Around the World

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

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Paris Air Show 2013 – Early in the Week Update

An overview shot of the Paris Air Show. Photo by Jason Rabinowitz / Airchive.com.

An overview shot of the Paris Air Show. Photo by Jason Rabinowitz / Airchive.com.

As expected, the Paris Air Show 2013 started off with announcements from aircraft manufacturers and airlines. Here’s just some of what happened on Monday & Tuesday:

  • Embraer officially launched their next-generation E-Jets, to be called E-Jets E2, with two significant orders. US Regional SkyWest Airlines ordered 100 of the 80-seat E-175 E2 jets, and have purchase rights for another 100 planes.  Mega-leasing company International Leasing Finance Company (ILFC) signed a Letter of Intent to purchase 25 each of the E-190 E2 and E-195 E2 jets.  They have options to double the order.  SkyWest is the launch airline, and will get their new E-175 E2s in 2020.  The E-190 E2 will be delivered much earlier, starting in 2018.
  • Bombardier Aerospace announced that a previously-confirmed order for 10 CS100s is held by Odyssey Airlines, which plans to operate from the 4,900 ft runway at London City Centre Airport. (LCY).

Continue reading Paris Air Show 2013 – Early in the Week Update

Image: China Airlines Orders Boeing 777-300ER

China Airlines Boeing 777-300ER. Image from Boeing.

China Airlines Boeing 777-300ER. Image from Boeing.

Last week Boeing managed to book 36 777 orders. While 30 of them are unidentified customers, China Airlines has announced its intention to order six new 777-300ERs worth $2 Billion at list prices along with four options. It is believed that these six aircraft are meant to replace its Airbus A340-300 fleet.

“The introduction of the 777-300ER into our fleet is another important step toward growing our global operations and enhancing our product offering,” said Huang-Hsiang Sun, president of China Airlines. “The 777-300ER sets the standard for twin-aisle airplanes with improved reliability and airplane performance. Our new 777-300ER airplanes will feature new interiors that will enhance the flying experience for our passengers.”

Taiwan’s flag carrier is in the midst of renewing its long-haul fleet and plans to operate the new 777-300ERs on new trans-Pacific flights between North America and Asia. The new airplanes will help the airline enhance its status as the largest airline in Taiwan and a leading global carrier.

“China Airlines has been a valued Boeing customer for more than 50 years and we are honored the airline has chosen the 777-300ER to expand its long-haul fleet,” said Ray Conner, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The introduction of the new 777-300ERs will provide China Airlines with new state-of-the-art cabin interiors, while adding improved airplane performance and economics to its long haul fleet.”

The Boeing 777 is the world’s most successful twin-engine, long-haul airplane and it continues to be preferred by airlines around the world, setting a record of 200 airplane orders in 2011. It is 19 percent lighter than its closest competitor, produces 22 percent less carbon dioxide per seat and costs 20 percent less to operate per seat. China Airlines will configure its 777-300ERs to accommodate more than 350 passengers in a three-class configuration and has a maximum range of 7,825 nautical miles (14,490 km).

In addition to the Boeing order for six 777-300ERs, China Airlines also will lease four 777-300ERs from GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS). China Airlines currently operates 23 Boeing passenger airplanes consisting of 747-400s and 737-800s, and 21 Boeing cargo aircraft consisting of 747-400Fs.

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

Boeing Round Up: Southwest 737MAX Order, 787 Dream Tour, 777 ETOPS and More

Over the past week I have been receiving many different press releases from Boeing – most of which I wanted to share, but haven’t had the time to give them the attention that they deserve. To make sure that they all get a little attention, I decided to do this round up to touch base on what’s going on with Boeing. There are a few more story lines that I hope to go into a bit more detail over the next few days, but for now…

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8. Photo by Boeing.

HI RES (click for bigger): Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8. Photo by Boeing.

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES BECOMES LAUNCH CUSTOMER FOR THE 737 MAX
On December 13th, Boeing announced that Southwest airlines placed an order for 150 of the 737 MAX and would become the launch customer the new version of the 737.

“Southwest is a special Boeing customer and has been a true partner in the evolution of the 737,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Jim Albaugh. “Throughout our 40-year relationship, our two companies have collaborated to launch the 737-300, 737-500 and the Next-Generation 737-700 – affirming the 737 as the world’s preferred single-aisle airplane. As launch customer for the 737 MAX, Southwest, Boeing and the 737 continue that legacy.”

