Thursday 31 December 2020

Yemen airport attacked as new Government arrives

At least 22 people have been killed and more than 50 wounded in an attack at Sanaa International Airport (IATA: SAH, ICAO: OYSN) in the southern Yemeni city of Aden, officials say. There was at least one explosion shortly after a plane carrying the war-torn country's newly formed government arrived from neighbouring Saudi Arabia. Aid workers and officials were among the casualties. But the prime minister said he and his cabinet were "fine". The information minister accused Houthi rebels of a "cowardly terrorist act". The attack occurred just before a plane carrying several cabinet officials landed. The cabinet’s formation was supposed to be a step toward resolving Yemen’s civil war. No cabinet ministers appeared to have been injured, two black S.U.V.s quickly arrived to speed them to the presidential palace in Aden. Within hours, however, the local news media reported explosions at the complex, throwing the situation into further confusion. The formation of the new cabinet was supposed to be a step toward resolving one of the entangled conflicts that make up Yemen’s civil war, which has killed tens of thousands of civilians and brought the country into what aid groups have called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. “The hand of terror will not stop us from performing our tasks,” Prime Minister Maeen Abdul Malik Saeed said in a brief televised statement, calling on the government to stay in Aden and perform its duties. Video recorded by journalists who were at the airport to cover the cabinet members’ arrival showed dignitaries lined up to greet the ministers when an explosion went off, sending white smoke billowing across the tarmac and people running in all directions. A Yemenia airline official who was at the airport said the arrivals hall had been full of official delegations there to receive the cabinet members when the explosion rocked the hall. Another explosion occurred a few minutes later, close to the first, he said, followed by a third near the runway. The airport is shared with a large military base with several fighter jets and transport aircraft of the Yemeni Air Force.

Tuesday 29 December 2020

KLM Flies A 9 Hour Flight To Nowhere

KLM A330-303 PH-AKE (CN 1381)      File Photo

A Brazil-bound KLM flight spent over nine hours in the air yesterday, only to land back in Amsterdam, from where it had departed that morning. The reason for the diversion was said to be a cracked windshield on the Boeing 787 operating the flight. KLM flight KL705 is a scheduled service between Amsterdam Schipol (AMS) and Rio de Janeiro/Galeão International Airport (GIG). The flight generally operates with a frequency of five services a week. According to, the Dutch flag carrier utilizes either Boeing 777 or 787 ‘Dreamliner’ aircraft on this route. It is scheduled to depart Amsterdam at 10:25 local time. Arrival in Rio de Janeiro is timed for 18:20 local time, giving a scheduled flight time of 11 hours and 55 minutes. 

Many hours in the air 

On the 26th December flight KL705 took off from Schipol’s runway 24, known as the ‘Kaagbaan.’ It departed slightly behind schedule, at 10:41 local time. However, over a flight of nearly 12 hours, one would have expected that this 16-minute delay would easily be overcome, resulting in a punctual arrival in Brazil. Unfortunately, this was not the case. According to The Aviation Herald, the aircraft suffered a cracked windshield, specifically constituting a cracked outer pane on the right-hand side. The fact that only one layer cracked meant that damage was minimal. However, it still resulted in a loud bang which could be heard in the passenger cabin. The incident occurred over the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately 620 NM (1,150 km) south of the Azores, and 590 NM (1,090 km) west-southwest of the Canary Islands. The crew elected to return to Amsterdam following the incident. It had occurred at an altitude of 36,000 feet, and the aircraft maintained this height for the majority of its cruise back to the Netherlands. The flight landed back at Schipol on runway 18R, known as the ‘Polderbaan.’ This is the airport’s newest runway, having opened in 2003. Touchdown occurred at 19:53 local time, 9 hours and 12 minutes after flight KL705’s initial departure.


The aircraft involved

KL705 was operated by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner bearing the registration PH-BHD (CN 38763). According to, KLM took delivery of this aircraft, which bears the name Bougainvillaea / Bougainville, in February 2016. It has not flown since the incident, however, data from shows that it operated flight KL835 from Amsterdam to Singapore yesterday. The replacement flight  for KL705 was operated by another Boeing 787-9. This aircraft beared the registration PH-BHO (CN 42509), and the name Orchid / Orchidee. KLM took delivery of this particular Dreamliner in March 2018.

Story sourced from here
KLM Flies A 9 Hour Flight To Nowhere After 787 Windshield Cracks - Simple Flying

Monday 28 December 2020

Helicopter crash kills 4 soldiers

Four Pakistani soldiers, including the two pilots, were killed when a military helicopter, a Mil Mi 17, crashed in the Northern areas of the country, the Pakistani military said on Saturday. Pakistani army stated, the helicopter crashed due to technical issues during a casualty evacuation operation in the Minimarg area of Gilgit Baltistan, both pilots Major M. Hussain and Co-Pilot Major Ayaz Hussain were killed.
Naik Inziman Alam and Muhammad Farooq were the soldiers also killed during the crash incident, the Pakistani army confirmed to media. The helicopter was carrying a dead soldier’s body, Abdul Qadeer to the Combined Military hospital in Skardu after getting trapped in an avalanche when the crash happened.

