Blog Archives

The Difference between Airline Hard and Soft Products

The Difference between Airline Hard and Soft Products » Singapore Airlines

Essentially, an airline’s hard product is the plane itself, and the airline’s soft product is the service, food, and the drinks.

Hard product can also be non-airplane constituents, such as lounge amenities. Consequently, the food and drinks in the lounge is soft product, while airline lounge showers are hard products.

The real differentiation is that hard product is hard to alter (requires construction), while soft product can be changed in 5 min with a phone call. Accordingly, limo service is a soft product for the airline (and a hard product for the limo company, at least as far as the car goes). For airplanes, the actual cost of the hard product is the airplane’s downtime during fit out (often greater than the cost of the hardware being added).

Travel consultant and blogger Ben Schlappig (“Lucky”) provides a rule of thumb:

A first/business class hard product is anything physically attached to the plane, which doesn’t differ from flight to flight. For example, the seat, onboard amenities (shower, bar, etc.), size of the entertainment screen, etc.

A first/business class soft product is anything which can differ from flight to flight. For example, food, drinks, service, amenity kits, etc.

Posted in Airlines and Airliners

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary Protests Brexit in London with Funny Costume

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary Protests Brexit in London with Funny Costume

On Jun 23, 2016, the UK voted to leave the EU. The economic and political consequences will be significant and long lasting, and not just for the UK and the EU. The repercussions will be felt everywhere. The key concern for EasyJet and Ryanair, among a number of airlines hypothetically affected, is what will happen if the UK fails to remain part of Europe’s single market in air services when Brexit negotiations accomplish.

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary Protests Brexit in London with Funny Costume

A challenge for Ryanair is that its biggest base is in the UK, at London Stansted. Its two busiest UK routes in June this year are Dublin–Stansted and Dublin–London Gatwick.

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary Protests Brexit in London with Funny Costume

CEO Michael O’Leary was upfront, opinionated and amusing as ever today at a Bloomberg News conference where he warned that Brexit could lead to contagion. The CEO of one of Europe’s largest airlines said that he would leave that to greater minds than his—referring to his treasury administrators. He warned that the budget airline would be forced to rationalize investment if Britain votes to leave the EU.

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary Protests Brexit in London with Funny Costume

Appearing on a platform with British chancellor George Osborne at Stansted Airport, Mr O’Leary spoke that inward investment will be lost to participant EU member states such as Ireland and Germany if Britain votes for Brexit. O’Leary said,

It is this type of large-scale foreign inward investment that is helping to drive the UK economy and job creation. It is exactly this type of investment that will be lost to other competitor EU members if the UK votes to leave the European Union. The single market has enabled Ryanair to lead the low-fare air travel revolution in Europe, as we bring millions of British citizens to Europe each year, and welcome millions of European visitors to Britain, and we are calling on everyone to turn out in large numbers and vote remain.

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary Protests Brexit in London with Funny Costume

Brexit may result in Ryanair’s formation of UK subsidiary. Ryanair has reported it may create a new subsidiary to operate UK domestic flights if a “hard Brexit” happens, the company said. Under the worst outcome, the UK would be forced to leave the European open-skies system as it exits the EU, which would thwart Ryanair as a European carrier from remaining to operate routes from London to Belfast, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary Protests Brexit in London with Funny Costume

It would then need to establish a separate UK company, of which Ryanair would be able to own a maximum of 49.9 percent. If the UK continues part of the open-skies area, the company said it forecasts no change in the ownership structures of Ryanair or UK carriers. Ryanair said airlines have been invited to a round table discussion organized by the government department charged with navigating the UK’s exit from the EU to discuss the impact this will have on their sector.

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary Protests Brexit in London with Funny Costume

Ryanair has stepped up warnings that flights between the UK and Europe are jeopardized by Brexit, with the airline’s chief executive Michael O’Leary claiming that the prospect of upsetting aviation was one of the quickest and best ways for the EU27 to “stick it to the British”.

If Britain votes to leave it will be damaging for the UK economy and the European economy for the next two or three years … there’ll be huge uncertainty while Britain tries to negotiate an exit out of a single market and tries to replace that with a whole series of trade deals which they won’t get done … yet staying in is the way forward the British economy is performing fundamentally well at the moment … unemployment is low … the economy’s doing well … it’s one of the most competitive economies in Europe … this is the time to stay in and continue to benefit from European membership not leave now.

We speak as Britain’s largest airline we carry 40 million passengers to and from the UK this year we’re also a large foreign in word investor here in the UK I fly from 2060 British airports I employ more than three thousand pilots, cabin crew, and engineers and I want to keep investing in Britain I want to keep growing the business here in Britain but I can only do that if Britain remains a member of the European Union.

Were they not want to leave not just European Union but also the single market we may not be able to free to fly anymore between the UK and Europe as an Irish airline … now of course the UK is part of the European Union … it’s not part of the euro and the single currency … Ireland of course is there’s lots of criticisms about the future of the euro if it can survive in its current form overall has Ireland benefited from being a part of the single currency can the single currency survive as it is I think overall iron has benefits usually by being a member the single currency I think the single currency will survive because the strongest economy in Europe … Germany is behind the euro and I think they’ll do whatever needs to be done to make sure it does survive but there does need to be more harmonization between the outer relying countries the Greeks, the Italians, the Spanish, and the Irish who have suffered real economic problems in recent years as a result of very low interest rates and … you know property bubbles … but that’s why I a single market needs reform we’ve been very critical of Brussels and over-regulation and I think why this election will bring about more reform in Brussels as long as Britain votes to stay in.

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary Protests Brexit in London with Funny Costume

Posted in Airlines and Airliners Global Business

GE Capital Aviation Services: A Fantastic Asset for General Electric

GE Capital Aviation Services: A Fantastic Asset for General Electric

Of the 12 firms that constituted the initial Dow Jones Industrial Average in 1896, General Electric Company (GE) is the only one yet on the list. For more than a century, it has been one of the most successful companies in the world, well-liked for its products, culture, and series of dedicated chief executives.

In 2015, GE assertively moved to wind down GE Capital, which was a considerable but volatile driver of earnings. After selling large portions of its financial business over the past few years, General Electric (GE) has finally shed the “too big to fail” designation. This is for the most part completed, and the residual specialty finance segments have understandable ties to the company’s principal industrial business, such as aircraft leasing. Investors should gain from a much smaller, better-capitalized GE Capital over the long run. Barclays analyst Scott Davis calls one remaining piece of GE Capital, GECAS, GE Capital Aviation Services, “a fantastic asset.” Barclays explains,

GECAS is a fantastic asset, making up more than half of the GE Capital verticals’ asset base and almost 3/4 of its profits/cash. Aircraft leasing is a lucrative and relatively stable business with favorable cyclical and secular market dynamics. The market is becoming an oligopoly with increasing concentration amongst a few key players, and GECAS is the clear leader. Large global players benefit from significant advantages, including large discounts to the latest next-gen aircraft and valuable relationships with top-tier airline customers. From a cyclical perspective, air traffic growth remains strong and lower oil has resulted in strong airline customer profitability. There are also secular tailwinds from a growing global middle class, as well as airlines increasingly choosing to lease their fleets.

'General Electric and the Pursuit of Profit' by Thomas F. O'Boyle (ISBN 0375705678) During the Jack Welch tenure, General Electric benefited from the evolution of financial services in the American economy and the growth of GE Capital. That strategy backfired in 2008 with the arrival of the financial crisis. General Electric had no competitive advantage in financial services. If anything, their risk controls were even inferior to those at other large financial institutions.

Barclays also says GECAS is an asset that’s underappreciated by investors: “We estimate that GECAS will help deliver ~$1.3–1.4B in run-rate free cash flow going forward… not an insignificant amount relative to GE’s ~$9B Industrial FCF in 2016.”

Posted in Airlines and Airliners Business and Strategy

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary at the Paris Air Show 2013

Ryanair orders 175 New Boeing Aircraft

Michael O’Leary, the chief executive of Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair, participated in his first air show at the Paris Air Show 2013 to sign a deal with Boeing for 175 new 737-800 aircraft.

These aircraft are to be delivered over the five years from 2014 to 2018 to enable Europe’s largest airline to increase in size for twenty five percent over the five years and bring more low cost fares for Europe’s consumers. O’Leary confirmed that Boeing has been delivering great aircraft for many years, and they’ve never missed a delivery date. He also said that he chose the Boeing 737-800 over the competing Airbus model, the A320, because the operating economics of the 189-seat B737-800 are superior to that of the 180 seats on the A320. The nine extra seats make a big difference. In addition, the B737-800 is a great aircraft with superior technically reliability is among the best in the. Airbus, although makes good aircrafts, doen’st have enough seats on the A320 for Ryanair. If Ryanair would fly transatlantic, O’Leary hopes that there would be a very competitive bidding process between Airbus and Boeing and he will take the aircraft that offers the lowest operating cost per seat to enable Ryanair to offer $10 fares across the Atlantic.

Ryanair's Michael O'Leary at the Paris Air Show 2013

Answering a question on whether he’ll be at another air show to sign up for more aircraft, O’Leary responded, “I bloody hope not. I’d rather be signing in Seattle or New York or somewhere exciting rather than a wet and windy place like the Paris Air Show. … We’ve been in dialog with Boeing for the last four years, the major change has been a change in senior management in the last twelve months, and they’ve put more sales guys in charge. And there’s a real commitment within Boeing to do business and to recognize the need to compete aggressively with Airbus. “

I haven’t alienated myself from Airbus … they make great aircraft … The NEO has been a very successful product … it’s been too successful. You look at the EasyJet order yesterday and they can only get three aircraft in 2017 to be fair. The key thing about the Boeing order is that we get the three first deliveries in 2014 and then big chunky numbers in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Ryanair's Michael O'Leary with Boeing's Ray Conner after announcing $15 billion purchase of 175 737-8 jets.

So it’s easier for us at this point to do another deal with Boeing because they have the aircraft and the willingness to continue to work with us. I think it’s harder for Airbus to do a deal with us because frankly they don’t need our business because they signed up huge numbers of the aircraft with Lion Air, Air Asia, the NEO with Pegasus, and more yesterday with EasyJet. Frankly, I’d never rule out to deal with the Airbus, if Airbus could deliver us the numbers have aircraft we need and at the right pricing, we’d do a deal.

I don’t see any prospect John Leahy leaving Airbus … he has done a terrific job over the last twenty years and he’s been one of the outstanding sales guys in the aircraft market and I hope there’s not much prospect of me leaving Ryanair for the next couple of years because I have four kids under the age of seven and I sure as hell don’t spend any more time at home. One of the opportunities that will arise if we had been allowed to acquire Air Lingus, we’ve had discussions with John Leahy, we would have placed an Airbus order very quickly if we owned Air Lingus.

Air Lingus would have continued to be an Airbus operator. You know things change and opportunities. I think it would be disingenuous to do anything other than to applaud the success of Airbus’s NEO product. It certainly has put pressure on Boeing to develop and bring forward the MAX product and that kind of competition can only be good for airlines and passengers.

Posted in Airlines and Airliners Business and Strategy

Ryanair’s Exclusive Corporate Jet with Boeing 737-700 Charter Service

Ryanair's Exclusive Corporate Jet with Boeing 737-700 Charter Service

Ireland’s ultra low cost carrier Ryanair has converted its only B737-700 aircraft (registration EI-SEV) to a corporate jet with 60 seats in the cabin. The aircraft is now is a 2 x 2 configuration. The specifications are:

  • 60 passengers, all business class,
  • Seats: 2 x 2 seating with 48″ seat pitch, leather reclining seats
  • Crew: Ryanair’s pilot and cabin crew
  • Range: 3000 nm range, 6 hours at 500 mph cruise speed
  • Catering: available

Previously, this aircraft already in complete Ryanair livery, was used for training, and may have it has covered a couple of scheduled services. Perhaps the aircraft will be in demand when soccer teams have to play in far-flung eastern European destinations. Ryanair also aims it at sports teams, travel groups as well as business customers. Ryanair will price the services of this aircraft on a cost-per-hour basis, and depending on the departure and arrival airports, the rates could be the most competitive in Europe.

Ryanair’s corporate jet charter is akin to similar services offered by Korean Air (16 or 28-seat 737 Business Jet), Emirates (19-seat A319 Executive Jet) and Qatar Airways (40-seat A319.)

For the summer season, the Boeing 737 corporate jet will be used as a normal passenger aircraft with 149 seats for training and as a backup aircraft for routes between the UK and Ireland.

Ryanair exclusively flies Boeing 737-800 aircraft, of which 320 are in service and 153 in orders, as on 10-Mar-2016. Ryanair is also the launch for the 197-seater Boeing 737 MAX 200 aircraft with options for an additional 100 aircraft of this subtype—all to be delivered between 2019 and 2023. The MAX 200 aircrafts hold eight more passengers than the popular Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. This subtype includes a mid-exit door to increase the exit limit. With eight additional seats than the standard 179-seater MAX 8, Boeing claims that the MAX 200 airplane offers 20% superior operating cost efficiency in comparison to the Ryanair’s staple, the 737-800. The front and rear galley spaces are removed and the lavatory space is repositioned to the rear of the aircraft. Surprisingly, Ryanair claims that the seat pitch will stretch to a tad over than 30 inches.

Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s CEO, had been pushing for a maximum-density 737-800 aircraft for ten years. Beyond 200 seats, Ryanair will need a fourth flight attendant on its aircraft. Although Boeing claims that 35% of the worldwide market demand for single-aisle aircraft will in due course lie with low cost carriers (LCCs,) for which the MAX 200 is intended, Ryanair is the sole customer thus far for the Boeing 737 MAX 200. News emerged in March 2015 that Boeing was presenting some airlines with concept of 737-8ERX, a longer-range version of the 737-8 MAX.

Ryanair owns three Learjet 45 aircrafts, which are based at its prominent bases in London Stansted (STN) Airport and Italy’s Bergamo Airport (BGY, 45 km northeast of Milan.) These aircrafts carry Isle of Man registrations M-ABEU, M-ABGV, and M-ABJA. They are primarily used to rapidly transport aircraft parts and maintenance personnel around Ryanair’s ever-expanding network. The number of aircrafts in order is testimony to the ambition of Ryanair to accelerate its traffic growth modestly. Ever since transforming in the LCC paradigm in the mid 1990s, Ryanair has mostly operated a single aircraft type, thereby providing economies of scale and flexibility in terms of aircraft deployment, maintenance, crew scheduling, and training.

Ryanair has unit costs that are lowest of any European airline and one of the lowest of any airline on the planet. Ryanair has a level of unit cost that is unlikely to be equaled by competitors in Europe and so other airlines are doubtful to be able to contend with it on price.

Posted in Airlines and Airliners

Delta Calls A Bubble in Wide-body Planes

Delta Calls A Bubble Wide-body Planes

Rumor has it that Delta has signed on to bring in eleven 777-200ERs, formerly operated by Singapore Airlines and its subsidiary Scoot. This would add to the 18 current 777-200ER/LRs in the Delta fleet. This is a significant fleet addition.

Interestingly, the ex-Scoot 777-200ERs are the ones that were previously abused on regional routes by SQ. They’re probably some of the highest cycle 777s in the world. Airfleets shows 10 Singapore Airlines and five Scoot Boeing 777-200ERs stored.

Delta 777-200LR Aircraft Given the expected growth in trans-Pacific traffic—particularly in China-US traffic—this seems like a solid strategy. Delta has expressed a strong interest in feeding China Eastern’s hub at Shanghai. There is no question that Delta is going to continue to double-down on Asian growth.

Delta’s fleet planning always bears watching. They have 12 remaining 747-400s and there’s a good chance that within the next 18 months, Delta will no longer fly any 747s in scheduled passenger fleets.

Interestingly enough, after Detla’s announcement of quarterly results on 14-Oct-2015, shares of Boeing tumbled 4% today thanks to comments from Delta management’s comments on supply-demand dynamics in the market for 777s. USA Today notes,

Delta Air Lines may be scooping up some used wide-body planes in the next few years, but CEO Richard Anderson says he’s waiting for prices to drop even more on the world market.

Anderson told reporters Wednesday on a call to discuss record third-quarter profits of $1.4 billion that low interest rates have created a bubble worldwide in wide-body planes. But there’s no deal yet…

“We do think that the aircraft market is going to be ripe for Delta over the course of the next 12 to 36 months,” Anderson said. “There will be some huge buying opportunities.”

There’s something self-serving about Delta’s comments about Boeing. Ken Herbert and Jonathan Morales of Canaccord Genuity (Canada’s largest independent investment dealer) noted,

It is true that the 777 market is softening, especially for the -200s. We hear that Kenya Airways is offering 4 on the market, Malaysian Airlines, which has 6, is putting them back with the lessor as it re-invents its fleet, and Singapore has the right to return 20 of its 777-200ERs, and in fact the first is back with Boeing. While Delta cited a $10M price, we are hearing prices in the ~$15M range, which would also entail a significant cabin reconfiguration expense, thus a total cost of $25M-$30M. The key we are watching is what Emirates will do with its 777-300ER extensions with GECAS, which we believe have been taken care of on at least 10 of its aircraft.

We believe Delta’s comments were also somewhat self-serving. We understand that Virgin Atlantic, a JV partner with Delta, is looking to acquire ~20 777s as part of its fleet re-equipage. Part of Virgin’s delay in announcing this order was the belief that 777 prices had further to fall. We believe Delta is looking to pay $6M/year to lease the aircraft, including the cabin reconfiguration, which the market is not yet offering. A330 lease rates are lower, and are complicated by the changing maintenance strategy at Rolls-Royce.

Could there be a possibility of some Airbus wide body deferrals? Remember that in November 2014, Delta ordered 25 Airbus A350-900 aircraft and 25 Airbus A330-900neo aircraft to replace older generation Boeing 747 and 767 aircraft starting in 2017 and 2019. The long-range Airbus A350-900 were intended for long-range routes between the U.S. and Asia. The wide-body A330-900neo were to be added to Detla’s medium-haul trans-Atlantic markets as well as some routes between the U.S. West Coast and Asia. Cancelling the A350 order only makes sense to me if Delta suddenly finds their CAPEX is too high and need to reduce CAPEX given that these 777-200ERs are a fair bit cheaper per frame then an A350-900. Delta has stated during past earning calls that they plan to have the 747s retired by 2017.

This is another trademark move by Delta’s leadership. Delta has been buying useful assets at very attractive prices especially when others want to dispose of them. They did the same with the B767-300s bought from Gulf Air in the 1990s, then with the MD90s from China Eastern few years ago.

Posted in Airlines and Airliners

Delta Airlines Boeing 747-400 Retirement Schedule

Delta Airlines Boeing 747-400 Retirement Schedule

Delta has stated during past earning calls that they plan to have the 747s retired by 2017.

Delta’s accelerated phase-out of the 747s comes as the company shifts some of its capacity on trans-Atlantic flights to routes between the USA and Asia.

  • N194UA – Sep-2015
  • N171UA – Nov-2015
  • N179UA – Jun-2016
  • N180UA – Aug-2016
  • N182UA – Feb-2017
  • N181UA – Sep-2017
  • N174UA – Dec-2017
  • N175UA – May-2018
  • N177UA – Oct-2018

Additionally N105UA is being moved off the schedule to conserve hours and will be the low utilization charter aircraft.

In 2012, completed interior refurbishments on its Boeing 747-400s and released two YouTube videos showcasing the improvements to the 747-400 fleet: Business Elite flat bed and improved Delta Economy Class and behind the scenes on the 747-400 upgrades.

Posted in Airlines and Airliners

Ex-Google’s Marissa Mayer on Nine Principles of Innovation

The last decade’s most remarkable business story has been the rise of Google as a dominant force in computing. Whenever a company becomes wildly successful in a brief span of time, it naturally becomes an object of fascination for corporate executives and even the general public.

Marissa Mayer on CreativityMarissa Mayer, then Vice-President for Search Products and User Experience at Google, and presently CEO of Yahoo, shared nine guiding principles of innovation that have helped her succeed with Fast Company:

  1. Innovation, Not Instant Perfection. “The Googly thing is to launch it early on Google Labs and then iterate, learning what the market wants—and making it great. … The beauty of experimenting in this way is that you never get too far from what the market wants. The market pulls you back.
  2. Ideas Come from Everywhere. “We have this great internal list where people post new ideas and everyone can go on and see them.
  3. A License to Pursue Your Dreams. “We let engineers spend 20% of their time working on whatever they want, and we trust that they’ll build interesting things.
  4. Morph Projects Don’t Kill Them. “Any project that is good enough to make it to Labs probably has a kernel of something interesting in there somewhere, even if the market doesn’t respond to it. It’s our job to take the product and morph it into something that the market needs.
  5. Share as Much Information as You Can. “People are blown away by the information you can get on MOMA, our intranet. Because there is so much information shared across the company, employees have insight into what’s happening with the business and what’s important. … It allows us to share what we know across the whole company, and it reduces duplication.
  6. Users, Users, Users. “In a truly virtual business, if you’re successful, you’ll be working at something that’s so necessary people will pay for it in subscription form. Or you’ll have so many users that advertisers will pay to sponsor the site.
  7. 'The Google Guys: Inside the Brilliant Minds of Google Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin' by Richard L. Brandt (ISBN 1591844126) Data is Apolitical. “Run a test on 1% of the audience and whichever design does best against the user-happiness metrics over a two-week period is the one we launch. … We probably have somewhere between 50 and 100 experiments running on live traffic, everything from the default number of results to underlined links to how big an arrow should be. We’re trying all those different things.
  8. Creativity Loves Constraints. “People think of creativity as this sort of unbridled thing, but engineers thrive on constraints. They love to think their way out of that little box: ‘We know you said it was impossible, but we’re going to do this, this, and that to get us there.’
  9. You’re Brilliant? We’re Hiring. “There is this amazing element to the culture of wanting to work on big problems that matter, wanting to do great things for the world, believing that we can build a successful business without compromising our standards and values.

How Google Fuels its Innovation Factory

  1. Innovation, not instant perfection.: Google launches early and often in small beta tests, before releasing new features widely
  2. Ideas come from everywhere.: Google expects everyone to innovate, even the finance team
  3. A license to pursue dreams.: Employees get a “free” day a week. Half of new launches come from this “20% time
  4. Don’t kill projects—morph them.: There’s always a kernel of something good that can be salvaged
  5. Share everything you can.: Every idea, every project, every deadline—it’s all accessible to everyone on the intranet
  6. Worry about usage and users, not money.: Provide something simple to use and easy to love. The money will follow.
  7. Don’t politic, use data.: Mayer discourages the use of “I like” in meetings, pushing staffers to use metrics
  8. Creativity loves restraint.: Give people a vision, rules about how to get there, and deadlines
  9. You’re brilliant, we’re hiring.: Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin approve hires. They favor intelligence over experience
Posted in Airlines and Airliners

Luxury Scales Stratospheric Heights in Enchanting Dubai

The Palm Islands are two artificial islands in Dubai

Luxury scales stratospheric heights in the El Dorado of Asia. Here’s a round-up of everything that’s top-shelf.

All that plastic weighing down your wallet. Oh, don’t you just want to burn some of it, max out the spending, the experience, the pleasure … in short, sink into the sort of extreme luxury only money can buy. We’re not talking free hugs, sunsets and a shared sandwich (nice though they are). We’re talking gold shoes, caviar facials and helicopter pick-ups from the airport. Few places in the world do luxury like Dubai. Here’s a short tour of what you can do with the spare millions.

Gold, gold, gold … That’s the unofficial theme color of Dubai. It’s everywhere, and in everything, from cars to cupcakes. Last year, the city announced the proposed sale of a Lamborghini Aventador made from a solid 500kg block of yellow gold and encrusted with gemstones. Anyone wishing to buy wheels like this should jingle around $7.5 million (Dirham 27.5 million) in small change in their pocket. A buyer hasn’t been announced yet, so you might be able to take this baby home.

Jumeirah Zabeel Saray - Voda Bar in Dubai

If you like to be fashionably coordinated with your supercar, pick up a pair of Alberto Moretti’s 24 carat gold shoes (Dirham 19,500) from Level Shoe District, the luxury footwear universe inside Dubai Mall. There is one design each for the lady and the gentleman—a pair of high-heeled pumps and a pair of loafers in Alberto Moretti’s signature dandy style.

Want a bite now? Bloomsbury’s, a gourmet cafe in Dubai Mall, had a commemorative gold cupcake (Dirham 3,700 approx.) named ‘The Golden Phoenix’ when we last dropped by. Every ingredient used, goes without saying, is premium, and everything on the plate is wrapped in edible gold sheets.

To get kitted out with some accessories to match your car, shoes and cupcakes, a brief whirl around the Paris Gallery will do. This luxury accessories store, present in several major malls, has what looks like acres of watch displays, miles of perfume shelves, yards and yards of gorgeous handbags and wallets. The store’s personal shopper service ensures that your limousine doesn’t have to wait too long to whisk you off to a gold or caviar facial appointment. Drop a bottle of Roberto Cavalli’s Gold for Her EDP (Dirham 390) into your bag. You’ll want it later; we’re coming to that.

Luxury Hotels View In Dubai

Joyful Rides

We hope you had a pleasant arrival at the hotel on your last trip to Dubai? Did your Rolls Royce have to stop at one or two traffic signals? Well, this time, just take the helicopter. The airport pickup service offered by Burj Al Arab gives you a panoramic view of Dubai before the copter touches down at the hotel’s helipad on level 28. The Royal Two Bedroom Suite (Dirham 29,200) at Burj Al Arab has its personal elevator (no need to inhale someone else’s perfume), own cinema room, 24-hour butler service, private bars, two full-size Jacuzzis, and a 24 carat gold iPad for the guest during the stay. In case you’re a fussy sleeper, the suite has 17 types of pillows.

A power nap later, it’s time to let the fun begin. Before bidding for the gold Lamborghini, you’ll want to get a feel of being in the driving seat of a supercar, right? Dubai Autodrome (from Dirham 590) has a choice of beauties: Ferrari F430; Ferrari 458 Italia; Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560; Lamborghini Aventador (Yes! That one!) and several others.

Racing fingers flexed, take to the air again in a charter hot air balloon (from Dirham 11,450 for a group of eight). The balloon takes you soaring above the desert, a breath-taking spectacle that gives the lie to the notion that money can’t buy happiness.

Cavalli Club Dubai

Evening Out

You need spa time before putting on your gold shoes and spritzing on Gold for Her before the night-out at Cavalli Club. So, we recommend the bespoke facial by Margie Lombard at the Talise Ottoman Spa in Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, a resort on Palm Jumeirah, Dubai. The Dirham 25,000 facial includes a 24-carat gold chain mask that regenerates and firms skin. The facial is followed by a gold hamam (Turkish bath) and a gourmet caviar lunch. If you’d rather put caviar on your face, the spas at Shangri-La Dubai and Fairmont Dubai have it for Dirham 800 approximately.

Fairmont Dubai is right next door to Cavalli Club, a world of absolutely OTT glam created by designer Roberto Cavalli. If you came in head-to-toe gold, guests wouldn’t even blink—and, indeed, your golden shine would have to compete with the glitter of megatons of Swarovski crystals suspended from the club’s ceiling. Dance the night away, but don’t leave a shiny slipper behind. You don’t need Prince Charming. Dubai is enough.

Emirates Airlines First Class Suites

Experiencing Enchanting Dubai

  • Flying. Emirates first class is the comfiest way of getting to the El Dorado of Asia. The first class private suites, available on all Emirates A380 and Airbus A340-500 aircraft, and most Boeing 777 aircraft have a sliding door for privacy, a personal mini-bar, vanity table, mirror and wardrobe. The seat converts into a flat bed with a mattress.
  • Visa. For Indians, the Dubai Visa Processing Centre handles visa procedures for all types of travel. Visa fee is about $80.
  • Currency. l Emirati Dirham (AED) = 0.27 USD
  • Where to stay. The most iconic experience is at the Burj Al Arab where you can arrive by helicopter (one-way airport helicopter transfer Dirham 10,000 for one passenger and Dirham 1,500 for every additional passenger, maximum of 4 passengers; flight time 15 mins). The recent entrant The Oberoi Dubai has a magnificent Presidential Suite with a view of Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world, from its private plunge pool. For a very relaxed, family-oriented luxury vacation, check into Fairmont The Palm on Palm Jumeirah.
  • What to see and do. Get a top personal shopper. Luxury shopping is more fun and fruitful with a knowledgeable insider. So, ring for Derek Khan, who is a Dubai-based lifestyle consultant and personal shopper to the city’s wealthiest residents.
  • Charter a yacht. Dubai loves water, loves to live near it. While there are several yacht charter companies, Xclusive Yachts has a particularly nice fleet, its boats going from 48 ft to a massive 125 ft.
  • What to buy. If there’s still a little gap in your suitcase that you need to fill, the one standout item to buy is the $3.8 million purse. This heart-stopping, heart-shaped item from the House of Mouawad is romantically named the ‘1001 Nights Diamond Purse’. Made from 18 carat gold and embedded with 4,517 diamonds weighing almost 382 carats. You can’t just pick it up, though. The purse takes 8,800 hours to make. Place an order and plan your next Dubai trip.
Posted in Airlines and Airliners Music, Arts, and Culture Travels and Journeys

Lufthansa Airbus A380 Aircraft Fleet

Lufthansa Airbus A380 Aircraft Fleet

Lufthansa ordered net 14 Airbus A380 aircrafts. The A380 represented a trend for which Lufthansa were best prepared, both strategically and operationally. The success of the Airbus A380 for Lufthansa symbolises this trend like no other aircraft in its fleet. Around the world, the Lufthansa flagship aircraft connects destinations where the pulse of the global economy beats, and the list is getting longer all the time. Whether in New York, Singapore or Johannesburg, anyone travelling in the A380 experiences greatness. That is visible in all the service classes and culminates in the new First Class. The concept is extremely well received by passengers. Additionally, the high load factor represents a real efficiency gain for Lufthansa.

Lufthansa originally signed for 15 Rolls-Royce Trent 900-powered A380s and agreed to add another pair in 2011. In 2013, however, the airline’s long-haul order for 25 Airbus A350-900s revealed that Lufthansa has reduced its A380 orders from 17 to 14. So far, all the 14 aircrafts are delivered.

Lufthansa’s A380 aircrafts are named for world cities:

  1. D-AIMA (MSN038) is named “Frankfurt Am Main” and was delivered on 19-May-2010
  2. D-AIMB (MSN041) is named “München” and was delivered on 21-Jul-2010
  3. D-AIMC (MSN044) is named “Peking” and was delivered on 25-Aug-2010
  4. D-AIMD (MSN048) is named “Tokio” and was delivered on 16-Nov-2010
  5. D-AIME (MSN061) is named “Johannesburg” and was delivered on 16-Mar-2011
  6. D-AIMF (MSN066) is named “Zürich” and was delivered on 4-Apr-2011
  7. D-AIMG (MSN069) is named “Wien” and was delivered on 7-May-2011
  8. D-AIMH (MSN070) is named “New York” and was delivered on 7-Jul-2011
  9. D-AIMI (MSN072) is named “Berlin” and was delivered on 16-May-2012
  10. D-AIMJ (MSN073) is named “Brüssel” and was delivered on 15-Jun-2012
  11. D-AIMK (MSN146) is named “Düsseldorf” and was delivered on 1-Apr-2014
  12. D-AIML (MSN149) is named “Hamburg” and was delivered on 7-May-2014
  13. D-AIMM (MSN175) is named “Delhi” and was delivered on 14-Mar-2015
  14. D-AIMN (MSN177) is named “San Francisco” and was delivered on 10-Apr-2015

Lufthansa is also the main customer for the passenger version of the Boeing 747-8, nicknamed the Intercontinental (747-8I,) with 19 of the type on order.

Posted in Airlines and Airliners