Today’s news digest incorporates features on IATA, Azul Brazilian Airlines, American Airlines, Belgrade Airport, Hong Kong International Airport, Heathrow Airport, Qatar Airways, and Air France.
Featured News By Experience The Skies
Qatar Airways Debuts New Qsuite Business Class On June 24 – Qatar Airways debuts its new Qsuite business class product which will be the first in the world to have an all suite design, double bed and quad space configurations.
Skytrax Revealed The Best In The 2017 World Airlines Awards – Skytrax announced Qatar Airways as the best airline in its annual World Airlines Awards ceremony at the Paris Air Show.
Travel Time To London Luton Airport Reduces Up To 25% By 2021 – Luton city council approved plans to build a rail link from the Luton Airport Parkway train station to the central terminal. This will replace a bus shuttle service and reduce overall travel time from Central London to the airport by up to 25%.
Aviation News Around The World
The key operating costs for airlines in 2016 (IATA) – The Montreal based airline agency published a chart with analysis on the key operating costs for its member airlines in 2016 as part of its Chart of the Work feature. Aircraft fuel and oil remained as the biggest component on average at up to 25.2% of total operating costs for airlines with flight equipment maintenance and passenger services followed in second and third respectively. Passenger services is an area with high variability based on the level of service an airline provides (e.g. ultra low cost carriers such as WOW Air provides less complimentary amenities than full service carrier such as Air Canada).
House bill aims to clarify bumping rights for airline passengers (USA Today) – Under a new bill introduced by Republican Representative, Bill Shuster, R-Pennsylvania, airlines would no longer be able to remove passengers who are seated on an oversold flight. The bill is also seeking the Department of Transportation to clarify the compensation structure for those passengers who experience denied boarding. This is similar to the Passenger Bill of Rights (Bill C-49) Government of Canada introduced back in May 2017 (Related News).
Azul Launches Branded Fares for Customers Traveling Without Checked Baggage (Business Wire) – Brazil’s biggest airline, Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras, renamed its fare classes to “Azul” and “maisAzul” with the difference being the Real$30 (~US$9 / £7 / €8) charge on Azul fares for checked baggage of up to 23kg (51lb) in weight. The new branding is in response to a December 2016 Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil (ANAC, or National Civil Aviation Agency) ruling that would not bind airlines to free baggage allowance on all flights.
Azul is the fourth airline created by jetBlue founder David Neeleman (other airlines: Morris Air, WestJet) and uses a fleet of Airbus A320 family, Embraer E-series and ATR-72-600 aircrafts serving mostly Brazil. The airline is known for free snacks, live tv channels and free bus transport from airports to smaller cities.
American Air Rebuffs Surprise Qatar Overture as Feud Lingers (Bloomberg) – Qatar Airways offered American Airlines an unsolicited bid for up to 10% of the Dallas Fort-Worth based airline (Related News). The airline’s Chief Executive Officer, Doug Parker was not enthusiastic about the potential link up in his communique with the employees by saying “Puzzling at best and concerning at worst.’’
Europe / Africa
Five bids for Belgrade airport (Reuters) – One company (France’s Vinci Airports) and four consortia (France’s Meridiam Eastern Europe Investments, Zurich Airport AG and France’s Eiffage; India’s GMR Infrastructure Limited and Greece’s Terna; South Korea’s Incheon International Airport Corporation , Turkey’s Yatirimlar ve isletme and Russia’s VTB Capital Infrastructure; China’s Hainan Air Travel Service, HNA and China National Aero Technology) are bidding for the Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport (BEG) located in Belgrade, Serbia. The Serbian government which owns 83.1 percent stake of the airport expected to fetch €400 million (~US$448 million / £352 million) for a 20% stake. The biggest airport in the country carried 1 million passengers in 2016 and is the home base for Air Serbia.
Hong Kong airport gets HK$7bn upgrade (TTG Asia) – Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) will embark in a HK$7bn (US$897 million / £705 million / €801 million) renovation that will expand Terminal 1 with a skybridge, rooftop garden, observation deck, enhanced food halls and new kids play area. The completion date is scheduled for 2024 to coincide with the introduction of the airport’s third runway.
- Heathrow Airport updated its mobile application on the iOS (v5.4) and Android (v6.9) platforms to include point-to-point way finding for the first time.
- Qatar Airways updated its mobile application on the iOS (v9.8) and Android (v10.9) platforms to include information on its new Qsuite product at check in screens to allow the passenger to easily pick between forward or rear-facing seats. (Related News)
Air France showcased one of its Boeing 777s with the Paris 2024 Olympic logo livery at the Paris Air Show. As the official carrier for the Games, the airline is using this aircraft along with an Airbus A320 and A380 to show promotional support for the bid. Up to 10,000 flights will be flown prior to the bid decision in September 2017. Los Angeles, USA is the only other city in the running and it does not have an official carrier named.