Monday, December 1, 2008

Aer Lingus rejects 748-mln-euro bid from Ryanair

Aer Lingus has rejected a bid by Ryanair. It will be interesting to see how long the unions can fight the economic realities.

AFP - Tuesday, December 2DUBLIN (AFP) - - Irish airline Aer Lingus rejected Monday a 748-million-euro (950-million-dollar) cash takeover offer from Ryanair, Europe's biggest budget airline, saying it was way below its real value.

"The board rejects this new offer and Aer Lingus shareholders are strongly advised to take no action in relation to the offer," the former national carrier's board said in a statement.

"Aer Lingus remains a strong business with significant cash reserves and a robust long-term future. The board believes that the offer significantly undervalues Aer Lingus," it added.

The offer represented a premium of about 25 percent compared with the closing price for Aer Lingus shares on Friday but was only half the 1.48 billion euros that Ryanair offered for its Irish rival in an unsuccessful takeover attempt in October 2006.

Unveiling the new offer, Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said the deal "will form one Irish airline group with the financial strength to compete with Europe's three major airline groups -- Air France, British Airways and Lufthansa.

"The world has changed dramatically over the past two years, as high oil prices and deep recession have caused a flood of airline bankruptcies, consolidations and capacity cutbacks," he added in a statement.

Ryanair, which already owns almost 30 percent of Aer Lingus, offered 1.40 euros per outstanding share and said that following any merger it planned to operate both airlines as separate companies with "distinctive brands."

Ryanair added in the statement: "Over the past two years, the management of Aer Lingus have failed its shareholders, customers and staff. Its shares have fallen from over three euros, to less than one euro recently."

Aer Lingus shares surged on news of the offer, with the bid from an airline renowned for keeping costs to a minimum getting an angry reception from unions.

"For our members and workers in the airline industry it would be a nightmare if Ryanair ran the show," said Teresa Hannick, assistant organiser of the Aer Lingus branch of the trade union SIPTU.

Aer Lingus posted an operating loss of 22.3 million euros for the first six months of 2008, compared with an operating profit of 2.6 million euros a year earlier.

In October, it announced plans to save 74 million euros a year by cutting costs, including making savings on staff.

Ryanair's 2006 bid was strongly opposed by major Aer Lingus shareholders, including the Irish government, company employees, pilots and their pension fund. It was ultimately blocked by EU anti-competition regulators.

Analysts however gave the new bid a better chance of success.

"We see this bid as having a better chance of approval given the flow of mergers and approvals of state aid within the sector, as well as recent combinations of businesses in financial services that would never have passed competition authority scrutiny only three months ago," said Royal Bank of Scotland analyst Andrew Lobbenberg.

Jim Power, chief economist of the Friends First financial services group, told RTE radio: "I think Ryanair is taking the view that the environment has changed dramatically across Europe over the last six months and the EU Commission might now take a different view."

In London trade, shares in Aer Lingus ended the day 13.6 percent higher at 1.27 euros. Ryanair lost 4.8 percent at 2.79 euros, roughly in line with a much weaker overall market.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Tiger Airways news

Reuters - Saturday, November 1SINGAPORE, Oct 31 - Tiger Airways, a budget carrier partly owned by Singapore Airlines , said on Friday it is sticking to its growth plans despite financial market turmoil, with seven additional planes expected within the next two years.

CEO Tony Davis said that despite the global economic slowdown he still saw good passenger demand, but said airfares would come under pressure.

"I still want to travel, I still want to have my holiday, I still want to see my family, but I'm looking for a cheaper fare," said Davis at an aviation conference in Singapore.

The low-cost carrier expects a total of 60 additional planes by 2016, five times the amount it operates currently.

Weakening consumer sentiment has led regional airlines to cut back routes, layoff staff and post losses. Singapore Air holds a 49 percent stake in Tiger.

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Cathay Pacific news from Reuters

Cathay sheds 5 jets from fleet, sees tough outlook

Reuters - Saturday, November 1* To leave fleet over 2 yrs

* Revenue from passenger services, cargo below targets

* Industry outlook remains very challenging

By Joanne Chiu

HONG KONG, Oct 31 - Cathay Pacific <0293.HK>, scrambling to cut costs in a worsening travel and aviation environment, said it planned to shed five jets from its fleet and warned of slowing bookings.

Asia's fifth-largest airline said the planes would be replaced eventually and it would continue to grow its fleet, although at a slower pace, according to a report posted on Cathay's internal websit on Friday.

Chief Executive Tony Tyler said in the report that cash from a disposal of five Boeing 777-200 aircraft would be useful, but added the airline was not certain a deal could go through in the current climate.

A Cathay spokeswoman confirmed the internal report had been posted on the website.

"The outlook remains very challenging with continued stress on the premium segment and weakening demand in the economy cabin. This means consistently weaker forward bookings for the rest of the year compared to 2007," Tyler said in the report.

Cathay also said that in the week ended Oct. 25, net revenue from passenger services, cargo and mail and excess baggage was 4.4 percent below target. The target was not specified.

Cathay, which owns regional carrier Dragonair and has an 18.1 percent stake in mainland carrier Air China <0753.HK><601111.SS>, posted a January-June net loss of HK$663 million , its first interim loss in five years, on soaring fuel costs.

Despite global oil prices falling more than half to $64 per barrel this week from a record $147 in July, Cathay may not benefit as much as expected.

"First, we will inevitably see a reduction in fuel surcharges soon. Second, the hedging protection we benefit from when prices rise has to be paid for by benefiting less when prices fall," the report said.

Aviation analysts warned this week that Asian airlines will fail as tourism in the region slows and a worsening global economic outlook leads carriers such as Singapore Airlines to cut back flights. [ID:nSIN353347]

The financial crisis is moving into the real economy as layoffs hurt consumer sentiment, leading airlines from China to India to post losses or lay off staff and hoteliers to focus on budget travellers as the luxury market takes a hit.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Delta and NW merger

Delta airline and Northwest Airlines have merged to become the biggest airline in the world

Flying over the coast of the Gulf of Thailand

suvanau is located among aquaculture ponds

Our plane on its way to the runway

Taking off

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Departure hall

Departure gate

Suvanabumi airport Bangkok

Exterior view of Bangkok airport

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Qantas mid-air plunge

About 50 passengers were taken to hospital after a Qantas A330-300 plunged nose down during a Tuesday flight from Singapore to Perth. Investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) were quoted as sayting on Wednesday that instruments aboard flight QF72 had warned pilots of a glitch in the stabilisation system just before the accident. The plane was carrying 303 passengers and 10 crew members when the incident happended at 11,000m. The jet made an emergency landing at Learmonth about 1,100km north east of Perth.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Airlines brace for credit-card processor demands

Reuters - Tuesday, October 7 By Kyle Peterson

CHICAGO, Oct 6 - U.S. airlines, struggling to find stability in a time of unprecedented economic turbulence, are bracing against possible trauma that could be inflicted by credit-card processors made skittish by the credit crisis.

In recent months, top carriers like AMR Corp's American Airlines and UAL Corp's United Airlines have topped off their cash positions or changed deals with credit-card processors -- defensive moves triggered by fears that processors may demand bigger cash holdbacks.

"People are trying to get out in front of this because they don't want to be in the position that Frontier was," said airline consultant Robert Mann.

Frontier Airlines Holdings Inc filed for bankruptcy in April after its credit-card processor, First Data Corp, surprised the low-cost carrier with higher withholding requirements that put a strain on Frontier's liquidity. Other airlines aim to avoid that fate.

"It's going to continue to be an issue as long as the credit markets are in disarray," Mann said.

Credit-card processors take payment from airline customers who book travel weeks or months before a flight. Processors then pass that money to the carrier. But in doing so, they take on the risk that the airline could go under and fail to reimburse the money for travel not provided. In that event, the card processor would be left with that obligation.

To avoid or limit that risk, processors often require airlines to put a percentage of their advance booking proceeds aside for use should reimbursement be necessary.

Depending on its agreements with airlines, a processor that doubts the ability of an airline to provide travel or repay its debts may require a higher percentage of advance ticket revenue to be withheld.

