Saturday, 21 July 2012

Qantas Boeing 747 Take Off: Manchester Airport, UK

Qantas used to be a regular visitor to Manchester Airport in the UK. However, their operations are now focused at London Heathrow.

Luckily, very rarely, a Qantas aircraft (usually Boeing 747 to date) visits Manchester. This was one of those times.

Filmed on 21 July 2012

Thursday, 12 July 2012

AirAsia Expects To Order More Airbus A320's

Asia's largest low cost carrier AirAsia expects to announce a firm order with Airbus for 50 A320's and options on another 50 within the next two months.

The carrier was one of the first to order Airbus' new A320neo, placing an order for 200 of the type during the Paris Airshow in June 2011. These aircraft are due to be delivered from 2016 onwards.

Indonesia AirAsia A320-200(PK-AXI)
AirAsia A320 (Photo Credit: Kentaro Lemoto)

Boeing, United Announce Massive 737 Order

Boeing has today announced that United Airlines has placed a firm order for 150 737 single-aisle aircraft worth up to $14.7 Billion. The order, which is made up of 100 737 MAX 9 and 50 737-900ER's takes Boeing over the 10,000 737 orders mark - an amazing achievement which reinforces the manufacturers claim that the 737 is the best selling plane ever built.

The 737-900ER aircraft will be delivered starting next year (2013) whilst the 737 MAX 9 aircraft will be delivered starting in 2018.

United Boeing 737-900ER (Photo Credit: redlegsfan21)

Friday, 6 July 2012

Boeing 787 Wing Wave

Previously unseen footage I filmed when the Boeing 787-8 was at Manchester Airport, UK on 24 April 2012.

You can see the rest of the footage in my original video here.

Thank you for watching!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Win a South African Airways A340-600 DVD

Click Picture To See A Preview Of The DVD

All you have to do, to be in with a chance to win this DVD (worth £18.49) is subscribe to my blog before the end of July 2012.

Step 1:
You're already here, so you've done half the work already.

Step 2:
Looking at the right hand side of any page, scroll down until you see the 'Join This Site' button. Click it, then using your Google, Twitter, Yahoo, AIM, Netlog or OpenID account, simply sign up. It's that easy. NOTE: BE SURE TO FOLLOW PUBLICLY SO YOU CAN BE CONTACTED IN LINE WITH THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS BELOW.

Terms and Conditions
There is just one DVD to be won, so the winner will be chosen at Random from those who follow my blog by 23:59:59 on Tuesday 31 July 2012 (British Summer Time). The competition is open to everyone regardless of where you live in the world. The DVD is REGION FREE and runs for 177 MINUTES. The DVD has been previously watched, but is in excellent condition having only been watched once. The selected winner will be contacted by me sending them a message via the displayed icon within the Followers Panel on this site on 1 August 2012. It is at this time that arrangements will be made to send the DVD to you. Please make sure you have up to date contact details associated with your login. My decision is FINAL. If you are already following my blog, you will automatically be included and will have an equal chance of winning as everyone else. This post will be removed from once the winner has been decided.

United Airlines Rules Out A380

United Airlines President and CEO Jeffrey Smisek is looking for larger aircraft than the A350-900, but has seemingly ruled out the Airbus A380 as a future addition to the United fleet.

Speaking to Aviation Week during a visit to Frankfurt, Smisek said "The A380 is probably a little large for what we need, but the A350-900 might be sub-optimal for some of our routes" adding "the A350-1000, Boeing 777X and Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental are all being considered for higher capacity, long-haul segments".

United Airlines plans to take delivery of their first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner in September, followed by a further five before the end of the year.

Continental Airlines in Houston
Photo Credit: Magnus

Monday, 2 July 2012

Airbus Confirms US A320 Family Final Assembly Line

As expected, Airbus has today announced that it will be opening a $600 million Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Mobile, Alabama - the first Airbus plant in the United States.

Set to open in 2015, the new plant will directly employ 1,000 American workers to build Airbus' popular A320 Family of aircraft, the first of which is expected to fly in 2016. By 2018, Airbus hopes to be building up to 50 jets a year at the plant.

"The time is right for Airbus to expand in America" Fabrice Bregier, Airbus President and CEO said, adding "The US is the largest single-aisle aircraft market in the world - with a projected need for 4,600 aircraft over the next 20 years - and this assembly line brings us closer to our customers!"

The plant, the second A320 FAL outside of Europe (the other in Tianjin China), brings the competition for new orders to the doorstep of arch-rival Boeing. Whilst both manufacturers enjoy a roughly 50/50 even split in single aisle aircraft sales, Boeing has the upper hand in the US with an 80% share - something Airbus hopes will change now their planes are built on American soil.

