Entries in Paris (10)


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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Air France starts seasonal Paris-San Francisco route in A380

Earlier this month, Air France commenced a seasonal non-stop round trip in the Airbus A380, between Charles de Gaulle Airport (IATA: CDG; ICAO: LFPG) in Paris, to San Francisco International Airport (IATA: SFO; ICAO: KSFO).  The route is flown twice a day on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday; and is flown once a day on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, according to search results returned by the airline ticket booking engine at www.kayak.com/flights.  The westbound flight is scheduled at 11 hours 10 minutes long, and the eastbound flight is scheduled at 10 hours 25 minutes long, according to www.kayak.com.

Air France-KLM Group teamed with Delta Air Lines in a trans-Atlantic joint venture, in 2008.  Air France's press release on the seasonal Paris-San Francisco route explains that it is conducted "in partnership with Delta," even though Delta currently has no Airbus A380 airplanes in its fleet.

The seasonal route is scheduled to terminate on September 4 this year, according to Air France.

original story (Air France)

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Air France 447 black box data may be readable

Reuters reported earlier today that information from the flight data recorders of Air France flight 447, which slammed into the Atlantic Ocean nearly two years ago, may be readable.  A transfer of all of the data from the devices, informally called "black boxes," is the first step in determining what caused the fatal crash of the Airbus A330, carrying 216 passengers and 12 crewmembers, in the early morning hours of 1 June 2009.  The Air France-operated aircraft disappeared from air traffic control radar near the equator over the Atlantic, while flying from Galeão International Airport in Rio de Janeiro (IATA: GIG; ICAO: SBGL) to Charles de Gaulle Airport (IATA: CDG; ICAO: LFPG) in Paris.

Earlier this month, Air France-KLM CEO Pierre-Henri Gourgeon made a statement in reaction to the discovery of the flight data recorders.  He thanked the French agency responsible for investigation of civil aviation accidents (the Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses, or BEA) for their hard work, and expressed a "heartfelt hope" that the data extracted would provide answers for the victims' families, for Air France, and for the aviation industry.

Pictured to the left is the very aircraft that went down over the Atlantic as Air France flight 447, according to its photographer Pawel Kierzkowski, who has graciously licensed this photograph under Creative Commons.

The photograph was taken on 28 March 2007, two years before the crash.

related story

Remains of Air France 447 found beneath Atlantic (April 4, 2011)

original stories

Black box data from crashed Air France jet said to be intact (Yahoo News)

Flight AF447 flight recorder retrieved: statement by Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, CEO of AIR FRANCE KLM (Air France)

Statement by Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, CEO of AIR FRANCE KLM (Air France)


Remains of Air France 447 found beneath Atlantic

Airplane wreckage and remains of some of the 228 victims of the 2009 crash of Air France 447 have been found.  This was the fourth attempt at locating the wreckage, and this site erroneously reported last year that a previous attempt was successful.

Air France 447 was a regularly-scheduled commercial passenger flight from Galeão International Airport (IATA: GIG; ICAO: SBGL) in Rio de Janeiro to Charles de Gaulle Airport (IATA: CDG; ICAO: LFPG) in Paris.  The flight was operated with an Airbus A330-200.

The flight data recorders, known informally as the "black boxes," have not yet been found.  But it is hoped that these devices can be recovered, and that the data on them can shed light onto the cause of the accident.

AF 447 located: statement by Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, CEO AIR FRANCE-KLM (Air France)


France-based airline flies non-stop to Baghdad

The Paris, France-based airline Aigle Azur made one of the first non-stop civilian passenger flights from western Europe to Baghad, Iraq since the Persian Gulf War yesterday.  This introductory flight was operated with a 148-passenger Airbus A319.  Earlier today, the United Kingdom-based Daily Telegraph reminded its readers how adamantly France opposed the 2003 United States-led invasion of Iraq.  In its next paragraph it quoted French Minister of Finance Anne-Marie Idrac, who called it "unthinkable" for businesses headquartered in her country not to participate in the rebuilding of Iraq.  The Finance Minister was aboard the flight, along with around 40 French business leaders.

