Carry On: News for business travellers

Boeing 737 Max in AGC livery

Orders top 100 for Boeing's 737 Max
Boeing has won an order for 60 of its upgraded single-aisle 737 Maxs from Aviation Capital Group, a deal with a $US6 billion list value that pushes purchases of the new plane past 1000. The sale consists of 50 of the 737 Max-8 model and 10 of the Max-9 variant. ACG’s acquisition pushed orders for the 737 Max to 1029, meeting a goal of about 1000 for 2012 as Boeing plays catch-up with Airbus, which outstripped Boeing in introducing an upgrade of its narrow-body airliner. The Max will feature more fuel-efficient engines and is set to enter service in 2017, after the scheduled 2015 debut for Airbus’ A320neo series.

Dubai opens 'home of A30s'
Emirates Airlines has begun operations from the world's first concourse dedicated to Airbus' A380 super jumbos at Dubai international airport. Concourse A, which cost $US3 billion to build, gives Emirates an additional airport capacity of 15 million passengers a year, it says. The new extension to Terminal 3, featuring 20 gates specifically designed to accommodate the long-haul planes, will open gradually, with just four gates operational from January 2. The first aircraft to use Concourse A was flight EK003, which took off to London Heathrow from Concourse A.

Direct to Paris on A380
Meanwhile, Emirates says travellers departing Auckland on an A380 will now be able to fly all the way to Paris and return on the double-decker aircraft. Emirates has doubled its A380 capacity to New York’s John F Kennedy and Paris’ Charles De Gaulle airports with a twice daily service from Dubai. It means direct connections to Paris A380 flights at Dubai in each direction. Emirates flies A380s twice daily from Auckland to Dubai – one via Sydney, the other via Melbourne – and there are also onward A380 connections to London, Manchester, Amsterdam, Munich and Rome.

Cebu sale falls through
Cebu Pacific, of the Philippines, says the sale of 10 Airbus A319 aircraft to Allegiant Travel Company has been cancelled. The deal was terminated as both parties weren’t able to reach an agreement on certain terms of the transaction, Cebu Pacific told the Philippines Stock Exchange. The planned sale was made public on July 30, 2012, when Cebu Pacific said it had decided to upgrade to bigger aircraft such as the A320 and A330.

Qatar files suit over construction delay
Qatar Airways is filing a $US600 million legal claim against German Emirati joint venture construction company Lindner Depa Interiors (LDI) for causing a significant delay to the opening of the New Doha International Airport by up to a year. Qatar says LDI had undertaken to complete the construction of 19 airport lounges at by the summer of 2012 in a contract worth more than $US250 million, but failed to complete the project on time. LDI has responded, saying it has no relationship nor contract with Qatar and that the airline’s claims are false and misleading. The $US15.5 billion airport was due to have opened in December 2012 with Qatar as the operator.

One-eyed praise for airports
Two New Zealand airports have received accolades in a magazine aimed at the global elite. Monocle’s Top Travel Top 50 lists exceptional places and services around the world each year. Its 2012 survey rates Wellington Airport’s distinct The Rock as best new terminal, describing it as “Gehry-esque in ambition and stature.” (US-based architect Frank Gehry is best known for his radical museums such as the Guggenheim at Bilboa and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.) The Rock was, in fact, designed by Studio Pacific and Warren + Mahoney. Auckland’s “well groomed pensioners” are named as the “most gracious guides.” The magazine comments: “They make a perfect first and lasting impression.”

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