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The first of Qantas’ upgraded A380 takes to the skies

The first of Qantas’ upgraded A380s welcomed its first passengers today, delivering a new level of comfort for customers traveling on the national carrier’s largest aircraft.

The multimillion-dollar upgrade of 12 aircraft includes new seating across expanded Business and Premium Economy cabins and a refresh of the aircraft’s First and Economy seating. The on-board lounge has also been redesigned.

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Smarter use of space has created an all premium class upper deck (now occupied by Business and Premium Economy) and an expanded on-board lounge. There are now 30 fewer Economy seats and an increase in premium seating by 27 per cent.

Premium Economy
Business-class
Premium Ex
First class
First Class
Economy class

Key elements of the upgrade include:

  • The introduction of the Qantas Business Suite, replacing the previous Skybeds, in a 1:2:1 configuration that now gives aisle access to every passenger.
  • The installation of the new Premium Economy seat (first debuted on the Qantas Dreamliner) and increasing the number of seats from 35 to 60.
  • A larger on-board lounge space with seating for up to 10 Business and First passengers.
  • An update to the 14 First Class Suites with new contoured cushioning, seat finishes and a larger, higher resolution entertainment screen.
  • A new colour palette for the Economy cabin and improved inflight entertainment.

The first reconfigured aircraft, VH-OQK, will operate as QF2 from London to Sydney via Singapore, arriving in Australia on Wednesday 2 October.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the mid-life upgrade of the A380 would ensure its status as one of the most popular aircraft with customers.

“The A380 is a crucial part of our long-haul fleet and this upgrade program will see customers enjoy everything the aircraft has to offer for years to come,” said Mr Joyce.

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“It also provides an increase in Business and Premium Economy seating to help match the demand we’re seeing on our long-haul routes.

“Working with Airbus, we’ve been able to use the cabin space more efficiently and improve the economics of the aircraft while also providing a better experience in every part of the aircraft.

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“By the end of this upgrade, we’ll have next-generation seating across our entire long-haul fleet of A380s, A330s and 787s.”

A further two A380 aircraft are expected to undergo refurbishment before the end of 2019.

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Each aircraft takes approximately eight weeks to upgrade.

The capacity of Qantas A380s after the upgrade will be: 14 First Suites (unchanged), 70 Business Suites (up by six), 60 Premium Economy (up by 25) and 341 Economy (down by 30) for a total of 485 passengers (up by one).

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More details of the onboard service will be revealed at a hangar event in Sydney on Wednesday, 2 October.

Qantas expects to complete the refurbishment of the remaining 11 aircraft by the end of 2020.

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Asia

Singapore Airlines emergency landing after severe turbulence

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 Aircraft lands at Singapore Changi Airport (Incident aircraft not pictured)

One passenger passed on, while dozens of passengers were injured when a Singapore Airlines Boeing B777-300ER aircraft experienced severe turbulence while en route to Singapore from London Heathrow Airport. The aircraft diverted to Bangkok, and landed at 3:45pm Local time on 21 May 2024 

The flight landed with 211 Passengers and 11 Crew members at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. According to the Airport Director Kittipong Kittikachorn at a news conference, there were 7 passengers who suffered serious injuries, while a number of other passengers suffered injuries of varying seriousness.

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It was also confirmed that the passenger who passed on was a 73 year old British Man. In a statement from Singapore Airlines ‘ As of 0505 hours Singapore Time on 22 May 2024, 79 passengers and 6 crew members from SQ321 remain in Bangkok’. In another statement, it was reported that a relief flight with 143 passengers and crew members arrived in Singapore at 0505 hours Singapore time on 22 May 2024.

According to aircraft tracking site FlightRadar24, the 16 Year Old Boeing B777-300ER aircraft descended sharply from 37,000 feet to 31,000 feet in a short time. It was also further reported by FlightRadar24 that the descent was commanded by Autopilot, instead of being caused by turbulence.

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Shortly afterwards, the pilot declared an emergency by squeaking 7700 on the transponder, indicating an emergency situation onboard the aircraft. The Boeing 777 aircraft then diverted to Bangkok, instead of continuing on its planned journey to Singapore. 

In view of this incident, Singapore Airlines mentioned in a statement that they are working with the relevant authorities on the investigation into this incident.

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The National Transportation Safety Board, a US Government investigative agency for civil aviation incidents, is sending an accredited representative and 4 technical advisors to support the investigation by Singapore’s Transport Safety Investigation Bureau (TSIB). TSIB mentioned in a statement that it ‘is in touch with its Thai counterparts and will be deploying investigators to Bangkok’. 

Boeing, the manufacturer of the Boeing B777 aircraft mentioned in a statement that they are in contact with Singapore Airlines regarding the ill-fated flight, and ‘stand ready to support them’. 

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This situation is developing, more details will be added when they become available. 

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Aviation

Top 5 light helicopter under 3 million

Top 5 light helicopter under 3 million

In the realm of aviation, helicopters represent a unique blend of agility, versatility, and accessibility. For many, the allure of piloting a helicopter is irresistible, whether for recreational flying, aerial photography, or even business transportation.

However, for those looking to invest in their own rotorcraft, affordability is often a crucial consideration. With a budget of under $3 million, prospective buyers are presented with a range of options, each offering its own blend of performance, features, and value.

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In this Video, we’ll explore the top five light helicopters available on the market, all priced under $3 million.

1. Robinson R44 Raven: The Robinson R44 Raven is a popular and versatile light helicopter known for its reliability. It typically accommodates four passengers and a pilot. It boasts a cruise speed of around 130 knots (150 mph) and a range of approximately 300 nautical miles. It starts at around $400,000 to $500,000. The R44 Raven is often used for various applications, including private transportation, aerial photography, and training due to its agility and affordability in the light helicopter category.

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2.MD530F: The MD530F, also from MD Helicopters, is a compact and nimble helicopter known for its agility and maneuverability. It’s often used in law enforcement and military applications. It typically falls within the price range of $2.5 million,depending on factors such as configuration, optional features, and market conditions. It is equipped with a Rolls-Royce 250-C30 engine, delivering 650 shaft horsepower. With a cruise speed of approximately 110 knots (126 mph) and a range of around 260 nautical miles, the MD530F is well-suited for tasks requiring precision flying, such as reconnaissance and patrol missions.

3. Bell 206 Jet Ranger: a renowned light utility helicopter, is esteemed for its compact design and exceptional maneuverability. Widely utilized in law enforcement, military, and civilian roles, it offers versatility across various missions. Typically priced around $1.2 million to $1.5 million, the cost may vary based on configuration, optional features, and market conditions. Powered by a Allison 250-C20j turboshaft engine, the Bell 206 Jet Ranger boasts 420 shaft horsepower, facilitating a cruise speed of approximately 112 knots (129 mph) and a range of about 374 nautical miles.

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4. Leonardo AW109 Power: renowned for its versatility and performance, is another compact and agile helicopter highly regarded in both civilian and military circles. It is often utilized in law enforcement, emergency medical services, corporate transport, and various other missions. Priced at approximately $3 million. Powered by twin Pratt & Whitney Canada PW206C engines, the AW109 Power boasts impressive capabilities with a cruise speed of approximately 154 knots (177 mph) and a range of up to 565 kilometers, making it suitable for missions requiring swift and efficient transportation over moderate distances.

Equipped with advanced avionics and spacious cabin accommodations, the AW109 Power provides a comfortable and safe flying experience for both pilots and passengers.

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5. Airbus H125: formerly known as the AS350 B3e, is a versatile and reliable helicopter renowned for its performance and adaptability. It is widely used across various industries, including law enforcement, emergency medical services, and aerial work. With a price typically ranging from $2.5 million, the cost can vary based on specific configurations, optional features.

Powered by a Turbomeca Arriel 2D engine, the H125 boasts robust performance, delivering approximately 847 shaft horsepower. Its cruise speed reaches around 133 knots (153 mph), offering swift and efficient transportation. The H125 also features a commendable range of approximately 357 nautical miles, making it suitable for extended missions or long-distance flights.

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Aviation

American Airlines Letter Sparks Outrage Over Flight Attendant Salary

American Airlines Launches 8 New Winter Routes to Latin America &Caribbean

An employment letter from American Airlines (AAL) has ignited a firestorm of controversy across social media platforms, shedding light on the stark reality of flight attendant salaries in the aviation industry.

Shared on Reddit and authenticated by the union representing American Airlines employees, the letter has drawn widespread attention for its revelation of starting salaries barely surpassing federal poverty levels.

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The actual letter AA gives new FAs when they move to NYC, Miami, Boston, Dallas etc.
byu/containment-failure inamericanairlines

Detailing the compensation package for new flight attendants, the letter discloses an hourly rate of $30.35 per flight hour, translating to an annual salary projection of $27,315 before incentives and taxes. This figure, notably below the poverty threshold for both individual and two-person households in 2024, has sparked outrage and disbelief among readers.

What further compounds the issue is the disclosure that flight attendants typically work between 65 to 85 flight hours each month, supplemented by an additional 50 hours dedicated to aircraft preparation before takeoff and after landing—tasks for which they receive no compensation.

This revelation underscores the significant gap between the demanding workload of flight attendants and the meager financial rewards they receive in return. The letter, designed for use in dealings with landlords and other service providers as proof of income, closes with a plea for understanding: “any courtesy you can provide would be appreciated.”

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This poignant appeal highlights the financial strain faced by many flight attendants who struggle to make ends meet on their current salaries. In response to these revelations, American Airlines flight attendants are mobilizing for action.

With negotiations underway for a new contract with the airline, which includes demands for higher pay, they are urging the White House to authorize their right to strike after a 30-day cooling-off period.

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