Monthly Archives: June 2015

Vietnam Airlines becomes the second operator of the new Airbus A350-900

Vietnam A350-900 VN-A886 (14)(Flt)(Airbus)(LRW)

Vietnam Airlines (Hanoi) has become the second airline in the world to operate the all-new Airbus A350-900 XWB, following a special ceremony in Toulouse today (June 30).

The A350-900 aircraft was delivered to global lessor AerCap on lease to the airline for operation on long haul routes and is scheduled to arrive in Hanoi tomorrow. Altogether, Vietnam Airlines is set to acquire 14 A350-900 XWBs, including 10 ordered from Airbus and four from lessors.

Vietnam Airlines logoVietnam Airlines will inaugurate commercial service with the A350-900 XWB later this week, initially on the Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh domestic sector and then on nonstop flights from Hanoi to Paris (CDG). The aircraft is configured with a premium three class layout, with 29 seats that convert to full flat beds in Business Class, 45 seats in Premium Economy and 231 in Economy. In addition to more personal space in all classes, the aircraft features the latest in-flight entertainment and connectivity systems throughout.

Vietnam Airlines’ new A350-900 XWB will join an existing Airbus fleet of 59 aircraft flying with the carrier, comprising 49 A321s and 10 A330s.

AerCap is Airbus’ largest customer, and has ordered a cumulative total of 945 Airbus aircraft over the years. These include firm orders for a total of 20 A350 XWBs.

To date, Airbus has recorded a total of 781 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 40 customers worldwide, already making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever. The aircraft handed over today is the fifth A350 XWB to be delivered, following the type’s entry into commercial service with its first operator earlier this year.

Vietnam Airlines is also taking delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, an unique situation for an airline introducing two new types at the same time.

Photos: Airbus/Master Films-P. Masclet. Airbus A350-941 VN-A886 (msn 014) in pictured in flight in the updated 2014 livery.

Vietnam Airlines aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Vietnam A350-900 VN-A886 (14)(Nose(Airbus)(LRW)

 

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United Airlines purchases a stake in Fulcrum BioEnergy for $30 million

United Airlines (Chicago) today announced an historic $30 million equity investment in U.S.-based alternative fuels developer Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc., a pioneer in the development and commercialization of converting municipal solid waste into low-cost sustainable aviation biofuel. It is also the single largest investment by a U.S. airline in alternative fuels and sets United apart in the aviation industry in the advancement of aviation biofuels and carbon emissions reductions. In addition to the equity investment, United and Fulcrum have entered into an agreement that contemplates the joint development of up to five projects located near United’s hubs expected to have the potential to produce up to 180 million gallons of fuel per year.

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Fulcrum Video:

United has also negotiated a long-term supply agreement with Fulcrum and, subject to availability, will have the opportunity to purchase at least 90 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel a year for a minimum of 10 years at a cost that is competitive with conventional jet fuel. This alternative fuel will be a drop-in fuel that meets all of the airline’s technical requirements and specifications, and will power the aircraft in the same way as conventional jet fuel. Fulcrum expects its first alternative fuels plant to begin commercial operation in 2017.

Fulcrum’s Waste-to-Biofuel Technology

Fulcrum’s technology converts household trash, known as municipal solid waste (MSW), into renewable jet fuel. Fulcrum’s renewable jet fuel is expected to provide a greater than 80 percent reduction in lifecycle carbon emissions when compared to conventional jet fuel. Fulcrum
has successfully developed and proven its technology to convert MSW into low-cost, low-carbon transportation fuels in an innovative, clean and efficient thermochemical process. MSW is an attractive biofuel feedstock as it is low cost, has limited volatility and a virtually unlimited supply. United’s agreement with Fulcrum is expected to decrease the airline’s carbon footprint through the use of sustainable aviation biofuel, while also diverting waste from landfills and creating new jobs in those communities where new Fulcrum facilities are sited. Fulcrum’s projects have also received support and participation from the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy for the future production of fuel that meets military specifications.

