Author Archives: Harry Johnson

Southwest Airlines announces new executive promotions Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Southwest Airlines Co. today announced two Leadership promotions within the Technology Department to replace recently vacated roles, with both effective Jan. 1, 2022.     
Kayce Ford is promoted to Vice President of Enterprise Management. Ford most recently served as Senior Director, Customer Support & Services/Customer Relations (CS&S/CR) in the Technology Department. In her new role, Ford will be responsible for managing the business relationships and integration of Business and Technology strategy for Finance, People & Communications, Supply Chain, Internal Audit, and Corporate Strategy.
Ford joined Southwest Airlines in 2017 as Director of CS&S/CR and Customer.
Prior to joining Southwest, Ford worked in both Management and Technology Consulting at Accenture for over 18 years. Ford is a graduate of Baylor University.  
Marty Garza is promoted to Vice President of Operations Technology. Garza most recently served as Senior Director, Aircraft Operations in the Technology Department.
In his new role, Garza will be responsible for delivering high-value business capabilities to the Operation while maintaining the overall health of the carrier’s operational Technology platforms.
Garza joined Southwest Airlines in 1998 as part of the Technology Department’s inaugural college hire program and spent over a decade as a Software Engineer developing custom solutions for the Finance department.
In 2012, Garza was promoted to Leadership where he played a significant role in delivering several strategic initiatives including the launch of international service, and the replacement of the Company’s legacy reservation system, among others.
He holds a Bachelor of Administration in Finance degree from Southern Methodist University. 

Travel & tourism new deal activity up by 9.7% in November Aviation Feature, Aviation News

A total of 79 deals (mergers & acquisitions (M&A), private equity, and venture financing) were announced in the global travel and tourism sector during November, which is an increase of 9.7% over the 72 deals announced in October.
Deal activity in the travel and tourism sector further improved in November following the trend of previous months and this is the third consecutive month of growth in deal activity in the sector. However, the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 virus may dent deal-making sentiments in the coming months.
Deal activity increased in several key markets such as the US, the UK, India and China during November compared to the previous month. However, markets such as Australia, Japan and South Korea witnessed decline in deal activity.
The announcement of M&A deals increased by 30% during November compared to the previous month. However, venture financing and private equity deals volume decreased by 9.5% and 27.3%, respectively.

New flights from Budapest to Lyon on Transavia now Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Following the successful relaunch of Transavia’s services to Paris in October, yesterday saw Budapest Airport once again be linked to Lyon by the Air France-KLM group airline. Operating a seasonal service, the low-cost carrier will offer twice-weekly flights to France’s third largest city between 16 December 2021 and 2 January 2022 – perfect for the French traveler wishing to visit the famous Budapest Christmas markets or those from Hungary with a desire to see the French Alps during the winter season.
Balázs Bogáts, Head of Airline Development, Budapest Airport, says: “We are very happy to welcome further connections to vital European cities on our route map. Transavia’s link to Lyon is another step towards our goal of reconnection and redevelopment, our ambition to once again offer a rich variety of destinations to our customers.”
“We are delighted to be able to offer the possibility for the Lyoneses to discover the Hungarian capital. This service will also allow Hungarian travelers to enjoy their Christmas vacations in Lyon and its region while at the same time benefit from a quality low-cost offer,“ Nicolas Hénin, CCO, Transavia France.
Transavia Airlines C.V., trading as Transavia and formerly branded as transavia.com, is a Dutch low-cost airline and a wholly owned subsidiary of KLM and therefore part of the Air France–KLM group. Its main base is Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and it has other bases at Rotterdam The Hague Airport and Eindhoven Airport.

Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines announce new CEOs Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Major changes in the top management of the Lufthansa Group were announced today.
Jens Ritter, currently a Member of the Executive Board and COO of Eurowings, will become the new CEO of Lufthansa Airlines on 1 April 2022 and will succeed Klaus Froese. Klaus Froese is handing over his post after more than six years on the Executive Board of Lufthansa Airlines, most recently as CEO. Going forward, he will fly for Lufthansa as a captain, piloting the new Boeing 787 that arrives next year.
Jens Ritter (48) started his flying career in 2000 after studying aerospace and training as an Airbus A320 pilot with Lufthansa. In 2008, he switched to the Airbus A330/340 as a long-haul pilot. In 2014, he was trained as a captain on the Airbus A320. Jens Ritter took on his first management role in 2005 in the ‘A380 Onboard IT’ project. Later, he held various management positions. In 2014, he took over as Head of Operations Efficiency and Strategy at Lufthansa. In parallel, he led a project for the standardization of Group-wide flight operations processes in Lufthansa Group. Between 2016 and 2020, Jens Ritter was responsible for the operations of Austrian Airlines as Accountable Manager. As Chief Operating Officer (COO), he was part of the extended Executive Board of Austrian Airlines. He has been Chief Operating Officer and Member of the Executive Board at Eurowings since April 2021.
Annette Mann, currently Head of Corporate Responsibility at Lufthansa Group, will become the new CEO of Austrian Airlines as of 1 March 2022. Annette Mann succeeds Dr. Alexis von Hoensbroech, who is leaving the company with immediate effect at his own request.
Dietmar Focke, currently Head of Engine Services at Lufthansa Technik, is moving to the Executive Board of Lufthansa Cargo and will be responsible for Operations and Human Resources as of 1 March 2022. He succeeds Harald Gloy, who is leaving the company at his own request.
Dr. Jörg Beißel, Head of Corporate Controlling at the Lufthansa Group, will assume the position of CFO of Lufthansa Airlines as of 1 April 2022. He succeeds Patrick Staudacher, who will not extend his contract at Lufthansa at his own request and will leave the company at the end of April.
Frank Bauer, currently a Member of the Executive Board at Eurowings and responsible for Finance and HR, will be responsible for the corporate controlling of Lufthansa Group as of 1 April 2022.
The areas of Human Resources and Finance on the Eurowings Executive Board will be taken over by Kai Duve as of 1 February 2022. Kai Duve is currently head of the Frankfurt cabin crews division of Lufthansa Airlines.
Benedikt Schneider, currently responsible for the Executive Office of the Chief Human Resources and Legal Officer of Deutsche Lufthansa AG will succeed Kai Duve, also as of 1 February 2022.
Wilken Bormann, currently Head of Lufthansa Group Finance, will assume responsibility for Finance and Human Resources* on the LSG Group Executive Board as of 1 March 2022. He succeeds Dr. Kristin Neumann, who is leaving the company at her own request at the end of February.
“Filling these top management positions is another important step in our transformation. We are continuing on our course with undiminished speed and are strengthening our position among the leading global airline groups. I am pleased that we were able to fill all positions from within Lufthansa Group – it confirms our successful personnel and leadership development,” said Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

WestJet condemns new Canadian blanket air travel advisory Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The WestJet Group expressed strong opposition to the travel advisory issued by the Government of Canada.
The targeted advice is not based on science and data and significantly undermines aviation’s proven safety record in response to COVID-19. These measures are a setback in Canada’s progress and its successful transition from relying on blanket advisories and policies.  
“Air travel is the most tested and protected consumer activity in Canada, every person traveling internationally is tested on average twice throughout their travel journey,” said Harry Taylor, WestJet President and CEO.
“As the only fully-vaccinated air travel sector in the world, WestJet is calling on the government to publicly share the travel related COVID-19 data that has been used to re-impose the advisory and advice targeted towards fully-vaccinated Canadians and the travel and tourism industry.”
International travel standards and policies should be harmonized, yet Canada’s travel measures remain firmly out of step with border policies enacted across the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States.
New advisory contradicts WHO’s guidance that states blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread of COVID-19 and adversely affect lives and livelihoods. The Government of Canada should continue to focus on vaccinations and testing, as the pathway for safe and fully vaccinated international air travel must be preserved.
“Since the onset of the pandemic, we have safely flown more than seven million guests and air travel has been commended for its commitment to safety. Fully vaccinated Canadians should not be singled-out for choosing to take part in a safe activity,” continued Taylor.
“Travel bans, restrictions and blanket advisories are devastating to the continued economic recovery of our country and place tens of thousands of recently recalled Canadian travel and tourism jobs at risk. We are very concerned the announcement will create unnecessary disruption and chaos in advance of the holiday travel season.”
Since the onset of the pandemic, The WestJet Group has responded to COVID-19 to ensure the safety of all. The airline has implemented its own measures in response to the pandemic including a zero-tolerance mask policy, enhancing health and safety measures, suspending sun flights and implementing the airline’s mandatory vaccination policy for employees and air travelers.

New Palm Springs and Orlando flights from Edmonton now Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Swoop this week launched two new inaugural flights from Edmonton International Airport with the start of nonstop service to Palm Springs, California today and to Orlando (Sanford), Florida on December 17.
The airline’s twice weekly non-stop service to Palm Springs operates on Mondays and Thursdays, while flights between Edmonton and Orlando (Sanford) will operate weekly on Fridays.
In light of the Level 3 travel advisory being re-issued by the Government of Canada, Swoop, as part of the WestJet Group, is advocating for the preservation of the measures in place for fully vaccinated international air travel.
“Since the onset of the pandemic, air travel has become the most tested and protected consumer activity in Canada,” said Charles Duncan, President of Swoop.
“With travelers being tested an average of twice throughout their international journey and as the only fully-vaccinated air travel sector in the world, we believe that vaccinations and testing are the right path forward for safe international air travel.”
Throughout the pandemic, Swoop has safely flown more than 800,000 travelers, maintaining critical access to affordable air travel for Canadians and prioritizing safety above all with a zero-tolerance mask policy and mandatory vaccinations requirements for both employees and air travelers. 

