Faye Malarkey Black becomes RAA president
Faye Malarkey Black has been appointed president of the Regional Airline Association (RAA) after serving as interim president since February, 2015, while the board of directors formed a search committee to select a full-time candidate.
While serving as interim president, Black dedicated additional resources to the sharing of safety information and pursuit of best practices, prioritising a new, collaborative approach to attracting the next generation of aviation professionals.
“Faye certainly rose to the occasion as interim president and her strong leadership skills were especially evident during the RAA Convention,” stated Linda Markham, RAA board chairman and President of Cape Air. “Her impeccable work ethic, coupled with a keen understanding of the issues affecting the regional airline industry has earned her the respect and support of the RAA board and staff. We look forward to working with Faye, the RAA team, and policymakers as we work together on solutions to the issues affecting our industry.”
Black joined the RAA in 1998 as senior vice president of government affairs. In that role, she provided policy guidance and insight to the RAA board of directors, built cross-industry coalitions and worked with policymakers to protect safe air service to communities of all sizes.
She currently serves on the board of governors of the Aero Club of Washington and is co-liaison to its foundation. Black is also a member of the NextGen Institute Management Council and the RTCA policy board as well as a participant in the US transportation board’s regional aviation subcommittee.
“I am delighted to take on this new role with the RAA,” exclaimed Black. “Over the years, I have seen regional airlines meet considerable challenges with remarkable resilience and an enduring entrepreneurial spirit. I admire our board's commitment to a robust and safe regional airline industry and the dedication of the RAA's associate members, who have been true industry partners. I'm honoured to lead the RAA’s excellent staff team – a group of driven, safety-focused, and forward-thinking professionals. Together, we are committed to giving voice to the industry's collective experience and expertise as we greet the challenges and opportunities ahead.”
C&L brokers deal for sale of Saab 340A to Kiwi Regional
Working on behalf of Sprint Air, C&L brokered a deal with Kiwi Regional Airlines for the sale of a Saab 340A, marking C&L’s eighth Saab transaction in the last 12 months.
Kiwi Regional will operate the 340A out of its hub in Hamilton, New Zealand, bringing the Saab 340 back into service in that country.
“The experience and knowledge of C&L helped this transaction run smoothly,” noted Sprint Air’s vice president, Jacek Roszak. “It was a real benefit having C&L working for us.”
fastjet signs operating lease for 5th aircraft
After signing a Letter of Intent (LOI) on 10 July, 2015, fastjet has signed an operating lease with SMBC Aviation Capital Limited (SMBC) for an Airbus A319 aircraft, which is set to become the fifth in the fastjet fleet.
The aircraft will commence commercial services in Tanzania on 1 September, serving to expand the network in the region. This will include increasing the Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg route to a daily service.
Ed Winter, CEO, fastjet, explained, “Having reached our target figure for utilisation of our existing Tanzanian fleet, we are delighted to introduce an additional aircraft into Tanzania to satisfy the growing demand for our low-cost flights.”
On 26 August, 2015, fastjet announced it had also signed an LOI for the purchase of an Airbus A319 aircraft, planned for operation in Zambia, bringing fastjet’s fleet to six aircraft.
airBaltic to Launch Tallinn–Stockholm Bromma service
From March 27, 2016, airBaltic will operate twelve weekly flights between Tallinn and Stockholm Bromma Airport using a Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft.
Christophe Viatte, airBaltic’s chief commercial officer, commented, “Tallinn–Stockholm Bromma is a convenient link for the business traveller between the capitals of Sweden and Estonia, and it is part of our strategy to operate 11 direct services out of Tallinn in the coming five years.”
In addition, airBaltic is also offering new direct flights between Tallinn and Vilnius.
Mann Yadanarpon Airlines completes transition to AeroCRS
Mann Yadanarpon Airlines (MYP) has successfully finished it's migration to the AeroCRS reservation system.
AeroCRS provides an online reservation and operation system for small to medium sized airlines. The solution consists of a reservation system (both B2B and B2C), CRM, operation, DCS, website with full content management system, BI dashboard and reporting centre, open API, connectivity with distribution channels and more.
Lin Myat Tun, managing director of MYP Airlines, opined, “We have found the right system in terms of quality and performance. In my research on the systems in the market, I found AeroCRS had the most user-friendly interface with customisable functions. Their support team are very professional and have respond quickly – they even developed new functions according to our requirements. We also have positive feedback from our clients. AeroCRS system is a very effective system.”
MYP is based at Mandalay International Airport in Myanmar and offers domestic flights to destinations such as Mandalay, Yangon, Heho (Inle lake), Nyaung-U (Bagan), Tachileik, Dawei, Myeik, Lashio and more using a fleet of two ATR-72 aircraft.
