Tuesday 31 March 2020

Qatar calls into Brisbane for now

As the worlds airlines are winding down and laying off staff  QATAR airways has increased its flights into Australia thanks to the Australian government asking them to increase their flights for the next few weeks performing repatriation flights. Yesterday a QATAR 777 landed in Brisbane direct from Doha for the first time ever.

QATAR B777-3DZ A7-BES (CN 64089)

I mentioned in a post a few days ago, Qatar Airways would be adding an extra 48,000 seats on services from Doha to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane starting the 29th March until mid-April. The airline said it has put on the extra capacity to help bring people home.
The Oneworld member launched Brisbane-Doha flights at the same time using a Boeing 777-300ER. However, Brisbane is – for now – only a short-term addition, with flights running through to mid-April. Qatar was able to make the move after the Australian government relaxed a long-standing treaty that limited the number of services it could provide.

While I was at the airport I thought I would drive around and have a look at the aircraft parked up.

Monday 30 March 2020

Plane explodes on take-off

Just heard this on the news, this is so sad..
A medical supply plane travelling from Manila-Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL/RPLL) Philippine to Tokyo-Haneda Airport (HND/RJTT), Japan has crashed while taking off from Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila last night, killing all eight on board. All passengers on board Lion Air Flight RPC 5880 died after the plane caught fire as it was taking off from the airport. An American and Canadian were on board the flight, according to the flight's passenger manifest. The other six on board were Filipino. This consisted of three medical personnel, three flight crew, a patient and a companion,  The plane was also carrying medical supplies and was about to take off when the plane caught fire on the runway.
Indonesian carrier Lion Air has no affiliation and is unrelated to Manila-based Lionair.

Aircraft Information
Airline: Lionair Inc.
Aircraft: IAI 1124A Westwind II
Registration: RP-C5880
Serial Number: 353


Sunday 29 March 2020

QANTAS makes heartbreaking descsion to retire 747 fleet early

QANTAS B747-438 VH-OJM (CN 25245) 

Qantas announced last year they would be retiring the "Queen of the skies" late 2020 but then extended that retirement to February 2021. Due to the covid 19 virus, which has hit the airline industry very hard, with passenger demand dropping to unprecedented levels and ban travel to and from their nations in an effort to curb the spread of the virus, Qantas has decided to retire the remaining 5 aircraft as of tonight.
Qantas has been an operator of the Boeing 747 since 1971 when it received its first 747-238 (VH-EBA CN 2009) in September that year, and has operated every version of the aircraft except for the 747-8. The airline is also the sole customer of the extended range variant 747-400ER, of which it operated six aircraft until its retirement today. The 747-400ER could fly 500 nm / 925 km farther than the standard -400 model, and it allowed Qantas to operate Melbourne to Los Angeles flights with a fully loaded aircraft, where the conventional 747-400 would have had to operate with restricted weights for such a distance. Qantas retired its last standard Boeing 747-438 in October 2019. VH-OJU (CN 25566) was the aircraft and it was delivered to Qantas on the 24th January 2000 . The 747 has no direct replacement in its fleet in terms of capacity, but that may change with Project Sunrise, when the airline wants to introduce Airbus A350-1000 into its fleet. Most of the 747 routes have been replaced with Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.
Qantas' last 747 flight was tonight, QF28 from Santiago de Chile (SCL/SCEL) to Sydney (SYD/YSSY) and was operated Boeing 747-406ER (VH-OEE CN 32909) a 17 year old aircraft.

QANTAS B747-438 VH-OEE (CN 32909)

My family and I had the pleasure of flying on her from Dallas to Brisbane back in December 2013.

This plane was the test plane for the Boeing 747-400ER. However, this was the second Boeing 747-400ER delivered to Qantas. Qantas has operated the iconic Boeing 747 for almost fifty years. The last Qantas 747 flight to London was in 2010 and to San Francisco was in early December 2019. The fleet was sold to an unknown buyer a few days ago and will ferry to Mojave in California in the upcoming weeks.

