IATA World Cargo Symposium

IATA World Cargo Symposium highlights priorities for the industry

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IATA World Cargo Symposium

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) highlighted four priorities to build resilience and strengthen air cargo’s post-pandemic prospects at its 15th World Cargo Symposium which opened in London today.

These priorities include achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, continuing to modernise processes, finding better solutions to safely carry lithium batteries and making air cargo attractive to new talent.

Brendan Sullivan, IATA’s Global Head of Cargo commented at the event: “Air cargo had a stellar year in 2021 achieving $204 billion in revenues. At present, however, social and economic challenges are mounting. The war in Ukraine has disrupted supply chains, jet fuel prices are high and economic volatility has slowed GDP growth.

“Despite this, there are positive developments. E-commerce continues to grow, COVID restrictions are easing, and high-value specialized cargo products are proving resistant to economic ups-and-downs. Going forward, achieving our net zero commitment, modernising processes, finding better solutions to safely carry lithium batteries, and making air cargo attractive to new talent are critical.”

The aviation industry has agreed a balanced plan to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2050. “SAF is the key to achieving net zero emissions,” Sullivan noted. “Airlines used every drop that was available in 2021. And it will be the same this year. The challenge is SAF production capacity. The solution is government incentives. With the right incentives, we could see 30 billion litres of SAF by 2030. That would be a tipping point by 2030 towards our net zero ambition of ample SAF quantities at affordable prices.”

Adapting fast

Sullivan also noted that COVID crisis challenges gave the sector confidence that it can change and adapt fast. “We need to use that confidence to get even closer to the expectations for modernisation that our customers have. And we need to be true to air cargo’s unique selling point and move even faster,” he said.

According to IATA, progress was being made in certain areas. IATA’s ONE Record is making it possible for everyone across the industry’s value chain to see the same information on shipments and 156 companies and four customs authorities are already using the solution. In addition, IATA Interactive Cargo Guidance provides a common framework so that tracking devices can monitor the quality and accuracy of conditions of time and temperature sensitive goods.

He said that government support for the modernization agenda through facilitating trade is also critical. “The Revised Kyoto Convention which brings standardisation, technology, predictability and speed to trade facilitation and the World Customs Organization (WCO) SAFE Framework of standards to facilitate and secure trade are major steps forward in supporting global trade.

“But we are still seeing far too many diverging requirements by governments in areas that should be harmonised by these two tools. This needs to change quickly so we can continue to support global trade—and its vital contributions to economies and the UN Sustainable Development Goals—with modern and efficient air cargo. Universal adoption and implementation will deliver the greatest benefits.”

Safety first

IATA also highlighted safety as a priority for the industry. “We can be proud of the progress that we are making to further improve the safe handling of lithium batteries. For air cargo, this is a top priority. But even the best regulatory structure means nothing if the rules are not followed. Compliance is an issue with the transport of lithium batteries, particularly with the proliferation of new—and inexperienced—entrants in e-commerce activities,” said Sullivan.

IATA calls for: regulatory authorities (EASA and FAA) to accelerate development of a test standard that can be used to demonstrate that fire containment pallet covers and fire-resistant containers are capable of withstanding a fire involving lithium batteries; government authorities to step up and take responsibility for stopping rogue producers and exporters of lithium batteries; and industry to use technology such as DG Autocheck to more easily and accurately verify that the shipment complies with DG requirements.

Humans are key

Sullivan highlighted that people are the core of any improvement in what air cargo can deliver. “Sadly, we saw thousands of jobs leave the industry during COVID-19, especially cargo handlers. We are now competing for talent in a very tight job market. And when we do find the right and willing talent, training and longer-than-usual security clearance processes delay their entry into the workforce,” he said.

IATA called for governments to accelerate clearance processes, including those for security, as a short-term solution and longer term to do a better job of attracting, onboarding, and retaining talent, and encouraged more cargo carriers to sign on to the industry-wide 25by2025 initiative to promote gender diversity.

“The need to create equal opportunities for the female half of the world’s population is highlighted by the situation today where the industry is struggling to attract sufficient talent. Achieving an equal gender balance must be core to any long-term talent strategy,” said Sullivan.

Virgin Atlantic to join SkyTeam

Virgin Atlantic to join SkyTeam airline alliance

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Virgin Atlantic to join SkyTeam

Virgin Atlantic announced today at a press event in London that the UK-based airline will join global airline alliance SkyTeam as its newest member in early 2023.

