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Qantas to stand down 2500 as border closures continue


Qantas and its low-cost subsidiary Jetstar will stand down 2,500 staff as the COVID border closures across Australia continue.

The airline said that the stand-down is a temporary measure to deal with a significant drop in flying caused by COVID restrictions in Greater Sydney in particular and the knock-on border closures in all other states and territories. No job losses are expected.

It said the decision will directly impact domestic pilots, cabin crew, and airport workers, mostly in New South Wales but also in other states given the nature of airline networks. Employees will be given two weeks’ notice before the stand-down takes effect, with pay continuing until mid-August.

Qantas said that income support in the form of government disaster payments will be key to helping eligible employees get through this challenging period and the Qantas Group welcomes the targeted Federal Government support offered for those stood down outside of declared hotspots and to retain domestic aviation capability.

Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce said the difficult decision to trigger stand-downs reflected the reality confronting many businesses operating in New South Wales.

“This is clearly the last thing we want to do, but we’re now faced with an extended period of reduced flying and that means no work for a number of our people.

“We’ve absorbed a significant amount of cost since these recent lockdowns started and continued paying our people their full rosters despite thousands of cancelled flights.

“Qantas and Jetstar have gone from operating almost 100 percent of their usual domestic flying in May to less than 40 percent in July because of lockdowns in three states.

“Hopefully, once other states open back up to South Australia and Victoria in the next week or so, and the current outbreak in Brisbane is brought under control, our domestic flying will come back to around 50 to 60 percent of normal levels.

“Based on current case numbers, it’s reasonable to assume that Sydney’s borders will be closed for at least another two months. We know it will take a few weeks once the outbreak is under control before other states open to New South Wales and normal travel can resume.

“Fortunately, we know that once borders do reopen, travel is at the top of people’s list and flying tends to come back quickly, so we can get our employees back to work.

“This is extremely challenging for the 2,500 of our people directly impacted, but it’s also very different from this time last year when we had more than 20,000 employees stood down and most of our aircraft in hibernation for months on end.

“The vaccine rollout means the end is in sight and the concept of lockdowns will be a thing of the past. Australia just needs more people rolling up their sleeves as more vaccine arrives.

“The challenge around opening international borders remains. There are still several thousand Qantas and Jetstar crew who normally fly internationally and who have been on long periods of stand down since the pandemic began. Higher vaccination rates are also key to being able to fly overseas again, and finally getting all our people back to work,” added Mr Joyce.

White knuckles at first 747 flight over 52 years ago

747 first flight
The 747's first flight. Photo: Boeing

It was unlikely anyone was thinking about the change they were about to unleash on the lives of billions of people as the first Boeing 747 rolled out onto Everett’s Paine Field during a cold winter morning on February 9, 1969.

They were also not anticipating that the 747 would end up logging more than 57 billion nautical miles (121.5bn km) — the equivalent of 137, 293 trips from the Earth to the moon — and fly more than 5.9 billion people.

Their attention was very much on how this somewhat controversial giant of the skies would perform.

The plan had been for the first flight of the Boeing 747 to take place on the anniversary of the Wright brothers’ historic flight but delays had scotched that idea.

Instead, it had unintentionally hit another date: the sixth anniversary of the first flight of the 727.

The man heading the engineering team that built the plane, the late Joe Sutter, recalled in his fascinating book on the 747 that he felt “keyed up” as RA001 taxied along the runway.

747 first flight

“There was no doubt in my mind that the 747 would fly; the only question was how well,’’ he wrote.

“A quiet thrill of elation buoyed me as I chatted with our three-man flight-test crew.

“Project pilot Jack Wadell would take our baby aloft with the help of Brien Wygle to his right and Jess Wallick behind them in the flight deck as flight engineer.

“We called this  fine team of aviators the ‘Three Ws’.”

The world’s first jumbo jet accelerated down the runway and cheers and applause broke out as the nose lifted and it took off.