This is the latest aviation incident causing death since May this year when a Pakistan International Airlines plane crash-landed on homes in Karachi, that killed 97 people. In August 2015, 12 people were killed when another army chopper crashed in the northwest. In May the same year a Mi-17 army helicopter crashed at a holiday resort in the picturesque hills of Gilgit killing seven people, including two foreign ambassadors.


Friday 25 December 2020


This has been the most trying and difficult year in our lives and it has touched everyone in different ways.
People have lost their jobs, their homes, and some have lost their lives or loved ones. Plans have been thrown into chaos worldwide. What ever you are doing today, I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas. Christmas is not just about spending time with family and friends, it's about creating precious memories that will last a life time. (I think this Christmas will be a memorable one for sure) I hope today brings joy to your heart and happiness to your home. May your day be filled with love, laughter and good health - not just for Christmas day but everyday.

Thursday 24 December 2020

Hijacking of Air France 8969 - 26 yrs on

As we get ready to spend time with loved ones over this holiday season, spare a thought for the passengers that were on this aircraft. This would be a Christmas they will never forget.

On the 24th December 1994 four armed men boarded Air France Flight 8969 which was due to depart Algiers-Houari Boumediene Airport (ALG/DAAG) for Paris-Orly Airport (ORY/LFPO) at 11:15 am. The men were dressed as Algerian presidential police; they wore blue uniforms with Air Algérie logos. Their presence originally did not cause any alarm. Two of the men began inspecting the passengers' passports while one went into the cockpit and the fourth stood guard. Claude Burgniard, a flight attendant, recalled noticing that the "police" were armed and one of them had dynamite showing, which she considered to be unusual as the Algerian police were not normally armed when carrying out checks. The Algerian military felt suspicious on noticing that the Air France flight appeared to have an unauthorised delay, so they began surrounding the aircraft. Zahida Kakachi, a passenger, recalled seeing members of the Special Intervention Group (GIS), known as "ninjas", outside the aircraft. Kakachi recalled hearing one of the "police" say "taghut," an Arabic word for "infidel", upon seeing the GIS men gathering outside the A300; she then realised that the four men on board the plane were terrorists. The four hijackers then revealed that they were not police, but mujahideen seeking to establish an Islamic state in Algeria. They had hijacked the aircraft because the national airline Air France was a symbol of France, which they viewed as infidel foreign invaders. 24 hours in, the hijackers released some of the passengers, mainly women with young children and those with severe medical conditions. Over 170 people still remained on board the plane. The hijackers offered to release the remaining Algerian passengers, but the Algerians refused to leave the aircraft. Delhemme recalled that one passenger who was refusing to leave said that he thought the crew would be killed if he did, and Delhemme believes that the passengers' motives were sincere. By the end of the 25th December, the hijackers had freed a total of 63 passengers. The terrorists murdered three passengers and their intention was to blow up the plane over the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The terrorists demanded the plane be flown to Marseille. When the aircraft reached Marseille, the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (GIGN), a counter-terror unit of the French National Gendarmerie, stormed the plane and killed all four hijackers. The remaining passengers and crew survived the 20-minute gun battle. Of the remaining passengers, 13 received minor injuries. 9 of the 30 GIGN operatives received injuries; of them, 1 received serious wounds. 3 crew members received injuries. 138 of the 220 passengers were Algerian citizens. A significant number of the passengers were French people leaving Algeria. Captain Bernard Delhemme said that the hijackers, who had extensively planned the operation, did not anticipate that most of the passengers would be Algerians.  The whole incident from start to finish lasted 54 hours.

Aircraft Information
Airline: Air France
Code: AF/AFR
Aircraft: Airbus A300B2-1C 
Registration F-GBEC
Serial Number: 104
First Flew: 28/02/1980

Wednesday 23 December 2020

An hour at Brisbane Airport

As our company closed very early today for Christmas I decided to head out to the airport for a look around. I knew there wouldn't be much around but I am always hopeful of getting something unusual.  Unfortunately I was right.... there were no exciting movements. Below is what I did get.




