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Paint issues on Qatar"s A350 jets have put the carrier in a bitter legal dispute with Airbus. Take a look at 2 of the grounded planes.

Qatar is seeking over $600 million in damages from Airbus over paint damage on its A350 jets — an issue the planemaker says is simply "cosmetic." Surface damage seen on Qatar Airways' airbus A350 parked at Qatar airways aircraft maintenance hangar in DohaREUTERS/Imad Creidi Qatar Airways and Airbus are in a long legal battle over surface paint issues on the airline's A350 jets. The carrier says the damage poses a safety risk, but Airbus claims the paint issue is only "cosmetic." Reuters reporters gained access to two of Qatar's grounded A350s to get a close-up look at the damage. Surface paint issues on Qatar Airways' Airbus A350 widebody jets have created a months-long legal dispute with the European plane manufacturer.Qatar Airways A350.Jaromir Chalabala/ShutterstockAirlines around the world have raised concerns about Airbus' A350 paint issues, and now Qatar is seeking over $600 million in damages from the planemakerThe airline says cracked paint and exposed copper mesh on the planes pose a safety risk, telling Insider in January that "the defects cause the aircraft's lightning protection system to be exposed and damaged."An undated image shows what appears to be paint peeling, cracking and exposed expanded copper foil (ECF) on the fuselage of a Qatar Airways Airbus A350 aircraft.ReutersSource: InsiderHowever, Airbus has strongly denied the claims, saying the paint flaw is simply "cosmetic," and argues the plane is not unairworthy because of the redundant safety systems built into the jet, Reuters reported.An undated image shows what appears to be paint peeling, cracking and blistering on the top of the fuselage of a Qatar Airways Airbus A350 aircraft.ReutersSource: ReutersMoreover, the planemaker says the degraded paint does not impact airworthiness — a claim that has been backed by the European Aviation Safety Agency.Tobias Arhelger/Shutterstock.comSource: InsiderDespite the manufacturer's safety assurance, in June 2021, Qatar halted the acceptance of all A350 deliveries until Airbus completes a root cause analysis of the problem, which the airline says the planemaker has yet to do.Qatar A350.Soos Jozsef/ShutterstockSource: InsiderThe airline then grounded 20 A350s in August 2021, saying it was following "explicit written instructions" from its aviation safety regulator. As of June 2022, Qatar has taken 23 jets out of service.One of Qatar's grounded A350 jets.REUTERS/Imad CreidiOther carriers, like Etihad, Lufthansa, and Delta Air Lines, have noticed surface paint issues on their A350s as well. However, the airlines say the issue is not a safety threat and will continue to fly them.An Etihad Airways Airbus A350-1000 XWB nicknamed the "Sustainable Fifty" at the Dubai Airshow 2021Thomas Pallini/InsiderSource: InsiderAirbus has pushed back on Qatar, telling Insider that it has already determined a root cause and "provided necessary guidance to its customers and operators for continuous operations."Airbus A350-1000AirbusSource: Insider"The attempt by this customer to misrepresent this specific topic as an airworthiness issue represents a threat to the international protocols on safety matters," Airbus said in a December statement.An Airbus A350 flying over Bogota.AirbusSource: InsiderUnsatisfied with Airbus' resolution, Qatar sued Airbus in a London High Court in December seeking $618 million in damages, plus an additional $4 million for every day the planes are grounded.A grounded Qatar A350 seen by Reuters journalists.REUTERS/Imad CreidiSource: InsiderThe London trial will occur next summer, but a UK judge ruled that Airbus can sell the undelivered jets to other customers, like Air India, while the dispute continues, according to Reuters.An Air India 787, which competes with the A350.Vytautas Kielaitis/ShutterstockSource: InsiderAirbus has counter-sued, hoping to recover millions of dollars worth of credits that are given when jets are ordered. The manufacturer also canceled Qatar's order for 50 A321 aircraft and two A350-1000 jets, further fueling tensions.Qatar A321.Art Konovalov/Shutterstock.comAirbus canceled Qatar Airways's order for 50 A321 jets worth more than $6 billion as the 2 companies' dispute intensifiesQatar called the canceled orders "a matter of considerable regret and frustration," and, in response, posted a video on YouTube showing the degraded paint.Screenshot of surface paint issues on Qatar's A350 aircraft from a full video showing the defects.Qatar AirwaysAirbus has canceled Qatar's order for 2 A350 jets as the dispute between the two companies intensifiesCurrently, two of Qatar's grounded A350s, which are worth $300 million combined, sit in the airline's maintenance hangar in Doha. Reuters gained access to the planes recently.REUTERS/Imad CreidiSource: ReutersDuring the close-up look of the damage, journalists reported an "elongated stretch of blistered and cracked or missing paint along the roof or crown of the jets."Surface damage seen on Qatar Airways' airbus A350 parked at Qatar airways aircraft maintenance hangar in Doha.REUTERS/Imad CreidiSource: ReutersThey also say the lightning mesh on the wingtips "appeared exposed and corroded," and that it was flat out "missing" on other parts, "leaving areas of the composite hull exposed."Surface damage seen on Qatar Airways' airbus A350 parked at Qatar airways aircraft maintenance hangar in Doha.REUTERS/Imad CreidiSource: ReutersMeanwhile, the tail on one of the jets had "cracked and missing paint that exposed the layer beneath," and the main wings had "rivet rash," meaning loss of paint.Surface damage seen on Qatar Airways' airbus A350 parked at Qatar airways aircraft maintenance hangar in Doha.REUTERS/Imad CreidiSource: ReutersReuters says it has not verified "independently the cause of the damage" after reviewing court documents.Surface damage seen on Qatar Airways' airbus A350 parked at Qatar airways aircraft maintenance hangar in Doha.REUTERS/Imad CreidiSource: ReutersAl Baker told Reuters that after speaking with Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury, the two are still at odds.Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker poses near an Airbus A350-900 aircraft.ERIC CABANIS/AFP via Getty Images)Source: Reuters"On a personal level I am friends with everyone but when it comes to an issue with my company, then it's a different story," he told a news conference, Reuters reported. "If things were settled, we would not be still waiting for a trial to happen next year."Surface damage seen on Qatar Airways' airbus A350 parked at Qatar airways aircraft maintenance hangar in Doha.REUTERS/Imad CreidiSource: ReutersMeanwhile, Faury said there was "progress in the sense that we are communicating."Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury.Morris MacMatzen/Getty ImagesSource: ReutersRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJun 23rd, 2022

Airlines around the world have raised concerns about Airbus" A350 paint issues, and now Qatar is seeking over $600 million in damages from the planemaker

Included in the court filing is $76 million for one of Qatar's A350s that was set to be re-painted in a special livery for the 2022 World Cup. A Qatar Airways jet arriving from Doha, Qatar, at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, in January 2015.AP Photo/Michael Probst, File Qatar Airways wants $618 million from Airbus over paint-related damages on the airline's A350 jets. Qatar has grounded 21 of its A350s, citing airworthiness issues due to cracked paint and exposed copper mesh. The two have been at a stalemate for months, with Airbus claiming the paint issues do not impact safety. Paint issues on Airbus' A350 jets have raised concerns from airlines around the world, and Doha-based Qatar Airways is seeking over $600 million in damages from the manufacturer.Qatar has grounded more than 20 Airbus A350 planes since August, citing airworthiness concerns about the surface paint the planemaker uses on the jet, according to Aviation International News. The airline said in a statement that it is following "explicit written instructions" from the Qatari aviation safety regulator.After Airbus pushed back on Qatar's claims, the airline filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer in a London High Court in December. Now, court documents reveal the carrier wants $618 million in compensation from Airbus, Reuters reported on Thursday. The airline is also asking for an additional $4 million for every day the jet remains out of service.Included in the court filing is $76 million for one of Qatar's A350s that was set to be re-painted in a special livery for the 2022 World Cup, which needs 980 repair patches, according to Reuters.An Airbus spokesperson told Insider that it "acknowledges the receipt" of Qatar's claim, which they "deny in total." The company also said they have identified the root cause and "provided necessary guidance to its customers and operators for continuous operations."During the months-long dispute, the manufacturer has repeatedly said the paint flaws do not impact the airworthiness of the A350 and re-emphasized that point in a statement to Insider. The findings were also confirmed by the European Aviation Safety Agency, according to Airbus.Photos obtained by Reuters show what appears to be paint peeling and cracking, and exposed copper mesh on the fuselage of Qatar's A350. According to Reuters, the mesh layer is placed under the paint to protect the plane's fuselage from lightning damage, which strikes planes once a year, on average.While Airbus says the problem is simply "cosmetic," Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker says the paint flaw is a safety issue, claiming "the fuselage surface below the paint is degrading at an accelerated rate," reported AIN. At least six other carriers have also complained of paint damage on A350s, including Finnair, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Lufthansa, Delta Air Lines, and Air France, reported Reuters. However, most of these airlines say the issue does not pose a safety threat, with Qatar being the only carrier to ground the jets.In response to the multiple concerns over its A350s, Airbus said in a statement that "it has become necessary for Airbus to seek an independent legal assessment as a way forward to resolve the dispute."However, the planemaker revealed its frustration over Qatar's claims in the same statement, saying "the attempt by this customer to misrepresent this specific topic as an airworthiness issue represents a threat to the international protocols on safety matters."Qatar's complaints have put the airline and Airbus at a stalemate. In June, the carrier announced it would not be accepting any future deliveries of the A350 until Airbus conducts a full root-cause analysis, which Qatar claims the manufacturer has yet to do, according to Reuters.Al Baker told the South China Morning Post in December that Airbus "destroyed" the business relationship with Qatar, which was the launch customer for the Airbus A350-1000. Because of the groundings, the airline temporarily reintroduced five A380 jets in November to cover capacity issues caused by the grounding of the A350, reported AIN.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 6th, 2022

