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British Airways is the first UK airline to use biometric technology to board flights from the US

More than 250,000 British Airways customers have experienced a glimpse of the journey of the future by using their face as their identity to board a flight from the US in the last 18 months.

The introduction of new biometric facial recognition technology has transformed the airport experience for customers travelling from Orlando, Los Angeles and New York, JFK by streamlining the boarding process and halving the amount of time it takes to board an aircraft. 

The technology means that customers no longer need to present their passport or boarding pass at the departure gate – only when they check in and go through Security. Instead travellers simply look into a camera prior to boarding, wait for their biometric data to be verified and then walk onto the aircraft.

The commitment to this technology is part of the airline’s £6.5bn investment for customers. British Airways was the first UK airline to use biometric technology to board flights from the US, working in close partnership with the US Customs and Border Protection to implement the technology, which has enabled the airline to hugely speed up its boarding process.

At Orlando, British Airways is boarding almost 240 customers in 10 minutes – becoming the first carrier to set up permanent facial recognition gates at the airport.

British Airways was also the first UK airline to use the technology on UK domestic flights. More than 3,000,000 customers have boarded an aircraft this way – with all domestic departures from Heathrow Terminal 5 now boarded biometrically.

For international flights, self-service boarding gates have now been installed at the terminal, allowing customers to scan their own boarding cards to gain access to their flight. It’s the first step towards biometric boarding on international flights from the UK.

Raoul Cooper, British Airways’ Senior Digital Design Manager, said:

We are continuing to pioneer the use of technology and automation to enhance the airport experience and ensure that our customers’ flights depart on time.

The airport of the future will be built upon biometric technology, from check-in and baggage drops to security checks and boarding.

These days, automation is a part of everyday life, as is biometric technology via our mobile phones.

We’re working with our technology partners and the US government to explore how we can use this technology in new and innovative ways to give our customers the stress-free, easy airport experience they tell us they want, while ensuring security is always our top priority.

2,265,792 hotel rooms in pipeline

Global hotel pipeline hits record highs

The hotel industry continues to boom, with a record high of more than 2.2m hotel rooms in the pipeline – a 6% increase over the last year. 

Lodging Econometrics, the global leader for hotel real estate intelligence has released its year-end Global Construction Pipeline Trend Report, which compiles the construction pipeline counts for countries and markets around the world. At the close of 2018, LE analysts state that the total global construction pipeline hit record highs with 13,573 projects/2,265,792 rooms, a 7% increase in projects year-over-year.

The global pipeline has ascended for eight consecutive years after reaching its cyclical low in 2010. All regional pipelines, with the exception of South America, continued their upward trend year-over-year. Four of the seven global regions reached all-time highs in 2018: Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific.

There are a record high 6,352 projects/1,172,591 rooms currently under construction worldwide. Projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months are at 3,860 projects/572,483 rooms. Projects in the early planning stage stand at 3,361rooms/520,718 projects, also at an all-time high.  The United Kingdom the pipeline is 266 projects/38,590 rooms.

Around the world, the cities with the largest pipeline counts are New York City with 171 projects/29,457 rooms, Dubai with 168 projects/49,943 rooms, and Dallas with 163 projects/19,476 rooms. Los Angeles follows with 147 projects/23,404 rooms, and Guangzhou, China with 132 projects/28,694 rooms.

The leading franchise companies in the global construction pipeline by project count are

  • Marriott International with 2,544 projects/420,405 rooms
  • Hilton Worldwide with 2,252 projects/333,209 rooms
  • InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) with 1,716 projects/249,379
    rooms
  • AccorHotels with 966 projects/177,052 rooms.

These four companies account for 55% of all projects in the global pipeline.

Contact your Global Travel Management Account Manager next time you need to book a hotel room, anywhere in the world.

American Airlines applies for additional service at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport

American Airlines has submitted an application to the U.S. Department of Transportation to operate additional services to Tokyo Haneda from Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

American’s application is a result of the U.S. and Japan reaching a tentative agreement to expand access at Haneda, which would open up to twelve additional daytime slot pairs for U.S. carrier operations.

American Airlines President Robert Isom said,

Tokyo is an important hub for our Pacific Joint Business with Japan Airlines. Enhanced service at Haneda would give our customers better access to downtown Tokyo and open up JAL’s domestic network with flights to destinations like Osaka, Sapporo and Fukuoka.

