It’s Monday, and I’m still a few days behind on releases – so its time for some Airplane Art Extra as Qatar Airways and Airbus have released images of the the first Qatar Airways A350 to be delivered to the airline.

Qatar Airways A350 outside
The first Qatar Airways A350 rolled out of the Toulouse Hanger – Note the missing engines.

Qatar Airways A350 in the paint shop
The Qatar Airways A350 ready to roll out of the paint shop – Image Qatar Airways/Airbus

The first aircraft to be delivered to Qatar Airways (and the first commercial A350 to be delivered), will be an Airbus A350-900 model akin to the aircraft being used in the certification programme.

Qatar Airways will be the first to fly this class of aircraft, with delivery targeted towards the end of this year, subject to the various aviation administrations certifying the aircraft, and Qatar Airways accepting the plane and its cabin so it is suitable for their passengers.

The A350 programme has been through an interesting time recently, with the plane conducting a worldwide tour as part of its certification campaign, proving it can operate in specific circumstances and segment lengths.

This will be the first of eighty aircraft to be be delivered to the Middle Eastern airline. But this one won’t be going anyone fast, as it is it missing its pair of Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines needed to power this aircraft into the sky.

As the test programme wraps up, and the focus turns to delivering the first aircraft and ensuring Qatar Airways can operate this aircraft safely, more A350s will enter the paint hanger to get the colours of their operator, and hopefully take to the sky.


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It’s Sunday again – and after muggins having spent most of the day doing car shopping (which is another subject for another day) – it must be time for some more airplane art.

This week, taxing out of San Francisco International Airport for the long trip back to Frankfurt, is a Lufthansa Boeing 747-400 looking resplendent in the summer sun.

Lufthansa Boeing 747-400, Image Ghettoife

The image is clickable if you want to see a larger version – and yes you can keep them for your desktops!

More airplane art next week!


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Its Saturday again, so please stow your luggage in the overhead bin, put away your tray table and bring your seat into the upright position as we go to this weeks safety video.

This week, we go back in time a bit as KLM Royal Dutch Airlines demonstrate safety aboard their Boeing 747-400 aircraft with some very classic clothing (something that does tend to date videos a lot!)

Still… a very classic video from KLM.

Another video next week!


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At GhettoIFE, we do like looking at new and shiny aircraft – both those in the air, and those in developement.

COMAC – The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China – has been working away on its answer to the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 families (as well as the impending competition from the Irkut MC-21) – The C919.

C919 model, Model COMAC
C919 model, Model COMAC

Their aim is deliver a narrow body jet that compete with other airframers, and break the existing duopoly of Airbus and Boeing.

Progress has been forging forward with the C919 aircraft, with the mid section of the fuselage for the first aircraft ready for delivery.

COMAC C919 Mid-Section Fuselage
C919 Mid-Section Fuselage – Image, COMAC.

The mid-section wwas rolled out from AVIC Xi’an Aircraft Industry This section will form the join between the front and rear of the plane, whilst also joining the wings onto it.

Combined with the rollout of the nose section of the first plane, this new plane is coming together slowly.

 COMAC C919 Nose section
C919 Nose section – Image, COMAC.

First flight of the C919 is targeted for 2015, with first deliveries scheduled for late 2018, with orders for 400 aircraft on COMAC’s books.

Whilst 400 orders on the books is impressive, it has a long way to go to beat recent orders of Boeing (who have orders of 2,099 737-MAX family aircraft order) and Airbus (who have 2661 A320neo family aircraft on order).

Still, it varies the aviation market, and introduces new challenges.


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All is not well with Germanwings, with a strike in the offing from the Vereinigung Cockpit Union tomorrow.

Germanwings Airbus A319 - Image GhettoIFE 2014
Germanwings Airbus A319 taxing at Heathrow – Image GhettoIFE

The strike is over pilots who want the airline to maintain its current retirement benefits -  where they can retire early at 55 and continue to receive some of their wages. Germanwings owners – Lufthansa – wish to withdraw this benefit.  In addition, Lufthansa wishes to raise the retirement age from 59 to 65.

The strike will run from 6am to Midday (06:00 to 12:00 CET), for flights operated by Germanwings. Flights operated by Eurowings are unaffected.

