Sunday 31 May 2020

LATAM Airlines files for bankruptcy

LATAM B787-9 CC-BGC (CN 35321)

LATAM Airlines has become the latest airline to file for bankruptcy during the COVID-19 travel shutdown, as the company embarks on a reorganisation of the business. The circumstances of the LATAM bankruptcy are similar to those of Virgin Australia as well as Avianca, one of South America’s other major airlines. The airline has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States, which allows the company to continue operating and prevents creditors from seizing assets while the business is restructured. LATAM Airlines says that it plans to continue operations as normal, despite the bankruptcy, as soon as travel restrictions in South America are lifted and demand returns. It is currently operating just 5% of its usual flights due to COVID-19. The LATAM Airlines Group is made up of various affiliates based in different countries. LATAM’s entities in Chile, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and the United States are included in the bankruptcy filing. But LATAM’s affiliates in Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay are not subject to the bankruptcy proceedings. “We have implemented a series of difficult measures to mitigate the impact of this unprecedented industry disruption, but ultimately this path represents the best option to lay the right foundation for the future of our airline group. We are looking ahead to a post-COVID-19 future and are focused on transforming our group to adapt to a new and evolving way of flying, with the health and safety of our passengers and employees being paramount,” LATAM Airlines CEO Roberto Alvo said. LATAM says that current and future bookings will continue to be honoured, and that travel vouchers and frequent flyer miles & benefits are safe. LATAM also says that travel agencies and commercial partners will not experience any disruptions, and that they will continue to issue vouchers for cancelled flights. But many LATAM customers have had difficulty getting a refund for flights cancelled due to COVID-19; this is unlikely to make it easier for customers to access refunds. LATAM Airlines has set up a dedicated website with information for customers, employees, partners and suppliers about the business reorganisation.
LATAM Airlines was a member of the Oneworld alliance but left at the start of this month after Delta Air Lines purchased a stake in the Latin American carrier. LATAM Airlines remains a Qantas Frequent Flyer partner.

Saturday 30 May 2020

Trans-Tasman bubble could open September

Quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand could “commence as early as September”, according to a travel industry group comprising of experts from both countries. The Trans-Tasman Safe Border Group is made up of representatives from 11 government agencies, six airports, two airlines, as well as a host of aviation, biosecurity and medical experts. “We are poring over every detail and aspect of the customer journey to find a safe and practical way forward, for the review and consideration of our respective governments,” said Margy Osmond, chief executive of the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) and one of the group’s co-chairs. The Safe Border Group has been working on a blueprint to present to both governments over the past fortnight, and is looking to table this proposal formally in early June. “Not surprisingly, New Zealand tops the list of countries people would like to visit and they consider it no more risky than travelling interstate,” said Osmond. However, certain high-profile advocates of the trans-Tasman bubble have individually lobbied for travel between the countries to reopen even sooner. In a letter written to Scott Morrison this week, Canberra Airport CEO Stephen Byron urged the PM to consider allowing daily flights between the national capital and Wellington ahead of this schedule, calling the cities “two of the most COVID-safe jurisdictions in the world.” “Canberra has been free from new COVID-19 cases for 23 days and Wellington has been free of new COVID-19 cases more than for 30 days,” wrote Byron, according to The Australian. “Both Wellington and Canberra Airports are ready for the commencement of these services now.” While the plan hinges on customers’ willingness to travel, a survey commissioned by the TTF stated that almost three in five Australians would consider travelling to New Zealand in the next six months. Australians travelling to New Zealand make up nearly half of international visitors, while Kiwis account for 15 per cent of those holidaying in Australia.

Story sourced from here

Friday 29 May 2020

Air New Zealand grounds Boeing 777s

AIR NEW ZEALAND B777-319 ZK-OKO (CN 38407) 

Air New Zealand will be grounding its Boeing 777-200 and 777-300 fleet until at least end of this year or until April 2021, as part of cost saving measures it undertakes.  The grounding comes as the airline plans for a slow gradual entry back into international travel. As a result, the airline plans to lay off nearly 1,000 flight attendants from its international fleet. The number of employees who work on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet will also be reduced. Service manager roles will reduce from 157 to 142, and flight attendant numbers will be cut from 514 to 443. Chief revenue officer Cam Wallace said that the use of the 777 fleet would depend how quickly borders reopen. Their website is reporting an internal staff memo which confirms the 777s, which are a key part of the airline's long haul fleet, would not be used on passenger flights for up to a year but could be used for freight movements. Wallace also said orders for the latest model of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner's have been pushed back slightly. And while there has not been an announcement yet, the chances of starting the non-stop services to New York in October look slim. The airline is operating a skeleton service domestically and to a few overseas destinations, as well as freight services. It is steadily working through moves to make a third of its workforce redundant and so has so far been paid $70 million through the government wage subsidy scheme. The airline has battened down hatches as it restructures and relies on a $900 million government loan to see it through the immediate future.

