Volaris takes delivery of its first A321s
Volaris has received its first two 220 seat Airbus A321 aircraft, which will be deployed on the carrier’s domestic routes to and from Cancun.
Equipped with fuel-saving sharklets and powered by IAE engines, the two A321s will join Volaris’ existing all-Airbus fleet of more than 50 A319 and A320 aircraft. To date, Volaris has ordered a total of 74 Airbus single aisle aircraft.
“This is a very important step in our growth strategy, and the A321’s increased seating capacity will undoubtedly help Volaris address the increasing passenger demand for cost-efficient and comfortable air travel,” explained Enrique Beltranena, CEO of Volaris. “It’s an honour to be reaching this milestone with Airbus, a key partner since our inception, who has played an important role in our growth as a company and the efficient operation of our aircraft.”
According to the most recent Airbus Global Market Forecast, the passenger aircraft fleet serving Mexico will more than double in the next 20 years. In the last 10 years, Airbus has tripled its in-service fleet, while delivering more than 60 percent of all aircraft operating in the region.
fastjet Zimbabwe launches recruitment drive
On 17 May, fastjet Zimbabwe held its first official recruitment drive in Harare, enabling applicants interested in joining the airline to apply for pilot, cabin crew, ground operation staff, operations and dispatch supervisor positions.
The recruitment drive comes after the Zimbabwean Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, which administers the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, granted the carrier an Air Service Permit (ASP) in March.
“We were highly impressed with the calibre of applicants interested in coming to work for our new airline,” commented Richard Bodin, fastjet’s CCO. “We are looking forward to working with the people of Zimbabwe to build a reputation for fastjet Zimbabwe as a friendly, customer-focused airline that offers an affordable and reliable service to its passengers.
“Affordable air travel is key to the growth of economies across Africa – including Zimbabwe – and particularly in the business and tourism sectors,” Bodin continued. “Our low-cost strategy is to make air travel more accessible to more people to grow the aviation market, and make it possible for more Zimbabweans to experience air travel.”
The airline expects to employ similar a level of staff as it has for fastjet Tanzania, which employs nearly 200 people directly and hundreds more working in secondary services which after two years in operation.
fastjet Zimbabwe is now focused on submitting the remaining necessary documents to complete the application process for an Air Operating Certificate (AOC). Once this certificate has been issued, fastjet Zimbabwe will have formal approval to commence flights. Key domestic routes that could be initially served by fastjet Zimbabwe from Harare are Victoria Falls and Bulawayo.
Azul signs firm purchase order for 30 E195-E2s
Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras (Azul) has signed a firm purchase order for 30 E195-E2 jets from Embraer following a Letter of Intent (LOI) signed during the 2014 Farnborough International Airshow for 50 E195-E2s, leaving Azul with options for 20 further of the type.
The first delivery is scheduled for the second quarter of 2020, with the firm orders set to be included in Embraer’s 2015 second-quarter backlog. With this firm order from Azul, the E-Jets E2 backlog reaches 242 firm orders, plus 348 options and purchase rights.
“In the name of Embraer’s 19,000 employees, I want to thank Azul for choosing us, once again, to be a part in the development of the company, which was born and has grown with the E-Jets in the Brazilian market,” remarked Paulo César Silva, president and CEO, Embraer Commercial Aviation. “This new contract is a show of confidence in the E-Jets E2 programme, which is following in the steps of the commercial success of the current E-Jets generation. For that reason, we continually invest in meeting the demands of the airline companies for an even more efficient generation of aircraft.”
“Our partnership with Embraer, since the founding of Azul, has been decisive for consolidating our business plan and our growth in the domestic aviation market. By choosing aircraft built and developed in Brazil, Azul contributes to generating and maintaining jobs, as well as to the development of Brazil’s economy,” stated Azul’s CEO, David Neeleman. “The E2 will be the most advanced aircraft in its category, providing a savings on fuel burn more than 20% higher than the current model. That will be fundamental for maintaining our competitive fares and for growing in the domestic market.”
Currently, Azul has a total of 82 E-Jets in service and another six E195s on order. It operates the largest fleet of E195s in the world.
Michael Rodyniuk set to become Wasaya Airways CEO
Wasaya Airways, which is currently celebrating its 25th year in operation, has announced that from 8 June Michael Rodyniuk will succeed Tom Morris as president and CEO.
