Saturday, 16 October 2021

Goodbye Alitalia - Hello ITA

Alitalia, the largest airline of Italy, took its last flight on Thursday evening before passing the baton to Italy's new national airline, ITA, which began operations on Friday. The final flight for Alitalia, AZ1586, from Rome (FCO/LIRF) to Cagliari (CAG/LIEE), brought to an end a 74-year history between Italy and the flag carrier. The final flight was carried out by one of their Airbus A320-216 aircraft, EI-DSV (MSN 3598)
It was a sad, bitter day for Alitalia employees, as most of whom will not be re-hired by ITA . The state-owned airline struggled with profitability but was always bailed out by the government. This financial support stopped in 2006 when the EU called an end to the practice, leaving the airline struggling. Over subsequent years Alitalia went through various failed investment deals as it attempted to cut costs, all in the face of looming bankruptcy and union strikes. Thursday was also an emotional day for many Italians who saw the now bankrupt airline and its iconic 'A' tail-wing logo as a symbol of national pride.

The Alitalia story began on the 16th September 1946, a year after the war, when Alitalia was established as Aerolinee Italiane Internazionali, funded by the Italian government and British European Airways (BEA) in a 60/40 share arrangement.

Alitalia was the flag carrier and largest airline of Italy. The company had its head office in Fiumicino, Rome. The airline was fully owned by the Government of Italy since the 17th March 2020. The airline launched operations on the 5th May 1947, with an inaugural flight from Turin Caselle (TRN/LIMF) to Catania (CTA/LICC) and Rome (FCO/LIRF).

The airline operated a fleet of Airbus A319, Airbus A320, Airbus A321, Airbus A330-200, and Boeing 777-200ER aircraft to over 34 scheduled domestic, European and intercontinental destinations. The airline operated from its main hub at Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport. The airline was a full member of SkyTeam alliance and it has codeshare agreements with 42 airlines. 
 Alitalia soon expanded to countries around Europe, while its first flight intercontinental flights launched in 1948, between Milan and South America. On the 31st October 1957 Alitalia merged with Linee Aeree Italiane and took on the name of Alitalia – Linee Aeree Italiane.
In 2018, the airline was the twelfth-largest airline in Europe.

The airline has been in extraordinary administration since 2017 following years of not turning a profit. On the 24th August 2021, Alitalia announced that it will cease flights on the 14th October 2021, and that passengers with tickets for later flights may reschedule on an earlier flight or request a refund. On the 15th October 2021, its operations and assets were transferred to ITA Airways, a new state-owned flag carrier.

ITA Airways, Italia Trasporto Aereo, is the new state-owned flag carrier of Italy. It was founded on the 11th November 2020 and commenced operations on the 15th October 2021
The airline is fully owned by the Government of Italy via their Ministry of Economy and Finance. 
The airline has taken over the assets of the former Italian flag carrier, Alitalia. 

ITA Airways Logo.png

As of 15 October 2021, ITA Airways operates the following aircraft:

Airbus A220  22* TBA Delivery starts in 2022, 15 leased from Air Lease Corporation, while 7 purchased directly from Airbus.
Airbus A319-100 18^    Taken over from Alitalia.
Airbus A320-200 27^ — 36* Taken over from Alitalia.
Airbus A320neo 13* TBA Delivery starts in 2022, 2 leased from Air Lease Corporation and 11 purchased from Airbus.
Airbus A321neo  9* TBA Delivery starts in 2022, all 9 leased from Air Lease Corporation.
Airbus A330-200 7^ — 20*   Taken over from Alitalia.
Airbus A330neo — 15* TBA Delivery starts in 2022, 5 leased from Air Lease Corporation and 10 purchased directly from Airbus.
Airbus A350-900 — 8* TBA Delivery starts in 2022, all 8 leased from Air Lease Corporation.
Total in service 52^
Total on order 67*

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Brand new budget airline to enter Australian market

Australia will get a new domestic airline from early next year when Bonza expects to take to the skies, taking advantage of an expected boom in air travel in a post-pandemic world. Bonza, which is backed by a US investment firm and headed by ex-Virgin Blue executive Tim Jordan, is promising “ultra low prices” to travel around the country in 2022.

