Wednesday, October 20, 2021
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Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 passes 100% sustainable fuel test

Rolls-Royce
Photo: Rolls-Royce

Evidence continues to mount that 100% sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) can be successfully used in aircraft engines after a successful test flight by Rolls-Royce, Boeing and World Energy.

The test flight in the US of almost four hours used the Rolls-Royce  Boeing 747 Flying Testbed aircraft with a Trent 1000 engine running 100 percent SAF and three RB211 powerplants using regular fuel.

Rolls said initial indications were that there were no engineering issues “providing further proof of the fuel’s suitability for commercial use”.

READ: Southwest plan to reduce unit carbon emissions by 20% by 2030

The latest results add to those from tests carried out on Tent XWB and Pearl engines on the ground and in the air.

Aircraft are currently certified to operate on a maximum of a 50% SAF blend but the UK engine manufacturer has pledged that all of its Trent engines will be compatible with 100% SAF by 2023.

Boeing closely collaborated on the flight, providing technical support and oversight on aircraft modifications as well as ensuring the 747s systems operated as expected.

“We believe in air travel as a force for cultural good, but we also recognize the need to take action to decarbonize our industry,’’ said Rolls-Royce director product development and technology civil aerospace Simon Burr.

“This flight is another example of collaboration across the value chain to make sure all the aircraft technology solutions are in place to enable a smooth introduction of 100% SAF into our industry.”

Boeing vice president of environmental sustainability said the flight’s success further illustrated that SAF could fully replace conventional jet fuel over the long term. She said it was a viable alternative solution for decarbonizing aviation over the next 20 to 30 years.

SAFs form a cornerstone of the International Air Transport Association’s plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

IATA predicts the industry will need to mitigate 1.8 gigatons of carbon by 2050 and SAFs could account for up to 65% of this.

Southwest plan to reduce unit carbon emissions by 20% by 2030

southwest
Southwest plans to spend $US10 billion on more effcient planes through to 2030.

Southwest Airlines plans to reduce carbon emissions by 20 percent per available seat mile and boost sustainable aviation fuel use as it spends $US10 billion on new planes by 2030.

A newly launched 10-year environmental sustainability plan commits the US carrier to using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for 10  percent of its total jet fuel by the end of the decade.

It will also introduce the first US-based airline carbon offset scheme with loyalty points and a dollar-for-dollar matching contribution from the airline.

READ: Qantas prosecuted for standing down worker in COVID dispute.

To help it reach its goal, Southwest will continue to modernize its fleet with more fuel-efficient Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and accelerated retirement of B737-700s.

The airline said it would will invest more than $US10 billion in new and existing firm aircraft orders in its quest to further improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

It would also continue to work with the US Federal Aviation Administration’s NextGen air traffic management program to make airspace more efficient, electrify ground vehicles and add to fuel efficiency initiatives.

On the road to achieving 10 percent SAF use, the airline is establishing a partnership with producer Neste for up to five million gallons through to December 2023, and working with Marathon Petroleum Company and Phillips 66 to “facilitate the development and production of SAF at significant scale”.

Offsets have not proven popular with most passengers but Southwest intends to sweeten the deal with loyalty points. It will also match every dollar contributed towards offsetting emissions.

A Green Incentive Program will also provide corporate customers an opportunity to earn and use funds for their company’s sustainability.

SouthWest’s Dallas corporate campus has been sourcing 100 percent renewable electricity since May using renewable energy certificates.

Other initiatives include partnerships with various organizations and a move to “repurpose” leather seat coverings.

“In 2020, nearly 140,000 pounds of leather seat covers were repurposed, helping Southwest reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills while also generating social and economic opportunities for communities,’’ the airline said.

Confused about domestic travel? Here’s how the aviation industry is helping

travel
Photo: SITA

A tangle of changing health requirements has made air travel even more complicated, prompting Australian airports and airlines to join forces to help passengers navigate the confusion.

The progressive opening of Australia’s internal borders means passengers are facing travel between destinations with differing vaccination rates and requirements.

