Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2015: 242,760
2014: 363,407
Total: 1,164,361






Flying a SATA Airbus A310 “Football” to the Azores

- Photo: Lord of the Wings | FlickrCC

SATA Airbus A310 – Photo: Lord of the Wings | FlickrCC

As part of a recent business trip, I had to make a trip to the Azores. There are a limited number of options for getting out to the island chain in the central Atlantic. As I was coming from Lisbon, I had the option of either taking the low-cost route of Ryanair/easyJet, or full-service options of TAP or SATA (Sociedade Açoriana de Transportes Aéreos).

What sealed the deal to take SATA over TAP was the fact that my desired flight was to be operated by an Airbus A310 aircraft, (affectionally known as “the football”), a classic airliner that is disappearing from active commercial service. I had never flown on an A310, nor on SATA, so I was looking forward to this trip.

Sometimes it's fun to board by a bus Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Sometimes it’s fun to board by bus on an A310 (reg: CS-TKN) – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Departure in Lisbon was from Terminal 1. Online check-in is possible with SATA, however as I had a bag to drop off and I wanted a “souvenir” paper boarding pass (something harder to come by these days), I used the classic counter check-in. As my flight was was continuing on to Boston, from Ponta Delgada, the departure was from the non-schengen area of the terminal. This necessitated passing through passport control, and was hassle-free as my boarding pass clearly stated I was disembarking in the Azores and I only needed my ID card.

When ready to board, we boarded a bus and headed out on the ramp. No complaints from me, since I enjoyed the experience of the A310 up-close-and-personal.

Continue reading Flying a SATA Airbus A310 “Football” to the Azores

Ryanair to Fly Across the Atlantic? Using Which Aircraft?

A Ryanair 737 taxis for a test flight at Boeing Field. Photo - Andrew W. Sieber FlickerCC

A Ryanair 737 taxis for a test flight at Boeing Field – Photo: Andrew W. Sieber | FlickerCC

Ryanair might soon start trans-Atlantic flights, but what does it mean?

At face value, this may seem like an earthshaking headline; after all, Ryanair has been either threatening or strongly implying that they will fly from various European airports to the United States.

But again, the truth is always in the details. Yes, Ryanair will be arriving on U.S. soil, but not tomorrow — not even next year. You see, the exact wording of the approval came in the form as part of their five-year plan.

Continue reading Ryanair to Fly Across the Atlantic? Using Which Aircraft?

An Airbus A321 with a 97-ton Maximum Weight — Where Can I Get One!?

An American Airlines A321-231 on final at LAX. AA could be a potential customer for the new A321 variant. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

American A321 on final at LAX. AA could be a potential customer for the new variant – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Airbus has done what analysts have been expecting for the past few months; announce a version of the A321 with the ability to fly a greatly extended range and finally match (and exceed) the capabilities of a Boeing 757-200 with winglets.

The 97-ton maximum weight will be achieved by the addition of a fuel tank in the forward baggage compartment and some fairly low-cost reengineering of the wing. Air Lease Corporation is the launch customer, with a memorandum of understanding for thirty frames. They have not, yet, stated where these aircraft will be placed.

To achieve a 4000-nm range, Airbus has envisioned a configuration carrying 206 passengers (16J and 190Y). They have also stated that, due to the extra fuel tank and limitations of the design, it is unlikely for this aircraft to be able to carry much cargo. This may, immediately, appear as a source of consternation if your airline relies on flying long sorties on narrow-bodies full of fresh fish. Otherwise, is it really a big deal? I would say no.

Continue reading An Airbus A321 with a 97-ton Maximum Weight — Where Can I Get One!?

Boeing vs Airbus: How Did They Do in 2014?

Delta Air Lines Airbus A330 with a KLM Boeing 747-400 in the background in Amsterdam.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A330, with a KLM Boeing 747-400 in the background, in Amsterdam – Photo: David Parker Brown

At the start of last year, we looked at the results of the 2013 deliveries between Airbus and Boeing.  With all the interest in that article, I couldn’t leave it alone for 2014, right?  So let’s take a look at how the two big airliner companies did, in what is really the biggest aviation competition around?

2014 was a big year for both Boeing and Airbus.  Last year we saw the first delivery of the A350XWB for Airbus, while Boeing also had delivery of the first 787-9 to Air New Zealand (followed closely by ANA).

On the narrowbody front, the A320NEO had its first flight (don’t those engines look like someone strapped giant engines onto the wing and went “it will work, trust me”) and the 737 MAX makes it one step closer to rolling out of the Renton factory.  There were plenty of orders made to both airliners, but what we really want to know is, who produced and sold the most aircraft?

Continue reading Boeing vs Airbus: How Did They Do in 2014?

Qatar Airways Airbus A350 Photo Tour

The Qatar Airways A350, simply beautiful Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

The Qatar Airways A350, simply beautiful – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Ever since first seeing the Airbus A350 at the Singapore Airshow last year, I have had a soft spot for this aircraft. I was over the moon with excitement when the news came that I had been invited by Qatar Airways to cover the inauguration ceremony in Doha prior to its inaugural flight to Frankfurt on the 15th of January.

The aircraft had been officially handed over to Qatar Airways on the 22nd of December, 2014, in a special delivery ceremony hosted by Airbus.

A nice welcome at the press conference Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

A nice welcome at the press conference – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

The inauguration ceremony in Doha was accompanied by much fanfare, including a fun-filled three-day activity program for over 130 members of media from all over the world. Although there was no demonstration flight, like the event in Toulouse, it was still a very exciting and fun event to be part of.

The below photo report covers not only the official press conference and aircraft tour, but also the rather extravagant evening inauguration ceremony. This ceremony was one of the most impressive spectacles I had ever witnessed, and it was magnificently organized, right down to the choreographed light show on the aircraft. For the best viewing experience, be sure to click on each photo for the full resolution image to be displayed.

Continue reading Qatar Airways Airbus A350 Photo Tour