Thursday, 13 December 2018

iAero buys Swift Air

Photo Swift Air
iAero Group, a leading integrated aviation business, has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Swift Air, the leading independent US airline charter business.  The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close in Q1, 2019.  With the pending acquisition of Swift Air, iAero Group will add to its portfolio of aviation businesses acquired since its inception earlier this year including the leading engine MRO and leasing company, AeroThrust and airframe MRO AeroTech.  iAero Group is headquartered in Miami along with its MRO service businesses on a campus with more than 350,000 square feet of office and MRO space at Miami International Airport.

SkyWest, reports combined November 2018 traffic for SkyWest Airlines and ExpressJet Airlines

SkyWest, Inc. reported 140,000 block hours in November 2018, compared to 144,200 block hours in November 2017, a decrease of 4,200 or 2.9%.  The net decrease was consistent with SkyWest's fleet transition plan to improve the mix of aircraft in its fleet.  

The year-over-year net change was primarily driven by approximately 9,300 additional block hours from its E175 aircraft (includes the E175 aircraft and the E175 SC aircraft) and a decrease of approximately 13,500 block hours from its other aircraft types.   

In November 2018, SkyWest's E175 aircraft represented approximately 29% of SkyWest's total block hour production for the month compared to approximately 22% for the month of November 2017.       

SkyWest reported 1,610,000 block hours for year-to-date November 2018, compared to 1,688,000 block hours year-to-date November 2017, a decrease of 78,000, or 4.7%.  This net change was primarily driven by approximately 79,000 additional block hours from its E175 aircraft and a decrease of approximately 157,000 block hours from its other aircraft types.

SkyWest had 78,800 departures in November 2018 compared to 84,200 in November 2017, a decrease of 5,400, or 6.3%.  Additional flight statistics for November are included in the accompanying table.    

More enhancements to Qatar Airways most popular European routes

Qatar Airways adds aircraft upgrades and additional frequencies to its most popular European routes this Winter!

Photo Qatar Airways
The Doha based Qatar Airways has announced that it will fly a greater number of passengers to their preferred European destinations this winter, with additional capacity on some routes available now.

From December onwards, business and leisure passengers can enjoy a greater choice of travel options as three popular European routes – Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden; Manchester, U.K. – all receive aircraft upgrades. Manchester and Stockholm routes will be upgraded from an Airbus A350 to a more spacious Boeing 777, and the Helsinki route will also be upgraded from an Airbus A320 to a larger Airbus A330.

In addition, the frequency of flights to the airline’s second gateway to London, Gatwick, has also been increased from 14 to 16 weekly flights, with immediate effect. The popular route, which is serviced by the state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner, was re-introduced in May and is Qatar Airways’ sixth U.K. gateway.

Passengers to enjoy greater choice of flight options with aircraft upgrades to Manchester, Stockholm and Helsinki 
Weekly flights to Gatwick, London, increase with 16 direct flights now available for passengers to choose from

Going daily to Seattle says Cathay Pacific

Hong Kong's hometown airline Cathay Pacific announced recently that its forthcoming non-stop service to Seattle will go daily from summer 2019, further strengthening the only direct link between Hong Kong and the bustling city on the west coast of the United States. 

The route to be launched on 31st March next year as a four-times a week operation, the airline is upping frequency from 1st July 2019 to meet thriving demand. The additional services are scheduled to depart Hong Kong on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; returning the following day from Seattle.

Flown by the airline’s technologically-advanced Airbus A350-900 aircraft, the Seattle route is Cathay Pacific’s eighth to the United States and follows existing services to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York (JFK), New York (Newark), San Francisco and Washington DC.  

WestJet responds to Canada's new crew fatigue regulations

On Wednesday, the Canadian Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau released details of the new Canadian regulations regarding crew fatigue.  Following that announcement, leading low-cost Canadian airline, WestJet issued this response.

"The safety of our guests and our crew is of utmost importance," said Scott Wilson, WestJet Vice-President, Operations. "We welcome the Minister's announcement outlining the move to new flight and duty time regulations. Utilising scientific principles on fatigue will provide prevention and mitigation while aligning with international standards and best practices."

As outlined in the new regulations, WestJet will work to implement the updated crew fatigue standards over the next 24 months. WestJet has provided safe flying to Canadians since 1996 and now operates more than 700 daily flights to more than 100 destinations across North America, Central America, the Caribbean and Europe.

