Lufthansa A350-900 Makes Its First Flight

The first A350-900 for the German carrier Lufthansa took its maiden flight to Munich, three weeks before the scheduled delivery in mid-December.

d-aixa-lufthansa-airbus-a350-941_planespottersnet_730740

The airframe (D-AIXA, MSN 74), took off from Toulouse in a test flight where all systems and aircraft behaviors are tested during all stages of flight.

Following the December 19th delivery, Lufthansa Technik will handle the installation of the cabin interiors in Munich.

The first revenue flight is scheduled for February 10, 2017, serving the Munich-Delhi route.

In September of 2013, Lufthansa ordered a total of 25 A350-900s, 15 of which will be based in Frankfurt, the other 10 being based in Munich with a goal of phasing out the existing A340 fleet of 21 A346s and 10 A343s.

The A350-900s (A359) will be configured with 293 seats, 224 in Economy class, 21 in Premium Economy, and 48 seats in Business Class.

According to Lufthansa, the A359 produces 25 percent fewer emissions because of the 25 percent reduce in fuel usage. This variant also has an up to 50 percent lower noise footprint compared to other aircraft types in this sector.

Qatar Airways announces flights to Dublin, Las Vegas, Canberra and more

qatar_airways_boeing_777-300er_photo_15616x3744
(C) Oneworld
Qatar Airways has now announced yet another set of destinations which will launch starting 2017-18. This will include the airline’s fifth and 11th destinations in Australia and the United States respectively. The new destinations will be:

  • Canberra, Australia
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Las Vegas, United States
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Santiago de Chile, Chile
  • Medan, Indonesia
  • Tabuk and Yanbu, Saudi Arabia

Qatar currently serves Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney in Australia and Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia and Washington in the US. It will be the first ME3 carrier to serve both these destinations.

These are just a few of the destinations the airline has yet to inaugurate. In February the airline will be starting the world’s longest commercial flight from Doha to Auckland, along with flights to Sarajevo, Skopje, Libreville, Nice, Chiang Mai and Douala.

Next month the carrier will launch flights to Krabi, Thailand and Mahe, Seychelles on December 6th and 12th respectively.

Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker said:

“Qatar Airways offers the world the best network, the best on board experience and the best connecting experience at Hamad International Airport. We operate the world’s youngest fleet, averaging just five years old, and we fly the most technologically advanced aircraft that provide our passengers with an award-winning experience while also ensuring the most efficient and environmentally friendly operations.

“Our intention is to ensure our passengers can choose Qatar Airways for all of their travel needs – whether they are flying on business, for pleasure, or a combination of both.

“With today’s network announcement, we will be able to connect more people to more places than any other Gulf airline, and we will ensure our passengers will delight in the journey. At Qatar Airways, we are going places together with our passengers, and we look forward to welcoming these new destinations in 2017-18.”

WTO rules against 777X tax break

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled out today that a tax break from Washington State to help Boeing develop the 777X was a prohibited subsidy.

A render of a B777-9X. Copyright: Boeing

Back in November 2013, Washington state lawmakers were asked to approve a package of incentives to ensure that the 777X would be built exclusively in Washington State.

These incentives included an extension of tax breaks through 2040, including Business and Occupancy (B&O) taxes, sales &a use tax exemptions and breaks for property and building projects.

According to the report from the WTO Panel (DS487), the tax break belongs to “a special category (…) which Members have deemed to create such trade distortions that they are proscribed,” as these are “specifically designed to affect trade.”

“The United States and Boeing picked this fight at the WTO, and today’s ruling is yet another blow for that strategy,” said Tom Enders, chief executive officer, Airbus Group.

“We hope this outcome will lead those at Boeing who advocate continuing this trade dispute to reconsider,” Enders continued.

The WTO rejected the European Union’s challenge to six of the seven tax measures and rejected most of the challenge to the seventh. The panel from the WTO found that to date Boeing has not received any benefit from the 777X incentives, and will not until 2020, as the first airplane will not be delivered until then.

“The WTO found in September that Airbus has received $22 billion in illegal subsidies from the EU and that without these subsidies neither Airbus itself nor any of its airplanes would even exist today,” J. Michael Luttig, Boeing’s general counsel said in a statement.

“By contrast, in rejecting virtually every claim made by the EU in this case, the WTO found today that Boeing has not received a penny of impermissible subsidies,” Luttig concluded.

CRASH REPORT: LAMIA Bolivia Flight LMI2933 crashes with 81 people on board

On 29th November at 02:56 Zulu time, LAMIA Bolivia charter flight LMI2933, crashed into mountainous terrain South of Medellín, Colombia with 68 passengers and 9 crew onboard.