The remaining 5 that retired today were
747-438ER VH-OEE 32909 06/12/2002 Named Nullarbor
747-438ER VH-OEG 32911 20/12/2002 Named Parkes
747-438ER VH-OEH 32912 09/02/2003 Named Hervey Bay
747-438ER VH-OEI 32913 26/06/2003 Named Ceduna
747-438ER VH-OEJ 32914 30/07/2003 Named Wunala

Below are some of the different liveries Qantas has worn in the past

QANTAS B747-438ER VH-OEF (CN 32910)

QANTAS B747-438ER VH-OEI (CN 32913)

QANTAS B747-438ER VH-OEJ (CN 32914) 



QANTASB747-438 VH-OJO (CN 25544)

QANTAS B747-438 VH-OJS (CN 25564)

QANTAS B747-438 VH-OJU (CN 25566)

QANTAS B747-48E VH-OEB (CN 25778)

Saturday 28 March 2020

QATAR Airways increases capacity to Australia - adds Brisbane.

QATAR A350-1000 A7-ANB (CN 102)       File Photo

Qatar Airways will add an extra 48,000 seats on services from Doha to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane from 29th March until mid-April.
The airline said it has put on the extra capacity to help bring people home, and includes its first-ever flights to Brisbane.
The Oneworld member will launch Brisbane-Doha flights at the same time using a Boeing 777-300ER. However, Brisbane is – for now – only a short-term addition, with flights running through to mid-April. Qatar was able to make the move after the Australian government relaxed a long-standing treaty that limited the number of services it could provide.

The business will now operate the following flights:
  • Daily service to Brisbane (Boeing 777-300ER)
  • Double daily service to Perth (Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER)
  • Double daily service to Melbourne (Airbus A350-1000 and Boeing 777-300ER)
  • Triple daily service to Sydney (Airbus A350-1000 and Boeing 777-300ER)

QR912, will depart Doha daily at 10:00 pm and arrive in Brisbane at 5:20 pm the next day. The return flight, QR913, will leave Brisbane at 9:20 pm and arrive in Doha at 5:20 am the next morning. Doha’s Hamad International Airport is still allowing transit, something which is allowing the national carrier to keep flying. It’s likely to be a PR boon for the controversial country, which owns the carrier. Citizens in both Australia and Qatar are required to self-isolate for 14 days after landing, in light of corona virus. Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker said, “We know there are many people who want to be with their families and loved ones during this difficult time. “We are thankful to the Australian government, airports and staff for their support in helping us to add additional flights to get people home, and in particular, to bring flights to Brisbane. “We continue to operate around 150 daily flights to more than 70 cities worldwide. Sometimes governments put in place restrictions that mean we simply cannot fly to a country. We are working closely with governments around the world, and wherever possible we will reinstate or add more flights.”

Here's how Qatar Airways' amplified Australian schedule shapes up, with new flights marked in bold.
  • QR907: Sydney (3.50pm) to Doha (11.45pm) - Boeing 777-300ER
  • QR999: Sydney (8.45pm) to Doha (5.05am) - Boeing 777-300ER
  • QR909: Sydney (9.15pm) to Doha (5.30am) - Airbus A350-1000
  • QR906: Doha (9.15am) to Sydney (6.30am) - Boeing 777-300ER
  • QR998: Doha (7pm) to Sydney (4.25pm) - Boeing 777-300ER
  • QR908: Doha (8.30pm) to Sydney (5.55pm) - Airbus A350-1000
  • QR905: Melbourne (9.35pm) to Doha (5.25am) - Airbus A350-1000
  • QR995: Melbourne (3pm) to Doha (10.50pm) - Boeing 777-300ER
  • QR994: Doha (9.05am) to Melbourne (6am) - Boeing 777-300ER
  • QR904: Doha (8.35pm) to Melbourne (5.30pm) - Airbus A350-1000
  • QR912: Doha (10pm) to Brisbane (5.20pm) - Boeing 777-300ER
  • QR913: Brisbane (9.20pm) to Doha 5.20am) - Boeing 777-300ER
  • QR905: Perth (10.45pm) to Doha (5.35am) - Airbus A380
  • QR991: Perth (3.45pm) to Doha (10.35pm) - Boeing 777-300ER
  • QR900: Doha (1.50am) to Perth (6.20pm) - Airbus A380
  • QR990: Doha (8.40pm) to Perth (1.10pm) - Boeing 777-300ER

The British High Commissioner to New Zealand, Laura Clarke says in an email to British nationals stuck in New Zealand that Qatar Airways has also added additional flights from Auckland to the UK via Doha.
Singapore Airlines has also agreed to operate a one-off flight on the Auckland-Singapore-London route on Sunday, Clarke writes in the email. As Singapore is currently closed to transit passengers, travellers will have to remain on the flight.

