Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 258,704
2013: 330,818

ANA Starts Boeing 787 Dreamliner Operations to San Jose

ANA's Boeing 787 Dreamliner (JA813A) arrives to San Jose. Photo by Brandon Farris / AirlineReporter.com.

ANA’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner (JA813A) arrives to San Jose. Photo by Brandon Farris / AirlineReporter.com.

Although there has been recent bad news regarding the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, we are happy to share some good news: Japan-based All Nippon Airlines (ANA) expanded its route network with its first arrival into Silicon Valley’s own Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) on Friday January 11, 2013.

SJC becomes the eighth US destination for ANA. The new routing will provide direct five days a week service to Tokyo Narita (NRT) from SJC. This will be the first time that SJC has a direct flight to an Asian City since American Airlines pulled out of NRT-SJC in 2006.

BONUS: Video of Flying on ANA’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner

The flight, ANA 1076, landed nearly an hour early into SJC and pushed back on-time with no issues. When asked about the recent issues facing the 787, ANA Chairmen of the Board Yoji Ohashi stated, “We can not give you an official comment, but we are confident about the safety of the Dreamliner.”

ANA employees bow to the arriving 787. Photo by Brandon Farris / AirlineReporter.com.

ANA employees bow to the departing 787. Photo by Brandon Farris / AirlineReporter.com.

This is the first 787 to serve the San Francisco area and has brought excitement to those who were able to fly on it. Passengers still have confidence in the aircraft as the flight in and out was completely sold out and is sold out for the first week, according to ANA officials.

“We are confident that passenger demand will remain high between SJC and Japan, as well as other Asian cities, with Tokyo as the gateway into Asia. Reservations for the route are already showing great demand and we are excited that customers will enjoy ANA’s utmost service with Japanese hospitality on our innovative Dreamliner,” shared ANA president and CEO Shinichiro Ito in a statement from Tokyo.

Although the service will begin as five days per week, it should increase to daily service in the future.

Celebration in the SJC terminal. Photo by Brandon Farris / AirlineReporter.com.

Celebration in the SJC terminal. Photo by Brandon Farris / AirlineReporter.com.

“We are pleased to launch ANA’s new direct service between Tokyo and SJC today,” Mayor Chuck Reed said. “Weather on business or visiting friends and family, Silicon Valley residents will find that ANA’s new flights offer a convenient connection to Japan and the Pacific Rim. I thank ANA for their investment in SJC.”

The new service even allowed Mayor Reed to take a shot at its partner airport SFO, “You can fly out of one of the best on-time airports in the country over an airport with one of the worst on-time records.”

AirlineReporter.com managed to get a passenger’s account of the flight to Narita from SJC. Alan Tsuda was nice enough to send us a report on his experience, “In economy, it was the most comfortable full plane experience I’ve ever had. Quite spacious, usually, I take an aisle seat, but this time had an interior seat. The center has four seats with a small gap in the middle, which gives the interior passengers just enough more room to make a difference. I did not notice the lighting to be dramatically different, but it was pleasant.”

ANA's 787 sits next to the terminal in San Jose. Photo by Brandon Farris / AirlineReporter.com.

ANA’s 787 sits next to the terminal in San Jose. Photo by Brandon Farris / AirlineReporter.com.

Tsuda continued, “The spaciousness of the cabin makes it feel much more open, less of a cave feeling. Definitely noticed that I needed less hydration, so I suppose there was more humidity in cabin. I can’t be sure, but I felt that the noise (I was behind the wings) was slightly less than in the 747 that I took for the next leg of my trip. Subjectively I heard less low end rumble. I would definitely recommend the plane and ANA from SJC to NRT.”

The lighting and increased humidity of the 787 might be obvious benefits to passengers flying, but the route itself is more telling of the benefits of the 787 Dreamliner. This new route wouldn’t make economic sense on a larger aircraft, like the Boeing 777, but it does with the smaller and more efficient 787. The ability to fly more non-stop routes, like SJC-NRT is one of the huge benefits of the Dreamliner.

Although this is the first new international service into the airport, they are confident that they will bring in a few more international carriers in the near future as they are in talks with several airlines. Soon, I hope to write a story discussing what the future may hold for SJC after talking to airport officials while at the event.

ADDITIONAL ANA BOEING 787 SCJ PHOTOS:

This story written by…Brandon Farris, Correspondent.

Brandon is an avid aviation geek based in Seattle. He got started in Photography and Reporting back in 2010. He loves to travel where ever he has to to cover the story and try to get the best darn shot possible.

