JetBlue to fly to Cuba from August
From 31 August 2016, JetBlue will launch flights to Cuba from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) using its Airbus A320 aircraft.
Initially services will run between FLL and Santa Clara’s Abel Santamaría Airport (SNU) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays before becoming daily from 1 October 2016. The FLL-SNU leg will take off at 11:00 and land at 12:12 before the return service leaves SNU at 13:15 to reach FLL at 14:35.
From 3 November 2016, JetBlue will begin daily flights from FLL to Camagüey’s Ignacio Agramonte Airport (CMW). The outbound service will take off and land at 10:35 and 12:00 respectively, before returning from CMW at 13:01 and touching down back in FLL at 14:33.
Finally, the carrier will inaugurate daily flights between FLL and Holguín (HOG) from 10 November 2016 which will take off from the former at 11:30 and land in the latter at 13:04 before the HOG–FLL leg leaves at 14:05 to reach HOG at 15:46.
“It’s a new day for Cuba travellers and one we have thoughtfully prepared for,” stated Marty St. George, JetBlue’s EVP commercial and planning, JetBlue. “We are proud to usher in a new era of Cuban travel with affordable fares and great service.”
To set its new Cuba offering apart from competitors, JetBlue will include health insurance coverage required by the Cuban government on flights with lower fares. The airline is also allowing passengers to easily complete an affidavit as part of the booking process, affirming they’re travelling to Cuba for one of 12 reasons approved by the US Department of Treasury.
Furthermore, JetBlue will make Cuban tourist visas available for purchase upon check-in at its gateway airports or at the gate for connecting customers on the day of travel. Finally, the carrier is offering passengers flying to Cuba one piece of checked luggage for free.
JetBlue has also been tentatively awarded flights between Havana and three US cities for a total of up to seven daily round trips between the countries.
Allegiant places order for 12 Airbus A320ceos
Allegiant Travel Company has signed a purchase agreement for 12 Airbus A320ceos as it transitions to an all-Airbus fleet.
The deal marks the first time the airline has purchased new aircraft from any manufacturer. Each of the A320ceos will be powered by CFM56 engines from CFM International.
“Allegiant offers travellers convenient, affordable nonstop service enabling them to more easily enjoy their favourite vacation destinations,” stated Maury Gallagher, chairman and CEO, Allegiant Travel Company. “As we continue to transition to an all-Airbus fleet, this purchase will allow us to accelerate that process, reduce complexity in our fleet and provide our passengers with an ever-improving experience.”
“We love it when we hear the Allegiant team say ‘Airbus is our future’ because that demonstrates they are hitting their bottom-line goals while also satisfying their passengers, and they know it’s because of the Airbus A320 Family,” averred John Leahy, COO customers. “The A320 offers wider and more comfortable 18-inch seats, wider aisles for faster boarding and more onboard storage space for today’s larger carry-ons.
Low-cost carriers come back to the A320 family again and again because it offers optimum performance from all perspectives. When an airline grows its A320 fleet, it’s making a sound investment in its financial future.”
Allegiant currently operates a fleet of 15 A319ceo and 16 A320ceo aircraft.
BOC Aviation places two new A321s with JetBlue
BOC Aviation has placed two new Airbus A321 aircraft with JetBlue Airways, marking the second time the company has placed aircraft from the A320 family with the carrier.
“We welcome this order from JetBlue Airways as it expands its network to meet growing North American passenger demand with this reliable, single-aisle aircraft from Airbus,” remarked Robert Martin, managing director and CEO, BOC Aviation. “We are pleased to be able to meet the needs of JetBlue once again, and demonstrate our commitment to providing the service and solutions for fleet managers.”
Both aircraft are scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2016.
Cebu Pacific carries over 10m passengers during 1H16
Cebu Pacific has increased its passenger numbers for the first half of 2016 (1H16) by 9% year-over-year to over 10 million, recording an average load factor of 87% during the period.
