06 December, 2023

Air Peace wins 'Best Airline for Customer Service, West Africa' for 2023 at the prestigious Global Brand Awards.

Air Peace wins 'Best Airline for Customer Service, West Africa' for 2023 at the prestigious Global Brand Awards.

The Prestigious Global Brand Awards, an annual event by Global Brands Magazine (GBM) based in England, strives to honour worldwide brands that distinguish themselves across diverse industries while ensuring that readers are up-to-date on pivotal trends in the realm of branding. Global Brands Magazine conducted an extensive evaluation encompassing various criteria, such as passenger feedback, service quality, communication, staff courtesy and professionalism, safety and security, innovation in customer service among others. Air Peace stands out prominently due to its excellent client support. Therefore, Air Peace well deserves Global Brands Magazine's recognition.

Commenting on winning the award, Jay Reddy, Director, "We are thrilled to acknowledge Air Peace as the recipient of the 'Best Airline for Customer Service in West Africa' award. This achievement is a testament to Air Peace's unwavering commitment to excellence, prioritizing passenger satisfaction, and setting a remarkable standard for the aviation industry in the region. Their dedication to delivering exceptional customer experiences has truly set them apart as a leader, and we congratulate Air Peace on this well-deserved recognition."

Commenting on winning the award, Stanley Olisa, Corporate Communications Lead, Air Peace, said, "We are truly delighted by this prestigious recognition by the Global Brands Magazine. It is a huge testament to our firm commitment to consistently delivering unmatched customer service for our esteemed customers, guaranteeing a memorable experience across all touchpoints each time they fly with us. This award is dedicated to our Customer Service Team for their strong drive in ensuring excellent service delivery. Air Peace will continue to raise the bar in providing best-in-class flight services across domestic, regional and international markets, with an increasing modern fleet and a top-grade workforce."

RAF RC-135 Rivet Joint has supported the United States Navy's Exercise Resolute Hunter.

For the first time a RAF RC-135 Rivet Joint has supported the United States Navy’s major 3-week air exercise, known as Exercise Resolute Hunter.

The aircraft flown by 51 Squadron at RAF Waddington supported the annual exercise in Nevada. Previously, crews from 51 Squadron have flown in US Rivet Joint aircraft on the exercise, but this is the first time the Squadron has sent one of its own aircraft.

The exercise was hosted by the Maritime Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Weapons Centre at Naval Air Station Fallon in Nevada, USA. The RAF’s electronic surveillance aircraft worked with MH-60s, MQ-8C, P-8A, E-3G, RQ-4, U-2S, and ground elements on training areas over land and over the Pacific Ocean.

After a short stop at Offutt Air Force Base (AFB), the home of 51 Squadron’s RJ partners the Fightin’ 55th, the aircraft crew met the rest of UK Rivet Joint enterprise at Fallon, which consisted of 51 Squadron, 1 ISR Wing, and 90 Signals Unit.

Fallon, and its surrounding rugged and mountainous terrain, is home to the United States Navy’s premier aviation range. It includes 13,000+ square miles of airspace, restricted areas and ranges. It is also home to several Navy Weapons Schools including the most famous – the Strike Fighter Weapons School, or, Top Gun.

The exercise aimed to refine the crew’s Find, Fix, Track, Target, Engage and Assess skills and also provides an opportunity for 51 Squadron to reciprocate the co-crewing sorties that the USAF’s 55th Wing provide.

The exercise gave the squadron the opportunity to switch from its usual operational taskings to consider other environments, threats, and aircraft. This ensures that they retain the skills required to undertake a wide variety of missions in support of the UK’s intelligence requirements. 

Wing Commander Keith Bissett, Leader of the RAF Detachment said:  “The challenge this exercise provided the crews has been phenomenal. The exercise team worked exceptionally hard to ensure that all of the assets were tested in a contested and congested scenario. Our aircraft has shown an extraordinary ability to support the targeting of the F-18 and EA-18G aircraft. We will continue our co-crewing in future exercises to develop the capabilities of the UK Rivet Joint.”

When it flew its Model 367-80 ‘Dash 80’ prototype for the first time on July 15, 1954, Boeing hoped the aircraft would take the airlines by storm.  Extrapolating technology used on the B-47 and B-52 jet bombers, the aircraft represented a quantum leap directly into the jet age compared to the company’s piston-engined Model 367 Stratocruiser. With its swept wing and fourjet powerplant, carried in discrete underwing nacelles, the Dash 80 was the most modern commercial transport available.

