AuthorTopic: 🛬 Death of Aviation: Last Flight of the 747  (Read 7795 times)

Offline RE

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🛬 Won’t You Please Buy A Used Airbus A380?
« Reply #90 on: August 08, 2019, 12:20:19 PM »

Aug 7, 2019, 09:49pm
Won’t You Please Buy A Used Airbus A380?
Michael Goldstein

Two Airbus A380 aircraft sit on the ground at the Tarmac Aerosave SAS storage and recycling facility against a background of the Pyrenees mountain range in Tarbes, France, on Sunday, Feb. 17 , 2019. Airbus SE’s A380 superjumbo may be ending© 2019 Bloomberg Finance LP

Are you looking for a great new entrepreneurial opportunity? Why not buy some used Airbus A380s and start your own airline? Second-hand aircraft have been a launching pad for billionaires from Sir Richard Branson, who started Virgin Atlantic with a used 747, to the late Kirk Kerkorian, who turned a used DC-3 into an airline asset he later parlayed into ownership of MGM.

Such an opportunity may be here again for the right (and well-financed) entrepreneur. Since Airbus announced the coming end of A380 manufacture, airlines like Singapore, Lufthansa and most recently Air France have been rushing towards the exits of A380 ownership. Reports are that seven Airbus A380 aircraft are in storage in France, almost 3% of the total of 238 manufactured. A pair have reportedly been scrapped.

Still, all the potential airline mogul needs to do is create a start-up airline (or charter, or, possibly, a freight carrier) with routes that can keep a 500-seat A380 or two packed full. With seven planes parked and more coming, (Lufthansa is returning its aircraft to the manufacturer as part of a deal for new aircraft) Airbus will no doubt cut you a sweet deal on a used A380, original list price $446 million.

There’s just one problem. The budding airline entrepreneur will need to figure out how to make money with the airplane, apparently something that neither most airlines or Airbus have figured out. (An exception may be Emirates, which owns 111 of the world’s 238 A380 aircraft and has aggressively used them to build traffic through Dubai Airport, which leads the world in annual international travelers with 88 million.)

Ironically, Virgin Atlantic, the creation of entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, was a launch customer for the A380, ordering six in 2001. It finally canceled the order in 2018 without ever taking delivery.
Richard Branson & Virgin Atlantic Celebrate 10 Years Of Flying To Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS - JUNE 15: Founder and President of Virgin Group Sir Richard Branson (L) and burlesque artist Dita Von Teese appear on a lift in front of a painting of Von Teese on the side of a Virgin Atlantic Airways 747-400 aircraft at McCarranGetty Images

While entrepreneurs willing to take a chance on the A380 can no doubt get a substantial discount off the $446 million list price, the plane’s costs of operation and maintenance remain substantial. You’ll still need a large crew (Qantas operates the plane with three in the cockpit, 21 in the cabin), and pay a cost of operation estimated at $26,000 to $29,000 an hour, one of the highest in the airline industry. Those four engines are thirsty; that cost included roughly $17, 467 worth of fuel.

Simple Flying quoted the Australian Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics , “To achieve break-even at 80% seat factor (440 seats occupied including first class and business class), average ticket price should be about $700 one way and $1400 return.”

Compounding the usability problem, only a relative handful of world airports are specifically designed to accommodate the A380. The Top 20 airport list is led, of course, by Dubai. Most of the world’s busiest airports are on it, including Los Angeles, Tokyo, London Heathrow, Paris, New York JFK, Beijing, Shanghai, and Frankfurt. Not on the list is the world’s busiest, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson, reflecting the fact that no US carrier has ever operated the A380.

Other airports can accommodate the A380, but at many, operations will create complications. Not only does the aircraft weigh more than a million pounds when fully loaded with passengers, luggage, cargo and fuel, it needs a special jet bridge to efficiently handle loading of its double-decker configuration.

