Monthly Archives: March 2021

Alaska Airlines officially joins oneworld alliance Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Alaska Airlines officially joins oneworld alliance 1

Oneworld alliance transforms Alaska into a truly global airlineAlaska will add seven new airline partners and enhance its six existing partnerships with oneworld memberAlaska Mileage Plan members can earn miles when they fly any of the other 13 member airlines

Marking a milestone in its 89-year history, Alaska Airlines today celebrated its first day as a member of oneworld. Alaska becomes the 14th full member of the global alliance, just eight months after receiving a formal invitation from oneworld in July 2020.
“Joining oneworld is joining a family of the best airlines in the world,” said Ben Minicucci, Alaska Airlines‘ CEO. “Being a part of the alliance allows us to provide fantastic global connectivity, a seamless travel experience and more valuable loyalty offerings for our guests. This alliance transforms Alaska into a truly global airline, connecting our strong West Coast network and destinations across North America with the worldwide reach of our oneworld partners.”

With safety protocols in place due to the pandemic, Alaska and oneworld hosted a virtual celebration and news conference today in Seattle, the airline’s hometown. Fellow airline members from around the world welcomed Alaska to the alliance with video greetings and provided versions of employees performing the Alaska Safety Dance, briefly renamed the Global Safety Dance.
“With Alaska Airlines now part of oneworld, we are excited to offer to customers even more destinations and flights, strengthened by Alaska’s leading network on the U.S. West Coast,” said oneworld CEO Rob Gurney, who joined Minicucci in Seattle for the event. “For oneworld top-tier customers, the joining of Alaska will provide even more opportunities for their status to be recognized as we look forward to a recovery in international travel.”
For Alaska and its guests, oneworld provides a global network of flights to as many as 1,000 destinations across more than 170 countries and territories. With its membership in the alliance, Alaska will add seven new airline partners and enhance its six existing partnerships with oneworld members.
“We’re delighted to welcome Alaska to the oneworld family. As the industry recovers from COVID, airline alliances are going to be more important than ever. Alaska will be an asset to the alliance, positioning oneworld to deliver even more value to our customers and member airlines,” said oneworld Governing Board Chairman and Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

Effective today, all Alaska Mileage Plan members can earn miles when they fly any of the other 13 member airlines. Mileage redemption for flights on airlines that Alaska did not have previous partnerships with will occur in the coming months.

Emirates restarts transatlantic link between Milan and New York JFK Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Emirates restarts transatlantic link between Milan and New York JFK 2

Emirates will resume direct service between Milan Malpensa and New York John F Kennedy International AirportMilan-New York JFK flight will be an extension to Emirates’ existing flights to MilanResumed service between Dubai-Milan-JFK will offer more choice to travelers

Emirates has announced it will resume its direct service between Milan Malpensa and New York John F Kennedy International Airport from June 1st, 2021, re-opening year round connectivity between Europe and the US.
The Milan-New York JFK flight will be an extension to Emirates‘ existing flights to Milan EK205, operated by the Boeing 777-300 ER, offering 8 seats in First Class, 42 lie-flat seats in Business and 304 ergonomically designed seats in Economy class. The airline’s service to and from New York JFK will increase to three times daily to support the newly resumed link, facilitating trade and tourism while providing customers worldwide with more connectivity, convenience and choice.

Emirates flight EK205 will depart Dubai (DXB) at 09:45hrs, arriving in Milan (MXP) at 14:20hrs before departing again at 16:10hrs and arriving into New York John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK) at 19:00hrs the same day. The return flight EK206 will depart JFK at 22:20 hrs, arriving in Milan at 12:15hrs the next day. EK206 will depart once again from Milan the next day at 14:05hrs bound for Dubai where it will arrive at 22:10 hrs (all times are local).
Emirates has recently reaffirmed its commitment to the US with the resumption of services to 11 gateways (including Orlando and Newark in June). The resumed service between Dubai-Milan-JFK will offer more choice to travelers heading from Europe, the Middle East, West Asia, and Africa via Dubai or Milan as well as give seamless access to other US cities beyond New York via the airline’s codeshare agreement with Jetblue.
The airline has safely and gradually restarted operations across its network. Since it safely resumed tourism activity in July, Dubai remains one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations, especially during the winter season. The city is open for international business and leisure visitors. From sun-soaked beaches and heritage activities to world class hospitality and leisure facilities, Dubai offers a variety of world-class experiences. It was one of the world’s first cities to obtain Safe Travels stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) – which endorses Dubai’s comprehensive and effective measures to ensure guest health and safety.

