Sunday, 23 February 2020

United Airlines, Chase and Visa Announce Multi-Year Extension of United MileagePlus Credit Card Program

 United Airlines, Chase Card Services and Visa today announced a multi-year extension of the United MileagePlus credit card program. The extension continues the more than 30-year relationship between the number one card issuer in the U.S., the U.S. airline with service to the most U.S. cities and most countries around the world and the world's leader in digital payments.

The agreement, which extends into 2029, builds on one of the industry's strongest co-brand card portfolios with seven consecutive quarters of double-digit year-over-year growth and a long history of providing cardmembers with extra benefits that reward people travelling United's expansive global route network.

The airline boss who doesn't always fly business class - "One of every three flights is in coach."

You might expect the CEO of one of the biggest airlines of North America to be flying his own airline in the premium cabins, if not first then and the very least business class.  However,  that's is not the case for Doug Parker, the chief executive of American Airlines, as he told The Points Guy, one of every three American flights he takes he travels in coach (economy) class.  Nor does the boss of the mega-carrier get special VIP treatment at the airports.  "They absolutely do not do anything at DFW." he told  Micheline Maynard, adding  "There’s nobody meeting me at the flight. Now, if I’m flying to a smaller airport, the station manager sometimes wants to say hello."

The carrier has recently just celebrated the airlines continuous growth of 700 daily scheduled departures from Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT).

As one of the fastest-growing airports in the country, CLT is American’s second-largest hub with 149 destinations available from CLT. The increased schedule was made possible after American leased four new gates at CLT’s Concourse A.  “With the addition of these new gates, we were able to add frequencies on popular routes and we now operate nearly 80 flights per day to Florida, 30 flights per day to the New York metro area and 25 flights per day to D.C. metro area,” said Brian Znotins, American’s Vice President of Network Planning. “We’ll continue to be the best airline with the most choice in Charlotte for both business and leisure customers.”

Amex Centurion Lounge at Charlotte Douglas International Airport opens tomorrow.

American Express Announces Opening of Its 11th Centurion® Lounge at Charlotte Douglas International Airport
The New Centurion Lounge Offers Sophisticated Design With Nods to Charlotte's Southern Charm

American Express has announced that The Centurion Lounge at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) will open tomorrow, Monday, February 24th, 2020, marking the company’s 11th location within its iconic Centurion Lounge network.

As the seventh busiest airport in the world and with more than 46 million travellers passing through, Charlotte Douglas International Airport will host one of the largest Centurion Lounges to date spanning more than 13,000 square feet. The new Centurion Lounge location will welcome Platinum Card®, Centurion® and Delta Reserve Card Members and their guests to redefine their pre-flight experience with top of the line amenities and a premium dining menu curated by James Beard semifinalist and local Charlotte Chef, Joe Kindred. The new location will be located post-security on the top floor of the airport’s newly expanded area called “The Plaza,” situated between Concourses D and E.

Saturday, 22 February 2020

After a two-year wait, Manhattan is getting set to welcome an exciting newcomer onto the Big Apple’s hotel scene. NH Collection New York Madison Avenue

After a two-year wait, Manhattan is getting set to welcome an exciting newcomer onto the Big Apple’s hotel scene. NH Collection New York Madison Avenue

The Group’s first NH Collection in Manhattan was inspired by the Madison Avenue’s “Golden Age of Advertising”
Located in the heart of the Big Apple, the NH Collection New York Madison Avenue will offer 288 rooms with stunning views over the world’s most famous skyline
Noteworthy among the hotel’s culinary offerings: a chic cocktail bar tuned to the city’s vibe and an original tea cocktail concept dubbed Suite & Tea
NH Collection New York Madison Avenue, the first NH Hotel Group property to open in North America, is due to open its doors in April. Having been transformed into an enchanting hotel, it will bring its guests on a journey back in time to one of the most iconic periods of Gotham’s history.

Located in a building inspired by the Renaissance Revival architecture of the 1920’s, the hotel exudes splendour, creativity and all the buzz of the city’s Golden Age of Advertising. The NH Collection New York Madison Avenue will allow guests to soak in the ambience of 1950’s Madison Avenue while enjoying all the conveniences of the new millennium. Its style is distinctly European, with a touch of eclectic elegance. That nostalgia carries through to the establishment’s common areas, designed to foster convivial experiences. Warm rooms with welcoming fireplaces, areas for resting in comfort and quiet but vibrantly decorated workspaces are just a few of the lobby’s charms.