“Bonza’s mission is to encourage more travel by providing more choices and ultra-low fares, particularly into leisure destinations where travel is now often limited to connections via major cities,” CEO and founder Jordan said. Bonza’s ambition is broad but it appears there will be a focus on regional communities, with new routes in the wings.

Jordan has more than 25 years of experience in the aviation industry and recently was managing director of FlyArystan, the first low-cost carrier in Central Asia. 

US investment firm 777 Partners is backing Bonza, which subject to regulatory approval expects to launch services in early 2022 with Boeing 737-8 aircraft.

“We see huge potential in the Australian market to deliver the benefits and options that an independent low fare airline brings,” 777 Partners managing partner Josh Wander said in a statement.

Bonza will sport white and purple livery on its aircraft and plans to base its headquarters in regional Australia, with the exact location yet to be revealed.

Australia is the only country out of the top 15 domestic aviation markets without an independent airline and the budget end of the local market has been moribund since the closure of low-cost airline Tigerair Australia, by parent company Virgin Australia, in September 2020.

Bonza chief executive Tim Jordan said that the airline would be one focused on Australia’s ‘tradies, teachers, kids and carers,’ and will concentrate on opening up new destinations rather than just concentrating on Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The majority of routes Bonza has identified are not currently offered by existing carriers.

“We’re for the everyday Australian...we won’t have the bells and whistles offering with lounges and frequent flyer programs,” Mr Jordan said.

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Qatar Airways seeks year-round Brisbane flights

The Gulf carrier wants to help connect Brisbane and Queensland to the rest of the world on a year-round basis.

QATAR BOEING 777-3DZ A7-BAE (MSN 36104)    File Photo

Qatar Airways hopes to permanently add Brisbane to its extensive network, based in part on the airline’s ongoing support of flights to and from Australia throughout the pandemic. The Gulf carrier’s flights between Doha and Brisbane have been operating on a temporary basis, but the airline has requested this be switched to a permanent arrangement allowing daily flights to the Queensland capital.

I hope that the government will rethink the request of Qatar Airways, keeping in mind that we were the only foreign carrier that was dedicated, even at a time that we were making losses on the route, to keep on connecting Australia to the outside world,” Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker tells Executive Traveller.

“Even though there were capacity restrictions and frequency restrictions, we continued our operations to serve the people of Australia, so our commitment was there not only in good times but also in bad times.”

The major obstacle to Qatar’s continued flying to Brisbane is a Government-imposed limit on its services to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane, and in particular that Qatar’s second daily Doha-Sydney service must extend to Canberra.
About that odd Canberra leg...

“The problem with Sydney is that if we fly the second daily frequency to Sydney, we have to extend it to Canberra” Al Baker explains.

This is a workaround which allows for doubly-daily Sydney flights if that extra flight continues to a ‘regional airport’ – a category which happens to include the airport for Australia’s capital city.

Qatar Airways began its Doha-Sydney-Canberra route in February 2018, but the schedule called for the aircraft to spend over five hours on the ground at Canberra before returning to Sydney and onwards to Doha.

“That is very uneconomical for us, because we also have to leave the aircraft there for an extended period of time, so this is a very big financial drain – and we have no other alternative because we can only operate two flights to Sydney if we extend one to Canberra.”

Statistics from the Australian Government’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport, and Regional Economics highlighted that in between July 2018-June 2019, the airline saw a load factor of just 12% on this Canberra leg. “We cannot bring passengers from Canberra to Sydney, we can only bring passengers in transit to carry them beyond Sydney from Canberra.”

