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.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

PHOTOS: Airbus completes lightning strike tests on A350 XWB



Airbus has completed a number of important development milestones with its forthcoming A350 XWB over the past few months.

In March 2013, for example, the first A350 XWB emerged with its wings completed (click here for story and images), while its Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines were installed in the same month too (click here for story and images).

Well, here’s another milestone for the much-awaited aircraft! Lightning strike testing has just been performed, completing a key required step in preparations for the maiden flight.

Check out an image on this page, with more on my Facebook page - click here to view the photo album.

These so-called “electromagnetic hazard” evaluations – which took place mid-month at Airbus’ Clément Ader facility in Colomiers, France – involved the second A350 XWB flight test aircraft, MSN3, to demonstrate necessary protection levels in case of lightning strikes while aloft.

MORE PHOTOS: Tail section for first Qatar Airways A380 rolls out of paint shop

The A350 XWB’s aerostructure is made primarily of composite materials (carbon fibre reinforced plastic), providing more electrical resistance than an aerostructure consisting mostly of metallics.

To ensure the A350 XWB aerostructure safely manages lightning strikes, Airbus developed a solution where metallic foils are embedded in the aircraft’s composite panels – increasing the aerostructure’s electrical conductivity and protecting harnesses with metallic conduits.

Metallic foils already have been used on the A380 rear fuselage section, however as the A350 XWB includes a higher percentage of composite materials, it is important to confirm that such foils provide adequate protection for systems and equipment.

The A350 XWB “electromagnetic hazard” testing on MSN3 lasted around three days, consisting of lightning strike simulations and follow-up measurements of induced voltage/current levels on selected harnesses.

This testing will be continued by similar but longer tests on the MSN4 aircraft in 2014, fulfilling a requirement for type certification of Airbus’ A350-900 version.

MORE PHOTOS: Special livery to celebrate Jetstar’s fleet reaching 100 aircraft

PHOTO: Wizz Air Hungary welcomes its first Airbus A320 with Sharklets


Wizz Air's A320 with sharklets (photo provided by Airbus)
Wizz Air's A320 with sharklets (photo provided by Airbus)
Airbus seems to be delivering a lot of A320s with Sharklets at the moment, with the fuel-saving wing tip devices making their debuts in many fleets around the world.

Wizz Air Hungary became the latest carrier to receive its first A320 with Sharklets this week – I’ve included a photo (provided by Airbus’s media relations department) on this page.

Marketing itself as the largest Central and Eastern European ‘low cost – low fare’ carrier, Wizz Air Hungary is actually the region’s first airline to operate a Sharklet-equipped A320.

Including this delivery, Wizz Air Hungary’s in service fleet rises to 38 Airbus A320 Family aircraft.

Looking at the wide picture, Wizz Air Ukraine received its first A320 with Sharklets in March 2013 and Wizz Air’s cumulative orders stand at 112 aircraft.

“Sharklets are newly designed wing-tip devices that improve the aircraft’s aerodynamics and significantly cut the airline’s fuel burn and emissions by four per cent on longer sectors,” Airbus stated in a press release.

“They offer the flexibility to A320 Family operators of either adding around 100 nautical miles more range or allowing an increased payload capability of up to 450 kilograms,” added the aircraft manufacturer.


Time-lapse video: Etihad Airways takes over Dubai roundabout for promotional campaign


Constructing the Etihad promotional structure in Dubai JBR
Constructing the Etihad promotional structure in Dubai
Over the past couple of months, Etihad Airways has been making waves with its latest brand campaign, which has been supported by extensive television, print, outdoor and digital media advertising around the world.

With the theme “The World Is Our Home, You Are Our Guest”, the campaign was launched in early 2013 with an exciting television commercial (TVC), explaining how Etihad Airways draws inspiration from across the globe to provide industry-leading ‘signature moments’ on the ground and in the air.

I wrote a blog post about the television advert at the time (including the commercial itself and a ‘making of’ video) – click here if you missed it.

A week later, the UAE national carrier issued print adverts for the campaign, featuring Bollywood star Katrina Kaif, amongst other people. Again, click here for that coverage.

And most recently, Etihad Airways has taken over one of the roundabouts at Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) in Dubai, located in front of The Ritz Carlton Hotel, to support the campaign.

View the time-lapse video below, which shows how the promotional structure was constructed, using some cool aircraft models, and various boards that highlight benefits such as Abu  Dhabi International Airport being reachable in 45 minutes from the roundabout and free airport parking.




ALSO WATCH: Amazing time-lapse video of British Airways staff creating Boeing 747 artwork

“This is our first brand advertising in many years. Having focused on product innovation and service excellence, the time is now right to make a bold and confident brand statement to the world,” commented Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, when the campaign was launched.

“This is not a rebranding exercise, but a continuation of our brand story drawing from the values of our home in Abu Dhabi and our inspiration from around the world.”

