2007 NetLetter #974 - May 20, 2007

#974 - May 20, 2007
Air Canada News
Air Canada
Air Canada reported a first-quarter net loss of C$34 million ($30.7 million), narrowed from a net loss of C$126 million in the year-ago quarter, on a 5.9% increase in revenue to C$2.53 billion


Service Toronto - Fort Myers with EMBRAER 175 equipment will commence weekly on June 16th.
Nice to know
Vesta Stevenson
Reprinted from the eMailNews issued by Jimmy Miller for RAPCAN -

Charlie's Cabin

This is not an anecdote of great import. It is more a whimsical window into the past which can connect us with our predecessors, and I'm trying to get it down before I forget it again. I was fairly new to the Big Stuff - the Lockheed Super Constellation L1049E and successors, a line of sensuously-formed airliners with four huge engines and three tails and long, spindly undercarriage stalks. It had a fuselage shaped a bit like an airfoil and circular in cross-section. It was large compared to its contemporaries and stood out on the tarmacs of the metropolitan airfields because of its silhouette and size. Another feature marking it to be different was the fact that on the Atlantic service, there were four classes - Economy, Tourist, First Class and DeLuxe. The latter had ice cream as a choice of desert. They were the last six seats - furthest from the noisy propellers.

At my stage, each trip in this goliath was a new experience and education. The cockpit was small - wide enough for two but with a length which accommodated a Flight Engineer behind me, and a separate cabin farther back which provided a work desk for a Navigator, and upper single and lower double berths for crew rest. Behind these was a door leading to the forward section of the passenger cabin and the rest of the aircraft. In addition, it was the era of the Captains - the traditions of the sea had permeated the aircraft scene and each Captain was an individual in mien as in method. First Officers were meant to learn quietly the many distinct moods and practices of each skipper in order to produce the smooth and disciplined event which long-range air transport advertised for itself. This was no doubt partly due to the tradition formed by Imperial Airways in their adventurous flights to the Middle and Far East, wherein the Captain determined where the flight would end for the day and join the passengers for the overnight stop. Some of that mystique rubbed off on some of our bosses, but not all.

This particular night, we had flown from Montreal to Toronto, refuelled, re-planned and re-provisioned for Calgary, and then made the Alberta stop and were continuing on to Vancouver. These stops were normally about one hour during which the Flight Engineer would supervise the refuelling and inspect the aircraft visually while Skipper and F/O strode into the weather office and were briefed by the Met man for the next leg. The Cabin Staff would prepare for their service ahead.

Everything hung on the Skipper. Although there was a groundswell of resistance to this regime, it had not yet risen up to rebel against His Powers and newer Pursers were careful not to incur his ire. This produced an atmosphere of tension on occasion - when Captains of a certain bent lent on their power rather tenaciously, believing it to be the sole source of discipline and success. There were of course others, more humanitarian, whose perception was that wise discretion was the more efficient mode of progress - and whose quiet supervision created happier and more productive flights. This presumably led to the wide diversity in the makeup of these leaders. The sway they held produced great variations in the character of each and their differences were the nub of co-pilot chat. Who screamed "Gear Up!" at the top of his voice and who settled down at night with a pile of the day's newspapers for the Trans-At legs was the meat-and-potatoes of First Officer fare.

Charles L. Skelding was one of this generation of fliers. Neat, precise, well-read, intelligent and often short of patience with less perceptive assistants, he was nevertheless generous in recognition of work well done and appreciative of a worthwhile conversation. "Charlie" was not used in his presence unless a sharp correction was sought, to say nothing of "Chuck", but he was personable and friendly when things were going right. While some skippers seemed to change character when they ascended the aircraft steps, Skelding did not. There was comfort in that, which went missing otherwise. One remarkable and unique habit was his collection of recipe cards, one for each destination airfield, outlining the salient features of the instrument approach. It represented him as one who took considerable care to be familiar with it. These cards came out for each approach and landing, wedged into the port cockpit window for easy reference. He took supreme care in being accurate and knowledgeable in the conduct of the flight, and expected the same from the crew. That he was not always granted this response often set the tone for a tense atmosphere - not without cause. I enjoyed his trips as there could be much to learn.

We started up according to a schedule meant to originate in the Old Testament; I sought and received clearance to taxi to the active runway and the Captain began the trundle into the dark. Soon we found ourselves at an intersection of the north-south taxiway and the west end of Runway 25, in the southwest corner of the field. As we turned the corner, he asked me if I knew where the original Calgary to Edmonton highway lay. As a rank tourist to the area, I had to admit ignorance.
"Well, we're on it," he replied. "The north-south taxi was installed on the old roadbed and I'll bet you wonder how I know."
I admitted to the thought.
"Because over there on the west side in the taxi lights, is where I was born." He let it sink in.
"That corner is where our cabin was built, because my Dad said one day it would be a valuable plot of land. Now look at it. It's as barren a spot as you'd ever want."

We jiggled along in silence. I could imagine the mental picture Charlie was drawing in his imagination and felt this was no time to interrupt. My reveries were broken by his abrupt change of mood as he swung into position for run-up just short of the active runway and called for Run-up Checklist. The trip progressed in relative quiet till he started up a topic of interest once we were squared away in cruise.

I stopped flying into Calgary in 1989. I had forgotten that small moment of personal history until today, thought it might amuse.

Ferg Kyle
Found on the Internet

AIRBUS completed painting first A380 for Singapore Airlines; process took 21 days and used 2,200 liters of paint.

Sign of the future!

KLM charges more for extra leg room. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is charging passengers an extra 50 euros (C$75) for seats with more leg room, such as exit row seats, in a trial on some long-haul routes. - as it sees an opportunity to generate additional revenue. "Several U.S. carriers are already using this formula and it's proving already to be successful. People are willing to pay a little bit more for a bit of extra comfort," a KLM spokesman said. Source: Reuters

London - Canadian Affair, the UK's largest tour operator to Canada, and its sister company Air Transat, will make history on May 12th with the introduction of the first ever low-cost long-haul service from Heathrow Airport.
The twice-weekly non-stop service to Toronto will depart each Saturday and Sunday from Heathrow, flying direct non-stop to Toronto Pearson International Airport, the closest and most convenient international arrival point for the city.
Fares start from £99 one-way, including taxes and charges, and its lowest return fares of £198 are widely available.
Currently, direct non-stop flights between Heathrow and Canada are only offered by the national flag carriers, so the new flights mark a milestone for leisure travellers from the London gateway, offering the lowest fares with quality service.
Flights will be operated by a wide-bodied Air Transat Airbus A310 aircraft, offering a choice of two classes. Economy Class passengers will enjoy leather seats, complimentary hot meals with complimentary non-alcoholic beverages and a range of in-flight entertainment.
For a little extra, travellers can upgrade to Club Class, and enjoy many benefits such as extra-wide leather seats with a 35-inch pitch, dedicated check-in and priority boarding, extra luggage allowance, a welcome onboard drink, a complimentary bar service throughout the flight and a four-course meal from a wide-ranging menu and wine list.
The new service will operate from Heathrow's Terminal 2, with flight TS545 departing at 4.05pm every Saturday and arriving in Toronto at 7.15pm local time. On Sundays**, flight TS645 will depart at 2.05pm, arriving at 5.15pm. Return flights depart Toronto at 11.55pm every Friday and Saturday, arriving into Heathrow at 12.15pm the following day. (All times local).
Star Alliance News

Star AllianceThe United Airlines flight attendant with number one seniority has retired.
Iris Peterson, who first began flying as a stewardess for the airline in 1946, is finally hanging up her wings.
Peterson, who became the first official lobbyist for the Air Line Stewards and Stewardesses Association in 1953, often represented her colleagues on grievance and safety issues and on Capitol Hill.

I have to say, from time to time I've read notes from United FAs concerning Iris, and it is clear that without exception she was regarded as somewhat of a "treasure." Or, as one person wrote to me this week, "She was just a very dear person who was still a hoot to work with -- unlike some of the older FAs who try and 'lord it over' you. Iris was not like that. She was a trip."

Don't miss the Star Alliance Network on CNN! On 14th May, the Star Alliance network proudly celebrated its 10th anniversary. As a key part of their activities to mark the anniversary, the Star Alliance network has entered into a global partnership with CNN. In association with the Star Alliance network, CNN International will be broadcasting special episodes of the flagship programme 'Business Traveller' in May, hosted by Richard Quest. The special programmes will be called 'Business Traveller - 21st Century', looking at the future of aviation and the future of the business travel experience. Just a few of the highlights include a 'nose-to-tail' tour of the new Airbus 380 and a full briefing on the new Boeing 787 'Dreamliner'. Richard will also consider environmental concerns, look at the growth of Asian hubs and, on the lighter side, look at the lifestyles of 'Super Commuters' who live on one continent and work on another. Star Alliance member carriers including Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and Air New Zealand are featured, and there is something of interest for everyone! Throughout May, CNN International and CNN Headline News will also be screening Star's new 10th anniversary campaign, featuring a new, exciting creative direction and launching the new tag line for the Star Alliance network: 'The Way the Earth Connects'. The programme will air during the weeks beginning 26 May .

Check your local listings to find out exact broadcast times. Source: Star Alliance

Note: Sorry this didn't go out to the list in time, we included it now FYI only in case it is rebroadcast
Where are they now?
A319 c/n 1742 fin 292 C-GJVY has been subleased to MEXICANA.
Terry's Travel Tips

Terry Baker

Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley would like to offer an INTRODUCTORY OFFER of:

Deluxe Hotel Room $130.00 per room per night
Two Bedroom Villa $220.00 per room per night

Rates are valid for stays between 22nd May to 30th June 2007, excluding Friday & Saturday nights.

To book send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 02 4991 0970.

The hotel is located less than 2 hours north of Sydney surrounded by established vineyards and golf course greens and is framed by the rugged Brokenback ranges. Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley is the perfect place for a relaxing break to escape the everyday stress or a family holiday that all can enjoy. The Hotel offers a wide variety of relaxation facilities in a convenient and contemporary environment. Make the most of your days with sightseeing or wine tasting, or simply relax by the pool. In the evening enjoy a special night at Redsalt Restaurant offering the best of local produce matched with a wide selection of wines, or experience a more relaxed evening in Grapevine offering Deli style meals or with a Self Cook BBQ fully prepared for you by our Chefs. If you have kids, let them enjoy their time at our Water Dragons club that runs daily.

Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley
Wine Country Drive
Lovedale NSW 2321
Australia
Tel: +61 2 4991 0900
Fax: +61 2 4991 0999
Email for reservations: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: www.crowneplaza.com/huntervalley