Archive for the 'balint01' Category

R.I.P. Malév – by balint01

2012 is supposed to be the end of the world – according to the Mayas. I do not believe in that. But 2012 actually turns out to be the end, for at least a part of the world: for those of us who have ever worked at Malév Hungarian Airlines or somewhere in the Hungarian Aviation Industry.

3rd of February, 2012. The date when Malév – the 66 year old Hungarian Airlines – disappeared from the skies. At some point in its history it was part of the North-American skies, the Asian skies, the Middle-Eastern skies and the African skies. But most importantly, Malév was always part of the European skies. And it was proud of it. Malev was also proud to become a European Union flag carrier in 2004 – but ironically this status put the latest nail in its coffin. A coffin that was started to be built about 20 years ago, sometime in the early 1990’s, after the political change in this part of the world.

One thing you need to know though: while the politicians were working hard on building this coffin, most of the employees (I’m sorry, but I can’t say ‘all of the employees’, only ‘most’ at best) were working against it. So most of the employees believed in a Hungarian National Airline, and believed that it can be operated in a professional, profitable way. Maybe even an efficient way. So what went wrong then? you may ask. I believe that the 20 year old last chapter in its history – that ended with the complete disappearance of Malév yesterday – had one root problem: ever changing top management. 21 years – 17 CEO’s!! (But this will most likely be a different post in this blog in the near future.)

Anyway, while growing up, I built about 70 plastic planes, and watched airliners at Budapest Ferihegy Airport Terminal 1 observation deck a few times. I was really jealous of my father visiting his best friend in Stockholm with an SAS DC-9. Then at the age of 8, my parents couldn’t take me away from the observation deck of the Frankfurt Airport for more than two hours… I was amazed by seeing so many planes and identifying each flag carrier by their tail design. Then at 11, I flew for the first time in my life – and like most of the Hungarians older than 15 – I had my first flying experience aboard Malév. It was a Tupolev Tu-154. I was so excited about this flight, that I threw up – funnily after we landed in Rome… I can still remember that the flight attendants on that flight were extremely nice and helpful. Really.

Then I flew about 10 times with them before I joined Malév in 2003. On my first interview (with Szafi) I was told that we would try to save the airline with the new e-business solutions, but it may not be flying in one year. I convinced myself that it was a great opportunity to be a member of the team that may save the Hungarian National Flag Carrier – especially being fresh out of the university, without a family to support, just starting my carrier. And I’m glad I convinced myself of this risk, as I had enjoyed 3 great years there – plus I met so many wonderful people, including my wife!

I really had the privilege of getting to know so many people across the whole company while working with the BPR part of the team who introduced online booking – and later e-ticketing. I became friends with colleagues at the Pricing Department, Scheduling, Domestic and International Sales, the Ticketing offices, the Call Center, Finance, Marketing, Legal, Communications, Airport Operations in Budapest and at a number of stations we flew to – just to mention a few. As an aviation enthusiast employee, I had of course met and talked to a number of Malév pilots and flight attendants as well. Some of these people have moved on over the years and are now working at other companies, but some of them just lost their jobs – yesterday. I truly share their feelings as much as possible and wish them strength and all the best in the coming days, weeks!

On the other hand, we must also talk about realities. I hate to say this, but such an airline with so many CEO’s and ever changing strategy over decades, was destined to die. We all knew this. We just didn’t want to believe it. And we were all shocked when as an employee first heard the ‘rumours’ that we may not get our next salary. Then the ‘old folks’ told us ‘Don’t worry, this has been happening at least once a year for the last decade, there is always a solution!‘ And we tried to believe them, but then waited for the next salary with nervousness. And it was transferred. Then a few months later it happened again. It got transferred again. For the third time I already felt like the ‘old folks’ – no worries, this is just a small panic. And it would probably go on like this for the latest newcomers for years to come – only if the EU would not rule out financial help by the state. They say this is to protect competition. From the Budapest flight market one thing has disappeared yesterday: the main competitor. Meaning that there will be no real competition from now on, as the other flag carriers flying to Budapest will be the sole carriers on their respective routes. Who will stop Lufthansa to raise their fares to Hamburg or Frankfurt, or BA to London, or Air France to Paris – when there is no other airline flying there from Budapest? What will the EU say now? Also, if there is no state-aid for the Air Carriers, why can be state-aid for banks when they are in trouble? Or for car manufacturers when they are in trouble? Why not for Air Carriers when they are in trouble? Like Spanair a week ago and now Malév. Who will be next in a week’s time? CSA Czech Airlines? LOT? SAS? Is the EU protecting competition, or is it protecting the three large European Airline conglomerates (Lufthansa group, Air France-KLM group and BA-Iberia group) and low-cost carriers?

Malev is now gone. From the skies. Physically it only remains in the Airplane Museum at the Budapest Liszt Ferenc Airport – unfortunately no Boeing 737 NG planes will ever be exhibited there, as they were all flown back to the lessor ILFC last night already. But it remains in the hearts of those who ever worked there. And for those who are just now joining the world outside of Malév, I can guarantee one thing: You will continue to talk about Malév as ‘us’ and ‘we’ for decades to come. Trust me, I know, because I do that all the time, too.

