AJW Aviation support for Pegasus Airlines’ growing A320 fleet
Pegasus Airlines has selected AJW Aviation to provide full power-by-the-hour-type (PBH) services for its current fleet of Airbus A320s.
The multi-year contract has the option to expand with the fleet over the next decade – the airlines has 58 A320neos and 17 A321neos on order with options for a further 25 aircraft from the family. AJW will also locate extensive main base kit at the Pegasus facility in Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport.
Tahsin Istanbullu, director, CAMO – Part M for Pegasus Airlines, commented, “Pegasus’s low-cost model leads the way in Turkey. We operate an affordable and flexible pricing policy that considers quality and customer satisfaction. We are continually developing to meet passenger expectations and priorities, and to do this we must innovate and align our cost base.
“Serving a global customer base of more than 1,000 airlines in 42 different countries, AJW Aviation has the experience in PBH that will bring immediate benefits and operational efficiencies that will help us find new ways to improve our service,” Istanbullu added.
“An important factor for Pegasus is AJW’s commitment to placing rotable inventory in Istanbul,” noted Colin Craig, commercial director, AJW Aviation. “They will have their own exclusive stock of A320 spares ensuring premium service and minimising AOGs. We are also providing complementary pool inventory for Pegasus and this will offer accessibility to our other customers in the region. A spares hub in Istanbul, on the Europe/Asia crossroads, is a sound logistical move for AJW and will help sustain our global reputation for 24/7/365 AOG service.”
iHeartRadio and Virgin America partner to offer new IFE music service
iHeartRadio and Virgin America are working together to bring a new music selection to the airline’s inflight audio offering which will be curated by iHeartRadio and Virgin Produced (Virgin Group’s entertainment arm).
The partnership will integrate iHeartRadio-branded music stations into Virgin America’s Red inflight entertainment (IFE) system at every seatback and will also be available through iHeartRadio, allowing passengers to continue listening – even after landing – via their own computer, tablet or mobile devices.
“We’re excited to partner with one of the most innovative and popular airlines to bring quality music and entertainment to consumers – even at 35,000 feet,” remarked Michele Laven, president of business development and partnerships at iHeartMedia. “This is the first step in a robust partnership between Virgin and iHeartMedia and it paves the way for more exciting integrations in the near future.”
Beginning immediately, iHeartRadio will bring six curated and branded stations to the Red IFE system entitled: Atmospheres; Dub & Dubber; Dyna-Mic Flows; Pop, Skip & A Jump; Lat-Indie; and Soul-igarchy.
“As the music fan’s airline of choice, we’re thrilled to partner with iHeartRadio to offer more variety to our flyers with these curated music stations,” comented Alfy Veretto, inflight entertainment manager at Virgin America. “And as we begin to roll out the next iteration of our inflight entertainment system, Red, our guests can expect an even more immersive experience on board with new features like faster, higher resolution capacitive touchscreens and even more entertainment content at their seatback.”
“Music and entertainment have always been an integral part of the DNA of our brand,” said Jason Felts, co-founder and chief executive officer at Virgin Produced. “In addition to developing and producing our own content, we work closely with like-minded partners such as iHeartRadio to produce fresh entertainment offerings.”
Virgin America and iHeartRadio will roll out several promotions during 2015 to introduce the iHeartRadio branded stations to passengers, including videos on Red and more.
easyJet launches new iPhone app
easyJet has launched a new iPhone app that has been designed to incorporate feedback from App Store reviews, emails received and forums with frequent flyers and thus deliver a more personalised experience for each customer.
One example of the increased functionality is that on the day of travel, relevant flight information will appear seamlessly on the homepage with destination imagery shown for searched and booked flights.
Since the launch of easyJet’s first iPhone app in 2011 the app has evolved from easy booking and check-in functionality to include popular features like passport scanning, live flight tracking, mobile boarding passes and Touch ID. It is also now complimented by the easyJet Apple Watch app.
More recently the ‘easyJet mobile host’ – available for London Gatwick Airport – guides passengers, step by step, on their day of travel with airport directions, queue times, walk times and other flight reminders and updates.
The new app also includes a countdown to travel and passenger details such as payment details and passport information can be easily retrieved. Bags, sports equipment, seats, hotels & car hire can also be quickly added to an existing booking as well as a range of helpful push notifications relevant to travel.
