Archive for the 'luxury' Category

Supersonic Business Jet Plans

When talking about supersonic commercial aviation, we all think about the Concorde which is out of operation by now, but a small, supersonic aircraft is being currently developed by a private firm in the US. Even though they will not be able to use such a name as “Concordino” (as it has been unofficially taken by a small turboprop airliner by Swedish aircraft manufacturer Saab), the US Firm, Aerion (Advanced Aeronautical Engineering Organization taking on the name of the Greek heroic horse of Adrastus) is planning to roll out a new generation business jet: a small, supersonic plane carrying 8-12 passengers.

 Supersonic Business Jet - copyright by Aerion Corp.

The Reno, Nevada based manufacturer that was established in 2002, based their business plan on the research that foresaw the sales of around 8300 business jets between 2004 and 2014. Their idea is to get at least part of this potential market of around 131 billion USD, with a break-through, light, special, supersonic jet. The team of Aerion includes former top management figures of LearJet and Bombardier for example, which shows that the program is taken seriously and is not just some sci-fi style research.

The project that will include construction of 5 SBJ (Supersonic Business Jet) prototypes (2 to be used for tests on the ground, 3 in the air) has been financed by a Texas Billionaire who deeply believes in the success of this project. Even though some larger aircraft manufacturers turned their backs on the offer for a partnership for now, he has continued to finance the progress that included a few successful, high altitude, high speed tests with smaller models of the plane with the radical new design for the wings.

The tests included flights at 2.5 Mach, even though the planned supersonic cruising speed of the SBJ would be 1.6 Mach. As traveling at supersonic speed is not allowed at most parts of the world (except for above the oceans, and a few areas above Siberia, Canada and some parts of Australia), the aircraft will have to travel between 0.99 – 1.1 Mach above the mainland and can only increase its speed to 1.5 Mach once it reaches the Ocean. According to the manufacturer, the new wing design allows for a boomless cruise of 1.1 Mach. The radical new design of the wings also brings much lower noise emmissions, and according to the manufacturer, the plane will deliver within the most strict noise limitations. The engines are to be provided by Pratt & Whitney based on an existing engine specification.

Supersonic Business Jet Interior - copyright by Aerion Corp.

In reality the new plane would be able to fly as far as 7400 km’s, thus the New York – Paris flight would be reduced to 4.25 hours, and New York – Tokyo for example would be 9.5 including a one hour refueling stop in Anchorage, but even the flight between New York and Miami could be reduced by almost one hour. A possible route between Chicago and London would be flown at 5 hour 42 mins, including the 2 hour Atlantic crossing at high altitude (flight level 510) and at supersonic speed. The guests on board can have lunch, take a nap, send/receive emails, or talk on the phone – just like in any business jet currently existing. The cabin would feature a restroom, a kitchen and could carry a lie-flat bed or a four seat sofa or even a shower if required. It can seat a maximum of 12 people, with an internal cabin height of 1.88 m. The designer claims that the operating costs will be comparable to today’s larger business jets, thus they will not be supersonic, regardless of the possible speed. Possible routes, ranges and times can be found on the manufacturer’s site.

Aerion at the Dubai Air Show 2007 

As the latest chapter in the story of Aerion SJB, at last year’s Dubai Air Show, ExecuJet Aviation (based in Switzerland) received unique sales rights for the the world outside of the US, and just days later the first potential customer, Sheik Rashid Bin Humaid Al Noaimi has signed a letter of intent and even provided a USD 250.000 deposit for the first of the USD 80 million private jet, which is now planned to be delivered in 2014.

by balint01

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The Scandalous Road of A380

On 25 October 2007 the first scheduled flight operated by an Airbus A380 takes off from Singapore to Sydney. Tickets for the first flight were sold on e-Bay for USD 1,25 million. The total profit of the first flight will go to charity. Singapore Airlines is a very caring, proud new owner. They took part in the developments from day one. CEO Chew Choon Seng said at the delivery ceremony: “From today there is a new queen of the skies in air travel.”

The Supersize Queen

The Superjumbo is a record from many aspects. The following numbers present how outstanding this giant plane is. It is 73 m long (as a comparison the width of a soccer field is 73 m). Its wingspan is 80 m and its height is 24 m. The operating empty weight is 277 tons, while maximum take off wieght is 560 tons. Usable cabin space: 630 sq m. In the cockpit there are no more rod controls, normal PC joysticks are used isntead. The big lady requires more space on the ground, too. The early studies thought that the A380 will ruin all runways and taxiways, but the first tests show it harms concrete and asphalt less than Boeing 747 as A380 has 22 wheels, while Jumbo has 4 less. It seems that any airport can accept the A380, but still it needs more space on tha apron and during maneuvering in front of the terminal buildings. Bridges designed for double decker planes are also necessary for simultaneous passenger boarding. Naturally the huge engines make bigger turbulance than other frequently used passenger aircrafts, so more space is needed for taking off or landing after an A380.

