Posts Tagged ‘a380’

Airlines investigate A380 wing cracks

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Airlines which operate Airbus A380s have been warned that a problem with cracks in a component in the wings needs to be addressed. Among the carriers which have been told to check their fleets by the European Aviation Safety Agency are Air France-KLM, Emirates and Singapore Airlines.

Emirates, which has the largest fleet of superjumbos on the planet, said it had already investigated the problem on one of its planes and was currently inspecting the wings of another. A spokesman said that there were no safety issues for the carrier and that schedules would not be disrupted.

EASA said it was concerned that if nothing was done to fix the cracked brackets there could be additional wear and tear over time which could turn into a more serious problem. Although the EASA has since told Qantas that it does not have to comply with last week’s directive, the airline’s engineers have said that they want to have the carrier’s fleet checked.

Paul Cousins, Australian Licensed Aircraft  Engineers Association president, explained that cracking in a wing component could cause pressure on other parts of the wing, and that this was a safety problem.

A spokesman for Qantas said that there was no threat to the operations of the superjumbos in its fleet. However, the carrier is continuing to work with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and with Airbus and will monitor the results of inspections by other carriers. If cracks are found, then airlines are being told to contact Airbus for repair supervision.

Emirates launches internet connection on A380s

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Passengers boarding some of Emirates Airlines’ fleet of Airbus A380s will be able settle back and log onto the internet, check emails, tweet friends and surf the web as the Dubai-based carrier launches it Wi-Fi service. The technology is provided by OnAir, an industry leader.

Customers in possession of laptops, tablets and smart phones follow a few easy steps after requesting the service, and they are logged on. Many Emirates passengers may already have been able to go on line during their journeys as the carrier started to trial the system last year.

According to a spokesman for the airline, the roll out on just a few A380 superjumbos a year ago gave the airline the chance to see what passengers really wanted to get from the OnAir service. He added that Emirates understood that remaining connected while in the air was becoming more important to customers. He went on to say that the airline intended to continue to develop the product.

By the middle of next year, all new Airbus superjumbos being delivered to Emirates will come with the Wi-Fi service on-board. The carrier currently has 71 planes on order with the European planemaker.

Providing a Wi-Fi service for passengers to access the net or in-flight entertainment is something that many larger airlines around the globe are currently investing in. Virgin Australia said it intends to offer the service as of the middle of 2012. The carrier recently signed a deal with Lufthansa to provide and install the system.

Singapore Airlines investigates engine failure

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Singapore Airlines is working with engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce and planemaker Airbus to find out what went wrong with one of the engines on an A380 superjumbo recently. Just 20 minutes into a flight from Singapore to Hong Kong the pilot reported experiencing vibrations and a surge in one of the aircraft’s Trent 900 engines.

He was then forced to shut the engine down and fly the plane back to base. The double-decker was carrying 21 crew members and 368 passengers none of whom were injured. The incident comes eight months after dramatic engine failure on a Qantas A380 caused a violent explosion and forced an emergency landing.

Qantas grounded its fleet of superjumbos following the incident while accident investigators, Airbus and Rolls-Royce located the cause of the problem. They found that a design fault and a leaking oil pipe had resulted in the failure and Rolls-Royce has since repaired and replaced all of the Trent 900s affected.

Erin Atan, a Rolls-Royce spokeswoman, said the London-based manufacturer would be assisting Singapore Airlines and providing technical support to find out what caused the engine failure and get the problem fixed.

Managing partner at Agency Partners, a London-based research firm, Nick Cunningham said that the Singapore Airlines engine problem was unlikely to be related to the fault discovered on the Qantas A380. He added that shutting down an engine while a plane is in-flight is not such a rare occurrence as to be a major cause for worry.

Airbus has confirmed that it too will be assisting Singapore Airlines.

Airlines fear Emirates expansion

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

As airlines around the globe feel the effects of rising oil prices, natural disasters and political and social unrest in North Africa and the Middle East, Dubai giant Emirates announces it intends to continue its plans to expand. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, the state-owned airline’s president, said hundreds of destinations would be added to the carrier’s roster following a 52 per cent jump in profits.

He also hinted that Emirates would be announcing new aircraft orders later this year at the Dubai Airshow. The airline already has an order with European manufacturer Airbus for 90 A380 superjumbos; a fleet which experts warn will change the face of the airline industry when deployed.

