Author Archives: Bruce Drum

About Bruce Drum

I have started the ultimate digital photo library of the fascinating world of airliners and airlines. The goal is to have the complete history of all airlines and the various aircraft operated. I have been photographing airplanes since 1965. Join us in this adventure.

Air Canada to begin year-round flights from Montreal to Bogotá, Colombia

Air Canada today announced the introduction of new year-round service between Montreal and Bogotá, Colombia beginning June 2, 2020. Flights will operate three times weekly onboard Air Canada Rouge Boeing 767-300ER aircraft offering a choice of premium and economy service.

Air Canada today announced the introduction of new year-round service between Montreal and Bogotá, Colombia beginning June 2, 2020 (CNW Group/Air Canada)

 

Flight

Departs

Arrives

Days of Week

AC1952

Montreal 22:45

Bogotá 04:15 + 1 day

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

AC1953

Bogotá 09:00

Montreal 16:20

Wednesday, Friday, Sunday

Flights are timed to optimize connectivity to and from Air Canada’s extensive network at its Montreal hub. In addition, flights are timed to connect to Star Alliance partner Avianca’s network to other destinations including Medellin, Cartagena, Cali, Lima, Cuzco, Guayaquil and Quito.

Air Canada Rouge aircraft photo gallery:

 

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Virgin Atlantic unveils plans to expands its network at an expanded Heathrow Airport

Virgin Atlantic Airways has made this announcement to expand its operations at London’s Heathrow Airport if the airport is expanded:

  • Airline has released details of its planned long haul and new short haul route network, as it calls for an end to IAG’s stranglehold over the UK’s only hub airport 
  • Future Virgin Atlantic route maps show intention to serve up to 84 new destinations in the UK, Europe, and across the globe when the third runway is complete, a fourfold increase on its 19 long haul destinations from Heathrow in 2020
  • Ambitious plans to become Britain’s second flag carrier hinge on forthcoming Government decision on slot allocation at an expanded Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic is set to challenge IAG’s dominance at London Heathrow, as it today unveils its plans to significantly increase its long haul route network and launch a new comprehensive network of domestic and European routes when the airport expands. The new route maps illustrate how the airline’s flying programme could grow to deliver a step change in choice for customers, but only if the Government reforms the way new Heathrow slots are allocated to enable the creation of a second flag carrier at the airport.

The plans represent a fourfold increase on Virgin Atlantic’s current international network and includes exciting unserved destinations such as Kolkata (India), Jakarta (Indonesia) and Panama City (Panama), where currently passengers cannot travel non-stop. In total, Virgin Atlantic plans to serve 103 domestic, European and long haul destinations, up from 19 long haul destinations in 2020. Of the 84 new destinations planned:

  • 12 are domestic, including Belfast, Glasgow and Manchester
  • 37 are European, including Barcelona, Dublin and Madrid
  • 35 are global, including  Buenos Aires, Jakarta and Kunming
Aberdeen Belfast City Edinburgh
Exeter Guernsey Glasgow
Inverness Liverpool Jersey
Manchester Newcastle Newquay

The Government’s Aviation Strategy Green Paper has set a primary objective for the allocation of additional Heathrow capacity to facilitate effective competition between airlines, benefitting consumers through more choice and lower fares. It has also set secondary objectives to improve domestic connectivity and to improve connectivity to international destinations that are currently underserved or unserved. Virgin Atlantic’s route network plans enable the Government to meet all three objectives by bringing new competition across multiple domestic, European and global routes, as well as opening up brand new destinations. Without a second flag carrier connecting passengers between its domestic, short and long haul services, these important objectives cannot be met.

The rules governing the allocation of new slots are currently being reviewed by the Government.  Virgin Atlantic warns that the new take-off and landing slots must be allocated in a way that enables the development of a second flag carrier with the necessary scale to compete effectively with IAG. Ministers are being urged to grasp this once in a generation opportunity to shake up the Heathrow market so that British passengers and business can benefit from two flag carriers competing hard for their custom.

IAG currently dominates Heathrow Airport, controlling more than half of the total capacity. A new report published last week found one in four passengers flying from the airport – 18.5million people – have no choice but to fly with that airline group.  The report also concluded that these passengers may be paying up to 10% more in air fares as a consequence.

