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Aotearoa is starring role in Air New Zealand safety video

Air New zealand

Air New Zealand has kicked off filming its next safety video which is set to showcase some of the best of Aotearoa – the Maori name for New Zealand.

The safety video is being created in partnership with Tourism New Zealand as part of a three-year Memorandum of Understanding signed last year to undertake cooperative marketing activity to promote New Zealand.

Air New Zealand General Manager Brand & Marketing Jeremy O’Brien says some of the safety video scenes were filmed in Tairāwhiti Gisborne yesterday, and in other regions over the past week.

READ: Cathay slays the dragon and cuts 5900 staff.

“While New Zealand’s scenery has been the backdrop for many Air New Zealand safety videos, this time it has a starring role.

“It’s fantastic to team up with Tourism New Zealand to combine efforts and showcase some of our world-famous scenery and destinations through this safety video. This safety video is a truly collaborative effort with Tourism New Zealand and by working in partnership we can showcase New Zealand’s iconic attractions to both New Zealanders and a global audience. It is undoubtedly the best time for Kiwis to discover what we’re world-famous for and the video will also help support the recovery of international tourism once borders reopen.

“Air New Zealand has become known around the world for leading the way when it comes to inflight safety videos. Our videos continue to deliver real value and make customers stop and pay attention to our important safety messages.”

Tourism New Zealand Director Commercial René de Monchy says the safety video perfectly matches many of the elements that New Zealanders are looking for while on a holiday in New Zealand.

“Kiwis are looking to do something new and go somewhere they have never been to before. They are also looking for spectacular natural landscapes and iconic experiences, which the video will have in spades.

“With 71 per cent of Kiwis planning to take a domestic holiday in the next 12 months, and domestic tourism being so vital to the country’s recovery, it’s the perfect time to showcase what New Zealand has to offer,” says de Monchy.

Air New Zealand’s next safety video will be out later this year. The video will feature local actors as well as Air New Zealand cabin crew.

Cathay slays the Dragon and slashes 5900 staff

Image: Cathay Pacific.
Cathay Pacific Airways has dropped the Dragon brand and will slash 6000 staff as part of a major restructure. The airline says the restructuring will enable it to secure its future, so it can protect as many jobs as possible, whilst meeting its responsibilities to the Hong Kong aviation hub and its customers.
The Cathay Group says it will create a more focused, efficient and competitive business by harnessing is strengths and customer experience, while leveraging the potential of its low-cost carrier, HK Express.

Major elements of the restructuring are the redundancy of 5,300 Kong-based employees and 600 outside of Hong Kong, Cathay Dragon, the Group’s wholly-owned regional subsidiary, ceasing operations and changes in conditions for Hong Kong-based cabin and cockpit crew.

Also, executive pay cuts will continue throughout 2021 and a third voluntary Special Leave Scheme for non-flying employees will be introduced for the first half of next year.

Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Officer Augustus Tang said: “The global pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on aviation and the hard truth is we must fundamentally restructure the Group to survive. We have to do this to protect as many jobs as possible, and meet our responsibilities to the Hong Kong aviation hub and our customers.

“Our immediate priority is to support those affected by today’s announcement. We are deeply saddened to part ways with our talented and respected colleagues, and I want to thank them for their hard work, achievements and dedication.”

Cathay Pacific will be offering severance packages that go well beyond statutory requirements. It will also be extending medical benefits and staff travel entitlements, as well as providing counselling and job transition support services. There will be no offset against pension contributions.

“We have taken every possible action to avoid job losses up to this point. We have scaled back capacity to match demand, deferred new aircraft deliveries, suspended non-essential spend, implemented a recruitment freeze, executive pay cuts and two rounds of Special Leave Schemes.

“But in spite of these efforts, we continue to burn HK$1.5-2 billion cash ($273 -$365 million) per month. This is simply unsustainable. The changes announced today will reduce our cash burn by about HK$500 million per month.

“We have studied multiple scenarios and have adopted the most responsible approach to retain as many jobs as possible. Even so, it is quite clear now recovery is going to be slow. We expect to operate well under 25% of 2019 passenger capacity in the first half of 2021 and below 50% for the entire year,” Mr Tang said.