Airbus saw massive demand for its A320neo Family of aircraft immediately after they were launched in December 2010, however a lack of available delivery slots has seen orders slow, allowing Boeing to gain ground in recent months with their competing 737MAX. Opening a new assembly line in the US will enable Airbus to increase production rates considerably, giving airlines more opportunity to order the fuel saving NEO or 'New Engine Option' variants, which promise to reduce fuel burn and increase range.

However, news of the US Factory has seen a growing concern in France where Airbus has its Headquarters and an A320 FAL. The unions there want Airbus to provide guarantees on jobs and production work. "We will be vigilant to make sure they are not robbing Europe to pay the United States" said Gilbert Plo, a spokesman for the French Christian Workers' Confederation (CFTC).

Photo Credit: Airbus
Interestingly, although Airbus have said large parts (fuselage sections & wings etc) will be shipped into Mobile, Alabama by boat, we may eventually get to see the introduction of an A330 or A340 based Beluga Super Transporter in order for Airbus to supply the new US FAL. Airbus has already done the renderings for such a plane. What do you think? Add a comment below!

Photo Credit: Airbus

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Heathrow Adds Another A380 Operator

London Heathrow Airport, the UK's busiest Airport and the worlds busiest airport in terms of International Passenger traffic will welcome Malaysia Airlines' first Airbus A380 Super Jumbo on Monday 2 July 2012. In doing so, Heathrow airport adds it's fourth regularly scheduled A380 operator to its books, after Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Qantas.

Heathrow is a natural home to the A380. Running at 98% capacity, there is little room for airlines to expand with extra flights, so larger A380's are one option airlines are using to increase passenger numbers.

Eventually, Heathrow will be home to British Airways and Virgin Atlantic A380's when the two carriers start taking delivery over the next few years.

Malaysia Airlines Airbus A380 (Photo Credit: Airbus)

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Airbus To Build A320's In The US

Airbus' popular A320 model could soon have 'Made in America' stickers on them as the European Airframe Manufacturer plans a new factory in Mobile, Alabama according to the New York Times.

Airbus plans to invest several hundred million dollars in the new plant which could eventually build dozens of the very popular, 150-seat A320 each year according to sources with knowledge of the project. In doing so Airbus would directly challenge arch-rival Boeing on their home turf and allow them to increase the jets supply, supporting an ever increasing demand.

An 'official' announcement regarding the plans is expected as early as Monday 2 July 2012, although Airbus spokesperson, Stefan Schaffrath denied any announcement was imminent.

Airbus hopes that by building their popular A320 model on American soil, it may encourage US airlines, in need of renewing their aging fleets, to buy it, as well as saving huge sums of money by utilising non-union, American workers and the US Dollar.

Airbus currently lags far behind Boeing with just a 20% share of the US narrowbody market.

Photo Credit: Airbus

UPDATED: 01 July 2012
Confirmation of announcement date and time. Boeing response to the news.

Despite Stefan Schaffrath (Airbus spokesperson) denying that any announcement is due, Airbus indeed plans to make such an announcement at approximately 10:00 CDT on Monday 2 July. The announcement will include details such as the $600 million investment, the creation of up to 2,500 jobs and the fact that the Final Assembly Line (FAL) will be used for all members of the A320 Family (A319, A320, A321 CEO/NEO).

In response to the news, Boeing spokesman Charlie Miller wrote in an email...

"While it is interesting once again to see Airbus promising to move jobs from Europe to the United States, no matter how many are created, the numbers pale in comparison to the thousands of US jobs destroyed by illegal subsidies, which Airbus and its European government underwriters have failed to remove to the satisfaction of the US government and in direct contravention of international trade law," - Statement Source: Reuters.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Malaysia Airlines A380 Livery Completed

The Malaysia Airlines Airbus A380, delivered on 29 May 2012, has finally received the rest of her stunning new livery. The special livery, designed by Malaysia Airlines specifically for its Airbus A380 fleet was applied by Airbus at their facilities in Toulouse, France. She will enter service on the Kuala Lumpur - London Heathrow route from 1 July 2012.

Photo Credit: Airbus
Photo Credit: Airbus

Monday, 25 June 2012

Thai Airways A380 Breaks Cover

The first pictures of a fully painted Thai Airways A380 have emerged after the aircraft was rolled out of the hangers in Hamburg, Germany.

Thai Airways' the 9th A380 operator will take delivery of the plane later this year which will undergo pre-delivery testing shortly.

I'm sure you'll agree she is one of the best looking A380's to see the light of day to date.

Photo Credit: Airbus
Photo Credit: Airbus
Photo Credit: Airbus

Sunday, 24 June 2012

1:400 Scale Phoenix Models (July Releases)

Phoenix Model have announced their 1:400 Scale July 2012 Releases...

