Travelling further & faster

2018 was the year when Singapore airlines launched the world’s longest flight, topping distance record held by Qatar Airways for its route between Doha, Qatar and Auckland, New Zealand. To reach the ambitious goal, a new kind of aircraft had to be invoked. This is where Airbus stepped in with its brand new, shiny A350-900 Ultra Long Range.

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On October 11, 2018, 23:35 p.m. local time, a flight from Singapore Changi airport is to take off for New York (Newark) in United States. Scheduled to reach the destination the next day at 6:00 a.m. (local time), it is set to top Qatar airlines Doha-to-Auckland journey as the world’s longest commercial non-stop flight.
 

Meanwhile, Qantas Airways has set a new speed record for its QF9 non-stop flight on Boeing 787-9, slicing almost an hour off the scheduled time in August 2018. The Perth to London and return service, launched earlier this year, has been consistently beating the set schedule in both directions, thanks to favorable summer weather patterns.

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Qantas has set a new record for its non-stop flight on Boeing 787-9, slicing almost an hour off the scheduled time. The Perth to London service has been consistenty beating the set schedule.
 

Goodbye to Virgin America

Two years after it was acquired by Alaska airlines in 2015, Virgin America made its final flight on the evening of April 24, 2018, marking the last time a “VX” flight made its way across the skies.

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Overnight, the Virgin America brand flew away for good. Since its acquisition by Alaska Airlines two years ago as part of a $2.6 billion deal, Virgin America was slowly disappearing. To the dismay of many travelers, the carrier took its final flight on the evening of April 24, 2018, marking the last time a “VX” flight made its way across the skies. And now, nothing remains of Virgin America’s branding in the 29 airports it was serving. Feeling nostalgic yet?
 

Oneworld alliance to be joined by first African airline

On December 5, 2018, oneworld alliance announced that a first African airline is joining the alliance. Royal Air Maroc is to be implemented in mid-2020, while its regional subsidiary Royal Air Maroc Express will join as affiliate member.

The alliance had one African carrier - Comair from southern Africa (flies as a franchisee of British Airways) as an affiliate member since its launch in 1999, but the airline does not have a full member status.

Oneworld is the last airline alliance without members from Africa. Star Alliance has two members - Ethiopian airlines and South African Airways, while Skyteam has one - Kenya airways.

ANA wants to rule Asia’s LCC market

Japan’s ANA Holdings announced on March 22, 2018, it will merge its two subsidiary airlines, Peach Aviation and Vanilla Air, by 2020, with the goal to become the leading low-cost carrier (LCC) in Asia

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ANA Holdings announced on March 22, 2018, it will merge its two subsidiary airlines, Peach and Vanilla Air, to become the leading low-cost carrier in Asia.
 

Air Berlin fell, Niki went on

In the aftermarch of Air Berlin collapse, its former subsidiary Niki kept changing hands until Ryanair finalized acquisition in August 2018.

After the German airline went bankrupt and a deal for the airline fell through with International Airlines Group (IAG) and Lufthansa,  Niki was acquired by its initial owner Niki Lauda. Using his own assets, Lauda rebranded the airline into Laudamotion.
Lauda then sold 75% stake in the Austrian airline to Ryanair for, reportedly,  €50 million. The remaining shares remain in the hands of the former racer. For now, Laudamotion should operate as an independent airline, expected (by Ryanair) to enter profit in 2019.

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Air Berlin insolvency administrator is suing Etihad for withdrawing financial aid of then-troubled German airline in August 2017. The Berlin court confirmed that such claim was filed, noting that the Gulf airline is sued for 500 million euros and further damages that could amount to two billion euros.
 
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Ryanair finalized Laudamotion acquisition on August 29, 2018. The Irish low-cost carrier now holds a 75% stake in the Austrian airline, while the rest remains property of its founder, Niki Lauda. Laudamotion, which remains an independent airline, also unveiled a new livery.
 
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In 2017, AirBerlin, Germany’s second largest air carrier faced its death, but that does not mean its memory cannot live on.  The auction started on January 15, 2018, gives everyone a chance to get at least a small piece of the airline’s history, including things like cabin seats or the famous red heart-shaped chocolates with AirBerlin logo. It is made possible through German auction house Dechow, where people are given a chance to bid on the airline’s merchandise by February 1, 2018.