Author Archives: Harry Johnson

New Calgary to London Heathrow flights on WestJet now Aviation Feature, Aviation News

WestJet today announced route details for its new nonstop service to London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR), from the airline’s largest, global hub, Calgary International Airport.
The new route provides access to London’s largest airport with close and rapid access to important destinations in London. Flights between the two global hubs are set to operate four-times weekly, beginning March 26, 2022.
Details of WestJet’s service between Calgary and Heathrow:
RouteFrequencyStart DateCalgary – HeathrowTuesday, Wednesday, Friday, SaturdayMarch 26 – October 28, 2022Heathrow – CalgaryWednesday, Thursday, Saturday, SundayMarch 27 – October 29, 2022
“As the airline with the most flights from Alberta, this is an important recovery milestone as we forge new connections between Canada and one of the world’s most sought-after global hubs,” said John Weatherill, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “We continue to strengthen our network, offering more options for business and leisure travelers and these investments will expedite our industry’s recovery while ensuring Western Canada builds back from the pandemic more connected than ever before.”
As confidence in business and leisure travel continues to rise, WestJet‘s newest route will operate this spring on the airline’s 787 Dreamliner. WestJet’s 787 service features the airline’s Business Cabin including lie-flat pods, dining on demand and elevated Premium and Economy Cabin options.
“We are committed to the expansion of our global hub in Calgary and supporting the recovery of many sectors who rely on travel and tourism,” continued Weatherill. “As the airline with the most non-stop European destinations from YYC, we are looking forward to guests benefitting from more options and increased connectivity for travel between Canada and the UK.”
With the addition of Heathrow to WestJet‘s network this spring, WestJet will connect Calgary to 77 non-stop destinations throughout the year.  WestJet will also continue to offer non-stop flights between Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax to London, Gatwick.

New Omicron travel bans are threatening air travel recovery Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that the recovery in air travel continued in October 2021 with broad-based improvements in both domestic and international markets.
It also warned that the imposition of travel bans by governments, against the advice of the World Health Organization (WHO), could threaten the sector’s recovery. 
Because comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the extraordinary impact of COVID-19, unless otherwise noted all comparisons are to October 2019, which followed a normal demand pattern.
Total demand for air travel in October 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was down 49.4% compared to October 2019. This was improved over the 53.3% fall recorded in September 2021, compared to two years earlier.
Domestic markets were down 21.6% compared to October 2019, bettering the 24.2% decline recorded in September versus September 2019.
International passenger demand in October was 65.5% below October 2019, compared to a 69.0% decline for September versus the 2019 period, with all regions showing improvement.
​​​​“October’s traffic performance reinforces that people will travel when they are permitted to. Unfortunately, government responses to the emergence of the Omicron variant are putting at risk the global connectivity it has taken so long to rebuild,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General. 

ITA Airways firms up order for 28 new Airbus aircraft Aviation Feature, Aviation News

ITA Airways firms up order for 28 new Airbus aircraft 1

ITA Airways, Italy’s new national carrier, has firmed up an order with Airbus for 28 aircraft, including seven A220s, 11 A320neos and 10 A330neos, the latest version of the most popular A330 widebody airliner. The order confirms the Memorandum of Understanding announced on 30th September 2021. In addition, the airline will pursue its plans to lease A350s to complement its fleet modernization.