  • KLM Boeing 737-700 (PH-BGW)
  • SAS Boeing 737-700 (LN-RNW)
  • SAS Boeing 737-700 (LN-RRB)
  • Air Berlin Airbus A330-200 'Oneworld Titles' (D-ABXA)
  • ANA Boeing 767-300ER (JA611A)
  • ANA Boeing 767-300 (JA601A)
  • TAM Boeing 777-300ER (PT-MUD)
  • Virgin Australia Boeing 777-300ER 'New Livery' (VH-VPH)
  • MASkargo Boeing 747-400 (9M-MPS)
  • China Southern Airbus A380 (B-6138)
  • JAL Boeing 777-200 'eco Jet' (JA8984)
  • Malev Boeing 767-300ER (HA-LHC)
  • Aeroflot Tupolev Tu-154B2 (CCCP-85579)
  • China Eastern Boeing 737-700 (B-5095)
  • China Eastern Boeing 737-700 'w/winglets' (B-5270)
  • Fly Scoot Boeing 777-200ER (9V-OTC)
  • Asiana Airbus A321 (HL7790)
  • Russia IL-96-300 (RA-96019)
  • TAM Airbus A340-500 'Old Livery' (PT-MSN)
  • Thai Airbus A330-300 'Thai Royal Barge' (HS-TEK)
  • Turkish Airlines Boeing 777-300ER 'Barcelona FC' (TC-JJI)
  • Aeroflot IL-96-300 (RA-96008)
  • ANA Boeing 787-8 (JA805A)
  • Alitalia Airbus A330-200 (EI-EJJ) - SECRET RELEASE
  • British Airways Airbus A319 'Firefly' (G-EUPC) - SECRET RELEASE
  • EVA Air Airbus A330-200 'Hello Kitty' - SECRET RELEASE
  • Korean Airlines Airbus A330-200 (HL7539) - SECRET RELEASE

You can find pictures of these models on the Phoenix Model Facebook Page.

I highly recommend collecting Phoenix Models if you are looking to start up the hobby. They are great quality and highly detailed.

You can see my collection as of October 2011 below:
My collection is currently made up of GeminiJets, Phoenix Model and Herpa models.
All are 1:400 Scale.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Virgin Atlantic's A330 Registrations & Names

Virgin Atlantic will eventually operate a fleet of 10 Airbus A330-300's.

Here are their registrations and names for reference:

Beauty Queen (MSN: 1195)

Mademoiselle Rouge (MSN: 1201)

Miss Sunshine (MSN: 1296)

Champagne Belle (MSN: 1231)

Golden Girl (MSN: 1329)

Lady Love (MSN: 1206)

Lady Stardust

Liberty Bell (MSN: 1315)

Miss England

Diamond Girl (MSN: 1215)

Information provided by planemadblog

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Qantas A380 Steering Issue's Happen AGAIN!

A new YouTube video has surfaced showing a Qantas Airways Airbus A380-800 suffering a Nose Steering Fault Issue on take off at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport.

As the aircraft, operating Flight QF11 between Sydney and Los Angeles, enters runway 34L and begins to accelerate into her take off roll, the nose gear suddenly and unexpectedly turns 90 degrees to the right. The huge aircraft veers dramatically to the right, as smoke starts to rise from the tyres. The crew then turn the gear 180 degrees to the left allowing the aircraft to recover whilst seemingly resolving the malfunction.

Interestingly, after spending about 2 minutes on the runway and causing an approaching Jetstar flight to go around, the Qantas A380 begins another take off attempt and successfully lifts off bound for LA.

The video was recorded by YouTube user dgkiwi1 on the 18 May 2012.

It's not the first time such problems have arisen. In February 2012, a Singapore bound Qantas A380 was forced to abandon two take off attempts at London Heathrow Airport due to similar problems with the Nose Landing Gear. The A380 was returned to the gate (by tug) each time for maintenance personnel to resolve the problem. On this occasion, Qantas felt it necessary to dismiss passenger tweets that the aircraft had veered onto the grass.

I myself have filmed a Qantas A380 experiencing Nose Gear Steering Problems back in July 2009. In my video the Qantas A380 (VH-OQA) is on approach to Runway 27L when the crew report a steering malfunction. The aircraft performs a go around before eventually landing safely. The aircraft was subsequently towed to the gate.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Voyager 1 Sets A NEW Record

Far, far away (approximately 18 Billion Kilometres from our Sun), and going where no man has ever been, or likely to ever go in our life times, the Voyager 1 space probe has finally reached the edge of our Solar System.

Voyager 1 (Photo Credit: JPL/NASA)

In a statement from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, on 14 June 2012 scientists confirmed that the spacecraft is sending back data showing a sharp increase in the charged particles that originate from outside our Solar System.

