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Silver Airways 9th interline deal to be with Alaska Airlines
Silver Airways customers will now be able to purchase a single ticket for flights to over 100 new destinations covered by Alaska Airlines including Hawaii, Canada and Mexico as part of a new interline agreement.
Alaska Airlines will also have far better connections with Florida and the Bahamas, too. Furthermore, the new partnership means passengers will benefit from one-stop check-in and baggage check when they transfer between the airlines.
“Adding Alaska Airlines to our growing portfolio of valued airline partners allows us to bring even more destinations within reach of customers for both airlines and gives travellers the opportunity to connect easily between multiple airline networks,” remarked Sami Teittinen, Silver Airways’ CEO.
Silver Airways also has interline agreements with American Airlines, Bahamasair, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue and US Airways, as well as international interline ticketing capabilities with Hahn Air and All Nippon Airways.
Al Jouf becomes Air Arabia’s 11th Saudi Arabian destination
From 26 October, Air Arabia will begin operating twice-weekly direct flights between Sharjah International Airport and Al Jouf.
“Saudi Arabia is one of our fastest growing markets led by both tourism and business travellers,” explained Adel Ali, Air Arabia’s CEO. “With the non-stop connectivity offered by Air Arabia, cultural tourists and nature lovers will now have another fascinating destination to explore conveniently and cost-effectively. The new route will also contribute to enhanced trade and cultural relations between the UAE and Saudi Arabia.”
Al Jouf is home to historic sites such as the Ze’bel Fort, Omar bin Al-Khattab Mosque and Kaf Village.
Over 100 flights operate from Air Arabia’s Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Alexandria hubs each week to the airline’s 10 other destinations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including Abha, Dammam, Gassim, Hail, Hofuf, Jeddah, Medinah, Riyadh, Taif and Yanbu.
NBAA 2014: Gogo Vision now supports moving map services
Gogo Business Aviation has incorporated moving map capabilities into Gogo Vision, the company's on-demand in-flight entertainment (IFE) and information service.
Gogo Vision’s moving map features will include a flight progress bar showing on the home screen at all times, which gives passengers the aircraft’s current destination and flight time remaining alongside a destination weather icon.
Also, a real-time moving map will provide a birds-eye view of the aircraft's position, route previously travelled, planned route to destination, current altitude, current ground speed and more. Passengers can adjust zoom, switch between satellite, terrain and standard map display modes, selecting full or partial-screen views.
A graphical user interface will allow passengers to view the moving map features without losing their place during a TV programme or film.
“Today's announcement gives Gogo Vision customers the moving map features they want, right at their fingertips alongside movies, TV episodes, news, weather and other information,” said John Wade, Gogo Business Aviation's executive VP.
NBAA 2014: Duncan Aviation to install Ovation Select on Falcon F50EX
Duncan Aviation is installing a Falcon F50EX aircraft with Honeywell Aerospace’s Ovation Select cabin management system (CMS) for the first time.
“An all-digital CMS is the ultimate in high-definition entertainment, business productivity and connectivity, and Ovation Select is ideal for the Falcon platform, including the F50EX,” said Mike Morgan, an avionics installations sales representative for Duncan Aviation.
Ovation Select allows passengers to control both in-flight entertainment and environmental conditions ─ including lighting, seats, temperature, galley and window shades ─ from a touch-screen interface at the seat a mobile electronic device.
The Falcon F50EX in question is based in Europe and scheduled for delivery in January 2015. During the Ovation Select installation, Duncan Aviation will also retrofit the aircraft’s flight-deck with Rockwell Collins’ Pro Line 21.
NBAA 2014: Flitestream T-Series launched by Aerosat Astronics
Aerosat Astronics, a subsidiary of Astronics Corporation which designs and manufactures aircraft satellite connectivity solutions, has launched Flitestream T-Series, claimed to be the industry’s first global connectivity solution dedicated to the worldwide business aviation fleet.
