The Aviation Oracle - former airline employee, aviation software specialist, magazine editor and still
photographer - provides unique and enlightening views on the current airline and airport scene.

November 13, 2019

On Monday evening, the BBC Panorama TV programme debated whether flying could become environmentally friendly. Given the myriad of climate-change campaigners that are employed by the broadcasting company and the bias that inevitably results, it was always going to be a stitch-up that would make air travel look bad.

Left: Refuelling can be an expensive business (Curimedia)

One aspect of modern airline operations that is not readily observed by the travelling public came in for particular scrutiny d...

August 26, 2019

I was surprised to see KJM Today covering the London Assembly’s anti-Heathrow expansion propaganda on August 21. As a pro-aviation website and news source, I expected better despite the counter arguments offered at the end of the piece.

  The reality is that Heathrow served 88.1m passengers in 2018, almost exactly ten times the population of London. There could never be a more fitting circumstance for the saying ”the needs of the many outweighs the needs of the few”. Air travel continu...

June 5, 2019

The proposal to charge drivers between £10 and £15 to access Heathrow Airport brings forward the debate about aviation and climate change yet again. 

Punitive charges on airline passengers are reaching ridiculous levels but are unlikely to deter travellers or reduce emissions.  

Way back in 1994 the UK government introduced Air Passenger Duty (APD).  The tax was originally intended to address emissions from aviation, and was initially set at between £5 (for journeys within the UK) and £4...

June 5, 2019

Proposals have been put forward to implement an ultra-low emissions zone (ULEZ) around London Heathrow Airport.  Charges will be made to discourage drivers of the most polluting vehicles from entering the zone, which will include the airport's car parks and terminal drop-off areas.  Although precise details of the scheme are yet to emerge, it is expected that drivers of pre-Euro 4 petrol-powers vehicles (those manufactured before 2006) and pre-Euro 6 diesels (made before 2016) will have to pay a...

May 12, 2019

Four and a half years elapsed between the final report of the Davies Commission recommended expanding Heathrow as the preferred means of providing additional aviation capacity in southeast England, and the House of Parliament approving the UK National Policy Statement (NPR) on airports.  In mid-2018 the parlaimentary vote to support the Heathrow plan, which found 415 MPs in favour and only 119 against, was a moral victory for the aviation industry that had been campaigning for another runway.  T...

May 10, 2019

The German press are once again reporting that the opening of Berlin's new airport, Brandenburg Willie Brandt International, may be delayed again and flights might not commence in October 2020.

A recent report by TÜV Rheinland suggests that the new facilities still had a backlog of 11,581 defects to be fixed at the beginning of March, 9407 of which are said to be "significant deficiencies".

To some eyes the new terminal at Berlin Brandenburg Airport looks ready for business, althoug...

May 10, 2019

The airline component of the Thomas Cook empire was put on the market in February after the parent company decided to explore divestment of its flying operations to shore up its struggling holiday business.  Thomas Cook runs airlines in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Scandinavia and Spain.  The operators currently fly a mix of scheduled seat-only services and holiday flights dedicated to the parent's inclusive tour business.  Some of Cook's holiday travellers are carried on the airlines'...

Airbus has completed the first tethered flight of its all-electric, four-seat, multicopter vehicle demonstrator known as CityAirbus.  The prototype will be used for tests that focus on advancing remotely piloted electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) flight.  The initial short hop, which took place at Donauwörth in Germany, will be followed by more extensive trials at the manufacturer's facility at Manching where its flight envelope will be expanded.  CityAirbus is intended to be operate...

Editorial opinion: Videos and images of the tragedy that unfolded at Moscow Sheremetyevo over the weekend are truly harrowing.  The landing roll of the Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet that ended with the rear of the fuselage engulfed in flames cost 41 passengers and crew their lives as it seems many who were sat in the rear of the cabin were unable to move forward before they were overcome by the smoke or fire.  One of the surviving cabin crew has already said that many passengers attempted to retrieve...

The cornerstone of Terminal 3 at Frankfurt Airport has been laid, marking the start of a major construction project that is due for completion in four years time.  The initial phase of the work,  Pier G, will open in 2021 in the southern part of airport, and will be capable of handling 5m passengers per annum.  This facility will later be integrated into Terminal 3’s build out.  Plans call for the main terminal building, along with Piers H and J, to be completed in 2023 when the entire facility...

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