Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Friday, 9 May 2008, 11:06 am
Press Release: Singapore Airlines
Fourth A380 Joins Singapore Airlines’ Fleet
Singapore Airlines has taken delivery of its fourth A380, the world’s largest passenger plane, at the Airbus Delivery Centre in Toulouse, France.
After the delivery flight, the aircraft arrived in Singapore where it is undergoing some pre-entry service work.
The addition of this fourth aircraft into its fleet will allow Singapore Airlines to commence daily A380 flights to Tokyo Narita on Tuesday 20 May 2008.
Tokyo is the airline’s third A380 destination outside Singapore and its first one in Asia. Daily services to other destinations commenced on 25 October 2007 (Singapore-Sydney) and 18 March 2008 (Singapore-London).
Fitted with the luxurious Singapore Airlines Suites, the award-winning 4-abreast Business Class and a new, more comfortable Economy cabin, the A380 allows Singapore Airlines customers to travel to London in unprecedented comfort, space and luxury.
Service to Tokyo Narita (SQ636) will commence early morning Tuesday 20 May, returning as SQ637 on the same day. The A380 will operate this pattern thereafter on a daily basis.
The quietest large passenger aircraft ever built, the A380 delivers substantial fuel burn reductions per seat mile over the next largest aircraft and allows for the addition of extra capacity to congested airports, like London and Tokyo. The Singapore Airlines A380 is powered by four Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines.
Singapore Airlines is the first to fly the A380, and currently the only airline in the world operating the aircraft. The airline has firm orders for a further 15 A380s and options on six more.(Scoop.co.nz)
SINGAPORE, Feb. 19, 2008 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] and Jakarta-based Garuda Indonesia today announced at the Singapore Air Show that the airline has ordered four 777-300ER (Extended Range) airplanes. The order is valued at more than $1 billion at current list prices.
Additionally, Garuda confirmed a previous unidentified order for seven Next-Generation 737-800s placed in 2007, and announced that it has converted 18 of its existing 737-700s on order to 737-800s and six 777-200ERs on order to 777-300ERs.
"We are extremely pleased with the support provided by Boeing to restructure previous purchase commitments," said Emirsyah Satar, president-director and chief executive officer of Garuda Indonesia. "This will enable Garuda to strategically implement its fleet renewal and expansion plan to meet the demands of a changing marketplace."
Garuda originally placed an order for six 777-200ERs in 1996 and 18 737-700s in 1999, which were recorded on Boeing's order books. With today's announcement, Garuda's total order now stands at 25 737-800s and 10 777-300ERs jetliners. Additionally, the airline acquired purchase rights for an additional 25 737-800s and 10 777-300ERs.
"The Next-Generation 737-800 and 777-300ER's dependability, low operating cost and passenger comfort will provide unmatched value and reliability for our passengers and enhance the position of Garuda as the full-service airline of Indonesia," Satar said.
Garuda's 737s will be fitted with Blended Winglets, which will improve fuel efficiency, increase range, and reduce CO2 emissions and takeoff noise.
"The digitally designed Next-Generation 737-800 and 777-300ER are the most technologically advanced airplane families for the single- and twin-aisle market flying today," said Dinesh Keskar, vice president, Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "We are honored that Garuda has selected Boeing jetliners to support its strategic modernization plan and we welcome this occasion to strengthen our long-time partnership with Garuda and our commitment to Indonesia's aviation industry."(Boeing.com)
The 10 new aircraft are being added to Garuda's fleet via a lease-purchase agreement, although Garuda is unprepared to divulge the details of the company extending the financial lease for the new aircraft. Satar added: "We hope that by the time the new aircraft arrive in 2010 the blacklisting by the European Union of Indonesian aircraft will be lifted allowing Garuda to operate without hindrance."