Lufthansa integrates health data app into digital travel chain Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Lufthansa integrates health data app into digital travel chain 3

Internationally recognized, digital test certificate CommonPass facilitates travel in times of pandemicIntegration now possible on all flights from Frankfurt to the USAPre-Check of digital test certificates now also available before all return flights from Palma de Mallorca to Germany up to 72 hours before departure

Lufthansa introduces new offer for travel to the U.S.: Passengers who have had a COVID-19 test done at Lufthansa partner Centogene before departure can now conveniently receive their test results in the internationally recognized app CommonPass. This applies to all Lufthansa flights from Frankfurt to the United States as well as the corresponding feeder flights via Frankfurt from Hamburg, Cologne, Berlin and Düsseldorf.
Lufthansa is thus realizes another step in the digitization of test certificates, making travel easier in times of pandemic. In addition to the new digital certificate, the airline recommends that its guests continue to carry their original printed certificates with them when traveling until further notice.

Customers can conveniently download the app from the Android or IOS App Store and then upload their test results to the app – after receiving an access code from Lufthansa by e-mail 72 hours before their departure. The app then automatically compares the test certificates with the relevant current entry restrictions of the destination country and creates a travel certificate on this basis, provided it is a valid test document for the relevant destination. The certificate shows only the really relevant information, such as the test result, the test method, validity period and an hour counter since the time of testing, and thus does not reveal any other personal health information. In addition, Lufthansa passengers who use the CommonPass app before their flights to the U.S. will receive free access to the Senator Lounge at Frankfurt Airport between 8 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. in the morning.
CommonPass can be used not only at boarding, but also takes a cross-industry approach. The added value for travelers will be further enhanced by the fact that in future other establishments can also be able to integrate the test results, such as concert halls or cinemas. Proof of vaccination can also be saved in the app in future.
Pre-check of digital test certificates

Best 2021 Frequent Flyer Programs named Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Best 2021 Frequent Flyer Programs named 4

Airfare savings will be increasingly important in the months aheadTravelers shouldn’t assume they can just pick up where they left offMajor airlines are offering more rewards value in an attempt to lure people back into their planes

With U.S. air travel expected to rebound in 2021, as coronavirus concerns decline and more areas open for business, airfare savings will be increasingly important in the months ahead.
To help travelers make the best decisions for their wallets, travel experts today released a report on 2021’s Best Frequent Flyer Programs, which ranks the 10 largest domestic airlines based on 21 key metrics, ranging from the value of a point/mile to blackout dates for rewards flights.

United MileagePlus is the best frequent flyer program of 2021, ending a five-year streak for Delta SkyMiles atop the rankings.The average airline rewards program gives frequent flyers 11% off their airline spending, and these programs are all free to join. Hawaiian Airlines offers the most rewards value per dollar spent, followed by Frontier Airlines.Five of the 10 largest airlines are offering more rewards in 2021 than in 2020, sweetening the pot by an average of 30%.The Citi Premier Card and the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard are 2021’s best airline credit cards.
Are the best frequent flyer programs different than before the pandemic?
The hierarchy of the best frequent flyer programs has changed a bit since the coronavirus pandemic began, so travelers shouldn’t assume they can just pick up where they left off. The biggest change is United MileagePlus dethroning Delta SkyMiles as the top program, ending Delta’s five-year run atop the rankings. Major airlines are also offering more rewards value in an attempt to lure people back into their planes. Five of the 10 largest carriers have increased their rewards value – by 30% on average.
Will people be penalized for not flying in 2020?
Frequent flyers will not be penalized for staying grounded due to COVID-19. Most of the major frequent flyer programs have adjusted their policies to give people extra time to meet elite-status requirements. For example, Delta SkyMiles, American Airlines AAdvantage, and United MileagePlus are all extending existing elite status through January 2022.

