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Member Since 27 Mar 2016
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 11:30 PM

In Topic: 2023 Code Sharing Challenge!

06 January 2023 - 02:38 PM

Scheduled Commercial + Auditoriums - Dulles Skylounge by Valiant


When drawing up plans to rebuild its main terminal at Dulles International (IAD), architects came to the conclusion that Valiant's primary lounge used by Business and First class passengers would need to be totally demolished to make way for upgrades and improvements. With this news, Valiant began considering options to retain a high quality lounge for its patrons at Dulles during the construction. Their solution was unconventional but extremely interesting. Instead of finding a space within the terminal to build a temporary lounge, Valiant would create their own space outside of the terminal and shuttle first class and business passengers to it. In 2016, Valiant purchased a recently retired 747-400, repainted it in a slightly modified iteration of the Valiant scheme, and flew it to Dulles where it was parted out on a remote stand for several months. Much of the interior was removed as were the engines (which were replaced with end of life dummies). Later, the aircraft was towed to a less remote stand close to the terminal where a significant hole was cut in the aircraft's rear fuselage and a large tower containing an elevator and emergency stairs was installed near the rear of the aircraft. The main floor of the aircraft, featured in the map below, contains a bar and lounge marketed as Club 74, A full service restaurant with a buffet called the Loudoun Restaurant (after the county in which Dulles is located), a conference room called the Morris Room (in honour of the family which founded Valiant), and gender segregated wheelchair accessible restrooms. The structure's upper deck features a seating area with couches and various chairs that provide a panoramic view of the airport tarmac. Below the main deck is a kitchen for employees as well as shower facilities, gender-neutral restrooms, various small seating areas for customers, and certain utilities (mainly air conditioning). The Skylounge is connected to the airport's electrical and water systems. When it is open and it is not raining, customers board the Skylounge with a set of truck mounted airstairs, but employees and disabled customers use the elevator located at the rear. Since opening in 2017, the lounge has been very well reviewed by airline critics and passengers alike. The excellent views and facilities it offers makes up for the relative inconvenience of requiring a short shuttle ride to access. Valiant was intentionally ambiguous as to whether the Skylounge would be temporary. The new terminal floor plan included a large area which could have been fitted as a lounge if the Skylounge and its associated schedule prove to be uneconomical. However, reports suggest that as construction nears its conclusion on the new terminal, the space has been used as an office complex and staff break room - suggesting that Valiant does not plan to replace the Skylounge in the immediate future.


In Topic: North American Design Competition 2022

15 December 2022 - 10:36 PM

[Group A Westwind WW, WST, Westwind, San Diego]

Westwind was a major American carrier based in San Diego with hubs at San Diego and San Francisco. A thoroughly Californian company, Westwind was known for operating in a manner different than its competitors. For one, unlike most American major carriers, Westwind confined itself to the Western portion of the United States. Apart from its two hubs, its focus city in Salt Lake City rounded out its network. The airline figured it understood the Western market and shouldn’t take its chances with other hub markets. The airline was well known for its extensive and historic network of flights across the Pacific Ocean and even though it almost entirely abrogated the transatlantic market, the airline was a major player amongst Transpacific and Hawaiian flights. Management was known for its aversion to change – seeing rapid change as akin to chaos. The airline operated a unitype narrowbody fleet entirely consisting of A320, 319, and 321 aircraft. On the larger side, the airline operated a somewhat more varied fleet of 767 variants and 777-200ERs. Fleet numbers were called fleet designators because they included a combination of letters and numbers. Inflight meals were entirely produced by the carrier and never subcontracted. Westwind had a way of doing business and the institutional culture that did not easily change or reflect the best practices of its competitors. The airline was a stock market darling amongst other airlines because it had the fastest recovery from 9/11 of any American based carrier. Although seen as a beacon of economic stability, the airline’s cash reserves after 9/11 and into the mid-2000s deteriorated. Despite this, the airline’s stock price remained stable and management remained content through this period. However, with the stock crash of 2008, the airline’s stock suffered a major crash. Shareholders clambered for change but management publicly announced that they would stay the course and avoid major operational changes. This was not a popular decision with stockholders who kicked off a revolving door of executives. Competitors smelled blood in the water and began making bids to takeover the ailing carrier and its valuable chunk of the West Coast and Pacific market. Valiant won that bid and announced that the last Westwind flight, WWA 254, would depart Kansas City for San Diego at 11:58 pm December 31, 2009. Westwind officially ceased to exist as the clock struck midnight and crowds cheered the beginning of a new decade two minutes later. The airline's branding lasted a few years longer but no aircraft made it past 2012 wearing Westwind colours.


This poster comes from 2005, during which Westwind took delivery of extended range 777 aircraft to inaugurate new routes. During this time, the airline also adopted a retro-esq style to its advertising. Due to the impending financial crunch, this style was effectively the last Westwind would ever deploy in a large scale advertisement campaign.


[Group B Star AS, ARS, Oswalt, San Antonio]

Star is an American low cost carrier founded in Texas in the 1970s by Richard Oswalt as Airmerican Star. Growing from a carrier seeking to undercut Texas giants on the highly popular short distance  San Antonio - Houston and Houston - Dallas routes. Until the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, airlines could avoid the price fixing which forced major carriers to operate a certain standard of service by operating within the bounds of a single state (otherwise the act would have exceeded the Federal Government's authority under the Interstate Commerce Clause of the American Constitution, a fact the Supreme Court of the United States confirmed with its 7-2 ruling in Oswalt v Association of American Airlines for Market Stability). The airline thrived in its early days simply by providing slightly cheaper and more frequent service on its original two routes as well as routes to other Texas airports like El Paso and Austin. In 1978, when the Airline Deregulation Act passed, the airline was forced to innovate to survive an onslaught of true low cost competitors that operated on shoestring budgets. Richard Oswalt's original plan to deal with this new competition was to expand rapidly and establish the carrier as a trendy alternative to mainline airlines. Oswalt's plan was successful thanks to the well timed death of an elderly friend, not because of any particular business acumen. In the 90s, the airline began to transition away from Oswalt's business strategy of trying to make an inherently uncool airline trendy and instead competing with the low cost carriers just as they competed with each other - by cutting costs. After 9/11, the airline was sold by its holding group who chose to float a public offering. After the initial public offering, the airline began what would become an extremely long and painful process the rebrand the airline and finally shelve the cumbersome and unattractive Airmerican portion of its name. This came with the creation of a mascot, Happy the Star who would terrify children around the nation represent the brand to young customers as it transitioned into the family leisure travel market. The original rebrand went off with many hitches and the original vision of Happy was serious revised by a second design studio. Despite the brand chaos, the airline continued to grow into new markets and overhaul its fleet to move away from fuel thirsty T tailed jets in favor of slick A320 series aircraft. The airline solidified the presence of Happy by enlarging him and the emphasizing its new website FlyStar.com on a 2012 revision of the livery. The Coronavirus and modern times seemed prepared to push the airline to the brink of bankruptcy, but the carrier has survived to thrive into the new decade and introduce a dynamic update to Happy the Star and its brand identity generally. Click the album and browse my gallery posts for more detailed lore and to see the evolution of the carrier and their mascot

0 Meet Happy
Album: Star
8 images

The modern livery is pictured below on a brand new state of the art A321neo aircraft.
The Star Credit Card, under the new Star branding, is quite slick. With its new card, Star also revealed the successful outcome of their talks with Unionpay to become the first Unionpay network card widely used in America. This deal was mostly down to Unionpay offering a better rate than their previous vendor, Discover.
Finally, I have attached a memo from the airline distributed around the time of the latest brand refresh known internally as the Juice Memo.


In Topic: Creativity and its importance in life

07 December 2022 - 08:29 AM

Hi Thomas, Lately I've been thinking more about school and I think it's very important in life. An excuse to live differently and do something new. Many people love to explore new and exciting places. I have been looking for a job where I can enjoy this kind of work for a long time. I finally found another creative place to put my creative ideas into practice: lower Manhattan.

In Topic: [Open for entries] AE Hispanic Design Contest 2022

03 November 2022 - 08:39 PM

Group A | Cóndor | Mariscal Sucre International Airport

2012 - Present Boeing 787-8

Cóndor is the long-standing flag carrier of Ecuador. Today, it operates a relatively large network of flights across South America, North America, Europe, and even Asia. Founded in 1924 as the Cooperación Colombo-Americana en Transporte Aéreo (CCATA), the airlines roots were as a co-operative effort between local Colombian and American businessmen. The airline remained very small until after the war when an influx of used military aircraft allowed for rapid expansion. By the late 40s, the airline the undisputed largest carrier in the nation. However, in the late 50s, competition on the airlines' American routes ate seriously into profits and began a prolonged slide as the airline's financial state became more unstable. American carriers introducing early jets to routes to Ecuador only worsened this competition crisis. The airline's precarious financial status led to irregular service and delayed maintenance that contributed to a rash of small accidents. Infact, by 1966, most Ecuadorians referred to the airline as "Choca A veces, Tardanza A menudo" (Crash sometimes, late often) or just as CACA (feces) both of which were plays on the airline's name. The company's finances spiraled as it fell from being the premier carrier of the region to nation's carrier of last resort. However, in 1970, the Ecuadorian government stepped up to resurrect the struggling national airline by buying it outright from its private owners. Unsure that the CATA name was salvageable, the government went abroad to search for a design agency that could give the airline a new brand identity. The answer came from a California design firm who took the brand's existing logo, a Condor and proposed naming the whole airline after the bird. Thus, CCATA's brand died and Cóndor was born. A massive injection of capital from the government allowed for a rapid and total rebrand combined with the acquisition of a number of new and gently used modern aircraft. By 1972, the airline had acquired a modest fleet of 707s to eradicate its rickety long haul prop fleet and had begun the process of replacing its Lockheed Electras with Boeing 737s. In 1975, the airline introduced its first widebody, the Lockheed L1011-100 for routes to Madrid and other European capitals. During this period, the airline experienced a rapid turnaround in both profits and prestige. By the early 80s, it was rapidly establishing itself as one of if not the premier carrier of South America. In the early 80s, the airline was re-privatised and opened a subsidiary in Peru. The 80s saw the introduction of 757s to the fleet mostly to serve American destinations and far flung South American routes like Buenos Aires. As the decade wore on, the airline considered expansion into super-long haul routes and explored aircraft that could replace the Tristars and serve farther flung destinations. This exploration became a firm order for 10 A340-500s which was pruned back to 6 of the type after 9/11. The first entered service in 2003. The new aircraft allowed for a direct nonstop service from Quito to Tokyo, further establishing Cóndor as the premier carrier of Ecuador and Peru. The airline's network also allowed it to attract many Colombian, Bolivian, Venezuelan, and even some Brazilian travelers. Despite their high profile, the A345s were never paragons of profitability, leading the carrier to consider replacing them not long after they debuted. The 787 would make this possible and the airline would eventually acquire a substantial fleet of both the smaller -8 and -9 leaving the carrier with only one type of widebody in the fleet for the first time since it had introduced the Tristars. Similar to the rationalisation of the widebody fleet, the shorter haul segment of Cóndor's fleet also saw significant streamlining after the turn of the millennium. Remaining geriatric 737 Jurassic series were finally replaced with A320s and A319s that had made a good name for themselves as new additions to the fleet in the 90s. Today, despite some instability caused by the 2020 Pandemic, the airline seems to be back on its feet and remains a popular and common sight around South America and a favourite catch of plane spotters the world over. The airline's modern livery, which was introduced a decade ago in 2012, features a stylized streamlined version of the carrier's classic condor logo with a largest twist being that the bird has finally escaped its circular cage. The tail features a subtle gradient which evokes the Andes mountains looming out of the fog. The fuselage design is organic; according to the company it mimics the movement of the Esmeraldas River. Cóndor Peru uses a very similar livery to its parent company but replaces the yellow accent with white and removes the small crest of Ecuador placed next to the boarding doors of mainline aircraft. Below is a magazine advertisement Cóndor created to promote its new 787s back in 2012.

2012 -  Meet the Dreamliner



In Topic: How to create a profit

11 October 2022 - 12:26 AM

I would suggest that if you aren't finding a profit, lowering your costs and increasing your gross profit might help you create a profit