Sunday 30 June 2024

"Urgent" reminder for Bonza customers with a flight ticket

Jetstar and Qantas are urgently reminding Bonza customers and staff who were offered free flights to use up the offer before the end of this weekend. In April, just 14-months after Bonza officially launched, it entered into voluntary administration with flights slashed across the country.

As a result, hundreds of passengers were left stranded and major Aussie airlines, such as Jetstar, Qantas and Virgin Australia all stepped in to provide free flights to affected customers. Jetstar and Qantas are reminding Bonza passengers who booked flights with the airline that their free flights offer is still available – but it ends today.


“We would like to remind Bonza customers who have yet to come forward to take up our offer of free flights by close of business today (30th of June,”) Jetstar said. Essentially, customers just need to show a proof of booking or confirmation and they will be accommodated by the two airlines at no cost.

Of Bonza’s 36 routes, there are six overlapping routes with either Jetstar or Qantas including Melbourne to Gold Coast (Jetstar), Melbourne to Sunshine Coast (Jetstar) and Melbourne to Alice Springs (Qantas).

“If there is another close alternative route that Jetstar or Qantas operate, customers with a cancelled Bonza flight can also travel at no cost (e.g. Brisbane as an alternative to Gold Coast, or Melbourne as an alternative to Avalon),” its statement read.

More than 25,000 passengers have already been re-accommodated on Jetstar and Qantas services at no cost since Bonza stopped flying seven weeks ago, with passengers provided seats on six overlapping routes or the closest alternative route.

Jetstar has also set up a dedicated page for Bonza’s employees on its careers site and are working with those who have contacted the airline about opportunities across the business.

Saturday 29 June 2024

Cathay Pacific increases flights to Brisbane and Perth

Cathay Pacific is set to return to its full pre-pandemic capacity across Brisbane and Perth Airports.

Starting on the 28th of October, the airline will increase Perth-Hong Kong services from six to eleven per week and Brisbane-Hong Kong services from six to ten per week, with Sydney and Melbourne to retain their current four and three flights per day respectively.

The Cathay Group, which includes low-cost subsidiary HK Express, is aiming to return to 100 per cent of global pre-COVID capacity across its passenger network in the first quarter of 2025, and says it has reached 80 per cent as of the second quarter of this year.

“This is testament to our team who have been continuing to provide world-class service as we rebuild our flights and network. These new flights will give our Australian customers more choice when travelling to Hong Kong and beyond,” said Frosti Lau, southwest Pacific regional general manager at Cathay Pacific.

“This announcement is equally important for our cargo business as we grow our freight capacity. The updated schedule will see new opportunities available for businesses in Brisbane and Perth across the likes of fresh produce, pharma, specialty items and more.”

Perth and Brisbane aren't the only cities benefiting from the scheduling.
For the first time since October 2019 Cathay Pacific will return to Cairns. 
Cathay will operate three flights per week between Cairns and Hong Kong from the 17th of December 2024 to 29 March 2025. This seasonal service will offer direct access to Hong Kong and provide seamless connections to the rest of the world, including London, China, India and the US.

Friday 28 June 2024

Qantas drops out of top 20 airline rankings

Qantas comes 24th in Skytrax world airline awards, a month after $100m fine for allegedly selling flights to customers which did not exist


This news will come as no surprise to people reading this here in Australia.
Qantas has dropped out of a ranking of the top 20 best airlines in the world a month after it agreed to a $100m fine for allegedly selling flights to customers which did not exist.

In this year’s world airline awards by Skytrax, Qantas dropped seven places, from 17th to 24th, while Qatar Airways was named the world’s best airline ahead of Singapore in second place.

Fiji Airways was named the best airline in Australia and the Pacific for the second time, while Qantas was named as having the best business class, best premium economy and the cleanest airline in the regional ranking.

Qantas was rated the second-best airline in the world in 2005 and 2006, before tumbling to 15th in 2012 and in 2017. A Qantas spokesperson said the airline had been “listening to our customers and our people and have been acting on this feedback with significant investment already underway”.

“We want our customers to feel the difference from the changes that we have put in place and, in recent months, we have seen customer satisfaction levels improve,” the spokesperson said.

The Skytrax result comes as the airline fell 22 places in a separate analysis of the strength of Australian brands earlier this year due to “reputational issues that generated negative media coverage”, Brand Finance said.

Here are the top ten best airlines in the world according to Skytrax

Qatar Airways


Singapore Airlines




ANA All Nippon Airways


Cathay Pacific Airways


Japan Airlines


Turkish Airlines




Air France


Swiss International Air Lines


Here is the list from 11-20

11 Korean Air                         10 2023
12 Hainan Airlines                 11 2023
13 British Airways                 18 2023
14 Fiji Airways                       15 2023
15 Iberia                                  14 2023
16 Vistara                                16 2023
17 Virgin Atlantic                    22 2023
18 Lufthansa                           21 2023
19 Etihad Airways                  13 2023
20 Saudi Arabian Airlines      23 2023

Thursday 27 June 2024

Korea Air flight drops almost 27,000ft injuring 17 people

KOREAN AIR AIRBUS A380-861 HL-7622 (MSN 128)

A severe fault on a Korean Air flight necessitated a diversion last Saturday when it descended 26,900 feet within 15 minutes, (1,800 feet per minute) leading to the hospitalisation of seventeen passengers. The passengers of Korean Air flight KE189, travelling from Seoul (ICN/RKSI) to Taichung (RMQ/RCMQ), reached Taichung, Taiwan safely after being rerouted to Incheon International Airport the day before.

