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, March 30, 2013

PHOTO: China receives its 1000th Boeing aircraft, featuring a special peacock livery

The 1,000th Boeing Airplane for China departs Boeing Field in Seattle
Boeing's 1000th Airplane for China departs from Seattle

A couple of days ago, Boeing celebrated its latest delivery milestone... and this one highlighted the growing demand for passenger aircraft in Asia.

What was the milestone, I hear you ask? Boeing completed its 1000th aircraft delivery for China, with a Next-Generation 737-800 being handed over to China Eastern Yunnan Airlines.

Here’s a photo of the milestone aircraft (which features the Boeing Sky Interior inside) as it departed for China from Boeing Field in Seattle.

What do you think of the special peacock livery? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!

Here's a few other aircraft photo specials you may have missed:


Friday, March 29, 2013

PHOTOS: Inside the futuristic new airport terminal in Jordan

The new passenger terminal at Queen Alia International Airport, Jordan
New passenger terminal at Queen Alia Airport, Jordan

When it comes to airport developments in the Middle East, most people will think of the multi-billion dollar projects in Abu Dhabi, Doha and Dubai. However, even outside of oil-rich GCC countries, the region has a lot of exciting developments in the making.

Only last week, for example, the brand new passenger terminal at Queen Alia International Airport was opened. The facility is being marketed as the ‘spectacular new gateway to Jordan’ – a description that is reinforced by various photos of the terminal that have been issued to the media.

I’ve included one of them on this page and the rest have been uploaded as a photo album on my Facebook page – click here to view them!


Located in the capital city of Amman, the airport’s design has been inspired by local traditions and is based on a flexible modular solution that allows for future expansion. In fact, the design allows the airport to grow by 6 per cent per annum for the next twenty-five years, increasing capacity from 3.5 million to 12 million passengers per annum by 2030.

To celebrate the opening, here are 10 interesting design facts about the airport terminal, courtesy of its designer Foster + Partners.

10 INTERESTING DESIGN FACTS ABOUT QUEEN ALIA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT’S NEW TERMINAL


  1. In response to Amman’s climate (where summer temperatures vary markedly between day and night time), the building is constructed largely from concrete, which offers passive environmental control due to its high thermal mass. 
  2. The terminal’s tessellated roof canopy includes a series of shallow concrete domes, which extend to shade the facades. 
  3. The domes branch out from the supporting columns like the leaves of a desert palm and daylight floods the concourse through split beams at the column junctions. 
  4. Echoing the veins of a leaf, a special pattern based on traditional Islamic forms is applied to each exposed soffit. The complex geometry of the roof shells and fabrication strategy was developed in conjunction with Foster + Partners’ in-house geometry specialists.
  5. Two piers of departure gates run along either side of the central building, which contains the main processing areas, in addition to shops, lounges and restaurants. 
  6. Open-air courtyards can be found between these volumes, which contribute to the terminal’s environmental strategy. For instance, plants and trees help to filter pollution and pre-condition the air before it is drawn into the air handling system, while reflecting pools bounce indirect natural light into the airport.
  7. The terminal is glazed on all sides to allow views of the aircraft on the apron and to aid orientation. Horizontal louvres shade the facades from direct sunlight – to eliminate glare, the louvres become concentrated in more exposed areas close to the columns. 
  8. The concrete structure incorporates local gravel to reduce maintenance requirements and harmonise with the natural shades of local sand.
  9. Amman is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world – the airport’s design resonates with a sense of place and local architecture, particularly in the domed roof, which from the air echoes the black flowing fabric of a Bedouin tent. 
  10. There are also references to the Jordanian tradition of hospitality – in celebration of the custom for family groups to congregate at the airport, the forecourt has been enlarged to create a landscaped plaza with seating, shaded by trees, where people can gather to bid farewell or welcome returning travellers.

What are your thoughts on the new terminal? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!


Thursday, March 28, 2013

IATA’s 10 best international training partners in 2013

Where in the world are IATA's best training partners?

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has completed an evaluation of 440 training partners across the world and named the ten best performers in 2013… which I thought was useful information for readers that might be considering training.

Hundreds of IATA’s Authorized Training Centres (ATCs) in more than 90 countries were evaluated in total, with a focus on the number of students trained and the student examination pass rate.

“The excellence of these training centres significantly contributes to the people development of the air transport industry by opening up opportunities for the next generation of aviation professionals worldwide,” the associated stated in a press release.


So where in the world should you be heading for amazing IATA-approved training? Well, there’s an obvious concentration of leading IATA training centres in Asia (especially India), which spills into the Middle East and Africa… but none of the top 10 hail from developed markets in Europe and North America. Check out the results below (the list is not ranked in any particular order).

