiji, Canton Island, and Hawaii.

QF sleeper seats to London early 50s QF Electra onboard service in 1959
Lockheed Constellation sleeper seat comfort to London in the early 1950s and service aboard the Lockheed Electra:  Photos courtesy of Qantas

Another momentous occasion for Qantas was on January 14, 1958, when it introduced round-the-world service with two Constellations traveling in opposite directions from Melbourne. One flew the Kangaroo Route via India, while another flew eastward on the Southern Cross Route. They arrived in Sydney six days later.  Another Lockheed member, the L-188 Electra joined the fleet in 1959.  At this point, Qantas served 23 countries.

Jets

In 1956 Qantas ordered seven Boeing 707-138s, which entered service with the company from July to September of that year.  Qantas became the first airline outside of the U.S. to take delivery of the 707.  Moreover, these 707s were 10 feet shorter than the version offered to other carriers since Qantas had longer range needs for its Pacific operations.

EXTRA:  57th anniversary of the first production 707 roll-out

The management was very impressed with the 707’s advantages and decided to upgrade to the -138B series powered by turbofans, instead of less efficient turbojets.  The turbofan-powered 707s adopted the iconic “V-Jet” logo on the tail.  Actor and aviation enthusiast John Travolta owns and flies one of these models, and he serves as a goodwill ambassador for the airline.

QF 707

Boeing 707-138B originally operated by Qantas, is owned and flown by the carrier’s goodwill ambassador John Travolta:  Photo by Chris Sloan / AirwaysNews

Qantas wet-leased four BOAC-owned de Havilland Comet jets between 1959 and 1963 while it waited for more 707s.  By 1964, Qantas was flying 13 707s on most of its routes and began selling its propeller aircraft.  Two years later, there were 19 707s in the fleet, which included six of the larger -338 series with five more on order.

EXTRA:  Qantas timetables, route maps, and history from AirwaysNews collection

The next big step by Qantas came in 1967, when it placed order for the Boeing 747 with deliveries scheduled for 1971.  Qantas opted for a later delivery, compared to other 747 customers, because it wanted to start with the more advanced 747-200B series, which better suited its requirements.  The first 747-238B entered service with the airline in September 1971.

QF B742 promo picture QF B742 upper deck lounge
Qantas Boeing 747-238B promotional picture and upper deck lounge:  Photos courtesy of Qantas

Qantas played a major role in disaster relief for Australia after the devastation caused by Cyclone Tracy in 1974.  A 747 evacuated 673 people from Darwin, and the airline flew out a total of 4,925 people.  The 747 also became the sole member of the Qantas fleet on March 25, 1979 after the last 707 flight.  Qantas also bought other 747 variants including the shorter –SP (Special Performance), the Combi, and the -338 SUD (Stretched Upper Deck).

EXTRA:  Qantas sales brochures, history, and memorabilia from AirwaysNews collection

The 747-only distinction ended in 1985, when the Boeing 767-238ER joined the fleet, and the longer -338ER followed in 1987.  That same year, Qantas ordered a new and major upgrade for the 747, the -400 series, which included features such as winglets, the elimination of the flight engineer, a modern cockpit, and additional range.  The first example for the airline broke a world distance record for commercial aircraft, when it flew 11,185 miles from London to Sydney in 20 hours and nine minutes.

In November 2002, Qantas received the first of eight 747-438ER.  This variant offered 500 more miles of range or 15,000 more pounds of freight.  It also flew the current longest non-stop flight in the world from Sydney to Dallas, 8,578 miles, until September of this year, when it was replaced by an Airbus A380.

QF 744 - DFW - LFL

Qantas Boeing 747-438ER “Longreach” at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport:  Photo by Luis Linares / AirwaysNews

In 1992, the Australian government sold domestic carrier Australian Airlines to Qantas and allowed the enlarged company to be fully privatized.  The combined carrier also included regional subsidiaries.  In 1998, Qantas cofounded the oneworld alliance with American Airlines, British Airways, Canadian Airlines, and Cathay Pacific

2000s – Present

In 2001, Qantas launched regional carrier QantasLink, which combined the regional subsidiaries of the former Australian Airlines operation.  That same year, Qantas ordered the Boeing 737-800 to modernize the domestic fleet of older 737s it had assumed from Australian Airlines.  Last week’s 1970s retro scheme delivery marked the 75th and final -800 for Qantas.  The collapse of Ansett Australia on September 14, 2001, gave Qantas a 90% market share in Australia, leaving newcomer Virgin Blue with the other five percent.