"Voyager scientists looking at this rapid rise draw closer to an inevitable but historic conclusion - that humanity's first emissary to interstellar space is on the edge of our solar system" the statement read.

Voyager 1 was launched on September 5, 1977 from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral. Her trajectory took her past Jupiter and Saturn before sending her out towards interstellar space - the space between solar systems in our Galaxy, The Milky Way.

Voyager 1 is currently the farthest man-made object from Earth.

Interesting Facts...
On February 14, 1990, Voyager 1 took the first every 'Family Portrait' of the planets in our solar system as an outsider. The series of images included the famous 'Pale Blue Dot' image which shows Earth, some 6 Billion Kilometres away, alone in the vastness of space.

Providing she isn't the victim of a cosmic collision, Voyager 1 will eventually pass (in about 40,000 years) within 1.6 light years of Gliese 445, a star in the constellation Camelopardalis near to Polaris (The North Star).

Friday, 15 June 2012

The Air Livery Bonus 1: Manchester Airport

Having an Air Livery hanger at Manchester Airport is a bonus that many other airports in the UK cannot boast about. As such, we get to see some interesting visitors.

One such visitor was this RAF E-3D Sentry AWACS...


Departure following Air Livery visit:

For more HD Aviation videos, please visit my YouTube Channel: MCPCShowcaseHD

A380 Wing Cracks: Who Is Paying?

The wing cracks that have plagued the Airbus A380 over recent months is going to costs millions of dollars to put right, but who is actually responsible for the repair costs?

The cost to Airbus for researching the wing cracks, developing a fix and implementing the modified design for future wings is currently sitting at more than $315 US Dollars.

To implement the permanent fix on existing aircraft, Airbus estimates that it will take 8 weeks if the repairs are completed in one go. Alternatively, airlines can add extra time to the end of each major maintenance check until the fix is completed. Airbus and the airlines insist the A380 is safe to fly in the meantime.

However, there now seems to be a differing opinion on whether or not compensation should be paid to the affected airlines. Airbus says no compensation will be paid, whilst Emirates President Tim Clark feels otherwise.

Speaking to Aviation Week on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association annual general assembly in Beijing, Tim Clark said "Chief Operating Officer - Customers John Leahy has said there is no compensation, but we take a different view. Airbus have a legal obligation to fix the aircraft at their expense." However, he also concedes that the purchase contracts do not include a clause for this scenario, adding "In all fairness, nobody would ever have contemplated anything like this."

Emirates Airline is seeing significant financial impacts to its bottom line as interim repair costs continue to grow. Clark estimates that it is costing his airline $30 million per month as aircraft are taken out of service for interim repairs to be carried out. The airline has the largest fleet of A380's in the world with 21 in active service and another 23 due by early 2014. The 23 new aircraft will each have the problematic wings because Airbus can only get the new wings ready for 2014. The interim repairs are only supposed to take 6 days according to Airbus, but Clark claims this is taking up to 42 days for his aircraft. "It's taking quite a long time because we have the largest fleet."

So whilst Airbus is taking a financial hit to redesign the wing and everything that goes with it, their airlines customers are also seeing huge costs as a result of taking the aircraft out of service.

Is it right that Airbus refuses to pay these valuable customers compensation? Will their customers be happy at this decision. I feel we haven't heard the last of this, not by a long chalk.

One of Emirates Airbus A380 Aircraft (Photo Credit: MCPCShowcaseHD)

Thursday, 14 June 2012

British Airways Boeing 747-400 Crabbing Over London

Early morning on final approach to Runway 27L at London Heathrow Airport, the largest aircraft of the UK's national carrier is photographed crabbing beautifully as she fights crosswinds.

Nice Crabbing
Nice Crabbing - BA 744 (Photo Credit: MCPCShowcaseHD)

British Airways Launches New Subsidiary

British Airways is launching a new subsidiary called British Airways Limited.

British Airways Limited will operate BA's premium transatlantic A318's (under a wet lease agreement with BA) between London City and New York. It will have its own air operators certificate and has sought clearance to codeshare these flights with Oneworld partners Iberia and American Airlines.

British Airways has already informed the US Department of Transportation that it's A318's will be removed from its own air operators certificate and transferred to that of British Airways Limited.

This move by BA is thought to be linked to future financing, however BA has been reluctant to discuss its decision beyond saying that "We are in the process of exploring a variety of options related to potential new sources of finance!"

The A318's used on the service seat up to 32 people and land in Shannon, Ireland en route to New York City for refuelling and for passengers to clear US Immigration.

The name British Airways Limited was last used by a company founded in the 1930's. It eventually merged into British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC).

Club World | London City
BA A318 (Photo Credit: elBartoFromCBR)

Monday, 11 June 2012

A Look Back: Libyan Air Cargo Antonov An-124 - Manchester Airport

A very lucky catch for me.

