Friday, 18 January 2019

'The Global Era' arrives for WestJet in the shape of its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

The handover of the first 787 for WestJet  Photo Boeing
One of Canada's leading airlines, WestJet has entered into what it calls 'the global era' with the arrival of the carriers first widebody Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

The aircraft has been named in honour of the airline's chairman and founder, Clive Beddoe and will be based at the airline's hometown base of Calgary.

"Today's delivery marks a new chapter for WestJet," said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. "Boeing's 787 Dreamliner is one of the most technologically advanced aircraft ever flown and is the perfect platform for our transition to a global network carrier. We look forward to bringing Canadians to the world and the world to Canada in comfort and style."

CDB Aviation Reports Record Activity and Growth in 2018, Executing Transactions for 107 Aircraft


CDB Aviation, a wholly owned Irish subsidiary of China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co., Limited (“CDB Leasing”), announced today a record year for 2018, in which the company executed transactions involving 107 aircraft, rapidly accelerating business to support the continued growth of its industry-leading leasing platform.

TAP receives two more A330-900neo aircraft

Last year in December the Portuguese national carrier, TAP became the first airline in the world to offer its clients unbeatable economic features, greater range and efficiency and the new Airspace cabin on its first Airbus A330-900neo.

This article from Jason Shaw was first published on Aerotime.aero here 


Gatwick long-haul traffic grows in December as 46.1m passengers travel through in 2018

 Number of passengers travelling on long-haul flights from Gatwick last month up +6.1 year-on-year
Long-haul growth drives 2018 cargo surge, 
+16.1% across the year 
A record 46.1m passengers travelled 
through the airport in 2018
London Gatwick’s long-haul routes saw year-on-year growth of +6.1% in December, as a rising number of passengers opted to spend the festive season further afield. The latest figures from the airport on the Surrey / Sussex border are impressive considering the airfield was closed for a number of hours during December after drones were spotted in the flight path and over the runway. 

In the same month that a vital new long-haul connection to Shanghai with China Eastern was launched, routes to the US and Canada continued to thrive, +10.9% overall. Las Vegas proved a particularly popular December holiday option, +50.3% year-on-year.

Routes to Florida favourites Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando were also up +50.1%, +30.7% and +19.2% respectively. New low-cost Norwegian routes to Miami, Rio de Janeiro and San Francisco – all launching in March – will further extend Gatwick’s network of over 60 long-haul routes.

Closer ties between Emirates and flydubai

The strategic partnership between Dubai’s two airlines, Emirates and flydubai, continues to open up the world for travellers since its launch 14 months ago, and is set to grow even further in 2019 with new codeshare destinations to be added.


The partnership, which came into effect at the end of October 2017, has since delivered a number of benefits to both airlines’ customers, such as offering greater global connectivity through more destination choices, flexibility with flight options when planning trips, one integrated loyalty programme, and the convenience of travelling on a single ticket with seamless point to point baggage handling.

Expanded global connectivity for travellers since 
the start of partnership 14 months ago
Exciting new destinations added 
with more to come
Better and quicker connections
One loyalty programme


Thursday, 17 January 2019

Wall Street Journal names Delta best U.S. Airline of 2018

Delta A220  photo Delta
For the second year in a row, Delta
has been named the top U.S. airline
 in the WSJ's Middle Seat Scorecard
 ranking of the Best and Worst U.S. Airlines.


Veteran airline reporter Scott McCartney of the Wall Street Journal highlighted Tuesday that Delta continues to find ways to improve during weather-driven irregular operations—of which there were many in 2018— further separating it from competitors.

Some Delta competitors pointed to tough weather conditions and other factors to explain lacklustre operational performance, while Delta was touted for using these challenges to make strategic improvements to irregular operations preparedness. 

More than 75 million people flew with Turkish Airlines last year

Turkish Airlines Airbus             Photo Turkish Airlines
One of the globes fast-growing international air carriers, Turkish Airlines, has released its figures both for December 2018 and the whole year, which revealed the airline flew more than 75 million people during 2018.

For December 2018 the carrier reached an impressive 80.2% load factor and the total number of people that flew with them was 5.5million, up 1% on December 2017's total.  Growth in the number of passengers, revenue per kilometre and load factor, is an important indicator of the continued growth the airline has experienced in recent times, it is also a clear indicator that Turkish Airlines is becoming a truly global carrier. 

American Congratulates DFW International Airport

American Airlines has sent congratulations to its largest hub, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), on being named Airport of the Year today by Air Transport World (ATW), the leading monthly magazine for the global airline industry. The airport joined an impressive list of past winners around the world to receive the honour.

In recognizing DFW, ATW noted the airport’s continued record growth and traveller enhancements that include modernized facilities, updated amenities, added concessions and the opening of the largest duty-free store in the Western hemisphere.    

Air Asia halts system upgrade

AirAsia Airbus A320neo                   Photo Air Asia
The low-cost airline Air Asia has cancelled a proposed system upgrade to its reservations processes that would have taken down all platforms for a number of hours this weekend.

As we reported on Monday, the company had planned to take down all possible routes to make reservations on its flights as well as kiosk and online check-in from 2.00pm on Saturday, 19 January 2019 (GMT +8) to 3.00am on Sunday, 20 January 2019 on airasia.com.

"This is a rather long period of unserviceability across all platforms for a major company, " Anders Axelsen, an IT Infatratucture advisor told Air101 "Most firms utilise a separate back-up or secondary system to mitigate disruption. Alternatively, they instigate changes at one delivery output or area at a time." he said, indicating that at least one avenue for passengers to make reservations or changes would remain operational. 

Now, AirAsia says "AirAsia will postpone a planned upgrade of its Navitaire New Skies reservation system due to unforeseen circumstances. - All systems will function as normal this weekend, and guests will be able to book flights, check in and manage their bookings as usual."  The airline also said it would carry out the upgrade at a later date, yet to be advised. 


ANA to test autonomous bus at Haneda Airport

All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan's largest and 5-star airline for six consecutive years, is beginning the second stage of testing for an autonomous, driverless bus at Tokyo's Haneda Airport.

ANA is conducting these trials with Aichi Steel, SB Drive Corp., Advanced Smart Mobility Co., Ltd., NIPPO CORPORATION, and NEC Corporation. Together, these companies will begin testing the autonomous bus today in a series of trials running through Jan. 25, 2019. The test will be conducted with an autonomous driving technique equivalent to Level 3*1 and will be limited to the restricted area of Haneda Airport where aircraft and cargo vehicles are located. If these trials are successful, ANA aims to implement the driverless bus technology into the airport by 2020. 

*1 Level 3 means that the autonomous system is operating, but when the system is unable to respond correctly, a human driver in the vehicle can take over the driving.

"At ANA, we are constantly striving to move the industry forward," Shigeru Hattori, Senior Vice President of ANA. "This autonomous bus will help ease the flow of traffic in the airport and help enhance the traveling experience for passengers. In addition to boosting convenience, the autonomous bus will also allow for safer travel within the airport and we will continue the tests until the technology reaches our high safety grade."

The first phase of testing was conducted in February 2018 in partnership with SB Drive Corp. In addition to ANA’s trials at Haneda this time, testing will also take place at Narita, Sendai, and Nagoya airports by other companies.

Alaska Airlines names three vice presidents

Photo Alaska Airlines
The Alaska Airlines board of directors has elected three new company officers: Constance von Muehlen, senior vice president of maintenance and engineering; Ron Calvin, vice president of inflight; and Jenny Wetzel, vice president of labour relations.

Beginning Jan. 21, von Muehlen will lead Alaska's maintenance and engineering employees, and all safety, compliance and operational performance of the airline's mainline Boeing and Airbus fleet. Most recently, von Muehlen led Horizon Air's operational performance strategy as the airline's chief operating officer, where she oversaw the customer service, inflight, pilot, maintenance and system operations control teams. Prior to Horizon, von Muehlen was Alaska's managing director of airframe, engine and component maintenance.

More flights on offer from Porto says TAP Air Portugal

Photo TAP
TAP Air Portugal's new destinations from Porto are  Brussels, Lyon and Munich are now on sale thr airline confirmed this week.

Flights to the capital of Belgium, beautiful Brussels, begin on 1st July this year with not one, but two daily flights. Departures from Porto are at 0700 and 1735, arriving in Brussels at 1030 and 2105 respectively.

TAP operations to Lyon, France and Munich, Germany, will begin on 1st September 2019. Flights to Lyon will be twice daily: departure from Porto at 0630 and arrival in Lyon at 0935 and departure from Porto at 1830 and arrival in the French city at 2135.

For Munich, TAP operations will begin with a daily flight departing from Porto at 12:15 and arriving in the German city at 1555 p.m.

Ryanair and Siteminder form partnership

Ryanair, one of the largest European airlines and SiteMinder, the global hotel industry’s leading guest acquisition platform, today announce a partnership to provide European hotels direct access to sell their properties on Ryanair Rooms.

Ryanair Rooms is the only hotel booking website that gives hotel guests 10% of the hotel booking price back in flight credit, to use against Ryanair flights. The website is now available as a distribution channel to SiteMinder’s 30,000 hotel customers across Europe and around the world, which can now offer their guests a new incentive to ‘Go Direct’.

Emirates to operate scheduled A380 service to Amman


Dubai based mega carrier Emirates has confirmed it will operate its super double-decked Airbus A380 aircraft to and from Amman between 01st June and 26th October 2019, in response to increased demand for travel during the summer period. This adjustment will see the airline operate one of its three daily flights on the route (EK 903/904) with its flagship A380. This will be the first time that Emirates will operate a scheduled A380 service to Amman, following the historic one-off A380 flight operated in September 2016.

