Wednesday, November 16, 2022
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Middle Eastern Airline Safety on the rise

Qatar Airways

ICAO audits countries on their level of aviation safety utilising eight parameters; Legislation, Organization, Licensing, Operations, Airworthiness, Accident Investigation, Air Navigation Service and Aerodromes.  At, any airline that meets the global average for all eight parameters gets two stars towards the seven star total available. If 5-7 of these parameters are met they are awarded one star. If less than 5 of the parameters are met no stars are awarded.

Qatar now meets the global average for 5 of the criteria whereas before it met only 4. As a result, the airline has been awarded one extra star towards its safety rating at to give an overall score of 6 out of 7.

It is a similar story for Oman Air who after a significant improvement in their aviation safety levels now meet 7 of the 8 criteria set out by ICAO. Oman previously met less than 5 of the criteria.  As a result of these changes Oman Air are now rated a 6 out of 7 for their overall safety rating on

For detailed information on our safety rating criteria please click here or for the individual safety breakdown for any airline click here.

50 dead in Russian crash

A Tatarstan Boeing 737-500 operating Ak Bars Aero flight U9-363 from Moscow to Kazan in Russia has crashed on landing killing all 44 passengers and 6 crew.

The 737-500 was on its second approach to land at 7.25pm Sunday November 17 and crashed in a fireball.

According to Russia’s Ministry of Emergency all passengers and crew were killed.

The Airport of Kazan was closed after the accident.

It has two parallel runways with a Category II ILS approach.

Russian President Vladimir Putin “expressed his condolences to the relatives of the victims in this horrible disaster” and ordered a government commission be set up to investigate the cause, said Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, quoted by the news agency Interfax.

The Investigative Committee said an inquiry had been opened to determine whether there had been “violation of aviation security rules” and added that several inspectors had been sent to the scene of the crash.

AAP said that pilot error was one of three preliminary lines of inquiry, along with weather conditions and technical failure, said Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin, quoted by Interfax.

Kazan is the capital city of the Russian republic of Tatarstan.

The airline had not done the very important International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit (IOSA). Airlines that have completed IOSA have a safety record twice that of airlines that have not done the audit.

Air Travel in Russia has improved significantly in recent years with no hull losses in 2012 down from 8.6 per one million flights in 2006. However in 2013 the country suffered 2.94 losses.

This compares to the industry average of 0.30.

The 737-500 that crashed first flew in 1990 and is owned by leasing company AWAS. It has had six operators. According to Aviation Safety Network it was involved in a landing accident in Brazil in 2001 which severely damaged its undercarriage.

Boeing launches another game changer – the 777X

London to Sydney non-stop at fares 20 per cent below current levels is the promise of the latest model of Boeing’s 777 launched at the Dubai Air Show on Sunday November 17.

To see an interactive presentation and video do here:

Emirates, the world’s largest international airline, gave a ringing endorsement to the 410-seat Boeing 777X, with an order for 150.

Etihad Airways ordered 25, Qatar Airways 50 and Lufthansa 34.

The launch is the largest product launch in commercial jetliner history by dollar value. The 259 orders are worth $95 billion at list prices.

“We are proud to partner with each of these esteemed airlines to launch the 777X – the largest and most-efficient twin-engine jetliner in the world,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner. “Its ground-breaking engine technologies and all-new composite wing will deliver unsurpassed value and growth potential to our customers.”

Opening new growth opportunities for airlines, the 777-9X offers seating for more than 400 passengers, depending on an airline’s configuration choices. With a range of more than 8,200 nautical miles (15,185 km), the aircraft will have the lowest operating cost per seat of any commercial aircraft.

The second member of the family, the 777-8X, will be the most flexible jet in the world claims Boeing. The aircraft will seat 350 passengers and offer a range capability of more than 9,300 nautical miles (17,220 km).

Emirates President Tim Clark is the driving – and demanding – force behind the 777X a plane he describes as “an absolute peach.”

“Every [long haul] airline will want to buy this plane,” Mr Clark told

Key to the enthusiasm is the aircraft’s incredible economics, being 20 per cent more efficient per seat than the current industry benchmark the 777-300ER.

Those economics will enable airlines to make significant cuts to airfares making the 777X a game changer.

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

 It also features 20 per cent larger windows and lower pressurization altitude to reduce jet lag.