Qantas also entered the low-cost market. In October 2002, it launched Australian Airlines as its low-cost international arm.  A year later it launched Jetstar as its low-cost domestic airline.  The leadership decided to focus on two strong complementary brands, which resulted in the elimination of Australian Airlines, leaving Qantas and Jetstar as the company’s mainline and low-cost arms respectively.

During this time, the Airbus A330 entered service to replace the older 767s.  Qantas also ordered 12 Airbus A380-800s, becoming the type’s third carrier after Singapore Airlines and Emirates.  The first sample was delivered in 2008. In 2007, the company adopted the latest iteration of its famous kangaroo logo.  Qantas also ordered the Boeing 787 to replace the 767s, and initial deliveries are operating for Jetstar.

EXTRA:  Maiden flight of Jetstar’s first Boeing 787-8

Qantas logos

Qantas logos over the years:  Image courtesy of Qantas

A significant recent development is a strategic partnership between Qantas and Emirates that started on March 30, 2013.  Under the agreement, flights to London from Sydney and Melbourne go through Dubai using Qantas and Emirates A380s.  In the past, Qantas used Singapore or Bangkok as stopping points for the Kangaroo Route.  The new network gives customers more connecting options to Europe and the Middle East.

QF A380 - LAX- CS

Qantas Airbus A380-800 at Los Angeles International Airport:  Photo by Chris Sloan / AirwaysNews

In February 2014, Qantas implemented a cost-cutting and restructuring strategy to counter poor financial results.  Long-haul routes had been performing poorly over the last few years, and heavy domestic competition from Virgin Australia has also affected the profitability of short-haul routes.  As of this writing, the strategy seems to be paying off with Qantas seeing profitability for the remainder of this year.

Qantas Airbus A380-800 promotional video

Qantas “Fying Art” promotional video

Qantas 747-400 retrofit video

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Contact the author at luis.linares@airchive.com

Contact the editor at benet.wilson@airwaysnews.com

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Qantas Blasts to the Past with 75th 737

By Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / Published November 16, 2014

Qantas-3 JDL

Qantas Ambassador and American actor John Travolta waves to crowd as he introduces the new Qantas retro-jet on November 16, 2014 in Seattle, WA.

SEATTLE: Qantas celebrated its 94th anniversary by revealing a brand-new retro-themed Boeing 737-800 in Seattle on Sunday.

The unveiling was joined by Qantas executives and company ambassador John Travolta at an event at Boeing’s Boeing Field facility. As a disco ball rotated overhead and hip music wafted over the crowd, Travolta joked that he wasn’t sure whether “to do an Aboriginal dance or a disco dance” before introducing the new airplane.

The Boeing 737, Qantas’ 75th and final delivery of the type, wears the company’s ochre-themed paint scheme. It features an orange stripe, meant to evoke the Australian outback, and a winged kangaroo on the tail.

The livery was used by the airline from 1971 to 1984, and worn by classic Boeing aircraft such as the 707 and 747SP. The wings were dropped from the logo in 1984, as the livery transitioned to the current scheme.

Qantas-18 JDLThe company has been utilizing some version of the kangaroo for 70 years. It first appeared in the 1940s, as a tiny symbol beneath the cockpit of its planes.

“It represents an era that a lot of Australians will remember, and they’ll feel some nostalgia when they see that aircraft,” said Qantas Chief Financial Officer Gareth Evans in Seattle.

The jet is also dedicated to James Strong, a former Qantas CEO who passed away last year.

The airplane, which is expected to depart for Australia on Monday, is set to begin flying domestic routes throughout the country on November 20.

The airline previously announced it will briefly re-introduce several 1970s-themed meals both in its lounges and in flight, according to Australian Business Traveller.

While Sunday’s event was all smiles and celebration, it is no secret that the Flying Kangaroo has seen better days. The carrier has been under financial strain for some time as pressure has mounted from competitors both inside and outside Australia.

Qantas-1 JDL

Qantas CFO, Gareth Evans

“We’ve had a difficult few years,” admits Evans. On the domestic front Qantas flooded the market with capacity in order to keep up its majority market share against deep-pocketed newcomer Virgin Australia.

On the international front it has had to slash jobs, capacity, and routes to stay afloat. “There’s been more capacity put into Australia than anywhere else around the world in the last four or five years,” said Evans

The cut-throat competition would hit the carrier hard on its bottom line: Qantas most recently posted a nearly US $2.5 billion net loss in 2013, the worst in its 94-year history.