Most part of the story sourced from here

Friday 27 March 2020

KLM / Pan Am incident - 43 Yrs on

KLM B747-406 PH-BFH (CN 24518)                 File Photo

On the 27th March 1977, 43 years ago today, two Boeing 747 passenger jets, KLM Flight 4805 and Pan Am Flight 1736, collided on the runway at Los Rodeos Airport on the Spanish island of Tenerife, killing 583 people, and making it the deadliest accident in aviation history. 61 passengers survived the accident. KLM had 248 POB (234 Pax and 14 crew) Pan Am had 396 POB (380 Pax and 16 crew, 335 Pax died 61 survived). At 12:30pm a bomb explodes in the Las Palmas passenger terminal. Because of warnings of a possible second bomb, the airport was closed. A large number of flights were diverted to Tenerife. Like KLM Flight 4805 from Amsterdam and PanAm Flight 1736 from Los Angeles and New York. Las Palmas Airport re-opened to traffic again at 15:00. Because the PanAm passengers remained on aboard it was possible to leave Tenerife at once. The taxiways were congested by other aircraft however. This meant the PanAm crew had to backtrack on runway 12 for take-off on runway 30. The entrance to runway 12 however, was blocked by the KLM Boeing. The PanAm flight had to wait for almost 2 hours before all KLM passengers had reboarded and refuelling had taken place. The KLM flight was then cleared to backtrack runway 12 and make a 180deg. turn at the end. Three minutes later (at 17:02) Pan Am 1736 was cleared to follow the KLM aircraft and backtrack runway 12. The PanAm crew were told to leave the runway at the third taxiway and report leaving the runway. At 17:05:44 KLM 4805 reported ready for take-off and was given instructions for a Papa beacon departure. The KLM crew repeated the instructions and added "We are now at take-off". The brakes were released and KLM 4805 started the take-off roll. Tenerife tower, knowing that Pan Am 1736 was still taxiing down the runway replied "OK ...... Stand by for take-off, I will call you." This message coincided with the PanAm crew's transmission "No ... uh we're still taxiing down the runway, the Clipper 1736". These communications caused a shrill noise in the KLM cockpit, lasting approx. 3.74 seconds. Tenerife tower replied: "Papa Alpha 1736 report runway clear.", whereupon the Pan Am crew replied: "OK, will report when we're clear". This caused some concerns with the KLM flight engineer asking the captain: "Is he not clear then?" After repeating his question the captain answers emphatically: "Oh, yes". A number of second before impact the KLM crew saw the PanAm Boeing still taxiing down the runway. The crew tried to climb away and became airborne after a 65 feet tail drag in an excessive rotation. The PanAm crew immediately turned the aircraft to the left and applied full power. The KLM aircraft was airborne, but the fuselage skidded over the PanAm's aft fuselage, destroying it and shearing off the tail. The KLM aircraft flew on and crashed out of control 150 m further on, sliding another 300 m bursting into flames.


"The KLM aircraft had taken off without take-off clearance, in the absolute conviction that this clearance had been obtained, which was the result of a misunderstanding between the tower and the KLM aircraft. This misunderstanding had arisen from the mutual use of usual terminology which, however, gave rise to misinterpretation. In combination with a number of other coinciding circumstances, the premature take-off of the KLM aircraft resulted in a collision with the Pan Am aircraft, because the latter was still on the runway since it had missed the correct intersection." KLM Flight 4805 was a charter flight for Holland International Travel Group and had arrived from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Netherlands. Its captain was Jacob Veldhuyzen van Zanten, age 50. At the time of the accident, Veldhuyzen van Zanten was KLM's chief flight instructor, with 11,700 flight hours, of which 1,545 hours were on the 747. The first officer was Klaas Meurs, age 42. At the time of the accident, Meurs had 9,200 flight hours, of which 95 hours were on the 747. Flight engineer was Willem Schreuder, age 48. At the time of the accident, Schreuder had 15,210 flight hours, of which 540 hours were on the 747. The aircraft was a Boeing 747-206B, registration PH-BUF, named Rijn (Rhine). The KLM jet was carrying 14 crew members and 234 passengers, including 52 children. Most of the KLM passengers were Dutch, while also on board were 4 Germans, 2 Austrians and 2 Americans. After the aircraft landed at Tenerife, the passengers were transported to the airport terminal. One of the inbound passengers, who lived on the island with her partner, chose not to re-board the 747, leaving 234 passengers on board.

