SR Technics completes cabin modification programme for Edelweiss
SR Technics has completed a range of cabin modifications for Edelweiss’ fleet of six Airbus A320 fleet aircraft at its Centre of Excellence in Zurich.
The modifications involved reconfiguring the aircraft cabin layout and replacing seats, galleys and lavatories. The new layout allowed an additional seat row to be added to each plane, increasing Edelweiss’ per-flight capacity.
The carrier also asked SR Technics to install a wireless in-flight entertainment system from Panasonic Avionics to the A320s to enhance passengers experience.
SR Technics coordinated the work to coincide with the aircraft’s heavy maintenance checks to keep ground time to a minimum.
Michael Sattler, head of aircraft services, SR Technics, commented, “We work in close partnership with our customers to incorporate their special needs. Together with Edelweiss, we designed a cabin which is optimised for leisure flights with additional seat capacity and upgraded in-flight experience. Our engineering and maintenance teams worked in parallel to ensure each aircraft was delivered on time.”
“We would like to thank SR Technics and the whole crew that worked on this project. They were essential to keeping downtimes to a minimum and getting the planes back into the air as scheduled,” stated Lorenz Thöni, CTO, Edelweiss. “This proves that we selected the right MRO for the project.”
Intelsat 33e launched successfully
Intelsat has confirmed that Intelsat 33e, the second of seven planned Intelsat EpicNG high-throughput satellites, has been successfully launched from French Guiana aboard an Ariane 5 launch vehicle.
Lift-off occurred at 18:16 EDT, and signal acquisition has been confirmed. Intelsat 33e will now join Intelsat 29e, the first Intelsat EpicNG satellite, which was launched in January 2016 over the Americas and the North Atlantic Ocean region.
Manufactured by Boeing, Intelsat 33e will bring high-throughput capacity in both C- and Ku-band to the Africa, Europe, Middle East and Asia regions.
“Intelsat 33e marks another significant milestone as we continue our ‘epic’ journey toward meeting our customers’ needs for higher performance, improved economics and simplified access to satellite solutions,” stated Stephen Spengler, CEO, Intelsat. “Our first high-throughput satellite, Intelsat 29e, is already in service and exceeding our customers’ expectations in the Americas. With Intelsat 33e, customers operating in EMEA and the Asia-Pacific regions will now be able to leverage Intelsat EpicNG’s differentiated capabilities and greater efficiencies to grow their businesses and deliver enhanced value to their customers.
“Intelsat 33e and the Intelsat EpicNG architecture are fully backwards compatible and interoperable with Intelsat’s existing satellite fleet and terrestrial infrastructure,” Spengler continued. “This allows customers to cost-efficiently use currently deployed network hardware so that they can have immediate access to high-performance connectivity.
“Intelsat 33e also brings us one step closer to providing the first global, fully interoperable wide-beam and high-throughput Ku-band broadband service. We remain on schedule to launch the remaining five Intelsat EpicNG satellites. The 2018 launch of our Horizons 3e satellite will complete our global coverage, adding the Pacific Ocean region.”
Intelsat 33e is the 57th Intelsat satellite launched by Arianespace. It will replace Intelsat 904, which will be redeployed.
Tigerair Australia confirms Melbourne–Canberra schedule
From 8 December 2016, Tigerair Australia will begin operating daily return flights between Melbourne and Canberra.
On Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, the Melbourne–Canberra leg will take off at 10:30 and land at 11:35, before the return service departs Canberra at 12:05 to reach Melbourne at 13:15.
On Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, flights will leave Melbourne at 17:35 and touch down in Canberra at 18:40. The Canberra–Melbourne leg will take off and land at 19:10 and 20:20 respectively.
BizJetMobile reveals 12-month voice and data plan
BizJetMobile plans to keep pilots and passengers connected in-flight with its CHiiMP Smart solution for US$9,990 a year.
The price, which will be available to North American customers until 30 September 2016, includes texts and emails plus 500 minutes of voice.
The company’s global marketing director, Adam Chapman, remarked, “For too long owners and operators have suffered high in-flight connectivity bills with hidden costs. The new CHiiMP Smart system and data package will put customers back in control of their spending. With the rapid growth of global messaging on the ground we believe customers should have access to affordable communications in the air.”
CHiiMP Smart utilises Bluetooth Smart technology and the Iridium satellite constellation to deliver simple app-based messaging communications to the aircraft and allows up to ten people to connect simultaneously on both Apple and Android devices.
BizJetMobile will be exhibiting at NBAA.