Cathay Pacific

Singapore Airlines set to resume non-stop New York flights

Singapore airlines
Photo: Singapore Airlines.

Singapore Airlines will return to New York on November 9, 2020, when it launches non-stop flights between Singapore and John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Operating to JFK International Airport will allow the airline to better
accommodate a mix of passenger and cargo traffic on its services to New York in
the current operating climate.

READ: World’s longest flight was a night, a day and a night to remember.  

SIA’s non-stop services to New York would also be supported by the growing number of transfer passengers who can now transit via Singapore’s Changi Airport.

SIA says it anticipates significant cargo demand from a range of industries based in
the New York metro area, including pharmaceuticals, e-commerce and technology
firms. The new service will provide the only non-stop air cargo link from the U.S.
Northeast to Singapore, which serves as a regional distribution hub for many major
U.S.-based companies.

The airline will operate the Airbus A350-900 long-range aircraft on the route. This
aircraft is configured with 42 Business Class, 24 Premium Economy Class and 187
Economy Class seats.

Today, SIA operates non-stop services to Los Angeles. It will continue to review its
operations to the United States, and assess the growing demand for air travel amid
the ongoing recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, before deciding to reinstate
services to other points in the country.

“Operating these flights between Singapore and New York’s JFK International
Airport represents an important step in the rebuilding of our global network. Nonstop ultra-long services are the bedrock of our services to the key U.S. market. We
will continue to ramp up existing services and reinstate other points as the demand
for both passenger and cargo services return,” said Mr Lee Lik Hsin, Executive Vice
President Commercial for Singapore Airlines.

“Despite the challenging times for the airline industry, there are some early signs of
optimism about a recovery in air travel. Our customers say that they are increasingly
confident about air travel, given the robust health and safety measures that are in
place, as well as testing regimes to protect them and our staff. This optimism is also
driven by recent moves by countries such as Singapore, which are easing the
restrictions on both transit and inbound passengers in a safe and gradual manner.

“The fundamental importance of air travel remains unchanged despite the
pandemic. Air travel can bridge long distances and physically bring together families
and friends, support both business and leisure trips, and has a direct impact on
economic growth and job creation. That gives us confidence about the medium to
long-term prospects for the industry.”

Extreme crosswind landings at Gatwick Airport

Gatwick Airport

Just Planes has captured and just posted some extreme crosswind landings at Gatwick Airport from 2019.

The footage was shot during the storm named Erik.

Crosswind landings can be a major challenge for pilots and occur when the wind is across the runway, not head-on.

The recent bad weather in the United Kingdom has really tested the skills of pilots and AirlineRatings has obtained some stunning vision of planes trying to land at Birmingham.

Typically aircraft land and take-off into the wind to decrease the landing or take-off distance.

SEE: If you love flying you will love this DC-3 video.

In some cases aircraft land with a slight downwind component – typically associated with noise-sensitive airports where one runway is preferred over another.

Where a pilot faces a crosswind landing they need to point the aircraft in the direction of the wind while maintaining a straight course toward the runway.

This is called crabbing or yawing.

In strong crosswinds, the pilot may also dip the wing – sideslip – into the direction of the wind.

Just before touchdown pilots apply rudder to bring the plane – and its undercarriage – back so it is aligned straight down the centre line of the runway.

This takes great skill and the results – if not done properly – are often quite spectacular as shown in the video above.


Colour video of the magnificent stratocruiser jumbo of the 1950s

Bed time on a Boeing Stratocruiser.

This colour video of the magnificent stratocruiser jumbo of the 1950s  brings to life what is termed the golden era of air travel.

It was the jumbo of its day but its engines were a nightmare!

The Boeing Model 377 which was dubbed the Stratocruiser was the company’s first airliner after WW11 and it was a giant.

SEE video of amazing new colour scheme concept of the 787. 

Based on the WW11 bomber the B-29 it possessed all the speed and technical improvements available to bombers at the end of the war.

The Stratocruiser set a new standard for luxurious air travel with its tastefully decorated extra-wide passenger cabin and gold-appointed dressing rooms.

A circular staircase led to a lower-deck beverage lounge, and flight attendants prepared hot meals for 50 to 100 people in a state-of-the-art galley.

