Lufthansa Retiring Last MD-11
Last Friday, Lufthansa announced the flights for its final remaining MD-11 freighter. The aircraft, registered D-ALCC, will perform its last flight with Lufthansa on October 15th. D-ALCC will be Lufthansa’s last MD-11 out of a total fleet of 19 throughout the years to leave the airline. For the MD-11’s last couple of flights, Lufthansa has painted a special heart decal on the aircraft with the words “Thank you MD-11” and “Farewell.”
This news comes just a few days after Lufthansa took deliveries of its last 2 ordered Boeing 777 freighters. Last week, Lufthansa’s last 2 Boeing 777 orders out of 9 were delivered to Frankfurt. One of the 777s is a 10-year-old, previously-owned Emirates aircraft, while the other is new from Boeing. Lufthansa plans to start operating these as soon as possible, which explains the short deadline on the MD-11.
The retirement of Lufthansa’s MD-11 was originally planned to be by the end of 2020 last year, but an increase in air cargo demand during the COVID-19 pandemic extended the fate of these aircraft. Lufthansa still had 6 MD-11s in its fleet at the time. Last year, not only were the cargo shipments slowed down by the absence of freight transport via passenger flights, but there was also an urgent spike in the transportation of supplies such as masks, COVID-19 tests, cleaning products, etc. These factors temporarily halted Lufthansa’s plans to retire its MD-11 fleet by 2020. Lufthansa’s incomplete 777 fleets would have been unable to supplement demands.
The MD-11 has been a crucial part of Lufthansa’s cargo operations throughout its history. Lufthansa first took delivery of the MD-11 in 1998, and the aircraft type served for 23 years with Lufthansa. The MD-11 was the backbone of operations for Lufthansa cargo before the 777 arrived, and has flown hundreds of thousands of hours to a multitude of international destinations for Lufthansa. The last MD-11, D-ALCC, in particular, has flown around 95,517 flight hours during its service. Lufthansa MD-11s have also made great contributions to transporting the vaccine and other much-needed supplies during the pandemic. Lufthansa will be one of the last operators of the plane, as only 3 other airlines – UPS, FedEx, Western Global Airlines – still operate the MD-11.
Lufthansa’s decision to retire the MD-11 is due to the replacement of these aircraft with more efficient 777 aircraft. Lufthansa had been slowly phasing out the MD-11s throughout the years due to their old age and lack of efficiency with 3 engines. Although the 3-engined design of the MD-11s with one engine in the tail made the aircraft unique to others, MD-11s were more expensive to operate because of this than the 2-engine Boeing 777. Increased freight transport in the belly of passenger flights also created an excess of cargo planes for Lufthansa, as the airline could transport cargo along with passenger commercial flights at a much cheaper price.
Parting with Lufthansa will, however, not be the end of the line for these MD-11s. Following the retirement of these aircraft from Lufthansa, a handful of them have been transferred to Florida-based cargo carrier Western Global Airlines, while a few others have gone to FedEx and UPS. Western Global Airlines has bought several of Lufthansa’s MD-11s and will be adding D-ALCC to its current fleet of 15 MD-11s. Of these 15 MD-11s, 6 of them were previously owned by Lufthansa. The addition of D-ALCC will amount to a total of 7 ex-Lufthansa jets in Western Global’s fleet. D-ALCC will be joining its companions D-ALCD and D-ALCA that were both transferred to Western Global earlier this year.
For those wanting to see a Lufthansa MD-11 for the last time, the schedule for the final rotations of Lufthansa’s last MD-11 will be as follows:
Tuesday, October 12
FRA – Departure 17:40 local time
TLV – Arrival 22:35 local time
Wednesday, October 13
TLV – Departure 00:35 local time
CAI – Arrival 01:00 local time
CAI – Departure 04:50 local time
FRA – Arrival 09:00 local time
FRA – Departure 18:35 local time
ORD – Arrival 20:45 local time
ORD – Departure 23:15 local time
Thursday, October 14
FRA – Arrival 14:35 local time
FRA – Departure 17:20 local time
JFK – Arrival 20:05 local time
JFK – Departure 22:35 local time
Friday, October 15
FRA – Arrival 12:05 local time
Hopefully, Lufthansa’s last MD-11 will fly for many more years in its new life under the ownership of Western Global. As the MD-11 takes off under its German colors for the last time this month, it will be remembered for its 2 decades of service and cargo contributions to Lufthansa.
- Infinite Flight Community (Cover Photo)
The Mystery of the Second Antonov An-225: Why Was It Never Completed?
The devastating loss of the first and only operational Antonov An-225 Mriya, the world’s largest aircraft, during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, has shaken the aviation world. As the aviation community mourns the demise of this unparalleled marvel of engineering, attention turns to the enigmatic second An-225. A partially-constructed behemoth that never took to the skies, the story of the second Antonov An-225 is one of ambition, political upheaval, and unrealized potential. This article delves into the reasons behind the second An-225 stalled development and explores the mystery surrounding its incomplete status.
