Category Archives: Air China

Air China completes COMAC ARJ21 inaugural flight

COMAC made this announcement:

ARJ21-700 aircraft (B-605U) newly introduced by Air China Limited flew flight CA1109 from Beijing Capital International Airport to Xilinhot Airport at 7:47 on July 10, 2020, completing its inaugural flight successfully and entered into route operation officially.

Before the departure of the inaugural flight, a short and enthusiastic inaugural flight ceremony was held at the Capital Airport. Mr. Cai Jianjiang, Secretary of the Party Leadership Group and Chairman of China National Aviation Holding Corporation Limited (CNAH), Mr. He Dongfeng, Secretary of the Party Committee and Chairman of Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. (COMAC), and Mr. Chai Weixi, Vice President of Air China, attended the ceremony, and congratulated Air China on the successful inaugural flight of the first ARJ21 aircraft. For most of the passengers taking this inaugural flight, it is the first time to take a China-made aircraft. From the moment they got the news, they became more excited and curious than ever before; and from the moment of they entered the cabin, they began to feel every detail of ARJ21 aircraft. The China-made aircraft gave a new meaning to this flight.

As the main body of CNAH, Air China has its ARJ21 aircraft complete the inaugural flight in the route of Beijing-Xilinhot, which has greater significance. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, CNAH has resolutely implemented the requirements of the CPC Central Committee, resolutely taken fixed-point poverty alleviation as an important political responsibility, officially identified a fixed-point assistance relationship with Sonid Right Banner of Xilingol League in 2013, established an “8+2” assistance system, and made positive efforts. Sonid Right Banner lifted all 34 poverty-stricken villages out of poverty, and officially dropped from the list of poverty-stricken counties and banners in April 2019. CNAH has forged a profound friendship with Xilingol League in the course of poverty alleviation, and the route of Beijing-Xilinhot has witnessed CNAH and Xilingol League working together to depict the beautiful picture of poverty alleviation and prosperity.

In order to realize the early operation of ARJ21 aircraft by Air China, and make passengers experience the safe, comfortable and smooth service of China-made aircraft during journey, since the aircraft was delivered on June 28th, Air China has quickly coordinated the preparatory work before inaugural flight with its rigorous, professional and efficient operation support capability, and immediately put backbones in flight and ground posts as well as full-time and part-time instructors into practical training. Work related to ground support testing, from cabin/cargo compartment layout and ground support process watching and practice to special support vehicle testing, parking position testing and onboard service facility & equipment check, and even to the assembly/disassembly and operation demonstration of cabin/cargo compartment equipment, onboard emergency equipment and catering equipment, was successfully completed within three days after arriving in Beijing, and the aircraft was in good condition. In the subsequent flight training and verification flights, the flight, maintenance, and route support capabilities of the flight crew, flight attendants and maintenance team were further tempered and tuned in, operational approval was successfully obtained from authorities, and Air China has been fully prepared for the inaugural flight of ARJ21 aircraft.

ARJ21 aircraft is the first turbofan regional jet independently developed by China in accordance with international standards and owning independent intellectual property right. ARJ21 aircraft has the characteristics of adaptability, comfort, economic efficiency, commonality and serialization. The comfort of ARJ21 aircraft can compare favorably with trunk liners, and the cabin space of ARJ21 aircraft is wider and higher than that of aircraft of the same kind. ARJ21 aircraft of Air China is in all economy-class cabin configuration with seats for 90 passengers. The seats are arranged in 18 rows with two seats on the left and three seats on the right of the aisle in each row, and are of the latest ultra-thin type made in China with a simple appearance and comfortable sitting. The spacing, seat back angle and width are comparable to the configuration level of the existing single-aisle passenger aircraft of Air China. At the same time, a USB power socket is provided for each passenger. The cabin interior uses the unified interior products for the whole Air China fleet, embodying “the unity of nature and mankind”, the whole cabin is decorated with elements of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, and catering is consistent with the current route configuration standards in order to strive to provide passengers with a better travel experience.

As planned, Air China will receive three ARJ21-700 aircraft in 2020, which will fly the routes from Beijing Capital International Airport to Xilinhot, Baotou, Ulanhot and Hohhot of Inner Mongolia. The introduction of ARJ21 aircraft will help to supplement the regional aircraft transport capacity of Air China, promote the effective connection of Air China’s main and regional flights, further expand the carrying capacity of the Air China fleet, further improve the overall route network layout of Air China, and enhance market competitiveness, so as to meet the popularized air travel demand of passengers.

 

ARJ21 aircraft of Air China completed its inaugural flight on July 10th, 2020.

ARJ21 aircraft of Air China completed its inaugural flight on July 10th, 2020. Photographer: Wei Meng

ARJ21 aircraft of Air China completed its inaugural flight on July 10th, 2020. Courtesy Air China

ARJ21 aircraft of Air China completed its inaugural flight on July 10th, 2020. Photographer: Wei Meng

ARJ21 aircraft of Air China completed its inaugural flight on July 10th, 2020. Photographer: Zhou Zhongxu

Want to fly on a Boeing 747-400? – Hurry up, your options are narrowing

Large wide body airliners (like the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747) have been hard to fill for airlines since the COVID-19 pandemic exploded around the world this spring. Many airlines have parked their Jumbos and some have moved up the planned retirement dates of the Boeing 747-400.

If you want to fly on the passenger type you better hurry. Other than governments and cargo operators, finding a passenger Boeing 747-400 flight is a challenge right now.

Some aircraft in storage will probably become active again when the passenger demand dictates the use of large wide body aircraft again. If the demand does not come back quickly it will probably mean the end of those aircraft in storage.

Above Photos: Boeing.

Below is the current situation based on the latest information for passenger airlines (corrections and additions are always welcome) (subject to change depending on returning traffic):

Air Atlanta Icelandic – The charter and ACMI specialist airline has five passenger 747-400s. Three are currently stored and two are operating on ACMI assignments.

Air Atlanta Icelandic Boeing 747-412 TF-AMI (msn 27066) LGW (Antony J. Best). Image: 928104.

Above Copyright Photo: Air Atlanta Icelandic Boeing 747-412 TF-AMI (msn 27066) LGW (Antony J. Best). Image: 928104.

Air China – Two 747-400s are operational (B-2445 and B-2447) but they stay mostly in China these days. Another aircraft (B-2472) is operated for the government. Air China also continues to operate the newer 747-800.

2 operational (B-2445 and B-2447) + 1 VIP (B-2472)

Above Copyright Photo: Air China Boeing 747-4J6 B-2445 (msn 25882) JFK (Ken Petersen). Image: 902765.

Asiana Airlines – Only one 747-400 passenger aircraft (HL7428) is active these days so the type is probably ready to be retired this year.

Passenger version being retired by Asiana, down to one aircraft (HL7428)

Above Copyright Photo: Asiana Airlines Boeing 747-48E HL7428 (msn 28552) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 910887.

Atlas Air – The charter and ACMI specialist airline currently has three active passenger 747-400s (N464MC, N465MC and N480MC). Assuming charter demand continues this airline could be one of the last passenger operators.

Atlas Air Boeing 747-446 N465MC (msn 24784) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 921869.

Above Copyright Photo: Atlas Air Boeing 747-446 N465MC (msn 24784) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 921869.

British Airways – The former largest 747-400 passenger operator has stored all 28 aircraft pending a return of passenger demand. For now, G-CIVO operated the last revenue flight (BA9116 LOS-LHR) on May 11, 2020.

British Airways Boeing 747-436 (Tails) LHR (Dave Glendinning). Image: 908409.

Above Copyright Photo: British Airways Boeing 747-436 (Tails) LHR (Dave Glendinning). Image: 908409.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines – As previously reported, PH-BFT operated the last regular revenue flight (KL686 MEX-AMS) on March 29, 2020. However the Jumbo was brought out of retirement to operate special medical cargo flights (along with PH-BFV and PH-BFW) during the pandemic. All 3 are expected to be re-retired again this year.

Type Retired: March 29, 2020 (flight KL686 MEX-AMS with PH-BFT)

Above Copyright Photo: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 747-406 PH-BFT (msn 28459) (100 Years) AMS (Ton Jochems). Image: 949485.

Lufthansa – The company was originally planning to retire the 747-400 fleet in 2025. That all changed with the pandemic. All 8 that remain operational are now in storage pending a return of passenger demand. D-ABVX operated the last 747-400 passenger revenue flight (LH637 RUH-FRA) on May 8, 2020.

8 stored. For now last revenue flight: May 8, 2020: LH637 RUH-FRA with D-ABVX.

Above Copyright Photo: Lufthansa Boeing 747-430 D-ABTK (msn 29871) YYZ (TMK Photography). Image: 938088.

Rossiya Russian Airlines – The Russian carrier parked all nine of its Boeing 747-400s. EI-XLF operated the last revenue flight (FV5876 HKT-SVO) on March 29, 2020.

Rossiya Airlines Boeing 747-446 EI-XLF (msn 27645) AYT (Ton Jochems). Image: 943781.

Above Copyright Photo: Rossiya Airlines Boeing 747-446 EI-XLF (msn 27645) AYT (Ton Jochems). Image: 943781.

Wamos Air – The Spanish carrier has four active Boeing 747-400s. The carrier is planning to operate the type until 2023 but this could change with lower demand.

Wamos Air Boeing 747-412 EC-KSM (msn 27178) ARN (Stefan Sjogren). Image: 937680.

Above Copyright Photo: Wamos Air Boeing 747-412 EC-KSM (msn 27178) ARN (Stefan Sjogren). Image: 937680.

Boeing 747-400 Photo Gallery.

Recent 747-400 fleet retirements:

Air India – Four 747-400s are parked and not likely to return. VT-ESO operated the last revenue flight (AI966 HYD-BOM) on March 15, 2020.

China Airlines – Four passenger 747-400s are in storage and are not likely to return. B-18215 operated the last revenue flight (CI916 HKG-TPE) on March 15, 2020.

Corsair International – The French carrier parked its three passenger Boeing 747-400s in March and they are not likely to return. F-GTUI operated the last revenue flight (S5 927 PTP-ORY) on March 26, 2020,

El Al Israel Airlines – 4X-ELC operated the last passenger 747-400 revenue flight (LY1747 FCO-TLV) on November 3, 2019.

Iraqi Airways – The last passenger Boeing 747-400 (YI-ASA) operated the last revenue flight (IA3114, MED-BGW) on February 2, 2020.

Korean Air – HL7402 operated the last 747-400 passenger revenue flight (KE630 DPS-ICN) on February 29, 2020. Korean Air continues to operate the newer 747-800.

Mahan Air – The Iranian airline was recently again operating EP-MNB (February 2020) but it appears to be no longer flying, probably due to the embargo.

QANTAS Airways – The flag carrier decided to early retire the type due to a much lower demand. VH-OEE operated the last revenue flight (QF28 SCL-SYD) on March 29, 2020.

Thai Airways International – The flag carrier is in reorganization and is cutting costs and reducing aircraft types. HS-TGA operated the last 747-400 revenue flight (TG476 SYD-BKK) on March 26, 2020.

Virgin Atlantic Airways – G-VROS operated the last revenue flight (VS608 LAX-LHR) on March 31, 2020.

Poll. Who do you think will be the last Boeing 747-400 passenger airline operator?

Air China’s Airbus A330-300 B-5958 is destroyed by fire at Peking

Destroyed by fire at Peking on August 27, 2019

Air China’s pictured Airbus A330-343 B-5958 (msn 1587) was consumed and damaged beyond repair by fire that broke out reportedly in the cargo hold while parked at the Terminal 3 gate at Beijing on August 27, 2019.

The aircraft was assigned to departing flight CA 183 bound for Tokyo (Haneda).

Passengers and crew members that were boarding the aircraft when the fire erupted were able to safely evacuate the aircraft.

Report by Jacdec on Twitter:

Top Copyright Photo: Air China Airbus A330-343 B-5958 (msn 1587) PEK (Michael B. Ing). Image: 947418.

Air China aircraft photo gallery:

4 airliners test the new Beijing Daxing International Airport

Four airliners landed today (May 13) at the new Beijing Daxing International Airport during a test of the new facilities.

The new airport is designed to someday become the world’s busiest airport.

Photos from China Southern Airlines. As the first plane of the trial flights, our  Airbus A380 took off from Beijing Capital Airport at 9:03 a.m. and successfully landed at Daxing International Airport half an hour later.

Air China made this announcement with a photo:

May 13 – An Air China  Boeing 747 -8 landed smoothly at Beijing Daxing Int’l Airport, successfully completing its first test flight at the new mega-airport. It’s an important milestone for the airport, which is set to become one of the world’s busiest. PKX , we’re ready for takeoff!

Xiamen Airlines issued this statement and photos on social media:

On May 13, the newly constructed Beijing Daxing International Airport has finished its four verification test flights. Our Boeing 787 United Dream, equipped with our best staff, landed smoothly and safely.

From Wikipedia:

Beijing Daxing International Airport (IATA: PKX; ICAO: ZBAD), located on the border of Beijing and Langfang, Hebei Province, is Beijing’s second international airport and is currently under construction.

The name of the airport was announced on September 14, 2018. The terminal building, the second-largest single-building airport terminal after Istanbul Airport, with an area of more than 1,000,000 m2 (11,000,000 sq ft), is expected to be completed on July 15, 2019, and the airport is expected to be open on September 30, 2019.

Upon completion, it will serve as a major international hub airport in Northern China. There will be 4 runways, and approximately 80 aircraft stands, most of which can be configured to handle either one twin-aisle or two single-aisle aircraft. The new airport is expecting a total of 7 runways and another terminal to the south of the current one in the future, in order to accommodate 620,000 flights and 100 million passengers each year.

Videos:

Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302 update: All MAX aircraft grounded in Ethiopia and China along with Cayman Airways (over 100 aircraft)

Copyright Photo Above: Joe G. Walker.

Ethiopian Airlines has issued this statement:

Following the tragic accident of flight ET 302 on March 10 with Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 ET-AVJ, Ethiopian Airlines has decided to ground all Boeing 737-8 MAX fleet effective yesterday (March 10), 2019 until further notice.

Although we don’t yet know the cause of the accident, we had to decide to ground the particular fleet as extra safety precaution.

Meanwhile in China, “the Civil Aviation Administration of China ordered today (Monday, March 11), that all domestic Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets be out of the air by 6 p.m. local time, due to its principle of “zero tolerance for safety hazards.” according to CNN.

China’s airlines currently operate a total of 97 MAX aircraft.

Air China Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 B-1399 (msn 60880) PEK (Michael B. Ing). Image: 944478.

Above Copyright Photo: Air China Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 B-1399 (msn 60880) PEK (Michael B. Ing). Image: 944478.

Air China aircraft slide show:

Read more from CNN: CLICK HERE

Cayman Airways has also grounded its new Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft:

Cayman Airways issued this statement:

In the wake of the tragic loss of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019, which was being operated by a Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, Cayman Airways extends its condolences to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew on board that flight.

“While the cause of this sad loss is undetermined at this time, we stand by our commitment to putting the safety of our passengers and crew first by maintaining complete and undoubtable safe operations, and as such, we have taken the decision to suspend operations of both our new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, effective from Monday March 11, 2019, until more information is received,” said Cayman Airways President and CEO, Fabian Whorms.

Meanwhile, Boeing issued this statement without commenting on the grounding:
Meanwhile the FAA issued this statement:
Boeing 737 customers (some may not take delivery or previously operated):

Air China operates its last two Boeing 777-200 scheduled revenue flights

B-2068 and B-2069 operated on the last 777-200 revenue flights on August 31, 2018

Air China on August 31, 2018 operated its last two regularly scheduled revenue flights with its last two Boeing 777-200s (B-2068 and B-2069).

B-2069 operated the last flight, flight CA 1316 from Guangzhou to Beijing.

The two aircraft are presumably available as back-up aircraft in the short term before final dispersal.

Copyright Photo: Air China Boeing 777-2J6 B-2068 (msn 29747) ARN (Stefan Sjogren). Image: 907687.

Air China aircraft slide show:

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Air China Limited announces its 2018 interim results

1st Airbus A350-900, delivered on August 8, 2018

Air China Limited, together with its subsidiaries, announced its results for the 6 months ended June 30, 2018.

Results Highlights

  • Revenue rose 11.96% year-on-year to RMB64.242 billion
  • Operating expenses increased 12.53% year-on-year to RMB59.574 billion
  • Earnings per share attributable to equity shareholders of the Company increased 4.05% year-on-year to RMB3.476 billion
  • Profit per share slightly decreased 0.04% year-on-year to RMB0.25

In the first half of 2018, China passenger aviation market grew steadily in demand and supply while outbound travel and international traffic demand continued to rise with a rapid growth, and there was a faster growth in capacity supply. The Group has capitalized on market opportunities by prudently optimizing its production organization, stabilizing income level and strengthening cost management to reinforce its competitive advantage in the core business. In spite of unfavorable factors such as higher jet fuel prices and depreciation in exchange rates, the Group has delivered solid results for the Period.

Advance Strategic Arrangement and Continue to Expand Route Network

In the first half of 2018, the Company newly launched (resumed routes included) 28 domestic and international routes, comprising 21 domestic and 7 international routes.

As for the Beijing Hub, the Company launched international routes of BeijingBarcelona, BeijingHoustonPanama, BeijingCopenhagen, BeijingHanoi, etc.; as at the end of the Period, the Company launched around 30 direct routes from Beijing to the countries along the Belt and Road. The capacity of Beijing as one of the key bases increased by 6.8% year-on-year by optimizing the capacity deployment structure of the Beijing Hub and increasing the deployment of wide-body aircraft for key routes departing from Beijing.

