Archive for the 'A320' Category

TACA Airbus A320 Overran Runway in Honduras

At 9:45, 30MAY2008, TACA flight 390 operating from El Salvador to Tegucigalpa, suffered an accident upon landing at Toncontin Airport in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. According to the latest news, “The plane inexplicably circled the city twice and it ran out of runway because it landed more than halfway down” the length of the strip, airport manager Carlos Ramos told the Channel 7 television network. Upon landing it could not stop before the end of the runway and crashed into a ravine, and a road, finally coming to rest broken into three parts while its nose crashed into the roadside embankment.

TACA Airbus A320 after the accident - c by Mercopress.com

There are 3 people reported dead by the airline: captain D’Antonio, of Salvadoran nationality, captain of Flight 390 (with an accumulated 11 thousand flight hours and a TACA employee since 1993); and Mrs. Jeanne Chantal Neele, and Mr. Harry Brautigam, passengers. There were 124 passengers on board, 5 crew and 5 more TACA crew flying for repositioning purposes. On Saturday, 45 of these people remained hospitalized, the rest could be released immediately after the incident (or have simply walked away).

NATIONALITY NUMBER OF PAX
Argentina 9
Brazil 2
Canada 2
Colombia 2
Costa Rica 17
El Salvador 3
Georgia 1
Germany 1
Guatemala 8
Honduras 60
Italy 1
México 3
Nicaragua 5
Spain 2
United States 7
Uruguay 1

 

You can access the full passenger list here: taca-flight-390-passenger-list as provided by TACA on their website.

But as the aircraft hit a road, there were two more lethal tragedies on the ground, as the plane crumbled upon cars that got trapped under the wings. One of them reported to be a motorbike rider.

Here is the BBC link showing how the passengers were escaping, and how the cars got trapped under the wing.

According to the TACA website, the aircraft is an A320-233 Airbus, Irish plate EI- TAF, series number 1374 built on January 4th 2001. Until May 29th it had accumulated 21,957 flight hours and 9,992 landings. (Picture of the plane on airliners.net: http://www.airliners.net/photo/TACA/Airbus-A320-233/1232265/L/)

Location of the crash (link posted on flightlevel350.com)

Following the crash, officials acknowledged that the runways of Tegucigalpa’s aging Toncontin International Airport are short and its approach paths are dangerous. The airport is ringed by hills, posing a special challenge for pilots.

There was no official cause given for the crash yet, but weather may have also been a factor. The runway was wet with rain from Tropical Storm Alma.

by balint01

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Air Asia Airbus in Williams F1 Livery

AirAsia WilliamsF1 livery Airbus A320 - by F1live.com

AirAsia is a sponsor of the Williams F1 team, and has recently extended the 3 year contract. As the 2008 Formula-1 championship was kicked off a week ago in Melbourne, Australia, the second round is arriving to Kuala Lumpur for the coming weekend. To mark the Malaysian Grand Prix and the sponsorship with Williams, AirAsia has painted one of its Airbus A320’s into a special, Williams F1 livery.

The aircraft, whose livery is an exact look-alike of the AT&T Williams racing car, with Williams’ traditional racing colours of blue and white, whilst the ‘nose’ of the aircraft is designed to look like Nico Rosberg’s racing helmet. At the belly of the aircraft you can also find painted Bridgestone tyres in the front and in the aft part as well. The aircraft (new registration number: 9M-AFW) was named ‘Sir Frank Williams’ in tribute to Sir Frank Williams, Team Principal of Williams.

Nico Rosberg said: “It has been incredible to see the AT&T Williams livery on AirAsia’s plane. I’m delighted that the design of my helmet, which I have been racing with all my life, has been used to create a lasting tribute to the team’s partnership with Air Asia.” Kazuki Nakajima has added: “I am very impressed at how well the Williams Toyota FW30’s design has translated to the SFW30 Airbus. I think we would all like to thank AirAsia for this great venture and we are proud to be associated with the Airline of the Year 2007. This is indeed a source of inspiration to both of us going into the Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend.”

A high resolution picture of the plane on airliners.net by Rajesh Changela:

Link to airliners.net for the Large photo

by balint01

Lufthansa Plane Landing in Strong Crosswind

Over the past weekend, we have experienced some strange weather all around Europe, with really strong winds and huge storms. There was one major incident reported, where a Lufthansa plane flying from München attempted to land in Hamburg, in a really-really strong sidewind. The report mentioned that the wing has touched the runway, but if you take a look at this footage of the actual landing attempt, you’ll see that it was not just a small touch… The plane landed safely at the second try.

The Airports in Münich and Frankfurt were closed for several hours on Saturday as well.

I suppose there were several other tough landings around the airports of Western Europe over the weekend, very similar ones to this, which was recorded earlier, in January this year, at London City Airport, by a Swiss AvroLiner. We can really see how important the landing gears are to such airliners…

[Kata and Gábor, thanks for the links!]

Here is a collection of other crosswind landings.

by balint01

Special Aircraft Paintings

Hungarian beauty queen, giant salmon, flying panda, Mickey Mouse, Santa hit by a plane. What do they have in common? They were all used by airlines for marketing purposes, thus as aircraft paintings they all made our blue sky more colorful. Following the success of our earlier post about Sexy Stewardess Uniforms, we collected the most extravagant aircraft paintings.

The outfit of the aircrafts is one of the most important image tool of all airlines. Although there have been some airlines that sold the aircraft’s body for commercial purposes, still aircraft paintings are used for image strengthening. Here are the best aircraft paintings.

Sky Europe – Zsuzsa Laky

Sky Europe - Zsuzsa LakyZsuzsa Laky was Miss Hungary and Miss Europe in 2003. Slovakian-based Sky Europe had a hub in Budapest (Hungary) as well, so they contracted her to promote Hungary as a destination. Her full body shape picture covered the side of a B737-700. Zsuzsa’s face was also used in 2003 and 2004 by the Hungarian Tourism Board on billboards all over Europe to promote Hungary.

Alaska Airlines – Salmon-Thirty-Salmon

Alaska Airlines Salmon-Thirty-SalmonAlaska Airlines is the biggest air cargo company delivering sea fishbetween Alaska and the mainland US and Alaska and Europe. To emphasize their role in sea food transportation, they painted a giant salmon on one of their aircrafts. The name of the aircraft is a word game. Instead of Seven-Thirty-Seven they called it Salmon-Thirty-Salmon. Nice idea. 🙂

Alaska Airlines – Make a wish

Alaska Airlines Make a wishThe giant salmon was not the only special livery at Alaska Airlines. Together with the “Make-a-wish” foundation they decorated an aircraft with Genie from the Disney movie Aladdin. Alaska Airlines supported the foundation by taking children to places they wished to travel. On the first flight of the plane featuring Genie six children travelled from Seattle to Disneyland in California.

All Nippon Airways – Fly! Panda

Fly Panda 1To celebrate 35 years of freindly relationship between China and Japan and the 20th anniversary of the Tokyo – Beijing flight, All Nippon Airways chose the character of a Panda to be painted on their aircraft. It is not just the outift of the aircraft, the interior and the uniform of the staff is also themed of the kind, black-and-white bear.

JAL – Dream Express

JAL - Dream StoryIt was not just Alaska Airlines cooperating with Disney. JAL also painted 5 + 1 of its aircrafts “Disneyish”. The family members were the following: “Friends” with white background, “Sweet” with pink background, “Family” with blue background, 2 planes named “Tokyo Disney Sea” with blueish water-like background and the extra 6th plane with the nose of Mickey Mouse called “Dream story” and its livery is based on the story of an elementary school girl.

Lufthansa – Football World Championship

Lufthansa WCFor Germany 2006 was a historical year. After its reunion the Football (soccer) World Championship was the biggest sport event, when they could finally show thw world they are a nation, they are good hosts and their team is again good at football. They started preparations a year before the event. One of the first visual promotion of the championship was that Lufthansa painted the nose of its Airbus aircrafts looking like a soccer ball.

Air Asia – Manchester United

Air Asia Manchester United LiveryAir Asia is a low cost airline in the Far-East, where Manchester United football (soccer) club is very popular. The marketing managers of Air Asia found it a good opportunity to aim at this target group by painting one of their aircrafts Manchester United-like. The aircraft was called the Red Devil Airbus and it featured the key players and the trainer of the famous British soccer club. The players painted on the plane were: Sir Alex Ferguson, Park Ji Sing, Wayne Rooney, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo, Alan Smith, Rio Ferdinand.

Christmas

Santa hit by a planeChristmas – as all holidays – is one of the highest seasons in air travel. Airlines naturally prepare a lot for the holiday season. We can see Santa Claus livery on planes many times, especially on Finnair flights as Finnland is the official home of Santa. This is my favorite Santa painting, although I never managed to find out the airline itself.

And here is a collection of paintings not mentioned in the article.