JETSTAR A320-232 VH-VGF (CN 4497)

QANTAS B737-838 VH-VZR (CN 34193)

QANTAS B7437-838 VH-VZS (CN 39358) 


REAR: JETSTAR A320-232 VH-VQL (CN 2642)

QANTAS A330-303 VH-QPA (CN 0553)

UPS B747-428 N580UP (CN 25632)

JETSTAR A320-232 VH-VQR (CN 2526)




LINK SAAB 340B VH-VEO (CN 340B-366)

FRONT: QANTAS B737-838 VH-XZA (CN 39367)


VIRGIN B737-7FE VH-VBZ (CN 34322)

JETSTAR A321-231 VH-VWT (CN 3717)

Monday 21 December 2020

Remembering Pan Am-103

32 Yrs ago today Pan Am 103 blew up over Lockerbie killing everyone on board.

Pan Am Flight 103 was a regular scheduled transatlantic flight from Frankfurt to Detroit via London and New York. At 19.03 on the 21st December 1988, N739PA, (the aircraft operating the fight) was destroyed by a bomb, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew in what became known as the Lockerbie bombing. Large sections of the aircraft crashed onto a residential street in Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 11 people on the ground. With a total of 270 people killed, it is the deadliest terror attack in the history of the United Kingdom. Following a three-year joint investigation by Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), arrest warrants were issued for two Libyan nationals in November 1991. In 1999, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi handed over the two men for trial at Camp Zeist, Netherlands, after protracted negotiations and UN sanctions. In 2001, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer, was jailed for life after being found guilty of 270 counts of murder in connection with the bombing. In August 2009, he was released by the Scottish Government on compassionate grounds after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. He died in May 2012 as the only person to be convicted for the attack. In 2003, Gaddafi accepted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing and paid compensation to the families of the victims, although he maintained that he had never given the order for the attack. Acceptance of responsibility was part of a series of requirements laid out by a UN resolution in order for sanctions against Libya to be lifted. Libya said it had to accept responsibility due to Megrahi's status as a government employee.  Some relatives of the dead, including the Lockerbie campaigner Dr Jim Swire, believe the bomb was planted at Heathrow airport and not sent via feeder flights from Malta, as the US and UK claim. A cell belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (General Command) had been operating in West Germany in the months before the Pan Am bombing.

The same aircraft was involved in another incident 18yrs earlier on the 4th November 1970.
Pan Am Flight 114 was operating from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York to  Orly Airport, Paris, France. There were 148 passengers and a crew of 15 aboard the flight. The takeoff at 21.17 EST was uneventful. The flight had been cleared to 31,000 feet, and experienced turbulence during the climb at approximately 27,000 feet. It was described by the flight crew as an occasional “nibble.” At approximately 21:46 EST, the aircraft encountered moderate to severe turbulence as it passed Nantucket, Massachusetts. During the encounter, which lasted approximately 4 minutes, 21 passengers and 2 stewardesses sustained injuries which ranged from minor to serious. The seatbelt sign was on at the time of the encounter and had been on since takeoff.  At 22:07 EST, the flight crew requested clearance back to JFK Airport and later requested and received preferential air traffic control handling. The aircraft landed on runway 31R at 23:39 EST. 

Aircraft Information.
The aircraft was a Boeing 747–121, registered N739PA (CN 19646) and was named "Clipper Maid of the Seas". It was the 15th 747 built, it first flew on the 25th January 1970 and was delivered in mid February 1970. It had PW JTD-7A engines
The aircraft was 18yrs old at the time of the Lockerbie incident.

Sunday 20 December 2020

Why did the USSR build the Antonov AN-225

ANTONOV AN 225 UR-82060 (CN 13102) 

The Antonov An-225 is the largest aircraft ever built. With six engines, 32 wheels and with an empty weight of 285,000 kilo's, no other aircraft comes close to its size, and cargo transport ability. I personally have seen this aircraft, I travelled to Perth Western Australia in May 2016 to see it come in.
Why though, was it ever made? 

The Antonov An-225 (known as Mriya) was ordered by the USSR for just one purpose, to transport its space-bound rocket. Just as the US developed the Space Shuttle, Russia also worked on a similar reusable, crewed space vehicle. The Russian project was known as the Buran program (Buran means Blizzard) and launched in 1971. As part of this project, one reusable spacecraft was developed, also known as ‘Buran.’ This would be launched using a single-use rocket called ‘Energia.’

Just like the US Space Shuttle (which was transported using a modified Boeing 747 aircraft), Buran needed to be moved from the construction site to its launch area and recovered after its return. The solution was a specially designed heavy cargo aircraft that could carry the shuttle on top of it. And the large cargo hold could also be used to transport parts of the Energia rocket.

Enlarging the Antonov An-124. 
Russian manufacturer Antonov had already developed a large capacity cargo aircraft, the An-125. This first flew in 1982 and was the largest cargo aircraft at the time (and still is apart from the one-off An-225). For Buran transportation, though, something larger was needed, and it was extended to create the An-225. The fuselage was extended with fore and aft extensions. The rear cargo door and ramp were removed to create extra internal space. And the number of wheels was increased from five on each side, to seven to handle the additional weight. The resulting 84 meter wide , 88 metre long An-225 can lift cargo up to 250 tonnes. For comparison, the 747-8F freighter aircraft can lift up to 136 tonnes.

There is a second An-225

Aviation fans will know that there is only one Antonov An-225 flying. There were original plans to build three more aircraft, but these were dropped after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. One other aircraft though, had started construction, and this still sits unfinished in a warehouse in Kyiv (it is thought to be around 70% complete). There was interest from the Chinese in completing the construction in 2016, but this never happened.