The A380 was designed to fly huge numbers of passengers to various “hub” cities. The idea was that once they arrived, passengers going elsewhere would board another plane and fly to their destination. However, most passengers prefer flying point-to-point, which is now possible in much smaller, more efficient aircraft. Travelers heading from New York to Singapore, for example, no longer must fly to Los Angeles or San Francisco and switch to a different aircraft. Singapore Airlines now offers a 19-hour direct flight, using Airbus’ own twin-engine A350 900ULR.

While there is an almost non-existent used market for A380 aircraft, there is still demand for an even older jumbo, the Boeing 747. However, that market is driven by demand for dedicated air freighters. While a cargo version of the A380 was designed, production delays frustrated launch cargo customers FedEx and UPS to the point where they cancelled their orders.
Picture/image created in 2004.

A rare photo illustration of Airbus' A380F freighter concept. The A380F was designed to carry 150 tonnes over 10.400 km on its three decks. However, only the passenger version of the A380 was ever built. AFP PHOTO/EADS (Photo credit should read2004 AFP

Without freighter orders, Airbus decided to concentrate on the passenger craft, so no freighter was ever built. It is unclear whether conversion of existing passenger aircraft to freighter configuration would even be possible, let alone economic.

Just as no airline at this point seems to buy a new A380, few to want to buy, lease or rent a used one. But entrepreneurs won’t be stopped, so there is at least one exception, the Portuguese-based charter operator Hi Fly. Hi Fly became the first charter airline with an A380 in 2018.

The operator was busy last summer bailing out customers like Norwegian and Air Austral. Both airlines had similar problems; Boeing 787 Dreamliners grounded for engine checks during the height of the tourist season. Each contracted with Hi Fly to supply a “wet lease” A380, complete with crew and maintenance . But this summer, One Mile At A Time says the Hi Fly A380 is “Still Doing A Whole Lot Of Nothing.”

Nonetheless, the CEO of Hi Fly, Paulo Mirpuri, is sanguine about the future of the A380. He told, “The aircraft is performing well, flying all over the world, the main markets out of Europe so far being in Africa, USA, and South America. Other than for planned maintenance over the last winter, the aircraft has been operationally available with a high degree of dispatch reliability.”

Like a true entrepreneur, Mirpuri clearly believes in his product. “Hi Fly plans to expand further its fleet of A380s. It is a technically very advanced aircraft, loved by the passengers and it fits well in a number of missions and routes.”
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Offline RE

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Death of First Class to be followed shortly by Death of Economy Class.

But hey, you can rent a Private Jet!


First class is fading fast. Here's why that's bad news for economy travelers, too
Christopher Elliott , Special to USA TODAY Published 7:30 a.m. ET Aug. 9, 2019 | Updated 2:39 p.m. ET Aug. 9, 2019

Frequent domestic first class flyers have noted a decline in premium service, smaller seats and lack of leg rests. USA TODAY

First class isn't what it used to be, at least according to frequent airline passengers like Bonnie Friedman. She's been flying in the front of the plane for years and has witnessed the slow and sad decline of premium service.

"It was never fabulous," says Friedman, a communication consultant who lives on Maui. "But in the last three or four years, it has most definitely lost what little luster it had. The planes are cheaply made, the seats are smaller, the bathrooms almost too small to get into — and I’m a small person."

In first class. Yes, first class.

Friedman, like a lot of other air travelers, has noticed a marked decline in premium service. Seats have shrunk. Leg rests vanished. The food is barely edible, and the service is unacceptable.

And let's be clear about what we mean by first class: We're talking about domestic flights and generally excluding the competitive transcontinental flights, where airlines still make a half-hearted attempt to put the "first" into first class.

If you're thinking, "What do I care if first class is in a tailspin? I only fly in economy class," then think again.

First class is the best an airline can do, and economy class is arguably the worst. But the two move in tandem, so as first class falls off a cliff, the good people in the back of the plane suffer, too, as airlines reduce seat size and slash service. We're all in this together.

The decline of first class raises two important questions: First, why the cuts? And second, what can you do about it?

Also: Try these innovative tactics to get an airline upgrade
Why first class isn't what it used to be

George Hoffer, a professor emeritus of transportation economics at Virginia Commonwealth University, has tracked the fall of first class. Part of the reason, he says, is that the equipment has changed.

