A 16 July 2007 Herald article by David Stone points to the merits of the forthcoming B787-9 aircraft for Air New Zealand, noting the new non-stop route options from Auckland that will become available - he lists Bombay, Beijing, Johannesburg, Buenos Aires and Chicago. The airline now has eight of these aircraft on order.
The application to the US Department of Transportation by Virgin Blue International Airlines Pty Ltd for an exemption and a foreign air carrier permit has now been posted on the web (the docket number is OST-2007-28705). Included is a diagram showing the structure of the Virgin Blue Group of Airlines.
Six B777-300ER aircraft have been ordered for use by the airline. The trading name of the airline has yet to be finalised with a short list having been publicised.
The Times of London has an article by Dominic O'Connell dated 1 July 2007 reporting on the high demand for slots at Heathrow airport following the signing of the new "open skies" air services agreement between the European Union and the United States. The grey market price is reported to have doubled since last year.
A 9 July 2007 story in Aviation Daily reports on the official UK position with respect to stage two of the EC/US "open skies" negotiations. The parliamentary question and answer given on 28 June 2007 by Gillian Merron MP is recorded in Hansard.
The New Zealand Herald carries an article by Liam Dann dated 9 July 2007 reporting on the implications of the new Boeing B787 for Air New Zealand. It quotes Group General Manager International Ed Sims from Air New Zealand as saying "If you put a blindfold on and tried to design the perfect aircraft for Air New Zealand, you couldn't come up with anything better than the 787."
Notable details include that the company is currently investigating 20 to 25 new routes and envisages launching around two new routes each year with more possible when the B787 is introduced.
Sunday, 8 July 2007 (a little after 1030 on Monday New Zealand time) will see Boeingrollout the first new B787 aircraft. Already pictures of the aircraft in the paint shop have been published on the web. For me though the more significant event will be the first flight.
There will be massive media coverage of the rollout. I recommend having a look at a couple of blogs - those of Seattle Post-Intelligencer aerospace reporter James Wallace and of Boeing Commercial Airlines Vice President, Marketing, Randy Tinseth.
It is already clear that this aircraft and its engines have the potential to represent one of the major advances in the history of civil aviation technology. What I find stunning is that so many airlines have ordered the B787 even before its has flown - Air New Zealand was the second airline to do so back in 2004 and now has eight on order. The aircraft's combination of size and long range will make it particularly significant for remote countries like New Zealand and Australia.
The Australian Minister of Transport and Regional Services, Mark Vaile, announced on 21 June 2007 new air services arrangements between Sri Lanka and Australia. A feature of the new arrangements is that there is no limit on cargo services.
The Telegraph has a story dated 1 July 2007 that the United Kingdom Office of Fair Trading has set a 31 July 2007 deadline for action on misleading advertising of the cost of air travel by airlines and holiday companies (see previous post).
On 24 June 2007 Bloomberg reported comments by Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary General Ong Keng Yong to a World Economic Forum meeting that progress on reaching a limited "open skies" air transport agreement covering routes between ASEAN capitals by 2008 was proving to be slow.