Thai Lion Air takes delivery of its first Airbus A330-300

Thai Lion Air's first Airbus A330-300, delivered on November 21, 2017

Thai Lion Air has taken delivery of its first Airbus A330-300. The pictured A330-343 HS-LAH (msn 1820) was handed over on November 21, 2017 at Toulouse and the airliner immediately ferried to the Bangkok (Don Mueang) base. The aircraft notably features a Batik Air tail livery.

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Top Copyright Photo: Thai Lion Air Airbus A330-343 F-WWCU (HS-LAH) (msn 1820) TLS (Eurospot). Image: 939571.

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Air Mediterranean launches operations, will add more routes in December

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In December 2016, Air Mediterranean S.A (ICAO code: MAR), the new Greek commercial airline operator based in Athens, Greece welcomed its first Boeing 737-400 (SX-MAH) to its home at El Venizelos Athens International airport.

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On January 17, 2017, the new airline received its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC).

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The company launched scheduled passenger operations to both London (Stansted) and Stockholm (Arlanda) on November 2, 2017 followed by Baghdad service the following day.

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On December 1, 2017 the new airline will launch new routes from Athens to Casablanca, Jeddah and Larnaca followed by Khartoum the following day.

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All photos by Air Mediterranean.

 

Etihad Airways Swiss flights to become all-Boeing 787 Dreamliner services

Etihad's first Boeing 787-9, delivered December 31, 2014

Etihad Airways’ flights to and from Switzerland will become an all-Boeing 787 Dreamliner operation with the aircraft being deployed on the Abu Dhabi – Geneva route, effective 25 March 2018.

The Dreamliner flights to Geneva will complement the airline’s existing 787 Dreamliner scheduled services connecting Abu Dhabi and Zurich, becoming the fifth European city to be served by the carrier’s rapidly growing fleet of next generation aircraft.

Etihad Airways currently operates daily flights between the UAE’s capital city of Abu Dhabi and both Geneva and Zurich.

Introduction of the 787 Dreamliner will also see a scheduling change that will continue to provide attractive timings for customers travelling to and from Geneva. Etihad Airways will be the only airline operating out of the UAE to offer an early morning arrival into Geneva, and the revised timings will also improve connectivity to a wider network of destinations across Asia and the Indian Subcontinent.

Etihad Airways has a fleet of 18 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners operating from Abu Dhabi to 17 destinations worldwide – Amman, Amsterdam, Beijing, Beirut, Brisbane, Düsseldorf, Madrid, Melbourne, Nagoya, Perth, Riyadh, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, Washington and Zurich.

Etihad Airways’ three-class Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners include eight First Suites, 28 Business Studios and 199 Economy Smart Seats, offering superior levels of comfort, entertainment and in-flight connectivity. On-board décor and lighting have been inspired by contemporary Arabian design, including the spectacular dome of the newly-opened Louvre Abu Dhabi, complementing the signature ‘Facets of Abu Dhabi’ identity introduced by the airline during its livery relaunch in 2014. Etihad Airways has pending deliveries of 53 Dreamliners.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner schedule to Geneva, Switzerland, effective 25 March 2018 (all times local):

Flight No.     Origin      Departs      Dest         Arrives       Freq         Aircraft

EY51         Abu Dhabi     02:50      Geneva           07:50        Daily        Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

EY52         Geneva         09:55      Abu Dhabi      18:20         Daily        Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Copyright Photo: Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner A6-BLA (msn 39646) ZRH (Andi Hiltl). Image: 926629.

 

Allegiant announces a tentative Flight Attendant contract agreement with the TWU

Allegiant Air Airbus A320-214 WL N250NV (msn 7743) BWI (Tony Storck). Image: 939055.

Allegiant Air has announced that the company and the Transport Workers Union (TWU), representing Allegiant flight attendants, have reached a tentative agreement on the first collective bargaining agreement between the parties. The tentative agreement is subject to ratification by the Allegiant flight attendants, and results of the vote are expected before the end of December. Allegiant currently employs 1,150 flight attendants.

The process of negotiating a first collective bargaining agreement for Allegiant flight attendants began in 2011. The Transport Workers Union was most recently certified as the group’s exclusive representative on February 26, 2016. An initial tentative agreement reached between the parties failed to ratify in September 2016, and negotiations continued under the supervision of the National Mediation Board to reach the current tentative agreement.

Copyright Photo: Allegiant Air Airbus A320-214 WL N250NV (msn 7743) BWI (Tony Storck). Image: 939055.

Air France to introduce Paris CDG – Nairobi service

Air France Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner F-HRBD (msn 42487) PAE (Nick Dean). Image: 939730.

