More jobs go at Gogo as COVID-19 continues to bite

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Gogo has announced the loss of a further 143 fulltime positions as it continues to be hit by the effects of COVID-19 on the demand for commercial aviation connectivity services.

Most of the job losses, the total of which represent approximately 14% of the Gogo’s overall workforce will come from its Commercial Aviation business and take effect on 14 August.

“As the pandemic continues to impact commercial airline travel, we are taking additional actions as part of our comprehensive 16-lever strategy to reduce costs. Based on our current expectations of the scope and timing of a recovery in the industry and our Commercial Aviation business, reducing our workforce has become a necessary step. We do not take this action lightly, but we believe it is critical in our efforts to preserve our financial flexibility, while maintaining the quality of our service and relationships with our customers,” said Oakleigh Thorne, Gogo’s President and CEO.

In keeping with the previously announced 16-lever plan to reduce costs, Gogo will continue to pursue non-personnel cost-savings levers, including renegotiating terms with suppliers, delaying aircraft equipment installations, deferring purchases of capital equipment, reducing marketing and travel expenses, and eliminating non-essential spend.

Delta teams up with Lysol to advance Delta CareStandard

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Delta has partnered with RB, the makers of Lysol to continue improving upon Delta CareStandard protocols launched during the COVID-19 pandemic across Delta airport locations and on board aircraft.

Delta and Lysol will work together to gather insights on consumers’ travel experiences to help inform the development of new, innovative disinfecting solutions for both the airport and onboard experience. The pair will also work together to identify and address ongoing germ-related travel concerns for customers. One of the first areas of focus will be developing breakthrough airplane lavatory solutions to help kill germs and protect customers and crew.

Microbiologists and germ-kill experts from Lysol will coordinate with Delta Global Cleanliness team to develop protocols for disinfection that will help protect customers against illness-causing bacteria and viruses in high-traffic areas where customers are most concerned about germs including departure gates, aircraft lavatories and Delta Sky Clubs. Delta will also deploy Delta Care Carts including EPA-approved disinfection products recommended by Lysol, making it easier to disinfect large seating areas and countertops more frequently.

Lysol will provide products to Delta, including Lysol Disinfectant Spray and Lysol Disinfecting Wipes, to be used with disinfecting protocols recommended by Lysol on high-touch germ hotspots across Delta areas from check-in to baggage claim.

“There’s no finish line for cleanliness – there’s always more we can do to innovate and elevate our already-high standards because that’s what our customers and employees expect and deserve,” said Bill Lentsch, Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer. “The experts at Lysol share our drive for innovative, continuous improvement – they’re the best at their craft. That’s why we’re excited to get started on R&D to target germ ‘hot spots’ and cement the Delta CareStandard as the industry gold standard – so customers feel confident in choosing Delta as more people return to travel.”

Paramount Business Jets customers to benefit from expedited COVID-19 testing capabilities

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Private jet charter broker Paramount Business Jets (PBJ) has partnered with The COVID Consultants to offer expedited pre-trip COVID-19 testing.

“At the moment, we are able to guarantee a 24-hour turnaround from when the sample arrives at the lab, which is the fastest turnaround in the country,” said infectious disease specialist Dr. Dana Lerman, co-founder of The COVID Consultants.

Under this partnership, clients may arrange testing through the expert charter consultants at Paramount Business Jets at the time of booking their private jet charter experience. The COVID Consultants then sends a home testing kit via next-day shipping, along with detailed instructions for providing a test sample and returning it to the lab.

Negative test results are sent via email along with a copy of the US Federal Drug Administration emergency use authorisation to demonstrate the passenger’s compliance with official requirements.

Anyone testing positive for COVID-19 is contacted by The COVID Consultants to reiterate US Centers for Disease Control recommendations and provide guidance on when to go to the hospital, if necessary.

Study shows aviation poised for slow recovery, with pax ex investment weathering the storm

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Aviation is taking its first steps towards a recovery from COVID-19, but according to a major industry poll conducted as part of FlightPlan: Charting a Course into the Future, an online broadcast by Inmarsat and the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), full recovery may take three years.

The poll, completed by more than 500 professionals from across the global aviation industry between April and June 2020, offers deep insight into industry sentiment on the shape of recovery, what passenger journeys could look like post-pandemic, and the impact of the crisis on aviation sustainability goals.

