Fiji Link to operate Fiji–Vava'u, Tonga flights
From 2 April, Fiji Airways is to offer twice-weekly flights to Vava'u, Tonga from its hub in Nadi, Fiji, which will be operated with ATR 72-600s of Fiji Link.
Fiji Airways' managing director and CEO, Andre Viljoen noted the value of the service not just locally but also for transfer passengers, especially those from North America. "The new route offers a seamless addition to Fiji Airways' South Pacific network. The Tongan culture is guided by values that are rooted in family and respect; visitors are treated more like family than tourists. This ethos is aligned with Fiji Airways' mission – just as we welcome you to our home when you step on board, Tongans welcome you to their tropical paradise when you arrive."
Flights from Nadi will depart at 08:00 and reach Vava'u at 11:10 on Saturdays and Wednesdays. The same-day return from Vava'u takes off at 16:00 and lands in Nadi at 17:20.
ST Aerospace builds on demand for VIP aircraft interiors
ST Aerospace has opened its new VIP aircraft interiors centre at the Seletar Aerospace Park in Singapore, as it seeks to capitalise on customer demand from across Asia Pacific and the Middle East.
The new facility will design, upholster and fabricate cabin interiors, as well as provide maintenance for narrow-body VIP aircraft, including the Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) and Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ), while conceptual design and certification continue to be supported by its San Antonio VIP interiors team.
“ST Aerospace’s VIP aircraft interiors centre is an example of how local companies can move up the value chain by diversifying into high value-added design and engineering services,” said Lim Kok Kiang, assistant managing director of Singapore Economic Development Board. “This Centre adds vibrancy to our aerospace ecosystem, and enhances Singapore’s attractiveness as a hub from which premium aftermarket services are offered to the region.”
“We see potential in reaching out to customers in this region for VIP aircraft interiors,” said Lim Serh Ghee, president of ST Aerospace. “Besides increasing our geographical footprint to provide convenience to customers in this region, what is also exciting is the amount of skills transfer involved. New skills are imparted from our successful set-up in the US, to ensure we offer the same level of aesthetics, engineering and on-time delivery. Going up the value chain, we believe this new capability in Singapore offers a complete suite of services that cover design, engineering and craftsmanship, enhancing the already strong aviation ecosystem here.”
The facility reaffirms ST Aerospace’s investment in the VIP aircraft completion and refurbishment business. So far in 2016, the company has secured five major maintenance and refurbishments contracts – for three Boeing Business Jet (BBJ), one Airbus Corporate Jet (ACJ) and a Boeing 757, from VIP customers in Asia Pacific and the US. Aircraft arrivals are scheduled through the first three quarters of 2016.
These various VIP refurbishment and maintenance contracts include C-level checks, landing gear and auxiliary power unit change, minor interior refurbishments, upgrading of the cabin management system and inflight entertainment system, updating the future air navigation system (FANS) 1/A with ADS-B OUT, improving the Ka Band, upgrading of the transponders for the traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS II version 7.1), and installation of the newly designed tail-mounted Ku/Ka Band radome.
JetBlue launches JetBlue Technology Ventures
To celebrate the 16th anniversary of its first flight, JetBlue has announced the launch of JetBlue Technology Ventures, the first US airline-backed venture capital subsidiary for next generation travel start-ups.
JetBlue Technology Ventures will operate from the GSVlabs campus in Silicon Valley. The wholly owned subsidiary will partner with incubators, venture capital firms, universities and other organisations inside and outside Silicon Valley to build relationships with a range of start-ups across the travel and hospitality spectrum. The aim is to become a launch pad for innovations that improve customer and crewmember experiences, increase the airline’s operational efficiency and expand the JetBlue brand to new markets.
“The work being done today in the start-up community will define travel for years to come,” commented Bonny Simi, president of JetBlue Technology Ventures. “We can offer our knowledge and resources to bring early-stage ideas to life. We won’t limit our thinking to traditional airline operations, and instead consider possibilities at every stage in the travel experience.”
