Tag Archives: 751

The Beluga fleet celebrates 20 years of flying

Airbus (Toulouse) is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its transport aircraft named the Beluga. The company issued this recognition:

With its maiden flight on September 13, 1994, the popular Beluga cargo aircraft, affectionately named after the white whale because of its remarkable shape, is celebrating this week twenty years of transporting Airbus component parts between Airbus’ European manufacturing sites.

Since 1995, the fleet of five Beluga aircraft (below) replaced the ageing Super Guppy transporters in order to supply the Airbus final assembly lines in Toulouse and Hamburg. Today, more than sixty flights are performed each week between eleven sites, carrying crucial parts for all of the Airbus programs, including the A380*.

The Beluga fleet is operated by Airbus Transport International (ATI), an Airbus subsidiary airline, and each Beluga crew is composed of a pilot, a co-pilot and a flight engineer.

With the production start of the A350 XWB in 2012 and the production ramp-up on other Airbus programmes, the Beluga activities again will substantially increase over the next five years.

In order to accompany this challenge, Airbus launched in 2011 the Fly 10 000 project. Flight crew numbers and flight hours have grown and loading procedures have been further optimized, with the opening of new integrated loading facilities in Hamburg and Bremen in Germany and Saint-Nazaire in France. Broughton, UK and Getafe, Spain will follow soon. Fly 10,000 should allow the Beluga fleet to double its activities by 2017 (from 5,000 to 10,000 flight hours).

“The Beluga is an essential element of Airbus’ integrated logistics and production ‎system. It is thanks to its reliability and engagement of the Beluga teams that we can fulfil our constant pursuit of efficiency”, said Günter Butschek, Airbus Chief Operating Officer.

The Beluga is based on the twin-engine A300-600R, appreciated for its reliability and its cost-effectiveness. It is powered by General Electric CF6-80C2 engines. With its impressive dimensions (56 m long, 17 m high, a fuselage diameter of 7.71 m and a main-deck cargo volume of 1,400m3), the Beluga is the champion of its category (compared with the Antonov AN-124 or even the C-17). The Beluga can carry a maximum payload of 47 metric tonnes non-stop over a range of 1,660 km/900 nm.

*only the Vertical Tailplane and tailcone, all other A380 components being transported through the “multimodal transport system (sea, river, road).

Top Copyright Photo: Guillaume Besnard/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus Transport International A300B4-608ST Beluga F-GSTB (msn 751) gracefully (for a whale) departs from the Toulouse base.

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Bottom Copyright Photo: Airbus. The Beluga fleet joins a rare group photo at Toulouse.

Airbus Beluga fleet (Grd) TLS (P. Pigeyre-Airbus)(LRW)


Air Seychelles continues its turnaround with the help of Etihad Airways

Air Seychelles (Mahe) has issued this first quarter financial statement. Previously the airline in April announced its second profitable year in a row. Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) controls 40 percent of its stock and has been very helpful in its turnaround. Its turnaround continues in the first quarter:

Air Seychelles, the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, has recorded strong 2014 first quarter results with a 38.2 per cent increase in passenger numbers to 95,372, compared to the same period in 2013 (69,009 passengers).

Passenger numbers on Air Seychelles’ international network increased 77.3 per cent to 58,971, a result of more traffic between the Seychelles and Abu Dhabi, Mauritius, Johannesburg and Hong Kong.

A 66 per cent increase in revenue was attributable to improved connectivity with codeshare partner, Etihad Airways’ global network, and enhanced cargo services.

Cargo tonnage for the period rose 126.8 per cent to 1,602 tonnes, driven by strong demand from Paris, Hong Kong, and Johannesburg, enhancements to Air Seychelles’ on-ground cargo handling capability in Mahé, and the launch of Seychelles domestic cargo services.

Manoj Papa, Chief Executive Officer of Air Seychelles, said: “Our first quarter passenger and cargo performance indicates that we are delivering on our mandate to support the Seychelles economy both through tourism and trade.

“We remain committed to meeting these objectives in the months and years ahead, by building depth and scale into our network, organically and through partnerships, taking delivery of new aircraft, hiring more Seychellois, and bringing more guests and trade to the Seychelles.

“Air Seychelles will continue to focus on operational efficiencies, while maintaining a commitment to our guests to offer value, convenience and comfort, and being their airline of choice in the Indian Ocean region.”

At the end of the first quarter of 2014, Air Seychelles’ combined passenger and cargo network stood at five destinations in the Seychelles, Africa, Europe and Asia. The airline also has codeshare partnerships with Airberlin, Cathay Pacific Airways, Etihad Airways, and South African Airways, extending its network to 39 cities around the world.

Read the full report from the Seychelles News Agency: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Rainer Bexten/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 A6-EYY (msn 751) on lease from Etihad Airways arrives in Johannesburg.

Air Seychelles: AG Slide Show

Air Seychelles to resume services to Paris on July 2

Air Seychelles (Mahe) has announced it will resume flights to Paris (CDG) on July 2, 2014.

The flag carrier will operate two weekly roundtrips from the Seychelles to Paris via Abu Dhabi, with Air Seychelles deploying its brightly-colored Airbus A330-200 aircraft (above) on the route, offering 18 lie-flat seats in Business Class and 236 seats in Economy Class.

Partner Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) will also place its EY code on the flights.

Copyright Photo: Rainer Bexten/AirlinersGallery.com. Leased from Etihad Airways, Airbus A330-243 A6-EYY (msn 751) completes its final approach into Johannesburg (JNB).

Air Seychelles: AG Slide Show

Jet Airways to launch Mumbai-Paris flights on May 14

Jet Airways has announced new daily nonstop service from Mumbai to Paris (CDG) with effect from May 14, 2014. This new flight from India’s financial capital of Mumbai to Paris will be operated by wide-body Airbus A330 aircraft.

Jet Airways (Mumbai) flight 9W 124 will depart from Mumbai’s brand new Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, T2 at 1200 and arrive at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport at 1750. The return flight 9W 123 will depart Paris at 2110 (LT) and arrive Mumbai at 0945 the following day thus providing a seamless connection to the airline’s entire network within India. Moreover, the return Jet Airways flight from Paris to Mumbai will make it the only evening departure from continental Europe to Mumbai.

Paris will be the airline’s twenty first international destination, and will provide a key gateway point for travel to several destinations across Europe with Jet Airways’ code share and interline partners.

Jet Airways will deploy an Airbus A330-200 aircraft on this route, with 18 Premiere seats that open up as flatbeds and 236 ergonomic Economy seats.

In other news, the airline is expected to place an additional order for narrow body aircraft in the near future.

Copyright Photo: Karl Cornil/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-243 VT-JWD (msn 751) climbs away from nearby Brussels.

Jet Airways: AG Slide Show

Air Seychelles to fly again to Europe, will add an Airbus A319

Air Seychelles (Mahe), the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, has announced, subject to regulatory approval, it will launch flights to Paris-Orly as part of a significant expansion to its international schedule.

The island carrier use to operate an extensive nonstop Boeing 767 nonstop network to Europe before its new partnership with Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi).

Starting in February 2014, Air Seychelles will operate two roundtrip services per week between Seychelles and Paris-Orly via Abu Dhabi with its Airbus A330-200 aircraft, configured with 18 flat-bed Business Class seats and 236 Economy seats.

The new Paris-Orly services complements Etihad Airways’ existing double-daily services to Paris-Charles De Gaulle.

Currently, the island carrier code shares on 14 flights per week to Paris-Charles De Gaulle with equity partner Etihad Airways, offering a daily service between the archipelago and the French capital. The new flights will increase the connections to 18 per week.

The airline also unveiled a new regional network plan, subject to approvals, which will see significant expansion of its operations in the Indian Ocean in the fourth quarter of 2014, following the delivery of an Airbus A319.

Highlights of the plan include:

• The launch of regional services to Antananarivo, Reunion and Mumbai
• An increase in services to Abu Dhabi from seven to eleven per week, offering a double daily service with equity partner Etihad Airways
• A network designed to maximise connectivity through the Seychelles, with two way connectivity throughout the region with Mumbai and Abu Dhabi and beyond.

The new regional schedule will see Air Seychelles operate three roundtrip flights per week to Mauritius and Mumbai, two roundtrip flights per week to Antananarivo and Reunion, and 11 return flights per week to Abu Dhabi.

The airline will also offer three return flights per week to Hong Kong, three return flights per week to Johannesburg, and two flights per week to Paris-Orly.

Altogether, the airline will see its weekly international services nearly double from 16 to 29 flights per week.

Copyright Photo: Rainer Bexten/AirlinersGallery.com. The pictured Airbus A330-243 A6-EYY (msn 751) is actually leased from partner Etihad Airways.

Air Seychelles: AG Slide Show

Current Route Map:

Air Seychelles 12.2013 Route Map

Air Seychelles and South African Airways sign a code-share agreement

Air Seychelles (Mahé), the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, on April 25 announced that it has entered into a code-share agreement with South African Airways (SAA) (Johannesburg), the national airline of the Republic of South Africa.

The first phase of the agreement will see South African Airways place its “SA” code on Air Seychelles’ non-stop flights between Johannesburg and Seychelles. South African Airways will also place its code on flights between the two largest islands of Seychelles, Mahé and Praslin, subject to approvals.

Subsequent to the launch of the partnership between Air Seychelles and SAA, the airlines will look into expanding the agreement to include Air Seychelles placing its ‘HM’ code on South African Airways’ non-stop flights between Johannesburg and destinations across South Africa.

Ticket sales are set to open on April 29, for travel from April 30.

The deal follows a strategic move by Air Seychelles to increase its connectivity throughout South Africa and continental Africa.

In March 2013, Air Seychelles introduced an enhanced schedule and additional weekly service on its Johannesburg route, bringing the flights to three return services per week with daytime departures and arrivals. The new schedule greatly enhances leisure and business travelers’ ability to connect seamlessly on both airlines across Africa and South Africa, particularly to Cape Town and Durban.

Top Copyright Photo: Rainer Bexten. Airbus A330-243 A6-EYY (msn 751) arrives at Johannesburg. The aircraft is wet leased from strategic partner Etihad Airways.

Air Seychelles: AG Slide Show

South African Airways: AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Terry Wade. South African is planning to retire its last Airbus A340-200 in late May. The SAA A340s are some of the oldest A340s flying. The pictured A340-212 ZS-SLB (msn 011) arrives at London (Heathrow).

Air Seychelles turns it around with a $1 million net profit in 2012 with the help of Etihad Airways

Air Seychelles (Mahe) is now in the black. The flag carrier reported a net profit of $1 million in 2012 under the management and assistance of Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi). The airline issued this statement celebrating this achievement:

• Net profit of $1 million in first year of Etihad Airways management contract

Significant synergies and cost savings from equity partnership with Etihad Airways

Carried 247,750 passengers on its domestic and international network

• Introduced 19 new codeshares

• Expanded its international network launching flights to Abu Dhabi and, from March 24, Hong Kong 

Air Seychelles, the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, has reported a net profit of $1 million for the 2012 financial year.

The positive result comes just 12 months after Etihad Airways acquired a 40 per cent stake in the airline and was awarded a five year management contract. The profit follows three years of significant losses.

The Chairman of Air Seychelles, Joel Morgan, said the past year had been focused on reshaping the business of the iconic Indian Ocean airline for success.

“The choice of Etihad Airways as a strategic partner has been the right one. Working with our new partner, we have had to make some hard decisions to turn the airline around. We are now seeing the successful results of our strategy,” he said.

“To record a profit after the immense challenges we faced a year ago is an incredible achievement. I am proud of the enormous progress Air Seychelles has made.  The recovery of Air Seychelles is a new chapter not only in our airline’s history—but our nation’s. I am confident we have now laid the ground work for sustainable profitability and our brightly-coloured aircraft will cheer the skies for years to come.”

Chief Executive Officer of Air Seychelles, Cramer Ball, said: “In the first instance, this meant looking at the cost-base, and then stripping down the business right across the airline’s operations to find the right shape and size for our national carrier.

“We introduced strict fiscal control in parallel with business process re-engineering to make our operation more efficient. We are a very different business today.”

He attributed this success to leveraging the economies of scale and synergies arising from the equity alliance with shareholder, Etihad Airways.

This entailed the renegotiation of contracts for catering, ground handling and in-flight entertainment, and the conclusion of joint contracts for fuel, uniforms and stationery supplies, all of which improved service and significantly reduced costs.

“Our first focus was on a new network plan which could support the hugely important tourist sector in Seychelles more effectively with good connections and broader choice for visitors to the archipelago.”

To optimize the schedule and enhance connectivity with its partner airlines, the Air Seychelles’ network was expanded through 19 codeshare destinations with Etihad Airways, opening up key European markets, and with the introduction of four flights a week to Abu Dhabi.

The network expansion was made possible by renewed investment in fleet. During the year, the airline introduced an Airbus A330-200 and wet-leased an Etihad Airways’ Airbus A320 on the Mauritius route.

“We are going to continue to build our capacity with a second A330-200, allowing us to start flights to Hong Kong to capture the lucrative Asian leisure market in March 2013. We will also be increasing the frequency of flights to Abu Dhabi, Johannesburg and Mauritius.”

A recently announced codeshare with airberlin will expand the island carrier’s network throughout Europe.

Network development was accompanied by investment in product and service enhancements.

“We have responded to the demand from our affluent leisure and tourism guests by introducing a new international inflight product and can now offer a business class experience to rival any airline. Air Seychelles offers on demand dining in business class and is the only airline to offer a lie-flat business class seat flying into Seychelles,” Mr Ball said.

Seychellois produce now features on the food and beverage menus introduced to enhance the dining experience.

In-flight entertainment was also upgraded with every seat offering video-on-demand, with expanded movie selections and games scheduled for early in 2013.

The year also saw the integration of the frequent flyer program, Seychelles Plus, with Etihad Guest, opening the doors to many more exciting offers and opportunities for its 18,000 members.

An important element of the airline’s turnaround strategy was a people program supported by cross-functional teams from Etihad Airways, introduced to transform the structure of the organisation to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

In addition to right-sizing the workforce to 550 staff, the plan makes for extensive and on-going training both in the Seychelles and at Etihad Airways’ state-of the-art Training Academy in Abu Dhabi.  One hundred and thirty-six cabin crew underwent training in Abu Dhabi to deliver a higher quality service. Twenty-nine pilots have also been fully-trained on the A330-200.

“Our team and our warm Seychellois hospitality is our secret ingredient and we are doing everything we can to make sure we nurture and develop our talent. We have forged partnerships to develop Seychellois talent and build career paths through MOUs with Seychelles Tourism Academy and the University of Seychelles. In 2012, 11 candidates were selected to join Etihad Airways technical engineering, graduate manager, and cadet pilot training programs.”

An on-going program will select Seychellois candidates for the career development programs in Abu Dhabi.

Established in 1978, Air Seychelles now has more than 200 domestic flights a week and a strong domestic charter business. The airline employs 550 people, 25 per cent of whom have worked with the company for more than 15 years. Forty per cent of the staff have worked at Air Seychelles for 10 years or more.

“Our partnership with Etihad Airways has made us a bigger player in the global aviation scene and we are better able to withstand the uncertainties and volatility in the global economy. In addition to our natural organic growth, in 2013 we’re looking to broaden our network through partnerships. Now we need to maintain our strategic focus and effort,” Mr Ball said.

Copyright Photo: Rainer Bexten. Airbus A330-243 A6-EYY (msn 751) approaches Johannesburg for landing.

Air Seychelles: AG Slide Show


Air Seychelles adds its second Airbus A330-200

Air Seychelles (Mahe) on March 7 welcomed its second Airbus A330-200 in a ceremony at the Seychelles International Airport .

The new aircraft, Airbus A330-243 A6-EYZ (msn 807, ex VT-JWE), is leased from Etihad Airways and is named ‘Vallée de Mai’ in honor of Seychelles’ second UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site. A6-EYZ is being operated by an all-Seychellois crew. At the controls were Captain Paul Belle and First Officer Hervé Morel, with the cabin managed by nine Air Seychelles cabin crew.

The Seychellois-operated flight is a significant milestone for the airline, which only a year ago retired its Boeing 767-300 aircraft and retrained all pilots and cabin crew to operate the Airbus A330. Equity partner Etihad Airways provided the training at its world-class facilities in Abu Dhabi.

Copyright Photo: Rainer Bexten. The first Airbus A330 is this A330-243 registered as A6-EYY (msn 751) and was leased from Etihad Airways on July 3, 2012. A6-EYY, pictured arriving at Johannesburg, is named “Aldabra”.

Air Seychelles: AG Slide Show

Air Seychelles 2011 logo

Route Map:

Please click on the map to expand.

Please click on the map to expand.

Air Seychelles to fly to Hong Kong starting on March 24

Airt Seychelles A330-200 A6-EYY (11)(Grd) AUH (KVW)(LRW)

Air Seychelles (Mahe) will extend its network with a new route to Hong Kong via Abu Dhabi starting on March 24 following government approvals. The new route will be operated three days a week in each direction with the pictured new Airbus A330-200.

Copyright Photo: Konstantin von Wedelstaedt. The single Airbus A330-243 registered as A6-EYY (msn 751) makes a stop at Abu Dhabi preparing for its departure to the island destination of Mahe. The airliner is being wet leased from partner Etihad Airways.

Air Seychelles: AG Slide Show