Wednesday 30 September 2020

Singapore Airlines opens a restaurant in an Airbus A380

Dine on the ground in a Singapore Airlines superjumbo, or have the airline's first and business class meals delivered to you door.

SINGAPORE A380-841 9V-SKQ (CN 79)     File Photo

Singapore Airlines will temporarily turn one of its grounded Airbus A380s into a restaurant to sate both the physical and emotional appetites of would-be travellers. As part of the Discover Your Singapore Airlines program, diners will be able to book a seat and a meal on the superjumbo while it remains parked at Changi Airport.  The airline has not specified how much each session on this unique pop-up restaurant will cost – tickets for the events, to be held across the weekend of October 24-25, will go on sale at the airline's online KrisShop website on October 12 – but it says customers will be able to choose their cabin class.  The menu will include some of the airline's signature international dishes, such as Lobster Thermidor, along with a selection of favorites from the local Peranakan menu designed by acclaimed Singaporean chef Shermay Lee. There'll also be two complimentary alcoholic drinks and a free flow of other beverages. Limited slots for an exclusive pre-lunch tour of the A380 will also be available, while all diners will receive KrisShop discounts along with "a limited edition goodie bag and additional gifts if they turn up in traditional heritage wear."

Inflight dining at home

But you won't have to trek out to Changi to sample some of Singapore Airlines' fine dining: from October 5, the airline will come to you. A "cabin crew concierge service" will let you choose from ten destination-themed menus featuring the carrier's first class and business class dishes, which will arrive at your door accompanied by wine or champagne from the SQ cellar. Some packages also include the airline's Wedgwood dining ware, Lalique amenity kits and first class, the airline says; the dining experiences can be paid for in cash or using KrisFlyer miles. Meanwhile, across the last two weekends in November, the airline will run behind-the-scenes tour of its training facilities and offer sessions in a flight simulator, wine tasting, attending a cabin crew "grooming workshop" and also buy some popular inflight meals.

No 'flights to nowhere'

However, Singapore Airlines has scrapped plans to run a series of scenic flights to nowhere which would take in the airborne sights around South-East Asia but depart from and land back at Changi Airport. The flights – which could have been sold as packages including staycations at the city’s hotels, shopping vouchers and limousine ferry rides – met with opposition from environmental groups, citing the high yet entirely avoidable cost of emissions generated by the sightseeing junket. The airline said its developed the Discover Your Singapore Airlines experiences as "the result of a market study and a comprehensive review, which also considered factors such as the attractiveness of the initiatives to SIA’s customers and members of the public, the environmental implications, and their financial viability."  "An idea for a one-off short tour flight, or a 'flight to nowhere', was also initially considered but not pursued after the review." Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong said the activities it has settled upon "offer something for everyone – from frequent flyers who miss our world-class in-cabin products and service, to couples and families who want an exclusive dining experience."

Story sourced from here

Tuesday 29 September 2020

How Many Flight Attendants Are Required Per Flight?

Ever wondered how many flight attendants are required to operate a flight? The minimum ratio of flight attendants to passengers varies by country, but it’s generally between 1:36 and 1:50. In Australia, the standard minimum ratio is 1 flight attendant for every 36 passengers. But there are some exemptions. For example, flight attendants are not required on aircraft with fewer than 15 passengers (or flights with up to 22 passengers, where at least 3 are infants or children and there are two pilots). On Australian-registered wide-body aircraft with more than 216 seats, there are different legislated minimum numbers of flight attendants. In general, there must be at least one flight attendant for each “floor level exit”. In other words, a crew member must be available to sit by each exit door during take-off and landing. There must also be at least one cabin attendant for each separate compartment of the plane occupied by passengers. These rules are set out by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in the Civil Aviation Order 20.16.3, part of the Civil Aviation Act 1988. Based on these ratios, you would expect to see 5 flight attendants on Boeing 737-800 or Airbus A320 flights in Australia as these aircraft have up to 180 seats. But Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar and (previously) Tigerair all operate domestic flights on these aircraft types with only 4 cabin crew. (Qantas may still operate some Boeing 737 flights during meal times with 5 crew, in order to provide a full meal service.) They are allowed to do this because they have each received specific exemptions from CASA. The aviation safety regulator began issuing such exemptions in 2007. Alliance Airlines has also received an exemption to operate Fokker 70 and Fokker 100 flights with only 2 flight attendants, despite these planes holding 80 and 100 passengers respectively.In the United States, Europe and many other countries, regulators require only a minimum 1:50 ratio of cabin crew to passengers. In recognising this international standard, CASA allows airlines to apply to operate specific aircraft types at the lower 1:50 ratio if the country that manufactured the aircraft allows it, and the airlines can demonstrate that it is safe to do so. This includes demonstrating to the safety authority that an emergency evacuation can take place in less than 90 seconds with the reduced number of crew members. Of course, many airlines roster on more crew than the minimum required to ensure better passenger service, and also to provide flexibility in case a crew member falls ill while on a layover. In March 2017, a report was presented to the Australian government titled “Finding the Right Balance: Cabin Crew Ratios on Australian Aircraft”. In this report, the government rejected suggestions that the 1:36 ratio should be retained indefinitely in Australia, and that CASA should stop granting exemptions to airlines. The government’s view was that the 1:50 ratio has not compromised safety or security. Of course, Australia’s airlines also prefer a 1:50 ratio because they can save on crew costs.