What are some of the best ways to save on airfare?
The best way to save on airfare is to join your favorite airlines’ frequent flyer programs for free, which will save you 11% on average, and then comparison shop for flights well ahead of your trip. Using the right credit card to pay for airfare can also be a smart way to save more. If you’re brand-loyal to a particular airline, you should use that airline’s credit card. Otherwise, a general travel rewards credit card will be a better way to earn free flights.

Corsair takes delivery of its first Airbus A330neo Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Corsair takes delivery of its first Airbus A330neo 5

Corsair will benefit from cost-effective and eco-efficient solutionsThe aircraft features 352 seats in a three-class layoutCorsair already operates an Airbus fleet of five A330 Family aircraft

Corsair has taken delivery of its first A330-900, on lease from Avolon, to join the French airline’s fleet.
By selecting a total of five Airbus A330neos, Corsair is executing its strategy to become an all-A330 operator. Thanks to the A330neo’s latest technologies, Corsair will benefit from cost-effective and eco-efficient solutions, while providing passengers with the best comfort standards in the quietest cabins in its class.  

The aircraft features 352 seats in a three-class layout, providing all the comfort and amenities of Airbus’ leading ‘Airspace’ cabin, including state-of-the-art passenger in-flight entertainment (IFE) and full WiFi connectivity throughout the cabin.
The A330neo is powered by Rolls-Royce’s latest-generation Trent 7000 engines. The Corsair aircraft will also be the first A330neo to feature an increased maximum take-off weight of 251 tonnes. This capability will allow the airline to fly long-haul destinations up to 13,400 km (7,200nm) or benefit from ten tons more payload on board.
The A330neo is a new-generation aircraft and successor to the hugely popular A330ceo widebody family. As well as the new engine option, the aircraft benefits from a host of innovations, including aerodynamic improvements and new wings and winglets that together contribute to 25% fuel-burn and CO2 reductions.
Corsair, which already operates an Airbus fleet of five A330 Family aircraft, became a member of the Airbus Skywise ‘Open Data Platform’ in 2020, thus benefiting from several Skywise-based services, such as  a real-time in-service fleet performance analysis capability (aircraft health monitoring), reliability analysis and predictive maintenance.

Lost Luggage Report: 853,000 bags mishandled by US airlines in 2020 Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Lost Luggage Report: 853,000 bags mishandled by US airlines in 2020 6

Allegiant Air takes best care of your luggage for a second year in a rowAmerican Airlines overtakes Envoy Air as the worst luggage handlerTop 3 US airlines in 2020 luggage handling are Allegiant, Southwest and Hawaiian

Every year, travel experts create a report showcasing mishandled luggage by the US airlines, and 2020, despite the COVID-19 situation, would be no different. Of course, there was a lot less travel in 2020 than 2019, and that shows in the lost luggage numbers. Compared to the previous year, air traffic has been reduced significantly, and we can see that reflected in the lower number of bags mishandled in 2020 as compared to 2019.
In 2019, a total of 2.8 million bags were mishandled by U.S. airlines. In 2020, only 853k bags were mishandled,  which is almost 2 million less than the previous year. The change started abruptly, when coronavirus pandemic measures went into effect. Specifically, there was almost 19 times less checked baggage in April than in January, reflective of the huge drop in passengers during this period.

In this research, we have collected data from 16 US airlines. The results show that in 2020, they boarded a little more than 200 million bags and handled a bit more than 850,000 incorrectly, which means that the chances of your bag being mishandled in 2020 were only around 0.4%.
For the second year in a row, Allegiant Air takes the lead as the best airline for the safety of your luggage, with only 0.15% of the bags enplaned being mishandled. Allegiant Air is followed by Southwest Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines, making them the top three airlines for safe luggage handling. Allegiant Air was founded in 1997 as WestJet Express and it is wholly owned by Allegiant Travel Company, a publicly traded company with 4,000 employees.
In 2019, Envoy Air took the last place for safe luggage handling. However, in 2020 the airline provider was overtaken by American Airlines and now comes in as second-worst. American Airlines and Enjoy Air mishandled, respectively, 0.597% and 0.587% of the baggage they were in charge of last year. American Airlines, together with its regional partners, operates an extensive international and domestic network with almost 6,800 flights per day to almost 350 destinations in more than 50 countries.

