Archive for the ‘airlines’ Category

The End of an Era: 2014 is the Last Time Any Airline Will Boast of Its Boeing 747 Jumbo Jets – Air China’s 747-8

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

I was surprised to see this ad:

Air_China copy

Here’s how things looked back in 1968:

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And here’s how things looked back in 2008 for Boeing’s jumbo jet competition, the Airbus A380.

Where’s our jumbo jet scorecard?

Boeing 747 1st Generation = SUCCESS! Unquestionably, but now obsolete

Boeing 747 2nd Generation = SUCCESS! Unquestionably, but pretty much obsolete

Airbus A380 1st Generation = FAILURE! Pretty much. A big money pit for Airbus

Boeing 747 3rd Generation = FAILURE! Approaching obsolescence faster than expected 

See a pattern here?

Here’s How Larry Ellison Runs His Hawaiian Airline: $4000 Bonuses Paid to Pilots at “Island Air” Being Recalled

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Why would you give people a bonus right before the holidays and then take it back right before the holidays?

And then you plan on giving the money back* again next year, maybe?

What a mess!

Hey, here’s a solution for LE.

Why not just sell your POS Toyota LFA and then use the proceeds to fund the bonuses?

Oh, here it is, parked on Van Ness in front of the House of Prime Rib:

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That would cover it.

(Now, here’s the thing about the LFA. The suits at Toyota felt the program was taking waaaay too long, which it was, so they said, “Forget about the tranny, just finish that car!” So they slapped in a slushbox** and called it a day. That “awful” transmission totally doesn’t match the rest of the car. Oh well! But don’t take my word for it… ["One big giant squirrel." "Awful transmission."]

Anyway, this is the kind of thing what makes up your Legacy, Larry.

Don’t you care about your Legacy, Larry?

Or, if not, do you care about unnecessarily pissing off all your pilots? 

*These bonuses weren’t exactly Christmas Bonuses, they were WE’RE FINALLY GETTING NEW AIRPLANES Bonuses. So I guess the Island Air people weren’t happy with the Airbussy prop planes they bought, so now they want to switch over to the Canadian competition? And then there was some kind of bonus for the pilots connected to that. Which planes would be best? Well, you just don’t know. You’ll never know, actually. Perhaps Island Air just doesn’t make sense as a bidness? I’ll tell you, back in the 1990′s people’d be trying to start up inter-island airlines just for the PR value, just to have fun. The idea would be to lose money on the airline (ooh look, we have all-jet aircraft!) to build up goodwill to use for another purpose. It didn’t work out..)

**Look at all those words in Wikipedia about the chassis and engine and then there’s just one line about the awful transmission…

What’s This – Asiana Airlines is Actually Happy About Its Recent 45-Day Ban from SFO? And Its Stock Price is Up?

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Man, this recent report on Asiana Flight 214 from Anadolu Agency, the official press agency in Turkey(!), sure is informative – every line is pure gold.

Check it:

“We have two weeks to appeal and nothing is set in stone, but we are still considering what to do because to be honest we have got off light,” said the man, who did not wish to be named given the sensitivity of the case.

Well gee, this is true or somewhat true or not at all – how do you prove it? IDK. But man, this is not good for Asiana to have an employee/insider celebrating like this, for various reasons.

Three people died – one of them run over by a fire truck responding to the scene – and more than 180 of the 307 passengers and crew on board the Boeing 777 were injured when it clipped a sea wall and crashed into a runway at San Francisco airport on July 6 last year.

The SFFD gets a lot of criticism over its performance on that day, at least from outside of SF. (Here’s the rosier view from inside SF, FYI.)

United States National Transportation Safety Board officials have accused the pilots of mismanaging the landing due to a failure to manage speed and altitude, along with a reliance on an automatic throttle they didn’t fully understand.

Yep. It could be that it’s especially hard to learn on a modern Airbus and then switch over to the Boeing system. People should be looking into this…

“We can choose when to start the suspension, and if we do it during our off-peak season the damages will be greatly reduced,” he added.

Again, it’s OK to think this, but you shouldn’t come out and say this, IMO

The source said that he expected Korean Air - Asiana’s main rival - to be furious with the decision. As evidence, he highlighted that its services to Guam were stopped for more than four years after a 1997 crash claimed 228 lives, and that it was one of only two airlines that fly into South Korea’s Incheon International Airport that had refused to petition for leniency for Asiana - the other being its budget division Jin Air.

Sounds kind of petty, Korean Air.

Asiana had argued that suspensions had not been shown to improve safety.

Mmmm… I’m inclined to agree. I’m not sure about the effectiveness of this old school-style punishment.

The company’s stocks rallied on the local KOSPI bourse on Friday, rising 4.58 percent as the lighter-than-expected suspension was announced.

Did not know that.

You know, there are still a lot of stories to tell about Asiana 214. Like what about the people that received serious injuries – how are they doing?

