Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi), the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has capped an incredible 12 months by unveiling its first Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 aircraft (see videos above) to more than 200 of the world’s media in Abu Dhabi.
The doors to the airline’s two new flagship aircraft – in the distinctive new ‘Facets ofAbu Dhabi’ livery – were opened for the first time to reveal the new cabin interiors, which include the ultra-luxurious Residence by Etihad™, the only three-room suite in the sky.
Video: Evolution of the new livery.
Etihad Airways also unveiled a new cabin crew uniform at a spectacular catwalk fashion show. It’s the first major uniform re-launch since the airline’s formation in 2003 and incorporates the same colors used for the cabin interior and new aircraft livery.
Video: The new uniform.
Photo: Etihad Airways. The new uniforms.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “As we have done so many times in our short history, we are reshaping the landscape of modern air travel in our own way.
In addition to the media event at Abu Dhabi airport, Etihad Airways is also hosting an event for travel industry partners and one for the airline’s staff today, ensuring that by the end of the day more than 1,500 people will have toured the two new aircraft.
The fashion show saw 22 Etihad Airways cabin crew showcasing the new uniform which has been designed by Italian Ettore Bilotta, derived from the new brand identity, and combines elegance, comfort and practicality.
Bilotta, in collaboration with the airline’s Guest Services and Guest Experience divisions, chose a warm chocolate brown as the base colour for the different uniform variations.
A deep purple color is added for cabin crew and lounge staff, and a burnt orange accent color for ground crews and Special Services personnel.
Copyright Photo Above: Gerd Beilfuss/AirlinersGallery.com. The pictured Airbus A380-861 F-WWSS (msn 166) was delivered as A6-APA on December 16. It will be introduced to revenue service on December 27 on the Abu Dhabi-London (Heathrow) route.
Following today’s events in Abu Dhabi, the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 aircraft will continue test operations before starting commercial flights. The A380 will operate daily to London Heathrow from December 27 and the 787 to Dusseldorf from February 1, 2015.
The entry into commercial service of the A380 will see the introduction of The Residence by Etihad™, a new cabin that has captured the imagination of the air travel industry since it was unveiled in May 2014.
Photo: Etihad Airways.
The Residence by Etihad™ (above) features a living room, separate ensuite shower room, and as another first in the airline industry, a dedicated Butler.
Measuring 125 square feet in total, The Residence by Etihad™ is located on the forward upper deck of the A380 and is for single or double occupancy.
The Airbus A380 is also the only Etihad Airways aircraft to offer the First Apartment which is a complete living space with a reclining lounge chair and an ottoman, which opens up to become a separate 80.5 inch long fully-flat bed.
Photo: Etihad Airways.
The First Suite on the Etihad Airways Boeing 787 offers guests an enhanced suite with chilled mini-bar, complete privacy and centre seats which can be joined to create a double bed.
A total of 70 Business Studios are located on the upper deck of the Airbus A380, and the Boeing 787 has 28 Business Studios, all offering aisle access and a fully flat bed of up to 80.5 inches long.
The Economy Smart Seat also debuts on the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 and has enhanced comfort with the unique ‘fixed wing’ headrest on each seat.
Etihad Airways will take delivery of four A380s and three Boeing 787-9s in 2015.
Etihad Airways aircraft slide show:
Emirates (Dubai) is bringing the Airbus A380 to Perth, Australia for the first time, commencing on May 1, 2015. The airline has announced that it will up-gauge one of its three daily services between Dubai and Perth to its flagship aircraft, demonstrating the growth of Perth as a global destination.
The change from a Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft will see an increase in capacity of 136 seats per flight and 1,904 seats per week, reinforcing Emirates’ commitment to business and leisure passengers visiting the capital city of Western Australia.
Emirates’ A380 program has seen 12 new double-decker aircraft join the fleet and launch to ten new A380 destinations in the past 12 months; Barcelona, London (Gatwick), Zurich, Mumbai, Frankfurt, Dallas/Fort Worth, Kuwait City, San Francisco, Milan and Houston (Bush Intercontinental). Glasgow, Manila, Tehran and Vienna have also experienced the flagship Emirates aircraft when it touched down on their tarmac for a one off showcase in 2014.
The Emirates A380 is set in a three-class configuration, with 401 seats in Economy Class on the main deck, 76 fully flat-bed, mini-pods in Business Class and 14 First Class Private Suites on the upper deck.
Emirates’ Perth Airbus A380 service will operate daily as EK 420 departing Dubai at 0255 and arriving at Perth International Airport at 1735 the same day. The return flight, EK 421, will depart Perth at 2210 and arrives in Dubai the following day at 0525, a flying time of 11 hours 15 minutes.
Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDT (msn 090) departs from London (Heathrow).
Emirates aircraft slide show:
Video: Flying First Class on the Emirates Airbus A380:
According to a report by Bloomberg:
“Airbus Group NV raised the prospect of discontinuing its A380 superjumbo as soon as 2018, the first admission that it may have misjudged the market for the double-decker after failing to find a single airline buyer this year.
While Airbus will break even on the plane in 2015, 2016 and 2017, that outlook doesn’t hold for 2018, forcing the company to either offer new engines to make the A380 more attractive or discontinue the program, Chief Financial Officer Harald Wilhelm told investors at a meeting in London on December 10.”
Read the full story: CLICK HERE
Meanwhile Emirates President Tim Clark criticized other airlines for not ordering the Super Jumbo:
According to AirlineRatings.com:
“The chief of the world’s largest airline has criticized airlines for not buying more A380 super jumbo’s as Airbus hints at closing the production line down in 2018.
Responding to a Bloomberg report about Airbus CFO, Harald Wilhelm, telling investors in London on Wednesday that Airbus is considering closing the A380 line because of a lack of orders, Emirates President Sir Tim Clark warned that with air travel due to double in the next ten years to 7 billion passengers, airlines and airports will need giant jets like the 517 seat A380.
“The A380 is a passenger magnet. We operate five a day from Dubai to London’s Heathrow and they are 95 per cent full,” Mr Clark told Airlineratings.com in an exclusive interview.
“Airlines are too conservative and have not put the right interiors into their A380s.”
“Some of the interiors are a disgrace and used 1970s thinking,” Mr Clark told Airlineratings.com.
“We put all our premium seats on the upper deck and economy on the main deck, but others have mixed them which is inefficient.”
“Our competitors laughed at us when we put showers and a lounge in the A380.”
“But passengers love the showers and the lounge.”
“The A380 is a great aircraft. If airlines don’t believe they can fill an A380 then their business model is wrong,” said Mr Clark.
“Their marketing is all wrong.”
Emirates has 55 A380s in service with orders for a further 85. However sales to other airlines have almost dried up.
Airbus is considering an upgrade of the A380 -called the A380neo- with new engines and aerodynamic improvements.
Mr Clark said the new model, if built, will have excellent economics, as good as the Boeing 777X that Boeing will introduce in 2018.
“And we will buy 140 of the A380neos” Mr Clark told Airlineratings.com.
“As long as I am around I am going to continue to fight the battle for the A380.”
“This is a great aircraft and the world needs it.”
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Emirates’s Airbus A380-861 A6-EDG (msn 023) arrives in London (Heathrow).
QANTAS Airways Airbus A380 VH-OQG diverts to Perth due to an “air conditioning” problem, another A380 returns to Sydney
QANTAS Airways (Sydney) flight QF 2 from London (departing on December 6) to Sydney with a stop in Dubai with Airbus A380-842 VH-OQG (msn 047) was forced to make an emergency “controlled descent” this morning (December 8) over the Indian Ocean. The flight descended from 39,000 feet to 10,000 fleet. The A380 landed safely in Perth in Western Australia. QANTAS blamed the problem on a faulty air conditioning system.
QANTAS Airways issued this statement:
QANTAS Flight QF 2 travelling from Dubai to Sydney diverted to Perth due to a fault with the air conditioning. The fault occurred about 1 hour from Perth.
As a precaution the Captain descended the aircraft to 10,000 feet and requested a priority landing.
The aircraft landed safely and was inspected by engineers.
As the crew reached their maximum duty limits before the issue could be fixed on the ground, customers have been provided with overnight accommodation and will be booked on the next available services today to their destination.
Read the full story from The Sydney Morning Herald: CLICK HERE
In another inflight event, also involving an Airbus A380 (VH-OQD), flight QF 7 from Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth was forced to turn around four hours into the flight. The airline issued this statement:
Our Sydney to Dallas flight (QF 7) returned to Sydney after about four hours in the air due to a technical issue that impacted seat power, the in-flight entertainment system and some of the toilets.
While the aircraft could have continued flying safely to Dallas/Fort Worth, the decision was made to return to Sydney in the interests of passenger comfort on what is a long flight.
We’ve sincerely apologized to our customers for their patience and understanding for what was a frustrating experience.
Customers who don’t live in Sydney have been put up in hotels for the night and all others given transport home. We’ve rebooked customers on another flight to Dallas/Fort Worth leaving tomorrow morning.
The aircraft was an Airbus A380 and it landed back in Sydney at 1030 pm (2230).
Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. VH-OQG departs from London (Heathrow).
Air France (Paris) last night (December 1) introduced the Airbus A380 on the Paris (CDG)-Miami route as planned. Miami International Airport (MIA) issued this statement:
Miami International Airport kicked off the final month of the year on a grand scale yesterday (December 1), welcoming Air France’s Airbus A380-800 superjumbo jet to Miami for the first time. The world’s largest passenger aircraft touched down at 6:04 p.m., making Air France just the second airline to offer A380 service at MIA in the process. The French flag carrier will offer seasonal service on the popular Miami-Paris route through March 27, 2015 with the new aircraft.
The inaugural arrival was greeted with a water cannon salute by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and arriving passengers were treated to gift bags from the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. Officials from the Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD), Air France and the French government then joined passengers waiting to board the inaugural departure flight to Paris for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting and commemorative cake.
Air France’s version of the double-decker aircraft has ample capacity to meet high passenger demand during the busy winter travel season. The aircraft is arranged in a four-class, 516-seat configuration, comprised of La Première (First), Business, Premium Economy and Economy classes, and also features a bar for passengers to enjoy. The A380 represents a gain of 133 seats over the 383-seat Boeing 777-300ER aircraft that normally operates on the route. Daily Miami-Paris service on the Air France A380 is scheduled to arrive at MIA at 6:05 p.m. and depart for Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport at 8:55 p.m. from Gate J-17 in the airport’s South Terminal.
German flag carrier Lufthansa was the first airline to offer A380 service at MIA, launching Miami-Frankfurt flights in June 2011. MIA will welcome additional Airbus A380 service in 2015 when longtime airline partner British Airways begins twice-daily Miami-London (Heathrow) service on the superjumbo.
Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 F-HPJC (msn 043) departs from Paris (CDG).
Emirates (Dubai) is launching three new Airbus A380 destinations in three days.
Hitting the high notes first is the San Francisco flight, where Emirates has been flying since 2008. The Bay City is home to the renowned San Francisco Symphony, which Emirates first started sponsoring in 2011.
Kicking off second is Milan, home of AC Milan, the world famous football team which Emirates has sponsored since 2007.
Since Emirates launched flights to the city in 2000, the airline has flown 3.1 million people on the route, that’s enough to fill the San Siro stadium 38 times.
Emirates launched its daily service to Houston in 2007, and since then has flown over 1.2 million people on the route. Known as the “Energy Capital of the World” Houston is the last of the trio to take off that week on 3rd December. Between them, the three flights will have travelled 61,784 kilometres to and from Emirates’ A380 hub in Dubai.
With these three up-gauges Emirates’ A380 route network will total 33 destinations, spanning from Auckland in the East to Los Angeles in the West.
Emirates now has 55 A380s in its fleet, one third of all A380s currently in the skies.
According to the airline, “It’s been a busy year for the Emirates A380 program with 11 of these new double-decked aircraft joining the fleet. The airline has also launched nine new A380 destinations in the past 12 months, including Mumbai, Frankfurt, Dallas/Fort Worth and Kuwait. Glasgow, Manila, Tehran and Vienna have also seen the Emirates A380 touchdown on their tarmac for a one off showcase in 2014.
