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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Air China suddenly drops the Beijing – Pyongyang (North Korea) route

Air China Boeing 737-89L WL B-5583 (msn 40016) HNL (Ivan K. Nishimura). Image: 913510.

Air China suddenly dropped the Beijing – Pyongyang, North Korea. According to Weibo and Airline Route, the last flight was operated on November 20, 2017.

Copyright Photo: Air China Boeing 737-89L WL B-5583 (msn 40016) HNL (Ivan K. Nishimura). Image: 913510.

Singapore Airlines selects Airbus for A380 retrofit program

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Airbus has been selected by Singapore Airlines (SIA) to provide cabin retrofit services for 14 A380 aircraft currently in service with the carrier. The retrofit programme, which will be undertaken at SIA Engineering Company in Singapore, will see the airline’s recently launched cabin products installed on the aircraft. The new cabin products will debut on five new A380s to be delivered this year and next year.

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Under the agreement, Services by Airbus will be responsible for Service Bulletin (SB) and aircraft cabin parts-kit delivery. Its teams will also contribute their A380 design knowledge and engineering expertise to integrate SIA’s customised cabin fittings into the A380’s spacious double-deck interior. The retrofit work is expected to start in late 2018, with all 14 aircraft scheduled for completion by 2020.

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Singapore Airlines’ new A380 cabin offers more personal space in all classes. The aircraft will accommodate a total of 471 passengers, with six private Suites and 78 Business Class seats (above) on the upper deck and 44 Premium Economy Class and 343 Economy Class seats (below) on the main deck.

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Airbus’ Global Market Forecast projects that over the next 20 years the commercial aircraft upgrades services market will be worth US$180 billion, driven in part by high competition between airlines who value the ‘passenger experience’ as a differentiator (comfort, connectivity etc.), as well as systems upgrades. Notably, 38 per cent of this demand will come from the Asia-Pacific region.

SIA Premium Economy Class

Airbus has been selected by Singapore Airlines (SIA) to provide cabin retrofit services for 14 A380 aircraft currently in service with the carrier. The retrofit program, which will be undertaken at SIA Engineering Company in Singapore, will see the airline’s recently launched cabin products installed on the aircraft. The new cabin products will debut on five new A380s to be delivered this year and next year.

All photos above by Airbus.

Bottom Copyright Photo: Singapore Airlines Airbus A380-841 9V-SKK (msn 051) LAX (Roy Lock). Image: 910613.

Singapore Airlines Airbus A380-841 9V-SKK (msn 051) LAX (Roy Lock). Image: 910613.

Hainan Airlines takes delivery of its first Boeing 737-8 MAX 8, introduces the new features

The first Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 for Hainan Airlines

Hainan Airlines has taken delivery of its first Boeing 737-8 MAX 8. The pictured Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 B-1390 (msn 62183) was handed over on November 18, 2017.

The airline has taken the opportunity to spotlight the new type:

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The Boeing 737 MAX 8 features an all-new engine and cutting-edge dual-feather winglets that reduce drag and fuel consumption compared with the conventional winglets on 737-800 aircraft.

The 737 MAX 8 uses a new noise-reducing engine that is 10 decibels quieter than the ICAO noise limit, ensuring a quieter trip.

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More comfortable seating

  • Industry-leading, ergonomically designed slimline seating provides extra legroom without sacrificing comfort.
  • iPad holder for in-flight entertainment.
  • All-in-one magazine holder for extra legroom.
  • Powerful 2.1A USB power supply for charging portable devices.

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All-new cabin design

  • New red and gray design
    Revamped cabin with the background color of the curtains and walls changed from red to light gray while retaining the same design, for a refreshed, comfortable and relaxed cabin interior.
  • Stylish Boeing Sky Interior
    Ultra-spacious cabin with larger, inset overhead baggage compartments and colored LED lighting.

Top Copyright Photo (all others by Hainan Airlines): Hainan Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 B-1390 (msn 62183) BFI (Joe G. Walker). Image: 939883.

Delta One service, amenities take flight in select long-haul domestic markets

Delta Air Lines is launching its Delta One experience on key long-haul domestic routes, starting April 1, 2018, with select flights between the following markets:

  • Boston and Los Angeles
  • New York-JFK and San Diego, Seattle/Tacoma
  • New York-JFK and Las Vegas, starting May 1, 2018

Delta One will also become the premium offering April 1, 2018, on the following routes with one scheduled daily flight each:

  • Atlanta and Honolulu
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul and Honolulu

 

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Delta One will be offered during strategic flight times on select routes as the airline works to customize the service offering to align with times when customers are seeking the Delta One experience, which includes flat-bed seats, elevated amenities and a refined dining experience. First Class service may be available on alternate flights on the route.

