Monthly Archives: August 2021

SWAPA lawsuit accuses Southwest of ignoring union bargaining duties during pandemic

From Reuters:

“The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) filed a complaint in federal court in Dallas on Monday claiming that Southwest should have collectively bargained with the union instead of giving itself “force majeure” rights when air travel plummeted during the pandemic.

The union claims Southwest implemented an “emergency time off” program, altered schedules, and scaled back prescription drug and retirement benefits without bargaining, in violation of federal labor law.

It asked the court for an injunction, forcing the airline to stick to the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, which lapsed on Aug. 31, 2020, until a new agreement is reached.”

Read the full article:

Historic Photo: Global Airlines – Condor SST Lockheed 1049G-82-153 Super G Constellation N9723C (msn 4680) BUR (Ted J. Gibson – Bruce Drum Collection). Image: 954854.

"Condor SST" - fake titles and SST nose for a movie

Copyright Photo: “Condor SST” – fake titles and SST nose for a movie: Global Airlines – Condor SST Lockheed 1049G-82-153 Super G Constellation N9723C (msn 4680) BUR (Ted J. Gibson – Bruce Drum Collection). Image: 954854. switches to Airbus, orders 36 A321neos has placed an initial order for 36 Airbus A321neos making the airline based in Leeds, United Kingdom, a new Airbus customer and a new Airbus A320neo Family operator. The order reflects’s ambitious fleet expansion and renewal plans. Engine selection will be made at a later date.

The aircraft will be configured for 232 seats with an Airspace cabin featuring innovative lighting, new seating products and 60 percent larger overhead baggage bins for added personal storage.

At the end of July 2021, the A320neo Family had won over 7,400 firm orders from over 120 customers worldwide.

WestJet introduces new flights to Scotland from Toronto

WestJet today announced new service between Toronto (Pearson) and Scotland with the addition of nonstop flights to Edinburgh and Glasgow beginning in Spring 2022. Adding to the airline’s international destination map, service between Edinburgh and Toronto is set to launch on June 2, 2022, while flights between Glasgow and Toronto will begin on May 20, 2022.

With the addition of Edinburgh to the airline’s international network, service between Toronto (YYZ) and Edinburgh (EDI) is set to operate three-times weekly effective June 2, 2022, while service between Toronto and Glasgow (GLA) will operate four-times weekly as of May 20, 2022.

By Spring 2022, WestJet will offer service to two Scottish destinations with service from Toronto to Edinburgh and Glasgow and the resumption of flights between Halifax and Glasgow.

Details of WestJet’s new services between Toronto and Scotland:

Route Frequency Start date
Toronto-Glasgow 4x weekly May 20, 2022
Toronto-Edinburgh* 3x weekly June 2, 2022

*New WestJet destination

Porter Airlines refreshes aircraft fleet with world’s lightest aircraft seat

Porter Airlines has completed the modernization of its De Havilland Dash 8-400 aircraft fleet with a series of updates ahead of its return to flying on Sept. 8.

All 29 aircraft now feature the new TiSeat E2 from Expliseat, the world’s lightest aircraft seat, along with a number of other cabin enhancements.

(CNW Group/Porter Airlines)

The seats use a combination of composite and titanium materials, making them approximately 50% lighter than the previous seats and reducing aircraft weight by approximately 1,000 lbs. This reduces approximate annual fuel consumption by 500,000 litres and corresponding CO2 emissions by 1,200 metric tons.

Other aircraft upgrades include new carpeting, lavatory enhancements, new sideboards and updated LED lighting on all aircraft. The majority of the fleet will also have received fresh exterior paint by October.

Porter uses a 78-seat configuration with a standard 30″ seat pitch on its Dash 8-400s. The slim design of the new seats enhances overall legroom.

United invites MileagePlus members to donate miles to help Afghanistan evacuee aid efforts

United today announced that its MileagePlus members can help in¬†the¬†Afghanistan¬†relief¬†effort by participating in the airline’s¬†mile-raising platform,¬†Miles¬†on a Mission,¬†and donate¬†to¬†three non-profit organizations that are using air travel to transport¬†and¬†support¬†Afghan citizens.¬†As part of this campaign, United will match all¬†donations up¬†to¬†five¬†million¬†miles.

