Friday, 3 September 2021

The next Virgin Galactic flight on hold pending FAA investigation

Virgin Galactic has announced the manifest for the next rocket-powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo Unity from Spaceport America, which will be the first commercial, human-tended research mission for the Company.

The “Unity 23” mission will be the 23rd flight for VSS Unity and will carry three paying crew members from the Italian Air Force and the National Research Council. The goal of the mission is to evaluate and measure the effects of the transitional phase from gravity to microgravity on the human body. Other payloads on board will study the effect of the microgravity environment on a range of chemical and physical properties. By testing and evaluating physiological and technological responses in sub-orbital flight, the mission aims to produce insights relevant to current and future spaceflight systems and technologies.

However,  the flight is on hold, pending clearance from the FAA after it started an investigation after it was revealed the last flight to the edge of space with Sir Richard Branson onboard went slightly off course. 

VSS Unity was not descending at the correct angle, it veered outside of its mandated airspace, for 1 minute, 41 seconds which has caused the investigation to be started,  The spacecraft  "did not fly outside of the lateral confines of the protected airspace," a Virgin Galactic spokesperson told "As a result of the trajectory adjustment, the flight did drop below the altitude of the airspace that is protected for Virgin Galactic missions for a short distance and time before reentering restricted airspace that is protected all the way to the ground for Virgin Galactic missions. - at no time did the ship travel above any population centres or cause a hazard to the public"

Once clearance has been given again by the FAA, the crew for the next flight will be:

ATSG Subsidiary PEMCO Delivers Second Boeing 737-700 FlexCombi

The second Boeing 737-700 FlexCombi™ arrived in Bahrain on August 29, 2021. (Photo: Business Wire)

Air Transport Services Group, Inc subsidiary PEMCO Conversions has delivered a second Passenger-to-FlexCombi™ converted aircraft to Bahrain-based Chisholm Enterprises, an internationally recognized provider of tailored aviation and business solutions in the Middle East. Chisholm subsidiary Texel Air, a non-scheduled cargo airline, will operate the Boeing 737-700FC (FlexCombi™) from Bahrain International Airport.

“We have shared a very successful history with PEMCO Conversions,” said John Chisholm, chairman and owner of Chisholm Enterprises, “having received and deployed the first B737-700 FlexCombi™ in August 2020, as well as four previous B737-300 converted freighters.”

The PEMCO B737-700FC currently offers three configurations: a 24-seat cabin plus a 2,640-cubic-foot cargo hold for up to 30,000 pounds of payload in six pallet positions; a 12-seat cabin plus a 3,005-cubic-foot cargo hold for up to 35,000 pounds of payload in seven pallet positions; or full-freighter mode consisting of a 3,370-cubic-foot cargo hold for up to 40,000 pounds of payload in eight pallet positions. The available positions will accommodate 88-inch by 125-inch or 88-inch by 108-inch pallets, with the eighth position accommodating a slightly reduced height pallet in full cargo mode.

Zurich is open for business......

With the news that Switzerland has moved to the UK's Green List, what better time to see the return of Swiss Air Lines to London City Airport for four weekly flights to Zürich. 

Set alongside a stunning lake and framed by alpine mountains, Zürich is a seamless blend of the indoor and outdoor. Stroll around the Old Town, explore the Viadukt and then take a dip in a ‘badi’ or open-air swimming pool, as loved by locals.

For the best views, hop on a train and head towards the mountains, or for the high life of a different kind, take a stroll down Bahnhofstrasse, one of the world’s most expensive shopping streets.  Zürich also loves to party, with an exciting network of bars and clubs open into the small hours and beyond.

Yesterday evening, Thursday 2 September 2021, saw an important debut for city centre airport, as at 1749, an Embraer E190-E2 made its first commercial flight there, The Helvetic Airways aircraft, registered HB-AZG, flew from Zurich to London in 1 hour 20 minutes. Flight LX 456, operated by Helvetic Airways on behalf of its partner company Swiss International Air Lines, was welcomed by a water salute from London City Airport’s fire service. Onboard the sold-out flight were 110 passengers, including representatives of the international media, business travellers and those visiting friends and family.

London City Airport Chief Operating Officer Alison FitzGerald said: "Welcoming Swiss and Helvetic back, and with the newest LCY-capable aircraft, Embraer’s E190-E2, is a significant milestone for London City. It demonstrates how we are collaborating with manufacturers and airlines to introduce more low-emission, low-noise aircraft to our airport, as well as re-establishing a vital business connection which we believe will go from strength to strength as the UK Government begins to further reduce barriers to travel. Our ambition is to be one of the most sustainable airports of our size in Europe, and it is my expectation that we will be welcoming more of these aircraft with more airlines as the industry recovers from COVID-19."

Griffin Global Asset Management orders five Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets

Boeing has confirmed that Griffin Global Asset Management has ordered five new Boeing 737 MAX 8s for its commercial aircraft portfolio. The aircraft are allocated from a previously cancelled order and being sold at a loss for the American manufacturer according to sources close to the deal.

In a deliberate move to mislead the travelling public, Boeing's senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing Ihssane Mounir referred to the jets as simply 737-8s in interviews and media statements. "Griffin Global Asset Management is building a first-class aircraft leasing business, and we are delighted that they have selected the 737-8 for their single-aisle portfolio."

"As market conditions rebound, we are finding opportunities to serve our airline customers in innovative ways. An important component of this strategy is providing balanced capacity that meets returning passenger demand," said Ryan McKenna, founder and CEO of Griffin, who achieved the low price deal on condition further orders from the leasing firm would be forthcoming.  

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Thursday, 2 September 2021

July Passenger Traffic Boost, but Well Below Pre-COVID Levels

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that both international and domestic travel demand showed significant momentum in July 2021 compared to June, but demand remained far below pre-pandemic levels. Extensive government-imposed travel restrictions continue to delay recovery in international markets. 

Because comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the extraordinary impact of COVID-19, unless otherwise noted all comparisons are to July 2019, which followed a normal demand pattern.

  • Total demand for air travel in July 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was down 53.1% compared to July 2019. This is a significant improvement from June when demand was 60% below June 2019 levels.  
  • International passenger demand in July was 73.6% below July 2019, bettering the 80.9% decline recorded in June 2021 versus two years ago. All regions showed improvement and North American airlines posted the smallest decline in international RPKs (July traffic data from Africa was not available).  
  • Total domestic demand was down 15.6% versus pre-crisis levels (July 2019), compared to the 22.1% decline recorded in June over June 2019. Russia posted the best result for another month, with RPKs up 28.9% vs. July 2019. 

“July results reflect people’s eagerness to travel during the Northern Hemisphere summer. Domestic traffic was back to 85% of pre-crisis levels, but international demand has only recovered just over a quarter of 2019 volumes. The problem is border control measures. Government decisions are not being driven by data, particularly with respect to the efficacy of vaccines. People travelled where they could, and that was primarily in domestic markets. A recovery of international travel needs governments to restore the freedom to travel. At a minimum, vaccinated travelers should not face restrictions. That would go a long way to reconnecting the world and reviving the travel and tourism sectors,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General. 

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Chairman of Azul Brazilian Airlines David Neeleman to join Lilium Board

Lilium GmbH, a regional electric air mobility firm confirmed David Neeleman has joined the Board of Directors of Lilium N.V. to be effective upon completion of Lilium's business combination with Qell Acquisition Corp.

With nearly 30 years of experience in commercial aviation and as the founder of five airlines, including JetBlue Airways and Azul Brazilian Airlines, David Neeleman brings significant expertise in building and scaling a mobility business across new markets. David currently serves as Chairman of Azul, which recently entered a strategic alliance with Lilium to transform high-speed regional transportation in Brazil.

Daniel Wiegand, Co-Founder and CEO of Lilium said: "I'm delighted to welcome David to the future Board of Directors of Lilium N.V. His decades of senior leadership experience in aviation and entrepreneurship will be integral to our Board as we prepare to launch our service in markets across the world."

David Neeleman said: "As a serial entrepreneur who has spent decades working in the aviation industry and watching it grapple with the challenge of sustainability, it's clear to me that Lilium has the right team, technology, and vision to fundamentally transform how we travel. I'm excited to join this accomplished team of Board members and help build a new kind of network and service powered by electric flight."

David joins other recently announced appointees to the post-combination Board, which is expected to be chaired by former Airbus CEO Thomas Enders and include Gabrielle Toledano, Chief Operating Officer at Keystone Strategy LLC, and Henri Courpron, Founder and Chairman of Plane View Partners, LLC and former CEO of International Lease Finance Corporation and Airbus North America.

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The Republic of Kazakhstan orders two Airbus A400Ms

The Republic of Kazakhstan has placed an order for two Airbus A400M aircraft and becomes the ninth operator together with Germany, France, United Kingdom, Spain, Turkey, Belgium, Malaysia and Luxembourg.

With the delivery of the first aircraft scheduled in 2024, the contract includes a complete suite of maintenance and training support. Together with the agreement a Memorandum of Understanding has also been signed to collaborate on Maintenance and Overhaul services and with a first step of creating a local C295 maintenance centre.

”The A400M will become the cornerstone of Kazakhstan’s tactical and strategic airlifting operations,” said Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. “This new export contract brings the total number of A400M orders to 176 aircraft, a figure that we expect to increase in the near future. With more than 100 aircraft delivered and 100,000 flight hours in operation, the A400M has proven its capabilities, reaching a state of maturity that many potential customers were waiting for.”

With the capacity to accommodate the country’s inventory and conduct military, civil and humanitarian missions, the A400M will enable Kazakhstan to quickly respond to any mission by rapidly deploying game-changing capabilities over long distances and enabling effective access to remote areas.

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ACIA Aero Leasing Adds New Customers in Europe and Asia

ACIA Aero Leasing has added two new lessees, Fly LeOne in Italy and NXT Air in Bangladesh, as the lessor continues to expand its customer base in major markets across the world.