European Army: Rhetoric Versus Reality

European Army: Rhetoric Versus Reality Authored by Soeren Kern via The Gatestone Institute, The call for a supranational army, part of a push for Europe to achieve "strategic autonomy" from the United States, is being spearheaded by French President Emmanuel Macron, who, as part of his reelection campaign, apparently hopes to replace outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the de facto leader of Europe. Many EU member states disagree with Macron. Eastern European countries, some of which face existential threats from Russia, know that neither the EU nor France can match the military capabilities offered by NATO and the United States. Other countries are concerned about a panoply of issues ranging from financial costs to national sovereignty. "If the EU Army undermines NATO, or results in the separation of the U.S. and Europe or produces a paper army, Europe will be committing the most enfeebling and dangerous act of self-harm since the rise of fascism in the 1930s. An EU Army will amount to European de-arming." — Bob Seely, Tory MP. "It will be hard to convince some member states that collective EU defense would bring the same security as NATO's U.S.-backed defense arrangement." — Richard Whitman, professor of politics and international relations at the University of Kent. "Few share France's willingness to splurge on defense, or its expeditionary military culture. (Germany, especially, does not.) Nobody agrees what 'strategic autonomy' actually means." — The Economist. "The EU is not a credible substitute for what NATO represents. You will not see any appetite for the European army amongst member states." — Kristjan Mäe, head of the Estonian defense ministry's NATO and EU department. "Even if national capitals wanted to lunge for a common army, there are so many technical, legal, and administrative differences between their militaries that it would take decades to produce a smoothly functioning force.... Conclusion: any talk of creating a fully-fledged common army, even within the next generation, is just that: jaw-jaw and not real-real." — Brooks Tigner, analyst, Atlantic Council. European federalists seeking to transform the 27-member European Union into a European superstate — a so-called United States of Europe — have revived a decades-old proposal to build a European army. The call for a supranational army, part of a push for Europe to achieve "strategic autonomy" from the United States, is being spearheaded by French President Emmanuel Macron, who, as part of his reelection campaign, apparently hopes to replace outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the de facto leader of Europe. Macron claims that Europe needs its own military because, according to him, the United States is no longer a reliable ally. He cites as examples: U.S. President Joe Biden's precipitous withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan; the growing pressure on Europe to take sides with the United States on China; and France's exclusion from a new security alliance in the Indo-Pacific region. Many EU member states disagree with Macron. Eastern European countries, some of which face existential threats from Russia, know that neither the EU nor France can match the military capabilities offered by NATO and the United States. Other countries are concerned about a panoply of issues ranging from financial costs to national sovereignty. Still others are opposed to creating a parallel structure to NATO that could undermine the transatlantic alliance. A common EU army appears to be a long way from becoming reality. A logical course of action would be for EU member states (which comprise 21 of the 30 members of NATO) to honor past pledges to increase defense spending as part of their contribution to the transatlantic alliance. That, however, would fly in the face of the folie de grandeur — the delusions of grandeur — of European federalists who want to transform the EU into a major geopolitical power. Pictured: Soldiers of the Franco-German brigade, a military unit founded in 1989, jointly consisting of units from the French Army and German Army. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images) Strategic Autonomy The term "strategic autonomy" in European discussions on defense has been in use since at least December 2013, when the European Council, the EU's governing body comprised of the leaders of the 27 EU member states, called for the EU to improve its defense industrial base. In June 2016, the term appeared in the EU's security strategy. The document — "A Global Strategy for the European Union's Foreign and Security Policy" — was said to "nurture the ambition of strategic autonomy" for the European Union. "An appropriate level of ambition and strategic autonomy," it stated, "is important for Europe's ability to promote peace and security within and beyond its borders." In recent years, the concept of "strategic autonomy" has taken on far broader significance: the idea now means that the EU should become a sovereign power that is militarily, economically, and technologically independent from the United States. EU observer Dave Keating noted: "The Brussels buzzword is now 'strategic autonomy,' an effort to wrestle the word 'sovereignty' away from nationalists and make the case that only a strong EU can make Europeans truly sovereign in relation to Russia, China, and the United States." European federalists increasingly have called for building an autonomous EU military force: March 8, 2015. In an interview with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Jean-Claude Juncker, then the president of the European Commission, the EU's administrative arm, declared that the European Union needed its own army because it was not "taken entirely seriously" on the international stage. The proposal was flatly rejected by the British government, which at the time was still an EU member: "Our position is crystal clear that defense is a national — not an EU — responsibility and that there is no prospect of that position changing and no prospect of a European army." September 26, 2017. President Macron, in a major speech at Sorbonne University, called for a joint EU defense force as part of his vision for the future of the bloc: "Europe needs to establish a common intervention force, a common defense budget and a common doctrine for action." November 6, 2018. Macron, marking the centenary of the armistice that ended World War 1, warned that Europe cannot be protected without a "true, European army." He added: "We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America." November 13, 2018. German Chancellor Angela Merkel echoed Macron's calls for a European army: "The times when we could rely on others are over. This means nothing less than for us Europeans to take our destiny in our own hands if we want to survive as a Union.... We have to create a European intervention unit with which Europe can act on the ground where necessary. We have taken major steps in the field of military cooperation; this is good and largely supported in this house. But I also have to say, seeing the developments of the recent years, that we have to work on a vision to establish a real European army one day." September 10, 2019. During her first press conference as the new president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who has long called for a "United States of Europe," said that she will lead a "geopolitical Commission" aimed at boosting the EU's role on the world stage. She did not offer many details other than a vaguely worded pledge that the European Union would "be the guardian of multilateralism." November 7, 2019. President Macron, in an interview with the London-based magazine, The Economist, declared that NATO was "brain dead" and warned that European countries can no longer rely on the United States for defense. Europe, he said, stands on "the edge of a precipice" and needs to start thinking of itself strategically as a geopolitical power and regain "military sovereignty" or otherwise "we will no longer be in control of our destiny." Macron criticized U.S. President Donald J. Trump because he "doesn't share our idea of the European project." Chancellor Merkel said Macron "used drastic words — that is not my view of co-operation in NATO." November 26, 2019. France and Germany announced the "Conference on the Future of Europe," a two-year post-Brexit soul-searching exercise aimed at reforming the EU to make it "more united and sovereign." June 17, 2020. The European Council tasked the EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, with drafting a written "Strategic Compass." The document should have three main purposes: 1) to formulate the EU's first common threat analysis; 2) to strengthen the EU's security and defense role; and 3) to offer political guidance for future military planning processes. The Strategic Compass, aimed at harmonizing the perception of threats and risks within the EU, is to be presented in November 2021, debated by EU leaders in December 2021, and approved in March 2022. December 3, 2020. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, in blog post, "Why European Strategic Autonomy Matters," wrote: "It is difficult to claim to be a 'political union' able to act as a 'global player' and as a 'geopolitical Commission' without being 'autonomous.'" He described "strategic autonomy" as a long-term process intended to ensure that Europeans "increasingly take charge of themselves." May 5, 2021. Fourteen EU countries — Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain — called for the creation of a so-called EU First Entry Force consisting of 5,000 troops with air, land and sea capabilities. August 29, 2021. In an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief, said that the moment had come to establish an EU expeditionary force — a "First Entry Force" — to compensate for U.S. "disengagement" from international affairs. A senior EU diplomat, speaking to the Guardian newspaper, asked: "We have been here before — which leader is going to allow their nationals to be killed in the name of the EU? What problem is this reaction force meant to solve? Does Borrell seriously entertain the idea the EU would be able to step into the void the US left?" September 15, 2021. In her annual State of the Union speech delivered to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, von der Leyen urged greater military independence from the United States. "Europe can — and clearly should — be able and willing to do more on its own," she said. She called for a "European Defense Union" but admitted the "lack of political will" to "build the foundation for collective decision-making." October 2, 2021. European Council President Charles Michel, speaking at an award ceremony of the International Charlemagne Prize, declared that "2022 will be the year of European defense." October 5-6, 2021. At an EU Summit in Slovenia, EU member states were so divided on the issue of strategic autonomy that the topic was not even included in the summit's final declaration. To create the illusion of consensus, Michel issued an "oral conclusion" of the summit: "To become more effective and assertive on the international stage, the European Union needs to increase its capacity to act autonomously." A History of Failure The debate over building a European army has been going on since the end of World War 2. In 1950, France proposed creating a common army to protect Western Europe from the Soviet Union without having to rearm Germany. A treaty creating the so-called European Defense Community was signed in 1952, but it was never ratified by the French Parliament due to concerns that France would lose its sovereignty to a multilateral decision-making body. In the late 1990s, after the EU and its member states failed to prevent a decade of bloodletting in the Yugoslav Wars, and after the United States intervened, European leaders called for the creation of a European Rapid Reaction Force capable of acting in future crises. In 2007, after years of debate, the EU established two so-called EU battlegroups consisting of 1,500 troops each to respond to crises, but due to intra-European disputes over financing and deployment, they have never been used. The European Union is now calling for the battlegroups to be rebranded as a "First Entry Force" comprised of 5,000 troops. It remains unclear why EU leaders think the latter will achieve what the former could not. In any event, a force that small is nowhere near enough to give the EU "strategic autonomy" from the United States. Over the decades, the European quest for "strategic autonomy" has resulted in dozens of summits, declarations, concept papers, reports, institutions, terms and acronyms, including: Petersberg Declaration; St. Malo Declaration; Berlin Plus Agreement; Franco-German Brigade; German-Netherlands Corps; Belgian-Dutch Naval Cooperation Accord; European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP); Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP); Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO); European Capabilities Action Plan (ECAP); Headline Goals; EU Battlegroups; European Gendarmerie Force; European Rapid Operational Force (EUROFOR); European Maritime Force; Eurocorps; Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF); Entente frugale; European Defense Agency; European Security Strategy; European Intervention Initiative (EI2); EUFOR; European Command and Control (C2); European Union Military Committee (EUMC); European Union Military Staff (EUMS); Joint Support Coordination Cell (JSCC); Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC); Political and Security Committee (PSC); Politico-Military Group (PMG); European Defense Fund; Coordinated Annual Review on Defense (CARD); and the EU's ongoing "Strategic Compass" process, among many others. German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, in a recent opinion article published by Politico, concluded that "illusions of European strategic autonomy must come to an end." She added: "Europeans will not be able to replace America's crucial role as a security provider. We have to acknowledge that, for the foreseeable future, we will remain dependent." Lack of Capabilities An important obstacle to building a European army is the reluctance of EU governments to invest in defense. At the 2014 Wales Summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, allies agreed to spend a minimum of 2% percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) to defense spending. In 2020, only nine of NATO's 21 European members honored their pledges, according to data supplied by NATO. Germany — the biggest economy in the EU and the fourth-biggest in the world — spent only 1.53% of GDP on defense in 2020. That represents an increase of less than 0.5% of GDP since 2015. France, the EU's second-biggest economy, spent 2.01% of GDP on defense in 2020, an increase of only 0.3% of GDP since 2015. Italy, the EU's third-biggest economy, spent 1.41% of GDP on defense in 2020, while Spain, the EU's fourth-biggest economy, spent a mere 1.02% of GDP on defense in 2020, according to NATO data. The numbers show that defense spending is not a priority in most European countries. The German armed forces (the Bundeswehr) are in an especially sad state of disrepair. A damning report published by the German Parliament in January 2019 found that critical equipment was scarce and that readiness and recruitment were at all-time lows. "No matter where you look, there's dysfunction," said a high-ranking German officer stationed at Bundeswehr headquarters in Berlin. A May 2018 report by the German magazine Der Spiegel revealed that only four of Germany's 128 Eurofighter jets were combat ready. Germany's obligation to NATO requires it to have at least 80 combat-ready jets for crisis situations. At the end of 2017, not one of the German Air Force's 14 large transport planes was available for deployment due to a lack of maintenance, according to the German Parliament. In October 2017, a spokesman for the German Navy said that all six of Germany's submarines were in the dock for repairs. In February 2015, Germany's defense ministry admitted that its forces were so under-equipped that they had to use broomsticks instead of machine guns during a NATO exercise in Norway. Much of the blame falls on German Chancellor Angela Merkel. During her 16 years in office, she has been content to free-ride on the U.S. defense umbrella. Also to blame is Ursula von der Leyen, who was German defense minister between 2014 and 2019, before she was promoted to lead the European Commission, and who now wants to build a European army. As German defense minister, von der Leyen was plagued by scandals and accused of cronyism, mismanagement and nepotism. EU affairs analyst Matthew Karnitschnig quipped: "With Merkel on her way out, fixing the Bundeswehr will likely be up to her successor. Until then, plans for a 'European Army' that includes Germany have about as much chance of getting off the ground as the German Air Force." France, which has just under 300,000 active-duty personnel, has the largest military in Europe. Still, it remains a regional power, not a global one. In September 2021, the RAND Corporation, in a major study — "A Strong Ally Stretched Thin: An Overview of France's Defense Capabilities from a Burdensharing Perspective" — concluded that the French military suffers many shortcomings that render as "limited" its capacity to sustain a high-end, conventional conflict. The French Army "faces a challenge with respect to readiness, owing to past budget cuts and austerity measures, a small number of weapon systems, and the burden of sustaining ongoing overseas operations," according to RAND. The French Air Force "suffers from limited capacity" and "severely lacks strategic airlift." The French Navy, which has only one aircraft carrier, like France's other services, "has issues with readiness, and munitions stocks reportedly are low," according to RAND. The report's takeaway is that the French military would require decades of preparation and massive budget increases to realistically form the basis for a European army. Poland, which is opposed to a European army because it would "weaken" the armies of NATO's member states, plans to double the size of its armed forces to 250,000 soldiers and 50,000 reserves. The expansion, announced on October 26, would make the Polish military the second-largest in Europe, ahead of that of the United Kingdom. In January 2020, Poland signed a contract worth $4.6 billion to purchase 32 F-35A fighter jets from the United States. In October 2018, Belgium signed a $4.5 billion deal to purchase 34 F-35A fighter jets from the United States. "The offer from the Americans was the best in all our seven evaluation criteria," Belgian Defense Minister Steven Vandeput wrote on Twitter. "The decision is a setback for Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain, who are behind the Eurofighter program, and also means the rejection of an informal French offer to sell Belgium the Rafale fighter built by Dassault Aviation," according to Reuters. This implies that in the future the Belgian and Polish militaries will be further integrated with the United States and NATO rather than with a hypothetical European army. Macron's Motives One of the most vocal champions of the idea of a European army is French President Emmanuel Macron. He must know that an independent EU military remains only a distant possibility, despite his describing the NATO alliance as "brain dead." As German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to retire, it appears that much of Macron's posturing on European "strategic autonomy" is part of a French nationalist campaign strategy aimed at presenting France as a great power that dominates the European Union. Macron seems to be trying to appeal to French voters while carving out a role for himself to replace Merkel as the new leader of Europe. Macron, who has yet to declare his candidacy, faces reelection in April 2022. Currently he is the clear first-round front-runner at 24%, according to recent polls cited by Politico. His main rivals are two nationalists: Marine Le Pen of the right-leaning National Rally party, and Éric Zemmour, a French essayist and media personality. Macron has been calling for a European army for several years, but his professed aspiration for "strategic autonomy" shifted into high gear after U.S. President Donald J. Trump threatened to withdraw from NATO if European member states refused to pay their fair share. Trump's warning, which appears to have been more of a bluff than a real threat, prompted many European countries to increase their defense spending, even if most are still below the agreed-upon threshold of 2% of GDP. Macron subsequently was dealt a humiliating blow by the Biden administration. In September 2021, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States announced a new tripartite strategic alliance aimed at countering China's growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region. Notably, the so-called AUKUS agreement does not include any member state of the European Union, which was completely left in the dark about the new alliance. AUKUS was announced on September 15, just hours before the EU unveiled its much-hyped "Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific." The EU had been hoping that its new plan would highlight its "strategic autonomy" from the United States in the Pacific region. Instead, the EU was eclipsed by AUKUS and exposed as a paper tiger. Adding insult to injury, Australia announced that as part of the AUKUS deal, it had cancelled a multi-billion-dollar submarine contract — once dubbed the "contract of the century" — under which France was to supply Australia with 12 diesel-powered submarines. Instead, Australia said that it would be buying nuclear submarines from the United States. France has reacted angrily to its change of fortunes. French Foreign Minister called AUKUS a "stab in the back." The French Ambassador to Australia, Jean-Pierre Thébault, said that Australia's decision to cancel the submarine deal was akin to "treason." The French government claimed that the Australian decision caught Paris by surprise, but the subsequent leak of a text message between Macron and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed that Macron knew well in advance that Australia was planning to cancel the contract. The AUKUS humiliation set Macron into a rage and appears to be fueling his increasingly frenzied calls for "strategic autonomy." An advisor to Macron said: "We could turn a blind eye and act as if nothing had happened. We think that would be a mistake for all Europeans. There really is an opportunity here." So far, however, only Italy and Greece have come out in support of Macron's calls for an autonomous EU military force. In September 2021, France and Greece signed a new defense and security agreement in which France pledged to provide military assistance to Greece in the event of an attack by a third country, even if such a country, Turkey, is a member of NATO. Macron said the deal, worth $3 billion to France, was a "milestone" in European defense because it strengthened the EU's "strategic autonomy." Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis described the Greek-French defense deal "a first step towards the strategic autonomy of Europe." But some in the EU were skeptical of the deal and are concerned it will only serve to inflame tensions between Greece and Turkey. "It is a bit bizarre to say the pact contributes to European sovereignty," an unnamed EU diplomat told Politico. "By all accounts, this is a traditional 19th-century defense pact between two European powers." Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, in an interview with the Danish newspaper Politiken, said that Macron was escalating his dispute with the United States way out of proportion: "I think it is important to say, in relation to the discussions that are taking place right now in Europe, that I experience U.S. President Joe Biden as being very loyal to the transatlantic alliance. "I think in general that one should refrain from lifting some specific challenges, which will always exist between allies, up to a level where they are not supposed to be. I really, really want to warn against this." Meanwhile, the British newspaper, The Telegraph, on September 22 reported that Macron had offered to put France's seat on the United Nations Security Council "at the disposal of the European Union" if its governments back Macron's plans for an EU army. The French Presidency later denied the report: "Contrary to the assertions reported this morning, no, France has not offered to leave its seat on the United Nations Security Council. It belongs to France, and it will remain so." France assumes the EU's six-month rotating presidency on January 1, 2022. During that time, Macron is sure to continue pushing for "strategic autonomy" from the United States, including at a "Summit on European Defense" scheduled for the first half of 2022. Select Commentary Analysts James Jay Carafano and Stefano Graziosi, in an essay, "Europe's Strategic Autonomy Fallacy," wrote: "Strategic autonomy might sound empowering, but it remains little more than a distraction and irritant to the transatlantic community and the real issues. European nations need more national defense capacity. Europe needs a strong, innovative, and productive defense industrial base, and Europeans need to take collective security and its role in a Europe whole, free, prosperous and at peace seriously. These problems can be better addressed by building the militaries the Europeans need than the fantasies Brussels wants." A senior Tory MP, Bob Seely, warned: "If the EU Army undermines NATO, or results in the separation of the U.S. and Europe or produces a paper army, Europe will be committing the most enfeebling and dangerous act of self-harm since the rise of fascism in the 1930s. An EU Army will amount to European de-arming." EU affairs expert Dave Keating noted: "The problem is that while leaders like Macron have tasked the Commission to make the EU more geopolitically strong, he and others still refuse to give the Commission the tools that would make it strong. For the last decade, the European Council has consistently opposed measures that would strengthen the Commission, because it would mean diluting the power of national governments.... "EU national leaders are all well aware of the need for Europe to speak with one voice if it ever wants to be taken seriously on the global stage. But their natural instinct to preserve their own power gets in the way of achieving this goal." In an interview with France 24, the French state-owned television network, Richard Whitman, a professor of politics and international relations at the University of Kent, said: "It will be hard to convince some member states that collective EU defense would bring the same security as NATO's U.S.-backed defense arrangement. Nobody in the EU has ever been able to come up with a decision-making arrangement that takes national divides into account while facilitating expeditious decision-making; it's either the lowest common denominator or grand rhetorical comments tied to absurd propositions. Military action is politically defensible only when taken by national leaders and parliaments — and it's difficult to see that being worked around." Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Walter Russell Mead noted that the entire premise of European leaders that the United States was "disengaging" from international affairs was based on a "significant misunderstanding." He wrote: "Many Europeans, including some seasoned observers of the trans-Atlantic scene, believe that if the U.S. sees the Indo-Pacific as the primary focus of its foreign policy, it must be writing off the rest of the world. These observers look at the American withdrawal from Afghanistan and imagine that this is the kind of headlong retreat they can expect from America in Europe and the Middle East. "This is unlikely. American interests are global, and American presidents, like it or not, can't confine their attention to a single world theater." Polish analyst Łukasz Maślanka tweeted that the French arguments for "strategic autonomy" from the United States are lacking in substance: "French reports from the European Council summit in Slovenia assess Macron's chances of convincing Europeans to EU defense. A critical tone prevails against the reluctant Balts and Poles who still stubbornly believe in NATO despite the U.S.'s allegedly inevitable withdrawal from Europe. "However, it is French observers who lack lucidity: the U.S. presence in Central Europe has been growing, not diminishing in recent years. It is many times greater not only than what France currently delivers, but what it could ever deliver. "Finally, if the U.S. really did intend to turn its back on Europe, the dismay in Paris would be no less than in Warsaw. It's harmful to drive something that can finally become a self-fulfilling prophecy." The London-based magazine, The Economist, wrote that Europeans feel "unnerved" by Macron's push for "strategic autonomy" from the United States: "Most of them, especially those near the Russian border, are happy to rely on America's security guarantee. Few share France's willingness to splurge on defense, or its expeditionary military culture. (Germany, especially, does not.) Nobody agrees what 'strategic autonomy' actually means. Low odds, however, seldom deter Mr. Macron. After the latest snub, the unhugged French president will doubtless conclude that he has little choice but to keep trying." John Krieger, writing for the UK-based The Spectator, noted: "Given that Emmanuel Macron has nailed his colors to the mast on driving European integration deeper, a refusal by European member states to follow suit would be embarrassing and not a good omen for his forthcoming presidency of the EU in January." Kristjan Mäe, head of the Estonian defense ministry's NATO and EU department said: "The EU is not a credible substitute for what NATO represents. You will not see any appetite for the European army amongst member states." Analyst Brooks Tigner, writing for the Atlantic Council, concluded: "Even if national capitals wanted to lunge for a common army, there are so many technical, legal, and administrative differences between their militaries that it would take decades to produce a smoothly functioning force. "Those differences boil down to some of the most mundane things such as soldiers' rights. Strong unions representing military personnel in rich Scandinavian countries, for instance, ensure that their soldiers enjoy levels of physical comfort, hardship pay, and access to medical care that their equivalents in poorer southern EU countries can only dream of for an exercise, much less an actual operation. Whose union rules would govern a common European army? And how would that be financed? "The differences are even sharper at the strategic level when it comes to intelligence. As a whole, the EU countries (and those of NATO as well) do not trust one another with sensitive information: it is parceled out very parsimoniously from one capital to a few trusted others. It would never work for a truly common army. Changing that alone via twenty-five-way trust for intelligence-sharing within PESCO would take years and years. Some deem it impossible. "Conclusion: any talk of creating a fully-fledged common army, even within the next generation, is just that: jaw-jaw and not real-real." Tyler Durden Sat, 11/13/2021 - 08:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 13th, 2021

We went inside Emirates SkyCargo"s massive Dubai facility and saw how air cargo is keeping the global supply chain running amid the shipping crisis

The ocean shipping crisis has bolstered the business case for air cargo and companies are willing to pay up to avoid port congestion. Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/Insider Emirates SkyCargo is one of many cargo airlines benefitting from the boom in air freight amid the shipping crisis.  Thousands of boxes and containers pass through SkyCargo's Dubai facility daily, with a variety of goods ranging from household items to the COVID-19 vaccine.  A fleet of 10 dedicated SkyCargo freighters and Emirates' passenger planes transport the packages around the globe.  Air freight is by far the fastest method of moving packages and goods long distances between continents. But the speed and efficiency of moving goods by air also come with a high cost that many shippers have not been willing to pay, until now.An Emirates SkyCargo Boeing 777-200 Freighter.Carlos Yudica / Shutterstock.comA crisis raging in the ocean shipping industry is only bolstering the case for air freight, forcing companies to loosen their purse strings when it comes to getting their goods to market.Touring the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.Thomas Pallini/InsiderWe chartered a boat with a logistics expert to look at port congestion up close and saw how American greed is leading to shortages and empty shelvesAn item that might take an ocean liner a week to transport across the globe might only take a cargo plane the better part of a day to move the same distance. And with port congestion plaguing US ports from California to Georgia, some goods might find themselves on a ship for the better part of a month, if not longer.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe US' biggest export this year was air, thanks to over 12 million empty shipping containers reportedly leaving portsDelays in ocean shipping and an overall decrease in international passenger flights on which cargo is moved have driven up the prices to ship freight by air.A Boeing 747 cargo plane.Sean Gallup/Getty ImagesCargo and passengers airlines alike have been cashing out in a classic case of supply and demand, while also spending billions to purchase new planes and convert former passenger jets into freighters.Converting a Boeing 767-300ER to a cargo plane.Israel Aerospace IndustriesDesperate for more planes, cargo airlines are buying up aging passenger jets. Here's how they're converted to fly Amazon packages instead of people.We went behind the scenes with Emirates SkyCargo, the freight division of Middle Eastern mega carrier Emirates, at its Dubai cargo hub to see how thousands of packages are transported every day from the furthest reaches of the globe to the doorstep of consumers.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderDubai International Airport is one of the many gateways to the Middle East, through which thousands of travelers will pass daily en route to hundreds of destinations across the globe.Flying on an Emirates A380 from New York to Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBut opposite its glitzy passenger terminal is a lesser-seen but equally important terminal that moves thousands of boxes and containers every day, helping keep global supply chains running smoothly.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderJust as Emirates' passenger planes transport people to, from, and through Dubai, its SkyCargo division does the same. Away from passenger view, it's one of the least glamorous aspects of the aviation industry and one that not many expected to be in the public spotlight.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/Insider"It has taken a center stage simply because I think the world is awakening to the importance of the supply chain and logistics," Nabil Sultan, division senior vice president of Emirates SkyCargo," told Insider at the Dubai Airshow 2021 in November, where air cargo was a primary focus.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderCargo planes and air carriers won big at the Dubai Airshow thanks to the shipping crisis and pandemicEmirates' freighter aircraft help move goods from what's known as the "world's factory," or the regions of the world that make most of its products and goods including China, Vietnam, and India, Sultan said.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThose regions require more air cargo capacity than Emirates' passenger aircraft could provide, spurring the need for a standalone cargo division for its aircraft.Emirates Airbus A380ZGPhotography/ShutterstockOnce in Dubai, goods are either delivered to customers in the region or transferred onto other aircraft bound for places like Africa, Europe, the Americas, or other Middle Eastern and Asian countries. Every one of Emirates' aircraft, split between the passenger and cargo divisions, can carry freight.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderEmirates SkyCargo has 10 dedicated aircraft in its fleet comprised solely of the Boeing 777-200 Freighter. And during the pandemic, unneeded aircraft from the passenger side have acted as makeshift freighters, with packages placed on top of seats in addition to the cargo hold.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBig airlines are flying 'ghost planes' stuffed with packages now that the demand for passenger flights has crateredMore aircraft are on the way as Emirates just purchased two new Boeing 777F planes and is having four of its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft converted to freighters by Israel Aerospace Industries in a billion-dollar combined deal.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderEmirates will soon fly the world's largest twin-engine cargo plane in a landmark deal with an Israeli companyOne Boeing 777-200F aircraft had just arrived from Hong Kong during our visit. Cargo unloaders descended first on the rear of the aircraft, with one focusing on the upper deck and another on the belly hold.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe 777-200F has a rear cargo door through which all upper deck cargo is loaded and unloaded. It takes around 30 seconds for the cargo to be taken off the plane and lowered to ground level, where it's put on a dolly for transport.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderOnce the rear section is unloaded, the team of around 10 ground handlers unloads the forward section. Unloading both sections at once presents a weight and balance issue that could cause the aircraft to become either nose or tail-heavy, which can possibly result in damage.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderEach pallet can hold a maximum of 5,000 kilograms of freight if it's being stored in the lower deck of an aircraft. But on the upper deck, pallets can hold a maximum of 6,800 kilograms of freight and can be stacked as high as three meters as the upper deck is larger than the lower hold.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderOnboard the aircraft, power-driven units allow ground handling staff to quickly move pallets around the aircraft. Workers don't have to physically push pallets and can let the machines do all the heavy lifting.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderPackages aren't the only items that Emirates will carry on its plane. Luxury cars and prized racehorses are also frequent SkyCargo passengers.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/Insider"Flown as booked" is a key performance metric for packages and helps identify weaknesses or issues in the system. If a package doesn't make it onto the flight on which it was scheduled, staff will work to identify why and resolve any issues that might have prevented it from being loaded onto its scheduled flight.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderPassengers will always take priority on passenger flights, even if it means leaving some cargo behind to take the next flight.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/Insider"Passengers [are] number one because they are driving the whole fleet of passenger aircraft," Bert Allard Jorritsma, manager of Emirates SkyCargo's special cargo service delivery, told Insider on the tour. "With freighters, we may have a little bit of leeway but we really work on on-time performance."Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderCargo is then taken from the plane to the cargo facility where it will be temporarily stored until its next flight or taken into Dubai for local delivery. Dubai Airports owns the facility but Emirates SkyCargo is the primary tenant.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe first two floors are dedicated to breaking down and building up pallets that arrive and depart from the facility. A package might arrive on a pallet from Hong Kong, for example, and then get taken out of that pallet and restacked onto another pallet bound for the US.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderEach section of the facility services a different type of cargo. One section might be filled with boxes of general cargo while another is dedicated to pharmaceutical goods.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderOnce pallets and containers arrive at the facility on "dolly trains," or multiple pallets driven by a ground handler, an automated system called the pallet container handling system, or PCHS, takes over and sends them throughout the facility.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderJust like how passengers have itineraries that link to a record locator number, packages have air waybills. Multiple air waybills can be stacked in a single container or pallet and air waybill numbers help staff to identify which packages go onto which flight.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderAround 80% of goods that arrive in Dubai aren't staying in Dubai and will be transferred to other aircraft. But just like the transit passengers in the commercial terminal, goods won't stay in Dubai long.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSome goods won't even enter the facility and will be transferred to other aircraft directly on the airport's tarmac.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderEmirates consolidated its SkyCargo operation at Dubai International Airport during the pandemic to take advantage of the reduced traffic levels at the airport. In the past, SkyCargo operations were split between Dubai International and Al Maktoum International to the south of the city, with around 50 trucks making 350-400 trips bringing cargo between the two airportsTouring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderTemperature is a critical factor for the cargo facility, especially as Dubai temperatures can frequently exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderWhile general cargo doesn't require a specific temperature range, pharmaceutical goods often require lower temperatures. The coldest section of the facility has a temperature range of two degrees Celsius to eight degrees Celsius, or between around 35 degrees Fahrenheit to 46 degrees Fahrenheit, and that doesn't include the freezers that can get even cooler.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderA slightly warmer section, however, has a range of 15 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius, or around 59 degrees Fahrenheit to around 77 degrees Fahrenheit.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderA dual-vendor power supply keeps the air conditioning running and makes these warehouses feel like Antarctica while the sweltering Dubai heat is just beyond its walls. Power outages are rare but in the event that one does occur, a backup diesel generator stands ready to take over to prevent spoilage.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderRefrigerated unit load devices provide a "closed door-to-door cool chain" for products that need to be kept at a specific temperature range. The containers are not opened in transit and are simply moved from aircraft to cold storage and back to aircraft.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderTemperatures on each container are checked and the batteries that power the refrigeration systems are charged. Once they arrive at their destinations and are emptied, they can be used to store general cargo so that they're not wasting space on freighters when Emirates has to fly them back to their origins.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderEmirates was also among the first cargo carriers to fly the COVID-19 vaccine. Early challenges in transporting the vaccine largely centered around temperature and how to keep the vital drugs cold enough during the shipping process and manufacturers and recipients couldn't afford any going to waste.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderInside the COVID-19 vaccine airlift: How cargo carriers plan to distribute the world's soon-to-be most valuable drugs to marketSecurity was also a factor as the vaccines were among the most valuable cargo being shipped in 2020 and precautions needed to be taken to avoid theft or mishandling. The first doses to arrive in Dubai were kept in a locked and sealed container.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/Insider"The first were batches obviously were so important that we wanted to exclude any risk of anything happening," Jorritsma said. Cameras and security guards provide security for the entire facility, and anybody that tries to leave the cargo area of the airport has to pass through a security checkpoint.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderMore than 500 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been moved since November 2020, and transporting the drugs is now commonplace with 200 million doses transported in November and October alone. Even still, COVID-19 vaccines are given unique handling codes so that staff can easily identify and monitor the shipments.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/Insider"It changed from a bit of the niche in the beginning to a full-blown supply chain," Jorritsma said. "These days, you're talking about far bigger shipments and you're talking about tons at a time versus, for example, a few hundred kilograms at a time in the beginning."Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderEmirates also added more cold storage in June, building an additional 2,600 square meters of space for temperatures ranging between two degrees Celsius and 25 degrees Celsius. The extra space allows for between 60-90 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to be stored at a time.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderWhen it's time to build pallets up for the next flight, handlers stack boxes one on top of the other like a game of Tetris. Each level of the aircraft has size and shape requirements, and a frame helps handlers know just how to shape each pallet.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderEach box is weight limited at 30 kilograms, around the weight of a checked bag. The facility also has platforms that can be lowered as pallets are stacked so that workers don't have to overextend themselves physically when stacking.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderPallets are then wrapped with a waterproof, breathable, and sun reflective material that shields the packages away from the elements, and then netting keeps it all in place.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderOther boxes will be stored in solid containers and loaded onto the lower deck of an airplane, similar to how passenger baggage is stacked into containers on some long-haul aircraft.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderMassive x-ray machines are able to screen the pallets without having to break them down first. Dubai police and customs agencies have offices in the facility and can quickly check packages that have been flagged.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderFinally, it's back off to the tarmac where the pallets will be loaded onto an awaiting aircraft and shipped to their final destination region.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderFor the industry veterans at SkyCargo like Jorritsma, the air freight boom has finally brought visibility to their largely unseen piece of the industryTouring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/Insider"For air freight, specifically, I think it's a clear recognition of all the value it can have," Jorritsma, a former Martinair and Air France – KLM Cargo employee, said. "Although the passengers could not fly, it was seen that there was a very clear demand for air freight because logistics has to go on."Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSkyCargo, like all cargo airlines, jumped into action soon after the pandemic gripped the world and while travelers were grounded, packages kept on moving. Locked-down societies turned to the internet to purchase necessities to endure pandemic hardships ranging from protective equipment to personal items.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderJust how long the shipping crisis keeps air freight flying high remains to be seen. But Emirates and other cargo airlines are spending billions in the hopes that air freight continues to be lucrative.Touring the Emirates SkyCargo operation in Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 19th, 2021

