A350 XWB: six million passengers flown… and counting

Courtesy: Airbus.

Just two years after the A350 XWB’s commercial service entry, over six million passengers already have enjoyed the unique flying experience and well-being provided by Airbus’ latest-generation widebody jetliner – which is shaping the future of long-haul airline operations.

The 62 A350 XWBs in airline service at the end of December 2016 had accumulated 154,000-plus flight hours on more than 25,000 flights, with an average daily utilisation of 12.5 hours.

These aircraft are operated by a growing customer base that currently includes: Qatar Airways, Vietnam Airlines, Finnair, LATAM, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Ethiopian Airlines, Thai Airways International (THAI), China Airlines and Lufthansa.

The A350 XWB version in service today is the A350-900, seating 325 passengers in a standard three-class configuration and offering a flight range of up to 8,100 nautical miles. It will be joined by the longer fuselage A350-1000 – accommodating 366 passengers in a typical three-class cabin layout, with a range of 7,950 nautical miles – which is scheduled for its entry in airline service during the second half of 2017. Both aircraft share the same levels of comfort and operational efficiency.

Source: Airbus.

KLM resumes flights from Malpensa Airport

Courtesy: KLM.

On 26 March 2017, KLM will launch a thrice daily service between Milan Malpensa and Schiphol, in addition to the existing service from Milan Linate. In addition, Air France operates five flights a day between Milan Malpensa and Paris Charles de Gaulle. This provides passengers from Milan with connections to more than 260 destinations with a maximum transfer time of four hours in Amsterdam or Paris.

With the resumption of services to Italy’s second most important airport, Malpensa, we are now able to offer our customers a choice of two Milanese airports with direct connections to Amsterdam Schiphol and Paris Charles de Gaulle, the gateways to KLM and Air France’s entire global network – Harm Kreulen, Air France-KLM Senior Vice President Benelux.

In addition to the Milan Malpensa service, KLM already added two new seasonal destinations to its network at the end of last year for 2017, namely Cagliari and Catania.

Source: KLM.

Surfing above the clouds: Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines going online on short haul and mid-range flights too

Courtesy: Deutsche Lufthansa.

Send emails from a height of 10,000 meters, do your online shopping while soaring over the Alps, stream videos above the clouds – and all of that with broadband quality. Soon, passengers of Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines will be able to go online on shorter journeys too – as they have already been able to do for some time on long haul flights.

Last summer, Lufthansa received the so-called Supplemental Type Certificate for the Airbus fleet A320 from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), and successfully concluded all the necessary preparation work. Now the next stage of testing on Lufthansa and Austrian routes will start, initially involving five aircraft in each case. Passengers who fly on these aircraft will be offered free Internet use during this test phase. The analysis of the user behaviour will provide the data necessary to further enhance the service ahead of its market launch.

Harry Hohmeister, member of the Board of Directors of Deutsche Lufthansa AG and responsible for Hub Management, says “I am pleased that we can soon offer broadband Internet to our passengers on inner-European flights, giving them the chance to have a seamless digital experience. Since the launch of Lufthansa Flynet, it has been our goal to offer added value on board to our customers through innovation – and that also includes our Internet provision”.

In the first quarter of 2017, the number of Lufthansa aircraft fitted out with Internet access will rise to around 20. One by one, the entire Lufthansa A320 fleet is to be equipped with the latest advanced technology by the middle of 2018. The re-fitting of all 31 aircraft at Austrian Airlines is planned to be completed before the end of April 2017. As well as Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines, Eurowings also has plans to bring the Internet on board its aircraft – estimated launch is to be by the end of the first quarter 2017. A total of 69 Eurowings aircraft are to be fitted with the systems by the summer of 2017.

Lufthansa passengers can gain Wifi access to the Internet using their own mobile devices. As well as email services, applications such as video streaming will be possible too. Market launch of the new service is scheduled to take place sometime during the first quarter of the year. Customers will then be able to choose between three different service packages – FlyNet Message for EUR 3, FlyNet Surf for EUR 7 and FlyNet Stream for EUR 12 per flight. Whilst FlyNet Message only allows the use of messaging services such as email, WhatsApp or iMessage, FlyNet Surf also enables passengers to surf the Internet. With the FlyNet Stream service package, streaming is also possible. The packages can be paid for by credit card or via payment services such as Paypal.

The Internet service of Lufthansa Airlines and their technology partner Inmarsat uses the latest broadband satellite technology (Ka-band) and provides seamless, reliable coverage on short haul and mid-range flights via the Inmarsat network Global Xpress (GX). Inmarsat partner Deutsche Telekom will be the Internet Service Provider for Lufthansa passengers.

Lufthansa Technik is responsible for the fitting of all the systems and components, as well as dealing with the required Aviation regulations and other statutory authorisations. They are fitting out the entire Airbus A320 family of the Lufthansa Group Airlines with the latest Ka-band satellite technology. By spring, almost 100 aircraft are scheduled to have been equipped. The aircraft can be fitted with the required antennae and routers on a series of ten production lines, working simultaneously, at the Lufthansa Technik sites. On account of the only minimally-invasive adjustments needed to the aircraft structure, the rapid re-fitting of even large fleets is possible – generally involving just four days downtime per aircraft.

Lufthansa Systems is providing the necessary technical infrastructure for Internet connection on board. This includes the network operations in the aircraft – the technical pre-requisite for Wifi on board – as well as the provision of the necessary software for the operation of the FlyNet portal, through which the customer gains access to the net.

Within the framework of their global partnership, Lufthansa Systems and Lufthansa Technik are in addition providing a modern, multi-functional digital platform (BoardConnect) to enable digital use cases ranging from entertainment to ancillary revenues. Both Lufthansa Group Airlines and external customers will profit from this strong cooperation arrangement.

As long ago as 15 January, 2003, Lufthansa was the operator of the first commercial long haul flight worldwide to have broadband Internet access. The service had to be taken off the market in 2006 despite its technically reliable system and its growing popularity with passengers, because the necessary “Connexion by Boeing” satellites ceased operations. Since the end of 2010, Lufthansa has again been offering broadband Internet access on its inter-continental flights – once again as worldwide first. And since June 2015, FlyNet has been available on all current 107 Lufthansa long haul aircraft, With the addition of the Boeing 777 to the fleet, the group’s subsidiary SWISS also started offering Internet on its long haul flights; for the short haul and mid-range, its introduction is currently also under consideration.

Source: Deutsche Lufthansa.

Lufthansa Group to hire more than 3000 new staff in 2017

Courtesy: Deutsche Lufthansa.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG will once again hire more than 3000 new staff this year. It is mostly flight attendants who will join the various airlines of the Lufthansa Group in 2017. Lufthansa, Germany’s biggest airline, will hire 1400 flight attendants at the hubs in Frankfurt and Munich alone; overall the Lufthansa Group airlines will hire more than 2200 new staff.

Last year, in addition to the conventional application processes, Lufthansa also held six flight attendant castings in Heidelberg, Mainz, Augsburg, Regensburg, Munich and Berlin, which was met with great interest among the target group. More than 2000 applicants went to the castings, and almost 6000 attended the regular application days in Frankfurt. Almost one in every three applicants was accepted.

Sandra Albrecht, for example. “I have always wanted to work at Lufthansa”, says the Frankfurt based woman, who, in the summer, successfully completed the Lufthansa flight attendant casting in Mainz. “It has always been my dream to be a flight attendant. I couldn’t believe my luck at first”, she says, happily. For Sandra Albrecht, the dream of flying is within her grasp.

Other divisions are also hiring. Lufthansa Technik, for example, is planning to recruit 450 new staff at different locations, and Austrian Airlines is hiring more than 300 new, cabin, check-in and cockpit staff, and other divisions are also looking. With 37,000 employees, Lufthansa is the largest employer in Frankfurt and Hesse.

For the aviation group, training young people is of particular importance. 250 new candidates will start an apprenticeship or a degree in the Lufthansa Group in 2016/17. And there is a lot to choose from: there are nine degree courses and 34 training programmes, including toolmaker, air traffic assistant, system catering professional and forwarding and logistics services expert.

“Lufthansa remains the most attractive employer in Germany and the employer of choice for many applicants. Last year, more than 100,000 applications were submitted to the career portal at www.be-lufthansa.com. This makes us very proud.  We are pleased to hire more than 3000 staff again this year”, says Carsten Spohr, chairman of the board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

For details about career opportunities at the Lufthansa Group as well as requirements, please visit www.be-lufthansa.com. In addition to the flight attendant castings, applications can only be submitted through the career portal. On Facebook you can visit the careers fan page “Be-Lufthansa”. At www.facebook.de/BeLufthansa, human resources experts provide valuable tips and answers all about working at the Lufthansa Group. Or simply go to blog.be-lufthansa.com, where you can find useful tips about apprenticeships at Lufthansa.

