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Showing posts from 2011

On Airport Seats

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Consider a business as prosaic as seating for airport waiting areas. You would think that there would be a "best" here — standardized, functional seating. Well you would be wrong. Different airports have different needs. Some want waiting passengers to shop. They don't want seats that are too comfortable. Some need the flexibility to reconfigure waiting areas. They don't want long rows of fixed seats. Many airports have to watch their spending. But others — airports in the Middle East, for example — have snapped up luxury designs. Some airports value seats built to take extraordinary abuse. London-based OMK makes "prison-worthy" seating, the industry's highest standard, using self-sealing polyurethane that can withstand a stabbing without showing the knife scar. Source :  http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/11/stop_competing_to_be_the_best.html

Ancillary advice: Know your strategy, and find inspiration outside the industry

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Among all the marketing concepts that have arisen in the airline industry, perhaps none has created more buzz than ancillary revenues. But for all the attention it has received, some airlines still do not have a clear strategy, according to David Stoyle of Amadeus Airline Consulting. In a presentation to delegates to the recent Amadeus Airline eCommerce Conference in Cannes, France, Stoyle quoted Sun Tzu, author of the ancient "Art of War": "Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." "High-value airlines are making a lot of money with ancillary revenues," Stoyle said. The $20 billion worldwide that airlines took in last year in ancillary revenues has taken pressure off base fares and in many cases is subject to lower taxes or no taxes.  But ancillary revenue projects can fail if an airline lacks clear overall objectives and priorities or if their "bundling" and "a la carte" efforts are going in two different directions, h

ZEHST : EADS reveals a heir to the Concorde

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Zehst is the supersonic airplane that will be revealed by EADS at the Bourget Air Show tomorrow. It will be twice as fast as the Concorde and will put Paris at only 2h30 from Tokyo when current jetliners take 11h for the same trip. The plane will fly at 4 800 km/h. It's cruise will take it above the atmosphere. Zehst means 'Zero Emission Hypersonic transportation'. The main asset of the plane is that it will not use kerozene. It should start as a normal plane with biofuels then rely on rocket technology for the cruise part of the flight. Oxygen and hydrogen will mix to produce water and propel the Airplane. First flight tests should take place in 2030 and the first commercial flight is planned for 2050. There should be 60 to 100 seats in the plane.

African airlines say they are 'being progressively destroyed' by EU blacklist

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African Airlines Assn. reiterated its strong criticism of the EU's "continued unilateral practice of blacklisting of mainly African states and airlines with no visible benefits in enhancing safety on the continent" and called on African governments, the African Union and the African Civil Aviation Commission to not "allow this state of affairs to continue as the continent's air transport industry is being progressively destroyed." The statement follows the European Commission's April decision to prohibit all carriers certified in Mozambique and two Air Madagascar 767s from operating to EU airports. The EC cited "significant safety deficiencies requiring decisive action in both cases" (ATW Daily News, April 20 ). Mozambique is the 14th African state to be subject to a blanket ban; an additional four African states are subject to either a partial ban or have an individual carrier that has been restricted from operating to the EU. In a statement

Eyjafjoll Volcano : closing airspace was the right choice

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A study by icelander and danish scientists in nano particles (cited in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 26 April 2011) shows that the Civil Aviation Authority's decision to stop all flights in Europe during the awakening of the Eyjafjallajökul Volcano was justified. In april 2010 this ban on flights had been attacked by some aviation specialists. The reason for it were fears that ashes were hazardous for aircrafts. The interruption in air traffic was the longest that ever happent since World War II : almost 100 000 flights were canceled in 11 european countries leaving 10 millions passengers stranded. Net loss for airlines was estimated around 1.5  and 2.5 billion euros. According to the scientists, 'the first ash particles sent in the air by the explosion were very thin, hard and as sharp as splinters from a crushed glass bottle. Later volcanic ashes had a higher granularity but were also dangerous'. They have estimated that if a plane ever crossed such

Boeing exec: could set out 737 plans by mid-year

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An executive of Boeing Co (BA.N), the world's second-largest commercial plane maker, said on Tuesday the company could set out plans to overhaul its popular 737 aircraft line by the middle of this year. "We are doing a flight test program to test improvements to the airframe and the engine to improve the efficiency of the airplane," Randy Tinseth, marketing vice president for Boeing's commercial aircraft division, said of the 737 line. "What we have been thinking is that we may be prepared to announce our plans in the middle of the year, but there is not a hard, firm deadline," he said in Mexico City. A Boeing spokesman told Reuters later on Tuesday that the executive meant the company would be able to provide "more clarity on where we see things" regarding the future of 737 around mid-year. Boeing is evaluating whether to build an all-new 737 or add a fuel-efficient engine to the existing line as it seeks to leapfrog rival Airbus's (EAD.PA