Air France has announced from March 25, 2018, its customers will be able to fly to Nairobi (Kenya) on a departure from Paris-Charles de Gaulle thanks to 3 new weekly frequencies. Flights will be operated by the latest-generation Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, equipped with 30 seats in Business class, 21 seats in Premium Economy class and 225 seats in Economy class.

Flight times operated (in local time):

AF814: leaves Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 20:50, arrives in Nairobi at 6:00 the next day

Flights operated on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

AF815: leaves Nairobi at 8:20, arrives at Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 15:50

Flights operated on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays.

These flights will be operated on a code-share basis with partner Kenya Airways. Customers will thus benefit from 10 weekly non-stop frequencies between Paris and Nairobi, with 3 flights operated by Air France and 7 flights operated by Kenya Airways. Moreover, as a continuation of Nairobi, Air France customers will be able to fly to 23 regional destinations* operated under a code-share with its partner.

This new Air France service is in addition to that of KLM, which operates a daily service between Amsterdam-Schiphol and Nairobi by Boeing 787.

The best of Air France to Nairobi

On board Air France’s innovative and latest-generation Boeing 787, customers will benefit from a unique travel experience –

  • The latest Air France long-haul cabins: excellence in the sky in the Business cabin (30 seats), comfort for all in the new Premium Economy cabin (21 seats) and Economy (225 seats);
  • Onboard WiFi adapted to the needs of customers (from 20MB to 200MB for a price varying between €5 and €30);
  • Lighting moods adapted to the various different phases of the flight;
  • More comfort and space with the new Premium Economy seats;
  • Windows which are about 30% larger than similar aircraft and which are equipped with an electronic window darkening system;
  • Improved air pressure and humidity levels make the trip even more comfortable.

Copyright Photo: Air France Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner F-HRBD (msn 42487) PAE (Nick Dean). Image: 939730.

Airbus A350-1000 receives EASA and FAA Type Certification

The Airbus A350-1000 Prototype

Airbus issued this statement:

Following an intensive flight test campaign performed in less than a year, the A350-1000 has received Type Certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The certified aircraft is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines.

The EASA A350-1000 Type Certification document was signed by EASA’s Certification Director, Trévor Woods, and the FAA A350-1000 Type Certification document was signed by FAA’s International Section Manager, Bob Breneman. Both certificates were handed over to Airbus Executive Vice President Engineering, Charles Champion.

“Receiving the A350-1000 Type Certification from EASA and FAA less than one year after its first flight is an incredible achievement for Airbus and for all our partners who have been instrumental in building and testing this superb widebody aircraft,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus COO and President Commercial Aircraft. “The A350-1000 benefits from the maturity of its successful brother, the A350-900, which has translated into excellent right-on-time performance. We now look forward to deliver the first aircraft to Qatar Airways by the end of the year.”

The Type certification is a requirement for the aircraft to enter commercial service. This milestone comes after an intensive flight test trials that have taken its airframe and systems beyond their design limits to ensure the aircraft successfully meets all airworthiness criteria. The three A350-1000 flight test aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce engines successfully accumulated over 1,600 flight hours. Of these 150 flight test hours were completed with the same aircraft in an airline like operational environment to demonstrate its readiness for entry into service.

The A350-1000 is the latest member of Airbus’ leading widebody family, showing high level of commonality with the A350-900 with 95% common systems part numbers and Same Type Rating. As well as having a longer fuselage to accommodate 40 more passengers than the A350-900 (in a typical 3-class configuration), the A350-1000 also features a modified wing trailing-edge, new six-wheel main landing gears and more powerful Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines. Along with the A350-900, the A350-1000 is shaping the future of air travel by offering unprecedented levels of efficiency and unrivalled comfort in its ‘Airspace’ cabin. With its additional capacity the A350-1000 is perfectly tailored for some of the busiest long-haul routes. To date 11 customers from five continents have ordered a total of 169 A350-1000s.

A350-1000 Type Certification Signature

The largest variant of its A350 receiving type certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) From left to right: Frederic Guerin, FAA International Field Representative, Brussels office, Charles Champion, Airbus Commercial Aircraft EVP Engineering, Trévor Woods, EASA’s Certification Director, Alain De Zotti, Airbus Commercial Aircraft Chief Engineer A350 XWB

A350 1000 Flooded Runway

Airbus A350-1000 receives EASA and FAA Type Certification Aircraft on target to first customer delivery by year end

Top Copyright Photo (all others by Airbus): Airbus A350-1041 F-WMIL (msn 059) TLS (Eurospot). Image: 936201.

 

Air Mauritius celebrates 50 years of flying

Celebrating 50 years of flying

Air Mauritius is adding a special “50 Yrs” logo to select aircraft as it celebrates 50 years of flying in the islands.

