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Mobile service to extend to majority airlines airports by 2016

by amit.uniyal 17. April 2014 07:43

Checking flight status updates using mobile phones is being gradually taken up by the passengers. And, this is going to pick fast in the coming years. A recent study has indicated that most of the airlines as well as airports are bracing to extend the mobile service by 2016 end. The study said that more than half of passengers traveling by air will be using their mobile phones to check the airport directions, baggage status and flight status.

The study “Smart Thinking” was conducted by SITA and released in Dublin recently at CAPA’s Airlines in Transition Summit. The study made public revealed that 90 percent of airports and 100 percent of airlines are currently making huge investments in business intelligence solutions for providing the passengers intelligent information access regarding their operations and other services.

Mobile service to extend to majority airlines

SITA is a premier IT and communications provider to the aviation industry worldwide. A global research is regularly conducted by SITA on passengers, airlines and airports. The study is considered a unique opportunity to get a fascinating insight into the entire airline industry, assess potential for growth, and identify alignment as well as misalignment.
 
The recent study is based on a global research and appropriately incorporated additional inputs by various airports worldwide and leading airlines. These included London Heathrow, London City Airport, Dublin Airport Authority, Saudi Arabian Airlines and British Airways.

The study indicated that flight status updates have already become a mainstream mobile service and will be further extending its reach within two years. The study disclosed that 79 percent of airports across the world will start providing status notifications such as walking time to gate and queues times through security. Nearly 61 percent of the airlines will begin providing baggage status updates. More than three quarters of the airports will start offering navigation assistance for way-finding through mobile apps.

The study made public by SITA aptly demonstrates and dwell at length on how the focus today is to build and solidify the base for business intelligence. The efforts are also to look ahead to use the combination of predictive analysis and business intelligence to vastly improve the ground experience of the passengers, while making optimum use of the space and infrastructure at the airports.

The study pointed out the utter helplessness of the airports and airlines in tackling untoward events such as bad weather conditions in the past. The report said that during such emergency situations the airlines and airports were left with no choice but to fine-tune the disrupted flight schedules. The use of business intelligence therefore becomes critical in the present times. The study concluded that by using the business intelligence to their advantage there will be more scope for preventive action before situations like bad weather are actually predicted. The business intelligence will play a more proactive role by successfully analyzing the past events and combining it with live data feeds from various sources and assist in predicting the future events. With the business intelligence the airline industry and passengers stand to gain immensely as the transformation from reactive to proactive and onwards to preventive will be complete.

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Airline News

The mystery behind three-letter airport codes

by amit.uniyal 14. April 2014 08:11

The airport codes are of three letters. And, it’s a common knowledge for almost all the air travelers. In most of the cases these airport codes easily decipher the arrival or destination cities, but sometimes these seem to be weird and difficult to attribute the cities they belong to. Decoding the destination through an airport code is often perplexing though. For travelers, particularly those who are not aware of the nitty-gritty, this seems more of a mystery. Let us understand the story behind some of these awkward and bizarre airport codes.

airport codes

For instance the airport codes for cities like Perth, Melbourne and Sydney are quite understandable. For Perth it is PER, Melbourne has MEL and Sydney has SYD. These airport codes make perfect sense and one can easily understand that the first three letters easily signify the cities that they belong to. But this naming convention is not followed with most of the cities. For example, what will you say in case of a city like Brisbane? The airport code of Brisbane is BNE, whereas it should have been BRI similar to that of Melbourne, Perth or Sydney. In fact, the airport code BRI is allocated to Bari, an Italian city.

Some of the city’s airport codes are derived after skipping few letters. And, even these make sense. Cities like Adelaide, Auckland and Hong Kong have airport codes ‘ADL’, ‘AKL’ and ‘HKG’ respectively. These airport codes closely fit to their respective cities.

But one can be surprised on seeing the airport code of Los Angeles as ‘LAX’. Most of the travelers know that LAX or Los Angeles is one and the same. But, how did the letter ‘X’ creep in the airport code of Los Angeles? There’s a story behind this and it knowing it will certainly add to your knowledge as to how the airport codes actually evolved over the years.

In earlier days when air travel was just beginning or taking shape, the airports were usually known by a two-letter code named after the weather station. So, the airport code of Los Angeles was simply LA. However, with the growth of air travel a need arose to name the airports with a proper airport code. Keeping this in view, a three-letter code was introduced to identify the airports. And, so began the story of the letter ‘X’ and the way in which it is proving to be helpful in naming the airports.

