Monthly Archives: December 2018

Van Don International Airport opens on December 30 in Quang Ninh province in Vietnam

After two years of construction, Van Don International Airport opened on December 30, 2018 in Quang Ninh province — home to the UNESCO world Heritage site Halong Bay — just 220 kilometers from the capital Hanoi.

This is the first ever international airport in Vietnam to be developed by a private company, namely, Sun Group — the country’s premier developer of tourism, leisure and entertainment-focused properties and projects.

With a total investment of VND7.463 billion (US$310 million), the airport was constructed with the assistance of NACO (Netherlands Airport Consultants), one of the world’s leading airport consultancy and engineering firms.

“It is the most modern airport in Vietnam. It will have positive influences on the passengers’ experience here in the airport,” said Romy Berntsen, a project manager and architect from NACO.

Besides being equipped with the latest airport technologies in the main terminal, and a state-of-the-art runway, the new airport features a beautiful design inspired by the heavenly Halong Bay, which is just 50km away.

As a new gateway for both domestic and international travellers coming to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay, the airport will receive an estimated 2 to 2.5 million passengers annually for the next two years and five million per year by 2030.

On the same day, Sun Group officially unveiled two more major new infrastructures projects in Quang Ninh, namely, the new Halong-Van Don Highway and Halong International Cruise Port. The new four-lane, 60km-long highway will reduce travel time from Van Don Airport to Halong city to just under 50 minutes.

With total investment of VND1,032 billion (US$43 million), Halong International Cruise Port is the first ever cruise port dedicated exclusively to receiving international cruise ships.

Located in Bai Chay ward, Halong City, the port can accommodate two cruise ships(up to 225,000 GRT each) at the same time and a total of 8,460 passengers, including crew.

The port terminal, designed by Bill Bensley, one of the world’s most renowned and innovative architects, will be a new landmark for the city and Quang Ninh Province.

The opening of all three major infrastructure projects will play an immense role in tapping the province’s full tourism potential and create new opportunities for international trade and economic cooperation.

Vietnam Airlines was the first airline to use the new airport.


Etihad Airways looks back at 2018, will fly the 787 to Hong Kong

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner A6-BLN (msn 39659) ZRH (Andi Hiltl). Image: 938290.

Etihad Airways is looking back at its accomplishments in 2018:

In other news, Etihad Airways will introduce the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on its daily scheduled service from Abu Dhabi to Hong Kong, effective March 31, 2019. The two-class aircraft will replace the Airbus A330-200 aircraft currently operating the route.


The new 787-9 Dreamliner service to Hong Kong will feature the airline’s next-generation Business and Economy cabins, configured with 299 seats – 28 Business Studios and 271 Economy Smart Seats –  a capacity increase of six seats in Business and 31 in Economy in each direction, and an increase in belly-hold cargo capacity of four tonnes.


Boeing 787 schedule to Hong Kong effective March 31, 2019








EY 834

Abu Dhabi


Hong Kong



Boeing 787-9

EY 833

Hong Kong


Abu Dhabi



Boeing 787-9

Notes: All departures and arrivals are listed in local time.

Top Copyright Photo (all others by the airline): Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner A6-BLN (msn 39659) ZRH (Andi Hiltl). Image: 938290.

Etihad Airways aircraft slide show:


Air New Zealand celebrates the year in the air

Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner ZK-NZE (msn 34334) DPS (Pascal Simon). Image: 945013.

Air New Zealand has looked back at its operation in 2018:

Air New Zealand operated around 188,000 flights this year, with its customers collectively flying 29.85 billion kilometers since January 1, 2018.

Of its most frequent flyers, an Auckland based customer flew a whopping 639,000 kilometers in 2018 – the equivalent to 15 circuits of the earth – making them Air New Zealand’s farthest flyer for the year.

The airline’s most frequent flyer took 371 flights in 2018, and the top three travellers together clocked up 1.25 million kilometers in the air– earning more than 31,000 Airpoints Dollars between them.