Norwegian: Wi-Fi popular with passengers

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Norwegian Air Shuttle said its free inflight Wi-Fi is a “hit” with its passengers and that on some routes—such as Oslo Gardermoen-Geneva—between 40% and 50% of all passengers logged on. Other popular Wi-Fi routes include OSL-London Gatwick, OSL-Dubai, OSL-Alicante, Stockholm Arlanda-LGW and ARL-Las Palmas. The LCC noted its wireless system set a record on the April 14 OSL-ALC flight when 87 passengers were logged on at 30,000 ft. “We’re overwhelmed by the response among our passengers and are gradually installing Wi-Fi on all of our new aircraft,” said Norwegian Director of IT and Business Development Hans-Petter Aanby. “This is a product that no other airline in Europe is currently offering, which gives us a huge competitive advantage. Our passengers will soon be able to see in the booking process whether the aircraft has Wi-Fi.” Norwegian launched high-speed broadband service in February with technology provided by US-based Row 44 (ATW Daily News, Feb. 10). Starting in May, Norwegi

Lufthansa: Airlines' inclusion in EU ETS in danger of becoming 'fiasco'

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Lufthansa said that "too many problems remain unresolved" regarding implementation of airlines' inclusion in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, leaving open the prospect that the initiative will become a "fiasco" when it goes into effect at the beginning of next year (ATW Daily News, Oct. 12, 2010). "All of the scheduled deadlines have so far been missed and numerous legal and technical questions remain unanswered—just as 2012 tickets are beginning to go on sale and only eight months before the 'official kick-off'," LH stated in its latest "policy brief" issued Monday. "The aviation industry therefore still has no way of knowing what the major economic parameters will be." The EU directive mandating airlines' inclusion in the ETS was supposed to be enacted into law by each of the body's member nations by February 2010 (ATW Daily News, Nov. 25, 2010). "Yet most governments have so far failed to do so owing to the

Government lets Google buy travel software company

Source :  http://www.google.com/press/ita/ Government officials are letting Google Inc. proceed with its $700 million purchase of airline fare tracker ITA Software, but are imposing significant conditions on the deal. The purchase will establish the Internet search giant as a key player in the online travel market. ITA gives Google control over the technology that powers the reservation systems of most major U.S. airlines and many popular online fare-comparison services, including Kayak, TripAdvisor and Hotwire. But to win Justice Department clearance Friday, Google agreed to license ITA's software to other companies, and it will be prohibited from accessing any proprietary data or technology of ITA customers that resides on or runs through ITA servers. In addition, the government will monitor Google to ensure it does not engage in anticompetitive behavior. That could include manipulating its powerful Internet search engine to steer consumers to its own services - or bury lin

Aviation fuel from nonedible plant soars

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Several airlines have now successfully tested biofuel made from the little known, non-edible plant Jatropha. Japan Airlines, Air New Zealand, Continental, Brazil’s TAM Airlines and most recently the Mexican carrier Interjet, in cooperation with European manufacturer Airbus, have flown without problems on fuel from this weed-like plant, which grows on land otherwise unusable for farming. A March 2011 report by Yale’s School of Environmental Studies, funded by Boeing, concluded that “Jatropha can deliver strong environmental and socioeconomic benefits.” Australian-based Mission NewEnergy, Limited, the largest producer of Jatropha by acreage planted, currently employs more than 140,000 formerly impoverished farmers in India now earning a living cultivating Jatropha without compromising food supply or food pricing. The company is currently distributing product in Europe, and launching its U.S. operations. The Yale study projected greenhouse gas reductions of up to 60% from Jatropha-b

Jazeera Airways cancels orders for 25 A320s

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Kuwait's Jazeera Airways dealt a blow to Airbus last week, canceling 25 of the 40 A320s it ordered in 2007. Chairman Marwan Boodai said in a statement that the decision was driven by "the overcapacity we've seen in the market in 2009 and 2010, when we saw close to half the seats offered by our peers on the routes we operated were being flown empty." He added that the carrier "might revisit this decision in the future as Airbus introduces new A320 models to the market," likely a reference to the re-engined A320neo. Jazeera took delivery of a new A320 in January 2010, bringing its fleet to 11 of the type, six of which it operates. It leases five A320s through its Sahaab Aircraft Leasing subsidiary, including four placed with Virgin America (ATW Daily News, Oct. 12, 2010). Jazeera will take delivery of four A320s still on order from 2012-2014. The airline said it earned a KWD6.4 million ($23.1 million) net profit in the second half of 2010. Source :  h

