A Finnair Airbus A350-900 at Narita – Photo: Alec Wilson | FlickrCC
We love getting a glimpse behind the scenes at the people behind airline operations. So when we flew to Helsinki to learn about Finnair, we sat down for a chat with Sara Mosebar, the queen of the airline’s Airbus A350s! Well, formally her title is “A350 Program Manager.” But she may as well be aviation royalty based on her rÃ©sumÃ©. After getting her aerospace engineering degree at the University of Texas at Austin, she started her career at Boeing. And just a few years after joining Finnair’s A350 team as a Fleet Engineer, she was promoted to head the airline’s entire A350 program.Â It’s a big role, since the A350 is the flagship of Finnair’s long-haul fleet.
Here is Sara with one of Finnair’s A350s – Photo: Finnair
Here in part one of our interview, we discuss Sara’s responsibilities as person-in-charge of Finnair’s A350 fleet, her experience transitioning from Boeing to Airbus airplanes, and the highlights of the Finnair A350 passenger experience. We also see how her team tackled teething problems with new aircraft, as well as plans for expanding Finnair’s A350 route network. If you’re an AvGeek, consider it required reading!
One of the best parts of our job is learning about airlines on your behalf. Finnair has been on our radar after having a big few years, welcoming the Airbus A350 as the flagship of its fleet and announcing new routes to the U.S. and Asia. So when we got the chance to experience Finnair’s long-haul product for ourselves, of course we said yes!
We’ll have plenty of in-depth Finnair stories coming up, including a review of their A330-300 business class and an interview with their A350 Program Manager. For now, we wanted to share a few big-picture quick thoughts and observations we had about the airline. Read on for some highlights about what we learned from our Finnair adventure!
Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter
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. Â 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.Â Unfortunately for McDonnell Douglas, theÂ American Airlines 191Â crash happened – summarily executing the DC-10 program. It did not help that there was economic malaise going on at the time, either.
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.
Celebrating Aer Lingus’ return to Toronto – Photo: Philip Debski
Back on April 14, 2014, Aer Lingus officially launchedÂ its comeback to Canada. That Monday was dark and wet, with pouring rain, when flight ‘Shamrock 1 Mike 9’ (129 in the reservation system) landed for the first time in Toronto (YYZ). The company has returned to the Canadian market after 30 years of absence, last flying to Canada in the 70s and 80s with scheduled flights toÂ MontrÃ©alâ€“Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL)Â and rare charter flights to YYZ.
The Dublin – Toronto route is part of the company’s recent transatlantic expansion plans. This is the 4thÂ new launch by the airline.
Being served by their recently-acquired Boeing 757s, the route will be daily during the summer and 4x weekly during the winter. Toronto, for Aer Lingus, is an important business and tourism market, and also homeÂ to a growing Irish community.
Finnair MD-11 (OH-LGB) taking off in the moon light
It is that time again where I have quite a few blogs I never got around to blogging and they aren’t really timely anymore. Instead of just hitting delete, I want to still share the stories with you folks. Here they are:
* Photos and Video of a United Airlines Airbus A319 that had a landing gear failure. (via Flight Global)
* Get free cookies and toothbrushes at airports. (via USAToday)
* Delta Air Lines converts airports from Northwest Airlines to Delta. (via Delta Blog)
* An Antonov AN-124 flew a mobile Air Traffic Control unit to Haiti. (via Aviation Week)
* Qantas Airlines is getting rid of some of their business class. (via Aviation Week)
* Finnair has stopped flying the MD-11. Which is a total shame! (via Things in the Sky & Cranky Flier)
* People calling for a ban on pets being allowed in passenger cabins. (via The Independent)
* Google maps now showing live flights in Europe. (via tnooz)
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