3 Links I Love: A Ukrainian Look at the Crash, Another Hall-of-Famer Retires, JetBlue Goes Green(er)

Accidents/Incidents, British Airways, Eastern, IAG, JetBlue, Links I Love

This Week’s Featured Link

How Ukrainian plane crash went from ‘engine failure’ to ‘Iranian attack’Kyiv Post
I find myself wondering if we’ll every truly know what brought down the Ukrainian plane upon departure out of Tehran, but I thought it worth looking at coverage coming out of Ukraine itself. I know that the US and Canada are saying that it’s highly likely to have been a missile, and certainly the timeline seems suspect. But I expect geopolitics will get in the way of a truly thorough investigation. Regardless, the widely-scattered debris makes it seem like something broke that airplane up inflight. What that was… well, we can only hope to find out.

Also, what on Earth did Ukraine do to deserve all of this?! Invaded by Russia, downing of MH17, US impeachment focus, and now this. It’s just brutal.

Image of the Week: Please, please just let Eastern’s name die in peace. This is one crazy-looking livery, but it’s not awful. At least it’s not boring. But this is really just a re-branding of Dynamic into Eastern once the former bought the brand off the previous owner. First up is a flight to Guayaquil then Guyana and Jinan (China). Sure. It sounds like an attempt to do Allegiant’s model on the long-haul. I am not expecting success. AdWeek has an article on this.

Two for the road

Remade European Aviation: Now He’s RetiringSkift
Here’s another one that belongs in the airline management hall of fame. What Willie Walsh has done for British Airways and IAG is nothing short of spectacular. I know some people don’t like him, but you have to respect him for what he’s done to turn multiple old-school, financially-challenged airlines (I’m looking at you, BA and Iberia) into actual, functioning businesses.

JetBlue Prepares its Business for a New Climate RealityJetBlue Investor Relations
Expect to see a lot of this in the years to come. Delta announced at CES that it would offset everyone’s travel to the event. Air France and British Airways both began offsetting carbon on domestic flights as well. But JetBlue’s domestic network is much bigger, so that is a huge commitment. As climate change continues to wreak havoc, I expect more will follow here.

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16 comments on “3 Links I Love: A Ukrainian Look at the Crash, Another Hall-of-Famer Retires, JetBlue Goes Green(er)

  1. A US military figure claimed that radar blips indicated a missile. UIA has already suspended bookings on Tehran flights. Looking at this from an aviation angle, do you think Tehran will see more cuts to come. You already have had diversions and temporary suspensions by Gulf/European carriers (such as LH600’s FRA-IKA).

    1. Ace of Spades – There are very few western flights left, but I imagine Austrian and Lufthansa are rethinking things. The flights have been canceled for the last few days,but something more permanent seems likely.

      1. Out of curiosity I looked up flights from the NYC area to Tehran to see who else flies that route. I was shocked to see fares as low as $350 one-way ($661 round-trip) on Azerbaijan Airlines. I still probably won’t be flying to Tehran anytime soon, though.

    2. It will be interesting to see whether Turkish Airlines, Emirates, and Qatar airlines resume service or not. For all 3 there are political considerations in addition to the business ones.

  2. I love the insistence that the Eastern name (and Pan Am) carries some brand equity.

    Eastern stopped flying in 1991, 29 years ago this month. Their peak flying was 35 years ago in 1985. Lorenzo took over in 1986, hastening Eastern’s decline — so nobody’s had a great experience on and Eastern flight for 34 years.

    No. Brand. Equity. Here.

    There’s one brand revival that’s succeeded (Frontier), and even they have had a rough time. Not Pan Am, not Eastern, not Midway, not Midwest Express.

    Let it die, you old rich fogies!

    1. Exactly. Outside of avgeeks, no one really cares. I think the only reason the Frontier brand made it was the airline was reborn within a few years of the original carrier’s demise in the city it called home. If someone tried to launch Frontier today (as opposed to back in the 90s), I think we’d see the same result.

    2. You know someone, somewhere, is plotting the 6th iteration of Braniff or People’s Express as we speak. To your point, though, just let die and retain their place in history.

  3. In response to your question about what UIA did to deserve this, with all due respect to them, attempting to dispatch a flight just hours after Iran engaged in military activity was a very poor decision on UIA’s part. Few believe that the downing was intentional but military activities and commercial aviation simply cannot safely coexist even though Iran tried to act as if they could.

    The bigger issue is the long-term harm for UIA for making the decision to operate from Iran just hours after military activities that were broadcast around the globe.

    It is also far from clear whether carriers that have operated from Iran will be permitted to do so in part by insurers.

    Finally, there is certain to be a bookaway from the ME3 by passengers and companies that will not allow their employees to fly on airlines that overfly the ME3. Most western airlines that do not fly directly to Iran or Iraq can avoid the areas the FAA no-fly zones but the ME3 clearly cannot given the amount of traffic they generate and the amount of airspace they use to/from their hubs.

    There are many unanswered questions about the UIA accident but history shows that there are enduring implications for an accident like this.

      1. I understand that. UIA obviously didn’t have anything to do with the events on which Washington DC is fixated.
        UIA and the Ukrainian government did make the decision to allow their own civilian flights from Iran to operate just hours after globally televised coverage of military action which originated from Iran.
        I am not trying to answer the question of all of the events you mention but I do know that UIA and the Ukrainian government do bear responsibility for the decisions they made which put one of UIA’s aircraft in harm’s way.

        And the implications for global aviation in and over the Middle East are still very fluid.

        at a minimum, it appears that any flights that carry a US carrier codeshare cannot traverse the FAA’s no-fly zone.

        1. I concur with Tim. Why on God’s blue-green earth did anyone in their right minds dispatch a commercial passenger flight in a war zone. It makes no sense.

          It is acknowledged that no one deserved what happened and that somewhere along the way there was grotesque incompetence in the Iranian chain of command. The missile battery should have been in contact with the air traffic control center; the controllers should have been able to dispatch aircraft away from the missile sector; and, here should have been much more awareness of the threat to commercial aviation.

          Why Iran allowed the airport to stay open in this environment is anyone’s guess. Why Ukraine allowed a flight into Iran is an altogether separate issue that is dumbfounding.

          P.S. — Hard to improve on Eastern’s livery at the time it died. This doesn’t!

    1. As far as I know not a single airline canceled flights to/from Iran until UIA incident.
      That includes Lufthansa, Austrian, Turkish , Qatar, Aeroflot etc,
      In fact all of them continued to operate even after accident . LH and OS only canceled flights after US/Canada declared that PS752 most likely was shot down by an Iranian missile.
      So it could have been any of those planes. UIA is no better or worse.
      PS I don’t think there was a ‘decision’ ‘to operate to operate from Iran just hours after military activities that were broadcast around the globe’
      They just kept doing what everyone else is doing.
      The plane already in Iran when missiles where launched at US bases.

      1. I didn’t say UIA was taking any more risks than anyone else.
        Commercial aircraft don’t belong in war zones.
        To assume that any country is capable of separating military from civilian aviation activities is a huge risk.
        Yes, it could have been any of them.
        And the flight could have been cancelled.
        Iran desperately wanted to maintain business as usual while carrying out military action. They did not safely separate civilian and military aviation.

        And the criticism would have been the same whether it was Iran or anyone else.

        I suspect that it will be a long time before an airline allows a flight to operate just after military activities – whether the aircraft arrived the night before or not.

        I also see that an increasing number of airlines are not allowing Iranian overflights. Insurers are likely requiring it.

  4. “As climate change continues to wreak havoc, I expect more will follow here.”

    I know you’re a Californian, but do you actually believe your statement as written? From a business perspective, actual “climate change” and its impact on the world — real or imagined — seems entirely irrelevant to commercial aviation. What is relevant is customer BELIEF in the perils of climate change. Right now, Western urban elites strongly believe in the perils of climate change (I think I could characterize it as an almost religious awakening), and the rest of the world isn’t so focused on it. So if you’re an airline that caters to urban elites, you should probably care — or at least pretend to care. This is why I think it makes sense for JetBlue to “care” about climate change, at least as long as it doesn’t materially impact their bottom line. Jetblue has hubs in deep blue American cities. It’s when I see an airline like Frontier make environmental claims — nonsense claims at that (pretending they’re doing things for the environment, when they’re really just doing things to save money) — that my eyes roll.

    1. iahphx – I do believe in my statement. Climate change is a growing problem for aviation whether that’s due to direct impacts like increasing weather issues or if it’s more indirect through customer behavior and regulatory reaction. Either way, it has a real impact on aviation, and it’s going to get more pronounced. There will be regulatory fallout as the leaders struggle to fix problems they ignored for too long. We’ve already seen impacts on demand, especially in the Nordic countries which seem to be on the leading edge of this trend. That’s going to spread further. I think the fact that Frontier is spending money and effort on this green campaign shows that even beyond the so-called “urban elites” you cite, it has an impact. It may not reach all corners of the globe and every socioeconomic background yet, but it will.

      1. We will see what the science brings — which, despite the current politics, is very much at its infancy. I am virtually certain that, in our lifetimes, “climate change” for airlines is far more about beliefs than science. And beliefs are hard to predict. If I look at the actual historical scientific data in your neck of the woods, certainly a place where extremes might occur, I see nothing.


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