Manchester Expansion for BA

British Airways will launch seven new routes from Manchester Airport this summer as well as adding three new destinations to its Stansted operations.

From May, the carrier will begin seasonal services from Manchester to Alicante, Malaga, Ibiza, Palma, Mykonos and Nice.  It will also introduce a weekly flight to London City Airport.  All routes will operate once a week at weekends, with the exception of the Ibiza which will be three times a week.

Stansted will welcome new connections to Florence, Geneva and Nice as well as increased frequency on routes to Ibiza and Palma.  Seasonal flights to Malaga and Faro will also return.

All flights will be operated using BA CityFlyer’s Embraer 190s.

Alex Cruz, British Airways CEO and chairman, said: “These are the destinations that our customers tell us they want to fly to so we look forward to a busy summer.  In addition, the Thursday night flight from London City, in the heart of the capital’s commercial district, will provide commuters with a valuable air link back to Manchester, with the return flight to London City on a Sunday.”

Investment and expansion continues at Ashford Airport

An upbeat assessment of investment plans and continued expansion of new aviation services has been provided by London Ashford Airport at Lydd in Kent.

Addressing members of the Lydd Airport Consultative Committee this week, Executive Manager Hani Mutlaq outlined the encouraging progress being made on investments and business growth at the airport.

At a time when Brexit continues to cast shadows of uncertainty over business, Hani underlined the long-term commitment of the owners to delivering on promises to create a successful, modern regional airport supporting a substantial number of new jobs and acting as a catalyst for economic growth in the region.

Central to Lydd’s ambitious development plans is the construction of a runway extension and the building of a new terminal licensed to handle up to 500,000 passengers a year. Planning consent for both has already been granted.

Hani reported that the airport’s legal team are in the final stages of negotiations to buy an area of agricultural land to enable the existing 1,500m runway to be extended. The work will involve lengthening the runway by 294m plus a 150m starter area.

Acknowledging that delays in securing the land had proved frustrating, Hani said that a purchase and compensation package is still under negotiation with the land owners. Once resolved, tenders for the project will then be prepared and issued and he predicted that work would start on the runway “by summer 2018 with work completed by early 2019”.

Meanwhile, rising demand for more business and general aviation facilities has led to the addition of two new hangars at a cost of more than £850,000. “Such is the demand that both new hangars are virtually full and we have a waiting list, so we will be taking a decision soon on investing in even more hangar space at Lydd,” said Hani.

Bristow, which has operated Search and Rescue helicopter services from Lydd for the past 18 months from a temporary hangar, has recently committed its future to the airport. The company will invest millions of pounds in building a permanent base, with construction work expected to start this spring. The operation employs around 30 staff and more jobs are likely to be created as part of Bristow’s investment.

Flight training specialist Go Fly London set up a base at Lydd in 2016 and has installed a £100,000 flight simulator on site. A range of courses are provided that are enabling students from the UK and overseas to use the facility to learn to fly and gain a full light aircraft pilot’s licence (LAPL).

Hani told the meeting: “The airport is heading in the right direction. Our expansion plans are progressing and the support of the owner is strong. Indeed we are even considering bringing forward our plans to build the new terminal, in addition to the runway extension. That is a sure sign of our confidence in Lydd Airport.”

During a Q&A session with the committee, Hani reiterated the airport’s ‘Kent First’ policy of using local suppliers and staff wherever possible, discussed how road and rail links to the airport could be enhanced, and repeated LAA’s determination to minimise the environmental impact of its operations.

The Lydd Airport Consultative Committee was established to boost links with community on Romney Marsh. Chaired by highly respected former county councillor Fred Wood-Brignall, it’s members include representatives of airport users, local businesses, residents, Shepway District Council, parish councils plus Dungeness power station and the Lydd firing ranges.

The airport has spent £35 million upgrading facilities over the past decade, including the installation of an instrument landing system, a new executive terminal with VIP facilities, improved passenger check-in, and a new departure lounge. The airport caters for a range of aircraft operations and provides extensive services, including air traffic control and navigational aids, an FBO with 24-hour operating capability, full terminal services and engineering and cargo facilities.

Once completed, the runway extension will enable Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 aircraft types to fly with a full payload of passengers, maximising the availability of routes and aircraft choice to operators and providing much-needed additional airport capacity in the South East.

Orkney Extension for Loganair

Scottish carrier Loganair will continue to operate Orkney inter-island air services after securing a new four-year Public Service Obligation (PSO) contract.  The deal, which followed a competitive tendering process, starts on April 1 and will see the airline maintain vital links between Kirkwall, North Ronaldsay, Sanday, Stronsay, Eday Westray and Papa Westray with its fleet of Britten-Norman BN-2 Islanders.

Commenting on the contract, Loganair Managing Director Jonathan Hinkles said: “It’s a privilege to be selected to provide air services to the community of Orkney for another four years.  The contract award is a testament to the dedication of our team of pilots, engineers and ground staff in Orkney who operate these essential air-links every day.”  He added: “This year’s contract award is particularly special as it will take us into and beyond the 50th anniversary of our presence in Orkney.”