Dominic Walters, Vice President of Inmarsat Aviation, said of the survey: “Even in a period of unrivalled uncertainty and volatility, there is a true sense of optimism about the shape of the industry in this new world. The results show a strong desire to accelerate recovery, an optimistic outlook for investment in passenger experience and sustainability initiatives, and a commitment to rebuild an industry fit for the future.”

New health and safety guidance from aviation industry bodies such as APEX and IATA, including enhancing the traceability of customers and establishing clear aircraft decontamination procedures, has driven necessary changes to passenger journeys. The poll finds such developments are set to continue as the industry rebounds.

Contactless catering was highlighted by 57% as being important during the recovery period, and almost half (44%) expect to see empty middle seats as a common feature of the passenger journey in the coming months.

Despite the financial impact that many airlines are facing, almost half of respondents (45%) believe that in terms of passenger experience, the crisis will only cause a short-term reduction in investment, and almost a third (32%) believe there will be an overall increase in investment. There was agreement that the adoption of digital and connected technologies will drive recovery, with data analytics, biometrics, artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IOT) set to have the greatest influence on future profitable growth.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “The immediate priority for airlines and the wider aviation industry is clearly surviving the unprecedented impact of COVID-19. Aviation is taking its first steps towards a recovery and it is encouraging that many in this industry have been proactive in adapting and planning for the future. These survey results, together with the numerous discussions and debates during FlightPlan, indicate that the COVID-19 crisis may prove a decisive moment for digital transformation in an industry that’s historically been behind the curve, with the vast majority of aviation professionals expecting digital technologies to help drive a stronger return towards profitable growth.”

Trio combine capabilities to tackle spread of COVID-19

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A new collaboration has been launched to address the long-term concerns that have developed as a result of the global pandemic, with the creation of an economy class passenger seat aimed at minimising the risk of infection from COVID-19 without impacting the commercial model that airlines fly with.

Tapis Corp from Armonk, New York, SIMONA Boltaron from Newcomerstown, Ohio and Molon Labe Seating from Denver, Colorado,  have joined forces on a design that utilises physical distancing, anti-microbial surfaces and respiratory protection, to minimise the spread of COVID-19 on aircraft.

Tapis is supplying the Ultrafabrics-manufactured anti-microbial technology, Promessa to cover the seat back, seat pan, armrests and headrest.

Matthew Nicholls from Tapis Corporation commented: “The Promessa product has anti-microbial silver ion technology built into the topskin of the product. It is inherent in the polymer to ensure maximum efficacy and prevent any leaching throughout the lifetime of the product”.

The Promessa material can also be cleaned with a wide range of EPA registered cleaners and disinfectants and is the reason why they are the market leader in the healthcare industry for surface materials

The headrest features a unique curved design that reduces contact with neighbouring passengers and creates a barrier to the transmission of corona virus particles.

The large, one-sided headrest can act as a physical barrier that be rotated 180 degrees to open up the seats between traveling friends and family, or used to act as a physical barrier between unknown passengers. It also offers a patented headrest vent which would distribute fresh cabin air directly in front of the passengers face rather than from an overhead vent. This fresh air vent would have volume and direction adjustments similar to current overhead cabin air vents.

New Boltaron’s new 9815N FAR-rated material has been specially engineered to withstand frequent cleaning with strong chemicals, in addition to UV-C disinfection and electrostatic fogging. 9815N is also offered as a standard with an anti-microbial treatment and can be customised in an unlimited range of textures and colours.

Molon Labe worked with SIMONA Boltaron’s scm360° prototyping and specialty design team to optimise the engineered design of the unique S2 seat shell design.

In addition to providing the materials, SIMONA Boltaron engineered the 3D tooling data, built the tool and thermoformed the prototype parts for the seat.

The three partners plan to complete the design by early 2021.

Barfield begins sales of On Target Spray Systems Electrostatic Cart

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Barfield, a subsidiary of Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M) in the Americas, is to distribute the Electrostatic Cart from On Target Spray Systems, as part of efforts to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

According to On Target Spray Systems, the Electrostatic Cart 3D wraparound technology is three times faster than fogging and provide uniform coverage of all surfaces.

“We are very excited to partner with On Target Spray System as part of our strategy to create solutions for our customers. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our way of life and the Electrostatic Sprayer is here to ensure peace of mind wherever we go,” says Hervé Page, Chief Executive Officer of Barfield.