But, says Evans, a turn-around is in the offing. Competition at home and abroad has eased up. Fuel prices and the Australian dollar, both of which also plagued the bottom line, are down. The carrier’s revamped fleet, which has ingested 150 new airplanes since 2008, is beginning to make a meaningful difference. Evans specifically noted the impact its fleet of Boeing 787s, operated by its leisure arm Jetstar, and the Qantas-run fleet of A380s has made.

Most importantly, says Evans, the carrier’s transformation program is working. The program combines reducing overhead costs, optimizing assets, and making product improvements among other factors. “We’ve made substantial changes, and we’re seeing substantial improvements,” he said.

While Evans wouldn’t say for sure when Qantas could expect to be back in the black, he was optimistic that the carrier’s fortunes were decidedly on the upswing. “We will see a significantly improved result from our international business this year,” he said.

“There’s a long way still to go,” he says, “but the transformation is working.”

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Contact the editor at benet.wilson@airwaysnews.com

Contact the author at Jeremy@JDLMultimedia.com
Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / AirwaysNews

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Museum of Flight Welcomes Boeing 787 to Collection

By Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / Published November 8, 2014

MOF 787 JDL SEATTLE, WASHINGTON: Seattle’s Museum of Flight became the first museum in the world to welcome a Boeing 787 Dreamliner to its collection on Saturday. The airplane, the third 787 ever made, was donated to the well-known Seattle aerospace institution by Boeing.

Its sleek design and sheer size made it easy to spot in the museum parking lot, its temporary home through the weekend. A line of people, hundreds deep, snaked around the jet, stretching out for a nearly two-hour wait to see the inside of the museum’s newest acquisition.

Inside, visitors marveled at the shade-less dimming windows, sleek business class seats, and glittering multicolored mood lighting on the ceiling.

“It’s a curator’s dream,” said Dan Hagedorn, Senior Curator for the Museum of Flight, while sitting inside the jet’s tech-heavy flight deck. “The fact that you receive an advanced, state of the art aircraft at the beginning of its production in service life rather than at the tail end; this is unprecedented.”

Indeed, the induction of such a young airplane to any museum is exceptionally rare in the world of aerospace. Predictably, most exhibits arrive at the end of life, not the beginning. A few hundred yards away the world’s first Boeing 737 and 747 jets lie preserved in a lot, also owned by the museum. Both followed the more traditional trajectory, flying around the world for decades before settling down at the museum for a well-earned retirement. Other early-build Boeing jets, such as the younger but still decades-old 757 and 777, continue to fly today.

Which leaves the giant 787, known as ZA003, standing in stark contrast to the rest of the museum’s predictably aged collection: it isn’t even six years old. Arguably a sacrificial lamb, along with several other early-build Dreamliners, this particular airplane symbolizes both the success and struggles of the Dreamliner program.

Its early days were certainly more struggle than success. When the airplane rolled out of the Boeing factory hangar in March of 2009, the program was already years behind schedule. Design flaws, manufacturing errors, and supply-chain quality problems had the plagued the innovative Dreamliner, the first airliner to be built mostly out of composite materials instead of aluminum.

ZA003 was hardly immune from the troubles. By the time it took flight in March of 2010 it had been taken apart and rebuilt so many times that Boeing had already written it off, part of a $2.9 billion research and development charge. It was thus permanently relegated to the test-flight fleet, along with the first two 787s built.

It may have gone on to spend its early retirement in the California desert, much like the first and second aircraft, had Boeing not hatched bigger plans for ZA003. As delays continued to mount and customers became increasingly frustrated, Boeing dispatched the jet on a round-the-world tour in late 2011 to buoy customer and supplier moral. The airplane visited cities across the globe, from Boston to Beijing, Madrid to Mexico City.

MOF 787-1-2 MOF 787-2
Left, the shade-less windows of the 787, adjustable by pushing a button, are shown in several stages. Right, the economy section of ZA003.

The plan worked, says Boeing’s Chief 787 Pilot, Randy Neville, who piloted the jet through the majority of the tour. “This airplane made the whole concept of the 787 real to customers,” he said, “they could see the real airplane, the real technology that we had been developing for so many years. They could know that it’s coming.” The tour is now widely credited for boosting early confidence in the jet.

Hagedorn agrees: “This was the [airplane] that really enabled the company to strut its stuff; to show the buying public that this in fact was a major leap forward.”

Despite standing as a testament to both the program’s troubled past and increasingly stable present, ZA003 will also serve as an inspiration for the future.

“By donating the 787 to the Museum of Flight, our teammates, their families, and our community will be able to visit and see the airplane that all of you have supported on this journey, ” said Boeing’s 787 Program General Manager Larry Loftis at the hand-over ceremony. “We hope that this airplane will inspire those that have come to the museum today, as well as future generations,” he said.

