Sunday, 17 December 2017

Nonstop to Tahiti for United from San Francisco

Time to head to paradise!   United has announced it will begin a service between San Francisco and Pape'ete, the capital of Tahiti, the South Pacific's gateway to more than 118 islands in French Polynesia including Bora Bora, Moorea, the Marquesas and Raiatea. United is the only U.S. carrier offering nonstop service to Tahiti from the mainland United States. Tickets are now available for purchase.

"We are excited to announce Tahiti as our 13th new international route this year, and we are even more thrilled about offering our customers a whole new world of vacation opportunities," said Patrick Quayle, United's vice president of International Network. "We know our customers want more destinations to choose from to escape the winter weather, and we look forward to being the airline that connects them to this corner of paradise."

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Hamad International Airport Voted as the Best Airport in the Middle East by Global Traveler Awards

Hamad International Airport Voted as the Best Airport in the Middle East by Global Traveller Awards.

Hamad International Airport (HIA) has been voted as the "Best Airport in the Middle East" at the Global Traveler's GT Tested Reader Survey Awards in Los Angeles. The award recognises outstanding performance and customer service displayed by airports across the world.

HIA took the lead among top international airports including Dubai International Airport and Abu Dhabi International Airport ranking second and third respectively in the newest category for the best airport in the Middle East.

The 14th Annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards ceremony took place at The Peninsula, Beverly Hills on the 12th of December recognising HIA's efforts in delivering the highest standard of service to its passengers. Winners were chosen through an open-ended reader survey voted by global travellers.

Air Canada Launches Montreal-Lima Service; First Year-Round Non-Stop South American Flights from Montreal

The arrival of flight AC1942 at Lima's Jorge Chávez International Airport this morning marks the successful launch Air Canada's non-stop service between Montreal and Lima, Peru, Montreal's first year-round link to the southern hemisphere. The twice weekly flights will be operated by Air Canada Rouge with 282-seat Boeing 767-300ER aircraft featuring Premium Rouge and Economy class service.

"Air Canada is continuing its global expansion with the launch of Montreal-Lima the first South American route from our Montreal hub that will offer business and leisure travelers as well as freight forwarders from Quebec and Atlantic Canada convenient access to Peru. This new route will complement our existing flights from Toronto, and strategically position Air Canada as an important player in the growing market between Montreal and Latin America. South America will be the third new continent Air Canada serves from Montreal in two years, after Africa (Casablanca and Algiers) and Asia (Shanghai.)," said Benjamin Smith, President, Passenger Airlines at Air Canada. "This concludes an exceptional year of growth out of Montreal-Trudeau with the introduction of eight new destinations. Our global expansion will continue next year as we have already announced service to eight new destinations including Tokyo-Narita (Japan), Dublin (Ireland), Lisbon (Portugal) and Bucharest (Romania). Over the past five years Air Canada has increased capacity from Montreal by 83% and added 29 new destinations."

Flights will be operated by Air Canada Rouge with 282-seat Boeing 767-300ER aircraft featuring Premium Rouge and Economy class 

Alaska is the most fuel-efficient airline for 7th year!

Alaska Airlines ranks No. 1 in fuel efficiency for U.S. airlines for the 7th consecutive year.

Alaska led all 13 major U.S. carriers as the most fuel-efficient airline operating in the United States in 2015 and 2016, according to a report released today by the International Council on Clean Transportation, an independent, nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C.

“Alaska burns about 13 percent less fuel (per passenger mile) than the industry average, it’s a profitable airline, and it’s done this for seven years running,” said Naya Olmer, lead author of the study.

Additionally, Alaska was selected for inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America.

“Being recognized by The International Council on Clean Transportation and the Dow Jones Sustainability Index is validation of Alaska’s goal to be a national leader in environmental stewardship,” said Jacqueline Drumheller, Alaska’s sustainability manager. “We have been recognized as the leader in the airline industry and are proud to rank among social responsibility leaders across all industries.”

The DJSI-NA serves as a benchmark of sustainable business practices across environmental, social, ethical and governmental efforts among large corporations. Investors recognize that organizations selected for inclusion in the DJSI are focused on corporate responsibility and commitment to long-term shareholder value.

This respected index evaluates companies on economic, environmental and social criteria, including corporate governance and compliance, development of human capital, energy efficiency, customer relations management, and environmental reporting and management.

