Lufthansa, Munich Airport testing humanoid robot

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“Josie Pepper” to provide information to passengers.
Photo: Lufthansa

(From Lufthansa)

She is 120 centimeters tall, with sparkling, round eyes and a pleasant voice: Starting today, “Josie Pepper” the robot will be answering questions for passengers in Terminal 2 of Munich Airport.

Whether they need directions to their gate or want to stop at a certain restaurant or shop – Josie Pepper will look them in the eyes and give them a prompt answer.

With the rollout of Josie Pepper, Munich Airport and Lufthansa are breaking new ground: It is the first-ever test of a humanoid robot equipped with artificial intelligence at a German airport.

For the next few weeks, Josie Pepper will welcome travelers to the non-public area of Terminal 2, which is jointly operated by Munich Airport and Lufthansa.

In her initial deployment, Josie Pepper, who speaks English, will await passengers at the top of the ramp leading to the shuttle connecting the main terminal to the satellite building.

This test phase will be used to show whether Josie Pepper is accepted by passengers. (Full Story Here)

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Emirates, Qantas reach aircraft maintenance deal

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Emirates Engineering announces maintenance deal with Qantas.
Photo: Emirates

(By Emirates)

DUBAI, Unites Arabs Emirates — Emirates Engineering has announced an agreement with Qantas for aircraft maintenance.

Under the terms of the agreement, Emirates Engineering will strip and repaint eight Qantas A380 aircraft starting March 2018.

The aircraft will be repainted with the latest Qantas livery at the state of the art Emirates Aircraft Appearance Centre in Dubai.

The agreement also covers the replacement of landing gears for one Qantas A380 aircraft by Emirates Engineering in February 2018. (Full Story Here)

Airbus’ 2017 delivery reaches new company record

(By Airbus)

Airbus’ Commercial Aircraft deliveries in 2017 were up for the 15th year in a row, reaching a new company record of 718 aircraft delivered to 85 customers. Deliveries were more than four percent higher than the previous record of 688 set in 2016.

The 2017 total comprises: 558 single aisle A320 Family (of which 181 were A320neo – an increase of 166 percent over 2016); 67 A330s; 78 A350 XWBs (up by nearly 60 percent from 2016) and 15 A380s.

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Photo: Airbus

Furthermore, to cap this resounding annual production achievement, Airbus achieved 1,109 net orders from 44 customers.

At the end of 2017 Airbus’ overall backlog stood at 7,265 aircraft valued at US$1.059 trillion at list prices.

Fabrice Brégier, Airbus Chief Operating Officer and President Commercial Aircraft commented: “A new Airbus delivery record coupled with our fifth best order intake wraps up a remarkable year for us. This outstanding achievement is testimony to the dedication of all our teams, and makes the company fitter, stronger and ready for the opportunities ahead.”

With this year’s performance Airbus has steadily built on deliveries year on year – with 15 consecutive years of production increase.

From its four A320 Family plants in Hamburg, Tianjin, Mobile, and Toulouse, Airbus is on track to achieve rate 60 per month on single-aisle by mid-2019.

Meanwhile, the A350 XWB is equally on track for rate 10 by the end 2018. Airbus’ healthy order intake in 2017 resulted in a ‘book-to-bill’ ratio of 1.5. (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.

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)

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.

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)

Japan Airlines gets top honors in customer satisfaction survey

(By Japan Airlines)

TOKYO — Japan Airlines (JAL) announced that it received top honors in two categories through the 2017 Japan Customer Satisfaction Index Survey.

This survey is conducted annually by the Service Productivity and Innovation for Growth (SPRING) organization in Japan.

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Japan Airlines
Photo: Arpingstone (https://commons.wikimedia.org)

This will be the 5th consecutive year JAL ranked number 1 for “Repeat Intention Rate” and also the second time in three years to win top honors under the category of “Customer Satisfaction” ranking.

As for the Domestic sector, JAL will make continuous efforts to improve and deliver an enjoyable travel experience for all valued customers.

According to the company`s medium-term management plan (2017-2020), JAL aims to become one of the most valued and preferred airlines in terms of customer satisfaction by the end of fiscal year 2020.

In order to reach this goal, the carrier will continue to refine the quality of the services provided to all customers. (Full Story Here)

Delta’s inaugural A350 flight greeted with water cannon salute at Narita

(By Ryoko Matsumoto, Delta Air Lines)

Delta’s inaugural A350 flight from Detroit to Tokyo landed at Narita International Airport on Oct. 31.

Ship 3502 was welcomed by a water cannon salute and drew in a large audience of passengers, aviation fans and employees.

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Delta’s inaugural A350 flight from Detroit to Tokyo was welcomed by a water cannon salute upon arrival at at Narita International Airport on Oct. 31.
Photo: Delta Air Lines

Within three hours of landing, the state-of-the-art Airbus A350 was ready for its first return flight from Japan to the United States.

Before the departure of Flight 276 from Tokyo to Detroit, Delta hosted a celebratory event with the flight passengers, reporters and employees.

Drinks and mini cupcakes were served to the crowd while they enjoyed live music provided by a string quartet.