New airline ITA has officially taken over for Alitalia - see the full history of Italy"s troubled flag carrier

Alitalia has officially ceased operations and handed the baton to newcomer ITA, which stands for Italian Air Transport. ITA Airways Chairman Alfredo Altavilla poses with rendering of new livery ITA Press Office/Handout via REUTERS Government-owned Alitalia ceased operations on October 15, marking the end of its 74-year era. Alitalia has been replaced by ITA Airways, a brand new airline that will not be responsible for the old carrier's debt. ITA plans to buy 28 Airbus jets, create a new aircraft livery, and launch a new loyalty program. Alitalia has officially ceased operations and handed the baton to newcomer ITA Airways, which stands for Italian Air Transport.Italy's national carrier Alitalia has had a rocky past full of financial struggles, employee strikes, and other damaging events, forcing it to make the decision to cease operations on October 15 after 74 years of service. The airline stopped the sale of tickets in August and has committed to refunding all passengers who were booked on flights after October 14.On Thursday, the airline flew its final flight from Cagliari, Italy to Rome, according to FlightAware, officially sealing the fate of Alitalia. On Friday, the country's new flag carrier ITA took its place with a new livery, airplanes, and network, flying its first route from Milan Linate Airport to Bari International Airport in southern Italy.-João ☕ (@joaointhesky) October 14, 2021 Here's a look at Alitalia's storied past and the plan of its successor. Alitalia as a brand began in 1946, one year after World War II ended, first flying in 1947 within Italy and quickly expanding to other European countries and even opening intercontinental routes to South America. Passengers disembarking from an Alitalia Douglas DC-3 aircraft. Archivio Cameraphoto Epoche/Getty Source: Boeing and Alitalia The full name of the airline was Italian International Airlines, a joint effort between the United Kingdom through British European Airways - a precursor to British Airways - and the Italian government. A British European Airways Vickers Viscount. Museum of Flight/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Source: Boeing and Alitalia True to its name, Alitalia flew its first with Italian aircraft produced by now-defunct manufacturers in aerospace including Fiat and Savoia-Marchetti. An Alitalia Fiat G-12. Touring Club Italiano/Marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Source: Boeing and Alitalia Following a merger with Italy's other airline, aptly named Italian Airlines or Linee Aeree Italiane, in 1957, Alitalia - Linee Aeree Italiane became Italy's top carrier. A Linee Aeree Italiane Douglas DC-3. Touring Club Italiano/Marka/Universal Images Group/Getty Source: Boeing and Alitalia Armed with a sizeable fleet of 37 aircraft including the four-engine Douglas DC-6 and Corvair 340, the airline was ranked 12 in the world for international carriers. Passengers disembarking an Alitalia aircraft. Touring Club Italiano/Marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Source: Boeing and Alitalia As Europe returned to normalcy following the war, so did Italy and the 1960s became a pivotal decade for both the country and its airline as the 1960 Summer Olympics would be held in Rome. An Alitalia poster highlighting the upcoming Olympic Games in Rome. David Pollack/Corbis via Getty Source: Boeing and Alitalia The year saw Alitalia carry over one million passengers, introduce jets into its fleet, and move to a new home at Rome's Fiumicino Airport. Rome's Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport in 1961. Carlo Bavagnoli/Mondadori via Getty Source: Boeing and Alitalia Alitalia entered the jet age with a mix of European and American aircraft such as the Sud Caravelle SE210… An Alitalia Sud Caravelle. Touring Club Italiano/Marka/Universal Images Group/Getty Source: Boeing and Alitalia And the Douglas DC-8. An Alitalia DC-8. Adams/Fairfax Media via Getty Source: Boeing and Alitalia American aircraft largely comprised the airline's fleet once settled into the jet age with a short-haul fleet featuring the McDonnell Douglas DC-9 and later the McDonnell Douglas MD-80... An Alitalia MD-80. Etienne DE MALGLAIVE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Source: Boeing and Alitalia Complemented by a similarly American-dominated long-haul fleet consisting of aircraft such as the Boeing 747. An Alitalia Boeing 747 chartered by Pope John Paul II. Scott Peterson/Liaison/Getty Source: Boeing and Alitalia The arrival of the 747 was a seminal moment for Alitalia and it was the first aircraft to wear the airline's famed green, white, and red livery with an "A" shape on the tail. Alitalia's red and green "A" tail design. Etienne DE MALGLAIVE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Source: Boeing and Alitalia Alitalia was the first European airline to transition fully into the jet age and continued the switch with more wide-body aircraft such as the Airbus A300. An Alitalia Airbus A300. aviation-images.com/Universal Images Group/Getty Source: Boeing and Alitalia Other aircraft that would join the Alitalia jet fleet included the McDonnell Douglas MD-11, McDonnell Douglas DC-10... An Alitalia McDonnell Douglas MD-11. Education Images/Universal Images Group/Getty Source: Boeing and Alitalia And Boeing 767-300ER for long-haul flights. An Alitalia Boeing 767-300ER. JOKER/Hady Khandani/ullstein bild/Getty Source: Boeing and Alitalia Alitalia even had uniforms designed by Georgio Armani, who also contributed to aircraft interior designs. Italian designer Georgio Armani. Vittoriano Rastelli/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Source: Alitalia The airline's short-haul fleet later included a European favorite, the Airbus A320 family. An Alitalia Airbus A320 airplane approaches to land at Fiumicino airport in Rome Reuters Source: Boeing As Italy's national airline, Alitalia was also known for flying the Pope with the papal plane using the flight number AZ4000, better known as Shepherd One An Alitalia plane chartered by the Pope. AP Photo/Plinio Lepri Source: Telegraph Despite rising traffic throughout its history with Italy being a popular European tourist and leisure destination, the airline struggled with profitability. Alitalia check-in desks at Rome's Fiumicino Airport. ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty As a state-owned airline, Alitalia could always depend on the government to keep it flying, until the European Union stepped in and forbade financial support in 2006. An Alitalia Airbus A330. AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca Source: New York Times The 2000s then saw serious discussion into Alitalia's future with the Italian government wanting to sell its stake in the airline. The airline was opened for bidders in 2007 but yielded no results. A crow flying passed an Alitalia plane. AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia Source: New York Times Air France-KLM Group, the parent company of Air France and KLM as well as several smaller European airlines, then offered to buy the struggling airline but couldn't get labor unions on board and the deal collapsed. Alitalia and Air France-KLM Group signage. FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Source: Reuters The Italian government, not wanting to lose its flag carrier, continued to prop up its airline via emergency loans in violation of European Union rules. The European Commission in Brussels. Greg Sandoval/Business Insider Source: European Union The third attempt in two years to sell the airline came after the Air France-KLM Group deal collapsed with an investors group forming the Compagnia Aerea Italiana to purchase the airline, despite heavy pushback from labor unions. An Alitalia Boeing 777. VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Source: Reuters This Alitalia began operations in 2009, with Air France-KLM soon coming back into the picture taking a 25% stake from CAI. Alitalia meeting with Air France, Delta, and KLM executives. ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Source: Financial Times The new airline quickly began differentiating itself from its former self, leasing aircraft instead of purchasing them with the fleet consisting of the Airbus A330 family… An Alitalia Airbus A330. Alberto Lingria/Reuters Source: FlightGlobal And Boeing 777 family comprising the airline's long-haul fleet. An Alitalia Boeing 777. Abner Teixeira/Getty Source: FlightGlobal It wasn't long before Alitalia was plagued with issues ranging from union strikes to underperforming subsidiaries and even a sting operation that saw Alitalia employees arrested for theft, according to contemporaneous news reports. Alitalia workers protesting at Fiumicino Airport. AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino Source: New York Times and BBC With bankruptcy looming in 2013, Alitalia secured another bailout with help from the government that highlighted the need for restructuring. An Alitalia Airbus A320. AP Photo/Antonio Calanni Source: New York Times Alitalia saw a new investor in 2015, Eithad Airways, which would take a 49% stake in the airline and Alitalia - Compagnia Aerea Italiana became Alitalia - Societa Aerea Italiana. Alitalia and Etihad celebrating a new partnership. AP Photo/Antonio Calanni Source: Alitalia With a new investor in tow, Alitalia began cost-cutting measures but facing a backlash from employees due to planned job cuts, the airline began bankruptcy proceedings and the government announced Alitalia would be auctioned. Alitalia and Etihad's merger livery. AP Photo/Antonio Calanni Source: Reuters Meanwhile, another airline was positioning itself to become the new Italian flag carrier, the aptly named Air Italy. An Air Italy Airbus A330-200. Air Italy Rebranded from Meridiana, a regional Italian airline, Air Italy was jointly owned by private company Alisarda and Qatar Airways. A Qatar Airways Boeing 777-200LR. Thomas Pallini/Business Insider The airline chose Milan as its main hub ceding Rome to Alitalia. Long-haul flights from Milan to New York began in June 2018, with expansion to Asia happening soon after. Air Italy's inaugural ceremony for Milan-New York flights. David Slotnick/Business Insider Affected by the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max and without the Italian government as a benefactor, Air Italy closed up shop in early 2020, giving back full control of Italy to Alitalia. An Alitalia Airbus A320. ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty While Air Italy was getting its start, the Italian government would once again seek outside investors with European, North American, and Asian airlines expressing interest in Alitalia. Alitalia aircraft in Italy. Alberto Lingria/Reuters Among those interested were UK low-cost carrier EasyJet... EasyJet airplanes are pictured at Tegel airport in Berlin. Reuters Source: Bloomberg Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair… A Ryanair commercial passenger jet takes off in Blagnac near Toulouse. Reuters Source: The Guardian The Lufthansa Group… Strike of Germany's cabin crew union UFO at Frankfurt airport. Reuters Source: CNBC Delta Air Lines… A Delta Air Lines Boeing 777-200. James D. Morgan/Getty Source: Bloomberg And China Eastern Airlines… A China Eastern Airlines Airbus A320. REUTERS/Jon Woo Source: Reuters As well as Italian railway group Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane. A Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane train. TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Source: Reuters One after the other, the airlines dropped their interest, and ultimately, the Italian government re-nationalized the airline on March 17 during the coronavirus pandemic. Alitalia was re-nationalized amid the coronavirus pandemic. Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Source: Reuters  Despite bailouts from the state, the pandemic and subsequent lockdown of Italy took the ultimate toll on Alitalia, forcing it to make the decision to close the airline and launch a new one. Alitalia aircraft at the Frankfurt airport Vytautas Kielaitis/Shutterstock Source: The Local On August 25, the airline stopped selling tickets and announced on its website that it would be offering free flight changes or refunds for passengers booked on Alitalia flights after October 14. People at Alitalia check in counter TK Kurikawa/Shutterstock Source: The Local When the airline ceased operations, its successor, Italia Transporto Aereo, took its place. Alitalia's last flight flew from Cagliari, Italy to Rome on October 14, and ITA launched operations with a flight from Milan to Bari, Italy on October 15. ITA app and logo rarrarorro/Shutterstock Source: AeroTime Talks between the European Commission and Italy over Alitalia and ITA began in March 2021, with Rome designating 3 billion euros ($3.6 billion) to establish the new flag carrier. ITA signage at Catania airport rarrarorro/Shutterstock Source: Reuters Initially, ITA was slated to begin operations in April 2021, but lengthy discussions between Italy and the European Commission delayed its launch. Flags outside European Commission building in Brussels VanderWolf Images/Shutterstock Source: Reuters Part of the negotiations focused on confirming ITA's independence of Alitalia to ensure it did not inherit the billions of debt the old carrier owed to the state. Alitalia Airbus A319 Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock Source: Reuters Talks also included asking ITA to forfeit half of Alitalia's slots at Milan Linate Airport, which the airline was unwilling to do. Alitalia aircraft sit at Milan Linate airport Gabriele Maltinti/Shutterstock Source: Reuters ITA determined giving up that many slots at Linarte would be too big of a loss and proposed forfeiting slots at Rome Fiumicino Airport as a compromise. Alitalia check in counter Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino airport TK Kurikawa/Shutterstock Source: Reuters At the end of the discussions, negotiators agreed to allow ITA to keep 85% of slots at Linate and 43% at Fiumicino. Green ribbon barrier with the ITA airline logo inside the Leonardo da Vinci airport rarrarorro/Shutterstock Source: Reuters Also under negotiation was Alitalia's brand and its loyalty program, MilleMiglia. The European Commission said ITA would have to give up both. Alitalia Airbus A320 Yaya Photos/Shutterstock Source: Reuters Under European Commission rules, MilleMiglia cannot be bought by ITA and must be put out for public tender, meaning another airline or entity outside the aviation industry can purchase the program. There are an estimated five million MilleMiglia miles that customers have not been able to use. Customer checking into an Alitalia flight Sorbis/Shutterstock Source: EuroNews However, ITA was able to bid on Alitalia's brand, which it did the day before its launch. The airline bought the Alitalia name for €90 million ($104 million), though ITA executives say they don't plan on replacing the ITA name. Alitalia aircraft Light Orancio/Shutterstock Source: Reuters ITA began operations on October 15, the day after Alitalia's last flight. The new airline secured €700 million ($830 million) in funding earlier this year, which helped it purchase some of Alitalia's assets. Alitalia employees with new livery in 2015 Simone Previdi/Shutterstock Source: Reuters The successor acquired 52 of Alitalia's aircraft, seven being wide-bodies, and has plans to purchase and lease new ones, the first of which will enter the fleet in early 2022. Alitalia Boeing 777 Deni Williams/Shutterstock Source: Reuters By 2025, the airline expects to have 105 aircraft in its fleet and earn over 3.3 billion euros in revenue. ITA logo with Alitalia aircraft Yaya Photos/Shutterstock Source: Reuters, Airways Magazine Moreover, ITA plans to renew its fleet with next-generation aircraft, which is expected to make up 77% of its fleet in four years. According to ITA, the aircraft will reduce CO2 emissions by 750 thousand pounds from 2021 to 2025. Milan Linate Airport Alexandre Rotenberg/Shutterstock Source: Airways Magazine, ITA Airways The 31 new-generation planes, which include short, medium, and long-haul aircraft, will be leased by Air Lease Corporation. Airbus A320neo Airbus Source: Airways Magazine Meanwhile, 28 new Airbus jets, including ten Airbus A330neos, seven Airbus A220 family aircraft, and 11 Airbus A320neo family jets, will be purchased. Airbus A220 Airbus Source: Airways Magazine As part of a carbon-reducing project, the first 10 flights to depart Rome on October 15 will use sustainable aviation fuels made by Italian energy company Eni. The project will contribute to the EU's "Fit for 55" proposal, which strives to reduce carbon emissions by at least 55% by 2030. Eni headquarters in Rome MyVideoimage.com/Shutterstock Source: Airways Magazine ITA introduced a new livery on launch day, which includes a light blue paint scheme representing unity, cohesion, and pride of the nation, as well as homage to Italy's national sports team, which wears sky blue during competitions. On the tail will be the Italian tricolor of red, white, and green. ITA Airways Chairman Alfredo Altavilla poses with rendering of new livery ITA Press Office/Handout via REUTERS Source: Airways Magazine In regards to its network, the carrier launched with 59 routes to 44 destinations. ITA plans to increase its routes to 74 in 2022 and 89 by 2025, while destinations are expected to increase to 58 in 2022 and 74 by 2025. ITA logo ITA Airways Source: Airways Magazine ITA will focus its operation out of Rome's Leonardo da Vinci International Airport and Milan Linate Airport, establishing itself as a "reference airline" for both business and leisure travelers. bellena/Shutterstock.com Source: Airways Magazine The carrier also plans to target the North American market, with flights from Rome to New York launching on November 4. Joey Hadden/Insider Source: CNN As for the over 11,000 Alitalia workers, 70% were hired to work for ITA, which has 2,800 employees. 30% of that came from outside Alitalia. The company plans to add 1,000 new jobs in 2022 and reach 5,750 employees by 2025. Alitalia staff at Milan Linate Sorbis/Shutterstock Source: Reuters, Airways Magazine ITA plans to improve upon Alitalia's services, including incentivizing good customer service by attaching employee salary with customer satisfaction. Alitalia staff Sorbis/Shutterstock Source: CNN ITA has set up a loyalty program called Volare, effective October 15, which is split into four levels: smart, plus, premium, and executive. Customers can use accrued points for any flight in ITA's system. ITA app rarrarorro/Shutterstock Source: Airways Magazine According to ITA executives, the company plans to join a major international alliance, though it has not stated which one it prefers. Alitalia was aligned with the SkyTeam alliance, which is comprised of carriers like Delta, Air France, and KLM. Alitalia Embraer 190LR SkyTeam livery InsectWorld/Shutterstock Source: CNN, Reuters However, ITA chairman Alfredo Altavilla said it was open to all options. "ITA can't be a stand-alone carrier forever," he said. Alitalia Boeing 767 SkyTeam livery Eliyahu Yosef Parypa/Shutterstock Source: Reuters While it is the end of an era with the closing of Alitalia, there are high hopes for its successor. "ITA Airways has been created to intercept the recovery of air traffic in the coming years on the strength of the foundations of its strategy: sustainability, digitalization, customer focus, and innovations," said ITA CEO Fabio Lazzerini. Alitalia plane with ITA logo Yaya Photos/Shutterstock Source: Airways Magazine Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 15th, 2021

Lufthansa is bringing back its beloved A380 jet next year, reversing a pandemic-era decision. Here are the airlines that have resumed flying the plane since 2020.