Akin to Los Angeles, even the airport code of Portland is PDX. As we move forward and come to know about other cities, one will be surprised to know that the airport code of Dubai is also DXB. However, it should have been ‘DUB’. But, this in fact belongs to Dublin and Dubai followed suit of Los Angeles and Portland by getting the ‘X’ letter in its airport code. It is not only the letter ‘X’ which has made entry. Even letter ‘Z’ has also entered the scene. The proposed Sydney West Airport being built at Badgery’s Creek in Australia has its airport code named as ‘SWZ’. So, this is the real story behind the airport codes and how they are evolving.

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Airline News

Hong Kong International Airport among worlds best

by amit.uniyal 9. April 2014 10:26

Have you ever visited Hong Kong and seen its only civil airport – the Hong Kong International Airport? You will appreciate just like everybody else that Hong Kong International Airport is among the best in the world today. Here’s a brief outlook on this finest airport.

The Hong Kong International Airport is based in China’s Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong. It is the only civil airport in the city-state and a prominent gateway to Asia. It is among the world’s busiest airports catering to huge international passenger traffic and cargo flights. The airport is a major hub for Hong Kong’s flagship carrier Cathay Pacific Airways, Hong Kong Express, Hong Kong Airlines, Air Hong Kong and Dragonair.

Hong Kong

The Hong Kong International Airport is situated on Chek Lap Kok Island. The airport is also called Chek Lap Kok Airport. Earlier, it was named Kai Tak Airport. The airport is operational ever since 1998. The airport is accessed to reach 44 destinations in China as well as other Asian cities.

Currently, the airport handles above 100 airlines operating flights to nearly 180 cities around the world. The airport was used by 59.9 million passengers for transportation purposes in 2013, thus transforming it as world’s 11th busiest airport. It also left Memphis International Airport behind in the race to emerge as the busiest airport in the world for cargo traffic.

The Hong Kong International Airport is presently home to two terminals. The Terminal 1 with an area of 846,000 square meters is the world’s 3rd largest terminal building. The other two airports with largest terminal buildings are Dubai International Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport.

The Hong Kong International Airport is a proud recipient of 2014 SkyTrax Award for Best Baggage Handling System. The airport became the world’s first airport to unveil RFID luggage tags in 2008 for efficient baggage handling. The airport has also been awarded the title of Best Airport in the World for 8 times ever since 2001.

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Airline News

How to make out the most of long haul flights

by amit.uniyal 4. April 2014 05:35

Long haul flights are wearisome. But there are various ways in which you can make your travel enjoyable by adhering to the following valuable tips. Just imagine the toll your long haul flights can take if you are traveling to Johannesburg from Atlanta or any other U.S. city. Do you know it will take around 15 to 19 hours for a nonstop flight to reach the South African city from any U.S. destination?

Don’t worry. You can always make your long haul flight hassle free only when you consider some of the important tips being provided here for your benefit. The first thought that comes to a traveler’s mind when booking long haul flights is about the jet lag. This can be overcome by keeping yourself comfortable in every possible way.

The first thing you should do is to wear comfortable clothes when flying long distance. If your flight involves a travel time of nearly 19 hours, then you must acknowledge the fact that you will be boarding the aircraft which involves several meals as well as one sleep cycle at least. It is therefore advisable to wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothes. Remember to pack in pajamas as you can use them before taking a nap. There are only few airlines that provide their passengers a comfort kit comprising of pillow, blanket, nightwear and slippers in business class cabins, while most of them don’t offer such kits. So, it is recommended that you carry pajamas for your comfortable sleep.

For smokers, the very idea of traveling on a long haul flight makes them jittery. The simple reason being that you won’t be allowed to light your cigarette. Obviously, you feel agitated. The best way before booking a long haul flight for such travelers is to talk to your doctor and seek suggestions on how to handle the trip. It is highly recommended that you take the help of electronic cigarettes, nicotine gum or a nicotine patch to satisfy your urge for smoking on board your flight.

Staying healthy is also quite important to fight your long haul flights blues. Remember that aircraft cabins are dry. So it is essential to keep yourself healthy during the entire course of your flight. This can be done by continuous intake of water and other beverages throughout the flight. Apart from this, it is vital to take care of your skin as well. Consider applying moisturizing lotion or cream to your face and hands.

A little exercise on board your aircraft would also work wonders in fighting off jet lag. A full cardio exercise in not possible in the aisle, so you must make sure to walk around after every hour or so. When you are seated, you should ensure that your blood keeps circulating. This can be done by simply lifting your legs and arms.