Story sourced from here

Sunday 27 September 2020

Antonov An-26 military transport plane crashes in eastern Ukraine

A Ukraine Air Force Antonov An-26 transport plane crashed on the E40 highway, while on approach to runway 16 at Chuhuiv Air Base (UKHW). The aircraft carried cadets of the Kharkiv University of the Air Force. It came down at the side of the road and burst into flames. Two of the 27 occupants survived the crash. The aircraft crashed in Kharkiv Oblast, a region which borders Russia to the east and the separatist area of Donbass to the south, at around 20:45 and caught fire. The accident happened during the aircraft’s approach for landing, says the Ukrainian ministry of defence. It came down about 2km from the airfield. “It is reported that, in addition to the crew, cadets of the Ivan Kozhedub National University of the Air Force were on board,” says the ministry. “The leadership of the ministry of defence, the armed forces of Ukraine, and all personnel express their deepest condolences to the relatives and friends of the fallen servicemen.” The Ivan Kozhedub National University of the Air Force is located in the city of Kharkiv, not far from the crash site. It states that 20 of those on board were cadets. Both the air force and the university have identified the aircraft as an An-26Sh variant, bearing the military number 76. The university and the Chuhuiv base are linked to the 203rd aviation training brigade. Eastern Ukraine has been a hotbed for Russian-backed separatist activity. In 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, a Boeing 777-200ER, was shot down with a surface-to-air missile in the Donetsk Oblast, which is about 250 km south-east of where the An-26 crashed. To investigate the cause of the An-26 crash, the government of Ukraine says it has established a joint commission that includes the ministry of defence, ministry of internal affairs, a local state government official and the country’s deputy prime minister. “The area of the catastrophe is surrounded and controlled by servicemen from the Military Law Enforcement Service in the armed forces of Ukraine,” says the ministry of defence. By 21:53 the fire had been extinguished, says the Ukrainian state emergencies service. The cause of the crash has not been confirmed but Kharkiv Oblast governor Oleksiy Kucher says he received information that the pilot had reported failure of the left engine. But Kucher adds that such a failure is “not a critical situation” for an experienced pilot, and that the circumstances of the accident will be determined by the investigation.
At the time of the accident the aircraft had a total flight time of 5,985 hours and had made 3,450 landings.
There have been 10 Antonov An-26 aircraft crashes since 2017.

Aircraft Information
Airline: Ukraine Air Force 
Aircraft: Antonov An-26Sh
Registration: 76 Yellow
Serial Number: 5608
Engines: 2 Progress AI-24VT Turboprop engines,
First Flew: 21st October 1977
Age: 43 Yrs Old


Saturday 26 September 2020

Stolen Mexican jet crashes with cocaine on board

A private business jet that was stolen in Mexico has been found crashed in a Guatemalan jungle with two male passengers, as well as three kilograms of cocaine and a number of unspecified weapons onboard. The aircraft, a BAe 125 twin-engine jet, was reportedly stolen from Cuernavaca Airport on Tuesday, before it was found to have crashed in a mountainous area of northern Guatemala, with two passengers and a stash of illegal drugs and weapons onboard. According to Mexican authorities, three unidentified men walked onto the airstrip at Cuernavaca Airport on Tuesday, claiming to be mechanics working on the plane, and proceeded to fuel up the aircraft. Two of these men then entered the plane and took off down the runway at around midday local time on Tuesday, without authorisation or a flight plan in place. Authorities tracked the plane as it travelled south. Several hours later, the plane then landed at Zulia airport in Venezuela’s north-west, close to the Colombian border, according to the Guatemalan military, where it stayed put for a short time. The plane then took off again, towards Guatemala, where it crashed in the mountainous Alta Verapaz region shortly after 8pm local time on Wednesday. It is not clear what caused the crash, however the aircraft appears to have struck trees and crashed into a wooded area near the airstrip. The aircraft was largely destroyed by a post-crash fire, and both pilots onboard were killed. Neither has been identified. Also found in the crashed aircraft was three kilograms of cocaine found in three separate packages, as well as a range of unspecified guns. Guatemalan authorities initially incorrectly identified the burned aircraft as a Hawker 800. Meanwhile, Mexican authorities have said they will be launching an investigation into the matter