The A380 fell out of favor with some airlines when the pandemic hit, but many are now dusting off the cobwebs and restoring the jet to service. A Lufthansa Airbus A380.Chittapon Kaewkiriya / Shutterstock.com The Airbus A380 is continuing to make a comeback as travel demand booms post-pandemic. Several carriers restored the double-decker to service in 2020 and 2021, with Lufthansa announcing a 2023 return. Other airlines have permanently said goodbye to their A380s in favor of more economical planes.  The world's largest passenger plane is continuing to make its comeback as pandemic-era travel restrictions fade away.Airbus A380AirbusAirbus' behemoth A380 stood out in a world deprived of air travelers early on in the pandemic. The ability to fly a huge number of passengers — over 600 people — in a single plane, which the A380 once represented, made it temporarily obsolete.AirbusBut, as pent-up demand for international travel rages this summer, airlines that sent their A380s to storage are now dusting off the cobwebs and getting ready to connect people again.An Emirates Airbus A380.Arnold Aaron/Shutterstock.comHere's how the A380 is making a comeback after being mostly forgotten and abandoned during the pandemic.Airbus A380 MSN1.Ben Birchall/PA Images/Contributor via Getty ImagesFour-engine aircraft, including the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747, were among the most impacted during COVID-19. Airlines no longer needed the amount of space that the aircraft offered — combined with the excessive cost of two additional engines when only two were needed.Emirates Airbus A380Sundry Photography/ShutterstockHere's how the pandemic accelerated the demise of four-engine aircraft like the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747.The A380 also didn't have the benefit of having a second life in the air-cargo realm, as other airliners did, despite its size. Though, that didn't stop some carriers from using the A380 as a makeshift freighter.A Hi Fly Airbus A380 cargo conversion.Hi FlyHere's how one charter airline hollowed out an Airbus A380 for use as a cargo freighter.Destined to fly passengers, some airlines started bringing back the A380 shortly after the onset of COVID-19, with others adding it back into their networks for the first time this year as demand continues to skyrocket.An Airbus A380 operated by Lufthansa.Silas Stein/picture alliance via Getty Images.Emirates, in its role as the world's largest Airbus A380 operator, was unsurprisingly one of the first airlines to restore the mammoth plane.An Emirates Airbus A380 and an American Airlines A321.Philip Pilosian / Shutterstock.comDubai opened to international travelers in July 2020, ahead of most global tourist destinations, and Emirates responded by adding A380 flights to London and Paris the same month.Emirates Airbus A380kamilpetran/ShutterstockSource: Cirium Diio MiSince then, the A380 has returned to many of the Emirates destinations it once served, including the US. The carrier also took delivery of its last-ever A380 during the pandemic, marking a huge milestone for the operator.The final Airbus A380 bound for Emirates.Airbus-Lutz BorckEmirates will receive the last Airbus A380 ever in November. Here's how the world's largest passenger plane went from revolutionary to reject in just a decade.According to aviation-data provider Cirium, the carrier resumed flights between Dubai and New York-JFK on June 21, 2021, followed by flights to Los Angeles, Washington DC, and San Francisco. Emirates' "fifth-freedom" flight between Milan and JFK started in December 2021.Emirates' first-ever Airbus A380, registered A6-EDANYC RussSource: Cirium Diio MiAll of Emirates' A380 luxuries have also been restored, including caviar in first class and in-flight showers.The bathroom of a first class cabin inside an Emirates Airbus A380.Christian Charisius/picture alliance via Getty Images.Meanwhile, Emirates' existing A380 fleet is being retrofitted with a new interior that includes enhancements to each cabin and the addition of a premium economy class.Emirates A380 Premium EconomyEmiratesIn October 2021, All Nippon Airways (ANA) took delivery of its third and final A380 from Airbus's production line in Toulouse, France. The Japanese carrier initially planned to use the aircraft to fly solely between Tokyo and Honolulu, Hawaii, before the pandemic hit.Third and final ANA A380.AirbusSource: AirbusThose flights were rescheduled to start in January 2022, but the carrier has postponed the service until at least July 1, according to Cirium data. That could be further pushed back depending on the border-reopening status in Japan.AirbusSource: Cirium Diio MiWhile ANA has not flown its giant A380 since the pandemic on regularly scheduled flights, it has operated "flights to nowhere" around Japan.AirbusSource: Simple FlyingCompeting Asian carrier Singapore Airlines resumed A380 flights on November 4, 2021, after the launch of the "vaccinated travel lane" program that allowed inoculated visitors to skip quarantine upon arrival in Singapore.Mike Fuchslocher/ShutterstockThe first flight flew from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The 160-nautical-mile journey was among the shortest to ever be flown by the A380 in a scheduled capacity.Singapore Airlines Airbus A380Vytautas Kielaitis/ShutterstockSource: Cirium Diio MiSince then, Singapore has relaunched its A380 on several other routes, including two of the world's longest passenger flights from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport.Taylor Rains/InsiderSee inside Singapore's A380 first class suite that features a full bed, private bathroom, and large leather armchairThe ultra-long-haul flights to Singapore push 19 hours. Because of the incredibly long journey, the carrier has created "wellness meals" that help passengers feel fuller, fresher, and more comfortable during the flight.Taylor Rains/InsiderSingapore Airlines just relaunched the world's second-longest flight which connects the country to NYC — see the 'wellness meals' the carrier serves onboard the 19-hour flightIn Europe, British Airways resumed flying the A380 on November 8, 2021, to Frankfurt, Germany, and Madrid from London as a means of getting flight crews reacclimated to the plane.A British Airways Airbus A380.Philip Pilosian / Shutterstock.comSource: Cirium Diio Mi, Simple FlyingAfter its initial European runs, British Airways expanded the A380 to overseas destinations, like Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Dubai, and Johannesburg, South Africa.A British Airways Airbus A380.Thiago B Trevisan / Shutterstock.comSource: Cirium Diio MiAccording to data from Cirium, the airline will resume A380 flights to Dallas/Fort Worth on July 1, 2022, and up its seasonal service between London and Johannesburg to twice a day in October.EQRoy/Shutterstock.comSource: Cirium Diio MiBefore resuming service, the iconic red, white, and blue A380s sat in storage around Europe and as far as the Middle East. In Doha, Qatar, for example, three British A380s sat idle on a taxiway at Hamad International Airport.A British Airways Airbus A380.Thomas Pallini/InsiderHere's what living in the passenger terminal for 48 hours was like.Doha-based Qatar Airways was the second Middle Eastern carrier after Emirates to resume A380 operations after grounding the jets for over a year, flying the plane to Paris and London in December 2021.HasanZaidi/Shutterstock.comSource: Cirium Diio MiThe largest aircraft in Qatar's fleet is the only one to feature a true first-class cabin. Smaller aircraft only feature business-class seats.M101Studio/Shutterstock.comShortly after Qatar relaunched its A380, Australian airline Qantas announced the return of the double-decker in January 2022.A Qantas Airbus A380.Ryan Fletcher / Shutterstock.comSource: Cirium Diio MiAccording to Cirium, the plane flew between Sydney and Los Angles on January 11, followed by flights between Melbourne and Los Angeles on June 6 and Sydney and Singapore on June 21, though Cirium does not show any flights between Australia and London resuming this year.A Qantas Airbus A380.Felipe Sanchez / Shutterstock.comSource: Cirium Diio MiKorean Air was another carrier to quickly return the A380, resuming limited flights of the jet in September 2020 to destinations in Japan and China. Nearly two years later, service to the US finally restarted on Monday with a flight from Seoul to New York JFK.A Korean Air Airbus A380.Thiago B Trevisan / Shutterstock.comSource: Cirium Diio MiBut even as the carrier slowly returns the jet to its standard flying schedule, the A380's tenure in Korea is still set to expire in the next five years.Philip Pilosian/Shutterstock.com"The A380s will be leaving Korean Air's fleet within five years, and the Boeing 747-8i fleet will also follow suit within ten years," Walter Cho, Korean Air's chief executive officer, told FlightGlobal in August.A Korean Air Airbus A380.Thiago B Trevisan / Shutterstock.comSource: FlightGlobalIn 2021, German flag carrier Lufthansa shared Korean’s feelings towards the A380, and it was doubtful whether the airline would ever bring back the jet.A Lufthansa Airbus A380.Chittapon Kaewkiriya / Shutterstock.comSource: LufthansaLufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr said in a second-quarter 2021 earnings call that the "A380 obviously will not come back." However, the carrier reversed its pandemic-era decision on Monday, saying the beloved jet would return in summer 2023.Lufthansa's Airbus A380.Lufthansa.Source: Lufthansa, Seeking AlphaIn a press release, the carrier revealed that booming demand and delayed deliveries of other jets prompted the decision.A Lufthansa Airbus A380.Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.comSource: LufthansaIt is unknown how, when, or how many A380s will be reactivated, or which routes they will fly. However, Lufthansa did reveal it has 14 planes in "deep storage" in Spain in France, six of which have been sold and eight that remain available to the carrier.A Lufthansa Airbus A380 in storage.Santi Rodriguez / Shutterstock.comSource: LufthansaThere is one airline that never gave up on the A380, even during the worst of the pandemic — China Southern Airlines. The carrier only briefly grounded the jet from February 10 to March 24, 2020, per Cirium.A China Southern Airlines Airbus A380.StudioPortoSabbia / Shutterstock.comSource: Cirium Diio MiFrom Guangzhou, China, China Southern's A380 flew to global destinations such as Los Angeles, Sydney, Tokyo, Paris, London, and Amsterdam, Netherlands.Angel DiBilio/Shutterstock.comSource: Cirium Diio MiUnlike China Southern and Lufthansa, some carriers, including Air France, Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways, and Etihad Airways, decided to stop flying the A380.An Etihad Airways Airbus A380.Fasttailwind/Shutterstock.comEtihad is ditching its largest and swankiest jets including the popular Airbus A380 and Boeing 777Air France quickly retired its A380 fleet in May 2020, early on in the pandemic, and now relies on more-efficient twin-engine aircraft, like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Boeing 777, and Airbus A350-900 XWB.Air France Airbus A380roibu/ShutterstockSource: ForbesDespite some retirements, the pandemic hasn't yet killed the beloved A380 jet, even if it has sped up the aircraft's decline in popularity. Some airlines, like their passengers, still do have affection for the iconic plane and aren't ready to part with it just yet.Lufthansa's Airbus A380.Lufthansa.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 28th, 2022

Lufthansa is bringing its Airbus A380 super-jumbos out of retirement as travel demand soars. Take a look inside.

The airline said it will un-retire some or all of its eight A380s by 2023 because of rising customer demand and delayed delivery of new planes. A Lufthansa Airbus A380.Santi Rodriguez / Shutterstock.com Germany's Lufthansa is un-retiring its Airbus A380s as demand for travel soars. The carrier took its A380s out of service at the onset of the pandemic but could bring back as many as eight. The 73-meter-long A380 is the world's largest passenger plane and seats more than 500 people. German flag-carrier Lufthansa is bringing its Airbus A380 super-jumbos back into service.Lufthansa's Airbus A380.Lufthansa.The airline said it plans to un-retire the jets by 2023 as a result of surging passenger demand and delays in deliveries of other planes it has on order.Lufthansa's Airbus A380.Lufthansa.Lufthansa grounded its fleet of 14 A380s during the pandemic, sending the jets to Spain for long-term storage as international travel ground to a halt. It sold six back to Airbus but has eight left.Two Airbus A380s operated by Lufthansa parked at Teruel Airport, Spain, in 2020.Javier Escriche/picture alliance via Getty Images.At 73 meters long and 24 meters tall, the A380 is the world's largest passenger jet. Depending on configuration, A380s can seat as many as 850 people. Lufthansa's planes fit around 520 passengers.An Airbus A380 operated by Lufthansa.Silas Stein/picture alliance via Getty Images.The cabin is split into two decks. 420 economy class seats are located on the main deck, while the upper deck hosts 98 business class seats and eight first class seats.Lufthansa's A380 seating plan.Lufthansa.Inside the economy cabin, the seats are laid out in a three-four-three configuration, with 42 rows of seating.Inside the cabin of the A380.Lufthansa.The lower deck is split into four compartments.Inside the cabin of the A380.Lufthansa.All of the economy class seats have monitors for in-flight entertainment...Economy class seats on a Lufthansa Airbus A380.Mario Tama/Getty Images....as well as charging ports and control panels located on the inside of the armrest.Inside the A380.Lufthansa.A spiral staircase to the upper deck is located at the back of the plane.The A380 has two decks.Lufthansa.Business class seats are located in a two-two-two configuration.Business class seats on the Lufthansa Airbus A380.Mario Tama/Getty Images.Business class seats are fully reclinable and have adjustable headrests with reading lights, several storage areas, charging ports, and larger screens than those in economy.The business class seating of an Airbus A380 operated by Lufthansa.Hannes Magerstaedt/Getty Images.First class seats are the most spacious and luxurious, with each boasting privacy partitions, ottomans which double up as storage spaces, large tray tables, and 16.5-inch entertainment screens, according to The Points Guy.First class seating in Lufthansa's A380.Lufthansa.There are control panels and additional storage spaces situated in the side counters.First class seating in the A380 operated by Lufthansa.Lufthansa.The first class seating area is arranged in a one-two-one configuration.First class seating in the A380 operated by Lufthansa.Lufthansa.The first class seating area also features large bathroom spaces with vanity units.The bathroom in first class.Lufthansa.Lufthansa's first Airbus A380 joined the airline's fleet in 2010.Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel christens an Airbus A380 for Lufthansa in 2015.DANIEL ROLAND/AFP via Getty Images.Lufthansa said it's figuring out how many of its eight A380s will be back in service by summer 2023.An A380 operated by Lufthansa lands at Frankfurt airport before the jets were decommissioned during the pandemic.Silas Stein/picture alliance via Getty Images.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 28th, 2022

I flew on Breeze"s new A220 jet from Las Vegas to Charleston in economy and it was nothing like flying on a typical low-cost carrier

Breeze's a la carte business model offers inflight amenities, like USB ports and reclining seats, that other low-cost carriers lack. Taylor Rains/Insider Breeze Airways flew its Airbus A220 jet for the first time in May, officially launching its transcontinental network. The aircraft is brand new to Breeze's fleet and offers both economy and first class — a rarity for budget airlines. Insider flew in economy from Las Vegas to Charleston and found the product is much better than Spirit or Frontier. Breeze Airways is a US low-cost carrier born during the pandemic, operating its maiden flight on May 27, 2021.Breeze CEO David Neeleman with an Embraer jet during the inaugural flight in May 2021.Taylor Rains/InsiderI flew on JetBlue founder's David Neeleman's new airline and saw how it's nothing like his old one — but it isn't supposed to beThe company, which was founded by airline entrepreneur David Neeleman, started with all-economy Embraer 190/195 jets.A Breeze Airways Embraer E195.Breeze AirwaysNeeleman's business plan is to fly between medium-sized markets that do not currently have nonstop service but have enough demand to be profitable, like Huntsville, Alabama, to Charleston.The inaugural flight of David Neeleman's Breeze Airways.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe CEO has coined "We can get you there twice as fast for half the price" as the airline's slogan.Breeze Airways A220.Breeze AirwaysSince its inaugural flight, Breeze has expanded its network with new routes, hubs, and planes.Breeze AirwaysThe carrier recently added Hartford, Connecticut, as a base, which joins Norfolk, New Orleans, Tampa, and Charleston, and took delivery of an all-new aircraft type — the Airbus A220.Breeze counter in Hartford on its first day of operations.Taylor Rains/InsiderStartup airline Breeze just announced a new East Coast base, setting the stage for a battle with New Haven-based rival upstart AveloThe A220 flew its inaugural flight on May 25 from Tampa to Richmond, Virginia. The plane then flew from Richmond to San Francisco, which was the first of 18 transcontinental routes the company will operate this year.Breeze Airways' inaugural A220 taking off from Richmond.Breeze AirwaysBreeze has officially launched its sleek new Airbus A220 aircraft on transcontinental routes — see insideI was on the long-haul journey in first class and loved the experience, but was eager to test the jet's economy product.Recline on Breeze Airways' A220 first class.Taylor Rains/InsiderI flew on Breeze's swanky new Airbus A220 from Richmond to San Francisco in first class and found the cabin better than some mainline carriersSo, I booked a flight from Las Vegas to Charleston on Breeze's A220 to see how the economy cabin compared to other low-cost carriers, but it was nothing like Spirit or Frontier.Taylor Rains/InsiderBreeze just launched its first-ever Airbus A220 aircraft that will take passengers coast-to-coast this summer on 18 transcontinental routes — see the full listMy journey started at Las Vegas airport at 11 a.m. for my 12:10 p.m. departure. Breeze flies out of Terminal 3 and has its own check-in area.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe flight was headed to Charleston via Syracuse, New York, which is what the company calls a "BreezeThru." This is a layover where continuing passengers do not have to deplane before taking off for the final destination.I had two tickets for the BreezeThru.Taylor Rains/InsiderUnfortunately, at the airport, I found out the flight was delayed five hours due to staffing issues on the inbound leg from Syracuse. Breeze owned the delay without making excuses and remained transparent with passengers throughout the entire wait.Our new departure time was 5:10 p.m.Taylor Rains/InsiderAt the gate, customers were told they could get reimbursed up to $20 for food by submitting the receipt to Breeze online. The agent said this was to make sure people could eat where they wanted instead of at a specific restaurant.I treated myself to Auntie Anne's.Taylor Rains/InsiderI was frustrated with the delay but appreciated Breeze's response. The carrier comped meals and was constantly updating us on the status of the flight.The employees working were communicative and helpful.Taylor Rains/InsiderFinally, after hours of waiting, the plane arrived in Las Vegas. However, the ramp was so hot that mechanics could not fix a maintenance issue that occurred on the inbound flight, so they had to wait until evening when it was cooler.Taylor Rains/InsiderThis tacked on another two-hour delay, and, at this point, I was pretty upset. But, I knew flying during the busy summer season would be hectic and decided to just roll with the punches.Taylor Rains/InsiderWe boarded the flight around 8 p.m. — eight hours after our original departure time. I made my way through the cabin and got settled in my standard-economy seat.Taylor Rains/InsiderStandard economy, or "Nice," is Breeze's most basic seat, offering 30 inches of pitch, which is more than Spirit, Frontier, and Allegiant, which only offer 28-29 inches.Spirit Airlines' economy seats.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe company also has extra legroom seats, known as "Nicer," that offer 32+ inches of pitch.Taylor Rains/Insider"Nicest" is the company's first-class section. Both cabins have plenty of overhead bin space.Taylor Rains/InsiderWhile I wish I'd had the leg rest and deep recline offered in first class so I could more easily sleep on the long red-eye, my economy seat was pretty comfortable.Taylor Rains/InsiderI'm 5'3" and on the smaller side, so the legroom was not an issue for me. I felt I had plenty of space, but taller passengers may want to upgrade to the extra-legroom seats.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe seat also came with several other amenities not seen on competing budget airlines, like USB ports…Taylor Rains/Insider…a headrest…Taylor Rains/Insider…a large tray table…Taylor Rains/Insider…adequate padding, though the seat was still slim compared with some mainline carriers…Taylor Rains/Insider…big seat-back pockets…Taylor Rains/Insider…and a stand on the seat back for smartphones or tables so passengers can stream movies or TV shows.Taylor Rains/InsiderBreeze's A220 does not yet have complimentary inflight entertainment like its Embraers, but Neeleman said the service is planned for the future.Breeze's inflight entertainment portal on its Embraer jets.Taylor Rains/InsiderI booked a regular "Nice" fare for my flight, which does not come with complimentary food or beverages.Breeze A220 buy-onboard menu.Taylor Rains/InsiderHowever, due to the long delay, the flight attendants served us free drinks and snacks. I enjoyed Pringles and orange juice.Taylor Rains/InsiderBreeze's two other fare classes each come with different amenities, like snacks, a reserved seat, or a carry-on bag.Breeze AirwaysNice is the most restrictive fare class, but customers who book the fare can pay extra to upgrade to an extra-legroom (Nicer) or first-class (Nicest) seat without adding other amenities.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe a la carte model means passengers can prioritize what they want to pay more for.Taylor Rains/InsiderFor example, I typically only travel with a carry-on and bring my own snacks, so I could book a Nice fare and pay for a seat upgrade without being forced to purchase a more-expensive bundle that has things I don't need.The first class legroom.Taylor Rains/InsiderAfter a five-hour journey, we landed in Syracuse. I did not have to deplane and simply waited for everyone else to leave and for the new passengers to board.Taylor Rains/InsiderOverall, I was very happy with Breeze's economy product, despite the long delay in Las Vegas. It felt more like flying on a mainline carrier than a bare-bones low-cost airline, which is perfect for budget travelers who want a little extra space and comfort.Taylor Rains/InsiderRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 25th, 2022