On it goes…

Whoa: Asiana Airlines Flights To and From SFO “Likely” to be Suspended for as much as Four Months – Punishment for Flight 214

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

From San Francisco-based military writer Kyle Mizokami comes word of a plan to temporarily suspend Asiana Airlines flights between Incheon International Airport (ICN) and SFO:

Asiana Faces Suspension of San Francisco Flights

“Under the plan, the ministry will ask Korean Air to use larger aircraft on the Incheon-San Francisco route to increase the number of seats, bring in chartered planes, or channel passengers on transit routes. A senior ministry official recently visited concerned lawmakers at the National Assembly to brief them on the plan.”

Does this seem real to you? It seems real to me. Or perhaps elements of the Republic of Korea are trying to scare Asiana straight after the Flight 214 disaster?

Korean Air currently uses Boeing 747 and 777 aircraft on this route – might it be tough for it to expand capacity just for a few months? IDK. I can’t think of too many options for KA to use planes larger than these, excepting for one or two of their ten newish double-decker superjumbo Airbus A380′s, but it’s not like those aircraft are just sitting around waiting to be used this way.

This suspension idea doesn’t make sense to me – I suppose we’ll find out tonight…

[UPDATE: Well, a 45 suspension just got handed down, but Asiana wants to appeal the decision.]

It’s Finally Happening: Emirates Airlines Launches Daily Airbus A380 Superjumbo Service Between SFO and Dubai December 1st

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Well I just saw a banner ad, so consider that confirmation that, as of December 1st, 2014*, Emirates is finally offering daily flights to and from Dubai out of SFO on its shower-stall equipped** Airbus A380 double-decker superjumbos.

So, chalk that up as a victory for SFO.

Here’s your Emirates A380, equipped with a horseshoe bar in the back, upstairs, for Business and First Class passengers only:

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It was back in 2008 that Emirates brought a then-new A380 to town, to show it off. Get all the deets on that visit right here.

But, IRL, they ended up using the smaller Boeing 777-300ER twinjet instead. When asked, the Emirates people said they were “considering” the A380 for daily flights to and from SFO. Well, six years later, the day has come.

Oh, here’s my take on SFO + A380 readiness right here. IMO, the A380 was, is, and will continue to be Just Another Airplane. Sorry.

Oh well.

*The writer is saying that the new, longer-range A380′s are lighter?  Uh, I think he should have said heavier instead. More fuel = more range, right? That’s the case here. It’s still a very heavy aircraft, one that’s still heavier than designed…

**What happens to your used shower water after your five-minute-max spritz is over? Emirates wanted to dump it out in-flight but I don’t think they got permission to do that. So, there’s a holding tank that gets emptied out after landing. So, Emirates needs to burn more fuel to carry a useless load of soapy water waste water. Not too “green,” huh? Oh well.

I’ve Never Seen an Aircraft Flying Around Without a Registration Number – And Yet This Was Over the Stanford Game

Monday, September 15th, 2014

This is new on me:

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Boy, this aircraft/banner combo seems familiar:

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Here are some of my other beefs against the flying banner ad biz in the bay area.

A380 Superjumbo Update: Where’s Your Messiah Now, SFO? Things Just Aren’t Working Out with the Big Airbus

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Even back six years ago, even back in aught-eight, this kind of press release from SFO seemed more optimistic than average.

Anyway, we spent a lot of money getting ready for the Airbus A380 double-decker and we do get a handful of flights* every week, but things just haven’t worked out.

Oh look, it’s a Lufthansa A380 filled with German tourists going home after their summer vacations in the bay area, high above Daly City: 

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Click to expand

I’ll tell you, the reason why we still use a lot of four-engined Boeing 747-400 jumbos at SFO is because we already have them. They’re there, hundreds of them. But they guzzle a lot of fuel, so, not too long ago, the A380 was considered to be The Future. But it’s a guzzler too. So The Future now belongs to large twin-engine aircraft like the Boeing 777 models (present and future) and the slightly smaller twin-engined Airbus A350 line.

So all that hype coming out of SFGov about the A380 being “green,” well that was a lot of hogwash. The A380 was/is just another jetliner and SFO took steps to accommodate its massive size and that’s fine, but it wasn’t/isn’t/will never be a game changer the way the people at SFO were hoping for (or lying about – I still can’t tell why they were so excited as late as 2008, when the promise of the A380 was already being questioned).

Anyway, here’s the update:

A380 Continues To Pose Challenges For Heathrow – The A380 was tapped to help capacity-strapped airports, but could it end up hurting them?

Arguably, the A380 was specifically designed for Heathrow, which has a runway shortage and a NIMBY neighbour problem. So great, here’s a giant plane that’s really quiet – isn’t that great? Well, read the link above to see how things are working out when the rubber meets the tarmac.

SFO also has a runway shortage and a NIMBY neighbor problem, but our airport is a lot smaller and, as stated, those A380′s aren’t really working out and nobody’s really buying them anymore, so we’re not going to have to deal with Heathrow’s problems. No no, we’ll just muddle through.

But the skeptics have already been proven correct, after just six years.

