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Onboard the A350 during ‘Airline 1′

Over the last two weeks A350 MSN5 F-WWYV has been undertaking Airline 1. The 110,000 kilometre route proving campaign mirrors airline service, testing and hopefully accelerating the maturity of the aircraft by measuring its performance against KPIs such as dispatch reliability. With major testing already complete, Airline 1 is the last major milestone before the Airbus applies for certification. Following certification the first […]

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A350 arrives in Australia, Airbus confirms 420-minute ETOPS

Airbus A350 world tour landed in Sydney this morning at 06:36. The fifth test aircraft MSN5 which is undertaking the three week long route proving campaign touched down after flying direct from Johannesburg in a little over 12 hours. MSN5 was unrestricted by ETOPS operations as they were test flights carrying only crew and Airbus technical staff. After […]

Air New Zealand A320 ZK-OXB

Putting a price on time

Revealed at last week’s investor day and launched into market today, Air New Zealand (ANZ) has reformed its Domestic grabaseat fare structure into a new system that could be the first of its kind for any airline, anywhere, anytime. The choices, shown below, are available to all customers up until the time of departure – […]

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 […]

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.” »

Carry-on’s top 13 of 2013.

2013 was exceptional proof that aviation is far from sclerotic. Beginning with continued fixation on the 787 as Boeing’s amour propre was tested by further incidents and a grounding. Eyes turned skyward for the equal greatest number of first flights in history. Rarely appreciating the continued challenging conditions airlines and the industry faces, politicians continued to provide opaque interference, compounding an already fractured dichotomy. There was awe as the world’s largest airline was replaced with with an even larger carrier, rosy profit turnarounds turned into sickening loss projections, and a renewed geopolitical rivalry in everything from aerospace manufacturing to air traffic rights. Here’s our 13 of 2013:

1. The 787.

The most exciting new aircraft in years became known for one thing in 2013: fire. In January the worldwide fleet was grounded – only the second aircraft since the DC-10 to be grounded in this way – following a series of electrical faults and battery fires caused by thermal runaway. The batteries were pulled out, boxed, and additional venting at a cost of approximately $500,000 per aircraft. Back in the air confidence has grown, the 787-9 is now flying and there has only been a small fiery issue relating to a locator beacon. Image: Richard Deakin.

 

2. CSeries flies.

110 years later Bombardier did it again for the very first time. This time with the first completely new narrow-body design since the A320 family.

 

3. ICAO’s emissions agreement.

ICAO’s member states reached a landmark multilateral agreement to develop a market-based measure that would reduce carbon emissions by 2020. The agreement will allow countries and airlines to operate under a single global standard rather than competing carbon regimes. Governments’ individual plans will be approved at the next assembly in 2016.

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “Carry-on’s top 13 of 2013.” »

Virgin Australia

Results day 2: Virgin Australia – a much darker year.

The last of the regions’ airlines to post Financial Year ’13 results was Virgin Australia.  The Virgin Australia Group posted a statutory loss of $98 million dollars, on slight 2.5 per cent increase in revenue to $4.02 billion.

Virgin Australia’s result was no surprise, with the results in line with the significant profit downgrade announced in May. However, it wouldn’t be Virgin without flair to artfully put a positive spin on such a poor result; CEO John Borghetti highlighting a “pivotal” year of challenges and transformation for the airline. Continue reading “Results day 2: Virgin Australia – a much darker year.” »

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 […]

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