Monday, December 22, 2014

dnata Newrest spreads Christmas cheer in Johannesburg

Earlier this month, Oliver’s House, a non-profit organization operating in Benoni on the East Rand, Johannesburg, celebrated a Graduation Party for the pre-school children as well as the 2014 Christmas Party.
dnata Newrest donated food, desserts, beverages, party packs and toys and clothes for the children.

Oliver’s House was founded in April 2001 as a soup kitchen in the Benoni CBD. In August of the same year the group formed a partnership with Nomthandazo Children’s Care Centre in the Zenzele informal settlement in Daveyton. In 2004 Olivier’s House purchased the old Benoni Home Affairs building re-located. That same year it opened the education and computer training center at offices on
 Woburn Avenue. 

In 2006 Olivier’s House took the first step towards creating a socially self-sustaining project (Oliver’s Village) when they purchased 11 acres of property in Putfontein, next to the Zenzele informal settlement. Today Olivier’s House manage five social projects.

"dnata Newrest is proud to be associated with Oliver’s House and to support in any possible," said a release from the catering company.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Panasonic Wi-Fi aboard Ebola emergency A340

Panasonic Avionics has pitched in with critical communications for a high-tech flying hospital used to transport Ebola patients from Africa to overseas care facilities.

An A340-300 aircraft, which is chartered from Lufthansa German Airlines by the German Foreign office, has been converted into a hospital. The aircraft is outfitted with isolation chambers for patients diagnosed as suffering from the disease.

The A340 is equipped with Panasonic's eXConnect system, offering the on-board crew and medical staff direct Internet access and email services for essential air-to-ground communications during the emergency flights.

"Since the founding of Panasonic, our company has been committed to using technology to improve peoples' lives. We are very excited to support this humanitarian cause and believe our global communication technology will enable medical professionals to more effectively care for patients,” said Panasonic Avionics CEO Paul Margis.

The flights will be operated by volunteer pilots and flight attendants and will be available for any country which needs to transport Ebola patients.

The aircraft is due to be available for its missions starting this month.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Emirates sees a future of free Wi-Fi

More than 3,500 passengers used Wi-Fi on Emirates in October

In the first three years since Emirates launched inflight Wi-Fi connectivity, more than half a million passengers have used the service and this demand is expected to increase exponentially, said the airline, in a recent release.

Onboard Wi-Fi is available on all of Emirates’ 53 A380s and on 28 777s. The airline also has an aggressive retrofit program that will eventually see its entire fleet Wi-Fi enabled. Emirates is subsidizing or waiving the high cost of buying data for passenger use and is investing US$20 million annually in Wi-Fi for the passengers. However, the airline’s CEO predicted the service would one day be free of change throughout the flight.

On most Emirates flights equipped with Wi-Fi, passengers can use the first 10 megabytes of data for free, which the airline says is enough for most travelers to check in on their social media accounts. Subsequently, US$1 charge is imposed for the next 600 megabytes. Emirates is updating its software programming to eventually enable passengers to have unlimited free access to Wi-Fi.

“It is a fact that our customers want onboard connectivity, and this demand is only going to increase as more people embrace an ‘always-on’ digital lifestyle, and carry smart mobile devices when they travel. We’ve always viewed Wi-Fi as a service and a value-added part of Emirates’ overall product, rather than a revenue stream,” said Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates.

He added: “If we can offer good quality Wi-Fi connections for everyone on board at no charge tomorrow, we will do it. But we face a slew of technical limitations – from speed and bandwidth availability and cost, to the supporting hardware and software – all of which we are working hard to address with the industry right now. Ultimately, we believe that onboard Wi-Fi will become a free service, and a standard that customers will expect on a full service airline, just like on board refreshments and personal inflight entertainment.”

On a few of its A380s and 777s, the airline says it is not currently possible to offer the first 10 megabytes free for technical reasons. Emirates is working to resolve the issue in the coming months.

In October, Emirates saw a daily average of 3,500 passengers using on board Wi-Fi, at an average of 28 megabytes per user. The highest number of Wi-Fi users on a single Emirates flight was recorded on an A380 with 153 passengers connecting, and the highest Internet volume recorded on a single flight was nearly 8,000 megabytes from 26 users onboard a 777 flight. The airline saw a 200% spike in Wi-Fi usage in the month of October, due to a free Wi-Fi promotion to mark the Eid holidays.