Rest In Peace, Blue-Nosed, Malév Hungarian Airlines!

by balint01

Lufthansa Shopping Around Europe

Lufthansa Logo

Lufthansa, the German flag carrier has been one of the most successful airlines in Europe in recent years and a leader in the Star Alliance. They have made very strong relationships with the other European Star Alliance members by sharing loyalty programs (pushing through their own Miles & More program to be used by others), promoting strong code-share agreements, etc. They have also assured to have an insight and some influence over at least some of their fellow European Star partners by having minority stakes in British bmi and the Scandinavian SAS. Lufthansa has also made a strong partnership with Italian Air One in 2000 – this is a nowadays often heard name, as Air One is merging with the nearly-collapsed Alitalia to form the new Italian flag-carrier.

Swiss logo 1. SWISS International Airlines (2005)

Other European carriers may have also had some similar agreements in place, but no minority ownership in other airlines, until only a few years ago. Then in 2004 Air France merged with KLM, creating Air France-KLM and created the world’s largest Airline in terms of annual revenue in those days. As an answer, Lufthansa purchased the bankrupt Swiss International Airlines in March 2005, which was also officially communicated as a merger, but in reality it was a take-over by the Germans. Swiss has been turned around and is making profit these days – thus it is living proof that Lufthansa may be very successful in acquiring other airlines and merging them into its extended line of subsidiaries that contain smaller, regional partners such as Air Dolomiti, Lufthansa CityLine, Augsburg Airways just to name a few. Obviously Swiss became a much bigger subsidiary than these others by keeping its own brand and identity but sharing the coherences.

JetBlue logo

2. jetBlue (2007)

Then, two years after the succussful Swiss take-over, Lufthansa began airline shopping in late 2007. First it purchased a 19% stake in the American low-cost airline, JetBlue and announced extended partnerships.

Brussels_Airlines_Logo3. Brussels Airlines (2008)

But in 2008, Lufthansa really shifted gears and became the main advocate and driver of airline consolidation around Europe. Basically any airline sales that have happened this year, included Lufthansa as a potential buyer at some point, but more interestingly in a number of cases they turned out to be the actual buyers. On September 15 2008, Lufthansa announced a relative surprise 45% stake acquisition in Brussels Airlines, just two weeks after the first rumours of such a tie-up. It is interesting as Brussels Airlines has not been a member of Star Alliance (has been an outsider to any airline alliances actually), and is a result of a merger by itself, that happened not so long ago. In 2006 SN Brussels Airlines (replacement of the earlier bankrupt Sabena) merged with Virgin Express, a Richard Branson owned low-cost carrier to create the largest Belgian airlines. Lufthansa now owns 45% of it, but has an option to purchase the remaining 55% by 2011. Brussels Airlines is bound to gain full membership to Star Alliance in the coming years as a result. During the merger process it was revealed that Brussels Airlines was also in talks with British Airways, but that deal has fallen through.

Over the course of 2008, Lufthansa was also mentioned as a potential buyer of SAS, or its subsidiary in Spain: Spanair. They are both members of Star, so it would have been a logical step. (The Spanair interest has been expressed already in 2007 as we reported.) However, a Spanair flight suffered a very bad, deadly accident on August 20th, 2008, following of which Lufthansa seems to have given up on purchasing the SAS lead airline group that fell into heavy losses after the accident.

bmi logo4. bmi (British Midland) (2008)

But let’s not forget the large UK market, where as said earlier, LH has held a minority stake (30%-1 share) in the second largest local player on the market: bmi. The current majority stakeholder, Sir Michael Bishop has 50%+1 share, with the remaining 20% being owned by the Scandinavian SAS Airlines group. Lufthansa is planning to purchase the stakes of Sir Bishop (who expressed his intentions of selling his stakes to the Germans in late October, 2008), with which they would become the 80% owner of the second largest British Airlines, and the airlines holding the second largest number of take-off and landing slots at London Heathrow airport, the biggest European Gateway to North-America. This sale is expected at around GBP 314 Million, which at the time of the announcement was worth around EUR 400 Million. By the time the sale is concluded sometime in January 2009, it may cost less for the Germans due to the recent weakness of the Pound against the Euro. Having mentioned Sir Richard Branson’s name in connection with Brussels Airlines above, both parties have confirmed that should Lufthansa become the majority owner of bmi, he would very much like to link up the long-haul operations of his Virgin Atlantic Airways with the short and medium haul flights of bmi – to create a realistic competition to British Airways in the UK. Virgin Atlantic Airways President Richard Branson said in December that “talks will take place with Lufthansa, maybe are taking place, to see whether it makes sense for the two companies to work together,” the Associated Press reported.

