Monthly Archives: September 2019

Air France receives its first Airbus A350-900 named “Toulouse”

By Marco Finelli.

The first of Air France’s 28 new Airbus A350-900 was delivered to the French carrier on September 27.
The aircraft will gradually replace the older A340-300s and then progressively the other long-range aircraft of the previous generation.
This aircraft, as Benjamin Smith CEO Air France KLM pointed out, “will serve to operate all connections to the world of Air France from South America to Asia and from Africa to North America”.
Continued Smith, “All of our network airports can be served from Santiago de Chile to Singapore”.
Another novelty is the return of Air France to the tradition of naming its aircraft. This jet was given the name of “Toulouse”, in honor of the French city of flight.
The first commercial service will be on the Paris CDG – Abidjan route via Bamako on October 7. 
Service to Toronto will follow from October 27, 2019.


The aircraft with registration F-HTYA, was delivered at the end of a ceremony as used for new arrivals.

It is the first newcomer to the Air France fleet since the first Airbus A380-800 was delivered.

Hosting the ceremony its was Christopher Buckley – Airbus Commercial VP, Francois Obe – A350XWB Product Marketing Director. For Air France Benjamin Smith – Air France CEO – KLM and Anne Rigail, Air France CEO attended.


The press conference was opened by Benjamin Smith who declared that “Air France is the only airline in the world that had all the aircraft produced by Airbus since 1974,  from the A300, A310, A320, A330, A340 , A380 and now the A350, up to the next A220-300 ordered a few weeks ago with 60 planes and options “.

On the new Airbus A350s, Smith adds “is the forerunner for future aircraft that will make up the Air France fleet, more economical, flexible, modern and adapted to future market challenges “. Smith pointed  on the technology used “consumes 25% less energy than the previous generation, which allows better performances also linked to the power plant Rolls Royce Trent XWB-84 engines”. An engine with maximum thrust of 84200 pounds and 71400 continuous.

On the order of 28 aircraft, “This aircraft is now in the optimal configuration, but it is possible that in the coming years a batch of aircrafts may get more or less seats in Business Class depending on what the market will require . Not more than two configurations is the best with economies of scale in fleet management. We would also like to serve Sydney, but it has not yet been decided, even though the possibilities of economy of operation and size of the aircraft performances”.

A hint from Smith that the hippocampus has been on the engines from some time. It is the historical trademark for Air France, it has also been added to the rounded ends of the wings.

Anne Rigail has focused on the eco-sustainability of the A350’s performance “we will use more biofuels, the impact of noise footprint, CO2, consumption is lower from other aircraft in the fleet, 2.5L instead of the 3.3L of the fleet average”. The use of biofuel is growing, but the costs and their availability is the problem. They cost 2 or 3 times than  the traditional ones, we have no plants in France or the Netherlands, they will be in the future ”. About the plane he also said the interiors were chosen with the best products in terms of seats for passengers “Safran Optima for Business Class up to Recaro for the most technologically advanced product type at present. Same seats from the same supplier for the premium economy and economy. The amount of content on the IFE Safran RAVE system is over 1400 hours available to our customers with an excellent visual definition compared to the past “.

Christian Scherer for Airbus “We are happy that Air France continues to be our customer. They have been loyal customers since 1974 with the Caravelle. Our product is quieter, more comfortable in the cabin’s liveability and in the pressurization that allows passengers to enjoy the flight with more pleasure ”.

With the arrival of the A350-900s it is the exact leap of a generation over long-range jet engines compared to the current Airbus A330s in the fleet and to the A340-300s that this aircraft will start to replace.

A more modern aerodynamics, a lower noise impact thanks to a cleaner line, in addition to the Rolls Royce Trent XWB-84 engines. Less CO2 due to the aerodynamic mix and new engines, therefore less fuel consumption and therefore lower operating costs. Do not forget less rustling even for passengers, a more comfortable journey thanks to better climate control for a lower cabin share compared to other Airbus aircraft.
 

