Posts Tagged 'American Airlines'

New Livery for American Airlines

American Airlines is undergoing changes. Not only due to Chapter 11 procedures and a possible (more and more likely) merger with US Airways, but also due to technical reasons. Like the new livery – which is driven by all of these three.

American Airlines New Livery Boeing 777 - courtesy of AA

American Airlines has been using the same logo and aircraft livery for more than 40 years. Quite a nice lifecycle for a brand, especially in our fast-paced, marketing driven world of the late 20th and early 21st century. But AA is going through so many changes, that it was about time. Even if the board may have had questions about it – the undebatable technical reasons made it a must.

AA has had the very well known, very well received and very well accepted, famous, landmark aircraft livery with the polished, silver aircraft bodies reflecting the sun so beautifully – having only the red and blue stripes across the planes on the sides below the windows. This now simply HAD to be changed, as it could no longer be maintained with the upcoming new aircraft types (mainly the 777-300ER in the short term), that have a (partial) composite frame: plastic can not be polished the same way as metal (it can’t be polished, period), thus it must be painted. (Even the old livery planes had composite parts which are very well visible on this image below on the left side, for example the hold door or the nose – they were painted in simple grey until now and made such planes look somewhat like they were pieced together from left-over aircraft parts with different paint on them…)

Boeing 737-800 American Airlines Old and New livery - images from airliners.net - by David Field and Christian Eggers

Direct links on airliners.net to the above images:
Old livery / New livery

AA took a step forward, and once it had to change the basic color of the fuselage of its planes, it introduced a new logo and an updated, more fresh look – which was the right movement in my opinion. I think personally that the new design is fresh indeed with its dark grey “American” word on the forward part of the plane together with the updated, stylistic Eagle logo and with the new tail design that looks like a flag. But most of all, I think the fact that they still use the silver as the main color of the planes, keeps the heritage alive as well – as much as technically possible. Their planes will now be painted in silver-mica paint.

The American Eagle aircraft will also receive the new livery, the first outfitted airplane slated to begin flying in February. Here is a rendering of an Embraer E175 (ordered for Republic Airways Holding):

American Eagle New Livery Embraer E-175 - courtesy of AA

by balint01

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American Airlines Jet Overruns Runway At Jamaica Airport After Landing

American Airlines flight AA 331 on December 22, originating out of Washington Ronald Reagan International Airport, stopping in Miami and then heading into Kingston, Jamaica overran the runway at Norman Manley International Airport and broke apart after landing in a heavy rainstorm.


The Boeing 737-800 carrying 148, mostly Jamaican passengers going home for Christmas and 6 crew members reportedly landed on the runway at 22:22 local time after a 90 minute flight from Miami. Then it couldn’t stop and overshot the runway, skidding across the airport’s fences and a rainwater ditch, almost breaking into two parts and after crossing a road, it came to a rest on a beach. The aircraft’s nose only came to a full stop about 3 m’s (10 feet) away from the Caribbean Sea. As you can see on the map below, the plane must have skidded off the runway at the South-Eastern end.

44 people have been hospitalized, mostly with bruises, broken bones and back pains, 42 of whom have been released immediately after the treatments. The first reports claim no deaths nor life threatening injuries. Most witnesses claimed many passengers sustained injuries from hand luggage falling from the overhead compartments – on the head, neck and shoulders. This indicates that the plane must have touched down very hard and may have even bounced on the runway a few times. The plane’s fuselage was cracked at two locations (before and after the wing), both engines broke off and the left landing gear collapsed from the impact. It is not yet known whether the landing gear collapsed during landing, or afterwards when the plane actually overran the runway.

Passengers from the plane have said the flight was very turbulent all the way, with the crew trying to serve drinks three times and finally giving up. The captain also warned before landing that more turbulence is ahead… The crew have directed emergency procedures very effectively and evacuated all passengers onto the beach. Inside the plane passengers claim they smelled smoke and jet fuel, while rain was pouring through the roof where the fuselage was broken.

The plane was delivered to American Airlines in 2001, and had the registration number N977AN. Interestingly, the areas where the plane cracked before and after the wing are almost the same as the Turkish Airlines Boeing 737-800 that crash-landed at Amsterdam airport in February this year.

by balint01

Top 5 Airlines in 2008

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has published its latest ranking of the world’s airlines in terms of passengers carried and passenger kilometres flown on scheduled flights for the year 2008.

International and Domestic – Number of passengers

Based on number of passengers carried on scheduled flights in 2008 and considering International as well as Domestic traffic, US and Chinese companies seem to rule the world with Southwest Airlines taking number one. However, if we would count Delta and Northwest as one entity (they merged in 2008), they would claim the number one spot (seen in line 0 in the table below). It should be noticed that the fifth position in terms of passengers carried has been taken by a Chinese air company (China Southern Airlines) – which also signals the ongoing growth of the Chinese domestic air travel market.

Top5 Airlines in 2008 in terms of Passengers on Domestic And International flights

International – Number of passengers

Looking at only International scheduled traffic in 2008 (excluding domestic), Ryanair has grown to be the largest International airline in the world. Mostly European airlines are included in this bucket, as most of their flights are international, even though the distances flown would in most cases match up with the US (or Chinese) Domestic flights. This just shows how strong the US airlines are on their domestic market and how weak they are on the international routes – in terms of number of passengers. It is interesting to note that Air France and KLM are a merged company since 2004, but operate their separate networks. Also interesting to see that 2 of the top 5 are low-cost carriers (Ryanair and easyJet). If we would consider European international flights as domestic (in terms of distance intra-European flights are similar in nature to the domestic flights within the US or China), none of the European airlines would make it in the top 5 – based on the number of passengers flown, even though Ryanair comes very close to fifth position China Southern.

2008 Top 5 Airlines (number of Passengers on International travel)

International and Domestic – Passenger kilometres

When looking at passenger kilometres flown, it gives a slightly different view of the same results. Such a statistic shows us all airlines in terms of passenger kilometres flown (passengers*kilometers flown) and theoretically levels out the difference between the European International flights and the US Domestic flights for example – which produce similar numbers in terms of passenger kilometres. On the other hand, this gives a chance for airlines flying mostly longer routes with less passengers to move up the list. (E.g.: a Budapest-London flight is 1 passenger or rougly 1500 passenger kilometres, while a Paris-Rio de Janeiro flight is also counted as 1 passenger, but rougly 9400 passenger kilometres.)

Top 5 Airlines in 2008 - in terms of passenger kilometres for Domestic and International flights

It is interesting to see that this view is still ruled by the US airlines, and the only non-US in the list is the merged Air France – KLM group, taking the fourth position. We are missing Southwest Airlines from this table, as they do not fly long-haul and fly only a limited number of mid-haul international flights to Central America thus their average kilometers flown per passenger is much lower than those big American airlines that also fly long-haul routes. It is also a notable change that American Airlines (considered to be the largest airline company for years) is passed by the new Delta Airlines (merged with Northwest) by as much as 35%.

It will be interesting to see these numbers for 2009 in a few months – where Delta will most likely hold the number one spot for overall passenger numbers as well as passenger kilometers, but Lufthansa may move up a little bit if they start to publish their numbers together with Brussels Airlines and Austrian Airlines. We are also looking forward to the much talked about possible British Airways – Iberia tie up, which would produce an Air France – KLM like congolmerate that could fight for a top 5 position in terms of worldwide passenger kilometers – considering Iberia’s long flights between Europe and South America.

by balint01

Boeing 767 Flies with Blended Winglets

In my earlier post about aircraft winglets I have mentioned the Boeing 767 as the latest type to receive post-production blended winglets but at that time it was only in its final development phase and being tested.

A Sunday in early March 2009 marked the first commercial flight by American Airlines, using a blended winglet fitted Boeing 767-300ER. The aircraft with the freshly installed winglets flew from Dallas/Fort Worth to London Heathrow with 204 passengers onboard. The winglet has been designed and developed by Aviation Partners Boeing, that has previously worked on similar, post-production winglets for the B757 for example. The 767-300ER has received very large, and especially tall additions to its wings, as these new winglets stretch 11 feet high (3.35 m!!) from the tip of the wings andrepresent the largest piece of structure ever retrofitted to a commercial aircraft“.

b767_wingletsaa

According to the airline, the winglets will reduce fuel consumption per airplane per year by up to 500,000 gallons (~6.5%), which also means a carbon dioxide (CO2) emmission reduction of up to 277,000 metric tons annually.  This figure makes “blended winglets the greenest aftermarket product available to the aviation industry today” – says Joe Clark, founder and Chairman of Aviation Partners Boeing. Using the special winglets also extends the airplane’s range by up to 360 nautical miles (666 kms) as well as increases the payload by up to 12,000 pounds (5450 kilograms) – by enabling better take-off performance without any engine updates. The winglets have been installed by American’s Maintenance & Engineering organization at its maintenance base in Kansas City, MO.

When American started to work with Aviation Partners Boeing, they estimated the winglets would save an annual 17 million gallons of kerosene for the airline, but with the final design they now predict to save 29 million gallons of Jet-A fuel a year when the winglets are installed on the full fleet of American‘s 58 Boeing 767-300s – they plan to finish the installation by 2011.

The 767-300ER Blended Winglet program proved to be a huge success even before the first commercial flight, as Aviation Partners Boeing has pre-sold more than 130 systems to 10 different airlines, even before the solution received certification.

Recently American’s fellow oneworld partner, LAN Airlines has also reported their first commercial flight between Santiago de Chile and Buenos Aires with a blended winglet equipped 767-300ER on 31st of March, while Delta and Austrian have also received their first jets with this adjustment. LAN is planning to update its whole fleet of 37 767-300s by year-end (investing nearly $70 million), with Austrian planning 4 planes to carry the high red winglet by the end of May, 2009, after the first two (registrations OE-LAE and OE-LAY with special Star Alliance livery) have joined its fleet earlier this month. Further airlines planning to introduce blended winglets on their 767s include Air New Zealand, Condor and Hawaiian Airlines (with 8+7 options).

Austrian Airlines Boeing 767 Winglet

To date over 2,480 Boeing aircraft have now been equipped with Blended Winglets, which includes 124 Boeing 757s and 77 Boeing 737s in American’s fleet alone.

by balint01


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