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AirlineGeeks Year in Review: 2019
The aviation industry is certainly fast-paced, with developments happening every day. No two days are the same in this broad, ever-changing industry.
AirlineGeeks has been proud to report on some of the major shaping events this year for enthusiasts and professionals alike. 2019 has shown how each year continues to bring extraordinary accomplishments for the entire industry, as well as the events that have happened to reflect upon as the next decade comes. One particular issue this year was financial difficulty within airlines, leading many to end operations.
This article will review the important moments in the industry that AirlineGeeks has covered this year in chronological order.
After over 20 years of flying an all-green fleet, Aer Lingus announced a new brand image back in January to a more conventional white aircraft with a painted tail, as well as a revision of the iconic shamrock that the airline has been identified with for decades. The change is hoped to help shift Aer Lingus from the spotlight as being an Irish airline flying internationally to an international airline connecting passengers through Ireland.
Emirates was in talks with Airbus back in February regarding the number of Airbus A380s that it had on order. The Gulf carrier was aiming to switch some of its orders to the newer Airbus A350 aircraft. The talks were successful for Emirates, reducing their A380 order in favor of 40 Airbus A330-900s and 30 A350-900s.
British Airways announced in February that it would be painting four of its aircraft into retro liveries as part of its100th anniversary celebrations, commemorating the roots and history of the airline. The airline first painted a Boeing 747 into the BOAC livery, followed by an Airbus A319 into the BEA livery, then another 747 into the historic grey Landor livery and finally, a Negus liveried 747.
In February, Germania ceased operations due to financial difficulties after almost 41 years since its founding in 1978 as Special Air Transport (SAT). The airline cancelled all of its flights on February 4.
Delta was the airline responsible for the Airbus A220 to be named as such rather than the Bombardier C Series. Boeing claimed the airline had been sold the aircraft by Bombardier at a steeply discounted rate which would’ve violated trade laws, so Airbus purchased the majority share of the C Series program and vowed to move production to its American Mobile facility. Despite the U.S. government siding with Bombardier on the issue, the Airbus name stuck.
The air crash occurred on a flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, following on from a Lion Air crash, both operated by the relatively new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, leading to the global grounding of the type. It placed the Boeing jet under strenuous investigation by several aviation authorities, leading airlines to cancel flights months into the future as investigations are ongoing and fixes for issues on the aircraft are being found, including on the MCAS system which was said to have been the primary cause of the crashes. The issue also led Southwest to pull out of Newark airport in July.
The non-stop route between the U.K. and Australia was said to have exceeded its expectations for its first year, with CEO Alan Joyce saying that “almost every flight is full and [the route] turned a profit almost immediately.”
Following months of financial troubles and an injection of much-needed capital was denied, Icelandic low-cost carrier Wow Air ceased operations. The airline is now rumored to be making a comeback, with different ownership and a base at Washington’s Dulles Airport with facilities in Reykjavik and Keflavik Airport, according to Icelandic publication Visir.
JetBlue’s CEO Robin Hayes made a video announcement to its employees in April, stating it would begin transatlantic operations in 2021 to London from New York and Boston using the airline’s ordered A321LRs.
In April, India’s Jet Airways issued a statement announcing it was suspending all flight operations after multiple attempts over the months before to secure interim and long-term funding had failed.
United held an event to officially debut its new branding and livery, the first update since the airline’s merger with Continental Airlines a decade ago.
All-Boeing Gulf carrier Flydubai speculated an order for the Airbus A320neo to replace the grounded model.
The long-awaited TWA Hotel on the grounds of New York’s John F. Kennedy’s airport opened in May in the airline’s former terminal. The hotel features a Lockheed Constellation aircraft named Connie used as a bar and two TWA Solari boards.
In June, airlines started reporting fumes in the passenger cabin of its new Airbus A330neo aircraft. These included from TAP Air Portugal, who was the first A330neo operator since November 2018. The issue seems to be ongoing as Aircalin returned their new aircraft in November 2019.
In August, Qantas announced it would look into a plan for nonstop flights from New York and London to Sydney. Dubbed Project Sunrise due to the long nature of the flights (London to Perth experiences two sunrises), the airline has since operated three Project Sunrise flights to aim to gain approval from regulatory boards for an extension of crew working hours to enable the flights to work.
The flights took place between October and December on the airline’s Boeing 787-9 aircraft which currently operate the airline’s longest flight from London to Perth, but the airline has since announced its preference for the Airbus A350-1000 to take over the program due to its reliability and versatility for other flight uses if necessary. The airline will confirm the type by March 2020 for a start of the new routes in the first half of 2023.
The largest tourist broker Thomas Cook ceased operations on September 23, ending its 180-year history. The airline branch’s collapse led to the immediate cancellation of all flights, including an aircraft being grounded in New York.
This collapse stranded the most passengers abroad in the U.K.’s history, leading to the CAA to charter out many more airlines to repatriate customers than it did for 2017’s Monarch collapse. The airline blamed Brexit uncertainty and a European heatwave for its losses as it failed to reach an agreement with lenders for capital to keep the airline running sustainably.
One week after the demise of Thomas Cook, XL Airways France announced that it would temporarily suspend operations due to financial difficulties for at least four days. It never picked up operations.
The Australian flag carrier which turns 100 in 2020 unveiled a new special livery to commemorate its 100th anniversary on a Boeing 787.
In October, the U.K.’s biggest regional carrier Flybe announced that it will rebrand as Virgin Connect in 2020 as Connect Airways (comprised of Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Aviation and Cyrus Capital) gave an offer to the airline to take it over. The airline is said to offer more choices for customers through improved connectivity between U.K. regional airports and Virgin’s extensive long-haul network.
JetSMART announced earlier this month that “effective immediately” it would take over the Nordic airlines’ operations, gradually withdrawing the Norwegian brand from Argentina’s domestic network over the coming months. Norwegian Air Argentina commenced operations in early 2018 and now looks to become part of the country’s third-largest operator through a combined entity with JetSmart.
After almost 50 years, Qantas withdrew the aircraft dubbed the jumbo from transpacific services to the U.S. The last flight departed San Francisco for Sydney on December 4 with a Boeing 787 replacing the type on the service. The 787 already operated to the city on the Melbourne route. In February, service to Brisbane will start from San Francisco making it three Dreamliners in the Bay City per day as part of the new American Airlines-Qantas transpacific joint venture.
Boeing announced on December 23 that Dennis Muilenburg is no longer the company’s CEO effective immediately, stating that “a change in leadership was necessary to restore confidence in the Company” following on from the 737 MAX crisis. Boeing’s Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith will assume an interim CEO role.
AirlineGeeks’ Year in Review
2019 has been another important year for AirlineGeeks.com.
As the decade comes to an end, we would like to thank our readers for your continued support and we hope you continue to come along with us into the next decade, as more exciting industry revelations will happen and we look forward to reporting on them for you.
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