Apparently the pilots of Atlas Air 4241 learnt this first hand. The plane in question here is the Boeing Dreamlifter which has the distinction of having the largest cargo hold in the world is frequently used to ferry the Boeing 787 Dreamliner parts from various Boeing and its suppliers facilities around the world.
The plane was originally scheduled to land at the McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas but due to pilot error ended up landing in the tiny airport of Jabara, 12 miles away. How and why this happened is still being determined but it seems really shocking that experienced pilots can also lose way and end up at the wrong place at the wrong time.
The Dreamlifter needs more than 9000 feet of runway to take off at its full weight but the runway at Jabara is only 6000 feet which means that the cargo of the plane would need to be taken out for the plane to get back to fly again. Also challenging is the fact that being a small airport there are no facilities to tug an airplane of such a size and hence Boeing is arranging for a special tug to be sent from its facilities at Wichita to turn the plane around.
Hopefully the situation can be resolved soon and the Dreamlifter and the airport can be soon back in action. Have you ever seen or heard about any such incidents? Do let me know in comments.
There has been a post that doing the rounds of social media circles and caught my attention. The blogger has written an open letter to Air France CEO Alexandre De Juniac describing the harrowing experience that he and 44 other people had to undergo when their flight from Paris to Mumbai was abruptly cancelled and they were made to wait endlessly on the air-side and the Air France staff showing an indifferent attitude towards them. The big issues that obviously come to anyone’s mind in such a situation is that:
The airport being the airlines own hub, why couldn’t alternate arrangements be made to accommodate 45 passengers?
How can transit visas be rejected in such a case, I’ve never ever heard a case where this may have happened before, If anyone has experiences about the same or more detailed knowledge please do share in comments.
Why were the passengers left to fend for themselves, In my point of view at least lounge access should have been allowed.
The most troubling aspect that I found from the piece was the lop sided compensation policy adopted in this case whereby certain people were either compensated or readjusted in other flights but these 45 odd people were not. Now the facts presented in the piece are just one side of the story, I would be really interested to hear Air France’s side of the story and see what they have to see about all this but in any case from the current facts it seems that the airlines performed a shoddy job in managing its customers and did not live up to its promise to serve its customers.
I would love to hear your views about this situation and suggestions about what could be done in such a situation. Look forward to your comments.
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates has upped its equity stake in Virgin Australia Holdings to 19.9% through a number of market purchases it had made in these last few weeks.
Etihad has been on a stake acquisition spree in the past few years as a strategy to build up a network to compete with bigger middle eastern competitors of the likes of Emirates and Qatar Airlines. The airline has built up equity stakes in Air Berlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia and Aer Lingus, will acquire 49% of Air Serbia from January 2014 and, subject to regulatory approval, will acquire 24% of India’s Jet Airways.
Etihad Airways and Virgin Australia have a ten-year strategic partnership that helps code-sharing on flights, joint sales and marketing activities, and reciprocal earn-and-burn on their respective frequent flyer programs. Etihad which started flying to Australia in 2007 with Sydney as its first destination, now covers most of the bigger cities in Australia with the exception of Perth, where it intends to begin services soon.
While this is a good news for Virgin Australia Velocity frequent flyer members who now have a bigger opportunity to burn their miles, It is definitely a concern for the other major stakeholder in Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines which considers the Kangaroo route as one of big revenue earning routes. With it having recently upped its stake to 19.9% in the Australian carrier in April 2013, having a competitor grab a similar share is not a good sign for things to come. What remains to be seen is about how this will be handled in managing the future direction of Virgin Australia.
Airbus has been having runaway success in the single aisle category with its A320 family planes garnering a lion’s share of the market. The recent deals worth $15 billion is due the booming asian market with the Chinese carriers Qingdao Airlines and Zhejiang Loong Airlines along with BOC Aviation and Vietnamese operator Vietjet placing a combined order of 160 planes.
Vietjet, the only private airline in Vietnam that flies internationally, has been flying since December 2011 with a fleet of nine jets including the fuel-saving A320 with “Sharklet” wingtips. It is the only private airline in Vietnam that offers domestic and international flights. The deals, once confirmed, will bring Airbus beyond the 1,000 aircraft order book. This is already equivalent of the number that the company had predicted to achieve this year. Till date in 2013, Airbus has already secured 942 firm orders, which includes Lion Air Inc.’s purchase of 234 jets. Vietjet intends to buy 42 re-engined A320neos, 14 current-model A320s, six A321 and additional 30 options.
Qingdao Airlines, a startup private carrier in China has placed order to purchase 23 A320s which will consist of 5 current-model A320 and 18 re-engined A320neos. Zhejiang Loong Airlines, which is an another new private entrant in this space, intends to buy 11 A320 and 9 A320neos valued at $1.9 billion.
Airbus has been betting big on the strong growth in the aviation sector in the Asian markets. With its assembly operations in China gaining momentum, it hopes to be able to capitalise on being a leading player. In order to deal with surging traffic on shorter but busier routes, the company launched a de-rated version of its popular A330 which will help carriers to carry more people on routes where landing slots are becoming a precious commodity.
Etihad is trying to make the most of the bilateral pact signed between India and Abu Dhabi that allows it to expand the current allocation of 13,600 seats on flights between the two countries to a whopping 50,000. In a statement made by the airline, it stated its intention to use a wide-body Airbus A340-600 aircraft on one of the two daily flights to Mumbai and the wide-body A330-200 aircraft on one of the two daily flights to Delhi. Not only that ,the airline will also operate a larger aircraft which can seat 174 passengers instead of the 136-seater deployed currently on its daily flight to Chennai.