As things currently stand, IAG holds more than 55% of all the take-off and landing slots at Heathrow, with no other airline holding more than 5% of the remaining slots. IAG and its joint venture partners operate 77 monopoly routes, which forces customers to fly on their planes as no rival direct services exist. Virgin Atlantic intends to compete on 25 routes where there is an IAG monopoly.

IAG and joint venture partner monopoly routes from London Heathrow on which Virgin Atlantic intends to compete if slot reform is achieved:

Accra, Ghana Austin, USA Barcelona, Spain
Basel, Switzerland Belfast City, Britain Budapest, Hungary
Buenos Aires, Argentina Cape Town, South Africa Cork, Ireland
Dublin, Ireland Glasgow, Britain Gothenburg, Sweden
Helsinki, Finland Inverness, Britain Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Lyon, France Madrid, Spain Manchester, Britain
Newcastle, Britain Nice, France Osaka, Japan
Prague, Czech Republic Raleigh Durham, United States San Diego, United States
Toulouse, France

Virgin Atlantic’s plans address the urgent need for strong, effective competition at the UK’s only hub airport and will reduce the cost of flying for millions of British business and leisure passengers for whom Heathrow is the gateway to the world.

Shai Weiss, CEO Virgin Atlantic, commented:

“Never has the need for effective competition and choice at Heathrow Airport been more evident than during this summer of disruption, which has brought misery for tens thousands of travellers.  Britain, and those who travel to it, deserve better than this.  Air passengers need a choice and Virgin Atlantic is ready to deliver when Heathrow expands.

“Heathrow has been dominated by one airline group for far too long. The third runway is a once in a lifetime opportunity to change the status quo and create a second flag carrier. This would lower fares and give real choice to passengers, as well giving Britain a real opportunity to boost its trade and investment links around the world. Changing the way take-off and landing slots are allocated for this unique and vital increase in capacity at the nation’s hub airport will create the right conditions for competition and innovation to thrive.”

2019 has been a year of significant growth for Virgin Atlantic which includes the announcement of three new routes from Heathrow to Tel Aviv, Mumbai and São Paulo.  It also formed part of the Connect Airways consortium that recently acquired Flybe and will launch its expanded joint venture with Air France, KLM and Delta by the end of the year. The latest addition to the airline’s fleet, the Airbus A350, took to the skies this month and follows its announcement in June that it will purchase 14 A330-900neos, meaning that by 2024 Virgin Atlantic will have one of the youngest, cleanest, greenest fleets in the sky.

Planned expansion routes:

Virgin Atlantic aircraft photo gallery:

easyJet announces a new domestic route from Edinburgh to Birmingham

easyJet has announced a new route between Edinburgh and Birmingham. The domestic city connection will operate 13 times a week throughout the year, with flights launching on March 29, 2020.

Over 180,000 passengers are expected to use the new service during the first 12 months of operation on the airline’s A320 family aircraft, eight of which it currently bases at Edinburgh.

This is the second new Edinburgh route easyJet has announced in as many weeks, following the news that the airline will operate a twice-weekly winter route to Verona in Italy, with the inaugural flight due to take off in December.

The addition of the service to Birmingham doubles the connections that easyJet will now offer between Scotland and the Midlands, following the announcement last month that the airline will operate a new service between Glasgow and Birmingham, which also launches on March 29, 2020 operating 13 times a week.

easyJet is the largest airline in Edinburgh and with the addition of the new Birmingham route will operate up to 582 flights a week across 41 routes.

FedEx Express to retire its McDonnell Douglas MD-10 fleet

Remaining MD-10-30Fs to be retired in FY 2022

FedEx Express is gradually retiring its McDonnell Douglas MD-10 (modernized DC-10) fleet with the arrival of new Boeing 767-300 freighters.

The current MD-10-10F fleet is down to 17 aircraft. 9 are expected to be retired in the current fiscal year. By the end of 2021 fiscal year, the remaining aircraft will be retired.

The current MD-10-30F fleet is down to 12 aircraft. The MD-10-30Fs will be retired by its 2022 fiscal year.

In addition, the company is also planning the retirement of its remaining three Airbus A310-300s.

