Your Aviation Weekend Reads for December 1, 2016

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The rollout of the Boeing 757. Photo courtesy of Boeing

The airline industry has been clamoring for Boeing to either bring back the single-aisle 757 or create a new version of the aircraft. The Seattle-based manufacturer stopped building in October 2004, after 1,050 had been built for 54 customers. Airlines including United, Delta and American still have the jet in their fleets.

In an interview with Airways magazine in February 2015, VP-Marketing Randy Tinseth said Boeing was not considering a 757 replacement or re-engining. But in July, Bloomberg did this story quoting Mike Delaney, Boeing’s general manager of airplane development, who used the term “when,” not “if,” in discussing the prospects for a new single-aisle jet that would fill the gap between the largest 737 and smallest 787.

Business Insider notes that while the jet only had 1050 orders, it still has a list of loyal customers, so it asked pilot Patrick Smith why the jet is still so popular. “There’s no denying the 757 is an old plane that was designed in the late 1970s, but the versatility of the plane is remarkable and unmatched,” said Smith, author of the book Cockpit Confidential. “It’s profitable on both short-haul domestic as well as trans-Atlantic routes.”

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Airbus recently celebrated the first flight of its larger A350-1000 wide-body jet at its headquarters in Toulouse, France. The world’s media attending the event noticed something unnerving: a white jet (called a ghost or a white-tail) sitting on the tarmac at the manufacturer’s airport, reports The National. Ghost aircraft are ones that are built but have not been sold, and the fact that Airbus has a ghost A350 on a relatively new plane to the market is seen as troubling.

In the November 3 edition of Weekend Reads, I wrote about how London Heathrow Airport is closer to getting the third runway it has been trying to build for decades, pushed by flag carrier British Airways. The CEO of BA parent IAG, Willie Walsh, just learned that in order to get that third runway, officials at Heathrow will have to tear down the carrier’s headquarters, reports the Guardian. The problem is, no one from the airport informed Walsh beforehand that the runway will go right through BA’s headquarters, based at Waterside in Harmondsworth, which opened in 1998.

The Runway Girl Network’s John Walton writes about the grand opening of Cathay Pacific’s new London Heathrow Terminal 3 business and first class lounge, which finally opened a year after the original lounge closed a year ago. It features a wide variety of seating options, a contemporary Asian design aesthetic, a work zone and eight shower rooms, among other things.

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United Airlines’ Polaris Lounge at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Photo by Benét J. Wilson

And I was at Chicago O’Hare International Airport Nov. 30 for a sneak peek of United Airlines’ Polaris Lounge, the carrier’s highly anticipated premium facility for its international business class customers. I covered the event for LoungeReview.com, writing about the  food by celebrity Chef Art Smith, drinks by Mixologist Adam Seger and amenities including shower spas and private sleeping suites.

Back in June 2012, I wrote this blog post on why Delta Air Lines began testing basic economy fares, offering onerous restrictions in exchange for much lower prices. Four years later, the fares are part of Delta’s structure and United Airlines has unveiled its own version. Lifehacker explains just what you’re forfeiting in services and amenities if you choose to buy these low fares.

Regular readers know I’m a huge fan of airports big and small. So imagine my delight when Wired magazine did this post on the smart ways airports are using technology for a better passenger experience. They include robot helpers at Tokyo Haneda, facial recognition at Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International and Bluetooth beacons at Miami International (see my story on those here).

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Photo courtesy of Gotanero/Wikipedia

If you’re looking for a unique holiday option in Costa Rica, you may want to consider a stay in the Hotel Coste Verde near the coastal rainforest between the Manuel Antonio National Park and the Pacific Ocean. What makes this hotel unique is that it has a suite that’s housed in an old Boeing 727 jet, reports Curbed.com. It’s sitting on top of a 50-foot pedestal that offers customers panoramic ocean and jungle views.

Please enjoy these links to read over the weekend. Enjoy!

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 About.com. 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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