The Birth of a Legend
The Antonov An-225 ‘Mriya’ (meaning ‘dream’ in Ukrainian) was initially designed and built to support the Soviet space program. It replaced the Myasishchev VM-T ‘Atlant’ and was tasked with carrying the program’s ‘Buran’ orbiters. The An-225 first took flight in December 1988 and soon became a symbol of the Soviet Union’s technical prowess, capturing the imagination of aviation enthusiasts worldwide.
The Soviet space program initially ordered two An-225s to carry its orbiters and boosters, but ultimately, only the first was delivered. The second An-225 began construction in the 1980s, but its completion was interrupted by events that would change the course of history.
READ MORE: Antonov An-225 Mriya: The Plane With 32 Wheels
The Unraveling of a Dream
The fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 had far-reaching consequences, including the abrupt end of its Buran space program. This development left the first An-225 without a purpose, and it was subsequently placed into storage in 1994. The partially-built second An-225 also met a similar fate, with its construction abruptly ending.
Hopes for the second An-225’s completion were briefly revived in the early 2000s when Antonov aimed to have the aircraft ready by 2008. However, the target was soon delayed, and by 2009, construction had been abandoned once again, with the aircraft reportedly 60-70% complete.
XL Antonov An-225 Mriya model From AirModels
Economic viability played a significant role in the decision to halt construction. In more recent years, Antonov’s CEO declared that finishing the second An-225 had become economically unviable, particularly considering the limited operations of the existing An-225.
The Lingering Mystery of the Second Antonov An-225
With the destruction of the first and only operational An-225, the story of the second An-225 becomes even more poignant. Had it been completed, the world would have seen two colossal aircraft, each showcasing the incredible capabilities of human engineering. Yet, the lingering questions surrounding the fate of the second An-225 remain unanswered, leaving aviation enthusiasts and historians to wonder how different the story might have been under altered circumstances.
READ ALSO: Antonov An-225 to be Rebuilt After Being Destroyed in Ukraine
As the aviation industry evolves and the need for larger and more efficient cargo aircraft continues to grow, the spirit of innovation and ambition embodied by the Antonov An-225 Mriya will live on. Though the second An-225 remains an unfinished dream, its legacy serves as a testament to human engineering and perseverance in the face of adversity.
As aviation enthusiasts worldwide mourn the loss of the first An-225 and ponder the fate of its unfinished sibling, we are left with a burning question: Could the second An-225 ever find its way to the skies, or will it remain a dormant dream, a symbol of a bygone era in aviation history?
The Story of the A220, how it Came About and How it’s Becoming Popular
Aside from the fact that the Airbus A220 is the only airbus aircraft to not have a 3 in its name, the A220 is special from the fact that it isn’t fully made by Airbus, but instead a joint venture between them and Bombardier. This is all because of what some might call a mistake made by Boeing, causing Airbus to acquire a 50.01% stake in the company. In this article I explore its controversial creation, and why it’s needed.
The Airbus A220 was first named the “CSeries” by Bombardier, and was meant to cater to the demand of small aircraft in between their current-sized fleet and those larger already made by Airbus and Boeing. The particular area where it was expected to boom were the US markets, given there is always demand to be flying from small airports as there is no lack of them in the large country. At first, things were running smoothly and it was expected to enter commercial service in 2014, just one year after its first flight. However, things turned out not to go as planned, and the CSeries encountered issues on one of its test flights, causing it to miss the Farnborough air show, the largest in the industry, and delay its release. This was not good for the aircraft, nearly causing the project and the company to go bust, until financial aid was provided by the Canadian government.
Boeing’s crucial mistake
Eventually, these problems were fixed, and the first CSeries was delivered to SWISS on June 26, 2016. Eventually, more orders began to come for the new aircraft, including the critical ones in the US. In fact, Bombardier was offering Delta 75 of the aircraft at $20 million a piece, a price which was even lower than the cost to build them, and a cost which was just too good to refuse. However, this was contested and was seen to be Dumping, when a manufacturer essentially gives away its aircraft as sort-of “Samples”, and is illegal in the US and other countries. Boeing was quick to take action, claiming that it was stealing the market from its 737s, despite the fact that Delta had explicitly said that they weren’t looking to purchase the variants that Boeing were claiming to be losing out. It was then decided that, given Bombardier was a foreign company, the US government would impose a 300% import tariff, something near-destructible for the company.
Airbus saves the day
However, Airbus decided to step in and acquire a 50% stake in the company, something beneficial for both parties concerned. This was good for Bombardier, as Airbus has its final assembly station situated in Alabama in the US, meaning that seen as the aircraft technically wasn’t foreign, the import tariff wouldn’t be imposed on it. This would also help Airbus, as it would mean that the company would now profit off of an aircraft which had no competitors at the time. This allowed the aircraft to be reintroduced to the US market, allowing it to thrive.
