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Archive for July, 2008

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Higher oil prices have driven airlines to different solutions like capacity reduction, merger related synergies, airfare increase, charging for the usual freebies, etc.

British Airways and Spain’s flag carrier Iberia (or Iberia, Líneas Aéreas de España, S.A. ) are deep in merger talks with Iberia “have taken direct/indirect 10% stake in British rival”. The merger is backed by boards on both airlines and will create the third largest airline in Europe (after KLM-Air France and Lufthansa).

So, as usual, I set out to find how the combined entity would look. Please be aware that I do not account for possible merger related capacity reduction (or airplane retirement) and unforeseeable changes.

British Airways in BLUE and Iberia in RED –

  • HeadquarteredWaterside, Harmondsworth, UK and Madrid, Spain
  • Destinations147 + 115 (+19 future) =252 (+19 future) – OVERLAP
  • Frequent Flier ProgramExecutive Club, Premier + Iberia Plus = ?
  • AllianceOneworld
  • HubsLondon Heathrow Airport, London Gatwick Airport, Barajas Int’l Airport
  • FleetAirbus A318, A319, A320, A321, A380-800*; Boeing 737, 757, 767, 747, 777, 787* + Airbus A319, A320, A321, A340; McDonnell Douglas MD-88
  • Fleet Size235 (+62 orders) + 152 (+19 orders) =387 (+81 orders)
  • Company SloganUpgrade to British Airways + With Iberia , you’re more = Upgrade with more???

Since, British Airways is a bigger airline, there might be a possible BA head over the combined airline. Willie Walsh as CEO???

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Depends on the airline or passenger version, according to which the 184 passengers aboard a Las Vegas bound Delta Airlines Flight 621 (JFK-LAS) airplane waited 5 hours or 7 hours on the tarmac before it was ultimately canceled due to bad weather New York’s JFK Airport.

Delta Air Lines Inc. spokeswoman Betsy Talton’s statement from Chicago Tribune

She said when the plane left the gate, it was No. 15 of 60
planes waiting to depart. Then, she said, air traffic controllers
stopped all scheduled flights because of severe weather.

“The crew waited for the opportunity for the departure lanes to
reopen so we could get customers to their destination; however,
they ultimately made the decision to return to the terminal around
3 p.m., when the crew could not project a definitive departure
time,” Talton said.

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One of the biggest problems I have while flying is getting the laptop out of the laptop bag and putting it back in after getting it scanned (at the security checkpoint). The problem gets even worse if you have bunch of people ahead of you fumbling with their laptops, especially the leisure travelers :).

Targus has come with a new product, the new “Zip-Thru Corporate Traveler Laptop Case”. The bag “Through some pretty nifty design tweaks, the bag eliminates all the
fumbling involved in removing your laptop from its carrying case when
passing through airport security
“. It is advertised as a checkpoint-friendly bags which meets the TSA guidelines.

From FREEP.com

The bags are made of nylon, briefcase-styled and part of a line of
Corporate Traveler bags known for having lots of document folders for
business papers — handouts gleaned from a convention, for example. They
can hold laptops with screen sizes as large as 15.4 inches and
generally sell from $75 to $100 online.

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Another Qantas jet (Boeing 737-800) had to make an emergency landing. The plane made an emergency landing at Adelaide Airport (37 minutes after taking off from the airport) after a door opened during flight to Melbourne. The airline did announce that “the door covering the wheel bay was not closed properly during take-off“.

This is the second incidence of emergency landing from Qantas Airways in the last 7 days and is bound to cause attention on safety for the airlines.

A Passenger’s account from The Guardian

“The latter version of events was supported by a passenger, Rocco
Russo, who said that he heard a rattling noise about 10 minutes after
take-off and the pilot announced that there was a problem with a door
closing above the plane’s wheel.
“He then continued to fly and
said that he was going to contact the engineers and then a few minutes
after that came back on and said the engineers had gotten back to him
and the advice was to return to Adelaide,” Russo told ABC News.”

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My friend Partner of a Pilot in response to the post on Delhi Airport: Airplane gets hit by… left a link to a great youtube video regarding a Thomson 253H with a similar bird strike during take off.

Facts about the video

  • Thomson 253H (Boeing 757)
  • Manchester Airport
  • Audio – Airport noise and Communication between Tower and the Pilot

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Air Mauritius flight MK 745 (Airbus 330-200) flying from Delhi India to Mauritius hit a bird while speeding to take off on Delhi’s airport. The pilot aborted the take off at the last moment and applied emergency brakes. The overheating of the wheels due to the application of brake at the speed caused the fire. The fire spread to the undercarriage. All the 252 people on the board were evacuated safely using emergency chutes.

There was an initial 10 minute delay due to “bird activity”

From Times of India


“Our pilot had warned of birds on the runway
which is why we did not get clearance. After 10 minutes or so, we were ready for
takeoff. However, even as we gathered speed and were seconds away from being
airborne, there was a loud thud and the entire plane shook violently and came to
a sudden halt,” said Vijay Kumar, heading a group of bankers who were traveling to Mauritius.

From Hindustan Times

“The fire was extinguished at 2.15 pm and the passengers and 11
crewmembers were evacuated through the emergency escape chute by 2.40
pm and transported to the terminal building in coaches, airport
operator Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL) said. The aircraft was
towed away to a remote bay.

“Had the fire not extinguished in time or the plane had taken off,
it would have definitely blown up either on ground or mid-air.
Thankfully, the pilot was smart and did the right thing,” an official
said.”

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A Qantas 747-400 (QF 30 from London to Melbourne) was cruising at 29,000 feet when there was a loud boom. The boom was because of a hole which grew with a time extending from cargo hold into the passenger cabin. The cabin lost pressure and the aircraft started losing altitude (quickly descended 10,000 feet). The plane made an emergency landing at Manila airport (Philippines) and all the 346 passengers landed safe (though some vomited after landing).

From Associated Press

“”One hour into the flight there was a big bang, then the plane started
going down,” passenger Marina Scaffidi, 39, from Melbourne, told The
Associated Press by phone from Manila airport. “There was wind swirling
around the plane and some condensation.””

“”There was a terrific boom and bits of wood and debris just flew
forward into first (class) and the oxygen masks dropped down,” she told
Australia’s ABC Radio. “It was absolutely terrifying, but I have to say
everyone was very calm.””

“Bob Vandel, executive vice president of the independent, Virginia-based
Flight Safety Foundation, said the hole caused the plane to lose
pressure and oxygen, which required the pilot to start a quick, initial
descent to normalize oxygen levels, said Vandel.”

Video –
One of the passengers took a video inside the aircraft with landing. For video Click here

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