To test or not to test? Do you need a permit? Are there quarantine requirements?

READ: Frequent flyer jackpot sees biggest ever release of Qantas award seats

Eventually, the answers to those sorts of questions will be “no” but for now industry players have agreed to a set of protocols aimed at helping passengers safely navigate the differing requirements.

The aim is to offset the lack of harmonization as states and territories follow their individual roadmaps out of lockdown.

“The broader issue is the lack of consistency,’’ Airlines for Australia and New Zealand CEO Alison Roberts told Airlineratngs. “And what we’re trying to do is come up with an approach that enables people to travel safely.”

Roberts said the different vaccination rates and levels of community transmission meant that requirements would phase in and out at different times in different parts of the country.

She said the industry was encouraging governments to align their requirements as much as possible to avoid a patchwork of rules nationwide that was hard for customers to follow.

“We’re just trying come up with the system that provides passengers with confidence that they know what steps to take and what to assure themselves about before they make the booking and head out of the door,’’ she said.

The industry protocols will see links to the latest information for travel in each state placed on airline and airport websites.

Prior to travel, customers may be sent reminders (via email and SMS) of travel and destination entry requirements, including any permits required.

At online check-in, customers will be asked to declare eligibility to travel and may be asked to sign in using a QR code and confirm their vaccination status.

They will also be asked at the departing airport to confirm that they comply with government travel requirements, including COVID-19 vaccination, where applicable, in a similar way to disclosures that currently exist for dangerous goods in luggage.

They may also be asked to sign in using QR codes to access lounges and may also be asked to show proof of vaccination where applicable.

And they should have their documentation ready to show authorized officers.

A4ANZ said other COVID-safe measures, including mandatory mask-wearing in terminals and onboard, would remain in place nationwide but may be relaxed in future, especially as national vaccination rates rise.

The good news is that A4ANZ believes the imposts are temporary and that COVID safety measures such as mask-wearing may also be relaxed as vaccination rates rise.

“If you look at the pace at which Australia’s vaccination uptake is rocketing along, it’s pretty well up there with best in the world,’’ Roberts said. “So what we would see is that a lot of these are interim measures.”

Here are five things you can do to prepare for your next trip:
 Check the eligibility requirements for travel from where you are leaving and at your
destination, to make sure you are eligible to travel, including any permits required
 Check-in online if you can, and complete the declaration regarding your eligibility to travel
 Bring a mask with you to wear at the airport and on the plane
 Complete the QR check-in at the airport where required
 Have all your documents ready to show authorized officers when you arrive at your
destination, if requested

 

Frequent flyer jackpot sees biggest ever release of Qantas award seats

Qantas
Qantas domestic Business Class

Qantas frequent flyers who have been hoarding points during the pandemic will have a chance to spend them in 2022 with the airline’s biggest ever release of classic award seats.

The flag carrier is promising millions of seats will be available across international and domestic routes after keen travellers have redeemed almost two billion points since October 1.

It says Qantas frequent Flyer members will have access to up to 50% more reward availability on international, trans-Tasman and popular domestic routes until the end of the year.

READ: Bonza’s Kazakh roots underscore business plan

This includes seats across the group and on 45 international partner airlines such as alliance partners Emirates and  American Airlines.

Classic redemptions start at 8000 points plus $38.17 in taxes fees and charges for a one-way Sydney-Melbourne economy flight but can be as high as 144,600 points plus $462.10 for a one-way Melbourne-London business class fare.

The airline will also release more “points planes” where every seat in all cabins is available as a reward seat.

“Throughout the pandemic, many Qantas Frequent Flyers have been stockpiling points they have earned on the ground so they can use them to travel once travel restrictions are lifted,’’ said.

“With members keen to travel internationally and domestically we have released more reward seats to make it easier for our frequent flyers to use their points to go on holidays and be reunited with family and friends in 2022.

“We’ll also be announcing more domestic and international Points Planes. It’s our way of thanking our frequent flyers for their ongoing loyalty.”

