Iberia wins award for Madrid Terminal 4 Agora project

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Canada, North America, Spain, Western Europe | Posted on 13-09-2012

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Madrid Barajas Terminal 4Iberia, the Spanish national airline, has won “the best passenger assistance initiative” award at the Future Travel Experiences event in Vancouver.

This is in recognition for Iberia‘s Agora project at Madrid’s Terminal 4 – the main hub for the airline, and one of the most modern airport terminals in Europe.

The Agora project aims to improve flight punctuality and customer experience, making Terminal 4 one of the most efficient and user-friendly airport terminals. There’s a video about the project (in Spanish) here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoobL0dpqFs

Part of the improvements brought about by Iberia sees all pursers carry iPads loaded with passenger information to help the airline serve them better. Iberia’s Deputy Manager for Coordination and Hub, Dimitris Bountolos, said: “It was very exciting. We have begun to inspire others and this is a great responsibility.”

 

Phuket Airport expansion begins

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Asia, Miscellaneous Spotting, Thailand | Posted on 10-09-2012

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Phuket AirportPhuket Airport in Thailand is bursting at the seams. Its owners, Airports of Thailand, has therefore begun an expansion process to help it cope.

The process will be split into three phases, and will be completed by April 2015 if all goes to plan.

The first phase is the construction of a new International Terminal. This will be able to handle six million passengers per year, and take the airport’s capacity up to 12.5 million passengers per year (it is currently at 6.5 million, but expected to handle 9.3 million this year). The new terminal is due for completion in late 2013.

Other phases will see modification of the old terminal building, the addition of ten new aircraft parking stands, a taxiway extension, and new car park.

Bye bye (bmi)baby

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Miscellaneous Spotting, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 09-09-2012

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bmibaby may disappear in 2012

Today is the final day of operations for bmibaby.
It was launched in 2002 by parent, bmi British Midland International, as a way to compete with the large number of low cost airlines springing up across Europe, and in particular easyJet and Ryanair. The low cost carrier, which operated flights using Boeing 737-300 and -500 aircraft, flew to a number of leisure and city destinations across Europe from its UK bases.

The airline’s fleet was sourced from bmi, who were replacing their older 737s with new Airbus A320 family aircraft.

Now, since the sale of bmi to IAG Group, and its incorporation into British Airways, along with the sale of bmi Regional to a group of Scottish investors, there’s no longer any hope for bmibaby which could not find a buyer.

I flew with bmibaby a number of times when they had a base at Durham Tees Valley Airport, and will miss their friendly colour scheme.

Will Ryanair buy Stansted Airport?

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 07-09-2012

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London Stansted RyanairThat’s what recent news stories seems to suggest. Ryanair – who yesterday claimed they’d buy a dog if it was the right price – are looking to take a 25% stake in London Stansted Airport now that BAA has been forced to sell it.

Believing that owning a significant stake in arguably its most significant airport would allow it to grow traffic at the airport, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary recently commented “There is enormous opportunity for cutting the cost base at Stansted. You could take the airport [from 30 million] to 60 million passengers a year and account for nearly all the growth in the southeast.”

“We’d change the whole structure of the airport to lower costs, increase the number of flights and increase traffic.”

Ryanair would invest no more than 24.99% into the airport, as part of a consortium buying the facility from BAA.

Philippine Airlines wants to build its own Manila Airport

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Asia, Philippines | Posted on 06-09-2012

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Manila Ninoy Aquino AirportRecent news from the Philippines suggests that national carrier Philippine Airlines, which recently announced a mega order for 54 Airbus aircraft, wants to build its own airport.

Given the recent news from Ryanair, who want to buy London Stansted Airport, this seems to be a growing trend.

Philippine Airlines would construct a new airport with parallel runways and a terminal dedicated to the airline, and its PAL Express subsidiary. Presumably this would serve Manila, as the airline has already decided against a hub at Clark Airport due to its distance from the city.

The airline would then move operations out of the crowded Ninoy Aquino International Airport which currently serves Manila.

Whether they’d allow other airlines to operate into their airport has not been announced, but airline president Ramon Ang said they intend to seek government approval for the airport soon.

Round the world charity trip in seven days

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Asia, Eastern Europe, Frankfurt, Germany, Heathrow, Hong Kong, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Middle East, North America, Russia, Singapore, Spain, UK, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 04-09-2012

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Andrew Solum Richard TamsA good friend of mine, Andrew Solum, and British Airways‘ Head of UK & Ireland Sales, Richard Tams, are about to embark upon a fantastic journey in the hope of raising money for charity.

Their target is to raise £20,000 for the Comic Relief Flying Start charity, supported by British Airways and aimed at improving the lives of countless children every year.

Their challenge? Well, they’ve got to get around the world in seven days, starting in New York on 15th September, and using every Oneworld airline partner.

The journey will start with American Airlines from New York to Chicago then on to the Tokyo Narita international hub of Japan Airlines.

The following day they will fly with Japan Airlines from Tokyo to the Hong Kong home of Cathay Pacific and on September 17 undertake a three-flight schedule from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur with Cathay Pacific, Kuala Lumpur to Singapore with Malaysia Airlines, which is on track to join oneworld at the turn of the year. They will then travel on from Singapore to London Heathrow with Qantas arriving early on September 18.

British Airways will carry them on to Amman, base of Royal Jordanian.

On September 19 they will fly from Amman to Frankfurt with Royal Jordanian, then with airberlin to Germany’s capital city.

On September 20, they will take to the air again with airberlin to Frankfurt, then off with LAN to Madrid. From its base at the Spanish capital, Iberia will then carry them to the Moscow hub of S7, landing early on September 21, before a swift transfer to S7 for a flight to St. Petersburg.