About 50 minutes after departure on Saturday, alarms were triggered inside the Boeing 737 Max 8 due to a pressurization system fault. This is according to data from the online flight tracker Flightradar24, which showed the aircraft's rapid descent of 26,900 feet in just 15 minutes.

Passengers experienced hyperventilation and ear pain, necessitating hospitalisation. Korean Air stated to the media, "Seventeen passengers have been attended to by medical professionals in Korea and have been discharged without severe injuries."

The aircraft, carrying 125 passengers, was initially scheduled to depart for Taiwan at approximately 4:45 pm local time on the 22nd of June. Following the emergency, the flight returned to Incheon Airport three hours post-departure. No major injuries were reported despite the alarming incident. The service resumed the following morning with an alternate aircraft after Korean Air conducted an investigation.

Onboard, passengers experienced panic and distress, with oxygen masks released and children crying amidst the rapid descent. A passenger recounted that children were crying as oxygen masks dropped during the plummet.

He expressed his fear that the airplane might crash.

A Korean Air spokesperson reported that the airline is thoroughly investigating the pressurization system failure to identify the cause and ensure all maintenance issues are resolved before the aircraft returns to service.

Aircraft Information:
Airline: Korean Air
Code: KE/KAL
Aircraft: Boeing 737 Max 8
Registration: HL8352
Serial Number: 63440
Engines: CFMI CFM56-5A1
First Flew: 6th November 2019
Age: 4.8 Years

Wednesday 26 June 2024

Australian National Airways - DC 4 crash

On the 26th of June 1950, a Douglas DC-4 Skymaster aircraft took off from Perth (PER/YPPH), Western Australia, bound for an eight-hour journey to Adelaide (ADL/YPAD), South Australia. Just 22 minutes after departure, the plane crashed 35 miles (56 km) east of Perth Airport. After departure the number four engine, which was misfiring, had been shut down by the flight crew and subsequently the remaining three engines had all failed for indeterminate periods. The crew turned left in an attempt to return to the airport. In a 15 degree turn the aircraft barely cleared a ridge line, struck a tree 30 feet off the ground and ploughed into a downward slope. The crash claimed the lives of all 29 people on board; one person initially survived but succumbed to injuries six days later, marking it as Australia's worst civil aviation disaster to date.

As the plane headed east over Perth's outskirts, numerous witnesses noted its unusually low altitude compared to the standard Skymaster services, with at least one engine misfiring and backfiring consistently. In the moments leading up to the crash, varying engine sounds were reported – at times functioning normally, at others ceasing entirely, followed by a loud, high-pitched "scream." Weeks later, an examination of the damaged engines revealed considerable corrosion in the fuel systems of two engines. Preliminary findings by the Department of Civil Aviation suggested that water-induced corrosion led to the malfunctioning of at least one engine and a temporary total loss of power. 
However, the source of the water remained unidentified.

Of the 29 individuals aboard, all but one perished at the site from extensive injuries, burns, or incineration. An elderly male passenger, found disoriented and injured by the first responders, was the sole survivor. Despite being hospitalized with severe burns, he passed away six days following the accident.

The aircraft was the Amana, a Douglas DC-4-1009 registered VH-ANA (MSN 42910) and the flagship of the Australian National Airways fleet. It flew for the first time on the 28th of January 1946 and was flown to Australia on the 9th of February 1946.

Remembering Air France Flight 296Q


Air France Flight 296Q was a chartered flight of a brand-new Airbus A320-111 operated by Air Charter International for Air France. On the 26th of June 1988, the plane crashed while making a low-level pass over Mulhouse–Habsheim Airfield as part of the Habsheim Air Show. The newly delivered Airbus was destroyed when it impacted trees during the low pass over the runway. A fire broke out, killing three occupants.

This particular flight was the A320's first passenger flight and most of those on board were journalists and raffle competition winners, having won tickets as part of a promotional event by local businesses. Many, including several unaccompanied children, had never been on an airplane previously. The low-speed flyover, with landing gear down, was supposed to take place at an altitude of 100 feet (30 m); instead, the plane performed the flyover at 30 ft (9 m), skimmed the treetops of the forest at the end of the runway (which had not been shown on the airport map given to the pilots) and crashed. 

All 136 passengers survived the initial impact, but 3 then died of smoke inhalation from the subsequent fire; a quadriplegic boy in seat 4F, a 7-year-old little girl in seat 8C, trapped by her seat being pushed forward and struggling to open the seatbelt, and an adult who, according to her partner, had reached the exit with him but then turned back to try help the 7 year old. (The child had been traveling with her older brother but seated apart; he was swept out by a flow of escapees as he tried to find his sister).

The aircraft first flew on the 6th of January 1988 and was delivered to Air France on the 23rd of June, three days prior to its destruction. It was the third A320 delivered to Air France, the launch customer.

Aircraft Information:
Airline: Air France
Code: AF/AFR
Aircraft: Airbus A320-211
Registration: F-GFKC
Serial Number: 009
Engines: CFMI CFM56-5A1
First Flew: 6th January 1988
Age: 6 months

Monday 24 June 2024

All four engines have failed...


On the 24th of June 1982, British Airways Flight 009, with a callsign of Speedbird 9, was performing a scheduled flight from London Heathrow (LHR/EGLL) to Auckland (AKL/NZAA), with stops in Delhi (DEL/VIDP), Kuala Lumpur (KUL/WMKK) and Perth (PER/YPPH).