There are many ways other than these to keep your long haul flights smooth and comfortable as far as possible.

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Airline News

Craft beers become new in-flight offerings, enthusing drinkers

by amit.uniyal 3. April 2014 11:11

Airlines worldwide continue to revamp their in-flight offerings in order to attract more passengers. The attention is particularly on food and beverages front. The trends are changing now, and so are food and beverage options. Craft beers are the latest entrant as part of new offerings to the travelers on board their flights.

The airlines have perceived that more drinkers are now displaying their passion for specialty brews and significantly moving away from mass market beers. By adding craft beers as their latest offerings in the air, the airlines are going the extra mile in keeping the drinkers happier and glued to the good stuff on board their flights.

Renowned Sam Adams beer brand co-founder Jim Koch said that the drinkers were though present on the aircrafts, but there was certainly lack of quality beer. He said that the drinkers would like to have the same stuff in the air that they are already enjoying on the ground. The airlines are now moving at a frenetic pace and responding to customers tastes which are considerably changing. He said that the Americans have developed passion for craft beer, and they just love it. The craft beer retail sales are on upward trend reaching at $14.3 billion in 2013, up 20 percent as compared to last year.

Sam Adams craft beer is already being served on some Delta shuttle flights for nearly 20 years. Virgin America has also been offering craft beer procured from 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco for past some years. Following suit, other airlines have also recently started pursuing the trend and offering craft beer to their customers.

The latest to join the fray earlier this year is Southwest Airlines, which started selling Fat Tire cans to the passengers on its flights and those of its subsidiary AirTran Airways. Even JetBlue is also offering Sam Adams beer on its flights during summer.

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Airline News

American Airlines Group leaves Star Alliance to join Oneworld

by amit.uniyal 1. April 2014 11:48

Ever since American Airlines merged with US Airways, a new chapter is set to open. The effect of the merger would be most on frequent fliers. In a significant step indicating a new beginning, American Airlines Group has decided to leave Star Alliance and join Oneworld.

Star Alliance and Oneworld are two leading global airlines alliance with leading international airlines as their partner members.
 
With the new Oneworld membership, US Airways frequent fliers would now be eligible to earn and redeem miles on a new set of airlines. Currently, there are 16 member airlines in Oneworld. These include American Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Japan Airlines, British Airways and Qatar Airways.
The latest to join Oneworld is Qatar Airways. The airline became member in October 2013. Qatar Airways is to begin daily nonstop flights between Doha and Philadelphia starting from April 2, 2014. The airline will provide connectivity to 136 destinations in the Middle East, South America, Asia, Africa and India.

Despite the shifting of allegiance to Oneworld, US Airways will continue to retain codeshare partnership with 12 airlines that are currently not part of Oneworld. With the new Oneworld membership, the airline plans to phase out codeshare pact with these airlines in coming months. However, US Airways frequent fliers would continue to redeem and earn miles with these carriers as of now.

US Airways frequent fliers would not be able to earn or redeem miles on majority of 28 partner airlines of Star Alliance, including Swiss International Air Lines, Asiana Airlines and Lufthansa. The flights booked with erstwhile Star Alliance partners by US Airways frequent fliers are safe, but miles would not be able to be earned or redeemed for these flights.

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Airline News

After Malaysia Airlines accident, need for GPS connectivity grows

by amit.uniyal 31. March 2014 07:26

The sudden disappearance of Malaysia Airlines aircraft from the radar and announcement of a fatal accident by country’s prime minister has rattled the aviation industry worldwide. A clamor for strict safety measures is growing ever since. The echo is now loud and clear. Bradley Tilden, CEO of Alaska Airlines, while speaking to mediapersons recently said that the use of GPS technology for all aircrafts is the need of the hour.

Media reports quoted Tilden as saying that the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 demonstrates that all the airlines across the world need to equip their aircrafts with GPS connectivity. He said that this is the paramount need of the hour.

According to Tilden, the airlines basically know only of the airspace but are little or ill equipped when it comes to surveillance of their aircrafts while they are flying. He said that the technology for surveillance is already in place and the only question remains as to when the airlines move to this ‘next generation’ air traffic control. He said that there are many airlines, including Alaska Airlines, which are equipped or ready to be equipped with the technology. In fact, all the airlines in the world need to equip their aircrafts with this new technology.