The firm order is Boeing’s largest in both dollar value and the number of aircraft ordered.

“Today’s environment demands that we become more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly, and as the launch Customer of the Boeing 737 MAX, we have accomplished both,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines Chairman, President, and CEO. “We are teaming up with our friends from Boeing to lead the industry in a way that makes both our shareholders and our Customers proud to associate with Southwest Airlines. Today’s announcement will allow us to maintain our position as a low-cost provider in the years ahead.”

VIDEO: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max. Computer generated by Boeing. Thanks to Robert for pointing this out.

Air New Zealand's first Boeing 777-300ER at Paine Field. Photo by AirlineReporter.com.

Air New Zealand's first Boeing 777-300ER at Paine Field. Photo by AirlineReporter.com.

BOEING 777 NOW HAS 330-MINUTE ETOPS
On December 12th, Boeing announced that its 777 received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly up to 330-minutes away from an alternative airport.

“Boeing twin-engine jets have flown more than 7 million ETOPS flights since 1985, and more than 120 Boeing operators fly more than 50,000 ETOPS flights each month,” said Larry Loftis, vice president and general manager 777 program. “This is the logical continuation of the Boeing philosophy of point-to-point service. Passengers want to minimize their overall travel time. This is one more step in that direction.”

To date, the 777 has flown more than 2 million ETOPS flights since June 1995 and 93% of 777s are flown on ETOPS routes.

“What this means is that the airplane is able to fly a straighter route between the city pairs and that’s good for the environment,” said Capt. David Morgan, chief pilot for Air New Zealand. “Less fuel is burned and less carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere. It’s also good for customers because flights are potentially shorter and passengers could arrive sooner at their destinations.”

CHECKING IN WITH THE DREAMLINER WORLD TOUR
Boeing’s third Dreamliner, ZA003, is taking a six month journey around the world. Its first stop was in Beijing, China with different stops with-in China from December 4th to 11th.

“This great day demonstrates our partnership with China in pursuing aviation excellence,” said Marc Allen, Boeing China president. “Chengfei, Hafei and Shenfei — as exclusive and single-source Boeing suppliers — have made a great contribution to the success of the 787 program, producing the rudder, wing-to-body fairing, and vertical fin leading edge. We want to thank them for their role in making today possible.”

On the 11th, ZA003 flew over to Africa and became the first time a 787 has landed in that continent. From the 11th to the 14th, the 787 hung out in Nairobi and allowed Ethiopian Airline employees the chance to see the new aircraft they should be taking delivery of soon. ZA003 will remain in Africa until the 16th of December before flying to the Middle East with a stop in Doha to visit Qatar Airways.

At this point, Boeing has not announced future destinations, but I would imagine that ZA003 will continue to head west.

Graphic showing the record breaking Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight. Image is from GE. Click for larger.

Graphic showing the record breaking Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight. Image is from GE. Click for larger.

THE 787 DREAMLINER BREAKS WORLD RECORDS
While ZA003 is traveling the world, ZA006 went and set some new world records. The 787 Dreamliner recently established two new records for speed and distance for the aircraft’s weight class.

From Boeing’s press release, “The sixth 787, ZA006, powered by General Electric GEnx engines, departed from Boeing Field in Seattle at 11:02 a.m. on Dec. 6 and set the distance record for its class (440,000-550,000 lbs.) with a 10,710 nmi (19,835 km) flight to Dhaka, Bangladesh, with credit for 10,337 nmi (19,144 km). This record had previously been held by the Airbus A330 based on a 9,127 nmi (16,903 km) flight in 2002.”

“Following an approximately two-hour stop for refueling in Dhaka, the airplane returned to Seattle on a 9,734 nmi (18,027 km) flight. The airplane landed at 5:29 a.m. on Dec. 8, setting a new record for speed around the world (eastbound) with a total trip time of 42 hours and 27 minutes. There was no previous around-the-world speed record for this weight class.”

Go Dreamliner go!

OTHER BOEING HEADLINES RECENTLY:
* FedEx announced order for additional 767 and 777 Freighters
*  Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental Receives FAA Certification
* Ethihad Airways Orders 10 787-9 Dreamliners
* Boeing to Build New Everett Delivery Center at Paine Field

Behind the Scenes: How Boeing Delivered Air New Zealand’s First 777-300ER

Dinner hosted at the Experience Music Project in downtown Seattle before the delivery the next day.

Dinner hosted at the Experience Music Project in downtown Seattle the night before the delivery.