Will there be another built?
The An-225 has seen plenty of use in recent years. In particular, during the COVID-19 crisis, it has broken two cargo records, transporting vast amounts of medical supplies from Asia to Europe. Its cargo ability, along with high range, remains unmatched, and perhaps post-crisis, there will be renewed interest in such ability?

Antonov’s CEO Oleksander Donets thinks not, however. According to reporting in the Kyiv Post, he believes the cost of redesigning it to match modern standards would be too high. And it remains very limited in operations with its size and limits airports that can handle it. He explained:

Story sourced from here 

Saturday 19 December 2020

Alliance scoop up another 16 Embraer E190 jets

The Brisbane-based regional airline is bulking up its E190 fleet to 28 of the nimble E-Jets.

ALLIANCE E190AR N922QQ (CN 1900022)     File Photo
(Now re registered as VH-UYZ) 

Alliance Airlines will bolster its fledgling jet fleet with the purchase of 16 Embraer E190s, on top of the 14 already headed for its Brisbane hangars. The E190s, previously flown by American Airlines and retired in April this year, have been snared in an $85 million deal which also includes one spare engine.
Alliance will collect the keys to the first five jets this month, and then one per month will be handed over across January to November 2021.

The E190s will arrive in American's 99-seat configuration of
  • 8 business class seats (in a 2-1 arrangement) with 36" pitch
  • 4 extra-legroom economy seats (at the exit row) with 34" pitch
  • 80 economy seats with 31-32" pitch

“The 100 seat jet aircraft market globally will rebound quickly as carriers look to focus on total trip costs rather than traditional metrics,” predicts Alliance Airlines managing director Scott McMillan.
“The additional capacity will be deployed to capture several growth opportunities across Australia including contract flying and wet and dry lease operations.”
McMillan added that one noticeable side-effect of COVID-19 “has been the market shift away from regular public transport to charters.” While Qantas holds a 20% stake in Alliance, and has expressed its interest in "taking a majority position" in the company, Alliance also maintains an extensive partnership with Virgin Australia.
This is likely to add some 40 regional routes to Alliance's network, following the streamlining and downsizing of Virgin's fleet under new owners Bain Capital, along with a sharper focus on the most profitable routes.

Alliance's E-Jet experience

Alliance's first tranche of 14 E190s, which came from Panama’s Copa Airlines, come in two variants with 10-12 business class seats and 84-88 economy seats. Alliance Airlines CEO Lee Schofield has previously told Executive Traveller that a number of “slightly different configurations” could end up taking wing across the E190 fleet, from a two-cabin layout to all-economy and even an all-business VIP model. “Our bread and butter is single class economy (but) we’ll have the ability to change our cabins… included in the transaction was a significant component of step-ups including cabin interiors and spare parts.”

“We’ll have the flexibility to operate the aircraft either in that dual-class cabin or in single class with 100 seats.”
“We are have a Fokker 70 running around in all business class, with 48 seats; we have another Fokker 70 in a 24-seat VIP configuration.”
“So we do like to have a bit of variability in the cabin configuration, and also we like to have the ability to change the interior configuration even while we are in service.”

No middle seat

Regardless of how Alliance’s E-Jets are configured, Schofield expects they’ll be welcomed by the airline’s wide array of passengers, which spans from the resources market to holidaymakers and private charter flights.
“The E190 is an exceptional aircraft from the passenger comfort point of view. You can fit up to 114 seats in these things, so even in an all-economy 100 seat layout, that's a pretty generous passenger experience.” And unlike the larger Boeing 737s which are the workhorse of Qantas and Virgin Australia, even economy seating will be just two seats either side of the aisle, so there’s no dreaded middle seat.
“We already see that in the Fokker aircraft, having only five abreast,” Schofield recounts.
“Only 20% of the cabin has a middle seat, so you have to have over an 80% passenger load before you use the middle seats.”
“That's always been received very well by our passengers, and the E190 has the added advantage of no middle seats.”

Full story source from here

Wednesday 16 December 2020

Happy Birthday China Airlines

CHINA AIRLINES B747-409 B-18205 (CN 28712)

China Airlines.svg

China Airlines was established on the 16th December 1959 with a fleet of two PBY Amphibian aircraft. (The Consolidated PBY Catalina aircraft was produced in the 1930s and 1940s). Its shares were completely held by the Republic of China government.  China Airlines was founded by a retired air force officer and initially concentrated on charter flights only. During the 1960s, China Airlines was able to establish its first scheduled routes. In October 1962, a flight from Taipei to Hualien became the airline's first domestic service. Later, with the introduction of the Sud Aviation SE 210 Caravelle and Boeing 727-100s, the airline introduced international flights to South Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Japan. With the airlines' first two Boeing 707 aircraft, trans-Pacific flights to San Francisco via Tokyo were initiated on the 2nd February 1970. The expansion of the company's 707 fleet also permitted more services in Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia, and North America (via Japan and Hawaii). China Airlines is the state-owned national carrier of the Republic of China (commonly known as Taiwan), and is one of its two major airlines along with EVA Air. It is headquartered in Taipei Taoyuan International Airport and before Covid operated over 1,400 flights weekly to 159 destinations in 29 countries/districts, like Asia, Europe, North America, and Oceania. Carrying over 19 million passengers and 5700 tons of cargo in 2019, the carrier was the 33rd largest airline in the world in terms of revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) and 10th largest in terms of freight revenue ton kilometers.

