Monthly Archives: November 2019

SAS takes delivery of its first Airbus A350-900

Scandinavian Airlines-SAS Airbus A350-941 F-WZHJ (SE-RSA) (msn 358) TLS (Eurospot). Image: 948367.

Scandinavian Airlines-SAS has taken delivery of its first Airbus A350-900, becoming the newest operator of this latest generation, highly efficient wide body aircraft.

The airline has a total of eight A350-900 aircraft on order and operates an Airbus fleet of 68 aircraft (51 A320 Family, 17 A330 and A340 Family aircraft).

In the coming years, as part of an extensive fleet modernization, SAS will take delivery of 54 additional A320neo Family aircraft and the remaining seven A350-900s through direct purchase and lease contracts.

SAS’s A350-900 features a modern and highly comfortable three-class cabin layout with 300 seats: 40 “SAS Business” class, 32 “SAS Plus” class and 228 “SAS Go” class seats. On 28 January 2020, the airline will start to operate the new aircraft on its Copenhagen-Chicago long-haul route, followed by other international destinations including North America and Asia.

At the end of October 2019, the A350 XWB Family had received 913 firm orders from 50 customers worldwide, making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever.

Top Copyright Photo: Scandinavian Airlines-SAS Airbus A350-941 F-WZHJ (SE-RSA) (msn 358) TLS (Eurospot). Image: 948367.

SAS aircraft slide show:

Qatar Airways launches new football legends on-board safety video

Qatar Airways has turned the pre-match team-talk into an entertaining safety video that will be shown on board flights before the end of the year. Featuring football legends past and present, the humorous video delivers important safety information with the help of personalities from the airline’s ongoing partnerships with AS Roma, FC Bayern Munich and FIFA.

The film stars Brazilian footballer Neymar Jr, FC Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski and AS Roma legend Cafu, who are led through the in-flight safety routine by a comedic double act of coach and kitman played by British television regular Jason Thorpe and comedy actor Ross Hatt.

This is a locker room like never before in which Lewandowski demonstrates how to use a life jacket, where Cafu helps a younger version of himself attach an oxygen mask and where Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar Jr makes a special appearance to guide Qsuite passengers.

Directed by Peter Lydon, who co-wrote the script with award-winning creative agency 180 Kingsday, the six-minute film is designed for Qatar Airways’ global, family audience. Mirroring the airline’s latest campaigns, the film seeks to add a playful spin to a vital part of the in-flight experience.

Qatar Airways Senior Vice President Marketing and Corporate Communications, Ms Salam Al Shawa, said: “At Qatar Airways, safety is priority one and we want to ensure everyone, including our most frequent travellers, watches our safety briefings. The wonderfully creative concept from 180 Kingsday will capture our passengers’ attention whilst providing a fun, light-hearted video to get the in-flight entertainment underway. The level of quality and attention to detail in this video is paramount and I am sure the content will both inform and amuse our global passengers of all ages.”

Kalle Hellzen, Executive Creative Director at 180 Kingsday, said: “Humour has been shown to increase memory, so there seems to be no better way to communicate such important information than by making it fun. As always, the world of Qatar Airways enchants.”

Qatar Airways holds an extensive global sports portfolio, sponsoring top-level sporting events and some of the biggest football clubs around the world including AS Roma, Boca Juniors and FC Bayern Munich. As official FIFA partner, Qatar Airways sponsors the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019™ and the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, reflecting the values of sport as a means of bringing people together, something at the core of the airline’s brand message – Going Places Together.

Qatar Airways was recently named ‘Airline of the Year’ for the fifth time by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. It was also named ‘World’s Best Business Class’, ‘Best Business Class Seat’, and ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’.

Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of more than 250 aircraft via its hub, Hamad International Airport (HIA), to more than 160 destinations worldwide. The world’s fastest-growing airline has added several exciting new destinations to its growing network this year, including Rabat, Morocco; Izmir, Turkey; Malta; Davao, Philippines; Lisbon, Portugal; Mogadishu, Somalia; and Langkawi, Malaysia. The airline will add Gaborone, Botswana in 2019 to its extensive route network along with Luanda, Angola; and Osaka, Japan, in 2020.

airBaltic revises its livery with “greener tails”

airBaltic on November 28, 2019, at the Airbus aircraft program’s headquarters in Mirabel, Canada celebrated its 21st Airbus A220-300jet, registered as YL-AAU in a revised livery. The 21st aircraft for airBaltic marks the next phase in the airBaltic fleet modernization plan.

From now on, all the company’s new aircraft will have greener tails, thus emphasizing airBaltic’s commitment to becoming a more sustainable airline operating one of the greenest fleets and launching other sustainability initiatives in the near future.

This will be the first delivery of the additional order that was signed on May 28, 2018, for purchase of 30 Airbus A220-300 aircraft with options for an additional 30 aircraft of the same type. Till the end of 2019, airBaltic plans to have a total of 22 Airbus A220-300 aircraft in its fleet, but by the end of 2020 – 26.

Martin Gauss, Chief Executive Officer of airBaltic: “We are truly proud to be the launch operator of the Airbus A220-300aircraft which, being an integral part of airBaltic’s fleet over the last three years has demonstrated an outstanding performance. To introduce this aircraft was a forward-thinking decision that has most certainly paid off as A220 family aircraft are not only considerably more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly, but also more convenient for both passengers and staff. The vision of an all-Airbus A220 fleet by 2023 is the backbone of airBaltic’s Destination 2025 business plan and the celebration of our 21st A220-300 aircraft from the newest order marks another step towards the set aim.”

Three years ago, on November 29, 2016, the world’s first Airbus A220-300 (at that time Bombardier CS300) aircraft registered as YL-CSA departed from Montreal-Mirabel and landed in Riga on November 30, 2016.  airBaltic was the first airline in the world that launched commercial operations with Airbus A220-300 on December 14, 2016, on its route linking Riga with Amsterdam. The very first world’s Airbus A220-300 aircraft registered as YL-CSA also has just received the new, improved livery and on November 30 will land in Riga.

Thus far, airBaltic has carried over 4,000,000 passengers on the Airbus A220-300 aircraft with every second airBaltic passenger flying on the aircraft. Airbus A220-300’s have completed more than 40,000 flights and flown over 100 000 block hours.

The Airbus A220-300 has performed beyond the company’s expectations, delivering better overall performance, fuel efficiency and convenience for both passengers and staff. This aircraft offers an excellent flying experience with such benefits for passengers as wider seats, larger windows, more hand luggage space in the cabin, improved lavatories and much more.

The new aircraft is also considerably quieter – with a four times smaller noise footprint. Moreover, at the moment it is the greenest commercial aircraft in the world, as it is the first aircraft to have a transparent declaration of the life-cycle environmental impact, helping to reduce CO2 and NOX emissions by 20% and 50% respectively.

As informed previously, airBaltic aims to minimize complexity and benefit from the additional efficiency of the Airbus A220-300 aircraft, which will be the only jet type operated by airBaltic by the end of 2022.

all photos by the airline.

