Sunday, 15 December 2013

Personalisation: Making a difference

Full article in JPG format:
page 48/49 & page 50

“The shape of things to come”, proclaimed Imperial Airways, the colonial precursor to British Airways, in a 1936 advertisement for Short Empire Flying Boats. Its notice featured an artist’s impression of stately travellers boarding one of the revolutionary aircraft, which were due to enter service the following year.

Imperial’s four-engine, double-decker Flying Boats had sleeping accommodation for 16 passengers, with cabin interiors comprising three large saloons, one kitchen and one ever-essential smoking room. On day-time flights, its capacity stretched to 24.

Having handled just 8,012 passengers in 1936/37, the airline’s idealistic vision of the future may have seemed reasonable at the time. Fast forward seven decades, however, to an age when 3 billion travelers take to the skies each year, and its prophecy of airborne luxury is hard to reconcile with modern-day reality...

Sunday, 1 December 2013

In the driving seat

Full article in JPG format:
page 20/21 & page 22

As if any proof were needed that the Gulf’s airlines have become the driving force behind global civil aviation, last month’s Dubai Air Show reaffirmed their dominance in spectacular fashion. Collectively, Dubai’s Emirates Airline, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways placed orders for $150 billion of aircraft. Emirates was the biggest spender, splashing out on 150 next-generation Boeing 777Xs – due to enter service around the end of the decade – as well as another 50 double-decker Airbus A380s.

In fairness, many of the aircraft will eventually be deployed as replacement units, allowing older, less fuel-efficient models to be withdrawn from service. The 777X promises to burn 20% less fuel than the current-generation 777, notching up a major cost saving for its operators. But the continuance of year-on-year mega orders in the Gulf underscores how Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha are slowly becoming the centrepiece of global aviation...