Tag Archives: Airbus A330-243

Hainan Airlines to launch new flights from Beijing to Dublin and Edinburgh in June

Hainan Airlines Airbus A330-243 B-6133 (msn 982) FCO (Marco Finelli). Image: 937169.

Hainan Airlines held a press conference at the Irish Embassy in Beijing, announcing the launch of new nonstop flight services between Beijing, Dublin and Edinburgh, scheduled to start on June 12. The routes, which are the first direct flights offered from Beijing to Dublin and Edinburgh, will be serviced by an Airbus A330 wide-body aircraft on every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Hainan Airlines’ Beijing-Dublin-Edinburgh Flight Schedule:

Flight No.



Departure City

Departure Time

Arrival Time

Arrival City





 1:30 am

6:00 am






 8:00 am

9:10 am






11:10 am

5:00 am +1






 1:30 am

6:00 am






 8:00 am

9:10 am






11:10 am

5:00 am +1


Copyright Photo: Hainan Airlines Airbus A330-243 B-6133 (msn 982) FCO (Marco Finelli). Image: 937169.

Hainan Airlines aircraft slide show:



South African Airways takes “urgent steps” and remains optimistic

South African Airways Airbus A330-243 ZS-SXV (msn 1249) JNB (Paul Denton). Image: 910169.

South African Airways is taking drastic steps to reduce losses and turn around the flag carrier. The airline will continue to cut or reduce loss-making routes. SAA will also continue to transfer aircraft to lower-cost subsidiary Mango.

The airline has issued this statement:

The board and management of South African Airways are taking urgent steps to address issues raised by the Auditor-General’s office in its 2016-17 audit report, and remains optimistic about the airline’s future.

“The board of SAA has noted and accepted the Auditor General’s report,” says CEO Vuyani Jarana. “The majority of the airline’s operations are sound, and we are building on this to ensure we break the loss-making cycle and transform the airline into a viable and sustainable entity.

“The board has developed and approved a clear strategy and five-year plan to turn the airline around, and we are working closely with the board and the shareholder to ensure we succeed.

“SAA has had many previous turnaround strategies which have not been implemented before. This time it is different: we believe the vision outlined by the board is absolutely correct, and are committed to ensuring it is put into practice.

“We need a clean break with the past and a new approach to the future, and that is precisely what we are doing. We are acting with urgency to ensure the viability and sustainability of this crucial national asset,” says Jarana.

Jarana points out that the AG’s report was the first since the Auditor General was appointed as SAA’s auditors, having been appointed as part of the airline’s commitment to audit firm rotation. The report released last week covers the financial year ending March 2017, and Jarana says it has “provided a fresh pair of eyes, particularly as the team went a number of years back where required to establish an appropriate baseline.”

“The AG has given us a comprehensive diagnosis into key areas of our business and this has provided deep insights which will contribute to a fit for purpose group of businesses.”

The AG’s report forms part of SAA’s Integrated Report along with financial results for FY2016/2017, which are due to be announced later this month. The airline has incurred a net loss of R5, 569 billion (2015/2016: R1, 478 billion) and expects that its financial situation will not be much different for FY2017/2018.

However, a number of significant steps have already been taken as part of the turnaround strategy, with the clear aim of taking SAA to profitability in the medium-term.

The five-year plan and strategy require support and funding by the shareholder. The board and the shareholder are currently evaluating the appropriate terms for such support.

The immediate focus of the strategy is on liquidity management, balance sheet restructuring, cost management as well as revenue optimisation, which are intended to stem the losses and drive profitability.

Key steps already taken include:
·       Improving governance by strengthening the board and its structures.
·       Injecting R10-billion capital into SAA to improve its balance sheet.
·       Addressing the leadership vacuum by filling key executive vacancies.
·       Bringing in a depth of aviation skills by hiring the Chief Restructuring Officer (CRO).
·       Implementing key market-facing initiatives aimed at stopping ongoing losses.

Furthermore, network optimisation has been implemented on the domestic, regional, and international route network to improve yields.

The London route will be served by an upgraded product and reduced to a single daily service.

These network changes are necessary as SAA’s route network remains under intense scrutiny with clear defined minimum profit margin target at route and network level. A change hub has been setup as command centre for implementation of the change initiatives.

The R10-billion capital injection from National Treasury late last year has helped restructure the balance sheet and improve SAA’s equity position.

“However, it is important to note that SAA has never been properly capitalised, and any company has a defined maximum debt capacity beyond which debt becomes a burden. We need to do more and work closely with the shareholder to find lasting solutions that will materially improve SAA’s equity position,” says Jarana.

“Notwithstanding all the financial challenges facing SAA, it remains a well-recognised and respected brand in the aviation industry. We have a great reputation and track record for passenger safety and our on-time performance is among the best in the aviation industry, as well as numerous air travel recognition awards.

“We can assure our suppliers, creditors, customers, trade partners and the rest of our stakeholders that the shareholder, the board and management are doing everything practically possible to address SAA’s financial status and to transform the airline’s financial, commercial, and strategic position.