@BrandonsBlog | RightStuffPhotography | Flickr

Some Airport Changes Are Coming to St. Maarten

A Corsair Boeing 747-400 lands at St. Maarten. Image by Chris Sloan / Airchive.com.

A Corsair Boeing 747-400 lands at St. Maarten. Image by Chris Sloan / Airchive.com.

This story was written by Jason Rabinowitz for AirlineReporter.com.

On the tiny island of St. Maarten in the northeast Caribbean, there is a single runway airport named Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM). This airport’s reputation, however, is anything but tiny.

Aviation enthusiasts call it the destination of dreams. Between the beginning of runway 10 and the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea sits a 100 foot wide area called Maho Beach. On these 100 feet of beach, enthusiasts and thrill seekers alike gather as heavy jets pass overhead, just seconds from touching down on the runway.

The tiny airport receives some of the largest aircraft in operation today, such as the Boeing 747 and Airbus A340. Currently, 1.6 million passengers pass through the airport, of which 85% are on scheduled airline flights as visitors to the island. Last week, Princess Juliana International Airport announced plans to facilitate further growth.

The airport received a US$132 million bond, which will enable major improvements and further expansion. Some of these improvements include the rehabilitation of the runway, construction of new taxiways to increase the efficiency of the runway, expansion of aprons to provide for more aircraft parking, and the acquisition of property for future expansion. The growth and rehabilitation is expected to take place over a three year period, during which aircraft operations will not be affected.

When word first came out that St. Maarten would be expanding the airport, aviation enthusiasts immediately became fearful for the future of Maho Beach. Last year, a video surfaced on YouTube of a woman holding onto the perimeter fence while an Airbus A320 prepared to take off. As the aircraft’s engines spooled up, the jet blast became too extreme for the woman, who went flying face first into a rock. Since this incident, the safety of Maho Beach has been called into question.

Thankfully, not only is the experience at Maho Beach going to remain as it is today, but Princess Juliana Airport is even embracing the excitement in a major re-branding effort.

An Air France Airbus A340 lands at SXM. Image from alljengi / Flickr CC.

An Air France Airbus A340 lands at SXM. Image from alljengi / Flickr CC.

The re-branding involves a new website, as well as a fresh new logo, featuring the SXM airport code. The new website includes real time arrival and departure times, social media integration, as well as a “Spectacular Landing” section, which is devoted to displaying user generated video from Maho Beach.

Speaking at a press event attended by AirlineReporter.com in New York City, Regina LeBega, Managing Director of the Princess Juliana International Airport Operating Company said, “We have signs, because it is a dangerous situation, and we try to make the signs a little more visible. Unfortunately, we can’t change the behavior of thrill seekers.” The airport will not be taking any action to quell this behavior, and no modifications will be made to the airport perimeter fence.

SXM is looking to become a hub airport, and these improvements will facilitate such change. For the typical vacationer and aviation enthusiast, Princess Juliana will remain as attractive as ever, providing a unique and breathtaking experience for years to come.

The State of “Green” Aviation Today

Green airplane isolated on white with clipping path

The general public is becoming more and more aware of climate change, and the aviation sector is embracing the “green” trend in a number of ways. Sure, the automakers may get all of the attention with their hybrid, electric, and biodiesel vehicles, many of them venturing into truly buzzworthy territory with Audi’s 200 mpg city car and Porsche’s 800-horsepower 918 hybrid. But many people – including aviation industry insiders – aren’t aware of the truly innovative solutions being developed and implemented to combat climate change and carbon emissions in the aviation sector.

Aviation Biofuels

Perhaps the most exciting trend is the rise of aviation biofuels, most of which are true drop-in replacements for petroleum-based jet fuels. UOP, a leading petrochemical producer owned by Honeywell, has been developing a plant-based biofuel branded Green Jet Fuel. It is produced from camelina, an inedible oilseed crop whose production doesn’t interfere with existing natural resources. This fuel has successfully powered more than 27 demonstrations flights since 2008. Just last month, five Gulfstream aircraft flew into this year’s National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) convention using a 50/50 mix of biofuel and Jet A. Honeywell claims this fuel has the ability to reduce carbon emissions by 60-85%.

Honeywell is far from the only company working on jet biofuels. The Research Council of Canada recently undertook the world’s first civilian flight powered by 100% unblended biofuel. This flight utilized ReadiJet, a biofuel produced from an industrial oilseed crop derived from Ethiopian Mustard.

Oilseed crops are not the only basis for aircraft biofuels. The first algae-fueled flights are shaping up for 2013. ENN, a leading Chinese bio-energy firm, has partnered with Airbus to produce algae-based biofuel for the Chinese aviation market. Test flights are planned to begin next year.

“Green” Departures, Routes, Arrivals

In Sweden, aviation innovators have been pioneering the use of existing technologies to make airline travel more resource-efficient. The Green Connection, a partnership between Sweden’s public air navigation authority and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), conducted more than 100 “green flights” in 2012. These flights aimed to reduce emissions and conserve fuel in three ways: green departures, direct routes, and green approaches.

Green departures were accomplished through continuous rates of climb, while minimum-thrust, continuous descent approaches (CDA) made for “green arrivals.” Approach paths were shortened through RNP-AR performance-based navigation (PBN) technology, while Sweden’s FRAS initiative allowed for shortened direct routes.

The result? Carbon emissions were reduced by 100-165 kg per approach, and flight paths were shortened by 20-plus kilometers. Swedavia CEO Torborg Chetkovich has stated of PBN technology: “Full utilization of this latest navigation technology would shorten flight paths at Swedavia’s airports, in one year alone, by a distance corresponding to twenty five around-the-world flights. This is a major contribution to fuel economy and reduced climate impact.”

Currently, SAS is the only airline approved to utilize RNP-AR for “green approaches” into Stockholm’s Arlanda airport, but many other operators have the capability to utilize this technology.

United Airlines's first commercial advanced biofuel flight using a Boeing 737-800 (N76516) takes off from Houston yesterday. Photo by United.

Airlines, like United, have started experimenting with eco-friendly biofuels.  Photo by United.

Carbon Offsetting

If you’re in the aviation industry, you’ve probably heard the hype – and controversy – that surrounds the carbon offset market. Many airlines have enabled eco-conscious passengers to cancel out the environmental impact of their flight in one way or another. They may be able to contribute directly to a renewable energy project of their choice – typically a wind or solar project – or purchase carbon offsets. The companies offering these offsets, in turn, reinvest the proceeds in various clean energy projects. Airline travelers can often offset their flight for as little as $2. As you can imagine, the costs are much higher for those flying on corporate jets. Terrapass is perhaps the best-known of these companies, funding a wide variety of various projects, from wind-farms to landfill gas capture systems on landfills and farmsteads.

Unfortunately, carbon offsets companies were largely unregulated at first, and many environmental experts questioned their true benefits. Additionally, consumers have historically had issues with the intangible nature of carbon offsets, preferring to know exactly where their money is going. Several third-party verifications have emerged to address this issue, such as the Verified Carbon Standard and Climate Action Reserve, but controversy remains.

The Sustainable Airport

Airlines and aircraft manufacturers are not the aviation sector’s only green innovators; airports are quickly jumping on the eco-bandwagon. The Chicago Department of Aviation sponsored the fifth annual Airports Going Green conference in November, and many sustainable solutions were showcased. Airports are testing LED lighting systems that brighten and dim based on factors such as daylight intensity and the number of people in the terminal. Goats have been used instead of gas-powered mowers at SFO for years, and Chicago O’Hare is currently conducting a 30-goat pilot program to do the same. ORD and Indianapolis are both working on large-scale solar installations, though the FAA is studying the possible safety concerns associated with glare from the panels themselves. Geothermal heating and cooling is being used or developed at many airports, and hybrid rental cars and green taxis are on the rise. Perhaps the most innovative solution of all? “Flying windmills” that soar high over airports on tethers, taking advantage of the winds aloft to generate much more wind power than conventional wind turbines.

For many airports, the benefits are twofold. Not only do such innovations reduce emissions, many of them they allow airports to be less dependent on the traditional power grid – an important asset during blackouts like those that plagued the Northeastern US and Canada in 2003.

As you can see, the aviation industry is packed with eco-innovators who are developing new technologies and harnessing existing ones to minimize fuel costs and make air travel more energy-efficient.

This article was co-authored by Taylor Brown and Benjamin Jerew. Taylor is the founder of Karma Jets, an innovative new jet charter service that plants trees to offset its clients’ flights – at its own cost. Ben, a former master Toyota/Lexus technician, is an alternative fuels expert and regular contributor to the tech-forward automotive portal AutoFoundry.com.

Classic: Cutaway of an Eastern Air Lines Lockheed L1011

From the EAL publication "Pastimes" from 1972. The centerfold introducing the L-1011 to the EAL fleet. Notice the First Class (red seat) arrangement..nice. Image from David Capodilupo. [CLICK FOR LARGER]

From the EAL publication “Pastimes” from 1972. The centerfold introducing the L-1011 to the EAL fleet. Image from David Capodilupo. [CLICK FOR LARGER]

I recently came across the above cut-away for an Eastern Air Lines Lockheed L1011 and wanted to share. Notice the dividers in economy (seen better in an image down below) and the lounge seating (red seats) in the front and rear of the aircraft. For the time, it really was “The plane that pampers people.”