This A350-900s and next ones that will arrive can handle up to 324 seats in three classes. The leading is the Affaires, so the Business Class as it is called by Air France with 34 staggered 1-2-1 seats as abreast. It occupies the entire compartment between doors 1 and 2. The feeling at first sight is that the layout chosen by Air France is very intense and a bit crowded. The seats are very stuck and the seats are wide enough. In gray fabric with an elegant leather strap cover. It has a large touch screen for IFE. All the seats are angled towards the corridor. The product is the Safran Seats Optima.

 

After door 2 there is the small compartment of Premium economy then physically divided by the economic. It has 24 seats in three rows of 8 seats with the 2-4-2 abreast. The seats that have a good recline are very pleasant, as well as having both support for the legs and feet. A personal adjustable LED light spot is on left of the head rest. There is a lateral remote control, two buttons for the movement of the seat. Very large touch screen with excellent definition. Negative is still the sight of IFE supply boxes of discrete dimensions, placed on the sides of the armchair supports on the cabin floor.

In economy class 3-3-3 abreast that allows to have on board 266 places with a distance between the rows of 31 inches. Generously sized personal monitors are available for each traveller.

The entertainment system is the Zodiac RAVE – Reliable Affordable for Very Easy. It has over 1400 hours of different types of content. It is very fast and intuitive in the conception when searching for the desired proposals.

In flight the plane proves to be silent from the propulsion aspect and the lack of general aerodynamic noise. The noise made from flaps and slats at extension and extraction  remains noisy. The pressurization is pleasant, both in cruise and above all after completing the descent there are no annoying effects on the ears.

There is a discrete internal liveability, the overhead bins are generous and have a good integration in the very rounded design concept to obtain the effect of to be airy, the plane shape is right oval and the ceiling is very high from the seat level. The windows are at least 35% more bigger than in the past generation Airbus long haul jets. They still have a movable window blind system and not polarized as its available on Boeing Dreamliner.

On October 7, this plane will start flying on the Paris CDG – Abidjan route via Bamako. These flights will be usefull to the training issue of crews for the in-flight familiarization on the new aircraft, in addition to those conducted in Chateauroux and Toulouse started already the day after the delivery. Then it will be the turn of other destinations with the arrival of the next aircrafts. By October 27 it is the time to fly to Toronto, then towards Seoul and Cairo, both from December 9.
The launch on February 10, 2020 of the previously announced route to Mumbai has been canceled. In its place the A350s will be planned for Bangkok, but the first service start up date is not yet defined. Three planes will arrive this year and three in the next year. In 2021, another 11 aircraft will arrive, the remaining 13 between 2022 and 2025. The 28 planes envisaged by the order will also include the aircraft destined for KLM (7 ships), which were recently exchanged with the remaining 6 Boeing 787s. destined for Air France in version -9, which the Dutch will receive in version -10. Benjamin Smith said “we will not retire the 9 Boeing 787-9s and a tenth plane will arrive soon by March 2020”.

 

In the past Air France had plan to give some planes to Joon, but with the arrival of Benjamin Smith and the decision to give up to the new brand created in 2018 will not see them in Joon colors.

 

In the afternoon just before 4 pm the flight AF350V departed from Airbus Delivery Center with almost 280 passengers.The brand new jet liner headed to Paris CDG with a flight of just over an hour. On board the Air France management, the journalists and off-program compared to the other delivery flights made by other airlines, in economy class were on board a part of the staff of the French airline. Smith’s decision was apt in order to have even more a spirit of be part of the airline and belonging on the part of the workers who were able to appreciate and live the newcomer from another point of view which for many is absolutely unusual. On the top cruise at FL350 the aircraft proved to be excellent, maneuverability and stability was significantly positive. On arrival in Paris CDG a few minutes before 5pm the festivities continued with two water cannon and another party for passengers and people arrived at Paris to say welcome to the first A350s.
All photos by Marco Finelli.
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American adds new international routes

American Airlines has announced plans to grow its international network with new and increased service:

  • Increased service from Miami (MIA) to:
    • Lima, Peru (LIM), beginning April 7
    • Santiago, Chile (SCL), beginning winter 2020
    • São Paulo(GRU), beginning winter 2020
  • New daily service from Boston (BOS) to London Heathrow (LHR) beginning March 29
  • Extended service to key European destinations including Rome (FCO), Dublin (DUB) and Barcelona, Spain (BCN)

All new routes are subject to government approval. Flights will be available for purchase Oct. 7, with the exception of GRU and SCL, which will be available for purchase in December.

