Friday, 2 June 2023

Air New Zealand now weighing passengers before they board flights


Air New Zealand are now asking passengers to step on a scale before they board some flights out of Auckland International Airport, according to the airline.

The carrier is implementing the new boarding procedure in order to better balance weight across an aircraft on international flights, it said in a statement. Knowing an aircraft's weight is also key to calculating fuel consumption, while having more precise information about a traveler's weight can make for a safer flight, the airline said.

"They have nothing to worry about," Air New Zealand load control improvement specialist Alastair James assured passengers in a video announcing the measure, which is part of a periodic survey.

"For safety reasons, we need to know the weight of all items onboard the aircraft. For passengers, crew and carry on bags, we use average weights that we get every five years through this survey," Air New Zealand said in a statement.

The move complies with the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand's rules governing aircraft operations, which state that operators must establish "the total weight of passengers and their carry-on baggage."

"It's a regulatory requirement for us to know the weight of everything that goes on the aircraft. From the cargo to the meals on board to the luggage in the hold," James said in the video. "By weighing in, you'll be helping us fly safely and efficiently every time."

Notably, neither passengers themselves nor airline personnel can see a traveler's weight; rather, the number is fed directly into a computer and recorded anonymously. The data also isn't assigned to a passenger's name or profile in a database. Participation is entirely voluntary, according to Air New Zealand.

An Air New Zealand passenger steps on a scale to be weighed before a flight leaving from Auckland International Airport. Photo AIR NEW ZEALAND

The weighing process, which takes place at a plane's departure gate, will not delay any flights, the carrier said. In total, the airline in June will ask more than 10,000 customers traveling internationally to participate in the weight survey.

The first passengers were weighed on Monday as part of the survey, which will run through July 2. It's not the first time Air New Zealand has asked customers to step on the scale in the name of safety.

Customers flying domestically were also weighed in 2021, the airline said. "Now that international travel is back up and running, it's time for international flyers to weigh in."

Thursday, 1 June 2023

Budget airline Bonza eyes expansion, rules out cutting struggling routes


Four months on from Bonza's delayed launch, the budget airline is preparing to expand to a third base as it hopes to buck the trend of failed regional and low-cost carriers. The Sunshine Coast-based budget airline has been rolling out new routes since February and now flies to 17 mostly regional destinations, with 25 of the 27 routes not flown by other airlines.

Bonza's second hub is in Melbourne, but Bonza chief executive Tim Jordan said strong demand was causing the carrier to look for another base.

"We're certainly looking at growth opportunities in other bases, and also in existing bases, later this year," he said.

Australia has a history of budget and regional carriers that have failed, including Tigerair, JetGo, Compass and OzJet.

Veteran aviation analyst Peter Harbison said the key to low-cost airlines surviving was correcting mistakes quickly.

"You have to watch very, very closely whether something's working or not," he said.

"… There's only a limited period where you want to be losing money on a particular route."

Mr Harbison said Bonza was an "unusual" budget airline because it avoided busy routes such as Sydney to Melbourne in favour of regional destinations such as Mackay, Mildura and Coffs Harbour.

"They're generating new business basically," he said.

But he said it was hard to assess Bonza's progress because "there's not much transparency".

"You hear every now and again that this flight or that flight left nearly full, but they're keeping it pretty close to their chest," Mr Harbison said.

John Sharp, the deputy chairman of competing regional airline Rex, agreed it was hard to comment on Bonza because they were not a publicly listed company and did not publish their data.

A spokesman for Jetstar said the budget airline had been flying for 19 years and "remains committed to being Australia's low fares leader".

Based on available data, the ABC has calculated that Bonza's planes are about 75 per cent full on average, which is below the 90 per cent target set by Bonza's US owner.

In January, the 777 Partners founder Steve Pasko said the airline needed to operate at near-capacity to maintain profitability, which he predicted would come in the second year of flying.

Mr Harbison said the airline needed to expand to new routes to keep their planes in the air longer.

"If you can keep those aircraft flying for 12 to 15 hours a day, then the unit cost comes down considerably," he said.

"But if they don't have enough routes to fly the aircraft, then that unit cost goes up considerably, and so their break-even cost goes up."

Bonza is not yet selling tickets for flights past October, but Mr Jordan said the airline would release its schedule covering Christmas and the summer holidays "within weeks".

While some route frequency and timing will change, he sought to assure travellers that no routes would be "imminently" cut. "What we're trying to do is make sure that we give ourselves the maximum amount of time to learn … and then to reflect that in the schedule going forward," Mr Jordan

"It's unreasonable to judge markets when they've only been operating a number of weeks.

"We may need to add capacity or there may be too much capacity in certain areas."