As an added incentive, the Australian carrier is not charging fees to change or cancel international Classic reward seats bookings for travel until the end of next year.

The deal comes as Qantas last week brought forward the resumption of international scheduled services to London and Los Angeles to November 1.

Flights to Tokyo, Fiji, Canada and Singapore are scheduled to resume from December 18 with other destinations such as San Francisco, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Dallas expected to resume by April next year. Flights between Australia and New Zealand are scheduled to resume from mid-December 2021.

Qantas prosecuted for standing down worker in COVID dispute

qantas

Safework NSW is prosecuting Qantas for allegedly discriminating against a worker stood down for raising concerns about COVID-19 while working on aircraft arriving in Sydney from China in early 2020.

Theo Seremetidis was a union health and safety representative working with Qantas Ground Services who advised colleagues to stop cleaning planes arriving from China due to the risk of COVID-19 exposure.

He was stood down by the airline and became the subject of a disciplinary investigation.

READ: Rex to bring back Boeing 737s from November 15.

A spokesman for Safework NSW confirmed that charges had been laid under the Work Health and Safety Act and alleged QGS engaged in discriminatory conduct for a prohibited reason in relation to the incident.

“As the matter is before the court, no further information can be provided at this time,” he said.

The Transport Workers’ Union, which complained to Safework NSW on behalf of Seremetidis, believes the prosecution is the first of its kind in Australia under uniform work, health and safety laws.

The union claims that at the time Seremetidis was stood down, Qantas was not providing cabin cleaners with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and described the health risks associated with COVID-19 as “negligible”.

TWU NSW State Secretary Richard Olsen said the regulator’s decision to prosecute Qantas was a landmark moment for work health and safety across Australia and the worker was stood down simply for trying to protect himself and his colleagues from COVID.

“We hope the Court throws the book at Qantas for their outrageous decision to stand down a worker who was simply trying to keep himself and his colleagues safe at work,’’ he said.

Qantas has said previously that Seremetidis was directed not to come to work while he was investigated for failing to comply with the airline’s standards of conduct policy, including allegations he was attempting to incite unprotected industrial action.

It said there were established legal mechanisms for health and safety representatives to follow if they had concerns and noted there had not been a COVID case carried on one of its flights returning from China.

The health and safety representative was caught up in wider COVID-related stand-downs on March 30 and made redundant when Qantas outsourced ground handling. It is understood the company investigation was never finalized.

The case is listed for its first hearing on December 6 and is one of a number of actions initiated by the TWU.

Qantas is also facing an adverse action case in the Federal Court brought by the TWU relating to Seremetidis being stood down, as well as a separate, ongoing Federal Court case about what it says is Qantas’ illegal decision to outsource 2,000 workers.

Rex to bring back Boeing 737s from November 15

Rex
A Rex 737-800. Photo: Supplied.

Regional Express (Rex) plans to resume domestic Boeing 737-800 services between Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra from November 15.

The airline said domestic services to South Australia and Queensland would follow once vaccination rates in those states reached 80%.

It also runs a fleet of Saab 340B turboprop aircraft and said regional intrastate services in New South Wales and Victoria would also be progressively ramped up from November 15.

READ: Qantas launches biggest ever single release of frequent flyer seats.

Rex grounded its 737s after Australian domestic borders closed due to the surge of COVID cases but said climbing vaccination rates and easing restrictions had prompted its decision to bring the jets back into service.

Prior to the surge in COVID cases, Rex operated 737 services from Melbourne to Sydney, Gold Coast, Adelaide, and Canberra and from Sydney to Gold Coast. It had six B737s when it grounded the aircraft in July but was expecting two more in August.

The carrier said the additional planes would give it the ability to launch new routes to other capital cities, large regional centers and popular leisure destinations.

It has been competing against the Qantas Group and Virgin Australia but is set to face an additional market entrant when proposed ultra-low-cost carrier Bonza launches next year.