“We are delighted to further broaden ACIA’s growing customer base both in Europe and Asia by adding our first airline customers in Italy and Bangladesh,” commented Sameer Adam, ACIA Aero Leasing Senior Vice President, Commercial. “Our commercial and technical teams worked closely with both carriers to overcome the significant logistical challenges to getting their aircraft delivered in view of the countries’ strict Covid-19 mitigation measures.”

Start-up Fly LeOne took delivery of a Beechcraft 1900D, which the carrier will operate on direct routes between Italy’s underserved regional airports and Mediterranean tourist destinations in addition to connecting small city pairings within the country.

Stefano Costantini, Chief Executive Officer of Fly LeOne, reacted to the delivery by emphasizing the ACIA team’s “strong support for our airline and working closely with the Fly LeOne team over the past six months to deliver this aircraft. As we look to put this first aircraft into service in the coming weeks, we are already looking forward to adding additional aircraft from ACIA as European and Italian passenger demand continues its recovery.”

British Airways starts next phase of lounge reopening

The UK's British Airways has opened the doors to its Concorde Room - the premium lounge for First Class passengers at New York's JFK and London's Heathrow airports.  on September 1sty with a number of other enhancements in store for customers.

To coincide with both Concorde Rooms opening their doors once again, British Airways will be introducing a new exciting cocktail menu, created exclusively for the airline by Mr Lyan (Ryan Chetiyawardana), a figurehead in the global cocktail scene. Driven by sustainability and his love for experimenting with new ingredients, he has carefully created an array of elegant cocktails for customers to enjoy depending on their individual tastes and preferences, ahead of their flight.

The new menu contains seven cocktails, with two unique British Airways serves designed in celebration of the airline’s heritage and iconic colleagues. The two special cocktails are named the Barton and Lawford after Lynne Barton, the first female British Airways pilot, and Bill Lawford, the first ever British Airways pilot in 1919.  The menu has been designed with a focus on the best of British seasonal ingredients that specifically embrace ‘in-flight’ and wind pollinated flavours. The Barton and Lawford will also be available in the Galleries Club lounges and First lounge.

Customers in the Concorde Room will continue to receive table service across the whole lounge, but visitors to other lounges will also benefit from using the airline’s new digital ‘Your Menu’ service which allows them to order food from the menu directly to their seat in the lounge with the use of a QR code close to them.

WestJet adds Toronto to Edinburgh to its international network and new non-stop service between Glasgow and Toronto

WestJet adds Toronto to Edinburgh to its international network and new non-stop service between Glasgow and Toronto

WestJet announced new service between Toronto and Scotland with the addition of non-stop flights to Edinburgh and Glasgow beginning in Spring 2022. Adding to the airline's international destination map, service between Edinburgh and Toronto is set to launch on June 2, 2022, while flights between Glasgow and Toronto will begin on May 20, 2022.   

"As we continue to rebuild our international network, we're pleased to offer our guests new options to connect via our Toronto hub for business and leisure to these incredible cities," said John Weatherill, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. "This spring, guests on both sides of the Atlantic will benefit from more choices and lower fares when travelling between Canada and Scotland."

With the addition of Edinburgh to the airline's international network, service between Toronto (YYZ) and Edinburgh (EDI) is set to operate three-times weekly effective June 2, 2022, while service between Toronto and Glasgow (GLA) will operate four-times weekly as of May 20, 2022.

"We're looking forward to welcoming Edinburgh to our international network and strengthening travel and tourism between our two countries," continued Weatherill. "Whether travellers are looking to discover Edinburgh's enchanting castles and cobbled streets or exploring the vibrance of Toronto and beyond, we're committed to introducing new destinations and routes to our network."

By Spring 2022, WestJet will offer service to two Scottish destinations with service from Toronto to Edinburgh and Glasgow and the resumption of flights between Halifax and Glasgow.

Details of WestJet's new services between Toronto and Scotland:



Start date


4x weekly

May 20, 2022


3x weekly

June 2, 2022

*New WestJet destination

"We are excited to see our partners at WestJet bringing these new routes to Toronto Pearson," said Janik Reigate, Director, Strategic Customer Relationships, Greater Toronto Airports Authority. "From curb to gate and back again, when you're ready to travel, you can do so knowing that your health and safety is our top priority. You'll notice our Healthy Airport commitment in action across all touchpoints of your airport journey, from parking, check-in and bag drop to shopping, dining and more."

"I welcome WestJet's commitment to Scotland and the launch of their new services to Toronto from both Edinburgh and Glasgow Airports," said Graeme Day, Minister of Transport, Scotland. "It is encouraging to see airlines develop their connectivity with Scotland at this time. Canada is an important market for Scotland, and I am sure these routes will be welcomed by both business travellers and tourists in both our countries. I also welcome the use of WestJet's latest generation aircraft that will help minimise carbon emissions. I wish WestJet and the airports every success with these routes." 

