Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 269,302
2013: 330,818

The End of the (Passenger, Widebody) Trijet: Saying Goodbye to the MD-11

A KLM MD-11 coming in for a landing at Montreal - Photo: Doug | Flickr CC

A KLM MD-11 coming in for a landing at Montreal – Photo: Doug | Flickr CC

The MD-11 was probably a bad idea. McAir came up with the aircraft because it was a bigger, meaner, DC-10. So much DC-10 that there originally was not going to be an MD-11, but a DC-10 stretch. There were two attempts at this aircraft: a DC-10-10 stretched by 40 feet, and a DC-10-30 stretched by 30 feet.  Concurrently, McDonnell Douglas (McAir) was concerned about the range of the 747-SP and began work on an ultra-long-range DC-10 Global.

This research lead to an aircraft series called the DC-10 Super 60. The DC-10 Super 60 was going to be a series. A simple stretch, an ultra-long-range variant, and an aircraft optimized for both range and capacity. Unfortunately for McDonnell Douglas, the American Airlines 191 crash happened – summarily executing the DC-10 program. It did not help that there was economic malaise going on at the time, either.

An MD-11 arriving at Kingsford-Smith Airport, Sydney. Photo - Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Many MD-11s have been converted to cargo duty. An example arriving at Kingsford-Smith Airport, Sydney. Photo – Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter

Being the kings of iteration that they were, in 1981 they decided to revive the large trijet research. Leasing a DC-10-10 from Continental, they studied various winglet configurations in conjunction with NASA. For reasons of marketing, this project would be designated the MD-100. This was an interesting project as it actually offered more engine options than the final MD-11, in the form of the Rolls Royce RB.211. By November 1983, it was clear there was no interest in the MD-100. The board shuttered it. Continue reading The End of the (Passenger, Widebody) Trijet: Saying Goodbye to the MD-11

China Airlines Receives their First Boeing 777-300ER

A Ribbon Cutting at Everett wouldn't be complete without some Dragons right?

A ribbon cutting at Everett wouldn’t be complete without some dragons, right?

On a sunny Everett friday morning, press, dignitaries, and staff all gathered on the ramp outside the Everett Delivery Center.  In front of us was a brand-new Boeing 777-300ER, a giant red ribbon, and two dragons.  China Airlines is the newest carrier to receive this twin-jet, and since this was their first of the type, a large ceremony was called for.

The first 777-300ER for China Airlines

The first 777-300ER for China Airlines – Photo Kris Hull | Hull AeroImages

China Airlines has been a Boeing customer for over half of a century.  Their first Boeing aircraft was the 727, which entered them into the era of flying internationally within southeast Asia.  Then, in 1970, they added the Boeing 707, which allowed them to begin transpacific flights to San Francisco.

Soon enough, they were expanding and other North American destinations were added.  The airline grew, taking on 747s and, after the years passed, they had a fleet of 13 747-400s flying around the world.

In fact, they were the final customer of the 747-400 in its passenger form, taking delivery of that aircraft (B-18215) on the 26th of April, 2005.  Fast-forward nine years later, and the airline is taking their newest Boeing aircraft, the 777-300ER.

Continue reading China Airlines Receives their First Boeing 777-300ER

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

Airline Livery of the Week: China Airlines 747-400 with Boeing Livery

China Airlines Boeing 747-400 (B-18210) with blue Boeing livery.

China Airlines Boeing 747-400 (B-18210) with blue Boeing livery.

The new full Boeing livery is one of my favorites. Even though I understand why Boeing is not painting all their test Boeing 747-8’s and 787’s with the full livery (cost, time, weight), I wish it was different. At least we have been able to enjoy the livery on the Dreamliner.

All the way back in 2004, Boeing delivered a Boeing 747-400 with a special livery to China Airlines. It has the blue-Boeing livery with the China Airlines tail. It was the first 747 to offer the new Boeing Signature Interior.

Today the aircraft (B-18210) still flies with the same livery. Check out photos of the aircraft on Airliners.net.

Image: Ken Koller

China De-Regulates First and Business Class Tickets

Air China Airbus A330-200 (B-6075) with new livery

Air China Airbus A330-200 (B-6075) with new livery

China is joining the majority of the world and letting their airlines set their own prices. On June 1st the Chinese government is now letting airlines set prices based on the fluctuating market versus set prices. Previously first class tickets had to be set 1.5 times normal fares and business class had to be set 1.3 times normal fare.

The de-regulation also means that airlines can now start offering discounted tickets. Chinese airlines have already taken advantage of the new rules and are offering cheaper tickets in the coming weeks.

This move is great for passengers flying on airlines in China. Now with open competition, airlines will be able to compete for lower fares and more passengers.

Source: Xinhuanet.com Image: Peng Chen