Qantas Fleet Review: A different look at an all Boeing affair.

What are you looking at?

Qantas’ Sydney Jet Base hosted a Qantas Group fleet review on the weekend to showcase Jetstar’s new Boeing 787-8. An all Boeing affair, on display were 717 VH-NXG, 737-800 VH-XZB, 747-400 VH-OJM, 767-300ER VH-OGG, and 787-8 VH-VKA, with unprecedented access to explore the aircraft.

Continue reading “Qantas Fleet Review: A different look at an all Boeing affair.” »

Air New Zealand’s 767s heading south for summer.

Air New Zealand Boeing 767-319ER ZK-NCJ. Image: Les Bushell.

On October 5 Air New Zealand is returning to Antartica. The carrier has been invited by Antartica New Zealand to conduct a Boeing 767-300ER route proving flight from Auckland to the blue ice runway at Pegasus Field, McMurdo Sound in Antartica to test the suitability of potential charter services.

If successful the route proving flight could be followed by an additional two services this summer season.

The Boeing 767 brings a “fundamental change” in capabilities; alongside a higher payload, the 767 is able to operate the approximately 4,500 km route return to Auckland without refueling Continue reading “Air New Zealand’s 767s heading south for summer.” »

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 New Zealand. The new livery, of which there will eventually also be a black version, features the official New Zealand fern mark in harmony with the airline’s Koru logo.

In a media release Air New Zealand says, “while most of the fleet will sport this white version of the livery, the airline will also continue to have a small number of signature aircraft in an all black version.” Carry-on’s guess? Bet on this being saved for the airline’s first Boeing 787-9 to be delivered in mid-2014.

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

 

Results day 1: Air New Zealand, Qantas and REX

Here’s a brief summary of yesterday’s annual results releases:

Air New Zealand

The day started with the flag carrier carrier at the very end of the world announcing it’s best annual result for five years with a underlying pre-tax profit of NZ$256 million, a statutory profit of NZ$183 million a 156 per cent increase on FY2011/12. This was on a slight three per cent increase in revenue to NZ$4.618 billion.

This strong result was supported by ANZ’s strongest load factor results in five years of 83.6 per cent. This was an increase of .8% over last year and came even as the airline grew Available Seat Kilometre (ASK) capacity by 1.7 per cent across its network.

Continue reading “Results day 1: Air New Zealand, Qantas and REX” »

How do you visualise increasing air traffic?

The ageing Boeing 767 is on approach, descending you feel the odd bump as your aircraft passes through the clouds. It’s been a smooth flight, with the average 2013 standard service, but importantly you’re on schedule. Then, the flight crew announce they’ve slowed down as a result of air traffic restrictions. There is a collective groan, you roll your head back against the seat and push your iPod earphones back into your ears.

You’re delayed, it’s inconvenient, but how often do you take a moment to visualise the huge amount of aircraft in the sky around the aircraft you’re sitting on?

These time-lapse videos shot at San Diego International Airport and London Heathrow provide an incredible visualisation of the fast growing number of aircraft movements, a result of the increasing demand for air transportation around the world.

To give some perspective. In 2012, San Diego only handled 17.2 million passengers on an average 509 movements per day or approximately 215,000 in 2012. In comparison, London Heathrow handled 69.9 million passengers on 471,341 movements or 1,300 per day in 2012. Both airports operate with night curfew restrictions.

These time-lapses show only a fraction of the movements on any given day. Next time you fly, give some consideration to the coordination it takes to move these aircraft safely, and what you’re missing outside when you choose to sit in an aisle seat.

Qantas’ Boeing 767s are in it for the long haul.

 

Like Dontella Versace checking in for more age defying plumping, Qantas’ ageing Boeing 767-300ERs are to be given another facelift.

Commencing in October, Qantas will retire another seven of its ageing 23 Boeing 767-300ERs, and the remaining 16 aircraft will undergo a major interior refurbishment. The programme is also step in the right direction for Qantas to return to its roots as an hip, innovative product leader.

Marc Newson has been brought into design contemporary interiors. Business class will feature charcoal leather seats with retro chic 70’s wood panelling, and aubergine is Newson’s colour du jour in Economy. The aircraft will also be given new carpets, lighting, curtains and dividers.

Each refurbished 767 will feature Qantas’ “groundbreaking WiFi entertainment” Q Streaming. And iPads will be provided to all passengers, in Business and Economy. The system provides passengers with 200 hours of on-demand IFE, and passengers will be able to connect with their own portable devices.

Q Streaming is delivered by five WiFi terminals fitted in ceiling on the right hand side of the cabin. Passengers connect to the terminal closest to your seat row, and streaming content is provided from the aircraft’s own content server located in the avionics bay beneath the cockpit. The server is essentially a mini computer with a pair of 500GB solid state drives, each of HD contains all the in-flight programming so the system has redundancy and will continue to work if one drive fails.

Qantas Domestic will also receive 3 new aircraft, 2 Boeing 737-800s and 1 A330-200, before year end.

Refurbishment will not make the B767s any cheaper to operate, nor will they become more fuel-efficient. Original plans envisaged Qantas B767s retired by 2010, replaced by Boeing 787 Dreamliners from 2008. However, Boeing and Qantas’ combined delays, mean the 787 will be 6 years late by the time it enters Qantas service in 2014.

Updated plans replaced the 767s 1-to-1 by Jetstar’s 11 A330-200s returned as the carrier receives the Group’s first 15 Boeing 787 Dreamliners from mid-2013. However, returning all the A330s does not provide Jetstar much capacity to grow.

Either way, the 767s are likely to be around for a lot longer yet. While the retro, tech savvy refresh will go a long way, it doesn’t remove the fact that the 767s are so old you can almost hear the floor creak as you step into the cabin. Let’s hope people aren’t falling through the floor before the time they ret…well, if they ever retire.

The full Qantas statement can be found here, and Qantas’ Q Streaming trial FAQ booklet can be found here.

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