The expansion of domestic Delta One comes with an industry-leading perk: Starting April 1, 2018, Delta Sky Miles Medallion Members will be eligible for unlimited day-of-departure Complimentary Upgrades to the Delta One cabin on all domestic flights, including Hawaii. This is the airline’s latest move to simplify its SkyMiles program while making it more rewarding for customers.

The Delta One cabin offers a luxurious experience on some of Delta’s longest flights, with privacy, comfort and exceptional service featured at every step, including:

  • 180-degree flat-bed seats, featuring Westin Heavenly In-Flight bedding
  • A refined dining experience including chef-curated menus served on Alessi serviceware and seasonally rotating wines selected by Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson
  • In-seat power and USB outlets, seat-back entertainment screens with free entertainment, noise-canceling LSTN headsets and a TUMI amenity kit with Kiehl’s Since 1851 products
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club access on day of flight
  • Sky Priority check-in, security, and baggage handling and Premium Boarding
  • In Los Angeles, Delta One customers continue to have access to the exclusive Delta ONE at LAX check-in

Delta One vs. First Class Configuration by Route

Route

Total Flights

Flights with Delta One

configuration

Flights with First Class
configuration

BOS-LAX 3 2 1
LAX-BOS 3 2 1
JFK-SEA 4 2 2
SEA-JFK 4 2 2
JFK-SAN 3 1 2
SAN-JFK 3 1 2
ATL-HNL 1 1 0
HNL-ATL 1 1 0
MSP-HNL 1 1 0
HNL-MSP 1 1 0
JFK-LAS 5 1 4
LAS-JFK 5 1 4

Delta already offers the Delta One experience on all flights on the following routes:

  • New York-JFK and Los Angeles, San Francisco
  • Boston and San Francisco
  • Washington-Reagan and Los Angeles

About Complimentary Upgrades

The domestic Delta One upgrade process will align with the airline’s domestic First Class process, except upgrades will be awarded in the hours leading up to the flight, as opposed to beginning several days ahead of time.

Medallion Members will be eligible for Complimentary Upgrades in:

  • All U.S. 50 Delta One cabins on the day of departure
  • All First Class cabins worldwide (beginning up to 120 hours/5 days prior to departure depending on Medallion Tier)
  • All Delta Comfort+ seats worldwide (beginning at booking a ticket depending on Medallion Tier)
  • Diamond and Platinum Medallion Members may also use Regional Upgrade Certificates on any flight that is eligible for Complimentary Upgrades, including all First Class and U.S. 50 Delta One flights. These certificates are available through Delta SkyMiles’ industry-exclusive Choice Benefits program.

These are the latest improvements as part of the airline’s multi-billion dollar investment in the customer experience that includes a cabin modernization program featuring new seats, seatback entertainment systems with free entertainment, high-capacity overhead bins, free mobile messaging, access to Wi-Fi on nearly all flights, free Main Cabin meals on select flights, upgraded Main Cabin snacks, an Alessi-designed collection of serviceware, Westin Heavenly® In-Flight Bedding, chef-curated meals paired with wines hand-selected by Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson, noise-canceling LSTN headphones and more. Delta has also invested in a number of innovative solutions to ease the travel experience including real-time RFID bag trackingand auto check-in via the Fly Delta app, faster ways through security lines via efficient automated screening lanes and a partnership with CLEAR, and a redesigned E-Gate experience at its Atlanta hub.

Photo: Delta Air Lines.

QANTAS Airways to operate the world’s first US – Australia biofuel flight

QANTAS Airways has announced it will operate the world’s first bio-fuel flight between the United States and Australia.

The Los Angeles to Melbourne flight will take place early next year, in collaboration with World Fuel Services and Altair Fuels,  and will see QANTAS’ new Dreamliner being powered by Brassica Carinata (carinata), a non-food, industrial type of mustard seed. Carinata produces high quality oil, ideal for aviation biofuel, bio-jet for aircraft and bio-diesel for airport vehicles.

The news of the flight follows QANTAS’ siging of a landmark partnership with Agrisoma Biosciences (Agrisoma), the Canadian based agricultural-technology – company who developed the carinata seed.

The two organizations will work with Australian farmers to grow the country’s first commercial aviation biofuel seed crop by 2020.

Carinita is a ‘drop-in’ crop and requires no specialised production or processing techniques. It is water efficient  and The University of Queensland field trials in Gatton, Queensland, and in Bordertown, South Australia, have demonstrated it should do very well in the Australian climate.

It is sown in either fallow areas where food crops fail or in between regular crop cycles, known as “cover cropping”.  Rotational or break-crops improvessoil quality, reduces erosion for food crops and provides farmers with additional annual income.

University of Queensland’s Dr. Anthony van Herwaarden leads the seed crop trials with Agrisoma in Australia.

Renewable jet fuel is chemically equivalent to, and meets, the same technical, performance and safety standards as conventional jet fuel.

In 2012 QANTAS and Jetstar operated Australia’s first biofuel trial flights. QANTAS’ Airbus A330 Sydney-Adelaide return service and Jetstar’s A320 Melbourne-Hobart return service were both powered with biofuel derived from used cooking oil (split with 50:50 convential jet fuel) certified for use in commercial aviation.

Photo: Boeing.

United to add 12 new United Express routes in 2018

United Express-SkyWest Airlines Bombardier CRJ200 (CL-600-2B19) N964SW (msn 7868) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 936126.

United Airlines is adding 12 new routes operated by United Express carriers (mostly by SkyWest Airlines) in 2018:

Chicago O’Hare – El Paso (April 9, 2018) – daily Embraer 170 (Republic Airlines)
Chicago O’Hare – Fresno (June 7, 2018) – daily Embraer 175 (SkyWest Airlines)
Denver – Jacksonville FL (April 9, 2018) – daily Embraer 175 (SkyWest Airlines)
Denver – Liberal (February 6, 2018) – 6 weekly Bombardier CRJ200 (SkyWest Airlines)
Denver – North Platte (February 1, 2018) – daily Bombardier CRJ200 (SkyWest Airlines)
Denver – Pueblo – Liberal (February 6, 2018) – 6 weekly Bombardier CRJ200 (SkyWest Airlines)
Denver – Scottsbluff (January 30, 2018) – daily Bombardier CRJ200 by SkyWest Airlines)
Los Angeles – Kalispell (June 7, 2018) – daily Bombardier CRJ200 (SkyWest Airlines)
Los Angeles – Medford (April 9, 2018) – daily Bombardier CRJ200 (SkyWest Airlines)
Los Angeles – Missoula (June 7, 2018) – daily Bombardier CRJ200 (SkyWest Airlines)
Los Angeles – Redmond (April 9, 2018) – daily Bombardier CRJ200 (SkyWest Airlines)
Newark – Elmira (April 9, 2018) – daily Embraer ERJ145 (CommutAir)

Update: On November 21, 2017 United Airlines made the official announcement:

United Airlines on November 21 announced it will offer customers more opportunities to travel from five of its U.S. hubs to 10 cities in California, Florida, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Oregon and Texas beginning in April 2018. Additionally, the airline announced it will optimize its O’Hare International Airport (ORD) schedule to provide shorter connection times and more options for customers connecting through Chicago.

New year round service

United will now serve Wilmington, North Carolina from Chicago and Washington Dulles and Elmira, New York from New York/Newark. The full list of new routes includes:

Hub

New Destination

Frequency

Begins

Aircraft

Chicago (ORD)

El Paso (ELP)

2 flights daily

April 9

E170

Chicago (ORD)

Wilmington (ILM)

2 flights daily

April 9

ERJ

Denver (DEN)

Jacksonville (JAX)

1 flight daily

April 9

E175

Los Angeles (LAX)

Redmond (RDM)

2 flights daily

April 9

CRJ

Los Angeles (LAX)

Medford (MFR)

2 flights daily

April 9

CRJ

New York/Newark (EWR)

Elmira (ELM)

2 flights daily

April 9

ERJ

Washington-Dulles (IAD)

Wilmington (ILM)

2 flights daily

April 9

ERJ

New seasonal daily service from Chicago (ORD) and Los Angeles (LAX)

With United’s new summer service, more customers will have easier access to popular outdoor destinations like Yosemite National Park near Fresno; Glacier National Park near Kalispell and Yellowstone National Park near Missoula.

Hub

New Destination

Frequency

Begins

Aircraft

Chicago (ORD)

Fresno (FAT)

Daily

June 7

E175

Los Angeles (LAX)

Kalispell (FCA)

Daily

June 7

CRJ

Los Angeles (LAX)

Missoula (MSO)

Daily

June 7

CRJ

Enhancing operations in Chicago

Beginning in February 2018, a newly enhanced bank structure at O’Hare will mean shorter connection times and better access to more destinations for customers connecting through the carrier’s Chicago hub. This operations enhancement, already in place at United’s Houston hub, will enable United to greatly improve connectivity throughout its industry-leading global route network.

Copyright Photo: United Express-SkyWest Airlines Bombardier CRJ200 (CL-600-2B19) N964SW (msn 7868) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 936126.