By Fabrizio Panico
This part brings to an end this series of articles by Fabrizio. MAR Online would welcome contributions from readers on similar topics – if you are interested just use our contact us page on the bar at the top of the page.
Two more models to conclude my short flight among promotional planes : an Alitalia A330 from Socatec and a rare old Airtours International MD-83 from LPE (Long Prosper Enterprise).
Plastic snap-fit model aircraft have been a long time favourite promotional item of the airline and aircraft manufacturing industries, usually to 1:200 or 1:250 scale, made in China and quite easy to assemble quickly. They come with fully printed airline liveries and with a stand to display them. You can found them at Airport Retail Shops, On-Board In-flight Duty Free Catalogues, Airline Company Stores, Airline Marketing and Promotion Departments.
Alitalia Airbus A330-200 (1:200 scale by Socatec) – Alitalia – Linee Aeree Italiane S.p.A. was established in 1946 as Aerolinee Italiane Internazionali, as a result of an Anglo-Italian agreement and was funded by the Italian Government and BEA in a 60/40 share arrangement. It started operations in 1947, with a Fiat G.12 Alcione. In 1957, Alitalia merged with Linee Aeree Italiane and took on the name of Alitalia Linee Aeree Italiane. After losing money for years it went into liquidation in 2008. The viable parts were bought by the private company Alitalia – Compagnia Aerea Italiana, starting operations in 2009. Between 2009 and 2011, its fleet was renewed with 34 new aircraft, not owned by Alitalia itself, but leased mostly from APF, an Irish leasing company. Almost the entire fleet is now on the Irish registry (EI code) instead of the Italian registry (I code). Even the provision of capital by Etihad Airways didn’t solve all the problems and from 2015 its brand and operating assets went to a new company, Alitalia – Società Aerea Italiana S.p.A., which today is going through a bankruptcy process,. It has been officially put up for sale and will be auctioned off. A very sad story.
The Airbus A330 is a medium- to long-range wide-body twin-engine jet airliner, with a range up to 13,400 km, and can accommodate up to 335 passengers or carry 70 tonnes of cargo. The A330’s origin dates to the mid-1970s as one of several derivatives of Airbus’s first airliner, the A300. The A330 was developed in parallel with the four-engine A340, which shared many common airframe components but differed in number of engines. Both airliners incorporated fly-by-wire flight control technology, first introduced on an Airbus aircraft with the A320. The A330-300, the first variant, took its maiden flight in 1992 and entered passenger service with Air Inter in 1994. Airbus followed up with the slightly shorter A330-200 variant, which entered service in 1998 with Korean Air. The current A330 (referred to as the A330ceo, current engine option) is to be replaced by the A330neo, which includes new engines and other improvements.
The model sports the penultimate livery, the Alitalia-CAI : a white fuselage with a green stripe along it and a grey bottom, grey wings, tricolour (green-white-red) tail fin, logo on the sides of the fuselage and on the upper side of the wings. No registration number is present on this plane.
Airtours International McDonnell Douglas MD80-83 (1:200 scale by Long Prosper Enterprise) – Airtours International Airways was a UK charter airline based in Manchester. It was launched in 1991 with five MD83 series aircraft, it was to be the in-house airline of Airtours Holidays. In 2004, as part of the final phase of its financial restructuring, Airtours International Airways was rebranded as MyTravel Airways UK, which was in turn to merge with Thomas Cook Airlines. The merger between the two airlines and the rebranding was completed in 2008.
The McDonnell Douglas MD-80 is a series of twin-engine, short- to medium-range, single-aisle commercial jet airliners. It was lengthened and updated from the DC-9, while the wing design was enlarged, and indeed it was certified as a version of the DC-9, keeping the two rear fuselage-mounted turbofan engines design and the T-tail. Originally known as DC-9 Super 80, it first flew in 1979 and was introduced into commercial service in 1980 by Swissair. The MD-80 series includes the MD-81, MD-82, MD-83, MD-87, and MD-88. These all have the same fuselage length except the shortened MD-87, and only differ from each other in having different engine variants, fuel capacities, and weights. First delivery of the MD-83 was in 1985, the last one in 1999. The series was followed into service in modified form by the MD-90 in 1995 and the Boeing 717 (originally MD-95) in 1999. Model livery is the original standard one of Airtours International Airways : white fuselage featuring a thin green line towards the lower part, painted dark blue. The blue and the green line run to the fuselage rear cone and up to the tail fin, where there is the “A” logo of Airtours in green. Grey wings, white engine nacelles. The airline’s name is written in dark blue, with a small UK flag. No registration number is present on this plane.
Socatec Aircraft Models has developed a very wide range of models and decorative items on the theme of Aeronautics and Space for enthusiasts and professionals over the last 20 years. As a supplier of promotional items Socatec offers a range of official objects with famous approved brands, like Air France (www.socatec.aero).
LPE (Long Prosper Enterprise or also PEC) started in the early 1970s offering inflight entertainment system (IFE) components to Airlines. Today the Taiwananese company supplies headphones, inflight products and aircraft models to many Airlines and IFE system providers (www.longprosper.com).
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