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.

WestJet Group announces new interim President and CEO Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The WestJet Group today announced that Harry Taylor has officially assumed the role of interim President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
The WestJet group announced Taylor as the interim President and CEO on September 15, 2021, following news of Ed Sims retirement announced on June 9, 2021.
“I am honored to take on the interim role of CEO at this pivotal time for the WestJet Group, and am focused on our relentless commitment to safety above all while ensuring continuity for our recovery, as we rebuild our airlines for our guests and our people,” said Harry Taylor, interim President and CEO.
“By the end of the year, we will return our entire fleet to service for the peak holiday travel season, connecting loved ones and fulfilling long awaited vacations plans. I look forward to leading our organization through this crucial phase of our recovery, while we continue our search for a permanent CEO.” 
“I am extremely pleased Harry has agreed to take on this interim role,” said the WestJet Group Board Chair Chris Burley. “Our global search for a permanent CEO continues, and on behalf of WestJet and the board, we are grateful Harry has stepped up to help us through this critical transition.”
Harry Taylor joined WestJet in 2015 as Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO). During this time, he led the airline’s inaugural U.S. bond issue, negotiated the purchase of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Boeing MAX aircraft, and was instrumental in the sale of WestJet to Onex. Through the pandemic, Harry led the Finance team in managing WestJet’s liquidity to ensure sustainability with little to no revenue coming in.
“I want to thank Ed for his contributions to WestJet’s strategy and growth initiatives over the past four years,” said Chris Burley, Chairman of WestJet’s board of directors. “Ed has led WestJet through the worst crisis in aviation history and will see us through to the end of 2021. We owe our relative strength and stability in no small measure to Ed’s leadership and steady hand. On a personal note, we’re pleased that Ed will be able to rejoin his family in New Zealand at the end of the year.” 

Tour operator schauinsland-reisen secures the travel tech competence of Airxelerate Aviation News

Tour operator schauinsland-reisen secures the travel tech competence of Airxelerate 1

The Berlin-based travel tech start-up Airxelerate expands its group of investors and wins tour operator schauinsland-reisen as a new investor. The company assembles unique tech experience in air and leisure distribution.  German tour operator schauinsland-reisen is investing in the Berlin-based travel tech provider Airxelerate. Schauinsland-reisen thus secures access to the company’s innovative software solutions, which

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WestJet names new Executive VP and Chief Loyalty Officer Aviation Feature, Aviation News

WestJet today announced the appointment of Karl Schuster, as the airline’s Executive Vice-President and Chief Loyalty Officer (CLO). Schuster will join the WestJet executive leadership team in early 2022, following the completion of the immigration process.   
Schuster has over 19 years of loyalty experience, including six years as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Velocity Frequent Flyer, Virgin Australia’s loyalty program. During his time at Virgin Australia, Schuster grew Velocity to be one of the largest loyalty programs in Australia, significantly increasing their annual revenue; increasing membership subscribers to 10 million, from their previous 5.3 million members; and growing partnerships with noteworthy brands across the country. Prior to his time at Velocity, Schuster lead multi-year loyalty programs for Qantas, British Airways and Malaysia Airlines and provided consulting advice to a diverse range of airlines in his nearly 15 years at Aimia Inc.
“Karl has an impressive history of driving exponential growth for a diverse range of loyalty programs and delivering results through innovation and strategy,” said Harry Taylor, WestJet Interim President and CEO. “We are looking forward to welcoming Karl to WestJet; his breadth of experience will elevate WestJet’s loyalty program to new heights.” 
The CLO is a newly created role for the airline, responsible for the execution of growing WestJet‘s loyalty program, products, services and partnerships through innovation and leadership. 
“As WestJet transitions from recovery to expansion, the airline is making significant investments in its already successful loyalty program, and I am thrilled to be joining the team at such a pivotal moment in time,” said Schuster. “As WestJet builds back stronger, there is incredible runway in front of WestJet Rewards and we will be working to bring guests more benefits and privileges through exciting and innovative loyalty enhancements. I am pleased to be joining WestJet’s high performing loyalty team alongside d’Arcy Monaghan, WestJet Vice-President, Loyalty Programs and I look forward to working with him and the team to take our program to new heights.” 

Ethiopian Airlines and IDC set to launch new Zambia Airways Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Ethiopian Airlines, the largest aviation group in Africa, is pleased to announce that it has finalized preparations for the launch of Zambia’s National Carrier in a joint venture with Industrial Development Corporation Limited (IDC). Ethiopian has 45 percent stake in the joint venture while Industrial Development Corporation Limited (IDC) retains 55 percent, the shareholders have contributed USD30 million in capital towards the establishment of the airline.
The new Zambia Airways (ZN) is to join African sky with its initial domestic flight from Lusaka to Ndola on December 1, 2021 and it will operate at a frequency of six and five times a week to Ndola and Livingstone, respectively. Other domestic routes to Mfuwe and Solwezi will follow before introducing regional destinations, to Johannesburg and Harare, to its network within the first quarter of 2022.
Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines remarked: “Thestrategic equity partnership in the launching of Zambia’s national carrier is part ofour Vision 2025 multiple hub strategy in Africa. Ethiopian is committed to itsgrowth plan in collaboration with African carriers and the new Zambia Airwayswill serve as a strong hub in Central and Southern Africa availing domestic,regional and eventually international air connectivity for passengers and cargo tothe major destinations in the Middle East, Europe and Asia, which will enhancethe socioeconomic integration and tourism industry in Zambia and the region.”
Through its multiple hubs strategy in Africa, Ethiopian Airlines currently operates hubs in Lomé (Togo) with ASKY Airlines, Malawian in Lilongwe (Malawi), Tchadia in N’Djamena (Chad) and Ethiopian Mozambique in Maputo (Mozambique) while having the already acquired stakes in Guinea’s and Democratic Republic of Congo’s national carriers.

A couple fleeing new Dutch quarantine arrested on flight to Spain Aviation Feature, Aviation News

A dramatic incident unfolded at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on board a flight that was set to depart for Spain at around 6pm on Sunday.
Just as the plane was about to take off, Dutch military police boarded the aircraft and removed a married couple who fled a quarantine hotel for suspected COVID-19 Omicron strain carriers in the Netherlands.
The identities of the detained couple were not released, and it is unclear whether they were infected or just being held in quarantine as a precaution. The military turned them over to health officials to be sent to another quarantine facility.
The Netherlands is on high alert after over a dozen cases of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant were discovered among airline passengers – before all 27 EU member states agreed to temporarily ban travel from seven southern African nations on Friday.
All recent arrivals into the Netherlands from South Africa, as well as from Botswana, Malawi, Lesotho, Eswatini, Namibia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, have been required to be tested and quarantined until their results are known, even if they are vaccinated.
Some 61 out of a total of 624 passengers tested positive for COVID-19, so the Dutch National Institute for Health (RIVM) warned that “the new variant may be found in more test samples.”
“We will control whether they keep to those rules,” Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge declared on Sunday, just hours before the escape attempt.

Qatar Airways Immediately Stops Flights from Five African Countries Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The airline will, however, continue to accept passengers for travel into these countries in-line with current restrictions.
Qatar Airways destinations stopped at these destinations due to the Omicron variant:
Luanda (LAD), Angola
Maputo (MPM), Mozambique
Johannesburg (JNB), South Africa
Capetown (CPT), South Africa
Durban (DUR), South Africa
Lusaka (LUN), Zambia
Harare (HRE), Zimbabwe
These restrictions will remain in place until further guidance is received from the World Health Organization (WHO). The situation will remain under review on a daily basis as new information becomes available.

New COVID-19 Omicron strain is in UK, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and Czech Republic now Aviation Feature, Aviation News

United Kingdom has registered its first two cases of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 a day after the first case of the strain, which scientists suspect could be much more contagious, was recorded in Europe.
Today, a spokesperson for the Czech Ministry of Health announced that a woman returning from vacation in Egypt had tested positive for what is believed to be the novel variant of COVID-19. He added that the sample is being studied further, with official confirmation expected by Sunday morning.
Belgian and German authorities are also officially confirming Omicron’s advent on the European continent.
Coinciding with that report from the Czech Republic, Kai Klose, the social affairs and integration minister in Germany’s Hesse region, tweeted that the “Omicron variant has, with a very high degree of likelihood, already arrived in Germany.” Klose revealed that “multiple mutations typical of Omicron were found in a person coming from South Africa” on Friday night. The individual was placed in quarantine pending the complete sequencing of the virus found in their sample.
Authorities in the Netherlands were facing a large number of suspected Omicron cases on Friday, when 61 people arriving in Amsterdam from South Africa tested positive for COVID-19. The travelers were taken from the airport to a nearby hotel and isolated there. The Dutch Health Ministry said samples are being studied “as quickly as possible [to see] whether they are the new variant of concern, now named ‘Omicron’.”
Earlier that day, the Dutch government banned all air travel from South Africa where the new strain was first detected. Passengers on the last two flights coming in from there had to spend hours on the runway, waiting to be tested.
Belgium has the dubious distinction of being the first nation in Europe to have officially confirmed a case of Omicron. The country’s health minister, Frank Vandenbroucke, announced on Thursday that the infected patient is an unvaccinated person who tested positive for COVID-19 on November 22. According to Belgium’s chief virologist, Mark Van Ranst, the holidaymaker had earlier returned from Egypt.
Yesterday, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) warned there was still “considerable uncertainty related to the transmissibility, vaccine effectiveness, risk for reinfections and other properties of the Omicron variant.” The EU health authorities classed the strain as a “high to very high” risk.
That same day, all 27 EU member states agreed to temporarily halt air travel from seven southern African nations. The UK, US and Canada have also imposed similar restrictions.

Jamaica Announces New Air Services from Stockholm to Montego Bay Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, said: “We are delighted with VING’s decision to resume direct flights to Jamaica next winter. We are encouraged by the tour operator’s trust in our destination, and their charter service will significantly increase Swedish visitors, who usually stay on the island for 14 nights. He continued, ‘since reopening our borders last summer, our destination has continued to welcome visitors safely and seamlessly. We are prepared and resilient and have been meticulous in our preparations for visitors in the post-COVID-19 world. Jamaica’s tourism sector continues to lead the recovery efforts for the island’s economy, and I am pleased to report that we are making steady progress towards recovering stronger.”
Donovan White, Director of Tourism, agreed: “It is safe to say that tourism is steadily rebounding and the demand for Jamaica is high. We are very pleased that tour operators such as VING believe in destination Jamaica and we look forward to welcoming their passengers, to enjoy a truly unforgettable Jamaican experience in an environment which is safe, seamless and secure.”
Claes Pellvik, Nordic Head of Communication, Nordic Leisure Travel Group, said: “Nordic Leisure Travel Group is happy to come back to Jamaica again with non-stop flights Stockholm-Montego Bay for the upcoming winter season 22/23, especially since our previous customer feedback has always been excellent for our Jamaica program. What is new is that we will operate our brand-new Airbus A330-900neo from our own Sunclass Airlines. This state-of-the-art aircraft will reduce CO2 emissions by -23%, and at the same time enhance the passenger experience. We see Jamaica as being a perfectly positioned destination for the future with its focus on well-being, a vast selection of interesting activities and culture to explore, and a fantastic hotel product on offer.”
Jamaica has been welcoming back Swedish visitors since borders reopened in June 2020. All travelers aged 12 and over need to show proof of a negative antigen test performed by an accredited lab within three days of travelling. Home tests are not accepted. Travelers also need to complete a simple travel authorization form before they arrive, which is accessible through travelauth.visitjamaica.com. 
Jamaica’s extensive health and safety protocols, developed in conjunction with authorities across the health and tourism sectors, were among the first to receive the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Safe Travels recognition.

Iberia Advance Passenger Information Through New Partnership Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Iberia and Kyte – the aviation sector technology company that offers a white label API to airlines as a SaaS – have today announced the signing of an agreement.
The Kyte API is a modern and easy to implement tool that allows travel industry distributors to connect directly to all of the inventory of the Spanish airline and access its products in an agile, easy and efficient way.
This agreement forms part of the mission of Kyte to offer advanced sales technology in the retail channel to airlines and, at the same time, help them to transform the way in which they fix prices and distribute their products to clients, both through the direct and indirect channels. 
Alice Ferrari, CEO of Kyte comments: “We are very proud to be one of the first providers of an API to an airline leader such as Iberia.
“Our objective is to help airlines to realise their vision to modernize all of the reservation experience. We offer to airlines new and easy to use tools that are designed to meet the current expectations for online sales. All of this without compromising the level of sophistication necessary to manage the complexity and security needs that the aviation industry demands.
“Our intention is to develop a strong and long-term relationship with Iberia and see how they take advantage of the great opportunities that NDC offers.”
Miguel Henales, Digital Business Director of Iberia, adds: “The pandemic restrictions have increased consumer expectations and accelerated digital tendencies. Thanks to the technology of NDC we can greater satisfy the needs of clients and offer them an optimum service at the time of reserving and then managing their trip.
“Our final objective is to attract more partners to our NDC channel, offering a modern connection like the Kyte API that allows a better distribution of our product.”

IATA: 12-month validity of EU COVID Certificate would protect tourism recovery Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called for caution in response to a European Commission Recommendation that the EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) should only remain valid for up to nine months after the second vaccination dose, unless a booster jab is administered.
“The EU DCC is a great success in driving a common continent-wide approach to managing the COVID-19 health crisis and in facilitating the freedom of people to travel again. It underpins a fragile recovery in the travel and tourism sector. And it is critical that any changes to it have a joined-up approach that recognizes the impact of divergent policies by individual member states and promotes further harmonization across Europe,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe.
Booster Shots
The critical issue is vaccine validity and the requirement for booster shots. As the immunity afforded by vaccination wears off, booster jabs are being increasingly offered to extend and strengthen people’s immune response. However, if booster shots are mandated to maintain the validity of the DCC, it is vital that states harmonize their approach to the length of time allowed between the point of full vaccination and administering the additional dose. The nine months proposed by the Commission could be insufficient. It would be better to delay this requirement until all states are offering booster jabs to all citizens, and for a twelve-month validity to give more time for people to access a booster dose, considering the differing national vaccination approaches being taken. 
“The proposal to manage limitations on the validity of the DCC creates many potential problems. People who received the vaccine before March, including many health workers, will need to have accessed a booster by 11 January or may be unable to travel. Will EU states agree on a standardized time period? How will the requirement be harmonized with the many states that have developed COVID passes that are reciprocally recognized by the EU? Moreover, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said booster shots should be prioritized for vulnerable groups that have not had a first dose, let alone a booster. Worldwide, the vaccine program still has a long way to go in many developing states and the focus should be on ensuring vaccine equity. Given that the majority of air travelers are not in the most vulnerable groups, allowing a twelve-month time period before a booster is needed would be a more practical approach for travelers and a fairer approach for vaccine equity,” said Schvartzman. 
Vaccine Recognition
A further element of concern is the Commission’s recommendation that travelers vaccinated with a non-EU approved vaccine should present a negative pre-departure PCR test. This will discourage travel from many parts of the world where infection rates are low, but the population have been vaccinated by WHO-approved vaccines which have yet to gain regulatory approval in the EU.
“Governments should prioritize policies that are simple, predictable and practical in order to ensure passengers regain confidence to travel and airlines confidence to reopen routes. The European Centre for Disease Control is explicit in its latest risk report that travel restrictions are unlikely to have any major impact on the timing or intensity of local epidemics. We appreciate that authorities must remain vigilant, but discriminating among vaccines that have been approved by the WHO is a waste of resources and an unnecessary barrier to people’s freedom to travel,” said Schvartzman.

Cathay Pacific cancels flights after crews snub new quarantine rules Aviation Feature, Aviation News

As Hong Kong is pursuing a ‘COVID-zero’ strategy in a push to reopen its border with mainland China, one of Asia’s largest airlines and Hong Kong’s home carrier, Cathay Pacific has been eager to assist the city authorities with this move.
Cathay Pacific asked its cabin crews and pilots to volunteer for a ‘closed-loop’ system in December. This involved working for three weeks in a row, staying in Hong Kong only briefly, before a two-week quarantine on their return.
However, the company appears to have had too few volunteers to operate this schedule as many want to be home for Christmas.
Cathay Pacific was forced to cancel some of its passenger flights to Hong Kong after most of its crews refused to follow the carrier’s quarantine rules.
Due to the crews’ snub, Cathay Pacific was forced to convert about one-third of its flights to freight instead of passenger transportation.
“The operational and travel restrictions that remain in place continue to constrain our ability to operate flights as planned. We are consolidating our passenger flight schedule for December 2021, including canceling a number of flights to Hong Kong,” a spokesperson for Cathay Pacific said.
The airline will arrange alternative bookings on remaining passenger flights to accommodate clients whose flights were canceled.
Despite Hong Kong’s strict quarantine regulations, COVID-19 cases keep reappearing, with three Cathay Pacific cargo pilots recently testing positive after arriving from Frankfurt.
Two cases of the new southern African COVID-19 variant, which has already caused several EU states to reintroduce travel restrictions, have also been found in travelers under quarantine, Hong Kong’s Department of Health announced on Friday.

More countries halt international flights over new COVID-19 variant Aviation Feature, Aviation News

European Commission (EC) President Ursula von der Leyen, today, urgently called for all air travel to and from countries with reported cases of the new COVID-19 strain to be canceled until government and health officials have a better understanding of the risk the new virus variant poses.
Denmark, Morocco, the Philippines and Spain have become the latest nations to impose travel restrictions on all non-essential travel to South Africa and neighboring states, joining the growing list of countries with curbs over ‘super mutant’ COVID-19 strain.
The European Union’s announcement came after Denmark and Spain joined other European nations in limiting travel to the region, while, internationally, Morocco and the Philippines took similar steps to restrict movement to a group of countries deemed at risk.
Germany has declared South Africa a “virus variant area,” the country’s health minister Jens Spahn wrote on Twitter. It means “airlines will only be allowed to transport Germans” from the country.
All arrivals would be required to quarantine for 14 days, even if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have recovered, Spahn added.
The Dutch authorities made a similar move, announcing a ban on flights from South Africa to the Netherlands from midnight.
Italy and Czech Republic were also quick to follow other European nations in imposing restrictions. 
Rome has banned entry to all arrivals from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini. Prague has also said that non-nationals who recently visited South Africa won’t be allowed into Czechia.
Later in the day, France said that it was suspending flights from southern Africa for at least 48 hours, with Health Minister Olivier Veran announcing that all those who recently arrived from the region are going to be tested and monitored closely.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex revealed that talks among EU leaders on how to respond to the new strain, which so far hasn’t been diagnosed on the continent, are going to take place “over the next hours”.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says the large number of mutations in the newly-discovered variant raises serious concerns over how it will impact diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccinations.
The UK also restricted air travel to and from South Africa and its neighbors, with the country’s Health Security Agency saying that “this is the worst variant we have seen so far.”
Countries beyond Europe have also been worried about the new variant, with Malaysia, Japan, Singapore and Bahrain imposing restrictions on travelers from the southern Africa region.
Israel also placed a ban on arrivals from southern Africa but then expanded that ‘red zone’ to almost the whole continent, only excluding some north-African nations.

Israel bans visitors from seven countries in southern Africa Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Israeli Prime Minister’s Office announced today that South Africa and six other African countries have been added to Israel’s list of ‘red’ countries.
The expansion of the ‘red’ list was necessary due to the detection by South African scientists of a new COVID-19 variant in the southern Africa region, according to the PM’s Office.
The variant – called B.1.1.529 – has a “very unusual constellation” of mutations, which are concerning because they could help it evade the body’s immune response and make it more transmissible, scientists told reporters at a news conference in South Africa.
Following a meeting, held by Prime Minister of Israel Naftali Bennett, seven African countries – South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini – were included in the list of “red” countries, or countries that Israelis are not allowed travelling to, unless they receive special permission from Israel’s health ministry.
Israelis returning home from those countries would be required to spend between 7-14 days in a quarantine hotel after arrival.
Visitors from these African countries will not be allowed to enter Israel as well, the Prime Minister’s Office said.
Israel has recorded 1.3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 8,000 dead since the pandemic began.
According to the country’s Health Ministry, only 57% of Israel‘s population of 9.4 million is fully vaccinated.

New EU rule will ban unvaccinated visitors from outside the bloc Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The European Commission (EC), the executive branch of the European Union, issued a proposal today, recommending that all UE member-countries only allow in vaccinated, recovered, or essential travelers (like truck drivers) from outside of the European bloc, as of March 2022.
Prospective visitors would need to prove that they were last vaccinated no more than nine months before entry, a move that essentially makes booster shots mandatory for most travelers.
Under proposed new rules, visitors would need a booster shot every nine months.
The EU currently recommends that member states allow in travelers from a list of just over 20 countries with “a good epidemiological situation.” Travelers from these locations ​​– which include Canada, New Zealand, and the UAE – are allowed into the EU with either a vaccine certificate, proof of recovery, or proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
Under the new rules, this list would be done away with, and individual travelers allowed in based on their vaccination or recovery status alone.
Currently, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved vaccines by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Janssen. Russia’s Sputnik-V is under review by the agency, as are shots by Sanofi-GSK and China’s Sinopharm. 
Under the new proposal, the European Union would grant entry to travelers vaccinated with shots approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), but not the EMA. This would clear anyone jabbed with SInopharm, Sinovac, and two Indian-made vaccines to enter, as long as they provide a negative test result as well as proof of vaccination.
The Commission’s proposal will need to be cleared by the European Council, and if passed it will apply to every EU country except Ireland, which is not a member of the border-free Schengen Area.
About 67% of EU citizens are currently vaccinated against COVID-19, though individual countries have seen different uptake rates.
However, even in Ireland, which has the highest vaccination rate in the bloc at 93%, weekly new cases of the virus have tripled since the beginning of October, and the Irish government is considering fresh restrictions on daily life.
“It is evident that the pandemic is not yet over,” European Commissioner Didier Reynders said on Thursday, adding that “the travel rules need to take into account this volatile situation.”

