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News of December 2009


Geese point the way to saving jet fuel

28 December 2009

Scientists have proposed an unusual method for cutting aircraft fuel consumption – they want to fly jumbo jets in formation like geese.

The prospect of flotillas of airliners soaring across the sky in V-shaped flocks, like migrating birds, is startling. Nevertheless, research by aviation experts has shown that it could lead to major reductions in aircraft fuel consumption.

The work follows research carried out almost 100 years ago by a German researcher, Carl Wieselsberger. In 1914, he published a paper in which he calculated that birds flying in V-formations use less energy to flap their wings than those on solo flights. Birds in flocks can therefore fly for longer periods than those travelling on their own.

source: Guardian.co.uk


Spanish airline Air Comet suspends flights

22 December 2009

Spanish airline Air Comet said on today it had suspended all its flights because of financial difficulties that are preventing it from paying its debts, ruining travel plans for thousands of passengers.

Air Comet, which specialises in flights to Latin America, attributed its problems to a decision on Friday by a commercial court in London that enabled Nord Bank of Germany to undertake a foreclosure procedure against the airline.

The airline said the court decision meant that the carrier was unable to operate its aircraft. The decision has also forced the airline to prepare staff lay-offs and to declare itself unable to meet its financial obligations, the company said.

source: channelnewsasia.com


‘Bags fly free’ a boon for Southwest

20 December 2009

Southwest, the only U.S. airline that lets passengers check two pieces of luggage for free, says the no-fee policy has helped the airline increase its share of the domestic market by about 1 percent, or $800 million to $900 million.

The no-fee policy can be a gamble. At a time fewer people are flying and airlines seek every dollar, checked-bag fees added up to $1.24 billion for airlines in the first half of 2009.

Southwest’s policy is “a smart marketing ploy, particularly given the economic circumstances most Americans are experiencing these days,” says Lopo Rego, a University of Iowa marketing professor.

source: Sun Times


World air travel falls record 3.1% in 2009

20 December 2009

World airline passenger traffic fell 3.1 percent in 2009, the biggest drop in aviation industry history, fueled by the global financial downturn, the International Civil Aviation Organization said.

Preliminary figures for airline travel this year showed that international traffic declined by about 3.9 percent and domestic traffic by 1.8 percent, despite sharp growth in some regions.

Total passenger traffic — both domestic and international — fell in all regions except the Middle East, which posted 10 percent growth. All other regions recorded negative growth, with Africa hardest hit at minus 9.6 percent overall.

source: AFP


Scot airline Flyglobespan to file for bankruptcy

17 December 2009

Scottish airline Flyglobespan is filing for bankruptcy and its fights have been grounded, administrators appointed to help salvage the company announced Wednesday.

Flyglobespan’s 10 aircraft served about a dozen destinations across Britain and Europe, as well as Orlando, Florida, and the Egyptian resort city of Sharm El Sheikh.

Flyglobespan was established in 1970 and provided flights and package vacations from Scotland’s major cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

A message on the airline’s Web site said “all flights have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.

source: Business Week


British Airways seeks legal block to Christmas strike

16 December 2009

British Airways will launch a legal bid later to try to stop a 12-day Christmas strike by cabin crew going ahead.

BA said the move was aimed at avoiding “massive stress and disruption” for passengers threatened by the walkout from 22 December to 2 January.

The airline will claim in London’s High Court a strike ballot by the Unite union was invalid because it involved members no longer employed by BA.

At the centre of the dispute is BA’s decision to reduce cabin crew numbers and introduce a pay freeze.

source: BBC News


Virgin Galactic shows off Spacecraft 2

9 December 2009

Extending the reach of his ambitious Virgin Galactic venture, businessman Richard Branson has this week whipped the covers off the eagerly anticipated SpaceShipTwo, which is expected to become the world’s first commercial spacecraft.

The unveiling ceremony was held at the futuristic New Mexico Spaceport, which will serve as a hub for Virgin Galactic’s fleet of spacecraft.

When officially ready to carry commercial passengers, the Enterprise will be carried to an altitude of 50,000 feet slung centrally beneath the wing of its twin-fuselage EVE mothership, at which point it will propel its two pilots and six paying passengers on a tantalising sub-orbital journey.

source: thetechherald.com


Brussels Airlines joins Star Alliance

9 December 2009

At an official ceremony held in Brussels’ historic “Grand-Place” today, the CEOs of the Star Alliance member airlines welcomed Brussels Airlines to the family.

Brussels Airlines is the Belgian airline offering the widest choice of flights to and from the “capital” of Europe. With a fleet of 51 aircraft the airline operates some 200 daily flights to 55 European airports and 14 African destinations.

source: Travel News


Booking fee blow for customers

7 December 2009

Low-cost airline Ryanair has announced that it would stop waiving booking fees for customers paying by Visa Electron from the beginning of next year. The group currently charges £5 per passenger per journey for all flights booked using other credit or debit cards.

But from the beginning of next year, Ryanair will also levy these fees on people paying by Visa Electron, and it will instead offer free booking to people using MasterCard Prepaid cards.

fuente: Press Association