How to bypass COVID-19 arrival lines in Honolulu and Maui? Aviation Feature, Aviation News

How to bypass COVID-19 arrival lines in Honolulu and Maui? 7

Arriving airline passengers in Honolulu or Maui have a way to bypass COVID-19 testing checks and questioning when flying certain Airlines.What had been in place by United Airlines, Alaska Airlines is now also offered to Southwest Airlines passengers. This is to bypass lengthy lines in Honolulu and Maui after arrival receiving a pre-clear before leaving the US mainland. Southwest Airlines has a “maybe” in its stipulation and remains quiet about what this “maybe” could be
It appears United Airlines, Alaska and Southwest Airlines may have just become the most attractive airline to fly visitors to Hawaii, so they can get a headstart on their Hawaiian vacation in getting to Waikiki Beach, Wailea, or Kaanapali Beaches.
According to a press release received by Southwest Airlines, the airline now makes it a lot easier for its passengers to get to Hawaii’s resort hotels.

What Southwest Airlines isn’t telling in its release is this service was already available to passengers of competing airlines, such as United Airlines passengers.
Southwest Airlines is following other airlines and is giving its passengers the opportunity to present evidence of their compliance with the Hawaii Safe Travels program before they even leave the US mainland.
Customers who have uploaded an approved negative COVID-19 test result required travel information and completed a health questionnaire before departing the mainland may be eligible to bypass airport screening when arriving in Honolulu (Oahu) and Kahului(Maui).
The keyword is “maybe” is a stipulation mentioned by Southwest Airlines. eTurboNews tried to get verification on the “may be”, but SouthWest Airlines had no comments.

Hong Kong Airlines to trial Travel Pass in support of travel recovery Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Hong Kong Airlines to trial Travel Pass in support of travel recovery 8

Under this trial, Hong Kong Airlines will work closely with IATA to test its Lab App, a key module in Travel PassPassengers on a selected route will be invited to participateThe app also enables passengers to link their COVID-19 test results to a digital version of their passport created through the appHong Kong Airlines will trial a digital health passport as part of the carrier’s ongoing contributions towards the safe reopening of borders and international travel. Developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a globally recognized trade organization and advocate for airlines, Travel Pass will provide travelers with easy access to COVID-19 entry requirements for their destination and accredited testing centers at their point of departure. The app also enables passengers to link their COVID-19 test results to a digital version of their passport created through the app.
Under this trial, Hong Kong Airlines will work closely with IATA to test its Lab App, a key module in Travel Pass. Passengers on a selected route will be invited to participate by first downloading the app and creating a digital profile before selecting a participating medical service provider for testing. A secure, encrypted channel will then enable the registered laboratory to verify the passenger’s identity and directly send the outcome of the COVID-19 test, or proof of vaccination to the traveller’s mobile device. This will then be checked against IATA’s global registry of COVID-19 health requirements, a system used by the majority of airlines and airports globally, to ensure regulatory requirements are complied, before the passenger receives an “OK to Travel”.

Hong Kong Airlines Director of Service Delivery Mr Chris Birt applauds the customer-oriented digital initiative from IATA, which will help both travelers and airlines manage verifiable health credentials for future travel.
“Hong Kong Airlines has been working hard to make travel safe for our customers. We welcome the opportunity to contribute our inputs into the development of Travel Pass and will continue to support IATA’s efforts in leading the recovery of international travel. Given the constantly changing environment of the current pandemic and frequent modification of border restrictions by governments, Travel Pass is undoubtedly the best go-to app for passengers to access the most updated travel information, ensure they comply with the latest entry requirements and allowthem to manage their digital health documents in a safe and secure way,” he added.
“Restarting international aviation safely has been at the forefront of IATA’s Travel Pass initiative. We are proud to partner Hong Kong Airlines to trial the app and demonstrate that this technology can securely, conveniently and efficiently help manage passenger travel health credentials,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President Airport, Passenger, Cargo, Security.
Hong Kong has recently announced the easing of quarantine requirements for inbound travelers. The 14 days of mandatory quarantine at a designated hotel, followed by a week of selfmonitoring will apply to travelers arriving from low-risk places as well as those arriving from medium-risk places and have been vaccinated. The government is also in discussions with 16 countries on allowing people who have been vaccinated to travel.