In June 2016 alone, Cebu Pacific flew 1.6 million passengers, a rise of 8% from the 1.5 million flown during the same month the previous year. The carrier said the upsurge in passenger volume was primarily driven by popular domestic destinations in Visayas and Mindanao such as Kalibo, Tacloban, Siargao, and
Cebu Pacific stated that key short-haul international destinations including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore also fared well. Passengers to and from Japan grew by 21% following the launch of a service between Cebu and Tokyo in March 2015 and between Manila and Fukuoka in December 2015. Likewise, the airline’s long-haul passengers also contributed to the upturn.
“We are very proud to share that since CEB's inception in 1996, our passengers now number more than 130 million and counting. These promising figures encourage us to cater to the growing travel demand not just in Manila, but throughout our six strategic hubs nationwide. We are optimistic that with the support of relevant airport and government authorities, we can continue offering our trademark lowest fares to even more Filipino travellers in the years to come,” declared Atty. JR Mantaring, Cebu Pacific’s VP corporate affairs.
Cebu Pacific operates a 57-strong fleet comprised of seven Airbus A319s, 36 A320s, six A330s and eight ATR 72-500 aircraft. Between 2016 and 2021, the carrier expects to take delivery of 32 Airbus A321neo aircraft and 16 ATR 72-600 aircraft.
GOL appoints new CFO and board members
GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes has announced that as well as appointing new board members, it has elected Richard Lark as the group’s new EVP, CFO and investor relations officer.
Lark will replace Edmar Prado Lopes Neto, who has held the aforementioned positions since 2012 but will take on new challenges with GOL after the transition is completed.
Lark already has experience in the roles, having inhabited them himself between April 2003 and June 2008. Since June 2008, Lark has been part of GOL's board of directors and led a private equity investment firm, managed and restructured companies, and acted as a board member of various private and public enterprises.
This new move is part of the final phases of GOL’s financial and operational restructuring plan which began in mid-2015. Paulo Kakinoff, GOL's CEO, explained, “Richard has overseen the various stages of our restructuring plan and has accepted the invitation to contribute more decisively to the group's value creation efforts, GOL's recapitalisation process and its resumption of profitable growth. We continue improving the allocation of our talents and will soon announce Edmar's new challenges within the group.”
In compliance with the group's corporate governance practices, Lark will leave his positions as GOL's board independent member and as financial expert of the Audit Committee, but the Financial Policy and Risk Policies Committees will continue under his leadership. Henrique Constantino is also leaving his position on GOL’s board of directors.
André Jánszky, the managing partner of the São Paulo office of law firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, will assume Lark's seat as independent director on the board as well as his position on the Auditing Committee. Financial analyst Anna Luiza Constantino will replace Henrique Constantino. In April 2016, Germán Quiroga joined GOL's board of directors, bringing over 25 years of experience in marketing and technology.
Constantino de Oliveira Junior, chairman of GOL's board, commented, “We are injecting new blood into our board and strengthening its composition with professionals with extensive, diverse and complementary experience. We are convinced that this will lead us to an even higher level of value creation for our shareholders.”
SES enjoys boost from demand for IFC
SES has reported financial results for the six months ended 30 June 2016.
Reported revenue increased 52.4% to EUR44.5 million, reflecting the important benefit from the commercialisation of capacity across SES’s existing global fleet for in-flight connectivity. In H1 2016, SES also signed two further significant long-term pre-commitments for future SES satellites, which contributed to SES’s future contract backlog.
In February, the company signed important agreements with Gogo and Panasonic to provide capacity for in-flight connectivity and entertainment services using the high-powered HTS spot beam and wide beam capacity on SES-14 and SES-15. This capacity will enable SES’s customers to provide a quality, home-equivalent passenger experience.
Panasonic Avionics signed a long-term contract for its highest bandwidth commitment to date, while Gogo signed one of the largest satellite capacity deals ever struck in the aero market to meet growing demand for high-speed in-flight connectivity on travel routes over the Americas.
In combination with the pre-commitment agreed with Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE) in 2015, SES’s global mobility solution (SES-12, SES-14 and SES-15) has already secured a high level of pre-commitment, well in advance of launch during 2017.