The following day (September 22) they will begin the last leg of their journey heading with Finnair from St Petersburg to its own Helsinki home then on to Heathrow to connect on to their final flight, a British Airways jet from London to New York arriving at 8.55pm local time.

In total they will cover just over 30,000 miles, flying along the way on every oneworld member airline and via 11 of the alliance’s major hubs.

Tams said: “I’ve done a lot of flying in my time at British Airways, but never so many destinations in such a short period. We’ll be going through 16 airports, flying on ten different aircraft types and visiting 11 countries on 12 airlines. We won’t even have time to stop and enjoy the views!

Mr Solum, a management consultant and oneworld Emerald top tier frequent flyer, said “it will be tough going on standby staff tickets with no guarantee where we’ll be seated, but at the end of the day, every penny we raise will make a difference to a child – and that is really our driving force for this challenge.”

Tams added “We’re enormously grateful to our oneworld partners for supporting our challenge – it’s a great reflection of the reach the alliance has. I’d also like to thank our hotel partners in this, the Global Hotel Alliance, Starwood and Marriott.”

“The travel trade have also already been really supportive and we’ve already hit £8,000+ of our target but we really want to reach at least £20,000 so we’re asking everyone to dig deep and help us out. Anyone can pledge money at:

http://donate.ba-flyingstart.com/funraiser/roundtheoneworld.”

The money raised will all go directly to Flying Start, the global charity partnership between British Airways and Comic Relief UK. It will help to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of children living in the UK and in some of the poorest countries across the world. The aim of the charity is to help create lasting change by giving children and their families the chance to start supporting themselves.

The intrepid travellers will be blogging their adventures and experiences, so stay tuned for further details!

Thai Airways A380 delivery in September

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, France, Frankfurt, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Miscellaneous Spotting, Singapore, Thailand, Western Europe | Posted on 04-09-2012

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Thai A380  (c) Thai AirwaysThai Airways is to received its first Airbus A380 in September, with entry to service due in October.

The aircraft recently appeared in full colours at the Hamburg Finkenwerder facility in Germany, where it had recently flown to for painting.

Thai will use their Airbus A380s on routes from Bangkok to European destinations such as Frankfurt and Paris CDG. Initially they will operate to Hong Kong and Singapore from 28 October, and from Januray also to Tokyo Narita.

THAI will become the ninth operator of the A380 when it takes delivery of first the aircraft in the third quarter this year. The airline has firm orders for six A380s.

Welcome to South America – LAN’s 787 arrives

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Argentina, Chile, Miscellaneous Spotting, Peru, South America | Posted on 03-09-2012

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Lan 787LAN Airlines has taken delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner, CC-BBA, becoming the first airline in the Americas to do so. It is also only the fourth airline in the world to take delivery of the type.

The aircraft arrived at Santiago de Chile by performing a low pass, before landing and taxiing under a water cannon salute.

LAN will fly the 787 Dreamliner from its Santiago base to Buenos Aires and Lima initially. These routes start in October.

Then, as more aircraft are delivered, they will be seen on routes to Los Angeles, Frankfurt, and Madrid.

LAN Airlines’ CEO, Ignacio Cueto, stressed the importance of the delivery for the Company and celebrated the benefits this aircraft will have both for the regional aviation industry and the travel experience of passengers:

“LAN is proud to be the first airline in the Americas to receive the 787 Dreamliner,” said Ignacio Cueto, CEO LAN Airlines.   “This is not only a milestone for LAN, but also for all of our passengers that will experience an enhanced LAN in-flight experience thanks to the cutting edge technology and visionary elements of this new aircraft. The Dreamliner will make it possible for us to cover greater distances in a more environmentally conscious and highly efficient  aircraft which will help ensure our sustainable growth“.

The cabin configuration aboard LAN’s first 787-8 will be 217 seats in Economy and 30 seats in Premium Business.

Keep an eye on our 787 Routes page for more planned services.

United Airlines 787 domestic flights

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 01-09-2012

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United Airlines 787-800Prior to going into service, United Airlines will flying its first Boeing 787 aircraft (the first one in North America) on a number of domestic routes for the rest of the year in order to increase crew familiarity of the type – and no doubt to get the flying public swooning over it!

This is in addition to the previously announced international routes.

Here’s a run down of where you can expect to see it domestically:

Houston – San Francisco – 5x weekly, 4th November – 2nd December
Houston – San Francisco – 1x Daily, 3rd December – 3rd January 2013
Houston – Los Angeles – 6x weekly, 4th November – 3rd December
Houston – Los Angeles – 1x Daily, 4th December – 31st March
Houston – Chicago O’Hare – 6x weekly, 4th November – 3rd December
Houston – Chicago O’Hare – 1x Daily, 4th January – 29th March
Houston – Newark – 1x Daily, 4th November – 3rd January (excluding 18th November)
Houston – Cleveland – 1 flight only, 10th November (0700 out – 1600 back)
Houston – Washington Dulles – 1 flight only, 17th November (0700 out – 1550 back)
Houston –  Denver – 1x Daily, 5th December – 2nd January
Houston –  Denver – 1x Daily, 31st March onwards

Best of the Web – Airport Spotting Videos – Air France A340 Go Around!

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Caribbean, Sint Maarten, Spotting Videos | Posted on 31-08-2012

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This video has been doing the rounds this week, and it’s pretty spectacular. If you’ve been to St. Maarten in the Caribbean, you’ll know how low big jets come over Maho Beach just before landing. Well, throw in a tropical storm and things get interesting! Enjoy…