This Libyan Air Cargo Antonov An-124 'Ruslan' (5A-DKN) had made several trips to the airport in the days leading up to this video, but because the aircraft didn't have a firm schedule it was hit and miss as to whether or not you'd see it.

I just happened to be at The Airport Hotel near the threshold of Runway 23R when the beast arrived. Amazing views.

Notice the smoke coming from the engines as she makes her final approach, followed by the huge amount of smoke generate by those many tyres (24) on touchdown. Impressive indeed!

Problems playing? Try here.

World's Busiest Airports 2011 (TOP 10)

Top 10 Busiest Airports (Passenger & Movements) Lists 2011

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
Atlanta Airport (Photo Credit: redlegsfan21)

Total Passenger Traffic

01. Atlanta ATL (92,365,860 +3.4%)
02. Beijing PEK (77,403,668 +4.7%)
03. London Heathrow LHR (69,433,565 +5.4%)
04. Chicago O'Hare ORD (66,561,023 -0.5%)
05. Tokyo Haneda HND (62,263,025 -2.9%)
06. Los Angeles LAX (61,848,449 +4.8%)
07. Paris Charles de Gaulle CDG (60,970,551 +4.8%)
08. Dallas Fort Worth DFW (57,806,152 +1.6%)
09. Frankfurt FRA (56,436,255 +6.5%)
10. Hong Kong HKG (53,314,213 +5.9%)

Total Aircraft Movement Traffic

01. Atlanta ATL (923,991 -2.7%)
02. Chicago O'Hare ORD (875,798 -2.7%)
03. Dallas Fort Worth DFW (646,803 -0.8%)
04. Denver DEN (628,784 -0.2%)
05. Los Angeles LAX (603,912 +4.9%)
06. Charlotte CLT (539,842 +2.0%)
07. Beijing PEK (533,253 +3.0%)
08. Las Vegas LAS (531,538 +5.1%)
09. Houston IAH (528,725 -0.5%)
10. Paris Charles de Gaulle CDG (514,059 +2.8%)

The percentage +/- is the increase or decrease when compared with 2010.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Did An Emirates A380 Nearly Crash In Canada on 1 June 2012? Reason:Fuel Starvation

If you read any of the media reports immediately after the event, you certainly would have believed that flight EK241 an Airbus A380 with registration A6-EDD was in peril due to a low fuel emergency.

According to the Aviation Herald, widespread media reports said the aircraft had nearly crashed, completely ran out of fuel or landed with just 5,000 lbs of fuel remaining (below final fuel reserve).

In reality, though the final moments of the flight were far from routine, the aircraft and its passengers were never in any danger. The crew followed all of the correct precautions and procedures.

Emirates A380 A6-EDD at Manchester 1 June 2011 (Photo Credit: MCPCShowcaseHD)

This is what happened...

Flight EK241 is a scheduled flight between Dubai (UAE) and Toronto (Canada). The Airbus A380 wearing registration A6-EDD was carrying 530 people.

Whilst on approach to Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ/CYYZ), the aircraft was instructed to hold due to traffic congestion because of bad weather.

After holding for around 25 minutes, the EK A380 was cleared to land on Runway 15R. As the aircraft approached, the crew were forced to abort landing at 600 feet because of a wind shear alert.

At this point, the crew decided to head for Ottawa whilst declaring an emergency. The crew were worried that if there were any further delays they would burn into their final 30 minutes of fuel reserve.

The aircraft climbed to 23,000 feet and headed to Ottawa.

As the aircraft approached Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport (YOW/CYOW), her crew reported that she still had 6.3 tons or 14,000 lbs of fuel remaining and cancelled the emergency.

The aircraft landed safely on Runway 14 about 50 minutes after aborting at Toronto. The aircraft landed with more fuel than her final reserve.

The Emirates A380 had to back track up the runway in order to exit. Ottawa is not ideally suited to the Super Jumbo aircraft.

Another example of certain media outlets blowing things out of proportion.

Friday, 8 June 2012

More Woes For Qantas

The share price of Qantas Airways dropped to under A$1.00 for the first time this week as ratings agency Standard and Poor (S&P) said it was to put the airline under review for a possible ratings cut. Shares in Qantas fell over 8% to 97 cents per share before recovering to 99 cents.

Qantas A380
Qantas A380 (Photo Credit: Simon_sees)

Share prices in Qantas have dropped by almost a third over the past four days wiping a staggering $1 Billion USD from its value. Earlier this week Qantas said its profits would be down by almost 90% this financial year after costs, including fuel, soared whilst demand for its international flights fell.