China’s general aviation to reach 45,000 aircraft by 2040 Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Aviation Industry Corporation of China, Ltd (AVIC) released the latest market outlook today, forecasting that China’s general aircraft fleet will reach 45,000 by 2040.
According to AVIC report, China‘s general aviation market is maintaining a healthy growth.
The country’s general aviation fleet will include 10,000 civil helicopters and the others will be fixed-wing general aircraft, said the China Market Outlook for General Aircraft (2021-2040) released by the Aviation Industry Development Research Center of China under the AVIC, the country’s leading aircraft maker.
Demands from pilot training, entertainment and low-altitude tourism will sustain the Chinese general aviation market to grow.
Light helicopter and ultralight helicopters are forecast to be the most popular market segments in the Chinese civil helicopter market, accounting for 76.9 percent of China‘s civil helicopter fleet, said the AVIC market outlook.
Aviation Industry Corporation of China, Ltd (AVIC), a state-owned Chinese group of aerospace companies based in Beijing, is a major player on the global market. With its over 100 branches and 27 subsidiaries, AVIC is a Fortune 500 company and one of China‘s ten largest industrial corporations.

Nonstop flights from Doha to Sofia, Bulgaria on Qatar Airways now Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Qatar Airways announced the return of its nonstop flights between Doha, Qatar and Sofia Airport (SOF) in Bulgaria, effective 16 December 2021. This flight resumption provides greater choice and seamless connectivity for Bulgarians and international travelers via Hamad International Airport (HIA).
The nonstop service is operated by Qatar Airways’ Airbus A320 featuring 12 seats in Business Class and 120 seats in Economy Class.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “The resumption of Qatar Airways’ non-stop flights between Doha and Sofia is a testament to both strong demand and our deep commitment to Bulgaria, as we continue to celebrate the airline’s 10-year anniversary of proudly serving the country. These nonstop flights provide Bulgarians with a superior choice to experience the more than 140 destinations that we fly to around the world via the World’s Best Airport, Hamad International Airport. Whether visiting the Middle East for business or enjoying a vacation in the Maldives, Seychelles or Tanzania, our valued Bulgarian passengers can rely on Qatar Airways to deliver an unforgettable five-star travel experience with the highest possible level of health and safety standards.”
“At the same time, Qatar Airways’ reinstated nonstop flights will make it even easier for travelers from around the world to visit Bulgaria – a truly unique country that has something to offer for everyone.  With Qatar Airways’ seamless connectivity, our passengers can more readily experience Bulgaria’s breathtaking nature, ancient culture, healing mineral water springs, stunning ski slopes and the magnificent Black Sea shore.”
Mr. Rossen Dimitrov, Chief Officer Customer Experience for Qatar Airways, said: “Bulgarians and international travelers alike can expect nothing but the best when they travel on Qatar Airways’ reinstated non-stop flights between Doha and Sofia. Our industry-leading customer experience continues to be recognized as world-class for the excellence we deliver on each and every flight. The award-winning service that has earned Qatar Airways the accolade of Airline of the Year by Skytrax is delivered by a cosmopolitan flight and cabin crew, including Bulgarian nationals who have a strong tradition of serving the airline, and we look forward to welcoming our passengers onboard these newly reinstated non-stop flights.”
Sofia Airport’s Chief Executive Officer Jesus Caballero said: “Today is a very special day because of the resumption of Qatar Airways’ non-stop flights between Sofia and Doha. This route to the Best Airport of the year, Hamad International Airport, will provide the opportunity for Sofia Airport passengers to travel to over 140 attractive destinations. Our partnership with Qatar Airways increases air connectivity for the benefit of business and tourism travelers. Visitors from Doha can explore the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Sofia and Bulgaria in four seasons with connecting flights from Sofia to the seaside cities of Varna and Bourgas.”

France bans all tourism and business travel from UK Aviation Feature, Aviation News

French government spokesman Gabriel Attal announced today that British tourists will be banned from entering France in an attempt to slow the spread of the more contagious Omicron strain of the COVID-19 virus.
Paris has said that applying tougher rules on people traveling from the United Kingdom would give France more time to prepare for the forthcoming new wave of COVID-19 infections.
France will prohibit all travel from the UK if there is a compelling reason for it, Paris said in a statement.
Travel for the purpose of tourism and business from the UK to France will be banned for now.
“We are going to put in place more drastic controls at the border with the UK,” Attal said in an interview with French BFMTV.
New restrictions, to be unveiled by the prime minister’s office later on Thursday, will include reducing the age of a valid PCR test from 48 hours to 24 hours for those arriving from the UK. The change will come into force from Saturday regardless of vaccination status. 
The move comes after Britain recorded its highest number of COVID-19 cases in a single day on Wednesday, although it is worth noting that testing capacity was greatly reduced during the first wave of the virus in 2020.
Increasing COVID-19 cases in the UK have been partially blamed on the arrival of the Omicron variant, which is already rampant in Britain. British Transport Minister Grant Shapps confirmed on Thursday that haulers would be exempt from the French restrictions. 

