Thursday, 18 February 2010

[Aviation] Jet Airways expands international network... to introduce direct flights to South Africa!

Yes you heard right, its finally been confirmed, Jet airways will commence daily direct flights between Mumbai and Johannesburg from mid April 2010.

Flight 9W 242 which is the incoming flight will depart from Mumbai @ 2.05am and will arrive in Johannesburg at 7:35am, the return leg will depart Johannesburg at 11am and arrive in Mumbai at 11:30pm.

Jet airways currently flies to numerous destinations in the Arabian Gulf as well as New York, Toronto, Brussels, London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Kuala Lampur (naturally flights originate in India, most from Mumbai).

[Aviation] - Airbus A380 now flies to Johannesburg, courtesy of Air France

Airbus have now delivered a total of 26 A380s to Singapore Airlines (10), Emirates (8), Qantas (6) and Air France (2).

Air France is the first European carrier to take delivery of the A380. The first aircraft was drafted into its Paris - New York route, and the second will serve the Paris - Johannesburg route! Air France have been operating Boeing 777s on this route 10 times a week but have decided to add a couple of the Airbus A380s and reduce the number of flights to 7 a week come the end of March (made possible because of the increased capacity of the A380). The first Air France A380 flight to Johannesburg landed today morning!

So if you're planning to fly between France and South Africa you know which flight to look out for. A clip of the Air France A380 interior is included, keep in mind that you'll only be able to experience the luxurious amenities if you fly First class :)

Friday, 12 February 2010

[Aviation] Boeing readies latest models to take flight

As a matter of fact, they're already in the air undergoing a barrage of tests. Which models I hear you ask, well one which you may have guessed is the much publicised (probably more because of its delays than any other single factor) is the so called Dreamliner, the new Boeing 787. The mid-sized aircraft initially famed for racking up orders faster than any previous wide body airliner, a figure which is currently over 850, became a victim of its own ambition. At a time when the super jumbo from Airbus was encountering heavy delays that resulted in lose of face and shriveling up of fresh orders, Boeing confidently stated there were no such hiccups with their Boeing 787 progress only to concede later, more than once, that they too weren't as infallible as they led themselves to believe. The resultant delays meant that the aircraft's maiden flight took place more than 2 years later than originally intended!

In fact that maiden flight happened quite recently, it was 15 December 2009 when the first of the 787s eventually took to the air. Any number of expectant airliner personnel would have breathed a sigh of relief to see it in the air, and thats discounting the hoards of Boeing staff who came out to witness the big moment. But the wait is not over, with the first delivery only expected at the end of 2010 following the testing phase.

So what's so great about the 787, well it is built from lighter composite materials which should improve fuel consumption figures. Why is this is a big deal one might ask, the answer is because over the past decade the average percentage of the total running costs reported by airlines indicate that the cost of fuel which used to be around 10 - 15% has escalated to about 30% of the total operational cost! Alright good for them, but set aside the profit margins, what do we as passengers have to look forward to? Will it have a lie flat configuration in economy, unfortunately the seats appear to be pretty much the same as what we're used to (yup, knee breaking, spine crushing... its all the same). There will however be a feature which will allow you to dim the windows (referred to as electro-chromic) with the touch of a button, thereby eliminating the need for a window blind. Its cool but not exactly mind blowing, the clip below shows a demo.

While all the hype has been over the 787 the 'new' 747-8 took flight on 9 February 2010. It looks pretty much the same as the 747 which has been around for four decades but now it features redesigned wings and new engines as its major modifications in an effort to drive down the fuel consumption. You might also notice from the picture the lack of windows along the side of the aircraft, there are only three, that's because this is a freighter aircraft. The passenger variant of the 747-8 to be christened 'Intercontinental' will follow later in the year. Boeing will indeed be able to carve out a market share for the latest 747 as there hasn't been any alternative for large cargo aircraft since the old 747. The A380 freighter variant is suspended for the moment while they try to get production figures of the passenger edition up to the desired figures. So it appears the cargo carriers are queuing up in anticipation to rid their old jumbo fleets in favour of the more economical 747-8.

One thing's for sure, Boeing and Airbus are going to be really busy for the next couple of years churning out aircraft to meet the backlog, lets hope they don't incur any further mishaps.

Monday, 08 February 2010

[Sport - Football] Phase 4 set to commence... Fifa World Cup 2010 Ticket sales

The fourth ticket sales phases kicks off on 9 February 2010 at 1:00pm South African time (GMT +2). In this phase tickets will be allocated on a 'first come, first served, subject to availability' basis so don't delay your application! 400 000 seats will be on sale in this phase, though not all the matches will be available in this phase, those listed below are excluded, possibly due to high demand in previous phases:

Match 5 - England vs USA
Match 11 - Italy vs Paraguay
Match 37 - England vs Slovenia
Match 45 - Brazil vs Portugal
Match 54 - 1G vs 2H - Round of 16 fixture (likely Brazil vs Chile)
Match 56 - 1H vs 2G - Round of 16 fixture (likely Spain vs Portugal/Ivory Coast)
Match 59 - Quarter-final fixture (possibly Argentina vs Germany)
Match 60 - Quarter-final fixture (possibly Italy vs Spain)
Match 61 - Semi-final fixture (possibly England vs Brazil)
Match 62 - Semi-final fixture (possibly Germany vs Spain)
Match 64 - Final

Thus far apparently about 2 million of the 3 million odd tickets have already been sold. Aside from the host nation the most ticket applications have been received from the following countries:

1 - USA
2 - UK
3 - Australia
4 - Mexico
5 - Germany
6 - Brazil

Thursday, 04 February 2010

[Sport - Cycling] Lance Armstrong's doing the ARGUS this year!!!!

This showed up on Lance's twitter feed yesterday, "Hey South Africa! Excited to come down in March. Bringing your man Daryl Impey with me. And yes, we're racing The Argus.... "

Daryl Impey is a 25-year old South African cyclist who has signed for Armstrong's Radioshack team.

For those of you who don't know the Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour is an annual 109 km cycle race hosted in Cape Town, South Africa. This year the main race will be held on Sunday, 14 March and entries are still open of international riders. With approximately 40,000 cyclists taking part, it is the world's largest individually timed cycle race, and is the first event outside Europe to be included in the International Cycling Union's Golden Bike Series.

Photos taken from and