Wednesday, January 16, 2019
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Hawaiian farewells the trail-blazing Boeing 767

hawaiian farewells 767
Hawaiian staff on the tarmac with the airline's last Boeing 767. Photo: Hawaiian

It was an end of an era at Hawaiian Airlines after the carrier farewelled its remaining Boeing 767-300ER as it landed in Honolulu on January 7.

The Boeing 767-300ER, tail number N594 and operating flight HA19, was the remaining representative of a fleet that totaled 18 aircraft at its peak and took over from airline’s DC-10s in 2001.

The wide-body Boeing twins led the launch of 16 new-non-stop routes that included flights to Sydney and Brisbane Australia, Osaka, Tokyo and Sapporo  Japan and Seoul in South Korea.

The aircraft landed at  Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) from Sacramento International Airport (SMF)  with 258 passengers and 10 crew members on board.

They were met with a celebratory lei and welcomed by airline officials, including chief executive Peter Ingram.

“The Boeing 767 was instrumental to our transpacific growth, international expansion and success in introducing millions of guests to this special place we call home,”  Ingram said in a blog posted on Hawaiian’s website.

“Today’s 767 retirement marks another chapter in our ongoing fleet modernization program as we continue to take more deliveries of Airbus A321neos and prepare to welcome the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in 2021.”

The 767 fleet was named after migratory birds and the last plane was called ‘Ulili after the Wandering Tattler bird.

The type’s departure leaves Hawaiian with 24 278-seat Airbus A330-200s and  11 189-seat A321-200neos in its trans-Pacific fleet.

It also uses ATR turboprops and Boeing 717s on inter-island routes.

By the end of 2020, it will have 18 A321neo and will start introducing 10 new Boeing 787-9s in 2021.

Hawaiian eyes expnasion with 787s
A rendering of the airline’s incoming 787-9.

The 787-9 will bring greater range and increased fuel efficiency as well as lower maintenance costs compared to the 767.

Ingram told AirlineRatings last August the new planes would allow the airline to look at some destinations that were on the fringe of its reach today or even a bit beyond.

READ How Hawaiian’s A321neos could benefit Australia and Japan.

“That efficiency, coupled with a bigger size,  will really make it a winner on some of the very high load factor routes on our existing network like Japan and, New York (or) Sydney. Particularly in Sydney, our loads are very high here,’’ he said.

“So we see a lot of opportunities both within the current network and beyond the current network.”

 

 

 

Vietnam Airlines posts solid profit ahead of listing

Vietnam Airlines
Photo: Long Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons.

Vietnam Airlines Group has announced a full-year profit before tax of VND2.8 trillion ($US121m) and record revenue of 102 trillion ahead of plans to list the company.

The consolidated revenue of VND102 billion ($US4.4billion) was ahead of last year’s figures and passed the VND 100 trillion mark for the first time.

The airline said the pre-tax profit, which was stable compared to the 2017 result, was 15 percent higher than its expectations.

The revenue included contributions from Vietnam Air Services Company and Qantas joint venture Jetstar Pacific.

Vietnam Airlines carried 22 million passengers on 142,000 flights as well as 350,000 tonnes of cargo in 2018.

The airline attributed its performance to robust demand for air travel, optimized operational efficiency and better cost control.

It said it had made significant progress in modernizing its fleet and investing in technology.

READ our ratings for Vietnam Airlines.

This included the addition of two wide-bodies Airbus A350 and three narrow-bodies A321Neos.

“Vietnam Airlines’ strong earnings performance capped another year of extraordinary achievement, including surpassing the VND 2 trillion mark in profit,’’ chief executive Duong Tri Tranh said.

“We made significant progress on several key initiatives in 2018 including improved human resources management, enhanced product portfolio and on-time-performance index. 2018’s success offered an unparalleled opportunity Vietnam Airlines to unlock further growth and bolster the service quality.”

Vietnam Airlines plans to list on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange this year and its results announcement confirmed it would complete the remaining procedures relating to privatization.

