Jet2 celebrate 15 years of flying

Yesterday Jet2.com celebrated 15 years since the airlines very first flight departed Leeds Bradford Airport bound for Amsterdam. With a fleet of just two Boeing 737-300 aircraft, the airline carried 360,000 passengers in it’s very first year. Fast forward 15 years and the airline are expecting to carry over 12 million paying customers in 2018.

Operating from 9 UK bases Jet2 have grown to become the United Kingdom’s third largest airline whilst sister company Jet2holidays have become the UK’s 2nd largest Tour Operator.

G-JZHN wearing the Jet2holidays livery

Passengers travelling from Leeds Bradford yesterday were greeted by a morning filled with celebrations as airline executives, current and former employees and even Peter Andre were present to mark this momentous occasion. The Australian born singer surprised guests checking in to their flights, and boarded a Jet2 flight before it’s departure to give crew and passengers a private concert by singing ‘Happy Birthday’.

The airline has grown rapidly over the past few years, with 2017 seeing the airline expand it’s operations south by opening new bases at Birmingham Airport and London Stansted. These saw brand new Boeing 737-800 aircraft located at the respective airports, just some of the 34 Jet2 has on order with Boeing. These aircraft will replace the ageing 737-300  aircraft in the fleet, and come equipped with the modern ‘Sky Interior’ cabins.

G-GDFO seen here in Malaga, Is just one of the 737-300’s soon to be replaced by the new Boeing 737-800’s

More recently Jet2 have announced they will be upping their Transatlantic schedule with more flights than ever departing the UK destined for New York/Newark. Jet2holidays have marketed the flights as “affordable shopping breaks to the Big Apple from your local airport”. In a recent Interview, Commercial Director Steve Lee ruled out the airline launching a full long haul service, stating that they would “focus on growing capacity where it’s needed in the western and eastern Mediterranean”.

Airbus A330 G-VYGL was leased by Jet2 for the summer flying season in 2017

The low cost carrier’s roots can be traced back to former scheduled service and freight airline Channel Express. This is still evident today as Jet2 still carry the Air Traffic Control call sign “Channex”. With 15 years having flown by, everyone at TripAdvisor’s favourite UK airline will no doubt be looking forward to the next 15!

 

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SPECIAL: Inaugural LOT B737MAX LHR-WAW

On December 4th 2017, aviation history was made, LOT Polish Airlines flew their brand spanking new 737MAX for the first time with paying passengers, only 2 days after delivery. It was also the very first time for a 737MAX to visit London Heathrow. I could not miss such an important event, so I booked a seat.

Photo Credit: Boeing + FlyLOT

In 2012, LOT were the very first airline to operate the 787 Dreamliner, the most advanced twin isle long haul jet, in Europe. Now in 2017, LOT are the first airline to operate the 737MAX8 in Eastern Europe. The new 737 MAX will fill LOT’s short and medium haul flights out of their hub in Warsaw Chopin Airport, operating the morning and afternoon flights to Heathrow to begin with. It will then help to expand their route network as they receive a further 8 orders of the 4th Generation 737 from Air Lease Corporation, with all MAXs delivered by May 2019. The 737 MAX is a new iteration of the hugely successful 737 narrow aisle jet, now more economical and efficient than any other aircraft in its class. It also brings new levels of passenger comfort with Wi-Fi and the new Boeing Sky Interior. The average fuel consumption of a 737Max is 15% less than that of a -800NG. However, a huge benefit of the MAX is the new engines, CFM Leap1B, which produce 40% less noise, reducing operating costs at airports like Heathrow where there are strict noise policies.

787 First Flight Air to Air – LOT were the first airline in Europe to fly the Type
The MAX will replace LOT’s older 737Cl and Ngs (Photo Credit: LOT)

After arriving at London Heathrow I went straight through to Lufthansa’s Lounge. The lounge isn’t a very impressive one and boasts lots of available food, plenty of free seating and a nice view of the southern side of London Heathrow. The lounge is particularly good as it serves hot breakfasts. I was able to access the lounge via my star alliance gold status as I was only flying economy on this leg.

The LH lounge at Terminal 2 Credit: Businessclass.co.uk

Today I was also filming with ITV’s Britain’s Busiest Airport, this gave me early access to the new plane and got to take a look at the empty MAX. LOT’s new MAXs are configured with 186 seats in a 3-3 and 3 class configuration. The first thing that hit me when walking in was the new aircraft smell. The cabin was immaculate and I was all for LOT’s new seat design. It features a plug socket and USB socket on the seat which makes travelling so much more convenient as you will never run out of charge. The seats themselves were the most comfy I have experienced to date, they felt very well built yet soft and comforting and the leather gave a premium feel to the cabin. A fantastic cabin design. It is clear LOT spent a long time considering the passenger experience when designing the cabin. The main cabin itself was very sleek with the Sky Interior creating a welcoming aura. Today’s flight was quite full however there were still a few middle seats free, my row being one of them, GET IN!