United From Trash to Energy poster (UA)(LR)

 

United’s Track Record in Aviation Biofuels

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United is the first U.S. airline to invest in a biofuel company. It is another in a series of firsts for the airline which, since 2009, has made significant investments in the advancement of sustainable aviation biofuels.

In 2009, United made history as the first North American carrier to perform a two-engine aircraft demonstration flight using sustainable biofuels.

In 2011, United operated the first U.S. passenger flight powered by advanced biofuels made from algae.

In 2012, United spearheaded the Midwest Aviation Sustainable Biofuel Initiative (MASBI), a public/private partnership of experts from across the Midwest Region, to accelerate the commercialization of advanced biofuels for aviation.

In 2013, United announced an agreement with AltAir Fuels for advanced aviation biofuels to be used on flights out of the airline’s Los Angeles hub, making it the first U.S. carrier to execute a commercial scale agreement for aviation biofuels. United expects to begin regularly scheduled flights using AltAir’s fuel later this year.

In 2015, United received the World Bio Markets (WBM) Award for Excellence in Advanced Biofuels.

United Eco-Skies logo

Top Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. United’s Boeing 737-924 ER N75432 (msn 32835) is painted in this special Eco-Skies livery (inherited from Continental Airlines). N75432 lands at Baltimore/Washington (BWI).

United Airlines aircraft slide show (current livery): AG Airline Slide Show

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Alaska Airlines announces new regional flying from Los Angeles and Boise

Alaska Airlines (Seattle/Tacoma) today announced two new routes from Los Angeles, and one new route from Boise, Idaho. New daily roundtrip service between Los Angeles and Monterey, California; and Boise, Idaho and Reno, Nevada begin November 5. A new seasonal flight between Los Angeles and Gunnison/Crested Butte will shuttle skiers and snowboarders from California to Colorado starting in December.

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The flights will be operated by Alaska’s sister carrier Horizon Air (Alaska Horizon) (Seattle/Tacoma), using the pictured 76-seat Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) aircraft.

Alaska new flights 6.2015

Alaska also announced today that it will upgauge its flights from Los Angeles to Loreto, Mexico, beginning November 1. The flights are currently operated daily, using 76-seat Bombardier Q400 aircraft. Beginning in November, they will be operated Thursday-Sunday using Boeing 737 jets, adding about 70 additional seats each week.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Horizon Air, operating as Alaska Horizon, operates its Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) turboprops from its Seattle hub and now in Alaska. Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) N441QX (msn 4348) in the University of Alaska Nanooks (Fairbanks) departs from Ted Steven Anchorage International Airport (ANC).

Alaska Airlines aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Alaska Horizon-Horizon Air aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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Cargojet and First Air expand their commercial agreement

Cargojet Inc. (Cargojet Airways) (Hamilton), Canada’s domestic premium overnight air cargo network operator, and First Air (Ottawa), the Airline of the North, announced today that they have expanded their commercial co-operation agreement effective July 1, 2015 and extended their Transportation Agreement to June 30, 2025.

Cargojet logo

First Air logo 2

According to both carriers:

This agreement further strengthens the strategic alliance between the two companies, and will allow for seamless air cargo transportation between the 14 major Canadian cities served on Cargojet’s overnight air cargo network as well as the 32 communities served by First Air in Canada’s North.

Above Copyright Photo: Chris Sands/AirlinersGallery.com. Cargojet Airways Boeing 767-35E ER (F) C-GUAJ (msn 26063) departs from Calgary.

Cargojet Airways aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

First Air aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Below Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. First Air Boeing 737-406 C-FFNC (msn 27232) (Native Hunter) taxies at Yellowknife.

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Condor to add new long-haul weekly service from Munich next summer

Condor Flugdienst (Frankfurt) is planning to start new long-haul service from Munich commencing in June 2016 according to Airline Route. The carrier will add weekly flights to Cancun (starting on June 6, 2016), Halifax ( June 3, 2016), Havana (June 4, 2016), Windhoek (June 29, 2016) and Zanzibar-Mombasa (June 21, 2016).

 

The new routes will be operated with Boeing 767-300s.

