AuthorTopic: 🛬 Death of Aviation: Last Flight of the 747  (Read 7889 times)

Offline RE

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🛬 An American Airlines VP reveals why the Airbus A380 doesn't work
« Reply #75 on: April 25, 2019, 02:16:43 AM »
https://www.thisisinsider.com/american-airlines-exec-reveals-why-company-doesnt-use-airbus-a380-2019-4

An American Airlines VP reveals why the Airbus A380 doesn't work for the world's biggest airline
Benjamin Zhang


Airbus A380 Airbus

    The Airbus A380, which can carry more than 800 passengers, is the largest airliner in the world. At $445.6 million, the double-decker is also the world's most expensive passenger jet.
    Airbus announced in February that the A380 would cease production in 2021 because of insufficient demand.
    According to American Airlines' vice president of planning, Vasu Raja, the A380 is too big for the airline's route network.
    With a fleet of more than 950 aircraft, American Airlines is the world's largest airline, but it doesn't use massive central hubs as some other airlines do.
    Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories

With a capacity for more than 800 passengers, the Airbus A380 is the largest airliner in the world. At $445.6 million, the double-decker is also the world's most expensive passenger jet.

The gargantuan jet, dubbed the superjumbo, was designed to take on Boeing's iconic 747 and push the limits of modern engineering.

Unfortunately for Airbus, the superjumbo never developed into the game changer the company had hoped for when the massive jet was conceived more than two decades ago. This is especially the case on the financial front.

Airbus struggled for years to find airlines willing to buy the jet before finally throwing in the towel earlier this year when it announced that the A380 would cease production in 2021.

As it turns out, the A380's greatest asset, its gargantuan size, may have made it simply too large for most airlines.

Read more: The 20 biggest airlines in the world, ranked

According to American Airlines' vice president of planning, Vasu Raja, the Airbus A380 was even too large for the world's biggest airline. American Airlines operates a fleet of 956 aircraft.

"The Boeing 777-300 is the biggest-size airplane that fits into our network," Raja told Business Insider.

American's Boeing 777-300ERs are configured with 304 seats. To put that in perspective, British Airways A380s fly with 165 more seats than that, while some Emirates A380s fly with 300 more seats.
American Airlines Boeing 777 300ERAn American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER. American Airlines
Planes like the A380 are designed to feed large numbers of passengers into a central hub where they are connected to destinations around the world. Most of the plane's operators possess this trait. For example, Emirates has Dubai, Singapore Airlines has Changi, Qatar has Doha, and Korean Air has Incheon.

"Take British Airways for example: For them, they funnel the world into London Heathrow and send them forth," Raja said. "They are probably the only airline where the A380 legitimately makes economic sense. They are also the largest operator of the Boeing 747 for the same reason."

According to Raja, who is in charge of developing American's global network strategy, the airline's multihub strategy makes the A380 a tough sell.

Read more: The end is near for the Airbus A380 superjumbo jet. Here's how it went from airline status symbol to reject in just 10 years.

"The reality is that we don't just funnel all of our traffic into one hub," he said. "We operate out of nine different hubs in the US, and because of that there's no single hub where you can pool 500 people's worth of demand every single day and go make that work."

Raja added: "If you could do it, you'd do it on a few routes but not enough to go buy the 20 or 30 or 40 airplanes you would need in order to justify having the infrastructure of an airplane like that."
British Airways Airbus A380A British Airways Airbus A380. British Airways

And that drills down to the core of the issue.

When airlines buy planes, the investment reaches far beyond the aircraft itself.

"The first issue would be whenever we buy airplanes, especially a new airplane type, is the amount of infrastructure it takes to go and support it," Raja said. "You need to have a dedicated pool of pilots, a pilot-training regime, fixed maintenance, a maintenance program around it, a certain amount of spare parts."

"All of that is a huge degree of fixed cost, so want to have that scale over a number of units," Raja added.

Read more: An American Airlines executive reveals why its exposure to the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max has been limited.

At the end of the day, the A380's cost, infrastructure needs, and pressure to generate passenger demand make the plane too much of a risk for American.

"It's hard to see a place where you're worth it taking that kind of expense with that kind of demand, and even if the yields are all right, you can take a good market and make it negative pretty fast," Raja said.
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Offline RE

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Those computers better not quit when I fly down to the Lower 48 for my annual carbon burning frenzy!

RE

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/alaska-airlines-american-airlines-jetblue-computer-outages/

Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, JetBlue impacted by computer outages


By CARRIE MIHALCIK

Updated on: April 30, 2019 / 12:27 AM / CNET

A "technical issue" with a booking and reservation system used by several US airlines again caused delays and headaches at airports across the country Monday.

"Earlier today, Sabre had a brief technical issue that impacted multiple carriers, including American. This technical issue has been resolved," said American Airlines in an emailed statement. "We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience."

The outage hit the Sabre flight reservation and booking system used by several major airlines, including American Airlines, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines. Sabre said the systems are "back online and customers are reporting normal or close-to-normal operations," but didn't say what caused the problem.

"We understand how frustrating system outages are and we sincerely apologize for the disruption. No downtime is acceptable," the company said earlier in an emailed statement.

he same Sabre system experienced an outage in March.

"Due to a Sabre issue impacting multiple airlines, JetBlue customers may experience issues with booking or check-in on jetblue.com, airport kiosks, or our mobile app," JetBlue said in an emailed statement.

Travelers and would-be customers took to social media to vent about problems trying to book travel or check in for flights. Passengers reported outages at several major hubs, including San Francisco International, Los Angeles International and O'Hare International in Chicago.

"Spokesperson for ⁦@AlaskaAir just announced an all systems outage. Planes are ready, computers are down," tweeted Twitter user Alex Williams.

"@AmericanAir computers are down nationwide. Nobody can check in or board and all flights r grounded. Long lines at Chicago O'Hare #ORD #AA," tweeted user Chris.

"All JetBlue computers down at LAX —no Boarding passes can be written no luggage can be checked. LAX is bedlam nothing is moving. @JetBlue #jetblue," tweeted user Astrology Zone.

Alaska Airlines didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
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🛬 Qantas Ultra Long Haul Flights – The A350 vs 787 vs 777X
« Reply #77 on: May 02, 2019, 12:14:08 AM »
https://simpleflying.com/qantas-ultra-long-haul-flights-the-a350-vs-787-vs-777x/

Qantas Ultra Long Haul Flights – The A350 vs 787 vs 777X

 

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🛬 Bizness Travel on Air France
« Reply #78 on: May 04, 2019, 01:51:24 AM »
It's BIZNESS!  Tax Deductable!

This is how average Rich Fucks who can't afford their own Private Jet fly.

RE

https://www.businessinsider.com/air-france-airbus-a380-800-business-class-review-2019-5

I flew in business class on Air France's Airbus A380, the world's biggest passenger jet, and the experience is what I imagine the golden age of air travel was like

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I flew in business class on Air France's Airbus A380, the world's biggest passenger jet, and the experience is what I imagine the golden age of air travel was like

 
 
I think it's so cool seeing how mammoth the plane is when you board on two jetbridges. Boarding an Air France Airbus A380. Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

Review banner

  • Flying in business class on Air France's Airbus A380 round-trip between New York and Paris was a treat.
  • The airline has only five superjumbo jets in operation, and Airbus recently announced it would cease making any new ones.
  • Travel junkies have lauded the A380 for how quiet it is. I couldn't believe how soundproof the mammoth double-decker plane was.
  • Here's what the journey was like, from check-in to the lounge to the flights themselves.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

I'm rarely excited to get on a plane. These days, flying feels more like a chore. Airlines are packing more and more seats in planes to boost profits, and passengers are crammed in as tight as can be. If you didn't know your neighbor before you got on the plane, you sure do by the time you get off.

But for a recent trip to Europe, I flew in business class on Air France's Airbus A380-800, the legendary superjumbo jet. I'd never been on a double-decker plane, and I was so excited!

Read more: The $446 million Airbus A380 superjumbo is the largest and most expensive airliner in the world. Take a look inside.

From check-in to the airport lounge to the seamless boarding process to the plane ride itself, Air France's attentive service, delicious food, and thoughtful amenities made flying a luxury.

But the A380 is a dying breed. Airbus announced in February that it would discontinue production of the model, and Air France said last fall that it would get rid of five of its 10 superjumbos and retrofit the other five. As Business Insider's correspondent Benjamin Zhang has written, the plane is simply "too big, expensive, and inefficient for most operators."

I usually fly Delta, and we booked round-trip tickets between New York and Geneva through it, so I ended up getting almost 14,000 SkyMiles for my flights. Air France and Delta are partners in a transatlantic joint venture that allows them to jointly market their flights and share costs. The highlight of the journey was flying on the superjumbo from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport to Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Here's what it was like to fly in business class round-trip on Air France's A380-800.

 

After I whisked through priority check-in and TSA PreCheck, then waded through the hustle and bustle of JFK's Terminal 1, the Air France lounge beckoned with the promise of exclusivity.

After I whisked through priority check-in and TSA PreCheck, then waded through the hustle and bustle of JFK's Terminal 1, the Air France lounge beckoned with the promise of exclusivity. Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

The Air France employee at check-in asked if I wanted my dinner in the lounge or on the plane. The airline now offers this "night service" option for its two latest overnight flights, AF009 and AF011, so you can go right to sleep once you board.

The Air France employee at check-in asked if I wanted my dinner in the lounge or on the plane. The airline now offers this Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

Source: Air France

 

I arrived as the sun was setting over the New York skyline, and the atmosphere felt truly magical. I was surprised by how few people were in the lounge when I arrived, but it filled up as we got closer to takeoff.