The inter-island air services, inaugurated by Loganair in September 1967, includes the famed link between Westray and Papa Westray, which can be flown in as little as 47 seconds and is officially recognised as the world’s shortest scheduled flight.

Making Waves

Guernsey-based air taxi start-up Waves has applied for an Air Operator Certificate ahead of its planned launch later this year.  The carrier, created by entrepreneur Nick Magliocchetti and backed by local private equity investors, will initially lease up to three Cessna 208B Grand Caravans and plans to adopt a hybrid operating model, combining scheduled services with Uber-style on-demand travel.  It says passengers will be able to book flights via an app, accessing timetabled connections (flown up to four-times per hour) or creating bespoke trips for individuals or groups of travellers.

Waves added that fares will be significantly lower than regular airline services – flights between Guernsey, Jersey and Alderney will reportedly be available for between £45 and £75.  Longer term, the carrier hopes to add links to points in the UK and Europe by 2018.

CityJet Completes Cimber Deal

Dublin-based CityJet has completed the acquisition of Danish regional carrier Cimber from SAS Scandinavian Airlines.  The deal, which is expected to be finalised on January 31, sees the Irish carrier assume control of Cimber, its 11-strong fleet of Bombardier CRJ900s and its entire Copenhagen-based network, which is flown on behalf of SAS.  It also includes the extension of CityJet’s own wet-lease agreement with the Scandinavian flag carrier from three years to six.

Commenting on the acquisition, CityJet Executive Chairman Pat Byrne said: “This new SAS contract and the growth delivered by the acquisition of Cimber advances CityJet’s stated strategy of building its role as a provider of regional jet capacity to airlines across Europe and follows our successful inauguration of services on behalf of SAS in March 2016.  We welcome the new staff members of Cimber into the CityJet family, joining the 870 current employees, including almost 200 based in the Nordic region.”

Elsewhere, CityJet has signed a provisional commitment to replace Cimber’s 11 CRJ900s with up to ten new-build examples.  Under the terms of the Conditional Purchase Agreement signed on January 24, the Irish carrier will acquire six aircraft, with four purchase options.  These are in addition to CityJet’s existing commitment for 12 examples placed last April, eight of which are already in service with the remaining four due for delivery later this year.  The airline’s entire CRJ fleet will continue to operate for SAS Scandinavian Airlines.

E-Jets for Airlink

Independent regional carrier Airlink is leasing three Embraer 170s and two E190s from ECC Leasing.  The aircraft will start arriving with the South African airline in the first half of the year.  Airlink already operates a large fleet of Embraers consisting of ERJ 135, ERJ 140 and ERJ 145 variants.

Rodger Foster, CEO of Airlink, said: “This is the beginning of the implementation of a well-planned growth and modernisation strategy for Airlink that includes replacing our current fleet of Avro RJ85s over the next three years.”

Airlink plans to acquire 13 E-Jets in total and is currently sourcing the additional eight.  The aircraft are suited to the airline’s operating environment including short field and hot and high flying.

Foster added: “The E190’s ETOPS [Extended Twin Engine Operations] capability and range present Airlink with new market opportunities to address isolated destinations that were previously beyond our reach and in some instances that have never enjoyed the privilege of reliable scheduled air services.”

Transaero Eyes Relaunch

Transaero Airlines has appealed the decision to withdraw its traffic rights from a host of domestic and international routes.  The grounded carrier has filed paperwork with Russia’s Ninth Commercial Court of Appeals, seeking to overturn an earlier decision by the Moscow Commercial Court that action by the Federal Air Transport Agency, Rosaviatsia in the aftermath of the airline’s failure in 2015 was acceptable and justified.

Transaero was forced to cease services and file for bankruptcy after the authority withdrew its Air Operator Certificate (AOC), a decision driven largely by the airline’s excessive debts estimated at the time to be 251bn roubles ($4.2bn).  Rosaviatsia subsequently revoked the carrier’s traffic rights on 141 routes, 56 of which were transferred to Russia flag carrier Aeroflot and its subsidiary Rossiya.

In its appeal – the latest in a string of legal challenges submitted by the airline – Transaero suggests it was not given enough time to fix the violations identified by the authority prior to having its AOC withdrawn.  It has asked for the decision to revoke its traffic rights to be annulled.

The airline has also had its bankruptcy hearing against Sberbank postponed to March after submitting a plan to resume commercial services.  If approved, the relaunch will see Transaero’s creditors – consisting primarily of banks – convert their outstanding debt into equity in the new-look carrier.  Outlining the plan late last year, Director General Alexander Burdin said the airline is aiming to secure certification by April, and may even partner with an existing carrier to expedite the process.

PMDG 747-400 II Update

PMDG’s CEO, Robert Randazzo has revealed additional information on the upcoming PMDG 747-400 Queen of the Skies II.

Randazzo released the following statement:

“Captains,

As promised in my update from 18JAN17, I wanted to swing through tonight and give you some additional information on the upcoming release of the PMDG 747-400 Queen of the Skies II.