Over 32 million passengers have now enjoyed the Emirates A380 experience and many of these are repeat customers, thanks to the airline’s unique on-board product. Emirates A380 features its signature First Class Suites, 14 luxurious private cabins, giving passengers the most exclusive inflight experience which includes access to the world’s only onboard ShowerSpas. Another world first on the Emirates A380 is the On-Board Lounge where First Class and Business Class passengers can socialise at 40,000 feet. In addition all Emirates A380s offer wi-fi throughout and the largest selection of movies in the sky, with ice Digital Widescreen screening 500 films – that’s nearly one film per passenger.
Emirates’ San Francisco service will operate daily as EK225 departing Dubai at 0850 hrs arriving at San Francisco International Airport at 1250 hrs the same day. The return flight, EK226, will depart San Francisco at 1530 hrs and arrives in Dubai the following day at 1925 hrs.
Emirates flight EK91 leaves Dubai at 1540 hrs and lands at Milan Malpensa Airport at 1935 hrs. The return flight EK92 departs Milan at 2120 hrs and arrives back at Concourse A, the home of the Emirates A380 and the world’s first purpose-built facility for the aircraft at Dubai International Airport at 0625 hrs the following day.
Emirates’ daily flight EK211 to Houston will depart Dubai at 0930 hrs and arrives at 1605 hrs. The return flight, EK212, takes off from George Bush Intercontinental Airport at 1825 hrs and lands in Dubai at 1905 hrs the next day.
Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDQ (msn 080) departs from London (Heathrow).
Emirates aircraft slide show:
Here is the official announcement:
SAS and Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, are set to begin codeshare operations and provide customers with enhanced travel options between Scandinavia and the UAE.
The agreement, which is subject to regulatory approval, will strengthen both carriers by enabling them to offer greater connectivity to and from a number of key European cities. SAS is Etihad Airways’ 47th airline partnership globally and its 22nd in Europe. For SAS, Etihad is the 23rd codeshare partner and the third with strong presence in the Middle East.
Both airlines will also develop and sign a Frequent Flyer agreement, which will benefit the members of Etihad Airways’ Etihad Guest and SAS’ EuroBonus loyalty programs.
The deal will see SAS place its SK code on Etihad Airways’ flights between Abu Dhabi and Brussels, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Rome, Milan, Zurich, Geneva and London Heathrow.
In turn, Etihad Airways will place its EY code on SAS-operated flights from these European destinations, excluding Brussels, onto SAS’ hubs in Copenhagen, Oslo, and Stockholm.
The EY code will also be placed on flights beyond Copenhagen to Billund and Ålesund; beyond Oslo to Ålesund, Kristiansand, Trondheim, and Stavanger; and beyond Stockholm to Umeå, Sundsvall, and Östersund.
Top Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. SAS’ Boeing 737-705 LN-TUF (msn 28222) arrives in London (Heathrow).
Bottom Copyright Photo: Gerd Beilfuss/AirlinersGallery.com. Another view of Etihad Airways’ first Airbus A380 at Hamburg (Finkenwerder). The pictured A380-861 F-WWSS (msn 166) will become A6-APA on delivery.
QANTAS Airways (Sydney) and American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) have expanded their joint business, enabling QANTAS customers to codeshare on an additional nine American Airlines services including to four new destinations – Kona, Lihue and Maui in Hawaii and Richmond, Virginia.
Effective from November 27, the QANTAS codeshare on American Airlines will extend to the following nine services.
Los Angeles – Lihue (LIH)
Los Angeles – Kona (KOA)
Los Angeles – Maui (OGG)
Los Angeles – Atlanta (ATL)
Los Angeles – San Antonio (SAT)
Los Angeles – Tampa (TPA)
Dallas/Fort Worth – Richmond (RIC)
Dallas/Fort Worth – Tucson (TUS)
Dallas/Fort Worth – Albuquerque (ABQ)
QANTAS operates nonstop QANTAS A380 services between Sydney and Dallas/Fort Worth. QANTAS upgraded its three per week services from Sydney to Honolulu from a Boeing 767-300 to an Airbus A330, which will increase to four per week from December 20, and from January 21 next year the QANTAS Melbourne to Los Angeles service will increase from a daily service to ten flights per week.
Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-842 VH-OQD (msn 026) departs from London (Heathrow).
Emirates Group (Dubai) has announced its first half results for 2014:
The Emirates Group has announced its half-yearly results which show steady performance and growth, despite a challenging business environment marked by ongoing health pandemic concerns, regional conflicts, and weakening global markets.
The Emirates Group revenues reached AED 47.5 billion (US$12.9 billion) for the first six months of its 2014-15 fiscal year, up 12% from AED 42.3 billion (US$11.5 billion) from the same period last year.
Net profit for the Group rose to AED 2.2 billion (US$607 million) an increase of 1% over the last year’s results.
The Group’s cash position on September 30, 2014 was at AED 16.1 billion (US$4.4 billion), compared to AED 19.0 billion (US$5.2 billion) as at March 31, 2014. This is due to ongoing investments mainly into new aircraft and other airline related infrastructure projects.
“As the biggest operator at Dubai International, we also took the biggest hit to our bottom line from the 80-day runway upgrading works. However, we had anticipated it and made meticulous plans to minimise impact operationally and commercially for both Emirates and dnata. The success of these plans can be seen in our overall growth during this six-month period in spite of the challenge,” said His Highness (HH) Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group.
He added: “It is those external threats that we cannot anticipate or directly manage, such as the global economic malaise, the Ebola outbreak, currency fluctuations, and regional conflicts, that could negate our efforts and plans. These issues appear to be piling up, impacting commercial aviation and travel, but show no signs of speedy resolution. Therefore it is critical that we stay agile as we grow. The ability to adapt and act quickly will determine our continued success.
Moving forward, we will keep a watchful eye on these challenges, but continue to focus on our long-term goals and invest in the infrastructure of both Emirates and dnata.”
In the past six months, the Group continued to develop and expand its employee base, increasing its overall staff count by 5% to over 79,000 compared with March 31, 2014.
During the first six months of the fiscal year Emirates received 13 wide-body aircraft – 6 Airbus A380s, 7 Boeing 777s, with 11 more new aircraft scheduled to be delivered before the end of the financial year (March 31, 2015).
Emirates also expanded its global route network by launching services to four new destinations – Abuja, Chicago, Oslo, and Brussels, exponentially increasing the number of city-pair flight options that it provides to customers across the globe with each new city served.
Operating the world’s largest fleet of A380s and the largest fleet of Boeing 777s, Emirates continues to provide ever better connections for its customers across the globe with just one stop in Dubai. Emirates flies to 146 destinations in 83 countries as of 30 September, up from 137 cities in 77 countries last year.
Against the backdrop of unprecedented external challenges which led the airline to suspend the highest number of routes in a year and temporarily ground part of its fleet due to the runway closure, and despite a strong performance of the US dollar against other major currencies impacting revenues, Emirates continues to make a profit. In the first half of the 2014-15 fiscal year, Emirates net profit is AED 1.9 billion (US$514 million), up 8% from the same period last year.
On average, fuel prices only softened marginally and towards the end of the six-month period. Fuel remained a large component of the airline’s cost, accounting for 38% of operating costs compared with 39% during the first six-month period last year.
In the first half of its financial year 2014-15, Emirates reported continued business growth, both in terms of capacity on offer and traffic carried. Capacity measured in Available Seat Kilometres (ASKM), grew by 6.5%, whilst passenger traffic carried measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPKM) was up 9.8% with Passenger Seat Factor increasing and averaging at 81.5%, compared with last year’s 79.2%.
Emirates carried 23.3 million passengers between 1 April and 30 September 2014, up 8.4% from the same period last year. The volume of cargo uplifted was up by 5.4%, a remarkable growth and performance against the market trend.
Emirates revenue, including other operating income, of AED 44.2 billion (US$ 12.0 billion) was higher by 11% compared with AED 39.8 billion (US$10.8 billion) recorded last year, reflecting strong passenger and cargo demand.
In other news Emirates Engineering marked another milestone when the team performed its first 3C-Check on an Airbus A380 (above), a major overhaul that restores the airline’s first A380 aircraft to near pristine condition.
In a round-the-clock operation taking 55 days, two teams of highly specialised engineers stripped the entire interior of the double-decked aircraft to the bare metal hull, inspected and overhauled every single part, and then put the plane components back together again (see video below).
The check was completed with a rigorous test flight before being put back into regular service, in this case, carrying passengers to Brisbane and Auckland.
“The aircraft has been fully overhauled during its 3C-Check. We return it in a pristine condition, just as it originally left the factory,”
Colin Disspain. “It’s like having a brand- new A380 again.”
Emirates was the first airline to place an order for the iconic A380, and is today the world’s largest operator of this efficient and spacious twin-deck aircraft.
The airline’s first A380 (registration A6-EDA – Echo Delta Alpha) (top above) was delivered in June 2008, and deployed on the airline’s inaugural A380 flight from Dubai to New York.
Flight hours, landings and aircraft age determine the due date for a 3C-Check. In this case Echo Delta Alpha had flown an impressive 20 million km, the equivalent of almost 27 return trips to the moon. It has completed over 3,000 take-offs and landings, carrying over 1.2 million passengers safely across the globe.
Months of meticulous planning led up to the C-Check on Echo Delta Alpha. Even though the experienced team of engineers have performed hundreds of C-Checks on the various aircraft of the Emirates fleet, this check was out of the ordinary simply because of the tremendous size of the A380. Operated until a few hours before the check, Echo Delta Alpha was towed into one of the Emirates Engineering hangars at Dubai Airport. Purpose-built for the A380, each hangar is as large as two football fields.
In the first 12 days of the check, over 1,600 parts were removed from the cabin interior including 475 Economy and Business Class seats, 14 First Class private suites, 16 galleys, 2 bars, 2 showers, floor panels and even parts of the cockpit. Every part was inspected and – where required – replaced.
A major part of the operation was the removal of two of the aircraft’s pylons which connect the engine with the aircraft’s wing. Each pylon holds a massive engine which weighs an impressive 6.7 tonnes.
The last two weeks were dedicated to putting all parts back in place with all teams on a tight schedule.
Echo Delta Alpha is one of Emirates’ fleet of 232 aircraft, including 55 A380s. Operating the biggest A380 route network of any commercial airline worldwide, Emirates currently serves 31 airports on 5 continents. To date, the airline’s fleet of A380 aircraft has carried 27.5 million revenue passengers, made over 68,800 trips and covered more than 405 million kilometres.
Its Dubai-Los Angeles route is the world’s longest commercial A380 flight in operation, and its Dubai-Kuwait route is the world’s shortest. By the end of this year, the number of destinations served by an Emirates A380 will increase to 33, with the addition of San Francisco from December 1 and Houston from December 3.
Video below: Emirates overhauls its first Airbus A380:
Finally Emirates will restart passenger flights to Erbil in northern Iraq from November 16, 2014.
Emirates will resume with two weekly flights to Erbil, served by an Airbus A330-200 aircraft in a 3-class configuration. This will increase to four weekly flights from December 4, 2014.
Top Copyright Photo: Gerd Beilfuss/AirlinersGallery.com. The first Emirates Airbus A380, the pictured A380-861 (msn 011) was delivered on July 28, 2008.
British Airways (London) will introduce the Airbus A380 on the London (Heathrow)-Miami route on October 25, 2015. The new type will be operated on the route twice-daily.
Today, British Airways made it official with this announcement:
British Airways today announced that Floridians planning to travel to Europe next year will have the chance to experience British Airways’ new state-of-the-art Airbus A380 superjumbo. From October 2015, the premium British airline will offer two daily A380 services from Miami International Airport to London Heathrow, with onward connections to more than 100 destinations.
The largest commercial airliner in the sky, British Airways’ A380 can accommodate up to 469 customers across two decks and four cabins.
The First cabin features 14 luxurious suites with 30 percent more personal space than the previous generation. Customers in First will be able to enjoy a la carte dining or try the A380 exclusive five course taster menu.
97 Club World (business class) seats that convert into full flat beds
The popular World Traveller Plus (premium economy) cabin will have 55 seats and 303 seats will be available in World Traveller (economy).
The new A380 route to Miami is part of British Airways’ plans to enhance the usage of facilities in Terminal 3 and Terminal 5 by combining its operations in two terminals and moving out of Terminal 1.
