Category Archives: Uncategorized

North Star Air adds its first ATR 72-500

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North Star Air (Thunder Bay, ON) has become a new ATR 72 operator. The carrier has added ex-Vietnam Airlines ATR 72-212A (ATR 72-500) C-FNSJ (msn 914, ex VN-B236).

Previously the carrier introduced the ATR 42 on July 14, 2017:

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North Star Air operates a diverse fleets, besides the ATRs, including the Douglas DC-3 and DC-3 Turbo (below), Cessna 208B Grand Caravan (below) and Pilatus PC-12.

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Video:

Route Map:

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airBaltic Boeing 737-500 skids off the taxiway at Moscow, no damage, no injuries

airBaltic issued this statement on social media:

airBaltic confirms that on December 6, 2017, due to heavy winds and slippery taxiway its flight BT428 with a Boeing 737-500 from Riga to Moscow, slid off the taxiway during taxiing after the landing in Moscow Sheremetyevo International Airport.

Video:

Lufthansa is certified as a 5-Star Airline

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From Skytrax:

Lufthansa has been Certified with the highest 5-Star Airline rating by SKYTRAX, the international air transport rating organisation. SKYTRAX has bestowed this distinguished honor to only nine other airlines in the world, and Lufthansa is the only European airline to earn this accolade.

The Certified 5-Star Airline Rating recognises the highest overall quality performance and excellence in ground and inflight product provided by Lufthansa to it’s customers.

A critical factor for an airline to achieve 5-Star Certification is consistency of standards, and this is where Lufthansa ranks highly across their network and different cabin types, with a core feature of the Lufthansa 5-star experience being consistent staff service quality across frontline customer touchpoints.

“The award is a well-deserved recognition of our major efforts to make Lufthansa one of the world’s leading premium airlines again,” says Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. “We have caught up because we made huge investments in our fleet, updated all our cabins, introduced digital services, opened new lounges and improved service on board and on the ground. The combination of premium offerings with the quality and professionalism of our employees has earned Lufthansa the status of a five-star airline,” Spohr adds. “Everyone at Lufthansa can be proud of this certification, especially our colleagues in the cabins and cockpits and on the ground who fulfil our premium promise every day in their interactions with our passengers. I am convinced that the most important factor in getting the fifth star was that we have the best employees.”

Edward Plaisted, CEO of Skytrax, said: “The achievement of 5-Star Airline status by Lufthansa is not only a great accolade as the first European airline to reach this target, but is a clear recognition of the improvements they have made in recent years, particularly in all areas of the front line service delivery.”


New Business class to be introduced by Lufthansa

The onboard service standards across all cabin types are meeting a high standard, and Lufthansa cabin staff service quality has developed to a point where it is very competitive within Europe, and performs well against many leading Asian and Middle Eastern airlines.

The seat product consistency is good across the Lufthansa fleet, with economy class seat comfort on widebody and narrowbody aircraft being competitive within the industry, whilst the premium economy seat performs close to Best Practice across much of the rating criteria.


New Business class to be introduced by Lufthansa

In long haul Business Class, Lufthansa currently has one of the most consistent fleetwide, long haul flatbed seats. A key factor behind Lufthansa gaining 5-Star Airline Certification is the recently announced new business class cabin and seat that will be delivered when the airline receives their first Boeing 777X aircraft. Short haul business class meets the European standard, based on economy style seating with middle seats left vacant. Lufthansa First Class seat product meets a high standard of personal comfort to customers, and the current product is well rated.


Lufthansa Signature Service

Lufthansa delivers a consistent standard of inflight entertainment across the fleet for programme choices, the quality and relevance of film, TV or music options, together with items such as headsets, reading materials, inflight WiFi and phone service.

On the ground, Lufthansa has continued the roll-out of its new Business and Senator lounge products, which are available with increasing consistency across the network. Customers can already see the refreshed interior décor and furniture in most lounges, and in-lounge dining quality and choices have improved. The “Welcome lounge” facilities in Frankfurt provide one of the best premium arrival experiences in the industry, and the First Class terminal in Frankfurt continues to delight those customers lucky enough to travel at the front end of the aircraft.


Lufthansa staff

Photos: Lufthansa.

Air Canada inaugurates the only nonstop flights from Canada to Melbourne, Australia

Air Canada Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner C-FRSR (msn 37178) SCL (Alvaro Romero). Image: 938302.

Air Canada’s inaugural flight, AC037 Boeing 787 Dreamliner service, departed Vancouver December 1, 2017 in the late evening, and arrived Sunday morning, December 3, 2017 to a water cannon welcome salute at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport. This arrival marks the only nonstop service linking Canada and Melbourne, Air Canada’s third destination served in Australia. Seasonal service now operates four times weekly between Vancouver and Melbourne until February 4, 2018 and year-round service begins June 1, 2018.

Air Canada’s state-of-the-art Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft features 30 International Business Class lie-flat seat suites, 21 Premium Economy and 247 Economy Class seats with upgraded, and personalized in-flight entertainment at every seat throughout the aircraft.

Flight

From

To

Days of Operation

Depart

Arrive

AC037

Vancouver (YVR)

Melbourne (MEL)

Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat

10:45 p.m.

09:45 a.m. +2 days

AC038

Melbourne (MEL)

Vancouver (YVR)

Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun

11:40 a.m.

