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Philippine Airlines permanently grounds Boeing 747 fleet

by amit.uniyal 24. September 2014 04:23

Philippines’ national carrier Philippine Airlines has finally permanently phased out its entire Boeing 747 fleet. The Boeing 747 aircraft conducted its last flight between San Francisco International Airport and Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport on September 1, 2014.

Philippines national carrier

The airline’s Boeing 747-400 aircraft had been into operations for the last 35 years. It continued to be the airline’s flagship aircraft until retirement. Philippine Airlines said that it has permanently phased out the Boeing 747 fleet and replaced it with more fuel efficient Boeing 777.

According to Philippine Airlines, the Boeing 747 aircraft was the first to enter service in December 1979. It was during this period that the airline received the delivery of its first Boeing 747-200 aircraft, which was considered to be the most modern and largest aircraft in its fleet. This allowed the airline to launch new products and services. The new product included the first ever lie-flat beds known as “Skybed” for First Class passengers.

Philippine Airlines also became the first airline to operate nonstop flights to the United States and Europe across the Pacific using its Boeing 747 aircraft during the 1980s. The airline later on received its Boeing 747-400 aircraft. It was the first model of its kind to join the airline’s fleet in November 1993. By the year 2003, the total number of Boeing 747 aircrafts in the airline’s fleet reached up to five.

Over a period of 35 years the airline used its Boeing 747 fleet to primarily operate long-haul high-density routes spanning North America, Middle East, Europe and Australia. The Boeing 747 fleet was also occasionally used to serve some domestic and regional routes as well.

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Dubai relaunches ambitious project to develop second airport

by amit.uniyal 22. September 2014 04:31

The tiny Emirate of Dubai in the UAE will have its second airport in future. An ambitious project has been relaunched to develop a second airport, which is billed as being the largest in the world so far. The new airport is expected to handle some 120 million passengers annually.

Dubai in the UAE will have its second airport

Media reports said that a strategy has been prepared to expand the Al-Maktoum International Airport within a period of 8 years. The move is aimed at shifting the increased operations of Emirates Airlines from the Dubai International Airport.

Media reports quoted Paul Griffiths, Spokesman of Dubai International Airport, as saying that the first phase of second airport’s development has already been launched. During this phase, the entire focus will be on building a facility for handling 120 million passengers which will be required for relocating Emirates Airlines’ hub to Al-Maktoum International Airport being built in Dubai World Central economic zone.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, has already approved the $32 billion expansion project and has allocated a timeframe of 6 to 8 years for its completion.
 
Earlier, the plan to develop Al-Maktoum International Airport was first launched in 2009 before Dubai was hit by global financial crisis. The aim was to build the largest airport in the world with a capacity to handle 160 million passengers annually. The proposed airport was to have six runways. It was because of the global financial crisis that the ambitious plan was put for some years on the backburner, only to be resumed now.

According to the final plans, the Al-Maktoum International Airport will be featuring five runways each stretching 4.5 km. The runways will be spaced wide apart for allowing simultaneous use. The plan also envisages a capacity to handle 200 million passengers annually.

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Refurbished Air New Zealand Boeing 777-200ER takes to the skies

by amit.uniyal 20. September 2014 05:07

Air New Zealand is refurbishing its Boeing 777-200ER aircraft. The first of the airline’s refurbished Boeing 777 has now taken to the skies. This significantly underscores the airline’s ongoing evolution in its long-haul customer experience.

Air New Zealand

The airline is making extensive efforts to progressively refit its Boeing 777-200ER fleet promising the best on-board customer experience to its customers that would be at par with the top quality in-flight innovation and comfort that are being presently enjoyed by the customers flying on the Boeing 777-300ER aircrafts and newly-acquired Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
 
Air New Zealand has undertaken a massive $100 million fleet refurbishment project under which its eight Boeing 777-200ER aircrafts will have their interiors gradually stripped out and replaced with new fittings.

The customers traveling on Air New Zealand’s flights NZ135 and NZ136 traveling between Brisbane and Auckland are now enjoying the transformation and were the first to get a new flying experience on the refurbished aircraft.