Insight from Alitalia’s Fabio Maria Lazzerini on the future of the airline

By Marco Finelli.
Alitalia with an horizon to 2020, beyond short-term corporate futures, sees it with a positioning that increases the importance of trying to upgrade or open flights that generate money from corporate customers.
Fabio Maria Lazzerini – Chief Business Officer – has made us understand this by giving the trade press some insight about the future.
In 2020 the airline should continue to grow. In November it stands at more than 5% growth. I December it is valued at more than 7%. The closure of Linate has lost traffic a little bit.
Milan Linate, however, remains the second focal point for the carrier, where shuttles will gradually expand.
“After Rome Fiumicino, London and the recently added Paris, I see in Catania a possibility of shuttles with high business characterization.
Rome will see adjustments on market trends. We are evaluating two or three other European cities, such as Brussels, Madrid and Düsseldorf, where to introduce the Shuttle product, because there is corporate traffic mainly and one that flies by in the morning and back in the evening ”.
Flights to Germany will also increase in two-day flights on Stuttgart and Cologne from next summer. In addition to Hamburg, which returns on a daily basis.
In the Milan area there is good success in Bergamo, because it has point to point and international and intercontinental flows of passengers in both directions.
The same thing is for Milan Malpensa. “There will be no further expansion on Malpensa, because the spirit is in line with the decision of the past to make hub in Fiumicino and therefore we will always try to bring more and more passengers to Rome” said Lazzerini.
A new pricing concept on national routes is being tested on four destinations from Rome: Genoa, Turin, Venice and Reggio Calabria. On these four lines the three types of rates allow us to be also in the various tariff classes and therefore with or without luggage, depending on the period, it is possible to find something convenient subject to availability. The experiment, which is giving success, will soon pass on other routes, above all Sicily. And then to follow towards all the Italian domestic. We are seeing that there is feedback and the average tariff is also rising. There is therefore satisfaction and profitability increases.
The recent agreement with Azul is the continuation of what it has been doing for some time, that is, to have agreements of this type that increase Alitalia penetration in many markets that cannot be served directly. But above all have also important profitability from these opportunities, whether they are new or already existing with re-debates that allow to increase the profit index for every single segment flown.
“Alliances bring benefits, but not always, flying together can often be a boomerang for us, because the partner can collect our customers and make them their own.” Lazzerini says “Azul therefore makes sense, but we are already still looking at central and southern America where we have unique point to point flights. Brazil is the third largest market for Alitalia after Italy and the USA. Brazil is going a head to head with Japan.
The very close partnership with All Nippon (ANA) is growing and today with Kenya Airways it will present the route Rome – Nairobi, where last week we signed a very important and even more profitable agreement in a substantial part of Africa. “So not so many alliances, even if we have many, where we need to increase our earnings, protecting our traffic. In the past, alliances were established that then paved the way for the landing and were more a gain for others than for Alitalia ”- says Lazzerini.
Lazzerini is very attentive to the profitability factor. Alitalia being a carrier positioned in the lower part of medium-sized airlines, the way to grow is to take those customers who pay. Few but good is the concept. Therefore the medium-high corporate and leisure individual segment.
Politics changed for example on Japan, which lost money until two years ago with full planes in both Magnifica and economic. Now it also carries the groups, but at higher prices, favoring the corporate trying to sell in the last 4 weeks and not filling up first. In addition to having expanded the inventory strategy of business travelers and looking for it as a traveler.
“The strategy has been to dry the leisure traffic that does not pay for the benefit of the individual corporate and leisure segment” and stresses Lazzerini. “Unlike the Indian Ocean towards Mauritius and the Maldives, it has a passenger who pays and stays in facilities with which we are intended as Beachcomber in Mauritius ”.
In addition to the fact that Alitalia does actions on foreign markets, that using Rome in transit allows for well-paying passengers arriving from Europe. Lazzerini continues – “success is economic due to the excellent performance of profitability, thanks to the good times and the direct service, immediately producing volumes made us gain important market shares immediately.

Some competitors started with very aggressive intentions, they are drying their weekly frequencies “.
Mauritius and the Maldives work also thanks to the historic agreement signed by Alitalia with ASTOI – Italian tour operating association -, where in the past there was a few problems and not wanting to raise the walls it turned into a collaboration that led the tour operators on flights with a leisure traffic very good individual as a spending band. Growth was 20-25% year on year. Alitalia has taken European legacy carriers off traffic and little, if any, to Italian leisure charter carriers.
Alitalia will not engage in the Caribbean market except for MSC charters, due to the wider seasonality and markets heavily covered by charter carriers. For regular fleet operators they do not marry as for Mauritius and Maldives limited from November to April, the Caribbean also asks for part of the summer where planes fly to the USA.
Little or no intention to serve ethnic traffic, “it is a market that fills empty chairs in the low season, but does not bring so many economic benefits” says Lazzerini, on the contrary on cargo traffic “two years ago we made an important decision and that is to say to bring the holds back home. Before it was run by Etihad, we no longer had the management and sales structure, IT systems and customer inventory. Today, after two years of hard work, we have increased turnover by over 30%, we have absorbed human resources in redundancy funds, who now work in the freight service. Even the long-haul flight holds are filling the empty spaces left in the past. As well there is’ feeder from Europe to Rome or vice versa. Or from Europe to domestic Italy via Linate. Pharma certification for pharmaceutical products leads us to carry drugs that make many times more money than ordinary goods “. In the past, all this traffic traveled with foreign competitors.
All Airbus A321s will be released from the fleet for a total of 9 aircraft. In addition to the three (two A330s, presumably the former Etihad and a Boeing 777-300ER). 
Therefore the fleet will be based on the Boeing 777-200ERs and Airbus A330-200s, on the short haul the Airbus A320s, A319s and Embraers).
“Alitala coming from three failures cannot acquire planes,” says Lazzerini and as announced a few days ago will try to increase the flown to double figure for long-haul and almost short-haul aircraft. The output of the 200-seat A321s is for airframe life limit.