ALSO READ: Etihad Airways introduces brand new ‘travel mall’ concept in Dubai (updated with video)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

PHOTOS: Aeroflot expands fleet with brand new Airbus A320


Aeroflot's brand new A320 has been named P. Yablochkov
Aeroflot's brand new A320 (Image provided by Aeroflot)
Aeroflot, which is celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2013, received a brand new Airbus A320 this week.

The aircraft has been named “P. Yablochkov” after the famous Russian electrical engineer Pavel Nikolayevich Yablochkov.

Although I’ve never heard of the man, Aeroflot states he invested the “Yablochkov candle”, which is the earliest commercially successful electric carbon arc lamp… so that’s your historical fact of the day!

MORE PHOTOS: Tail section for first Qatar Airways A380 rolls out of paint shop

The A320 will be used on European & Russian destinations
The A320 will be used on European & Russian destinations
Anyway, back to the aviation stuff… with the recent arrival of “P. Yablochkov”, the Aeroflot fleet includes a total of 85 Airbus A319/320/321 aircraft, with an average age of 4.9 years.

The aircraft, which are operated on European and Russian domestic destinations, have been designed in two-class configurations and can carry 116 (A319), 140 / 158 (A320) and 170 (A321) passengers.

“Airbus A320 family airplanes satisfy the highest reliability, safety and comfort standards and are one of the best for mid-range flights,” stated Aeroflot in a press release.

MORE PHOTOS: Special livery to celebrate Jetstar’s fleet reaching 100 aircraft

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Amazing time-lapse video of British Airways staff creating Boeing 747 artwork

The special artwork created by British Airways staff at Heathrow Airport
The special artwork created by British Airways staff at Heathrow Airport
Avgeeks (including myself) are often fascinated with weird and wonderful facts about aircraft, so I’m guessing this latest artwork (and ‘making of’ time-lapse video) from British Airways will be well-received in the community.

Filmed inside an aircraft hangar at Heathrow airport, around 50 employees from across British Airways came together to produce a giant piece of artwork using routine items that are loaded into a Boeing 747-400 before it takes to the skies.

And we’re talking about THOUSANDS of different items! For a Boeing 747-400, items with a combined weight of 6,120kg are unloaded and re-loaded before every take-off – everything from metal cutlery and china crockery to cushions, pillows and air sickness bags.

With that in mind, it’s not a surprise that the artwork took a massive seven hours to create… so high-fives to everyone involved.

PHOTOS: First look at British Airways A380 exterior in red, white and blue colours

In July 2013, when British Airways takes delivery of its first A380, the number of items loaded on to a plane will increase by approximately 10,000 to cater for two full decks of customers.

You can watch the time-lapse video below and keep reading for more interesting facts.


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


HOW WAS THE BRITISH AIRWAYS ARTWORK CREATED?


  • Clouds were created using pillowcases, toilet roll, hand towels and napkins.
  • The sky was created using Club World blankets and blue roll (kitchen roll).
  • The aircraft was created using pillowcases, cabin crew sleeping bags, First blankets, china, headrest covers, Skyflyer bags for children and headrest covers.
  • The aircraft windows were created using bags of nuts.
  • The aircraft tailfin was created using headset bags and extension seatbelts for children.
  • London Eye (London skyline) was created using a teapot, metal cutlery, china and socks.
  • The Shard (London skyline) was created using tea and coffee bags.
  • The Gherkin (London skyline) was created using First cushion covers and socks.
  • Tower Bridge (London skyline) was created using First slippers and Club World washbags
  • Big Ben’s Tower (London skyline) was created using air sickness bags, a plate and metal cutlery (clock face)
  • Other buildings (London skyline) were created using oven trays, glasses, safety cards, tongs and copies of High Life magazine.

“It’s a huge job getting a jumbo in to the air, let alone a fleet of 52 every day,” commented Rod Green, British Airways’ head global supply.

“There are teams across the airline working together 365 days a year to ensure that all 27,260 items are delivered on time and to the right place to ensure our customers enjoy the very best travel experience. When we receive our new aircraft, the challenge will be even greater.”

ALSO READ: Top 10 Long-Haul Airlines of 2012, According To ‘Which?’ Magazine

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A step too far? Chinese airline to dress flight attendants as maids and butlers


Flight Attendants will be dressed as maids by Spring Airlines
Spring Airlines maid service
Spring Airlines has been placed under the global media spotlight this week, after announcing that flight attendants would be dressed as maids and butlers as part of a special promotion.

The low-cost carrier, which is based in Shanghai, has attracted a mixed response from the public with its latest promotion.

“We're mixing up our flights with some fun onboard themes - like these maid and butler costumes,” Spring Airlines stated on its Facebook page.

While some have described the move as ‘harmless fun’, others have been more critical.

“You've gotta be kidding me. Objectifying flight attendants is the last marketing/promotion strategy you wanna use,” stated one of the airline’s Facebook fans. “I wonder what your passenger demographics look like. I do hope this marketing move is supported by solid market research.”

To which the airline responded: “Thanks for your feedback! We'll never objectify any of our staff; in fact this idea came from our international crew of qualified Chinese, Japanese and Thailand cabin staff.”