The app is available for download now from the App Store, with an Android version planned for later this year.
Boeing, Embraer join forces for ecoDemonstrator tests
Boeing and Embraer are to collaborate to test environment-focused technologies through the ecoDemonstrator Program in a joint effort to improve aviation's environmental performance, thus expanding the co-operation between the two.
Boeing launched its ecoDemonstrator Program in 2011 to accelerate testing and use of new technologies designed to reduce fuel use, carbon emissions and noise. The company has tested more than 50 technologies using a 737-800, 787 and, currently, a 757. As part of this collaboration, the companies are planning to conduct ecoDemonstrator tests using an Embraer aircraft in 2016.
The ecoDemonstrator co-operation between Boeing and Embraer began in 2012 (Embraer's Frederico Curado and Boeing's Jim Albaugh are pictured after signing the original deal). Since then, the manufacturers have worked together to improve runway safety and support Embraer's KC-390 mililtary aircraft programme.
In addition, in 2015, Boeing and Embraer opened a joint biofuel research center in São José dos Campos, Brazil, to perform biofuel research and coordinate research with Brazilian universities and other institutions.
Horizon Q400s to operate new Alaska Airlines flights from Los Angeles and Boise
Alaska Airlines has announced two new routes from Los Angeles, and one new route from Boise, Idaho, all of which will be operated by Alaska’s sister carrier Horizon Air, using 76-seat Bombardier Q400s.
New daily roundtrip service between Los Angeles and Monterey, California; and Boise, Idaho and Reno, Nevada will begin on 5 November. A new seasonal flight between Los Angeles and Gunnison/Crested Butte will shuttle skiers and snowboarders from California to Colorado starting in December.
“We continue to invest in our Los Angeles focus city and in expanding our regional route network,” said John Kirby, Alaska’s vice-president of capacity planning. “These new flights will connect key cities in California, Idaho and Nevada, not to mention offer a thrilling new ski destination for our customers in Southern California.”
Alaska has also announced that it will upgauge its flights from Los Angeles to Loreto, Mexico, from 1 November. The flights are currently operated daily using Q400s but they will be operated from Thursday to Sunday with Boeing 737s, adding about 70 additional seats each week.
New Tanzania–Malawi route from fastjet
fastjet Tanzania is to begin flights on its new international route between Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Lilongwe, Malawi, on 27 July 2015.
Services will initially operate twice a week on Mondays and Fridays, using Airbus A319s with seating for up to 156 passengers. The airline expects to add more capacity on the route as demand increases.
Flights will depart Dar es Salaam at 10:25 and land in Lilongwe at 11:05, with a flight time of 1 hour 40 minutes. The return flight to Dar es Salaam departs at 11:40, landing at 14:20 (all local times).
fastjet says its fares will be significantly lower than those charged by the full-service airlines currently operating direct flights between the two cities.
“fastjet has been able to expand its international network by working closely with the governments and civil aviation authorities of Tanzania and Malawi, who understand and value the positive impact that low-cost air travel can have on the lives of their citizens and the general economy,” remarked Jimmy Kibati, fastjet Tanzania’s general manager for East Africa.
“More affordable fares makes it easier for more entrepreneurs, tourists and other visitors to travel between Tanzania and Malawi which in turn will strengthen the countries’ relationship, boost their tourism and business sectors, and contribute significantly to both countries’ economic growth,” Kibati added. “The addition of this new international route between Dar es Salaam and Lilongwe to the fastjet network emphasises our vision of becoming a true low-cost pan-African airline, and is evidence of our growing success.”
flydubai selects Lumexis IFE for new batch of 737s
Lumexis has announced that flydubai will continue to use the former’s Fiber-To-The-Screen (FTTS) inflight entertainment system for its follow-on order of 11 Boeing 737-800s scheduled for delivery during 2016 and 2017.
“flydubai continues to invest in the latest technology to ensure that our passengers are getting the best onboard experience," declared Daniel Kerrison, flydubai’s vice-president inflight product. “Being the launch customer for the FTTS system, we were very happy with what it had to offer and we look forward to rolling out the new 4th generation of the system which will enter service with flydubai from May 2016.”