It also plans to complete a fleet development plan and continue with digital and IT advances.

Vietnam Airlines is the flag carrier of Vietnam and operates 94 routes to 21 domestic and 29 international destinations with an average of 400 flights per day.

It connects major global cities to travel destinations in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.

Chain-smoking Kelleher changed the US airline industry

Southwest Kellher
Aviation industry giant Herb Kelleher. Photo: Southwest.

The person who arguably did more than anyone else to mold the shape of commercial aviation in America over the past half-century is dead.

Southwest’s founder and Chairman Emetrius Herb Kelleher passed away January 3 aged 87.

Kelleher launched Southwest along with Rollin King on June 18, 1967, flying from Dallas Love Field, Houston Hobby and San Antonio International. The plan was sketched out on the back of a cocktail napkin.

Today, Southwest is the largest domestic airline in the US and flies to 99 destinations.

READ US pilots warn government shutdown is affecting safety.

When the chain-smoking Kelleher’s airline came to town to launch new flights, airfares overall plummeted and boardings soared. Such was the impact of the “The Southwest Effect”.

Many competitive carriers cut back on routes on which they found themselves flying against  Southwest.

Those airlines that fought the effect sometimes abandoned whole slices of the country. Such was the decision of US Air on routes stretching up and down the West Coast.

Kelleher believed in keeping things simple: no reserved seating, no first class, passenger boarding based on when you got in line (The latter practice has been tweaked significantly.)

People, not procedures, are the not-so-secret key to Southwest’s success. Prospective employees are vetted by their peers before being hired—thoroughly vetted. Perhaps they had noted that Fortune magazine considered Southwest one of the planet ‘s ten most admired companies and labeled Kelleher perhaps America’s Best CEO.

This reporter covered Kelleher for years. In Southwest’s fledgling years his nicotine-suffused office was in defunct Braniff offices at Dallas Love Field. On entry. he’d grasp your hand and say, ‘Call me Herb.’ This was no cliché. It was at the core of his belief system.

Southwest President Emeritus Colleen Barrett was a powerful participant in Kelleher’ vision. “He always supported me from the very beginning as his complete equal,”  he said.

That’s why during the lean years he would roll up his sleeves and head to Love Field’s baggage department to help sort and deliver suitcases.

Tributes to Kelleher have been rolling in from around the aviation industry and beyond.

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly, perhaps said it best: “His stamp on the airline industry cannot be overstated. His vision for making air travel affordable for all revolutionized the industry, and you can still see the transformation taking place today…

“His true impact can only be measured by the hearts and minds of the People who he inspired, motivated or engaged on a daily basis.”

 

Boeing’s 777 is the first widebody to sell over 2,000

Boeing 777
Lufthansa Boeing 777X

Boeing’s 777 has passed the 2000 order milestone – the first widebody aircraft to do so.

Randy Tinseth, Boeing’s VP of Marketing wrote in this blog: “In December, we won 17 net orders for the 777 from BOC Aviation and two unidentified customers, bringing the program to 2,013 orders since its launch. The total includes popular models such as the 777-300ER (Extended Range) passenger jet, the long-range 777 Freighter, and the new 777X.

“Beyond the overall sales total, the 777’s order performance in 2018 – and in recent years – really shows the family’s incredible staying power as the leader in the long-haul market. After clinching 40 net orders in 2017, the 777 won 51 net orders in 2018 and 209 orders over the past five years.”

And last week the world’s largest commercial jet engine, the GE9X, was installed on the Boeing 777X ready for rollout next month.

The GE9X engine is the most fuel-efficient commercial engine ever built and is a key contributor to what makes the 777X the largest and most efficient twin-engine jet in the world according to Boeing.

777X

The 777X provides 12 percent lower fuel consumption and 10 percent lower operating costs than competing airplanes says, Boeing.

SEE the video here;

The engine’s front fan measures 134 inches (340 centimeters) in diameter, the largest ever produced for a commercial aircraft, according to GE.  The massive fan is the same width as a 737 fuselage.

