Norwegian Set to End Long Haul Flights




Low-cost carrier Norwegian has pulled the plug on its long-haul routes in an effort to regain solvency. The Ireland-based company, which currently owes creditors around $4.9 billion (USD), will seek to continue to fly short-haul flights within Europe.

Restructuring to save the company

The move, announced 14 January, is part of a restructuring plan permitted by the Irish courts in an effort to preserve the business and save jobs. However, it has been reported that around 2150 jobs will be lost across the UK, US, Spain, and France, with around half of those based at Gatwick airport.

Norwegian has already stopped flying to the US, Brazil, Argentina and Thailand.

Reductions in Norwegian’s fleet will see the airline’s 140 aircraft, including 36 flagship Boeing 787 Dreamliners, drop to 50 owned or leased Boeing 737s.

Norwegian CEO Jacob Schram

Describing the decision to refocus the airlines routes as a ‘new start’, Norwegian CEO Jacob Schram said:

“Our short haul network has always been the backbone of Norwegian and will form the basis of a future resilient business model.

“Our focus is to rebuild a strong, profitable Norwegian so that we can safeguard as many jobs as possible. We do not expect customer demand in the long haul sector to recover in the near future, and our focus will be on developing our short haul network as we emerge from the reorganisation process.”

Norwegian hopes the restructuring will reduce its debt to around 20 billion Norwegian Krone ($2.3 billion USD). It additionally plans to raise 5 billion Krone ($586 million USD) through new shares offered to current shareholders and via private placements. The company says it has already received written interest, and has reopened talks with the Norwegian Government about participating in the scheme.

It is anticipated that capital restructuring would leave current shareholders holding only 5% of the company, with creditors taking 25%, and new investors the remaining 75%. A restructuring in May 2020 also granted equity to creditors, including Aercap, Avolon, and Bank of China Aviation.

A date in court

Norwegian entered the Irish courts in November when it sought protection from creditors. It was placed under examinership in December, a process in which a court-appointed examiner looks into possible capital raises and debt resolutions.

Norwegian’s plan is still subject to approval by the courts

Kieran Wallace, of accountants KPMG, was given 100 days to devise a restructuring plan. Norwegian’s current proposal is still subject to approval from the examiner, creditors and Irish court.

The prospect of heavy job losses was not received well by trade union Unite, which represents around 700 Gatwick-based Norwegian staff. It stated it was implementing emergency measures to support workers and assist with any redundancy or legal claims.

In a released statement, Unite regional officer Jamie Major said:

“The collapse into insolvency of Norwegian Air’s UK company, and the resultant 1,100 job losses at Gatwick, are another devastating blow for the airport’s workers, the local community and the aviation industry as a whole.

While coronavirus travel restrictions are certainly the reason for Norwegian Air’s difficulties, poor business decisions in the years preceding the pandemic have not helped. The airline’s staff should not be made to shoulder the burden of Norwegian Air’s UK insolvency and must be the first priority during the administration process.”

Norwegian said all customers who hold affected bookings with the airline will be contacted directly.

What are your thoughts on this announcement? Let us know in the comments below!

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Source: https://travelradar.aero/norwegian-set-to-end-long-haul-flights/


Air Côte d’Ivoire Takes Delivery Of Its First Airbus A320neo





Air Côte d’Ivoire has become the first A320neo operator in the West-African region. On Thursday, the carrier took delivery of its first New Engine Option of the A320 family, as the plane carried humanitarian supplies from Toulouse to Abidjan. The airline will begin deploying the jet on regional routes but eyes an expansion to destinations in South Africa in the future.

Air Côte d'Ivoire A320neo
On Thursday, Air Côte d’Ivoire took delivery of its very first A320neo, and the jet did not come empty-handed. Photo: Airbus

Ferried a ton of supplies for health and education

On Thursday, February 18th, Air Côte d’Ivoire took delivery of its first Airbus A320neo. This makes the Abidjan-based carrier the first operator of the type in the West-African region. Ownership was transferred on Wednesday, and one day later, the aircraft took off from the manufacturer’s facilities in Toulouse.

Not only on delivery, the jet also had a second mission. It carried over a ton of humanitarian goods such as medical supplies and children’s toys. The initiative is a partnership between Aviation sans Frontiéres and the Airbus Foundation and part of Air Côte d’Ivoire’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) drive.

The aircraft, registered as TU-TSX, took off from Toulouse, France, at 11:12 local time. Following five hours and 38 minutes in the air, it landed at Félix-Houphouët-Boigny International Airport in Côte d’Ivoire’s financial capital of Abidjan. Viewers could follow the live event and ceremony of the delivery streamed via the airline’s social media.

The A320neo joins The West African flag-carrier’s fleet of four De Havilland DHC-8 Dash 8 turboprops, three Airbus A319, and two Airbus A320ceos. It is the third Airbus the airline has taken delivery of straight from the manufacturer.

Air Côte d'Ivoire
The airline intends to deploy its new jet (not pictured) on regional routes to Cameroon, Senegal, and Gabon. Photo: Getty Images

Regional with potential for expansion

Initially, it will deploy the jet on its regional network for Senegal, Gabon, and Cameroon. Meanwhile, the carrier intends to add South African destinations to the newcomer’s roster at a later stage, taking advantage of the jet’s operational flexibility.


Air Côte d’Ivoire is the flag carrier of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire. The airline was founded in May 2012 and commenced operations six months later. It succeeded the country’s former national airline, Air Ivoire, which went bankrupt in 2011.

It is owned 58% by Côte d’Ivoire’s government, 11% by Air France-KLM, 23% by a consortium of private Ivorian investors called Golden Road, and 8% by other investors.


Air Côte d'Ivoire welcome ceremony
The airline’s first A320s arrived in 2017. Photo: Getty Images

Air Côte d’Ivoire’s Airbus family

The airline took delivery of its first aircraft, an Airbus A319, on lease from Macquarie AirFinance and previously operated by Air France, in October 2012. The second jet of the type with the same arrangement and history arrived a few weeks later.

The third A319 did not arrive until 2017, when an aircraft leased from AirCap previously operated by Mexicana, AeroGal, and Avianca Ecuador arrived in Abidjan. The carrier’s two own A320s also arrived in 2017, the first in July and the second in September.

Have you flown with Air Côte D’Ivoire, or on the A320neo? Tell us about your experience in the comments. 

Source: https://simpleflying.com/aair-cote-divoire-a320neo/

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Embraer Supports Brazil’s WTO Subsidy Complaint Withdrawal





Embraer has signaled its support for Brazil’s decision to withdraw a complaint before the WTO over Canada’s support for the Bombardier C-Series program. While the support may come as a surprise (especially since Brazil filed the complaint to support Embraer), the manufacturer has laid out its reasons. Here is Embraer’s strategy to create a level playing field in aviation subsidies.

Embraer is searching for new ways to combat unfair state subsidies to aerospace manufacturers. Photo: Embraer


In a press release yesterday, Embraer supported Brazil’s decision to withdraw an ongoing complaint before the WTO. Brazil first filed a challenge with the WTO against Canada in February 2017, citing the $3 billion given to the Bombardier C-Series program as being illegal subsidies that distorted the market.

However, the market has shifted rapidly since the complaint was first filed against Canada. Airbus’ acquisition of the C-Series program (now known as the A220) and opening of new production lines meant a ruling would no longer have the same effect Embraer once hoped.

A220-300 Airbus Demonstration Tour in Asia - Yangon
Embraer argued that the deep subsidies to the C-Series distorted the market unfairly against them. Photo: Airbus

In a statement, Embraer said,

“After Bombardier exited the Commercial Aviation segment and transferred the C-Series program (now called A220) to Airbus, which has a second assembly line in the United States, the trade dispute against Canada at the WTO is no longer the most effective means to achieve Brazil’s and Embraer’s goal of re-establishing a level playing field in this sector.”


Embraer is now looking to other avenues to correct the effect of subsidies. Organizations like the OECD’s Aircraft Sector Understanding could provide other means to solving these disputes. However, the dispute signals an underlying competiton between the A220 and Embraer’s E-jet family.

The A220 has had a strong few years, with orders for the jet ramping up globally since Airbus’ acquisition of the program. As of today, Airbus has racked 630 orders for the jet, including major commitments from Delta, jetBlue, and Air France. This growing dominance threatens Embraer’s position as a market leader in the regional jet market.


Embraer E175
The A220 is a direct challenger to the new E2 lineup of the E195 and E175. Photo: Embraer

Embraer has been heavily marketing its E195-E2 and E190-E2s, the latest iteration of the E-jet family. Aside from having a strong track record and fleet integration, the lower price of the E2 family could be a strong incentive for airlines.

Playing out

The A220 has had its fair share of disputes and opposition, including Boeing famous anti-dumping petition to the US government. However, as the regional jet soars in popularity (especially during the pandemic), Embraer and others are quickly trying to grow their footprints.


Envoy Air American Airlines Embraer ERJ-145
Embraer remains a popular manufacturer and is integrated in fleets globally. Photo: Getty Images

2020 was particularly hard on Embraer after its planned deal with Boeing fell through. The Brazilian manufaturer was forced to institute workforce cuts and saw deliveries fall as it reeled from the failed deal. With 2021 signaling higher demand, Embraer is working hard to return to its growth track.

What do you think about Embraer’s move? Can the A220 subsidies be addressed now? Let us know in the comments.

Source: https://simpleflying.com/embraer-brazil-wto-subsidy-complaint/

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In Pictures: A Look Inside Thailand’s Airbus A330 Coffee Shop





About 160 kilometers or 100 miles south-southeast of central Bangkok (Thailand), you’ll find an old Airbus A330 that’s been converted into a coffee shop. Home of “331 Station Coffee War,” the old Airbus widebody, located in Sattahip, was so popular last year that it was even ordered to close after going viral on social media. Let’s look at the aircraft-turned-coffee shop in a series of photos.

The coffee shop-aircraft is located in Sattahip, which is a district in the south of Chon Buri province. Photo: Getty Images

Pattaya News notes that a Mr. Damri Sangtang, a former Royal Thai Navy officer, is the owner of the business. Sangtang’s history as a member of the military may offer a clue as to part of the business’ “Coffee War” name. The 331 portion of the name appears to come from the fact that it’s located on Road No 331.

The coffee shop A330 is about a two-hours-drive from central Bangkok. Photo: Google Maps

The $333,000 Airbus A330

According to The Thaiger, the decommissioned Airbus A330 cost 10 million Thai baht – which roughly converts to just over $333,000. Stripped of its engines, most of its passenger seating (and likely much more), the aircraft sounds like a deal considering the $240 million list price for a new jet (even if that figure is typically overinflated). Of course, the fact that the plane doesn’t do what it’s mean to do (fly) is probably the reason behind the steal of a deal. We’re guessing that the previous owner simply wanted to be rid of it, not wanting to pay for the scrapping fees.

Whatever the circumstances might have been that led to the aircraft purchase- it looks like it turned out to be a worthwhile purchase, given how popular the shop has become.

With many unable to travel due to travel restrictions caused by the global health crisis, setting foot on an airplane – functioning or not – might be appealing. Photo: Getty Images

In fact, at the end of June last year, the coffee shop was ordered temporarily shut down after it became too popular. Apparently, the aircraft cafe went viral on social media and thus was drawing thousands of customers a day.

While it’s not a crime for a business to be ‘too popular,’ it is a concern during a worldwide health crisis, where close human interaction in confined spaces can lead to the spread of disease. Thus, public health officials had to ask the coffee shop to close for a week, hoping that the pause would help to cool down enthusiasm and hype around the old jet.


Inside 331 Station-Coffee War

With coffee at the cafe costing as little as 60 baht ($2.00), the next-to-nothing cost of entry seems like a great deal. It’s no wonder why it’s become so popular.

In order to ensure the health and safety of customers, the cafe reportedly conducts temperature checks, requires the wearing of masks, and regularly disinfects surfaces. Only 60 customers are permitted “on board” at any one time, for a maximum of 40 minutes.


Much of the A330’s regular passenger seating has been removed- mostly replaced by small coffee tables and wooden chairs. Photo: Getty Images
Of course, a few old aircraft seats were retained. Photo: Getty Images
Some economy class seats were even kept onboard. At least they were rearranged to provide more legroom. Photo: Getty Images
The aircraft once flew with Thai Airways. Photo: Getty Images

Before it was a coffee shop

The Airbus A330-300 once flew with Thai flag carrier, Thai Airways, registered as HS-TEA. The jet was delivered new to the airline in 1995 and was configured to seat 42 in business and 263 in economy class.

A look at HS-TEA when it was still flying. Photo: Aero Icarus via Wikimedia Commons

The jet was withdrawn from use in March of 2015 and then stored at U-Tapao–Rayong–Pattaya International Airport (UTP) airport in May of that year. UTP is a common storage airport for Thai’s unused jets. Interested in other aircraft re-purposing stories like this? Check out the 727-turned-event-space, and the 737 converted into a cabin.

If you were in Thailand, would you go out of your way to see this coffee shop? Let us know in the comments.

Source: https://simpleflying.com/thailand-a330-coffee-shop/

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What Is The Shuttlecock That Hangs Off The Tail Of Test Planes?





If you look at photos and videos of aircraft conducting their initial test flights, you may see a little object tethered to the top of the vertical stabilizer. This object, known as a trailing cone (or static cone), almost looks like an oversized badminton birdie or shuttlecock. Indeed, it does have a key role to play in the test process. Let’s look at it in this article.

737 max
Known as a trailing cone, it’s shown here on a 737 MAX test flight. Photo: Getty Images

Measuring static pressure

When developing new aircraft, the trailing cone is fixed on to test jets in the early weeks of test flights and is there to measure static pressure or ambient atmospheric pressure. Thus, beyond trailing cone and static cone, some have also referred to it as a static pressure line.

When the line is reeled out in flight, AeronewsTV notes that the nylon cable is generally one to one and a half times the wingspan length or about 50 metres. This gets reeled in and is much shorter when the aircraft is on the ground, however.

Aviation International News gets a behind-the-scenes look at a test aircraft, including inside the cabin. Fitted with computer workstations for the development team, the aircraft shown in the video below also provides a brief glance at the line and reel from the inside of the aircraft. Appearing for just a few seconds at 1:48, the reel in the video is clearly about the same height as the passenger door it is situated beside and thus stands taller than most people.

In terms of an outside look, the trailing cone and its line can be seen quite well in Boeing’s 777X “first flight video” embedded below:

Calibrating sensors

A former flight test director at Airbus explains to AeronewsTV that getting an accurate read on the static pressure is necessary to measure the plane’s exact airspeed and altitude. “The static pressure is therefore fundamental to measure the performance of a test aircraft.”


a350 test
The trailing cone and its line can be removed once accurate data is collected and integrated into aircraft sensors. Photo: Getty Images

When it is let out to its proper length, the object’s location is far enough behind the aircraft so that it can give a proper indication of the pressure away from the air flowing around an aircraft. Its presence gives the aircraft test team an idea of the difference in pressure between it and the pitot pressure at the front of the aircraft. This difference between the static pressure and pitot pressure helps to calibrate the airspeed measurements. 

Advanced digital electronic air data computers make it possible for aircraft to correct for pitot-static “errors,” as veteran pilot Mac McLellan explains,


“Those errors can be caused by configuration change, such as extending the flaps, or flying at higher or lower altitudes, and faster or slower airspeeds. But the errors must first be documented in flight test and that’s why the static cone is so essential. The air data computers are terrific at correcting errors, but only after the errors themselves have been documented.” -Mac McLellan via Air Facts

Once the data is collected and analyzed, sensors can then be properly calibrated and adjusted. This, then, allows for the trailing cone to disappear.

Did you know notice this trailing cone before reading this article? Did you already know why it was there? Let us know in the comments.

Source: https://simpleflying.com/test-plane-shuttlecock/

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