A farewell flight: United schedules last flight of its Boeing 747 fleet

Courtesy: United Airlines.

United Airlines today announced the retiring flight of their 747 fleet. The farewell flight will take place on November 07th, 2017 as “UA747” from San Francisco (SFO) to Honolulu (HNL). The aircraft is scheduled to departure from San Francisco International Airport at 11:00 AM* and land at Honolulu International Airport at 02:45 PM*.

By coincidence (or not) this flight has the same route which United made when the airline performed its first Boeing 747-100 commercial flight on July 23th, 1970.

The airline plans to make a remarkable throwback flight with the intention to recreate the United’s first 747 commercial flight. Customers, employees and invited guests will be present. The travelers can expect a 1970s-inpired menu to retro uniforms for flight attendants to inflight entertainment befitting of that first flight, passengers will help send the Queen of the Skies off in true style.  With the same name of United’s first 747 aircraft, this flight will be called “Friend Ship”.

Tickets for this upcoming United 747 goodbye can be purchased now at United’s website or via its app. Seats in the traditional “hump” area of the aircraft (upper deck) will not be sold since the airline will give for all the guests the opportunity to spend time in this iconic space.

For customers with a seat in United Polaris First Class or United Polaris Business Class, the airline will hold a drawing that will happen at the gate prior to boarding for an opportunity to occupy one of a select number of seats in the upper deck during the last journey of United’s 747.

Courtesy: United Airlines.

This farewell journey will start at 09:00 AM* at San Francisco International Airport, featuring a Boeing 747 gallery, remarks from United employees and executives, as well as refreshments.

Upon landing in Honolulu, local employees will welcome the Queen of the Skies with final festivities to finish this magical day. Everyone is encouraged to use the #UA747Farewell hashtag in social media posts.

United Airlines has been one of the driven forces of the 747 Program, since the beginning the airline has made several orders and has bet on the 747 performance.

With acquisition of the new Boeing 747 variants over the years, new routes to Europe, Asia and Oceania were possible and the airline made a record. On 1988, an United Airlines Boeing 747SP-21 took off from Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SEA) towards to Athens (Greece), the aircraft made one stop and then took off again towards to Taipei (Taiwan), before returning to Seattle on the following day. This flight was called “Friendship One” due to the donation of the entire profit of this flight to the Friendship Foundation, a San Francisco-based charity organization who donates millions of dollars to terminally-ill children. It has also marked the first two-stop round-the-world flight, Neil Armstrong and Moya (Bill Lear’s widow) were onboard. The precise record is a flight time of 36 hours, 54 minutes and 55 seconds and a distance of 23.125 miles.

United is making path on their fleet for more state-of-the-art and eco-friendly aircraft like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Boeing 777-300ER and the Next-Generation 737’s. Upcoming aircraft as Airbus A350 XWB (which got an order update early September) and the Boeing 737-10 MAX (historic order of 100 units and the worldwide largest operator of this aircraft variant) will also help together with the Eco-Skies initiative the airline with this mission.

*: Local time.

Premium Economy at Austrian Airlines now available

Courtesy: Austrian Airlines.

Effective immediately (since September 06th, 2017), Austrian Airlines passengers can book a seat in the new Premium Economy travel class for flights starting on March 6, 2018. The centrepiece of the new Premium Economy Class is a new seat providing passengers with more comfort on their journey compared to regular Economy Class seats. The first Boeing 767 will begin to be refitted today. All eleven long-haul aircraft in the Austrian Airlines fleet will gradually be refitted to include the new travel class. The twelfth long-haul aircraft to be acquired by Austrian Airlines in the spring of 2018 will also be equipped with Premium Economy.

“The new Premium Economy Class is an important milestone in our strategy aimed at linking the issue of individualization with quality. The customer can individually choose the travel class according to her or his needs, whether the preference is to fly in a price conscious manner in Economy Class, treat oneself to a little more service and comfort in Premium Economy or luxury travel in Business Class”, says Austrian Airlines CCO Andreas Otto. In particular, the new Premium Economy Class is designed to appeal to passengers who want to afford more service and a higher level of comfort on flights to their holiday destinations as well as price-conscious companies whose employees should travel in comfort on business trips.