“This machine will do Sydney to Rome or Perth to London [with a full payload],” Clark said in an earlier interview.

“There will not be a city on the planet — aside from the mid-Pacific — we can’t reach,” Clark said.

“This (777X) will be poetry in motion . . . it will have enormous versatility.”

Other airlines that have expressed strong interest are Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Air France and leasing companies.

Emirates is considering bars and standing areas for the 777X series.

The 777X is expected to enter service in 2020.

And the secret to the plane’s extraordinary economy is the General Electric GE9X – the largest engine ever built.




Etihad places its largest order

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has placed its largest ever fleet order, for 199 aircraft and 294 engines, in a $67 billion dollar deal which will enable the airline to accelerate its growth over the next decade.

It announced firm orders at the Dubai Air Show for 87 Airbus and 56 Boeing aircraft, with a further 56 options and purchase rights.  The new aircraft will be powered by 127 GE Aviation, 115 Rolls-Royce and 52 CFM engines.

The new aircraft will be used to support the ambitious growth strategy of Etihad Airways, launching into new markets and increasing frequencies on existing routes, as well as progressively replacing its older, less efficient aircraft. 

In a unique new approach, Etihad Airways says it will have a capability to redirect orders to members of its equity alliance, the airlines in key markets around the world in which it holds minority shareholdings.  The order, for 25 next-generation Boeing 777X aircraft, 30 Boeing 787-10s, one Boeing 777 freighter, 50 Airbus A350 XWB, 36 Airbus A320neos and one Airbus A330-200F, will see passenger aircraft deliveries start in 2018. 

The airline currently has a fleet of 86 aircraft, with more than 80 on firm order. 

Etihad Airways will now become the single largest airline customer for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with the 30 aircraft in this order being added to 41 announced in previous orders. 

It will also become a launch customer for the Boeing 777-8X aircraft. 

James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said:  “Last week, Etihad Airways celebrated its tenth anniversary.  In just one decade, we have grown into an airline with 86 aircraft, carrying more than 11 million passengers on 97 routes, served by more than 16,500 employees. 

“We now have seven equity alliance partners reaching across the world and a business strategy that has seen us create the world’s leading airline.  We have achieved all of this while reaching sustainable profitability.

“These aircraft orders provide the next step in our long-term growth strategy. They are about meeting the needs of the next 10 years, and beyond, as we grow further and faster than ever before.

“We are helping to establish Abu Dhabi as one of the world’s great aviation hubs, offering connections to cities on every continent.  This order will provide us with the capacity to continue with those ambitious aspirations.”

Mr Hogan said the ability to share the orders with members of the equity alliance offered a unique opportunity.  Etihad Airways currently holds stakes in airberlin, Air Seychelles, Aer Lingus, Virgin Australia, and Air Serbia. Etihad Airways last week received regulatory approval for a proposed 24 per cent investment in India’s Jet Airways.

Yesterday, it also announced the acquisition of a 33.3 per cent stake in Swiss carrier, Darwin Airline, which will offer Etihad Airways’ first branded regional operations under the new Etihad Regional badge and livery.

Emirates buys more super jumbos

Emirates has ordered another 50 A380 super jumbos to meet growth projections.

The order was signed at a ceremony at the 2013 Dubai Airshow witnessed by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive Emirates Airline and Group and Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO.

“The A380 continues to be the flagship of our fleet and after five years in operation it remains highly popular with our passengers,” said HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group.

“It is still one of the most efficient aircraft to operate today in terms of fuel burn and emissions per passenger, and it gives us the flexibility in some cases to meet passenger demand in slot-constrained markets. This latest order will help us meet both fleet expansion and fleet replacement needs.”

“We value our partnership with Emirates Airline and are pleased to see this getting stronger each day with their A380s flying,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus CEO and President.

“By strategically placing the A380 at the centre of its business, Emirates is maximizing its leading position with each day of operations. Emirates has understood from the start the A380s advantages in terms of efficiency, economics and passenger comfort. It continues to be a true crowd-puller and contributor to the rapid development of its Dubai hub.”

Following delivery of their first A380 in July 2008, Emirates has now taken delivery of 39 A380s. The new order takes the airline’s commitments for the A380 to 140.