"The wide-body jets have been replaced by less spacious, single-aisle aircraft," he notes. "Essentially the same crowded cabin feel is shared by all classes."

The smaller planes are more fuel-efficient and make more sense from an operational point of view. But the folks up front sure do miss that extra space, he adds.

Hoffer says the first-class experience has also been cheapened by the upgrade game of mile-collecting frequent fliers. It's simple economics: When your first class seat is "free," you get what you pay for.

"It diminishes the conspicuous consumption component of the total value obtained from first-class seating," he says.
How far first class has fallen

You don't have to look far for examples of the fall of first class.

John Moore, a career counselor from Chicago, says he can barely recognize first class anymore. "It actually used to be an amazing experience," he says. "But it's gone down the tubes."

In-flight meals have all but disappeared, replaced with snacks — or nothing.

Of course, most airlines don't even bother calling it first class anymore. It's now  "business" class, as if renaming it can somehow lower our collective expectations. Nice try, airlines.

Gail Cunard, a retired CEO from Savannah, Georgia, says first class today is "appalling." On her latest flight to California, her first-class ticket didn't even get her into the first-class lounge. There was no priority seating for her, no in-flight snack. 

"The menu was nothing to rave about," she adds. "And the meals were served on plastic plates."
What to do about losing first class

It's no coincidence that the fall of first class coincides with products such as "basic" economy, better known as last class. Airlines are trying to cut their way to higher profits, and they expect us to be grateful for it. Funny, but we aren't.

In a perfect world, the class system wouldn't exist. Every seat would come with a humane amount of space, reasonable service, and basic amenities such as the ability to check a bag and make a seat reservation. But we don't live in a perfect world.

The solution is simple: Whenever possible, fly on airlines that treat all of their customers well. A one-class airline like Southwest, where all passengers have adequate leg space, stands out. The old JetBlue, before it foolishly embraced the class system, comes to mind, too. Even a carrier like Alaska Airlines, which has a premium class, is worth recommending.

The decline of first class is worrisome for all airline passengers. Because, as the front of the cabin goes, so goes the back. If premium service is the best an airline can do, I can only imagine what its worst is. Maybe we're about to find out.

But there are still perks: These US airlines provide amenity kits to help flyers relax
Where to still find first class

Transatlantic and transpacific routes. Even domestic airlines go the extra mile on the long-haul routes — mostly because there's competition from carriers that still understand a luxury experience, such as Emirates and Singapore.

Transcontinental flights. American carriers sometimes operate special aircraft on the most popular transcontinental routes. It's almost like flying across the Atlantic, but travelers say it's usually a slight downgrade.

Private jet. If you want a true first-class experience, you might be better off chartering your own aircraft or buying a plane. If you can afford it. 
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Offline RE

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🛬 The Uncomfortable Truth About Business Class Downgrades
« Reply #92 on: August 26, 2019, 01:27:58 AM »
If I buy a 1st Class or Biz Class Seat, I better fucking get it, or whoever runs that airline is going to get a fax an hour until I get at minimum a FREE First Class ticket to Europe for a Bucket List Trip!


The Uncomfortable Truth About Business Class Downgrades

Riches to rags.

    James Booth 7 hours ago

Forget the champagne headaches and strained smiling muscles; there’s a business class risk more humiliating than both.

It’s not over-indulging in edamame eggplant relish when you should have been preparing for a meeting.

Nor is it having your ‘charm radar’ ruined by the friendly flight attendants, realising kids cry in business class too, or HBO-cheating on your partner.

No, the worst thing that can happen to you when flying business is arriving at the check-in desk, only to be told, “I’m sorry sir, but due to an unscheduled aircraft change, we have had to downgrade you to economy.”

Because – let’s face it – despite the pretentious menus, heightened expectations and the passengers who turn the pages of The Financial Review as if each article had insulted them more personally than the last, business class still beats economy.