One wonders what SFO’s next overhyped fad will be…

*More so in the summer, when the French and the Germans really pine to come here, so they can stay “Near Union Square” in a fleabag hotel only to get bitten by bedbugs, only to be told that said fleabag hotel doesn’t have bedbugs so GTH. On behalf of San Francisco, I wish to say, “Sorry, French and German people.”

Is This Piper Cherokee Over San Francisco Operating at Minimum Safe Altitude? You Make The Call

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Was this airplane at least 500 feet above Pacific Heights as it journeyed north the other day?

I don’t know. I don’t think so.

Planes is dangerous.

Aviation Writer James Fallows Commits the MSM Blunder of the Year with “Don’t Blame Malaysia Airlines” in the NYT

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Hoo boy: “Don’t Blame Malaysia Airlines

“Was this disaster somehow the airline’s fault? The answer is no — but to understand why, you have to look at the complex realities of modern commercial aviation.”

My isn’t this a touch patronizing? Well, obviously the primary fault is with the crew and commanders of the Gadfly missile system used to shoot down the plane. But Malaysian Air Systems is partially to blame for its negligent operation.

“Malaysia Airlines, already world famous because of the still-missing flight MH370, appears to have been following all normal safety rules.”

Is anybody suggesting that this flight was somehow illegal? I don’t think so. So talking about Malaysian following the “rules” is pointless.

“…explicit prohibitions are critical, because the entire aviation system works on the premise that unless airspace is marked as off-limits, it is presumptively safe and legal for flight.

OK again, Jimmy, the flight was unsafe but legal. Nobody’s suggesting that the flight was not legal.

“…when they crossed this zone at 33,000 feet, they were neither cutting it razor-close nor bending the rules, but doing what many other airlines had done, in a way they assumed was both legal and safe.”

Again, Jimmy, why are you harping on what’s “legal” to make your point that Malaysian wasn’t negligent? It’s as if the New York Times has turned into the Public Relations arm of Malaysian Air Systems or the government of Malaysia.

All right, it’s time to review. Here’s a partial list of airlines that were specifically avoiding this part of eastern Ukraine before the shootdown:

Asiana Airlines

Korean Air Lines  

China Airlines

Air France

British Airways

Air Berlin [Germany's second-largest airline]

The operators of these airlines would have been able to fly over eastern Ukraine legally, but they chose not to. Why’s that, Jimmy? Why would these airlines spend more on kerosene for no reason?

Mr. Fallows continues in The Atlantic:

Somehow I suspect that if it had been a Lufthansa plane that was attacked, there would be fewer starting-point assumptions that the carrier had somehow been cutting corners at the cost of its passengers’ safety. 

This sounds like it came straight from Malaysian Airlines, this racism (or whatever) argument he’s pushing. In any event, corner-cutting at the expense of passenger safety is exactly what occurred here.

And here’s the stinger:

“If a government or rogue faction shoots down a commercial plane, is that really an “air safety issue?” 

Well, hell yes it is, Jimmy. It’s exactly an air safety issue. That’s why all those airlines cited above, plus others, were avoiding the area. For safety.

Comes now aviation writer Christine Negroni to offer views contrary to that of flyboy fanboy James Fallows:

So while Malaysia is self-evidently correct it its statements; the airspace was open and hundreds flights between Europe and Asia were using it every day, it is a weak reply to a valid question of responsibility

Indeed.

Why James Fallows wants to shut down the conversation about the question of responsibility is a mystery to me…

Here’s the Reason Why Atlantic Writer James Fallows is So Wildly Enthusiastic About High Speed Rail – One Simple Trick!

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Back in 2001, James Fallows wrote a stupid book called Free Flight: Inventing the Future of Travel about how we’d soon be flying around on tiny Very Light Jets (VLJ’s)(Actually, the book should have been called Jimmy Likes Planes ’cause that’s basically what’s inside).

Then 9/11 happened (so that’s the current excuse as to why things didn’t work out for the bold predictions in Free Flight).

But in 2002, Jimmy came back to say that, ahora mas que nunca, now more than ever in a post 9/11 world, tiny jets were going to transform the world of commercial aviation. He had an “optimistic vision.”

And then in 2008, Jimmy doubled-down with this wildly enthusiastic tale about people at companies that would soon go bankrupt. Every last one of the companies that Jimmy was so wildly enthusiastic about went BK. Read through the whole thing if you want. It’s like oh yeah, we’re going to do everything better cheaper faster lighter and, oh well, the plane’s engines will be coming two years late BUT THAT”S A GOOD THING!

It wasn’t.

So that’s Jimmy’s undeclared baggage, three trunks full of embarrassing writings on The Coming Transportation Revolution.

Comes now James Fallows to say how great California High Speed Rail is going to be.

IDK, why not instead just be realistic, Jimmy Fallows?

‘Cause I don’t think the whole Jimmy Likes X, where X is the latest big transportation revolution / scheme, is working out for Jimmy.

Or us.