During the Kuala Lumpur - Perth sector the aircraft flew into a cloud of volcanic ash thrown up by the eruption of Mount Galunggung around 110 miles (180 km) south-east of Jakarta, Indonesia, resulting in the failure of all four engines. Partly because the event occurred at night, obscuring the cloud, the reason for the failure was not immediately apparent to the crew or air traffic control. 

Shortly after 13:40 UTC (20:40 Jakarta time) above the Indian Ocean, south of Java, the crew first noticed an unusual effect on the windscreen similar to St. Elmo's fire. Despite the weather radar showing clear skies, the crew switched on engine anti-ice and the passenger seat belt signs as a precaution.

As the flight progressed, smoke began to accumulate in the passenger cabin of the aircraft; it was first assumed to be cigarette smoke. However, it soon began to grow thicker and had an odour of sulphur. Passengers who had a view of the aircraft's engines through the window noted that they were unusually bright blue, with light shining forward through the fan blades and producing a stroboscopic effect.

Around 13:42 UTC (20:42 Jakarta time), the number-four Rolls-Royce RB211 engine began surging and soon flamed out. The flight crew immediately performed the engine shutdown drill, quickly cutting off fuel supply and arming the fire extinguishers. Less than a minute later, at 13:43 UTC (20:43 Jakarta time), engine two surged and flamed out. Within seconds, and almost simultaneously, engines one and three flamed out, prompting the flight engineer to exclaim, "I don't believe it—all four engines have failed!"

Without engine thrust, a 747-200 has a glide ratio of roughly 15:1, meaning it can glide forward 15 kilometres for every kilometre it drops. The flight crew quickly determined that the aircraft was capable of gliding for 23 minutes and covering 91 nautical miles (169 km) from its flight level of 37,000 feet (11,000 m).

At 13,500 feet (4,100 m), the crew was approaching the altitude at which they would have to turn over the ocean and attempt a risky ditching. Although the crew had guidelines for the water landing procedure, no one had ever tried it in a Boeing 747. As they performed the engine restart procedure, engine number four finally started, and at 13:56 UTC (20:56 Jakarta time), Moody used its power to reduce the rate of descent. Shortly thereafter, engine three restarted, allowing him to climb slowly. Shortly after that, engines one and two successfully restarted, as well. The crew subsequently requested and expedited an increase in altitude to clear the high mountains of Indonesia.

The aircraft landed safely in Jakarta.

The route was flown by the City of Edinburgh, a Boeing 747-236B registered as G-BDXH. The crew members of the accident segment had boarded the aircraft in Kuala Lumpur, while many of the passengers had been aboard since the flight began in London.

Aircraft Information:
Airline: British Airways
Code: BA/BAW
Aircraft: Boeing 747-236
Registration: G-BDXH
Serial Number: 21635
Engines: 4 x RR RB211-524D4
First Flew: 19/03/1979
Age at incident: 3.3 Years

Bali wants $70 ‘tourist tax’ on Australians

That quick getaway to Bali could soon cost you a little more, with the government of the popular Indonesian holiday region seeking to raise the current $15 (IDR150,000) ‘foreign tourist tax’ to $70 (IDR750,000). The $15 levy, introduced in February 2024, was intended to fund tourism initiatives and support the local Balinese community.

However, according to the BaliDiscovery website, the collection of this fee “has been plagued by inefficiency, with only a minority of foreign visitors actually paying.”

Alongside a push for the immigration service at Bali’s Denpasar International Airport to become more active in collecting the tax, the hike from $15 to $75 is also “seen as necessary to enhance the overall quality of visitors to the Island and address issues of poor behaviour and public order disruption.”

“I think Rp 150,000 tax is too low, so Bali seems like a cheap tourist destination,” said Bali Regional Legislative Council lawmaker Gede Komang Kresna Budi. “Why should Bali be sold cheaply?” The proposed increase in the tourism tax would deter the lower end of the tourism market, Kresna Budi reasons.

He said the additional revenue generated by the higher tourist tax rate should be fed into Bali’s education and health sectors but also go towards the creation of an arm of the local police force “that specifically handles tourism issues.”

Meanwhile, there’s been no movement on plans to drop Indonesia‘s $50 visa-on-arrival program for Australians, flagged in December 2023, to encourage tourism and boost the local economy. That move would see Bali and the rest of the country return to the largely visa-free travel model introduced in 2016 but later abandoned as part of Indonesia’s post-pandemic recovery plan. Under current rules, travellers from Australia and 23 other countries must apply for a visa on arrival – such as when they land at Bali’s Denpasar airport – and pay a $50 fee for the 30-day visa.

Story sourced from here

Sunday 23 June 2024

Remembering Air India 182


On the 23rd of June 1985, Air India flight 182 disintegrated in mid-air en route from Montreal-Mirabel International Airport, QC (YMX/CYMX), Canada to London-Heathrow Airport (LHR/EGLL), United Kingdom. It was at an altitude of 31,000 feet (9,400 m) over the Atlantic Ocean. The result of the explosion from a bomb being planted by Canadian Sikh terrorists. The remnants of the airliner fell into the ocean approximately 190 kilometres (120 miles) west-southwest of the southwest tip of Ireland, killing all aboard: 329 people, including 268 Canadian citizens, 27 British citizens and 24 Indian citizens. 