Simi, a JetBlue pilot, has roots in the Silicon Valley community as a graduate of both the Stanford Business and Engineering schools. She will report to Eash Sundaram, executive vice president and chief information officer of JetBlue.
As head of the JetBlue Technology Ventures oversight/advisory committee, Sundaram will lead and shape the strategic direction of the subsidiary, and will also facilitate integration of successful start-up programs into JetBlue’s overall corporate innovation and technology initiatives.
Norwegian reports strong improvement in earnings in 2015
Norwegian has reported its 2015 financial and operating results featuring a net profit of NOK75 million, which was heavily influenced by an unrealised loss on fuel hedging for 2016 and 2017, which makes up NOK800 million.
Adjusted for such unrealised hedging, the 2015 pre-tax results was NOK875 million. This was a strong improvement compared with last year’s loss of NOK1.168 million. The 2015 pre-tax result improved by NOK1.7 billion, compared with 2014.
The company’s total revenue was NOK22.5 billion, an increase of 15% over 2014. The production growth (ASKs) increased by 5%, which Norwegian described as “a breather in the company’s expansion, explained by phasing out older aircraft whilst adding new aircraft to the fleet”. The load factor remained high at 86% in 2015, up 5 percentage points from the year before. Norwegian carried almost 26 million passengers in 2015, up 7% from 2014.
For the fourth quarter (4Q15), the underlying result increased by approximately NOK 500 million. The net loss before tax of NOK 703 million was mainly related to fuel hedging for 2016 and the depreciation of the Norwegian krone. By transferring Norwegian’s fleet to its subsidiary Arctic Asset Aviation (AAA), the value of the aircraft has increased in line with the dollar. This has had a positive effect of NOK88 million on the equity for the fourth quarter and NOK421 million for 2015.
The company’s total turnover in 4Q15 was NOK5.3 billion, an increase of 16% from 4Q14. The load factor in 4Q15 increased by 4 percentage points to 85%. The airline carried 6.13 million passengers during 4Q15, up 9% over 4Q14.
“We enter 2016 with favourable fuel costs and one of the youngest fleets in Europe, which presents a significant competitive advantage,” declared CEO Bjørn Kjos. “We see a good demand for quality flights at affordable fares, but the unpredictable political decision to introduce passenger tax in Norway is creating an uncertain situation in this market. It is a paradox that the company with the lowest emissions seems to be punished the hardest.”
The market in Norway is being influenced by a slowdown in the economy and there is increased competition in the Danish market, the airline noted. The demand for travelling with Norwegian (plus advance bookings) has been satisfactory entering the first quarter of 2016. Norwegian plans to introduce 17 new 737-800s and four new 787-9s in 2016. In addition four Airbus 320neos will be delivered in 2016, which will be leased to the Asian low-fare airline, HK Express.
Management changes announced at JetBlue
JetBlue Airways has announced two new executive appointments with John Culp becoming vice-president–inflight experience and Rachel McCarthy taking on the role of vice-president–talent.
Culp, who most recently served as JetBlue’s director–inflight field operations, takes on leadership of JetBlue’s second-largest workgroup during a year of significant growth. The carrier is set to hire 850 new inflight crewmembers in 2016 to support the airline’s ongoing network growth across the Americas.
McCarthy, who leaves the role of vice-president–inflight experience, will oversee all aspects of hiring and talent development across JetBlue. She joined JetBlue in 2009 and has also served as director–product development and director–inflight field operations.
“I am delighted to see two outstanding JetBlue leaders appointed to these critical roles,” remarked JetBlue’s president and CEO, Robin Hayes. “Over their careers at JetBlue, John and Rachel have proven to be terrific leaders who understand that our culture is critical to our success.”
New London Stansted–Zakynthos service from easyJet
easyJet is to launch a new seasonal route to Zakynthos from London Stansted Airport which will operate weekly throughout the summer with the first flights operating on 28 May.
The airline expects to fly 5,400 passengers between the destinations annually. “We’re pleased to be adding another destination to our network from London Stansted Airport,” remarked Neil Slaven, commercial manager at easyJet. “Zakynthos is widely renowned for its great beaches which combined with small harbour towns make it a great summer holiday destination for families but with plenty of vibrant night life available for those who seek it.