The promotion heightened travelers’ awareness of the facility on board, resulting in a lot of first time users connecting and positive customer feedback.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Southwest Airlines finds charitable repurpose for seats

Southwest Airlines seat coverings will walk the earth under African skies

What does an airline do with 43 acres of leather seat coverings? Well, it looks like there is use for some of it Kenya and elsewhere.

Southwest Airlines announced yesterday it would be sending the cast off seat products made in Kenya and the U.S. as part of its global “upcycling” initiative LUV Seat: Repurpose With Purpose.

The distribution in Kenya completes the second phase of the multi-year environmental program, which will recycle approximately 80,000 former airline seat coverings into new leather products.

In Nairobi, nonprofit organizations SOS Children's Villages Kenya, Alive & Kicking, Maasai Treads, and Life Beads Kenya will train young adults and turn the seats into shoes, soccer balls, backpacks, wallets, and makeup bags. This week, Southwest Airlines donated a majority of the products to youth across a number of villages and organizations across Kenya.
Another soccer ball is alive and kicking

Young adults, ranging in age from 17 to 22, from SOS Children's Villages Kenya apprenticed in leather works and produced 2,100 pairs of shoes with the local sustainable shoe company Maasai Treads. The shoes are being donated to SOS villages and Ahadi Trust, and to Cura Orphanage, a residence for children who have lost their parents to AIDS. 

The young adults learned how to hand-stitch 1,000 soccer balls with Alive & Kicking, which uses sports education campaigns to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and Malaria prevention. Kenya-based GoodMakers Films and the Gina Din Foundation are at the helm of managing the project in Kenya and were instrumental in bringing the diverse organizations together. Additionally, Creative Visions Foundation was invaluable in getting the LUV Seat program off the ground.

In the U.S., Southwest Airlines joined with LooptWorks a domestic upcycling company, to create duffle and tote bags, called LUV Seat bags. Through the LUV Seat bags project, LooptWorks provided skills training and jobs for disabled adults.

If you have a suggestion for further donations, Southwest has a Twitter hashtag called #LUVSeat, where the possibility of new new partnerships have been shared online.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

LSG/Aeroflot venture notes silver anniversary

Aeromar spread its wings at Sheremetyevo Airport 25 years ago
Aeromar, LSG Sky Chefs’ joint venture with Aeroflot, is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Established in 1989 to provide catering services at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, Aeromar has evolved into a well-established and trusted partner in the Russian airline catering and inflight services market.

On October 24, management and staff took time to officially celebrate their 25 years of success. The CEOs of Aeromar’s shareholders, Vitaly Saveliev (Aeroflot) and Erdmann Rauer (LSG Sky Chefs), were guests of honor at the anniversary celebration together with members of the Advisory Board.

“We are very proud of this longstanding partnership with Russia’s leading carrier in one of the world’s fastest-growing airline markets,” said Rauer. “Aeromar’s evolution is a great example of success built on mutual trust, ambition and shared goals.”

“Aeroflot is strongly focused on its customers,” added Saveliev. “We want to deliver the best products and services to every passenger travelling onboard our planes. The meals produced by Aeromar support this approach. I enjoy participating in menu presentations and choosing meals in terms of quality and menu design.”

The origins of Aeromar go back to a joint American-Russian undertaking in the late 1980s, a time when collaboration between the two nations was rare. Aeromar is present at six locations in Russia: Sheremetyevo (SVO), St. Petersburg (LED), Vladivostok (VVO), Sochi (AER), Rostov-on-Don (ROV) and Simferopol (SIM). The caterer produces an average of 119,000 meals per day. LSG Sky Chefs is represented in Russia through joint ventures and wholly owned facilities with 12 customer service centers at 11 airports.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Suppliers on front line fight against Ebola

One thing is certain, the two men in the Zip-Chem Products stand at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas in Seattle were correct when they talked about the Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever Discussion Message released by Boeing in mid-September: it’s not something you want to read just before lunch.

It lays out in stark detail extraordinary steps that have to be taken should an airline suspect an outbreak on one of its aircraft. From the treatment of possible infected material, to the clothing on the cleaning crews, it is clear that the industry has developed an extensive protocol that was well in place before the outbreak, which, as of Friday, has another infected person in the United States. 

Jason Smith (left) R&D Manger Technical Support
 and Chuck Pottier, President of Zip-Chem with the
company's Calla 1452 disinfectant for non porous
A Multi-Operator Message was sent out by Boeing to all operators of the company’s aircraft September 17 as part of the response to the outbreak in Dallas and interest by airlines on how to deal Ebola. Effective disinfectant products, cabin air filtration and steps needed to replace oxygen masks were all covered in the message. Last August, Boeing and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an updated guide for dealing with possible infection in textiles.

