Oops: Southwest Boeing 737 And Cargolux Boeing 747-8F Suffer Minor Collision In Chicago

A Southwest Airlines passenger plane collided with a Cargolux Boeing 747 at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport (ORD) on Saturday.…

Oops: Southwest Boeing 737 And Cargolux Boeing 747-8F Suffer Minor Collision In Chicago

A Southwest Airlines passenger plane collided with a Cargolux Boeing 747 at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport (ORD) on Saturday. The jumbo struck the left winglet of the Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 from behind. As a result, both aircraft suffered minor damage.

A Cargolux Boeing 747-800F collided with a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 at Chicago’s O’hare Airport on Saturday. Photo: Viktor Laszio/Cargolux

Cargolux 747 heading to Luxembourg clips Southwest 737-700

According to an incident report on Aviation Safety Network, the incident occurred mid-evening on Saturday while the Southwest Airlines plane was waiting for a gate to open up. The Boeing 747-8F taxied past and inadvertently clipped the smaller aircraft.

The Cargolux Boeing 747-8F (registration LX-VCE) had landed at O’Hare from Anchorage (ANC) earlier in the day. The aircraft had just completed a marathon New York (JFK) – Luxembourg (LUX) – Novosibirsk (OVB) – Zhengzhou (CGO) – Anchorage (ANC) – Chicago (ORD) run.

The Aviation Safety Network reports says the Southwest Airlines plane was at A pad along taxiway TT waiting for its gate to open up. The departing jumbo taxied past. The Boeing 747 was bound for Luxembourg.

Southwest 737-700 has left winglet destroyed

The Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 (registration N218WN) had just operated flight WN2750 from Fort Lauderdale (FLL). Southwest’s Boeing 737-700s can fly 143 passengers. However, the precise number of passengers and crew on this flight is unknown. Thirty-six hours after the incident, both aircraft remain on the ground at Chicago O’Hare.

N218WN is almost 16 years old, having been delivered to Southwest Airlines in July 2005. Cargolux’s 747-8F, LX-VCE, is just nine years old, having been delivered to the cargo business in May 2012. Neither aircraft have a previous incident history.

The damage sustained by both aircraft on Saturday was described a minor. However, images on social media show Southwest’s winglet was destroyed. Saturday’s incident continues to run of bad luck for Southwest when it comes to winglets – several have been damaged recently.

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 has its left winglet destroyed in the incident. Photo: Vincenzo Pace/Simple Flying

Cargolux searches for a 747-800F replacement aircraft

Saturday’s incident is noteworthy because it involves a fast disappearing aircraft type – the 747. Luxembourg-based still flies 30 of the jumbos. They have an average age of 12.6 years. While Boeing 747 passenger flights are fast becoming a rare event, cargo airlines like Cargolux continue to use the aircraft type owing to its cavernous cargo holds and impressive flying range.

But even cargo carriers like Cargolux are eyeing a future without the jumbo jets. The 747-800Fs may be reliable and not very old, but their green credentials don’t pass muster in the 2020s.

Speaking at the recent Cargo Facts EMEA 2021, Cargolux CEO Richard Forson said increasingly tough environmental standards combined with a paucity of new freighter launching posed some problems for his airline.

“At this point, the latest technology is the 747-8F, that’s from 10 years ago. There are no developments, going forward.”

The problem cargo operators like Cargolux face is there are no contemporary freighter replacement aircraft on the market with similar specs to the Boeing 737. While there is talk of Boeing 777X and Airbus A350 freighter programs, Richard Forson needs a hard product rather than a drawing board concept.

And while there are reliable second-hand aircraft available to buy, most of them are old and fail to meet modern emissions standards. That makes the planes environmentally unpalatable. It also makes it had to get financing for them.

That’s a dilemma a lot of airlines will face. And emissions will make it hard to get financing for second-hand aircraft,” Forson says.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Newcastle’s Williamtown Airport Again Eyes New Zealand Flights

Executives at Newcastle’s Williamtown Airport in Australia are keen for international flights to return to their airport and…

Newcastle’s Williamtown Airport Again Eyes New Zealand Flights

Executives at Newcastle’s Williamtown Airport in Australia are keen for international flights to return to their airport and once again eyeing flights to New Zealand. This is despite passenger numbers on trans-Tasman travel corridor flights generally not meeting expectations. However, the airport’s bosses argue New Zealand services are sustainable.

Newcastle Airport (NTL) is eyeing restoring international flights to New Zealand. Photo: Getty Images

Average passenger loads on previous flights to New Zealand

Newcastle (Williamtown) Airport (NTL) is a regional airport located 88 miles north of Sydney. The airport serves Newcastle, the second biggest city in New South Wales, and the surrounding region. Approximately 665,000 people live within one hour’s drive of the airport. In calendar 2019, the airport handled 1,274,000 passengers, making it Australia’s 13th busiest airport.

Primarily a RAAF base, the military long have shared their airport with commercial airlines. Those airlines, including Qantas, Jetstar, and Virgin Australia, have mostly focused on domestic operations at NTL. The airport only locked in its first international flights in 2018. Virgin Australia agreed to operate thrice-weekly Boeing 737-800 seasonal flights to Auckland (AKL) between November 2018 and February 2019.

Virgin Australia operated 71 flights over the 13 week period and carried a total of 6,687 passengers. Average loads on the Auckland-bound flights were 52% and 55% on Newcastle-bound flights.

Happier days in 2018 when Virgin Australia announced its services between Newcastle and Auckland. Photo: Virgin Australia

Newcastle Airport back on the hunt for New Zealand flights

Despite the less than stellar passenger loads, Virgin Australia and Newcastle Airport formalized a three-year agreement in 2019 to keep the flights operating. What, if any, incentives Newcastle Airport offered Virgin Australia to keep flying were never disclosed.

But the three-year agreement was torn up after the following 2019/20 southern summer flying season. In sharp succession, a trifecta of travel downturns, border closures, and Virgin Australia sinking into administration ended the flights.

By mid-2020, amid the downturn, Virgin Australia was on life support, and Newcastle Airport’s passenger terminal was deserted. A year later, the airline and airport are back in business. But Virgin Australia is no longer operating international flights, and Newcastle is back to handling domestic flights only.

However, the word is Newcastle Airport is back in the hunt for international services once again. As reported in New Zealand travel trade publication Travel Inc, the airport’s executives say discussions with airlines are “ongoing” and flights to New Zealand are “more than sustainable.”

Is Jetstar the most likely airline to fly between Newcastle and Auckland? Photo: Jetstar

Who would fly between Newcastle and Auckland?

There are four potential airline candidates, and you can rule two out right away. A smaller fleet and tighter strategic focus have clipped Virgin Australia’s wings.  You could presume when, or if, Virgin Australia does venture offshore again, the airline will eye other departure airports first.

“Virgin Australia has been on record saying that New Zealand is not necessarily a priority right now, so we are looking at options,” says Newcastle Airport’s Stephen Crowe.

Qantas has shown some adventurism with new routes lately. But the recent decision to fly to New Zealand from another secondary east coast airport (Gold Coast  (OOL)) burnt Qantas. You could safely bet Qantas won’t be lining up for round two.

That leaves Air New Zealand and Jetstar. Air New Zealand flies to multiple airports along Australia’s east coast, including several highly seasonal destinations. Despite experience in making seasonal routes work, Newcastle’s low profile, paucity of tourism pull factors, and proximity to Sydney may work against it. On the flipside, incentives can mitigate drawbacks.

The best fit is Jetstar. The cheap and cheerful low-cost Qantas subsidiary already has a substantial presence at Newcastle Airport and is well-known in both countries. The NTL-AKL route is primarily supported by leisure and VFR travelers – Jetstar’s core target market.

But with trans-Tasman travel not meeting expectations despite a travel corridor, whether any airline would risk their precious cash on international services out of Newcastle is debatable. As Air New Zealand’s Hobart (HBA) flights show, airlines will come if the incentives are high enough. But Newcastle Airport does not have the deep pockets of governments.

In the current climate, executives at Newcastle Airport may have a hard time luring international flights to their airport.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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