Wednesday, July 28, 2010

No survivors likely in Pakistan passenger plane crash

Reuters - 2 hours 11 minutes ago
By Augustine Anthony

ISLAMABAD - A Pakistani passenger plane crashed in heavy rain near Islamabad on Wednesday, killing at least 90 people and officials said it was unlikely that there would be any survivors among the 152 people on board.

The Airbus 321, belonging to private airline Airblue, crashed into a heavily wooded and hard-to-access hillside while flying from the southern port city of Karachi. Rescue workers were scouring the site for bodies, officials said.

"Most of the bodies are charred. We're sending body-bags via helicopters. It's a very difficult operation because of the rain," said Aamir Ali Ahmed, a senior city government official.

"We can pray and hope but what experts are saying is that there's no chance of any survivors," he added.

Earlier reports that five survivors had been pulled from the wreckage were wrong, said Imtiaz Elahi, chairman of the state-run Capital Development Authority, a city municipal body.

"It would be a miracle but we're not expecting any survivors," said another official, who declined to be named.

Rescuers said they had to dig through the rubble with their bare hands, with fire and thick smoke hampering their work. The fire has since been extinguished, but access to the hillside remained limited to pedestrians and helicopters.

"You find very few intact bodies. Basically, we are collecting bodies parts and putting them in bags," Bin Yameen, senior officer in the Islamabad police, told Reuters from the scene of the crash.

"I don't know the exact death toll but one can imagine not many could survive in such a bad situation.

The plane lost contact with the control room of the Islamabad International Airport at 5:43 a.m. British time. It was carrying 146 passengers and six crew members.

The crash site is on the Margalla Hills facing Islamabad, about 300 meters up the side of the hills. Smoke could be seen from some districts of the city after the crash.

"It was raining. I saw the plane flying very low from the window of my office," witness Khadim Hussain said. Heavy monsoon rains have lashed the area for the past few days.


The military said it had sent three helicopters to the site and troops had also been moved there. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani was surveying rescue operations from the air and the government declared Thursday a day of mourning for the victims.

Airblue began operations in 2004 with a fleet of Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft, according to its website It flies primarily domestic routes as well as to the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Manchester in Britain.

Spokesman Raheel Ahmed said this was the first crash for the airline and that an investigation was being launched.

"It's too early to speculate," he said about the cause of the crash. "The civil aviation authorities will also be involved."

Airbus confirmed one of its planes was involved in the Airblue crash.

"We regret to confirm there has been an accident with an Airbus aircraft and we will provide more information when we have more confirmed data available," said Airbus spokesman Stefan Schaffrath.

At Islamabad's international airport, passengers in the departure lounge scanned the television screens for news.

"I'm not surprised something like this has happened," said Ahmed Fairuz, a passenger awaiting departure. "The weather is just too bad for flying."

Aviation industry sources in Europe said the aircraft was leased from International Lease Finance Corp, the leasing unit of U.S. insurance giant AIG

Los Angeles-based ILFC was not available for comment and there was no immediate confirmation of these details.

The A321 is the largest of the A320 family of single-aisle jets produced by EADS subsidiary Airbus. This particular type of aircraft, which can seat up to 185 passengers, has been in service since 1994.

Forty-five people were killed when a passenger plane belonging to Pakistan International Airlines crashed near the central city of Multan in 2006.

Including the 2006 incident, PIA has had 11 crashes since 1957, according to

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Boeing's Dreamliner completes first flight outside US


FARNBOROUGH, United Kingdom (AFP) - – Boeing's 787 Dreamliner jet, whose delivery to clients faces fresh delay, landed in Britain on Sunday after its first flight outside of the US ahead of the Farnborough International Airshow.

The test plane landed at Farnborough airport at 9:08am (0808 GMT), watched by journalists from around the world, ahead of the major week-long trade show that begins on Monday, where aircraft makers are hoping to secure major orders.

"It's such a nice plane," Mike Bryan, the pilot who flew the Dreamliner to Britain from the United States told reporters after landing.

"I can't find a pilot who doesn't love it. I'm privileged enough to fly it."

Last week, US aircraft maker Boeing said it may be forced to delay the delivery of its first fuel-efficient Dreamliner to 2011 from late this year -- a date that was already more than two years behind schedule. It has secured 860 orders so far.

Last month, Boeing said it had detected a "workmanship issue" with the horizontal stabiliser of the aircraft, whose innovative structure and manufacture across more than 100 sites has created many technical problems.

The company is hanging its future hopes on the mid-sized plane -- Boeing's first new model in more than a decade -- which draws on huge advances in aviation technology and is capable of flying long-haul routes with up to 20 percent less fuel.

The fuel efficiency is largely down to the fact that up to half the twin-aisle Dreamliner is made of lightweight composite materials, such as carbon fibre-reinforced resin, according to the company.

Boeing launched the programme in April 2004 and initially had planned to deliver the first plane to Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways in the first half of 2008 -- a deadline which may now be pushed back until the start of 2011. The plane can seat up to 330 passengers.

Boeing's fierce European rival Airbus is meanwhile working on a new long-haul plane of its own -- the A350 XWB (Extra Wide Body). Another big project for Airbus is its long-delayed A400M military transport plane.

The head of Airbus parent company EADS, Louis Gallois, said on Sunday that he expected contracts with clients for the A400M to be signed in the European autumn later this year.

"I expect it will be at fall," Louis Gallois told reporters.

The client countries for the Airbus transporter are France, Germany, Spain, Britain, Belgium, Luxembourg and Turkey.

The seven states, after tense negotiations in the face of production difficulties with the A400M, reached an agreement in March with EADS on sharing out 5.2 billion euros (6.4 billion dollars) in cost over-runs.

The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company plans to deliver the first A400M to France in early 2013.

Gallois meanwhile added on Sunday that he expected the military plane market to face a tough few years as governments look to slash their defence spending in a bid to reduce massive state deficits.

"We think that we have ahead of us three or four years that will be difficult," said Gallois.

On the civilian side, any new orders for aircraft at Farnborough -- one of aerospace's biggest events -- are likely to be dominated by airlines from emerging economies across Asia and the Middle East where air traffic is growing rapidly.

Boeing and Airbus meanwhile head to the show facing increased competition for their mid-sized civilian jets from smaller manufacturers, such as Brazil's Embraer and Bombardier of Canada.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Top 5 Airlines 2009

The top 5 airlines from from 81 to 118.3 Billion Passenger Kilometres

1) Emirates 118.3 Billion Passenger Kilometres

2) Lufthansa

3) Air France-KLM

4) Singapore Airlines

5) Cathay Pacific 81 Billion Passenger Kilometres