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Friday, September 21, 2018
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Allbirds’ comfy ‘Bird Mask’ ends light leakage

Allbirds bird mask ends light leakage
The "Bird Mask" stops light leakage. Image: AirNZ

The eyes have it thanks to an innovative redesign of the crusty airline eyemask by popular comfy shoe maker Allbirds.

Allbirds has teamed with Air New Zealand to redesign the airline staple using New Zealand merino wool and a castor oil-based foam to end the problem of light leakage.

The comfortable mask, dubbed the Bird Mask because of its quirky beak, is reusable and made from “ZQ-certified” wool.  ZQ Merino wool is a high-end product that requires growers to meet standards in animal welfare, environmental care and social sustainability.

READ: Air New Zealand uses shipping containers to ‘transport’ Americans.

The design includes moulded eye indentations allowing for natural eye movement, while the beak provides a comfortable seal against the face to completely block out light.

The company says it stumbled on to the bird mask idea as something “whimsical and fun” as it tried to solve the light leakage problem.

Air New Zealand collaborated on the design of the mask, including conducting onboard trials to provide feedback throughout its development.

Air New Zealand chief marketing & customer officer Mike Tod said there was a natural alignment between the two brands, which were well known for showcasing New Zealand to the world.

“Like Air New Zealand, Allbirds punches above its weight and has truly made a name for itself as a disruptor in the footwear industry,’’ Tod said.

“Both brands are also famous for comfort. Allbirds produces the world’s most comfortable shoes while we’re proud to offer our customers the best sleep in the sky.

“By putting our heads together we’ve created a product our customers will truly value and re-use again and again, while also benefitting New Zealand’s international brand awareness.”

Air New Zealand is providing the mask in its Business premier cabin on selected North American routes throughout October, including its daily NZ1/NZ2 flight between Los Angles and London.

Allbirds’s popular sneakers have been a big hit in the US and other markets, partly because of they’re made of sustainable materials and partly because of their high comfort.

“Air New Zealand approached us with a really high set of standards around the type of the in-cabin experience that they wanted us to create and then set us free to try and see if we could solve it within the context of the eyemask,” Allbirds co-founder and chief executive Tim Brown said.

“The result is a merino wool execution that I think is incredibly thoughtful, incredibly fun and also functionally really successful.”

 

Frequent flyers benefit from new Qantas, Cathay codeshare

Qantas and cathay codeshare
Photo: Qantas.

Qantas and Cathay Pacific have inked a new codeshare deal that will make it easier for frequent flyer members to earn points and status credits on each other’s flights.

The deal will see Qantas add its code to Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights from Hong Kong to India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, and on Cathay Pacific’s long-haul services from Hong Kong to Perth and Cairns.

Cathay will add its code to 13 routes on Qantas’ domestic network in Australia, including Adelaide-Melbourne, Alice Springs-Sydney, Brisbane-Cairns, Brisbane-Melbourne, Darwin-Perth, Hobart-Melbourne and Melbourne-Sydney.

READ:  Cathay spelling mistake ignites Twitter humor.

Although the two airlines are oneworld alliance partners and passengers get benefits such as lounge access, this does not mean frequent flyers earn full points or status credits on the other carrier’s flights.

The codeshare means Qantas Frequent Flyer members will be able to earn more Qantas points and status credits when traveling on the Qantas-coded flights — and the same applies to Marco Polo Club members traveling on Cathay-coded flights.

“Building on the relationship we have with Cathay Pacific through oneworld, we’ll offer customers traveling from Australia more connections across Asia via Hong Kong, with the added benefit of a codeshare service,” Qantas International chief executive Alison Webster said in the announcement.

“This new codeshare partnership also forms part of our growth strategy for the broader Asia region, with strong demand for travel between Australia and Asia.

“It’s good news for Qantas customers who will have more travel options, greater opportunities to earn frequent flyer points, and a premium experience onboard both home carriers.”

Cathay Pacific Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Paul Loo said a closer relationship between the two airlines was a win-win for the carriers’ customers.

“This new cooperation enables us to strengthen our connectivity across our Southwest Pacific network as well as grow the oneworld alliance,” he said.

“Australia has been a key destination for Cathay Pacific ever since we launched our first commercial operations to the country nearly half a century ago, and we look forward to welcoming guests from Qantas onto our flights soon.”