The aircraft took off from Montreal at 02:18 UTC. Its estimated time of arrival at London was 08:33 UTC. At 07:15 UTC, at FL310 over the Atlantic Ocean an explosion occurred in the forward cargo compartment, causing a rapid decompression. The aft portion of the aircraft separated from the forward portion before striking the water. The wreckage sank to a depth of 6700 feet.
From the wreckage retrieved no direct evidence was found of an explosive device. However, there is a considerable amount of circumstantial and other evidence that an explosive device caused the occurrence. Furthermore because an explosive device detonated in Tokyo the same day. Just 55 minutes before Air-India 182 crashed, A bag from CP Air Flight 003 exploded at Tokyo-Narita Airport, just 55 minutes before Air India 182 crashed. This was probably an interlined unaccompanied suitcase to be placed on Air-India Flight 301 to Bangkok.
Investigation determined that a suitcase was also interlined unaccompanied from Vancouver via CP Air Flight 060 to Toronto. In Toronto, there is nothing to suggest that the suitcase was not transferred to Terminal 2 and placed on board Air India Flight 181/182 in accordance with normal practice. The aircraft departed Toronto for Montreal-Mirabel and London with the suitcase unaccompanied.

The bombing of Air India Flight 182 is the largest mass killing in Canadian history, Canada's worst terrorist attack, the deadliest aviation incident in the history of Air India and was the deadliest act of aviation terrorism until the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Aircraft Information:
Airline: Air India
Code: AI/AIC
Aircraft: Boeing 747-237B
Registration: VT-EFO
Serial Number: 23634
Engines: 4 x PW JT9D-7A
Delivery Date: 30/06/1978

Boeing 747
There were 1551 747's built
This was the 14th loss
This was the 9th fatal accident
This was the 2nd worst accident (at the time)
and is the 5th worst accident (currently)

Saturday 22 June 2024

American Airlines kicks black passengers off flight over body odor


American Airlines has placed several employees on leave after the company was sued by three black New Yorkers who were kicked off a JFK-bound flight over a body odor complaint. The incident took place on the 5th of January 2024 on flight 832, which at the time was travelling from Phoenix (PHX/KPHX) to New York's JFK (JFK/KJFK).

American CEO Robert Isom announced the disciplinary action this week in a note to staff in which he also denounced the troubling incident that transpired on a January flight from Phoenix International Airport.

“I am incredibly disappointed by what happened on that flight and the breakdown of our procedures,” Isom said in the note.

“It contradicts our values … We fell short of our commitments and failed our customers in this incident.”

It’s unclear how many of the American Airlines workers involved in the fiasco were placed on leave.

“We are holding those involved accountable, including removing team members from service,” an airline spokesperson said in a statement.

Eight black men were ordered off the plane after a white male flight attendant allegedly complained of an offensive body odor, according to the lawsuit filed against American by three of the passengers.

The trio from New York — Xavier Veal, Emmanuel Jean Joseph and Alvin Jackson — claim in the suit they suffered “blatant and egregious race discrimination” at the hands of the airline’s staff. The men were complete strangers and sitting separately when they and the five other black passengers were singled out, according to the suit.

Video of the incident showed the men suggesting they were targeted because of their race — a notion one of the American Airlines employees verbally agreed with, a shocking video shows. They were ushered off the plane, but after being unable to find another flight, ordered to reboard, a tedious and frustrating ordeal that caused the plane to be delayed about an hour, according to the lawsuit filed last month.

Friday 21 June 2024

What does it mean when your plane has a bird strike?

A bird strike is being blamed after flames were seen coming out the back of a Boeing 737's engine that made an emergency landing in Invercargill this week.

Virgin Australia flight VA148 departed Queenstown Airport (ZQN/NZQN) just before 6pm, bound for Melbourne (MEL/YMML), before turning around and landing safely in Invercargill (IVC/NZNV) an hour later.

The plane "experienced an issue just after take-off and has been diverted to Invercargill Airport", Queenstown Airport said in a statement. It was confirmed the cause was a bird strike.

Bird strikes have affected planes since they were first invented. And despite technological advances helping to predict bird movements, it's likely to be an issue for a long time to come. Wildlife strike is the umbrella term, because while most cases involve birds, there have been cases of other animals, and even people, getting sucked into the running turbine engine of a plane.

The first reported bird strike is said to have occurred in 1905, when the Wright Flyer flown by Orville Wright struck a bird over an Ohio cornfield.

The most well-known case of a bird strike is that of US Airways Flight 1549 in 2009.
Shortly after pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger took off from New York's LaGuardia Airport, two large geese flew into each of the plane's twin engines. Both engines stopped working, and the pilot had to choose between trying to reach an airport runway or attempting a water landing.

Sullenberger aimed for the Hudson River, and everyone aboard survived.
This was a very rare and unfortunate case of both engines being out of action.

It's unusual for planes to lose even one engine while flying, and they're designed to be able to rely on just one. They won't have the maximum thrust power for take-off, but they can continue to fly and land safely, Professor Doug Drury, head of aviation at CQ University Australia, says.

Bird strikes above 500 feet (150 m) altitude are around 7 times more common at night than during the day.

Anything ingested by a turbine engine "becomes shrapnel", Drury says. The damage caused will depend on the size and number of the birds involved. There will be a loud noise and possibly flames, he says. The pilot will shut down the engine and divert to another airport close by.

In theory, it could continue flying to its destination. "But pilots don't want to take risks if we don't have to," Drury says.

Airlines can also get fined for putting passengers in jeopardy if they continue to fly.

"Pilots train extensively for single-engine operations. The Virgin crew did exactly what they were trained to do." It's important to keep in mind, despite these types of events, that "flying is still the safest mode of transport", he says.

How common is it?
Bird strike rates at Australian airports is about seven in 10,000 aircraft movements, according to research. About 90 percent of cases occur at low altitudes at airports, during take-off or landing, according to the group.

Worldwide, it causes more than $1.7 billion in aircraft damage annually.