The 777X first delivery is slated for 2020.

READ World’s Safest Airlines for 2019

To date, Boeing has won 340 orders and commitments for the 777X from a range of airlines, including All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines.

Meet the Emirates’ women pilots with the right stuff

Emirates superwowen

Meet some of the Emirates’ women pilots with the “right stuff” in this stunning video.

Women make up close to 44 percent of the airline’s workforce and have been an integral part of the success story of Emirates over the last 32 years.

Emirates currently employs more than 30,000 women from over 150 nationalities and they work across the entire spectrum of airline operations.

WATCH: Emirates A380 pilots battle turbulence 

Over 18,000 work as cabin crew, while the rest are represented across technical as well as in professional and leadership roles.

The ladies featured in this video are:

  • Captain Patricia Bischoff from Canada and First Officer Rebecca Lougheed from the UK fly the Emirates A380 to San Francisco.
  • Captain Heather Wolf from Canada, First Officer Marieke Kremer from Netherlands and Cadet Pilot Noof Omar from the UAE fly the Emirates Boeing 777 to Singapore.
  • First Officer Nancy Binder from Canada flies the Emirates Boeing 777 to Lisbon.
  • First Officer Ekam Ahluwalia from India flies the Emirates A380 to Manchester.
  • Captain Rocio Rodriguez from Mexico flies the Emirates A380 to Perth.
  • Captain Martha Chatziiliadou from Greece and First Officer Dominique Cotte from Australia fly the Emirates Boeing 777 to Algiers.

Pilots of Emirates’ A380 battle turbulence

Emirates' A380

Pilots of an Emirates’ A380 have battled turbulence to land at Birmingham Airport in the United Kindom.

The video was taken by flugsug. 

You can see more of his work at the above link.

WATCH wreck hunter Blaine Gibson talk about the new MH370 debris find.

WATCH: World’s largest jet engine installed on the new 777X

He comments:

“The only time I’ve seen the world’s largest plane toyed-with by severe weather, and in particular windshear which caused other flights to abort the approach.

“The Easyjet A320 simply didn’t try again and diverted away. This was a day when the wind grew stronger as it moved towards crosswind direction, finally erupting as shown here.

“The runway having been drenched minutes earlier, the avalanche of reverse thrust spray capped the Emirates giant’s performance!”

US pilots warn government shutdown is affecting safety.

pilots warn shutdown threatens safety
Image: TSA

US pilots have urged President Trump and congressional leaders to end the shutdown of government agencies because it is adversely affecting the safety, security and efficiency of the national airspace system.

The call comes as news reports say airport screeners are calling in sick in increasing numbers and fretting about making ends meet as a result of the shutdown.

The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) says the impact so far has been minimal but it has warned travelers may have to wait longer in security lines.

TSA agents, air traffic controllers and  Federal Aviation Administration workers are among those affected by the impasse between trump and Democrats over funding for a border wall between the US and Mexico.

The Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA) represents 61,000 pilots says in its letter that disruptions caused by the shutdown are threatening the safety of the nation’s complex airspace system.

“The government agency partners in the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have dual roles,’’ it says. “ They are both regulators and service providers.  When any of their responsibilities are placed on pause due to a shutdown there are safety, security and efficiency gaps that immediately emerge.”

READ Malaysia confirms new debris likely from MH370.

The letter says there are FAA fewer safety inspectors than are needed to ensure air traffic control is running at peak performance and that there are aircraft and airline manufacturing oversight activities “that either stop or are significantly reduced”.

“These safety and oversight inspections will potentially allow for the introduction of safety issues that put passengers and airline crews at risk,’’ it says.

Other areas the letter says are affected by the shutdown include policing of drones and the implementation of a new FAA air traffic control data communications system.

“Finally, at both the FAA and at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the air traffic controllers, airspace system maintenance personnel, and the airline passenger security workforce are being asked to work unpaid,’’ it says.

