Friday
Jun242011

Qantas settles with Rolls-Royce for 95 million AUD out of court

Qantas Airways announced earlier this week that it reached an out-of-court settlement with engine maker Rolls-Royce regarding last November's engine failure on one of the Australian flag carrier airline's Airbus A380 models.  The settlement is in the amount of 95 million AUD (70.4 million EUR; 62.4 million GBP; 123.1 million NZD; 99.7 million USD).

The deal was reached Wednesday morning, but during a press conference, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce refused to go into specifics.  He characterized the settlement as "a very good result," considering the recent downturn in the commercial aviation industry in general.

The A380 that suffered the engine failure happened to be the first A380 inaugurated into service by Qantas in late 2008.  It was given the name Nancy Bird Walton, after the famous Australian aviatrix born in 1915.  She was the youngest Australian woman to have a pilot's license, and during the 1930s, operated an air ambulance service in the Australian state of New South Wales.  She died in 2009, at the age of 93.

The Qantas Airbus A380 was scheduled to fly from Changi International Airport (IATA: SIN; ICAO: WSSS) in Singapore to Kingsford Smith Airport (IATA: SYD; ICAO: YSSY) in Sydney.  The engine failed shortly after takeoff, requiring the plane to return to Singapore.  Qantas grounded its fleet of A380s (of which there were six at the time) for inspections.  This prompted Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa to do the same.  In the time since, all three airlines have expressed confidence in the long-term soundness of the A380, both mechanically and from a business point of view.

Qantas, Singapore Airlines, and Lufthansa are three of six carriers worldwide to fly the Airbus A380.  The others are Air France, Emirates, and Korean AirAir France and Emirates were unconcerned about the safety of the A380s in their respective fleets, because the engines in all of their A380s are the GP7200, made by the Engine Alliance, a joint venture between General Electric and Pratt & Whitney.  Last November, Korean Air did not yet fly the A380.  But for the record, it chose the Engine Alliance GP7200 to power its A380, of which it has ordered ten, and currently possesses one.

related stories

Qantas looks at legal action against Rolls-Royce for engine failure (December 2, 2010)

Qantas CEO aboard first company A380 to fly since engine failure (November 27, 2010)

Qantas and Airbus point finger at Rolls-Royce for compensation (November 22, 2010)

Qantas adapts aircraft route assignments after A380 failure (November 16, 2010)

Qantas continues A380 engine inspection after mid-air failure (November 8, 2010)

original stories

Qantas Reaches Commercial Agreement with Rolls-Royce (Qantas Airways)

Rolls-Royce deal drives Qantas profit (Sydney Morning Herald)

Rolls-Royce, Qantas settle over engine explosion (Yahoo News)

Qantas settles with Rolls-Royce (CNN Online)

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Friday
Jun242011

Hellenic Imperial to start Gatwick, JFK today; Kuwait tomorrow

The Greek airline Hellenic Imperial Airways is flying four times a week between its hub at Eleftherios Venizelos Airport (IATA: ATH; ICAO: LGAV) in Athens, and Kennedy International Airport in New York (IATA: JFK; ICAO: KJFK), starting today.  The route will be operated with the Airbus A340-300.  It is scheduled to depart from Athens at 5:30 in the afternoon local time, and arrive in New York at 9:30 in the evening, local time.  It is scheduled to depart New York at 11:30 in the evening local time, and arrive back in Athens at 5:00 in the afternoon the following day, local time.  The creation of this route makes Hellenic Imperial the only airline based in Greece to currently operate its own aircraft, non-stop, to the United States.

The airline will operate from Terminal 1 at Kennedy International.

Hellenic Imperial also announced that, starting today, it will fly thrice weekly between Athens and Gatwick Airport (IATA: LGW; ICAO: EGKK) south of London.  This route will be also operated with the Airbus A340-300.  Initially, the round-trip service will be operated three times a week, but this will be increased to six over the next few months, according to the U.K.-based Online Regional Travel Group.

Additionally, starting tomorrow, Hellenic Imperial will fly between Athens and Kuwait (IATA: KWI; ICAO: OKBK), the capital of the eponymous Middle Eastern nation.  According to www.flight965.com, this round-trip service will operate two times a week.  It did not give any further details.  When these routes were first announced, the Athens-London round trip was first scheduled to commence on July 1.  But the start date of this route was changed to June 24, to match the start date for Hellenic Imperial's Athens-New York route.

The Dutch airline Arkefly starts non-stop twice-weekly service between Schiphol Airport (IATA: AMS; ICAO: EHAM) in Amsterdam and Miami International Airport (IATA: MIA; ICAO: KMIA) in the American state of Florida today, according to a reader blog at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer website.  The route will be flown with the Boeing 767-300ER.

The British budget airline EasyJet also restarts a seasonal service today between mainland Spain and the Canary Islands.  It operates four times a week, on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, according to a timetable printed on EasyJet's website.  It operates between Barajas Airport (IATA: MAD; ICAO: LEMD) in Madrid, and Lanzarote, the furthest east of the Canary Islands (IATA: ACE; ICAO: GCRR).

original stories

Hellenic Imperial Gatwick-Athens (www.countryconnect.co.uk)

Hellenic Imperial to launch Athens - London Gatwick late-Jun 2011 (www.airlineroute.net)

New scheduled route between Athens - New York to start on June 24th, 2011 (Hellenic Imperial Airways)

Hellenic Imperial Airways plans Athens - New York JFK launch from late-June 2011 (www.airlineroute.net)

Hellenic Imperial Airways to start visiting Kuwait! (www.flight965.com)

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Thursday
Jun232011

Czech Airlines inaugurates flights from new Bratislava hub

Over the next three days, Czech Airlines will commence a series of six new routes from its brand new hub in Bratislava, Slovakia.  This will result in two dozen new round-trip routes being available from the Slovakian capital, once the full schedule is rolled out by this coming Saturday.  Today, the Czech national airline will start round-trip routes between Milan Rastislav Štefánik Airport (IATA: BTS; ICAO: LZIB) in Bratislava, and three destinations.  The route will operate through Amsterdam (IATA: AMS; ICAO: EHAM) four times a week, Rome (IATA: FCO; ICAO: LIRF) five times a week, and Paris (IATA: CDG; ICAO: LFPG) seven times a week.

Tomorrow, Czech Airlines will start a round-trip route between the new Slovakian hub and the Belgian capital, Brussels (IATA: BRU; ICAO: EBBR).  Bratislava-Brussels will operate three times a week.  On Saturday, the airline will start new round-trip routes between Bratislava and two more destinations.  The routes inaugurated this Saturday will operate through Barcelona (IATA: BCN; ICAO: LEBL) twice a week, and the Cypriot resort town of Larnaca (IATA: LCA; ICAO: LCLK) thrice weekly.

Czech Airlines operates flights between its main hub at Ruzynĕ Airport (IATA: PRG; ICAO: LKPR) in Prague, and the Slovakian capital twice daily.

All six of these new routes will be flown with the Boeing 737-500, according to Czech Airlines.  A post to www.flightglobal.com from last month indicates that Czech Airlines "will not be facing any competition on any of the routes."  The Slovak Republic has been without a major airline since last year when Air Slovakia dissolved due to bankruptcy, becoming the third airline based in Slovakia to shut down in just a six month period.  Slovak Airlines, another former airline with a hub in Bratislava, went bankrupt and shut down in 2007.  Between last year and the recent announcement of the new Bratislava hub from Czech Airlines, the only airline to use Štefánik Airport as a hub has been the small regional airline Danube Wings.

The facility, opened in 1951, is located in the Bratislava suburb of Ivanka pri Dunaji, and was originally named for the suburb.  It is usually simply called Bratislava Airport by English speakers.  But it is still sometimes called Bratislava-Ivanka by local diehards, and online travel agencies and aggregators.

Additionally, TAP Portugal is starting a new seasonal route between its hub in Lisbon (IATA: LIS; ICAO: LPPT) and the Croatian seaside town of Dubrovnik (IATA: DVB; ICAO: LDDU).  Croatia Airlines codeshares on the route, according to search results returned by the airline ticket booking engine at www.kayak.com/flights, and it will operate once a week in both directions each Thursday.  It is flown with the Airbus A320-100 and -200, and will end on August 25.

original stories

Czech Airlines will offer 24 Direct Flights Weekly from Bratislava to Six European Metropolises (Czech Airlines)

Czech Airlines' Direct Flights Connect Bratislava to Transfer Hubs, and thus to the World (Czech Airlines)

Czech Airlines introduce flights from Bratislava to six new European destinations starting tomorrow (Czech Airlines)

Czech Airlines to Open Base at Bratislava (www.flightglobal.com)

CSA Czech Airlines Bratislava Base Operation Details (www.flightglobal.com)

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Thursday
Jun232011

Condor commences long-awaited Frankfurt-Seattle route

Today, the Germany-based airline Condor started a route between Frankfurt and the American city of Seattle, Washington.  The route will be operated with the Boeing 767-300ER.  The Seattle Times reported that the route will be flown twice weekly, on Monday and Thursday.