Qantas currently has a BBB credit rating (two stages above junk rating), which S&P said would be evaluated over the next 90 days. If Qantas' credit rating were to be cut to junk status, it would make borrowing much more expensive placing even greater pressure on the airline.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, remains committed to cutting costs and restructuring and hopes he can have the international business making a profit by 2014.

See my Qantas Videos.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Is Airbus' A350-1000 Doomed?

Has Airbus made a critical mistake with its A350 program giving rival Boeing an even greater advantage in the large twin-engine market?

The A350-1000 in particular has struggled to gain momentum since it was launched, is now in its second design phase and is still attracting criticism from both Emirates and Qatar Airways who collectively have 40 of them on order.

In a tweet put to Airbus during a recent #AskTheExpert Q&A session with their Francois Caudron, Head of A350 Customer & Business Development, I asked...

"Is Airbus worried that orders for the A350-1000 are going down instead of up?
Are airlines really happy with it?"

My question was in direct response to the fact that Etihad Airways have reduced their commitment to the A350-1000 from 25 to 12.

Airbus responded to my tweet as follows...

"[The] A350-1000 order book situation is not linked to product attractiveness but rather linked to low early slots availability"

I find this quite a strange answer for the following reasons...
  • The A350 program has been open for orders since 1 December 2006. The program is considered by Airbus to be a Boeing 777 killer with the A350-900 and A350-1000 targeting the Boeing 777-200ER and Boeing 777-300ER respectively.
  • The A350-1000 has been redesigned since launch to make it more attractive to airlines, yet it seems to have been redesigned without airline consultation. Both Qatar and Emirates, who collectively have 40 out of 62 -1000's on order, have expressed concerns.
  • Why would you need to redesign an aircraft that is only suffering from 'low early slot availability'?
  • Despite the redesign, the A350-1000 has still failed to attract new orders (as of June 2012). The -1000 hasn't received a single new order since 2008, something Boeing is always keen to point out.
  • Redesigning the A350-1000 means its EIS will inevitably be delayed.
Emirates Airline and Qatar Airways criticism essentially boils down to the fact that the A350-1000 is not a strong enough competitor to the Boeing 777-300ER. Both airlines want more range, performance and less fuel burn. Emirates have even said the redesign was unnecessary and done without consultation.

If behind the scenes Airbus is working to address these issues, this is going to take more time and further delay the A350-1000.

Boeing 777-300ER
Boeing 777-300ER (Photo Credit: David McKelvey)

This is where Boeing benefits enormously.

They already have a very good airplane in the shape of the 777-300ER, demand for the plane has increased dramatically in recent years and has easily outsold the A350-1000. Airlines know that this aircraft is available to them now and does a bloody good job.

However, there is enormous room to improve this aircraft and Boeing is already studying the best way to do this. Emirates is heavily involved in its design and is urging Boeing to get it launched as soon as possible.

The 777 replacement program is currently known as the 777X and includes the 777-8X which would be the 777-200ER replacement / A350-900 rival and the 777-9X which would be the 777-300ER replacement / A350-1000 rival. Improvements over the original would include new, larger composite wings, new engines, general weight saving, an increased fuselage length (more passengers) and new 787 style cockpit whilst delivering better fuel burn.

Airbus' fumbling of the A350-1000 design is perhaps the result of not listening carefully enough to what airlines want. As a result, they felt compelled to do a redesign which has left the aircraft's biggest customers scratching their heads in amazement.

Boeing's tactical approach has enabled Airbus to go head first into a design which is not as strong as it could have been from the starting blocks. As a result, Boeing now has more time to study and perfect their rival solution, the 777X.

Airbus' A350-1000 could go down in history as a failure.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Etihad Airways Acquires 4% Of Virgin Australia

Middle Eastern carrier Etihad Airways has acquired a 4% stake in Australian Carrier Virgin Australia for $35.6 million. According to Etihad, this move will help it to better compete with rivals Emirates and Qatar Airways whilst also boosting its global presence.

Etihad plans to acquire up to 10% of Virgin Australia at some point in the future.

This move could also add additional pressure to national carrier Qantas. Qantas has seen costs at its International business rise considerably, forcing the airline to announce that profits could fall by up to 90% for the year ending June 30 2012.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Three Cunard Queens Celebrate The Queens Diamond Jubilee

Today, Tuesday 5 June 2012, Cunard's Three Queens; RMS Queen Mary 2, MS Queen Victoria and MS Queen Elizabeth will rendezvous at Southampton for the first time to celebrate HRH The Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Cunard has a long and established history with Royalty, with two of their current ships having been named by Her Majesty The Queen in recent years.

The celebrations include a Red Arrows display, a first for Southampton and a huge fireworks display.

The Three Queens arrive consecutively, 15 minutes apart shortly after sunrise flanked by fire boats, shooting water cannon salutes, and they depart around 11pm after the firework show. It'll be a day to remember!

