Finnair and Finavia test face recognition technology at Helsinki Airport check-in

Courtesy: Finavia.

Finnair and Finavia, together with Futurice, will test the use of face recognition technology for the check-in process of Finnair flights at Helsinki Airport. During the test period taking place between May 2 until May 23, the companies will gather information on the applicability of face recognition technology to the airport environment and the systems and processes used by the airline. Finnair has invited a group of 1,000 frequent flyers to take part in the test.

“Face recognition technology could offer possibilities for smoothening the departure process from the customer’s point of view, and eliminate the need for a boarding pass,” says Sari Nevanlinna , Head of Ground Experience and Ancillary at Finnair. “This test will give us information on the applicability of face recognition technology for our processes, and the impact it has on the customer experience.”

Finnair customers taking part in the test will use a test application to send their face portraits to the test system. When checking in to their flights, customers will use a designated check-in desk, where the face recognition technology will be installed. A customer service agent will then check the customer’s travel information and indicate in the test system if the face recognition was successful.

“We want to make air travel flow even smoother and be involved in further developing the customer experience,” says Heikki Koski , Vice President of Helsinki Airport for Finavia. “Facial recognition is part of the larger megatrend of biometric recognition, and it will enable “Hands in the pockets” travelling, where you no longer need any travel documents. When all travel-related information is digitized, it takes less time and is easier to get through the checkpoints at the airport. Last year, we tested facial recognition technology at the employee security control and the results were very encouraging.”

The system used in the test is provided by Futurice, and built using widely available hard- and software as well as cloud-based services, and with a strong view to the customer experience.

“We use face feature based face recognition technology, which turns facial images into untraceable biometrics IDs,” says Tuğberk Duman , Project Manager at Futurice. This enables us to identify registered passengers on the go without having to store images. This test will provide useful information on the use of this solution for environments with large customer flows and tight security needs.”

Source: Finnair.

Singapore Airlines launches trans-Pacific biofuel flights with the A350 XWB

Courtesy: Airbus.

Singapore Airlines has begun a series of biofuel flights using A350-900 aircraft on non-stop trans-Pacific flights between Singapore and San Francisco.

The project is being undertaken by Singapore Airlines in conjunction with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and air navigation service providers, using enhanced flight operations and Air Traffic Management (ATM) practices along the flight route.

The programme will demonstrate the environmental and economic benefits that can be achieved through a combination of the latest fuel-efficient aircraft, alternative fuels and optimised flight operations to reduce fuel burn and carbon emissions.

The A350s taking part in the programme are being powered by a combination of HEFA (hydro-processed esters and fatty acids) – a sustainable biofuel produced from used cooking oils – and conventional jet fuel.

Altogether, Singapore Airlines will undertake 12 flights using this biofuel mix during the next three months. The first of the “Green Package” flights occurred on 1 May, linking San Francisco International Airport with Singapore Changi Airport.

“We are embarking on this initiative to help promote the use of sustainable biofuel in an operationally and commercially viable manner,” explained Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong. “This is in line with our long-term commitment to further reduce carbon emissions while improving the efficiency of our operations.”

Singapore Airlines has ordered a total of 67 A350 XWB aircraft and 12 have been delivered to the carrier as of end-March 2017. Next year it will become the launch operator of the A350-900 ULR, which will be able to fly non-stop on the world’s very longest flights – including from Singapore to New York.

Source: Airbus.

Austrian Airlines is the most punctual airline worldwide

Courtesy: Austrian Airlines.

Austrian Airlines was the world’s most punctual airline in March 2017. This can be seen in the latest statistics from flightstats.com for global airlines. With an arrival on-time rate of 92.72%, Austrian Airlines was ahead of Spanish Iberia (90.74%) and Singapore Airlines (89.19%). Punctuality is measured in the airline industry with <15 minutes. This means that all flights within the 15-minute time window are considered as punctual.

Alitalia (88.73%) was in fourth place, while Lufthansa ranked fifth (87.80%). The other placements were: Polish LOT (87.54%), Japanese JAL (87.17%), Japanese ANA (86.72%), Scandinavian SAS (86.22% ) and Arabian Etihad Airways (85.83%) on place ten.

Source: Austrian Airlines.

 

Austrian Airlines – From Now On: Internet on short and medium-haul flights

Courtesy: Austrian Airlines.

Austrian Airlines launches Internet on board in real time operation. Two aircraft are “online” effective immediately, and starting tomorrow another 10 jets will be added. All 31 Airbus aircraft of the Austrian Airlines fleet have already been technically converted to enable Internet use, and will be successively “activated” in the current month of May 2017. Accordingly, passengers will also be able to use the Internet on short-haul and medium-haul flights as they fly above the clouds, and choose one of three different Internet rates: FlyNet Message for three euros, FlyNet Surf for seven euros and FlyNet Stream for twelve euros for each leg of the journey. FlyNet Message only allows for use of messaging services such as e-mail, WhatsApp or iMessage, whereas passengers can also surf on the Internet with the FlyNet Surf option. Streaming is possible with the FlyNet Stream tariff. All three packages can be billed via credit card or the payment service PayPal.

