British Airways: Island challenge takes flight

Courtesy: British Airways.

Courtesy: British Airways.

Residents on the Isle of Man were asked to put their local knowledge to the test this week as the British Airways island challenge took off.

The airline teamed up with 3FM Radio for a unique treasure hunt to promote the return British Airways flights between the Isle of Man and London City Airport.

Cabin crew member Mercedesz Szasz was pictured at several iconic locations on the island which featured on the radio’s website and social media sites throughout the day and listeners had to correctly identify where she was.

As well as the chance to win flights the top prize was return flights to London City, a stay at the Westbury Hotel in Mayfair and dinner at the famous Boisdale Restaurant in Canary Wharf.

Luke Hayhoe, British Airways’ general manager commercial and customer said: “We had a fantastic two days visiting some of the most beautiful parts of the Isle of Man. We visited local travel agents and also had fun with the radio station testing people’s local knowledge.

“The Isle of Man-London City route is very important to us and we always welcome the opportunity to get involved with the local community to promote the flights.”

Source: British Airways.

British Airways and Marks & Spencer join forces to provide best food in the sky for short-haul customers

Courtesy: British Airways.

Courtesy: British Airways.

  • Two great British brands partner to provide Food on the Move for short-haul fliers
  • Airline is acting on feedback and giving customers the choice and quality they’ve asked for.
  • Options selected are M&S customer favourites chosen for their flavour at altitude
  • Everything on the food menu priced at under £5 – ranging from just £1 to £4.95 and customers can pay with Avios
  • Menu choices include vegetarian, gluten free and healthy fresh options plus snacks and comfort foods
  • Bespoke menu options and seasonal changes to be introduced throughout the year
  • First airline to offer leading brand sandwiches, all of which are fortified with added fibre and vitamin D

British Airways is partnering with another great British brand – Marks & Spencer – to offer customers on short-haul flights the option to purchase a premium food range at 35,000ft.

The new British Airways menu, which will replace the airline’s current complimentary snacks, will include items from the M&S Food on the Move selection and will be available in the economy cabin on short-haul and domestic flights from Heathrow and Gatwick from January 11, 2017, and from London City and London Stansted by summer 2017.

The collaboration follows extensive customer research and feedback, which highlighted dissatisfaction with the airline’s current short-haul economy catering, and found fliers want more choices that reflect what they would normally select when out and about.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said: “We know our customers expect a great experience with British Airways. They’ve told us we are experts in flying and service, but when it comes to catering on short-haul flights, they want to choose from a wider range of premium products. Like British Airways, Marks & Spencer is a well-known, premium British brand that is respected and trusted, so it’s an ideal partnership, providing our customers with a choice of products they recognise and value.”

“I firmly believe what we are delivering breaks the mould and sets a new standard in short-haul catering.  We will be providing a selection of premium brand, fresh food options and a menu that will be refreshed on a quarterly basis.

“We will also enable travellers to be able to use their Avios, the points they earn as an Executive Club member, to purchase meals. We know they’re always looking for ways to use their Avios and this is a great option for them.”

Andy Adcock, director of food at Marks & Spencer, said: “We’re proud to be supplying a great British brand with a reputation for quality and customer service that mirrors our own. For 35 years we’ve had a market leading Food on the Move offer and we’ll supply British Airways with customer favourites and healthy choices made with outstanding ingredients, all with the provenance you’d expect from M&S.”

Prices will range from £1 for hand cooked crisps up to £4.95 for a Balanced for You spiced chicken with quinoa and rice salad.

Throughout the year, the aim is to deliver bespoke items designed specifically for British Airways customers by Marks & Spencer.  Elements of the menu will also change on a quarterly basis to reflect the seasons.

Payment will be quick and easy via debit or credit card, including contactless transactions. Customers will also be able to pay with Avios via the BA app or with their Executive Club card.

The range will include a number of great fresh options as well as packaged products that are easy for customers to eat on the flight or take with them for their onward journey.

Breakfast options will include Greek style natural yogurt with summer berry compote and granola (£1.95), classic fruit salad with pineapple, melon, mango, apple, kiwi and blueberries (£3.10). Hot options will be the M&S Café bacon roll with pork from British farmers (£4.75) and a tomato and mozzarella focaccia (£4.75).

Fresh sandwiches will be available including the Aberdeen Angus beef and red onion chutney bloomer (£4.75) and the classic cheese ploughman’s with nine-month aged farmhouse mature cheddar and vine ripened tomatoes, pickle and mixed salad (£3.00).

The airline will be the first to serve M&S sandwiches fortified with both vitamin D (good for healthy bones and teeth) and added fibre helping customers boost these essential nutrients, providing at least 15 per cent of the daily recommended requirement of Vitamin D. Because of their strong umami flavours, the sandwiches work particularly well at altitude, where taste buds behave differently.

Other snacks will include a nut assortment of almonds, brazil, cashew and hazelnuts (£1.60), wasabi peas (£1.60), salted cashews (£1.60), Oriental snack mix (£2), super fruit, nut and seed flapjacks (£1.45), salt & vinegar and lightly salted hand-cut crisps (both £1).