Official June 5 2012 Page

Three Queens Video From 22 April 2008 (QM2, QE2 and QV)

Monday, 4 June 2012

Vulcan Bomber Suffers Major Engine Failures

On Monday 28 May 2012, the only flying example of the Vulcan Bomber, XH558 suffered a major engine failure whilst attempting to take off at Doncaster Airport.

Both engines #1 and #2 (Port Side Engines) were destroyed beyond repair in the accident which forced the Vulcan Bomber to abandon its take off roll. It was later found that two large Silicon bags, used to soak up moisture and keep the engines dry whilst the aircraft is in storage, had been ingested into the engines. An investigation is under way.

A Vulcan to the Sky newsletter confirms that work is now underway to remove the two destroyed engines which will be replaced.

It is uncertain when the Vulcan will return to the sky at this time.

A video showing the incident can be found here.

Video of the Vulcan Bomber by MCPCShowcaseHD

Friday, 1 June 2012

Lufthansa Completes Inaugural 747-8I Flight

German carrier Lufthansa, the first airline to take delivery of a next generation Boeing 747-8I, has today completed its inaugural flight of the new aircraft between Frankfurt and Washington D.C.

The flight LH7478 was scheduled to depart Frankfurt at 9.50am and touchdown in Washington D.C. at around 12.45pm.

In addition to lucky passengers the new plane carried VIPs connected with Lufthansa and Boeing.

Great to see these new planes in service (finally!)

Lufthansa's 747-8I
Lufthansa Boeing 747-8I (Photo Credit: hitachiota)

Thursday, 31 May 2012

UAL Cancels 787 Houston Auckland Service

United Airlines today announced that it would be cutting 1,300 jobs at Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and cancelling it's planned (and often hyped) Houston-Auckland 787 service.

The announcement comes immediately after Houston City Council approved an international terminal plan for neighbouring Houston Hobby Airport (HOU) - a move initiated by Southwest Airlines.

The UAL 787 service between Houston and Auckland has often been hyped in recent months as one of the first ultra long haul routes for the new composite jetliner. The route was also the launch route for the UAL 787. Unfortunately, it looks like this service is no longer on the map.

United will instead launch the 787 on the Denver to Tokyo route from March 2013.

United Airlines Boeing 777-222
United Airlines Tail (Photo Credit: Craig Moulding)

Will Air India Defer Boeing 787 Deliveries?

Air India is thought to be ready to refuse delivery of it's new 787's because they are unhappy with the compensation being offered to them by Boeing for the delivery delays.

Air India wants compensation totalling up to $1 Billion for the delays, something Boeing is baulking at. Two years ago, Air India informed its parliament that it wanted $710 Million for the delays, Boeing was offering just $145 Million.

If the two sides cannot agree, and they don't seem close to doing so any time soon, Air India is likely to defer or even cancel it's 787 deliveries - the first of which is due next month.

Air India 787 (Photo Credit: redlegsfan21)

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Malaysia Airlines First A380 Delivered

Malaysia Airlines first Airbus A380 has been delivered today at a ceremony in Toulouse.

The carrier will introduce the A380 on their London Heathrow - Kuala Lumpur service from 2 July 2012 becoming the 8th airline worldwide to introduce the double decker SuperJumbo.

The aircraft will now be flown to Kuala Lumpur for staff training before returning to Toulouse in June for its paint scheme to be completed.

MCPCShowcaseHD is hoping to film the arrival of the first flight into Heathrow in July.

A380 Tail (Photo Credit: morrissey)

Friday, 25 May 2012

A Look Back: Cathay Pacific 747-400BCF 'Extreme Crosswind Landing'

Never before (or since for that matter) have I been at an airport and seen (or filmed) such an extreme crosswind landing as this one.

The flight crew of this Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-400BCF (B-KAI) certainly earned their salary during this landing which can be described as anything but routine.

Extreme crabbing, a skid on touchdown and aggressive rudder control combine with awesome, engine sounds to form an impressive show of unquestionable skill and confidence.

I am made up to have it on film for #AvGeeks around the world to enjoy it in the comfort of their own homes.

Virgin Atlantic Launch London Heathrow - Vancouver Service

Virgin Atlantic have today launched its seasonal London Heathrow to Vancouver service.

The inaugural flight on board an Airbus A340-300 touched down in Vancouver shortly after midday in the Canadian City.

The service will operate four times per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays until October 27. The airline hopes to increase this to a year round, daily service in the future.

The London Heathrow to Vancouver service is Virgin Atlantic's 32nd route.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Airbus A350 Static Airframe Feels The Sun

Airbus has made available the first photo of its A350 static airframe as she was moved between hangers in Toulouse, France.

The airframe an A350-900 is not yet complete and requires additional work before testing can begin, however the photo, taken under gloriously sunny skies, gives us an idea of her size and shape.

Sadly, this airframe will never fly, but that doesn't detract from the important information she'll give to Airbus during static testing, where she'll be subjected to various stress tests to understand long term fatigue impacts and to ensure computer modelling got it right.

The first flight ready airframe MSN 1 will enter final assembly later this year before entering a vigorous flight test program.

The A350 uses an increased amount of carbon composite materials making her lighter and more economical than the aircraft she intends to replace. She is Airbus' answer to the Boeing 787 and will also compete with the Boeing 777.

You can see the image here.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

First 787 Built In South Carolina Takes To The Skies

The first Boeing 787 to be built at Boeing's new South Carolina factory has departed on her maiden flight today. The test flight, expected to last around 4 hours, departed after the aircraft spent 45 minutes on the ground doing various tests. This 787 will eventually be delivered to Air India.

The $750 million South Carolina facility, which caused a labour dispute with the unions, was built to help Boeing reach its goal of building 10 787's per month by the end of 2013.

North Charleston-made Boeing 787
Air India 787 at South Carolina (Photo Credit: North Charleston)

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Costa Concordia To Be Re-Floated Then Broken Up

Costa Concordia, the cruise ship that ran aground off the coast of Isola del Giglio on 13 January 2012 is to be re-floated, intact, before being towed to an Italian port for break up.

Half submerged, the US based salvage company 'Titan Salvage' working with Italian underwater ship repair specialists 'Microperi' will repair the damaged hull before re-floating the 114,000 tonne, 952 foot long ship using air bags. Once re-floated Costa Concordia will be towed to a port on the Italian mainland where she will be broken up as scrap. The operation, still to be approved by authorities and expected to start in June 2012, will take upwards of a year to complete.

Once moved, the seabed below the stricken cruise liner will be cleaned and measures taken to help damaged marine flora to regenerate.

The ships Captain, Francesco Schettino, along with eight other people are being investigated in connection with the disaster in which 32 people died.

Striking pictures from the Costa Concordia accident, Giglio, Italy 2012, February
The stricken Costa Concordia (Photo Credit: EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection)

Friday, 18 May 2012

British Airways First A380

British Airways first Airbus A380 (MSN 095) is currently in production and is expected to be delivered to the airline in Q2 2013 as G-XLEA. The aircraft will be the first A380 to call the UK her home and will serve the airlines 'well known routes'.

The A380's configuration and route network have yet to be fully unveiled, something I'm sure we'll hear more about as and when we get nearer the delivery date.

One question I'm eager to have answered is whether or not British Airways will continue to use their current 'Chatham Historic Dockyards' Livery or go for a completely new look. The airline will be expecting their first Boeing 787 around the same time too.

What are your thoughts?

A320 British Airways
BA Chatham Dockyards Tail (Photo Credit: curimedia)

Emirates To Launch 4th Daily Service To Manchester Airport, UK

Emirates Airline will be launching a 4th Daily Service between Dubai and Manchester Airport UK from 12 December 2012.

The flight will initially be an Airbus A330-200 arriving at 15:00 as Flight EK23 and departing at 17.30 as Flight EK24.

This 4th flight will be in addition to the three existing services shown below...
  • EK21/22 Currently an Airbus A330-200. Upgraded to a 777-300ER from 1 July 2012.
  • EK17/18 Currently an Airbus A380.
  • EK19/20 Currently a Boeing 777-300ER. Expected to become an A380 at some point.
This is absolutely fantastic news for what is essentially a regional airport in the North West of England and shows that Heathrow Airport doesn't have to be the centre of aviation in the UK.
Emirates Airbus A380 (A6-EDS) - Side Profile
An Emirates A380 at Manchester Airport, UK.
This information is subject to change.

Olympic Flame Heading To UK

The Olympic Flame is making its way to the UK on board 'Firefly' a specially painted British Airways Airbus A319 (G-EUPC) after departing Athens at 15:24 BST on 18 May 2012. She is using callsign 'BA 2012'.

Firefly is expected to touchdown at RNAS Culdrose, Cornwall, UK at around 19:30 BST.

From there, the Olympic torch will travel 8,000 miles as it passes through 1,019 villages, towns and cities before arriving at the Olympic Stadium on 27 July.

British Airways Firefly G-EUPC (Photo Credit: calflier001)

Boeing 787 DreamTour Visits Manchester Airport, UK.

On the 24 April 2012, the Boeing 787 DreamTour visited Manchester Airport in the UK so that Boeing could show off its newest pride and joy to the first airline in the UK to take delivery of the type - Thomson Airways.

Thomson Airways expects to launch services using the 787 from May 2013.