Weekend View: Beginings & Endings

There have been a few new liveries lurking around of late, and those wonderful Taiwanese have made me smile with their new A350-900 livery campaign. Lets get The People to suggest which bird is the most suitable China Airlines Ambassador, then put it on the side of each of our new A350-900’s!

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It could almost be a Donald Trump moment; “I’ll grab their tails”, said the man in the middle, while the ladies try not to flip the bird.

This of course means using cardboard cut-out’s, and the ever smiling female cabin crew, who are simply too demure to even look remotely unimpressed with another PR stunt, just get on with, well, smiling…

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Well it’s a Mikado Pheasant and an A350. Is it me or is this simply too much local rather than global marketing? Isn’t the whole concept totally lost on anyone outside of Taiwan?
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I can just see all that blue being mucked up by Phoenix

Phoenix must be rolling about with joy, imagine all those models they’ll sell with rotting gear doors and bad nose paint!

The Neo saga continues…

Elsewhere, the big elephant in the room still seems to be the non-arrival of the A320neo, JCW, Gemini and Phoenix have managed nearly a year now of avoiding it, yet they’re being delivered into the US now, Spirit has had one, LATAM in South America, Lufthansa, Qatar, and lately SAS is about to get theirs, never mind a couple of  Indian airlines.

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SAS are soon taking delivery of their first Neo

But there is news. Aeroclassics announced a model that basically says it’s a LATAM A320Neo, but don’t seem to have used the engines or wings from an A320neo.  So, saying it’s an A320Neo, printing A320neo on it as per the real thing, makes it an A320neo does it?

Has Trumpism – the blatant manufacturing of falsehoods that are believed for being repeated so often – reached into model world as well? It’s either that, a grotesque mistake, arrogance, or somebody thinks enough of us are stupid enough, that they’ll get away with it. Hang on, isn’t that Trump?

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Spirit’s first neo

That was the bad news. Now, incase you haven’t already found out, here’s the good news.

Chinese model maker Panda, so far have only released models of Chinese airlines for the most part. Well they’ve just released the first real 1:400 A320neo in Lufthansa livery. I’m told these are really high quality by people who’ve bought them. They sell in the UK for £29,95 (though I only know one supplier), and they don’t yet know when they’ll get them, but here it is:

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Panda’s Lufthansa A320neo above and the not-a-neo-neo below

Could this be the start of Panda breaking into Europe and expanding it’s range? I hope so.

Edit: I publish this and a few hours later JC Wings issue a 1:200 and 1:400 A320neo of the Airbus House test version first flown in September 2014. New tooling! Well it would have to be. But does it mean the old A320’s will get a facelift and that rubbish cradle sorted?

Promo livery of the month?

Hainan’s 789 in Kung Fu Panda colours. I’ll pass.

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Promo livery you wish you’d never signed up for….

Yes, AeroMexico actually painted the S7 onto their 738 EI-DRA just as everything started exploding, and Samsung dumped the whole model. A couple of weeks ago the Austrian Airlines staff told us to turn our S7’s off if we had them (God forbid), and make sure they were fully discharged, about a minute after take off. How exactly were we to discharge them if we had them, and couldn’t turn them on? Lufthansa at least mentioned it before we left the ground!

Somebody pointed out that S7 and Note 7 aren’t the same thing. I pay little attention to anything not from Apple. At the end of the day the public just hear Samsung, 7 and fire. The PR ‘optics’ are just the same – disastrous.

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I want someone to make it for a laugh, one of those odd collector things. The aircraft that advertised the very phone every airline banned from their aircraft!

Old birds with new liveries…

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I’m totally going for this as coolest livery of the year. It has Bond villain private jet looks! I want the model. I’d even consider it in the Phoenix 744  if nobody else will make it, but JC Wings please! Nothing is quite as sinister as a special livery on a Russian cargo company freighter. VP-BCI used to be Cathay Pacific Cargo.  
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Edelweiss have taken their first A343 from Swiss as they get new 773ER’s. HB-JMG was also reconfigured to C27W76Y211

If anyone makes the Edelweiss I’d rather it was Phoenix than JCW/Gemini, I can’t be looking at another of those awful ‘sieg-heil mein Führer’ wing sets on another model ever again. Edit: Now released by JC Wings, announced just after this article was first published.

Future flop?

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D-AIXA takes shape at Toulouse. She’ll be used to start with on the Munich-Delhi and Munich-Boston services, replacing A346’s. 

If Phoenix make it the grey will be unbearably dark, the engines drag on the floor and the landing gear doors will rot. If JCW/Gemini do it, It’ll be the right colour, with the wrong wing tips and look like a 787 nose. Why is this vital new aircraft type so badly flawed from both makers? Phoenix had it so good, but have ruined the latest versions.

Goodbye, but can we have a final farewell model please?

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It’s over. Cathay pacific has finally ended 747 passenger operations after nearly 40 years. This, in this livery, and not a Phoenix, surely Gemini or JCW can manage one of their superb 744 models for this?
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Biman Bangladesh have also ended A310 operations after 30 years, passenger service numbers are dropping really fast now and there are barely two dozen still operating. 

And finally an A318 in British Airways livery

At last, Herpa have finally deigned to produce an A318 (are they the only ones with a mould now? I think they must be), in BA livery. The only one I have is their Air France example. The BA aircraft operate out of London City to JFK. It’s every BA collectors 1:400 dream!  However it’s hugely expensive at some £35 and it had better be better quality. The huge tail on the AF version was never properly installed. I’d hate to see the same thing happen.

The Future of Monarch

The British are a twitchy bunch at the best of times. The newspapers here spread rumours faster than Hilary Clinton can delete an email.  As of the 12th October, Monarch Airlines owner, (90%), Greybull Capital had no choice but to inject another £165 ($203)million into the airline, it’s third bailout in four years. This allowed the CAA to renew the annual U.K. Mandated Air Travel Operators Licence (ATOL) that permits it to carry passengers who know, that if it collapses, they can return home at no extra cost.

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This was all being managed quietly until an aviation geek spotted unusual behaviour by a couple of competitor aircraft on FR24. It got to the press, the CAA were forced to admit they were shadowing Monarch operations in case it collapsed, and had to bring thousands of people home. Aircraft had been put on standby under the ATOL passenger repatriation scheme. That caused widespread panic with Monarch ticket holders but Monarch manged, just about, to keep a lid on it and the CAA gave them a 12 day extension.

The size of the bailout is huge. It also was done in co-operation with Boeing, with whom Monarch had placed an order for 30+15 737 Max-8’s due from late 2018 to 2019. Monarch can’t afford them under the buy scheme it had opted for. Boeing agreed on sale and leaseback – but as I understand it, conditional on the full order being taken, the options being included.

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Either way, Monarch at least for now is saved, though Brexit, which put it in the position it got to through drops in overseas holidays, and big drops in exchange rates with the Euro, may yet see it face further turmoil as the messy negotiations unfold over two agonising years.

I once read this: “The only reason most airlines exist is because they pay back their debts”.  Monarch has rarely ever made money. Most airlines make money only under exceptional circumstances. They spend most of their time in loss, rarely pay a dividend and amount to little more than a giant Ponzi scheme.

They take money from you in advance, for a service you’re not guaranteed to receive, they aren’t obliged to give you your money back, and if you change your mind, even with months of notice, they don’t have to give you a refund if you cancel. They borrow vast amounts from banks to keep afloat, more to buy their aircraft. If they’re clever they can and do, buy dozens of modern aircraft costing billions of dollars, using other people’s money, rent them, and then use other banks to pay the leases from yet more borrowed money. They announce a loss, borrow more money from the same banks and restructure their debts. Why? Because the banks are still making a profit, and the airline is too in debt to fail.

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Few break that cycle. They either have to be massive and absolute in their policies and purchasing practices like Delta, or operate on such a massive scale like Emirates in places nobody else will go, or protectionist like Lufthansa and AF-KLM.  The low cost airlines operate on a knife-edge of profitability that can vanish in a $20 oil spike overnight.

Greybull trapped itself into Monarch. It must now realise it either leaves at a massive loss, or it is in for the very long-haul. Maybe it will just about amortize its losses over twenty years.

Either way, a rather good British Airline and a lot of workers and pensioners are happier than they might have been for the last few months. I doubt though that 45 new aircraft are going to have enough impact to ever make a profit in an over saturated market.

 

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Please note. There has been a WordPress screw up. The iMac App didn’t save the finished version to the servers, even though my cache showed it on my mac as published, the servers published the draft. 

There was some difference between the two, and its been spell checked this time, but because the mac was shut down, the final version was lost when the cache was wiped. 

Because the URL doesnt change, the version is now as is, I don’t have time to re-write it. My apologies.

 

 

 

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