Confectionery options will include a made without wheat salted caramel hazelnut millionaire bar (£1.45), a grab-bag sized milk chocolate covered popping popcorn and pretzels (£2.45), packs of mini oat biscuits (£1.10), Swiss milk chocolate mountain bars (£1.70), the famous Percy Pigs (£1.80) and ‘The Whippy One’ (£1).

The airline will also offer customers a full bar service with soft drinks priced from £1.50 and alcoholic drinks from £4.

Club Europe (short-haul business class) customers will continue to be offered a full, complimentary menu, which is also being improved and revamped from spring 2017 as part of the changes to short-haul catering. Further details will be released on the changes nearer the time.

This is the latest in a tranche of updates to the airline’s short-haul services. Since 2014, 95 short-haul aircraft have been revamped with an updated interior, which is proving very popular with customers. Earlier in 2016, British Airways also simplified its short-haul fares to just three options: Basic, Plus and Plus Flex. Customers purchasing a ‘Plus’ fare benefit in particular, thanks to the additional flexibility of being able to change their flight on the day of travel for free – an option that wasn’t available on the previous standard fare.

Source: British Airways.

Finnair takes delivery of its seventh A350 aircraft and closes a sale and leaseback agreement

Courtesy: Finnair.

Courtesy: Finnair.

Finnair has finalised an arrangement, already announced last year as a memorandum of understanding, by which Finnair sells the Airbus A350 aircraft delivered today, to GE Capital Aviation Services Limited (“GECAS”) and leases back the aircraft for its own operation. The initial lease period is 12 years, and the lease includes extension options.

The arrangement has a positive, non-recurring effect of approximately 40 million euro on Finnair’s operating profit for the third quarter of 2016, including a gain on sale and currency gains on pre-delivery payments and hedges.

As stated previously, a similar agreement is also in place for Finnair’s next A350 aircraft, which will materialise at the time of delivery, currently anticipated in the first quarter of 2017.

Finnair has ordered a total of 19 new A350-900 XWB aircraft from Airbus and has now received seven. According to the currently anticipated delivery schedule, Finnair will have 11 A350 aircraft by the end of 2017 and 19 by the end of 2023.

Disclosures on the financing arrangements for the A350 aircraft will be made as the agreements are finalized. Finnair’s fleet consists of both owned and leased aircraft.

Source: Finnair.

Air France-KLM signs a partnership agreement with Gogo to equip its long-haul fleet with WiFi

Courtesy: Air France - KLM.

Courtesy: Air France – KLM.

On 29 September 2016, Air France-KLM signed a partnership agreement with Gogo, a world leader in broadband Internet provision and entertainment in the airline industry, to offer its customers connectivity services on board its long-haul flights.

68 Air France Boeing 777 and 15 Airbus A330 as well as 29 KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 777 and 12 Airbus A330 will be equipped with WiFi on board starting from end 2017, a total of 124 long-haul aircraft.

With this new joint Air France and KLM agreement, the Group’s passengers will benefit from WiFi during their trip by staying connected around the world with their family, friends or business partners, on their smartphone, laptop or tablet. On the in-house Air France-KLM designed onboard portal a freely accessible environment is available where customers can find relevant information about their flight, arrange travel details and find entertainment beyond the state of the art seat-back inflight entertainment systems.

The 2Ku product from Gogo offers a future-proof platform based on the latest antenna technology, bringing flexibility to adapt to growing demands from our customers.

We want to offer our customers the best possible solution to stay connected. By installing the latest WiFi technology on board on more than 120 aircraft in our long-haul fleet, we are once again illustrating our ability to innovate and provide all our passengers with the best possible experience – Michel Pozas Lucic, Vice President Customer Innovation and Care at Air France-KLM.

Boeing 787 already equipped with WiFi
On Air France-KLM’s long-haul fleet, passengers already enjoy WiFi on board the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with currently 8 aircraft operated by KLM and the first aircraft operated by Air France as from 9 January next year. The Group’s Boeing 787, which offer WiFi on board, are equipped by Panasonic Avionics, and offer the same portal and products as planned on the rest of the long-haul fleet.

Source: KLM.

Air France launches its new Paris – Oran route

Courtesy: Air France.

Courtesy: Air France.

On 25 September 2016, Air France officially launched its new route between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Oran in Algeria.

Since 27 July 2016, Air France has been offering its customers a new service between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Oran. Three weekly flights connect the two cities by Airbus A320 which seats 174 passengers, departing on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

On board the Airbus A320, customers enjoy the very latest medium-haul travel cabins. Leather-upholstered seats throughout offer a new standard for travel in both Business Class and Economy Class. The entire cabin, with its harmonious and elegant design, offers passengers optimum travel comfort, ideal for working, resting, or enjoying refreshments before arriving at the destination.

Flight schedules (in local time)

    AF1530: departure from Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 09:50, arrival Oran at 11:15;

    AF1531: departure from Oran at 12:30, arrival Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 16:05.

