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Qantas tests 19-hour direct flights from UK, US to Sydney

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Qantas tests 19-hour direct flights from UK, US to Sydney

Qantas plans to test non-stop flights from London and New York to Sydney this year to see whether passengers and crew can tolerate 19 hours in a plane.

The Australian airline will carry 40 passengers and crew on three flights in October, November and December, with a decision on whether to introduce the ultra-long routes commercially due by the end of the year.

The test passengers will mainly be Qantas employees, as well as scientists, with no seats sold on the flights. Passengers and crew will be fitted with wearable technology devices to monitor sleep patterns and food and drink consumption, and to see how lighting, physical movement and inflight entertainment impact their health.

Qantas aims to operate regular, non-stop flights to London and New York from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne as soon as 2022.

Last year the airline launched direct flights between London and Perth, on the west coast of Australia, a 17-hour journey. However, the three most populous cities in Australia are all on the country’s east coast, and Melbourne is more than 10,300 miles from New York. London to Sydney is 10,500 miles.

The test flights will use new Boeing 787-9 planes, with fewer passengers and less luggage than usual to extend the range. However, successful test flights would fire the starting gun on a race between the US firm Boeing and its European rival, Airbus, to sell Qantas their new ultra-long-range aircraft, the 777X and the A350 respectively.

The A350 is currently in service on the world’s longest passenger flight: Singapore Airlines’s New York to Singapore slog, which covers 9,500 miles, taking 18 hours and 45 minutes.

The proposed new routes reflect a trend in the airline industry that has defied the highly damaging carbon emissions toll with an increase in direct, long-distance flights, which are generally preferred by passengers.

However, Alan Joyce, Qantas’s chief executive, said that flying a commercial airliner non-stop from New York to Sydney was “truly the final frontier in aviation”, reflecting the immense distances involved.

No commercial airline has ever flown direct from New York to Australia, according to Qantas. It said it flew non-stop from London to Sydney in 1989 to mark the entry into service of the Boeing 747-400 jumbo jet, but with only 23 people on board in order to preserve fuel.

Joyce said the start of the commercial flights was not a “foregone conclusion”, with questions remaining about the working patterns and health of crew, as well as whether the routes would be profitable.

*Courtesy: The Guardian

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Aviation

Boeing 737 MAX may not return this year – UAE regulator

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Boeing 737 MAX may not return this year – UAE regulator

The head of the United Arab Emirates’ General Civil Aviation Authority said on Sunday he was not optimistic that the Boeing 737 MAX would return to operations this year and that the first quarter of 2020 was more likely.

The 737 MAX has been grounded since March while Boeing updates flight control software at the center of two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that together killed 346 people within a span of five months.

Boeing Co is targeting regulator approval for the fixes in October, though the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has said it does not have a firm time for the aircraft to be flying again.

The GCAA will conduct its own assessment to allow the MAX to return to UAE airspace, rather than follow the FAA, Director General Said Mohammed al-Suwaidi told reporters in Dubai.

He said the GCAA would look at the FAA decision and that the UAE regulator had so far not seen details of Boeing’s fixes.

The FAA has traditionally taken the lead on certifying Boeing jets, though other regulators have indicated they would conduct their own analysis.

UAE airline flydubai is one of the largest MAX customers, having ordered 250 of the fast-selling narrow-body jets, reports Reuters.

It has not said when it expects the aircraft to be operational again. American Airlines has canceled flights through Dec. 3, United Airlines until Dec. 19 and Southwest Airlines Co into early January.

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Aviation

Boeing 737 MAX may not return this year – UAE regulator

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Boeing 737 MAX may not return this year – UAE regulator

The head of the United Arab Emirates’ General Civil Aviation Authority said on Sunday he was not optimistic that the Boeing 737 MAX would return to operations this year and that the first quarter of 2020 was more likely.

The 737 MAX has been grounded since March while Boeing updates flight control software at the center of two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that together killed 346 people within a span of five months.

Boeing Co is targeting regulator approval for the fixes in October, though the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has said it does not have a firm time for the aircraft to be flying again.

The GCAA will conduct its own assessment to allow the MAX to return to UAE airspace, rather than follow the FAA, Director General Said Mohammed al-Suwaidi told reporters in Dubai.

He said the GCAA would look at the FAA decision and that the UAE regulator had so far not seen details of Boeing’s fixes.

The FAA has traditionally taken the lead on certifying Boeing jets, though other regulators have indicated they would conduct their own analysis.

UAE airline flydubai is one of the largest MAX customers, having ordered 250 of the fast-selling narrow-body jets, reports Reuters.

It has not said when it expects the aircraft to be operational again. American Airlines has canceled flights through Dec. 3, United Airlines until Dec. 19 and Southwest Airlines Co into early January.

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Aviation

Boeing 737 MAX may not return this year – UAE regulator

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Boeing 737 MAX may not return this year – UAE regulator

The head of the United Arab Emirates’ General Civil Aviation Authority said on Sunday he was not optimistic that the Boeing 737 MAX would return to operations this year and that the first quarter of 2020 was more likely.

The 737 MAX has been grounded since March while Boeing updates flight control software at the center of two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that together killed 346 people within a span of five months.

Boeing Co is targeting regulator approval for the fixes in October, though the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has said it does not have a firm time for the aircraft to be flying again.

The GCAA will conduct its own assessment to allow the MAX to return to UAE airspace, rather than follow the FAA, Director General Said Mohammed al-Suwaidi told reporters in Dubai.

He said the GCAA would look at the FAA decision and that the UAE regulator had so far not seen details of Boeing’s fixes.

The FAA has traditionally taken the lead on certifying Boeing jets, though other regulators have indicated they would conduct their own analysis.

UAE airline flydubai is one of the largest MAX customers, having ordered 250 of the fast-selling narrow-body jets, reports Reuters.

It has not said when it expects the aircraft to be operational again. American Airlines has canceled flights through Dec. 3, United Airlines until Dec. 19 and Southwest Airlines Co into early January.

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Aviation

Boeing 737 MAX may not return this year – UAE regulator

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Boeing 737 MAX may not return this year – UAE regulator

The head of the United Arab Emirates’ General Civil Aviation Authority said on Sunday he was not optimistic that the Boeing 737 MAX would return to operations this year and that the first quarter of 2020 was more likely.

The 737 MAX has been grounded since March while Boeing updates flight control software at the center of two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that together killed 346 people within a span of five months.

Boeing Co is targeting regulator approval for the fixes in October, though the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has said it does not have a firm time for the aircraft to be flying again.

The GCAA will conduct its own assessment to allow the MAX to return to UAE airspace, rather than follow the FAA, Director General Said Mohammed al-Suwaidi told reporters in Dubai.

He said the GCAA would look at the FAA decision and that the UAE regulator had so far not seen details of Boeing’s fixes.

The FAA has traditionally taken the lead on certifying Boeing jets, though other regulators have indicated they would conduct their own analysis.

UAE airline flydubai is one of the largest MAX customers, having ordered 250 of the fast-selling narrow-body jets, reports Reuters.

It has not said when it expects the aircraft to be operational again. American Airlines has canceled flights through Dec. 3, United Airlines until Dec. 19 and Southwest Airlines Co into early January.

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Aviation

Ethiopian Airlines’ revenue jumps with rise in passenger numbers

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Ethiopian Airlines’ revenue jumps with rise in passenger numbers

Ethiopian Airlines saw a big rise in its operating revenue in the year to the end of June, as a surge in passenger numbers helped to offset the impact of higher fuel costs, the carrier told Reuters on Friday.

Africa’s biggest airline said operating revenue rose 17 percent in dollar terms while passenger numbers were up 14 percent.

In March, one of the airline’s Boeing planes crashed a few minutes after take-off from Bole airport in Addis Ababa en-route to Nairobi, killing all 157 people on board.

“In one of the most challenging years, we managed to continue our fast, profitable and sustainable growth,” the airline told Reuters, sharing its preliminary results for the period.

The full set of results is expected in the next two weeks, the company said.

It flew 12.1 million passengers during the period, helping to cushion an increase in fuel costs of about 25 percent, the airline said.

Planes were three quarters full on average, a key performance measure for the industry.

Ethiopian said it offered 13% more flight seats per kilometre during the reporting period.

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BA begins cancelling hundreds of flights ahead of further strike action

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BA begins cancelling hundreds of flights ahead of further strike action

British Airways has begun cancelling hundreds of flights ahead of the next strike by pilots on September 27.

Tens of thousands of BA passengers are expected to be hit by the disruption which follows a two-day strike on Monday and Tuesday this week when 1,700 flights were cancelled affecting 195,000 people.

British Airways has offered a pay rise of 11.5% over three years, which it says would boost the pay of some captains to £200,000, but Balpa says its members want a bigger share of the company’s profits.

Both sides have said they want to resume talks, but there is little sign of the deadlock being broken.

The airline began contacting affected passengers on Thursday afternoon, 15 days ahead of the strike.

Under EU law, passengers are only entitled to compensation if they receive less than 14 days’ notice of a cancellation.

Balpa said it “set a gap between the first and second periods of strike action to give BA time to work with us to settle this dispute with their pilots”.

“We had today been exchanging new ideas to do that via Acas (the independent arbitration service) and so it’s irresponsible and inconsiderate to its customers that BA has pulled out and decided to start cancelling flights now, just to save money on compensation.”

A spokeswoman for BA said: “We have put forward new ideas through Acas this week and have called on Balpa to meet us face to face as soon as possible to return to negotiations.

“However, we need to give our customers certainty, so we have contacted all those affected by the union’s strike on September 27.”

When BA cancelled flights ahead of this week’s walkout, many passengers complained about difficulties contacting the airline, while some were sent cancellation emails in error, reports Sky News.

The airline said it had added extra staff to its customer relations teams and had up to 900 people answering phones at peak times.

During last week’s 48-hour warning strike, BA flights out of Abuja and Lagos were also affected with the planes grounded at both airports.

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Aviation

BA begins cancelling hundreds of flights ahead of further strike action

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BA begins cancelling hundreds of flights ahead of further strike action

British Airways has begun cancelling hundreds of flights ahead of the next strike by pilots on September 27.

Tens of thousands of BA passengers are expected to be hit by the disruption which follows a two-day strike on Monday and Tuesday this week when 1,700 flights were cancelled affecting 195,000 people.

British Airways has offered a pay rise of 11.5% over three years, which it says would boost the pay of some captains to £200,000, but Balpa says its members want a bigger share of the company’s profits.

Both sides have said they want to resume talks, but there is little sign of the deadlock being broken.

The airline began contacting affected passengers on Thursday afternoon, 15 days ahead of the strike.

Under EU law, passengers are only entitled to compensation if they receive less than 14 days’ notice of a cancellation.

Balpa said it “set a gap between the first and second periods of strike action to give BA time to work with us to settle this dispute with their pilots”.

“We had today been exchanging new ideas to do that via Acas (the independent arbitration service) and so it’s irresponsible and inconsiderate to its customers that BA has pulled out and decided to start cancelling flights now, just to save money on compensation.”

A spokeswoman for BA said: “We have put forward new ideas through Acas this week and have called on Balpa to meet us face to face as soon as possible to return to negotiations.

“However, we need to give our customers certainty, so we have contacted all those affected by the union’s strike on September 27.”

When BA cancelled flights ahead of this week’s walkout, many passengers complained about difficulties contacting the airline, while some were sent cancellation emails in error, reports Sky News.

The airline said it had added extra staff to its customer relations teams and had up to 900 people answering phones at peak times.

During last week’s 48-hour warning strike, BA flights out of Abuja and Lagos were also affected with the planes grounded at both airports.

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Aviation

FG approves airport for Ebonyi

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FG approves airport for Ebonyi

Federal Government on Friday  approved  Governor Dave Umahi’s request for the construction of a new International Airport in Ebonyi State.

With the approval all is now set for the smooth take-off of the construction of the airport in Oriuzor, Ezza North Local Government Area of the state.

The new airport when completed  is expected to help in opening up the Southeast as well as neighbouring Cross River and Benue States in the South-South and North-Central zones.

Minister for Aviation, Hadi Sirika  conveyed the approval in a letter to Umahi.

In the  letter, signed on his behalf by the Director Safety and

Technical Policy of the Ministry, Capt T A Alkali, the Minister said the approval followed the visit of a technical team from the ministry and its agencies to the state on inspection of the proposed site for the airport.

“I am directed to convey approval of the Honourable Minister of

Aviation for the construction of a state owned/financed International Airport on the inspected site,” he wrote.

The minister, however, noted that the approval was  subject to the state government’s fulfilment of certain requirements.

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Aviation

Boeing hiring, eyes 737 MAX flights resuming ‘early 4th quarter’

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Boeing hiring, eyes 737 MAX flights resuming ‘early 4th quarter’

 

 

Boeing Co said on Tuesday it plans to add extra staff and hire “a few hundred” temporary employees at an airport in Washington state where it is storing many grounded 737 MAX jetliners, a key step in its best-case plan for resuming deliveries to airline customers in October.
The world’s largest planemaker, burning cash as one of the worst crises in its history stretches into a sixth month, said the workers will assist with aircraft maintenance and customer delivery preparations at Grant County International Airport.
The hiring plans are the first publicly detailed steps Boeing will take as it works to deliver hundreds of grounded 737 MAX jets to airlines globally, an undertaking that would amount to one of the biggest logistical operations in modern civil aviation.
Chicago-based Boeing has been unable to deliver any 737 MAX aircraft since the single-aisle plane was grounded worldwide in March after two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people, cutting off a key source of cash and hitting margins.
Global airlines have had to cancel thousands of flights and use spare aircraft to cover routes that were previously flown with the fuel-efficient MAX, eating into their profitability. Many carriers have taken the MAX off their schedules late into the fall or early 2020.
Boeing reiterated on Tuesday that it was working toward getting the 737 MAX flying again commercially in the “early fourth quarter” after it wins approval of reprogrammed software for the stall-prevention system at the center of both crashes.
In late July, U.S. Federal Aviation Administration Deputy Administrator Dan Elwell declined to be pinned down on Boeing’s previously stated target of October for entry into service.
“We don’t have a timeline,” Elwell said. “We have one criteria. When the 737 MAX has been – when the complications to it have been satisfactorily assessed, and the MAX is safe to return to service, that’s the only criteria.”
Boeing said it plans to move all the aircraft from Moses Lake, an eastern Washington location where it runs test flights, to facilities in the Seattle and Everett areas where its factories are located.
Hundreds of Boeing 737 MAX jets remain grounded worldwide, and Boeing has continued building the jets at a rate of 42 per month in the Seattle area. The U.S. planemaker is also storing freshly built aircraft outside its factories in Renton and Everett, around Seattle. It also has jets parked at a facility in San Antonio, Texas.
The total cost so far of the 737 MAX crisis is more than $8 billion, mainly due to compensation the planemaker will have to pay airlines for the delayed deliveries and lower production, reports Reuters.

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U.S. draws curtain on safe skies for Africa initiative

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U.S. draws curtain on safe skies for Africa initiative

A 20-year-old programme by the United States to assist African countries to maintain high safety standards has come to an end with obvoius implications. WOLE SHADARE reports

 

 

The Safe Skies for Africa programme established by former President Clinton on April 1, 1998, which aimed to improve safety and security in aviation on the continent has finally come to an end.

Speaking nostalgically about the impact of the programme to high safety record in Africa, Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Akin Olateru, an aircraft engineer, paid tribute to the Managing Director of National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Dennis Jones, whom he described as a gift to global aviation industry and for ensuring a good job in Africa in the area of safety.

Nobody knows why the American government decided to stop sponsorship or funding of the programme.

The programme was stopped abruptly but if all plans go well, Olateru may get Africa Development Bank (AfDB) to step in to collaborate with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to resuscitate the initiative.

AIB seeks AfDB’s help

Olateru had a meeting recently with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) President in Montreal, Canada, on how to prevail on AfDB to sponsor the programme to help not only Nigeria but other African nations.

According to him, there will be another meeting in the next ICAO Assembly on the clear cut modality to get this done, adding that talks are still ongoing on how to make this work.

“Today comes the end of our programme where we brought in African nations to join us in aviation safety programme sponsored by AIB in conjunction with Safe Skies Africa, which is under the Department of Transportation and the NTSB.

“Unfortunately, the programme has come to an end. The US government will no longer sponsor the safe skies programme. It is very unfortunate. Africa has really benefited from this programme and I think we Africans should put heads together on how we can help ourselves.

“We hope African Development Bank (AfDB) under corporate social responsibility can take up this programme to help Africans. When an aeroplane goes down, it does not distinguish nations.

“This is why we owe it to ourselves, the whole world to work together as a team and strengthen aviation and make it a safer place to be,” added Olateru.

The African Development Bank has invested close to $1 billion over the past decade in the construction and expansion of airport terminals, as well as aviation safety and aircraft financing.

Additional bank interventions in the aviation industry include grants for capacity building and coordination systems in 25 countries and 69 airports that will help increase the number of International Civil Aviation Organization safety and security compliant airports from 3 to 20 by 2019.

Gesture to eight nations

At inception, eight states selected in 1998 for the pilot project included Angola, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Coite d’Ivore (Ivory Coast), Kenya, Mali, Tanzania and Zimbabwe as beneficiaries of the American gesture that was geared towards making them reach up to ICAO safety standards, improve aviation security at a number of African airports,  improve regional air navigation services. Three states, Djibouti, Namibia and Uganda, were added in June 2003.

“People  cannot meet up with collateral requirement to guarantee their payment.and offered numerous trainings for the continent on air safety and accident investigations through the assistance of the United States NTSB.

The initiative focused on conducting safety assessments and security surveys in select countries and formulates action plans together with Africa civil aviation authorities to bring aviation safety and security practices in Africa up to accepted world standards.

Impact to air safety

In the first year, the Department of Transportation held four regional conferences with African civil aviation representatives to discuss with them their airports’ needs and how best the U.S. could assist.

These conferences were built on those held last October in Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe and then followed by security surveys and safety assessments.

Aside that, the programme opened doors for workshops, helped the improvement of accident investigation programs, and training investigators.

This equally saw to increased commercial air service between the United States and Africa (for example, there are now US commercial flights to Africa, which wasn’t the case earlier before 1998, improved investigation quality, and a reduced rate of accidents involving commercial aircraft.

Shared lessons

In the symposium organised by the NTSB in conjunction with Nigeria’s AIB in Lagos last week, the NTSB team shared a variety of lessons learned from different disciplines.

One of the speakers, a human factors investigator, outlined investigation process and explained how examine all factors—machine, human, and environment—are examined to understand an accident and make recommendations to prevent it from happening again.

The speaker highlighted several accidents investigated in which human factors played a role. But even when a probable cause statement focuses on factors not normally associated with human performance, it’s impossible to totally remove humans from the accident chain.

He noted that to prevent accidents and improve the safety of air travel in Africa, it’s important that operating aircraft are air worthy, meaning that all structure, systems, and engines are intact and maintained in accordance with the regulations.

To emphasise this point, NTSB chief presented a series of case studies discussing air worthiness issues and offered guidance on ways to classify damage to aircraft.

Aviation is a global business. The mission of NTSB and that of AIB is to make transportation safer the world over by conducting independent accident investigations and advocating for safety improvements.

With outreach activities like the one they just completed in Africa, they hope to make aviation safer, not only in Africa, but throughout the world. After all, transportation safety is a global challenge. When safety wins, they all win.

Safe skies key to Africa’s growth

Despite the current financial turmoil, the World Bank estimated sub-Saharan Africa’s growth at 3.7 per cent for 2015, with a slight uptick to 4.4 per cent and 4.8 per cent in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Six African countries featured in the bank’s list of the 13 economies projected to grow the fastest between 2014 and 2017.

“There’s no doubt that the African growth story remains resilient in the face both of global and continental challenges. However, in order to capitalise on our growth potential, we have to ensure that we have integrated transport solutions in place to promote regional, continental and inter-continental trade,” says Jeoff Motshoba, Executive, Air Traffic Management/ Communications, Navigation and Surveillance at Air Traffic & Navigation Services (ATNS).

“Aviation, in particular, has a critical role to play in providing the kind of infrastructure that a competitive modern economy needs,” he added.

Forecast

The African commercial air travel market represents massive amounts of untouched opportunities for new airlines.

According to the data from International Air Transport Association (IATA), Africa is home to 16 per cent of the world’s population but it accounts for only 2.20 per cent of the global air service market.

With a clear need for air travel and a demand for more quality airlines, the African continent is emerging from under the radar and making gains to increase its total market share.

Reworking Africa’s image

The reputation of African airlines and the complicated cross border political matters have been a hot topic of discussions for many years; however, with a new generation new opportunities are presenting themselves to completely rework the image of Africa in the international air travel industry.

Last line

Safe air travel and secure airports are necessary for increasing trade, attracting investment, expanding tourism, and developing a more modern society as nearly half of all world commerce is conducted by air.

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