Air New Zealand’s first Boeing 777-300ER was recently delivered to the airline, then flown to Los Angeles before heading to Auckland. Being able to show off the new interior was quite exciting. This was a huge deal for Air New Zealand, Boeing and airline geeks around the world. Boeing and Air New Zealand worked hard to make sure the hand over was not a small celebration and I wanted to share what happens behind-the-scenes on a VIP aircraft delivery.

The event really started the day before the delivery. Boeing employees, Air New Zealand guests, the media and other VIP’s were invited to take a special tour of the Boeing factory and attend a celebratory dinner. Due to scheduling I had to choose to either take a tour of the factory (which I have done quite a bit previously) or take a ride down to LAX on the new plane. Needless to say, I didn’t make the tour.

After the factory tour, people were invited to dinner, which was hosted at the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum in downtown Seattle. The dinner was quite the fancy affair. “The venue - Experimental Music Project (EMP) was a good fit for the delivery dinner as it followed ANZ ‘s branding of clean, modern, sleek, technologically advanced and fun as well as all the lighting etc that are part of their new interior and product,” Linda Lee with Boeing International Communications explained to me.

Everyone was in business suits and fancy h’orderves and drinks were being served when I arrived. Although we had free access to roam the facility, I decided to stay and talk with Air New Zealand and Boeing folks. We were housed in a very large room with a huge LED wall with an Air New Zealand Boeing 777-300ER displayed on the wall. On either side was a projected Air New Zealand logo and on the other a Boeing logo. The purple hue of the lights really matched the feeling of the inside of Air New Zealand’s new 777-300ER.

The Future of Flight's Gallery was closed off for the delivery celebration. Where you see the projector screen were the large doors that opened to reveal the new 777-300ER (click for larger).

The Future of Flight’s Gallery was closed off for the delivery celebration. Where you see the projector screen were the large doors that opened to reveal the new 777-300ER (click for larger).

After things calmed down we all sat in our assigned seats. Sitting on one side of me was Andrew Baker who is the Cultural and Customer Ambassador and on the other was David Wilson who is the Boeing 777 Deputy Fleet Manager and was one of the pilots taking the new 777 to Auckland. Cool. I care very little about celebrities on TV or in movies. For me, these people are celebrities. It was wonderful speaking with them and the rest of the guests at the table about airlines, airplanes and the whole business.

Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren of NYCAviation, who was also covering the event, pointed out that he enjoyed how Air New Zealand set up the seating. “Air New Zealand peppered in more than just the communications staff at the media tables.  We had David, the first officer, and Chris, one of the premium cabin flight attendants at our table among others.  To get their perspectives and pick their brains provided a much more frank and real discussion; one you may not have had at a table with only communications staff parroting talking points.” Oh yes, the food was not too shabby either.

What kind of dinner would it be with out those special speeches? There was a lot of thanks and appreciation that was shared between both companies and it was all well deserved. Although the dinner was a very fun and informational event, one couldn’t help but be excited about actually seeing the plane the next day.

Being December in Seattle, I was expecting rain. The airline-delivery gods were smiling on us and gave us one beautiful day. Our flight was scheduled to leave from Paine Field at 3pm, but were asked to show up at the Future of Flight by 10am. I really didn’t know the full plan for the day and I was totally fine with that. I knew I was there at 10am, plane was leaving at 3pm and I had my return flight back to Seattle. Everything else was going to be an adventure.

Going outside to check out Air New Zealand's Boeing 777-300ER for the first time.

Going outside to check out Air New Zealand’s Boeing 777-300ER for the first time.

When most airplanes are delivered to an airline there isn’t a huge ceremony. On the east side of the airport, Boeing has a building where the airline’s crew will show up, some paperwork is signed and the aircraft is flown off. Actually during the ceremony, two other airlines took delivery of other Boeing 777-300ERs: Qatar and Turkish Airlines with little fanfare. But with certain milestones, airlines like to make a little bigger deal about their delivery. “Events and deliveries vary based on the airline customer i.e. Is it a first of model, milestone delivery, participation and attendance levels etc.  This obviously was a large event as it was ANZ’s First 777-300ER and the world introduction of their new interior and branding,”  Lee stated.

