Archive for the 'airline' Category



First China Southern Airbus A380

SkyTeam member China Southern Airlines took delivery of its first Airbus A380 superjumbo in Tolouse, France in mid-October – adding it to service just four days later – becoming the seventh airlines in the world (and the third in SkyTeam) to operate the largest bird in the skies today. China Southern is the first operator of the A380 in the world, that deploys it on domestic routes.

The first Chinese owned double-decker airplane has 508 seats, that puts it in the middle of the field of airlines operating the super-jumbo. Interestingly, Korean Air has “only” 407 – the difference of 101 seats is about a regional jet’s capacity (!) – while Air France has 538 seats on the same size aircraft. The 58th A380 delivered by Airbus is the first to go to China, to the largest Asian airlines company. China Southern operates the largest Airbus flee in Asia with almost 200 European made planes as part of a fleet with a total of 422 aircraft, and has 4 more A380’s on order.

The world’s largest passenger jetliner at China Southern has 8 fully lie-flat reclining seats in “Platinum” suites (First Class), 70 in Business (1-2-1 layout) and 428 seats in Economy (3-4-3 layout). Passengers’ well–being will be enhanced through the onboard innovative mood lighting system including several different illumination scenarios to create a relaxing atmosphere and environment. The state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system makes it easy for passengers to select from a wide variety of audio and video programs and make their long-haul A380 trip something to remember. The cabin also offers seats and lavatories that are easily accessible to disabled passengers. The airplane is powered by 4 Rolls-Royce Trent-900 engines.

We are proud to become the first A380 operator in China,” said CZ chairman Si Xianmin. “The introduction of the A380 in our fleet is a very important step for the development of China Southern. The economics offered by the A380 will undoubtedly improve our competitiveness on international routes and is the perfect asset to make China Southern Airlines achieve its goal of becoming a leading global carrier,” he said.

The aircraft type was first operated on the Beijing-Guangzhou route between 18-26 October, and on the Beijing-Shanghai Hongqiao route, between 27-29 October. China Southern plans to start using the A380 on international service as well, the first such route being the Guangzhou-Paris route. The launch date for this service has not yet been unveiled. The other existing A380 operators – Singapore Airlines, EmiratesQantas AirwaysAir FranceLufthansa, and Korean Air – only deploy the aircraft on international services. For 2012, A380 deliveries to Malaysia Airlines and Thai Airways are on the list.

Four years of operation show that airlines who fly the A380 increase capacity, gain market share and improve load factors – with an A380 now taking off or landing every 15 minutes,” explained Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders at the hand-over ceremony in Tolouse. To date, A380s have flown more than 350,000 hours and carried over 16 million passengers, while serving 25 major cities worldwide, including flights that link the Middle East and Europe to Beijing and Shanghai in China. Guangzhou will be a new A380 destination with the China Southern’s domestic service, though.

by balint01

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First Boeing 787 Commercial Flight at ANA

Star Alliance Member All Nippon Airways (ANA) has finally conducted the first commercial flight of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on October 26, 2011. This historic milestone charter flight was delayed by 3 years and 4 months in takeoff…

ANA originally placed the launch order for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner back in April 2004, with the anticipation, that it can show off the plane on the scheduled Tokyo-Beijing route in time for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. That could not happen due to Boeing facing several issues during the development of the plane that caused numerous delays in the program. Just to name a few of those reasons: part shortages, software issues, machinists’ strikes, network problems, and a fire during flight testing… Test flights only began in December 2009 and certification took about twice as long as planned back then.

The first Boeing 787 Dreamliner (Registration: JA801A), which is a fuel efficient airplane made almost exclusively of lightweight carbon composites, made a 4 hour and 10 minute flight from Tokyo Narita Airport to Hong Kong with 250 passengers as its first commercial flight. Following the charter flight, the first Boeing 787 regular scheduled domestic service will be routes from Tokyo Haneda to Okayama and Hiroshima, both beginning Nov. 1. Then in December 2011, ANA plans to use the new aircraft type on the Tokyo Haneda-Beijing route, which will be the airplane’s first regular international service. Further domestic services are planned to be launched before year-end from Haneda to Itami, Yamaguchi Ube and Matsuyama. The first regular long-haul international 787 service will be Tokyo Haneda-Frankfurt, beginning as a thrice-weekly service on January 21, 2012, and increasing to daily in February.