Airbus A380 nose by Hervé Goussé (from a380delivery.com)

Flying Wonderland

The huge milady is definately luxurious. The new Singapore Airlines fleet member will carry 471 people on board (the plane itself can be seated up to 800, but the standard 3 cabin – economy, business, first – configuration can have 550 seats). The 399 economy seats will feature and a 23 cm widescreen for 100 movies, 180 TV programmes, 700 cd and 22 radio stations to choose from. The 60 business seats on the upper deck will be laid-out in a 1-2-1 formation, with each seat being 86 cm wide. The business seats convert to a fully-flat bed. The First Class Suites look something similar to old classy train cabins rather than airplane seats. They are cabins and not seats with a full size mattress, a wide screen on the wall and they can easily be transformed from a bedroom to a mini restaurant, where first class passengers can invite their first class mates for dinner. First class cabins can be paired up and opened to a bigger suite with a double bed.

A380 Interior as planned by Emirates (Business Class)

It is not just Singapore Airlines that wants to give special services to its high yield passengers. Emirates that has just reseated it 777 fleet with first class cabins resembling the spirit of the old Orient-Express. They are expected to present similar luxury on board their new A380s. They will probably create more social scenes as well, such as a bar or a fitness room at least that is what Virgin Atlantic plans to do, so they must keep themselves competitive. 🙂 Qantas also plans a bar and even their business class seats will have built-in massage function. Lufthansa has just presented the first part of their new First Class concept by opening a new First Class lounge at Frankfurt and Munich.

The long and winding road

Airbus started planning the development of a Megaliner – as they called it at that time. Their goal was to break the dominance of Boeing in the giant planes segment with its very successful 747. Other competitors also tried to enter the market, but they all failed. It was clearly visible that this segment is too small for more than 2 models, therefore Airbus and Boeing joined efforts and wrote a feasibility study of a common plane together. The common development never started, so following the decision of Airbus’ Supervisory Board on 19 december 2000, a EUR 8.8 bllion project was started. The number 8 in the A380 is a symbol of the double deck and in many Far-Eastern cultures it is a lucky number (and as mentioned above, Singapore Airlines took part from the first day). The number was not that lucky in this case though as the project missed its deadline by 1,5 years and overdrafted its budget by EUR 2.2 billion. The first delay was announced in June 2005 blaming the enormous amount (530 km) of cables needed for each oaircraft. The next delay came in June 2006 followed by a 26% drop in the value of Airbus and the owner company EADS shares. At this point there were serious consequences and the CEO of EADS and Airbus and the A380 programme manager had to leave their companies. It was the new CEO who announced the biggest delay in October 2006 and successfully estimating the first delivery to happen a year later. In connection with the delays, a new scandal came into the sight of both the media and the French parliament. It appeared that before the June 2006 delay announcement, EADS and Airbus high level managers sold their shares. They are accused with internal trading and now a legal procedure is on against them.

What is next?

Seventeen airlines have ordered the A380, including an order from aircraft lessor ILFC. Total orders for the A380 stand at 190, of which 165 were firm as of 30 September 2007. Airbus expects to sell a total of 750 aircraft, and estimated break-even at 420 units, increased from 270 due to the delays and the falling exchange rate of the US dollar. In April 2007, Airbus CEO Louis Gallois said that break-even had risen further, but declined to give the new figure. Industry analysts anticipate between 400 and 880 sales by 2025. As of 2006, the list price of an A380 is US$ 296 to 316 million, depending on equipment installed.

CEO’s celebrating the delivery of the first A380 to Singapore Airlines

It is still unprojectable whether the business model of such a huge tin lady will be successful or not. It can be operated profitably by airlines taht have many long haul flights with huge number of passengers on these routes. The number of such airlines is limited and due to travel seasons it is not sure that even on these routes they can always fill this huge bird. Anyway we keep our fingers crossed, because when seeing such scientific development, we can always see our own evolution.

By Szafi and Balint01

Friday Fun – The Flying Experience Screensaver

For today’s Friday Fun I selected a very nice and useful application you must have on your PC.

The following screensaver is a flight simulator, but in this simulator you are not the pilot, but the passenger. Just like in real life. There are many different views and many landscapes to see. I recommend this screensaver for everyone who likes flying and for those afraid of it. It gives you a perfectly safe flying experience showing only the nice part of it. I installed the “coach class” (economy class) on my home PC and I really enjoyed watching it from my armchair. I know, it is kind of sick. 🙂

Anyway, don’t hesitate to download the free economy class version and if someone pays for it and tries business class, too, please send us some screenshots!

Here is the link:
http://www.idletimesoftware.com/screensavers/

Airline World Blog wishes you a nice weekend!

By Szafi

Vatican’s Mistral Air Took Off On Monday

As AirlineWorld had reported earlier, Vatican started its own Airline called Mistral Air. The charter airline’s aim is to transport pilrims between holy places. It is surprisingly operated by the Italian Post. The first flight took off from Rome on Monday and took pilgrims to Lourdes, France.