New opportunities in Latin America

This year, American celebrates 30 years serving MIA, and now has even more to celebrate with additional service to LIM, SCL and GRU set to begin next year.

American currently operates two daily flights to LIM from MIA, and next spring the airline will increase operations year-round to three times a day on a Boeing 757, providing more service than any other carrier to one of South America’s largest cities. And next winter gets even warmer with an additional flight to Chile’s capital, Santiago, and a third flight to Brazil’s largest city, São Paulo. Both services will be operated on a 777-200.

The best schedule in Boston

When new American nonstop service from BOS to LHR launches next year, customers will have access to a total of five daily flights to choose from between American and joint business partner British Airways.

American’s BOS to LHR flight will be flown on a state-of-the-art 777-200, featuring 37 Flagship Business seats and 24 Premium Economy seats. The new flight fits into the current British Airways schedule with a peak evening departure (American Flight No. 108) from BOS and adds a new morning departure from LHR (American Flight No. 109). American and British Airways will have the most flights between the two historic cities when flights begin next year. Together, American and British Airways provide up to 71 flights every day between the U.S. and London.

And there’s more good news for customers flying out of Boston, as International Airline Group (IAG) subsidiary LEVEL will operate three weekly flights from BOS to Paris Orly Airport (ORY) beginning March 31. The Atlantic Joint Business continues to build a bigger and better network next summer by adding an additional 125,000 seats per month across the Atlantic with six new routes, in addition to the 12 routes already launched this year.

The new flight comes at an optimal time to build on the investments American has made at BOS this year. In January the airline co-located all mainline operations to a renovated portion of the B terminal so that customers have access to one main ticket lobby, a new baggage claim facility and a newly renovated Admiral’s Club, particularly welcomed by the airline’s international Flagship travelers. In addition, in June, American and Massport unveiled the new Terminal B Great Hall, offering customers more convenience and increased efficiency at the ticket counter and security.

Summer comes early

American is also extending seasonal flying dates on some of the most popular routes including service between New York (JFK) and Rome (FCO); Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) and Dublin (DUB); and Chicago (ORD) and Barcelona (BCN). These routes will now operate a month longer than their current schedule. Stay tuned for more seasonal extensions in the coming weeks.

Route Previous season New season 2020
JFK–FCO May 3–Oct. 27 March 29–Oct. 23
DFW–DUB June 6–Oct. 27 May 7–Oct. 23
ORD–BCN May 3–Oct. 27 April 6–Oct. 23

American Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

Emirates announces its first Airbus A380 service to Cairo

Emirates will be operating its Airbus A380 service to Cairo International Airport on October 2, 2019, making it the first scheduled commercial airline to operate an A380 flight into Egypt. With the intent to make the world’s largest commercial passenger jet a part of the airline’s scheduled service to Cairo, this inaugural flight will re-affirm the airport’s infrastructure readiness ahead of regular A380 operations.

The Emirates A380 service will operate as EK 927 and EK 928, departing Dubai at 08:15hrs and arriving in Cairo at 10:00hrs. The flight will depart Cairo at 13:15hrs arriving in Dubai at 18:45hrs on the same day. All timings are local.

Emirates started operations to Cairo in April 1986 with three flights a week and since then, has carried more than 7.3 million passengers to and from Cairo. Operations have steadily grown with increases in both frequency and capacity between Cairo and Dubai to match customer demand. Today, Emirates operates 21 weekly flights between Cairo and Dubai. Earlier this year, Emirates announced it will increase the frequency of flights between Dubai and Cairo, adding four additional flights a week to its existing thrice-daily service, starting 28 October 2019, taking the total number of weekly Emirates flights serving Cairo to 25. Globally, the airline employs more than 2,000 Egyptian nationals in a variety of roles across the Emirates Group, including over 1,000 cabin crew.

