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British Airways to start nonstop service to Durban

British Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner G-ZBJA (msn 38609) LHR (SPA). Image: 935593.

Currently passengers flying from London Heathrow (LHR) to Durban (DUR) with British Airways, must fly via Johannesburg and then continue with Comair to Durban, South Africa.

From October 29, 2018, BA will offer nonstop direct service, three times a week.

The service will be the only nonstop link between Europe and Durban and flights will be operated by the airline’s newest fleet of aircraft, the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. The timetable will have a morning arrival into Durban and an evening arrival into Heathrow.

Copyright Photo: British Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner G-ZBJA (msn 38609) LHR (SPA). Image: 935593.

British Airways aircraft slide show (Boeing):


QANTAS orders six more 787-9 Dreamliners, announces the retirement of the last 747-400

"Yam Dreaming"

QANTAS Airways on May 2 announced an order for six additional Boeing 787-9s to fly on its international network, bringing its fleet of Dreamliners to 14 by the end of 2020.

The arrival of the new aircraft will enable the airline to accelerate retirement of its last six Boeing 747s – an aircraft type that has been in its fleet in various forms since 1971.

QANTAS Group CEO Alan Joyce said the announcement was an important moment for the national carrier.

“This really is the end of one era and the start of another. The jumbo has been the backbone of QANTAS International for more than 40 years and we’ve flown almost every type that Boeing built. It’s fitting that its retirement is going to coincide with our centenary in 2020,” Mr Joyce said.

“Over the years, each new version of the 747 allowed QANTAS to fly further and improve what we offered passengers. The Dreamliners are now doing the same thing.

“The 787 has better economics and a longer range, and its already opened up new routes like Perth to London. With a larger fleet of Dreamliners, we’ll be looking at destinations in the Americas, Asia, South Africa and Europe.

“By the end of 2020 we’ll have farewelled the 747, finished upgrading the cabins of our A380s, and welcomed our fourteenth 787. That’s a great proposition for our customers and creates some really exciting opportunities for our people,” added Mr Joyce.

Interiors of the additional 787s will feature the same configuration as the existing aircraft. The QANTAS Dreamliner carries fewer passengers than the larger 747 (236 seats vs 364) and has a greater focus on Business and Premium Economy seating.

However, the reduced maintenance needs of the 787 plus more efficient aircraft patterning and reduced payload restrictions on long routes mean the actual impact on overall capacity for QANTAS International is expected to be negligible. The Dreamliner burns approximately 20 per cent less fuel.

To date, QANTAS has taken delivery of four 787-9s with a further four due to arrive by the end of 2018. The six announced today will arrive between late 2019 and mid-to-late 2020.

There are currently ten 747-400s left in the fleet and these will be steadily retired between July this year and the end of 2020.

QANTAS received the last of its 747s new from Boeing in 2003, which will be 17 years old at time of retirement.

Top Copyright Photo: QANTAS Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner VH-ZND (msn 63390) (Yam Dreaming) LHR (SPA). Image: 941740.

QANTAS Airways aircraft slide show: 

Bottom Copyright Photo: QANTAS Airways Boeing 747-48E VH-OEB (msn 25778) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 940779.

All QANTAS Boeing 747-400s to be retired by the end of 2020

United States Postal Service celebrates 100th Anniversary of air mail service

The U.S. Postal Service celebrates the 100th anniversary of the beginning of regular airmail service with a Forever stamp. This stamp celebrates the courage of the pioneering airmail carriers and the foresight of those who fostered the new service and made it a success.

The first-day-of-issue ceremony for the blue United States Air Mail Forever stamp, pictured above, took place today, May 1, at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum.

 Air Mail Forever stamp

A second stamp, red and pictured left, will be issued in College Park, MD on Aug.11, 2018.   The stamp will commemorate United States Air Mail as an official function of the Post Office Department.

Both stamps, printed in the intaglio print method — a design transferred to paper from an engraved plate — depict the type of plane typically used in the early days of airmail, a Curtiss JN-4H biplane. The biplane was also featured on the 24-cent stamps originally issued in 1918 to commemorate the beginning of regularly scheduled airmail service.

The stamp design evokes that earlier period. The stamp designer and typographer was Dan Gretta; Greg Breeding was the art director.

On May 15, 1918, in the midst of World War I, a small group of Army pilots delivered mail along a route that linked Washington, Philadelphia, and New York City — initiating the world’s first regularly scheduled airmail service. The blue stamp, released May 1, 2018, commemorated the pioneering spirit of the brave pilots who first flew the mail in the early years of aviation.

The United States Post Office Department, the predecessor to the U.S. Postal Service, took charge of U.S. Air Mail service later that summer, operating it from Aug. 12, 1918, through Sept. 1, 1927. Airmail delivery, daily except Sundays, became part of the fabric of the American economy and spurred the growth of the nation’s aviation industry. The red stamp commemorated this milestone.

