Air New Zealand celebrates waste reduction ac..

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Air New Zealand has diverted more than 890 tonnes of in-flight waste from landfill, as a part of its glass recycling and product use waste reduction initiative, the Green Project.

Project Green was launched in 2017 and aims to redirect unused items from flight services from going to landfill, to be put onto another flight, providing they are sealed and untouched. More than 40 item types are covered by this project such as drink cans, biscuit packets, boxed tea, coffee and sugar sachets and sealed napkins. 

This movement was made possible through a collaboration of Air New Zealand, LSG Sky Chefs and the country’s Ministry of Primary Industries.

Chloe Surridge, General Manager of Supply Chain for Air New Zealand said, “Project Green is a very good example of the steps Air New Zealand is taking to build sustainability into its supply chain. We are looking to make impactful sustainability gains, and in order to do this, we have to enable those bigger conversations through relationships with our suppliers and business partners.”

Prior to this project launch, unopened items would have had to be incinerated. To date, Project Green has led to the airline recovering 85 tonnes of water bottles, an excess of 11.5 million plastic glasses and more than 4 million sugar sticks. 

Surridge highlighted that as well as reducing waste to landfill, the data the airline has captured can lead to the business being able to assess flight loading requirements and find other opportunities to reduce waste at the source. 

She continued, “We are also working on ways to further segregate the waste that is collected inflight (for example soft plastics and compostables). A major challenge we face, however, in reducing waste to landfill, is the lack of recycling and composting infrastructure available for us to send our material to. More robust infrastructure across the country, including in the regions, would help us keep compostables and recyclables out of landfills.”

Editor’s comment: A hard rain

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If the third Monday of January is known as Blue Monday, then every day in January must have felt like a Groundhog Monday for Boeing.

For the first time since 1962, Boeing received a grand total of zero orders for the month, although no customers cancelled orders in January.

Announcing a 37% fall in revenues for Q4 2019, and a 24% overall fall in full year revenues, Boeing President and Chief Executive Officer David Calhoun admitted: “We recognise we have a lot of work to do,” adding “We are focused on returning the 737 MAX to service safely and restoring the long-standing trust that the Boeing brand represents with the flying public. We are committed to transparency and excellence in everything we do. Safety will underwrite every decision, every action and every step we take as we move forward. Fortunately, the strength of our overall Boeing portfolio of businesses provides the financial liquidity to follow a thorough and disciplined recovery process.”

Come February, and it’s a slightly improved picture. Bloomberg reported the loan amount raised by Boeing had risen to US$13 billion. Then, during a rather subdued and reduced Singapore Airshow, the manufacturer announced a series of orders and agreements for its digital solutions. This includes Bamboo Airways who will integrate several digital solutions to support their new 787 fleet, with agreements for the Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro electronic flight bag (EFB). Virgin Australia Group has signed a seven-year agreement for Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro electronic flight bag (EFB) and digital navigation chart services.
More contracts could be on the horizon with the company forecasting airlines in Southeast Asia will need 4,500 new airplanes over the next 20 years. Single-aisle airplanes continue to be the main driver of capacity growth in Southeast Asia. This growth helps to stimulate the demand for commercial aviation services, which are forecasted to be worth $785 billion between 2019 and 2038.

While single-aisle airplanes dominate the forecast, widebody airplanes will make up 19% of new airplane deliveries, enabling carriers in the region to serve new international long-range city pairs.

While every rain cloud may have a silver lining, in this case, demand for software services, it might be worth Boeing investing in umbrellas for the near future.

Kosher meals

United Airlines introduces new Kosher menu

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United Airlines has introduced the latest expansion of its Kosher culinary choices, on flights between the US and Tel Aviv.

The changes to the food and beverage choices reflect the airline’s aims to “exceed” customer expectations and take in the results of customer feedback. United’s VP of Catering Options, Charlean Gmunder said, “We will continue to embrace suggestions as well as seek out ways to create the best possible onboard dining experience for everyone we proudly serve.”

United is also trialling a child’s menu for their younger customers in all cabins between Tel Aviv, Newark and San Francisco. If the testing is successful, there is potential for its addition to other Tel Aviv routes.

The airline is working in partnership with companies such as Royal Wine to provide Kosher wine in the Polaris Cabin, and Illy Coffee which is upgrading its Kosher coffee to offering regular and decaf Illy Coffee. Fresh food provider, Fresko is providing flights from Newark to Tel Aviv with a new, wider menu for their passengers.