Full results: ICCT study

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Priority Pass Unveils The World's Best Airport Lounges - and They're Not Where You'd Expect

A selection of the world's best airport lounges have been revealed by independent lounge membership program, Priority Pass, in its annual Lounge of the Year Awards.  This year winners include lounges in Jamaica, Estonia, Malta and Quebec as well as Singapore and Dubai.  

The awards are based on ratings provided by Priority Pass Members and recognize excellence within the world's largest independent lounge membership program. Priority Pass now includes more than 1000 airport lounges in over 500 cities and is this year celebrating its 25th Anniversary.

This year's overall winner is Club Kingston, at Jamaica's Kingston Norman Manley International Airport. With a decidedly Jamaican flair, the lounge features artwork and décor sourced from across the country plus local food and drink including traditional Jamaican patties and peas soup - all served to a gentle soundtrack of reggae music. An on-site bartender even creates signature cocktails, including a 'Club Kingston Classic', 'Priority Passion' and 'VIP Splash'. But it's not all pleasure! The lounge also offers excellent facilities to support business travellers on the move, including a conference facility and dedicated workstations.

New Buffalo to Albany service coming soon

For more than seven years, air service between Buffalo and Albany has been suspended, forcing travelers to make the 280-mile trip by car. OneJet, the air transportation network that provides consumers increased access to nonstop travel in small and medium markets, today announced it will offer twice-daily nonstop service between the two cities, reducing travel time to less than an hour. Flights will begin on Thursday, 1st Feb. 2018 and ticket sales will be available for the route on Tuesday, 9th January 2018.

With the launch of the Buffalo/Albany route, OneJet will introduce its new OneJet Plus service, offering expanded service onboard larger ERJ135 aircraft and providing travelers enhanced amenities, including expanded legroom at each seat; complimentary 4G high-speed Wi-Fi; streaming entertainment gate to gate; and complimentary beer, wine and snacks en route. Travelers will also receive the same check-in conveniences that standard OneJet flights provide, including TSA Pre access for eligible travelers and valet planeside baggage service.

The new route will serve as a key productivity tool for business travelers in the region, including those for launch customers M&T Bank and HealthNow New York Inc., the state's leading health benefits company, providing health insurance plans for companies and individuals in Western New York. 

"Air service between Buffalo and Albany was presented as a mission-critical route for the Upstate New York business community, and we're pleased to offer this new nonstop service to meet that demand," said Matthew Maguire, OneJet CEO. "Our expansion in Western New York also marks a significant milestone for us as we introduce the OneJet Plus product to the market, providing an expanded platform to serve highly demanded routes throughout our network. We look forward to working with our airport partners in Buffalo and Albany to serve travelers based in both cities."

The OneJet Plus–branded ERJ135 aircraft will offer a comfortable 30 seat cabin for the 55-minute gate-to-gate service, with convenient morning and afternoon flights Monday through Friday.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

SATS Premier Lounge at Singapore Changi International wins Priority Pass 2017 Asia Pacific Airport Lounge of the Year Award

SATS Premier Lounge, Terminal 2 at Singapore Changi International has been awarded the Priority Pass Asia Pacific Airport Lounge of the Year Award.

Now in its thirteenth year, the awards are based on ratings provided by 72,000 Priority Pass Members and recognize excellence within the world's largest independent lounge membership program. Priority Pass now includes more than 1000 airport lounges in over 500 cities and is this year celebrating its 25th Anniversary.

SATS Premier Lounge is known for giving its guests a chance to experience Singaporean culture, featuring real orchids, a display of Peranakan porcelain as well as artwork depicting local scenes decorating the lounge. The lounge also hosts regular events, for example serving mooncakes during the Mooncake festival, ensuring that visitors are treated to a unique experience each time they enter the lounge. Its signature SATS Laksa meal is also a favourite for travellers.

Air China and Air Canada Expand Strategic Cooperation

Air Canada and Air China  announced this week that the airlines will expand their mutual codeshare services and lounge agreement in time for the 2018 Canada-China Year of Tourism, recognizing the importance of tourism and trade between the two countries. As Air Canada and Air China work toward finalizing their planned joint venture, while satisfying both countries' applicable regulatory conditions, the two Star Alliance carriers also launched their first joint frequent flyer promotion to offer the carriers' respective Aeroplan and PhoenixMiles members up to 30 per cent bonus miles effective December 15, 2017 for eligible travel between April 1, 2018 and June 15, 2018 on all flights between Canada and China operated by Air China and Air Canada.