Eastern was one of two co-launch customers for the L1011 (TWA was the second), which started service in 1972 with the airline.

Eastern Air Lines Lockheed L1011. Photo by Bob Garrard.

Eastern Air Lines Lockheed L1011. Photo by Bob Garrard.

The spacious layout, the luxurious amenities — the way flying used to be right? Also remember that there were fewer flight options, limited in-flight entertainment, louder, less safe and cost much more. Yes, things have changed, but I think mostly for the good. Doesn’t mean I don’t miss the L1011 and EAL.

From the L1011 Sales Brochure, this shows a more cramped 2-4-3 layout for economy. Image from Chris Sloan / Airchive.com.

Image from Chris Sloan / Airchive.com.

The image above is from the L1011 Sales Brochure, this shows a more cramped 2-4-3 layout for economy (the cut-away above shows a 2-4-2). Check out those center dividers and the lack of center overhead bins.

SOME ADDITIONAL L1011 GOODIES:
* Sales brochure for the Lockheed L1011 in 1979 via Airchive.com
* More classic Eastern Air Lines L1011 Photos by Bob Garrard

This story written by…David Parker Brown, Editor & Founder.

David started AirlineReporter.com in the summer of 2008, but has had a passion for aviation since he was a kid. Born and raised in the Seattle area (where he is currently based) has surely had an influence and he couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in the world.

@AirlineReporter | Flickr | YouTube

Photos: Hawaiian Airlines Orders Airbus A321neos

Mock up of what Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A321NEO will look like. Aircraft image from Airbus.

Mock up of what Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A321neo will look like. Aircraft image from Airbus. Can you tell where the background image was taken (it is a real photograph by Brandon Farris).

On Monday Hawaiian Airlines made a big announcement that it was ordering the Airbus A321neo to add to its expanding fleet.

The order is for 16 A321neo’s along with the rights to purchase up to nine more of the type. The carrier currently has 43 aircraft that is a mix of Boeing 767-300ER that it primarily uses on its west coast operations from the islands, the A330-200 used on international long haul ops and the Boeing 717 that it uses for inter-island hopping.

“Everyone at Hawaiian wants us to keep our position as the market leader in service quality, cost efficiency and choice of destinations. Ordering the A321neo will secure this legacy on routes to the U.S. West Coast beyond the middle of this decade,” said Mark Dunkerley, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines. “The A321neo will be the most fuel-efficient aircraft of its type after its introduction in 2016. With its slightly smaller size we’ll be able to open new markets that are not viable for wide-body service, while also being able to augment service on existing routes to the West Coast of North America.”

At 146-feet-long, the A321neo will seat approximately 190 passengers in a two-class configuration (First and Coach) and has a range of 3,650 nautical miles.  Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, however, the aircraft have a total list-price value of approximately $2.8 billion if all of the purchase rights are exercised.

The new acquisitions are also contingent upon Hawaiian signing new agreements with its pilots and flight attendant unions covering operation of the new aircraft type. If new agreements are reached, the fleet expansion is expected to generate roughly 1,000 additional jobs at the airline.

“This is a significant investment in the future of both Hawaiian and Hawaii. Our tourism-based economy and local employment will benefit as we continue our strategy of diversifying our business while improving the efficiency of our operation,” Dunkerley commented.

Expected range for the A321NEO from Hawaii.

This is the current range of the A321 from Hawaii. The A321NEO will add an additional 450 miles.

“We have come to think of Hawaiian Airlines as ‘ohana’ (family) and are very pleased to add yet another branch to our tree with this pending expansion of the Hawaiian Airbus fleet,” said John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer, customers. “Hawaiian has gotten great results with their A330s.”

There is much speculation from analyst and fans where the aircraft will be flown, whether they will take over the current 767 west coast routes or lead to expansion for Hawaiian to operate to new west coast operations. By the time these aircraft join the fleet their 767’s will be around 18 to 20 years old for the leased ones and 30 years with the four that it purchased from Delta in 2005.

Other ideas are this purchase is to keep the A350 and A330-200s free to continue what has been a rather aggressive expansion from the quite airlines on the islands.

This story written by…Brandon Farris, Correspondent. Brandon is an avid aviation geek based in Seattle. He got started in Photography and Reporting back in 2010. He loves to travel where ever he has to to cover the story and try to get the best darn shot possible.

@BrandonsBlog | RightStuffPhotography | Flickr