16 January 2009

One perfect shot... US1549

I just could not resist this frame.

Amazing Video of US1549

OK I missed all the excitement - but this is a very cool video - its on YouTube somewhere... but watch this one.


From this video you can see the aircraft coming down. Having always been very skeptical of the survival of a water landing - I am definitely changing my opinion. Let's just hope that the FAA and all authorities associated with air travel take these lessons to hard and teach this back in the simulator.

Kudos to US Airways - perhaps I shouldnt call it scareways any more.


Big 4 to Consolidate?

OK - I got your attention.

The big 4 I am talking about are the Travel Management (aka Corp Travel) agencies. The driving force is the ownership by Emirates Airlines sister company DNATA Travel and BCD in HR Group. DNATA Travel based in Dubai recently disclosed that it raised to 20.15 percent from 19.99 percent its ownership of HR Group (the former Hogg Robinson) shares, following by the disclosure of a 3 percentage point increase in ownership by BCD Travel, the privately held Dutch owned TMC, to more than 19 percent.

Interesting I would say. Not a huge increase and still could be just a happenstance - but still fun to speculate on.


Alitalia Starts Cutbacks

The “new” Alitalia has already started its rationalization. Gone is service to 30 cities including 6 European Capitals. Most will be replaced with partner service via AF/KL under code share.



So you couldn't sleep on that Jumbo? How about this one

Take off for Jumbo hostel

from Professor Tony:

Jan 14 - For the travellers who love planes and want to stay close to the airport, there is now a hostel built especially for them - The Jumbo Jet hostel.
The hostel is a refurbished Boeing-747 which opens this week near Stockholm's Arlanda airport.
The 450 seats have been removed and there are now 25 bedrooms and a honeymoon suite in the cockpit.
The wedding theme doesn't stop there. Couples who want to get married can tie-the-knot on one of the wings.
Here's a video for you....


Reuters Reports.

MAS goes with SITA

Bucking the trend of Amadeus winning everything, Malaysian Airlines System has gone with SITA’s revamped Horizon product for PSS, DCS etc. Saudi Arabian Airlines however stayed with the mob and went to Altea. In both cases they previously had their own res system. MAS is currently a user of the old Atraxis system aka Swissair’s TPF or ALCS. This week saw the end of Iris – Varig’s old Atraxis host. This leaves very few customers – TAP and Brussels along with Swiss and Emirates.


Pax Rights Back on

The new Congress will take up a new bill from Senators Boxer, and Snowe, that aims to protect airline passengers stuck on grounded airplanes. The legislation would require carriers "to offer passengers the option of safely deplaning once they have sat on the ground for three hours after the plane door has closed," said FlyersRights.org, formerly the Coalition for Airline Passenger Bill of Rights. Frankly I don’t think the legislation will go far enough for the required protection of things like ticket abuse etc. The US model will likely be far less toothy than the European one.


Ryanair record falls

Despite the doom and gloom Ryanair continues to confound the world. With a significant reduction in capacity – FR is still able to make good sales.
The Irish carrier recorded it best ever week 9-15 January 2009, with over 1.5m seats sold. Monday 12 January, with 350,000 seats sold, was its best ever day. However when I flew them this week on flight was less than 50% full. So expect to see falling load factors in the coming weeks.

If it kept up that torrid pace it would exceed its 2008 total pax. However I suspect that the airline will indeed break the record again this year and looks to record another record breaker. On average the airline is now lifting 1 million pax a week (58 million a year). There are now very few airlines on the planet left who book as many as Michael O’Leary’s team.

So if they go long haul (correction WHEN they go long haul) this will open up an entire new set of options for them.

Interestingly for people who have never flown the carrier – their self service checkin product at STN and other major hubs is working pretty darn well. Its so simple!


15 January 2009

LHR 3rd Runaway Approved by Brown Administration

More details to come - but the project is GBP 9 billion and includes Terminal 6



Just you and 839 of your closest friends

I hope that they have good personal hygiene habits....

Air Austral signs for two A380s
Air Austral, the La Reunion-based airline, has signed with Airbus for the purchase of two A380s in a single-class configuration. The aircraft will seat around 840 passengers in the widest economy class seats. Air Austral plans to operate the A380 through one of its subsidiaries on its high-density route from La Reunion to Paris, France. No engine choice has been made at this stage. Airbus' total firm orders for the aircraft stand at 198 from 16 customers.