As a result of the codeshare expansion, Air China will place its code on Air Canada's new daily Montreal-Shanghai flight, as well as Air Canada's flights from Vancouver to Victoria, Kelowna, Saskatoon, and Regina.

In addition, Air Canada will place its code on Air China's flights between Beijing and Zhengzhou, Xiamen, Shenzhen and Nanjing as well as Air China's flight between Montreal-Havana, Cuba.  The expanded codeshare cooperation is planned to come into effect in April 2018, subject to regulatory and government approvals.

Both carriers have also implemented an expanded lounge agreement. In addition to Star Gold customers, all Air China First and Business class customers will now have access to Air Canada's recently upgraded International Maple Leaf Lounges featuring enhanced food and beverage offerings at Montreal and Vancouver airports. Air Canada's eligible customers will continue to enjoy access to Air China's lounges in Beijing, Shanghai and other airports throughout China.

Friday, 15 December 2017

More than 500 Commercial Aircraft Now Flying with Gogo's 2Ku Technology

Gogo  the leading global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, announced today that it now has more than 500 aircraft flying with its 2Ku technology with more than 400 of those installations taking place in 2017.

The company has also shortened install times to around 30 hours, which is less than half the time that it typically takes to install a broadband satellite connectivity solution.

"We are setting a new industry standard in terms of technology deployments in aviation.  We continue to set the bar higher in terms of speed of installation and will finish the year within the install range we set for 2017," said John Wade, Gogo's executive vice president and COO.  "We know that when passengers experience the 2Ku difference they travel happier which, in turn, makes our airline partners happy.  So, we are investing in finding ways to get 2Ku aircraft online as fast as we can."

A step closer to a supersonic business jet....

Introducing the Aerion AS2

Two leaders in supersonic technology, Aerion and Lockheed Martin announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today to define a formal and gated process to explore the feasibility of a joint development of the world's first supersonic business jet, the Aerion AS2. Over the next 12 months, the companies will work together to develop a framework on all phases of the program, including engineering, certification and production.

Aerion Chairman Robert M. Bass stated, "This relationship is absolutely key to creating a supersonic renaissance. When it comes to supersonic know-how, Lockheed Martin's capabilities are well known, and, in fact, legendary. We share with Lockheed Martin a commitment to the long-term development of efficient civil supersonic aircraft."

"We are excited to work with Aerion on their development of the next-generation, efficient supersonic jet that will potentially serve as a platform for pioneering future supersonic aircraft," said Orlando Carvalho, Executive Vice President, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.

The MOU is the result of extensive discussions between Aerion and Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works® Advanced Development Programs team. For close to 75 years, Skunk Works has existed to create revolutionary aircraft that push the boundaries of what is possible.

Lockheed Martin, known for developing the world's leading supersonic combat aircraft, the F-16, the F-35, and F-22, as well as the Mach 3+ SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft, is committed to fostering new innovations and developing supersonic technologies with civil and commercial applications.

"Following our initial review of Aerion's aerodynamic technology, our conclusion is that the Aerion AS2 concept warrants the further investment of our time and resources," said Carvalho. "We are committed to remaining on the cutting edge of aerospace technology and are excited to examine the contribution we might make to working with Aerion on making aviation history."

Delta orders up to 200 Airbus A321neo's

Great news for European based aerospace giant, Airbus as they agree with Delta Air Lines terms for the impressive sale of 100 aircraft with a further order option for another 100 aircraft.

Delta Air Lines will be purchasing state-of-the-art Airbus 321neo (new engine option) aircraft with deliveries due to start in the first part of 2020. The new jets, which will be powered by Pratt & Whitney geared-turbofan engines, will feature cutting-edge safety, efficiency and comfort.

“This is the right transaction at the right time for our customers, our employees and our shareholders,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. “Delta, Airbus and Pratt & Whitney share the same commitment to safety, efficiency, innovation and continuously improving the customer experience. This order for the state-of-the-art A321neo with Pratt’s Pure Power next-generation jet engines reflects our long-term commitment to these values for Delta people and all our constituents.”

Delta plans to configure these new A321neo's with  20 First Class seats, 30 in Delta Comfort+ and 147 in the main cabin to form room enough for 197 passengers. The aircraft will all be fitted with superb high-tech on-demand in-flight entertainment system, fast satellite-based 2Ku in-flight Wi-Fi, power ports as well as streaming video content will be available at every seat through Delta Studio. The cabin will also feature expansive, 25-percent-larger bookshelf-style overhead bins and full spectrum LED cabin lighting.