In addition to the new Boeing 777 aircraft on order for international long-haul flights Garuda has also ordered 10 Boeing 737-800NG for use on regional and domestic routes The airline also uses Airbus 330s for operating its Jakarta-Shanghai routes.(indahnesia.com)
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Australian passengers have told of a terrifying mid-air emergency that left a gaping hole in the side of a Qantas plane, forcing an emergency landing in Manila.
The Qantas Boeing 747, en route from London to Melbourne, via Hong Kong, landed safely on Friday and a "gigantic" hole was discovered in the belly of the plane, near the wing, according to passengers.
Melbourne woman Dr June Kane said she heard a loud bang and then saw debris flying through the depressurised cabin.
"There was a terrific boom and bits of wood and debris just flew forward into first (class) and the oxygen masks dropped down," she told ABC Radio from Manila airport.
"I'm looking at the plane now and on the left hand side, just forward of the wing, there's a gaping hole from the wing to the underbody.
"It's about two metres by four metres and there's baggage hanging out, so you assume that there's a few bags that may have gone missing.
"It was absolutely terrifying, but I have to say everyone was very calm."
Manila airport operations officer Ding Lima told local radio the plane lost cabin pressure shortly after takeoff from Hong Kong and the pilot radioed for an emergency landing.
"There is a big hole in the belly of the aircraft near the right wing about three metres in diameter," he said.
"Upon disembarkation, there were some passengers who vomited. You can see in their faces that they were really scared."
During the emergency part of the plane's flooring gave way, exposing some of the cargo in the hold, he said. Part of the ceiling also collapsed.
He said the aircraft was carrying 350 passengers and 16 crew.
Other passengers who talked to the media at the airport described hearing an explosion, followed by oxygen masks dropping from the ceiling.
It's understood all passengers escaped injury.
A Qantas spokeswoman in Australia was unable to give more details but confirmed the flight had been diverted.
"Qantas can confirm Qantas flight 30 from Hong Kong to Melbourne has been diverted to Manila," she said.
"The aircraft is on the ground and is currently being inspected."
A statement with more information would be released shortly, she said.
Peter Gibson from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority told the ABC that initial reports indicated a problem with air pressure in the cabin.
"The pilot has some pressurisation warnings about a door on the left hand side of the aircraft, but exactly what went wrong is still being determined," he said.
Passengers on the flight say the plane plunged about 20,000 feet after a door apparently "popped" mid-flight.
Qantas passenger Brendan McClements, chief executive of the Victorian Major Events Company, said passengers realised something was wrong when they heard a big bang.
"We were flying out of Hong Kong, heard a very loud noise, a bang," Mr McClements told AAP from Manila.
"There was a sort of rapid expulsion of wind.
"It went out of the plane, the air got sucked out, the oxygen masks dropped down and we put them on.
"Where I was sitting wasn't ideal, by no means ideal.
"But actually it was very well handled by the Qantas staff - that is the thing that stood out to me.
"They did a very good job of keeping everyone calm, keeping it under control.
"We landed about an hour or so ago, and there was a very large hole that wasn't there when we took off in Hong Kong."
Mr McClements said he could not be sure if the hole was where a door once was.
"But you could see into the plane from the outside, you could see bags inside.
"It was not what I expected when I got on the plane."
Steve Purvinas, federal secretary of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association, said it would not speculate on a possible cause.
"We just hope that Qantas and CASA investigate the matter promptly and if necessary take all steps to ensure that the rest of the Qantas fleet is safe to fly," Mr Purvinas said.
Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon said the flight had "a hole in its fuselage" and was being inspected.
"The flight, which originated in London, landed in Manila about 11.15am local time," Mr Dixon said in a statement.
"All 346 passengers and 19 crew disembarked normally and there were no reports of any injuries to passengers or crew."
Mr Dixon said the flight crew had performed emergency procedures after oxygen masks were deployed.
Qantas has provided all passengers with accommodation and a replacement aircraft has been arranged, he said.
Qantas engineers were on their way to Manila.