To power all these routes, ANA currently has two 787s (with special domestic configuration of 12 premium and 252 economy seats – later two different configurations will be used for international flights: 42 business + 180 economy and 46 business + 112 economy), but expects to have another five (!) by the end of the year. By the end of March 2012, ANA expects to have a total of 11 787s, and 20 by March 2013. The Japanese Star Alliance member plans to have all 55 of the 787s on order – which includes 15 of the longer 787-9 version – by the end of March 2018.

by balint01

The Sexiest WizzAir Flight Attendants

Here is what you’ve been waiting for! Choose your sexiest Flight Attendant and vote for her or him!

Wizzair, Central and Eastern Europe’s most popular low-cost airline has kicked off an interesting campaign on facebook, where you can select your favorite Wizzair Stewardess (or Steward) by voting. If you haven’t met (all of) them in person, you may just look at the pictures, and choose the sexiest, the best looking, the most smiling or simply the one you find the friendliest.

Sexy Stewardess are always a hot topic, and here the candidates have been pre-selected by fashion and airline industry experts, and now it’s our turn to choose the 14 faces of the airline for 2011. The winners will part-take in a professional photo-shoot and will feature in WizzAir‘s European marketing campaigns and ads this year. We can have our say of who we want to see on large (airport) billboards, in magazines or on TV.

All you need to do is:

1. go to facebook.com/wizzaircom
2. click on the “Wizz Ambassadors” link
3. allow the facebook app to use your personal data
4. vote on your favorite WizzAir girl or boy once a day – you have 7 votes per day, one for each country

Looks like the one vote per day per country is a good rule, as this should guarantee that the decision will not only rely on the number of facebook users per country, but will have votes going to all country representatives. It is also useful as WizzAir will have two faces in all countries where they operate from. By the way, the seven countries are: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary (where WizzAir started and still has its headquarters), Poland, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine. You can see one of the Hungarian candidates here, Livia Toth (no suggestion or campaigning, just a pretty stewardess), but there are lots of other good looking WizzAir flight attendants in the facebook app that you can vote for!

The ones selected by the WizzAir facebook fans will not only be one of the faces of WizzAir in 2011 but I’m sure they will also gain popularity, (even more) self-confidence and potentially a new personal fan-base on facebook?

by balint01

Airlines vs. GDS vs. Online Travel Agencies

Have you ever wondered:

  • why some airlines can be found on online travel sites, while others can’t?
  • why some airlines provide their cheapest fares only on their own websites?
  • why all airlines are marketing their own website on every occasion they can?
  • why airlines mention GDS costs among their biggest expenditures?

Check out this video from by Farelogix, that is a great summary of the current battle between airlines, online travel agencies and GDSs.

by balint01

Emirates Orders 32 More Airbus A380’s

Dubai based Emirates has placed a firm order for 32 Airbus A380 super-jumbos – the largest single order for the type. With the already ordered 58, the Middle-Eastern airline will operate a fleet of 80 (!) Double-Deckers!

This latest order of 32 A380’s is a major milestone, for several reasons. This is the single biggest order for the aircraft type to date, valued at USD 11.5 billion (at list prices). This is the first time that an airline already operating the type ordered additional pieces – which is a real proof that the plane is fulfilling it’s promises in operations. And last but not least, it confirms that Emirates thinks about Dubai as a major worldwide Air Travel Hub even more seriously than earlier.

The order agreement was signed in a ceremony yesterday at the Berlin Air Show, in front of a very prestigious audience: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Emirates Chairman and CEO Ahmed bin SaeedAl-Maktoum and Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders.

Al-Maktoum told media that “the A380 is a great aircraft and our passengers worldwide are enthusiastic about this new dimension of air travel. This latest order, adding to 58 A380s previously ordered, affirms Emirates’ strategy to become a world leading carrier and to further establish Dubai as a central gateway to worldwide air travel.

Enders said, “Emirates has supported the development of the A380 from the earliest days, and today’s order…is the best endorsement I can imagine.

Emirates already took delivery of its 10th A380 this week and currently serves the largest A380 network: London Heathrow, Toronto, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Jeddah, Bangkok, Seoul Incheon, Sydney and Auckland. It plans to start A380 service from Dubai to Beijing on Aug. 1 and to Manchester on Sept. 1 and will restore A380 service on its Dubai-New York JFK route in October.

The carrier plans to have an enormous amount of widebody capacity in the future: In addition to the 80 A380s it still has on order for delivery, it has commitments for 70 A350s and 18 777-300s.

