View Full Version : Virgin and Pacific Blue ETOPS

Z Force
17th Dec 2003, 11:17
So Virgin has decided not to fly ETOPS. How is this going to affect their Pacific Blue operation? Will Pacific Blue operate under its own AOC?

Pimp Daddy
17th Dec 2003, 12:25
So Virgin has decided not to fly ETOPS. How is this going to affect their Pacific Blue operation? Will Pacific Blue operate under its own AOC?

They have decided to suspend ETOPS for the time being while they sort out their record keeping. Obviously found a glitch in the maintenance system somewhere so suspend ETOPS until they sort it out. When it's sorted out they will resume.

Shouldn't affect Pacific Blue as last time I looked it was going to be a NZ company with an NZ AOC.

18th Dec 2003, 04:13
Pimp Daddy
I don't think there is (yet) much info as to what 'size' Pacific Blue will be. I mean, who's a/c are they? Virgin Blue on cross lease or Pacific Blue "owned"/operated. I'd guess they will always be owned by Virgin Blue and most of the record keeping/control/maintenance systems will be looked after by them, not Pacific Blue. Pretty certain where the maint. will be done though isn't it. As for parts, I'd bet Virgin Blue will control that too. Why would you want to duplicate departments if not necessary/not legally required. All depends on how the a/c are placed in Pacific Blue - a skeleton of a company 'just' complying with the laws on both sides of the dutch. ETOPS fix would have to be sorted out soon otherwise it would not look good On Virgin Blue to appear to be embroiled in any serious shortcomings....so it won't affect Pacific Blue ops.

18th Dec 2003, 07:24
Virgin has never had an ETOPS,they were permitted to carry out ETOPS trials,at completion of the trials an audit was carried out by both VB & CASA.During the audit they found that as parts and components were returned from repair/overhaul/modification the life(total hours & cycles) was being reset to zero thereby treating the parts as new.As a result VB chose?(were not allowed?) to continue the process until all the records were rectified and actual parts fitted to A/C were physically confirmed for part #,serial #,test dates,life`s ect. Depending which rumour you heard VB were either threatened with a "show cause notice" or actually served one by CASA over this parts tracking problem.

18th Dec 2003, 07:33
DDG you speak with such authority, and yet you are completely incorrect

Virgin Blue currently has a 90 minutes ETOPS approval, though they are not currently exercising it

18th Dec 2003, 07:46
Appoligies Dehavillanddriver,
I just checked again and found in October they were given formal ETOPS approval(i thought it was provisional pending the trial process)

18th Dec 2003, 08:01
Apology accepted!

hope you, and all the other ppruners have a safe and merry christmas and new year!

The Enema Bandit
18th Dec 2003, 10:12
DDG, in reality could any of these parts been time expired?

18th Dec 2003, 10:29
The Enema Bandit,
I guess it is possible,however due to the age of most of the fleet it is extremely unlikley,the problem would largely lie with a small portion of the leased A/C that were not new off the production line when they arrived.I heard that it could all be resolved by retracing all the paperwork and amending the records to indicate the true hours/cycles .I don`t know of any components having to be removed due to records.

18th Dec 2003, 14:53
Could you please explain what happened on the 26th of November regards their ETOPS approval !!

The Enema Bandit
19th Dec 2003, 03:15
I think I'm glad I didn't buy any shares in them. It sounds like a big GA company. What would have happened if they didn't pull their own ETOPS approval?

Metro Boy
19th Dec 2003, 12:21
Virgin and ETOPS. Ha ha ha ha ha!

19th Dec 2003, 16:07
It sounds like a big GA company.

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck...? Then again I don't want to offend the good GA companies out there.

"You can teach a monkey to ride a bike..." :ok:

Sperm Bank
19th Dec 2003, 16:50
Hey LAME. Your'e a really funny guy!!

You obviously find it empowering to vilify your opposition mate. Have a merry xmas and may the new year bring you into the 21st centuary.

20th Dec 2003, 03:16
Could you please explain what happened on the 26th of November regards their ETOPS approval?


Perhaps, your above question is one that the shareholders should be asking as they are certainly entitled to the answer.

The Enema Bandit
20th Dec 2003, 03:19
Maybe Santa could bring you a dictionary Sperm Eater.

Sperm Bank
20th Dec 2003, 04:43
You learn to read and I'll buy a dictionary. Besides the punctuation mistake, qualify your post.

20th Dec 2003, 07:58
Playing the man again Sperm Bank. How did you determine that 'they' are 'my' opposition. And by the sound of it, I'm not your mate.

fruitloop, can you expand on your 26 November comment?

