SIA extends Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix title sponsorship

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Singapore Airlines (SIA) has announced it will continue as title sponsor of the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix for three more years, starting with this year’s race.

SIA first signed as the title sponsor in 2014 for four years, and subsequently extended it in 2018 and in 2020 for two years respectively. This latest three-year extension was announced by SIA Executive Vice President Commercial, Lee Lik Hsin, and Formula 1 Managing Director of Commercial, Brandon Snow.

Lee Lik Hsin said: “This year’s highly anticipated Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix will be an important milestone for Singapore, marking the return of a major international sporting event to the city after a two-year disruption due to the pandemic. The race will be warmly welcomed by Singapore residents and visitors alike, and will enhance our reputation as a global city. SIA’s extension of its title sponsorship signals our continued support for both tourism and sports, complements the expansion of our global network, and will bolster Singapore’s recovery as a key international air hub.”

Panasonic Avionics to supply IFEC systems for Bamboo Airways widebodies

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Panasonic Avionics has signed a deal with Bamboo Airways to provide its in-flight entertainment and connectivity systems for the Vietnamese carrier’s widebody aircraft.

Panasonic Avionics says the company is installing its eX3 in-flight entertainment system on Bamboo Airways’ Boeing 787-9 fleet. The aircraft will be entering service on the carrier’s intercontinental routes to Europe and Australia in the coming weeks.

The system will provide passengers with an immersive, cinematic experience with HD screens. Each seat will also have capacitive touch displays and handsets and USB and laptop charging facilities.

Business Class passengers will have 18-inch HD screens, while in Premium Economy and Economy Class passengers will have 13-inch and 12-inch screens respectively.

The deal also includes global in-flight connectivity, delivering average speeds up to 100 megabits per second to the aircraft. Bamboo Airways’ in-flight connectivity experience, powered by Panasonic Avionics’ global network of high-speed, high-bandwidth satellites, will deliver many next-generation connectivity benefits such as fast internet and in-flight mobile phone services.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics, said: “We are honoured to be partnering with Bamboo Airways as they launch intercontinental services. We are confident that our proven in-flight entertainment and connectivity systems will enhance their passenger experience and help them quickly build customer loyalty on these major new routes.”

Mr Dang Tat Thang, chairman-cum-CEO of Bamboo Airways, said: “The diverse and viable Bamboo Sky entertainment system is one of the advanced technology solutions that Bamboo Airways has actively installed on the widebody fleet. With the co-operation with our trusted partner Panasonic Avionics, we expect to bring the most fulfilling flight experience to our passengers on every journey in the future.”

Star alliance

Star Alliance celebrates its 25th anniversary

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Star alliance

The Star Alliance network is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The network was established in 1997 and says that since its inception it has offered the largest and most comprehensive carrier network – with a focus on improving customer experience across the alliance journey.

The alliance’s members include United, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air New Zealand, ANA, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, Lufthansa and more.

Jeffrey Goh, CEO of Star Alliance, said: “We reflect on the successes of Star Alliance in uniting the leading global airlines with an eye firmly focused on a future where the customer continues to be at the heart of our work and our global network. I am very excited for the innovations led by Star Alliance and our member carriers as we aim to be the most digitally advanced airline alliance offering seamless travel experiences with a unique loyalty proposition. This year we look forward to further developments in seamless connectivity – such as new digital and mobile innovations – and exciting industry-first offers that loyal customers of our member carriers will welcome.”

To coincide with the anniversary milestone, the alliance and its member carriers will release exciting campaigns and customer innovations under the new brand tagline: “Together. Better. Connected.” The alliance says its new brand tagline captures the intent of fostering better human connections through the Star Alliance global network coupled with digital seamless connectivity.

Finnair business class menu

Finnair launches new in-flight dining concept on board

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Finnair business class menu

Finland’s flag carrier Finnair has launched a new long-haul in-flight dining concept.

The new modern premium dining experience complements the Finnish carrier’s major investment that features a brand-new spacious Business Class, new Premium Economy and refreshed Economy cabins.

Long-haul Business Class customers on board Finnair’s flights can choose from up to six main dishes as well as smaller bistro-style dishes, while there will be an emphasis on casual dining in Premium Economy.