WestJet is testing new touchless Trusted Boarding option Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Yesterday, WestJet, together with TELUS, trialed Trusted Boarding, a touchless process that uses safe and secure facial verification technology to verify travelers’ identity prior to boarding a flight. The trial was the first-of-its-kind in Canada and took place at the YYC Calgary International Airport. 
“The travel experience is evolving to include many touchless processes and WestJet is innovating to ensure our guests’ travel journey improves to become more seamless and efficient, while prioritizing safety above all,” said Stuart McDonald, Executive Vice-President and Chief Information Officer. “The Trusted Boarding trial is a union between technology and WestJet that would in the future help our agents and our guests with contactless document validation.” 
WestJet‘s Trusted Boarding trial demonstrated that the responsible use of biometric boarding technology provides sufficient document validation and prevents non-authorized individuals from boarding an aircraft. Trial guests boarded WestJet flight 8901 through facial verification with their digital identity wallet on Embross’ Canadian made biometric hardware and boarding application at Gate 88. The trial marked the first step towards the implementation of the technology as WestJet works with the Government of Canada to seek full approval for its use as a safe and secure alternative for future WestJet boarding at Canadian airports. 
“As air travel gradually reopens, the passenger experience continues to evolve. Our groundbreaking, built in Canada solution allows travelers to enjoy a secure, touchless identity verification experience, while ensuring they are able to maintain control of their personal data,” said Ibrahim Gedeon, Chief Technology Officer, TELUS. “This level of control establishes and increases consumer trust by addressing privacy, security, and ethical data risks from the start, while providing transparency to customers.”
Trusted Boarding supports a more digital Canada using Canadian innovation. It employs a self-sovereign identity ecosystem (the creation of unique, private and secure connections between two trusted parties) through a TELUS-provisioned digital identity wallet in a smartphone application for IOS and Android. It provides contactless document validation, where a facial verification scan is matched with a traveler’s documentation that has been uploaded to the app prior to boarding. Importantly, the app ensures users retain control of their personal information at all times, meaning they can securely share their verified personal credentials and revoke access when the data is no longer needed.
The identity platform was developed by one37 and document integrity validation is provided by Oaro, ensuring the solution follows all data protection and privacy regulations covered under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

East African Community launches new intra-regional tourism drive Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The East African Community (EAC) has launched the EAC Regional and Domestic Tourism Media Campaign set to publicize national and regional tourist attraction sites and services, aiming to stimulate and develop intra-regional travel.
Launched this week, the “Tembea Nyumbani”, or “Visit Home” campaign seeks to attract East African citizens to travel in their own countries, then around the region, in an effort to revive domestic and regional tourism across the East African region, amid the COVID -19 pandemic.
The campaign is set to run for three weeks, from December 1, 2021. It is part of implementation of the EAC Tourism Marketing Strategy and EAC Recovery Plan supported by German Development Agency, GIZ.
EAC Secretariat launched the campaign at its headquarters in Northern Tanzania tourist city of Arusha.
Tourism contributes significantly to the economies of EAC Partner States and pre-pandemic, contributed 10 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 17% export earnings and 7% in jobs creation.
COVID-19 pandemic saw the sector affected negatively with international tourism arrivals in East Africa dropping by about 67.7%, to an estimated 2.25 million arrivals in 2020 compared to 6.98 million in 2019.
EAC Secretary General Dr. Peter Mathuki had encouraged tourism private sector players to extend affordable packages to East Africans so as to entice them into taking advantage of the holiday offers available during the upcoming festive season.
“With preferential entry fees and rates now extended to EAC citizens, it is timely for East Africans to explore the diverse cultures, take on adventure safaris and visit exotic beaches amongst other opportunities the region has to offer”, Dr. Mathuki said during the media launch held at the EAC headquarters in Arusha mid-this week.
Dr. Mathuki further noted that EAC has developed an EAC Pass that integrates and validates COVID-19 tests and vaccination certificates for EAC Partner States to ease travel across the region.
The Tembea Nyumbani campaign is being undertaken by the EAC in collaboration with the East African Tourism Platform that represents the tourism businesses across the region. 
Through the campaign, hoteliers and other tourism service providers are being encouraged to promote affordable packages to the EAC citizens.
On his part, EAC Director in charge of Productive Sectors, Mr. Jean Baptiste Havugimana noted that the EAC is making strides in ensuring the Single Tourist Visa is adopted by all EAC Partner States.
“The Sectoral Council on Tourism and Wildlife Management during their Extra-ordinary meeting held in July this year had recommended that the Secretariat to convene a multisectoral meeting comprising key sectors such as Tourism and Wildlife, Immigration and Security to develop a framework for introduction of the Single Tourist Visa by all the Partner States,” he said.
Mr. Havugimana noted that the meeting will be convened in early 2022, adding that once fully adopted the Visa will ease travel by foreign tourists across the entire region.
Further, EAC Principal Tourism Officer, Mr. Simon Kiarie, noted that EAC projects that with aggressive tourism efforts both at the regional and national levels; the region will be able to receive about 4 million tourists in next year. 
“The tourism sector’s recovery has been on an upward trajectory and we expect that by the year 2024, we will receive about 7 million tourists compared to 2.25 million tourists recorded in 2020”, he noted.

Flights from Almaty to New Delhi on Air Astana now Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Air Astana will resume flights from Almaty to New Delhi, the capital of India, on 16th December 2021, with three services a week operated by Airbus A320 aircraft.
Departure from Almaty on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays is scheduled for 07:50 and arrival in New Delhi at 11:10, with return flight at 12:20 and arrival in Almaty at 16:40. All times local, with a flight time of 3 hours and 50 minutes in each direction.
Air Astana offers convenient connections for passengers travelling from Kyiv, Bishkek, Istanbul, Tbilisi and Baku.
Travel Information / Entry Requirements
All passengers travelling to New Delhi including children need to fill in New Delhi airport online form. Passengers over 5 years of age additionally need to upload results of PCR test with a negative result obtained within 72 hours before arrival. Prior to boarding on departure and again after arrival, passengers will undergo a thermometric test procedure. In the case of any symptoms of coronavirus being detected, passengers will be sent to a medical facility.
Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated passengers are required to take a COVID-19 test on arrival and repeat it at the end of a seven-day home quarantine period. Fully vaccinated passengers are exempted from PCR test on arrival and from home quarantine.
Air Astana
Air Astana is the flag carrier of Kazakhstan, based in Almaty. It operates scheduled, domestic and international services on 64 routes from its main hub, Almaty International Airport, and from its secondary hub, Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport.

La Réunion Gets Up to Speed on Seychelles Ahead of Air Austral New Flight Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Heads of product and directors of the island’s travel trade companies came together for refresher training sessions on the destination’s selling points, COVID-19 health entry requirements, stay conditions for travelers, as well as a brief on product developments within the destination since the re-opening of the Seychelles border. The sessions, conducted by Bernadette Honore, Tourism Seychelles’ Senior Marketing Executive in La Réunion, aimed to build up momentum and interest among the French department’s travel trade decision makers as well as building up confidence in the destination ahead of the flights to Seychelles next month.
“Throughout this pandemic, we have been continuously updating travel trade professionals on the destination, especially in regard to the COVID-19 health regulations and stay conditions for travelers.  Having a one-to-one contact with La Réunion travel trade’s decision makers helps to rebuild the relationships, which our business entails, and mostly importantly, to instill their confidence to sell. Travel trade professionals are key partners in increasing airline load factors. Gaining their commitment to restart sales to Seychelles at this point in time is crucial for the destination and a rebound of visitor traffic from La Réunion to Seychelles,” said Ms. Honore.
Air Austral representatives were also present during the two sessions, showcasing the airline’s new fleet of aircraft assigned to regional routes including Seychelles and encouraging the professionals present to push sales to the Seychelles.
Both sessions were animated with questions, especially about the health and entry requirements and stay conditions for travelers.
At the end of the sessions, La Réunion’s travel trade professionals expressed their satisfaction with having received adequate information to not only pass on to their clientèle, but most importantly, give them the reassurance to travel to Seychelles.
The training sessions are part of marketing activities organized by Tourism Seychelles in Réunion. Televised spots will also be aired. The resumption of flights on December 19 will also provide opportunities for residents of the sister Vanilla Island to travel to Seychelles to join cruise vessels sailing within the archipelago’s waters and to explore the Inner and Outer Islands.
To note that 5,791 visitors from La Réunion visited the Seychelles in 2019 prior to the pandemic.

NASA aviation tech to save time for airport passengers Aviation Feature, Aviation News

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson visited Orlando International Airport in Florida Wednesday and met with aviation leaders to discuss implementing aircraft flight scheduling technology developed by the agency that will soon improve dependability for passengers – which is especially important during peak travel times like the Thanksgiving holiday. 
In September, the technology that was tested during NASA’s Airspace Technology Demonstration 2 (ATD-2) was transferred to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Large airports across the country – including Orlando International – will soon implement the technology. Nelson discussed the technology transfer with Greater Orlando Aviation Authority CEO Phil Brown.
“NASA’s partnership with the FAA is constantly delivering for the American people, improving the efficiency of the commercial airline industry for the environment and passengers across the country,” Nelson said. “Our flight scheduling technology, which makes it possible for personnel to better coordinate the movements of aircraft while they’re at the airport, will soon help ensure more passengers get off the ground and home for the holidays faster and more efficiently than ever before.”
NASA and the FAA completed nearly four years of surface operations research and testing to calculate gate pushbacks through time-based metering at busy hub airports, so that planes can roll directly to the runway to take off and avoid excessive taxi and hold times, reducing fuel use, emissions, and passenger delays. 
“As we deploy this software, the travel experience gets better for passengers all the while aviation’s emissions decrease. It’s a win-win,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson. “NASA remains a critical partner in the FAA’s efforts to build a sustainable aviation system.”
The FAA plans to deploy NASA’s surface metering technology initially to 27 airports, including Orlando International, as part of a larger investment in airport surface management technology called the Terminal Flight Data Manager (TFDM) program. Improved efficiency and shifting departure wait time from the taxiway to the gate saves fuel, reduces emissions, and gives airlines and passengers more flexibility in the period prior to leaving the gate.  
“The anticipated rollout of the updated TFDM in 2023 aligns with our projections for returning to pre-pandemic passenger traffic the same year,” Brown said. “These updates should result in a smoother experience for the traveling public and enhance ‘The Orlando Experience’ we strive to offer every day at our world-class airport.”
NASA’s ATD-2 team first put their aircraft scheduling technology to the test with real-world users in September 2017 at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. By September 2021, the integrated arrival and departure system (IADS) tools had saved more than 1 million gallons of jet fuel. Those savings were made possible by reducing jet engine run time, which also decreases maintenance costs and saved airlines an estimated nearly $1.4 million in flight crew costs. Overall, passengers were spared 933 hours in flight delays and saved an estimated $4.5 million in value of time.

