Being a self-proclaimed lover of all things aviation you would think that I would have been to loads of air shows. Well that is not the case, much to my disappointment. So when the Farnborough International Air Show rolled around and I was able to go, I jumped at the chance. I made the journey down to London where I met up with two of my friends and the next day on Saturday 24th July we set off to the first public day of the show. The last air show I attended must have been at least 8-9 years ago so I was very excited to be going to the Farnborough Air Show of all places. We recorded audio and took pictures, and I have put together this commentary on the day’s events.
The Farnborough International Air Show has been taking place since 1945; today it has grown to be the biggest air show in the world. The whole event lasts for an entire week, Monday to Friday being the trade show days where thousands from the aerospace industry descend to announce new products, generate orders and demonstrate equipment.
Based at a former RAF base the now privately owned airport covers an area of 581 acers, plenty of space for hundreds of static aircraft displays. As a result of its RAF past the 8,000 ft runway is long enough for almost anything. This year’s show was very important, with the aerospace sector looking like its beginning to make a recovery from the effects of the global credit crisis, the deals done, or deals not done will give an indication of the current state of the industry.
Finance and economics aside, Saturday and Sunday are the public open days of the air show. On these days there is an extended flying display, this year it was from 12:30pm to 5:30pm. Most of the aircraft stay throughout the whole week, although notable absences were, 787-8 Dreamliner, A400M Grizzly and F-22 Raptor. The former two were in the middle of a busy flight testing programme and so could not spare the extra time, but that did not dampen the crowds’ spirits as there were still many aircraft flying over the weekend.
A packed out day at the airshow
Well, I’m afraid to say that I have not been able to post much for the last couple of months. I’m working as an intern at an engineering company and I have been ridiculously busy, I only have two weeks left so as soon as I’m done I’ll get straight back on it.
I’m especially excited because I have been working on a post about the Farnborough Air Show which I attended this year. I think It’s going to be a great post, in fact the written parts have been completed for a while now but I have not found the time to sit down and edit some media that goes along with the words.
I know the airshow was almost a month ago now, but think of it this way, when my post is eventually online you can be reminded of how much of an awesome day it was!
Almost exactly 41 years after the first flight of a 747, Boeing flies a brand new aeroplane moulded around the original jumbo jet body: the 747-8.
The takeoff took place at around 11am PDT after being delayed due to adverse weather conditions. The flight lasted approximately 3h30. The aeroplane reached an altitude of 10000ft and a speed of 220kt.
This is a really great performance from Boeing, delivering this almost new airplane on time.
Air New Zealand only yesterday unveiled their new cabin configurations on their new 777-300ER’s. From my point of view this looks like the best cabin I have ever seen (especially economy), and it will certainly differentiate the airline in terms of service provided. This means that the airline can attract customers with this better service; but I ask, are there any customers to attract?
It’s interesting to look at the current route map for ANZ, obviously their hub is Auckland and most of their long-haul routes (i.e. the routes that will have these new cabins) are mainly to Far East Asia and West Coast North America. Arguably the most profitable routes are Europe/UK – USA and USA- East Asia. There are no direct routes from USA- East Asia and there is only ONE direct route from UK- USA. The Auckland hub is not in the most convenient location, and they can’t rely on increased tourist travel alone, so how can ANZ make the best use of its new aircraft, and make it a commercial success.
I think ANZ are planning an expansion, they are about to introduce quite a few new aircraft (5 777’s EIS 2010, and 8 787’s EIS 2013), but with their current routes they may have surplus capacity. In particular I think they will introduce more UK-USA routes to tap into that massive market. However UK-USA routes are served extensively by the “Big daddy” in the STAR alliance partnership United Airlines, would ANZ now compete with them?
With such little difference between airlines in almost every aspect, in flight experience is the most differentiating factor and ANZ will have the upper hand in attracting passengers. It will be interesting to watch ANZ over the next year as the flights with the upgraded cabins are due to begin Dec 2010. So between now and then: will they unveil any new routes, how will they manage the STAR alliance relationships and how long before other airlines also introduce new cabins?
Either way I think ANZ’s new cabin is good because it will raise the cabin standards collectively across the airline industry, at least in long haul, which is good for travellers (like me!).
So this is my first ever blog and as a result I expect my first few entries to be rather bad. Hopefully I’ll get better as I post more.
This blog is about my views on the aviation industry, I’ll be commenting on some of major news stories in the industry or I may just share my views about a certain aspect that has taken my interest.
Please leave comments and I hope you enjoy it.
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