However, as has been the topic of hushed discussion on frequent flyer forums, Tripadvisor and Reddit for some years now, business class downgrades are a real phenomenon which – due to their rarity – few travellers know how to deal with.

“Why did I get downgraded to business class?” may be the most depressing thing you’ve asked Google since a Buzzfeed quiz told you to break up with your partner, but it may also save you a lot of money and heartache.

Am I entitled to compensation? Why did it happen to me? How often does it happen? Where do I go from here? These are all valid questions that we are now going to answer.
Why business class downgrades happen

Generally speaking, airlines don’t overbook business or first class. So if you’ve been booted from business, your flight route has likely been reassigned a jet with a smaller Pointy End capacity (due to weather, or some other unplanned contingency).

Because the secret to seamless air-control (or preventing meteorological interruptions) has yet to be discovered by any airline – high end or not – this means that no matter who you book with – Qantas, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Etihad or British Airways, to name a few – it’s always possible you could be downgraded.
How does the airline decide who to downgrade?

In this scenario, there are two “next steps” that might occur. Either economy will be full too, in which case your airline may ask you to travel on a later flight, with a cash incentive. Or, if there are still seats in cattle-class (in either economy or premium economy), as Traveller reports, “a manager decides who gets dumped, and most airlines apply a couple of crude measures.”

What do these measures involve? According to industry experts, first candidates for a downgrade are those who paid for their seat using reward points (because the airline is legally obliged to give those who parted with cash.. cold hard cash).

Next on the chopping block are those who paid with cash, but who aren’t high tier loyalty members, and so on and so forth until the right number of people is achieved.

RELATED: How To Travel In Economy & Make It Feel Like First Class
What are my rights after a business class downgrade?

If you’re in the EU, where regulations protect passengers from downgrades and flight cancellations better than anywhere in the world, you are entitled to between 30 and 75 per cent of the ticket price depending on flight length.

Unfortunately, in the rest of the world, this law does not exist, which means the quality of the airline you picked comes into play – most airlines will refund the difference between your business class ticket and the economy (or premium economy) class seat you ended up in (and the high-end ones might go further). But there are no guarantees.

Oh and – as always – there’s a catch because, if you’re downgraded from business to economy the refund will likely be the difference between the business class fare and the fully flexible (i.e. the most expensive) economy fare.

In other words: you go from lie-flat to livid.
Is it possible to avoid a business class downgrade?

In a word: no. However, loyalty to a particular airline will reduce your chances, if you are really worried about this distant possibility (not to mention all the other benefits that come with joining a frequent flyer program).
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Offline azozeo

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Death of Aviation,What it's like to eject out of a military jet
« Reply #93 on: August 31, 2019, 07:07:50 PM »

A complex explosive sequence propels pilots out of doomed planes.

When things go terribly wrong in a military aircraft, the pilot's last resort is the equipment they're sitting on: the seat. And it cannot fail, ever.

The 200-lb ejection seat, with its 3,500 or so parts, is a remarkable piece of technology that not only gets pilots out of a crashing plane but also ensures they survive the experience more or less unscathed. If the pilot ejects above 16,400 feet where oxygen is scarce, sensors on the chair will let it free-fall to get its occupant down to breathable air as fast as possible, and only then will the parachute open.

British company Martin-Baker, and its French subsidiary Safran Martin-Baker France, control 56 percent of the world's ejection seat market. Their seats equip the aircraft of 93 air forces worldwide, including the US’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the French-made Rafale, and the Eurofighter. Other major ejection seat manufacturers are American company Collins Aerospace (whose newest seat is the ACES 5) and Russian outfits NPP Zvezda and AO. All told, ejection seats have saved an estimated 12 to 13,000 lives since the mid-1940s.

Martin-Baker's latest major in-service seat is the Mk16. Here’s how it works.
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Offline RE

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🛬 British Airways tells passengers not to turn up at airports, as airline's bi
« Reply #94 on: September 09, 2019, 08:06:57 AM »

British Airways tells passengers not to turn up at airports, as airline's biggest ever strike begins

More than 1,500 flights have been cancelled as the company was accused of bullying its own staff by union bosses Credit: REUTERS/Hannah McKay

    Jamie Johnson

9 September 2019 • 7:08am

British Airways has told its passengers not to turn up at airports as the biggest strike action in the airline’s 100 year history begins on Monday.