Island resorts leading recovery in global leisure travel Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Island resorts leading recovery in global leisure travel 9

Tourists attracted by easy access, reasonable restrictions, low COVID cases, good vaccination rates and a natural environment with quiet beachesEmirates increases weekly schedule to Maldives & Seychelles over Easter holidays as Middle East demand soarsSri Lanka, Cyprus and Greek islands also preparing for summer influx of international arrivals

Island resorts around the world will lead the recovery in leisure travel, according to the latest industry research.
Many island economies are dependent on tourism and nowhere is this more apparent than in the Indian Ocean islands of the Maldives (28% of GDP) and the Seychelles (over 55% of GDP), which are both expecting a bumper Easter holiday period. With both islands less than four hours 30 minutes away, Emirates has added an extra four flights taking its weekly schedule to 28 flights.

Meanwhile, Air Seychelles is launching a weekly flight to Dubai to cope with the increased demand, which is in addition to two extra flights a week that Emirates is adding to its existing schedule of five weekly flights to Mahe.
“Both islands tick all of the proverbial boxes for tourists,” said Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market. “Even though demand maybe pent-up, visitors will still want direct flights, easy access, reasonable restrictions, low COVID cases, good vaccination rates, open and in some cases isolated resorts, with a natural environment including quiet beaches,” added Curtis.
The Maldives is expecting to have its 500,000 inhabitants vaccinated by August and with less than 100,000 citizens, the Seychelles is hoping for 100% vaccination within the coming months. 
And although both countries have a list of approved countries, the Seychelles and the Maldives only require visitors to provide a negative PCR test 72 or 96 hours respectively, prior to arrival, no proof of vaccination or quarantine is required.

Eastern Airlines invests in New Distribution Capabilities Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Eastern Airlines invests in New Distribution Capabilities 10

Eastern Airlines achieves IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) Level 4 CertificationCertification enables a dynamic and cost-effective distribution model for Eastern AirlinesEastern Airlines’ NDC Level 4 Certification was facilitated through its partnership with TPConnects

Eastern Airlines, historically known as one of the “Big Four” carriers in the United States, announced that it has achieved the New Distribution Capability (NDC) Level 4 Certification from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The certification enables a dynamic and cost-effective distribution model for Eastern Airlines as it further improves the airline’s communication capabilities with its travel partners using rich content. 
Eastern Airlines‘ NDC Level 4 Certification was facilitated through its partnership with TPConnects, an IATA NDC Dual Level 4 Certified IT Provider and Aggregator. Additionally, as its travel technology partner, TPConnects revamped Eastern Airlines’ recently launched Internet Booking Engine (IBE). Along with the IBE the airline’s Travel Agency booking portal is also powered by TPConnects NDC Offer and Order Management Solution. It enables the airlines to control various interfaces through a single Middleware and provide Offers to customers in real time.

Steve Harfst, President & CEO, Eastern Airlines, said, “IATA’s NDC Level 4 Certification is a pivotal investment that assists Eastern’s mission in providing underserved markets with direct, nonstop flights at the best value. We can now ensure that our passengers have direct access to relevant content across both direct and indirect distribution channels that are unique to their wants and expectations. The NDC standard allows Eastern to efficiently create, deliver, and control inventory that is both reliable and secure for the passenger. Our travel partners can now benefit from access to our full range of product offerings, merchandising, and servicing capabilities and the end-to-end order lifecycle from booking to completion. We look forward to our continued partnership with TPConnects, a proven technology expert in the field, as we transform the way we go to market and deliver enhanced customer experiences as part of the Eastern Promise.
Rajendran Vellapalath, CEO, TPConnects, said, “Our latest partnership with the American carrier Eastern Airlines is a milestone with many firsts, much to the credit of the collaboration and the expertise it brought to the table. It is indeed a testimony to our follow-the-sun approach where teams across time zones collaborated successfully to simultaneously deliver multiple NDC-enabled products for the airline. This is especially significant for TPConnects as we expanded our product portfolio with the delivery of the Internet Booking Engine within TPConnects Airline Solutions. Given the scope of the partnership, we are committed and well-positioned as the partner-of-choice to support Eastern Airlines with a gamut of industry-leading services and innovative travel technology solutions.”

IATA wants Governments to get rid of expensive PCR Covid tests Aviation Feature, Aviation News

IATA wants Governments to get rid of expensive PCR Covid tests 11

The OXERA-Edge Health report, commissioned by IATA, found that antigen tests are:Accurate: The best antigen tests provide broadly comparable results to PCR tests in accurately identifying infected travelers. The BinaxNOW antigen test, for example, misses just one positive case in 1000 travellers (based on an infection rate of 1% among travelers). And it has similarly comparable performance to PCR tests in levels of false negatives.Convenient: Processing times for antigen tests are 100 times faster than for PCR testingCost-efficient: Antigen tests are, on average, 60% cheaper than PCR tests.
Assessment of the effectiveness of rapid testing for SARS-CoV-2 resulted in the following statement:
“Restarting international aviation will energize the economic recovery from COVID-19. Along with vaccines, testing will play a critical role in giving governments the confidence to re-open their borders to travelers. For governments, the top priority is accuracy. But travelers will also need tests to be convenient and affordable. The OXERA-Edge Health report tells us that the best-in-class antigen tests can tick all these boxes. It’s important for governments to consider these findings as they make plans for a re-start,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.OptionsTesting requirements are currently fragmented, which is confusing to travelers. Moreover, many governments do not allow rapid testing. If the only options available for travelers are PCR tests, these come with significant costs disadvantages and inconvenience. And in some parts of the world, PCR testing capacity is limited, with first priority correctly given to clinical use.“Travelers need options. Including antigen testing among acceptable tests will certainly give strength to the recovery. And the EU’s specification of acceptable antigen tests offers a good baseline for wider international harmonization of acceptable standards. We now need to see governments implement these recommendations. The goal is to have a clear set of testing options that are medically effective, financially accessible, and practically available to all prospective travelers,” said de Juniac.

Emirates marks UAE vaccination milestone with special flight Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Emirates marks UAE vaccination milestone with special flight 12

A380 flight to carry fully vaccinated crew and passengers onboardFlyers to experience Emirates’ newest A380 cabins and latest on-ground technologies that enable a smooth and speedy journey through the airportProceeds from the flight to be donated to the Emirates Airline Foundation

Emirates is showcasing the UAE’s remarkable progress in its vaccination program with a special flight that will carry only fully vaccinated crew and passengers onboard.
On 10 April 2021, special flight EK2021 will depart Dubai International Airport at 12:00hrs local time, to cruise over various areas across the UAE. The flight will return to Dubai at 14:30hrs local time.

The one-off flight EK2021 is a unique event that not only celebrates the success of the UAE’s vaccination program to date, but also highlights Emirates‘ progress in vaccinating its staff and in particular its pilots and cabin crew. Aviation has been and continues to be an irreplaceable force for good, connecting people and cities, facilitating important trade flows and passenger journeys that bring economic prosperity and joy to millions of people.
Passengers will have the opportunity to experience Emirates’ newest A380 aircraft which features the airline’s brand-new Premium Economy seats, and refreshed cabin interiors across all cabin classes.
Passengers traveling on EK2021 will be able to experience all of Dubai International Airport’s services and amenities on the ground before boarding.
In addition, customers can also try out first-hand, all the latest measures to help travelers enjoy a safe and smooth journey, including the new biometric and contactless technology which Emirates has recently implemented at the check-in areas and boarding gates at Dubai airport.

This month, Airbus has launched a travel companion app called “Tripset”. The application aggregates and provides flight and travel information to ease and restore passenger’s trust in their end-to-end journey when traveling by air during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tripset allows for passengers to be informed with the latest and most relevant travel conditions, restrictions and health requirements in place, without having to consult a variety of sources.