IATA’s 2013 Premier Circle (Worldwide Top 10) Authorised Training Centres


  • Etihad Airways Aviation Academy, UAE 
  • Japan Aircargo Forwarders Association (JAFA), Japan
  • Akbar Academy of Airline Studies, India
  • IITC-India International Trade Centre, India
  • Speedwings Academy for Aviation Services, India 
  • Qatar Aeronautical College, Qatar  
  • Air Travel & Related Studies Centre, Kenya 
  • Trade Wings Institute of Management, India
  • International Aviation Academy of Sri Lankan Airlines, Sri Lanka
  • Aircargo Training Center of Japan, Japan

The awards were presented by Ismail Albaidhani, Head of Global Partnerships & Learning Innovation, at ceremonies during the 2013 Global Training Partner Congress held in Abu Dhabi and the IATA DG ATS Conference in Doha during the proceedings of the 7th World Cargo Symposium.

“IATA has trained last year some 92,000 existing professionals and young students from all over the world. This result is due to the major contribution of its network of 440 training partners located in more than 90 countries, “said Albaidhani.

“IATA extends its appreciation for their tireless efforts and contribution in driving learning and development initiatives. These are critical to building the required leadership and competencies that are essential to support a sustainable, safe and effective air transport industry. Congratulations to all the awarded partners,” he added.


What are your thoughts? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

PHOTOS: First look at Airbus A350 XWB with Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines

The first Airbus A350 XWB now with Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines
The first Airbus A350 XWB now with engines!

Earlier this month, I posted some photos of the first Airbus A350 XWB – MSN001 – with its completed wings (click here if you missed them)… a blog post that attracted thousands of views.

With so much interest in this forthcoming aircraft, I’m following-up with another photo update to satisfy your avgeek needs! You’ll find one of the photos on this page – the rest have been uploaded as a photo album on my Facebook page – click here to view them.

As you can see, the aircraft’s two flight-ready Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines have now been installed… a great milestone for Airbus! Last month, the Trent XWB received Engine Type Certification from EASA, confirming that it had fulfilled EASA’s airworthiness requirements for flight.


In parallel to the mounting of the two Trent XWB engines in Toulouse, the A350 XWB is also this week being fitted with its new specially developed APU – the Honeywell HGT1700 which has greater power density and higher efficiency than the previous generation APUs.

With the installation of its engines and also the APU, the A350 XWB MSN001 becomes essentially a ‘completed’ aircraft.

Following the ongoing ground tests, other preparations and also painting in the coming weeks, MSN001 will then be handed over to the Airbus Flight Test team to commence preparations for ground runs and maiden flight in the summer.

What are your thoughts on the Airbus A350 XWB? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on FacebookTwitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!



PHOTOS: Air Seychelles celebrates its inaugural flight to Hong Kong

Water cannon salute for the inaugural Air Seychelles flight to Hong Kong
The inaugural Air Seychelles flight to Hong Kong
It was celebration time for Air Seychelles yesterday, as the national carrier’s brand new service to Hong Kong was inaugurated with much fanfare.

A traditional Chinese Lion Dance was held at Mahe International Airport as Flight HM86 departed on 24th March 2013.

Operated with a brightly-coloured Airbus A330-200, the aircraft received a water cannon salute after touching down at Hong Kong International Airport yesterday morning (after a brief transit stop at Abu Dhabi International Airport).

I’ve included a photo on this page to give you a taster of the celebrations – I’ve also uploaded a photo album from the inaugural flight on my Facebook page, click here to view them.

On board the inaugural flight was a delegation of senior government officials from the Republic of the Seychelles, the People’s Republic of China, and senior executives from both airlines.


The flight was the first of three weekly services between the Seychelles and Hong Kong, operated with equity and codeshare partner, Etihad Airways.

“The launch of services to Hong Kong is a momentous occasion for Air Seychelles, capping a remarkable year in which we returned to profitability. Through our partnership with Etihad Airways we have been able to transform our business and make improvements that we could not have achieved independently,” commented Cramer Ball, Air Seychelles Chief Executive Officer.

“We have responded to demand from our affluent leisure and tourism guests, and introduced a new international inflight product with fully flat beds and restaurant-quality food and beverage service.  With our special blend of Seychellois hospitality and unique Creole warmth your holiday begins as soon as you step on board,” he added.



The Air Seychelles’ Airbus A330-200 can carry 254 passengers with 18 seats in business class and 236 in economy class.

