Which Airports Have Flights From All 6 Habitable Continents?

Earlier this month, Qantas operated an ultra-long-haul repatriation flight from Buenos Aires to Darwin. The flight was one of the hundreds of charter and repatriation flights Qantas has operated on behalf of the Australian Government. In operating the flight from South America, Darwin joined a small group of airports that have hosted nonstop flights from all six habitable continents.

Without much surprise, airports in the Middle East appear on the list more than airports from other parts of the world. Photo: Dubai Airports

What are the six habitable continents?

Before we address the main question of the day, we should first lay down some definitions and ground rules.

Firstly, the six habitable continents are North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. The one continent not considered habitable is Antarctica (even if it does host a contingent of researchers year-round).

The list in itself can be controversial, depending on your interpretation of what constitutes a continent (geologists and sociologists may have differing views). However, since this is the most widely adopted way of categorizing large parts of the world, this is what we will stick with.

Secondly, we will need to make the distinction between currently flying to all six habitable continents versus having had flights to all the continents regardless of time.

London Heathrow
London Heathrow has had flights to all six habitable continents but lacks a regular service to Oceania…for now. Photo: Heathrow Airport Limited

What parts of the world can we rule out?

Constantly in flux, especially during the global health crisis, it could be challenging to pin down the airports operating regular commercial flights to the six continents. However, we can rule out many airports just because of their geographic position in the world.

Airports in Asia (excluding the Middle East) don’t operate flights to South America due to the distance. The closest to this is Aeromexico operating a flight to Tokyo, although its hub and home country are technically part of North America. Historically, some airlines have operated flights from Japan to Brazil via a stop in the United States.

Larger airports in the southeastern portion of Oceania (mainly consisting of Australia and New Zealand) may have had special repatriation flights or maintenance flights to Europe but lack regular nonstop service. As mentioned in this article’s introduction, the recent arrival of QF14 in Darwin saw it join a small club of airports that have hosted nonstop flights from all six settled continents.

An amazing view of Antarctica from the cockpit.

— Qantas (@Qantas) October 7, 2021

irports operating regular services

To find airports operating regular services to all six habitable continents, we only have to look at the Middle East, which has a favorable geographic position to suit the range of modern-day airliners operating with profitable payloads.

Etihad, Emirates, and Qatar Airways operate regular passenger services through their respective hubs in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Doha. While destinations in Africa, Asia, and North America aren’t a problem, the airlines also manage to reach as far (south)west as Sao Paolo in Brazil and as far east as Auckland in New Zealand.

Emirates, Beirut, Luggage Allowance
Emirates is one airline that operates to all six habitable continents. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

One-offs and historical services

Creating an exhaustive list of airports that are part of the “six continent club” would take quite some time, especially when considering decades of long-distance flight combined with numerous special repatriation flights, VIP flights, and cargo flights.

According to a post on an Infinite Flight thread, the following airports have joined the six continent club due to a combination of regular and special flights:

London Heathrow (LHR)Johannesburg (JNB)Doha (DOH)Dubai (DXB)Chicago (ORD)Houston (IAH)Newark (EWR)

Of course, Darwin and its recent repatriation flight from South America now joins this list, as well as Istanbul Airport, which saw a repatriation flight to Darwin. Sydney also joins the list with Qantas having operated special flights to Europe and hosting regular flights to South America in the past.

It’s a fairly interesting topic, and certainly a list that will keep changing and growing as more special and ultra-long-range flights take place in the years to come. Did we miss any airports? Let us know by leaving a comment.

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Israeli Airline Takeover: El Al Seeks To Buy Competitor Arkia

Israeli flag carrier El Al is reportedly in the process of acquiring fellow Israeli airline Arkia. First reported by Israeli media on Monday, this consolidation of the country’s aviation industry would leave just Israir as the only other operator.

El Al is Israel’s largest carrier. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Purchasing Arkia

While not much news has yet to come out about this potential purchase, it would represent a massive shift in the Israeli aviation sector. Indeed, it would see the largest carrier in the country absorb the second-largest.

Reporting by The Jerusalem Post indicates that El Al is in the preliminary stages of this acquisition and emphasizes that there is no guarantee that this deal will go through.

Simple Flying reached out to El Al for comment but did not receive a response from the carrier at the time of publication.