Worst PR release 2009

For the worst PR release I have seen in ages - just check out the headline on this announcement:

Online travel pioneer Alex Zoghlin “moves” inro Real Estate industry
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Named CEO of Real Estate Media/Marketing company, VHT, Inc

VHT, Inc., a leading full service provider of Visual Marketing Services designed for the Real Estate Industry, announced the addition of Alex Zoghlin, 38, founder and CTO of Orbitz.com and founder of multiple other successful start-ups, to the company’s management team as Chief Executive Officer (CEO).


Perhaps I shouldn't Look at the Bad News

The numbers are still coming in - and they are still bad.

I wont bother re-hashing the details but we are seeing continued bad news from all sectors and all geographies.

December it seems was particularly bad in Europe and Asia. Cathy Pacific said it that its premium traffic is tanking and that Cargo - "is even worse". Surprisingly bad numbers from LHR. down nearly 3 % and a whopping 13% drop at Stansted UK base for Ryanair.

Campaigners against LHR's 3rd runway are very happy as it bolsters their claim that it isn't necessary. However with traffic set to resume growth in 2010 I think that is unlikely to happen. Some good news perhaps?


13 January 2009

A New Air Force One?

With Bush having already taken his final official flight on AF1, the US Air Force is looking at replacing the aging 747-200Bs. And right up there are Airbus and Boeing. Discussions start next week according to Flight

Hmmm the chances of an A380 transporting the US president would be somewhat of a stunner - but well the new Helos are European designs so why not the new big mother.

At least the Press Corps could be housed in the same plane...


Alitalia Opera hits a high note

So bar the shouting it looks like Air France Group will be the right dancing partner for the Italian damsel in distress.
The final price is quite a bit higher than originally thought. The original offer price for the 25% shares was Euro 250 million. The final price is likely to be 300 million Euros and could even could top 325 million if the full incentive kicks in. Of course if history is anything to go by that wont necessarily happen…


Spanish Fly Anyone?

Consolidation comes to Spain.

The formula which is somewhat complex is.. Vueling + Clickair = Nueva Vueling which then becomes IB2 or Iberia’s LCC.
The EU has approved the merger on certain undertakings from Iberia. Which will mean that there is open access to the Spanish Market (if such a thing really exists).
Iberia will in time assume control of the airline once the merger has taken place. Effectively this closes the market for the mainline markets. Of course the incursions by LCC giants Ryanair, Easyjet and even (in Palma) Air Berlin will continue. Anyone want to buy Spanair? This is a limited time option before the carrier either finds a new way to operate or it may itself be swallowed into the Nueva Vueling combine. And then of course there is the BAABI story....


Saver Tip at LHR.

Here’s a little tip. If you are at LHR and stay at one of the local hotels along the Bath Road – there is usually the Hotel Hoppa bus that you need to pay 4 Pounds each way. But if you take the 423 Bus – it runs with slightly less frequency but it is (wait for it…) free. It’s a service of the local council. So look out for it.


The Battle for LHR's 3rd Runway

The approval from the Central Government for LHR’s 3rd runway is likely to be given this week. All the signs are that the combination of Mandy, Hoon and Brown (Lord Mandleson – Business Minister, Geoff Hoon Transport Minister and Gordon Brown PM) plus the need for a giant works package that will benefit the UK will overcome environmental concerns and the demolition of the village of Sipson.

Strangely the Tories are not for this but are split on the alternatives. Personally I think the development of the Thames Estuary Airport and/or a massive improvement in intermodal transport will be the better option. However don’t hold your breath. The current delivery date is 2012, and if T5 is anything performance wise to go by – 2013 or even later is a better bet.

Oh yes and GreenPeace purchased a plot right in the middle and then promptly subdivided it sold it to several prominent people including MPs, movie stars etc.

Reports of a delay are also surfacing - but Gordo wants to put a stake in the ground on this one as part of his legacy.


Who Is Air Berlin's Masked Man?

Who is AB’s Masked Man ?

So who is the mysterious buyer of the 18.5% shares?