The carrier has plans to expand its fleet and network to regional destinations.
Mark Porter appointed WestJet’s EVP people and culture
From 26 October, WestJet will have a new executive vice-president of people and culture in Mark Porter.
Porter joins WestJet from Shaw Communications where he was the senior vice-president of human resources for almost 10 years. Porter’s other experience includes roles as chief people officer with Molson Canada and a variety of engineering and human resource positions with Bombardier Aerospace across more than 15 years.
“I welcome Mark to the WestJet family and look forward to having him lead this vital role for WestJet,” averred Gregg Saretsky, WestJet’s president and CEO. “Our people are our competitive edge and Mark's deep experience and knowledge of the human resources field will assist us greatly as we continue to grow and our business becomes more complex.”
Porter added, “There aren't many companies in any field that celebrate their people as WestJet does and I'm honoured and excited to join the team and contribute to what is already an award-winning culture. In an increasingly complex human resources world, I look forward to helping shape the next chapter of WestJet's renowned people relations.”
CTC Aviation opens direct-entry applications for BA CityFlyer
Applications are now open for valid EASA ATPL or Part-FCL ATPL (full or frozen) holders to apply through CTC Aviation for a First Officer position with BA CityFlyer on-board the carrier’s Embraer 170 and 190B aircraft.
David Cox, BA CityFlyer’s fleet manager, commented, “We require our pilots to have the drive to provide industry defining standards of customer service in a demanding, yet exciting environment. We have been working with CTC Aviation for some time now and recently employed a number of their CTC WINGS and CTC TAKEOFF graduates. Having been impressed by what we have seen, we are now also entrusting our direct entry pilot recruitment to their care. They have been tasked to provide us with airline pilots of the highest professional standards and we are looking forward to the first successful pilots joining our team very soon.”
Based at the airline’s main base at London City Airport, the new crew members will be serving a mixture of business and leisure destinations throughout Europe.
Norwegian acquires two new Dreamliners
Norwegian has signed an agreement to acquire an additional two new Boeing 787-9 aircraft, which means the airline’s long-haul fleet will consist of nineteen Dreamliners by 2018.
The airline now has eleven 787-9 Dreamliners on order with Boeing. There are four scheduled to be delivered in 2016, five in 2017 and two in 2018. These two newly-ordered aircraft are due to enter service during the summer of 2017.
Larger than the eight 787-8s that Norwegian currently operates on its long-haul routes, the 787-9 has 344 seats, with 35 in premium and 309 in economy. It has an increased range in comparison to the 787-8 as well as a significantly larger cargo capacity.
“In order to make our long-haul operation even more competitive, we are dependent on more brand new cost-efficient aircraft,” remarked Norwegian’s CEO, Bjørn Kjos. “Our long-haul routes have been very popular among passengers and I´m very satisfied to have secured more Dreamliners. This will enable us to launch even more routes to exiting destinations all over the world. This is a fantastic airplane with high passenger comfort, long range and low fuel burn.”
The two new aircraft will be leased by Norwegian’s asset company, Arctic Aviation Assets.
Tigerair Australia announces Melbourne–Coffs Harbour service
Following the introduction of its first intrastate route between Sydney and Coffs Harbour in February 2013, Tigerair Australia has announced a new thrice-weekly service between Coffs Harbour and Melbourne which is due to commence on 9 December.
The flights, which will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, are set to deliver approximately 1,000 extra seats through Coffs Harbour Airport each week in addition to the 1,000 seats provided by the Sydney–Coffs Harbour service.
The flights will depart Melbourne at 09:05 on Mondays and Wednesdays and at 08:45 on Fridays, whilst the return leg from Coffs Harbour will take off at 11:25am and 11:05am respectively.
“Our consistently great value fares stimulate air travel in this country and provide a welcome boost for tourism,” remarked Adam Rowe, Tigerair Australia’s commercial director. “Coffs Harbour is a great tourism destination for families and leisure seekers, with a fantastic year round climate, great beaches and resorts. We are confident this new route will be popular with both local Coffs Harbour residents and Melburnians seeking an affordable getaway.”
In other developments, Tigerair Australia is planning on introducing three Boeing 737-800 aircraft to its fleet, enabling the airline’s first short-haul international services to Bali from Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth beginning from March 2016.
Based in Sydney, a 14th Airbus A320 aircraft will also join the carrier’s in early December.
WestJet takes delivery of first wide-body aircraft
WestJet has taken delivery of the first of four Boeing 767-300 extended range aircraft which will allow the airline to begin serving Europe and other regions from Canada on a non-stop basis.