Where it is now
Now, the CSeries has been re-branded to be the Airbus A220, a move which has knocked it out of the park for the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer. This has allowed airbus to spend absolutely no money on development, and come away with an excellent aircraft, which is dominating its playing field. As of April 2023, 251 aircraft have been delivered, with another 785 firm orders. The airlines operating the aircraft include Delta, JetBlue, SWISS and airBaltic, who operate a fleet solely made up of the A220. When Aviation for Aviators asked their CEO, Martin Gauss, about the aircraft, he said that “The aircraft has performed beyond the company’s expectations, delivering better overall performance, fuel efficiency, and convenience for both passengers and the staff.”
- Wendover Productions
- Simple Flying
April’s Deadliest Aviation Accidents: A Look Back Through History
The aviation industry is one of the most crucial modes of transportation in the world. It has revolutionized the way we travel, making it possible to connect with people and places that were once inaccessible. However, the sky is not always a safe place, and accidents do happen. This article explores April’s aviation accidents and their impact on the industry and the world. We can learn valuable lessons from these tragic events.
April 4, 1975 – Tenerife Airport Disaster
On April 4, 1975, the deadliest aviation accident in history occurred at Tenerife Airport in the Canary Islands. Two Boeing 747 jets, one belonging to KLM and the other to Pan Am, collided on the runway, resulting in the death of 583 people. The accident was caused by miscommunication between the pilots and the air traffic controllers, leading to the KLM pilot taking off without clearance and crashing into the Pan Am plane.
April 10, 2010 – Polish Air Force Tu-154 Crash
On April 10, 2010, the Polish Air Force Tu-154 carrying President Lech Kaczynski and 95 other passengers crashed in Smolensk, Russia, killing everyone on board. The cause of the accident was attributed to pilot error, as the crew failed to make the necessary adjustments during approach to the runway.
April 28, 1988 – Aloha Airlines Flight 243
Aloha Airlines Flight 243 was a scheduled flight from Hilo to Honolulu, Hawaii, on April 28, 1988. During the flight, a portion of the fuselage tore off, resulting in the death of a flight attendant and injuring several passengers. The accident was caused by metal fatigue, which had weakened the structure of the aircraft.
April 10, 2018 – Southwest Airlines Flight 1380
On April 10, 2018, Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 was in route from New York to Dallas when one of its engines failed, causing shrapnel to hit the aircraft’s fuselage and cabin. One passenger was killed, and several others were injured. The accident was caused by a fan blade that had fractured due to metal fatigue.
April 13, 2019 – Aeroflot Flight 1492
Aeroflot Flight 1492 was a domestic flight from Moscow to Murmansk on April 13, 2019. During takeoff, the aircraft caught fire and crashed, resulting in the death of 41 people. The accident was caused by lightning striking the aircraft and damaging its fuel system.
Enhancing Airline Safety: Advancements in Preventing Aviation Accidents:
After those accidents, airlines implemented measures to enhance safety and avoid future disasters. Here are some examples:
Training: Airlines have invested heavily in pilot training programs to ensure that their pilots are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to handle emergencies and navigate complex situations.
Maintenance: Regular maintenance and inspections of aircraft have been implemented to identify potential issues before they cause an accident.
Technology: Advanced technologies such as GPS and weather radar systems have been integrated into aircraft to improve navigation and detect potential hazards.
Safety Culture: Airlines have also placed a greater emphasis on fostering a safety culture within their organizations, encouraging employees to prioritize safety and report any potential hazards or issues.
Despite facing tragic accidents, the aviation industry has made significant strides in improving safety measures to prevent future mishaps. Airlines have invested in training, maintenance, technology, and a culture of safety to ensure passenger and crew safety. Regulatory agencies like the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have also implemented rules and regulations to further enhance aviation safety.
Lessons Learned from April’s Aviation Accidents:
The aviation industry has made strides in safety, yet accidents persist. To prevent future tragedies, it’s vital to glean lessons from these incidents. One such lesson is the need for clear communication between pilots and air traffic controllers, illustrated by the Tenerife disaster. Regular aircraft maintenance is also crucial in preventing accidents like those experienced by Aloha Airlines and Southwest Airlines due to metal fatigue.
The Deadliest April Aviation Accidents: A Visual Retrospective
The aviation industry has made significant strides in improving safety over the years, but accidents still occur. As we remember the lives lost in these tragic events, we must also take important lessons from them. It is essential to prioritize safety and continue to implement measures that prevent accidents from happening. We owe the lost and the living flyers safer skies. Let us remember the lessons learned from these accidents and work towards a safer future for aviation.
“From the tragic to the mysterious, the aviation accidents of April serve as a reminder of the fragility of life and the need for constant vigilance in air travel.” -Ahmed Adel
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