 (Wednesday, Friday and Sunday)

In addition, on departure from Oran, Air France customers benefit from optimized onward connections to Air France’s entire medium- and long-haul network from its hub at Paris-Charles de Gaulle.

Discover Oran, the Radiant City, with Travel by Air France

Air France now offers all curious, demanding and passionate travellers a digital and original travel blog: travelby.airfrance.com. With two new cities added each month, Oran is one of the 104 destinations available. In this way, Air France customers can explore a wide selection of hidden restaurants, boutique hotels and scenic spots, drawn up by people who love their city (bloggers, e-influencers, journalists, etc.).

Air France has designed this guide not only as a source of inspiration to help customers choose a destination, but also as a real travel guide during their stay.

Air France-KLM in Algeria

Thanks to this new service, the Group now offers up to 32 weekly flights, three routes and two destinations in Algeria with its airlines Air France and Transavia:

3 weekly flights from Paris-Charles de Gaulle to Oran, operated by Air France;

27 weekly flights from Paris-Charles de Gaulle to Algiers, operated by Air France;

2 weekly flights from Lyon to Algiers, operated by Transavia.

Source: Air France.

Air France increases services on its Paris – Cancun route

Courtesy: Air France.

Courtesy: Air France.

To meet the strong market demand, Air France will fly to Cancun throughout 2017 from Paris-Charles de Gaulle, increasing the number of services to 4 weekly flights during the 2016-17 winter season, operated by Boeing 777-300 (468 seats) and 3 weekly flights during the 2017 summer season, operated by Boeing 777-200 (312 seats).

“By launching services by A380 on the Paris-Mexico City route in January 2016, Air France was the first airline to fly to Central and South America with the super jumbo. With today’s announcement of Paris-Cancun services throughout the year, which so far have been operated only in winter, Air France-KLM is confirming its development strategy on the Mexican market. These direct flights to Cancun all year round offer our French and European passengers direct access to the Riviera Maya, a very popular region with tourists”, said Patrick Alexandre, EVP Commercial, Sales and Alliances at Air France-KLM.

Flight schedules for the 2017 summer season (in local time):

AF650: leaves Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 12:15, arrives in Cancun at 16:05;

AF651: leaves Cancun at 18:20, arrives at Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 11:00.

Flights operated on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Discover Cancun, gateway to Yucatan with Travel by Air France

Air France offers all curious, demanding and passionate travelers a digital and original travel blog: travelby.airfrance.com. With two new cities added each month, Cancun is one of the 104 destinations available. In this way, Air France customers can explore a wide selection of hidden restaurants, boutique hotels and scenic spots, drawn up by people who love their city (bloggers, e-influencers, journalists, etc.).

Air France has designed this guide not only as a source of inspiration to help customers choose a destination, but also as a real travel guide during their stay.

Air France-KLM, European leader to Central and South America and the Caribbean

During the 2016-17 winter season, the Air France-KLM group will operate up to 18 weekly flights to Mexico:

4 weekly flights between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Cancun, operated by Air France;

7 weekly flights between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Mexico City, operated by Air France;

7 weekly flights between Amsterdam-Schiphol and Mexico City.

Air France, the first airline to serve Mexico City by Airbus A380, also offers services between Paris and Mexico City on a codeshare basis with Aeromexico, providing a wide range of connecting opportunities on the Mexican airline’s domestic network.

Leader in Central and South America and the Caribbean in terms of seat capacity, Air France-KLM serves 27 destinations* in this region, and offers more than 261 weekly flights on departure from Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam-Schiphol.

*: Aruba, Bogota, Bonaire, Brasilia, Buenos Aires, Cancun, Cali, Caracas, Cayenne, Curacao, Fort de France, Guayaquil, Havana, Lima, Mexico City, Montevideo, Panama, Paramaribo, Pointe à Pitre, Port au Prince, Punta Cana, Quito, Santo Domingo, Saint Martin, Santiago, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro.

Source: Air France.

China Airlines becomes new operator of the Airbus A350 XWB

Courtesy: Airbus.

Courtesy: Airbus.

China Airlines (CAL) has taken delivery of its first A350-900, becoming the ninth airline to operate the world’s newest and most efficient twin engine widebody airliner.

CAL’s A350-900 is configured with a premium three class layout with a total of 306 seats, comprising 32 in Premium Business class, convertible to fully lie-flat beds, 31 in Premium Economy and 243 in the main cabin.

Altogether CAL has ordered 14 A350-900s.  After an initial period flying on regional services between Taipei and Hong-Kong, the aircraft will be deployed on long haul flights, starting with Amsterdam, followed by Vienna and Rome.

The A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fiber fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Together, these latest technologies translate into unrivalled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs. The spaciousness, quietness, beautiful interior and mood lighting in the cabin contribute to superior levels of comfort and well-being, setting new standards in terms of flight experience for all passengers.

To date, Airbus has recorded a total of 810 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 43 customers worldwide, already making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever.

Source: Airbus.