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United reinstates some international flights…

United Airlines has announced it will continue to fly six daily operations to and from a number of destinations in Europe, Asia, Australia, South America and the Middle East “in an effort to get customers where they need to be.

The airline has describe the situation as “fluid” but claims that “United continues to play a role in connecting people and uniting the world, especially in these challenging times”.

United Airlines flights continuing until and through May:

  • Newark/New York – Frankfurt (Flights 960/961)
  • Newark/New York – London (Flights 16/17)
  • Newark/New York – Tel Aviv (Flights 90/91)
  • Houston – Sao Paulo (Flights 62/63)
  • San Francisco – Tokyo-Narita (Flights 837/838)
  • San Francisco – Sydney (Flights 863/870)

In addition to the above, United Airlines has reinstated the following flights to help displaced customers who still need to get home.

Flights through until 27 March, outbound

  • Newark/New York – Amsterdam (Flights 70/71)
  • Newark/New York – Munich (Flights 30/31)
  • Newark/New York – Brussels (Flights 999/998)
  • Washington-Dulles – London (Flights 918/919)
  • San Francisco – Frankfurt (Flights 58/59)
  • Newark/New York – Sao Paulo (Flights 149/148)

Flights until 29 March, outbound

  • San Francisco – Seoul (Flights 893/892)

In destinations where government actions have barred the airline from flying, United Airlines are looking for ways to bring customers who have been impacted by travel restrictions back to the United States. This includes working with the U.S. State Department and the local governments to gain permission to operate service.

If you need help planning how to get home, contact your GTM Account Manager.

Qantas to operate “Project Sunrise” research: Direct flights from London and New York to Sydney

Qantas has announced three ultra long-haul research flights to gather new data about inflight passenger and crew health and wellbeing.

The flights form part of planning for Project Sunrise – Qantas’ goal to operate regular, non-stop commercial flights from the east coast of Australia (Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne) to London and New York.

The three flights over three months will use new Boeing 787-9s and re-route their planned delivery flights. Instead of flying empty from Seattle to Australia, the aircraft will simulate two Project Sunrise routes – London and New York to Sydney.

Each flight will have a maximum of 40 people, including crew, in order to minimise weight and give the necessary fuel range. Carbon emissions from the flights will be fully offset.

People in the cabin – mostly Qantas employees – will be fitted with wearable technology devices and take part in specific experiences at varying stages of the approximately 19 hour flights. Scientists and medical experts from the Charles Perkins Centre will monitor sleep patterns, food and beverage consumption, lighting, physical movement and inflight entertainment to assess impact on health, wellbeing and body clock.

Monash University researchers will work with pilots  to record crew melatonin levels before, during and after the flights.  Pilots will wear an EEG (electroencephalogram) device that tracks brain wave patterns and monitors alertness.  The aim is to establish data to assist in building the optimum work and rest pattern for pilots operating long haul services.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the flights will give medical experts the chance to do real-time research that will translate into health and wellbeing benefits.

Ultra-long haul flying presents a lot of common sense questions about the comfort and wellbeing of passengers and crew. These flights are going to provide invaluable data to help answer them.
Flying non-stop from the East Coast of Australia to London and New York is truly the final frontier in aviation, so we’re determined to do all the groundwork to get this right.

No airline has done this kind of dedicated research before and we’ll be using the results to help shape the cabin design, inflight service and crew roster patterns for Project Sunrise. We’ll also be looking at how we can use it to improve our existing long-haul flights.

Qantas has already conducted data on passenger sleep strategies on its direct Perth–London service, and some of these initial findings will be assessed further as part of these dedicated research flights. Customer feedback on food choices, separate stretching and wellbeing zones and entertainment options will also be tested.

Airbus and Boeing have both pitched aircraft (A350 and 777X) to Qantas that are capable of operating Project Sunrise flights with a viable commercial payload. A final decision on Project Sunrise – which depends on aircraft economics, regulatory approvals and industrial agreements – is expected by the end of December 2019.

Global Travel Management Sales Director Paul Baker commented:

This is an exciting innovation from Qantas, an airline we have been working with for many years.  We wish them all the best and look forward to being able to offer London-Sydney non-stop flights to GTM customers from the end of 2019.

96 year-old war veteran gets back in the cockpit – with the help of British Airways

Former RAF pilot Frank Dell, 96, is usually found making his way through the hallways of his Bupa care home in Sydney. But, in his younger years, he was flying high over Germany in World War II, even carrying Royals, before joining British Airways as a commercial pilot.

Now, 45 years after his retirement, the airline has worked closely with Bupa to make one of his wishes come true, as Frank ventured back into the flight deck of an aircraft. The visit forms part of British Airways’ commitment to 100 acts of kindness across the world as part of its #BAMagic100 campaign, to celebrate its centenary this year.

