They are easy to miss as you cross the pedestrian bridge connecting the main campus of Seattle’s sprawling Museum of Flight to the museum’s Space Gallery and Aviation Pavilion across the street.
But as part of the delightfulArt+Flightexhibit currently underway at Seattle’s Museum of Flight, there is a display of charming motivational posters created for the Boeing Model 2707, a supersonic transport (SST) aircraft developed in the 1960s to compete with the British and French Concorde.
Boeing had a government contract to develop and build the supersonic airliner, but the contract was canceled in 1971 before the prototypes were even completed.
These posters are from the archives of the Museum of Flight, which says all it really knows about them is that they were made as motivational posters for employees working on the 2707 SST program during the 1960s. The colors and imagery clearly take influences from the pop art of the time. And the messages and slogans are all about making the plane as light as can be.
Images are courtesy of Seattle Museum of Flight’s Holden Withington Boeing SST Poster Collection and the Clarence S Howell Collection of Boeing SST Posters
A team from Virgin Australia was in Seattle this week to take delivery of the carrier’s first Boeing 737-8 aircraft.
Picking up a new plane is a big deal anytime. But this is the first of 33 MAX family aircraft the carrier plans to take delivery of over the next five years. The order includes eight 737-8s and twenty-five 737-10s.
This first 737-8 For Virgin Australia is registered as VH-8IA and is named Monkey Mia.
The name is in line with Virgin Australia’s tradition of naming its aircraft after Australian bodies of water. And Monkey Mia is in the Shark Bay region of Western Australia, which became Western Australia’s first World Heritage-listed site in 1991.
The plane is flying from Seattle to Brisbane, Australia with a stopover in Hawaii and leaves Seattle with a fuel load that includes 30 percent Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).
“These new aircraft will allow us to grow capacity and support more efficient jet services,” said Virgin Australia Chief Operations Officer Stuart Aggs. He noted that these MAX aircraft are a critical part of the airline’s decarbonization plans and “will reduce emissions by at least 15 percent per flight compared to the 737-800 NG fleet, supporting our commitment to targeting net zero emissions by 2050.”
In addition to being fuel efficient, the 737-8 is approximately 40 percent quieter than Virgin Australia’s current 737-800 NG fleet and has the airline’s new generation seats, which include device holders and in-seat power.
On a tour of Boeing’s 737 plant in Renton, WA, the Virgin Australia team was able to see the unique “hay loader” system Boeing uses to deliver new airline seats from the factory floor onto planes.
And we also point people to the tiny pocket park on the shores of Lake Union where they’ll find a plaque marking the spot where the first Boeing plane took off.
The plaque reads “From this site, Boeing launched it first airplane, the B&W, in 1916.”
Of course, there are plenty of other non-aviation sites in the book, including the Giant Shoe Museum, the world’s greenest commercial building, a haunted staircase, the Rubber Chicken Museum, a shop where you can buy personalized magic wands, the place where you can rent a rowboat for free, and lots more.
Just about two years after acquiring Virgin America, Alaska Airlines is showing off the first retrofitted version of the fleet of Airbus aircraft the Seattle-based carrier inherited in the deal.
The makeover was revealed this week on an Airbus A3121neo (new engine option) airplane during a short demo flight out of San Francisco International Airport. These retrofitted interiors will eventually show up on all of Alaska’s Airbus fleet of A319, A320 and A321aircraft and on its Boeing 737-700s and three new Boeing MAX 9 planes.
The new cabin features include upgraded seats, Alaska blue (not Virgin pink) mood lighting for boarding, a refreshed cabin color palette and space-saving tablet holders at each seat.
upgrades range from more conveniently positioned power outlets (USB and 110V)
at every seat (no more sharing) and the elimination of those space-hogging electrical
boxes on the floor under the middle seats.
There are also ingenious pull-out cup holders in the tray tables of the premium class seats and, for everyone , Gogo’s faster high-speed satellite Wi-Fi.
And, in a nod to the hip Virgin America brand many customers still miss, the makeover includes an board and de-planing music playlist that Alaska has programmed to have a “cool West Coast vibe thatcomplements the relaxing and modern ambiance.”
Here are some more snaps of the plane’s new features:
Aircraft seat manufacturer Recaro has created first class seats that include memory foam, a 40″ pitch, tray tables with tablet holders and bonus footrests.
Joshua Rappaport, Executive Cheft at LSG SkyChefs was on site – and on the plane – sharing details of a new, refreshed menu that leans heavily to healthy, seasonal, West Coast-sourced and fresh.
Seattle-based fashion designer Luly Yang was on site as well, showing off the line of uniforms passengers will soon see on the Alaska Airlines team.
Airlines are reporting profits and being urged to join humanitarian efforts to help plug a $15 billion funding hole in global disaster relief.
The call comes on the heels of a United Nations report that found while at least $40 billion in annual humanitarian aid is needed annually to help victims of natural disasters and armed conflicts worldwide, today the world spends only $25 billion a year on securing and getting food, water, shelter, medical supplies, support teams and other emergency resources to people in need.
That’s twelve times the amount spent 15 years ago, the report notes. But with so many in need now, new disasters cropping up all the time and the high costs associated with rushing humanitarian relief to where it will do the most good, creative solutions are needed.
And that’s where alliances between airlines, aircraft manufactures and a variety of non-governmental organizations come in.
Through its foundation, aircraft manufacturer Airbus has been filling some otherwise empty, new aircraft being delivered to customers from its factories in Hamburg, Germany and Toulouse, France with humanitarian relief supplies destined for disaster-hit regions and communities in need.
“The flights are happening anyway and the pilots and the fuel are already paid for,” said
Airbus Foundation spokeswoman Deborah Waddon, “The NGOs arrange for the cargo, we make donations for the cost of the cargo, the loading is often done for free and the airlines cover just an incremental fuel cost for the extra cargo.”
Since 2008, airlines such as Emirates, JetBlue, South African Airways, Thai Airways, Vietnam Airlines and a handful of others have worked with Airbus on at least 30 delivery flights that have brought more than 250 tons of humanitarian relief to areas of Nepal, Columbia, Thailand, Africa and Haiti. On more than 15 occasions, Airbus has also used its test planes to deliver additional supplies quickly in the aftermath of disasters.
For example, a test aircraft loaded with 50 humanitarian staff and about 22 tons of food and medical aid flew to Nepal in 2015 after the devastating earthquake. And a Nepal Airlines aircraft delivery flight was used to transport more than five ton of relief goods and medical equipment to Kathmandu.
“Transporting supplies is one of our main expenses, so this way we can support more people,” said Olaug Bergseth, a senior officer for corporate partnerships with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, one of the NGOs that works closely with Airbus. “It’s faster, it’s more efficient and it’s cheaper.”
Through its Humanitarian Delivery Flight program, the Boeing Company also works with nonprofit and NGOs to load everything from medical supplies and clothing to educational materials into the empty cargo space of new airplanes for transport and delivery to areas of need.
Since 1992, Boeing’s program has made 180 humanitarian delivery flights, working with more than 50 airline customers to deliver more than 1.4 million pounds of supplies.
At least 26 of those humanitarian delivery flights have been on Ethiopian Airlines, which has also helped its neighbor, Somalia, by bringing back needed supplies.
“These flights have helped transform lives with their precious cargo,” said Bill McSherry, vice president of Government Operations at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
Delivery flights don’t always get relief supplies exactly where they need to go, so Boeing often teams up with Airlink, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit disaster relief organization that works with more than 35 airlines and more than 60 NGOs, to transport supplies and relief workers.
“We focus a lot on disaster response, but also on what you might call slow-burn events, such as an education program in Africa that is teaching children not to play with land mines and other remnants of war,” said Airlink Executive Director Steven Smith.
Smith notes that since more than 60 percent of humanitarian funding goes to supply chain costs, the transportation and coordination services airlines and Airlink provide can help NGOs stretch budgets and be more effective.
During the recent Ebola crisis in West Africa, for example, Airlink sent healthcare workers and 100 shipments of aid for 37 different NGOs using 11 airlines.
And more recently, Airlink used donated miles and funds from Air Canada, Alaska Airlines and United Airlines to send 19 military veterans from Team Rubicon USA and Team Rubicon Canada to Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada to help out residents returning home after devastating wildfires destroyed more than 2,400 homes.
(My story about airline industry efforts to help save lives first appeared on CNBC in a slightly different form.)