A larger El Al and a consolidated Israeli aviation market might allow El Al to better compete against its regional and foreign rivals. Photo: MathKnight via Wikimedia Commons 

What does El Al have to gain?

When it comes to mergers and acquisitions, El Al’s possible absorption of Arkia is undoubtedly on the smaller side, immensely eclipsed by the recent Korean Air takeover of Asiana.

However, El Al would gain some next-generation long-range narrowbodies and orders for new Airbus widebodies, making it a fairly mixed fleet.

In fact, Arkia was the recipient of the first-ever A321LR and has two of these in its fleet at the moment. These are relatively new at just under three years old. While the airline had ordered four, data indicates that Arkia has just one more Airbus A321LR on the way, hinting at an order cancelation. Arkia also has a small fleet of Embraer ERJ-195s, which are an average of 7.6 years. The Israeli airline has two A330-900neo aircraft on order, with options for another two.

In addition to its aircraft, El Al could gain airport slots and rights at various airports. As of this week, indicates these are the destinations that Arkia is operating to:

Amsterdam (Netherlands)Barcelona (Spain)Batumi (Georgia)Budapest (Hungary)Dubai (UAE)Larnaca (Cyprus)Prague (Czech Republic)Rome (Italy)
Arkia was the first-ever operator for the Airbus A321LR – a long-range derivative of the A321neo. Photo: Airbus

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Regulatory approval?

We’re not sure exactly where El Al is in the process of its acquisition. However, we can imagine that the deal will need to receive regulatory approval, as is quite common in many countries.

In the case of El Al and Arkia, permission is likely required by the Israel Competition Authority. On its website, the organization states that the Competition Authority and its leadership “are responsible for maintaining and promoting competition in the Israeli economy.”

This spirit of competition is something valued by the government, which, in 2013, enacted the “Law for Promotion of Competition and Reduction of Concentration.” Explaining its principles on competition and concentration, a government document notes that “a high level of concentration of the economy leads to market distortions and failures, which undermine economic growth and the ability of the laws of free economy to advance efficiency and consumer welfare.”

With a potential further concentration of Israel’s airline industry, we will have to wait and see if government regulators see this as a move away from healthy competition. At the same time, this merger could be seen as a way for Israeli airlines to better compete with foreign rivals- which undoubtedly have a sizeable share of the market when it comes to travel to and from the country.

What do you think of this potential acquisition? Are you for or against it? Let us know in the comments.


Air New Zealand To Resume Los Angeles – Sydney Flights

Air New Zealand will resume its popular one-stop flight from Sydney to Los Angeles in November. The flight, which operates via Auckland, restarts on November 5. Air New Zealand calls it a major step to re-opening to the world.

Air New Zealand is resuming its one-stop Sydney-Los Angeles flights in November. Photo: Getty Images

Flights ramp up to four times a week in December

While New Zealand remains closed to most incoming passengers, fully vaccinated Australians will be free to enter and leave the United States and Australia by November, and Air New Zealand’s rebooted flights tap into this market.

“While there hasn’t been a day we didn’t fly, most of that flying has been keeping cargo moving around the world, so it’s incredibly exciting for us to welcome more customers back onboard,” Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty said.

“We haven’t been sitting on our hands over the last 20 months and have been taking the time to ensure that as international travel ramps back up, we are better than ever. We can’t wait to roll out the red carpet for our customers come 5 November and get back to what we do best – flying!”

Warming up with just one flight a week over November, departures will increase to four times a week in December.

Initially, NZ0752 will push back from Sydney at 14:45 every Friday in November. The Boeing 78709 Dreamliner takes three hours to jet over to Auckland, landing at 19:45.

After a three-hour layover, NZ0006 departs Auckland at 22:45 and lands in Los Angeles at 14:45 on the same day after 12 hours in the air.


Transiting allowed at Auckland International

Transiting is allowed at Auckland International Airport. However, passengers must stay in the transit area of the airport or onboard the plane. The airport says toilets, a water fountain, plenty of seating, charging stations, a family room, and vending machines with food and hot and cold drinks are available in the transit area.

From December 1, Air New Zealand will operate its service from Sydney to Los Angeles on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

In the opposite direction, Air New Zealand’s online booking engine has flights operating from Los Angles to Sydney twice a week across November.

Except for Friday, November 12, Air New Zealand’s Dreamliner will push back from Los Angeles at 22:50 every Wednesday and Friday. NZ0005 takes just under 13 hours to reach Auckland, landing there at 07:45 two days later. After a four-hour and 15 minute transit in Auckland, NZ0753 heads across to Sydney at 12:00, touching down at 13:35.

Currently, Sydney is the only Australian international airport that will allow fully vaccinated travelers to skip the quarantine process in November.

Don’t panic, there is a bar in the designated transit area (shown) at Auckland Airport. Source: Auckland International Airport

Some further amendments to Air New Zealand’s international schedules

From December 1, Air New Zealand flights to Sydney will depart Los Angeles every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Air New Zealand notes the United States will require incoming passengers to be fully vaccinated from November 8.

Elsewhere across Air New Zealand’s international network, the airline says they’ve made some adjustments between the period December 17, 2021, and March 26, 2022.

The airline has canceled any planned flights between Auckland and Vancouver and is redirecting booked passengers via Los Angeles. Air New Zealand will also operate one return flight to Hong Kong each week over this three-month period and four return flights to Taipei.

Would you use the resuming Air New Zealand one-stop service between Australia and the US? Post a comment and let us know.

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India To Push For Domestic Aircraft Maintenance Requirements

It’s been a little over a month since the Government of India announced key reforms and policy targets in the aviation sector. Among them were plans of substantial rejigging of the country’s Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) industry. What changes has the government proposed in the MRO sector, and how will it impact the Indian aviation market? Let’s have a look.

The Indian government is keen to develop aircraft maintenance facilities in the country. Photo: Getty Images

New MRO policy to attract investors

In September, India’s Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia discussed, among other things, several changes the government wishes to bring about in the MRO business sector. He lamented that India only holds a tiny 2.5% share of the mammoth $80 billion global aircraft maintenance industry.

Scindia said that India has a huge potential to become a global aircraft maintenance hub and announced key changes in MRO policy to attract investment:

Leasing of land will now be done through open tenders instead of allotment based on an entity’s request.Land for MRO facilities will be allotted for 30 years instead of the current 3 to 5 years.Lease rentals would be decided through a bidding process instead of the current practice of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) determining the rates.The rate of escalation of lease rental would be 15% every three years instead of the current 7.5 to 10% yearly increase.The process of contract renewal of existing leaseholders will also be more transparent. Earlier, contract renewals were decided on a case-to-case basis without much transparency. It will now be done through a bidding process with the existing leaseholder having the right of first refusal if his bid is within 15% of the bid given by the highest bidder, and he agrees to match the rates quoted by the highest bidder.The 13% turnover royalty charged by the AAI will be removed completely.

The ministry has also identified eight AAI-run airports where MRO facilities will be developed – Begumpet, Bhopal, Chennai, Chandigarh, Delhi, Juhu in Mumbai, Kolkata, and Tirupati.

IndiGo A320neo
Indian carriers have to send their airplanes to foreign countries for most maintenance work. The new government policy plans to change that. Photo: Getty Images

Impact on Indian MRO industry

The ministry wants to tap into India’s vast engineering and IT talent to develop large-scale MRO facilities in the country. Currently, airlines in India send their aircraft to foreign countries – mainly to the Middle East and the South-East Asian region, as it’s a lot more economical than to repair them locally.

As reported by the Hindustan Times, the Indian MRO industry is worth $2 billion annually. Of this, only 16% of the business is handled locally. Within the MRO services, the engine and aircraft component maintenance, in particular, is quite lucrative, and the government would want to develop these facilities in the country.

The HT report quoted Anand Bhaskar, managing director, and chief executive officer at Air Works Group, which runs an independent MRO unit with facilities across locations:

“With the country’s aviation industry on a growth trajectory, it makes ample sense to capitalise this precious opportunity and expand the country’s aviation maintenance capabilities for greater self-reliance, job creation and to scale up the value chain, instead of just concentrating on airframes, which most Indian MROs currently do.”

IndiGo AirAsia Air India Delhi Airport
With more than 700 airplanes of Indian carriers alone, there is enormous potential within the MRO sector in the country. Photo: Getty Images

Positive steps

The change in MRO policy is certainly a step in the right direction. The announcement follows the government’s decision last year to reduce the goods and services tax (GST) on aircraft repair and maintenance from 18% to 5%.

It remains to be seen if India could eventually become the global MRO hub that the aviation ministry is aiming for. At the moment, there’s massive potential within the country itself with 700+ aircraft of Indian airlines that require regular maintenance. Hopefully, these policy changes will give the Indian MRO industry a significant boost.

