Posts Tagged 'Star Alliance'

The Hobbit Flies With Air New Zealand (An Unexpected Briefing)

Air New Zealand has “always” been the official “Airline of Middle-earth”, and this is no different in case of the release of the latest Tolkien Movie, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”. But this time they have created a great short movie – which is actually useful for those passengers embarking on an expected journey aboard one of their planes as it prepares them for the unexpected safety situations.

First let’s take a look at their latest special livery aircraft (registration number: ZK-OKP), a Boeing 777-300ER, painted to promote the movie itself (see more images on airliners.net):

Air New Zealand Boeing 777-300ER in special "The Hobbit" livery  - by James Mepsted on airliners.net

And then the funny Onboard Safety Demonstration Video with the very well known Lord of the Rings Characters:

I haven’t seen the movie yet, (will surely do) – but I don’t expect any “goofs” hidden with the random appearance of an Air New Zealand plane…

by balint01

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First Boeing 787 for Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian Airlines is the first non-Japanese carrier to receive the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and demonstrate its forward looking strategy – even as an African airline. As the third overall operator of the new Dreamliner aircraft type (and the second Star Alliance member), Ethiopian flew the plane from the delivery ceremony from Boeing’s Everett facility to Washington Dulles airport at the US capital – even before flying it home to Africa two days later on 17 August.

The first destination is very well understandable in the light of the news that the Addis Ababa – Washington route will be the airlines’ first route served by the 787 – starting mid-September when they receive the second of the type. According to plans, Ethiopian will take 4 more before the end of 2012. The first one is the 49th aircraft in its fleet, and the Plane was dubbed as “Africa First”. Ethiopian has 10 of the type on order. The carrier also announced that its next desired route will be connecting Addis Ababa to Guangzhou, China, but it’s not yet decided when that service will get the Boeing 787. By the way, one day after the delivery flight from the US, the plane made its maiden flight in Africa with a Dream Tour to Mount Kilimanjaro with VIP passengers on board. The Dream Tour was a start of rotating Africa destinations, and some scheduled flights into Europe (Rome, London, Frankfurt) and India (Mumbai).

The plane in Ethiopian livery features 24 business class seats (called “Cloud Nine”) and 245 seats in Economy. Besides all the seats, this Dreamliner will bring the same customer benefits as the ones already in operation: lower noise levels, higher humidity, the largest windows on a passenger plane, bigger overhead bins and a unique lighting system – the Sky Interior that can be adjusted to the environment and time of the day.

In remarks at the delivery ceremony, Ethiopian CEO Tewolde Gebremariam noted the 787’s delivery was “overdue by four years” due to multiple program delays. But he said it was “worth waiting” for an aircraft that will launch a “new era” for ET and African aviation. “This shows you how much Ethiopia as a country, and Africa as a continent, is changing,” he said.

Tewolde also said that Ethiopian plans to grow its aircraft fleet to more than 120 units (passenger and cargo fleet combined) and its workforce (now numbering around 7,000) to 17,000 by 2025 and aims to become the leading airline on the African continent and eventually compete against any of the world’s top carriers for passengers and cargo. This would equal to generating $10 billion in annual revenue by 2025 (ET reported revenue of $1.5 billion in 2011). According to the CEO talking to ATW, Addis Ababa is located right in the middle of the line between the world’s most emerging markets – notably between Russia, India, China and Brazil – and would strategically be located to connect these areas both in terms of passengers as well as cargo. The Boeing 787 can reach all of these countries within a 10 hour radius with nonstop flights.

We will keep an eye on Ethiopian and see how this aggressive, optimistic strategy will become a reality. A very important step has just been made by adding the Boeing 787 to the fleet – as the third airline to ever operate the type after All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines.

by balint01

First Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental for Lufthansa

Lufthansa has conducted the first scheduled flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Washington, DC, USA with the brand new Boeing 747-8Intercontinental, which is the latest, and most advanced version of the classic Boeing 747. Lufthansa is the launch customer of the type.

The plane was delivered to Lufthansa (LH) on May 1 (about 2 years later than originally planned)  and has been used for training for a month at its home base in Frankfurt, before her maiden revenue flight on June 1, 2012. Flight LH416 — the first Boeing 747-8I passenger service — passed through the traditional water salute at Frankfurt in the morning and landed at 12:45 local time, 10 min. ahead of schedule. Flying time was 7 hr. 57 min.

The (so far) longest version of the classic Boeing 747 JumboJet has 362 seats in three cabins: 8 seats in First-class, 92 seats in Business-class and 262 in Economy. With this size, it fills the gap between the Airbus A340-600’s and the A380. Even the size (and most of the plane) was designed by Boeing, based on requirements by Lufthansa, making the German carrier a real launch customer of the new -8Intercontinental. Actually Lufthansa was the one originally raising the idea of this type to Boeing, who agreed to make the plane a bit longer, and implement many of the new technologies developed for the 787 Dreamliner program – including state-of-the-art wings with much improved aerodynamics and raked wingtips, some composite materials, fly-by-wire technology and next generation engines.