Lufthansa to add two new destinations in Greece for summer 2020

Lufthansa has made this announcement:

  • Zakynthos new from Munich
  • Rhodes now from Frankfurt
Sun, beach and sea: Greece remains a popular trend destination for many holidaymakers. And from summer 2020, Lufthansa will be offering two further ways for spending the holidays in the eastern Mediterranean: With Zakynthos from Munich and Rhodes from Frankfurt, two attractive new islands will be added. In summer 2020, Lufthansa will thus be offering all sun-hungry passengers up to 14 weekly connections to five Greek islands in addition to flights to Athens and Thessaloniki. More than ever before.
New from Munich in detail
Zakynthos is the name of the new destination from Munich, which will be on the flight schedule for the first time from April 4, 2020. Lufthansa flies to the island in western Greece every Saturday with an Airbus A321. LH1762 takes off from Munich at 14:45 h and lands in Zakynthos at 18:00 h. The return flight LH1763 brings the holidaymakers back to Munich at 19:00 h. The landing at 20:25 h is ideal for connecting flights at home and abroad. A further weekly connection to Zakynthos will be added from June 3, 2020. An Airbus A320 will then take off every Wednesday at 15:45 h for Greece.
New from Frankfurt in detail
Also from 4 April, Lufthansa will be flying once a week from Frankfurt to Rhodes in south-eastern Greece. Every Saturday, a Lufthansa Airbus A320 with the flight number LH1258 takes off for Greece at 1 p.m. each day. The landing in Rhodes is scheduled for 17:10 h. LH1259 return flight will take off at 18:10 h, the landing in Frankfurt is planned for 20:30 h. From June 6 to September 15, 2020, another weekly service will be added. Rhodes will then be available every Tuesday. Departure is at 12:10 h.

British Airways expands “First Contact Resolution” program worldwide

British Airways has made this announcement:

  • British Airways is extending its First Contact Resolution program to colleagues around the world following a successful roll out at Heathrow
  • First Contact Resolution enables staff to assist and resolve any customer issue at the airport rather than refer travelers to Customer Relations teams, saving customers’ time and worry
  • The initiative demonstrates the airline’s continued commitment to provide unique British Airways’ customer service

Following the successful launch of British Airways’ First Contact Resolution Program at Heathrow last year, the airline is now rolling the program out across every airport it operates to.  First Contact Resolution empowers airport hosts to use their expertise, initiative and judgment to solve customer queries on the spot, without waiting for management approval. This allows them to provide instant solutions and peace of mind for customers and send fewer issues to Customer Relations colleagues.

All staff worldwide are now being further empowered to use their skills and initiative to do the right thing for any customer at that moment. The worldwide roll out is a direct result of the successful start of the programme at Heathrow – earlier this year British Airways won the title of Best Airline Staff in Europe at the prestigious Skytrax World Airline Awards.

The roll out of First Contact Resolution is a part of British Airways’ £6.5 billion investment in customer experience over five years. This includes taking delivery of 73 new aircraft including A350 and 787s, refurbishing long-haul aircraft with new cabins, introducing new, redesigned lounges, new dining across all cabins, new bedding and amenity kits for First, Club World and World Traveller Plus, best quality onboard WiFi for every aircraft and access to power at every aircraft seat. The airline recently introduced its Club Suite, a new business class seat with direct-aisle access on its A350 aircraft, which is being rolled out across the British Airways’ long-haul fleet.

Photo: British Airways.

British Airways aircraft photo gallery (Boeing):