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MH370 search to end next week, report says

MH370 ssearch to end next week
The Seabed Constructor. Photo: Ocean Infinity

The latest search for MH370  will end next week after failing to find the wreckage of the aircraft, Malaysia’s Transport Minister has reportedly said.

New Transport Minister Loke Siew Fook said the new Malaysian cabinet had agreed to extend the search until May 29 but there would be no extensions, according to a report on Australia’s ABC.

The private company behind the search, Ocean Infinity, said it had seen the reports but it was still searching.

“At the moment we are continuing operations in the north of the search area, which the oceanography experts believe is an area worth investigating,” a spokesman told airlineratings.

“We are approaching the end of the current search, and the weather also soon becomes a limiting factor, but we’re currently maximizing our efforts whilst we can.”

Ocean Infinity finished searching the target area originally agreed to in April but had moved further north to cover an area defined by a University of Western Australia drift study and the independent group of experts.

Read:  Australian search defended after 60 minutes criticism.

The ABC quoted Loke as saying the government would release a full report on the investigation into MH370’s disappearance after the offshore search was completed, but had not yet determined a date for the report’s release.

Previous predictions were the search would end in June or early July.

The move comes as families of victims of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have called for a full review in the next 100 days of all matters related to the Boeing 777’s disappearance in 2014.

Read: MH370 families call for full review by the new Malaysian government.

The Voice 370 group says it has drawn comfort from the fact many leaders in Malaysia’s new government had been “strong and constant supporters and sympathizers” of the group over the past four years and wants further consultation.

It has asked in an open letter to the government for a comprehensive review of all matters related to the aircraft’s disappearance with 239 people on board “especially the release of all relevant documents such as the full cargo manifest’’.

It wants an investigation into any possible falsification or elimination of records related to the flight and its maintenance.

And it has called a probe into “any act or omission Across the entire spectrum of operations that may have impaired tracking, search, rescue and recovery”.

“We also hope, like with other recent matters, Malaysian will be more open to sharing MH370-related information with other international governments, bodies and agencies in order to allow a complete and thorough review to take place,’’ it said.

Ocean Infinity was given 90 days to complete the search but this did not include transit time to or from port so the ship could re-supply.

Under the agreement brokered by the company and the previous Malaysian Government, the searchers would have received a $US70 million fee if they had found the wreckage outside a primary 25,000  square kilometre zone defined by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, CSIRO and other experts.

They would have received between $US20 million and $US50 million if it had been found in the primary search area.

The company has suggested it might return to look again for the wreckage at some point in the future but it is not clear how that would be viewed by the new Malaysian cabinet.

 

Air France, Qantas in codeshare deal

Air France codeshare Qantas
Princess Juliana airport, St Maarten was destroyed by Hurricane Irma

Air France passengers received some rare good news Wednesday as the French airline and Australian carrier Qantas revealed they had entered into a new codeshare agreement.

The Australian carrier renewed its codeshare, dropped when it entered into its alliance with Emirates, on flights connecting in Singapore and Hong Kong. It said the deal involved up to 200 flights a week, depending on the season.

Read: Air France strikes continue as crisis prompts survival warning.

From July 20, Air France will add its code to Qantas flights between Hong Kong and Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and between Singapore and Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

Air France customers will also be able to access codeshare services from Sydney to five cities on the Australian airline’s domestic network: Canberra, Hobart, Adelaide, Cairns and Darwin.

Qantas will add its code to flights operated by Air France between Singapore and Hong Kong and Paris-Charles de Gaulle. This will be a continuation of flights from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth.

The deal includes access by eligible Air France customers to Qantas lounges in Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia as well as the ability to earn freq8uent flyer points on the new services.

Air France executive vice president Patrick Alexandres said the deal confirmed Air France’s desire to expand in the Asia-Pacific.

“Thanks to this agreement, the Air France-KLM group will be able to offer one of the best possible travel solutions for its customers from Europe to Australia,’’ he said in a statement. “It will also deliver a better travel experience for our Business customers, with connections in Singapore and Hong Kong, two of the most popular airports in the world.”