CHINA AIRLINES B747-409 B-18206 (CN 29030)

China Airlines is owned by Taiwan-based China Airlines Group and operates China Airlines Cargo, a member of SkyTeam Cargo, which operates a fleet of freighter aircraft and manages its parent airline's cargo-hold capacity. Its sister airlines include Mandarin Airlines, which operates flights to domestic and low-demand regional destinations, and Tigerair Taiwan, which is a low-cost carrier established by China Airlines and Singaporean airline group Tigerair Holdings but is now wholly owned by China Airlines Group.

CHINA AIRLINES A330-302 B-18358 (CN 1346)

Prior to introducing their current plum blossom livery, the livery of China Airlines featured the flag of Republic of China (Taiwan) on the tail due to commercial and political reasons. On the 7th October 1995, partly as a way to avoid the international controversy, China Airlines unveiled its "Plum Blossom" logo, replacing the national flag and the aircraft livery from the red-white-blue national colours on the fuselage of its aircraft. The plum blossom (Prunus mume - commonly known as Chinese plum) is Taiwan's National Flower.

As of November 2020, the China Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft:
China Airlines fleet
AircraftIn service Orders  Passengers
CWSY  Total    
Airbus A321neo25TBA
Airbus A330-3002336277313
Airbus A350-90014323136207306
Boeing 737-800198150158
Boeing 747-40031249314375
Boeing 777-300ER10406230226358
China Airlines Cargo fleet
Boeing 747-400F18Cargo
Boeing 777F15Cargo

CHINA AIRLINES A350-941 B-18901 (CN 049)

The company slogan is Journey with a caring smile.
EMPLOYEES (As of 30 NOV, 2020)
Total number of employees: 11,403
Employees in Taiwan: 9,874
Employees stationed overseas: 1,529

CHINA AIRLINES A330-302 B-18359 (CN 1367)

CHINA AIRLINES A350-941 B-18918 (CN 239)

CHINA AIRLINES A330-302 B-18361 (CN 1539)

Tuesday 15 December 2020

Helicopter crashes in NZ - Two people killed, three seriously injured

Two people have died in a helicopter crash at a river mouth north of Kaikōura. Three other occupants - believed to include children - survived the impact. The helicopter experienced an apparent loss of yaw control and impacted on a beach near the mouth of the Kekerengu River at Kekerengu in Kaikōura District, Canterbury. The helicopter sustained substantial damage. They were dragged free from the wreckage by locals who had watched in horror as the helicopter spiralled downwards and went to help, some with tractors. The three survivors were seriously injured and have been flown to hospital. "Further details regarding the deceased and injured, including ages and genders, will not be released until all necessary family notifications have been carried out," police said in a statement. The crash took place at the Kekerengu river mouth at Clarence, a small town 30km north of Kaikōura, at 12.42pm local time.

The Civil Aviation Authority is investigating. Kaikoura i-SITE Visitor Information Centre manager Fiona Farquhar told the Herald the helicopter was not from any of their local operators. Kekerengu resident Ian Mehrtens thought the chopper was landing, until it started spinning around and around. The chopper crashed on to the beach and he headed to the scene and helped remove people from the wreckage. "I didn't really count [how many] because it was just the stress of the moment to get people out," he told Newstalk ZB. He stayed at the scene until emergency services arrived.
Around six or seven police cars arrived from all directions before five or six fire support crew and doctors arrived too. "Everyone is there now. I couldn't do any more so I just came home," Ian Mehrtens said. Coastal Lodge owner Lyn Mehrtens watched as the chopper plunged to the ground, spinning in circles as it descended. "We just watched it go round and round and round," said Mehrtens. "It's scary. You're just so helpless. You can't do anything." Mehrtens said her husband raced over to the crash site, and others in the community were on tractors doing what they could to help those inside the wreckage. Everyone who could was helping until emergency crews arrived.

The chopper appeared to have crashed near the front of The Store, which was a popular spot for heli-tourists to visit. A spokeswoman for Kaikoura Helicopters Ltd said it was not one of their machines.
St John has sent three helicopters to the scene - one from Wellington, Nelson, and Christchurch. A spokesman says an ambulance was on the way from Kaikōura, as well as an intensive care paramedic and a manager from Blenheim. He says the crews are still making their way to the scene after they were called at 12.42pm. The 60km journey from Kaikoura to Clarence, which is located at the mouth of the Kekerengu River, will take 48-minutes to drive along State Highway 1, according to
Google Maps. The drive from Blenheim, meanwhile, will take 52-minutes to drive just shy of 68km.

