PHOTOS: British Airways takes delivery of its first Airbus A380

A milestone for the British aviation industry, as the country's national carrier took deliver of its first Airbus A380, becoming the tenth operator in the world to receive the superjumbo.

First look inside Singapore Airlines' brand new premium cabins

View these amazing photos and video showcasing the airline's next generation of business and first class cabin products, set to be the new industry benchmark for premium air travel.

PHOTO: First Airbus A350 XWB’s engines powered up

Rolls-Royce's Trent XWB engines have run for the first time on the A350 XWB, moving the aircraft closer to its maiden flight.

Pilot becomes online sensation with stunning cockpit photos

Air Arabia pilot Karim Nafatni's amazing photos have not only attracted a massive online following, but the global media have also jumped on the appreciation bandwagon.

PHOTOS: Thomson becomes first UK airline to receive Boeing 787

Thousands gathered to watch Thomson's first 787 Dreamliner (from an order of eight) arrive at Manchester Airport, completing its delivery flight from Paine Field in Everett.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

VIDEO: Brand new Etihad Airways video about reducing carbon dependence, voiced by me!

Some time ago, I worked as a presenter for a local BBC radio station in the UK, actually for around six years. It was great fun, although I had a preference for writing and therefore ventured into print journalism instead. 

Anyway, a week ago I was invited to do a voice over for a new Etihad Airways video about its fantastic efforts to reduce carbon dependence. My radio days are like a distance memory now, but I thought it would be fun and below is the end result. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Five Top Incentive Flight Destinations For 2014

Kalamata in Greece is a top incentive destination for 2014The top incentive flight destinations In terms of private jet hire demand are the ones that offer a combination of excellent weather, fascinating cultural attractions and high quality conference facilities.

Although certain incentive charter flight destinations, such as Spain and Germany are still popular, other destinations are increasingly getting the attention of travel managers.

Kalamata, Greece

Greece has beautiful beaches, fantastic weather, and delicious cuisine. Greece also offers a growing reputation for incentive travel - with Kalamata being the top choice of flight destinations in Greece.

Kalamata is situated at the apex of the gorgeous Messinian Bay, at the foot of the huge Mount Taygetos. Kalamata also has several excellent venues for meetings, incentives and business events. This includes the five-star e-Filoxenia conference Hotel that has top quality conference facilities.

Kalamata International Airport can receive charter flights and is just a 20 minute ride to the city.

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul has a diverse mix of beautiful architecture and historical sites and a constantly improving infrastructure.

Istanbul is served by two international airports, Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen International Airport. The latter is the fastest growing airport in the world. Both of these airports cater for charter flights of all sizes, and transfer to the city takes under 40 minutes.

There are plenty of incentive venues in Istanbul. The best example being the five-star Grand Cevahir Hotel. Another very popular venue is the Halic Congress Centre, which is located at a beautiful seaside location that overlooks the Golden Horn Bay.

Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakech is a wonderful tourist and incentive destination. Marrakech Menara Airport serves the city, and is located just four miles from the city centre, so transfers in and out of the city are very fast. The airport has a VIP lounge, making it popular for private jet charter for groups and individuals.

The Es Saadia Palace Spa is now becoming a very popular venue for meetings, incentive and events. Those looking for a more unique hotel for a more luxurious event venue might like to take a look at the incredible Royal Mansour, which is located within the city walls. This stunning hotel looks like a palace.

Dubai, UAE

Dubai is famous for having the tallest building in the world. Dubai has recently become a major metropolis, and is widely considered a major business and cultural hub for the Middle East region.

The huge Burj Al Arab is considered by many as the most luxurious hotel in the world. It stands on an artificial island and boasts a staggering 590ft atrium, over 200 rooms and high-class facilities for events and meetings.

Dubai International Airport is situated just 2.5 miles northeast of Dubai, so the city is easy to access. The airport also has an executive flight terminal that is exclusive for private jet charter flights into the airport.


Malta enjoys a warm climate and n shortage of superb historical sites, including three UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Malta international airport serves the entire of the Maltese archipelago, and is situated three miles from the capital. The entire Island has superb venues, and the most popular choices are the Corinthia Hotel in St. George's Bay and the Grand Hotel Excelsior in Floriana, they both have stunning views and excellent facilities.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

PHOTOS: Bombardier completes historical first flight of CSeries aircraft

Bombardier’s CSeries Aircraft Completes Historic First FlightIt was celebration time for Bombardier Aerospace yesterday, after the first flight of its much-awaited CSeries aircraft was successfully completed.