"We know there is huge interest in North America and Canada in particular, so welcoming a fantastic airline like WestJet to Edinburgh Airport is hugely exciting and we are glad to welcome them to Scotland's capital," said Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport. "People are beginning to plan those family reunions and longed for holidays so we hope new additions where possible will help to satisfy that demand, and the route will also present a great opportunity to strengthen business links. We look forward to welcoming WestJet to Edinburgh and showing off our fantastic capital city and everything else that Scotland has to offer."

"The announcement today that WestJet will launch Toronto services direct into both Glasgow and Edinburgh in spring 2022 is hugely welcome for the recovery of Scotland's inbound tourism markets. With Canada now a green list destination, making it easier for Canadians to visit, this adds further grounds for optimism for the return of one of Scotland's key international markets, said Denise Hill, Head of Engagement, Visit Scotland. "VisitScotland has enjoyed a very positive partnership with WestJet in promoting their continuing Halifax to Glasgow service and we look forward to working closely with them to make these additional services a success also. With a strong latent demand for travel, these new air routes present an opportune moment for Scottish tourism businesses to re-engage with this important market."

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United Invites MileagePlus Members to Donate Miles to Help Afghanistan Evacuee Aid Efforts

MileagePlus®Members can donate miles to non-profits providing air travel, medical care and meals to Afghan evacuees through United's mile crowd-sourcing platform, Miles on a Mission

United will match all donations up to five million miles

For the last week, United has directly supported the Department of Defense and its mission to transport Afghan evacuees to the U.S.

Participating non-profits, include:

Miles4Migrants: A non-profit that is using miles to book air travel for Afghans who have left their home country, and need flight assistance to reach their final destination.
Americares: A health-focused relief and development organization mobilizing medical professionals to provide in-flight medical care on United relief flights to the U.S.
World Central Kitchen: A food-focused, global relief organization that will provide meals to Afghan refugees as they arrive at various locations across the world.
"United has been proud to put our expertise to work and partner with the Department of Defense over the last week to help urgently evacuate thousands of people from Afghanistan," said Suzi Cabo, managing director of global community engagement, United Airlines. "We're now ready to offer our MileagePlus community the opportunity to support those organizations that are providing critical support to those Afghans and their families that risked their own lives to help our servicemen and women. We know our most loyal customers will step up to support those in need because they always do."

United's mile-raising campaign is an extension of the airline's ongoing collaboration with Americares, World Central Kitchen and Miles4Migrants to support the Afghanistan relief efforts. Medical professionals from Americares have joined United volunteers on several of the airline's recent relief flights to bring Afghan refugees, American citizens and service members to the U.S. United has also supported the efforts of World Central Kitchen at Washington Dulles International Airport as they provide comforting meals for all Afghan evacuees arriving in the U.S.

In addition to helping transport Afghan refugees to the U.S., United is working with partner organizations to help support the thousands of refugees who will need to be resettled across the country once they have been fully processed by the U.S. Government. United is partnering with Miles4Migrants to provide critically needed air travel to fly Afghan citizens from several military bases in the U.S. to their final destinations.  

"Like so many, we have been watching the tragic situation in Afghanistan unfold, and are working to support Afghans in their time of need however possible," said Andy Freedman, co-founder and managing director at Miles4Migrants. "We are grateful to have the support of MileagePlus members to help us fly as many Afghan refugees and other displaced persons from around the world to safe new homes."

Additionally, United is working closely with Walgreens to ensure the passengers on the airline's relief flights have all the critical personal care items they need to comfortably travel. Walgreens has generously donated personal care and comfort items to United including diapers, disinfecting wipes, feminine hygiene products, baby bottles and more, which are being provisioned onboard United's CRAF flights to the U.S.

So far, United has operated 13 international missions, carrying more than 3,908 U.S. citizens and Afghan evacuees safely to the U.S. More than 8,000 United employees have raised their hands to participate in these missions – working as crew members, onboard translators, volunteer onboard medics, coordinating the complex operation and more. Many of these employees have personal or family ties to Afghanistan and/or are military veterans.

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Seraph Aviation Group places one B737-800 with Joy Air in China

Seraph Aviation Group, the specialized aviation asset manager headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, is delighted to announce that it has successfully placed one B737-800 with Joy Air in the People's Republic of China.

David Butler, Chief Executive, Seraph Aviation Group, said: "We are delighted to have secured Joy Air as a new airline customer and are proud of our achievement to deliver an aircraft into China during the COVID pandemic. We look forward to commencing a long and positive relationship with Joy Air and we wish the airline well as it introduces the aircraft into service this month."

Seraph Aviation Group is a dedicated Aviation Asset Manager and Financial Advisor. The Group focuses on originating and managing aircraft investments for third parties, with expertise in managing a wide range of aviation assets throughout their life cycle and arranging aviation-related financings. Seraph Aviation Group is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland with offices in Stamford, CT, USA, and London, England.