“I am honoured to have been asked to lead Wasaya Airways,” Rodyniuk stated. “The good work the Board of Directors, their advisors and all the people on the Wasaya team have accomplished over the last number of months has positioned the airline for great success. I look forward to contributing and being a part of the Wasaya team, delivering a consistent, highly valued service to our inflight guests and freight customers whilst generating a profit for our shareholders and an excellent career path for First Nations people in aviation.”
Wasaya Airways commenced a turnaround plan in autumn 2014, with Rodyniuk hoping to improve on the operational efficiencies which have already been made. His previous experience, which spans 25 years, includes roles with Air Canada’s Zip Air and WestJet. Having held positions with the Winnipeg Airports Authority and in the Exchange Income Corporation’s aviation division, Rodyniuk is already experienced in working with First Nations communities.
Morris is retiring after 21 years with the company.
Wizz Air reveals Debrecen as 22nd base
From 16 December, Wizz Air will open its 22nd base in Debrecen – the carrier’s second base in Hungary – with one new Airbus A320 aircraft.
Wizz Air will operate three new routes from its Debrecen base on top of existing routes to London Luton and Eindhoven. Each new service – to Brussels Charleroi, Malmo and Paris Beauvais – will initially operate with twice weekly flights.
The Paris Beauvais service will operate on Wednesdays and Sundays, whilst both the Brussels Charleroi and Malmo services will fly on Mondays and Fridays. Furthermore, from 17 December Wizz Air’s Debrecen–London Luton flights will increase from seven to ten times weekly and Debrecen–Eindhoven flights will increase from two to three times weekly.
The airline hopes these changes will increase annual seat capacity from the airport by 136% to 145,000 seats per year, stimulating the local job market in aviation and tourism sectors.
József Váradi, CEO of Wizz Air, commented, “Two days ago, we celebrated our 11th anniversary with a new aircraft livery and a refreshed brand as a part of our commitment to constantly improve passengers’ travel experience. Today I am pleased to make this major announcement for Hungary and the Hajdú-Bihar county. Our Debrecen operating base will make East-Hungary more accessible, further boost tourism and foster economic development in the region. We will create a number of local jobs with Wizz Air and our business partners while doubling our capacity from Debrecen Airport.”
Wizz Air now offers a total of 47 Hungarian routes to 22 countries from two Hungarian airports.
Scoot announces two Osaka routes
From 8 July, Scoot is launching two new three-times weekly services between Singapore and Osaka (the carrier’s second Japanese destination) on its new 787 Dreamliners.
On Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays the service will operate via Bangkok. Flights will leave from Singapore at 09:05, landing in Thailand at 10:10. The flight will then depart Bangkok at 11:30 and arrive in Osaka at 18:50. The return route will leave Osaka at 20:25, landing in Bangkok at 00:05 (+1). The flight between Bangkok and Singapore will depart at 01:15 (+1) and arrive at 04:40 (+1).
On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays the service will operate via Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Flights will leave from Singapore at 06:15, landing in Taiwan at 10:25. The flight will then depart Kaohsiung at 11:35 and arrive in Osaka at 15:15. The return route will leave Osaka at 16:15, landing in Kaohsiung at 18:55. The flight between Kaohsiung and Singapore will take off at 20:05 and arrive at 00:25 (+1).
“Osaka has long been on our radar, and we're excited to add it to our network,” explained Scoot CEO, Campbell Wilson. “Besides Osaka's many attractions, such as Dotonbori food district, its castle, and Universal Studios Japan, it is also the gateway to the stunning historic capital of Kyoto with its many temples and sights. When combined with our existing service to Tokyo, Scoot's guests can now complete the 'golden triangle' of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka without backtracking.”
Airbus launches Sustainable Aviation Engagement Programme
Airbus has launched a Sustainable Aviation Engagement Programme to help airlines reduce their environmental footprint through a tailored offering of services and expertise.
Based on four pillars – aircraft technology, aircraft operations, Air Traffic Management and sustainable aviation fuels – the Airbus programme is currently developing pilot projects with Cathay Pacific, British Airways and KLM. The feedback from these projects will be taken on board before the programme is extended to operators worldwide in 2016.