As a sleeper, the Stratocruiser was equipped with 28 upper-and-lower bunk units.

Pan American was the lead airline and began services between San Francisco and Honolulu in 1949.

Boeing only built 56 Stratocruisers between 1947 and 1950 because they were not as economical as the Douglas DC-6 and Lockheed Constellation.

For the first time, long-haul air travel had become easy, comfortable and more affordable, as Boeing, Douglas and Lockheed improved the performance of their designs to gain an edge.

Cabins featured soothing colours, wall murals, reading lights, air vents and soft curtains.

But the engines were a challenge.

The Stratocruiser was powered by four Pratt & Whitney’s R-4360 engines that produced 4,300hp.

It had 28 cylinders in four rows, 56 manually-adjustable valves and 56 spark plugs.

However, the Stratocruiser suffered an engine failure every 158 flights.


If you love flying you will love this DC-3 video


If you love flying you will love this video taken by ParkAir Vision which captures the stunning lines of a Douglas DC-3 over Oregon at Sunset.

IF you like this video you will like our nostalgia galleries 

The DC-3 taught the world to fly but she had an extraordinary, almost uncaring birth.

The man who wanted her couldn’t afford her, the man who built her was reluctant to build her and the men who first flew her on December 17th, 1935, didn’t bother to arrange a photographer to capture one of aviation’s greatest moments.

Legendary American Airlines’ President Cyrus Smith who wanted the DC-3 as a sleeper transport was in “a cold sweat because he just didn’t have the money to pay for them,” according to Donald Douglas Sr., famed founder of Douglas Aircraft Company in a 1965 interview.

Mr Smith spent $300 ($5,500 today) on a 2-hour telephone conversation with Mr Douglas trying to convince him to widen his existing – and very successful – 14-passenger DC-2. “I did not like it at all,” Mr Douglas recounted in the interview. “Why should I have liked it? I had plenty of DC-2s on order.”

But Mr Smith was persuasive and ordered 20 of the larger DC-3s that would have 50 per cent more capacity than its smaller sibling, so Mr Douglas gave in. As Mr Smith did not have the money, he flew to Washington to successfully beg a colleague who ran President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Reconstruction Finance Corporation for a $4.5 million loan.

Eighty years on December 17th, 1935 Douglas Aircraft Company chief pilot and VP of Sales Carl Cover, accompanied by flight engineers Fred Stineman and Frank Collbohm, boarded X14988 at 2:15 pm local time, ran the engines up for about 30 minutes and taxied for take-off at Clover Field in Santa Monica, California.

Mr Collbohm, who occupied the right seat, recalled 40 years later that “it was just a routine flight. I can’t separate it in my mind from any other test flights we made in those days.”

Chief designer of the DC-3 Arthur Raymond didn’t remember the event either: “When the plane was ready, I suppose Carl and the others simply got aboard and took off.” And take off the DC-3 did at 3 p.m. for a 1 hr. 40 min. flight, landing just as dusk was approaching.

With it came nightfall for every other commercial aircraft flying.

The men who designed the DC-3. Mr Douglas is centre.

The DC-3 instantly redefined travel because it was the first plane that could make money just carrying passengers freeing airlines from government mail contracts and stops at tiny out of the way places. Now airlines could link bigger cities non-stop and slash travelling times.

Within three years, 95 per cent of all passengers in the US were flying on DC-2s or DC-3s. Globally that number was 90 per cent.

Movie stars, such as Shirley Temple, also played a big role in helping sell the DC-2 and larger DC-3 and “flying on a Douglas” quickly became “the thing to do.” And as recently as 2008 the DC-3 was still in the movies helping James Bond out of one of his many tight spots. In the “Quantum of Solace,” Daniel Craig was in the cockpit of a DC-3 with the lines; “Let’s see if this thing will fly.” It did and some!

READ: Finally a plane all passengers will love.

And just as James Bond impresses with technological wizardry the DC-3 was a marvel for its day.

Duplicate instrumentation for pilot and co-pilot as an added safety measure, new cockpit lighting for night flying, automatic hydraulically actuated retracting undercarriage, foot brakes, and hydraulically operated wing flaps were all introduced on the DC-3.