Joy Air is a Xi'an state-owned airline that was launched by China Aviation Industry Group in 2008 and has been controlled by Xi`an Aerospace Investment Co., Ltd. since November 2018. Joy Air's main base is Xi'an, the capital city of the central province of Shaanxi, famous for its international tourist destination of the Terracotta Warriors archaeological site.

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Alaska Airlines opens new San Francisco lounge

Alaska Airlines unveils its brand-new Lounge at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) this week. With sights of the city and runway throughout the 9,200 square feet of Bay-Area inspired amenities, visitors will experience the best of the Bay at every turn.

"After much anticipation, we're thrilled to give our guests a place to work, relax, unwind and enjoy some of the best of what the Golden City has to offer when they travel through SFO on Alaska or a oneworld partner," said Sangita Woerner, senior vice president of marketing and guest experience at Alaska Airlines. "Hands down Alaska offers the single best value of any airport lounge membership in the country. Our eight lounges redefine the guest experience and offer a calm oasis for every type of traveler including kid-friendly spaces, peaceful nooks, local wine or beer and tasty, locally sourced bites."

Flyers will discover a variety of welcoming experiences in the new Lounge -- with a range of approachable spaces and amenities throughout, each guest will find a place they feel at home.

Those looking for a refreshing beverage will enjoy a full bar featuring complimentary Bay Area craft brews on tap, wines from local vineyards, and an espresso bar staffed by a trained barista. Guests with a sweet tooth can choose from a wide selection of favorites like made-to-order pancakes or dig into locally-based, mouthwatering sweet treats at the candy bar including Ghirardelli chocolates, Jelly Belly jelly beans and custom travel-themed cookies by Oakland Fortune Cookie Factory—a third-generation family business we are proud to support. Still hungry? Treat yourself to fresh meals at the bistro or belly up to the new sourdough toast cart, featuring San Francisco's famous sourdough from The Acme Bread Co.

Craving more? Dive in for a closer look on the blog: New SFO Lounge celebrates local flavor and flare.

Norwegian second quarter results show steady uplift of demand

Norwegian reported its second-quarter results and published the H1 2021 financial report. The results continued to be impacted by COVID-19 and travel restrictions in all markets. However, following the successful completion of the reconstruction process and the subsequent NOK 6 billion equity raise, the company is now well-positioned for future growth and to respond to increased customer demand.

Geir Karlsen, CEO of Norwegian, said: “The H1 financial report and Q2 results mark a clear improvement in both the financial situation, due to lower operating costs and the successful completion of the reconstruction process of the company, and the gradual ramp-up of our operations in response to increased passenger demand.”

Profit before tax (EBT) was NOK 1,590 million in the first half of 2021, compared with a loss of NOK 4,792 million in the same period in 2020. For the first half of 2021, production (ASK) was reduced by 94 percent compared to the same period last year. Total revenue in the first half of 2021 was NOK 591 million, compared with NOK 7,138 million in the same period last year, a decrease of 92 percent. Unit revenue increased by 22 percent following a yield increase of 93 percent and a decreased load factor by 28.8 percentage points. Average sector length decreased by 62 percent. At the end of first half of 2021, the total fleet comprised 51 aircraft. Up to 32 aircraft were operational during the first half of 2021 due to travel restrictions and lower demand.

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Constant Aviation, Official Sponsor of the Cleveland National Air Show, To Support U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds

  • Constant Is Official Aircraft Maintenance & AOG Support Sponsor and Provider for the 2021 Show
  • Constant Aviation to Provide Hangar Space for the Thunderbirds, Known for Their Thrilling Air Show Aerial Acrobatics
  • Cleveland Labor Day Weekend Tradition Another Reason for Constant Aviation Employees to Celebrate During the Company’s 15-Year Anniversary

Constant Aviation, the nation’s leading provider of quality maintenance, repair, overhaul and aircraft-on-ground (AOG) services, announced today that it is the Official Aircraft Maintenance & AOG Support sponsor and provider for the 2021 Cleveland National Air Show at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland on September 4-6, Labor Day Weekend.

Constant Aviation also will provide hangar space at its Cleveland Hopkins International Airport facility (ICAO: KCLE) and will provide other support for the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds are well known for their thrilling display of aerial acrobatics and demonstrate the finest aircraft in the Air Force fleet, the most advanced in the world.

“The Cleveland National Air Show is a Labor Day tradition that aviation geeks like my colleagues and I look forward to attending. Sponsoring the show and hosting the Thunderbirds is truly an honour,” said Constant Aviation CEO David H. Davies. “Our employees are looking forward to getting together outside of work to celebrate Labor Day and aviation during the company’s 15th anniversary.”

Constant Aviation will have a display of its own at the air show including one of its AOG service vans, which travel the country providing onsite aircraft maintenance, and a ground support equipment van featuring a Williams FJ44-3AP Engine.