The Group delivered through check-in baggage services on routes from 19 European cities to domestic destinations via Beijing. As at the end of June 2018, this service has covered 35 waypoints in Europe, America and Australia; the number of O&D connected in the Beijing Hub increased to 6,050 from 5,918 as at the end of 2017; the onward transit products of the Beijing Hub were promoted and the passengers transfer services were enhanced. The number of onward transit passengers via Beijingincreased by 25.4% year on year.

The Chengdu International Hub launched new international and domestic routes such as ChengduBangkok, Chengdu-Huai’an and Chengdu-Hotan, and the capacity contributed increased by 10.3% year-on-year. Shanghai and Shenzhen international gateways have continuously improved the planning of route network and deployment of wide-body aircraft through interconnection with surrounding areas. In addition, the quadrilateral strategic layout has been continuously optimized and the route network has been further developed as the Company launched new international and domestic routes such as HangzhouNha Trang, DalianShijiazhuang– Yinchuan, and Hangzhou-Xi’an-Karamay.

As at the end of June 2018, the Company’s passenger routes have expanded to 434 in total, across six continents of the world, comprising 308 domestic, 109 international and 17 regional routes. The Company’s network covered 42 countries and regions and 189 cities, including 69 international, 4 regional and 116 domestic cities. Through Star Alliance, the Company’s route network extended to 1,317 destinations in 193 countries.

Top Copyright Photo: Air China Airbus A350-941 B-1086 (msn 167) TLS (Marco Finelli). Image: 943021.

Air China aircraft slide show:

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Air China’s first Airbus A350-900, delivered on August 8, 2018

1st Airbus A350-900, delivered on August 8, 2018

At the Toulouse Airbus Delivery Centre, the first Airbus A350-900 was handed over to Air China on August 8, 2018. The airline has ordered a total of 10.

The date of 8-8-2018 was chosen for the handover date as 8s are considered to be a good luck sign in China.

At this event the top managers of Airbus, Air China and Rolls Royce were in attendance.

Cao Jianxiong, VP of Air China, in his speech remarked on the great steps taken by the airline in renewing the fleet and for climbing in the worldwide airline rankings.

Paul Freestone, senior VP of customers for Rolls Royce said “Rolls Royce is a partner with 45 years of continuous relations with Air China, which started with the H.S. Tridents equipped with RR Spey engines until now. The decision of Air China to select the RR Trent XWB is an important sign of this partnership”.

George Xu, CEO of Airbus China, reminded “Its so important for the strong relationship between Air China and Airbus. Air China is the first carrier to have ordered the A350 and first to take delivery.

Several hundreds of planes made by Airbus are in the fleet of Air China from the A320 family, A330s, and now the ultra modern A350s”.

1st Airbus A350-900, delivered on August 8, 2018

During this month, the new jet will be introduced between Beijing and Shanghai by August 14, 2018 and later to Chengdu. 

Air China choose to outfit the new widebody jet in a triple class layout. The 312 seats are: 32 in business class with 1-2-1 abreast, 24 in premium economy in 2-4-2 and 256 seats in economy in 3-3-3. All the seats are equipped with personal IFEs.

This year Air China will receive at least 4 A350-900s of the 10 on order. 

1st Airbus A350-900, delivered on August 8, 2018

Five European destinations will see this new twin jet in 2018 and 2019: Frankfurt, London (Heathrow), Milan (Malpensa), Munich and Paris (CDG).

Marco Finelli reporting from France. All photos by Marco Finelli.
Copyright Photos: Air China Airbus A350-941 B-1086 (msn 167) TLS (Marco Finelli). Image: 943021.

 

Air China aircraft slide show:

Air China takes delivery of its first Airbus A350-900

Air China took delivery of its first A350-900 in Toulouse today (August 8). The national flag carrier is the first Chinese mainland customer to order and take ownership of the world’s newest and most efficient twin-engine widebody aircraft.

Powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, Air China’s A350-900 aircraft features a comfortable three-class cabin layout of 312 seats: 32 business, 24 premium economy and 256 economy. The airline will initially operate the new aircraft on its domestic routes, followed by flights to international destinations.

As of July 2018, Air China operates an Airbus fleet of 201 aircraft, including 142 A320 Family aircraft and 59 A330 Family aircraft.

Photo: Air China.