Flitestream T-Series is a satellite broadband solution incorporating a new tail-mounted antenna design which is suited to specific models of Cessna, Bombardier, Embraer, and Gulfstream aircraft. Like Flitestream’s F-Series for VVIP aircraft, T-Series incorporates Flitestream’s patented ‘lens/horn’ technology, which provides the most efficient Ku-band airborne connectivity available to business aviation.
“We are excited to extend the benefits of our FliteStream solution to an even greater segment of the long-range business jet market,” announced Dennis Ferguson, president of Astronics AeroSat. “Our new tail-mounted antenna offers exceptional, dedicated connectivity via the global Harris CapRock Ku-band satellite network, while positioning aircraft for upgrades to new airborne telecom technologies as they become available.”
Like all Flitestream solutions, the T-Series includes a defined upgrade path to Ka-band and a ‘Certification Assistance Program’ that includes a full installation design and STC data package, as well as worldwide, 24/7 aircraft on ground support with a single point of contact.
FliteStream T-Series antenna systems will be sold and installed through avionics modification centres and OEM service centres, with deliveries beginning in the third quarter of 2015.
NBAA 2014: Bombardier selects nice HD CMS/IFE for Challenger 650
Bombardier continues to preference Lufthansa Technik’s nice HD cabin management system/in-flight entertainment (CMS/IFE) for its aircraft, announcing plans to equip its new Challenger 650 jets with the product.
Other Bombardier aircraft featuring nice HD include the three Learjet models (70, 75 and 85), as well as the company’s Challenger 350s.
Customised exclusively for Bombardier, the Challenger 650’s nice HD solution will benefit from high definition monitors, 3D maps, audio and video on demand, Bluetooth integration and industry-leading media input capabilities. The system allows access and compatibility for wireless or wired content on iPod/iPad, PC or smartphone, via USB, HDMI, and other ports, connecting passengers to their personal electronic devices.
The Challenger 650 aircraft's fully-equipped multimedia system will also allow passengers to store and play their own music, movies or other media, since nice HD features business aviation's only digital rights management protected licensed media capability, allowing access to the latest films and entertainment.
BA combines IFE and catering with ‘Sound Bites Menu’
After a study from Oxford University concluded that music can influence the taste buds, British Airways (BA) decided to introduce a special soundtrack to match its in-flight meals.
Mark Tazzioli, BA’s chef, took the concept of ‘sonic seasoning’ into account when coming up with the airline’s new menu, as well as other factors, such as taste being altered at altitude.
Music by Scottish artists supposedly enhances the provenance of Scottish foods, so smoked salmon will be accompanied by Paolo Nutini, whilst Placido Domingo's rendition of Nessun should bring out the bittersweet notes in coffee.
The new ‘sound bite playlist’ will be available on long-haul flights through BA’s 'Rock and Pop' audio channel.
Qantas reveals IFEC components for new business class suites
Qantas has unveiled the in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) features of its newly-completed business class suites, which are scheduled to be introduced progressively on the airline’s A330 fleet from December 2014.
A330 passengers flying on international routes will have access to Panasonic’s eX3 IFE system on larger seatback touchscreens as well as their personal electronic devices (PEDs), thanks to Qantas’ Q streaming technology.
Domestic business class on the A330s also features the eX3 system, and domestic economy passengers can watch IFE through either seatback touchscreens or devices provided by Qantas in every seat.
Talking about the business class suites as a whole, Alan Joyce, Qantas Group’s CEO, commented, “We believe this product will deliver the best travel experience between Australia and Asia, and probably the best domestic travel experience anywhere in the world.”
The suites, designed in collaboration with Qantas' creative director, Marc Newson, also offer fully-flat beds and direct aisle access. In a world first, the Vantage XL seat, manufactured by Thompson Aero Seating, allows passengers to recline in their seat from take-off through to landing (although this is still subject to approval from Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority).
“With many Business passengers enjoying a meal in the lounge prior to travelling, this means more time to rest and sleep,” explained Joyce. “We’ve listened to what matters most to our customers and done extensive ergonomic trials to deliver the highest levels of comfort, privacy and intuitive design."