Keeping customers fed, watered and caffeinated on the 17 million journeys the airline enables annually is an around-the-clock operation, and since 1 January 2018 –

  •  More than 6.3 million meals were served across the airline’s global network. Malay chicken with steamed rice was the most popular main dish in Economy class with 294,000 portions served.
  • Beef osso bucco with caramelised onions was the most popular of the 1.3 million New Zealand beef and lamb meals served in the air.
  • The most popular dish in the airline’s premium cabins was Peter Gordon’s blackened King salmon with saffron potato mash and edamame.
  • The airline poured more than seven million glasses of exclusively New Zealand wines onboard and in its lounges, with sauvignon blanc the preferred tipple.
  • Air New Zealand’s expanded Kiwi beer selection proved popular, with 512,000 cans of beer served inflight – up 7.5 percent on the year prior.
  • Customers also munched their way through 15.3 million of Air New Zealand’s iconic lollies.

Travellers enjoyed thousands of hours of inflight entertainment, with The Greatest Showman the most viewed film on Air New Zealand flights – seen 168,500 times in the past year. Kiwi band Six60’s track Closer was the most listened to, with around 6,500 hits each month.

More customers also chose to minimise the footprint of their flights in 2018, with close to 27,000 tons of carbon offset this calendar year.

Air New Zealand Chief Marketing and Customer Officer Mike Tod says the airline keeps close eye daily on traveller preferences so that it can deliver what matters most to them.

“Air New Zealand prides itself on our warm Kiwi service on the ground and in the air. And customers continue to appreciate the taste of the nation when they are with us, whether it be the selection of our outstanding New Zealand wines or menus created by our award-winning chefs Peter Gordon and Michael Meredith,” Mr Tod says.

“We’d like to thank those who have travelled with us in 2018, which has had its fair share of challenges, as schedules have been disrupted by the impact of issues with the Rolls Royce engines that power some of our 787s and significant weather events around the country.”

Following the launch of direct flights to Chicago and Taipei, 2019 is shaping up to be the airline’s biggest year yet, with Air New Zealand expecting to fly 18 million customers in the coming 12 months.

Copyright Photo: Air New Zealand Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner ZK-NZE (msn 34334) DPS (Pascal Simon). Image: 945013.

Air New Zealand aircraft slide show:


Brussels Airlines to retire the last SuperJet SSJ100 on January 7

Wet leased from CityJet on March 25, 2017

Brussels Airlines, according to Routes Online, is retiring its leased CityJet Sukhoi SuperJet 100 operation early in January 2019.

The last flight will be be on January 7, 2019 between Billund and the Brussels hub.

CityJet’s fleet includes 25 Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft, 13 BAe RJ85 and 6 Sukhoi SSJ100 Superjets operating from bases in Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Helsinki, London, Paris, Stockholm, Tallinn and Vilnius.

Top Copyright Photo: Brussels Airlines (CityJet) Sukhoi Superjet 100-95B EI-FWD (msn 95105) BSL (Paul Bannwarth). Image: 937386.

Brussels Airlines aircraft slide show:


American Airlines adds flights for college football’s championship game

American Airlines Airbus A321-231 WL N934AA (msn 7500) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 945009.

American Airlines is announcing new service to Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) in California for the college football championship game. Nonstop flights from Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) in South Carolina and Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM) in Alabama to SJC are available for purchase now.

American already operates up to 16 flights per day to SJC from four of its hubs: Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW); O’Hare International Airport (ORD) in Chicago; Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) in Phoenix, Arizona; and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

In total, college football fans will have 16 American flights to SJC to choose from January 5, 2019 and even more options for the trip home January 8, 2019 with 17 American flights scheduled from SJC.

