Airbus to stop production of the A380

Chief Executive Tom Enders has confirmed that Airbus will stop building the A380. 

Following a review of its operations, and in light of developments in aircraft and engine technologies, Emirates is reducing its A380 orderbook from 162 to 123 aircraft. Emirates will take delivery of 14 further A380s over the next two years. As a consequence and given the lack of order backlog with other airlines, Airbus will cease deliveries of the A380  in 2021.

Emirates has decided to continue growing with Airbus’ newest generation, flexible widebody aircraft, ordering 40 A330-900 and 30 A350-900 aircraft.

Enders said,

As a result of this decision we have no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production, despite all our sales efforts with other airlines in recent years. This leads to the end of A380 deliveries in 2021.  The consequences of this decision are largely embedded in our 2018 full year results.

The A380 is not only an outstanding engineering and industrial achievement. Passengers all over the world love to fly on this great aircraft. Hence today’s announcement is painful for us and the A380 communities worldwide. But, keep in mind that A380s will still roam the skies for many years to come and Airbus will of course continue to fully support the A380 operators.

Guillaume Faury, President of Airbus Commercial Aircraft and future Airbus CEO, said:

The A380 is Emirates’ flagship and has contributed to the airline’s success for more than ten years. As much as we regret the airline’s position, selecting the A330neo and A350 for its future growth is a great endorsement of our very competitive widebody aircraft family.  Going forward, we are fully committed to deliver on the longstanding confidence Emirates is placing in Airbus.

Airbus will start discussions with its social partners in the next few weeks regarding the 3,000 to 3,500 positions potentially impacted over the next three years. However, the ongoing A320 ramp-up and the new widebody order from Emirates Airline will offer a significant number of internal opportunities.

British Airways announces a move to Terminal 8 at JFK

British Airways has announced it is moving to a new location in Terminal 8 at John F. Kennedy airport, New York.  The airline is investing in a new, improved terminal alongside American Airlines as part of a significant reinvestment by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Over the next four years, more than £250 million will be invested to recreate and customise the terminal, making it ready to offer British Airways’ customers an exciting, world-class experience every time they fly to New York.  Changes to the terminal will include new lounges, premium check-in areas and upgraded concessions.  The airline will remain in Terminal 7 until 2022.

British Airways CEO Alex Cruz said

We’re excited to announce our move to Terminal 8, alongside American Airlines, our Atlantic joint-business partner.  Offering the best customer experience at JFK now and in the future is a top priority. We look forward to working with the Port Authority and American Airlines to continue building a world-class transatlantic travel experience in our new home from 2022.

British Airways is investing £6.5 billion for customers over five years, including new aircraft, new cabins, new catering, new lounges, WiFi, and new routes.

Business travel to China and South East Asia

At Global Travel Management we are experts in all types of business travel to all parts of the world.  But one area we are finding a lot more demand for is South East Asia.  So, whether you’re making your first business trip to Shanghai or Beijing or you’re a regular traveller to Hong Kong or Singapore, we have the partnerships, relationships and experience to ensure your trip runs as smoothly as possible.  And we can advise on everything from flight planning to hotels, from visas to passports and from lounge passes to frequent flyer rewards.

  • Flights 

It’s easy to find a flight at a good price from the UK to China or elsewhere in the region.  But finding a flight is very different from finding the right flight.  Our team works hard to ensure your itinerary works for you.  So we search every airline and every route while securing the best price in the right class of travel for your flight.  And many times we will find a route you may not have considered.

Want to save money?  We will search the lowest price on the right flight for you.  Want to save time? Let us build you the best itinerary.  Want to make sure you maximise your frequent flyer rewards on the trip?  Leave it to us.

So, if you simply need to fly from London to Beijing, don’t be surprised if we find you an exceptional fare, via the “short route”.  We might find you a great fare in a better class than you had planned for.  And we will “go the extra mile” to make sure your frequent flyer membership gets topped up with every leg of the journey.

Check out our Facebook page for some of the best news from airlines flying from Europe to China.

  • Passports and Visas

Leave us with the hassle of your visas and passports.  We keep your records so we can remind you when you need a visa for an up-coming trip to China or when your passport is due for renewal.  And we partner with suppliers that make the process as easy as possible for you.