The new menus focus on offering pure, fresh flavours and draw upon the country’s famed Nordic heritage.

Eerika Enne, Finnair’s Head of Inflight Customer Experience, said: “To complement our new long-haul Business Class and Premium Economy cabins, we have completely rethought our service concept to offer a modern, contemporary and premium dining experience for our customers.

“Using the expertise of our Finnair Kitchen chefs, we have drawn upon our Nordic heritage to create menus which make the most of locally sourced produce, creating delicious dishes to enjoy in comfort at 39,000ft.”

The new concept menu also offers a swifter service option to make the most of customers’ rest and relaxation experience in the air.

The new menus include the carrier’s brand new “Northern Blush” signature cocktail and refreshed drinks selection, including Mikropolis’s Negroni cocktail, and featuring Finnish producers with whisky from Kyrö, gin from Helsinki Distillery and Valamo XO dessert wine.

Business Class customers can now enjoy a modern premium dining experience with smaller bistro-style dishes. Two cold dishes are followed by a hot dish and a side, both of which have three options also offering the chance to share dishes between travel companions.

The meals can be complemented with cheese, dessert and the new beverage selection, while a second, lighter meal such as breakfast or a light lunch is served before landing, depending on the time of the day.

In the new Premium Economy Class, the focus is on quality casual dining with a three-course main meal and two main dish options to choose from.

According to Finnair, the menu design was inspired by the recently launched littala Kuulas dining collection, created exclusively for Finnair by Harri Koskinen, one of Finland’s best-known contemporary designers.

Finnair has also significantly reduced single-use items and plastics on board by using more sustainable options.

AirBaltic pilot recruitment

airBaltic begins recruitment for 120 additional pilots

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AirBaltic pilot recruitment

Latvian airline airBaltic has announced a recruitment drive for a total of 120 additional pilots, including graduates of the airBaltic Pilot Academy.

Martin Gauss, Chief Executive Officer of airBaltic, said: “While we continue to employ our airBaltic Pilot Academy graduates and rehire former employees, this time our needs for additional staff reach further, meaning that we are looking for external pilots to join our company. Additional pilots are required to prepare the airline for the capacity we will fly in summer 2023.”

The carrier says pilot candidates must have EU citizenship, a valid EU FCL CPL or ATPL license (EASA form 141) and have at least 300 hours of commercial air transport (CAT) operations on aircraft with EFIS, FMA and FMS systems – maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of the aircraft being at least 5.7 tonnes.

airBaltic currently employs 315 pilots. The company is continuing active recruitment, seeking more than 400 additional employees in total and currently has more than 40 open vacancies.

Finnair Northern Blush drink

Finnair launches new signature cocktail for long-haul customers

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Finnair Northern Blush drink

Finnair has today launched a signature cocktail as part of its long-haul flight experience in all cabin classes.

The “Northern Blush” drink was created in partnership with Danish Mikropolis Cocktails, who have committed to delivering more than 800,000 drinks to Finnair customers.

The drink was especially mixed to match the magical Finnish sunsets of glowing red, orange and yellow and is infused with traditional Nordic flavours. It contains lingonberry, gin and a dash of orange peel, conjuring up the freshness of Finland’s forests thanks to nuances of citrus and a hint of juniper berries.

Customers at Finnair’s Helsinki lounges can also sample the new cocktail on the ground for two days following its launch, before it becomes exclusively available in the air.

Lauri Ahonen, Finnair Kitchen Concept & Category Manager, said: “Cocktails are a growing trend and have become a part of Finnair’s in-flight dining experience. With Mikropolis, we found a partner who could understand our sustainability goals and work with Nordic ingredients to produce on a large scale. Quality is at the core of our values, and with this collaboration we are able to offer an interesting and consistent cocktail selection to our customers onboard.”

The new cocktail is complimentary in economy class during the first meal service and can be bought for €8 per drink during the rest of the flight. Business Class customers will also be able to enjoy a tipple of Mikropolis’s Negroni on Finnair’s long-haul routes.

Finnair’s new elevated long-haul experience includes a new menu and service concepts to complement its brand-new Business Class and Premium Economy cabin.


Saudi Arabian Airlines launches new in-flight entertainment system

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Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) revealed its brand-new in-flight entertainment (IFE) system, Beyond, on 9 May.

