Qantas First Class returns to Singapore

Australian national carrier Qantas Airways has reintroduced its First Class offering to its customers travelling to and from Singapore with the return of its superjumbo A380 aircraft and re-opening of its First Lounge at Changi Airport.

The airline will fly its recently refurbished A380 aircraft on flights between Australia and Singapore, and Singapore and London.

The aircraft’s premium cabins include fourteen First Suites, 70 Business Suites (increased by six) and 60 Premium Economy seats (increased by 25) as well as 341 Economy seats (decreased by 30).

The on-board lounge has been redesigned by David Caon in a supper club style with seating for ten people and a bespoke snack menu.

Singapore: an important role in Qantas’s worldwide network, says Stephanie Tully

Qantas has also re-opened its First Lounge at Changi Airport, which was launched in December 2019 and quickly became one of the most popular lounges on the Qantas international network. It operated for just three months before closing due to the pandemic.

The First Lounge operates alongside the existing Qantas Business Lounge ensuring all eligible customers travelling have a fantastic pre-flight experience.

Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer Stephanie Tully said Qantas is pleased to be offering its premium passenger experience to and from Singapore after an absence of more than two years.

We’d only just opened our brand-new First lounge before the pandemic forced its closure. Many of our Frequent Flyers never had the chance to see it.

We’re delighted to once again welcome our customers back to this beautiful lounge at Changi Airport. Our lounge team is excited to be back and eager to offer the warmest hospitality to Qantas and our partner airline customers.

Ms Tully added,

Singapore plays an important role in Qantas’s worldwide network as we continue to ramp up capacity in line with strong travel demand. It’s great to have our First offering back both in the air and on the ground at Changi Airport, which is consistently recognised as one of the best airports in the world.

The Qantas First Lounge has capacity for 240 guests and offers a Neil Perry fine dining experience with a menu inspired by Singapore’s vibrant dining scene featuring dishes such as a signature Laksa with Crayfish and Rice Noodles, Barramundi with Sambal Browned Butter and Shrimp-based Chicken Wings.

The Carrara marble bar invites guests to select from an extensive beverage menu featuring Champagne, bespoke cocktails including the Merlion Blush and barista coffee.

The 1,000 square metre lounge was designed by Australian industrial designer David Caon in collaboration with architect Kelvin Ho of Akin Atelier to provide a sense of calming luxury with a Singaporean twist featuring pops of greenery.

The lounge features classic furniture which is combined with both modern designed pieces to create a unique environment for customers.

There are zones for dining, working and relaxing as well as 10 shower suites for customers to freshen up.

Qantas will operate a daily return A380 flight from Sydney to Singapore and on to London as well as twenty A330 operated flights each week from Singapore to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane.

Etihad returns to T4 at Heathrow

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, has confirmed it will return to London Heathrow’s Terminal 4 from 22 June.

Etihad’s return to Terminal 4 follows a temporary home at Terminals 2 and 3 during the pandemic.

Transport connections including the London Underground and Heathrow Express will also reopen.

The Etihad Lounge will also re-open for Etihad’s First and Business class guests, as well as Etihad Guest Platinum and Gold members. The lounge has separate areas for relaxing and dining.

Etihad has also confirmed that from July to September 2022 it is increasing its current four daily flights from London Heathrow to five daily flights.

Also from July, Etihad will increase its services into Dublin to offer a daily flight, and continue to operate daily to and from Manchester.

Etihad is asking all passengers to check in online, arrive at the airport early during this time – the Etihad check-in desks at London Heathrow will be open three and a half hours before departure – and also check whether they need to get Verified to Fly at etihad.com/destinationguide.

British Airways announce changes to the ‘Book with confidence’ policy

British Airways have shared the following announcement regarding the ‘Book with confidence’ policy.

Since its introduction in March 2020, our Book with confidence policy has offered customers the flexibility and peace of mind to change or cancel their travel plans, when it mattered most.

As the world continues to emerge from the pandemic, there are now significantly fewer restrictions impacting travel. And as customer confidence continues to return, it’s clear that the recovery in our industry is now well underway.  

