Monday, 18 November 2019

Work to double the size of East Midlands Airport’s immigration hall has begun.

The expanded facility will be ready ahead of next year’s busy summer season and will improve the arrivals experience for returning travellers and visitors to the region. As well as having new facilities, the work will also future-proof this part of the terminal to help cater for growth in years to come.

The main body of the building, which houses immigration, is part of the original terminal which opened in 1965. It was modified in 2008 when baggage reclaims and the arrivals frontage were extended and a new transport interchange and bus waiting area was added.

Geoff Moss, EMA’s Assets Director, says: “We’re delighted that work is now underway to build an extension to the immigration hall. This much-needed improvement will be welcomed by the 4.9 million passengers who pass through it each year. Not only will the arrivals experience be better for passengers, but the new building will also smarten up this part of the airport estate.”

New taxiway and de-Icing facility opens at London Luton Airport

New taxiway and de-Icing facility opens

London Luton Airport (LLA) has opened Taxiway Foxtrot, a second new taxiway as part of its £160m transformation programme. This follows the completion of Taxiway Bravo, which opened in early 2018. The new taxiway will help the airport manage aircraft ground movements more efficiently and contribute to ongoing efforts to minimise delays.

The new taxiway is 520m long, and required 6,000m3 of concrete and 110,000 hours to complete. 9km of electric cables connect the 150 LED lights on the new taxiway.

Taxiway Foxtrot also includes one of the largest remote de-icing facilities in Europe.  The facility can de-ice up to seven planes at once and incorporates 600m of drainage to ensure that all de-icing liquid is captured and disposed of safely. This will help the airport to maintain on-time departures during exceptionally cold weather. 

Cebu Pacific finalises order for 16 A330neo

Cebu Pacific finalises order for 16 A330neo

Earlier this month Cebu Pacific (CEB), a carrier based in the Philippines, has signed a firm order with Airbus for 16 long-range A330neo aircraft. The order firms up the wide-body portion of a previously announced Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which also includes commitments for 10 A321XLR and five A320neo single-aisle aircraft.

The A330neo ordered by Cebu Pacific is a higher-capacity version of the A330-900, with up to 460 seats in a single-class configuration. Cebu Pacific plans to operate the aircraft on trunk routes within the Philippines and the rest of Asia, as well as on longer-range services to Australia and the Middle East.

Wizz Air starts flights from Luton to Tenerife

Wizz Air UK, a member of one of Europe’s fastest-growing airline groups, launched a new route connecting its London Luton base with sunny Tenerife in the Canary Islands. 

The airline now offers flights from London Luton to the popular Spanish holiday destination of Tenerife twice a week, with fares as low as £26. The airline will increase this to three times a week in December.

Owain Jones, Managing Director, Wizz Air UK said: “It is our pleasure to announce another long-awaited route to a popular Spanish holiday destination. The new route to Tenerife demonstrates that Wizz Air UK is committed to offering customers ultra-low fares to destinations across all of Europe, connecting the UK with ever more leisure destinations. The WIZZ team looks forward to welcoming customers old and new on-board one of our ultra-efficient Airbus aircraft on Europe’s cleanest fleet very soon.”

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Airbus Helicopters delivers first H145M to Luxembourg

Airbus Helicopters has delivered the first of two H145M multipurpose helicopters for defence and security missions to the Government of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. Together with the helicopters, Airbus also provides a training and support package to its customer. The delivery of the second helicopter is scheduled before the end of the year. The delivered H145M is the first H145 in Luxembourg.

The helicopter is equipped with a hoist, a fast roping system, a high-performance camera, a search light, advanced communication systems, and will have provisions to install a light armour protection kit. The latest technologies to allow the helicopter to operate in adverse weather conditions and during nighttime are incorporated in the design. The helicopter will be operated and serviced at Luxembourg Findel Airport, where it has been presented to public today for the first time. With a maximum take-off weight of 3.7 tonnes, the H145M can be used for a wide range of tasks, including troop and passenger transport, surveillance, air rescue, reconnaissance and medical evacuation.

The H145M is a tried-and-tested light twin-engine helicopter that was first delivered in 2015 to the German Armed Forces and has since been ordered by Hungary, Thailand and the Republic of Serbia. Mission readiness of the H145Ms already in service is above 95 percent.

Powered by two Safran Arriel 2E engines, the H145M is equipped with full authority digital engine control (FADEC) and the Helionix digital avionics suite. It includes a high-performance 4-axis autopilot, increasing safety and reducing pilot workload. Its particularly low acoustic footprint makes the H145M the quietest helicopter in its class.

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Fiji Airways takes delivery of its first of two A350 XWBs

Fiji Airways has become the first airline from the South Pacific region to take delivery of the A350 XWB, the world’s most modern all-new wide-body aircraft. The A350-900, which was delivered following a ceremony in Toulouse, is the first of two A350 XWBs that will join Fiji Airways’ fleet. Both aircraft are being leased from Dubai-based DAE Capital. The aircraft are the first to be directly purchased by DAE Capital from Airbus.

Delivering new levels of fuel efficiency, Fiji Airways will operate the A350 XWB on its Nadi-Los Angeles and Nadi-Sydney routes. This will further boost the airline’s position as a leading carrier from the South Pacific region, as well as to contributing to the ongoing growth of Fiji’s tourism sector and the wider economy.

Boston gets a second weekly flight from Cabo Verde Airlines.

It has been confirmed that from the middle of next month the national airline of Cabo Verde will introduce a second weekly flight to Boston.

The airline will start the second rotation from 14th December with a Boeing 757 jet configured with 22 seats in business and 161 in economy classes. The flight will link the island's to Boston's Logan airport on Tuesdays and Saturdays. 

The Republic of Cabo Verde, formally known as Cape Verde is an island nation formed of 10 islands of volcanic origin in the Atlantic Ocean. They are located around 350 miles west of the Cabo Verde peninsular of Africa and are seen as an unspoilt holiday destination.

Portuguese explorers first colonised the islands and until independence was gained in 1975 the islands fell under Portuguese control. Currently, the population is around 548,000 - mostly of mixed European, Moorish, Arab and African heritage.

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Crowne Plaza Hamburg - City Alster unveils transformation

The newly transformed Crowne Plaza Hamburg - City Alster has been designed with the modern traveller and local in mind. The hotel has become the first Crowne Plaza in Germany to showcase the brand’s new concepts, including the new ‘Plaza Workspace’ public spaces, the innovative ‘WorkLife’ guest rooms, new food and drink options, and a refreshed approach to guest service.

Visit here for more details and to make reservations at the Crowne Plaza Hamburg - City Alster.

These new brand hallmarks are the future direction for the brand globally, offering a distinct experience for business and leisure guests. The hotel is one of two new flagship hotels in Europe alongside Crowne Plaza Paris-Republique.

Air Canada has launched a next-generation Air Canada mobile app

Air Canada has launched a next-generation Air Canada mobile app, now available for download on iOS and Android. Designed with customers at the centre, the new app features an intuitive layout supported by the latest technologies, to deliver faster, more reliable performance.

All-New Air Canada App Features Intuitive Design, Faster Experience and Additional Features (Photo CNW Group/Air Canada)

"Air Canada is focused on making travel easier and more comfortable for everyone, particularly through the use of the latest technologies. Beyond the new features launching today, such as interactive airport maps with turn-by-turn directions for travellers, the new app provides the foundation necessary for future developments, most notably the launch of our new Loyalty program in 2020," said Mark Nasr, Vice President, Loyalty and eCommerce at Air Canada. "The app was designed and built entirely in Canada, in our Digital labs enabled by the Air Canada technology team."

Biman Bangladesh Airlines confirms order for two 787-9 Dreamliner

Boeing and Biman Bangladesh Airlines (Biman) confirmed at the 2019 Dubai Airshow an order for two 787 Dreamliner aircraft.  According to Boeing documents,  the order was first firmed up in October, listed in dealings as "unidentified" customer as the US manufacturer needed to save some 'good news' for the Dubai airshow, to please shareholders and show organisers.

The order complements Biman's fleet of 787-8 jets with the larger and longer-range 787-9 version of the jet that is currently under investigation for higher than expected wear and tear. Biman says the 787-9s will help modernise its fleet and further expand its international network. 

"One of our key priorities is to have a modern fleet with technologically-advanced aeroplanes that will enable us to expand our international reach," said Air Marshal Muhammad Enamul Bari, Former Chief of Air Staff, Chairman Board of Directors, Biman Bangladesh Airlines. "While we have a good domestic network, we plan to extend our international network to include more destinations in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The 787 with its technological superiority, excellent operational performance and passenger experience will enable us to achieve that goal," he added.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Project Sunrise direct non-stop flight between London and Sydney kicks off a Qantas year of centenary celebrations

Qantas has kicked off 12 months of centenary celebrations as it marks a fresh milestone in aviation with a non-stop London to Sydney flight on Friday.

Flown by the latest addition to the national carrier’s fleet, a brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner landed in Sydney at  12:28pm, 19 hours and 19 minutes after leaving Heathrow. It follows the non-stop New York to Sydney flight last month as the second of three research flights aim at improving crew and passenger wellbeing on ultra long haul services under consideration.

The direct flight reduced total travel time by around two hours compared with current one-stop services from the east coast of Australia. It is only the second time any commercial airline has flown this route non-stop, after Qantas flew a near-empty 747-400 in 1989. 

The new Dreamliner was met by more than 1,000 Qantas employees to mark the flying kangaroo’s 99th birthday and kick off 12 months of celebrations as it heads towards its centenary.

Three components of those celebrations were revealed at the time of the arrival – special livery on a new Dreamliner that will be seen at airports around the world, featuring every Qantas logo since 1920; a $1 coin to mark the 100th that will enter circulation next year; and a touring exhibition that will visit a number of cities around Australia.

Making your flight CO2 neutral just got a whole lot easier with SWISS

The Vienna based European airline, SWISS is becoming more environmentally aware by expanding its options for customers’ to offset carbon for their air travel activities by integrating the Lufthansa Innovation Hub’s “Compensaid” platform into its reservations portal. 

As a result, SWISS travellers can now reduce their carbon emissions by purchasing sustainable alternative fuel. They can also continue to offset their emissions by contributing to long-term SWISS partner myclimate, which invests in climate protection projects. Compensaid thus gives customers a choice of approaches (which can also be combined) for reducing the environmental impact of their air travel in carbon emissions terms.

Following a successful trial phase, the “Compensaid” platform developed by the Lufthansa Innovation Hub is to become SWISS and Lufthansa’s prime carbon offsetting option. SWISS customers will now find Compensaid directly in the SWISS.COM reservations portal. 

Compensaid enables travellers to reduce the volumes of carbon dioxide (CO2) generated by their air travel by paying for the use of sustainable alternative fuel. They can also still offset their (remaining) emissions by contributing to the Swiss-based myclimate foundation, which uses the money it receives to finance high-quality climate protection projects.“The use of synthetic fuels is one of the most promising options for making air travel climate-neutral in the longer term,” says SWISS Chief Executive Officer Thomas Klühr. “And I am delighted that, in Compensaid, we are providing the first global online platform of its kind to further support and promote the use of such alternative fuel in the air transport sector.”The industrywide use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) has been thwarted to date by the volumes available and the high costs of producing them. Only a few refineries in the world are currently capable of manufacturing SAF to the certified standards required and in sufficient quantities.

And the second most punctual airline in Europe is.........................

Perhaps rather surprisingly, the financially troubled Italian airline Alitalia has managed to make itself one of the most punctual airlines in Europe!

With 82.1% of flights landing on schedule, Alitalia has become the second most punctual airline in Europe in the first ten months of this year. The result was certified by FlightStats, the authoritative US independent society which drafts the list of the major airlines in the world for on-time performance, comparing the data of equivalent airlines for size and network.

Alitalia confirmed positive on-time performance from January to October 2019 was slightly hampered by a massive move in Milan, as Linate airport closed for essential works with all flights shifting to Malpensa airport for almost the whole month of October. Bad autumn weather at several Italian airports also made a dent in the airline's on-time performance.  

After the resumption of flight operations at Milan Linate airport on 27th October, the average on-time index of Alitalia flights in the last days of the month exceeded 90 %. 

FlightStats is one of the few data service companies that monitors almost every flight operated by each airline. FlighStats follows the “A14” on-time performance method, monitoring flights which arrive at the gate less than 15 minutes after the scheduled arrival time.

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Conrad Dublin sold for €116.4 million

Park Hotels & Resorts Inc. has confirmed that it and its joint venture partners have closed on the sale of the 192-room Conrad Dublin, Dublin, Ireland, for €116.4 million.  

“We are excited to announce the execution of this sale at very attractive pricing, which reduces our international exposure as well as our ownership in joint venture interests,” commented Thomas J. Baltimore, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Park. “I am incredibly proud of our team’s efforts over the past two years, which include selling 19 non-core assets for approximately $815 million and acquiring 18 high-quality assets in the recently completed $2.5-billion acquisition of Chesapeake Lodging Trust. The sale of the Conrad Dublin marks the beginning of a series of asset sales being executed to reduce leverage in the near term, delivering on our stated objective.”

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First A321neo aircraft for Brazilian airline Azul

CDB Aviation has delivered the first of two Airbus A321neo aircraft to Azul S.A., the expanding Brazilian airline.  The jet is the first A321NX version of the Neo family, fitted with Airbus’ Cabin Flex option, to be operated by a Brazilian airline.

The A321neo, configured in a 214 single-class seat layout and will provide passengers with enhanced features. “We are thrilled to have assisted the Azul team with the introduction of Brazil’s first A321NX variant of the Neo family,” noted CDB Aviation Head of Commercial, Americas Luis Da Silva. “This is the beginning of a successful strategic partnership between Azul and CDB Aviation.”

The versatility of the A321neoNX will provide the right capacity for Azul’s expanding fleet and will avail the carrier of the new technology’s benefits, such as reduced fuel consumption and lowered unit costs, enabling more efficient operations in the future.