SAUDIA says the new IFE system will further transform the carrier’s onboard experience, offering over 5,000 hours of HD content such as Western and Eastern films and TV shows, ebooks, weather reports, shopping, meal ordering and flight information.

Beyond features the largest Islamic content in the skies, with guests getting notified of prayer times throughout the journey. The system’s Kid Mode allows children to watch their favourite cartoons, movies, and games.

Beyond also offers a range of other practical features, such as the ability to check the status of the flight while en route and a real-time view of the sky during take-off and landing from cameras. Guests onboard can also shop and browse the latest products from the comfort of their seat.

Essam Akhonbay, SAUDIA’s VP Marketing & Product Management, said: “We’ve never stopped improving our product. The new IFE will further transform SAUDIA’s onboard experience. The success of SAUDIA’s IFE investments and strategy is demonstrated by the loyalty and positive feedback from our guests across all cabin classes. We are delighted to showcase our new IFE with visitors at the ATM.”

The new IFE System Beyond will be implemented gradually across the SAUDIA fleet by the end of this year.

Pratt & Whitney_GearedTurbofanFamily

Qantas selects Pratt & Whitney GTF for its A220 and A320neo family aircraft

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Pratt & Whitney_GearedTurbofanFamily

Qantas Airways has selected Pratt & Whitney GTF engines to power its 40 Airbus A220 and A320neo family aircraft.

Aircraft deliveries are expected to begin in the second half of 2023 and include the A321XLR, which the airline will operate on domestic and short-haul international routes.

Pratt & Whitney will also provide Qantas with engine maintenance through a long-term EngineWise comprehensive service agreement.

“We thank Qantas for selecting us to power not just one, but two of their next-generation fleets,” said Rick Deurloo, chief commercial officer for Pratt & Whitney. “GTF engine technology will deliver unmatched economic and environmental performance, and for aircraft like the A321XLR, superior payload and range.”

Wizz air A321neo

Pratt & Whitney delivers 1,000th GTF engine powering the A320neo family

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Wizz air A321neo

Pratt & Whitney has delivered its 1,000th GTF engine powering the Airbus A320neo family.

The 1,000th aircraft was an A321neo delivered to Hungarian carrier Wizz Air which selected the GTF engines to power its 276 A320neo family aircraft. Pratt & Whitney also powers the airline’s fleet of 105 A320ceo family aircraft with V2500 engines.

Owain Jones, chief development officer at Wizz Air, said: “We are thrilled to accept the 1,000th GTF-powered A320neo family aircraft. The industry-leading technology in the GTF engine is helping to power our growth, while significantly reducing our impact on the environment and further reducing our already best-in-class operating costs. Our collaboration with Pratt & Whitney has helped us make air travel affordable for more people than ever before, and they are now partnering with us through our efforts to help our Ukrainian brothers and sisters reach safe destinations.”

Rick Deurloo, chief commercial officer at Pratt & Whitney, said: “Congratulations to the Wizz Air team on the 1,000th GTF-powered A320neo family aircraft, and on the success that we’ve achieved together since your first flight in 2004. We are honoured to work with you in connecting people and in making the world more sustainable.”

Air Canada carries more than 100,000 passengers in one day

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Air Canada has announced that the carrier has flown more than 100,000 customers in a single day for the first time since early in the pandemic as passengers continue returning to air travel.

Air Canada says the last time it carried more than 100,000 customers in one day was in March 2020. Passenger loads fell as low as to 2,175 during the pandemic as global air traffic ground to a virtual halt. Before the pandemic, Air Canada carried, on average, nearly 150,000 people daily in 2019 and its single-day passenger load record was 187,000 customers on 16 August 2019.

“We were very pleased to have had 100,701 customers board our planes on 15 April 2022, as travellers steadily return. Clearly there is a pent-up demand for travel that is matched only by our enthusiasm to welcome back our customers.

“It is also significant that we passed this milestone smoothly, indicating Air Canada has recovered operationally from COVID-19’s effects and is prepared to safely and conveniently transport customers during the busy summer ahead,” said Kevin O’Connor, Vice President of Air Canada’s Systems Operations Control, which manages the airline’s daily operation.