I arrived as the sun was setting over the New York skyline, and the atmosphere felt truly magical. I was surprised by how few people were in the lounge when I arrived, but it filled up as we got closer to takeoff. Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

It seemed like upstairs was reserved for those in business or first class who were having dinner, while downstairs was open for other passengers with status, but I couldn't be sure. There was better food upstairs too.

It seemed like upstairs was reserved for those in business or first class who were having dinner, while downstairs was open for other passengers with status, but I couldn't be sure. There was better food upstairs too. Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider
 

A recurring theme of flying Air France was that everything started with Champagne.

A recurring theme of flying Air France was that everything started with Champagne. Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

There was also a full bar available, with liquor, wine, water, soft drinks, and coffee from the Nespresso machine.

There was also a full bar available, with liquor, wine, water, soft drinks, and coffee from the Nespresso machine. Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider
 

The bread selection was divine. New York water plus French proclivity for making bread for the win.

The bread selection was divine. New York water plus French proclivity for making bread for the win. Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider
 

The salad bar was probably the best I've ever seen in an airport lounge, full of fresh ingredients.

The salad bar was probably the best I've ever seen in an airport lounge, full of fresh ingredients. Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

The cheese and dessert bars were equally as impressive. The toffee tart was my favorite thing I ate in the lounge.

The cheese and dessert bars were equally as impressive. The toffee tart was my favorite thing I ate in the lounge. Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider
 

Time for the main course! We opted to have our dinner in the lounge since we were there so early and wanted to eat at a real table. The options were beef brisket, vegetables in tomato sauce, pollock, or chicken.

Time for the main course! We opted to have our dinner in the lounge since we were there so early and wanted to eat at a real table. The options were beef brisket, vegetables in tomato sauce, pollock, or chicken. Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

I chose the pollock and immediately regretted it. It had an overwhelmingly fishy taste, and I abandoned it after two bites. At least the pesto was vibrant and the potatoes were tender. I was also surprised it was simply an airplane meal on a nice plate. I was expecting something more restaurant-quality.

I chose the pollock and immediately regretted it. It had an overwhelmingly fishy taste, and I abandoned it after two bites. At least the pesto was vibrant and the potatoes were tender. I was also surprised it was simply an airplane meal on a nice plate. I was expecting something more restaurant-quality. Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider
 

Luckily, there was enough to fill up on with the salad, cheese, and dessert bars. I also figured I could eat a proper main course on the plane.

Luckily, there was enough to fill up on with the salad, cheese, and dessert bars. I also figured I could eat a proper main course on the plane. As you can see, I ate nearly all the toffee tart before remembering to take this photo. Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

When boarding, passengers on the upper deck went into one gateway, and those on the lower deck went into another. Being in business class, we waltzed right in with no line.

When boarding, passengers on the upper deck went into one gateway, and those on the lower deck went into another. Being in business class, we waltzed right in with no line. Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider
 

Here's what an Air France Airbus A380 looks like in daylight.

Here's what an Air France Airbus A380 looks like in daylight. DANIEL SLIM/AFP/Getty Images

Time for the flight! Here were our seats; I was by the window. Air France A380s boasts 80 business-class seats, all on the upper deck. In total, the plane has 516 seats, including nine first-class suites.

Time for the flight! Here were our seats; I was by the window. Air France A380s boasts 80 business-class seats, all on the upper deck. In total, the plane has 516 seats, including nine first-class suites. Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

Source: SeatGuru

 

The business-class cabin had six seats per row, in a 2-2-2 configuration, so everyone had ample space. I would suggest choosing one of the two window bays if you're traveling with someone, and choosing the middle bay if you're alone. The middle bay has two aisle seats, so you don't have to climb over someone you don't know (or have them climb over you).

The business-class cabin had six seats per row, in a 2-2-2 configuration, so everyone had ample space. I would suggest choosing one of the two window bays if you're traveling with someone, and choosing the middle bay if you're alone. The middle bay has two aisle seats, so you don't have to climb over someone you don't know (or have them climb over you). Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

Source: SeatGuru

One of my favorite features was that a labeled hanger was left at every seat. It avoided the awkward moments when you're holding your coat wondering whether a flight attendant will take it.

One of my favorite features was that a labeled hanger was left at every seat. It avoided the awkward moments when you're holding your coat wondering whether a flight attendant will take it. Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider
 

I could not believe that the bin by the window fit my entire giant travel purse, which I originally got for an old 24-inch laptop.

I could not believe that the bin by the window fit my entire giant travel purse, which I originally got for an old 24-inch laptop. There were two bins under the window: one for the window seat, and one for the aisle seat. However, it would be awkward to use if you were in the aisle seat and didn't know your seatmate. Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

In total, each seat had five bins: two between the seats, one under the footrest, one next to/behind the seat, and one by the windows.

In total, each seat had five bins: two between the seats, one under the footrest, one next to/behind the seat, and one by the windows. Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider
 

I was kind of bummed by how small the tray was and that it was the kind that came out of the armrest. But the flight attendants put a tablecloth over each one for meal service, which classed it up.

I was kind of bummed by how small the tray was and that it was the kind that came out of the armrest. But the flight attendants put a tablecloth over each one for meal service, which classed it up. Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

While I remembered the seats being advertised as "lie flat," I found that it was only partially true. We decided that the seats do reach 180 degrees, but they're canted at an angle. Air France's website calls them "angle flat" seats.

While I remembered the seats being advertised as Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

Source: Air France

 

You can lie almost flat. During the night, I found myself slipping down toward the footrest a few times. That and the turbulence interrupted my sleep a few times.

You can lie almost flat. During the night, I found myself slipping down toward the footrest a few times. That and the turbulence interrupted my sleep a few times. Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

But I loved the cocoon-style seats. Anything that makes it so the person reclining their seat in front of you doesn't impede your space is a win in my book.

But I loved the cocoon-style seats. Anything that makes it so the person reclining their seat in front of you doesn't impede your space is a win in my book. Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider
 

I always find airplane seat material scratchy. Since Air France doesn't offer sheets, I scored an extra blanket to line the bottom of the seat so I could lie on it for extra softness and cushion. I also got an extra pillow to make it feel more like a bed.

I always find airplane seat material scratchy. Since Air France doesn't offer sheets, I scored an extra blanket to line the bottom of the seat so I could lie on it for extra softness and cushion. I also got an extra pillow to make it feel more like a bed. This was the next morning, so the seat isn't reclined all the way. Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

The amenities were of good quality. Each business-class passenger got a set of socks and slippers for the flight.

The amenities were of good quality. Each business-class passenger got a set of socks and slippers for the flight. Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider
 

The amenity kits had a sleep mask (thank God since I forgot mine!), a pen, earplugs, a floss pick, a mini hairbrush, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and Clarins lotions.

The amenity kits had a sleep mask (thank God since I forgot mine!), a pen, earplugs, a floss pick, a mini hairbrush, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and Clarins lotions. The amenity kits available this year are celebrating Air France's 85th anniversary. Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider

The TV screen was a good size — here's a magazine for scale. While the entertainment options weren't nearly as varied as Delta's, there were still a handful of new releases in English that I wanted to watch.

The TV screen was a good size — here's a magazine for scale. While the entertainment options weren't nearly as varied as Delta's, there were still a handful of new releases in English that I wanted to watch. Rebecca Harrington/Business Insider
 

One cool feature was that you could add shows to your list of favorites before takeoff so your choices were all queued up by the time you were ready to watch them in the air.

jQuery(document).ready(function($){jQuery(function(){jQuery("#msg_173574").css("overflow-y", "hidden");});});
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🛬 ANA’s new-look A380 hints at sophisticated 777-9 design
« Reply #79 on: May 06, 2019, 12:17:59 AM »
Virgin Atlantic's "Upper Class" still looks like the best configuration.

If you look at what's happening here, airlines are downsizing their planes and reconfiguring them to fly more $RICH$ 🤑 people as the middle class tourista bizness dwindles.

RE

https://runwaygirlnetwork.com/2019/05/04/all-nippon-airways-new-look-a380-hints-at-sophisticated-777-9-design/

ANA’s new-look A380 hints at sophisticated 777-9 design

 

ANA’s new-look A380 hints at sophisticated 777-9 design

ANA’s Airbus A380 interior is designed for the leisure Hawaii market but the broader look shows ANA evolving to a more sophisticated brand. ANA is seeking innovation for its forthcoming Boeing 777-9s since its last major cabin design is a decade old and has been adopted by other airlines.

The A380 for ANA marks a bigger leap in the airline’s design evolution than upping the ante in the still-notable A380 product war. Yet comparisons to other A380s are unequal since ANA’s A380 will exclusively fly to Hawaii. That dictates a more practical cabin (including, in ANA’s case, a multi-functional room which can be used for breastfeeding moms).

First class gets a big upgrade on the A380, but ANA is conservative. “We could have designed a more gorgeous product,” ANA cabin products & LOPA manager Katsunori Maki tells Runway Girl Network. “This aircraft is not going to New York or Frankfurt. It’s flying 7-8 hours, Tokyo-Honolulu back and forth.”

Flight time and schedules mean passengers are looking to have a nap, “not deep sleep,” Maki says.

But other parts of the A380 underscore ANA’s design evolution: first class doors, more premium economy seats, and darker hues as airlines increasingly favor toned-down colors to connote premium (see Lufthansa’s new livery). To wit, ANA’s Boeing 787-10 entering service later this month has the same business class as the A380.

ANA has again selected Jamco to provide its first class seat, and, as mentioned, is debuting a door with the seat on the A380, albeit one not as high as the old Emirates first or even Qatar’s QSuite.

Aisle traffic is well visible.

Passengers can still see traffic over the new doors. Image: Will Horton

More practical is the wider seat and unobstructed windows – three in row one and two in row two. (Some faulted ANA’s 777 first product for being too narrow and difficult to look out of the windows.)