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

The promotion has also been described as ‘excessive’, with safety concerns sparked by images of the special dress (included in this page), which show female flight attendants with their hair down (instead of pulled back).

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!

HIT OR MISS? Bizarre kissing competition on Scoot flight splits opinions!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Its official... Etihad Airways to invest US$379 million for 24% stake in Jet Airways


Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan, and the Chairman of Jet Airways, Naresh Goyal
James Hogan and Naresh Goyal
It’s been hard to avoid media speculation about Etihad Airways purchasing a stake in India’s Jet Airways over the past few months.

Well, it’s now official! Etihad Airways has just confirmed an equity investment of US$379 million for a 24% stake in Jet Airways.

“We are pleased to have reached this significant stage in India with Jet Airways and are certain the partnership will bring significant benefits and opportunities for global growth to both airlines,” commented Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan.

“It is expected to bring immediate revenue growth and cost synergy opportunities, with our initial estimates of a contribution of several hundred million dollars for both airlines over the next five years.”

Under the strategic partnership, which will be subject to full regulatory and shareholder approval, the airlines will gradually expand existing operations and introduce new routes between India and Abu Dhabi, providing an ever wider choice to the travelling public.

They will combine their network of 140 destinations, with Jet Airways establishing a Gulf gateway in Abu Dhabi and expanding its reach through Etihad Airways’ growing global network.

Passengers from 23 cities in India will benefit from direct connections to international destinations. New flights from Jet Airways’ home hubs and metro airports will further strengthen its current operations from these airports. Jet Airways’ vision continues to be to develop Delhi and Mumbai airports as its primary home hubs and connecting them to Asian, European and other regions.

“The Indian market is fundamental to our business model of organic growth partnerships and equity investments. This deal will allow us to compete more effectively in one of the largest and fastest-growing markets in the world,” added Mr Hogan. 

“We look forward to collaborating with Jet Airways and constructively working together with them and their stakeholders to build a sustainable, competitive and profitable airline.”


PHOTOS: LAN and TAM receive first A320s with Sharklets


LAN Airlines Airbus A320 with 2.4-metre tall Sharklets
LAN Airlines' Airbus A320 with 2.4-metre tall Sharklets
Sharklets are taking over! Already this month, I have covered the delivery of Volaris’ first Sharklet-equipped Airbus A320 (click here for the article / photos) as well as Jetstar’s latest Sharklet-equipped A320 (which also marked the airline’s fleet reaching 100 aircraft).

We can add LAN and TAM Airlines to the list as well, as the two Latin American carriers took delivery of their first Airbus A320s equipped with Sharklets this week.

The airlines, which are both part of the LATAM Airlines Group, will operate their latest aircraft (which is powered by CFM) on domestic routes within Chile and Brazil.

I’ve included an image of the LAN aircraft this page, and there’s a whole photo album to enjoy on my Facebook page – click here to view them!

LAN and TAM Airlines have ordered a combined 380 aircraft and have more than 240 aircraft in operation. Their joint Airbus backlog totals nearly 180 aircraft.

PHOTO: Tail section for first Qatar Airways A380 rolls out of paint shop

WHAT ARE SHARKLETS?

  • Sharklets are made from light-weight composites and are 2.4 metres tall.
  • They are an option on new-build A320 Family aircraft.
  • They allow Airbus’ airline customers to reduce fuel burn up to four percent over longer sectors and reduce approximately 1,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per aircraft per year.
  • Sharklets offer operators the flexibility of either adding an additional 100 nautical miles range or increased payload capability of up to 450 kilograms.
 

Monday, April 22, 2013

PHOTO: Tail section for first Qatar Airways A380 rolls out of paint shop


Vertical tail section for the first Qatar Airways A380
Vertical tail section for the first Qatar Airways A380 
Airlines are well-aware that introducing a new aircraft model into their fleet is a great opportunity to create buzz in the market.

Qatar Airways is the perfect example, receiving a huge amount of media attention for its Boeing 787 months before the Dreamliner was even introduced into its fleet.

And perhaps we’ll witness a similar strategy for its forthcoming Airbus A380.

Earlier today, Airbus issued a nice photograph taken from its Hamburg facility, which showed the vertical tail section of Qatar Airways’ first A380.

I’ve included the photo on this page – as you’ll see, it has already been painted with the airline’s trademark oryx logo.

The painting was completed earlier this week and the assembly of the airline’s first A380 is set to begin this month, for delivery in early 2014.

“The distinctive Qatar Airways logo is comprised of a violet oryx with silver streaks and the paint was applied over a period of 10 days,” Airbus stated in a press release.

Qatar Airways will become the eleventh operator of the A380 when it takes delivery of its first aircraft in 2014. The airline has firm orders for ten A380s and will operate the aircraft on its most premier routes.

ADDITIONAL READING:





Top 10: Airlines with the best business class cabins in 2013

In the first guest blog here at TheAviationWriter.com, we invited Jonny Clark, founder of thedesignair.net, to share his Top 10 Business Classes to look out for in 2013.