Delta expects to take delivery of its first A321neo in the first quarter of 2020 with new aircraft arriving through 2023.

“The A321neo will equip Delta employees with a customer-preferred, versatile narrowbody aircraft befitting their position as a global airline leader — and we are excited to continue to partner with them as they deliver industry-leading operational performance, customer satisfaction and financial results,” said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer — Customers, Airbus Commercial Aircraft. “This purchase furthers our commitment to U.S. aviation — a commitment that has never been stronger.  Today, there is more U.S. content in Airbus aircraft than from any other country, with more than 40 percent of our aircraft-related procurement coming from the United States.  In addition, our workforce at the U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Alabama is proud that they will be delivering many of these A321neos to Delta in the coming years.”

Alaska Airlines launches new service from San Francisco to Kona

Alaska Airlines began nonstop service between San Francisco International Airport and Kailua-Kona International Airport, yesterday. The 31st new route launched by the carrier from California this year. The new service is part of the largest network expansion in Alaska Airlines' 85-year history and solidifies Alaska Air Group as the leading airline of nonstop flights from the West Coast to Hawaii.

Newest route caps off a year of historical network expansion for the carrier

"Bay Area guests now have the option to fly from any of the region's major airports to the Island of Hawaii," said Annabel Chang, Alaska Airlines' vice president of the Bay Area. "Kona-bound guests travelling from San Francisco today will be treated to a Hawaiian-themed breakfast and prizes at the departure gate, and upon arrival, will be greeted with flower leis, hula entertainment and goodie bags with Island of Hawaii products. This surprise-and-delight is part of our dedicated approach to bring low fares and award-winning service across our Alaska Airlines and Virgin America network."

Virgin America's A320 family of aircraft will operate the new route, with three classes of service, power outlets throughout the cabin, custom leather seats with adjustable headrests and a selection of food and beverage inspired by local chefs.

"We are honoured and thankful to be a part of Virgin America's expanded service to the Hawaiian Islands," said Ross Birch, executive director of the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau. "The Kona route provides yet another option for vacationers travelling to Hawaii, making it easier for Bay Area guests to experience all that makes our island special – from diverse landscapes, rich culture and history, outdoor adventures, and Hawaii's unique attractions, such as the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park."

Eurowings starts Dusseldorf - Puerto Plata service

The German low-cost carrier and sister of Lufthansa,  Eurowings has expanded its portfolio of long-haul flights from Düsseldorf with a service to Puerto Plata.

The service is operated by one of the airlines Airbus A330 aircraft and was sent on its way with a water cannon salute from the fire services at Düsseldorf Airport.  Fares start from just  € 199.99 one-way.

It follows on from the recent introduction of Düsseldorf to Punta Cana route the airline started recently.  The maiden flight started on Thursday, 14th December 2017 with typical German punctually at 12:20.

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Ryanair to recognise unions.....

Just days after Ryanair issued an antagonistic and bullish statement refusing to recognise any pilot unions, it seems the threat of pilot strikes in at least four European countries has forced the low-fare and high-fee airline to think again.

The airline has never before recognised unions, however now it has written to pilot unions in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal inviting them for talks.  The airline says its time for a change, it is the evolution of the airline,  pilots had "asked for this form of collective bargaining, we've agreed to it because we feel the time is right" that carrier told the BBC.

The Irish airline said it would recognise unions "as the representative body for pilots in Ryanair in each of these countries, as long as they establish committees of Ryanair pilots to deal with Ryanair issues, as Ryanair will not engage with pilots who fly for competitor airlines in Ireland or elsewhere".

Impact, the Irish pilots' union, confirmed it had been sent a copy of the letter and was considering its contents carefully. UK pilots' union Balpa also confirmed it had also received a written offer of recognition talks from Ryanair and has accepted the invitation to such talks.

Ryanair called on the unions to cancel the planned strikes due to start on 20th December, so far only the Italian union ha agreed to suspend strike action.

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VIP Lounge named Lounge of the Year in North America

 The Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport  VIP lounge was voted Lounge of the Year in North America, all categories combined, by Priority Pass program members.

The award recognizes excellence in the services provided by VIP lounges in the Priority Pass network and their efforts to ensure a high quality passenger experience. This year more than 72,000 votes were compiled to designate winners of the 13th Priority Pass Lounge of the Year Awards. Priority Pass currently has a network of over 1,000 airport lounges in more than 500 cities and is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.