Aviation News in Brief 13 Nov 2019

Qantas, Future Travel Experience winners, Japan Airlines, AirAsia, Singapore Airlines, Changi Airport, Hamad International Airport, Hong Kong International Airport, Utility Air, Diamond Aircraft, Boeing, GE Aviation, China Southern, JAL, Pratt & Whitney, Air Partner, FlightSafety, MHI Aero Engines


Qantas commits to carbon cutsQantas commits to carbon cuts: The Qantas Group will reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 in a major expansion of the airline’s commitment to a more sustainable aviation industry, the airline announced recently. Qantas committed to doubling the number of flights being offset, capping net emissions from 2020 onwards and investing A$50 million over 10 years to help develop a sustainable aviation fuel industry. Qantas said the moves mean that it will be the only airline group to commit to cap its net emissions at 2020 levels, and the second to commit to net zero emissions by 2050. Qantas also said its moves will include offsetting all net emissions from Project Sunrise, the carrier’s plan to operate non-stop flights from the east coast of Australia to London and New York, should the project proceed. This will also extend to domestic flying, meaning that growth on key routes like Melbourne-Sydney will be carbon neutral. Qantas and Jetstar will double the number of flights offset by matching every dollar spent by customers who tick the box to fly carbon neutral. Qantas will invest A$50 million over the next 10 years to help develop a sustainable aviation fuel industry. Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said these commitments would make Qantas a leader in the aviation industry’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions. “We recognise that airlines have a responsibility to cut emissions and combat climate change. We’ve already made some good progress, especially by investing in newer aircraft that have a much smaller carbon footprint. We want to do more, and faster. We’re effectively doubling our carbon offsetting program from today and we’re capping our net emissions across Qantas and Jetstar from 2020 so that all new flying will be carbon neutral.

Qantas commits to carbon cutsWinners of Future Travel Experience Asia Awards 2019: The winners of the FTE Asia Awards 2019 were announced in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre and hosted by FTE and the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX).

The winners include:

Best Passenger Experience Initiative – Airline

  • Gold Winner – Japan Airlines: Japan Airlines was presented with the Gold Award for its impressive new cabin interiors, which recently debuted on its A350-900 aircraft. The impressive level of comfort extends across all classes of travel, from the luxurious First Class offering through to the 3-3-3-configured economy class where passenger comfort has been prioritised. A number of other unique touches help Japan Airlines’ offering stand out from the crowd – from the mood lighting that reflects Japanese themes to the patterning of the interior textiles that are reminiscent of traditional Japanese Kimonos. In short, Japan Airlines has successfully blended uniqueness and comfort to create a memorable in-flight experience, even on its domestic services.
  • Silver Winner – AirAsia: AirAsia’s development and launch of the AirAsia Virtual Allstar (AVA), a continuously learning AI-powered chat platform, won the Silver Award. AVA speaks and connects to various airline systems, can interact with customers in multiple languages, and can handle 25,000 chats at any one time via the AirAsia app, website, Facebook Messenger and WeChat. The early results are very impressive; live chat waiting time has been reduced from 45 mins in 2018 to less than three minutes now, the social media response time is down to less than 10 minutes, and complaints and mitigated duplicate cases have been reduced.
  • Bronze Winner – Singapore Airlines: Singapore Airlines was presented with the Bronze Award for its efforts to enhance passenger wellbeing on ultra-long-haul flights. From bespoke wellness cuisines, to rest and relaxation strategies to support passengers in all cabin classes, as well as guided stretching exercises that passengers can access via the inflight entertainment (IFE) system, Singapore Airlines has invested a great deal of thought, time and effort into helping to make the longest flights as comfortable as possible for its customers.

