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News : Wizz Air Ukraine announces new route from Kiev to Moscow

Wizz Air Ukraine announces new route from Kiev to Moscow


From 30 September Wizz Air Ukraine will operate a thrice-weekly service from Kiev to Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow. 
 
The service will run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays until 27 October, when the schedule will change to Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Passengers will fly on a 180 seat Airbus A320 aircraft.
 
Akos Bus, Director General of Wizz Air Ukraine announced, “We are happy to offer Ukrainians a new affordable service to Moscow from Kiev. The opening of the Kiev-Moscow route is a long awaited landmark event for Wizz Air Ukraine.”
 
He went on to reflect upon the needs of the Ukrainian aviation industry more broadly, claiming “Joining the Open Skies agreement is a proven way to attract more airlines and benefit consumers with lower prices and more choice. It would be the way forward and towards Europe, by democratizing flying and making air travel available to every Ukrainian and not to a few privileged ones.”
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News : Emirates enhances audio IFE for visually impaired pax

Emirates enhances audio IFE for visually impaired pax


Emirates is claiming to be the first airline in the world to introduce audio descriptions for visually impaired passengers on its in-flight entertainment (IFE) system, ice Digital Widescreen.
 
The new service, which explains a scene during gaps in dialogue over the top of a film’s soundtrack, is currently available on 16 Walt Disney motion pictures, including Frozen, Saving Mr. Banks and Toy Story 3.
 
Patrick Branelly, Emirates’ vice president of corporate communications product, publishing, digital & events remarked, “Our focus is not just the depth and diversity of our on-board entertainment, but also relevance. Making entertainment accessible to our diverse customers is very important to us”.
 
August will also see ice (information, communication and entertainment) offer more than 50 films with closed captions, which are for the hard of hearing. 
 
This announcement follows the news that Emirates was recently awarded the ‘World's Best Airline Inflight Entertainment’ accolade from SKYTRAX for the 10th consecutive year.
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News : Spirit launches two new routes from Chicago O’Hare

Spirit launches two new routes from Chicago O’Hare


Spirit Airlines plans to embark on its first non-stop flight from Chicago to Atlanta on 2 November, with another new route – Chicago to New Orleans – beginning four days later on 6 November.
 
"We congratulate Spirit Airlines on its continued expansion in the Chicago area," commented Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino. "The addition of these two new destinations from O'Hare continue to demonstrate that Chicago is a high-demand market."
 
Spirit has also announced from 6 November its Chicago to Baltimore/Washington route will officially be expanded to operate all year round.
 
As a result of these new flights Spirit will provide non-stop services from Chicago to a total of 21 cities, whilst also offering a connecting service to an additional 26 locations.
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News : IFE upgrade for Qantas’ Boeing 737 fleet

IFE upgrade for Qantas’ Boeing 737 fleet


Qantas has revealed plans to refresh the in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems on its domestic fleet of 67 Boeing 737-800 aircraft from mid-2015.
 
“While 29 of our latest 737-800 aircraft already have full seat back video on demand in-flight entertainment for each passenger, the refurbishment will see wireless Q-streaming entertainment installed on the 38 remaining 737-800 aircraft to supplement the screens that fold down from the ceiling,” commented Lyell Strambi, Qantas Domestic CEO. 
 
According to Strambi, Q-streaming will allow Qantas passengers to use personal electronic devices on flight mode throughout their journey, pending approval from Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority. 
 
The multi-million dollar investment, which also includes refurbishing the cabin interior, is expected to be completed within 12 months. 
 
This news follows the recent announcement of the airline’s new partnership with Sky News and Foxtel, which Strambi says will enable passengers “to watch more recent news bulletins straight to their own devices while in the air”.
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News : Gogo welcomes Sam Gilliland to board of directors

Gogo welcomes Sam Gilliland to board of directors


Sam Gilliland, former chairman and CEO of Sabre Holdings, has accepted a post on Gogo’s board of directors until the annual meeting of stockholders in 2017. 
 
In his previous role at Sabre, Gilliland was in charge of over 10,000 employees in 60 countries working across the travel industry spectrum. In 2011, he was chosen to head up Barack Obama’s Travel and Tourism Advisory Committee, reporting to the secretary of commerce.
 
"Sam's immense experience in global travel and technology is a welcome addition to the Gogo board,” commented Ron LeMay, Gogo’s chairman of the board. “As Gogo expands its footprint globally, Sam's leadership with Sabre and within the travel and technology industries in general, will add to the overall knowledge that Gogo's board brings to the company."
 
