Sunday Reads: Our Most Notable Stories This Week

Welcome to the latest edition of our ‘Sunday Reads’ weekly digest, and the first for the month of September! Let’s kick off the month in style by exploring a rundown of some of the past week’s hottest stories from the world of commercial aviation.

Helvetic first E2 flight to LCY
Helvetic operated the first commercial E190-E2 flight into LCY. Photo: Andrew Baker | Helvetic Airways

Helvetic Airways Operates London City’s First Commercial E190-E2 Flight

Swiss regional carrier Helvetic Airways made history this week. Specifically, it became the first airline to operate a commercial service into London City Airport (LCY) using the Embraer E190-E2. This next-generation regional jet can now make such flights, having received the steep approach certification that London City-bound aircraft must hold.

Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity Grounded By The FAA

You may remember that Virgin Galactic operated its first fully-crewed spaceflight earlier this summer using its VSS Unity spacecraft. However, despite this promising milestone, the FAA has now grounded Unity after it emerged that the vessel made an unauthorized deviation back in July. You can read more about the FAA’s ruling in our article here.

VSS Unity on the way home to Spaceport America in New Mexico. Photo: Virgin Galactic

Vistara Receives The All Clear For US Flights

Exciting young Indian carrier Vistara has reached a crucial step in its planned expansion to the US. Specifically, it has been granted approval to fly there from its homeland by the Department of Transportation. This will unlock new routes for the airline’s Boeing 787s.

Vistara Boeing 787
Vistara wants to use its Boeing 787 aircraft to fly between the US and India. Photo: Getty Images

Happy Birthday: Alaska Airlines’ Horizon Air Celebrates 40 Years

September 1st this year saw Horizon Air celebrate 40 years of operations. The carrier, which operates regional feeder services on behalf of Alaska Airlines, presently has 62 aircraft and over 4,000 employees. You can read more about its first four decades here.

Horizon Air's original livery.
Horizon Air celebrated four decades of service on September 1st. Photo: Alaska Airlines.

Virgin Atlantic Launches A New Leisure Space On Some A350s

Virgin Atlantic is set to reconfigure some of its Airbus A350s to enable more seats to be placed onboard. This will also result in it revamping its previous ‘Loft’ bar area with a leisure space known as ‘The Booth.’ You can read more about this new area here.

Virgin Atlantic, Airbus A350, The Booth
Virgin Atlantic will install The Booth on certain A350-1000s. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Why The Lockheed L-1011 Had Toilets In A Circular Pattern

Lockheed’s L-1011 ‘TriStar’ was one of the defining long-haul aircraft of its generation. At a time when innovation was key, one way that this widebody aircraft stood out was in its toilet configuration. Specifically, they were laid out in a semi-circle!

Lockheed L-1011 TriStar
In total, Lockheed produced 250 L-1011 units between 1968 and 1984. Photo: Getty Images

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What was your favorite story this week? Let us know what your thoughts are in the comments!