New mission to defend Earth launched by NASA and SpaceX Aviation Feature, Aviation News

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), the world’s first full-scale mission to test technology for defending Earth against potential asteroid or comet hazards, launched Wednesday at 1:21 a.m. EST on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
Just one part of NASA‘s larger planetary defense strategy, DART – built and managed by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland – will impact a known asteroid that is not a threat to Earth. Its goal is to slightly change the asteroid’s motion in a way that can be accurately measured using ground-based telescopes.
DART will show that a spacecraft can autonomously navigate to a target asteroid and intentionally collide with it – a method of deflection called kinetic impact. The test will provide important data to help better prepare for an asteroid that might pose an impact hazard to Earth, should one ever be discovered. LICIACube, a CubeSat riding with DART provided by the Italian Space Agency (ASI), will be released prior to DART’s impact to capture images of the impact and the resulting cloud of ejected matter. Roughly four years after DART’s impact, ESA’s (European Space Agency) Hera project will conduct detailed surveys of both asteroids, with particular focus on the crater left by DART’s collision and a precise determination of Dimorphos’ mass.
“DART is turning science fiction into science fact and is a testament to NASA’s proactivity and innovation for the benefit of all,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “In addition to all the ways NASA studies our universe and our home planet, we’re also working to protect that home, and this test will help prove out one viable way to protect our planet from a hazardous asteroid should one ever be discovered that is headed toward Earth.”
At 2:17 a.m., DART separated from the second stage of the rocket. Minutes later, mission operators received the first spacecraft telemetry data and started the process of orienting the spacecraft to a safe position for deploying its solar arrays. About two hours later, the spacecraft completed the successful unfurling of its two, 28-foot-long, roll-out solar arrays. They will power both the spacecraft and NASA’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster – Commercial ion engine, one of several technologies being tested on DART for future application on space missions.

Singapore and India Reach New Agreement on Flights Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Singapore’s VTL with India will start with six designated flights daily from Chennai, Delhi, and Mumbai. Applications for vaccinated travel passes for short term and long-term pass holders from India will start from November 29. “Taking such a step-in time of Covid prevalence is indeed a bold move which will not only strengthen the relations between the two countries but will also work as a revival of tourism sector. I strongly feel that more commercial flights are needed to revive inbound tourism to India,” she further quoted.
Airlines can also operate non-VTL flights between the two countries, although passengers on non-VTL flights will be subjected to the prevailing public health requirements. “We at TAAI have been in constant dialogue with the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India. The opening of the skies for international commercial passenger routes highlighting our concerns on ease of doing business,” commented Jay Bhatia, Vice President, TAAI.
Taking positive efforts, TAAI Southern Region in association with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) organized a travel webinar earlier this year in July which witnessed a large participation. “Such productive decisions are always welcomed by tourism sector and travel associations as the good part of the economy is dependent on travel and tourism. Economy everywhere needs a good revival especially after Covid trauma,” said Bettaiah Lokesh, Hon Secretary General, TAAI.
“Travel agents continue to be acknowledged as one stop solutions for customers, guiding and professionally managing all aspects of domestic and/or international travel which now includes complying with Covid requirements of departing and arriving at destinations,” said Shreeram Patel, Hon Treasurer, TAAI as he also extended his thanks to the authorities of both the countries.

Australia is reopening to fully vaccinated South Korean visitors Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Tourism Australia is excited to be welcoming back travelers from South Korea to Australia, following today’s announcement that Australia is reopening its borders to quarantine-free travel for fully vaccinated South Korean citizens from 1 December.
The announcement is part of Australia‘s phased re-opening to international travel and builds on quarantine free travel arrangement with Singapore, which came into effect on 21 November.
“The announcement today enabling fully vaccinated travelers from South Korea to travel to Australia from 1 December is an exciting and significant next step in rebuilding international visitation from this key tourism market,” Tourism Australia Managing Director Phillipa Harrison said.
“Australia has long been a popular outbound destination for travelers from South Korea, with 280,000 travelling to our country pre-COVID, and we are really excited that we will have the opportunity to welcome visitors from this important travel market once again.
“With the reopening of travel from South Korea, Tourism Australia will soon be kicking off dedicated marketing activity to urge travelers to come and enjoy all the incredible tourism experiences that await them in Australia,” Ms Harrison said.

Former GE executive named CEO of Unical Aviation Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Unical Aviation Inc. announced today it has appointed Sharon Green as the company’s Chief Executive Officer, effective December 1.
Ms. Green will replace Platinum Equity Managing Director Dori Konig, who is serving as Unical‘s interim CEO. Platinum Equity acquired Unical in August.
“This appointment is another important step in commitment to invest in Unical’s success and further strengthen its position in the global aerospace aftermarket,” said Mr. Konig. “Sharon is a proven leader who knows the industry and its customers, and has an exceptional track record for generating results. Her unique combination of management skill and sector expertise make her the ideal fit for Unical‘s next chapter of growth.”
Most recently, Ms. Green served as Chief Executive Officer for GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) Materials business, a premier distributor of airframe and engine components. Ms. Green joined GE in 2007 and went on to serve as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer at GECAS. She previously served as Chief Financial Officer for The Memphis Group.
“I’m thrilled to join Unical at such an exciting time for the company and the industry,” said Ms. Green. “Unical has a well-deserved reputation as a trusted partner to aviation customers around the world. As air passenger traffic continues to rebound and the air cargo market continues to grow, Unical has an extraordinary opportunity to build on its success and reach even greater heights.”
Founded in 1990 and headquartered in City of Industry, CA, Unical Aviation Inc. has more than 350 employees and supplies aircraft parts and components to over 2,100 aviation customers around the globe through a network of dedicated facilities in the United States, Europe and Asia.
With more than 85 million parts and over 1.3 million unique airframe and engine part numbers in stock, Unical is one of the largest suppliers of new and used serviceable material for the global aerospace industry. The company sources, re-certifies and resells aircraft parts to commercial airlines, cargo operators, aircraft lessors, and aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) businesses. Unical is vertically integrated with its repair stations, providing a competitive advantage with quick to market service.
Ms. Green earned a Bachelor of Accountancy from University of Mississippi and a Master of Business Administration in Finance from Christian Brothers University.

Simplicity, predictability and practicality keys to restoring global mobility now Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on governments to adopt simple, predictable and practical measures to safely and efficiently facilitate the ramping-up of international travel as borders re-open.
Specifically, IATA urged governments to focus on three key areas:
Simplified health protocolsDigital solutions to process health credentialsCOVID-19 measures proportionate to risk levels with a continuous review process
The industry’s vision to address the complexity is outlined in the newly released policy paper: From Restart to Recovery: A Blueprint for Simplifying Travel. 
“As governments are establishing processes to re-open borders, in line with what they agreed in the Ministerial Declaration of the ICAO High Level Conference of COVID-19, the Blueprint will help them with good practices and practical considerations. Over the next months we need to move from individual border openings to the restoration of a global air transport network that can reconnect communities and facilitate economic recovery,” said Conrad Clifford, IATA’s Deputy Director General.
The Blueprint aims to facilitate the efficient ramping-up of global connectivity. “We must have processes in place to safely and efficiently manage the ramping-up of international travel as borders re-open. With over 18 months of pandemic operational experience and traveler feedback we know that a laser-focus on simplicity, predictability and practicality is essential. That is not the reality today. Over 100,000 COVID-19 related measures have been implemented by governments worldwide. This complexity is a barrier to global mobility that is exacerbated by the inconsistencies these measures have created among states,” said Clifford.
Focus Areas
Simplified health protocols: The aim must be protocols that are simple, consistent, and predictable. 
Key recommendations include:
Remove all travel barriers (including quarantine and testing) for those fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine.Enable quarantine-free travel for non-vaccinated travelers with a negative pre-departure antigen test result.
These recommendations are supported by public opinion research of travelers which revealed that:
80% believe that vaccinated people should be able to travel freely81% believe that testing before travel is an acceptable alternative to vaccination73% believe that quarantine is not necessary for vaccinated travelers

47 Flights in One Day for Montego Bay Aviation Feature, Aviation News

He noted that since the reopening of Jamaica’s borders to international travel in June 2020, “this is the highest number of visitors to arrive at the Sangster International Airport in any single day since COVID-19 devastated the tourism industry worldwide and grounded international flights.”
Minister Bartlett said airlines have been showing renewed interest in flying to Jamaica and last week, in the wake of the Government lifting some COVID-related restrictions for visitors, the numbers have been rising steadily.
“We are not yet into the traditional high season but there is an eagerness by travelers to get away from their restricted environments of the past 18 months and the fact that Jamaica has not lost its appeal, we are seeing the bookings moving upwards at a welcome rate,” the tourism minister said.
Regarding airlines, new gateways to Jamaica are being added to the existing slate. Since the beginning of November, Jamaica has welcomed United States (US)-based Frontier Airlines, which commenced flights from Atlanta, Georgia, and Orlando, Florida; Eurowings Discover coming out of Frankfurt, Germany; American Airlines’ new service out of Philadelphia; and the return of Air Transat out of Canada.
Meanwhile, Regional Director of Tourism at the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), Odette Dyer noted there is growing interest among travel agents about Jamaica’s preparedness in the wake of COVID-19. “We had some large familiarization groups last week, coinciding with several on-island activities, including the Jamaica Invitational Pro-Am in Montego Bay, so they were able to leave knowing that we are fully prepared,” she said.

Flights from Guatemala City to Mérida on TAG Airlines now Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Within the framework of the 45th edition of the Tianguis Turístico México 2021, the Guatemalan company TAG Airlines announced its new air route that will connect Guatemala City with Mérida, Yucatán, in a direct flight that will begin operations in the first quarter of 2022 with four weekly frequencies and attractive competitive rates.
“We appreciate the trust of the authorities of the state of Yucatan, and TAG Airlines have the objective of advancing in the strengthening of air connectivity with all the states that make up the Maya World region, and Yucatan is, without a doubt, a strategic destination,” said Julio Gamero, CEO of TAG Airlines.
In the company of Marcela Toriello, President of the Board of Directors of TAG Airlines, Gamero said: “today we will endorse tag airlines’ commitment to promoting the development of the aviation and tourism industry, which are two important engines for the economic growth of our towns, while thanking mayor Renan Barrera for his role as facilitator of this new route.”
The governor of the State of Yucatan, Mauricio Vila, celebrated the upcoming start of operations of TAG Airlines in the state, and said that the joint work will result in the Yucatan and Guatemala doing well.
He stressed that this new air route will contribute to strengthening the ties of unity between the two peoples, as well as the economic development of the Mayan World region.
For his part, the mayor of Mérida, Renan Barrera Concha, said that the arrival of TAG Airlines in the Yucatecan capital is one of the good news that the sector expected, especially within the framework of the Tianguis Turístico Mérida 2021. He said that air connectivity will undoubtedly encourage the development of tourism and business.
Yucatan offers the leisure and business traveler important attractions, among which the cosmopolitan city of Merida, the archaeological zone of Chichen Itza (considered one of the wonders of the world), Valladolid, Izamal, in addition to its great cultural, natural and gastronomic wealth. Meanwhile, Guatemala, as the heart of the Mayan world, offers a wide diversity of cultural and commercial attractions, and represents the main gateway to the Central American region.
TAG Airlines is a 100 percent Guatemalan company that for 50 years has maintained a firm commitment to air connectivity and development.
It currently operates 27 daily flights in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize and Mexico, with a modern fleet of more than 20 aircraft.
TAG Airlines recently began operations in Mexico, with air routes connecting Guatemala City with Cancun and Tapachula, as well as the route between Cancun and the city of Flores, in the Petén region.