This first aircraft will operate flights between Toronto and Calgary from early September. From December, the next two 767-300s will fly from Alberta to Hawaii and between Toronto and Montego Bay, Jamaica. The fourth and final aircraft will arrive in spring 2016 ready for the launch of WestJet's new service to London Gatwick in May.
Following discussions over the summer with airports across the country, the airline will announce the Canadian cities from which it will operate its summer schedule, including to London, in mid-September.
“The arrival of our first wide-body aircraft opens the next chapter in the evolution and growth of Canada's low-fare leader,” stated Bob Cummings, WestJet’s executive vice-president of commercial. “WestJet has been liberating Canadians from the high cost of air travel since 1996, bringing low fares and friendly, caring, people-driven service to communities from coast to coast.
“The launch of WestJet Encore in 2013 gave Canadians in smaller centres much-needed relief from high fares and the opportunity to connect to WestJet's ever-expanding domestic, trans-border and international networks.
“Shortly, with the arrival of our first wide-body aircraft as an important milestone, we will offer Canadians from cities across our network the chance to fly non-stop to Europe and other regions at prices not seen in recent memory. As we have throughout our history, we will continue to lower airfares and make travel more affordable,” concluded Cummings.
Featuring a new teal and blue maple leaf-themed logo that will eventually appear on all WestJet aircraft, the airline's new 767-300s will seat 262 guests with a 24 seat ‘Plus’ cabin in a premium two-by-two configuration and 238 seats in the main cabin.
By next spring all four aircraft will be equipped with WestJet Connect, the airline's new inflight entertainment and wireless connectivity system.
Estonian Air remains profitable during June and July
Estonian Air has recorded its first profitable summer months since 2010 – earning approximately 200,000 euros – after carrying 62,559 passengers in June and 65,643 passengers in July, marking a 14% and 18% respective increase in comparison to June and July in 2014.
During the first seven months of 2015, Estonian Air carried 341,591 passengers, of which 330,180 were on regular flights. This means year-on-year the total number of passengers has increased 8.5%, with passengers carried on regular flights growing by 9.1%.
The airline has increased its sales and market share although the aviation market as a whole is in decline and the competition is increasing. In the first seven months of 2015 the carrier operated 7,040 regular and charter flights, which is 13% more than during the same period last year.
The airline currently operates a total of six aircraft including three Embraer 170s and three Bombardier CRJ900s. In September two Bombardier CRJ700 aircraft will be added to the fleet.
“Profitable summer months indicate that the restructuring plan has helped us to establish a solid foundation for long-term sustainability. Active sales in Estonia and destination markets and capacity providing for other airlines have contributed to the positive outcome. In addition, a wider choice of flight destinations and improved load factor shows more effective usage of our assets,” explained Indrek Randveer, chief commercial officer, Estonian Air.
“We will continue to develop our business and we realise that in order to keep sustainable profit and serving direct flights from Tallinn we need to find service opportunities from Scandinavia and Europe as well,” Randveer continued. “For instance, operating SAS and Austrian Airlines flights as a capacity provider and serving Swedish domestic flights starting from October where our business risks are hedged.
“Approaching autumn and winter time will bring a low flight season, and we are planning to have losses in 2015. Nevertheless, our results so far have been better than budgeted and next year we are aiming to reach the break-even.”
Mesa to receive APU MRO from StandardAero
Mesa Airlines has signed a 12-year contract with StandardAero for the latter to perform maintenance, repair and overhaul services on the APS2300 auxiliary power units (APUs) for its fleet of 30 Embraer 175 aircraft, which are flown under a codeshare arrangement with United Airlines.
Mesa received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to add the 30 Embraer E175 aircraft to its operating certificate in June of 2014 and began its E-Jet operations last summer.
“Long-term agreements and partnerships are the backbone of StandardAero’s strategy for serving airline customers around the world,” commented Robert Cords, president of StandardAero airlines and fleets. “We are proud to serve Mesa and to grow our dynamic portfolio of customers who place their trust in our people and our services.”
The APUs will be serviced at StandardAero’s OEM-approved APS2300 APU Authorised Repair Facility in Maryville, Tennessee. The company is providing Mesa with a custom MRO programme and has the ability to offer additional benefits to customers including: access to OEM technical support and documentation, OEM warranty processing, access to rental bank assets, component repair & LRU capabilities and coordinated repair development with OEM authorisation.
“We are pleased to renew our relationship with StandardAero, one of the airline industry’s most respected service companies,” stated Mesa’s chairman and CEO, Jonathan Ornstein. “Mesa has a long track record of industry-leading performance and we look forward to additional opportunities to expand this partnership.”
