United Airlines Ventures logo

United launches Corporate Venture Capital Fund

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United Airlines Ventures logo

United Airlines has launched United Airlines Ventures, a new corporate venture fund that will allow the airline to continue investing in emerging companies that have the potential to influence the future of travel. The new fund will concentrate on sustainability concepts that will complement United’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050 – without relying on traditional carbon offsets – as well as revolutionary aerospace developments and innovative technologies that are expected to create value for customers and United’s operation.

“Younger companies today have learned from aviation’s rich history and are combining it with more advanced technology and creative thinking to develop new ideas that give us the ability to revolutionise how airlines operate and in turn, the experience customers have when they fly,” said United CEO Scott Kirby. “With United Airlines Ventures, we’re signalling our confidence in these companies and propelling them forward with our expertise and financial support to demonstrate that our commitment to innovation will strengthen our company and improve our customers’ experience more quickly than anyone ever anticipated.”

Through United Airlines Ventures, United will continue to forge a new path by accelerating the growth of small- to medium-sized companies with strong potential.

United’s current Vice President of Corporate Development and Investor Relations, Michael Leskinen, will assume the role of President of United Airlines Ventures in addition to his current responsibilities.

“United has always been a pioneer within the industry and United Airlines Ventures will help us grow companies that are pushing the envelope to make air travel better for our customers, our employees and our planet,” said Leskinen. “We’re making more than a financial commitment to companies within this new portfolio; we’re lending our expertise so that new ideas can really take off.”

SmartSky Networks aicraft

SmartSky goes live in Southeast corridor

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SmartSky Networks aicraft

SmartSky has completed all technical milestones and opened the first fully operational coverage zone of its next-generation in-flight communications network.

Business jet and turboprop flights transiting the network’s Southeastern corridor that covers a large contiguous portion of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, can now access the company’s bi-directional, multi-Mbps in-flight connectivity system.

SmartSky CEO, David Helfgott, remarked: “While our primary goal remains lighting up the remainder of the nationwide network in the coming months, today we are showcasing the unparalleled in-flight networking capabilities and advanced services that SmartSky is bringing to market for the connected aircraft ecosystem of operators, manufacturers, service providers and passengers.”

“It’s a testament to the strength of our technical team and supplier-partners, as together we’ve successfully developed and fielded a feature-complete, game-changing service based on an optimal mix of proven 4G LTE and emerging 5G technologies that have been adapted to and optimised for the aviation use-case,” said Dave Claassen, SmartSky’s Chief Technology Officer.

Certification and full commercial launch is expected later this year.

Sneaker Shopping from Complex Networks

Anuvu adds short-form content to offerings

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Sneaker Shopping from Complex Networks

Anuvu has entered into a partnership with youth culture brand Complex Networks to bring traditional content to the maritime and aviation markets.

Content includes popular food, shopping and celebrity culture shows including the show Hot Ones, whose host Sean Evans has been nominated for an Emmy Award; Sneaker Shopping; Complex Closets; Fridge Tours; and more. The shows, ranging from four to 30 minutes, include interviews with celebrities such as Gordon Ramsay, Halle Berry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kevin Hart, and Billie Eilish.

Terri Davies, SVP Content & Media Services, says: “The pandemic has permanently changed content consumption. While theaters have been closed and we’ve been at home, our appetite for non-traditional content as a new way to stay entertained has grown. As travel resumes, we want our customers’ passengers to enjoy the same variety of content they experience at home, including short-form videos.

“Whether you want to see Gordon Ramsay critique spicy chicken wings or watch Wiz Khalifa go sneaker shopping, Complex Networks’ fun, light-hearted shows will keep passengers engaged throughout their entire journey. We are thrilled to bring unique content to airline and maritime audiences worldwide.”

The Complex Networks package will be available for Iris customers, with bundles appearing on Iris Plus and individual titles featured in the core subscription. Complex Networks will also be offered to non-Iris and maritime customers.

Etihad 787-9 aircraft

Etihad creates new sonic brand

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Etihad 787-9 aircraft

Sonic branding agency, Sixième Son has developed a sonic identity for Etihad Airways.

With Etihad recognising it needed to create a stronger brand experience, at every touchpoint and beyond its visual assets, Sixième Son flew in musicians from the region to record live and blended traditional instruments with organic and electronic textures, making them over and respond to one another, to produce a complete sonic identity, unique to the Etihad experience.

Etihad’s sonic branding has been integrated across all touchpoints, from digital communication, TVCs, terminals and lounges as well as onboard the aircraft to deliver a consistent experience and drive brand recognition.

Amina Taher, Vice President Brand, Marketing & Sponsorships, Etihad Airways, said: “Etihad’s brand promise is to bring the world to Abu Dhabi. Inspired by the UAE capital, the launch of our sonic identity is an expression of not just our home, but our culture. It is an eclectic mix of Emirati and international instrumentation and arrangements, played by musicians based in the UAE and around the world.

“Our guests and stakeholders will hear dozens of bespoke music tracks which have been built from a single sonic DNA when on board our aircraft, in our lounges, at events, when calling our contact centre, on the radio, and across our branded content.”

