Posts Tagged 'Qantas'

Air Asia And Jetstar Form New Alliance

The Kuala-Lumpur based Air Asia and Australian Jetstar low-cost carriers have announced a new Alliance in Sydney that is primarily targeted at specifying the new generation of single aisle aircraft as well as joint procurement of these planes.

The new alliance is bringing together the two leading, lowest-cost low-cost carriers of the Asia/Pacific region, and this alliance can reduce their cost levels even more by sharing expertise and procurement procedures.

The 3 alliances among traditional airlines (oneworld, Sky Team, Star Alliance) are primarily focusing on commercial agreements and passenger benefits such as loyalty programs. The same idea was launched in the first “low-cost alliance” between JetBlue and Aer Lingus who linked their booking engines, started code-sharing on some routes and are offering through check-in of luggage for each other’s flights for example.

The idea here on the other hand is that this new alliance is not (yet) about commercial partnerships and not about bringing additional revenue to each other by “sharing” passengers, but about actually cutting costs together by sharing some operational functions. The most interesting part is that these two airlines have explicitly formed this alliance partially to create “a joint specification for the next generation of narrowbody aircraft” and to look into a joint procurement of these jointly specified aircraft. While traditional airlines only seem to be talking about the importance of new, fuel efficient and environmentally friendly single-aisle aircraft and are looking for the aircraft manufacturers to come up with something out-of-the-blue, these two low-cost airlines are taking proactive steps – they want to make sure that the new airplane types which will be around for the next 40-50 years are designed and created in a way to fulfill their own requirements! They will not just jump on the bandwagon when the planes are around, but will actually be driving it!

And they are not talking in the air, as their combined fleets with orders and options add up to nearly 400 planes (currently operating 131) – making them a very powerful player to define the replacements of the Airbus A320 and (or) the Boeing 737 airplane families.

Alan Joyce, the CEO of Jetstar parent Qantas Group said: “Just as both carriers have pioneered the development of the low-cost, long-haul airline model, today’s announcement … establishes a new model for achieving reduced costs and increased efficiency. This partnership will ensure that both airlines can capitalize on these growth opportunities“.

Principal terms of the agreement cover:

  • future fleet specification,
  • airport passenger and ramp services at airports where both carriers operate to,
  • joint fuel purchasing,
  • shared aircraft parts and pooling,
  • procurement of engineering and
  • maintenance supplies/services and
  • reciprocal arrangements to mitigate possible operational disruption across both networks.

Reportedly the next step for the partners would be to look at joint venture on routes and other commercial activities including joint procurement of hotel inventory for holiday packages.

Air Asia CEO Tony Fernandes hailed the agreement as another step in “the airline’s strategy to maintain its global leadership as the lowest-cost airline operator This is what enables us to provide the low, low fares that our guests have enjoyed, and will continue to enjoy.”

Peter Harbison, Chairman of the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation said the agreement could be the start of something bigger, with codesharing and equity exchanges at a later stage: “This is all about ‘let’s live together before we get married’“. Fernandes added that “This will be an exclusive partnership between both airlines. It’s difficult to have two husbands.

We are happy to see such an innovative, but very logical initiative from two airlines in such harsh economic situation. This is really pointing forward to a future that other alliances (even the ones already established) should follow immediately. The big three alliances all have their leading, ruling large airline members, who believe they have the large enough economies of scale and do not need their (smaller) partners in such joint procurement actions – even though they should… Let’s see how this works out, we can only wish Air Asia and Jetstar a huge success and a great future of this new, cost-cutting based alliance!

by balint01

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Airbus A380 Sightseeing Flights Over Antarctica

Australian oneworld member Qantas is already operating 4 Airbus A380s, and is awaiting two more for delivery in late 2009. Now Qantas is offering a very special experience aboard this very special aircraft: Sightseeing flights above the all-white, mysterious Antarctica – the world of endless ice and snow. Now a few hundred travelers will have the chance to take a very special look at it from above, from the warm and luxurious flight deck of a Qantas A380 – the largest passenger jet ever flown.

Qantas Boeing 747 Flying Over Antarctica - by Antarctica Flights

Qantas will operate three sightseeing flights over Antarctica during the Southern summer with its new A380. It is partnering with Antarctica Sightseeing Flights of Melbourne once again, with whom they have previously provided similar special flights aboard Boeing 747-400s.  The idea originally came from New Zealand, where Air New Zealand provided similar flights in the ’70s, until November 28, 1979, when one of its McDonnell Douglas DC-10‘s tragically crashed into Mt. Erebus on Antarctica. It took many years before Qantas paired up with Croydon Travel in 1994 for their first scenic Antarctica flight. They have safely operated 85 flights over the 15 years taking more than 30,000 people to experience the world’s ‘last great wilderness’ during this one and a half decade. In contrast to the 30,000 people flown above it, this continent has given birth to only one human in 1978 and has only around 1,000 researchers living on its soil year-round (but nobody is registered there).