The bad news is that the Germanwings flight schedule is in bits with both German domestic and international services affected.

Some flights have been rescheduled, with the new flights searchable at https://www.germanwings.com/skysales/FlightStatus.aspx?culture=en-GB. The strike will have a considerable impact on flight operations to and from Germany and on domestic German connections.

If you are hit by the strike, you can rebook or cancel your ticket. German domestic flyers can choose to take the train, but Germanwings will only refund you to the value of your ticket.

As always, check before you fly.


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Etihad Airways is fine-tuning its Airbus A380 and Boeing 787-9 operation plans as these new planes are readied to enter service as the airline announced via Twitter yesterday:

Etihad A380 operations annoucement
From the Eithad Twitter feed

The A380 plans call for the superjumbo to operate daily on all three flights between London and Abu Dhabi from May 2015, whilst Sydney will convert to a mixed A380/Boeing 777-300ER destination.

For London operations, the following dates are due for commencement:

  • EY011/012 goes A380 from 27th December 2014
  • EY017/018 goes A380 from 1st March 2014
  • EY019/020 goes A380 from 1st May 2014

These flights are showing in the booking systems

Etihad A380 operations
EY11 commencement

Etiahd EY11/EY17

EY11/EY17 from 1st March 2015

Etihad equipment switch
Etihad Equipment switchover complete by 1st May 2015.

Sydney will get a daily A380 service from 1st June 2015, creating a “Falcon-hop” service between London and Sydney, with a second 777-300ER operate service either operated by Etihad or code-shared with Virgin Australia.

Etihad/Virgin Australia A380 SYD
A380 operations from 1st July 2015.

Etihad will operate their A380s in a four class format:

  • The Residence (Their ultra-premium seating/personalised service
  • First Class
  • Business Class
  • Economy

Looking to  their Boeing 787 operation plans, the planes will be operating to Doha, Düsseldorf, Mumbai, Washington Dulles, Brisbane and Moscow Domodedovo according to their Twitter announcement:

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 07.33.09
From the Eithad Twitter feed

  • Doha will operate on a limited basis from 1st December to 31st December 2014
  • Düsseldorf will operate on a limited basis from 1st December to 31st December 2014
  • Mumbai and Washington Dulles will commence on a daily basis from 1st January 2015
  • Brisbane will commence on 1st June 2015, with the service replacing the existing service that makes a stop in Singapore
  • Moscow-DME will commence on 1st June 2015

Again, these are reflected in the booking engines – you just have to find them:

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 07.47.33
Doha

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 07.45.05
Washington Dulles

For those who like flying new planes, and whose flights require them to be on Etihad operated services, this comes as a real boon to you. Just remember schedules do fluctuate – especially when new equipment comes online, and booking a plane ride for a first flight can sometimes be a bad idea when there’s an equipment change and you’re on a fixed ticket…


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Posted by Kevincm | One Comment

Good afternoon on this Bank Holiday evening gentle reader.

Thank you first for bearing with my bad typing, poor grammar over the past few months and years (I’m improving it one post at a time… try being dyslexic – doesn’t help, even with all the spell checkers and grammar checkers in the world… it’s even more fun when they argue amongst each other).

Now, onto the matter at hand… and that posts are going to slow down again for while. They won’t grind to a halt completely, but they may drop down to one-a-day whilst I adjust to life in my new role in the office, as I go from an Active Directory and SQL Server “fiddler” to an IT Engineer (where I fiddle with everything… or more than likely more Active Directory management than I can shake a stick at along with kicking servers).

The Olde office desk. Change happens
The olde desk. Why yes, I have far too many computers around my desk (3 in this picture alone, another 4 on the other side out of shot. In addition, GhettoIFE does not endorse Dell equipment… its the stuff I was issued with).

Or in simple terms someone who works with Servers, Data Services, Switches, Storage systems and all the gubbins that are related to it.

However, as I get into the swing into of the new job, posts to the blog  will slow down for a bit as I adjust to the new workloads.

So, please hang on whilst a new normality establishes itself, and the continuing madness that is GhettoIFE continues to deliver news, miles and such – and the ensuing madness that will be a GhettoIFE trip report that’s due to start soon.

