Destination Wakanda: Atlanta Airport Launches Flights To Celebrate Black Panther Premier

Wakandan-inspired concessions were also given during the pre-flight.

In honor of the Black Panther movie sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, that dropped a few days ago, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport announced the return of direct flights to Wakanda. The unusual move from the busy airport also honors that the Black Panther movie franchise was significantly filmed in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

Catching a flight from Atlanta to Wakanda

Hartsfield-Jackson Airport first announced direct flights to the fictional city back in February 2018, when Marvel’s highly-anticipated Black Panther made its raving debut over the President’s Day weekend. The airport made the announcement through social media as it showed flight ATL 1234 bound for Wakanda at 19:30 that day.

Passengers instantly enjoyed the humor back then, given the movie’s splendid reviews, with many claiming that they would be paying with Vibranium – a fictional metal found in Wakanda. The airport would banter back, saying that the direct flight accepts all currencies and urging passengers to grab their flight tickets before they run out quickly.

Also joining in the airport’s humor and homage to the movie was one of the actors, Lupita Nyong’o, who replied to the airport’s social media account and asked about the choices available for the in-flight entertainment. Of course, the inquiry was all in the context of the movie, and Hartsfield-Jackson Airport happily responded to Nyong’o’s queries.

The return of flights to Wakanda

And it would seem what started as a humorous, simple tweet had turned into a rather serious affair as Hartsfield-Jackson Airport returned to social media to announce the breaking news of the return of international flight services to Wakanda. In the statement, the airport said:

“Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) announces a return to international service with direct flights to Wakanda. This non-stop service on Flight CHBZ will depart from the Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal from gate F8 at 7:30 p.m. this evening.

Also similar to 2018 was the reaction from passengers, with many immediately replying with how they had already anticipated Hartsfield-Jackson Airport to make such an announcement and chimed in, claiming that they had already booked their flights and were ready for departure.

However, one notable difference between this year’s flight and the flight in 2018 was the flight number; in 2018, it was ATL 1234. This year, the flight number is CHBZ, a direct tribute to the movie’s late actor Chadwick Bosman, who played the protagonist, King T’Challa. Bosman and his character were instant crowd favorites, but unfortunately, the actor died two years ago after a four-year battle with colon cancer.

Bottom line

While the flights are certainly fake, it is still heart-warming to witness Hartsfield-Jackson Airport being humorous from time to time and paying homage not just to Atlanta and the Black Panther franchise but also to the late Chadwick Bosman. Having the movie’s cast and passengers chime in was also quite the cherry on top, especially in such stressful times within the aviation industry when a little humor could make anyone’s day.


JetBlue Launches Interline Agreement With WINAIR

Connecting from the Caribbean will be simplified with Jetblue’s new connection with Sint Maarten’s WINA

New York’s JetBlue (B6), is teaming up with Sint Maarten’s Winair (WM), also known as Windward Islands Airways International NV. As from November 10th, travelers can now seamlessly connect and have their luggage transferred from a range of destinations within the Jetblue and Winair network.

As part of the partnership, customers checking in with Jetblue, from across their North American network can check their luggage through to their final Winair destination.

Connections for passengers include:

  • St Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) to Antigua and Barbuda’s V.C. Bird International Airport (ANU)
  • St Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) to Curaçao International Airport (CUR)
  • St Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) to The British Virgin Islands’ Terrance B Lettsome Airport (EIS)
  • St Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) to St. Eustatius’ F.D. Roosevelt Airport (EUX)
  • St Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) to Saba’s Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport (SAB)
  • St Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) to St. Barthelemy’s Gustaf III Airport (SBH)
  • St Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) to St. Kitts’ Robert L. Bradshaw Airport (SKB)
  • Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA) to Curaçao International Airport (CUR)
  • Antigua and Barbuda’s V.C. Bird International Airport (ANU) to St. Kitts’ Robert L. Bradshaw Airport (SKB)

Confidence in the region

Currently, Jetblue operates two flights to Sint Maarten’s infamous Princess Juliana International Airport, direct from New York (JFK) and Boston (BOS). The new interline agreement with Winair will enhance the passengers’ experience in the Caribbean, with passengers being able to connect straight to the gate. Michael Cleaver, President & CEO of Winair, commented on the announcement:

“The interline agreement between Winair and JetBlue demonstrates the confidence and vision both airlines share in St. Maarten and the surrounding region, and will provide growth for PJIAE [Princess Juliana International Airport, Sint Maarten] and the region “

Codeshare and interline agreements are vital for small regional airlines, allowing Winair to capture the international market. Winair now has interline agreements with:

  • Air Antilles
  • Air Caraibes
  • Air France
  • British Airways
  • Caribbean Airlines
  • Copa Airlines
  • Corsair International
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Jetblue
  • KLM
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

The airline also has codeshare agreements with:

  • Air Antilles
  • Air France
  • KLM

History of Winair

Georges Greaux founded Windward Island Airways in 1961. Due to the remoteness of many islands in the Caribbean, the airline required short takeoff and landing (STOL) aircraft to service such airports as Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport on Saba, so began flying de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otters in 1965. The airline now has 130 staff, servicing 12 destinations across the Caribbean.

Winair now operates two different types of aircraft

  • De Havilland Twin-Otter (19 passengers)
  • ATR42 – 500/600 (48 passengers)

The ultimate airports plane spotters

Those familiar with St Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) to St. Barthelemy’s Gustaf III Airport (SBH) will recognize that both these airports are high on the visit list for planespotters. From St Maarten’s Maho Beach, where planes land incredibly close, to St Barth’s short runway and proximity to the road, these airports are unique for the awesome videos and photos.


Australia’s Bonza Registers 3rd Boeing 737 MAX

Australian start LCC Bonza now has two 737 MAX 8s available, and a third is warming up for the long delivery flight so all it needs is an AOC.

Australia’s latest airline startup, Bonza, has added a third aircraft to its fleet, despite not yet gaining its Air Operator Certificate (AOC). The Boeing 737 was registered to Bonza on October 25th and, according to, is currently parked at Seattle Boeing Field (BFI).

Documents from Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) show that Bonza’s third Boeing 737 MAX 8 is registered VH-UBI. The ‘new’ aircraft, MSN 60388, was built in June 2019 and first registered to LOT Polish Airlines as SP-LVE, but ultimately not taken up. Bonza’s first MAX 8 registration VH-UJT arrived in July, and the second, VH-UIK, touched down in Queensland yesterday at the Sunshine Coast Airport (MCY).

Is this Bazza arriving in the warm sunshine yesterday?

Bonza is naming its aircraft based on feedback from Australians living in the regions it plans to service, with the first named Shazza (Aussie slang for Sharon) and the second rumored to be Bazza (Barry). There is, as yet, no signs of what VH-UBI will be christened, but no doubt it will be as cringe-worthy as the first two.

The ferry flight started from Calgary International Airport (YYC), with stops along the way at Honolulu International Airport (HNL) and in Fiji at Nadi International Airport (NAN). The final leg was a leisurely 3:37-hour hop across the Pacific Ocean to Australia’s Sunshine Coast, where it arrived at 09:19 on Saturday. All up, it took around sixteen and a half hours of flying to deliver VH-UIK from Canada to the welcoming arms of Bonza staff in Queensland.

The history for the third aircraft, VH-UBI, lists just two flights between Seattle Boeing Field and Moses Lake Grant County International Airport (MWH). Both flights happened last Thursday, with the outward leg from Seattle a 1:36 hour flight and the return taking a more direct route of just forty-three minutes.

On the flight map above, just east of the Boeing 737 is a place called Walla Walla, a very Australian-sounding place in the heart of Washington state. Coincidently, there is an Australian town in New South Wales called Walla Walla, the indigenous name for the ‘place of many rocks,’ and just 24 miles (39 kilometers) from Albury, one of the destinations on Bonza’s route map.

On a more serious note, the bigger issue is obtaining the AOC, and until that’s granted, Bonza is holding off naming an actual start date for services. December to February are the peak summer holiday months in Australia, and given that Bonza is positioning itself as a point-to-point low-cost leisure carrier, it needs to be up and running soon. As we reported in September, Bonza appointed Michael Young as its chief operating officer, with a focus on finalizing the AOC requirements. Young has had similar roles with Tiger Airways and Virgin Australia and is responsible for flight and cabin crew, engineering, ground services and operational performance.

Earlier this month, Simple Flying contacted Bonza for an update on the AOC application, and we received a reply from the airline’s chief commercial officer Carly Povey. She told us that Bonza “will continue to update Aussie travelers as soon as there are updates on all things Bonza,” adding:

“We fully respect the regulatory process and continue to work with CASA on it. They do incredibly important work regulating aviation in Australia, and we respect the process we’re working through with them. It is wrong of us to comment on when that process will be completed.”

The good news for Australians looking for bargains is that Bonza is getting its fleet and personnel together while the AOC process continues, which is a real sign of its commitment to the local market. Hopefully, we will soon see the gleaming 737 MAX 8s with the big thumbs-up logo appearing at airports around Australia.


Fleet Expansion: Royal Jordanian To Add 20 Airbus A320neos & More Dreamliners

Royal Jordanian has decided to purchase 20 new narrowbodies to meet its expansion goals.

Royal Jordanian has announced a purchase order for 20 new Airbus A320neo aircraft. The new aircraft will replace the airline’s 13 A320s already in service. The airline has also stated that it is discussing acquiring more Boeing 787 long-haul aircraft, with plans to increase its fleet of 787s from 7 to 11 in the coming years.

Fleet selection

The announcement of the new aircraft acquisitions came in an email from Royal Jordanian, as reported by Bloomberg, which also included the update on the 787 negotiations. The airline operates many short to medium-haul routes across the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, primarily using its A320s for these routes. As it has been looking to expand, the airline was deciding whether to order the A320neo to replace its current fleet or the Boeing 737 MAX.

Ultimately the airline has opted to acquire the neo to help further its expansion plans. The reduced operating costs compared to the A320s it already flies will help it increase its profit margins allowing more room for network expansion. Royal Jordanian’s CEO Salem Malaji shared why the company chose to purchase the neo. Malaji stated,

“The A320neo aircraft family is the best choice for fleet replacement and growth for Royal Jordanian in the coming few years for its core short and medium range operations”

Later in the statement, the airline shared that it is undergoing negotiations with Boeing to obtain four additional 787 aircraft. It already has seven of these fuel-efficient widebodies, which it uses for its longest routes. So far, the airline has been impressed with the aircraft’s performance and sees it as a valuable asset in expanding its long-haul networks. Malaji said, concerning the 787,

“Negotiations with Boeing are also ongoing, for RJ to grow its B787 wide-bodied fleet in the same time frame followed by the replacement of its current fleet.”

Unfortunately for Royal Jordanian, the COVID-19 pandemic considerably set back production of the 787. Only recently did Boeing begin to deliver more 787s since the pandemic started. However, the airline appears to be patient and does not expect to acquire these aircraft for several years.

Plans for growth

One year ago, the airline announced a plan to expand its fleet and services over the next five years. The airline plans to increase its fleet of 24 aircraft to 40 aircraft by 2026. On top of the Airbus and Boeing aircraft it intends to acquire, the airline has also been looking at expanding its fleet of regional aircraft. As these discussions are ongoing, it has yet to decide which aircraft will be chosen to fill this role.

With the additional fuel-efficient aircraft, the airline plans to open more routes in every region it serves. It will hire nearly 50% more flight and cabin crew to operate these aircraft. Its expansion plans are primarily concentrated in the Levant region, which includes Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, and Syria. Many of the new A320neos will be used to fly the long routes in the region, while the airline will utilize regional aircraft for the shorter routes. The airline plans to open more routes into neighboring continents and even a transoceanic flight to Washington, DC.


Iceland Celebrates Its 1st Passenger Flight Of An Electric Aircraft

The flight was operated onboard a Pipistrel Velis Electro aircraft.

Icelandair participated in a landmark event in Icelandic aviation last week when the company Rafmagnsflug ehf. operated the first commercial flight of an electric airplane in the country. During these flights, the President and the Prime Minister of Iceland were the first passengers.

The first electric flight in Iceland

Iceland’s first commercial electric flight took place last week. The company Rafmagnsflug ehf. (Electric Flight) brought the first electric plane to Iceland with the aim of taking the initiative towards the energy exchange of aviation, training staff in this new technology, and introducing it to the nation, explained Icelandair in a press release.

This electric airplane is a two-seater Pipistrel manufactured in Slovenia and a registration TF-KWH. According to the Icelandic Transport Authority, this aircraft was manufactured in 2021; it has a maximum weight of 600 kilograms and can only carry one passenger at a time. The electric plane is of similar size as the aircraft that flight academies use for flight training.

Icelandair said the commercial service last week represented the first step “in an important journey towards more environmentally friendly aviation. The opportunities for Iceland are great due to short domestic flight routes, access to green energy, and Iceland’s location between Europe and North America.”

The airplane will be used for flight training. Still, it is also expected that the public will be able to purchase sightseeing flights with this first electric plane in Iceland and experience traveling the skies on a Zero-Emission plane. Icelandair was only one of the many local companies involved in bringing the first electric flight to Iceland. The Icelandic airport administrator, Isavia, was also involved in the project.

Icelandair’s commitment to net zero emissions

Like many other airlines around the world, Icelandair has set new goals to reduce carbon emissions. The carrier made a commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050. In addition, Icelandair set a medium-term target to reduce its carbon emissions by 50% per operational ton kilometer by 2030, compared to 2019 levels, improving its sustainability.

Reaching these goals will require a combination of measures, such as new aircraft technologies, continued operational improvements, the introduction of sustainable aviation fuels, as well as carbon offsetting. Introducing the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into Icelandair’s fleet is an important contributor to reducing carbon emissions. Icelandair currently has 14 MAX aircraft (ten MAX 8s and four MAX 9s).

The Velis Electro

Pipistrel has developed the Velis Electro, the first electric-powered airplane to receive a Type Certificate. This is the model that was used on Iceland’s first electric flight. The aircraft is equipped with a 57.6kW liquid cooled electric engine, which provides power and produces no combustion gases. It has an endurance of up to 50 minutes and can reach a maximum horizontal speed at sea level of 98 KCAS (around 182 km/h). This endurance was designed to cover for typical flight school utilization for local flying. According to Pipistrel, it is a compromise between performance, environmental robustness, and battery system lifetime.