“A lump constricted my throat,’’ Sutter recalled. “Unable to say anything, I watched the plane bank into a shallow turn and return for a prearranged pass over the field for the benefit of Boeing workers and global press corps.”

747 first flight 50
Photo: Boeing

Despite Wygle’s comment that the 747 was “flying beautifully”,  a minor structural failure in one of the aircraft’s flaps prompted the first flight to be cut short and Sutter still had his fingers crossed as it landed.

Watch the best Boeing 747 air-to-air videos

There had been controversy about whether pilots perched three floors above the ground could judge the landing and safely get the big plane back on the ground.

“This was definitely on my mind as RA0001 turned from the base leg to final approach,’’ Sutter said. “Before my eyes, it descended to the runway with the stately majesty of an ocean liner. It flared gently and touched down very, very smoothly.

“That moment was my biggest thrill of the day. All my worries evaporated and I knew we had a good airplane.”

Boeing’s President Bill Allen (Left) and Joe Sutter (right) at the first flight of the 747. Colorised by Benoit Vienne

That first flight lasted 75 minutes and, according to Sutter, proved that the 747 flew well, was stable and had light controls with well-balanced forces.

“This is a flying arrow,” Wadell declared after the flight. “A pilot’s airplane.”

747 boeing
The “Three W’s” in the 747 cockpit. Photo: Boeing

The 747 was the result of work by about 50,000 people, dubbed “the Incredibles”, who built the aircraft in less than 16 months.

That first plane was 225ft (68.5m) long with a tail as tall as a six-story building and required the construction of a 200-million-cubic foot (5.6m cu. m) plant at Everett, near the US city of Seattle.

It carried a ton of air when it was pressurized,  its cargo hold had room for 3400 pieces of baggage and its total wing area was bigger than a basketball court.

Boeing was not the only company producing technological marvels in 1969, which was also the year Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon.

Concorde would make its first test flight on March 2 but the 747, the first widebody to reach the 1500 unit milestone, would be the plane with the widest impact for the biggest number of people.

The 747’s first flight was the start of a grueling flight test program that would include a flyover at the 1969 Paris Air Show.

But on December 30, 1969, the 747 was certified by the US Federal Aviation Administration and could be delivered to launch customer Pan-Am.

Pan-Am had been crucial to the development of the plane thanks to backing by legendary president Juan Trippe.

Trippe and Boeing boss Bill Allen had seen the plane as a way of promoting mass travel in increasingly congested skies and they had defied the critics to bring it into service.

They triggered a transformation that began when the plane entered service on January 21, 1970, as the Clipper Constitution flew from New York’s John F. Kennedy International  Airport to London Heathrow.

Boeing 747 50 anniversary
Pan Am’s first 747 dwarfs a 707. Photo: Boeing Historical Archives

Although much of the media attention would focus on often quirky lounges for the well-heeled,  the giant plane also fascinated the general public.

It would be the public that would benefit as airlines embraced the 747 to make it the Queen of the Skies, boosting competition and adding thousands of cheaper seats.

Air travel in the 1960s was still an expensive exercise and when the 747 was introduced in 1970, the cost of a return airfare from Australia to London was the equivalent of 24 weeks of Australian average weekly earnings.

By 1990, it was about five weeks of average weekly earnings and by 2000, this had reduced to two weeks.

Today, it is often below one week’s earnings, although legroom has shrunk by up to 10cms.

The success of the plane would ultimately be such that, for many people, international flights became synonymous with the 747.

Whether it was a Singapore Airlines’  “Megatop” or a Qantas “Longreach, there was always a feeling that sitting economy was like traveling in a giant room.

The jumbo evolved over the years, increasing in size and, more importantly, gaining range.

There were also some interesting variants.

NASA modified two 747-100s to carry space shuttles, two 747-200Bs have served as Air Force One and a 747-400 freighter was “weaponized” for use as a platform with the US Air Force’s Airborne Laser Program.

Minor modifications allowed Japanese carriers to adapt the plane as a domestic shuttle, the 747SR, and there was a hybrid version of the 747-200 that was half passenger plane and half freighter known as the Combi.