10. Swiss Airlines


Swiss Airlines Business Class Cabin
Welcome to Swiss, the simply sophisticated airline, with a seat that has been copied by many airlines such as Brussels Airlines and Austrian Airlines too, proof of the successful cabin they have created. Stepping aboard you feel like you are in a set for the film The Single Man; wooden veneer, deep warm greys and stunning modern design touches make everything feel like they have a place and purpose. Clean dining and drink options match the environment. Whilst there are no bells and whistles to this stripped-back Swiss product, it is consistent, practical and comfortable. The perfect and honest business class for European business travellers. The seating configuration is one of our favourite options right now, providing privacy when you need it and the ability to travel and talk with a partner if you desire, plus it solves the dreaded ‘step-over-a-sleeping-stranger’ manoeuvre for the usual 2x2x2 seating configuration.

9. Etihad Airways


Etihad Airways Business Class CabinEtihad‘s newest incarnation of their Pearl Business Class seat may have been around for a couple of years now, but it’s still effortlessly beautiful. Wonderful privacy and clean modern lines really make the airline a contemporary business class that the worldly traveller will have come to expect in this day and age. Fine dining, massage functions, fully flat bed seat, and all seats now having direct aisle access are big bonuses, and each one of these boxes are well and truly ticked. Whilst the ‘World’s Leading Airline 2013′ has a lengthy award list, the business class cabin itself hasn’t won any awards for the past couple of years, but we thedesignair.net think the cabin is consistently of award winning quality, and firmly deserves its place in the Top 10 list. Plus secretly thedesignair.net are huge fans of the ‘Humbug’ bedding, super chic!

8. American Airlines


OK, so it's time to admit here like most, we aren’t a huge fan of the new American Airlines livery, and hopefully with the impending US Airways merger, we will see a more considered and more established tail fin grace the fleet, but there is one thing American have got right, and that is their new cabin offerings. American has now moved on from it’s painful slide-down-into-a-heap-at-the-end-of-the-flight seats and offer fully flat, cocoon seats that offer privacy and comfort more than ever before. These seats have a hint of BA’s First Class offering but obviously at a fraction of the cost. Whilst we haven’t experienced the new inflight service yet, we hope to still get creature comforts such as hot chocolate in a real mug. Whilst American isn’t an airline to fly to get the best dining experience, you’ll never have a terrible meal. For American travellers though who have sadly always had an inferior travel experience compared to the rest of the world, this is a real improvement.

7. Oman Airways


Oman Air Business Class Cabin
Oman Air is a relatively quiet airline when it comes to news, and only recently announced their launch of a new low cost carrier to help with dwindling revenues. But there is something truly elegant about their inflight product. More like the Orient Express than airline cabin, you expect to be sat next to an international passenger set who are more ‘Panama hat’ that ‘peaked cap’. One of the widest seats in the sky at 22inches and at a 6foot 5 inch length, one of the longest too. Calm toffee coloured tones add a sense of style and class to the cabin, and let’s not forget the whopping AVOD entertainment or the pretty spectacular dining options. One of the best bits of the Oman Air business cabin is the fact the cabins are so small and split by galleys each mini cabin feels so exclusive it feels almost as if you have stepped into First Class by accident! We wouldn’t blame you for thinking that. In fact, it seems most of you think that, considering it was voted ‘Best Business Class Airline Seat’ at the prestigious World Airline Awards™, run by Skytrax (two years running!) Maldives anyone?

6. Air New Zealand


Air New Zealand Business Class CabinAir New Zealand always brings a smile to our faces here at thedesignair. An innovative airline that consistently thinks outside the box to better it’s product. The amazing herringbone seat that is the twin brother of the older Virgin Atlantic seat is a sheer dream to sleep in due to the mattress being a seperate entity to the actual seat. White leather and clean lines though make the space feel light and airy and super slick (although lets see how that holds up in a few years). The best elements though are in the food and drink selections (think amazing new-world wine options here) and staggering library of top-notch films. Let’s not forget their history of tongue in cheek safety videos too! For those who can’t afford business class, their premium economy, which is more space ship than aircraft is more than worth a try too.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

WATCH: Shocking video of passenger smoking on flight, despite warnings


Passenger filmed breaking the no-smoking rule on MEA flight
Passenger breaks the no-smoking rule on MEA flight
Most airline passengers are aware that smoking on flights is a big no-no… after all, it’s been quite a while since people were allowed to light-up their cigarettes in the middle of a flight.

However, that didn’t stop a female passenger from puffing away (to the shock of her fellow passengers) during a recent Middle East Airlines (MEA) flight.

The incident was filmed by a fellow passenger, with the footage showing a member of the Lebanese airline’s cabin crew approaching the passenger and asking her to stop smoking.

How did the passenger respond? “People are not obliged [to breathe in the smoke]. I am being very calm with you… please put out the cigarette.”

It seems the woman was not in the mood to listen, even with a warning that the air hostess would inform the captain.

“Go call him. Go call everyone and come here,” the passenger responded while continuing to smoke.

You can watch the video below… unsurprisingly, its already been picked up by the media and has attracted a large number of views online.