By joining the alliance, Virgin Atlantic says it will become SkyTeam’s first and only UK member airline, enhancing the alliance’s transatlantic network and services to and from Heathrow Airport, as well as Manchester Airport.

The carrier’s Flying Club members will enjoy significant benefits from the day of joining, with Virgin Atlantic’s Silver Card holders being recognised as SkyTeam Elite Members, whilst the airline’s Gold Card members will become Elite Plus. This recognition provides benefits such as priority check-in, baggage handling and boarding.

Virgin Atlantic says its Flying Club members will be able to take advantage of the benefits as soon as the airline officially enrols in SkyTeam in early 2023.

1,000+ global destinations

The carrier’s customers will enjoy a consistent, seamless customer experience across 1,000+ global destinations and have more opportunities to earn and redeem points across member airlines. Passengers will also be able to access a network of 750+ airport lounges spanning six continents.

Virgin Atlantic says its entry into the alliance builds upon the success of its transatlantic joint venture partnership with Delta Air Lines and Air France-KLM which are already long-established SkyTeam members. The four partners are co-located at London Heathrow’s Terminal Three, alongside existing SkyTeam members Aeromexico and China Eastern, providing customers with smooth airside transits and the most convenient connections times possible.

Shai Weiss, CEO Virgin Atlantic, commented: “At Virgin Atlantic we strive to create thoughtful experiences that feel different for our customers and SkyTeam shares that customer first ethos. 2022 marks the year Virgin Atlantic gets back to its best for our customers and people and joining SkyTeam is an important milestone.

“Our membership will allow us to enhance established relationships with our valued partners at Delta and Air France-KLM, as well as opening up opportunities to collaborate with new airlines. It will enable a seamless customer experience, with an expanded network and maximised loyalty benefits.”

Walter Cho, SkyTeam Chairman said: “Virgin Atlantic is synonymous with innovation and excellent service, an iconic British airline with a global outlook that puts customers at the heart of its operations – like SkyTeam and its members – and we are delighted to welcome them into our alliance.”

Kristin Colvile, SkyTeam CEO commented: “As a member of SkyTeam, Virgin Atlantic will benefit from increased opportunities to expand its global network through partnerships and synergies: customers will have more ways to earn and burn miles while enjoying the service for which Virgin Atlantic is renowned. Virgin Atlantic shares SkyTeam’s values, caring for our customers, our employees, and the world in which they live, and we are excited to have them as part of the SkyTeam family.”

According to Virgin Atlantic, codeshare agreements are already in place with Aeromexico and Middle East Airlines with options for more codeshares to follow and interline agreements with all SkyTeam members are also in place, providing one touch point for all customers, creating a seamless journey on one ticket.

Alexander Proschka, Executive Vice President Commercial at Hahn Air

Hahn Air begins offering Res 360 as part of its distribution package

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Alexander Proschka, Executive Vice President Commercial at Hahn Air

Hahn Air has announced it is now offering cloud-based Passenger Service System Res 360 as part of its distribution package.

Res 360 will allow airlines looking to enter the world of indirect distribution to obtain all essential components from Hahn Air. The company is already offering solutions to enter and expand GDS sales, close distribution gaps and unlock new markets.

Hahn Air is partnering with leading technology service provider InteliSys Aviation to deliver its state-of-the-art PSS solution. “For any airline, the PSS is at the heart of airline distribution,” commented Alexander Proschka, Executive Vice President Commercial at Hahn Air. “It is only a natural step for Hahn Air to offer this component as part of our distribution package. With Res360, airlines benefit from a one-stop-solution with our unparalleled service combined with the leading technology powered by InteliSys. We are excited to be bringing this offering to the market for airlines around the globe.”

Res360 is 100% cloud-based and allows airlines of any size and business model to connect to all sales channels. The following components are included in the Res360 PSS suite:

  • Inventory and Reservation System
  • Departure Control System
  • Reporting Module
  • Fully responsive Internet Booking Engine (including online check-in and flight tracking tools)
  • Travel Agent Portal
  • Corporate Customer Portal
  • Ancillary Management and Sales Module
  • Loyalty Module

The API infrastructure also guarantees flexibility and scalability as it allows airlines to connect further applications and channels in the future and to customise the system to their evolving needs.