On Monday, the flight is scheduled to leave Frankfurt-Main Airport (IATA: FRA; ICAO: EDDF) at 3:30 in the afternoon, local time.  It is scheduled to arrive at Seattle/Tacoma International Airport (IATA: SEA; ICAO: KSEA) 10 hours 50 minutes later, at 5:20 in the afternoon, local time.  The Monday return flight is scheduled to depart Seattle at 7:20 in the evening, local time, and arrive back in Frankfurt at 2:50 in the afternoon the following day, local time.  On Thursday, the schedules for both directions of the route are simply shifted forward in time by a little more than an hour.

Condor's sales and marketing manager for North America, Janet Gorecki-Mackanin, pointed out Condor's partnership with Sea-Tac, Washington-based Alaska Airlines.  She explained that travelers on Condor will now have convenient access to points up and down the American west coast, through Alaska Airlines.  The Port of Seattle, which operates Seattle/Tacoma International, also expressed enthusiasm for the new route.

The business entity that became Condor was founded in 1955, and commenced operations the following year.  Condor's largest hub is at Frankfurt Airport.  Its main offices are in the Frankfurt suburb of Kelsterbach.

In other news, Asiana Airlines subsidiary Air Busan commenced service today, between its hub at Gimhae International Airport (IATA: PUS; ICAO: RKPK) in Busan, South Korea, and Narita International Airport (IATA: NRT; ICAO: RJAA) 35 miles (57 kilometers) east of Tokyo.  This route was originally scheduled to commence two months ago, but was delayed because of the earthquake and tsunami that recently struck Japan.

original stories

No-frills Condor Airlines to begin Seattle-Frankfurt flights (Seattle Times)

Port of Seattle Welcomes Condor Airlines non-stop Service to Frankfurt (Port of Seattle)

Germany's Condor to Launch Seattle-Frankfurt Service in June (www.airlinesanddestinations.com)

Air Busan Confirms Revised Tokyo Start Date (www.routesonline.com)

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Thursday
Jun232011

Australia, NZ airlines estimate ash costs; Fyfe, Joyce have it out

The Sydney Morning Herald estimated today that the June 4 eruption of the volcano in the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle Volcanic Complex in the Chilean Andes mountain range has cost "the local [airline] industry some $30 million" AUD (22.2 million EUR; 19.7 million GBP; 38.8 million NZD; 31.4 million USD).  Qantas Airways and its subsidiary QantasLink lost 21 million AUD according to estimates from the Herald this morning.

Jetstar CEO Bruce Buchanan indicated to the Australian Associated Press (AAP) that Jetstar and Qantas erred on the side of caution when it came to the decision on when to restart a regular flying schedule.  To justify such conservative decision making, Buchanan pointed to the absence in Australia, of the kinds of technology that enabled European-based carriers "to measure the density of the ash," when faced with a similar problem during the spring of last year.  Today, Qantas and Jetstar have cancelled all flights into and out of New Zealand, according to The Age, a Melbourne-based broadsheet daily newspaper.

The Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull began erupting in March of 2010, and grounded air traffic in Europe for several days.  In its wake, a novel on-board ash detection system was debuted by the British budget airline EasyJet, but British scientific models of future ash movement wound up being roundly criticized, mostly by U.K.-based and Ireland-based airlines, for themselves being too conservative.

Meanwhile, a trans-Tasman tiff has erupted over an e-mail from Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, to the millions of Qantas frequent fliers.  The e-mail explained the Australian national airline's decision to ground planes for as long as it did.  Air New Zealand CEO Rob Fyfe got hold of this e-mail, and took it as implying that Air New Zealand (and other carriers such as Virgin Australia) acted recklessly by not grounding planes.  In a response, Fyfe pointed out Joyce's willingness to put ticketed Qantas customers onto substitute flights operated by Air New Zealand, "which seems like a strange thing to do for your customers if you have concerns about the safety of the airspace."  As of this posting, Joyce has not responded.

Fyfe is also hitting back against rumors out of Oz that Air New Zealand has grounded as many as six of its planes, supposedly damaged by ash, calling the rumors "malicious."  Air New Zealand instructed its pilots to detour around the ash (rather than ground its planes), after the ash swept down toward Antarctica, up across the South Pacific, and into Middle Earth airspace several days ago.

related stories

Volcanic ash wanders across Pacfic; snarls NZ, Australia air traffic (June 12, 2011)

U.K.-based easyJet will debut a new ash detector (June 5, 2010)

Airlines now criticizing British models of predicted ash movement (May 17, 2010)

Volcanoes in Iceland could affect aviation for decades (May 17, 2010)

The spread of volcanic ash from Eyjafjallajökull over time (May 4, 2010)

original stories

Fyfe: Air NZ's ash-damaged planes 'malicious rumors' (New Zealand Herald)

Airlines count flight interruptions costs (Sydney Morning Herald)

Some Australia flights resume, others nixed by ash (Yahoo News)

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