Airline made the following changes to stay afloat during this crisis.
– Labour reductions of approximately 30%, or 4,000 employees, which is expected to drive annualised savings of $350 to $400 million
– Suspension of all short-term incentive schemes for the 2020 financial year
– Reduction of the Executive team by 30%
– A 15% reduction in the salary of the Chief Executive and Executive team, together with a 15% reduction in Director fees through to December 2020
– Institution of a hiring freeze and voluntary leave options
– Deferral or cancellation of almost $700 million in expected capital expenditure to December 2022, including deferrals of planned A321neo deliveries
– Also, grounding of airline’s Boeing 777-200 and 777-300 fleet until at least the end of calendar 2020.

Monday 25 May 2020

40 Yrs 0n - Remembering American Airlines Flight 191

AMERICAN B787-9 N832AA ( CN 40638)

American Airlines Flight 191 was a regular scheduled passenger flight from O'Hare International Airport (ORD/KORD) in Chicago, Illinois, to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) in Los Angeles, California. On the 25th May 1979, the McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 operating this flight was taking off from runway 32R when it crashed into the ground. All 258 passengers and 13 crew on board were killed, along with two people on the ground. At 14:59 hours local time Flight 191 taxied from the gate at O'Hare Airport. The weather at the time of departure was clear, and the reported surface wind was 020° at 22 kts. At 15:02:38, the flight was cleared for takeoff. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that as the aircraft was beginning its takeoff rotation, engine number one (the left engine) separated from the left wing, flipping over the top of the wing and landing on the runway. As the engine separated from the aircraft, it severed hydraulic fluid lines that lock the wing's leading-edge slats in place and damaged a 3-foot (1 metre) section of the left wing's leading edge. Aerodynamic forces acting on the wing resulted in an uncommanded retraction of the outboard slats. As the aircraft began to climb, the damaged left wing – with no engine – produced far less lift than the right wing, with its slats still deployed and its engine providing full takeoff thrust. The disrupted and unbalanced aerodynamics of the aircraft caused it to roll abruptly to the left until it was partially inverted, reaching a bank angle of 112 degrees, before crashing in an open field by a trailer park near the end of the runway 50 seconds later. The engine separation was attributed to damage to the pylon structure holding the engine to the wing, caused by improper maintenance procedures used at American Airlines. (A pylon structure is a hardpoint located on an airframe designed to carry an external or internal load.) 
With 273 fatalities, it is still the deadliest aviation accident to have occurred in the United States.

Aircraft Information
Airline: American Airlines
Code: AA/AAL
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas DC10
Registration: N110AA
Serial Number: 46510 /22
Engines : Three General Electric CF6-6D
Delivered: 25/02/1972
Age of Aircraft: 7 Years 3 months

Happy Birthday Jetstar

Jetstar is an Australian low-cost airline wholly owned subsidiary of Qantas. In 2001 Qantas bought out Newcastle based Impulse Airlines and began operating its fleet of Boeing 717-200 aircraft under the QantasLink banner. On 1st December 2003 Qantas announced the decision to launch a low-cost carrier called "Jetstar" to take on the rapidly expanding Virgin Blue and decided to use the Impulse AOC to speed up the launch. At the official launch of the new carrier Qantas announced they have placed an order for 23 Airbus A320s. With headquarters at Avalon airport Jetstar began services on 25th May 2004 using Boeing 717-200 from the Impulse fleet. Sixteen years ago today a Boeing 717-231 VH-VQI (CN 55095) touched down in Melbourne from Newcastle as JQ371. Airbus A320 services were launched later that year. On the 1st December 2005, Jetstar commenced operations from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast to Christchurch in New Zealand. In June 2015, Jetstar announced that it would commence regional services in New Zealand, beginning in December that same year. The new services would be flown by five turboprop Bombardier Dash 8s operated by Eastern Australia Airlines, another one of Qantas' subsidiary regional airlines, under the Jetstar brand. At least four new destinations would be served initially, with Hamilton, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North, Nelson and Invercargill named as the cities under consideration. With a fleet of 71 aircraft Jetstar flies to 21 domestic destinations and 17 international destinations in 9 countries across Asia, North America and Oceania. 



