Your Aviation Weekend Reads for November 3, 2016


A KLM Boeing 747 parked at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Photo by Benét J. Wilson

In the winter of 2005, I took my first trip to the Caribbean island of St. Maarten. Any #avgeek worth their salt know that this is considered the ultimate vacation. Why? Princess Juliana International Airport is only separated by a two-lane road and a slim stretch of beach, making it the perfect place for plane spotting at the iconic Sunset Bar & Grill. One of the best landings was the KLM Boeing 747, but it made its last landing in St. Maarten on Oct. 28, reports Lens Culture.

In the wake of the uncontained engine failure of an American Airlines Boeing 767-300ER at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, it’s a miracle there were only minor injuries, reports the Runway Girl Network. “The reduction in the rate of incidents also means that the number of real-world data points for further safety improvements is decreasing, increasing the safety value of learning as much as possible from each incident,” writes John Walton. And I wrote a piece for after this accident on why passengers really need to listen to those flight attendant safety announcements.

Last week I wrote about the U.K. government’s approval of a third runway at London Heathrow Airport. Now that the dust has settled, the Economist’s Gulliver Business Travel blog reports that Willie Walsh, head of IAG, British Airways’ parent company and Paul Griffiths, the head of Dubai Airport are not optimistic that the runway will be built anytime soon.  Walsh said he doubted the current Heathrow Airport team could get the runway built, while Griffiths said the decision was 50 years too late.

I recently wrote a post for on the best – and worst — U.S. airports for on-time performance over the Thanksgiving holidays. Airlines 4 America says there will be enough seats on planes to get travelers where they need to go, reports USA Today. “Travelers should rest assured that while more people will be flying, there will be more than an adequate number of seats available,” said John Heimlich, chief economist for the trade group that represents most of the largest carriers.


An Arik Air Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Photo courtesy of Boeing

When it comes to airlines, Africa has consistently had the worst luck in forming and sustaining financially successful operations. So in a rare bit of good news,  Nigeria’s Arik Air will order Boeing jets in a plan to double its current fleet in the next 10 years, reports Reuters. The privately owned carrier plans to use the aircraft to add international routes and increase services, including daily flights to New York.

As the airlines continue to cut flights to smaller and medium-sized airports, private jet companies like JetSuiteX, Private Fly and Ubair are moving in to fill the gap. And that trend is actually hurting aircraft manufacturers like Cessna and Bombardier, which are selling fewer planes, reports Bloomberg. These companies want to “introduce more people to the convenience of flying without the hassle of commercial airports.”

In last week’s Weekend Reads, I wrote about JetBlue’s investment in private jet operator JetSuiteX. But good friend Brett “Cranky Flier” Snyder is having trouble understanding why the New York-based carrier made that move. “To me, this almost feels like JetBlue is just taking a swing in the dark, hoping to find something on the West Coast that will make it more relevant,” he wrote.


A rendering of Boom Technology AS2 supersonic jet parked at London Heathrow Airport. Image courtesy of Boom Technology

In the October 20 edition of Weekend Reads, I wrote about how Boom Technology is hoping to bring back supersonic transport that’s been gone since Concorde was retired in 2003. One of Boom’s competitors, Aerion Corp., has pushed back the date of choosing the engine supplier for the jet, from the first half of 2016 to sometime in 2017, reports Bloomberg. The maker of the AS2 has winnowed down its choices from more than two dozen engines down to a civil aircraft power plant that’s already in use, said a company spokesman.

I have a dear friend in the aviation industry who works at an airport in Florida. During a visit, I noticed she had a Delta Air Lines’ Flying Colonel certificate hanging on her wall. The now-defunct program was the Atlanta-based carrier’s super-elite program for its very best customers. United Airlines has Global Services and it looks like American Airlines is getting back into the super-elite game. The One Mile At A Time blog reports that the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier now has Concierge Key, an invitation-only program that is considered the fifth tier of its AAdvantage frequent flyer program even though it’s not listed.


The entrance to Singapore Changi Airport’s Terminal 4. Photo courtesy of Changi Airport Group

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of airports. If I could live in Singapore Changi Airport, I would be on cloud nine. I had fun doing this piece for of 10 airports I’d love to hang out in during a long layover, including Changi. Now Business Insider has created its own list of 15 airports, and I’m happy to report I’ve been to 12 of them and agree with all of BI’s picks.

I am a 100 percent sucker for heartwarming airline and airport stories, as evidenced by this post I did for on the 10 Best Sappy Holiday Airline and Airport Videos. So I’m going to end the week with this story from the Bradenton Herald about a father wasn’t going to let a cross-country airplane ride stop his three-year-old daughter from missing Halloween. It’s a great read!

Here are another five story picks:

EDITOR’S NOTE: Benét J. Wilson is a freelance aviation/travel writer based in Baltimore who is available for your writing and branded content/content marketing projects. She’s the Air Travel Expert for Follow her travel-related magazines on Flipboard: Best of About Travel, a joint curation venture with her fellow About Travel Experts; Travel-Go! There’s Nothing Stopping You, all about the passenger experience on the ground and in the air; and Aviation Geek, a joint magazine sharing everything you need to know about the commercial aviation industry. Check out her travel-related boards on Pinterest and follow her on Twitter at @AvQueenBenet, on her Aviation Queen Facebook Page and on Instagram at aviationqueen.

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