The Australian Transportation Safety Bureau (ATS and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) had been notified of the incident, he said.
Lufthansa has firmed up its second major takeover in the European air transport sector since the 2005 acquisition of Swiss International Air Lines, announcing that it is taking control of Brussels Airlines.
The acquisition gives Lufthansa access to the intra-European market, as well as a relatively broad African network. The deal was announced in Brussels on Monday afternoon.
Lufthansa initially buys 45% of Brussels for EUR65 million. It plans to take the remaining 55% in 2011 when Belgian's bilateral air service agreements with non-EU countries are renegotiated to allow for foreign majority ownership. The acquisition price will depend on Brussels' financial performance in the next three year, but will not exceed EUR250 million, Lufthansa stated. Synergies are expected to be around EUR50 million from 2011 when the full takeover has been completed.
Brussels has been indicating over the past several months that it is looking for strategic investors with some of its original shareholders opting out. The airline is built on the former Delta Air Transport regional carrier that was part of the now defunct Sabena group. The former SN Brussels Airlines merged with Virgin Express in 2006 and was relaunched under its new brand. Richard Branson's Virgin Group still holds a 30% stake in the carrier, but has now also agreed to finally exit its former low-fare experiment in Belgium.
The carrier will keep its brand, management team and head office in Brussels and will be operated in a similar way as Swiss in Zurich. "We believe that a modular system of highly independent airlines is the most promising concept," Lufthansa Chairman/CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuber said at a Brussels press conference. In the takeover process, Lufthansa competed with British Airways and Hainan Airlines.
Brussels is likely only the first of several takeovers in the works at Lufthansa. The company is also seen as the favorite bidder for Austrian Airlines. The government will pick a buyer by the end of October if it sticks to its planned timetable. British Airways, Air France-KLM and S7 Airlines have also submitted non-binding bids for Austrian late last week. For the first time, SAS Group has also indicated that it is considering a sale as economic circumstances and the company's financial position deteriorate. Also, it is expected to take majority control of bmi next year, although there have been reports it may be interested in selling its stake.
BA is negotiating a merger with Iberia while Air France-KLM has announced it would take a minority stake in Alitalia should the airline survive.
Photo: Brussels Airlines
Friday, September 12, 2008
JAKARTA, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) -- A team of auditors from the European Union will visit three Indonesian airliners for a move expected to relax an earlier EU decision that bans all 51 Indonesian airliners from flying the region, according to local press on Monday,
The three airliners include flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, Mandala Airline which recently signed a deal on the purchase of 24Airbus planes and charter company Prime Air that has many European customers, reported leading news website Detikcom.
Garuda executives met Monday with the Transportation Ministry officials to discuss the planned audit later this week.
"We will be open, and give information to the audit team," Garuda spokesman Pujobroto said after the meeting.
The European Commission (EC) decided in July to ban all Indonesian airlines, including national flag carrier Garuda, from flying the 27-nation bloc due to safety concerns, following a number of deadly air disasters across Indonesia earlier this year.(news.xinhuanet.com)
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Offering all the advantages of a completely new airliner design, the A380 will extend Airbus family commonality benefits to the very large aircraft sector.
The 525-seat aircraft uses the same cockpit layout and operating procedures as the Airbus A320 and A330/A340 Families, ensuring that pilots qualified on other Airbus fly-by-wire aircraft can step into the A380 with minimal additional training. As a result, airlines will benefit from significant savings through reduced flight crew transition time between the various Airbus jetliner types.
At the same time, the A380’s flight deck will benefit from the latest advances in cockpit technology, including larger interactive displays, an advanced flight management system and improved navigation modes.
|...sidestick control: The A380 may be the largest airliner ever built, but a pilot who has flown an aircraft of the A320 or A330/A340 Families will feel at home in the cockpit. The sidestick control, for example, introduced with full fly-by-wire by Airbus with the A320, is the same distance from the throttle as on other Airbus passenger aircraft.|
FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX), has achieved a milestone in innovative flight safety technology with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification of a new aircraft avionic system that dramatically improves situational awareness for pilots during takeoff and landing"the most critical part of any flight.
FedEx Express is the first major commercial carrier in the airline industry to receive a Supplemental Type Certificate from the FAA for the advanced system, authorizing its installation in the company's fleet of Boeing MD-10 freighters. The company's goal for the system is to improve the level of flight safety by increasing visibility of pilots during adverse weather conditions and darkness.
Upon activation of the system, pilots can significantly enhance visibility in poor weather "including darkness, smoke, smog, haze and other weather events"while simultaneously seeing critical flight data. This allows the captain to maintain a heads-up view of his surroundings, eliminating transition time normally needed to look down at cockpit primary flight information. The visual enhancement is similar to that created by infrared night-vision technology used in modern-day defense systems.
A unique application of Honeywell International " Head Up Display" (HUD) technology combined with infrared " Enhanced Flight Vision System " (EFVS) technology of Elbit Systems of America Commercial Aviation-Kollsman Business Unit, positions the system as the leader in the avionic visual technologies market.
The Honeywell HUD interfaces with aircraft navigational and flight data systems in presenting a high resolution liquid crystal display of critical flight guidance information. This is overlaid with real-time EFVS infrared video of the outside world that is displayed in an overhead unit in the captain's forward field of view using state-of-the-art HUD "combiner" technology. Elbit Systems Ltd., Electro-Optics-Elop manufactures the combiner glass.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Before departure, pilots plan their flights carefully. They thoroughly check their aircraft to make sure that the engines, controls, instruments, and other systems are functioning properly. They also make sure that baggage or cargo has been loaded correctly. They confer with flight dispatchers and aviation weather forecasters to find out about weather conditions en route and at their destination. Based on this information, they choose a route, altitude, and speed that will provide the safest, most economical, and smoothest flight. When flying under instrument flight rules—procedures governing the operation of the aircraft when there is poor visibility—the pilot in command, or the company dispatcher, normally files an instrument flight plan with air traffic control so that the flight can be coordinated with other air traffic.
Takeoff and landing are the most difficult parts of the flight, and require close coordination between the two pilots. For example, as the plane accelerates for takeoff, the pilot who is flying the take off concentrates on the runway while the other pilot scans the instrument panel. To calculate the speed they must attain to become airborne, pilots consider the altitude of the airport, outside temperature, weight of the plane, and speed and direction of the wind. The moment the plane reaches takeoff speed, the nonflying pilot informs the flying pilot, who then pulls back on the controls to raise the nose of the plane. Captains and first officers usually alternate flying each leg from takeoff to landing.
Unless the weather is bad, the flight itself is relatively routine. Airplane pilots, with the assistance of autopilot and the flight management computer, steer the plane along their planned route and are monitored by the air traffic control stations they pass along the way. They regularly scan the instrument panel to check their fuel supply; the condition of their engines; and the air-conditioning, hydraulic, and other systems. Pilots may request a change in altitude or route if circumstances dictate. For example, if the ride is rougher than expected, pilots may ask air traffic control if pilots flying at other altitudes have reported better conditions; if so, they may request an altitude change. This procedure also may be used to find a stronger tailwind or a weaker headwind to save fuel and increase speed. In contrast, because helicopters are used for short trips at relatively low altitude, helicopter pilots must be constantly on the lookout for trees, bridges, power lines, transmission towers, and other dangerous obstacles as well as low-flying general aviation aircraft. Regardless of the type of aircraft, all pilots must monitor warning devices designed to help detect sudden shifts in wind conditions that can cause crashes.