Emirates aircraft photo gallery:

 

Austrian Airlines to take over some Eurowings routes from Vienna

Austrian Airlines has made this announcement:

Austrian Airlines and Eurowings are repositioning themselves in Austria and reinforce their cooperation. The common goal is to strengthen the Vienna hub and expand decentralised traffic from the Austrian federal states.

Austrian Airlines will be responsible for network planning at the Vienna hub in order to improve the management of transfer traffic. As of January 1, 2020, Eurowings will deploy four aircraft including crews in wet lease for Austrian Airlines.


At the same time, Eurowings will strongly expand its presence at Salzburg Airport and increase the number of Airbus A319 aircraft stationed in the City of Mozart to a total of three. Furthermore, Eurowings will expand its leisure flight program from Innsbruck Airport offering full charter flights to warm-water destinations. Thereby Eurowings is pursuing its strategy of consistently concentrating on decentralized routes i.e. point-to-point flight traffic. Today Eurowings is already number one at four major German airports, namely Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Cologne and Stuttgart.

Within the context of the closer collaboration of the two airlines, the following destinations will be offered in the route network of Austrian Airlines as of January 2020: two daily flights will be operated to Barcelona (expansion from twelve to 14 weekly flights). Birmingham will be served up to once daily (increase from four to seven flights per week). Up to two flights will be operated every day to Nuremberg (twelve weekly flights instead of eleven), and frequencies to Rome will rise to three daily flights (21 flights each week instead of twelve). Up to one daily flight will be offered to Zadar (thus raising the number of weekly flights from two to seven). The leisure flight program (of Austrian and Eurowings) of summer 2020 will be published at a later date.

Check-in for all these flights will take place at Austrian Airlines in Terminal 3 at Vienna Airport in the future. The existing scheduled flight connections of Eurowings between Vienna and Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Hannover, Stuttgart and Cologne will remain part of the Eurowings route network and will be operated out of Germany as in the past. These flights will continue to take off from Terminal 1 in Vienna.

For Austrian Airlines, this step provides added impetus to its #DriveTo25 strategy. The ten additional A320 aircraft already announced earlier this year will be complemented by four wet lease aircraft from Eurowings. In January, Austrian Airlines reported that it would phase out its smaller turboprop aircraft by 2021 and increase its medium-haul Airbus fleet from 36 to 46 airplanes. This change in the fleet composition is currently being implemented. The first of the ten A320 aircraft is planned to land in Vienna shortly. The 37th Airbus will take off on behalf of Austrian Airlines starting in December.

Austrian Airlines gradually reorganizes its decentralized routes

In connection with the strategic concentration on its home airport in Vienna, the decision was made by Austrian Airlines to reorganize decentralized routes between the Austrian federal states and Germany.

In an initial step, Austrian Airlines is reorganizing flight operations on the Salzburg-Frankfurt and Graz-Frankfurt routes within the Lufthansa Group and will likely transfer responsibility for these routes to Lufthansa at the turn of the year 2019/2020. The new flight connections can be booked as of October 23, 2019. The number of flights on these two routes will not change: In the upcoming winter flight schedule, a total of 28 weekly flights will be offered linking Salzburg and Frankfurt, whereas 26 flights will be operated between Graz and Frankfurt each week. The previous flight times will be maintained with the exception of a few small adjustments.

However, overall seating capacity between Salzburg and Frankfurt will increase due to the fact that Lufthansa will deploy Airbus A319 and thus larger aircraft than has been the case up until now. A mix of Airbus A319, Embraer 190 and Bombardier CRJ900 jets will be deployed on the Graz-Frankfurt route. Total seating capacity on this route will remain unchanged. In the future, Austrian Airlines will make use of two Embraer aircraft currently stationed in Salzburg and Graz for flights departing from Vienna to destinations in its European route network.