Aircraft Information
Owner: Helicopter Corporation Ltd.
Aircraft: Eurocopter EC 120B Colibri
Registration: ZK-HEP
Serial Number: 1023
Engine: Turboméca Arrius 2F


Story sourced from here

Sunday 13 December 2020

First New Zealand flight forced into Queensland quarantine

Expectations that a plane load of passengers from New Zealand would walk out of Brisbane airport were dashed when the travellers and their waiting families were told they were going into quarantine.
As the travellers were put onto waiting buses, confused family members, who had arrived to collect them, were left bewildered. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk reopened the state to NZ from 1am Saturday, saying residents would no longer need to abide by COVID-19 travel restrictions. But when the first flight touched down in Brisbane about 10.45am on Saturday, passengers were whisked away in buses to begin a mandatory fortnight in hotel quarantine.
Ronel Van Ferguson Berg, who was at the airport to pick up her mother, told 7NEWS that they could only wave.
“We just got here and we were told we can wave from up here but we can’t take them back,” Mrs Van Ferguson Berg said. A spokesman for the premier said the travellers had arrived on a “red” flight which included passengers from other countries.
“So all the passengers on that plane have to go into hotel quarantine because you had Kiwis sitting next to people from the United States, for example,” he told AAP.
Passengers from NZ on the flight were told they would need to quarantine before taking off and had the option to wait for a “green” flight with only locals abroad, he said.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said the first quarantine-free flight from NZ was due to arrive on Wednesday.
“There is a national protocol that Qld has adopted, which splits people on flights who have only been in safe travel zone countries, versus those who have also been in other countries,” she said.
Anyone who travels on a quarantine-free or green flight - where every passenger has been in NZ for at least 14 days - will not need to quarantine on arrival.

“Anyone who doesn’t travel on a quarantine-free flight is still subject to 14 days mandatory quarantine,” Dr Young said.

“The risk is simply too high to end their quarantine early.” Queensland has not had a locally-acquired COVID-19 case for 88 days. There was one new virus diagnosis in hotel quarantine reported on Saturday, with 23 active cases in the state. On Friday Ms Palaszczuk said travellers from NZ would able to travel to Qld from Saturday and “families would finally be reunited in time for Christmas”. “I know that is going to mean so much to families that have been missing loved ones for such a long time,” she said.

The decision to lift travel restrictions for travellers from NZ came after the country clocked up 28 days without a locally-acquired virus case.

The History Of The Kangaroo Route


When Qantas began flying the Kangaroo Route in 1947, it used Lockheed Constellations. Onboard were ten crew, including three pilots, one navigator, one radio operator,two flight engineers, and three cabin crew. They looked after just 29 passengers who paid the equivalent of US$26,000 to fly from Sydney to London. Travel time was around 58 hours.
It was called the Kangaroo Route because the flight hopped its way across to London. In those early days, there were seven stops, a rollcall of interesting cities. After departing from Sydney, the Constellation stopped at Darwin, Singapore, Calcutta, Karachi, Cairo, Castel Benito, Rome, and finally, London.

Multiple stops over multiple days

Qantas was flying to London before 1947 – sort of. As a forerunner to today’s code sharing and airline alliance deals, throughout much of the 1940s, Qantas would fly you to Ceylon and, later, Karachi to connect with BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) for the remainder of the journey.
Over the next decade, Qantas tinkered with the route. Despite the cost, the airline was running multiple services a week each way. Cities like Frankfurt, Zürich, Rome, Belgrade, Athens, Beirut, Tehran, Bombay, and Colombo came into the mix as other cities dropped off the run.
Within a decade, there were multiple competitors on the route. BOAC was running four Britannia's a week in each direction. Air India had a weekly Super Constellation service between Sydney and London. You could say the same about the TAI Douglas DC-6B that stopped in Sydney on the run between Auckland and Paris. By this time, Qantas had swapped out its Lockheed Constellations for Super Constellations. In 1959, Qantas put a jet on the Kangaroo Route, a Boeing 707. 

QANTAS B707-138 VH-EBA (CN 17696)  File Photo

By then, Qantas was incorporating the Kangaroo Route into an around the world run. The flights that went towards London via North America flew what was called the Southern Cross Route. The Kangaroo Route label stayed with the flights to London over South Asia and Europe.

The Boeing 747 revolutionized the Kangaroo Route

QANTAS B747-238B VH-EBQ (CN 22145)   File Photo

In the early 1970s, the advent of the Boeing 747 meant big changes on the Kangaroo Route. The days of multiple stops were over. As aircraft got bigger, the stops in places like Bombay ended. The Boeing 747 held an iron grip on the Kangaroo Route well into the 2000s. But by then, there was just one stop, usually in Singapore.

QANTAS A380-842 VH-OQH (CN 050)   File Photo

By 2010, the A380 was the star airline on the Kangaroo Route. Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, THAI, Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar rolled out the big plane on the route. Interestingly, BOAC’s modern-day successor, British Airways, never sent the A380 to Sydney. Other European airlines, such as KLM, all split from Australia back in the 1990s. These days, when not grounded, Qantas offers the choice of a daily A380 service via Singapore or a daily 787-9 service via Perth. British Airways normally whizzes down to Sydney via Singapore using a Boeing 777. All are a long way from the Lockheed Constellation. That contemporary 787-9 carries almost ten times as many passengers as the Lockheed, and a return ticket typically costs around US$1000. Both routes take about 21 or 22 hours, depending on the winds.

QANTAS B787-9 VH-ZNB (CN 39039)   File Photo

Next on the horizon is flying regularly scheduled services from Sydney to London without stopping. Qantas wants to do it. They probably will in the next five to six years. But without all those hops, should it still be called the Kangaroo Route? 

Saturday 12 December 2020

Queensland opens borders to New Zealand

From today Queensland is opening its borders to New Zealand. From 1am this morning (Queensland time) New Zealanders will be able to travel into to our state without having to quarantine. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a tweet that more New Zealand citizens call Queensland home than any other Australian state. "With Kiwis able to travel to Queensland families can finally be reunited in time for Christmas." "I was advised by Dr Jeannette Young, our Chief Health Officer, that New Zealanders are welcome to come," the Premier said. "That's excellent news especially in the lead-up to Christmas and the holidays. "So fingers crossed that we'll see more New Zealanders coming across." Last month travellers from New Zealand were allowed to fly directly into Melbourne and explore Victoria without undergoing quarantine, though New Zealand is yet to allow quarantine-free travel with Australia. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is not putting a timeline on any trans-Tasman travel bubble, and said officials were still working through allowing Australians to come to this country without 14 days in managed isolation. "I've never put timelines on it, because of course people book their lives around it, they make plans around it. "So I want to make sure that whenever we do give that indication we have the certainty of firm dates attached." Ardern said Australia's state-by-state approach was making planning for a possible outbreak difficult. Palaszczuk said visitors from New Zealand would still need to quarantine on their return home. "We are hoping that eventually New Zealand will not have to do that … then there would be free-flowing movement between the two countries," she said. Australian residents are still banned from travelling overseas unless granted an exemption from the federal government. Three new cases of coronavirus were detected in hotel quarantine in Queensland yesterday, meaning 22 cases are currently considered active across the state. Like Australia, the NZ government has mandated a fortnight’s quarantine for all international arrivals, operating a 6,261-bed managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) regime with 32 hotels across the country. With high demand over summer there are no available rooms to book until February 15, meaning no release into the community until March 1.

Friday 11 December 2020

Thai Airways shelves Brisbane & Perth flights; plans Melbourne return

THAI B787-8 HS-TQA (CN 35315)

Thailand’s flag carrier has pulled all Queensland and WA flights from its schedules, and made all Brisbane-based staff redundant. Star Alliance member Thai Airways is shrinking its Australian route network – at least, for now – with all flights to Brisbane and Perth withdrawn from sale over the coming year. The airline’s Brisbane office will also close on December 18 2020, with all staff there made redundant. Flights to Brisbane and Perth, as well as Melbourne, “are suspended until the 27th March 2021,” a Thai Airways spokesperson advised Executive Traveller.

“Scheduled beyond that have not yet been confirmed.”

However, flights between Melbourne and Bangkok have already returned to sale for travel from the 28th March 2021, with Thai Airways scheduling a daily Airbus A350 service:

The same cannot be said for Brisbane and Perth, for which no Thai Airways flights are loaded for sale through to late 2021, being as far forward as the airline sells tickets on its network.

Sydney-Bangkok flights set to continue

When it comes to Sydney, Thai Airways expects to operate a weekly flight to Bangkok between January and March 2021.

Daily Sydney-Bangkok services are then scheduled from March 28.Even so, the airline’s website warns against making flight bookings right now, noting that prompt refunds should not be expected if flights are cancelled.

A Thai Airways spokesperson advised Executive Traveller that “we expect there will be some finalisation of the 2021 schedules once the court process in Thailand is finalised in Q1 2021, and (when) international borders are reopened.”

Earlier this year, the airline had resorted to court protections under Thailand’s Bankruptcy Act to help secure its future – a move that was followed last month by all of Thai's Boeing 747s being put up for sale.

Australia’s international travel restrictions have also now been extended a third time, continuing until at least March 17 2021.

Thai Airways' Australian network

THAI B747-4D7 HS-TGP (CN 26610)

Prior to COVID-19, Thai Airways offered regular flights to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

Its Sydney route was home to those Boeing 747s, which came with not only the feted upper deck for business class passengers, but also the airline’s refreshed first class suites down in the jumbo’s nose.

Without the Boeing 747 in its fleet, Thai’s Sydney flights are currently scheduled with Airbus A350s and Boeing 777-300s going forward, both of which top out at business class.