Pan Am Flight 1736 had originated at Los Angeles International Airport, with an intermediate stop at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). The aircraft was a Boeing 747-121, registration N736PA, named Clipper Victor. Of the 380 passengers (mostly of retirement age, but including two children), 14 had boarded in New York, where the crew was also changed. The new crew consisted of captain Victor Grubbs, age 56, first officer Robert Bragg, age 39, flight engineer George Warns, age 46, and 13 flight attendants.
At the time of the accident, captain Grubbs had 21,043 hours of flight time, of which 564 hours were on the 747. First officer Bragg had 10,800 flight hours, of which 2,796 hours were on the 747. Flight engineer Warns had 15,210 flight hours, of which 559 hours were on the 747.

Aircraft 1 Information
Aircraft: Boeing 747-206B
Operator: KLM
Flight Number: 4805
Registration: PH-BUF
Serial Number: 20400
First Flew: 14/9/1971
Age: 6 yrs

Aircraft 2 Information
Aircraft: Boeing 747-121
Operator: Pan Am
Flight Number: 1736
Registration: N736PA
Serial Number: 19643
First Flew: 24/12/1969
Age: 8 yrs
Story sourced from Wikipedia

Thursday 26 March 2020

Qantas A380 makes historic flight

QANTAS A380-842 VH-OQL (CN 74)           File Photo

You might think the time for record-breaking flights is over, with airlines and airports across the world grinding to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But by a strange twist of fate, Qantas will -- for a matter of days -- be running the first-ever A380 passenger flight between Australia and London.
So how did this come about?

Switcheroo on the Kangaroo

Qantas will be suspending all its international flights by the end of March, with its flagship QF1 "Kangaroo Route" from Sydney to London via Singapore making its last departure from Sydney on March 26, reports Executive Traveller.  However, Singapore Changi Airport will be banning transit passengers from March 24, leaving Qantas in a bit of a pickle.  So, in a switcheroo on the Kangaroo Route, Qantas will now be doing a 90-minute fuel stop at Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory instead, before flying the 16-plus hours on to London. It's the first time that Darwin and London will be linked by a direct service -- but not the first time Darwin's been a stop on this prestigious route.
As chance would have it, Darwin was a stop on the original Kangaroo Route in the 1930s, which took 37 days and included 10 stops.  "The return fare was about £400 -- the equivalent of two years' minimum wages, making the journey very much one reserved for the rich and famous," Geoffrey Thomas, editor-in-chief of AirlineRatings, told CNN Travel in 2017.  Darwin falls on the most direct path from Sydney to London, making it ideally positioned for the quick stopover before the 17-hour flight onwards to London.  Qantas' last fight on the returning QF2 flight from London to Sydney via Darwin will take off March 27, landing the next day.