“The board and shareholder are determined to build a financially sustainable airline,” concludes Jarana.

Copyright Photo: South African Airways Airbus A330-243 ZS-SXV (msn 1249) JNB (Paul Denton). Image: 910169.

South African Airways aircraft slide show:

Fiji Airways and Alaska Airlines expand their partnership with a codeshare agreement

Fiji Airways (2nd) Airbus A330-243 DQ-FJV (msn 1465) AKL (Colin Hunter). Image: 923791.

Fiji Airways, Fiji’s National Airline, and Alaska Airlines have expanded their current partnership by signing a codeshare agreement on flights from San Francisco to two popular US cities. The codeshare agreement enables Fiji Airways to place its “FJ” code on Alaska Airlines’ flights from SFO to Seattle (SEA) and Portland (PDX), offering Fiji Airways guests seamless connections to these cities via San Francisco, and vice-versa for Alaska Airlines’ guests. The codeshare flights will be available for sale from March 5, 2018.

Both airlines have an existing frequent flyer partnership, where members of Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan program earn and redeem miles for travel on “FJ” flight numbers.


Fiji Airways operates directly from Nadi (Fiji) to San Francisco on Thursday and Sunday all year-round (with three flights a week in January, June, July, August and December). Fiji Airways also flies daily between Nadi and Los Angeles, and three times a week between Nadi and Honolulu. The airline now has 11 codeshare agreements with partner airlines around the world.

Copyright Photo: Fiji Airways (2nd) Airbus A330-243 DQ-FJV (msn 1465) AKL (Colin Hunter). Image: 923791.

Fiji Airways aircraft slide show:

Virgin Australia announces Sydney – Hong Kong flights

Virgin Australia Airlines Airbus A330-243 VH-XFB (msn 372) SYD (John Adlard). Image: 912544.

Virgin Australia on February 28 announced plans to launch flights between Sydney and Hong Kong, increasing the airline’s presence into Greater China.

Subject to authorization, Virgin Australia plans to operate daily return services between the two cities with its dual aisle Airbus A330-200 aircraft, featuring ‘The Business’, which has been named the world’s best Business Class for two consecutive years1.

The announcement comes just seven months after Virgin Australia commenced its inaugural flights to Hong Kong from Melbourne, bringing choice and competition on this route.


Virgin Australia plans to commence services between Sydney and Hong Kong in mid-2018, subject to relevant approvals.

Sydney to Hong Kong Schedule3

Route Flight Number Dep/Arr Day of the Week
SYD-HKG VA89 1000/1740 Mon, Tues, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun
HKG-SYD VA88 1950/0710 (+1) Mon, Tues, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun

Melbourne to Hong Kong Schedule (effective mid-2018)

Route Flight Number Dep/Arr Day of the Week
MEL-HKG VA85 0030/0810 Mon, Tues, Thu, Sat, Sun
HKG-MEL VA84 1810/0540 (+1) Tues, Thu, Sat, Sun
HKG-MEL VA84 1915/0645 (+1) Mon

Photo Above: Virgin Australia Airlines.

1‘The Business’ was named Best Business Class 2017 and 2018 by global ratings agency, AirlineRatings.com.

2 According to Tourism Australia’s Greater China Country Profile.

3 Subject to authorization.

Top Copyright Photo: Virgin Australia Airlines Airbus A330-243 VH-XFB (msn 372) SYD (John Adlard). Image: 912544.

Virgin Australia aircraft slide show:

Gulf Air unveils its strategy and plans for 2018 and beyond, new livery coming

Gulf Air Airbus A330-243 A9C-KC (msn 286) (Grand Prix 2015) LHR (SPA). Image: 934749.

Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, hosted an event gathering key government officials, dignitaries, trade and corporate partners, Falconflyer members, the airline’s workforce and media outlets from across the Kingdom. At the event, H.E. Mr. Zayed Bin Rashid Alzayani, Chairman of Gulf Air’s Board of Directors welcomed attendees and introduced Gulf Air Chief Executive Officer Mr. Krešimir Kučko. Mr. Kučko rolled out the airline’s new corporate strategy, 2018 network expansion plans to 8 new routes, details surrounding Gulf Air’s incoming fleet and new, best in class products and services among other positive developments.

Photo Above: Gulf Air.

Gulf Air recently carried out a strategic 360 degree assessment of its business. This included looking into how the airline can best nurture and develop its network, fleet, product, workforce, customers and much more. At the event, Mr. Kučko unveiled the airline’s new corporate strategy for 2018 and beyond, outlining its key pillars. They are: Safety, Network Growth, Innovation, Human Resources, Customer Focus, Revenue Vs Cost and most significantly the national carrier’s role as a contributor and key driver of the local economy as it promotes the Kingdom of Bahrain globally and operates as its ambassador worldwide.

In the coming months, Gulf Air’s highly anticipated incoming fleet of 39 new Boeing and Airbus aircraft will commence delivery. A total of 7 new aircraft, 5 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and 2 Airbus A320neo aircraft, will enter the airline’s fleet before the end of the year.