In the coming 12 months, flights to 20 British Airways destinations, including Miami, will change terminals at Heathrow and by the middle of October 2015 all of the airline’s services will depart from either its flagship home of Terminal 5 or the main oneworld alliance Heathrow base in Terminal 3.
Copyright Photo: Airbus A380-841 G-XLEF (msn 151) taxies at London (Heathrow).
Singapore Airlines Group’s net profit declines by 55.5% to S$126 million ($97.7 million), reports demand is flat
Singapore Airlines Group (Singapore Airlines, Scoot, SilkAir and Singapore Airlines Cargo) (Singapore) reported its net profit in the first half was down by $157 million (a decline of 55.5%) year-on- year to S$126 million ($97.7 million US).
The group issued this full statement:
GROUP FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE
First Half 2014-15
The Group earned an operating profit of $171 million in the first half of the 2014-15 financial year, an improvement of $2 million (+1.2%) over the same period last year.
Group revenue was down $154 million (-2.0%) to $7,587 million, mainly due to lower incidental revenue stemming from reduced compensation pertaining to changes in aircraft delivery slots [see Note 2], and lower income from the lease of aircraft, due to the expiry of leases to Royal Brunei Airlines. Passenger revenue was lower year-on-year (-0.4%), notwithstanding a 1.4% increase in traffic, as a result of yield declines (-1.8%) amid the competitive operating environment and depreciating revenue-generating currencies, led by the Australian Dollar and Japanese Yen. Cargo revenue fell 1.6%, driven by a capacity cut (-3.8%), though this was partially compensated for by better yields and higher load factor.
Group expenditure at $7,416 million declined $156 million (-2.1%) over the previous financial year. Fuel costs after hedging fell $107 million, attributable to lower volume uplifted (-3.2%), the weaker US Dollar against the Singapore Dollar, and a 0.4% decline in jet fuel price after hedging.
Note 1: The SIA Group’s unaudited financial results for the half year and second quarter ended 30 September 2014 were announced on 6 November 2014. A summary of the financial and operating statistics is shown in Annex A. (All monetary figures are in Singapore Dollars. The Company refers to Singapore Airlines, the Parent Airline Company. The Group comprises the Company and its subsidiary, joint venture and associated companies).
Note 2: The settlement agreement was reached in Q1 FY1314 and $92 million was recognised in the first half of FY1314, of which $59 million pertained to change in prior years. $34 million compensation was recognised in the first half of FY2014-15.
Group net profit in the first half was down $157 million (-55.5%) year-on- year to $126 million. The share of results of associated companies fell $154 million, largely attributable to the Group’s share of Tiger Airways’ loss of $129 million, which included material charges relating to the sublease of surplus aircraft and sale of Tigerair Australia. The commencement of equity accounting for Virgin Australia from the second quarter further contributed to the weaker results (-$16 million). Exceptional items accounted for a loss of $10 million in the first half, compared to a net exceptional gain of $22 million last year [see Note 3]. These were partly offset by higher gains on disposal of aircraft, spares and spare engines (+$31 million).
The Parent Airline Company’s operating against the corresponding period last year. Revenue was down $151 million (-2.4%), arising from reduced incidental revenue [see Note 2] and passenger revenue. The fall was nearly offset by a $148 million (-2.4%) reduction in expenditure, due to lower fuel costs after hedging, and stringent cost management. Unit ex-fuel cost was down 3.9% year-on-year.
SIA Engineering’s operating profit declined $19 million (-33.9%). Total revenue fell by $4 million (-0.7%) as a result of lower airframe and component overhaul revenue, offset in part by higher fleet management revenue. Expenses rose by $15 million (+2.8%), primarily as a result of an increase in subcontract services.
SilkAir’s operating profit declined $17 million (-77.3%), as weaker yields (-5.0%) put a drag on revenue and capacity injection (+3.7%) pushed operating expenditure up.
SIA Cargo’s operating loss narrowed by $37 million from last year. With better capacity management, yields and load factor were up 1.9% and 0.2 percentage points, respectively.
Note 3: Exceptional items in the first half of FY1415 pertained to the Parent Airline Company’s provision for settlement with plaintiffs in the Transpacific Class Action ($11 million), SIA Cargo’s additional impairment on two marked-for-sale B747-400F aircraft ($7 million), partly offset by additional gain on sale of Virgin Atlantic Limited (VAL) to Delta Air Lines, Inc. ($7 million), and partial refund of fine on appeal from the Korean Fair Trade Commission ($1 million). Exceptional items in the first half of FY1314 was $22 million, mainly pertaining to gain on sale of VAL ($339 million), partially offset by SIA Cargo’s impairment on four B747-400 aircraft removed from operation ($293 million) and SFC’s impairment loss on its assets with the closure of its Maroochydore operations ($24 million).
Second Quarter 2014-15
Group operating profit for the second quarter improved $45 million (+51.7%) to $132 million.
Group revenue was almost flat at $3,905 million. Passenger revenue increased marginally, as higher passenger carriage was largely offset by a 0.9% decline in yields. Cargo revenue was down 0.5% on the back of lower capacity (-4.1%), but was mitigated by improved yields (+2.8%).
Group expenditure declined $41 million (-1.1%) to $3,773 million. Fuel costs before hedging fell $115 million, partially offset by a loss on fuel hedging, compared to a hedging gain in the same quarter last year (+$76 million).
Group net profit was down $70 million (-43.5%) year-on-year to $91 million. This was largely attributable to weaker results from associated companies (-$138 million), partly mitigated by higher operating profit (+$45 million), and higher gains on disposal of aircraft, spares and spare engines (+$35 million).
FIRST HALF 2014-15 OPERATING PERFORMANCE
The Parent Airline Company’s passenger carriage (in revenue passenger kilometres) increased marginally by 0.1%, while capacity (in available seat-kilometres) dipped 0.2% during the first half of the financial year. As a result, passenger load factor improved by 0.2 percentage points to 79.8%.
SilkAir recorded a 0.4 percentage-point increase in passenger load factor to 69.7%, as its 4.2% growth in traffic outpaced capacity injection of 3.7%.
SIA Cargo reduced its capacity (in capacity tonne-kilometres) by 3.8%. Airfreight carriage (in load tonne-kilometres) declined by 3.4%. Consequently, cargo load factor improved 0.2 percentage points to 62.2%.
No. 05/14 6 November 2014 Page 4 of 6
The Company is declaring an interim dividend of 5 cents per share (tax exempt, one-tier), amounting to $59 million, for the half-year ended 30 September 2014. The interim dividend will be paid on 27 November 2014 to shareholders as of 18 November 2014.
FLEET AND ROUTE DEVELOPMENT
The Parent Airline Company took delivery of two Airbus A330-300s in the second quarter. As at September 30, 2014, the operating fleet of the Parent Airline Company comprised 105 passenger aircraft – 57 Boeing 777s, 29 Airbus A330-300s and 19 A380-800s, with an average age of 7 years.
During the quarter, SilkAir took delivery of two Boeing 737-800 aircraft, sold one Airbus A320-200 and decommissioned another A320-200 in preparation for return to lessor. As at September 30, 2014, its operating fleet comprised 26 aircraft – 14 Airbus A320-200s, six A319-100s and six Boeing 737-800s.
There was no change to Scoot’s fleet during the July-September quarter, comprising six Boeing 777-200s.
SIA Cargo operated a fleet of eight Boeing 747-400 freighters at September 30, 2014, the same as the previous quarter. It suspended freight operations to Lagos from July 29, 2014, and added services to Amsterdam, Brussels and Delhi in September to cater to seasonal demand.
In the Northern Winter season (October 26, 2014 – March 28, 2015), the Parent Airline Company will increase capacity to Auckland with daily Airbus A380 services, replacing the smaller Boeing 777-300 ER. To cater to peak period demand, three additional weekly services will be operated to Melbourne and Sydney, and two additional weekly services will be operated to Brisbane and Christchurch, from the end of November 2014 to January 2015. In addition, three weekly services will be operated to Sapporo from December 2014 to mid-January 2015. As part of a service restructuring to the Middle East, flights to Cairo and Riyadh have been suspended from October 2014. SilkAir suspended its twice-weekly services to Solo with effect from October 26, 2014. From December 12, 2014, it will begin daily services to Denpasar. Together with the Parent Airline Company, a total of five daily trips will be served between Singapore and the city, subject to regulatory approval. This will bring the combined network of both airlines to 99 cities in 35 countries.
The operating landscape for the airline industry remains competitive and challenging, as an uncertain global economic climate and geopolitical concerns persist.
Demand is generally flat, and yields will remain under pressure amid intense competition from other airlines and promotional activities in weaker markets.
Airfreight demand has seen a moderate recovery in recent months, with demand projected to be stronger in the third quarter as a result of the traditional peak period in the lead-up to Christmas. However, overcapacity in the airfreight market is expected to continue to put pressure on yields.
While there has been a reprieve from cost pressures arising from the decline in fuel prices in recent months, there is concern that the decline reflects a slow- down in major economies in the world which could ultimately hurt travel demand.
The Group will continue to track market movements closely and make appropriate adjustments to capacity, while practising cost discipline in all business areas. With a strong balance sheet, the Group is well positioned to meet the challenges ahead.
Analysis of the financial report:
Comment by Kelvin Wong of www.cityindex.com.sg
Earnings per share for 1H 2014/2015 has declined to $0.107 from $0.24 (y/y) which represents a sharp drop of 55%. Similar for Q2 2014/205 which EPS has declined to 7.7 from 13.6 (y/y) which translates to a 76% decline.
This poor performance has been contributed by its subsidiaries’ contribution towards the SIA Group’s operating profit where we see poor performance in SIA Engineering & SilkAir (both decline drastically by 33.9% and 77.3% respectively from 1H 2013/2014 to 1H 2014/2015.)
Going forward, SIA Group is likely to see downside pressure on its bottom-line due to intense competition from budget airline operators and economic risks such as the spread of Ebola that will hamper international travel.
Technically, SIA is still trading in a multi-year sideways configuration since Nov 2011 and in order to see a change of trend to the upside, it needs to break above the key resistance at 10.92
Link to Kelvin’s page at http://www.cityindex.com.sg/market-talk/analysts/kelvin-wong/
Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A380-841 9V-SKL (msn 058) arrives in London (Heathrow).
Emirates (Dubai) has announced it is planning to launch a fourth daily service from its home and hub, Dubai International Airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York commencing on March 8, 2015.
The new service, flight EK 207 will depart Dubai at 14:50 hours and arrive in JFK at 20:35 hours. The return flight, flight EK 208 will depart JFK at 16:30 hours and arrive in Dubai at 13:15 the following day.
Thanks to Emirates’ code-share agreement with JetBlue Airways (B6) the new fourth daily service will allow good connectivity with JetBlue flights to points across the United States and Caribbean. At JFK, JetBlue operates from Terminal 5, while Emirates operates from the adjacent Terminal 4, allowing for fast and easy connections between flights.
Emirates and JetBlue’s partnership dates back to 2010 and has deepened over the subsequent four years, moving from an interline agreement to incorporating bilateral code-sharing, terminal co-location in Boston, and reciprocal benefits for each airline’s frequent flyers.
The fourth JFK service will be operated with one of Emirates’ fleet of Airbus A380 aircraft featuring 14 First Class Private Suites, 76 Business Class lie-flat beds and 399 Economy Class seats on the main deck. Its upper deck features Emirates’ iconic On-Board lounge for premium passengers and two unique Shower Spas for First Class passengers. All passengers on-board can enjoy access to up to 1,800 channels of films, TV shows, music and games through ice, the airline’s award-winning inflight entertainment system.
Emirates first flew to New York in June 2004 and since then has flown over 4.5 million passengers on the route. It currently operates two other nonstop services between DXB and JFK operated by Airbus A380 aircraft, and one service which routes via Milan, operated by a US-built Boeing 777. Passengers travelling in First Class and Business Class on Emirates-operated flights, as well as Skywards Platinum and Gold members, have access to the Emirates Lounge at JFK.
Read the analysis by the Wall Street Journal: Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Make Their Move on the U.S.: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDA (msn 011) taxies at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York.
Video: Flying the Airbus A380 in Economy from Dubai to New York:
QANTAS Airways (Sydney) has implemented its new and improved inflight entertainment program giving customers more choice and variety and more regular and in-depth news coverage as a result of its new partnership with Sky News, Foxtel and Fox Sports.
QANTAS customers will be able to view a complete package of news, sport, entertainment and lifestyle programs with the partnership marking the start of a comprehensive transformation of Qantas’ inflight entertainment programming.
QANTAS is the only Australian airline to give its customers an inflight entertainment solution on every aircraft no matter what cabin they are traveling in.
New inflight entertainment features:
More news – QANTAS customers will enjoy multiple daily news bulletins on international and domestic flights seven days a week.
More exposure – A new international Australian news service called Australia Channel will broadcast live to Qantas’ international network of lounges so customers returning home will be able to watch the latest news, sport and business updates from Australia. Domestic customers will also enjoy this service.
More sport – Fox Sports content will be on offer for customers including highlights packages, interviews and documentaries.
More variety – A Foxtel Picks channel will showcase a library of lifestyle, drama, food, sport and entertainment programming from the likes of The Lifestyle Channel, Fox8, Showcase, the History Channel and Comedy Channel.
More content – Customers can expect more volume in popular categories including double the number of new releases and blockbusters, kid’s and drama content. Four times more business programming.
More music – Customers can now listen to a greater selection of music with triple the number of albums added each quarter.
QANTAS has also engaged Stellar Entertainment, a full-service content service provider, offering world-class IFE. The partnership has already seen QANTAS double its number of new releases and blockbusters, adding 100 hours of additional content.
Bottom Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-842 VH-OQC (msn 022) arrives in London (Heathrow).
Qatar Airways (Doha) will assign the new Airbus A380 to the Doha-Bangkok route starting on January 5, 2015.
Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A7-APA (msn 137) climbs away from the runway at London’s Heathrow Airport.
Video: The painting of the first Airbus A380:
Video: A classic Qatar Airways commercial from 2013:
Emirates Airline (Dubai) has issued this statement on its on-going growth strategy:
Emirates will continue with its growth trajectory, in spite of global challenges like regional political instability, pandemic health issues in Africa and softening economic demand from dropping oil prices.
Speaking today at the Aviation Festival Middle East, Anand Lakshminarayanan, Divisional Vice President Route Planning and Economics said: “Countries recognize the importance of seamless global traffic flows and the multiplier effect to their own economies, and this has been instrumental in our own growth as an airline that attracts business and tourism opportunities. We will not deviate from our hub strategy and our future aircraft deliveries and orders are predicated on our non-stop services, connecting city pairs around the globe.”
Emirates expects to fly 70 million passengers in 2020, and the airline together with its partners in Dubai are already progressing on plans to ensure the right infrastructure is in place to support and capitalise on this growth.
The Aviation Festival Middle East is a platform for airlines, airports and the aviation industry to address strategies for growth and development. On behalf of Emirates, Lakshminarayanan discussed profitable network growth, aero-political access, airport constraints and commercial partnerships. The core of Emirates network strategy and Dubai hub were also discussed, in addition to Emirates’ view on alliances and strategic partnerships.
He cited India as an example where Emirates services have brought positive economic benefits, where the 185 weekly frequencies allotted to the airline directly contribute $825 million to the local economy, according to a study by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER).
Emirates has also been able to capitalize on strategic alliances with QANTAS Airways (Sydney), which has helped spur tourism into Dubai through the partnership. Over 250,000 Australians visited Dubai last year, largely reflecting the convergence of both airlines’ networks. Another mutually beneficial partnership that has supported Emirates’ growing United States network has been with JetBlue Airways (New York), which has grown to a bilateral codeshare agreement, enabling Emirates passengers to connect to over 60 cities served by JetBlue beyond its US gateways.
The airline continues to work on various initiatives, in partnership with Dubai International Airport, to help ease slot congestion. Terminal 4, set to open in 2015, will also help to address overall capacity requirements at the airport.
Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Emirates is also not afraid of its large and growing Airbus A380 fleet. The airline is also not concerned with the resale market for its A380s. It is happy to have single operator A380s. Emirates is an unique airline. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDQ (msn 080) with Expo 2020 markings departs from London (Heathrow).
Air France (Paris) and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam) have issued details of their winter schedule from October 26 through March 28, 2015. Overall group capacity will only increase by 0.7 percent as Air France tries to recover from its devastating pilot strikes. However Transavia will see a 13.3 percent increase in capacity as the group tries to drive more operations to the lower cost divisions. Air France is cutting dome domestic AF services with the goal of breaking even by 2017. Here is the full report:
For the 2014-15 winter season (from October 26, 2014 to March 28, 2015), Air France-KLM Group capacity is scheduled to increase by 0.7%, with an increase of 0.1% for passenger operations(Air France, KLM and HOP!) and 13.3% for low-cost leisure operations (Transavia in France and the Netherlands).
Short and medium-haul capacity at the Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam-Schiphol hubs will increase slightly (+3.1%). In the same way as last summer, point-to-point short and medium-haul capacity will continue to decrease (-11.3%). Transavia capacity will increase by +13.3%, with growth concentrated on the French market (+56%).
Air France-KLM has chosen to move upmarket with the progressive introduction of new products and services of the highest global standards.
On the long-haul network, 22 Boeing 747-400s have been equipped with KLM’s new World Business Class and 777-200s will be finished before the summer of 2015, followed by implementing the new World Business Class in the 777-300s. By the end of 2016 about 80% of the KLM fleet will be done. Air France continues to roll out its new Best cabins: five Air France Boeing 777s will be equipped by end-2014. Flights to New York, Singapore and Jakarta have already been equipped with these brand new products. Services to Tokyo-Haneda, Shanghai, Dubai, Houston, Sao Paulo, Douala and Malabo will gradually be added to this list in winter 2014.
Furthermore, this winter the Company will operate two new destinations by Airbus A380: Miami and Abidjan, in addition to Los Angeles, New York, Johannesburg, Hong Kong and Shanghai already served by the super jumbo this summer.
Long-haul: + 0.3%
On the long-haul network, Air France-KLM Group capacity is up slightly compared with winter 2013-14 at +0.3%.
On the North American network, capacity is up +2.4% compared with winter 2013-14
KLM is once again increasing capacity to Atlanta, from 7 to 12 weekly flights, in response to market demand. These new frequencies will facilitate connections with the Delta Air Lines network in Atlanta, one of the main hubs served by the Air France-KLM partner.
The Air France Airbus A380 will be flying the Miami route as from early December. Three U.S. destinations will thus be operated this winter by the A380 on departure from Paris-Charles de Gaulle – New-York-JFK, Los Angeles and Miami.
In Mexico, KLM will increase its frequencies to Mexico City, from 7 to 9 weekly flights in November and December, in line with seasonal demand. Air France capacity on a code-share basis with Aeromexico is increasing with 13 new destinations in Mexico and Central America on departure from Mexico City.
In Central and South America, Group capacity is up +1.1%.
Air France continues to serve Brasilia (Brazil) three times a week and Montevideo (Uruguay) is served daily in continuation of Buenos Aires (Argentina). The Company is increasing capacity to Panama City, increasing from three to five weekly frequencies by B777-200 and benefits from Copa’s Central American hub thanks to the commercial agreement between the two airlines.
Air France-KLM continues its close cooperation with the Brazilian airline GOL in order to take advantage of its joint network in the region and offer its customers improved connecting opportunities with the Brazilian domestic network this winter.
In the Caribbean, Air France-KLM capacity is revised downwards (-2.2%). Between mid-December and mid-January, Air France will operate 13 weekly flights (instead of 14) to Pointe-à-Pitre and 11 weekly flights (instead of 14) to Fort-de-France. KLM will increase capacity in the Caribbean in response to increasing demand for these destinations.
In Asia, Group capacity is up slightly at +0.7%.
In continuation of the summer schedule, Air France is continuing to serve Tokyo-Haneda airport up to 11 times per week in addition to the daily flight to Tokyo-Narita, providing connecting opportunities to Noumea (New Caledonia). Services to Jakarta (Indonesia) in continuation of the Singapore flight are also maintained on a daily basis.
To take advantage of the seasonal nature of certain destinations, Air France is increasing capacity during the peak winter season between mid-December and mid-March to Bangkok (Thailand) (one daily flight) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) (addition of a fourth frequency).
In China, capacity to Wuhan is being increased by one weekly frequency, with three weekly flights. Guangzhou will be served by four weekly flights.
KLM continues to cooperate with its Asian partners to offer customers a wider choice of connecting flights and even more destinations in Asia.
Africa: capacity slightly down by -0.8%
In Africa, Group capacity is slightly down to -0.8%.
Air France is adjusting its flight offering and reinforcing its most buoyant routes such as Abidjan (Ivory Coast), with the entry into service of the A380, and Pointe Noire (Congo) with the introduction of a sixth weekly frequency.
In East Africa, KLM is reorganizing its network to adapt it to specific market expectations. Capacity to Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Entebbe (Uganda) is up. The two cities are now served directly three times a week. On the other days, they are served via Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) and Kigali (Rwanda) respectively. KLM has suspended direct service to Harare (Zimbabwe) and Lusaka (Zambia). These two destinations remain in the Group’s capacity and are currently served by Kenya Airways via Nairobi (Kenya).
In the Indian Ocean region, Air France-KLM is adjusting capacity (-2.8%). From mid-December to mid-January, Air France will offer 11 flights to Reunion island (instead of 12) and an additional flight to Mauritius.
Middle East: capacity down by -5.2%
In the Middle East, Air France-KLM capacity is down by -5.2%. KLM is again increasing capacity to Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) in combination with Bahrein, as a result of its optimized cooperation with Etihad Airways, Air France-KLM’s partner. KLM will serve this destination using an Airbus 330-300, instead of an A330-200. Dubai will be served by the Air France B777-300 equipped with the new Best cabins in early 2015.
On the medium-haul network, the 2014-15 winter season sees the full effect of the measures of the Transform 2015 plan.
On departure from the Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam-Schiphol hubs: capacity increases by +3.1%
Air France and KLM continue to serve the routes launched this summer: on departure from Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Stavanger (Norway) with two daily frequencies; on departure from Amsterdam-Schiphol, two daily flights to Turin (Italy), one daily flight to Bilbao (Spain) and Zagreb (Croatia).
KLM strengthens its position in Scandinavia by increasing frequencies to Bergen (Noway) with three daily flights and five daily flights to Billund (Denmark). KLM will also increase capacity to Moscow (Russia) and Bordeaux with three daily flights.
Air France aims to better seize connecting opportunities to the rest of the world and maintain capacity adapted to variations in demand between winter and summer: for example, one daily frequency is being suspended to Munich (Germany), Bucharest (Romania), Moscow (Russia), Rome (Italy) and Bremen (Germany).
On departure from Paris-Orly and the French provinces: capacity down by -11.3%
This winter, point-to-point short and medium-haul capacity (Air France, HOP!) is down by -11.3%. Seasonal adjustments are more pronounced, with the aim to return to operational breakeven by 2017.
On departure from Paris-Orly, Air France suspends one daily flight to Bordeaux and two daily frequencies to Toulouse. From the provinces, structural adjustments continue, notably with the suspension of several destinations in Europe and North Africa on departure from Toulouse and Marseille.
HOP! capacity is slightly up in France and to major European cities on departure from the French provinces. With its 26 destinations, Lyon is the Company’s main base, giving customers from the French regions access to a vast network of connecting flights.
Low-cost leisure operations
Transavia: strong increase in capacity of +13.3%
Transavia France, a low-cost subsidiary of the Air France-KLM Group, will continue to develop as outlined in the Transform 2015 plan. During the 2014-15 winter season, Transavia France will operate nine new routes launched this year on departure from Paris-Orly – Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Budapest, Madrid, Malaga, Barcelona, Athens, Pisa and Prague. On departure from Lyon, Transavia will also inaugurate a service to Tel Aviv as from October 2014.
Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. As previously reported, Air France is bringing the Airbus A380 to Miami this winter. A380-861 F-HPJI (msn 115) taxies at the Paris (CDG) hub with the special 80 And (Years) markings.
Air France Aircraft Slide Show:
Qatar Airways (Doha) today (October 10) finally inaugurated Airbus A380 service on the Doha-London (Heathrow) route becoming the 12th airline to operate the Super Jumbo.