ANA A380 first class seat with wider seat and easy access to windows and door. Image: Will Horton

Ahead of first class in the A380’s dead space, ANA has a galley monument on top of which is a self-service bar featuring a dark blue background, wood slats on either side, and finishes of dark gray and an almost copper-looking metal.

At worst it is eye-pleasing, and at best it is stunning, the design passengers might expect of a Japanese airline, and a hint of the sophistication ANA is embracing.

First class bar. Image: Will Horton

It is tempting to visualize this design elsewhere so more passengers can enjoy it, such as at the entry door galleys. These are given a light wood finish with beige pull-down screens that make the space bright but also dull.

ANA A380 main deck entry galley is bright but simple. Image: Will Horton

ANA’s flat-bed business seat is normally staggered so center occupants have privacy. But on the A380, the center seats are together in alternate rows for couples traveling together.

The business class LOPA helps you to visualize the alternating rows of paired seats for couples. Image: ANA

There is also a very tall privacy divider for non-couple center seats. Yet ANA did not opt for doors in the A380 business class, with Maki saying, “We want to offer privacy but also offer openness, especially for center seats.”

Business class seat displaying its tall divider. Image: Will Horton

Blue in business class is a subdued approach. The hue is darker and used around the shell. The seat cover is gray and the side console has a wood laminate, metal rim and gray lower shell. This more thoughtful design replaces the previous blue-and-white.

 

Mood lighting is designed to match Hawaii-themed bulkheads like beaches and night stars. This can come across as kitsch, but in person is more abstract.

ANA notes the A380 design is “totally different” from the rest of its fleet. The bulkhead artwork and green lines on some economy seat covers are different, and Couchii is a family-oriented economy product that ANA does not expect to offer on other aircraft, where leisure and family travel is lower.

Even so, some key design features, and the overall tone could be adopted on other types. We do know that ANA’s future 777-9 will not have the center couple seats of the A380; ANA wants to maximize privacy.

Business class doors are in fact a discussion point. “It is a passenger request now,” Maki says. “Maybe we will have it on future aircraft.”

Meanwhile, ANA is looking to innovate its business class for the 777-9 since its last major business product, the introduction of direct aisle access, “is getting standard”, notes the ANA executive.

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🛬 Qantas To End Final Transpacific Boeing 747 Route
« Reply #80 on: May 09, 2019, 03:22:00 AM »
This story really hits home for me.  The San Francisco-Sydney route on Qantas is the one I took most of my 747 flights on, and the only ones I flew First Class when dad the Pigman was living down under.  The only other 747 I flew was NY-London on my Honeymoon with the ex-wife, that was coach class.  It's tempting to book one of these last flights for nostalgia purposes, but they don't have the upstairs lounge on them they used to have in the 70s.  So I'll take a pass on that one for the Bucket List.

An era is coming to a close here, it's happening in real time as we keyboard.  The end of the Age of Oil is upon us now.

RE

https://simpleflying.com/qantas-boeing-747-us/

Qantas To End Final Transpacific Boeing 747 Route

by Nicholas Cummins
    May 8, 2019


Qantas 747-400 at LAX. Photo: Qantas.

Qantas has set a date for its last transpacific Boeing 747 flight in December this year, as reported by Airlinegeeks.com

The route from Sydney to San Francisco, flown by a Boeing 747-400 for the better part of 50 years, will now see its service replaced by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

When is the last flight?

Qantas has locked in December 3rd as the last Boeing 747 flight. QF73 will fly from Sydney to San Francisco, and then onwards without passengers to the Californian desert for retirement.

This last trip follows the retirement of the craft from the Sydney – Los Angeles route back in 2018. Once a regular appearance at LAX, the Qantas 747 Longreach Jumbo last flew in from Brisbane ending a family of routes that also included Sydney and Melbourne.

Qantas has two 747-400s and six 747-400ERs still in service in their fleet. Each one carries 364 passengers.
What will replace the 747?

Qantas has placed a brand new 787-9 on the route. The Dreamliner, one of six new aircraft that is being delivered to fuel the international expansion of the airline, will afford far better fuel efficiency and, in some opinions, a better passenger experience.

This is the same aircraft that flies the direct Perth to London route.

The one major downside is a loss of capacity on the route. With 100 fewer seats now available, Qantas has taken a move that may mean increased prices for passengers as less demand can be filled. It remains to be seen if Qantas will increase the frequency of services to compensate. But for now, there are plenty of transpacific alternatives (Fiji Airways A350 anyone?).
Qantas 787 Dreamliner
The 787 Dreamliner has done very well for Qantas so far. Photo: Qantas

The new 787-9 new aircraft will also feature the new Qantas business class and premium economy.

The new Qantas business class is a big upgrade from what is currently available on the 747. With 42 true lie flat seats on board, each has a pitch of 46 / 80 inches (seating/bed mode) and is quite wide at 24 inches. Each seat also has direct aisle access and a privacy screen.

Also onboard are 28 of the new Qantas premium economy seats. These have a pitch of 38 inches, but the best part is better food and a larger entertainment screen. But there are only a few seats onboard and thus tend to sell out quite quickly.

With only 236 passengers onboard, the density of this aircraft is a far cry from the usual 290+ we see on other carriers (looking at you, KLM, with your 294 passengers).
Where is the remaining Qantas 747 still flying to the USA?

But fear not, there is one last Qantas 747 flying over the Pacific. The Sydney to Hawaii route saw an extension back in 2018 for the 2019 summer/winter season, as reported by Australian Business Traveller.

The route is normally flown by an Airbus A330, and it seems Qantas wanted to upgrade capacity to the island destination.

As we say goodbye to the 747 around the world, it reminds us of the golden days of aviation, of giant planes that were bigger than anything we had seen before, connecting cities across vast oceans and being a highlight for any first-time flyer.

This author personally flew on this route back in 1994 and remembers with delight his tour to the cockpit aboard the Qantas 747. You will be missed!

What do you think? Will you fly on the Qantas 747 one last time?
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Offline RE

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Let the scavenging begin!

After they get all the still valuable parts off the behemoth, how do they get the rest of it to the Airplane Junkyard?  ???   :icon_scratch:

RE

https://www.businessinsider.com/airbus-a380-superjumbo-being-scrapped-for-parts-after-orders-dry-up-2019-5

A380 superjumbos are already being scrapped for parts just months after Airbus announced their discontinuation


Marcin Walków and Ruqayyah Moynihan, Business Insider Polska

Airbus A380 Airbus announced it would be terminating production of the A380 jet by 2021. Airbus

    According to Reuters, models of the A380— also known as the superjumbo and considered Airbus' flagship passenger carrier — are now being dismantled for parts.
    This move comes just months after Airbus announced they would be discontinuing the aircraft after orders dried up.
    Forbes columnist Michael Goldstein explained that the aircraft is not only costly itself but it's also expensive to run.
    Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The A380, also known as the superjumbo and considered Airbus' flagship passenger carrier, has been in production since 2007.

One of the most expensive and lavish jets ever made, the aircraft — originally designed to replace Boeing's 747 — is able to seat up to 800 passengers.

According to Reuters, however, two models of the world's largest passenger carriers are now being broken down for their valuable components, just months after Airbus announced it would be terminating production of the jet by 2021.

According to Reuters, the scrapping of the two of the planes started in December 2018, just halfway through their expected lifetime.

The dismantling of the two double-deckers — which Singapore Airlines returned after using for 10 years — is already underway at the Tarbes Lourdes airport in southern France.

235 of the passenger carriers have been manufactured and there are currently still 233 of them in use.

Read more: The $446 million Airbus A380 is the largest and most expensive airliner in the world. Take a look inside.

Air France also announced last November that it would be returning five of its A380s when their leases expire in 2021, according to Traveller.com.

Images from social media outlets show engines being dismantled as well as one plane missing its nose cone, where the radar would usually sit. As well as this, doors to the passenger cabin and the hold have also been removed.
The end of the superjumbo

Unfortunately, the jet hasn't generated the interest Airbus had hoped it would — the company found that airlines willing to put the A380 into service are in short supply.

According to Forbes columnist Michael Goldstein, the aircraft is not only pricey in itself but it's also costly to run: "In addition to demanding airport modifications for its huge passenger load and million-pound bulk, economics demand that it be flown full to pay its enormous hourly costs," he said in 2018.

As well as being inefficient, for a lot of airlines the models are just too large for many routes to make a profit from.
Emirates Airbus A380For a lot of airlines, the A380 models are just too large for many routes to make a profit from. Airbus

According to News.com.au, airlines have the option either to buy planes outright or to lease them.

While buying an A380 leaves airlines with the option of selling them to another airline farther down the line, it can cost anywhere between $300 million to $500 million.

Leasing them, on the other hand, allows the plane to be taken back once one airline is finished with the plane, to be leased back out to another airline.

Some airlines, however, are replacing A380 orders with other models from the Airbus range, predominantly the A350 and A33neo. Therein lies the problem — there are few airlines interested in taking on a discounted A380.

Read more: Ryanair's CEO says we'll see 'pilot-less planes' in the next 40 to 50 years

Until a few months ago, the number of orders for the aircraft had surpassed 310. As of April 30, 2019, the total number of orders for the A380 was just 290, including those that had already been delivered to airlines.

This means that just over 50 of the aircraft have been ordered for production.

