20 May, 2024

Surf Air and Purdue University start new scheduled service.

Surf Air Mobility has officially started operating a scheduled commuter service between West Lafayette / Purdue University Airport (LAF) and Chicago O’Hare Airport (ORD).

This air service is designed to provide Purdue University’s students, faculty, staff, and families, as well as residents and businesses of Greater Lafayette, with easier, faster connections to the world via the fourth busiest airport in America (ORD) from the convenient airport immediately adjacent to Purdue’s campus (LAF).

Purdue University is supporting the air service to ensure successful ongoing operations. The flights are operated by Southern Airways Express, the airline subsidiary of Surf Air Mobility.


Porter starts new service between Toronto-Pearson and Québec City

The Canadian regional carrier, Porter Airlines has started a new jet service between Toronto-Pearson International Airport and Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport.  

The seasonal route will operate daily until 26th October using the airline's brand-new Embraer E195-E2 aircraft. The jet offers a two-by-two configuration, with fast and free WiFi available for every one of the 132 passengers the jet can carry. 

PorterReserve fares offer passengers an all-inclusive economy experience, with fresh and healthy meals, extra legroom seats, premium pre-mixed cocktails, priority check-in, and ticketing flexibility as standard. These options are available à la carte with PorterClassic fares.

Connections are available through Toronto-Pearson to Western Canada destinations Vancouver and Edmonton, providing passengers with more opportunities to experience Porter’s elevated onboard service when travelling across the country.

The new service more than doubles Porter’s capacity between the two cities, complementing existing flights between YQB and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ), which are operated by the 78-seat De Havilland Dash 8-400 aircraft.

Kevin Jackson, president, of Porter Airlines said:  "Québec City is a popular destination for travellers, with its rich history and culture. Porter’s new service adds more capacity on a busy seasonal route, and more opportunities for passengers to enjoy the elevated economy experience they deserve."

Stéphane Poirier, president and CEO of YQB commented:  "We are delighted that Porter Airlines is increasing its service from YQB with a new daily flight to Toronto Pearson Airport. The expanded service to the Canadian metropolis will undoubtedly appeal to the population of the Greater Québec City area, and facilitate connectivity to popular destinations in Western Canada and the United States. We salute Porter’s commitment, which testifies to the attractiveness and dynamism of our magnificent region."


Airbus achieves Eurodrone’s Preliminary Design Review

The Eurodrone programme has successfully performed the Preliminary Design Review (PDR). Led by Airbus Defence and Space as prime contractor, this major programme milestone has been completed with OCCAR and representatives of the four customer nations (France, Germany, Italy and Spain) in the presence of the three Major Sub-Contractors (MSC), Airbus Defence and Space Spain, Dassault Aviation and Leonardo.

The PDR proves that the initial design of the aircraft has consistently matured, paving the way to proceed with the detailed design. It is the outcome of different technical assessments and evaluations conducted, such as Wind Tunnel Testing to confirm the aerodynamic configuration of Eurodrone, the overall design to ensure demonstration of operational capability, and the validation of a fully representative Digital Twin. From the very beginning, the Eurodrone programme benefits from both design philosophies – physical and digital.

Supported by and based on the knowledge already gathered, the Eurodrone programme enters into a new phase to reach the Critical Design Review (CDR), which will represent the final step and closure of architecture and system design.

WestJet starts new Calgary - Seoul service.

The Canadian airline, WestJet has launched its first flight to Seoul from its global hub in Calgary, establishing a direct link between Alberta and South Korea. 

The carrier is operating a Boeing 787 Dreamliner on the route, which is scheduled to operate three times a week from now until 27th October 27, 2024, when the seasonal service will be paused until its scheduled return in Spring 2025. 

John Weatherill, WestJet Group Executive Vice-President and Chief Commercial Officer said: "Canada and South Korea's decades-long history in mutual support, shared values, and bilateral trade initiatives have set the stage for WestJet's service to Seoul, marking a significant milestone in strengthening cultural exchange and economic ties between the two nations. Bringing an authentic, reliable and essential service offering to life was possible due to the collaboration and advocacy of our dedicated WestJetters, countless government agencies and stakeholders passionate about bringing our cultures closer together."


Boeing ecoDemonstrator to continue to test technologies......

The U.S. plane maker, Boeing says it is testing three dozen technologies on its ecoDemonstrator program focused on strengthening operational efficiency and sustainability in cabin interiors, one of the most challenging parts of recycling an aeroplane. The company will begin testing this month using a 777-200ER (Extended Range).

The Boeing ecoDemonstrator projects include:

Airport operations: Testing to enable single-engine taxi and digital taxi clearances to reduce fuel use and enhance safety by reducing pilot workload
Airport noise: Quantifying the benefits of flight operation procedures, like steeper glide slope and continuous descent approach, to reduce community noise, fuel use and emissions
Waste-reducing materials: Lighter, recyclable and more durable floor coverings and recycled carbon fiber ceiling panels – both made with 25% bio-based resin
Noise and weight reduction: Cabin insulation to better reduce noise and regulate humidity and temperature, and fabric-covered acoustic panels for the bulkhead and galley
Future cabin concepts: Economy and business class seats with sensors that detect if someone is seated during taxi, takeoff and landing which can improve safety, and reduce crew workload and downtime for maintenance; a touchless water conservation lavatory; and galley technologies to make cabin service more efficient and reduce food waste

"The Boeing ecoDemonstrator program helps us make tangible improvements to our products – allowing us to reduce the environmental impacts of flying, improve the in-flight experience and strengthen the safety of our aeroplanes," said Stephanie Pope, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "We're grateful for the many partnerships within aviation and beyond who help us turn the seemingly impossible into reality."

19 May, 2024

Aviation leaders land in Riyadh to elevate global connectivity at the Future Aviation Forum, more than $12 billion deals expected

On Monday, the Saudi capital will host over 5,000 of the leading figures in global civil aviation from 120 countries, including Ministers from over 30 countries, leaders of 65 civil aviation authorities, airline chiefs, airport bosses, executives from aircraft manufacturers and the world’s largest investors, as they convene for the Future Aviation Forum.

Over 5,000 global aviation leaders convene in Riyadh this week for the third edition of Future Aviation Forum, featuring Ministers from 30 countries, industry experts, and the world’s major investors.

With a focus on "Elevating Global Connectivity," the Forum will showcase an unprecedented $100 billion worth of opportunities in Saudi Arabia's booming aviation sector as new frontiers are established.

The Future Aviation Forum is the foremost platform for the global aviation sector with over 70 agreements expected to be signed and insights shared from 120 speakers in charting the future of civil aviation.

With a focus on “Elevating Global Connectivity”, the three-day event features an extensive programme as industry experts deliberate over solutions to global aviation’s most pressing challenges, while showcasing the $100 billion investment program billion worth of opportunities available in Saudi Arabia’s aviation sector that will accelerate the development of aviation globally. Over 70 agreements and deals worth more than $12 billion are expected to be signed at the Forum, with major sector players scheduled to make significant announcements throughout the event.

FAF24 kicks off a monumental week for aviation regulators and other leaders, where the Kingdom will also play host to several sector events including the Seventh Meeting of the Director General of Civil Aviation Middle East Region, the Middle East and North Africa Air Regional Safety and Oversight Organization (RSOO), the Saudi Airports Awards, Airport Council International’s annual general assembly, the 1st Security Forum Arab Civil Aviation Organization and more.

The Future Aviation Forum will open with a keynote speech from His Excellency Saleh Al Jasser, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Transport and Logistic Services, before Salvatore Sciacchitano, President of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council takes the floor for a special address.

Iran President Helicopter crash latest -

The helicopter carrying Iran's president has been involved in a crash or heavy landing during a flight in foggy weather. 

There had been some the helicopter had been found, by some rescuers, which has since been denied by the local Red Crescent office. 

This news follows on from unconfirmed reports indicating that telephone contact may have been made with a passenger and a crew member of the downed helicopter.

President Ebrahim Raisi was travelling over far northwest of Iran following a visit to Azerbaijan in a convoy of three helicopters.  According to local news channels, the incident happened between Uzi and Jolfa, approximately 378 miles away from Tehran, although no wreckage has thus far been located or the helicopters sited. 

Interior minister Ahmed Vahidi said "The esteemed president and company were on their way back aboard some helicopters and one of the helicopters was forced to make a hard landing due to the bad weather and fog. - Various rescue teams are on their way to the region but because of the poor weather and fogginess it might take time for them to reach the helicopter."

A spokesperson for the emergency services told state media that a rescue helicopter had tried to reach the site but couldn't land due to the fog in the area. Local media are now also reporting the incident as a crash, leading some to speculate the helicopter was willfully brought down. 

President Raisi had been in Azerbaijan for the inauguration of a dam with the country's president, Ilham Aliyev. Following news of the incident, the President of Azerbaijan said he was 'seriously worried'  hearing about Ebrahim Raisi's helicopter crash. "Today, after meeting with the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ibrahim Raisi we were seriously worried by the news that the helicopter carrying the high delegation made an emergency landing in Iran.  - Our prayers to almighty God are with President Ibrahim Raisi and his accompanying delegation." 

He also said that his nation, Azerbaijan was ready to provide any necessary support to Iran.

18 May, 2024

ACO’s bespoke Heathrow escape hatch is a runway success

When an outdoor emergency escape hatch needed replacing at Heathrow Airport, it was vital the solution could be installed quickly to minimise disruptions to air traffic as much as possible. With no escaping the difficulties inherent to projects carried out at the world’s fourth busiest airport, the contractors reached out to ACO to help them hatch a plan.

Time for an upgrade

The escape hatch in question served a plant room below the south runway and, as the one previously in place was reaching the end of its useable life, it needed updating. Intended for emergency use should there be a serious problem in the plant room, the existing hatch featured a grill near ground level which left the inside of the plant room vulnerable to frequent rainwater ingress. Due in large part to the age and outdoor location of the site, the previous hatch had become difficult to open so something more useable was required.

Safety needed to be front of mind – the new hatch needed to be openable with one hand and allow someone on the inside to override the outside locking system so that in emergency situations workers could escape quickly. These operational requirements had to be tempered with the fact that airports are high-security environments so any risk of unauthorised entry via the hatch had to be reduced to practically zero.

The escape hatch installation was contracted to Design Build International (DBI) and headed up by Construction Manager Kelvin Sumner. DBI had just four nights to break out the existing escape hatch, install reinforcements, pour concrete, and install the new hatch.

Flight path pressure

Working at an airport meant there were several constraints specific to the site with security and safety requirements meaning that transport to and from the site took multiple layers of approvals and permits. This restriction meant planning was vital because a forgotten tool or unexpected change would mean having to wait until a member of security was available before making the round-trip to pick up any additional items.

Most of the installation work had to happen at night to avoid interrupting aeroplane landings and take-offs. This also meant that DBI had to be very strict about leaving the site by 4:30am each day. 

Finnair resumes flights to Tartu

Finnair will resume flights to Tartu, Estonia, from 2 June 2024. Finnair suspended flights to Tartu for a month so that an approach solution that doesn’t require a GPS signal could be introduced at Tartu airport. 

The approach methods previously used at Tartu airport were based on GPS signals. As a result, GPS interference in the area has sometimes prevented aircraft from approaching and landing at the airport. This led Finnair to suspend flights between Helsinki and Tartu from 29 April to 31 May.  

During May, the approach methods used at Tartu Airport have been updated so that some of the approaches can be used without a GPS signal. These renewed approach methods are based on radio signals sent from ground stations. These types of ground-based methods have been in use in aviation for a long time, and GPS interference does not affect their usability. Similar traditional approach methods are still in use at some airports as an alternative to GPS-based approach methods.  

"Estonian Air Navigation Services (EANS) has done an excellent job in implementing the alternative method. I want to thank all our partners in Estonia for solving this matter so swiftly," says Jari Paajanen, Vice President, Operations Control at Finnair. 

Finnair flies to Tartu twice a day, six days per week, and flights are operated by Finnair’s partner Norra with ATR aircraft.  

GPS interference has increased clearly since 2022, but it has not impacted the safe operation of flights. Finnair’s aircraft systems detect GPS interference, and the aircraft has other navigation systems that can be used when GPS interference occurs. Finnair and Norra pilots are also well aware of GPS interference and know how to prepare for it. 


Hawaiian Airlines starts new Salt Lake City-Honolulu service

Hawaiʻi’s hometown airline has started a new daily nonstop route between Salt Lake City (SLC) and Honolulu (HNL) ahead of the carrier's proposed takeover by Alaska Airlines.

Hawaiian Airlines flight HA84 departs HNL at 6:50 p.m. and arrives at SLC at 5:15 a.m. the following day. The return flight, HA83, departs SLC at 7 a.m. with a 9:55 a.m. arrival at HNL. 

“We know the Hawaiian Islands have a special place in the heart of Utahns and for some, a Hawaiʻi vacation also means reuniting with friends and family,” said Brent Overbeek, executive vice president and chief revenue officer at Hawaiian Airlines. “Our new Salt Lake City service comes at the perfect time for travelers planning their summer vacations and we look forward to welcoming them with our award-winning Hawaiian hospitality.”

“We extend a warm welcome to Hawaiian Airlines as they join the SLC International Airport family,” said Bill Wyatt, executive director, Salt Lake City International Airport. “Hawaiian Airlines has a reputation for excellence in hospitality and we look forward to many years of prosperity.”

Uzbekistan airport operator Air Marakanda announces new CEO

Air Marakanda, which manages Samarkand International Airport (SKD), has named Ulugbek Shamsikulov as its new Chief Executive Officer.  He replaces Anton Khojayan, who is moving to a new position in a state project.

Mr Shamsikulov said: “Under his excellent leadership, Anton has made a significant contribution to the development and modernisation of SKD, including the construction of our stunning new state-of-the-art terminal facility. We wish him every success moving forward.  I look forward to continuing the strategic vision to continue the growth of our airport’s route network and improvement in the quality of service enjoyed by passengers.”

Mr Shamsikulov brings three decades of aviation industry experience, after beginning his professional career as an engineer in Samarkand Airport’s Department of Development and Foreign Economic Relations. Having been promoted through a number of key posts, in 2013 he became a director of the airport, before departing in 2017. He returned a year later to the airport's emergency services and more recently has led the airport's airside ground operations.

The first major airport project in Uzbekistan to be built in a public-private partnership, Samarkand’s international terminal opened in early 2022, and doubled passenger numbers in each of its first two years. One million passengers used the airport for the first time in 2023.

SKD has already enjoyed continuing growth at the start of 2024, with 294,000 passengers using the ultra-modern airport terminal in the first three months of the calendar year, an increase of 39% on the same period of 2023. This helped SKD to report 55% growth in passenger numbers during the autumn-winter period (AWP) season, with 491,000 passengers using the terminal between 29 October 2023 and 30 March 2024. 

Canadian North & Air Greenland launch new route for arctic adventure!

Get ready for an extraordinary journey like no other! 

Canadian North and Air Greenland are joining up to provide a new travel experience that bridges culture, business, and tourism between Greenland and Canada.

This summer from June 26 to October 23, Air Greenland and Canadian North will offer direct interline flights every Wednesday between Nuuk, the capital of Greenland and Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut. Montreal, Kuujjuaq and Ottawa travellers will also enjoy same-day service to and from Nuuk via Iqaluit, making it easier than ever to reach the heart of Greenland's charm.

While on board, passengers will experience the warm embrace of Arctic hospitality with exceptional inflight service:

Air Greenland Dash 8 (Iqaluit ↔ Nuuk) – a complimentary fresh and delicious sandwich prepared by Kylling og Co., perfectly paired with coffee, tea and water.

Canadian North 737 (Ottawa ↔ Iqaluit / Montreal ↔ Iqaluit / Kuujjuaq ↔ Iqaluit) – complimentary hot meal and beverage service, topped off with a warm cookie and 'special coffee'.

This exciting interline partnership between Canadian North and Air Greenland enables a seamless journey through Greenland, Southern Canada, Nunavut, and Nunavik, with just one ticket purchase.

The launch of this route is a continuation of the 2022 agreement between Nunavut and Greenland, to increase cooperation in the areas of culture, education, fisheries and green energy, and, to pave the way for better mobility. The latter is now becoming a reality. This route will enhances Arctic connectivity and allow passengers to travel between Northern Canada and Greenland without needing to travel south first.

"Our mission is to lift Greenland, and with the opening of the route to Iqaluit, we will greatly contribute to further opening up the country for cooperation with our cousins and neighbours to the west. The desire to visit each other in the Arctic region has increased since the last scheduled flight between the two capitals in 2014. We believe that the time and the local market are now right to resume the route", says Malik Hegelund Olsen, Executive Chairman of Air Greenland.

Advanced Air Mobility taking centre stage at the Future Aviation Forum Riyadh.

More than 5,000 specialists from more than 100 countries, including executives from leading companies like NEOM, Lilium, Joby Aviation, Archer Aviation, FlyNow, Beta Technologies to discuss the future of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM).

Attendees will experience first-hand the latest innovations with vehicles and mock-ups on display, including Volodrone by NEOM, EHang, Archer, Arch Aero, Flynow, and Joby, showcasing ground-breaking advancements that are setting new standards in aerospace technology.

Panels and discussions to explore sustainable practices in aviation, focusing on eVTOL technology, solar electric flight, and the role of AI and IoT in enhancing environmental sustainability.

The next generation of air travel will take centre stage at the Future Aviation Forum (FAF24) in Riyadh on Monday 20 May, with an Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) pavilion showcasing the latest technologies and panel sessions from global air mobility leaders. electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft set to take centre stage as part of a wider focus on Advance Air Mobility (AAM). 

FAF24 will not only be a forum for strategic insights but will also feature an impressive line-up of industry leaders. CEOs from NEOM, Lilium, Joby Aviation, Archer Aviation, FlyNow, Beta Technologies will show off the exciting opportunities in the AAM sector. Attendees will also have the exclusive opportunity to explore a dedicated pavilion showcasing cutting-edge AAM vehicles, including a close-up look at Volodrone by NEOM, EHang, Archer, Arch Aero, Flynow, and Joby aircraft. This unique showcase at the pavilion highlights the tangible progress and future possibilities within the AAM industry. 

His Excellency Abdulaziz Al-Duailej, President of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) of Saudi Arabia said the "Kingdom’s unique terrain and the diverse needs of our citizens uniquely position us to benefit substantially from Advanced Air Mobility. With AAM, we're establishing a progressive aviation sector built upon a modern regulatory framework. The Future Aviation Forum is crucial for fostering global collaboration to integrate AAM into our transportation network, in alignment with Vision 2030, the Saudi Aviation Strategy, and our comprehensive environmental commitments." 

The WestJet Group starts non-stop service between Calgary and Iceland

The WestJet Group has started a new service linking Calgary with Reykjavik as part of the Canadian airline's plan to expand to new destinations. WestJet's service to Reykjavik (Keflavik) will be propelled by its growing Boeing 737 MAX fleet, operating four times weekly through to October 13, 2024

As WestJet executes upon its growth strategy, delivering an expansive network of convenient domestic connections into its global hub in Calgary, WestJet's impressive European network, is made easily accessible for Canadians across the country. With the inclusion of Iceland to its network, guests travelling from or through Calgary will gain access to seven transatlantic connections via WestJet's network this summer. For full details on WestJet's service between Calgary and Europe, visit WestJet.com.

"On behalf of The Calgary Airport Authority and our entire YYC Crew, I am thrilled to congratulate WestJet on its inaugural non-stop route from Calgary to Reykjavik," said Chris Dinsdale, President and CEO of The Calgary Airport Authority. "This new route is about more than just the connection between two cities, it's about recognizing a mutual commitment to global connectivity. In advancing that commitment, every step, every new destination, counts towards solidifying YYC's role and status as a global hub."

Further enhanced by the airline's interline agreement with Icelandair, WestJet's service to Reykjavik will enable guests to travel across Icelandair and WestJet's network via one boarding pass, with the convenience of a single check-in and baggage tagged and checked to their final destination.

"KEF is thrilled to greet its newest partner WestJet today," says Gudmundur Dadi Runarsson, Director for Airline Relations and Route Development Chief Commercial and Airport Development Officer at Keflavik Airport. "WestJet is showing confidence in Iceland as a destination by adding it to its impressive selection of travel opportunities, while at the same time opening Icelanders up to the experience of the great city of Calgary and all that the province of Alberta can offer. We look forward to forging a strong partnership with WestJet well into the future."



Departure time (local)

Arrival time (local)

Calgary – Reykjavik (Keflavik)

4x weekly

7:55 p.m.

8:25 a.m.

Reykjavik (Keflavik) - Calgary

4x weekly

9:45 a.m.

10:43 a.m.


Air Canada increases service to Ottawa

Air Canada is boosting its schedule serving Canada's capital, Ottawa, by almost 60 per cent with flights to Calgary and Winnipeg now operating year-round, increased flights providing additional capacity to Halifax and Quebec City, and the addition of widebody service to Vancouver. Additional schedule improvements include more flights to popular leisure destinations Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando, Cancun and Punta Cana this winter.

Up to 30 additional weekly flights for winter season compared to last year
Non-stop flights to Calgary and Winnipeg extended to year-round
Additional capacity added to Quebec, Halifax and Vancouver
More flights to Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando, Cancun and Punta Cana for winter 2024

"Ottawa is an important part of Air Canada's network and in response to demand, we are growing our capacity to our nation's capital city by almost 60 per cent compared to 2023. We are very excited to add more flights to the rest of the country with the extension of key non-stop routes to year-round and additional capacity to other cities. We are also adding capacity to popular sun destinations and in conjunction with our joint venture partner United Airlines, increasing options for travel to and from the U.S.," said Mark Galardo, Executive Vice President, Revenue and Network Planning, at Air Canada.

"I'm delighted to see Air Canada significantly increase air service in and out of Ottawa. This is great news for Ottawa's economy and recognizes the importance and vibrancy of the Ottawa market on the world stage. It's particularly welcome news for the tourism industry, for business owners, and for Ottawa residents travelling to destinations throughout North America," said Mark Sutcliffe, Mayor of Ottawa.

"Air Canada, a long-standing provider of frequent and reliable service to YOW, reinforces its presence with this notable capacity increase for the winter season. Timely and strategic, these flights cater to the needs of Ottawa-Gatineau residents as they jet off to their favourite destinations or welcome visitors from afar," said Joel Tkach, Vice President of business Development & Marketing, Ottawa International Airport Authority.