Born in Hove in 1923, Frank grew up on the Sussex coast and joined the Royal Air Force in 1941, quickly rising to the role of Flight Lieutenant. His six years in the Royal Air Force were spent behind the controls of a De Havilland Mosquito flying over Germany during World War II.

It was a risky role, as Franks recalls:

In 1944, I lost a good friend of mine who also happened to be my navigator when our plane was shot down in Münster along the western edge of Germany near the Krupp armament factory.

It all happened so quickly. One minute I was in the plane at 28 thousand feet and the next moment I was in the fresh air.

Frank was confronted by some horrific scenes as he trekked through European countryside.

I was actually walking for four nights and didn’t link up with anyone until the fifth day. As you can imagine, I was incredibly worn out and tired.

Thankfully Frank survived the war and after leaving the RAF moved to Marlow in Buckinghamshire, where he raised two sons with his wife, Isabel. Keen to stay in the cockpit, Frank was quick to explore roles with other airlines after the war.

Being a pilot was beyond the reach of average people like me in terms of the cost. Then the war came along and paved the way for me to learn to fly.

When my time came to be released, there was no job for me in the air force, so I started with British European Airways. It was amazing to see how much pre-war flying and training came into the category of what we were doing then.

It was a great privilege to work for British European Airways and now, an incredibly proud moment to help them celebrate their 100th birthday and be back in the cockpit again.

Frank flew with British Airways for thirty years between 1946 and 1976, clocking up millions of miles and even carrying some well-known faces, including royalty.

I had no idea that 1976 was going to be my final year with British Airways, so I hit the jackpot by being able to fly a well-known Royal in my very last year of service. There’s something of an unspoken pilots’ agreement that you don’t talk about the people you’ve flown – especially at that level – but it’s a memory that I’ll treasure forever.

After retiring, Frank and Isabel remained in Marlow, though their son moved out to Australia. The couple followed in 2000 to be closer to their grandchildren and, after Isabel passed away, Frank moved into Bupa’s St. Ives care home in Sydney in 2018.

Reba Hatcher manages Bupa St. Ives care home in Sydney and says flying had been a major part of Frank’s life and has created many interesting conversations within the home.

Frank is such an inspiring role model to me, the staff, residents and visitors. It’s so important for us as carers to celebrate the lives and achievements of our residents and to shine the spotlight on what makes them so unique.

Reba got in touch with British Airways, who quickly picked up the idea as part of their #BAMagic campaign. With the two companies working together to arrange the visit, Frank soon donned his suit and tie before meeting pilots aboard a Boeing 777 at Sydney airport.

Reflecting on the day he said:

It’s been over 30 years since I was last in the cockpit, and I never thought I’d be here again.  While the technology has changed, there are so many things that have stayed the same, and it’s brought back some wonderful memories.

As British Airways lines up on the runway to celebrate its centenary, the airline’s Director of Brand and Customer Experience, Carolina Martinoli, shared Ms Hatcher’s sentiment.

As soon as we heard that former British Airways pilot, Frank wished to take a trip down memory lane, we wanted to do all we could to make his dream come true by visiting a flight deck once again.  We’re absolutely honoured to have people like Frank and all our customers and colleagues join us in celebrating our milestone 100th birthday this year.

To celebrate its centenary, British Airways has painted a number of aircraft in its heritage liveries, including an A319 in the colours of British European Airways (BEA), which is the airline’s short -haul predecessor that Frank used to fly for.

If you’re planning to take a flight on British Airways during their centenary year, please contact your GTM Account Manager.

Upgrade To First With BA!

Book a fully flexible Club World return flight by 22nd March 2013 and, subject to availability, upgrade either your outbound, or inbound, journey to First Class. Inbound travel must be completed by 14th April 2013.

This upgrade offer is also valid on American Airlines services to the US and Qantas flights to Singapore & Sydney. Executive Club members will also be awarded Avios & Tier points for the cabin they actually fly in.

BA To Move SIN & SYD Services To T5.

British Airways is to move its London Heathrow-Singapore-Sydney services to Terminal 5 from the end of March 2013.

The airline will also roster its new B777-300ER aircraft onto the route from this date. BA says the changes ”confirm British Airways’ commitment to Australia”, following the
news that Qantas will end its joint business agreement with BA and strike up a new partnership with Emirates.

BA’s Sydney flights currently depart from Terminal 3 using B747-400 aircraft, but will move to Terminal 5 from 31st March, from where the majority of the carrier’s flights
already operate. The airline’s new B777-300ER aircraft feature a four-class World Traveller, World Traveller Plus, Club World and First layout.