Your Aviation Weekend Reads for December 16, 2016

A Bombardier CRJ parked at Pittsburgh International Airport. Photo by Benét J. Wilson

At the beginning of my aviation career in 1993, Bombardier was bringing its 50-seat Canadair Regional Jet to the market. At the time, it was seen as a big risk because the industry had always been split between larger jets for mainline carriers and turboprops for regional airlines. At the time, Lufthansa and now-defunct Delta Connection carrier Comair had placed orders for the jet. The bet paid off, and for awhile, airlines around the globe were fighting each other to buy the CRJ and competitor Brazilian manufacturer Embraer’s ERJ-145.

Bombardier is hoping that lightning strikes twice with its larger CSeries family of jets. While the industry has applauded the Canadian manufacturer for building a sound jet, the orders have been slow to come. Lufthansa was the launch customer for the CSeries in July 2008 with an order for 60 aircraft and options on another 30. Orders currently stand at 360, including lifesaving orders of 75 CS100s from Delta Air Lines and 45 from flag carrier Air Canada, reports Skift. Colin Bole, senior vice president for sales at Bombardier’s commercial aircraft unit, said the manufacturer is pursuing prospects including some high-volume opportunities and would like to gain a foothold in the low-cost airline segment in 2017.

An Iran Air Airbus A300. Photo courtesy of Iran Air

Now that U.S. sanctions against Iran have been lifted, Boeing is now free to sell jets to that country. BBC News reports that the Seattle-based manufacturer has inked a deal with the Iranian government to buy 80 jets, including 50 737 MAX 8s, 15 777–300ERs and 15 777–9s, valued at $16 billion. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2018.

And Reuters reports that Iran French manufacturer Airbus is about to close a deal to buy 118 aircraft, including turboprops from ATR. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2017.

Back in November 2013, I had the opportunity to write this piece for CNN.com on why I was firmly opposed to allowing inflight cell phone calls. “Letting passengers talk nonstop during flights would be like being stuck in hell,” I wrote. Three years later, this topic has reared its ugly head again as the U.S. Department of Transportation proposed allowing airlines to decide if they will allow travelers to make inflight calls using Wi-Fi via platforms like Skype or FaceTime, reports FOX News. The proposal includes a requirement where airlines would have to inform passengers whether calls were allowed on a flight when they booked a ticket.

A napping room at Hamad International Airport. Photo by Benét J. Wilson

Anyone who has traveled outside of the United States to some of the global hub airports knows that they are light years ahead of what’s here at home. I’ve been to amazing terminals at Singapore’s Changi Airport, Seoul’s Incheon International Airport, London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 and Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, and they are all full of passenger-friendly amenities.

While there are some great terminals with nice amenities in the United States, they don’t hold a candle to those outside of the country. McKinsey recently estimated that the U.S. needs to spend about $125 billion more a year simply to maintain its infrastructure at current levels, reports Skift. U.S. airports are chronically underfunded and ACI-NA estimated that the U.S. needs to invest $75.7 billion to accommodate passenger and cargo growth at its airports through 2019.

No matter where they are, I am a fan of airports big and small. So imagine my delight when I found this Atlas Obscura story with photos of the world’s most unique and beautiful airports. My personal favorite is Carrasco International Airport, Montevideo, Uruguay.

I did a post for About.com Air Travel on the Top 12 Airport and Airplane Movies. The good folks at Flying magazine have come up with their own list, 16 Movies Pilots and Aviation Enthusiasts Love. I’ve seen 10 of the 16 recommended.

With Christmas and New Year’s right around corner, this will be the last Weekend Reads in 2016. I thank you all for your support and look forward to resuming this column in 2017. I wish you all a very happy holiday season. Until then, enjoy these five quick links for additional reading.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Benét J. Wilson is a freelance aviation/travel writer based in Baltimore who is available for your writing and branded content/content marketing projects. She’s the Air Travel Expert for About.com. Follow her travel-related magazines on Flipboard: Best of About Travel, a joint curation venture with her fellow About Travel Experts; Travel-Go! There’s Nothing Stopping You, all about the passenger experience on the ground and in the air; and Aviation Geek, a joint magazine sharing everything you need to know about the commercial aviation industry. Check out her travel-related boards on Pinterest and follow her on Twitter at @AvQueenBenet, on her Aviation Queen Facebook Page and on Instagram at aviationqueen.


Originally published at www.aviationqueen.com on December 15, 2016.

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