Posts Tagged ‘non-stop’

QANTAS Abandons S.F. for Texas – No More Qantas Rolls-Royce Ka-Booms over the 415 – SFO’s Airbus A380 Cargo Cult

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

How long has it been since three-star-rated former Mayor Gavin Newsom left office – has it been a week or two? Well, we’ll leave that to the judges and justices ‘n stuff, but, irregardless, it’s been long enough* for Qantas Airways Limited to announce that its abandoning the San Francisco Bay Area, g’night, mate.

Why? Well it’s ’cause they’ve been losing mad dollars on non-stop flights betwixt SFO and Cindy, Australia for donkey’s years. Enough is enough they figure, so future flights from Down Under will alight in Dallas, Texas. (Some Bay area travel(l)ers are not amused, not at all.)

Now, weren’t we due for superjumbo Airbus A380 double-decker service by now for those non-stop flights to Oz? Oh yes, but instead of getting that, we’re losing the non-stop, regular-jumbo Boeing 747-400 service we have now. I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking how could this be, San Francisco is a “natural amphitheater,” a “world-class” city even. Well, not anymore, or at least SFO isn’t a “world-class” airport anymore.

However, there’s a silver lining. You see, them Rolls-Royce engines, those RB211′s and those Trents 500 and up, well they blow up sometimes, ka-boom! Call it an “uncontained failure” they do. And QANTAS well, that’s pretty much all they run these days, the Rolls-Royce. (Just look at Australia’s national flag, why not, for the reason.) So, less Qantas = less less RR = less ka-boom over our heads.

For example, check out this Qantas flight out of SFO just last summer. It had passed the Farallones with almost full tanks and then, kaboom, Rolls-Royce engine #4 exploded. Oh well. Everybody made it back safe tho. Check it on the YouTube.

Flight 74 getting a little sparky high above the deep briny – not what you want to see looking out your window. Time to dump your avgas and circle back to Millbrae:

Click to expand

I hear you, you’re saying that’s the old Rolls-Royce. But, you know, that Qantas A380 engine that blewed up just after leaving Singapore late last year, that’s the new RR – indeed, that was a fairly recent vintage Trent 900 engine that destroyed itself. Oh well. The Aussie A380s have been patched up and now Qantas is flying them as far as they want again, to Los Angeles among other places. But not very long after the flights started again, yet another Qantas Rolls Royce engine went kaboom - this one was a contained failure, so that’s some consolation, anyway. Check it:

“A Qantas spokeswoman said yesterday the Rolls-Royce RB-211 engine would be replaced and the aircraft would be in service shortly. She said the latest incident involving Qantas jets and Rolls-Royce engines did not indicate any pattern of trouble. ”We certainly don’t view it that way at all,’ the spokeswoman said.”

O.K. fine. Whatever you say, lady.

Now with the SFO cargo cult. Leave us review:

“Cargo cult activity increased significantly during and immediately after World War II, when the residents of these in some Pacific islands observed the Japanese and American combatants bringing in large amounts of material. When the war ended, the military bases closed and the flow of goods and materials ceased. In an attempt to attract further deliveries of goods, followers of the cults engaged in ritualistic practices such as building crude imitation landing strips, aircraft and radio equipment, and mimicking the behaviour that they had observed of the military personnel operating them.”

See where I’m going here? Didn’t we just get done re-doing SFO so that we could handle five or six A380 superjumbos at a time? Hells yes! We saw a few test runs from aircraft with Airbus, Emirates and Qantas livery over the past few years.**

But those big metal birds didn’t come back.

No cargo for us.

So am I saying that it was a stupid idea for SFO to prepare for the Age of the Super Jumbo Jet? No, not really. I don’t know all the deets of how things costed out, and who knows, it wasn’t impossible that official San Francisco’s dream of somehow besting Los Angeles could have eventually worked out. But if you could have seen how proud SFO officials were of their A380-only, double decker jet bridges in the new International Terminal back in the day, well, you’d be thinking cargo cult too.

Who knows what the future will bring. International air travel will increase like gangbusters over the coming decade, so we’ll probably get some use out of those dusty double-decker jetways sooner or later. And maybe then Qantas will be back, with or without A380s. (The Q has abandoned us before, and we made do.) Or maybe Emirates will get a little more MPG from the non-Rolls-Royce, American-made GP7200 engines on their A380s so they’ll be able to make a non-stop superjumbo hop to the Bay Area from the Mid-East. Maybe.