The airplane will remain in the Museum of Flight parking lot, open to the public, through the weekend. It will close on the 10th to prepare for becoming a permanent exhibition, reopening later this year.

SLIDESHOW


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Contact the editor at benet.wilson@airwaysnews.com

Contact the author at Jeremy@JDLMultimedia.com
Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / AirwaysNews

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Flashback Friday: A Trip on TWA During Its Twilight

By Luis Linares / Published October 24, 2014 / Photos by author

TWA L-1011 - JFK - LFL

TWA Lockheed L-1011 at JFK in 1993

On December 1, 2001, the TWA brand disappeared after its merger with American Airlines. Founded in 1925, TWA at one time was one of the icons of the U.S. airline industry.  Join us for a quick history of TWA’s latter years and memories of a trip from Washington National AIrport (DCA) to Las Vegas (LAS) in March 1999 via its Saint Louis (STL) and New York (JFK) hubs.

The post-Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 era claimed several U.S. airlines.  TWA was one of the carriers that found itself struggling, especially during the 1990s.  The airline established a domestic hub at STL after acquiring Ozark Airlines in 1986.  It also established an international gateway at JFK and operated out of the famous Trans World Flight Center, Terminal 5.  Part of the TWA Flight Center was preserved and is today surrounded by Terminal 5, occupied by JetBlue.  During this period of route consolidation, TWA hit its peak serving over 30 European cities and carrying more than 50 percent of trans-Atlantic customers.

The proverbial turbulence began when Carl Icahn bought TWA in 1985.  He sold the company’s London Heathrow slots to American because of an urgent need to raise capital.  Another giant, Pan Am, was also starting to fail and sold its Heathrow operations to United.  TWA’s first bankruptcy occurred in 1992 as Icahn continued to sell some of the airlines most profitable assets.  Icahn, whom many blame for the implosion, left virtually unscathed in 1993.  Another bankruptcy followed in 1995.  The explosion and loss of Flight 800 in July 1996 hurt the carrier’s reputation, and contributed to a fleet renewal decision that included the purchase of Boeing 757s and McDonnell Douglas MD-83s and MD-95s (eventually Boeing 717s). The new fleet replaced Boeing 727s and 747s, Lockheed L-1011s, and former Ozark Airlines Douglas DC-9s.

Unfortunately for TWA, it failed to escape from financial problems.  In April 2001, AMR Corporation, parent of American Airlines, purchased TWA’s assets, and the airline suffered a third bankruptcy the day after.  The last TWA flight took place on December 1, 2001 before full integration into American Airlines.

I had a few opportunities during the 1990s to fly TWA, and found some pictures of a round trip from DCA to LAS in 1999.  My outbound flight was on a new MD-83 from DCA to STL, where I connected to another MD-83 that took me to LAS.

STL Arrival - LFL TWA tails - STL - LFL
Arrival at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport

On the return leg, I took a red eye from LAS to JFK on a new 757.  The sunrise arrival at JFK was on a beautiful clear morning, that offered great view of Manhattan and JFK during approach.

Manhattan 1999 - LFL Manhatan zoom-in 1999 - LFL JFK Approach - LFL TWA MD83 - JFK - LFLManhattan view during descent, JFK flyby before turning around to land, McDonnell Douglas MD-80 during taxi

I then connected to DCA by flying aboard a British Aerospace Jetstream 41 operated TWA’s regional subsidiary Trans World Express.

JFK tower - LFL NWA 742- JFK - LFL ELY 742 - JFK - LFL JFK departure - LFLTaxiing, spotting Northwest and El Al classic Boeing 747s, and climbing out of JFK

Four years later in 2003, I flew an American Airlines 757 from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale, with a stop in STL.  The aircraft still had the TWA interior, and it was discernible on the outside, not just by the registration, from the other American 757s but because it had Pratt & Whitney (PW) engines.  American’s original fleet of 757s had Rolls Royce power plants that continue to operate to this day.  American eventually sold the former TWA PW variants to Delta.

The TWA brand is not entirely gone.  The east side of the old Flight Center has a lighted TWA sign.  Furthermore, the new American Airlines Group plans to honor TWA by unveiling a retro scheme on an Airbus A319 in the near future.  This is sure to bring back memories for many travelers.

EXTRA:

Pictures of the TWA Flight Center from the Airways News collection

Ozark Airlines timetables and route maps from the Airways News collection

TWA timetables and route maps from the Airways News collection

TWA memorabilia and sales brochures

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Contact the author at luis.linares@airchive.com

Contact the editor at benet.wilson@airwaysnews.com

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