The following aircraft will be included in the initial release:

747-400         — 3 engine types

747-400BCF  — 3 engine types

747-400D      — 1 engine type

747-400M      — 2 engine types

747-400F      — 3 engine types

747-400ER   — 1 engine type

747-400ERF — 2 engine types

Each aircraft/engine combination has it’s own unique, accurate performance data, engine model and flight characteristics where that applies.  (The F flies slightly differently than the standard 400, did you know that?)

In addition to the Rolls Royce engine, you will be able to choose between two different GE versions (where it applies to the airframe) and two different PW engines where it applies.  (4056 and 4062…)

Yes…  All of that in the base package…  As a single purchase.  The 747-8/8F will come to you as an expansion for this base package a bit later!

In addition- we will include an SDK at release time, similar to the SDK included in the 777 and NGX.  This SDK is not for casual users, but is targeted toward hardware and application developers who wish to interface with the PMDG 747-400 Queen of the Skies II for their product interfaces or extensions.

Livery painters will not be forgotten, and we expect to have the paint kits or all of the above body types available to interested painters on release day.

WHAT PLATFORMS?:
Okay- so next- we will be selling licenses for the PMDG 747 base package across two simulation platforms:

FSX/FSX-Steam Edition will both be covered through purchase of an FSX based license.

Lockheed Martin Prepar3D will be covered through purchase of a P3D based license.

Both platforms will be available on release day.  The licenses for FSX/P3D are not interchangeable or exchangeable.  For Prepar3D users, we are still planning to protect P3D v3 users if/when Lockheed Martin elects to convert v3 to x64bit.  (it is assumed this will be called v4, but nobody really knows and Lockheed Martin has made NO commitments or announcements in this regard.  As of today, an x64 P3D is not in development that we are aware of any any conjecture of imminent release of same is largely hyperbole…)

COMPATIBILITY WARNING:
Currently the PMDG 747-40 Queen of the Skies II is not compatible with versions of Prepar3D earlier than 3.2.  We are evaluating if it is possible to make it compatible with v2.x but as of this writing, it does not appear that this will be possible.

WHEN WE WILL BE RELEASING?:
I’m going to narrow down the release timeline, based on our expectations as they stand right now:  We are within two weeks of release.

NOTE:  If anything comes up late in testing that we feel is a show stopper- we will slide the release date as far as it need to slide in order to cure the problem.  Please bear that in mind before you send your wives and kids off to Bolivia for vacation, take that leave of absence from work, or just outright quite your job.  :Tounge:

WHAT ELSE?
I am in the process of compiling a list of “okay, THIS is cool” details to show off some of the really interesting details and features that are packed into the PMDG 747-400 Queen of the Skies II.  We have a number of simulation experiences ready for you that will be entirely new to simming- and we expect them to add an entirely new level of realism and authenticity to your simming experience!

Additionally we have a few things buried in this build that we will unveil at a later date…  that will truly blow your mind.

Stay tuned for more details on those!

VAS USE:
We are putting together a little chart of VAS use to give you some real data on actual VAS use.

Overall, my experience has been that the 747-400 has better performance overall than the 777.  Frame rates are more fluid, and VAS use is more easily managed.  We will put together some real-time comparisons for you so that you can see where she weighs in!

PRICING:
Seriously though:  We will release pricing information when we tell you the actual release day…  You can expect it to be in line with the 777, roughly- which we think makes this package a pretty darn good value because you get the entire 747-400 product line to work with for a single purchase!”

New Malibu Ready for Takeoff

Carenado has released the PA46 500TP Malibu Meridian G1000 HD Series for FSX and Prepar3D.

The package features five HD liveries and a blank paint scheme for creating custom artwork while the virtual cockpit comes with an improved Carenado G1000 (PFD and MFD) with GCU 476 Control Unit and a AFCS GMC 710 autopilot.

Special effects include take-off run and landing roll, 32-bit 3D sound set, cockpit night lighting and a cold and dark start option.

A configuration panel can be used for setting various options such as cold and dark start, instrument reflections, window transparency/scratches and static objects such as wheel chocks.

Documentation consists of emergency and normal checklists along with performance/quick reference tables and a Carenado G1000 PDF

Features

  • -Normal and Emergency Checklist on screen.
  • -TAWS and TCAS with visual and audible alerts.
  • -Fully customizable (AUX page included).
  • -3 different wind option display.
  • -MFD / Inset map with traffic, topographic and terrain awareness display option.
  • -Flight plan creation option directly from the MFD.

Click here for more information on the Carenado website

Regional One Acquires CRJ900s

Bombardier Commercial Aircraft Asset Management has remarketed 13 second-hand CRJ900s to Regional One.  Two of the jets were owned by Bombardier with the other 11 remarketed on behalf of a third party.

Nine of the aircraft have already been delivered to the Miami-based company, eight in 2016 and one this year.  The remaining four are scheduled for delivery later this year.

Regional One is a purchaser, lessor and seller of aircraft, aircraft parts, engines, engine parts and other related support items for regional/commuter aircraft worldwide.