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Monday, September 29, 2014

Qatar Airways Takes Delivery First Airbus A380

In a press briefing along with Airbus at the Airbus Factory in Hamburg, Germany, group chief executive Akbar Al Baker said: “This has been a moment more than a decade in the making and we are so delighted to unveil a new passenger experience for our travellers.

“The A380 that we are introducing is not just any A380; we have completely designed every element, giving it a signature touch that has never been seen before on board.”

The airline will debut A380 services on one of its frequencies on the Doha–London route from October, followed by Paris Charles De Gaulle shortly thereafter.

The 517-seat aircraft is spread across twin decks in a tri-class configuration of 8 seats in first class, 48 seats in business class and 461 in economy class.

The first class seats feature a 90-inch pitch with a fully flat bed.

Business class seats feature a pitch of 52 inches which also recline to fully flat beds.

Economy class passengers benefit from the most spacious A380 arrangement flying in the skies, with a pitch of 32 inches spread in a 10-seats-across layout.

The premium cabin is also fitted with multiple bespoke elements such as luxe finishings and tailor-made fabrics designed exclusively for the airline.

In-flight entertainment on board is state-of-the-art using the Thales mainframe Top Series Avant system with features such as an Android open platform with intuitive swipe functions and customised HD monitors of up to 26 inches in first class.

The airline currently operates a mixed fleet of the Airbus family of aircraft, a large contingent being the single-aisle A320s, and also a mixed range of A330s and A340s.

“Leading carrier Qatar Airways aims for the best, and we are proud our A380 is an essential ingredient in their strategy to show off their excellence and hospitality, connecting the world,” said Airbus president and CEO Fabrice Brégier.

Qatar Airways is preparing to take delivery of four more A380s before the end of this year.

Qatar Airways said it may buy more of Airbus Group NV's A380 super jumbos, a rare bright spot for the European plane maker as it tries to shed the jet's image as a commercial flop.

Qatar Airways, which will start flying the A380 next month from its Doha hub to London Heathrow, has ordered 10 A380s and has options for three more. "There is a possibility we will order even more," Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said in an interview as he received the first of the super jumbos. The airline's network could accommodate 20 to 25 of the aircraft, he said.

The pipeline beyond Qatar is thin, however. Virgin Atlantic Airways, a future customer, has said it is unlikely to take the plane and Air France-KLM chief financial officer Pierre-François Riolacci said the carrier wouldn't take its last two A380s, instead introducing Airbus's A350 twin-engine long-range jet.

Buyers worry that they won't be able to sell sufficient seats on the super jumbo—which can take approximately 525 passengers. The plane has a list price of $414.4 million.

Fabrice Brégier, the head of the Airbus commercial airplane unit, said he is optimistic about garnering more orders. Carriers flying the jet fill more seats and get higher yields on A380 flights, he said.

Nevertheless, Airbus is far behind its forecast for A380 sales despite the plane entering service during the busiest period ever for jet purchases as air travel has expanded globally. When Airbus launched the A380 in 2000, it projected 1,235 deliveries of jets in the size category—where its only competitor is the Boeing 747—since then, about 400 such planes have entered service.

Etihad Unveils New Livery

Etihad Airways has used the rollout ceremony of its first Airbus A380 and Boeing 787-9 to publicly debut the airline’s new livery.


The first of 10 A380s on order, the aircraft (wearing the UAE registration A6-APA) was rolled out to guests and media at Airbus’s Hamburg, Germany facilities in a ceremony on Thursday evening.

The A380 is yet to fly and has not yet had its cabin interior – including Etihad’s innovative ‘The Residence‘ first class suite – fitted, and is due to be delivered to the Abu Dhabi-based airline in December, before entering service between Abu Dhabi and London on December 27.

Etihad’s first three A380s will be dedicated to the London route, allowing it to operate triple-daily A380 services on the route from early 2015, while subsequent deliveries will allow Etihad to operate the aircraft to Sydney from June 1 and New York “later in 2015″, the airline says.

Etihad says its entire fleet, currently just over 100 aircraft, will be repainted in the new colours over the next three years.

“This striking new livery … continues our commitment to breaking from convention and doing things differently. This is a real divergence from the norms of a traditional airline livery design and will stand out in the sky and at every airport we fly to,” Eithad president and CEO James Hogan said in a statement.

The livery was designed by brand consultants Landor Associates, and is intended to reflect “traditional Emirati design patterns, the landscapes of the desert and the geometric shapes found in the modern architecture of Abu Dhabi”, according to Etihad.

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Etihad Airways unveiled its first Boeing 787-9 today in its new livery, and will deploy the aircraft on revenue service from 1 December.

The aircraft, registered A6-BLA, will be formally delivered to Etihad in December. The airline had earlier this week showed off the new livery on its first Airbus A380 in Hamburg, but Etihad says the 787-9 will be the first to operate with the new livery on revenue flights.

