Cathay Pacific brings the Airbus A350-900 to New Zealand

Cathay Pacific Airways Airbus A350-941 B-LRC (msn 034) AKL (Colin Hunter). Image: 935437.

Cathay Pacific Airways on October 28, 2016 upgraded the Hong Kong – Auckland route from older Airbus A340 aircraft to the new Airbus A350-900. The pictured A350-941 B-LRC (msn 034) was the first to operate flights CX197/198 and is seen arriving at Auckland for the first time.

Copyright Photo: Cathay Pacific Airways Airbus A350-941 B-LRC (msn 034) AKL (Colin Hunter). Image: 935437.

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Cobalt is coming to Paris CDG and Birmingham

Airline Color Scheme - Introduced 2016

Cobalt Aero is adding two new routes for the winter season. The Cypriot carrier will add the Larnaca – Paris (CDG) route on December 4, 2016 and Larnaca – Birmingham on December 10, 2016.

Copyright Photo: Cobalt Air (cobalt-aero) Airbus A320-232 5B-DCR (msn 928) PMI (Ton Jochems). Image: 933645.

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Route Map:

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Donghai Airlines finalizes its order for five Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners

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Donghai Airlines and Boeing have announced the finalization of an order for five 787-9 Dreamliners, valued at $1.32 billion at current list prices.

Shenzhen-based Donghai Airlines announced its intent to order 25 737 MAX 8s and five 787-9 Dreamliners in July at the Farnborough International Airshow. This 787-9 order comes just weeks after the carrier finalized its 737 MAX 8 order last month.

The 787-9 Dreamliner can fly 290 passengers up to 14,140 kilometers in a typical two-class configuration. The airplane will deliver unmatched fuel efficiency to Donghai airlines, enabling the carrier to expand the range and quantity of services on the long-haul market. The 787-9 leverages the visionary design of the 787-8, offering passenger pleasing features such as large, dimmable windows, large stow bins, modern LED lighting, higher humidity, a lower cabin altitude, cleaner air and a smoother ride.

Donghai Airlines started freighter operations in 2006. The carrier expanded to offer passenger services in 2014. Donghai Airlines currently has a fleet of 13 Boeing 737-800s serving for more than 10 cities across China. Donghai Airlines’ fleet is expected to reach 15 airplanes by the end of this year. With extended air route network, the Shenzhen-based carrier is making great efforts to build a modern medium-scale airline with high quality.

Image: Boeing.

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Piedmont Airlines to start Embraer 145 training in Charlotte as it transitions to an all-jet fleet

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Piedmont Airlines, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group, will begin training pilots at the American Airlines Training Center in Charlotte to fly its fleet of Embraer 145 regional jets. The expansion comes as Piedmont transitions from turboprops to an all jet fleet.

Piedmont has added Embraer 145 desktop training stations in Charlotte and purchased a full sized Embraer cabin trainer for pilots and flight attendants. An E145 full motion simulator will be installed in Charlotte in 2017. Piedmont recently introduced a new pilot pay package that includes nearly $60,000 in pay and bonuses for first year pilots and an additional $20,000 in first officer retention payments.

Piedmont takes delivery of its twelfth jet in November, and will continue to add jets to the fleet through 2017. Pilots hired by Piedmont move to American Airlines in seniority order under a collective bargaining “flow” agreement. Piedmont currently employs approximately 470 pilots, but will expand that number to more than 600 in 2017.

Photo: Piedmont Airlines.

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Airberlin operates its last Boeing 737 revenue flight with AB crews

Airberlin (airberlin.com) Boeing 737-86J WL D-ABMP (msn 37779) NUE (Gunter Mayer). Image: 935417.

Airberlin on October 28, 2016 operated its final Boeing 737 revenue flight with its in-house Airberlin crew members.

The final flight was operated with the pictured Boeing 737-86J D-ABMP (msn 37779) between Munich and Berlin (Tegel) as flight BER419E (AB6208). The two remaining Airberlin-owned Boeing 737-800s are now out service with the pictured D-ABMP in maintenance at Budapest (ferried on October 31, 2016 TXL-BUD) and the other (D-ABBK), has been parked at Berlin (Tegel) since October 21, 2016.

Now all of the remaining AB-painted Boeing 737s (five Boeing 737-700s and eight 737-800s) are operated under contract by TUIfly (Germany) with their crew members.

Airberlin expects to remove the last TUIfly-operated Boeing 737 in the near future as it moves towards an all Airbus fleet.

Copyright Photo: Airberlin (airberlin.com) Boeing 737-86J WL D-ABMP (msn 37779) NUE (Gunter Mayer). Image: 935417.

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Lufthansa says farewell to the Boeing 737, D-ABEF operates flight LH153 as “BOBBY1”

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Lufthansa has now operated its last Boeing 737 revenue flight. Nuremberg Airport gave the traditional water cannon salute to the pictured Boeing 737-330 D-ABEF (msn 25217) as it departs NUE for the Frankfurt hub. This is the last departure of a Boeing 737 of Lufthansa with passengers after nearly 49 years of service of the Boeing 737 Family (starting with the Boeing 737-130, then the 737-230 and the 737-330 followed by the 737-430 and the 737-530). The farewall flight was operating by D-ABEF, which is named “Weiden in der Oberpfalz”. D-ABEF was operated with the ATC callsign on “BOBBY1” on the route Nuremberg – Frankfurt. The last flight was operated as planned on October 29, 2016.

On October 30, 2016 Lufthansa issued this statement and photos:

On October 29, 2016, the Boeing 737 fleet of Lufthansa carried out its last commercial flights.

At 7:53 pm in the evening, the last Boeing 737-300 with registration D-ABEF (christened “Weiden in der Oberpfalz”) landed at Frankfurt Airport with 131 passengers on board. For Captain Ulrich Pade and his crew (below), this last flight was a special and moving occasion.

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The passengers applauded after landing and they had the opportunity to take photos in the cockpit afterwards. Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, didn’t miss the chance to be there in person to thank the crews.

Shortly before this, three further Boeing 737 aircraft had also landed, arriving from Stuttgart, Geneva und Leipzig/Halle. As a sign of honor they were led by “follow-me” cars to the parking position in front of terminal 2. A crowd of aircraft fans and plane spotters could take a final look at the planes from the Visitor’s Terrace (below).

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On October 31, 2016 Lufthansa issued this statement:

On October 31, 2016 Lufthansa said goodbye to its Boeing 737 fleet after 48 years. This marks the end of an era for Lufthansa, spanning almost 50 years.

D-ABEC flies a farewell Frankfurt - Hamburg - Frankfurt roundtrip flight on October 31, 2016

Copyright Photo: Lufthansa Boeing 737-330 D-ABEC (msn 25149) FRA (Ole Simon). Image: 911535.

A Boeing 737-300, with registration D-ABEC (“Karlsruhe”) (above), flew from Frankfurt to Hamburg this morning on special flight LH9922, where Lufthansa’s Boeing 737 fleet is to be officially bid farewell during a joint event with Lufthansa Technik. After a special ceremony, Captain and Fleet Commander Ulrich Pade and his crew flew back to Frankfurt, with a group of media representatives as well as a number of employees on board; the flight was scheduled to land at 5.10 pm local time.

Over the decades, Lufthansa has had a total of 148 Boeing 737 of almost all generations. At the beginning of the 1960s, the then Chief Executive Officer of Lufthansa Technik, Professor Gerhard Höltje, pushed the project forward and supported the joint development of a short and medium-haul jet with Boeing. The cabin design and the positioning of the engines under the aircraft’s wings were based on the long-haul aircraft of the time.

A 1960s children’s book described the Boeing 707 as the father and the Boeing 727 as the mother of the small jet named “Bobby”. This name caught on. “The Boeing 737 has always been called “Bobby” by Lufthansa employees and aircraft fans. Many passengers and employees associate a very special time with this aircraft model. We want to thank the Boeing 737 for almost 50 years of reliable and successful operations,” said Klaus Froese, CEO Lufthansa Hub Frankfurt.

With the start of the winter schedule, all six remaining Boeing 737-300 aircraft had its last commercial flights on October 29, 2016. The planes will be transferred to Florida in the coming weeks, where they will be resold. In future, Lufthansa will offer continental services with a single type of aircraft, which will result in synergies in various areas, such as pilot licensing, cabin crew and planning and provision of spare parts. The Lufthansa A320 family currently consists of around 150 A319, A320 and A321 aircraft and also includes four aircraft of the latest generation – the A320neo.

On February 19, 1965, Lufthansa was the world’s first purchaser of 22 Boeing 737-100s. Almost three years later, on February 4, 1968, Lufthansa landed the first Boeing 737 in Hamburg. Within a short time, the Boeing 737 became the normal size for short-haul aircraft. Besides the Boeing 737-200 in various passenger and freight versions, the first Boeing 737-300 was delivered to Lufthansa in 1986, which offered a high level of comfort, efficient fuel consumption and low noise levels compared to other aircraft of the period.

In May 1988, the first co-pilots were trained to fly the Boeing 737, which was also the first aircraft to witness to the reunification of the two Germanys as it was the first aircraft to land in the former GDR at Leipzig Airport. A little later on October 2, 1990, the first Lufthansa flight with the Boeing 737 “Sindelfingen” took off to West Berlin. In the summer of 2016, the Boeing 737 was given one last great honor when the Boeing 737 with registration D-ABEK was given the colors of the “Fanhansa” and flew to France with German national football team on board.

Top Copyright Photo and Below: Gunter Mayer. Sunset of an era. D-ABEF sits at Gate 12 at Albrecht Dürer Airport Nuremberg at sunset in preparation for the farewall flight.

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Below Copyright Photo: Lufthansa Boeing 737-330 D-ABEF (msn 25217) ZRH (Paul Bannwarth). Image: 934454.

Lufthansa Boeing 737-330 D-ABEF (msn 25217) ZRH (Paul Bannwarth). Image: 934454.

Below Copyright Photo: Lufthansa was the launch customer for the Boeing 737 as Boeing came close to not launching the now very successful model. Lufthansa took delivery of its first 737-130 (D-ABEB, msn 19014) on December 27, 1967 in these updated colors. Named “Marburg”, the pictured 737-130 D-ABEV (msn 19032) also carries “City Jet 737” sub-titles. The 737-130 fleet would later be sold to Peoplexpress. Lufthansa Boeing 737-130 D-ABEV (msn 19032) (Christian Volpati). Image: 904027.

Lufthansa Boeing 737-130 D-ABEV (msn 19032) (Christian Volpati). Image: 904027.

Below Copyright Photo: Lufthansa Boeing 737-230 D-ABHN (msn 22139) ZRH (Rob Rindt Collection). Image: 934204.

"Trier City Jet 737", delivered September 3, 1981

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SaudiGulf Airlines finally launches operations on October 29, 2016

SaudiGulf Airlines launches scheduled operations

SaudiGulf Airlines (Dammam, Saudi Arabia) is finally getting airborne. The new airline announced it launched scheduled passenger flights on October 29, 2016 from Dammam to Riyadh. Service to Jeddah will begin later on November 27, 2016.

The company was established in 2013 by Abdel Hadi Abdullah Al-Qahtani and Sons Group of Companies. The airline acquired its AOC on June 22, 2016.

The new airline published its mission statement:

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“Build an airline that pushes the boundaries of service and technology and make it the new benchmark of efficiency.

Connect travelers across the Kingdom and beyond, creating engaging experiences and achieve the highest levels of service by delivering seamless operations and custom-made products and services.

Be a friendly, approachable and hospitable airline that offers individual attention to customers, proactively thinking ahead to provide tailor-made solutions.

Write a new chapter in the Kingdom’s aviation history and serve the nation with pride and innovation.”

Copyright Photo: SaudiGulf Airlines Airbus A320-232 WL D-AVVN (HZ-SGC) (msn 6583) XFW (Gerd Beilfuss). Image: 927987.

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