Guests traveling between Hong Kong and the Seychelles will remain on the same aircraft and keep the same seat for both legs of the journey, allowing a seamless journey through Abu Dhabi.

FIVE INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT AIR SEYCHELLES

  1. Air Seychelles was established in 1978 and began long-haul service in 1983.
  2. The airline currently offers international flights to Abu Dhabi, Johannesburg, Mauritius and Hong Kong.
  3. Air Seychelles also offers more than 200 domestic scheduled flights a week throughout the archipelago, as well as domestic charter services. 
  4. As the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, Air Seychelles is considered a pillar of tourism, the island nation’s strongest and growing economic sector.
  5. The airline maintains a strategic partnership with Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates and 40 per cent stakeholder.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

REVEALED: The world's 50 biggest airlines by capacity

United Airlines is the world's largest airline by Available Seat Kilometres (ASK) / Week
United Airlines is the world's largest airline by capacity
What is the best measurement to use for ranking the world’s biggest airlines? It’s a tough question (and one that often divides the aviation industry), but I’ve always thought that capacity is a useful starting point.

In fact, I’ve decided to use Available Seat Kilometres (ASK) Per Week as the basis for a forthcoming series of airline rankings on TheAviationWriter.com, with the data provided by Innovata, a global leader in travel data management and distribution solutions.

And what better way to kick-start the series than a list of the world’s top 50 global airlines? American airlines are leading the market in terms of global capacity, it seems, while Europe, Asia and the Middle East are also well represented.

Innovata has provided me with data from March 2013 for this particular ranking – you’ll find the top 50 below, with the ASK/week for each airline and the year-on-year percentage change.



What are your thoughts? Are the rankings as you would expect, or have some of the positions come as a surprise? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on FacebookTwitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you.


Friday, March 22, 2013

PHOTOS & VIDEO: Boeing delivers 7,500th 737 to Malaysia’s Malindo Air


The 7,500th Boeing 737 has just been delivered to Malaysia-based Malindo Air
The 7,500th Boeing 737 delivered to Malindo Air
This month, Airbus and Boeing have been going head-to-head with their aircraft milestones. 

First, Airbus delivered its 100th A380 to Malaysia Airlines, giving it the lead… but Boeing wasted no time in striking back, after the 747-8 served its 100th airport, just 16 months after entering service.

So that’s one all. In case you missed them, I’ve posted some cool images of both milestones – click here for the Airbus one and here for the Boeing one.

I guess Boeing has the lead over Airbus now, having just delivered the 7,500th 737 to come off the production line to Malaysia-based Malindo Air. That can only mean one thing in The Aviation Writer’s world… it’s time for another photo special!

An image of the aircraft has been posted on this page and the rest have been uploaded as a photo album on my Facebook page – click here to view them and don’t forget to like the page!

Malindo Air – which is a joint venture by Indonesia-based Lion Air and Malaysia's National Aerospace and Defence Industries - is using the Next-Generation 737-900ER to launch its low-fares service.


“The numbers coming out of our 737 factory never cease to amaze me. It seems like just yesterday that I was talking about our 10,000th 737 order— and now we stand at well over 10,500 total orders,” commented 
Randy Tinseth, 
VP of Marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes in his blog.

“For all 737 models, there are approximately 24,000 scheduled flights per day. This means that nearly a third of all commercial flights are on 737s. This airplane just keeps getting better. And with the 737 MAX on the way, there’s no sign of slowing down,” he added.


Here's a video of the 7,500 Boeing 737 in Malindo Air livery:



Boeing states that its 737 is the best-selling commercial jetliner of all time with total orders exceeding 10,500 airplanes. Nearly 85 percent of Boeing's backlog of more than 3,100 Next-Generation 737s will be delivered with the Boeing Sky Interior.

What are your views on the Boeing 737? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on FacebookTwitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you.



Thursday, March 21, 2013

PHOTO TOUR: Check out KLM’s new World Business Class (WBC) cabin interior


KLM's new World Business Class (WBC) cabin interior – including a new full-flat seat
KLM's new World Business Class (WBC) cabin interior
Plenty of development happening in the European aviation market at the moment. First, British Airways unveiled the interiors of its forthcoming Airbus A380, and now KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has presented its new World Business Class (WBC) cabin interior – including a new full-flat seat.

According to a press release, KLM aims to “accentuate the at-home feeling for Business Class customers and that calls for a new cabin interior. In this way, KLM is responding to its customers’ needs and wishes”.

The new interior will debut with a KLM Boeing 747-400, with the inaugural flight confirmed for July 2013. In fact, the airline’s entire 747 fleet (consisting of 22 aircraft) will be redecorated by April 2014. After that, work on KLM’s 15 Boeing 777-200s is planned for the summer of 2014.

