British Airways hits a building at OR Tambo, South Africa

imageA British Airways Boeing 747-400 bound for London crashed last night into a building at OR Tambo Intl. in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Images obtained from Twitter show the aircraft was taxiing when its right wing sliced a brick building next to the taxiway.

An airport ‘s spokesman confirmed the airplane has been damaged an that there were no injuries among the passengers and crew.

The flight was cancelled.

Capt. Ivan

Preliminary Investigations Reveal that the Pilot Crashed “deliberately” the Mozambican EMB190

A preliminary investigation has revealed that a Mozambican Airlines captain, whose plane went down in Namibia in November, had a clear intention of crashing the aircraft.

Captain Herminio dos Santos Fernandes manipulated the autopilot in a way which “denotes a clear intention” to bring the plane down, said Mozambican Civil Aviation Institute (IACM) head Joao Abreu on Saturday.

LAM Mozambique Airlines Flight 470 was an Embraer 190 on a scheduled passenger flight from to Quatro de Fevereiro Airport, Angola. All 33 people, including 6 crew members, who were on board the aircraft were killed.

Dos Santos Fernandes locked himself in the cockpit, ignored alarm signals and refused to allow his co-pilot back into the flight deck until moments before the crash.

“During these actions you can hear low and high-intensity alarm signals and repeated beating against the door with demands to come into the cockpit,” Abreu was quoted as saying by state news agency AIM.

Dos Santos Fernandes also manually changed the aircraft’s altitude three times from 11,582 metres to 180 metres.

Airbrake parameters showed the spoilers, and aerodynamic resistance plates on the wings, were deployed and held in that position until the end of the recordings, which proved the throttle was manually controlled, according to Abreu.

“The plane fell with the pilot alert and the reasons which may have given rise to this behaviour are unknown,” said Abreu.

Dos Santos Fernandes had logged 9,053 flight hours, his licence was renewed in 2012 and he underwent a medical exam last September.

The passengers were from Mozambique, Angola, Portugal, Brazil, France and China.

This accident is the deadliest for Mozambique since a plane carrying then-president Samora Machel went down in 1986 in South Africa following an African leaders’ summit and killed an estimated 34 people.

The European Union banned Mozambican Airlines (LAM) and all air carriers certified in Mozambique from flying in its airspace in 2011 due to major concerns over safety.

Capt. Ivan

Photo: AP

AirAsia X orders 25 more A330-300s

20131220-214357.jpgAirAsia X, the long haul affiliate of the AirAsia Group, has placed a firm order with Airbus for 25 more A330-300s. The contract is the largest A330 order received by Airbus in a single purchase agreement and increases the carrier’s total firm orders for the type to 51. These will be supplemented by another six A330-300s leased from International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC).

AirAsia X will start taking delivery of its newly-ordered A330-300s in 2015 as it begins a major expansion of its network across the Asia-Pacific region. The new order includes the latest extended range versions of the A330-300, providing the carrier with the ability to offer non-stop service to destinations in Europe or one-stop service to the US.
Tan Sri’ Tony Fernandes, Co-Founder and Director of AirAsia X said, “This order stamps our firm intent to dominate the long-haul, low cost carrier space and marks the next phase in our development to be the undisputed global market leader. Our commitment would allow us to remain as the youngest wide body fleet age in the region at under five years throughout 2019, with corresponding competitive fuel efficiency, reliability and cabin comfort benefits.”

“The aircraft orders would further cater to our expansion plans in Malaysia, and the proposed new Thai AirAsia X hub as well as other long-haul ventures planned across Asia. The developments will complement the AirAsia Group’s long-term vision of developing its presence in key markets in Asia and strengthen the connectivity between long-haul and short-haul low-cost network.”
“AirAsia X has proven that it is possible to build a highly successful low cost long haul business,” said Fabrice Brégier President and CEO, Airbus. “And the A330 is the perfect platform for such operations, with the lowest operating costs, true long range flying capability and a proven track record of exceptional technical reliability. We look forward to working with AirAsia X as it continues to innovate in the low cost long haul market.”

AirAsia X currently operates 16 A330-300s on services linking its Kuala Lumpur base to destinations in Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific. In addition to A330s, the carrier also has 10 A350-XWB aircraft on order for future delivery.

Source: Airbus Media Room

Cathay Pacific Orders 21 Boeing 777-9X

Cathay Pacific said Friday it has ordered 21 long-haul Boeing 777-9X planes at a list price of $7.48 billion dollars, as the Hong Kong carrier modernises its fleet off the back of disappointing earnings this year.

The yet-to-be launched 777X series is Boeing’s newest member of the 777 family, with advanced technology including composite wings and new engines that Boeing says consume 20 percent less fuel than today’s model.

