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Winglets go a long way to give airlines fuel savings

Boeing calls the odd-looking upturned wingtips on aircraft “blended winglets,” Airbus calls them “sharklets” and Southwest Airlines, in ads, simply calls them “little DooHickeys.”

Whatever the name, these wingtip extensions have become prevalent in recent years and have saved airlines billions of dollars in fuel costs. The newest, and funkiest-looking, version was used on a United Airlines commercial flight for the first time last month. The new design features the upturned wingtip but adds a downward-facing sword and sinister-looking pointed tips, which together make it a “split scimitar winglet.”

Winglets might look cool and represent one of the more radical changes to the appearance of modern jets, but in truth, they’re all business.

While winglets could cost $1 million or more per aircraft to install and add several hundred pounds to an aircraft, they pay for themselves in a few years through fuel savings — about 4 percent savings for the blended winglet and an additional 2 percent savings for the split scimitar.

For airlines, adding the 8-foot-tall blended winglets has become a no-brainer, and adding the split scimitar version also seems to be.

Qantas chief Alan Joyce says airline now `extremely healthy’

QANTAS chief executive Alan Joyce has started to reverse his rhetoric dramatically on the future of the airline, playing down concerns about the national carrier’s viability following the government’s rejection of its plea for a debt guarantee.

Now Mr Joyce says the airline is “extremely healthy”, just four months after warning of its possible demise.

Staring down calls from investors for management changes at the airline, Mr Joyce told a business lunch in Sydney his board was “supportive” and vowed to continue the capacity war with rival Virgin Australia.

Mr Joyce said a debt default by Qantas would “never occur”, even in the event the Qantas Sale Act was not changed or the federal government did not guarantee any of its debt.

“The operating cashflows . . . are extremely strong in this business. We believe we can get the cashflow positive with the $2 billion cost reductions, and we can get back to profitability and to be paying down any debt,” Mr Joyce told an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce lunch in Sydney.

Nepal Airline wreckage found, no survivors

Nepalese police have found the wreckage of a Nepal Airlines plane, carrying 18 passengers in the country’s mountainous west.

Authorities have confirmed none of the passengers and crew on board survived the crash.

“The plane crashed into a a hill, police have found the wreckage in a village, but no survivors,: said Bimlesh Lal Karna, chief air traffic controller at Kathmandu’s main airport.

The plane carrying 15 passengers including an infant and three crew lost contact with air traffic controllers shortly after taking off from the popular tourist town of Pokhara on Sunday afternoon, officials said.

Co-pilot detained after Ethiopian Airlines flight forced to land in Geneva

Ethiopian Airline B767


Swiss police have detained the co-pilot of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that was forced to land at Geneva’s international airport early on Monday morning.

Police said the co-pilot, who has asked to be granted asylum, took control of the plane when the pilot went to the toilet, then landed and left through the window on a rope.

Authorities said the situation was under control and no passengers or crew had been injured.

Flight ET 702 had been diverted from its original destination of Rome. The airline earlier said the flight from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa had been “forced to proceed” to Geneva.

Asiana Airlines pilot was ‘nervous’ about landing before deadly San Francisco crash caught on camera

Asiana Airline B777 Plane crash


Horrific new details into last summer’s deadly Asiana Airlines crash have emerged along with shocking new footage showing the fated passenger airline tumbling onto the San Francisco runway like never before.

Firefighter interviews and a National Transportation Security Board accident summary reviewed at an NTSB hearing Wednesday admitted for the first time that a teenage girl who survived the crash was fatally struck twice as she lay motionless near the airplane’s left wing.

Authorities in California confirmed months ago that 16-year-old Chinese student Ye Meng Yuan was alive on the runway and covered in firefighting foam when she was hit by an emergency vehicle at San Francisco International Airport and suffered the multiple blunt injuries that killed her.

Heavy hit: airline’s ‘pay what you weigh’ scheme a success

Samoa AIr


The head of a tiny Pacific airline that pioneered a fare system based on passengers’ weight said Wednesday the move had been so successful the carrier is upgrading its fleet.