United Airlines announces large international route expansion from San Francisco

Photo United Airlines
United Airlines announced this week its largest ever international network expansion from its hub at San Francisco International Airport. The airline confirmed it will offer Bay Area customers nonstop year-round service to Toronto and Melbourne, Australia and seasonal service to New Delhi. United also announced it will begin a second daily flight between San Francisco and Seoul, South Korea. All routes subject to government approvals. In addition to the new routes, in 2019, United will begin new year-round nonstop service between San Francisco and Auckland, New Zealand, Tahiti, French Polynesia and Amsterdam.

"This route expansion solidifies United's position at San Francisco as the gateway airline serving destinations across the Pacific, the continental United States, as well as to Europe and beyond," said Oscar Munoz, United's CEO. "It serves as a fitting capstone to all our efforts that made 2018 a breakthrough year for United, from delivering strong financial performance to currently leading in on-time departures for the second year in a row."

"San Francisco continues to be a cultural and economic hub for the world," said U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. "These new routes will expand international travel to and from San Francisco International Airport, helping us forge stronger connections between our city and other major destinations around the globe."

Since 2013, United Airlines has added 12 new international destinations from San Francisco. With these new flights, United will serve 29 international destinations from San Francisco, including eight cities in Europe, India, and the Middle East, seven in North America, and 14 in Asia and Oceania. United, the largest airline at San Francisco International Airport, operates more than 300 daily flights.

Photo United Airlines
"This is great news for all of our customers and employees in the Bay Area, and a sign that United is deeply committed to growing San Francisco and adding unique and exciting destinations across the globe," said Janet Lamkin, United's President of California.

United has been a Bay Area company for 90 years and employs 14,000 people in the region, including 2,500 industrial jobs at its maintenance base, which recently celebrated its 70th anniversary of operation. United continues to invest in the airport, this year opening the 28,000-square foot Polaris lounge near Gate G92 in International Terminal G.

Cathay Pacific to start new Japanese route...................Komatsu coming soon

Cathay Pacific says that 3rd Aril 2019 will be the date to say "konnichiwa" to Komatsu when the company starts its new route to Japan.

The route is scheduled to operate on a seasonal basis running from 3rd April 2019 until 26th October and is scheduled to fly twice each week on Airbus A330 Cathay Dragon aircraft. The flights will operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays with a proposed departure time of 0945 from Hong Kong, landing in Komatsu at 1455. The return sector has a departure timed to leave at 1630 and land back in Hong Kong at 2000.

Komatsu, in Japan's Ishikawa Prefecture, is considered to be ideal gateway to the historic Hokuriku region and the perfect entry point for those wishing to explore the historic attractions, the mountainous landscapes, the wild coastlines. The area is rapidly growing in popularity from both regional and international tourists, with many hot-spots that border the Sea of Japan.

If good things come in threes, then travelling to Japan's historic Hokuriku region, along the country's central west coast, should exceed all expectations. From the country's third holiest mountain, Mount Haku, to historic Kanazawa's pristinely kept Kenrokuen gardens, considered one of Japan's three most beautiful, you'll uncover a wealth of heritage and scenic splendours across the region's three attractive prefectures – Ishikawa, Toyama, and Fukui.

WestJet's 2018 Rewards tier enhancements are here

.New Platinum tier boasts highest earn rates and benefits, while Gold and Silver members benefit from new enhancements as of Dec. 12, 2018

Photo WestJet
WestJet today announced its newest WestJet Rewards tier Platinum and enhancements to the Rewards program are here in time for the holidays.    

Starting today, WestJet Rewards Platinum, Gold and Silver tiers will make it easier for members to get even more value from WestJet's frequent flyer program. Milestone awards will be issued more frequently, and WestJet Vacations packages will also be added towards qualifying spend.

"Our WestJet Rewards program is fully transparent and provides our members with more benefits, flexibility and certainty than ever before," said d'Arcy Monaghan, WestJet's Vice-President Loyalty Programs. "As we go global with our new Boeing 787 Dreamliners and introduce two-by-two premium seating, we're making it easier for our loyal frequent flyer guests to experience the elite benefits and privileges they deserve through enhancements to our Rewards program."

Canadian Minister of Transport introduces new fatigue regulations

                         Canadians, visitors and business travellers deserve and rely on fit and well-rested flight crews to move them across Canada and around the world. Transport Canada recognizes that fatigue must be addressed in all modes of transportation and is committed to do all it can to protect the safety of Canadians.