“Today the strategic partnership with Airbus takes an important step forward with the finalization of the order we announced last September. In addition to this agreement, possibilities for further collaboration have emerged, in particular regarding technological developments in the aviation sector and digitalization, where Airbus is the market leader. All this is part of the actions to achieve our environmental sustainability objectives, ” said Alfredo Altavilla, Executive President of ITA Airways.
“We are very proud to partner with ITA Airways in building its long-term future with the most efficient, latest technology Airbus aircraft. This agreement supports ITA Airways business objectives to develop its network in Europe and internationally in the most sustainable way,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International.
These new Airbus aircraft will expand the initial ITA Airways fleet with a new generation aircraft with better environmental performance, equipped with latest technologies and state-of-the-art cabins to guarantee maximum operational efficiencies for the airline and the best comfort to travelers.
The A220 is the only aircraft purpose-built for the 100-150 seat market and brings together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation geared turbofan engines. With a range of up to 3,450 nm (6,390 km), the A220 gives airlines added operational flexibility. The A220 delivers up to 25% lower fuel burn and CO2 emissions per seat compared to previous generation aircraft, and 50% lower NOx emissions than industry standards. In addition, the aircraft noise footprint is reduced by 50% compared to previous generation aircraft – making the A220 a good neighbor around airports.
The A320neo Family is the most successful aircraft family ever and displays 99,7% operational reliability rate. The A320neo provides operators with 20% reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions – The A320neo Family incorporates the latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklet wing tip devices. The Airbus’ A320neo Family offers unmatched comfort in all classes and Airbus’ 18-inch wide seats in economy as standard.
The Airbus A330neo is a true new-generation aircraft, building on features popular for the A330 Family and developed for the latest technology A350. Equipped with a compelling Airspace cabin, the A330neo offers a unique passenger experience with the latest-generation in-flight entertainment systems and connectivity. Powered by the latest Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, and featuring a new wing with increased span and A350-inspired winglets, the A330neo also provides an unprecedented level of efficiency – with 25% lower fuel-burn per seat than previous-generation competitors. Thanks to its tailored mid-sized capacity and its excellent range versatility, the A330neo is considered the ideal aircraft to support operators in their post-COVID-19 recovery.

Fraport and TAV win tender for new Antalya Airport concession Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Placing the highest total bid of 7.25 billion euros, Fraport AG and its partner TAV Airports Holding won today’s auction for the new concession to operate Antalya Airport (AYT), the gateway to the Turkish Riviera. A percentage of 25% of the bidding price is payable up front within 90 days after closing of the concession contract. The existing concession for Antalya Airport – managed by the Fraport and TAV joint venture – expires at the end of 2026. 
The agreement for the new concession is expected to be signed within the first quarter of 2022, pending approval of the Turkish competition and airport authorities. Fraport-TAV’s mandate as the concessionnaire will include operations of the passenger terminals and other “landside” infrastructure, such as retail areas, public parking, and passenger screening. The operational period for the new 25-year concession will begin in early 2027 (after expiration of the existing contract).
Under the agreement, infrastructure projects will have to be completed before the operational period of the new concession begins. These projects include the expansion of Terminal 2 and the domestic terminal, as well as creating new facilities for VIP/CIP passengers.
Commenting on the successful bid for the new AYT concession, Fraport AG’s CEO Dr. Stefan Schulte said: “We delivered a convincing bid backed by our many years of successfully operating and developing Antalya Airport as one of the world’s premier tourism hubs. Together with our partner TAV, we look forward to continuing this dedication to customer service, innovation and operational excellence in the decades to come.”
Fraport AG has been active in Antalya for more than two decades. Since 1999, Fraport has successfully secured Antalya’s position as one of the leading tourist gateways in the Mediterranean region for visitors from across Europe and around the world. With numerous airlines and an extensive route network, AYT has become Turkey’s second busiest airport outside of Istanbul. 
In 2019, Antalya Airport reached an all-time record of more than 35 million passengers. Due to the global pandemic, traffic dropped by nearly 73 percent year-on-year in 2020 to about 9.7 million travelers. However, traffic started rebounding in 2021 – particularly since the summer – to about 20 million passengers for the January-to-October period.

Russian tourists trapped in South Africa after new flight ban Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Russian government banned flights from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Madagascar, Swaziland, Tanzania and Hong Kong last week, in the wake of discovery of new COVID-19 Omicron variant.
By now, it is widely believed though, that Omicron strain of the coronavirus may have already been brought to Russia by tourists returning from Egypt, a claim that Russian health authorities deny.
In the meantime, hundreds of Russian holidaymakers have been trapped in South Africa, unable to return home due to an almost universal ban on flights out of the region.
According to Russian state-run news agency, up to 1,500 Russian citizens may still be in South Africa after Moscow abruptly halted all passenger flights to and from there over new COVID-19 strain fears.
Russia’s Consulate General in Cape Town said it was trying to work out some alternative options for the evacuation of the Russian citizens, possibly involving assistance from European and other foreign airlines. 
According to the consulate’s Telegram channel, up to 15 Russians will be able to fly home on a charter flight around December 1.
“According to early information, the repatriation flight with the support of Ethiopian Airlines will be carried out on December 3 on the Cape Town-Addis Ababa-Moscow route,” the consulate also advised. The airfare on this commercial flight will depend on the number of passengers booked.
According to some news sources, ‘several dozen’ Russian nationals have in recent days left South Africa for other countries on the continent, from where they can try to continue their journey back home.
Airlines that continue to fly from South Africa have increased their fares, due to surging demand, while European Union-based carriers deny boarding to non-EU citizens.