In Frontier's case, First Data demanded that 50 percent of credit-card funds from advance purchases be withheld.

"Most credit card processing agreements include some kind of minimum liquidity requirement," said Bill Warlick, analyst at Fitch Ratings.

Warlick noted actions by American Airlines parent AMR and United parent UAL.

Last month, AMR said it would draw down its $225 million revolving credit facility to add to its liquidity pool and reduce the amount of potential credit-card holdback reserves. The company has said only one of its agreements gives the processor the right to hold back proceeds.

"t is possible that we could have holdbacks in place by the end of the year to the tune of about $200 million to $300 million," AMR Chief Financial Officer Thomas Horton said in July.

In June, UAL reached a deal with credit-card processors reducing reserves that United is required to maintain under a credit-card processing agreement.

In August, Delta Air Lines Inc borrowed the full amount of its $1 billion revolving credit facility to bolster its cash position. The company also amended its Visa/MasterCard processing agreement, which has no cash holdback requirement.

In June, Continental Airlines Inc amended a card processing deal to remove a minimum earnings-to-fixed-charges ratio as a trigger that could require the airline to post additional collateral. The agreement, however, requires the airline to maintain a minimum level of cash as well as a minimum rating on senior unsecured debt.

Fitch's Warlick said the U.S. airline industry, which in recent years has gone through a massive reorganization, is somewhat insulated from the credit crisis. The companies have restructured their debt and have less need for major purchases as they downsize.

But the risk that they might face higher cash holdback requirements remains a wild card.

"It's definitely one of the key liquidity issues that we're focused on right now," he said.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Qantas A380

AFP - 1 hour 33 minutes ago SYDNEY (AFP) - - Qantas landed its first A380 superjumbo here on Sunday, hopeful that its arrival will boost the Australian carrier, which has recently faced a series of mechanical problems including a mid-air blast.

The arrival of the first of the giant Airbus A380s, the world's largest passenger jet, in Australia comes as Qantas also battles rising fuel costs and global financial uncertainty.

"We are witnessing an exciting new era for Qantas but also for Australian aviation," executive general manager John Borghetti said after the plane landed at Sydney airport cheered by hundreds of Qantas staff and their families.

Borghetti said the A380s, which run on four Rolls-Royce engines and have a wingspan of about 80 metres (264 feet), were quieter and more fuel-efficient than other planes while the interiors would redefine the customer experience.

"It's so exciting. It gives the whole industry a boost, particularly so given the economic climate that we are in," Borghetti told AFP.

Borghetti said the arrival of the 350-million-dollar (290 million US) dollar A380 -- delivered to the airline in France on Friday -- would allow Qantas to keep its position at the forefront of world aviation.

Asked about the recent mechanical problems encountered by the airline, Borghetti said only: "Qantas' engineering excellence is legendary."

In July, Qantas faced a storm of negative publicity after an oxygen cylinder exploded on a flight from Hong Kong to Melbourne in July, forcing an emergency landing in Manila.

The incident was one of several that prompted the Australian aviation watchdog to urge Qantas earlier this month to improve maintenance.

Qantas was the first airline to order the A380s, committing to the double-decker craft in 2000, but delivery has been slowed by delays and budget overruns in production in Toulouse, France.

The airline's first commercial A380 service will operate between Melbourne and Los Angeles on October 20. It hopes to have taken delivery of three of the aircraft by the end of the year.

Airbus has said the aeroplane can seat 853 passengers, all in economy class. Qantas has configured its A380 to seat 450 passengers in four classes.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Alitalia Unions given deadline

ROME (AFP) - - Alitalia's trade unions were warned Wednesday they had less than 24 hours to accept a deal on a rescue plan for the ailing airline, ANSA news agency reported.

"The reply must come in by 3:50 pm (1350 GMT) on Thursday, or 10 minutes before the consortium behind the plan meets to decide whether to save Alitalia from bankruptcy," ANSA quoted government official Gianni Letta as saying.

Roberto Colaninno, the head of the Italian Air Company (CAI) consortium, for his part threatened that "without a consensus, I will withdraw the offer," ANSA reported.

They were speaking at a meeting between CAI and the nine unions, which was also attended by Labour Minister Maurizio Sacconi.

Sacconi said the time for negotiations was over, though Sky TG 24 television said five unions were to make counter-proposals at Wednesday's meeting.

The other four unions signed a draft agreement Monday, but the move sparked attacks from pilots and cabin crews, and continuing strike action by some employees on Wednesday forced the cancellation of nearly 100 Alitalia flights.

Some 1,000 people also demonstrated at the Rome-Fiumicino airport in support of the strike.

The plan has divided the unions, with holdout syndicates continuing to air doubts about it.

Renata Polverini, general secretary of the Uil Transport union which signed the draft agreement, appealed to the pilots' union, in particular, to be more flexible.

"I think at this time, we all need to make an extra effort to get out of this situation in the best way possible," Polverini said.

But Massimo Notaro, president of the UP pilots' union, judged the takeover offer "very weak and leaves us extremely skeptical."

And the country's leading CGIL syndicate said was prepared to reject the deal "if nothing changes," its national secretary Fabrizio Solari said.

Still the government offered an upbeat take on the negotiations.

"I have been and I remain confident," said transportation minister Altero Matteoli. "Nobody today has said no."

The potential buyers, who are ready to put one billion euros (1.4 billion dollars) on the table, have proposed a plan that would reduce the number of workers by 3,250 to 12,500.

CAI administrator Rocco Sabelli said the consortium was prepared to leave wages untouched, but on condition that working hours and productivity are increased.

The CAI plan also provides for a foreign airline taking a minority stake in the new Alitalia. Sacconi said British Airways, Air France-KLM and Lufthansa were all interested, and would not be looking to buy the company.

Alitalia employs a total of 20,000 people, but certain offshoots, such as maintenance and freight operations will be hived off.

Alitalia's collapse would be a political embarrassment for Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who had promised before the last elections that he would keep it flying under Italian control.

He said on Monday that unions holding out against the rescue deal should recognise that there is no alternative.

"The moment has come to appeal to the sense of responsibility of all those who hesitate and seem not to realise that the alternative is bankruptcy and the loss of 20,000 jobs," said Berlusconi, quoted by ANSA.

The minority union that called Wednesday's strike, CUB Trasporti, bitterly criticised the scheme to restructure the airline, saying it would reduce Alitalia to little more than a domestic carrier.

The government currently holds a 49.9 percent share in Alitalia, a national symbol for Italians since it was founded in 1946, which has lurched for years from crisis to crisis, and from restructuring plans to the latest takeover rescue scheme.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Airplane crash in Russia

MOSCOW, (AFP) - - A Boeing-737 jet crashed near Russia's city of Perm in the central Ural mountains killing all 82 passengers and six crew on board, including 21 foreigners, the jet's owner Aeroflot said Sunday.

"The Boeing-737 carried 82 passengers on board, including seven children, and six crew... All passengers were killed," Aeroflot said in a statement.

"There are foreign citizens among the victims, including nine from Azerbaijan, five from Ukraine, and one each from France, Switzerland, Latvia, the United States, Germany, Turkey and Italy," the statement said.

Earlier the company denied that any foreigners were killed in the accident.

"As the plane was coming in for landing, it lost communication at the height of 1,100 meters and air controllers lost its blip. The airplane was found within Perm's city limits completely destroyed and on fire," the statement added.

Earlier, investigator Vladimir Markin was quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying that "there were 82 passengers plus a baby and five crew on board, and by preliminary information, they are all dead" as the airplane "fell into a ravine near the city limits."

However, a ministry source quoted by RIA Novosti said that the plane fell just meters away from apartment houses, and that the entire area was cordoned off by police to help investigators.

An emergency situations ministry source quoted by RIA Novosti also claimed it was possible that three people who bought a ticket for the ill-fated flight 821 to Perm did not get on board.

The wreckage was strewn over some four square kilometers, officials said, adding that the flames had been completely put out.

The cause of the accident was not immediately clear, though a source quoted by RIA Novosti suggested that an engine failure could have sparked flames on board and led to the crash.