Samoa Air introduced its world-first system late last year, when it began charging passengers fares based on how much they weigh, rather than a set price for each seat.

Chief executive Chris Langton said the 1.34 tala (64 cents) per kilogram charge had proved popular over the first 12 months as it meant cheaper fares for most passengers.

“People do the sums, that’s their first interest” he told the ABC.

“They compare what they would pay on a pay-by-weight system and just do basic arithmetic.”

The World Health Organisation says Samoa has one of the world’s highest rates of obesity, leading to soaring levels of weight-related coronary disease, diabetes and strokes in the Pacific island nation.

“We find that generally speaking if you look at any operation anywhere between any destination worldwide, a person who comes in at about 120 kilos or less will always be better off to travel on a pay-by-weight system,” Langton said.

Qantas: S&P cuts airline’s credit rating to ‘junk’

Qantas, the Australian airline, has had its credit rating downgraded to “junk” – below-investment – level, by the ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P).

The downgrade could increase the airline’s borrowing costs and sends a warning to investors.

The move by S&P comes after the airline issued a surprise profit warning and announced 1,000 job cuts on Thursday.

The carrier expects to make losses of up to A$300m ($271m; £165m) in the July-to-December period.

S&P said the rating cut reflected its view “that intense competition in the airline industry has weakened Qantas’ business risk profile to fair from satisfactory, and financial risk profile to significant from intermediate.”

It lowered the carrier’s rating from the lowest investment grade, BBB-, to BB+.

American Airlines and US Airways merger finalised

The merger between the two companies creates the world’s largest airline

  American Airlines and US Airways have completed their long awaited merger to create the world’s biggest airline.

It follows AMR Corporation, the parent company of American Airlines, emerging from its 2011 bankruptcy filing.

Shares in the new company soared after making their debut on the Nasdaq exchange under the stock symbol AAL.

The merger had previously been blocked by the US Justice Department (DOJ) over concerns about competition in the sector.

“Our people, our customers and the communities we serve around the world have been anticipating the arrival of the new American,” said new boss Doug Parker. Mr Parker had previously been the head of US Airways.

“We are taking the best of both US Airways and American Airlines to create a formidable competitor, better positioned to deliver for all of our stakeholders. We look forward to integrating our companies quickly and efficiently so the significant benefits of the merger can be realised.”

The two companies say they expect to save more than $1bn in synergies with the merger.

Emirates orders 50 more superjumbos amid airshow mega-deals

It was a security consultant’s nightmare and a moment to savour – royalty, airline bosses, planemakers and press hordes wedged into the same overcrowded room wanting to see the same thing: the colour of money in the oil-rich and fast-growing Gulf.

Gulf airlines dropped $US100 billion ($A106 billion) in 15 minutes on the opening day of the Dubai Airshow, as they ordered hundreds of passenger jets to expand a common ambition to turn the region into a global aviation hub.

After one mega-deal, as Emirates airline and Qatar Airways ordered 200 of Boeing’s newly re-launched 777 jet, a quick decor change brought Airbus to the stage to sign a deal with Emirates for 50 of the world’s largest jetliner, the A380 superjumbo.

“I don’t have my calculator,” Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai airline groupsEmirates and flydubai joked when asked to estimate the value of deals just unveiled.

The other economy class seats

Not quite premium, not quite economy … Hawaiian Airlines’ ‘extra comfort’ seats.


Since they have to ride a knife edge financially, where marginal profits in one year can be wiped out by volatile fuel prices in the next, airlines tend to be conservative – reactionary even – in introducing changes that can affect their bottom line.

For the past 15 years, they have been obsessed in their attempt to improve “yield” – average fares paid, which is the magic number that industry analysts look for in regular filings to stock exchanges – by squashing economy seats ever closer together so they can woo business flyers with ever more luxurious premium offerings.

With the fares they were charging to sit in business class – anything up to seven times the discount rates down the back – the gap in the classes became a canyon.

Eventually, a number of full-service carriers figured out there was a market in between the corporates and the rest which they decided to call premium economy.