Chuck Pottier, President of Zip-Chem Products in Morgan Hill, California, notes that contrary to what he has been hearing in broadcast media reports, the outbreak, while serious, did not catch the aviation industry flatfooted. Steps to deal with the possible outbreak of Ebola have been in place for years and recommendations for products that can be used to effectively treat a large portion of the aircraft cabin are well known and commercially available.  Ebola is the latest virus of concern, but commercial aviation took similar measures during the SARS and H1N1 outbreaks as well.

(left to right) Gene DeJackome, General Manager,
Stephanie Cleary,  Marketing Manger and Dan
 Montgomery, Account Manager at Celeste Industries
One of the products recommended by Boeing for non-porous surfaces within the aircraft cabin is Zip-Chem’s Calla 1452. Crews working within the aircraft can apply the chemical; and after 10 minutes either wipe the surface or leave the product. However, the CDC stresses that little can be done with a porous area such as seating, pillows or blankets. All must be removed by specific methods and destroyed.

In another part of the hall, Celeste Industries officials said they had been inundated with telephone calls from airlines wondering the best steps to take to prevent any infection in the airline cabin.

Celeste, based in Easton, Maryland makes a hospital-grade disinfectant product called Sani-Cide that meets CDC recommendations that call for treatment for Ebola with chemicals that are effective against Poliovirus or Rotovirus. Celeste has also helped out the struggle to get a lid on the Ebola outbreak by donating more than 100 cases of antibacterial hand soap.

Health care officials can note again and again that passing on the Ebola strain involves direct, intimate contact with an infected person and is indeed, difficult to catch. However, airlines are on the front line and in the public eye. Any spread from an infected country to other nation will have likely made its way aboard an aircraft in the commercial fleet. However, with products and procedures now in place, airlines have an effective means to make a stand and hold off the spread of the virus.

- Rick Lundstrom

Monday, October 6, 2014

GuestLogix sees Apple Pay as important to onboard NFC acceptance

Last month’s news that Apple had joined the other major smartphone manufacturers to include a near field communications (NFC) feature with its new iPhones had GuestLogix officials hopeful that a corner had been turned, and the first steps to wider acceptance of the technology in the travel environment would be more common in the future. 
Dan Thompson

The giant company’s decision to launch Apple Pay on both versions of the new iPhone 6 gives the devices the capability of use in an NFC environment. Apple Pay will allow users to make purchases by tapping or merely bringing the phone in close proximity to a point-of-sale terminal or reader. 

“Apple will certainly tip the scales in terms of retailers now taking NFC payments seriously,” Dan Thompson Senior Vice President of Global Strategy and Investor Relations at GuestLogix, tells PAX International

Currently, GuestLogix supplies NFC equipment and software to US Airways. The company makes end-to-end solutions for the for the travel industry, among them its Transaction Processing Engine, Global Payment Gateway and products for smartphone and tablet use. GuestLogix implemented its first NFC-ready devices in the third quarter of 2012.

The company currently has approximately 30,000 point of sale devices onboard aircraft, and is working on an extensive program involving POS terminals with Cathay Pacific Airways

“Purpose built devices will stay for quite some time, but it will be augmented and extended with many other retail channels that can exist within in the inflight experience,” Thompson said. 
Apple Pay will
be available on the
iPhone 6 next year

GuestLogix is clearly looking to the days when providing POS devices to airlines will give way to passengers using their own devices to make onboard purchases, with a much wider selection of products for sale. Today, Thompson said that the Toronto based GuestLogix is focusing much of its attention on software products that integrate with the tablets and smartphones carried by passengers, used by flight attendants and by airport employees as well as integration with the industry's major IFEC players.

-Rick Lundstrom

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Perth caterer grows with new customer, Etihad

Perth Catering purchased two
high-lifts to expand its
When Etihad Airways announced late last year that it planned to operate service from Abu Dhabi to
Hot meal production at Perth
Inflight Catering
Perth, a hometown caterer then specializing in regional charters saw an opening, and now has earned the business of an international scheduled customer.

“We invested in two new high-lift trucks, built a dedicated Halal kitchen and developed a bonded store warehouse,” said Salim Hazife, Managing Director of Perth Inflight Catering. “We were fortunate enough to be successful in the tender and are now handling Etihad’s daily A330 operation from Perth.”

Ismail and Maria Hazife started the catering company 1998. Perth Inflight Catering grew the business from supplying charter airlines through its lunch bar, which was located near Perth Airport.

