Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330 Flies 11 Hour Flight To Nowhere

An Aerolineas Argentinas repatriation flight on May 6th suffered a hydraulic leak over the Atlantic Ocean. The aircraft…

Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330 Flies 11 Hour Flight To Nowhere

An Aerolineas Argentinas repatriation flight on May 6th suffered a hydraulic leak over the Atlantic Ocean. The aircraft departed Buenos Aires en route to London-Heathrow with British nationals onboard. Due to the leak, however, the crew returned to Buenos Aires. The Airbus A330-200 landed safely just over 11 hours after departing Argentina.

An Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A330 returned to Buenos Aires due to a hydraulic leak. Photo: Nathan Coats via Flickr

The 11-hour flight to nowhere

The Airbus A330-200, registered as LV-GIF, flew AR-1130, departing Buenos Aires on May 5th. The aircraft was in the midst of its Atlantic crossing, northeast of Fortaleza in Brazil, according to the Aviation Herald when the crew decided to return to Buenos Aires due to the hydraulic leak.

The aircraft landed back in Buenos Aires just over 11 hours after takeoff. The plane was supposed to also bring back Argentinian residents from the UK back to Buenos Aires. Aerolineas Argentinas sourced a new aircraft, and, on the next day, a new Airbus A330 performed the roundtrip flight.

A330-200 route
The aircraft turned back just at it began the transatlantic crossing northeast of Fortaleza. Screenshot: Flightradar24

An 11-hour flight to nowhere is never fun. However, given the nature of this flight, it likely was a little more infuriating for passengers just trying to get home. The next day, May 6th, another Airbus A330 flew to London and landed safely.

The aircraft

LV-GIF is a three-year-old Airbus A330-200, according to data from Flightradar24. The aircraft is equipped with 24 seats in an angle-flat business class product. There are 248 seats in economy. A total of 10 A330-200s are in the Argentinian flag carrier’s fleet.

There are 10 A330-200s in the carrier’s fleet. Photo: Airbus

Aerolineas Argentinas repatriation flights

Since March, the airline has run over 60 repatriation flights bring 19,000 Argentinians home from cities like Miami, Madrid, Punta Cana, Cancun, Bogota, Quito, Lima, Rio de Janeiro, Florianopolis, London, and Rome.

This London flight was the first Aerolineas Argentinas flight to Heathrow since 2015 for the Rugby World Cup. Commercially, the airline has not flown to London since the 1990s.

Aerolíneas Argentinas Airbus 330-200 landing at Roe Getty
The last time the airline flew to London was in 2015. Photo: Getty Images

In addition to these repatriation flights, Aerolineas Argentinas has been running flights to Shanghai via Auckland to bring back essential supplies to Argentina. These flights are also operated using Airbus A330-200 aircraft.

Could Aerolineas Argentinas return to London?

The Argentinian flag carrier recently retired the Airbus A340 leaving its long-haul fleet with fuel-efficient Airbus A330s. However, the location of the airline’s hub poses a sort of geographic problem. A flight to London can easily be around 13-14 hours meaning that Aerolineas Argentinas would need a minimum of two or three aircraft to operate this route alone depending on departure and arrival times. This would be an inefficient use of the fleet, which only consists of 10 aircraft. Unless, of course, Aerolineas Argentinas ordered more planes.

Aerolíneas Argentinas
It is unlikely that the airline will return to London. Photo: Getty Images.

However, in the current environment, it is unlikely that the airline will embark on any sort of long-haul expansion anytime soon. As some airlines shrink, there may be additional widebody aircraft available on the secondhand market that the carrier could acquire. But, the likelihood of Aerolineas Argentinas doing so is very slim. Currently, the only aircraft the airline has on order are Boeing 737 MAX planes.

Were you onboard this repatriation flight? What happened? Let us know in the comments!

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Wizz Air Is Selling Around 75% Of Seats

With air travel down across the industry, some airlines will recover faster than others. In the case of…

Wizz Air Is Selling Around 75% Of Seats

With air travel down across the industry, some airlines will recover faster than others. In the case of European budget carrier Wizz Air, recovery already seems to be on the horizon. In fact, Wizz founder and CEO József Váradi has told the BBC that his airline is selling around 75% of seats on its flights right now.

The airline reports flights are 75% booked and 50% full due to no-shows. Photo: Getty Images

Of course, that’s 75% of drastically reduced services. The airline had cut capacity by more than a third and grounded roughly 85% of its fleet over the month of March, according to FlightGlobal.

However, since then, the low-cost carrier has resumed some routes despite travel restrictions remaining in place. With some countries relaxing restrictions through multi-week phases, Wizz Air could be well-positioned to capture post-COVID-19 demand.

Desperate to be back in the air

Váradi told the BBC that people are now flying to visit relatives or travel to second homes. Some are flying just because they “want to break out of the current lockdown,” he says.

“One of the trends we are sensing is young people want to be back in the air quite quickly,” Váradi adds.

Amid the rising demand, the airline’s boss is frustrated by a lack of common international standards for COVID-19 prevention on aircraft (although IATA recently released some suggestions.) Váradi says that out of the 45 countries Wizz serves, no two countries are applying the same standards – or are interpreting them differently. “It’s a bit of a zoo,” he says.

Wizz Air Airbus A320
The airline’s CEO complains about a lack of a common international standard for COVID-19 precautions. Photo: Getty Images

Pressing on

Still, Wizz Air is pressing on with certain expansion plans despite the devastating toll this pandemic has had on the industry. The airline has made news recently as it eyes expansion over to London Gatwick and has already resumed service out of Luton.

But that’s not all. Beyond London, the carrier is going ahead with opening a new base of operations in Lviv, Ukraine this summer. From Ukraine’s second-largest city, a Wizz Air Airbus A320 will fly to five cities in five different countries across Europe. Looking far south, the airline revealed that it will be launching five new routes from its new Abu Dhabi hub. Starting June 3rd, the airline will fly from Abu Dhabi to Bucharest and Budapest.

Wizz Air A321
Wizz Air is continuing with existing expansion plans. Photo: Getty Images

Conclusion

While Wizz Air’s website is lacking when it comes to updating visitors on new policies, its Twitter and YouTube make mention of new procedures introduced as of the end of April. With the resumption of flights from Luton airport, passengers are now required to wear face masks:

“This is why we at Wizz Air have introduced extra health & safety measures in and out of our cabin, so you can say yes to experiencing more freely and no to giving up. Yes to wearing face masks. Yes to thorough cleaning of the aircraft each day. Yes to sanitizing wipes. Yes to social distancing. Yes to contactless payments. Yes to dreaming more.”

However, unlike many US carriers, the airline doesn’t seem to have a strict policy on social distancing with regards to blocking middle seats.

Do you think Wizz Air is moving too quickly to resume services? Or is this a smart and well-calculated move? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Source : Simple Flying More   

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