Top Copyright Photo: FedEx Express McDonnell Douglas MD-10-30F (DC-10-30F) N321FE (msn 47836) LAS (Ken Petersen). Image: 924950.

Fedex Express aircraft photo gallery:

SAS travelers can now buy biofuel

Scandinavian Airlines-SAS has made this announcement:

Travelers flying with SAS can now voluntarily choose to buy biofuel and so help reduce climate-affecting CO2 emissions by up to 80 percent. The new non-profit service aims to pioneer a large-scale and competitive market for biofuel within aviation, in line with SAS’ sustainability strategy.

SAS is now launching a new ancillary product that gives travelers the option to reduce their climate impact. This means that travelers can purchase biofuel when booking a ticket, or at any time before departure.

Biofuel, which reduces climate-affecting CO2 emissions by up to 80 percent compared to conventional jet fuel, is a key enabler to make flying more sustainable and reach SAS’ target to reduce CO2 emissions by 25 percent by 2030. SAS is pushing for large-scale production of advanced biofuel in Scandinavia. The volumes being produced today are not enough and the price is 3-4 times higher than for conventional jet fuel.

SAS makes no profit on the contribution from travelers and it will be added to the biofuels already purchased by SAS.

Facts about SAS and Sustainable Aviation Fuel (biofuel)

SAS only uses biofuel made from sources not affecting the availability of crops used in food production, access to potable water, biodiversity, and that use as small an area of land as possible.
Biofuel is delivered to SAS at the hubs in Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen, or at a suitable airport as close as possible to the production facility. Legislation allows for up to 50 percent of biofuel to be used per flight. All SAS aircrafts are certified to be able to mix 50/50 fossil jet fuel and biofuel.

SAS continuously collaborates with various stakeholders to promote, commercialize and implement biofuels. In 2018, SAS and Preem signed an agreement to jointly ensure the large-scale production of biofuel.

This is how the new service works

SAS has created a model where travelers can purchase biofuel corresponding to 20-minute blocks of flight time for one passenger. On a 60-minute flight, one 20-minute block of biofuel will correspond to a third of the average fuel consumption per passenger, based on an average flight. For example, to buy extra biofuel for a ticket on a 60-minute flight, a traveler would have to purchase three blocks to cover the full flight time.

Travelers can buy biofuel when booking flight tickets, or at any other time before departure under ‘My bookings’. The amount of biofuel will not necessarily be used on the actual flight the traveler has bought a ticket for, but it will be used to replace fossil jet fuel to the equivalent amount in SAS’ operations.

Currently (Sept 2019), prices are set at 10 USD/ 10 EUR per block of biofuel.

Delta invests $2 million for study of potential facility to produce biofuel from forest floor debris

Delta Air Lines has made this announcement:

As part of its ongoing commitment to sustainability, Delta Air Lines is investing $2 million to partner with Northwest Advanced Bio-fuels, LLC for the feasibility study of a biofuel production facility to produce sustainable aviation fuel and other biofuel products.

The sustainable aviation fuel, expected to be produced in a facility in Washington State, could be used in Delta operations at stations in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles. NWABF’s project would utilize wood residue deposits and wood slash lying on forest floors to produce the biofuel, which would qualify under an approved carbon-reducing pathway recognized by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). NWABF plans first delivery of the fuel by the end of 2023.

“While Delta continues to take actions toward our long-term goal of reducing carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2050, fuel is a key area where we are examining opportunities to create real sustainability differences and drive accountability across the entire business as we lower our environmental impact,” said Alison Lathrop, Delta’s Managing Director — Global Environment, Sustainability and Compliance.

Delta expects the feasibility study to be complete by the middle of 2020. At that time, Delta will evaluate the next steps in moving forward with the project’s development.

“This single project could provide approximately 10 percent of Delta’s annual jet fuel consumption in the West Coast region and, if successful, could become the blueprint for future projects to support Delta’s goal to further reduce its carbon footprint,” said Graeme Burnett, Delta’s Senior Vice President — Fuel Management. “This project has additional environmental benefits because it reduces wood residuals in forests, which can increase potential fire hazards and inhibit future tree growth.”

