Delta and WestJet joint venture to offer more choices for transborder flying

(By Debbie Egerton, Delta Air Lines)

Delta Air Lines and WestJet have agreed to deepen their existing partnership by entering into a comprehensive transborder joint venture that will increase travel choices between the U.S. and Canada.

The airlines have entered into a preliminary memorandum of understanding regarding their intention to deepen their existing partnership to form a commercial joint venture arrangement, which will offer customers access to an extensive transborder route network, world-class airline products, enhanced frequent flyer benefits, shared airport facilities and amenities, and a more seamless travel experience.

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North America
Photo: Bosonic dressing

Highlights of the planned joint venture arrangement, subject to board approvals, execution of definitive agreements and applicable regulatory approvals, in the United States and Canada, include:

— Coordinated flight schedules for new nonstop flights to new destinations, expanded codesharing, and seamless and convenient connections on the airlines’ extensive networks in the U.S. and Canada.

— Enhanced frequent flyer benefits including reciprocal benefits for top-tier members of both airlines.

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“With its strong brand and employee- and customer-centric culture, WestJet is the perfect partner for us in the U.S.-Canada transborder segment and together we will produce great results for our respective employees, customers and investors,” said Steve Sear, Delta’s President – International and Executive Vice President – Global Sales.

“We look forward to applying Delta’s experience building successful joint venture partnerships to this important segment of transborder travel, the second-largest international segment for U.S. travel.” (Full Story Here)

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Japan Airlines, Boom to introduce supersonic air travel

(By JAL/BOOM)

Japan Airlines (JAL) and Boom Supersonic are pleased to announce a strategic partnership to bring commercial supersonic travel to passengers.

While new and advanced technologies are changing our lives significantly, flight times for air travel have stayed relatively constant.

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Photo: lasta29

Boom is developing a new-generation supersonic aircraft, which flies at Mach 2.2 and will cut flight times in half.

Through this agreement, JAL will provide its knowledge and experience as an airline to support Boom in developing the aircraft.

As part of the agreement, JAL has made a strategic investment of $10 million in Boom and is collaborating with the company to refine the aircraft design and help define the passenger experience for supersonic travel.

JAL also has the option to purchase up to 20 Boom aircraft through a pre-order arrangement.

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The two companies will cooperate closely to realize faster and more convenient air travel.

“We’ve been working with Japan Airlines behind the scenes for over a year now,” said Blake Scholl, founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic.

“JAL’s passionate, visionary team offers decades of practical knowledge and wisdom on everything from the passenger experience to technical operations. We’re thrilled to be working with JAL to develop a reliable, easily-maintained aircraft that will provide revolutionary speed to passengers. Our goal is to develop an airliner that will be a great addition to any international airline’s fleet.” (Full Story Here)

Qantas opens new lounge at London airport

(By Qantas Airways)

LONDON — Qantas will welcome customers into the new spacious Qantas London Lounge at Heathrow Airport, as the airline counts down to its direct 787 Dreamliner flights between Australia and London.

Qantas has spent the past 12 months building a dedicated lounge at Heathrow as part of a multi-million dollar investment for customers on its existing London services as well as the landmark Perth-London route starting on 24 March 2018.

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Qantas Airways
Photo: Paul Spijkers

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said investing in the first dedicated Qantas Lounge at Heathrow was key as the airline prepares to directly air link Australia and Europe for the first time.

“The Kangaroo Route is at the heart of Qantas’ identity and London is one of our most important destinations,” said Joyce. “We have worked with leaders in design, food and service to create a lounge that is modern and comfortable and incorporates the aesthetics of the Qantas lounges that make our customers feel at home.

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“We are reshaping what customers come to expect from international travel with direct flights between Australia and London. It’s a long flight, so we’re taking a holistic approach to passenger wellbeing on and off the aircraft, and the new Heathrow lounge is an important part of that,” Joyce added. (Full Story Here)

Qatar Airways bares Europe and Russia expansion

(By Qatar Airways)

DOHA, Qatar – Qatar Airways has announced that it will increase daily frequencies to the Scandinavian capitals of Stockholm and Oslo, alongside the Italian cities of Milan and Rome from January 2018.

Due to an increase in demand to key European destinations, especially from the Asia Pacific region, flights to Rome, Milan and Stockholm will increase to 17 per week from Doha’s Hamad International Airport, while flights to Oslo are set to increase from seven to 10 frequencies per week.

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Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Red square, Moscow
Photo: Ludvig14 (https://commons.wikimedia.org)

The award-winning airline has also announced that double daily flights to the Russian capital Moscow will increase to three times daily from 14 December, just five days before Qatar Airways’ inaugural daily flight to the Russian city of St. Petersburg.

The additional frequency to Moscow will be operated by an Airbus A320 aircraft.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “Qatar Airways continues to expedite its ambitious expansion plans and demonstrate strong growth across Europe and Russia.

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These additional frequencies will provide our passengers with an array of convenient travel options when traveling to Doha or further afield on our global network.”