Gilliland joins nine other board members who have already been elected.
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News : Boeing projects huge increase in demand for commercial pilots and technicians

Boeing projects huge increase in demand for commercial pilots and technicians


According to Boeing, over the next 20 years the aviation industry will see the need for over half a million commercial airline pilots and nearly 600,000 commercial airline maintenance technicians across the globe.
 
Boeing's 2014 Pilot and Technician Outlook shows that this year pilot demand has increased by 7% in comparison to 2013, with demand for maintenance training seeing a rise of 5%. 
 
These figures result from an aviation boom in certain parts of the world. Growth in the Middle East is certainly contributing to the increase in demand, with the region ordering numerous widebody models to increase capacity which consequently require more crew members. The Asia-Pacific region – which has seen a boom in low-fare carriers – is also extremely influential, as it counts for 41% of the world’s need. 
 
Sherry Carbary, vice-president of Boeing Flight Services, remarked, "The challenge of meeting the global demand for airline professionals cannot be solved by one company or in one region of the world.”
 
Her advice is that meeting the pilot and technician demand is going to have to be a collective effort. "This is a global issue that can only be solved by all of the parties involved – airlines, aircraft and training equipment manufacturers, training delivery organisations, regulatory agencies and educational institutions around the world," Carbary added.
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News : JetBlue surpasses 30 Caribbean destinations with new Curaçao route

JetBlue surpasses 30 Caribbean destinations with new Curaçao route


JetBlue Airways is launching a new route from JFK International Airport (JFK) to Curaçao International Airport (CUR) from 2 December.
 
The service, which will be the only non-stop flight from New York, plans to operate twice weekly on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Curaçao will become JetBlue’s 31st Caribbean destination where, along with Latin America, the airline already operate a third of their network.  
 
"We have been working closely with the team at JetBlue to bring this flight to the island and are thrilled it has come to fruition," explained Stanley Palm, Curaçao's Minister of Economic Development. "New York is a top market for the island, and we are confident that the new non-stop service on JetBlue will meet the demand we've seen from the north-east and international travellers alike."
 
JetBlue’s President Robin Hayes described Curaçao as “a favourite among diving enthusiasts for its healthy coral reefs” and “one of the nicest Caribbean escapes for discerning travellers thanks to its pristine beaches and clear water”. He continued “these natural attractions make the island a natural choice for JetBlue."

The flights will operate with a 150 seat Airbus A320 aircraft.
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News : Aer Lingus reports better H1 2014 despite strike action

Aer Lingus reports better H1 2014 despite strike action


Aer Lingus has revealed figures for its three month (Q2) and six month (H1) periods ending 30 June 2014. 
 
Whilst the airline made an operating loss of €9.9 million in its first half, it still charts a 39.6% improvement on the previous year. In fact, Aer Lingus stated that had it not faced strike action for the first six months of 2014, the first half operating result may have neared breakeven, as the cost of the strike was estimated to be around €10 million.
 
The operating profit of €38.7 million for the second quarter managed to deliver the best Q2 result the company’s seen in five years. Aer Lingus claim this is due to solid performance in the short haul sector as well as successful deployment of additional transatlantic capacity.
 
The positive figures come as a result of fare revenue per seat rising by 5.5%, with passenger volumes and load factor also marginally increasing. 
 
Aer Lingus CEO Christoph Mueller commented on the results, “We are delighted to announce that Aer Lingus’s successful business model has delivered a 40% improved operating result and a 26% increase in free cash flow in H1 2014 despite the negative effects of lost revenue caused by the cabin crew industrial action.”
 
“Based on recent trading trends we once again expect that full year 2014 operating profit (before net exceptional items) will be at least in line with 2013 (i.e. €61.1 million),” he concluded.
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News : WOI partners with AirFi to stream IFE content

WOI partners with AirFi to stream IFE content


Western Outdoor Interactive (WOI) has signed a partnership agreement with AirFi which will allow the in-flight entertainment (IFE) specialist to distribute WOI content through its portable IFE solution, the AirFi Box.
 
Mumbai-based WOI has granted permission for AirFi to equip their battery-powered IFE system with over 400 different magazines, games and newspapers, as well as other entertainment and concierge services.
 
V K Narayanan, vice president of marketing and services at WOI, remarked, “AirFi provides us a great opportunity to further distribute our content and services, both to our existing and new customers.”
 
The AirFi Box aims to offer a cost-effective solution for in-flight connectivity, providing a Wi-Fi network completely separate from the aircraft. It’s designed to be integrated into existing airline supply chain logistics whilst still complying with the latest regulatory guidelines for connected devices, and can be used with or without a seat-back setup.
 