It will be "another two to three months," before the route begins to run on a regular schedule, according to an Associated Press article printed in the Charlotte (North Carolina, United States) Observer yesterday.  The route will fly between Charles de Gaulle Airport northeast of Paris (IATA: CDG; ICAO: LFPG), and Baghdad International Airport ten miles west of the center of the Iraqi capital (IATA: BGW; ICAO: ORBI).  The route was introduced by Aigle Azur with the expectation that users of the twice-weekly service will be predominantly business travelers.  It is expected that the economy class tickets will start out selling for around 1500 EUR (1305 GBP, 2079 USD), and that business class tickets will start out selling for around 2500 EUR (2176 GBP, 3464 USD).

Toward the beginning of this year, the largest German airline Lufthansa announced plans to introduce a four times weekly non-stop route between Munich and Baghdad, which would have commenced at the end of last month.  But the route was cancelled due to disappointing ticket sales, and general lack of interest.

Aigle Azur was founded in Paris in 1946, and now operates out of the Paris commune nearest Charles de Gaulle Airport, Tremblay-en-France.  Since the 1950s, Aigle Azur has maintained a focus on southern Europe, northern Africa, and Asia.  The French phrase aigle azur means "azure eagle."  Nevertheless, the airline does not market particularly to English speakers, does not have an English translation of its official website, and has no official English translation of its name.  Aigle Azur operates an all-Airbus fleet of 12 aircraft to 26 destinations in the European countries of France, Portugal, and Spain; the African countries of Algeria, Mali, Morocco, and Tunisia; and the Middle Eastern country of Iraq.

Its largest hub is Orly Airport (IATA: ORY; ICAO: LFPO), the second-largest airport serving the Paris metropolitan area.  It also operates a hub in Algiers, the capital of Algeria.  In addition, Aigle Azur has identified four focus airports, two of which are in Algeria, another of which serves the Côte d’Azur resort city of Marseille, and another of which serves the Rhone River city of Lyon.  This latter airport (IATA: LYS; ICAO: LFLL) was renamed in 2000, for the French (and Lyonnais) writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

related stories

Air Canada expands Winter 2011 schedule (October 21, 2010)

Hawaiian Airlines starts non-stop Maui-Las Vegas route (October 8, 2010)

JetBlue now flies between Boston and Phoenix non-stop (September 4, 2010)

Finnair flies to Stockholm-Bromma starting Wednesday (August 16, 2010)

original stories

First passenger plane in 20 years lands in Baghdad (Daily Telegraph)

French airline makes landmark flight to Baghdad (Charlotte Observer)

Juergen Lehle (albspotter.eu) is the source of the photo used in this article.



Decennial memorial held in Paris for AF 4590 victims

Earlier today in the Paris suburb of Gonesse, east of the city, victims of the crash of Air France 4590 were memorialized in recognition of the tenth anniversary of the crash.  Air France 4590 was a chartered Concorde flight from Charles de Gaulle Airport (IATA: CDG; ICAO: LFPG) to Kennedy International Airport (IATA: JFK; ICAO: KJFK), in New York.  Minutes after takeoff, it crashed into a hotel in Gonesse, killing all aboard and four on the ground.  Most passengers were German citizens flying to New York to board a cruise ship bound for South America.

It is suspected that Concorde F-BTSC, completely destroyed in the crash, ran over debris on the runway while accelerating for takeoff from Charles de Gaulle.  The debris puctured a tire. A piece of this tire flew upward into the underside of the left wing, resulting in the breach of a fuel tank, and in an electrical failure compromising the landing gear.  Sparks created by a severed wire close to the tires touched the fuel, and caused a fire.  It is speculated that the debris was dropped by a Continental Airlines DC-10 which had taken off just prior.