Update: On 18MAY2009, the takeover bid has been approved by the European Commission.

austrian_airlines_logo5. Austrian Airlines (2008)

On the other hand, Lufthansa quickly turned its focus towards the recently loss-making Austrian Airlines, a long-time close Star Alliance partner. The Austrian Government was selling off the majority stake of its own flag-carrier over the course of October-November, 2008. There are some controversial details to the final bidding process where AirFrance-KLM had dropped its bid, but after all, Lufthansa was announced as the winner of this privatization effort. This sounds like a logical step, based on their long-time partnership. The deal is expected to be closed by January 2009.

Update (29AUG2009): It took much longer than expected, but finally on 28AUG, the European Commission has officially approved Lufthansa’s acquisition of Austrian Airlines Group. Lufthansa alleviated antitrust concerns by agreeing to reduce service between five European cities (Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart, Cologne and Brussels) and Vienna.

Update (05FEB2010): All remaining shares in Austrian Airlines Group held by minority shareholders have been transferred to Lufthansa subsidiary Osterreichische Luftverkehrs Holding by order of the Vienna Commercial Court. Share certificates are redeemable for cash compensation, Lufthansa said. In December it said it would pay €0.50 ($0.70) for each outstanding share. Austrian Airlines Group is expected to be delisted from the Vienna Stock Exchange soon.

germanwings logo6. Germanwings (2008)

Another late 2008 announcement saw Lufthansa taking full ownership of the German low-cost carrier, Germanwings (established in 1997), that was owned by Eurowings, a Dortmund based regional air carrier. To twist this story, Lufthansa has been holding a 49% stake in Eurowings since 2006 with full control as parent company, thus it was already partial owner of Germanwings before the announcement in December, 2008, that it will fully take it over as of January 1, 2009.

7. What’s next in 2009?

Looking at the dynamics of Lufthansa shopping around Europe for other airlines, we are sure they will continue in 2009. But what could be their next target(s)?

  • Alitalia
    The Italian flag-carrier is just being reorganized and the new owners are looking for a strategic partner, which could be either Lufthansa (given their strong relationship to Air One, it would make sense) or Air France-KLM (they have been cooperating with Alitalia and are all in SkyTeam). And let’s not forget that Lufthansa has been interested in Alitalia all along the long and rocky road to its privatization.
    Update (09JAN2009): Lufthansa confirmed that it did not make an offer for Alitalia in the end, and prefers to work with its Star Alliance partners in the Italian market. Air France-KLM will hold a minority stake in the reorganized Italian flag-carrier.
  • SAS / Spanair
    Given the earlier speculations and shared Star Alliance interests, a partial or majority stake exchange or merger could still happen between Lufthansa and SAS or SAS subsidiary Spanair.
    Update (02FEB2009): SAS has sold its 80.1% stake in Spanair for €1 ($1.31), leaving SAS with the remainder. This practically rules out Lufthansa buying the Spanish carrier, but would still offer the possibility for a stake in SAS.
  • LOT Polish Airlines
    The Polish government is planning to sell all or at least part of the national carrier of Poland that has been in Star Alliance and has been cooperating with Lufthansa for quite some time.
  • TAP Portugal
    We don’t know about TAP being up for sale, but would not be surprised if Lufthansa would simply buy the fellow Star Alliance member that would give them a much larger presence in South-America.
  • CSA Czech Airlines
    I wouldn’t bet on such a tie-up, but given the aggressiveness of the Germans, if and when CSA will be up for privatization, they may join the tender process, just in case…
    Update: Lufthansa had not turned in an offer for CSA.
  • Regional carriers
    There are a number of regional flag-carriers of smaller European countries that could theoretically be of interest to Lufthansa next year, such as those Star Alliance associates on the Balkans (Croatia Airlines and Adria Airways) or any of the small carriers in the Baltic states.

If Lufthansa will keep its course and will continue to be shopping around Europe for airlines in 2009, we’ll be here to keep you updated! And of course the other two major European players (Air France-KLM and British Airways) will also have to speed up their consolidation plans if they want to cooperate with any airline in Europe, before Lufthansa buys them all…

by balint01

Flight Review: easyJet

Route: BUDAPEST-London/Gatwick
Travel Date: 05OCT2008

Ticket Purchase

I have bought the ticket through www.easyjet.com, which was very simple and straight forward. After selecting your departue city on the homepage, it narrows down the list of destinations which are directly served from there. Also there is an option to indicate if you’re flexible about your dates. As I was on a business trip, this was not an option for me, I had to leave on a Sunday as the Monday schedule from Budapest to London pretty much destroys the full business day, thus it’s not an option… (I think with the winter 2008 timetable this flight has been rescheduled as an evening flight.) The Search Results still show 3 days, even though I have opted not to be flexible with my dates…

The least fair step of the booking process, comes after selecting your flight, where additional services are already added to your flight by default and the price of course is increased. This page looks very crowded, with loads of information presented in a number of different stlyed boxes below each other, making it hard to read and find the important information (“I’m charged with extra stuff”), which seems to be lost among the colored text and symbols. Third party taxes are of course OK, but why do I have to be automatically opted-in to Travel Insurance and 1 checked-in luggage with their associated costs? I can somewhat understand the luggage as probably the average traveller takes 1 larger, non-carry-on bag with them, but the insurance is really something that should not be opted-in by default! I can still add other items to the service, such as Speedy Boarding, additional luggage, and special sports equipment. This is the step when I can also opt-in to compensate my CO2 emmissions of the flight(s) booked. After having actively removed the Travel Insurance and the Checked-in luggage fee, I can continue to the next page to provide my traveller details, etc. Based on my preferred credit card type, I’m again charged with the extra Credit Card Transactional Fee. Only Visa Electron is transaction fee free… Once paid, I can already check-in if my flight is within 3 months from now! This is a very nice solution!