With perfect weather conditions, the inaugural flight departed from Montréal–Mirabel International Airport at approximately 9:55 EDT and returned at approximately 12:25 EDT.

I’ve included a couple of photos and a video on this page, which show Bombardier’s CS100 jetliner in the air, bearing Canadian registration markings C-FBCS. For more images, you can view an entire photo gallery on my Facebook page – click here to visit.

The historic flight was conducted under the command of Captain Charles Ellis (Chief Flight Test Pilot, Bombardier Flight Test Centre), who was assisted by Captain Andris Litavniks and Andreas Hartono in the roles of First Officer and Flight Test Engineer, respectively.

The historic flight of a CS100 jetliner was conducted under the command of Captain Charles Ellis
“The performance of the CSeries aircraft was very impressive! We couldn’t have wished for a better maiden flight,” said Captain Ellis. “Flight test vehicle one (FTV1)’s state-of-the-art flight deck was responsive and comfortable, and the aircraft handled exactly as expected. Overall, we had a very productive first flight and an excellent start to the flight test programme.”

The first flight marked the beginning of the CSeries flight test programme, which will lead up to the first customer delivery. A total of five CS100 flight test vehicles, all of which are currently in various stages of assembly, will join the flight test programme in the coming months.

“This is a very proud day for Bombardier and a true validation of the CSeries aircraft’s design and development, and of our extensive ground test program,” said Rob Dewar, Vice President and General Manager, CSeries Programme, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “During its maiden flight, CSeries FTV1 reached an altitude of 12,500 feet (3,810 metres) and an air speed of 230 knots (426 km/h). In-flight tests included flap and landing gear retractions and extensions; in-flight manoeuvres that included a simulated landing; and early validation of the flight control system.”

The first CSeries aircraft was greeted by more than 3,000 Bombardier employees and Board members, customers, partners and suppliers, upon its return to the company’s Mirabel, Québec facility, where the final assembly line for the CSeries aircraft programme is now under construction.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

GUEST POST: The ultimate luxury of private jet tours

A tour by private jet remains in a luxurious class of its own
While it is undeniable that modern travel grows ever more comfortable and convenient, a tour by private jet remains in a luxurious class of its own.

From the moment of stepping inside the charter aircraft, one can relax in the knowledge that the most arduous part of the journey is already over and one's role has become that of a discerning traveller gaining a unique perspective on the majestic works of nature and phenomenal achievements of man.

From the long and varied list of destinations worthy of viewing from above, here are a select few to inspire a journey:

Himalayas, Southern Asia

Sir Edmond Hillary, who in 1953 led the first expedition to reach the top of Mt Everest, once commented that the Himalayas "will bring a tear to your eye and then freeze them to your face". There is, however, no danger from the extreme cold in the air conditioned comfort of an aircraft. The Himalayas are home to over a hundred peaks exceeding 7200m and include the earth’s highest point, Mt Everest. The snow-covered mountains are breath-taking on a clear day, and to see them from a bird’s eye view is a privilege that cannot be attained while one is earth bound.

Nazca lines, Peru

To gain any perspective of the Nazca lines, located on the west coast of Peru, an air charter is imperative. When viewed from the ground, the ancient enigma would seem nothing more than enormous lines carved at random in the ground. With the advantage of altitude, however, these lines form themselves into a collection of animal figures of massive proportions, including a condor at 134m across and a monkey at 93m by 58m. Scientists and historians are yet to agree on an explanation for the creation of these figures, but for those more concerned with appreciating the ingenuity its creators, a flight over the area is highly rewarding.

Dusky Sound, New Zealand

Remote and untouched, Dusky Sound is the epitome of pure, natural beauty that New Zealand is renowned for. Access to the area is by sea or by boat only, and so a flight over the unpopulated area is a rare chance to see nature at its finest. Dusky Sound is the largest of a chain of fiords located on the south west corner of New Zealand. Captain Cook was the first European to set eyes on the sound in 1770, and it was he who gave it its name, presumably for its solemn appearance. The sheer sides of the surrounding mountains, the green of the native forest and the blue of the crystalline waters all combine to produce a scene of startling beauty.