Fly Panda 2

ANA - Snoopy

Concorde Pepsi

Itali Airlines Clouds

Dream Express Family

Sky Airlines Adam and Eve

By Szafi

Dubai Air Show Orders II

New orders at the Dubai Air Show:

1. DAE Capital

The Dubai based leasing company ordered 85 Boeing aircrafts; 75 B737 NGs, 10 B777-300s and 5 747-8F frighters. According to gossips there is a chance DAE Capital will extend its order to 15 additional B787s. DAE also ordered 70 A320s and 30 A350XWBs.

2. LCAL

Low Cost Aircraft Leasing, a Dubai based leasing company increased the number of a previous order by 6 B787s, thus instead of the original 15, they will buy 21.

3. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud

Signature at Dubai Air Show

Prince Alwaleed is the first private person who confirmed the order of an A380 for private purposes. The A380 Flying Palace will probably be the most luxurious private jet.

4. Air Arabia

Air Arabia ordered 34 Airbus A320s and took options on 15 more. Air Arabia is the first low cost airline in the Middle-East and its base is the United Arab Emirates.

SkyEurope And Wizz Air: Different Strategies

SkyEurope B737 at BUD   Wizz Air A320 at BUD

The Central and Eastern European market of low cost airlines is going through some very interesting times. Let’s not talk about the low-cost airlines who operate to this area, but are of other origin, such as RyanAir, easyJet, Sterling, Germanwings, Norwegian, etc., etc., but focus on those which are based in this region!

There are a number of low-cost airlines operating out of Central and Eastern Europe, some smaller ones like Smartwings (Czech Republic, part of the TravelService group with 2+8 aircraft), Niki (Austria), Centralwings (Poland, part of the LOT group with 5 aircraft – planned 15 by 2010) and Blue Air (Romania, with 4 aircraft). The two bigger ones are SkyEurope and WizzAir, who are following a totally different strategy as revealed in the last few days, even though until recently they were direct competitors of each other.

SkyEurope Logo SkyEurope is pulling out of its hubs in Hungary and Poland, and will focus purely on Vienna, Prague and Bratislava from the upcoming winter schedule. The goal for them is to stabilize their financial base. They are on the stock exchange, and can not maintain their losses over a long period of time. They plan to station 6 B737-700’s in Vienna, and 4 in Prauge (up from 4 and 2 respectively), which shows the focus is clearly on Vienna and Austria, where the demand is more stable and financially set, compared to the other countries around Central Europe. SkyEurope plans to operate 15 aircraft in Vienna in 2-3 years time. Currently they operate 14 airplanes, and plan to add another 16 Boeing 737 New Generation planes in the coming years. However, it was also in the news last week, that SkyEurope is selling two of its new Boeing 737-700’s, to raise funds for operations in the upcoming winter schedule. The airplanes were due for delivery this month and in November. Giving up their Budapest base, they also plan to sell their airport handling unit at Budapest Ferihegy International airport, for about USD 3.5 million. This will be an interesting sales process, as the only customer of this handling company was SkyEurope, so what is up for sale is basically only the right to carry out gound handling activites at Budapest Ferihegy Airport, and some equipment. We have witnessed a similar situation at loss-making Malev, when assets and rights need to be sold in order to survive the weak winter travel season… This is not a good sign in my opinion, but we’ll see in a year, whether if it has paid off for SkyEurope or not.

WizzAir On the other hand, the younger, more dynamic, Hungarian WizzAir announced a major Airbus order today, for 50 new A320 family aircraft!! Wizz Air already flies 13 Airbus A320s and earlier said it plans to maintain a uniform fleet. It had earlier predicted operating 53 aircraft within three to five years. Over the last two years Wizz Air, which flies 70 routes in Europe, ordered 32 Airbus A320s that fly up to 180 passengers. “The new deal increases the total order made by Wizz Air for A320 to 82,” the companies said, while they also agreed on an option to buy 25 additional A320’s by 2016. The 50 new planes are to be delivered in 2011-2014, while the option covers the period 2014-2016. This is the largest order for Airbus in Central and Eastern Europe, and would make Wizz Air one of the largest regional carriers with narrow-body aircraft.

So the two strategies are totally different! One budger airline selling off assets to survive the upcoming winter period, while the other one placing the largest Airbus order in Central and Eastern Europe! While SkyEurope predicts to have 30 aircraft in a few years, Wizz Air will have 32, and will start receiving the 50 new ones announced today! While SkyEurope is backing out from Poland and Hungary, and is focusing on Austria and the Czech Republic, Wizz Air agressively gains markets, and focuses on Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria, but keeps out of Austria and the Czech Republic. By only looking at the facts and this latest news, it looks like Wizz Air is winning on the Polish and Hungarian markets in the competition against SkyEurope, but it also looks a little bit like if the Central and Eastern European market of budget airlines has just been split up between the two…

by balint01


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