Wednesday, 17 November 2021

easyJet wins sustainability award for recycled uniforms

easyJet’s new Pilot and Cabin crew uniform, which is produced from 100% recycled plastic bottles has won the 'Sustainability Award' at the 2021 Professional Clothing Industry Association Worldwide Awards.

The award, which recognises innovative individuals and organisations breaking boundaries for sustainability in the professional clothing industry, was accepted alongside partners Tailored Image, a Northern Ireland based professional clothing specialist which manufacture the innovative uniforms.

The new fabric, adapted to the airline's current style, is created using high-tech material made from around 45 recycled plastic bottles per uniform. The introduction of the new crew uniform is part of easyJet’s commitment to mitigate waste, increase re-use of materials and search for innovative change beyond carbon reduction initiatives.

WestJet to start service between Calgary and London Heathrow

The Canadian airline WestJet has confirmed it will start a new transatlantic flight between Calgary and London Heathrow from spring next year.

"As the airline with the most flights from Alberta, this is an important recovery milestone as we forge new connections between Canada and one of the world's most sought after global hubs," said John Weatherill, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. "We continue to strengthen our network, offering more options for business and leisure travellers and these investments will expedite our industry's recovery while ensuring Western Canada builds back from the pandemic more connected than ever before."

As confidence in business and leisure travel continues to rise, WestJet's newest route will operate this spring on the airline's 787 Dreamliner. WestJet's 787 service features the airline's Business Cabin including lie-flat pods, dining on demand and elevated Premium and Economy Cabin options.

"We are committed to the expansion of our global hub in Calgary and supporting the recovery of many sectors who rely on travel and tourism," continued Weatherill. "As the airline with the most non-stop European destinations from YYC, we are looking forward to guests benefitting from more options and increased connectivity for travel between Canada and the UK."

With the addition of Heathrow to WestJet's network this spring, WestJet will connect Calgary to 77 non-stop destinations throughout the year.  WestJet will also continue to offer non-stop flights between Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax to London, Gatwick.

Additional network details for travel between Calgary and London-Heathrow including frequency, timing and introductory pricing will be available, and for sale, in the coming weeks.

John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow CEO said: "WestJet is a fantastic airline with a strong history of providing top-notch service and excellent value for money, making it a great fit for Heathrow. As travel begins to reopen, we look forward to working with WestJet to improve the UK's connectivity with Canada and give passengers even more choice when flying across the Atlantic." 

Bob Sartor, President & CEO of The Calgary Airport Authority said: "WestJet's new non-stop route from YYC to London Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, is welcomed by those looking to access the world's premier financial and business centre and those eager for a direct connection to explore London's culture and landmarks. We look forward to welcoming guests from across the pond to experience the traditional Indigenous lands and warm hospitality our region is known for."

David Goldstein, CEO Travel Alberta, commented: "Air access is key to our province's economic recovery and growth of the tourism industry We look forward to welcoming back UK travellers and showcasing Alberta as a top destination."
Rick Christiaanse, CEO, Invest Alberta Rick Christiaanse Invest Alberta welcomed the news, "Having direct flight access to Heathrow, enhancing connectivity to London, a global capital market and business hub will further enhance Alberta's competitiveness for investment and trade."

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Airbus launches Mission+, the first Electronic Flight Assistant that maximises flight efficiency

Airbus launches Mission+, the first Electronic Flight Assistant that maximises flight efficiency

 Airbus’ Flight Operations subsidiary NAVBLUE has launched Mission+, the first Electronic Flight Assistant (EFA) that provides pilots with all the data and information that they need to perform their mission, via one modular digital solution. 

This mission-centric approach integrates flight management data and documentation, cockpit check-list, navigation charts and airport maps, real-time weather conditions, aircraft performance data - usually only available to pilots via multiple sources. 

“For us pilots, the user experience offered here compares with moving from an old mobile phone and paper diary to the latest generation smartphone,” said Airbus Pilot Captain Olivier Aspe.

Accessible through an interactive display, Mission+ is the first EFA on the market to gather all information sources together with one single point of entry. For pilots, this means an integrated interface that allows quick, easy and seamless navigation. 

In compiling data and information in this way, Mission+ is a significant upgrade from the current, widely used Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs) and paper on-board cockpits. Pilot workload is optimised and the overall operational efficiency for the airline is improved.

Mission+ has been developed in close cooperation with airlines from various regions around the world, incorporating their feedback. The solution ensures a flexible platform with optional modules that can be customised to airline-specific requirements.

NAVBLUE is an Airbus Services company wholly owned by Airbus, dedicated to Flight Operations & Air Traffic Management solutions.  NAVBLUE provides products and services in support of both civil and military operations, on the ground and onboard any aircraft.