RC-135W Rivet Joint is a dedicated electronic surveillance aircraft that can be employed in all theatres on strategic and tactical missions. Its sensors ‘soak up’ electronic emissions from communications, radar and other systems.  RC-135W Rivet Joint employs multidiscipline Weapons System Officer (WSO) and Weapons System Operator (WSOp) specialists whose mission is to survey elements of the electromagnetic spectrum in order to derive intelligence for commanders.

Yet the airlines were left unimpressed and it was the US Air Force, realising it needed a jet tanker to support its jet bombers, that saw the Dash 80 into production.  In September 1955 it ordered its first KC-135A Stratotanker, Boeing modifying the Dash 80 to trial a ‘flying boom’ refuelling system.  The Stratotanker entered service on June 28, 1957 and Boeing continued development along this military line under the company designation Model 717.

The airlines had been unimpressed by the Dash 80’s cabin width, which was too narrow for six-abreast seating, and Boeing therefore returned to the Dash 80 concept, widening the cabin and developing a series of successful airliners as the Model 707.

Boeing built 732 KC-135s in different variants, many of them ultimately re-engined with the modern CFM56 turbofan, known as the F108 in military service.  These aircraft are designated KC-135R.  There was also a line of C-135 transports, EC-135 command posts, RC-135 intelligence gatherers and a host of other variants, with the KC and RC remaining in widespread service.

Developed under Boeing’s Model 739 series, the first of a long line of RC-135 variants was ordered in 1962.  This photographic reconnaissance RC-135A entered service during the mid-1960s, followed by the first of the electronic intelligence gatherers, the RC-135B.  The precedent for modifying KC airframes to RC standard was set in 1972, with the conversion of three KC-135As as RC-135Ds for the Rivet Brass mission.  All subsequent RC variants were produced by conversion/upgrade, mostly from C, KC and RC standards, culminating in the RC-135V and RC-135W, operated under the Rivet Joint codename that has become internationally, and officially recognised in USAF parlance, as the type’s name.

In June 2011, 51 Sqn flew the final BAe Nimrod R.Mk 1 sortie of its 37-year association with the type. Plans were under way for the aircraft’s replacement under a project known as Airseeker, which had begun the previous March.  It envisaged the acquisition of three RC-135W Rivet Joint aircraft for delivery from 2013.  The machines were to be converted from USAF KC-135R airframes and L-3 Communications in Greenville, Texas was chosen to perform the work as the USAF’s experienced Rivet Joint contractor.  The work began in March 2011.

On November 12, 2013, No. 51 Sqn took delivery of the UK’s first Rivet Joint, operating its maiden operational sortie on May 23, 2014.  The second aircraft arrived in August 2015 and the third on June 8, 2017.  For the purposes of sensor and system upgrades, the trio are considered an extension of the USAF Rivet Joint fleet, ensuring they remain at the cutting edge of capability.

Rivet Joint has been deployed extensively for Operation Shader and on other operational taskings.  It had been formally named Airseeker, but is almost universally known in service as the RC-135W Rivet Joint. 

UK’s largest airports group records positive half year results

A successful summer season delivered a positive first-half performance for MAG, leaving it in a strong position to continue its investment in its airports to improve customer service and support sustainable growth.

MAG (Manchester Airports Group), which owns and operates Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands Airports, today published its interim results for the period 1 April – 30 September 2023, during which it generated record half-year revenues of £705.6m (FY23: £565.2m).

Its airports collectively handled 34.9m passengers during the period, up 4.4m on the prior year. That represented just under 96% of pre-pandemic levels. In July, London Stansted became the first major airport to exceed pre-Covid volumes when compared to the same month in 2019, with Manchester marking that milestone in October, when East Midlands reached the 98% mark.

Manchester Airport welcomed 16.4m passengers between April and September, with 15.8m passing through London Stansted and 2.7m through East Midlands.

 Not only did all MAG airports increase passenger volumes between April-September, they delivered consistently good service levels, with the vast majority of passengers passing through security in 15 minutes of less throughout the summer (Manchester – 96%, London Stansted – 98%, East Midlands – 100%). In July, all three received the highest possible rating from the Civil Aviation Authority for the service they provide to passengers with assisted travel needs.

Repsol to supply SAF to Atlas Air and Inditex for regular use on cargo flights....

Flights from Zaragoza Airport (Spain) carried out by Atlas Air for Inditex are using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) produced by Repsol.

Atlas Air becomes the first cargo airline to use SAF regularly on its freight transport flights in Spain, marking a new milestone towards the decarbonization of the airline sector.