“Our Greek routes are proving extremely popular for those who wish to get some easy and affordable summer sun, and we’re sure that our new route will be no exception,” Slaven added.
LIAT signs with marketing specialist Discover the World
LIAT has reported that it has turned to Discover the World to help the carrier reach key offline markets.
"We are very pleased to be working with Discover the World and look forward to growing our customer base and extending our presence into new markets," commented David Evans, CEO of LIAT. "Discover the World becomes part of the LIAT team, representing us at key events, growing our sales channels and creating awareness of the LIAT brand.
"LIAT doesn't currently have representation in the UK, Europe, USA and Canada where a lot of interline passengers and potential passengers are based," Evans continued. "This partnership offers an opportunity for us to grow our awareness and presence."
Ian Murray, Discover's vice-president added, "We will be representing LIAT in 47 countries, where we will be responsible for raising the number of visitors travelling between the islands onto LIAT's network. By using our field sales expertise with digital marketing, we will increase brand awareness and drive more customers."
New JetBlue Technology Ventures to develop travel innovations
JetBlue has launched JetBlue Technology Ventures, a wholly-owned subsidiary which the airline says will “invest in, incubate and partner with early stage startups at the intersection of technology, travel and hospitality”.
JetBlue Technology Ventures will operate from the GSVlabs campus in the heart of Silicon Valley. It will operate by partnering with incubators, venture capital firms, universities and other organisations inside and outside Silicon Valley, JetBlue Technology Ventures will build relationships with a range of startups across the travel and hospitality spectrum. The initiative will serve as a launch pad for innovations that improve customer and crewmember experiences, increase the airline’s operational efficiency and expand the JetBlue brand to new markets.
Bonny Simi will serve as president of JetBlue Technology Ventures, reporting to Eash Sundaram, executive vice-president and chief information officer of JetBlue. As head of the subsidiary’s oversight/advisory committee, Sundaram will lead and shape its strategic direction, and will also facilitate integration of successful startup programmes into JetBlue’s overall corporate innovation and technology initiatives.
Simi is a JetBlue pilot and officer with over a decade of leadership experience holding talent, customer experience and other roles within the airline, and over 25 years in the airline industry. Simi also has deep roots in the Silicon Valley community as a graduate of both the Stanford Business and Engineering schools.
“Innovation has always been part of JetBlue’s DNA, and JetBlue Technology Ventures builds on our history of staying a step ahead of the status quo,” explained Simi. “We will be casting a wide net to find technologies across the travel spectrum that further the award-winning customer-focused experience we are known for.
“The work being done today in the startup community will define travel for years to come,” Simi continued. “We can offer our knowledge and resources to bring early-stage ideas to life. We won’t limit our thinking to traditional airline operations, and instead consider possibilities at every stage in the travel experience.”
Flybe confirms new Southampton–Lyon service
Flybe has confirmed details of a new daily service between Southampton and Lyon, the second route it has announced to be operated under the UK Government’s Regional Air Connectivity Fund.
Between 23 May and 29 October, flights will depart Southampton on Monday to Saturday at 07:00 and arrive in Lyon at 09:50. The return flight will leave Lyon at 10:25 and get back to Southampton at 11:25. The Sunday from Southampton will push back from Southampton at 10:00 and touch down in Lyon at 12:50. After a 45 minute turnaround, the aircraft will take off from Lyon at 13:25, arriving in Southampton at 14:25.
With the aim of providing improved connectivity with new transport connections for businesses and passengers from their local areas, the UK Department for Transport last year published a shortlist of new international and domestic routes to and from UK regional airports handling fewer than five million passengers a year. The Department then invited representations from interested parties interested in operating any of the routes commercially, and overall Flybe was successful in securing nearly half, of which Southampton to Lyon is one.
