June 22 – The Week Ahead Open Thread

Virgin A330
To celebrate its 25th birthday, Virgin Atlantic did what I wantedto do when I turned 25 last year. The British airline purchased 10 newA330-300s for interim capacity while it waits for the delivery of itsfirst 787-9 aircraft in 2013. The airline will get five in 2011 andanother five in 2012. Six of will be acquired under sale and leasebackwith AerCap and the remaining four will be leased directly from AerCap.No word on whether or not these six A330-300s were conversions from anoutstanding batch of six A340-600s.

Also, Virgin says it is in negotiation for 50 A350 XWB aircraft to replace its 747s with first delivery in 2014.

Continental Retrojet
A newly built Continental 737-900ER (N75436) was rolled out of the Renton factory and flown over the weekend with the retro “Blue Skyway” livery. Quite a good looking paint job, if I do say so myself.

First Tianjin Delivery
As early as Tuesday, Airbus will deliver its first China-built A320 toSichuan Airlines, marking a major moment in the airframer’s 40-year history.The facility will eventually build and deliver four A320 familyaircraft per month when production rates begin to climb again as theglobal economy recovers. At the Paris Air Show, CEO Tom Enders denied aFrench report of attempted industrial espionage at the Chinese facility.

A little over a week ago, this very humbled airplane geek won an Aerospace Journalist of the Year Award in the Air Transport category for my 787 feature last May. Jetwhine’s Rob Mark (who also went home a winner) was kind enough to grab my acceptance speech on video, so there’s a permanent record out there. My colleague Niall O’Keeffe also took home the top prize in the Maintenance category for a piece he wrote for Airline Business. A huge congratulations to Flight’s Mary Kirby (also known as Runway Girl), Siva Govindasamy and Aimee Turner for their nominations as well.

Paris Video Wrap Up
Mary Kirby and I took our goofiness to the max last Wedneday and the result can be found here. These wrap ups were a great way for Mary and I to blow off a little steam after exceedingly long days at the show. Their news value was questionable some days, but we had a good time and hope you did too. They were all completely ad libbed, so you’ll have to bear with us. Thanks for coming along last week, we really had a blast.

First Flight Travel
This Thursday I’m Seattle bound! TheFlightBlogger road show will be in full effect as I head west to coverthe final days before 787 first flight. Yes, my ticket is open ended,but I still hear June 30th is the date. If the key milestones aren’taccomplished this week, then we may know very soon whether or not thedate slips to July. Though it’s too soon to say one way or another.

So, who’s going to be in Seattle this weekend?

7 Responses to June 22 – The Week Ahead Open Thread

  1. Tom B June 22, 2009 at 10:02 pm #

    See you there Jon! I will be in the family section and you in the press area but still I cant wait, I have been following this blog from about 3 years ago or when ever you started it. Kevin Schemm got me my tickets (Great Neighbor) he says a lot also on the subject, hope to see you there!

  2. Brian June 22, 2009 at 11:14 pm #

    What’s this about tickets and family sections? Do people need tickets to come watch from the grassy knoll for example?

  3. Thad Beier June 23, 2009 at 1:55 am #

    Completely unrelated :) But I was at LAX last Wednesday, and there was not 1, but 2(!) Quantas A380s there…they seemed to be parked well away from the gates. That’s a lot of very expensive brand new airplane to be holding the ramp down. Any ideas?

  4. tops June 23, 2009 at 10:19 am #

    Thanks for the news about the Virgin 350s – I hadn’t read that anywhere else.

    Enjoyed your and Runway Gal’s videos, meanwhile. Thanks again!

  5. CoachBoy June 23, 2009 at 11:26 am #

    Thad, QF flights arrive in the early morning and leave late at night. With the exception of QF107/108 which is continued 744 service to/from JFK, QF’s planes sit around all day at LAX.

  6. AirShowFan June 23, 2009 at 1:31 pm #


    I thought Qantas flights were once every two days: an A380 would arrive at LAX on Monday morning and leave Monday night, then an A380 would arrive Wednesday morning and leave Wednesday night, etc. So seeing two there seems to imply that there is something wrong with one of them, unless they changed their flight schedule in the past few months since I’ve lived there.


    First of all, congrats on the award!

    I think more airlines should paint more of their jets in retro schemes. I remember Alaska doing one and it looked great. Reminds us of that era when commercial flight was glamorous (although I’m not sure whether being reminded of that era is good or bad…)

    You turned 25 last year? You’re younger than I thought. I was guessing around 30 from those Paris videos. I’m 27.

    And I’m going to be in Seattle this weekend (like most weekends), but I’m guessing you won’t…

  7. CoachBoy June 23, 2009 at 9:25 pm #

    AirShowFan, QF’s first A380 was rotating between MEL-LAX and SYD-LAX, Mondays from MEL, and Friday’s from SYD. Once A/C #2 came in both were put on TransPac duty. Only with bird #3 did they start using it to LHR. At this point, MEL get a 380 twice a week, and SYD 3x weekly. A SYD-LAX-SYD cycle takes about 42 (maybe 43 for MEL) hours, of which about 14 are spent on the ground at LAX. SYD-SIN-LHR-SIN-SYD takes about 51 hours, with much less ground time.