“So we would like to drop it because connecting the capital to Sydney is a route that should be flown by Qantas.” Another factor in Qatar’s favour for continued flights to Brisbane is that Etihad Airways confirmed in October 2020 that it would no longer fly to the Queensland capital even after the pandemic shockwave subsides.

Brisbane was one of several “underperforming” destinations culled from Etihad’s network, in a decision the airline described as “a commercial one” made “as part of an ongoing review”.

Full story by David Flynn and sourced from here
Qatar Airways seeks year-round Brisbane flights - Executive Traveller

Monday, 11 October 2021

Plane carrying parachutists crashes, 16 killed

A Let L-410UVP-E3 aircraft carrying a group of parachute jumpers crashed after takeoff in the Russian region of Tatarstan early on Sunday, killing 16 people and injuring six, the Emergencies Ministry said.

The aircraft had just departed Menzelinsk Airport (UWKP) when at a height of 70 metres, the pilots reported that their left engine had failed and attempted an emergency landing near the city of Menzelinsk, trying to turn the plane leftward to avoid an inhabited area, the regional governor said. The aircraft was observed flying downwind until it descended and impacted the ground. It crashed onto a concrete wall segment and a pile of logs then the plane overturned, Tatarstan's governor Rustam Minnikhanov said. The aircraft had been carrying 20 parachutists and two crew members. Six people were in a serious condition, the Health Ministry said. The Let L-410 Turbolet twin-engine short-range transport aircraft was owned by an aeroclub in the city of Menzelinsk. The aeroclub declined to comment, citing a law enforcement investigation into the incident.

Aircraft Information:
Owner/Operator: DOSAAF
Aircraft: Let L-410UVP-E3
Registration: RF-94591
Serial Number: 871826

Thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends during this difficult time.

Sunday, 10 October 2021

Security incident' prompts plane evacuation at LaGuardia Airport: Passenger in custody

A plane carrying 80 passengers and crew has been evacuated on the runway at New York City’s LaGuardia airport after a report of a suspicious package caused an emergency landing. "An Embraer E75 regional jet operating as Republic Airlines Flight 4817 traveling from Indianapolis (IND/KIND) to New York landed safely at LaGuardia Airport (LGA/KLGA) at approximately 3:03 pm. local time after a security incident," the Federal Aviation Administration told Fox News in a statement. "All passengers are safely off the plane."

American Airlines, a Republic Airways partner, issued a statement confirming that an incident took place..

The possible security concern prompted an emergency landing at LaGuardia Airport and the arrest of a passenger aboard the plane, multiple agencies confirmed Saturday.

The plane made an emergency landing after passengers reported suspicious behavior from someone on board the flight, a Port Authority spokesperson said. The passenger was taken into custody for questioning but further details about the behavior were not immediately known. There is "no indication" of any substantial threat to the plane, the spokesperson confirmed. The passenger's "suspicious" behavior prompted the plane's pilot to radio ahead for an emergency and prepare officials to respond once the plane landed.

Video captured by a passenger and shared with NBC News firefighters attending to one person lying face down on the taxiway. 

Friday, 8 October 2021

Baby born on Air India flight from London

AIR INDIA B787-8 VT-ANR (MSN 36289)      File Photo

An Air India flight from London (LHR/EGLL) to Cochin (COK/VOCI) was diverted this week due to an uncommon event: a new passenger joining mid-air. On Tuesday, a woman onboard AI150 gave birth over the Black Sea, requiring the crew to divert to Frankfurt (FRA/EDDF) for essential medical care. Luckily, the flight had no shortage of experienced professionals, with two doctors and four nurses all joining the crew to complete a successful delivery.

According to The Times Of India, Air India flight AI150 from London Heathrow to Cochin became a lot more eventful than passengers expected. The Boeing 787-8 with 202 travelers onboard departed London at 13:33 local time, heading over continental Europe to make its way back home. However, just under three hours into the flight, a woman onboard went into labor.