(And maybe by that time SFO will be called Willie Lewis  Brown Jr. International Airport, I’m seriously, that’s what the other former Mayor of SF wants, he wants us to chuck the extremely well-known SFO moniker for WLB. Can you imagine?)

Anywho, if you want to go Sydney after May 2011, your only choice will be United Airlines. Now, that flight is on an old jet that the President of United says is “unacceptable,” but at least you don’t have to fly to Los Angeles on your way Down Under.

So long, Qantas.

*They waited a only a few days – what a joke!

**Man, what a load this was:

“Sensitive to the politically charged nature of outsourcing and offshoring, the Airbus chairman for North America, Allan McArtor, said 50 percent of the A380′s components are being made in the United States. McArtor hailed the new aircraft as quieter and more fuel efficient than wide-body jetliners of the past. Final assembly of the plane will be done in Toulouse, with the first test flights scheduled for next year.”

50% American content? Absolutely not. There’s a bit of American content in A380′s (some of them have more and some less) but it ain’t nowhere near 50% and there’s no way it could have been 50%. Airbus is run by the Euros – why would they go out of their way to employ Americans?

“G’Day Airbus!  Qantas A380 Arrives at SFO

Qantas' A380 arrives at the International Terminal“On January 14, 2009, SFO welcomed Qantas Airways’ new A380 as it arrived from Sydney – the first Airbus A380 to bring scheduled passengers to SFO. The aircraft’s arrival was celebrated with a party at its gate in the International Terminal.   Sponsored by Tourism Australia, the party featured Australian music, meat pies and sausage rolls, and a kangaroo.

The International Terminal, which opened in December 2000, was specifically designed to easily handle the arrivals and departures of large capacity airplanes such as the A380, the largest passenger aircraft in the world.

SFO’s International Terminal, with the country’s only built-in A380-ready gates, is the future for comfortable and convenient international air travel,” said John L. Martin, Director of San Francisco International Airport. “We welcome visitors from our sister city, Sydney, and look forward to offering regularly scheduled Airbus flights and connections for all of our international visitors.”

The International Terminal features five gates that can be used by the A380 – three with double loading bridges and two with triple loading bridges. SFO was the first airport in the United States to offer triple loading bridges. The third loading bridge extends to the A380’s top deck, which allows the aircraft’s 500-plus passengers to be conveniently and directly loaded or off-loaded from the gate to the aircraft in 40 minutes – approximately the same time it takes to load a 747-400. Moreover, SFO can accommodate a rapid turnaround for the Airbus. SFO is the only airport in the United States with such a high level of built-in readiness.

Qantas currently offers daily nonstop service between SFO and Sydney on its 747-400 aircraft. The airline plans to bring its A380 aircraft to San Francisco on a regular basis in the next few years.

The Gayly-Colored “Hippie Express” Arrives Above San Francisco – A Swiss International Airbus A340 Over Twin Peaks

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

My first sighting of the Hippy Express, coming in direct from Zurich.

(Look at them skinny, thirsty, old-school “high” bypass engines. What a mistake the A340 was for Airbus. Oh well.)

Enjoy:

Click to expand

(Five year old camera plus sub-optimal settings plus 600mm handheld plus loads of digital zoom plus quickie processing = DSLR noise. Oh well.)

Groovy New Swiss International Air Lines Jumbo Starts Non-Stop SFO-Zurich Flights

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Now, I already told you about the plans for SWISS to start “direct” non-stop flights back and forth to sister-city* Zurich six days a week, so I won’t have to remind you about the thirsty, thirsty, unlucky and unloved Airbus A340** jumbo or McKinsey and Company’s Hunter (aka Jägermeister) Strategy, the very same eggheaded strategery that finished off the predecessor of SWISS. Anyway, everything has gone as planned – that’s the news of the day.

Switzerland’s new flag carrier has followed through and put new non-stop flights on its sked as of this week. And here’s something I didn’t know – they have this San Francisco-themed livery that’s far out and groovy. Basically, this special new paint sticker job tells the story of an epic voyage from the land of dairy cows to the land of fruits and nuts, complete with a reference to the Kraken and squid-infested waters of the North Atlantic. Some are dissappointed with the Summer of Love theme but oh well.

Check it:

Click to expand

*San Francisco has lots and lots of sister cities. It ain’t no big thang, actually.