Schedule of added direct service

Date Departure airport Arrival airport Departure time Arrival time Aircraft type
Jan. 5 GSP SJC 12:15 p.m. 2:58 p.m. Airbus A321
Jan. 5 BHM SJC 10:10 a.m. 1:15 p.m. Airbus A321
Jan. 8 SJC GSP 10:45 a.m. 6:33 p.m. Boeing 737
Jan. 8 SJC GSP 1:45 p.m. 9:24 p.m. Boeing 737
Jan. 8 SJC BHM 10 a.m. 4:35 p.m. Boeing 737
Jan. 8 SJC BHM 2:15 p.m. 8:50 p.m. Boeing 737

American has more service than any other airline from GSP and BHM today, and with this announcement in support of the championship game, increases daily service to up to 20 flights per day from GSP and up to 21 flights per day from BHM.

Top Copyright Photo: American Airlines Airbus A321-231 WL N934AA (msn 7500) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 945009.

American aircraft slide show:


Emirates develops innovative application to reduce aircraft turnaround delays at Dubai hub

Emirates passengers travelling from or transiting through Dubai International Airport (DXB) can expect fewer instances of delays associated with aircraft turnaround thanks to a new innovative application built in-house by Emirates called the Hub Monitor.

Hub Monitor is being used by Emirates’ operational staff in Dubai to share and monitor real time information on the various activities that are carried out to prepare an aircraft for departure. Through its monitoring and proactive alerting system, the application helps avoid delays and improve on-time performance ultimately leading to a better passenger experience.

Adel Al Redha, Emirates Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer said: “The Hub Monitor application is a unique and innovative tool developed in line with our vision to continuously re-examine our processes and introduce smart and more efficient means to improve our operations resulting in better passenger experience. Our Operations team in coordination with IT have led the development of the hub monitoring system in a record time of five months, building on an existing solution that was already developed by Emirates Engineering. The team examining the various functions of Hub Monitor in real time are working to roll out further modules and the next module will be implemented later this month.”

Emirates Aircraft Turnaround in Dubai

Emirates is the world’s largest international airline operating a fleet of 270 modern all wide-body fleet of Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft.  Every day around 255 Emirates flights depart from Dubai to destinations across six continents. Flights range in duration from less than an hour to over 17 hours. In order to avoid flight delays and inconvenience to passengers, it is critically important to efficiently turnaround the aircraft arriving in Dubai and prepare them for their next departure without compromising on quality or safety.

It currently takes about 105 minutes to turnaround the Emirates A380, the world’s largest commercial passenger jet, and about 90 minutes to prepare the Boeing 777 aircraft for departure at Emirates’ hub in Dubai.

There are a number of activities involved in the aircraft turnaround process. Some of these include a complete cleaning of aircraft interiors, water and toilet servicing, flight catering and loading meals for passengers, servicing the aircraft Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), refuelling the aircraft, maintenance checks, and loading passenger luggage and cargo. A delay in any one of these activities can have a cumulative impact on operations.

Hub Monitor

With Hub Monitor, cross-functional teams from departments including Engineering, Network Control, Airport Services, Flight Operations, and dnata Operations keep track of the turnaround activities on a real time basis. The application also triggers alerts to operational staff when there is a delay or deviation to any above or below wing activity against a pre-set Precision Timing Schedule (PTS). These pre-emptive alerts allow Emirates’ teams to identify and resolve the root cause of any potential delays. In fact, Hub Monitor has already demonstrated its potential, versatility and scalability and has been chosen as the platform for some of Emirates’ key internal initiatives on disruption and fulfilment.

Hub Monitor integrates data coming in from a number of internal platforms and real-time aircraft downlinks. It then provides the consolidated data through a single view interface to relevant internal stakeholders. Hub Monitor is also mobile enabled, meaning staff deployed on the aircraft, ramp and in other remote areas can also easily access the information.

The application provides information on all Emirates’ aircraft in Dubai, allowing teams the ability to proactively recalibrate and plan their activities to minimise the impact of any unavoidable or unforeseen delays. Initial results since the application was deployed in August indicate that Hub Monitor has the potential to bring about a significant delay reduction at Emirates’ Dubai hub every year.