The FTTS system has been used by flydubai since 2010, providing passengers with over 1,300 hours of television shows, audio, games and movie titles in Arabic, English, Hindi and Russian.
“The Lumexis team is delighted to be continuing our partnership with flydubai,” noted Lou Sharkey, president and chief operating officer of Lumexis. “With its flexible service and revolutionary High Definition IFE system, flydubai has consistently set new benchmarks for inflight customer experience.”
Wizz Air CEO brushes off ACI-Europe comments
Wizz Air has released a statement from CEO József Váradi in response to reports of comments from ACI-Europe regarding airport fees and of a call by European airlines to reduce these fees – which the carriers described as ‘monopolistic’ – in order to spur economic growth:
“The notion put forth by ACI-Europe that reductions in airport fees – whether regulated or voluntary – would not directly benefit our passengers is flawed in a number of ways,” Váradi begins. “First, an airline succeeds in the 21st century by managing its own operational costs in order to offer fares that are as low as possible for a given route. We can differentiate our airlines from one another in many ways and with other services where possible, but low fares are the primary driver for our success. We focus on controlling what we can inside the company so that we’re better able then to adjust to the market conditions which ultimately set fares.
“Second, airport authorities must think for the long term,” he suggests. “Lower airport fees support lower fares and that will drive route expansion and [the] propensity to travel. In turn, more people come through the airport and that benefits everyone – the airport authority, the airport vendors, the local hospitality industry and local businesses. At Wizz Air, lower costs drive increased opportunity and for us – it’s a basic economic principle.
“ACI-Europe earlier this year published the results of its own study showing a substantial link between airport expansion and local economic growth, primarily through job growth. In overall terms, every 1,000 passengers passing through an airport account for about one direct job in the community. Grow your airport traffic and grow jobs,” Váradi notes.
“Consider this quote from the ACI study: ‘Every year European airports and their associated aviation activity support almost 12.4 million jobs and contribute €675 billion towards Gross Domestic Product (GDP). That represents 4.1% of the European economy.’
“And we should consider not only direct airport jobs, but indirect jobs as well,” Váradi emphasises. “More visitors spend more money on hotels, restaurants, car rental, theatres, tourist attractions, and of course, this also benefits all the companies that supply them. Again quoting from the ACI-Europe report: ‘Wider economic growth supports connectivity growth, but equally connectivity growth supports wider economic growth. It’s a virtuous circle – both depend upon and reinforce each other.’
“And what is the primary vehicle that supports airport traffic growth? Airlines,” the Wizz Air CEO stressed.
“Wizz Air has succeeded as an airline through disciplined fiscal management that allows us to keep our fares low. There is no reason to doubt that lower costs for airlines will benefit passengers and it will benefit the cities to which we fly,” Váradi concluded.
United takes stake in Azul to create long-term partnership
United Airlines is to acquire an approximate 5% stake in Azul Brazilian Airlines in order to build a long-term partnership and to pave the way for the carriers to co-operate on a range of customer benefits including codesharing, expanded connection opportunities on routes between the USA and Brazil, and joint loyalty programme participation.
Through a wholly-owned subsidiary, United will invest $100 million for its economic stake in Azul, which includes one seat on Azul's board of directors.
The new partnership is designed to offer customers more flight choices and convenient connections for travel between the United States and destinations in Brazil. Additionally, the partnership will enable United and Azul to provide an improved transfer process at Sao Paulo Guarulhos for timely connections for customers and their baggage. The airlines announced plans for United to place its code on flights in Azul's extensive network from Guarulhos to key destinations throughout Brazil, as well as on Azul's flights to Florida. Azul plans to place its code on United routes throughout North America and the Caribbean, pending government approval.
"This will be great for customers," declared David Neeleman, founder and CEO of Azul. "Through this partnership, Brazilians will have access to destinations in United's worldwide route network, while US customers will be able to fly conveniently to famous destinations in Brazil such as Belo Horizonte, Iguazu Falls and the Amazon."
"Brazil is an important market in United's global route network and this partnership with Azul further strengthens our ties to the region," noted Jim Compton, United's vice-chairman and chief revenue officer. "Together we will offer our mutual customers more choice and convenience when travelling to and from destinations across Brazil."
