American Airlines first to launch mobile app passport scanning

American Airlines made this announcement:

Checking in for an international flight just got easier as American Airlines launches passport scanning in its mobile app. American is the first airline to offer passport chip scanning that securely transmits passport information directly from the Near Field Communication (NFC) chip embedded in the passport. This allows customers to head directly to the gate for international flights without having their passports rechecked by a customer service agent.

“We are continuously adding features to our app to make travel easier and worry-free for our customers,” said Maya Leibman, American’s Chief Information Officer. “Mobile passport scanning removes a time-consuming step, providing our customers with a smoother check-in experience for international flights.”

Currently, customers departing on international flights who check in on the app, have their passports rechecked at the airport. This step is required even if the customer has uploaded a photo of their passport via the mobile app. With this new enhancement, the customer will be prompted to enter their passport information and then scan their passport with an iOS or Android device. The app provides easy-to-follow instructions for the process.

Mobile passport scanning is the latest in a long line of new customer features American has implemented to the airline’s app to make travel easier for customers. Other recent introductions include boarding notifications, Siri shortcuts and a dark mode option. American has also rolled out additional services to improve the travel experiences, including biometric international boarding, virtual 3D aircraft tours online, a redesigned self-service kiosk menu that simplifies the check-in process and an improved family seating approach, which ensures adults and kids under 14, when traveling together on the same reservation, are seated together.

QANTAS operates its last Boeing 747 flight from the Mainland USA

QANTAS Airways Boeing 747-438 ER VH-OEE (msn 32909) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 931607.

QANTAS Airways on December 3, 2019 operated the last regularly scheduled Boeing 747 revenue flight from the mainland United States.

This flight ended 47 years of Boeing 747 service to the mainland United States.

Flight QF74 was operated with the pictured VH-OEE.

SFO made this announcement on social media:

Goodbye Queen! On December 3 QANTAS flew it’s final 747 flight from Sydney to SFO, ending 747 service to the Mainland US. These planes will be replaced by the 787 Dreamliner starting the following day.

Top Copyright Photo: QANTAS Airways Boeing 747-438 ER VH-OEE (msn 32909) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 931607.

QANTAS aircraft slide show:

Reuters: Hong Kong Airlines says it has drawn up plans for cash infusion in fight to keep licence

From Reuters:

“Hong Kong Airlines said on Wednesday it had drafted an “initial cash injection plan” that would allow it to make overdue salary payments on Thursday as the carrier battles to keep flying.”

Read the full report.

Hong Kong Airlines aircraft photo gallery:

United’s CEO Oscar Munoz to hand the reigns to J. Scott Kirby

United Airlines today announced that Oscar Munoz, Chief Executive Officer, will transition to the role of Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of United Airlines Holdings, Inc. in May 2020. As CEO, Munoz has transformed United’s culture and set new standards of operational and financial performance. J. Scott Kirby, President, will succeed Munoz as Chief Executive Officer.

“With United in a stronger position than ever, now is the right time to begin the process of passing the baton to a new leader,” Munoz said. “One of my goals as CEO was to put in place a successful leadership transition for United Airlines. I brought Scott to United three years ago, and I am confident that there is no one in the world better equipped to lead United to even greater heights. It has been the honor of my career to lead the 95,000 dedicated professionals who serve United’s customers every day. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Scott in the months ahead and supporting the company’s ongoing success in my new role.”

Kirby was recruited to United Airlines by Munoz in August 2016, after a three-decade career in the commercial airline business. His appointment reflects a commitment from Munoz and the Board to preserve leadership continuity and demonstrates confidence in the airline’s strategy and current trajectory.

“When I joined United as CEO, I laid out ambitious goals to build a new spirit of United by regaining the trust of our employees and customers – and I’m proud of how far we’ve come,” Munoz said. “Along with the successful implementation of the plan our team laid out in January 2018, United’s operational and financial performance isn’t just better – it’s better than ever. By instilling a culture of ‘proof not promise,’ we have transformed United even faster than we expected and there’s an incredible sense of excitement about the future.”

Kirby, a highly-regarded industry leader, has played a pivotal role in enabling United’s cultural transformation and successfully executing the company’s strategic growth plan.

“I am honored to be named the next CEO of United and to succeed Oscar, whose leadership has been truly transformational for United Airlines,” Kirby said. “I look forward to working with Oscar, the Board, our established leadership team and every United employee as we drive forward our proven strategy and focus on being the airline customers choose to fly and return to time and again.”

Munoz will serve as Executive Chairman for a one-year term and will continue to work closely with Kirby, the Board and the United team in shaping United’s employee and customer-centric culture. He will also lead the company’s Board and continue to engage on behalf of United with a range of external stakeholders.