Jetstar has had different aircraft and many different liveries; below are some of the images I have taken over the years.



JETSTAR A320-232 VH-JQX (CN 2197)

JETSTAR A320-232 VH-VGP (CN 4343)



JETSTAR A320-232 VH-VQH (CN 55094) 



JETSTAR A320-232 VH-VFL (CN 5489)

JETSTAR A320-232 VH-VGF (CN 4497)
JETSTAR A320-232 VH-VQK (CN 2651)


JETSTAR A330-202 VH-EBD (CN 513)

JETSTAR B787-800 VH-VKG (CN 36232)

Friday 22 May 2020

Pakistan A320 crashes killing all on board

A Pakistan International Airlines plane travelling from Lahore-Allama Iqbal International Airport (LHE/OPLA) Pakistan to Karachi-Jinnah International Airport (KHI/OPKC) Pakistan carrying around 99 passengers and 8 crew has crashed in Karachi. Emergency services have arrived at the scene, where homes have been damaged.  We are trying to confirm the number of passengers but initially it is 99 passengers and 8  crew members," said Abdul Sattar Khokhar, the spokesman for Pakistan's aviation authority. The plane was about to land when it crashed near Model Colony, a neighbourhood of Karachi about 3.2km (two miles) north-east of Jinnah International Airport. Pakistan's army said soldiers from its quick reaction force had reached the crash site to help rescue efforts. The crash comes just days after the country began allowing commercial flights to resume after a coronavirus lockdown. The flight departed Lahore at 13:08 hours local time and was expected to arrive at Karachi about 14:45. At 14:35 the flight crew radioed that they were going around and requested another ILS approach to runway 25L. The controller instructed the flight to turn left heading 110 and climb to 2000 feet. At 14:39 the flight declared a Mayday. The controller cleared the flight to land with both runways (25L and 25R) being available, but unfortunately the flight didn't make it back to the airport. The aircraft crashed in a residential area named Model Colony, about 1360 m short of the threshold of runway 25L. The aircraft broke up and a large post-impact fire erupted. Muslims around the world are about to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, a holiday dedicated to the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. News channels said many of the passengers were traveling home to be with family for the holiday. Syed Shibli Faraz, the Pakistani information minister, said the crash was “a very tragic incident just before Eid.” Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was “shocked and saddened.”

Flight Information
Airline: Pakistan International
Airline Code: PK/PIA
Aircraft: Airbus A320-214
Registration: AP-BLD
Serial Number: 2274
Flight Number: PK 8303
Engines: 2 x CFMI CFM56-5B4/P
Age: 15 years 9 months
Test Registration: F-WWIJ


Thursday 21 May 2020

Qantas to Fly Boeing 787 to Johannesburg

QANTAS B787-9 VH-ZNA (CN 39038)             File Photo

Qantas plans to replace the Boeing 747 with Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner's on the Sydney-Johannesburg route from the 28th March 2021, ending months of speculation about the future of the route and Qantas’ Boeing 747 fleet. Qantas has just released its flight schedules for travel beyond 28 March 2021, which marks the beginning of the IATA 2021 northern summer scheduling period. From this date, the Sydney-Tokyo route is also earmarked to switch from a Boeing 747-400ER a to Boeing 787-9 service. Other than Sydney-Santiago, which will switch to a Boeing 787 service later this year, Sydney-Johannesburg and Sydney-Tokyo were the only remaining Qantas routes to be served by the airline’s ageing Boeing 747s. There will be no changes to the schedule of QF63 from Sydney to Johannesburg, nor the return QF64, when the route switches to Boeing 787-9s next March. The Qantas website has been updated to show the new aircraft type. The Boeing 787 offers Economy, Premium Economy and Business seating – just like the Boeing 747 – but there are fewer seats in each cabin. In particular, the aircraft change will result in a substantial reduction of available seats in Economy. That could lead to higher airfares on the route. But Qantas does plan to increase the frequency of its Sydney-Johannesburg service from 6x weekly to daily, with the addition of a flight on Wednesdays. The aircraft change is also good news for Business class passengers, who will soon enjoy Qantas’ Business suites on the route instead of the older 747 SkyBeds. Of course, all of this is subject to change given the current uncertainty surrounding international travel and when Australia’s borders may re-open. Qantas is currently operating just 1% of its usual international flight schedule, and flights from Sydney to Johannesburg have been grounded since the end of March. Regular Qantas flights to South Africa are currently scheduled to resume on 1 August 2020, but this is extremely unlikely to happen. Qantas simply hasn’t extended its international flight cancellations beyond August yet (delaying the inevitable). When international travel resumes, Qantas could be the only airline with direct flights from Australia to South Africa. Before the international travel shutdown, South African Airways also flew from Perth to Johannesburg. But South African Airways is in deep financial trouble and is unlikely to survive (in its current form, at least). If a rebooted South African Airways does not return to Perth, Qantas could be interested as it was very close to launching Perth-Johannesburg flights in 2018.

