It is huge. It is (generally speaking) more comfortable for passengers. It is spectacularly quiet on board. And as of 2021 no more will be built. Airbus confirmed today that it will finally halt production of its A380 super jumbo in two years, once the final 17 frames are delivered. The move comes after reaching an agreement with Emirates to slash the carrier’s order backlog.
With billions of dollars in contracts at stake perhaps it makes sense that Thales would seek extra help in securing new deals. That it stands accused of failing to pay its partner for that help is less good. That it now also likely faces scrutiny from US and international regulators related to suspicious payment schemes and efforts to influence leaders of foreign airlines is even worse. Welcome to the fun and exciting world of supplier deals in the Middle East.
Is it possible for inflight entertainment and connectivity vendors to do business in the Middle East without suspicion of bribery and fraud? Just a couple years after securing multiple major contracts Thales stands accused of failing to pay a partner it used to facilitate those deals. More than a billion dollars in damages are on the line in the case.
The balance between crowded airport lounges and the incremental revenue realized from selling access reached a tipping point for Delta Air Lines. Effective immediately the carrier no longer sells single visit passes. Annual membership costs will also increase in 2019.
Reports out this week have Emirates and Etihad once again circling around a potential merger. The politics behind such a deal are interesting but the airport terminal issues are massive. And Hyperloop might be the answer, a solution just crazy enough that it could work.
Canadian upstart Swoop, the ULCC arm of WestJet, aims to succeed as an airline mostly by not really acting like an airline. Sure, there are airplanes and pilots and such, but CEO Steven Greenway is adamant that change come quickly. And he’s keen to dramatically upset the North American aviation market along the way.
The long slog to full integration of Emirates and flyDubai continues apace. This week’s announcement brings the loyalty programs of the two carriers together. And the move looks an awful lot like a shotgun wedding, with minimal regard for the flyDubai OPEN members’ history with that program.
Passengers still must wait a couple years, but Emirates is finally set to introduce a premium economy cabin on its A380 fleet. Sir Tim Clark offers up a few details on the effort in a recent podcast episode.
It has been flying for a while, but the high speed Inmarsat Global Xpress (GX) service is now officially live on Qatar Airways. Some 130 777 and A350 aircraft will eventually carry the kit. And all passengers still get a free hour of connectivity on board.
Emirates is finally getting rid of its middle seats in business class. At least a few of them. On some planes. And also scrapping first class on that sub-fleet at the same time. So, is that really a win??