Dusseldorf and Doha will be the first Etihad destinations to be served with the 787-9 from Abu Dhabi, followed by Washington Dulles and Mumbai in the first quarter. From June, Etihad will operate the 787-9 to Brisbane and Moscow.

"With the economics of the aircraft, the 787-9 will be one that will be very, very central to our flying and future expansion," says Etihad chief commercial officer Peter Baumgartner at the 787-9 livery unveiling at Boeing's facilities in Everett, Washington.

Etihad has identified at least 40 routes that can potentially be served with the 787-9, he notes.

The airline's first 787-9 is configured with eight first class suites, 28 business class studios and 199 economy class seats. Of the 41 787-9s that the airline has ordered, about half will be delivered with a two-class configuration instead, says Baumgartner. This will help the airline cater to the supply and demand on different routes.

Baumgartner expresses confidence in Etihad's offering on the 787-9, saying that he believes the airline's product is "superior to" existing 787 operators. The first class cabin, configured in a 1-2-1 layout, comes with seats that convert into 80.5in fully flat beds, sliding doors and personal wardrobes.

Etihad's 787 cabin was a product of extensive work with Boeing, after the carrier initially balked at what was being offered in Boeing's 787 catalogue. "We looked at the catalogue when we already knew what we would do with the A380," says Baumgartner, adding that the airline had to have "tough conversations" with Boeing to improve upon what was offered in the catalogue. "We showed them what we were doing with someone else," Baumgartner says in a tongue-in-cheek reference to the A380.

Etihad expects to take delivery of two 787-9s by end-2014, and will have five 787-9s by end-2015, says Baumgartner. The airline also has orders for 30 787-10s. Baumgartner expects all 71 787s to be delivered to Etihad by end-2023.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dubai World Central Airport Set To Be World Largest Airport

224934Dubai Airports has welcomed the announcement by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai endorsing the AED120bn (US$ 32bn) expansion of Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central (DWC) which will ultimately accommodate more than 200 million passengers a year.

The development is anticipated to be the biggest airport project in the world and will be built in two phases. The first phase includes two satellite buildings with a collectively capacity of 120 million passengers annually, accommodate 100 A380 aircraft at any one time and will take between six and eight years to complete. The entire development will cover an area of 56 square kilometres.

More than its size, the new airport’s uniqueness lies in a radically new approach to ensure that the latest technology and efficient processes will cut the time spent completing travel formalities and reduce walking distances, enabling passengers to make fast and efficient connections between hundreds of destinations worldwide.

The decision follows months of planning by the key stakeholders in the aviation sector, including Dubai Airports, Dubai Airports Engineering Projects, Emirates airline and dnata, to ensure that a design was selected that facilitates the future growth of Dubai’s aviation industry.

With passenger traffic expected to reach almost 100 million at Dubai International by the end of 2020, the further development of DWC will be a vital step towards providing the necessary facilities to accommodate passenger and cargo growth in the decades ahead and pave the way for Emirates to relocate their intercontinental hub operations to DWC by the mid-2020s.

Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, thanked Sheikh Mohammed for his visionary support of the project, and described the new airport as a vital investment in the future of Dubai. He confirmed that the aviation sector was projected to remain a cornerstone of Dubai’s economy, and was expected to support more than 322,000 jobs and contribute 28 per cent of Dubai’s GDP by 2020.

“Our future lies at DWC. The announcement of this AED120bn development of DWC is both timely and a strong endorsement of Dubai’s aviation industry. With limited options for further growth at Dubai International, we are taking that next step to securing our future by building a brand new airport that will not only create the capacity we will need in the coming decades but also provide state of the art facilities that revolutionise the airport experience on an unprecedented scale,” said Griffiths.

Emirates to Fly Second A380 on Mauritius

Emirates is to launch its second daily A380 service to Mauritius on October 26 this year, instead of December 1 as initially planned.

This second A380 service, which will operate as flight EK703/704, replaces the existing Boeing 777 operation and will have a capacity of 489 passengers and will ofer 14 luxury first class private suites, 76 lie-flat beds in business class and 399 spacious seats in economy class.

“We are delighted that we are able to bring forward the start date of the second A380 service to Mauritius. The fact that we are introducing this service to the island in October demonstrates that the popularity of our product is growing consistently. This second A380 will increase Emirates’ capacity by 1,890 seats per week,” said Orhan Abbas, Emirates Senior Vice-President, Commercial Operations, Latin America, Central and Southern Africa.

British Airways to Bring New A380 to San Francisco

From the Golden Gate Bridge to Tower Bridge, customers can now purchase tickets to travel on British Airways’ luxurious new Airbus A380 aircraft. In service from April 2015, this is the first time that an A380 will be available for customers traveling between San Francisco International Airport and London Heathrow.

The Bay area will become the third destination in North America to receive the largest and grandest aircraft in British Airways’ fleet. The new aircraft spans two full decks and can accommodate up to 469 customers across four cabins. With 14 First class suites and 97 Club World business seats, the British Airways A380 will have more full flatbeds than any other flight departing from San Francisco.