MORE VIDEOS: US policeman rescues airport security women from 'mentally unstable' attacker

According to reports, the captain was informed about the incident and the woman was greeted by police once the flight arrived at the airport.

What are your views on the situation? 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!

Heart-warming! 300 taxi drivers light-up Peru airstrip, allowing flight to depart on medical emergency

Friday, April 19, 2013

PHOTOS: Special livery to celebrate Jetstar’s fleet reaching 100 aircraft


Jetstar's livery features 132 people doing the Jetstar star jump
Jetstar's livery features 132 people doing the Jetstar jump
As one of the fastest-growing airlines in the Asia Pacific region, Jetstar has achieved a lot since its launch in 2004.

In nine years, for example, it has carried more than 100 million passengers, and only last week, its fleet increased to 100 aircraft for the first time.

Of course, such a milestone needed to be celebrated in a special way, so Jetstar decided to paint a special 100th aircraft livery on its newest Sharklet-equipped Airbus A320 aircraft.

I’ve included a couple of photos on this page – but there’s a whole photo album of them on my Facebook page – click here to view them all!

As you’ll notice, the livery features 132 people doing the Jetstar star jump, including passengers and ambassadors from across Asia Pacific region.

PHOTOS & VIDEO: Check out the brand new Qantas cabin crew uniform

Each person represents one of Jetstar’s five branded airlines… which consists of Jetstar Airways (subsidiary of the Qantas Group) in Australia and New Zealand, Jetstar Asia in Singapore, Jetstar Pacific in Vietnam and Jetstar Japan in Japan.

Jetstar crew unveiling the airline's newest Airbus A320
Jetstar crew unveiling the airline's newest Airbus A320
According to Jetstar Group Chief Executive Officer Jayne Hrdlicka, this ‘100 aircraft’ milestone was only possible because of the 400,000 passengers who travel with the Jetstar Group each week.

“With the benefit of our common fleet, we’re able to carry more people, to more places, more often than any other low cost airline in Australia,” commented Ms Hrdlicka.

“While many airlines have tried their hand in the Australian low fares market, Jetstar has been the mainstay for the best priced fares since launching in 2004.”

The Jetstar Group now has three aircraft fitted with the fuel saving Sharklets – one each for Jetstar Asia, Jetstar Japan and now Jetstar Australia and New Zealand.

Ever wondered how an aircraft is painted? Images of BA’s first A380 paint job!

The aircraft with the special 100th livery registered VH-VFN will be flown on major domestic routes and over the coming months and is expected to visit New Zealand, Singapore and Japan.

“This aircraft also celebrates the huge achievement of carrying more than 100 million passengers in our nine year history. In that time we have brought millions of people together and connected families and friends across Asia Pacific,” Ms Hrdlicka added.

“The delivery of this new A320, with its remarkable wing-tip technology, reflects our on-going commitment to invest in modern aircraft and innovation to benefit our customers. The distinctive wing-tips bring about higher fuel efficiencies and help us to continue to deliver everyday low fares to our customers.”

Subject to regulatory approval, Jetstar Hong Kong will fly to destinations in Greater China, Japan, South Korea and South East Asia later this year.

PHOTOS: First look at Norwegian Air’s Boeing 787 in red and white livery

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Etihad Airways introduces brand new ‘travel mall’ concept in Dubai (updated with video)


Ribbon-cutting to celebrate the opening of Etihad's travel mall in Dubai
Ribbon-cutting to celebrate the opening of Etihad's travel mall in Dubai
When two of the biggest names in Middle East aviation come together for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, you know something special is being launched.

That was the case today, when James Hogan (CEO of Etihad Airways) and His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum (Chairman of the Dubai Aviation Authority and Emirates Group) united to celebrate the opening of the Etihad Travel Mall in Dubai.

By offering a “one-stop travel retail and check-in facility”, customers can visit the mall to purchase a ticket, check-in for a flight, drop off baggage and board an Etihad Express luxury coach bound for Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Etihad Travel Mall offers various services under one roof
Etihad Travel Mall offers various services under one roof
What’s more, the Etihad Travel Mall will also serve as the base for the airline’s Dubai and northern emirates sales teams.

“Etihad Airways was established with the mandate to become the best airline in the world. Now, as we approach our 10-year anniversary, an expanded vision is emerging. Etihad Airways is set on a trajectory to go farther and to also become the world’s best travel company,” commented Mr Hogan at the event.
  
“We will continue to look at ways in which we can offer a more seamless, enjoyable experience for our guests and ultimately transform the expectations of air travellers. This new facility is a demonstration of our commitment to our guests within our home market, offering a more comprehensive service with a complete one-stop location for all of their travel needs,” he added.

Here's a video of the Etihad Travel Mall's grand opening:

  
So what will you find at the mall? Well, three of the UAE airline’s subsidiaries have facilities within the facility:

  • Etihad Holidays, the leisure holiday division, offers exclusive rates on hotels and fully-inclusive holiday packages to destinations across the airline’s global network;
  • Hala Abu Dhabi, the destination management company, offers business and conference services as well as leisure arrangements for Abu Dhabi and the UAE for local and international visitors, including hotels, tours or tickets to events, such as concerts and the Formula1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix; and
  • HTM (Hala Travel Management), a joint venture with BCD Travel, offers the full range of corporate travel management services and solutions for clients across government and private sectors.
  