Queenstown Airport says bird strikes are a known risk to aviation around the world. But the Civil Aviation Authority has recorded the incident rate for bird strikes at the airport as "low".

"The primary species of concern at Queenstown are oyster catchers and plovers, along with smaller birds such as finches, starlings, and sparrows."

While the "vast majority" of strikes around the world are by birds, there have been cases in New Zealand of planes colliding with large rabbits, according to the NZAWHG.

Average bird strike rates (number of strikes per 10,000 aircraft movements) for different countries.

Country         Bird Strike Rate         Period Considered 
Australia              7.76                             2008–2017 
Canada               4.51                             2008–2018 
France                 3.95                             2004–2013
Germany             4.42                             2010–2018 
UK                       7.46                             2012–2016 
USA                     5.83                             2009–2018  

Nevertheless, while collisions between birds and aircraft usually result in lethal consequences for the bird, aircraft damage is rare. Two to eight percent of all recorded bird strikes result in actual aircraft damage in civil aviation. Regarding operational impacts, between six and seven percent of all reports indicate a negative operational effect on the flight. 

Thursday 20 June 2024

Atlas Air suffers third aircraft incident this month

ATLAS BOEING 747-47UF N493MC (MSN 29254)

Atlas Air has suffered its third aircraft ‘incident’ this month, causing Hong Kong International Airport (HKG/VHHH) to close a runway and delaying some 186 flights.  An Atlas 747-400F, on route from Hong Kong to Chicago, via Anchorage, suffered a hydraulic failure near Taiwan. The crew decided to return to Hong Kong and landed two hours later.

However, the aircraft burst “a number of tyres” on landing, according to Aviation Herald, becoming disabled and unable to be moved for several hours due to the hydraulic problem.

HKG confirmed there were no injuries, however, it noted that following the aircraft’s original take-off at 4.10am, it received reports of suspected tyre fragments on the south runway and moved operations to the north runway. The airport authority said it was “highly concerned about the incident and will require the airline to submit a report to AAHK and the Civil Aviation Department as mandated by set procedures”.

This is the third significant incident involving Atlas Air in just over two weeks – and its sixth this year. Two aircraft are currently on the ground.

Last Tuesday, an Atlas 747-400F, on a Seoul-Anchorage-Guadalajara rotation, suffered a hydraulic failure after takeoff as it climbed to 10,000 feet. It dumped fuel before returning to Seoul. The treads of two tyres had separated, cutting a hydraulic line, and on landing, a third tyre burst, reported Aviation Herald.

Just nine days earlier, the same aircraft landed in Los Angeles with a damaged left body gear tyre, and remained on the ground for some nine hours before departing for Mexico City.

Atlas had two incidents in January: a 747-8F suffered an engine fire after taking off from Miami; and the right-hand engine of a 747-8F hit the runway on landing at Anchorage. An Atlas 777 was struck by hail in Hong Kong in at the end of April, resulting in damage.

Atlas Air has 91 aircraft in service
52 - 747s (43 400's and 9 800's) 
5 - 777s, 
27 - 767-300's 
7 - 737 Max 8s. 

Wednesday 19 June 2024

Air Force pilot dies after ejection seat goes off

An Air Force instructor pilot has died after the ejection seat on his aircraft activated while the plane was operating on the ground, officials said.

The incident occurred on Monday at Sheppard Air Force Base near Wichita Falls, Texas, when Capt. John Robertson of the 80th Operations Support Squadron was in a T-6A Texan II aircraft during ground operations and he was suddenly ejected from the plane, causing him severe injuries, according to a statement from Sheppard Air Force Base released on Tuesday describing the incident

Robertson died early Tuesday morning from the injuries he suffered in the accident, Air Force officials said.

"This is a devastating loss for Captain Robertson's family and loved ones, and for the entire 80th Flying Training Wing," said Col. Mitchell J. Cok, the acting wing commander. "Captain Robertson was a highly valued Airman and instructor pilot. Our deepest condolences go with all who knew and loved him."

An interim safety board investigation was convened immediately following the incident, according to Sheppard Air Force Base, and a “full Air Force Safety Investigation Board is expected to be in place later this week.”

The board will release its report when the investigation is complete but they did not disclose when they expected this to happen.

"We are thankful for the M1 maintenance team who immediately provided live-sustaining care, and for the heroic efforts of the security forces, fire and medical personnel here on base and at United Regional Hospital,” Cok said. “Their efforts allowed time for Captain Robertson's family to be at his side when he passed."

Tuesday 18 June 2024

US aircraft passenger faces record fine for violent behavior

A 34-year-old US woman has been sued for failing to pay a record $81,950 fine for assaulting co-passengers on an American Airlines flight in 2021, a report said.

Heather Wells was accused of kicking, punching and spatting at passengers on a Charlotte-bound flight that she had boarded from Texas on the 7th of July 2021. Heather Wells was gagged and bound with duct tape to her seat after she tried to open the aircraft door mid-air.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had imposed $81,950 fine on her, the highest-ever imposed by the authority for violent behavior by a passenger, the FAA said.

FAA has now sued her for failing to pay the fine.

Wells ordered an alcoholic beverage and became "increasingly agitated and wanted to get out of the plane," the complaint said. The 34-year-old then tried to open the cabin front door while "screaming and yelling profanities."

Heather Wells was restrained to her seat with duct tape and flex cuffs but "continued to kick and spit and attempted to bite and head-butt a flight attendant and passengers," the report said. She continued the violent behaviour before she was sedated and removed from the plane once it landed at the Charlotte airport.