As a result of the partnership, United and Azul will expand their frequent flyer loyalty agreement. MileagePlus and TudoAzul members will have reciprocal benefits to earn and redeem miles systemwide on both airlines. "It is important to highlight that customers will be able to use their TudoAzul points to fly to any destination served by United worldwide," explained Neeleman.
As the partnership grows, the carriers will work to expand the offerings for loyalty programme members.
ERA adds expertise to board with new members
The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) has elected Jan Palmer, CEO and chairman of the management board at Estonian Air and president of Amapola as a new vice-president, while Jörg Troester, head of corporate strategy at Hahn Air, has been elected as a board member.
Palmer has been a board member of ERA for more than 20 years and has served one previous tenure as vice-president between 2003 and 2005. He has a particular interest in issues that will affect the future market conditions for airlines in Europe.
“In the last decade we have seen a shift in the global aviation industry, with regional airlines showing a strong growth across the Atlantic as well as in Europe,” Palmer remarked. “We must continue working to counter any attempt of discrimination against regional air transport and ensure that these essential travel options are available to passengers from all over Europe, particularly those in its less populated areas."
Troester believes that the opportunity that regional airlines have to contribute to the political exchanges through the association will ensure a sustainable future for this sector. “I am very honoured to serve ERA as a member of the board to champion the interests of regional airlines and to add ideas to political exchanges and finding sustainable and effective solutions and developments for aviation in the European regions,” he commented. “In light of the ever-increasing challenges the industry is facing, I look forward to contributing to ERA’s engagement in regional aviation and air transport in Europe.”
Bombardier celebrates 500 Q400s with delivery to WestJet Encore
Bombardier Commercial Aircraft has celebrated the delivery of its 500th Q400 to WestJet Encore – one of 36 ordered by the airline and its parent company WestJet.
"Bombardier's Q400 aircraft has played an instrumental role in WestJet Encore's growth and success since the start of our operations just two years ago – having recently expanded service to 24 cities in seven provinces in this short time," explained Ferio Pugliese, president, WestJet Encore. "We are thrilled to take home the 500th Canadian-made Q400 and to have it join our 21-aircraft fleet as we continue to expand to Eastern Canada, expanding route possibilities in those local communities. The Q400 aircraft's jet-like speed, operational efficiency and reduced environmental footprint fit perfectly with our business model."
Fred Cromer, president, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, added, "We are proud to be celebrating the delivery of the 500th Q400 aircraft and to be sharing this momentous occasion with WestJet Encore – Canada's newest airline, and latest aviation success story."
WestJet Encore celebrated its second anniversary on 24 June and this year is adding routes such as Toronto–Quebec City, Toronto–Fredericton, Halifax–Deer Lake, Halifax–Gander and Halifax–Sydney.
Norwegian announces US–Caribbean services
Norwegian is to launch flights from Boston, Baltimore/Washington DC and New York to two Caribbean destinations – the Guadeloupe Islands and Martinique.
Norwegian’s new seasonal services to the French West Indies will launch on 3 December 2015, with three flights a week from JFK to the Pointe-à-Pitre International Airport, Guadeloupe (PTP) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and from JFK to Martinique Aimé Césaire International Airport (FDF) on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
“We launched our first long-haul flights to the US two years ago and the response from American travellers has been fantastic. It’s great to see that our low fares, friendly service and new, more environmentally friendly aircraft are appreciated. It is therefore a pleasure to be able to launch new, exotic routes between the US mainland and the Caribbean islands Guadeloupe and Martinique, says Norwegian’s CEO Bjørn Kjos. “We will continue to expand in the US, by launching new routes and establishing more US bases.”
The new routes will also give Norwegian’s passengers from Europe an opportunity to combine a city break in New York with a Caribbean vacation. Norwegian already offers direct flights from London and the Scandinavian capitals to the Caribbean islands of Puerto Rico and St Croix, in addition to other destinations in the US.
From Baltimore-Washington (BWI) and Boston (BOS), Norwegian will operate twice weekly service to both Guadeloupe (Tuesdays and Saturdays) and Martinique (Mondays and Fridays). From Boston flights to Guadeloupe will operate on Thursdays and Sundays, and to Martinique on Wednesdays and Sundays.