Mr Jordan said the longer routes had generally been more popular than the shorter routes, which required convincing people to "break a habit" of driving.

Analyst Mr Harbison nominated Newcastle as an option for Bonza's third hub because the region had a "big catchment".

"It's certainly an ideal spot," he said.

"… Because it does tap that whole Hunter region as well as Northern Sydney all the way up the Central Coast."

A spokesperson for Newcastle Airport said they would "welcome any conversation around establishing airline bases at our airport".

"We look forward to supporting Bonza to grow, and we will welcome conversations to form a strategic partnership when the time comes," the spokesperson said.

Bonza has previously ruled out flying to Sydney Airport because the fees are way too expensive and landing slots are too scarce.

Story sourced from here
Sunshine Coast budget airline Bonza eyes expansion, rules out cutting struggling routes - ABC News

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

Qantas offers free WiFi but with a catch (of course)


From next Tuesday, Qantas will offer free high-speed Wi-Fi on selected international flights, but only while the aircraft is flying over Australia. The news is the first step toward the national carriers' goal of having an international fleet of Wi-Fi enabled aircraft by the end of 2025.

The initial selection of flights will see specific A330-200 and Boeing 737’s on nine routes providing the option of inflight Wi-Fi. Selected routes include Sydney to Singapore, Jakarta, Manila and Denpasar as well as Melbourne to Singapore and Denpasar, plus Brisbane to Singapore and Port Moresby and Perth to Singapore.

The routes have been selected because of their flight paths, which operate over Australia for more than half of the journey.

In March, Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce revealed the national carrier was aiming for a late 2025 launch of free Wi-Fi on international flights, with a number of new Wi-Fi enabled A350-1000’s due to be delivered and noted the airline wanted to ensure the service was a good as what was rolled out on domestic flights in 2017.

“Qantas’ decision makes plenty of sense when aircraft on these routes spend so much of their time over Australia and within the coverage footprint of the NBN Sky Muster satellite,” editor-in-chief, Executive Traveller, David Flynn, told the Australian.

“Flights from the east coast capitals to Singapore spend half their time in Australian airspace, and from Sydney or Melbourne to Bali that’s almost two-thirds of the journey.”

“Travellers have increasingly become accustomed to Wi-Fi on international flights, whether it’s to tackle work, watch streaming video or simply stay in touch with family and friends on the ground.”

Tuesday, 30 May 2023

Asiana Airlines will stop selling seats near emergency exit


Asiana Airlines has announced it will no longer sell tickets for certain emergency exit seats of its Airbus A321-200 aircraft, the airline said Sunday, following a recent incident where a passenger opened the emergency door just before it was about to land at Daegu airport in the southern part of South Korea.

The airline said in a statement that seats number 26A on 174-seat A321s and number 31A on 195-seat
models will not be sold, the seats are near the center of the plane, closest to the doors on the left-hand side of the single-aisle aircraft. This measure is a safety precaution and applies even if the flight is full," the statement said. The corresponding seat on the right-hand side is where flight attendants sit for takeoff
and landing.

A very strange action every taken by an airline to solve an odd, strange incident.

Qantas Farewells Australia's First Boeing 717

Yesterday Qantas marked an end of an era saying goodbye to it's very first Boeing 717.


VH-NXI (Previously VH-IMP) was the first 717 registered in Australia and holds a special place in the Qantas Group's modern history. This aircraft was rolled out of the Boeing Long Beach plant in November 1999 and entered onto the Australian Aircraft Register on the 6th of April 2000, 
joining the fleet of Impulse Airlines and carrying registration VH-IMP (MSN 55054-5013).
It was powered by 2 BMW Rolls Royce RB715A-130 engines.
It operated its first revenue service on the 5th of June 2000

Following the takeover of Impulse Airlines, the 717-200 moved into the QantasLink fleet in May 2001 before joining the Jetstar fleet, operating the new airline's first flight in May 2004.
In January 2006 it was reregistered as VH-NXI and for the last sixteen years, the 717-200, named Blue Mountains after the world-heritage-listed national park in New South Wales, has flown on regional and domestic routes for QantasLink. Over two decades, it has operated more than 29,000 flights and carried more than 1.6 million passengers for Qantas and Jetstar.

Over the coming years their entire 717 fleet will be retired, with the Airbus A220-300 set to replace the outgoing jets, starting with the first delivery later this year.

This aircraft is the third Boeing 717 to leave the fleet and is due to leave Australia in mid-June before being sold to another major carrier. Qantas said that, because of the aircraft's limited range, it will have eight fuel stops on its journey to its new home in North America, including stops in the Philippines, Japan and Alaska.