The national carrier of the State of Qatar currently serves double daily flights to Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport, Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport, Milan’s Malpensa Airport and Rome’s Fiumicino Airport with a mix of Boeing B787, Airbus A330 and Airbus A321 aircraft.

With a seamless stopover at the five-star hub of the airline, Hamad International Airport, European travelers can reach more than 150 business and leisure destinations across six continents with the airline’s young fleet. (Full Story Here)

Qantas to operate first U.S.-Australia biofuel flight

(By Qantas Airways)
Qantas announced it will operate the world’s first biofuel flight between the United States and Australia.

The Los Angeles to Melbourne flight will take place early next year, in collaboration with World Fuel Services and Altair Fuels, and will see Qantas’ new Dreamliner being powered by Brassica Carinata (carinata), a non-food, industrial type of mustard seed.

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Carinata produces high quality oil, ideal for aviation biofuel.
Photo: Qantas Airways

Carinata produces high quality oil, ideal for aviation biofuel, bio-jet for aircraft and bio-diesel for airport vehicles.

The news of the flight follows Qantas’ siging of a landmark partnership with Agrisoma Biosciences (Agrisoma), the Canadian based agricultural-technology – company who developed the carinata seed.

The two organizations will work with Australian farmers to grow the country’s first commercial aviation biofuel seed crop by 2020.

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Qantas International CEO, Alison Webster said the historic flight and the partnership mark the first step in developing an aviation biofuel supply in Australia.

“We are constantly looking for ways to reduce carbon emissions across our operations but when it comes to using renewable jet fuel, until now, there has not been a locally grown option at the scale we need to power our fleet,” Webster said.

“Our work with Agrisoma will enable Australian farmers to start growing today for the country’s biofuel needs of the future. The trans-Pacific biofuel flight is a demonstration of what can be achieved locally,” Webster added. (Full Story Here)

U.S. DOT approves Delta, Korean Air joint venture

(By Debbie Egerton, Delta Air Lines)

Delta Air Lines and Korean Air took a significant step in the creation of their trans-Pacific joint venture with approval of the joint venture by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The DOT approval reflects the consumer benefits that will be created by the new joint venture.

The two carriers will deepen their relationship, offering customers in the U.S. and Asia an enhanced and expanded flight network as well as more compelling travel options.

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Approval marks significant milestone in creation of leading joint venture between the United States and Asia.
Photo: Delta Air Lines

The airlines have also applied for approval for the joint venture from the Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

“We thank the DOT for approving this world-class partnership, which will create more choices, frequencies and destinations for customers traveling between the key markets in the U.S. and Asia,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s Chief Executive Officer.

“We look forward to offering our customers the leading customer experience across the Pacific, with seamless connections, world class facilities and amenities on the ground and in the air, as well as substantial frequent flyer benefits.”

The joint venture will create a combined network serving more than 290 destinations in the Americas and more than 80 in Asia, providing customers of both airlines with more travel choices than ever before.

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The joint venture will provide both airlines with the expanded scale and scope to offer new alternatives to customers.

The two airlines will also expand codeshare flights on trans-Pacific routes. Customers will benefit from enhanced frequent flyer benefits, providing customers of both airlines the ability to earn and redeem miles on Delta’s SkyMiles and Korean Air’s SKYPASS program.

In addition, co-location at key airports including Incheon Terminal 2 which will provide customers with a seamless connection and baggage transit experience.

Under the agreement, the airlines will share costs and revenues on flights within the scope of the joint venture as they work to expand service options for travelers. (Full Story Here)

Airbus gets 510 aircraft orders and commitments

(By Airbus)

The Airbus product line of commercial jetliners, military airlifters and helicopters reached new heights at this week’s Dubai Airshow with transactions and business announcements for 510 aircraft.

Validating the company’s slogan: ‘We make it fly,’ these orders and commitments involved 500 aircraft from Airbus’ single-aisle A320neo Family and two widebody A330neo jetliners (worth a combined total of $58.3 billion at list prices), along with five of the company’s multi-role C295 transports and three ‘H generation’ H160 rotorcraft.

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Airbus has a major presence at Dubai Airshow 2017.
Photo: S. Ramadier/Airbus

Leading the activity was the historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 430 A320neo Family jetliners negotiated by private equity firm Indigo Partners for operation by four ultra-low-cost airlines in its portfolio.

This represents Airbus’ largest single commercial jetliner announcement by aircraft numbers, while setting a company record in terms of its $49.5 billion value at list prices.

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All four of these carriers, located on three continents, are current A320 Family operators and will significantly increase their Airbus single-aisle fleets with aircraft from the new agreement.

They are Frontier Airlines of the U.S., JetSMART of Chile, Mexico’s Volaris, and Wizz Air of Hungary.