“There’s enough space to eat while continuing to work, which is something our business customers said was very important to them, and plenty of storage room to keep the range of electronic devices that people now travel with,” Joyce continued.
Updates to the A330 interiors, which will take approximately one month per aircraft, are to be implemented at Qantas’ heavy maintenance facility in Brisbane.
Virgin Australia predicts 100% ownership of Tigerair Australia by end of 2014
Virgin Australia has announced plans to secure 100% ownership of Tigerair Australia, completing the takeover with the purchase of the remaining 40% of Tigerair Australia shares for A$1, by the end of 2014.
Full control of the airline will give Virgin Australia the brand rights to fly Tigerair Australia to a number of short-haul international destinations.
“This proposed transaction marks an important milestone for Tigerair Australia and forms part of the Virgin Australia Group’s Virgin Vision strategy to 2017,” commented John Borghetti, Virgin Australia’s CEO. “Given the ongoing subdued consumer demand in the Australian domestic market, the growth of the Tigerair Australia domestic fleet is likely to be reduced. Under this proposed transaction, we will benefit from the economies of scale and achieve profitability ahead of schedule by the end of 2016.”
Borghetti explained that so far, the joint venture has strengthened systems and processes, increased aircraft utilisation, established a Brisbane base and built on synergies across a range of areas and that the company intends to retain Tigerair Australia’s low-fares philosophy.
It is expected that Virgin Australia will consolidate Tigerair Australia’s financial results going forward as result of the transaction.
Tbilisi, Georgia becomes Air Arabia’s 100th destination
From 28 October, Air Arabia will begin operating a twice-weekly service on Tuesdays and Fridays to Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, from its hub at Sharjah International Airport.
“The beautiful city of Tbilisi is a tremendous addition to the Air Arabia network and we are confident the route will prove to be highly popular with leisure and business travellers alike,” commented Air Arabia’s CEO, Adel Ali. “We are delighted to be able to bring a value-for-money offering to customers in Georgia, while further extending Air Arabia’s exceptional coverage of destinations in the central region of the world.”
This year has also seen Air Arabia increase its network from Sharjah with new routes to Cairo in Egypt and Antalya in Turkey.
Draft agreement to develop Transavia France completed
Air France has worked with representative pilot unions to come up with a draft agreement for the development of Transavia France, which has been presented at the special board meeting of SNPL Air France ALPA (Air France’s main pilot union).
The agreement outlines that pilots flying for Transavia France will be employed under Transavia France’s operating and remuneration conditions to ensure the company’s competitiveness and its development as a complement to the Air France network.
For Air France pilots who also begin flying for Transavia France, two co-existing contracts will be implemented, providing them with integrated career development, including a single seniority list.
Any future changes in working conditions and remuneration at Transavia France will seek the agreement of the SNPL Air France ALPA and SNPL Transavia, which was also involved in the dialogue leading to this first draft agreement.
The agreement will now be submitted to a referendum of SNPL Air France ALPA’s members in the hope of implementation in mid-November.
Aeroflot aims to have Dobrolet replacement operating by late October
Although no official update has yet been made on Aeroflot’s website, Ria Novosti has reported that the Russian carrier plans to introduce a low-fare subsidiary, currently identified as ‘Byudzhetniy Perevozchik’ (Budget Carrier), to replace Dobrolet, Aeroflot’s previous subsidiary which ceased operations in August citing sanctions from the European Union after it began flights to Simferopol, Crimea in July.
The new airline is expected to fly from Moscow to Russian cities including Surgut, Perm, Yekaterinburg, Ufa, Samara, Kazan, Volgograd, Belgorod, and Tyumen.
Ria Novosti claims that Byudzhetniy Perevozchik will begin operations in late October, with a fleet of four Boeing 737-800s.
Other civil aviation developments underway in Russia include increased production of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 and the introduction of a long-haul, widebody airliner to be co-developed with China.
Tigerair Singapore to ‘effectively’ become Singapore Airlines' subsidiary
In a continuation of its turnaround plan, Tigerair has revealed that Singapore Airlines (SIA) is going to significantly raise its stake in Tigerair Singapore from 40% to around 55% by converting its perpetual convertible capital securities (PCCS) holdings into shares.
Furthermore, Tigerair Singapore is also introducing 1.2 billion new ordinary shares (rights shares) at a discounted rate, to which SIA also plans to subscribe. Each rights share will be sold at S$0.20, representing a 39% reduction of the one-day volume weighted average price (VWAP) of S$0.33 per share on 16 October 2014.
Tigerair Singapore hopes the new rights shares will strengthen the airline’s balance sheet by up to S$234 million. These developments are expected to be completed by January 2015, but the introduction of the new rights shares are still subject to shareholder approval, which will be confirmed at a general meeting in the near future.
Tigerair Group’s CEO, Lee Lik Hsin, remarked, “We are heartened by SIA’s support in this Rights Issue. We are already working closely with Scoot, and look forward to further collaboration with the rest of the SIA Group.”
MRJ makes its debut
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MITAC) has celebrated the roll-out of the first MRJ90 in a ceremony at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Komaki South Plant in Nagoya, Japan.
The ceremony was kept simple, but delightful, with the aircraft itself being, rightly, the star of the show. After local children introduced the event with a specially written song, Hideaki Omiya, chairman of the Board of MHI addressed the assembled guests and dignitaries.
Following his brief remarks, drummers provided the aural backdrop as the hangar doors were opened and, led by a host of the programme’s workforce, the aircraft was wheeled in and parked just in front of the leaders of the airlines which have made commitments to operate the aircraft (see banner above the aircraft on the heading photo), as well as many executives from prospective customers.
Dreams alone cannot run businesses,” Omiya commented on having the finished article. “This aircraft will fly to every corner of the world. And I’m proud to send it out there.”
Rick Leach, president and COO of Trans States Holdings (left with wife Mary) which has orders for 50 plus 50 options, noted that 10 years have passed since current sales director, Yugo Fukuhara, called and asked if he (Leach) would discuss an aircraft that MHI was planning. “So we talked and they listened. And each time they came back for more discussions we could see that they had incorporated some of our ideas,” he recalled.
“So to see the aircraft today, something we have grown with and looking as it does, is sensational,” Leach added.
Leach’s words reflected those given earlier in the day by Nobuo Kishi, chief engineer and head of engineering division, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MITAC), at a pre-ceremony briefing. He described how MHI had started initial studies and discussions in 2003 and had begun with a 30-seat jet in mind, but after listening to airlines, planned capacity rose to 50 and then 70-90 seats as that was where the market demand was.
With production still around two-and-a-half years away, Akihiko Ishikawa, general manager MRJ programme department, commercial aviation & transport systems, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), reported that the production line will be a moving line, but is still in its trial stage.
MHI chairman Omiya added that the aim is to get to 10 aircraft a month, but he refrained from giving any time scale to reach that figure.
Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/LARAnews.net
Sunrise Airways introduces new Haiti–Cuba service
From 30 October, Sunrise Airways will operate its first regularly scheduled passenger flights to Cuba from its hub in Port-au-Prince (PAP), Haiti, on a 19-seat Jetstream 32 aircraft.
The new service, which will fly in and out of Santiago de Cuba Airport (SUC) twice weekly on Thursdays and Sundays, marks a significant expansion in Sunrise’s Western Caribbean route network.
Philippe Bayard, president of Sunrise Airways, commented, “There are strong cultural ties between Haiti and Santiago de Cuba stemming from the migration to the city that took place in the years following the Haitian revolution. From a cultural standpoint, Haiti and Santiago de Cuba have been joined at the hip for more than 200 years. Now, with our new flights, the two are closer than ever before.”
Connecting flights are also available at PAP to passengers travelling from either Cap Haitien or Santo Domingo, Dominica Republic. Previously, the Haitian carrier only offered charter flights between Port-au-Prince and Holguín in Cuba, a set-up which began a year ago in 2013.
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