Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Bamboo Airways accelerating technology-led recovery in partnership with IBS Software

 Vietnam's private carrier Bamboo Airways is working with IBS Software to power its passenger service system (PSS) and its fast-growing Bamboo Club loyalty program, as it continues its focus on crisis recovery and enhancing the digital customer experience.

With Vietnam's pandemic under control, and travel sector growth in close reach, Bamboo Airways resumes its plans to achieve its ambitious goals. This year, the target is to grow its fleet to over 40 aircraft whilst expanding services to the US, Europe and around Asia Pacific.

As traveller needs evolve, digital touchpoints become ubiquitous and personalization more pervasive.  Adopting new technology is even more essential and for the airline, this means working to become the leading digitalized airline in the region.

"Bamboo Airways has leveraged technology to elevate the customers experience and optimize the airline's resources. Bamboo Airways will continue to upgrade and innovate, following our motto 'Put customers at the centre of business', to accelerate the process and become an international 5-star airline," says Hoang Ngoc Thach, Deputy Chief Commercial Officer of Bamboo Airways.

Since it started operating in January 2019, Bamboo Airways has embraced IBS Software's iFly Res, an omni-channel Software as a Service (SaaS) commerce platform, to underpin its PSS. Bamboo Airways has deployed iFly Res, one of the first New Distribution Capability (NDC) compliant PSS systems in the world, to power functions including passenger reservations, schedules and flight control, inventory control, fares and ticketing, and departure control.

United now has PayPal QR codes as an inflight payment option

United and PayPal have announced a new way to make touch-free inflight purchases, even in areas without Wi-Fi. Starting next month, United customers on select flights can simply show a flight attendant the PayPal QR Code in the PayPal app and use it to buy snacks, drinks and other inflight purchases while onboard.

United is the first airline to offer PayPal QR Codes, and this partnership is part of United's easy-to-use, industry-leading suite of contactless payment tools. United was the first airline to give customers in economy cabins the option to pre-order snacks and beverages from the airline's app and website, and also offers customers the ability to easily store payment information in a digital wallet.

PayPal QR Codes can be used on select flights departing from Chicago O' Hare International Airport in November and before the end of the year, will extend to all flights across the entire network where contactless payment is available.

"Our contactless payment offering is built on simplicity and choice and it's another way we're improving the overall experience of flying United," said Toby Enqvist, chief customer officer for United. "PayPal is a terrific partner and this technology gives our customers another easy way to make purchases, even when they're not online. We expect to introduce even more new and innovative options for our customers in the future through our collaboration with PayPal."

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New routes, new planes and more choice than ever - Delta's Boston Bonanza

Five new routes and more modernized, fuel-efficient aircraft are set to debut at Logan International Airport in 2022, as Boston’s No. 1 global airline continues building up a premier hub and international gateway.

Five new routes and more modernized, fuel-efficient aircraft are set to debut at Logan International Airport in 2022, as Boston’s No. 1 global airline Delta, continues building up a premier hub and international gateway to battle against budget airline JetBlue. 

“We’ve strengthened our Boston hub as demand has accelerated, adding about 3,800 more seats a day by next summer than our last peak in 2019,” said Joe Esposito, Delta’s S.V.P. – Network Planning. “Boston is a fast-growing market with a booming economy, and we’re committed to offering customers significant choice and better convenience when making their travel plans, in addition to Delta’s superior products and experience.”

By next summer in Boston, Delta will operate up to 160 daily nonstop flights to 55 destinations, a more than 20% increase in capacity since our pre-pandemic height in October 2019. Including Delta’s partners, customers can connect to more than 150 cities across the globe.

Introducing new service to Athens, Tel-Aviv, Baltimore, Denver and San Diego in summer 2022.
Welcoming new Airbus A321neos into Delta’s fleet with first flights out of Boston in spring 2022.
Offering more Delta flights from Boston than ever before – a +20% capacity increase from pre-pandemic height.

“We are excited to welcome new Delta flights to Boston, connecting visitors and travellers to exciting destinations around the world,” said Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. “These flights coming to Logan Airport in 2022 will allow more people to access hundreds of destinations and the global economy.”