Serengeti, Tanzania

Few places on earth can match Africa's juxtaposition of wildness of nature with luxuriousness of travel. Hosting the largest mammal migration in the world, a jet charter flight over the Serengeti will be a delight for the nature lover. Approximately 70 larger animal species can be found on the Serengeti, as well as a range of terrain including riverine forests, swamps, grasslands and woodlands. Migration time is during October and November, when over a million wildebeest and around 200 000 zebra relocate from the northern hills to the southern plains, and to catch a glimpse of this epic journey from above is unforgettable.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Guest post: VLJs yet to take off in the private jet business

VLJs are intended for a wider market, offering lower operating costs than current private jets2006 saw the introduction of very light jets (VLJs) on to the aviation market, with the expectation of turning the air charter industry on its head. Industry experts predicted as many as 20,000 VLJs would be in operation by 2020. However, half way towards that time frame, there are only approximately 1000 currently in the skies.

These aircraft are specifically designed to make private jets more affordable through the use of more than 5,000 small community airports throughout the United States. VLJs are intended for a wider market, offering lower operating costs than current private jets.

The inadequate growth of VLJ manufacturing is largely down to financial backing. The air charter industry is not for the feint hearted; it requires deep pockets and a solid customer base. Many manufacturers have struggled to deliver their new business jets; notably Diamond Aircraft Industries are reported to have suspended the development of their D-Jet aircraft, which was scheduled to hit the market in 2010.

With all of the promises from the aircraft charter manufacturers, only three companies have successfully put their aircraft into the skies; the Embraer Phenom 100, Cessna Citation Mustang, and the Eclipse 500. However, with further charter aircraft models awaiting certification, the industry may be set to pick up.

VLJs are equipped with the latest in jet engine technology

These smaller, lighter, charter aircraft are equipped with cutting edge jet engine technology that offers a more cost effective fuel efficiency. They have the ability to take off and land on much smaller runways than other private jets. This allows them to use smaller airports, and avoid the time delays that are often present at larger, busier airports. Yet despite this much needed advancement in the industry, it is yet to reach the expectations of industry analysts.

In a recent interview with Alex Berry, Sales and Marketing Director at Chapman Freeborn, Alex explained how the economic advantages of VLJs are not as "game changing" as some people expected. Whilst VLJs represent a cheaper entry level option for twin engine jets, and their operating costs are slightly lower than their larger alternatives, much of the cost of fuel, landing, and handling remain more or less the same. Coupled with the similarities in the cost of crew for a small aircraft, it is easy to see why these aircraft aren't as popular as first predicted.

However, whilst supply and demand for VLJ's hasn't quite hit the levels that were expected, Alex remains hopeful that these smaller jets will have their place in the market. Alex explains that VLJs provide a solution that meets the customer's needs at a lower cost. The trade-off of course is a reduced level of comfort, but this is unlikely to deter those on a budget. There is also a perception that once a customer has tried a VLJ at a relatively cheap expense, they will understand the true value of chartered flying, and pull away from the commercial airlines. This ought to result in an increase in demand for business aviation.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Guest Post: KLM Aviation Empire Gives You The Opportunity to Run Your Own Airline

The marvellous machinations of modern air travel continue to achieve stunning industrial advancements that encourage massive consumer outreach. One of the daring innovations being yielded is the development of a technological interface that will allow passengers to conduct the operations of their own virtual airline. These new programs appear to be comprehensively in-depth, and their availability to the public is sure to attract significant media attention. The potential utility of simulation software is vast, and the application’s intuitive design is sure to spark public interest around the world.

Origins of the Virtual Airline

In an unprecedented business move, the company that initiated this new conceptual system is KLM. They have formally unveiled their inspired initiative, and the program is officially dubbed as “KLM: Aviation Empire.” It is a startlingly educational venture for the brand. The program steadily progresses through the worldwide history of air travel. A hundred years of aviation events are traversed utilizing the perspective of the company itself. Players will be able to take control of every minute element that comprises air travel, and they ultimately arrive in modern times to find the complex industry that is currently in place.

The prototypical development of this game showcases the company’s first attempt at marketing their brand for general consumption. In terms of animation quality, the game seamlessly transitions across a globe that is smoothly rendered to generate an engagingly sleek effect. There are copious tasks embedded into the interface that are capable of occupying a player’s attention for extended durations of time. These intricate features include land management, airport construction, customer outreach, airplane acquisition and international route navigation. Because the game’s sequence of events directly parallels the chronology of KLM’s inception, the first global connections formed are between Amsterdam and London.