The woman is being fined $45,000 for assaulting and threatening crew members and posing "an imminent threat to the safety of the aircraft, crew and passengers," $27,950 for attempting to open the cabin door in-flight and $9,000 for interfering with the crew member's duties, the FAA reported.

Monday 17 June 2024

8-Year-old girl dies on plane

An 8-year-old girl, Sydney Weston, of Carl Junction who was traveling from Joplin (JLN/KJLN) to Chicago (ORD/KORD) with her family for vacation, suddenly became ill midflight and then became unresponsive. Her family immediately notified the flight attendants of her condition, and they began rapidly rendering aid. After discussions with ATC, the aircraft diverted to General Wayne A Downing Airport, Peoria (PIA/KPIA)

Upon landing in Peoria, she was not breathing and had no pulse. Deputies, AMT Personnel, and Air National Guard Fire personnel immediately began life-saving measures.
Little Weston was emergently transported to OSF Healthcare Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, where, despite aggressive resuscitative efforts, she was pronounced deceased at 8:05 am this morning.
"Upon landing in Peoria, she was not breathing and had no pulse," the Peoria County Coroner's Office said in a statement. The tragedy occurred on a SkyWest Airlines flight UA5121.

Forty-five minutes after departing from Joplin Regional Airport, the plane began its descent south of Peoria. According to emergency services, the aircraft was diverted to General Downing Peoria International Airport due to a medical emergency on board.

The plane landed at 7:02 a.m. on Thursday morning, just 71 minutes after takeoff. Once the aircraft touched down, emergency services began performing "life-saving measures," according to the Peoria County Sheriff's Office. The girl was already without a pulse.

She was transported to OSF Healthcare Saint Francis Medical Center seven miles away, where "despite aggressive resuscitative efforts, she was pronounced deceased at 8:05 a.m. that morning," said the Peoria County Coroner's Office in a statement.

Please keep the child's family and everyone who was involved in this traumatic experience in your thoughts and prayers.

Sydney's death is the latest in several tragedies on board a plane. 

Only last week a 41-year-old man died on a Fiji Airways flight en route from Nadi, Fiji, to San Francisco. He encountered a medical emergency an hour and a half before landing. The San Mateo County Coroner's Office later identified him as Raiznal Farzad Khalik, a U.S. citizen. The cause of death was not provided.

In May this year a 73-year-old British man died of a suspected heart attack and thirty other passengers were injured when a Singapore Airlines plane hit severe turbulence 10 hours into the flight, flinging people around the cabin as the plane plunged about 6000 feet within minutes.

In February 2024, a 63-year-old German citizen died on a Lufthansa flight from Bangkok to Munich. Ninety minutes into the flight, the aircraft was forced to return to Bangkok after the passenger was pronounced dead. A nursing specialist from Switzerland, who was also on board, reportedly noticed his poor health as he was experiencing cold sweats and rapid breathing. Despite him coughing up blood and bleeding from the nose before departure, airport officials allowed the plane to take off. The death of the passenger was announced by the pilot over the speaker.

Last summer, a LATAM Airlines pilot died mid-flight after experiencing a "medical event" on a flight from Miami to Chile. The plane was diverted to Panama, where he was pronounced dead. The pilot's cause of death has not been released.

Sunday 16 June 2024

Paralysed Singapore Airlines passenger slams compensation offer

The spouse of a paralyzed Singapore Airlines passenger has criticized the airline's compensation proposal, stating that he discovered it through social media. Singapore Airlines has proposed a compensation of $US10,000 ($15,150) for passengers with minor injuries and $US25,000 ($37,800) for those with serious injuries from a flight last month that experienced severe turbulence.

The airline reported that it issued the compensation offer on the 10th of June following the incident, during which one individual died and several were injured as the aircraft abruptly dropped nearly 2000 meters in a matter of minutes.

Kerry Jordan, an Adelaide resident, suffered a spinal injury when she was thrown about the cabin, resulting in a loss of sensation from the waist down and potentially permanent paralysis. Her partner, Keith Davis, described the airline's compensation offer as "extremely insulting" and exacerbating their distress.

He mentioned that he learned of the compensation offer through friends. Davis expects the airline to provide sufficient compensation for Kerry's lifelong care.

"She is facing a completely life-altering condition. We are holding out hope for minor improvements; her mobility is now limited to her arms, neck, and shoulders," Davis explained.

Singapore Airlines has extended an invitation to passengers with serious injuries to negotiate a compensation package tailored to their individual circumstances.

On the 21st of May one passenger died of a suspected heart attack and thirty were injured after a Singapore Airlines flight hit severe turbulence, flinging passengers and crew around the cabin and forcing the plane to land in Bangkok.

Saturday 15 June 2024

'Drunk' Jet2 holidaymaker is handcuffed and dragged off plane

A male passenger was forcibly removed from a Jet2 flight in handcuffs, with a seatbelt binding his legs, after he reportedly assaulted crew members and other passengers.

The aircraft, departing from Glasgow (GLA / EGPF) en route to Tenerife (TFS / GCTS) had to make an unscheduled landing in Shannon (SNN / EINN) for the removal of the individual.

Video captured by another passenger depicted the man, believed to be inebriated and clad only in shorts, being escorted down the aisle by Garda officers who took him into custody. He was restrained with his wrists handcuffed behind him and his legs seemingly secured with an aircraft seatbelt. The plane briefly touched down at Shannon Airport to offload the unruly passenger.

A representative for the Garda stated: "Gardaí from Shannon Airport apprehended a man in his twenties after an incident on a flight that was redirected to Shannon Airport this evening, Wednesday, June 12th, 2024, around 5:30 pm. (The Garda Síochána is the national police and security service of Ireland.)