Goodbye to the superjumbo

Qantas is grounding all 150 of its planes until at least the end of May, including their 12 A380s. However, with Airbus ceasing production of the superjumbo by 2021, and airlines already retiring those in their fleet, it could well be the last chance for passengers to ride in one of Qantas' red-tailed A380s, notes the One Mile At A Time aviation website.  Although the double-decker megajet was a consumer favorite, "The 380 was a bad business decision in the first place," explains Kenneth Button, professor of public policy at George Mason University.  "Boeing had it right when it argued that more passengers wanted direct flights rather than going via large hubs linked by superjumbos and getting to/from the hubs by single-aisle planes -- which was what Airbus thought would happen.
"Hence the 787 with medium capacity, fuel economy and long-range (and ability to be used in a freighter context) triumphed," he tells CNN Travel.  Qantas has been involved in a few remarkable aviation moments in recent times. Last November, Flight QF7879 from London to Sydney became the world's longest passenger flight by a commercial airline both for distance, at 17,800 kilometers (about 11,060 miles), and for duration in the air, at 19 hours and 19 minutes.
While in March 2018, a Qantas jet made the first direct flight from Australia to the UK, a Boeing Dreamliner voyaging from Perth to London.
These Darwin-London flights might not be such legendary aviation moments, but they are another strange twist in what is a very tumultuous time for the industry.

Full story sourced from here

Sunday 22 March 2020

Australian couple pays $28,000 to LATAM to get home

LATAM B787-9 CC-BGC (CN 35321)                  File Photo

I read this story this morning and immediately thought this is gouging at its worst.

An Australian couple was forced to spend $28,000 to fly home from South America after the Australian government raised its travel warning and they faced being stranded overseas. Donna Parkin and Mike O'Connor had just spent a month-long holiday of a lifetime in Antarctica, Argentina, Brazil and Peru when they missed a connecting flight from Santiago, Chile, back to Sydney. With Chile threatening to seal its borders and both the Latin American airline LATAM and Qantas, through whom they'd booked on its codeshare, refusing to honour their existing business class tickets and slashing overseas flights, they realised they had no choice but to splurge on the only seats left on the last plane out. They finally made it back on Thursday. "I was almost physically sick when they told me how much we'd have to pay for new tickets to get home," said Parkin, 58, who runs her own PR agency in Brisbane. "We'd already paid $13,500 for our existing tickets that we'd booked through Qantas, but they said they wouldn't honour them. They just didn't care. But the DFAT warning had already come out to tell us to get home, and Chile was closing, so we knew it was our last chance." The couple's nightmare began when the second flight of their mammoth trip back to Australia, from Lima, Peru, arrived an hour late in the Chilean capital. They had less than 40 minutes to make the connecting flight to Auckland and onto Sydney, but the clerk at the ticket counter said there was a problem with their tickets. The friends they were travelling with, on tickets bought at the same time as theirs, were let through and made the flight. But by the time the clerk said their tickets were fine, and they'd have to run to the gate to make it, the flight had already closed. They allege they were later told that their flight was overbooked, so suspect it may even have been a deliberate plot to delay them. "And they told us our luggage would have been offloaded but, when we went to pick it up, we discovered that it had gone on to Sydney without us," said Parkin. "That is never meant to happen. "Then they put us in a hotel and told us we'd be contacted about the next flight. But when no one contacted us, we made our own way back to the airport and then found out that we weren't on the flight. "We were only on standby and there were 15 other people all hoping to get on the flight too, and only two seats – both business class – left on the flight." The airline then told them they'd have to pay $28,000 to secure those two seats, as their existing business class tickets were no longer valid and they wouldn't be honouring them. By then the pair had heard about the highest-ever travel advisory being issued for Australia as a result of the Coronavirus, telling people to come home as soon as possible. In addition, they read that LATAM was cutting the number of its flights by 70 per cent, and Qantas was slashing 90 per cent of its overseas flights. They also understood Chile was about to close its borders in a bid to help stop the spread of the virus. "We knew then there was a good chance if we didn't get out, we risked being stranded there for an indefinite time," said Parkin. "It would be so hard to get to Australia if we didn't get out straight away. "So we had to pay up all that money, on top of what we'd already paid, and then buy a Jetstar ticket to get to Brisbane. It was horrible, and knowing that the airlines didn't seem to care at all. "But we felt as if we had no choice. And now we are faced with the struggle of trying to get that money back."

Full story sourced from here

Saturday 21 March 2020

Virgin Australia suspends international flights and scales back domestic network

VIRGIN AUSTRALIA B777-3ZG VH-VPE (CN 37939)         File Photo

Virgin Australia, like most of the airlines around the world, announced it would suspend all international flights and slash domestic flights through to at least the 14th June. The carrier’s draw-down came shortly after Qantas, (Australia’s largest carrier) made a similar move a few days ago. In a statement, Virgin Australia said the cuts are “in response to expanded government travel restrictions and increased impacts from COVID-19 on travel demand.”