“We have thoroughly tested the new technology in recent months on five Airbus jets and 3,000 flights. Now I am pleased to be able to offer Internet above the clouds”, says Austrian Airlines CCO Andreas Otto.

The offering of Austrian Airlines and its technology partner Inmarsat is based on the most advanced broadband satellite technology Ka band). This ensures reliable Internet coverage on short-haul and medium-haul flights on the basis of the Inmarsat network Global Xpress (GX). Deutsche Telekom serves as the Internet service provider and partner of Inmarsat.

Digital entertainment program as of the summer of 2017

At present Austrian Airlines is working on a new, digital entertainment program. This is expected to come on stream and be made available to passengers via the WLAN network starting in the summer of 2017. This means that passengers with a FlyNet Surf or FlyNet Stream package will be able to use their mobile devices to access an entertainment program consisting of films and series. In line with passenger requests, it is still not allowed to make telephone calls on board Austrian Airlines flights.

Source: Austrian Airlines.

Asiana Airlines takes delivery of its first A350 XWB

Courtesy: Airbus.

Asiana Airlines of South Korea has taken delivery of its first A350-900, becoming the 12th airline to operate the world’s newest and most efficient twin engine widebody airliner.

Asiana’s A350-900 is configured with a three class layout with a total of 311 seats, comprising 28 in Business Smartium, convertible to fully flat beds, 36 in Economy Smartium and 247 in the main cabin.

Altogether Asiana has ordered 30 A350s and will initially operate the aircraft on flights within Asia. From the third quarter of 2017, the carrier will deploy the aircraft on premier long haul routes to Europe and the US, beginning with services from Seoul to London and San Francisco.

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 821 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 44 customers worldwide, already making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever.

Source: Airbus.

Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner completes first flight

Courtesy: Boeing.

The Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner took to the skies for the first time today (March 31th, 2017) at Boeing South Carolina. The airplane, which is the newest and longest model of the 787 family, completed a successful flight totaling four hours and 58 minutes.

“The 787-10’s first flight moves us one step closer to giving our customers the most efficient airplane in its class,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President & CEO Kevin McAllister. “The airplane will give carriers added flexibility in growing their network routes and build on the overwhelming success of the 787 Dreamliner family.”

Piloted by Boeing Test & Evaluation Capts. Tim Berg and Mike Bryan, the airplane performed tests on flight controls, systems and handling qualities. The 787-10 will now undergo comprehensive flight testing before customer deliveries begin in the first half of 2018.

“From takeoff to landing, the airplane handled beautifully and just as expected,” said Berg, chief 787 pilot. “The 787-10 is a fantastic machine that I know our customers and their passengers will love.”

Courtesy: Boeing.

The 787-10 has won 149 orders from nine customers across the globe including launch customer Singapore Airlines, Air Lease Corporation (ALC), All Nippon Airways (ANA), British Airways, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and United Airlines.

As an 18-foot (5.5-m) stretch of the 787-9, the 787-10 will deliver the 787 family’s preferred passenger experience and long range with 25 percent better fuel per seat and emissions than the airplanes it will replace and 10 percent better than today’s competition.

The 787 Dreamliner family is a key part of Boeing’s twin-aisle airplane strategy, which offers a modern, optimized and efficient airplane family in every market segment. Since entering service in 2011, the 787 family has flown more than 152 million people on over 560 unique routes around the world, saving an estimated 14 billion pounds of fuel.

Source: Boeing.

Third Lufthansa A350-900 has landed in Munich

Courtesy: Deutsche Lufthansa.

Lufthansa’s A350-900 fleet in Munich is growing once again – the third A350-900 landed yesterday (April 02th, 2017) at its new home base. Captains Andreas Jasper and Pol Uffer transferred the aircraft from the Airbus works in Toulouse to Munich. With the addition of this third member to the fleet, Lufthansa will also be adding Mumbai to the A350-900 flight schedule. The first flight to the Indian metropolis is planned for 15 April.

At Airbus, the new aircraft carried the production serial number MSN087 and will now fly for Lufthansa under the international registration number D-AIXC. The A350-900 is currently the world’s most advanced and most environmentally-friendly long-haul aircraft. It uses 25 percent less kerosene, produces 25 percent fewer emissions and is significantly quieter on take-off than comparable types of aircraft. In February the first of fifteen aircraft arrived in Munich to be stationed there. The A350-900 has capacity to carry 293 passengers – 48 passengers in Business Class, 21 in Premium Economy Class and 224 in Economy Class.

Source: Deutsche Lufthansa.