Best Passenger Experience Initiative – Airport

  • Gold Winner – Changi Airport Group: Changi Airport Group was presented with the Gold Award for the development and opening of the stunning Jewel Changi Airport. Delivered through a partnership between Changi Airport Group and CapitaLand, the result is a world-class mixed-use development with gardens, unique attractions, retail, dining, a hotel and facilities to support Changi Airport’s operations. Jewel is already entertaining as many as 300,000 visitors a day, including stopover travellers who can experience a taste of Singapore during a two-and-a-half hour walking tour. Thirty-five airlines now offer Early Check In at Jewel, while a seamless transfer service is also offered for fly-cruise and fly-ferry passengers.
  • Silver Winner – Hamad International Airport: Hamad International Airport won the Silver Award for the second phase of its ongoing Smart Airport programme. Phase 2, launched in June 2019, includes a focus on digital transformation of the passenger journey through biometric technology across all key passenger touchpoints. The successful completion of Phase 1 of the Smart Airport programme has proven to be extremely popular, with up to 40% of Qatar Airways’ passengers now preferring to self-check-in, and a further 20% opting for self-bag-drop. The technology-focused Smart Airport programme is vitally important to support the airport’s ambitious expansion programme.
  • Bronze Winner – Hong Kong International Airport: Hong Kong International Airport won the Bronze Award for its IoT Augmented Airfield Service System (AS2) project, which is delivering tangible passenger experience benefits. The cloud-based, service-oriented system lends visibility to real-time operations through descriptive and predictive AI-enabled analytics. The system was jointly developed by AAHK, the Centre of Cyber Logistics under the Asian Institute of Supply Chains & Logistics of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and ubiZense Limited. Among the myriad benefits are improvements to the baggage handling process, reducing waiting times for arriving passengers.

Qantas commits to carbon cutsUtility Air named Diamond Aircraft in Australia, NZ: Utility Air has confirmed they have been appointed as the exclusive distribution partner for Diamond Aircraft in Australia and New Zealand. The appointment comes as the regional market for general aviation aircraft continues to strengthen and training aircraft, in particular, are in high demand. Scott McFadzean, CEO of Diamond Aircraft Industries, said: “We are delighted to welcome Utility Air to the Diamond Aircraft family and look forward to continuing the growth of Diamond Aircraft operating in this region.” Operating from corporate headquarters in Sydney, Australia, Utility Air provides turn-key aviation solutions throughout the Pacific region, including aircraft brokerage, sales and acquisitions for both new and pre-owned aircraft.

Qantas commits to carbon cutsBoeing names new comms head for for Commercial Airplanes Business: Boeing announced the appointment of Conrad Chun as vice president of communications for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, effective immediately. Chun most recently served as vice president of communications for Boeing Global Services where he was responsible for media relations, employee and executive communications, digital communications, government and customer relations, and product and services marketing communications in support of Boeing’s fastest-growing business unit. Previously, Chun served as director of communications for Global Services & Support and Boeing Military Aircraft, both of which were divisions of Boeing Defence, Space & Security. In his new role, Chun will continue reporting to Anne Toulouse, senior vice president of communications, and Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Chun succeeds Linda Mills, who announced she will be leaving the company.

GE Aviation signs services and support contract with China Southern Airlines: GE Aviation announced a 12-year TrueChoice services agreement with China Southern Airlines for systems support across their Boeing 787 fleet. The agreement includes GE Aviation’s Avionics Systems content and capabilities. The agreement covers GE Aviation content including the Common Core System and will support all of China Southern Airlines’ fleet of 30 B787 aircraft, the last five of which will be delivered in 2020. The programme for the China Southern Airlines B787 fleet will provide an optimised solution for through-life support and includes repairs, stock holding, inventory management, program management, configuration control, engineering change control, technical documentation, obsolescence management and reliability trend analysis. Building on the airline’s minimal B787 parts inventory, GE Aviation will guarantee just in time availability from its pool of B787 components to China Southern Airlines at its main base in Guangzhou and its outstations.