With this development, major positive change is on the horizon. Gulf Air’s new fleet will be outfitted with superior on-board products and services (some of the best in class: seats, Inflight Entertainment and much more). With aspirations to be best in class across both its wide and narrow body fleet, Gulf Air’s new business class offering will compete with the first class standard of other airlines while its economy class product will afford enhanced onboard comfort.

The airline plans major network expansion coinciding with its new aircraft deliveries. Gulf Air will add eight new destinations to its network this year. In India, its current operations to Delhi, Chennai, Kochi, Mumbai, Trivandrum and Hyderabad, will be enhanced by flights to Bangalore and Calicut. Gulf Air will also commence flights to the Saudi Arabian cities of Abha and Tubuk. This will expand its Saudi Arabia operations to complement its current service to Dammam, Riyadh, Madina Al Munawarah, Jeddah and Gassim. Gulf Air’s Cairo operations will be supplemented by direct flights to Alexandria and flights to Sharm El Shaikh. The airline will also launch operations to Baku in Azerbaijan and to Casablanca in Morocco.

Alongside this, frequency changes to key routes in 2018 will enhance Gulf Air’s offering of seamless movement to and from the Kingdom of Bahrain – and across its network. Gulf Air will increase its flights during the peak summer period by 200 more weekly flights compared to 2017.

Mr. Kučko also spoke of upcoming plans to rollout a new brand identity very soon. The new look and feel for Gulf Air will, alongside its new fleet, new network, new products and services, represent the “Gulf Air of tomorrow”.

Shedding light on the national carrier’s more long term development he elaborated that the airline’s planned strategic growth in the years 2019-2023 will see it strengthening its regional base and then supplementing that with an expanded network that will reach various points across the globe. This includes: Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, the Indian Subcontinent and, ultimately, North America. By 2023 Gulf Air’s reach will have expanded to over 60 destinations.

Top Copyright Photo: The Airbus A330-200s will be gradually replaced with the new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and will not be repainted. Gulf Air Airbus A330-243 A9C-KC (msn 286) (Grand Prix 2015) LHR (SPA). Image: 934749.

Gulf Air aircraft slide show:


Garuda Indonesia maintains its 5-Star Airline Ranking by Skytrax

Garuda Indonesia Airways Airbus A330-243 PK-GPK (msn 1028) NRT (Michael B. Ing). Image: 907728.

Garuda Indonesia has been Certified as a 5-Star Airline for 2018 by Skytrax, the international air transport rating organisation, during an Award Ceremony held today at the Changi Exhibition Center, Singapore Airshow 2018. This was the fourth consecutive year that Garuda Indonesia has been certified in this elite group of global airlines.

The 5-Star certification process is carried out through the “Skytrax Audit” process, with detailed assessment points covering every flight aspect, from pre-flight to in-flight and through to post-flight; such as quality of passenger service at the airport, quality of the waiting room, the comfort of the cabin, the inflight meal, the in-flight entertainment, to the service by the cabin crew.

Today, there are only 10 (Ten) Five Star Airliners from a total of 200 airlines worldwide. There are Garuda Indonesia, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Asiana Airlines, All Nippon Airlines (ANA), Hainan Airlines and Lufthansa.

In order to strengthen the company’s financial and operational performance, Garuda Indonesia and its subsidiaries work to a long-term business strategy entitled Garuda Indonesia Group, Sky Beyond 3.5, with a goal of being a value-driven aviation group with an achievement of 3.5 billion USD target on 2020 .

In addition, Garuda Indonesia’s subsidiary Citilink Indonesia (below) also attained a 4-Star Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) Airline certificate from Skytrax .

The 4-Star Rating has become a major milestone for Citilink Indonesia and the Garuda Indonesia Group, considering Citilink Indonesia is the first Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) Airline in Asia which has successfully attained the certification.

Top Copyright Photo: Garuda Indonesia Airways Airbus A330-243 PK-GPK (msn 1028) NRT (Michael B. Ing). Image: 907728.

Garuda Indonesia aircraft slide show:

Citilink aircraft slide show:

Bottom Copyright Photo: Citilink-Garuda Indonesia Airways Airbus A320-251N WL PK-GTD (msn 7587) CGK (Michael B. Ing). Image: 938393.

Citilink-Garuda Indonesia Airways Airbus A320-251N WL PK-GTD (msn 7587) CGK (Michael B. Ing). Image: 938393.


Etihad Airways expands services to Nigeria

Etihad Airways Airbus A330-243 A6-EYD (msn 658) CGK (Michael B. Ing). Image: 934021.

Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) will add two additional weekly flights on the Abu Dhabi – Lagos route.

The new Tuesday and Thursday services will start on May 1, 2018. The route will continue to be operated by a two-class Airbus A330, with 22 Business Class seats and 240 in Economy.

Copyright Photo: Etihad Airways Airbus A330-243 A6-EYD (msn 658) CGK (Michael B. Ing). Image: 934021.

Etihad Airways aircraft slide show: