Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Air India return to Birmingham! [Update]

Air India have announced they are restarting their Delhi-Birmingham service from the 1st August 2013 using Boeing 787s. The route was last flown directly in 2008, when Air India flew Amritsar-Delhi-Birmingham-Toronto with 777s. However the route was cancelled and extra rotations were flown into Heathrow instead.

With the new 787 Dreamliner, the aircraft is right sized for the route. This follows years of airlines taking advantage of the strong demand for flights to India from the Midlands - most passengers at moment make connections with airlines such as Emirates, Turkmenistan Airlines and Turkish Airlines via their respective hubs. Other airlines have tried and subsequently failed: Mahan Air, Slovakian, Armavia and Comtel to name a few.

The new 787 service (the first 787 flights to BHX and the first scheduled 787 flights into the UK outside of Heathrow) will operate 4 times weekly on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at the following times:
AI113 Arv BHX 19:00
AI114 Dep BHX 21:30

This is a good example of what the 787 was designed to do, to make thinner long haul routes possible.

From BHX's website:

Flights can now be booked on Air India's website www.airindia.com.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Update: A350, Paris Airshow

The first flight of the Airbus A350 happened last week. Their latest aircraft, the A350 is designed to compete with the 777 and larger 787 variants, aswell as replacing Airbus's own A330 and A340 lines. Like Boeing's 787, the A350 has a high percentage of CFRP parts (Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic). This material is stronger than steel but significantly lighter, making it perfect for building aircraft. The maiden flight from Toulouse lasted around 4 hours in which time the handling of the aircraft was tested at different speeds, altitudes and flaps settings:

The A350 then performed a fly-by at the Paris Airshow 2013 on Thursday. The biennial Paris airshow (at Le Bourget, a private airfield near to Paris CDG) is where the majority of big airline orders are placed. Significant developments include:
  •  Boeing have launched the 787-10, a 787 variant to replace their own 777-200 and rival the A350. Launch customers include British Airways and United.
  • Odyssey Airlines have ordered 10 Bombardier CS100 aircraft, they are thought to be planning operations from London City. The CS100 is expected to make its first flight this month.
  • Both EasyJet and Ryanair have placed big orders: EasyJet for 135 A320 series (a mix of A320 and A320neo) while Ryanair have committed to 175 737-800 (with the possibility of a 737-8MAX order this year). Both of the these orders are primarily to replace existing aircraft as they get older. 
  •  Embraer have launched the second generation of their E-Jets: the E2-Jet family, including the E2-175, E2-190 and E2-195.  These will include aerodynamic tweaks and all new P&W geared turbofan engines. Launch customer is America's Skywest with 100 E2-175's. 

Meanwhile, closer to home, there are rumours circulating that Air India are going to restart Delhi-Birmingham.... with 787's!