The total A380 fleet has accumulated over one million flight hours in almost 140,000 commercial flights. To date some 50 million passengers have flown on the super jumbo. Every five minutes, an A380 either takes off or lands at one of the 34 airports where it operates today and the network is constantly growing.


Will AA/US Merger Mean More Competition?

A respected aviation observer contends the once-again on-track merger of American Airlines and US Airways could actually bring about more, not less, airline competition.

“Over the next five years we can expect to see additional market entry from start-up [airlines] who are going to take advantage of consolidation opportunities,” contends Josh Marks, CEO of masFlight, an aviation consultancy. “History proves that when airlines consolidate service that sets up new opportunities for new-entrants.”

That consolidation got the green light to move forward this week when the United States Department of Justice reached an out-of-court accord with American and US Airways in which the two carriers will divest themselves of a number of critical takeoff and landing positions at Reagan Washington National and New York LaGuardia. American and US Airways will also relinquish a pair of gates at each of five U.S. airports, including Los Angeles International and Chicago O’Hare.

The idea is to open up those airports, particularly Reagan National and LaGuardia, to more competition from low-cost carriers such as Southwest and JetBlue.

“This agreement has the potential to shift the landscape of the airline industry by guaranteeing a bigger foothold for low-cost carriers at key U.S. airports,” believes U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. The nation’s top law enforcement official contends, “passengers will see more competition and nonstop and connecting routes throughout the country.”

The issue for at least one other noted aviation analyst is why the Department of Justice’s lawsuit had to happen at all. 

“Everybody who worked on this merger from the beginning knew that there would be a divestiture of slots at [Washington Reagan] National and [New York] LaGuardia,” says Darryl Jenkins, president of the American Aviation Institute.  “That was a given. What is interesting is the amount of money the government wasted in getting to a solution that was foregone at the beginning of this.”

On August 13, 2013 DOJ and six state attorneys general and the District of Columbia, filed an antitrust suit against AA and US contending that the US Airways’ $11 billion acquisition of American would have “substantially lessened competition for commercial air travel in local markets throughout the country,” according to a DOJ statement.

Josh Marks says the American/US Airways merger is probably the last of its kind we’ll witness, at least for a while. The U.S. skyscape should soon be dominated by a trio of so-called “network” carriers – American, Delta and United. Southwest is the last member of the so-called “Big Four.” But it’s those anticipated new-entrants, along with more airport access by existing low-cost carriers, that Marks maintains will spark more consumer-friendly competition. 

The merged carrier will create the world’s largest airline with 6,700 daily flights to 336 locations in 56 countries. It will have $40 billion in revenue, 100,000 employees and around 1000 aircraft excluding regional affiliates. The two airlines have over 600 aircraft on order.   

Muddy take-off

It has one of the world’s worst crash records with 189 hull losses but when you see the video below it is hardly surprising.

The Antonov AN-24 flies to and from some of the world’s most challenging airports and thus accidents are more likely.

This video captures a take-off from a rain soak muddy airfield.

The AN-24 was designed to operate into unprepared and rough airfields and does a remarkable job at achieving that.

It first flew in 1959, over 1,000 An-24s were built and 880 are still in service, mostly in Russia and Africa.

About 250 An-24s are in airline service.

The high-wing layout protects engines and blades from debris and mud and the aircraft is very rugged.

The AN-24 entered airline service in 1963 and production ended in 1979. In all 1332 were built.

Liquid scanners

It’s about to become possible for flyers to carry on formerly-banned liquids in Europe. In anticipation of the European Union’s January easing of regulations, London Heathrow and a handful of other U.K. airports are deploying a piece of technology aimed at detecting things such as liquid explosives secreted in innocuous-looking containers.

Dubbed the LS10, the liquid bottle scanner scans LGAS – liquids, aerosols and gels – in search of things that could ruin your trip. Developed, produced and manufactured by Battelle and Sellex, the LS10 employs Radio Frequency and ultrasonic technology to “non-invasively (i.e. the screened liquid won’t hurt you) interrogate” containers’ contents according to a prepared release from Battelle. “We’ve been able to successfully scan everything from toothpaste tubes to a treasured set of porcelain cows filled with liquor purchased in a duty-free shop,” contends Mike Janus, Battelle National, Security’s general manager. 

Battalle claims LS10 enjoys “high detection success” of bad things, while maintaining “low false alarm rates.” To see how it works, click on .

