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Lufthansa’s Next Airbus A350 Will Come With First Class

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Lufthansa’s next Airbus A350 will be delivered with a first class cabin. Sadly, passengers eager to try out first class on an A350 still face a long wait as the next aircraft of the type isn’t due to be delivered until July 2023.

Frankfurt Airport, Passenger Traffic, Cargo Volume
Lufthansa’s next Airbus A350 will be delivered with first class. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Since December 2020, Lufthansa has slowly been taking delivery of its Airbus A350 order. The order has also shuffled in size several times. According to Airbus’ latest order books, Lufthansa is currently expecting a total of 45 A350-900 aircraft, of which 17 have so far been delivered.

A first class cabin?

It seems as though Lufthansa’s future Airbus A350 aircraft will start to feature a first class cabin, according to airliners.de. A Lufthansa spokesperson told the publication that the next A350 would come with first class, although the exact cabin layout of the aircraft has not been decided.

The first class cabin is likely to be a new seat, as a board member of the airline commented that the airline is working on a new generation of the cabin back in April. The airline also has plenty of time to work the cabin out, as the delivery is not imminent. The airline’s current A350-900s have two possible three-class layouts. The most recent aircraft was delivered with 224 economy seats, 21 premium economy seats, and 48 business seats.

Lufthansa, Newark, Malta
Ten A350s are currently planned to get first class. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

A Lufthansa spokesperson confirmed this to Simple Flying, revealing that the next A350 to be delivered (number 18) will feature a first class cabin when delivered in July 2023. Airbus will supply ten aircraft (18-27) with a first class cabin. According to data from ch-aviaiton.com, these are expected to be delivered up to March 2026.

The cabin layout of the remaining 18 aircraft is yet to be decided. According to ch-aviation.com, these remaining aircraft are expected to be delivered between June 2026 and October 2029.

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

The current first class product

Lufthansa currently offers first class on three different aircraft types. The Boeing 747-8, the Airbus A380, and the Airbus A340-600. Of course, the A340-600 and A380 fleets won’t return to service unless there is an “unexpectedly rapid market recovery”, leaving just the 747-8.

Lufthansa, Airbus A350, First Class
The current first class cabin on Lufthansa’s Boeing 747-8s. Photo: Getty Images

On the Boeing 747-8, the first class seat takes the form of an open suite, according to data from seatguru.com. With a pitch of 83 inches and a width of 31 inches, the seats can be converted into a lie-flat two-meter long bed by the cabin crew.

Lufthansa’s love of the A350

It seems so far that Lufthansa loves the A350, with the aircraft becoming one of the main workhorses of the German flag carrier’s fleet during its pandemic recovery. Initially, the A350 fleet only operated from the airline’s secondary base, Munich. However, in November 2020, the airline started operating A350 flights from Frankfurt in place of the Boeing 747-8 on some routes due to its increased fuel efficiency.

Lufthansa, Airbus A350, First Class
Lufthansa has been operating the A350 from Frankfurt in place of the 747-8 on some routes. Photo: Cirium

Since December, the airline has actually been operating more A350 flights from Frankfurt than its Munich home. According to aviation data experts Cirium, this culminated in 190 outbound flights from Frankfurt last month, equating to 55,670 seats each way, compared to 85 outbound flights and 24,905 seats from Munich.

Lufthansa, Airbus A350, First Class
More A350 flights have been operated from Frankfurt recently. Data: Cirium

Are you excited to see Lufthansa launching first class on the Airbus A350-900? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://simpleflying.com/lufthansa-airbus-a350-first-class/

Aviation

JetBlue Wins Ecuador Fight Against Eastern Airlines

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The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) sided with JetBlue earlier this month in the ongoing dispute between the carrier and Eastern Airlines over frequencies to Ecuador. JetBlue will now be able to move its seven weekly seasonal frequencies between Fort Lauderdale and Quito to serve a second daily New York to Guayaquil flight.

JetBlue A321neo
JetBlue has prevailed in this feud with Eastern Airlines. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

DOT sides with JetBlue

In early June, the DOT returned a favorable verdict in the ongoing JetBlue-Eastern dispute over Ecuador frequencies. JetBlue filed in March to move seven of its Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Quito (UIO) frequencies per week to service a second daily New York (JFK) to Guayaquil (GYE) flight.