Saudia to launch KID-Systeme’s SKYfi Club
Saudia is having KID-Systeme’s wireless in-flight entertainment platform, SKYfi Club, linefit on its fleet of 20 Airbus A330 and 30 Airbus A320 aircraft under the brand SAUDIA SKYfi.
The first aircraft equipped with SKYfi Club, which streams content to passengers’ personal electronic devices – allowing them to access films, e-books and magazines – was delivered to Saudia in mid-August.
The technology is based on Airbus’ Airline Network Architecture connectivity platform, which is already flying on over 650 aircraft. It enables a wide range of additional services such as GSM telephony, internet access and data services.
SKYfi can also be complemented by SKYpower, KID-Systeme’s in-seat power and cabin power management system.
“We are pleased to announce Saudia as our launch customer for SKYfi. This is a ground-breaking milestone for KID-Systeme,” remarked Peter Schetschine, general manager of KID-Systeme GmbH. “Equipped with an advanced in-flight 'mediatainment' system, Saudia will underline its high technical standards and enrich passengers’ travel comfort and satisfaction with a unique and individual entertainment experience.”
“We are very happy to continue working with KID-Systeme, which has always been a reliable partner and supplier for our integrated cabin power systems,” commented Saleh Al-Jasser, Saudia’s director general. “Offering wireless content streaming is the next step, paving the way to an improved in-flight experience and satisfying passenger’s needs. Therefore, we are very excited to cooperate with KID-Systeme to enlarge our in-flight entertainment selection. This opens up a whole new world of opportunities for the connected passenger on board.”
Airasia X records first 2Q profit since inception
AirAsia X Berhad (AAX) has reported its financial results for the second quarter of 2016 (2Q16), including a revenue of RM883.2 million, a 35% increase year-over-year, marking the first time the carrier has achieved a profit during its second quarter operations.
2Q16 has seen AAX post an operating profit of RM20 million, while net profit after tax for the quarter stands at RM1 million, as compared to a loss of RM132.9 million for the same period the previous year.
The airline attributes this to a strong load factor of 75%, up seven percentage points year-over-year, despite the fact AAX increased available seat kilometres by 17% to 6,682 million from 5,693 million in 2Q15 by increasing the frequency on popular routes.
During the quarter under review, revenue per available seat kilometre also grew by 15% to 13.24 sen from 11.51 sen in 2Q15, while the average base fare saw a significant growth of 34% to RM526.
Furthermore, cost per available seat kilometre decreased 2% year-over-year to 13.20 sen due to lower fuel prices. However, this was slightly offset by five additional A330 operating lease aircraft with higher
rental rates in comparison with 2Q15.
rental rates in comparison with 2Q15.
AirAsia X Group’s CEO, Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, stated, “While the second quarter has historically been a lean quarter for us, we have managed to overcome all odds and record our first second quarter profit since inception.
“We continue to see improvement across all segments. In 2Q16, Australia contributed the highest growth to Malaysia AirAsia X operations. Revenue from Australia increased 56% year-over-year on the back of higher passenger traffic, while the average base fare rose by 15%. Revenue from China also grew 47% year-over-year, while load factor improved 11 percentage points to 82% and the average base fare rose by 53%.
“We believe this trend will remain for the rest of the year as a result of the Malaysian Government initiative on visa waiver for Chinese travelling to Malaysia coupled with an increase in Fly-Thru traffic to our core markets with improved timing. The future for AAX Group will see us expanding to China and other core markets, in line with our strategy to build market dominance within the region.
“We took delivery of two aircraft, both under operating lease for our Malaysian operation, to cater for our expanding network, bringing our total fleet to 30 as of August 2016. There will be no more deliveries until 2018.”
“Thailand AirAsia X recorded a strong 89% load factor, an increase of 17 percentage points year-over-year from 72%. This was boosted by an 8% increase in the number of international tourists to Thailand in 2Q16. Revenue was up 17% year-over-year and passengers carried rose by 35%, exceeding the airline’s capacity growth of 3%. This was despite the ICAO downgrade in December which prompted Japan and South Korea to put a freeze on additional flights by Thai-registered airlines.”
“Indonesia AirAsia X (IAAX) posted a net loss of USD8.9 million in 2Q16 from USD8.2 million in the same period last year. As Indonesia’s operational environment remains challenging, we will temporarily cease IAAX’s Australian routes in September with the aim of restarting service next year."
