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.

Approved for airline service: how the A321neo received its airworthiness certification

Courtesy: Airbus.

This month’s A321neo certification was the culmination of an extensive effort to confirm the “ready-for-service” status of Airbus’ longest-fuselage version in its New Engine Option single-aisle jetliner family.

To receive such type certification, Airbus demonstrates that every system, characteristic and feature of an aircraft is airworthy – with the related activity involving ground-based and flight tests to measure how the jetliner performs in all conditions.

It was a recognition of Airbus’ expertise and mastery of new technology, and acknowledged the engagement of employees as well as industrial partners who have worked together during the aircraft’s development.

The 15 December type certification was granted for the A321neo version powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1100G-JM engines, being jointly issued by the world’s two largest airworthiness authorities: the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States.

Airbus’ A321neo version with the other available powerplant – CFM International’s LEAP-1A engines – will be certified in the coming months.

Source: Airbus.

Air Canada launches new non-stop service between Montreal and San Juan, Puerto Rico

Courtesy: Air Canada.

Air Canada today (December 17th, 2016) inaugurated a new non-stop service between Montreal and Puerto Rico. This morning’s departure of Air Canada flight AC958 marks the beginning of weekly flights from Montreal to San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, which will operate as a seasonal service this winter.

“This new route from Montreal will make it easier for customers to travel to Puerto Rico from eastern Canada and complements our existing twice-weekly services between Toronto and San Juan. It also strengthens Air Canada’s Montreal hub, which is playing a significant strategic role in our ongoing global expansion. Our capacity in Montreal is up nearly 20 per cent over the last two years and in the past year alone we have launched or announced 13 new destinations from the city, including Shanghai, Algiers, Lyon, and Marseille,” said Benjamin Smith, President, Passenger Airlines at Air Canada.

“I would like to congratulate and thank Air Canada for adding San Juan, Puerto Rico to its already impressive list of non-stop destinations served from Montreal,” said James Cherry, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aéroports de Montréal. “This new service will offer one more option to our passengers seeking to diversify their sun destinations.”

Air Canada’s Montreal-San Juan flights will operate with a 146-seat Airbus A320 featuring two classes of service with 14 Business Class seats and 132 seats in Economy Class. The aircraft features a personal seatback In-Flight Entertainment system and a power outlet available at every seat throughout the aircraft. Flights are timed for convenient connections through Air Canada’s extensive international network and provide for Aeroplan accumulation and redemption and, for eligible customers, priority check-in, Maple Leaf Lounge access in Montreal, priority boarding and other benefits.

Flight

Departs

Arrives

Day of the week*

AC958

Montreal at 8:00

San Juan at 14:00

Saturday

AC959

San Juan at 14:45

Montreal at 18:59

Saturday

*: Service operates until April 22, 2017.
Source: Air Canada.

Airbus A321neo with P&W engines receives Type Certification

Courtesy: Airbus.

Following a comprehensive flight test programme, the A321neo powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1100G-JM engines received joint Type Certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on 15th December 2016.

The documents were respectively signed by EASA’s Certification Director Trevor Woods and by Jeffrey Duven, FAA Manager of the Transport Airplane Directorate – Aircraft Certification Service. Both certificates were handed over to Airbus Executive Vice President Programmes, Didier Evrard, and Airbus Senior Vice President A320 Family Programme, Klaus Roewe.

“The A321neo allows airlines to upsize their fleets while offering a winning combination of unbeatable economics and comfort. This aircraft contributes already some 40 per cent to our single aisle deliveries, and further growing,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO. ”Today’s certification is a rewarding tribute to all the teams who have been instrumental in making this essential milestone happen.”

The A321neo – the largest member of the A320neo Family – successfully completed a certification programme accumulating over 350 flight hours in more than 130 flights; validating its airframe and systems well beyond their design limits to ensure the aircraft successfully meets all airworthiness criteria. The campaign also confirmed the aircraft is meeting its performance targets in terms of fuel burn and range. Offering significant environmental benefits, including a smaller noise footprint, the aircraft also demonstrated excellent low speed performance capabilities for its operators.

The Pratt & Whitney powered aircraft is the first variant of the A321neo to have received EASA and FAA Type Certification. The A321neo with CFM International LEAP-1A engines will be certified in the coming months.

The A320neo Family is the world’s best-selling single aisle product line with over 4,800 orders from 89 customers, capturing 60 percent share of the market. Thanks to their wide cabin, all members of the A320neo Family offer an unmatched passenger experience in all classes and Airbus’ 18” wide seats in economy as standard.