The Electrostatic Cart features a roller cart and an On Target wrap around patented technology designed to be cost effective and time-saving. The Cart is built for heavy duty work and has robust air compressors designed to disinfect any aircraft cabin interior as well as exterior.

Qatar Airways introduces new onboard PPE for passengers and crew

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Qatar Airways has introduced new personal protective equipment (PPE) for customers and cabin crew, including face shields and protective kits to all passengers, and a new protective gown for cabin crew.

The disposable face shield is available in two standard sizes – one for adults and one for children. The children’s face shields feature the airline’s Oryx Kids Club mascots as part of their design. Passengers travelling from Hamad International Airport (HIA) will receive their face shields at the check-in counters, whereas at other destinations, the face shields will be distributed at the boarding gates.

Children under two years of age are not advised to wear face shields and face masks or coverings. During boarding and disembarkation, all passengers will be required to wear their face mask or covering as well as the face shield.

Onboard, all Qatar Airways passengers will be provided with a complimentary protective kit inside a ziplock pouch containing a single-use surgical face mask, large disposable powder-free gloves and an alcohol-based hand sanitiser gel. Business Class customers are also offered an additional 75 ml sanitiser gel tube.

Qatar Airways has also introduced new disposable protective gowns for cabin crew that are fitted over their uniforms, in addition to safety glasses, gloves and a mask. The new branded gowns are personalised with Qatar Airways’ logo imprinted on the top left corner.

Finnair distributes ‘Clean Kit’

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As of the beginning of July, Finnair has begun providing passengers with a new ‘Clean Kit’, containing a hand sanitiser, surface wipes, and an information leaflet packaged within an envelope that acts as a waste container.

Karim Al-Soufi, Finnair Vice President of Customer Experience, said: “Travelling with Finnair will feel different than before, with changes to our services and new types of procedures in place, such as the mandatory use of a mask on our flights.”

The kit has a special sustainable focus and features artwork by Finnish artist Reeta Ek. The paper product has been sourced using sustainable Finnish forestry fibers and the hand sanitiser has been supplied by Kyrö distillery. Better known for their award-winning world-famous gin, Kyrö changed its production focus to hand sanitiser to help combat COVID-19.

To prevent the coronavirus transmission, the wearing of masks by all customers and crew will continue to be mandatory throughout the entire journey, except during dining.

Customers are requested to ensure they bring enough masks for their journey, however, a limited supply will be available onboard upon request.

“We are delighted to be able to bring back familiar elements of our valued customer service while still taking good care of the hygiene and safety of our customers and staff.”

During July and August, the airline’s in-flight service will expand with coffee, tea, juice and water being served in economy class on short European routes (such as to Stockholm) and on Finnish domestic services.

On longer European flights, customers will be served a biscuit or a sandwich, depending on the length of the route. On long-haul flights, Finnair’s service returns closer to normal in both Economy Class and Business Class. However, the range of special meals and alcoholic beverages is still limited.

To limit the exposure of surface to touch, Finnair has also temporarily reduced the size of permitted hand luggage for customers. The new dimensions of hand luggage (55 cm x 40 cm x 23 cm) has been slightly reduced from 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm.

Economy Class carry-on baggage allowance is for one piece of hand luggage and a small personal item with dimensions of 40 cm x 30 cm x 15 cm. The total weight of hand luggage and personal belongings may not exceed 8 kg.

Business Class customers will notice a slight change with up to two pieces of hand luggage allowed to now include one personal item, such as a handbag, with a total weight of up to 10 kg.

Straw Mask offers path to reintroduce onboard F&B services

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US-inventor Derek Lee has invented a face mask that allows individuals to drink without having to remove the mask or open it up to airborne contaminants.

Straw Mask connects to an antibacterial medical grade silicone tube which itself can connect to most commercially available water bottles with a 28 mm cap. Four water bottles at a time can be connected; enough food and drink to last for over 12 hours.

Every connecting part of the patent pending Straw Mask is sealed, from the face mask to the antibacterial silicone straw tubes to the bottles.

Launching in July, the Straw Mask is available for pre-orders from airlines. Partnership with meal replacement beverage brands are coming soon, Lee claims.

The mask and tubes are intended mostly for single use and may be conveniently disposed of.