Monthly Archives: June 2014

Jay Selman’s An Inside Look

An Inside Look – “Quite a career!”?

by Guest Editor Jay Selman.

Guest Editor Jay Selman

Guest Editor Jay Selman

It was exactly 33 years ago that I began my airline career with Piedmont Airlines. June 25, 1981 was a beautiful sunny day when I first stepped onto the ramp at Washington National Airport as an airline employee. I remember the ramp smelling of coffee, and I quickly discovered that there was an art to hoisting myself into the belly bin of a YS-11 without hitting my head on the bin ceiling. Every time a plane took off on what was then runway 36, I simply had to stop and take a look, I felt like I was the luckiest guy in the world!”

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. NAMC YS-11A-205 N219P (msn 2109) of Piedmont Airlines taxies to the runway at Fayetteville, NC.

Those were halcyon days for me, and to be honest, I didn’t realize how good I had it then. The captains usually found a way to take care of airline employees traveling on pass…often in the cockpit. Man, I loved that! Heck, one time, I was one of seven people in the cockpit of a 727! The captain gave me his “brain bag” and said, “Son, this is your seat for the next two hours, so hang on!”, and I replied, “Thank you, sir!”

When I worked in Newark, we had three flights a day that went up to Boston and came right back. The pay wasn’t that great in those days, so I thought nothing of flying up to Boston on the morning flight, enjoying a breakfast on board, and then flying back, having lunch along the way. For dinner, we could usually count on one flight canceling, and catering would unload the meals in the ops office, where I was working at the time. We could usually get free passes on other airlines, and I sure made the most of them. To date, I have set foot in over 40 countries on all six inhabited continents. (Some day, I will figure out a way to add Antarctica to that list!).

One day, I was flying from Heathrow to Kennedy on a Pan Am Boeing 747, and the check-in agent looked at my PI employee number on the pass and said, “Oh, you are P1 (one)…we can upgrade you to first class! I played dumb, and for the first time, experienced the luxury of a true intercontinental first class service, complete with caviar, plenty of vodka to wash it down, and a couple of glasses of Dom Perignon. I truly enjoyed that trip…at least, the part I remember!

I started out working part time at Washington National Airport with no benefits other than travel. It didn’t matter…there was never a shortage of people willing to work for $6 something an hour in exchange for being able to travel for free. After passing all my tests that were requirements for upgrading to full time, I transferred to Newark in 1983 as a full timer. Those were the days when PEOPLExpress (1st) was growing by leaps and bounds…and Piedmont was vigorously defending its territory in the southeast. Newark grew to become the largest non-hub station on the Piedmont system, and working there was a great learning experience for me. 3 ½ years later, in April 1986, I transferred to Raleigh-Durham, where I spent the next 13 years. In 1999, I transferred again to Miami, which was like being reassigned to heaven. As an airplane enthusiast, I can’t think of a better airport to have ramp access at. Being in Miami also allowed me to connect with some old friends, and opened the door to my becoming the editor of Airliners magazine for a couple of years..

Things changed, and I transferred to Charlotte in 2006, and, like Moses wandering in the desert for 40 years, I feel like I have finally reached the Promised Land. (The difference is, of course, that Moses never got to enter the Promised Land!). I am very happy in Charlotte, and plan to finish out my career here.
Three mergers and two corporate bankruptcies after I started with Piedmont, I still have a job, unlike many of my colleagues at Pan Am, TWA, Eastern, and Braniff, to name a few. The merger between Piedmont and USAir represented the biggest change for us…Piedmont was a way of life, and USAir was a job, although still a good one. I’ve lost track of how many different computer systems I have used over the years, as I get ready for yet another change of computer system, uniform, and name. The industry today is barely recognizable from the industry I began working for.

When I started, the Boeing 737-200 was the backbone of Piedmont’s fleet. Today, the last of the US Airways 737-400s are a few weeks away from leaving the fleet. Gone are meals on most domestic flights, and even on intercontinental flights, I’m not likely to get caviar and Dom. I can’t say I’m happy about the changes that have occurred in my industry, in general, and my company, specifically, but I still feel like I have one of the best jobs in the world.

Some days, you’re the big dog and some days, you’re the fire hydrant. I come to work with the attitude that I am going to have a good day, and I really do have more big dog days than fire hydrant days. I can wake up in the morning and decide to have dinner in New York, San Francisco, or London…as long as there is an empty seat on the plane, I’m all set.

Through my job, I met a wonderful kind-hearted woman who agreed to be my wife. I work in an airport environment, which to me is the equivalent of a young kid working in a candy store.