The impact of the DC-3 on the world’s economy was immense. Flying was now safe and economical.

In the US, passenger fatality rates plummeted sevenfold and in 1939 the “Scheduled Airlines of the United States” were awarded the prestigious Collier Trophy for flying 17 months without a single fatality.

Owing to the safety record of the DC-3 insurers began offering flight insurance in 1937 for the first time to passengers and pilots while the practice of temporarily cancelling policies when passengers set foot on an aircraft was discontinued.

Time magazine commented: “That insurance companies can now bet US$5,000 to two bits (25 cents) against a passenger being killed on a flight of some 800 miles is one of the best pieces of publicity which US airlines ever had.”

And Mr Douglas would appear three times on the cover of Time in recognition of the DC-3 and his leadership and organization of the US war effort in building 300,000 planes between 1940 and 1945.

The amazing performance and economics of the DC-3 saw a 50 per cent decline in airfares by 1940 compared to when it entered service in 1936.

During WW11 the DC-3 or Dakota or C-47 became the backbone of the allies transport armada with over 10,000 produced in the US. Most were built by women.

During World War II, Douglas employed more women by percentage — 85 per cent — than any other defence company and the company’s peak workforce was 160,000.

The women — nicknamed “Rosies” after one of the first women to work in a defence factory — turned out DC-3s, or Dakotas as they were better known in Australia, at the staggering rate of one every 34 minutes. Individually, they took three-and-a-half days to build.

Thousands of DC-3s flooded the commercial market after WW11 and they helped restart the world’s economy.

Today the DC-3 keeps on flying! Estimates have the global fleet at about 200.

While many are only seen at air shows there are well over 100 still hauling freight and passengers. Cost? A good one goes for $500,000.

And there is little doubt the DC-3 will keep on going and be still earning money when she reaches 100.

Mission Impossible for new Virgin Australia CEO

Virgin australia

Mission impossible is one way to describe the challenge for incoming Virgin Australia chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka.

And if the former Bain Capital analyst and Jetstar chief can pull off the re-invention of Virgin Australia into a hybrid airline, embraced by its 11 million frequent flyers and 6000 staff she will be crowned airline executive of the year.

The challenge of realigning Virgin Australia product while cutting staff remuneration is staggering.

Former Ansett and British Airways chief Sir Rod Eddington once described the challenge facing Ms Hrdlicka of changing airline culture as similar to “performing an engine change in flight.”

READ: Boeing 737 MAX safe to fly says, the European regulator 

Prior to its administration Virgin Australia staff and its product were being hailed as the world’s best practice and arguably too opulent for the market.

Now the need is to move back to humbler offerings which will not sit well with staff or the airline customers. But how humble?

Bain Capital, which agreed to pay $3.50 billion for Virgin Australia, refutes suggestions that it’s going to take the airline down market saying it’s evolving a hybrid airline with some upmarket frills but evidence abounds to the contrary.

This week’s revelations, from two staff memos, of a paltry 80-cent tub of noodles and a can of coke for business class passengers paying $2500 is about as downmarket as you can get.

While the official line is the airline is “re-imagining what our onboard catering offer will be longer-term, and are looking forward to developing a new experience to suit customer needs” there is no re-imagining about the staff memos which also say the airline has run out of wine and Diet Coke.

The memos also warn that the supply of snacks is about to be exhausted and not to offer any to economy class passengers unless they ask for them.

Virgin Australia cabin staff are so embarrassed by the situation they ae calling in sick.
Those staff memos issued on September 25 and October 8 are more about an airline about to collapse.

Why can’t someone in the airline’s store order some more wine?

The damage being done to the airline is almost irreparable, which begs the question of what is the end game for Bain Capital.

Unions now warn that Bain Capital may be going back on its word to preserve 6000 jobs, passenger lounges and offer multi-tiered classes onboard the aircraft.

Certainly, since those assurances, and others, were given the airline landscape has gone from bad to worse with the Victorian COVID-19 fiasco stifling the opening up of domestic travel, REX entering into the jet market and the hard-international borders being pushed back combining to paint a bleak picture.