One of the airplane's two black boxes was found among the wreckage, officials quoted by RIA Novosti said, adding that it was already handed over to experts for decoding.

Aeroflot set up a crisis center for the victims' relatives both in Moscow's Sheremetyevo-1 airport and in Perm, including psychological aid, the company said.

The airline also pledged to pay "compensation on obligatory accident insurance in full, which would make up to two million rubles (some 80,000 dollars) per victim," the company's statement said.

Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu reported the accident to Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev, the Kremlin press service said.

An investigative group headed by Transport Minister Igor Levitin was due to fly out to the site.

The emergency situations ministry considered sending a rescue team to the site from Moscow, but later reported that "Perm had sufficient resources to deal with the search and rescue mission and decided to delay sending out experts from Moscow."

The Trans-Siberian Railway, which was damaged in the accident, had been cut off on the stretch between Perm and Yekaterinburg, and all trains put on detour, local police officials said.

The airplane had been leased by Aeroflot from a Dublin-based company Pinewatch Limited in late July until March 2013, Aeroflot said.

Last year, the 33 Russian aviation accidents that left 318 dead -- a sixfold increase over 2005 -- raised serious concerns about Russia's civil aviation, with experts pointing at major faults in the professional training of crews as well as Russia's aging fleet of passenger jets.

An air safety commission announced in January that the average age of the country's international airliners was 18, and its regional jets 30 years.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Take off at Changi Airport

Managed to take a couple of shots of planes taking off at Changi

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 gaining altitude

A RSAF fokker 50 from the next door Changi Air Base West

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Airlines that land in Singapore

Indonesian budget carrier Lion Air

Turkish Airlines


Royal Brunei Airways

Malaysian Air System

Japan Airlines

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Emirates News

AFP - Sunday, August 31DUBAI (AFP) - - Dubai's Emirates airline on Saturday took delivery of two long-range Boeings, a 777-200LR and 777-300ER, bringing the carrier's all wide-bodied passenger fleet to 111 aircraft.

Costing more than 500 million dollars, the two new airliners will be used on routes to and from north and south America, the United Arab Emirates' WAM news agency reported.

It quoted Emirates group chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum as calling the 777 "the mainstay of our ultra long-range operations."

The carrier has 63 Boeing 777s, and is set to become the world's largest 777 operator with another 39 of the airliners on order, worth 10.1 billion dollars at list prices.

Emirates is also the biggest customer for the huge European Airbus A380 manufactured by Boeing's main rival, with 58 firm orders for the A380 out of a total of 198 placed with manufacturer EADS.

In July, Emirates received the first of its 58 Airbus 380s on order, and earlier on Saturday an Emirates spokeswoman said delivery of the second may be delayed by several weeks.

Airbus did not confirm the delay, which was first reported in the French daily Le Figaro. A spokesman for the aircraft manufacturer told AFP it is "in discussions with Emirates to determine a delivery date" for the second A380.

The Middle East's biggest airline put its first giant A380 into service on August 1 with a direct flight from Dubai to New York.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Airplane goes off runway in Madrid

Spanair flight 5022 on its way to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands goes off runway resulting in over 100 deaths

Thursday, August 14, 2008

JAL reports loss

The August 8 issue of the Financial Times reported Japan Airlines, Asia's Largest carrier by revenue slid into a quaterly loss of Yen 3.4 billion (US$31m).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cathay Pacific reports losses

The August 7 issue of the Financial Times reported Hong Kong based Cathay Pacific slipping into its first interim loss since 2003. For the first six months of 2008 Cathay, Asia's third largest carrier by market value incurred a net loss of HK$633 million (US$85 million) compared with a profit of HK$2.5 billion a year ago.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Chinooks practice flyby

This RSAF Chinook was practicing for a National day flyby with the Singapore flag underneath

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Aerobatics by RSAF Black Knights

The Republic of Singapore Air Force Black Knights performing in their F16 jets for the National day parade

Monday, July 28, 2008

Qantas jet emergency landing

AFP - Monday, July 28SYDNEY (AFP) - - An onboard oxygen bottle has never before exploded on a passenger jet in mid-air, airline and air safety officials said Monday, as investigators probed the cause of a huge hole in a Qantas jumbo.

