Carry on: 380s to Spain; inside Boeing's business Dreamliners; more

Inside Boeing's business Dreamliner
First A380 arrives in Spain

Barcelona joins A380 network
Emirates can fly travellers from Auckland to Spain by Airbus A380 now the superjumbo has been deployed to the Dubai-Barcelona route.  Spain is having a tourism boom and Barcelona-El Prat Airport handled a record 35 million passengers.

The A380s replace Boeing 777s and add more than 2200 seats a week. Emirates flies A380s three times daily from Auckland to Dubai and beyond via Australia. All provide direct connections to the Barcelona service at Dubai. Emirates’ daily Boeing 777-300ER flight from Christchurch also connects with the A380 to Barcelona.

Boeing delivers first private Dreamliners
Undisclosed private customers have taken delivery of two Boeing Business Jets 787-8 in a single week; that makes three aircraft to date. The aircraft are delivered to private owners and businesses.

BBJ’s president, Captain Steve Taylor, says the aircraft features phenomenal range, high cruise speed, low cabin altitude, big windows and ultra-quiet cabin. Other features include increased head room, cleaner air, enormous cargo space and more fuel efficiency. The BBJ 787-8 has a range of about 9260 nautical miles (17,150km).

Capt Taylor the first BBJ 747-8, delivered in December, will enter into service with its completed custom interior later in the year. As the picture shows, the aircraft are delivered without fitouts. Boeing has orders for another 13 BBJ 787s, with deliveries occurring through 2018.

South Africa codeshares with Virgin Australia
South African Airways (SAA) will partner with Virgin Australia through a new codeshare agreement that is unusual because rival Qantas already codeshares with SAA on the latter’s flight from Perth to Johannesburg and on Qantas' own Sydney-Johannesburg service.

The new alliance will allow SAA passengers to book from Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide – but not Sydney – on to SAA's Perth-Johannesburg flight by connecting to Perth on domestic Virgin Australia routes. The codeshare takes effect from next Tuesday. Virgin Australia also offers a service to Johannesburg through a codeshare with Singapore Airlines via Singapore.

Lufthansa decries Etihad-Alitalia link
Lufthansa has called on European regulators for a more level playing field for privatised airlines to avoid unfair competition with state-backed Gulf carriers. This follows plans by Etihad Airways to invest in Alitalia, the financially troubled Italian airline.

Lufthansa says Europe’s policymakers are burdening the region’s own airlines with measures such as emissions trading, passenger taxes and night-flight bans, and should focus on ensuring a fair global framework.

“We are doing our bit by undergoing painful cost-cutting measures but we need fair competition,” a Lufthansa spokesman says.

Etihad’s James Hogan has responded by saying complaints (from European legacy carriers) about state-subvention for Etihad are untrue. “You will never will me hear saying that Lufthansa or Air France received state aid in the past,” he says.

AirAsiaX gets Thai approval
Thai AirAsia X will go ahead and apply for operating permits in Thailand and slots for its international routes after securing an air operator's certificate for its Thai associate.

"The commencement date of commercial operations and the official launch of its hub in Bangkok [Don Mueang International Airport] will be announced once the operating permits and slots are obtained," AirAsiaX says.

SilkAir switches to all B737 fleet
SilkAir has taken delivery of its first next-generation Boeing 737-800 in the transition to an all-Boeing fleet. Over the coming years, Boeing will deliver a total of 23 737-800s and 31 737 MAX 8s to SilkAir, which until now has run Airbus A320s.

"The new Boeing 737 aircraft will support our network expansion plans," SilkAir chief executive Leslie Thng says. "[This] will enable us to efficiently serve more destinations, fly longer routes and increase capacity on existing routes."

SilkAir's new 737 will fly to existing destinations including in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. With the follow-on 737 deliveries, the airline will fly to more destinations in Cambodia, Vietnam, India and the Philippines starting in March.

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