Based on the currently known orders for the A380 (234), Emirates holds 39% of the total orders for the type, meaning that more than every third A380 built will be operated by them.

by balint01

A La Carte Meals On KLM Economy Class

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has started testing à la carte meal service in Economy Class, on a number of selected flights.

When traveling on First or on Business Class, passengers can usually choose from a few different menus before the meal service, or even before taking off. In Economy, usually passengers get two options – if they are among the first being served (“Chicken or Pasta?”). If you end up sitting in a row that gets the main dish as the last ones, you may be left without any choice and just get the meal that is left.

At the end of May, KLM launched a pilot project testing à la carte catering in Economy Class on flights from Amsterdam to Bangkok/Taipei, Dubai, Cape Town, and Singapore/Denpasar. Passengers will be able to choose from four dishes while the pilot test runs across the peak tourist season in the summer, until the end of August, 2010.

KLM will continue serving its standard meals onboard, this choice of menu is offered in addition to the usual catering. The four dish choices include:

Orders can be placed and paid for by credit card, when checking in online. The cost is EUR 15 (USD 18.62) per dish. Important, that in order to get this service, one must check-in online between 30 and 24 hours prior to departure. Note: if you ordered a special meal when you made your booking  (e.g.: vegetarian, kosher, lactose-free, etc.), it will be replaced by your a la carte choice.

The wishes and choices of our customers are key. We will be testing them during the pilot project. Our aim is to align our products even more closely to what different customers want,” said Erik Varwijk, Executive Vice President of KLM Commercial.

We are looking forward to hear back from KLM how the pilot project goes, but to be honest, – shall it be successful – providing this service on flights to all the worldwide destinations that KLM flies to may be much easier than providing the same service for flights flying back to Amsterdam from across the globe. We look forward to seeing this service being rolled-out to all flights and maybe starting an onboard a la carte catering competition among airlines?

by balint01

Lufthansa A380 Flies To Johannesburg

Lufthansa flew the German National Football Team, the Nationalelf to the South African WorldCup on board their brand new flagship, the Airbus A380 super-jumbo. They titled this special flight as “Mannschaftsbus“.

The flight, numbered as LH 2010 left Frankfurt a bit late at almost 9 pm on Sunday evening, June 6, 2010 to arrive in Johannesburg at 8:15 on Monday morning – right at the scheduled time. About 150 football fans were also aboard the A380 along with the players, the DFB (German Football Association) trainers and assistants. The team was given a warm send-off in the Business Lounge at Gate C14 at Frankfurt. Before the flight, Team Manager Oliver Bierhoff and the players took part in a talk session. All the passengers on the special flight were presented with an exclusive Lufthansa World Cup fan kit full of items the supporters will need to cheer their team on.

Captain Jürgen Raps, Member of the Lufthansa German Airlines Board and Chief Pilot, was pilot in command of the special flight. Supporting him on the flight deck were Captain Raimund Müller and Captain Werner Knorr. All three of them had a painted German flag on their faces, like all the real fans usually do. The cabin crew comprised two pursers and 19 flight attendants. “We’re flying to South Africa with a good feeling,” said Manuel Neuer, goalkeeper of the German national squad.

We are thrilled to be the first guests on board Lufthansa’s biggest and most modern airliner and hope after a relaxed flight to realise our sporting ambitions at the World Cup in South Africa,” said Team Manager Oliver Bierhoff.

The youngest German World Cup Team since 1934 had a full floor to themselves on the double-decker aircraft. The lower level of Economy class was occupied by journalists and the above mentioned 150 lucky fans.

As a surprise, however, on the upper deck, one of the First Class seats was occupied during the flight by the famous singer: Shakira! Her private jet arrived in Frankfurt a little bit late, thus she missed all the pre-flight events, but the A380 did wait for her and took off a few minutes late. Reportedly, members of the team taught a few German words to the pop-diva, who is scheduled to perform on the first ever FIFA WORLD CUP KICK–OFF CELEBRATION CONCERT, together with Alicia Keys, The Black Eyed Peas, John Legend just to mention a few from the very impressive, long line-up of musicians. The historic event is taking place the night before the first match at 8 p.m. local time on June 10, 2010, at the newly-renovated Orlando Stadium in Soweto/Johannesburg.

The well-rested and stylishly traveled German Football Team will play their first match against Australia in Durban, on Saturday.

Minute-by-minute reporting from the flight in German: here.

Photos taken from the Lufthansa Facebook site.

by balint01


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