United pilots are on track to get a big pay raise as the industry continues to combat the pilot shortage that"s leading to massive flight cancellations

The modified contract comes after American nearly doubled the salaries of pilots at its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Envoy Air and Piedmont Airlines. United Airlines pilots walk through Newark Liberty International Airport.Niall Carson - PA Images/Getty Images United Airlines' pilot union approved a tentative agreement that would increase pilot pay, among other benefits. The deal also includes a new paid maternity leave policy and improved scheduling procedures. The move comes as the industry struggles to hire and retain pilots. Pilots at United Airlines are set to get a massive pay raise. On Friday, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), a union that represents more than 14,000 United pilots, voted to approve a "tentative agreement" that would increase crew member salary, among other benefits.After getting union approval, the deal was sent to members for a vote, which closes on July 15. If a majority of members vote in favor of the contract, then the deal "will generate an additional $1.3 billion of value for United pilots over the course of the two-year agreement," ALPA said in a press release."This agreement raises the bar for all airline pilots and leads the industry forward," chairman of ALPA's United pilot group Captain Michael Hamilton said. "Our ability to reach this agreement, and the current success of United Airlines, is driven by front-line United pilots who stayed unified and focused throughout negotiations despite the incredible challenges we faced during the largest disruption in the history of aviation."If ratified, the deal will provide a number of benefits to pilots, including a 14.5% pay raise over 18 months, a new eight-week paid maternity leave policy, and new schedule procedures to reduce pilot fatigue and improve flexibility.The agreement also increases pay for instructors, evaluators, and line check airmen. ALPA said the higher compensation is to "increase training capacity to meet United's unprecedented hiring and growth plans." This is in line with American Airlines' increase pay for line check airmen at its wholly-owned carriers Envoy Air and Piedmont Airlines, who will be paid $427.40 per hour under a new contract. Regular pilots also will see their salaries nearly doubled.For months, airlines have been struggling to hire, train, and retain pilots, with carriers like Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Mesa Airlines admitting to having a shortage.Mesa CEO Jonathan Ornstein told CNBC in May that the company could 'use about 200 pilots," while Alaska CEO Ben Minicucci said in a YouTube video that the carrier was about 63 pilots short last month.Meanwhile, American grounded 100 regional jets in early June because it doesn't have enough pilots to fly them. United made a similar move in December.The shortages, compounded with weather and air traffic control (ATC) issues, have led to significant flight delays and cancellations, especially over key weekends. The Juneteenth holiday saw over 35,000 flights disrupted from Thursday to Monday.In an interview with Bloomberg on Monday, Kirby blamed ATC staffing for the disruptions over recent weekends, particularly at Newark. In an effort to improve on-time performance at its hub airport, United is reducing domestic departures by 12%, which the airline says will make travel easier for all people flying through Newark.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJun 24th, 2022

China"s new aircraft carrier and its cutting-edge technology still needs lots of tests

The US Navy is the only other military to use the kind of technology aboard China's new aircraft carrier, Fujian. China's third aircraft carrier, Fujian, during its launch ceremony in Shanghai, June 17, 2022.Li Gang/Xinhua via AP The US Navy is the only other military to use the technology on China's new aircraft carrier, Fujian. The US Navy's newest carrier, USS Gerald R. Ford, needed years of testing to reach combat readiness. Observers say Fujian's cutting-edge electromagnetic catapults and other systems need months of tests. After years of peering at satellite images of Shanghai's Jiangnan shipyard for a glimpse of China's newest aircraft carrier, military watchers around the world have turned their attention to how long it will take before the Fujian is ready for active service.The Type 003 carrier's launch on Friday marked a milestone in the country's push for a blue-water navy capable of operating far from Chinese shores.The Fujian is China's third carrier and the largest it has ever built, as well as the most sophisticated. Its three cutting-edge electromagnetic catapults promise to put a greater range of warplanes into action more frequently, along with more fuel and munitions.But the Fujian is far from combat-ready. "It needs around 18 months of testing," said Zhou Chenming, a researcher at the Yuan Wang military science and technology think tank in Beijing. "It's a very complex set of tests."The PLA Navy said initial testing would cover the Fujian's mooring and navigational capabilities, but the catapults as well as the carrier's performance in different waters and operational environments will also need to be put on trial, according to Zhou.China's first aircraft carrier, Liaoning, in Dalian, September 22, 2012.REUTERS/StringerChina's first carrier, the Liaoning, was only commissioned in 2012, after it was bought from Ukraine in 1998 as a half-finished Soviet vessel. Seven years later, the Shandong became China's first domestically built aircraft carrier. Both carriers use ski-jump ramps to help jets take off.With the Fujian, China has bypassed the older steam-powered catapults used by the US Navy on its Nimitz-class carriers to become only the second country to adopt the more advanced electromagnetic catapult system, first used on the newer USS Gerald R. Ford supercarrier.The lack of a ramp means more planes can be parked on the Fujian's flight deck. Electromagnetic catapults also cost less to maintain and are more power-efficient than their conventional counterparts, which release pressurised steam to push aircraft along the deck and create enough lift for take-off.Henry Boyd, a research fellow for defence and military analysis at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, said he expected the Fujian to be commissioned around the mid-2020s, assuming no significant technical or performance issues arose during sea trials."Introducing any new form of sophisticated technology into operational service comes with an inherent degree of risk, as the US Navy's own experience demonstrates," he said.The USS Ford was only certified combat-ready late last year, despite being launched in 2013, after years of work to make its catapult system more reliable and a change in the ship's design to resolve power issues.USS Gerald R. Ford conducts high-speed turns in the Atlantic Ocean.US Navy/Petty Officer 3rd Class Connor LoessinThe Chinese navy would also need to pay greater attention to power consumption on the Fujian which, unlike the Nimitz and Ford-class carriers, used conventional rather than nuclear propulsion, Boyd said."While these considerations, and their resulting logistics and resupply requirements, will impose some operational limitations on the Fujian, they are unlikely to strongly constrain her operational capabilities."The Fujian's capacity to operate larger aircraft – including fixed-wing early warning and control (AEW&C) planes, fighters and potentially drones – would allow the PLA to operate more effectively beyond its land-based air and missile capabilities, Boyd said.A prototype of China's KJ-600 AEW&C aircraft was seen in 2018 at a carrier testing facility in Wuhan, in the central province of Hubei, and is expected to operate on the Fujian.The carrier's air wing could also include the F-15B fighter and a fifth-generation carrier-borne aircraft based on the FC-31 produced by the state-owned Avic Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, also sometimes called the "J-35" or "J-XY".But little is known of the Fujian's capabilities, especially its catapults.Matthew Funaiole, senior fellow at the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies' China Power Project, said he expected China to tread carefully as the Fujian moved up to its initial operating capability."This is an entirely new area for China. Unlike the US, it doesn't have decades of experience operating steam-based catapult systems so expect some slow but steady progress," he said.Pilots and operators must also be trained to use the new launch system under different environments, Funaiole said. "That is a tall order. There is a lot of potential but a lot of unknowns. That means a lot could go wrong if they move too fast."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJun 23rd, 2022

The US DOJ is seizing Roman Abramovich"s Boeing 787, a rare private jet worth $350 million. See inside examples of one of the largest private aircraft in the world.

The Boeing 787 business aircraft is rare to see, but a few are in existence, like the "Dream Jet" and Mexico's presidential plane. Kestrel Aviation Management Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich owned a $350 million Boeing 787 business jet. The plane is being seized by the US Department of Transportation as part of sanctions against Russia. A few other Boeing 787 private jets exist, including purpose-built planes and converted passenger Dreamliners. The US Department of Transportation has been "authorized to seize" two private jets from Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich: a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner and a Gulfstream G650ER.Roman Abramovich no longer owns Chelsea FC.Clive Mason/Getty ImagesSource: US Department of JusticeAccording to an FBI affidavit, Abramovich "owned and/or controlled the Gulfstream and the Boeing through a series of shell companies."United States Attorney for the Southern District of New YorkSource: US Department of JusticeThe seizures are part of Western sanctions and other punishments imposed on ultra-wealthy Russians in response to the country's invasion of Ukraine.Russian oligarch Alexei Mordashov's super-yacht, "Lady M" was seized by Italian authorities on March 5.ANDREA BERNARDI/AFP via Getty Images.Abramovich's jets have a combined value of $400 million, though the 787 makes up most of that sum at $350 million, according to court records. The Dreamliner is currently in Dubai, while the G650ER is in Russia.United States Attorney for the Southern District of New YorkWhile many private jets and other luxury vessels have been seized in recent months, Abramovich's Dreamliner is of particular interest due to its size and rarity.Roman AbramovichLaurence Griffiths/Getty ImagesBoeing has converted a series of airliners into business aircraft, like Tony Robbin's BBJ 737. However, the wide-body 787 version is not common, as the jet was primarily designed for long-haul commercial flights. Only a handful of private examples exist.Tony Robbins' BBJ.Silver AirAbramovich's was bought from PrivatAir after the carrier filed bankruptcy in 2018. It is the world's most expensive private jet.A PrivatAir BBJ 737.Vytautas Kielaitis/ShutterstockSource: Luxury LaunchesThere are a few other Dreamliner business planes in existence, including purpose-built ones like HNA Group's "Dream Jet…"GENNA MARTIN/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images…and converted airliners, like Mexico's presidential 787.Marco Ugarte/Associated PressThe Dream Jet was recently sold and is no longer available for charters, Kestrel Aviation Management CEO Stephen Vella told Insider. Kestrel created the 787's interior in partnership with Pierrejean Design Studio of Paris.GENNA MARTIN/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty ImagesThere are few photos of the Russian billionaire's Dreamliner, but images of the other two jets can paint a picture of the luxuries that may lie inside — take a look.Inside Kestrel's BBJ 787.Kestrel Aviation ManagementThe 2,400-square-foot Dream Jet was formerly operated by China's Deer Jet, which is a subsidiary of the HNA Group. The plane can travel over 17 hours and connect virtually any two cities on the globe.Kestrel Aviation ManagementBefore it was sold, the aircraft could be chartered out for $74,000 per hour and was rented by the rich and famous, like Cambodian president Hun Sen.Kestrel Aviation ManagementSource: CNNVella explained to Insider that the company was the very first to ever built an interior for the BBJ 787, but it was a complex job due to the plane's design and materials.Kestrel Aviation Management CEO Stephen Vella.Kestrel Aviation Management"The reason we were the first was people were a little twitchy about taking the risk of doing a proper VIP interior," he explained.Kestrel Aviation ManagementHowever, Vella and his team had experience with the 787 and were familiar with the plane, so they were able to mitigate the risks and tackle the challenges.Kestrel Aviation ManagementConsidered a "seven-star" hotel experience in the sky, Kestrel's plane features several living and working spaces, like a rotunda, galley, and crew rest areas at the front…Inside Kestrel's BBJ 787.Kestrel Aviation Management…a VIP bathroom…Inside Kestrel's BBJ 787.Kestrel Aviation Management…18 lay-flat seats for guests and other officials and six reclining seats for security teams and nannies…Inside Kestrel's BBJ 787.Kestrel Aviation Management…a dining room that can seat up to 12 people at two tables…Inside Kestrel's BBJ 787.Kestrel Aviation Management…a living room with a TV and day bed, which can separate into two separate couches…Inside Kestrel's BBJ 787.Kestrel Aviation Management…a private bedroom…Inside Kestrel's BBJ 787.Kestrel Aviation Management...a master dressing room...Inside Kestrel's BBJ 787.Kestrel Aviation Management…and an ensuite bathroom that connects to the bedroom via sliding doors.Inside Kestrel's BBJ 787.Kestrel Aviation ManagementThe bathroom features vanities, sinks, and a standing shower.Inside Kestrel's BBJ 787.Kestrel Aviation ManagementMeanwhile, the bedroom features a TV and closet space.Inside Kestrel's BBJ 787.Kestrel Aviation ManagementThe living room has several seating areas, including loungers and couches. This space is meant for meetings, hanging out, talking, or playing games.Inside Kestrel's BBJ 787.Kestrel Aviation ManagementAlso in the giant lounge is a hidden jumpseat, which is required per FAA regulations. Vella said there is a door that hides the seat after takeoff.Inside Kestrel's BBJ 787.Kestrel Aviation ManagementVella said the floors are either wood or carpet and that the different shades of browns and grays were meant to separate the space.Inside Kestrel's BBJ 787.Kestrel Aviation ManagementFor example, he used dark brown seats in the aft room and light brown in the main lounge in the center of the jet.Inside Kestrel's BBJ 787.Kestrel Aviation ManagementAnother Dreamliner private jet is Mexico's presidential 787. However, Vella explained that the plane is not a purpose-built BBJ, but rather a 787 airliner converted into a business aircraft.Associated PressSee inside the $218 million Boeing 787 jet that Mexico's president refuses to use and is now renting out for parties insteadNevertheless, the interior has been converted into several living spaces, including a bedroom…Inside Mexico's presidential plane.Marco Ugarte/Associated Press…and lounge areas.Inside Mexico's presidential plane.Marco Ugarte/Associated PressHowever, the plane is no longer being used as a presidential jet because the country's current leader, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, prides himself on his austerity and tries to fly commercial when he can.President López Obrador on a commercial flight.Marco Ugarte/Associated PressPreviously, the president said he sees the plane, which was bought for $218 million, as an "insult to the people" and "an example of the excesses" of the nation's former leaders, the New York Times reported.Marco Ugarte/Associated PressSource: The New York TimesBecause of this, Obrador tried to sell the plane in 2018 but had no offers. To convert the plane into an airline would be extremely costly, putting off buyers. He even tried to raffle it off, unsuccessfully.Marco Ugarte/Associated PressSource: The New York Times, France24To cover the upkeep costs, the government plans to rent out the now-$130 million aircraft for private events.Marco Ugarte/Associated Press"It will be open to the public if anyone wants it, because they're getting married ... and they want to bring their friends and family ... or coming of age parties, birthdays," López Obrador said, AP reported.Marco Ugarte/Associated PressSource: Associated PressRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 19th, 2022

American CEO says the airline has grounded 100 planes because it doesn"t have enough pilots to fly them

American is the latest carrier to take action to better manage the pilot shortage, particularly as airlines prepare for a busy summer travel season. American Eagle regional aircraft.Markus Mainka/Shutterstock American Airlines CEO Robert Isom said on Friday that the carrier is grounding about 100 regional jets. However, he believes the problem "can be remedied" with the right compensation and incentives.  United Airlines grounded 100 regional planes in December amid the pilot shortage. The pilot shortage is continuing to take a toll on US airlines, forcing some to park planes because there aren't enough pilots to fly them. American Airlines CEO Robert Isom told participants at the Bernstein Strategic Decisions conference on Friday that the carrier is grounding about 100 regional jets due to the pilot shortage. The news was first reported by The Dallas Morning News."There is a supply and demand imbalance right now, and it really is within the regional carrier ranks," he said. "We have probably a hundred aircraft — almost a hundred aircraft that aren't, aren't productive right now, that aren't flying."The parked planes are smaller 50 and 76-seater jets, he explained. However, Isom said American has made up for the lack of frequencies by flying larger regional aircraft, like the Embraer 175. Despite the groundings, Isom says the company is currently hiring 2,000 pilots and believes if "there are the appropriate incentives and there's the kind of compensation that attracts people to the industry, then this is something that can be remedied." Isom's comments come as the airline industry grapples with the pilot shortage, especially with the busy summer travel season quickly approaching. Regional carriers have been particularly impacted as their pilots move to larger airlines.Mesa Airlines CEO Jonathan Ornstein told CNBC in May that it takes about four months to replace a pilot who put in their two weeks' notice to fly for a larger carrier, and that Mesa needs "about 200 pilots."While some airlines are reducing their fleet and laser-focused on hiring, one carrier is trying to change training requirements to get more pilots flying sooner.In April, regional carrier Republic Airways, which flies on behalf of Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and American, asked the Federal Aviation Administration for permission to hire pilots from its training academy, LIFT. Currently, most pilots need 1,500 hours to be hired by an airline, but Republic wants to slash that in half to 750 hours."Republic is not proposing overturning the 1500-hour rule or weakening safety; to the contrary, we are proposing a more intensive, mission-specific training pathway similar to what is permitted for military pilots under current law," Republic CEO Bryan Bedford said in a statement sent to Insider. He emphasized the importance of safety, and that the proposal is a data-supported "pathway" that will "produce higher performing pilots while reducing significant economic barriers to enable more diversity in our cockpits."There are already some exemptions in place that allow pilots to be hired with less training time. Specifically, those with two or four-year college degrees can be hired with 1,250 and 1,000 hours, respectively.American is not the only airline grounding aircraft. In December, United Airlines announced it would park 100 regional jets amid the pilot shortage."The pilot shortage for the industry is real, and most airlines are simply not going to be able to realize their capacity plans because there simply aren't enough pilots, at least not for the next five-plus years," United CEO Scott Kirby said in a quarterly earnings call in April, CNBC reported.The shortage was exacerbated during the pandemic when the industry lost thousands of pilots due to early retirement, and carriers expect the low supply to continue as more hit the mandatory retirement age of 65, per The Dallas Morning News.To keep more pilots flying longer, Senator Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) may propose a bill that would increase the retirement age to 67, according to Aviation Weekly."Optically, cutting the number of required flying hours may look like a riskier approach than allowing a healthy pilot to continue flying a few more years," Henry Harteveldt, travel analyst and president of Atmosphere Research Group, previously told Insider.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 3rd, 2022

Airline Stock Roundup: SAVE Rejects JBLU"s Offer Again, UAL Ups Q2 Revenue View

UAL expects total unit revenues in Q2 to increase in the 23-25% band from the second-quarter 2019 actuals. RYAAY's loss narrows in Q4 fiscal 2022. In the past week, there were quite a few updates on the impending takeover of Spirit Airlines SAVE. On May 16, JetBlue Airways JBLU, after being rejected initially on May 2, refused to give up and launched a hostile all-cash unsolicited tender offer to acquire all the outstanding shares of SAVE's common stock. However, the latter’s management stuck to its stance and turned down the offer put forth by the former yet again.United Airlines’ UAL management gave an improved revenue guidance for the June quarter as bookings continue to get healthier. In another encouraging update, UAL received the green signal from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate its fleet of 52 Boeing 777s again. The jets are powered with  Pratt & Whitney engines. The planes have been grounded since February 2021 after a Honolulu-bound flight suffered an engine failure and made an emergency landing at the Denver International Airport. On the earnings front, Ryanair Holdings RYAAY reported narrower-than-expected loss per share for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022 (ended Mar 31, 2022).Also, Latin American carrier Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes GOL announced that there will be a change at its helm with a new CEO in place from July this year.Recap of the Latest Top Stories1.In an SEC filing dated May 16, United Airlines’ management projected total revenue per available seat miles (TRASM: a measure of unit revenue) for second-quarter 2022 to increase in the 23-25% band from the second-quarter 2019 actuals. Per the previous TRASM forecast, given last month while releasing first-quarter 2022 results, the metric was expected to increase roughly 17% from the second-quarter 2019 actuals. However, due to rising oil price, UAL, currently carrying a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), increased its average aircraft fuel price per gallon forecast for the June quarter. Management now expects the metric to be $4.02, higher than the previous estimate of $3.43.You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.2. In a letter addressed directly to the Spirit Airlines shareholders, JetBlue on May 16 tweaked its purchase price to $30 per share (without interest and less any required withholding taxes).  At that time, SAVE’s board of directors advised its shareholders against taking any rash action at the moment and decided that the board will first carefully review JetBlue’s tender offer. After reviewing, SAVE’s board urged its shareholders to reject the $30 per share cash tender offer, citing regulatory concerns.3. Ryanair incurred a loss (excluding 50 cents from non-recurring items) of 98 cents per share in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of $1.11. However, the amount of loss narrowed significantly year over year. Quarterly revenues of $1,319.6 million fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,356.3 million but improved significantly year over year with higher traffic despite lower average fares (down 27% year over year due to Omicron-induced woes and the Russian invasion of Ukraine). Ryanair expects summer 2022 average fares to be higher than the summer 2019 level. RYAAY expects fiscal 2023 traffic to be 165 million, higher than the fiscal 2022 figure as well as 149 million registered in fiscal 2020 (pre-pandemic). RYAAY anticipates a return to profitability in fiscal 2023.4. Gol Linhas announced that its President and CEO Paulo Kakinoff is set to shift from his current position to become a member of the board of directors. Kakinoff will be succeeded by Celso Ferrer, the vice president of operations. This transition will be effective Jul 1, 2022. Celso joined GOL in 2003 and has served the carrier in various capacities ever since.GOL was also in the news recently when it reported impressive traffic numbers for April, driven by the improving air-travel demand scenario in Brazil. That story was covered in detail in last week’s write-up.                   PerformanceThe following table shows the price movement of the major airline players over the past week and during the last six months.Image Source: Zacks Investment Research The table above shows that most airline stocks have traded in the green over the past week, led by the upsurge in the Spirit Airlines stock. The NYSE ARCA Airline Index has gained 3.8% to $69.37. Over the past six months, the NYSE ARCA Airline Index has declined 19.5%.What's Next in the Airline Space?With the first-quarter 2022 earnings season over for the airlines, watch this space for the usual news updates. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Ryanair Holdings PLC (RYAAY): Free Stock Analysis Report United Airlines Holdings Inc (UAL): Free Stock Analysis Report JetBlue Airways Corporation (JBLU): Free Stock Analysis Report Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes S.A. (GOL): Free Stock Analysis Report Spirit Airlines, Inc. (SAVE): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 21st, 2022