Aircraft Information
Airline: Private Owner
Aircraft: British Aerospace BAe-125-800A
Registration: XB-PYZ
Serial Number: 258018
Engines: 2 Garrett TFE731-5R-1H

Story sourced from here with additions

Thursday 24 September 2020

Happy Birthday Cathay Pacific


Cathay Pacific Airways Limited (CPA), also known as Cathay Pacific or Cathay, is the flag carrier of Hong Kong, with its head office and main hub located at Hong Kong International Airport. Before Covid, the airline's operations and subsidiaries had scheduled passenger and cargo services to more than 190 destinations in more than 79 countries worldwide. Cathay Pacific operates a fleet of 132 wide-body aircraft, consisting of Airbus A330's, Airbus A350's and Boeing 777 equipment. Cathay Pacific Cargo operates the Boeing 747. 


Cathay Pacific was founded on the 24th September 1946 by Australian Sydney H. de Kantzow and American Roy C. Farrell. They named the airline Cathay, which is the ancient name given to China, and Pacific because Farrell speculated that they would one day fly across the Pacific (which happened in the 1970s). Moreover, to avoid the name "Air Cathay" as it had already been used in a popular comic. The airline made the world's first non-stop transpolar flight flying over the North Pole in July 1998 (originating from New York JFK airport), which was also the maiden flight to arrive at the then-new Hong Kong International Airport.  Cathay Pacific is the world's tenth largest airline measured in terms of sales, and fourteenth largest measured in terms of market capitalisation. In 2010, Cathay Pacific became the world's largest international cargo airline, along with main hub Hong Kong International Airport as the world's busiest airport in terms of cargo traffic. It is one of the founding members of the Oneworld alliance. (Cathay Pacific's subsidiary Cathay Dragon is also an affiliate member of Oneworld.) Before 1994, all Cathay Pacific aircraft had a "green lettuce" livery on the tail and carried the British flag on the empennage.  In the early 90's Cathay Pacific aircraft carried the new "brushwing" livery on the body and on the vertical stabiliser. The brushwing logo consists of a calligraphic stroke against a green background; the stroke is intended to appear like the wing of a bird. The previous logo, consisting of green and white stripes, was in place from the early 1970s until 1994. In November 2015, the airline revealed a refreshed version of its previous livery, featuring a simpler paint scheme while maintaining their trademark brushwing on an all-green tail. In 2019 Cathay was voted 4th best airline in the world behind ANA 3rd, Singapore 2nd and Qatar 1st.
As of March 2018, its major shareholders were Swire Pacific, Qatar Airways and Air China. 

Aircraft                            Current fleet   

Airbus A330-300                           10 Active             8 Parked

Airbus A350-1000                         12

Airbus A350-900                           12 Active             14 Parked

Boeing 747-400                              6

Boeing 747-800                              14

Boeing 777-300                              16 Active             40 Parked


Wednesday 23 September 2020

How Aviation Fuel Differs From Regular Fuel

Have you ever wondered what makes aircraft fuel unique and not-suitable for cars? After all, why can’t you use jet fuel in your vehicle to give it incredible power?

What is the difference?

Fuel is made up of long-strings of hydrocarbon atoms and sorted into different types through a distillation column. The longer, heavier strings fall to the bottom, and the lighter atom chains float to the top (this is a fundamental summary). Some of the most common types of hydrocarbons are natural gas with very light chains, gasoline (or petrol depending on where you read this), followed by kerosene, then diesel, lubricating oil, and then residual oils on the very bottom. Gasoline (gasoline) has 7 to 11 atoms in a chain. Jet fuel is a little heavier than gasoline, at around 12-15 atoms long. It is closer to kerosene than gasoline. Technically, the fuel is close enough that it can supplement a truck’s fuel supply. Back in 2012, Toyota used jet fuel to power one of its pickup trucks as a publicity stunt. 

What types of jet fuel are there?

There are two types of jet fuel with self-explanatory names – Jet A and Jet B. The main difference between the two is the freezing point of the fuel, with Jet B having a much lower point and thus is useful for planes in icy regions. The latter is also the fuel of choice for the US Air Force and therefore generally reserved for those operations. Having a higher flash point (point of catching fire) is also an added advantage of using a kerosene base for the fuel. Combined with the lower freezing point, this gives aircraft a much safer operating range. Some fuel providers include some additives like anti-static chemicals, fluids to prevent corrosion of the tanks, de-icing agents to lower the point even more, and even some chemicals with anti-bacterial properties. ASTM International (American Society for Testing and Materials) regulates aviation fuel, so any aircraft landing at any airport worldwide can get access to the same quality of fuel.