Also opening soon at the Etihad Travel Mall will be a variety of retail shops, including:
  • Relay, a newspaper, magazine, book and convenience store;
  • Hertz, the leading rental car service and Preferred Partner of Etihad Airways;
  • Arab Link, a money transfer and currency exchange service by Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank;
  • Jones the Grocer, the gourmet food emporium and café.

VIDEO: US policeman rescues airport security women from 'mentally unstable' attacker

Footage of Corporal Justin Rogers stopping airport attack
Footage of Corporal Justin Rogers stopping airport attack 
Here’s an interesting story about Corporal Justin Rogers, an off-duty police officer from California, whose routine visit to Honolulu Airport after a vacation ended with him being praised as a national hero and receiving international media coverage!

How? Well, after taking off his shoes for the airport security check, Corporal Rogers noticed that a female Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer was being assaulted. In fact, at that very moment, an irate woman has placed the security officer in a headlock.

Wasting no time at all, a shoe-less Corporal Roger (who is a six-year veteran of the Pinole Police Department) sprinted towards the violent scenario and threw the passenger to the ground.

ALSO READ: Heart-warming video as 300 taxi drivers light-up Peru airstrip, allowing flight to depart on medical emergency

After identifying himself to other TSA agents, he was handed a pair of handcuffs to restrain the passenger… and that’s where his involvement in the incident ended. He even made his flight back home!

According to media reports, the attacker was actually a homeless woman and had been approached by the TSA agent after pushing over a security sign marking a lane reserved for pilots and staff. She was later transferred to Castle Medical Centre, which has a mental health unit.

A video of the incident has since been released and viewed online by countless people throughout the world. You can watch it below.



"His actions, coupled with the quick response of airport security, minimised disruptions to the traveling public," the TSA said in a statement.

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!

ALSO WATCH: Shocking video of airport rage incident in China goes viral




Tuesday, April 16, 2013

PHOTOS & VIDEO: Check out the brand new Qantas cabin crew uniform


New look uniform for Qantas cabin crew and ground staff
New look uniform for Qantas cabin crew and ground staff
Qantas has become the latest airline to revamp its uniform, with a brand new design unveiled to the public earlier today.

The latest uniform has been created by Australian designer Martin Grant and marks the airline’s first uniform revamp for 10 years.

You’ll find an image of the uniform on this page and the rest have been uploaded as a photo album on The Aviation Writer’s Facebook page, including some from a fashion show to unveil the new look – click here to view them.

"This is a new look for a new chapter for Qantas,” stated Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce, adding that the uniform will be worn by 12,600 cabin crew and ground employees from early 2014.

“The new uniform speaks of Australian style on the global stage,” he added.

Martin Grant has designed 35 garments for female and male employees, which were developed in collaboration with Qantas’ customer-facing uniformed departments, including cabin crew and ground employees.

Top 10: Airlines with the best cabin crew uniform in 2013 (Europe and Asia-Pacific)

Female employees will wear a combination of a dress, tops, a suit and a trench overcoat, accompanied by a stylish scarf and a trilby hat in a knitted fabric made from recycled bottle tops. The male suiting is neat and structured.

Below are some key facts and figures about the Qantas uniform, as well as a video. What are your thoughts? As always, please feel free to share your comments on the photos here, and you can also get in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - I look forward to connecting with you!


5 FACTS ABOUT THE NEW QANTAS UNIFORM


  1. Approximately 400,000 garments will be produced
  2. Approximately 350,000 meters of fabric will be used
  3. 35 styles designed for male and females
  4. 15 fabrics have been selected including Premium Super Fine Australian Merino Wool in the suiting
  5. Uniforms will be delivered to 85 different locations in 21 countries

Top 10 Airports In The World (i.e. winners of Skytrax’s 2013 World Airport Awards)

The World Airport Awards 2013 attracted 12.1 million votes
It’s that time of the year again, when leading airports from across the globe compete for trade honours at Skytrax’s World Airport Awards.

Once again, this year’s winners were revealed during a special awards ceremony to coincide with the Passenger Terminal EXPO in Geneva.

The winners are decided after a massive survey of airport customers from around the world, with a staggering 12.1 million responses this year!

So, which airport was deemed the world’s best by all these people? Here are some clues: this is the fourth time the winner has collected this accolade, last claiming victory back in 2010… which means it’s not last year’s winner Incheon International Airport.