California Pacific Airlines suspends Carlsbad operations

California Pacific Airlines Embraer ERJ 145ER (EMB-145ER) N286SK (msn 145443) CLD (James Helbock). Image: 944866.

California Pacific Airlines has made this announcement:

California Pacific Airlines has temporarily suspended Carlsbad flights and ticket sales due to being impacted by the nationwide pilot shortage. We are in the process of training new qualified pilots who will allow us to relaunch services soon. We apologize for the inconvenience and look forward to flying again soon. January flights will be refunded.

For the record, California Pacific operated the last flight from Carlsbad, CA on December 22, 2018.

Top Copyright Photo: California Pacific Airlines Embraer ERJ 145ER (EMB-145ER) N286SK (msn 145443) CLD (James Helbock). Image: 944866.

Route Map:


Thai Kom Airlines signs Letter of Intent to acquire six SSJ100 airliners

Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with the Thai Kom Airlines Company Limited and WishV, the maintenance and repair organization, as part of the intergovernmental Russia-Thailand economy panel.

The LOI was signed at the presence of the Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov.

According to the terms of the agreement, six SSJ100 will be delivered in 2019-2020.

It is anticipated that the agreement will be turned into the firm order early in 2019.

Aeroflot to start flights to Palma de Mallorca

Aeroflot's 2016 special livery for CSKA Moscow Football Club

Aeroflot has begun ticket sales for flights to Palma de Mallorca, the capital of the Spanish island of Mallorca. Regular flights on the Moscow – Palma de Mallorca – Moscow route will be launched on June 1, 2019.

Four weekly flights on Airbus A320 aircraft will operate on the following schedule:

Moscow – Palma de Mallorca

– flight SU2518 will depart Moscow on Saturdays and Sundays at 7:55, on Tuesdays and Fridays at 12:15.

Palma de Mallorca – Moscow

– flight SU2519 will depart Palma de Mallorca on Saturdays and Sundays at 12:35, on Tuesdays and Fridays at 17:15 (local time).

Aeroflot is continuously expanding its route network and increasing flight frequencies to popular destinations. Aeroflot flies to 152 destinations in 55 countries, including 54 in Russia. In its Winter 2018/19 schedule Aeroflot has launched 14 new destinations, which will be serviced both by the Company’s own fleet and by Rossiya Airline. Aeroflot’s route network spans the largest cities in the Northern Caucasus, including Grozny, Vladikavkaz, Makhachkala, Nazran (Magas) and Nalchik, as well as the cities of the Volga region – Izhevsk and Ulyanovsk. On top of that, Aeroflot has launched direct flights from Moscow to Osh and Bukhara. On the international front Aeroflot added flights to three European cities: Gothenburg, Dublin and Ljubljana, as well as flights to Denpasar – the largest city of the Indonesian island of Bali – and Colombo – the largest metropolis of Sri Lanka.

Top Copyright Photo (all others by Aeroflot): Aeroflot Russian Airlines Airbus A320-214 VP-BWD (msn 2116) (CSKA Moscow Football Club) ARN (Stefan Sjogren). Image: 942358.

Aeroflot aircraft slide show:



FlyBosnia takes delivery of its first aircraft

FlyBosnia (Sarajevo) on December 22, 2018 took delivery of first aircraft, the pictured Airbus A319-112 E7-FBA (msn 1808, ex VP-BIS).

The first airliner is named “Sarajevo” after its based city.

The new airline is now going through the certification process. The company hopes to become airborne in 2019.

The new company describes itself:

FlyBosnia is a proposed Bosnia and Herzegovinian airline based at Sarajevo Butmir International Airport.

The Registers of Business Entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina states the airline was registered in November 2017.

The Saudi based Al-Shiddi Group is linked to its establishment with Nudžejma Skenderović and Sulaiman Abdullah Al Shiddi as founders of the new airline.

All photos by FlyBosnia.