Copyright Photo: Arnd Wolf/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-330 ER D-ABUE (msn 26984) taxies at the Munich with the special “Janosch and Condor support a Heart for Children” and “Sunny Heart” livery.

Condor aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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easyJet to add six new routes from Amsterdam

easyJet (London-Luton) is expanding again at Amsterdam. The low-fare carrier will add six routes from AMS for the winter season according to Airline Route: Grenoble (December 12, weekly), Lyon (December 17, four weekly flights), Milan (Linate) (October 27, six weekly flights), Salzburg (December 18, three weekly flights) Tel Aviv (October 26, four weekly flights) and Tenerife Sur (December 15, twice-weely).

In other news, the company will add four new routes from Lyon in December 2015. Besides Amsterdam, the airline will add new service from Lyon to Belfast (International), Southend and Naples per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-111 G-EZFD (msn 3810) taxies at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) in the new 2015 livery.

EasyJet aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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Joel Chusid’s Airline Corner – June 2015

Joel Chusid’s Airline Corner – June 2015

Assistant Editor Joel Chusid

Assistant Editor Joel Chusid

 

 

 

 

 

By Assistant Editor Joel Chusid

Common Sense Left at Home

People traveling do the strangest things on the spur of the moment. Take the young Italian couple who, due to traffic, missed their Ryanair flight home from Malta. The door was closed, stairs removed and engines running when Enrica Appolonio and Matteo Clemento got to the gate. Undaunted, the couple pushed through an adjacent security exit and ran out onto the tarmac to signal the pilots to let them on. You see, it was Enrica’s birthday and she was going to miss spending it with her friends and family. Instead, the couple were arrested, hauled into court and spent the occasion in jail, not to mention a $2600 fine. Meanwhile in Charlotte Douglas International Airport, a man stripped stark naked at the gate when told his US Airways flight to Jamaica was overbooked. The crowd of onlookers, which included children, looked on for nearly 40 minutes, and several snapped pictures which are now easily found online.

The Bees Have It

Just a few weeks apart, bees caused aircraft to return or divert their flight. An airliner from FlyBe, no pun intended, was on its way from Southampton to Dublin when it was discovered that a bee had crawled into a sensitive instrument. The crew had to return to Southampton to have the insect removed.

On the other side of the Atlantic, an Allegiant Air flight enroute from St. Petersburg/Clearwater Airport to Niagara Falls had to divert to Orlando/Sanford, to remove a wasp that had done the same thing, entering a sensor. Indeed, these can be safety issues. In both cases, the flights were delayed for bee removal reasons, good fodder for cocktail party conversation.

Someone Didn’t Leave the Light On

A delayed American Eagle regional jet departed Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport for a short 125 mile flight to Wichita Falls, Texas, an airport I know well. As the flight approached the airport, the crew noticed the runway lights were turned off. Unable to reach anyone to turn them on, the flight circled for 30 minutes. Passengers were informed of the problem, and the plane returned to DFW. At smaller airports without 24 hour staffing, it is not unusual for the pilot to be able to turn the lights on remotely, but in this case the crew did not have the proper radio frequency.

All You Wanted to Know About Airport Carpets

Yes, Virginia, there’s a website for this, too. The site www.carpetsforairports.com reviews dozens, if not hundreds, of airport carpets with a simple globe search method, and uses creative descriptions to rate them. You’ll want to check out the lily pad patterned carpet in Darwin, Australia, learn that the carpet color changes every two years in Mexico City or that the Louis Armstrong New Orleans Airport resembles either ”an architectonic exploration of form in space or the wiring diagram for a 1957 Pontiac Chieftain”. The biggest disappointment is reserved for Italy, where most airports are carpet-less. Beware of the “toxic” carpet in Sydney, Australia which has “poisoned travelers who have casually walked on it in bare feet”. But the most interesting one is Portland, Oregon, where the much loved carpet has nearly 14,000 followers on its own Facebook page! The famed carpet has appeared on socks, hats and clothing, most of which the fervent fans have created themselves.