Can ships use jet fuel?

You might have realized that another type of vehicle in the world is big, bulky, and requires a lot of power – ships! Boats typically use a derivative of diesel to power themselves on long journeys (much like a long-haul flight). Normally, ships require so much fuel that it ends up being incredibly expensive even to consider aircraft fuel instead. “As a very combustible petroleum product, jet fuel can be used in a marine fuel blend, and so we would not be surprised this practice may be occurring,” said Tim Wilson, principal specialist for fuels, lubes, and emissions at Lloyd’s Register to Bloomberg. But these are not standard times, and with less than 50% of all aircraft flying today, there is a massive abundance of aircraft fuel available. Hence, we have now seen a trend of aircraft fuel moving to maritime operations. “Only in a situation where the economy is in complete tatters, do we see usually more expensive components heading straight into VLSFO [very low-sulfur fuel oil],” said Eugene Lindell, a senior analyst at consultant JBC Energy GmbH to World Oil.

With the price of a barrel of jet fuel at around 50% of its 2019 value, it looks like this practice may last some time.

Story sourced from here

Tuesday 22 September 2020

British Airways Boeing 747s Won’t Be Going To Rossiya

BRITISH AIRWAYS B747-436 G-CIVK (CN 25818)    File Photo

There were rumors floating around the avgeek world at the weekend that Russian carrier Rossiya would be taking several of British Airways’ old Boeing 747s. With many sad to see the back of the Jumbo Jet, this possibility offered an avenue for the aircraft to remain in service. But British Airways has confirmed that there is "no truth" to the rumors circulating that a number of its Boeing 747s have been taken up by the Russian airline Rossiya. As things stand, all 31 of the airline’s Boeing 747s are due to be scrapped.

What is happening to British Airways’ 747s?

But if British Airways’ Boeing 747s aren’t going to Rossiya, where are they going? For the time being, the fleet is being sent to sites around Europe. Many have been dispatched to Kemble, a storage and dismantling site in England. There was some debate as to whether a Boeing 747 would be able to leave the site. However, a former Corsair 747 recently departed the area. Elsewhere in the United Kingdom, some 747s are being flown to the St Athan facility near Cardiff to be scrapped. A further batch of aircraft has been sent to Spain. Indeed, five of the airlines 747s were already sent to Teruel, a Spanish aircraft graveyard, before the decision to withdraw the fleet had even been made.

Story sourced from here

Sunday 20 September 2020

Cathay parks 40% of its fleet to survive


Cathay Pacific has announced it will ground two-fifths of its passenger fleet for the “foreseeable future”, in a move it deems necessary in order “to survive and thrive” into the future.
The Hong Kong flag carrier has announced that it will park 72 of its aircraft, making up 40 per cent of its fleet, outside of Hong Kong as it waits for demand conditions to improve.

The airline is currently operating at just 8 per cent of its pre-COVID flight capacity, while its planes are operating at just under 20 per cent of their usual load factors, a new record low for the airline.
Further, Cathay has also warned that it may not survive the COVID-19 pandemic unless it introduces a dramatic restructure, again hinting at impending job losses in the near future.

Cathay executive director Ronald Lam Siu-por noted that the carrier was “facing a long and uncertain road to recovery”, and said that its sweeping restructure plans are likely to be revealed by next month.
“We are weathering the storm for now, but the fact remains we simply will not survive unless we adapt our airlines for the new travel market,” Lam warned.

“A restructuring will therefore be inevitable to protect the company, the Hong Kong aviation hub, and the livelihoods of as many people as possible.”

                                                                         File Photo

This outcome was previously foreshadowed when the airline said it would not be accepting any further government wage subsidies for Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon, as doing so would require the company to protect jobs until November. However, a number of the airline’s subsidiaries will make use of further wage support. Cathay Pacific is currently burning between HK$1.5 billion (US$193 million) and HK$2 billion (US$258 million) per month as it continues to battle through the COVID-19 aviation crisis.

Analysts have previously warned that airlines like Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines will take far longer to recover from the crisis than most, as they have no domestic network to rely upon until international conditions improve.

Last month I flew from Brisbane to Alice Springs for the night just to view the aircraft parked up at the APAS facility (Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage).
Below is a list of Cathay aircraft on the ground as of today


B-HLP   B-HLR   B-HLS   B-HLU   B-HLV   B-LAD   B-LAQ               


B-HNE   B-HNG   B-HNH   B-HNJ   B-HNM   B-HNO   B-HNP   B-HNQ   B-HNS    B-HNU       B-HNV   B-HNW   B-KPA    B-KPD   B-KQK                           

Story sourced from here with additions

Saturday 19 September 2020

Plane spotting at Brisbane Airport

Our company recently introduced a nine day fortnight and yesterday was my first Friday off on the new roster. Since I hadn't been out to the airport for some time I thought I would venture out for a few hours and see what was about.  The morning started off with two high flyers passing over home about a minute apart. The Air New Zealand was west to east and the United was north to south.