  • Hotels 

Do you have a preferred hotel brand?  Let us know and we will book it for you.  Need advice on hotels in a city you’ve never stayed in before?  We can help.  Whatever you need from your hotel, let us know.  You’ll set off knowing your hotel booking’s been taken care of and you can spend your time preparing for meetings, not trying to find somewhere to stay.

  • Anything else? 

Do you need car hire? A train booking?  Ferries?  Let us know – we can get straight onto it.

At Global Travel Management, we have been at the forefront of business travel, worldwide, for more than two decades.  And, as more businesses are needing to travel to China and South East Asia, we are very proud of our ability to provide an excellent service for travel to the region.

If your business needs to make trips to China and South East Asia, give me a call on 01483 227 369.  I will be happy to explain how Global Travel Management will help save you money on your trips and provide a reliable, first-class service to manage all of your business travel. 

Paul Baker 

GTM continues to benefit from access to Travelport’s NDC content

Travelport, the leading travel commerce platform, has completed onboarding of the first group of travel agencies to receive access to New Distribution Capability (NDC) content.  Now, a small number of travel management companies in the UK – including Global Travel Management – have access to NDC content, via Travelport’s Smartpoint booking application. 

The first live bookings through Smartpoint were completed in October 2018, following a testing programme in which GTM provided feedback and consultation to Travelport.

Commenting on this milestone in Travelport’s NDC delivery, Nick Dagg, SVP Global Agency Sales said:

We work at the heart of the travel industry and our agency customers rely on us to provide them with choice through access to the broadest range of travel content. NDC is no exception and we’ve taken great care in managing the roll out of our NDC booking capability through Smartpoint to our agency customers. This has allowed us to learn as we go, listen to the important feedback from our customers as they operate in this new distribution era and refine our NDC solution to ensure it provides seamless, integrated travel choice. I’d like to thank all our customers for collaborating with us as we deliver an NDC solution which works for everyone.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of GTM said:

We work hard to provide the widest-possible choice of fares, airlines and routes for every client and on every trip.  Having access to NDC content allows us to meet clients’ demands for the best fare, every time.

At GTM, our continued aim is to provide our clients with the best possible, end-to-end travel experience, with full control of costs.  That means everything from the selection of flights, through to the in-trip experience.  To do that, we aim to work with the widest range of the best travel partners available; and Travelport certainly ranks as one of the best in the marketplace!

Access to NDC content through Travelport’s Smartpoint application means that we are able to meet clients’ demands for the best trip solution.  Whether that’s simply shopping for the best fare, finding the travel provider that most closely meets the client’s demands or comparing complex itineraries, quickly.

NDC is an important step in the process of delivering the highest-possible customer service.  We are very proud to have been a pioneering user of this capability.

At GTM, we have been working with a number of NDC stakeholders for more than five years.  NDC remains an important capability and will continue to play a part in ensuring that GTM provides best-in-class service to all customers.

1,500 children take-off with British Airways

More than 1,500 children were given a unique insight into a career in aviation when they attended a careers event hosted by British Airways and KidZania. The two-day event saw them take the controls of an aircraft and try out the airline’s safety demonstration with cabin crew.

The children were provided with replica uniforms and taught on board the British Airways A319 aircraft, learning some of the important skills needed to become real life flight and cabin crew.  Many received a lesson on the flight deck simulator where they were given the opportunity to fly around London and land into Heathrow Terminal 5.

  • British Airways teamed up with KidZania in Westfield to inspire children to pursue a career in aviation
  • More than 1,500 children from 19 schools visited the Aviation Academy at the two-day careers fair
  • British Airways customers receive 15% discount to the KidZania activity centre

The British Airways Aviation Academy is the most popular activity with children visiting KidZania, and the behind-the-scenes, hands-on training aims to both inspire and enthuse children about future careers they might previously not have considered.

Currently more than 6% of British Airways pilots are women, which is double the national average, but the airline is actively seeking to encourage more women into the profession.

Mel Kose, British Airways’ Community Education Manager said that events like this aim to inspire and excite young girls to see a career as a pilot to be an achievable goal and to pursue STEM subjects at school:

We’re delighted that so many students attended the event, which is just one of many initiatives we offer to inspire children and young girls to enter a STEM career. Last year 600 students took part in our work experience programme across 30 departments at British Airways, and this year we will host more young people than ever before. We’ve also introduced ‘Teacher Take-Off Days’, with teachers taking part in one-day work experience sessions and taking their learnings back to the classroom. Plus, we’ve launched a scheme we call Your Flying Future, where we regularly run events for children to meet our pilots, to encourage them to feel that this is a career available to them.

Goodyers End Primary School in Bedworth, Warwickshire was one of almost 20 schools that attended the event at KidZania. Year 6 Teacher Adele Johnson said:

Lots of our children will have never even been a passenger on a plane before, let alone thought about a career in aviation, so this event provides an invaluable opportunity to inspire the children and raise their aspirations for the future – coming to KidZania is one of the most important things we do all year.

Rachel Woods, Head of Brands Development at KidZania London, said:

The British Airways A319 aeroplane is a big hit in the city, and it was fantastic to have ambassadors offering insights into their careers through a STEM-based interactive activity. The workshop offered hands-on opportunities to support and inspire key-stage 1-3 children through real life experiences.

NATS trials Artifical Intelligence solution for Air Traffic Control at Heathrow

In a move aimed at boosting punctuality at Heathrow, NATS is trialling an Artificial Intelligence solution that could help reclaim the 20% of capacity lost by low cloud reducing visibility from the Control Tower. 

A project is underway, within NATS’ bespoke Digital Tower Laboratory, at Heathrow Airport to test whether a combination of ultra HD 4K cameras along with AI and machine learning technology can be used to help improve the airport’s landing capacity in times of low visibility and improve punctuality.

Heathrow’s 87 metre tall control tower is the highest in the UK and provides commanding views of the airport and surrounding landscape, but its height can also mean it disappears into low cloud, even when the runways below are clear.  In those conditions, extra time is given between each landing to ensure its safety. The result is a 20% loss of landing capacity, which creates delays for passengers and knock-on disruption for the rest of the operation.

NATS is deploying 20 ultra high-definition cameras at the airfield, the views from which are then fed into an AI platform. The platform can interpret the images, track the aircraft and then inform the controller when it has successfully cleared the runway. NATS believes the system will help the airport reclaim all the lost capacity.

Andy Taylor, NATS Chief Solution Officer, said,

Safety is always our top priority and Artificial Intelligence is about supporting air traffic controllers. While they remain the decision makers at the heart of the operation, we can help them make the best possible decisions and improve efficiency and safety.

Right now we’re focusing on when the control tower is in low cloud, where I’m confident we can make a very positive difference, but I am convinced that this technology can totally revolutionise how air traffic is managed at airports around the world.

The trial is part of a £2.5 million investment NATS has made in a ‘digital tower laboratory’ located inside the Heathrow control tower. There, it is working with the airport to understand how technology could support the air traffic operation now and in the future.

Kathryn Leahy, Director of Operations at Heathrow Airport said,

We’re delighted to be working with NATS to bring this pioneering technology to the UK’s only hub airport. Our capacity challenges are unique to our operation and we’re always exploring new and innovative techniques to help us overcome these constraints and improve the passenger experience in a safe and resilient manner.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on this trial, as the technology could have a major role as we prepare for the expanded airport. We will watch how AI and digital towers could be used to monitor all three of the expanded airport’s runways in future.

 

Air New Zealand extends free Wi-Fi offer

Air New Zealand’s complimentary inflight Wi-Fi summer offer to customers has been such a hit the airline is extending it. 

Wi-Fi is now available on 12 international aircraft, including six Boeing 777-200s and four Boeing 777-300s which predominantly fly the airline’s trans-Tasman, US and London routes and two A321neo aircraft which operate Tasman and Pacific Island services. 

Air New Zealand General Manager Customer Experience Anita Hawthorne says more than 80,000 people have connected to complimentary Wi-Fi on international flights since 1 December, which is the equivalent to the population of Palmerston North. 

We’re so pleased with the uptake of our summer Wi-Fi offer and the feedback we’ve received from customers during this period that we’ve decided to extend it until the end of March.

 Standard Wi-Fi on Air New Zealand services is charged at $30 NZD for a full flight to Australia and the Pacific Islands and $40 for the duration of a flight to North America, Europe and Asia destinations.  There is also a 1-hour pass available for $9 on North America, Europe and Asia services.

Manchester Airport to introduce “private terminal”

Manchester Airport has revealed plans to be the first major UK airport to open a private terminal, offering passengers a “private jet experience” while flying on commercial airlines.

The airport has released preview designs of the new terminal, which will be called PremiAir.  The PremiAir experience will be available to purchase for passengers irrespective of class of travel or the destination they are flying to – and prices start at £50.

The terminal will be entirely separate from the existing three terminals at Manchester Airport and there will be a number of different services available depending on individual passengers’ preferences.

The services offered at PremiAir include include a personalised welcome, speedy baggage processing, an elegant lounge with complimentary food and drink and a dedicated security channel.  Passengers will then be driven straight to their plane in a private car transfer.

Passengers arriving back into Manchester will also be able to use PremiAir, either as part of a round trip booking or as a standalone service. They will benefit from a car transfer direct from their plane and use of a dedicated passport control service. They will also be able to relax in the PremiAir lounge while their luggage is returned personally to them.

Andrew Harrison, CEO, Airport Services, MAG, said:

By introducing PremiAir, we’re offering something unique for all of our passengers, and creating a completely new way to travel.

It is something a large number of customers have been telling us for some time they would be interested in and we hope the services it will offer will appeal to a wide range of passengers, whether they are travelling for business, want to mark a special occasion or just want to add something different to their experience.

The PremiAir terminal is designed by Jacobs.  Ross Powell, Director of Operations, Jacobs, said:

Jacobs are absolutely delighted to have supported MAG bring this exciting and unique new product to the market.

We have worked hard with the Airport to create a simple yet elegant design, utilising natural materials, full height glass and visual connection to the airfield to offer the guest a warm, relaxing and personalised environment.

PremiAir is the latest investment by MAG in transforming the customer experience at Manchester Airport. The £1bn transformation of the UK’s third-largest gateway continues at pace, with the first phase of the project set to open in April this year. This scheme will see new piers and car parks developed and the latest technology installed to deliver a smooth and efficient journey for passengers through the airport.

British Airways to celebrate centenary by painting a Boeing 747 in retro B.O.A.C. colours

British Airways has announced it will be painting one of its aircraft in the design of its predecessor British Overseas Airways Corporation (B.O.A.C.) as part of its centenary celebrations.

The livery from the 1964 – 1974 B.O.A.C. era will adorn a Boeing 747. The aircraft will arrive at Heathrow on 18 February, before entering service one day later. This will also mark the 50th anniversary of the first Boeing 747 flights.

British Airways plan to repaint more aircraft with retro liveries, which will fly on British Airways routes.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said,

So many British Airways customers and colleagues have fond memories of our previous liveries, regularly sharing their photos from across the globe, so it’s incredibly exciting to be re-introducing this classic BOAC design.

Our history has shaped who we are today, so our centenary is the perfect moment to revisit our heritage and the UK’s aviation landscape through this iconic livery.

Happy anniversary to British Airways, from all of us at Global Travel Management.

Drone chaos overcome for GTM’s clients

Drone chaos overcome for GTM’s clients

At Global Travel Management, we make sure our clients’ travel plans go as smoothly as possible.  Occasionally, there are events outside our control which result in delays and cancellations for travellers.  It’s at times like this that our team steps up to do everything we can to fix travel problems as they occur.  A good example of this was in December when Gatwick was forced to close due to sightings of drones near the runway.  That was an international news story.  But we prevented further drama for our clients.

Our Operations Director Kelly Packington explained how we dealt with the situation.  “The team immediately ran a report to see who was travelling to or from Gatwick on the day of the drone sightings. Once we had that information, we could start working out how to manage each passenger’s situation”.

Jane Marrison, Team Leader and Senior Travel Consultant, saw that one of her clients was caught up.  “One of my clients was due to return back to Gatwick that day. But any delay would cause him problems as he had another flight out the following day.”

“I checked his flight status with the airline, and his flight was shown as delayed but not cancelled. As a precaution I checked availability to Heathrow for my client, held a seat and then notified him what was happening and what I had done.”

“Throughout the day his flight status changed a couple of times. At one point his status changed to ‘departing on time’ and the airline asked me to cancel the seat I was holding back to Heathrow, which I did. However, his flight was eventually cancelled.”

“When the airline cancelled the flight, they ‘reprotected’ him on a flight returning the next day. But, as I knew he wouldn’t be able to return the next day I quickly went on to our reservations system and got the last seat back to Heathrow on the last flight of the day.”

This is just one example of how we manage clients’ travel, even when there are unforeseen problems impacting travel, worldwide.

What did this particular client think of the quiet, efficient way in which we made sure his travel was as smooth as possible?  Jane summed it up neatly: “My client was very happy!”