Improvements can be seen in Polaris and United Premium Plus, with the enhancements in snack choices during the flight and at the airport lounges. Also, the addition of a hot Kosher a la carte meal in the Newark Polaris lounge aims to improve the airport experience.

“All of these new menu items…are the result of our on-going efforts to exceed customer expectations,” comments Charlean Gmunder, United’s VP of Catering Options. Then added, “We will continue to embrace suggestions as well as seek out ways to create the best possible onboard dining experience for everyone we proudly serve”.

Kosher meal
Kosher snacks
Kosher meals
Kosher wine
Thai Airways

Editor’s comment: Contagion containment

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Thai Airways

The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus has led the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring a global emergency.  As of writing, 25 countries have reported confirmed cases, including China, where 24,363 people had contracted the virus. In all other countries, 191 cases have contracted the virus.

International travel restrictions and the concern for the health and safety of staff are beginning to be felt by the aviation industry. And it’s not just the suspension of flights to China that are being announced.

Aviation Festival Asia has been pushed back until June from its mid-February dates. The Singapore AirShow has lost a number of high-profile international exhibitors, The Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit (SAALS) 2020, a component of the Airshow programme involving 300 aviation leaders, comprising government officials, civil aviation authorities, airport operators and airline executives, will not take place this year. According to organisers, Experia, this will allow many of the aviation leaders who are deeply involved in working out the responses to the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak to focus on exigencies related to the ongoing situation.

The onboard service response has been quick to be implemented.

THAI’s preventive measures include passenger screening and ground service; in-flight service; aircraft interior cleaning measures and meal preparation measures. Crew must also wear protective masks and gloves, and pay attention to passenger symptoms while on board.

Korean Air has strengthened the level of cabin disinfection for planes that have flown on routes to China. The airline sterilises planes arriving from large cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Qingdao and Guangzhou to Incheon Airport upon arrival. Aircraft flying to other destinations in China will be disinfected periodically in order to actively prevent the spread of infection.

Disposable cutlery will be used to serve in-flight meals on all China routes, which will then be disposed of in sealed plastic bags to prevent cross infection. Comfort items such as blankets and pillows will not be provided, and in-flight meals for return flights from Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei and Shanghai, which are usually supplied locally, will be loaded at the time of departure from Incheon.

Flight attendants are recommended to wear masks and plastic gloves on all routes, and the airline is loading each flight with adequate equipment in preparation for any possible infection onboard: masks for passengers seated near suspicious patients and hazmat suits for flight attendants who may need to take care of onboard patients.

Efforts from all airlines continue in order to enable the safe journey of passengers amid the continuous spread of the new coronavirus.

British Airways new pillows and blankets

British Airways unveils new World Traveller c..

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British Airways has unveiled new blankets, cushions and headrests for its World Traveller (long-haul economy) cabin, aiming to help passengers relax onboard.

The headrest covers will come in white, and the refreshed cushions are a bright blue with a herringbone design, while the blankets are made of a “super-soft” fleece material which British Airways hopes will help customers “settle in and get comfy.”

“We want our customers to be able to sit back and really relax on board,” said Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ Director of Customer experience. “Making the most of the comfortable new soft furnishings, the in-flight films and programmes and the four-course World Traveller menu. Our aim is to deliver them to their destination feeling refreshed and feeling their trip is off to a great start.”

The items are available on all long-haul flights to and from Heathrow and are set to launch on Gatwick flights on 1 March. The blankets that are being replaced will be donated to charities.

This upgrade follows a series of investments made by the airline including new aircraft and the refurbishment of the airline’s long-haul fleet with new cabins.


Editor’s comment: Travel, time off and team..

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Inflight’s Kimberley Young provides a summary of the latest happenings across the IFEC and cabin technology sector.

This week, the US Travel Association has been encouraging Americans to plan their holidays for the year ahead as part of ‘National Plan for Vacation Day’. Last year saw American workers leave a record number of vacation days unused – 768 million days (up 9% on 2017) according to research.

The Association found that if Americans used their time off to travel, the economic opportunity amounts to $151.5 billion in additional travel spending and two million jobs.

While workers consider their travel plans for the year, aviation industry suppliers are forming new partnerships and strengthening ties to support the growing IFEC industries and provide those travelling by air with positive, memorable and seamless experiences.