We are writing to inform you of changes to our Book with confidence policy, effective today: 

Bookings ticketed from 00:01 on 08 June 2022 will no longer be covered under this policy and will be governed by the fare rules on the ticket and our standard conditions of carriage; however, should new major travel restrictions be introduced, specific Customer Guidelines will be issued. 

Bookings ticketed from 03 March 2020 up to and including 07 June 2022, for travel completed by 30 September 2022, remain covered under our existing Book with confidence policy, where: 
i) any applicable change fee is waived (fare differential applies), or  
ii) the value of the booking can be held as credit for future travel, providing new travel is completed by 30 September 2023.

ANA introduces special ‘ANA Future Promise’ livery to 787s

All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s largest airline has announced a new initiative featuring two 787 aircraft with a special ‘ANA Future Promise’ livery and special services focused on promoting sustainability and reducing CO2 emissions.

This new dedicated initiative comes a year after the launch of the ANA Future Promise, which encompasses activities across environmental, social responsibility and governance areas.

Shinichi Inoue, President and Chief Executive Officer of ANA said

Sustainability is a central operating principal to our company and the ANA Future Promise demonstrates commitment to our social responsibility and environmental sustainability goals, and we are excited to get our customers involved and raise awareness in these initiatives with the dedicated AFP 787s.

We previously announced our ambitious ESG goals and this is another milestone to build on the importance that ESG has to our airline and global customers.

The ANA Future Promise aircraft will be introduced later this year and will be a showcase of ANA’s efforts to incorporate sustainability into the airline’s services and products.

Two Boeing 787s will be specially painted with a design symbolizing “water and greenery” to convey the concept of sustainability, and will be operated on domestic and international routes.

Malaysia Airlines operates first passenger flight with Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Malaysia Airlines has operated its first passenger flight using Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

Flight MH603 from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore took place on Sunday, 5 June.

The historic flight was operated with a Boeing 737-800 aircraft fuelled by a blend of conventional jet fuel and Neste’s SAF, which is produced from 100% renewable waste and residue raw materials, such as animal fat waste.

Produced by Neste, the world’s largest SAF producer, the fuel was supplied through a supply deal with PETCO Trading (UK) Ltd, which is PETRONAS’ marketing and trading arm based in Europe, while product handling and refuelling was carried out by PETRONAS Dagangan Berhad (PDB) at KLIA.

Following the milestone, long-term supply of SAF will be made available at KLIA for airline customers, as well as future flights operated by sister airlines under Malaysia Aviation Group, including Firefly.

The send-off event in KLIA followed the historic SAF-fuelled commercial cargo flight MH7979 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in December 2021, proving the feasibility of SAF as a cleaner and more viable fuel option.

Philip See, Group Chief Sustainability Officer of MAG, said, 

MAG aims to be a pioneer in using SAF for flights in Malaysia as part of our commitment to achieving socio-economic development and reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. We have taken proactive measures in minimising our carbon footprint from the ground up through measures taken within our operations, including fuel efficiency programmes such as SAF.

With the commencement of our first passenger flight using SAF, we encourage passengers to join us on this journey as we take the necessary steps to minimise our environmental impacts and plan for more flights powered by SAF; for the betterment of the industry, nation, and future of our planet. Moving forward, we will look to make SAF the cleaner and more viable energy option for our regular flights by 2025.

A special taskforce has been formed by the National Aerospace Industry Coordinating Office (NAICO) and led by Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) to drive the adoption of SAF. Other members include the relevant Ministries and industry players including MAG and PETRONAS.

Both MAG and PDB entered a partnership in 2021 jointly to explore potential collaborative opportunities that advance sustainability, including the supply and adoption of SAF at KLIA. They also aim to strengthen awareness of aviation sustainability through a united communication and advocacy strategy around carbon emission reduction.

In anticipation of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) mandatory phase in 2027, PETRONAS is evaluating planned developments of greenfield and brownfield biorefineries as well as co-processing at existing PETRONAS facilities.

Azrul Osman Rani, PDB’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer said,

In line with PETRONAS’ commitment towards achieving Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050, exploring the supply of SAF at KLIA is a natural progression for us with aviation fuel being one of our key products.

With two proven flights, PDB has demonstrated its capabilities and infrastructure readiness in supplying SAF in KLIA from now onwards to support the aviation industry’s sustainability agenda.

Coupled with commitment from the special taskforce, we are confident that we will be able to jointly accelerate the transformation of the Malaysian aviation industry into a sustainable one.

Neste supports aviation’s reduction goals and is currently expanding its global SAF production capacity to 1.5 million tonnes by the end of 2023.

Sami Jauhiainen, Vice President APAC, Renewable Aviation at Neste said,

This collaboration with PETRONAS enables our first supply of Neste MY SAF to Malaysia.

I am excited to see how countries and airlines in the Asia-Pacific region are setting ambitious targets to decarbonize aviation and increasingly many airlines are taking SAF into use to reduce their emissions and enable their travellers to fly more sustainably. Neste is committed to play its part with the ongoing expansion of our global production capacity to 1.5 million tons of SAF by end of 2023, ready to support the Asia-Pacific and global aviation markets…

British Airways further expands its US network

British Airways is ramping up its US route network this summer, taking its direct US routes to London to 26. 

BA 267: Portland, Oregon International Airport welcomes British Airways and the only direct route between London (Heathrow) and Oregon.

Portland, Oregon has become the newest destination on the British Airways route map, providing the city’s only direct route to the UK.

Neil Chernoff, British Airways’ Director of Networks and Alliances said: 

This summer British Airways will be flying from 26 US cities to London and we’re very excited to be adding Portland to our list of transatlantic destinations. Not only are we the only airline to offer direct flights from Portland to London, but this new route also opens a wide variety of connections for our customers. Through Alaska Airlines, our oneworld partner, British Airways will offer codeshare connections to several destinations operated by Alaska Airlines from Portland.

British Airways has also relaunched its direct route from Pittsburgh to London.  It remains the only airline to offer a direct flight from the Pennsylvanian city to London.

The airline will resume a year-round four-per-week service – Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

On 6 June, the airline launched a new, daytime flight from Newark Liberty International Airport to London Heathrow – its third daily flight from Newark to London, to support the return of business travel.

The daytime flight will depart at 7.55am from Newark – a convenient option for travellers wishing to spend an extra night in the New York area before departing, or for those who wish to arrive just in time for an evening in London. 

With this additional flight time, British Airways along with its joint business partner, American Airlines will offer ‘the most extensive network from the New York area to London’ with fifteen daily departures this summer, including eleven daily flights from JFK to Heathrow and one daily flight from JFK to Gatwick.

This summer also marks the return of daily direct flights from San Jose, California, to London on 13 June; and the return of A380 aircraft to more North American airports.

Chicago and Vancouver were the latest cities to welcome home the Airbus.

Meanwhile, Dallas Fort Worth is preparing to welcome the A380 for the first time on 1 July. 

The aircraft, which is British Airways’ and the airline industry’s largest, offers a choice of First, Club World, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller cabins and has a total of 469 seats. 

There are twelve A380s in the British Airways fleet. Image shows a British Airways Airbus flying over the cliffs at Dover, taken by Wing Commander Neil Frazer from the backseat of Red 10, one of the Red Arrows jets flown by Squadron Leader Mike Ling.

United reveal new Away kits

Travellers flying in premium cabins on United’s long-haul international and premium transcontinental routes will experience the airline’s new, co-branded amenity kits designed exclusively for the airline by global travel lifestyle brand Away.

Inspired by Away’s iconic suitcases and versatile accessories, United offer three versions of the amenity kits, each with custom travel essentials and Sunday Riley’s United-exclusive range of clean, cruelty-free skincare products.

The collaboration signifies the first time Away, the global travel lifestyle brand, has partnered with a commercial airline.

