Etihad Airways Greenliner

Etihad Airways records strong surge in passenger volumes

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Etihad Airways Greenliner

Etihad Airways recorded a strong recovery in passenger operations for 2021 in addition to a significant improvement in financial performance, posting a much-reduced loss of US$476 million for 2021 (2020: US$1.7 billion).

The carrier served 3.5 million passengers in 2021, with passenger loads doubling in the second half of the year. Etihad also recorded a particularly strong surge in passenger volumes in Q4 following the September relaxation of mandatory quarantine periods in Abu Dhabi.

The airline’s passenger revenue was US$1.07 billion in 2021, down by 14% year-on-year, and Etihad says that while ongoing travel restrictions and new variants of the virus dampened demand, it saw passenger revenues bounce back in the last quarter of the year, which recovered to 50% of 2019 levels in December.

Etihad’s cargo operations again outperformed expectations, with a 27% year-on-year increase in freight carried in 2021 and a rise in cargo revenues of 49% to US$1.73 billion, the highest figure in the history of the airline.

Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, said: “In another year of global uncertainty, Etihad Airways has continued to move forward, strengthen its business, and build on its world-class travel proposition. As always, this has been thanks to our remarkable people who have gone above and beyond to make the most of every opportunity.

“Despite the slowdown caused by Omicron, we are confident that the spring and summer season will continue to see a resurgence in travel as more people return to the skies.

“We look forward to our guests being able to experience our state-of-the-art Airbus A350s when they debut later this year, taking pride of place alongside our Boeing 787s.

“With one of the most fuel-efficient fleets in the world and with sustainability at the very top of our agenda, we will continue to pave the way for more sustainable flying in 2022 and beyond.”

In 2021, Etihad also continued its Etihad Wellness programme, a service developed at the outbreak of the pandemic to ensure passenger health and well-being at every touchpoint, and to provide peace of mind when travelling.

The programme has continued to be championed by trained wellness ambassadors who provide guests with care and essential travel health information on the ground and on board flights, as well as initiatives to maintain the highest standards of cleanliness and sanitisation, with complimentary wellness kits and covid-19 insurance cover for passengers.

SWISS presents its first aircraft with Premium Economy Class

SWISS unveils first aircraft to be equipped with Premium Economy Class

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SWISS presents its first aircraft with Premium Economy Class

SWISS presented its first aircraft to be equipped with the carrier’s new Premium Economy Class at Zurich Airport last week.

The new class is already bookable and will be installed on all 12 of the airline’s Boeing 777-300ER long-haul aircraft.

The airline says SWISS Premium Economy Class travellers will be offered greater privacy and enhanced in-flight comfort.

SWISS’s Chief Commercial Officer, Tamur Goudarzi Pour, said: “Our SWISS Premium Economy Class is a top-quality standout product against our international competitors and I am delighted that we can now offer our customers this new best-in-class air travel experience. Our Premium Economy Class should be especially appealing to travellers who have flown Economy Class to date and would like to enhance their in-flight comfort and convenience, so it also helps us strengthen our premium-carrier positioning in the growing leisure travel market.”

The SWISS Premium Economy Class will have the latest-generation seats from seat manufacturer ZIM. The seats feature fabrics by the Bern-based Lantal company and a hard-shell design that enables them to be reclined easily without causing inconvenience to the passenger behind.

SWISS says it is the first airline in the Lufthansa Group to offer its customers this newly developed ZIM Premium Economy seat.

The carrier’s Premium Economy Class travellers will be given a complimentary amenity kit which makes innovative use of kraft paper and paper pulp in its contents to minimise plastics use.

“We put a strong emphasis at SWISS on making the whole travel chain as sustainable as possible because we don’t just want to be a premium carrier for our guests – we want to live up consistently to all our responsibilities to the climate and to society too,” said Tamur Goudarzi Pour.

Passengers will also receive high-quality noise-reducing headphones that the airline says will further enhance their experience of the in-flight audio and video entertainment available on their 15.6-inch at-seat screen.

The in-flight culinary offering has also been specially modified to accommodate the new class of travel, with Premium Economy passengers receiving a refreshing welcome drink and a choice of three hot meals.