When I started 33 years ago, I could not begin to imagine where the journey was going to take me, but I have to admit it’s been a very good ride. There have been plenty of unforeseen twists and turns along the way, but all in all, I still consider myself blessed to be working in the industry that has been my lifelong passion.

Note: You can leave a note here for Jay.

JAL to introduce domestic Wi-Fi service on July 23

JAL-Japan Airlines (Tokyo) will be the first Japanese airline to introduce the in-flight Internet service, called “JAL SKY Wi-Fi” on domestic routes. This new service will be on board its revamped “JAL SKY NEXT” aircraft, operated between Tokyo (Haneda) and Osaka (Itami), Fukuoka as well as Hakodate from July 23, 2014.

Under the theme of “A standard that’s a step ahead”, in addition to the introduction of new cabin interiors, the new in-flight Internet service will support onboard passengers to have seamless connectivity with the ground. JAL SKY Wi-Fi will be progressively expanded to 77 domestic aircraft including JAL’s Boeing 777s, 767s and 737s through FY2016.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-346 ER JA613J (msn 33849) arrives at the Tokyo (Narita) hub.

JAL-Japan Airlines: AG Slide Show

Doha becomes the most served destination for Emirates

Emirates (Dubai) has selected Doha, the home of Qatar Airways, to become Emirates’ most served destination with seven daily flights going to the Qatari capital from December 1.

Doha will take the top spot when it goes from six to seven daily flights, overtaking Bangkok’s six daily services.

The extra flights into Doha are part of a 28 flight boost to the airline’s Middle East services.

Muscat will go from two to three flights a day, Bahrain from three to four daily services and Kuwait will increase from five to six flights daily.

With the changes in place as of December 1, Emirates will offer 276 weekly flights to destinations across the Middle East out of its industry-leading hub at Dubai International.

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. Emirates uses Boeing 777s on the relatively short route. Boeing 777-31H ER A6-EBD (msn 33501) arrives back at Dubai International Airport (DXB) hub.

Emirates: AG Slide Show

 

PIA retires it last two Boeing 737-300s

PIA-Pakistan International Airlines (Karachi) retired its last two Boeing 737-300s (AP-BCD and AP-BCF) on June 17 according to The History of PIA.

PIA was the first Asian operator of Boeing 737-300. Initially a total of six Boeing 737-300s were delivered to PIA between May, 1985 and 1986. These Boeing 737s replaced its older Boeing 720Bs on PIA’s domestic and regional flights.

Copyright Photo: Ole Simon/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-340 AP-BCD (msn 23297) prepares to land in Dubai.

PIA-Pakistan International Airlines: AG Slide Show

 

British Airways tests a “happiness blanket” for its premium passengers

British Airways Happiness Blanket (British)(LR)

British Airways (London) is testing a “happiness blanket” for its premium passengers. The airline issued this short statement and video:

“What if you could measure how you’re feeling when you fly with us? Well now you can, thanks to the Happiness Blanket.

This revolutionary device monitors your happiness then changes colour to reflect your mood.

We tested our Happiness Blanket on a real fight between London and New York.”

Copyright Photo: British Airways.

British Airways: AG Slide Show

Video:

United Airlines flight 1463 is forced to make an emergency landing at Wichita after the emergency chute accidentally inflates inflight

United flight 1463 ORD-SNA emergency chute (Taylor Martinez)(LR)

United Airlines (Chicago) flight UA 1463 was forced to make an emergency landing at Wichita, Kansas after the aft emergency chute accidentally inflated while the Boeing 737-700 was at cruising altitude. According to Flight Aware the 737-700 with 96 passengers and crew members on board was forced to make a rapid descent before the safe landing. Flight 1463 was en route from the Chicago (O’Hare) hub to Orange County (Santa Ana).

Read the full report from Eyewitness News 12: CLICK HERE

Twitter Photo: Taylor Martinez.

Video:

US Airways to add a second daily Charlotte-London Heathrow flight

US Airways (American Airlines Group) (Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth) is adding a second daily flight from its Charlotte hub to London (Heathrow) starting on September 13. The second flight will be operated with Airbus A330-200 equipment according to The Charlotte Observer. The second flight was made possible by the acquisition of the arrival and departure slots purchased from Cyprus Airways (Larnaca).

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: David Neal/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 N283AY (msn 1076) departs from the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) hub.

US Airways: AG Slide Show

Bingo Airways suspends operations, attempts to reorganize

Bingo Airways (Warsaw) this month suspended operations according to Pasazer.com. According to the article, the airline has lost some important charter contracts and two of its Airbus A320s (SP-ACO and SP-AEK) have left the fleet. The carrier’s AOC has been suspended by the Polish authorities as the attempts to find additional funding and reorganize according to CEO Marek Sidor.