Thank you for reading and your patience :)


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Posted by Kevincm | 5 Comments

It’s Sunday again, so it must be time for some more airplane art.

This week, it’s a bit of a classic (as I found this image in a batch for images for an article I’m writing at the moment), with a Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 aircraft returning to its home base of Hong Kong International Airport, as the thrust reversers are deployed to slow the plane as it lands.

Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 landing at Hong Kong International Airport

The image is clickable if you want to see a larger version – and yes you can keep them for your desktops!

More airplane art next week!


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It’s Saturday again, so it must be time for another video.

This week, the Emirates Airbus A380 fleet grows to fifty aircraft, cementing the airlines position as the lead carrier to operate the type around its world-wide network

Emirates operate 50 Airbus A380s out of the total worldwide fleet of 138 aircraft, and by far and away the largest carrier, with the second carrier behind it operating the type is Singapore Airlines with 19 aircraft, followed by Lufthansa and Qantas with 12 aircraft each.

This won’t the last A380 that the airline will operates – with Emirates having a total of 140 Airbus A380s on order in total, and 90 further aircraft expected.


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Fees are one of those things that either seem to increase or multiply. British Airways is doing both it seems.

First up is the annoyance of the credit card surcharge, which applies to bookings paid with a UK billed:

  • Visa Credit Card
  • MasterCard Credit Card
  • American Express Credit and Charge Card (Including BA’s own Amex Card)
  • PayPal Account

The fee goes up from £4.50 per passenger to £5.00 per passenger per booking. This does not apply if you’re paying by debit card (but you loose the Section 75 Consumer Credit Card protections)

And it’s showing as your get to the payment section of the BA site:

British Airways credit card booking fee
British Airways Credit Surcharge on the payment page, showing the charges

A new feature also on the British Airways site is the option to hold prices for 72 hours.

For a reservation charge of £5/€5 per person on short haul flights, and £10/€10 per person on a long haul flight you can now hold a fare for 72 hours.

British Airways Hold Flight

When the fare lock is paid, the fare won’t go up for 72 hours, and the price is guaranteed not to go up. Prices can go down though, and the fare will reduce. There are restrictions on the fare lock, with the following countries on both BA and Iberia flights:

BA Fare Lock destinations

For those who need extra time to book it can be useful. If you do go through with the booking, your hold fee is refunded.

Still.. more charges are never welcome. These are avoidable in some ways, but if you want to put your fare on a credit card (and be stung for a booking fee), or hold it and not take the ticket, it’s going to cost you a bit more from now onwards….


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Posted by Kevincm | 5 Comments

For those who are coming into the United Kingdom via Heathrow Airport, and want to get to London, you have the choice of the fast train (Heathrow Express), the slower train (Heathrow Connect) and the London Underground (very slow, but gets you there) to speed you the city.

The Heathrow Express area of Paddington Station - Image GhettoIFE.
The Heathrow Express area of Paddington Station – Image GhettoIFE.

Heathrow Express train departing Heathrow Terminal 1-2-3, Image GhettoIFE
Heathrow Express train departing Heathrow Terminal 1-2-3, Image GhettoIFE

However, this coming Bank Holiday Weekend in England and Wales, there will one less option to get to London Heathrow on Saturday 23rd August and the Morning of Sunday 24th August, as Heathrow Express services are suspended.

The suspension will affect:

  • Heathrow Express services all day Saturday 23rd August and the Morning of 24th August
  • Heathrow Connect will only operate between London Paddington and Hayes and Harlington
  • Inter-terminal trains will be suspended from 15:50 on Saturday 23rd August
  • Heathrow Express services commence from London Paddington at  12:25, from Heathrow at 12:2
  • Intra-terminal services will operate every 15 minutes on Sunday

If you’re affected, there’s three routes open to you

  • Bus 140 to/from the Heathrow Central Bus Station to Hayes and Harlington, with a connecting Heathrow Connect train
  • London Underground direct to London.
  • Coach from Victoria Coach station

Engineering work is one of those requirements of the rail network, when people need to travel during a Bank Holiday weekend (and there is a lot going on over this one – see National Rail Enquiries for an overview of what’s shut this weekend)

Either way – allow extra time this weekend if you need to get to and from Heathrow Airport.


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