Tilden said that not much is known about what actually happen to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 ever since its disappearance on March 8. This also raises a pertinent question whether the GPS connectivity would have proved to be of great help to the officials to locate the missing aircraft.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration mandates that all the domestic carriers should make compulsory use of global positioning systems. However, the use of GPS is not mandatory for aircrafts globally at present.

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Airline News

Best U.S. carriers worth considering for family travel

by amit.uniyal 10. March 2014 11:25

This is absolutely good news for traveling families who consider flying with their kids is worrisome. It is true that flying with your kids usually proves to be a troublesome experience. But, not any more now! This may sound music to your ears. And, it’s quite true.

There are some airlines that should be considered by traveling families just because of the pre-boarding and other amenities that they have to offer. Flying with these airlines ensures an enjoyable experience for you as well as your kids.

In the present era when no-frills, low-fare carriers are ruling the skies, it has become nearly impossible for traveling families to fly along with their kids. But, nowadays airlines are making their best efforts to make flying hassle free for such families.
 
Here are some carriers in the United States considered to be the best for family travel. The top three carriers for traveling families are JetBlue Airways, Delta Air Lines and Virgin America.

JetBlue Airways offers pre-boarding for families traveling with kids aged 2 and under. All the flights are equipped with changing tables. JetBlue Airways is also among the first carriers to install DirecTV with free children’s programming.

Delta Air Lines has something else to offer to traveling families other than pre-boarding, which might not be usually available. At $5 per kid a PB&J sandwich, fruit and veggies are offered. The airline has also installed seat-back TVs on its aircraft with convenient access to kid-friendly programming networks.

Virgin America has positioned itself as a fun airline and a good option for traveling families. The airline offers pre-boarding for families flying with children under 5. The airline also offers extra diapers during mid-flight in case you need it. Kid-friendly programming and games are among the entertainment options provided by the airline.

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U.S. based airlines should expect happy times this spring season

by amit.uniyal 7. March 2014 11:14

The airline industry across the United States should look forward to some happy times during this spring. If reports are to be believed than the airlines, operating service to different destinations within the country should start preparing themselves to cater to heavy passenger flow this spring season. More passengers are expected to fly this season than in the last six years. This is an excellent opportunity for the airlines too, as these passengers will surely bring revenues and profits along.

However, not all that glitters is gold. Though the heavy passenger flow is set to bring money, on the other hand, it will set lot more challenges for them to cope with. Forecasts released by trade groups suggest that most of the airlines within the country will fly about 129.5 million passengers to various gateways between March and April this year. This number is certainly incredible. The largest number of 133.7 million for the same period was achieved in the year 2008. Last year a total of 128.2 million passengers flew to various cities during the same period.

Of these passengers, an astounding 17.1 million passengers will fly with airlines based in the country to destinations outside its boundaries. This is indeed an amazing number when it comes to international travelers on U.S. airlines for the spring period. Researchers believe that improving economic conditions and affordable airfares are two prime factors responsible for this change. Even though the air tickets prices were on the higher side last year, they are still better in comparison to bus, car, or train travel on the domestic circle. In addition, the overall condition of the airline industry improved last year and it recorded profits triggering a chain reaction.

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Regional airports in Minnesota in a resurgent phase again

by amit.uniyal 6. March 2014 09:29

Regional airports in Minnesota are once again on a path of resurgence. This good news has made the fliers in the region happier than ever. Earlier, the travelers had to drive to the Twin Cities for taking flights to Chicago and onward destinations. This worrisome phase would soon be over, according to aviation industry experts.

Starting from May this year, the travelers will not be required to drive to the Twin Cities for taking flights to Chicago. SkyWest Airlines will now start operating direct flights from St. Cloud to Chicago. The regional airport at St. Cloud was inoperable for the past three years.

The authorities at St. Cloud succeeded in convincing SkyWest Airlines and pledged revenue guarantees worth $1 million. The airline has been assured that there would be enough fliers and it would be viable to start daily flights services out of here. SkyWest Airlines has now decided to begin service from St. Cloud from May 6, 2014. The airline will now be offering two daily flights services to Chicago.

An airline industry analyst said that an emerging trend is now being witnessed in under-served communities to woo carriers by making significant financial promises. He said that more such experiments might be on the way. However, one cannot guarantee for how long this will sustain. The resumption of flights from St. Cloud is though good as the airport and people of this area suffered for past few years.

Delta Air Lines was operating flights out of St. Cloud. The airline however stopped operating from here five years after it purchased Northwest Airlines. Duluth, another regional airport in Minnesota, will also begin fourth flight to Chicago in June this year.

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