Speculation has centered on Etihad who currently denies the purchase of former shareholder Billionaire Blavatnik’s stake. However they are known to have cash and the amount is really quite small. Also another option could be new partner S7. It might even be Nikki Lauda himself. Who knows… we are waiting to find out.


Ryanair to USA?

The Irish airline is reportedly (according to a Reuters and Irish Examiner report this week) looking at several east coast cities. A formal delegation from Niagara Falls has been pressing O'Leary's crew for at least Charter service between Dublin and the border city.

Ryanair first class anyone...


Sabre Cuts Heads

Sabre has quietly announced a headcount reduction of 500 people or around 6% of its global work force.

While Sabre has been pretty lean of late and been tightly managing its growth - the decline in GDS bookings - its most profitable side of the business has finally started to take its toll. With Travelport already cutting surplus positions as part of the rationalization process with the acquisition of Worldspan and the consolidation of the data centers - only Amadeus has yet to cut some real meat. The sword of Damocles may yet avoid the Madrid company only because they have so much to do in the airline implementation side. However - they too must be feeling the global downturn despite being largely immune to the US side of the drop off.
For the formal story at the Ft Worth newspaper click here



Varig PNRs to migrate to OpenSkies

Here is a note from World Aviation on behalf of VRG (aka New Varig). So if you have any RG bookings in any GDS - please note the change. contact numbers are at the bottom



VRG are migrating all PNR from RG reservations host (Amadeus) to the G3 reservations host (New Skies.)

This process will involve all PNRs with RG flights between 17JAN09 and 02MAR09, except the reservations from/to CCS and BOG. The flights for these cities will temporarily continue with RG designator, due for migration late January 2009.

Please Note:

The reservations will receive an advice code of cancellation (HX) on all RG segments and a SSR with the new G3 flight, date, segment and the New Skies record locator.

Therefore, the GDS’s PNRs will not have an active RG flight anymore and the new flight will appear only at the SSR item as an information.

As the link of communication between the migrated PNRs to New Skies and the GDSs will break, if any modification on these PNRs are required, they must be requested to the Call Center Gol/Varig *.

The travel agencies that use Gol web services or site will be able to access the new PNR on these environments, if they request the Call Center to add their IATA number or Gol travel agency code, in the new PNR.

Tickets associated to the migrated reservations will be used as a form of payment in New Skies and the travel agent will not be able to access them anymore.

Refunds of these migrated PNRs can be requested through the Call Center or chat. Open 042 tickets can also be reimbursed or changed in to a Gol credit, if previously requested to the Call Center or via chat.

After migration, flights with RG designator will not show any seats available on the GDS availabilities and later on they will be canceled.

We do emphasize that all ticketed reservations will be migrated to New Skies system and it is not necessary to create a new PNR. Reservations with no tickets – i.e. live sectors not ticketed - will not be migrated.

VRG Linhas Aéreas S.A. – GOL Group

Chat Argentina, Bolívia, Brasil, Chile, Paraguai, Peru e Uruguai: www.voegol.com
Chat Other countries: http://gol.directtalk.com.br/clientes/custom/voegol/init_help_online.htm

* Call Centers:
ARGENTINA: 0810 266 3232; BOLÍVIA: 800 10 21 31; BRAZIL: 0300 115 21 21; CHILE: 1 888 0042 0091 (Telefonica), 1230 020 9105 (Entel) ; PARAGUAY: 009 800 55 1 0008; PERU: 0800 52 917; URUGUAY: 0004 055 126 ; OTHER COUNTRIES: 55 11 5504 4410

12 January 2009

David Brown/Travelport

David Brown a long time GDS and airline exec has died of cancer. I had known David since 1984 in LA and then renewed our friendship in the UK during the 1990s. He had worked at United Airlines and then moved to Sabre. Most recently he had been a member of the senior Travelport team based in the UK.

David was a good guy and will be missed.

11 January 2009

Delta's new Hand Scanners for Bags

Delta has started to use hand scanners for bags at the airside with baggage chappies scanning bags as they go onto an aircraft.

I watched as one employee was having problems with it. This took place in MIA. His crew chief came over to help him out but... after no longer being able to make it work - he threw it into the baggage cart and took off at high speed... very comforting...