The fourth-generation 747 is powered by GE Aviation’s GEnx-2B engines, which will bring double-digit improvements in fuel burn and emissions over its predecessor, the 747-400, while generating 30% less noise (should be noticeable even on board). It should burn 10-15% less fuel than the last 747 version, the -400, which puts it right next to the Airbus A380 in terms of seat-mile-cost. This first plane is within the limits but has not yet reached planned targets in terms of performance requirements, said Deutsch Lufthansa AG Executive Board member Carsten Spohr, as quoted by ATW News. “This first new aircraft (of a new type) is never the best one,” Spohr told ATW. He said the weight of the aircraft is too high, resulting in more fuel burn. Also, he said, the General Electric GEnx-2B engines have to improve. Lufthansa hopes these issues will be resolved by the delivery of the tenth/eleventh plane of the type next year.

It is such an honor to join Lufthansa in welcoming the 747-8 Intercontinental into service,” said Elizabeth Lund, Boeing vice president and general manager, 747 Program. “Lufthansa has provided great inspiration and leadership in helping us design a new Queen of the Skies for the 21st Century, an airplane that Lufthansa will love for its efficiency and reliability, airport neighbors will love for its quiet operations and low emissions, and passengers will love for its beautiful new interior and extra space.

The German flag-carrier has 20 747-8Is on order plus 20 options as part of its biggest-ever fleet modernization program. The aircraft will be delivered at a rate of five aircraft per year through mid-2015. After the Washington route, other destination cities to follow include Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles, New Delhi and Bangalore.

Korean Air and Air China are the next customers to receive their first 747-8I type airplanes next year, while Lufthansa will take delivery of four more aircraft this year (the second one within a month).

________________

More about the 747-8I overview, details, development process and the new aircraft in general is available in the Lufthansa Magazine Special Issue on the web or for your iPad in iTunes (highly recommended!) (free app, with a selection of free issues of the Lufthansa Magazine, You should look to download the special Boeing 747-8 edition)

by balint01

LOT Boeing 767 Emergency Landing

A Boeing 767 operated by LOT Polish Airlines made a successful emergency landing in Warsaw, Poland on Tuesday, 1 November, after a hydraulic failure led to the landing gears not opening before landing.

Flight LO-16 was bound to Warszawa-Frédéric Chopin Airport from New York Newark airport with 220 passengers and 11 crew onboard. According to Aviation Safety Network, at about 13:16 local time, while on approach to Warsaw’s runway 33, the crew encountered problems lowering the undercarriage (gears). The airplane entered a holding pattern at 2750 feet but the gear could not be deployed. While on holding, they burnt off most of the remaining fuel onboard, and thenthe crew decided to carry out a gear-up landing on runway 33 at 14:35. Nobody was hurt in the “text-book” emergency landing.

The Boeing 767-300 (registration SP-LPC, named “Poznan”) was originally built for LOT, first flew in May 1997, and is powered by two GE engines – that this time served also well as the main landing gear…

More images on Airliners.net.

by balint01

First Boeing 787 Commercial Flight at ANA

Star Alliance Member All Nippon Airways (ANA) has finally conducted the first commercial flight of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on October 26, 2011. This historic milestone charter flight was delayed by 3 years and 4 months in takeoff…

ANA originally placed the launch order for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner back in April 2004, with the anticipation, that it can show off the plane on the scheduled Tokyo-Beijing route in time for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. That could not happen due to Boeing facing several issues during the development of the plane that caused numerous delays in the program. Just to name a few of those reasons: part shortages, software issues, machinists’ strikes, network problems, and a fire during flight testing… Test flights only began in December 2009 and certification took about twice as long as planned back then.

The first Boeing 787 Dreamliner (Registration: JA801A), which is a fuel efficient airplane made almost exclusively of lightweight carbon composites, made a 4 hour and 10 minute flight from Tokyo Narita Airport to Hong Kong with 250 passengers as its first commercial flight. Following the charter flight, the first Boeing 787 regular scheduled domestic service will be routes from Tokyo Haneda to Okayama and Hiroshima, both beginning Nov. 1. Then in December 2011, ANA plans to use the new aircraft type on the Tokyo Haneda-Beijing route, which will be the airplane’s first regular international service. Further domestic services are planned to be launched before year-end from Haneda to Itami, Yamaguchi Ube and Matsuyama. The first regular long-haul international 787 service will be Tokyo Haneda-Frankfurt, beginning as a thrice-weekly service on January 21, 2012, and increasing to daily in February.

