Ascencion Island closed to Heavy Aircraft after South Atlantic Airbridge flights suspended

The Government of the Ascension Islands have confirmed that RAF Wideawake (ASI/FHAW), the island’s only international airport, will remain closed to heavy aircraft until 2019/2020 in order to carry out much needed repairs on the 3,000m asphalt runway.

An AirTanker A330 at RAF Wideawake ©Avineesh Suppiah

Runway 13/31 is currently in a state of disrepair, with reported cracks and potholes among other damage that prevents regular services to the airport.

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JetBlue Embraer ERJ-190 suffers Fuel Leak after Bird Strike on Takeoff

On May 17th, a JetBlue Embraer ERJ-190 registered N306JB, performing flight B6 1806 to New York was forced to return to Washington Dulles after suffering a Bird Strike on rotation from Runway 30. The crew were on initial climb when they reported they had hit something on takeoff and that there was some noise and vibrations from behind the nose wheel.

©Julian Reed

With engines stable, the crew requested to climb to 3000ft and entered a hold in order to carry out some checks. ATC at Dulles International carried out a runway check and advised the crew that a bird had been found on the runway.

Approximately 15 minutes after entering the hold, the noises and vibrations started to get louder, prompting the crew to declare an emergency and request an immediate landing on Runway 19C. The crew advised ATC and airport ground staff that they intended to stop on the runway and requested emergency services to inspect the front landing gear.

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Boeing delivers first 737 MAX

On Tuesday the 16th of May, the first passenger certified Boeing 737 MAX 8 departed the manufacturer’s Seattle Boeing Field facility bound for launch customer Batik Air Malaysia, part of the Lion Air Group.

9M-LRC departing Boeing Field ©Boeing

Avolon leased 737 MAX 8, 9M-LRC (MSN 42985), took part in a formal delivery ceremony at the Seattle delivery centre before setting off on them 8,235 mile delivery flight to the launch customer’s base.

The aircraft departed Seattle – Boeing Field King County International (BFI/KBFI) on 16th May, before continuing on to Anchorage – Ted Stevens International (ANC/PANC), Tokyo – Narita International (NRT/RJAA) and then arriving at Kuala Lumpur International (KUL/WMKK) the following day.

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Egypt Air Airbus A330 suffers Uncontained Engine Failure on Takeoff Roll

On the evening of 14th May, an Egypt Air Airbus A330 operating flight MS955 suffered an uncontained engine failure of it’s left hand side Rolls-Royce Trent engine, causing the crew to reject the takeoff. The failure of the engine left a large whole in the forward engine cowling. There were no injuries of the 211 people onboard.

The engine seen after the occurrence

Flight MS955 was accelerating down Runway 05C at Cairo International Airport when the crew aborted the takeoff, at 60kts ground speed. The aircraft vacated the runway around 1200m/4000ft from the threshold and stopped for checks by the airport emergency services. After inspection, the aircraft was cleared to taxi normally to the apron, where the passengers disembarked.

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WestJet orders up to 20 Dreamliners

Photo by WestJet

Canadian low-cost carrier WestJet announced today that the airline has ordered up to 20 new Dreamliners. The airline became a widebody operator 3 years ago when the airline added 4 Boeing 767s to the fleet, sourced from Qantas. These have been used to open up new routes to Hawaii and London Gatwick. WestJet will now be able to add new destinations in Asia, South America and Europe.

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SAS to launch flights from Helsinki to Spain

SAS 737
Copyright: SAS

In November this year, SAS will be launching weekly flights to Malaga from the Finnish capital Helsinki. The route will be served with the Airbus A320 and occasionally the Boeing 737-800.

SK4307 HEL0945 – 1330AGP 320 6
SK4308 AGP1430 – 2015HEL 320 6


“Malaga is a popular destination amongst many of our Finnish travelers and we are happy to launch a new direct year round route there”, says Anders Wahlstrom, Head of Sales, Sweden and Finland. “This route will be a great addition to our many flights from Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo to other popular destinations in Scandinavia, Europe, the US and Asia. During the flight the customers can choose between SAS Go and SAS Plus which gives access to the SAS Lounge in Helsinki, Fast track, food and beverages, front seating, extra luggage and double Euro Bonus points.”



WestJet: A low-cost carrier launching an ultra low-cost carrier

3D imagery, 737 MAX, MAX, 737 MAX 7, 737 MAX8, 737 MAX 9
Photo by WestJet

Canadian low-cost carrier WestJet recently announced that it will be founding a new, ultra low-cost carrier. The new, yet-to-be-named carrier will launch late 2017 or early 2018. The new airline will have higher-density aircraft to increase revenue on certain routes. The new airlne will allow more price-sensitive travelers to travel in previously expensive markets and destinations that the airline hasn’t been able to serve due to a higher cost base.

“I am eager to bring our ULCC to market on behalf of Canadians looking for even lower fares,” Cummings said. “I firmly believe that we have the necessary capabilities to launch another successful and exciting chapter in WestJet’s history. Travellers can expect a very different approach from this new ULCC, yet one that will ultimately provide air travel accessibility to many more Canadians” executive vice-president of the new airline,  Bob Cummings, “The worldview on low-cost airlines has changed since the launch of WestJet in 1996 and we are responding,” commented Gregg Saretsky, WestJet President and CEO. “The complete unbundling of services and products in order to lower fares for the price-sensitive traveler has created the ULCC category and our new airline will provide Canadians a pro-competitive, cheap and cheerful flying experience from a company with a proven track record.”

Norwegian Air UK announces first long-haul route, to Asia

Before the winter season this year, Norwegian will launch their very first route to Singapore from London Gatwick. It will be their second route overall in southeast Asia, with Bangkok being served from the three Scandinavian capitals already.

The flights will commence on September 28, operating four times a week and increasing to five later in winter. 

The route will be operated with their 787-9. It will be their UK subsidiaries first route flown with the DI airline code. The airline recently announced flights to Seattle and Denver, also starting later this year.

Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos said: “Our transatlantic flights have shown the huge demand for affordable long-haul travel, so we are delighted to expand into new markets and offer our first route to Asia from the UK.

“Travel should be affordable for all so adding Singapore to our growing UK network will give passengers even more choice for affordable, quality travel to a range of global destinations.

“The UK is at the heart of Norwegian’s ambitious plans for growth so it is a significant moment not only to launch this exciting new route, but also for it to be the first long-haul route to take to the skies with our new ‘UK’ subsidiary.”

Boeing 737 MAX 9 makes First Flight

Boeing’s 737 MAX 9 made its first flight today, departing the manufacturer’s Renton plant in Washington at 10:52 PT (17:52 Z). The aircraft, registered N7379E (MSN 42987) landed at Boeing Field at 13:34 PT (20:34 Z), after testing onboard airframe and cockpit systems.

The flight was commanded by Boeing Chief Deputy Test Pilot Capt. Christine Walsh

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N7379E departing Renton

The flight, under the callsign of BOE901 departed Renton over Lake Washington before heading West over Port Angeles Fairchild Airport and then East towards Spokane. The flight then turned back on a Westerly heading before moving South over Ellensburg and continuing to Olympia before touching down at Boeing Field.

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