The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced changes to the Canadian Aviation Regulations on Wednesday, December 12th, which will improve air travel safety for passengers and flight crews. The changes to the Canadian Aviation Regulations introduce:

Prescribed flight and duty time limits that respect modern fatigue science and international standards to limit the amount of time a crew member can be on the job; and
Fatigue Risk Management Systems that will allow operators the flexibility to set flight hours based on their unique operations if they can demonstrate that alertness and safety will not be affected.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

A warm but wet welcome for the 8th Embraer E190 for Azerbaijan's Buta Airways

Buta Airways, Azerbaijan’s low-cost carrier has received another new Embraer E190 aircraft, the eighth to join the carriers fleet.

The new aircraft, arriving directly from Embraer, will allow the airline to expand its route network and flight schedule. “Adding new aircraft to the fleet will further expand the route network of Buta Airways. We are pleased that the national low-cost airline is in great demand among Azerbaijani citizens and tourists arriving in our country. The increase in the number of flights and destinations of Buta Airways will further contribute to the development of tourism in our country,” AZAL President Jahangir Asgarov said.

In typical aviation tradition, the new aircraft was welcomed at the Heydar Aliyev International Airport (GYD) with a water cannon salute from the airport's fire service. Buta Airways have named its new arrival after the city of Aghdam.

A warm welcome for Qatar Airways in Gothenburg

There was much celebration in Sweden today as Qatar Airways’ operated its first non-stop flight from Doha to Gothenburg, marking the airline’s second gateway into Sweden. 

Qatar Airways flight 177, operated by the state-of-the-art Boeing B787 Dreamliner, departed Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Doha on Wednesday at 8:20 am and arrived at Gothenburg Landvetter Airport at 1:00 pm.  Present on board the inaugural flight to Gothenburg, Qatar Airways Senior Vice President Commercial Strategy, Mr Simon Newton Smith.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are tremendously excited to launch direct services to the beautiful city of Gothenburg, a key new addition to our European network. This important new Nordic gateway will provide enhanced connectivity to both business and leisure travellers and will help connect the Swedish people to our extensive global network of more than 1650 destinations worldwide. We look forward to bringing visitors to Gothenburg, where they can experience for themselves the delights this charming city has to offer.”

BA updates in-flight entertainment for Christmas

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way! The UK's British Airways is helping its passengers get in the mood for the festivities with an enhanced inflight entertainment offering.

Up to 40 new films, TV show episodes, audio books and music CDs have been introduced under the ‘Festive Cheer’ category. ‘The Holiday’ and ‘Elf’, last year’s two most popular Christmas films on board* return, alongside ‘Gremlins’, ‘Home Alone 2: Lost in New York’, ‘Scrooged’ and ‘Miracle on 34th Street’.

In terms of television, customers can relive classics like 'The Vicar of Dibley Christmas Special' or hone their lunch preparation with 'Nigella: At My Table Christmas Special 2017'. And for those who prefer to listen to tree-mendous music, there are carols from The Choir of King’s College Cambridge.

Wizz Air to expand route network from Bulgaria

More Bulgarian growth for one of Europe's fastest growing airlines, as Wizz Air announces further capacity expansion to its Varna network as well as adding another Airbus A320 aircraft to the base the carrier is launch six new routes.

The new Airbus A320 will be joining Wizz Air's Varna fleet in July 2019, which will create 35 additional direct local jobs with the airline and up to 150 in non direct positions.  The new addition will boost the Wizz fleet at the city to 2, with 7 aircraft based at Sofia.

Starting in July 2019, the newest Wizz Air routes will connect Varna with three exciting German cities. The beautiful port town of Hamburg, Cologne the gothic gem and the remarkable cultural hub Berlin are all among the airline’s newest direct routes from Varna. The romantic vibes of Paris, the exciting Mersey-side in Liverpool and the historical harbours and the colourful creativity in Copenhagen are now available for passengers travelling from Varna at Wizz Air’s genuinely low fares.

Priority Pass dilutes offering with discounts

Leading airline and airport lounge membership programme Priority Pass is diluting its offering with a range of conditional discounts through its app and website.

Now, according to Collinson, the benefits and loyalty people behind Priority Pass, members can now enrich their pre-flight experience through specially negotiated offers at hundreds of dining, spa, retail and airport services. The new offers mark the move away from a pure business product of lounge access and associated products to a more leisure based general benefits programme. 

Priority Pass Members can access over 800 conditional discounts, upgrades and free gifts with certain purchases, at 146 airports in 32 countries across Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. The company promises to add more airports in the coming months. 

Some of those offering discounts through Priority Pass include Eraman Duty Free Malaysia, The Shilla Duty Free Korea, Orient King Power China and Lagardere Travel Retail Hong Kong.