Austrian Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

SAS to add 5 new destinations and 14 new routes for Summer 2020

Scandinavian Airlines-SAS has made this announcement:

SAS is continuing to strengthen its seasonal offering and will be launching 14 new direct routes and 5 totally new destinations from Scandinavia in summer 2020 – Bari, Rhodes, Tivat, Zadar and Valencia.

For summer 2020, SAS is offering new direct routes and destinations, as well as increasing the frequency of flights to some of the most popular destinations around southern Europe, around the Mediterranean.

The exciting summer additions from Copenhagen are Bari in Italy, Tivat in Montenegro and Zadar in Croatia – all three of these holiday gems being in the Adriatic – great for those who love the water as well as picturesque, historical surroundings. A fourth new destination from the Danish capital is the classic holiday resort of Rhodes in Greece.

At the same time, Spain is continuing to attract holidaymakers from Scandinavia, so SAS is starting a direct route from Oslo to Valencia. The interest in Spain is also continuing to grow in Denmark and Aarhus, and SAS is increasing the number of flights to Malaga, Palma (Majorca) and Alicante.

From Stockholm, SAS is increasing its frequency of flights and extending its season to Beirut, in response to demand from the many passengers who have discovered the city or who have an affiliation with the region. Luxembourg’s timetable from Arlanda is also expanding with more departures, making it a year-round destination.

The route from Oslo to Kyiv, Ukraine, which was introduced for autumn 2019, will also be continuing over the summer period, making it now a year-round direct route. The connections eastbound from Denmark are also improving when the flights from Copenhagen to Russian Sankt Petersburg start to operate again.

Many of the new routes will be served by Airbus 320neo, the market’s most fuel-efficient aircraft.

SAS summer additions – new destinations and direct routes:

SAS summer additions 2020 Sweden
From Stockholm:
Expanded and extended timetable to Beirut, in Lebanon.
The Luxembourg route is becoming a new year-round destination.

SAS summer additions 2020 Denmark
From Copenhagen:
Bari in Italy, Rhodes in Greece, Tivat in Montenegro, Zadar in Croatia.
From Aarhus:
SAS is launching new routes to Alicante in Spain and Chania on Crete in Greece, while also expanding its offering to Malaga and Palma (Majorca) in Spain.

SAS summer additions 2020 Norway
From Oslo:
Valencia in Spain.
The route from Oslo to Kyiv is becoming a new year-round destination.Bergen:
New route to Bergen from Barcelona.Haugesund:
New route from Haugesund to Copenhagen.

Lauda to add four Boeing 737-800 aircraft to the Vienna base and 17 new routes for summer 2020

Lauda (LaudaMotion) has made this announcement:

Lauda has announced it will base an additional four aircraft (16 in total) at its Vienna base, as part of its biggest ever Summer 2020 schedule.

In summer 2020, Lauda will launch 17 new routes (67 routes in total) to/from Vienna.

The new routes include new service to Milan, Brindisi, Palermo and Greece.

The Lauda fleet in Vienna, which this winter is 12 aircraft (all Airbus A320s), will grow to 16 aircraft with the addition of 4 Boeing 737-800 aircraft for summer 2020.

Lauda’s fleet of Airbus A320s will increase from 22 to over 33 aircraft in summer 2020, but most of these additional aircraft will be allocated to Lauda’s growing bases in Germany and in Palma de Mallorca (Spain) where the Lauda fleet will double from 4 to 10 aircraft for summer 2020.

Gol’s statement on the Delta-LATAM partnership

GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes S.A. statement:

Delta has been terrific partner of GOL and we wish them well. We valued our partnership with Delta, and are gratified to see its continuing confidence in the Latin American aviation market.

The phase out of this codeshare and investment in our non-voting shares is not expected to have a significant financial impact to GOL as the current relationship provided approximately 0.3% of GOL’s total revenues.

During the transition period, GOL will work with Delta to ensure a seamless experience for customers. GOL Airlines is the largest Brazilian domestic carrier and we look forward to competing and growing in our markets. GOL has had a strong year with our passenger revenue up 37.9% year-over-year in 2Q19, and we are confident about our year-end results.

Gol aircraft photo gallery: