AviationThis week's aviation wrap: A380 parts go to auction; Batik Air gets connected between KL, Bali and Australia, and more.

An aviation icon's up for auction

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Artists transforming A380 parts prior to auction.
Artists transforming A380 parts prior to auction. Photo Credit: Airbus

End of an era as Airbus auctions A380 parts for charity

As Airbus clears out the production line of the A380 superjumbo, parts of the aircraft will be auctioned off for charity on 13-15 October.

The items have been selected for their technological and aesthetic interest and include lamps, a bar, vanes, a mini stick, a staircase, a ramp, trolleys, seats, and even the cockpit's emergency rope. Some of these parts, such as blades, have been entrusted to artists who have turned them into works of art.

Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Airbus Foundation and the AIRitage association.

Among the items will be one of the famous orange suits worn by Claude Lelaie, one of the two pilots who flew with Jacques Rosay during the flight test campaign of the first A380.

First flown in Toulouse in April 2005, the A380 began commercial services with Singapore Airlines in October 2007. By the time production came to an end last year the superjumbo had been ordered by 14 customers, of which Emirates is the biggest, owning roughly half of all the 251 jets produced.

Batik Air ramps up services to Australia

Indonesian-owned airline Batik Air Malaysia (formerly Malindo Air) is ramping up its connecting flights between South-east Asia and Australia.

A new four-times weekly, two-class B737 service will fly between Perth and Bali with 12 business class seats in a 2-2 configuration.

Batik has also increased frequencies between Perth and Kuala Lumpur to a daily service.

A three-month seasonal service linking Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur is scheduled from 6 December 2022 until 6 February 2023.

Further, Batik Air will offer a daily service from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur via Bali, starting from 12 December; while similar services from Brisbane will fly four times weekly, climbing to daily over peak periods.

The Airbus A321XLR will have 20 Flagship Suite seats when it is delivered in 2024.
The Airbus A321XLR will have 20 Flagship Suite seats when it is delivered in 2024.

American Airlines unveils Flagship Suite

American Airlines has taken the wrapping off a new premium product for its incoming fleet of extra long-haul A321s. Called the Flagship Suite, the new seats will come with privacy doors, chaise lounge seating and increased personal storage space.

The Suites will be arranged in a 1-1 layout, with full height doors for ultimate privacy.

The Flagship Suite will also make an appearance on the airline’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners coming after 2024.

China continues to frustrate airline CEOs

Latest OAG figures show that projected airline capacity for November is clouded by the late release of schedules from many Chinese airlines who are still finalising their programmes.

“Quite why they bother when a lockdown is inevitable at a moment’s notice seems strange but perhaps it does highlight the frustrations that airline CEOs are seeing in China at the moment,” OAG says.

The positive news last week was the boost in capacity in Northeast Asia where more than one million extra seats were added over the previous week - although the region remains slightly below capacity operated in the same week last year.

South Korea and Malaysia remain “noticeable absentees” from OAG’s list of top 20 country markets. They are currently sitting in 23rd and 27th positions respectively “so still have some way to go to re-enter the chart,” OAG noted.

Veg out then in for Qantas

Qantas has responded to a public backlash and restored vegetarian meals on its short-haul domestic flights.

Qantas had been offering only one meal option on most domestic flights, often chicken and leek pie.

In response to customer feedback, Qantas has had a rethink and will offer vegetarian meals on all domestic flights under 3.5 hours. The airline has also promised to reintroduce fresh fruit on board.

Qantas offers complimentary food and beverages, baggage, and onboard WiFi on its domestic Boeing 737s and Airbus A330s, on all economy fares.

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