We pushed back 40 minutes late from T2 gate A19 (mainly due to our filming) and took off bound for Warsaw from Heathrow’s 27R. The climb out was incredibly smooth and quiet. I barely even realized we had taken off! Shortly after the cabin crew offered snacks and drinks. I bought myself a Twix and a Pepsi. However, there was a second service which was free and you got a water or coffee and a wafer biscuit. My only complaint was that the menu was relatively small compared to some other European carriers, I would have liked to have seen more hot food offerings.

When in the cruise the cabin was extremely calm and quiet, making it one of the most relaxing flights I have taken. The new aircraft feel combined with the fantastic cabin design really put this airplane in another league to current narrow bodies that visit Heathrow.

To combat the sound from the engines Boeing, General Electric, and NASA developed chevrons for the back of the nacelle and the engine exhaust nozzle. The chevrons reduce jet blast noise by controlling the way the air mixes after passing through and around the engine. The acoustic liners and chevrons are such effective noise suppressors that several hundred pounds of sound insulation may be eliminated from the fuselage.

Cruising at 39,000ft

The flight was only 2 hours and 10 minutes and before I knew it we were starting our descent into Warsaw.  The descent was quite steep, and the weather conditions in Warsaw were worsening. It was snowing and visibility was low, regardless, the captain made am amazing landing. I could still see some snow in on the ground at Warsaw however it looked like it had just been raining so most had disappeared.  We arrived on stand only 20 minutes late. Bravo LOT.

Overall, the 737MAX Lot is offering provides the most passenger comfort for short-haul travel within Europe. Smooth, quiet and incredibly comfortable. The crew were talkative and friendly yet professional. I would defiantly fly LOT again and I hope to fly on their flagship Dreamliner product one day!

 

Airbus & Bombardier Turn up the Heat on Boeing

Politics and aviation often cross wires. With a protectionist President in the Oval Office, and an increasingly competitive world, this situation will likely become all the more frequent in the future. Read on to inform yourself of exactly what’s happening with Bombardier & Boeing.

background: who is bombardier? why is Boeing imposing tariffs?

Bombardier is a Canadian-British aerospace company, specialising in regional turboprop aircraft – such as the Dash 8 series. Recently, they branched out to the regional jet sector and the 100-150 Seater market with the introduction of the popular C-Series range. In 2016, Delta placed a firm order for 75 Bombardier CS-100 regional aircraft, representing one of the largest single airline orders for the aircraft type. However, in September 2017, the drama began. Boeing accused Canada and Britain of supplying Bombardier with ‘unfair state subsidies’ which helped them achieve the major order with US client, Delta. They proposed a 300% tariff on imports of the C-Series jets to the US, in an effort to dissuade Delta from taking delivery of the aircraft.

criticism for Boeing

Boeing and the US International Trade commission have widely been criticised by rival companies and the governments of the UK and Canada. Prime Minister Theresa May has said the UK’s long-term partnership with Boeing was being undermined by its behaviour towards Bombardier, adding she was ‘bitterly disappointed’ and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said that if the tariffs went ahead, it could ‘jeopardise’ UK Defence contracts with Boeing. Justin Trudeau – Prime Minister of Canada – said in a meeting with Donald Trump that he ‘disagreed vehemently’ with the decision and threatened cancellation of Canada’s Defence contracts also.

Bombardier said the proposed import tariffs were ‘absurd’ and insisted they had manufactured a ‘superior aircraft’ and that the US/Boeing was just trying to ‘stifle competition’.

Conversely, Boeing, retorted in a statement saying that ‘it was about maintaining a level playing field’.

implications if the tariffs go ahead

Many fear that the import tariffs may drive the Canadian company to relocate its manufacturing centre in Northern Ireland, where it employs 4,100 workers and contributes to 18% of Northern Ireland’s Economy. About 1,000 of these jobs are linked to the C-Series, the wings of which are made at a purpose-built £520m factory at Queen’s Island in Belfast.

In addition, it could spark a trade war between the US and Britain, especially significant as the two nations share a ‘special relationship’ and want to sign a free trade deal as the UK leaves the European Union.

the deal with airbus

Ask anyone interested in aviation to name the biggest rivalry they can think of and they will most likely tell you “Boeing V Airbus”. And thus, its no surprise Airbus are helping Bombardier out here. Under the deal, which both companies aim to be finalised in 2018, Airbus would buy 50.01% of the C-Series programme, leaving 31% to Bombardier and 19% to Investissement Québec. This is a game-changing move and changes the dynamic of the spat with Boeing.