QANTAS B787-9 VH-ZND (CN 63390)    File Photo

Could EDTO/ETOPS regulations now affect the Sydney-Johannesburg flight?

Qantas’ flights to South Africa, particularly the daytime QF63 service, often fly far enough south to get a good glimpse of the Antarctic icebergs. But with the switch from the four-engined Boeing 747 to the twin-engine 787, ETDO regulations may require Qantas’ Sydney-Johannesburg flights to track further to the north, in order to be closer to possible diversion airports.

EDTO stands for “Extended Diversion Time Operations” and was formerly known as ETOPS, or “Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards”. EDTO regulations require aircraft with only two engines to remain within a certain distance from a suitable diversion airport at all times during the flight. This becomes an issue on long flights over water, such as Sydney-Johannesburg which is thousands of kilometres from the nearest airport during the middle of the flight. ETDO rules do not apply to aircraft with four engines, so have not been an issue for Qantas’ previous Boeing 747 flights on the Sydney-Johannesburg route.

Story sourced from here.

Monday 18 May 2020

Man dies in crash involving homemade ultralight

A male pilot and sole occupant of a light plane has died after it crashed into a backyard in a NSW Hunter town.

A solo pilot has died after crashing his home-built amphibious light plane into a backyard in the NSW Hunter region yesterday. NSW police confirmed the plane crashed short of a runway about 10.15am on Sunday morning and into the yard of a property on Denton Close in Windella, about 45 kms west from Newcastle and 180 kms from Sydney. The pilot is yet to be formally identified but is believed to be a 44-year-old man. He was removed from the wreckage by witnesses but attempts to resuscitate him failed and he died at the scene. A Fire and Rescue NSW spokesman said firefighters were on the scene to clear fuel spills and hazardous material from the crash site. One firefighter had been injured during this process and transported to hospital, with his condition unclear. A Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman said the plane was an amateur-built Osprey 2 amphibious aircraft, possibly built by the pilot himself from a kit. It is believed the plane suffered engine issues 15 minutes after take-off  from Maitland Airport, NSW (MTL/YMND) and the pilot had tried to return to the airbase but crashed en route. Chief Inspector Rob Post from Maitland Police said the pilot was "very experienced". Witnesses rushed to the crash scene, removing the pilot immediately and started performing CPR until paramedics arrived, but the man could not be revived. NSW Ambulance Duty Operations Manager Shane Harris said the plane came close to crashing into nearby homes.

Aircraft Information:
Model: Pereira GP-3 Osprey 2
Registration: VH-WID
Serial Number: WJC003


Sunday 17 May 2020

Happy Anniversary Royal Flying Doctors

The Royal Flying Doctor Service is one of the largest and most comprehensive aeromedical organisations in the world, providing extensive primary health care and 24-hour emergency service to people over an area of 7.69 million square kilometres.

On the 15th May 1928, John Flynn's dream became a reality with the opening of the Australian Inland Mission Aerial Medical Service in Cloncurry, Queensland (later to be renamed the Royal Flying Doctor Service). On the 17th May the very first Flying Doctor service took off from Cloncurry. The aircraft, a de Havilland DH.50 was a single engine, timber and fabric bi-plane named 'Victory' (leased from Qantas for two shillings per mile flown). It was operated by the "Aerial Medical Service". This was the beginning - of the world's first aero medical service. This aircraft was replaced in 1934 by a DH.83 Fox Moth. Along with the pilot the aircraft had with him the very first Flying Doctors, Dr Kenyon St Vincent Welch. Now 92 years later the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia have the world-first aero medical service jet aircraft also named 'Victory'. In its inaugural year, the RFDS treated 225 patients. Today, the RFDS helps over 1000 people every day, delivered through a network of aircraft, road vehicles and telehealth services across Australia. The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (RFDS, informally known as The Flying Doctor) is one of the largest and most comprehensive aeromedical organisations in the world. It provides emergency and primary health care services for those living in rural, remote and regional areas of Australia. It is a non-profit organisation which provides health care to people who cannot access a hospital or general practice due to the vast distances of the Outback.