UNITED B777-322 N2341U (CN 63721)

Friday's are usually a hectic day for movement's, but not this Friday.  Apart from the usual Qantas and Virgin coming and going there wasn't a lot of action, but that was what I was expecting. I did have a few first time views today in the way of the EVA 787 - the Solomon's A320 and the Link SAAB 340.

QANTAS B737-838 VH-VZT (CN34186)



E V A AIR B787-9 B-17883 (CN 42119)



QANTAS B737-838 VH-XZJ (CN 39365)


JETSTAR A320-232 VH-VFY (CN 6362)

SOLOMONS A320-232 H4-SIB (CN 2445)

LINK SAAB 340B VH-VEB (CN 340B-425)












Friday 18 September 2020

QANTAS offers 7 hour flight to no where

QANTAS B787-9 VH-ZNJ (CN 66074)  

If you are like me and are missing the excitement of travel or are keen to wave to friends and family interstate, QANTAS are offering a 'Great Southern Land' scenic flight using one of their state-of-the-art B787 Dreamliner aircraft usually reserved for long haul international flights, with the biggest windows on any passenger aircraft. Your seven-hour scenic flight will include low level flybys of unique Australian destinations across Queensland, the Northern Territory and New South Wales including the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Byron Bay and iconic Sydney Harbour.

Relax in the sky in Qantas pyjamas as your flight makes its way around the country with a few surprises along the way.  Flight QF787 will depart Sydney's Domestic Airport (T3) on Saturday the 10th October 2020. After heading up the New South Wales coast and crossing the Queensland border it will fly over the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sunshine Coast, the Dreamliner will continue north to fly over the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef. It will then track across the country to Uluru and Kata Tjuta to showcase the iconic red centre. The day will finish with a low-level circuit of Sydney Harbour before landing back at Sydney. During the seven-hour journey passengers will tuck into a Neil Perry menu, and before the flight there'll be an auction of memorabilia from Qantas’ recently retired fleet of 747s.


  • Qantas recommends that you select your seat when making your booking so you can choose the seat that suits you. 
  • Seat swapping is not permitted during flight, and window seats are expected to sell quickly.
  • Classic Upgrade Rewards aren't available.
  • You may wish to download a movie pre-flight or bring that book you've been wanting to read for when you're not enjoying the aerial views, as inflight entertainment won't be available on this flight.

While there won't be social distancing per se, middle seats are being blocked so that more passengers get a chance to take in the view from the Dreamliner's over-sized windows.

Prices are below

104 economy seats will be sold at $787 (earning 2,400 Qantas Points and 40 Status Credits)

24 premium economy seats will be sold at $1,787 each (earning 5,000 Qantas Points and 80 Status Credits) 

Six business class seats will be sold at $3,787 each (earning 10,000 Qantas Points and 160 Status Credits)

The flight will depart Sydney at 10.30am on Saturday the 10th October following breakfast in the Qantas Business lounge, and return to Sydney at 5.30pm.

Tickets went on sale yesterday at midday at and when I checked on this last night all the seats had sold out. I later found out tickets sold out in 10 minutes.

Qantas has not ruled out organising more scenic flights, an initiative taken up by airlines in Asian countries also desperate to keep pilots working. Mr Joyce said considering the demand for this new kind of travel Qantas will "definitely" look at scheduling more scenic flights.

Taiwan airline EVA recently organised a Father's Day scenic flight over the country and Japanese airline ANA took passengers on a 90-minute 'Hawaiian themed' flight last month.

Singapore Airlines is now considering "flights to nowhere" to and from Changi Airport.

I will have to watch out for Qantas flight as it overflies Brisbane.

Wednesday 16 September 2020

Delta flight returns to gate, as passenger refuses to wear mask

DELTA B757-251 N545US (CN 26492)     File Photo

Only a few days ago I posted a story about a passenger that had been booted from an Allegiant flight after "aggressively disrupting" a flight attendant who had lowered her mask to give the safety demonstration. Well here's another story but this time the aircraft was taxiing out for take off and had return to the gate.

A passenger who refused to wear a mask forced a Delta flight bound for Los Angeles to return back Saturday evening to its point of takeoff at Metro Airport in Detroit, according to Deadline Detroit. The airline confirmed the incident early Sunday morning and also added this was the second time in two months they have had an issue like this. "The female customer was removed from the plane and the flight departed without incident," said spokeswoman Kristin Seay. "Delta requires masks on every flight for the safety of our customers and crew." No further details were offered about the identity of the passenger and why she refused to wear the mask, or what happened to her after they were removed from the flight. Newsweek reached out to Delta's media relations department for additional comment. A spokesperson said in an emailed statement Sunday morning: "Flight 201 from DTW to LAX returned to the gate when a customer did not comply with Delta's mask-wearing requirement onboard. After a short delay, the aircraft departed to Los Angeles
The Delta Airbus A321-211 (N372DN) departed 55 mins later than usual.