07:30 a.m.

Copyright Photo: Air Canada Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner C-FRSR (msn 37178) SCL (Alvaro Romero). Image: 938302.

 

Alaska Airlines to put limits on “smart bags” starting on January 15, 2018

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Alaska Airlines has made this announcement on their Alaska Airlines blog:

Alaska Airlines will put limits on “smart bags” starting early next year.

As of January 15, 2018 any bag powered with a lithium battery or lithium battery power bank will need to follow these requirements:

  • Smart bags will be allowed as carry-on baggage, if they meet carry-on size limits and if it’s possible to remove the battery from the bag if needed.
  • If the bag will fly as a checked bag, the battery must be removed and the battery must be carried in the cabin.
  • If it’s not possible to remove the battery from the bag, the bag won’t be allowed on the plane.

This policy follows the FAA’s general rules (PDF) regarding lithium ion batteries and also the growing concern by our industry around these batteries in our cargo areas.

“At Alaska, we are unwavering in our commitment to guest safety,” said Mike Tobin, Alaska’s manager of dangerous goods. “We love innovation and understand why smart bags are so appealing for travel. While these restrictions may pose a challenge to some of our guests, there have been no incidents to date with smart bags on airplanes and we want to keep it that way. As this technology continues to evolve, we will work with the industry and our partner airlines to evaluate all safety policies and provide clear guidance regarding the safe use of smart bags.”

Likely to be a popular gift this holiday season, these bags offer a variety of features, including GPS tracking, electronic locks and the ability to charge other electronic devices.

While rich with features, these bags are powered by lithium batteries creating concern for guest safety across the airline industry.

This week, the International Civil Aviation Organization determined that “baggage equipped with a lithium battery” should have restrictions limiting their allowance in an airplane cargo hold. This guidance has been issued due to the inconsistent nature of lithium batteries and the potential threat they pose when placed in a cargo hold.

Photo: Alaska Airlines.

SKYCOP urges Monarch Airlines to cover passenger compensations with slot deal money

Monarch Airlines Airbus A321-231 G-OJEG (msn 1015) LGW (SPA). Image: 929961.

SKYCOP issued this statement concerning Monarch Airlines and IAG:

After the biggest UK airline collapse in years just a month ago, the administrator of the bankrupt Monarch Airlines has struck a deal with IAG over slots at Gatwick Airport, valued by experts at over €68 million. The sale has sparked an outrage among the passengers left stranded or without holidays by the airline collapse, majority of who are yet to receive any flight compensation, which according to SKYCOP should total to a whopping €291 million.

After a favorable decision by the court, the administrator of the bust Monarch Airlines, KPMG, has signed a sales deal with International Airlines Group (IAG), owner of the UKs flag carrier British Airways over airport slots at Gatwick International Airport. According to experts, this deal fulfils the long-standing British Airways’ goal of expanding its presence at one of the major European aviation hubs, however, KPMG has not yet reported of where the estimated €68 million will go as far as handling the debts of Monarch Airlines.

According to Giedrius Kolesnikovas, a partner of a law firm Motieka & Audzevicius, the best practice of bankruptcy administration shows that first and foremost, the administrator should settle the debts with airline employees and the deceived passengers, only then switching to the creditors, suppliers, etc.

“The recently signed contract goes to show that the administrator can and is doing everything in its power to gather some capital. The question is whether it will be used wisely – the recent report on the case showed over €533 million debt to unsecured creditors. However, employees and stranded passengers are yet to be compensated for their moral and physical struggle and have been waiting patiently, even though the size of debt totals to millions of euros. Thus if the money won’t go their way, it might spark a large lawsuit, giving even more of a headache to the administrator,” explains G. Kolesnikovas.

Since Monarch Airlines has gone bankrupt, the flight disruption and the compensation process is handled not in accordance to the renowned EU 261 law. If it was, it would mean each and every of the approx. 860 thousand passengers would be entitled to travel compensation reaching up to €600. Nevertheless, flight compensation company SKYCOP has already contacted the administrator as well as UK’s CAA in order to ensure that the IAG deal money goes straight to compensating the passengers.

“According to the administrator, almost 2000 of Monarch Airlines’ redundant employees are due to receive 100% of the money they are owed, which is great. However, hundreds of thousands of passengers have been seemingly pushed aside after they were rescued from abroad by the UK authorities,” says Marius Stonkus, the CEO of flight claim company SKYCOP. “According to our estimates, if the EU law would apply in this case, the passengers would be receiving over €291 million. This would be at least something positive to try and make up for all of the stress, panic and moral struggle these poor travelers have been through.”

The CEO of SKYCOP has also shared that the company is continuously monitoring the situation and is considering the possibility of filling a group lawsuit representing thousands of passengers still without any compensation for flight cancellations.

Copyright Photo: Monarch Airlines Airbus A321-231 G-OJEG (msn 1015) LGW (SPA). Image: 929961.

Myway Airlines adds its second Boeing 737-800, continues the certification process

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Myway Airlines (Tbilisi) is a new airline in the Republic of Georgia. The new airline took delivery of its first Boeing 737-800 (4L-MWA) on September 23, 2017. It added its second Boeing 737-800 (4L-BQJ above and below) on November 9, 2017.

The upstart is now going through the certification process and expects to fly to Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

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Images: Myway Airlines.