However, since hundreds of A380s have already been manufactured and the planes have a lifespan of over 20 years, they won't be entirely disappearing from the skies for a while.
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"Planes don’t come here to die, they come here so that other planes may live."

hahahahahahahahahahahaha! 🤣

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https://airlinegeeks.com/2019/06/01/single-runway-arizona-airpark-houses-some-of-the-worlds-most-iconic-jets/

‘The Aircraft Lives On:’ How 747s Are Finding New Life in the Arizona Desert


‘The Aircraft Lives On:’ How 747s Are Finding New Life in the Arizona Desert

a rare look inside one of the world's largest aircraft boneyards

A row of 747s at Pinal Airpark (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Connor O'Shea)
 

The stretch of Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson is filled with its fair share of oddities. Just about halfway between Arizona’s two largest cities lies a ranch where visitors can stop by to feed ostriches and stingrays — in the same visit — smack-dab in the middle of the desert. A bit further down the interstate, it isn’t uncommon to see a large group of practicing paratroopers.

But, as your eyes gaze to look for anything but highway, you may notice a substantial amount of airliners parked just outside of Tucson — once again, right in the middle of a scorching desert.

What you’re seeing isn’t Arizona’s newest international airport or a desert mirage, it’s Pinal Airpark. Located in Marana, Ariz., this small, single-runway airfield houses retired aircraft from around the world.

It’s known as an aircraft boneyard. Though this is believed to be “where airplanes go to die,” as one blog wrote in a headline, it’s actually where the parts that make up the plane will get a second life. While true that a jet will be scrapped, stored, crushed, etc. at one of these facilities, the respective parts that allowed it to fly will live on and serve a key long-term purpose in the maintenance longevity of still-airworthy aircraft.

A Boeing 747 sits as mechanics work to dismantle the jet (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Connor O’Shea)

Ascent Aviation Services, formerly known as Marana Aerospace Solutions, is the largest company on-site at the airpark. The company is responsible for working with air carriers to either store, repair or tear-down aircraft, operating facilities at Pinal Airpark and Tucson International Airport.

While photos are not typically allowed on the property in Marana, Ascent Aviation Services provided AirlineGeeks a rare look at its facilities, including a firsthand look at the tear-down process.

Tearing Down an Airplane

Even though the verbiage may be similar, tearing down an airplane is much more complex than demolishing a building. Retired airplanes are filled with plenty of reusable high-dollar items, including avionics, exterior parts and seats. In some cases, it can take months to get an airplane to the “crush-pad,” where it’ll officially be torn apart after being disassembled.

Mechanics here take their time combing through different parts of the jet to harvest any remaining items that can be re-certified. Any missed item of value can mean potentially lost revenue for the company and one less part for those aircraft still flying.

The 747 frame is a common sight in Marana (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Connor O’Shea)

While the loss of an aircraft due to retirement is often a solemn affair for an airline, the mechanics in Marana see it as an opportunity. When a newly-retired airplane lands in Marana, the work begins. If the flight crew that brought the flight in is foreign-based, U.S. Customs will process them while Ascent teams are already working to dump the aircraft’s fuel tanks and lavatories as they will not be used again.

According to Ascent, the way in which the aircraft is torn down depends mostly on the customer’s needs. Some carriers will leave the cabin mostly intact until they can find a new home, or trash receptacle, for the seats and paneling. Similarly, most airlines want to strip cockpit avionics from the flight deck as soon as possible since they can be easily reused and are of great value.

The final clipping of its wings, as it were, the power plants are also removed from the aircraft, leaving only the engine struts fixed to the wing. These are some of the most expensive pieces of any aircraft, making them valuable reusable parts.

Empty engine cells on a 747 frame (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Connor O’Shea)

“The aircraft lives on,” said Ken Parent while breaking down the reclamation process. Parent is in charge of the company’s reclamation division which works to tear-down an aircraft, re-certify its parts and return them to the customer to be used onboard other aircraft.

A 737 flight deck stripped of its avionics (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Connor O’Shea)

This process, which can take anywhere from 30 to 45 days, is a sizable part of Ascent’s entire operation along with standard maintenance and long-term aircraft storage. During this process, it’s common to see airplanes in disarray with detached landing gear and mangled flight control surfaces, though what’s actually occurring is a carefully organized art-form.

A Boeing 737 being dismantled at Pinal Airpark (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Connor O’Shea)

Teams of mechanics and workers from Ascent are removing parts one-by-one and logging them to be compliant with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 145 mandates. There is a fair amount of paperwork involved with this process, too. It isn’t as easy as taking one part and putting it on another airplane. Instead, each part is individually re-certified for further use in service.

The dismantled wing of a 737-700 (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Connor O’Shea)

Once the to-be-reused parts have been removed from the airframe, there’s plenty of aluminum left over. Ascent contracts a recycling firm to remove the excess aluminum from the property after the ‘crush’ process takes place.

A Common Sight…

Among the array of metal parts and fuselages that sit throughout the property, there is a very specific theme. What can be seen at a boneyard, particularly in Marana, isn’t just mangled airplanes but, rather, a generational shift within the aviation sector.

A 747’s rear landing gear (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Connor O’Shea)

Gone are the days when four-engine aircraft dominated the skies. Now, the industry is widely transitioning to twin-engine jets that prove to be far more efficient on many fronts. The boneyard is scattered with 747s that operated for airlines around the world. Each one tells a story about an industry that has changed immensely in recent years.

The 747, affectionately referred to as the ‘Queen of the Skies’, is an iconic sight for just about anyone. The quad jet is likely the only aircraft that the everyday passenger can identify and there is no shortage of them within Ascent’s facilities.

According to the company’s chief commercial officer, Scott Butler, there’s a reason for this vast array of 747s. Since the industry is largely shifting away from this specific design, there are only a few maintenance facilities that specialize in the model nowadays and Ascent is one of them.

“Typically, in Marana, we have been known as 747 experts in maintenance,” Butler said.

Crew work to dismantle a 747 at Ascent Aviation Services in Marana, Ariz. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Connor O’Shea)

As the world moves on from the so-called ‘golden days’ of aviation in which Boeing’s iconic jumbo jet reigned supreme, Ascent Aviation Services waits to receive them. The airpark’s 6,849-foot asphalt runway is a perfect landing spot for one final touchdown.

A Desert Full of Stories

When thinking about a desert landscape, airplanes don’t necessarily come to mind but the environment is extremely conducive to aircraft storage for the airframes themselves and their subsequent parts. Dry climates have less salt in the air meaning that erosion is minimal at best.

Ascent’s facility encapsulates different times within the airline industry and bears witness to some of the world’s most iconic aircraft. The small airpark in Marana, Ariz. houses tails from around the world — a representation of sorts for the sheer globalization of the airline industry.

A piece of a 737 fuselage in Marana, Ariz. (Photo: Ascent Aviation Services)

Even though the airplanes that rest at Pinal Airpark may be considered old and sometimes drab by some, their key parts will live on, furthering industry sustainability. Ascent Aviation Services and other similar companies play a lesser-known, yet critical role in the overall safety and efficiency of the global aviation sector.

Contrary to popular belief, a so-called airplane boneyard isn’t necessarily a giant soda can production plant. While an aircraft fuselage’s aluminum is recycled, many of the parts live on to serve air carriers for years to come. And though it’s true that aircraft are more than just the sum of their parts, the parts still hold their own value.

Planes don’t come here to die, they come here so that other planes may live.

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https://www.npr.org/2019/06/19/734248714/pilots-criticize-boeing-saying-737-max-should-never-have-been-approved

Pilots Criticize Boeing, Saying 737 MAX 'Should Never Have Been Approved'

June 19, 201911:45 PM ET

David Schaper


Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, accompanied by other pilots and former FAA administrator Randy Babbitt, speaks during a House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure hearing on the status of the Boeing 737 MAX on Capitol Hill in Washington.   Andrew Harnik/AP

One of the nation's best known airline pilots is speaking out on the problems with Boeing's 737 MAX jetliner. Retired Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger told a congressional subcommittee Wednesday that an automated flight control system on the 737 MAX "was fatally flawed and should never have been approved."

Sullenberger, who safely landed a damaged US Airways jet on the Hudson River in New York in 2009 after a bird strike disabled the engines, says he understands how the pilots of two 737 Max planes that recently crashed would have been confused as they struggled to maintain control of the aircraft, as an automated system erroneously began forcing the planes into nose dives.

"I can tell you first hand that the startle factor is real and it's huge. It absolutely interferes with one's ability to quickly analyze the crisis and take corrective action," he said.

The House Aviation Subcommittee is investigating the crashes of Boeing 737 Max jets in Indonesia last fall and in Ethiopia in March that killed a total of 346 people. The panel is also examining what role, if any, Boeing's rush to develop the latest version of it's popular 737 and the FAA's process of certifying the new model as airworthy may have played in the tragedies.
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The planes remain out of service as aviation authorities around the world grounded the planes shortly after the second crash. The three U.S. airlines that flew the MAX —Southwest, American and United— have canceled thousands of flights as they have pulled MAX planes from their schedules through the busy summer months.

Boeing says it has now completed a software fix for the automated system called MCAS, which investigators say appears to be at least partly to blame in the crashes.

"These crashes are demonstrable evidence that our current system of aircraft design and certification failed us," Sullenberger told lawmakers. "The accidents should never have happened."

Daniel Carey, president of the Allied Pilots Association, which represents pilots at American Airlines, noted Boeing's strong safety record generally, but he criticized the aerospace giant for making "many mistakes" in order to reduce costs, while still developing the MAX plane so that it would feel as much like the previous version of the 737.

"Boeing designs and engineers and manufacturers superb aircraft," Carey testified. "Unfortunately in the case of the MAX, I'll have to agree with the Boeing CEO, they let the traveling public down in a fatal and catastrophic way."

Carey told the committee that the MCAS flight control system, which was designed to prevent an aerodynamic stall, was flawed in that it had a single point of failure without redundancies. In the case of both the Lion Air flight in Indonesia and the Ethiopian Airlines plane, a single angle of attack sensor provided faulty data to the system, so the MCAS forcefully and repeatedly pointed the nose of the plane down when it shouldn't have.