Offsetting Carbon Emissions 

Offsetting Carbon Emissions is very easy and simple with easyJet. As I already mentioned after selecting your flight you are presented with a very loaded page where you can opt-in for extras. One of those is the CO2 offsetting schema, that has already calculated the amount you should pay for this “service” and you can opt-in with just one simple click.

easyJet Airbus A319 (G-EZBU) c by Martin Stephen on airliners.net

easyJet Airbus A319 (G-EZBU) c by Martin Stephen on airliners.net

Check-In

I chose to check-in online, immediately after finishing my booking. It opens 3 months before the actual flight, it’s very simple, and you can print your boarding pass at the end of the process. It is very convenient as you can proceed straight to the gate with that piece of paper. The only worry I would have is that if I’m checked in 3 months in advance for a flight, I may simply forget about it… 🙂 As easyJet is using “Open seating“, there are no seats assigned to the passengers, you can look for a free seat you like and just take it once you’re on the aircraft. With the internet check-in, one is placed in boarding group “A”, that supposedly gets on board after those who have purchased the “Speedy Boarding” service – to guarantee themselves as among the first people to enter the airplane. There is another group following “A”, which is “B” and includes those who checked-in at the airport. They are the last ones to get on the plane and can only select from “left-over” seats.

1. BUDAPEST – LONDON GATWICK (EZY 5444)

Aircraft: Airbus A319 (G-EZBU)
Class: Economy (one class layout)
Punctuality: Flight took off 2 minutes late, arrived exactly on time.
Boarding: By bus, thus the above described boarding groups were hard to coordinate I think. As I took the aft door of the plane after getting out of the bus, I probably entered the plane with my “A” group Boarding pass earlier than some of those going through the front door and having “Speedy Boarding”… I got a window seat without any problems. Flight was less-than half house, with plenty of free seats, I was the only one in my row on my side.
Seats: Regular seats with less-than average legroom
Flight Attendants: There were 4 of them, 2 young girls and 1 guy plus 1 older purser. Two of the girls were good looking, all of them were very friendly.
Meals: Meals are offered at an additional cost, you can select from a range of sandwiches and drinks including alcoholic drinks. Those who selected a warm sandwhich, had to wait about 20 mins before they got their heated up food.
In-Flight shopping: In-flight shopping contains a selected range of items. I have purchased a limited series easyJet model plastic aircraft only, as the parfume I wanted to buy for my wife has already ran out.
Entertainment: No LCD screens or such, only the In-Flight magazine of easyJet plus the In-Flight Shopping guide of course. Bring your own reading material and music player!

Onboard easyJet

Onboard easyJet

Overall Experience

It was exactly what I paid for: transportation from Budapest to London Gatwick, in a timely, correct manner without any frills. I would take this flight again, but only if I ever want to leave on a business trip on a Sunday afternoon as the schedule is not really good for travellers originating in Budapest. Totally wrong schedule for any Hungarian business travellers, as the flight leaves in the afternoon and returns from London in late morning, but probably suits London business people just OK. The pricetag: this one way flight costed HUF 41.400 or USD 255, with the purchase taking place 10 days before the departure.

by balint01

Friday Fun – If Airlines Sold Paint…

Thanks for Karen, we have received this funny (joke) conversation, that tries to show how airline pricing would work, if airlines would sell: PAINT for example. Really funny, even though it is exaggerating a little bit! And paint is not the same kind of “non-storable” product as airline seats flying away at a given time.

Customer: Hi. How much is your paint?
Clerk: Well, sir, that all depends on quite a lot of things.
Customer: Can you give me a guess? Is there an average price?
Clerk: Our lowest price is $12 a gallon, and we have 60 different prices up to $200 a gallon.
Customer: What’s the difference in the paint?
Clerk: Oh, there isn’t any difference; it’s all the same paint.
Customer: Well, then I’d like some of that $12 paint.
Clerk: When do you intend to use the paint?
Customer: I want to paint tomorrow. It’s my day off.
Clerk: Sir, the paint for tomorrow is the $200 paint.
Customer: When would I have to paint to get the $12 paint?
Clerk: You would have to start very late at night in about 3 weeks. But you will have to agree to start painting before Friday of that week and continue painting until at least Sunday.
Customer: You’ve got to be *&%^#@* kidding!
Clerk: I’ll check and see if we have any paint available.

