Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 138,116
2013: 330,818

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Plane Spotting at Tokyo International Airport – Haneda

On the observation deck of the International Terminal at HND.

On the observation deck of the International Terminal at HND

You’ve got to hand it to the Japanese; always coming up with pragmatic solutions to problems. You’re having a walk in Tokyo and you’re thirsty? Grab a cold bottle of water from the vending machines you’ll find everywhere. Rainy day? Open up the umbrella you’re carrying. Just like most everyone else’s, it’s see-through, so you can make your way through the masses on the sidewalks without bumping into anyone. Simple. And those are just two of the countless observations I made during my blindingly fast visit to Tokyo.

If you’ve following my stories, you’ll know that I traveled to Tokyo on ANA-All Nippon Airways’ inaugural flight from Vancouver (YVR) to Haneda (HND). There was a gate event at YVR for the inbound flight, ANA’s first-ever service to Canada. My flight to Tokyo was great, and then I was honored to watch ANA’s New Employee Ceremony in a hangar at HND, with ANA’s last 747-400D as a backdrop.

ANA 777-300 "Pokemon" pushes back from the gate at T2, HND.

ANA 777-300 “Pokemon” pushes back from the gate at T2, HND

It was Tuesday afternoon, and I had split off from our media group to explore HND. I had heard that there was great plane spotting, and I wanted to see what the Japanese airport designers had done in the terminals. But first, a bit of background and a look at the layout of HND.

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Fifth Freedom Under Attack? Italian Government Does a Flip-Flop

On February 20th, Emirates Airline took delivery of their 85th Boeing 777-300ER. Photo via Emirates. CLICK FOR LARGER.

An Emirates Boeing 777-300ER - Photo: Emirates

In October of 2013, Emirates Airline became the first “Fifth Freedom” carrier to fly between New York City and Milan in Italy.  This allowed a stop between New York and Dubai in the Italian city would help to increase services between not only Italy and Dubai, but also the United States and Italy.

Unfortunately, that service has barely been in operation seven months, and Emirates has come under fire from competing airlines, leading to the possible cancellation of the route.

Continue reading Fifth Freedom Under Attack? Italian Government Does a Flip-Flop

Politics, Mergers, and the Imminent Expansion of Southwest Airlines

On November 30, 1984 Southwest took delivery of its first Boeing 737–300, N300SW. It was the launch customer and as of May 2012 is the largest operator of the aircraft type with 125 still in service – many with winglets. The first 737-300 was dubbed “Kitty Hawk.” It flew its final flight from Paine Field on April 18th, 2011 the first 737-300 is now preserved at the Museum of Flight at Dallas Love Field. Image courtesy: Boeing

On November 30, 1984, Southwest took delivery of its first Boeing 737–300, N300SW. It is now preserved at the Museum of Flight at Dallas Love Field. Photo: Boeing

Earlier this year, Southwest Airlines announced a significant number of new direct flights originating from their home base of Dallas Love Field. The newly-announced flights will provide non-stop service to places such as New York, Los Angeles, Denver, and Atlanta.

But why is Southwest, which has been in business since 1971, just now adding these seemingly universal routes to its network? To answer that question, we’ll have to go back in time and brush up on our Dallas-area airport history.

Prior to the opening of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) in 1974, the two cities had a history of contentious competition and missed opportunities. The first was a proposed joint airport way back in 1927. Fort Worth declined the proposal, opting to purchase and operate its own airport independent of Dallas. This led Dallas to build its own airport as well. The end result was the opening of both Love Field (in Dallas) and Meacham Field (in Fort Worth) to commercial air traffic.

In 1940, there was another attempt to cooperate in the construction of a regional airport for both cities, but it was eventually abandoned after neither city could agree on the location or details of the airport. This was followed by the creation of Amon Carter Field, later renamed to Greater Southwest International Airport (GSW), which was barely a stone’s throw away from Love Field.

Finally, in the early sixties, the FAA made it clear to the two cities that it wouldn’t invest any additional money into separate Dallas and Fort Worth airports (quick geography note – downtown Dallas is roughly 30 miles from downtown Fort Worth). This, along with a directive from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), finally pushed Dallas and Fort Worth together in an effort to develop a single large airport to serve the entire metroplex.

Thus, DFW was born.

Continue reading Politics, Mergers, and the Imminent Expansion of Southwest Airlines

Three Flights in a Day on an A330-300 – Czech Airlines’ Promotional Tour

OK-YBA basking in the warm spring sun after arrival in Ostrava Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

OK-YBA basking in the spring sun after arrival in Ostrava – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Czech Airlines (CSA) has one Airbus A330 (with a special interior) and it wanted to show it off. At the end of February, the airline announced a series of three promotional flights on-board their A330-300. The idea of these flights was to showcase the aircraft in Ostrava and Bratislava, which are both key destinations in the Czech Airlines network and provide a substantial amount of connecting traffic for the A330 Seoul service.

The flights were scheduled to take place on the 1st of April. Obviously, the date in question made many think it was a joke, but true to their word the flights did take place as planned. I was fortunate enough to experience all three flights, as well as a media event in Ostrava showcasing the aircraft and network to numerous travel agents and key figures in the region. The routing of the flights was Prague (PRG) – Ostrava (OSR) - Bratislava (BTS) -Prague. All in, the flight time was less than two hours.

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United Takes Delivery of the 8,000th 737

United Latest 737-900ER taxiing at Boeing Field

United’s latest 737-900ER, taxiing at Boeing Field

On Wednesday April 16th, United took delivery of its latest 737, but this one was special.

A 737-900ER was delivered from Boeing Field, marking a special occasion for not only Boeing but also United.  The aircraft was the 8,000th 737 to roll out of the Renton factory, and became one of over 550 of the type to be delivered to United since its inception.

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