New global destinations to explore......

Infrastructure Costs Increasing $2.3 Billion in a Crisis is Outrageous says IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) warned that planned increases in charges by airports and air navigation service providers (ANSPs) will stall recovery in air travel and damage international connectivity. 

Confirmed airport and ANSP charges increases have already reached $2.3 billion. Further increases could be tenfold this number if proposals already tabled by airports and ANSPs are granted. 

“A $2.3 billion charges increase during this crisis is outrageous. We all want to put COVID-19 behind us. But placing the financial burden of a crisis of apocalyptic proportions on the backs of your customers, just because you can, is a commercial strategy that only a monopoly could dream up. At an absolute minimum, cost reduction—not charges increases—must be top of the agenda for every airport and ANSP. It is for their customer airlines,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

A case in point is found among European air navigation service providers. Collectively, ANSPs of the 29 Eurocontrol states, the majority of which are state-owned, are looking to recoup almost $9.3 billion (€8 billion) from airlines to cover revenues not realized in 2020/2021. They want to do this to recover the revenue and profits they missed when airlines were unable to fly during the pandemic. Moreover, they want to do this in addition to a 40% increase planned for 2022 alone. 

Other examples include:  

Alaska Airlines agrees codeshare deal with Iberia Airlines

Alaska Airlines launches new codeshare agreement with Iberia Airlines

Alaska Airlines has agreed on a new codeshare agreement with the Spanish carrier Iberia Airlines, a fellow member of the oneworld alliance and part of the massive IAG group of airlines.

This new agreement strengthens the existing partnership between the two airlines, giving flyers exciting and convenient travel options for Iberia passengers to easily connect to more than 40 routes throughout Alaska's network.

Iberia has nonstop service between Los Angeles and its Madrid hub, and seasonal service between San Francisco and Barcelona – enabling seamless connectivity to the Alaska network beyond both California cities. 

"We're thrilled to expand our cooperation with Iberia, one of our newest partners in oneworld," said Nat Pieper, senior vice president of fleet, finance and alliances at Alaska Airlines. "Alaska joined oneworld to efficiently link our network to the world, and this enhanced partnership with Iberia brings Europe one step closer."

Alaska launched its partnership with Iberia on March 31, 2021, the same day Alaska formally became a member of the oneworld global alliance. The partnership with Iberia enables our Mileage Plan members to earn miles on Iberia flights and features reciprocal elite benefits, including preferred seat selection; priority check-in, security clearance and boarding; lounge access; and extra baggage allowance, with further enhancements coming over the next several months. Iberia has been a member of oneworld since 1999.

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

New service between Toronto and Dublin from WestJet

The Canadian airline Westjet has confirmed it will deploy Boeing 737 MAX jets on transatlantic flights this coming spring. The carrier will start a direct route connecting WestJet's Toronto hub with Dublin four times a week from 15th  May, which will become a daily operation in June 2022.

"As demand increases, we know travellers are looking for convenient and affordable options for travel between Canada and Europe," said John Weatherill, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. "As we continue to focus on expanding our network from our Toronto hub where we offer 33 international destinations, these flights will further strengthen business and leisure ties between Canada and Ireland and will increase connectivity between two key markets."

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China Eastern Airlines to host 2022 IATA Annual General Meeting

China Eastern Airlines will host the 78th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit in Shanghai, People’s Republic of China, on 19-21 June 2022.  

This will be the third time China will host the global gathering of aviation's top leaders. The AGM was previously held in Beijing in 2012 and in Shanghai in 2002.  

“We look forward to gathering the aviation industry in Shanghai for the 78th IATA AGM. China is a dynamic aviation market, with its domestic travel among the fastest to recover from the damage brought by COVID-19. We are delighted to be able to bring the AGM to China again,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.  

“China Eastern Airlines is excited to host the IATA AGM and to welcome our industry colleagues to our home city of Shanghai. In the 20 years since the AGM was last held in Shanghai, the city has completely changed. We look forward to showcasing our vibrant city and warm Chinese hospitality,” said Liu Shaoyong, Chairman, China Eastern Airlines.  