On the Future of Flight’s gallery floor there was a large stage and chairs set up. The gallery was closed to the general public during this event, but it provides one heck of a backdrop for celebrating an airplane. After some more speeches and some paperwork signed, Boeing handed over the keys — literally. Now, the keys aren’t used to actually start the plane, but I was told they do access the cockpit door. At this point, the airplane is no longer Boeing’s and belongs to the airline (well the bank I guess). After the handshakes and big smiles, the large hangar doors opened to show the shiny new Boeing 777-300ER.

Since this was a few days before Christmas (er, non-denominational holiday time-frame) there was a Santa and two elves dancing around the plane with a big sign that read “Happy Holiday Air NewZealand!” I got too caught up looking at the new plane, others caught something a bit more touching. “Another correspondent working the event noted that he saw a few welled up eyes on the team as the doors pulled back – and I’m not surprised.” Dwyer-Lindgren explained to me. “To be able to share in that excitement and witness the deep pride they felt for their company and their plane was really something special.” The event was more than just getting a new airplane.

Me and Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren (with NYC Aviation) show off our boarding passes before getting on board at Paine Field.

Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren (with NYC Aviation) and I show off our boarding passes before getting on board at Paine Field.

Before any of us could take a look inside, Mr. Baker, in traditional garb, blessed the aircraft. Then it was finally time: checking out the inside. Since my blog about the interior already goes over that part of the event, I will skip it on this one. After we all had our tour, it was back into the Future of Flight’s gallery for some food and networking while we waited for the aircraft to be prepared for flight. This was a good time for most media-types to start writing out stories and checking the photos they took.

Then it was time to re-board the airplane, but in a very different way. Instead of going out the hangar doors and up onto the plane, we all went through a mini-security screening, being wanded and having our bags searched. Before getting to the security screening, we received our boarding passes. Now you know you might be an airline geek if getting a boarding pass from Paine Field to LAX gives you a huge smile. Dwyer-Lindgren explains it best, “I got the sense that all the media on board realized that this ticket was something unique and special…but it was us aviation nuts who appreciated it the most.  To have a ticket that actually reads Paine Field…for a domestic flight on an international airline on a brand-spanking new 777-300ER (there are no US airlines who currently utilize them)…was just so unique.  So yes, it was [censored] AWESOME.”

Then it was up on to the plane and time to take our seats. Let’s see, row 7, seat J, that sounds like it might be near the front of the plane and it sure was. Air New Zealand had allowed the media and their guests to try out the seats up front while they sat in Economy Plus (which weren’t too shabby either).

Having to leave the new Boeing 777-300ER at LAX was difficult, especially knowing she was on her way to Auckland.

Having to leave the new Boeing 777-300ER at LAX was difficult, especially knowing she was on her way to Auckland.

Taking off in a Boeing 777-300ER, which is about 1/4 full, is a unique experience. I can tell you that we didn’t take up too much of the runway before going airborne. Being a part of a flight with only media, Boeing and airline folks is a fun ride. Easy going atmosphere, cheering during take off and great conversations. I almost wish more flying experiences could be like that.

Unfortunately the flight was short. In less than three hours we were lining up to land at LAX. For a good chunk of people on board, they were heading on to Auckland, but since it was only a few days before Christmas, I had to get off and take a flight right back to Seattle. It was not easy going from my super luxurious seat on the Air New Zealand 777-300ER to my normal economy seat heading back to Seattle.

The delivery of this aircraft was a big deal and both Boeing and Air New Zealand did it right. Although it takes a lot of work from people on both sides to make an event like this happen, it is great to remind people why they are in this business. Where most deliveries will just be pilots coming to pick up the plane with little show, others, will get a much larger and well deserved celebration.

If you missed it earlier, Air New Zealand is having a contest until Valentine’s Day to allow you to win a free trip to New Zealand or England in Cuddle Class.

A sleek powershot digital camera will take amazing photos each time you travel.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner ZA102 Did Not Fly Today — Paine Field Still Provides Eye Candy

Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 777-200LR (ER-ANP) at Paine Field.

Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 777-200LR (ET-ANP) at Paine Field. Click for more photos.

Ah, the life of waiting for a first flight in Seattle: cold, rain, wind, but no Boeing 787 Dreamliner. ZA102, the ninth Dreamliner, was set to take off for the first time today, but it has been pushed until at least tomorrow, Tuesday. The engines started up for a while, but then shut down and the left cowl was opened up. This didn’t mean Paine Field was short of any action this morning. There were two Boeing 777′s that took off, one Boeing 747-8 (BOE503) and a few Ryanair Boeing 737′s that did touch and goes.

CHECK OUT THE EYE CANDY FROM PAINE FIELD