Around the World

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

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Virgin Australia Reborn – Flying Business Class from Brisbane to Sydney

Virgin Australia's new livery showcasing their transition to a corporate carrier - Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

Virgin Australia’s new livery showcasing their transition to a premium-focused carrier                       Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter

VIRGIN AUSTRALIA BUSINESS CLASS REVIEW BASICS:

Airline: Virgin Australia
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800 (VH-YIF)
Departed: Brisbane Airport (BNE)
Arrived: Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD)
Stops: Non-stop flight
Class: Business class
Seat: 1F
Length: About 1.5 hours

Cheers: Fresh and funky looking cabin interior and great catering for such a short flight
Jeers: No foot-rests and no curtain divider thus limiting privacy
Overall: A great new business product on the Australian domestic market which with a few improvements will give competitors a run for their money.

During the last two years, perhaps no other airline has gone through as much transformation as Virgin Australia. Starting off as the first true low-cost carrier (LCC) in Australia in 2000 (then known as Virgin Blue) it quickly became a popular choice for leisure travelers. As the Australian market became more saturated with LCCs, Virgin decided it was time to remodel and focus more instead on the premium market. This transformation included the introduction of a business class across the fleet, with all aircraft having completed the re-fit by the 3rd quarter of 2013.

Continue reading Virgin Australia Reborn – Flying Business Class from Brisbane to Sydney

SilkAir Welcomes the Boeing 737-800 into its Fleet

A side view of Silk Air's first 737-8SA. Photo - Bernie Leighton AirlineReporter.com

Side view of SilkAir’s first Boeing 737-8SA – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

February 21, 1989 was an important day for Singapore Airlines. On that day, their regional affiliate Tradewinds Airlines took off using MD-87s for previously unserved Southeast Asian destinations like Bandar Seri Begawan.

Tradewinds continued until 1992 when it was renamed SilkAir. If you have not noticed, it is almost February 21, 2014. In other words, we are quickly approaching the twenty-fifth anniversary of SilkAir. On top of that, this is also the Chinese Lunar New Year period. There is a lot to celebrate at SilkAir. Most of all, the delivery of their first Boeing 737-8SA.

A Chinese Lion Dance to bring in the new year and celebrate a new era of SilkAir.  - Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com

A Chinese Lion Dance to bring in the new year and celebrate a new era of SilkAir – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

SilkAir is celebrating a lot of firsts with delivery of 9V-MGA (internally referred to as “my great aircraft”). Their first 737 NextGen, their largest aircraft order (54 frames), and their fastest year-on-year fleet growth (they are accepting eight frames this year).

Continue reading SilkAir Welcomes the Boeing 737-800 into its Fleet

Time Lapse Video & Photos of WestJet’s Disney #MagicPlane

If you haven’t caught the new WestJet #MagicPlane livery, you are in for a real treat. It is a complicated design that was not an easy task to complete. This time-lapse video above demonstrates the painstaking steps it took to bring this design to life.

The completed #MagicPlane livery. Photo: WestJet

The completed #MagicPlane livery (reg: C-GWSZ). Photo: WestJet

According to WestJet, “The special livery is designed to tell a story from tail to nose. It starts with Sorcerer Mickey, prominent on the aircraft’s tail, with magic stars coming from his hands. The magic stars swirl around the fuselage and past the wings, culminating with fireworks over the Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World.”

BONUS: Alaska Airlines Unveils its Latest Disneyland Scheme

It took a total of 26 workers, using 36 different colo(u)rs, 24 days working around the clock to make the paint scheme work. Now that is dedication, but we think it paid off. Check out some more photos, plus some magic in the interior:

Continue reading Time Lapse Video & Photos of WestJet’s Disney #MagicPlane

BREAKING: Air Canada Orders up to 109 737 MAX Aircraft

The Boeing 737 MAX 8. Image: Boeing.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 – Image: Boeing

Today, Air Canada, in a surprising move, has decided to replace their current Airbus narrowbody fleet with the offering from the competition – the Boeing 737 MAX.

They have ordered a total of 61 of the aircraft, with 33 going to the MAX 8 and 23 to the larger MAX 9.  The “up to 109″ part of the transaction comes from 30 purchase rights and 18 options. At list prices, the firm orders would be a transaction of over six billion dollars, but you better believe that the airline made a stellar deal for the planes.

“We are pleased to announce our agreement with Boeing for the purchase of 737 MAX aircraft as part of the ongoing modernization of Air Canada’s fleet,” said Calin Rovinescu, President and CEO of Air Canada. “Renewal of our North American narrowbody fleet with more fuel efficient aircraft is a key element of our ongoing cost transformation program and the enhanced passenger cabin comfort provided by the Boeing MAX will help us to retain Air Canada’s competitive position as the Best Airline in North America. Our narrowbody fleet renewal program is expected to yield significant cost savings. We have estimated that the projected fuel burn and maintenance cost savings on a per seat basis of greater than 20 per cent will generate an estimated CASM reduction of approximately 10 per cent as compared to our existing narrowbody fleet.”

By 2019, Air Canada plans to have an all Boeing long-haul fleet, and a majority Boeing short-to-medium haul fleet. Currently, the airline operates a fleet of 27 Airbus A319s, 36 A320s and 10 A321s.

Continue reading BREAKING: Air Canada Orders up to 109 737 MAX Aircraft

Photo Tour of the Boeing 737 Renton Factory

Out side the Boeing 737 Factory in Renton, WA.

Outside the Boeing 737 factory in Renton, WA. The air frames of the 737 arrive via train. Photo: David Parker Brown

This summer I was excited to take a tour of Boeing’s 737 factory, located in Renton, Washington, with my colleague Chris Sloan over at Airchive.com. Over the past few months we have shared some pretty amazing stories and now I want to give you a photo tour of the facility and walk you through our adventure.

One of my favorite aspects of the facility is the parking lot – yes, that is right. Well, not the lot itself, but the fact that the Boeing 737 actually starts at Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, KS and the fuselage is transported by train to Renton.

If you like planes and trains (which I do), nothing beats catching a glimpse of one of the 737 fuselages riding on a train to the Renton 737 factory before it is dropped off in the parking lot [this photos shows a bit better how close the plane is to cars].

My latest trip into the factory was my third visit, but the first where I was allowed to bring a camera. Unlike Paine Field, which offers public tours, the 737 factory is closed to the public. For last year’s Aviation Geek Fest, we were very lucky to bring our entire group through the factory – something that will not soon be forgotten.

Continue reading Photo Tour of the Boeing 737 Renton Factory