The Australian carrier is carrying out urgent inspections of oxygen bottles on its entire fleet of Boeing 747s after the fuselage of a 747-400 was ripped open, forcing an emergency landing Friday in Manila.

"Boeing advises that no, they have not had one of their aircraft with an oxygen tank disintegrating," Qantas chief engineer David Cox told reporters.

Australian Air Transport Safety Board (ATSB) investigators are focusing on whether an oxygen bottle used for emergency back-up for the cockpit exploded mid-flight, tearing a three-metre (10-foot) hole in the Boeing's hull.

One of two such cylinders is missing from the plane, which was en route from Hong Kong to Melbourne and had 365 passengers and crew on board when it was forced to land, investigators said.

But Cox refused to speculate on whether an exploding oxygen bottle was to blame for rupturing the Boeing's hull in an incident that Qantas executives acknowledged ended in a lucky escape for passengers.

"We don't know that was the root cause so that's why we're not going to speculate. The fact that that has never happened may be relevant, it may not be relevant," Cox said.

Air safety officials confirmed that if an exploding oxygen bottle is proved to have blown a hole in the jet, it would mark the first time such an incident has been recorded in a large passenger plane.

"As far as we can determine this has never happened before on a passenger aircraft," Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) spokesman Peter Gibson said.

"There's no reports of it anywhere, so it's very, very unusual and obviously understanding why that happened will be absolutely critical to making sure it can't occur again," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"If it turns out that is the cause of the accident, the cause of the hole in the side of the aircraft, obviously that will be a key part of the investigation, working out why a bottle would suddenly give way," Gibson said.

Metal fatigue in the cylinder, a failure of the regulator valve, something hitting it and puncturing the bottle, or it overheating, were among possible causes the ATSB would look at, he said.

"Maintenance has to be looked at obviously, yes you can't rule that out, but at this stage you look at absolutely everything," Gibson told ABC radio.

Qantas has ordered checks on the oxygen bottles -- they are due to be completed this week -- after Australian investigators leading the probe in the Philippines revealed a cylinder was missing from the plane.

But outgoing Qantas Chief Executive Geoff Dixon defended the airline's "enviable" safety record and dismissed speculation that the stricken aircraft may have been improperly maintained.

"We have very strict maintenance and security in this company, I think we have a worldwide reputation for it," Dixon told a press conference in Sydney.

Some passengers have alleged that the oxygen masks that dropped from the ceiling when the plane began its emergency descent following depressurisation did not work and one claimed the elastic headband on his mask had deteriorated.

"There is no doubt that all of our masks are checked on a regular basis, yet there is every chance that the trauma suffered by the aircraft may have interfered with other systems," Dixon said.

"We believe that everything in that aircraft was in good shape when it took off," he said.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A380 news on Financial Times

A Singapore Airlines A380 on its way to the gate

It has been a well known fact that different versions of computer software being used by the French and German plants resulted in delays in the A380 program.

An article on the July 16 2008 copy of the Financial Times explains the problems faced by Airbus in the production of the A380. 2000 German electricians have been sent from the Hamburg plant to Toulouse to lay the 500km of cables in the A380. The Unions say "a do it yourself system has replaced streamlined industrial processes." FT quoted a worker, Sabine Klauke who said "The work is not streamlined.We have to change things again and again." Ms Klauke was further quoted with saying:"Normal installation time is two to three weeks,this way it is taking us four months."

One might wonder why the management had to resort to such a manufacturing process and not fix it. Mario Heinin who runs the cabin and fuselage cross-border division explains :"We have delivered five high quality aircraft this way.If we had left the work in Hamburg, to wait for a new wiring design, we would not have delivered one by now."

Monday, July 21, 2008

A380 program

This Singapore Airlines A380 was photographed at its home base in Singapore's Changi airport

The A380 program captured the world's imagination when the first plane entered into test flights.