On the US–Caribbean routes, Norwegian will fly its Boeing 737-800s with 186 seats and will be the first airline to offer free WiFi on flights to the Caribbean. Norwegian will also offer customers the option to rent movies and TV shows on their personal devices.
Guadeloupe and Martinique are both overseas departments of France to which the United States–European Union–Iceland–Norway Air Transport Agreement applies. The agreement authorises unlimited frequencies between any point or points in the EU and any point or points in US territory for any and all US, EU, Icelandic, and Norwegian airlines.
Cathay Pacific becomes Lufthansa Systems’ latest SchedConnect customer
Cathay Pacific Airways (Cathay Pacific) has signed a five year contract for Lufthansa Systems’ SchedConnect IT solution to support codeshare management.
SchedConnect calculates the optimum codeshare connections on a daily basis. To do this, the system processes schedule data from over 150 airlines worldwide, which equates to around five million codeshare connections per month. If a minimum connecting time is violated due to a schedule change or if a partner flight is cancelled, the system automatically assigns the marketing flight number to another suitable connecting flight operated by the partner. Changes are sent through the reservation systems to travel agents and customers as well as to the operations and passenger-related systems of the airlines involved.
“SchedConnect allows us to facilitate automation of our codeshare management,” remarked Patricia Hwang, general manager of revenue management at Cathay Pacific. “This boosts our efficiency and reduces the risk of errors arising from manual input. With SchedConnect, we have the ability to update our codeshare schedules dynamically, which is a welcomed feature.”
By using SchedConnect, the airline is strengthening its cooperation with Lufthansa Systems, which is already supplying Cathay Pacific with IT solutions such as NetLine/Sched and NetLine/Ops ++ for flight and route planning.
GuestLogix discusses future of TPE ads at guest user conference
At its group user conference in Long Beach, California, GuestLogix has explained the way it integrates an advertisement engine within its Transaction Processing Engine (TPE) system to provide transaction-relevant advertising whilst passengers are buying products on-board the aircraft through an in-flight entertainment (IFE) system.
The adverts appear at the time of the shopping cart checkout and just before a passenger’s payment information is submitted. The payment event is captured alongside the transaction information, which includes the products being purchased, and is passed to the TPE advertisement engine. The advertisement engine leverages real-time connectivity to connect to the ground advertisement engine back office to present the consumer with transaction-relevant advertisements. The consumer then has the option to go back and update the shopping cart with additional products, whilst any user interaction at this point is captured for analytics purposes.
GuestLogix says that dependent on the airline’s desired configuration, the TPE’s payment optimisation component can support multiple merchants on a single TPE deployment or prevent them from being selected together within the same transaction.
For example, products may be flagged to be processed and settled to a specific merchant, and when a product or a set of products are selected into the shopping cart, and all products fall within the same Merchant ID, the TPE will utilise that specific Merchant ID to process the transaction.
Multiple products that fall under separate merchant accounts can be processed together under a ‘master merchant’ account offered by GuestLogix. When this happens, GuestLogix’s TPE handles all settlement and reconciliation processes linked to the transaction, handling the distribution of funds to all applicable merchants involved.
Alternatively, the TPE can prevent them from being selected together within the same transaction.
Guestlogix maintains that this isolates the business from all the complexities involved in obtaining PCI certification, outsources the continuous maintenance involved and increases the quantity and value of transactions by having a trusted and secure system handling the payment.
JetBlue puts new Antigua service on sale
JetBlue Airways says its new nonstop service between New York JFK and Antigua's V C Bird International Airport (ANU) is now on sale, with the three times weekly service – on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays – scheduled to begin on 5 November 2015.
"As our 35th destination in the Latin America and Caribbean region, Antigua offers another opportunity to grow our network in high-value geographies and strengthen JetBlue's position as the leading brand for Caribbean travel," declared Umang Gupta, director, JetBlue Getaways and leisure sales. "We know Antigua will attract travellers to discover its spectacular 365 beaches."
Flights from New York will depart at 09:20 and arrive in Antigua at 14:34. The return flight will then take off at 15.30 and land back in New York at 19.18. The route will be served by JetBlue’s 150-seat Airbus A320s.
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