British Airways revamps flagship Concorde Room

  • Courtesy: British Airways.

British Airways has revamped its flagship Concorde Room at Heathrow Terminal 5, taking inspiration from the very best of British Design.

The refurbishment to the airline’s exclusive lounge included re-upholstering iconic pieces of furniture, and adding new feature pieces to the room, all of which are illuminated by hand-blown glass lighting with bone linen shades and ochre silk linings.

The terrace, which is so popular with travellers thanks to its position overlooking the runway, features luxurious sofas and new elegant loungers.

Mobile phone chargers are also on hand for travellers to ensure their devices are fully charged before they fly.

Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ director of brand and customer experience, said: “In recent years we’ve invested in our lounges, including new ones in Boston and Gatwick South Terminal and revamped spaces in Edinburgh, Cape Town, Amsterdam, Belfast, Washington, Singapore and Dubai.

“We believe our customers will love the new look and feel of the Concorde Room, in particular the terrace that we have re-designed to create a private oasis in the middle of a bustling airport.”

Customers will still be able to dine before they fly in private booths with a full waiter service. If they wish to unwind ahead of their flight, private cabanas with a day bed and en-suite are available to book.

Next in the schedule for a revamp is British Airways’ lounge at New York’s JFK Terminal 7, along with improvements being made to the customer experience at check-in. Next year Aberdeen and Rome’s lounges will also be revamped, and Geneva will be expanded. Further investment is then planned in San Francisco, Johannesburg and Chicago and Heathrow’s other lounges will be refreshed over the next few years.

Earlier this year British Airways opened its exclusive First Wing at Heathrow T5, a new private check-in area for British Airways’ First, Gold Executive Club and oneworld Emerald customers. Providing a dedicated security channel leading directly into the Galleries First lounge and Concorde Room.

On board the airline’s First cabin, customers can also benefit from bespoke washbags designed by Liberty London exclusively for British Airways as well as regular updates to the in-flight menu and wine list.

The Concorde Room is exclusive to British Airways’ customers travelling in the airline’s First cabin.

Source: British Airways.

A350-1000 completes Functional and Reliability Testing

Courtesy: Airbus.

The A350-1000, the newest member of Airbus’ leading Widebody family, has successfully completed its Functional & Reliability testing, bringing the aircraft a step closer to Type Certification in November 2017. The first customer delivery to Qatar Airways will follow in the coming weeks.

The Functional and Reliability Testing took the flight test aircraft, MSN065, across Europe and South America. The A350-1000 completed its exercise after landing in Toulouse, France on November 1st (07:00 UTC) coming from Barranquilla, Colombia. In less than two weeks the aircraft flew approximately 35,200 nm / 65,200 km representing 150 flight hours, as per certification requirements.

These latest tests were part of an intensive Flight Test campaign which started less than one year ago designed to demonstrate readiness for airline operations. These included: high airfield performance, auto-landing trials, airport turnaround and handling services, cabin systems, navigation and connectivity function performance.

The A350-1000 test flight was operated by Airbus flight test crews with the participation of Airworthiness Authority pilots from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

The A350-1000 is the latest member of Airbus’ leading widebody family, showing high level of commonality with the A350-900 with 95% common systems part numbers and Same Type Rating. As well as having a longer fuselage to accommodate 40 more passengers than the A350-900 (in a typical 3-class configuration), the A350-1000 also features a modified wing trailing-edge, new six-wheel main landing gears and more powerful Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines. Along with the A350-900, the A350-1000 is shaping the future of air travel by offering unprecedented levels of efficiency and unrivalled comfort in its ‘Airspace’ cabin. With its additional capacity the A350-1000 is perfectly tailored for some of the busiest long-haul routes. To date 11 customers from five continents have placed orders for a total of 169 A350-1000s.

Source: Airbus.

Boeing, Air China celebrate delivery of China’s first 737 MAX 8

Courtesy: Boeing.

Boeing and Air China today (November 03th, 2017) celebrated the delivery of the airline’s first 737 MAX 8. China’s national flag carrier is the first airline in the country to receive the 737 MAX. Customers throughout China will take delivery of nearly 100 737 MAXs by the end of next year.

“Air China has been a longstanding valued customer for decades,” said Rick Anderson, vice president of Sales, Northeast Asia, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “This delivery marks another significant milestone in our enduring partnership. We are confident that the 737 MAX 8 will play a key role in Air China’s continued growth.”

Boeing’s partnership with Air China dates back to the 1970s. Air China’s fleet includes seven Boeing 747-8s, 26 777-300ERs, 11 787-9 Dreamliners and more than 140 Next-Generation 737s.

The 737 MAX family has been designed to offer customers exceptional performance, flexibility and efficiency, with lower per-seat costs and an extended range that will open up new destinations in the single-aisle market.

The 737 MAX incorporates the latest technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets, the Boeing Sky Interior, large flight deck displays, and other improvements to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market.

The 737 MAX is the fastest selling airplane in Boeing history, accumulating more than 3,900 orders to date from 92 customers worldwide.

Source: Boeing.

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.