Archive for the 'cargo' Category

Two FedEx Planes Almost Collided

Two FedEx jets got too close to each other on takeoff from Memphis Airport (MEM) because of confusion over flight numbers for the planes.

On Feb. 21, two aircraft flying in the same direction on takeoff came within 200 feet vertically and 3/4 of a mile horizontally to each other, an FAA spokesperson said. Separation should have been at least 1,000 feet vertically and 3 miles horizontally.

The incident began with the pilot of one plane getting on the wrong radio frequency “and accepting instructions intended for another aircraft. The flights had similar numbers – FDX527 (an MD-10 to Boston) and FDX257 (a DC-10 bound for Aguadilla, Puerto Rico (BQN).

The incident, which the FAA classified as serious air traffic control error, remained under investigation.

The air traffic controllers union blamed the incident and other recent mistakes by controllers at Memphis on short staffing and forced overtime.

By Szafi 
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Russian Authorities Blocked Lufthansa’s Accounts

According to local media, Russian taxation authorities closed down the accounts of Lufthansa in Russia. The radical step was necessary, because Lufthansa accumulated an EUR 5-7 million tax debt – Russian taxation office said.

They added there was a debate between the company and the authority about the understanding and adaptation of local tax regulations. The amount of money blocked on the accounts of Lufthansa is not known.

There had been conflicts between Lufthansa and Russian authorities earlier as well. Last October Lufthansa’s cargo company (Lufthansa Cargo) was not allowed to fly in to Russian aerospace due to a debate about the usage of aerospace over the country and the authority banned Lufthansa Cargo from entering Russia without any preliminary notification on 28 October 2007.

(Source: dpa) 

 By Szafi

Low Cost Airline Marketing at AirTran

As I reported earlier in a flight review, I have flown with Atlanta based AirTran about a month ago. Being an airline enthusiast I have kept my eyes open all the way through the booking/boarding/flying experience. I found some of their marketing tools very smart, and some even unrivaled, and have decided to share these impressions and these marketing tricks with you in an article, so here it goes.

A) When arriving to the airport, you may check-in using their ByePass Check-in Kiosks, which offer the possiblity to already purchase drinks for your flight and receive the vouchers, which onboard you can exchange for an alcoholic drink in economy class.
Smart! Less worries for the flight attendants, less change to be carried around, happier passenger who knows while boarding that they will get a nice beer or cocktail, and may sell the drinks easier after all.

B) They offer a few “Rebooking Area“s around the terminal, where you can rebook your flight. The simple, easy to understand text on the huge poster reads: “Enter here to rebook reservation. / Pick up phone. Agent will assist you. / Go to kiosk. Print new boarding pass.
Smart! Sounds very easy, makes the people believe they can do it (it’s simple), and it’s cost effective, AirTran only has to have a few booking agents in a far away, cheap location answering phones, instead of renting high-price ticketing location at the airport, and hire lots of ticketing agents around all locations. And I saw a few people talking on the phone, so it works, too.

C) Business Class advertisements. Even though AirTran is classified as a low-cost airline, they offer business class on all of their flights. A very cool, again simple worded molino I have seen several times around the terminals/gates reads the following: “Affordable Business Class on every flight. / More room. Free drinks. Less explaining yourself to accounting. / Book at airtran.com.
I found it’s a very smart idea to point out a step of a business flight, that most airlines don’t care about: expense reporting to accounting! 🙂 Great way to influence passengers, smart again!

D) At most of the gates, or in between two gates in the waiting area you can find small Coffee Stations, with the following text: “Free coffee. See, we’re always finding ways to save you money. / AirTran.com
Really smart! Another great tool, people feel that a low-cost airline is actually delivering some extra service: coffee on the ground, before the flight (!) which traditional airlines have never offered outside their business lounges. So they pay less, get more, and AirTran makes sure that all passengers realize this with the text shown above. Small costs, big image building, effective!