In the business aviation sector, Delta Private Jets and the on-demand charter company Wheels Up have closed a previously announced transaction and partnership agreement, combining the two entities to create an owned and managed fleet of nearly 200 private aircraft.

Wheels Up Founder and CEO, Kenny Dichter, suggested the partnership will “democratise the industry”, making private flying experiences accessible to more individuals and businesses.

On the IFEC side, Gogo has launched a new digital rights management service, developed in partnership with castLabs, that will enable playback of video-on-demand content for browsers such as Safari and Chrome, without additional plug-ins or app downloads, aiming to make streaming a more seamless experience for passengers.

The Media Services, Distribution and Technology Solutions company Premiere Digital has acquired CMI Media Management, a service provider to the IFE industry. As Premiere Digital expands its reach across entertainment markets, Haitham Wahab of CMI, said the move will strengthen the position of CMI “as IFE continues to grow and technological innovation gains pace”.

Finally, Flame Distribution has acquired a package of titles from Entertain Me Productions through a new partnership that will give Flame exclusive rights to sell the titles worldwide. Series in the package include biographies exploring the lives of some of the biggest rock and pop music stars, as well as recognisable figures such as young climate activist Greta Thunberg, and a biography of the professional football player Cristiano Ronaldo – perfect for football fans in-flight.

For now, though, with about 150,000 out-of-state visitors expected to travel to Miami for the Super Bowl this weekend, those flying-in will no doubt enjoy the myriad forms of entertainment on offer ahead of the big game.

The editor’s comment is published weekly as an accompaniment to the Inflight e-newsletter. If you do not currently receive our email updates, you can subscribe here.

Cobham Titan Digital Audio Management

Cobham launches Titan series for audio manage..

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Cobham Aerospace Connectivity has launched Titan, a series of aircraft audio management products for light to medium rotary and fixed-wing aircraft.

The Titan Digital Audio Management Series will enable agencies such as Police, Fire and Medical Evacuation to perform tactical missions using smaller aircraft.

Cobham highlighted a rise in the demand for smaller aircraft to carry out tactical missions in the public safety aviation sector, whilst maintaining the same levels of connectivity and capability – these emergency services communicate using up to nine separate radios, which present challenges of payload sensitivity and around the installation of audio and radio systems.

Building on the capability of Cobham’s Digital Audio Communications System, Titan will fulfil the requirement for an audio system providing all of the functionality that a tactical mission requires with a compact profile (and over 50% weight savings, the company said). Titan will be aimed at aircraft such as the Airbus H125 and Cessna Caravan.

“Titan brings helicopter and turboprop connectivity into the 21st century,” said Mickeal Daw, Product Line Manager, Audio and Information Management at Cobham. “Providing their crews with the modern functionality that they are used to outside aviation and reflecting the requirements for multichannel audio management systems to cope with tactical missions.”

Titan builds in extensive configurability, including restricted transmission capability, configurable front panel, warning access and talk groups, reducing the need for multiple part numbers being certified on the aircraft. The system will include Bluetooth capability, enabling the crew to take telephone calls, while the system’s spatially separated audio will increase their ability to distinguish conversations on different radios.

Daw continued: “We have had early expressions of interest from leading OEMs who have responded positively to the functionality and profile of the system.”

Norwegian sound of NYC campaign

Norwegian launches industry-first sound-based..

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Norwegian has launched a ‘first-of-its-kind’ social media campaign to promote its destinations through an audio project: ‘Sounds of a City’.

Created in partnership with content creators Ink (also behind the airline’s in-flight magazine) with input from Facebook, the ‘Sounds of a City’ series explores the iconic noises and voices of locals in major cities within Norwegian’s route network.

The series will feature five episodes for each city in a mobile-first concept shot vertically with Facebook’s guidance, also replicating social media behaviours including swipe-up.

“We have been working on the concept development for a year. Since it is an industry-first, it required many workshops, brainstorming sessions, and post-edit discussions to get to the final results, which we have done hand-in-hand with Ink and Facebook CS,” said Norwegian’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, Kei Grieg Toyomasu. “Many of these destinations have been advertised over and over for decades, so we wanted to present them in a new perspective.”

The campaign launches with a focus on New York City, featuring iconic characters of NYC including a drag queen, a taxi driver, a waitress and the owner of the iconic Katz deli.