Both stamps, printed in the intaglio print method — a design transferred to paper from an engraved plate — depict the type of plane typically used in the early days of airmail, a Curtiss JN-4H biplane. The biplane was also featured on the stamps originally issued in 1918 to commemorate the beginning of regularly scheduled airmail service. The stamp design evokes that earlier period.

For airmail service to succeed in the early days of flight, the Post Office had to develop profitable routes, such as between New York and Chicago, and establish the infrastructure for safely making night flights. It set up lighted airfields and erected hundreds of airmail guide beacons between New York and San Francisco so that by 1924 regularly scheduled, transcontinental flying was possible, day and night.

Airmail delivery, daily except Sundays, became part of the fabric of the American economy and spurred the growth of the nation’s aviation industry.

The United States Air Mail stamp is being issued as a Forever stamp that will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one ounce price.

Air Malta launches a new route to Lisbon, celebrates 45 years

Air Malta today (March 25) launched its summer schedule which features a new route to Lisbon.

The airline made this announcement:

This week marks the start of five out of 15 new and exciting destinations in Air Malta summer schedule. The new schedule, which started today, Sunday March 25 sees the Maltese National Airline operating a total of 34 scheduled routes with over 180 return flights per week and three new intra-European services.

Air Malta will initially operate with a fleet of nine aircraft, however due to a significant increase in scheduled services adding London Southend, Cagliari and Catania and more frequencies to existing destinations, the airline has secured the lease of a brand new Airbus A320neo which will join the fleet in the coming months.

After many years, this summer’s schedule, will see the return of flights to three new countries; Morocco, Spain and Portugal through the launch of the Casablanca, Malaga and Lisbon routes respectively. And there is more good news. This summer the airline is offering thirteen new destinations including Cagliari, Comiso, Kiev, Tarbes–Lourdes, St Petersburg, Venice, Manchester, Frankfurt and London South End.

Summer 2018 will also see Air Malta’s operate three Intra European services between Catania – Vienna, Catania – London Southend and Cagliari – London Southend. The airline will also increase frequencies on Catania, Palermo and Rome.

In other news, Air Malta celebrates 45 years since its setup. The airline issued this statement:

Air Malta was setup by a Resolution of Malta’s House of Representatives, on March 21, 1973, 45 years ago. The airline was registered as a limited liability company on March 30, 1973 and operated its first flight a year later on the April 1, 1974.

Starting with just 53,500 passengers carried in the first year of operations, Air Malta now carries 1.8 million passengers every year and the number is expected to exceed 2 million this year. Since its first flight the airline has carried over 55 million passengers to and from Malta.

Air Malta was set up with the primary aim to establish, maintain, develop and operate air transport services to and from Malta which, by the carriage of passengers, freight and mail, serve the national interest.

The airline was instrumental in opening up and connecting Malta to the rest of the world and vice versa, in the process diversifying and opening up new tourism markets for the local tourism industry.  It is a fact that were it not for the foresight of having a national airline and the continued efforts and investments from the airline over these 45 years, the local tourism industry would be nowhere close to where it is today.

Air Malta started flying operations with two wet-leased Boeing 720Bs from Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) operating its first flights to London and Rome. The first routes operated by the airline were London, Birmingham, Manchester, Rome, Frankfurt, Paris and Tripoli. Air Malta now serves around 35 destinations with around 180 weekly flights to Europe, North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Today the airline is one of the most important Maltese organisations not only assisting the tourism sector but also providing businesses that operate on the islands with a wide distribution network abroad for the carriage of passengers and cargo.

Air Malta is proud to celebrate its 45th Anniversary since its setup, acknowledging the contribution of all those people who believed in it from its inception and to those who have contributed to it for the past 45 years. The airline is also thankful to its loyal customers and dedicated employees who have worked for it throughout these years.

Photo Below: The Government of Malta signs agreement with PIA to help in the setting up of Air Malta.






Minneapolis/St. Paul prepares for Monday’s winter storm, halts evening arrivals

Delta Air Lines issued this statement:

Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport has halted all arrivals this evening due to weather conditions at the airport. Departures for remaining flights from MSP will start at 7 p.m. CT, pending an assessment of the facilities.

As a result of worsening weather conditions and resulting runway closures at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport, Delta will cancel additional mainline and Delta Connection regional flights Monday. The airline has now canceled approximately 425 flights and diverted 30 others system-wide as a result of the storm with some further disruptions possible.

The narrow but powerful storm is expected to bring widespread heavy snow and high winds across the Plains with blizzard conditions in some areas. The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning for parts of southern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities until midnight Monday.

Conditions are anticipated to improve slowly as the storm passes this evening. The storm is expected to weaken as it continues moving east and is not forecasted to have an operational impact on major airports in Detroit and Chicago.

Delta is offering customers flying to, from or though the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes region the ability to make a one-time change to their travel plans via a travel waiver.

LATAM Airlines Peru launches a new route to San José, Costa Rica

LATAM Airlines Peru (Lima) on January 2, 2018 started new service between its Lima base and San José, Costa Rica.

The new route will be operated three flights a week with Airbus A319s on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Photo: LATAM.