Airbus summarises the deal in their press release, with these main points:

Airbus to acquire majority stake in the C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership

  • Partnership brings together two complementary product lines, with 100-150 seat market segment expected to represent more than 6,000 new aircraft over the next 20 years
  • Combination of Airbus’ global reach and scale with Bombardier’s newest aircraft family to create significant value for customers, suppliers, employees and shareholders
  • Significant C Series production costs savings anticipated by leveraging Airbus’ supply chain expertise
  • Commitment to Québec: C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership headquarters and primary assembly to remain in Québec, with the support of both companies’ global supply chains
  • Airbus’ global industrial footprint expands with the C Series Final Assembly Line in Canada, resulting in a positive impact on operations in Québec and across the country
  • Growing market for C Series results in second Final Assembly Line in Mobile, Alabama, serving U.S. customers

The last point, perhaps being the most crucial. Airbus will allow C-Series aircraft delivered to the US to undergo final assembly in their factory in Alabama. This is in the view that it will allow the company to dodge the current import tariffs. Ceding the majority of a flagship project to another manufacturer is a risk for Bombardier, but they clearly believe its the best way forward. It will also give Europe a huge advantage in the regional jet market and, as Airbus doesn’t have a mainstream competitor in that market, it refrains from compromising their own aircraft sales.

What will Boeing’s retaliation be? Comment or contact me with your thoughts.

 

Featured Photo: Brian Griffin carlowspotter 

August Delivery Report

In August, there was one delivery that stuck out for everyone. Yes, the delivery of Delta’s first Airbus A350 (N501DN). The aircraft is expected to enter service on October when it will begin to serve Delta’s Detroit-Narita route. The new delivery will be fitted with the new ‘One Suite’ and ‘Premium Seat’ cabins. The new ‘One Suite’ is a business class product that offers a sliding door to a private area with a lie flat bed. The new premium seat features 38 inches of pitch and a width of 17 inches. Only four other A350s were delivered in August. Lufthansa received their 4th on August 15th (D-AIXD), four days later Vietnam Airlines took delivery of their 8th and final A350 (VN-A893). The two other deliveries went to Hong Kong Airlines (B-LGA), a new airline on the list of A350 operators, and Cathay Pacific (B-LRS)

Delta’s new Premium cabin (photo: delta)

While Airbus only delivered 5 A350s, Boeing had a much more productive month with the 787. 11 787s were delivered in August. Saudia (HZ-ARH), Scoot (9V-OFJ) and United (N26970) all received their final 787s and El Al Israel received their first (4X-EDA) The new product comes fitted with a complete overhaul in onboard product which you can read all about here. Other airlines to receive Dreamliners were KLM (PH-BHM), who have one more on order, Air India (VT-ANZ and VT-NAA), who have two yet to be delivered, Air China (B-1466) who, also, have two more on order, Norwegian (G-CKNA and G-CKKL), who I flew with from JFK-LGW, and finally American (N829AN)

Norwegian received 2 787s to add to their rapidly growing fleet

Airbus may have had a disappointing month in terms of A350 deliveries but they made up for it in A320neos. Seven new Neos were delivered to six airlines. Air Asia received the most with 2 (9M-AGE and 9M-AGG) and have four more on order. Other airlines to receive the A320neo were Indigo (VT-ITW), SAS (SE-ROA), Vistara (VT-TNE) and Pegasus (TC-NBK), who will receive only one more. Novair were the only airline to take delivery of a 321neo (SE-RKB)

The MAX had quite an impressive month in August. A new airline was added to the list of operators – Southwest, who received N8710N. Norwegian received their final 737MAX on order (EI-FYF) and Lion Air received two more (PK-LQG and PK-LQH). FlyDubai took delivery of their second MAX (A6-FMA).

The state-of-the-art MAX

Five new B777s were rolled out of Seattle this month and delivered to four airlines. Emirates added two to their ever growing fleet (A6-EQE and A6-EQF). The other airlines were EVA Air (B-16739), Kuwait (9K-AOM) and Air China (B-1430).

The A330 also had quite a big month with six airlines receiving seven new aircraft. Wamos started the month off with delivery of EC-LNH, Saudi took delivery of TC-OCF, Hong Kong Airlines began operations with B-LHD, Tap Portugal received (CS-TOX) and Air China ferried B-8385 back to China. China Eastern received two (B-8972 and B-8962)

And to finish… An A380 was delivered in August. Emirates brought A6-EUY home to Dubai.

Airbus rolled an A380 out to Emirates towards the end of the month

Next month I’ll be back with an overview of what’s happened in the delivery world of September!

featured image by Airbus

 

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