Twelve airlines have taken delivery of more than 140 A380s, which are operating on routes around the world as of September 2014. In total, more than 65 million passengers have flown on Airbus’ 21st century flagship jetliner since its 2007 service entry.
Singapore Airlines took delivery of the first A380 in October 2007, and began operations with Singapore-Sydney service. This carrier also is successfully using its A380s on long-haul routes to destinations such as London, Paris and Zurich, as well as for the approximately 3-hour-plus Singapore-to-Hong Kong flight, and on the intra-Asia service linking Singapore with Tokyo.
Emirates – the largest single A380 customer – has expanded its route network since inaugurating operations with the double-deck jetliner in July 2008. In addition to service from Dubai to Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong, London, New York, Paris, Seoul, Sydney/Auckland and Toronto, Emirates is now flying A380s on the shorter-haul, but high-density Dubai-Jeddah route.
Service on the North Atlantic was introduced by Air France, which has operated its prestigious Paris-New York flight with the A380 since November 2009. Air France replaced two mid-sized “classic” widebody aircraft with the A380 on this route, allowing the airline to offer the same capacity with much higher economic efficiency, at significantly lower fuel consumption, and with lower emissions. The carrier also is using its A380s on flights from Paris to Tokyo and Johannesburg.
QANTAS has been operating its A380s since September 2008 from two cities in its Australian home market – Sydney and Melbourne, providing the jetliner’s first service to Los Angeles on the U.S. West Coast, along with routes to Dubai, London and Hong Kong. Lufthansa joined the ranks of A380 operators in May 2010 – deploying its growing fleet on routes between Frankfurt and Beijing, Houston, Johannesburg, San Francisco, Singapore and Tokyo.
Korean Air, which has a long-standing relationship with Airbus that dates back to 1974, received its first A380 in May 2011 and has ordered a total of 10 aircraft to help expand its global route network. As Airbus’ sixth international operator, Korean Air flies the A380 from its Seoul hub to selected destinations in Asia, North America and Europe.
The no. 1 A380 for China Southern Airlines entered revenue service in October 2011 with round-trip flights linking Beijing and Guangzhou. After this introductory domestic service, the airline began using the A380 on international routes starting with flights between Guangzhou and Los Angeles in October 2012.
In May 2012, Malaysia Airlines became the fifth airline in the Asia-Pacific region – and the eighth worldwide – to incorporate the double-deck A380 into its fleet. Malaysia’s A380s are used in operations from Kuala Lumpur to London, Paris and Hong Kong.
Thai Airways International (THAI) became the ninth airline worldwide to incorporate the A380 into its fleet in September 2012. The carrier’s A380s – which seat 507 passengers in a premium three-class layout – provide service to Frankfurt, Tokyo and Paris after being used on Bangkok-Hong Kong and Bangkok-Singapore routes upon initial entry into service.
British Airways became the 10th airline to receive an A380 in July 2013 and inaugurated its long-haul operations with the double-deck jetliner between London and Los Angeles two months later.
In May 2014, Asiana Airlines took delivery of its first of six A380s on order, which is a key element in the South Korea-based carrier’s future vision and fleet modernisation strategy. Asiana – the 11th operator worldwide to receive Airbus’ 21st century flagship jetliner – initially will deploy its no. 1 aircraft from Seoul on regional services in Asia to Tokyo, Hong Kong and Bangkok; to be followed by long-haul routes to Los Angeles in the U.S.
Qatar Airways became the world’s 12th airline to add the A380 to its fleet during September 2014. Airbus’ 21st century flagship jetliner is taking this Gulf airline to new heights, enabling it to carry passengers even further while providing an unrivalled in-flight experience. Qatar Airways is scheduled to begin service with its initial A380 from Doha’s Hamad International Airport to London Heathrow.
Qatar will inaugurate A380 to Paris (Charles de Gaulle) on November 1 and a second flight to Heathrow on December 1.
Map of A380 operators and routes operated: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. This historic photo shows the first, Airbus A380-861 A7-APA (msn 137), arriving at London (Heathrow) as flight QR 03 at 1225 local time. The flight back to Doha departs as flight QR 04 at 1415 each day.
Emirates (Dubai) will grow its services to and from Milan with the upgrade of one of its daily Boeing 777-300 services to an Airbus A380 from December 1. This will be the first ever permanently scheduled A380 service to Milan Malpensa Airport.
Bringing the A380 onto one of Emirates’ three daily Milan services will mean an increase in capacity of almost 38%. The triple-daily service connecting Dubai to Milan is currently operated with a mix of Boeing 777-300 and 777-300 ER aircraft. One of these services continues onward to New York.
Emirates currently operates 53 Airbus A380s.
The A380 service will operate daily as flight EK 91, departing Dubai at 1540 and arriving at Milan Malpensa airport at 1935. The return flight, EK 92, departs Milan at 2120 and arrives in Dubai at 0625 the next day.
Copyright Photo: Brian Peters/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A6-EEV (msn 150) taxies at the new destination of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW).
British Airways (London) yesterday (October 2) began flying its new 469-seat Airbus A380 aircraft between London Heathrow and Washington Dulles International Airport. This marks the first and only nonstop A380 service between the two nations’ capitals. The airline also officially unveiled its new, improved business and first class lounge for customers departing from Washington D.C.
British Airways will initially operate five A380 services a week from Washington Dulles. This will increase from the end of October to a daily A380 service, in conjunction with the daily flight BA 292, operated by a Boeing 747-400 and the thrice weekly flight BA 264, operated by a Boeing 777.
British Airways has ordered 12 A380s for delivery by 2016. The airline currently has six A380s in service. The first flight was operated with the pictured Airbus A380-841 G-XLEB.
British Airways currently flies its A380 aircraft from Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Johannesburg, with Singapore beginning on October 28 and San Francisco in April 2015.
In other news, British Airways has added another three new routes to its 2015 London Gatwick schedule. Seville in Spain, Funchal in Madeira and Las Palmas in Gran Canaria with the first flights from March 29, 2015.
The news follows announcements on eight other new London Gatwick routes, taking the total number of destinations British Airways flies to from London Gatwick to over 50 for Summer 2015.
From December this year, new winter sun and ski destinations will include Fuerteventura, Friedrichshafen and Grenoble.
Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands will operate from December 13 this year and other sunshine routes launching for summer 2015, will include Cagliari in Sardinia, Heraklion in Crete, Rhodes in Greece and Bodrum and Dalaman in Turkey.
The services to all three destinations will be served by a mixture of Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft from London Gatwick.
Top Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by BA). Airbus A380-841 G-XLEB (msn 121) taxies at Los Angeles to the gate.
Below Photo: The cabin of the Airbus A380:
Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) has welcomed the first arrival of an Emirates (Dubai) Airbus A380. The airport issued this statement:
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport today (October 1) welcomed the start of Emirates Airbus A380 daily service to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The arriving Emirates A380 aircraft was met with a traditional DFW Airport “shower of affection” water cannon salute (above) from the Airport’s Department of Public Safety, as well as local dignitaries.
Emirates, the largest airline in the Middle East and one of the fastest growing carriers in the world, became the first airline to offer direct service from DFW to the Middle East in 2012. The transition from Boeing 777-200 aircraft to the double-decker Airbus A380-800 means that Emirates is increasing its capacity on the DFW to Dubai route by over 80 percent.
DFW airline partners offer nonstop service to 55 international destinations and 147 cities in the United States, with every major city in the continental U.S., Canada and Mexico within a four-hour flight.
DFW has reconfigured two gates, namely D15 and D16, to simultaneously accommodate A380 flights while on the ground, utilizing a total of three boarding bridges. DFW Airport also completed modifications to the airfield, specifically ramps and taxiways in order to accommodate A380 service, and the Airport has installed a new seating configuration which doubles the seating capacity in the Terminal D15/D16 gate waiting area.
Read the analysis by Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: DFW. Airbus A380-861 A6-EET (msn 142) is greeted by the traditional water cannon welcome.
QANTAS Airways (Sydney) customers will now enjoy the luxury of the world’s largest passenger aircraft on the world’s longest route, with nonstop Airbus A380 services between Sydney and Dallas/Fort Worth which was launched on September 28.
QANTAS recently announced increased services to the USA, and will now offer customers 41 services per week to North America. About half of these services are operated by the pictured Airbus A380 aircraft and the other half by Boeing 747-400s with A380-style interiors.
Copyright Photo: QANTAS Airways. The First Class Suite.
The new Airbus A380 service is the result of several scheduling changes designed to unlock more flying time of the QANTAS fleet, as part of the wider Qantas Transformation program.
Copyright Photo: QANTAS Airways. Business Class cabin.
QANTAS will operate the new Airbus A380 service six times per week (every day except Tuesdays). Flight QF 7 will depart Sydney at 1310 and arrive at DFW International Airport at 1345 local time (the same day).
The return flight QF 8, will depart DFW at 2215 local time and arrive in Sydney at 0605 two days later (due to an evening departure and the international dateline). Flying time from Sydney to DFW is around 14 hours 50 minutes, and flying time from DFW to Sydney is around 15 hours 30 minutes.
Copyright Photo: QANTAS Airways. The Economy Class cabin.
Through its codeshare partnership with American Airlines, QANTAS offers onward connections to more than 100 destinations across the USA, with more than 50 of those from Dallas/Fort Worth including Orlando, Boston, Houston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Washington, Toronto, Vancouver, Cancun and Mexico City.
This new service comes in the 60th anniversary year of QANTAS services between Australia and the USA. In 1954, QANTAS operated a Lockheed Super Constellation from Sydney to San Francisco – its first trans-Pacific route to North America.
Copyright Photo: QANTAS Airways.
To celebrate the milestone, QANTAS painted its Airbus A380-842 VH-OQL (msn 074) operating the route with a special livery; the kangaroo on the tail (above) features a traditional Stetson hat with a neckerchief in the American-stars print, with a “G’Day Texas” emblem next to the forward doors.
QANTAS Ambassador John Travolta was at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to greet the inaugural Airbus A380 service from Sydney and said he was proud to help promote the new service (below).
“I’m thrilled to be part of this special and historic moment for QANTAS. It’s exciting news for Americans that the world’s biggest and one of the most luxurious passenger aircrafts is now flying between Dallas/Fort Worth and Sydney,” said Mr Travolta.
Top Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-842 VH-OQD (msn 026) climbs away from London (Heathrow).
Lufthansa (Frankfurt) meanwhile is facing another day of strikes tomorrow (September 30) by its pilots, represented by the Vereinigung Cockpit union. The strike revolves around a dispute concerning retirement benefits.
The union issued this statement (translated from German):
The Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) 2014 plans industrial action at Lufthansa for tomorrow Tuesday, September 30.
Lufthansa pilots are on September 30, 2014 from 8.00 – 23.00 local time will strike on long-haul flights with the aircraft types Airbus A380, Boeing 747, Airbus A330 and Airbus A340 will not perform any departures from Frankfurt Airport. With this strike, a new collective agreement transitional care will be achieved.
Since Lufthansa management has not submitted any compromise or competitive offer, we are forced to take these other measures.
The Vereinigung Cockpit declares that it is always ready to avert strikes. We regret any inconvenience to the customers of Lufthansa.
Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-841 D-AIMB (msn 041) arrives back at the Frankfurt hub.
Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) has unveiled a new look for the delivery of the first Airbus A380. The first Boeing 787 will follow in the same eye-catching color scheme. This new livery will be painted on the entire fleet. The fast-growing carrier issued this statement and photos:
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), today (September 26) unveiled a stunning new livery design which will be introduced across its fleet.
Created by leading brand consultants Landor Associates in partnership with Etihad Airways, the new livery is inspired by traditional Emirati design patterns, the landscapes of the desert and the geometric shapes found in the modern architecture of Abu Dhabi.
The result is a striking and unique livery design which will present Etihad Airways as the airline of a progressive and innovative cultural hub, firmly rooted in its rich history.
The new livery was unveiled as Etihad Airways’ first A380 rolled-out of the paint hangar at the Airbus Finkenwerder facility in Hamburg, Germany.
James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Airways said: “Only a few months ago Etihad Airways unveiled the new cabin interiors for our A380 aircraft and we are now proud to show the world how this aircraft will look on the outside.
“The striking new livery also continues our commitment to breaking from convention and doing things differently. This is a real divergence from the norms of traditional airline livery design and will stand out in the sky and at every airport we fly to.”