For the last week, United has directly supported the Department of Defense and its mission to transport Afghan evacuees to the U.S.

Participating non-profits, include:

  • Miles4Migrants: A non-profit that is using miles to book air travel for Afghans who have left their home country, and need flight assistance to reach their final destination.
  • Americares: A health-focused relief and development organization mobilizing medical professionals to provide in-flight medical care on United relief flights to the U.S.
  • World Central Kitchen: A food-focused, global relief organization that will provide meals to Afghan refugees as they arrive at various locations across the world.

United’s mile-raising campaign is an extension of the airline’s ongoing collaboration with Americares, World Central Kitchen and Miles4Migrants to support the¬†Afghanistan¬†relief efforts. Medical professionals from Americares have joined United volunteers on several of the airline’s recent relief flights to bring Afghan refugees, American citizens and service members to the U.S. United has also supported the efforts of World Central Kitchen at Washington Dulles International Airport as they provide comforting meals for all Afghan evacuees arriving in the U.S.

In addition to helping transport Afghan refugees to the U.S., United is working with partner organizations to help support the thousands of refugees who will need to be resettled across the country once they have been fully processed by the U.S. Government. United is partnering with Miles4Migrants to provide critically needed air travel to fly Afghan citizens from several military bases in the U.S. to their final destinations.

Additionally, United is working closely with Walgreens to ensure the passengers on the airline’s relief flights have all the critical personal care items they need to comfortably travel. Walgreens has generously donated personal care and comfort items to United including diapers, disinfecting wipes, feminine hygiene products, baby bottles and more, which are being provisioned onboard United’s CRAF flights to the U.S.

So far, United has operated 13 international missions, carrying more than 3,908 U.S. citizens and Afghan evacuees safely to the U.S. More than 8,000 United employees have raised their hands to participate in these missions ‚Äď working as crew members, onboard translators, volunteer onboard medics, coordinating the complex operation and more. Many of these employees have personal or family ties to¬†Afghanistan¬†and/or are military veterans.

British Airways moves to the next phase of its lounge reopening plan

British Airways has made this announcement:

  • British Airways reopens its Concorde Room at New York‚Äôs JFK airport and Heathrow Terminal 5
  • To coincide the airline has partnered with a renowned mixologist, Mr Lyan, to create new bespoke cocktail menus available in its lounges, with two exclusive signature serves
  • Other enhancements include ‚Äėsurprise and delight‚Äô lounge access for selected Bronze BA executive card holders and the introduction of ‚ÄėForty Winks‚Äô sleep pods in the Concorde Rooms at JFK & Heathrow
  • The airline will continue to gradually reopen lounges across its network

British Airways has today announced that it will move to the next phase of its lounge reopening plan, as it is set to once again open the doors to its Concorde Room (specifically for those flying in First) at JFK and Heathrow on September 1, with a number of other enhancements in store for customers.

The reopening of the airline’s two exclusive lounges, both of which have remained closed since March 2020, follows swiftly in the footsteps of the airline’s flagship US lounge, that started to welcome back eligible customers from the start of August.

To coincide with both Concorde Rooms opening their doors once again, British Airways will be introducing a new exciting cocktail menu, created exclusively for the airline by Mr Lyan (Ryan Chetiyawardana) (below), a figurehead in the global cocktail scene. Driven by sustainability and his love for experimenting with new ingredients, he has carefully created an array of elegant cocktails for customers to enjoy depending on their individual tastes and preferences, ahead of their flight.

The new menu contains seven cocktails, with two unique British Airways serves designed in celebration of the airline‚Äôs heritage and iconic colleagues. The two special cocktails are named the Barton and Lawford after Lynne Barton, the first female British Airways pilot, and Bill Lawford, the first ever British Airways pilot in 1919.¬† The menu has been designed with a focus on the best of British seasonal ingredients that specifically embrace ‚Äėin-flight‚Äô and wind pollinated flavors. The Barton and Lawford will also be available in the Galleries Club lounges and First lounge.