Read the article (in Polish): CLICK HERE

Bingo Airways started operations on May 18, 2012.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com (all others by Bingo Airways). Airbus A320-214 SP-AEK (msn 1450) taxies at Antalya, Turkey.

Bingo Airways: AG Slide Show

Bingo FAs (Bingo)(LRW)

Bingo logo

Route Map:

Bingo 6.2014 Route Map (LRW)

 

 

 

Stobart Air sets new passenger records for the Aer Lingus Regional operation in May

Stobart Air (formerly Aer Arann) (Dublin) has issued this statement for its expanding Aer Lingus Regional operation:

Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Stobart Air, has announced a 35% increase in passenger numbers for the month of May 2014 compared to the same month last year. It represents the eleventh consecutive month of passenger growth for the airline.

May 2014 was a record breaking month for the airline as it flew 122,079 passengers, 31,589 more than May 2013 and 1,191 more than the previous record set in August 2013.

Total passenger numbers for the year to date are up 23% compared to this time last year. Passenger numbers on the airline’s Dublin routes were up 49%, with the Dublin-Kerry route seeing an increase of 21% in May. The Dublin–Bristol route saw an increase of 22% due to the deployment of new aircraft on the route and an increase to three daily flights for the summer months.

Aer Lingus Regional passenger numbers from the UK connecting to trans-Atlantic flights has more than doubled in the first four months of the year compared to the same period in 2013. This was due to Aer Lingus’ new San Francisco and Toronto services. Boston and New York bound passengers from Birmingham and Manchester via Shannon Airport has proven to be very popular

Passenger numbers on the airline’s Cork services saw a second consecutive month of growth with an 11% increase from the same month last year. The Cork-Bristol route increased by 14%, while the Cork-Manchester route saw a 17% increase in May.

A focus on providing services for major sporting events continued to be a key driver in passenger growth for the airline. May’s Heineken Cup Final in Cardiff contributed a 44% monthly increase in passenger numbers on the airline’s services to the Welsh capital alone.

Routes from Shannon Airport also saw a significant growth with a 15% increase in May compared to the same month last year.

‘May 2014 was a record period for us and our eleventh successive month of passenger growth. New and expanded routes, along with our investment in new aircraft are resonating with passengers. It is notably that growth is occurring across the network and at each of our bases in Dublin, Shannon and Cork.’

Copyright Photo: SM Fitzwilliams Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. ATR 42-300 EI-CBK (msn 199) arrives back at Dublin.

Stobart Air logo

Aer Lingus Regional: AG Slide Show

 

Boeing reaches a milestone with the 747, delivers the 1,500th 747 built to Lufthansa

 

Boeing (Chicago and Seattle) has delivered the 1,500th 747 to come off the production line to Lufthansa (Frankfurt). The milestone airplane is a 747-8 Intercontinental, the 14th one that Lufthansa will incorporate into its long-haul fleet.

“Reaching this milestone delivery is a testament to the capabilities of the airplane and our commitment to continuous innovation,” said Eric Lindblad, 747 vice president and general manager, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The new 747-8 is delivering on its promise to our customers, and we continue to look at ways to make it even more efficient in the future.”

The 747 is the first widebody airplane in history to reach the 1,500 milestone. Its iconic shape makes it instantly recognizable, and passengers have consistently voted it their favorite airplane to fly.

At a delivery ceremony yesterday (June 28), a special logo commemorating the 1,500th airplane was revealed for the first time on the pictured 747-830 D-ABYP (msn 37839).

“Lufthansa is honored that the 1,500th 747 will fly with the Lufthansa livery,” said Nico Buchholz, executive vice president, Lufthansa Group Fleet Management. “Lufthansa is an important partner and a valued advisor in developing new commercial airplanes with exceptional economical and ecological performance such as the 747-8. The commemorative logo will be a reminder of our relationship with Boeing, now and into the future.”

Lufthansa is the launch customer of the 747-8 Intercontinental and took delivery of its first airplane in April 2012. The airline has 19 747-8 Intercontinentals on order.

The first Boeing 747-100 entered revenue service on January 22, 1970 with Pan Am on the New York–London route.

Lufthansa German Airlines on March 10, 1970 became the first European airline to take delivery of the Boeing 747-100. The first LH 747, 747-130 D-ABYA (msn 19746), was accepted on this historic day. The Jumbo was introduced into revenue service between Frankfurt and New York (JFK) on April 26, 1970. LH has operated a variant of the 747 for over 44 years.