Air France was formed in 1933 with the merger of several smaller airlines, and is the French flag carrier.  Its main offices are located in the Parisian suburb of Tremblay-en-France, and its largest hub is Charles de Gaulle Airport, northeast of the city.  Concorde was an Anglo-French joint effort, begun in the 1960s, and led by the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) in the United Kingdom, and Sud Aviation (later Aérospatiale) in France.  The events of July 25, 2000 in Gonesse were the only blemish on Concorde's safety record.  Continental Airlines is an airline based in the United States.  It commenced operations in 1934, and is currently headquartered in Houston, Texas.  It is expected to merge with another American-based carrier, United Airlines, later this year.

Two employees of Continental Airlines stand accused in a French court, of manslaughter in connection with the crash.  A verdict is expected in or around December.

related stores

Plan launched in Anglo-French joint effort to fly Concorde again (May 30, 2010)

Concorde engine tests were a success (June 4, 2010)

original story (USA Today)


Rio-Paris flight diverted due to bomb threat

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet operated by Air France made an emergency landing in Recife, Brazil Saturday evening, local time.  It did so because a bomb threat was called in to Galeão International Airport in Rio de Janeiro (IATA: GIG; ICAO: SBGL), which mentioned the flight, Air France 443.  Air France flight 443 had taken off from Galeão International, Saturday afternoon, local time, headed for Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris (IATA: CDG; ICAO: LFPG).

All passengers deplaned without incident.  No explosive device has been found as of the time of this post.  It is expected that the 747 will continue on to Paris sometime Sunday morning, local time.

related stories

Families of Rio-Paris crash victims hold memorial ceremonies (June 2, 2010)

Cathay Pacific plane escorted to Vancouver after bomb scare (May 15, 2010)

No bomb was found on the Riga-Berlin Air Baltic flight (May 15, 2010)

original stories

Bomb scare forces Air France jet to land (www.tvnz.co.nz)

Air France jet lands in Brazil in security alert (www.focus-fen.net)


World Cup Semifinals and Final sparked rivalry between airlines

Airlines based in countries whose national teams made the semifinals in this year’s World Cup have scheduled extra flights between their European hubs and South African cities hosting games the semifinalists and finalists have played in or will play in.  The flag carriers of the two countries remaining in the World Cup, the Netherlands and Spain, are each a member of one of the largest airline alliances in the world.  And over the course of this week, the Dutch airline KLM added four flights each way between Johannesburg, where the Final will be played, and its European hubs of Amsterdam and Paris.  The Spanish airline Iberia has not announced via its website, any intention to make additional flights to and from South Africa, as of the time of this post.

Several days ago, a Lufthansa spokesman said if the team from Germany won the World Cup, that they would fly back home on an Airbus A380.  In the days since, Germany lost to Spain in the second semifinal match, and will play the team from Uruguay for third place.  (It is unknown what airplane the team from Germany will use instead.)

Lufthansa was reconstituted in its present form in 1954.  It is the German flag carrier, and is the largest airline headquartered in Europe, by number of passengers carried.  Its headquarters is in Frankfurt.  The Netherlands’ flag carrier KLM was formed in 1919, and flew its first flights the following year.  It is headquartered in Amsterdam, and its main hub is that city’s Schiphol Airport (IATA: AMS; ICAO: EHAM).  KLM merged with Air France in 2004, though both airlines retain their familiar logos and branding scheme.  Iberia is the Spanish flag carrier, and was founded in 1927.  It is based in the national capital of Madrid, and maintains its largest hub at Barajas Airport in Madrid (IATA: MAD; ICAO: LEMD).  Iberia announced last year that it has reached a preliminary merger agreement with British Airways.  The agreement between British Airways and Iberia was confirmed again this past April.  The resulting business entity will be called International Consolidated Airlines Group, S.A.  It is expected that the merger will be complete by the end of this year.  Both Iberia and British Airways will retain their current logos and branding scheme.

original story (www.airwise.com)


Families of Rio-Paris crash victims hold memorial ceremonies

Yesterday in Paris, family members of the victims of Air France 447, which disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean a year and a day ago, held two private memorial ceremonies to mark the anniversary.  At the Parc Floral yesterday morning, the victims’ families mourned the tragedy, along with the French Minister of Transport and representatives from Air France.  The ceremony was translated into fifteen languages.

