Hello, guys! Today is a very sad day for the aviation history, as we are no longer gonna see two fleets of 747s any longer. Enjoy the news!
It started with a rumor over two weeks ago that KLM would be retiring its 747 fleet early. As time passed, schedule data pointed to the rumor being true, with sources reporting that today’s flight of KL686 would be the final 747-400 passenger service operated by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. That flight has arrived at 15:26 local time. The aircraft was operating the route from Mexico City to Amsterdam. The exact model of the 747-400M, also known as a “Combi” variant. The registration is PH-BFT which was given the nickname “City of Tokyo”. The airliner is simultaneously a cargo and passenger aircraft. It has been with KLM since the day of manufacturing, almost 23 years.
Let’s all get a moment of silence for that aircraft fleet.
It is the end of an era at Qantas following the retirement of its last Boeing 747 aircraft. The Queen of the Skies has been with the flag carrier of Australia since 1971. However, with much of its fleet temporarily grounded, Qantas has taken the opportunity to retire the iconic jet earlier than planned. The first one was retired on the 9th of February after its last flight from Sydney to Los Angeles. Today, yet another of the 6 747s has performed its last commercial flight. The aircraft registered as VH-OEE flew flight QF28 from Santiago to Sydney. With this, it makes one more 747 gone.
Commercial passenger airlines all over the world are contributing their resources in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. AirBaltic is no exception to this. Yesterday, the carrier flew one of its Airbus A220-300s from Riga, Latvia to Urumqi, China to transport vital medical supplies which will be used in Latvia.
Austrian Airlines is currently undertaking the longest flight it has ever operated in more than 60 years. The European airline is flying from Vienna to Sydney today on a repatriation mission. The flight is planned to arrive at around 0330Z tomorrow. The aircraft operating the 17-hour flight is a Boeing 777-200ER is registered OE-LPD.
An aircraft carrying medical supplies from Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila in the Philippines to Japan has crashed during takeoff. It is believed that the aircraft overshot the runway earlier today and shortly after was engulfed in flames. Eight people are reported to have died in the incident. May said people rest in peace.
Throughout the last few weeks, we’ve seen numerous airlines offer up their commercial aircraft towards fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. This ranges from Delta Airlines flying medical volunteers for free to wet-lease operator Hi Fly ferrying supplies from Shanghai to Lisbon. However, the efforts aren’t just limited to airlines. Even Airbus has stepped up and dispatched some of their test aircraft for transporting vital medical goods. The A310 was flown to Bergamo yesterday with six intensive care passengers onboard.
Finnair Cargo flew one of its Airbus A350s to Seoul to deliver crucial medical supplies which will be used to fight against the Coronavirus. Finnair has suspended its daily flights to Seoul on March 9th, and will not resume its normal service on the route until, at the earliest, 16th of April.
The Dutch government has extended a ban on the arrival and departure of flights to the high-risk countries in light of the Coronavirus. A letter reports that ministers have stated that on the basis of current information from the National Institute for Public Health, flights to specific countries will remain in place until the middle of April. As Such, Amsterdam Schiphol is now working at a much-reduced capacity.
I assume most of you don’t wonder why that this is happening, so I am going to keep it short. Iberia is flying A350s from Madrid to Shanghai and Tokyo in order to transport mandatory medical goods. This is the sole purpose of these flights, they are cargo transporting flights and not repatriation flights, as some of may have thought.
The Executive Transport Wing of the German Government (Flugbereitschaft) will soon have one of three Airbus A350s. These aircraft would be considered the German equivalents to Air Force One. According to FlugRevue, the first Airbus A350 has already been painted. Last week, the aircraft rolled out of the paint shop at the Airbus facility in Hamburg – only to fly to Toulouse shortly after.
In a previous article, I mentioned Southwest Airlines had reduced their onboard service due to concerns of the Coronavirus. Now, United Airlines has followed. The Chicago-based airline is making huge changes in the inflight service starting from today. United will now serve only packaged beverages, like water, but passengers in the premium cabins will still be served with wines and other alcoholic beverages.
In economy class, United will continue to offer pretzels, a stroopwafel, or cookies on flights longer than 90 minutes, whereas premium cabin passengers will be offered a snack basket. However, on flights longer than 2h 20mins, they will get a snackbox.
Do keep in mind that these changes are temporary and are designed to help the health of passengers and crew.
Airlines are going to great lengths to implement social distancing measures onboard aircraft amid the COVID-19 pandemic. And now, the airline is taking some new measures. They are trying to add more First Class seats in the cabin to increase the social distancing. Previous measures regarding passengers’ and crew’s health were the refusal to refill used cups, ending hot towel service and allowing the flight attendants to wear gloves during service.
Airlines around the world are desperate to find sources of funding to keep their companies afloat, and Qantas Group is no different. On March 25th, the Australian flag carrier put out a press release announcing the completion of a new round of debt funding. The new deal has the airline securing US$647 million in additional liquidity to “strengthen its position as it manages through the Coronavirus outbreak”. Basically, the deal means that if Qantas fails to pay back the debt, the lender has the right to seize the 7 Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
The American aviation industry is struggling, just like in other parts of the world. Within a span of two weeks, airlines went from the height of profitability with full flights to – by the end of March – facing financial pressure due to obliterated flight schedules at home and abroad. Now, for travel through even the early summer. US airlines are offering flights for as low as $16 one-way.
Spirit Airlines are offering tickets from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles for $15 and even a multi-stop flight with the same airline costs as low as $21. JetBlue is offering flights from Fort Lauderdale to LA for $19, Delta is selling tickets from Atlanta to LA for $39, United is offering their Houston to Newark service for only $29 and finally, American is flying from Boston to Miami for 16 bucks. All the prices are for one-way tickets, not round-trip.
I want to make an announcement that the Aviation News Daily may not come in their regular schedule over the following week, as I do have some school things projects to work on. I will do my best to try and maintain the regular schedule though.
Another announcement is that I have officially been doing this for a week now!
All news stories are from SimpleFlying’s website. Any critiques, tips, opinions, comment and advice is awaited, respected and appreciated!