GuestLogix announces new CEO
GuestLogix has emerged from creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) owned by a new Canadian investor group and equipped with a new CEO, Mike Abramsky.
For two decades, Abramsky has held leadership positions at companies including Argus Software, Delrina Corp, Xerox and other organizations. He was also a Managing Director for RBC Capital Markets.
“This is a very exciting time for GuestLogix,” Abramsky declared. “With a solid and engaged team, and many of the largest and most diverse set of airline and travel partners as loyal customers – along with the most comprehensive onboard retail solution in the industry – GuestLogix remains the global leader in the in-flight ancillary revenue space. We are well positioned to help our clients and partners drive strong ancillary revenue, and to offer differentiated passenger retail experiences driving customer loyalty.”
“We are delighted to have Mike Abramsky lead the team and global business at GuestLogix,” commented Scott Reid, president and founder of Stornoway Portfolio Management, a member of the Canadian investor group. “With a strong track record of revitalising the operations of global firms, Mike brings deep expertise in leading world-class technology companies to drive unique and strong client value.”
Under Abramsky’s leadership, GuestLogix says it plans to continue to bring to market innovative, value-added solutions that power the travel industry’s most popular onboard retail offerings – whether in use by thousands of flight attendants or via self-service systems such as in-flight entertainment screens and onboard streaming solutions.
Air Nostrum opts for Lido/Flight 4D
Air Nostrum has renewed its contract for Lufthansa Technik’s Lido/Flight flight planning solution for another four years.
The contract renewal is accompanied by a migration to the new product generation Lido/Flight 4D, which will provide Air Nostrum with better integration, a more modern graphical user interface and display, 4D optimisation and extensively automated flight planning and control processes.
“We have been using the flight planning solution from Lufthansa Systems since 2005 because the product is very reliable and meets our needs,” declared Carlos Lloréns, ground operations director, Air Nostrum. “The new generation Lido/Flight 4D impressed us above all with the range and quality of its functions.”
“Air Nostrum’s contract renewal shows that our investment in the refinement of the solution based on feedback from our customers has paid off,” explained Marco Cesa, SVP regional management EMEA, Lufthansa Systems. “Our innovative solution offers reliability and flexibility, simplifies routine tasks and makes it possible to quickly make the right decisions in critical situations.”
ALC places six new A321neos with Air Arabia
Air Lease Corporation (ALC) has announced long term lease agreements for six new Airbus A321neo aircraft with Air Arabia.
The aircraft are from ALC’s order book with Airbus and are scheduled for delivery between January and October 2019.
“We are delighted to have signed these six new A321neo aircraft leases with our good friends at Air Arabia. These new jets will complement the core A320 family fleet that Air Arabia operates,” averred Steven Udvar-Házy, executive chairman of ALC. “Air Arabia will now be able to expand into new destinations as well as increase capacity on their highest density routes with the most modern aircraft in this category.”
Alex Khatibi, ALC’s EVP, added, “The new technology Airbus A321neo offers range optimisation as well as reduced fuel consumption and carbon emissions, resulting in a very cost-effective aircraft option for Air Arabia’s widespread route network.”
JetBlue introduces new route and Mint flights
From 5 January 2017, JetBlue will launch daily flights between Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) using Airbus A320 aircraft.
The MCO–LAX leg will take off at 19:05 and land at 21:39 before the return service departs at 22:30 and arrives at 06:10 (+1).
“This is a big win for our Florida and California customers who are eager to have more choices when travelling cross country,” remarked Dave Clark, VP network planning, JetBlue. “The Sunshine State and the Golden State have been so important to JetBlue’s growth and success, which is why we are so pleased to continue to deliver on our plan to expand on both coasts.”
Elsewhere, JetBlue is introducing its premium Mint flights twice-daily between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood (FLL) and San Francisco (SFO) using Airbus A321 aircraft from 15 May 2017.
The first FLL–SFO leg will take off and land at 10:00 and 13:14 respectively, before the return flight departs SFO at 08:15 and arrives at FLL for 16:43.
The second FLL–SFO flight will leave at 18:00 to touch down at 21:16, before the return service takes off and lands at 22:40 and 07:08 (+1) respectively.
As previously announced, Mint flights between FLL and LAX will begin on 20 March 2017.
NAC reports double-digit growth for FY15/16
For the 2015/16 fiscal year (FY15/16) ending 30 June, Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) recorded an EBITDA of $439 million, which marks an increase of 90% year-over-year.