Repsol, a multi-energy company committed to leading the energy transition, announced that it has begun supplying sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to Atlas Air for use in all its flights with its customer Inditex from Zaragoza Airport (Spain). Beginning in November, Atlas Air is initially incorporating 5% SAF in all its flights.

The agreement makes New York-based Atlas Air the first cargo airline to use SAF regularly on its cargo flights in Spain, marking a new milestone in the airline sector. The initiative is in line with the companies’ commitments to achieve their respective carbon footprint reduction goals, and also positions them to comply with anticipated compliance measures included in the ReFuelEU Aviation regulations that require use of 2% renewable fuels in 2025, 6% in 2030 and 70% in 2050, respectively.

“With this agreement, we take another step in the decarbonization of aviation. We show that SAF is the future, but also the present. With the upcoming launch of our new advanced biofuels plant in Cartagena (Spain), we are ready to supply the sector with the SAF it needs to realize its decarbonization ambitions,” said Óliver Fernández, Director of International Aviation at Repsol.

“We are committed to contributing to the sustainability of the aviation sector and appreciate this opportunity to work with our valued partners at Inditex and Repsol,” said Richard Broekman, Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Sustainability for Atlas Air Worldwide. “It is critical for our sector to work together in driving wider adoption and availability of SAF, which ultimately will have a positive impact on our industry and the environment.”

The agreement also aims to enhance local SAF production, both in terms of refinery capacity and in the sourcing of nearby raw materials, with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation sector. Aena, responsible for the management of the Zaragoza Airport, participates proactively in the promotion and integration of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) to promote their production and encourage their consumption.

Repsol is a pioneer in the manufacture of renewable fuels for all types of transport in Spain. It has been manufacturing biofuels in its industrial complexes for 25 years and already has more than 30 service stations in the Iberian Peninsula that supply 100% renewable fuels to its customers. Renewable fuels are an alternative now available for all transport segments and represent the main solution for aviation, maritime transport, and heavy road transport that do not currently have a viable alternative in electrification.

In the next weeks, Repsol will start up its first plant dedicated exclusively to the production of advanced biofuels in the Iberian Peninsula and one of the first plants of its kind in Europe at its industrial complex in Cartagena (Spain). Repsol has invested more than 200 million euros in the construction of the plant. It will have a production capacity of 250,000 tons of SAF and renewable diesel per year, produced from various types of residues, mainly used cooking oil and waste from the agri-food industry, and will reduce 900,000 tons of CO2 per year.

In 2022, total SAF production worldwide was 240,000 tons, according to the IATA. In 2025, approximately 120,000 tons will be needed in Spain to cover the 2% obligation of RefuelEU Aviation. Production of the new plant will be able to cover all the SAF demand in the Iberian Peninsula, complying with the obligation until the European mandate rises to 3%.

Volaris reports load factor of 90% in November 2023 results.....

Volaris,  the ultra-low-cost carrier serving Mexico, the United States, Central, and South America, has reported a load factor of almost 90% during November 2023.

In November 2023, Volaris' ASM capacity decreased by 2.2% year-over-year, while RPMs decreased by 0.2%; the result was a load factor increase of 1.8 pp YoY to 89.8%. Volaris transported 2.7 million passengers during the month, a 0.9% decrease compared to November 2022. Mexican domestic RPMs decreased by 7.9%, while international RPMs increased by 17.6%.

Enrique Beltranena, Volaris' President and CEO, said: "In response to reduced Pratt & Whitney ("P&W") engine availability in November, we reduced domestic ASMs and redeployed capacity to the US market by capitalizing on Category 1 opportunities. This strategic approach successfully aligned with positive demand, consistent with our full-year expectations.

Looking forward, it is noteworthy that we have reached an agreement with P&W that contemplates compensation for each GTF engine removed from our fleet. The agreement will help address fixed costs associated with the engines during inspections"

Nov 2023Nov 2022VarianceYTD Nov
RPMs (million, scheduled & charter)      
ASMs (million, scheduled & charter)      
Load Factor (%, scheduled, RPMs/ASMs)      
Domestic93.0%89.9%3.1 pp87.3%88.2%(0.8) pp
International84.5%83.9%0.7 pp83.6%79.9%3.6 pp
Total89.8%88.0%1.8 pp86.1%85.7%0.4 pp
Passengers (thousand, scheduled & charter)      

The information included in this report has not been audited and does not provide information on the Company’s future performance. Volaris’ future performance depends on several factors. It cannot be inferred that any period’s performance or its comparison year over year will indicate a similar performance in the future.

ACG deliver the 6th of 10 Airbus jets to SAS

Aviation Capital Group, one of the world’s premier full-service aircraft asset managers with over 490 owned, managed and committed aircraft as of September 30, 2023, leased to roughly 90 airlines in approximately 45 countries, has just confirmed the delivery of one new Airbus A320neo to SAS.

The jet aircraft is on long-term lease to Scandinavian Airlines and is powered by CFM International LEAP-1A engines. This is the sixth of ten aircraft scheduled to be delivered to the airline as part of a multiple-aircraft sale-leaseback transaction between ACG and SAS.

Life House picked to operate three boutique hotels in Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Life House is set to manage three distinguished hotels in Pagosa Springs: The Nightingale Motel, High Creek Lodge, and Pagosa River Domes. 

This initiative comes as part of a collaboration with Utah-based Elan Capital Partners, who hold an impressive portfolio of hospitality properties across the nation. The partnership not only accentuates Life House's ability to blend local charm with advanced hotel management techniques, but also positions the operator as a frontrunner for hoteliers seeking a partner with a proven track record of enhancing guest experience and operational efficiency. The partnership will blend Life House’s proven expertise in hospitality with the existing local charm and character of each property.

The Nightingale Motel has long been a cornerstone of Pagosa Springs, known for its retro charm and modern amenities. High Creek Lodge is situated on an expansive and stunning plot of land. The Pagosa River Domes offer a distinct experience, with geodesic domes placed along the serene banks of the San Juan River. Life House's commitment to crafting local, authentic experiences aligns seamlessly with the ethos of these three Pagosa Springs properties. This collaboration is set to enhance the offerings for guests, ensuring that each stay is curated, comfortable, and memorable.

Rami Zeidan, CEO of Life House, shared, “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Elan Capital Partners and to be chosen to execute their investment thesis and vision for the guest experience.”

Life House is a vertically integrated hotel management & technology company focused on serving small and medium independent hotels with institutional quality service. Life House uses advanced software & operating systems to increase profitability and reliability for independent hotels throughout North America. Life House was founded in 2017 by real estate, hospitality, and technology veterans and is backed by world renowned private equity and venture investors.

Flight trials integrate uncrewed aircraft into controlled airspace

A partnership of aviation leaders come together to demonstrate that uncrewed aircraft can be safely integrated into controlled airspace among piloted aircraft through multiple test flights.

A partnership of aviation leaders has successfully completed a first-of-its-kind trial, including a series of test flights aimed at evaluating the operational integration of uncrewed aircraft flying beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) into controlled airspace. The successful completion of these trial test flights in New Zealand demonstrates that safe, uncrewed flight operations are possible, today, in controlled airspace among other piloted aircraft.

Through this trial program, the partnership has established a safe process for uncrewed aircraft to access controlled airspace and created a significant new understanding and capability for commercial autonomous flight operations. The trials offer key insights for regulators and industry players globally to facilitate further testing and inform rule-making.

Led by Wisk Aero, the trials included the New Zealand Government and industry partners, including Insitu Pacific as the approved Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) operator, the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAA) as the regulatory observer and Part 102 approver, Airways New Zealand as the air navigation service provider alongside Airways International’s uncrewed traffic management (UTM) system AirShare, and indigenous-led aerospace venture, Tāwhaki, providing the flight testing site.

The latest test flights were part of Wisk’s multi-phased testing programme under the New Zealand Government’s Airspace Integration Trial Programme (AITP). This latest phase of testing involved multiple flights that took place between November 17 and December 1, 2023, which demonstrated that a RPA can be operated under instrument flight rules (IFR) in controlled airspace and integrated with regular crewed traffic. The flights took place at the Tāwhaki National Aerospace Centre at Kaitorete, involving take-offs, landings, and uncontrolled and controlled airspace navigation.

“The successful completion of this phase of testing demonstrates that it is possible to safely integrate autonomous aircraft into controlled airspace that is shared with piloted aircraft,” said Catherine MacGowan, Wisk’s Vice President of APAC and Air Operations. “The processes, data, and learnings from these trial flights will help shape the future of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) and the broader aviation industry.”

Air Canada offers air-to-rail deals to explore Europe

Providing convenient intermodal airport connections to France's SNCF Voyageurs, Germany's Deutsche Bahn, Swiss Federal Railways in Switzerland, or ÖBB in Austria when booking flights

The launch of the new intermodal offering puts thousands of exciting destinations within easy reach

Rail travel offers sustainable options to major European destinations

Leading Canadian legacy carrier, Air Canada has announced new air-to-rail booking options for customers to connect at European airports with four major passenger rail systems, making it convenient to explore the continent. Through new railway and distribution partnerships, Air Canada customers, when purchasing flights, can now also easily book onward rail trips to a multitude of destinations throughout France, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria to create a seamless travel itinerary.

"As a leading global airline, Air Canada excels at flying, but we also know intermodal connections can enrich the travel experience through added convenience and by promoting sustainability. In offering easy onward airport connections with the national rail systems in France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria, we are creating intermodal hubs and opening the door for customers to reach stations at major cities and popular destinations throughout these countries. Moreover, by facilitating the use of rail for the short-haul segments of our customers' journeys, we can provide sustainable travel options when touring Europe," said Mark Galardo, Executive Vice President, Revenue and Network Planning, at Air Canada.

With the launch of Air Canada's European intermodal initiative, customers can now, while purchasing an Air Canada flight, at the same time book rail travel from European airports. Through the airline's partnership with Lufthansa Express Rail Product and new collaborations with AccesRail & WorldTicket, customers can use a streamlined booking process to create a seamless travel itinerary that connects their flight with trips on trains operated by France's TGV-SNCF Voyageurs, Germany's Deutsche Bahn, Swiss Federal Railways or ÖBB, the national railway of Austria.

Passenger Demand Recovery Continues On Track in October

 The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that the ongoing recovery in passenger demand continued in October. 

•    Total traffic in October 2023 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rose 31.2% compared to October 2022. Globally, traffic is now at 98.2% of pre-COVID levels.

•    Domestic traffic for October rose 33.7% versus October 2022, driven by the triple-digit percentage growth recorded in China, and was 4.8% above the October 2019 results. 

•    International traffic climbed 29.7% compared to the same month a year ago. All markets saw double-digit percentage gains year on year. International RPKs reached 94.4% of October 2019 levels. 

“October’s strong result brings the industry ever closer to completing the post-pandemic traffic recovery. Domestic markets remain above pre-COVID levels. International demand is recovering, but more slowly. In particular, Asia Pacific carriers’ international demand is 19.5% behind 2019. This could reflect the late lifting of COVID restrictions in p
arts of the region as well as commercial developments and political tensions, ” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General. 

International Passenger Markets

Asia-Pacific airlines saw an 80.3% increase in October 2023 traffic compared to October 2022, continuing to lead the regions. Capacity climbed 72.5% and the load factor increased by 3.6 percentage points to 82.9%. 

European carriers’ October 2023 traffic rose 16.1% versus October 2022. Capacity increased 14.5%, and load factor edged up 1.2 percentage points to 85.1%.

Middle Eastern airlines posted a 24.1% rise in October 2023 traffic compared to a year ago. Capacity rose 22.2% and load factor climbed 1.2 percentage points to 80.6%. There was little impact at the regional and global levels from the Israel-Hamas war, despite reduced airline operations to/from Israel.

North American carriers had a 17.5% traffic rise in October 2023 versus the 2022 period. Capacity also increased 17.5%, and load factor was stable at 83.9%.

Latin American airlines’ traffic rose 21.2% compared to the same month in 2022. October capacity climbed faster -- up 22.3% --  pushing load factor down 0.8 percentage points to 85.3%, highest among the regions.

African airlines saw a 25.3% traffic increase in October 2023 versus a year ago. October capacity was up 32.4% causing load factor to decline 4.0 percentage points to 70.3%, lowest among the regions.

PLAY puts on seasonal sale....

PLAY, the low-cost Icelandic airline has done something to make passengers cheer just in time for Christmas.  A new quick seasonal sale from now until 8 December will see the career offer fares as low as $79.

Passengers can book roundtrip flights at incredibly low prices as an extravagant holiday gift or for a 2024 getaway to Iceland, Dublin, London, Amsterdam, and Paris. 

It’s too early to spot Santa in the skies, but PLAY’s striking red aircraft are bringing the holiday spirit to travellers early this year. This flash deal is a tempting treat for booking a last-minute trip in December, where families and friends can explore Christmas markets and early snowfall in Europe, or spend the holidays abroad. It’s the perfect time to start planning a getaway for 2024, or for gifting an amazing European experience to a loved one even on a modest budget. PLAY’s already low prices and no-frills service are available year-round, enabling travellers to “pay less, PLAY more” at more than 30 European destinations from Boston, New York, and Washington D.C. Travellers enjoy a comfortable ride with PLAY’s helpers, named America’s favourite flight crew this year!

Air Cargo Demand up 3.8% in October says IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA)
released data for October 2023 global air cargo markets indicating the third consecutive month of stronger year-on-year demand.

Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs*), increased by 3.8% compared to October 2022. For international operations, the demand lagged slightly at 3.5%. 

Capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometres (ACTKs), was up 13.1% compared to October 2022 (11.1% for international operations). This was largely related to the growth in belly capacity. International belly capacity, for example, rose 30.5% year-on-year on the strength of passenger markets.

Several factors in the operating environment should be noted:

•    Economic activities slowed in October. With the Purchasing Managers’ Index for manufacturing output and export orders for major economies (excluding the US) remaining below the critical 50 mark, there is a clear marker for economic challenges ahead.

•    Inflation in major advanced economies continued to ease from its peak in terms of Consumer Price Index (CPI), reaching between 3% and 4% for the US and for the EU respectively, in October. China’s CPI, however, indicated deflation for the second time this year, raising concerns of an economic slowdown.

•    Global trade reversed its downward trajectory and stabilized in September. Although below its 2022 peak, global cross-border trade is more than 5% above pre-pandemic levels.

•    After a continuous 17-month decline, cargo yields ticked-up in September and continued into October with a 2.6% month-on-month gain, remaining well-above pre-pandemic levels.

“Demand for air cargo was up 3.8% in October. That marks three consecutive months of year-on-year growth, placing air cargo on course to end 2023 on a much stronger footing than it began the year. Recovering demand, slightly stronger yields and the uptick in trade are all good news. But with demand still 2.4% below pre-pandemic levels, and much uncertainty remaining over the trajectory of the global economy, optimism must be balanced with caution. Nonetheless, a continued strong peak year-end season will certainly help the sector to manage through whatever turns the global economy might take in 2024,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

05 December, 2023

New Toronto - Fort Myers service from Lynx Airlines

        Lynx Air’s inaugural flight to the Fort Myers area took off on Friday last week from Toronto Pearson International Airport.  Canada’s ultra-affordable airline will operate four flights per week between Toronto and Fort Myers, flying brand-new Boeing 737 aircraft.

This latest launch marks the continued US expansion of Lynx for the winter months. The airline already operates flights between Toronto and Orlando, Tampa Bay, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. All of these destinations are now on sale. Lynx flies more than 21,500 seats per week across its North American network to and from Toronto, representing a growth of more than 250 per cent from last year.  This summer, Lynx established a pilot and cabin crew base in Toronto to support this growth, creating 101 new jobs in the region.  

"Toronto has emerged as our fastest-growing hub, primarily due to a longstanding gap in affordable air travel options. The city has endured high airfares for a long time and was underserved by low-cost carriers. We are proud to be the only low-cost carrier connecting Toronto and Fort Myers, and we are dedicated to making travel accessible and enjoyable. Whether you're seeking outdoor adventures or a tranquil retreat on sun-soaked beaches, Lynx ensures an exceptional flying experience at an unbelievably affordable price," stated Vijay Bathija, CCO of Lynx Air.

Airbus upgrades A400M firefighter prototype kit


                                             Airbus Defence and Space has conducted a new flight-test campaign of the A400M Roll-on/Roll-off firefighting prototype kit, dropping 20,000 litres of retardant and creating high-concentration lines over 400 metres long.

Over two weeks, the A400M carried out a ground and flight-test campaign in south-western and central Spain, including six drops, three of which used red-coloured retardant and three using water.

“We have tested a new version of the kit, improving dropping efficiency and reducing discharge time by over 30% compared to last year, while combined with rapid deployment and easy installation on the A400M aircraft,” said Jean-Brice Dumont, Head of Military Air Systems at Airbus Defence and Space. “We continue to pioneer new solutions and capabilities for our A400M fleet, in this case protecting populations and natural environments from fires.”

An easy-to-install solution

This roll-on/roll-off kit does not require any modification to the aircraft and, therefore, is interchangeable to any aircraft in the A400M fleet. The water or retardant is stored in a tank in the cargo hold of the aircraft and, by using a mechanical lever, a door is opened to allow the liquid to flow out of the aircraft by gravity means through a discharge pipe. The current design of the prototype is capable of dropping 20,000 litres in a single discharge.

The tanks can be filled in less than 10 minutes using standard high-pressure pumps on ground. The A400M is characterised by its ability to take off and land on short and unpaved runways, and a wide range of air bases and airfields.

During the campaign, the 43rd Firefighting Squadron of the Spanish Air Force has been involved as technical advisors and assuring that this capability in the A400M has operational value for any potential operator.

In July 2022, Airbus tested a removable firefighting demonstrator kit on the A400M for the first time. The company concluded that the A400M firefighting kit offers additional capabilities not available on the market thanks to its high-dropping capacity, high manoeuvrability with the latest safety standards, day and night operation and the potential to convert any regular A400M in any fleet to a firefighting aircraft at very short notice.

UK aviation shaping its own destiny as airport slot reform consultation launched

With a new reform, the airport slot allocation system can have a tailored approach that works best for businesses and passengers across the UK.

For the first time since the 1990s, the UK aviation industry will have a say on its airport slot regime as the Department for Transport launches the airport slot allocation system reform consultation today (4 December 2023) to boost the growing success of the sector.

Like parking spaces for planes, slots are used to manage capacity at the busiest airports across the country. A slot gives permission for an airline to use the full range of airport infrastructure – from runways to terminals – to operate on a specific date and time.

Following its departure from the EU, UK aviation is no longer shackled by an outdated slot regime and can now take a more tailored approach that works best for businesses and passengers across the country.

The reforms being consulted on will include proposals for new ways to manage slot capacity and how they are allocated to airlines.

This includes limiting slot leasing, so instead of larger airlines monopolising slots, they can be allocated to other competitors if not used after a set period – allowing for newer or smaller airlines with possible cheaper prices to receive favourable slots and make the process more dynamic. The reforms also aim to give more powers to respond to crises, making the industry more resilient and efficient in times of uncertainty.

The current system, based on EU regulations, requires the slot allocation process to be consistent across Europe but while the sector has developed and grown in the last 20 years, the rules of the slot system have remained unchanged. Now, with our new freedoms, we can ensure that the system takes the UK’s specific needs into account.

Lynx Air puts Ottawa on its growing route network for next year....

Lynx Air has announced the addition of Ottawa to its network. With flight service starting on May 17, 2024, Ottawa is the 19th destination served by Lynx across North America.

Canada’s newest ultra-affordable airline will operate flights between Ottawa International Airport (YOW) and Calgary International Airport (YYC), as well as the Vancouver International Airport (YVR).

There will be eight flights in and out of Ottawa per week. The Ottawa – Vancouver flights will operate as “through flights” with a short stop in Calgary, offering a seamless journey with a single boarding pass, bags checked through to the final destination, and no need to deplane in Calgary.

The fares are truly ultra-affordable, starting from $79* one way, including taxes. The airline has also launched a limited-time seat sale, offering up to 35 per cent off domestic base fares, with the promo code OTTAWA. The sale will run until 11:59 PM EST on December 5, 2023. To book an ultra-affordable fare, please visit FlyLynx.com.

“We are delighted to be adding Ottawa, Canada’s capital, to the Lynx Air network as we ramp up our summer 2024 schedule. While Ottawa is a beautiful destination to visit at any time of the year, Lynx is proud to be the only low-cost carrier currently servicing this market domestically from Calgary and Vancouver,” said Jim Sullivan, CEO of Lynx. “Whether you are traveling to explore Parliament Hill, visiting the National Gallery of Canada, or enjoying a relaxing stroll along the Rideau Canal with your loved ones, Lynx will ensure a great flying experience at an ultra-affordable price.”

To check fares and availability visit here.

RAF lands in Australia to participate in Exercise Global Dexterity for the first time

An RAF C-17 has touched down in Amberley, Australia, alongside the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and United States Air Force (USAF) to participate in Exercise Global Dexterity for the very first time.

The exercise sees aircrew and groundcrew from each military seamlessly fly and maintain each other’s aircraft, with opportunities to practice low-level flying amongst the mountains of Papua New Guinea next week.

Additionally, crews will experience operating out of austere airfields with intentionally limited infrastructure in Northern Australia, where they will conduct flights into Papua New Guinea to practice tactical airlifts amidst the challenging terrain.

The UK, Australia and United States all rely on the C-17 to provide strategic and tactical airlift to destinations across the world. Our participation on Exercise Global Dexterity helps train our crews to operate effectively in the Indo-Pacific region, as well as developing our interoperability with our American and Australian partners.

Pegasus Airlines launches Dortmund-Istanbul route

From 19 December, Pegasus Airlines is launching a new route between Dortmund and Istanbul operating three times a week. Flights will depart from Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) at 07:20 Tuesdays and Thursdays and 06:45 on Sundays and from Dortmund Airport (DTM) at 11:35 on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 11:20 on Sundays. Tickets for the new route can be booked from 49,99 Euros. Pegasus serves more than 130 destinations in 50 countries across Asia, Africa and Europe from its SAW hub. 

Ludger van Bebber, CEO Dortmund Airport, said: “The newly established connection to Sabiha Gökçen Airport in Istanbul represents a significant achievement for Dortmund Airport and our passengers. Beyond experiencing the captivating metropolis of Istanbul, travellers now have access to a variety of thrilling destinations via the Pegasus route network from SAW.  We are delighted to welcome Pegasus as our new partner, sharing our commitment to sustainable growth. Together, we aim to offer passengers affordable flights to a broad range of destinations.”

Pegasus Airlines launches thrice-weekly flights between Dortmund Airport and Sabiha Gokcen Airport 

To check fares and availability visit here.

Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in the UAE, Qatar's Doha, Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada, Beirut in Lebanon, Karachi, Tbilisi and Batumi in Georgia, Baku, Yerevan, Baghdad, Erbil and Basra, Tehran and Tabriz in Iran, Medina and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Almaty, Astana and Shymkent in Kazakhstan, Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, Amman Jordan, Bahrain and Kuwait are among the destinations served by Pegasus from its SAW hub. In addition to its extensive international flight network, Pegasus connects guests to Türkiye’s top summer destinations such as Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman, and Izmir.


Airbus awarded next stage of ESA’s TRUTHS mission for metrological traceability of Earth observation data

TRUTHS will provide a benchmark of Earth’s energy balance by consistent calibration traced to a metrological reference

Consistent calibration will also enhance existing satellite missions

Airbus has been awarded the latest phase in the European Space Agency (ESA) TRUTHS mission as part of ESA’s Earth Observation Earth Watch programme. The contract covers detailed definition of the mission and payload, and focuses on payload development and de-risking activities with an option for the procurement of long lead time hardware ahead of the full implementation phase following the 2025 ESA Ministerial budget meeting. The contract is worth €109.3 million including options and was signed at COP28 in Dubai.

The TRUTHS satellite mission will measure the Sun’s radiation and the sunlight reflected off Earth's surface relative to an accurate reference, which will then be used to improve the climatological data sets and calibrate the observations of other satellites. This space-based climate and calibration observing system will enable data from other satellites to be compared more easily providing greater standards of data harmonisation for even more accurate climate change forecasts.

Jean Marc Nasr, Head of Space Systems at Airbus said: “This contract takes us one step closer to building a mission that will enable scientists and climatologists to cross reference their measurements and data enabling much more accurate forecasts and analysis in a shorter time. TRUTHS will provide the gold standard of calibration for space-based Earth observation – a kind of ‘standards laboratory in space’.”
UK Science, Research and Innovation Minister, Andrew Griffith, said: “This UK-led mission will have a global impact, providing invaluable measurements to improve our understanding of climate change. Overseen by Airbus UK, this work is generating growth and developing important industrial capabilities across our space sector, driving forward our ambitions to make the UK a science and technology superpower.” 

ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, Simonetta Cheli, said: “We are glad to award the contract to Airbus in the UK to take their work on developing TRUTHS into the next all-important phase. We see here at COP28 that the world is committed to climate action and having reliable data on which to base decisions is of the utmost importance. TRUTHS will be used as a benchmark so that data from other satellites can be compared more easily, thereby improving reliability.”

TRUTHS stands for Traceable Radiometry Underpinning Terrestrial and Helio Studies. This latest phase will include design definition of the mission and payload as well as commencing the build-up of the Industrial partners required to deliver such a complex payload while establishing optical Earth instrumentation expertise in the UK. This enhanced capability in the UK will enable Europe to benefit from a new skill set for Earth observation satellite missions in the future.

TRUTHS will carry a Cryogenic Solar Absolute Radiometer (CSAR) to provide a primary calibration standard in order to benchmark measurements of both incoming solar radiation and outgoing reflected radiation - measured with a Hyperspectral Imaging Sensor (HIS) also part of the payload - with unprecedented accuracy. These measurements will give the ability to estimate radiative imbalance underlying climate change and, importantly, in a shorter time than is currently possible. TRUTHS will serve to calibrate other satellite sensors, such as those carried on the Copernicus missions, through co-imaging operations.

TRUTHS is funded by a set of ESA member states, led by the UK, with the participation of the Czech Republic, Greece, Romania, Spain and Switzerland. Airbus is supported in the initial development of the satellite by partners including Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, Teledyne e2v, National Physical Laboratory, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Deimos Space UK Ltd and AVS-UK Ltd, Thales Alenia Space Switzerland, Deimos Space SRL, Sener, and Integrated Systems Development. Further important contributions will be made by other companies and institutes from the participating nations.
The UK has embarked on a strategy to take a leadership role in this domain building on the strong climate science expertise from among others the National Physical Laboratory, the National Centre for Earth Observation and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Space.