"A huge error of omission was the fact that Boeing failed to disclose the existence of the MCAS system to the pilot community around the world," Carey said. "The final fatal mistake was therefore the absence of robust pilot training in the event of an MCAS failure."

Carey says Boeing's failures have created a "crisis of trust" between the airplane maker and pilots.

As Boeing prepares to submit it's software fix for the MCAS system to the FAA for the agency to conduct test flights and ultimately re-certify the plane, which could happen within the next couple of weeks, both Carey and Sullenberger called for more robust pilot training as part of the plan for allowing 737 MAX jets to fly passengers again, including experiencing an MCAS system failure while training on a simulator.

Boeing has suggested such training could be accomplished with a one hour session on a laptop or tablet device. Simulator training was not required for pilots transitioning from the previous "Next Generation" version of the 737 to the MAX.

Sullenberger says he recently experienced scenarios similar to those facing the pilots of the doomed Ethiopian and Lion Air jetliners in a simulator, and says he understands the difficulties they had trying to maintain control of the planes. "Even knowing what was going to happen, I could see how crews could have run out of time and altitude before they could have solved the problems," he said.

"We should all want pilots to experience these challenging situations for the first time in a simulator, not in flight with passengers and crew on board," Sullenberger told lawmakers, adding "reading about it on an iPad is not even close to sufficient. Pilots must experience it physically, firsthand."

But there are few 737 MAX simulators in existence, and providing such training for thousands of pilots around the world would be costly and logistically problematic.

He and Carey dismissed suggestions that the crashes could not have happened in the U.S., where pilots are required to have a lot of experience and more rigorous training before flying commercial airliners.

"Some (U.S.) crews would have recognized it in time to recover, but some would not have," Carey testified. Sullenberger agreed, saying it's unlikely that more experienced pilots would have had different outcomes, adding, "we shouldn't have to expect pilots to compensate for flawed designs."

"These two recent crashes happened in foreign countries," said Sullenberger. "But if we do not address all the important issues and factors, they can and will happen here."
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🛬 Electric Planes, Flying Taxis, Supersonic Jets
« Reply #84 on: June 22, 2019, 12:45:25 PM »
Some very cool technology here.  It's too bad we won't see most of it come to fruition.  A few Billionaires might have some of these things for toys, other than that I highly doubt you will ever be catching a Self-Flying"Air Taxi" to work to avoid the traffic.  ::)

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http://fortune.com/2019/06/22/2019-paris-air-show-tech/

Electric Planes, Flying Taxis, Supersonic Jets: Paris Air Show Gives Us a Peek at the Future of Flight

 
A computer-generated image of the Boom Supersonic XB1 leaving its hangar. The XB1 featured at the Paris Air Show this week.
A computer-generated image of the Boom Supersonic XB1 leaving its hangar. The XB1 featured at the Paris Air Show this week.
Nathan Leach-Proffer Nathan Leach-Proffer [url=http://www.speed-photos.com]www.speed-photos.com[/url]
By Phil Boucher
6:30 AM EDT

The rivalry between Airbus and Boeing may have grabbed most attention at the 2019 Paris Air Show this week, but it was new technology that dominated behind the scenes.

Aviation currently accounts for around 2.5% of global carbon emissions and with the industry has pledged to halve its 2005-level footprint by 2050 through an offsetting program. Therefore engineering firms were keen to showcase a range of eco-friendly inventions such as hybrid engines, urban mobility vehicles, and autonomous flight systems at the annual event, the largest for the aerospace industry.

“The Paris Air Show is an exhibition essentially oriented towards the future, which it helps to shape. This is why innovation is one of the main themes of this 53rd edition,” said the Paris organizers.

It’s not just environmental considerations driving the research: UBS estimates sales of hybrid engines will be worth $178 billion by 2040, while the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) market will be a $285 billion business by 2030.

For these reasons, major players such as Airbus, Boeing, Bell, and Embraer are hooking up with tech firms such as Intel, Amazon, and Siemens to explore new possibilities, with much of the focus being directed at hybrid engines that provide an electric boost during take-off and climb. Should the engineers crack hybrid propulsion, then airlines can hope for a 30% fuel saving, making air travel cheaper and more eco-friendly for everyone.

“We’ve got to make aviation grow and be sustainable,” Rolls-Royce CTO Paul Stein told reporters in Paris, where the British engineering giant announced its takeover of Siemens’ electric aerospace division.

“The consumer is probably going to demand an acceleration in this space,” added Celine Fornaro, head of industrials research at UBS. “It’s starting to be more present in everyone’s conscience.”

Here is a brief sampling of the key civilian technology displayed at the Paris Air Show:

The Eviation Alice, an electric plane

Billed as the world’s first full-sized, all-electric aircraft, the Israeli-made Alice is designed to fly up to 650 miles at a cruising speed of 240 knots (276 mph) while producing zero emissions, potentially making it the world’s most eco-friendly city-hopper. Eviation Aircraft also claims it will have 70% fewer running costs than conventional jets, thanks to a propulsion system that relies on three electric motors and a 3,500kg battery.

The Eviation Alice on display at the Paris Air Show.
The Eviation Alice on display at the Paris Air Show.
(Photo by Jean-Marie Liot for Eviation Aircraft)

“This aircraft is not some future maybe. It is there, ready and waiting,” Eviation CEO, Omer Bar-Yohay, told reporters in Paris, before explaining that the aircraft will be test flighted in Arizona later this year. If all goes well, the Alice will be submitted for Federal Aviation Administration certification in 2020, with manufacturing beginning in the U.S. by 2021. Deliveries of the $4 million eco-plane are scheduled to start in 2022, with U.S. regional airline Cape Air already signed up to buy 92 models.

United Technologies’ Project 804, a hybrid-electric add-on

The auto industry has made electric and hybrid-electric transport a reality on the ground. Now, United Technologies wants to take it to the skies, through “Project 804,” which adds new battery technology and a 2-megawatt hybrid-electric propulsion system to an existing aircraft.

A graphic representation of the Project 804 hybrid propulsion system. (Photo c
A graphic representation of the Project 804 hybrid propulsion system. (Photo c
ourtesy of United Technologies)

“We’re basically taking a commuter regional turboprop airplane and we’re making it such that during take-off and climb, about half the energy is supplied electrically and about half of the supply is maintained by the engine,” United Technologies Chief Technology Officer Paul Eremenko told CNBC in Paris. If successful, UT believes Project 804 will reduce fuel costs on a typical one-hour flight by 30% and significantly lower carbon emissions. The firm aims to have a demonstration aircraft flying by 2022.

The Airbus Vahan, a flying taxi

Airbus describes its skunkworks Project Vahana as an “electric, self-piloted vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) passenger aircraft.” To everyone else, however, it will always be known as a “flying taxi”.

The Airbus Vahana on display at the Paris Air Show
The Airbus Vahana on display at the Paris Air Show
Airbus

The 8-engined Vahana first flew in the U.S. in January 2018, and in May 2019 proved it’s tandem tilt-wing can ably transition from vertical take-off to forward flight. With an estimated range of 31 miles and cruise speed is 100 knots (115mph), Airbus estimates the Vahana is up to four times faster than traveling by car. Being all-electric, it’s also far more environmentally-friendly.

The Vahana might not appeal to nervous fliers: It’s a single-seater and entirely self-piloted, so there’s no pilot pulling a joystick or flight attendant bringing food—or booze. Instead, it relies on a series of highly-sophisticated detect-and-avoid systems to sidestep any birds, drones, or other flight hazards that happen to cross its path. You needn’t lose any sleep though: Airbus—which is also developing a second electric flier called the CityAirbus—doesn’t plan to put the Vahana into production; it is purely an experimental vehicle that Airbus is using to develop its technology.

Boom Supersonic’s XB-1 and Overture, super-fast jets

Colorado-based Boom Supersonic (Boom) used Paris to showcase the engineering milestones in the creation of its two-seat supersonic jet, the XB-1, a plane it hopes will lay the foundations for the creation of a supersonic passenger jet called Overture. Thanks to the use of composite materials and new engine technology, Boom believes the Overture will be the fastest, cleanest and cheapest supersonic passenger aircraft in history—although that’s not to say it’s going to be exactly eco-friendly.

A computer-generated image of the Boom Supersonic 'Overtune' in flight. (Photo courtesy of
A computer-generated image of the Boom Supersonic 'Overtune' in flight. (Photo courtesy of
Boom Supersonic)

“Today, we have the advanced technology to realize faster air travel, and our teams have been working tirelessly over the past few years to build the first civil supersonic plane since Concorde,” Blake Scholl, CEO of Boom told reporters in Paris.

Boom—which has a strategic partnership with Japan Airlines (JAL)—aims to roll out the XB-1 in December 2019, with supersonic flight planned for 2020. According to the FAA, it is one of four commercial firms seeking to certify supersonic passenger jets in the U.S. To encourage the development of the aircraft, the FAA is altering testing rules to allow for supersonic flight. The agency is working to “enable the return of civil supersonic travel while ensuring the environmental impacts are understood and properly addressed,” Acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell said in Paris on Monday.

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🛬 No Joke: Bamboo Airways Has United States Airbus A380 Plans
« Reply #85 on: June 29, 2019, 12:00:28 PM »
BAMBOO Airways!  LD should love this set of conflicting paradigms & cognitive dissonance!  ::)

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No Joke: Bamboo Airways Has United States Airbus A380 Plans

    by Tom Boon
    June 28, 2019

This week’s bizarre aviation news story sees Bamboo Airways planning to use an Airbus A380 for flights to the US. The Vietnamese startup carrier finally commenced flights earlier this year.