**The A340 is basically an A330 twinjet that’s been stretched and that’s had another couple of engines tacked on. (The wings had to be strengthened more than once to handle the extra engines – engineers were repeatedly surprised with how wobbly things got during testing.) A340s have had more than their fair share of freak accidents and hull losses, but they haven’t killed any of their passengers, so that’s good. Now, does Airbus wish it had done a Giant Twin instead, you know, something like the wildly successful Boeing 777? Oh hell yes. An A777 would have been awesome for Airbus. Oh well. You, as a passenger, don’t have to worry about all that, you just have to kick in a bit more to help pay for the extra avgas required for the extra engines. Oh well, enjoy your stretched-out Flying Pencil.

All the deets. (The CEO’s name is Harry Hohmeister(!), for real. Means “river master” or something, surprisingly enough)

MAYOR NEWSOM ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF SWISS SFO-ZURICH SERVICE WITH NEW SPECIAL EDITION SF PLANE
San Francisco, CA— Mayor Gavin Newsom today welcomed Swiss International
Air Lines (SWISS) flight LX38, a playfully painted A340 making its debut on
the inaugural flight from Zurich to SFO. A host of San Francisco and Swiss
representatives met the new plane, which is decorated with a colorful San
Francisco 60’s-inspired mural complete with peace signs, musical notes and
guitars. The new SWISS service will operate six times per week, departing
SFO at 7:25 pm and arriving in Zurich at 3:40 pm the following day.  There
is no service on Tuesdays.
“Congratulations to SWISS on its new premium non-stop service from Zurich,”
said Mayor Newsom. “This new route will provide passengers with a superior
travel option to Europe as well as further cement the strong ties between
our two Sister Cities.”
SWISS is known for its impeccable service and on-time performance. The
airline offers dozens of nonstop services throughout Europe from its hub in
Zurich as well as Geneva and Basel.
“We are most pleased about this West Coast addition to our network, linking
two vital business and leisure destinations,” said Harry Hohmeister, SWISS
CEO. “We wish to thank our partners, colleagues and employees, and look
forward to serving the San Francisco community with professional and
efficient Swiss hospitality and outstanding air service.”
SFO – voted “Best Airport in North America” – is California’s gateway for
international travelers, with speedy custom lines and hundreds of flights
and connections throughout North America and beyond. SFO is ideally
situated in Northern California, with easy access to San Francisco, Wine
Country, and favorite local attractions Muir Woods and Alcatraz.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Swiss International Air Lines to San Francisco,”
said John L. Martin, Director of San Francisco International Airport. “This
new service between our sister cities offers international travelers great
options for getting to the United States while at the same time, boosting
our local economies.”
About SFO
SFO (www.flysfo.com) provides nonstop service to more than 65 US cities on
21 domestic airlines and to 32 international points on 27 international
carriers. SFO offers twice as many non-stop flights to the New York area
than all other Bay Area airports combined – making SFO the Bay Area’s
Airport of Choice. SFO was voted “North America’s Best Airport” in 2008 by
passengers for its outstanding customer service and amenities.
About SWISS
Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) serves 73 destinations in 39
countries all over the world from its Zurich hub and from other Swiss
international airports in Geneva and Basel. SWISS operates an 85-aircraft
fleet. In the UK & Ireland SWISS operates 33 daily flights from London
Heathrow, London City, Birmingham International, Manchester and Dublin to
Switzerland and, via its hubs, to the world. SWISS is a member of Europe’s
biggest frequent flyer program, Miles & More, and Star Alliance.
www.swiss.com

And the city’s prenup with Zurich, after the jump  (more…)

Bailed-Out Swiss International to Start SFO-to-Zurich Non-Stop Service in June 2010

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Well, you can read the press release below. Or better yet, check out the refreshingly frank Wikipedia entry on Swiss International Air Lines and/or the prior SwissAir, which followed the Mckinsey & Company’s “Hunter Strategy” for too long. (You can read about that fiasco in B-School.)

Billions of bailout dollars (or whatever) later, the Swiss sort of have a vibrant national carrier again.

Anyway, if you’re flying to Switzerland, this will do. The Airbus A340 jumbo is nobody’s idea of a successful design (what with its surplus of fuel-sucking engines in this Big Twin Era), but it’ll get you there and back, six days a week, as a pampered guest of SWISS CEO Harry Hohmeister (his real name, srsly).

Imagine this bird at SFO:

Swiss_Air_-_Zurich_-_2005

And British Airways isn’t pleased about this development at all, but oh well.

All the deets after the jump.

(more…)