SWISS tailfin

SWISS to use innovative surface technology to reduce fuel consumption

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SWISS tailfin

Switzerland’s flag carrier SWISS has decided to equip its long-haul Boeing fleet with the fuel-saving AeroSHARK surface technology.

According to Lufthansa Technik, starting in the middle of the year, the carrier’s 12 Boeing 777-300ERs will gradually be fitted with the riblet films developed jointly by Lufthansa Technik and BASF. The significantly reduced frictional resistance resulting from this modification will make the sub-fleet more than one per cent more fuel-efficient and lower in emissions.

SWISS is the first passenger airline in the world to use the surface technology to significantly reduce fuel consumption and emissions of one of its existing fleets.

Dieter Vranckx, Chief Executive Officer of SWISS said the airline is keen to actively promote and invest in the use of new technologies. “We are pleased to be the world’s first passenger airline to offer the innovative AeroSHARK technology on our Boeing 777 fleet, making another important contribution to more sustainable air travel in the future,” he noted.

Dr. Johannes Bussmann, Chief Executive Officer of Lufthansa Technik commented: “Due to the long lifecycles in our industry, we cannot only rely on new aircraft generations to reduce our environmental footprint, but also need to specifically optimise existing fleets towards sustainability. AeroSHARK makes a significant contribution to this, and I am very pleased that SWISS is leading the way.”

The solution consists of ribs around 50 micrometres in size, known as riblets. It specifically imitates the properties of sharkskin, which has particularly favourable flow characteristics, optimising aerodynamics at relevant points on the aircraft.

Easyjet aircraft

Aeroco extends cabin maintenance support for easyJet

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Easyjet aircraft

Aeroco Group International has announced its contract to provide easyJet’s cabin maintenance support services has been extended.

Aeroco says its airside team will continue to support the easyJet fleet throughout the UK, including at busy airports such as London Gatwick, Luton, Liverpool and Manchester. The company’s specialist technicians are equipped to support easyJet’s unwavering commitment to deliver excellence in cabin standards.

Daniel Wilkie, Aeroco Group International’s Head of Commercial, said: “We are excited to confirm this agreement to continue supporting easyJet in their operations. Our teams are committed to delivering industry gold standard support, in all our repair, production and on wing support and services to our valued customers.”

KLM and Heineken announce sustainability initiative

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Heineken and KLM have announced a sustainability initiative as part of their long-term strategic partnership.

The companies revealed that Heineken and Heineken 0.0 beer, served on board KLM flights and in KLM lounges, are both now brewed with 100% green energy.

Alexander de Nerée Tot Babberich, Global Account Manager Airlines, Global Duty Free Heineken, said: “In our long-term relationship, spanning over 20 years, Heineken and KLM have partnered in many initiatives to enhance the in-flight experience for KLM passengers.  By sharing this commitment to serving Heineken brewed with green energy to KLM passengers, we contribute to the Heineken company’s sustainability commitments. We are proud to be partnering with KLM in this initiative.”

STARLUX

Bucher supplies STARLUX Airlines’ A330-900neo with galleys and stowage units

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STARLUX

Aircraft cabin interiors supplier Bucher, which shipped its first set of fully customised galleys and stowage units to Airbus Toulouse for their integration into STARLUX Airlines’ new A330-900neo aircraft, has revealed that the airline took delivery of the first aircraft today.

The carrier is pleased with the Swiss-made, high-quality galleys, which provide the best working conditions for crew members and enable them to provide the best possible service for their passengers.

STARLUX Airlines is a boutique airline and Bucher says the carrier’s specific requirements were met by Bucher’s team of experts, who completed the project to the complete satisfaction of the customer.

The airline says Bucher is renowned for its high quality and top-notch service, adding: “We are delighted that Bucher delivered extraordinary galleys and stowages to STARLUX new A330-900neo aircraft. STARLUX is looking forward to welcoming passengers in these beautiful aircraft.”

Bucher’s founder Heinrich Bucher was inspired by the idea of producing lightweight and reliable galleys made out of aluminium, and the company has continued to refine and optimise this unique lightweight construction concept.

However, the company has now expanded its product offering to also include composite and carbon fibre materials, thus allowing it to easily and efficiently adapt its products to meet individual customer requirements.

Airbus to support Philippine Airlines’ traffic ramp up with cabin upgrades and new material services

Philippine Airlines selects Airbus to perform cabin modification for 15 aircraft

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Airbus to support Philippine Airlines’ traffic ramp up with cabin upgrades and new material services

Airbus will be performing cabin modification for 15 Philippine Airlines (PAL) aircraft and the airline is also expanding the material services programme for its Airbus fleet.

The cabin modification includes 11 A320s, two A330-300s and two A350-900s. PAL’s A320s will have 24 extra seats to bring the total seat count to 180. This configuration suits the carrier’s requirements for short-haul inter-island domestic routes. The airline’s two A330s will gain additional 50 seats to bring the total seat count to 359, and its A350s will gain another 18 seats, totalling to 313 seats.

Airbus will also be providing the relevant service bulletins and kits required for the cabin modification programme.

Nilo Thaddeus Rodriguez, PAL’s Chief Financial Officer, said: “Philippine Airlines believes that as we exit the pandemic our fleet restructuring strategy helps us to better adapt to changing market situations and ensure that we are well-positioned for recovery. Our aircraft deployment decisions and related technical support arrangements are tailored for a restructured network that suits a vastly different global environment.”

Alvin Kendrich Limqueco, PAL’s Senior Vice President Supply Chain Management, added: “We chose Airbus with the firm expectation that PAL will receive high-quality service bulletins and timely updates to technical documentation, along with the highly regarded extensive engineering support we expect from a leading aircraft manufacturer.”

PAL is also extending its Flight Hour Services material programme with Airbus to cover more of its fleet, with guaranteed parts availability to secure the operational reliability and efficiency of PAL’s widebody and narrowbody aircraft.

The Flight Hour Services (FHS) programme currently covers two A350s but will now include 37 more aircraft, comprising 29 A321 family aircraft and eight A330ceos. Airbus says it will provide components standard exchange, components repairs, component reliability and engineering services and on-site stock at PAL’s main base in Manila.

Anand Stanley, President of Airbus Asia-Pacific, said: “Airbus has its customers’ interests at heart and works closely with them to propose flexible material solutions that meet their needs. We are pleased that PAL recognises the significant savings and operational performance which Airbus can bring with FHS, extending the current arrangement to their A330 and A321 Family fleets.”

Alaska Airlines tail fins

Alaska Airlines launches Flight Pass subscription travel service

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Alaska Airlines tail fins

Alaska Airlines is now offering its customers a new way to travel by launching Flight Pass, a subscription-based travel offering that allows members to fly up to 24 roundtrip flights a year to the most popular routes within California, as well as nonstop services from California airports to Reno, Phoenix and Las Vegas.

The subscription is available for a fixed monthly rate, with annual plans starting at $49 per month, and allows travellers to lock in main cabin deals for a full year. The service rewards subscribers with lower-than-average fares on eligible flights.

“Flight Pass builds on our mission to offer travellers the most West Coast destinations at the best value,” said Alex Corey, managing director of business development and products for Alaska Airlines. “Our commitment to care means offering convenient and affordable options that fit our guests’ lifestyle and connect them to where they want to go. After two years of staying close to home, guests are ready to travel again – and with 100 daily flights from 16 airports throughout California and between California to Reno, Phoenix and Las Vegas, Flight Pass will take them there.”

Flight Pass annual plans are based on the best value or most flexibility, with customers being able to choose from two different options. The only difference between the two plans is the length of the required advanced booking time.

Subscribers will receive credits deposited monthly or bi-monthly into their Flight Pass account, to be redeemed for six, 12 or 24 nonstop trips a year to eligible destinations.

Neil Thwaites, regional vice president of California for Alaska Airlines, said: “Alaska Airlines is uniquely positioned to help our West Coast guests experience more with direct access to destinations near and far from our expanding hubs. Flight Pass will provide more options, value and care with every trip that our guests book, while also transforming the travel experience long-term.”