Aviation News in Brief 24 Sept 2019: CAAS & Thales; Unisys & MAS; Sabre; World Routes; Emirates; Scoot; Air Astana

The agreement to establish the AIR Lab was signed between Kevin Shum, Director-General, CAAS, and Jean Ferré, Vice President Air Traffic Management, Thales on the sidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Innovation Fair in Montreal.

Singapore’s CAAS, Thales set up joint research lab: The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and Thales have announced the establishment of a S$30 million (US$21.7 million) Joint Aviation Innovation Research (AIR) Lab in Singapore to research air traffic management (ATM) technologies. The AIR Lab will focus on the development of an Open ATM System architecture minimum viable product as its immediate priority. This project will be a key enabler for CAAS’s next-generation ATM system. Through the AIR Lab, Thales will be increasing its level of investments into ATM-related research in Singapore by bringing in domain experts and hiring software engineers, system engineers and integrators. Supported by the Aviation Transformation Programme (ATP), which seeks to develop innovative ATM solutions for Singapore, the AIR Lab will also provide a platform for multiple stakeholders, including Singapore enterprises with complementary capabilities, to collaborate on these new technologies and develop corresponding prototypes. The AIR Lab builds on the deep partnership and collaboration between CAAS and Thales. In February 2018, the two organisations signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on developing new concepts of operations for ATM as well as the next generation of digital ATM technologies. In March this year, a follow-up agreement was signed at the World ATM Congress in Madrid to conduct research and development for an Open ATM System architecture.

Unisys works with MAS to expand cargo online booking options: Unisys said it will work with MAB Kargo (MASkargo), the cargo division of Malaysia Airlines, to expand its range of cargo booking options with a new online booking service allowing all types of customers to access the airline’s cargo services, anytime and anywhere, via the airline’s website. The new service on the website provides an online option for customers who traditionally use offline methods to book cargo shipments, enabling them to access MASkargo’s space inventory, purchase services and track deliveries 24×7. It augments MASkargo’s current online distribution strategy, which is based on the Digi-Portal independent global marketplace, to give customers the choice of accessing inventory directly via the airline’s website or via the marketplace. Under the engagement signed in July 2019, Unisys will provide Digi-Connect systems integration services to link the airline’s website to the core Unisys Digistics air cargo digital logistics management solution.

Sabre opens new office in Singapore: Sabre announced it has inaugurated its new Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore. This strategic move demonstrates Sabre’s commitment to delivering innovative technology solutions that will continue to shape the future of travel across Asia-Pacific, the company added. Sabre has had a presence in Singapore since 1997 and the new offices will bring together employees from Sabre’s three business units that oversee the travel distribution, airline and hospitality industries. Counting over 3,000 employees in APAC, the Singapore-based headquarters will serve as a central hub for regional teams, while facilitating operations and enabling the deployment of a consistent Sabre brand across all markets.

World Routes 2019 Awards: The annual World Routes Awards took place at the Adelaide Convention Centre  on 23 September, recognising marketing services that support new and existing air services, as well as excellence and innovation in the route development community. Budapest Airport was named the Overall Winner and also won the 4-20 Million Passenger category. The airport’s passenger numbers have increased by double digits over the last four years, with 2018 recording a rise of 13.5 percent to 14.9 million. A total of 34 new routes have been announced or started so far in 2019, including the addition of non-stop service to Shanghai. Brisbane Airport won the 20-50 million passenger category, having secured new services from an impressive seven Asian airlines in the last two years. The airport saw total passenger numbers grow by 1.7 per cent to more than 23.6 million in 2018, with international traveller numbers surging by 4.8 percent to more than six million. In the Over 50 Million Passenger Category, Singapore Changi Airport was named the winner. The airport’s total passenger traffic hit 65.6 million in 2018, a year-on-year rise of 5.5 percent and up from 37.2 million a decade earlier. In the last 12 months, the airport has added seven new passenger airlines, as well as expanding connectivity to the likes of Urumqi, Nanning and Wuhan in China, plus Busan in South Korea and Kolkata in India among others. The Rising Star Award was presented to Qiongfang Hu, Section Chief, Airline Development Department, Traffic Development Division at Fukuoka International Airport. During her career at Chubu Centrair International Airport and Fukuoka International Airport, Hu has worked on various B2B and B2C campaigns. Her work helped NGO to secure Spring Airlines flights to five cities in China, meaning the airport outperformed other large Japanese airports in terms of city links.

The full list of commended and winning organisations:

Overall Winner: Budapest Airport

Over 50 Million Passengers

Winner: Singapore Changi Airport
Highly Commended: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

20-50 Million Passengers

Winner: Brisbane Airport
Highly Commended: Athens International Airport

4-20 Million Passengers

Winner: Budapest Airport
Highly Commended: Malta International Airport

Under 4 Million Passengers

Winner: Billund Airport
Highly Commended: Zagreb Airport


Winner: Tourism Ireland
Highly Commended: Promotur – Canary Islands Tourist Board 

Winner: Vueling

Overcoming Adversity
Winner: Puerto Rico Tourism Company

Individual Leadership
Winner: Wilco Sweijen, Director Route and Business Development, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Rising Star
Winner: Qiongfang Hu, Section Chief, Airline Development Department, Traffic Development Division at Fukuoka International Airport
Highly Commended: Samuel Ferrera, Senior Analyst Network Development, Vueling

aviation-news-in-brief-24-sept-2019-caas-unisys-sabre-world-routes-emirates-scoot-air-astanaEmirates gets US OK for biometric boarding: Emirates said it has become the first airline outside the US to receive approval for biometric boarding from the US Customs Border Protection (CBP). Soon, customers flying from Singapore via Dubai to any of Emirates’ 12 destinations in the US will be able to choose facial recognition technology at the departure gates, reducing the time taken for identity checks to two seconds or less. No pre-registration is required, and customers may also choose not to use the technology. Emirates does not store any biometric records of its customers – all the data is managed securely by CBP. The technology was piloted at the departure gates of Emirates’ flights from Dubai to New York and Los Angeles through the peak periods in July and August. The results were encouraging with some flights achieving 100 percent biometric boarding and zero manual checks. The airline expects to make biometric boarding available for all its US destinations by year-end, once the equipment is in place.


Scoot removes payment processing fees: Low-cost carrier Scoot said it has removed payment processing fees globally for all bookings made on its direct channels. Scoot currently offers a range of payment options across its network of 67 cities in 17 countries and territories. This includes global payment methods such as Apple Pay, Credit Card (American Express, JCB, MasterCard, UnionPay, Visa), Google Pay and PayPal, and local payment methods such as AXS and PayNow for customers in Singapore, POLi for customers in Australia, WeChat Pay and Alipay for customers in China, DragonPay for customers in the Philippines, Konbini for customers in Japan, and Momo for customers in Vietnam.

aviation-news-in-brief-24-sept-2019-caas-unisys-sabre-world-routes-emirates-scoot-air-astanaAir Astana takes delivery of its first A321LR: Air Astana, Kazakhstan’s flag carrier, has taken delivery of its first A321LR on lease from Air Lease Corporation. The A321LR will join Air Astana’s Airbus fleet of 18 Airbus aircraft (eight A320s, four A321s, three A320neo and three A321neo). Powered by Pratt & Whitney engines, Air Astana’s A321LR comprises 166 seats in a two-class configuration (16 Business Full lie Flat and 150 Economy Class seats) offering premium wide-body comfort in a single-aisle aircraft cabin. With this new A321LR, the Kazakhstan flag carrier will continue its strategy of growth and network expansion to European destinations as well as routes to Asia.


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