The aircraft was carrying the Brazilian football team Chapecoense to Medellin for a match. Aerocivil Colombia reported that  six occupants have survived the incident, however one is believed to have died in hospital since.

ac001133760.jpg
CP-2933 in Lamia colours ©Keith Newsome

The aircraft involved was 17 year old Avro RJ85 CP-2933 (MSN E2348), the sole aircraft in the airline’s fleet. Flight LMI2933 was an un-scheduled passenger flight from Santa Cruz-Viru Viru International Airport (VVI/SLVR), Bolivia to Rionegro/Medellín-José María Córdova Airport (MDE/SKRG), Colombia.

The crew had reported an electrical problem onboard shortly before disappearing off radar screens around 15-20 nautical miles South Medellín, near the municipality of El Ceja.

lamia_rj85_cp-2933_medellin_161128_5
The wreckage of LMI2933 ©AP/Luis Benavides

Colombian Air Force have deployed search and rescue forces to the crash site located between La Ceja and Medellin, which is only accessible by land as helicopters can not operate due to fog which is causing low visibility.

Early speculation is that the aircraft crashed due to lack of fuel, which has been partially confirmed by an investigation conducted by the Colombian Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA). In a statement, the CCAA reported that there was “no evidence of fuel on the aircraft.” No fire was reported at the crash site either.

lamia_rj85_cp-2933_medellin_161128_map.jpg
©AIP Colombia

LMI2933 was enroute at FL300 and started the descent towards Medellin about 80nm South of Medellin at 02:34Z. The aircraft descended to FL210 and entered a holding pattern South of La Ceja at 02:48Z, joined the approach at 02:54Z descending through FL190 and disappeared from radar at 02:56Z descending through FL155.

The last transponder data were received from the aircraft at 02:56Z as the aircraft descended through FL155 about 11 nautical miles SouthEast of Medellín’s Rio Negro Airport.

UPDATE 1

The authorities have now recovered the aircraft’s two black boxes. The authorities say both are in “perfect conditions”. An investigation will begin soon.

Image source: Twitter

UPDATE 2:

The Colombian authorities have revised the death toll: there are 72 fatalities in total, instead of the initial 76. Six people were found alive, but one later died in the hospital. Four did not board.

UPDATE 3:

Audio of an audition of an Avianca pilot which was on the same ATC frequency as the ill fated aircraft’s pilots has been posted on YouTube by Javier Rullan Ruano.

If the audio and its content is proven to be true, fuel could have certainly been a cause of the crash.

We will continue to keep you updated on this topic.

Cayman Airways adds first B737-800

Cayman Airways has taken delivery of its first B737-800, VP-CNG (MSN 30289).

A Cayman Airways B737-300. Copyright: Caribbean Journal
The aircraft, formerly LN-NOO with Norwegian, has been leased from Air Lease Corporation on a twenty-five month contract.

The move comes as the Caymanian carrier will have to wait for the fourth quarter of 2018 for the delivery of the first of the four B737 MAX 8s it will lease from ALC.

All the four B737 MAXs will be delivered by the third quarter of 2020.

Cayman Airways is using the new jets to replace its existing fleet of four B737-300s which will be gone by 2020.

airBaltic takes delivery of maiden CS300

airBaltic CS300. Photo copyright: airBaltic
airBaltic has taken delivery of the world’s first CS300 after the handover ceremony at Montreal Mirabel on Monday, November 28.

YL-CSA (cn 55003) will be flying to Riga on Thursday, December 1, in time for its commercial debut on the Amsterdam service on Wednesday, December -4.

The carrier is the launch operator of the type and has a total of twenty CS300s on order from Bombardier, which will be used to replace airBaltic’s current fleet of seven B737-300s and five B737-500s.

Ethiopian Airlines announces Oslo

et-aoq_-_ethiopian_airlines_-_boeing_787-8_dreamliner_-_pek_18123480165
Photo by byeangel on Wikimedia 

Starting March next year, Ethiopian Airlines will serve Oslo-Gardermoen airport. The airline will serve the Norwegian capital 3 times a week initially before increasing to 5 times a week from the end of May. It will be the first airline to fly between Oslo and continental Africa on a year-round basis.

Ethiopian, which is Africa’s largest airline, will operate the route using their Boeing 787-8s. The route will run via Stockholm, which will now be served non-stop from Addis Ababa after previously being served via destinations like Cairo, Milan and Vienna.

The flight will arrive just before 9 in the morning and leave just before 8 in the evening, which will enable them to offer plenty of decent connections to both Norwegian and nearby destinations, presumably with fellow Star Alliance-carrier SAS.