I’ve included a photo on this page to give you a taster – but there are plenty more images, which I have uploaded as a photo album on my Facebook page. Check them out here!

 

Five facts about the new World Business Class (WBC) cabin interior:


1)    Cabin Interior: KLM has teamed up with Dutch top designer Hella Jongerius to introduce a brand-new atmosphere, furnishings and style in World Business Class. The guiding principle is the customer’s comfort and privacy. In addition to the new full-flat seats, the interior features new carpeting, panel decorations, curtains, lighting, blankets, cushions and upholstery.

2)    Full-Flat Seat: The new full-flat seat can be reclined horizontally so the passenger can lie fully flat. The seat position in the cabin and the partition between television screens ensure greater privacy for passengers. There are also storage compartments in the seats beside the passengers and under the television screens. The number of seats in World Business Class will be reduced from 42 to 35 aboard the Boeing 747-400. KLM has chosen the Diamond Seat manufactured by B/E Aerospace.

3)    Design Concept: The guiding principle of new design is to ensure that passengers feel at home on board. That involves a transition from a business-like look to a greater sense of being at home. This has been achieved by using a characteristically warm colour palette, more sustainable materials, and by enhancing personal comfort. The design is timeless, recognisable and unified by the decorative dot patterns that feature on every item.

4)    KLM Blue: The new interior features the fresh and recognisable KLM blue. To ensure the sense of comfort on board, Hella Jongerius has blended warmer and darker colours into the existing colour range making the KLM blue sparkle even more. The five new colours are aubergine, dark brown, midnight blue, cobalt and dark grey.

5)    Innovative and Sustainable: Sustainability is another point of focus for KLM in all new developments. In meeting this requirement, Hella Jongerius sought new solutions within the existing options available to the airline industry. The carpeting, for instance, was manufactured partly of discarded KLM ladies’ uniforms. KLM recycles all of its discarded carpets in collaboration with carpet manufacturer Desso based on the cradle-to-cradle principle.

What are your views on the new business class? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you.

“I am convinced that this contemporary design will be greatly appreciated by our most valued customers and live up to their needs and wishes,” commented Peter Hartman, President and CEO of KLM. “Even in times of financial difficulty, KLM continues to invest in customer comfort. I am proud of this superb and unique result: an entire World Business Class cabin created by a leading Dutch designer. In this way, we aim to give our passengers that warm at-home feeling.”

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

INFOGRAPHIC: Fun facts about the Airbus A380 to celebrate the aircraft’s 100th delivery!


Less than a week ago, Airbus delivered its 100th A380 to Malaysia Airlines – a milestone I covered on my blog (click here to read the story), in addition to a photo gallery of the delivery ceremony on my Facebook page (click here to view the images).

Since the article and photo gallery were well-received, I’ve decided to complete a hat-trick with my coverage and post an Airbus A380 infographic (below) as well… a special treat for my fellow avgeeks!

An Airbus A380 infographic to celebrate the aircraft's 100th delivery
The Airbus A380 Infographic (click to enlarge)
According to Airbus, the 100th delivery underscores the A380’s global reach – particularly in the Asia-Pacific market. In fact, 65 percent of A380 capacity is to, from, or within Asia-Pacific, with over 50,000 seats offered on nearly 500 services performed every week.

In addition to its high-profile Asia-Pacific presence, the double-deck jetliner is a familiar sight in Europe – with some 250 weekly services to destinations in this market, as well as in North America – performing over 200 services per week.


Overall, A380s regularly operate at more than 30 airports globally and cover around 65 scheduled routes that circle the world with the nine current operators: Malaysia Airlines, Air France, China Southern, Emirates, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways International.

Underscoring its attractiveness not only at major hub facilities such as London-Heathrow, Los Angeles International, Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt, the A380 performs scheduled operations to destinations that include Auckland,  Manchester, Montreal, Jeddah and Johannesburg.

“In its sixth year of service, the A380 is delivering on all commitments, and exceeds the expectations, confirming that our motto: ‘Love at first flight’ is true for both the airlines and their passengers,” said Richard Carcaillet, Airbus’ Director of A380 Product Marketing.



Shocking video of airport rage incident in China goes viral


Yan Linkun's airport rage video in China has gone viral
Yan Linkun's China airport rage video has gone viral
As a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Yan Linkun is probably used to media coverage… but nothing compared to his recent controversy at Kunming Changshui International Airport.