Austrian Airlines Searching for 35 New IT Specialists

• Lufthansa Group invests in the Vienna flight hub
• The digital workplace of the future is being developed by
 Austrian Airlines

In the year 2018, the Lufthansa Group already decided to bundle its know-how on crucial IT issues focusing on the digital workplace of the future at Austrian Airlines in Vienna. Since then, 45 IT specialists working at the “Center of Excellence Digital Workplace” in Vienna have been responsible for further upgrading the everyday working practices of Austrian Airlines employees as well as employees of all other Lufthansa Group companies through digitalization and innovation. The decision has now been taken to further expand these competencies in Vienna. Austrian Airlines is currently searching for 35 additional IT specialists to fulfil this task.

The red-white-red airline is developing the workplace of the future

Within the context of modernizing workplaces, employees in the IT competence centre of the country’s national carrier are responsible for introducing Office 365 throughout the entire Lufthansa Group. In this regard, modern applications to promote digital and interdisciplinary cooperation will be placed at the disposal of employees. Some 50,000 workplaces will be served from Vienna.

London Stansted Airport invests in sustainable transport provision

London Stansted Airport has underlined its sustainable transport credentials by outlining plans for new charging points for passengers’ electric vehicles and further investment into facilities that support the airport’s industry-leading levels of public transport usage.

Up to 13 high-speed electric charging points will be installed at a new purpose-built charging station on Thremhall Avenue. This is planned to open later this year and will allow our passengers to charge their vehicles whilst taking advantage of two new “drive-thru” restaurants planned for the same location. The airport will also soon introduce charging points into its Meet and Greet car parks, ensuring that owners of electric vehicles who use this product can return to a fully charged battery.

• New charging points for electric vehicles
• Plans for zero drop-off fee for electric vehicles
• First airport to trial fully electric coach service
• Free dockless bike scheme introduced to aid staff travel across the airport

Qatar Airways and Bulgaria Air Sign Codeshare Agreement

Qatar Airways and Bulgaria Air Sign Codeshare Agreement

Bulgaria Air is the national carrier of Bulgaria, operating to 25 destinations in Europe and the Middle East

Two new destinations in Bulgaria will be available to Qatar Airways’ passengers for the first time for booking from 18 February 2020

Qatar Airways confirmed earlier this week that it had embarked on a codeshare deal with Bulgaria Air, with the first codeshare flights operating from 2 March.

The agreement will provide Bulgaria Air passengers with a seamless connection to destinations in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Qatar Airways’ passengers will benefit from access to two new destinations in Bulgaria: Varna and Burgas.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “This agreement with Bulgaria Air follows other recent partnership announcements we have made with airlines across the world, demonstrating our commitment to working with our peers to provide passengers seamless connectivity and unrivalled service.”

Tokyo Metropolitan Government to Open Official Tokyo Tokyo Brand Souvenir Shop at Haneda Airport

Tokyo Metropolitan Government to Open Official Tokyo Tokyo Brand Souvenir Shop at Haneda Airport

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is opening a new shop offering an exciting lineup of modern and traditional original Tokyo souvenirs in Haneda Airport’s international terminal, a travel hub for domestic and international tourists alike.

Scheduled to open its doors on February 22, the Tokyo Tokyo Official Souvenir Shop will sell an expansive range of high-quality souvenirs showcasing the best of what Tokyo has to offer. Merchandise is to include traditional happy daruma dolls, maneki-neko lucky cat charms, jigsaw puzzles, and models of Tokyo Tower and Edo Castle, in addition to mugs, change purses, T-shirts, and more.

COVID-19 Cuts Demand and Revenues

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) the organisation that represents some 290 airlines comprising 82% of global air traffic, has announced that its initial assessment of the impact of the Novel Coronavirus 2019 outbreak (COVID-19) shows a potential 13% full-year loss of passenger demand for carriers in the Asia-Pacific region. Considering that growth for the region’s airlines was forecast to be 4.8%, the net impact will be an 8.2% full-year contraction compared to 2019 demand levels. In this scenario, that would translate into a $27.8 billion revenue loss in 2020 for carriers in the Asia-Pacific region—the bulk of which would be borne by carriers registered in China, with $12.8 billion lost in the China domestic market alone.

In the same scenario, carriers outside Asia-Pacific are forecast to bear a revenue loss of $1.5 billion, assuming the loss of demand is limited to markets linked to China. This would bring total global lost revenue to $29.3 billion (5% lower passenger revenues compared to what IATA forecast in December) and represent a 4.7% hit to global demand. In December, IATA forecast global RPK growth of 4.1%, so this loss would more than eliminate expected growth this year, resulting in a 0.6% global contraction in passenger demand for 2020.

Air India's London Stansted - Mumbai service takes off with 787 Dreamliner.

Air India’s second long-haul route from London Stansted took to the skies this week with the launch of its new three-times a week service to Mumbai, the financial and entertainment capital of India.

The new Mumbai service, the first-ever direct link to India’s largest city from London Stansted, joins the airline’s Amritsar route which commenced less than four months ago and has already proved to be extremely popular with passengers from across London and the east of England.