Eastern Airlines wanted two of those weekly frequencies currently allocated to JetBlue to be reallocated and allow Eastern to grow its New York to Ecuador services. JetBlue, however, was not a fan of that plan, and the two spent the last few months justifying their positions and leaving it up to the DOT to decide.

JetBlue A321neo
JetBlue forcefully defended its move over the past few months. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

The US and Ecuador do not have an open skies agreement. Instead, there are 120 weekly frequencies available to US carriers for service to Ecuador. American Airlines holds 42 weekly frequencies, Delta holds 14, Eastern holds 20, JetBlue holds 29, Spirit holds seven, and United holds nine.

What started the dispute?

On March 23rd, JetBlue filed a motion with the DOT to reallocate seven Fort Lauderdale to Quito flights to service a second daily New York to Guayaquil flight. JetBlue initially planned to launch that second daily flight on June 10th, subject to approval from the government, and run those flights through most of the year, assuming the demand environment allows for it.

However, this move ruffled some feathers. JetBlue’s partner, American Airlines, filed to move seven of its Dallas-Quito frequencies and seven Dallas to Guayaquil frequencies to Miami to enable the airline to launch two more daily flights to Ecuador from Miami. American’s filing came shortly before JetBlue’s.

Fort Lauderdale
The American-JetBlue alliance prohibits cooperation outside of the Northeastern US Photo: Getty Images

Spirit Airlines saw this and argued that this implied more cooperation between the two airlines than the Northeastern Alliance (NEA) allows between American and JetBlue. AA and JetBlue can only cooperate on routes touching the Northeast, and cooperation on routes outside this market is forbidden. If American and JetBlue coordinated on moving their Ecuador frequencies, it would violate the terms of the alliance. Both airlines denied any coordination between the two airlines.

Eastern Airlines latched onto Spirit’s complaint and added its own concerns about undermining competitive and public interests in New York. In its filing, Eastern raised concerns that, as the only nonstop competitor to JetBlue between Guayaquil and New York, it could be forced out of the market because it only has four weekly flights to service the route. Eastern wanted two more to become available, reallocated from JetBlue.

Eastern 767
Eastern Airlines wanted to fly six weekly flights between JFK and GYE. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

JetBlue responds to the competitive environment

Denying coordination or cooperation with American, JetBlue instead presented its argument that the competitive dynamics on the New York to Guayaquil route had changed, allowing it to add a second daily flight and have it be a viable route.

JetBlue highlighted LATAM’s suspension of widebody services between New York and Guayaquil as the reason it wanted to expand in the market, believing it to be underserved. Meanwhile, Southern Florida to Quito is already well-served and a very competitive market with flights from both Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and Miami (MIA). JetBlue will still fly a daily frequency between FLL and UIO.

JetBlue A321neo
JetBlue stated it saw an opening in the market to expand services when a competitor dropped out. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

American Airlines also stated it was responding to the demand market by moving its flights to Miami from Dallas. Miami is a large originating market for traffic to Ecuador, and American Airlines has a strong hub in Miami that is designed to accommodate easy connections to South America.

The DOT does not rule out NEA concerns

While the DOT has sided with JetBlue over Ecuador, it did note that it was reviewing a separate complaint over the alliance. Driven by Spirit Airlines, the DOT believes that the right vehicle for reviewing the NEA is through that complaint and not via JetBlue’s motion to move Ecuador frequencies around.

The NEA has allowed both American Airlines and JetBlue to grow their footprints in New York and Boston. However, this has not come without objection. Spirit Airlines and Southwest Airlines have expressed concerns with the NEA and are hoping for some changes after a full review from the DOT.

That review is ongoing, though American and JetBlue are continuing to move forward with the NEA. In the matter of Ecuador frequencies, both American and JetBlue have received the go-ahead to alter their Ecuador services.

Do you think the DOT made the right decision? Let us know in the comments!