Story sourced from here with additions

Monday 14 September 2020

Lufthansa is now looking to retire all Airbus A380's, Boeing 747's

LUFTHANSA A380-841 D-AIMA (CN 38)            File Photo

Lufthansa plans to eliminate its biggest passenger jets as it deepens fleet cuts, leading to a parallel surge in job reductions, people with knowledge of the proposals said. Lufthansa is looking at retiring remaining Airbus A380 double-deckers, the bulk of smaller A340s, and all of its Boeing 747-400 jumbos, according to the people, who asked not to be named discussing a confidential matter. There would also be a cull of narrow-body planes that feed longer routes, they said. The fleet cuts would surpass the 100-aircraft reduction so far disclosed by Lufthansa, net of new deliveries, with job losses exceeding the 22,000 that the carrier had said such a contraction would entail, said the people. No final decision has been made on the measures, they said. A spokesman for Lufthansa declined to comment.
Europe’s biggest airline is falling back on its most economically sustainable routes as the coronavirus crisis roils global travel markets. Retiring thirsty four-engine aircraft like those being targeted will remove high-capacity models that are hardest to fill while also boosting margins by slashing fuel burn. The pandemic has thrown Lufthansa into a spin, forcing it to accept €9 billion (US$11 billion) in state aid to survive. Hopes for a quick rebound have been dashed by a surge in Covid-19 cases across Europe, with carriers including EasyJet and British Airways owner IAG paring expansion plans.
Lufthansa may keep a handful of younger A340-600s, preserving capacity for busier routes, the people said. That would also reduce the size of immediate writedowns, which will factor into its decision making, one person said.

LUFTHANSA A340-642 D-AIHW (CN 972)           File Photo 

The group has so far said that while it aims to mothball about 300 planes next year and 200 in 2022, the 760-strong fleet will need to be about 100 aircraft smaller from 2023.
Handelsblatt reported this week that the number cut could increase, without saying which models might be affected. The new moves would leave Lufthansa with a four-engine fleet limited mainly to Boeing 747-8I jumbos, of which it has 19, the youngest of which are just five years old.

Full story sourced from here

Sunday 13 September 2020

Royal Brunei drops Brisbane and Denpasar


As mentioned on this blog on the 20th January 2019 Royal Brunei Airlines would be launching direct flights from Brisbane to Bandar Seri Begawan (the capital of Brunei) from the 11th June 2019. The 4 x weekly services would be operated by new narrow-body Airbus A320neo aircraft. The flights departed Brunei for Brisbane on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The return flights departed Brisbane in the evening on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Previously set to commence on 11th Jun 2019, the revised date ended up being the 10th Jul 2019 and the timings also changed. 
  • BI009 departs Bandar Seri Begawan 18.50 – and arrives Brisbane 03.45
  • BI010 departs Brisbane 16.10 – and arrives Bandar Seri Begawan  21.30
On the 10th July 2019 the inaugural Royal Brunei 009 departed Brunei at 7.02 pm Brunei time and touched down in Brisbane 6 hours 22 mins later at 3.24 am Brisbane time.

Sadly in late-August 2020 Royal Brunei filed network changes, as the airline wanted to remove 2 routes. The following routes will not be resumed when the airline gradually resumes normal operation, including flights in 2021 and sadly Brisbane is one of them.

Bandar Seri Begawan – Brisbane 4 weekly
Bandar Seri Begawan – Denpasar 5 weekly

It is sad to see this airline wont be coming back to Brisbane. 
Melbourne is now the only Australian city served by Royal Brunei.

Saturday 12 September 2020

Elderly man kicked off plane over mask

ALLEGIANT A319-111 N330NV (CN 2786)

A passenger has been booted from a US flight after "aggressively disrupting" a flight attendant who had lowered her mask to give the safety demonstration. The elderly man was thrown off the Allegiant Air flight after complaining he had to wear a mask when the flight attendant was not. But according to the airline, the flight attendant had only lowered her mask briefly to speak into the public address system on board. "The passenger was removed for repeatedly disrupting the pre-flight safety briefing which includes reiteration of our in-flight face-covering policy," Allegiant said in a statement. "The flight attendant giving the safety briefing lowered their mask for speaking into the PA so the briefing could be understood." Videos posted from aboard the plane show other passengers grumbling as the elderly man was forced to leave. "You're supposed to be wearing a f---ing mask to begin with," one man can be heard saying. The elderly man turned to the rest of the plane and said: "Why don't you all get off with me?" "Captain, can I have a word with you please before I get kicked off?" he said to the pilot.

