Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Aviation Year in Review Has a Star Wars Sci-Fi Feel

Harrison Ford and cast Disney handout photo 
Star Wars dominated the end-of-the-year entertainment news. Harrison Ford, the ageless superstar most associated with the ageless film franchise also arrives on my list of top aviation news stories as I wrap up the year with a look back at 2015. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

WWJD? If Jesus Had Been a Pilot

A patient being carried
All photos courtesy Samaritan Aviation.
Mark Palm thinks he knows what Jesus might do if he were a pilot. He might climb into the left seat of a Cessna 206 Amphibian and fly the 700 mile long Sepik River in Papua, New Guinea helping transport the sick to the region’s only hospital.

It must feel a bit like being God, and not in a good way, when Palm and others with the medical transport charity Samaritan Aviation have to dispassionately triage passengers before giving them a ride on the air ambulance.  

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Happy Birthday from Syria and Other Places in a Troubled World

One of my Facebook messages today
Not long after my eyes opened this morning I enjoyed reading some of the early birthday greetings posted on my Facebook page. (Don't judge me.) It is heartwarming to be remembered by friends and family of course. Then I noticed something else; the remarkable number of countries from which those greetings came. I counted eleven even before 9:00 o'clock. 

My host family during my 2006 stay in Syria, my daughter’s former boyfriend in New Zealand, an au pair from Spain, a tour guide from Morocco, a pre-teen acquaintance from Australia, an a septuagenarian from Japan, business associates from Norway, Italy and India and fellow aviation enthusiasts from Holland, Sweden and France.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Nice Landing or Scary Takeoff A350 Enters Service With Both

A350 arrives in Brazil photo courtesy TAM
What a difference a week makes. Early this morning, TAM Airlines happily welcomed its first Airbus A350 when it touched down uneventfully in Brazil after a flight from Airbus HQ in Toulouse France. Earlier this week, however, it was quite a different experience when a Qatar Airways charter flight with aviation writers enjoying a look at the fancy new wide body, attempted to leave New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Merry Christmas for U.S. Airlines With Record Profits in 2015

US Carrier profitability takes off
It will be a merry end of the year for North American airlines which will earn nearly $20 billion in profits in 2015, according to numbers forecast today by the International Air Transport Association.  That’s more than half of the $33 billion profit expected to be generated by the world’s passenger carriers for the year about to come to a close.

“North American airlines are way out ahead of the pack and producing good operating margins,” said Brian Pearce economist for the trade association in a presentation to journalists in Geneva. But in an industry more comfortable with and more accustomed to worrying about where the next dollar is going to come from, IATA chief Tony Tyler was quick to put a moderating spin on the news.