BOC Aviation Limited signs unsecured syndicated US$935 million credit facilities

BOC Aviation Limited announced that it has signed unsecured syndicated US$935 million credit facilities comprised of a US$500 million revolving credit facility and a US$435 million term loan facility (the “Facilities”), both with a tenor of five years. Following a strong response from lenders after the launch into general syndication, the Facilities were increased to a combined final size of US$935 million from an initial launch amount of US$750 million.


Bank of Communications Co., Ltd, BNP Paribas, Citigroup Global Markets Singapore Pte. Ltd., DBS Bank Ltd., The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, MUFG Bank, Ltd, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited and United Overseas Bank Limited are the Original Mandated Lead Arrangers and Bookrunners (the “OMLABs”) for the Facilities. Participating in the Facilities are 16 financial institutions, including the OMLABs.


“We are very pleased to have completed this flexible financing package with some of our leading banking partners,” said Steven Townend, Deputy Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer of BOC Aviation. “The interest in this Facility has confirmed for us the continuing support of the loan markets for BOC Aviation and complements the liquidity that is available to us in the debt capital markets.”

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Hyatt Teams Up with Gopuff to Offer Everyday Essentials On-the-Go

The pilot program rolls out today with free deliveries at select Hyatt Place locations in the U.S., expanding the brand’s Necessities Program and bringing even more convenience to guests

Hyatt Hotel has announced a collaboration between the Hyatt Place brand and Gopuff, a go-to platform for consumers’ immediate everyday needs, such as drinks, snacks, over-the-counter medications, home and baby products and more, including alcohol in select markets.

Starting today at more than a dozen Hyatt Place hotels, this pilot program will create an added layer of convenience and comfort for travellers, providing guests at participating properties with fast, free delivery of thousands of everyday items. Guests at participating hotels can receive items in just 30 minutes delivered from Gopuff’s local micro-fulfilment centres. The collaboration will expand the Hyatt Place brand’s Necessities program, which offers guests a wide range of essentials to keep, borrow or buy, such as toothpaste, cellphone chargers or headphones.

In a recent survey, Hyatt learned that 60% of travellers have forgotten to pack an item (e.g., toiletries and first aid) for a business or leisure trip*. Leveraging data from the same survey, Hyatt and Gopuff identified the most-often-forgotten and most-likely-to-purchase items and collaborated to create in-app categories such as Travel Essentials, Spa Retreat, Movie Night, Office on the Go, and more, to ensure guests have easy, quick access to the items they need most while travelling.

“As both business and leisure travellers adjust their travel routines and seek new ways to travel safely, it’s important for us to keep the needs and wellbeing of our guests at the forefront of everything we do,” said Emily Wright, Global Brand Leader, Hyatt. “Every detail of the Hyatt Place experience is designed around innovation and intuitive design to make guest stays as seamless and comfortable as possible. Our collaboration with Gopuff is just another way the brand is helping guests get the most out of their stay, regardless of their reason for travel.”

Through this collaboration, Hyatt Place guests at participating hotels may enjoy the following benefits:

Opening PHL to Afghanistan evacuees

Following news that Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) would become the second entry point for evacuees arriving on Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) flights, American Airlines quickly mobilized to assist airport partners and city officials to prepare.

Leveraging knowledge and experience from previous operations at Dulles International Airport (IAD), American worked with PHL Airport Operations and federal partners to develop a process that would expedite CRAF arrivals. Central to the plan, passengers and crew would be allowed to deplane into secure areas of the airport rather than waiting on board aircraft — improving the experience for evacuees and ensuring aircraft could be cleaned and redeployed on future missions without delay.

Overnight, portions of Terminal A-West and the Terminal A-East baggage claim volunteered by American were secured and repurposed into relief areas for evacuees waiting to be vetted and screened for entry into the U.S.

An array of city, state and federal agencies as well as local hospitals and nonprofit organizations also mobilized to provide care and assistance to evacuees after arrival. Once initial vetting and coronavirus testing are complete, evacuees have on-site access to Dari, Pashto, Farsi and Urdu translation services, religious space, medical care and aid stations with food, medicine, personal care items and children’s toys.

The plan was put to the test Saturday morning. Shortly after 4 a.m. ET, an American Boeing 777-200 with hundreds of evacuees touched down from Europe — and within 40 minutes, all passengers and crew were able to deplane. Since then, the process has continued to improve. American’s second mission, which arrived at PHL on Saturday, took less than 20 minutes to offload passengers and bags. Several military aircraft have also landed at PHL since Operation Allies Refuge expanded to PHL. Unable to utilize jet bridges, American provided airfield buses to transport evacuees from remote pads to the terminal.

“We’ve been able to develop and refine a seamless 24/7 operation led by the airport, city agencies, the military and our federal partners,” said Anthony Stanley, PHL Director of Administration and Planning for American Airlines. “In the past three days, more than 1,600 evacuees have arrived at PHL on CRAF flights — and we’re prepared to welcome even more in the coming days.”

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UK holiday airline Jet2 turning its back on Boeing with a massive Airbus order

In a deal worth approximately $4.9billion at list prices, UK holiday airline Jet2 has ordered 36 Airbus A321neos jets, the planemaker and carrier confirmed today.  In addition, Jet2 also has purchase option rights that could see the order increased to 60 aircraft. 

Philip Meeson, Executive Chairman said, “ will be proud to  operate the Airbus A321neo in the years ahead.  This aircraft  is, in our opinion,  the most efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft in its class today – it will give our holiday customers a wonderfully comfortable and enjoyable experience as they travel with us for their well deserved Jet2holiday.”

The aircraft will be configured for 232 seats with an Airspace cabin featuring innovative lighting, new seating products and 60 percent larger overhead baggage bins for added personal storage.

“We very much welcome’s decision. Traditionally having been operating non fly-by-wire aircraft, we note with great satisfaction that after having tested a couple of leased A321s and run a comprehensive evaluation, is forward-looking and investing in modern and future proof Airbus fly-by-wire technology. This is a testimony to’s vision of efficiency, quality, performance and environmentally friendly flying,” said Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International.

The A320neo Family incorporates the latest technologies, including new generation engines and Sharklets, delivering a 20 per cent reduction in fuel consumption per seat. With an additional range of up to 500 nautical miles/900 km. or two tonnes of extra payload, the A321neo will deliver with additional revenue potential.

Monday, 30 August 2021

Qantas restarting international flights......

Gradual restart planned around National Cabinet’s phased reopening of international borders.
Current date of December 2021 remains in reach, based on pace of vaccine rollout.
Plans remain dependent on Government decisions in coming months, including future quarantine requirements.
Destinations with high vaccination rates are initial focus, including North America, UK, Singapore, Japan.
Early return of five A380s to meet high demand to Los Angeles and London from mid-2022.
Total of 10 A380s with upgraded cabins to return to service; two to be retired.

The Qantas Group has released more details on preparations for restarting its international flight programme, with plans linked to the vaccine rollout in Australia and key overseas markets.

On current projections Australia is expected to reach National Cabinet’s ‘Phase C’ vaccination threshold of 80 per cent in December 2021, which would trigger the gradual reopening of international borders.

Similarly, key markets like the UK, North America and parts of Asia have high and increasing levels of vaccination. This makes them highly likely to be classed as low risk countries for vaccinated travellers to visit and return from under reduced quarantine requirements, pending decisions by the Australian Government and entry policies of other countries.

This creates a range of potential travel options that Qantas and Jetstar are now preparing for. While COVID has shown that circumstances can change unexpectedly, the long lead times for international readiness means the Group needs to make some reasonable assumptions based on the latest data to make sure it can offer flights to customers as soon as they become feasible.

Flights to destinations that still have low vaccine rates and high levels of COVID infection will now be pushed out from December 2021 until April 2022 – including Bali, Jakarta, Manila, Bangkok, Phuket, Ho Chi Minh City and Johannesburg. Levels of travel demand – and therefore, capacity levels – will hinge largely on government decisions on alternative requirements to mandatory hotel isolation for fully vaccinated travellers.

Assuming current projections hold and the 80 per cent vaccine threshold is met in December, Qantas and Jetstar plan to trigger a gradual restart as outlined below. If those assumptions change or dates move, the restart plans will adjust accordingly.

Sunday, 29 August 2021

Bournemouth Airport at 80....

Bournemouth Airport is celebrating its 80th birthday this month having started life as an RAF base in August 1941.

RAF Hurn as it was then known, because of its proximity to Hurn village, was vital to the defence of southern England during the Second World War.

Control tower in 1989  photo Bournemouth Airport
It was used by both the RAF and United States Army Air forces until 1944 when it was transferred to civilian control and served as London’s transatlantic airport until Heathrow opened in 1948. Back then Pan Am operated a New York to Hurn flight five days a week, with a journey time of almost 18 hours because of various fuelling stops along the way.

Fast-forward to today and Bournemouth Airport will serve in excess of 30 domestic and international destinations in 2020/21 with more being added all the time as it rebuilds its route network following the impacts of travel restrictions caused by the pandemic.

Photo Bournemouth Airport

Steve Gill, Managing Director of Bournemouth Airport, said: “It’s great to be marking our 80th birthday and who would have guessed that a wartime airfield all those years ago would grow into the modern, international airport we see today.

Hybrid Electric flight comes to South West England

Ampaire, a pioneer in hybrid electric aircraft technology, launches demonstration flights between Exeter Airport and Cornwall Airport Newquay this week, to advance the use of sustainable aviation, driving down costs and emissions on short regional routes.  The flights are part of a series of government-backed trials aimed at moving the UK towards green aviation.

Demonstration flights will be flown by its Electric EEL technology aircraft.  The EEL, a modified US-built six-seat Cessna 337 Skymaster, features a battery-powered electric motor at the front and conventional combustion engine at the rear, enabling a reduction in emissions and operating costs by as much as 30%.  The aircraft will fly between these two regional airports, 85 miles apart, on a combination of battery and piston power, collecting valuable data to monitor fuel savings, efficiency and noise.

Ampaire uses the EEL as an important research and development platform.  It is currently developing hybrid electric power train upgrades for 9- to 19-seat regional aircraft, including the Cessna Grand Caravan and Twin Otter.  It views the near-term opportunity to transform existing turboprop aircraft as the first step to fully electric aircraft, which will become feasible as battery technology advances.  

Ampaire Ltd heads a UK-based consortium created to explore regional electric aviation transport solutions.  Last year the team received £2.4 million from the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) £30 million Future Flight Challenge towards the consortium’s £5 million 2ZERO programme.

2ZERO (Towards Zero Emissions in Regional Aircraft Operations) involves the operation of hybrid electric aircraft on regional routes in South West UK, together with a study of the ecosystem required to enable the future of electric aircraft within existing airport and airline operations.

More flights for Brussels Airlines this winter

Brussels Airlines sees an increase in the demand for winter-sun destinations from both individual passengers and travel agents.
As of 30 September Brussels Airlines adds Marrakech to its flight offer.
As from 31 October also flights to winter-sun destinations Lanzarote & Hurghada.
Additional flights to Tenerife and Gran Canaria during school holidays.
In the aftermath of a rainy summer in Belgium, during which the flights to vacation destinations in Southern Europe were particularly successful, Brussels Airlines notices that also in the coming months there is a demand for holiday destinations in the sun. The airline wants to meet this demand with extra flights to winter-sun destinations.

As from 30 September, Marrakech will for the first time be part of Brussels Airlines' offer. The Moroccan city will be connected twice a week with flights on Thursdays and Sundays. Thanks to the low chance of precipitation, this city with its wide variety of cultures is the ideal destination for either a weekend or a longer vacation in the sun.

For the first time since March 2020, Hurghada is again part of the Brussels Airlines network. As from 31 October, the Red Sea resort will be served three times a week (Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday).

With the addition of Lanzarote as from 31 October, Brussels Airlines strengthens its presence on the Canary Islands, where it will also fly to Tenerife and Gran Canaria this winter. To these last two destinations additional frequencies are added during the Belgian school holidays. With flights on Thursdays and Saturdays, Lanzarote is the ideal destination for both short and longer winter vacations in the sun.

The complete winter offer of Brussels Airlines will follow in the course of September. 

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Massive losses for Australian airline Qantas

Photo Getty
The Qantas Group has posted a substantial full-year loss as a result of the COVID crisis – but has started FY22 in a fundamentally better position to deal with uncertainty and manage its recovery compared with 12 months ago.

Total revenue loss from COVID reached $16 billion as the full-year impact of minimal international travel and multiple waves of domestic border restrictions continued to hit travel demand.

Underlying Loss Before Tax: $1.83 billion
Statutory Loss Before Tax: $2.35 billion
$12 billion revenue impact from COVID-19 crisis in FY21
Net debt reduced in 2H21 to $5.9 billion
Statutory Net Free Cash flow of $267 million in 2H21
Restructuring program ahead of target, delivering $650 million in year one
Total liquidity of $3.8 billion, providing buffer against uncertainty
95 per cent of domestic flying cash positive
Record performance by Qantas Freight mostly offsetting cost of idling international operations
Continued strong cash generation, growth in members at Qantas Loyalty
Updated plan for restart of international services from end-2021
Ongoing flexibility for customers in response to booking uncertainty

The Group’s Underlying PBT loss was $1.83 billion. The statutory loss before tax – which includes one-off costs such as redundancies and aircraft write-downs – was $2.35 billion. Underlying EBITDA was $410 million, in line with guidance provided in May.

Periods of open domestic borders in the second half saw significant cash generation by Qantas and Jetstar, which helped the Group to reduce net debt from $6.4 billion in February 2021 down to $5.9 billion by the end of June. Throughout the year, cash flow was underpinned by continued strong performance by Qantas Loyalty and significantly higher international yields for Qantas Freight.

As well as delivering an essential service under very challenging circumstances, the Group made significant progress towards its recovery program. Planned rightsizing is largely complete and much restructuring has been implemented. Central to these changes has been the ability to better manage costs in the face of sudden border closures. Cost benefits from the recovery program were ahead of expectations for FY21 at $650 million.

Deeper Scan – a game-changer in hardware validation, threat and anomaly detection

Scanning electronic items is an essential part of airport security. NWPro Ltd are making this a quicker, easier and less invasive process for passengers

Airports are at risk of falling victim to a wide array of threats, but one that is persistently challenging to overcome is detecting explosives inside baggage. Both from an operational and a governance perspective, airport security is incredibly complex. Authorities need to provide effective, efficient and passenger friendly screening systems, whilst staying ahead of evolving security threats. Airports employ reliable processes and technologies to detect threats in baggage, however, these are invasive for passengers and resource intensive for airlines and airports.

In 2018, DASA launched a themed call: Finding Explosives Hidden in Electrical Items as part of the Future Aviation Security Solutions (FASS) programme managed by the Home Office and the Department for Transport.