CARRY-ON - Page 4

ANA retires the B747

Yesterday ANA ended 35 years of continuous B747 operations, Boeing 747-400D JA8961 operating the final service from Okinawa’s Naha Airport to Tokyo-Haneda where it greased the tarmac for the last time at 15:13 local time.

It also marks the end of passenger 747 operations in Japan, during which ANA and JAL operated every variant of the B747 produced including the -SR and -400D produced specifically to service the high density Japanese market. The 747’s capacity and reliability created a unique niche facilitated by the growing Japanese economy and tourism during the 80s and 90s.

I thought it was a wonderful aircraft. There is no comparison” – ANA’s CEO, Osamu Shinobe.

Squadron 216's last two Tristars taxi out on their final sortie. Image: Alan Huse.

Farewell to the Lockheed L-1011 TriStar

As aviation continues its twin engine march, yesterday marked the end of an era for another Trijet with the RAF formally retiring its final two L-1011-500 series TriStars after 30 years of service.

Departing RAF Brize Norton  for a refuelling sortie over the North Sea before one aircraft conducted ceremonial fly pasts to mark the disbandment of the RAF’s 216 Squadron, formed in 1917 and in operation continuously for 97 years. Only 250 TriStars were manufactured by Lockheed, with the nine L1011s that saw service with 216 Squadron previously operated by British Airways and Pan Am joining the RAF in 1984.

Lockheed L-1011 TriStar prototype during its first flight on November 16, 1970. Image: Air Pictorial magazine, January 1971.

The TriStar began as a request from American Airlines for a widebody aircraft that was smaller than the 747, but offered equivalent range and capacity to the recently retired DC-10. The TriStar was a technical marvel in many areas incorporating aerodynamic, avionics, engine technology and a cabin design that surpassed the market offerings of Boeing and McDonnell Douglas. Continue reading “Farewell to the Lockheed L-1011 TriStar” »


Aviation’s next generation

For years Australia’s aviation industry, indeed the industry worldwide, has tepidly danced around the issue of what to do about the falling number of young people attracted to aviation. It’s not a new issue. But it’s an issue following a repetitive script, with an incomprehensible lack of engagement of the young people walking away to more lucrative careers in other industries.

For an industry that prides itself on innovation and renewal, why are the hangar doors so firmly closed to young people?

My new #AvGenY series launched in March Australian Aviation is about bringing recognition to this incredibly important issue – written from a young perspective. It’s an issue that has been revisited again and again, but never by anyone young – at least that I’ve come across. Every time it’s by a generation seemingly disconnected from the next, believing they know better, but delivering the same conclusions.

I’m part of a generation that is full of ideas, and I believe there’s an amazing opportunity to develop a conversation incorporating as many of these as I can.

The industry is flying through promising times. If it is to grow at the levels IATA and ICAO predict there needs to be serious debate and recognition of the people who will carry it forward.

As the series progresses we want to hear from you by commenting here, on Facebook or Twitter using #AvGenY.

  • What makes it hard to enter the industry?
  • Can we encourage a change in thinking?
  • Do you think young talent is recognised?
  • Is help readily available?
  • Would age quotas help?
  • What role can social media play to attract you?



9M-MRO captured at Singapore. Photo: wikicommons.

*this post will continue to be updated as official information is released.

Latest update Sunday, March 9 AEST18:00.

SAR operation continues across the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea in an unprecedented operation involving the deployment of 22 aircraft and 40 ships from six countries. Today, Malaysia’s DCA also confirmed there is no reason to ground the country’s Boeing 777-200 fleet following the disappearance of the aircraft yesterday.

Latest update at AEST18:25.

Malaysia’s Defence Minister and deputy Transport Minister have confirmed that multiple SAR assets have been deployed in search of missing aircraft 9M-MRO. The assets include Malaysian Navy ships, ships from other Vietnam and China, as well as a Malaysian Air Force Lockheed Martin C-130 and Airbus EC725 helicopters – equipped for combat SAR with electro optical/infrared sensors.

Continue reading “MH370” »

RAAF Centenary Airshow

Got my #avgeek on last weekend at the RAAF’s Centenary Airshow, and thought I’d share some photos of the incredible flying programme and static display that celebrated a centenary of military aviation in Australia. The airshow was held to mark the anniversary of the first Australian military aviation flight undertaken by Lt Eric Hudson of the Central Flying School who took off in a Bristol Boxkite on March 1, 1914.

1H/FY14 Results Day 2: Qantas transforms.

This is a post that will be updated throughout the day as information develops.

The Qantas Group has announced a record half-year PBT loss of $252 million broken down as follows:

  • Domestic a $57 million profit
  • International $262 million loss
  • Loyalty – a record $146 million profit
  • Freight $11 million profit
  • Jetstar Group airlines a $16 million loss
There will be a reduction in headcount of 5,000 staff approximately 16% of the workforce – equivalent to the reductions American Airlines and British Airways made in their transformations.