A video of Mr Linkun at the boarding gate has gone viral. But this is not an average boarding gate experience, as he’s seen smashing computer equipment and attempting to break down a window.

It's a pretty shocking incident… but what prompted this behaviour? The incident has received a lot of media coverage (unsurprisingly) and it seems Mr Linkun arrived at the airport with his wife and two sons in plenty of time to board their morning flight.

However, after checking into the flight and having breakfast, they reached their counter too late to board… oops! As a result, the family were switched to a later flight at 1pm, but again missed the last call – maybe they were having lunch this time, I’m not sure.


I don’t need to write in detail what happened next, as the video shows it all. Missing the second flight led to Mr Linkun slamming his foot into the desk, throwing a keyboard into the computer monitors, and trying to break the airport’s glass doors with a signboard. Lots of people are watching but no one really intervenes.

There are actually two videos of the incident doing the rounds online, I’ve included the much clearer version (with sound) below:



The University of Pennsylvania blog Language Log has even provided a loose translation of the video footage:

“I originally booked a first class [ticket]…. What do you mean, huh?! What do you mean, huh?! I originally booked a first class [ticket]…. You’re really bullying me…. And not just once?! You’re really taking advantage of me. Hai! Hurry up and open the door!… Hai, how can you be like this? Really browbeating me!… First class….”

According to media reports, Yan Linkun has since been suspended from his official party duties pending an investigation. He has also publicly apologised for his explosive rampage at the airport.

What are your views on the incident? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you

Monday, March 18, 2013

Aviation milestone as Boeing 747-8 serves 100th airport (updated with photo special)


The Boeing 747-8 has served its 100th airport just 16 months after entering service
A special welcome for Cargolux's Boeing 747 in Hanoi
As regular visitors of this blog will know, Airbus hit a century with its A380 superjumbo a few days back, after the 100th model was handed over to Malaysia Airlines (click here for the full story and photo special).

Not to be outdone, Boeing has also celebrated its own century this week, when the US-based aircraft manufacturer’s 747-8 served its 100th airport, just 16 months after entering service. 

The airplane, a 747-8 Freighter operated by launch customer Cargolux, arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam, from Kuwait on Sunday.

The photo on this image shows the freighter receiving a water canon salute on arrival at Noi Bai International Airport. 

UPDATE: I've added a photo gallery from the aircraft's arrival ceremony in Hanoi on my Facebook page - click here to view them.

"As the 747-8 launch customer, I want to congratulate the Boeing and Cargolux teams for their commitment and hard work that made this achievement possible," said Richard Forson, Cargolux interim president and chief executive officer. 

"We are proud to be the first airline to operate the 747-8F to the 100th airport worldwide that is able to accommodate this great aircraft on a commercial revenue flight. After all, it's a milestone for Boeing and Cargolux alike and a testament to the true pioneering spirit that has always characterized our two companies."

Cargolux took delivery of the first 747-8 Freighter in October 2011 and placed it directly into service to its home base in Luxembourg. 



Since then, the 747-8 fleet has supported revenue service operations at 100 airports on six continents and has been approved for more than 240 airports around the world. This is “significantly more than the airplane's main competitor” according to Boeing.

At the time of touching down on Noi Bai International Airport, Brazil remains the only country in Cargolux’s network that has not certified any of its airports for 747-8 operations.

The fleet has also been performing well in service, with a dispatch reliability of approximately 98.4 percent.

"The arrival of the airplane in Hanoi is just another testament to the capabilities and value the 747-8 is providing our customers," said Eric Lindblad, vice president and general manager, 747 Programme, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

To date 42 747-8s, including 29 freighters, eight Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) and five Intercontinentals have been delivered to a total of seven airline customers and several undisclosed BBJ customers.

Friday, March 15, 2013

PHOTO SPECIAL: Airbus delivers its 100th A380 aircraft to Malaysia Airlines

The 100th Airbus A380 was delivered to Malaysia Airlines
The 100th Airbus A380 was delivered to Malaysia Airlines

Airbus celebrated a milestone delivery in Toulouse this week, as the aircraft manufacturer’s 100th A380 was handed over to Malaysia Airlines.

You’ll find a photo of the special aircraft on this page and I have posted more on my Facebook page – click here to view them.

“We are delighted that our 100th A380 delivery is to Malaysia Airlines as this gives us an early glimpse into the future shape of aviation,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO.


“We see a growing demand from dynamic, competitive airlines such as MAS for larger aircraft, with many markets and routes, and in particular in the fast developing Asia-Pacific region, being ideally suited to A380s.”