To power all these routes, ANA currently has two 787s (with special domestic configuration of 12 premium and 252 economy seats – later two different configurations will be used for international flights: 42 business + 180 economy and 46 business + 112 economy), but expects to have another five (!) by the end of the year. By the end of March 2012, ANA expects to have a total of 11 787s, and 20 by March 2013. The Japanese Star Alliance member plans to have all 55 of the 787s on order – which includes 15 of the longer 787-9 version – by the end of March 2018.

by balint01

Chaotic Cairo International Airport

In the light of the Egyptian civil unrest and rioting over the last few days, the situation at Cairo International Airport has been described as chaotic, as thousands of stranded people are waiting for (even just information about) flights out of the city.

The civil unrest against the government of President Hosni Mubarak has reached new heights in the wake of the Tunisian situation two weeks ago, and daily riots and demonstrations have quickly become part of the daily routine in the larger cities over the last few days. The military has been deployed and the tension has been growing. Most of the countries have put Egypt on the list of countries where they do not advise travel, and most have even worsened the status – which means many foreign nationals are trying to leave the country nowadays.

EgyptAir – that has been successfully and aggressively building a Star Alliance hub out of Cairo – said after a roughly 14-hour break because of the curfew and its inability to field enough crew,  over 20 hours on Monday, only 26 of about 126 EgyptAir flights operated, and it had cancelled all flights scheduled to depart between 3 p.m. and 8 a.m. local time until further notice – an action assumed to have been taken in response to the government-imposed curfew. The curfew had a knock-on effect to other airlines’ planes as well, due to Egyptair providing check-in staff and facilities for them – whose employees had been unable to get to work due to the curfew and traffic breakdowns across the Egyptian capital.

Egyptair advised international customers “that it is not accepting transit passengers via Cairo until further notice [including] transit passengers to domestic destinations in Egypt.” This is really bad news for those passengers across Europe who have opted to fly a Star Alliance airline to the Far East or the Middle East – at reasonable fares. Unfortunately they are now having to pay the price…

It’s an absolute zoo, what a mess,” said Justine Khanzadian, 23, a graduate student from the American University of Cairo. “I decided to leave because of the protests. The government here is just not stable enough to stay.” The scheduling board listed flight numbers without destinations or times of departure just adding to the confusion and tension. Occasionally, an official emerged and shouted out the destination of a departing flight, triggering a rush of passengers with boarding passes. The process worked smoothly for nationals of countries that had sent planes — such as Denmark, Germany, China, Canada, India, Turkey, Indonesia, Azerbaijan — but others had no such support. The U.S. State Department said Monday it has evacuated more than 1,200 Americans from Egypt aboard government-chartered planes and expects to fly out roughly 1,400 more in the coming days. An additional small number of Americans left Egypt on a Canadian evacuation flight and about 70 left on Sunday aboard a U.S. military plane that was taking home embassy staff.

More than interesting, even Iraq decided it would evacuate its citizens, sending three planes to Egypt — including the prime minister’s plane — to bring home for free those who wish to return. Thousands of Iraqis had once fled to Egypt to escape the violence in their own country.

By curfew time, some people who had apparently failed to get on a flight out of Egypt had boarded buses for the ride back into Cairo, just to start the same “journey” the next day. “In a 22-kilometer (14-mile) route from our suburb to the airport we had to get through 19 checkpoints, including nine manned by civilians,” said a Greek oil worker, already in Athens. “There were lots of people gathering at the airport and it was very difficult to get in.

Portugal sent a C-130 military transport plane to evacuate its citizens. Greece was sending three C-130 military transport planes to Alexandria on Tuesday and Polish airline LOT was flying to Cairo…

Germany and UK has tens of thousands of tourists and long-term residents that they plan to not evacuate in an organized way.

Flights continued to operate normally into other destinations in the country, such as Sharm El Sheikh, or Hurghada.

by balint01

Korean Asiana Orders 6 Airbus A380’s

Seoul-based Star Alliance member Asiana Airlines placed an order for six Airbus A380 superjumbos, with deliveries starting in 2014.

Airbus A380 in Asiana colors

Asiana has not yet decided about the configuration of the cabins, but announced that it will have three classes. In a statement, Asiana said its cabin specifications to be determined by year end will be “state-of-the-art” offering “distinct, high-end service.” The order is valued at around $1.8 billion based on list prices and complements another earlier Airbus order, which is for 30 A350’s.

It plans to operate the A380 aircraft, two of which will arrive in 2014, two in 2015 and two in 2017, to the US and/or Europe. “Asiana’s decision to acquire the A380 was based on the increase in the number of [free trade agreements] in which Korea is engaged and the recent addition of Korea to the US Visa Waiver Program,” President and CEO Young-Doo Yoon said. “Due to favorable factors like these, forecasts indicate a steady and stable 5% yearly increase of passengers to Korea and the Asia/Pacific region.” He added that “the significantly reduced operating costs and fuel efficiencies afforded by the aircraft will enable us to enhance our productivity and reduce our carbon footprint.

Airbus has received 240 firm orders for the aircraft from 18 customers (see earlier post about the continent and airline breakdown).

by balint01


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