“We have entered an unprecedented time in the global aviation industry,” Virgin Australia CEO and managing director Paul Scurrah said.

That has required us to take significant action to responsibly manage our business while balancing traveller demands and supporting the wellbeing of Australians. As a result, Virgin Australia has made the decision to temporarily suspend all international services from the 30th March to the 14th June – including its inaugural Brisbane to Haneda service – grounding the equivalent of 53 aircraft, the airline said. Domestic operations, which account for 88 per cent of passengers and 78 per cent of Virgin Australia’s revenue, have been cut by 50 per cent. Scurrah advised the airline would maintain most domestic routes and instead focus on reducing frequencies in its flying schedule. Between now and 29 March, Virgin Australia said it would operate a reduced international schedule to allow Australians and visitors to return home, with the group to work closely with the federal government to prioritise these journeys. Virgin Australia said it would also aim to avoid redundancies by fast-tracking accrued leave, leave without pay and redeployment, but said in some cases job losses would be the outcome.
This is taken from the Virgin Australia website

This page provides the latest information on travel restrictions and flight cancellations.

For information on how to cancel or rebook your flight, please head to our Customer Hub here.

Travel Restrictions

We recommend all passengers travelling internationally to check the latest information and advice on the relevant Government websites. The Australian Government information is available at the Border Force website, Department of Health website and Smartraveller.
  • The Australian Government has announced a travel ban prohibiting entry into Australia for non-Australian citizens and non-permanent residents from 9:00pm AEDT on Friday 20 March 2020. This applies to passengers who have boarded a flight inbound to Australia after 9:00pm AEDT on this day. 
  • The Australian Government has increased the travel advice for all Australians to Level 4 – Do Not Travel Overseas. 
  • Both of the above measures are indefinite, and you can find more information on the Smartraveller website here. 
  • The Australian Government has advised that domestic travel remains low-risk.
  • The Tasmanian Government has announced new travel restrictions, requiring all non-essential travellers to self-isolate for 14 days upon entry into Tasmania. This applies to passengers arriving into Tasmania after midnight on Friday 20 March 2020.
  • For the latest advice regarding travel to Tasmania, please visit the Tasmanian Government website and the Smartraveller website.

It added that affected customers would be contacted about new booking options by email, and will be prioritized in order of departure date. Virgin Australia also released a list of flights since the 5th March that have had passengers onboard who later tested positive for coronavirus and this list can be found here.

Tuesday 17 March 2020

Spotting at Sydney Airport

This the first time this year I have been to Sydney on business and might be the last time for a while as this Corona Virus keeps spreading. So finishing work at 4.30pm I headed to the airport, there was no one on the roads as the trip normally takes me 35-45 mins from work to the airport. Today it took me 23 minutes, I also noticed how quiet the airport was... there was very little movements.


QATAR A350-1041 A7-AND (CN 102)

QANTAS A330-303 VH-QPF (CN 0595)

QANTAS B737-838 VH-XZF (CN 39370)

CESSNA 510 VH-PWX (CN 510-0269)

QANTAS A380-842 VH-OQB (CN 015)

QANTAS A330-202 VH-EBN (CN 1094)


EMIRATES B777-31H A6-EGC (CN 35596)

ETIHAD B777-3FX A6-ETL (CN39687)



TIGERAIR B737-838 VH-VUD (CN 34015)

JETSTAR A320-232 VH-VQQ (CN 2537)



AIR NEW ZEALAND B777-219 ZK-OKG (CN 29403)

SINGAPORE B777-312 9V-SWO (CN 34580)

QANTAS B747-438 VH-OEH (CN 32912)

JETSTAR B787-8 VH-VKG (CN 36232)


ATLAS AIR B747-87U N865GT (37561)

QATAR A380-861 A7-API (CN 235)

UPS B747-44A N574UP (CN 35663)

Hi FLY A340-313 CS-TQY (CN 0190)


ETIHAD A380-861 A6-APB (CN 170)

FEDEX B777-FS2 N856FD (CN 37727)