Remembering a legend: Joe Sutter (1921-2016)

Sadly, yesterday, a legend in the aviation industry, Joe Sutter, also dubbed as the “Father of the 747”, has passed away aged 95.

As the former chief engineer of Boeing’s 747 program, Sutter is credited with leading the development of the first ever widebody aircraft, which ushered in the globe-shrinking age of mass air travel.

Born March 21, 1921, Sutter was the son of a Slovenian immigrant. He was fascinated by aviation as a boy, so Sutter worked as a part-time production-line employee at Boeing to pay for his first semester studying aeronautical engineering at the University of Washington.

After graduating, Sutter served for two years with the U.S. Navy during World War II, much of which was spent on submarine-hunting duties aboard the destroyer escort USS Edward H. Allen. Following postwar studies at the Navy’s aviation engineering school, Sutter accepted an engineering job with Boeing, turning down a better-paying offer from California-based Douglas Aircraft at the request of his Seattle-born wife Nancy.

After initial attempts to improve the aerodynamics of the bulbous Boeing 377 Stratocruiser, Sutter worked on Boeing’s first jet transport, the 367-80, or “Dash 80.” Increasingly recognized for his engineering abilities, Sutter took bigger roles in the design and development of the company’s commercial jetliner family. Sutter was involved in developing an innovative wing-glove modification to increase the critical Mach number of the 707 wing for the 720B development. The change enabled the 720B to compete more effectively with the Convair CV-990 without a huge redesign of the whole wing.

Sutter was also closely associated with the 727, Boeing’s first short-haul jet, and in particular the aircraft’s sophisticated flap design. Working with legendary Boeing designer Jack Steiner on the configuration of the 737, Sutter made the pivotal decision to place the engines beneath the wing “where they belonged” rather than at the tail. Sutter and Steiner each received the then-standard $50 payment for the patent on the “Baby Boeing”—Sutter for the engine placement and Steiner for the decision to make the cabin wide enough for six passengers abreast.

Sutter will be best remembered, however, for leading the design of the 747 from 1965 onwards. It was Sutter who led the design away from the initial concepts of full-length double decker to the very wide single deck with twin aisles—the first widebody. The cross-section, which was large enough to seat 10 passengers across with two aisles, was drawn around the space required to accommodate two freight pallets on the main deck.

At the time, with supersonic aircraft on the drawing board in Europe and the U.S., the 747 was expected to be used more as a freighter than as a passenger airliner. The decision to make the new aircraft capable of carrying cargo also led to the positioning of the flight deck above the main deck, creating the 747’s famous humped upper deck.

In later years with Boeing, Sutter, first as vice president of operations and product development and later as executive vice president for engineering and product development, was closely involved in development of the successful and pivotal 757 and 767 models.

In 1985, Sutter received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Ronald Reagan. In 1986, Sutter retired from full-time work at Boeing after a career spanning four decades.

Sutter also served on the presidential commission which investigated the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986, and continued to work as a consultant to Boeing. 

He was closely involved with further developments of the 747, such as the 747-400 and 747-8, and for many years continued to visit airlines and discuss their future requirements, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Joe was loved. He made a difference in the world. He made a difference to us. We will miss him and cherish our time with him” Boeing president Ray Conner said in a post on the Boeing site.


Easyjet announces flights between London-Gatwick and Östersund

Image copyright: EasyJet

This winter season, EasyJet will start flying between London Gatwick and Östersund in Sweden. The service will commence on December 11 and will be flown once weekly on Sundays.
Neil Slaven, easyJet’s UK commercial Manager, said:

“Åre Östersund, which is located in Sweden’s Jämtland province, is a great skiing destination and we are sure it will prove a popular service for both skiers and snowboarders looking to explore the region.

“High profile sporting events such as the Alpine World Championships coupled with the ever increasing quality of ski resorts across Europe are helping to inspire first time skiers and contributing to the rise in popularity we are seeing amongst our customers for ski breaks.”

“The Åre Ostersund area is also famous for both its location to nearby nature as well as winter activities such as horse and dog sleds and snowmobile safaris which make it a fantastic family destination.  We are sure that our travellers from Gatwick will find the range of winter activities on offer very appealing.

U28749 LGW0700 – 1050OSD 32S 7
U28750 OSD1130 – 1315LGW 32S 7

Delivery day from the Airbus plant in Toulouse 

Today, 30th August 2016, Airbus has delivered the first A350 to Thai Airways International, the first A350 in LATAM colors and the first A320neo in the Americas to the LATAM group.

The delivery to Thai

Thai has become the eight operator of the A350, following the delivery of the first (HS-THB, cn 44) of twelve it has on order. The plane is leased from the US-based CIT Aerospace.

Thai has configured the plane in a two-class configuration with a total of 321 seats, 32 in Thai’s Royal Silk Class and 289 Economy Class seats.