58 years, 2 navies, one war: A short history of one of the world"s longest-serving aircraft carriers

For 58 years, HMS Hermes and later INS Viraat sailed all over the world in the service of two navies A Sea Harrier takes off of Indian aircraft carrier INS Viraat during an exercise off of Goa, September 29, 2005.SEBASTIAN D'SOUZA/AFP via Getty Images Aircraft carriers have been a dominant naval asset for nearly a century. Their high cost and sturdy construction means those flattops often serve for decades. One of the longest-serving was HMS Hermes, which spent a total of 58 years in two navies. Since World War II, aircraft carriers have been one of the most important weapons in a military's arsenal.A nation with flattops can influence affairs far from its shores, and the more of them it can deploy, the farther it can project force around the world.The financial and technological requirements to build and deploy carriers means only a few countries can develop and maintain them. That barrier to entry means only few countries can field even one carrier.The US can deploy 11 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, reflecting its superpower status. China is building or testing three flattops, and the UK has two new carriers. Several other countries, including France, Russia, and India, have at least one.But carriers, once built, can serve for a long time. One of the longest-serving was HMS Hermes, which spent a total of 58 years in the British and Indian navies.HMS HermesBritish aircraft carrier HMS Hermes sails to London in 1950.Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty ImagesHMS Hermes was a conventionally powered Centaur-class flattop that was laid down in 1944. Construction was paused for several years and the carrier wasn't launched until 1953. It entered service with the Royal Navy in 1959.The flattop began its career as a CATOBAR aircraft carrier and could carry up to five fixed- and rotary-wing squadrons.Catapult Assisted Take-Off Barrier Arrested Recovery, or CATOBAR, carriers use catapults to launch aircraft and arresting wires to recover them, allowing planes to take off and land on a deck that's only a few hundred feet long instead of a mile or longer.But in the early 1970s, the Royal Navy decided to convert Hermes to support operations by Royal Marine Commandos — like the amphibious assault ships of the US Navy. Berthing space for 800 troops was added, and helicopters became Hermes' primary aircraft.Hermes was refit again in the early 1980s, when the threat from Soviet submarines prompted the Royal Navy to repurpose the ship for anti-submarine warfare. This modification also converted Hermes into a Short Take-Off, Barrier Arrested Recovery, or STOBAR, carrier.A ski jump was added to Hermes' bow and it once more hosted fighter jets, namely the Sea Harrier, which was designed for short and vertical takeoffs and landings.Royal Navy crewmen relax aboard HMS Hermes as they sail toward the Falkland Islands, 1982.Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty ImagesDuring the Falklands War in 1982, the HMS Hermes was the flagship of the British armada, leading more than 100 ships to the South Atlantic to reclaim the islands from the Argentines.Hermes' sister ship and fellow STOBAR carrier, HMS Invincible, were crucial to the UK's success. Sea Harrier fighter jets operating from the two flattops gave the British air dominance and ensured that ground troops could land on and retake the Falklands.The Argentines recognized the importance of the British aircraft carriers and tried to sink them multiple times with daring air attacks. They sunk several escort ships and claimed to have hit Invincible, but the flattops emerged from the conflict unscathed. (The British armada included two improvised carriers, one of which was sunk.)Hermes' post-Falklands life was brief. After a refit and an exercise, the carrier was decommissioned in 1984, but that wasn't the end of its career.The British had previously tried to offload Hermes — including a mid-1960s offer to Australia that fell through because of the high cost to man and operate the carrier — and in 1983, they again offered to sell it to Australia, which once more turned them down.Indian sailors man the rails of INS Viraat during a fleet review in Mumbai, December 20, 2011.Mahendra Parikh/Hindustan Times via Getty ImagesThe carrier was sold to India in 1986. After undergoing a refit, the carrier was commissioned into the Indian navy as INS Viraat in a ceremony held in the UK in May 1987.It became the flagship of the Indian Navy and participated in a number of operations, including in the Indian peacekeeping mission in Sri Lanka in 1989 and in the Indian blockade of Pakistani ports during the Kargil War in 1999. Viraat als took part in exercise Malabar, an annual exercise involving the US, India, and other navies.After almost six decades in service, the Hermes was finally decommissioned by the Indian Navy in 2017. In 2019, the Indian government decided to scrap the carrier.After years of attempts by state governments and private actors to preserve the carrier as a museum, including a last-minute legal effort to prevent it from being totally dismantled, the carrier was broken up in 2021.Stavros Atlamazoglou is a defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytApr 17th, 2022

On the Tesla production line: Dozens of former employees say they faced catcalls, groping, slurs, and harassment on the job

Forty-six lawsuits allege employees were targeted, harassed, and in some cases physically assaulted based on their gender and race. Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images; iStock; Rebecca Zisser/Insider In 46 lawsuits, former and current employees allege they were targeted and harassed based on gender and race. Tesla has pushed back and filed to move the majority of the cases to private arbitration. Seven experts told Insider the number of lawsuits should be a cause for concern for the carmaker. Alisa Blickman said her coworkers rated women, took photos of a female colleague's back-side, and made comments like, "I'd like to bend her over and spread her cheeks." Alex Corella said his colleagues called him "homophobic slurs" and joked that he performed oral sex on his supervisor. Terrance Dobbins said workers told him he worked at the "KFC and watermelon patch." They also made "sexually and racially offensive statements," including jokes about "pegging," he said.And Jessica Brooks said "catcalls" and groping got so bad on the job that she started stacking boxes around her workstation "to discourage men from coming and whistling at and ogling her."These are just a handful of accounts from more than 40 lawsuits filed against Tesla by former and current employees in the past five years alleging the company fosters a sexist and racist work culture. Tesla is currently attempting to push three of the cases, and many others, into private arbitration. Dobbins' case was moved into arbitration in September. Tesla founder Elon Musk built the electric-car maker as part of his utopian vision for the future. The company's cars save lives, Musk has said, and he's set out to revolutionize manufacturing, describing an "alien dreadnought" dream factory, where all parts of the carmaking process are automated. But for now, Tesla must rely on its army of workers, some of whom say these futuristic dreams are stifled in a "Jim Crow Era," "frat house" environment that allows discrimination to fester.Together, the lawsuits paint a picture of a workplace where slurs, groping, and threats were commonplace, and where the human-resources department regularly failed to address workers' concerns. In some cases, employees who turned to management for help said they were reprimanded or terminated, according to the lawsuits."After almost three years of experiencing all the harassment, it robs your sense of security — it almost dehumanizes you," Jessica Barraza, who filed a lawsuit against Tesla in November saying she was sexually harassed on a "near-daily" basis, told The Washington Post. (Insider attempted to contact all of the former employees cited in this story, and they either declined to comment or did not respond.) Tesla has filed to push the case into private arbitration.Musk did not respond to requests for comment. "Tesla believes that the appropriate place to respond is before the tribunal that will hear the actual facts and evidence, not in the press," Tesla said in a statement to Insider, declining to comment on individual cases.In the vast majority of the lawsuits, the carmaker has fought back and pushed for private arbitration. At least three cases have been dismissed and three more have been settled in court. Most others have been moved to private arbitration or are pending a hearing on Tesla's motion to compel arbitration. Meanwhile, Tesla said in October that it is actively working to "ensure that every employee feels that they can bring their whole self to work."While Tesla has largely been successful in deflecting the lawsuits and preventing settlement details from being publicized over the past five years, there are signs of cracks in its armor. The company lost two high-profile discrimination cases — one in court and one in private arbitration — last year, and it's now facing government scrutiny.An aerial view of the Tesla factory in Fremont, California.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesA flurry of lawsuits at FremontTesla's sprawling 5.3-million-square-foot factory in Fremont, California, is the company's largest manufacturing hub, where it produces hundreds of thousands of electric cars each year that sell for $46,990 to over $130,000. More than 10,000 employees work at the plant and face ambitious production targets as Tesla pushes to scale production by roughly 50% a year.In 2021, the Fremont factory cranked out 8,550 cars per week — more vehicles than any other automotive production plant in North America, according to a report from Bloomberg. Tesla is planning to ramp up production in the coming year with new factories, and the Fremont hub is designed to serve as the model for its future plants.As Tesla's output and workforce have grown, so have the number of lawsuits it faces from its workers. More sexual-harassment and racial-discrimination lawsuits appear to have been filed against Tesla in 2021 than any year since it was founded 18 years ago, according to an Insider review of 46 lawsuits against Tesla, over 60% of which involve the factory. In many of these cases, women and people of color said they faced racist and sexist behavior. Seven legal and labor experts told Insider that the sheer number of lawsuits against Tesla should be a cause for concern for the carmaker. "It's an astounding number for a factory with 10,000 workers," said Lisa Bloom, a California lawyer who has advised high-profile clients including Harvey Weinstein and taken on cases against Donald Trump, Bill O'Reilly, and Jeffrey Epstein. Bloom also told Insider she's had conversations with a Tesla customer considering legal action against the company. "Most people who are victims of verbal or physical abuse are hesitant to come forward," she said. "These kinds of lawsuits point to a deeper endemic problem and are likely the tip of the iceberg."Deborah Gordon, a Detroit lawyer who has worked on sexual-harassment lawsuits against companies in the United Auto Workers union, told Insider that automotive factories typically face up to a handful of sexual harassment and racial-discrimination cases per year. In an analysis of seven automotive manufacturing plants in the US that have similar workforce populations and production levels to Tesla's Fremont factory — including Toyota's facility in Georgetown, Kentucky (9,000 workers), BMW's in Spartanburg, South Carolina (11,000 workers), Nissan's in Smyrna, Tennessee (7,000 workers), Ford's in Kansas City, Missouri (7,000 workers), Hyundai's in Montgomery Alabama (3,000 workers), Stellantis' in Sterling Heights, Michigan (6,800 workers), and General Motors' in Spring Hill, Tennessee (3,200 workers) — Insider found a range of zero to 10 racial discrimination and sexual harassment cases filed against each facility across county, state, and federal courts over the past five years. Like Tesla, all six companies require employees to sign mandatory arbitration clauses, which could keep cases out of public view.Tesla pushed back on Bloom's characterization of the number as "astounding" in a statement to Insider, saying competitors have been "sued for discrimination many more times than Tesla over the last five years.""The claim that Tesla faces an unusual volume of suits is inaccurate and misleading," the spokesperson said."Your attempt to analyze at the plant level is not a fair comparison, given that the Fremont factory is not only the largest auto assembly plant in the nation, but also has the largest US workforce," Tesla added. "Comparing assembly plants with only a few thousand workers in states such as Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee to Tesla's Fremont factory – located in a jurisdiction with one of the highest rates of litigation – does not make sense. Based on these differences alone, a fair review of publicly available data does not support the assertions of your experts," Tesla added.A GM spokesperson told Insider in a statement that Tesla's comment on competitors' case numbers is also "inaccurate and misleading" and that "GM has zero tolerance for workplace harassment and discrimination in any form."A Toyota spokesperson told Insider, "not a single employee has filed a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment or racial/gender discrimination" at the company's largest US facility in Georgetown, Kentucky over the past five years. A Stellantis spokesperson said, "There is absolutely no truth to Tesla's comments about the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant or any other plant within Stellantis' manufacturing footprint." Ford, BMW, Nissan, and Hyundai did not respond to a request for comment on the number of racial discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuits that have been filed against them. While GM, Ford, and Stellantis are unionized in the US, Tesla's workforce is not, and Musk himself has had scathing words for UAW and unions in general — a factor Gordon said could be contributing to the worker complaints."The UAW is very active in addressing these types of issues," Gordon said. "They simply do not tolerate it. Verbal harassment is fairly common in a factory setting, but a union adds a layer of protection for workers. It allows grievances to be heard and readily addressed."Men represent 79% of Tesla's total workforce and 83% of leadership, the carmaker said in a 2020 report. Vicki Schultz, a labor expert at Yale Law School, told Insider that a lack of diversity in a company's workforce is a major "risk factor" for sexual harassment."The dominant group will use sexual or racial harassment to show others that they don't belong," Schultz said.Tesla has said it is a "majority-minority" company. People of color make up about 60% of the company's total workforce, according to Tesla's latest diversity report. But while Black workers make up 10% of the US workforce, they hold only 4% of roles at the director level or higher. Tesla has not provided specific demographics for the Fremont factory.Some supervisors harassed workers, lawsuits sayMichala Curran said that during her first week at Tesla, her supervisor told her to "shake her ass," become an exotic dancer, and tried to slap her backside."I just felt scared not knowing who to run to," Curran, a former production associate in the paint department, told The Washington Post. "Knowing there's nothing but males around me — not knowing if they might have the same mind-set of the supervisor."Curran is one of 24 women who have sued Tesla in the past five years alleging that they were sexually harassed, groped, or physically assaulted, and in some cases denied pay raises and promotions. Most of the plaintiffs formerly worked at the Fremont factory. Over two dozen former employees' lawsuits said their supervisors harassed them. Tesla has filed a motion to compel Curran's case into private arbitration and the decision is pending a court hearing in May. The remaining 23 cases have been moved to private arbitration or are pending a hearing on Tesla's motion to compel arbitration.Some workers' lawsuits described supervisors' behavior as threatening. Kristin Ortiz, a sales representative, said her supervisor would stalk her, invite her to change clothes in front of him, call her "the eye candy of the store" and on one occasion "kissed her on the cheek," according to a lawsuit. Erica Cloud said in a separate suit that her manager's behavior caused her to "fear for her safety," as he would "hug and massage her" and refer to his penis, saying he is "big down there." Cloud reported the behavior to HR and within several months was no longer required to work with the manager, according to her suit. Another former employee, Dominique Keeton, alleged in a lawsuit that her direct supervisor sent her text messages saying that he wanted to be "intimate" with her and "regularly used racial slurs and white-power language to degrade, belittle, ridicule, and dehumanize her." Ortiz, Cloud, and Keeton's cases have been moved into private arbitration.Over a dozen employees' lawsuits said their supervisors threatened their employment, and in seven cases fired them, after they rejected sexual advances or reported racist and sexist behavior to the company.A Tesla Model 3 is assembled at the Fremont, California, factory.Mason Trinca/The Washington PostBlickman, an assembly-line worker, said in a suit that her supervisor threatened to send her to "one of the least desirable working areas" when she was not responsive to his "sexual advances," which included "daily" back rubs and statements like, "I hear you don't like to scream loud enough."Under federal and state civil-rights laws, employers are required to take reasonable steps to prevent workplace harassment. If a company has no way for employees to report harassment or does nothing to stop the harassment once it's reported, for example, it can be held liable in court. It's also illegal for a company to fire an employee just because they reported being harassed.Tesla HR ignored complaints, some workers saidSome Tesla workers said they tried to turn to the company's HR department for help but were ignored or reprimanded. Eden Mederos said in a lawsuit that Tesla workers at her service station in California often joked the company's HR function was nonexistent. She said she struggled to find contact information for the department after experiencing what she called "near-daily" harassment from coworkers, including her supervisor. After she reported it, the company held a meeting where she said the supervisor called her a "liar" and an HR rep called her accusations "aggressive," according to her suit. Mederos' attorney, David Lowe, told Insider the case has been moved to another county court and he anticipates Tesla will push for the case to be moved to private arbitration.Of 46 lawsuits Insider reviewed, plaintiffs in 13 cases said that verbal, written, or emailed reports sent to HR resulted in either no action or minimal follow-up. Twenty-two former employees said they were fired after reaching out to HR.DeWitt Lambert's attorney, Lawrence Organ, told Insider that Lambert presented HR with a video in which another worker called him the N-word 22 times and detailed how he would "chop up parts of his body." Lambert said he faced retaliation after reporting the incident and that HR "failed to investigate and reprimand the harassers." The same video also failed to convince a private arbitrator, who said a case could not be made against Tesla for allowing employees to use the N-word when Lambert used it himself, Organ told Insider."I feel like everything was taken away from me," Lambert told The New York Times. "I got everything snatched from up under me since I complained about it."Tesla's legal counsel argued that Lambert's filing involved "misplaced claims of employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation" and that the dispute should be settled in arbitration, where it was ultimately dismissed.A February lawsuit and three-year investigation into Tesla's HR practices by a California civil-rights regulator found that the company's human-resources department was "under-staffed and inadequately trained" with the ratio of HR workers to personnel 1-to-740. For comparison, the Society of Human Resources Management, the profession's leading member association, estimates that companies in the US average over two HR employees per every 100 full-time workers. Tesla has said it is working to improve training for its employees."We recently rolled out an additional training program that reinforces Tesla's requirement that all employees must treat each other with respect and reminds employees about the numerous ways they can report concerns, including anonymously," Tesla said on its website.Some former employees said Tesla HR personnel were hostile toward them. Malaisha Bivens said in a lawsuit that she met with an unidentified person she assumed was an HR representative after she reported that a fellow employee touched her inappropriately. This person "threatened" her in a "harsh tone," and said "she would be fired if she was lying about the incident," according to Bivens' lawsuit. HR did not follow up about an investigation into her complaint, her lawsuit said. The case has been moved to private arbitration.Another former employee, Kaylen Barker, said in a lawsuit that Tesla human resources asked her to sign a statement saying she was "insubordinate" after she reported that a coworker referred to her using the N-word and a sexist insult while also calling her "stupid" and "dumb" before throwing a "hot tool" at her. Tesla has yet to submit a response to the case."At a big company the expectation is that the HR department has a significant responsibility to ensure the law is not being broken," Gordon said. "Based on my experience, HR departments are not completely neutral, but usually at major companies they make a concerted effort to make sure rules are followed."Tesla's HR team appeared to take action against harassers in a small fraction of the lawsuits reviewed by Insider. Only four cases cited instances in which alleged harassers faced repercussions, including termination and being reassigned to another department, after physical altercations, according to the complaints.The CEO set the tone, some workers say Musk is known for his hands-on approach in guiding Tesla. In 2018, the CEO said he would sleep on the factory floor and work over 120 hours a week.Musk's leadership style led several workers who filed lawsuits to believe that he knew about what they called a "hostile work environment" at the Fremont factory."We've had multiple witnesses that can speak to Musk's presence at the factory, at least during the time of Lambert and Diaz's cases," said Organ, who represents several former workers in cases against Tesla. "It would be very hard to believe that he doesn't know about the behavior at the factory, and yet it doesn't seem like there's been a clear message from Musk that this conduct is not tolerated."Of the cases Organ has worked on, one has been dismissed, one is ongoing, and two have won against Tesla — one in court and the other in private arbitration.Four claimants said they contacted Musk directly about their complaints, while two more alleged his behavior on Twitter indirectly contributed toward their harassment.Tesla CEO Elon Musk in Delaware.Matt Rourke/AP PhotoMarcus Vaughn, a former employee, said he was one of multiple Black employees who contacted Musk regarding "repeated instances of race-based harassment" in 2017. Vaughn and more than 100 other former Tesla workers who are Black sued the company in a class action. In response, Musk sent an email to Fremont factory workers addressing harassment at Tesla, according to Vaughn's suit."Part of not being a huge jerk is considering how someone might feel who is part of [a] historically less represented group," Musk wrote in the email, according to the suit. "Sometimes these things happen unintentionally, in which case you should apologize. In fairness, if someone is a jerk to you, but sincerely apologizes, it is important to be thick-skinned and accept that apology."The class action suit was dismissed in 2021. The automaker's counsel successfully argued "that the court should deny class certification because Tesla policy and practice is that Tesla employees are bound by the Tesla arbitration agreement."Vaughn's case is ongoing in Alameda County Court. Tesla has repeatedly pushed to move the case into private arbitration and has said the suit "fails to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action against" Tesla. Organ claims Vaughn never signed the carmaker's mandatory arbitration agreement and the continued motions to compel arbitration are an "effort to stall."Musk is also known for his active online presence, in particular his Twitter persona — which ranks among the most-followed accounts on the site. The Tesla CEO's tweets frequently spawn headlines and in some cases scrutiny from financial regulators. Two female Tesla ex-employees pointed to instances in which they said Musk's behavior on Twitter contributed indirectly to their harassment, including recent tweets from the CEO in which he made a joke about creating a college with the acronym "TITS," and dubbed his Tesla car models "S3XY." Opening 'the floodgates'Tesla's mandatory-arbitration clause, which requires most employees to bring their claims in private arbitration instead of public court, makes it difficult to know the details of all allegations against the company. In September, Bloomberg reported that almost 90 employment-related private arbitration complaints had been filed against Tesla since 2016. The company won 11 of those cases and lost only one. Most were settled, withdrawn, or dismissed, according to Bloomberg. Melvin Berry, a former employee, is the only known person to win a discrimination case against Tesla in arbitration. He secured a $1 million settlement in August after a private arbitrator determined the company failed to stop Berry's supervisors from calling him the N-word. The carmaker denied the allegations in Berry's case, saying Tesla "is absolutely against any form of discrimination, harassment, or unfair treatment of any kind." Tesla has not appealed the case.Then, in October, a San Francisco federal jury ruled that Tesla must pay over $137 million in punitive damages to a former Tesla contractor, Owen Diaz. Diaz said his supervisor helped create a hostile work environment for Black workers by distributing racist sketches at work.The company is in the process of challenging the verdict, saying the award "bears no relationship to the actual evidence at trial." Helen Rella, a New York labor lawyer, told Insider a successful lawsuit, especially a landmark case like Diaz's, could "open the floodgates" — an issue that Tesla board members have expressed concern over in the past."Just because there is more than one complaint against a company it does not necessarily indicate that the complaints are justified, but it certainly provides the opportunity for more workers to come forward," Rella said. "Once a lawyer has one employee who's willing to sue, it's much easier to find more."Tesla also alluded to this, telling Insider that many of the lawsuits "have been brought by a handful of plaintiffs' lawyers who actively solicit Tesla workers in an effort to enrich themselves, and then often plant the same sensationalized, unadjudicated allegations to get yet more clients for self-enrichment."Organ told Insider meanwhile that over 950 former and current Tesla employees have reached out to him with racial-discrimination claims against the carmaker.Meanwhile, Tesla faces another looming legal battle.In February, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued the company over allegations of systemic racial discrimination and harassment at its Fremont factory. The civil-rights agency said it had received "hundreds of complaints from workers."Tesla called the lawsuit an attack against "the last remaining automobile manufacturer in California," and said that it "always disciplined and terminated employees who engage in misconduct, including those who use racial slurs or harass others in different ways.""Tesla's brand, purportedly highlighting a socially conscious future, masks the reality of a company that profits from an army of production workers, many of whom are people of color, working under egregious conditions," California said in its complaint. "Even after years of complaints, Tesla has continued to deflect and evade responsibility."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 23rd, 2022