All of QantasLink's twenty 717s are being replaced by 29 Airbus A220s as part of the Qantas Project Winton fleet renewal program. The first A220 is expected to arrive later this year, and then the first of 20 Airbus A321XLRs will follow in late 2024.

Monday, 29 May 2023

Qantaslink 1737 Hijacking


QantasLink Flight 1737 was an Australian domestic flight from Melbourne's-Tullamarine Airport, VIC (MEL/YMML) to Launceston Airport, TAS (LST/YMLT) and was subject to an attempted hijacking on the 29th of May 2003.

The Boeing 717 left Melbourne Airport at 2.50 p.m. on the 29th of May. Around ten minutes after take-off, as the crew prepared for the onboard meal service, David Mark Robinson, a passenger seated in Row 7, became agitated, stood up and began to make his way down the aisle. Producing two sharpened wooden stakes from his pocket, Robinson stabbed flight attendant Denise Hickson and flight purser Greg Khan in the head on his way to the cabin galley. Khan tackled Robinson to unbalance him, eventually succeeding despite repeated blows to the back of the head from Robinson's stakes. Several passengers (including a Canadian paramedic, Derek Finlay) helped restrain Robinson, holding him down and tying him up with materials found on board.

The plane immediately turned back to Melbourne, where Robinson was placed under arrest by Australian Federal Police. He was also found to be carrying aerosol cans and cigarette lighters, presumably to use as a flamethrower.

Khan and Hickson were taken to Royal Melbourne Hospital for treatment, and a passenger who received minor lacerations was treated at the airport by paramedics.

Despite numerous security improvements following the September 11, attacks, Flight 1737 lacked certain security arrangements. The door to the flightdeck had not been adapted to completely block access from the outside, and there was no sky marshal on board.

Qantas undertook a full security review following the incident and promised to secure the flightdeck doors on all of their aircraft by the 1st of November. The airline dismissed the suggestion of armed sky marshals on each flight as too expensive, and a full body search of passengers to detect wooden objects as unfeasible.

Qantas also made a training video regarding the incident; the crew involved were interviewed and this is shown during security training. Khan also speaks of how a passenger complained that the aircraft was returning to Melbourne, even though two crew members had suffered serious injuries and an attempt to hijack the aircraft had just occurred. Khan and other crew also report the amount of blood stains throughout the aircraft as a result of the injuries.

Since this incident, all Boeing 717 aircraft operated by Qantaslink have been fitted with cameras and the flight deck door is bullet proof.

Aircraft Information:
Airline: Qantaslink
Code: QF/QFA
Aircraft: Boeing 717-231
Registration: VH-VQI
Serial Number: 55095
Engines: 2 x BMW RR BR715
First Flew: 7/11/2011
Age: 21 Yrs. 6 Mts

Sunday, 28 May 2023

Passenger arrested for opening plane door during flight


A man has been arrested for opening a door of an Asiana Airlines flight as it was landing in South Korea. All 194 passengers survived the flight, which landed safely but with its door still open at Daegu International Airport on Friday. Some passengers fainted while others had breathing problems and were taken to hospital, local media reported.

The man in his 30s said he was feeling suffocated and wanted to get off quickly, Yonhap news agency reported. Police said the man claimed during questioning that he was stressed after losing his job.

"He is mentally struggling right now and losing his footing. We could not investigate him properly due to his state," a local police officer told reporters, adding that the man could not be asked any questions as he was not "in a normal state".

Flight OZ8124 had taken off from Jeju Island (CJU/RKPC) on Friday from runway 07 at 11.48 a.m. local time (03:48 GMT). As it was landing, around fifty minutes later on runway 13R, in Daegu (TAE/RKTN) a male passenger opened the emergency door while the plane was still 250m from ground.

A passenger's video shared on social media shows the gap in the left hand side of the plane and winds buffeting rows of seated passengers. Flight attendants had not been able to stop him because the plane was about to land, witnesses recounted to local media.

They said the man had also tried to jump out of the plane after opening the door. Passengers have described the panic on board.

"It was chaos with people close to the door appearing to faint one by one and flight attendants calling out for doctors on board through broadcasting," one 44-year-old passenger told Yonhap.

"I thought the plane was blowing up. I thought I was going to die like this," he added.

Several school age children had also been on board, on their way to a weekend sporting event. The mother of one of the students told Yonhap: "The children were shaking, crying, and frightened."

Aircraft Information:
Airline: Asian Airlines
Code: OZ/AAR
Aircraft: Airbus A321-231 
Registration: HL-8256
Serial Number: 5169
Engines: 2 x IAE V2533-A5
First Flew: 18/05/2012
Age: 11 Yrs