Helicopter crash on the coast of Norway kills 13

Thirteen people are presumed dead after a helicopter crashed west of the Norwegian city of Bergen.

The helicopter involved in the crash. Image copyright: aircraftregister.net
Eleven of the 13 on board were Norwegian, one was British and the remaining one Italian. No survivors were found.

After the crash, Norway’s civil aviation authority has imposed a flight ban on the type that crashed: the Eurocopter EC225LP Super Puma. The ban applies only on EC225LP registered in Norway or operating within the Norwegian territory.

The helicopter was registered in Norway as LN-OJF and the owner/operator was CHC Helicopter service. The flight departed from the Gulfaks B Oilrigg and was cheduled to reach Bergen’s airport.

From a preliminary examination, it looks like the rotor has detached from the helicopter, which fell to the ground immediately. A huge explosion was heard as the helicopter hit rocks on the shore. The wreck is completely shattered and bodies are observed floating in the water. A civil aviation authority spokeswoman has said the two black boxes have been recovered.

A map of the relevant points: the oil rig, the arrival point and where the helicopter crashed. Copyright: BBC
Airbus Helicopters said in a statement on their site that “Safety is their top priority and will be providing full support to both accident investigators as well as CHC.” 

“Airbus Helicopters’ teams are fully mobilized to understand the root cause of the accident. At this time we do not have any further information and we will provide relevant updates as they become available.”


Delta Air Lines announces the third order for A321ceo aircraft

The Atlanta-based carrier has placed an order for  37 more A321ceo aircraft.

Image copyright: Delta

This order follows previous orders of the largest member of the A320 Family in 2013 and 2014. Delta took delivery of its first A321 in March 2016. The airline has 82 A321s on order, all equipped with CFM56 engines from CFM International.

All of Delta’s A321s will be equipped with fuel-savings Sharkelts, composite wingtips that offer up to 4% savings.  This means the aircraft will have 100nm/185km of extra range or an increased payload capacity by around 1000 pounds/45 kilograms.

Many of Delta’s A321s will be delivered from the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Alabama. 

As of the end of March 2016, Delta has a fleet of 165 Airbus aircraft, made out of 127 A320 family jets and 38 A330 aircrafr. In addition to the backlog of A320 family orders, the airline also has a backlog of 5 A330-330, 25 A330-900 and 25 A350 XWB aircraft.

Delta announces an order for 75 CS100s

Today Delta Air Limes has announced they have finalized an order with Bombardier for 75 CSeries CS100 aircraft and options for 50 more.

Image copyright: Delta Air Lines/Bombardier
As the US launch customer, Delta’s firm order allows the company to cost-efficiently renovate and enlarge its narrow body fleet, providing an improved customer experience and fuel efficiency while maintaining focus on using its capital prudently.
The order is part of Delta’s domestic strategy to enlarge the fleet to achieve its long term financial targets while replacing not efficient domestic aircraft. Because of this order, Delta will no longer introduce the Embraer E190 into its fleet as planned. 

Powered by Pratt & Whitney’s latest geared turbofan, the PW1500G, the CS100 takes advantage of advanced technology and composite materials expected to deliver 20% improvement in fuel efficiency over similar sized aircraft.

The aircraft will start entering service with delta in spring 2018.

Air France receives its 70th and last Boeing 777 aircraft

On the 26th of April, 2016 Boeing and Air France marked a milestone with the delivery of the airline’s 70th and last 777.

The French carrier has played a big role in the success of the 777 program as it was the launch customer for both the 777-300ER in 2004 and the 777 Freighter in 2009. The carrier took delivery of its first 777-200ER in March 1998.

Since the late 1950s when Air France took delivery of its first 707, the airline has operated nearly every commercial plane Boeing has produced. Now the 777 is the workhorse of the flag carrier’s long haul fleet, with the airline serving more than 180 destinations in 80 countries. 

Air France is part of the Air France-KLM Group, the second biggest 777 operator in the world. The Group has orders for 25 787 Dreamliners together with lease agreements for an additional 12.

China Eastern to order 20 Airbus A350-900s and 15 Boeing 787-9s

China Eastern has split a US$10 billion order between Airbus and Boeing, as the company renovates its fleet and adds new long-haul routes.

Image from wikimedia by Sergey Kustov

China’s second largest airline has agreed to buy 20 A350-900 from Airbus, worth US$6.16 billion at list prices, and 15 B787-9s from Boeing, worth US$3.97 billion.

The aircraft, which are due to enter service over four years starting from 2018, will help China Eastern satisfy its long haul need through 2025. As part of the fleet renewal program, the airline will retire six Boeing 767s and 12 Airbus A330s by 2020.

Chinese airlines are adding bigger aircraft to their fleets as economic growth makes long hauls more affordable. China Eastern, which server about a dozen destinations outside the Asia-Pacific plans to boost international capacity by around 20% this year. 

The company valued the A350 order at US$5.96 billion, citing Jan. 2014 prices, and the Dreamliner one at US$3.9 billion in its statement. This may be the indication that the order is based on terms agreed earlier or is taking over delivery slots vacated by other buyers. 

China Eastern will be the fifth Chinese airline to operate the 787 and the third to take delivery of the A350. Their plan to operate 24 Dreamliners was scrapped in 2011, opting to buy 45 Boeing 737s instead.

As of the end of 2015, China Eastern’s wide-body fleet was composed of 9 Boeing 777s, with 11 more on order, 8 Boeing 767s and 41 Airbus A330s, with 7 more to be received this year and next. 

Lufthansa cancels 895 flights due to strike on Wednesday

Six German airports will face strikes on Wednesday amd Europe’s largest airline, Lufthansa, has warned that almost 900 flights will be cancelled. 

The strike is set to hit Frankfurt (FRA), Munich (MUC), Düsseldorf (DUS), Cologne-Bonn (CGN), Dortmund (DTM) and Hannover (HAJ) as workers’ union Verdi enters a battle with the government over a pay rise for the public sector. 

Lufthansa plans to cancel 895 flights (around 60% if its daily services) hitting 87,000 passengers. In Munich 545 Lufthansa flights have been cancelled, with 350 more cancelled at Frankfurt. 

Passengers can check whether their flights will be operated on Lufthansa’s website.

SpiceJet fired a pilot for asking a flight attendant to join him in the cockpit

Spicejet has fired one of its pilots for asking a flight attendant to stay with him in the cockpit of a Boeing 737 on both legs of an international flight and making her sit on his seat.

He also sent his co-pilot out of the cockpit, leaving the two alone in the cockpit.

The serious safety breach of making an unauthorized person stay in the cockpit and alleged sexual harassment took plane on the February 28th SpiceJet Kolkata-Bangkok flight.

The pilot is believed to have repeated the action on the return flight the same day.