Luc Bondar, vice president of marketing and loyalty and president of MileagePlus at United said

As travel demand continues to rise to unprecedented levels, travelers are seeking comfort and quality now more than ever when they fly—that’s why we chose to partner with Away.

Away’s mutual commitment to making travel more seamless, elevated and modern design aesthetic is in perfect harmony with United’s brand, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to be the only airline to provide this unique offering to our customers.

United and Away designed each amenity kit to be ‘the perfect accessory’ for customers to freshen up on long flights and reuse on future journeys.

The Away amenity kits offered include:

  • Hard Pod: For travellers flying in United Polaris® business on long-haul international flights. The sturdy shell and interior elastic band will help keep belongings organized.
  • Sports Pouch: For travellers flying in United Premium Plus® on long-haul international flights. Featuring a soft, protective material you can keep all your belongings organised —including your travel essentials.
  • Zip Case: For travellers flying in United Business on premium transcontinental flights. The water-resistant kit for transcontinental premium travellers is an ideal solution for storing liquids and moving quickly through airport security lines.
Left to right: Hard Pod, for travellers in Polaris Business Class; Sports Pouch for travellers in Premium Plus seats; Zip Case for travellers in Business, on transcontinental flights

Melissa Weiss, Away’s Chief Marketing Officer said

We are thrilled to partner with United to bring Away’s thoughtfully designed products to United travelers around the globe.

United’s mission to connect the world and their dedication to making travel as effortless as possible aligns with Away’s mission to create a more open world by making travel easier. We are certain this unique relationship between our two companies will do just that, making the travel experience more seamless for journeys near or far.

In addition to co-branded personal care essentials like earbuds, an eye mask, and a dental kit, the Away amenity kits will include United’s In-Flight Remedy skin-care products from trusted partner and customer-favorite Sunday Riley. 

Sunday Riley custom developed the In-Flight Remedy line to offer United passengers, high-end skincare products on long-haul international flights and transcontinental flights.

Formulated with hydration in mind to meet flyers’ needs for increased moisture as they travel, each amenity kit includes a variety of Sunday Riley products, from face creams and cleansing cloths to hand creams and lip balms.

Last month, United unveiled its first brand advertising campaign in nearly a decade “Good Leads The Way”, which highlights the airline’s determination to be a force for good not only for customers, but also for the communities it serves.


How airlines are marking Pride Month

June marks Pride Month – we have taken a look at how some airlines are marking the celebration

Lufthansa

Lovehansa: June 2022’s ‘Lovehansa’ livery

To mark Pride Month, Lufthansa is taking off with a very special aircraft to destinations throughout Europe.

The Airbus A320neo with the registration D-AINY will become “Lovehansa” for the next six months.

On the outside of the aircraft, the Lufthansa livery has been replaced by a specially-designed “Lovehansa” marque, painted in the colours of the rainbow.

The welcome panel at the entrance will also have a special rainbow design.

Rainbow seats: onboard the Lovehansa

In addition, when looking out of the aircraft window, hearts in rainbow colours can be seen on the winglets. The first flight of the “Lovehansa” took place on 10 June to Billund in Denmark (LH842).

Lufthansa claims it is ‘a company that stands for openness, diversity and understanding’. And, with the “Lovehansa” special livery, ‘the company is sending another clear signal and making this important part of its corporate culture prominent and visible to the outside world’.


Virgin Atlantic

A three-year sponsorship of Manchester Pride – the UK’s largest Pride event – is probably the most public celebration of the LGBT+ community from Virgin Atlantic.

Pride: Manchester Pride’s CEO, Mark Fletcher (middle), with crew announces Virgin Atlantic’s three-year headline sponsorship of the festival

Virgin Atlantic are also the first-ever sponsor, in a ten-year agreement, of the Attitude Awards.

In 2020 the airline entered a multiyear partnership with Open for Business, launching the Caribbean Local Influencer Program to champion the business rationale for LGBTQ+ inclusion across the islands. The two-phased approach to the partnership with Open for Business consists of a research phase to understand business and socioeconomic impact of excluding the LGBTQ+ community, and a second phase to build a network of business leaders and civil society, using the research to advance LGBTQ+ rights and inclusion.