Qantas will return and lease back its Brisbane terminal resulting in a net gain of $112 million for the business.

There will be a reduction in domestic capacity with A330s redeployed to international services to accelerate B747-400 retiement.

Brisbane and Sydney-Singapore services will be downgraded to A330 aircraft. Melbourne – London services will be permanently re-timed.

B767 retirement will be accelerated with the fleet to be retired by the second half of FY15.

While Jetstar experienced a 2 per cent improvement in unit costs, Jetstar Asia has experienced significant yield, as well as fuel price and foreign exchange pressure in its Asian operations. Growth across its Asian operations will be frozen and the current A320 order book will be renegotiated with Airbus.

The last three of 14 Boeing 787-8 orders for Jetstar will be deferred.

REX Regional Express

1H/FY14 Results Day 1: REX and Sydney Airport.

REX Regional Express

First cab off the rank, and in line with its guidance released earlier in February REX has issued a Profit Before Tax for the six-months to December 31 of AUD$5 million – a 60 per cent decline on 1H FY2013.

Announcing the results in a report entitled “aviation is crisis”, COO Gary Filmer says “the Abbott government needs to take immediate steps to fulfil their election promises to regional aviation outlined in the Coalition’s Policy for Aviation before the irreversible collapse of regional aviation occurs.” Filmer also made it clear that any Federal Government debt guarantee extended to Qantas should be available to the regional airline.

REX attributes its weak performance to the “continuing weak Australian economy”. The airline saw revenue decline 5 per cent to $130.1 million dollars on a load factor decline of 2.7 per cent to an average 54.1 per cent.

REX’s passenger Cost/ASK increased by 0.5 per cent, with the airline also experiencing an increase in the proportion of total cost attributed to fuel. However, overall the airline’s cost control programme saw a decline in total cost by $200,000 to $ 103.1 million.

Sydney Airport

Sydney Airport today released its 2013 full year results to December 31, announcing a Profit Before Tax of $126 million on the back of a small increase in revenue to $1.139 billion.

Aeronautical revenue grew delivering 49 per cent or $548 million of total revenue after a 4.1 per cent increase in international passengers drove capacity additions by more than half of the 36 international airlines serving Sydney. Retail revenue was also strong, following increases in retail space in T1 and T2.

The airport reiterated its potential to handle capacity growth and its ongoing airport investment programme as the airport fights an impending, but again delayed decision, on a second Sydney Airport.

Now we all wait with baited breath for Air New Zealand’s expected profit and Qantas’ half-year catastrophe. Friday it’s Virgin Australia’s turn. In the meantime here is a reminder of last year’s full year performance.

Image: George Lau

ETOPS in action: Perth – Mauritius

I thought a recent flight from Perth to Mauritius provided a great basis to highlight the impact of ETOPS restrictions on airline operations in the Southern Hemisphere.

There is no trans-polar or oceanic route in the Northern Hemisphere that requires more than ETOPS 240 approval (four hours from flying time from a suitable airfield), and more than 90% of routes require no more than ETOPS 180.

ETOPS speed schedules are designed assuming a MTOW at departure with highest gross weight and enroute weather conditions at critical points enroute determining diversion speed and endurance. Speeds vary by operator, and other factors including carriage of additional passenger oxygen allowing operations at an intermediate level above FL140 are also taken into account.

Down south ETOPS restrictions have arguably a much greater operational impact as this Perth – Mauritius sector highlights.

Air Mauritius’ previous A340 operation to Australia tracked along a flight path relatively close to the great circle routing (see map below). Now operated by its A330-200 fleet – approved for ETOPS 180 (for arguments sake roughly 1,000nm) – the aircraft must track significantly to the north of the great circle route. Flying north-west after departing Perth to remain within diversion flying time of Learmonth, the Cocos Islands and then Diego Garcia, before tracking to the south-west for Mauritius.

The result is a longer flight time – the previous 8:30 minute block time westbound, is now an 8:30 minute flight time – approximately 45 minutes to one hour longer airborne.

The associated impact on flight economics is substantial as Virgin Australia learnt the hard way in its brief foray into Boeing 777-300ER operations between Melbourne and Johannesburg. To remain with ETOPS 180 restrictions the 777 operated a more northerly, inefficient routing – maps of westbound and eastbound flights – resulting in a flight time 1:15 longer than Qantas’ 14 hour Sydney – Johannesburg service.

The lightest grey shade on the map indicates ETOPS 180 limits. If Air Mauritius were to gain approval for ETOPS 207 or even 240 it would allow a more efficient southerly routing. But would you really be comfortable knowing you are that far from land on the off chance your Royce does stop Rolling.




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.” »

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