Bamboo Airways reportedly wants to start Airbus A380 flights to the United States.

Bamboo Airways has become a Simple Flying favourite for its determination to overcome every obstacle in its way. Now, the airline appears to be looking to take things to the next level. Indeed, for a while, we have known that the Vietnamese carrier has planned to fly to the United States of America. However, now One Mile At A Time reports that the company is looking to use the Airbus A380 according to the Financial Times.
Bamboo Airway’s background

Bamboo Airways commenced services in January earlier this year. The airline was started up by the FLC group, a Vietnamese company which owns a portfolio of holiday destinations in Vietnam. The primary purpose of Bamboo Airways is to connect passengers to FLC group resorts.

Bamboo had originally been eyeing commencing services in October, however, a delay in getting a business license put this off. The start date was then pushed to December, however, this was also missed because the airline was waiting on its Air Operators Certificate. On January 16th, the airline finally took flight operating from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi.
Bamboo Airways Airbus A380 US Flights
Could Bamboo Airways wet-lease HiFly’s Airbus A380? Photo: Hifly
US flights

From the beginning, the carrier has been very vocal about wishing to commence flights to the United States. Bamboo’s future route map shows that it wishes to fly to San Francisco in addition to another mystery destination. Simple Flying previously speculated that this could be Las Vegas or Denver.

Launching flights to the US shouldn’t be too trivial, as earlier this year Vietnam received a Category One safety rating from the FAA. Indeed, Bamboo Airways is currently in the process of acquiring the relevant permissions from the Federal Aviation Administration. It was previously believed that Bamboo would launch US flights with their 20 Boeing 787 aircraft on order.
What about the A380?

Several outlets have reported that Bamboo Airways’ CEO told the Financial Times that they wish to launch flights to the United States in the first quarter of 2020. This is based on the assumption that they will receive FAA approval by the end of this year.
Bamboo Airways Airbus A380 US Flights
What a Bamboo Airways Airbus A380 could look like. Image: Simple Flying

Reports suggest that the Vietnamese airline would use a leased Airbus A380. There is currently only one Airbus A380 on the market available to wet-lease, however, with other airlines looking to ditch the plane, some could become available on the second-hand market. Indeed, this is something which Airbus told Simple Flying in March that they were actively trying to support.

It is currently unknown which avenue Bamboo Airways would pursue to acquire an Airbus A380. While I personally don’t think that it would be the best aircraft for Bamboo Airways’ mission, I’d certainly love to see their livery on the Airbus A380.
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🛬 Why The US Airlines Retired Their Boeing 747s
« Reply #86 on: July 14, 2019, 04:26:21 PM »
The Canary in the Coal Mine for the End of the Beginning of the End of the Age of Oil and Industrial Civilization.


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https://simpleflying.com/us-airlines-747-retirements/

Why The US Airlines Retired Their Boeing 747s

    by Chris Loh
    July 13, 2019


Boeing 747 First Test Flight 1969
On February 9, 1969, the Boeing 747-100 jumbo jet took to the sky for the very first time.


In November 2017, United Airlines flew their last flight using a Boeing 747. Just a month later, the final commercial flight of a Delta Air Lines 747 arrived from Seoul as flight 158. It later embarked on a farewell tour, stopping in Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles according to Quartz. With a few major airlines still operating the Boeing 747, why were US Airlines among the first to retire their “Queen of the Skies”?
Delta’s last commercial 747 flight was in December 2017. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

While major international carriers like British Airways, Lufthansa, and Korean Air are still operating their jumbo jets for passenger flights, you won’t find any US Airlines operating the “Queen of the Skies”. There are a few reasons why this is the case.
It’s all about age

When it comes to aircraft, the phrase “age ain’t nothing but a number” doesn’t really apply. The older an aircraft gets, the more costly it becomes to operate.

Firstly, as technology develops, newer aircraft of similar size and range achieve higher rates of fuel efficiency. According to Investopedia, fuel accounts for 10-12% of operating expenses.
United’s last flight was November 2017. Photo: Flickr user Bill Abbott

Secondly, the older an aircraft becomes, the more maintenance it requires. Not only is the actual labor more costly, but time an aircraft is on the ground undergoing maintenance is a time the aircraft is not earning money. This is a significant factor when it comes to the commercial aviation industry and the razor-thin profit margins that airlines have to fight for.

Finally for the issue of age, when the above two factors combine with an old, tired, and outdated interior, there are enough economical reasons to replace it with a newer aircraft. You’d eventually start losing passengers who prefer to have USB charging ports and touch screens that don’t require excessive force to respond (apologies to the passenger sleeping in the seat in front!).
According to the Denver Post, American Airlines hasn’t flown a 747 since the late 1990s. Photo: Flickr user Dean Morley
The triple seven

All US airlines have now moved to the more fuel-efficient, twin-engine, wide-body Boeing 777.  In fact, the 777 can fly just as far but its operating and maintenance costs are far less. Furthermore, the Boeing 777-200LR is capable of connecting virtually any two cities in the world.

According to The Denver Post, the 777-300ER (extended range) can carry roughly the same number of passengers as the 747-400 while burning 100,000lb less fuel. Therefore, if 100,000lb of fuel equates to 15,000 gallons and the current price (according to IndexMundi) is $1.87 per gallon, then we are looking at a fuel savings of roughly $28,000. Pair that with the amount of flying these long-haul jets do and the reduction in maintenance and that’s a pretty strong case for a newer aircraft.
What about the other airlines?

Looking at numbers at Airfleets.net, it appears that it’s a “first in, first out” scenario. The US Airlines were some of the first to receive their Boeing 747-400s and therefore were among the first to retire them and adopt the 777 as a replacement.

This seems to be the case for airlines like British Airways and Korean Airlines, which took their oldest 747s in the mid-90s rather than the early 90s. The one exception is KLM – which still seem to be operating their 747s that were made as far back as 1990 (a sign of good maintenance perhaps?). However, even KLM will retire its 747s by 2021.

And then, of course, there are the newer 747s; The 747-8. Lufthansa and Korean Air opted to continue the 747 legacy by purchasing these newer variants for their passenger services. According to Boeing, the 747-8 reduces carbon emissions by 16% versus the 747-400.
Lufthansa has a fleet of 19 747-8i aircraft. Photo: Flickr user xingxiyang
Conclusion

In the end, it’s all about operating economics and fuel efficiency. Lower operating costs lead to lower airfares or the ability to spend those savings on other important aspects of the product- all of this attracts more passengers.

It seems like aircraft with four engines just don’t have a place in this competitive space. Are you disappointed that the US carriers chose not to take the newer 747? Let us know by leaving a comment!

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https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/27/business/boeing-737-max-faa.html

The Roots of Boeing’s 737 Max Crisis: A Regulator Relaxes Its Oversight


After the first fatal crash of the 737 Max, in October 2018, federal regulators realized they didn’t fully understand the software system that sent the plane into a nosedive.CreditCreditRuth Fremson/The New York Times

By Natalie Kitroeff, David Gelles and Jack Nicas

    July 27, 2019

SEATTLE — In the days after the first crash of Boeing’s 737 Max, engineers at the Federal Aviation Administration came to a troubling realization: They didn’t fully understand the automated system that helped send the plane into a nose-dive, killing everyone on board.

Engineers at the agency scoured their files for information about the system designed to help avoid stalls. They didn’t find much. Regulators had never independently assessed the risks of the dangerous software known as MCAS when they approved the plane in 2017.

More than a dozen current and former employees at the F.A.A. and Boeing who spoke with The New York Times described a broken regulatory process that effectively neutered the oversight authority of the agency.

The regulator had been passing off routine tasks to manufacturers for years, with the goal of freeing up specialists to focus on the most important safety concerns. But on the Max, the regulator handed nearly complete control to Boeing, leaving some key agency officials in the dark about important systems like MCAS, according to the current and former employees.
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While the agency’s flawed oversight of the Boeing 737 Max has attracted much scrutiny since the first crash in October and a second one in March, a Times investigation revealed previously unreported details about weaknesses in the regulatory process that compromised the safety of the plane.

The company performed its own assessments of the system, which were not stress-tested by the regulator. Turnover at the agency left two relatively inexperienced engineers overseeing Boeing’s early work on the system.

The F.A.A. eventually handed over responsibility for approval of MCAS to the manufacturer. After that, Boeing didn’t have to share the details of the system with the two agency engineers. They weren’t aware of its intricacies, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Late in the development of the Max, Boeing decided to expand the use of MCAS, to ensure the plane flew smoothly. The new, riskier version relied on a single sensor and could push down the nose of the plane by a much larger amount.

Boeing did not submit a formal review of MCAS after the overhaul. It wasn’t required by F.A.A. rules. An engineering test pilot at the regulator knew about the changes, according to an agency official. But his job was to evaluate the way the plane flew, not to determine the safety of the system.

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The agency ultimately certified the jet as safe, required little training for pilots and allowed the plane to keep flying until a second deadly Max crash, less than five months after the first.

The plane remains grounded as regulators await a fix from Boeing. If the ban persists much longer, Boeing said this past week that it could be forced to halt production.

The F.A.A. and Boeing have defended the plane’s certification, saying they followed proper procedures and adhered to the highest standards.

“The agency’s certification processes are well-established and have consistently produced safe aircraft designs,” the regulator said in a statement Friday. “The 737 Max certification program involved 110,000 hours of work on the part of F.A.A. personnel, including flying or supporting 297 test flights.”

Boeing said “the F.A.A.’s rigor and regulatory leadership has driven ever-increasing levels of safety over the decades,” adding that “the 737 Max met the F.A.A.’s stringent standards and requirements as it was certified through the F.A.A.’s processes.”