But on an individual level, Chief Commercial Officer Juha Jarvinen, has written eloquently and from the heart about his experiences in the corporate world, in a blog piece:

In the workplace, organisations that will thrive in the future are those which put inclusivity at the heart of their strategy. At Virgin Atlantic, we live by our purpose – everyone can take on the world – and we take inclusion and diversity seriously. To me, it’s so important that we foster a culture of belonging and actively encourage every single one of our people to be themselves at work every day. After years of not wanting to divulge my sexuality at work or in business networks, joining this airline in 2019 was a breath of fresh air. About one month into my role, I was asked to share an introductory post on our internal communications platform, Workplace, and it was the first time in my career that I’d felt comfortable and proud sharing exactly who I was: ‘Juha, a Finnish-born 43-year old with a love of travel, running & hot yoga, and lastly – but most importantly – happily married to my husband, Jussi’.


United

United Airlines ‘recognise, embrace and celebrate the differences that make our customers and employees unique’.

EQUAL: United’s inclusive business resource group that benefits lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally coworkers.

United also claim to be ‘committed to creating an inclusive work environment while contributing to the diverse communities we serve. As a part of this mission, we believe it’s important to support the LGBTQ+ community by upholding inclusive policies and practices, partnering with LGBTQ+ organisations, and hosting programmes and engagement events to honour the LGBTQ+ community’.

United maintain sponsorships of, and relationships with, several organisations:


JetBlue

JetBlue is commemorating Pride Month with a series of special events and support for various LGBTQ+ organisations and partners throughout the month of June… and beyond.

Icema Gibbs, vice president CSR and DEI, JetBlue said,

At JetBlue, we believe the LGBTQ+ community should be supported year round, beyond Pride month, and we will continue to stand for the right for every crewmember and customer to feel safe and valued—while ensuring we are marching towards a more equal, inclusive and just world.

Gender-inclusive: JetBlue’s uniform and hair and makeup policy offers crewmembers a combination of uniform pieces, rather than pre-selected items based on binary gender terms.

JetBlue is a long-time supporter of The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative (SIGBI), which leverages the historic significance of the New York City LGBTQ+ landmark to help other communities that don’t have the same LGBTQ+ resources or support.

The airline continues to serve as the official airline of The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center – known locally as The Center. Since 1983, The Center has been supporting, fostering and celebrating the LGBTQ+ community of New York City and empowers people to lead healthy, successful lives. 

And last year, JetBlue rolled out ‘a new uniform policy with a vast range of apparel and hair and makeup preferences for all crewmembers, regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, age and body type’. By adopting a gender-inclusive program, JetBlue ensures that all crewmembers, regardless of gender identity, can feel represented.


Cape Air

Cape Air, is an airline headquartered at Barnstable Municipal Airport in Hyannis, Massachusetts, operating scheduled passenger services in the Northeast, the Caribbean, Midwest, and Eastern Montana.

Cape Air: a Pride-themed plane to its fleet for June. Pic: PROVINCETOWN BANNER/TAMORA ISRAEL

The airline introduced a Pride-themed plane at a media event hosted at Provincetown Municipal Airport.

Linda Markham, Cape Air CEO said

Putting a Pride flag not only on the wings, but on the tail of the plane means so much to us because we’re such a diverse organisation and we really want to celebrate inclusivity and equality.


American Airlines


KLM


Delta Air Lines


easyJet


Alaska Airlines


Norwegian to purchase 50 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft

Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA has reached an agreement in principle with Boeing for a recommitment to purchase 50 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

The agreement also includes options for an additional 30 aircraft.

The 50 aircraft are due to be delivered between 2025 and 2028, at a schedule closely corresponding to current aircraft lease expirations. This entails a limited net increase of the company’s current fleet. The parties’ agreement in principle is subject to various closing conditions, which are targeted to be concluded by the end of June 2022.

