AirAsia launches virtual assistant: AirAsia announced that its virtual Allstar, AVA, has launched on the messaging application WhatsApp. Chief Customer Happiness Officer Adam Geneave said the move couldn’t be more timely with record numbers of guests seeking support as a result of COVID-19. “At AirAsia, we’re guest obsessed. We’re also a progressive, digitally led company and our virtual Allstar AVA offers a high standard of customer service via artificial intelligence. AVA already handles millions of cases annually across other platforms such as Facebook, our app and airasia.com so it makes absolute sense to make her available on WhatsApp where there are more than two billion users worldwide. This year has been challenging for the entire aviation industry and it’s more important than ever that our guests feel supported and heard and can reach us via their preferred mode of communication. As with any new technology, we continue to learn and adapt and AVA is only getting better and better over time. Currently more than 80 percent of customer cases can successfully be managed by AVA, and the rest is transferred to a Live Agent who assists directly.”
Emirates rolls out online gateway: Emirates has rolled out a new online gateway to serve its travel trade partners around the world. Tailored for each market, and personalised for each partner to cater to their unique business environment and needs, the Emirates Partners Portal is a one-stop shop for travel industry partners to quickly and securely access the full range of information on Emirates’ latest products, services and policies, and obtain technical support. This dynamic platform reshapes the way Emirates delivers information to their trade partner community. The portal also offers a range of functions including self-service tools and support, and in-built automation of business processes, all aimed at delivering efficiency for travel partners, as well as providing transparency and clarity on the status of transactions. The portal meets NDC/IATA standards that will provide access to Emirates’ rich content, in addition to critical operational updates 24 hours a day 7 days a week, and other core Emirates platforms such as Dubai Experience.
Accelya completes acquisition of Farelogix: Accelya, a provider of technology solutions to the global airline and travel industry, announced that it has completed its acquisition of Farelogix, a provider of SaaS solutions for airline retailing and New Distribution Capability-enabled commerce. With Farelogix, Accelya will accelerate customers’ digital transformations, and will provide a next-generation, end-to-end, Offer-to-Settlement airline commerce platform, including a full suite of innovative retailing, distribution, and fulfillment solutions. To accelerate the delivery of Accelya’s next generation platform, the Accelya and Farelogix management teams will be fully integrated, with Farelogix CEO Jim Davidson being appointed Chief Product Officer of the newly expanded Accelya Group. The current Farelogix team will continue to operate from Miami, further expanding Accelya’s presence in North America.
Trive Capital partners with Field Aerospace: Trive Capital, a Dallas-based private equity firm, announced it has signed a partnership deal with Field Aerospace. Field operates out of three facilities located in the US and Canada, specialising in aircraft integration, engineering, modification, and support services for government, aerospace, and defence customers. The company has a 70-plus year operating history in aircraft modification and parts manufacturing with a focus on special-mission aircraft including the DHC-8, Challenger, and Gulfstream platforms. As part of the transaction, Trive provided a structured capital solution to buy out minority shareholder and former Chairman, Dan Magarian, and to support future growth initiatives of the business. The transaction represents Trive’s most recent investment for its Structured Capital Strategy. Trive is actively seeking additional Structured Capital investment opportunities where the firm can tailor bespoke debt and equity structures for strategically viable, middle market companies through a collaborative and operational approach. Trive’s Structured Capital Strategy targets opportunities across a variety of situations including growth capital, management buyouts, minority recaps, special situations, and acquisition financing.