As part of this transition, United’s current Chairman, Jane Garvey, will retire from the Board in May 2020 after more than a decade of exceptional service, including serving as Chairman since May 2018. At the request of the Board, Garvey agreed to remain in her role for a year beyond the Board’s mandatory retirement age.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I cannot thank Oscar enough for his outstanding leadership and commitment to United, and we are pleased that we will continue to benefit from his expertise and experience in his role as Executive Chairman,” Garvey said. “Oscar became CEO at one of the most challenging points in United’s history, and his focus on putting customers and employees first has transformed United’s culture today and successfully positioned the company for tomorrow. One of Oscar’s greatest legacies is the best-in-class leadership team he has built, and we have full confidence that Scott is the ideal candidate to lead United into the bright future that lies ahead.”

The company also announced that Ted Philip will become Lead Independent Director following the 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. Philip joined the Board in July 2016 and chairs the Nominating/Governance Committee. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors of Hasbro, Inc. and BRP Inc.

“I could not be more excited about the opportunity that we have at United over the next several years to fulfill this airline’s incredible potential,” Philip said. “I am proud to work alongside Oscar in guiding United’s Board and leadership team, and I am eager to get to work on delivering for all of our stakeholders. The entire Board and I want to thank Jane for her many contributions to United over the last decade, including her highly successful tenure as Chairman.”

All of the changes announced today will take effect following the company’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders, scheduled for May 20, 2020.

United Airlines Boeing 767-322 ER WL N674UA (msn 29242) LHR (Antony J. Best). Image: 948476.

Above Copyright Photo: United Airlines Boeing 767-322 ER WL N674UA (msn 29242) LHR (Antony J. Best). Image: 948476.

United Airlines aircraft slide show (Boeing, new livery):

Norwegian offers customers CO2-offsetting and becomes first airline to sign UN climate action initiative

Norwegian has partnered with climate company CHOOOSE to make it easy for customers to offset their carbon footprint when buying a ticket with the airline. The initiative has been welcomed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

As of today, Norwegian is pleased to offer its customers climate compensation as a simple, integrated part of the booking process.

Geir Karlsen, Acting CEO of Norwegian said: “Norwegian has been named one of the world’s most environmentally friendly airlines and we are continuously working to reduce our emissions through new initiatives. We’re now putting a price on actual carbon emissions from flying, making it easy for all our customers to take climate action,”

“Even if commercial aviation technology continues to develop and Norwegian keeps reducing its environmental impact, emission-free flying is not possible today. Carbon offsetting is an important tool in managing today’s emissions, and we know that many of our customers would like to compensate for emissions associated with their journey,” he continued.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: “We welcome this initiative”
Norwegian is the first airline to sign the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) pledge, committing to become climate neutral by 2050:
Putting a price on carbon in this way also helps driving more action and more ambition at all levels of society, including in business. We welcome this initiative by Norwegian to help their customers compensate their emissions when they travel. Bringing people together is fundamental for global understanding, for the economy, for wellbeing, and for the planet. We welcome Norwegian to our Climate Neutral Now initiative,” says Niclas Svenningsen, Manager, Global Climate Action, UN Climate Change.


Climate offsetting clean energy projects

Norwegian developed the feature to be as informative, simple, and trustworthy as possible. When first selecting a flight, Norwegian informs customers how its flights’ emissions compares to industry average. The CO2 emissions calculation is based on the official methodology of the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the International Council of Clean Transportation (ICCT) and Norwegian’s own flight emissions data. Next, customers are offered a simple option to offset their calculated carbon footprint directly in the checkout process. For customers that opt in, offsetting is then performed through carefully selected CO2-reducing clean energy projects in regions Norwegian flies to. The projects are certified by the United Nations and the Gold Standard, which sets the standard for climate and development interventions to quantify, certify and maximise their impact. The Gold Standard also includes contributions to other UN Sustainable Development Goals.
In addition to climate impact, all Gold Standard projects deliver verified benefits to the local communities where they operate – new jobs, clean energy, improved air, and more. If Norwegian Air passengers are passionate about climate justice, they can trust that their contribution goes far beyond offsetting emissions,” said Sarah Leugers, Director of Communications at Gold Standard.

A seamless solution

As the partner for its new solution, Norwegian has chosen the climate-tech company CHOOOSE. Based in Oslo, Norway, CHOOOSE has developed a solution that seamlessly integrates into the customer check-out process, making it easy for customers to connect with the best CO2-reducing projects around the world. In addition to Norwegian, CHOOOSE enables a wide range of partners to integrate climate action directly into their products and services, and now has customers in over 70 countries.

“CHOOOSE collaborates with those who challenge the status quo, demonstrate that they’re committed to reducing emissions, and take responsibility for the elephant in the room – some carbon footprints cannot be entirely avoided based on today’s technology,” said Andreas Slettvoll, CEO of CHOOOSE.

