Sunday Reads: Our Most Notable Stories This Week


It’s hard to believe it, but the first third of 2021 is already in the books. The opening four months of the year have been awash with fascinating stories from the world of commercial aviation, and the last week certainly reflects that as well! Let’s take a look at some of our most notable articles from the past seven days.

The famous Siberian Tiger Transaero 747 is among the 747-400s purchased by Aquiline International.     Photo: Getty Images

Former Transaero 747s Find New Homes

UAE charter and cargo airline Aquiline International recently acquired three ex-Transaero Boeing 747 aircraft. The Sharjah-based carrier had been after them for six years, following Transaero’s collapse in 2015. You can read about Aquiline’s pursuit of the jumbos here.

Inside The Boeing 777X Business Jet

Simple Flying also spent time earlier this week taking a look at the proposed interiors for Boeing’s business jet-configured 777X. Only a select few super-rich passengers will ever get to experience its luxurious cabin in person, but hey, it’s nice to dream, right? Read our full article here to experience a comprehensive virtual tour inside the plane.

Boeing business jet BBJ 777X
When money is no object… Photo: Greenpoint Technologies

Rules Mean Indians Can Still Visit Maldives

Last week, the Maldives Ministry of Tourism suspended Indian visitors from staying on “inhabited islands.” While this sounds like a travel ban, it has since emerged that certain resorts are situated on what are considered to be uninhabited islands. As such, Indian passengers could still visit these in line with existing testing and vaccination requirements.

Bangalore Airport IndiGo Getty
The regulations do prevent certain islands from hosting Indian tourists. Photo: Getty Images

Airbus Retires The World’s First Beluga

Having served the European manufacturer for more than 26 years, Airbus has finally sent its first-ever ‘Beluga’ transport aircraft into storage. This move reflects the company’s modernization of its outsize cargo fleet, as it transitions to the newer BelugaXL model. You can read more about this landmark retirement here.

Airbus A 300-600 ST / Beluga
The first-ever Airbus Beluga has been removed from service. Photo: Getty Images

COVID-Positive Air India Crew Flight Returns Without Passengers

Just before Australia’s ban on arrivals from India came into effect, an Air India flight was forced to return to its home country without passengers. This came about after one of its crew members tested positive upon arrival in Sydney. This required a fresh crew to operate the return journey, which instead carried cargo and medical supplies.

Air India Getty
The incident occurred on the last flight before Australia’s travel ban came into effect. Photo: Getty Images

Six-Engine ‘Stratolaunch’ Flies Again

This week also saw a milestone flight for the six-engine Stratolaunch ‘Roc,’ which made its first flight in two years on Thursday. This was just the first time that the world’s widest aircraft has taken to the skies, powered by six Boeing 747 engines.

Stratolaunch plane
Stratolaunch’s ‘Roc’ is powered by six 747 engines. Photo: Stratolaunch

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