This capacity increase is going to be in addition to the Jet Airways flights that will now be using Abu Dhabi as the hub. This is going to be a tremendous boost for Etihad as it will now be able to tap more deeply into more than 70% of the western bound Indian international traffic by using its Abu Dhabi hub and thereby getting a leg up in its competition against other Middle Eastern carriers such as Emirates and Qatar Airways.
Even though the Jet Airways – Etihad deal is mired in the legal tangle, this boost in the seat numbers is surely going to give Etihad a convenient way to side step the restrictions on flying in the big birds like Airbus A380 into India. What remains to be seen is what kind of strategy will the other carriers adopt in order to retain the flyers. Whatever it maybe it seems to be that the worst sufferer in this case will be the ailing Air India which will end up losing more revenue on its lucrative Gulf routes which will leave it more in the red.
LeClub Accor Hotels the loyalty program of the Accor hotel chain which contain of some very trendy brands like Sofitel, Novotel and Pullman is running a promotion whereby anyone who signs up for a new account and sets the earning preference as converting of hotel stay points directly to Delta or Air Canada Aeroplan miles will get 500 free miles.
The offer is also valid for existing customers of the LeClub Accor hotels program, all you need to do is just login to your account and change your earning preference to Delta or Air Canada Aeroplan miles and its an easy 500 miles for you.
You can sign up for the Delta offer here and the Air Canada Aeroplan offer here
The promotion is valid from 1st June 2012 to 31st August 2012 and can be combined with any existing offers that you have subscribed to with LeClub Accor hotels.
Room Key, the global hotel search platform created by six of the biggest hotel brands intends to change the way hotel bookings are done. The 6 hotel chains namely Choice Hotels International, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels, InterContinental Hotels, Marriott International and Wyndham Hotel Group have joined forces together to pool their and other independent hotel properties to create their own search engine which promises to offer the lowest possible rate, no cancellation charges and best of all you still get to earn loyalty points on these rates. The site which has been around since January 2012 and seems to be one of the ways where hotels plan to cut down on their distribution costs incurred while dealing with the Online Travel Agents, Global Distribution Systems and also with the growing threat of travel aggregators like Google and Bing.
The site seems to be pretty easy to use and well crafted with all the data quite well defined for a good user experience. The two features that I found on the site that I found pretty useful were:
1. Creating shortlists for the search results and then the ability to share the same with others.
2. Integrated TripAdvisor reviews for the properties available.
How much threat this initiative of the big chains will be to the established market players still remains to be seen, given that the established have a well built distribution network and strong alliances which help them maintain a good grip in the industry and also they are pretty strong in their domain of operations which is e-commerce. Overall I found the site a pleasant experience to use and would love to see how does the potential cost savings from such initiatives get passed onto the customers.
If you are planning a trip to India and use Makemytrip.com to book your travel, be warned. Jet Airways and IndiGo which among themselves fly nearly 50% of domestic traffic in India have pulled out their inventory from the travel site Makemytrip.com protesting the so called ‘opaque fare’ scheme the site was running.
To give a brief background about the ‘opaque scheme’ the travel sites in India which were stuck with the loads of the ailing Kingfisher Airlines tickets offered heavily discounted air tickets without disclosing the airline name until the payment was made. However, the country’s aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) directed all airlines to immediately withdraw participation from such schemes through a directive on March 28, 2012 as they do not present a complete picture for the passenger and is highly misleading.
The scheme led to much anguish among passengers who were given tickets of Kingfisher flights which later got cancelled without any advance warning. What needs to be seen now is as to how long this pullout of inventory continues and what will happen to the state of Kingfisher whose only method for survival is under threat due to this given that it has already lost its IATA membership and has been trying to fill whatever planes its running through these cheap fare offers. In the end lets hope it leads to a better solution where passengers get a good deal with airlines making a decent profit so as to help them stay afloat.
As per this thread on Milepoint, Priority Club is running a survey that will get you 250 points for just completing the survey. The survey has 12 questions and you need to rate the choices on the scale of 1-10 with 10 being the best and 1 being the worst.
As per the thread the survey seems to be linked to the ongoing Freddies given that the questions are somewhat on the same lines and also because the link contains “Freddies” in it.
Completed the same in just 5 mins and got a confirmation e-mail for the same. So go ahead and grab these points, the link for the survey can be found here
Singapore Airlines will commemorate the retirement of the legendary Boeing 747-400 from its fleet by running a special flight on the 6th of April 2012 from Singapore to Hong Kong and back. One can go ahead and make a request for booking SIN-HKG and HKG-SIN flights, I’m sure seats on the flight will be taken up very very fast so you really need ASAP.
The Packages offered for the Ex-SIN flight as mentioned on the website are:
And the ex-HKG packages as mentioned on the website are
I’m personally looking forward to be on atleast one of these flights and am sure with all the aviation enthusiasts on board it’s really going to be one hell of a ride.
Singapore Airlines has created a special website to show the journey of the 747 in its fleet right from the time of its induction in service,it’s a wonderful timeline taking you through the various phases and how it changed things for Singapore Air itself. The same can be accessed here.
First of all a Happy Republic Day to every Indian out there in the world, Finnair decided to celebrate the occasion with a special dance routine on there Helsinki-Delhi flight. The crew attired in Indian costumes danced to the hit Bollywood song ‘Om Shanti Om’.