Pilots must rely completely on their instruments when visibility is poor. On the basis of altimeter readings, they know how high above ground they are and whether they can fly safely over mountains and other obstacles. Special navigation radios give pilots precise information that, with the help of special charts, tells them their exact position. Other very sophisticated equipment provides directions to a point just above the end of a runway and enables pilots to land completely without an outside visual reference. Once on the ground, pilots must complete records on their flight and the aircraft maintenance status for their company and the FAA.
The number of nonflying duties that pilots have depends on the employment setting. Airline pilots have the services of large support staffs and, consequently, perform few nonflying duties. However, because of the large numbers of passengers, airline pilots may be called upon to coordinate handling of disgruntled or disruptive passengers. Also, under the Federal Flight Deck Officer program airline pilots who undergo rigorous training and screening are deputized as Federal law enforcement officers and are issued firearms to protect the cockpit against intruders and hijackers. Pilots employed by other organizations, such as charter operators or businesses, have many other duties. They may load the aircraft, handle all passenger luggage to ensure a balanced load, and supervise refueling; other nonflying responsibilities include keeping records, scheduling flights, arranging for major maintenance, and performing minor aircraft maintenance and repairs.
Except on small aircraft, two pilots usually make up the cockpit crew. Generally, the most experienced pilot, the captain, is in command and supervises all other crew members. The pilot and the copilot, often called the first officer, share flying and other duties, such as communicating with air traffic controllers and monitoring the instruments. Some large aircraft have a third crewmember, the flight engineer, who assists the pilots by monitoring and operating many of the instruments and systems, making minor in-flight repairs, and watching for other aircraft. The flight engineer also assists the pilots with the company, air traffic control, and cabin crew communications. New technology can perform many flight tasks, however, and virtually all new aircraft now fly with only two pilots, who rely more heavily on computerized controls.
Some pilots are flight instructors. They teach their students in ground-school classes, in simulators, and in dual-controlled planes and helicopters. A few specially trained pilots are examiners or check pilots. They periodically fly with other pilots or pilot’s license applicants to make sure that they are proficient.
Work environment. Most pilots spend a considerable amount of time away from home because the majority of flights involve overnight layovers. When pilots are away from home, the airlines provide hotel accommodations, transportation between the hotel and airport, and an allowance for meals and other expenses.
Airline pilots, especially those on international routes, often experience jet lag—fatigue caused by many hours of flying through different time zones. To guard against pilot fatigue, which could result in unsafe flying conditions, the FAA requires airlines to allow pilots at least 8 hours of uninterrupted rest in the 24 hours before finishing their flight duty.
Commercial pilots face other types of job hazards. The work of test pilots, who check the flight performance of new and experimental planes, may be dangerous. Pilots who are crop-dusters may be exposed to toxic chemicals and seldom have the benefit of a regular landing strip. Helicopter pilots involved in rescue and police work may be subject to personal injury.
Although flying does not involve much physical effort, the mental stress of being responsible for a safe flight, regardless of the weather, can be tiring. Pilots must be alert and quick to react if something goes wrong, particularly during takeoff and landing.
FAA regulations limit flying time of airline pilots of large aircraft to a maximum of 100 hours a month or 1,000 hours a year. Most airline pilots fly an average of 65 to 75 hours a month and work at least an additional 65 to 75 hours a month performing nonflying duties. Most pilots have variable work schedules, working several days on, then several days off. Airlines operate flights at all hours of the day and night, so work schedules often are irregular. Flight assignments are based on seniority; the sooner pilots are hired, the stronger their bidding power is for preferred assignments.
Commercial pilots also may have irregular schedules, flying 30 hours one month and 90 hours the next. Because these pilots frequently have many nonflying responsibilities, they have much less free time than do airline pilots. Except for corporate flight department pilots, most commercial pilots do not remain away from home overnight. But, they may work odd hours. However, if the company owns a fleet of planes, pilots may fly a regular schedule.
Flight instructors may have irregular and seasonal work schedules, depending on their students’ available time and the weather. Instructors frequently work in the evening or on weekends.