CHOOOSE has achieved a lot in a short time, and together we are offering a best-in-class solution for our customers. CHOOOSE operates in an area that is developing rapidly and absolutely necessary, and represents a new, refreshing approach to climate action,” said Karlsen.

Norwegian was voted the world’s most fuel-efficient airline on transatlantic routes in 2015 and 2018 by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) and since 2008, the airline has reduced its emissions by 30 percent per passenger kilometre thanks to new, fuel-efficient aircraft.

Norwegian Air UK aircraft phot gallery:

Norwegian sells Argentinian subsidiary to JetSmart

Norwegian Air Shuttle has signed an agreement for the sale of 100 percent of its Argentinian subsidiary Norwegian Air Argentina (NAA) to JetSMART Airlines.

“We’re taking necessary steps to return to profitability,” said acting CEO Geir Karlsen.

JetSMART will assume the NAA operation with immediate effect. To minimize the impact on passengers, JetSMART will continue to operate the NAA scheduled flights from Aeroparque airport. The parties expect that the integration process will take several months, and the Norwegian brand will be phased out in the domestic Argentinian network during this period.

Over the next six months, the three Boeing 737 currently operated by NAA will be replaced by JetSMART’s Airbus A320 aircraft. The three Boeing 737s will return to service for Norwegian in Europe.

“As Norwegian moves from growth to profitability, we are taking all the necessary actions required to ensure that Norwegian is well positioned going forward. Over the past few months we have made important changes to our route network to ensure long-term profitability. Attaining satisfactory profitability for a relatively small domestic operation has proved difficult to achieve, given the overall situation in the country. While most of NAA’s costs are denominated in dollars, revenue is obtained in pesos only, and the sharp depreciation of the peso against the dollar has created a significant gap between costs and revenue,” said acting CEO and CFO of Norwegian, Geir Karlsen.

Scheduled flights to be operated as plannedAll passengers who have purchased NAA flights will fly as planned.

NAA solely operates domestic flights within Argentina so the new agreement will not affect Norwegian’s long-haul flights between London and Buenos Aires. These are operated by the British subsidiary Norwegian Air UK.

Norwegian’s employees in NAA will, as per the agreement, be employed by JetSMART except for the company’s Argentina-based call center staff. They will continue as Norwegian employees providing customer services to JetSMART’s domestic Argentina operation and to our customers on our long-haul operation between Europe and South America.

“All our colleagues in Argentina deserve a word of recognition for their dedication and hard work. The past two years have proven eventful – not only have they built a fully-fledged airline from scratch, but they have also operated it to the highest professional standards. In doing so, they have earned for Norwegian the gratitude and respect of the Argentinian people,” said CEO of Norwegian Air Argentina, Ole Christian Melhus.

NAA received its Air Operator’s Certificate in January 2018 and started operations on 16th October that year.

The company currently operates a fleet of three Boeing 737-800s, with twenty daily flights across eight routes between Buenos Aires’ Aeroparque airport to Bariloche, Córdoba, Iguazú, Jujuy, Mendoza, Neuquén, Salta, and Ushuaia.

So far, NAA has carried 982,000 passengers.

South African Airways to enter into “business rescue”

South African Airways Boeing 737-844 WL ZS-SJS (msn 32632) JNB (Christian Volpati). Image: 948484.

South African Airways (SAA) is today (December 5) in a position to announce that the Board of Directors of SAA has adopted a resolution to place the company into business rescue at the earliest opportunity.

 

As previously announced, the SAA Board of Directors and the Executive Committee have been in consultations with the shareholder, the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE), in an effort to find a solution to our company’s well-documented financial challenges.

 

The considered and unanimous conclusion has been to place the company into business rescue in order to create a better return for the company’s creditors and shareholders, than would result from any other available solution.

 

Furthermore, the company is seeking to minimize the destruction of value across its subsidiaries and provide the best prospects for selected activities within the group to continue operating successfully.

 

SAA understands that this decision presents many challenges and uncertainties for its staff. The company will engage in targeted communication and support for all employee groups at this difficult time.

 

SAA will endeavour to operate a new provisional timetable and will publish details shortly. The company greatly appreciates the continued support of both its customers and partners in the travel industry around the world.

 

The Board of Directors will also announce the appointment of business practitioners in the near future, and provide media updates as and when appropriate.

 

It is important to point out that services operated by SAA’s subsidiary airline, Mango, will continue as usual and as scheduled.

 

ISSUED BY SAA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Top Copyright Photo: South African Airways Boeing 737-844 WL ZS-SJS (msn 32632) JNB (Christian Volpati). Image: 948484.

South African aircraft slide show: