Flexjet Praetor 600

Flexjet to adopt GE Digital’s Maintenance Insight solution

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Flexjet Praetor 600

Fractional private jet provider Flexjet has adopted GE Digital’s Maintenance Insight software solution for its fleet operations.

The GE Digital Maintenance Insight solution detects aircraft and component degradation before scheduled maintenance would catch it.

The programme also generates analytics that can be used to help optimise performance and decrease inefficiencies that lead to excess fuel burn and carbon emissions, allowing Flexjet to reduce its carbon footprint while operating the aircraft.

Megan Wolf, Flexjet’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “We began using GE wireless flight data transmission across the Flexjet fleet in 2019 and are pleased to become the first to adopt this new maintenance innovation as well. Flexjet owns, operates and maintains our own aircraft, and Maintenance Insight’s powerful analytics will give our award-winning maintenance team even more tools to keep our aircraft in top shape.”

Maintenance Insight works by extracting full-flight data from each aircraft’s sensors. By generating data from every flight, operators can identify problems that otherwise might not be caught until scheduled routine maintenance, avoiding unplanned downtime. This also enables aircraft to be serviced at Flexjet maintenance stations rather than at third-party service stations, so-called “out-station events,” further reducing costs and delays.

“With the ability to also optimise performance and decrease fuel inefficiencies, this software will help us to maintain our industry leadership in this critical field, improving aircraft reliability and efficiency, protecting the natural environment and controlling operating and maintenance costs,” added Wolf.

Lufthansa B747-8 to feature Panasonic Avionics in-flight entertainment

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Lufthansa has chosen Panasonic Avionics to provide its NEXT in-flight entertainment (IFE) system and enhanced connectivity solutions for the carrier’s Boeing 747-8 fleet.

Panasonic Avionics says its NEXT IFE system will be retrofitted on Lufthansa’s 19 Boeing 747-8s, with the first due to be rolled out in summer 2024. The system will provide Lufthansa’s passengers with a superior, immersive cinematic experience using the latest 4K screen technology, with faster network speeds and higher storage capacity.

Business Class will provide an enhanced IFE experience with up to 24-inch 4K screens, a large 10-inch additional control unit, high power USB–A / USB-C, AC power and wireless charging capabilities. Premium Economy Class passengers will have an upgraded 16-inch 4K screen, with a 13-inch 4K screen for Economy Class passengers, both with high power USB-A and USB-C charging.

The companies also announced the renewal of connectivity services offered by Panasonic Avionics – including broadband connectivity, which is already installed on Lufthansa widebody aircraft.

Mobile phone connectivity on board Lufthansa’s 747-8s will also be upgraded to 4G speeds.

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics, said: “We are delighted to be partnering once again with Lufthansa with this upgrade of the passenger experience on their flagship long-haul fleet. Introducing our NEXT Series and latest generation connectivity on board this world-class airline will help drive greater passenger loyalty and add value to their brand.”

Paul Estoppey, Head of Product Management Cabin at Lufthansa Group, said: “We are thrilled to be joining forces with Panasonic Avionics again. Our Boeing 747-8s are an integral part of our long-haul fleet and we’re confident that this investment in Panasonic Avionics’ in-flight entertainment will be popular with our passengers.”

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.

Cessna Citation Latitude

Turkish Aerospace Industries orders three Cessna Citation jets

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Cessna Citation Latitude

Textron Aviation has received an order from Turkish Aerospace Industries (TUSAS) for one special mission Cessna Citation Longitude and two special mission Cessna Citation Latitude jets.

Textron Aviation says the aircraft will be fitted with special flight inspection calibration equipment and used by the General Directorate of State Airports Authority (DHMI) in Turkey to inspect regional airport navigation aids.

Bob Gibbs, vice president, Special Mission Sales for Textron Aviation, said: “Textron Aviation is honoured to once again be selected as the aircraft of choice for the critical mission of ensuring the integrity of the airways that constitute the national airspace of Turkey. The Longitude and Latitude continue the long legacy of Cessna Citation flight inspection aircraft in service by the DHMI, while providing additional capability and performance for its missions.”

The Cessna Citation Longitude and Cessna Citation Latitude are designed and manufactured by Textron Aviation Inc, a Textron Inc company. DHMI began using two Cessna Citation V aircraft for flight inspection in 1993 and they were replaced by Cessna Citation XLS aircraft in 2009.

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.

OneWeb launch. Photo Credit ESA-CNES-ARIANESPACE Optique Video du CSG

OneWeb makes new senior leadership appointments

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OneWeb launch. Photo Credit ESA-CNES-ARIANESPACE Optique Video du CSG

Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company OneWeb has strengthened its mobility team in the UK and USA with three new senior leadership appointments.

Jason Sperry joins OneWeb as Director, Business Aviation, based out of Melbourne, Florida. Sperry brings a wealth of experience from the IFC service provision perspective, including significant satellite provider insight spanning both GEO and LEO technologies. He is responsible for delivering fibre-like connectivity solutions to business jet owners, operators, and end users – passengers and crew alike.

Drew Brandy joins OneWeb as Director, Land Mobility, after 13-plus years with Inmarsat, latterly as Senior VP Maritime, progressing from VP Strategy and Development. Based out of London, Drew will be responsible for setting and executing OneWeb’s land mobility portfolio strategy, working closely with the mobility team members.

Stepping up from an initial consultancy role over the past 14 months, Nick Maynard becomes full-time Marketing Director (Mobility), based out of the UK. Maynard brings over 25 years’ relevant experience in marketing and communications working out of the UK and UAE, supporting several blue-chip aviation companies – in-house and with agencies OglivyOne and Carlson.

Ben Griffin, OneWeb VP Mobility Services, said: “I’m very pleased to be adding to my team with these three stellar professionals. Together we are working on some exciting strategies and partnerships that will disrupt the mobility connectivity market for years to come. We are focused on driving these forward and sharing our news over the next few months.”

OneWeb is ramping up its work to deliver reliable high-speed low-latency connectivity across all mobility platforms, including commercial and business aviation, land and marine. The company’s LEO constellation will have a network of over 600 satellites.