Working in close co-operation with Airbus’ central Flight Operations, NAVBLUE offers expertise in a range of areas including digital cockpit operations, Operations Control Centre (OCC) systems, Flight Ops Engineering, Performance Based Navigation (PBN) and Air Traffic Management (ATM). The Airbus subsidiary employs 460 employees around the world, with offices in Canada, France, Sweden, Thailand, the UK and the US, and representatives in several other countries across the globe.

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American Airlines, British Airways, American Express Global Business Travel and Qured to offer Complimentary COVID-19 Test Kits for Premium International Business Travelers


Customers travelling for business with premium cabin bookings on American and British Airways made through American Express Global Business Travel may choose to receive Qured COVID-19 test kits beginning in early 2022.

American and British Airways offer 45 peak daily flight options between the United States and the United Kingdom.

Joint business partners American Airlines and British Airways announced a collaboration with American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) and global COVID-19 testing provider Qured to offer complimentary test kits to support the swift return of international business travel. 

Business travellers who book premium seats on American or British Airways between the United States and the United Kingdom, departing from either country, through GBT will be eligible to receive the kits*.

“Strong business relationships are built in person. We’re eager to help corporate travellers get back in the air to build those connections and keep the global economy moving,” said Kyle Mabry, Vice President of Global Sales for American Airlines. “Our industry had to link arms to move through the pandemic. Together, with our valued partners, we will support the return of business travel by creating more ease for customers than ever before.”

Routes between the United States and the United Kingdom are incredibly important to business travel. In 2019, GBT booked hundreds of thousands of air segments between the United Kingdom and the United States. As international travel has reopened, these flights have been increasingly popular for both American Airlines and British Airways.

“Ensuring corporate travellers have access to efficient, accurate testing is one of the key components to ramping up business travel across the trans-Atlantic corridor,” said Mark Muren, Head of Global Sales at British Airways. “We’re eager to give our mutual customers peace of mind that they will have what they need to fulfil an important requirement as they return to conducting business.”

The End of COP26: What Decisions Were Made and How Do They Affect You?

The End of COP26: What Decisions Were Made and How Do They Affect You?

In November 2021, representatives from over 200 nations around the world came together to address the global problem of climate change. The annual United Nations climate change conference took place in Glasgow, and ended on 13th November. 

But what was discussed? What decisions were made? And how will they reflect you as a consumer? Let’s take a look at how the decisions made at COP26 could affect households in the UK, and why some criticise the actions to be taken as being too little too late. 

What is COP26 and why is it important?

COP26 is the 26th Conference of the Parties. Following on from the Paris Agreement of 2016, it is attended by representatives of the countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1994. As well as world leaders, COP26 was attended by representatives from the world of business, charities, faith groups and non-government organisations.

Hundreds of nations from all over the world were in attendance from 27 EU member states as well as the US, Canada, Australia, India, Colombia, Ghana, Nigeria, South Korea and the Democratic Republic of Congo to name but a few. The event was the biggest summit ever hosted by the UK with over 30,000 attendees. 

Its goal is to address the biggest ecological crises facing our planet, tackling the climate crisis and creating a global infrastructure for more sustainable living. 

How did the COP26 end?

COP26 ended with some clear resolutions for further action to be taken around the world to address the current climate crisis. One key takeaway is that, after years of dancing around the issue, COP26 ended with a clear reference to the role of fossil fuels in perpetuating our climate crisis. However, some critics were frustrated by the lack of a more decisive stance on the use of coal. Following a late objection from Indian delegates, the language shifted from the “phasing out” of coal to a more gradual “phasing down” with a reduction of “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies.

Much of the action on the issue of phasing out fossil fuels was deferred to COP27 which will be hosted in Egypt. However, several decisive actions were decided upon in what became the “Glasgow Climate Pact”.  

Delta ready to welcome 5.6M+ customers during the Thanksgiving travel period

Delta ready to welcome 5.6M+ customers during the Thanksgiving travel period

The Thanksgiving holiday period is expected to return to levels not seen since before the COVID-19 pandemic, with Delta anticipating at least 5.6 million passengers from Nov. 19-30. To support customers, Delta has increased staffing levels across the operation including in customer service and reservations, and new flight attendants have graduated to accommodate the growing number of flights being restored. 

Even during this busy time, customers can fly with confidence and expect the same experience we deliver year-round: A smooth journey thanks to tools like the Fly Delta app and integrated FlyReady tool, with a commitment to health and safety at the forefront. 

The anticipated volume represents a nearly threefold increase over the pandemic-battered 2020 season (2.2 million passengers). U.S. leisure travel has fully recovered to 2019 levels as vaccination rates climb.  

The Sunday after Thanksgiving Day could be a post-downturn record-setter: 550,000 Delta customers are expected to travel that day, well over the previous single-day post-downturn record of 516,000 set this summer.  

In addition to a busy domestic schedule, Delta has seen a 450% increase in international point-of-sale bookings in the six weeks between the U.S. border reopening on Nov. 8 and the date it was announced. Many international flights are expected to operate with high passenger volume throughout the following weeks. 