Bonza has yet to reveal route details or fares but has said it plans to avoid the highly competitive Brisbane-Melbourne-Sydney triangle. Instead, it will focus on regional and leisure destinations with a focus on underserved destinations or those that have previously been ignored by incumbent airlines.

The airline is helmed by former Cebu Pacific chief commercial officer and FlyArystan chief executive, Tim Jordan, and is backed by a US-based private investment firm, 777 Partners.

It will use fuel-efficient 737 MAX 8 aircraft and says it will offer consistent ultra-low-fares and new travel options.

Sydney Airport bid clears due diligence hurdle.

sydney
Photo: Steve Creedy

A consortium making a A$23 billion bid for Sydney Airport has cleared its first hurdle and finished its due diligence.

The airport announced in September that it would open its books so the alliance of IFM investors, QSuper, AustralianSuper and Global Infrastructure partners could perform due diligence after the consortium upped its offer to $A8.75 a share.

A stock exchange statement issued by Sydney Airport on Monday said negotiations were continuing over transaction documents with a view to the parties seeking internal approvals over the coming weeks.

“Should these documents be agreed, it remains the Sydney Airport boards’ intention to unanimously recommend that security holders vote in favour of the proposal, in the absence of a superior proposal and subject to an independent expert concluding that the proposed transaction is in the best interests of Sydney Airport security holders,’’ the statement said.

READ: Qantas launches biggest ever single release of frequent flyer seats

“While relevant transaction documents remain under negotiation, the Sydney Airport Boards note that there is no guarantee that an agreement will be reached on these documents.”

The warmer reception for the September bid came after the consortium’s previous proposal in August of $A8.45 a share received short shrift.

The airport said at the time its boards had carefully considered the proposal but concluded it continued to undervalue the airport and was not in the best interest of security holders.

That stance came after a similarly blunt rejection in July of its previous bid of $A8.25 per share.

The airport pointed in its August statement to the rapid acceleration in Australian vaccination rates and government plans to progressively ease restrictions.

“Sydney Airport remains strongly positioned, has strengthened its balance sheet and tightly managed costs to maintain flexibility to respond to a range of recovery scenarios and to pursue sensible growth opportunities as the recovery unfolds,’’ it said.

The airport has been bolstered by recent announcements that quarantine restrictions would be eased for Australian international arrivals in New South Wales and that interstate borders are progressively reopening.

While NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet’s surprise attempt to drop quarantine for all international travellers was shot down by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, he succeeded in introducing quarantine-free arrivals for Australian citizens and residents from November 1.

The NSW government is continuing to pressure for a further easing of restrictions.

Stunning video of the restoration of Red Bull’s fabulous DC-6B

DC-6B

A stunning video has been made of the restoration of Red Bull’s fabulous DC-6B.

The DC-6, built by the Douglas Aircraft Company, is the finest four-engine piston engine aircraft ever built – the best being its older sibling the twin-engine DC-3.

Built in the 1940s and 50s the Red Bull aircraft was the second last DC-6B delivered in 1958.

 

The DC-6 was delivered to the national Yugoslavian airline JAT and used by the head of state Marshal Josip Broz Tito who had it converted to a luxury plane for himself and his guests.

In 1975, the plane was sold to Zambia’s head of state Kenneth Kaunda and he also used it as a VIP airplane.

Next Chris Schutte, an operator of a small airline business in Windhoek, Nambia, stumbled upon it and its sister ship and purchased them both.

Both airplanes were in service in Schutte’s business until 1999 sight-seeing over West Africa, tour flights to the Victoria Falls, and promotional flights.

In March 2000, Sigi Angerer, the former head pilot of the Flying Bulls (retired 2013), read in an airline magazine that a DC-6 was for sale in Africa. He acted fast, and two days later he met with Chris Schutte at the airport in Windhoek to draw up a preliminary contract.

On July 7, 2000, the plane took off in Windhoek. Onboard were Sigi Angerer, two experienced captains from South African Airways, a film team, the flight engineer from Schutte’s business, an assortment of replacement parts, and a lot of oil for refueling. The flight to Salzburg took four stages, lasted nearly 28 hours, and went without a hitch.