Benyamin Ismail, CEO of Malaysia AirAsia, added, “We have benefited from the low-fuel environment and hedged all our remaining requirements for this year based on planned existing routes, which has certainly allowed us to better manage cost while exploring new strategic routes. As a result, we trimmed CASK by 2%, however, the weakening of the ringgit prevented further cost reductions as most of our costs are denominated in USD.
“Revenue improved 35% year-over-year to RM883.2 million for the second quarter, as scheduled flights revenue surged by 71%. The healthy demand for our award-winning Premium Flatbed product pushed up premium cabin load factor to 69% while revenue soared to RM42 million, an increase of 50% year-over-year. Ancillary revenue increased by 31% to RM136.9 million, and we foresee this number growing even further with the launch new ancillary products such as our exclusive Premium Lounge opening in September 2016, in-flight entertainment on flights to all markets – not just Australia – and the availability of new insurance products that protect both our guests and their gadgets while travelling abroad.”
Rex releases FY15/16 financial results
The Regional Express (Rex) Group has announced a statutory loss after tax of AUS$9.6 million for the full financial year of 2016 (FY15/16) following a $15M impairment of goodwill and assets.
The company’s goodwill impairment amounted to $6.6 million, while its asset impairment for FY 15/16 stood at $8.4 million, creating a tax impact of $2.5 million.
Rex reported an operating profit before tax of $4.3 million in comparison to $9.3 million the previous year, with operating profit after tax decreasing to $3 million, down from $6.7 million year-over-year. The $4.3 million operating profit before tax was achieved on a turnover of $261.9M.
In comparison, Rex declared a profit after tax of $6.7 for the full financial year of 2015. The airline’s COO, Neville Howell, commented, “The Group had to make some non-cash write-downs due to the cessation of a defence contract which resulted in the first full-year statutory loss Rex has reported since FY02/03.
“The new Western Australian routes which began on 28 February 2016 are expected to contribute 9% of Rex’s total passengers in FY17. This together with the reduced fuel costs from hedging initiatives should see Rex post better results in FY17,” Howell concluded.
Honeywell receives final certification for JetWave hardware
Honeywell has achieved final certification from Inmarsat for its JetWave hardware that will allow people to connect to GX Aviation, Inmarsat’s new in-flight connectivity service.
The certification centres on JetWave’s operation in all environmental conditions with Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network, which comprises three satellites already launched and functioning.
“Inmarsat’s certification of our JetWave hardware means that customers don’t have to wait for a high-speed, global connectivity service. It’s available and ready for installation now,” declared Carl Esposito, VP marketing and product management, Honeywell Aerospace. “A recent Honeywell survey found that 84% of travellers say it is important to have an in-flight Wi-Fi experience identical to what they have at home or in the office, and airlines around the world will now be able to meet their customers’ demands with GX Aviation.”
Leo Mondale, Inmarsat Aviation’s president, averred, “GX Aviation is the ultimate broadband solution for the skies. It is a truly global service that has been engineered with aircraft mobility in mind, ensuring that airlines, business aviation operators and leading aircraft companies can offer high-quality connectivity even at 40,000 feet, using a single network from a single provider.
“We are delighted with the performance of Honeywell’s JetWave terminals, which have been designed for ease of installation and maintenance to ensure the lowest downtime for any cabin connectivity solution in the market,” Mondale continued. “This final certification is an essential part in opening the doors to this exciting new era of in-flight broadband, available to our customers anytime and anywhere, with absolutely no limits in terms of deployment to their fleets.”
JetWave has also been certified by the FAA and EASA regarding environmental and installation standards.
Third-party routers enabled on Gogo Biz Network
Gogo Business Aviation has embarked on an initiative to enable operators, dealers and installers to equip their aircraft with approved routers from third-party manufacturers on the Gogo Biz network.
“Gogo is at the forefront of the aircraft connectivity space, and with many aircraft-approved routers now available in the marketplace, we have created a process to offer our customers additional options – giving them the power to select a router that meets their specific needs,” explained Sergio Aguirre, SVP product management and business development, Gogo. “By opening the router to other providers, we've streamlined the ability for our customers to leverage Gogo's world-class network and interoperate with our solutions for the best possible experience.”
Moving forward, Gogo Biz customers will be allowed to select a router from a list of authorised providers. To ensure the highest-quality user experience, Gogo says providers will be fully evaluated and type-certified on its system.
Royal Jordanian partners with DFASS Group
Under an agreement with DFASS Group, Royal Jordanian has launched a new duty-free sales service in-flight, which is available to passengers flying on medium- and long-haul routes.
The DFASS Group is formulating a unique duty-free programme appealing to the needs of Royal Jordanian's passengers, including the sale of airline-branded items, which they can pay for in cash – Jordanian dinars, euros, US dollars or the British pound – or by credit card.
President and CEO of Royal Jordanian, Suleiman Obeidat, commented, “Royal Jordanian’s objective to sell duty-free goods on board is an added value to the customer service it offers its passengers. This time-saving shopping experience will enable our passengers to buy what they need during their journey time.”
Obeidat hopes duty-free sales in-flight will support Royal Jordanian with ancillary revenues.
Mario Mouarbes, VP Operations-EMEA, DFASS, remarked, “DFASS is excited to commence operations in Jordan, and will leverage its global reach to ensure that Royal Jordanian is bringing first-class services to its passengers through state-of-the-art systems.”
China Eastern receives paperless status with Jeppesen
China Eastern Airlines has become the first carrier in the country to achieve paperless operating status utilising Jeppesen’s FliteDeck Pro as part of its electronic flight bag (EFB) solution.
“Using Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro for charting and navigation with our international operations and our domestic NAIP charting data for flights within China provides the foundation for gaining this landmark clearance from the Civil Aviation Administration of China,” explained Hou Jianjun, managing director of China Eastern Airlines AOC. “We are proud to be the first airline in China to fly in a fully digital capacity and our partnership with Jeppesen made this vision a reality.”
Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro helps airlines streamline the delivery of flight information, including worldwide navigation charts, which is delivered to Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro through the JDM Pro enterprise solution.
“Teaming with China Eastern to achieve paperless operations takes into account the innovative technical advances with EFB and navigation services established by both companies to make this possible,” added Gardiner Porter, Jeppesen’s managing director and general manager for the Asia-Pacific. “Working closely together, we were able to understand the challenges that we faced and developed solutions to implement fully digital flightdeck capabilities to serve China Eastern’s domestic and global operations.”
In addition to Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro, China Eastern also uses other digital Jeppesen services to increase operational efficiency including OpsData and NavData.
IFPL delivers two-millionth industry part
IFPL has supplied its two-millionth industry part, its Noise Cancelling Audio Jack (p/n 1155), to a key OEM during its 20th year of trading.
The company reached this milestone just four years after the first million, demonstrating its continued sustainable growth in in-flight entertainment and connectivity peripherals.
Tim Young, chief operating officer of IFPL, commented, “It is a testament to the whole IFPL team, that the two-millionth part followed so soon after reaching our first million. IFPL investments in quality systems, manufacturing and product development capability combined with the development and introduction of new NFC, USB, audio jacks and passenger control units, means that we aim to reach our three-millionth unit even sooner.”
Pictured: Tim Young accepts the two-millionth unit from IFPL’s head of production, Marcus Baker.
JAL extends free 15 mins of IFC to 2017
All customers flying on domestic routes with Japan Airlines (JAL) can now access 15 minutes of in-flight connectivity (IFC) for free until 31 March 2017.
Currently, JAL is flying 69 domestic aircraft equipped with in-flight Wi-Fi, but expects all 77 of its domestic aircraft will be equipped with IFC by March 2017. The promotion will not be available on international aircraft equipped with in-flight Wi-Fi, even if they are operating on domestic routes.
Free in-flight entertainment can also be streamed to passengers’ personal electronic devices on JAL’s Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft.
Aviation PLC delivers third A321-200 to Vietjet
Aviation PLC has successfully completed the purchase and delivery of the third new Airbus A321-200 aircraft to Vietjet straight from the OEM’s production facility in Hamburg, Germany.
The new aircraft is equipped with CFM56-5B3/3 engines and with 230 seats offers the highest possible capacity for the type.
Southwest to fly nonstop between LAX and three Mexican airports
From 4 December 2016, Southwest Airlines will begin international service between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and three Mexican destinations: Cancun (CUN), San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos (SJD), and Puerto Vallarta (PVR).
The services from LAX to both CUN and SJD will take place twice daily, while the LAX–PVR flights will operate once daily.
“Southwest's approval from the US Department of Transportation to operate these new routes made history as the first authorities granted in a new agreement between the US and Mexico to allow more service between the countries,” averred Paul Cullen, VP and executive sponsor of Los Angeles for Southwest Airlines. “We are able to do what we have done for decades in California and in cities across the country: enter a non-stop market, bring low fares with unmatched value, and connect people in a more affordable way with places that are important in their lives.”
In July 2016, Southwest received approval from the DoT to fly between Oakland International Airport and both Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta. Subject to Mexican governmental approval, the new service is set to begin on 12 February 2017.
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