WOW air offer 50% off Christmas discount -

 50 % off all destinations

While discussions with Indigo Partners are ongoing, it seems business as usual for the Icelandic budget carrier, WOW Air, which has just issued an extra special discount just in time for the festive period.

All potential future passengers need to do, is use a discount code of WOWXMAS which will then give them a seasonal discount of 50%  Yes, that's 50% off normal fares, to all destinations on roundtrip tickets, effective December 12th to 16th, 2018 and is for travel between December 12th, 2018 to March 31st, 2019. 

With 20 total destinations spanning Europe, the UK, and North America, travellers have the opportunity to visit a myriad of exciting cities and sights in 2019 at a deeply discounted rate. "We are thankful for our WOW passengers and are happy to offer the gift of travel this holiday season for a low price," said Skúli Mogensen, founder and CEO of WOW air. "At WOW air, we are committed to making travel more affordable and accessible to all, knowing that the memories made are gifts that keep giving throughout the year."

Aeroflot wins two Innovation Time awards

The leading Russian airline, Aeroflot has taken two prizes at the annual Innovation Time awards.  The Russian flag carrier scooped the "Transport and Engineering" category for the rollout of its “Digital Aeroflot” transformation plan, and also won the "Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering" category for its international prize-winning “Aeroflot. Sulimov Dogs” project.

Celebrating achievements in the field of innovation, the Innovation Time award ceremony was held on 7 December at the Marriott Krasnaya Polyana Hotel in Sochi. Aeroflot is the first nominee to take two categories at the prestigious awards. The jury noted Aeroflot’s consistent and highly effective application of advanced technologies in the field of civil aviation.

No more the Friendly Flair...........Canadian ultra-low-cost-carrier Flair Air blackmails staff to call off strike action.

This article by Jason Shaw was first published on Aerotime News Hub

Canadian ultra-low-cost-carrier Flair Air blackmails staff to
call off strike action.      
In a surprising move by an airline that prides itself on creating a friendly environment, Flair Airlines, the ultra-low-cost Canadian carrier that charges $15 to call its call centre has blackmailed staff against taking strike action.

In a long-running dispute over a uniformity of wages, pensions, as well as time credits and scheduling issues, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents 139 Flair Air's flight attendants called for a strike action from Midnight on December 10th. "For the past several weeks, this employer has steadfastly refused to step away from its position of two-tier wages and benefits, which is fundamentally unfair," said CUPE National Representative Gary Yee.

Spirit to start services from Indianapolis to Orlando, Las Vegas and Myrtle Beach

Photo Spirit 
The ultra-low-cost-carrier in the US, Spirit Airlines will be starting new services from Indianapolis International Airport (IND) to Orlando International Airport (MCO) and McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas. The services will operate every day and are nonstop starting  March 14th, 2019.

Just about two months later, on May 2nd, Spirit will add nonstop seasonal flights between Indianapolis and Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR) three times weekly.  The new routes will also create dozens of connections to other destinations in the United States, as well as the Caribbean and Latin America.

Pratt & Whitney signs 12-year agreement with Philippine Airlines

Pratt & Whitney, a division of United Technologies announced that Philippine Airlines has signed a 12-year EngineWise Comprehensive service agreement. The agreement will cover Philippine Airlines' fleet of 15 firm Airbus A321neo aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engines.

"We are pleased to build upon our relationship with Philippine Airlines, which has spanned several decades," said Rick Deurloo, senior vice president, Sales, Marketing & Customer Support at Pratt & Whitney. "EngineWise represents our commitment to customers to optimize engine performance and keep their fleets running smoothly."

EngineWise includes engine fleet data analytics and real-time intelligence to predict and prevent engine disruptions before they occur, significant investments in new technology and resources to improve our responsiveness and flexibility, and a growing portfolio of service offerings.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Xiamen Airlines starts direct flight between Paris and China's Fuzhou

Xiamen Airlines, voted China's "Best Airlines" for its extraordinary aviation service for 6 consecutive years since 2012, is officially launching its new direct flight between Paris and Fuzhou on Dec. 11th, 2018. The opening of this new route will provide unique experiences for passengers.

The Paris – Fuzhou route operates three times a week (MF825 & MF826) every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, 13 hours and 25 minutes one way. It departs from Paris at 13:30 (GMT+8) and arrives at Fuzhou around 07:30 the next morning; the returning flight departs at 00:30 from Fuzhou Changle International Airport (FOC) and reaches Paris at 06:55.

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