After an initial period flying on regional services from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket, the new aircraft will be deployed on long haulflights on the Bangkok-Melbourne route.

The deliveries to LATAM

The LATAM Airlines Group has today taken delivery of its first A320neo (PT-TMN, cn 7126), euiqpped with Pratt & Whitney PW1100-JM engines, making the airline the first to operate the type in the American continent and the fifth operator in the world.

Image copyright: Airbus

The airline executives and Airbus executives attended a delivery ceremony, which also marked the delivery of LATAM’s fourth A350 (PR-XTD, cn 45), the first in the airline’s group new livery.

The brand new A320neo is configured in a 174-seat layout with 18″ wide seats and is equipped with the innovative Space-Flex cabin configuration.

Initially LATAM plans to fly its first A320neo on Brazilian domestic routes to Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Campo Gramde, Curitiba, Florianópolis, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro (Galeão) and São Paulo (Guarulhos).

In November, LATAM will begin to fly regional routes throughout South America. The second aircraft is expected to be delivered later this year and is also expected to operate regional flights.

Icelandair adds more 767 destinations 

This winter, Icelandair will add Boeing 767 service to 3 new destinations, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Seattle. The equipment change will only last until May, when the flights will once again be flown with Boeing 757s.

Reykjavik Keflavik – Copenhagen 12NOV16 – 04MAY17FI204/205 Day 67 (daily from 02FEB17)
Reykjavik Keflavik – Seattle 17FEB17 – 02MAY17FI681/680 Day 135 (Day 246 from SEA)
Reykjavik Keflavik – Stockholm Arlanda 17FEB17 – 03MAY17 FI306/307 Day x246

There will also be additional 767 service to New York, Boston, London Heathrow and Amsterdam during the winter season.

Norwegian continues rapid UK expansion 

Photo by Eric Monsen

Norwegian Air Shuttle continue their rapid expansion with the addition of several new routes this winter. 
On November 1st, Norwegian will launch flights between London-Gatwick and Reykjavík-Keflavík. The flight will be flown three times a week, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, joining their year-round service to Oslo and seasonal service to Bergen from Keflavík. 

Norwegian will also introduce new flights between the UK and Lapland’s capital, Rovaniemi. The flights will be operated twice-weekly, om Mondays and Fridays.

New frequencies will be added on flights from London to Lanzarote, Tenerife Tromsø and Grenoble, which will bring an increase of 25,000 additional seats. 1 additional weekly departure will be added on flights to Lanzarote and Tenerife, Tromsø will increase to 3 weekly and flights to Grenoble will operate twice a week.

Thomas Ramdahl, Chief Commercial Officer at Norwegian said: “We are committed to offering low-fares with choice and flexibly for our passengers. Both Reykjavik and Rovaniemi are fantastic additions to our growing UK route network, which now serves more than 50 destinations nonstop. The addition of these new routes and extra capacity to some of our most popular winter destinations will make this our busiest winter at London Gatwick. Our affordable fares start from £29.90, so we expect Brits to flock to the Icelandic island and Lapland this winter with the added bonus of free Wi-Fi on board.”

Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate said: “Norwegian is one of Europe’s fastest growing airlines and we welcome their continued expansion at Gatwick. These latest new routes show Norwegian providing new low cost services to destinations people want to fly to. I expect these routes will be as successful as Norwegian’s others, including their ground-breaking low cost long-haul routes to the US. I look forward to continued close working with Norwegian on what looks like being their busiest year at Gatwick yet.”

Norwegian will also be adding flights from Manchester to Gran Canaria and Tenerife later this year. 

Schedule of new routes:
London Gatwick to Keflavik – From 1st November will operate on Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays – Fares from £29.90London Gatwick to Rovaniemi – From 19th December will operate on Mondays and Friday – Fares from £49.90Manchester to Gran Canaria – From 30th October will operate on Fridays and Sundays – Fares from £39.90Manchester to Tenerife – From 1st November will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays – Fares from £39.90

Lufthansa puts pressure on Swiss to turn Geneva routes profitable 

Swiss may cut its European network from the current forty, to thirty destinations, as part of a market turnaround plan, dubbed ‘Geneva Reloaded’.

Image copyright: Sven1985 on
The two-year plan, which runs until 2018, aims at improving the profitability of the carrier’s Geneva hub ops. This plan will not affect Swiss’s long haul services to Mew a York JFK.

According to a meeting transcript, seen by the Sonntagszeiting, the carrier has been warned by parent Lufthansa Group that unless the plan pays off and Swiss’ regional European routes become profitable, the airport could be turned over to the group’s budget carrier, Eurowings.

As such, Eurowings has now been tasked with devising its own business plan for a possible Geneva market entry. Lufthansa Group insiders have said the company expects to make a decision on the future of its Geneva operations in the middle of next year.

Aside from domestic services to Lugano and Zurich, Swiss operates flights out of Geneva to various destinations in Algeria, Czechia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Macedonia, Morocco, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.