The codeshare agreements offers Australians another route to Europe via Asia with the opportunity to earn frequent flyer points.

The carrier stopped flying its London services via Dubai in March and returned to Singapore but still has a codeshare with alliance partner Emirates on services to Paris.

Qantas International chief executive Alison Webster said the codeshare as great news for Australian customers who wanted to fly to Europe via Asia and now had another option to get to Paris.

“The return of this popular codeshare delivers on our strategy of partnering to provide customers with access to an expanded network and more seamless travel experiences wherever they want to fly,’’ she said.

MH370 families call for full review by new Malayasian government

MH370 sfamiles review government
The Hugin autonomous underwater vehicles set to search for MH370. Photo: Ocean Infinity.

Families of victims of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have called for a full review in the next 100 days of all matters related to the Boeing 777’s disappearance in 2014.

The Voice 370 group says it has drawn comfort from the fact many leaders in Malaysia’s new government had been “strong and constant supporters and sympathizers” of the group over the past four years and wants further consultation.

It has asked in an open letter to the government for a comprehensive review of all matters related to the aircraft’s disappearance with 239 people on board “especially the release of all relevant documents such as the full cargo manifest’’.

It wants an investigation into any possible falsification or elimination of records related to the flight and its maintenance.

And it has called a probe into “any act or omission Across the entire spectrum of operations that may have impaired tracking, search, rescue and recovery”.

“We also hope, like with other recent matters, Malaysian will be more open to sharing MH370-related information with other international governments, bodies and agencies in order to allow a complete and thorough review to take place,’’ it said.

New Malaysian transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew recently told Malaysian media that solving the long-running MH370 mystery would be one of his priorities.

“I hope the ministry will be able to bring closure to the families of those on board as well as resolve one of the biggest mysteries in the aviation industry during my tenure,” he said.

The letter comes as the head of the original search for MH370, Peter Foley, re-iterated during a Senate hearing the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s long-held belief that the most likely scenario at the end of the flight was that the unpiloted plane ran out of fuel and spiraled into the sea.

READ: Australian search defended after 60 minutes criticism.

Foley listed the evidence that led the ATSB to conclude, along with global experts, that a controlled ditching scenario supported by some pilots and others was unlikely.

This included:

*  The discovery of debris, some of which came from the interior of the aircraft and indicated a high-energy impact by the plane rather than a controlled ditching.

*  An analysis of an outboard flap that showed it was probably not deployed when the aircraft hit the water. A pilot undertaking a controlled ditching would likely have extended the flap.

* An analysis by the Defence Science of Technology Group of the last transmission from the aircraft that showed the aircraft was picking up speed as it descended. It went from a descent rate of between 2900 feet per minute and 15,200 ft per minute to one of 13,800 ft per minute to 25,000 ft per minute (462kmh). This was evidence that there was not a pilot trying to glide the plane to a maximum range, Foley said.

* Experts determined the final communication between the plane and a satellite network — a log-on request and log-on acknowledgment  — was likely triggered by fuel exhaustion.

Various pieces of evidence, including the discovery of debris, became available as the search progressed and Foley said the ATSB was still trying to analyze information to narrow down the search area at the end of the original 120,000 sq. km search and beyond.

Asked by Senator Rex Patrick whether he was confident there was no-one in charge of the aircraft when it hit the ocean, he said: “What we’ve said continually in reports ….. is that the flaps in a non-deployed state means that a controlled ditching is unlikely. Not impossible, but unlikely because at some point they may have separated.’’

“However, we’ve also said the high and increasing rate of descent makes the intent of anyone in the cockpit to extend the aircraft to its maximum range also unlikely.

“But we haven’t ever ruled out someone intervening at the end … it’s unlikely.’’

Arguments about the end-of-flight scenario resurfaced after a 60 Minutes special purporting to have solved the mystery included claims by Canadian former air crash investigator Larry Vance that the ATSB’s analysis that the flaps were deployed is incorrect.

Several pilots supporting the controlled ditching believe the plane is to the south of 38°S

The current search by private company Ocean Infinity on a “no find, no fee” basis for the Malaysian government has relied largely on drift analyses of debris by the CSIRO and the University of Western Australia and is being conducted to the north of the original search area along the seventh arc.

On May 19, Ocean Infinity’s autonomous underwater vehicles were searching an area approaching 27 °S. This is north of the priority areas targeted by both drift analyses.

Aussies have cheapest airfares

australia's airlines offere cheapest airfares
Australia's Tigerair has the world's cheapest airfares

Australia’s airlines have been ranked as offering the cheapest airfares in the world on a per kilometer basis.

Rome2rio, a Melbourne based global travel search company that scans 750,000 routes for air, rail, coach, and ferry service from 4800 operators found that Tigerair ranked the world’s cheapest closely followed by Jetstar.

The average fare charged by Tigerair was just US$0.06/km (A$0.08) while Jetstar was US$0.09, Virgin Australia and Qantas US$0.11/km.

See Tigerair’s product rankings

The Air Asia Group also figured prominently with Air Asia X, second cheapest at US$0.07/km and Indonesia AirAsia US$0.08/km

The company said that it “based its airline price comparison on economy-class airfares displayed by Rome2rio in January and February 2018.”

Rome2rio said the big stand-out in the results was Singapore based Scoot which “is no longer one of the cheapest carriers, dropping dramatically in our international rankings from 1 in 2016 to 31 in 2018.”

WATCH: Scary take-off 

Scoot’s average ticket price jumped from US$0.07 to US$0.12 over the two years.

However, it points out that “this may be due to the Tiger/Scoot merge in 2017 and the separation off of the Tiger brand in Australia, which now exists under different ownership.”

Other notable airlines that offered the lowest fares were, Qatar and Etihad at US$0.10/km and Emirates slightly more expensive at $0.11/km.

By way of stark contrast, the most expensive airlines were in Nepal where Yeti Airlines charged US$1.08/km and Buddha Air US$1.18.

Those fares reflect the very short distances, small aircraft, and flying conditions.

The survey highlights the very high cost of short haul flights.

For example, Korea Air’s domestic fare costs is US$0.60/km, whereas its international fare cost is $US0.14 – 76 percent lower.

A similar case is found in New Zealand with Air New Zealand where it operates many short sectors in small aircraft and the cost is $US0.42/km but the cost on its international network is 73 percent lower at US$0.11/km, which is one of the lowest.

Cheapest US carriers were Spirit at US$0.13/km, Virgin America and Frontier at $US0.14/km. Southwest was much higher at US$0.29km reflecting much shorter sectors.

Ryanair was $0.10/km but Easyjet was US$0.19/km.

United private terminal deal shows how the other 1 percent lives

United pruivate terminal deal
A luxury BMW sedan drives passengers across the airfield to board the aircraft. Photo: United.

Air travel has never been egalitarian but a new service from United Airlines takes the separation between rich and the rest of us to another level.

United and The Private Suite are now offering well-heeled customers access to newly-built, private terminal far from the madding crowd.

Customers who buy access enjoy a private and personalized check-in and baggage handling as well as private screening by security and customs officers.

They are then driven across the airfield in luxury sedans to board their aircraft.

A United-branded lounge at the new terminal includes individual suites and restrooms and features a full bar and top-tier food service.

United private terminal customers

The airline is including access to The Private Suite in certain business-class fares and says it has negotiated “a highly preferential rate” for the service. United doesn’t say what this is but membership normally costs $US4,500 annually.

Access is available to United customers flying to or from New York/Newark; Aspen, Colorado; Hawaii; London Heathrow; Los Cabos, Mexico; Melbourne and Sydney, Australia; Shanghai; Singapore; and Tokyo Narita who purchase the service.

READ: United boosts Newark in east coast juggling act.

Customers arriving from overseas will be met at the aircraft and escorted to private customs and immigration processing.

A Private Suite logistics team of eight people is assigned to each booking, ensuring a seamless airport experience without traffic, lines or wait time.

The service will initially available through select corporate travel booking desks and travel agents, and later available for purchase on united.com or through the United app as part of a premium-cabin ticket fare.

Private terminal United Los Angeles

“We are excited to offer this new experience for our customers who are seeking additional efficiency, comfort, privacy and the ultimate service during their travels, United president Janet Lamkin said in a statement.

“The partnership with The Private Suite affords our customers the opportunity to enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience that makes travel through LAX the best in class. As California’s global airline, our customers expect the best, and United is delivering on that promise.”

Competition between airlines for premium class customers continues to be strong with full-service airlines continuing to release spectacular new cabins, dedicated airport facilities and sophisticated lounges.

Gulf carrier Etihad in 2014 introduced a suite for the ultra-rich called The Residence which featured a living room, separate double bedroom and ensuite shower room. Guests in The Residence will also get a  personal Butler and a dedicated VIP travel concierge team.

More recently, Singapore Airlines released a new first class suite with a plush swivel armchair and a separate bed.

READ: Singapore Airlines’ new attitude at altitude.

The importance of premium travelers to airlines when it noted premium cabins accounted for 5.4 percent of total international origin-destination passenger traffic but just over 30 percent of revenues in January-February.

 

Cautious Ryanair faces falling profit.

Ryanair profit fall cautious pessimistic
Photo: Ryanair.

A Ryanair on “the pessimistic side of cautious” is forecasting turbulence ahead as higher staff and fuel costs combine with soft pricing to drive down profit.

The major European player reported a 10 percent rise in after-tax profit to €1.45bn for the 2018 financial year as lower fares stimulated traffic and kept its load factor at an impressive 95 percent.

But it forecast its financial year 2019 profits could fall by almost 14 percent to a range of €1.25bn to €1.35bn.

It also predicted fuel would be a major headwind for the next two years.

READ Halved Ryanair check-in times could lead to a big fee.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said forward bookings remained strong but the airline was cautiously forecasting fares would remain flat for the year.

“Ancillary revenues will grow as penetration of customer services continues to rise,’’ he said. “We do not expect ancillary revenue growth to fully offset higher costs and lower fares, and so we expect FY19 profits will fall to a range of €1.25bn to €1.35bn.”

O’Leary said the forecast was heavily dependent on second half fares, a “normal” level of air traffic control disruptions “and no negative Brexit developments during this period”.

Ryanair remains worried about the impact of a hard Brexit in March, 2019, and its impact on licensing and flight rights.

It plans to restrict the voting rights of all non-EU shareholders to ensure it remains majority EU-owned and has warned this could affect UK investors.

It has also applied for a UK air operator’s certificate and O’Leary said the company hoped it would get this before the end of 2018.

Ryanair boosted its passenger count in the year ending March 31, 2018, by 9 percent to 130.3 million, despite grounding 25 aircraft over winter because of problems with pilot rostering. Revenue rose 8 percent to €7,151, while unit costs fell 1 percent.

Ancillary revenues from charges on extras such as luggage and reserved seating rose by 13 percent and the airline is on target to reach its goal of making this 30 percent of revenue.

Average fares declined by 3 percent over the year and O’Leary said he expected EU capacity growth to continue to have a downward effect on ticket prices.

“This may be partly ameliorated by the switch of some charter capacity back to previously security challenged markets such as Turkey and Egypt,’’ he said “We expect later in the year, some upward pressure on pricing as significantly higher oil prices impact margins, especially those EU airlines who continue to expand despite having no prospect of achieving profitability.”

Ryanair is 90 percent hedged in fiscal 2019 against rising fuel prices at $US58 per barrel, well below the recent spot price of $US80 per barrel.

“While US Shale production remains strong, world demand for oil is growing, and a number of short-term political factors in Venezuela, Libya and Iran, suggests that prices will continue to be elevated for the coming year,’’ O’Leary said.

“Airfares tend to follow oil prices (as they have downwards over the last three years) but with a lag of up to 12 months before higher oil prices feed through to higher airfares.”

The Ryanair boss also said the industry in Europe was continuing to consolidate into five big airline groups.

He pointed to the collapse of Monarch, Lufthansa’s acquisition of parts of  Air Berlin, IAG’s move on loss-making Norwegian,

During the year, Ryanair established a Polish charter airline, Ryanair Sun, which started flying in April and looked set to trade profitably in its first 12 months of operation.

In April, it acquired 24.9 percent of LaudaMotion, and was working, subject to EU approval,  to increase that stake to 75 percent to work with Niki Lauda and his team to re-launch the carrier.

O’Leary said LaudaMotion was an attractive opportunity as it is an Airbus operator, and we are looking for opportunities to grow its Airbus fleet to 30-50 aircraft over the next five years.

“LaudaMotion has a valuable portfolio of slots at many congested airports in Germany, Vienna, and Palma de Mallorca,’’ he said. “We believe that by investing in these separate airlines, we can build a substantial and profitable group of EU airlines under the Ryanair Holdings banner over the next three years.’’

Ryanair added 50 Boeing 737s in FY2018 to bring its fleet to 430 aircraft and is poised to take delivery of 210 new fuel-efficient Boeing single-aisle aircraft it refers to as “Gamechangers”.

“This will lead to a modest increase in ex-fuel unit costs next year but will underpin our growth to almost 600 aircraft and 200m guests per annum by FY24,’’ O’Leary said.

 

Boeing 777 folding wingtips get FAA go-ahead

Boeing wfolding wingtip FAA approval
The Boeing 777-9 . Photo: Boeing.

Unique folding wingtips on the newest versions of the Boeing 777 have given the green light by the US Federal Aviation Administration but with conditions.

The new wings, assembled in a high-tech factory in Seattle, will be a major feature of the new jets, the Boeing 777-8 and Boeing 777-9,  and a big contributor to their improved efficiency.

They will be longer than existing aircraft wings so the manufacturer has designed unique folding wing tips to reduce the wingspan from 235 feet (71.6m) to 212 feet (64.6m).

This is to allow the planes to fit into the current “Code E” gate designed to accommodate aircraft with wingspans between 170.6 ft (52m) and 213.3ft (65m).

The FAA is paying special attention to the wingtips because they were not envisaged when the regulations were drawn up.

The special conditions stem from the fact Boeing has determined that a “catastrophic event” could occur with both models if the wingtips were not properly secured and positioned for take-off.

It is required to prove that such an event is “extremely improbable”,  cannot result from a single failure and that it has appropriate alerts to allow the crew to manage unsafe operating conditions.

It also has to show that the wingtips could be properly stowed during ground operations to protect ground personnel against injury.

“More than one means must be available to alert the flight crew that the wingtips are not properly positioned and secured prior to take off,’’ the FAA said in a government filing. “Each of these means must be unique in their wingtip-monitoring function.”

The regulator said Boeing must add a function to the take-off warning system to warn of an unlocked or improperly positioned wingtip and include an indication that the wingtip is folded during taxiing.

There must also be means to prevent take-off if the wingtip is not properly positioned or secured for flight.

Other conditions related to wear and tear on the wing tips, the positioning of lights and a requirement that the operating mechanism is designed to cope with 65-knot, horizontal ground gusts.

WATCH: spectacular cross-wind landings.

The wingtips also needed to be protected against unlocking from extended, flight-deployed position as a result of an in-flight failure.

There were also measures to isolate any power sources that could unlock the wingtips and to ensure latching and locking mechanism would remain locked under all flight load conditions.

In-flight entertainment in the golden age of flying

Passengers share a smoke in the aircraft lounge
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 to today.

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.

READ: World’s Best Airlines for 2018

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 AirlineRatings.com to reveal what travelers did to amuse themselves on those long flights in the 1950s and 60s.

WATCH: Shall we land, shall we not.

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 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 peopletraveledd 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

Many 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

 

Delta in huge overnight switch to new uniforms

Delta unforms massive logistics
The new flight attendants' uniform. Photos: Delta

Delta Air Lines will cap off a massive logistical effort on May 29 when 64,000 employees make an impressive overnight switch to stylish new uniforms.

The culmination of a three-year journey will have seen more than 18 pieces of clothing delivered to the homes of employees as the airline shipped almost two million items around the world.

The new uniform from New York fashion designer Zac Posen incorporates seven colors, including “Passport Plum” for female flight crew, “Groundspeed Graphite” for male flight attendants and “Cruising Cardinal” for customer service staff.

