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With the phaseout of the Boeing 747, there was much expectation for what was supposed to be its successor in the Airbus A380. The latter was hailed as the worthy successor to what was probably the most popular and versatile plane in the B747. Unfortunately, after so many orders for the A380 were delivered and the plane being deployed by major airlines along the long-haul routes, it is now being reconsidered. Here’s a nice article on what is perceived as the decline of such supersized aircraft.
Alexander, K (October 22, 2021) “3 Reasons Behind the Premature Demise of the Airbus A380,” Medium, https://kevinaalexander.medium.com/analyzing-the-premature-demise-of-the-airbus-a380-c56d50ec827d [Last accessed: 1/5/2022]
I miss traveling, particularly overseas. My last travels abroad were to Sri Lanka in September 2019 and to Singapore in December 2019. My long travels within the Philippines was to Zamboanga in January 2020 and Cebu in February the same year. We were supposed to go back to Zamboanga to do some field work in March 2020 but the trip was canceled when the first lockdowns were enforced. I was supposed to travel to Hiroshima last September 2021 for a conference that we highly anticipated partly because of the opportunity to go to Japan again and do another sentimental trip to certain places in that country, including taking the Shinkansen and other trains to go around.
Recently, the US reopened to international travelers and friends have already crossed the Pacific to be with family/relatives there. Here is an article from The New York Times about what you need to know when traveling to the US; including vaccinations:
We deviate from our usual topics that are mostly about land transportation to something about air transportation:
Waldek, S. (February 10, 2021) “How the Boeing 747 Changed the Way Airplanes are Designed,” Architectural Digest, https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/how-boeing-747-changed-way-airplanes-designed?utm_source=nl&utm_brand=spotlight-nl&utm_campaign=aud-dev&utm_mailing=thematic_spotlight_021021_2&utm_medium=email&bxid=5bd6761b3f92a41245dde413&cndid=37243643&hasha=cf6c402001bc473063a8744033fe9be3&hashb=ec2bb753c2e6299f5107823241955221da67bd1f&hashc=09f65c608bfb62050199733de500e3cd82827631b36d537ce8386d41a3bd1ff7&esrc=FYL_SEG_APR18&sourcecode=thematic_spotlight&utm_term=Thematic_Spotlight [Last accessed: 2/14/2021]
My first flight on the Boeing 747 was back in 1996 when I first traveled overseas to Tokyo. I was booked on a Northwest Airlines (NWA) flight and the airline used B747’s on the regular flights between Manila and Narita. Later, I was on another Northwest Airways, JAL and Korean Air B747’s for homecoming trips and a trip to Seoul. While in Japan, I usually took the Shinkansen for long distance domestic trips. I even had the chance to ride Pakistan Air’s B747 that was a half passenger, half freighter plane. The flight between Narita and Karachi in the 1990s had a stopover in Manila that meant cheap tickets between Manila and Narita (also because passenger demand for the airline was not as high since PAL, JAL and NWA were the airlines of choice between MNL and NRT. I was even upgraded to Business Class en route to Narita the only time I flew on PIA in 1998.
Here’s a model of a Delta B747-400 we got from one of our trips. Delta acquired Northwest and its flights to Asia.
I haven’t been on a plane since February 2020. That is almost one year next month. I have friends though who have traveled by air recently. They had to follow certain protocols before departing and upon arrival at their destination. These include testing for the virus and observing quarantine especially upon their return to Metro Manila and prior to returning to their respective homes. Fortunately, all have been testing negative for Covid-19 and were able to come home safely.
Here is an interesting article on air travel, particularly how airlines and airports are handling passengers during this time when processes need to consider the prospects of getting infected by Covid-19:
Marshall, A. (January 21, 2021) “The Art and Science of Boarding an Airplane in a Pandemic,” Wired, https://www.wired.com/story/art-science-boarding-airplane-pandemic/ [Last accessed: 1/26/2021]
I am anxious about being required to travel for a project we are currently doing for a major city in Mindanao. While our clients have been very understanding about our health concerns, it might be inevitable for some of us in the project team to travel by March 2021 to present the findings and recommendations of our study. I will continue to update myself about travel guidelines in preparation for that likely travel.
Here are the guidelines for the Aviation Sector. My only comment here is that many people are anxious about when they can travel again, particularly to other parts of the country mainly for business or to go home (e.g., many students have been stranded in the cities where they go to school and away from their hometowns). Part of this anxiety is the thinking that airfares will increase significantly as airlines are forced to reduce capacities for their aircraft to adhere to physical distancing guidelines. Gone, probably, are the discount fares like the Piso fare promos.
Related to this, I have received emails from 4 airlines I frequently used – Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Japan Airlines. All provided updates on their respective efforts to ensure the future air travel will be safe, health-wise. As for the airport terminals, that’s another story…
While NAIA Terminal 3 has several floors of shops and restaurants, it can get very crowded at the terminal. MCIA has renovated its domestic terminal to include a much improved food court inside (after checking in and passing security) the terminal and restaurants and shops outside. Its food avenue for passengers show us what a modern airport should have. MCIAA definitely did very well here and the design should be a good example for other airports, even domestic, to emulate.
|Food court at MCIA domestic wing|
|There’s food for people of various preferences. You can have pizza, pasta, Filipino dishes, ramen, and of course, lechon|
I prefer to have some ramen if I have the time for a leisurely meal. Otherwise, I get my food from La Bella, which has pizza, pasta and paninis. They usually have freshly baked breads and pastries and I usually buy brownies from them. I take these home as my daughter and I love these fudgy treats.
I have written a lot about NAIA’s Terminals 1, 2 and 3 but have featured Terminal 4 only perhaps once or twice. That’s probably because I have not used Terminal 4 as much as the others. All of my domestic flights have been via either Terminal 2 or 3 while my travels overseas are via Terminals 1, 2 and 3. And so I have had a lot of opportunities to also take photos about those terminals. The opportunity to take a few photos about Terminal 4, particularly the open parking area, presented itself last November when I fetched my wife and daughter who were arriving from a local trip one Sunday. My wife thought she had booked a Cebu Pacific flight but that turned out to be what CebGo, which used to be the Tiger Airways Philippines affiliate that Ceb Pac had acquired years ago. These operated from T4. Here are photos of the open parking area across from T4.
Achievers Airport Hotel, which is the nearest hotel to T4
Parking ticket at T4 parking area – the rates are the same for all NAIA Terminal parking areas
Exit from the parking area – T4 is just across from it
Unfinished or just unoccupied area for drivers or shops?
View of aircraft flying overhead
The parking lot doesn’t have a lot of spaces but it was relatively easy to get a slot. I actually waited a few minutes to get a slot and immediately after I parked, a few more vehicles left. So the turnover for the parking area is high enough at least for the Sunday noontime I was there. Perhaps its proportional to the number of people using T4?
Before I post more on a recent trip to Singapore, I backtrack a bit to the trip to Sri Lanka. Following is a much delayed second part to my feature on Bandaranaike International Airport.
Scale model of the airport development project with this angle showing the terminal and land transport interface
Terminal building with short pier for the gates
Closer and clearer look at the interfaces with rail and road transport
From the display we proceeded towards our gate.
More shops mostly selling gems, jewelry or tea
Looking out a window to see Sri Lankan Airlines planes lined up at the terminal
Other aircraft at the terminal are accessed via transporter(i.e., bus).
Long corridor to our gate
Passengers head to the gates via a moving walkway. Otherwise, it would be a long walk.
Behind these seats is the smoking room
Passengers enter the pre-departure lounge through one last security check and the boarding pass and passport check by Sri Lankan Airlines ground staff.
Before I forget, I am posting the following photos of Bandaranaike International Airport when we departed for home last September.
Arriving at the airport terminal driveway – it was quite early in the morning and we didn’t expect to see so many passengers
Entering the terminal, you are greeted by rows of shops selling a variety of items mostly souvenirs and foods and tea
Souvenir items include clothing, tea, and electronics
Local products including handicrafts. I bought a mask and ref magnets at one of the shops.
The terminal has many empty spaces. I guess they still do not have so many visitors to necessitate more commerce?
The area just before the check-in counters is spacious. We wondered if the terminal can be quite crowded during the day.
Check-in counters for Sri Lankan Airlines – there were a lot of visitors from Arab countries due to an international Islamic convention in Colombo. Many of them were catching the earlier flights out of the country that day.
Check-in counter for our flight
After checking-in, we immediately entered the pre-departure area. Large screens show flight schedules and there were signs towards the gates.
An escalator leads to the pre-departure area where there are more shops and restaurants
Of course, there were many shops selling teas but there were also many local products like these leather stools that also doubles as storage. These are collapsible and can easily be packed for travel. A friend brought home one for his home.
Jewelry store at the terminal – Sri Lanka is the source for many of the world’s gemstones. Of course, the prices are very competitive and one should probably go to legitimate stores in the city instead of buying at the airport.
Liquor and cigarettes are popular items
More tea shops along with cosmetics and perfumes at the duty free stores
The area between the shops and the corridor towards the boarding gates
More photos soon!
I have been traveling a lot the past months and most of these trips require air travel. We’ve experienced quite a number of delays including waiting for about an hour inside an airplane. That happened after boarding and being informed by the pilot that they have been instructed by Manila air traffic control to standby where we were. Where we were was one of the major cities in Mindanao so that meant instant delay to our travel. Other times, we were on time; leaving around the original ETD and landing around the original ETA. To be fair, my most recent flights were quite okay with our plane landing 15-20 minutes ahead of the ETA. This recent variation in the travel times show that congestion is not necessarily a big a problem as it was months ago or even a year or so ago. Perhaps there have already been adjustments, for example, in airlines’ juggling their fleets to reduce turnaround times. Air traffic control may also have been optimized for various airports. This challenge to reduce airport congestion both on the ground and in flight is a continuing effort by airports and is not limited to Manila.
Aircraft queuing for take-off at Changi Airport in Singapore