“They are dutifully providing safety of life services while facing increasingly difficult financial pressures to provide for those dependent on their paycheck.

“The pressure these civil servants are facing at home should not be ignored.”

The FAA says on its website that the lack of funding means it will conduct only “exempt” activities.

“Air traffic control is fully operational and there is no impact to safety or FAA oversight for travelers,” it says.

Malaysia confirms new debris likely from MH370

MH370

Some of the new debris from MH370 that was found on Madagascar last year has been confirmed by Malaysian authorities as likely from the lost Boeing 777.

The five pieces of debris were handed over on November 30, by wreck hunter Blaine Gibson and some relatives of those lost in the MH370 disappearance, to Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke.

READ World’s safest airlines for 2019.

In a Malaysian report from the MH370 Safety Investigation Team, it said that most parts were from an aircraft but the floor panel was from a Boeing 777 and “most likely MH370.”

in November, Mr Gibson told AirlineRatings.com that “the debris proves two things – that MH370 crashed violently and it almost certainly is in the Southern Indian Ocean.”

MH370
Wreck hunter Blaine Gibson with a piece of floor panel from the Boeing 777

The next of kin said at the time they want assurances from Mr. Loke that the Malaysian Government would continue efforts to find a satisfactory resolution to the mystery of MH370, which disappeared on March 8, 2014, with 239 aboard.

VIDEO: The Boeing 777X gets fitted with the world’s biggest engine.

The piece key piece of debris found at Sandravinany, south Madagascar, was identified using a fragment of a label still attached as part of a floor panel from a Boeing 777.

Mh370
Floor panel showing a small corner of a label with number VPPS61

“Don Thompson, one of the Independent Group investigating MH370’s disappearance, found the actual identification label for the Boeing 777,” Mr. Gibson said.

An important clue was the piece contained a portion of a placard with the identifying characters WPPS61.

Floor panel showing a small corner of a label with number VPPS61According to another IG member, Victor Iannello, Mr. Thompson was able to determine that the full placard number was BAC27WPPS61 and he found a similar placard on the floorboard of wreckage from MH17.

MH370
Full Boeing 777 floor panel label

This analysis has been confirmed by the Malaysian authorities.

Mr Gibson said that “locals tell me there are many more pieces of debris washed up but it needs to Malaysia to offer rewards.”

Mr. Gibson has been giving locals small rewards.

While the two extensive searches have not turned up the main body of wreckage, Mr Gibson believes that the main body of wreckage probably lies just outside the search area.

READ Crash investigators analysis of MH370 find

 

 

Airbus confirms A220 orders with ‘Moxy’ and JetBlue

Airbus A220
Airbus A220, the former C Series, arrives at Toulouse.

Airbus has firmed up orders for 120 A220 aircraft, including 60 for the new airline venture involving JetBlue founder David Neeleman.

The new Neeleman venture, currently code-named Moxy but unlikely to retain the moniker, was unveiled at the Farnborough International Airshow in July.

The aviation entrepreneur – who was also involved in the start of Canada’s WestJet, founded Brazil’s Azul Airlines and has been a major force in TAP Air Portugal’s revitalization – has also ordered the bigger A220-300s and expects to receive his first aircraft in 2021.

He told Conde Nast Traveler recently he was starting the new airline because he saw an opportunity “to build a better mousetrap” due to consolidation of the industry in the US.

He said US airlines had again become hub focused and there were many cities not accessible via non-stop services where there was an opportunity “to get people there twice as fast at half the price”.

He also plans to build technology aimed at offering superior customer service and flexibility.

READ Delta starts selling A220 routes with the widest seats.

He sees the A220, formally the Bombardier C Series, as offering maximum flexibility in terms of offering the opportunity to introduce a premium cabin as well as the ability to reach destinations such as Hawaii, Brazil and Portugal from the US Midwest.

“The A220-300 is the right airplane for a new airline that will be focused on passenger service and satisfaction,” Neeleman said in A220 order announcement.