New technology could slash airplane delays

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If a technology being developed by aerospace giant Honeywell that helps airplanes land in very cloudy conditions wins regulatory approval, it could make a huge dent in weather-related delays throughout the aviation system. The technology is called Enhanced Visual System/Synthetic Vision System (EVS/SVS), and it is designed to give pilots the information they need to land safely even when there is cloud cover near ground. Current U.S. rules mandate that pilots decide at the 200-foot mark if their ground visibility is good enough to land or if they need to circle around for another try. With EVS/SVS, they would be able to hold off on making that decision until between 100 and 150 feet. According to Bob Witwer, vice president of advanced technology for Honeywell aerospace, cloud cover below 200 feet was responsible for six entire days' worth of delay at a single airport--New York's La Guardia--in 2010. And as anyone who flies in the United States knows, delays in one city can ea

Southwest plane with torn fuselage averaged 7 flights a day over 15 years, FAA says

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The Southwest Airlines jet forced to land last week after a gash opened in its fuselage had made an average of seven flights a day over its 15 years of service -- a demanding schedule for any jetliner. Federal Aviation Administration officials disclosed Tuesday that the Boeing 737-300 had flown 48,740 hours over its lifetime and gone through 39,781 flight cycles -- takeoffs and landings that tend to place the most stress on a plane's fuselage along with changes in cabin pressures. Aviation experts had initially speculated that the wear and tear Southwest planes typically  endure -- making an average of six flights per day -- contributed to the incident. Southwest is the leading low-cost carrier in an industry that is highly competitive. Flight 812, bound from Phoenix to Sacramento, had 118 passengers aboard when it made a safe emergency landing in Yuma, Ariz., Friday. There were no serious injuries. After the incident, Southwest cancelled about 630 flights and inspected its 78

North Asia’s Changing Aviation Face

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In 1990, just eight city-pairs and 59 frequencies connected Japan and China. Tokyo Narita with its single runway dominated traffic flows in a highly regulated North Asia. Korea’s airlines were in disarray or too small to register. China was yet to deliver on its promise and Northwest Airlines and the 747 ruled the North Pacific routes into Asia through Japan. Two decades later the landscape is barely recognizable. Each week well over 630 flights connect more than 60 Chinese and Japanese cities. Boeing 777s overfly Japan into Korea and China from the US and NRT has lost much of its standing as the gateway to Asia. China is moving toward the mantle of the world’s single largest aviation market. Korea’s airlines have emerged as powerful competitors focused almost entirely on international services. And a host of US carriers ply the North Pacific on point-to-point routes. As the pace of change in the region accelerates, the landscape will change significantly again within five years,

Calls for separate seating rise with tensions on flights

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It's not that Ian Burford hates children. But the founder of the Facebook page "Airlines should have kid-free flights!" would prefer not to have a wailing tot nearby when he flies. "I'm 6-4, so seating is always an issue," says Burford, who launched his page a year ago. "But when you're uncomfortable anyway, and then you have some young child screaming or kicking the back of your chair, it just puts you in a bad position, because there's absolutely nothing you can do about it. It's not a case of not liking kids. It's a case of not wanting them sitting next to you or behind you when you travel." Across the skies, there's a growing debate over whether airlines should do more to segregate the seating of passengers — with designated areas for kids, for example. At a time when increasingly crowded jets have helped to make flying less pleasant for many passengers and social media allow them to instantly tweet their frustrations to

US checks passengers, cargo from Japan on radiation

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(Reuters) - U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Thursday passengers and cargo arriving in the United States from Japan were being checked for radiation from an earthquake-damaged nuclear power plant. Napolitano, however, told reporters that no harmful levels of radiation had been detected by the checks, which she said were being carried out as a precaution. "And so in an exercise of caution and just to make sure that everyone remains safe, we are doing screening of passengers and/or cargo if there happens to be even a blip in terms of radiation," she said. "We have seen no radiation, by the way, even on incoming cargo or passengers that comes close to reaching ... harmful levels," Napolitano said. She said the screening occurred in a variety of different ways. "It depends on whether you're talking about passengers or cargo and where it's departing from," Napolitano said, adding that the Department of Homeland Security was

UK airlines reject BAA plan to take control of scheduling during irregular operations

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The Board of Airline Representatives in the UK said it is "surprised and dismayed" at a BAA proposal to impose so-called emergency timetables on airlines as a means to handle extreme weather or exceptional situations—such as last December's snow that led to major disruptions at several UK airports including London Heathrow. Under the proposal, these greatly restricted operating timetables could be imposed by the airport operator, a concept the organization categorically rejects. The idea was floated by BAA's CEO Colin Matthews at last week's hearing of the Transport Select Committee but was shot down by BAR UK, which represents 86 carriers. “The idea to impose emergency airline timetables appears to be a knee-jerk reaction to take the heat off the airport operator during the inquiry into the December snow crisis and has not even been discussed with the airlines,” said BAR UK CEO Mike Carrivick. “An emergency timetable would not have worked, since the airport ope