Flybe’s chief revenue officer Vincent Hodder remarked, “We are delighted to announce details of Flybe’s second route to be funded under the Government’s Regional Air Connectivity Fund. Our new daily service between Southampton and Lyon is a great example of our ongoing commitment to strengthening our position as the airline of choice for customers travelling between Southampton airport and regional France. We will continue to offer unrivalled connectivity and the widest possible choice of destinations for time-saving travel from our South Coast base.”
The airline will now operate 30 routes in total from Southampton this summer offering a choice of up to 357 flights a week.
ViaSat edges closer to global broadband network
Arianespace is to launch the ViaSat-2 and a ViaSat-3 high capacity class satellites, from the Guiana Space Center, Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The respective launches will occur during the first quarter of 2017 and by late 2019/early 2020.
Both ViaSat-2 and ViaSat-3 class satellites are geostationary satellites and will operate in the Ka-band frequencies.
The ViaSat-2 satellite system is expected to improve speeds significantly, reduce costs and expand the footprint of broadband services for the primary aeronautical and maritime routes across the Atlantic Ocean between North America and Europe. According to ViaSat, it will offer approximately double the bandwidth of its previous generation satellite, and seven times the coverage.
Work is underway with the first two ViaSat-3 satellites, with ViaSat starting work on the satellite payloads and Boeing Satellite Systems starting on the associated satellite bus platforms, expected for integration and delivery in 2019. The first two satellites will focus on the Americas and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), respectively, with a third satellite system planned for the Asia Pacific region, completing ViaSat's global service coverage.
The ViaSat-3 platform is the next big step for ViaSat to fulfill its ambition of delivering a global broadband network with enough capacity to deliver more consumer choice with an affordable, high-speed, high-quality internet and video streaming service. The first two satellites will deliver more than twice the total network capacity of the approximately 400 commercial communications satellites in space today - combined.
In aviation, the ViaSat-3 platform can serve more customer demand by supporting each aircraft with hundreds of Mbps of in-flight connectivity services and video streaming for commercial airlines, business jets and high-value government aircraft.
Mark Dankberg, ViaSat's chairman and chief executive officer commented, "Beyond ViaSat-2, we plan to launch a ViaSat-3 class satellite with Arianespace, where we will offer our customers even higher speeds and higher quality broadband services - ranging from faster home internet services and in-flight video streaming to high-speed, high-value connectivity for government aircraft missions. These two satellite launches are key in the evolution to bring a global broadband communications network to market that delivers affordable, high-speed internet access to all."
RAA statement on House hearing over AIRR Act
The Regional Airline Association (RAA) has issued a statement regarding the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Hearing on the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act, reiterating its opposition to the Act in its current form.
“The Regional Airline Association’s (RAA) member airlines operate 45% of our nation’s daily flights, and yet have no voice in the governance or operation of the new ATC corporation proposed in the AIRR Act,” declared RAA president Faye Malarkey Black. “We are particularly concerned that the bill leaves questions about charges and fees unanswered, with variables like the role of weight, distance, or other factors important to regional airlines unclear.”
RAA noted that during a House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure hearing on the AIRR Act, the number of seats allocated to major airlines in the governance board associated with the proposed ATC Corporation was debated. During the discussion, the number of daily commercial aviation departures in the US – around 27,000 – was cited as a justification for major airlines maintaining four seats on the board without acknowledging that almost half of those 27,000 daily departures are operated by regional carriers who would have no representation in the new entity formed by the Act.
The RAA ststed that it “remains committed to a safe, efficient, and accountable ATC system and believes all stakeholders must have a voice in this process, especially those responsible for such a large percentage of the nation’s commercial flying”.
FTEJerez to supply graduate pilots to easyJet
Flight Training Europe (FTEJerez) has been selected by easyJet to provide pilot graduates to be First Officers and ultimately Captains at the airline.
easyJet plans to assess and recruit current FTEJerez students/graduate pilots with a view to offering a number of flying opportunities as easyJet pilots this coming winter. The first round of pilot selection will take place at the FTEJerez, Southern Spain campus during March 2016.
Other FTEJerez partner airlines include Air Astana, Aer Lingus, British Airways, BA CityFlyer, CityJet, Emirates, Flybe, Middle East Airlines and Qatar Airways and more.