Sheikh Ahmed said he was aware that European carriers were concerned by the increasing competition that his airline was presenting, but added that the market was ready for growth and that he had the product with which to take greater market share.

European and US airlines have long been accusing Emirates of having an unfair advantage as it is essentially subsidised by the state. President Tim Clarke last year shrugged the accusations off advising rivals to put the energy they were using up running his airline down into their own businesses if they wanted to make a profit.

Tensions were caused between the UAE and Canada last year after Emirates and fellow Middle Eastern carrier Etihad were denied greater access to the territory. Lufthansa has also voiced concerns about Emirates’ expansion by requesting it be denied access to landing slots at the new airport in Berlin.

Arab carriers grow capacity at Manchester airport

Monday, March 21st, 2011

A number of Middle Eastern airlines have recently announced that they will be increasing passenger capacity out of Manchester Airport. Emirates has said that because customer demand was consistently high from the northern city it would be adding a service to Dubai on 1 May. Fellow Arab carrier Qatar Airways has also announced that it will be adding capacity between Manchester and Abu Dhabi on 1 August and Etihad will be doing the same between Manchester and Doha on 1 June.

All three are currently engaged in growing the size of their fleets. Emirates will add 45,000 seats through Dubai with an order which will grow its A380 superjumbo fleet to 90 planes. Etihad has 100 new passenger jets on order and Qatar a further 178.

By targeting Manchester, the Middle Eastern carriers are hoping to challenge the large international carriers operating out of the UK’s busiest hub, Heathrow. British Airways, which quit flying long-haul operations from Manchester in 2008, said it was not worried by the challenge because the airlines were not posing a threat on current services.

Willie Walsh, BA’s former CEO, said the carrier had tried to make a profit out of Manchester and had failed to do so. The airline, which recently merged with Iberia to create International Consolidate Airlines Group, is concentrating on growing its presence across the Atlantic to North and Latin America.

According to Irene Hulme, of luxury agents Travel by Design, many customers prefer to begin their journey in Manchester rather than suffer the crowds at Heathrow.

Lufthansa grows profits but predicts tough year ahead

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Lufthansa, one of Europe’s largest airline groups, has confirmed operating profits for 2010 of €876 million. The company’s chief executive, Christoph Franz, said that although the results were encouraging, the year ahead was likely to throw up a number of challenges. He explained that revenues through 2012 would continue to grow as long as there was no adverse affect on business from unforeseeable events and the spiralling price of oil.

He added that no airline was immune to the rising cost of jet fuel and that a hike in air traffic tax was hitting travellers across Europe where it hurt. He went on to say that competition within Europe and on routes to and from Asia and the US was also becoming much tougher. Natural disasters, terrorist attacks and political unrest were also something to be factored in, Franz said.

Lufthansa managed to declare a profit which is five times the figure announced for 2009 despite losses at a number of subsidiaries. Bmi has declared a €145 million loss and Austrian Airlines a €66 million loss. Lufthansa has defended the performance by saying that both carriers are continuing to implement restructuring measures.

Germanwings was also down by €39 million. However, Lufthansa said the carrier was continuing to grow. One of the group’s successes was Swiss which announced a €298 million operating profit.

Lufthansa pointed to a number of improvements over the past year including the re-introduction of internet services, a brand new Europa cabin and a fleet of Airbus A380 superjumbos.

Emirates pushes ahead with recruitment drive

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Emirates said it plans to increase the number of cabin crew it employs around the world by 4,000 between 2011 and 2012. The airline has announced that it already employs more than 12,000 stewardesses and stewards and that the most recent recruitment drive is part of wider expansion plans.

The carrier currently flies a fleet of 152 planes and has a further 200 aircraft on order with various manufacturers. Currently flying a fleet of 15 Airbus A380s, Emirates has announced orders for another 75 double-decker superjumbos. The aircraft is the largest passenger plane currently taking to the skies.

Emirates is looking to recruit more German speaking staff to its ranks while at the ITB in Berlin. It will be at the world’s largest travel fair until 13 March where it has its giant globe stand. Visitors to the fair will be able to experience what it is like to travel on an Emirates A380 because there are replicas of the Onboard Lounge and the airline’s new Onboard Shower and Spa.