E) Programs: Co-branded A+ Visa Card, A+ Rewards program for frequent fliers, and my favorite: AirTran U – specially designed for people between ages 18-22, offering standby flights, therefore selling the seats which otherwise remained unsold, in the last minute before the flight closes (http://www.airtranu.com). They even give half credits if the student is a member of the A+ Rewards program!
Most of the other low-costs simply do not worry about cargo, but AirTran uses the cargo holds of its Boeing 717 and 737 fleet by offering cargo services to its customers.
Smart again, using all capacity as much as possible, selling unsold seats at the last minute (with AirTran U), thus reducing losses.

F) My “favorite,” dumbest marketing tool, which may still work, though: the Gourmet Pretzel packaging. While onboard, you receive a small package of pretzels. The basic situation is the following: you’re bored onboard, finally receive the pretzels and start to open the bag. But then you take a look at the bag: what exactly will I eat? And you find the following text on the top side: “How to eat Gourmet Pretzels on a low fare airline. (see back for complete details).” – Just in case somebody would not turn to the back, they place another message at the bottom: “Book at airtran.com for our lowest fares and no booking fees.” Just so that you know. But let’s see the back of the package for complete details:

How To Eat Gourmet Pretzels - AirTran

In the same style as any other packaging, they placed the following text on the left top side of the back of the packaet:
Eating Instructions
1. Think about our wonderful low fares at airtran.com as you open packet.
2. Place pretzel in mouth. With each crunch, be reminded of our low fares.
3. As you swallow, remember again just how low the fares are.
4. Repeat until pretzel packet is empty.
5. Keep empty packet to remind yourself to book at airtran.com for our lowest fares and no booking fees.

Then comes the Nutrition Facts, which are normal.
Pathetic! I was just amazed how an airline can give their name to such a cheesy, baby-like advertising and marketing tool, it’s amazing. But to be honest, I have read it, so maybe other passengers read it as well, and it may work in the end. But I just find it the most dumb marketing text in the airline business ever…

Of course, everywhere they place the “airtran.com” logo, instead of a simple AirTran Airways logo, so you meet with the website address everywhere and you will never forget it (engines on the planes, flight details screen at the gate, any communication material, pretzels, etc.).

And their slogan is: “Go. There’s nothing stopping you.” Not advertising how great their services are, or how high they fly, but urging people to simply “Go.”, or “travel” in other words, which will most probably include a flight. A flight with AirTran. Good general marketing job guys, only those pretzels…!

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

Boeing 747 Keeps Up With Airbus 380

Now that the first A380 took off, real competition started in the huge plane segment of the market. While Airbus developed the supersize A380, Boeing was working in parallel on Dreamliner and some facelift on the good old Jumbo jet, the Boeing 747. The Boeing company has completed firm configuration of the new Jumbo – B747-8 Intercontinental. This milestone marks the completion of the major trade studies needed to finalize the airplane’s performance and interior features.

The 747-8 program, which includes the 747-8 Intercontinental and the 747-8 Freighter, was launched in November 2005 by Cargolux Airlines and Nippon Cargo Airlines. Lufthansa was the first airline to order the 747-8 Intercontinental in December 2006 and it is expected to be delivered in 2010.

Cargolux B747-8 ILufthansa B747-8 I

“We have designed the 747-8 Intercontinental to be the ideal airplane for serving the 400- to 500-seat market between the 777 and the A380,” said Michael Teal, deputy chief project engineer for the 747 program. “The airplane will provide airlines significantly lower operating costs, as well as improved economics and environmental performance compared to the 747-400. It also will feature a new interior that will increase passenger appeal and create a strong and very favorable first impression.”

Many of the trade studies for the 747-8 Intercontinental focused on the airplane’s interior. The airplane will incorporate interior features from the 787 Dreamliner, including a new curved, upswept architecture that will give passengers a greater feeling of space and comfort, while adding more room for personal belongings. The enhanced interior architecture is accentuated by new lighting technology that creates a perception of airy brightness and provides smooth lighting transitions to offer a more restful environment.

The 747-8 also will integrate features from the 777, including windows that equal those on the 777 (15.3 inches/38.8 centimeters tall and 10.76 inches/27.3 centimeters wide), and are larger than those on the 747-400.

B747-8 I interiorB747-8 I interiorB747-8 I interior

“The 747 family’s unique interior and structural design have provided passengers with memorable flying experiences for decades,” said Doug Ackerman, engineering interior team leader for the 747-8. “With the newly applied 787 features, passengers will know they are on a brand new airplane the moment they step on board, and enjoy a more relaxing flying experience.”