“We are very pleased to see the Sustainable Aviation Engagement programme taking shape with world leading airlines such as British Airways, Cathay Pacific and KLM,” stated Jean-Luc Taupiac, Airbus’ head of environment. “By working closely with our customers and building long-term partnerships we will offer them tailored solutions and expertise to meet their environmental objectives. The benefits will create the ‘perfect flight’: A winning combination of latest aircraft technology, best aircraft operations, optimised Air Traffic Management and sustainable aviation fuels.”
Airbus invests approximately two billion Euros per year in research and development to come up with incremental innovations that will further enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of all its aircraft.
Aer Lingus to commence LJLA–Dublin service
From 23 October, Aer Lingus will begin operating 16 flights per week between Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) and Dublin on a 174 seat Airbus A320 aircraft.
“The historic connection between the two cities makes Dublin–Liverpool the perfect choice for Aer Lingus’s first major expansion in short-haul services for a decade,” remarked chief revenue officer of Aer Lingus, Mike Rutter. “We believe that we can offer the region both great value flights to Dublin and also access to the fastest growing transatlantic gateway in Europe.”
Aer Lingus flights from Dublin are available to destinations including New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington, Orlando, San Francisco and Toronto, with the morning flight from Liverpool timed to enable transfer times in Dublin of as little as 75 minutes. The airline also has codeshare agreements with JetBlue and United Airlines, enabling onward connectivity to over 100 destinations across North America.
Because all parts of the US Customs and Border Protection Pre-clearance process are completed at Dublin airport, Aer Lingus customers clear US immigration and customs before departing for the US.
Flight times are also convenient for passengers conducting a day’s business in Dublin, departing from Liverpool at 08:40 and arriving back at 19:05 throughout the working week.
Volotea to install Lufthansa Systems IT solutions
Volotea has signed a five year agreement to schedule its aircraft, making the best possible use of its available fleet, with the NetLine/Sched IT solution from Lufthansa Systems.
The solution’s high degree of automation aims to supports planners and speed up processes, whilst continually taking into account “What-if” scenarios and their cost-effectiveness.
Volotea will also implement the NetLine/Sched Slot Manager module, which will automate the complex slot management process, speed up the flow of information and automatically process coordinator requirements. Depending on the number of slots that can be used, Lufthansa Systems claims Slot Manager enables airlines to achieve significant cost savings.
SIA launches new premium economy cabin offering
Following a two-year development programme and an investment of about US$80 million, Singapore Airlines (SIA) has unveiled the details surrounding its new premium economy class, which is due to enter service on 9 August.
The premium economy seating (designed by IM Flugsitz GmbH for the A380 and 777-300ER, and by Zodiac Seats US for the A350) offer a width of either 18.5 or 19.5 inches depending on aircraft type, with an 8 inch recline and 38 inch seat pitch.
SIA’s KrisWorld in-flight entertainment system for premium economy uses hardware from Panasonic Avionics. SIA claims the 13.3 inch full HD seat-back monitors (with a customised user interface designed by Massive Interactive) are the largest in their class. They work alongside a video touch-screen handset. Premium economy passengers will also receive complimentary active noise-cancelling headphones.
Other features include a full leather finishing, calf-rest and foot-bar for every seat, individual in-seat power supply, two USB ports, a personal in-seat reading light, cocktail table and more stowage space for personal items.
“The new cabin product is the culmination of two years of work, which included extensive research and focus group studies involving customers and our design partners,” said SIA’s EVP commercial, Mak Swee Wah. “Our premium economy class will provide customers more comfort and in-flight amenities. Complemented by the exceptional service that Singapore Airlines is so well known for, the new cabin class will be ‘a great new way to fly’.”
Premium economy passengers will also have access to the ‘Premium Economy Book the Cook’ service, enabling the advance ordering of a selection of main courses, as well as priority check-in and bag drop with a baggage allowance of 35kg. Members of the KrisFlyer frequent-flyer programme will also receive 10% more miles when they fly in premium economy Class.
The new class will be progressively introduced on 19 Airbus A380s, 19 Boeing 777-300ERs and the first 20 Airbus A350s. It will enter commercial service on 9 August to Sydney, before being introduced to other destinations such as Beijing, Delhi, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, London, Mumbai, New York, Shanghai, Tokyo and Zurich.
Air Arabia opens second City Terminal Check-in facility in Dubai
Air Arabia has expanded its City Terminal Check-in network with the opening of a new facility at the Al Ghurair Centre in Dubai.
