Your Aviation Weekend Reads for October 20, 2016
I started covering the regional aviation industry in 1993. At the time, Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer was transitioning from government to private ownership, and it was about to launch a 50-seat jet that helped revolutionize commercial aviation. Since then, it has created a family of commercial, business and defense jets and become the number three aircraft manufacturer in the world, according to Leeham News, only behind Boeing and Airbus. So this story from FOX News questions why Embraer isn’t getting credit for making a successful transition from its first-generation E-Jets to its new E2-series models.
“Impressively, Embraer has managed to land order after order for its current-generation E-Jets over the past three years,” according to the story. “Most of its orders have come from U.S. regional airlines looking to refresh their fleets with the market-leading E175, but it has also received dozens of orders from airlines in Europe and Asia.”
The head of number two aircraft manufacturer Airbus says his company is poised to pull ahead of archrival Boeing for the title of the world’s largest plane maker, reports CNN Money. The remarks came as the French-based manufacturer delivered its 10,000th jet, an A350, to Singapore Airlines. Airbus has a current backlog of 6,700 jets, while Boeing has nearly 5,700.
Ever since the Concorde supersonic jet was retired on November 26, 2003, companies have been trying to fill that gap on the commercial and business segments. Proposed models include Aerion AS2, HyperMach SonicStar, Japan’s Next Generation Supersonic Transport, Tupolev Tu-444 and the Gulfstream X-54. Popular Mechanics reports on the efforts of the latest manufacturer to entry the supersonic fray: Denver-based Boom Technology, which is pushing to build its Mach 2.2, 50-seat jet and have it into service by 2023. The company has funding from Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and has experts on staff from companies including NASA, Pratt & Whitney, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman.
Back in April 2008, I got the chance to go to Seoul to do stories on Korean Air for Aviation Daily. As part of my tour at the airline’s headquarters at Gimpo International Airport, I got to see one of its maintenance hangars. Inside at the time was a Boeing 737, a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter and a Gulfstream GIV business jet. Korean Air was using the helicopter and jet for private aviation clients, along with executive government transport. FlightGlobal reports that the airline has added a Gulfstream G650ER to its business jet fleet, joining two Bombardier Global Express XRS BD700s, and two Boeing BBJ 737–700s.
A friend recently reached out to me for help to find cheap air fares to Europe for a planned summer vacation next year. Fares for those economy seats were around $2000, which is pretty normal, since it’s a high-demand time of year for the airlines. But if you want to fly during the airlines’ shoulder season — which falls between late summer and the holiday travel — now is the time to buy, because fares are at record lows, reports Salon. The reason? Overcapacity, with too many seats and not enough demand. And United Airlines is feeling that pain, reporting in a filing that the combination of too many seats across the Atlantic, attacks in Europe and a weaker British pound will continue to hurt its results, reports Reuters.
Emirates just announced its latest U.S. destination — Fort Lauderdale instead of Miami. John Walton of the Runway Girl Network explains the reason why the Dubai-based carrier choose the secondary city: because it’s a focus city for partner JetBlue. “The two airlines can use FLL as another connection point in their joint network. That joint network is big money — and not just within the United States,” wrote Walton. “There’s a significant Caribbean and Latin American network that JetBlue serves from Fort Lauderdale that is still underserved in terms of global connectivity, and adding one-stop partner travel to Dubai is useful both for outbound and inbound traffic.”
In June of 2012, I wrote a post on my personal blog about how Delta Air Lines was testing out Basic Economy fares on routes where it competed with Spirit Airlines. These fares are non-refundable and non-changeable and travelers can’t choose seats in advance. Now the Los Angeles Times reports that Delta is considering adding Basic Economy fares on some international flights to compete with ultra-low-cost carriers like Norwegian Air.
One of my favorite airports in the world is Amsterdam Schiphol. It’s airy, open, easy to navigate and has plenty to do during long layovers. C/NET created this great photo slideshow that is a visual love letter about the airport that will bring joy to avgeeks and non-avgeeks alike.
I’m a big fan of doing #FlashbackFriday photo posts at my Air Travel column for About.com. I did this one on the Golden Age of Travel, which shows the glamour of flying between the 1940s and the 1970s before airline deregulation. But Ondair.net challenges that notion, pointing out 15 reason why now is the golden age of travel, including record-low air fares; better inflight entertainment options; more comfortable clothing options (no more dressing up); better airports; and a major upgrade of airline’s business and first-class products (shower aboard Emirates, anyone?).
One of my projects during my time working in Delta Air Lines’ communications department was the unveiling of new uniforms designed by Richard Tyler in February 2005. It made a big splash, especially after the designer included the now-iconic red wrap flight attendant dress in his New York Fashion Week show. And now Airways magazine reports that the Atlanta-based carrier has unveiled new uniforms designed by Zac Posen. “We wanted Delta employees to look glamorous on the job without sacrificing functionality and style,” said Posen in a statement. “I worked alongside employees to understand how they interact with the clothes they wear and developed a look that empowers and excites, because we want Delta’s global workforce to exude the confidence and thoughtfulness that reflects the airline’s brand.”
Speaking of flight attendants, another fun #FlashbackFriday photo post I did for About.com was on their vintage fashions, here and here. So we’ll end the week with this Business Insider story that includes 39 gorgeous photos showing what it was like to be a flight attendant back in the day. Enjoy!
EDITOR’S NOTE: Benét J. Wilson is a freelance aviation/travel writer based in Baltimore who’s available for 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.