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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China Airlines adds non-stop flights to London

(By China Airlines)

China Airlines has started operating the Taipei-London (Gatwick) service on December 1 with the new A350-900 XWB fleet making four flights a week.

This route makes China Airlines the only airline in Taiwan to offer non-stop flights to London. The introduction of non-stop flights to London represents a major boost to China Airlines’ European network.

When added to existing non-stop flights to Amsterdam (Netherlands), Frankfurt (Germany), Vienna (Austria) and Rome (Italy), China Airlines will operate 22 weekly flights to five European destinations and is the only Taiwan-based airline that currently operates so many non-stop flights between Taiwan and Europe.

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Photo: KCS

To celebrate the launch of the new route, China Airlines hosted a banquet in London on the afternoon of December 1 local time.

Guests including Representative of the Taipei Representative Office in the UKAmbassdor David Y.L. Lin, UK Minister of State for Trade Policy Greg Hands, Trade Envoy to Taiwan Lord Faulkner of Worcester, British Representative in Taiwan Catherine Nettleton, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Mei-Hua Wang, Gatwick CCO Guy Stephenson, and Deputy Mayor of Taoyuan City Wang Ming-de, were invited to celebrate the inaugural flight of this new route.

As part of his banquet speech, China Airlines Chairman Nuan-hsuan Ho said that the introduction of direct flights to London by China Airlines represented an important milestone in the development of bilateral economic and cultural relations between Taiwan and the UK.

Fourteen new A350 and ten new 777 aircraft have been subsequently introduced in recent years to optimize global network capacity and introduce non-stop flights on all European routes.

China Airlines now offers the most non-stop flights between Taiwan and Europe of any carrier.

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Future efforts will focus on the continued strengthening of relationships with partner airlines to provide Taiwanese travelers with the most comprehensive network for traveling to and from Europe.

The China Airlines CI069/CI070 Taipei-London service departs every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday on the latest A350-900 XWB aircraft, which are equipped with 32 Premium Business Class, 31 Premium Economy Class and 243 Economy Class seats.

Passengers who opt to fly non-stop with China Airlines will reach their destination in just 13 hours, saving between 3 to 7 hours of transit and stopover time.

Gatwick Airport offers convenient customs check and luggage pick-up and is also well connected to downtown London as well as major English cities in the north and south, making it very convenient for transit as well as arrivals/departures. (Full Story Here)

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)

Farm-fresh, local menu added on Delta flights from L.A. to N.Y. and D.C.

(By Catherine Sirna, Delta Air Lines)

Delta continues to board farm fresh, chef-driven meals at 30,000 feet, as it expands its innovative approach to in-flight cuisine to the West Coast.

Beginning Dec. 1, Delta One customers on flights from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Reagan Washington National Airport will enjoy culinary creations from the airline’s new Los Angeles-based chef partners, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo.

Each dish features farm-fresh, seasonal ingredients from some of L.A.’s most beloved farmers and purveyors.

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Each dish features farm-fresh, seasonal ingredients from some of L.A.’s most beloved farmers and purveyors.
Photo: Delta Air Lines

“When we began cultivating our partnership with Jon and Vinny early on, we talked about the importance of not just stamping their names on our menus,” said Lisa Bauer, Vice President – On-Board Services. “At Delta, it’s so much more than that. It’s about partnering with chefs to create authentic, locally-sourced meals on board.”

JVThe chef duo has curated a menu that is reflective of the fare served at many of their popular L.A. restaurants, including Animal, Son of a Gun and Jon & Vinny’s.

Their debut menu for Delta includes: a starter of confit portobello mushroom carpaccio with Tamai Farms arugula pesto, almonds and pecorino, a main course of marinara braised meatballs with bianco DiNapoli tomato, garlic bread and
Gioia whipped ricotta, or Domenico’s pumpkin ravioli with Schaner Farms sage brown butter sauce and pecorino cheese, and a dessert of Tamai Farms strawberry bread pudding.

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“We are so excited to partner with Delta because it allows us to introduce the smaller farmers and producers who we work with on a daily basis to its global customers,” said Shook.

“On top of that, by using the same network we lean on at our L.A. restaurants, we’re able to authentically re-create some of our most beloved dishes – like our iconic meatballs – and take it from the ground to the sky,” said Dotolo. (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)

United Airlines bares 10 new U. S. routes

(By PRNewswire)

CHICAGO — United Airlines (UAL) has announced it will offer customers more opportunities to travel from five of its U.S. hubs to 10 cities in California, Florida, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Oregon and Texas beginning in April 2018.

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United Airlines
Photo: John Taggart (https://commons.wikimedia.org)

Additionally, the airline announced it will optimize its O’Hare International Airport (ORD) schedule to provide shorter connection times and more options for customers connecting through Chicago.

