October 04, 2006

A380 Pushed Back Yet Again

Are you an airplane dork who's counting down the days until they can fly on the A380?  No?  Uh, me neither.

Anyway, the A380's launch will be delayed yet again, with one plane being delivered in late 2007 (yeah right) and a bunch more being delivered in 2008.  Airbus said that the delays will cost the company more than $6 billion, and Emirates is now saying they're considering all of their options about the plane (ie, Airbus take your plane and shove it).  The next time you miss a deadline at work, make yourself feel better and remember that at least the delay didn't cost the company $6 billion.  Unless you work on the A380 project, in which case it did.

October 4, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 20, 2006

Yet More Delays for the A380?

A French newspaper is reporting that Airbus will announce this week that it will further delay deliveries of the A380 superjumbo.  It is likely that the manufacturer will only deliver 4 of the 25 planned airplanes in its first year (Singapore and Emirates would receive 2 each).  Someday soon there'll be a book about how the A380 program went awry. 

September 20, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 11, 2006

Door Falls off TAM Plane, Nobody Hurt

A door fell off a TAM Fokker 100 en route from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.  Nobody was injured, but I'm sure at least one person was wondering what the fokker was going on.  Sorry.  Pretend I didn't write that.  The door fell off 18 minutes after departure, but the plane was able to return to Sao Paulo without incident.  Well, the door falling off is an incident.  Without further incident.

August 11, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 03, 2006

The Sultan of Brunei's A340

If you care about airplanes, you may be interested in these photos of the inside of the A340 owned by the Sultan of Brunei.  2 things to know:

1) This guy likes his gold
2) For whatever reason, there are somewhat pornographic advertisements on the site, for reasons I'm not quite sure about, as it's in Russian.  So, it's not safe for work, but it's not particularly graphic either. 

August 3, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 20, 2006

Malaysia Airlines to Cancel A380 Order

If you're sick of reading about the A380 situation, then you can skip this story (though it's today's only story, so suck it up, my friend):  According to Air Transport World, Malaysia Airlines is going to cancel its order for 6 A380 aircraft after the recent delays were announced.  The article also notes that at least one other airline is seriously considering cancelling their order as well.  Malaysia Airlines hasn't been in the best financial shape lately, so the manufacturing delays may just be a handy excuse, but the A380 doesn't have a ton of orders to begin with, and it hardly needs more bad press...I'm sure they're gloating over at Boeing.

June 20, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

June 14, 2006

A380 Delayed Again. Again.

Things are not going well over at Airbus.  After a couple of years where they could do no wrong (and Boeing seemed to do nothing right), it's getting messy over in Europe.  The company announced another delay for the double-decker A380, pushing launch back another 6 months.  Singapore Airlines, the launch customer, will take delivery in early 2007 (instead of last month).  Qantas and Emirates will have their deliveries pushed back to 2008, also 6-12 months later than expected.  Singapore and Emirates are now seeking compensation from the manufacturer for the delays.  (As you can imagine, each of these airlines had financial targets based on putting these 500+ seat aircraft into service.  Delays are extremely costly.  And nerds like me were sorta excited to go and fly on one of these sooner rather than later).

Meanwhile, there's been a bit of a mess around the launch of the A350, which will compete with the rather successful Boeing 787.  There's been a public debate about the aircraft's design and a number of revisions about the actual performance of the airplane.  It's gotten so bad that Airbus' COO felt the need to come out and say that the "chaos" around the program must end.  Add the uncertainty around the A350 to the uncertainty around the A380, and the near-term future of Airbus isn't looking so hot.  The team at Boeing is gloating, I'm sure.

June 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 25, 2006

How Does a Regional Jet Get to Hawaii?

With the news that Mesa's new airline called Go! will be flying regional jets between Hawaiian islands, I was kinda wondering how you get a regional jet to Hawaii since it's too far to fly nonstop from the mainland under normal circumstances.  If you were wondering the same thing (and I'm sure you weren't), here's the answer (thanks to the folks at Airliners.net):  you take out all the seats and you fill the cabin with fuel tanks.  You can see what that looks like here and here.

May 25, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

May 15, 2006

2,000 Jets Parked in the Desert

It is a slooooowwwww news morning in AirlineWorld, so the pickins were slim this morning. Which is why I'll tell you that there are about 2,000 aircraft still parked in the desert waiting for some nice family to take them home. This number is way down from the months following 9/11, but if you're looking to own a gas guzzling L-1011 of your very own, now may be the time to jump in. As noted here before, it could make a nice house.