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Historic: Buy Parts Of A Former El Al Boeing 707

At Simple Flying we love the chance to own a piece of aircraft. The rarer the aircraft, the better. The opportunity to purchase part of a Boeing 707 that resided at Berlin Tegel Airport currently exists, with hundreds of pieces on auction until Sunday.

280 lots from a former El Al Boeing 707 are currently up for auction. Photo: Troostwijk Auctions

The aircraft formerly registered as 4X-ATB was scrapped wearing a Lufthansa livery. Intriguingly, the aircraft never actually flew for the German flag carrier. Instead, it flew for the Israeli El Al during its passenger career. In Berlin, the aircraft ended up wearing the Lufthansa livery after Boeing gifted the plane to the German flag carrier.

Engines for €2,500

Troostwijk Auctions are currently in the process of selling 280 parts from the former El Al Boeing 707. Some of the parts up for auction include the aircraft’s Rolls-Royce Mark 508 engines. The engines come complete with their cowlings, meaning they would look perfect as a display in an office or foyer. They also come with an engine rack to stand them. Three engines are for sale, with bids for each starting at €2,500. A fourth engine has been turned into individual parts, which can be bought separately.

Boeing 707, Auction, El Al, Lufthansa
Three complete engines are being sold with bidding starting at €2,5000. Photo: Troostwijk Auctions

Another intriguing part up for auction is the Boeing 707’s main landing gear. The left and right-hand gears are being sold separately, with bidding for each starting at €500. Due to their size, these more oversized items, such as the landing gear and engines, can’t be shipped with UPS. They can be picked up from the auction house in the north of Hamburg, or shipping can be arranged at the buyer’s expense.

Boeing 707, Auction, El Al, Lufthansa
You could stand this landing gear in the corner of your office. Photo: Troostwijk Auctions

colorful history

The Boeing 707 being auctioned has a bit of exciting history. While it has spent the last few decades as a showpiece at Berlin’s Tegel Airport, the aircraft being auctioned once took center stage in an attempted hijacking. Two attackers failed to storm the cockpit with a gun and a hand grenade. The flight, heading from Amsterdam to New York, diverted to London Heathrow.

Boeing 707, Auction, El Al, Lufthansa
Bids for this entire wingtip start at just €35. Photo: Troostwijk Auctions

El Al handed the aircraft back to Boeing in 1986, but it didn’t stay with the American planemaker for long. Instead, the jet was gifted to Lufthansa a couple of months later to mark the company’s 200th Boeing order. The aircraft was repainted in the livery of Lufthansa’s D-ABOC, named Berlin.

It kept this livery until it was scrapped, meaning that fuselage pieces from the plane are available in the carrier’s iconic blue, yellow, and white livery. Bidding for fuselage panels containing a window start at €50 and come in a range of sizes up to four windows.

Boeing 707, Auction, El Al, Lufthansa
Window sections of fuselage start at €50. Photo: Troostwijk Auctions

Other iconic fuselage pieces contain the aircraft’s identities. A fuselage piece containing the logo of the city of Berlin has 14 bids, currently standing at €120. Meanwhile, a portion of the fuselage with the aircraft’s Boeing 707 branding has attracted 13 bids and a price of €628. The jet’s registration (D-ABOC) has 11 bids and sits at €210.

Boeing 707, Auction, El Al, Lufthansa
The aircraft’s registration is proving to be a hot item. Photo: Troostwijk Auctions

From €5 to €5000

There is something available at every single price point in the auction of 4X-ATB/D-ABOC. For those who want a piece of aviation history without a hefty price tag, many smaller fuselage panels are available with bidding starting at just €5.

Boeing 707, Auction, El Al, Lufthansa
Small parts of the fuselage are available from €5. Photo: Troostwijk Auctions

At the other end of the spectrum is the aircraft’s cockpit, complete with a nose cone. With bidding starting at €5,000, this is undoubtedly the highlight of the aircraft auction. The cockpit’s interior is in a state of relative disrepair, though a large portion remains, including a seat and some instrumentation. Due to its size, the cockpit needs to be transported on a low-loader truck, which can be achieved sideways.

Boeing 707, Auction, El Al, Lufthansa
The cockpit comes as-is, with many parts still inside. Photo: Troostwijk Auctions

The auction of the parts from this aircraft is set to end at 15:00 on Sunday, October 24th. After this date, Troostwijk Auctions will arrange payment and shipping with the highest bidders. You can find a complete list of all the pieces up for auction on the Troostwijk Auctions website.

Troostwijk Auctions sponsored this article.

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Jordan To Get A New Airline Based In Aqaba

Eyeing a rebound in the tourism and travel industry, Saudi and Jordanian investors are looking to seize the opportunity by starting a new airline. This private sector-owned carrier will be based in Aqaba and is aptly named Fly Aqaba. At this point, it is unknown when the airline will begin its operations.

The airline will begin with two aircraft- type currently unknown. Photo: via Wikimedia Commons 

Fly Aqaba

The Jordan Times reported on October 17th that the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) and the Fly Aqaba Company had signed a $20 million investment agreement to establish an airline called Fly Aqaba. This privately-owned carrier will be funded by Saudi-Jordanian investments and will be based out of Aqaba Airport, which is also known as King Hussein International Airport.

At this stage, we only have the vaguest of details on where and what this new startup will be flying. According to ASEZA President Nayef Bakhit, the company will operate flights to the Jordanian capital of Amman, as well as countries in Europe, the Arabian/Persian Gulf, and others in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Reuters reports that the airline will only fly two aircraft in its first stage of operations. The type of aircraft that will be used remains undisclosed.

Bakhit noted that the airline’s goal is to facilitate tourist access to the “Golden Triangle” of Jordan. This triangle consists of the popular destinations of Aqaba, Petra, and Wadi Rum. The President of ASEZA emphasizes that the airline will be based out of King Hussein International Airport in Aqaba and facilitate connections to local, regional and international destinations (easyJet is already flying from Manchester to Aqaba). He hopes that its operations will be a boost to Aqaba and Jordan’s tourism industry with the provision of competitive airfares.

Aqaba is a coastal city in the south of Jordan known for its diving and watersports. Photo: Tourism JordanStay informed:Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Not a new idea

The airline is currently waiting for all of the necessary licenses required from the Civil Aviation Regulatory Commission. However, ‘Fly Aqaba’ is far from a new idea. Indeed, two separate sources note that this airline has been in the works for at least three years.

The website Airline History notes that the carrier had planned to launch sometime in 2019, while a report from November 2018 by ch-aviation states that ASEZA had hoped to acquire the Air Operators Certificate and Operators License of Royal Wings (a charter subsidiary of Royal Jordanian) for Fly Aqaba. The source also states that, at the time, this transaction was valued JOD785,000 dinar, or $1.1 million.

Jordan-Israel-Egypt Airports
Located at the southernmost point of Jordan, Aqaba Airport (AQJ) offers access to the Red Sea and is somewhat close to both Wadi Rum and Petra. Photo:

With pent-up travel demand experienced in other parts of the world already, it might be a good time to start an airline. Indeed, travelers are increasingly looking for more direct flights and avoiding connections. Additionally, with so many wet lease operators and/or used aircraft in the market, it may not be too difficult for the carrier to secure its initial fleet.

At the same time, its operations to Europe will already be met with stiff competition from the likes of easyJet and Wizz Air, who already serve Aqaba with connections to Budapest, Rome, Vienna, and Manchester.

What do you think of the Fly Aqaba? Where might it fly to? Let us know in the comments.

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Which Airports Have Beach Runways?

As explored in a recent article, most of the world’s airport runways are paved with concrete or asphalt. However, there are certain exceptions to this trend. We have previously explored gravel and ice runways, but what about beaches? Let’s take a look at where passengers should be wary of sand in their shoes when boarding their flights.

A de Havilland DHC-6 ‘Twin Otter’ landing on the beach at Barra. Photo: Colin Moss via Flickr

Barra, Scotland

Arguably the most notable airport in the world to have a runway on a beach is Barra (BRR) in Scotland. While it is not unique in its runway composition, it is the only airport with a sandy landing strip that serves regularly scheduled commercial flights. Located at the northern tip of the island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides, Loganair flies there from Glasgow.

The beach on which the airport’s three runways are situated is subjected to high and low tides at different times of the day. This limits the hours in which aircraft can safely utilize the sandy landing strips, which are laid out in a triangle, ranging from 680 to 846 meters long. Furthermore, planes cannot use the airport at night apart from in emergencies.

Barra Airport
High and low tides dictate barra’s operating times. Photo: Tom Parnell via Flickr

Loganair’s services between Barra and Glasgow take one hour and 15 minutes, and provide the island with a vital link to the Scottish mainland. Operated by 19-seat de Havilland DHC-6 ‘Twin Otter‘ aircraft, these flights generally serve the route two or three times a day.

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Copalis State, US

While Barra is the only beach-based airport that plays host to regularly scheduled commercial services, there is also such a facility for general aviation. Intrepid general aviators can find this facility on the Pacific Coast in the northwestern US state of Washington. Known as Copalis State Airport, this facility has no IATA or ICAO airport codes, and no tower.

Copalis State Airport
Copalis State Airport is on Washington’s Pacific Coast. Photo: Jelson25 via Wikimedia Commons

However, it does have an FAA LID (Local Identified) of S16. The state-owned airport contrasts to Barra in having just one runway. This sandy landing strip was 1,372 meters long, and has the headings 14/32. However, FAA data lists it as now being just 1,113 meters long.

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, This shrinkage is the culmination of various geographical processes. These include river migration and coastal erosion. Much like Barra, aircraft can only use the airport at low tide.

Popular beaches for avgeeks

While these sandy landing strips are a real rarity, a slightly more common phenomenon is beaches situated at the end of runways. These are immensely popular among avgeeks, with many making journeys to such resorts to take the perfect photo.

Which Airports Have Beach Runways?
Aircraft pass very low over St Maarten’s Maho Beach: a planespotter’s paradise. Photo: Getty Images.

The most famous of these is St Maarten, in the Caribbean. Owing to the island’s links to France and the Netherlands, it has hosted iconic long-haul aircraft like the Boeing 747. As you can imagine, this makes for a spectacular sight when passing low over the beach. Skiathos Alexandros Papadiamantis Airport in Greece is a similar photographic hotspot for this reason, although its mile-long runway restricts the size of aircraft that can land there.

Have you ever used an airport with a beach runway? What other unusual surfaces have you landed on or taken off from? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!


Which Countries Banned Concorde From Supersonic Flight?

One of the most iconic commercial airliners, Concorde gave passengers a taste of supersonic flight for nearly three decades. Its speed was a blessing for many – super busy (and wealthy) business travellers who enjoyed a particularly short hop over the Atlantic, and for transporting important cargo such as supplies and organs for transplant during medical emergencies. However, the same speed also caused many roadblocks, including the aircraft being banned from a few countries. Let’s find out more.

During its operational history, Concorde was banned in a few countries due to noise issues. Photo: Getty Images

Challenges from the start

Even before Concorde took to the skies commercially, there were voices of dissent against its environmental consequences. In 1966, British environmental activist Richard Wiggs founded the Anti-Concorde Project that challenged the idea of any kind of supersonic transport aircraft.

The booms of the sonic tests leading up to the first test flight of Concorde would often startle people and cause windows to crack. To highlight the long-term effects of a supersonic jetliner, Wiggs used mass-media advertising campaigns, including full-page advertisements in the national press. He made claims of Concorde affecting the ozone layer and drew attention to its noise levels.

A British Airways Concorde
Environmental activist Richard Wiggs founded the Anti-Concorde Project, challenging any kind of supersonic commercial transportation. Photo: Getty Images

By the time Concorde was launched, many countries were convinced that the plane was not a good choice to fly over land and was suitable for supersonic flights only over water. This didn’t leave much choice for potential Concorde customers in terms of network expansion using the jet.

Over the course of its operational history, Concorde was banned by a few countries due to its sonic boom’s noise.

Initial ban in the US

Some of the first defining flights of Concorde were its transatlantic services from London and Paris to New York and Washington. However, the aircraft faced opposition for quite a while from authorities at Big Apple before it could fly into the city.

On March 11th, 1976, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey banned Concorde from landing at JFK Airport over noise issues. Protests had actually started a year before the official ban when around 2,000 cars stopped traffic near the airport.

Concorde was denied entry to New York for 17 months by authorities over noise pollution. Photo: Getty Images

Both British Airways and Air France found the ban baseless and filed a lawsuit in 1977. In August 1977, a District Court Judge in New York found the ban “discriminatory and unfair” and allowed Concorde test landings in the following 10 days.

In October 1977, the Supreme Court finally lifted the ban stating that the Port Authority was “dragging its feet” with the ban not based on any clear noise requirements.

Opposition in Malaysia and India

Before the US ban was lifted and slots were denied at JFK, both Air France and British Airways began looking at other destinations to use their new Concordes. BA wanted to deploy the supersonic jet to Sydney and was looking for a stopover city for refueling purposes. Singapore seemed a suitable choice.

The airline was already running a thrice-weekly service to Bahrain and extended the service to Singapore as the next stage. However, the flight to Singapore met with huge opposition in Malaysia over the plane’s supersonic boom. The service had to be stopped after just three flights.

Singapore Airlines Concorde Getty
BA and Singapore’s joint venture of Concorde flights between the two nations also faced hurdles from Malaysia and India. Photo: Getty Images

Crossing India to reach Singapore was also a suitable option for BA, but it had also refused to allow the plane to fly at supersonic speed over its airspace. Many believe, however, that the real reason for both Malaysia and India to deny Concorde entry was political, as both countries were trying to obtain important slots at London Heathrow at the time.

BA eventually figured out another route to Singapore, but it consumed so much fuel that the service ended for good on November 1st, 1980, citing unprofitable operations.

The aircraft, however, went on to fly for more than two decades after that before ceasing operations in 2003 with a final flight between London (LHR) and New York (JFK).

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Do Airlines Offer Student Discounts Or Perks?

Being a university student is a curious paradox, in the sense that you have more time to explore the world, but less money with which to do so. With this in mind, several airlines offer students discounts and/or perks to help enable such youthful exploration. These are particularly useful for those studying abroad. Let’s look at some examples of such schemes.

Singapore Airlines offers student perks to KrisFlyer members. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Ryanair’s Erasmus partnership

The Erasmus Programme has made study abroad years possible for EU students since 1987. I am one of the millions of students lucky enough to have partaken in the scheme. Erasmus gives students the opportunity to study at a foreign partner university, while receiving financial assistance in the form of a grant to cover certain living costs.

Being a low-cost carrier with an extensive European network, Ryanair plays a key part in transporting participating students across the continent. As such, the Irish budget airline established a partnership with the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) in 2017.

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Edelweiss A320 EU Flag
Thousands of Erasmus students take to the air across Europe every September. Photo: TimOve via Flickr

The ESN states that:

“The Erasmus Generation is a generation of Europeans that are perennially curious, open-minded and full of wanderlust. This is made possible not only through the success of the European project and initiatives such as Schengen and Erasmus+, but also thanks to companies like Ryanair, without which it would be much harder to travel around Europe.”

The partnership allows participating students to receive a 10% discount on up to four one-way flights (or two return trips) during their year abroad. Furthermore, they can check in a 20kg bag free of charge. These perks are only valid between September and June of the academic year in question, despite countries like Germany having terms that run until July.

Ryanair Boeing 737-800 Landing
Ryanair has helped Erasmus students since 2017. Photo: Getty Images.

Singapore Airlines

Full-service carriers like Singapore Airlines also offer certain perks to student travelers. These are available to members of its KrisFlyer loyalty program who have verified their student status at an eligible university. Like Ryanair, Singapore Airlines also offers free baggage to students. Participating passengers get either 40kg, or three bags if traveling to the US.

In terms of savings, Singapore Airlines’ student offer sees such travelers receive a 10% discount. This is valid for a stay abroad up to 12 months in length. The discount applies to Lite, Value, or Standard economy fares, as well as tickets in the premium economy cabin.

The best discount of all?

Ryanair and Singapore Airlines are just a couple of examples of several carriers worldwide that work hard to make air travel more affordable for students. However, there are some instances in which students have been offered flights that are not just discounted, but free!

Do Airlines Offer Student Discounts Or Perks?
Frontier offered students free tickets last year. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

As it happens, Denver-based ultra-low-cost operator Frontier Airlines implemented such an offer for students last year. Admittedly, these were only available for a limited period (March-May 2020), but it was still an admirable gesture from the all-Airbus carrier.

Frontier implemented the deal at a key travel time for students, in a period encompassing both Easter and spring break. The carrier made the offer available on routes to nearly 100 destinations, helping students all over the country to travel home for free.

Have you ever taken advantage of any of these offers? Perhaps you’ve flown with other carriers that have similar schemes in place for students? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.