Tag Archives: A340-642

Mahan Air becomes a new Airbus A340-600 operator, adds six new destinations

Mahan Air (Tehran) has become a new Airbus A340-600 operator. The pictured ex HiFly Airbus A340-642 EP-MMH (msn 391) ferried to Tehran on May 8, 2015 and is now in service. The airline is planning to add seven stretched Airbus A340s according to ch-aviation. The date of introduction is unknown.

Mahan Air logo

The carrier has recently been expanding its international network. The carrier has recently added Bahrain (May 14), Moscow (Vnukovo) (May 28), St. Petersburg (Pulkovo) (June 4), Athens (June 14), Milan (Malpensa) (June 17) and Sochi (June 23), all from Tehran (Khomeini).

Copyright Photo: Rob Finlayson/AirlinersGallery.com. EP-MMH visits Athens, one of the new destinations.

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China Eastern operates its last Airbus A340-600 revenue flight

China Eastern Airlines (Shanghai) yesterday (May 3) operated the last revenue flight with its last Airbus A340-600.

The airline operated the last flight, flight MU 524, from Tokyo (Narita) to Shanghai (Pudong) with the pictured Airbus A340-642 B-6055 (msn 586) in the special Expo 2010 Shanghai livery. The last flight ended 12 years the type was operated by the carrier.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A340-642 B-6055 (msn 586) in the “Better City, Better Life” livery for Expo 2010 departs from Los Angeles International Airport in the past.

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South African resumes nonstop Johannesburg-New York JFK flights

South African Airways (SAA) (Johannesburg) has resumed nonstop service on its daily flight from Johannesburg to New York-John F. Kennedy International Airport, effective March 7, 2015. While SAA’s daily flight from New York-JFK to Johannesburg has operated on a nonstop basis for several years, the return flight was making a 1-hour enroute stop in Dakar, Senegal, during the low season winter months. Due to the popularity of this route, SAA’s service between New York and Johannesburg will, once again, operate nonstop in both directions on a year-round basis. The resumption of the nonstop service on the northbound flight from Johannesburg to New York-JFK reduces the overall travel time on the route by nearly 90 minutes, making it the fastest way to travel from South Africa to New York.

SAA’s flights between New York-JFK and Johannesburg are operated on wide-body Airbus A340-600 aircraft, featuring 42 full-flat 180° beds in Premium Business Class and 275 seats in Economy Class.

Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A340-642 ZS-SNI (msn 630) arrives at JFK International Airport in New York.

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Lufthansa announces its new First Class experience is available on all long-haul flights from Munich

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) has announced its new first class experience is available on all long-haul routes from its Munich hub. The airline issued this statement:

Lufthansa passengers can now experience the airline’s new First Class service on all long-haul flights from Munich. At the end of last week, the final Airbus A340-600 in the airline’s Munich-based long-haul fleet was retrofitted with the new First Class cabin. This winter, a total of 24 Airbus A340-600 and A330-300 aircraft will serve 22 intercontinental destinations from Munich.

This summer, the retrofit of the new First and Business Class cabins on the remainder of the long-haul fleet will be completed. By the end of 2015, all Lufthansa long-range aircraft will feature the new Premium Economy cabin. Altogether 11,000 seats are being installed on 105 aircraft.

Lufthansa First Class (LH)(LR)

Photo: Lufthansa.

 

In the award-winning First Class cabin, passengers can look forward to individual service and a wide selection of top-quality food and drinks. Each of the eight First Class seats can be extended to create a lie-flat bed measuring 2.07 meters in length and 80 cm in width, enabling passengers to enjoy a deep, relaxing sleep. The new Business Class seat offers exceptional comfort, whether in an upright or a reclining position.

At the press of a button, the seat converts into a comfortable bed with a horizontal sleeping surface measuring 1.98 meters in length. In Business Class, passengers can select what they want to watch from the expanded inflight entertainment programme and view it on their personal 15-inch monitor. The new Premium Economy Class offers 50 per cent more space plus an enhanced service, and passengers can also check in two items of baggage. In the course of this year, Lufthansa will offer its Business Class passengers a new, more personalized, restaurant-style service.

Top Copyright Photo: Rob Finlayson/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A340-642 D-AIHU (msn 848) touches down at Los Angeles International Airport.