The decision to host the 78th IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit was made by the 77th AGM and World Air Transport Summit in Boston.  

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BOC Aviation announce orders for 10 firm and 15 option shipsets of Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engines

BOC Aviation Limited has announced orders for 10 firm and 15 option shipsets of Pratt & Whitney GTF™ (“GTF”) engines to power new Airbus A320neo family aircraft already in the Company’s order book and scheduled for delivery in 2023 and 2024.

The GTF engine is offered through Pratt & Whitney, a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft and helicopter engines, and auxiliary power units.

“This repeat order reflects the highly efficient performance of the GTF engine that will continue to power a significant portion of our A320 family fleet and orderbook,” said Robert Martin, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of BOC Aviation. “We have acquired 47 shipsets of GTF engines to date. Our relationship with Pratt & Whitney and its related entities dates back to 1997. Since then, engines produced by Pratt & Whitney have powered 230 aircraft in our portfolio, representing more than 25% of the total aircraft that we have purchased or committed to purchase.”

Rick Deurloo, Chief Commercial Officer, Commercial Engines, Pratt & Whitney, said, “We thank BOC Aviation for its continued confidence in the GTF engine. We have a strong, almost 25 year relationship with BOC Aviation and we look forward to supporting its latest order of game-changing GTF engines.”

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Losses Reduce but Challenges Continue.......

  • Net industry losses are expected to reduce to $11.6 billion in 2022 after a $51.8 billion loss in 2021 (worsened from the $47.7 billion loss estimated in April). Net 2020 loss estimates have been revised to $137.7 billion (from $126.4 billion). Adding these up, total industry losses in 2020-2022 are expected to reach $201 billion.
  • Demand (measured in RPKs) is expected to stand at 40% of 2019 levels for 2021, rising to 61% in 2022.
  • Total passenger numbers are expected to reach 2.3 billion in 2021. This will grow to 3.4 billion in 2022 which is similar to 2014 levels and significantly below the 4.5 billion travelers of 2019.
  • Robust demand for air cargo is expected to continue with 2021 demand at 7.9% above 2019 levels, growing to 13.2% above 2019 levels for 2022

IATA’s Director General, Willie Walsh said: “The magnitude of the COVID-19 crisis for airlines is enormous. Over the 2020-2022 period total losses could top $200 billion. To survive airlines have dramatically cut costs and adapted their business to whatever opportunities were available. That will see the $137.7 billion loss of 2020 reduce to $52 billion this year. And that will further reduce to $12 billion in 2022. We are well past the deepest point of the crisis. While serious issues remain, the path to recovery is coming into view. Aviation is demonstrating its resilience yet again,” 

The air cargo business is performing well, and domestic travel will near pre-crisis levels in 2022. The challenge is international markets which remain severely depressed as government-imposed restrictions continue.  

“People have not lost their desire to travel as we see in solid domestic market resilience. But they are being held back from international travel by restrictions, uncertainty and complexity. More governments are seeing vaccinations as a way out of this crisis. We fully agree that vaccinated people should not have their freedom of movement limited in any way. In fact, the freedom to travel is a good incentive for more people to be vaccinated. Governments must work together and do everything in their power to ensure that vaccines are available to anybody who wants them,” said Walsh.

Re-establishing global connectivity, the 11.3 million jobs (pre-COVID-19) in the aviation industry, and the $3.5 trillion of GDP associated with travel and tourism should be priorities for governments. 

“Aviation is resilient and resourceful, but the scale of this crisis needs solutions that only governments can provide. Financial support was a lifeline for many airlines during the crisis. Much of that—approximately $110 billion— is in the form of support that needs to be paid back. Combined with commercial borrowing the industry is now highly leveraged. We don’t want handouts, but wage support measures to retain critical skills may be necessary for some airlines until governments enable international travel at scale. And regulatory alleviations—like continued slot wavers while international traffic recovers—will be needed well into 2022,” said Walsh.

Outlook Drivers


Global demand, measured in RPKs, is recovering steadily. 

