Archive for November, 2008

January 17th 2009, Mexicana (or Compañía Mexicana de Aviación) will launch twice-weekly flights from Mexico City to London’s Gatwick Ariport (return flight leaves London at 10:30am and arrives in Mexico City at 17:35p). The airline will be using a Boeing 767-200ER for the service. Mexicana’s plans are to fly to Sao Paulo Grarulhos (GRU), London (LGW)
and Madrid (MAD). “The arrival of a second -200 the following month will allow it to
double the frequency. The aircraft also will be used on a new
five-times-weekly Sao Paulo Guarulhos service scheduled to start Dec.
” The Madrid flight is supposed to start in February
2009 (on Airbus A330).

“Passengers on these flights will enjoy bed seats, an exclusive
in-flight meal prepared by Mexican chef Enrique Olvera and a select
list of handpicked Mexican wines.”

Mexicana is Mexico’s largest airline and is the first airline that was established in the country. It has been Mexico’s national airline since 1924.

From ATWOnline

Mexicana has been hit by the current industry downturn like many
carriers, but it remains in “adequate” financial health and is focused
on a long-term plan that includes oneworld entry and the launch of its
first European services early next year, CEO Manuel Borja said
yesterday at the ALTA Airline Leaders Forum in Cancun.
All three routes are underserved, he said. The GRU and LGW flights
largely will cater to corporate customers, with a “small percentage” of
leisure travelers, while MAD is “more of a mix.” He conceded that MX
will post a “small” loss in 2008 but expects a “neutral” 2009.


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New runways will be opened at three major US Airports – Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, Washington DC’s Dulles International Airport and Seattle’s Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The propose cost for the new runways is around $450 million (Chicago), $350 million (Washington DC) and +$1 billion (Seattle). The runways are supposed to reduce the current delays at the airports and provide capacity for future increases in demand. 

These are great moves for the airline industry. But there is a problem – since most of the airlines have reduced their capacities and there is a weakening demand due to the current recession, the new runways might not be of much use in the near future.

Personally, I think of all the airports, New York’s Airports (Newark, LaGuardia and JFK) and Philadelphia’s International Airport can all definitely use an additional runway. 

Some facts from CNN

Washington Dulles International Airport will get a fourth runway, its first runway addition since the airport opened in 1962.
Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport’s new runway is part of a
massive, multi-billion dollar modernization program. Previously, six of
the airport’s seven runways intersected. When the entire project is
completed in 2014, the airport will have eight runways in parallel
configurations considered safer and more efficient.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s new runway is being especially
welcomed because of the region’s notoriously wet climate. The airport’s
third runway will allow planes to take off and land two abreast during
inclement weather. The current runways are too close to allow
simultaneous operations in foul weather. Airport officials claim the
new runway will cut delays in half.

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Allied Pilots Association (American Airlines’ Pilots Association) has been vocal about their opposition to the proposed American Airlines and British Airways alliance. Recently, they have put on billboards around the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) Airport to display their opposition.

The application is – “BA and AA have applied to regulators in the United States and Europe for
antitrust immunity that would permit them to combine their route networks,
pricing, sales, marketing and purchasing power
. Iberia, the Spanish airline;
Finnair and Royal Jordanian are included in the submission but are secondary

From “Aviation Blog at Dallas News” –

One says:
AA’s Joint Venture? Higher Fares, Lost Jobs.

Good for Executives, Bad for America.

The other says:
AA’s multinational joint venture:

Is it good for America?

The billboards also include a web address to get more information, www.AmericanJobsAtRisk.com.

I do understand the big concern for other airlines at London’s Heathrow Airport like Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic. Richard Branson believes that the alliance will make a monopoly at London’s Heathrow airport and will drive smaller airlines out of the market. The biggest concern for Branson is that together the airlines can get even more market share.

But I don’t understand the American Airlines’ pilots, unless –

  • They beleive that some of flights to London will be removed, but then I don’t think there is enough overlap between BA and AA in those markets.
  • AA might not fly some of the potential future markets like middle east, asia, etc. This might be a legitimate concern.

Since this will be an alliance, none of the pilots can fly other airlines’ planes.

There is a big issue with old companies in US with unionized labor. It seems like the Unions and managment seem to have new philosophy  – “a company within a company safeguarding their own interests” rather than the original concept of “disallowing any labor exploitation”.

Maybe I am missing something?

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Qantas Airlines named its future fleet of 20 Airbus A380 aircrafts after famous Australians in aviation.

From Asia Travel Tips

The full list of people who will have an A380 named after them are:

Nancy-Bird Walton – the first woman to fly a commercial aviation service in Australia.
Hudson Fysh – one of the founders of Qantas and the airline’s first Managing Director.
Paul McGinness – one of the founders of Qantas.
Fergus McMaster – one of the founders of Qantas and the first Chairman of the Company.
Lawrence Hargrave – inventor of the box kite, linking four of these together in 1894 to fly 16 feet.
Charles Kingsford Smith – Australia’s most famous aviator, who made the first trans-Pacific flight from the USA to Australia in 1928, and founded Australian National Airways Limited.
• Charles Ulm – Co-pilot, on Kingsford Smith’s record-breaking trans-Pacific flight between the USA and Australia in 1928 and co-founder of Australian National Airways Limited.
Reginald Ansett – Founder of Ansett Airways Pty Ltd.
David Warren – Inventor of the Black Box Flight Recorder.
Bert Hinkler – Pilot of first solo flight from Britain to Australia in 1928.
John and Reginald Duigan – First Australians to design, construct and fly a powered aircraft, in 1910.
Phyllis Arnott – First Australian woman to gain a commercial pilot’s license.
Keith McPherson Smith and Ross McPherson Smith – winners of the famous ‘Air Race’ between London and Australia in 1919.
Lester Brain – Piloted one of the first Qantas routes in 1925 and ferried the first wartime Catalina Flying Boat delivered by Qantas Empire Airways in 1941. Later appointed General Manager of Trans-Australia Airlines in 1946.
Lores Bonney – First woman to fly solo around Australia in 1932 and the first woman to fly solo from Australia to England, in 1933.
Norman Brearley – Founder of Western Australian Airways Limited, which operated Australia’s first scheduled air service on 5 December 1921.
P G Taylor – Navigator and co-pilot alongside Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm on many record-breaking flights between Australia and the United States and England and Australia. Taylor was awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal in 1937 for one of the most revered acts of bravery in the history of aviation.
Scotty Allan – Co-pilot alongside Charles Ulm and P G Taylor on the 1933 record-breaking flight from England to Australia and later joined Qantas and flew DH86 aircraft on the Brisbane-Singapore route.
John Flynn – Founder of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Gaby Kennard – First Australian woman to fly solo around the world in 1989.


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Air France went through severe disruptions (2/5 of long haul flights and half of the rest getting canceled) after the pilots began their four-day strike in protest to the change of the legal age for retirement. The change in retirement age from 60 to 65 was passed in the French parliament earlier.

European passengers are already going through woes due to strikes by employees at Alitalia.

“Passengers should contact Air France on +33 1 5702 1055 or visit www.airfrance.com
for the latest flight information

From BBC article

Disruption to flights operated by partner airlines, including Brit Air
and CityJet, will not be as great, chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta said.
He said the strike would cost the airline 100m euros ($127m; £86.1m).
Mr Spinetta also said the strike was “unnecessary” because the
postponement of the retirement age from 60 to 65 was beyond the firm’s
control, having been passed in parliament. In addition, pilots will still be able to decide whether they want to
retire at the age of 60 while paying the same pension contributions.

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Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has “toughened a requirement that Boeing 737 pilots be reminded not to
ignore a cabin pressure warning horn, ordering pre-flight briefings as
well as changes in manuals.
” The reasoning for this new “airworthiness directive” is due to the Helios Airways Boeing 737-300 crash on August 14th 2005 that resulted in 121 deaths.

The directive affects all Boeing 737 models!

Read the Directive here at FAA.gov wesbsite.


We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all Boeing Model
737 airplanes. This AD requires revising the airplane flight manual to
include a new flightcrew briefing that must be done before the first
flight of the day and following any change in flightcrew members, and
to advise the flightcrew of this additional briefing. This AD results
from continuing reports that flightcrews have failed to recognize and
react properly to the cabin altitude warning horn. We are issuing this
AD to prevent failure of the flightcrew to recognize and react properly
to a valid cabin altitude warning horn, which could result in
incapacitation of the flightcrew due to hypoxia (lack of oxygen in
body) and consequent loss of airplane control.


We are issuing this AD to prevent failure of the flightcrew to
recognize and react to a valid cabin altitude warning horn, which could
result in incapacitation of the flightcrew due to hypoxia (lack of
oxygen in body) and consequent loss of airplane control. This action
follows related rulemaking action we took in response to a report
resulting from the investigation by the Air Accident Investigation and
Aviation Safety Board of Greece into the August 14, 2005, Helios
Airways accident near Athens, Greece. This action affects the entire
fleet of Boeing Model 737 airplanes (nearly 5,000 airplanes worldwide);
these airplanes have a very high utilization rate. Because of our
requirement to promote safe flight of civil aircraft and thus the
critical need to assure that the flightcrew recognizes and reacts
properly to a valid cabin altitude warning horn and the compliance time
involved with this action, this AD must be issued immediately.

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Barack Obama, the President-elect for USA, traded his “Air Obama” or “O-Force One” (Boeing 757) that was used during the campaign for a chartered American Airlines Boeing Super-80 or MD-80. The aircraft was recently used to fly him from Chicago to Washington DC for his White House meetings.

Great advertisement for American Airlines 🙂

From ABC

American won the round-trip charter contract in a competitive bidding
process done through a broker, according to airline spokesperson Mary
Frances Fagan. “We presented price package based on host of factors including type of
aircraft, length of time the airplane was needed, where the plane was
based, number of crew members involved, catering, fuel costs,” said
Fagan.American Airlines flight personnel staffed the cockpit and the cabin
for the trip to Washington and back to Chicago. Michelle Obama, who
accompanied the president-elect to the White House on Monday, flew
separately, according to staff members.

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