Until March 2020, Sydney-Bangkok was also served daily by Qantas.

Melbourne-Bangkok had an alternative in Jetstar, and Brisbane had Thai AirAsia, albeit with flights into Bangkok's secondary Don Mueang airport, rather than the city's Suvarnabhumi hub.

Perth-Bangkok was a monopoly for Thai Airways, and was also Perth's eighth-busiest international route in 2018.

Wednesday 9 December 2020

RAAF Amberley crash forces grounding of Super Hornets and Growlers

RAAF Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet A44-223 (CN AF-23)

The Royal Australian Air Force have grounded its entire fleet of Super Hornets and Growlers after two pilots were forced to eject before a crash at Amberley yesterday. The emergency involved an RAAF Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet, operated by the No1 Squadron,  which ran off the runway at the base.   A witness filmed a pilot and co-pilot parachuting back to the ground after the incident. The Hornet had been third in line for take-off during Tuesday afternoon’s manoeuvres. The jet was around 200 metres into its take-off run when the disaster happened. One eyewitness observed smoke coming from one of its engines before the crew ejected. The multi-million dollar jet continued on with no one at the controls until it left the runway and crashed its nose onto the ground. In response, the federal government has grounded the jets “out of an abundance of caution” as investigators search for answers over what led to the accident. Twenty-four Super Hornets and  eleven Growlers are out of service indefinitely while a full investigation gets underway. A RAAF spokesperson says the pilots are “well” after the incident. “The aircrew of that aircraft are safe and no other personnel were involved in the incident,” a Defence spokeswoman said in a statement.

A Google search shows footage of the incident as a wrecked RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft with scorched burn marks around the cockpit on the ground near an airstrip. Another picture shows two pilots parachuting towards the ground after they were forced to eject at around 2.30pm during a regular training exercise. The plane, which has been described as “badass” by mechanics, seems to have encountered engine failure as it was taking off alongside seven other aircraft. The Super Hornet is powered by two General Electric F414-GE-400 engines.

Aircraft Information
Aircraft: Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet
Owner: Royal Australian Air Force 1 Squadron
Registration: A44-223
Serial Number: AF-23
Engines: 2 x General Electric F414-GE-400 engines.

Sunday 6 December 2020

Drug smugglers posed as United Nation aid workers crash jet

Honduran military agents confiscated nearly $2 million worth of cocaine that was aboard a small jet from Venezuela that crashed Thursday. The Armed Forces announced the aircraft, a Piper PA-31, was intercepted by its flight radar system after it illegally entered the Central American nation's airspace off its Caribbean coast. The jet's crew claimed they were members of the United Nations who were delivering humanitarian aid to the victims of Hurricanes Eta and Iota which ravaged Honduras in November, according to Armed Forces spokesman, José Antonio Coello. Coello said the pilot was instructed to land and the smugglers aboard then dumped 40kg of cocaine off the twin engine jet before it crashed in Barra de Patuca, a town in the coastal department of Gracias a Dios. The incident sparked a shootout at the crash site, which left one smuggler dead and a soldier was shot in the foot. The serviceman's injury was non-life threatening. The Honduran Armed Forces seized the dumped cocaine as well as five packages of the drug inside the jet. Authorities are searching the area for other passengers aboard the jet who may have escaped. It is the second 'narco jet' that departed from Venezuela that was forced intercepted by the Honduran military in three months. Soldiers seized $23.4 million in cocaine on the 23rd August from a jet registered in Mexico.  The small twin-engine plane crash landed in a grass field in the department of Gracias a Dios before the military swarmed and confiscated 489 kilos of cocaine, an AK-47, a 9mm gun, and ammunition. No arrests were reported. The Honduran Armed Forces data shows that 2,039kgs of cocaine, with a street value of $140.6 million, have been seized during the first 11 months of 2020 in the department of Gracias a Dios.

Saturday 5 December 2020

Japan Air makes emergency landing at Japan's Naha Airport

JAPAN AIRLINES B777-346 JA731J (CN 32431) 

A Japan Airlines Boeing 777 operating flight JL904 from Okinawa-Naha Airport (OKA/ROAH) to Tokyo-Haneda Airport (HND/RJTT), suffered an engine failure while climbing through FL160 40 nm north of Naha. The Boeing took off from Naha at 11:44 local time. Six minutes later, the No. 1 engine made a very loud bang followed by significant vibrations. The flight crew declared an emergency at 11:53, and the airplane safely returned to Naha landing at 12:23. No personal injuries were reported. The initial inspection after landing revealed two fan blades had broken away from the root and a part of the fan case was missing.
JTSB has launched an investigation as a serious incident.

Aircraft Information
Airline: Japan Airlines
Code: JL/JAL
Aircraft: Boeing 777-289 
Registration: JA8978
Serial Number: 27637/79
Engines: P&W PW4074
First Flew: 18/06/1997
Age: 23 Yrs 5 Mts