Air Canada adding extra capacity into Vancouver Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Air Canada announced today that it has significantly increased cargo capacity into and out of Vancouver between November 21 and 30 from its hubs in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary as it works to ensure that the vital economic supply chain links in British Columbia are maintained following the impacts of last week’s flooding. In total, Air Canada is adding 586 tons of cargo capacity, representing 3,223 cubic meters to support B.C.’s economic supply chain and the needs of its communities. The additional capacity is equivalent in weight to approximately 860 adult moose.
“The economic supply chain is vital, and to help support the urgent transport of goods into and out of British Columbia, we have increased capacity to our YVR hub by using the flexibility of Air Canada‘s fleet to reschedule 28 passenger flights from narrow-body aircraft to be operated with wide-body Boeing 787 Dreamliners, Boeing 777, and Airbus A330-300 aircraft. These changes will allow an additional 282 tons of goods to be moved across the country on our scheduled passenger flights,” said Jason Berry, Vice President, Cargo, at Air Canada.
“Additionally, Air Canada Cargo will operate an additional 13 all-cargo flights between our Toronto, Montreal and Calgary cargo hubs and YVR using widebody aircraft, providing approximately 304 tons of additional capacity. These aircraft will help move mail and perishables such as seafood, as well as automotive parts and other industrial goods,” concluded Mr. Berry.
Air Canada is also working with its regional partner Jazz Aviation to provide additional regional cargo capacity by temporarily converting an Air Canada Express De Havilland Dash 8-400 from its normal passenger configuration into a special freighter configuration. This Dash 8-400 Simplified Package Freighter operated by Jazz can carry a total of 18,000 lbs. (8,165 kg) of cargo and will be deployed to transport critical goods, as well as consumer and industrial goods and will be in service as early as this week.
Last week, as the impact of the devastating floods became apparent, Air Canada quickly added capacity to the Air Canada Cargo network by substituting larger widebody aircraft on 14 passenger flights into Vancouver.
In addition to the extra cargo capacity, Air Canada had also increased the number of seats available for customers in Kelowna and Kamloops since November 17, adding approximately 1,500 seats into both communities by utilizing larger aircraft on routes. This enabled people affected by the highway closures to fly into and out from these airports, and through the cargo capacity of these passenger aircraft, also allowed for the important transport of emergency medical supplies into these regions.
Air Canada continues to monitor the situation in British Columbia very closely and will adjust its passenger and cargo schedule accordingly.

Vietnam reopens Phu Quoc island to fully vaccinated foreign tourists Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Vietnam’s holiday island of Phu Quoc welcomed more than 200 fully vaccinated tourists from South Korea today.
South Korean visitors are the first foreign tourists to Vietnam since the country shut its borders closed almost two years ago to stop the spread of the coronavirus infections.
Vietnam closed its borders in March of 2020, shortly after confirming its first reported COVID-19 infection case.
Since then, Vietnam allowed only several international flights a week with foreign experts, diplomats and returning Vietnamese nationals.
Those international arrivals must undergo a 14-day quarantine in designated hotels or government-run facilities.
Today, the fully vaccinated South Korean tourists were tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, and once the negative results are returned, they can enjoy all tourist activities on the island without a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
South Korean visitors will be able to freely enjoy sightseeing, shopping and entertainment events that require vaccine certificates.
According to Vietnam’s Health Ministry, all staff members working in the island’s service facilities and 99% of Phu Quoc’s adult residents have been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
The island is also planning to vaccinate children aged 12 to 17 next month.
Vietnam is the latest country in Asia to join Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia in reopening their borders to fully vaccinated foreign visitors.
Thailand was the first has started to allow the limited number of fully vaccinated foreign visitors to Phuket island before expanding to other areas, including Bangkok, starting from November 1.
The Indonesian tourist island of Bali opened to arrivals last month with some restrictions including testing and a five-day hotel quarantine.
Malaysia opened up Langkawi island under a pilot ‘COVID-19 bubble’ program.

South African Airlines new flight schedule: Changes, additions and cancellation Aviation Feature, Aviation News

 After careful appraisal of ongoing passenger volumes, SAA is adjusting its flight schedules to accommodate passenger requirements. 
The airline will remove from the schedule its daily return service to Maputo in Mozambique. The decision is effective from December 1, 2021, and passengers holding tickets will be accommodated on codeshare flights operated by Mozambique Airlines, TM (LAM). 
SAA’s Interim Executive Commercial Simon Newton-Smith says, “When SAA resumed operations at the end of September, we committed to constantly monitor passenger volumes and revenue on all routes. Demand on this service has not met expectations and for the time being, this change is in line with our strategy of being a transparent management and fiscally responsible.” 
Newton-Smith says taking upon two new routes, to Lagos in Nigeria and Mauritius has been encouraging and new services to other destinations are also being considered for 2022. 
Other adjustments being made for the December ’21 and January ’22 holiday season, are due to the expected slow demand on traditionally non-travel days, as customers spend their time with families and friends. 
Return flights to Accra in Ghana have been adjusted and will not operate on 25th December 2021 and 1st January 2022. Kinshasa, DRC flights have been adjusted and will not operate on 24th December 2021 and 31st December 2021. All Passengers will be accommodated on the next available SAA flights. 
SAA had operated 4 days a week to Lusaka from September to 30 November 2021. SAA had scheduled additional frequencies to fly 7 days a week from December, however further adjustments were made to the schedule to operate 5 days a week from the 1st of December. Affected passengers will be accommodated on the next available SAA flights. 
Notes Newton-Smith, “No airline likes to cancel flights but we are committed to success and sustainability of our airline, whilst we meet our valued customer requirements. We apologize to customers for any inconvenience and full assistance will be provided to all customers holding an SAA ticket on flights that are withdrawn from the schedule. 
Customers should refer to issuing offices for assistance.” Passengers who no longer wish to travel may cancel their booking and are able to receive a full refund (inclusive of taxes) or opt for the credit voucher which will be offered to the original form of payment. 
Newton-Smith says customers who have booked through a travel agent should contact them directly and if tickets were brought online or through the SAA call center customers can contact SAA Trade Support via e-mail at [email protected] Customers who booked through an overseas SAA call center should contact their local SAA office. 

Safe Ethiopian Airlines Operation on the Edge? Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Africans will never forget the crash of Boeing 737 Max in Ethiopia and how the Western media rushed to blame Ethiopian pilots! Today Boeing is confirmed to be the guilty party, and the tone in the media has changed.
Today the United States is warning pilots about Addis Ababa International Airport to be unsafe because of the TPLF TerroristGroup firepower! No armed group can march into Addis Ababa! There is no armed group able to do so.
This and many other messages are flooding social media channels. The fact remains the United States is warning pilots that planes operating at one of Africa’s busiest airports could be “directly or indirectly exposed to ground weapons fire and/or surface-to-air missiles” as Ethiopia’s war nears the capital, Addis Ababa.
Ethiopians are at the edge due to the United States warnings and America’s warning for Americans to leave the country.
The message is: Don’t use Ethiopian Airlines. Tweets say the aim is for America to cripple the Ethiopian economy. This is undeclared war by the USA!!!
The Federal Aviation Administration advisory issued Wednesday cites the “ongoing clashes” between Ethiopian forces and fighters from the northern Tigray region, which have killed thousands of people in a year of the war. The U.S. this week urged its citizens in Ethiopia to “leave now,” saying there should be no expectation of an Afghanistan-style evacuation.
Diplomatic efforts to stop the fighting have met resistance, but Kenya’s president told visiting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday that Ethiopia’s prime minister in a meeting on Sunday gave the impression he was ready to consider several proposals to ease tensions and reduce violence, a senior State Department official said.
In the meantime tweets from Ethiopia are demanding for the US to stop scaring people, claiming Addis Ababa is safe.
Other tweets are suggesting for the Addis Ababa-based African Union to pack up and move to another African country.
African Tourism Board Chairman Cuthbert Ncube said: “I flew on Ethiopian through Addis Ababa several times in the last few days and met with airline officials.” There is no imminent danger, and Ethiopian Airlines’ leadership should be trusted in their decision to operate the airline safely.” “I hope a further escalation of the civil conflict can be avoided”

Johannesburg to Lagos flights on South African Airways now Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Starting on December 12, 2021, South African Airways (SAA) will add another important continental route to its network with a three-times a week flight fromJohannesburg to Lagos in Nigeria. SAA has been flying to Nigeria for the past 23 years and the resumption of the service is a welcome addition to its growing network on the African continent.
“This specific destination takes SAA into one of the biggest travel markets in Africa and we’re delighted that we are again able to resume operations, providing a link between Africa’s two biggest economies,” said Thomas Kgokolo, Interim CEO of South African Airways. The relaunch of service between Johannesburg and Lagos is part of SAA’s gradual growth strategy, having resumed full operations in September on the domestic South Africa and regional Africa routes.
“Our intention is to continue to develop our route network driven by passenger demand and revenue potential. We are constantly evaluating opportunities in the local, regional and international markets,” adds Kgokolo.
Not only does the new Johannesburg-Lagos route function as a key commercial and economic link between the two countries but will also service the burgeoning tourism market in both countries. SAA will continue in partnership with South African Tourism to promote the country in Nigeria with the expectation that it will generate more visitors now that international pandemic travel restrictions are being revised.

New flight from San Jose to Palm Springs on Alaska Airlines Aviation Feature, Aviation News

As of today, travelers can enjoy year-round, nonstop service between Mineta San José International Airport (SJC) and Palm Springs international Airport (PSP), thanks to  Alaska Airlines.
The daily flights depart Mineta San José at 8:10 a.m., arriving in Palm Springs just before 9:30 a.m., daily. For those in Palm Springs, the daily flight to San José departs at 10:10 a.m.
“Nonstop service to Palm Springs has been a top-requested route for several years,” said John Aitken, SJC Director of Aviation. “This link between Silicon Valley and Coachella Valley is an incredibly exciting sign of recovery, and both regions will benefit from the convenient, daily service.”
“Securing nonstop service to San José has been a priority for Palm Springs International Airport,” said Ulises Aguirre, Executive Director of Aviation for the City of Palm Springs. “San José, along with the rest of Bay Area, is a top destination for residents and businesses in the Coachella Valley and we’re thankful to Alaska Airlines for connecting PSP to SJC.”
The 80-minute flight operates aboard an Embraer 175 aircraft, with 76 seats; 12 in business and 64 in economy.
Launch of service kicks off the busy Thanksgiving holiday period, which begins today, with Mineta San José International expecting 400,000 travelers through next weekend. 

One pilot killed, two injured in a two-jet ‘mishap’ Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Two US T-38C Talon supersonic training jets were involved in ‘an aircraft accident’ on the runway of the Laughlin Air Force Base, located near Del Rio, Texas near the US-Mexico border, around 10am local time today.
According to a statement from Laughlin AFB, one pilot has been killed and two others were injured during a runway ‘mishap.’
One pilot died on the scene. Another was taken to the Val Verde Regional Medical Center in Del Rio, treated and released. The third pilot involved in the ‘accident’ is in critical condition, and was evacuated to the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. Their names are being withheld pending the notification of their next of kin.
“Losing teammates is unbelievably painful and it is with a heavy heart I express my sincere condolences,” said Colonel Craig Prather, commander of the 47th Flying Training Wing.
“Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with our pilots involved in this mishap and their families.”
The twin-engine Northrop T-38 is the world’s first supersonic training jet, and has been in service with the US Air Force since 1959. It is scheduled for replacement by the Boeing T-7 Red Hawk starting in 2023.

CMA CGM Group buys four new Airbus A350F Freighters Aviation Feature, Aviation News

CMA CGM Group and Airbus have signed a binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the purchase of four A350F freighter aircraft. The order, which is subject to finalization in the coming weeks, will lift CMA CGM’s total Airbus fleet to nine aircraft, including five A330-200F.
The aircraft will be operated by CMA CGM AIR CARGO, the recently launched air cargo activity of CMA CGM Group.
“We are proud to welcome CMA CGM AIR CARGO in the group of operators for the A350F and we are equally pleased to support the company’s future strategic development,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International. ”The A350F will fit seamlessly into the carrier’s existing fleet of Airbus freighters. Thanks to its composite airframe and latest technology engines, it will bring unbeatable efficiency in terms of fuel burn, economics and CO₂  emissions, empowering the long-term sustainable growth of the Group.” Scherer adds: “Having an early endorsement by such an international cargo powerhouse as the CMA CGM Group is very gratifying.”
The A350F is based on the world’s most modern long range leader, the A350. The aircraft features a large main deck cargo door and a fuselage length optimized for cargo operations. Over 70% of the airframe is made of advanced materials resulting in a 30t lighter take-off weight, generating an at least 20% lower fuel burn over its current closest competitor. With a 109t payload capability (+3t payload/ 11% more volume than its competition), the A350F serves all cargo markets (Express, general cargo, special cargo…) and is in the large freighter category the only new generation freighter aircraft ready for the enhanced 2027 ICAO CO₂ emissions standards.

New Flight San Jose to Palm Springs Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The daily Alaska Airlines flights depart Mineta San José at 8:10 a.m., arriving in Palm Springs just before 9:30 a.m., daily. For those in Palm Springs, the daily flight to San José departs at 10:10 a.m.
“Nonstop service to Palm Springs has been a top-requested route for several years,” said John Aitken, SJC Director of Aviation. “This link between Silicon Valley and Coachella Valley is an incredibly exciting sign of recovery, and both regions will benefit from the convenient, daily service.”
“Securing nonstop service to San José has been a priority for Palm Springs International Airport,” said Ulises Aguirre, Executive Director of Aviation for the City of Palm Springs. “San José, along with the rest of Bay Area, is a top destination for residents and businesses in the Coachella Valley and we’re thankful to Alaska for connecting PSP to SJC.”
The 80-minute flight operates aboard an Embraer 175 aircraft, with 76 seats; 12 in business and 64 in the economy.
The launch of the service kicks off the busy Thanksgiving holiday period, which begins today, with Mineta San José International expecting 400,000 travelers through next weekend.  SJC offers the following to help travelers de-stress at the Airport this holiday season:
New Online Parking Reservations are available at flysanjose.com/parkingNew Kids’ Zoom Zone near Gate 25New Trader Vick’s Restaurant in Terminal BLive Guitarists are Strolling the Terminals through 11/25Airport Ambassadors in the Terminals to provide traveler assistance “The Lounge at SJC” is openSunflower Lanyard Program (for travelers w hidden disabilities)
Those traveling this holiday season are reminded to wear a face-covering at the Airport and aboard aircraft. SJC recommends arriving at least two hours ahead of flight time to allow for parking, ticketing, and screening, and to check with airlines for any flight changes. Travelers departing from SJC can plan ahead and save money by booking airport parking online. To reserve Airport Parking online and see real-time parking availability, visit  flysanjose.com/parking.
SJC: Transforming How Silicon Valley TravelsMineta San José International Airport (SJC) is Silicon Valley’s airport, a self-supporting enterprise owned and operated by the City of San Jose. The airport, now in its 71st year, served nearly 15.7 million passengers in 2019, with nonstop service across North America and to Europe and Asia. For more airport information, visit https://www.flysanjose.com.

Belize flights from Seattle and Los Angeles on Alaska Airlines now Aviation Feature, Aviation News

If you’re looking for a new international destination to escape to – with an unbeatable mix of beaches, adventures and heritage that’s not too far away from the West Coast – it’s time to consider sun-splashed Belize. To make that trip planning easier, Alaska Airlines began nonstop service today to Belize City from Seattle (SEA) and Los Angeles (LAX).
From Belize’s capital city, the sky’s the limit for exploration and fun. Given the strong demand for flights to Belize and building on our prior announcement of seasonal service in the winter, Alaska Airlines now intends to fly the Los Angeles-Belize City route year-round.
“For nearly two decades the Belizean market has been on our radar. We’re thrilled to now be inaugurating service from both Seattle and Los Angeles,” said Brett Catlin, vice president of network and alliances at Alaska Airlines. “Belize offers terrific family-friendly, eco-conscious possibilities – from iconic islands to lush jungles and ancient sites. And it’s closer than you might think: From L.A., it’s only a five-hour flight, and from Seattle it’s six hours.”
“In addition to attracting greater business investment and human capital, this new flight will also spur tourism which is essential for Belize‘s prosperity. It comes at a very opportune time as it further boosts the industry’s recovery efforts,” noted Hon. Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism & Diaspora Relations. “We therefore value our partnership with Alaska Airlines in providing such a vital connectivity for travelers from the West Coast interested in reinvigorating themselves and relaxing in our tropical jewel while immersing in a rich, unique cultural experience.”
Alaska’s service to Belize operates four times a week between Los Angeles and Belize City (BZE) and twice weekly between Seattle and Belize City – just in time for the holiday season.
StartsEndsCity PairDepartsArrivesFrequencyAircraftNov. 19Year-roundLAX – BZE11:00 a.m.5:30 p.m.M, W, F, Sa737-800Nov. 20Year-roundBZE – LAX10:00 a.m.1:30 p.m.T, Th, Sa, Su737-800Nov. 19May 21SEA – BZE8:30 a.m.4:35 p.m.F, Sa737-800Nov. 20May 22BZE – SEA11:00 a.m.3:55 p.m.Sa, Su737-800

Flights from Doha to Almaty on Qatar Airways now Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Qatar Airways’ inaugural flight from Doha to Almaty in Kazakhstan landed at Almaty International Airport on Friday, 19 November 2021, marking the launch of the airline’s newest gateway in Central Asia.
Operated by an Airbus A320 aircraft, flight QR0391 was welcomed with an opening ceremony attended by Qatar Ambassador to Kazakhstan, His Excellency Mr. Abdulaziz Sultan Al-Rumaihi; Qatar Airways Senior Vice President Eastern Regions, Mr. Marwan Koleilat; Chairman of Aviation Committee of Kazakhstan, Mr. Talgat Lastayev; President of Almaty International Airport, Mr. Alp Er Tunga Ersoy and a host of airport and government officials from Kazakhstan.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are delighted to launch direct services to Almaty, which reflects the close relationship between the State of Qatar and Kazakhstan. Almaty is continuing to grow in popularity with our passengers for both business and leisure purposes, attracting travelers who wish to enjoy its rich culture, cuisine and natural scenery.
“This important new gateway will provide enhanced connectivity to both business and leisure travelers, and will help connect passengers from Kazakhstan to our extensive global network of more than 140 destinations worldwide.”
President of Almaty International Airport, Mr. Alp Er Tunga Ersoy, said: ““We are very happy to welcome the first passenger flight from Doha by Qatar Airways which is one the 5-star airlines in the world. Citizens of Kazakhstan will enjoy using high-level service quality on board and can discover more than 140 destinations. Besides, we believe that this route will help to develop the relationship between the two countries not only in tourism but also economic and culture. I would like to extend my gratitude to the management of Qatar Airways for their effort to open this route during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The new direct services to Almaty will be operated by an Airbus A320 aircraft, featuring 12 seats in Business Class and 120 seats in Economy Class. As well as enjoying the award-winning in-flight service on board, passengers travelling to Kazakhstan will also have access to Oryx One, Qatar Airways’ in-flight entertainment system, offering the latest blockbuster movies, TV box sets, music, games and much more.

Brussels Airlines presents a new brand identity Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Brussels Airlines accelerated and intensified in 2020 its transformation plan Reboot Plus, in order to pave the way for a future-proof company that is able to face the competition, with a sound and healthy cost structure.After the restructuring, the company started the second phase of its Reboot Plus plan: the build-up and improvement phase.The Belgian company is transforming to become a healthy, profitable airline that offers perspectives to its customers, partners and employees.

Today, Brussels Airlines (www.BrusselsAirlines.com) presents a new brand identity, confirming its position in the market as Belgium’s home carrier and the Africa expert of the Lufthansa Group.
Updated colors, a new logo and aircraft livery are the visual token of the airline’s new chapter, stating its readiness for future challenges and reemphasizing on the importance of the Belgian brand. A chapter with a strong focus on customer experience, reliability and sustainability while keeping a competitive cost-structure.
As a consequence of the COVID-19 crisis, Brussels Airlines accelerated and intensified in 2020 its transformation plan Reboot Plus, in order to pave the way for a future-proof company that is able to face the competition, with a sound and healthy cost structure.   
After the restructuring, the company started the second phase of its Reboot Plus plan: the build-up and improvement phase. Brussels Airlines now turns its attention to the future with strategic investments in an improved customer experience, new technologies, digitization, new ways of working, and the development of its employees.
The Belgian company is transforming to become a healthy, profitable airline that offers perspectives to its customers, partners and employees; an airline with a constant focus on the environment and the reduction of its ecological footprint. A New Brussels Airlines.
“We want to clearly mark the start of the New Brussels Airlines. For our customers, who deserve the best, but also for our employees, who are committed to the transformation that we’re pushing forward and to which they contribute every day. That is why today we present the visual translation of our new start. With this new brand identity, we are ready to show our customers, our employees, our partners and all other stakeholders that we are turning a page. As one of the four Lufthansa Group network airlines, we are building the way towards a promising future.  We see this new brand identity as a symbol of confidence in our company – re-emphasizing our identity as Belgium’s home carrier.” – Peter Gerber, CEO of Brussels Airlines.

Heathrow teams up with Microsoft to fight illegal wildlife trafficking Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Heathrow teams up with Microsoft, UK Border Force CITES and Smiths Detection to deploy the world’s first artificial intelligence system that spots and aims to stop wildlife trafficking through airports.Project SEEKER was demonstrated to HRH The Duke of Cambridge at an event in Microsoft’s UK headquarters today.Following the pioneering trials at Heathrow, Microsoft calls for global transport hubs to use the system to help combat the $23bn illegal wildlife trafficking industry.

Heathrow has teamed up with Microsoft to trial the world’s first artificial intelligence system to combat illegal wildlife trafficking. ‘Project SEEKER’ detects animal trafficking in cargo and baggage passing through the airport by scanning up to 250,000 bags a day. It recorded a 70%+ successful detection rate and was particularly effective at identifying ivory items such as tusks and horns. By identifying more trafficked items and earlier, authorities have more time, scope and information to pursue criminal traffickers and combat the $23bn illegal wildlife trafficking industry.
In addition to Microsoft, Project SEEKER has been developed in partnership with UK Border Force and Smiths Detection and is supported by the Royal Foundation. Microsoft developers have taught Project SEEKER to identify animals or products such illegal products used in medicines, and trials at Heathrow have demonstrated the algorithm can be trained on any species in just two months. The technology automatically alerts security and Border Force officers when it detects an illegal wildlife item in a cargo or baggage scanner, and objects seized can then be used as evidence in criminal proceedings against smugglers.  
The Duke of Cambridge visited Microsoft‘s headquarters to hear about the potential of this technology as part of his work with The Royal Foundation’s United for Wildlife program. To support the development of this new technology, the Project SEEKER team was able to benefit from United for Wildlife’s global network of expertise on the illegal wildlife trade. In addition, United for Wildlife will be working with its partner organizations in the transport sector to support the global roll out of the SEEKER capability.
Jonathan Coen, Director of Security at Heathrow Airport, said: “Project SEEKER and our partnership with Microsoft and Smiths Detection will keep us one step ahead of traffickers, by exploring new technology that will help us protect the world’s most precious wildlife. We now need to see more transport hubs deploy this innovative system, if we are to take meaningful action on a global scale against this illegal industry.”
United for Wildlife aims to make it impossible for traffickers to transport, finance or profit from illegal wildlife products by building crucial relationships between the transport and finance sectors, Non-governmental organizations and law enforcement agencies and encouraging the sharing of information and best practice between these stakeholders. United for Wildlife has been working with organizations like Microsoft to raise awareness of technology that can support efforts to disrupt the criminal trade of wildlife products globally.

Lufthansa’s new iThemba Cape Town aid project to grow further Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The help alliance is the central pillar of the Lufthansa Group’s social commitment.As an internationally operating company and part of the German and international community, the Lufthansa Group assumes responsibility for current social challenges beyond its actual business activities.The non-profit limited liability company supports numerous projects around the world that provide young people in particular with access to education and enable them to lead self-determined lives.

help alliance, the aid organization of Lufthansa Group, and Mastercard are looking forward to this year’s RTL Donation Marathon, which will take place on November 18 and 19, 2021. Viewers can already donate from tomorrow for the joint aid project “First-class pre-school education for children” in the township of Capricorn in Cape Town, South Africa, and thus support the construction of the new iThemba pre-school.
Since 2019, the strong partnership of help alliance, Mastercard and “RTL – We help children” has been collaborating with celebrity patron Beatrice Egli to give children from the township access to quality education and thus free them from the downward spiral of poverty, unemployment and crime. So that the youngest children can soon learn side by side with the primary school children, the joint project is now being expanded: with the donations from this year’s RTL Donation Marathon, the new building for the preschool is now also to be constructed on the grounds of the iThemba primary school.
“With our project, we want to bring hope (“iThemba” in Zulu) into the lives of the children – through access to quality pre-school education for the youngest children in the township. The need for pre-school places is very high there, which is why the pre-school on the existing premises has by far reached its capacity limits. With the support of “RTL – We help children” and Mastercard, it will be possible to build a new preschool building and thus make early education possible for a total of 140 disadvantaged children,” says Susanne French, Lufthansa Purser, help alliance advisory board member and volunteer iThemba project coordinator.
Peter Bakenecker, President Central Europe at Mastercard, is also looking forward to the next joint project milestone and is thrilled that the expansion of the primary school, which was initiated in 2019, was successfully completed this summer despite Corona restrictions: “The fact that the construction work on the iThemba Primary School was completed on time despite the difficult conditions shows how much drive and energy is being put into the work on site. We are all the more pleased to continue to be part of the joint project and thus create a place of refuge and a perspective for the little ones”.
The iThemba education project in Cape Town was founded 15 years ago with the iThemba Pre School as a kindergarten and preschool to offer educational opportunities for disadvantaged children from socially disadvantaged families. The pre-school has always focused on a holistic approach and teaches social skills in addition to Mathematics and English language lessons. Everyday school life and learning together teach respectful interaction and have a positive effect on the children and their environment. Every euro donated in the RTL Donation Marathon will go towards the realization of the new preschool building without a cent deduction, so that in future the preschool and primary school children in Capricorn will be able to learn on the same ground.

Flights to London Heathrow from Calgary on WestJet now Aviation Feature, Aviation News

WestJet’s new non-stop route from YYC to London Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, is welcomed by those looking to access the world’s premier financial and business center and those eager for a direct connection to explore London’s culture and landmarks. Heathrow is a critical access point for business and leisure travelers and will be of great benefit to investors and tourists .Air access is key to Alberta’s economic recovery and growth of the tourism industry.

WestJet today announced it will add non-stop service to London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) beginning early Spring 2022. As WestJet continues to increase global connectivity from Western Canada, the addition of non-stop service between Calgary and London-Heathrow signals confidence in the recovery of business and leisure travel between both destinations.
“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.
Additional network details for travel between Calgary and London-Heathrow including frequency, timing and introductory pricing will be available, and for sale, in the coming weeks.

New Boeing 777-9 jet flies to Doha International Airport Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Qatar Airways welcomed the ultra-modern, fuel efficient jet to Doha International Airport.The 777-9 builds on the passenger-preferred and market-leading 777 and 787 Dreamliner families.The aircraft will remain in Qatar before returning to Seattle’s Boeing Field to continue its rigorous test program.

Qatar Airways today showcased its role as a global launch customer for the latest generation Boeing 777-9 aircraft after welcoming the ultra-modern, fuel efficient jet to Doha International Airport (DIA).
A host of VIP guests joined Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, to share in the arrival of the aircraft, which will remain in Qatar before returning to Seattle’s Boeing Field to continue its rigorous test program.
The aircraft, which is anticipated to join the award-winning airline’s fleet in the near future, will be the world’s largest and most efficient twin-engine jet, delivering 20 percent lower fuel consumption and emissions than previous generation aircraft. Key technologies enabling this efficiency are its new carbon-fiber composite wing, new engines and natural laminar flow nacelles.
Boeing 777-9 builds on the passenger-preferred and market-leading 777 and 787 Dreamliner families to deliver the flight experience of the future. Passengers and crew alike will enjoy a more comfortable cabin altitude, better humidity, a smoother ride, a wider cabin, larger windows and a spacious architecture.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “It was back in 2013 that Qatar Airways Group initially announced its planned investment in the Boeing’s latest generation aircraft.
“After visiting the Boeing factory in Everett, Washington in September 2018, we had the opportunity to view the 777-9 up close in person, but today marks the first chance for the airline and our esteemed VIP guests to witness our significant commitment to this incredible aircraft here in Qatar as it arrives for the first time.
“We are tremendously proud to be a global launch customer for this industry-leading product, and to be able to showcase our commitment towards continuing to support our thriving global network with a fleet that includes the youngest, most technologically-advanced and efficient twin-engine aircraft in the world.” 
Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO, Mr. Stan Deal, said:  “We are honored by Qatar Airways’ enduring commitment to the 777-9 and to the partnership and innovation it represents. With its unprecedented improvement in fuel efficiency and emissions and new levels of comfort, we look forward to seeing the 777-9 delight Qatar Airway’s passengers for many years to come.”

Frankfurt Airport deploys 87 latest biometric-enabled TS6 kiosks Aviation Feature, Aviation News

SITA’s biometric-enabled kiosks and baggage messaging services transform Frankfurt Airport.SITA’s TS6 check-in kiosks allow passengers to check in quickly and obtain bag tags for later self-bag drop services.The kiosks work in concert with SITA Flex and offer passengers a unified user experience across multiple airlines.

SITA, the technology provider for the air transport industry, has announced a large-scale technology deployment at Frankfurt Airport to enhance the passenger experience and increase the airport’s operational efficiency. The deployment features the installation of 87 biometric-enabled SITA TS6 Kiosks and is expected to be completed later this year.
SITA‘s versatile TS6 check-in kiosks allow passengers to check in quickly and obtain bag tags for later self-bag drop services. The kiosks work in concert with SITA Flex and offer passengers a unified user experience across multiple airlines, increasing ease of use while also reducing physical touchpoints.
Passengers remain in control of their self-service options, from check-in to self-bag drop via the intuitive biometric-enabled kiosk. The new SITA TS6 kiosk was the winner of the 2021 IF Design award for the slick, sustainable, and adaptive design, which can be customized to fit with the airport’s brand design and specific customer needs. The modular design also means enhancements and modifications can be made without replacing the entire kiosk, bringing added cost efficiency and sustainability benefits. 
SITA’s TS6 Kiosk can be used for check-in and bag tagging paving the way for a completely touchless, mobile passenger journey. The deployment at Frankfurt Airport represents SITA’s largest implementation in Europe.
Dr. Pierre-Dominique Prümm, Executive Director Aviation & Infrastructure at Fraport,  said: “Offering passengers innovative, safer, and smarter ways to travel while also ensuring we have resilient and efficient airport operations is vital as our industry recovers from the impact of the pandemic. SITA supports us in achieving this ambition, and we look forward to welcoming more passengers back to the skies.”
Sergio Colella, President, Europe, SITA, said: “We’re proud to continue supporting leading airports such as Frankfurt in their recovery from the impact of the pandemic. Technology holds the keys to unlocking smarter and safer travel for all, recouping revenues lost during the past 18 months, and ensuring flexible operations that can adapt to the unforeseen circumstances of tomorrow. A more robust and sustainable air transport industry will benefit passengers, economies, and jobs.”

British RAF F-35 fighter jet crashes into the Mediterranean Sea Aviation Feature, Aviation News

UK Royal Air Force F-35 combat aircraft crashed into the Mediterranean Sea earlier today.The pilot was safely rescued and returned to the aircraft carrier.Earlier in November, the UK took delivery of three F-35 stealth fighters, at a cost of £100 million ($135 million) apiece.

British Ministry of Defense (MoD) issued a statement, announcing that a Royal Air Force (RAF) F-35 combat aircraft crashed into the Mediterranean Sea today. The pilot of the jet has managed to safely eject from the plane before the crash.
The pilot was safely rescued and returned to the aircraft carrier and an investigation has been launched into the incident.
According to the MoD statement, a “British F-35 pilot from HMS Queen Elizabeth ejected during routine flying operations in the Mediterranean this morning.”
“It would be inappropriate to comment further at this time,” the ministry added.
Today’s F-35 crash is the first incident reported for the UK’s flagship aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Earlier in November, the UK took delivery of three F-35 stealth fighters, at a cost of £100 million ($135 million) apiece, bringing the total number in the country’s fleet to 24.
The British government has ordered six more jets, which are set to arrive next year, and seven that are due in 2023, with the aim of having 48 active F-35s by 2025.
HMS Queen Elizabeth – the UK’s flagship aircraft carrier – had eight UK F-35s on board, as well as 10 American F-35s. It recently returned to Europe after spending more than seven months on its maiden voyage through the South China Sea and into the Indo-Pacific region.
The Ministry of Defence has not yet recovered the plane, which is believed to have crashed into the sea at 10am GMT on Wednesday, and no other aircraft were involved in the incident.
Despite the launch of an investigation, all remaining F-35s and training flights are continuing uninterrupted.

Slovenia set to become new adventure tourism capital of Europe Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Slovenia set to become new adventure tourism capital of Europe 2

27% of the survey respondents said they typically book adventure holidays.‘Adventure and sport’ is the fifth most popular holiday type, and has particular resonance with Slovenia’s traditional visitors: Czechs and the Dutch.Many tourists are yearning for open, green spaces after months at home.

Inspired by its recent international tourism campaign focusing on adventure tourism, Slovenia is expected to see inbound tourism rise to 5.7 million arrivals by 2024, a 22% increase on pre-pandemic levels.
According to travel industry analysts, ‘adventure and sport’ is the fifth most popular holiday type, and has particular resonance with Slovenia’s traditional visitors: Czechs and the Dutch.
Slovenia is home to some of the most incredible landscapes in Europe but has surprisingly passed many tourists by. However, the Slovenian Tourist Board’s recent campaign has brought the destination to life by focusing on adventure tourism, natural beauty and national parks.

In a recent industry survey, 27% of respondents said they typically book adventure holidays. Adventure tourism also proved more prevalent in some of Slovenia’s key source markets such as the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, with a respective 40% and 32% of respondents noting this is the holiday type they typically book.
The timing of Slovenia’s advertising campaign is ideal. Many tourists are yearning for open, green spaces after months at home. Pent-up demand for adventure travel will see international tourism recover more quickly in Slovenia than some other places in Europe.

Middle East Airlines becomes Airbus Skywise Health Monitoring new customer Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Middle East Airlines will use the solution for its entire fleet.The Beirut based airline is operating an all-Airbus fleet comprising A320 and A330 Family aircraft.Airbus’ SHM saves airlines time and cost associated with unscheduled maintenance.

Middle East Airlines (MEA) has signed an agreement to join the community of Skywise Health Monitoring (SHM) users.
The long standing Airbus customer will be the 50th airline using this innovative tool to optimize the maintenance of its fleets. SHM will support the airline’s maintenance and engineering teams by enabling real-time management of aircraft events and troubleshooting. 
Using the Skywise aviation data platform, SHM collates and centralizes alerts, flight-deck effects, maintenance messages etc., prioritizes them, correlates any faults with the relevant troubleshooting procedures. It also highlights operational impacts, provides the maintenance history of the system (from the logbook and MIS information collected through Skywise Core and stored in the data lake), allowing effective tracking of the alerts. Additionally, it can help airlines anticipate and provision for tools and parts’ to be available closest to the aircraft.
MEA will use the solution for its entire fleet. The Beirut based airline is operating an all-Airbus fleet comprising A320 and A330 Family aircraft.
Airbus’ SHM saves airlines time and cost associated with unscheduled maintenance. SHM also Interfaces with Skywise Predictive Maintenance (SPM) and Skywise Reliability (SR) to provide an integrated user experience. Additionally, it is ready to harness powerful capabilities of the new on-board Flight Operations and Maintenance Exchanger (“FOMAX”) data router – which can capture and record over 24,000 real-time aircraft parameters for subsequent analysis.

Air Tanzania orders new Boeing freighter and passenger jets Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Air Tanzania announced an order for a 787-8 Dreamliner, a 767-300 Freighter and two 737 MAX jets.The order, valued at more than $726 million at list prices, was previously unidentified on the Boeing Orders and Deliveries website.Air Tanzania will expand its current fleet of 787s, leveraging the new 737s for its regional network and the 767 Freighter to capitalize on Africa’s burgeoning cargo demand.

Boeing and the United Republic of Tanzania today announced an order for a 787-8 Dreamliner, a 767-300 Freighter and two 737 MAX jets at the 2021 Dubai Airshow. The airplanes will be operated by Air Tanzania, the national flag-carrier of Tanzania, to expand service from the country to new markets across Africa, Asia and Europe. The order, valued at more than $726 million at list prices, was previously unidentified on the Boeing Orders and Deliveries website.
“Our flagship 787 Dreamliner is popular with our passengers, providing unrivalled in-flight comfort and ultra-efficiency for our long-haul growth,” said Air Tanzania CEO Ladislaus Matindi.” Adding to our 787 fleet, the introduction of the 737 MAX and 767 Freighter will give Air Tanzania exceptional capability and flexibility to meet passenger and cargo demand within Africa and beyond.”
Based in Dar es Salaam, the carrier will expand its current fleet of 787s, leveraging the new 737s for its regional network and the 767 Freighter to capitalize on Africa’s burgeoning cargo demand.
“Africa is the third fastest-growing region worldwide for air travel, and Air Tanzania is well-positioned to increase connectivity and expand tourism throughout Tanzania,” said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing senior vice president of Commercial Sales & Marketing. “We are honored that Air Tanzania has chosen Boeing for its fleet modernization program by adding an additional 787 and introducing the 737 MAX and the 767 Freighter into its expanding network.”
Boeing‘s 2021 Commercial Market Outlook forecasts that, by 2040, Africa’s airlines will require 1,030 new airplanes valued at $160 billion and aftermarket services such as manufacturing and repair worth $235 billion, supporting growth in air travel and economies across the continent.

Jazeera Airways commits to 28 new A320neo jets Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Jazeera Airways is pleased to extend its long-term relationship with Airbus further with this significant new order.The latest agreement will add an additional 28 Airbus aircraft to Jazeera Airways all-Airbus fleet.By taking both A320neo and A321 neo options Jazeera Airways will have great flexibility to extend its network to medium and longer haul destinations from Kuwait.

Airbus has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Jazeera Airways, the Kuwait-based carrier, for 20 A320neos and eight A321neos.
The MoU was signed by Rohit Ramachandran, Jazeera Airways Chief Executive Officer and Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International.
Marwan Boodai, Chairman Jazeera Airways said, “Jazeera Airways is pleased to extend its long-term relationship with Airbus further with this significant new order. We will effectively double our current fleet size to 35 aircraft by 2026. The airline has pulled out of the pandemic strongly in Q3 with a return to profitability.  We have exciting expansion plans ahead, which will further boost our contribution to the Kuwait economy and in particular the travel sector.” 
“We are proud to extend our partnership with Jazeera Airways through this latest agreement which will add an additional 28 Airbus aircraft to its all Airbus fleet”, said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer, and Head of Airbus International. “The A320neo Family is without doubt the best platform to support Jazeera Airways’ growth plans. This is the perfect illustration of how Airbus helps escort the growth of its successful customers.”
Rohit Ramachandran, CEO Jazeera Airways added, “By taking both A320neo and A321 neo options we will have great flexibility to extend our network to medium and longer haul destinations from Kuwait, offering passengers more choice to travel and enjoy popular destinations as much as underserved ones”.
Jazeera Airways commenced operations in 2005 and has since emerged as a leading carrier in the region. It is operating regionally and internationally serving Middle East, Europe and Asia’s top destinations from its home base Kuwait. The Kuwaiti airline supports the country’s 2035 vision to further economic expansion and transformation into a commercial hub. 
The A320neo Family incorporates the very latest technologies including new generation engines, Sharklets and aerodynamics, which together deliver 20% in fuel savings and CO2 reduction compared to previous generation Airbus aircraft. The A320neo Family has received more than 7,400 orders from over 120 customers.

Nigerian Ibom Air buys ten new Airbus A220 jets Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Ibom Air currently flies to Uyo, Abuja, Calabar, Enugu, Lagos, and Port Harcourt using two A220s.The purchase of the new A220s will enable the airline to continue on its growth path, offering new routes across not just Nigeria, but to the west African region and to Africa at large.Airbus A220 is the only aircraft purpose-built for the 100-150 seat market.

Akwa Ibom state government owned airline in Nigeria, Ibom Air has signed a firm order for ten (10) A220s at the Dubai Airshow. The signing was done by Mfon Udom, the chief Executive Officer of Ibom Air, and Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International in the presence of the Akwa Ibom state Governor, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel.
Nigeria, with the largest population in Africa and the largest GDP, offers substantial growth potential in both domestic and regional travel. The A220 is therefore the ideal choice for a full range of services from very short-haul segments to intra-continental air routes.
“It gives me great pleasure to be here to announce Ibom Air’s order for 10 Airbus A220s”, said Mfon Udom, CEO of Ibom Air. “As an organization, we at Ibom Air are delighted with the steep growth we have achieved in just over two and a half years since we commenced operations, a growth chiefly driven by the massive embrace of our product and brand by the Nigerian domestic flying public. The addition of the A220 to our fleet will support our growth strategy and boost operational efficiency. It will also offer our passengers more space and enhanced cabin experience, as a value add for choosing us.”
“The A220 will allow us to increase the number of annual passengers through Akwa Ibom Airport, in Uyo, thus bringing more first-time visitors and business travelers to the region. These efforts reflect our commitment to supporting local commerce and making a positive contribution to socio-economic growth in Akwa Ibom state and Nigeria.” said the Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Mr. Udom Emmanuel.
Ibom Air currently operates two A220s. The airline flies to Uyo, Abuja, Calabar, Enugu, Lagos, and Port Harcourt. The purchase of the new A220s will enable the airline to continue on its growth path, offering new routes across not just Nigeria, but to the west African region and to Africa at large.
“We are thrilled to add Ibom Air as a new Airbus customer. The A220 is ideally suited to Nigeria’s aviation needs, providing operational flexibility to grow the business by responding to demand for increased passenger services. Through this investment, Ibom Air is underscoring its ambition for regional and in due course, international connectivity and operational efficiency.”, said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International.
The A220 is the only aircraft purpose-built for the 100-150 seat market; it delivers unbeatable fuel efficiency and a wide body comfort experience in a single-aisle cabin, with extra wide seats, more leg room and onboard connectivity for entertainment and communication.
By the end of October 2021, the A220 had accumulated 643 firm orders.