Ultra-low-cost airline Allegiant is flipping its business strategy by buying 50 Boeing 737 MAX jets

Industry expert Henry Harteveldt told Insider Alleginat's order makes sense because of the jet's impressive operating capabilities. Rendering of Allegiant 737 MAX jets.Allegiant Air Allegiant Air announced it has purchased 50 new Boeing 737 MAX jets to add to its all-Airbus fleet. The decision breaks from the typical low-cost business strategy of operating just one aircraft type. Industry expert Henry Harteveldt said the order makes sense because of the jet's operating capabilities. Ultra-low-cost carrier Allegiant Air announced Wednesday that it is buying 50 new Boeing 737 MAX jets as it continues to modernize and grow its fleet. Allegiant's multi-year deal with Boeing will see the delivery of 50 new MAX jets by 2025, including the 737-7 and 737-8-200 models, the carrier said in a press release. The deal also includes the option to buy 50 additional planes, which will put the airline in a favorable position for future growth, according to the company."Our approach to fleet has always been opportunistic, and this exciting transaction with Boeing is no exception," Allegiant CEO Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr. said. "While the heart of our strategy continues to center on previously-owned aircraft, the infusion of up to 100 direct-from-the-manufacturer 737s will bring numerous benefits for the future – including flexibility for capacity growth and aircraft retirements, significant environmental benefits, and modern configuration and cabin features our customers will appreciate."The carrier explained the pandemic presented "unique opportunities to acquire new equipment." Henry Harteveldt, travel analyst and president of Atmosphere Research Group, told Insider Allegiant likely got a good deal on the planes and a faster delivery from Boeing than Airbus could promise.  Allegiant's MAX jets will feature Space Bins and Boeing's Sky Interior, offering more legroom, a more spacious cabin, and more seating capacity, as well as making the storing and retrieving of carry-on bags easier for travelers. Moreover, the jet will provide better efficiency, burning 20% less fuel than the older A320 family, according to the airline. The company's historic order is the first-ever deal between Boeing and an ultra-low-cost carrier in the US, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2023, according to the carrier. Currently, Allegiant operates an all-Airbus fleet consisting of the 75 A319 and A320s.While switching to a mixed fleet is not a common business strategy for ultra-low-cost carriers, which typically only operate one aircraft type as a way to keep costs low, Allegiant said the addition of the MAX "will add significant economic and operational benefits for years to come."Harteveldt explained that Allegiant's purchase of the MAX jet makes sense because of the plane's "impressive operating capabilities.""If Allegiant wants, it can have its 737 Max jets certified for ETOPS operations, allowing the planes to fly more direct overwater routes that are further from land," he told Insider. This could allow Allegiant to launch new overwater routes to Hawaii or Latin America, as well as other longer routes over land."Harteveldt also explained the 737-8-200 variant is ultra-high-density, giving Allegiant the ability to add more passenger capacity during peak-demand periods.This is not the first time Allegiant has operated Boeing jets. In 2010, the carrier acquired six 757 single-aisle planes to fly to Hawaii, though demand waned and the aircraft proved too expensive to operate, so the type was retired in 2017, according to FlightGlobal.The company also operated the MD80 twin-engine jet, but the aging fleet was officially retired in 2018 due to high oil prices and the aircraft's low fuel efficiency, leaving Allegiant with just Airbus planes.While Allegiant has decided to once again operate a mixed fleet, other low-cost carriers have remained hesitant to introduce a new type. In March 2021, Southwest Airlines signed a deal with Boeing for 100 MAX 7 planes but had been weighing the option to buy the Airbus A220 instead, according to CNBC.The company's COO Mike Van de Ven said at the time having multiple aircraft types would create issues with pilot training and maintenance, and the change would be "a big undertaking for us."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 6th, 2022

From shipping the COVID-19 vaccine to rescuing thousands of Afghan refugees, aviation helped mitigate some of the worst crises of 2021

The aviation industry proved to be a global citizen as it was a first responder to some of 2021's worst moments but also reconnected a fractured world. An Air Europa plane assisting with the evacuation of Afghanistan refugees.Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty The aviation industry has played a key role in mitigating the effects of 2021's worst moments.  Transport aircraft aided in the evacuation of Afghan refugees while humanitarian flights helped deliver supplies to disaster areas.  Aviation also helped reconnect family, friends, and loved ones as borders reopened.  The aviation industry has endured a very turbulent time during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, travelers rushed to book flights on commercial airliners while the wealthy splurged on private jets just to get home as the world shut down around them.But after March 2020, the global public was largely wary of flying and many had no place to go. Less than 500,000 travelers departed from US airports daily from March 21, 2020, until June 10, 2020, according to the Transportation Security Administration, and it wasn't until October 17, 2020, that more than one million travelers departed from US airports in a given day. Travelers began flying again in earnest during the last few months of 2020 but 2021 is where aviation regained its stride. Days with more than one million travelers using US airports are once again the norm and some airlines are back to recording profits.But beyond just the routine passenger flights taking vacationers on much-needed getaways, aviation played a vital role in mitigating the effect of some of the year's worst catastrophes as well as in reconnecting a fractured world. Here's how aviation helped save the world in 2021. Supporting the COVID-19 vaccine airliftSingapore Airlines transporting the COVID-19 vaccine.Singapore Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI)Aviation's arguably most impactful feat in 2021 was facilitating the global distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. The first flights began in 2020 and were largely operated in secret or with the utmost level of security. A chartered United Airlines aircraft brought the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine from Europe to the US in November 2020, in anticipation of regulator approval.Once in the US, cargo carriers including UPS Airlines helped transport the vaccines around the country. Without air cargo facilitating those early deliveries of the COVID-19 vaccine in 2020, states across the US would not have been able to expedite the vaccine rollout in 2021 that has resulted in more than half of the population becoming fully vaccinated. Emirates SkyCargo, the airfreight division of Middle Eastern mega carrier Emirates, has flown more than 500 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on its aircraft since November 2020. At least 200 million of those doses were flown in October and November alone. "It's really getting into a supply chain flow, which we see with regular shipments," Bert Allard Jorritsma, manager of Emirates SkyCargo's special cargo service delivery, told Insider. "But we should not forget because the pandemic is not over yet, the importance [of the vaccines.]"The US State Department is facilitating the donation of 1.2 billion doses of the COVID-19 to countries around the world, an endeavor also made possible by air cargo. Helping Haiti recover after an earthquakeA World Food Programme helicopter brings supplies to Haiti after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in 2021.Richard Pierrin/GettyIn mid-August, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake impacted the Caribbean nation of Haiti, causing death and destruction. The US government and private air carriers provided support to Haiti to assist with recovery and aid efforts. The US military's Joint Task Force-Haiti provided 19 helicopters and eight transport aircraft that assisted 477 people and transported 587,950 pounds of supplies, according to the US Agency for International Development. US Customs and Border Protection sent aircraft and personnel to Haiti to assist with recovery efforts. The Lockheed P-3 aircraft flew more than 20 hours, helping facilitate communications for other aircraft conducting rescue and relief missions. Cargo carriers including National Air Cargo and Volga-Dnepr Group arranged humanitarian supply flights while JetBlue Airways sent a plane from Florida with first responders and relief supplies to the country, according to CBS Miami.Agape Flights, a Christian nonprofit organization that assists in humanitarian efforts, used its aircraft to deliver supplies to Haiti. One of its pilots, after being approached by wounded Haitians in the commune of Les Cayes, flew around six people to the capital city of Port-au-Prince to receive medical attention, according to the Herald-Tribune. Flying over the shipping crisisSean Gallup/Getty ImagesAir cargo has shifted from becoming a luxury for some shippers to a necessity as hundreds of container ships find themselves spending weeks outside ports from Los Angeles to Savannah, Georgia. While a more expensive option compared to ocean shipping, shippers are adapting to the new reality of getting goods to market. "The amount of time people are wasting and people missing their deadlines ... cost way more than the cost to charter a plane," Jill Rice, a partner owner of PortX Logistics, told Insider during a tour of port congestion in Los Angeles Harbor. The new-found demand for air cargo has passenger and freight airlines alike looking to grow their operations with new aircraft. Between November and December, the likes of Air France, Singapore Airlines, CMA CGM Air Cargo, and UPS Airlines have committed to billions of dollars worth of new cargo planes from Boeing and Airbus. "People really got used to expediting cargo [on aircraft] and the new world of the supply chain," Christopher Alf, chairman of National Air Cargo, told Insider. "People get used to moving quicker and we all know the world's moving quicker so people are demanding freight to come at a faster clip."But just as port congestion grew in places like Los Angeles, air cargo might experience a similar issue. Air cargo is not immune to the labor shortage or the truck driver shortage and overfilling warehouses may be the sign of new congestion issues, as the Wall Street Journal reported. Evacuating thousands of refugees from AfghanistanIn this image provided by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Air Force loadmasters and pilots assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, load people being evacuated from Afghanistan onto a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021.Master Sgt. Donald R. Allen/U.S. Air Force via APThe final days of the War in Afghanistan relied upon the aviation industry to evacuate Afghan refugees and any remaining Americans in the country that wanted to leave the country as the Taliban took over.  US-flagged airlines activated under the Civil Reserve Air Fleet were tasked by the US government, for the first time since 2004, with helping to evacuate Afghan refugees. A total of 18 aircraft from long-haul airlines including American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Atlas Air, Omni Air, and Hawaiian Airlines flew to military bases in Europe and the Middle East to fly thousands of refugees directly to the US for resettlement. Other US carriers flew directly into a deteriorating Kabul, Afghanistan to rescue refugees. National Air Cargo, a long-time military contractor, says it was the last US carrier on the ground in Afghanistan before the US military officially pulled out of the country. Global Crossing, a new Miami-based charter airline, also flew rescue missions directly out of Kabul using its fleet of Airbus A320 family aircraft. Turkish Airlines and Pakistan International Airlines were also able to fly Boeing 777 aircraft into Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport, despite mounting security risks, to evacuate citizens of their respective countries. And within Kabul, the US military used helicopters to help evacuate the US Embassy in Afghanistan. One US Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemaster III transported 823 Afghan citizens from Kabul, setting a record for the aircraft, according to the US Air Mobility Command. On August 31, the final US military aircraft departed Kabul for Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, marking the end of the 20-year War in Afghanistan. Recovering and learning from Hurricane IdaMarine One carrying President Joe Biden surveys the damage from Hurricane Ida in Louisiana.JONATHAN ERNST/POOL/AFP via GettyWhile the Afghanistan airlift was underway in the Middle East, the US was dealing with a hurricane that ran through the Southeast and East Coast. Hurricane Ida caused devastation in at least 12 states with intense rainfall and flooding. Helping track and study Hurricane Ida was the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its fleet of storm-chasing aircraft. While most aircraft were avoiding the storm, NOAA's Gulfstream IV-SP and Lockheed WP-3D Orions flew a total of nine missions in and above the storm to gather data."These missions gathered critical data for both forecasting the storm's track and intensity as well as conducting research to improve our understanding of how and why hurricanes rapidly intensify," NOAA said in a statement. And after the storm cleared, a NOAA aircraft was used to survey and photograph the damage in an effort to assist federal, state, and local agencies with recovery efforts. Independent organizations including Operation Airdrop, Aerobridge, and Angel Flights also ferried in supplies using donated aircraft to aid in the recovery, as Flying Mag reported.  Reuniting countries with the US after nearly two yearsA couple reunites after US borders reopen on November 8, 2021.OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via GettyFor most of 2021, travelers from most of Europe, South Africa, and Brazil were largely barred from entering the US under travel restrictions initially imposed by the Trump administration and renewed by the Biden administration. Those restrictions kept the US closed off while affected countries opened their doors to American citizens early on in 2021. The Biden administration finally eased those restrictions with a reopening date of November 8. Foreign travelers rushed to purchase airline tickets in the hopes of reuniting with friends, family members, and loved ones in the US.Airport arrival halls were packed with Americans that were once again able to host their foreign visitors after nearly two years of separation. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways also marked the occasion by performing a joint takeoff from London's Heathrow Airport bound for New York. "Today is about celebrating the UK-US reopening of the transatlantic corridor after more than 600 days of separation," Sean Doyle, British Airways' chief executive officer, said on the day. "Being able to bring families, friends, and businesses back together is part of closing this chapter and celebrating what's to come."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 1st, 2022

United is dropping 14 regional routes out of Washington DC as small cities continue to lose commercial service — see the full list

The cities moving to Newark are Ithaca, New York, and Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Scranton, and State College in Pennsylvania, operating as new routes. United Express aircraftWilliam Howard/Shutterstock United Airlines is dropping 14 more small markets, citing the pilot shortage as a contributing factor. All 14 cities were routes out of Washington Dulles, though 5 will be shifted to United's Newark base. Delta cut 10 routes in a network adjustment on Monday, with a majority being to small communities. United Airlines is dropping 14 routes from its Washington Dulles hub, dealing another blow to small markets.United confirmed to Insider on Wednesday that it is dropping a handful of routes to regional airports from Washington DC, including cities in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Maine. United cited the pilot shortage as one of the factors contributing to the cuts."As we continue to evaluate our network and closely match supply with demand, United is making adjustments to our East Coast operations, including suspending service between Washington Dulles/D.C. and several regional markets, and shifting some service from Washington D.C. to New York/Newark," a United spokesperson told Insider. "After these adjustments, United will still serve nearly the same number of destinations from Dulles that it did in 2019."According to United, the airline serviced 107 destinations from Washington Dulles in March 2019, and despite cutting routes, it will still serve 105 in March 2022. Moreover, it is shifting five of the 14 routes from Washington Dulles to its Newark hub.Take a closer look at the 14 cities being cut:Akron/Canton, Ohio: United will still serve Akron from Chicago. Meanwhile, Allegiant, Spirit, American, and Breeze all operate out of the airport.Erie, Pennsylvania: United will still serve Erie from Chicago and American will operate from Charlotte.Greenville, South Carolina: United will still serve Greenville from Newark. Meanwhile, Allegiant, American, Contour, Delta, Silver, Southwest all operate out of the airport.Greensboro, North Carolina: United will still serve Greensboro from Newark. Meanwhile, the airport is also served by Allegiant, American, Delta, and Spirit.Grand Rapids, Michigan: United will still serve Grand Rapids from Newark. Meanwhile, Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, and Southwest also serve the airport.Milwaukee, Wisconsin: United will still serve Milwaukee from Newark. Meanwhile, several other airlines operate out of the city, like Air Canada, American, Spirit, and Sun Country.Wilmington, North Carolina. United will still serve Wilmington from Newark. Meanwhile, American operates from Washington Regional, Philadelphia, and Charlotte, and Delta flies from Atlanta.Asheville, North Carolina. United will still serve Asheville from Newark. Meanwhile, Allegiant, American, Delta, and Sun Country all operate out of the airport.Bangor, Maine. United will still serve Bangor from Newark. Meanwhile, the airport is also served by American, Allegiant, and Delta.The five cities being moved from Washington DC to Newark are Ithaca, New York, and Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Scranton, and State College in Pennsylvania. These routes will be new to United's network, according to the carrier.The news comes as small airports continue to lose commercial air service due to low profitability and demand, as well as the pilot shortage. In November, United dropped 11 routes to small markets indefinitely, and, on Monday, Delta dropped ten routes to cities across its network.United CEO Scott Kirby explained in a Senate hearing last Wednesday that part of the reason the company is dropping small cities is because it has about 100 regional jets grounded due to the pilot shortage. According to Kirby, the planes are sitting because "there's not enough pilots to fly them," and therefore they cannot operate to all the communities the company wants to. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 23rd, 2021

Airbus delivered the final Airbus A380 ever to be built just as airlines learn to love the world"s largest passenger jet again