The current schedule from airlineroute:

ET714 ADD2350 – 0640+1ARN0740+1 – 0845+1OSL 788 x135
ET715 OSL1945 – 2050ARN2150 – 0620+1ADD 788 x246

Service increases to 5 weekly (Day x13/x24) from 30MAY17

“We are proud of the fact that Africa’s largest airline is commencing their service five times a week between Oslo Airport and Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD). We are also delighted to see that the investments made to develop Oslo Airport are now bearing fruit,” says managing director of Oslo Airport Øyvind Hasaas.

“Norway now has a route to the best connected airport in Africa in terms of transfers to other African destinations. This ensures great opportunities for Norwegian tourists as well as Norwegian businesses and freight,” Hasaas continues, further elaborating:

“Norwegians are the world’s most travelled people – this is obviously of great importance to Ethiopian.” For Norwegians looking to visit the African continent, the establishment of this route means an African hub can now be reached faster and more conveniently than ever before.

“A direct route from Addis to Oslo is timely and very much welcome! This will contribute to further strengthening the long-term partnership between Ethiopia and Norway in many areas. I am confident that this will open new opportunities, says Ambassador Andreas Gaarder”.

“It is important that Norway has an airport with diverse direct flights out into the world. Travelling with a Star Alliance airline means you will have good transfer options onwards with Ethiopian. This will make the route attractive to people all over the country, not just in Oslo and the surrounding area,” Hasaas concludes.

American Airlines Completes US Airways Main Fleet Repaint

AA has announced that the last of the 299 mainline aircraft with the US Airways livery, has been repainted in the newest American livery, which was launched in January of 2013 a month before the merger announcement.

© American Airlines
This aircraft, an Airbus A321 (N563UW, MSN 5368) was painted at Grissmon Joint Air Reserve Base, then reintroduced into the fleet on November  22 as it flew to Philadelphia as AA9635.

American created a neat animation on how the A321 looked before and after the repaint.

As part of AA’S heritage livery fleet, one A321 (N578UW, MSN 6035) will remain in the US Airways livery.

American Airlines has also stated that a few regional aircraft will sill operate in the US Airways Express livery until March 2017, while the classic livery from 1960 will be around for a short time longer, as the Boeing 737-800 painting will be completed by the end of next year.

Some of the aging Boeing 757s, and the rest of the McDonnell Douglas MD-80s will continue to fly in the previous livery until their retirement. The silver livery will presumably be retired once the last of the MD-80s leave the fleet, scheduled for Summer of 2018.

 

U.S Treasury reassures Brazil banks trade with Iran OK

​The U.S Treasury has reassured Brazilian banks they can finance trade with Iran without fear of sanctions.

Embraer E-195. Photo copyright: Embraer
This is opening the way to billions of dollars in potential exports of jet planes, buses and equipment, a seni

Rodrigo Azeredo, Brazil’s top diplomat for trade, has said: “Sanctions on non-U.S entities doing business with Iranian companies were lifted with implementation in January of nuclear accord with Iran, but Brazilian banks remained worried they could still face repercussions”

“They feared U.S. and European banks could react by cancelling their credit lines”

That is expected to change after Treasury officials explained to executives of Brazil’s larhest banks in São Paulo last week that they can deal with Iranian banks (in dollars or any other currency) don’t go through the U.S. banking system and do not involve blacklisted Iranian companies.

The assurances from the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) should remove a financial hurdle to Brazil’s plan to expand trade with Iran to $5 billion last year, the Brazilian foreign ministry official said.

Embraer still requires a U.S. licence for the sale to Iran of sensitive jet engine technology in its planes.

An Embraer spokesman said the company was hopeful it will get the go-ahead following similar licences granted recently to European planemaker Airbus to sell commercial planes to Iran.

Azeredo said Iranian companies were seeking Brazilian equipment ranging from tractors and electrical generators to hospital and dental equipment.

TransAsia Airways will be liquidated

800x600_1352374465_a321-transasia

Taiwanese airline TransAsia Airways will be liquidated after sixty-five years of service. The decision came after a board meeting where the airline’s faith was decided. The airline has been struggling since the two ATR crashes in 2014 and 2015, and hasn’t managed to recover financially.

The company has attempted to restructure and recover with no success so far, only posting losses for the first 3 quarters of this year. The airline suspended operations on Tuesday November 22nd. The airline has set up a team to deal with everyone affected by the situation.

“It was a painful decision to dissolve the company,” Said Chairman Vincent Lin. “We kept trying to find domestic and international professional bodies, partners, or even a new operational team to help TransAsia. It’s a pity that the hope was not fulfilled.”

“We choose to dissolve the airline at this point of time because the company still has more assets than liability, so we’re capable of providing necessary protection to the interests of passengers, employees and partners,” said Lin. “Before exiting Taiwan’s civil aviation industry, the 65-year-old airline will do everything we could to shoulder our last responsibilities.”