Source: Deutsche Lufthansa.

Air France: New look for the Premium Economy comfort kit

Courtesy: Air France.

Since January 2017, Air France has been offering its Premium Economy customers a brand new travel kit on board long-haul flights. This new model aims to reflect the image of the Premium Economy cabin, with a relaxed, chic and dynamic design. Available in a choice of two colours, the new comfort kit highlights the accent, symbolizing the Air France brand.

Intended as a gift that customers can take home with them after the trip, the models are renewed every six months.

The Premium Economy comfort kit contains –

  • headphone protectors;
  • ear plugs;
  • toothbrush and toothpaste;
  • pair of socks;
  • eye mask.

Source: Air France.

Air France inaugurates its Boeing 787’s first commercial flight to Cairo

Courtesy: Air France.

On 9 January 2017, Air France inaugurated its Boeing 787’s first commercial flight to Cairo. Customers can now travel to Cairo on board this innovative new aircraft up to 6 times a week. Equipped with the latest new travel cabins, the Boeing 787 has 30 seats in Business, 21 in Premium Economy and 225 in Economy.

Flights schedules for the Boeing 787 to Cairo (in local time)

AF570: leaves Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 14:30, arrives in Cairo at 20:00;

AF567: leaves Cairo at 1:35, arrives at Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 5:30.

Flights operated on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Discover enchanting Cairo with Travel by Air France

There is a beautiful smell of jasmine in the gardens of Heliopolis, with rose sellers along the coastal path, where lovers walk hand in hand in the evening. The night is mild, laden with the smell of chichas. Cairo never seems to sleep, and never stop living. Everything is forgiven in Cairo, as something seems to make everything calm. Its Pyramids defy time and the nurturing river Nile flows from the heart of Africa.

Air France offers all curious, demanding and passionate travellers a digital and original travel blog called travelby.airfrance.com. With two new cities added each month, Cairo is one of the 100 or so destinations available.

On board the Boeing 787: the best of Air France

This innovative new-generation aircraft offers a unique travel experience:

  • the latest Air France cabins: a cocoon in the sky in the Business cabin (30 seats), and comfort for all in the new Premium Economy cabin (21 seats) and in Economy (225 seats);
  • a Wi-Fi connection on board adapted to the requirements and habits of customers (from 20MB to 200MB for a price ranging between €5 and €30);
  • mood lighting adapted to the different stages of the flight;
  • additional comfort and space with the new Premium Economy seats;
  • windows that are approximately 30% larger than on similar aircraft, equipped with an electronic window darkening system;
  • a lower cabin altitude and enhanced in-flight humidity levels for greater travel comfort.

Source: Air France.

Development milestone: Integration begins for Airbus’ next-generation Beluga XL

Courtesy: Airbus.

Airbus’ next-generation oversize cargo airlifter is transitioning from concept to reality as the first Beluga XL core airframe starts its 18-month integration process at the company’s production facilities in Toulouse, France.

The core airframe is an extract of an Airbus A330-200 freighter that already has been structurally reinforced, providing the platform on which the Beluga XL airframe will be built. This element was assembled in December without a nose fuselage or tail assembly – both of which will be added during activity planned in 2017.

Integration of the Beluga XL core airframe will be performed inside the two-section L34 building at Airbus’ Lagardère industrial zone, which is adjacent to Toulouse-Blagnac Airport.

For the first 12 months of the assembly activity, the airframe will be completed and its mechanical and electrical systems will be fitted at an integration station. For the remaining six months, the aircraft will move to a second station for ground testing and engine installation.

“The coming year of final integration will be a series of small steps,” said Beluga XL programme head Bertrand George. “The number of holes to be drilled and fasteners to be installed is far bigger than on any other Airbus aircraft. Sticking to schedule at each step is the key to being ready for first flight in 2018. I fully trust the capability of our teams to make it happen together.”

Based on the airframe of the versatile A330 jetliner, a total of five Beluga XL airlifters are to be built, with the first to enter operational service in 2019. They will gradually replace the existing fleet of Beluga ST aircraft, which were derived from the shorter-fuselage A300.

Once the first Beluga XL enters service, it will provide crucial support to Airbus’ production ramp-up from day one thanks to its ability to carry a full set of A350 XWB wings.

Source: Airbus.