In April, SES secured further agreements with GEE to provide multiple wide-beam transponders. The additional capacity allows GEE to meet fast-growing demand across India, Central Asia, the Middle East and North America. GEE is now contracting capacity on 12 SES satellites, having more than doubled their requirements in the last 12 months.
Air Wisconsin announces new VP maintenance and procurement
Air Wisconsin Airlines Corporation has appointed Janet Huculak to the position of VP maintenance and procurement.
Reporting directly to the company’s SVP and COO, Bob Frisch, Huculak will be responsible for leading all maintenance and engineering functions associated with Air Wisconsin's fleet of CRJ-200 aircraft, which are operated exclusively for American Airlines under the American Eagle livery.
Huculak joined Air Wisconsin in 1997 and has since held a number of positions including assistant controller, managing director of financial planning and analysis and, most recently, VP strategic sourcing and procurement. In her new role, Huculak will continue to lead Air Wisconsin's procurement department.
“Janet is a highly valued member of our senior leadership team who continuously contributes to improving economic and operational efficiency at Air Wisconsin,” commented Frisch. “I look forward to Janet and her new team continuing to add valuable contributions to Air Wisconsin's success going forward.”
Aeroflot’s IFE GUI gets international recognition
Aeroflot’s in-flight entertainment (IFE) system interface has received a silver medal for Interface Design at the ninth International Design Awards in Los Angeles.
The Russian Graphical User Interface (GUI) used on premier IFE video entertainment devices, was developed by Aerogroup, Aeroflot’s partner and content provider.
Based on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4”, the devices are offered to business-class passengers on narrow-body aircraft.
Aeroflot’s IFE offers more than 1,000 entertainment options and are a key element in Aeroflot’s customer offering.
Lufthansa Technik uses AR for VIP cabin installation support
Lufthansa Technik has introduced a laser-based augmented reality (AR) system for supporting cabin installations for VIP and special missions as part of the group’s "Projection-based Installation Support" project.
The mobile projection system can be positioned and aligned flexibly in the aircraft fuselage in line with the respective installation situation. The installation template is projected onto the work environment for the relevant structural employee in line with the employee's current job card. This template corresponds to the component contours selected in the virtual 3D model, which are projected onto the structure in the correct position and therefore act as a positioning and alignment aid for the component that is being installed. With no interruptions or other interactions, the employee can install the component with high precision and significantly more efficiently than using conventional alignment tools.
"We have achieved another milestone in further advancing the digitisation of industrial work processes at Lufthansa Technik with the projection-based installation support using laser-based templates," said Dr Severin S Todt, head of CAx Competence Center and Tool & Equipment Solutions at Lufthansa Technik. "Following in the footsteps of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality is now a part of our working world."
The technical implementation of the laser projection system was demonstrated in the first completed project phase both on a mock-up of the training workshop, and in practice on three complete layovers – a result of the excellent inter-disciplinary cooperation between engineering, dock and IT.
Lufthansa Technik is currently testing additional applications of projection-based Augmented Reality, for example in the form of foiling and painting templates. The use of future digital assistance systems for other departments is also being examined at present for use in a larger-scale innovation project. The preparations for the project are already underway.
LHT certified to install GX Aviation on Airbus A340s
Inmarsat’s partner, Lufthansa Technik (LHT), has received a supplemental type certificate (STC) from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to install Global Express (GX) Aviation on board Airbus A340s.
The STC was validated after LHT successfully installed a Ka-band antenna designed by Honeywell Aerospace for GX Aviation in Germany on an A340. It follows LHT recently receiving certification from EASA to install GX Aviation on Airbus A320 family aircraft.
Leo Mondale, president of Inmarsat Aviation, claimed, “GX Aviation will be widely available on all popular aircraft types, both as retrofit and linefit, to ensure maximum flexibility for airline fleets. This is reflected in the STCs received to date – ranging from Airbus A340 long-haul, Boeing 757 medium-haul and Airbus A320 short-haul aircraft to Bombardier’s 5000 and 6000 private jets – and there are several additional certification programmes currently underway as we approach the finishing line for launching GX Aviation.”
Bernd Freckmann, VP base maintenance services, Lufthansa Technik, remarked, “We are delighted about obtaining the certification from EASA to install GX Aviation on Airbus A320 and A340 aircraft within weeks of each other and expect to keep the momentum going with follow-up STCs for Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 aircraft before the end of 2016.
“Inmarsat, Lufthansa Technik and Lufthansa Systems are leaders in our respective markets and by combining our individual capabilities, we can offer a powerful multifunctional connectivity solution that is unparalleled in global aviation,” Freckmann continued. “Our partnership was formed as part of the GX Aviation contract signed by the Lufthansa Group, but is also available to other airlines. We have received extremely positive interest at a time of major investments by airlines to enhance their passenger experience and brand value. In addition, our consistent, stable and fast in-flight broadband experience has appealed to private operators, governments and other markets.”
LHT’s GX Aviation installation process for the Airbus A340 family can be completed within days or during regular maintenance schedules, including all electrical modifications inside and outside the aircraft fuselage.
Jetstar goes old school with IFE
Jetstar is launching what it claims to be the first flying book exchange, Big Book Swap, in partnership with Singapore’s National Reading Movement, which is organised by the National Library Board.
On 30 July, Jetstar will give away books – contributed by MPH Bookstores, Select Books, Book Point and Write Editions – at the departure gates of selected flights from Terminal 1 of Changi Airport for people to read on their trip.
Jetstar is simply asking that passengers place the books back in their seatback pockets on their return journey so the next person on the aircraft can benefit from the book too.
Passengers can also donate their own books to the Big Book Swap by getting a sticker from a member of Jetstar’s crew and placing it at the back of the book before putting it in their seat pocket.
Jetstar's Big Book Swap will end on 31 August 2016.
BA offers improved aural experience in business class
From 1 August, business-class passengers flying British Airways (BA) between London City and New York will be provided with the very latest Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless headphones under an exclusive partnership with the headphone maker.
Troy Warfield, British Airways’ director of customer experience, said, “Sennheiser’s new top-of-the-range headsets will enhance the in-flight entertainment we offer on our specially configured in-flight iPads and deliver stunning sound to our premium customers.
“We’re delighted to be working with Sennheiser, one of the world’s top audio specialists, to make our prestigious Club World London City service even more exclusive.”
Dr Christian Ern, Sennheiser’s head of portfolio management Select commented, “Our PXC 550 Wireless headphones address the needs of frequent travellers, providing supreme audio quality and allowing them to enjoy their trip free from any distractions.
“We are very pleased to be working with British Airways to make their customers’ flight even more enjoyable.”
With a 30-hour battery life, the PXC 550 Wireless headsets provide adaptive noise cancellation to combat ambient noise on any aircraft and feature a touchpad allowing customers to control volume with just a swipe. Other features include a ‘TalkThrough’ mode allowing conversations to be held without removing the headset and a choice of four different sound modes to customise the listening experience for particular content.
China Eastern selects Rockwell Collins Iridium SATCOM solution for 737s
China Eastern Airlines is currently installing Rockwell Collins’ Iridium SATCOM aftermarket solution across its fleet of more than 100 Boeing 737 aircraft.
The solution is installed via a Boeing service bulletin for Next-Generation Boeing 737s and consists of a triple-channel transceiver that includes two channels for global voice communications and one for short-burst data link communications.
It is the first Iridium three-channel transceiver to be approved by Boeing for Future Airspace Navigation System (FANS) and safety services as well as supporting flight tracking and Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) units.
“Having an Iridium SATCOM solution that is backed by the aircraft manufacturer ensures support long into the future and helps retain long-term aircraft value,” stated Steve Timm, VP and general manager of air transport systems, Rockwell Collins. “On top of that, our solution is affordable because of the innovative ways we optimise SATCOM bandwidth for data transfer, all in a lighter-weight unit compared to previous-generation solutions.”
“Boeing is pleased to work with Rockwell and our mutual customer, China Eastern, to bring this technology to the retrofit market,” averred Bob Dankers, Boeing’s director of avionics modifications. “We heard our customers’ requests for a Boeing service bulletin to install this voice and data communication technology, which is usable where VHF radios do not operate and also satisfies mandates by the CAAC. This is just one example of Boeing’s commitment to finding retrofit solutions that provide the best customer value at an affordable price.”
WestJet achieves record passenger numbers during 2Q16
WestJet carried 5,301,338 passengers during the second quarter of 2016 (2Q16), a 7% increase on the 4,956,488 passengers recorded during the same period the previous year.
Although the airline’s net earnings for the quarter are down 40.5% to $36.7 million from C$61.6 million in 2Q15, WestJet still managed to log its 45th consecutive quarter of profitability.
During 2Q16, WestJet’s revenue passenger miles (RPMs) increased by 10.6% year-over-year to 5.749 billion from 5.199 billion, in comparison to a 6.9% rise in available seat miles (ASMs) to 7.116 billion from 6.655 billion. This resulted in a load factor increase of 2.7 percentage points to 80.8% from 78.1%.
Notably, the carrier’s total revenue for 2Q16 was up by 0.8% to $949.3 million from $942 million year-over-year. However, the cost per ASM (excluding fuel) increased by 7% to 9.93 cents from 9.28 cents, while the revenue per ASM decreased by 5.8% to 13.34 cents in 2Q16 from 14.16 cents in 2Q15, with WestJet seeing its operating margin shrink by 4.2 percentage points to 6.2% from 10.7% across the respective periods.
WestJet’s president and CEO, Gregg Saretsky, explained, “Despite the continuing economic weakness in Alberta, I am very pleased with the positive momentum we are seeing in our business, including strengthening topline revenue growth. Our fundamentals remain strong, as highlighted by our recent US$400 million investment grade unsecured notes offering, and we are confident that the strategic initiatives we are pursuing position us for continued profitable growth.”
Gogo introduces new apps for ATG 1000 system
Gogo Business Aviation has revealed three new applications for use with its ATG 1000 in-flight connectivity system.
As part of its ongoing smart aircraft strategy, the three apps – Garmin Pilot, JetFuelX and FltPlan Go – will be available from mid-fourth quarter of 2016.
Garmin Pilot provides electronic flight bag capabilities with access to Jeppesen terminal charts. When connected to the Gogo Biz network, in-flight traffic and weather information may be received.
JetFuelX was developed by pilots to offer a web-based fuel card management service to operators of turbine aircraft by quickly finding the lowest prices available from their multiple jet fuel discount programme memberships.
FltPlan Go is a companion to the FltPlan.com website featuring approach plates on maps, auto-syncing of NavLogs, moving maps, in-flight weather, checklists, airport and FBO information and more.
ATG 1000 customers will be able to obtain apps directly from the respective providers. Ongoing data usage for the apps will be covered by the customer's choice of Gogo Biz data plan, and no additional setup fees or subscriptions are required.
"Using these apps enabled by Gogo's ATG 1000 system gives aircraft operators a complete solution for pilots and passengers alike,” stated Andy Geist, SVP business aviation solutions, Gogo. “It is partnerships like these that reinforce the increased utility we provide to our customers' in-flight connectivity investments, especially on light jets and turboprops.”
The new apps complement the existing three which are already enabled on the ATG 1000 system: ForeFlight Mobile, FlightAware Flight Tracker and WSI PilotBrief Optima.
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July 4, 2016
The Inflight team is delighted to reveal details of two upcoming panel discussions at MRO Asia-Pacific, the premier regional event for the commercial air transport maintenance, repair and overhaul industry.
May 19, 2016
Inflight caught up with a few of the new and returning exhibitors featuring in the IFEC Zone at the 2016 Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg to talk about their latest developments. Watch the video highlights.
April 8, 2016
HMG Aerospace is delighted to announce that the Inflight IFEC Pavilion, Workshop & Awards will continue to be a part of the Aircraft Interiors Middle East event for a further three shows.