KLM says goodbye to the last Fokker

KLM's farewell salute to Anthony Fokker

KLM Cityhopper, as planned, operated its last revenue flight of a Fokker 70. The pictured F.28 Mk. 0070 PH-KZU, decorated in the special Fokker tribute livery, operated flight KL1070 from London (Heathrow) to the Amsterdam base. The flight blocked in at 8:35 pm (2035) local time.

Top Copyright Photo: KLM Cityhopper Fokker F.28 Mk. 0070 (Fokker 70) PH-KZU (msn 11543) (Fokker – Anthony Fokker – Farewell) AMS (Ton Jochems). Image: 938128.

KLM issued this retirement story by Charley Valette on its KLM Blog:

Fokker aircraft were a common sight at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for many decade. Although they have become increasingly scarce in recent times, this did not diminish the passion for this reliable Dutch product. Aviation buffs and plane spotter in the Netherlands all know that Fokker’s days in Dutch service will draw to a close on 28 October 2017.

On that date, KLM Cityhopper will bid farewell to its last Fokkers. The past months have seen many people booking tickets for a final flight aboard a Fokker. There were also lots of cameras along the perimeter fences, especially when one of the last Fokker 70s was specially decorated for the farewell. The accompanying text says it all: “Thank You, Fokker”.

Perfect design for commuter jets

Many readers will be familiar with the post-war Fokkers: the F27, F28, F50, F100 and F70. All of these excellent, reliable, economic aircraft were very modern in their day, but the Fokker 70 was the best of the bunch. Although Fokker only built 48 of these aircraft before it went bankrupt, the F70 paved the way towards a perfect design formula for commuter jets.

In keeping with history, KLM Cityhopper chose to operate its last Fokker flight out of the London, with an English captain at the controls. When flight KL1070 from London Heathrow shuts down its Rolls-Royce Tay engines at Schiphol, the Fokker era at KLM will come to an end. However, the special bond between KLM and Fokker will live on in memory. Looking back on this era, many of the events can be captured as “what if” questions.

Fokker

What if KLM had not been allowed to operate flights to the United Kingdom with Fokkers?

KLM ordered its first Fokker aircraft in 1920, marking the start of their shared history, in which two great companies inspired each other to take great steps. However, the budding relationship between KLM and Fokker might have ended right there. In fact, Fokker/KLM administrator Albert Plesman, who later became KLM’s first CEO, included a very explicit resolutive condition in the procurement contract for the first Fokkers ordered by KLM.

Schiphol Fokker

Plesman did so just in case the British government would withhold permission to operate flights to the UK with Fokkers, which were seen as a mortal enemy by the British immediately after the First World War, because Germany’s dominant fleet of Fokker fighter planes were known to have prolonged the war.

Fokker Oldie

Eventually, KLM was permitted to fly Fokkers to England. To make this momentous milestone all the more special, the first scheduled Fokker service to Croydon near London on 14 April 1921 was operated by a British pilot.

Another question: what if there had been no Second World War and Fokker had not been spurred on by Plesman’s claims that the company was incapable of producing a modern aircraft?

Would the aircraft manufacturer have completed the development of both the F24 and the “flying wing” Project 180, the first truly intercontinental airliner? Would KLM have operated flights to many destinations with large, aluminium Fokker aircraft for decades?

And what if the dollar exchange rate hadn’t declined sharply against the Deutschmark and Dutch guilder in the 1990s?

Could Fokker have avoided bankruptcy and profited from the recovering airline market? Would it have developed a new generation of aircraft? And would those aircraft have worn KLM colours?

Fokker

Although these questions will never be conclusively answered, many things did gradually become clear for the editorial team creating the book “Dutch at Heart”, which celebrates KLM’s Fokker fleet. Based on the stories of KLM and Fokker staff as well as the curator, the bond between these two great Dutch companies is recounted from the day of establishment to the final weeks. You can order the book here: www.Fokker-70.nl.