A truncated version, known as the 747SP, was designed to allow Pan-Am to fly the longer range,  high business traffic route between New York and Tokyo.

The sporty SP lost traction when engine improvements allowed the 747-200B to match its range.

The 200B, in turn, would be superseded in 1983 when the 747-300 arrived with an extended dome for additional upper deck seating.

But no version of the 747 would match the success of the most popular variant, the 747-400, which arrived in 1989.

747 Boeing 50 anniversary
A United Boeing 747-400. Photo: United Airlines

A newer version of the plane designed to compete with the Airbus A380 superjumbo, the 747-8, was introduced with a longer fuselage and the same engine and cockpit technology as the Boeing 787.

The General Electric GEnx-2B engines, raked wingtips and other improvements produced a 30 percent smaller noise footprint and a 15 percent reduction in carbon emissions through lower fuel consumption. Other advantages included fewer parts and less maintenance.

However, the days of the four-engine passenger plane were already waning by the time the 747-8i was delivered and it has only been ordered by a handful of airlines:  Lufthansa, Korean Air and Air China.

Most of the 747-8s ordered have been freighters, although there is also a handful of business/VIP jets and two due to become the next Air Force One in the US.

That the plane is still in production is a testament to Boeing’s foresight in developing freighter versions, something Airbus was unable to do for its A380, which is now out of production.

747 Boeing 50th anniversary
A Boeing 747-8 under construction at Boeing’s giant Everett factory. Photo: Steve Creedy

Stunning colour video of the 707 that started the jetset in 1959.

707 has obtained this stunning colour video of the 707 that started the jet set in 1959.

So while your home in isolation sit back and relax and enjoy how air travel went jet!

It video features the major airlines involved in its launch, Pan American, American Airlines and Trans World Airways.

The 707 was a masterpiece of engineering, a thing of grace and beauty and its impact on the development of air travel was extraordinary, shrinking the world and changing lives and economies.

READ Qatar Airways increases services to US cities

Sixty one years ago, Pan American World Airways launched its Boeing 707 service from New York to Paris, and overnight the tyranny of distance disappeared.

With its speed came productivity, while its size and jet power brought lower costs and airfares, moving air travel from the exclusive realm of the rich and famous into the reach of the everyday traveller.

Rather than a risky option to be endured, air travel was now the thing to do.

The birth of jet-powered commercial flight was a huge gamble.

The Comet disasters of the early 1950s, in which the world’s first commercial jet airliner suffered a series of fatal accidents, frightened the public.

But Boeing’s chairman William Allen convinced his board to stake the company’s future on building a jet transport prototype for both military and civil applications without a single order.

Mr Allen had taken a ride in one of the company’s jet bombers in 1950 and had a “transformational experience” and was convinced that the future was jet travel.

Nonetheless, it was an immense gamble, because Boeing was mainly a builder of military aircraft and had sold just 147 commercial models in the preceding 20 years.

Two years later, in 1954, the first 707 prototype — dubbed the Dash 80 — rolled out from the factory.

But Boeing still had to prove its credentials, with some airline executives saying no airline would buy a jet airliner from Boeing. However, Boeing test pilot Tex Johnston had other ideas.

Mr Johnston was asked to pilot the Dash 80 prototype in a demonstration fly-by for airline chiefs attending the 1954 International Air Transport Association (IATA) annual general meeting in Seattle.

Boeing hosted delegates at the Gold Cup power boat races on Lake Washington and company president Mr Allen thought it would be a golden opportunity to impress the chiefs of the world’s airlines.

But instead of a sedate fly-past, to everyone’s amazement, Mr Johnston put the Dash 80 into a barrel roll which, while not overstressing the aircraft, gave Mr Allen severe heart palpitations.

Not content with one roll, Mr Johnston brought the Dash 80 around again and repeated the stunt — in case any of the airline executives thought they were seeing things.

The famous painting of the event “Gold Cup Roll” by Mike Machat .

The next day, legend has it that Mr Johnston quipped to Mr Allen, when asked about the barrel roll: “I was just selling airplanes.”

The 707 had a price tag double that of the piston engine aircraft it would replace but it would produce three times the revenue.

The orders flowed for the 707 and its arch-rival, the Douglas DC-8.

Aside from the glamour of the speed and the lower fares, the jet engine was far more reliable than the piston engines it replaced, giving travellers much greater confidence in air travel.

The 707 and the DC-8 blitzed the great ocean liners and even as early as 1960, more travellers went by air across the North Atlantic than by ship.

The basic 707 fuselage design gave birth to the 727, 737 and 757. The 737 went on to be the most popular commercial jet in history, with over 14,000 sold. It’s still being produced at a rate of 57 a month.

In-flight entertainment in the golden age of flying

Banned today, smoking i the lounge was very popular in the 50s and 60s.

In the golden age of flying in-flight entertainment was very different from today.

So as you contemplate a return to normal flying during the COVID-19 pandemic flash back to the 1950s and 1960s with us with many gorgeous images colorized by Benoit Vienne.

During the 1950s and 60s in-flight entertainment or “IFE” as we know it today was in its infancy and rudimentary.

Although the first film was shown on an aircraft in 1921 it wasn’t until the 1960s that IFE – movies – became mainstream.

In 1961, David Flexer of Inflight Motion Pictures developed the 16mm film system for commercial aircraft.

So, let’s take a peek back through the archives of to reveal what travelers did to amuse themselves on those long flights in the 1950s and 60s.

The most popular form of entertainment was, of course, reading – a good thriller, a romance or just catching up with the news in a newspaper, because don’t forget there was no internet, FB or twitter via WiFi.

Reading was popular on aircraft
Passengers on a Lockheed Constellation of British Airways enjoy some magazines. Geoffrey Thomas Collection colorized by Benoit Vienne

When you weren’t reading, mealtime was a grand affair even in economy.

Passengers enjoy an economy meal
Passengers on a DC-8 enjoy an economy meal. Boeing Historical Archives

For those in First Class, the meal was preceded by drinks in the lounge.

Passengers share a drink in the lounge
Passengers on a Trans Canada Airlines DC-8 have pre-dinner drinks in the lounge

Dinner was a multi-course affair served more often by stewards in a white coat and back tie no less – and at your table.

Passengers are served dinner
Passengers are served a multi-course dinner. Geoffrey Thomas Collection / Colorized by Benoit Vienne

After dinner or lunch, you might retire again to the lounge and meet the captain who would do the rounds. It was great PR to calm nervous flyers for passengers to chat with a multi-striped veteran who had experience etched in his rugged good looks.

Passengers relax in the aircraft's lounge
After dinner, passengers could retire to the lounge to discuss the trip with the captain. In the 50s and 60s the flight crews were encouraged to mingle with the passengers. Boeing Historical Archives

For those in economy perhaps a game of drafts with mum and dad.

Playing drafts with mum and dad in economy class
Passengers often used board games, like drafts, to entertain themselves. Geoffrey Thomas Collection

Playing cards was also popular and airlines would issue them with logos, or pictures of planes or destinations that they flew.

Passengers playing cards in the lounge
Passengers often used cards to pass the time. Boeing Historical Archives

When you weren’t playing cards you could use them to build a house. This was a popular PR shot to illustrate how smooth jet travel was compared to the piston-engine aircraft they replaced.

Child building a house of cards
Building a house of cards was a great way to show how smooth jet air travel was. Geoffrey Thomas Collection.

Flight crew were always on the lookout for junior flyers and would explain the route the aircraft was taking.

Pilots would often talk with young flyers
Flight crews were encouraged to talk with young flyers. Geoffrey Thomas Collection

Millions of young flyers signed up for the various Junior Flyers clubs which came with log books of your travels and pilots would oblige and fill in the details of the flight.

Another way to illustrate how smooth jet travel was compared to the piston-engine era was to balance matches.