Ms Hrdlicka’s mission impossible is to balance staff and union demands with the dire market realities while delivering an in-flight product which is premium enough to retain the loyalty of the airline’s millions of frequent flyers.

Another Mt Everest for Ms Hrdlicka is the love and loyalty staff have the airline’s previous management in Brett Godfrey, John Borghetti and Paul Scurrah.

l:R Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce with Jayne Hrdlicka onboard Jetstar’s first 787.

According to one seasoned airline watcher, there will be an exodus from Virgin Australia’s management ranks with Ms Hrdlicka’s appointment.

One suggests it will “not be a trickle but more like an emergency evacuation.”

At the same time airline staff and passengers alike have to appreciate that COVID-19 has virtually wiped the industry out with most airlines holding out begging bowls to survive and many collapsing.

Just having a job in the airline or travel industry is a bonus and the good old days are just that. The new normal in airlines is extremely tough with the industry expected to lose $120 billion this calendar year and more next year.

Giant’s like Boeing, Lufthansa and Cathay Pacific Airways are on their knees surviving on government loans.

And nobody knows when the trauma is going to end.

The showers and lounge are back at Emirates


The showers and lounge are back at Emirates with the airline rolling out a redesigned onboard experience.

The much loved A380 Onboard Lounge and Shower Spa have resumed operations with the introduction of additional health and safety measures.

The A380 Onboard Lounge, which serves First and Business Class customers, will transform into a take-away bar with limited seating capacity and social distancing protocols in place.

READ: European regulator says 737 MAX is safe to fly.

The bar will continue to serve wines, spirits, soft drinks and pre-packaged lounge bites for customers to take and enjoy in the comfort of their own seats. Customers can also make their orders from their seats if they prefer. The social areas in Business Class on select Boeing 777 aircraft and in First Class also re-opened with pre-packed snacks for customers to grab and go.

First Class customers can once again have a shower at 40,000 feet. Luxury spa products will be provided in individual amenity bags to each customer.


And from November 1, Emirates’ onboard dining experience will return to its signature service while observing strict hygiene protocols. Customers in all classes will enjoy multi-course meals and choose from a complementary selection of beverages including wine and beer, as well as juices and soft drinks. Cocktails will also be served in premium classes. In Economy Class, customers can choose from 2 wines; in Business Class, customers can choose from 6 wines including port and champagne, while in First Class, customers will have a selection of 11 wines including dessert wine, port and Dom Perignon champagne.

The Emirates app has also been enhanced to allow customers on board to browse the menus on their personal devices both online and offline with the latest app update.

Emirates will soon launch a welcome drink in premium classes called Vitality Boost in First and Business Class. The airline’s chefs and nutritionists have created a refreshing blend of apple, ginger and hibiscus to give customers a health kick on their journey. The vegan, nutrient-rich drink is packed with antioxidants, and free from gluten and added sugar. The health drink will be a staple on board and continually refreshed to offer different flavours. Customers can also choose from a range of welcome drinks including champagne and other juices.

Emirates’ award-winning inflight entertainment, ICE, continues to add new content every month. In October, 25 new Hollywood blockbusters, 197 hours of new of TV, as well as a selection from the MasterClass series, were added to the entertainment catalogue boasting over 4,500 channels.

Health and safety: Emirates has implemented a comprehensive set of measures at every step of the customer journey, including the distribution of complimentary hygiene kits containing masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes to all customers. For more information on these measures and the services available on each flight, visit


Boeing 737 MAX safe to fly says European regulator

737 MAX
The 737 MAX on one of its test flights. Photo: Boeing.

Seeking Alpha says Europe’s top aviation regulator has said that changes made to Boeing’s 737 MAX have made the aircraft safe to return to the region’s skies.

The consultancy says that EASA is “now performing final document reviews ahead of a draft airworthiness directive it expects to issue in November, which will be followed by four weeks of public comment.”

“While the software upgrades and changes are enough to get the plane back in the air, the agency is still demanding the development of a so-called synthetic sensor (that will be ready in 20 to 24 months) to reach even higher safety levels.”

It adds that the US “FAA is also preparing to clear the plane’s return, but EASA’s view carries outsized weight given the flaws in the plane’s original certification process that dented the U.S. regulator’s reputation.”