Toyomasu continued: “We believe the essence of travelling the world is to meet people, and communities play a crucial role in making the world closer. We want to shine the light on the locals, on authentic characters living in these cities. Through sounds we want our customers to have a full experience of the city not only during their trip, but prior to it, when they are still just only dreaming about it.”

“‘Sounds of a City’ is a stimulating new ambient storytelling adventure that will open traveler’s ears, as well as their eyes, to the global destinations that Norwegian fly to,” commented Ink’s joint Chief Executive Officer Michael Keating. “This groundbreaking, direct-to-consumer, storytelling campaign was filmed vertically specifically for mobile-first and optimized natively for social. It also focuses on encouraging users to interact and view the content with ’sound on’, contrary to common social media usage.”

Greta Thunberg - Entertain Me Productions

Flame Distribution partners with Entertain Me..

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Flame Distribution has partnered with Entertain Me Productions to gain exclusive rights to sell the UK independent production company’s titles worldwide.

Through the agreement, Flame Distribution has acquired a package of biographies and documentaries from Entertain Me. The 44 titles package covers a range from kids, lifestyle and documentary.

This include a series of biographies looking into the lives of some of the biggest rock and pop music stars including Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Elton John, Amy Winehouse and Ariana Grande. While other biographies include ‘Greta Thunberg: The Voice of the Future’ or ‘Cristiano Ronaldo: the One and Only’ as well as ‘The Harvey Weinstein Scandal.’

Flame’s SVP Acquisitions, UK, Europe & North America Phil Barnsdall-Thompson, commented: “We are delighted to representing Entertain Me’s amazing output of biographies, both back catalogue and new titles on an on-going basis. The titles feature some of the world’s biggest celebrities from the music, theatre and sports industries, Royalty and iconic figures such as Greta Thunberg”.

Service animal

US aviation groups express support for DoT..

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Advocacy groups representing airlines and flight attendants in the US have expressed their support for the Department of Transportations proposals to amend its regulation on the transport of service animals in-flight.

The DOT has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Traveling by Air with Service Animals and said it aims to address concerns regarding service animals on aircraft raised by people with disabilities, flight attendants, airports, airlines and other aviation transportation stakeholders. Proposals include defining a service animal as a dog individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability; and also no longer consider an emotional support animal to be a service animal.

Airlines for America welcomed the news in a statement that said the decision to limit the definition of service animal “is a positive step in protecting the legitimate right of passengers to travel with a service animal.”

“Airlines want all passengers and crew to have a safe and comfortable flying experience, and we are confident the proposed rule will go a long way in ensuring a safer and healthier experience for everyone,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “We commend Sec. Chao for her leadership providing the clarity travelers, employees and airlines need by ensuring only dogs trained to perform specific tasks for individuals with disabilities are allowed onboard aircraft.”

The association argued that the increased availability of fraudulent ESA credentials has enabled people “who are not truly in need of animal assistance to abuse the rules” also leading to an increase in incidents by untrained animals, “threatening the health and safety of passengers, crew and passengers with disabilities travelling with legitimate service animals,” the association said.

The Association of Flight Attendants – CWA also welcomed the proposed changes, with President Sara Nelson commenting: “It sets clear definitions and guidance to ensure people with disabilities and our veterans have necessary service animal assistance while maintaining the safety, health and security of all passengers and crew onboard our planes.”

In 2018, the association released a survey finding that over 98% of flight attendant respondents had worked a flight with at least one emotional support animal onboard in the prior 24 months. Of the respondents, 61% reported working a flight where an emotional support animal caused disruption in the cabin. 82% of those surveyed “strongly believe[d]” a consistent policy through the industry was needed to define requirements while supporting passengers with disabilities and veterans.

“Passengers claiming pets as emotional support animals has threatened the safety and health of passengers and crews in recent years while this practice skyrocketed,” Nelson added. “Untrained pets should never roam free in the aircraft cabin. Flight attendants have been hurt and safety has been compromised by untrained animals loose in the cabin.”

The DOT’s proposals also include allowing airlines to require forms (developed by the department) attesting to a service animal’s good behaviour and good health.

While some supported the moves, the non-profit organisation Paralyzed Veterans of America expressed concerns that the proposed rule could create “a new burden” for passengers with disabilities. PVA Associate Executive Director of Government Relations Heather Ansley commented: “We do not support treating emotional support animals like pets. Instead, we believe there needs to be a balance between enacting requirements to prevent travellers from taking advantage of access rules when flying with animals and limiting access for people with disabilities.”