“The 777-9X promises us improved payload range capability and reduced operating costs, in addition to a significant reduction in environmental emissions,” the airline’s chief executive John Slosar said in a statement.
“Cathay Pacific is committed to modernising its fleet to provide a superior experience to passengers,” Slosar said, adding that the airline was “delighted to be an early customer” for the next generation aircraft.
The airline said the planes, which will seat up to 400 passengers and will be delivered between 2021 and 2024, were ideal for long-haul destinations in North America and Europe.

“The huge investment we are making in new aircraft underscores… our commitment to maintaining Hong Kong’s position as one of the world’s great aviation hubs,” Slosar said.
This year, Cathay took delivery of six new aircraft in the first six months, including two Airbus A330-300s, three Boeing 777-300ERs, and one Boeing 747-8F freighter.

It has increased daily services to popular destinations such as London, Los Angeles, New York and Toronto.

The airline Emirates placed an order in November for 150 Boeing 777X aircraft — 35 777-8Xs and 115 of the larger 777-9X variant, in a contract the Dubai-based carrier said was valued at $76 billion.

Boeing said the Emirates orders were commitments worth $55.6 billion.

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways last month placed an order for 25 777X passenger jets, including 17 777-9X models and eight 777-8Xs.

Capt Ivan

Electrical Motors for Taxi on the Airbus?

Safran-Honeywell EGTS - Airbus A320-212As part of on-going research and development into future technology options, Airbus has signed a memorandum with EGTS International, a joint venture company between Safran and Honeywell Aerospace, to further develop and evaluate an autonomous electric pushback and taxiing solution for the A320 Family – referred to by Airbus as eTaxi. This option would allow the aircraft to push-back from the gate without a tug, taxi-out to the runway, and return to the gate after landing without operating the main engines.

eTaxi will use the aircraft’s Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) to power electric motors fitted to the main landing gear wheels. The architecture will include the ability for pilots to keep full control from the cockpit over their aircraft’s speed and direction during taxi operations. 


Olivier Savin, EGTS Programme Vice President, Safran said: “We are extremely pleased to strengthen our relationship with Airbus, a key customer and industry leader in innovation. Through this agreement we are creating the ideal context to collaborate to best utilize our own landing gear systems expertise to develop a green taxiing solution for the A320 Family.”


Daniel Baubil, Airbus EVP, Head of A320 Family Programme said: “Today Airbus delivers the world’s most eco-efficient single-aisle aircraft – the A320 Family. This is the result of our permanent research for innovative enhancements to make our aircraft even more efficient and capable.” He adds: “We therefore look forward to working with our EGTS International expert partners – Honeywell and Safran – with whom we share the common view that the A320 Family is a natural fit for an electric taxiing capability.”

The eTaxi option will offer several operational and environmental benefits for the A320 Family:

  • Per trip, the projected fuel savings and CO2 reductions would be approximately four percent;
  • It would contribute to significantly more efficient taxiing operations and save around two minutes of time on pushback;
  • Taxiing-related carbon and nitrous oxide emissions would be cut by more than half.

Over the next few months the partners will jointly develop and present a global commercial case and implementation plan to determine the feasibility of an electric taxiing solution for the A320 Family. To this end, Airbus and EGTS International are reinforcing their existing teams to finalize validation studies, define specifications and converge on market requirements for a fully tailored forward-fit and retrofit technological solution.

Capt. Ivan

American Airlines CEO ask Employees to Decide the New Tail Design

Future American AirlinesNow that the merger between US Airways and American Airlines has been completed, there is still a question that American employees must answer:

  • Do you like the previous or the new tail livery design of our airplanes?

In a newsletter sent to employees on Monday, CEO Doug Parker asked them to decide the look of the American Airlines tail design.

“I think the newly painted aircraft look extremely nice and have heard the same from many of you,” Parker said. “So, we aren’t going to mess with the fuselage. That just leaves the tail.”  Parker said he personally likes both designs and is open to the choice made by employees.

American Airlines posted the announcement that employees would make the decision on their Twitter account later in the evening.

Employees have until January 2 to choose between the original logo with a blue eagle between a red ‘A’ and blue ‘A’ or the new American flag design.

Capt. Ivan

Asiana Airlines’ first Airbus A380 performs its maiden flight

A380_Asiana_landing_02Asiana Airlines’ first A380 has successfully completed its maiden flight. The A380 flew on Friday from Airbus’ facilities in Toulouse, France to the aircraft manufacturer’s site in Hamburg, Germany, where it will undergo painting and cabin furnishing.

Asiana Airlines will become the twelfth operator of the A380 when it takes delivery of its first aircraft in the second quarter of 2014. The airline has firm orders for six A380s and will operate the aircraft on its primary routes from Seoul to the US.