Cathay Pacific and Qantas together operate more than 100 services a week between Hong Kong and Australia.

Tickets for the codeshare services will be available for sale from October 22 for travel October 28.

 

Air New Zealand uses shipping containers to ‘transport’ Americans

Air New Zealand pop-up Chicago

Memo to Australian and New Zealand immigration authorities: don’t panic.

Air New Zealand’s latest announcement about the use of shipping containers to transport Americans to Australia and the Land of the Long White Cloud doesn’t mean it’s entered the people smuggling business.

Instead, the Kiwi carrier has set up the containers in Downtown Chicago to give people a virtual reality tour of both countries “through immersive, sensory experiences”.

This includes a one-of-a-kind infinity room that uses panoramic sound, tactile elements and dynamic video content of iconic New Zealand landscapes and scenes of Australia.

Read: World’s best airlines for 2018

The pop-up event is touting Air New Zealand’s new non-stop service between Auckland and Chicago. The three times weekly flights using Boeing 787-9 aircraft starts November 30.

Air New Zealand Chicago pop-up

Another shipping container highlights the Air New Zealand inflight experience, allowing guests to relax in the airline’s highly-regarded premium economy seats and experience the award-winning economy Skycouch, which turns three economy seats into a couch.

They can also use virtual reality to explore the Business Premier cabin and augmented reality to get a further look at New Zealand while sampling free New Zealand refreshments such as wine, cheeses and Manuka honey.

Air New Zealand general manager of global brand and content marketing Jodi Williams said the pop-up event was designed to give visitors the opportunity to unpack Kiwi culture, explore the beautiful landscapes of  Air NZ destinations and give them a sneak peak of flying with the carrier.

“We hope that through the event more Chicagoans will see why we believe we are a better way to fly,”  she said.

The airline’s decision to fly to Chicago comes as the airport was recently listed by airline route expert OAG as the world’s second most connected after London Heathrow.

Read:  London, Chicago top list of the best-connected airports.

The new service opens up the US Midwest, the nation’s third most populous city and a major global financial center to AirNZ.

“We’re excited to open this new route to not only Chicagoans but also Midwest and East Coasters as well as travelers in Eastern Canada looking for a convenient option to fly to New Zealand with easy connections onto Australia,” said AirNZ regional general manager Americas Liz Frazer.

The pop-up event runs until September 22.

 

The numbers game behind Hurricane Florence

Florence numbers game
Hurricane Florence from space. Photo: NASA

More than a few flummoxed flyers had to cancel business trips, call friends and family and break the news their flight had been cancelled—all thanks to a storm called Florence.

It’s futile to blame Mother Nature for the mess but people still get angry — often unfairly — at the airlines.

In explaining the carriers’ rationale,  airline consultant Mike Boyd, president of the airline consultancy Boyd Group International, says:   “They did proactively cancel fights and move airplanes around.”

In doing so they mitigated the mess caused when slow-moving, meandering Florence made landfall along the North Carolina and South  Carolina coasts last week.

Read Chicago, London top the list of best-connected airports.

“They made the best of a very bad situation,” argues Boyd. “You lessen the economic impact when you act proactively. It’s better than having people stuck at airports. It’s better to respond early than to respond late and get caught with your flaps down.”

Airlines for America (A4A) tracked Florence’s path of destruction in slow motion September 12.

That’s the day airlines axed 148 flights from North and South Carolina airports, to or from smaller cities such as Wilmington, Jacksonville and Fayetteville—these three in North Carolina.

One day later, Thursday, September 13th airlines cut 560 flights.

By Friday the 14th Florence had begun her glacially slow turn to the left, imperiling sun and fun spots such as Myrtle Beach, South Carolina as well as historic Charleston, South Carolina. That turn prompted carriers to cut 740 flights.

Cancellations spiked at 796 flights Saturday, September 15 as the by now tropical storm turned once more and headed inland.

Sunday the 16th saw the dissipating storm force 608 cancelations.

By Monday, September 17,  A4A says the cancelation numbers had fallen to 134 at Carolina airports.

Standing alone these flight numbers are significant, but seen in context they pale at what transpired last hurricane season when Harvey Irma and Maria hit the U.S. or its territory.

A4A spokeswoman Alison McAfee says the trio’s onslaughts “spawned multiple weeks and approximately 33,000 cancellations were attributable to the storms. There were disruptions even when the storms passed. Puerto Rico is still recovering.”

Manchester Airport Baggage Handlers Careless Attitude

Manchester Airport

Elizabeth Evans has taken a video of baggage handlers at Manchester Airport throwing bags – including hers – with no care or responsibility.

Mrs. Evans urged followers on Facebook to share her video without restrictions.

It is not clear what airline Mrs. Evans was flying or what contractor employed the baggage handlers.

However, it appears they work for Swissport, from the logos on their jackets and the baggage belt logo.

However, they would not have been employed by Manchester Airport itself.

READ New interior images of 777X show new levels of comfort.

Feel free to share this is today at Manchester airport !!!! Mine is the pink butterfly one !!!!

Posted by Elizabeth Evans on Thursday, 20 September 2018

Will Emirates merge with Etihad Airways?

Emirates
Emirates's President Sir Tim Clark is cool on merger talks

Emirates, the world’s largest international airline is looking at acquiring its unprofitable neighbor Etihad Airways, according to a Bloomberg report.

The news agency is citing “four people familiar with the matter”, and say the merger talks are at a preliminary stage and would see Emirates acquire the main airline business of Abu Dhabi’s Etihad.

Bloomberg said that while both airlines initially declined to comment, they both “later denied that any talks were underway.”

Previously Emirates Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum and President Sir Tim Clark have played down speculation that the airlines might merge.

In June Etihad announced that it had posted another massive loss amid reports it was talking to Boeing about deferring or canceling 777X orders.

SEE: Interior images highlight increased comfort on the 777X

The carrier said its core airline produced a loss of $US1.52 billion in 2017 as it faced significant fuel cost increases, the entry into administration of equity partners Alitalia and airberlin and investment in a restructuring program.

The unaudited result came as passenger numbers rose slightly to 18.6 million and the load factor fell marginally to 78.5 percent.

However, unit costs were down 7.3 percent, despite a $US337m rise in fuel costs, and administration and general expenses fell 14 percent compared to 2016.

“We made good progress in improving the quality of our revenues, streamlining our cost base, improving our cash-flow and strengthening our balance sheet,’’ new group chief executive Tony Douglas said at the time.

“These are solid first steps in an ongoing journey to transform this business into one that is positioned for financially sustainable growth over the long term. I would like to thank our people for their hard work and dedication in 2017.

Emirates

“It is crucial that we maintain this momentum, retaining talent and attracting leading professionals from around the world to work alongside our highly-skilled UAE national workforce,” said Mr. Douglas.

Emirates
Etihad new CEO Tony Douglas says the airline is on the way back

In contrast, Emirates more than doubled its profit to $US762 million in 2017-18 despite competitive pressures, political instability, and rising oil prices.

It benefited from the weaker US dollar as well as the surge in the cargo industry as revenue rose 9 percent to $US25.2 billion.

Passenger numbers rose 4 percent to a record 58.5 million as the airline filled more seats as it kept capacity growth tight at 2 percent compared to 2016-17.

The passenger load factor rose 2.4 percentage points to 77.5 percent as passenger yield, a measure of average fares, increased 6.9 US cents per revenue passenger kilometer.

Virgin sings as the music dies on Qantas

Virgin Australian cabin crew are multi award winners
Virgin is singing the praises of the Australian musicic industry

Responding to the announcement that Qantas has ditched music channels on most of its domestic flights Virgin Australia is touting its support of the Australian music industry.

Virgin Australia told AirlineRatings.com that it is “delighted to offer a platform for new and emerging artists to showcase their talent to the 24 million passengers we transport each year.”

The airline support bands and artists across its network by:

  • Offering an artist/band the opportunity to host a two-hour feature playlist onboard every month, demonstrating our commitment to giving new talent the opportunity to expand their audience reach! Artists who have recorded the featured playlist in the past include Vance Joy, Jimmy Barnes, Garbage, Diesel, Troy Casser-Daley and The Rubens to name just a few.
  • We are the only Australian airline to offer individual artists 64 kilograms of checked baggage when artists are traveling domestically.
  • Featuring the NIDA and Triple J Unearthed Music Video Competition winners onboard since 2014.
  • Major sponsor of Australia’s leading new music festival, BIGSOUND, and featuring a highlights video onboard in the lead up to each year’s festival and
  • Offering our passengers a vast array of curated music playlists that appeal to all types of musical tastes.

Virgin Australia also highlighted it has also been shortlisted for the Best Original Audio Award for ‘The Voices of Australia’ soundtrack at the 2019 APEX Awards.

“We are proud to be the Australian airline of choice for the Australian music industry and we will continue to find ways to ensure that Australian music is an integral part of our in-flight entertainment services, a Virgin Australia spokesperson said.

Qantas said that it has bent to customer demand for movies and axed music on its Boeing 737 and 717 fleets which operate on mostly domestic routes.

The airline found that 92 percent of passengers were not tuning into the music channels opting for movies, TV, and documentaries instead.

“Our research showed that fewer and fewer of our customers are tuning into the radio and music channels. It also indicated that many passengers on both domestic and international flights bring their own device with music already downloaded,” a Qantas spokesperson

READ: Interior images of 777X show a greater level of comfort

 

London, Chicago top list of best connected airports

megahubs connected OAG O'Hare
Photo: O'Hare International Airport.

Chicago O’Hare International Airport moved up the ranks to become the world’s second most connected airport in 2018 but failed to knock perennial winner London Heathrow from the top spot.

The annual Megahubs International Index by route expert OAG ranks Heathrow, O’Hare, Frankfurt, Amsterdam Schiphol and Toronto Pearson as the airports with the best connectivity in 2018.

OAG’s connectivity index looks at all possible international connections that can be made by passengers in a six-hour window and expresses it as a ratio of the number of destinations served.

For Heathrow, passengers could have made one of a possible 66,000 connections on the busiest day.

Chicago moved up the top 50 list from fourth to second with fellow US airports Los Angeles and Atlanta coming in at sixth and seventh.

Singapore’s Changi, Charles de Gaulle in Paris and Indonesia’s Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta rounded out the top 10.

New additions to the top 50 list were airports in Philadephia, Fort Lauderdale, Ho Chi Minh City and Barcelona.

“Thirteen US airports make it into the top 50 International Megahubs, illustrating the continued success of the US airline network strategy for connecting passengers,’’ OAG’s John Grant said in a blog post.

“China, meanwhile, has three airports in the top 50, along with Hong Kong (SAR). While Beijing Capital Airport is the largest airport in the world for scheduled capacity, it ranks 32nd  behind Shanghai Pudong Airport and Guangzhou Airport in the connectivity index as it has a fraction of the possible international connections.”

The biggest megahubs in the Asia-Pacific were in South-East Asia, with Singapore, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Bangkok all making it into the global top 15.

READ: Cathay’s spelling mistake ignites twitter humor.

Another Asian hub, Seoul’s Incheon, ranked 15th.

Latin America’s most connected airport was in Mexico City followed by Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos airport.

In the Middle East, Turkey’s Istanbul, with 55,000 possible international connections in a six-hour window,  edged out Dubai.

Kuala Lumpur, home of AirAsia, easily topped the list of the list of low-cost international megahubs.

It was followed by airports at Jakarta, Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand. Manila airport jumped from 12th place last year to fourth place in the latest rankings.

Barcelona was the highest ranking European LCC airport in the eighth spot while Fort Lauderdale led the US at ninth thanks to JetBlue.

A new feature of the index was the name of the dominant airline in each hub and the share of flights operated by that carrier.

“Unsurprisingly for hub airports, 7 of the top 10 Megahubs have a single dominant carrier which operates half or more of all airline operations,” Grant said.

“Los Angeles, Singapore and Jakarta, however, each have a dominant carrier which operates just 20-30 percent of flights, demonstrating that successful hub airports need not be dependent on a single hub-focused airline.”

Spelling mistake at Cathay Paciic ignites twitter humor

Cathay

Cathay Pacific has sent Twitter into overdrive after it left an F off Pacific on one its Boeing 777-300s spelling its name “CATHAY PACIIC.”

But the airline to its credit made light of the embarrassing mistake saying; “Oops this special livery won’t last long! She’s going back to the shop!”

An engineer from Haeco, a sister company of the airline, told the South China Morning Post the mistake was inexplicable.

READ: The world’s ten most successful commercial jet aircraft 

“The spacing is too on-point for a mishap. We have stencils. Should be a blank gap in between letters if it was a real mistake I think,” the engineer said.