Number of guns confiscated in US airports sets new record Aviation Feature, Aviation News

US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator David Pekoske announced, during a media briefing, that the agency has confiscated more guns at US airports in 2021 than in any other year since its creation two decades ago.
“It’s an all-time high,” Pekoske noted. “The reason? I think there’s just more firearm carriage in the country. That’s the best answer I can give you.”
The previous annual record high was 4,432 guns confiscated in 2019, but in 2021, TSA seized a whopping 5,674 firearms at US airport security checkpoints.
The numbers peaked in November during a time of increased air travel ahead of Thanksgiving. TSA officers screened almost 21 million travelers during the 10-day holiday period and expect the next peak to come during Christmas. Airports in Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Houston showed the highest detection rates.
The majority of the confiscated firearms – about 85% – were loaded when they were found by officers. TSA rules allow guns to be carried only if they are unloaded and in checked baggage.
People flouting firearms rules face hefty fines of as much as $13,910 in case of repeat violators and may be referred to local law enforcement for criminal prosecution, Pekoske warned.
“It’s a pretty costly mistake to make,” TSA Administrator said.
The TSA was created in response to the September 2001 terrorist attacks as part of the Department of Homeland Security. It is mostly concerned with providing security to airports and passenger airlines in the US, though other modes of transportation are also in its purview.

Chinese airlines report new big drop in transport volume Aviation Feature, Aviation News

According to Chinese civil aviation industry’s official data, released on Wednesday, China‘s airline sector has experienced another significant slump in transport volume in November, 2021.
Barely 21.53 million passenger trips were made by air in November of 2021, marking an astonishing decrease of 51.5 percent from a year ago, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) announced at a press conference today.
The number of air trips last November amounts to only about 40.6 percent of that recorded in the same period in 2019, said the Chinese civil aviation regulator.
According to CAAC data, the volume of mail and cargo transported by air carriers stood at about 606,000 tons in November, 2021 – down 10.2 percent year on year.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), formerly the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China, is the aviation authority under the Ministry of Transport of the People’s Republic of China. It oversees civil aviation and investigates aviation accidents and incidents.
As the aviation authority responsible for China, it concludes civil aviation agreements with other aviation authorities, including those of the Special administrative regions of China which are categorized as “special domestic”. It directly operated its own airline, China’s aviation monopoly, until 1988. The agency is headquartered in Dongcheng District, Beijing.
The CAAC does not share the responsibility of managing China’s airspace with the Central Military Commission under the regulations in the Civil Aviation Law of the People’s Republic of China.

American Airlines urged to change handling of sexual assaults now Aviation Feature, Aviation News

An American Airlines flight attendant is calling on the company’s top executive to make fundamental changes in how the airline handles cases involving employees who, like her, are sexually assaulted in the course of their employment at American.
In her letter to American Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker, Kimberly Goesling also informed the airline of her intent to retire, following a flying career that spanned more than 30 years. Her lawsuit against the airline, including accusations of sexual assault and retaliation, is set for trial January 24.
“I shouldn’t be the one who has to leave,” Ms. Goesling writes. “It should be you that left long before now, you and every other manager and individual at American who played a role in making the company’s response to my sexual assault yet another attack on me and my family.”
In the letter, Ms. Goesling calls on the airline and its management to live up to its own standards, which encourage employees to speak up if they suspect illegal or unethical conduct. She also suggests the airline provide additional training for managers dealing with sexual assault victims so that they will no longer ask – as they did in her case – what the victim was wearing when attacked.
“I think Kimberly feels an obligation to the women and men who will remain behind at the airline,” says attorney Robert Miller of Miller Bryant LLP, who represents Ms. Goesling. “Her hope is that, in writing this letter, she can create change at the airline because they certainly seem to need it.”
Ms. Goesling’s lawsuit alleges she was attacked while in Germany by a celebrity chef whom American Airlines hired without conducting a background check. Evidence in the case shows the airline continued to employ him even after it learned of prior allegations against him for alcohol abuse and inappropriate sexual conduct.
When she reported the attack to the airline, managers promised to pay Ms. Goesling for treatment and allow her time away from work shifts, as needed. They did neither, instead removing her from her coveted position on the airline’s recruitment team, according to the lawsuit.