The crew, trained to deal with pregnancies onboard, quickly jumped into action to assist the passenger. A call to the cabin also yielded six medical staff to take over the delivery, with two doctors and four nurses all coming forward. The baby was born just over the Black Sea and is reportedly healthy.

With the health of the mother and child as the top priority, the pilots decided to divert to Frankfurt instead of continuing to Cochin. The diversion took two hours to complete, with AI150 landing in Germany at 19:33 local time, five hours after first leaving London. In a statement, an AI spokesperson said,

“The human face of Air India was evident yet again as a lady passenger flying from Cochin to London went into labour mid-air. Our experienced cabin crew swung into action and identifying doctors on board sought their assistance to deliver the child…All onboard equipment were used, two first-aid kits and one physician’s kit. The baby and mother, who was seven months pregnant, are fine. The woman, newborn and one person travelling with her have alighted at Frankfurt.”

With the health of the mother and child as the top priority, the pilots decided to divert to Frankfurt instead of continuing to Cochin. The diversion took two hours to complete, with AI150 landing in Germany at 19:33 local time, five hours after first leaving London. In a statement, an AI spokesperson

Childbirths on flights remain a rare occurrence and airlines are generally strict about allowing pregnant women onboard in their last two months of the term. Restrictions vary across carriers, with some restricting travel at 28 weeks, while domestic airlines may allow up to 36 weeks. Some international flights also require a certificate proving the age to avoid onboard births.

However, premature deliveries or unclear information can lead to onboard deliveries. This is why cabin crew training includes childbirth, ensuring that at least some aid can be provided in this rare situation. A combination of this and a doctor onboard can help in safe delivery, although nowhere near the usual conditions of a hospital.

AI150 is now one of the many miracle flights that have added a passenger while in the skies. In late August, a Turkish Airlines evacuation flight from Afghanistan also saw a baby born onboard as did a domestic IndiGo flight in March. Our congratulations and best wishes to the mother and child!

Aircraft Information:
Airline: Air India
Code: AI/AIC
Aircraft: Boeing 787-8
Registration: VT-ANA
Serial Number:36273
First Flew: January 2014

Thursday, 7 October 2021

Qantas flies mega 14,673KM flight to Darwin

QANTAS B787-9 VH-ZNF (MSN 36239)       File Photo

A Qantas Dreamliner completed a record breaking flight from Buenos Aires (EZE/SAEZ) to Darwin (DRW/YPDN) yesterday, a 9,118 mile (14,673 kilometer) odyssey that took 17 hours - 26 minutes to complete. The flight is going into the record books as the longest ever commercial Qantas flight. VH-ZNH (MSN 36241) named the Great Barrier Reef took off from Buenos Aires’ Ezeiza International Airport at 12:44 local time on Tuesday.

                                                        Image - Flightradar24

The flight is slightly longer distance-wise than the marathon Perth-London flights Qantas operated until it suspended its international services in 2020. However, it is shorter than the occasional nonstop jaunt between London and Sydney Qantas has flown before. But those London-Sydney flights didn’t carry fare-paying passengers. Today’s flight to Darwin does.

But this is no regular flight. It is another one of the many repatriation flights Qantas runs on behalf of the Australian Government to get stranded Australians home. Nearly eighteen months after borders closed, that saga continues.

Onboard are fare-paying Australians. Some, who were in dire straits, were handpicked to fly by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Others bought tickets normally and had to position themselves at EZE to fly out on Tuesday.

The flight is interesting for a few reasons. It’s a long flight that will push the Dreamliner towards to limit of its capabilities. The journey overflies a part of the world that rarely sees aircraft. Finally, the flight’s arrival into Darwin rockets that small airport into haloed territory.

According to an Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) report on Wednesday morning, last nights arrival of QF14 saw Darwin join just three other airports that have ever received nonstop flights from all six continents. Those other airports are Doha, Dubai, and London.

Story sourced from here but with alterations:
Qantas Flies Mega 14,673KM Flight To Darwin - Simple Flying