Airbus meets customer request for vegan helicopter interior

                                      When a valued customer specified that his new helicopter must have an interior that was fully vegan, Airbus Corporate Helicopters’ (ACH) design team rose to the occasion.

The resulting ACH145 has now been delivered to German construction entrepreneur Dr Urs Brunner who insisted on the requirement at the urging of his wife, ethical fashion pioneer Daniela Brunner.

Its cabin is fitted with ACH’s clean and modern ACH Line interior configuration in a grey theme but the leather elements essential to its luxury feel are replaced with Ultraleather which captures the visual and tactile leather experience with comparable durability.

Items that had to be specially designed and fabricated in the replacement material include the six-passenger seats, central storage cabinet, rear partition and cockpit controls cuffs.

Ms Brunner, founding owner of specialist fashion house Giulia & Romeo, which has no animal products involved in its range and donates all its profits to animal welfare, wanted the helicopter to be consistent with her ethical values.

Head of ACH, Frederic Lemos, said: “We’re very proud of our team’s work in creating this bespoke ACH Line interior. The material that we used is certified for aviation use and is hard-wearing, but it can only be stretched in one direction which means it is a challenge to work with, particularly on the seats.

“This is where the craftsmanship of our hands-on team became crucial and I am delighted to say that we found a practical way to meet our customer’s desires which also looks superb.”

Dr Brunner, an experienced helicopter and fixed-wing pilot, said: “We both greatly appreciate the skill and imagination that went into devising and installing this interior.”

To view the helicopter at the Dubai Airshow contact Laurence Petiard, details below. The photo shows the vegan interior.

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American Airlines Plans to Open New Austin Admirals Club

American Airlines will break ground soon on a new 15,000+-square-foot Admirals Club at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS). The lounge can seat more than 250 customers, making it the largest airport lounge in Austin, Texas. Construction on the new lounge, which will be near Gate 14, will begin next year.

“Austin has such a unique energy, with its fascinating mix of technology and arts. American wants to create a club that reflects that eclectic style and pays homage to the lively music scene,” said Clarissa Sebastian, Managing Director of Premium Customer Experience and Onboard Products. “We can’t wait for customers to experience the new space, with much more room to relax, unwind and enjoy.”

The inspiration for the lounge is taken from the city itself, reflecting the urban fabric of Rainey Street, Austin Parks, local art and music. Customers can get a taste of the Austin vibe throughout their experience in the Admirals Club. Once open, customers will also be entertained by local musicians.

“We can’t wait to offer this exciting new amenity to passengers,” said Jacqueline Yaft, AUS Chief Executive Officer. “The new Admiral’s Club strengthens the investments made by American Airlines at AUS and will bring an elevated experience to travellers that will reflect the culture, music and art that locals and visitors alike love so much about Austin.”

The existing Admirals Club will remain fully operational while the new club is being constructed. More information, including the opening date, will be shared at a later date.

American’s Admirals Club lounges are membership-based lounges that include access to more than 60 Admirals Clubs and partner lounges worldwide. Customers travelling on an American Airlines or oneworld alliance® ticketed flight may also purchase a day pass to an Admirals Club. Admirals Club lounges feature complimentary amenities like food and beverages, Wi-Fi, digital magazines and newspapers as well as services like personal travel assistance, business centres and kids rooms.

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British Airways launches development programme for leaders with strengths specialist Cappfinity

Global airline, British Airways, is working with HR tech company, Cappfinity, on a transformative leadership development programme for more than 400 of its leaders.

Planned to run over four years and delivered by Cappfinity's Talent Practice, the Altitude Leadership Development Programme is part of a long-term initiative designed to transform the airline and rejuvenate the business following the devastating impact of the pandemic on the aviation industry.

Participants will experience an immersive digital assessment with an expert-led follow-up interview and debrief.  Each leader will also receive a detailed feedback report providing insight into their leadership style and how they demonstrate the British Airways Leadership Behaviours.  

Leaders will be given the opportunity to participate in a masterclass on how to coach their teams, as well as following a bespoke development journey comprising of executive coaching, interactive workshops, action learning, innovative digital content and 360 feedback.

Akasa Air orders 72 Boeing 737 MAX Aircraft

Boeing and Akasa Air, a brand of SNV Aviation, announced the new Indian carrier has ordered 72 737 MAX aeroplanes to build its fleet. The deal is valued at nearly $9 billion at list prices, yet the true order value is nearer $4 billion according to sources close to the deal.

Akasa Air will be the most dependable airline in India, offering efficient customer service, reliable operations, and affordable fares - all in the Akasa Way. Akasa Air's empathetic and youthful personality, employee-friendly culture, customer-service philosophy, and a tech-led approach will make this commitment a reality for all Indians. The carrier plans to offer commercial flights starting in the summer of 2022.

At the 2021 Dubai Airshow, Akasa Air CEO Vinay Dube said, "We are delighted to partner with Boeing for our first aeroplane order and thank them for their trust and confidence in Akasa Air's business plan and leadership team. We believe that the new 737 MAX aeroplane will support our aim of running not just a cost-efficient, reliable and affordable airline, but also an environmentally friendly company with the youngest and greenest fleet in the Indian skies."

Dube added, "India is one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world with an unparalleled potential. We are already witnessing a strong recovery in air travel, and we see decades of growth ahead of us. Akasa Air's core purpose is to help power India's growth engine and democratize air travel by creating an inclusive environment for all Indians regardless of their socio-economic or cultural backgrounds."

Akasa Air's order includes two variants from the 737 MAX family, the 737-8 and the high-capacity 737-8-200. Stan Deal, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO said: "We are honoured that Akasa Air, an innovative airline focused on customer experience and environmental sustainability, has placed its trust in the 737 family to drive affordable passenger service in one of the world's fastest-growing aviation regions,"

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Aircraft Of The Future Unveiled

easyJet launched the competition in October for children to design a zero-emission passenger plane

Cerys, aged 8 and Lara, aged 15 have been named as the winners of easyJet’s ‘Aircraft of the Future’ competition after they wowed judges with their designs
The winning designs included innovative features such as solar panel wings, pressurised hydrogen fuel tanks and reusable cups made of processed banana leaves
easyJet launched the competition to inspire younger generations to get engaged in exciting new zero emission technologies for air travel of the future
Research from the airline revealed that 90% of British children think that being an inventor or designer to help combat climate change would be one of the world’s best jobs
On COP26 Transport Day, easyJet announced that it has joined the UN’s Race to Zero campaign, committing to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, with zero-emission flying will play a major role
Cerys, aged 8 from Norfolk and Lara, aged 15 from Surrey have been crowned the winners of easyJet’s ‘Aircraft of the Future’ competition following a nationwide contest.

The airline launched the competition in October, challenging the next generations of engineers to design their vision for future flying - a passenger plane for travelling across Europe powered by a sustainable energy source. Entries included designs inspired by solar-powered wings to more unconventional energy sources like hamster-wheel and worm-powered planes! The designs also featured a selection of sustainably sourced materials including seats made from coconuts (coir), one of the thickest and most resistant natural fibres available.

The reveal of the winning designs follows the conclusion of COP26 in Glasgow, where the airline announced that it has joined Race to Zero, a global UN-back campaign to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest. In joining Race to Zero, the airline is committing to set an interim science-based target for 2035 as well as to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, of which technology for zero-emissions flying will play an important part.

Cerys’ winning design centred on battery power, with solar-powered wings and reusable cups for passengers made of processed banana leaves. Whilst Lara’s design looked at using pressurised hydrogen and fuel-cell stacks to generate electricity to power their passenger aircraft of the future.

Lara’s aeroplane also took inspiration from the animal kingdom with material replicating fish scales for the plane’s fuselage, intended to decrease drag for the plane to improve fuel efficiency.

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

EpiShuttle is the future,,,,,

The prehospital services at Region Midtjylland performed the first-ever helicopter transport of a covid-19 patient with an EpiShuttle. Going forward EpiShuttle will be the standard solution when transporting potentially highly infectious patients.

Præhospitalet Region Midtjylland is the only prehospital unit with an organized department for high-risk diseases in Denmark. Their staff consists of a full crisis management team and an operational team ready to take on transport 24/7.

They acquired their first EpiShuttle back in December 2019 and now have six EpiShuttles in active duty divided between health preparedness and in connection to military services.

Bo Elbæk is head of the Health Preparedness Department, part of the Prehospital services and responsible for the preparedness-EMCC. Together with his department, Bo Elbæk spent years of studying and co-training with EpiGuard before acquiring the single patient isolation and transportation unit.

"We needed equipment that could provide safety for our medical staff. In addition, we saw that the product helped us be more efficient when transporting patients and that the patients themselves had a better experience when they were transported inside an EpiShuttle," says Bo Elbæk, head of the Health Preparedness Department.

During Covid-19, the operational team, by September 2021, a specialized team was activated 39 times, transporting in total 24 covid-19 patients by helicopter.

Developed best practices with a focus on training

Cheers to earning Aeroplan points at the LCBO

Aeroplan, Canada's leading travel loyalty program, and the LCBO, one of the world's largest buyers and retailers of beverage alcohol, are pleased to announce that Aeroplan members can now earn points when shopping at LCBO retail stores across Ontario.

Now, Aeroplan members will earn one Aeroplan point for every $4 spent at LCBO retail stores, in addition to bonus points on promotional offers. To earn Aeroplan points in LCBO retail stores, simply present a physical or digital Aeroplan membership card at checkout. 

Aeroplan points can be redeemed in the Aeroplan eStore for travel to more than 1,300 destinations across the globe, as well as for hotels, car rentals, and merchandise, and LCBO Gift Cards, which will soon be available starting at just 1,000 Aeroplan points for a $10 LCBO Gift Card. 

