What a weekend!
The past few days have seen an airline die and aircraft types retire. For many that means memories of past adventures and longing for “the good ol’ days.”
Air Berlin is gone
Long exposure capturing the final Air Berlin arrival in Berlin. https://t.co/AgC7QabhmJ © Danny Kahra pic.twitter.com/2p4lKLztq9
— JetPhotos (@JetPhotos) October 29, 2017
KLM Retired the Fokker
Take Off van de allerlaatste #Fokker farewell #Fokker70 pic.twitter.com/GgOwY9Mzo5
— hans groot (@jthgroot) October 29, 2017
Fokker – The Final Farewell: https://t.co/cvFqns25IM pic.twitter.com/cDyRxKRGTl
— KLM (@KLM) October 29, 2017
United’s final commercial 747 flights landed
A very nice gift for every first and business passenger. Economy passengers also receive a similar gift #UA747Farewell pic.twitter.com/D3mlQyjcHo
— Frank Benenati (@FBenenati) October 29, 2017
#UA747Farewell Today's final @united #B747 @HeathrowAirport dep 0950Z UA900 to @flySFO. Leaves just BA & KAL as LHR pax #QOTS oprs #avgeek pic.twitter.com/kYE8wdRmtf
— Max Kingsley-Jones (@MaxK_J) October 28, 2017
Brussels Airlines retired its Avros
Farewell dear Avro, you will be missed… #farewellAvro pic.twitter.com/G5oMzZ7T5u
— Brussels Airlines (@FlyingBrussels) October 29, 2017
It’s over! RJ100 OO-DWD in BRU after operating Brussels Airlines’ last RJ service #bae146 #avrorj #smiliner #byesnavro @flybrussels pic.twitter.com/RTdddhW1d7
— Stefano Pagiola (@StefanoPagiola) October 28, 2017
But this weekend is also a time of renewal for airlines. New routes are launching.
You can now explore three brand new destinations from London City – #Paris Orly, #Prague and #Reykjavik in Iceland: https://t.co/f8gXL4p4tu pic.twitter.com/Rd01jd54Tt
— British Airways (@British_Airways) October 29, 2017
Welcome to Argentina!!!!! Inaugural UA979 EWR EZE!!!! United's new service to New York…. Happy to have you here…. pic.twitter.com/0ccQbOu0JN
— Santiago Cappanera (@secappanera) October 29, 2017
@united @ChangiAirport celebrating the inaugural flight from SIN to LAX pic.twitter.com/6YvthBGDWM
— Rachel McGlynn (@rmpecos) October 29, 2017
New aircraft types are entering fleets (I’ll be on one tomorrow!).
Should I tell @delta I'm already part of "this exclusive group" of inaugural flight fiends?? ✈️🤓Looking forward to #A350FirstFlyersClub! pic.twitter.com/XO8pcynyhT
— Seth Miller (@WandrMe) October 27, 2017
Airlines are shifting operations at terminals.
Celebrating the launch of our operations from Terminal 2, @Delhi_Airport and welcoming our first passengers! pic.twitter.com/E0AShM00St
— GoAir (@goairlinesindia) October 28, 2017
A water cannon salute welcomes us to Terminal 2, @Delhi_Airport! pic.twitter.com/Z5JCDwPZaf
— GoAir (@goairlinesindia) October 28, 2017
And one airport is opening a massive, brand new terminal, with 9 airlines making the move.
That’s a lot of change coming all at once. And while some of it is simply convenient timing (SIN T4, AB collapse) there is a very real reason so many changes happen in commercial aviation on the last week of October: It is the end of the IATA Northern Summer Season.
IATA splits the year in half, switching seasons in March and October. For airports that have slot controls the IATA seasons matter a lot. Slots are allocated and renewed for each season (Monarch’s recent bankruptcy reportedly has its slots – the primary fungible asset remaining – in jeopardy) and airlines key their operations to meet those schedules. So when a carrier wants to launch a new route to or from a slot-controlled airport there are two primary dates that happens. This weekend is one of them.
And it happens pretty much every year, though this year certainly is seeing a ton of changes, many of them more significant than in years past. Still, when KLM retired the MD-11 from service three years ago it was on this weekend. When the 747 stopped flying to St. Maarten it was this weekend.
And more change typically comes in October than in March. Summer is a busier season so airlines ramp things up then. Heading into the winter is when things slow down and planes are retired. It is a cycle that runs year after year and won’t likely change any time soon.
Which is good, because I love all of it. The nostalgia and the new are both spectacular.
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