"I just asked someone to put on their face mask. That's all I did." The airline's website states all passengers as well as employees are required to wear face coverings that cover the nose and mouth.
Those with medical conditions that prevent the wearing of a mask must have a note from a doctor proving such. Children younger than two are exempt from the mask requirement.
According to data released last month, Allegiant has only banned one passenger for refusing to wear a mask during the pandemic. Allegiant Air is a budget airline that primarily services mid-sized cities in the United States.
Allegiant Air is the ninth-largest airline in the US.

Thursday 10 September 2020

Virgin Australia walks away from 10 flight routes

VIRGIN AUSTRALIA A330-243 VH-XFD (CN 1306)    File Photo

The airline has announced it would scrap a total of 10 separate flight routes. Some regional flights to Uluru, Tamworth, Port Macquarie, Albury, Hervey Bay, Cloncurry and Mildura, as well as the Cloncurry to Mount Isa route, have been cut for the "foreseeable future". Additionally, its international service from Sydney to Tonga will not be resuming. In a statement, a Virgin Australia spokesperson says it is not commercially viable to operate flights to the affected destinations with the expected demand. The airline is restructuring its fleet to primarily use Boeing 737 aircraft, removing smaller planes commonly flown to regional destinations.

The announcement follows the company entering into voluntary administration in April during which time it ceased flights to these destinations due to subdued demand. One-third of its workforce was made redundant.

Regions 'surprised', flight school dropped

In March this year, Virgin Australia pulled out of its plans for a flight training school in Tamworth, citing changed conditions within the industry as a result of the Australian bushfires and coronavirus, with no forecast for increased demand for new cadet pilots.

The Tamworth Regional Council commercial director for airport and aviation development, John Sommerlad, says Virgin's decision to cease its Tamworth to Sydney route is not surprising. "It wasn't unexpected in view of the turbulent ride that the Virgin Australia Aviation Group has had in recent time," he said. "And also because of the impact the pandemic has had on airlines — not only in Australia but around the world.

VIRGIN AUSTRALIA ATR 72-600 VH-FVQ (CN 1053)  File Photo

"Without those aircraft's it's unviable for them to use bigger jets to come and go from ports like Tamworth." Mr Sommerlad says Tamworth is currently in talks with other carriers to service the Tamworth-Sydney route. Mildura Airport chief executive Trevor Willcock said he was "surprised" at Virgin's decision, which he first heard about through an online news article. Until late March, Virgin Australia had operated daily return services between Melbourne and Mildura which Mr Willcock said had "really good loading factors".

Last week, United States private equity firm Bain Capital was announced as the new owner of Virgin Australia, with the largest group of creditors voting in favour of the $3.5 billion sale. Mr Willcock said he had not had any contact with Bain Capital since its takeover of Virgin, and while Mildura Airport management had kept in contact with officials at the airline itself, it did not receive any notice the Mildura-Melbourne service would be axed.

Full story sourced from here

Wednesday 9 September 2020

Vietnam's Bamboo Airways plans Melbourne-Hanoi flights for 2021

Little-known Vietnamese carrier Bamboo Airways is set to plant its flag in Australia next year, eyeing regular flights between Melbourne and Hanoi from mid-2021. Using its Boeing 787-9 aircraft, Bamboo Airways would offer business class and premium economy service, in addition to economy. The airline’s Dreamliner business class cabin comes equipped with 26 seats in a 1-2-1 layout, based upon the same ‘Super Diamond’ seat as Australian travellers may recognise from the likes of Air Canada’s Boeing 787 Signature Class, Fiji Airways’ A350 business class, and of course, Virgin Australia’s now-defunct ‘The Business’ cabin. Serving as a suitable workspace for daytime flying and transforming into a fully-flat bed after hours, high flyers can stretch out and relax on what would be the nine-hour journey between Melbourne and Hanoi.  “Australia is one of the most important source markets of Vietnam … (and we are) aiming to develop a regular direct route into operation in 2021,” confirms Bamboo Airways Deputy General Director, Nguyen Ngoc Trong. Melbourne Airport looks forward to “enhancing our nonstop service to Vietnam on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in 2021, including to Hanoi for the first time, which opens up critical trade, leisure and business opportunities for Victoria,” adds the airport’s Chief of Aviation, Shane O’Hare. The news follows a one-off Bamboo Airways repatriation flight from Melbourne to Hanoi on the 6th September, with the commencement of regular services to Melbourne tied to the easing of international travel restrictions from Australia.

