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.