West by South West, as seen facing west in the Western Addition – bye bye Raiders Plane:
West by South West, as seen facing west in the Western Addition – bye bye Raiders Plane:
Look for this Airbus 330 just after 9:00 AM, over the Financh, heading west with a little south thrown in – that’s what you can see lately:
Now back in the day, people told me, “Don’t fly Hawaiian.” But geez, zero passenger deaths over the years and decades. Hawaiian is a winner airline and this jet, an Airbus 330-200 widebody, is a winner aircraft – better all around than any stretched-out Boeing 757 narrowbody that, say United, might choose to get you to the 808 State…
1. Here’s the news:
Does this airline deal “make sense?” IDK, we’ll see.
But let’s now take the chance to take a look at the hype over Virgin America nine years ago, when the Mayor of SF boasted of the “thousands of jobs” what would come from our “hometown airline.”
Flip to the next page to see that.
2. What else, oh the already-failed Airbus A380, the “green” plane what was “going to change everything.” From 2006:
But no, not at all, not really. Actually, that’s the problem – A380’s aren’t all that efficient.
Now, did it make sense for SFO to prepare for the arrival of the A380 starting 10-20 years ago? IDK, perhaps, since the feds were paying for most of the work. But this plane certainly was not the future of air travel, as should have obvious to anyone a decade ago.
3. What else, oh, QANTAS.
Hey, did this work out? No, not at all. In fact, QANTAS completely abandoned SFO a short time later. It preferred Texas(!) and, of course, Los Angeles, for various reasons.
(And that’s the way it’s been since the 1950’s – QANTAS comes to SFO then starts losing money and then it leaves us and then it comes back to us. This really isn’t under the control of any local Mayors.)
Anyway, that’s how things have gone at SFO the past decade.
I was surprised to see this ad:
Here’s how things looked back in 1968:
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?
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:
“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…
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:
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.
*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.
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:
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:
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.”
United will soon have competition, once again, on SFO-OGG and OGG-SFO.
(I’ll tell you, I’ve flown to Oahu, you know, on bidness, using Continental and United and all and that worked out I s’pose, but one time I had to go to Maui for a wedding and I didn’t realize that not giving United an extra $20 for Economy Plus meant that I was going to end up sitting in Economy Minus (effectively – United calls it Economy but it’s def less roomy than the old United Economy) and, to boot, first-world problem, this was on a old Boeing 757 narrow-body Flying Pencil. Man, my butt was all the way back but my knees were hard up against the seat in front of me – it was no picnic. Since then, one time I got upgraded to Economy Plus for free and that was a triple beam lyrical dream in comparison. Otherwise, in all my years, I’ve always flown Economy / Coach (except for the Emirates excursion flight I took for 60 minutes SFO-SFO on an A380 complete with shower stalls) and man that United flight to Maui really stands out. My point is that Hawaiian’s newish A330 widebodies have got to be better than what United used to offer SFO-OGG and OGG-SFO.)
All the deets:
“Hawaiian Airlines to Launch Daily Non-Stop Service Between San Francisco and Maui
HONOLULU, Aug. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — In a continued effort to expand its service in the Bay Area, Hawaiian Airlines today announced it will offer non-stop service between San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Kahului Airport (OGG) beginning November 20, 2014, allowing more access to the Hawaiian Islands from one of its largest North American markets.
“This year we’ve brought back our San Jose to Honolulu service, offered new seasonal non-stop flights from Oakland to Kona and Lihu’e, and now we are launching daily service between San Francisco and Maui–all in response to the robust demand we’ve received from the Bay Area,” said Peter Ingram, Hawaiian Airlines executive vice president and chief commercial officer. “We are very pleased to connect two existing gateways in our network together, offering Hawai’i residents another way to travel to the Bay Area, and Northern California travelers another reason to visit the Hawaiian Islands.”
The non-stop service between San Francisco and Maui will begin with flights four times a week from November 20, 2014 before moving into daily service beginning December 17, 2014. The new daily service will add a total of more than 210,000 seats to both San Francisco and Maui travel markets per year, and will be operated by Hawaiian Airlines’ wide-body, twin-aisle Airbus 330-200 aircraft, which seats 294 passengers, with 18 in First Class and 276 in the Main Cabin.
Well, nobody really “lost” QANTAS, but SFO used to have the big Australian carrier like for a half-century and now it doesn’t so that’s what SFGov was upset about back in the day. Let’s review.
Here’s 2009, from Qantas:
“In 1954, San Francisco became Qantas’ first US mainland destination and we have a long association with the city. We are delighted to showcase our new aircraft to the people of San Francisco.”
And here’s 2009, from Newsom:
“San Francisco International Airport was designed to accommodate the new A380 aircraft, and we are extremely pleased today to welcome Qantas Airways in the first commercial A380 flight to SFO,” said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. “This state-of-the-art, environmentally sensitive new aircraft provides yet another bridge of friendship between San Francisco and Australia, and we look forward to continuing our long and successful partnership with Qantas.”
Now IRL, the Airbus A380 was and is just another airplane in the sky. And IRL, the state of the art of large commercial aircraft would be to use two large engines instead of the A380’s four smaller engines. And calling it “environmentally sensitive” was and is a bit of a stretch and, in fact, these days it’s considered a guzzler and so much so that Airbus is considering certifying completely different engines.
Anyway, what happened soon after this press conference in 2009 is that Qantas shut down operations at SFO and went to Texas. So instead of upgrading airplanes coming into town, they just upped and quit on us, they couldn’t wait to get out of here.
Why? Because it made sense for them to do so and also the airport people at Dallas Fort Worth came up with millions of dollars to throw at Qantas.
Who knows, Qantas might come back to SFO at some point (but it doesn’t really matter all that much).
Pretty much everything he said at his press conferences turned out to be wrong – this is just an example.