“Delta is investing billions of dollars in its aircraft and airport facilities to provide better products and services to our important customers. The A350 aircraft is among these investments, and this Narita – Detroit flight is the first route Delta has deployed for the latest aircraft,” said Masaru Morimoto, Delta’s Vice President – Japan, Micronesia and the Philippines.

“Please enjoy your flight and our latest products, such as the Delta One Suite and Delta Premium Select,” Masaru added.

After Masaru’s welcome speech, Captain Harry O’Nan addressed the audience.

“It is an honor to be here with you today for Delta Air Lines’ Inaugural Airbus A350 service from Tokyo Narita Airport to Detroit, Michigan,” said Captain O’Nan. “We sincerely thank you for being a part of this historic flight and for flying with Delta.”

Passengers received A350 postcards and first flight certificates while boarding, along with special welcome packs when they reached their seats, which included A350 first flyer pins, notebooks and pens, as well as gifts from TUMI and Westin.

Flight 276 departed from Tokyo with a full capacity of 306 passengers onboard. (Full Story Here)

Southwest Airlines now operates Turks and Caicos Islands route

(By Southwest Airlines)

Furthering its reach, Southwest Airlines Co. has started operating new service daily from Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) to Providenciales International Airport (PLS) in the Turks and Caicos Islands, the carrier’s 11th country served.

In addition, Southwest initiated new service between its South Florida gateway at FLL and both San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO), and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (PUJ), giving Customers nonstop access from Fort Lauderdale to 10 destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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View of the southwestern beach at Grand Turk Island.
Photo: Jersyko (https://commons.wikimedia.org)

“Three new routes bring Southwest’s needed value for Floridians hoping to hit the beach in Provo’s world-famous Grace Bay, hike up the crater at Poas volcano near Costa Rica’s capital city, or have a carefree weekend in a resort in Punta Cana,” said Steve Goldberg, Southwest’s Senior Vice President of Operations and Hospitality who also serves as the carrier’s Executive Sponsor of Florida.

“With convenient connections for Orlando, Tampa, and dozens of cities across our domestic network, these international destinations are now reachable on Southwest where there are no change fees and bags fly free,” he added.

In a partnership with Broward County, Southwest continues work to transform and expand Terminal 1 at FLL into a vastly improved facility with additional gates, security screening, concessions, and border processing capacity.

Southwest launched additional international service from FLL in June 2017.

Southwest recently extended its bookable flight schedule through early August 2018 bringing new, international service on Saturdays next summer betweenHouston and Grand Cayman.

In addition, service between Cancun and both Pittsburgh and Raleigh-Durham will operate nonstop on Saturdays beginning June 9, 2018, subject to governmental approvals. (Full Story Here)

Emirates’ new Boeing 777 First Class product set for European debut

(By Emirates)

DUBAI, U.A.E. — Emirates confirmed that its first two Boeing 777-300ER aircraft fitted with its soon-to-launch First Class product will operate from Dubai to the airline’s Belgian and Swiss destinations starting from 1st December 2017.

Emirates’ new First Class cabin will feature six private suites laid out in a 1-1-1 layout, compared to the eight private suites in a 1-2-1 layout on its existing 777 fleet.

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An Emirates B777-300ER aircraft pictured at Brussels Airport.
Photo: Emirates

In addition to the entirely redesigned First Class product, Emirates’ new Boeing 777-300ERs will also boast refreshed features in the Business and Economy Class cabins.

Prior to entering commercial service, the first Emirates aircraft to feature the new private suites will be on display at the Dubai Airshow between 12th and 16th November, following a product reveal on the first day of the show.

Operating one of the two daily flights from Dubai to Geneva, travelers can enjoy the new product on flight EK083 departing Dubai at 1450hrs, arriving in Geneva at 1855hrs.

The return flight EK084 leaves Geneva at 2040hrs, arriving back at Dubai International Airport at 0605hrs the following day.

For travelers heading to or from Belgium, the new product will be available on flight EK183 which leaves Dubai at 0820hrs, arriving in Brussels at 1245hrs.

The return flight EK184 leaves Brussels at 1435hrs, arriving at Emirates Terminal Three in Dubai at 0015hrs the following day. (Full Story Here)

Boeing, Air China mark delivery of 737 MAX 8

(By PRNewswire)

SEATTLE — Boeing and Air China have celebrated the delivery of the airline’s first 737 MAX 8.

China’s national flag carrier is the first airline in the country to receive the 737 MAX. Customers throughout China will take delivery of nearly 100 737 MAXs by the end of next year.

“Air China has been a longstanding valued customer for decades,” said Rick Anderson, vice president of Sales, Northeast Asia, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

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The airplane is seen here departing Boeing’s Seattle Delivery Center.
Photo: Craig Larsen/Boeing

“This delivery marks another significant milestone in our enduring partnership. We are confident that the 737 MAX 8 will play a key role in Air China’s continued growth,” he added.

Boeing’s partnership with Air China dates back to the 1970s. Air China’s fleet includes seven Boeing 747-8s, 26 777-300ERs, 11 787-9 Dreamliners and more than 140 Next-Generation 737s.

The 737 MAX family has been designed to offer customers exceptional performance, flexibility and efficiency, with lower per-seat costs and an extended range that will open up new destinations in the single-aisle market. (Full Story Here)