3 = 1

At the end of October, Fokker aircraft will be leaving the Dutch commercial air transport scene for good. That leaves only two members of the Dutch Aviation Trinity – KLM, Fokker and Schiphol – as well as the memories of an era in which Fokker played a leading role in our industry. These memories are captured in the Fokker monument, symbolically uniting KLM, Fokker and Schiphol, which KLM Cityhopper will unveil at Schiphol Oost on 29 October 2017.

Fokker 70

I’ve been flying for KLM since 1985. Right now I’m a captain on the Boeing 777. Before that, I flew the Boeing DC-9, 737-300, 400 747-200, 300, and 400, Fokker 28, and the MD-11.

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Brussels Airlines bids farewell to the last AVRO jet

This weekend Brussels Airlines says goodbye to the AVRO Jet, the aircraft type with which the airline started off in 2001. On Saturday, October 28, 2017 several aviation fans flew to Geneva on the Avro’s last commercial flight for Brussels Airlines. Today, October 29, 2017, the airline’s staff bid farewell to the aircraft type that carried millions of passengers over the years, on which hundreds of its pilots and flight attendants started their careers and on which several Brussels Airlines engineers worked during its maintenance.

With the touchdown of flight SN2720 Geneva-Brussels at 1940 on October 28, 2017, Brussels Airlines ended its AVRO era. Over the past 15 years, 31.5 million Brussels Airlines passengers boarded the 4-motor aircraft type, on the 606,000 flights to 89 different destinations. The AVRO was a regular guest at airports like Bromma (Stockholm), Copenhagen, Marseille, Lyon, Geneva, Berlin, Oslo, Manchester and Berlin.

Once upon a time, Brussels Airlines’ fleet consisted of 32 AVRO jets. This weekend, the last one, registered as OO-DWD (Delta-Whiskey-Delta) (below) retires from the airline. From today onwards, Brussels Airlines’ operator license only consists of Airbus aircraft.

Type Retired: October 28, 2017 (SN2720 Geneva-Brussels with OO-DWD)

Above Copyright Photo (all others by Brussels Airlines): Brussels Airlines BAe (Avro) RJ100 (146-RJ100) OO-DWD (msn E3324) BRU (Karl Cornil). Image: 910519.

Many aviation fans and long-time Brussels Airlines customers were present on the last commercial flight. One of them even traveled all the way from the United States to Brussels only to be on the farewell flight of the AVRO. Indeed, the AVRO has become a rare aircraft in Europe. The few planes that are left only fly in Ireland, Great Britain, Sweden and Greece. Some of these served for Brussels Airlines before.

Other ex-Brussels Airlines AVRO jets started a new life on other continents. Some jets now serve as firefighting planes in the US and Canada or fly in South America and Ghana.  Others have been dismantled for spare parts and one of them now serves as practice aircraft for the Brussels Airport firefighters.

“It is with a lot of gratitude and nostalgia that we look back on the AVRO era. It was the aircraft with which Brussels Airlines as born and took its very first steps. The AVRO was an important and successful chapter in Brussels Airlines’ history, it has brought millions of passengers safe and sound to their destination and for hundreds of our crews it was a springboard for their career.

Bernard Gustin, CEO Brussels Airlines

Video:

https://youtu.be/5dxX45ppR0Q

Asiana Airlines to introduce the new Airbus A350-900 to the London Heathrow route today

The first flight of the first Airbus A350-900 for Asiana

Asiana Airlines is introducing its new Airbus A350-900 to the Seoul (Incheon) – London (Heathrow) route starting on October 29, 2017 with flights OZ521/OZ522. Thye new type will be initially operated three days a week (Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays).

 

Copyright Photo: Asiana Airlines Airbus A350-941 F-WZNY (HL8078) (msn 094) TLS (Eurospot). Image: 937392.

With the Airberlin closure, Belair also closes its doors, will be liquidated

Leased from Airberlin on May 12, 2017, Belair logo

Belair Airlines, as a subsidiary of Airberlin, was operating under the Airberlin brand until March 31, 2017.

Airberlin acquired 49% of the shares of Belair in 2007 and has fully owned Belair since October 2009.