10 Things You Should Know About The Airbus A380


  1. Now in its sixth year of commercial service, the A380 is flying with nine world class airlines. 
  2. To date, the worldwide fleet has carried some 36 million passengers in 100,000 flights. Previous generation Very Large Aircraft (VLA 400 seats and above) would have required 140,000 flights.
  3. This reduction in flights brings essential relief to airport-congestion and the environment, argues Airbus. The corresponding saving of 5.7 million tonnes of CO2, demonstrates the A380 generates more revenue whilst minimising emissions and noise. 
  4. The A380 fleet performs over 140 flights per day and carries over one and a half million people each month.
  5. Passengers can hop on board one of the A380s which are either taking off or landing every six minutes at one of the 32 international airports where it operates to date.
  6. On top of these, more than 50 other airports are getting prepared to accommodate the A380 and answer the airlines’ need for more A380 destinations.
  7. Over the next 20 years, more than 1,700 VLA such as the A380 will have been delivered. Asia Pacific leads demand (45 percent) for these high capacity aircraft, followed by the Middle East (23 percent) and Europe (19 percent).
  8. Typically seating 525 passengers in three classes, the aircraft is capable of flying 8,500 nautical miles or 15,700 kilometres non-stop, carrying more people at lower cost and with less impact on the environment.
  9. Airbus states that the spacious, quiet cabin and smooth ride have made the A380 a firm favourite with passengers, resulting in higher load factors wherever it flies. 
  10. Since 2006 the A380 has registered repeat orders by satisfied customers every year, bringing the total order book to date to 262 from 20 customers. 





Thursday, March 14, 2013

REVEALED: The world’s best airports according to Airports Council International


Airports Council International has revealed the world's best airports for 2012
Which airports are the best for passenger satisfaction?
 Airports Council International (ACI) describes its annual Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards as “the industry’s most prestigious accolades”… I can't vouch for that, but the results are pretty interesting.

The awards, which were launched in 2006, attract the participation of more than 200 airports from across the world. In order to the select the winners, airline passengers are interviewed prior to boarding their flight and asked to rate their satisfaction with the airport that day. And we’re not talking about a handful of passengers here, but more than 350,000 people at last count.

As part of this year’s awards, the winners were announced in different categories, such as the best airport on a region-to-region basis, the best airport in terms of size, and the most improved airport.


While announcing the results of the ASQ Awards for this year, ACI World Director Angela Gittens described the current market as “an exciting time for airports”.

"As airports and their operators increasingly accept the positive correlation between passenger satisfaction and airport revenues, we see more and more airports striving to meet, and in some cases exceed, the levels of customer service that their passengers expect,” she added.

“Airports that deliver superior customer service stand apart from the competition and superior customer service remains one of the most important differentiators in the increasingly competitive airport industry.”

For this blog post, I wanted to focus on the regional winners. Below, you will find a list of the top three airports for each region, as announced by Airports Council International as part of the ASQ Awards.



BEST AIRPORT BY REGION


Best Middle Eastern Airports
1. Abu Dhabi
2. Dubai
3. Doha
Best European Airports
1. Moscow Sheremetyevo
2. Malta
3. Edinburgh
Best America-Caribbean Airports
1. Cancun
2. Guayaquil
3. Montego Bay
Best North American Airports
1. Indianapolis
2. Ottawa
3. Tampa
Best Asia-Pacific Airport
1. Seoul Incheon
2. Singapore
3. Beijing
Best African Airports
1. Cape Town
2. Durban
3. Cairo


What are your thoughts? Do you agree with the results? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Bahrain Air CEO Richard Nuttall discusses the airline's closure


Bahrain Air CEO Richard Nuttall speaks to AviationWriter.com
Bahrain Air's Richard Nuttall speaks to AviationWriter.com
As a result of continued growth in the Middle East aviation industry, we’re used to hearing about the rapid growth of airlines such as Etihad Airways, Emirates Airline and Qatar Airways, among others.

However, as the recent closure of Bahrain Air shows, the region is not immune to the same aviation challenges and struggles as other parts of the world.

As you’ve probably heard, Bahrain Air stakeholders made the tough decision to suspend operations last month and confirmed it would be filing for voluntary liquidation.

As I explained in my original post about the situation, Bahrain Air has been on a roller-coaster ever since it launched operations, with plenty of ups and downs along the way.

Most recently, it has been skating on thin ice as a result of political instability in parts of the Middle East and North Africa, including its home country.


The airline, which placed itself between a full service carrier and a low-cost one, seemed to take a critical stance in terms of government support (or the lack of). For example, it was instructed to suspend flights to several destinations in 2011, during Bahrain’s State of National Emergency, but official claims for compensation were apparently denied. It also declared a stalemate in negotiations with Bahrain’s Minister of Transportation (who is also an active board member of Gulf Air).