Bamboo Airways JSC, operating as Bamboo Airways, is a Vietnamese leisure airline owned by the FLC Group, registered in Quy Nhon, Vietnam, with a head office in Cầu Giấy District, Hanoi. The airline was established with a charter capital of US$56.52 million. The carrier started operations in January 2019, with the strategy of become a 5-Star airline. In March 2018, a total worth of up to $3.1 billion US dollars agreement between FLC Group and Airbus Group was sign to purchase 24 aircraft Airbus A321neo which was witnessed by General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and French Parliamentary President François de Rugy. On the 25th June 2018, Bamboo airways, FLC Group officially signed an agreement with Boeing in Washington, D.C. to make an order of 20 new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft with a total worth of US $5.6 billion US dollars in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue, with the purpose of opening Vietnam-United States and Vietnam-Europe direct flights.

As of July 2020, the Bamboo Airways fleet consists of the following aircraft:

Aircraft In service Orders  
Airbus A319-100 1
Airbus A320-200 9 1
Airbus A320neo 5

Airbus A321-200 3
Airbus A321neo 4 24  

Boeing 787-9 3 20
Embraer 195 2    
Total 25 47

Story sourced from here 

Monday 7 September 2020

What do those three-letter airport codes actually stand for?

Three-letter airport codes are part of the alphabet soup of travel, and while some are glaringly obvious others are completely cryptic.
So what's really in an airport code? Let's start with some homegrown examples.
The airport codes for Sydney, Melbourne and Perth – SYD, MEL and PER – make perfect sense, being drawn from the first three letters of each city's name. 
But this simple convention can't always be followed.
For example, 
Brisbane is BNE instead of BRI because that code had already been allocated to an airport at the Italian city of Bari. (Bari missed out on the more sensible BAR because that moniker was assigned to the now-abandoned Baker Army Airfield on a tiny uninhabited atoll in the Pacific Ocean).
Even when a few letters are skipped, airport codes like BNE, Adelaide's ADL, Auckland's AKL and Hong Kong's HKG are still a close fit to their locale. Other airport codes, however, step further away from making immediate sense.

The X factor
Almost every traveller knows that Los Angeles and LAX are one and the same – but where did that superfluous X come from? That's a remnant from the early days of air travel when airports were referred to by a two-letter 'weather station' code, which in this case was simply LA.
When the growth of air travel created the need for three-letter codes, the airport’s original designation had an ‘X’ amended to ease the transition, as did Portland (PDX).
Dubai followed suit due to DUB already belonging to Dublin, Ireland – so the airport code of DXB was chosen with the ‘X’ having no meaning other than to fill out the three characters. Closer to home, the proposed Sydney West Airport at Badgery's Creek has already been christened as SWZ for similar reasons.

One city, many airports
In the case of London, the city's three major airports take the first letter of the city's name and append a two-letter code for the airport itself. That's how we ended up with LHR for London Heathrow, LGW for London Gatwick and LCY for London City. But even then things aren't always consistent, with London Stansted Airport – home to many low-cost airlines – tagged as STN instead of L-something. And while TOK is sometimes used as an abbreviation for the city of Tokyo, the Japanese capital's two airports retain quiet unique codes, with Narita being NRT and Haneda branded as HND.

No, there isn't an airport burdened with WTF – but those three letters could well represent the reaction of first-time travellers to airport codes which bear no resemblance to their location.

Beijing is a well-known example, with the code of PEK.
PEK represents the old anglicised name of Peking, which was changed to Beijing after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
Both Latin spellings are approximations of the city's Chinese pronunciation, which sounds a little like "pay-cheeng". Although the city name changed in the west, the airport code never did. Another is Chicago's ORD. While officially known as O'Hare International Airport, the original O'Hare Field strip was adjacent to a small farming community named Orchard Place. The airport soon took the name Orchard Field Airport, which became ORD. 

Oh, Canada...
Canada throws another curveball. All of the nation's airport codes begin with the letter Y, regardless of the city's name. That's another holdover from Ye Olde Days of Aviation, but this time to do with radio transmitters instead of weather stations.

In the early days of broadcast radio the North American market was divided into three geographic zones, each carrying a regional-specific letter to be used in front of a station's callsign.
US stations were assigned W if they were located east of the Mississippi River and K if they were west of the mighty Miss. All radio stations in Canada were to begin with – you guessed it – Y.
That at least explains Vancouver being YVR and Ottawa being YOW. Toronto's appellation of YYZ is more of a puzzler, and came about because YTO was already assigned as Toronto’s generic region code (rather than being assigned to a specific airport). YYZ happened to be the radio transmitter at a village called Malton, which is where Toronto Pearson International Airport is located today, so the oddball callsign stuck.

So there you have it: airport codes are a little more than three randomly-assigned letters stuck onto luggage, and sometimes there's a bit of a story behind each one.