"This is an exciting day for our members in Ontario," said Scott O'Leary, Vice President, Aeroplan at Air Canada. "Together with the LCBO, we can't wait to deliver on a new world of possibilities for our members."

"We're delighted to launch Aeroplan as a way to provide rewarding and personalized offerings to our customers and suppliers," said Vanda Provato, Chief Marketing and Digital Officer, LCBO. "This launch is particularly timely given that we are in the holiday season and many customers are looking for the perfect choice to make moments great."

In celebration of the launch, join Aeroplan by November 28, 2021, and earn 250 bonus points on your first LCBO retail store purchase. If you are a new or existing member, spend $50 or more at a LCBO retail store by November 28, 2021, and earn double the points. If you are not yet an Aeroplan member, joining is easy at

Currently, Aeroplan members can only earn Aeroplan points for purchases made in LCBO retail stores. In the future, Aeroplan members will have the ability to earn Aeroplan points for online or in-app purchases.

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Nigerian Ibom Air purchases ten Airbus A220 aircraft

Akwa Ibom state government-owned airline in Nigeria, Ibom Air has signed a firm order for ten (10) A220s at the Dubai Airshow. The signing was done by Mfon Udom, the Chief Executive Officer of Ibom Air, and Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International in the presence of the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Gabriel Emmanuel.

Nigeria, with the largest population in Africa and the largest GDP, offers substantial growth potential in both domestic and regional travel. The A220 is therefore the ideal choice for a full range of services from very short-haul segments to intra-continental air routes.

“It gives me great pleasure to be here to announce Ibom Air’s order for 10 Airbus A220s”, said Mfon Udom, CEO of Ibom. “As an organization, we at Ibom Air are delighted with the steep growth we have achieved in just over two and a half years since we commenced operations, a growth chiefly driven by the massive embrace of our product and brand by the Nigerian domestic flying public. The addition of the A220 to our fleet will support our growth strategy and boost operational efficiency. It will also offer our passengers more space and enhanced cabin experience, as a value add for choosing us.”

“The A220 will allow us to increase the number of annual passengers through Akwa Ibom Airport, in Uyo, thus bringing more first-time visitors and business travellers to the region. These efforts reflect our commitment to supporting local commerce and making a positive contribution to socio-economic growth in Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria.” said the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Udom Emmanuel.

Jazeera Airways set to order 28 new A320neo family aircraft

Jazeera Airways, the Kuwait-based budget carrier has signed a deal for 20 A320neos and 8 A321neos with European planemaker Airbus at the Dubai airshow. 

Marwan Boodai, Chairman Jazeera Airways said, “Jazeera Airways is pleased to extend its long-term relationship with Airbus further with this significant new order. We will effectively double our current fleet size to 35 aircraft by 2026. The airline has pulled out of the pandemic strongly in Q3 with a return to profitability.  We have exciting expansion plans ahead, which will further boost our contribution to the Kuwait economy and in particular the travel sector.” 

“We are proud to extend our partnership with Jazeera Airways through this latest agreement which will add an additional 28 Airbus aircraft to its all-Airbus fleet”, said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer, and Head of Airbus International. “The A320neo Family is without doubt the best platform to support Jazeera Airways’ growth plans. This is the perfect illustration of how Airbus helps escort the growth of its successful customers.” 

Rohit Ramachandran, CEO Jazeera Airways added, “By taking both A320neo and A321 neo options we will have great flexibility to extend our network to medium and longer haul destinations from Kuwait, offering passengers more choice to travel and enjoy popular destinations as much as underserved ones”.

Jazeera Airways commenced operations in 2005 and has since emerged as a leading carrier in the region. It is operating regionally and internationally serving Middle East, Europe and Asia’s top destinations from its home base Kuwait. The Kuwaiti airline supports the country’s 2035 vision to further economic expansion and transformation into a commercial hub. 

The A320neo Family incorporates the very latest technologies including new generation engines, Sharklets and aerodynamics, which together deliver 20% in fuel savings and CO2 reduction compared to previous generation Airbus aircraft. The A320neo Family has received more than 7,400 orders from over 120 customers.

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JetBlue Issues Statement on Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

JetBlue Issues Statement on Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

JetBlue welcomes President Biden’s signing of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act today. This legislation positions our nation to manage the challenges of climate change, a long-held priority for JetBlue as we have committed to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040. We are particularly excited about the bill's aviation investments including $25 billion for airports and its focus on bolstering aviation workforce diversity, another JetBlue priority.

JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes, who attended the White House signing ceremony, added: “This legislation enables meaningful enhancements to our nation’s roads, bridges and railways and will make travel safer, greener, and more equitable in all communities. Congratulations to President Biden and Congressional leaders – particularly JetBlue’s home-state Senator Majority Leader Schumer – on this accomplishment.”

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Monday, 15 November 2021

British Airways kicks off first transatlantic flights from Gatwick to Tampa, followed by Orlando

British Airways’ first transatlantic flight from Gatwick since the start of the pandemic takes off to Tampa, followed by Orlando

Following the recent reopening of US borders for European travellers,  the UK's British Airways kicked off transatlantic flights from Gatwick with the introduction of a flight to Tampa today.

The airline’s services to Tampa will operate three times a week. British Airways will also resume flights from Gatwick to popular family holiday-hotspot Orlando on Friday 19 November. This is the first time the airline has operated to these destinations, and to the US from Gatwick, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.

British Airways will operate to more US airports than any other transatlantic carrier
The airline is also set to add Dallas to its A380 route network at Heathrow from March 27, 2022

British Airways is planning on operating to 23 US airports this winter, more than any other transatlantic carrier, with 246 flights a week from January. As well as Tampa and Orlando from Gatwick, flights to much-loved cities Nashville and New Orleans will restart in December from Heathrow.

The airline’s A380s will also touch down in the US once again, with the jumbo jet due to start operating to Miami from Heathrow from December 5, Los Angeles from December 9 and Dallas from March 27.

Claire Bentley, Managing Director of British Airways Holidays, said “Orlando and Tampa are among our most popular destinations, so we know how much our customers are looking forward to heading back. Florida is such a diverse state, so whether it's a relaxing beach holiday, a theme park adventure or an epic road trip, there's something for every type of traveller. In addition, we're offering a wide range of British Airways Holidays deals to suit every budget.”

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Passengers Want to Use Biometrics to Speed up Processes and Eliminate Queuing Post Pandemic - IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the results of its 2021 Global Passenger Survey (GPS), which delivered two main conclusions:

  • Passengers want to use biometric identification if it expedites travel processes.
  • Passengers want to spend less time queuing.  

“Passengers have spoken and want technology to work harder, so they spend less time ‘being processed’ or standing in queues. And they are willing to use biometric data if it delivers this result. Before traffic ramps-up, we have a window of opportunity to ensure a smooth return to travel post-pandemic and deliver long-term efficiency improvements for passengers, airlines, airports and governments,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President for Operations, Safety and Security. 

Biometric Identification
  • 73% of passengers are willing to share their biometric data to improve airport processes (up from 46% in 2019). 
  • 88% will share immigration information prior to departure for expedited processing.

Just over a third of passengers (36%) have experienced the use of biometric data when travelling. Of these, 86% were satisfied with the experience. 

Data protection remains a key issue with 56% indicating concern about data breaches. And passengers want clarity on who their data is being shared with (52%) and how it is used/processed (51%). 

  • 55% of passengers identified queuing at boarding as a top area for improvement. 
  • 41% of passengers identified queuing at security screening as a top priority for improvement.
  • 38% of passenger identified queuing time at border control/immigration as a top area for improvement. 
With additional document checks for COVID-19, processing time at airports is taking longer. Pre-COVID-19, the average passengers spent 1.5 hours in travel processes (check-in, security, border control, customs, and baggage claim). Current data indicates that airport processing times have ballooned to 3 hours during peak time with travel volumes at only about 30% of pre-COVID-19 levels. The greatest increases are at check-in and border control (emigration and immigration) where travel health credentials are being checked mainly as paper documents. 

This exceeds the time that passengers want to spend on processes at the airport. The survey found that:
  • 85% of passengers want to spend less than 45 mins on processes at the airport if they are travelling with only hand luggage.
  • 90% of passengers want to spend less than one hour on processes at the airport when traveling with a checked bag. 

ALC orders 111 Airbus aircraft - 25 A220-300s, 55 A321neos, 20 A321XLRs, 4 A330neos and 7 A350Fs

Air Lease Corporation has signed a Letter of Intent covering all Airbus Families, highlighting the power of the company’s full product range. The agreement is for 25 A220-300s, 55 A321neos, 20 A321XLRs, four A330neos and includes seven A350Fs. The order which will be finalised in the coming months, makes the Los Angeles based ALC one of Airbus’ largest customers and lessor with the biggest A220 order book. Founded in 2010, ALC has ordered a total of 496 Airbus aircraft to date.

With this order, ALC and Airbus are launching a multi-million dollar ESG fund initiative that will contribute towards investment into sustainable aviation development projects that will in the future be opened to multiple stakeholders from the aircraft leasing and financing community and beyond.

Joint creation of a sustainability fund to foster industry decarbonisation solutions

“This new order announcement is the culmination of many months of hard work and dedication by both organizations to optimize and fine-tune the size and scope of this large aircraft transaction in view of the rapidly growing global airline demand to modernize their jet fleets through the ALC leasing medium,” said Steven F Udvar-Hazy, Executive Chairman of Air Lease Corporation. “After lengthy and detailed consultations with several dozen of our strategic airline customers around the world, we are focusing this comprehensive order on the most desirable and in-demand aircraft types, covering the A220, A321neo, A330neo and A350 families. ALC is an international Market Leader in each of these categories of the most modern Airbus product lineup. These multi-year additions of new technology aircraft assets to ALC’s expanding portfolio will allow us to grow our revenues and profitability while satisfying our airline customer requirements.”

Zephyr High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) achieves connectivity in trial

Airbus and NTT DOCOMO, INC. have demonstrated the ability to use its solar-powered Zephyr High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) to deliver future wireless broadband connectivity. The trial took place in the United States in August when the Zephyr S aircraft undertook approx. 18-day stratospheric flights to test various capabilities.

Carrying an onboard radio transmitter, the Zephyr S provided an agile datalink during a stratospheric flight to simulate future direct-to-device connectivity. Test data was captured at different altitudes and at different times of day and night, focusing on assessing how connectivity is affected in the stratosphere by factors including weather conditions, different elevation angles and aircraft flight patterns.

Tests included various bandwidths to simulate direct-to-device service from the HAPS to end-users using low, nominal and high throughput.  The demonstration confirmed the viability and versatility of the 2GHz spectrum for HAPS-based services and also the use of a narrow (450MHz) band to provide connectivity in a range of up to 140km.

The measurement and analysis of the propagation of radio waves transmitted from Zephyr demonstrated the feasibility of stratospheric communications to devices such as smartphones. Based on the results of this experiment, Airbus and NTT DOCOMO aims to provide communication services to mountainous areas, remote islands, and maritime areas where radio waves are difficult to reach. 

Ethiopian Airlines and Boeing sign agreement for landing gear exchange for 787 aircraft.

At the Dubai Air Show, Boeing signed a memorandum of understanding with Ethiopian  Airlines that will help the airline to bring cost savings to its maintenance operations with  Boeing's 787 landing gear exchange program.  

“As the fastest growing airline in Africa, much of our success depends on our ability to seek out new ways to drive operational efficiency in our processes,” said Tewolde  GebreMariam, Group Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopian Airlines. “As the commercial  airline market continues to recover, we believe these services offered by Boeing provide  a reliable way to realize more stability and predictability in managing our overall  maintenance operations and costs across our fleet.”

With the landing gear exchange program, Boeing will guarantee availability of 29 landing gear shipsets wherever and whenever they are needed to support the Ethiopian 787 fleet, enabling more efficient and cost-effective maintenance operations. 

Eight aircraft and support contract for Textron Aviation Defense

Textron Aviation Defense announced a $143 million contract with the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) for an Integrated System in support of the 41st Wing light attack operations at Chiang Mai Air Base. The historic contract — for eight Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine aircraft, ground support equipment, spare parts, training and other equipment — establishes Thailand as the international launch customer for the USAF’s latest light attack aircraft. The work in support of this procurement will take place at the company’s Wichita, Kansas facilities.

“We are honoured the Royal Thai Air Force has competitively selected the Beechcraft AT-6 to conduct a broad array of missions in support of its border security and its anti-smuggling, counter-narcotics and anti-human trafficking operations,” said Thomas Hammoor, president and chief executive officer of Textron Aviation Defense LLC. “The RTAF is a key U.S. security ally and operator of one of the most advanced air forces in Asia Pacific. Its extensive market research and stringent procurement process sought the alignment of best cost, schedule, and performance to replace its existing fleet of aging Aero L-39 Albatros aircraft and advance the capabilities of its fleet with the latest technology.”
From left to right: Thomas Hammoor, president and chief executive officer of Textron Aviation Defense LLC, hosts the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) Air Marshal Pongsawat Jantasarn, Chairman of the RTAF Procurement Committee, for the signing of the official Thai contract procuring a fleet of 12 Beechcraft AT-6TH aircraft. Witnessing the contract signing are Thomas Webster, Textron Aviation Defense regional sales director for Asia Pacific, and RTAF Air Chief Marshal Chanon Mungthanya. (Photo: Business Wire)

The contract for the AT-6 — designated the Beechcraft AT-6TH in Thailand — supports the modernization and interoperability objectives at the forefront of the mutual defense cooperation between the U.S. and Thailand. The contract also contributes to the growth of Thailand’s aerospace industry detailed in the 10-year Royal Thai Air Force Purchase and Development (P&D) Plan, complies with requirements set forth by the Thai National Anti-Corruption Committee (ACC) and empowers RTAF light attack aircrew with a vital technological advantage.

“RTAF pilots and concerned parties found the attributes of the AT-6 procurement program extremely favorable,” stated AM Pongsawat Jantasarn, RTAF’s chairman of the procurement committee. “It will also benefit both Thai and U.S. mutual interests, strengthening the enduring strategic partnership between our nations.”

The contract signing, witnessed by RTAF Air Chief Marshal Chanon Mungthanya, aligns the procurement with the Thai government’s S-Curve 11 strategy — a program that pioneers development of the Thai domestic defense industry, cultivates diversity and supports involvement across foreign and Thai companies.

The Beechcraft AT-6TH becomes the second RTAF procurement contracted in support of S-Curve 11. The first procurement under the new strategy was the Beechcraft T-6TH Texan II, awarded in 2020. The Ministry of Defense supports the S-Curve 11 strategy and the two procurements.

Textron Aviation Defense training of RTAF maintenance professionals is set to begin in Thailand in 2023, while pilot training is set to begin in Wichita in 2024. The Beechcraft AT-6TH will join the Royal Thai fleet in 2024.

United adds flights to CES 2022

             In response to feedback from its business customers and an uptick in demand, United Airlines is expanding its schedule to make it easier for CES 2022 attendees to join the in-person show in Las Vegas. The airline is adding 14 new direct flights in early January between Las Vegas and San Jose, Calif., Boston, Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando, and is also adding 30 flights from its hub airports in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, and Washington D.C./Dulles. This represents a capacity increase of 37% compared to its usual January schedule to Las Vegas.

"The return of in-person conferences and events is a very positive sign in the pandemic recovery, and United is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this increase in demand," said Ankit Gupta, senior vice president of Domestic Planning and United Express. "We're adding about 80% of the capacity we did for CES in 2020, demonstrating that business travel is on the rebound and our customers are eager to reunite with clients and colleagues."

Between Oct. 27 and Nov. 9, searches on for flights to Las Vegas during CES 2022 were up 70% compared to the prior two-week period. And according to a recent survey of United's business customers, nearly 20% say they expect travel to meetings and conferences will exceed pre-pandemic levels in 2022.

United will fly 81 flights into Las Vegas during the peak arrival days of January 3-4, and 109 flights on the peak departure days of January 8-10. New flights include:

8 direct flights from San Jose, Calif.
6 direct flights from Fort Lauderdale, Boston and Orlando
15 additional flights from San Francisco, and 9 flights on a larger aircraft
8 additional flights from Los Angeles, and 4 flights on a larger aircraft
5 additional flights from Washington D.C./Dulles
2 additional flights from New York/Newark

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Sunday, 14 November 2021

Oman Air, Qatar Airways Announce Reciprocal Loyalty Partnership

Members of Oman Air Sindbad Programme and Qatar Airways Privilege Club can now earn and redeem miles for travel on both airlines between Muscat and Doha in either direction

Oman Air, the national airline of the Sultanate of Oman, and Qatar Airways, the national airline of the State of Qatar, have signed a reciprocal loyalty partnership where members of Oman Air Sindbad and Qatar Airways Privilege Club can earn loyalty miles for travel on both airlines between Muscat and Doha exclusively, in either direction. With this partnership Sindbad members can earn Sindbad miles on Qatar Airways flights on the sector; reciprocally, Privilege Club members can earn Qmiles on Oman Air flights. Members of both loyalty programs will be able to redeem their miles for flights on either airline between the two cities.

“The strong relationship between Oman Air and Qatar Airways offers a world of exciting travel possibilities and we’re delighted that our Sindbad members can now earn and redeem Sindbad miles for travel on Qatar Airways between Muscat and Doha,” said Oman Air CEO Eng. Abdulaziz Al Raisi. “We’re equally delighted to welcome Qatar Airways Privilege Club members on board Oman Air flights on the popular sector, where they can earn and spend Qmiles.”

Winners of the 2021 Historic Hotels of America Awards of Excellence and Winners of the Historic Hotels Worldwide Awards of Excellence Announced.

Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide are pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence. The Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence recognize and celebrate the finest historic hotels and hoteliers from across the United States of America and from around the world.

Recipients were honoured at a special evening Ceremony and Gala at The American Club Resort Hotel on Thursday, November 11. Awards were presented before an audience of more than 200 industry leaders, owners, senior management, and representatives of the finest historic hotels. Nineteen Historic Hotels of America Awards of Excellence were given in multiple categories ranging from Historic Hotels of America Hotelier of the Year, Historic Hotels of America Hotel Historian of the Year, Historic Hotels of America Best Historic Resort, Historic Hotels of America Lifetime Achievement, and others. Three Historic Hotels Worldwide Awards of Excellence were presented for Historic Hotels Worldwide Best Historic Hotel in Europe, Historic Hotels Worldwide Best Historic Hotel in Asia and the Pacific, and Historic Hotels Worldwide Best Historic Hotel in the Americas.

The winners were selected from nominee finalists representing many of the most legendary and iconic historic hotels. The 2021 Historic Hotels Awards of Excellence Nominee Finalists were nominated by historic hotels, preservation supporters, prior award recipients, community leaders, and leadership from Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. As official programs of the National Trust for Historic Preservation (in the United States), Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide provide the recognition to travellers, civic leaders, and the global cultural, heritage, and historic travel market that member hotels are among the finest historic hotels across the United States of America and around the world. The Historic Hotels Annual Awards of Excellence program recognizes the pinnacle of this distinct group of nominees in a range of categories.