Customer: You have shelves FULL of paint! I can see it!
Clerk: But it doesn’t mean that we have paint available. We sell only a certain number of gallons on any given weekend. Oh, and by the way, the price per gallon just went to $16. We don’t have any more $12 paint.
Customer: The price went up as we were talking?
Clerk: Yes, sir. We change the prices and rules hundreds of times a day, and since you haven’t actually walked out of the store with your paint yet, we just decided to change. I suggest you purchase your paint as soon as possible. How many gallons do you want?
Customer: Well, maybe five gallons. Make that six, so I’ll have enough.
Clerk: Oh no, sir, you can’t do that. If you buy paint and don’t use it, there are penalties and possible confiscation of the paint you already have.
Customer: WHAT?
Clerk: We can sell enough paint to do your kitchen, bathroom, hall and north bedroom, but if you stop painting before you do the bedroom, you will lose your remaining gallons of paint.
Customer: What does it matter whether I use all the paint? I already paid you for it!
Clerk: We make plans based upon the idea that all our paint is used, every drop. If you don’t, it causes us all sorts of problems.
Customer: This is crazy!! I suppose something terrible happens if I don’t keep painting until after Saturday night!

Clerk: Oh yes! Every gallon you bought automatically becomes the $200 paint.
Customer: But what are all these, “Paint on sale from $10 a litre” signs?
Clerk: Well that’s for our budget paint. It only comes in half-gallons. One $5 half-gallon will do half a room. The second half-gallon to complete the room is $20. None of the cans have labels, some are empty and there are no refunds, even on the empty cans.
Customer: To hell with this! I’ll buy what I need somewhere else!
Clerk: I don’t think so, sir. You may be able to buy paint for your bathroom and bedrooms, and your kitchen and dining room from someone else, but you won’t be able to paint your connecting hall and stairway from anyone but us. And I should point out, sir, that if you paint in only one direction, it will be $300 a gallon.
Customer: I thought your most expensive paint was $200!
Clerk: That’s if you paint around the room to the point at which you started. A hallway is different.
Customer: And if I buy $200 paint for the hall, but only paint in one direction, you’ll confiscate the remaining paint.
Clerk: No, we’ll charge you an extra use fee plus the difference on your next gallon of paint. But I believe you’re getting it now, sir.
Customer: You’re insane!
Clerk: Thanks for painting with Friday Fun Airlines!
 

Aircraft Winglets

Many of us who fly regularly have most probably seen a so-called winglet or wingtip device at the end of the wing of an airliner at least once. It is showing up more and more often on more and more types of aircraft, thus we felt it’s time to give an overview to our readers about these sometimes funny, sometimes cool and stylish looking aircraft parts.

Winglet on Virgin Atlantic A340-600 - c by Dan Valentine on Airliners.net

Winglet on Virgin Atlantic A340-600 - c by Dan Valentine on Airliners.net

History, Reason and Benefits

The initial theoretical concept goes back to times before even the Wright Brothers first took to the skies in 1905, but it was picked up and developed by Richard T. Whitcomb of NASA after the 1973 oil crisis – in order to reduce fuel consumption. The first tests were carried out in 1979/80 in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force. At almost the same time, but independent of any U.S. military organization, a private jet producer, LearJet exhibited a prototype in 1977: the LearJet 28 that featured the first winglets on a jet and a production aircraft. Flight tests made with and without winglets showed that the winglets increased range by about 6.5 percent and also improved directional stability for the LearJet- these two factors are the major reasons behind using this facility at any fixed wing aircraft ever since.

Airflow around the wingtip with or without a wingletA winglet is a (near) vertical extension of the wing tips. The upward angle of the winglet, its inward angle as well as its size and shape are critical for correct performance – this is why they can look quite different. Air rotating around the wing strikes the surface of the winglet that directs it in another direction – thus creating an extra force, basically converting otherwise wasted energy to thrust. This is a small contribution but can save a lot for an operator in an aircraft’s lifetime. Another potential benefit of winglets is that they reduce the strength of wingtip vortices, which trail behind the plane. When other aircraft pass through these vortices, the turbulent air can cause loss of control, possibly resulting in an accident.

Winglet Types

In general any wingtips that not end the wing simply horizontally are considered as some kind of a winglet. Even though in strictly technical terms Wingtip Fences are not real extensions of the wing, and Raked Wingtips do not have a vertical part, they are still widely considered as winglet variants.

WINGTIP FENCES are a special variant of winglets, that extend both upward and downward from the tip of the wing. Preferred by European plane-maker Airbus, it is featured on their full product range (except the A330/340 family and the future A350). The Airbus A300 was actually the first jet airliner to feature this kind of solution by default, but it was a very small version of the tool. Provided that most of the Airbus planes (including all A320 family jets) feature such wingtip fences, this may be the most seen and most produced winglet type. Even the new Airbus A380 double-decker features wingtip fences.