Likewise, the company’s operating profit (EBIT) has risen to $303 million for FY15/16 from $239 million in FY14/15. NAC says this ended in a positive net result of $142 million, up from $111 million, yielding a 22% return on equity.
Commenting on the fiscal year, NAC’s CEO, Søren Overgaard, stated, “We have enlarged and diversified NAC’s customer base across all aircraft types from 40 to 53 airlines and we have placed aircraft with both new and long-term customers, well in tune with our business model of growing the business based on both increased market share and repeated sales.”
During FY15/16, NAC added 43 aircraft to its active turboprop fleet and took steps to become a major player in the regional Embraer E-Jet market segment by entering into purchase agreements for 44 E-Jets. At the end of the fiscal year, NAC owned 278 aircraft and had purchase commitments for 52 aircraft.
To support this portfolio growth, NAC continued to expand its financing relationships, adding $828 million to existing loan facilities and sourcing $995 million in new loan facilities during the fiscal year.
In 2015, NAC founder Martin Møller entered into a partnership with European private equity investor EQT and Danish investment company KIRKBI Invest to further develop NAC. The parties jointly contributed a total of $200 million in additional equity and committed additional capital to pursue growth.
“The new ownership is well on track with its ambitions: In the past 12 months, we have enhanced our position as the largest owner and lessor of turboprop aircraft and we have made a significant foray into the regional jet market,” commented Møller, who remains both chairman and a significant shareholder in the NAC Group. “We expect to further expand our position as the premier lessor of turboprops and regional jets in the year to come.”
NAC expects to further improve revenue and operating profits in 2016/17. Along with sister companies Jetscape Aviation Group and Aldus Aviation, the company claims to own and manage approximately 15% of the global turboprop fleet and approximately 7% of the global E-Jet fleet.
Chris Browne to become new easyJet COO
From 1 October, Chris Browne – formerly chief operating officer at TUI Airlines, and currently a non-executive director of easyJet – is to replace Warwick Brady as easyJet’s COO.
Brady joined easyJet in May 2009 as procurement director and was responsible for fleet management, airport, central procurement and regulation. In October 2010, he was appointed as director of group operations. In June 2014, Brady was appointed non-executive director at FirstGroup plc.
“Leading the operational transformation at easyJet over the past six years has been a career highlight,” stated Brady. “I am very proud to have led the team that has delivered a safe, efficient, low-cost, customer-centric operation that has not only underpinned our financial success but also changed the way our customers perceive our brand. I have been very open about my ambitions to become a CEO and, having laid the foundation for further growth, I felt it was the right time to step down. I will always have the ‘Orange Spirit’ in my blood and wish the team on-going success.”
CEO of easyJet, Carolyn McCall, commented, “I have enjoyed working with Warwick over the past six years. He has been a key factor in creating a low-cost, customer-focused, efficient operation that has underpinned the success of easyJet. I wish him all the best.
“I would also like to welcome Chris to the executive team at easyJet. We know her well – she has an amazing track record in the airline and travel industries. She has significant operational expertise and really understands easyJet. We are all really looking forward to her joining the easyJet team.”
Prior to joining TUI Airlines, Browne occupied the role of managing director at both First Choice Airways between 2002 and 2007 and then Thomson Airways between 2007 and 2014.
Alaska Air Group and Virgin America extend review of proposed merger
Alaska Air Group, Inc. and Virgin America Inc. have announced that each carrier has agreed with the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to extend the date of their timing agreement.
They have stated the parties will not consummate the acquisition prior to 17 October 2016, unless the DOJ provides written concurrence to close within a shorter period. The parties previously agreed to not close the merger before 30 September 2016, but the extension gives the DOJ additional time to review the proposed merger.
The two airlines are confident they will obtain regulatory approval to for a merger which they claim will ‘provide consumers more choices and lower fares while allowing for more robust competition against the Big Four airlines, which control 84% of the domestic market.’
Diehl establishes wolly owned subsidiary in Singapore
Diehl Aerospace, a unit of Diehl Aerosystems, is establishing a fully owned subsidiary in Singapore, Diehl Aerospace Pte. Ltd, to support growing demand in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region.
The Singaporean company will be set up in joint cooperation of both shareholders of its parent organisations, Diehl and Thales.
Scheduled to be up and running by the end of the year, it will be the base for a revamped Customer Support Center (CSC) for all Diehl Aerosystems requirements in the APAC region.
Prior to this, Diehl Aerosystems had its existing customer support facility for the region subcontracted to Satair Group.
