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A Video Journey of First Airbus A380 Deliveries July 6, 2013

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Airlines, Aviation.
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On 3rd July, 2013, British Airways became the world’s 10th airline to become an Airbus A380 operator.

Here’s a look back into time when these 10 airlines took delivery of their first Airbus A380s. As you can see from these compendium of videos provided by Airbus, A380 delivery ceremonies are lavish and elaborate affairs, with beaming airline executives taking delivery of their mighty superjumbos in the company of Airbus executives. These events are lapped up by global media and aviation enthusiasts and often culminate in a take-off of the A380s from the Delivery Centre to their home bases, where they are accorded a royal welcome.

Singapore Airlines on 15th October, 2007 became the first airline in the world to take delivery of the A380.

Emirates followed suit on 28th July, 2008 and is today the world’s largest operator of the A380, with 35 in fleet and 55 on order. Make sure you watch this video capturing one of the grandest A380 delivery ceremonies ever!

Qantas on 19th September, 2008

Air France was the first European airline to join the elite A380 club on 30th October, 2009

Lufthansa on 19th May, 2010

Korean Air on 24th May, 2011

China Southern Airlines on 14th October, 2011

Malaysia Airlines on 29th May, 2012

Thai Airways on 27th September, 2012

And most recently,

British Airways on 3rd July, 2013


Emirates Aviation Experience takes-off in London July 5, 2013

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Airlines, Aviation.
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Are you fascinated by the magic of flying? London now has a new tourist attraction that will appeal to all aviation lovers – The Emirates Aviation Experience.

Tim Clark and Boris Johnson Emirates Aviation Experience Image 1

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline, at the opening of the Emirates Aviation Experience

The Emirates Aviation Experience, which costs in excess of £4 million, will take you on an interactive journey into the world of flight. In a UK first, it includes 4 commercial flight simulators under one roof including 2 A380 SIMs and 2 Boeing 777 SIMs. #avgeeks will also get to check out a 3D hologram of the internal mechanisms of an aircraft, a state-of-the-art HD video-wall and a full-size nose-cone and flight deck of an Airbus A380.

Enjoy this walk-around of the Emirates Aviation Experience:

The Emirates Aviation Experience will be open to the public daily from 6th July, from 08:00hrs to 19:00hrs. It is located at the Greenwich Peninsular end of the Emirates Air Line cable car. The closest underground station is North Greenwich.

Flight simulators can be a lot of fun, as you can see in this video below of 3 Arsenal players attempting to land an Airbus A380 at Dubai International Airport in an Emirates A380 Simulator.

Emirates Aviation Experience

Emirates Aviation Experience

In addition to the ‘Flight Simulators’ zone, visitors will be able to look at a cross-section of a Rolls Royce Trent 800 jet engine partially built in LEGO, a virtual wind tunnel application looking at how this influences flight, a touchscreen game explaining the turnaround process of an aircraft, and a replica A380 Economy Class seating area – with a range of aviation themed videos utilising Emirates’ ice system. In addition, the Emirates Aviation Experience will also include a food and beverage outlet  and retail zone.

The Emirates simulator experience will start from £45 for a 30 minute slot, when booked in advance online. Entrance to the Emirates Aviation Experience will be £3.00 for adults and £1.50 for children under the age of 12. You can book online at http://www.aviation-experience.com.

The top 10 aviation photos of 2010, starring snow December 21, 2010

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Airlines, Aviation.
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There’s something magical about snow and winter that gives a unique character to airplanes and aviation. The white bleary landscapes make us have a closer look at these elegant flying machines and remind us of their resilience when it comes to dealing with the rough elements of nature. We also think of the invisible people who work round the clock to keep them flying. So without much ado, here’s my favorite pick of aviation snaps of airplanes from around the world posing in front of snow, all clicked in December 2010.

1.    easyJet A319 flying in front of a snow-laden cliff in Innsbruck, Austria.

Pic Credit: Emanuel Linert

2.    A Southern Air Boing 747-400 Freighter takes off from Amsterdam, Schiphol, Netherlands leaving a plume of snow behind.

Pic Credit: Maarten-sr

3.    An Air Mauritius Airbus A340-300 lands at Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport.

Pic Credit: Pascal Maillot

4.    A Lufthansa Airbus A321-231 gets deiced at Munich Franz Josef Strauss International Airport.

Pic credit: Manuel Recht

5.    A Singapore Airlines Airbus A380-841 at Zurich Kloten Airport proves to the world that it is the world’s largest snowblower.

Pic Credit: Sandro Mederle

6.    A majestic China Airlines Cargo Boeing 747-409F wishes Merry Christmas to everyone at Prague Ruzyne Airport.

Pic Credit: Peter Volek

7.    An Egypt Air Cargo Airbus A300B4 is reverse snow plowing at Bruges Ostend Airport in Belgium.

Pic Credit: Luc Van Belleghem

8.    An Emirates 777-300 skims through some shallow fog before coming into land in Glasgow where it is -8C in the noon.

Pic Credit: Fred Seggie

9.    A LinxAir Embraer Legacy series corporate jet looks a bit flummoxed in the snow at Samedan, Switzerland.

Pic Credit: Danijel Jovanovic

10.    Snow covered cockpit of the famous Jumbo Hostel made out of a Boeing 747-212B at Stockholm, Sweden.

Pic Credit: Stefan Sjogren

The top 10 aviation snow photos of 2010

There’s something magical about snow and winter that gives a unique character to airplanes and aviation. The white bleary landscapes make us have a closer look at these elegant flying machines and remind us of their resilience when it comes to dealing with the rough elements of nature. We also think of the invisible people who work round the clock to keep them flying. So without much ado, here’s my favorite pick of aviation snaps of airplanes from around the world posing in front of snow, all clicked in December 2010.

1. easyJet A319 flying front of a snow-laden cliff in Innsbruck, Austria.

2. A Southern Air Boing 747-400 Freighter takes off from Amsterdam, Schiphol, Netherlands leaving a plume of snow behind.

3. An Air Mauritius Airbus A340-300 lands at Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport.

4. A Lufthansa Airbus A321-231 gets deiced at Munich Franz Josef Strauss International Airport.
http://www.airliners.net/photo/Lufthansa/Airbus-A321 231/1834403/&sid=d8f7ac4ac83d2042284b40b756a5d226

5. A Singapore Airlines Airbus A380-841 at Zurich Kloten Airport proves to the world that it is the world’s largest snowblower.

6. A majestic China Airlines Cargo Boeing 747-409F wishes Merry Christmas to everyone at Prague Ruzyne Airport.http://www.airliners.net/photo/China-Airlines-Cargo/Boeing-747-409F SCD/1835056/&sid=13033267262dee4cedabb4bb96dc2c14 


7. An Egypt Air Cargo Airbus A300B4 is reverse snow plowing at Bruges Ostend Airport in Belgium. http://www.airliners.net/photo/EgyptAir-Cargo/Airbus-A300B4-622R%28F%29/1834471/&sid=d8f7ac4ac83d2042284b40b756a5d226

8. An Emirates 777-300 skims through some shallow fog before coming into land in Glasgow where it is -8C in the noon.

9. A LinxAir Embraer Legacy series corporate jet looks a bit flummoxed in the snow at Samedan, Switzerland.

10. Snow covered cockpit of the famous Jumbo Hostel made out of a Boeing 747-212B at Stockholm, Sweden.

Snow has disrupted air travel across Europe since the last couple of days with thousands of flight cancelations throwing holiday plans of thousands of travelers into disarray.

Particularly hard hit was London Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport. One third of flights were canceled in Paris and Frankfurt. The UK, France and Germany were among the worst-hit areas, with forecasters warning of freezing weather all week. More snow is expected in UK in the days to come as the airlines and airports struggle to cope with the adverse weather, flight cancellations, delays and backlog of passengers stranded at airports.

As of 20 Dec,

UK: British Airways cancels all short-haul departures. Heathrow, Gatwick, Cardiff, Edinburgh and other airports suffering disruption or knock-on effects

France: Authorities ask airlines to cut 30% of flights from Paris’s two main airports Charles de Gaulle and Orly to ease congestion.

Germany: Some 300 of 1,340 flights cancelled at Frankfurt because of problems elsewhere in Europe, airport operator Fraport says.

Netherlands: The schedule at Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam is suffering cancellations and delays.

Transport officials are struggling to cope with the current weather, compounded by the backlog caused by severe weather over the weekend.


The airliners of the future from Airbus, Boeing & Comac November 20, 2010

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Airlines, Aviation, Marketing.
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In a previous post comparing Airbus airliners versus Boeing airplanes, I said we would talk more about airplanes that have been recently launched or currently under development. All of us have heard about the Airbus A380, the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, airliners that are currently generating a lot of media buzz.
Here’s a quick primer into these airliners of the future that you will spot in airports around the world in the years to come.

Airbus A380

The world’s largest passenger airliner, the wide-body, four-engined Airbus A380 is also the world’s first truly double-decker airplane. TheA380 made its first commercial flight on 25 October 2007 from Singapore to Sydney with Singapore Airlines.

The A380 seats 525 people in a typical three-class configuration or up to 853 people in all-economy class configurations. The A380-800 can fly up to 15,200km, sufficient to fly from New York to Hong Kong at a cruising speed of Mach 0.85 (about 900 km/h or 560 mph at cruising altitude).

The Airbus A380 was developed as an alternative to rival the Boeing 747, the historic leader in the ultra-large commercial aircraft sector dominated by Boeing.

There are currently 39 A380-800s flying in the world; operated by 5 major airlines – Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Qantas, Lufthansa and Air France. Emirates is currently the largest operator of the A380 with 14 in service out of its total of 90 on order, the largest amount of any carrier. There are a total of 234 orders for the A380-800. Airbus is expected to start producing an enhanced version A380-900 and a freighter version in the future.

The A380 is one of the most talked-about airplanes in the history of aviation. As the largest passenger carrier, the A380 is expected to be the mainstay of the fleet of hub and spoke airlines such as Emirates who are in the race to be the leading global carrier. The A380 is known for bringing new standards of comfort and luxury to travelers on airlines such as Emirates who offer onboard spas and private suites. The A380 has also brought new operating efficiencies. Airbus promotes the A380 as using 2.9 litres of fuel per passenger per 100 kilometres, against the current airline fleet average of 5 litres, but these figures are argued by rival manufacturers.

By July 2010, the 31 A380s then in service had flown 156,000 hours with passengers in 17,000 flights, transporting 6 million passengers between 20 international destinations. The list price of an Airbus A380 is $346.3 million.

A380s belonging to Singapore Airlines (11), Qantas (6) and Lufthansa (4) are fitted with Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines while those belonging to Emirates (14) and Air France (4) are fitted with Engine Alliance (a joint venture between GE and Pratt & Whitney) GP7000 engines.

The Qantas Saga

On 4 November 2010, Qantas Flight 32 operated by an A380-800 suffered an uncontained engine failure en route from Singapore Changi Airport to Sydney Airport and was forced to return to Singapore for an emergency landing. The engine blowout and fire was blamed on an oil leak resulting from a faulty engine component, leading to wing damage and scattering of engine debris on an Indonesian island. The entire fleet of Qantas A380s was grounded after the incident and the airline has said that over 40 Rolls-Royce engines in the fleet need to be replaced. Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa (with newer versions of Rolls-Royce engines) grounded their fleets for checks and replaced a couple of engines before taking back to the skies.

Airbus is planning to claim financial compensation from Rolls-Royce after revealing that A380 deliveries may suffer next year.

This incident is the first major hiccup in the Airbus A380 success story leading to major publicity woes for Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Qantas.  However, the A380 is expected to continue its reign as the superjumbo of the skies for a long time to come.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner, a long range, mid-sized, wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner is Boeing’s most fuel-efficient airliner and the world’s first major airliner to use composite materials for most of its construction.

The 787 is Boeing’s answer to the A330 family of aircraft produced by Airbus and is designed to replace Boeing’s 767 family of aircraft.

By September 2010, 847 Boeing 787s had been ordered by 56 customers.  The 787, which has been plagued by problems since the program launched in 2004, is currently more than three years behind schedule. Boeing’s plans to deliver the first 787 to Japan’s All Nippon Airways by the end of 2010 has been thrown out of gear following an electrical fire on a test flight on 9 November 2010. A Bloomberg report recently said that “Boeing may not be able to deliver the first plane until 2012.”

The Dreamliner has been touted by Boeing as the most fuel-efficient and eco-friendly aircraft to date. It is also packed with features that aim to give the passenger a more comfortable flight.

In a major shift away from traditional aluminum and titanium, nearly all of the aircraft’s fuselage and wings are made of composites. That allows the wide-body jet to use 20 percent less fuel than similar planes and make less noise. Other features include more room, cleaner cabin air, wider windows with automatic dimming and LED mood lighting. The 787s will come with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 or General Electric GEnx engines.

The 787, which has a list price of around $161 million for a basic model, is configured in two versions — a 787-8 carrying 210 passengers and a 787-9 carrying almost 300 people. They will carry passengers non-stop on routes between 6,500km and 16,000km at speeds up to Mach 0.85.

The Airbus A350

The Airbus A350 has not received the kind of buzz the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has enjoyed, but has emerged as a serious contender to the Dreamliner.

The A350 will be the first Airbus with both fuselage and wing structures made primarily of carbon fibre-reinforced polymer. The A350 is designed to compete with the Boeing 777 and the Boeing 787.

There are many similarities between the A350 and the B787. The A350 will be made from 53 per cent carbon fiber; the 787 is 50 per cent carbon fiber. However a key difference is that the A350 heavily borrows from the A380 family in terms of technology and will also seat more passengers than the B787. In terms of list prices, the A350 is more expensive than the B787. The A350 costs $225-$285 million; while the Boeing 787 comes at $150-$205 million.

Airbus claims that it will be more fuel-efficient, with up to 8% lower operating cost than the Boeing 787. It is scheduled to enter into airline service during the second half of 2013. The launch customer for the Airbus A350 is Qatar Airways, which ordered 80 of them.

The A350 will be launched in 3 variants (A350-800, -900 and -1000), with a seating capacity of 270, 314 and 350 passengers respectively. As of now, all A350 jets on order will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent engines.

As of October 2010, 35 customers have placed 573 firm orders for the A350 family of airliners.

The Boeing 747-8

The Boeing 747-8 is the fourth-generation Boeing 747 version, with lengthened fuselage, redesigned wings and improved efficiency. The 747-8 is the largest 747 version and will overtake the A340-600 as the longest passenger aircraft in the world.

The 747-8 first flew on February 8, 2010. Delivery of the first 747-8 freighter has been postponed multiple times and is now expected in mid-2011 with the passenger model delivery to follow.

As of June 2010, 109 Boeing 747-8s were on order, 76 of the freighter version, 32 of the passenger version, and one VIP version. The passenger version of the 747-8, called the Intercontinental has not enjoyed much success in terms of orders, with airlines preferring the larger A380.

Boeing claims that the 747-8 is more than 10 percent lighter per seat and will consume 11 percent less fuel per passenger than the A380, translating into a trip-cost reduction of 21 percent and a seat-mile cost reduction of over 6 percent.

The 747-8 Intercontinental costs between $293 and $308 million while the 747-8F costs between $301.5 and 304.5 million.

A key feature of the 747-8 will be the presence of raked wingtips that are found on the B777 and 787 models that will eliminate the winglets commonly found on the 747-400.

The Comac C919

The Comac C919, China’s first commercial passenger aircraft is vying to be a serious contender to Boeing 737 and Airbus A320, the current world market leaders in narrow body aircraft.

Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd (Comac) recently received 100 orders for the single-aisle C919 at the Zuhai Airshow. Slated for production in 2016, the C919 can seat up to 168 passengers. Many crucial systems in the jet are being developed in partnership with big names in Western aviation such as Honeywell.

China is the world’s fastest-growing aviation market. By one estimate, air passenger traffic in China is projected to expand by nearly 8% annually for the next 20 years. The country plans to build 70 airports by 2020.

To meet demand, China’s domestic airlines will need to buy an estimated 4,330 new aircraft valued at $480 billion over the next two decades. Currently Boeing and Airbus each control about half the Chinese market for big planes. China is hoping to use the C919 to capture a good share of the domestic market. Check out more buzz on the C919 on Flightblogger.

Hope this was useful & till next time, happy flying!

25 fast facts on the 25th anniversary of Emirates October 25, 2010

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Airlines, Aviation, Marketing, UAE.
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Emirates, the national airline of Dubai, United Arab Emirates celebrates its 25th anniversary today. With a capital of $10 million (AED 36.7 million) and 2 used Boeing 727-200 aircraft in 1985, Emirates has come a long way to be one of the world’s leading airlines.

Here are 25 fast facts on Emirates.

  1. Emirates operates over 2,400 passenger flights per week from Dubai International Airport Terminal 3, to 105 cities in 62 countries across 6 continents.
  2. Emirates is one of the only nine airlines in the world to operate an all wide-body aircraft fleet. They don’t do small, baby!
  3. Emirates has 151 aircraft in its fleet including 7 freighters and is among the youngest in the skies, with an average age of 69 months.
  4. Emirates is the world’s largest operator of Boeing 777s with 86 aircraft in fleet & 55 on order.
  5. Emirates is the world’s largest operator of Airbus A380s with 13 aircraft in fleet & a whopping 77 on order.
  6. Emirates generates 36.5% of its revenue from Europe & Americas & spends 35.1% of its revenue on fuel.
  7. Emirates operates three of the ten world’s longest non-stop commercial flights from Dubai to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston.
  8. Emirates is the largest airline in the Middle East in terms of revenue, fleet size, and passengers carried.
  9. In 2010, Emirates was the sixth-largest airline in the world in terms of international passengers carried and largest  in the world in terms of scheduled international passenger-kilometres flown.
  10. In 2010, Emirates was voted the eighth best airline in the world by Skytrax.
  11. On 8 June 2010, at the Berlin Air show, Emirates ordered 32 A380s worth $11.5 billion. The deal was the biggest single order for the world’s largest passenger aircraft.
  12. Emirates currently flies A380s to 11 cities around the world and resumes its A380 service to New York JFK on 31 October 2010.
  13. Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3 was built exclusively for the use of Emirates at a cost of $4.5 billion and officially opened 14 October 2008. Terminal 3 is the largest building in the world by floor space, with over 1,500,000 sq. m. (370 acres) of space.
  14. Emirates ranks as the largest airline in the world by international seating capacity, according to the latest annual report by IATA.
  15. Emirates plans to have over 320 aircraft by 2018.
  16. In 2009, Emirates was voted the second best First Class by Skytrax.
  17. Emirates became the first airline in the world to introduce a personal entertainment system on a commercial aircraft after introducing the world’s first seat-back screens in 1992.
  18. ICE (Information, Communication, Entertainment) is the in-flight entertainment system operated by Emirates, and features between 600 and 1000 channels, the largest offering in the world.
  19. Skywards, the frequent flyer programme of Emirates has 5.72 million members.
  20. Emirates has been involved in two of the largest football sponsorship deals ever seen. Its 2004 agreement with Arsenal, which included stadium naming rights, was worth around US $170 million. Its seven year deal with FIFA, signed in 2007, cost a reported US $195 million.
  21. Emirates has only had 3 incidents in its 25 years of history and has never had a casualty. Hope the exemplary record remains.
  22. Emirates employs 10,785 cabin crew from over 120 countries speaking over 80 languages. Their uniforms are designed by Simon Jersey plc.
  23. You can buy an Emirates A380 1:50 Scale Solid Aircraft Model from the official Emirates Online Store for $3300 here.
  24. According to a Wharton article, Maurice Flanagan, the current Executive Vice-Chairman of Emirates so hates the word “marketing” that he essentially banned the use of the term at Emirates. One time when he found that 11 of the firm’s 20,000 employees had the word “marketing” in their job title, he moved them to other positions.
  25. In the year of its 25th anniversary, Emirates announced revenues of US$11.8 billion and net profit up a massive 416% to $964 million.

How to know your Airbus from Boeing August 12, 2010

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Airlines, Aviation, Travel.
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Many of us admire airplanes for the graceful, elegant and sleek flying machines that they are.

How many of you have wondered about the type or kind of the aircraft that you are traveling in or flying over you in the sky? Is it a Boeing or an Airbus? Is it an A330 or a B777?

Here’s a simple aircraft identification guide for those with a budding interest in aviation. I’ll try to make this post as visual as possible since plane-spotting works best by observing as many different types of aircraft as possible and drawing your own inferences. Now sit back, relax and enjoy this journey!


SkyBuzz: Arabian Gulf Aviation Report, Issue 1 May 1, 2010

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Airlines, Aviation, Marketing, Travel.
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SkyBuzz: Arabian Gulf Aviation Report
Issue 1 – May 2010

Welcome to the first edition of SkyBuzz – The Arabian Gulf Aviation Report for the month of April 2010. The purpose of this report is to provide a short monthly summary of news, events and developments concerning aviation and airlines in the Arabian Gulf Region.

The Eyjafjallajkull Effect
IATA has said that it will take the global airline industry at least 3 years to recover from the volcanic ash cloud crisis, which started on 14 April 2010 following the eruption of the Eyjafjallajkull volcano in Iceland.

The aviation trade body further estimated that the current crisis, which crippled almost the entire airline industry, cost airlines more than $1.7 billion in lost revenue through Tuesday, 20 April 2010 – six days after the initial eruption.

For a three-day period (April 17-19), when disruptions were greatest, lost revenues for airlines worldwide reached $400 million per day, according to IATA.

“Lost revenues now total more than $1.7 billion for airlines alone. At the worst, the crisis impacted 29 per cent of global aviation and affected 1.2 million passengers a day. The scale of the crisis eclipsed 9/11 when US airspace was closed for three days,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director-General and CEO.

Effect on Arabian Gulf Carriers
All leading Gulf carriers were hit by the spread of the volcanic dust cloud over parts of Europe.

Emirates President Tim Clark said that the airline suffered an income depletion of about $60 million, including 2,000 tons of cargo disrupted, for the 6 days of ash clouds and an additional $5-6 million in accommodating stranded passengers so far due to volcanic ash-related grounding of planes. 270 flights were canceled, 30 Emirates aircraft were grounded, equivalent to one fifth of the fleet, and 120,000 passengers were stranded across the globe from volcanic ash-related groundings.

Meanwhile, the UAE government issued 96-hour visas to airline passengers stranded in Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports.

Etihad Airways recommenced its full scheduled operations on 22 April 2010. More than 22,000 Etihad passengers were affected by flight cancellations and delays as a result of the aircraft closures around the world. Ash groundings cost the airline $30 million. The government-owned airline put up 2,500 passengers stranded in the UAE capital in 16 hotels.

Qatar Airways canceled more than 135 flights to and from 11 destinations in Europe since 15 April 2010 for safety reasons, resulting in disruption to its network. All flights returned to normal operating schedule on 22 April 2010.

Gulf Air canceled over 32 flights from Bahrain to London Heathrow, Frankfurt and Paris. Besides, as a gesture of goodwill, for those passengers stranded in transit in Bahrain, Gulf Air also offered a free ticket at a credit value equal to their original full ticket for future use.

Emirates: A380 Ahoy, Amsterdam Calling, Kochi Turbulence
In April 2010, Emirates announced the launch of daily A380 flights (517 seats) to Manchester from 1 September 2010. Manchester will become the world’s first regional airport to have a regular A380 service. The airline currently operates 8 A380s to London Heathrow, Toronto, Paris, Jeddah, Bangkok, Seoul, Sydney and Auckland.

On 1 May 2010, Emirates will launch daily flights to Amsterdam, marking its 23rd route into Europe.

On 25 April 2010, Emirates flight EK530, a Boeing 777-200 aircraft carrying 350 passengers from Dubai to Kochi, encountered a weather cloud and a short period of heavy turbulence when cruising at 35,000 feet prior to its descent, injuring 20 passengers and 3 crew members. It dropped about 200 feet in altitude, but landed safely.

Oman Air – 3 new destinations in May
Following back-to-back launches of 5 destinations in 2009, Oman Air is seeking to up the ante by launching 8 new destinations in 2010.

On 1 May 2010, Oman Air will commence its weekly non-stop 4 times service to Kuala Lumpur, its second destination in the Far East after Bangkok. The service will be operated by a new Airbus A330-343 in a three-class configuration.

Oman Air will commence a daily service between Muscat and Ras Al Khaimah from 2 May 2010. Daily flights to Al Ain commence on 3 May 2010. Both routes will be operated by ATR aircraft.

This will be followed by the launch of flights to Lahore (4 times a week) on 10 May 2010 and Islamabad (3 times a week) on 16 May 2010, both destinations served by Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Dar-Es-Salaam (4 times a week) will go live on 1 June 2010 and Kathmandu (4 times a week) on 17 June 2010, and Milan will join the network in the winter schedule.

Oman Air has hiked its capital to $1.3 billion from $779.2 million. Oman Air carried 2.4 million passengers in 2009, up 19 percent from the previous year. Oman Air CEO Peter Hill told Reuters in March 2010 that Oman Air, which posted a loss of $109 million in 2008, planned to return to profit by 2014.

Etihad Airways – Flying high; takes off to Iraq
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), reported 25.4 per cent growth in revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) in the first quarter of 2010, far out-pacing the industry average and running ahead of the airline’s available seat kilometers (ASKs) growth of 22 per cent. The improvement, against the first quarter of 2009, was matched by an increase in seat factors, from 73 per cent to 75 per cent. Passenger numbers increased by 11 per cent and premium traffic increased by 5 per cent.

Etihad commenced non-stop flights from its home base in Abu Dhabi to Baghdad, becoming the first airline in the UAE to operate to the Iraqi capital. Etihad operates 5 flights per week to Baghdad, using two-class Airbus A320 aircraft, and will expand its operation with two additional A320 return services to a second Iraq destination – Erbil – from 1 June, subject to government and regulatory approvals.

Qatar Airways – 2 new route launches
Tokyo became Qatar Airways’ 89th destination on 26 April 2010 making it the only Gulf carrier with daily flights to the Japanese capital. Qatar Airways flies an Airbus A330 in a three-class configuration to Tokyo with 12 First, 18 Business and 208 Economy Class seats.

On 5 April 2010, Qatar Airways launched a weekly 4 times service to Ankara from Doha. Qatar Airways is the only Gulf carrier flying to Ankara, operating an Airbus A320 with 12 seats in Business and 132 in Economy Class.

News from Gulf Air
Bahrain’s national carrier Gulf Air has rolled out a dedicated B2B (Business to Business) internet booking tool – for its corporate customers and travel agents. Gulf Air resumed its flights to Najaf following the reopening of the airport on 27 April 2010.

High 5 for flydubai
flydubai, Dubai’s low cost airline has announced 5 new routes in April 2010 taking its network to 18 destinations.
· Flights to Kabul will commence on 17 May 2010 with a frequency of 5 times per week and are priced from AED725.
· Flights to Luxor in Egypt will be 3 times per week, commence on 19 May 2010 and are priced from AED350.
· Flights to Assiut, the largest town in Upper Egypt, will be 3 times per week, commence on 24 May 2010 and are priced from AED350.
· Flights to Istanbul, European Capital of Culture 2010, will be 5 times per week, commence on 17 June 2010 and are priced from AED450.
· Flights to Latakia, flydubai’s third Syrian destination, after Damascus and Aleppo, will be 4 times per week, commence on 20 June 2010 and are priced from AED350.

All fares are for one way journeys including all taxes and charges and one piece of hand luggage.

Kuwait AirBuzz
Kuwait-based Jazeera Airways will commence its thrice-weekly service to Lahore in Pakistan from 12 May 2010. Meanwhile Kuwait-based Wataniya Airways will launch flights to Rome from 31 May 2010, 3 times weekly. Rome is Wataniya’s 11th destination and will follow the carrier’s thrice weekly Istanbul service set to launch on 5 May 2010.

False start for Iraqi Airways
On 25 April 2010, Iraqi Airways relaunched its service to London from Baghdad after 20 years. Commercial air links were cut after the United Nations imposed sanctions on Iraq for invading Kuwait in 1990. The maiden flight received a nightmare welcome as the chartered aircraft used for the service was impounded and the passport of national airline boss Kifah Hassan accompanying the inaugural flight was seized. As the Iraqi Airways aircraft landed at London Gatwick, lawyers acting for Kuwait Airways, which says it is owed 1.2 billion dollars, served papers.

From DXB Intl.
Dubai International Airport posted an increase of 21.8 per cent in passenger numbers during March 2010, taking the total to a record 3,968,672 in the month compared to 3,259,072 during the same period last year.

World Travel Awards 2010 on the anvil
More than a thousand of the Middle East’s greatest travel companies are battling it out to be winners of the coveted event that takes place at The Address, Dubai Marina on 3 May 2010 just before The Arabian Travel Market.

Established in 1993, The World Travel Awards is regarded as the most comprehensive and prestigious awards programme in the global travel industry, with nominees selected by thousands of professionals from travel and tourism organizations world-wide.

Hailed by the Wall Street Journal as the “travel industry’s equivalent of the Oscars”, it serves to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the world’s travel and tourism industry.This year’s Arabian Travel Market exhibition will be held in Dubai from May 4-7 2010.

Air India’s Cairo Stand Up
And in some crazy news to wind up this report, on 15 April 2010, the harried passengers of an Air India flight bound from Mumbai  to Frankfurt were literally stood up by the crew during a stopover in Cairo, for 16 hours on end – all because the crewmembers wanted to see the great pyramids of Egypt. Read more here.

About Me:
I am a creative supervisor with Wunderman in Muscat, Oman. My interests are aviation, travel and airline marketing. My professional experience includes providing marketing communications expertise for leading airline and travel brands in the region.You can reach me via email at arunjoboy at yahoo dot com. I look forward to your comments and feedback.