The first photos have already appeared on Airliners. Here are some of them:

Vatican AirwaysVatican AirwaysVatican Airways

Ther website is probably the worst airline website ever, but at least they have one (it is available only in Italian). It shows their destinations on a Google map, but I myself could not find the names of the cities. Maybe somebody who speaks Italian will be luckier. Here is the map for you:

Destination map of Mistral Air

By Szafi

Elvis Presley and his private jets

Following the success of our previous post on celebrities’ private jets, here is the new opportunity to learn a little about another great star and his attraction to jets.

On 16 August 1977, 30 years ago Elvis Presley died. He has most probably been the biggest pop-rock star ever, he is still popular among millions of people. His house has become a shrine for pilgrims, his records are still sold and we still wonder his songs, his lifestyle, his career and I am sure that with his success story he is an idol for many young people.

So what do we know about his attraction to planes?

He owned 2 jets in his life.

  • a Convair 880 called Lisa Marie (named after her daughter Lisa Marie Presley)
  • a Lockheed Jetstar called Hound Dog II.

(the following pictures are not of Elvis Presley’s jets. They were taken from the manufacturer’s website and Wikipedia)
Convair 880

Convair 880The Convair 880 was a jet airliner produced by the Convair division of General Dynamics. It was designed to compete with the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8 by being smaller, faster and safer, a niche that failed to create demand. Only 65 880s were produced over the lifetime of the production run from 1959 to 1962, and General Dynamics eventually withdrew from the airliner market after considering the 880 project a failure. Only 9 of these aircrafts are left in the world, none of them is airworthy and only one is preserved properly, Lisa Marie – the plane of Elvis Presley. It is parked in Graceland in Memphis and it is part of the Elvis museum.

Manufacturer: Convair
Maiden flight: January 27, 1959
Produced: 1959-1962
Number of aircrafts built: 65

Jetstar

JetstarThe JetStar originated as a private project within Lockheed, with an eye to winning a USAF requirement that was later dropped due to budget cuts. Lockheed decided to continue the project on their own for the business market. Noise regulations in the United States and high fuel consumption led to the development of the 731 JetStar, a modification program which added new Garrett AiResearch TFE731 turbofan engines and redesigned external fuel tanks to original JetStars. The 731 JetStar modification program was so successful that Lockheed produced 40 new JetStars, designated the JetStar II, from 1976 through 1979. The JetStar IIs were factory new aircraft with the turbofan engines and revised external fuel tanks. Both 731 JetStars and JetStar IIs have greatly increased range, reduced noise, and better runway performance compared to the original JetStars.
JetStar production totaled 204 aircraft by final delivery in 1978. Most original JetStars have been retired, but many 731 JetStars and JetStar IIs are still flying in various roles. A JetStar that was owned by Elvis Presley in his later years, named Hound Dog II, is on display at Graceland.

Maufacturer: Lockheed
Maiden flight: 4 September 1957
Produced: 1957 – 1978
Number of aircrafts built: 204

Both jets were sold by the family after the death of Elvis, but later they were bought back and parked in Graceland, Memphis and they serve as a part of the museum.

By Szafi

Dreamliner in the new header

I decided to change the header again. Honestly I never went to look for a perfect picutre anywhere else but the Boeing 787 website. And I saw some new pictures I have not seen yet. I decided to share some of them with you. I hope you will like them as much as I do.

Dreamliner - Boeing 787Dreamliner - Boeing 787Dreamliner - Boeing 787Dreamliner - Boeing 787Dreamliner - Boeing 787Dreamliner - Boeing 787Dreamliner - Boeing 787Dreamliner - Boeing 787Dreamliner - Boeing 787

By Szafi

Read more about the B787 Dreamliner in our other post.

For Mr Honolulupilot here is a picture of the Dreamliner’s cockpit. I would love to be a dreampassenger on the dreamjumpseat next to the dreampilots of the Dreamliner. 🙂

Cockpit of the Boeing 787

Our blog is moving to a new place. Please drop us an email to intairline@gmail.com, if you would like to receive updates about our blog!

Lufthansa – A380 with new first class concept

Lufthansa uses the opportunity of starting operation with the new A380, that they completely renew their first class concept. The number of first class passengers has increased 20% in the past 2 years. By now 20% of Lufthansa passengers fly either on business or first class and they generate approximately 50% of the total revenue. The upgrade of the existing aircrafts will happen in the next 2-3 years.

Lufthansa first class lounge - MunichLufthansa first class lounge - MunichLufthansa first class lounge - Munich

A new Lufthansa first class lounge has been introduced at Munich airport, too. The new lounge lies on 850 square meters on two levels. On the lobby level there is a lobby with a service area where passengers can wait for the limousin chauffeur. Limousins take passengers to their flights directly from the lounge. On the upper level there is a relaxation zone with jacuzzi and showers and cosy armchairs. There are office rooms as well, where passengers can work in a nice, silent environment.

Lufthansa first class lounge - MunichLufthansa first class lounge - Munich

Pictures: Lufthansa.com

In the lounge’s restaurant operated by Sky Chefs, there is a wide selection of meals like sushi, local bio food and international specialties. Besides the services inside the lounge, Lufthansa first class and HON Circle member passengers can take advantage of special parking places and fast lanes both at check-in and security control.

Resource: Lufthansa, ATW Online
By Szafi

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