Sky Regional Airlines signs deal with MTU Maintenance
As part of a new ten-year agreement, MTU Maintenance is to provide MRO services for the CF34-8E engines powering Sky Regional Airlines’ Embraer 175 fleet.
The contract between MTU Maintenance and Sky Regional Airlines, valued at approximately US$250 million, covers all shop visits, on-site repairs and lease support as part of the former's Total Engine Care (TEC) programme.
The activities will be coordinated or carried out by MTU Maintenance Berlin-Brandenburg, the MTU Maintenance group’s specialists for the CF34 family. Onsite services include work on high-pressure turbine modules and can also be carried out at MTU Maintenance’s locations in Dallas, Texas (US), and Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada).
“With over 13 years’ experience on this engine and our comprehensive TEC programme, we are looking forward to partnering with Sky Regional Airlines and proud to be giving them all-around service,” commented Michael Schreyögg, chief program officer and member of the executive board at MTU Aero Engines.
Sky Regional Airlines operates domestic and transborder flights on behalf of Air Canada under the Air Canada Express banner. It operates a mixed fleet of Embraer E175 and Bombardier Q400 aircraft.
Qatar Airways becomes GlobalBeacon launch partner
The creators of GlobalBeacon, Aireon LLC and FlightAware, have announced that Qatar Airways will be the first airline to use the solution, which has been designed to meet ICAO’s Global Aeronautical Distress Safety System (GADSS) recommendations.
The agreement will see GlobalBeacon provide Qatar Airways’ Integrated Operations Centre with minute-by-minute global tracking of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) equipped aircraft by 2018.
Chief executive of Qatar Airways Group, Akbar Al Baker, declared, “As one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, both our need and our drive to deliver the very best services for our global passengers are continually evolving. GlobalBeacon will seamlessly integrate with our existing ICAO 2018 compliant flight watch technology (Total Operations System), and further enhance our fleet management by providing updates every minute.
“I am proud of Qatar Airways’ leadership position in this vital area of aviation safety and awareness. We will be the first airline in the world to have the capability to use worldwide satellite air surveillance to support our airline operations and to achieve the highest of flight tracking standards ahead of the ICAO 2021 mandate,” Al Baker concluded.
“Qatar Airways is a leader in the aviation industry, and their proactive approach to implementing the GADSS recommendations reinforces that point,” continued Aireon’s CEO, Don Thoma. “With a modern fleet of 190 aircraft flying all over the world, across remote and oceanic airspace, Qatar Airways and GlobalBeacon are an ideal match and no new avionics will be required. We’re excited to welcome them as a partner.”
“With GlobalBeacon, Qatar Airways is getting the most state-of-the-art solution to meet GADSS recommendations in the industry,” said FlightAware’s CEO, Daniel Baker. “The adoption of this solution shows their commitment to their customers, employees and international community to help improve airlines and aviation stakeholder’s ability to locate aircraft in distress and improve search and rescue capabilities."
Qatar Airways will also integrate FlightAware’s Firehose API with its existing visualisation tool in the airline’s flight operations centre. Firehose provides secure TCP-based streaming flight positions and flight status data via a combination of worldwide air traffic control data, ADS-B, Mode S multilateration, and aircraft datalink information.
Aireon’s space-based ADS-B service will be operational in 2018, shortly after the completion of the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation. The constellation will consist of 66 operational low-earth-orbit satellites providing global coverage.
JetBlue to launch Airbus’ Scheduled Maintenance Optimizer
JetBlue has become the launch customer for the first module of Airbus’ Scheduled Maintenance Optimizer.
The application, focusing on long term planning, is part of the range of Airbus Smarter Fleet solutions. It aims to decrease maintenance costs through the optimisation of scheduled maintenance events at fleet, aircraft and single task level.
Using Airbus’ Scheduled Maintenance Optimizer, JetBlue’s planners will be able to use optimisation algorithms to compute the best schedules for a fleet of over 200 aircraft over a five-year horizon.
Tony Lowery, JetBlue’s VP technical operations, averred, “Our transformation to a planning-led organisation requires state-of-the-art technology and tools. Airbus Smarter Fleet places us at the leading edge in planning technology, allowing JetBlue to manage one of our biggest cost drivers on a longer horizon with greater fidelity. I could not be more pleased with our partnership with Airbus and this product.”
Airbus is committed to the benefits of its Scheduled Maintenance Optimizer and plans to create additional modules for scheduled maintenance processes, leveraging the increasing capabilities of the Airbus Smarter Fleet platform.
Lufthansa Technik begins IFC installations on Lufthansa’s A320s
Lufthansa Technik has started installing the latest Ka-band satellite technology as standard equipment on board the Lufthansa Group's entire fleet of Airbus A320 family aircraft to enable the introduction of Inmarsat's Global Xpress in-flight connectivity (IFC) network.
A total of around 300 aircraft will be fitted with the necessary antennae and routers in parallel across up to ten production lines at various Lufthansa Technik locations by spring 2018. The company says the installation can generally take place in four days per layover.
“The procedure we have developed combined with Lufthansa Technik's wealth of experience in the project management of extensive modification programmes ensures that we can equip even large fleets with this technology in the shortest possible time,” remarked Lukas Bucher, head of connectivity, Lufthansa Technik.
Heike Handke, product manager of strategy and business development in the aircraft modification business unit of Lufthansa Technik, commented, “We also want to make sure from the very outset that any technological advances that we may not yet be aware of or any changes in customer requirements can be retrofitted or converted with minimum overhead.”
Lufthansa Technik currently holds supplemental type certificates (STCs) to install the Ka-band satellite technology required to support Global Xpress on Airbus A320 family and Airbus A340 aircraft.
In the short term, the company is in the process of securing further STCs for the Boeing 737 family and Airbus A330s, to provide support for the Asian market in particular.
WestJet signs codeshare agreement with Hainan Airlines
A new codeshare agreement will allow Hainan Airlines to place its HU code on WestJet-operated flights to and from Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, Prince George, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax.
“The Chinese travel market is vast and growing; our newest codeshare with Hainan Airlines will allow even more guests to easily connect to the WestJet network,” commented Bob Cummings, WestJet’s EVP commercial. “This codeshare agreement provides choice, streamlined service and connectivity to guests here at home and abroad. We look forward to welcoming Hainan's guests on board to experience our caring service as our relationship expands to include codesharing.”
The two carriers are building on an existing interline agreement that has been in place since 2013. The deal marks WestJet's 16th codeshare agreement.
“We are very pleased to implement this codeshare cooperation with WestJet, Canada's highest-rated airline for customer service,” stated Wei Hou, Hainan Airlines’ VP. “Cooperation with WestJet will further expand our network in Canada, giving our passengers more transfer options through Calgary and Toronto. We are confident that with Hainan's SKYTRAX five-star service, now augmented by WestJet's own high-level service standard, our customers will continue experiencing the kind of pleasant journey they've come to expect from us.”
All codeshare sales will be offered through Hainan Airlines and its global distribution network.
Wizz Air begins testing A321neo
Wizz Air has begun a testing tour of an Airbus A321neo for its pilots after presenting the aircraft at Budapest Airport.
A team of Wizz Air captains, including Zoltan Szabo, the carrier’s chief pilot, will fly from Budapest to seven European destinations to test the A321neo’s handling characteristics.
Diederik Pen, Wizz Air’s COO, commented, “We are happy to start testing the Airbus A321neo aircraft, to be added to our fleet from 2019. We are confident that the new aircraft will enable us to further reduce operating costs for our business and provide our passengers with the lowest fares on our diverse route network. Besides enhancing our customer offering and experience we are also proud to decrease our environmental footprint through the significant eco-friendly improvements brought along by the pioneer technology of the A321neos.”
In 2019, Wizz Air is due to begin taking delivery of 110 Airbus A321neo aircraft ordered at the Paris Air Show in 2015. The deliveries are scheduled to continue until the end of 2024.
Wizz Air currently operates 63 Airbus A320s and 10 A321ceos.
JetBlue and Cape Air announce codeshare deal
JetBlue is expanding its existing partnership with Cape Air, which began in 2007, to include a unilateral codeshare agreement.
The carrier will place its ‘B6’ code on Cape Air flights from JetBlue’s focus cities – Boston Logan International Airport and San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport – to Cape Air destinations throughout the northeast and Caribbean.
“No matter how big or small our customers’ hometown or destination may be, they can be sure JetBlue and Cape Air will make booking a ticket and traveling more convenient than ever before,” remarked Robin Hayes, president and CEO, JetBlue. “And as we mark a decade of working with Cape Air, we couldn’t be more pleased to strengthen this important relationship with our original airline partner.”
“Over the last ten years, we have been incredibly fortunate to partner with JetBlue on a variety of initiatives, including the University Gateway Program and interline ticketing,” continued Cape Air’s president, Linda Markham. “The new codeshare agreement further solidifies our shared commitment to offering an expanded network and a seamless travel experience for our customers.”
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