“Working together with WOI is a great step forward in enriching the user experience of AirFi,” explained Job Heimerikx, AirFi’s CEO. “It complements the content that is already available and enables our customers to pick and choose the required content or upload their own content to create the right brand and passenger experience.”
 
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News : Delta introduces free entertainment on regional jets

Delta introduces free entertainment on regional jets


As of 1 August all of Delta Air Lines’ two cabin regional jets will be offering complimentary IFE to customers on flights more than an hour and a half in duration.
 
Whilst economy passengers will be required to pay for premium content, travellers in Delta’s other classes – including BusinessElite, First Class and Economy Comfort – will have access to the entire IFE line-up.
 
Delta’s inflight entertainment can be viewed either on a seat-back system or via personal electronic devices. The latter service is available through the airline’s recently launched “Delta Studio” wireless IFE product, which has been designed in conjunction with Gogo.
 
When Delta passengers launch the browser in-flight on their laptop, tablet or iPhone device they’ll automatically be directed to Delta Studio. Gogo's seat selection technology integrates with Delta's flight records through an API (Application Programming Interface) that will serve up the appropriate content when a passenger enters their name and seat number.
 
"Through the introduction of Delta Studio our customers have yet another reason to choose Delta and a different travel experience," commented Tim Mapes, senior vice-president of marketing at Delta. 
 
Gogo’s chief commercial officer, Ash ElDifrawi is also pleased with the Delta Studio service, saying, "Delta Studio marks an important shift in how Gogo builds and delivers its products. Our goal is to provide the underlying technologies that enable our airline partners to create customised experiences for their customers."
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News : Delta offers free IFE in all classes

Delta offers free IFE in all classes


From 1 August, Delta Air Lines (Delta) will introduce free in-flight entertainment (IFE) options on all the carrier’s domestic aircraft and two-cabin regional jets.
 
Passengers on Delta flights longer than one and a half hours will have free access to a selection of films, television shows, music and video games. IFE will be available in every class from BusinessElite through to Economy, although Economy passengers are required to pay a fee for premium content such as HBO and SHOWTIME programming. 

Delta’s IFE line-up can be viewed either on a seat-back system or via personal electronic devices. The latter service is available through the airline’s recently launched “Delta Studio” wireless IFE product, which has been designed in-conjunction with Gogo.

When Delta passengers launch the browser in-flight on their laptop, tablet or iPhone device they’ll automatically be directed to Delta Studio. Gogo's seat selection technology integrates with Delta's flight records through an API (Application Programming Interface) that will serve up the appropriate content when a passenger enters their name and seat number.

"Through the introduction of Delta Studio our customers have yet another reason to choose Delta and a different travel experience," commented Tim Mapes, senior vice president of Marketing at Delta. 

Gogo’s Chief Commercial Officer, Ash ElDifrawi is also pleased with the Delta Studio service, saying "Delta Studio marks an important shift in how Gogo builds and delivers its products. Our goal is to provide the underlying technologies that enable our airline partners to create customised experiences for their customers."
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News : Record 2Q net earnings for WestJet

Record 2Q net earnings for WestJet


WestJet has announced its second quarter results for 2014 (2Q14), with net earnings of C$51.8 million, up on 2Q13’s net earnings of C$44.7 million.
 
Based on the trailing twelve months, the airline achieved a return on invested capital of 13.7%, consistent with the 13.7% reported in the previous quarter.
 
“We had a great second quarter, reporting record earnings, exceeding our ROIC target for the eighth consecutive quarter, and achieving an on-time performance rate of 84.5%, a year over year improvement of 3.5 percentage points,” commented WestJet president and CEO Gregg Saretsky. “We continue to execute on our growth plans, including new service to Dublin, Ireland, success with our fare bundles initiative, and the expansion of WestJet Encore.
 
“Encore celebrated its first birthday in June, recently welcomed its one-millionth guest, and exercised five additional purchase options for Q400 aircraft,” he noted.
 
Total revenue in 2Q14 was C$930.3 million, an increase of 10.3% over the C$843.7 million in 2Q13. The operating margin rose by 0.5 percentage points to 8.4% from 7.9% for the respective quarters.
 