“In the circumstances, given the position of the Minister, the shareholders decided that had no option but to discontinue financial support and put the company into voluntary liquidation,” revealed an official statement on Bahrain Air’s website.

According to Gulf Daily News, the airline’s staff will receive a combined BHD2.2m (US$5.8m) pay-out for losing their jobs, while Bahrain national carrier Gulf Air had agreed to open recruitment to Bahraini pilots affected by the closure.

During my time as senior group editor of Aviation Business magazine, I met and interviewed Bahrain Air CEO Richard Nuttall on numerous occasions. We also shot the cover featured on the right together during the last Bahrain International Airshow (one of my favourite covers from the magazine!).

As a kind gesture, Richard agreed to be interviewed on TheAviationWriter.com about the Bahrain Air situation – and I invited readers to submit their own questions, with an overwhelming response.


Below are the five questions that Richard has answered, providing a fascinating insight into the situation from one of the key figures involved. It's the first interview I have featured on this blog, so I hope you enjoy it – and a massive thanks to Richard for participating.

Of course, feedback is always welcome, so please leave your comments on this page or get in touch via Facebook, Twitter and Google+.


INTERVIEW WITH RICHARD NUTTAL, BAHRAIN AIR CEO


I have received a lot of comments on my blog about Bahrain Air’s closure. The opinions were mixed – some argued that Bahrain Air had a lot of potential but was a victim of politics, while others said it was destined to fail. In hindsight, how do you feel about the situation?
In a part of the world where almost every other airline is subsidized, and flying from a small Kingdom which is currently going through its own issues, it was always going to be difficult to be truly profitable. There is not enough point to point traffic, and regional connecting traffic yields are too low to sustain an airline. So it was always going to struggle by traditional measures. However, as a new airline, with a low cost seat configuration, Bahrain Air was always going to be much more efficient than Gulf Air on many Indian subcontinent routes and to seasonal leisure markets. As such, Bahrain Air could certainly have played a role connecting the Kingdom to select destinations at a much lower cost than Gulf Air.

What response have you received from the industry since the announcement? Have fellow airlines, travel agents, airports and other partners been supportive?
Most of the feedback has been supportive. We had a good operation and were locally very much airline of choice for a number of destinations. It is widely recognised that a combination of the Arab spring and the political decision to protect Gulf Air put us in an impossible situation.

Where have you reached in the process of winding down operations and what remains in the future? What is the time frame before the process is completed?
It is not for me to comment. You would have to discuss with the liquidator.

Gulf Air is cutting routes and making further redundancies. Do you think it will benefit from the closure of Bahrain Air? And what are your thoughts on its future?
The closure of Bahrain Air will bring minimal benefits to Gulf Air. They will benefit marginally on a few routes, but they either do not fly to most of our strongest routes, or they are planning to pull out or reduce frequencies. And for any connecting traffic they are still competing with a host of other carriers. As for the future of Gulf Air, I wish them well. Historical evidence suggests it can take decades to restructure inefficient state carriers. It will take patience and deep pockets. But at least there now seems to be a resolve to take difficult decisions that were taboo in the past.

Despite the closure of Bahrain Air, you have been hailed for your management of the airline. What are your plans going forward?
Let’s see. I am looking around for the next opportunity. But I think airlines are in my blood. They are all about people, and they play a key role for the communities they serve. This can be terrifically energising. But time will tell.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Another in-flight Harlem Shake video emerges on YouTube... will EASA impose sanctions?


A second Harlem Shake video has been filmed during a flight
A second Harlem Shake video has been filmed during a flight
Earlier this month, I wrote about a ‘Harlem Shake’ video filmed on-board a Frontier Airlines flight in the US, which prompted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to launch an investigation.

While information is still being gathered for the investigation, the story has prompted a huge amount of debate, with over 5 million views for the YouTube video to date.

I’ve received around 35 comments on my blog alone, in addition to responses on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and the likes. Some of which were supportive of the FAA investigation, while others believed it was a minor issue that didn’t warrant such a ‘hoo haa’.

Click here to read the article and comments for ‘Investigation launched after airline Harlem Shake video goes viral!’

A passenger on-board the Colorado to San Diego flight has since contacted 10News to provide his own account of the incident.

"Since 9/11, you don't do things like that anymore,” stated Colorado Springs resident Steve Miller, who was sitting in seat 12D and also happens to be a pilot. "My flight experience is enough to know that you don't get up out of your seat (when the seatbelt sign is on), and they did just that.”