“With a low cost of operation and spacious cabin, the A220 will allow us to provide passengers with lower fares and a high quality, comfortable flying experience.

“The A220’s ability to operate profitably in thin, underserved markets across a broad spectrum of ranges is unique”.

Airbus will produce the planes at a new US assembly plant in Mobile, Alabama, construction of which will begin in January 2019.

JetBlue also confirmed an order announced in July for 60 A220s to add to its fleet of A320s and A321s.

JetBlue’s planes will also be produced in the Alabama facility and are in addition to 85 A21neos the airline currently has on order. The US carrier now has 193 A320 and A321 aircraft.

“As we approach our 20th anniversary, the impressive range and economics of the highly efficient A220, combined with the outstanding performance of our existing fleet of Airbus A321 and restyled A320 aircraft, will help ensure we deliver the best onboard experience to customers and meet our long-term financial targets as we continue disciplined growth into the future,” JetBlue chief executive Robin Hayes said in the announcement.

The fuel-efficient 100- to 150-seater now has orders for more than 500 aircraft.

World’s largest commercial jet engine installed on the 777X

777X
Boeing's 777X gets its engines installed.

The world’s largest commercial jet engine, the GE9X, has been installed on the Boeing 777X ready for rollout next month.

The GE9X engine is the most fuel-efficient commercial engine ever built and is a key contributor to what makes the 777X the largest and most efficient twin-engine jet in the world according to Boeing.

The 777X provides 12 percent lower fuel consumption and 10 percent lower operating costs than competing airplanes says, Boeing.

SEE the video here;

The engine’s front fan measures 134 inches (340 centimeters) in diameter, the largest ever produced for a commercial aircraft, according to GE.  The massive fan is the same width as a 737 fuselage.

The 777X first delivery is slated for 2020.

READ World’s Safest Airlines for 2019

To date, Boeing has won 340 orders and commitments for the 777X from a range of airlines, including All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines.

777X

The Boeing 777X, will be capable for flying nonstop from New York to Sydney and Sydney to London with 300 passengers, and recently went through the power-up process which enabled Boeing to test every system on the aircraft to ensure that when it is unveiled, it is fully functional.

Boeing is coy on announcing a roll-out date but industry sources say it is expected in mid-February.

Boeing is building two models of the 777X family: the 400-seat -9, which will be the first to roll out and the longer range -8, which can seat 350 passengers and has a range capability of more than 17,220 km.

It is this model that Qantas and Air New Zealand are evaluating with a decision expected shortly.

The driving force behind the 777X is Emirates President Sir Tim Clark, whose airline is the lead buyer with an order for 150.

Sir Tim describes the 777X as “an absolute peach”.

Key to his enthusiasm is the aircraft’s economics and greater space with a wider cabin with bigger windows.

The Boeing 777X combines the best features of the current 777 with a longer fuselage, new engine and the composite wing design from the Boeing 787.

boeing 777X
Interior fit-out has started on the first 777X, which will be filled with test equipment.

Qantas’s competition, called “Project Sunrise” also includes the Airbus A350 and the airline is demanding Sydney to London non-stop capability with 300 passengers.

Both Airbus and Boeing say they can meet the airline’s demands or close to it.

Qantas plans to add underfloor bunks to the winner of its competition because on ultra-long-haul flights the aircraft will carry virtually no cargo, just passenger’s bags.

Air New Zealand is going to accelerate the redesign of its interior offering at its Hangar 22 seating project after it decides on either the  Boeing 777X or A350 in April.

Air NZ chief executive Christopher Luxon told AirlineRatings.com at the inaugural of the airline’s first service to Chicago in November that the airline had been bringing customers through to experience mock-up cabin spaces in an attempt to learn their thinking about space, storage, and privacy.

“We’ve been running customers through a number of mock-ups that at this stage are quite primitive and quite conceptual but are giving them a feel about what they want to play back to us around that,” he said

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