Lufthansa also issued this statement:

Lufthansa’s 14th Boeing 747-8 landed in Frankfurt on Sunday, June 29, at 9.17 a.m. as scheduled. As well as being the 76th Jumbo that Lufthansa has received from the American manufacturer Boeing in Seattle since the 1970s, the aircraft also represents a veritable milestone in aviation history. This aircraft, whose tail number is D-ABYP (“Yankee Papa”), is the 1,500th Jumbo to be built in the world.

‘It’s an honor for Lufthansa that the anniversary Jumbo will fly in the colors of the Lufthansa crane,’ said Nico Buchholz, Head of Group Fleet Management at Deutsche Lufthansa AG. ‘For decades, Lufthansa has been one of the aircraft manufacturer’s closest advisers – a pioneer when it comes to developing new, environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient aircraft,’ added Buchholz at the handover in Seattle. Lufthansa is expecting to receive a total of 19 aircraft of this type, and will therefore be the world’s largest operator of 747-8s among passenger airlines.

The “Dash 8”, as it is also known, has plenty to offer. By using the latest Jumbo, Lufthansa is taking a further step towards having a “three-liter fleet” (per passenger and 100 kilometers). The aircraft is 15 percent more fuel-efficient than its predecessor model and, as a result, its CO2 emissions are around 15 percent lower. The noise footprint of the Boeing 747-8 is 30 percent smaller compared with the older Boeing 747-400. What started as the first training flight with the new Boeing 747 over the mountains east of Seattle in October 1969 went on to become an icon of the Lufthansa fleet, and, indeed, of commercial aviation as a whole.

On March 9, 1970, the then Lufthansa CEO Herbert Culmann took delivery of the first Lufthansa Boeing 747-130 in front of the factory in Everett. The aircraft’s production number was 12 and its Lufthansa registration was D-ABYA. Lufthansa thereby became the second international airline, after Pan Am, and the first European carrier to deploy the Jumbo on scheduled services. The aircraft was host to several major world premières in succession, including the first film shown on board a Jumbo jet. Only twenty months after the maiden flight of the Boeing 747-130, the fourth Lufthansa Jumbo took off on April 2, 1971 as a modified model. Boeing had equipped the 747-200 with larger fuel tanks and a higher take-off weight of 378 tons. This meant that the aircraft had a longer range. Originally intended as a military aircraft, the Jumbo’s career was not limited to carrying passengers. On April 10, 1972, Lufthansa received the world’s first “smiling” Boeing as the launch customer of the cargo version, the Boeing 747-230F. The nose of the aircraft could be opened horizontally, making it possible to load even bulk goods without any problem. On April 19, 1972, the world’s first cargo Jumbo took off, bearing the tail number D-ABYE. This quickly catapulted Lufthansa to number one in airfreight transport.

‘A step towards the 1990s’ is how Lufthansa CEO Heinz Ruhnau described the purchase agreement signed on June 23, 1986 for an initial order of six enhanced Boeing aircraft. Lufthansa had already been involved in the planning of the Boeing 747-100. However, as the first airline to order the “Dash 400” (Boeing 747-400), it now played a key part in the development of the new aircraft, providing many hundreds of suggestions for improvements and more than 20,000 engineer hours. With this aircraft, the modern, digitalized two-man cockpit that Jürgen Weber, the man responsible for aircraft development at Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg at the time and later Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Lufthansa AG, and Reinhard Abraham, the former Chief Technical Officer of the Lufthansa Group, had worked to achieve became a reality. Upwards-pointing winglets, new and more economical engines, new materials such as composite materials and aluminium alloys: all of these innovations helped to cut fuel consumption by 24 percent compared with the -200 series.

On 23 May 1989, Lufthansa received the first enhanced Super Jumbo with tail number D-ABVA. The aircraft could cover almost 13,000 kilometers in 16 hours and thus reach nearly every destination in the world. As the new millennium started, the idea was put forth to develop an enhanced version of the Boeing 747-400. And so not only was the Jumbo extended by 5.6 meters, it was also totally redeveloped, including a new wing design and new engines. On May 2, 2012, Lufthansa became the first passenger airline in the world to receive a Boeing 747-8.

Copyright Photo: Bernie Leighton/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 747-830 D-ABYP with the special “1500th” emblem prepares to depart from Paine Field near Everett yesterday (June 28) on its delivery flight to Frankfurt.

Boeing 747 Slide Show: AG Slide Show

Lufthansa: AG Slide Show