During the 2017 summer season, Belair has been flying for Niki.

With the closure of Airberlin, Belair also has ceased operations as of October 28, 2017.

The airline issued this short statement on their website:

“Airberlin has permanently discontinued its operations. We would like to take the opportunity to thank you and bye-bye”.

Belair’s assets will now be liquidated.

Belair offered this guidance to its customers:

Questions and answers about the current situation at airberlin

  • Will flight operations be continued by airberlin/NIKI?

As far as we are currently aware, flight operations under the IATA airline code AB will no longer be possible during the insolvency proceedings, at the latest from October 28th 2017. NIKI flights are not affected and will be continued.

  • My flight will no longer be operated. Will I get my money back?

For passengers who are affected by a flight cancellation, the following applies: If the booking was made before August 15th 2017, reimbursement is not possible. Passengers affected may file their claim for the insolvency schedule after the opening of the insolvency proceedings. For tickets purchased after August 15th 2017, we will reimburse the purchase price if the flight will no longer be operated. Rebooking to another airline is not permitted

  •    Is NIKI also insolvent?

No, the status published on August 15th 2017 applies. NIKI is not insolvent. It is not currently intended for NIKI to file for insolvency. Flight operations will continue as planned.

  • Do airberlin and NIKI still accept new bookings?

Yes, airberlin and NIKI flights can still be booked through our established booking and distribution channels. All fares are still valid.
Payments for flights operating after November 1st 2017 are secured by a trustee. In case these flights are not operating against expectations, affected passengers will receive a ticket refund. This only applies for bookings from August 15th 2017 onwards.

  • How long in advance can I book flights?

The entire schedule published by airberlin and NIKI can currently still be booked. As far as we are currently aware, flights with the IATA airline code AB will no longer be operated from October 28th 2017.

  • Will I continue to receive topbonus miles for my flights?

topbonus, airberlin’s frequent flyer programme, submitted an application for insolvency on August 25th2017. Nevertheless, the topbonus programme continues to exist. The status benefits for topbonus members remain valid. topbonus mileage credit and the redemption of miles is once again active. The conditions for collecting and redeeming miles as of September 20th 2017 as well as the list of active partners can be found on the topbonus website.

  • Do the airberlin/NIKI products and services remain the same?

Yes, the existing airberlin and NIKI services and products remain the same.

  • Is my voucher still valid and if yes until when?

Vouchers cannot be redeemed anymore. Due to insolvency regulations, the utilization of vouchers had to be terminated. Affected passengers have the opportunity to file the claim arising from the unusable voucher for the insolvency schedule after the opening of the insolvency proceedings. We will advise about the formal proceedings at a later stage separately. Tickets that have already been booked against vouchers remain valid.

  • Can I get a cash payout for my voucher?

No, see above.

  • If my tickets are cancelled, will I be reimbursed the applicable fees and taxes?

No. This is not possible due to insolvency regulations. Affected passengers have the opportunity to file the claim for the insolvency schedule after the opening of the insolvency proceedings. Questions regarding the reimbursement of taxes and fees collected after August 15th 2017 must be submitted via the BSPlink.

  • Can tickets that have already been issued be rebooked?

The tariff conditions, valid at the time of ticket issuance, still apply to rebooking. Any issued ticket may be rebooked on the basis of the applicable tariff conditions, provided these allow changes. Any applicable fees must be paid by the customer.

  • Am I still entitled to claims for damages/to receive compensation, e.g. for delays or flight cancelations?

For departures before the filing for insolvency unfortunately no compensations will currently be paid. This is not possible due to insolvency regulations. Affected passengers have the opportunity to file the claim for the insolvency schedule after the opening of the insolvency proceedings. In this case affected passengers automatically receive an official form with further information.

For departures after the filing for insolvency please refer to our online claim form provided by our Guest Relations Team using the following link: http://www.airberlin.com/complaint. Our Guest Relations Team will handle your request and will contact you directly. We kindly ask for your understanding that due to the current situation the processing time might take longer.

  • I booked a package holiday for 2018 and my flights are with airberlin – will there be any problems?