Brian Tyrell, easyJet’s head of flight operations commented, “We are excited to be partnering with FTEJerez and look forward to meeting and assessing a number of the students and graduate pilots in March. We see this commitment with FTEJerez as an integral part of our long-term strategy to turn Europe Orange as we increase our network, our crew bases and training facilities within mainland Europe”.
JetBlue announces January traffic figures
JetBlue Airways has revealed its preliminary traffic results for January 2016, with over 10% more passengers carried than in the same month last year.
Revenue passenger miles (RPMs) rose by 11.7% to 3,555,862,000 compared with 3,183,017,000 in January 2015. Available seat miles (ASMs) totalled 4,306,365,000, an increase of 10.8% over the 3,885,588,000 recorded in January 2015.
The load factor in January 2016 was 82.6%, up by 0.7 percentage points from last January’s 81.9%. Revenue passengers carried numbered 2,947,210, which was 10.8% more than the 2,659,113 carried in January 2015.
JetBlue’s preliminary revenue per available seat mile (RASM) for January decreased approximately 3.5% year over year, which includes a positive impact of about two points from winter storm Jonas. JetBlue now expects year-over-year ASM growth in the first quarter of 2016 to be between 13% and 15%, down from prior guidance of 14% to 16% due to winter storms.
kulula.com now offering Avios points
kulula.com has announced a new partnership with Avios South Africa which will allow kulula customers who join Avios, the global travel rewards programme, to collect Avios points at an earn rate of three Avios for every R10 spent on kulula flights.
As well as earning Avios points with kulula, local Avios customers will continue to be able to collect Avios points through their everyday spending, such as on groceries and fuel. Avios points collected can be used for travel experiences with Avios global travel and hotel partners.
Customers wanting to join will have to sign up by creating a kulula ID. By inserting their Avios membership number into the kulula ID, they will be validated by kulula to start earning Avios immediately. Customers with an existing kulula ID can simply add their Avios membership number to their current profile.
“We are pleased to join hands with Avios, as they are one of the most respected rewards currency providers affiliated to frequent flyer programmes. Our partnership with Avios allows us to give our passengers more value for their money by rewarding them for choosing to fly with kulula. This new partnership is a perfect fit for what the kulula brand stands for; simple, easy and rewarding,” commented Shaun Pozyn, head of marketing for kulula.
The new partnership will allow members to immediately earn Avios through booking kulula and build their balances; however the ability to spend Avios on kulula flights will be launched at a later stage.
Aurigny announces seasonal Guernsey–Barcelona route
Aurigny will soon put tickets on sale for a new weekly summer route between Guernsey and Barcelona.
The service will operate on Saturdays from 23 July to 13 August, using Aurigny’s Embraer 195. The aircraft will depart Guernsey at 18:30 and arrive in Barcelona at 21:15. The return flight will arrive back in Guernsey at 22:40.
“When we bought the jet we did strongly hint that we’d try to make some extra use of its range and seating capacity by trying out a Mediterranean destination,” explained Malcolm Coupar, Aurigny’s commercial director. “After a lot of background work, we’re pleased to be able to confirm that we’ll be operating high season flights to Barcelona this summer. The Embraer is an investment on behalf of the people of Guernsey and the service to Barcelona is designed as a treat for islanders. We believe this direct service is a first for Guernsey.”
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February 4, 2016
HMG Aerospace is proud to announce the winners of the third Inflight Magazine Awards, which took place at the Inflight workshop, during the Aircraft Interiors Middle East show in Dubai today.
January 28, 2016
HMG Aerospace publishing and events group is delighted to announce that Linda Celestino, vice president Guest Services at Etihad Airways, will make the welcome address at the Inflight Workshop and Awards next week (3-4 February) as part of Aircraft Interiors Middle East (AIME) at the World Trade Centre in Dubai.
December 10, 2015
HMG Aerospace has announced a strategic partnership with market intelligence provider, Valour Consultancy, that sees the publisher become the exclusive media partner for the firm’s IFEC research reports.