The new Premium Economy Class at a glance:

  • New seat with a broader seat surface and generous seat spacing
  • Footrest starting in the second row or leg support with integrated footrest in the first row
  • Always a separate central armrest with fold-out table and cocktail table
  • 12-inch screen with remote control for the in-flight entertainment system
  • Own power outlet and USB port on the seat
  • 2 x 23 kg free baggage
  • High-quality food selection with menu card
  • Welcome drink
  • Amenity kit with useful travel accessories

More space with the new seat

The Premium Economy seat produced specially for the Lufthansa Group is supplied by the aircraft seat manufacturer ZIM, and provides passengers with plenty of legroom based on seat spacing of up to 97 cm or 38 inches. Additional footrests take the strain off the legs on a long flight. The central armrest with fold-out table between the seats and a personal, broad armrest for every passenger enables more privacy and more room on the side. In addition, every seat is equipped with its own power outlet and USB port.

More service in the new travel class

The new Premium Economy Class offers much more than a considerably more comfortable seat. Passengers in the new travel class can check in two pieces of luggage at no charge, each with an allowable weight of up to 23 kilograms before being pampered on board with culinary delights. Travelers conveniently select their favorite food from the menu card, and the food is served on china dishware. Moreover, every passenger in this travel class is given a small amenity kit with useful travel accessories to ensure a restful stay on board. Premium Economy passengers enjoy the extensive in-flight entertainment programme on large 12-inch touchscreen monitors.

Flights in Premium Economy Class can be booked as of now, via Internet, on the Austrian Airlines booking hotline at 05 1766-1000 or at a travel agency. Premium Economy fares range between Business Class and Economy Class. For example, the round-trip Vienna-Bangkok-Vienna flight is available starting at EUR 839 including taxes and charges.

Source: Austrian Airlines.

Summer 2018: Finnair continues strong growth, opens new routes to Lisbon and Stuttgart, increases capacity for popular destinations

Courtesy: Finnair.

In line with its growth strategy, Finnair is adding two new European routes for its summer 2018 lineup including new non-stop flights to Lisbon and Stuttgart, as well as increasing capacity to Tokyo, Chicago, San Francisco, Bangkok and Delhi. Finnair will also be increasing capacity on several of its popular short-haul destinations during the summer 2018 season.

With over 100 European destinations, Finnair continues to expand its route network. As of June 1, Finnair will fly four weekly flights to Lisbon, Portugal. The flights, offering convenient connections for customers travelling to and from Asia, will be operated on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays with a newly WiFi-equipped Airbus aircraft. Finnair is also expanding its presence in the German market, opening a new daily route to Stuttgart, Germany. The new route, which opens April 23, will be Finnair’s sixth destination in Germany.

“Traffic between Europe and Asia continues to grow, and Finnair’s expanding network now offers more choice than ever before for our customers,” says Juha Järvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Finnair. “We are also adding frequencies and capacity to popular Europeans destinations to serve the needs of our growing customer base both in Asia and Europe. Altogether, Finnair will be increasing its total capacity for next summer by 14 percent compared to the previous summer season, including the newly announced route to Nanjing.”

Finnair will add capacity to its popular long-haul destinations for the summer 2018 season:

· Finnair’s flight to Chicago will become daily with the addition of two new weekly frequencies from April to October

· Finnair’s three weekly flights to San Francisco will now have a longer operating season, flying from May 3 to September 27. All of Finnair’s flights to the USA are operated as a joint business with American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia

· Finnair will now fly double daily to Tokyo Narita with three new weekly frequencies. Together with Japan Airlines, Finnair will now offer three daily flights as part of its joint business with British Airways and Iberia

· Three new weekly frequencies will be added to the Bangkok route, serving 10 weekly frequencies during the summer season and 16 frequencies during the winter season

· An additional weekly frequency will be added to the Delhi route bringing it to four weekly frequencies during the summer season and six frequencies during the winter season

In addition, Finnair is increasing frequencies for several popular European destinations during the summer 2018 season:

· Seventeen new weekly frequencies to Tallinn, flying up to ten times daily

· An additional daily flight to Moscow, serving the Russian capital three times daily, and up to six times daily in co-operation with Aeroflot Russian Airlines. In addition, the three daily frequencies between Helsinki and St. Petersburg will now be flown with an Embraer jet aircraft.