Source: Airbus.

ANA takes delivery of its first A320neo

Courtesy: Airbus.

Tokyo-based airline ANA has taken delivery of its first A320neo becoming the first A320neo operator in Japan.

ANA’s A320neo is configured for 146 passengers in a two-class cabin layout with 8 business class seats and 138 economy class seats. It is powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1100G-JM engines. ANA plans to start scheduled commercial services from Japan to Asian cities including China in January next year.

ANA HOLDINGS, the parent company of ANA, placed orders for a total of 37 A320 Family aircraft including seven A320neos, 26 A321neos and four A321ceos in 2014 and 2015. The company also ordered three A380s this year.

The A320neo Family incorporates the latest engines and aerodynamic enhancements, delivering more than 15 percent fuel savings from day one and 20 percent by 2020. With over 4,800 orders received from 89 customers, the A320neo Family has captured over 60 percent market share in its category.

The A320 Family is the world’s best-selling single aisle product line with over 12,800 orders since launch and more than 7,300 aircraft delivered to some 400 customers and operators worldwide. Thanks to their widest cabin, all members of the A320 Family offer unmatched comfort in all classes and Airbus’ 18” wide seats in economy as standard.

Source: Airbus.

Delta Air Lines receives its first U.S.-produced Airbus aircraft

Courtesy: Airbus.

The first delivery of an A321 aircraft from the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility to Delta Air Lines took place today, in Mobile, Alabama. On hand for the occasion were executives from Airbus and Delta Air Lines, a team of Delta employees from the airline’s Minneapolis-St. Paul station, and representatives of the more than 370 employees at the facility.

Bob Lekites, Executive Vice President-Customers, Airbus Americas said, “Airbus is committed to giving our customers the right products for a marketplace that needs modern, efficient and passenger-friendly aircraft.  Delta has recognized our commitment to our customers, and has determined we were the right partner for them. Delta already operates 137 A320 family aircraft and 40 A330 and have another 123 aircraft on order—including A320 family, A330 and A350 aircraft. Just this year, Delta placed its third A321 ceo order in three years. So this is definitely the first of many deliveries Delta will take from Mobile in the next few years.”

“The first Delta A321 produced in Mobile will be our 12th overall for Delta. We look forward to taking many more A321s in the years ahead to safely and comfortably get our customers to their destinations,” said Greg May, Delta’s Senior Vice President – Supply Chain Management and Fleet. “We appreciate our partnership with Airbus and the great manufacturing work produced at the Mobile facility.”

Airbus announced its commitment to build a single-aisle assembly line in Mobile, Alabama in 2012, and less than one year later, broke ground on the $600 million facility. The ceremonial inauguration of the plant took place in September 2015. The aircraft delivered today is the 15th aircraft delivered from the Mobile facility.

Airbus anticipates delivering four aircraft per month from the Mobile plant by the end of 2017. The initial deliveries will all be A320 Family aircraft with the Current Engine Option (CEO), but will begin transitioning to New Engine Option (NEO) derivatives in late 2017.

In addition to hundreds of new Airbus jobs the project has brought to the local community, the Mobile area has seen many Airbus suppliers open new facilities in the region, providing even more employment and a parallel boost to the local economy. Airbus is proud to boast that more than 85 percent of its employees are from the Gulf Coast region, with nearly one third being U.S. military veterans.

Source: Airbus.

Austrian Airlines: Airbus A320 OE-LBZ took off on maiden flight to Bucharest

Courtesy: Austrian Airlines - Hannes Winter.

Courtesy: Austrian Airlines – Hannes Winter.

The Airbus A320 with the registration number OE-LBZ took off punctually today (November 28th, 2016) at 7:15 a.m. local time on its first flight OS 789 from Vienna to Bucharest. The aircraft named “Obertauern” offers sufficient space to seat 168 passengers. The medium-haul jet with the Star Alliance livery will be primarily deployed for bilateral flight traffic between Austria and Germany.

In addition to upgrading the fleet by integrating almost new Embraer aircraft to replace its Fokker jets, Austrian Airlines is also adding two Airbus A320 aircraft to expand its fleet. At the end of October the first of the two A320 with the registration number OE-LBY departed from Vienna on its initial flight, followed today by the jet with the designator OE-LBZ. On balance, a total of 31 aircraft of the A320 family are now being operated by Austrian Airlines: seven Airbus A319, 18 A320 and six A321.

Source: Austrian Airlines.