Boeing 737 MAX insulation blanket facility opening

Geven-SkyTecno and Ethiopian Airlines open new facility in Addis Ababa

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Boeing 737 MAX insulation blanket facility opening

Geven-SkyTecno and Ethiopian Airlines have inaugurated a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft insulation blanket manufacturing facility. The new joint venture, named “Ethiopian Sky Technologies”, is based in Addis Ababa with a primary manufacturing facility at Bole Airport.

Ethiopian Airlines holds a 51% stake of the new company and Geven-SkyTecno holds a 49% stake. The parties are jointly manufacturing the products in Italy and Ethiopia as a supplier to Boeing.

Geven-SkyTecno has been contributing its process technology proficiency and manufacturing know-how to the joint venture, as well as being responsible for speeding up the company’s industrialisation, qualification processes and training skills.

“We are very pleased to announce this joint venture with Ethiopian Airlines, with whom we are looking forward to working together with,” said Alberto Veneruso, Managing Director of Geven-SkyTecno. “Our manufacturing excellence combined with our expertise in process technology, industrial efficiency and world-class distribution capabilities will provide our customers with best-in-class insulation solutions. Furthermore, Geven-SkyTecno provides the JV with a team of highly trained technical engineers with unparalleled experience meeting the demand for similar products from world airlines and OEMs.”

Mesfin Tasew, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Group commented:” We are glad to unveil a modern manufacturing facility of Ethiopian Sky Technologies at our home base, Addis Ababa. As part of our vision to develop the aerospace manufacturing industry in Ethiopia, the partnership with Geven-SkyTecno takes our capability to the next level.

“As we have a very well established MRO capability with an excellent track record of providing aircraft maintenance, we can leverage this capability and experience to further develop our aerospace manufacturing capability and eventually make it one of the key strategic business units of the airline. We are happy that we have gone into this tri-partite relationship with Geven-SkyTecno and Boeing and that we started manufacturing and exporting the Aircraft Thermo-Acoustic Insulation Blankets for the 737 MAX.”

Transavia Airlines maintenance

Czech Airlines Technics and Transavia Airlines sign maintenance agreement

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Transavia Airlines maintenance

Czech Airlines Technics (CSAT) has signed a long-term co-operation agreement with Transavia Airlines.

CSAT focuses on aircraft repair and maintenance and was the first company in continental Europe to complete the modification of Split Scimitar Winglets of Boeing 737NG aircraft and Sharklet modifications of Airbus A320 aircraft. The company also installs satellite antenna and in-flight Wi-Fi systems and performs ‘Spaceflex’ cabin modifications.

The maintenance agreement covers the next five years until 31 August 2027. “The next season starts on 1 November 2022. We believe that it will be as successful as the previous ones. We are still ready to provide Transavia with up to three of our maintenance lines during each operational season, which is why we have been Transavia’s first choice, i.e., the preferred base maintenance company,” Petr Doberský, Chairman of the Czech Airlines Technics Board of Directors, said.

Over the past years, Czech Airlines Technics has performed various level overhauls for Transavia during 267 aircraft visits. “We have to highlight the excellent nature of our co-operation both at the management level of the two companies, and on the premises of our hangar, where our maintenance managers meet with the technical representatives of our client during the maintenance season. The above-standard personal relations of both parties certainly contribute to the successful course of the base maintenance visits,” Petr Doberský added.

Robert-Jan Korenromp, Transavia’s Head of Fleet & Technical Services said: “Over the years, CSAT has proven a reliable partner delivering quality maintenance, flexibility, and good co-operation at all levels. We are happy to extend our long-standing good co-operation for another five years.”

Rwandair skytrax 2022

RwandAir wins Skytrax award for cabin cleanliness

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Rwandair skytrax 2022

RwandAir has won several awards at the Skytrax 2022 World Airline Awards, including the ‘Best Airline Cabin Cleanliness in Africa’ award.

The Skytrax awards are referred to as the ‘Oscars of the aviation industry’. The Rwandan flag carrier also received the prestigious ‘Best Airline Staff in Africa’ title for the second successive year in recognition of its excellent customer service. The carrier was ranked first out of ten other African airlines all contending for the top spot, and its staff were praised by airline customers for their excellent service, with the airline also winning the award for ‘Best Cabin Crew in Africa’.

Yvonne Makolo, RwandAir CEO commented: “We are all very proud to have had our staff recognised for their dedication by Skytrax. We are delighted to know that our customers choose to fly with us and distinguish the level of quality of our service.”

