Monthly Archives: March 2006

Man Sues Airline After Dog Dies

A passenger is suing American Airlines because his dog died after a cross-country flight.  The man claims that when he went to pick up his dog following the flight, that he was listless.  He claims airline workers did not call a veterinarian in time and that they held the dog in an area off-limits to him.  When the workers returned the dog, he was dead.  I’ll say this—it’s a cute dog.

Northwest Airlines to Create New Regional Carrier

Northwest Airlines announced that it will create a new regional carrier using the operating certificate it purchased from the now-defunct-but-still-missed Independence Air.  The new airline, to be called Compass, will operate 70-seat regional jets beginning in June.  Last fall, the airline received permission from its pilots to create a subsidiary to fly regional jets (the pilots’ contract put a cap on the number of regional jets the airline could fly).  But given the bankruptcy situation, Northwest says it needs the regional jets to survive.  Well, they’re part of what it needs to survive; the airline needs more than just a bunch of smaller planes to become profitable.  This is a big step, though, as restrictions on aircraft type tied Northwest’s hands when it came to cost cutting.

Ryanair Flight Lands at Wrong Airport

A Ryanair flight, being operated by Eirjet, from Liverpool to Derry in Northern Ireland, landed at the wrong airport on Wednesday.  For reasons not yet explained, the aircraft landed at Ballykelly airfield, a military base 8kms away.  Ryanair, which is not known for giving stuff away, did bus passengers over to the correct airport.  Without charging them!  THAT’S the real story here…

Cubana and Aeroflot Order New Aircraft

Just a small piece of news:  Although Northwest Airlines continues (correctly) to rely on its 35 year old DC-9s, both Aeroflot and Cubana announced orders for new airplanes this week.  Aeroflot will replace its Russian-built Tupolev 154Ms with Airbus A320s.  Cubana, not known for their safety or service, will replace some of its aging Soviet fleet with new Russian Ilyushin Il-96s and Tupolev Tu-204s.  Fidel Castro, meanwhile, has been flying around in a 30 year old  IL-62, an airplane that has been banned from landing in many countries because of its pitiful safety record.

In any case, I only brought this up because it’s somewhat amusing that certain US airlines cannot afford new airplanes, while Cubana and Aeroflot are replacing their fleets.

Hooters Air Shuts Down as Scheduled Carrier

I’ll spare you the neverending jokes about Hooters Air going bust, but I will let you know that the airline will cease scheduled air service beginning April 17th.  Although it will continue to offer charter flights, the airline succumbed to high fuel prices for its flights to Myrtle Beach.  I still think the idea made sense and if fuel prices were ever to drop again, we could see an, er, enhanced Hooters Air flying again.  Or not.

EOS Offers Money Back Guarantee

All business-class carrier EOS is offering a money back guarantee for its flights from New York to London.  Here’s the deal:  First off, it’s only for passengers flying EOS for the first time.  Second, you have to have flown British Airways or Virgin Atlantic twice in business or first class in the past six months.  That’s a pretty big hurdle.  Even so, EOS’ $3500 round trip fare is a bargain (considering what you get), and if the service isn’t as nice as BA or Virgin, they’ll give you the $3500 back.  Hard to beat.

Pdavrt


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Malaysia Airlines to Cut 6,500 Jobs

If you thought that only US airlines are in trouble, take a look at the sad story of Malaysia Airlines.  Once a vibrant domestic and international carrier, the airline has faced an onslaught in its domestic market from Air Asia, which has taken the Ryanair model of all-but giving away a good chunk of its tickets.  After making small changes here and there, Malaysia Airlines announced a massive overhaul of its operations, eliminating 6,500 jobs (about a quarter of its workforce) and turning over 96 of its 115 domestic routes to Air Asia.  The carrier will also reduce its fleet by half.  If you can imagine American basically turning over its Dallas operations to Southwest, that’s what happened here.  That all said, Malaysia still has a world-class premium international product, so it won’t be disappearing from international travel any time soon.

Building an A380 in 7 minutes

A cool piece of video here:  assembling the super-gigantic A380 in only 7 minutes…

Despite Injuries, A380 Test Called a Success

The superjumbo A380 passed its passenger evacuation test over the weekend, despite injuries to 32 people including one with a broken leg.  To receive certification, 873 passengers had to be able to depart the aircraft in 90 seconds.  This milestone was achieved, though passengers did suffer injuries (the test was conducted in complete darkness, so it’s not particularly surprising that people would get hurt).  Airbus said it was happy with the results of the trial and that they still expect the new plane to launch by the end of 2006.

Styrian Spirit Closes Down

I hope you didn’t have tickets on Austrian regional carrier Styrian Spirit any time soon.  The small carrier shut down over the weekend, stranding hundreds of passengers and costing 152 employees their jobs.  The airline served a handful of cities in Europe using 4 regional jets.