Cathay Pacific
The offending word being covered up

The error has ignited Twitter with many humorous comments.

One person on twitter said: “No one gives a F anymore, not even the painters!”

Another said: “In the age of Trump, just like the rest of us, Cathay Pacific literally has no Fs left to give.

And then one reminder us thus: “If you’ve ever been refused boarding to a flight because your name was spelled wrong on the ticket, you might take comfort from this fairly glaring error on the side of a @CathayPacific plane.”

Yet another said: “Maybe the typhoon blew the F out of it.”

A spokesperson for Cathay Pacific told CNN Travel: “We did not intend to make it a big fuss in the first place, but photos went viral within the aviation enthusiastic groups, so we just shared the hilarious moment with everyone.”

Cathay

The 777 is now back in the paint shop but Cathay has landed itself with some great publicity.

The extraordinary publicity comes just after the airline donated the first Boeing 777 to the Pima Air & Space Museum in Arizona.

Cathay Pacific and Boeing jointly announced that the historic first B777-200, line number WA001 and registered B-HNL, will fly from Hong Kong to Tucson September 18 to join 350 historic aircraft on permanent display.

There had been speculation the aircraft would end up at the Museum of Flight in Seattle but the sprawling Pima, which boasts historical aircraft ranging from a Wright Flyer to a Boeing 787 on an 80-acre site, is an equally fitting home.

Pima donation world's first Boeing 777

Boeing first flew the 777-200 aircraft on June 12, 1994, with a test flight of  3 hours and 48 minutes that was the longest first flight for a Boeing aircraft at the time.  It was one of nine test aircraft was used in the program for several years.

World’s Ten Most Successful Commercial Jet Airliners

airliners
The 10,000th 737. Credit Boeing

The world’s most successful commercial jet airliners are the Boeing 737 family in number one spot and the Airbus A320 models very close behind.

The 737 has sold 14,956 and the A320 14,281. Boeing is building 737s at 52 a month and will lift that to 57 in 2019, while the A320 is being built at 55 a month with plans to lift that to 63 in 2019.

READ: The plane Boeing did not want turns 10,000

airliners
Airbus A320

The two short to medium-haul jets, that seat between 120 and 240 passengers, are way out in front of the next best seller the McDonnell Douglas DC-9 family at 2,448 sales, that includes the later MD-80/90 and MD-95 which was rebadged the Boeing 717, after the merger of the two aerospace giants in 1997.

airliners
DC-9s at peak production in 1967. Credit Boeing Historical Archives

In fourth place comes the first of the wide-bodies the A300/A330/A340 series with 2,656 sales. The A300 was Airbus’s first aircraft and was built in the early 70s. Later it was significantly upgraded and re-launched as the A330 and A340.

World's most successful jets
Airbus A330

In fifth place is the very successful Boeing 777 with 1,989 sales and the latest model the 777X has just been rolled out. It will enter airline service in 2020 with Emirates and Lufthansa.

World's most successful commercial jets
Boeing 777X

Coming in at sixth is the Boeing 727 with 1,831 sold. This three-engine aircraft was a revolution in its day but went out of production in the 1980s.

airliners
Boeing 727

Seventh is the venerable Boeing 747 – the first of the wide-body aircraft – and it has been in production since 1968 with 1,568 sold. Today it is built mainly as a freighter.

READ: Have a spare $1 billion and want a VIP 747?

airliners
Boeing 747-200B

Eighth on the list of top ten is the Boeing 787, with 1,390 sold. The 787 is a composite aircraft and is now being produced at 14 aircraft a month – the highest rate ever for a wide-body aircraft. It is produced in three versions – -8, -9, -10.

airliners
Boeing 787

Number nine is the Boeing 767 with 1,224 sales, which the 787 replaces. While no longer being built as a passenger plane its has found a new life as a freighter for FedEx as well as the US Air Force as a tanker, although the sales number above does not include those aircraft.

airliners
Boeing 767 at its rollout in August 1981. Credit Boeing

Finally, number 10 is another Boeing jet the 757 which is now out of production. It is a medium haul single-aisle jet that seats up to 295 in a tight all-economy configuration in the -300 model. This is the aircraft Boeing hopes to replace with its next offering the 797.

airliners
Boeing 757 at rollout in January 1982

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