· An additional daily frequency to Gdansk, serving the Polish Baltic Sea city with two daily flights

· Four additional weekly frequencies to Edinburgh

· Four additional frequencies to Barcelona between June and August, bringing it to fourteen weekly

· Three additional weekly frequencies to Madrid from June to October, bringing it to ten weekly frequencies

· Two additional weekly frequencies to Reykjavik, serving the Icelandic capital with multiple daily flights in co-operation with Icelandair

· One additional weekly frequency to Dublin, Dubrovnik, Malaga, Tel Aviv, Billund, Venice, Chania, Skiathos, Santorini, Rhodes, Heraklion, and Corfu

Finnair also today announced a new year-round route to Nanjing, China. All new flights can be booked on www.Finnair.com as of today (August 30th, 2017).

Source: Finnair.

Finnair expands its growing network in China with new year-round route to Nanjing

Courtesy: Finnair.

Further strengthening its solid presence in China, Finnair today announced the opening of a new year-round route between Helsinki and Nanjing, China. Located along Yangtse River, Nanjing is one of the four ancient capitals of China, and a vibrant center for culture and economy. With a population of over 8 million people, Nanjing is an important commercial hub and leisure destination with growing passenger and cargo demand.

Offering convenient transfers to Finnair’s network of over 100 destinations, the new route between Helsinki and Nanjing will be operated three times per week during the summer season and two times per week during the winter season.

The opening of the Nanjing route will increase Finnair’s growing footprint in Northeast Asia, with the Finnish carrier flying to seven destinations in Greater China during the 2018 summer season. Altogether, Finnair will fly 38 weekly flights to Greater China, flying daily flights to both Beijing and Shanghai, 4 weekly flights to both Chongqing and Guangzhou, three weekly flights to both Nanjing and Xi’an as well as 10 weekly flights to Hong Kong.

“We are very pleased to be expanding our growing network in China with the addition of Nanjing, our seventh destination in Greater China,” says Juha Järvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Finnair. “Finnair is fast becoming one of the biggest and most preferred European carriers operating between Europe and China. Next year will also mark a very important milestone in our history as we will celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of Finnair’s inaugural flight to Beijing and China.”

Over the past decade, Finnair has placed a strong strategic focus on the Chinese market, opening direct routes to Chongqing, Xian and Guangzhou while enhancing the passenger experience with Chinese signature meals and mobile payment solutions onboard such as Alipay.

The inaugural flight to Nanjing will take place on May 13, 2018 and the new route will be operated with an Airbus A330 aircraft. The new flights will be available for sale on www.finnair.com as of today (August 30th, 2017).

Source: Finnair.

British Airways powers its future by turning household rubbish into jet fuel

Courtesy: British Airways.

British Airways has entered a partnership to design a series of waste plants that convert household waste into renewable jet fuel to power its fleet.

The partnership, with Velocys, a renewable fuels company, is part of the airline’s plans to develop long-term, sustainable fuel options.

The first plant will take hundreds of thousands of tonnes of household waste per-year, destined for landfill or incineration, including nappies, plastic food containers and chocolate bar wrappers, and convert it into clean-burning, sustainable fuels. This will contribute to the airline’s commitment to reduce net emissions by 50 per cent by 2050.

As well as helping the airline industry reduce its carbon emissions this initiative will also significantly reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. The UK still sends more than 15 million tonnes of waste per year to landfill sites which not only damages our natural environment but also releases further greenhouse gases affecting climate change.

The planned plant will produce enough fuel to power all British Airways’ 787 Dreamliner operated flights from London to San Jose, California and New Orleans, Louisiana for a whole year. It would be the first plant of this scale. The airline plans to supply its aircraft fleet with increasing amounts of sustainable jet fuel in the next decade.

The jet fuel produced at the plant will deliver more than 60 per cent greenhouse gas reduction, compared with conventional fossil fuel, delivering 60,000 tonnes of CO2 savings every year. This will contribute to both global carbon emissions reductions and local air quality improvements around major airports.

During the past week the Department for Transport has published changes to the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO), and for the first time, sustainable jet fuel will be included in its incentive scheme. These changes to the RTFO are designed to promote sustainable aviation. Once implemented, they are expected to provide long term policy support for this market.

Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, said: “Sustainable fuels will play an increasingly critical role in global aviation, and we are preparing for that future.

“Turning household waste into jet fuel is an amazing innovation that produces clean fuel while reducing landfill.

“From developing innovative operating techniques, to investing in the most modern and efficient aircraft, we have a strong track record in researching, identifying and implementing ways to reduce emissions.

“This partnership continues this tradition, and shows how we are investing in our long-term future – and that of our customers.”

Source: British Airways.

British Airways launches new premium transfer drive service at Heathrow to help customers avoid missing connecting flights

Courtesy: British Airways.

British Airways is introducing a new service called Premium Transfer Drive at Heathrow to ensure that customers who are at risk of missing their connection are able to catch their onward flight.

The new scheme applies to customers travelling on a UK domestic flight, who are connecting on to either a short-haul flight in Club Europe, a long-haul service in Club World (long haul business class) or First, or who are Silver or Gold Executive Club members.

British Airways’ team at Heathrow will track these customers, and where there’s a risk they will miss their connection, will provide an ‘airside’ car transfer between one flight and the next.

They will also send a message to the inbound aircraft, so the cabin crew can inform the customer that a car will be waiting to transfer them, thereby alleviating any stress or worry.

Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ new director of brand and customer experience, said: “Missing a connection is one of the most stressful situations a customer can experience, so helping them through that journey and keeping them informed is critical. The new premium transfer service will enable us to identify customers who are at risk of missing their onward flight, and proactively arrange to collect them by car, whisking them directly to their next flight.

“We’re already receiving great customer feedback from customers who have benefitted from the new service and as WiFi is introduced on our aircraft, we’ll also be able to use that to communicate directly with customers about their onward flight.”

British Airways is investing £400 million in Club World with an emphasis on improved catering and sleep. At Heathrow a First Wing check-in area with direct security and lounge access has opened, and lounges around the airline’s network are being revamped and improved.

The Club Europe cabin has been introduced on UK domestic services and recent catering improvements have been introduced in Club Europe as well as across all long haul cabins.

British Airways customers can look forward to the latest generation Wi-Fi across British Airways’ long-haul and short-haul fleets over the next two years.

Source: British Airways.

KLM: The Fokker 70’s final commercial flights

Courtesy: KLM.

KLM wants to reflect in appropriate style on the end of the 97-year partnership between KLM and Fokker. The phasing out of the Fokker 70 at KLM Cityhopper marks the end of an extraordinary period for the Dutch airline industry.

So many KLM fans would like to be aboard one of the final Fokker flights on 28 October 2017, that we are publishing the flight schedule below. A few seats are still available and can be booked via www.klm.com.

Especially for fans
That the very last commercial Fokker flight will depart from London is no coincidence. Soon after the first passenger flights took place on 17 May 1920, two Fokkers joined the KLM fleet as the first passenger aircraft to be owned by KLM: these Fokker IIs bore the registration numbers H-NABC and H-NABD. The first operational flight with a Fokker II was on 30 September 1920 to London. The arrival of the Fokker 70 from London on 28 October will complete the circle.

KLM will be devoting much social media attention to the departing Fokkers in the run up to 28 October.

Modernising the fleet
KLM Cityhopper began replacing its Fokker fleet with the modern E-Jet, Embraer 190 and Embraer 175+ in 2008. These new aircraft are facilitating further expansion of the existing network, higher flight frequencies, and lower costs. This wide-ranging modernisation means KLM Cityhopper can contribute to a more efficient and environmentally friendly operation in which quality and passenger comfort are top priorities.

Last flights:

  • DUS – Düsseldorf KL1862 arrival Amsterdam 19.05 hrs*
  • NWI- Norwich KL1512 arrival Amsterdam 19.15 hrs*
  • HAJ – Hannover KL1912 arrival Amsterdam 19.15 hrs*
  • BRU – Brussel KL1732 arrival Amsterdam 19.15 hrs*
  • LUX – Luxembourg KL1746 arrival Amsterdam 19.35 hrs*
  • LHR – London KL1070 arrival Amsterdam 20.30 hrs *

*Local time.

Source: KLM.