But problems in the program surfaced as far back as 2004 when EADS realised that the facilities in Spain and Germany were using different versions of the software that was used to build the aircraft. In June 2005 Airbus announced that the delivery date would fall back by six months. On 13 June 2006 another delay was announced. On 3 october 2006 a third delay was announced pushing delivery to Oct 2007.
The first plane was finally handed to Singapore airlines on 15 October 2007 and entered into service on the Singapore-Sydney route on 25 October 2007.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Concorde crash

CERGY, France (AFP) - - US airline Continental and two of its employees are to stand trial for manslaughter over the crash of an Air France Concorde airliner in 2000 that killed 113 people, officials said Thursday.

A former French civil aviation official and two senior members of the Concorde programme will be tried on the same charge, with proceedings expected to start early next year and last two to three months, judicial officials said.

The New York-bound Concorde crashed in a ball of fire shortly after take-off from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport on July 25, 2000, killing all 109 people on board and four workers on the ground.

A French accident inquiry concluded in December 2004 that the disaster was partly caused by a strip of metal that fell on the runway from a Continental Airlines plane that took off just before the supersonic airliner.

The Concorde ran over the super-hard titanium strip, which shredded one of its tyres, causing a blow-out and sending debris flying into an engine and a fuel tank.

Continental Airlines is charged over a failure to properly maintain the aircraft along with two US employees: John Taylor, a mechanic who allegedly fitted the non-standard strip, and airline chief of maintenance Stanley Ford.

But the former Concorde officials and French civil aviation boss are also accused of failing to detect and set right faults on the supersonic aircraft, brought to light during the investigation and thought to have contributed to the crash.

Henri Perrier, 79, was director of the first Concorde programme at Aerospatiale, now part of the EADS group, from 1978 to 1994, while Jacques Herubel, 73, was Concorde's chief engineer from 1993 to 1995.

Both men are accused of having underestimated the importance of a string of prior incidents involving burst tyres on Concorde aircraft.

Finally Claude Frantzen, 71, director of technical services at the civil aviation authority DGAC from 1970 to 1994, is accused of overlooking a fault on Concorde's distinctive delta-shaped wings, which held its fuel tanks.

The trial will aim to pin down the share of responsibility of the US airline, the Concorde and French aviation officials.

There will be few civil plaintiffs in the case, since most of the victims' families agreed not to take legal action in exchange for compensation from Air France.

Throughout the eight-year investigation, Continental pledged to fight any charges in the case. A successful prosecution is expected to result in millions of euros (dollars) in damages against the airline.

For Olivier Metzner, lawyer for Continental Airlines, "any plane in good condition would have resisted that metal strip, but the Concorde was a wreck. But of course you can't say that because it is a national treasure."

But the lawyer for the DGAC, Daniel Soulez Lariviere, dismissed as a "fantasy" suggestions that faults on the Concorde were overlooked because of national pride.

"The tearing-off of the reservoir panel is something that had never happened before, and that we did not not know was possible."

The Concorde crash began the process which led to all Concordes, both French and British, being taken out of service in 2003.

The plane, born of British and French collaboration, embarked on its maiden commercial flight in 1976. Only 20 were manufactured: six were used for development and the remaining 14 entered service, flying mainly trans-Atlantic routes at speeds of up to 1,350 miles (2,170 kilometres) per hour.

Friday, June 13, 2008

How to read registration numbers on civil aircraft

A Singapore Airlines plane

A Silkair plane

Civilian airplanes registered in Singapore have the pre-fix 9V in front of the aircraft registration.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Qantas cutback

SYDNEY, Australia - Australia's Qantas Airways said Thursday it would discontinue or reduce a number of international services, mainly to Japan and Southeast Asian destinations, to cut costs in the face of high oil prices.

The announcement comes a week after Qantas unveiled changes to its domestic network in order to cut capacity by around 5 percent.

Chief Executive Geoff Dixon said in a statement that the cost of fuel had changed the way the Qantas Group had to do business over the next two years.

The airline will cancel its thrice-weekly service between Melbourne and Tokyo starting in September; reduce the number of weekly return flights between Sydney and Tokyo to seven from nine; and end the Jetstar service from Cairns to Osaka and Nagoya starting in December.

It will also replace 14 weekly Cairns to Tokyo flights with daily flights on Jetstar, its discount carrier.