American currently operates one daily flight between Los Angeles and Haneda, which began in 2016. An additional flight from Los Angeles would provide American’s customers with even more options and a convenient schedule between Tokyo and the airline’s West Coast hub. Additionally, Dallas Fort Worth, American’s largest hub, serves as an important gateway to Asia with proven local and connecting traffic. With two daily flights, customers travelling from Haneda to Dallas Fort Worth would be able to connect to and from more than 800 daily flights and more than 200 destinations throughout American’s vast network.

American’s proposed Haneda service would be operated as part of the airline’s Pacific Joint Business with JAL. The Pacific Joint Business was established in 2011 and covers travel among 11 countries in Asia and North America. It allows the two airlines to coordinate schedules, network and service to give more than 3.1 million annual customers access to up to 23 daily trans-Pacific flights from 15 gateway cities in Asia and North America.

Delta proposes flights between Haneda and 5 new US cities

Delta Air Lines has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation to launch daily daytime services between Tokyo-Haneda airport and Seattle, Detroit, Atlanta and Portland, as well as a twice-daily service between Haneda and Honolulu.

Delta’s proposed routes would be the only direct service offered by U.S. carriers between Haneda, Tokyo’s preferred airport for business travellers and the closest to the city centre, and the communities of Seattle, Portland, Atlanta and Detroit.

Together with the carrier’s existing service to Haneda from Minneapolis/St. Paul and Los Angeles, these new routes would bring Delta’s proven operational reliability and exceptional service to more customers travelling between a broad network of U.S. cities and Tokyo’s preferred airport.

Additionally, Delta’s proposal provides a competitive alternative for consumers to the service offered by other U.S. carriers and their Japanese joint venture partners, ANA and JAL.

Delta’s existing service to Haneda from Minneapolis/St. Paul and Los Angeles has already delivered substantial consumer benefits, including transporting over 800,000 passengers since the inauguration of daytime flights. The airline claims its proposal for additional service would:

  • Provide more attractive flight times for customers arriving and departing Haneda while enhancing connecting opportunities in the Pacific Northwest, Southeast, and Northeast;
  • Facilitate the development of trade and tourism between five of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas and Tokyo;
  • Serve a geographically diverse set of markets and communities through the comprehensive route networks offered at each of Delta’s hub gateways;
  • Provide additional capacity and greater convenience for the large business communities in all of these proposed gateways.

Delta has served the U.S. to Japan market for over 70 years, and currently offers seven daily departures from Tokyo with connections to over 150 destinations across the U.S and Latin America. The airline will launch a new service in April between Seattle and Osaka in partnership with Korean Air. Additionally, last year, Delta began partnering with Michelin consulting chef Norio Ueno to create meals for all cabins of service for flights to and from Japan.

Pending government approvals, the new routes would launch with the summer 2020 flying schedule.

British Airways – First A380 Enters Service.

British Airways’ first A380 flew its first official longhaul service today with its inaugural flight to Los Angeles.

Five A380 services a week will now operate between London Heathrow and Los Angeles, increasing to a double daily service from 10 April 2014.

From 22 October, daily A380 services will start between London Heathrow and Hong Kong. Johannesburg is the third A380 destination, with services planned to start from 12 February 2014.

British Airways took delivery of its second A380 over the past weekend, with a third due next month.

BA A380 Flights Go On Sale.

British Airways has announced that customers can now book seats on their new Airbus A380 aircraft to Hong Kong, Johannesburg and Los Angeles.

Seats are available now for Hong Kong services commencing 22nd October 2013, and for Johannesburg from 12th February 2014 and, lastly, for the double-daily service to Los Angeles from 10th April 2014. Seats to LAX on one of the five flights each week, starting 24th September 2013, are also on sale now.

BA’s A380’s will all offer a total of 469 seats split over four cabins, namely, World Traveller, World Traveller Plus (WTP), Club World & First. There will be 14 seats in First on the main deck, with a total of 97 seats in Club World, split between both the main and upper decks. Whilst WTP will be situated on the upper deck with 55 seats. World Traveller cabins will be split over both decks.

 

BA’s First A380 Exits The Hangar!

British Airways’ first Airbus A380 aircraft has exited the hangar in Hamburg newly painted in BA livery and looks amazing.

Twenty four workers applied 2,300 litres of paint across 3,500 sqms of surface. The aircraft’s interior has also been fully fitted and is now enroute to Toulouse for final checks ahead of its July delivery.

The aircraft will operate from London to Los Angeles and Hong Kong in October and November respectively and will feature 469 seats across four cabins.

Can’t wait!