RwandAir is based in Kigali and is one of Africa’s most ambitious airlines with a reputation for delivering a premium service to all its customers. The carrier operates to 24 destinations across 20 countries throughout Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Qatar Airways and British Airways

Qatar Airways and BA add 42 new countries to shared network

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Qatar Airways and British Airways

Qatar Airways and British Airways are now offering global connectivity between more countries than any other carriers’ joint business following the completion of their partnership’s latest phase.

The airlines say their “Move Further Together” initiative enhances the joint network and provides passengers with the best of both airlines. Qatar Airways and British Airways have added 42 new countries, including Italy, the Maldives, Norway, Singapore, and Sweden, to their shared network, resulting in passengers having an enhanced access between destinations in Europe and the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Options for direct flights as well as connections via hubs in London and Doha are now offered and the expansion will enable seamless connecting journeys on single tickets through Doha and London, bringing the total number of destinations served by the two airlines to 185 across more than 60 countries.

“Unparalleled network with unique benefits”

Qatar Airways and British Airways customers can engage with both airlines’ loyalty programmes, earning and spending Avios, their common currency, and seamlessly link their Qatar Airways Privilege Club and British Airways Executive Club accounts to transfer Avios and combine balances to claim rewards offered by each programme. The collaboration also offers access to both airline’s exclusive lounges as well as cabins to suit all budgets and needs, including British Airways’ new Club Suite and Qatar Airways’ award-winning Qsuite.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “The growing collaboration between Qatar Airways and British Airways shows our customers our common goal to offer an unparalleled network with unique benefits. Travellers can now experience the best in quality and service as they travel across our joint network. The joint business between our airlines cements both Qatar Airways and British Airways as industry leaders, aiming to provide the utmost flexibility and unrivalled connectivity to our customers.”

Sean Doyle, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for British Airways said: “This is a huge milestone in our long-standing relationship with Qatar Airways, an airline that shares our passion for customer service, choice and flexibility. From idyllic holiday hotspots such as the Maldives and Thailand, to business hubs such as Singapore and Hong Kong, we are pleased to open up the world as the travel industry continues to make steps towards its recovery.”

APEX/IFSA Expo

APEX/IFSA Expo to host more than 1,500 delegates in Long Beach

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APEX/IFSA Expo

APEX/IFSA Expo 2022, a comprehensive end-to-end airline passenger experience marketplace, takes place on 25-27 October in Long Beach, California.

The event organisers anticipate more than 1,500 industry professionals attending the show, including executives, suppliers and decision-makers from airlines around the world. Companies will be showcasing their latest technologies, products and content at the show and share unique insights during the event which features a thought leadership conference, an awards ceremony and an extensive exhibition.

The conference also runs several breakout sessions on Thursday 27 October which focus on the following key topics:

The Future of Connectivity in the Passenger Experience: Connectivity is becoming a “must-have” service for many airlines. Some 17,000 new satellites will come online in the next ten years, and a plethora of new service providers are entering the IFEC space. What technologies are emerging? What business models are offered? Should airlines turn connectivity over to service providers, or buy bandwidth as a commodity? Come learn what the future holds for connectivity, and then stay for the next session to learn how connectivity and IFE are converging. A panel of experts will discuss these issues, moderated by Mary Rogozinski, Netforecast.

The Convergence of IFE and Connectivity: How edge-caching can be the bridge: IFE and connectivity are no longer separate services that airlines must figure out how to integrate. They are two paths to the same destination that are incrementally merging into a single service supported by a Digital Experience Platform (DXP). As bandwidth increases, and its cost decreases, content storage will begin to move off the aircraft and into the cloud. On the ground, this kind of streaming is provided by Content Delivery Networks (CDNs). But today’s CDNs do not reach far enough into areas of constrained bandwidth—like aircraft. Moving the edge of the network 30,000 feet into the air is a challenge, but one that is being addressed by passenger experience companies who have joined the Streaming Video Technology Alliance (SVTA)—now a liaison partner with the APEX Technology Committee—and its Open Caching Working Group. The next generation of IFEC is being built now.

IFE Content Security of the Future: Introducing the Trusted Partner Network—the Cloud Version: The Trusted Partner Network (TPN), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Motion Picture Association (MPA), will make a major announcement at EXPO on the future course of content security in IFE. The focus of IFE content security in the past has been on physical facilities, like post-production and content integration. But as content management has moved into the cloud, TPN—under a newly re-organised structure—will now look at both. Learn about how this impacts IFE, a new tiered approach to assessment levels, and how IFE companies can become TPN members and meet the new content security guidelines that will roll out in early 2023. This is a “must-attend” session for content integrators, post-production providers, CSPs and content managers from every segment of the industry. Presented by Terri Davies, President of TPN and a panel of security experts from MPA companies.

The Future of the Biometric Passenger Experience: Biometrics has advanced across passenger experience, but the transformation is about to dramatically quicken. Airline biometric bag drops have already begun.  Alliance airlines will be able to conduct data interchange. US TSA identification of passengers without any ID required occurs at airports across the US. Airports like LAX enable multi-airline biometric entry and have biometric payment stores coming soon. The end-to-end biometric passenger experience will create incredible opportunities to quicken and improve passenger experience while maintaining digital privacy rights.

Maximising Customer Service, Ancillary Revenue, & Loyalty: Airlines invest incredible funds into their products and services to entertain and engage their passengers. How can revenue be generated from that investment to cultivate an attractive ROI? This session will outline opportunities for ROI throughout the entire travel thread, while also addressing technical solutions and personalisation.

Designing Sustainable Passenger Experience Initiatives: Airlines each are taking their own angle of attack on sustainability, but the customer perception of airline sustainability varies dramatically. Surveys indicate that passengers care more about recycling than carbon offsets. They want to understand the sustainability of their airline in a way that connects with them. Leading airline executives will discuss the approaches designed to better connect with their passengers in the years ahead.

In addition, the IFSA Expo will feature airline executives and decision makers sharing unique insight and meeting with exhibitors highlighting some of the best food, beverage, and onboard services in the world, while offering attendees a peek into the new food and product trends.

Click here to register for the APEX/IFSA Expo.

American Airlines new Flagship Suite® premium seating

American Airlines to introduce new premium seating

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American Airlines new Flagship Suite® premium seating

American Airlines has unveiled the reimagined interior design on board its long-haul fleet.

The design includes new Flagship Suite® premium seating, with the airline saying premium seating on its long-haul fleet will grow more than 45% by 2026. American Airlines’ Boeing 787-9 aircraft will have 51 Flagship Suite seats and 32 Premium Economy seats on board, while the carrier’s A321XLR aircraft will feature 20 Flagship Suite seats and 12 Premium Economy seats. The deliveries of the carrier’s new Airbus A321XLR and Boeing 787-9 aircraft are beginning in 2024.

The new suite seats will offer customers a private premium experience with a privacy door, a chaise lounge seating option and more personal storage space. “We are enhancing the customer experience across their entire journey with American,” American’s Vice President of Customer Experience Julie Rath said. “The arrival of new long-haul aircraft and the customised seat design of the Flagship Suite® seats will offer customers a truly private premium experience on our long-haul fleet.”

Retrofitting the Boeing 777-300ER fleet

American says it will also be retrofitting its 20 Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to include the new seats from late 2024. The aircraft will feature 70 Flagship Suite seats and 44 Premium Economy seats. The carrier will also retrofit its Airbus A321T fleet to align those aircraft with the rest of its A321 fleet.

American Airlines was the first carrier in the United States to debut long-haul Premium Economy seats back in 2016.

unveiling a refreshed Delta Premium Select cabin experience

Delta unveils refreshed Premium Select cabin experience

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unveiling a refreshed Delta Premium Select cabin experience

Delta has refreshed its Premium Select experience on board. Customers are now able to enjoy an elevated dining experience which the airline says offers more options infused with local flavours. These include meals such as braised beef short rib with fingerling potatoes and dijon green peppercorn jus; Impossible Meatballs with polenta, pomodorini sauce and broccolini; honey harissa chicken thighs with jollof rice and stewed greens and mango mousse dessert with mango passion fruit compote.

Delta Premium Select is available on most flights to Europe, including flying on all U.S. routes to the airline’s international hubs in Amsterdam and London.

Delta says it will also phase in new handmade amenity kits from October by Someone Somewhere that feature Grown Alchemist travel essentials and other premium products that make journeys more enjoyable.

Delta’s Premium Select option offers travellers more space to stretch out and relax with a wider seat, additional recline and an adjustable footrest and leg rest on most long-haul international flights.