Late last month the FAA administrator Steve Dickson was upbeat about the 737 MAX after a test flight.

A former airline pilot, Dickson is licensed to fly the 737 and flew the MAX for more than 90 minutes over Washington state after completing simulator training.

“I like what I saw on the flight,” Dickson told a media conference but cautioned that “we are not to the point yet where we have completed the process [of re-certification].”

However, while he added, “that doesn’t mean I don’t have some debrief items going forward,” these were described by him as tweaks “not so much in the procedures, but in the narrative that describes the procedures.”

WATCH Dickson flying the MAX here

The 737 MAX was grounded in March last year after two crashes related to the aircraft’s software.

In a statement, Boeing said: “We are grateful to the FAA for the rigorous process that will lead to the safe return to service of the 737 MAX. We stand ready to provide the support required to complete the remaining milestones laid out by the FAA and international regulators.”

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson piloting the 737 MAX.

READ: World’s first COVID-19 safety ratings. 

Last month the chairman of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board endorsed the proposed safety upgrades for the 737 MAX, paving the way for the FAA to lift its ban on the 737 MAX before the end of the year.

The 737 MAX is now a virtually a new plane from the perspective of flight control and systems and has been exhaustively tested over the last 18 months.

The US FAA has employed 40 engineers, inspectors, pilots, and technical support staff in 60,000 hours of work to tick off the changes.

Those numbers are however minor compared to the effort Boeing has made to build multiple layers of protection to make the 737 MAX the safest it can possibly be.

Helping to achieve that Boeing has held 20 conferences with over 1,100 participants from 250 organizations and has involved 565 pilots from 141 airlines to gain feedback on design change


Bain Capital: We are not taking Virgin Australian down market

bain Capital

Bain Capital has rejected industry speculation that it is going to reposition Virgin Australia as a budget airline after its chief executive Paul Scurrah resigned.

As first flagged by on Tuesday, Mr Scurrah will be replaced by former Jetstar boss Jayne Hrdlicka.

Bain Capital Managing Director Mike Murphy while praising Mr Scurrah’s “significant contribution in leading the business through bankruptcy, administration, and the challenges of COVID-19” said that “the challenges facing all airlines are extraordinary and Virgin Australia requires a different form of leadership to survive in the long term”

“Given the environment, we need a hands-on CEO with deep aviation, commercial, operational and transformation experience. Jayne is the right person to take the business forward under Bain Capital’s ownership.”

READ: COVID fails to crush the desire to travel.

Mr Murphy said that Ms Hrdlicka, a former Bain executive, “has extensive airline experience” and “alongside Bain Capital, wants nothing more than to see Virgin Australia prosper and thrive well into the future.”

But those words are not music to the ears of the unions which hold deep concerns that under Ms Hrdlicka the cuts will be savage.

Those concerns played out this week with the airline struggling to defend the serving of 80-cent two-minute noodles and a can of coke to business class passengers paying a $2500 fare.

However, Virgin Administrator Vaughan Strawbridge in a statement to the ASX said; “I know there has been speculation about the shape of the airline into the future, and I have reaffirmed with Bain Capital that Virgin Australia will not be repositioned as a low-cost carrier.’’

“Virgin Australia will be a ‘hybrid’ airline, offering great value to customers by delivering a distinctive Virgin experience at competitive prices. This will appeal to the full spectrum of travellers, from premium corporate through to more budget-focused customers,” Mr Strawbridge said.

But that doesn’t wash with one former airline industry veteran who told that “this is not good news for the business traveller nor Virgin Australia staff.”

“I expect Bain will take the airline back to something just above the Virgin Blue budget airline days,” he said.

“Staff morale will be damaged and I think there will be a lot of the middle management looking for parachutes.”

“The shine has really come off the airline.”

But upbeat on the airline’s future is Ms Hrdlicka.

“I am delighted to be joining Virgin Australia at this important time. I appreciate Virgin Australia’s unique culture and I want to protect and build on it. And I am determined that Virgin Australia reinvigorates its strong brand and its passion for customer service while embracing the diversity, talent and strength of its people,” Ms Hrdlicka said.


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