33 countries announce new travel bans and restrictions Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The newly discovered Omicron strain of the coronavirus has forced many states to urgently close their borders to some or all foreign arrivals.
In an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19 Omicron variant into their territories, 33 countries around the world have announced outright travel bans or enhanced travel restrictions of various degrees by now.
The degree of border control severity varies from country to country, with China, Israel, Morocco and Japan closing their borders entirely, while other states only tightening COVID-19 testing protocols at the border.
Complete Foreign Arrivals Bans
China – China already had stringent border controls in place, with only citizens and resident permit holders allowed into the country.
Israel – Israel banned foreigners from entering the country for 14 days. Israeli citizens will be able to come back to the country but will need to quarantine, even if fully vaccinated.
Japan – Japan closed its borders to non-citizens for one month, this includes foreign exchange students and those travelling for business.
Morocco – Morocco canceled all incoming flights for two weeks.

First new case of COVID-19 Omicron strain confirmed in Japan Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The government of Japan announced today that a man in his 30s, who tested positive for coronavirus at the Narita International Airport, upon his arrival from Namibia on Sunday, was indeed infected with the dreaded new Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus.
This is the first officially confirmed case on the Omicron strain infection in the country.
According to the health ministry officials, the man had no symptoms when being at Narita International Airport but developed a fever on Monday, while two family members traveling with him have tested negative and are quarantined at a government-designated facility.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met with cabinet members including Health Minister Shigeyuki Goto to discuss how the government will respond to the detection of the Omicron strain in Japan, which has seen a decline in COVID-19 cases.
Yesterday, Kishida announced that the government will in principle ban the entry of all foreign nationals. He pledged to act quickly on concerns over the new Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Ban on foreign arrivals started on Tuesday and will last for about one month, during which Japanese citizens and foreigners with resident status returning from high-risk areas are required to quarantine for up to 10 days in a government-designated facility.
Japan has already taken such stricter measures on people who have recently been to any of the nine African countries – Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Japan will also suspend the recent easing of entry restrictions beginning November 8, which has allowed vaccinated business travelers to have a shorter quarantine period and started to accept entry applications from students and technical interns on the condition that their host organization agrees to take the responsibility of monitoring their movement.
Starting on Wednesday, the country will also set its daily cap for arrivals at 3,500, down from 5,000. Returning Japanese citizens and foreign residents will be required to isolate for two weeks regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated.
Yesterday, 82 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were recorded across Japan, a low figure being likely a result of a drop in testings over the weekend. The previous wave of infections caused by the Delta variant in summer saw a peak at more than 25,000 daily cases.

New flight from Doha to Tashkent on Qatar Airways Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Qatar Airways will add Tashkent, Uzbekistan to its global network with twice weekly flights. The first flight from Doha to Tashkent will take off on 17 January 2022, operated by an Airbus A320 aircraft, featuring 12 seats in Business Class and 120 seats in Economy Class.
The new service will enable passengers flying to and from Tashkent to enjoy seamless connectivity to over 140 destinations, including UAE, Saudi Arabia, India and the U.S., via Hamad International Airport in Doha.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “We see tremendous growth potentials in Central Asia and this new service to Tashkent will serve to boost trade opportunities and attract tourists wanting to discover this beautiful destination. Passengers from Tashkent will now have access to more than 140 destinations when travelling with the World’s Best Airline via the World’s Best Airport, Hamad International Airport.”
Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan lying at the core of the ancient Silk Road, will become Qatar Airways’ newest destination in 2022 and the latest addition to its network in Asia. It is the largest city in Central Asia, offering visitors panoramic views, varied cuisine and plenty of places to see and discover.
Flight Schedule
Doha – Tashkent (All times in local)
Monday and Friday
Doha (DOH) to Tashkent (TAS)         QR377            Departs: 18:55            Arrives: 00:30 +1
Tuesday and Saturday
Tashkent (TAS) to Doha (DOH)         QR378            Departs: 01:50            Arrives: 04:00