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://simpleflying.com/jetblue-eastern-ecuador-decision/

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Aviation

Finally: US Hits Two Million Passengers In One Day On Friday

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Week after week, the United States air travel market recovery continues. On Friday, June 11th, for the first time since March 2020, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) notched over two million passengers entering a security checkpoint screening. This incredible number is indicative of the strength of leisure travelers in 2021 and a testament to the ongoing rebound of the aviation industry.

American United Tail
The US saw a good passenger count on Friday. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

US hits two million passengers in a day

On Friday, June 11th, 2,028,961 passengers entered a TSA screening checkpoint. Since March 8th, 2020, this was the first time that passenger numbers exceeded two million in one day.

The chart below shows the incredible rise in passenger numbers from March 1st through June 11th:

Graph 1
Daily passenger numbers from March through June. Data: TSA | Graph: Simple Flying

As you can see, the US has finally hit two million in a day, but numbers came incredibly close to that marker on some days. About four days in the last month have come within striking distance of the two million per day milestone. All of those days were around peak leisure travel holidays or weekends. The lead-up to this milestone was the Memorial Day holiday at the end of May.

Where does the recovery stand?

Comparing 2019 traffic levels to 2021 traffic levels shows a narrowing gap, but there is still room to go. The TSA data comparing 2021 numbers to 2019 looks at the same weekday (not the same date) in 2019 to give a more accurate picture.

Graph 2
2019 vs. 2021 passenger numbers. Data: TSA | Graph: Simple Flying

The chart above shows that the gap between the passenger numbers has significantly narrowed. However, 2019 saw more consistency in notching over two million passengers in a day. 2019 was one of the best years on record for the airline industry.

It may be more helpful to consider this in terms of percentage. The chart below shows the percentage of travelers recorded in 2021 compared to 2019. For example, 75% means that that date in 2021 compared to the same weekday in 2019 saw 75% as many passengers go through a security checkpoint in 2021 compared to 2019 (so, if, say 1.875 million passengers were screened on a day in 2021, that same weekday in 2019 saw 2.5 million passengers enter a security checkpoint).

Graph 3
The airline recovery as a percentage. Graph: Simple Flying

There is one anomaly, and that comes in May, where the number hits 90%. This Sunday in 2021 lines up with the Memorial Day holiday in 2019. The Sunday of the Memorial Day holiday weekend is typically a low traveler day, as passengers tend to wait until Monday or Tuesday to return home. With fewer passengers on that day in 2019 and Sundays in 2021 being heavy traveler days, it contributes to the inflated percentage.

Other than that, there has been a significant recovery in air travel. US passenger numbers are still down roughly 25% in raw numbers. That can be explained by some continued hesitancy in travel and the absence of a widespread return of business travelers. International travel, especially to Europe and Asia, remains restricted, contributing to a decline in passenger numbers.

Room for improvement

2019 passenger levels are a benchmark for the recovery. The US still has some ways to go, but it is bridging the gap, and numbers continue to trend upwards. The biggest area of improvement lies on weekdays. While passenger numbers are trending upwards on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, these days are heavy business travel days.

Heavy weekend travel is surely helping airlines, though the return of weekday travel will also lead to more sustainable operating economics as higher yield business travelers take to the skies. Most airlines expect a continued recovery of business travel, with the third and fourth quarters proving key in seeing those passengers return to the skies.

Passengers Getty
Passengers should be prepared for long lines this summer. Photo: Getty Images

The next “benchmark” the US airline industry needs to hit is a more sustained two million passengers in a day mark. Hitting it once in June and then never again through the rest of the summer would be bad news for the industry and signal a continuation of the crisis. However, all signs point toward a return in air traffic, which bodes well for passenger numbers through the end of June and into July and August.

The return of passengers has been relatively quick, but the travel industry ramp-up to cater to those passengers has been slower. While airlines are busy adding more flights, there are limitations regarding hotel availability, rental car availability, and shortages in labor to staff the lines at TSA checkpoints, check-in counters, and at many restaurants and tourist attractions.

Passengers are showing signs of returning to the skies. Now, the industry needs to follow and focus on handling the volume of returning traffic. The TSA is boosting its efforts to hire more staff, and the airlines have also turned toward volunteers and resumed hiring to support the recovery. Time will tell if the efforts are paying off, and July will be a critical month in the recovery.

Are you planning summer travel this year? Where are you going? Let us know in the comments!

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://simpleflying.com/two-million-passengers-us/

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Aviation

Finally: US Hits Two Million Passengers In One Day On Friday

Published

on

Week after week, the United States air travel market recovery continues. On Friday, June 11th, for the first time since March 2020, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) notched over two million passengers entering a security checkpoint screening. This incredible number is indicative of the strength of leisure travelers in 2021 and a testament to the ongoing rebound of the aviation industry.

American United Tail
The US saw a good passenger count on Friday. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

US hits two million passengers in a day

On Friday, June 11th, 2,028,961 passengers entered a TSA screening checkpoint. Since March 8th, 2020, this was the first time that passenger numbers exceeded two million in one day.

The chart below shows the incredible rise in passenger numbers from March 1st through June 11th:

Graph 1
Daily passenger numbers from March through June. Data: TSA | Graph: Simple Flying

As you can see, the US has finally hit two million in a day, but numbers came incredibly close to that marker on some days. About four days in the last month have come within striking distance of the two million per day milestone. All of those days were around peak leisure travel holidays or weekends. The lead-up to this milestone was the Memorial Day holiday at the end of May.

Where does the recovery stand?

Comparing 2019 traffic levels to 2021 traffic levels shows a narrowing gap, but there is still room to go. The TSA data comparing 2021 numbers to 2019 looks at the same weekday (not the same date) in 2019 to give a more accurate picture.

Graph 2
2019 vs. 2021 passenger numbers. Data: TSA | Graph: Simple Flying

The chart above shows that the gap between the passenger numbers has significantly narrowed. However, 2019 saw more consistency in notching over two million passengers in a day. 2019 was one of the best years on record for the airline industry.

It may be more helpful to consider this in terms of percentage. The chart below shows the percentage of travelers recorded in 2021 compared to 2019. For example, 75% means that that date in 2021 compared to the same weekday in 2019 saw 75% as many passengers go through a security checkpoint in 2021 compared to 2019 (so, if, say 1.875 million passengers were screened on a day in 2021, that same weekday in 2019 saw 2.5 million passengers enter a security checkpoint).

Graph 3
The airline recovery as a percentage. Graph: Simple Flying

There is one anomaly, and that comes in May, where the number hits 90%. This Sunday in 2021 lines up with the Memorial Day holiday in 2019. The Sunday of the Memorial Day holiday weekend is typically a low traveler day, as passengers tend to wait until Monday or Tuesday to return home. With fewer passengers on that day in 2019 and Sundays in 2021 being heavy traveler days, it contributes to the inflated percentage.

Other than that, there has been a significant recovery in air travel. US passenger numbers are still down roughly 25% in raw numbers. That can be explained by some continued hesitancy in travel and the absence of a widespread return of business travelers. International travel, especially to Europe and Asia, remains restricted, contributing to a decline in passenger numbers.

Room for improvement

2019 passenger levels are a benchmark for the recovery. The US still has some ways to go, but it is bridging the gap, and numbers continue to trend upwards. The biggest area of improvement lies on weekdays. While passenger numbers are trending upwards on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, these days are heavy business travel days.

Heavy weekend travel is surely helping airlines, though the return of weekday travel will also lead to more sustainable operating economics as higher yield business travelers take to the skies. Most airlines expect a continued recovery of business travel, with the third and fourth quarters proving key in seeing those passengers return to the skies.

Passengers Getty
Passengers should be prepared for long lines this summer. Photo: Getty Images

The next “benchmark” the US airline industry needs to hit is a more sustained two million passengers in a day mark. Hitting it once in June and then never again through the rest of the summer would be bad news for the industry and signal a continuation of the crisis. However, all signs point toward a return in air traffic, which bodes well for passenger numbers through the end of June and into July and August.

The return of passengers has been relatively quick, but the travel industry ramp-up to cater to those passengers has been slower. While airlines are busy adding more flights, there are limitations regarding hotel availability, rental car availability, and shortages in labor to staff the lines at TSA checkpoints, check-in counters, and at many restaurants and tourist attractions.

Passengers are showing signs of returning to the skies. Now, the industry needs to follow and focus on handling the volume of returning traffic. The TSA is boosting its efforts to hire more staff, and the airlines have also turned toward volunteers and resumed hiring to support the recovery. Time will tell if the efforts are paying off, and July will be a critical month in the recovery.

Are you planning summer travel this year? Where are you going? Let us know in the comments!

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://simpleflying.com/two-million-passengers-us/

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Aviation

Why Are Planes’ Landing Gear Tilted?

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An aircraft on the ground appears to have a straight set of landing gear wheels, flat to the ground. If you look at it after takeoff or before landing, though, you will notice that it is often titled. Surprisingly, this it is more about practical storage and space savings rather than any technical landing aspects.

The titled landing gear on a Boeing 777. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

Tilting for storage

The main reason that the landing gear tilts is simply to allow it to fit best into its storage compartment in the fuselage. Space on an aircraft is precious. The wings and fuselage store fuel, and the more space is taken up by extras (such as landing gear), the less space there is for fuel, and hence the lower the aircraft range.

To maximize the use of space the wheels are titled to fit into a smaller housing. This works using a device known as an actuator located between the wheels of the landing gear. This is hydraulically operated and applies a force to position the wheels at the correct tilt for storage.

A380 landing gear
The large landing gear on heavy aircraft take up a lot of storage space (seen here on an Airbus A380). Photo: arpingstone via Wikimedia

One-way hydraulics

When landing, the actuator will initially attempt to keep the landing gear titled. As the force increases, the pressure is released, allowing the wheels to level. This all happens very quickly and is more complicated than it sounds. It is best to see it in action – take a look at this video produced by Captain Joe.

The actuator can only be powered into the extended direction, not in both directions. The reason for this is complexity. It would require a more complex, and hence larger, heavier, and more expensive hydraulic set up to do this. And if it is not necessary, then why do it?

A few other benefits

The primary function of the landing gear, of course, is to take the force of the landing aircraft and prevent any contact between the fuselage and ground. Although it is not the main purpose, the tilted landing gear does help with this. The torque produced by the straightening gear helps to smooth the landing and lower the nose gear.

Another benefit from the tilt is the ability to use the first contact of the wheels (detected from pressure and weight difference) for air/ground sensing. This operates differently across aircraft, but it can include activating the speed brakes and allowing reverse thrust and aircraft depressurization.

American_Airlines_Boeing_777-200ER_N788AN_landing_gear_and_flaps
The tilted landing gear on a Boeing 777-200 aircraft Aircraft can sense ground contact from the first wheel contact. Photo: Arpingstone via Wikimedia

Different tilts between aircraft

Given that the tilt is not primarily related to landing safety or technology, it is not surprising that landing gear are tilted differently on different aircraft. Some have leading wheels landing first, some the rear wheels, and some are, in fact, not tilted at all.

On the Airbus A330 and A340 and Boeing 747, 777, and 787 the rear (trailing) wheels are lower. On the 767 and A350 it is the lead wheels that are lower. On these aircraft, the actuator is located at the front of the gear, rather than the rear.

In Captain Joe’s video description, there is an interesting difference explained between the Boeing 777-200 and 777-300 variants. The 777-300 has an additional strut on the landing gear. This causes the wheels to lift off one pair at a time (rather than together). This gives a bit of extra height, lowering the risk of the tail striking the ground on takeoff.

777-300 landing gear
777-300 landing gear with its additional strut. Photo: Dmirty A. Mottl via Wikimedia

Gear incidents

Problems with the landing gear are a common cause of aircraft emergencies. Any issue preventing full retraction, extension, or locking of the gear in place will lead to an emergency landing.

Some incidents include a Virgin Atlantic A330 with a landing gear that failed to retract after takeoff from London Heathrow in March 2020. And earlier in 2020, a Virgin Australia Boeing 777 landing in Los Angeles suffered hydraulic issues with its main gear.

We don’t often write about landing gear technology. Let us know your thoughts on their function and tilting, or any model specifics, in the comments. 

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://simpleflying.com/why-are-planes-landing-gear-tilted/

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