JAL rolls out “Infused Essence” design strategy across international fleet: Japan Airlines (JAL) has launched the new cabin interior of their international Boeing 777-300ER aircraft fleet, extending tangerine’s “Infused Essence” design strategy that was developed for JAL’s newly acquired domestic A350-900 aircraft, which launched in June 2019. The B777, last renovated approximately seven years ago, has been JAL’s ongoing, long-haul aircraft. This retrofit is the second project to launch from tangerine’s ongoing design partnership with JAL. The brief was to create consistency between the cabin product of JAL’s new flagship, line-fit A350 domestic service and its existing international service of B777 aircraft. The new B777 aircraft took-off with passengers on board for its first revenue flights earlier August from Tokyo Haneda to London Heathrow. Tangerine’s design strategy of ‘Infused Essence’ is echoed throughout the four classes of the cabin interior. Capturing the traditional innovative spirit of Japan, whilst delivering a contemporary travel experience. The B777 retrofit aims to appeal to both local and international passengers.

Pratt & Whitney signs service agreement with Vietnam Airlines: Pratt & Whitney  announced that Vietnam Airlines signed a 12-year EngineWise Comprehensive service agreement for Pratt & Whitney GTF engine maintenance for the airline’s fleet of 20 Airbus A321neo aircraft. Vietnam Airlines’ first A321neo entered into service in late 2018. Since entering into service in early 2016, the GTF engine has demonstrated its promised ability to reduce fuel burn by 16 percent, to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 50 percent compared to the regulatory standard, and to reduce the noise footprint by 75 percent.

Air Partner opens office in Dubai: Air Partner said it has opened a new office in Dubai as it looks to extend its offering to the Middle East and grow market share in the region. The office, which is located in Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), offers Air Partner’s full suite of charter solutions, comprising Group Charter, Private Jets and Freight. In addition, clients have access to the Group’s Consulting & Training services in Aviation Safety Management and Fatigue Risk Management. It is headed up by Jobby George, who was recently appointed as general manager. The Dubai office is the fourth Air Partner office to be opened in the last 18 months, following openings in Los Angeles in June 2018 and Houston and Singapore in early 2019, as the group continues to invest for future organic growth.

FlightSafety International offers EASA-qualified G500 training: FlightSafety announced it now offers EASA-qualified initial and recurrent training for Gulfstream G500 aircraft operators at its learning centre in Savannah, Georgia. In addition to two FlightSafety FS1000 full-motion simulators, the Gulfstream G500 type rating course includes the use of three new advanced Graphical Flight-deck simulators that have been qualified by EASA as Level 1 Flight Training Devices, and classrooms equipped with an interactive MATRIX cockpit. These new advanced technology training devices feature a visual system, HUD/EVS and sidestick controller designed to enhance scenario-based training.

MHI Aero Engines ships first domestically assembled GTF: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Aero Engines (MHIAEL) has completed its assembly and the first shipment of a Pratt & Whitney GTF PW1200G engine at the MHIAEL facility in Komaki, Japan. The engine was shipped to Mitsubishi Aircraft’s Moses Lake Flight Test Centre (MFC) in Moses Lake, Washington. It will then be installed to support on-going aircraft testing of the SpaceJet regional passenger jet being developed by Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation. The future approval of the MHIAEL facility would mark the first final assembly line in Japan for the production of commercial airliner jet engines. The programme for final assembly and acceptance testing of the PW1200G engine in Japan is based on an agreement concluded with Pratt & Whitney in 2008. The shipment of the first engine marks a significant milestone in the history of MHI Group’s commercial aircraft engine business. Assembly of the first PW1200G engine in Japan began in 2017. Following test cell approval, completion of the first full engine assembly, and subsequent testing, analysis and verification, the second engine assembly and testing was recently completed, and the engine shipped. The PW1200G production line at MHIAEL’s Komaki facility will commence production upon obtaining a production certificate from the US Federal Aviation Administration.

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Matthew Driskill is the Editor of Asian Aviation and is based in Cambodia. He has been an Asia-based journalist and content producer since 1990 for outlets including Reuters and the International Herald Tribune/New York Times and is a former president of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong. He frequently appears on international broadcast outlets like CNN, Al Jazeera and the BBC and has taught journalism at Hong Kong University and the American University of Paris. Driskill has received awards from the Associated Press for Investigative Reporting and Business Writing and in 1989 was named the John J. McCloy Fellow by the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York where he earned his Master's Degree.


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