New anti-terror measures make toilets the most dangerous place on planes, unions say

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New anti-terrorist measures have made toilets the most dangerous place on passenger planes, trade unions warned today. From next week Air France will remove all oxygen cannisters from WCs on all A320 aircraft and three Airbus A340s because of fears that they can be turned into bombs. The decision was made by France’s Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGCA) following advice from the United States. But the national pilots’ union SNPL (Syndicat National des Pilotes de Ligne) fears that anyone using an airline toilet will be liable to serious illness if the plane suddenly depressurises. ‘Without emergency oxygen anyone could suffer burst eardrums and hearing problems, and indeed pass out,’ said Captain Louis Jobard, the union’s spokesman. Cap. Jobard said that pilots using the toilet would also be at risk from a sudden loss of pressure – meaning a co pilot would have to cope with an emergency alone. At the normal cruising height of around 35,000ft, crew or passengers would black o

European companies divert Tokyo Flights South as Nuclear Risk Mounts

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Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA) rerouted its Tokyo flights to the southern-Japanese cities of Nagoya and Osaka, citing the risk of nuclear fallout and aftershocks following last week’s earthquake and tsunami. The German carrier’s services are also stopping in Seoul for a crew change to avoid having staff stay overnight in Japan, spokesman Michael Lamberty said in an interview. Air France-KLM (AF) Group is likewise routing flights via the South Korean capital and other European carriers are taking similar steps. “We’re doing this to be prepared for all possible scenarios,” Lamberty said by phone from Lufthansa’s hub in Frankfurt. “The radioactive particles are the main concern.” The Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant was today rocked by two further explosions and a fire as workers there struggled to avert the risk of a meltdown, heightening concern about radiation leaks after March 11’s earthquake and tsunami. Austrian Airlines, a Lufthansa unit, said it would delay today’s flight f

Images from Sendai Airport

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Source :  http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2011/03/massive_earthquake_hits_japan.html

Japanese Earthquake Halts Flights Across Asia

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Flight operations throughout Asia have been heavily impacted by the 8.9-magnitude earthquake that was centered around northeast Japan. The worst hit airport was in the city of Sendai. Abroad, concern is growing for the economic after effects of the disaster, which could have a long-lasting impact on Japanese airlines. The already weak Japanese economy could worsen, with disruptions potentially further depressing growth and affecting passenger numbers. Analysts worry that tourism could also be hit. These concerns have caused airline stocks to fall sharply. Asian airlines are already struggling to absorb higher fuel prices. source :  http://www.jma.go.jp/en/quake/20110312195754391-121953.html JAL reports no damage to its aircraft, but is experiencing serious service disruptions. Finnair has called all flights to Japan, Air France cancelled some of its operations, and British Airways has warned of service disruptions that could last several days. All Nippon Airway, the country's

World's greenest airlines unveiled

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The world's greenest airlines have been named at the ITB Berlin travel show, with European carrier Monarch topping the list. The study of airline efficiency was conducted by Atmosfair, a carbon offsetting company, and looked into factors such as how efficient an airline's fleet was and how full its planes normally fly. Monarch, a charter and scheduled airline operating predominantly from the UK, was judged the world's most efficient airline, with Atmosfair praising its efficient aircraft and high seating density. German carrier Condor, owned by holiday giant Thomas Cook, won second place thanks to its high occupancy and Canadian Air Transat was ranked third, making it the most efficient long-haul carrier. Some of the world's better-known airlines fared less well, with Emirates in 30th place, Delta in 33rd, Air France in 37th, Lufthansa 52nd, British Airways in 61st, American Airlines in 63rd and Virgin Atlantic in 99th place. Although the airline index covered

Airlines studying flight cuts, grounding planes to deal with higher oil prices

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Evolution of oil price As airlines push airfares higher to counteract surging oil prices, they also are dusting off the flight plans they crafted to navigate 2008's fuel spike, when crude peaked at $147 per barrel. United, Delta and American airlines are raising fuel surcharges on overseas flights to levels not seen since 2008 and are laying plans to ground fuel-guzzling aircraft and prune seat capacity, with the deepest cuts coming after the peak summer travel season. Carriers realize they can't hike fees and fares indefinitely without alienating consumers. So they're looking at ways to curb fuel costs and trim unprofitable flights as oil hits the stratosphere. As in 2008, Chicago-based United is charting the deepest cuts among its peers. While United intends to hold capacity flat for 2011, the world's largest carrier is planning to reduce its domestic flying by 5 percent during the fourth quarter, United told employees this week. Regional subcontractors will