Airbus: New 100% sustainable-fuels emissions study shows early promise Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Initial findings from a world-first study of the impact of 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on both engines of a commercial jet have provided promising early results.
The ECLIF3 study, involving Airbus, Rolls-Royce, German research center DLR and SAF producer Neste, marks the first time 100% SAF has been measured simultaneously on both engines of a commercial passenger aircraft – an Airbus A350 aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.
In-flight emissions tests and associated ground testing on the ECLIF3 program began earlier this year and have recently resumed. The interdisciplinary team, which also includes researchers from the National Research Council of Canada and The University of Manchester, plans to publish its results in academic journals towards the end of next year and 2023.
Findings from the study will support efforts currently underway at Airbus and Rolls-Royce to ensure the aviation sector is ready for the large-scale use of SAF as part of the wider initiative to decarbonize the industry. Aircraft are currently only allowed to operate on a 50% blend of SAF and conventional jet fuel, but both companies support the drive to certify 100% SAF use.
In April, the A350 flew three flights over the Mediterranean Sea pursued by a DLR Falcon chaser plane to compare in-flight emissions of both kerosene and Neste’s hydro-processed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) sustainable fuel. The team also carried out compliance tests using 100% SAF and no operational issues were experienced.
In-flight emission tests using 100% SAF and a HEFA/Jet A-1 fuel blend resumed this month, while ground-based emissions testing to quantify the benefits of SAF on local air quality were also performed. The research team found SAF releases fewer particulates than conventional kerosene at all tested engine operating conditions, which points to the potential for reduced climate impact and improvement in air quality around airports.
In addition, SAF has lower density but higher energy content per kilogram of fuel compared to conventional kerosene, which brings some aircraft fuel-efficiency advantages due to lower fuel burn and less fuel mass to board to achieve the same mission. Detailed analysis by the team is on-going.
“Engines and fuel systems can be tested on the ground but the only way to gather the full set of emissions data necessary for this program to be successful is to fly an aircraft in real conditions,” said Steven Le Moing, New Energy Program Manager at Airbus. “In-flight testing of the A350 offers the advantage of characterizing direct and indirect engine emissions, including particulates from behind an aircraft at high altitude.”
Simon Burr, Rolls-Royce Director of Product Development and Technology, Civil Aerospace, said: “This research adds to tests we’ve already carried out on our engines, both on the ground and in the air, which have found no engineering obstacle to our engines running on 100% SAF. If we are to truly decarbonize long-haul air travel, then 100% SAF is a critical element and we are committed to supporting its certification for service.”
The DLR Falcon chaser aircraft is equipped with multiple probes to measure emissions at cruise level down to a distance of only 100 meters from the A350 and feed them into scientific instrumentation for analysis.
“SAF has been shown to have a significantly lower carbon footprint over its life cycle compared to conventional jet fuel and now we are seeing it is advantageous in reducing non-CO2 effects too,” said Markus Fischer, DLR’s Divisional Board Member for Aeronautics. “Tests such as these are continuing to develop our understanding of 100% SAF, its use in flight and we are seeing positive signs for its potential in climate mitigation. We look forward to studying the data from the second series of ECLIF3 flights, which restarted with a first chase flight above the Mediterranean earlier this month.”
In 2015, DLR performed the ECLIF1 campaign, investigating alternative fuels with its Falcon and A320 ATRA research aircraft. These investigations continued in 2018 with the ECLIF2 campaign which saw the A320 ATRA flying with a mixture of standard jet fuel and up to 50% HEFA. This research showed the advantageous emission performance of fuel mixtures up to 50% SAF and paved the way for the 100% SAF test flights for ECLIF3.