Source:  Airbus – Press Release

Nok Air and Scoot get together to create a new Airline

Nok Air - Boeing 737-800

Thailand’s Nok Air and Singapore’s Scoot plan to set up a new budget carrier in Bangkok amid growing demand for low-cost travel in the region.

The airline, will be called NokScoot and operate on medium and long-haul routes.

Both companies will make an initial joint investment of S$80m ($64m, £39m)

Nok Air, which is Thailand’s second-largest budget carrier, will own up to 51% of the venture.

Nok Air Chief Executive Officer Patee Sarasin said they were “excited” at expanding overseas.

“It has always been Nok’s goal to offer Thais more choice and more value, of which this venture is yet another example. We’re also excited at the opportunity to encourage more inbound tourists, to boost the Thai economy,” he said.

Scoot Airlines - Boeing 777-300Scoot Chief Executive Officer Campbell Wilson added: “Thailand is Asia’s premier tourist destination and logical hub for Scoot to expand to.”

Rival budget carrier Tiger Airways also announced plans on Monday to form a new low-cost airline, this time in Taiwan.

It plans to set up Tigerair Taiwan through a joint venture with China Airlines, Taiwan’s biggest carrier.

Tigerair said it would hold a 10% stake in the new company, which is aimed at tapping the budget-conscious travel market in North Asia.

Tiger Airways, which is majority-owned by Singapore Airlines, also announced an agreement to enhance connectivity between flights with India’s Spicejet, and to form a partnership with Scoot.

Shares in Singapore-listed Tiger Airways rose by about 3%, bucking an overall drop in the broader market.

 Source:  BBC News

Time is Up for Qantas

The australian government cannot fix the commercial disaster of Qantas. The airline is in crisis and in need of radical surgery and the first partial limb to be harvested and auctioned to the highest bidder will undoubtedly be its lucrative Frequent Flyer program.

The next might be the budget carrier Jetstar. Qantas will retain some stake but the company has little choice but to engage in a giant hangar sale.

Despite its impeccable airline safety record, from a financial perspective Qantas is careering towards a crash. It has endured numerous external shocks since it was privatised in the early 1990s – the bombing of the World Trade Centre, SARS, the global financial crisis and the industrial relations-inspired grounding of the fleet.

But it now faces its first operating loss in the six months to the end of December. Qantas is solvent but bleeding at the rate of up to $300 million per half year, and these losses could deepen.

Qantas has so far survived most of the external shocks, but has been felled by simple competition.

Despite the rhetoric, times in the airline industry have been far tougher than they are today.

Tourism statistics show that even though consumer confidence is low we are still spending plenty on travel and holidays.

But the emergence of a fierce and well-funded competitor in Virgin Australia has knocked Qantas around and exposed the strategic mistakes of the dominant carrier which refused to budge from its position of holding 65 per cent of the local market. Instead, it added more capacity into the local market – running flights that too often were only two-thirds full. It was outfoxed by Virgin.

Any rescue for the carrier will come with a fair share of pain and dislocation. More than 1000 jobs will be lost, costs will be slashed and local maintenance facilities closed.

The heady days of Qantas financing the colonisation of Asian destinations like Hong Kong and Japan using the Jetstar brand must be reined in. The new strategy is austerity. But this won’t be enough.

The clock is ticking for the increasingly out-of-favour chief executive Alan Joyce, who needs to raise money and fast. His first port of call was the government but following an initial burst of interest from Joe Hockey, the trail to Canberra lost some heat. There are still conversations about debt guarantees but there is nothing like a political uniformity of view.

The door may be open for some changes to foreign ownership down the track but Qantas’s current problems are more urgent.

The airline needed the government to stop its competitor, Virgin, from raising money to continue to finance a market share war. Joyce was never going to receive that Christmas present.

Qantas must fix its own problems, which is what management is paid well to do. Another option would be for Qantas to seek fresh funds from its shareholders, but the money wouldn’t come cheap and Joyce is loath to go there.

With the share price hovering just above $1, an equity issue would have to be discounted deeply below that level.

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China Enforces Airline Pilots to be CAT II Qualified

Starting from Jan 1, 2014, flight crews operating into Beijing’s International Airport, one the nation’s 10 busiest must be ILS Cat II Approach qualified to land when visibility falls below 400 meters.

The new requirement will be applied only to China based airlines and is part of the effort of the Civil Aviation Authority of China to improve on-time performance in an area where one for four flights is delayed due to low visibility and airspace congestion.  Low visibility caused by smoke has delayed more than 200 flights in a 24 hour period at Shanghai airport.

In January, Beijing suffered its worst bout of air pollution with PM2.5 readings hitting at least 886. Shanghai’s air pollution index surged to a record 482 on Dec. 6 into the “severe” level, the highest of a six-tier rating system. The haze also caused traffic congestion the nation’s commercial hub as the government took emergency steps such as ordering cars off the road and factories to cut production.

Capt. Ivan

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