Avolon to partner with IAI, world’s leading independent freighter conversion company, as launch customer for the IAI A330-300 P2F cargo conversion programme

Avolon to partner with IAI, world’s leading independent freighter conversion company, as launch customer for the IAI A330-300 P2F cargo conversion programme
Avolon commits to 30 Airbus A330-300 P2F conversion slots between 2025 and 2028
Air cargo revenues forecasted to be over US$150 billion in 2021 with traffic expected to double over next 20 years reflecting growth in e-commerce
Avolon, the international aircraft leasing company, announces a significant commitment to the global air freighter market to capitalise on the growth in e-commerce. Air cargo revenues are forecasted to exceed US$150 billion in 2021 with traffic expected to double over the next 20 years.

To capitalise on this clear opportunity, Avolon has signed an agreement with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the world’s leading independent freighter conversion company. Avolon will be IAI’s launch customer for their Airbus A330-300 freighter conversion programme. The agreement will see Avolon partner with IAI on its STC development and take 30 A330-300 conversion slots with IAI between 2025 and 2028.

IAI A330 Freighter

Avolon has identified IAI as the global leader in the passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion market. With a range of over 3,600 nautical miles at maximum payload of 61 tonnes, the IAI A330-300 freighter is uniquely placed to support the forecasted growth in e-commerce over the next 20 years. The IAI A330-300 product will offer a competitive edge to air cargo operators looking to expand or replace their medium wide body freighter fleets.

IAI’s A330-300 P2F will increase cargo volume capacity with up to 27 main deck pallet positions, one more than the competition, and will drive enhanced cargo loading performance due to its optimized door position. These product advantages will drive improvements in the most important operating measures for companies in the air freight market.
Avolon commits to 30 Airbus A330-300 P2F conversion slots between 2025 and 2028


Dómhnal Slattery, Avolon CEO, commented: “We identified IAI as a long-time global leader in the aircraft conversion business and the right partner for Avolon to capitalise on the unparalleled growth in e-commerce. The global air freight market is worth over US$150 billion annually today and the sector is transforming, with air cargo traffic expected to double over the next 20 years. This agreement signals Avolon’s intention to be a leading player in that expansion.

We believe the IAI A330-300 P2F will be the wide body freighter of choice this decade and beyond, replacing retiring aircraft and providing the volume capacity required to meet market needs. In partnering with IAI we have identified the most efficient operator in the freight conversion market, guaranteeing more cargo pallet capacity and crucially, faster turn around times, in a market where every inch and second count.”

IAI President & CEO, Boaz Levy, said: "For the second time in recent years, IAI's Aviation Group is making history. Just two years ago we announced that we will be the first in the world to perform a passenger-to-freighter conversion on the B777-300ER, and today we are announcing that we will perform the cargo conversions for the Airbus A330-300 aircraft. IAI has proven time and again its leading position as the powerhouse of cargo conversions, globally. I am grateful to our partners at Avolon for their faith in our abilities."

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‘Change for Good’ continues to support children’s education - HK$1.56 million in 2020 despite huge disruption to global air travel

Cathay Pacific and UNICEF HK raised HK$1.56 million in 2020 despite huge disruption to global air travel

Cathay Pacific Airways and the Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF HK) announced this week that the ‘Change for Good’ (CFG) inflight fundraising programme raised a total of HK$1.56 million over the 2020 programme period.

Last year was especially difficult for the whole world. COVID-19, and the resultant travel restrictions and quarantine requirements in place around the world, brought about an unprecedented disruption of the global air travel market, and the repercussions have been huge. As all CFG donations comprise spare change collected from passengers travelling on Cathay Pacific flights, the donations raised this year by the CFG programme were undoubtedly a hard-won result thanks to the unremitting efforts of all parties.

Since the onset of the pandemic, many schools temporarily closed leaving children facing a global learning crisis. More than half of the world’s children and young people lack digital connectivity, which affects their access to remote learning. UNICEF and its partners are working to adopt and adapt technology to provide distance learning and help schools reopen safely. The CFG donations will be used for UNICEF’s “Schools for Asia” programme to keep children learning amidst the pandemic. Around one month’s worth of donations to the CFG programme will also be allocated to the Cathay Pacific Wheelchair Bank, which aims to improve the mobility of children suffering from severe neuromuscular diseases in Hong Kong.

ATOL renewals statement October 2021 from UK's CAA

The UK Civil Aviation Authority confirms that of the 1,133 ATOL licences that expired on 30 September 2021, 871 have been renewed, with a further 118 still in the process. In total there are now 1,517 ATOL holders, with 661 due to renew in March 2022.

With 217 businesses applying in the fourteen days leading up to the 30 September deadline, 85 of which were in the last three days, the UK Civil Aviation Authority urges travel businesses that are due to renew in March 2022 to apply in good time before the 31 March 2022 deadline because of the time required to analyse and process applications and put any required conditions in place. Businesses that fail to allow reasonable time to apply by the deadline risk being unable to take ATOL protected bookings.  

ATOL Licences as of 30 September 2021   -   1,133

Did not apply 2021   -   144 *

Granted 2021   -   871

Applied but not yet renewed - 1 October 2021    -   118 **

Michael Budge, Head of ATOL Licensing at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said:   “We understand the pressure the industry is facing and would like to thank travel companies for engaging with us throughout the renewal process. The Civil Aviation Authority has continued to apply the current ATOL framework when processing the latest renewals.

“The ATOL scheme ultimately exists to protect consumers and therefore it is more important than ever that the Civil Aviation Authority focuses on appropriate protection of customer money, as well as travel businesses maintaining adequate liquidity.”

Data presented as of 3 October 2021.

* Includes 41 trade ATOL holders that no longer require to hold an ATOL licence.

** 52 of these submitted applications within the last 5 business days of September 2021.

Travel companies with ATOLs must renew their licences each year, either in September or March.

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To seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before......... Captain Kirk to venture into space next week.....

William Shatner (left; photo: Gary Marschka) and Audrey Powers (right)

Jeff Bezos's space travel company Blue Origin has confirmed that Captain James T Kirk will be blasting off into space next week.  Veteran actor William Shatner who is 90 years young will take his first journey into space on 12th October decades after the makers of Star Trek sent him to 'seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before'.

William Shatner’s career as an actor, director, producer, writer and recording artist has spanned 60 years. He originated the role of “Captain James T. Kirk” in 1966 for the television series Star Trek. The series spawned a feature film franchise where Shatner returned as Captain Kirk in seven of the Star Trek movies, one of which he directed. He has long wanted to travel to space and will become the oldest person to have flown to space.

Shatner is currently the host and executive producer of The UnXplained on The History Channel. From the producers of Ancient Aliens and The Curse of Oak Island, the one-hour, non-fiction series explores the world’s most fascinating, strange and inexplicable mysteries.
Photo Blue Origin 

“I’ve heard about space for a long time now. I’m taking the opportunity to see it for myself. What a miracle” said William Shatner.

Audrey Powers, Blue Origin’s Vice President of Mission & Flight Operations, will fly onboard New Shepard NS-18. They will join crewmates Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries for the flight which lifts off from Launch Site One on October 12.

"I’m so proud and humbled to fly on behalf of Team Blue, and I’m excited to continue writing Blue’s human spaceflight history,” said Audrey Powers. “I was part of the amazing effort we assembled for New Shepard’s Human Flight Certification Review, a years-long initiative completed in July 2021. As an engineer and lawyer with more than two decades of experience in the aerospace industry, I have great confidence in our New Shepard team and the vehicle we’ve developed."
Photo Blue Origin 

Live launch coverage begins on at T-90 minutes. Liftoff is currently targeted for 8:30 am CDT / 13:30 UTC from Launch Site One in West Texas.

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Aviation Capital Group selects Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engines to power 17 more Airbus A320neo family aircraft

Aircraft leasing giant, Aviation Capital Group confirmed this week it has selected Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engines to power an additional 10 firm A320neo family aircraft, bringing its total to 40 firm GTF-powered A320neo family aircraft. ACG also has the option to power an additional 7 A320neo family aircraft with GTF engines.

“We are committed to giving our customers the most efficient and advanced technology possible, and we are happy to do so with this latest tranche of GTF-powered aircraft,” said Steven C. Udvar-Hazy, Senior Vice President, Original Equipment Manufacturers Relations and Market Development at ACG.

ACG currently owns or manages 95 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney engines, which also include PW1500G-powered Airbus A220 aircraft, V2500®-powered Airbus A320ceo family aircraft and PW2000-powered Boeing 757 aircraft.

“We’re grateful for ACG’s continued confidence in our game-changing GTF engines,” said Rick Deurloo, Chief Commercial Officer at Pratt & Whitney. “GTF-powered aircraft are helping to lead the recovery around the world, while delivering unmatched efficiency, mature reliability and world-class operating costs. We look forward to supporting to ACG and its customers with these engines.”

Since entering service in early 2016, the GTF engine for the Airbus A320neo family has delivered on its promised ability to reduce fuel burn and carbon emissions by up to 16 percent, noise footprint by 75 percent and regulated emissions by 50 percent to the CAEP/6 regulatory standard. The engine’s unique geared fan is the right architecture for the future with a long runway for further development. Pratt & Whitney is committed to continuing to invest in evolving propulsion systems to power the next generation of commercial aircraft.

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Volga-Dnepr Airlines and Albion Aviation Group have worked together to find the most effective solution for the transportation of dedicated equipment for the Dubai Expo

Volga-Dnepr Airlines and Albion Aviation Group have worked together to find the most effective solution for the transportation of dedicated equipment in support of the Dubai Expo 2020 which opened on Friday.

The cargo, weighing over 20 tonnes and measuring 418 cubic meters in total consisted of fragile furniture which was to be delivered from Athens (Greece) to Dubai (UAE). With no time to waste Volga-Dnepr’s team have brought aboard its engineering specialists who offered packaging solutions and optimized the load plan to make sure that delicate cargo is safely transported onboard An-124-100. The cargo uploading was coordinated by the Albion Flight manager who flew to Athens to monitor the whole process in close cooperation with Volga-Dnepr’s team.

Lewis King, Director of Albion Aviation Group, comments: “This charter required a lot of meticulous planning and within an extremely short space of time, but with the extensive support of the experienced Volga-Dnepr’s team the flight was a success and it’s an honour for Albion to be able to support the Dubai Expo 2020 via one of our clients”.

Ekaterina Andreeva, Commercial Director of Volga-Dnepr Airlines, highlights: “We understand too well the importance of meeting the deadlines for the exhibitions and shows being the member of major industry events ourselves. That said, we called upon the best specialists from our global team to come up with the packaging solutions and load plan, at the same time following our standard charter flight approval process. In the end, we are happy to see the completion of another successful project cargo flight and we will drop by Dubai Expo when our team is there for Dubai Air Show”.

Volga-Dnepr Group, consisting of three all-cargo airlines, offers its customers effective logistics solutions based on its 30+ years of experience and expertise.

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Flight Safety Foundation calls for accelerated global deployment of digital health certificates

Flight Safety Foundation has called on the aviation industry, regulators and health authorities around the world to accelerate development of standardized and internationally accepted digital health certificates and to have them widely deployed within the next 12 months.

"Commercial aviation has begun the long, slow climb out of the travel trough created by the COVID-19 pandemic, but even the most routine international trip is fraught with confusion and frustration about acceptable documentation, testing requirements and the specter of quarantines, never mind the risk of fake COVID test results or vaccine status fraud," said Foundation President and CEO Dr. Hassan Shahidi. "To maximize passenger health safety we need a secure, globally accepted digital tool that enables travellers to upload and carry with them their vaccine status, recent test results or COVID-19 recovery status, and that will be recognized and accepted wherever they go," he said.

Monday, 4 October 2021

50th Anniversary of Southwest Airlines and Walt Disney World Resort celebrated with special aircraft livery and tons of giveaways!

The leading U.S. budget carrier Southwest Airlines has joined Walt Disney World Resort with a special co-branded commemorative aircraft honouring 50 years of connecting people with memories and magic, as each company celebrates their 50th anniversaries in 2021. 

The Boeing 737-700 features 50th-anniversary logos of both Southwest Airlines and Walt Disney World Resort and is emblazoned with a unique EARidescent treatment created by Walt Disney World Resort especially for its milestone celebration. 

"For 50 years, Southwest has connected our Customers to the people and places that matter most. Whether a Customer is flying to visit relatives in another state, close a business deal with a client, or experience a family vacation, we are honoured to be a part of those moments," said Brandy King, Director of Public Relations at Southwest Airlines. "Celebrating 50 years of making memories during our shared milestone anniversary is at the heart of this magical collaboration with the Walt Disney World Resort."

"As Walt Disney World Resort kicks off The World's Most Magical Celebration commemorating our 50th anniversary, we are thrilled to bring even more magic to guests' vacations and to the sky with the help of our friends at Southwest," said Claire Bilby, Senior Vice President of Disney Destinations. "Both Walt Disney World Resort and Southwest Airlines share an incredible 50-year legacy of creating exceptional vacation experiences and treasured memories for guests."

Russian airline Aeroflot starting key holiday flights

The Russian airline Aeroflot has opened regular flights from Moscow to key holiday destinations including Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt. The carrier has started daily services using Airbus A320 aircraft. 

Flights will be operated daily from October 1 on the following schedule:





Moscow — Hurghada




Hurghada — Moscow




Moscow — Sharm El Sheikh




Sharm El Sheikh - Moscow




The resumption of international air service between Russia and Egypt has been long-awaited. Egypt is one of favourite leisure destinations for Russians. Tourists are mostly attracted by the resort cities of Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh. In addition to beach holidays, travellers go on short sightseeing tours to Cairo and to visit the Pyramids of Giza and the Valley of the Kings.

 Dominican Republic

Another holiday destination to get regular Aeroflot flights from Moscow is Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic), which will initially operate on Fridays and Sundays, and starting from November, on Wednesdays as well. Thus, the frequency will be three weekly services.

Flights will be operated on Airbus A350, the most advanced wide-body aircraft in Aeroflot’s fleet. Aeroflot’s A350 has a three-class cabin layout with 28 private business class Suites, 24 Comfort economy seats, and 264 Economy class seats. The business class cabin design featuring 2-metre full-flat beds in each Suite offers an unprecedented level of comfort, rivalling the first-class cabins of most major carriers.  The Suites provide a high level of privacy and personal space.

Transport Secretary agrees high-level principles with G7 leaders to support international and transatlantic travel

Seven principles agreed between G7 leaders to build a long-lasting recovery for the international travel sector.

World leaders have given international travel a further boost on 30 September 2021, by agreeing a series of new measures at the G7 transport and health meeting hosted by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

In the first meeting of its kind between G7 transport and health ministers from major global economies, agreement was reached to align their international travel strategies through 7 principles that will build a long-lasting recovery for the international travel sector.

These 7 high-level principles are:

futureproofing the transportation sector against future health threats
ensuring the fair treatment and safety of essential transport personnel
respecting privacy and data protection in implementing vaccination certification solutions
reaffirming the pre-eminence of scientific evidence in planning international travel policy
ensuring fairness and equity in respective national responses
maintaining regular international and multilateral engagement
delivering a safe, sustainable and resilient recovery
The 7 principles agreed today will drive global standards on international travel and continue the progress made to make a long-lasting recovery for the sector.

As outlined in the Chair’s statement, the group also agreed to focus on improving data protection in vaccine certification developments, as well as prioritising the decarbonisation of transport.

This builds on recent work done by the UK government to simplify its international travel system to make it easier for people to travel to and from the UK, including for all G7 nations – whether that’s for overdue business trips or catching up with loved ones.

G7 members also agreed to focus on facilitating a sustainable global recovery committing to prioritising the sustainable decarbonisation of transport and protecting the rights of transport workers in their vital work to facilitate international travel.

Grant Shapps Transport Secretary said:

"Under the UK’s presidency of the G7, we are determined to get people travelling abroad as freely and safely as possible and the progress made today between all G7 nations is testament to this vision.

By sharing information, working together on common standards and solutions for vaccine certification, and keeping a focus on a sustainable recovery for our travel sector, we will build a resilient and long-lasting recovery now and for generations to come."

Lord Kamall Health Minister said:

"Global cooperation on healthcare is crucial, especially during a pandemic and the strong links we have with our G7 partners continue to help protect people around the world.

The UK’s world-leading clinical trials have saved lives. We owe a huge debt to those volunteers who stepped forward to help break new medical and scientific boundaries by taking part in these trials, so we must make sure they are not disadvantaged when travelling.

I am pleased that we have agreed steps to support the safe return of international travel, and I look forward to working with my G7 colleagues further."

Ministers also outlined their collective support for the work of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), including the upcoming High-level Conference on COVID-19 next month. The conference will bring together over 190 states to discuss issues relating to international travel, helping to achieve a common approach for aviation recovery as we continue to collaborate with our international partners in response to the pandemic.

Looking to the future, G7 partners agreed that a joined-up approach was essential to mitigate against risks associated with the current pandemic and any future health threats, understanding how to safeguard international travel, and providing a high level of resilience for the sector in the longer term.

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British Airways bringing the Airbus A380 back to life?

According to some aviation industry commentators in the UK, including Simon Calder of The Independent, British Airways is all set to bring back the Airbus A380 into revenue service from the start of November.

The airline, like many other operators during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, flew its planes to quiet out of the way airports to park and store them as demand crashed. Now, like Emirates, and Australian airline Qantas, it would seem British Airways is all set to bring the superjumbo back in to revenue service. 

According to reports, British Airways are putting together schedules for five of the double-decked aircraft, mainly on inter European flights, including to destinations such as Madrid, Frankfurt and Rome. But BA has now taken the industry by surprise by bringing back five of its 12 giant jets next month – initially on short-haul hops to Frankfurt and Madrid.

In early December the airline will schedule the type to operate schedules to North America, including those to Los Angeles and Miami  Rob Burgess, editor of Head for Points says the A380s on the Miami route would start from 3rd December, Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) and Los Angeles routes would see the superjumbo deployed on 7th and 9th December.  Although, "DFW may be delayed as the necessary facilities to handle a BA A380 are not yet in place," Burgess wrote. 

British Airways may not be able to bring all 12 of its A380s back to regular routine scheduling as soon as demand dictates as it has retrained a great number of its former A380 pilots on other aircraft types during the nearly two years of grounding with relatively very few staying type rated on the A380. 


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Winners of £3 million zero emission flight aviation competition announced

Fifteen successful projects have been awarded funding to help support UK airports in handling new types of electric and hydrogen aircraft.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has today (29 September 2021) announced the winners of the latest £3 million competition focused on making zero emission flights a reality.

Winning projects include wireless charging for electric planes, swappable battery packs to keep flight turnover times to a minimum and state-of-the-art fuelling tanks to safely and efficiently refuel flights of the future.

The 15 successful projects have been awarded a share of over £700,000 to help bring forward innovative research and technology, which can support UK airports in handling new types of electric and hydrogen aircraft.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:  "As the world reopens from the pandemic, it is essential that we are investing in greener aviation as part of our transport decarbonisation agenda. Funding these revolutionary projects will help to slash carbon, create jobs and get us closer to our goal of operating zero emission flights."

Today’s funding forms part of the government’s commitment in the Prime Minister’s Ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, with a commitment of £3 million funding to research into airport infrastructure for zero emission flights this year.

Aviation Minister Robert Courts said:  "As an island nation, aviation is essential for our future growth and plans to build back better and greener from the pandemic. With COP26 around the corner, we’re ramping up our efforts even further by funding the technology that unlocks the flights of the future."

Earlier this year, the UK government set out its ambition to become world-leaders in sustainable aviation fuel production, launching the £15 million Green Fuel, Green Skies competition and publishing a consultation proposing to mandate sustainable aviation fuel use in the UK from 2025.