Over the three years since the project began, the uniforms have been tested by 1000 employees across Delta’s network and more than 165 changes were made in response to feedback.

These included darkening gray in the men’s suit, re-examining the women ’s blouse design and restructuring the cargo pockets.

The airline subsequently held fittings for staff in 16 cities across three continents. The 5500 clothing items available at each event had to be transported by three semis and involved 750 fitting experts to help employees.

Deltas massive logistics uniforms new

The next big logistical challenge comes when the staff makes the big switch to the new uniform in one go.

Read: Our ratings for Delta.

Crew completing an overnight trip and passing through time zones won’t have to do a quick change on the aircraft but they’ll be expected to start their shift on May 29 in the new uniform.

“A lot of companies handle these rollouts over an extended period of time, but we drew a line in the sand,’’ New Uniform Program director Akrem Dimbiloglu said in a Q&A on the airline’s website.

“This is a new, bold and different Delta. No matter where our customers, partners or employees are in the world, they can walk into any airport, hangar or facility and see Delta and our people transformed overnight.”

Delta logistsics change uniforms new

Dimbiloglu said the airline had already received positive feedback from customers during early testing.

“Moving away from the red and blue is difficult for some after 30 years, but the majority understand we have to constantly change and improve,’’ he said.

“If you look at the last three decades, the company is different. With the technology improvements in the mobile app, the investments made inside airports and gate houses, the enhancements to Delta Sky Clubs and buying new aircraft – we have already transformed Delta.

“This is another evolution.”

Delta’s last uniform update was in 2006 for airborne employees and 2000 for those on the ground.

Mexican authorities probe charter company in Cuban disaster

Cuban disater Mexican charter probe
Photo: Luna

Mexican authorities will investigate the company that owned an aging Boeing 737 involved in Cuba’s worst air disaster in almost three decades.

Media outlets reported Mexico’s national civil aviation authority would conduct the review into charter operator Aerolineas Damojh to make sure it is complying with regulations It will also collect information for the investigation into Friday’s fiery crash involving 113 passengers and crew.

Cuban officials over the weekend released a list of passengers and crew involved in the crash and increased the death toll to 110 as they recovered the cockpit voice recorder in good condition. Three women survived the crash but are in a critical condition.

Cubana de Avacion was wet leasing the aircraft —where the airline leases the plane as well as the crew — in a move the country’s Transportation Minister Adel Yzquierdo Rodriguez attributed to the US trade embargo against the island.

The plane was almost 39 years old and first flew on July 15,  1979.

READ: Boeing’s 737, the plane that almost never was.

The Transportation Minister said maintenance of the aircraft was the responsibility of the Mexican charter company.

Cuba did not have pilots certified for Boeing 737s so it had hired the Mexican crew in the expectation they were fully trained and certified, he told reporters.

Witnesses said the aircraft, flying from Havana to Holguin in eastern Cuba, lost height and veered to the right shortly after take-off.  It hit a house, trees and railway track and burst into the flames.

Eyewitness Rocio Martinez told the Associated Press she heard a strange noise and looked up to see the plane with an engine on fire.

“In flames, here it comes falling toward the ground and it seems (the pilot) saw it was an area that was too residential and makes a sharp turn,” Martinez said. “To avoid (the houses) … to avoid a tragedy, because there would have been a massacre.”

The Mexican investigation came as the AP revealed Damojh had been the subject of two safety complaints over the last decade.

The news agency said the Domojh plane involved in the accident was barred from Guyana’s airspace last year after authorities discovered its crew had been allowing dangerous overloading of luggage on flights to Cuba.

An experienced Cubana pilot also said Cuban aviation authorities had recommended that Cubana stop leasing planes from Damojh after a serious incident in which a plane dropped off the radar over Santa Clara.

The Mexican Foreign Ministry confirmed seven Mexicans, including six crew, were killed in the crash.

“The Foreign Ministry is in ongoing communication with Cuban officials through the embassy there and is closely following these tragic events,” it said in a statement. “It again expresses its sympathy to the Cuban government and people.”

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