Customers in the Concorde Room will continue to receive table service across the whole lounge, but visitors to other lounges will also benefit from using the airline‚Äôs new digital¬†‚ÄėYour Menu‚Äô¬†service which allows them to order food from the menu directly to their seat in the lounge with the use of a QR code close to them.

Elsewhere the airline will also be surprising a number of its Bronze Executive card holders on a daily basis in September and October with the taste of Silver Card benefits. British Airways will be inviting those who are close to the next threshold to use one of the airline’s lounge at Heathrow with a guest.

British Airways customers using the airline‚Äôs Concorde Room will also have access to the new ‚ÄėForty Winks‚Äô EnergyPods, to get some pre-flight shuteye if they wish to. Concorde Room customers will be able book an EnergyPod via dedicated hosts, request a time to be woken and choose a hot beverage to enjoy after their rest. Water and hot towels will be provided to add to the refreshing awakening experience.

Other enhancements to the customer experience also include the introduction of ‚ÄėBest of British menus‚Äô on board the airline‚Äôs flights, focusing on seasonal ingredients and British provenance, taking customers on a culinary journey across the British Isles. British Airways recently announced that the first edition of the carefully curated menus will include a traditional roast with all the trimmings.

Alaska Airlines new San Francisco Lounge celebrates local flavor and flair

From Alaska Airlines blog:

Photos by Ingrid Barrentine.

Sip and savor your way through the iconic flavors of San Francisco at our newest Alaska Lounge, opening Aug. 31 at San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

Our lounge, conveniently located in Terminal 2 just past security, offers more than 9,000 square feet of relaxing space where guests can enjoy classic bites like San Francisco sourdough bread and a pint of the city’s famed Anchor Brewing Crisp Pilsner while taking in art inspired by the Bay Area. The lounge is a complete renovation of the former American Airlines Admirals Club and will be open 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

SFO is the second-largest lounge in our network and has some fun features including:

  • Trained baristas who will serve Starbucks coffee.
  • A sourdough cart and candy bar with delicious bites.
  • California beers and wines for smooth sips.
  • Local art from artists in the Bay Area to brighten your day.
  • Room for kids to play, inspired by the San Francisco Giants.

‚ÄúWe‚Äôre thrilled to give our guests a place to work, relax, unwind and enjoy some of the best of what the Golden City has to offer when they travel through SFO on Alaska or a¬†oneworld partner,‚ÄĚ says Sangita Woerner, senior vice president of marketing and guest experience at Alaska Airlines.

The Sourdough Cart

Sourdough bread ‚Äď a part of San Francisco‚Äôs food scene since Gold Rush days ‚Äď will be the highlight of our vintage-style cart featuring local bakeries like Acme Bread Company. Acme is known for its San Francisco Ferry Building location and the Bay Area restaurants it supplies, including Berkeley‚Äôs celebrated Chez Panisse. Available at lunch and dinner meal times, the sourdough cart will also offer a variety of sweet and savory toppings, such as ricotta with figs and honey, and burrata with pesto.

The Candy Bar

Just past the Lounge reception desk, a nook beckons with jars of jewel-toned Jelly Belly jelly beans and sweet squares of Ghirardelli chocolate. Ghirardelli’s roots in San Francisco stretch back to 1849, and Jelly Belly candies have called Northern California home for more than three decades.

Guests can also seek their sweet fortunes in custom travel-themed cookies from Oakland’s Fortune Cookie Factory, a third-generation family business that has been baking fortune cookies in the Bay Area for more than 60 years.

California beers and wines

Unwind with a taste of one of Northern California’s finest brews; along with Anchor Brewing, we’ll be pouring Lagunitas IPA, Calicraft Brewing’s Tiki Time tropical wheat ale and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. We’ll also offer a rotating selection of California wines, and our bartenders will mix up a new craft cocktail each month.

Guests can also enjoy an all-day buffet featuring steel-cut oatmeal, fresh salads and hearty soups ‚Äď along with our famous¬†pancake printer.