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Thai to operate its last Airbus A340-600 revenue flights in March

Thai Airways International (Bangkok) is also planning to retire its Airbus A340-600s. According to Airline Route, the last revenue flight for the aging type is currently scheduled for the Frankfurt – Bangkok route as flight TG 293, departing on FRA late on March 28 and arriving the next day at BKK.

Copyright Photo: John Adlard/AirlinersGallery.com. Thai Airways International Airbus A340-642 HS-TND (msn 710) approaches the runway in Sydney.

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China Eastern to retire its last Airbus A340-600

China Eastern Airlines (Shanghai) is planning to operate its last Airbus A340-600 revenue flight on April 29. Tentatively the last scheduled flight is scheduled between Toronto (Pearson) and Shanghai (Pudong) on April 29 per Airline Route. The flight will land in Shanghai the following day. The airline acquired the type in 2003 and recently replaced the aging type with newer Boeing 777-300 ERs.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A340-642 B-6051 (msn 488) climbs away from the

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South African Airways to resume nonstop Johannesburg-New York JFK flights

South African Airways-SAA (Johannesburg) will resume its daily nonstop flights between Johannesburg, South Africa, and New York-JFK International Airport, on March 7. The resumption of the nonstop service on the northbound flight from Johannesburg to New York-JFK will reduce the overall travel time on the route by nearly 90 minutes.

While SAA’s flight from New York-JFK to Johannesburg is operating daily on a nonstop year-round basis, the northbound flight has been temporarily making a one-hour refuelling stop in Dakar, Senegal, due in part to lower travel demand during the winter months. The nonstop flights in each direction are timed conveniently to connect in Johannesburg with SAA’s extensive route network in Southern Africa of over 55 destinations and in New York with flights to over 35 cities in the U.S. and Canada through our code share partners JetBlue Airways, United Airlines and Air Canada.

SAA’s flights between New York-JFK and Johannesburg are operated on Airbus A340-600 aircraft, featuring 42 full-flat 180-degree beds in Premium Business Class and 275 seats in Economy Class, ergonomically designed with adjustable headrests and industry-leading legroom of up to 34″ for long-haul travel. Customers traveling in both Premium Business Class and Economy Class enjoy an extensive menu of on-demand audio and visual entertainment options, freshly prepared meals and complimentary bar service featuring award-winning South African wines.

In other news, is the flag carrier technically bankrupt? According to the AFK Insider:

“The country’s state carrier, South African Airways (SAA), has been struggling to keep its fleet in the skies with a crippling debt of $1.5 billion and has had to receive a couple of state sponsored bailouts, including a recent 6.5 billion rands ($560 million) guarantee to keep liquidators off its back. This adds to a 5 billion rands guarantee already in place for the Treasury.”

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Paul Denton/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A340-642 ZS-SNF (msn 547) approaches the runway at the Johannesburg hub.

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Lufthansa cancels 25 long-haul flights today from Frankfurt

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) today is dealing with another strike by its pilots, this time affecting its long-haul flights from the Frankfurt hub. The airline issued this statement:

Owing to the renewed strike announced by the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) pilots‘ union, Lufthansa has cancelled 25 long-haul flights from Frankfurt for Tuesday, September 30. A total of 57 intercontinental flights were originally scheduled from Frankfurt tomorrow and 32 of those are planned to depart. Of those 32 flights, 26 will be flown by volunteer pilots, two others will depart earlier and four have been deferred to the following day (Wednesday).

The Lufthansa hub in Munich will not be impacted by the strike: Flights to and from Düsseldorf and short-haul flights from and to Frankfurt will also operate as scheduled. Furthermore, flights operated by the Lufthansa Group airlines Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Germanwings, Swiss and Air Dolomiti (OS, SN, 4U, LX, EN) will not be affected either.

This fifth strike action within just four weeks will hit Lufthansa in the busiest air-traffic month of the year. Both the number of scheduled flights as well as capacities are traditionally at their highest level over the year at the end of September. Moreover, it is especially difficult at the end of the month to change crewing rosters and get pilots to volunteer for flights because planning options are restricted by the monthly limits on pilots’ flight-duty hours. Furthermore, Lufthansa is barred from resorting to night flights by the stringent night-flight ban after 11 p.m. at its home base in Frankfurt.

“Even if we manage under these difficult conditions to get more than half our scheduled long-haul flights from Frankfurt off the ground with volunteer crews tomorrow (Tuesday), the walkout will again severely damage our reputation and erode confidence in our airline’s reliability. The VC union’s repeated resort to strike action will damage Lufthansa with unforeseeable consequences for all 120,000 employees, including the pilots”, emphasized Kay Kratky, member of the Lufthansa German Airlines Board with responsibility for Operations and the Frankfurt Hub. “We apologize explicitly for the measures taken by the VC union, which is the only collective bargaining partner at Lufthansa intent on uncompromising and inconsiderate pursuit of its individual interests.”

Copyright Photo: Long-haul flights to the United States are severely impacted today. Airbus A340-642 D-AIHW (msn 972) taxies at Los Angeles.

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Lufthansa’s flight operations return to normal

Lufthansa (Frankfurt) today (September 6) issued this statement:

Lufthansa’s flight operations have returned to normal today (Saturday, September 6) following the six-hour pilots’ strike on Friday evening, which mainly affected the airline’s short- and medium-haul flights to and from Frankfurt. Despite receiving short notice of the proposed strike action by the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) pilots’ union, all the flights envisaged in contingency plans went ahead as scheduled.

On Saturday morning, flights were back on schedule except on routes into and out of Italy: Owing to a strike called by Italian flight controllers between 10.30 and 14.30 hours today (Saturday), twelve flights to and from Italy have had to be cancelled.

As a result of the stoppage staged by the VC union, Lufthansa was forced to cancel 218 short- and medium-haul flights on Friday, which impacted the travel plans of some 26,000 passengers. However, Lufthansa was able to inform most of its passengers about the effects of the strike on the Thursday evening with more than 24,000 SMS alerts and 4,500 emails. Thanks to prompt re-booking, around 5,000 passengers were flown off from other Lufthansa Group hubs in Munich, Zurich, Vienna and Brussels.

During the walkout, 750 passengers accepted the offer to exchange their flight ticket for a train ticket within Germany. As a precautionary measure, Lufthansa had hired 2,200 hotel rooms in the Rhine-Main area, but scarcely half were actually used. For passengers in transit without a visa to enter Germany, Lufthansa and the airport operator Fraport set up about 450 camp beds at the airport but only a dozen or so passengers made use of them. All the passengers held up in Frankfurt because of the strike were flown to their destination in the course of Saturday morning.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A340-642 D-AIHY (msn 987) of Lufthansa arrives at Los Angeles.

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Planely Speaking: Power Shift; Gulf Carriers Threat to Alliance Airlines

Guest Editor Aaron Newman

Guest Editor Aaron Newman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Editor Aaron Newman

Power Shift; Gulf Carriers Threat to Alliance Airlines

By Aaron Newman

There are not many days that go by without seeing news come from the Middle East’s emergent airlines. Emirates Airline (Dubai), Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) and Qatar Airways (Doha) have been populating the headlines with large aircraft orders, launching new routes, new state-of-the art airports, and lavish onboard improvements. These three airlines have made established legacy carriers across the globe uneasy as they present a real threat to the established airlines bottom line. Alliance airlines like British Airways, KLM-Air France, Lufthansa, American and United have long dominated trans-oceanic high-yielding business markets. Are these industry mainstays slowly losing their grip?

Emergence of Gulf CarriersGulf Carriers - Come fly with us

Rapid economic development of Persian Gulf countries in the 1970’s and 80’s were due largely in part of the discovery of vast oil and gas reserves and the growth of OPEC. This caused large amounts of capital to flow into these small Gulf nations. Over time, small oil nations began looking for ways to diversify their country’s portfolio in a fear that oil reserves will eventually run out. These three state owned airlines are now an integral part of their countries respective economies. Qatar Airways for example, claims to count for 11% of the state’s GDP. Supported by friendly regulatory environments, government spending on airport infrastructures, and new, reliable long-haul aircraft, these carriers have transitioned from small regional airlines to global mainstays in a decade’s time.

 

 

Keys to Success

Access to cheap capital; the Gulf States have access to large cash reserves from oil and gas resources. This enables Persian Gulf nations to finance rapid growth, and offers support with airport development and infrastructure.

Graph Source: wsj.comGulf Carriers Taking Off

Regional competition; the Gulf airlines cooperate on many issues but also vigorously compete with each other, creating the need for efficient operations and continual product development to attract new customers.

Geography; the Middle East is ideally placed to link major global population centers. It sits at a cross-road between Europe, Africa and Asia.

Emerging market demand; demand from emerging markets is rising fast as a rapidly growing middle class has the time and money to consider travelling by air for leisure and business. The Gulf is located between the mature economies of Europe and the emerging markets of South East Asia, India, China and Africa.

A New Formidable Opponent

The Gulf airlines have combined home markets of only 7.5 million people, and so must rely on connecting passengers with a hub and spoke system. European airlines have been particularly hard hit by this, watching their natural customers travel on Gulf carriers instead of the country’s national carrier. Christoph Franz, former CEO of Lufthansa Group, highlights the challenging future of his prior company on a new Emirates route from Lisbon to Dubai saying , “we are talking about passengers who until now were primarily attracted by flights from Lisbon to Munich, in order to go on to Asian destinations. At least part of them are not flying via Germany anymore,” he says. “In the beginning we were talking about a competitive threat on paper – now we are talking about reality in our markets” (ft.com).

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Etihad Airways Airbus A340-642 A6-EHF (msn 837) departs from London’s Heathrow Airport.

In a June warning to its investors, Lufthansa cautioned the possibility of downward revisions to the airlines earnings outlook. Chief Financial Officer Simone Menne cited pricing pressure from the Gulf carriers’ expansion into Europe as a major contributing factor. Gulf airlines, which are adding capacity in major European cities such as Paris and London, are also ramping up service in secondary cities like Barcelona and Hamburg. This means that they’re grabbing market share from the European carriers not only at their hubs, but also at their spokes.

Competing on American SoilGulf carriers - Average Age

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gulf three now send nearly 120 large, new planes weekly to a growing number of American cities (WSJ.com). Though the United States and Canada are geographically better positioned than their European counterparts, the Gulf carriers still pose a credible threat. Airlines and governments in North America have been fighting back where they can. In Canada, the government has limited the number of planes that Etihad, Emirates and Qatar can land at its airports–a move to protect Air Canada, and its partner Lufthansa.

Graph Source: Emirates.

“Essentially, these are not airlines—they’re governments,” said Delta CEO Richard Anderson. “They have the ability to gain advantages in markets because profitability doesn’t matter.” He said the U.S. government should revisit its air treaties with other nations to ensure there is “equity” in commerce (wsj.com). Many industry analysts say U.S. opposition has slight chance of slowing down the Gulf carriers in the deregulated era. Washington is unlikely to alienate its Mideast allies, and Boeing, the U.S.’s biggest exporter, gets 10 percent of its wide-body orders from the Gulf carriers.

Looking Into the Future

With a backlog of more than 500 wide body aircraft orders, do not expect these airlines growth to subside. According to a recent report by Credit Suisse, Etihad Airways, Emirates, and Qatar Airways will increase the number of seats offered on their Europe-to-Asia flights between 8 and 18 percent a year between now and 2020 (thefinancialist.com). I believe you will continue to see these airlines enter more secondary markets to grab market share from legacy carriers. I envision cities like Chengdu, Sapporo, Brasilia, and Charlotte N.C. as cities that Gulf carriers will have their eyes on for future growth. With new airports and new aircraft, growth is inevitable; at this point it is not a matter of if Gulf carriers will continue to grow, but it appears to be a matter of when and where.

What can European, Southeast Asian and North American airlines do in response to the new threat to their long-haul business? Airlines must first cut costs. This is critical, particularly for European airlines to remain competitive. For example, Lufthansa needs to reduce costs on flights to Southeast Asia by 40 percent to stay competitive. Another example, according to Credit Suisse, Air France and IAG (British Airways Parent Company) has 30 percent higher unit costs on flights to Southeast Asia than some Asian competitors, Turkish Airlines, and Emirates (thefinancialist.com). Secondly, airlines could reduce route competition and shelter revenue by developing mutual partnerships with the Gulf carriers.  These relationships would make it easier for both Eurasian and North American carriers to get more customers into the Middle East, India and developing nations in Africa with little investment required. As the saying goes; if you can’t beat em,’ join em.’

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Bottom Copyright Photo: Stefan Sjogren/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-861 A6-EDJ (msn 009) of Emirates arrives at London (Heathrow).