“We are excited to partner with Delta Air Lines in lowering the airline’s carbon footprint and supporting Delta’s sustainability strategy,” said Dave Smoot, Head of Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels, LLC. “This project combines proven technologies to produce exceptional quality sustainable aviation fuel on a large scale from renewable feedstock resources.”

“Our research demonstrates that using forest harvest residuals to produce sustainable aviation fuels, not only reduces emissions from the aviation sector but also provides for much needed jobs in the rural and timber-dependent regions of the Pacific Northwest,” said Michael Wolcott, co-director of the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) and professor at Washington State University.

Delta’s ongoing sustainability efforts

Delta’s sustainability strategy is comprehensive and focuses on true responsibility. The airline drives accountability and evaluates areas of opportunity across the business to lower its environmental impact. Since 2005, the airline has reduced its jet fuel consumption, leading to an 11 percent decrease in emissions as it works toward its long-term goal of reducing carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2050.

Delta was the first and only U.S. airline to voluntarily cap carbon emissions at 2012 levels by purchasing carbon offsets ahead of the ICAO CORSIA implementation, which caps international emissions at 2019/2020 levels. It is the first U.S. airline to recycle aluminum cans, plastic bottles and cups, and newspapers and magazines from aircraft, accounting for the recycling of more than 3 million pounds of aluminum from onboard waste. The airline also removed a variety of single-use plastic items, including stir sticks, wrappers, utensils and straws from its aircraft and Delta Sky Clubs.

In July, Delta flew the first of 20 carbon-neutral new aircraft delivery flights from the Airbus final assembly line in Mobile, Ala., utilizing biofuels and carbon offsets in coordination with Air BP.

In 2018, Delta created Green Up, an employee-led resource group that establishes sustainability ambassadors throughout the company, resulting in initiatives such as the donation of retired uniforms when the company introduced new ones for frontline employees, which diverted more than 350,000 pounds of textiles from landfills. The airline also removed plastic wrapping from international Main Cabin cutlery and its new amenity kits unveiled June 4, the latter of which diverts 30,951 pounds of plastic from landfills annually.

These sustainability efforts have resulted in Delta being awarded the Vision for America Award by Keep America Beautiful in 2017 and the Captain Planet Foundation’s Superhero Corporate Award in 2018, as well as being named to the FTSE4Good Index five consecutive years and the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index nine consecutive years.

American Airlines’ Miami hub turns 30

American Airlines made this announcement:

For the last 46 years, I’ve called Miami International Airport (MIA) my professional home — first at Braniff International Airways, followed by Piedmont Airlines. On Oct. 22, 1983, I made the move to American Airlines, and I’ve proudly been a part of the company ever since.

Back then, about 125 of us ran American’s operation, and with only five daily flights, it was like running our own small business. I started as a Fleet Service Clerk, loading and unloading bags. But a year later, I became the airline’s first Automotive Mechanic at MIA, fixing and maintaining the ground service equipment used to transport baggage and cargo.

By 1989, we were up to 19 flights a day and about 200 team members at MIA when American purchased routes belonging to Eastern Airlines. But more importantly, MIA became a major hub for American and its primary gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean. And American has been committed to the region ever since. I’ve seen the company persevere through ups and downs, and I always stuck with them because they stuck with me.

Flash forward to today, we’ve grown to more than 350 daily flights to more than 127 destinations across three continents. It’s been incredible to witness the evolution of American’s economic impact in South Florida. Last year alone, our 13,500 team members cared for nearly 30 million customers who were traveling to, through and from MIA. The growth of the airport itself has been impressive, too. I’ve seen decades of construction to make way for more customers, airlines and flights.

For the last 15 years, I’ve been privileged to have the title of Crew Chief, leading a terrific group of automotive mechanics. Together we maintain more than 3,000 pieces of ground service equipment behind the scenes to move 1 million pounds of cargo and 80,000 bags around the airport each day.

I hope the time I’ve spent here at MIA has in some way paved a path for the next generation and left a positive legacy at American. My message to those who follow is that you can never stop dreaming. American hasn’t stopped dreaming in Miami, and as we celebrate 30 years as a hub, I can only think that the best is yet to come. On behalf of American and my more than 130,000 colleagues, thanks for flying with us today.

Tony Gomez
Automotive Mechanic Crew Chief
Ground Service Equipment
Miami