On 7 July, WestJet announced that it was in the advanced stages of sourcing aircraft for its entry into widebody service. The airline has recently selected four Boeing 767-300ERW series aircraft which will initially operate on routes between Alberta and Hawaii during the winter season beginning in late 2015. The airline’s current winter service between Alberta and Hawaii, via two Boeing 757-200s operated by Thomas Cook, is ending in the spring of 2015. WestJet expects to expand its operation into overseas markets starting in the summer of 2016. Further announcements regarding WestJet’s widebody schedule will be released at a later date.
 
 
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News : Scoot to switch airports in Bangkok

Scoot to switch airports in Bangkok


From 1 September, Scoot is to move its Bangkok operations from Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) to Don Mueang International Airport (DMK).
 
Don Mueang Airport is the home base of Scoot’s partner Nok Air and soon-to-be sister airline NokScoot, so the move will provide passengers with a range of connecting options – including to more than 20 Thai towns and cities.
 
Campbell Wilson, CEO of Scoot, commented, “Moving to Don Mueang is both a great boost for Scoot’s customers as well as a natural step as our partnership with Nok Air strengthens, and we're especially delighted that it allows us to offer more than 20 new destinations for our guests.”
 
Coinciding with the move to Don Mueang, Scoot will offer seats on Nok Air's flights between Don Mueang and 21 cities in Thailand, including Chiang Rai, and Surat Thani. Customers will be able to buy, in a single transaction from Scoot's website, itineraries from Singapore through to Chiang Rai, or from Sydney to Mae Sot with travel starting on 1 September or later. Likewise, Nok Air passengers can easily fly to Singapore, Gold Coast, Sydney or Perth, or any of Scoot’s other destinations.
 
Scoot will be notifying all guests booked on its flights to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport departing on or after 1st September of the change of airport, and conducting prominent advertising between now and the changeover date.
 
 
 
 
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News : Wizz Air to fly Poprad–London from October

Wizz Air to fly Poprad–London from October


Wizz Air has announced a new route from Poprad to London-Luton which will begin on 28 October, initially operating three times a week.
 
Wizz Air now offers two routes from Slovakia to the UK, having launched a service from Kosice to London in September 2013 which was welcomed both by Slovak travellers and foreign visitors.
 
Wizz Air’s Daniel de Carvalho commented, “We are delighted to introduce a new service to London from Poprad. This is our second Slovak route and we are confident that residents of Poprad will welcome this low fare access to the UK’s capital city.”
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News : Ryanair increases Q1 profit to €197m

Ryanair increases Q1 profit to €197m


Ryanair has reported a net profit of €197 million for its first quarter (1Q15) which ended on 30 June 2014, an increase of 152% over the same period last year, although the company has cautioned that this result was distorted by the timing of a very strong Easter in Q1 with no comparable holiday period in 2013.
 
Traffic grew to 24.3 million as load factors rose by 4% points to 86%. The average fare rose by 9%, boosted by a strong Easter period, while total revenues were up 11% to €1.496 billion from €1.342 billion in 1Q14. Unit costs fell by 2%, although excluding fuel they rose by 1%.
 
Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary commented, “Q1 profits were boosted by a strong Easter (but are somewhat distorted by the absence of Easter on the prior year Q1). The earlier launch of our summer schedule and actively raising our forward bookings has delivered a 4% increase in load factor to 86% and enabled us to better manage close-in yields. Ancillary revenues rose 4% in line with traffic growth, as airport and baggage fee reductions were offset by the rising uptake of allocated seating.
 
“Our four new bases at Athens, Brussels, Lisbon and Rome are performing strongly. Our strategy to raise forward bookings continues to drive higher load factors and we expect to release our summer 2015 schedule in mid-September, some 3 months earlier than last year,” O’Leary noted.
 
“This winter we will open four new bases in Cologne, Gdansk, Warsaw and Glasgow International as well as substantially increasing new routes and frequencies at Stansted and Dublin as we invest heavily in our network to build schedules on key city pairs to make them more attractive for business customers.
 
“We are 90% hedged for FY15 at approximately $96 a barrel, which will deliver savings of €50 million this year at current market rates. This is lower than the €70 million previously guided due to increased volumes in H2. We have also hedged 55% of our H1 FY16 fuel needs at approximately $95 per barrel and weaker US dollar which will deliver a 2% fall in our unit fuel cost at current market rates.
 
“Based on these 1Q15 results and our strong forward bookings it is clear that we are on track to deliver a strong H1, during which traffic will grow by 3%, and fares will rise by 6% subject to late booking fares in August and September. However we would strongly caution both analysts and investors against any irrational exuberance in what continues to be a difficult economic environment, with some company-specific challenges in H2,” O’Leary concluded.
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May 16, 2014
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