"At current fuel prices, the Group would lose more than A$100 million (US$95 million) operating to Japan under our existing schedule," Dixon said.

He said the new schedules still offer significant capacity of more than 11,500 seats a week between Japan and Queensland.

Jetstar will withdraw its Sydney to Kuala Lumpur service and replace Qantas on Perth to Denpasar and Jakarta flights starting in December.

Dixon said there would be a small number of jobs lost in Australia and Japan as a result of the changes, in addition to job losses from last week's domestic changes that are "expected to be in the low hundreds."

Last week the airline unveiled changes to its domestic network after announcing a 2 billion Australian dollar (US$1.9 billion) increase in its fuel bill in the 2008-2009 financial year. The airline will retire aircraft, close some routes and shed jobs in an effort to control costs.

"We will continue to work with individual markets and look for opportunities as conditions improve to address capacity issues and reinstate services where and when we can," Dixon said.

Airlines around the region, including such leaders as Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific, have been trying to cut costs as rising fuel prices over the past year have eaten into profits.

Jet fuel prices have risen to record levels this year as the price of crude oil doubled on the New York Mercantile Exchange to a record of US$135.09 a barrel in May.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Continental and United airlines cut jobs and planes

Continental airlines was reported on Thursday that it will cut up to 3000 jobs and retire 67 less fuel efficient planes due to the soaring fuel cost.

Continental said it would remove the least-efficient aircraft from its network by accelerating the retirement of its Boeing 737-300 and 737-500 fleets. By the end of 2009, all 737-300 aircraft will be retired from Continental's fleet.

Continental said it would continue to take delivery of new, fuel-efficient Boeing 737-800s and 737-900ERs.

By the end of the second quarter of 2008, Continental said it would operate 375 mainline aircraft. Taking into account both the accelerated retirements and scheduled deliveries, Continental's fleet count will shrink to 356 aircraft in September 2008 and 344 aircraft at the end of 2009.

This announcement came a day after rival United Airlines said it was removing 100 aircraft, or about 20 percent of its fleet, from operations and cutting up to 1,100 additional jobs by the end of the year in a bid to compete in the crisis.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sendai airport Japan

An ANA plane getting ready for takeoff at Sendai airport

Aerial view of Japan as we approach Narita airport

Some footages from the Land of the Rising Sun

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Planes at Don Muong airport Bangkok

Air Asia plane on its way to the runway

Another air Asia plane in different colours on its way to the gate

Nok Air is another Thai budget carrier. This one painted like a bird

A Thai airways plane on its way to the gate

These footages were taken at the old Bangkok airport which is called Don Muong. The new airport is called Suvarbhimi.Hope to post something on the new airport soon.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Changi Airport Singapore

Was at Terminal 2 of Changi airport when I took a snap of the Cathay Pacific plane.

A Cathay Pacific plane getting ready for take off at Changi airport Singapore

Friday, April 25, 2008

RSAF Chinooks

Managed to snap photos of a Republic of Singapore Air Force Chinook on a training sortie

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Russian MI8

Russian MI 8

Too bad footage was taken at night. For a more information on this helicopter go to this link

Friday, February 29, 2008

View from the cokpit

Aerial view of Batam Island in Indonesia from the pothole of the helicopter

It was really noisy and windy with one of the potholes opened. In a helicopter you can really tell that it is not moving as fast as a plane

MI 8 helicopter ride

Interior of the helicopter

This was my first helicopter ride. My friend Chris who lives on Batam island Indonesia made some friends from the airport. He was trying to win a deal to upgrade the Batam runway and was going all the way to accomodate them. When they mentioned that there were going to Singapore to buy a TV Chris agreed to put them up at his home. The only catch was that they were not taking a ferry here but hitch a ride on a helicopter.
It seems that a local freight forwarder operates a Russian helicopter between Batam and Singapore. That was how we got a free ride on it.
After starting the blog on our dogs and spending hours going thru my Sony Handycam tapes, I realised that I have shot quite a bit of footage of airplanes in the various airports I have visited. So I have ended spending hours editing the hours of footage to update this blog