Club World (business class) customers can choose from one of 44 seats on the main deck, or 53 seats on the upper deck where there will be a new 2:3:2 configuration across the cabin. The popular World Traveller Plus (premium economy) cabin will expand to 55 seats, to give more people the chance to experience a little taste of luxury.

The aircraft’s innovative design makes it much quieter during take-off and landing and more fuel efficient than its predecessors. Customers will benefit from an advanced cabin system that allows 15 different temperature control zones and air that is refreshed every three minutes.

Sean Doyle, Executive Vice President, Americas said “I’m delighted that British Airways customers in the Bay area will be able to experience one of the newest and most advanced aircraft in our fleet. I believe the extensive inflight entertainment options and expansive, comfortable cabins will be a big hit with our frequent fliers.”

At launch the A380 will operate as the BA286 from San Francisco to London on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The same flight on Tuesdays and Wednesdays will continue to be operated by a Boeing 747, as will the second daily service, the BA284.

British Airways has ordered 12 A380 aircraft for delivery by 2016, as part of a $5bn investment in new aircraft, smarter cabins, elegant lounges, and new technologies to make life more comfortable in the air and on the ground.

British Airways currently flies its A380 aircraft to Los Angeles, Hong Kong, with Washington DC service beginning October 2 and Singapore on October 28.

Qantas Cancels Some Dubai to London Flights

Weak demand in October and November is the reason given by Qantas for its decision to cancel five round-trip services between Dubai and London Heathrow.

The airline currently operates two daily A380 flights on the route, one of which originates in Sydney and the other in Melbourne.

It means that on five days in October and November there will be just a single A380 flight operated by Qantas between the Dubai and LHR.

Qantas passengers from either Sydney or Melbourne (at the time of writing it is not sure which route will be affected and on which date) will find that their A380 service will terminate in Dubai.

From there, they will be switched to a regular Emirates scheduled A380 which will continue to London.

The dates in question, departing Dubai, are October 14 and 17 and November 12, 15 and 20.

But Qantas' rearrangement of its London schedules takes away its through-plane selling point. It means that, on the dates in question, Qantas in effect becomes an indirect carrier where passengers and their bags are switched from one flight to another.

China Eastern Unveils New Logo

China Eastern Airlines has unveiled a new logo, its first change in over 30 years.

The new design retains the distinctive swallow image as well as the red and blue colours on the carrier’s original logo.
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China Eastern Airlines

The airline says it will introduce a new livery with the re-designed logo painted on the tail fin of its incoming Boeing 777-300ER this month. The fuselage of the new aircraft will be painted white, without the red and blue lines that span the aircraft's length now.

China Eastern expects to take about five years to roll out the new livery across its fleet.

Flightglobal’s Ascend Fleets database shows that the state-owned carrier has a fleet of 264 aircraft in service.

China Eastern is currently one of the three major State-owned airlines in China - the other two are China International Airlines and China Southern Airlines. China Eastern is listed in New York, Hong Kong and Shanghai, and reported 88 billion yuan ($14.3 billion) in revenue in 2013.

The new logo and painting will be first applied to a Boeing 777-300ER, joining the China Eastern fleet this September, while changing of the entire visual system will be complete over the next five years.

China Eastern will have 20 Boeing 777 airliners by 2018, which will be the largest fleet of its kind in China.

The Boeing 777 fleet will be mainly flying transpacific routes between China and North America, which will be a major market for China Eastern over the next three years.

Malaysia Airlines Bookings Show Signs of Recovery

Malaysia Airlines bookings have bounced back from the MH17 tragedy in July with average load factors now above 70 per cent on flights departing Australia and New Zealand for Kuala Lumpur and beyond.

According to Malaysia Airlines regional senior vice president, Australia, Lee Poh Kait, the resurgence in bookings is a result of travel agents’ unrelenting support, together with outstanding fare deals and a positive community sentiment towards the award-winning airline during turbulent times.

“This region is our main market outside of Malaysia.

“We are determined to rebuild confidence in Malaysia Airlines as one of the best full-service carriers in the world.

“We appreciate the support of the travel trade, our passengers and valued employees, especially our award-winning cabin crew,” Lee said.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 came down over Ukraine on July 17th on route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

The Boeing 777-200ER is presumed to have been shot down, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board

Malaysia Airlines continues to fly an average of 50,000 guests on 360 flights each day to 60 destinations.

This includes 81 flights a week from Australia and New Zealand direct to Malaysia with Kuala Lumpur the hub for passengers flying on to various parts of Asia and Europe, including on the magnificent A380 service to Paris and London.

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Live to love and love to live. The motto that I held on my entire life. Just a regular guy who loves what I am passionate in life. A song writer and producer. Living life on the move. From Malaysia to The States, New Zealand to Singapore. With the companion of great people in life. In and out from the music industry. Taking everything one step at a time. 
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