The latest facility will operate seven days a week, from 10:00 until 22:00. It is equipped to accept baggage between 24 and three hours before departure, which is then transported straight to Sharjah International Airport. Passengers can also select seats, receive boarding passes and baggage claim tags, meaning they can immediately proceed to the flight upon arrival at the airport. An Air Arabia bus service is also available to take passengers from the Al Ghurair Centre directly to Sharjah.
Adel Ali, Air Arabia Group CEO, commented, “The speed and simplicity of our check-in procedures are a key component of the hassle-free Air Arabia flying experience. Our innovative City Terminal Check-ins go one step further by reducing the time our customers need to spend at the airport to an absolute minimum. They have proven to be an enormously popular addition to our offering and we look forward to serving customers from our new base at the Al Ghurair Centre.”
City Terminal Check-ins were created in 2012, with other locations including the Lamcy Plaza in Dubai, Safeer Mall in Sharjah and Al Nasr St. Al Khalidya in Abu Dhabi.
Wizz Air leases first aircraft from ALC
Wizz Air has signed its first lease agreement with Air Lease Corporation (ALC) for one Airbus A320, which is set to be delivered in July.
“We are excited to begin a new relationship with ALC due in part to the company’s outstanding reputation and portfolio, and also because its founder, Steven Udvar-Hazy, is originally from Budapest, the home city of our airline,” commented József Váradi, Wizz Air’s CEO. “This makes our new agreement particularly meaningful to all of us at Wizz Air.”
The new Airbus A320 from ALC will become the 63rd of the type in Wizz Air’s fleet.
EBACE 2015: Gogo Business Aviation introduces in-flight internet loyalty programme
Gogo has announced plans to set up a loyalty programme enabling existing customers to receive free SwiftBroadband equipment packages when they complete installation at an authorised Gogo dealer and activate a new, five-year SwiftBroadband airtime contract.
The loyalty programme is available to existing Gogo customers with non-N-registered aircraft, as well as customers which already have the Gogo Biz in-flight internet service installed. The programme will begin in July this year and expire on 31 March, 2016.
“Through the years, Gogo has been recognised for creating the industry's most generous loyalty programmes and today's announcement continues that trend,” stated John Wade, Gogo's EVP and General Manager. “Never before has an in-flight connectivity equipment package been offered at no cost. With connectivity playing an increasingly-important role in travellers' lives, we expect this programme to give our existing customers even greater access to a fully-connected in-flight experience.”
Avianca selects GEE to provide fleetwide IFE content
Avianca Holdings (Avianca) has chosen Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE) as its content service provider (CSP) for the in-flight entertainment (IFE) offering on-board its subsidiary airlines, comprising of over 168 aircraft in total.
The agreement will also be extended to provide content services on the 33+ A320neo aircraft Avianca recently committed to ordering from Airbus. Furthermore, GEE will provide content technical services to the airlines involved in the deal.
“We're delighted to be selected as the CSP across Avianca's entire fleet,” explained Amir Samnani, CEE’s SVP content. “Latin America is an important market for GEE, as it is one of the fastest growing regions in the world.”
Avianca's CEO, Fabio Villegas, said, “The alliance with GEE will allow Avianca travellers to enjoy a new on-board experience, with a wide range of high quality content that will make our flights much more enjoyable.”
EBACE 2015: ViaSat becomes Gulfstream’s Ku-band IFC supplier
ViaSat has been selected by Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation (Gulfstream) as an equipment supplier for its ViaSat Yonder Ku-band in-flight connectivity (IFC) solution on the company’s large cabin business jets, becoming the first and only Ku-band supplier for the OEM.
“Gulfstream is recognised as providing an exceptional in-flight passenger experience, which includes ensuring best-in-class internet service provided by ViaSat,” stated Ken Peterman, ViaSat’s SVP and general manager. “We have the ability today to offer the fastest business jet in-cabin internet service with Yonder, and the foresight to meet tomorrow's bandwidth demand with our Exede In The Air [Ka-band] service to ensure Gulfstream business jet passengers can stay connected no matter where they fly.”
As part of the agreement, ViaSat will now provide the ViaSat Mobile Terminal 1500 – which includes a Ku-band antenna, modem and antenna control unit – directly on an extended line of Gulfstream aircraft to enable the Yonder service. However, service also remains available through ViaSat's service providers.
This development builds on a previous third-party relationship, whereby ViaSat has provided global Ku-band IFC hardware to Gulfstream and its customers for nearly a decade.
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