The design pattern named ‘Facets of Abu Dhabi’ uses a colour palette which reflects the varying hues of the landscape of the UAE, from the darker sands of Liwa to the lighter colours seen in the Northern Emirates. The design development involved researching design options amongst Emiratis and international travellers to help select the final ‘winning’ livery.
The UAE national emblem is given prominence along the fuselage next to the Etihad name and the national flag is respectfully featured forward near the cockpit.
The design pattern is also a key feature of the new cabin interiors being introduced on Etihad Airways’ Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 aircraft, and is being rolled out across the airline’s corporate branding – from advertising to brochures to premium lounges.
Peter Knapp, Global Creative Officer of Landor Associates, said: “Etihad Airways is undoubtedly a leading airline on the international stage and this new livery is a real step change in the industry. I believe there will be nothing like it on any apron in the world.
“It tells the remarkable story of this region and of Abu Dhabi’s past, present and future, providing a narrative for an innovative airline brand. We used the ambient geometry present in the architecture and culture of the emirate and reinterpreted it with a sense of Arabian modernism which has become synonymous with Etihad and Abu Dhabi itself.”
The entire Etihad Airways fleet of more than 100 aircraft, as well as those to be delivered, will be painted in the new livery during the next three years ensuring that the Facets of Abu Dhabi is seen across the world.
Etihad Airways will take delivery of seven wide-bodied aircraft in 2015 – four Airbus A380s and three Boeing 787-9s – and seven narrow-bodied aircraft – one A320 and six A321s.
Etihad Airways, which celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2013, has introduced unique liveries on several of its aircraft to mark special events and occasions.
These include an Airbus A340 and A320 in Formula 1 livery to celebrate the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The airline also flies a Manchester City FC Airbus A330 painted in the Premier League club’s sky-blue colours with the name and crest clearly visible on both sides of the aircraft.
Etihad Airways’ first Airbus A380 will operate on flights between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow from December 27, 2014. The two subsequent deliveries of the A380 in early 2015 will also service the route, making it a triple daily A380 operation.
Later in 2015, A380s will operate to Sydney and New York as Etihad Airways receives its fourth and fifth aircraft. The airline has currently 10 of the giant double-decker airliners on firm order.
The Etihad Airways A380 is set to transform luxury air travel with The Residence by Etihad, which features a living room, separate double bedroom and ensuite shower room, making it the first three-room luxury suite in history of commercial aviation.
The Residence by Etihad, located on the forward upper deck of the A380, can accommodate one or two guests who will also have a personal Butler trained by the Savoy Butler Academy in London.
Etihad Airways’ A380 will also feature new First Apartments, which are fully private suites with a separate reclining lounge seat and full-length bed; as well as the new Business Studio and Economy Smart Seat.
Copyright Photo: Airbus (all others by Etihad Airways). The first A380, the pictured A380-861 A6-APA (msn 166), is pictured at the Hamburg (Finkenwerder) Airbus facility.
Previously the airline unveiled images of the Airbus A380 interiors: CLICK HERE
Video: the painting of the Airbus A380:
Video: The unveiling of the new livery:
Video: The new livery:
Video: Time lapse video of the assembly of the first Airbus A380:
Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) has 10 new Airbus A380-800s on order. The airline is intending to introduce a new special livery (or a new color scheme for the fleet?) with the first delivery. The company has not yet unveiled this special design but we now have a clue. Today in Toulouse this Airbus A380 took to the skies.
Copyright Photo: Eurospot/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 F-WWAB (msn 170) wears this temporary registration until the first A380 is handed over in December.
Qatar Airways (Doha) has taken delivery of the pictured Airbus A380-861 A7-APA (msn 137) today (September 17), its first Airbus A380. Airbus issued this statement:
At a ceremony in Hamburg hosted by Airbus, Qatar Airways, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines welcomed a new star to its fleet – the Airbus A380. In the presence of His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, and Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO, the airline took delivery of the first of its 10 Airbus A380 aircraft on order.
The delivery marks the beginning of a new chapter for Qatar Airways, as it pushes boundaries and expands its operations. The A380, with its unique combination of increased capacity, long-haul range and unbeatable fuel efficiency, will enable the airline to carry its passengers even further and at deluxe comfort standards.
As a five-star performer, the A380 has become a firm favourite with passengers and airlines, due to the smoothness of the flight, quietness of the cabin and the spaciousness of the overall aircraft layout. These unique characteristics allow Qatar Airways to achieve their ambition of providing excellent services to their passengers. The A380’s built-in cabin flexibility has also given Qatar Airways the opportunity to make innovative use of the aircraft’s space, offering the airline’s passengers an exceptional in-flight experience.
All seats are equipped with the latest entertainment systems, and the stylish and comfortable interior for Qatar Airways’ A380 will accommodate a total of 517 people – 461 in Economy, 48 in Business and eight in First Class, featuring the widest first-class seats in the industry. The aircraft has two full-length passenger decks – First and Business Class cabins will both be located on the aircraft’s upper deck, along with a special lounge area for premium passengers.
Qatar Airways is the 12th world class carrier to fly the A380. The airline’s first A380 will make its debut on the popular London Heathrow route, from Hamad International in Doha, followed by Paris Charles de Gaulle.
With 318 orders so far by 19 customers the A380 captures 90 percent of the Very Large Aircraft market. With the delivery today, the global A380 fleet mounts up to 142 aircraft, having accumulated over 1.5 million flight hours on some 180,000 commercial flights. To date over 65 million passengers have already enjoyed the unique experience of flying on board an A380. Every four minutes, an A380 either takes off or lands at one of the 41 airports where it operates today and the network is constantly growing.
Copyright Photo: Airbus. Handing over Qatar Airways’ new A380 flagship: Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Brégier (right) and His Excellency, Mr. Akbar Al Baker, Group Chief Executive Qatar Airways.
Lufthansa resumes normal operations after the pilot’s union Vereinigung Cockpit calls off its strike
Lufthansa (Frankfurt) issued this statement:
The pilots union Vereinigung Cockpit has cancelled the strike announcement for today (September 16).
Lufthansa has already returned to the regular flight schedule.
Previously the company published a special flight plan for all 40 long-haul flights from Frankfurt.
The union called off the strike after they received a new offer from company management.
Copyright Photo: Ole Simon/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-841 D-AIME (msn 061) departs from the Frankfurt hub.
Qatar Airways (Doha) and Airbus (Toulouse) have resolved a three-month dispute that was blocking the delivery of the first Airbus A380 according to this report by Reuters. As we had reported, Qatar had previously declined to take delivery of the pictured Airbus A380-861 A7-APA due to concerns about the quality of the cabin interior. Qatar has 10 A380s on order.
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
Qatar Airways has been delaying the inaugural flight from Doha to London (Heathrow). According to Airline Route the latest inaugural date is October 10 for this route. Doha-Paris (CDG) remains on target for October 16 so the airline is bound to take two aircraft at first on delivery.
Top Copyright Photo: Gerd Beilfuss/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A7-APA (msn 137) awaits the official handover date.
Above Copyright Photo: Qatar Airways. The First Class section of the Airbus A380.
Video: Qatar Airways unveiled its Airbus A380 product in March 2014:
British Airways (London) is bringing its new Airbus A380 to San Francisco starting in April 2015. This is the first time that an Airbus A380 will be available for customers traveling between San Francisco International Airport and London’s Heathrow Airport.
The Bay area will become the third destination in North America to receive the largest aircraft in British Airways’ fleet. The new aircraft spans two full decks and can accommodate up to 469 customers across four cabins. With 14 First class suites and 97 Club World business seats, the British Airways A380 will have more full flatbeds than any other flight departing from San Francisco.
Club World (business class) customers can choose from one of 44 seats on the main deck, or 53 seats on the upper deck where there will be a new 2:3:2 configuration across the cabin. The popular World Traveller Plus (premium economy) cabin will expand to 55 seats, to give more people the chance to experience a little taste of luxury.
The aircraft’s innovative design makes it much quieter during take-off and landing and more fuel efficient than its predecessors. Customers will benefit from an advanced cabin system that allows 15 different temperature control zones and air that is refreshed every three minutes.
At launch, the A380 will operate as flight BA 286 from San Francisco to London on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The same flight on Tuesdays and Wednesdays will continue to be operated by a Boeing 747-400, as will the second daily service, the BA 284.
British Airways has ordered 12 A380 aircraft for delivery by 2016, as part of a $5 billion investment in new aircraft, smarter cabins, elegant lounges, and new technologies to make life more comfortable in the air and on the ground.
British Airways currently flies its A380 aircraft to Los Angeles, Hong Kong, with Washington DC service beginning October 2 and Singapore on October 28.
Copyright Photo: Airbus A380-841 G-XLEE (msn 148) taxies to the gate at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Lufthansa (Frankfurt) will introduce its Airbus A380s on October 26 when it adds the Super Jumbo on its Frankfurt-Delhi and Frankfurt-Mumbai routes according to Airline Route. One daily to each destination will be operated.
Update: Mumbai now cancelled per Airline Route. Delhi remains.
Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-841 D-AIMF 9msn 066) arrives back at the Frankfurt hub.
Lufthansa Aircraft Slide Show: CLICK HERE
Guest Editor Aaron Newman
Power Shift; Gulf Carriers Threat to Alliance Airlines
By Aaron Newman
There are not many days that go by without seeing news come from the Middle East’s emergent airlines. Emirates Airline (Dubai), Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) and Qatar Airways (Doha) have been populating the headlines with large aircraft orders, launching new routes, new state-of-the art airports, and lavish onboard improvements. These three airlines have made established legacy carriers across the globe uneasy as they present a real threat to the established airlines bottom line. Alliance airlines like British Airways, KLM-Air France, Lufthansa, American and United have long dominated trans-oceanic high-yielding business markets. Are these industry mainstays slowly losing their grip?
Rapid economic development of Persian Gulf countries in the 1970’s and 80’s were due largely in part of the discovery of vast oil and gas reserves and the growth of OPEC. This caused large amounts of capital to flow into these small Gulf nations. Over time, small oil nations began looking for ways to diversify their country’s portfolio in a fear that oil reserves will eventually run out. These three state owned airlines are now an integral part of their countries respective economies. Qatar Airways for example, claims to count for 11% of the state’s GDP. Supported by friendly regulatory environments, government spending on airport infrastructures, and new, reliable long-haul aircraft, these carriers have transitioned from small regional airlines to global mainstays in a decade’s time.
Keys to Success
Access to cheap capital; the Gulf States have access to large cash reserves from oil and gas resources. This enables Persian Gulf nations to finance rapid growth, and offers support with airport development and infrastructure.
Regional competition; the Gulf airlines cooperate on many issues but also vigorously compete with each other, creating the need for efficient operations and continual product development to attract new customers.
Geography; the Middle East is ideally placed to link major global population centers. It sits at a cross-road between Europe, Africa and Asia.
Emerging market demand; demand from emerging markets is rising fast as a rapidly growing middle class has the time and money to consider travelling by air for leisure and business. The Gulf is located between the mature economies of Europe and the emerging markets of South East Asia, India, China and Africa.
A New Formidable Opponent
The Gulf airlines have combined home markets of only 7.5 million people, and so must rely on connecting passengers with a hub and spoke system. European airlines have been particularly hard hit by this, watching their natural customers travel on Gulf carriers instead of the country’s national carrier. Christoph Franz, former CEO of Lufthansa Group, highlights the challenging future of his prior company on a new Emirates route from Lisbon to Dubai saying , “we are talking about passengers who until now were primarily attracted by flights from Lisbon to Munich, in order to go on to Asian destinations. At least part of them are not flying via Germany anymore,” he says. “In the beginning we were talking about a competitive threat on paper – now we are talking about reality in our markets” (ft.com).
Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Etihad Airways Airbus A340-642 A6-EHF (msn 837) departs from London’s Heathrow Airport.
In a June warning to its investors, Lufthansa cautioned the possibility of downward revisions to the airlines earnings outlook. Chief Financial Officer Simone Menne cited pricing pressure from the Gulf carriers’ expansion into Europe as a major contributing factor. Gulf airlines, which are adding capacity in major European cities such as Paris and London, are also ramping up service in secondary cities like Barcelona and Hamburg. This means that they’re grabbing market share from the European carriers not only at their hubs, but also at their spokes.
The Gulf three now send nearly 120 large, new planes weekly to a growing number of American cities (WSJ.com). Though the United States and Canada are geographically better positioned than their European counterparts, the Gulf carriers still pose a credible threat. Airlines and governments in North America have been fighting back where they can. In Canada, the government has limited the number of planes that Etihad, Emirates and Qatar can land at its airports–a move to protect Air Canada, and its partner Lufthansa.
Graph Source: Emirates.
“Essentially, these are not airlines—they’re governments,” said Delta CEO Richard Anderson. “They have the ability to gain advantages in markets because profitability doesn’t matter.” He said the U.S. government should revisit its air treaties with other nations to ensure there is “equity” in commerce (wsj.com). Many industry analysts say U.S. opposition has slight chance of slowing down the Gulf carriers in the deregulated era. Washington is unlikely to alienate its Mideast allies, and Boeing, the U.S.’s biggest exporter, gets 10 percent of its wide-body orders from the Gulf carriers.
Looking Into the Future
With a backlog of more than 500 wide body aircraft orders, do not expect these airlines growth to subside. According to a recent report by Credit Suisse, Etihad Airways, Emirates, and Qatar Airways will increase the number of seats offered on their Europe-to-Asia flights between 8 and 18 percent a year between now and 2020 (thefinancialist.com). I believe you will continue to see these airlines enter more secondary markets to grab market share from legacy carriers. I envision cities like Chengdu, Sapporo, Brasilia, and Charlotte N.C. as cities that Gulf carriers will have their eyes on for future growth. With new airports and new aircraft, growth is inevitable; at this point it is not a matter of if Gulf carriers will continue to grow, but it appears to be a matter of when and where.
What can European, Southeast Asian and North American airlines do in response to the new threat to their long-haul business? Airlines must first cut costs. This is critical, particularly for European airlines to remain competitive. For example, Lufthansa needs to reduce costs on flights to Southeast Asia by 40 percent to stay competitive. Another example, according to Credit Suisse, Air France and IAG (British Airways Parent Company) has 30 percent higher unit costs on flights to Southeast Asia than some Asian competitors, Turkish Airlines, and Emirates (thefinancialist.com). Secondly, airlines could reduce route competition and shelter revenue by developing mutual partnerships with the Gulf carriers. These relationships would make it easier for both Eurasian and North American carriers to get more customers into the Middle East, India and developing nations in Africa with little investment required. As the saying goes; if you can’t beat em,’ join em.’
Bottom Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDJ (msn 009) of Emirates arrives at London (Heathrow).
Air France (Paris) is bringing the Airbus A380 to Miami. Starting on December 1 the A380 with replace the Boeing 747-400 on the Paris (Charles de Gaulle)-Miami route.
During the 2014-2015 winter season (October 26, 2014 – March 28, 2015), Air France will offer up to 7 flights a week to Miami from Paris-Charles de Gaulle. From December 1, 2014 until the end of the season, each flight will be operated by Airbus A380 aircraft.
Daily flight schedules: *
From December 1, 2014 to March 28, 2015 (local time):
AF 090: departure from Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 13:50, arriving in Miami at 18:05
AF 099: from Miami at 20:55, arrival at Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 11.20 the next day
* flights daily except Wednesday from January 5, 2015 to February 1, 2015 and March 9, 2015 to March 28, 2015.
The Air France A380 has 516 seats in four cabins Travel: The First (9 seats); Business (80 seats); Premium Economy (38 seats) and Economy (389 seats).
Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 F-HPJB (msn 040) taxies at the CDG hub.
Airbus (Toulouse) has issued this short statement:
Following discussions with Skymark Airlines (Tokyo) and in light of the airline’s expressed intentions in respect of the A380, Airbus has in accordance with its contractual rights, notified Skymark Airlines that the purchase order for the six A380s signed in 2011 has been terminated. Airbus is reserving all its rights and remedies.
Read more background information from ZipanguFlyer: CLICK HERE
Can Skymark survive this cancellation? Bloomberg Businessweek explores this question: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Airbus. Msn 162 was due to become JA380A with Skymark. It will now go to another operator.
Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur), owned by a majority share by a holding company of the Malaysian government, is considering changes in the the wake of the two tragic accidents this year.
According to RT.com, the government is considering a rebrand, a different ownership restructure, a possible new name and an adjustment of its route network.
Malaysia Airlines is very likely to change.
As far as the livery, the two ill-fated Boeing 777-200 ERs wore the older 1987 livery (above) which features the red and blue Kelantan Wau Bulan (Moon Dragon Kite) tail logo which has been seen in the headlines over and over, especially with the debris in eastern Ukraine. Any brand refresh would probably retire this iconic and historic logo.
Read the full article: CLICK HERE
Top Copyright Photo: Richard Vandervord/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8FZ 9M-MLH (msn 31723) is pictured in action at Phuket, Thailand in the 1987 color scheme.
Below Copyright Photo: Ivan K. Nishimura/AirlinersGallery.com. Malaysia refreshed the red and blue Kelantan Wau Bulan (kite) livery in 2010 with this new twin arc look while retaining the kite tail logo. Boeing 737-8H6 9M-MSE (msn 40147) passes through Honolulu on delivery.
Below Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. When Malaysia introduced the new Airbus A380, the airline unveiled this special A380 livery (for only the A380s) in 2012. The red and blue kite morphed into a blue kite for the A380s. Is this enough of a change? Probably not. Airbus A380-841 9M-MNB (msn 081) departs from London (Heathrow).
Bottom Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati/AirlinersGallery.com. When MSA was split into Malaysian Airline System (MAS) and Singapore Airlines, Malaysian (later Malaysia Airlines) originally introduced this livery in 1972. As you will note, the original livery featured a red and white kite tail logo. Dropping this historic logo will be a tough decision for the airline but unfortunately it is now a tarnished logo. Boeing 737-2H6 9M-MBH (msn 20926) prepares to depart from the gate at Kuala Lumpur.
As part of the expanding Transavia lower-fare operations the Group issued this statement:
In the Second Quarter of 2014, Transavia capacity was up 4.8%, reflecting the accelerated development of Transavia France (up 10%) and the repositioning of Transavia Netherlands (up 3% including a 6% reduction in charter capacity). Traffic rose 6.0%, leading to a record high load factor of 90.7% (up 0.9 point). Unit revenue was down 1.7%. Transavia’s total revenue stood at 296 million euros, up 5.0%. The operating result was -6 million euros, down 3 million euros year-on-year.
In the First Half of 2014, Transavia traffic increased by 6.9% for capacity up 5.8%, leading to a 0.9 point increase in load factor to 89.2%. Unit revenue was down 2.6%. Total revenue stood at 435 million euros, up 4.5%, while the unit cost per ASK decreased by 0.8%, but increased by 0.5% on a constant currency basis. The operating result decreased by 10 million euros to -64 million euros, mainly due to the ramp up of Transavia France.
Overall the Group issued this outlook:
Delivery on the Transform 2015 plan is fully on track. However, as indicated at the beginning of the month, the operating environment remains tough, with industry overcapacity on certain long-haul routes, notably North America and Asia, impacting yields. This trend comes on top of the persistently weak cargo demand and the challenging situation in Venezuela already identified in the First Quarter.
Under these conditions, as indicated at the beginning of the month, 2014 EBITDA is expected to be between 2.2 and 2.3 billion euros. Strong capital discipline will enable the group to remain on track in terms of debt reduction and achieve its objective of 4.5 billion euros in net debt in 2015.
Read the full report: CLICK HERE
Top Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Air France’s Airbus A380-861 F-HPJE (msn 052) with the special logo to celebrate 50 years of France-China diplomatic relations.
Bottom Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-406 PH-BFF (msn 24202) completes its final approach to the runway at Toronto (Pearson).
Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur) is still in crisis mode after the savage downing of flight MH 17 over the Russian-speaking rebel-held area of the eastern Ukraine. The airline now avoids flying over the Ukraine.
Yesterday the flag carrier issued this statement about MH 17:
“Following the agreement Prime Minister Najib Razak brokered with rebel leaders, Malaysia has taken custody of flight MH 17’s black boxes. As the Prime Minister said, they will be passed to the international investigation team for analysis.
The international investigation team, led by the Netherlands, has decided to pass the black boxes to the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch for forensic analysis. It is normal procedure for black boxes to be sent for analysis to the nearest laboratory authorized by the International Civil Aviation Association.
The black boxes will therefore be flown to Farnborough, UK, accompanied by Malaysian experts and other members of the international investigation team.”
Meanwhile on the financial side, the airline is also hurting. Load factors and yield are reportedly declining given the attention the airline is receiving in the media.
Previously on May 15 the airline reported a growing quarterly net loss of RM443 million ($139.5 million) for the three months ending on March 31, 2014 compared to a loss of RM279 million ($87.8 million) for the same quarter a year ago.
Bloomberg Businessweek is exploring the question of whether the airline can survive as we know it given this double tragedy and declining fortunes and cash flow.
According to the magazine, “MAS executives are focusing on finding a way to save the company. The carrier this week is going to present a plan to its parent, state-run Khazanah Nasional, Bloomberg News reported. Bankruptcy is one option. Taking the company private is another.”
Most likely the carrier will continue to operate in some form but it will probably change.
Read the full article: CLICK HERE
Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Can Malaysia Airlines, with declining numbers, remain an Airbus A380 operator? The A380 is the flagship aircraft for the carrier but if it can’t fill the seats it may be the wrong aircraft for the airline. Airbus A380-841 9M-MNF (msn 114) arrives in London (Heathrow) with special “100th A380″ markings.
Emirates (Dubai) on July 16 launched a new Airbus A380 service to Kuwait City, the world’s shortest scheduled A380 flight.
The arrival of the upgraded EK 857 service, which touched down at Kuwait International Airport, marks 25 years of Emirates’ flights to the country.
The Emirates’ A380 flight to Kuwait is just one hour and 45 minutes, the shortest A380 service in operation today. Since 2008, the airline has carried 27.5 million travelers on its now 50 A380s.
Kuwait is only the second market in the Middle East to be served by the airline’s flagship aircraft after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Flight EK 857 leaves Dubai at 1600 and arrives in Kuwait at 1645 local time. Flight EK 858 departs Kuwait at 1825 and lands in Dubai at 2110.
Copyright Photo: Andi Hiltl/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDO (msn 057) departs from Zurich.
Emirates (Dubai) and Airbus (Toulouse and Hamburg) are celebrating the delivery of the 50th A380 for the airline. Airbus A380-861 A6-EEX (msn 154) was handed over on July 9. The airline issued this statement:
A major milestone for the A380 program, Emirates and Airbus celebrated in Hamburg, Germany the delivery of the 50th A380 for the Dubai-based airline. It is the 136th A380 which has been delivered in total.
Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline said: “Emirates has seen tremendous organic growth in the past 4 years, probably the fastest of any airline in history. We’ve literally added capacity equivalent to what some mid-sized airlines operate, but more significantly, we have maintained high seat loads and profitability. This speaks to the strength of our world-class product, and also our business model which is based on an efficient global hub that connects Dubai to the world, and almost any two cities in the world via Dubai.”
He added: “The A380 has been very successful for us, and this is reflected in the strong customer interest and high seat factors wherever we’ve deployed the aircraft. The A380 has helped us serve customer demand on trunk routes, operate more efficiently at slot-constrained airports, and also introduce new concepts on-board that have redefined the flying experience. Moving forward, we will see quite a ramp up in the delivery program and by late 2017 we will have around 90 A380s in our fleet to support existing and new A380 routes.”
Following delivery of their first A380 in July 2008, Emirates took delivery of their 25th A380 in October 2012. All Emirates’ A380s are powered by Engine Alliance GP7200 engines. The airline has 140 A380 on order.
For the ferry flight from Hamburg to Dubai, the aircraft was loaded with 41 tons of relief goods. This is the biggest amount which has ever been transported on a single flight organized by the Airbus Corporate Foundation. The goods will be deployed in cooperation with ACF (Action Contre la Faim) to a UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Dubai.
The total A380 fleet has accumulated over 1.4 million flight hours in more than 172,000 commercial flights. To date over 60 million passengers have already enjoyed the unique experience of flying on board an A380. Every four minutes, an A380 either takes off or lands at one of the 37 airports where it operates today and the network is constantly growing.
Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Part of the fleet, Airbus A380-861 A6-EDH (msn 025) arrives in Beijing. Bottom: Emirates.
Emirates (Dubai) will serve Mauritius with double daily Airbus A380 service from December 1.
This second A380, which will operate as flight EK 703/704, replaces the existing Boeing 777 operation and increases Emirates’ capacity on the route by 19%, further meeting the demand on the route and demonstrating the growth of Mauritius as a global destination.
Services between Dubai and Mauritius and vice versa is operated in codeshare with Emirates’ long-time partner Air Mauritius.
The upgraded A380 service leaves Dubai as EK 703 at 1000, arriving at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport at 1645. It returns as EK 704 leaving Mauritius at 2300, landing at Dubai International Airport at 0540 the following day.
Emirates is the first airline in the world to operate an Airbus A380 service to a destination in the Indian Ocean. The airline currently has 49 A380s serving 26 destinations around the world, more than any other airline globally.
Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDH (msn 025) approaches the runway at London (Heathrow) with special “6000th Airbus aircraft” markings.
QANTAS Airways (Sydney) flight QF 94 returned to Los Angeles early this morning at 2:39 am after a water pipe burst on the Melbourne, Australia-bound Airbus A380 flooding parts of the cabin. One Twitter report from a passenger described the leak as a “river of water running down the aisles”.
Read the report from NBC Los Angeles: CLICK HERE
QANTAS issued this statement:
A flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne has returned to LA about an hour after take off as there was a water leak on board the aircraft. Crew on board did everything they could to help customers, including moving them to unaffected areas and providing spare blankets so they could stay dry.
We’re also providing customers with hotel accommodation while the issue is being fixed by our engineers in Los Angeles. We apologise to customers for the inconvenience. There were no safety of flight concerns with the water leak, however the Captain decided to return to LA in the interests of passenger comfort. We are liaising with Airbus to understand what caused this fault.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-842 VH-OQD (msn 026) lands at Los Angeles International Airport.
Emirates (Dubai) is adding passenger and cargo capacity in San Francisco and Houston on December 1 and 3, 2014 respectively when it switches from operating the routes with a Boeing 777-300 ER to its double-decker Airbus A380.
The A380 will offer an additional 135 seats to San Francisco and 137 to Houston, representing a 38 percent increase in overall passenger capacity, and 80 percent more seats across the premium cabins. In addition to offering a choice of 14 First Class Private Suites and 76 lie-flat Business Class seats, the aircraft offers 399 spacious Economy Class seats to San Francisco and 401 to Houston.
The Emirates service from San Francisco operates daily as flight EK 226, departing San Francisco at 3:30 PM (1530) and arriving in Dubai the following day at 7:25 PM (1925). Flight EK 225 departs Dubai at 8:50 AM (0850) and arrives at San Francisco International Airport at 12:50 PM (1250) the same day.
Emirates’ daily flight EK 211 to Houston departs Dubai at 9:30 AM (0930) and arrives at 4:05 PM (1605). The return flight, EK 212, takes off from George Bush Intercontinental Airport at 6:25 PM (1825) and lands in Dubai at 7:05 PM (1905) the next day.
San Francisco and Houston will be Emirates’ 4th and 5th U.S. gateways serviced by an A380, joining New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas/Fort Worth which is due to commence on October 1. This latest announcement means that by December, Emirates will be serving both its Texan destinations with an A380 service.
Copyright Photo: Airbus A380-81 A6-EEL (msn 133) taxies at Los Angeles.
Qatar Airways to start a new route to Tokyo Haneda tomorrow, Airbus A380 to be introduced now to London Heathrow on August 1
Qatar Airways (Doha) is set to continue its expansion into the Far East tomorrow (June 18) when it launches its newest destination, Tokyo Haneda International Airport. The addition of its newest destination will double the airline’s service to the city of Tokyo with up to two flights a day. The route, which will be operated by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, will be Qatar Airways’ third into Japan, joining Osaka and Tokyo’s Narita International Airport.
With the commencement of flights to Tokyo Haneda, the number of flights to Japan rises from 14 to 21 frequencies each week.
In other news, Qatar Airways is now planning to introduce the new Airbus A380 on August 1 to London (Heathrow) and Paris (CDG) on August 15 according to Airline Route.
Copyright Photo: Gerd Beilfuss/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 F-WWST (msn 137) has now become A7-APA for its handover.
Emirates (Dubai) will begin Airbus A380 service on the Dubai-Frankfurt route on September 1 per Airline Route.
In other news, Emirates will launch its sixth daily service to Karachi from August 1. Emirates has served Karachi since it was founded in 1985, and in the past decade alone has transported over six million passengers on the route. Karachi is the capital of the province of Sindh, and the largest city in Pakistan. Located on the coast of the Arabian Sea, north-west of the Indus River Delta, this metropolis is Pakistan’s cultural, economic, educational and political hub, as well as the country’s largest port.
The additional service will be operated by an Emirates Airbus A330-200 in a two class configuration, offering passengers a choice of its renowned Business Class and Economy Class product, as well as the being able to transport an additional 17 tons of cargo.
Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A6-EEH (msn 119) with the special Expo 2020 Dubai UAE markings completes its final approach to the runway at JFK International Airport in New York.
British Airways (London) is delaying the introduction of the Airbus A380 on the London (Heathrow)-Washington (Dulles) to October 2 (from September 1) according to Airline Route.
Copyright Photo: Airbus A380-841 G-XLEE (msn 148) taxies to the gate at Los Angeles International Airport.
Video: A tour of the Airbus A380:
JetBlue and Singapore Airlines have been interline partners since 2011. The expanded partnership would provide customers seamless connections between the two airlines, combining flights on both carriers and easily facilitating one-stop ticketing and baggage check-in. Flights will become available for sale pending regulatory approval.
Under the proposed codeshare, JetBlue customers would have access to five new cities in Europe and Asia, while Singapore Airlines customers would have access to 16 destinations in the U.S.
Under the proposed agreement, JetBlue would put its ‘B6′ code on Singapore Airlines’ flights to/from the U.S. including:
Los Angeles (LAX) – Tokyo (NRT) – Singapore (SIN)
New York (JFK) – Frankfurt (FRA) – Singapore (SIN)
San Francisco (SFO) – Hong Kong (HKG) – Singapore (SIN)
San Francisco (SFO) – Seoul (ICN) – Singapore (SIN)
In turn, Singapore Airlines would add its ‘SQ’ designator code on JetBlue-operated flights beyond its U.S. gateway at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to 16 key destinations:
Buffalo, New Yorkk
Charlotte, North Carolina
Chicago, Illinois (O’Hare)
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Florida
New Orleans, Louisiana
Rochester, New York
Syracuse, New York
Washington D.C. (Dulles)
West Palm Beach, Florida
Top Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. JetBlue Airways’ Embraer ERJ 190-100 IGW N373JB (msn 19000624) in the Barcode tail design lands at Baltimore/Washington.
Bottom Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A380-841 9V-SKF (msn 012) taxies from the gate at Los Angeles International Airport.
Emirates (Dubai) will expand its Airbus A380 network to 28 destinations, when it launches a daily A380 service to Mumbai International Airport on July 21.
Flights EK 500 and EK 501 between Dubai and Mumbai will be up-scaled to a three-class A380 aircraft, representing with a capacity increase of 2,127 seats per week in each direction.
Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Emirates currently has 48 Airbus A380s in service, more than any other airline globally. Emirates received 12 of the giant double decker aircraft over the last year. Airbus A380-861 A6-EEP (msn 138) completes its final approach to the runway at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport (YYZ).
Asiana Airlines (Seoul) has taken delivery of its first Airbus A380, becoming the eleventh operator of the type in the world. The A380 was handed over to Park Sam Koo, Chairman of Kumho Asiana Group, by Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO, during a special ceremony today (May 26) in Toulouse, France.
Asiana Airlines has ordered six A380s, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines. The airline has specified a premium three class layout for its fleet, seating a total of 495 passengers, with 12 private suites in First Suite, 66 fully flat seats in Business Smartium and 417 seats in Travel Class. All seats are equipped with the latest on-demand in-flight entertainment systems.
Asiana Airlines will initially deploy its new flagship aircraft from Seoul on regional services in Asia to Tokyo, Hong Kong and Bangkok, followed by long-haul routes to Los Angeles.
As part of its widebody fleet modernization strategy, Asiana Airlines also has 30 of the all-new the A350 XWB on order. The A350 XWB will offer a step change in efficiency, with operating costs 25 per cent lower than the competition. The A380 and A350 will complement an existing Airbus fleet at Asiana that currently includes the A330 and A320 Family.
Airbus currently has 324 firm orders for the A380, from 20 customers.
Top Copyright Photo: Gerd Beilfuss/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-841 F-WWAP (msn 152) became HL7625 on the handover.
Bottom Copyright Photo: Airbus. Park Sam Koo, Chairman of Kumho Asiana Group, and Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Brégier toured the number 1 Asiana Airlines A380 after this aircraft’s formal handover ceremony on May 26, held at Airbus’ Toulouse, France delivery center.
Video: Painting of the first A380:
Air France celebrates 50 years of diplomatic relations between France and China with a special emblem on F-HPJE
Air France (Paris) has applied a new “France China – 50 And (50 Years)” emblem to its Airbus A380-861 F-HPJE (msn 052) to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations between France and China.
In 1964 France and the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) re-established ambassadorial level diplomatic relations. The move was a result of Charles de Gaulle’s official recognition of the PRC. Today both countries share a basic economic relationship.
Related to this, from June 9 to October 25, 2014, Air France will offer a daily flight from Paris to Hong Kong with the pictured Airbus A380 (4 flights per week from May 27 to June 8, 2014). Air France thus becomes the first airline to connect France and the “Pearl of the Orient” with the A380. Served for over 75 years by Air France, Hong Kong is the second destination in China served with the A380.
Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin/AirlinersGallery.com. F-HPJE taxies at San Francisco with the logo (click on the photo for the full size image).
Qatar Airways (Doha) has announced its second Airbus A380 aircraft will commence operations on the route to Paris (Charles De Gaulle) from Doha’s new hub, Hamad International Airport.
Qatar Airways recently announced that the first of its 13 Airbus A380 aircraft on order will commence operations on the QR 003 and QR 004 flights on the route to London-Heathrow and return starting on June 17. Following this, the airline has now confirmed that its second A380 will be used to fly to Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport from Doha from July 3, on flights QR 39 and QR 40.
Featuring a tri-class configuration of seating in First, Business and Economy Class, over two decks, the A380 is the largest passenger jet in the world and will provide a superior traveller experience to the Qatar Airways’ customers.
The new First Class A380 seat, recently revealed at the world’s leading travel show, ITB Berlin, features a 90-inch seat pitch, transforming into a fully flat bed, together with an expansive choice of entertainment options displayed on individual 26-inch television screens.
Hamad International Airport (HIA), Qatar Airways new home as of May 27, has been designed to specifically cater to the A380 aircraft, with six contact gates designed especially for the super jumbo. In addition, the maintenance hangar at HIA – which is the largest in the world – is able to accommodate two A380s simultaneously.
Qatar Airways is also celebrating a year of intensive fleet growth and recently becoming a member of the oneworld global alliance network. In addition to the 13 A380 aircraft the airline currently has on order, Qatar Airways is also set this year to welcome the first of 80 Airbus A350 aircraft, the world’s newest aircraft, as Airbus’ launch customer. This forms part of Qatar Airways plans to significantly expand its fleet with 300 additional aircraft, worth more than $50 billion (US), on order, including the Boeing 787 and 777X.
Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 17 years of operation, to the point where today it is flying a modern fleet of 134 aircraft to 139 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.
Over the next few months, the network will grow further with new routes to Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport, Turkey (May 22, 2014), Edinburgh, Scotland (May 28, 2014), Miami, USA (June 10, 2014), Tokyo Haneda, Japan (June 18, 2014), Dallas/Fort Worth, USA (July 1, 2014) and Djibouti (July 27, 2014).
Top Copyright Photo: Gerd Beilfuss/AirlinersGallery.com. The first A380, the pictured A380-861 F-WWST (msn 137) will become A7-APA on delivery.
Bottom Copyright Photo: Qatar Airways.