From Air Mauritius:

Air Mauritius has been a bridge to the world for Mauritius since the country gained independence in 1968.

Founded in June that year, via the joint efforts of Air France, the Mauritian government, and the BOAC enterprise.

Each held a 27.5% stake, with the remaining 17.5% held by Rogers and Co. Ltd, who were the ticketing agent for Air France and BOAC in Mauritius.

Fast forward 46 years, and today our airline is sub-Saharan Africa’s fourth largest carrier and nine-time winner of the Indian Ocean Leading Airline prize, having won the award every year since 2005.

But how did we get here? We take a look back…

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The early days

In the first five years of our existence our activities were purely confined to ground services, operating flights only in conjunction with Air France, Air India and British Airways. But in 1972, we leased a six-seater twin-engined Piper PA-31 Navajo aircraft (above) from Air Madagascar and launched our inaugural service to Rodrigues with our very own livery.

Twin Otter - Air Mauritius 1975

A year later we wet-leased a Vickers Super VC10 from BOAC  – an aircraft designed to operate medium and long-haul routes from short runways in Africa and south Asia – and began our first long distance service to London via Nairobi.

In 1975 our Navajo was replaced with a 16-seat de Havilland Canada Twin Otter, followed by the acquisition of a Boeing 707-400 from British Airtours in 1977, which helped us to begin a long-haul service in our own right. Two years later we acquired a second Twin Otter, and by 1980 we had a staff of 414 and a four plane fleet serving London, Nairobi, Bombay (Mumbai), Tananarive (Antananarivo), Rodrigues and Réunion.

Above Photo: Michel Gilliand. This Boeing 707-436 G-APFD 9msn 17705) “City of Port Louis” was leased from British Airtours on October 17, 1977.

Post-1980

By mid-1980, the government of Mauritius had become the majority shareholder. We leased an Air Madagascar Boeing 737 and acquired a Boeing 707-320B previously owned by South African Airways, which allowed us to launch routes to Durban and Johannesburg, and start a joint service with Air Madagascar for the Tananarive–Mauritius–Comoros–Nairobi and Réunion-Rodrigues runs.

A further Boeing 707 lease-purchase from Luxavia allowed us to expand our European network in 1983, with the addition of Rome and Zurich, and Paris in 1984.  

By 1985, our fleet comprised two Boeing 707s, a Boeing 737 and a Boeing 747, and a Twin Otter. A weekly service to Singapore was added to our route network, and in June of that year we became members of the African Airlines Association. 1985 was also the year we took delivery of our first Bell 206 JetRanger helicopter.

Further developments during the late eighties included a non-stop service to Hong Kong in co-operation with Cathay Pacific, and flights to Kuala Lumpur, which began in 1988.

In 1988 the company was valued at US$122 million, and in April we took delivery of two Boeing 767s, named “City of Port Louis” and “City of Curepipe”, one of which set a record-breaking distance for commercial twinjets, when it flew non-stop to Mauritius from Halifax in Nova Scotia, Canada, covering some 9,000 miles (14,000km) in under 17 hours.

Into the 90s

By 1990, our route map included Anatananarivo, Bombay, Durban, Geneva, Harare, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Kuala Lumpur, London, Moroni, Munich, Nairobi, Paris, Réunion, Rodrigues, Rome, Singapore and Zurich, with a further route to Perth inaugurated in late 1991.

Later in the decade Air Mauritius became the first airline in the Southern Hemisphere to fly an Airbus A340, named Pauille-en-Queue”,  with a second named “Pink Pigeon” purchased directly from Airbus in 1994. These two brand new aircraft enabled Air Mauritius to further its reputation as a first class international carrier. A third A340 anmed “Kestrel”, was delivered in 1995. By this point we’d also launched services to Brussels and Cape Town and floated on the stock exchange of Mauritius.

The 21st Century

MK - 21st century

By early 2000 Air Mauritius employed 2,000 employees and had a ten-strong fleet made up of Boeing, Airbus and ATR aircraft, flying both passengers and 30,000+ annual tons of cargo around the globe. We ordered an A340-300 Enhanced in mid-2005, and received the last one ever built, putting it to work on our London Heathrow route shortly after delivery in December 2006.

A year later, we took delivery of the wide-body twin-engined A330, followed by a second aircraft of the same type in October 2009, taking our current fleet to 12. We also remain one of the few airlines in the world to offer a helicopter service, with two Bell Jet Rangers used for tour services.

In 2012, Air Mauritius rationalized its network and serve 20 global destinationa across four continents.

Top Copyright Photo: (all others by Air Mauritius): Air Mauritius Airbus A330-202 3B-NBL (msn 1057) (50 Years) SIN (Michael B. Ing). Image: 939939.

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