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What Happened to Zambia Airways?

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Zambia Airways spent 30 years operating out of Lusaka Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN). During this time, the carrier served a wide range of destinations as far afield as North America and Europe. The airline also operated an interesting and diverse fleet during its three decades of operations. Let’s take a closer look at its history.

Zambia Airways Douglas DC-10
The airline flew the DC-10 to destinations such as London Heathrow. Photo: Dean Morley via Flickr

In the beginning

1964 saw a reformation of Central African Airways (CAA). This airline had previously been the flag carrier of three territories: Malwai, Southern Rhodesia, and Zambia. At this time, it decided instead to create national airlines for each of these three territories and own them all as subsidiaries. As such, Zambia Airways came into being in April 1964.

Operations began three months later, in the form of generally unprofitable domestic services. The airline was supported by CAA’s more successful international operations, although it chose to part ways with its parent company in 1967.

Having broken away from CAA that September, Zambia Airways became the country’s state-owned national airline. It soon enlisted the support of Alitalia in the fields of technical assistance and management. This allowed the carrier to begin flying internationally.

Zambia Airways Boeing 737
Zambia Airways was only a CAA subsidiary for its first three years (1964-7) before becoming state-owned. Photo: Steve Fitzgerald via Wikimedia Commons

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Fleet and destinations

Most of Zambia Airways’ destinations were, understandably, situated in Africa. As well as a robust domestic network, the carrier also flew to the likes of Botswana, Kenya, Liberia, South Africa, Swaziland, and Tanzania. Further afield, Zambia Airways also served Mumbai, as well as several key European hubs, including Frankfurt and London Heathrow.

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It even operated a single transatlantic route, to none other than New York JFK. Such a wide range of destinations also demanded a correspondingly diverse fleet. During its three decades of operations, Zambia Airways operated the following aircraft types.

  • ATR – 42-300.
  • BAC – 1-11.
  • Boeing – 707, 737, 757 (freighter).
  • de Havilland Canada – DHC-2 ‘Beaver.’
  • Douglas – DC-3, DC-8, DC-10.
  • Hawker Siddeley – HS 748.
  • Vickers – Viscount.
Zambia Airways Boeing 757PF
The Boeing 757 freighter provided Zambia Airways with more cargo capacity. Photo: Pete Webber via Flickr

A new dawn?

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Zambia Airways ran into financial difficulties. Despite hiring Lufthansa in an attempt to regain profitability, the airline’s precarious economic situation forced it to make cuts. These included the closures of its New York and Tokyo offices, the former of which also meant the suspension of its service to the Big Apple.

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Zambia Airways’ story eventually came to an end in December 1994. This was when the country’s government placed it into liquidation due to its losses and debts. However, a new chapter to the Zambia Airways story may yet be written.

Indeed, with the help of Ethiopian Airlines, the Zambian government had planned to launch a new version of the airline on October 24th, 2018 (the country’s independence day). However, since then, the launch has been subjected to multiple delays, and is yet to occur. In any case, it will be an interesting one to watch out for as African aviation looks to weather the storm of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in the coming years.

Did you ever fly with Zambia Airways? If so, which of its aircraft did you travel on, and where to? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

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Source: https://simpleflying.com/zambia-airways/

Aviation

The Story Of The Ethiopian Airlines 767 That Landed At The Wrong Airport

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Back in 2013, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 flying from Addis Ababa to Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro Airport inadvertently landed at nearby Arusha Airport instead. The two airports are situated some 50km (31 miles) apart from each other. So how did this incident occur in the first place?

The incident involved a Boeing 767-300ER operated by Ethiopian Airlines. Photo: Joren de Groof via Wikimedia Commons 

The events of December 2013

It was on December 18th, 2013, that Ethiopian Airlines flight ET815 took off from Addis Ababa-Bole Airport (ADD), bound for Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO). This flight number has had a few variations but usually sees a triangle route operating from Addis Ababa to some combination of Tanzanian destinations, including Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam (DAR), and Zanzibar (ZNZ). When the 2013 incident occurred, however, flight ET815 was scheduled to continue on to the port city of Mombassa, in Kenya.

By all accounts, the departure and takeoff of flight 815 went smoothly and without incident. The aircraft headed south-southwest towards its first stop at Kilimanjaro International Airport in Tanzania- the main gateway airport for international tourists either planning a safari adventure or a hike up Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain.

The flight overflies Kenya to land at Kilimanjaro airport, fairly close to the border. Photo: GCMap.com

Approaching Kilimanjaro

According to the Aviation Safety Network (ASN), the pilot made first contact with Kilimanjaro International Airport when descending to FL240. He told Kilimanjaro that he had been cleared by the Dar es Salaam Area Control Centre to descend to this altitude, with the intention of heading to a given waypoint before final approach.

Along the way, the pilot was informed that Kilimanjaro’s runway 09 was not available due to a disabled aircraft located at the approach end. Thus, he was directed to approach the runway from the other side (runway 27). While approaching runway 09 would have provided instrument arrival guidance, runway 27 was not equipped with an instrument landing system.

About 14 minutes after being informed of this, the pilot reported having the airport in sight. After confirming the position of the disabled aircraft, the surface wind was communicated, and clearance to land was given by air traffic control.

Arusha Airport (left) is located 60km (by road) from Kilimanjaro International Airport. Photo: Google Maps

Kilimanjaro’s control tower, expecting a 767 to land, failed to see the aircraft. The controller made attempts to contact the aircraft on the Kilimanjaro frequency, but no reply was received.

After repeatedly trying to reach the aircraft by radio, a telephone call came in from the Arusha tower. They had informed Kilimanjaro tower that the Ethiopian Airlines 767, registered ET-AQW, had landed at runway 27 of their airport instead.

Less than half the runway length

Ending up at the wrong airport is an interesting story in itself. However, the story gets more interesting when considering Arusha’s status as a small regional facility. While the airports of Kilimanjaro and Arusha are located relatively close to one another and have runways with identical orientations, the characteristics of each runway are quite different.

The local newspaper ‘The Citizen’ reported that there was much confusion from aviaiton officials. “It probably landed here by mistake,” Arusha’s airport manager is quoted saying on the day. “The pilot was not supposed to land here because this is not an airport its size.”

Kilimanjaro’s runway has a full length of 3,600 meters (11,811 ft) (without the presence of a disabled aircraft at one end), Arusha airport’s runway is a mere 1,620 meters (5,315 ft). Indeed, Arusha (ARK) is a domestic-only airport that serves small aircraft hopping between other towns and cities in Tanzania. The airport would typically see small aircraft such as the Cessna Caravan while the largest one might see at this airport is an ATR72.

Arusha airport was never meant to handle such large aircraft. Photo: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen via Wikimedia Commons 

Therefore, the presence of a Boeing 767-300ER presents quite a challenge for both the airport and the aircraft’s flight crew, as the approximate length required for a 767-300 takeoff is somewhere over 2,600 meters (8,563 ft). This would, of course, vary by payload, altitude, and temperature.

Aircraft stuck in the grass

Thankfully, the aircraft managed to safely land at Arusha’s runway 27 within the length of the runway. However, during an attempted 180 degree turn, the aircraft’s nose and main landing gear wheels exited the runway, becoming stuck in soft soil. Arusha’s runway is just  32 meters (105 ft) wide compared to Kilimanjaro’s 45 meters (147.5 ft).

According to FlightGlobal, Ethiopian Airlines reported that there was a long delay before passengers could disembark and images from the scene indicated that the escape slides were activated. The Aviation Herald reports that this was because some emergency exits were opened for air circulation and to “calm discontent amongst the passengers,” who had been stuck in the aircraft for three and a half hours after landing. This lengthy delay was reportedly due to the need for appropriately-sized aircraft stairs – unavailable at Arusha airport.

The jet was towed back and ASN notes that there was no damage to the aircraft and no injuries were reported from the 223 persons onboard.

Enca reports that Precision Air diverted some of its flights that would have normally landed in Arusha to Kilimanjaro. The Tanzanian regional carrier said that it had to ferry its passengers into town by bus instead.

A successful takeoff was accomplished two days after landing, on December 20th, 2013- this time without passengers. Excess fuel was also offloaded as well. The aircraft then made the short hop to Kilimanjaro International airport.

While reporting doesn’t mention what happened to the passengers, we would presume that immigration officials would have been dispatched to process arriving passengers, with those heading onwards to Mombassa being transfered to JRO by land.

What happened?

ASN reports that during the descent the pilot apparently saw an airport and “prematurely abandoned the given arrival procedure,” which would have positioned him at the proper waypoint and approach for Kilimanjaro’s runway.

He subsequently approached runway 27 at Arusha Airport believing that he was headed to Kilimanjaro. The aircraft’s downwind position report was not challenged by the Kilimanjaro controller, who should have confirmed the situation visually.

Did you know abou this incident before reading this article? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment.

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Source: https://simpleflying.com/the-story-of-the-ethiopian-airlines-767-that-landed-at-the-wrong-airport/

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Alaska Airlines Grows Its Boise Portfolio Even More

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On Thursday, Alaska Airlines inaugurated two new daily nonstop services from Boise, Idaho’s capital. Alaska Airlines has even more planned, announcing two more new nonstop flights scheduled to start this fall. The airline’s focus continues to be on growing its Western US presence.

Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines is continuing to grow in Boise. Photo: Getty Images

Alaska Airlines starts two new routes out of Boise

Alaska Airlines has inaugurated daily nonstop services from Boise Airport (BOI) to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS). The two routes have come just in time for summer.

Chicago O’Hare is a major hub for American Airlines, and American also has plans to fly the route. Alaska Airlines flights complement American’s and provide more options for travelers looking to get from Boise to Chicago and the rest of the world. Alaska is using an Embraer E175 on the route.

As for Austin, Alaska Airlines has a monopoly on the route, which also flies with an Embraer E175. Austin is a growing focus city for American Airlines, so Alaska can tap into some of American’s marketing power in the city thanks to the two carrier’s West Coast alliance.

Alaska Getty
Alaska has used the E175 to launch new services out of Boise. Photo: Getty Images

Adding two new flights

This fall, Alaska Airlines is adding a new route from Boise to Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport (PUW) and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX).

Flights to PUW will run five times per week on a Q400 turboprop. The aircraft will depart BOI at 11:10 and arrive in PUW at 11:15. The return flight leaves PUW at 11:55 and arrives at 13:34 in BOI. All times are local. Flights will start on August 17th.

Flights from BOI to PHX will depart at 10:30 and arrive at 12:30. The return flight will depart PHX at 13:10 and arrive in BOI at 16:15. All times are local. This flight will run daily with an Embraer E175. Flights will start on November 19th and are set to end for now on April 18th.

Brett Catlin, vice president of network and alliances at Alaska Airlines, stated the following on the airline’s Boise expansion:

“Our guests are showing us how excited they are about our new service to Chicago and Austin from Boise with strong bookings throughout the summer months. Our new year-round route bridging Boise and PullmanMoscow will offer a crucial link to that area’s two major universities, and the seasonal nonstop to Phoenix is another terrific way to quickly escape to sunshine and warmth in the desert this winter.”

Alaska New Routes
Alaska will have an expansive route network out of Boise. Photo: Alaska Airlines

The flight to Pullman is made possible with an agreement between Alaska Airlines and the University of Idaho. The University announced the agreement, paying up to $500,000 each year if Alaska does not make 10% more than the cost of operations on the service. This helps connect the University in Moscow, Idaho, to Boise and the rest of the world.

Meanwhile, the route to Phoenix is similar in strategy to the Chicago O’Hare service. This is a major hub for American Airlines, and American already operates flights on the route. Alaska will complement American’s flight times and allow for more connections.

Building out in Boise

Come this winter, Alaska Airlines will fly up to 30 daily nonstop departures out of Boise to 14 destinations. The airline will have more daily departures to more nonstop destinations out of Boise than any other airline. This sets up the airline to continue to do well in the western US.

Alaska Getty
The new route to PUW will run on a Q400. Photo: Getty Images

Boise is the kind of market that is ripe for Alaska Airlines’ expansion. It is a growing city with passengers who want to go to many points across the US and where many Americans want to visit. Much of Alaska’s flying, such as to San Jose, Palm Springs, San Diego, Spokane, Pullman, Austin, and soon Everett, among others, are mostly point-to-point services.

The city is also not picking up the keen interest of major US airlines, leaving Alaska Airlines as one of the fastest-growing and dynamic airlines in the city. There are still plenty of options for Alaska Airlines to grow in the future as demand warrants.

Are you glad to see Alaska Airlines add more flying in Boise? Let us know in the comments!

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Source: https://simpleflying.com/alaska-boise-growth/

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Delta Air Lines Drops Cape Town With Nonstop Johannesburg A350 Flights

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Delta Air Lines has announced its return to South Africa this August. However, the airline will only serve Johannesburg and has axed its plans to serve the Atlanta-Johannesburg-Cape Town-Atlanta triangle route. Instead, using an Airbus A350-900 will serve Atlanta to Johannesburg nonstop and fly its longest nonstop flight.

Delta A350
Delta will fly an A350 nonstop between South Africa and the US. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Delta will return to Johannesburg

Delta Air Lines will return to Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) on August 1st. The airline’s only route to South Africa, Delta will serve the airport from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).

Delta plans to fly the route three times per week to start. The flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg will run on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The return flight will operate on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Mondays.

Flight DL200 departs ATL at 19:00 and arrives the next day in JNB at 16:30. Flight DL201 departs JNB at 22:55 and arrives the next day in ATL at 09:15. All times are local.

Delta A350
Delta is the only airline flying nonstop between Atlanta and Johannesburg. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Joe Esposito, Delta’s SVP of Network Planning, stated the following on the airline’s return to South Africa:

“Delta has proudly served South Africa for more than 15 years, and we’re thrilled to return to a market so highly sought after by tourists. Two-thirds of Americans report making summer travel plans, and with demand growing rapidly alongside U.S. vaccination rates, we’re bringing back more flights and destinations to deliver on their anticipation to get back out in the world and reclaim the joy of travel.”

Onboard, passengers will be able to delight in inflight entertainment and high-capacity overhead bins. The airline has also decided to offer uniquely crafted menu items, choosing flavors unique and known in South Africa. All customers will receive a choice of an entreé, alongside an appetizer and dessert. There will also be a full beverage selection available.

Delta A350
Delta can serve the route with an enhanced A350-900 capable of making the jaunt nonstop. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Meal items in economy include dishes like beef stew with jollof rice, fried plantains, and sautéed spinach, or Malay chicken curry with coconut rice and ginger-infused French green beans. Meanwhile, Delta One customers can pre-order their meals on flights between the US and South Africa. This includes items like Peri Peri chicken or grilled prawns with jasmine rice.

The aircraft

Delta will use a four-class Airbus A350-900 on the route. This features the airline’s Delta One Suites in business class, Premium Select (premium economy), Comfort+ (extra-legroom economy), and standard economy. There are 32 Delta One Suites, 48 premium economy seats, 36 extra-legroom seats, and 190 economy seats.

D1 Suite
Passengers in business class can delight in the Delta One Suite product. Photo: Jay Singh | Simple Flying

Delta had previously planned to use the Airbus A350 to fly the route. However, Johannesburg is a hot and high airport, and this limits aircraft performance. Pre-crisis, Delta flew a Boeing 777-200LR between the two cities, which was the initial aircraft that unlocked nonstop flying between the two cities.

Delta bid farewell to its 777s last year. The plan was to use Airbus A350s to fly all the ultra-long-haul routes the 777-200LRs flew. However, Delta needed to wait for a higher gross weight, longer range Airbus A350 to serve the routes nonstop.

The lack of those Airbus A350s was why, last year, Delta announced plans to add a stop in Cape Town on the way back from Johannesburg. Delta could sell tickets between Cape Town and the US, but not exclusively between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Losing its competitive advantage

Delta was the only US airline flying year-round to South Africa. United Airlines ran a seasonal nonstop between Newark and Cape Town. American Airlines did not serve South Africa on its own metal.

With South African Airways in an uncertain future, United Airlines decided to throw its hat in the ring with a nonstop between Newark and Johannesburg using a Boeing 787-9. This would leave Delta’s one-stop return routing uncompetitive compared to United’s nonstop.

Delta A350
With United Airlines launching its own nonstop between Newark and Johannesburg, Delta’s one-stop was not very competitive. Photo: Delta Air Lines

With the enhanced Airbus A350-900, Delta can eliminate the stop in Cape Town and regain a competitive foothold in the market. The airline has not detailed any other plans to serve Cape Town at this time. It will offer interlining to Cape Town, and passengers can connect in Delta’s partner European hubs to fly to Cape Town.

Delta in Africa

When Johannesburg service resumes, Delta will have restored its entire pre-crisis Africa network. This includes resuming flights to Accra (Ghana), Dakar (Senegal), and Lagos (Nigeria).

Delta is operating nearly 20 weekly flights to Africa. This includes daily service between Atlanta and Lagos and New York-JFK, and Accra. There is another five-times-per-week service between JFK and Dakar. On July 8th, Delta will bring back service four times per week between Lagos and JFK.

Are you glad to see Delta gear up to resume its ATL-JNB nonstop route? Are you sad the airline will not service Cape Town? Let us know in the comments!

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Source: https://simpleflying.com/delta-cape-town-drop/

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Volaris Sets Date To Start Flying To Colombia

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Mexican low-cost carrier Volaris is flying to Colombia, starting on October 6. With two new routes, Volaris becomes the latest player in a contested Mexico-Colombia aviation market that is set to become one of the fastest growing following the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s investigate further.

Volaris
Volaris is launching new routes between Mexico City and Cancun to Bogota, Colombia. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

All about Volaris’ new routes

Earlier this year, Volaris received approval from the Colombian authorities to launch direct flights to Bogota. Along with Viva Aerobus, it is one of the new Mexican carriers set to enter the market.

Viva Aerobus will launch its Mexico City-Bogota route on August 21, with two weekly frequencies. Then, on September 15, Viva will increase to daily flights.

Meanwhile, Volaris will start flying two routes on October 6. These segments will be Mexico City-Bogota and Cancun-Bogota. Volaris will operate four weekly flights for the first one and three weekly frequencies for the latter.

The Mexico City-Bogota route will depart on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Meanwhile, the Cancun-Bogota will operate on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays said Volaris in a statement.

The company will start selling the tickets for these routes on June 23.

Volaris Getty
Volaris has had one of the fastest recoveries from the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide. Photo: Getty Images

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The Mexico-Colombia aviation market highlights

During the last year, the Mexico-Colombia market has become one of the highlights in South America. Both Volaris and Viva Aerobus will launch routes between both countries; also, Colombian low-cost carrier Viva has just started flights on two of its four routes between these two nations.

According to Cirium’s database, there will be four airlines operating flights between Mexico and Colombia in July. These are Aeromexico, Avianca, Wingo, and Viva. They will offer 449 flights, with 75,214 seats available.

Flavia Santoro, ProColombia president, said in a statement,

“The arrival of Volaris is proof of the international trust set on Colombia. It also strengthens the commercial relationship with Mexico, which is now our third destination by the number of air frequencies and seats available.”

Despite the recovery of this market, there’s still a long way to go before getting to the pre-pandemic levels. Cirium states that there are 54% fewer flights right now than two years ago. Additionally, the market has lost a player with the exit of Interjet. This carrier operated flights to Medellin, Bogota, and Cartagena de Indias.

Volaris can’t increase its routes and capacity to the US at the moment. Photo: Getty Images.

Volaris’ growth for the following months

Volaris is one of the most successful airlines amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The carrier has recovered 100% of its domestic traffic, and it is close to doing the same in the international segment. Volaris currently has 184 active routes (108 domestic and 76 international) and has carried nearly 18 million people since the start of the pandemic.

Nevertheless, following Mexico’s air safety rating downgrade to Category 2, Volaris had to readjust its plans going forward.

Volaris won’t be able to increase its presence in the US while Mexico remains in Category 2. Therefore, the Mexican low-cost carrier will strengthen its domestic market share, it said in a statement. Volaris will also deploy new capacity to the international markets it serves or plans to do, like Colombia.

In the meantime, Volaris hopes the Mexican government will quickly restore its air safety rating with the Federal Aviation Administration. The longer it takes, the hardest the hit will be on Mexican airlines, as they can’t add routes or capacity to the US.

Are you eager to try Volaris’ new routes from Mexico and Cancun to Bogota? Let us know in the comments. 

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Source: https://simpleflying.com/volaris-sets-date-to-start-flying-to-colombia/

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