Laurent Cochini, Managing Director, Sixième Son, said: “The tailormade sonic experience will create positive brand memories. Etihad really understands the power of sound and how it can enrich the conversation with its guests. A first for both Etihad and Sixième Son, we are delighted to be shortlisted for the Transform Awards. Working with the Etihad team has been mutually enriching and we’re truly grateful they worked with us to challenge industry norms.”

Erkki Brakmann, SkySelect and Kaarle Karp, Magnetic MRO

Magnetic MRO and SkySelect extend relationship

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Erkki Brakmann, SkySelect and Kaarle Karp, Magnetic MRO

SkySelect, an extended purchasing arm for aircraft material powered by robotic process automation, has extended its contract with Magnetic MRO.

“We are in the 21st century and we are used to having access to info in real-time. But for aircraft material, it’s not the case, we are still buying parts like we did 30 years ago. With its unique technology-enabled approach SkySelect can process thousands of part requirements 24/7 to deliver meaningful savings of 20% or more with a fully automated ordering process,” said Kaarle Karp, Head of Supply Chain at Magnetic MRO.

“The opportunity has never been greater to save on aircraft material. There is an abundance of excess inventory available today, arguably, more than during any other prior period in commercial aviation history,” said Erkki Brakmann, CEO and Founder. “However, best deals and savings will not wait and are often passed up because hunting for such deals is labour-intensive, requiring knowledge, data and managing more suppliers.”

“As airlines cut costs and reduce staff, they are forced to do more with less, which only worsens the already existing operational inefficiencies,” said Brakmann.

SkySelect integrates the supply chain in a way that eliminates manual effort by having less orders and suppliers to manage, while also driving tangible cost savings by working closely with buyers and sellers and constantly searching for the best options from the market.

“There are many more supply chain opportunities in the aviation market than you can see on a daily basis. The part you are searching for might be lying on someone’s shelf not used. SkySelect helps Magnetic MRO to find hidden gems in the aviation market and deliver them with great cost savings and superb quality,” said Natalja Lagno, Strategic Purchasing Manager, Magnetic MRO.

Image: Erkki Brakmann, SkySelect and Kaarle Karp, Magnetic MRO

Image of RAY in Cabin of Dash 8-100 Aircraft (CNW Group/De Havilland Aircraft of Canada)

Ravn Alaska deploys RAY cabin disinfection robot

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Image of RAY in Cabin of Dash 8-100 Aircraft (CNW Group/De Havilland Aircraft of Canada)

Ravn Alaska, a regional airline headquartered in Anchorage that services 14 communities across the state, has introduced RAY, the autonomous robot to disinfect its Dash 8 aircraft cabins between flights.

Designed and manufactured by aero hygenx inc. in Canada, with support from De Havilland Aircraft of Canada, the robot emits ultraviolet-C (UVC) light to provide consistent, sustainable and chemical-free disinfection of cabin air and surfaces between flights.

Ravn Alaska, which operates 10 Dash 8-100 aircraft manufactured by De Havilland Canada, is one of the first airlines to utilise the robot on regional aircraft.

RAY delivers high-frequency UVC light that destroys up to 99.9% of pathogens – including the COVID-19 virus. The use of UVC light reduces the need for frequent chemical-based disinfection that could impact aircraft interior surfaces and sensitive equipment and leave residues that may come into contact with passengers and crew.

“We are enhancing our ability to keep our passengers safe by including the chemical-free disinfection method provided by RAY among the procedures we are utilising to sanitise our Dash 8 aircraft,” said Rob McKinney, Chief Executive Officer, Ravn Alaska. “We anticipate that RAY will be a valuable asset to our airline and for other airlines around the world, as together we seek to rebuild passenger confidence and help our industry recover.”

“The transportation industry has been brought to its knees as a result of the pandemic. Now, more than ever, rapid, consistent, safe, chemical-free disinfection of air and surfaces is vital for employee and passenger safety in the fight against current and future pandemics,” said Arash Mahin, Chief Executive Officer, aero hygenx. “We are grateful for the support De Havilland Canada provided to optimise RAY for use in the Dash 8 Series aircraft. We are confident operators will see significant savings compared to traditional chemical-based cleaning methods.”

“We look forward to seeing the deployment of many more UVC-light emitting, RAY robots among operators of Dash 8 aircraft,” said Robert Mobilio, Vice President, Engineering and Quality, De Havilland Canada. “De Havilland Canada has been working throughout the pandemic to help our operators with solutions that assist in returning airline fleets to service, so we were happy to support aero hygenx in customising RAY for use on regional aircraft and are very pleased that a long-time Dash 8 operator such as Ravn is part of this journey.”

Optimised for use on Dash 8 Series aircraft, RAY delivers the required UVC dosage and 360° coverage throughout the cabin, lavatories and crew area. The disinfection procedure between flights on Dash 8 Series aircraft can be completed in under five minutes. Unlike traditional, chemical-based cleaning methods, no additional time is required for chemicals to dissipate before crew and passengers can board the aircraft. RAY is monitored continuously through HygenX Stream, and operators can access valuable key metrics and reports related to fleet disinfection, unit health monitoring and predictive maintenance. HygenX Stream also facilitates the customisation of the level of disinfection based on flight duration and regional risk factors. It also provides the ability to integrate into operators’ mobile Apps in order to boost passenger confidence.

