Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2015: 41,837
2014: 363,407
Total: 963,437

Opinion: A Passenger Terminal at Paine Field? Finally!

While KPAE will have Boeing heavies gracing its skies, it is about to get smaller, scheduled, visitors.  Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

While KPAE will have Boeing heavies still, it is about to get smaller, scheduled visitors – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Snohomish County was going to get a passenger terminal one way or another. American development corporation Propeller Airports has been granted a long-term land lease, to the tune of an eventual $25 million, to construct a two-gate terminal at Paine Field (KPAE). This is the airport, as most of you probably know, where Boeing builds the 747, 767, 777, and most 787s.

The airport will be operated as a public-private partnership between Propeller Airports and Snohomish County. Paine Field currently operates with a total of 305 daily movements (very few of them are actually Boeing’s). The airport has been described as operating at a mere 45% capacity. This terminal will likely kick that up an additional 5%, better translated as an additional sixteen aircraft movements.

No matter how close to residential areas the airport is, the public good and possible economic development for Snohomish County outweigh the complaints of ever-quieter airliners landing at Paine field.

Continue reading Opinion: A Passenger Terminal at Paine Field? Finally!

Plane Spotting at Midway – Chicago’s Other Airport

A Southwest Airlines 737 departs Midway Airport leaving behind the iconic Chicago skyline. Photo: Jim Wissemes (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A Southwest Airlines 737 departs Midway Airport, leaving behind the iconic Chicago skyline – Photo: Jim Wissemes (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Midway Airport just doesn’t get the love it deserves. Whenever there’s discussion of plane spotting in Chicago, it’s always assumed that O’Hare is the venue, and that’s just not right. Sure, as a dedicated Southwest Airlines A-Lister, Midway is the one-and-only Chicago airport that’s deserving of my regular (and frequent) business. But setting loyalties aside for a moment, the spotting at Midway is quite simply excellent for any and all, even the hard-to-please “legacy lovers” who stalk United and American at ORD.

Why? Well, the opportunity for incredible photos like the one above should be enough, but if you aren’t convinced, read further…

Continue reading Plane Spotting at Midway – Chicago’s Other Airport

Bombardier CSeries CS300 Achieves First Flight

Bombardier CSeries CS300 takes flight for the first time - Photo: Seth Miller

Bombardier CSeries CS300 takes flight for the first time – Photo: Seth Miller | AirwaysNews

The full story was written by Seth Miller on AirwaysNews.com

The Bombardier CS300, the newest commercial aircraft on the market, made its maiden flight just after 11:00 a.m. yesterday at Montreal’s Mirabel airport. The larger CSeries variant follows the smaller CS100, which took to the skies 17 months ago.

For Bombardier, this is a significant step forward for a project which has seen its share of challenges. As a “clean-sheet” aircraft design, such challenges are not unexpected; Boeing and Airbus experienced similar delays with the 787 and A350, respectively. Bombardier’s new CEO, Alain M. Bellemare, described the event as “an inflection point” in the CSeries project, “where we’re finally reaching momentum and we can go to market with a solid product for our customers.”

The first CS300 taxis - Photo: Seth Miller | Airways News

The first CS300 taxis – Photo: Seth Miller | Airways News

The test flight came on the second day of the three-day window Bombardier allotted for the event. Initial plans to run the test flight on Thursday were hampered by cold weather, wind, and snow earlier in the week in Mirabel; that weather prevented final pre-flight testing from happening. It was colder yesterday than earlier in the week – probably the coldest first flight ever – but the low temperatures did not prevent the first flight.

With both the CS100 and CS300 now flying, the company is able to aggressively push towards the completion of the flight test regimen and enter the airliner into service. It is also worth noting that the CSeries plan is somewhat unusual in having both types flying test flights concurrently rather than a sequential process of EIS on the first followed by testing of the second. Delays in the CS100 test program can be blamed in part for these circumstances.

A special CS300 ice sculpture to celebrate the first flight - Photo: Seth Miller | AirwaysNews

A special CS300 ice sculpture to celebrate the first flight – Photo: Seth Miller | AirwaysNews

The CSeries aircraft promises a more comfortable passenger cabin combined with lower costs for the airlines and quieter operations for the passengers and those who live near the airports. While the interior of the CS300 is not yet on display to media, the noise aspect was demonstrated during the first flight departure; the CRJ900 – a quiet plane in its own right – was notably louder than the CS300 flying just ahead of it during the first flight departure.

Continue reading Bombardier CSeries CS300 Achieves First Flight on AirwaysNews.com

What to Do When Your Britannia 314 Only Has Three Working Engines in Libya?

Caledonian Airways Bristol 175 Britannia 314  taken in February 1969 at Sabha Airport - Photo: Ken Fielding

Caledonian Airways’ Bristol Britannia taken in February 1969 at Sabha Airport – Photo: Ken Fielding

Just after joining Caledonian Airways in February, 1969, I went to Tripoli, Libya, to help handle Caledonian’s Hajj contract, taking passengers to Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj Pilgrimage, sub-contracted by KLA Kingdom of Libya Airlines.  The contract was over eight weeks: three weeks ferrying Pilgrims outbound, a two-week hiatus while the Pilgrimage took place, and another three weeks for the return.  The contract was for two Boeing 707-320C’s and a Bristol Britannia.

Sebha Libya Feb-69 - The Fort

The French Colonial Fort seen next to Sebha in 1969 – Photo: Ken Fielding

Part of the contract with the Britannia was for a 10-day series of flights from Sebha, a small oasis town about 600 miles south of Tripoli in the Libyan Desert.  The town’s most prominent feature was a ‘Beau Geste’ style French Colonial Fort on the edge of the airfield, on the only hill for 200 miles.  My hotel was the ‘Sebha Palace’, not quite what you expect when the word ‘palace’ is mentioned, but at least the rooms were en-suite.  My bathroom had a 360 volt water heater (and a 220 volt supply).  The wires were just pushed into the wall socket (no plug) and when it was switched on the lights dimmed and it took all day to heat enough water for a bath.  The hotel restaurant only served chicken (well, we were 600 miles from nowhere).  I had a bucket of fresh fish flown up from Tripoli on the ferry flight a few times and word soon got around.  The restaurant was full on those evenings.

Continue reading What to Do When Your Britannia 314 Only Has Three Working Engines in Libya?

OPINION: Why Passengers Should Care About Open Skies

An Emirates 777-31H/ER sits in a delivery stall at the Boeing Facility at Paine Field. Photo  - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

An Emirates 777-31H/ER sits in a delivery stall at the Boeing Paine Field – Photo – Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

It’s that time again. Time for me to give you some of my personal thoughts on a topic. Some might call it a rant.

You know the time when an American aviation lobby group decides that there’s just too much competition in the world? Not only is it the “Big Three” themselves, but also an aviation lobbying group backed by them. Combined, these companies and interest groups can bring a lot more lobbying firepower to the table.

Their argument, as is everyone’s against someone who does business differently than them, is the old fallacy of “if their costs are lower than ours, it must be the result of either unfair trade practices or shady accounting.”

This time, the argument is about how Gulf airlines Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways may have received launch subsidies. Indeed, the argument goes further and states that they are continuing to receive subsidies to fuel their current expansion and operation.

Continue reading OPINION: Why Passengers Should Care About Open Skies