Airport Dimensions announces acquisition of ONGROUND Hospitality: Airport Dimensions, an award-winning global provider of premium shared-use lounges, has announced the acquisition of ONGROUND Hospitality and the Sleep Lounge brand sleep ’n fly. The deal will expand Airport Dimensions’ range of dedicated airport products and services, further enhancing the passenger experience through its lounge spaces, and will expand the company’s presence in the Middle East following its win of the Abu Dhabi Midfield Terminal lounge contract in January 2019. ONGROUND Hospitality is a provider of a range of innovative airport service solutions. In 2013, it opened the world’s first airport Sleep Lounge to meet the requirements of transit travellers in need of a power nap or an overnight sleep. The concept offers sleep pods and cabins that operate on a pay-by-the-hour basis, having provided hundreds of thousands of passengers to-date with a convenient and comfortable place to relax and rest. The sleep ’n fly Sleep Lounges are currently available at Terminals 1 and 3 at Dubai International Airport, with sleep pods also located within regular third-party lounges under a separate pod-in-lounge concept. The first sleep ’n fly lounge outside the UAE will be launched in the near future at another major hub. Sleep ’n fly is already popular with Priority Pass and Lounge Key lounge membership customers. Online booking is also available at sleep-n-fly.com and leading travel websites, giving travellers plenty of options to book in advance for some rest or a private space for social distancing.
AIM Altitude partnership develops new composite solution: AIM Altitude has been working with Composites Evolution Limited and Sheffield Hallam University on a research and development project backed by Innovate UK. The collaboration’s objective has been to develop a nanocomposite material with exceptional fire and mechanical performance, suitable for use in aircraft interior applications. The team has developed a unique thermosetting resin system, which is a blend of poly (furfuryl alcohol) (PFA) with a specific additive mix, for the production of glass fibre pre-pregs using a hot-melt process. The successful conclusion of the project in August 2020 is expected to bring to market a new family of materials with improved performance, enabling greater design freedom, including new decorative finishes, and a safer passenger environment. The PFA resin base is produced from biomass waste, which has a mature, secure, low-cost supply, and does not compete with food production so is completely sustainable. The composite is similar to phenolic, but without the toxic phenol and formaldehyde compounds, making it safer across the whole product lifecycle.
VALLAIR signs MoU with CHAMP Cargosystems: Vallair, the mature aircraft and asset specialist, and launch customer for the A321 freighter conversion (A321F), has signed an MoU with CHAMP Cargosystems to develop the first cargo management system for its prototype freighter conversion. Based in Luxembourg, CHAMP is one of the leading suppliers of integrated IT solutions for the air cargo industry. Vallair has been engaged in cargo conversions since 2015 and is the launching lessor of the Airbus A321 freighter. The partnership between Vallair and CHAMP will be a collaboration and pooling of resources to provide CHAMP’s Weight and Balance system for the new Airbus A321Fs and to establish a reliable e-freight system which can be utilised in conjunction with all of Vallair’s future A321F conversions. Being able to offer CHAMP data and information on both the A321P2F and the A321PCF freighters will allow Vallair to contribute to a comprehensive cargo management system which is bespoke to these freighter variants. This package will then be offered as a cost effective, load efficient solution to their customers in conjunction with digitalised tracking of all cargo.
SkyNet Aviation offers weather data via DTN: Skynet Aviation CEO Jon Davis has announced that his company has secured a crucial strategic partnership with DTN to integrate its aviation weather intelligence into Skynet’s REACH Aero Day of Operations platform. The alliance with DTN – an independent source of insights, analytics and decision-support solutions – boosts the usefulness of the REACH Aero Day of Operations suite, making it an even more authoritative source of flight data. “DTN is a trusted global weather leader. SkyNet is proud to say we can connect with them, integrate their data and manipulate it to provide new layers and services within REACH Aero Day of Operations, as well as direct portal access to DTN global weather resources,” Davis says. Within SkyNet’s new module, users will be able to choose which weather information they add over their live tactical view of flights including: DTN Enhanced Flight Hazards – which includes EDR turbulence, airfoil-specific icing and thunderstorm forecasts; Ceiling and visibility forecasts; Real-time weather conditions; High-resolution radar and satellite information; Volcanic activity data. All the information will be available within the platform itself, as well as through an independent DTN weather portal.