Dubbed a “scam” and a “stunt” by environmental groups and sections of the media, the fact remains that Virgin Atlantic has become the world's first airline to fly one of its commercial planes on biofuel. A mix of standard jet fuel, coconut and babassu oils powered the Boeing 747 jumbo jet from London Heathrow to Amsterdam. Read More
September 27, 2007 Fledgling company Ad-Air has announced plans to target airline passengers with enormous flight path ads at the world’s busiest airports. The first of its kind project will see digitally printed ad skins of 20,000 square meters (215,000 square feet) – that twice the size of London’s Trafalgar Square – placed within view of window seat passengers. Read More
October 13, 2006 Long haul flights can indeed feel very long if you’re not comfortable when attempting to sleep, so we’ll bet that there will be many of our readers eyeing the new Delta fully-horizontal BusinessElite sleeper suites and picturing themselves catching zeds in much more comfort than ever before when travelling. The reclining seat adjusts to multiple comfortable positions, including a completely flat surface offering travelers a 6-foot 3-inch bed. Whatsmore, there’s a privacy screen that incorporates a pull out meal table, fold-out video monitor, integrated footrest and personal stowage compartment for bags, shoes or blankets. All the sleeper suites will offer on-demand digital video and music at every suite and immediate access to the aisle so they don’t have to disturb another passenger when exiting their seat. Read More
July 12, 2006 It’s one of the largest, most committed and most ignored niche markets that’s ever existed, so the news that Smoker’s International Airways (SMINTAIR) is planning to take to the skies in March 2007 catering just for smokers has that familiar flash of the “bleeding obvious” that accompanies any winning idea. Back in 1964 when the inaugural United States Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health enlightened the world about the dangers of tobacco usage, the practice of cigarette smoking was quite fashionable. Remarkably, more than two thirds of all US males smoked at that time and in some countries, the smokers numbered three in every four males. Since then education has enabled smoking rates to halve, though in most countries at least 20% of the adult population still smokes. Throughout this period, two countries have remained steadfast in upholding smokers rights – Germany and Japan where more than a third of all adults still smoke. The prospective airline envisions a return to the values of the sixties, complete with plenty of legroom, a pampering of the passengers, beautiful hostesses and the ability to smoke anywhere you wish – ALL SMINTAIR seats will be smoking seats. Logically, the first SMINTAIR 747 will fly between Dusseldorf and Narita (Tokyo). Read More
May 12, 2006 Air New Zealand will be the first airline in the world to fly the new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in December 2010. The 787-9 has exceptional fuel efficiency and economics, and will offer the economics of large jet transports to the middle of the market, using 20 percent less fuel than any other airplane of its size. Capable of carrying 290 passengers on routes up to 16,300 kilometres, the 787-9 is a slightly bigger version of the 787-8 and has a list price of US$183 million. The super-efficient 787-9 has an innovative new interior environment with higher humidity, wider seats and aisles, and larger windows. Read More
January 19, 2006 Though the internet seems to have been with us for an eternity, the world’s first broadband internet service on a commercial airliner had just its third birthday this week. It was on January 15, 2003 that passengers flying aboard a Lufthansa 747-400 first sampled Boeing’s Connexion high-speed internet service. The new service enabled what we’d long dreamed of (or dreaded, depending on your point of view) – seamless, real-time communications, with the speed and quality characteristic of a modern office environment, including Internet access, audio, video, e-mail, VOIP and intranet access. Connexion ushered in the New Year by announcing new pricing and service enhancements for its real-time high-speed Internet and entertainment services to airline passengers in flight. The service enhancements include an expanded delivery of four channels of live global television to airlines that offer the Connexion by Boeing service, and implementation of Yahoo! as the exclusive search engine on the service's portal used by passengers on flights to access the Internet and email. The bargain of the new pricing is a 24-hour price of US$26.95 including connecting flights within 24 hours of sign-in. Read More
August 6, 2005 A recent survey of American domestic airline passengers found 97% carry at least one electronic device, while 65% of business travelers have their laptops on flights. So why are American domestic carriers so reluctant to offer internet access? Leading magazine Information Week has an interesting article on the problems associated with offering internet access and why American airlines are wireless laggards compared with their international counterparts. Read More
July 10, 2005 No doubt we’ve all experienced it at one time or another – looking out the window of an international aircraft en route from and to well known ports but over completely unknown territory and wondering what life might be like just a few thousand feet below. The usual plane-on-a-map features of international aircraft don’t help much but a new service -AirTrack - is expected to set a new standard for in-flight entertainment moving map systems. AirTrack is based on satellite imagery and provides 2D and 3D detailed topographical maps and satellite imagery, as well as new aerial scenes of views from the outside. Resolutions of 10 meters or 1 meter per pixel can be provided, with the latter providing unsurpassed detail even for city street views. Read More
June 8, 2005 Cathay Pacific has been awarded the title of Airline of the Year 2005 at the World Airline Awards yesterday, having previously won the award in 2003 and placing in the top three every year for the last five years. In second place was Qantas in its best ever placing in the worldwide awards, with Emirates in third position, maintaining its traditional top three ranking in the global survey. Hong Kong International Airport won best airport worldwide for the fifth consecutive year, with Singapore’s Changi Airport taking the Silver Award in a close finish. Gulf Air won best onboard catering in both first and business classes while Thai got the catering award for economy class. JetBlue Airways maintained its excellent service reputation by taking 2nd place for North America as well being named the world's Best Low-cost airline. Read More
April 28, 2005 The first A380 to take to the air landed at Blagnac international airport in Toulouse, France at 14.23 local time (12.23h UTC) after successfully completing its first flight that lasted three hours and 54 minutes. The A380’s first flight was jointly captained by Claude Lelaie, Senior Vice President Flight Division, and by Chief Test pilot and Vice President Jacques Rosay. The other crew members were Fernando Alonso, Vice President Flight Division, Flight Test Engineering who led a team of two other flight test engineers, Jacky Joye and Manfred Birnfeld, and test flight engineer Gerard Desbois. Carrying the registration F-WWOW, the aircraft is powered by four Rolls Royce Tent 900 engines. Read More