[If you have worked at Boeing or the F.A.A. and want to discuss your experience, contact The Times confidentially here.]
ImageWhile Ali Bahrami was the Federal Aviation Administration’s top official in Seattle, some engineers believed that he had installed managers who would be deferential to Boeing.
While Ali Bahrami was the Federal Aviation Administration’s top official in Seattle, some engineers believed that he had installed managers who would be deferential to Boeing.CreditJonathan Ernst/Bloomberg

Federal prosecutors and lawmakers are now investigating whether the regulatory process is fundamentally flawed. As planes become more technologically advanced, the rules, even when they are followed, may not be enough to ensure safety. The new software played a role in both disasters, involving Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines, which together killed 346 people.

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“Did MCAS get the attention it needed? That’s one of the things we’re looking at,” said Chris Hart, the former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, who is now leading a multiagency task force investigating how the Max was approved. “As it evolved from a less robust system to a more powerful system, were the certifiers aware of the changes?”

Boeing needed the approval process on the Max to go swiftly. Months behind its rival Airbus, the company was racing to finish the plane, a more fuel-efficient version of its best-selling 737.

The regulator’s hands-off approach was pivotal. At crucial moments in the Max’s development, the agency operated in the background, mainly monitoring Boeing’s progress and checking paperwork. The nation’s largest aerospace manufacturer, Boeing was treated as a client, with F.A.A. officials making decisions based on the company’s deadlines and budget.

It has long been a cozy relationship. Top agency officials have shuffled between the government and the industry.

During the Max certification, senior leaders at the F.A.A. sometimes overruled their own staff members’ recommendations after Boeing pushed back. For safety reasons, many agency engineers wanted Boeing to redesign a pair of cables, part of a major system unrelated to MCAS. The company resisted, and F.A.A. managers took Boeing’s side, according to internal agency documents.

After the crash of the Lion Air plane last October, F.A.A. engineers were shocked to discover they didn’t have a complete analysis of MCAS. The safety review in their files didn’t mention that the system could aggressively push down the nose of the plane and trigger repeatedly, making it difficult to regain control of the aircraft, as it did on the doomed Lion Air flight.

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Despite their hazy understanding of the system, F.A.A. officials decided against grounding the 737 Max. Instead, they published a notice reminding pilots of existing emergency procedures.

The notice didn’t describe how MCAS worked. At the last minute, an F.A.A. manager told agency engineers to remove the only mention of the system, according to internal agency documents and two people with knowledge of the matter. Instead, airlines learned about it from Boeing.
‘He really wanted abdication.’

The F.A.A. department that oversaw the Max development had such a singular focus that it was named after the company: The Boeing Aviation Safety Oversight Office.

Many F.A.A. veterans came to see the department, created in 2009, as a symbol of the agency’s close relationship with the manufacturer. The top official in Seattle at the time, Ali Bahrami, had a tough time persuading employees to join, according to three current and former employees.

Some engineers believed that Mr. Bahrami had installed managers in the office who would defer to Boeing. “He didn’t put enough checks and balances in the system,” Mike McRae, a former F.A.A. engineer, said of Mr. Bahrami. “He really wanted abdication. He didn’t want delegation.”

Before the certification of the Max began, Mr. Bahrami called a group of F.A.A. engineers into his office, the current and former employees said, and asked some of them to join the group. Many didn’t want to change jobs, according to a complaint filed by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the union representing F.A.A. engineers.

“I got dragged kicking and screaming,” said Richard Reed, a former systems engineer at the F.A.A. Mr. Reed said he had just left surgery when agency officials called to ask whether he would work in the office. “I always claimed that I was on drugs when I said ‘yes.’”

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The F.A.A. said in a statement that Mr. Bahrami “dedicated his career to the advancement of aviation safety in both the private and public sectors.”
Image
F.A.A. offices in Des Moines, Wash. The way the agency dealt with Boeing left engineers at the agency demoralized, two employees said.CreditRuth Fremson/The New York Times

For decades, the F.A.A. relied on engineers inside Boeing to help certify aircraft. But after intense lobbying to Congress by industry, the agency adopted rules in 2005 that would give manufacturers like Boeing even more control. Previously, the agency selected the company engineers to work on its behalf; under the new regulations, Boeing could choose them, though the F.A.A. has veto power.

Many of the agency’s top leaders embraced the approach. It would allow the F.A.A. to certify planes more efficiently and stretch its limited resources. The regulator had also been finding it harder to compete for talented engineers, their government salaries unable to keep up with the going rates in the industry.

For Boeing, the changes meant shedding a layer of bureaucracy. “The process was working well,” said Tom Heineman, a retired Boeing engineer who worked on the Max. “The F.A.A. was delegating more of the work and the review and the oversight to the manufacturers than it used to.”

But some F.A.A. engineers were concerned that they were no longer able to effectively monitor what was happening inside Boeing. In a PowerPoint presentation to agency managers in 2016, union representatives raised concerns about a “brain drain” and the “inability to hire and retain qualified personnel.”

By 2018, the F.A.A. was letting the company certify 96 percent of its own work, according to an agency official.

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Nicole Potter, an F.A.A. propulsion and fuel systems engineer who worked on the Max, said supervisors repeatedly asked her to give up the right to approve safety documents. She often had to fight to keep the work.

“Leadership was targeting a high level of delegation,” Ms. Potter said. When F.A.A. employees didn’t have time to approve a critical document, she said, “managers could delegate it back to Boeing.”

It was a process Mr. Bahrami championed to lawmakers. After spending more than two decades at the F.A.A., he left the agency in 2013 and took a job at the Aerospace Industries Association, a trade group that represents Boeing and other manufacturers.

“We urge the F.A.A. to allow maximum use of delegation,” Mr. Bahrami told Congress in his new lobbying role, arguing it would help American manufacturers compete.

In 2017, Mr. Bahrami returned to the F.A.A. as the head of safety.
An internal battle at the F.A.A.

With Boeing taking more control, F.A.A. engineers found they had little power, even when they did raise concerns.

Early on, engineers at the F.A.A. discovered a problem with one of the most important new features of the Max: its engines. The Max, the latest version of the 50-year-old 737, featured more fuel-efficient engines, with a larger fan and a high-pressure turbine. But the bigger, more complex engines could do more damage if they broke apart midair.

The F.A.A. engineers were particularly concerned about pieces hitting the cables that control the rudder, according to five people with knowledge of the matter and internal agency documents. A cable severed during takeoff would make it difficult for pilots to regain control, potentially bringing down the jet.

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The F.A.A. engineers suggested a couple solutions, three of the people said. The company could add a second set of cables or install a computerized system for controlling the rudder.

Boeing did not want to make a change, according to internal F.A.A. documents reviewed by The Times. A redesign could have caused delays. Company engineers argued that it was unlikely that an engine would break apart and shrapnel would hit the rudder cable.

Most of the F.A.A. engineers working on the issue insisted the change was necessary for safety reasons, according to internal agency emails and documents. But their supervisors balked. In a July 2015 meeting, Jeff Duven, who replaced Mr. Bahrami as the head of the F.A.A.’s Seattle operation, sided with Boeing, said two current employees at the agency.
Image
Boeing Max planes in Renton, Wash. The company downplayed the risks of the software, MCAS, to federal officials.CreditRuth Fremson/The New York Times

F.A.A. managers conceded that the Max “does not meet” agency guidelines “for protecting flight controls,” according to an agency document. But in another document, they added that they had to consider whether any requested changes would interfere with Boeing’s timeline. The managers wrote that it would be “impractical at this late point in the program,” for the company to resolve the issue. Mr. Duven at the F.A.A. also said the decision was based on the safety record of the plane.

Engineers at the agency were demoralized, the two agency employees said. One engineer submitted an anonymous complaint to an internal F.A.A. safety board, which was reviewed by The Times.

“During meetings regarding this issue the cost to Boeing to upgrade the design was discussed,” the engineer wrote. “The comment was made that there may be better places for Boeing to spend their safety dollars.”

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An F.A.A. panel investigated the complaint. It found managers siding with Boeing had created “an environment of mistrust that hampers the ability of the agency to work effectively,” the panel said in a 2017 report, which was reviewed by The Times. The panel cautioned against allowing Boeing to handle this kind of approval, saying “the company has a vested interest in minimizing costs and schedule impact.”

By then, the panel’s findings were moot. Managers at the agency had already given Boeing the right to approve the cables, and they were installed on the Max.
Playing down risks

In the middle of the Max’s development, two of the most seasoned engineers in the F.A.A.’s Boeing office left.

The engineers, who had a combined 50 years of experience, had joined the office at its creation, taking on responsibility for flight control systems, including MCAS. But they both grew frustrated with the work, which they saw as mostly paper pushing, according to two people with knowledge of the staff changes.

In their place, the F.A.A. appointed an engineer who had little experience in flight controls, and a new hire who had gotten his master’s degree three years earlier. People who worked with the two engineers said they seemed ill-equipped to identify any problems in a complex system like MCAS.

And Boeing played down the importance of MCAS from the outset.

An early review by the company didn’t consider the system risky, and it didn’t prompt additional scrutiny from the F.A.A. engineers, according to two agency officials. The review described a system that would activate only in rare situations, when a plane was making a sharp turn at high speeds.

The F.A.A. engineers who had been overseeing MCAS never received another safety assessment. As Boeing raced to finish the Max in 2016, agency managers gave the company the power to approve a batch of safety assessments — some of the most important documents in any certification. They believed the issues were low risk.

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One of the managers, Julie Alger, delegated the review of MCAS. Previously, the F.A.A. had the final say over the system.

The F.A.A. said that decision reflected the consensus of the team.