Still not sure? Well, drumroll please… here’s the list of winners:

TOP 10 AIRPORTS IN THE WORLD, ACCORDING TO 2013 WORLD AIRPORT AWARDS


  1. Singapore Changi Airport
  2. Incheon International Airport
  3. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
  4. Hong Kong International Airport
  5. Beijing Capital International Airport
  6. Munich Airport
  7. Zurich Airport
  8. Vancouver International Airport
  9. Tokyo International Airport (Haneda)
  10. London Heathrow Airport

ALSO READ: The world’s best airline amenity bags in 2013

"In winning this prestigious accolade, Singapore Changi cements its place as one of the world's favourite airports and Skytrax offer their sincere congratulations on what has been a fantastic year of achievement" said Edward Plaisted, Chairman of Skytrax. "Changi airport continues to be a leader and innovator within the industry and this in our opinion, is a key reason why it has remained ranked amongst the top-3 airports for the last 14 years of the awards."

What do you think about the list? Were the right airports selected? 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!

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

Monday, April 15, 2013

Heart-warming! 300 taxi drivers light-up Peru airstrip, allowing flight to depart on medical emergency


Taxi drivers to the rescue for a medical flight in Peru
Taxi drivers to the rescue for a medical flight in Peru
Here’s a heart-warming story from eastern Peru! Earlier this month, an emergency medical flight needed to depart from the remote town of Contamana at night time.

However, with no lighting on the underdeveloped airstrip, the charter plane was unable to take-off.

Luckily for the pilot, a local radio station was informed about the situation and asked its listeners for assistance.

Within 30 minutes, around 300 taxi drivers from across the town brought their cars, motorbikes and auto-rickshaws to the airstrip, using their headlights to light-up the 800-metre long strip.

As a result, the pilot was able to take-off with three passengers in need of medical treatment, leaving to the sound of applause from bystanders… great stuff! I’ve included the BBC report below, which you can watch for more details and footage.




"We have always been people with a heart," the Agence France-Presse was later told by Adolfo Lobo, the radio presenter who made the announcement calling for volunteers.

What are your thoughts on the story? 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!



Friday, April 12, 2013

Ever wondered how an aircraft is painted? Images of BA’s first A380 paint job!

The first British Airways A380 took 14 days to paint with 24 painters
The first British Airways A380 took 14 days to paint

Earlier this month, we were treated to the first exterior images of British Airways’ forthcoming A380, soon after the aircraft was painted in the national carrier’s red, white and blue colour scheme.

Those images soon became the second most viewed post on this blog – click here to check them out, in case you missed the photos earlier.

Anyway, Airbus has been kind enough to release some ‘insider’ photos of the paint job, which are too good not to share with readers of TheAviationWriter.com!

I’ve included one of them on this page and the rest have been added to the BA A380 album on my Facebook page – click here to view them.

Painting such a massive aircraft is not a simple task. In fact, it took 24 painters a total of two weeks at Airbus’ Hamburg hangar to apply five coats of paint.

The painters stood on eight moveable platforms up to 30 metres from the ground, armed with spray guns, traditional paint rollers and small paint brushes (a pretty cool job, if you ask me).


What’s more, they used 2,300 litres of paint to cover an area of 3,500 square metres. Although the total weight of the five layers of paint covering the aircraft weighs around 650kg, the paint applied is no thicker than a human hair.

Does anyone else think being an aircraft painter is a pretty cool job? It takes a lot of dedication though - the specialists in these photos spent three years training to learn how to paint an A380!

PHOTOS: First look at Norwegian Air’s Boeing 787 in red and white livery

Norwegian Air’s first Boeing 787 with its red and white livery
Norwegian Air’s first Boeing 787 with red and white livery
Norwegian Air was scheduled to receive its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner this month, but the much-awaited delivery was postponed as a result of the aircraft’s grounding.

The airline, which is Europe’s fourth-biggest discount carrier, is planning to introduce eight Boeing 787-8s into its fleet in total, with three deliveries this year, followed by another four in 2014 and a final one in 2015.

Initial routes include New York, Bangkok and Fort Lauderdale (Florida), although a revised date for the first handover is still awaited.

But progress is still being made! Check out the photo of Norwegian Air’s first 787 on this page, which has been released by the airline (there’s a whole photo album of images, visit my Facebook page to view them all).

The aircraft has finally been adorned with Norwegian’s red and white livery – a process that took six days in the paint hangar. What do you think of the final result? How does the livery compare to other 787s out there? 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!


Despite the delays, Norwegian Air is still upbeat about the Dreamliner. In fact, CEO Bjoern Kjos told Bloomberg that he’s looking to purchase even more of them!

This time, he might focus on the larger 787-9 model, and the Oslo-based carrier could even push for discounts as part of delay compensation… can we expect an announcement at Paris Airshow?


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

PHOTO: Volaris receives first Sharklet-equipped Airbus A320 aircraft


Mexico's Volaris welcomes it first Sharklet-equipped Airbus A320
Volaris welcomes it first Sharklet-equipped Airbus A320
Mexican low-cost carrier Volaris celebrated the delivery of its first Sharklet-equipped Airbus A320 with a special flight from Mexico City to Cancun earlier today.

As the first Mexico-based operator of the new fuel-saving wing tip devices, Volaris welcomed Airbus officials onto today’s flight, in addition to official representatives from France, Germany, Spain and United Kingdom.