“We continue to focus on making United the first choice for customers when planning their domestic and international travel,” said Grant Whitney, United’s vice president of Domestic Network Planning.

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“Our new daily services connect customers to important business markets and our new seasonal summer routes provide more customers with convenient access to enjoy our National Parks.” (Full Story Here)

United Airlines introduces winter menu

(By PRNewswire)

CHICAGO — In time for the busy Thanksgiving travel season, United Airlines (UAL) is introducing its winter menu, offering customers more options of food items from the airline’s economy Choice Menu, including a 100 percent cage free egg breakfast sandwich, a first for any U.S. carrier.

Responding directly to customer and employee feedback, the winter menu also features a new take on one of the most popular items purchased by customers — the cheeseburger. United is introducing a new Smoked Gouda Cheeseburger complete with condiments by Sir Kensington’s, one of the airline’s newest food partners.

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United Airlines
Photo: John Taggart (https://commons.wikimedia.org)

The new menu additions, available now, are a result of a research process with customers and employees to understand the culinary desires of customers inflight.

Results from discussions and inflight tests with customers showed that the top three most sought after snack items were chocolate, a meat protein and potato chips. In response to this, barkTHINS, Duke’s Shorty Sausages, and Kettle Chips have also been added to the menu.

For main dish options, the Southwestern-style omelet, previously only available in United First class, has received such demand and positive feedback from customers, that United has added it to the economy menu enabling more customers to purchase it.

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The partnership with Sir Kensington’s, a first for any airline, provides gourmet options for customers’ taste buds.

Two of the signature products offered included a ketchup made from whole, vine-ripened pear tomatoes, sweetened with organic raw cane sugar as well as the first and only non-GMO verified mayonnaise flavored with free-range eggs and a hint of fresh lemon juice. (Full Story Here)

Cathay Pacific to introduce high-speed Wi-Fi in 2018

(By Cathay Pacific)

The Cathay Pacific Group will introduce high-speed Wi-Fi to its Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 fleets from mid-2018, in response to its customers’ growing demand for inflight connectivity.

This follows the successful introduction of broadband services to its Airbus A350-900 aircraft.

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The high-speed service will allow customers to check emails, browse the web, access their social networks and shop online.
Photo: Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Paul Loo said: “We have been listening to our customers who have told us that staying connected inflight is important to them. Our passengers will soon be able to not only roam around the cabin when the fasten seat belt sign comes off – the whole internet awaits at 35,000 feet.”

“We envisage that by 2020, all of our wide-body aircraft will have inflight connectivity capabilities. This will open up a wealth of opportunities for us to provide more innovative experiences for our customers,” he said.

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Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon will be the first major carriers in Asia to adopt Gogo’s 2Ku satellite-based broadband inflight connectivity technology. It will be installed on the airlines’ Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft. (Full Story Here)

Qantas customers can now watch cricket live at 30,000 feet

(By Qantas Airways)

SYDNEY — Customers traveling on Qantas Domestic aircraft fitted with inflight Wi-Fi will have the opportunity to watch every live game of international cricket played in Australia this season.

As part of the airline’s partnership with Cricket Australia, Qantas will live stream 75 matches of professional cricket played in Australia including the Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes T20 matches, Magellan Men’s Ashes, the Gillette One Day Internationals and T20s, the KFC Big Bash League and Rebel WBBL.

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Cricket World Cup Final
Photo: Tourism Victoria (https://commons.wikimedia.org)

Qantas Chief Customer Officer, Olivia Wirth, said Qantas is leading the way in Australia for inflight connectivity.

“Qantas is proud to support the men’s and women’s teams through our Cricket Australia partnership, and as part of that we’re able to offer more than 400 hours of live cricket over the season to around 60,000 customers inflight every week,” she said.

“Our goal is to give our customers the best inflight Wi-Fi experience in Australia. We’ve installed ViaSat’s next generation in-flight Wi-Fi service, which delivers speeds up to 10 times faster than conventional on-board Wi-Fi by tapping into the nbn satellite network. We’ve partnered with the best in entertainment and we’re offering it for free.”

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Ben Amarfio, Cricket Australia Executive GM, Broadcasting, Digital Media and Commercial, said: “Our mantra of serving cricket fans wherever they are, is going to the next level with this fantastic initiative. This unique partnership allows us to deliver on that even when cricket fans are 30,000 feet in the air. Courtesy of Qantas, cricket fans won’t miss a ball of action.

“We are also delighted that we will be able to showcase a wide variety of Cricket Australia Digital’s feature content to fans on-demand, so they get their cricket fix even when matches are not being played,” Amarfio added.

Following a successful customer trial earlier this year, the airline has so far installed next generation Wi-Fi hardware on *15 Boeing 737 aircraft as part of its progressive rollout.

Focusing initially on its 737 fleet, Qantas will begin installation on its domestic A330s from early next year, with 80 B737 and A330 aircraft complete by the end of 2018. (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)