According to Air New Zealand, the refurbished aircraft will be featuring new luxury leather Premium Economy seats, which have recently been introduced on Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircrafts and nine rows of award-winning Economy Skycouch product. The refurbished aircraft will also have Business Premier lie-flat beds and newly-designed Economy Class seats. The aircraft is also being refitted with new Panasonic eX3 seatback in-flight entertainment system with improved touch and resolution capabilities.

The airline indicated that its entire Boeing 777-200ER fleet will be progressively refurbished. After refurbishing is complete, the final aircraft is scheduled to be deployed for operations late 2015.

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United becomes 1st North America airline to get Boeing 787-9

by amit.uniyal 17. September 2014 04:33

United Continental has now become the first airline in North America to acquire its first ever Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. United Airlines will be the first airline in North America region to conduct flight operations with the help of Boeing 787-8 and Boeing 787-9 aircrafts.

United Airlines

United Airlines said that the newly-acquired Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft is likely to be deployed for operations by the end of September 2014. The4 airline is planning to launch flights using its new aircraft between Houston and Los Angeles.

Media reports said that United Airlines will later on start operating nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Melbourne utilizing the new Boeing aircraft. The flights on Los Angeles-Melbourne route will be the longest ever to be operated by a Boeing 787 variant. The airline further indicated that it is likely to begin six days per week long-haul operations covering a distance of 7,927 miles per flight.

United Airlines is presently operating the longest roundtrip nonstop flight with the help of its Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft on routes between Chengdu and San Francisco covering a distance of 6,857 miles.

Ethiopian Airlines is also using a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft to operate one-way flight between Addis Ababa and Washington. With the flight on Addis Ababa-Washington route, the airline covers a distance of 7,182 miles.

United Airlines has placed orders for 26 Boeing 787-9 aircrafts. The airline already possesses 11 Boeing 787-8 aircrafts in its fleet. The Boeing 787-9 is longer than Boeing 787-8 aircraft, and has the capacity to accommodate 280 passengers, 16 percent more than Boeing 787-8 aircraft.

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Mouth-watering dishes await long-haul fliers on Japan Airlines

by amit.uniyal 15. September 2014 05:52

If you are among those booking long-haul flights to an international destination on Japan Airlines, then you are surely in for a surprise. Get ready to be served colorful delicacies as part of your in-flight meal. Just sample the dishes you are going to be offered during your flight.

Japan Airlines

It will be wholly a new different experience for you on board the flight. The airline will be serving an appetizer with nine different Japanese delicacies. You can also look forward to being served braised chicken with yuzu chili-flavored radish sauce, and grilled cutlassfish with asparagus and potato salad. There’s no stopping for you as even more mouth-watering dishes are waiting to be served.

The appetizer will be presented in a wooden box consisting of nine small bowls filled with different delicacies from across Japan. The dishes served in these bowls include “ayu” sweetfish sushi wrapped in bamboo leaf; steamed eel with fish cake and braised duck breast; miso-flavored minced pork in a ginger sauce; scallop topped with grated radish; grilled chicken liver, tuna sashimi with yam and prawn; grilled halibut with sea urchin; fried pike conger with soy vinegar jelly; green soy tofu with seaweed sauce; and tomato and tofu salad.

The main course being served to the customers include braised chicken with yuzu chili-flavored radish sauce, and grilled cutlassfish with asparagus and potato salad. The meals are simply yummy and quite sufficient. Those who believe in eating less might just feel cheated with many varieties available, all of which can simply not be eaten by them.

According to Japan Airlines, the luxury food offerings are being provided as part of its JAL BEDD (Bed, Eating, Delicious and Dream) program. These luxury meals are exclusively available to the airline’s customers traveling in First Class and Business Class cabins. The customers traveling in either of the classes are also offered seats that are ultimately transformed into a mattress bed.

The meals offered to the customers under the airline’s JAL BEDD program was designed by a team of four Japanese star chefs. The in-flight menus for First Class and Business Class customers were prepared using the finest and freshest locally-sourced ingredients.

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Canadian carriers emulate US airlines on new checked bag fees

by amit.uniyal 12. September 2014 05:12

Leading Canadian carriers have decided to emulate U.S. airlines over the implementation of new checked baggage fee on domestic routes. Canada’s national carrier Air Canada recently announced the implementation of a new $25 checked baggage fee on domestic routes. The airline’s announcement came only after three days when WestJet Airlines, its main Canadian rival, said that it would be adopting similar practice hitherto adopted earlier by U.S. carriers on imposing domestic checked baggage fee.

Canadian carriers

Air Canada indicated that the additional checked baggage fee which will now be a part of its cheapest Tango fares will be in tune with the prevailing North American commercial aviation industry practices.

Air Canada and WestJet Airlines have said that the additional checked baggage fee would be affecting about 20 percent of their domestic passengers only, particularly those who buy the cheapest airfares.

Media reports quoted travel experts as saying that Canada has been fashionably late to the baggage fee party. The experts also said that it remains to be seen for how long such a practice would be followed by the two airlines.

Travel experts have also predicted that the recent move by Air Canada to impose additional checked baggage fee would significantly boost its annual revenue by $55 million and 20 per cent share of income.

The reports said that the aviation industry’s growing demand for baggage fees have been typically addressed by North American airlines in their own different ways and also by those across the Atlantic. So far, the additional baggage fee is not being charged by major European carriers on shorter routes, but the fares are in fact segmented in a way that factors in baggage.

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Asiana Airlines promotes South Korea as a medical tourism hub

by amit.uniyal 7. September 2014 08:52

South Korea is fast emerging as a medical tourism destination world over. One of South Korea’s flagship carriers Asiana Airlines is focusing on the increasing number of foreign visitors visiting the country for medical and healthcare services.

Asiana Airlines is focusing
on the increasing number of foreign visitors

The airline is tying up with hospitals and other medical institutions to aggressively promote South Korea as a medical tourism hub. Asiana Airlines is taking effective steps to publicize the advanced medical facilities and techniques in the country.

Asiana Airlines is now all set to evolve as a primary carrier in South Korea for transporting foreign medical tourists. The airline is also at the same time playing a significant role in contributing to nurture the high value-added medical industry in the country.

Media reports recently said that Asiana Airlines has entered into a business partnership with some 24 hospitals and clinics in South Korea since April 2009. The airline at the outset signed the first cooperation agreement with Hanyang University Hospital and expanded the relationship with others in later years. The airline has now indicated that it will be further adding more medical institutions to its growing list of business partners.

According to the reports, Asiana Airlines on June 5 this year signed a cooperation agreement with Yonsei University Healthcare System to attract patients from foreign countries jointly. Under the terms of the new agreement a health checkup program will be developed for foreign tourists and promotional events would be jointly conducted abroad.

Asiana Airlines said that it will be offering discounts on airline tickets to the foreign tourists visiting Yonsei University Healthcare System for seeking medical and healthcare services. The Yonsei University Healthcare System will similarly devise plans to make the use of its medical services for Asian Airlines’ passengers more affordable.

Korea Tourism Organization said that the number of medical tourists is expected to reach 250,000 in 2014, up from 211,000 in 2013. The top nations from where medical tourists visited South Korea include China, United States, Russia, Japan and Mongolia.

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Cathay Pacific Airways bids farewell to the Queen of the Skies

by amit.uniyal 5. September 2014 08:22

Cathay Pacific Airways in the end of August 2014 reached a historic milestone. The airline has now said adieu to the “Queen of the Skies”, the Boeing 747-400 aircraft, which it flew for nearly 30 years after having launched its maiden flight to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in July 1986.

Cathay Pacific Airways

Cathay Pacific Airways in a statement said that its only remaining Boeing 747-400 aircraft in North America made its final journey from San Francisco International Airport to Hong Kong International Airport on August 31, 2014. The final flight CX879 took off from San Francisco International Airport at 1.45 pm PDT.

The airline in a statement said that the flight CX879 will now join its other daily flight CX873 to San Francisco in a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft effective from September 1, 2014. Cathay Pacific Airways is presently conducting flight services to its six other North American gateways including Vancouver, Toronto, New York, Newark, Los Angeles and Chicago with the help of Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

The airline is planning to launch flights to Boston, its 7th North American gateway from May 2015. The flights will be operated between Hong Kong and Boston four times every week utilizing a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

Tom Owen, Cathay Pacific Airways’ Senior Vice President – Americas, said that the Boeing 747-400 aircraft in fact placed the airline on the global map and significantly helped it to evolve into a world-class carrier. He said that the aircraft played a vital role in the airline’s overall long-haul evolution.

Owen said that the time finally came to bid farewell to the Boeing 747-400 aircraft, which the airline did. Cathay Pacific Airways also at the same time feels proud in possessing one of the youngest fleets in the world. He said that the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft being operated on all its North American routes effective from September 1, 2014 is quite environmentally beneficial and fuel-efficient.

Cathay Pacific Airways has gradually expanded its global footprint in a massive way by including flight services to several international destinations including Manchester, Zurich, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Brisbane, London, Vancouver and San Francisco. The airline is presently offering 111 weekly flights to Hong Kong and beyond, including the U.S., Canada and Mainland China.

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Airlines worldwide hiring celebrity chefs for gourmet meals

by amit.uniyal 2. September 2014 07:53

It is good food that really matters! Many international airlines are following this dictum seriously and committed to provide best food to their premium customers. The airlines world over are now on a hiring spree trying to take the renowned celebrity chefs on board with the purpose of creating gourmet menus for in-flight meals to be offered to their first class and business class customers.

provide best food to their premium customers

Air France was among the first airline to hire the services of celebrity chefs for preparing in-flight meals. Régis Marcon, a triple Michelin starred chef, has been given the exclusive charge to take care of all the menus ever since April 2014. The French national carrier says that it wants to offer its premium customers with the exclusive French experience by serving delicious gourmet food onboard the flights. The airline believes that this strategy will ultimately pay off and help attract premium fliers to fly with it again and again.

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways recently teamed up with two celebrity chefs – Dean Yasharian, who is presently associated with Hyde Park London, and Uwe Opocensky, who is working at Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong. Both the chefs have been assigned the duty of creating delectable cuisines, worthy of a fine dining restaurant, for in-flight meals.

Australia’s flagship carrier Qantas Airways is renowned to offer exceptional meal services to its first class and business class customers. The airline’s menu is changed after every 3 months. This is done with the help of celebrity chefs and their staff.

Other prominent carriers such as Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways are known to hold regular consultations with a team of world-famous chefs for creating gourmet meals for their customers. Even Brussels Airlines and Japan Airlines have been seeking the services of top chefs for delicious dishes at par with those provided in the 5-Star restaurants.

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South Korea planning to build a new southern airport

by amit.uniyal 28. August 2014 09:21

South Korea is now finding it difficult to handle its passenger traffic at its major international airport and is looking to effectively tackle the issue with the construction of yet another international airport in the country.

construction of yet another international 
airport

The government recently made public a finding outlining the current state of the country’s aviation industry. The study said that a major international airport based near Busan will reach its maximum capacity in 2023. Busan is the second-largest city of South Korea.

The report will now spur competition among several provincial and city governments for playing an active role to host the new aviation hub. The Korea Transport Institute and the Paris Airport Authority have also unveiled separate findings on the issue.

According to South Korea’s transportation ministry, the passenger traffic at Gimhae International Airport will increase at an average of 4.7 percent annually starting from 2015. Nearly 21.62 million passengers would have used the airport in 2030.

All the findings have appropriately highlighted the doubling of air traffic in the country and growing travel demand with more and more people taking flights to international destinations in recent years.

The report further revealed that there will be a tremendous growth in the number of passengers traveling out of the third-largest airport in South Korea by 2023. The airport will hit 16.68 million passengers by that time. Nearly 9.67 million passengers traveled out of the airport in 2013. The report said that with the passenger traffic increasing at a fast pace the existing facilities at the airport will make it entirely difficult to deal with passenger arrivals and departures effectively since the airport presently has only two runways thus requiring an upgrade.

Many cities in North and South Gyeongsang provinces, as well as Ulsan, Daegu and Busan, have already expressed their desire to host the new international airport. The findings have been welcomed by the provincial and city governments and the central government is being requested to hasten with the process in a transparent manner.

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