Adil Al Ghaith, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations for Gulf, Middle East & Iran commented on the A380 deployment to Amman:  “Jordan has been a strategically important market in this region for Emirates for a long time. The upgrade to an A380 service to Amman during the peak summer period is in line with our strategy to better serve seasonal peaks, and strengthen our presence in key markets by providing an industry-leading experience for our customers, and offering them a seamless A380 experience via Dubai to major destinations around the world.” 

Emirates schedule the A380 to go to Glasgow

Emirates A380                               Photo Emirates
The Dubai based mega-carrier, Emirates has confirmed that the flagship of its fleet, the double-decker Airbus A380 aircraft will be flying to Scotland a little later this year.

For the first time ever the carrier will be scheduling the giant aircraft to operate its popular Dubai - Glasgow service.  The jet will take up the route between 16th April and 31st May 2019. 

The Emirates A380 daily service, with a total capacity of 489 seats, will replace the double daily Boeing 777-300ER service during the Dubai Airport Runway closure. 

From 1 June 2019 until 30 September 2019, Emirates will resume operating a double-daily service to Glasgow with one daily Boeing 777-300ER and one Airbus A380, offering additional capacity to meet increased travel demand during the summer season.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Boston gets the Airbus A380 treatment from Emirates

In order to meet increased seasonal passenger demand, the Dubai based Emirates will be introducing its Airbus A380 aircraft to Boston.

Now, Emirates’ customers travelling to and from Boston will be able to experience the world’s largest commercial aircraft famed for its Onboard Lounge accessible to First and Business Class passengers as well as the Onboard Shower Spas for First Class customers. Emirates’ A380 will operate to Boston between 01 June and 30 September 2019 and between 01 December 2019 and 31 January 2020 to accommodate the increased seasonal demand in travel to the US East Coast.    

Brussels Airlines offers more flexibility on its flights to and from Africa

With effect of this week, Brussels Airlines increases its flexibility with new travel options on its routes to and from Africa. The new offer contains for the first time a one-bag fare, which is the cheapest choice for the price-conscious passengers who are travelling with limited luggage.

Economy class guests travelling to or from one of Brussels Airlines’ 17 Sub-Sahara destinations will from now on have the option to book a one bag-fare in case they are travelling light and do not require ticket flexibility. A second travel option is the Standard fare, including two checked bags and free advanced regular seat reservation. The third option within the Economy Class is the Flex fare, ideal for passengers who like extra legroom and more flexibility as a change and refund are free. Next to an Economy Class, the airline also offers a Business Class and soon a brand new Premium Economy Class.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Virgin lead consortium ups price for Flybe.....

It's been just days since Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus came together to put in an official deal for the troubled regional airline, Flybe, which could lead to the birth of the Virgin Atlantic brand flying small regional thin routes in the UK.

Many in the industry see the dilution of the so-called sacred Virgin Atlantic brand in this way would almost certainly prove to be disastrous in the long run for Virgin Atlantic. Although some have a more positive appreciation of the Virgin Atlantic brand on domestic and European travel.

FlyBe's share price tumbled down on news of the offer of £2.2 million from the Virgin lead consortium, called 'Connect Airways'  - nothing to do with the Swiss Connect Air that ran between 2004 and 2008 or the Connectair, the feeder airline for British Caledonian in the 80's which went on to become Air Europe Express.

Interesting to note, that one of the few people buying FlyBe shares is one William Andrew Tinkler, the former boss of Stobart, who just happens to be involved in a rather acrimonious legal dispute with the company. Apparently, Tinkler and two other leading business people were looking at taking over Flybe or merging it with Stobart Air many many months ago!

Earlier today, Tuesday 15th January, the bid for FlyBe had to be increased to £2.8 million and a bridging loan mentioned in the original announcement was declined, although Flybe didn't say exactly why. However, a revised Bridge Facility of up to £20 million from Virgin and Stobart, to provide funding to Flybe Limited, of which £10 million will be released today to support the business. In addition, a number of improved agreements with banks have also been reached today to improve liquidity was agreed.

Ryanair’s East Midlands Flight First To Land At New Murcia International Airport

Ryanair, the low-cost-high-fee budget carrier today became the first airline to land at the new Región de Murcia International Airport, which was officially opened by his Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain.

Ryanair’s new daily service from East Midlands airport was the inaugural arrival to Murcia International Airport, one of Ryanair’s 9 Summer 2019 routes to/from Birmingham, Bournemouth, Dublin, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, London Luton, London Stansted and Manchester, which will help deliver 660,000 customers p.a. through Región de Murcia International airport this year.

29 business organisations representing over 25,000 companies across the region come out in support of Gatwick’s growth plans

29 companies and business organisations that together represent over 25,000 companies across Sussex, Surrey, Kent and London have come out in support of Gatwick’s plans. The open letter to Stewart Wingate, the airport’s CEO, is signed by organisations including Chambers of Commerce, the Federation of Small Business and sector specific associations.

In the letter, the business organisations describe Gatwick as ‘a linchpin of the regional economy and a significant national asset’ that contributes ’over £5bn to UK GDP and supports 85,000 jobs.’  It goes on to say:
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