Art with a purpose

In addition to art by local artists sourced by San Francisco‚Äôs Minted, our new Lounge will showcase a piece called ‚ÄúOffshore‚ÄĚ by American painter and printmaker¬†Anne Neely, who is inspired by Alaska‚Äôs commitment to reduce our¬†climate impact. ‚ÄúThe artist saw the efforts we have been making in sustainability, and she gifted the art to support those efforts and add to the conversation,‚ÄĚ says Jordan Womack, Alaska Lounge product manager.

Fans will have a ball

Young San Francisco Giants fans can cheer for the home team in the play area featuring baseball-themed games and art celebrating mascot Lou Seal.

The Alaska Lounge value

Alaska Lounge membership¬†costs nearly 60 percent less than other airline lounge programs. ‚ÄúHands down, Alaska offers the single best value of any airport lounge membership in the country,‚ÄĚ Woerner says. ‚ÄúOur eight lounges redefine the guest experience and offer a calm oasis for every type of traveler.‚ÄĚ

And like SFO, each lounge lets guests explore its region through its unique food and drinks. For example, here are some of the local beers featured:

Anchorage (ANC): Alaskan Amber, King Street Brewing

Los Angeles (LAX): Boomtown IPA

New York (JFK): Greenport IPA, Bronx Brewery Summer Ale

Portland (PDX): Deschutes Mirror Pond

Seattle (SEA): Airways Preflight Pilsner, Georgetown Bodhizafa IPA

Norwegian second quarter results: Positive effect of completed reconstruction process and steady uplift of demand

Norwegian reported its second quarter results and published the H1 2021 financial report. The results continued to be impacted by COVID-19 and travel restrictions in all markets. However, following the successful completion of the reconstruction process and the subsequent NOK 6 billion equity raise, the company is now well positioned for future growth and to respond to increased customer demand.

Geir Karlsen, CEO of Norwegian, said: ‚ÄúThe H1 financial report and Q2 results mark a clear improvement in both the financial situation, due to lower operating costs and the successful completion of the reconstruction process of the company, and the gradual ramp up of our operations in response to increased passenger demand.‚ÄĚ

Profit before tax (EBT) was NOK 1,590 million in the first half of 2021, compared with a loss of NOK 4,792 million in the same period in 2020. For the first half of 2021, production (ASK) was reduced by 94 percent compared to the same period last year. Total revenue in the first half of 2021 was NOK 591 million, compared with NOK 7,138 million in the same period last year, a decrease of 92 percent. Unit revenue increased by 22 percent following a yield increase of 93 percent and a decreased load factor by 28.8 percentage points. Average sector length decreased by 62 percent. At the end of first half of 2021, the total fleet comprised 51 aircraft. Up to 32 aircraft were operational during the first half of 2021 due to travel restrictions and lower demand.

In the second quarter of 2021, the company successfully exited the examinership and reconstruction process which improved equity by NOK 10.7 billion.

Norwegian has committed to be a price leader in the Nordic markets, offering affordable fares and a reliable service to more than 250 routes across its European network. The company value simplicity when travelling and thanks to the Norwegian Travel Assistant app and the award-winning loyalty programme ‚ÄėNorwegian Reward‚Äô, which counts over four million members, passengers can easily control every aspect of their journey. Onboard, Norwegian continues to offer a modern and comfortable flying experience with free WiFi available for all passengers.

‚ÄĚThe results continue to be heavily impacted by international travel restrictions. However, Norwegian is now in a much stronger financial position and is able to plan for the future with renewed confidence and focus. Forward bookings continue to increase in response to the relaxation of travel restrictions and the roll out of international vaccination programs. We expect to see this trend continue in the remaining months in 2021 and through 2022,‚ÄĚ Karlsen continued.

Cash and cash equivalents were NOK 7,475 million at the end of first half of 2021, an increase of NOK 4,808 million compared with the end of 2020. Norwegian now has a fully reconstructed balance sheet with close to zero net interest-bearing debt, a strong cash position and a rightsized business.