Airbus Winglets as seen from the outside

Airbus Winglets as seen from the outside

Airbus Winglets seen from onboard

Airbus Winglets as seen from onboard

BLENDED WINGLETS (the real “Winglets”) are the most popular winglet type, leveraged by Airbus, Boeing, Embraer, Bombardier but also by Russian Tupolev and Iljushin. Blended winglets were first introduced on the McDonnel Douglas MD-11 aircraft in 1990 with launch customer Finnair (it also features a smaller winglet at the bottom side of the wing). In contrast to Airbus who applies the wingtip fences by default on most of their aircraft (and the winglets on the A330/340 family), blended winglets are considered by Boeing for example as an optional extra feature on their products, except for the Boeing 747-400. For some of the older Boeing jets (737 and 757) such blended winglets have been offered as an aftermarket retrofit, these are the newer, tall designs and do not connect to the tip of the wing with a sharp angle, but with a curve instead. These winglets are popular among airlines that fly these aircraft on medium/long haul routes as most of the real fuel savings materialize while cruising. Longer flights mean longer cruising, thus larger fuel savings. And they also server as marketing surface for airline logos or web addresses usually.

Just recently the Boeing 767-300ER has received 3.4 m high (!) winglets produced by Aviation Partners Inc. with American Airlines as the launch-customer with Air New Zealand and Hawaiian Airlines following with orders of 5 and 8 aircrafts respectively. 141 shipsets have been pre-sold already as the forecasted fuel savings range around 4%-6% for medium/long-range flights. Airbus earlier tested similar blended winglets designed by Winglet Technology for the A320 series, but determined that their benefits did not warrant further development and they stayed with the wingtip fences instead. Aviation Partners Boeing claims that winglets on 737s and 757s have saved a collective 1.2 billion gal. of fuel since they were introduced and 11.5 million tonnes of CO2 while reducing those types’ noise footprint by 6.5%. It has sold winglets to 140 airlines and 95% of all 737NGs are fitted with them. It is working on four winglet concepts for the 777 and hopes to finalize a design for that aircraft type by December, 2008.

Blended Winglets on Several Aircraft Types

Blended Winglets on Several Aircraft Types

RAKED WINGTIPS are the most recent winglet variants (they are probably better classified as special wings, though), where the tip of the wing has a higher degree of sweep than the rest of the wing. They are widely referred to as winglets, but they are better described as integrated wingtip extensions as they are (horizontal) additions to the existing wing, rather than the previously described (near) vertical solutions. The stated purpose of this additional feature is to improve fuel economy, climb performance and to shorten takeoff field length. It does this in much the same way as “traditional” winglets do. In testing by Boeing and NASA, raked wingtips have been shown to reduce drag by as much as 5.5%, as opposed to improvements of 3.5% to 4.5% from conventional winglets. Airliners to use raked wingtips: Boeing 747-8, Boeing 767-400ER, Boeing 777(-200LR; -300ER; and freighter versions) plus the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350. The 747-8, the 787 and the A350 will have special, new kind of wings, which do not have a separate winglet, but have raked, and blended wingtips integrated – without a sharp angle between the wing and the winglet.

Raked Wingtips on the new Boeing 787 and Airbus A350

Raked Wingtips on the new Boeing 787 and Airbus A350

As you can see, wingtips/winglets have developed and changed very much over the last 30 years, but are becoming the standard, which is not proven better by anything else than the wing designs of future aircraft by the largest airplane-makers that feature a built-in winglet at the tip of their new, revolutionary wings.

(Most of the winglet pictures in the montage images taken from airliners.net taken by several photographers.)

by balint01

Canadair Regional Jet CRJ 1000 Takes First Flight

With all the news about delayed airliner programmes such as the Airbus A380, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, or even the Sukhoi Superjet, it is good news that a new aircraft type has taken to the skies for the first time yesterday, from Montreal Mirabel in Canada: Bombarider’s CRJ 1000. (To see clearly, we have to mention that this is not a completely new aircraft as those mentioned above, it is the extended version of the operational CRJ-900 regional jet.)

CRJ-1000 Next Gen Prototype - c by Justin Jones at airliners.net

CRJ-1000 Next Gen Prototype - c by Justin Jones at airliners.net

The prototype flew a 3 hr. 25 min. first flight, reaching a maximum speed of 260 kt. and an altitude of 30,000 ft.

We put the gear up, operated the flaps and slats and exercised our fly-by-wire rudder,” pilot Jacques Thibaudeau said. “The aircraft handled similarly to the smaller CRJ900 airliner so flight crews will not have a problem transitioning.

Bombardier launched the (86-)100-seat CRJ1000 program in early 2007 and has tallied 63 firm orders, with first delivery slated for the 2009 fourth quarter. The prototype will make a few more flights from Mirabel and then head to Wichita for further testing in preparation for review by Transport Canada, US FAA and EASA.

The 1000 is 3 m longer than the CRJ-900 with an Maximum Take Off Weight of 91,800 lb and a range of 1,610 nautical miles.

(based on ATW News)

by balint01

Deadly Spanair Crash on Madrid Runway

Today at 14:45 local time, a Spanair MD-82 suffered an accident while taking off at Madrid Barajas Airport.

According to the first reports, the left engine caught fire (some reports say there was an explosion) while increasing speed on the ground (approximately 1 km down the runway), and the pilots tried to stop before taking to the sky or reaching the end of the runway. Some reports say the plane actually raised to the skies and then fell back on the ground, to later overrun the runway and break into several parts while catching fire and releasing large plumes of smoke that was visible from a distance around the airport. As seen on the CNN video report there were two plumes of smoke, which indeed would confirm that the plane had broken into at least two parts.

Update (22 august): according to CNN, there was no engine explosion. Read full article here.

Spanair MD-82 (EC-HFP) at Madrid Barajas (by Carl Hendriks on airliners.net)

Spanair MD-82 (EC-HFP) at Madrid Barajas (by Carl Hendriks on airliners.net)

 (The plane carried a Star Alliance livery at the time of the crash, shown on airliners.net.)

173 people were on board flight JK5022 (code-shared by Lufthansa as LH2554 – Lufthansa has confirmed that 7 people checked in to the flight with Lufthansa tickets – 4 of those were from Germany) which was bound to Las Palmas, on the Canary Islands in Spain, only two hours away from the Spanish capital. Of the 162 passengers and 10 crew (6 active flight crew and 4 passive crew members), 140 of them are already confirmed dead (6 hours after the accident) but more are feared for the worst, as according to airport officials, only 26 people were taken to hospital, 19 of those in critical conditions. (UPDATE: 153 people dead and only 19 survived, as of 21 August.) Madrid’s international airport has been closed for a few hours and was partially reopened later this evening. The fire spread to the surrounding area where grass and vegetation also caught on fire, therefore besides the airport fire engines, even helicopters were involved in the firefighting efforts as shown on the image below. According to reports, all fires have been stopped by around 5pm local time.

Putting out fire by Helicopter after the Spanair Crash at Madrid Barajas (August 20, 2008 - c by origo.hu)

Ambulances lining up at Madrid Barajas Airport after the Spanair Crash (20 August, 2008 - c by sky.com)

Ambulances lining up at Madrid Barajas Airport after the Spanair Crash (20 August, 2008 - c by sky.com)

According to the airline, the flight was already more than one hour late, due to a technical issue with the plane that forced the first takeoff attempt to be aborted (!!) as there were failure signals while pulling away from the terminal. The aircraft was inspected and then tried to take-off for the second time, which ended in the catastrophe. The McDonnel-Douglas MD-82 type has suffered other engine fire related incidents before. This particular plane (registration number: EC-HFP) first flew in 1993 for Korean Air and has been operated by Spanair since 1999. It had its last major check in January this year.

Update: here is the list of passengers of the flight JK 5022. It was published by the airline, but as it always happens, it will disappear from the website within a few days, so we copied it here, where hopefully it will remain forver.

Full Passenger List of Spanair flight JK 5022 on 20 August, 2008:

MEDINAVEGA/YAIZA

ACOSTAMENDIOLA/ALFREDO JESUS

ACOSTASIERRA/ALFREDO ALFONSO

DOMINGUEZPEREZ/ISABEL

GONZALEZCABANAS/MARIA LORETO

HERNANDEZGIL/MARCO

MARTINDOMINGUEZ/CRISTIAN

MARTINPEREZ/MANUEL

MENDIOLARODRIGUEZ/GREGORIA

ORTEGA/LEANDRO

VIDALRODRIGUEZ/RAFAEL

AFONSOMARRERO/PEDRO PABLO

AFONSOSOSA/JORGE

AFONSOSOSA/MIGUEL

ALCAZAR/MARIA DE LAS NIEVES

ALCAZARASENSIO/INMACULADA

ALCAZARJIMENEZ/JOSE

ALONSOALONSO/JOSE

ALONSOFILLOY/AMALIA

ALONSOFILLOY/MARIA

ALVARADO/OSCAR GABRIEL

ALVARADO/ROBERTO

ALVARADO/ROBERTO ALEXANDRE

ALVAREZCARRETERO/MARIA

ALVAREZCARRETERO/ROBERTO

ANDRACAGOLZARRI/BEGONIA

ANDRAKAGOLZARRI/ISABEL

ASENSIOCHAVES/MARIA VICTORIA

BACHO/MUKESHMANI

BARBOSARAMIREZ/ELSA

BERNAOLAITURBE/MIGUEL

BETANCORSANCHEZ/VERONICA

BORGE/ESPERANZA

CABALLERO/DAVID

CARPINTERORUIZ/ANGELES

CELISDIBOWSKY/YANINA

CHARILAS/PIERRICK

CHARILAS/ETHAN

CIPRIAN/CARMEN

CONEJO/SARA

CONTRERASBAEZA/MARIA GEMA

CORTESCABRERO/NIEVES

DELARIVA/SERGIO

DELGADOESTEVEZ/LIDIA

DELGADOCORCOBADO/CARLOS

DIAWARA/DEMBA

DIAZGONZALEZ/CLARA

DIAZMENDOZA/MARIA DEL PINO

DIEPALEON/MONICA

DOMIGUEZORTIZ/CRISTINA

DOMINGUEZ/ISAAC + INF

DOMINGUEZMELIAN/ALICIA

DOMINGUEZMELIAN/ARACELI

ERDIL/MUSTAFA

ESTEBANCONTRERAS/LAIA

ESTEVEZGONZALEZ/MARIA LUISA

FALCONDENIZ/AYOZE JAVIER

FERNANDEZ/JULIANA

FERRONOLMEDO/FERNANDO

FILLOYSEGOVIA/AMALIA

FLORESGARCIA/ANA GEMA

FLORESGARCIA/JOSE PABLO

FONTRODRIGUEZ/MARIA JESUS

FORTANNERNOU/MA DEL CARMEN SOFIA

GALLARDO/TAMARA

GALLEGOORTEGA/ANA

GALLEGOORTEGA/CRISTINA

GARCIAHERNANDEZ/CARLOS

GARCIAFERNANDEZ/MARIA RESURRECCION

GARCIAHERNANDEZ/ELENA

GARCIAMARTIN/LAUDENCIO

GARCIADELCARPIOROMERO/JOSE MANUEL

GARCIASANCHEZ/ANTONIO

GARCIA/MARIANO

GOMESSILVA/RONALDO

GOMEZ/CECILIA

GONZALEZDIAZ/PEDROANGEL

GONZALEZFERREIRA/PIL

HERNANDEZ/ABENAUARA

HERNANGOMEZ/PEDRO

HERNANDEZ/ZENAIDA DEL PINO

HERNANDEZ/SIOMARA + INF.

HERNANDEZ TANAUSU

HERNANDEZGUEDES/LUCRECIA

HERNANDEZMARTIN/MARIA TERESA

HERRAEZNOGUERAS/CARLOS

HULT/ANNMARIE

IBANEZSANCHEZ/BETSABE

JULIHENRIQ/AGUSTIN

JULIHENRIQ/MANUEL

LOPEZDUQUE/PILAR

MARQUEZVALLE/PILAR

MARTEL/MANUEL

MARTIN/MONICA

MARTINCONSUEGRAPENA/CRISTINA

MARTINEZCONDE/MERCEDES

MENDOZAMARCIAL/ANGEL JOSE

MOLINORODRIGUEZ/TELESFORO

MORALES/MA TERESA

MORENOPEREZ/RAFAEL

MORILLOPEREZ/PATRICIA

MROTZEK/CLAUDIA

MROTZEK/GERD

MROTZEK/LUCAS

MROTZEK/NIKLAS

MURIANALOPEZ/JUAN

MURIANAMARTINEZ/MERCEDES

NARANJO/JORGE

NARANJO/JORGE

NARANJO/RAQUEL

NODAPENA/FAYNA ELIZABETH

NORIEGAREY/SERGIO

NORIEGAREY/VICTOR

NORIEGARICO/MARIO

NUNEZ/FRANCISCO JAVIER

NUNEZ/MARIA

NUNEZPIRETTI/EUGENIA

NUNEZPIRETTI/JORGE

OJEDAPEREZ/CLAUDIO MANUEL

ORTEGASANCHEZ/M CARMEN

ORTEGADELACRUZ/GABRIEL

OSPINA/GLADYS

PALOMINORIVEROS/LIGIA

PAYERAS/DANIEL

PEREZDEOBANOSLISO/JOSE JOAQUIN

PLACERESPEREZ/INES

PRADOS/BALDOMERO

PRADOS/IGNACIO

PRADOS/JOSE FRANCISCO

PUYECEESAY/MUSTAPHA PAGANNA

PUYEFORTANER/SIRA

RAMIREZGONZALEZ/MARIA LOURDES

RAMIREZRODRIGUEZ/JOSE

REITZSAAVEDRA/ESTHER MARIA

REYESOJEDA/MARIA BEATRIZ

REYMURILLO/MARIA LUISA

RISO/DOMENICO

RIVEROSUAREZ/RAYCO

ROBAINASUAREZ/JOSE VICENTE

RODRIGUEZDAVILA/HONORIO

ROJOROSA/M CARMEN

RONDONUWU/NGUNI TOKA

SANCHEZ/PABLO ENRIQUE

SANCHEZBERNAL/TOMAS

SANCHEZORTIZ/MARIA DEL CARMEN

SANCHEZPEREZ/RUBEN DANIEL

SANGRADOR/JORGE

SANTANACASTILLO/CARMEN ISABEL

SANTANAMATEO/RUBEN

SOSAHERNANDEZ/MARIA DEL CARMEN

STANIMIROVA/ANTOANET

STEFANIDES/ANNA MAIJA

SUAREZESTEVEZ/JAVIER SEBASTIAN

TATEPEREZ/KIM YVONNE

VALLEJOJUNCO/M DEL CARMEN

VALLESMARCOS/FRANCISCO JAVIER

VERANESPEREIRA/ANAM

VILLANUEVAMARTIN/ALEJANDRO

VILLANUEVASANTANA/ALEJANDRO

VILLANUEVASANTANA/DARA

VILLANUEVASANTANA/KEILA

by balint01


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