As for the airplane’s performance, the 747-8 Intercontinental will be stretched 5.6m (18.3ft) from the 747-400 to provide 467 seats in a three-class configuration and approximately 14,815-km (8,000-nmi) in range. It will provide nearly equivalent trip costs to those on the 747-400 and 10 percent lower seat-mile costs, plus 28 percent greater cargo volume. The 747-8 Intercontinental also will be 16 percent more fuel efficient and 30 percent quieter than its predecessor.

With firm configuration complete, Boeing and its suppliers can begin detailed design of parts, assemblies and other systems for the 747-8 Intercontinental. The detailed designs will then be released to Boeing suppliers and factories to begin production of the airplane.

B747-8 I interior - BBJ B747-8 I interior - BBJ

The new Jumbo is also available as a Business Jet. Above you can see some interior pictures.

By Szafi

Paper-free Air Cargo

IATA is working with seven key cargo airlines – Air Canada, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, KLM, Martinair, SAS and Singapore Airlines – freight forwarders (DHL Global Forwarding, Panalpina, Kuehne+Nagel, Schenker, TMI Group-Roadair, Jetspeed) and ground handling agents kick-started the move to a paper-free air cargo environment with the launch of six e-freight pilot projects. Starting today, cargo on key trade routes connecting Canada, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden and the U.K will be processed electronically.

DHL image photo

“The paper-free era for air freight begins today,” said Giovanni Bisignani, Director General & CEO of IATA. “This first wave of pilots will pave the way for a global rollout of e-freight that will eliminate the paper that costs this industry $1.2 billion every year. Combined, these documents could fill 39 B747 cargo freighters each year making e-freight—a win for the business and for the environment.”

“E-freight is a revolution for an industry that is absolutely critical to modern life. For airlines it is a US$55 billion business that generates 12% of their revenues. More broadly air cargo transports 35% of the total value of goods traded across borders. The potential impact of greater efficiency in air cargo has very broad implications across the global economy,” said Bisignani.
E-freight pilots will systematically test for the first time common standards, processes, procedures and systems designed to replace paper documents that typically accompany air freight with electronic information. During the initial phase, selected shipments will travel without a number of key documents that make up the majority of the paperwork, including the house and master air waybills.  Results from the pilots will be used to expand e-freight to other territories.

IATA e-freight requires that business, technical and legal frameworks are in place to allow airlines, freight forwarders, customs administrations and governments to seamlessly exchange electronic information and e-documents.  The six pilot locations were selected based on their ability to meet these criteria along with offering network connectivity and sufficient cargo volumes.

At each location cargo experts from participating airlines, freight forwarders, ground handling agents, local customs administrations and airport authorities worked together closely over the past 10 months to prepare the pilots.
“High oil prices and cumbersome processing requirements are handicapping air transport’s competitiveness with sea shipping,” said Bisignani. “Sea shipping is expected to grow at 6% annually over the next five years, compared to 4.8% for air cargo. E-freight makes a four-decade leap, bringing strengthened competitiveness by cutting costs and improving transparency and consistency throughout the supply chain. This good news for the customer will help shore-up air transport’s competitiveness with sea shipping and other modes of transport.”

E-freight is one of five Simplifying the Business projects being led by IATA to improve service and cut costs. The industry has set a deadline of the end of 2010 for the implementation of e-freight wherever feasible.

Source: IATA.org

Frighter Crashes in Congo

An Antonov AN-12 freighter plane belonging to the Congo-based cargo company Galaxy Inc crashed on Friday during landing at Goma Airport in Congo. The plane was about to land for a planned stop over, when it slid into a petrified lava flow and caught fire.

All 8 aboard were reported dead. The crew reportedly consisted of two persons from Georgia, two from the Ukraine and one from Congo. The plane was owned by Georgian carrier Transaviaservice. The An-12’s Certificate of Airworthiness had expired in March and had not been renewed.

This type of plane is blacklisted by the EU.

The following map shows the scene of the accident.

Map of Congo

By Szafi 

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