"The Gardaí boarded the plane and detained the individual under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, 1997. He is presently held at a Garda station in County Clare under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984.

A spokesperson for Jet2 reported to the media: "We can confirm that flight LS155 from Glasgow to Tenerife was rerouted to Shannon Airport this afternoon to allow the police to remove a disruptive passenger."

Friday 14 June 2024

Cathay Pacific pulls last aircraft from storage

Last week, the Cathay Group reactivated its 85th and final aircraft, concluding the extended parking of its fleet in the arid regions of Australia and Spain.

After almost four years in the desert of Alice Springs, Australia, Cathay Pacific's Airbus A330 with the registration B-HLV landed back in Hong Kong for a comprehensive hangar maintenance check. This aircraft was the first to be stored overseas by the Cathay Group on the 28th of July 2020, when the pandemic brought global air travel to a virtual halt.

During the peak of the pandemic, Cathay Pacific and HK Express were compelled to store the majority of their passenger fleet at Hong Kong International Airport and at remote locations in Alice Springs, Australia, and Ciudad Real, Spain. With the pandemic receding, the Cathay Group began the gradual process of bringing these aircraft back into operation.
If my records are correct, Cathay Pacific stored 57 aircraft at the Alice Springs Graveyard, and HK Express stored 10 aircraft.

Alex McGowan, Chief Operations and Service Delivery Officer, stated, "The task of parking and reactivating such a large number of aircraft is unprecedented in Cathay's history, involving a once-in-a-lifetime scale and complexity. An immense amount of work is required to ensure an aircraft remains safe and protected while grounded, and then to prepare it for re-entry into regular service. Accomplishing this for over 85 aircraft that were parked long-term overseas, in addition to those in Hong Kong, represents a remarkable feat.

Upon arrival, each aircraft designated for long-term parking in Alice Springs was subjected to a 14-day preservation check, which was followed by a series of recurring inspections and checks. Throughout the duration of the parking program in Alice Springs, over 16,000 periodic checks were carried out, with 800,000 labor hours dedicated to preservation, periodic, and reactivation maintenance tasks.

In addition, more than 40,000 parts and specialized equipment items were transported from Hong Kong to facilitate the operations in Alice Springs. Concurrently, the Cathay Group's on-site Quality Assurance team executed over 2,000 audits.

"Now that our fleet is fully assembled again, we are turning our attention to future investments. The Cathay Group has placed orders for more than 70 new aircraft and holds the option to acquire 52 more. We are also considering the acquisition of a new mid-size widebody aircraft. These investments signify our continued belief in the Hong Kong international aviation hub, especially in light of the promising prospects offered by the fully operational Three-Runway System at Hong Kong International Airport by the end of this year."

Thursday 13 June 2024

Radome smashed and window cracked on Austrian Airbus


Austrian Airlines flight OS434 travelling from Palma de Mallorca Airport (PMI/LEPA) to Wien-Schwechat International Airport (VIE/LOWW) encountered a severe hailstorm as it was descending through an altitude of about 20,000 feet near Hartberg, Austria, about 100 km SSW of the destination Vienna International Airport.
The nose cone sustained substantial damage and the windscreen suffered extensive damage.

The shattered radome and cracked windscreens of an Austrian Airlines A320 got viral coverage Sunday after the plane encountered hail from a cell on approach to Vienna-Scwechat Airport. The flight was on its way from Palma de Mallorca, Spain when it hit the weather, which the airline said didn’t show up on the crew’s weather radar (which ironically took the brunt of the damage.) “I think we were about 20 minutes from landing when we got into a cloud of hail and thunderstorm, and the turbulence started,” Emmeley Oakley, a passenger on the flight, told reporters. 

The crew issued a Mayday, likely because of the suddenly opaque windscreens, but landed uneventfully. Passengers praised the crew for calming their fears as they approached Vienna, but some weren’t prepared for what seemed to be serious damage to the aircraft when they deplaned. “It wasn’t until we exited that we saw the nose was missing! The pilots really did an excellent job keeping things as smooth and safe as they could,” Oakley said. The radome is a relatively thin fiberglass structure that is no match for hailstones at 200 knots.

Aircraft Information:
Airline: Austrian Airlines
Code: OS/AUA
Aircraft: Airbus A321-214
Registration: OE-LBM
Serial Number: 1504
Engines: 2 x CFMI CFM56-5B4/P
First Flew: December 1997
Age: 26 Years 

Wednesday 12 June 2024

Passengers suffer hours of stifling heat on Qatar aircraft

QATAR AIRBUS A380-861 A7-API (MSN 235)

Passengers on Qatar flight QR204, including the Thai Muay Thai team returning from the world championships, endured three hours without air conditioning while the plane was grounded at Athens airport. The flight, carrying 49 members of the Thai boxing team and Thai reporters, was scheduled to return from the IFMA Senior World Championships in Patras, Greece, to Bangkok via Doha. 

According to a reporter on board, the air conditioning system failed, but the captain refused to let passengers disembark. Trapped inside for over three hours, the cabin became unbearably hot, causing some passengers to suffer nosebleeds, others to require oxygen, and children to cry. Footage shared on social media revealed passengers fanning themselves with paper and some men removing their shirts due to the heat. It was only after vocal protests and disputes with the cabin crew that passengers were permitted to exit onto the tarmac, where a video captured by Louise Morfis showed smoke emanating from the plane's rear. 