Perks of the Software

There are several incentives for airlines to offer the services of online airline simulators. For instance, these revolutionary programs can provide a bountifully entertaining distraction during the era of extended waiting times in the terminal. The game can be fully integrated into individual travelling patterns around the world by offering achievement awards for arriving at different airports in real life. With this unique function, airlines can actually increase the amount of seats they sell on their flights. This feature is accomplished by encouraging avid participants to travel to various locations for the purpose of unlocking exclusive in-game material. In according with their historical theme, Amsterdam is a physical destination that provides grand virtual compensation.

Innately, this software has been programmed for portable enjoyment. It fluidly accommodates worldwide networks, and the game itself barely exposes any tendency to lag. The company does a phenomenal job of blending promotional material with factual information. By providing accurate details on the development of air travel, KLM demonstrates a reputably unbiased capacity. This ability to be objective will earn new consumers from an untapped arena of the market. The game is presently available for a variety of mobile platforms, which means that a continuous stream of internet savvy customers will be engaging with the brand for the first time.

Integration with Modern Times

Even though it may have the persona of a mere novelty device, some speculators have worried that the program may actually detail crucial aspects of airline operations to unwelcome parties. Fortunately, possible threats can be mitigated. Ideally, the creators will be able to prevent steadfast realism from providing vital information to prospective terrorists and hijackers. This has been managed by implementing subtle adjustments to accuracy. These slight alterations are too minor to be detected by the average user.

Players of the game  are rewarded in a number of ways such as getting game credits, which can be redeemed for various in-game items, such as new airplanes or landing rights in different cities around the globe. There is an opportunity to earn different kinds of badges after making progress and accomplishing certain goals in the game. By logging in with a Facebook account players can share their achievement and progress in the game with friends. The leader board feature show how well each player is doing among their friends and the rest of the world. There are claims that indicate KLM and game developers may be working on expanding how the game interacts with the real world. Among the ideas that have come up is putting leader boards on KLM boarding passes. Speculations suggested that KLM may give discounts on air travel for the top players of Aviation Empire. However, however no specifics were confirmed as of yet.

Surprisingly, this game’s glossy graphics are supported by unmatched substance. With credibility, the developers have brought a new forefront to the competitive industry of airline management. Online notoriety leads to an increased base of consumer support, which results in financial staying power for brands that connect to users through modern methods. Furthermore, the program’s massive entertainment values will likely provoke young people to pursue careers in a field that has witnessed a dwindling of its occupational applicants. “KLM: Aviation Empire” comfortably establishes the brand’s image for providing pristine service, and it invites flight enthusiasts to enjoy a first-hand retelling of the worldwide flying industry.

KLM operates worldwide scheduled passenger and cargo services to more than 90 destinations. Flights can be booked online at or you can just head over to and compare KLM flights quickly and easily.

Monday, July 29, 2013

VIDEO: Emergency vehicles greet Germanwings flight at Hamburg Airport after crew declare emergency

A Germanwings Airbus A319-100 was greeted by emergency vehicles at Hamburg AirportGermanwings received quite a welcome at Hamburg Airport earlier this week, after the airline declared emergency on a flight arriving from Stuttgart, with 149 people onboard.

Alarm bells were ringing soon after the Germanwings Airbus A319-100 departed from Stuttgart, with airport officials noticing that the airplane had left debris from its tyres on the runway.

According to a report in Aviation Herald, the flight crew was informed about the discovery and entered a hold at 7000 feet for around 25 minutes. During this time, emergency services from the airport and surrounding area were alerted.

A ground observer, Thomas Nebel, managed to film the Airbus A319’s landing on runway 22, where it was greeted by an impressive lineup of emergency vehicles.

The video, which you can view below, also shows the aircraft stopping on the runway for a check by emergency services, after which it taxied to the apron on own power. No damage was found on the gear or tyres.

What are your thoughts on the video? Feel free to leave your comments below. Plus, have you liked The Aviation Writer's Facebook page and subscribed to our free newsletter? Its the best way to keep updated with our latest aviation stories, videos and photos!

MORE VIDEOS: Boeing 737 catches fire in Russia, passengers jump to safety from aircraft wing