The restoration began in 2001 at a factory constructed in part for the DC-6. It left the factory in the summer of 2004, three years and tens of thousands of hours later. The plane’s registration in Namibia was canceled and transferred to an American register under the identification number N996DM. It received a completely new interior–true to the overall historical concept as far as possible–, four new engines, and modern flight electronics. During the extremely complex restoration work, the airplane was completely dismantled into individual components and then reassembled. The plane’s condition was not as good as originally thought, requiring considerably more work than expected. But there’s a happy ending–not only the virgin flight but also the unanimous judgment of the experts prove that this airplane is better now than it ever could have been when new.

In July 2013 the DC-6B was finally given Austrian citizenship and now operates under the Austrian registration OE-LDM, making it the first DC-6B to ever receive an Austrian code.

USA opens up to vaccinated international travellers

USA
Photo: Delta

The USA is opening up to vaccinated international travelers from November 8 following the Biden Administration’s announcement that it will lift travel restrictions on foreign nationals that have been in place since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines said that “the reopening of international travel will allow for the reunification of thousands of families and friends from around the world who have been separated for more than 18 months, just in time for the holidays.

“International travel is vital to help reverse the devastating economic impact on America’s travel and tourism industry, which was hit hard by the pandemic. It is also an essential component in recovering global trade and commerce, particularly across the Atlantic. New York-JFK to London Heathrow is the world’s most important route for business travel.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian said: “I applaud the administration’s decision to welcome foreign nationals back to the United States beginning Nov. 8. Thanks to the remarkable scientific efforts undertaken by the administration to protect public health through world-leading vaccination programs and health safety protocols, U.S. borders can safely be reopened.

“International air travel is essential to global economic recovery and the United States’ tourism industry. Delta people are excited to play our part in reuniting families for the holidays and reconnecting the world after more than 19 months apart.”

Delta Air Lines said that “in November, customers traveling to the U.S. from across the pond [The Atlantic] can easily connect to Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, New York-JFK, Minneapolis, Seattle, and Salt Lake City with over 190 weekly nonstop flights from 16 markets in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Including partners Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic, customers have even greater choice with over 430 weekly flights to the U.S.”

Stunning 747 cockpit photograph from Captain van Heijst

747

Captain Christiaan van Heijst has taken a stunning 747 cockpit photograph with the northern lights making it look like a spaceship.

Christiaan takes up the story.

“The bridge of a flagship, two pilots, six windows, and a view that’s second to none.
Some pilots prefer to keep the bright floodlights on to ‘stay awake’ while flying through the night, turning the cockpit into a very small enclosure with the windows acting like pitch-black mirrors. It makes me feel claustrophobic and spiritless when I have to sit in such a cramped enclosure without a view for ten hours straight.

“Whenever possible, I prefer to keep the lights dimmed and catch a glimpse from the world beyond through those windows. Views that stretch across horizons, giving me a sense of depth and space. We’re not always lucky, but sometimes those long nights come with vivid shows of northern lights, bright moonlight, shooting stars, flashing thunderstorms, or a combination of any of them. A unique perspective of the world that most other people can only dream of, flying the Queen of the Skies.

READ: Qatar gets green light for UK flights

READ: New technology tracking of MH370 to start. 

SEE: Geoffrey Thomas discusses Bonza’s launch

‘Hey, honey how was your flight?’
‘Uneventful, how was your day?’ The standard answer when all went well and it’s not even cynical, though I often realize afterward that my working days are anything but mundane. Crossed two oceans, counted a dozen shooting stars in various colors, northern lights that danced and waved as if they were guided by invisible hands, pilots in other planes in empty skies flashing their lights to us to say hello, great conversations with a colleague and finished it off with a graceful landing.

“Uneventful. Another day in the office.

“Have a nice weekend!”

Christiaan is one of the world’s leading aviation photographers and more of his work and more close encounter (s) can be found here.

You can follow Christiaan on Instagram here: @jpcvanheijst

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