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Posts Tagged ‘Virgin Atlantic’

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
players.”

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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Lufthansa, Europe’s second largest airline. has announced plans to mix biofuels with conventional jet kerosene as part of their environmental strategy.

Main points from their announcement –

  • Lufthansa intends to use as much as 10% biofuel (made from non-food sources, not algae) by 2020.
  • They also aim to cut carbon dioxide emissions per km flown by 25% by 2020

With the current market, by 2020 with a possible $1000+ per gallon, I am not sure if any commercial airline will survive. How about a nuclear power as currently used in space flights?

Current Initiatives on Alternative Fuels

  • Virgin Atlantic successfully flew a Boeing 747-400 (without passengers) from London to Amsterdam with 1 of the 4 fuel tanks filled with biofuel made of babassu pil and coconut oil. The test was done in partnership with – Boeing, General Electric and Imperium Renewables. (more read here)
  • Airbus with Rolls-Royce staged a joint test on Feb 1st 2008 of a gas-to-liquid fuel on a Airbus A380.

Seems like a Boeing-GE (US) vs Airbus-Rolls Royce (EU) race with the whole world to benefit :).

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Virgin Nigeria has been nominated for the “Best airline based in Africa” by Official Airline Guide (OAG) awards.

From Nigeria Bulletin
“Virgin Nigeria is nominated in the Best Airline based in Africa
category alongside Ethiopian Airlines, Egyptair, Kenya Airways and
South African Airways which are much older African airlines.
This nomination is a very exciting one for the airline, seeing as the nomination comes only after three years of its operation.”

Facts about Virgin Nigeria (from here) –

  • Based in – Lagos State, Nigeria
  • Established on – September 28 2004
  • Ownership – 51% by Nigerian Institutional Investors and 49% by Virgin Atlantic Airways
  • Inaugural Flight – June 28 2005 from Lagos to London Heathrow
  • Hubs Murtala Mohammed International Airport
  • Frequent Flier Program – Eagleflier
  • Fleet – Boeing 757-300, Boeing 767-300, Embraer 170, Embraer 190, Fokker F50, ATR-42
  • Misc – The airline is replacement for defunct Nigeria Airways
  • Proposed US Route – Plan to start flights from Lagos to George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas.

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Virgin Atlantic‘s president Sir Richard Branson is considering axing the famous on-board massage (and manicure) treatments. He mentioned that the Upper class passengers (who are currently offered the service) would rather go to sleep, then use the service.
It was reported last week that all of the 280 beauty therapists had been called for a meeting. If the service is axed, the therapists will be offered regular cabin crew jobs or “be moved to an expanded
spa facility at Virgin’s Upper Class lounge at Heathrow.”

According to Wikipedia article –

Upper Class

Upper Class is the equivalent of business class on all Virgin Atlantic Airways’ flights. Virgin does not offer a traditional First Class cabin service and Upper Class is denoted by the International Standard of Service class code J, meaning “Premium Business Class”.
The Upper Class seat is claimed by the airline to be the biggest fully
flat bed compared with any other airline’s business class service (it
is approximately 202 cm long and 84 cm wide), however Singapore
Airlines has made a similar claim. The seat offers in-seat laptop power and power leads for iPods and Upper Class passengers have access to a chauffeur, the clubhouse (lounge),
a larger menu than that of Premium Economy and Economy passengers, an
in-flight bar, and in-flight massages. All but one aircraft (G-VSUN) in
Virgin Atlantic’s fleet have the Upper Class suite, and as with the new
Premium Economy product, G-VSUN will not have the suite until 2008.

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