As far as we are currently aware, flight operations under the IATA airline code AB will no longer be possible during the insolvency proceedings, at the latest from October 28th. Please contact your tour operator if you have any further questions.

  • Will tickets from partner airlines be accepted? Will airberlin tickets for flights operated by partner airlines be valid?

If you would like to verify the status of your ticket, please contact the respective partner airline.

Copyright Photo: Airberlin (airberlin.com) – Operated by Belair Airlines Airbus A321-211 WL HB-JOV (msn 6629) BSL (Paul Bannwarth). Image: 938931.

SkyWork Airlines suspends operations after October 28, 2017

SkyWork Airlines Dornier 328-110 HB-AES (msn 3021) BSL (Paul Bannwarth). Image: 931460.

Previously on October 16, 2017, SkyWork Airlines made this announcement:

The Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) has limited the operating license of Swiss airline SkyWork Airlines AG for economic reasons.

Airlines must provide evidence to the FOCA that their company is adequately financed to ensure the correct operation of the airline. Therefore, their economic performance is periodically checked by the FOCA.

Despite intensive efforts, SkyWork Airlines is still unable to provide proof of financing for the 2017/18 winter schedule. The FOCA therefore limited the operating permit until the end of the summer flight schedule 2017 to enable SkyWork Airlines to provide proof of financing during this period.

The new deadline is October 28, 2017 at the close of the summer schedule. SkyWork Airlines has not yet received a new AOC to continue operations past October 28, 2017. The company issued this statement:

Due to the still missing operating licence for the winter flight plan, all flights of October 29, 2017 will be cancelled.

Copyright Photo: SkyWork Airlines Dornier 328-110 HB-AES (msn 3021) BSL (Paul Bannwarth). Image: 931460.

 

 

United Airlines to resume seasonal service to New Zealand

United Airlines Boeing 777-322 ER N2639U (msn 62650) IAD (Brian McDonough). Image: 938448.

United Airlines’ seasonal service between San Francisco (SFO) and Auckland, New Zealand (AKL) scheduled to resume on Sunday, October 29, 2017. United will operate its SFO-AKL route six days per week from October 29 through December 17 and then daily through March 22, 2018.

Polaris-Seat

“Together with our Joint Venture partner Air New Zealand, United is excited to provide customers with convenient travel options between the U.S. and New Zealand,” said John Gebo, senior vice president of alliances for United. “New Zealand’s summer season is a popular time for travelers to enjoy New Zealand, and we are pleased to offer the larger Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and the all-new United Polaris business class seat for our customers traveling between San Francisco and Auckland.”

The United and Air New Zealand partnership makes it easy for customers to travel to Auckland, where Air New Zealand’s Auckland hub connects to a network of more than 20 routes across the North and South Islands of the country. For customers traveling from AKL to SFO, United has timed this flight to connect at SFO with an extensive network of service throughout the U.S., Canada and Latin America. United operates more than 280 daily flights from SFO to 65 airports across the U.S. and 22 international destinations.

United’s SFO-AKL route is operated by its newest aircraft, the Boeing 777-300ER. With a focus on providing a more tranquil journey for customers, the new cabin design on United’s 777-300ER fleet features LED mood-lighting to complement sleep and assist with time-zone changes as well as textured and softer touch materials, which not only provide a more premium feel, but also absorb aircraft noise and other sound within the cabin.

United Polaris business class features a reimagined, sleep-enhancing experience for intercontinental travelers, including a custom-designed, exclusive-to-United seat. Each United Polaris seat offers direct access to the aisle, 180-degree flat-bed recline and up to 6 foot 6 inches of bed space.

Throughout the 777-300ER aircraft, the cabin interior is comprised of bespoke branding elements as well as carpets, fabrics and wall laminates – that, like the United Polaris seat, were specially designed for United, as well as redesigned lavatories which include modern finishings and farmhouse-style sinks.

Copyright Photo: United Airlines Boeing 777-322 ER N2639U (msn 62650) IAD (Brian McDonough). Image: 938448.