Subsequently, yesterday afternoon, at the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, a monument was dedicated to the memory of the victims.

Some frustration has built up over the past year among families and friends of the victims, over the perceived slowness of, and so far inconclusive results of, the investigation.  The French news magazine Le Point says that Air France and Airbus are playing a blame game of sorts, a fact not lost on the family members of those killed.  Air France 447 was a regularly-scheduled flight which disappeared in the equatorial region of the Atlantic Ocean, approximately midway between the continents of South America and Africa.

A memorial to the victims of the crash was unveiled in Rio de Janeiro in a similar ceremony last year.

Air France, founded in 1933, has the French national airline since it was founded.  On long haul flights such as the one that crashed into the Atlantic, the airline operates both Airbus and Boeing aircraft.  Air France utilizes exclusively Airbus aircraft on its short haul routes.  The airline merged with the Dutch national airline KLM in 2003, but both airlines retained their branding schemes and management.  Air France was one of only two airlines to regularly operate the supersonic passenger airliner Concorde, until grounding in 2003.  Air France’s main hub is at Charles de Gaulle Airport, northeast of Paris (IATA: CDG; ICAO: LFPG).

 original stories

One year after crash, families pay tribute and await answers (France24)

Air France flight 447, the first anniversary (Digital Journal)

[Last month it was erroneously reported on this website that the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder from the Air France Airbus A330-200 had been found.  In fact, neither has been found.  A beacon signal originating underwater near the approximate location of the crash is all that was detected last month.  Below are links to the two original articles posted here, with links to news sources.]

The black boxes from Air France 447 have indeed been found (May 7, 2010)

The black boxes from Air France 447 might soon be found (May 6, 2010)


The black boxes from Air France 447 might soon be found

The French naval service La Royale seems to have identified a beacon signal during its search for the wreckage of Air France Flight 447, which mysteriously left the radar screen early in the morning (Paris time) of June 1, 2009.  Investigators have tentatively narrowed the search to a box-shaped oceanic zone measuring approximately 5 kilometers by 5 kilometers (3 miles by 3 miles).  Use of satellite data on oceanic currents assisted in narrowing the search to such a small area of the Atlantic Ocean.  Recovery of the flight data recorders (informally called "black boxes") of Air France 447 would enable investigators to put together a much clearer picture of what caused the aircraft to crash.

Searchers from Brazil recovered several shattered pieces of the aircraft soon after the accident.  Analysis of those pieces in the month following the crash led to the conclusion that Air France 447 struck the ocean intact and right-side up, but also that it slammed onto the surface of the ocean so hard that all fatalities likely occurred on impact at the latest.  Experts on the physics of aviation have said that an aircraft striking the ocean or ground in this manner is likely in a stall, or is recovering from one.  But the physical stresses of repeated stalls typically cause an aircraft to break into pieces before reaching the ground or ocean.  Evidence shows the Airbus A330-200 dropped 35,000 feet out of the sky in just over four minutes.

Air France 447 was a regularly scheduled flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, with which air traffic control lost contact almost halfway between the South American and African coasts.  The Airbus disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean about three and a half hours after takeoff from Rio de Janeiro.  The 228 resulting fatalities made the incident the deadliest in the history of the French national airline.


original story (Air France)

original story (www.breakingtravelnews.com)

story from July 2009 (www.breakingtravelnews.com)