Qatar Airways gears up for FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The first ever FIFA Arab Cup will take place in Qatar from 30 November to 18 December, with Qatar Airways as the Official Airline Partner of the tournament.
With 16 participating nations, fans can now look forward to the tournament. The qualifying countries have been drawn in four groups: Group A: Qatar, Iraq, Oman and Bahrain; Group B: Tunisia, UAE, Syri­­­­a and Mauritania; Group C: Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Palestine and Group D: Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon and Sudan.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “With less than a year to go until the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, this tournament will be the perfect test run for us as Official Airline and Official Partner of FIFA to prepare for the big stage. As this will be the first ever FIFA Arab Cup, Qatar will showcase the best of pan-Arab football. We want to provide a seamless primary touchpoint for fans, players, coaching staff and officials during their journey and stay here so that they can enjoy the best tournament possible.”
As FIFA’s Official Partner, Qatar Airways has sponsored mega events including the 2019 and 2020 editions of the FIFA Club World Cup, and will sponsor the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Qatar Airways also sponsors some of the world’s biggest football clubs including Al Sadd SC, Boca Juniors, FC Bayern München, K.A.S. Eupen, and Paris Saint-Germain.
The national carrier of the State of Qatar continues to rebuild its network, which currently stands at over 140 destinations. With more frequencies being added to key hubs, Qatar Airways offers unrivalled connectivity to passengers, making it easy for them to connect to a destination of their choice.

New Guyana to Barbados flights on interCaribbean Aviation Feature, Aviation News

InterCaribbean Airways announced services from Georgetown (GEO), Guyana to Barbados (BGI), with connecting flights to St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVD), Antigua (ANU), Grenada (GND), Dominica (DOM), and St Lucia (SLU). 
An onward flight via Barbados to Antigua, will continue to Providenciales and connect onwards to Havana, Cuba.
With these new routes and well-timed flights that connect to onward flights to the United Kingdom, the USA, and Canada, we look forward to welcoming customers from across the world.
interCaribbean expects to connect Georgetown to additional Caribbean points in the very near future to deliver on a truly connected Caribbean with interCaribbean Airways.
Flights are scheduled to begin operations on December 17, 2021 in time for the holiday season with 12 weekly flights planned to operate between Georgetown and Barbados.
Minister of Public Works, Juan A. Edghill welcomed the airline to the Guyana market at a ceremony hosted at Dukes Lodge in Georgetown on November 5, 2021. Minister Edghill said there is insufficient connectivity between Guyana and the rest of the Caribbean, and the Guyana government is therefore pleased with the additional airline joining its friendly skies.
In announcing the service at a launch event in Georgetown attended by Ministers, Diplomats based in Guyana, and members of the business community. According to Mr. Gardiner, “With the open-for-business efforts of this government, we were able to put everything in place, and we are here to make the announcement, and make the service a reality from December 17.”

New flights from Antigua to Barbados and Providenciales on interCaribbean Airways now Aviation Feature, Aviation News

InterCaribbean Airways has been serving Antigua from Tortola since 2015 with up to double daily flights with AM and PM departures, connecting to Europe and USA/Canada bound flights as well as connection Antigua with onward flights to 8 other onward cities.
Now, interCaribbean Airways is pleased to announce new Antigua service with two new nonstop Jet service (ERJ145) destinations, connecting Antigua (ANU) with Barbados (BGI) with an initial two weekly flights, as well as nonstop service from Antigua (ANU) to Providenciales (PLS).
The Barbados flight continues immediately onwards to newly announced Georgetown (GEO), Guyana with 2 hours of flying and a short transit time. The same connection point in Barbados offers onward also to St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVD), St Lucia (SLU) and Grenada (GND).
For the first time the Eastern Caribbean can now experience jet service between Antigua and Barbados, and onwards to Georgetown, making this the fast flight connection in the region.
New nonstop service to Providenciales (PLS), Turks and Caicos Islands, offers an immediate onward connection to Havana (HAV), Cuba as well as Nassau (NAS), Bahamas, and Kingston (KIN), Jamaica. Travelers can now jet between Antigua and Havana in less than 4 hours of flying time giving the fastest connection the market has seen.
Schedule Antigua- Barbados-Antigua
Flight JY 797 departs Antigua 2.30pm arrives Barbados 3.35pm (Wednesday and Saturday)
Flight JY 792 departs Barbados 12.10pm, arrives Antigua 1.15pm
Schedule Antigua-Providenciales-Antigua
Flight JY 794 departs Antigua 1.45pm arrives Providenciales 2.45pm* (Wednesday and Saturday)
Flight JY 795 departs Providenciales 10.30am, arrives Antigua 1.30*pm
* 1-hour time difference in winter between Antigua and Providenciales
Flights are scheduled to begin operations from the week of December 17, 2021 in time for the holiday season and making Antigua more connected with the region than ever before.