Passengers would build things with matches
Airline PR staff were quick to use photos to illustrate how smooth jet travel was. Geoffrey Thomas Collection / Colorized by Benoit Vienne

Afternoon tea was a grand affair with full silver service with a collection of sweets and pastries that would tempt even the most resilient weight watcher.

Passengers take afternoon tea.
Afternoon tea was a grand affair and another way to waste some time on a long flight. Boeing Historical Archives

Many business people traveled with staff to take notes and type letters on the journey.

Lady types for her boss on the flying boat.
Many business people took along their secretaries to type letters on the journey. Geoffrey Thomas Collection / Colorized by Benoit Vienne

Ladies would take their knitting on flights but today knitting needles are banned.

Ladies knitting on a Boeing 707
Ladies would often spend their time knitting. Boeing Historical Archives.

While other mothers would read to their children.

Mothers would read to their children on planes
Many mothers would read to their children. Boeing Historical Archives


New tracking technology nearing readiness for MH370 search


Significant progress has been achieved in refining a fascinating new technology, Weak Signal Propagation, (WSPR) which is a digital radio communication protocol that is providing new hope that a more precise resting place can be determined for MH370 which disappeared over seven years ago with 239 souls on board.

Aerospace engineer Richard Godfrey has used various known flight paths to help validate his new technology called GDTAAA (Global Detection and Tracking of Aircraft Anywhere Anytime). The system takes data from the WSPRnet and feeds it automatically into a flight tracking system.

But recently a new far more complex blind test of GDTAAA was devised by Mike Glynn a former Qantas pilot and uses a flight that operated without passengers, that you will not find in ADS-B archives.

Since Mike Glynn was the captain of the flight, he has the flight track data and revealed the data after the GDTAAA results had been published for the flight. agreed to be an independent adjudicator of the GDTAAA Blind Test.

While the first blind test failed to track the aircraft precisely from Johannesburg to Perth due to a calculation error in mapping the WSPRnet link path around the globe the error has now been corrected and a second blind test will start this week.

Following further blind tests using data from recent flights between 2019 and 2021, a key test of GDTAAA will be to follow the track of an AMSA MH370 SAR flight from Perth to the search area in 2014.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force has kindly supplied detailed flight information to Mr. Godfrey for their sortie during the MH370 aerial search on 28th March 2014.

These tests will take two months to run and evaluate and are planned for August and September 2021.

The refined and tested GDTAAA will then be used with confidence to detect and track MH371 from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur on 7th March 2014 where we have the flight data as a final check before detecting and tracking MH370 from Kuala Lumpur into the Indian Ocean on 7th / 8th March 2014.

These tests are planned for October and November 2021 says, Mr. Godfrey.

It is hoped that GDTAAA will help refine the WSPRnet data analysis and over-the-horizon radio reception anomalies and taken together with the other data available, will help us to narrow down the MH370 search to a more precise crash location.

Qantas loses major case over outsourcing work

Photos: Qantas

Qantas is to appeal the Australian Federal Court’s watershed judgment that it contravened the Fair Work Act in outsourcing the remainder of its ground handling functions, setting the scene for a protracted confrontation with the Transport Workers Union which is pushing for the nearly 2000 workers to be reinstated.

Federal Court Justice Michael Lee called into question the evidence of both Qantas domestic chief executive Andrew David, as well as former chief operating officer Paul Jones describing it as “unconvincing” in relationship to the TWU’s claim that the airline was using the pandemic as “transformational opportunity” lay-off the workers who could disrupt operations in 2021 by taking protected industrial action.

Under the Fair Work Act, Qantas had to prove that it didn’t take into account a prohibited reason when it decided to outsource the ground-handling operations.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said the Federal Government refused to hold Qantas to account over the illegal outsourcing but that the workers had.

“This judgment is a watershed moment for workers in Australia. The Federal Court has ruled that workers cannot be bypassed by employers like Qantas which want to drive down wages and conditions.

“This ruling calls a halt to shifting responsibility for workers and outsourcing them onto third parties on a low cost, take-it or leave-it contract.”

Mr Kaine added that “workers will be expecting their jobs as soon as possible and we will be seeking meetings with Qantas to ensure this happens.”

Qantas said it fundamentally disagrees with the judgment and said it does not mean it is required to reinstate workers or pay compensation or penalties as these matters have not yet been considered by the Court and Qantas will oppose any such orders.

Qantas group executive John Gissing, said “the TWU has put forward its persecution complex that our decision to save A$100 million a year in the middle of a global downturn was really about stopping them from walking off the job at some time in the future.

“The fact is, Qantas deals with the operational risk of industrial action on a regular basis given the 50-plus agreements across the Group. That risk pales in comparison with a pandemic that has grounded our fleet and our people for months, and has so far cost us $16 billion in revenue.”

“Qantas was motivated only by lawful commercial reasons, and this will be the subject of our appeal,” Mr. Gissing said.

In August last year, Qantas advised it would outsource ground handling operations at 10 airports across Australia as part of its COVID recovery plan and would save $100 million a year.

It called for bids from outside ground handlers and gave the workers the opportunity to bid for the work.

In November it advised the workers’ bid was unsuccessful despite the TWU claiming it was competitive.

Qantas said it granted three separate extensions to the original deadline and claimed the TWU bid was “theoretical, with no roadmap of how projected cost savings would be achieved.”

Specialist ground handlers and caterers are common across the industry.


Boeing predicts renewed post-pandemic fleet will cut CO2

Photo: Boeing

Airlines are expected to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic with newer, more efficient fleets that are a “huge step forward” in reducing industry carbon emissions, according to a senior Boeing executive.

The US aerospace giant’s chief sustainability officer, Chris Raymond, told Australasian reporters on a conference call Friday that Boeing believed airlines would be putting newer models such as its 737 MAX back into service.

Boeing sees fleet renewal, which sees older planes replaced by aircraft that are 15 to 25 percent more fuel-efficient, as a key plank in the move to a more sustainable aviation industry.

READ: Boeing takes off on a surprise profit turn-around

The MAX, for example, uses technologies ranging from high-bypass ratio engines to advanced winglets to deliver a 21 percent reduction in fuel and CO2 emissions.

“As the pandemic ends and we recover, it’s our belief that the airlines will be putting newer models back in service,’’ Raymond said.

“Those will be more fuel-efficient and that will be, actually, a huge step forward in carbon emissions.”

The Boeing executive said he expected the bias towards newer aircraft despite moves by airlines to delay the timing of deliveries because of the impact of the pandemic.

He believed the renewal was being driven by an airline focus on sustainability, incentives such as the US Sustainable Skies Act sustainable aviation fuel tax incentives and potential regulations such as Europe’s “Fit for 55” legislative package.

“I just think these forces in the world are coalescing to encourage people to bring back the newer equipment and I … anticipate average fleet ages will be lower,’’ he said, noting that airlines should be given credit for the move.

Boeing recently released its first sustainability report looking not just at environmental issues but also at social issues such as diversity and the governance of the company.

Among the goals was a commitment to deliver commercial aircraft capable of using 100 percent sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) by 2030.

SAFs, which can deliver lifecycle carbon reductions of up to 80 percent, are another key to reducing aviation emissions in the medium term.

Airlines have successfully conducted thousands of flights using biofuel blends but far fewer have taken place with 100 percent SAFs.

While Raymond acknowledged the use of sustainable aviation fuel was “a given”, he said more research needed to be done on the impact on engines seals and fuel systems before moving from the current 50/50 blend of SAF and conventional jet fuel.

“Right now we’re limited to 50/50 kind of blends and it’s our desire to go study what has to happen if we were operating regularly on 100 percent,’’ he said.

“If a new airplane only saw 100 percent sustainable fuel, you‘d likely be fine.

“It’s the airplanes that have been exposed to jet fuel and some of the aromatics that are in those fuels and then if you switch to an all sustainable fuel and go back and forth.

“That’s where we need to study. What happens to things like seals? Do they dry out?

“And so we needed to do the work to understand that, frankly —what has to change on the airplane side, what has to change on the engine side and then, in partnership with the airlines, what needs to be adjusted on maintenance procedures.”

Looking longer-term, Boeing believes bigger all-electric planes suiting airline demands will not arrive until the 2030s

It also expects that hydrogen-powered aircraft, if feasible, will take until the middle of the century to take off.


Airbus launches A350 freighter as it ramps up top selling A320


Airbus has launched its much anticipated A350 freighter as it ramps up production of its top-selling A320 with Qatar Airways a major target for the freighter.

The news comes as Airbus reports that its consolidated revenue for the first half of 2021 increased 30 percent year-on-year to €24.6 billion (US$29.16) from €18.9 billion, mainly reflecting the higher number of commercial aircraft deliveries compared to H1 2020.

Airbus said that a total of 297 commercial aircraft were delivered (H1 2020: 196 aircraft), comprising 21 A220s, 237 A320 Family, 7 A330s, 30 A350s and 2 A380s.

Revenues generated by Airbus’ commercial aircraft activities increased 42 percent, largely reflecting the increased deliveries.

Airbus Helicopters delivered 115 units (H1 2020: 104 units) with revenues up 11 percent reflecting growth in services and higher volume in civil helicopters, while revenues at Airbus Defence and Space were broadly stable compared to a year earlier, with two A400M military airlifters delivered in H1 2021.

READ: Three new pieces of MH370 debris revealed? 

Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury said “these half-year results reflect the commercial aircraft deliveries, our focus on cost containment and competitiveness, and the good performance in Helicopters and Defence and Space.

“Although the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the numerous actions taken by the teams have delivered a strong H1 performance. This enables us to raise our 2021 guidance although we continue to face an unpredictable environment.

“We are now working to secure the A320 Family ramp up while transforming the industrial setup. Furthermore and following Board approval, we are enhancing our product line with an A350 freighter derivative, responding to customer feedback for increased competition and efficiency in this market segment.”

Airbus said that gross commercial aircraft orders totaled 165 (H1 2020: 365 aircraft) with net orders of 38 aircraft after cancellations (H1 2020: 298 aircraft). The order backlog was 6,925 commercial aircraft on 30 June 2021.

Airbus Helicopters booked 123 net orders (H1 2020: 75 units), including 10 helicopters of the Super Puma Family. Airbus Defence and Space’s order intake by value was €3.5 billion (H1 2020: €5.6 billion).

Consolidated EBIT (reported) amounted to €2,727 million (H1 2020: € -1,559 million).

As the basis for its 2021 guidance, Airbus said it assumes no further disruptions to the world economy, air traffic, the Company’s internal operations, and its ability to deliver products and services.

It targets to achieve 600 commercial aircraft deliveries with EBIT Adjusted of €4 billion with Free Cash Flow before M&A and Customer Financing of €2 billion.

United Airlines launches pre-order cabin service for all passengers

United Airlines

United Airlines has launched a pre-order cabin service for all passengers no matter what class using the airline’s mobile app and website to pre-order meals, snacks, and beverages up to five days before they’re scheduled to travel for flights over 1,500 miles.

United is the first US airline to offer economy customers the option to pre-order snacks and beverages, a reflection of the airline’s customer experience transformation that is underway at the airline.

United’s pre-order technology is an extension of the airline’s contactless payment platform that allows customers to store payment information in a digital wallet.

The pre-order option is now available on select United flights departing from Chicago to Honolulu, Orange County, CA Sacramento, CA and San Diego, and will expand to all flights over 1,500 miles by early fall.

“Our new pre-order option reflects the customer experience transformation taking place at United – customers in our economy cabins will have an easy, convenient way to choose their snack or drink, and our flight attendants can move through the cabin faster, delivering more personalized service,” said Toby Enqvist, chief customer officer for United.

“This new feature also builds on our existing contactless payment technology, which has enabled us to safely resume our inflight food and beverage program on select flights.”

How it works:

  • Five days prior to departure, customers will see an option in the Reservation Details section of the United app or on to pre-order food and beverage items available for their specific flight. Customers will also receive an email notifying them when pre-order is available.
  • In economy cabins, customers can pre-order snacks and beverages from United’s buy-on-board menu. They will be asked to enter their credit card information but will not be charged until the items are served to them on board.
  • In premium cabins, customers can select their meal option directly from the United app or website. Once they make their selection, they will get a receipt emailed to them.

For customers looking to purchase drinks and snack items while onboard, United says its contactless payment platform allows them to store their payment information in a digital wallet on the United app and on prior to departure.

  • Once in flight, customers can access a menu to view available items either on the United app or in Hemispheres magazine.
  • Rather than handing the flight attendant a credit card, the flight attendant will ask for the customer’s name and seat to confirm the card on file.
  • Once confirmed, customers will receive their products, and the card on file will be charged.

Boeing takes-off on surprise profit turnaround


The Boeing Company has reported second-quarter revenue of $17.0 billion, driven by higher commercial airplanes and services volume with GAAP earnings per share of $1.00 and core earnings per share of $0.40 on commercial volume and lower period costs.

That bullish result has pushed its shares up 6 per cent to $235.70.

The company recorded core operating earnings of $755 million in the quarter compared to a loss of $3.319 billion in the year-ago quarter.

“We continued to make important progress in the second quarter as we focus on driving stability across our operations and transforming our business for the future,” said Boeing President and Chief Executive Officer David Calhoun.

“While our commercial market environment is improving, we’re closely monitoring COVID-19 case rates, vaccine distribution, and global trade as key indicators for our industry’s stability. As we continue to position for a robust recovery, we remain committed to safety and quality, while investing in our people, products, and technology. I am proud of our team’s resilience and commitment as we work to rebuild trust, improve our performance and deliver for our commercial, defense, space, and services customers.”

Boeing said its operating cash flow improved to ($0.5) billion in the quarter, driven by higher commercial deliveries, higher-order receipts, and lower expenditures.

Analysts Bernstein said this was a very good result and significantly above the consensus estimate of -$2.8bn.

“We continue to view cash flow as more important than reported earnings, due to the
effects of program accounting. Better than expected FCF came primarily from working capital changes, with cash coming in from MAX deliveries, less cash out for widebody inventory, PDPs coming in for new orders, and lower compensation payments,” Bernstein said.

Boeing said Commercial Airplane’s second-quarter revenue increased to $6.0 billion primarily driven by higher commercial airplane deliveries. The second-quarter operating margin improved to (7.8) percent, primarily due to lower period costs as well as higher delivery volume.

Since the FAA’s approval to return the 737 MAX to operations in November 2020, Boeing has delivered more than 130 737 MAX aircraft and airlines have returned more than 190 previously grounded airplanes to service.

Over 30 airlines are now operating the 737 MAX, flying nearly 95,000 revenue flights totaling more than 218,000 flight hours (as of July 25, 2021) said Boeing.

It reports that the 737 program is currently producing at a rate of approximately 16 per month and continues to expect to gradually increase production to 31 per month in early 2022 with further gradual increases to correspond with market demand.

Boeing said it is conducting inspections and rework and continues to engage in detailed discussions with the FAA on verification methodology for 787. Boeing announced earlier this month that it has identified additional rework that will be required on undelivered 787s.

Commercial Airplanes delivered 79 airplanes during the quarter and the backlog included over 4,100 airplanes valued at $285 billion.

Defense, Space & Security second-quarter revenue increased to $6.9 billion driven by higher KC-46A Tanker and P-8A Poseidon volume.

Backlog at Defense, Space & Security was $59 billion, of which 32 percent represents orders from customers outside the U.S.

Global Services second-quarter revenue increased to $4.1 billion and second-quarter operating margin increased to 13.1 percent primarily driven by higher commercial services volume.


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