Tim Clarke, Emirates’ president, said the rotating stand was now more impressive than ever. He added that it was something to be admired and that it brought some of the best of what the A380 had to offer passengers to the heart of Berlin.

Emirates fist started flying the superjumbo in 2008 and since then some four million passengers had experienced the ultra-quiet jet. The fleet is supported by a cabin crew staff of 2,000 and 300 pilots. The airline flies to 111 destinations around the world.

BA concludes engine deal with Rolls Royce

Friday, January 7th, 2011

The conclusion of a deal with British Airways for new engines will help Rolls-Royce’s confidence after a rocky end to 2010. The deal is worth $5 billion and will see Rolls-built engines powering the airline’s new Dreamliners from Boeing and its fleet of A380 superjumbos from Airbus.

Safety concerns with the Rolls-Royce Trent 900, used to power a number of airlines’ A380s, were raised after one exploded on a Qantas superjumbo shortly after it had taken off from Singapore. Although the plane was able to land safely, Qantas made the decision to ground its fleet while investigations into what went wrong were undertaken.

Australian safety officials concluded that a manufacturing defect in one of the engine parts could lead to future catastrophic engine failure in the Trent 900 if not fixed. British Airways boss, Willie Walsh, said he was pleased that the deal with Rolls-Royce had been concluded adding that it put the airline in a strong position heading into the future.

The order consists of Trent 900s for 12 A380s, with an option for a further seven, and Trent 1000s for 24 Dreamliners, with options for a further 18. The Trent 1000 is already being tested on the 787 and will be the engine used to power the first to be flown by All Nippon Airlines.

Among the other airlines with which Rolls-Royce has agreements is Middle Eastern carrier Emirates, which placed an order worth $1.2 billion in November and Air China which has agreed an order worth $1.8 billion.

Singapore Airlines to put superjumbo into service to LA

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

As Qantas announces it has started legal action against British engine maker Rolls-Royce for loss of revenues after engine failure forced it to ground its fleet of A380s; Singapore Airlines says it will be placing one of the superjumbos on its Singapore-Los Angeles route. The second largest carrier in the world said it will increase capacity across the Pacific as soon as Airbus delivers a new plane in the New Year.

Singapore Airlines A380s are configured across three classes and are capable of carrying 471 passengers. The airline’s Boeing 747-400s are capable of seating up to 375 passengers. According to Shukor Yusof, an analyst with Standard & Poor, the decision is a clever one and will allow Singapore to capitalise on the growing passenger traffic on transpacific routes.

Last month, an explosion in a Qantas A380 Rolls-Royce engine forced an emergency landing in Singapore. The Australian flag carrier immediately grounded all six of its superjumbos pending an investigation into the problem. Rolls-Royce has since said there is a problem with one of the components in its Trent 900 model.

Australian safety investigators have come to the same conclusion saying the component caused unexpected wear in an oil pipe which caused a fire. Rolls-Royce have since said they will be undertaking maintenance checks on all Trent 900s used on the Airbus A380.

Qantas is still not flying all of its superjumbos and has not yet restarted its service between Sydney and Los Angeles. The carrier is currently starting legal action against Rolls-Royce to ensure it is compensated.

Qantas starts to reintroduce superjumbos by the weekend

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

After nearly three weeks of being grounded Qantas has announced that it will finally be putting its A380 fleet back into service. According to the airline’s chief executive, Alan Joyce, Qantas has managed to get to the heart of the engine issue and feels it is appropriate to start flying again from the end of the week.

The Australian flag-carrier said a flight will leave Sydney for London on Saturday, making a stopover in Singapore. The Qantas A380 troubles started when a flight en route to Sydney had to make an emergency landing in Singapore following a large explosion in one of it Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines.

The aircraft managed to land safely with none of the passengers being injured. Qantas immediately grounded all six of its superjumbos as experts from Airbus and Rolls-Royce tried to get to the root of the problem.

Rolls-Royce has since said that it can trace the issue back to failure in a single, specific engine component. Problems with the component caused an engine fire. Oil leaks were discovered in three other engines. Qantas said that, for the time being, it will not be flying on routes which often require full engine thrust.

The airline said it had not yet entered into negotiations with Rolls-Royce over compensation. Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa, both of which fly Airbus A380s with the Trent 900, will also be looking for some sort of compensation. Qantas is due to have two more superjumbos delivered by Airbus before the year is out.