Miller added that the woman sitting next to him had to be comforted after she started to cry uncontrollably ("She thought we were going to crash”), while one of the men involved in the video placed his foot on the exit hatch. He also stated that the pilot has not happy about the situation either.

"I walked by him and I said, 'What was all that about? And what's going on with the flight deck door? How come they were allowed to be up there?' And he just shook his head. I could tell he was having a kind of intense conversation with the flight attendant," Miller told 10News.

A week-and-a-half after posting the original story, it seems another in-flight Harlem Shake video has emerged on YouTube. The video was uploaded by Real Aeroclub de Zaragoza (you can watch it below).




What are your thoughts? Was this a safety concern or a bit of fun? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Nok Air raises eyebrows with controversial advert for cabin crew recruitment!

Nok Air's new recruitment advert on Facebook
Is this advert from Thailand's Nok Air bracist?
While most airlines are happy to receive coverage for their service achievements, route developments or aircraft deliveries, Thailand’s Nok Air is well aware that capturing the media’s attention is much easier with something outlandish.

Some time back, for example, the budget carrier was placed under the global spotlight as a result of its eye-catching livery (featuring cartoon birds) - photos of which were splashed across newspapers throughout the world.

Great publicity aside, the livery was also featured in a list of the ‘7 Ugliest Airplane Paint Jobs’ by Huffington Post… oh dear!

Nok Air (whose slogan is ‘We Fly Smiles’) also angered Thailand’s Ministry of Culture earlier this year after loading its 2013 calendar with photos of scantily-clad air hostesses.

Media reports quoted the ministry as saying that the campaign "focuses on the country's bad reputation regarding sex services, and an image that other organisations have been trying to change". Again... oh dear!

Despite the opposition, 300 of the calendars were handed out as part of a Facebook competition; although it later emerged the women were Maxim models, rather than actual flight attendants.

Nok Air CEO Patee Sarasin was defiant and reasoned that the airline business has “always been seen as sexy globally”.

"It was supposed to be a gift to our customers, and so far the campaign has received positive feedback, increasing the number of passengers," he told a Bangkok newspaper. “There were so many viewers that the webpage crashed.” So perhaps the shock tactics are working after all?




And here’s another story that Nok Air can add to its list. This month, the Huffington Post (amongst others) has written about a recruitment advert for cabin crew, which was placed on the Nok Air Facebook page (I’ve included it at the bottom of this blog post).

Applicants must be 25 years old or younger, at least 160cm tall (with proportional weight), and “exhibit professionalism and friendliness”.

Not too shocking so far, right? However, there's one more demand – if you happen to wear braces, then don’t bother to apply! That’s right… there’s an outright ban on flight attendants that wear braces. Some would even say the airline is being 'bracist' (I offer no apologies for that terrible play with words).

The advert and calendar send out a clear signal of what passengers can expect in terms of air hostesses on Nok Air flights, but once again the media coverage has mainly been critical.

I've included the advert below - what are your thoughts? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on FacebookTwitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!



Nok Air has raised eyebrows with its latest recruitment advert for flight attendants
The advert, as it appeared on Nok Air's Facebook page

Thursday, March 7, 2013

PHOTOS & VIDEO: Step inside the forthcoming British Airways Airbus A380


The Club World Cabin in BA's forthcoming A380 aircraft
The Club World Cabin in BA's forthcoming A380 aircraft
British Airways has unveiled an online photo album that highlights the interiors of its forthcoming Airbus A380 aircraft, which is scheduled for delivery in July 2013.

According to a press release, the national carrier’s first double-decker superjumbo will make its debut on the “Red Carpet Route” to Los Angeles, while Hong Kong will be the second destination.

Excited avgeeks should note: dates for the very first commercial services on BA’s inaugural A380 will be announced once plans for training flights are completed.

A photo of the interiors is featured on this page – while the entire photo gallery (with images from all four cabins, including first class) can be viewed on my Facebook page – click here to check them out!

Full details of the interior of the British Airways A380 will be unveiled when it arrives at Heathrow in the summer.

The Airbus A380 will be the largest aircraft in the British Airways fleet, accommodating a total of 469 passengers.


This figure includes 14 seats in First (located at the front of the main deck), 97 seats in Club World (business class – split between the main deck and upper deck) and 55 seats in World Traveller Plus (premier economy – located in the upper deck). The rest are World Traveller (economy class – situated in both the main and upper deck).

A video tour is also available below:



What are your thoughts on BA's A380? As always, please feel free to share your comments here, and you can also get in touch on FacebookTwitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!