The incident left passengers uninformed about the actual cause of the delay. Boxer Thannachai Sidsongpeenong expressed his shock but felt fortunate to have survived the ordeal. He later questioned the airline's handling of the situation on social media, highlighting the lack of air conditioning and the initial boarding despite visible smoke. Other passengers vented their frustration on the airline's Facebook page, detailing the stifling conditions on board.

Tuesday 11 June 2024

Virgin Australia giving away holiday for you and 100 friends

In 2000, Richard Branson launched Virgin Blue, Australia's inaugural budget airline, aiming to revitalize the stagnant domestic aviation sector. While Qantas targeted the corporate market, Virgin Blue appealed to casual Australian travelers, and both carriers thrived until they nearly merged into one entity.

Bain Capital, in reviving Virgin Australia, professed a desire to reintroduce fun into the airline. This sentiment was exemplified last week with the debut of an incredible competition, distinct from the Middle Seat Lottery, which previously sent a young couple on a Caribbean cruise with Virgin Australia and Virgin Voyages.

Amidst concerns over Australia's 'friendship recession'—a decline in the average number of close friends from nine to five—a new contest aims to counter this trend. It offers a Velocity Frequent Flyer the extraordinary opportunity to bring 100 friends to Hamilton Island, a coveted destination within the Great Barrier Reef.

Nick Rohrlach, CEO of Velocity Frequent Flyer, remarked that the program has never before presented such a significant prize. It's a thrilling chance for a member to win one of the largest rewards in Velocity's history, with the only requirement being to earn a single Velocity point to qualify.

Entry is simple: earn just one Velocity point in June, through flights with Virgin Australia or affiliated airlines like Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Air Canada, and United Airlines, or via purchases with retail partners.

The grand prize, worth AU$150,000 (US$100,000), encompasses flights, accommodations, transfers, and activities on Hamilton Island for the winner and 100 friends, making it a truly remarkable offer from Virgin Australia.

*Competition ends 30th of June 2024. Maximum 10 entries per entrant

Monday 10 June 2024

TAA flight 538 crashed in Mackay


On the 10th of June 1960, a Fokker Friendship passenger aircraft operated by Trans Australia Airlines (TAA) was on approach at night to land at Mackay airport in Queensland, Australia when it crashed into the sea. All 29 people on board Trans Australia Airlines Flight 538 were killed.

The Fokker F-27 aircraft was on a regular passenger flight from Brisbane (BNE/YBBN) to Mackay (MKY/YBMK) via Maryborough (MBH/YMYB) and Rockhampton (ROK/YBRK). The aircraft departed Brisbane at 17:11 and arrived at Maryborough at 17:52. It then took off at 18:12 on the next portion of the trip to Rockhampton where it landed without incident one hour later. Just prior to the landing at Rockhampton, the aircraft was advised of a special weather report which indicated shallow ground fog at Mackay to a height of 20 ft with a visibility of 880 yd, and also that an alternate aerodrome would be required for the rest of the flight.

The flight departed Rockhampton at 19:52. On departure the air traffic controller at Mackay was advised that the expected flight time to Mackay was 52 minutes at an altitude of 13000 ft, that Townsville had been selected as the alternate. It was advised that Mackay Airport was closed to landings at that time, and the situation remained the same when the aircraft reached the point at which it would normally have commenced its descent to Mackay. The captain indicated that he would continue the flight at 13000 ft and would hold over Mackay at that altitude. At 20:45 the ATC Officer advised the pilot that visibility was fluctuating between 2 and 2-1/2 miles along runway 14/32. The pilot replied that the airport lighting, the city area, and the surrounding country could be clearly seen, but that a belt of fog extending about 10 miles was situated to the southwest of the airport and was moving in a slightly northeasterly direction across the airport. The pilot then requested landing instructions. The aircraft was cleared to make a visual approach with a view to landing on runway 14. He reported on final approach, and at 20:55 the aircraft was cleared to land.

As the aircraft approached close to the runway threshold at a height of about 50ft, the pilot advised that a small patch of fog had suddenly appeared on the approach to the runway. It then flew along the runway at a height of approximately 50 ft and commenced to climb away. The pilot advised that he would look at the approach to runway 32.

The ATC Officer next observed the aircraft descending to approach runway 32. It reached a height of approximately 200 ft, but before crossing the threshold it began to climb along the line of the runway, and the pilot requested permission to hold over Mackay at 5000 ft until an improvement in the weather occurred. This procedure was approved. The aircraft continued to hold over Mackay until about 22:00. At approximately 22:02 the ATC Officer noted the conditions improved rapidly and visibility was continually improving. When the aircraft was thus informed, it replied: "Roger tower, will commence let down to approach on runway 32". The aircraft was cleared for a visual approach and was given the wind (calm) and QNH (1019 mb) and was asked to report on final approach. Nothing more was heard from the flight. During the approach the airplane contacted the sea and crashed, some 12 km short of the runway.

Aircraft Information:
Airline: TAA (Trans Australian Airlines)
Code: TN/TAA
Aircraft: Fokker F-27 Friendship 100
Registration: VH-TFB
Serial Number: 10112
First Flew: 26/02/1959
Age: 1 Year 4 Mts

Other Information: 

Entered onto the Dutch Aircraft Register as PH-FAH on the 19th February 1959
First flew as PH-FAH on the 26th February 1959

Cancelled from the Dutch Aircraft Register on the 6th April 1959
Accepted by Trans-Australia Airlines at Amsterdam (Schiphol) on the same day.

The Trans Australia Airlines crash is the second-worst air accident in Australia behind the 1950 Australian National Airways Douglas DC-4 crash, with 29 fatalities.