Boeing was in the middle of overhauling MCAS. To help pilots control the plane and avoid a stall, the company allowed MCAS to trigger at low speeds, rather than just at high speeds. The overhauled version would move the stabilizer by as much as 2.5 degrees each time it triggered, significantly pushing down the nose of the plane. The earlier version moved the stabilizer by 0.6 degrees.

When company engineers analyzed the change, they figured that the system had not become any riskier, according to two people familiar with Boeing’s discussions on the matter. They assumed that pilots would respond to a malfunction in three seconds, quickly bringing the nose of the plane back up. In their view, any problems would be less dangerous at low speeds.

So the company never submitted an updated safety assessment of those changes to the agency. In several briefings in 2016, an F.A.A. test pilot learned the details of the system from Boeing. But the two F.A.A. engineers didn’t understand that MCAS could move the tail as much as 2.5 degrees, according to two people familiar with their thinking.

Under the impression the system was insignificant, officials didn’t require Boeing to tell pilots about MCAS. When the company asked to remove mention of MCAS from the pilot’s manual, the agency agreed. The F.A.A. also did not mention the software in 30 pages of detailed descriptions noting differences between the Max and the previous iteration of the 737.

Days after the Lion Air crash, the agency invited Boeing executives to the F.A.A.’s Seattle headquarters, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. The officials sat incredulous as Boeing executives explained details about the system that they didn’t know.

In the middle of the conversation, an F.A.A. employee, one of the people said, interrupted to ask a question on the minds of several agency engineers: Why hadn’t Boeing updated the safety analysis of a system that had become so dangerous?

The reporters on this article can be reached at Natalie.Kitroeff@nytimes.com, David.Gelles@nytimes.com and Jack.Nicas@nytimes.com.

Natalie Kitroeff and Jack Nicas reported from Seattle, and David Gelles from New York. James Glanz, Mike Baker and Kitty Bennett contributed reporting.
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🛬 The Airbus A380 Jumbo Jet Is Fading Fast
« Reply #88 on: August 05, 2019, 03:35:20 AM »
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/airbus-a380-jumbo-jet-fading-181100410.html

The Airbus A380 Jumbo Jet Is Fading Fast
[Motley Fool]
Adam Levine-Weinberg, The Motley Fool
Motley FoolAugust 3, 2019


Earlier this year, Airbus (OTC: EADSY) bit the bullet and announced that it would wind down production of its slow-selling A380 jumbo jet by 2021. With the exception of Emirates, the A380 failed to win any big fans, and a multiyear order drought ultimately forced Airbus' hand.

Since that decision was announced back in February, the Airbus A380's popularity has waned even further. A growing number of airlines that operate the jumbo jet have announced plans to retire their A380 fleets prematurely in favor of more efficient jets. That's great news for Boeing (NYSE: BA), which may be able to sell more 777-9 jets over the next few years as airlines plan for the replacement of their A380s.
The retirement announcements just keep coming

Around the time Airbus announced its decision to stop building new A380s, Qatar Airways revealed that it plans to retire each of its A380s as they reach 10 years of age. This would put the retirement dates for its 10 A380s between 2024 and 2028.

A typical commercial jet has a useful life of 20 to 30 years. However, retiring A380s after just 10 years wouldn't be unprecedented: Singapore Airlines -- the second-biggest A380 customer in the world -- has already retired five of its A380s at the 10-year mark. At least two of those planes are in the midst of being scrapped.
A Singapore Airlines A380
View photos
A Singapore Airlines A380

Singapore Airlines has already retired its oldest Airbus A380 jumbo jets. Image source: Singapore Airlines.

A month later, Airbus agreed to buy back six of Lufthansa's 14 A380s in conjunction with the latter's order for 20 additional A350-900s. Given the lack of a secondary market for the A380, these planes are likely to be scrapped, too. Returning the A380s to Airbus will clear the way for Lufthansa to take delivery of the 20 777-9 jets it has ordered from Boeing.

Even Emirates -- which hasn't finished taking delivery of all of the A380s it has ordered -- has already started talking about when they will disappear from its fleet. A couple of months ago, company president Tim Clark stated that Emirates would continue flying A380s until the mid-2030s. Of course, that's just the end date for the carrier's A380 retirement process: The oldest ones could potentially begin leaving the fleet just a few years from now.

Most recently, Air France revealed last week that it will retire all of its Airbus A380s by 2022. Even its oldest A380 would be just 13 years of age by then.
Retirements can be contagious

With so many airlines starting to retire Airbus A380s at such a young age, the active global fleet of A380s will start declining pretty soon. Over the next five years, the changes will probably be fairly minor. But in the five years thereafter, the number of A380s still in service could drop precipitously, particularly if Emirates sticks to its typical schedule of keeping planes for no more than 10 to 15 years.
An Emirates A380 jet
View photos
An Emirates A380 jet

Image source: Emirates.

As the active fleet shrinks, it will be harder to maintain a network of spare parts throughout the world. Additionally, engine maintenance could become prohibitively expensive, due to the lack of scale. (Aside from the A380's low sales numbers, it also had two engine options.)

This will make it challenging for airlines to keep the remaining A380s in the air. In effect, the decision by many airlines to retire their A380s at a very young age could force other airlines to follow suit by making the jumbo jets even more expensive to operate than they already are.
Can Boeing cash in on this opportunity?

After A380 deliveries end in 2021, the Boeing 777-9 will be the largest commercial jet still in production. It will also be the most efficient commercial jet in the world, according to Boeing. That makes it a natural A380 replacement -- although some airlines are opting for the somewhat smaller Airbus A350-1000 instead, either for fleet commonality reasons or because they have decided that smaller jets work better for their route networks.

A majority of the top A380 operators have already ordered 777-9s. However, most of those orders were primarily designed to replace other aircraft models or for growth. That leaves plenty of room for follow-on orders in the coming years. Boeing's backlog contains 344 orders for 777X jets today -- nearly all 777-9s -- so getting another 100 or 150 A380 replacement orders would give the program a nice lift.

The biggest risk to getting those orders would have been if airlines chose to keep operating their Airbus A380s well into the 2030s. By that point, a better replacement might be available.

It doesn't look like that will be an issue, though. The vast majority of the global A380 fleet is on track for retirement over the next decade or so. There isn't likely to be a good alternative to the Boeing 777-9 within that timeframe. Thus, Boeing can look forward to more 777-9 orders rolling in as airlines finalize their A380 replacement plans in the coming years.
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🛬 What Happened To American Airlines Boeing 747’s?
« Reply #89 on: August 06, 2019, 02:17:14 AM »
https://simpleflying.com/what-happened-to-american-airlines-boeing-747s/

What Happened To American Airlines Boeing 747’s?

    by Henry Bewicke
    August 5, 2019


In the US the Boeing 747 is not the common sight it once was. Photo: aceebee via Flickr

The iconic ‘Jumbo Jet’ was once a common sight in airports around the world but, for a while now, the Boeing 747 has been conspicuous in its absence from US airports. US carriers like American Airlines were some of the first to use Boeing’s flagship passenger jet back in the 1970s. They were also some of the first to retire it from service. So what exactly happened to American Airlines’ 747s?

Arriving in the early 1970s, the Boeing 747 was far from an immediate success. At first, airlines struggled to attract enough customers to fill flights and many 747s were converted for use in a cargo transport capacity. This slow take off was a big worry for Boeing, which had amassed a record $1.2 billion bank debt to fund the 747s development.

As passenger numbers increased and various new iterations of the 747 came along, the aircraft gained its status as an icon of the sky. Nowadays, the 747 is mainly used in a freighter capacity and as of April 2018, 56% of the 505 747s still in service were freighters.

American Airlines was one of the first US carriers to drop the 747 from its fleet, selling its last unit back in the mid-90s. The 16 747s delivered to American Airlines have since gone on to lead varied and interesting lives.
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A freight modified Boeing 747 being loaded
The Boeing 747 has proven itself a talented freighter. Photo, Karelj/Wikimedia
American Airlines 747 alumni

Following the same path as many other 747s, a number of American Airlines 747s were converted to freighters in 1974/75/76, going into service with Flying Tigers and UPS.

The 747 had not realized its full passenger potential at this early stage in its life, and conversion to freight made economic sense. Many other American Airlines Boeing 747s were converted to freighters after completing longer stints as passenger aircraft with other airlines.
Star of the class

One American Airlines Boeing 747, in particular, went on to great things after leaving AA service.

Alongside a Boeing 747-SR46, which entered service with Japan Airlines under the registration JA8117, American Airlines N9668 was purchased by NASA. Both of these aircraft were then heavily modified, becoming the famous Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA).
A modified Boeing 747
N9668 was renamed N905NA and entered service with NASA as one of two Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. Photo: Eric Salard via Flickr

The two modified SCA 747s were used to transport Space Shuttle orbiters from their landing sites back to the NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. N905NA was kept in service until late 2012, after which it was preserved as a monument alongside a replica Space Shuttle at Space Center Houston.

Due to heavy internal and external alterations, the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft had significantly reduced range and altitude capabilities. They also had to carry ballast when flying without the Space Shuttle to maintain stability.

However, the retirement of the N905NA didn’t mark the end of the iconic 747s use as a rocket transporter. Virgin recently announced its plans to use a 747 named ‘Cosmic Girl’ to launch rockets into space.
Honorable mentions

Although N9668 went on to become the most famous of the ex-American Airlines Boeing 747s, a couple of others also took interesting paths.

N602AA was bought by AA from TWA in 1986 and then sold to the UAE government in 1994. It was then used as a VIP transport aircraft under the registration A6-SMM.

Finally, after stints in service for a number of different airlines, including Iran Air and Caribbean Airways, N9663 operated the last 747-100 service for United Airlines in 1999.
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