Bill Franke, the Managing Partner of Indigo Partners and an entrepreneur who is considered an architect of the ultra-low-cost airline segment, stated the 430-aircraft MoU underscored his confidence in the Airbus A320 Family – which he said brought a “winning combination” to the bargain-fare air travel model that he helped develop. (Full Story Here)

Philippines, New Zealand ink deal on direct flights

(By Camille Diola, philstar.com)

MANILA, Philippines — Newly installed New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern officiated on Tuesday the signing of a new cooperation agreement allowing nonstop direct flights from Manila to Auckland.

The 37-year-old Ardern, who is in Manila to attend the East Asia Summit, said the nonstop flights will inject NZD 13.6 million (P477 million) annually into the New Zealand economy.

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Philippine Airlines
Photo: Alec Wilson (https://commons.wikimedia.org)

She said the flights, which will commence in December, will also “further enable our people and our commercial links,” citing the 23,000 visitors from the Philippines annually. The Philippines, meanwhile, welcomes around 29,000 visitors from New Zealand.

She also noted that the Filipino student population of more than 4,000 in New Zealand is also among the largest.

Jaime Bautista, president of Philippine Airlines, signed the memorandum of understanding with Tourism New Zealand CEO Stephen England-Hall at a breakfast meeting.

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Bautista said the high demand for direct flights to the south Pacific island nation warranted a shortened route.

The flights will reduce travel time from Manila to Auckland to 10 hours, while seat capacity is increased by 60 percent. The current route from the Philippines to New Zealand includes a stopover in Cairns, Australia and would normally take 12 hours.

The flag carrier will also utilize dual class, 254-seater Airbus A340s for the service.

The MNL-AKL service will operate thrice weekly on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays starting on December 6.

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Besides the tourism MOU, Ardern also witnessed the signing of an agreement allowing the sharing of data and technology between the two state weather bureaus. Metservice CEO Peter Lennox and PAGASA’s Deputy Administrator Flaviana Hilario inked the agreement. (Full Story Here)

Middle East: $730 billion market for new airplanes

(By PRNewswire)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Boeing forecasts that airlines in the Middle East will need 3,350 new airplanes over the next 20 years, valued at an estimated $730 billion.

Boeing presented its 2017 Current Market Outlook (CMO) for the region during the Dubai Airshow.

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Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Photo: Jan Michael Pfeiffer (https://commons.wikimedia.org)

“Traffic growth in the Middle East is expected to grow at 5.6 percent annually during the next 20 years,” said Randy Tinseth, vice president of Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

“The fact that 85 percent of the world’s population lives within an eight-hour flight of the Arabian Gulf, coupled with robust business models and investment in infrastructure, allows carriers in the Middle East to channel traffic through their hubs and offer one-stop service between many cities.”

Twin-aisle airplanes are expected to make up nearly 50 percent of the new airplanes in the Middle East, and more than 70 percent of the value at $520 billion. Both percentages are significantly higher than the global average.

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The strong long-term demand for wide body airplanes was reinforced at the show as Emirates Airline announced a commitment to purchase 40 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners in a deal valued at $15.1 billion at current list prices.

More than half of the total deliveries in the Middle East will be single-aisle airplanes such as the 737 MAX. Operators in the region will need 1,770 single-aisle airplanes valued at $190 billion, driven by the growth of low-cost carriers.

Boeing’s presence and support for the Middle East also includes Global Services, the company’s third and newest business unit that is expanding its service capability offerings to better support the region’s airlines and aircraft. (Full Story Here)

Qatar Airways lowers prices for transporting large pets

(By Qatar Airways)

DOHA, Qatar – Qatar Airways has responded to demand from passengers seeking to transport their pets around the world by reducing the price to the lowest rates ever into and out of Doha.

As the only airline that will carry pets as excess baggage to and from Qatar, the airline has gone beyond expectations and reduced the cost of traveling with a pet.

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Photo: Qatar Airways

While it used to cost pet owners and animal refuges approximately USD400 to transport a large dog to Europe or the Americas on another carrier, the same journey will now cost just USD300 on Qatar Airways out of Doha.

This significant cost reduction means that it will now be easier than ever for passengers to travel with their beloved pets.

The airline has also more than doubled the weight allowance for domestic pets to travel on the same flight as their owners as checked-in baggage, by increasing the weight limit for pets and their containers from 32kgs to a generous 75kgs.

The move is set to position Qatar Airways as the airline of choice for people seeking to transport their pets around the world.

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It follows an increase in demand from passengers wanting to travel on the same flight as their domestic pets, or from animal refuges relocating stray animals to new homes overseas.

Qatar Airways Chief Commercial Officer Ehab Amin said: “We know how much our passengers love their family pets and often don’t want to be apart from them. This move to increase weight allowances while also reducing the fare structure means that our passengers and their domestic pets can now travel comfortably on the same flight together.

“We are one of the few airlines in the world that accepts domestic pets as checked-in baggage on our passenger aircraft. So in keeping with our very inclusive culture and our drive to always enhance the customer experience, we are delighted to increase the pet weight limit from 32kgs to 75kgs, while significantly reducing charges.” (Full Story Here)