The company intends to finance the outstanding balance of pre-delivery payments through positive cash flow from operating activities.

A significant share of the aircraft will be owned by the company, ensuring an optimised and balanced aircraft financing structure. Subsequent to the conclusion of these agreements, Norwegian estimates to record a net gain of approximately NOK 2 billion.

Svein Harald Øygard, Chair of the Board of Norwegian said

Svein Harald Øygard: landmark deal

This is a landmark deal that sets out a path whereby Norwegian will own a large share of its fleet.

This will result in lower all-in costs and increased financial robustness, enabling us to further solidify our Nordic stronghold.

The deal also allows us to serve our customers with state-of-the-art aircraft that can run increasingly on sustainable aviation fuel.

The airline claims the purchase agreement demonstrates Norwegian’s ‘continuously strong commitment to operate a modern and fuel-efficient fleet’.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 is approximately 14% more fuel-efficient compared to the previous-generation aircraft, putting the company on strong footing to achieve its target of reducing emissions by 45%.

Geir Karlsen, CEO of Norwegian said

Geir Karlsen: the deal will also strengthen the company’s equity considerably

The overall terms achieved are attractive for Norwegian, and the deal fits well with our long-term fleet strategy and route program.

It will enable us to serve our customers with modern fuel-efficient aircraft with the latest technology, significantly reducing our carbon footprint.

The deal will also strengthen the company’s equity considerably, further solidifying Norwegian’s financial position.

Norwegian has been voted Europe’s Best Low-Cost airline by Skytrax for six consecutive years and won Airline Program of the Year Europe & Africa at the Freddie Awards for four consecutive years. Since 2012, Norwegian has won over 55 awards for our service, product, and innovation in the industry.

Iberia launches new uniforms designed by Teresa Helbig

Spanish carrier Iberia has released details of its stylish new staff uniforms.

Flight crews and ground staff of Spanish carrier Iberia will showcase new uniforms from June.

Nearly 7,000 company employees will showcase the new designs in a major international display: the nearly 140 destinations in 43 countries to which the airline flies. The new uniform will be debuted by flight crews and airport staff at the Madrid Hub.

Teresa Helbig joins the list of Spanish courtiers – including Pedro Rodríguez, Manuel Pertegaz, Elio Bernhayer, Alfredo Caral, and Adolfo Domínguez –who, since 1952, have lent their talents and skill to the design of Iberia’s uniforms

Iberia’s news uniforms are designed by Barcelnoa-based Teresa Helbig, the first woman to design a uniform for Iberia.

The Catalan designer takes classic tailoring as a starting point to create light and modern designs which are not anchored to current trends and remain timeless.

The collection combines craftsmanship, haute couture and avant-garde materials in a look to the past with an eye on the future, to continue reinventing what is to come.

The airline claims that the new uniform ‘displays a sober, elegant, and functional design that represents a natural balance between Teresa Helbig’s hallmarks and the current image of the airline’.

The uniforms are the culmination of the rebranding process that it embarked on in 2013.

The uniform’s colour range remains faithful to navy blue, fawn, and Iberia’s characteristic red and yellow.

It includes twenty elegant pieces that give no sense of rigidity, aiming for timelessness with some retro touches and some more edgy elements, such as pleats and strong shoulder lines.

In terms of its innovations, the uniform includes the very modern and functional sports shoes, along with a feather gilet and an updated design on the collars of the knitwear.

As for the accessories, the uniform’s ‘personality’ is enhanced by scarves, ties, gloves, and a bag, all of which lend it an elegant and avant-garde style.

Gemma Juncá, Iberia’s Brand & Marketing Manager, said

The new uniform is a key part of our brand, a sign of identity that reinforces our commitment to fashion and to the values of Spanish culture. We want our employees to feel proud to wear it and to represent Iberia.

The colour of the collection is based on navy blue and fawn, alongside Iberia’s “official” colours: red and yellow.
The new uniform will be debuted by flight crews and airport staff at the Madrid Hub, before being worn by staff at the rest of the airline’s stations around the world.