On this episode of AvTalk, air traffic in China is down over 80% from the beginning of the year, the first Air France A380 enters retirement, and Air New Zealand’s Skynest may be a way to make ultra-long-haul economy a little less terrible.

COVID19-related cancellations continue to grow

Cancellations and reductions in service continue to expand as COVID19 cases reach beyond China. Following outbreaks in South Korea, Iran, and Italy, airlines are reevaluating their schedules or cancelling outright. Air traffic in China is down over 80%, while global traffic is down 4.4% in February compared to 2019.

FOD bad

Boeing is inspecting all of the undelivered 737 MAX for foreign object debris after things like tools and rags were found in the wing fuel tanks of some aircraft.

Kazakhstan releases Bek Air update

Kazakhstan released an animated video with data from the crashed Bek Air Fokker in Almaty this week, showing the aircraft only barely made it off the ground and suffered multiple tail strikes in an effort to gain altitude.

Air Canada A319 loses a wheel

An Air Canada A319 lost one of its right main gear wheels on its way from New York to Toronto last week. The flight performed a flypast in Toronto for visual confirmation of the missing wheel before making a safe landing. The NTSB and FAA have subsequently retrieved the wheel.

Air Baltic A220 suffers engine failure

An Air Baltic A220 en route from Riga to Malaga diverted safely to Bordeaux after one of its engines failed. The aircraft had just climbed from 37,000 feet to 39,000. We discuss how this incident fits with the previous Swiss A220 engine failures.

Air New Zealand builds a Skynest

In an effort to help economy cabin travelers get a little rest on ultra-long haul flights, Air New Zealand has come up with the Skynest concept. As we discuss, the general idea isn’t new, but implementation on an actual aircraft would be a first.

Air New Zealand’s Skynest concept
Air New Zealand’s Skynest concept | Courtesy photo

Air France’s first A380 retired

Air France’s first A380 made its final flight last week, retiring to Knock in Ireland. We discuss which airlines are planning to discard their A380s and what the secondary market looks like for the superjumbo.

From new airlines to zombies

We wade through a variety of airline finances, from start up airlines to those that just won’t die.

A sandstorm from the Sahara covers the Canaries

A sandstorm blown over the Canary Islands from the Sahara desert brought delays and cancellations over the weekend. Satellite imagery shows the extend of the storm.

NATS releases colorized images of first control tower

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the world’s first air traffic control tower, NATS released a beautiful collection of colorized photos from the time. Worth a look for any aviation history buff.

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