Braised Beef Noodles Melt-in-your-mouth beef, red cooked, caramelised and doused in home-made sweet-savoury chee hou sauce

Singapore Airlines and Feast Box launch special recipe box

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Braised Beef Noodles Melt-in-your-mouth beef, red cooked, caramelised and doused in home-made sweet-savoury chee hou sauce

To mark 50 years since it launched commercial services between Singapore and the UK, Singapore Airlines and Feast Box have partnered to create specially curated dishes inspired by the airline and some of its most popular Southeast Asian destinations

Available until 4 July, each week customers can choose from 14 authentic dishes, including two which are newly created and limited-edition Singaporean specialities – Hainanese Chicken Rice and Braised Beef Noodles.

The cook-at-home kits are available to purchase via feastbox.co.uk with delivery available across the UK and include a Singapore Airlines discount code of up to £100 to redeem on a future flight booking.

Mohamed Rafi MAR, General Manager UK & Ireland, Singapore Airlines, commented: “We are very happy and proud to celebrate 50 years of flight operations between the UK and Singapore. We hope to tantalise customers’ taste buds with our Feast Box partnership, celebrating some of our favourite destinations by showcasing their authentic cuisines”.

Jyoti Patel, CEO and Founder, Feast Box, commented: “Food is a wonderful way to explore the world and helps to shape our fondest memories. Offering people the chance to travel the world through food is at the core of everything we do, so working with Singapore Airlines on this wanderlust inducing menu has helped to bring Feast Box to life in a very special way.”

Copa Airlines Dreams Business Class

Copa Airlines announces new cabin class upgrades

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Copa Airlines Dreams Business Class

Copa Airlines, the national airline of Panama, has begun offering an enhanced onboard experience for its Boeing 737-MAX 9 fleet, with the introduction of Dreams Business Class and Economy Extra.

The two new classes have been introduced to services flying between Panama and Montevideo (Uruguay,) Buenos Aires (Argentina,) Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Los Angeles (US).

Dreams Business Class features 16 comfortable reclining lie-flat seats, 16-inch remote-controlled touchscreens, an extensive entertainment program, AC and USB power connectors as well as space to store personal items.

Economy class features the Economy Extra section, located at the front of the cabin, consisting of 24 seats with more legroom, individual 10-inch touchscreens with USB port and AC power connectors.

All passengers on these routes can access content via the wireless entertainment system, Copa Showpass, which can be accessed by connecting to the aircraft’s intranet network from a computer or mobile device. Using the Copa Showpass, travellers will access a wide range of films, TV series, magazines, documentaries and music.

As the airline receives new aircraft, this offer will be expanded to more destinations in the Americas.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City announces the launch of Hard Rock Air.

Hard Rock Air to take to the skies

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Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City announces the launch of Hard Rock Air.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City has launched the VIP air charter service.  Hard Rock Air. The new 30-seat Dornier 328 VIP air charter service will cater to high-end customers traveling to the resort from select markets across the region.

The exclusive round-trip service, operated by Ultimate Jet Charters, will officially take flight on 16 July, with passengers served complimentary snack and refreshments provided during the travel experience with leather seating.

Hard Rock Air will further elevate Atlantic City as a premier entertainment destination with flights from Farmingdale, White Plains, Norfolk, Richmond, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Scranton and Latrobe.

“We are confident that Hard Rock Air is going to take our VIP guest experience to new heights and offer a convenient, seamless getaway that is unmatched in the market,” said Joe Lupo, President of Hard Rock Atlantic City.

Passengers will step off the tarmac and into the live casino action, premium entertainment, incredible dining options and amenities at the oceanfront resort. Private charter check-in and complimentary parking will be provided at the airport. The getaway also includes overnight accommodations at Hard Rock Atlantic City and ground transportation to and from Atlantic City International Airport.

Aeroflot’s new Airbus A320/321 fleet is to be fully equipped with Recaro seating.

New Aeroflot fleet fully equipped with Recaro seating

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Aeroflot’s new Airbus A320/321 fleet is to be fully equipped with Recaro seating.

Aeroflot’s new Airbus A320/321 fleet is to be fully equipped with Recaro seating.

The A320neo is configured with 12 Business class seats with a seat pitch of 96.5 cm and 144 Economy class seats with a seat pitch up to 76.2 сm.

The Economy class seats feature the ergonomic backrest concept. The adjustable headrest is fitted with neck support function. Economy class passengers can charge their electronic devices on board; each seat is equipped with a tablet holder. Business class seats are designed with premium Jacquard upholstery and are fitted with 13-inch HD monitors, individual sockets, and USB-ports.

More than 50 shipsets of the economy class BL3710 and business class CL4710 seats will be installed – delivery of the aircraft includes a total of more than 10,000 Recaro seat pax and will continue through 2028.

The first of Aeroflot’s new A320/A321 fleet took flight for the first time on 25 May. By end of 2021, Aeroflot will take delivery of another eight A320neo family aircraft.