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A record breaker retires

After a final celebration in Qantas’ Hangar 96 in a few hours Qantas’ first B747-438 VH-OJA ‘City of Canberra’ will touch down in Los Angeles ending 25 years, three months and 20 days of commercial service. Holding a distance record, only surpassed by Boeing’s 777-200LR record in 2005, and speed record that it still holds, -OJA […]

V Australia 777. Image: Gavin (777 freak) on flickr

Virgin Australia: A decade of international services.

Today marks ten years since Virgin Australia (Blue at the time) launched it’s first international flight, DJ007 between Christchurch and Brisbane on January 29, 2004.

Across the Tasman, Virgin’s competitive bullseye wasn’t locked squarely on the Qantas Group, it was also taking on a newly relaunched and reinvigorated Air New Zealand in its highest yielding market place. Pacific Blue grew quickly, leveraging the opportunity to develop reliable low-cost air services to the remote, developing islands of the Pacific, an area of the world that couldn’t support the high-cost operation of either national carrier.

Virgin’s long-haul ambitions came to fruition in 2009 – the worst time to launch an international airline, but it had little choice – with the launch of V Australia services to the US.

Continue reading “Virgin Australia: A decade of international services.” »

A350 takeoff at La Paz. Image: estebaneid on flickr.

The weekly rollerboard 19 January: A350 special

The A350XWB flight test campaign continues in earnest, and with more than 850 flight hours now logged it’s time I wrote an update. I was following the campaign and the CSeries more closely in the initial stages, but the number of great resources available online meant I took a bit of back seat.

Flexible limits

The static test frame MSN5000 has now successfully completed ultimate wing load testing reaching a five metre deflection the wing, subjecting the wing to loads to 1.5 times greater than expected in service life. Strains were measured by 10,000 measurement channels which correlate load information against structural design models.

The ultimate load is the beyond which the wing is expected to fail, and is calculated at 2.5 times the maximum expected G load. As the Airbus Fly By Wire system limits G loads to +2.5G or +3.5G in a reversion to Direct Law, the ultimate load could be higher than 7.5G. Continue reading “The weekly rollerboard 19 January: A350 special” »

Looking to the sky in 2014.

Our 2013 retrospective, and Airbus breaking with tradition on A350 MSN2 , inspired me to take a look at what this dynamic industry might have in-store for 2014:

A350 MSN2 the first test aircraft to be fitted with a full cabin interior in its new carbon fibre scheme. Image: Airbus SAS.

CASA Regulation
Some big regulatory changes will take place in 2014. In particular, CASA will need to guide the Australia’s airlines on the use of Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) following changes to regulatory legislation by the FAA in the US and EASA in Europe. Currently Australian carriers are self regulating in this respect, but moving independently as a way to gain competitive advantage will only create headaches for crew in enforcing use on-board.

 

Image: Graham Cook

Domestic capacity
The war will continue until the end of the first half, bringing further revenue pressure to the Qantas and Virgin groups. Qantas has invested too much the public rhetoric behind in its strategy, to back away now would look like it was giving in. Not the best market image to present given its current financial position. Expect the Federal Government to make small changes to the level of single foreign ownership to the Qantas Sale Act.

 

 

 

Sydney Airport
The political future of Tony Abbott’s Government depends on their ability to deliver a courageous bipartisan policy decision. With a promise of a decision, a ‘government of no surprises’ will now need to deliver with a real commitment on Badgery’s Creek. This will come as a stage 1 single runway development, with no rail connection, because Abbott’s made it clear he doesn’t like trains. Also expect a change to the slot caps at Sydney Airport, starting with the 05:00-06:00am landing window.

Continue reading “Looking to the sky in 2014.” »

Air New Zealand's first aircraft - A320 ZK-OXB - in the carrier's new fern livery. Image: Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand’s new fern takes to the sky.

  Air New Zealand has unveiled its first aircraft – an Airbus A320 registered ZK-OXB – to be painted in carrier’s bold new monochromatic fern livery. The livery is the second iteration of Air New Zealand’s new corporate branding first revealed in July 2012, and part of a substantial NZD$20 million marketing campaign with Tourism […]

Will Qantas and Emirates partner with Air Pacific or will Etihad and Virgin Australia move in?

Is Emirates or Etihad one step closer to the Pacific?

The ambitions of Emirates and Etihad were given a boost this week, with Fiji and the UAE signing their first bilateral air service agreement. Apparently, Emirates had requested an open skies agreement, but the Fijian government declined reasoning that they want the national carrier Air Pacific/Fiji Airways to first become ‘stronger’. The Fijian government is […]