The route will be served by a 256-seat Boeing 787 Dreamliner and will initially operate until the end of the winter flight schedule.

Cargo Convoy Departs to China Carrying Medical Supplies Donated by Qatar Airways for Coronavirus Relief

Convoy of five aircraft made up of two Boeing 747F and three Boeing 777F carrying approximately 300 tonnes of medical supplies free-of-charge to 
Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou

2,500,000 face masks and 500,000 bottles of hand sanitizer
have been donated by Qatar Airways

Five Qatar Airways Cargo freighters departed to China on Friday 21st, carrying approximately 300 tonnes of medical supplies donated by the airline to support Cornavirus relief efforts. The five flights departed one after the other bound for Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou as part of Qatar Airways’ voluntary offer of free air cargo transportation for medical relief aid organised by Chinese Embassies and Consulates worldwide to fight the coronavirus emergency.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “When this crisis began, we knew we had to contribute to support our friends in China. As one of the leading air cargo carriers in the world, we are in a unique position where we are able to provide immediate humanitarian support through the provision of aircraft and donating medical supplies as well as coordinating logistical arrangements.

Do you have a fear of flying? ✈️

London Southend Airport
Do you know someone with a fear of flying or does flying make you anxious?
Even though flying is the safest form of transport, it’s estimated that at least one in six people have a fear of flying.

This fear can be made up of multiple aspects including:

✈️ Technical fears about something going wrong ✈

✈️ The fear of turbulence, take-off or landing ✈

✈️ A fear of heights ✈

✈️ The fear of enclosed spaces ✈

✈️ The fear of being out of control ✈

✈️ A fear of falling ✈

✈️ The fear of the unknown ✈

✈️ The fear of having a panic attack ✈

Whether your fear is based around any of these issues or any other fear, easyJet has created a highly successful course to help passengers feel more confident and relaxed while flying.

This course is now coming to London Southend Airport for the first time on Wednesday 22nd April 2020.

The course from easyJet includes two main aspects, the ground course - During the 3 hour ground course, a senior easyJet pilot will go through all of the misconceptions that you may have about flying and will answer any questions or concerns you may have! Then the course's host Lawrence Leyton will teach you a series of coping techniques and strategies.

The second main part of the course is the special Experience Flight!  Following the ground course, the team at London Southend Airport look forward to welcoming you on your Experience Flight. 
The flight is up to one hour in duration and will take place on an easyJet aircraft. Once onboard, your presenting pilot, who will be in the cabin with you, will talk you through every part of the journey.

British Airways Increases Spring Frequencies to Popular Destinations

British Airways is adding more flights to some of its most popular destinations in the US and South Africa from April*.

The airline will be increasing its services from Heathrow to Miami, Seattle and Cape Town, offering those customers who want to travel during the busy spring period more flexibility.

Neil Chernoff, British Airways’ Director of Network and Alliances, said; “We know that these destinations in the US and Africa are highly sought after, particularly during Spring, so we are pleased to be able to offer more flights to these destinations for our customers who are looking to get away.”

Friday, 21 February 2020

Airbus supports Australia’s space goal

Airbus announced that it is supporting the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), in a seven-year research programme to develop and strengthen space technologies in Australia. The SmartSat CRC facility was officially launched this week in Adelaide.

Thomas Pfister, Head of Airbus Defence and Space, Australasia, said: “By supporting the Smartsat CRC as a core partner, we want to assist Australia in enhancing its space capabilities and competitiveness. Our investment and first-class knowledge sharing will ensure opportunities are created for the next generation of space companies across Australia”.

Will Qatar Airways buy Air Italy?................................No they say......but it increases its shareholding in IAG

There has been much aviation media speculation in recent days that the Doha based and minority shareholder of the liquidated Air Italy,  Qatar Airways was poised to buy out the remaining 51% of the Italian company.

However, Qatar Airways confirmed on Friday it was not interested in rescuing Air Italy,  in a statement, it said, "Qatar Airways is no longer interested in investing in Air Italy or in any other air transport project in Italy,".  However, it promised that it would do all it could as minority shareholder for workers and passengers.

But other investments certainly were on the table earlier in the week as the Qatari airline confirmed it had increased its shareholding in International Consolidated Airlines Group, S.A. - IAG the parent of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Level and Vueling. 

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Mr Akbar Al Baker stated, “Our investment to date has been highly successful and the announced increase in our shareholding is evidence of our continued support of IAG and its strategy.”  The firm has increased its stag in IAG from 21.4 per cent to 25.1 per cent.

“Qatar Airways continues to consider opportunities to invest in airlines and support management teams that share our vision to enhance travel opportunities for airline passengers across the globe.”Al Baker said. 

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