More than 1,500 flights have been cancelled as the company was accused of bullying its own staff by union bosses, who warned they could continue the action until the end of the year.

Some 280,000 people will be affected by the strike which is set to continue on Tuesday, costing BA £80m in lost revenue.

BA and The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) are clashing after the union rejected a proposed 11.5 per cent pay rise for its pilots, taking their pay package to around £200,000 a year.

BALPA says that BA “has resorted to breaking agreements and threatening pilots who will strike, which is bound to make matters worse” after they emailed their 4,300 pilots on Friday warning that strike action would be a ‘serious breach’ of their contract.
BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton said: "British Airways must now put the needs of its staff and passengers first and accept that its pilots will not be bullied or fobbed off." Credit: BALPA

The airline further threatened to withdraw a travel perk, where staff can book tickets for ten per cent of the full fare plus taxes, for three years if they chose to strike.

BALPA branded the airline’s behaviour “illogical and irresponsible” and “will further deepen the fall out with their pilots.”

Flights to New York, Delhi, Hong Kong and Johannesburg have all been affected, with the airline telling passengers: “If your flight is cancelled, please do not go to the airport.”

One passenger, Kenneth Farrington, told the BBC that he thought his holiday “was in ruins.”

Travellers have been offered full refunds, flights on different carriers, or the option to fly on a different date, but should not turn up at the airport without a confirmed flight.

On Sunday, 50 flights were cancelled over fears of a lack of space to park planes at Heathrow and Gatwick, and the knock on effect will last well into the week.

Long haul captains at the airline earn an average base salary of £167,000 a year, while co-pilots take home £70,000. British Airways say they made a “fair” offer of an 11.5 per cent pay rise over three years, plus a one per cent bonus.

The deal was already accepted by members of the Unite and GMB unions, which represent 90 per cent of British Airways’ staff.

BALPA says that now the company is in better financial health, its members should see a greater share of the profits and have a mandate for strike action until January, raising fears of Christmas travel chaos.

British Airways said on Sunday: “We're extremely sorry for the problems caused by the strike action called by the pilots’ union, BALPA on 9, 10 and 27 September.

“We continue to be available for constructive talks with BALPA, on the basis that there are no pre-conditions to those talks.

“If you have a flight booked with us on those dates, it is likely that you will not be able to travel as planned due to BALPA’s strike action. We are offering all affected customers full refunds or the option to re-book to another date of travel or alternative airline.”

On Sunday, BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton said: “British Airways needs to wake up and realise its pilots are determined to be heard.

“They’ve previously taken big pay cuts to help the company through hard times. Now BA is making billions of pounds of profit, its pilots have made a fair, reasonable and affordable claim for pay and benefits.

“BALPA has consistently offered up chances for the company to negotiate a way forward. British Airways must now put the needs of its staff and passengers first and accept that its pilots will not be bullied or fobbed off.

“But the company’s leaders, who themselves are paid huge salaries and have generous benefits packages, won’t listen, are refusing to negotiate and are putting profits before the needs of passengers and staff.

“This strike will have cost the company considerably more than the investment needed to settle this dispute.

“It is time to get back to the negotiating table and put together a serious offer that will end this dispute.”

This is the second time in a month that BALPA have been involved in pay disputes with airlines, after Ryanair pilots were reportedly demanding pay rises of up to 121%, according to the airline.

Ryanair accused BALPA of "excessive and unexplained demands for pay increases" and a secret memo seen by the Telegraph, which was drawn up by the airline, showed pay package demands of up to £350,000 a year.

Strike action has already taken place twice this summer, with more disruption planned for later this month.
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Offline RE

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🛬 Empty terminals as British Airways tells passengers to avoid travelling
« Reply #95 on: September 09, 2019, 01:38:40 PM »
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