The first A380 flight is scheduled for takeoff on December 31, 2009 from Melbourne, the second on January 24, 2010 from Sydney. There will be third Antarctic flight on February 14 from Melbourne, but with a Boeing 747. The New Year’s Eve flight will be under the command of Capt. John Dennis, who has flown more than 40 of Qantas’ 85 747 flights to the ice, and both others will be commanded by a senior Qantas Captain who had flown at least once to Antarctica. The most frequently used route takes the aircraft over the icecap, the South Magnetic Pole, the French scientific base at Dumont d’Urville and finally the spectacular Trans-Antarctic Range. Approval has been secured for 19 Antarctic flight routes, with final selection based upon weather and viewing opportunities.

Qantas Over Antarctica by Craig Murray on airliners.net

All flights include two meals with the on board experience enhanced by a panel of experts, including world accredited Antarctic scientists, glaciologists, explorers, adventurers & mountaineers. On to top of the view from the windows, the on board entertainment system would show the live picture of the panorama from the cockpit.  The passengers of the “New Year’s Eve Midnight Sun Party Flight” will be the first to see the sun in 2010– as it will be full daylight at 12.01am over the ice – and the flight will feature dancing in the aisles to the music of a live jazz band.

The flights take about 3 hours to reach the first icebergs of Antarctica, followed by four hours flying above the continent and another 4 to reach Australia again – totaling an average flight time of between 11-13 hours. When over Antarctica the plane flies at approximately 10,000 feet above sea level as this altitude provides excellent viewing while still respecting the wildlife habitats at sea level. The aircraft flies in long sweeping ‘figure 8s’ over various points of interest to allow the spectacular sights to be viewed from both sides of the aircraft. Passenger will be given two boarding passes and will have to switch seats half-way through the flight. This means that all passengers (except the ones flying in Economy Centre or Business Centre seats) will have a window seat at least for half of the flight. Given that there is no dark at night over Antarctica during the Southern summer time, it doesn’t really matter which half of the flight you have the window seat. The seatmap is available here.

Fares for this unforgettable experience start from AUD999 (USD899) for the Economy Class Centre seats and go up through 6 other seat-types to the First Class seats for AUD 6,299 (USD 5,667).

by balint01

Airbus A380 News

With 19 Airbus A380s already in service around the world, it’s time to take a look at the latest Airbus A380 news – following our latest updates about new flights and operational issues.

Singapore Airlines – 9 A380s in service – 5 (+ 1) routes

The launch customer of the Airbus A380 superjumbo  – since October 2007 – has already received 9 of the type and has brought the A380 to 7 cities so far. More than 1.4 million customers have flown on its A380s that have clocked more than 35,000 flying hours on more than 4,000 flights since the start of commercial service. Following the first flight to Hong Kong in early July, Melbourne in Australia will be the latest airport to receive the A380 service with 471 seats on board in three classes, following Singapore, Sydney, London, Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong – when the first flight will land in the second most popolous Australian city on 29 September, 2009. The daily A380 flights will replace an existing daily Boeing 747-400 service to Melbourne. SQ227 will depart Singapore Changi Airport at 2100hrs and arrive in Melbourne at 0610hrs (0710hrs from 4 October 2009 due to daylight savings) the next day. On the return leg, SQ228 will depart Melbourne at 1550hrs (1650hrs from 4 October 2009) and touch down in Singapore at 2140hrs.

Emirates – 6 A380s in service – 5 (+ 2) routes

Emirates currently has the largest order placed for the doubledecker aircraft and has already received 6 of the type. Starting in July 2008, Emirates have been serving London Heathrow, Sydney, and Auckland. Since the 1st of June they have been operating the A380 to the Thai capital of Bangkok on a daily flight and to Toronto in Canada, three times weekly. The next Asian destination for the Emirates A380 will be the Korean capital, Seoul, from the 1st of December. The 489 seat, 3 class configuration Emirates A380 features two fully equipped bathrooms with showers and an onboard bar for first and business class passengers as a specialty. In Europe, the next airport served will be Paris Charles de Gaulle from 1st of February, 2010. But Emirates will operate a single service to UK’s Birmingham to mark the Airport’s 70th birthday on September 9th, 2009. This will be the first commercial A380 service outside of London Heathrow in the UK and will park at the new Pier of Birmingham Airport – which opens on the same day with the Emirates A380 as the first aircraft being served there.

Qantas – 4 A380s in service – 4 routes

Qantas has been operating the A380 is its fleet since October 2008. The fourth A380 arrives to Australia at the end of July, allowing Qantas to increase its Sydney-Singapore-London A380 services from three to five per week, and Sydney-Los Angeles services from three to four per week. The fifth and sixth airplane scheduled to arrive in 2009 will further increase the frequency between Australia and the UK and the US, as by November Qantas will operate daily A380 services to London and LA and will increase the Melbourne-Los Angeles services from two to three A380 flights per week. By the end of 2009 this will mean 34 return flights per week. The 450 seat, four-class configuration aircraft type has so far transported more than 200.000 passengers at the Australian flag-carrier.

A380 in new AirFrance Livery

+ Air France – 0 A380s in service – (+1) route

Air France – the first European operator of the type – has rolled out the airplane in its new livery on the 9th of July. This airplane is scheduled to enter service in November on a daily Paris Charles de Gaulle – New York JFK service. It is interesting that Emirates had operated the A380 to New York JFK before, but has since withdrawn the aircraft from the route. The French A380 will be configured for 538 passengers in a three-cabin layout with 80 business and 106 economy seats on the upper deck and nine first class and 343 economy seats on the main deck. That compares with 450 seats on Qantas A380s, 471 on Singapore Airlines and 489 on Emirates. CEO Pierre-Henri Gourgeon said in a recent conversation in Paris to Airwise News that Air France’s A380s would not be equipped with special luxury features specifically designed for the double-deck aircraft like spas or spacious premium suites. “It’s an aircraft, an aircraft offering high-density seating and thus offering lower unit costs,” he said. “We will use it as such.” AirFrance will be the first European airline to operate the A380 and the first to use it on transatlantic flights between Europe and the US. It has 12 on order, four of which will start operating this winter and next spring.

by balint01

Airbus A380 Problems at Qantas

The Australian Qantas Airways is the third airline to operate the Airbus A380 doubledecker aircraft, but the first one to be forced to temporarily withdraw all three of its A380 fleet from service.

On 2nd of March, 2009 Qantas had no A380s in service for a short period of time – all 3 aircraft having to be removed from operations due to unrelated fuel system problems. The first mega-jumbo of the Australian airline (named Nancy-Bird Walton) had technical troubles back in Sydney on Saturday (February 28) when it was delayed 19 hours (!) before taking off for London Heathrow. On the return trip, the aircraft suffered a fuel leak and passengers were transferred to a Boeing 747-400 – 12 hours later. Engineers in London fixed the fuel leak and the A380 was back in service by late Tuesday.

2 Qantas Airbus A380s - photo by David Morrell - Avid Creations - on Airliners.net

The other two A380s (pictured here above) had a different fuel system issue and were removed from service at the same time. Qantas has stated that two A380s were declared unserviceable with a ‘”fuel tank indication system problem”. They also returned to service on Tuesday after the fixes were made in Sydney. According to ATWOnline, “the issue related to the Fuel Quantity Indicating System (FQIS) and some microbiological contamination, which resulted in faulty FQIS readings.”

The introduction of the Airbus A380 is still referred to as the best entry into service of any aircraft with Australia’s national airline.

Since entering service in October 2007, the 13 A380s flying with Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Qantas have flown 31,750 hours and 3,300 revenue flights, with 97.8% leaving on time. There were only a few, minor incidents earlier at Singapore Airlines.

by balint01

Video Of The Qantas A380 Naming Ceremony

The first A380 of Qantas, the flag carrier of Australia has been named after Nancy Bird Walton, a pioneer of aviation. The video tells everything about the event and why the giant Airbus was named after her.

She also speaks at the ceremony and after the champagne is broken on the plane, she just says like a worried grandma: “I hope she didn’t scratch it”.

It is a very nice, touchng video and I think everybody who watches it feels a little bit what Qantas’ employees feel now.

I remember when I worked for Malev and we received our first next generation Boeing, there was an internal hangar party for the workers. We were chatting, talking in the hangar, when suddenly the band stopped playing and the Malev song started from the loud speakers. The door of the hangar opened up and there was this beautiful plane standing in front of the building facing us with its Mickey mouse-like blue nose. I looked around and I saw people standing there proud, most of them having some teardrops in their eyes. Believe me, it is a very touching moment in the life of an airline.

Well done, Qantas, good PR job!

Here is the video and if you have time, watch the commercial that introduces A380 at Qantas.

The commercial:

By Szafi

Videos From The Qantas Flight During Emergency Landing

The following videos were taken by passengers travelling on the Qantas flight that needed to make an emergency landing shortly after a hole appeared on the body of the aircraft.

There are speculations circling around about a possible bomb in the suitcases. The following videos are very unique and I am sure it was very shocking for all passengers on board, so special respect for those who had the courage to take videos in this situation.

By Szafi

Qantas Boeing Emergency Landing Due To Hole On The Plane’s Body

A passenger plane en route from London to Melbourne has made an emergency landing in the Philippines after a large hole appeared in its fuselage.

Qantas Airways said its Boeing 747-400, with 346 passengers and 19 crew, diverted to Manila shortly after leaving Hong Kong and landed safely.

Engineers are investigating what caused the hole – about 2.5m to 3m in diameter – that led to cabin pressure problems.

Raed full article on BBC Online.

By Szafi


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