 RFDS PILATAS PC 12 / 47E VH-FVE (CN 1221)

The RFDS is made up of seven legal entities – RFDS of Australia, Central Operations, Queensland Section, South Eastern Section, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Operations. The RFDS operates in a federated structure and each of the seven entities has its own Board and Management. Each entity operates independently, both financially and operationally. The Flying Doctor operates from numerous bases, health services and other facilities across Australia.

RFDS Bases are operated by:
  • Central Operations – with bases at Adelaide Airport, Alice Springs Airport and Port Augusta Airport, and health services at Andamooka, Marla and Marree.
  • South Eastern Section – Broken Hill New South Wales; Dubbo New South Wales; Launceston Tasmania; Essendon Airport; and Sydney Airport and Bankstown Airport in Sydney.
  • Victoria Operations - bases across the state, including Richmond, Maffra, Essendon Airport; Mildura and Wangaratta. The Victorian Section office is in Richmond, an inner eastern suburb of Melbourne.
  • Queensland Section – Brisbane Airport, Bundaberg Airport, Cairns International Airport, Roma Airport, Charleville, Longreach, Mount Isa, Rockhampton and Townsville Airport
  • Western Operations – Broome, Kalgoorlie, Meekatharra, Perth's Jandakot Airport, and Port Hedland. The Rio Tinto LifeFlight jet is located at Perth Airport.


The Royal Flying Doctor Service is one of the largest and most comprehensive aeromedical organisations in the world, providing extensive primary health care and 24-hour emergency service to people over an area of 7.69 million square kilometres.

Their Mission - To provide excellence in aeromedical and primary health care across Australia.

As a not-for-profit aeromedical organisation, they rely on your help and generosity to keep the Flying Doctor flying. Donations can be made here..

Saturday 16 May 2020

Avalon Airshow Deferred


The below letter is from Ian Honnery, Chief Executive of the Avalon Airshow, and was taken from a Avalon Airshow Twitter post .

Throughout the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic, AMDA  Foundation Limited has monitored the evolving situation and its potential effects on the Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition (AVALON 2021) which, next year, has a uniquely central role to play in the celebration of the Centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force.

After extensive consultation and review, it has become clear that the impacts of COVID-19, including lengthy logistical lead times and uncertainty about availability of international travel, would pose unacceptable risks to AVALON 2021. should it continue with its original February dates.

As a result, AVALON 2021, originally scheduled for 23-28 February, will be deferred to later in 2021, with timings in November being considered. Precise dates will be announced shortly.

This deferral will provide certainty for partners, stakeholders, exhibitors and participants. It will also enable industry to focus on managing through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, knowing that AVALON 2021 in a November timing will confidently contribute to the regeneration of business development following the pandemic

As the centrepiece of the Royal Australian Air Force's Centenary celebrations, AVALON 2021 will have great national and international significance. Deferring AVALON 2021 to November will sure the event serves its purposes as a powerful promotional and industry engagement forum on the way to business recovery and as a spectacular celebration of 100 years of the Royal Australian Air Force

Strongly supported by the Royal Australian Air Force, the biennial Australian international Airshow and Aerospace Defence Exposition (AVALON) is Australia's own signature international aviation aerospace and defence event. Organised by AMDA Foundation Limited, it is a premium international platform for engagement between industry, defence, government and academia and universally regarded as one of the world's great air shows. AVALON 2021 will take Australia to the World, by bringing the World to Australia. 

As a consequence of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, all three major international defence related events conducted by AMDA, with support from the Australian Defence Force,  have been rescheduled in the national Interest. As well as  AVALON 2021. the deferral of LAND FORCES has been announced and an announcement with respect to the timing of the next PACIFIC international Maritime Exposition will be made shortly.

Thank you for your patience as we work through these changes and look forward to a November 2021 AVALON, where a century of distinguished service by the Royal Australian Air Force will be the theme, and the focus for the world's aviation, aerospace and defence industries will be on promoting business for the future 

The Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition (also known as the Avalon Airshow) is one of Asia-Pacific's most prestigious events and the most comprehensive aviation, aerospace and defence exposition in the southern hemisphere. Avalon hosts multiple concurrent conferences and expo streams, across the spectrum of Defence, Airlines, Business and General Aviation, Sport and Recreational Aviation, Airports, MRO, Space, Unmanned Systems, Air Safety and Ground Equipment. It is held every two years on odd numbers.