Emirates is scheduled to fly as many as 128 daily departures with the A380 in 2022 while other airlines rush to ramp up A380 flights again. An Emirates Airbus A380.kamilpetran/Shutterstock.com Airbus has delivered the last A380 it will ever build to Emirates Airlines. The 251st A380 to be delivered to an airline and the 123rd A380 delivered to Emirates marks the end of the superjumbo-building era at Airbus.  Airlines are just beginning to bring their A380s back into flying service after grounding them for most of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Airbus has delivered its 251st and final A380 to a customer after 14 years of airline deliveries.The final Airbus A380 ever to be built, bound for Emirates.Airbus - Bockfilm / Michael LindnerEmirates was the final recipient and brought its 123rd A380 home from Airbus for the final time on December 16. The delivery flight from Hamburg, Germany to Dubai marked the end a 13-year period of deliveries that started in November 2008.The final Airbus A380 ever to be built, bound for Emirates.Airbus-Lutz Borck"It defined us, in many respects," Tim Clark, the president of Emirates, told Insider in July 2020. "We've spent an inordinate amount on product, both in flight and on the ground, and that's really paid off."An Emirates Airbus A380.Soos Jozsef/Shutterstock.comThe president of Emirates says passengers will never again be as comfortable as they have been aboard the enormous discontinued Airbus A380As the largest airline to fly the A380, the Middle Eastern mega carrier is responsible for keeping the A380 program alive through 2021, stemming from an order for the then-unnamed A3XX at the Farnborough Air Show in 2000The final Airbus A380 ever to be built, bound for Emirates.AirbusOnly 16 years have passed since the first A380 took flight in 2005 until the time of its final delivery. Airbus was not able to turn the A380 into a multi-generational aircraft in the same way Boeing was able to with the rival 747.The final Airbus A380 bound for Emirates.AirbusDouble-decker planes are going extinct as Airbus and Boeing discontinue their largest models. Here's why airlines are abandoning 4-engine jets.But the A380's success can better be measured in impact more so than in number of orders. The world's largest passenger jet overtook Boeing's 747 as the leading status symbol for airlines that travelers clamored to fly on.An Airbus A380.REUTERS/Pascal RossignolSingapore Airlines was the first airline to take home the A380 and helped raise the bar for luxury on the immensely spacious aircraft that could seat more than 500 passengers if airlines wanted.A Singapore Airlines Airbus A380.REUTERS/Tim ChongIt was the start of the superjumbo era and the first time passengers could fly on a plane with two full levels. Airlines could even pack the A380 with luxurious extras and still have more than enough room to house four cabin classes.An Airbus A380 in production.Reuters/Jean Philippe ArlesSingapore Airlines packed the plane with 12 first class suites, 60 business class suites, and 399 economy class seats.A Singapore Airlines first class suite on the Airbus A380.Pascal Parrot/Getty ImagesEmirates and Qatar Airways used the space to offer in-flight bars and decadent first class products while the former took it one step further to include "shower spas" in which first class passengers could enjoy a hot shower mid-flight.An Emirates Airbus A380.Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock.comI went inside an exclusive first class spa onboard an Emirates Airbus A380 and saw why wealthy travelers pay a small fortune to live well at 35,000 feetEtihad Airways created apartments in the sky with its three-room "The Residence" product that came with a living room, bedroom, shower, and private butler.Etihad's "The Residences" on the Airbus A380.EtihadEtihad Airways says the end is near for its A380s and their high-flying apartments featuring butlers, chefs, and private showers that often cost $20,000 a tripAirlines were going strong with the A380 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, even if it was just a status symbol for many. A lack of new orders to keep the program going, however, meant that the A380's days were always numbered.A Qantas Airbus A380.AP Photo/Rob GriffithBoeing had experienced the same with its 747-8i aircraft of which even fewer were sold than the A380. Twin-engine aircraft were quickly replacing four-engine behemoths, and the pandemic hastened the demise of the A380 at many airlines including Air France and Lufthansa.A Boeing 747-8i aircraft.BoeingSource: BoeingHelping Boeing along, at least, was a demand for the aircraft in the cargo realm. Cargo giants including UPS Airlines and Atlas Air are some of the final customers for the aircraft.A UPS Airlines Boeing 747-8F aircraft.Thiago B Trevisan / Shutterstock.comBoeing just announced the definitive end of the legendary 747 as cargo giant Atlas Air places an order for the final 4 planesAirbus had not developed a freighter variant of the A380; though, airlines like Emirates and Hi Fly did use their A380 passenger cabins to transport boxes.A HiFly Airbus A380 cargo conversion.HiFlyAnother airline is retiring the world's largest passenger plane after just under 3 years of service as the pandemic keeps long-haul flyers grounded. See inside Hi Fly's Airbus A380.The Airbus A380 may never return to its pre-pandemic glory, as indicated by the number of flights airlines have planned for aircraft in combined with pandemic-era retirements.A British Airways Airbus A380.Thomas Pallini/InsiderOn the day of the final A380's delivery to Emirates, airlines around the world flew a total of 99 flights with the aircraft. The same day in 2020 saw only 25 flights, while the same day in 2019 saw 341 flights.A Qatar Airways Airbus A380.REUTERS/Pascal RossignolSource: CiriumThe most A380 flights in a given day in 2021 will only be 107, based on airlines' current schedule according to Cirium data, with December 17 and December 31 currently tied to achieve that number. In 2022, August will see as many as 183 daily departures with the A380, just more than half of the A380's busiest day in 2019.Flying on an Emirates A380 from New York to Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSource: CiriumBut there is hope as fans of the A380 will still have decades to fly on the world's largest passenger jet. Some of the airlines that have committed to the A380 during the pandemic have no plans to retire it anytime soon and are even making investments to improve the onboard experience.An Emirates Airbus A380.phichak/Shutterstock.comEmirates unveiled a brand-new interior design for its Airbus A380s that sees enhancements in each cabin, as well as the addition of a premium economy class cabin.Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderEmirates just unveiled the swanky high-end design for its new Airbus A380 as most airlines say goodbye to the enormous plane — see insideIn first class, the 14 exclusive suites will feature taller doors for even more privacy and new motifs and colors will be found throughout the cabin.Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe famed shower spas will also remain with a refreshed look and feel.Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderIn business class, the 76 seats will be reupholstered and redesigned with a new champagne-color leather and wood finishing.Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe new premium economy class will feature 56 seats in a 2-4-2 configuration with 19.5-inch-wide seats offering up to 40 inches of legroom.Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderEconomy class and its 388 seats will receive new "ergonomically designed" seats that feature tray tables with wood finishes.Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderEven the in-flight bar has been enhanced with new seating options and the same color palette found in business class.Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSingapore Airlines in 2017 unveiled new business class seats and first class suites that are unique to the A380 and will soon fly to more destinations around the world.An Airbus A380 of Singapore Airlines approaches the airport in Frankfurt, Germany.ReutersThe first class suites feature their own swivel chair, bed, and 32-inch television, making the enclosed space resemble a luxury office suite more so than an airplane compartment.A first class suite onboard a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380.Singapore AirlinesSome suites can also be combined to offer a double bed that's ideal when traveling with a companion.A first class suite onboard a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380.Singapore AirlinesAnd in business class, center-aisle seats can also act as a double bed when fully flat.The business class cabin onboard a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380.Singapore AirlinesSingapore Airlines will bring its A380s to New York on March 27 to fly the recently resumed Singapore-New York via Frankfurt, Germany route as more airlines build back the A380's US presence.A first class suite onboard a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380.Singapore AirlinesBut Singapore Airlines is another example of replacing the A380 with smaller and more efficient aircraft. The airline uses Airbus A350-900ULR, or ultra-long-range, aircraft to offer non-stop flights between the US and Singapore.Santi Rodriguez / ShutterstockInside the new world's longest flight: What it's like to fly on Singapore Airlines' new route between Singapore and New YorkThere are no first class suites on the smaller aircraft, or any first class seats at all. But travelers can save around four hours by taking the non-stop option in either premium economy class or business class.Onboard a Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900ULR.Thomas Pallini/InsiderFor ultra-premium flyers, the choice comes down to getting to the destination sooner or enjoying a luxury suite.Onboard a Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900ULR.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSingapore Airlines is partnering with the ultra-exclusive Golden Door spa to redefine luxury on the world's longest commercial flightsAt the Dubai Airshow in November, Emirates brought one of its newly-refurbished A380s that proved to be a star of the show.Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderA steady stream of airshow visitors filed through the aircraft, taking selfies in the business class seats and first class suites while marveling at the bar and showers.Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBut also on display at the airshow were the A380's replacements, the Boeing 777X and Airbus A350 XWB.An Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner nicknamed the "Greenliner" at the Dubai Airshow 2021Thomas Pallini/InsiderEmirates, like many global airlines, has plans to incorporate both aircraft into its fleet and both may be flying for the airline long after the A380s have been retired.Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderClark, however, said that "nothing is going to be as good" as the A380, not even the soon-to-be largest twin-engine passenger plane in the world.An Emirates Airbua A380 display at the Dubai Airshow.Thomas Pallini/Insider"How could it be as good as the A380 on the upper deck, or as good as it is in economy with 10-abreast seating on the main deck," Clark said of the Boeing 777X.The Boeing 777X at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderClark is referring to the fact that the A380's size is so great that flyers still had extra room in which to stretch out even with 10 economy seats filling a single row.Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/Insider"It's palatial," Clark said of the A380. "And people absolutely love it. They still go out of their way to get on the 380."Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderAirbus had even created a website to help travelers find routings on the A380 as the aircraft so popular with frequent flyers.Emirates' refurbished Airbus A380 at Dubai Airshow 2021.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe US will see more airlines redeploy the A380; though, not all will be as glamorous as those in service with Emirates and Singapore Airlines.Flying on an Emirates A380 from New York to Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBritish Airways has plans to return its A380s to the US, serving destinations like Boston, Miami, Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington, DC.A British Airways Airbus A380.Philip Pilosian / Shutterstock.comSource: CiriumAll Nippon Airways is scheduled to resume A380 flights to Hawaii on March 27; though, continuing travel restrictions impacting Japan may see that date pushed back.An All Nippon Airways Airbus A380.viper-zero / Shutterstock.comSource: CiriumQantas has put its A380s on the schedule to fly between Sydney and Los Angeles beginning March 27.A Qantas Airbus A380.Ryan Fletcher/Shutterstock.comSource: CiriumAnd China Southern Airlines plans to continue flying the A380 between Guangzhou, China, and Los Angeles, as it has been doing throughout the pandemic.A China Southern Airlines Airbus A380.StudioPortoSabbia / Shutterstock.comSource: CiriumAirbus will also help keep the A380 flying and powering the future of flight. MSN1, the first-ever A380 built by Airbus, will be used for flight testing and expanding the capabilities of sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF.The final Airbus A380 ever to be built, bound for Emirates.AirbusSource: AirbusBoeing is similarly nearing the end with the American counterpart to the A380, the 747. Atlas Air will take delivery of the last-ever 747 in 2022, marking the end of an aircraft program that spanned more than half a century.An Atlas Air Boeing 747-8i.Arjan Veltman / Shutterstock.comThe end of Airbus A380 deliveries does not mark the end of the A380 — far from it.The final Airbus A380 ever to be built, bound for Emirates.Airbus"We'll keep it going as long as we can," Clark said.The final Airbus A380 ever to be built, bound for Emirates.AirbusRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 21st, 2021

I flew on JetBlue"s Embraer 190 for the first time and though the aging aircraft lacked the bells and whistles of the carrier"s newer Airbus jets, I wouldn"t hesitate to book it again

I appreciated that the Embraer 190 has a 2-2 configuration, so there is no risk of getting assigned the dreaded middle seat. JetBlue Embraer 190 aircraft.EQRoy/Shutterstock I flew on a JetBlue Embraer 190 regional aircraft and was impressed by its plush, spacious seats. The plane offers more than enough inflight amenities for short-haul flights, like free WiFi. However, the Embraer does lack some of the features of the company's Airbus A320 series jets. JetBlue is known as "New York's Hometown Airline" with its strong presence at John F. Kennedy International Airport, and its recently formed alliance with American Airlines has made it a major competitor in the Northeast.Flying on a JetBlue Embraer 190 from Boston to New York.Chris O'Meara/APThe company's blue-tail aircraft regularly paint the sky between New York and Boston, becoming one of the most frequent shuttle services between the two cities.Flying on a JetBlue Embraer 190 from Boston to New York.Taylor Rains/InsiderOver Thanksgiving, I flew the short leg onboard JetBlue's Embraer 190 jet, departing from Boston Logan International Airport. While I was initially skeptical about how the inflight product would fare against its amenity-heavy Airbus A320 series planes, I was pleasantly surprised.Flying on a JetBlue Embraer 190 from Boston to New York.Getty ImagesMy journey started at 3:30 a.m. for a 5:20 a.m. departure time. JetBlue operates out of Terminal C at Boston alongside other carriers like Aer Lingus and TAP Air Portugal.JetBlue departure board at Boston Logan Terminal C.Taylor Rains/InsiderBecause of JetBlue's prominence in Boston, I was not surprised to see its counter space taking up most of the landside area, along with dozens of kiosks and several bag drop locations.JetBlue's Terminal C counters, kiosk, and bag drop.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe check-in process was simple with the kiosks where I received my luggage tag and boarding pass. After dropping my suitcase, I headed to security.Getting a bag tag to check my suitcase on JetBlue.Taylor Rains/InsiderAs an avid traveler, I have invested in TSA PreCheck to speed through the checkpoint, but because it was so early in the morning, the lane was closed.Security at Boston Logan International Airport.Taylor Rains/InsiderSo, I was forced to use the regular TSA lane, which ended up only taking seven minutes to clear despite it being a holiday week. After breezing through, I made my way to my gate.The short TSA line only took seven minutes.Taylor Rains/InsiderOn my way, I was hoping to find some food or coffee to hold me over until I got to New York, but the terminal was a ghost town.Flying on a JetBlue Embraer 190 from Boston to New York.Taylor Rains/InsiderEvery store was closed with zero options for even a small snack, so I filled my water bottle and settled at my gate.Flying on a JetBlue Embraer 190 from Boston to New York.Taylor Rains/InsiderIt was about 3:45 a.m. when I got to Gate 36 at the far end of the terminal, and I was one of the first passengers there. Fortunately, there were power outlets under the seats and airport WiFi, so I loaded up my phone with podcast downloads to prepare for the flight.Flying on a JetBlue Embraer 190 from Boston to New York.Taylor Rains/InsiderOver the next hour, people slowly started filing in, though the gate area wasn't too crowded, which is not surprising considering the Embraer 190 jet only holds 100 people.Flying on a JetBlue Embraer 190 from Boston to New York.Taylor Rains/InsiderMoreover, all standby passengers were given a seat, signaling the early morning flight was not full. This was a good sign for me considering I worry about finding a spot for my carry-on bag in the overhead bin on smaller planes.Flying on a JetBlue Embraer 190 from Boston to New York.Taylor Rains/InsiderBoarding started right on time at 4:45 a.m. Because I booked a blue basic economy fare, I was given Group E, which is the last group to board.Flying on a JetBlue Embraer 190 from Boston to New York.Taylor Rains/InsiderDespite being one of the last people on the plane, I was able to find a spot for my carry-on and took my seat in 18C. We pushed back from the gate right on schedule at 5:20 a.m. and were in the air shortly after.Flying on a JetBlue Embraer 190 from Boston to New York.Taylor Rains/InsiderThis was my first time flying on JetBlue's regional plane, so I was not sure if it would live up to its A320 counterpart. However, from takeoff to touchdown, I was thoroughly impressed.Flying on a JetBlue Embraer 190 from Boston to New York.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe aircraft seats were the first thing I noticed. At first glance, they looked old and worn, but their plush padding and generous 32-inch-pitch legroom proved to be extremely comfortable.Flying on a JetBlue Embraer 190 from Boston to New York.Taylor Rains/InsiderWhile I am only 5'3" and do not have much trouble fitting into seats, I was able to completely stretch out on my journey. Meanwhile, my boyfriend who is 5'9" also had plenty of room.Flying on a JetBlue Embraer 190 from Boston to New York.Taylor Rains/InsiderI cannot say how someone above six feet would fare, but JetBlue's Embraer 190 offers 32 inches of pitch, which is above the 30-31-inch standard seen on competitors like Delta and United.Delta Air Lines legroom on its Embraer 170 regional jet.Taylor Rains/InsiderI also appreciate that the Embraer 190 has a 2-2 configuration, so there is no risk of getting assigned the dreaded middle seat, even if you book a basic economy fare as I did.Flying on a JetBlue Embraer 190 from Boston to New York.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe overhead bins were relatively spacious and can fit a standard carry-on, but I would warn against trying to bring anything bigger, otherwise, you will likely have to gate check.Flying on a JetBlue Embraer 190 from Boston to New York.Taylor Rains/InsiderMoreover, the tray tables were also large with plenty of room to fit a laptop or tablet, and the seatback pocket easily fit my 24-ounce water bottle.Flying on a JetBlue Embraer 190 from Boston to New York.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe plane also came with a few other amenities that made the journey much more enjoyable, including seatback screens and free inflight Wifi.Flying on a JetBlue Embraer 190 from Boston to New York.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe snack and beverage service was basic, but enough for the short journey. The flight attendants came by about 20 minutes into the flight and were quick to collect trash.Flying on a JetBlue Embraer 190 from Boston to New York.Taylor Rains/InsiderI opted for some orange juice, though items like coffee, water, tea, pretzels, and cookies were also offered.Flying on a JetBlue Embraer 190 from Boston to New York.Taylor Rains/InsiderWhile the flight was short, I was able to get a quick 15-minute power nap before landing in New York. Because the aircraft was small, deplaning took no time and I was in JFK's Terminal 7 in no time.Flying on a JetBlue Embraer 190 from Boston to New York.Taylor Rains/InsiderOverall, I was impressed with JetBlue's regional product and would not hesitate to fly onboard again. However, the plane did lack a few of the bells and whistles that the company's Airbus A320 and A321s offer.Flying on a JetBlue Airbus A320 from New York to Atlanta.Marcus Mainka/ShutterstockI flew on JetBlue's Airbus A320 on the second leg to Atlanta and was blessed with the "Restyled" interior.Flying on a JetBlue Airbus A320 from New York to Atlanta.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe most notable difference was the inflight entertainment. The Embraer's screens were very small and only offer DirectTV.Flying on a JetBlue Embraer 190 from Boston to New York.Taylor Rains/InsiderMoreover, they are controlled by a remote in the armrest, which is not the most convenient or comfortable location.Flying on a JetBlue Embraer 190 from Boston to New York.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe Airbus A320, on the other hand, offered much larger screens that had better clarity and more entertainment options, like movies and TV shows. They were also touchscreen and could be controlled by my smartphone via Bluetooth.Flying on a JetBlue Airbus A320 from New York to Atlanta.Taylor Rains/InsiderHowever, not all of the A320s have the upgraded inflight product, with its A320 Classic edition still only offering outdated screens with DirectTV.Airbus A320 Classic cabin.JetBlueJetBlue's Embraer 190 also lacked in-seat power, which comes on most of its Airbus planes, excluding the A320 Classic.Flying on a JetBlue Airbus A320 from New York to Atlanta.Taylor Rains/InsiderWhile it would have been nice to have the option to power my electronics onboard, it was not a big deal for the short one-hour flight. Fortunately, the next leg had USB and power outlets.Flying on a JetBlue Airbus A320 from New York to Atlanta.Taylor Rains/InsiderWhile the Airbus does come with a few more bells and whistles, its 3x3 cabin configuration can put basic economy passengers at risk of getting a middle seat.Flying on a JetBlue Airbus A320 from New York to Atlanta.Taylor Rains/InsiderFortunately, I snagged a window seat, though my boyfriend was stuck in the middle.Flying on a JetBlue Airbus A320 from New York to Atlanta.Taylor Rains/InsiderAs far as the inflight service, I did not notice much of a difference. On my flight to Atlanta, I ordered orange juice once again, though I did have more time to drink it on the longer flight.Flying on a JetBlue Airbus A320 from New York to Atlanta.Taylor Rains/InsiderAfter flying on both JetBlue's Embraer 190 and Airbus A320 aircraft, I can say neither plane disappointed me, and the regional plane definitely exceeded expectations.JetBlue Embraer 190 aircraft.EQRoy/ShutterstockRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 17th, 2021

United Airlines CEO says 100 of its regional jets are grounded because of a pilot shortage

United Airlines CEO, Scott Kirby, said in a Senate hearing that the pilot shortage has stopped the carrier from flying to a lot of small communities. United Airlines aircraft at LAX.Cassiohabib/Shutterstock United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said 100 planes are grounded because of a pilot shortage. Kirby said in a Senate hearing that United can't fly to all the small communities it wants to due to the shortage. Kirby and other airline executives said they're working on training more pilots. United Airlines CEO, Scott Kirby, told legislators on Wednesday that 100 of its planes are grounded due to a shortage of pilots."There has been a looming pilot shortage for the last decade in the United States, and going through COVID it became an actual pilot shortage," Kirby said during a Senate hearing with other airline executives.The 100 regional aircraft are sitting idle "because there's not enough pilots to fly them," meaning that United can't fly to all of the smaller communities that it would like to, Kirby said."I'm a little less optimistic that that situation is going to reverse itself in the near term unless we do something to increase the supply of pilots," Kirby said.American Airlines CEO, Doug Parker, said in the hearing that the shortage will become an issue if the carrier can't recruit enough pilots for regional aircraft routes.Kirby, Parker, and John Laughter, Delta Airlines' executive vice president and chief of operations, all said in the hearing that their carriers are working on training more pilots."We are seeking to train 5,000 pilots by the end of the decade, with the goal that half of the students will be women and people of color, all while maintaining our incredibly high training standards," Kirby told the hearing.Kirby added that financing for flight training poses a problem because pilots first have to spend $150,000 to qualify for the necessary certificate.United didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 16th, 2021