Sharklets, which are 2.4 metres tall and made from light-weight composites, are being offered on new-build A320 Family aircraft.

They allow Airbus’ airline customers to reduce fuel burn up to four percent over longer sectors and reduce approximately 1,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per aircraft per year.

What’s more, sharklets offer operators the flexibility of either adding an additional 100 nautical miles range or increased payload capability of up to 450 kilograms.

Volaris, which has an all-Airbus fleet, currently operates 43 A320 Family aircraft and has a backlog of 48. It has been the first carrier in Mexico to order the A320neo, with a purchase agreement for 44 aircraft, including 30 A320neo and 14 A320ceo.

More aircraft-related photos:



REVEALED: The world’s best airline amenity bags in 2013


Etihad Airways award-winner male amenity kit
Etihad's award-winner male amenity kit

Amenity bags are often considered a great bonus for airline passengers travelling in business or first class. In fact, have a look at online travel forums and you’ll normally find a heap of discussions about the best (and worst) amenity kits offers by airlines throughout the world.

The debate is not limited to passengers either. Each year, an awards ceremony is hosted to honour the world’s best airline amenity kits, with the winners of this year’s Airline Amenity Bags Awards announced at a special ceremony in Hamburg last night.

The ceremony, which took place alongside World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo and Aircraft Interiors, was the final part of a rigorous process, in which airlines and suppliers pay US$138 to enter the awards.

Online members of TravelPlus Media (which organises the awards) are recruited to judge the entrants, together with a 10-strong judging panel of aviation professionals and frequent travellers.


The winners of this year’s Airline Amenity Bags Awards include the likes of Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia and Turkish Airlines. Check out the full list below.

“It’s estimated there are around 38,000 first-class seats available worldwide over any 24-hour period, and 68,000 business class,” states Simon Ward, founder of TravelPlus Media. “If each of those has an amenity bag, the marketing and commercial opportunities are huge.”

Winner List: Airline Amenity Bag Awards 2013


  • First-class male: Etihad Airways
  • First-class female: Emirates Airlines
  • First-class unisex: Singapore Airlines
  • Business-class male: Qantas
  • Business-class female: Virgin Australia
  • Business-class unisex: Turkish Airlines
  • Premium economy: Condor Airlines
  • Economy class: Virgin Atlantic
  • Children under 6: Qantas
  • Children over 6: Qatar Airways
  • Ethically sustainable: Finnair
  • Most innovative: Turkish Airlines

What are your thoughts on the winners? 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, April 9, 2013

PHOTOS: Virgin Atlantic A320 at Edinburgh Airport during launch of Little Red service


Virgin Atlantic's Airbus A320 in Edinburgh yesterday to promote Little Red
Virgin Atlantic's Airbus A320 in Edinburgh yesterday
Earlier today, I wrote about the launch of Virgin Atlantic’s first-ever domestic flight service, otherwise known as ‘Little Red’.

Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Atlantic’s founder and president, stole the limelight during a recent promotional visit to Edinburgh after flashing his underwear, which had the words ‘stiff competition’ written on them… a clear message for rival airlines, it seems. Click here to read that blog post.

As a special bonus, I’ve also received some images of the Airbus A320 used by Virgin Atlantic during the Edinburgh event, with the aircraft receiving a traditional water cannon salute.

One of the images is included on this page and you can head over to my Facebook page to view the rest of them. Click here to check them out.

Virgin Atlantic’s domestic service will be operated using four Airbus A320 aircraft in the distinct Virgin colours, with region-specific names chosen by lucky local competition winners, to be announced shortly.

Genius! Richard Branson flashes underwear to promote Virgin Atlantic's domestic service


Richard Branson promotes Virgin Atlantic Little Red
Richard Branson promotes Little Red
Whenever there’s a launch event involving Sir Richard Branson, the media are more or less guaranteed an interesting photo opportunity.

And that was the case with the recent launch of Virgin Atlantic’s first-ever domestic flight service (otherwise known as ‘Little Red’), which will offer four daily round-trips between London Heathrow and Manchester, six daily round-trips to Edinburgh and a further three daily round-trips to Aberdeen.

During a trip to Edinburgh yesterday as part of a Little Red promotional tour, Sir Richard arrived with a clear message for the competition. In summary, he wore a kilt, he lifted the kilt, and he flashed his underwear to the photographers… which had ‘stiff competition’ written on them.

Of course, the gimmick has worked wonders and photos of Sir Richard and his pants are getting extensive media coverage around the world. Even on this blog!

Yes, I’ve included an image provided from Virgin Atlantic’s press office on this page and there’s a whole photo album of them on my Facebook page – including some nice aircraft images (in case the photos of Sir Richard and his pants are not your cup of tea… which I would definitely understand). Click here to view them.


“Virgin Atlantic has been on an incredible journey since we started with a single plane 29 years ago. Little Red represents the next step on that journey as we go head to head with British Airways to provide domestic flights that deliver Virgin Atlantic’s rock and roll spirit as well as real value for money,” commented Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Atlantic founder and president.