Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 137,829
2013: 330,818

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Airline Livery of the Week: Flybe and Their New Purple Design

G-FBJH E-175 in the current livery at Birmingham, UK, 25-Feb-14

G-FBJH E-175 in the current livery at Birmingham, UK. Notice the Biman DC-10 in the background – Photo: Ken Fielding

FlyBe, based at Exeter, Devon, in the UK is Europe’s largest regional airline.  It was born as Jersey European Airways out of a merger between Jersey, Channel Islands-based Intra Airways and Bournemouth, UK-based Express Air Services in November, 1979, and established a network of services out of the Channel Islands, mainly to other UK points.

In June 2000, the airline cheekily renamed itself ‘British European’, using the ex-British European Airways (BEA – now British Airways) flight prefix code ‘BE’, rebranding as ‘FlyBe’ in July, 2002.  In November 2006, FlyBe expanded again by buying the British Airways’ regional group, ‘BA Connect’ (apart from their services out of London City Airport, which are operated by BA CityFlyer), with part of the payment to BA being a 15% stock transfer.

At the start of 2008, FlyBe signed a franchise agreement with Scottish-based airline Loganair.  This agreement became effective when their franchise agreement with British Airways was terminated the following October.  Loganair’s aircraft now operate in FlyBe’s colors on over 50 routes out of Scottish airports including the ‘Highlands & Islands’ services.
Continue reading Airline Livery of the Week: Flybe and Their New Purple Design

Portland Airport’s Cult Following: Their AvGeek Loved Carpet

The Current PDX Carpet design which has such a cult following - Photo: Port of Portland/PDX

The current PDX carpet design which has such a cult following – Photo: Port of Portland/PDX

Portland Airport staff in the late 80s would never have imagined that over 20 years later, a cult following would beset their airport; specifically, the carpet. What has surprised the Port of Portland (PDX) and locals alike is how this simple floor covering has turned into a phenomenon.

How does a piece of carpet become so well known? We put out a tweet one afternoon with just a small glimpse of the design and within seconds, numerous people had correctly guessed what it was, and they were not all Portland locals either. What makes this carpet so special?

Continue reading Portland Airport’s Cult Following: Their AvGeek Loved Carpet

Hello, Goodbye – The Last Boeing 747-400D

ANA - All Nippon AIrways' New Employee Celebration, with ANA's last 747-400D.

ANA – All Nippon Airways’ New Employee Celebration, with ANA’s last 747-400D

In Japan, April 1 is most certainly not April Fools’ Day.

April 1 is actually the start of the financial year for Japanese companies. And along with this fiscal reset, April 1 is the day that groups of recent graduates begin their careers with a new company, a loyal relationship that may very well be life-long. This unique recruitment culture is called Shinsotsu. Talented students are identified at various institutions. They go through testing, seminars, company visits, and other methods to make sure there’s a solid “fit” with a company’s culture and values. It makes sense. In a culture with a tradition of life-long employment, it’s critical for both the students and the companies to get it right.

The ANA – All Nippon Airways Group has well over 30,000 employees, and on April 1, I was honored to be part of a celebration to welcome over a thousand new graduates to ANA. It was Tuesday morning, and I was quite well jet-lagged after the departure events and inaugural flight on ANA’s new service from Vancouver (YVR) to Tokyo-Haneda (HND). Our hosts shuttled us over to ANA’s aircraft maintenance facility at HND. It’s huge, with seven hangar bays and the ability to service all of ANA’s jet fleet, right up to major “D” checks.

But we weren’t there to look at airplanes. Well, not quite. As we were escorted through the hangars, there was one plane looming in a semi-lit bay. It was ANA’s last Boeing 747-400D (Domestic), registered JA8961. It wasn’t there for maintenance, but to be part of ANA’s New Employee Celebration of Shinsotsu.

We walked to the back of the hangar to be seated behind a remarkably large and perfectly organized group of 1,089 new ANA employees-to-be. The 747 was the ideal backdrop for the event.

Continue reading Hello, Goodbye – The Last Boeing 747-400D

American Airlines Updates 777-200ER Interior & Their Frequent Flyer Program

An American Airlines 777-200ER in the new Livery. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com

An American Airlines 777-200ER in the new Livery. Photo – Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com

Just like Delta Air Lines earlier this year, American has revealed some upgrades to their fleet, while announcing (unpopular to some) changes to their frequent flyer program as well.

On Monday morning, American Airlines revealed the new Business Class product to be fitted to their Boeing 777-200ER aircraft as they go in for refurbishment.  The new seat, which is a herringbone-style, looks pretty slick. They also have a unique feature being seen on more aircraft: rear-facing seats.

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VIDEO: 737 Business Jet Flight Deck PLUS Cabin Tour

Often I am asked what some of my favorite aviation experiences has been. No question, being able to fly in a Boeing 737-700 Business Jet from Boeing Field (BFI) to Anchorage (ANC) was one of those moments.

I have previously shared in the trip in great detail on a previous story, but I haven’t yet shared my video. Although the back of the plane is quite something, I was more interested in being able to sit in the flight deck during takeoff and again during landing. I have never had that experience before in a large jet and what else can I say other than… it was amazing.

Yes, my trip was almost a year ago, but I got held up with the video – at least I get to spread the BBJ love! My only regret is not wearing the top hat in the flight deck – maybe next time.