By the way, I think Metro Boy encapsulated the issue succinctly.

Merry Xmas all

"You can teach a monkey to ride a bike...':ok:

20th Dec 2003, 08:55
Well it seems some have it partly right, some all right and some wrong. It is a rumour network afterall.
VB management didnt pull the etops approval voluintarily. It was a case of you do it or we (CASA ) will. CASA right now have a few guys in here trying to sort out the mess, and I hear it"s a real mess.
The word from within is that no more aircraft till this huge mess is sorted out and that might take a while. Time expired parts will not be an easy issue to fix. Tracing back a parts history can be a very tume consum ing task And it's not just one part we re talking about.
GA outfit?? right on dude.

Sperm Bank
20th Dec 2003, 08:57
Sounds like a complete shambles. Be the engineering manager is very proud of their performance.

20th Dec 2003, 09:17
I suppose that the Engineering Manager and any QA positions are up for grabs as well now? Is that the same as zeroing the time expired parts?

Patriot One
20th Dec 2003, 09:43
This is exactly what I warned you about many months ago in another thread.

The issue is a lot bigger than simply their ETOPS accreditation. Ironically it was in attempting to acquire that accreditation that the depth of the problems in the maintenance organisation has been revealed. The extra surveillance and reliability systems that are required for ETOPS would have brought every discreet issue in the normal non-ETOPS operation to the surface.

I'm sure many of the engineers that read this site will agree that this isn't some simple problem, particularly not in the casual context of the press release. Parts tracking is at the very heart of the maintenance organisations mandate. This is non-compliance to an extent that is breath-taking. Given that tracking aircraft maintenance and parts is the very backbone of maintenance, I can only imagine what sort of nightmare state the rest of the organisation is in.

To those ex-AN people, and especially the likes of AN LAME, this would be a heart-breaking revelation. Ansett was grounded and subsequently destroyed for an issue significantly less than this, and I might add, an issue which was labelled "non-compliant" by CASA, but later refuted by Boeing and BASI reports. This current issue is an overt, non-contested, blatant breach of the mandate.

If the media knew what ETOPS was then this would be national news.

To answer a question previously asked - yes, many, many parts would be time-expired by now. Many components and rotables have a 12-18 month life, lessened by high utilisation in hours or cycles. These aircraft would be high in both.

CASA's silence is an outrage.

20th Dec 2003, 10:09
I think VB_CAPT has hit the nail on the head (the date was the final straw) (we)ll done !!

20th Dec 2003, 11:11
I feel for the Professionals in VB, and elsewhere, who realise how things should be but clearly aren't. And it's all well and good for us not in some of these organisations to say 'do something about it' but the nature of the industry now is that you have to be measured in how you go about rectifying situations...so you'll remain employed to be able to continue to do something in the future :(

"You can teach a monkey to ride a bike...':ok:

The Enema Bandit
20th Dec 2003, 11:48
Spermy, try century not centuary.

Sperm Bank
20th Dec 2003, 13:16
Woops. Tks bandit I stand corrected.

An lame you are correct. There are probably plenty of items that need rectifying throughout the organisation. The reality is it will take plenty of time. There is one group of people trying to do the right thing, and there is another keeping their fiscal (head office, not in touch with reality) fingers so hard on the pulse it is not beating.

It's not an excuse but the company is only three years old and still finding its feet. I dont know how long this reasoning will last. It is very frustrating at the coal face let me tell you.

20th Dec 2003, 13:34
That's what you get when you hire ex AN engineering bosses.

Did you ever wonder why QF didn't take them. Now you know why.

Here we go again !!!!!!

Patriot One
20th Dec 2003, 13:56
..."the company is 3 years old and still finding its feet.."

..what a load of bullsh*t. This isn't a game, nor is it a toddler growing into a man. This is a serious business and you don't play at it, nor do you start niaive and learn as you go.

This is out and out incompetence. A company formed on the commercial idea with only scant regard to the technical competence required.

"I didn't know better" and "we are only new" have never been acceptable excuses in such a hazardous business.

If you cut corners in this business you get what you PAY for.

So everyone believes that this airline has such a wonderful strategy and a successful business plan. Well my kids could have made a success of an airline that had the collapse of an airline 4 times the size to feed its capacity - and an obvious incompetent approach to the STANDARDS required to put the airline together correctly.

Now the chickens are coming home to roost. Costs are going up, and trust me correcting these engineering problems means a lot of expense, not the least of which is that the airline will now incur the correct cost structure required to run a professional business. But that's okay, eh? After all they can continue to charge high fares to offset the problem. (anybody read the article in the SMH the other day about airfares being higher today than they were pre-Ansett collapse?)

..oh and by the way - the engineering management originally at VB was not ex-Ansett, unless you call a member of the Administration an employee of Ansett. Further, one of the most senior members of engineering management in QF is ex-Ansett, not to mention other key AN people now in QF ranks.

If you're going to defend VB don't do it by blaming AN once again. Lay the blame squarely where it lies - with the key individuals that started the business.

Finally - "doing something about it" is what management is supposed to do. Once again it isn't a position of "try your best". This is simply a situation where they need to right what is wrong - but will they have the balls or for that matter the brains? And of course will they be prepared to accept the cost?

Doubt it.

"Good Afternoon Australia - welcome to the Richard Branson Reality Show. Check out early screenings all around the world."

One wonders how those few appropriately experienced Pilots in VB feel knowing how inexperienced their fellow crewman is, and now what the reality is on how well-maintained their aircraft are????

20th Dec 2003, 14:46
I agree, Ex AN engineering weren't in charge at start up because AN was still flying. They came later after shutdown. The people that started the business hired so-called experts. Ex AN experts.

These are the same people that saw AN through the Easter debacle and all it's other engineering problems. Who's fault was that, somone else I suppose like everything at AN.

Now we are seeing the same problems arising. Hell of a coincidence don't you think.

The SMH is right, prices are higher now than when AN was flying but we also had Virgin and Impulse. Before then (QF & AN only) I paid walkup $708 BNE - SYD return.

20th Dec 2003, 15:22

Having been at AN for some 20 years and having dealt with DJ management occasionally since, I think I'd know who these 'AN'people are... but I can't think of one. And if you're talking of LF, Patriot is correct. Although he was ex CASA, his background was in GA and Engine Shops.. In RPT he was, and remains, an amateur.

Frankly I think you're speaking through your HGW arse :p

"You can teach a monkey to ride a bike...' :ok:

20th Dec 2003, 15:35

Your comments were professional and precise but you spoilt it with your last one.

The ex AN intellect always rears it's ugly head.

And before you say it, I am ex AN and now DJ so I can talk.

Z Force
20th Dec 2003, 16:14
I have it on good authority that the government has told CASA to go easy on Virgin. Maybe Anderson is embarrassed about the maintenance fallout from Ansett.

21st Dec 2003, 04:30
Isn't the new CASA director a former consultant to VB??

21st Dec 2003, 06:58

Just some levity. I'm unsure of how it indicates my intellect. And by admission you would be of the same calibre... would you not? :O

"You can teach a monkey to ride a bike...' :ok:

21st Dec 2003, 11:04
Good point Casper. I thought he was in charge of their safety department.

Metro Boy
21st Dec 2003, 15:34
Now I know why my financial adviser said not to buy Virgin shares. He recommended Qantas instead as they were stable. Aren't I a loyal employee?

22nd Dec 2003, 05:35
Heard CASA said no more aircraft on the AOC until the mess has been cleaned up,and no export certificates for the Pacific Blue aircraft until all is resolved!Can`t see any international flights starting too soon(subject to government approvals,HA)

Metro Boy
25th Dec 2003, 10:14
Heard the same thing also that the NZ CAA are having a close look too.

26th Dec 2003, 06:56
Andso they should have agood look. Seek and ye shall find. It doesnt make me happy working for this show andI wish no bad things on anybody here, butif thus isnt sorted out soon we might all belooking for new jobs.
What surprises me is that a few of the disgruntled guys here have not squealed to CASA. The management desrves itbut the good people donot.

The Enema Bandit
26th Dec 2003, 16:22
VB_Capt, Spermy was going to ask Santa for a dictionary. Maybe if you ask him nicely he might lend you it. You should have asked him for some glasses.

26th Dec 2003, 16:39
I don't know why VB Capt doesn't just up and leave!
He's obviously a malcontent!
There would be many who would take his job and appreciate it!

The Enema Bandit
26th Dec 2003, 16:57
I reckon I've flown for better GA operators.

26th Dec 2003, 17:05
amos 2

Read my earlier post and maybe it will be clear as to why VB_Capt doesn't, and why I hope he doesn't, leave.

"You can teach a monkey to ride a bike...' :ok:

26th Dec 2003, 18:49
You're not seriously suggesting that VB is a professional are you Lame? :confused:

Metro Boy
27th Dec 2003, 03:28
Virgin Blue professional?

27th Dec 2003, 13:26
The people working for it are, even if the company itself may not be.

To suggest anything else is to smear the reputations of many good operators.

Metro Boy
27th Dec 2003, 13:47
I have to agree with you there. I have worked with some of the most professional people I have come across. Unfortunately the same can't be said about the management.

Patriot One
27th Dec 2003, 19:46
unfortunately "professional" doesn't equate to "capable".

...and once again we stumble down the weary path of "management are to blame". Look it up in history fella's - it's known as the Nuremberg defence. Absolutely management are to blame, but there are many in VB who aren't management and who are equally culpable....

Oh and give me a break - "the people working for it are" [professional]. Don't over-use the word. It doesn't fit with your airline and its culture....and you will note that in Branson's entire empire "professional" is a dirty word. That's the whole point of the brand.

..as the old saying goes, if you ain't part of the cure, you're part of the problem.

Metro Boy
28th Dec 2003, 10:08
Patriot One, I meant some of the captains that I fly with as some of them seem to be pretty good operators. But as for some of the rest I won't comment.

28th Dec 2003, 14:09
Patriot one, that's all well and good, spouting off fat, dumb and happy at the other end of a keyboard. Many are Professionals doing the job in the most professional manner they can. Deal with it. Not everybody plays politics.

28th Dec 2003, 14:31
Dhdriver and P/daddy are pretty much on the money
DJ has 90 minutes ETOPS approval and Pacific Blue will run under it's own AOC and will be an NZ AOC having no bearings on what DJ decides to do with her own ETOPS approval.

Z Force
29th Dec 2003, 03:10
I though they had voluntarily handed their ETOPS approval in.

Suffering Sucataash
29th Dec 2003, 03:25
Z, Why would they voluntarily hand their ETOPS approval in? Unless they were told it was about to be taken off them, in which case you are hard pushed to say it is voluntary.
In either case however it displays a lacking in the engineering section and must cost them on the MEL - PER - MEL sectors.

Why the press has not picked up this one I don't know, maybe they are waiting for Easter.

29th Dec 2003, 14:01
What you failed to remember is that Pacific Blue`s three aircraft are currently maintained and operated under VB`s current system of maintaince,as such these aircraft have and are affected due to the numerous component changes whilst operating for VB.
Until such time as all records have been rectified these aircraft will not be issued with an export certificate,therefore PB has nothing to fly until VB is FIXED !

30/30 Green Light
30th Dec 2003, 12:09
DDG - I thought that there were only 2 aircraft earmarked for PB and that they were the last 2 delivered(800's)and that additional a/c will be delivered during '04.
Justapplyhere,that's a big call,but looking at some of the stories being bandied about,who would know?

31st Dec 2003, 07:30
30/30 Green Light,
Pacific Blue livery aircraft currently operating with VB are VH-VOO,VH-VOP,VH-VOQ.All were -800`s delivered in last months of 2003. The fourth aircraft is/was due for delivery in Jan/Feb 2004 so i stand corrected on the current fleet numbers.
You can check out some pic`s at http://airliners.net/search/photo.search

31st Dec 2003, 17:34

DJ still have their 90min ETOPS Approval from CASA.

DJ voluntarily suspended ETOPS operations because while component hour records were being kept for major parts, smaller legally required logs were not being recorded. CASA was immediately informed and commended DJ on doing this under their own accord.

How will it affect PB?????

Instead of DJ doing PBs maintenance this will now occur by Air NZ until DJ is back up-to-speed. Launch and NZ CAA ETOPS approvals are still on schedule, albeit it a slightly hurried one.

Professionals certainly exists in most areas - it's a shame a select few give an airline as successful as Virgin such a bad name.

Patriot One
31st Dec 2003, 19:31
Now that we're dealing with the facts, lets get them right.

FACT - VB no longer is approved for 90 minute ETOPS. In other words, they could not file an aircraft on a 90mins ETOPS flight tomorrow. Their original submission (using a plagerised Ansett ETOPS program) and the fact that the aircraft were new, and ETOPS equipped, earned them the 90 min approval.

However, like so many examples in this industry, and this airline, saying what you're going to do, and actually doing what you said you would do are two entirely different things. VB realised that in attempting to comply with their own approved processes for ETOPS that they were in fact non-compliant with the whole operation - not for ETOPS, but for standard operating. Therefore, in withdrawing from the ETOPS intent they therefore lost their 90mins approval.

The only way they picked up on their non-compliance was thanks to the arrival of their new engineering manager ex-QF, who is horrified at the mess. The new guy did the prudent, and required thing to do under self-audit, which was to immediately disclose it to CASA - therein stopping CASA's delving into the pandora's box.

Now I just gotta ask because its a common theme in this thread. How do any of you believe VB can hold onto 90mins approval when they have shown that they're non-compliant? CASA doesn't say "okay,,we can see you're not tracking parts..so we'll just approve you for 90mins". Makes a lotta sense eh?

FACT - non compliance with "little things" is just as damning as non-compliance with "big things". They are, quite simply, in breach of the regulations, and not in any small time way - in the most serious way, that is - with the tracking of aircraft parts.

FACT - VB and all other airlines in Australia are required to self-audit and thereby self-disclose problems to the regulator. CASA wasn't patting them on the back for being "good, honest boys" CASA was trying to keep the lid on a nightmare during the VB float.

So nice of them - CASA must be changing. Ansett self-disclosed an SB - not an AD, not even a CASA approved AD - but an SB that CASA itself had overlooked. That's right - read the regs - CASA is required to issue all AD's under their own name, as well as some SB's - but CASA hadn't seen this one either. So Ansett self-discloses an issue that isn't a safety issue, that the regulator himself has overlooked, and that only effected 4 of the 10 767's - but CASA's response is "Ansett must show cause" and they ground all 10 767's.

FACT - VB isn't moving PB's maintenance to Air NZ because of the ETOPS problem. It simply cheaper to do their maintenance in a 3rd world country. If, as AUSEP claims, they are giving Air NZ the maintenance because they are in non-compliance in Australia, then they would have to have all aircraft being done in NZ.

After all - you can't be a little bit pregnant....or a little bit over the limit.

..and finally, I keep thinking, I keep going through the structure, but damned if I can find who these professionals are in the management structure, other than this new guy from QF....pray tell who else is capable?

The Enema Bandit
1st Jan 2004, 00:51
I wonder if it has something to do with the government being embarrassed if the truth comes out?
Gees I gotta go to bed.

yellow rocket
3rd Jan 2004, 11:17
"...FACT - VB isn't moving PB's maintenance to Air NZ because of the ETOPS problem. It simply cheaper to do their maintenance in a 3rd world country..."

Patriot One - Then what does that make a country that can't do it's own maintenance?

Patriot One
4th Jan 2004, 08:17
Simple answer Yellow Rocket..

..too expensive because it believes compliance is a standard not an obstruction to be by-passed..

..if you were a little more informed you would know that NZ has one of the most vague/ambiguous set of airline operation regulations in the world and thanks to a political agreement for "open skies" between Aus/NZ sly operators can operate their aircraft in Australian domestic skies, on an NZ register, with an NZ AOC, with lower standards than an Australian aircraft on the Australian register, with an Australian AOC.

..a political issue that creates a safety loophole..

..every wondered why VB decided to apply for an AOC for PB in NZ rather than as an extension of their current Australian one? Answer - because CASA applies a far higher surveillance criteria on International ops than domestic ops. In short, VB wouldn't be able to hide current incompetencies in their compliance if they eleveated their AOC to include an International application.

Hence, the current issue. In applying for ETOPS they automatically attracted a higher degree of surveillance than previously. The moment they did that the pandora's box was opened.

All VB employees should note that PB aircraft will be able to operate within the VB domestic schedule with lesser constraints than the current op - at the very least this will mean less flight attendants.

You think QF is the only one to seek industrial loopholes...?

4th Jan 2004, 08:53
In the name of ballance I am still waiting for the DJ ETOPS debacle to hit the popular press followed by CASA comments regarding "the final straw" and a huge public outcry regarding safety concerns and the DJ fleet to be grounded as of midnight tonight.

But I wont hold my breath.

5th Jan 2004, 06:11
your right,

who would ever report a 767 landing gear leg that had been replaced within the timeframe of the 110% allowance.

Or the "snake" in the A320.

Or the etc etc etc.

The press are used as political tools - in Ansett's demise and in Virgin's success the press has been very compliant.

Z Force
10th Jan 2004, 11:05
Okay, so if Virgin aren't flying ETOP's when they they should be, one could assume that this adds around twenty minutes to an east coast / west coast trip and vice versa trip. So at an operating cost of say between $6-7000 per hour that is a loss of around $2000 per trip. Even if the operating costs are less, it's still a subtantial additional cost for a stuff up. If I was a shareholder I would be pretty peeved knowing that amount of money was being taken out of profit, or not going into my pocket.