In addition to busy London Heathrow, Aberdeen, Glasgow International and Southhampton Airports have also purchased the LS10, this after what Battalle says is “an extensive trial evaluation period conducted in early 2013.”

What are the chances of something like the LS10 showing up in the U.S.? The Los Angeles Times says the Transportation Security Administration is looking into an array of liquid-screening technologies.

The liquids screening effort in the U.K. will be rolled out in phases, with restrictions easing gradually as the program develops. 

Crosswind Landing has a spectacular video from Cargospotter of crosswinds landings at DusseldorfAirport in Germany.

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

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

In some cases aircraft land with a slight down wind 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 touch down 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 video below.

To see a spectacular muddy take-off see here.

Flying Art

Qantas has unveiled a new Boeing 737-800 in Seattle featuring a striking ingenious art livery as a flying tribute to the world’s oldest continuing culture.

It is the fourth aircraft in Qantas’ flying art series in partnership with Australian designers Balarinji that began with the first Indigenous livery “Wunala Dreaming” on a 747 aircraft in 1994.

Balarinji’s livery design is inspired by the work of late West Australian Aboriginal painter, Paddy Bedford.

The livery is an interpretation of the 2005 painting “Medicine Pocket” which captures the essence of Mendoowoorrji, Paddy Bedford’s mother country in the East Kimberly region of Western Australia.

It is joint initiative between the airline, the family and estate of Paddy Bedford, Australian Indigenous design studio Balarinji and the National Gallery of Australia. The Balarinji Design Studio has collaborated on the design of all four flying art designs.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said “as Australia’s national carrier we will fly this livery with great pride. It not only reflects our rich history as a country, it highlights the opportunities we have to promote our indigenous culture to the Australian public and international customers.”

Newly announced Qantas Ambassador Indigenous AFL player Adam Goodes took part in the delivery.

“I am honoured to be standing alongside this aircraft in all its glory today It represents our people and our culture and it is only fitting that Qantas as the Spirit of Australia is using this aircraft to showcase over 60,000 years of Aboriginal art and culture.”

Balarinji’s Managing Director, Ros Moriarty, lauded Qantas for its commitment to reconciliation.

“In our studio’s 30th year, it is a privilege to once again work with Qantas on an iconic Indigenous art aircraft. We applaud Qantas for the leadership in supplier diversity and reconciliation.”

Mendoowoorrji is the airline’s 69th 737-800.

Mr Bedford died in July 2007, aged 85, and was hailed as one of Australia’s coolest painters, although only ten years into a spectacular career.

He found worldwide acclaim with his innovative approach to the “Turkey Creek” style of plain ochre and sparse lines pioneered by artistic luminaries Rover Thomas and Queenie McKenzie.

Mr Bedford however did not start painting for exhibition until he was well into his 70s when a Melbourne art dealer stumbled across a collection of his discarded paintings bound for the local tip at Turkey Creek.

Deeply grounded in traditional lore and ceremonial practice as a senior Gija elder of Jawalyi skin, Mr Bedford enjoyed his rare ventures into the “whitefella art world” where he was feted by curators, buyers and other admirers.

However in the city he cut a fine figure with his elegant silver-tipped cane, stockman’s hat and Armani suit he loved to wear to special occasions.

Former Art Gallery of WA Director Alan Dodge commented to The West Australian’s Arts Editor Steve Bevis on Mr Bedford’s passing that “he was real character.”

“He was also one of the greatest indigenous artists of our time and a lot of people loved him personally. He had a wonderful sense of humour and was a very warm person.

Mr Bedford’s humour and warmth was to the fore despite an upbringing that would break most.

After spending his childhood at Bedford Downs, Bedford was incorrectly diagnosed with leprosy just before World War II and sent to the leprosarium in Derby where he met and married Emily Watson.

They had one daughter, Cathy, who was taken away, along with Theresa, a second daughter from another relationship, and raised in the mission at Beagle Bay.

Returning to Bedford Downs in the 1950s, he worked for many years as a stockman for rations of flour, tea and tobacco until he was forced to leave in the mass evictions in the early 1970s after the introduction of legislated equal wages.

He later worked for Main Roads shifting rocks on the Gibb River Road before a back injury forced him on to welfare and retirement at the Warmun Aboriginal community at Turkey Creek.

It was there Mr Bedford took up painting.


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