Delta’s flight attendants get personal
Delta’s 22,000+ flight attendants have received an enhancement to their handheld Lumia 1520 phablet that allows them to better engage with customers in flight.
The airline claims that through its new Guest Service Tool, flight attendants will be able to recognise high-value customers and better serve those on board who may need extra assistance or attention.
As the tool evolves, it is hoped that passengers will be able to receive further information including the status of down-line flights and connecting gate information.
“Our flight attendants, as with all Delta employees, are committed to making the flying experience better for our customers while endeavouring to bring more humanity to the skies,” said Allison Ausband, Delta’s senior vice president of in-flight service. “Having technology at their fingertips to identify and greet customers by name, highlight a customers’ (SkyMiles) Medallion status, address disruptions in their travel in real-time as well as a host of other opportunities means the world’s finest flight attendants can provide an even more exceptional customer experience.
“We’ll continue to enhance the device and Guest Service Tool to take advantage of customer-provided data to further personalise the on board experience,” said Ausband. “Eventually, flight attendants will be able to deliver food and beverage options that meet customer preferences and better identify those customers who may have had a previous disruption in their travel, all in an effort to deepen engagement with those who fly with us.”
ALTO Aviation releases new audio/video solution
As part of a new agreement, ALTO Aviation is using Innovative Advantage’s AVDS nodes as an integral part of its latest fully integrated custom audio/video solution for business aviation under a private label.
ALTO’s integration of AVDS, a video distribution system which supports video switching to multiple monitors in either Standard Definition or High Definition modes, provides business aviation retrofit customers with a cost-efficient stand-alone in-flight entertainment (IFE) system upgrade option.
The solution offers an integrated audio/video control compatible with any industry monitor provider, making it ideal for both single and multiple HD monitor upgrades.
ALTO Aviation recently expanded its keypad offerings to add video selection to its list of functionality, allowing passengers to select video to any desired monitor, whether it is a local personal monitor or bulkhead monitor.
Two basic keypad styles are available, proud or flush mount. These keypads interface directly with the AVDS node and ALTO amplifiers to provide sequential video and audio control to the cabin audio system and monitors.
With the addition of the AVDS node and an on-board wireless Wi‐Fi router, the new audio/video system can be controlled by an Apple or Android-based personal electronic device. ALTO Aviation designs each node specifically to the aircraft system requirements.
“By far, the Innovative Advantage AVDS is the most comprehensive and advanced high-definition video solution in the market. Its ease of configuration and integration makes it an easy choice as our preferred method of video switching. We are thrilled to partner with Innovative Advantage to integrate our video button keypads and audio systems into one seamless package,” Kevin Hayes, VP of sales and marketing, remarked.
Satcom Direct will be first bizav comms provider ready for Jet Connex
Satcom Direct is set to become the first business aviation communications provider to validate its services over Jet ConneX, the business aviation version of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) service.
Expected to be available by the end of 2015, Jet ConneX will support high data rate applications in flight – including streaming YouTube videos and Skype video calls in real-time – enhanced by Satcom Direct value added services.
To verify the functionality of Satcom Direct’s network and software services over the high-speed Inmarsat-5 (I-5) satellite constellation, the company provisioned an Inmarsat Global Xpress Cobham land terminal.
The test was conducted at Satcom Direct International’s headquarters in Farnborough, UK, via the initial GX satellite, Inmarsat-5 F1, currently in service over Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Capabilities proven over the network include Satcom Direct’s industry-first GlobalVT solution, which allows passengers to make and receive calls and SMS texts using their own smartphone and number at any altitude anywhere in the world.
The test also validated other services powered by the company’s exclusive Satcom Direct Router, which enables advanced applications that improve airborne connectivity, security and efficiency.
“The next generation satellite networks are going to advance airborne data speeds in a significant way. Being the first in business aviation to prove our technologies over Inmarsat’s Ka-band network demonstrates that not only does Satcom Direct deliver what flight departments need now, we’re preparing for the future so that when operators transition to these new networks, the value added services they utilise are in place,” said Jim Jensen, founder and CEO of Satcom Direct.
“Jet ConneX will offer travellers the same high standard of connectivity on-board private jets that has previously only been available on the ground,” added Kurt Weidemeyer, VP of business and general aviation for Inmarsat Aviation. “It’s a step change in business aviation in-flight connectivity and we are delighted that Satcom Direct has taken the lead by validating its services on our Global Xpress Ka-band network.”
Satcom Direct is also an authorised GX value added reseller for US government aviation and enterprise.
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