May 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (4)

May 08, 2006

What Happened to the Boeing 717

For those of you interested in why the Boeing 717 failed (and you know who you are), the Long Beach Press-Telegram has a pretty in-depth article about the aircraft.  (In short, the plane -- which Boeing inherited from McDonnell Douglas and was originally the DC-9 -- was viewed as a competitor to the wildly successful 737 and was killed off to avoid siphoning business from that aircraft.  Incidentally, Boeing has sold more than 5,000 737s.)

May 8, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 25, 2006

Standing Room Only Seats?

The NY Times has a disturbing article reporting that Airbus is considering a version of its A380 with standing room seats.  Yes, seats where you cannot sit down.  In theory, this would only be available on short-hop flights in, for example, Japan (Japanese airlines currently deny interest in these scheme).  Unsettling, yes?  The article also notes (and this won't shock you) that airlines are squeezing more seats in coach these days. 

On a positive note, the Airline Interior Expo is going on right now and airlines are showing off what first class flying will be like in the future (read: lots of space, lots of electronic gadgets).  The gap between the haves and the have-nots will keep growing on planes (just as it does everywhere else).  Thanks to Engadget and travelnate for the heads up.

April 25, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (6)

April 18, 2006

Did Boeing Use Bad Parts on Its 737?

Here's a disturbing one:  Three former Boeing employees claim that the company knowingly installed bad parts in its 737 aircraft between 1994 and 2002.  A lawsuit filed by the former staffers says that the company allowed workers to install thousands of parts that they knew did not meet specifications, and that Boeing then fired any workers who complained.  As you would imagine, Boeing has denied the claims in the suit.

April 18, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 30, 2006

Cubana and Aeroflot Order New Aircraft

Just a small piece of news:  Although Northwest Airlines continues (correctly) to rely on its 35 year old DC-9s, both Aeroflot and Cubana announced orders for new airplanes this week.  Aeroflot will replace its Russian-built Tupolev 154Ms with Airbus A320s.  Cubana, not known for their safety or service, will replace some of its aging Soviet fleet with new Russian Ilyushin Il-96s and Tupolev Tu-204s.  Fidel Castro, meanwhile, has been flying around in a 30 year old  IL-62, an airplane that has been banned from landing in many countries because of its pitiful safety record.

In any case, I only brought this up because it's somewhat amusing that certain US airlines cannot afford new airplanes, while Cubana and Aeroflot are replacing their fleets.

March 30, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

March 28, 2006

Building an A380 in 7 minutes

A cool piece of video here:  assembling the super-gigantic A380 in only 7 minutes...

March 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 27, 2006

Despite Injuries, A380 Test Called a Success

The superjumbo A380 passed its passenger evacuation test over the weekend, despite injuries to 32 people including one with a broken leg.  To receive certification, 873 passengers had to be able to depart the aircraft in 90 seconds.  This milestone was achieved, though passengers did suffer injuries (the test was conducted in complete darkness, so it's not particularly surprising that people would get hurt).  Airbus said it was happy with the results of the trial and that they still expect the new plane to launch by the end of 2006.

March 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2)

March 21, 2006

An Update on Cellphones on Planes

I know you've been sitting there wondering if there's been any update on whether passengers will be able to use cellphones while planes are in the air.  Wonder no longer.  USA Today has published a nice little roundup of what airlines say their policies will be once the FAA permits cellphones on board.  The good news?  Nearly every airline says they will likely not allow people to yammer on phones in-flight.  Most spokespeople just said that the airline had no plans to permit usage at this time, but American Airlines' PR dude said, "We’ve been aware of the social implications of cellphone usage in an airplane cabin all along. That gives us the opportunity to exam ways to mitigate the social effects of cell usage concurrently with our examination of the technological development of onboard wireless systems.”  Exactly.

March 21, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 09, 2006

JetBlue Considers Slowing Aircraft Deliveries

If you were wondering whether JetBlue has been able to avoid the trap of growing too quickly, wonder no longer.  The airline is considering whether to defer some of the  airplanes it has on order for the next few years.  JetBlue is scheduled to take delivery of 17 A320s this year and in 2007, and 18 Embraer 190s this year and in 2007.  Yes, that's a lot of planes.  And as they've watched virtually every other upstart airline do, they've probably begun to grow faster than they could manage.  On the positive side, they recognize this pretty early, and they should have no trouble finding owners for these popular aircraft types.  But still, all is not rosy in JetBlueville.

March 9, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 01, 2006

Good Bye Boeing 767?

Boeing said yesterday that it is doubtful that it will be able to keep its 767 production line running this year due to a lack of orders.  That means that end of a 25 (or so) year era, with both the 767 and 757 lines shutting down and Boeing focusing its efforts on the new, more efficient, 787.  The manufacturer had originally thought that it could keep the 767 going by converting the aircraft to a military refueling plane, but a procurement scandal blew that idea away.

March 1, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 28, 2006

Singapore Airlines' Roomy A380

Last week I noted that airlines are looking to squeeze an extra seat in every coach row of the new Boeing 787 aircraft.  This week I thought I'd pass along some good news about seating:  Singapore Airlines has announced that it will only put 475 seats in the new A380, an airplane that can hold up to 800.  On the other hand, Airbus recently noted that it is considering a stretch A380 that could hold up to 1,000 passengers. 

February 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 23, 2006

A Bit of Seat Info about the Boeing 787

The new Boeing 787, which will replace the 767 with an aircraft boasting significant cost savings, will not be as comfortable for passengers as once thought.  The plane was conceived to over 8-across seating in coach, with extremely wide 19" seats (about 2 inches wider than regular coach seats).  However, about 2/3 of the airlines purchasing the planes have decided to jam in 9 seats with regular dimensions.  On the plus side, the extra 21 passengers squished into the plane should (theoretically) keep fares low.  And everyone likes that.  Except the dude in the middle seat in the back. 

February 23, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (3)

February 16, 2006

El-Al Installs Anti-Missle Systems on Aircraft

As you may know, El Al doesn't screw around when it comes to security.  To that end, El Al has installed anti-missle systems in all of its aircraft, becoming the first carrier to do so.  The Israeli-built system, called Flight Guard, releases diversionary flares if its sensors detect an incoming missle.

Development of the systems, which cost about $1 million a piece, was put on the fast track after al Qaeda attempted to shoot down an El Al aircraft in Kenya back in 2002.

According to the linked article, we shouldn't expect many other airlines to jump on board with this.  On the other hand, the chance of an aircraft going down because of a missle attack is incredibly remote -- a DHL A300 cargo plane was struck by a missle in Baghdad in 2004 and landed without incident (well, getting hit with the missle was an incident, but the landing was not).

February 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

February 06, 2006

A380 to Make First Visit to North America

Airplane fans take note:  The super-jumbo A380 will make its first trip to North America today---right in your backyard!  As long as your backyard is in Iqaluit, Nunavut, in northern Canada.  The aircraft will undergo cold weather testing in temperatures as low as 40 degrees below zero. 

February 6, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Take a Helicopter from New York City to JFK Airport

The cost of traveling to and around New York City is not exactly logical:  a bus to Boston can cost $10, a cab to Newark will cost you about $60, which is the same as a one-way flight to Fort Lauderdale.  So perhaps I shouldn't find it wildly expensive that a new service is charging $139 each way to take you by helicopter from Wall Street to JFK Airport.  The 8 minute (!) trip will be offered hourly beginning March 13th.

February 6, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

February 01, 2006

Boeing to Create Long-Range 737

If you don't care about aircraft, you can skip this one:

Boeing announced that it will create a long range version of the 737-700 after ANA expressed interest in the plane.  The new plane, which will combine the 737-700 fuselage with the wings and landing gear of a 737-800, will be capable of flying 5,500 nautical miles, more than 2,000 miles farther than the current 737-700.  As the 737 was originally designed as a short-to-medium haul airplane, this should be delightfully uncomfortable for passengers who may some day fly from New York to Honolulu on one of these guys.

February 1, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 30, 2006

JetBlue: New Aircraft Rollout Not So Smooth

David Neeleman, JetBlue's CEO, said recently that the rollout of its new Embraer 190 jets has not gone as smoothly as he had hoped.  The aircraft have experienced greater delays than expected, due partly to technical issues with the planes and partly to what Neeleman says are problems "of their own doing." (that's sorta awkward as I re-read that---he meant that there were aircraft-specific issues and JetBlue-specific issues.  I want to be as clear as possible, lest Oprah bring me on her show and yell at me).

He concluded saying that the launch of the 190 "hasn’t been up to what we thought we could do."

January 30, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 24, 2006

She's a Little Runway ay ay ay

Bon Jovi's chartered 707 skidded off the runway after it landed in Hamilton, Ontario, early Sunday morning with the band on board.  Nobody in the band was hurt, but their music still sucks (yes, I stole that from Triumph the Insult Comic Dog).

Newspapers everywhere rejoiced when they learned that a wet runway may have contributed, allowing them to use the headline "Slippery When Wet" with the story.  Har.

January 24, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)