The same year, the family sold the lunch bar to start a dedicated inflight catering facility at Perth Airport. Four staff focused on supplying the growing regional charter market in Western Australia. Now, Perth Inflight Catering is the  major supplier to regional charter operators from Perth Airport with 140 staff and producing more than of 10,000 meals per day from a 1,500 square meter unit.
Salad packing is part of the caterer's
production of approximately
10,000 meals per daymeter unit. 
Perth Inflight Catering has hot and cold production, trolley assembly, strip and wash, dispatch and the dedicated Halal production kitchen. The unit is directly on the airfield and has direct airside access from the dispatch dock. There are seven high-lift trucks as well as support vehicles. There is also a 1,000 square meter warehouse and bonded store facility. The facility has space for 400 pallets of dry goods, 120 pallets of fresh and 60 pallets of frozen storage.

-Rick Lundstrom

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

eGate launches webinar series this month

With many others also heading back to school, gategroup’s eGate Solutions, will be holding a free webinar September 23 titled, Where Onboard Services and Passenger Experience Converge. The webinar, targeted at those responsible for providing inflight catering and support services for airlines, “will explore the market factors driving convergence, and the benefits that can be realize by adopting a more integrated approach to delivering above-the-wing services,” said a release from gategroup. 

The presentation signals the launch of eGate’s three-part webinar series that will focus on the major technology challenges facing the airline onboard services industry today.
Simon de Montfort Walker

Simon de Montfort Walker, President and Managing Director, eGate Solutions, will lead the first webinar in the series. On the topic of convergence, Simon said, “Although technology has simplified our personal and business lives, it has at the same time fostered within many of us a level of real-time expectations for goods and services. As consumer demands continue to grow, it will drive the rapid convergence of back office and frontline processes to meet these evolving and exacting passenger and operational demands. Understanding the different products and solutions available today will help airline catering teams build pragmatic plans to integrate cross-function communications, workflows and data sharing.”

eGate will host two live sessions of Where Onboard Services and Passenger Experience Converge on Tuesday, September 23, at 11:00 a.m. EDT (3:00 p.m. GMT) and at 9:00 p.m. EDT (1:00 a.m. GMT).

gategroup says each session in the webinar series will delve into technology trends that will continue to have a real and marked effect on the way the airline onboard services business operates. eGate’s team will provide trend analysis and practical guidance on how attendees can employ technology to address these changes and simplify their day-to-day operations. Click here for more information or to register for the webinar.

Friday, September 5, 2014

United snack sales to fund hunger relief program

September is the Feeding America's Hunger Action Month™ and United Airlines and its passengers will combine efforts to supply one million meals through sales of its onboard Choice Menu snack boxes. 
United Choice Menu snack boxes

"With just one snack box purchase, United customers can help provide nine meals for a family in need," said Lynda Coffman, United's vice president of food services. "Nearly 50 million Americans are facing hunger, and with operations in more than 230 cities in the U.S., we recognize the direct affect hunger has on our communities."

One dollar from each snack box purchase benefits Feeding America®. Since 2009, United and its customers have contributed nearly $800,000 to help U.S. families in need through its partnership with Feeding America and its network of local food banks.

Additional proceeds from the airline's Eat for Good 2014 program also support Common Threads. By the end of the year, in total, Eat for Good will have generated more than $1 million in charitable contributions to various nonprofits throughout the country since its inception.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Circus comes to town at Frankfurt Airport

Frankfurt Airport will host a number of circus acts throughout its terminals this Sunday, August 24 to entertain passengers before their flights.
Holiday Circus Magic: the Circus World at Frankfurt Airport is part of a series of AirXperience events run by the airport annually. Ringmasters on stilts, close-up magicians and other walking acts will entertain passengers as they pass through Terminals 1 and 2.

Performances will also include a dog show, an Allez and Hopp clown show, and a hands-on arena where children can learn juggling, magic and clowning with circus professionals.

AirXperience days at Frankfurt Airport

September 21: Pit Stop - The World of Formula 1

October 26: Autumn Treats - Cultural and Culinary Specialties of the World

November 23: Weightlessness - Journey of the Universe

December 14: Winter Magic - International Christmas at Frankfurt Airport

-Tanya Filippelli

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Food and drink festival opens at Edinburgh Airport

A new food and drink festival known as the Scottish Selection has been launched at Edinburgh Airport promoting Scotch whisky as one of the country’s finest exports. And who's to argue that?
40-year-old Brora
whisky priced at
 £7,000 (US$11,700)

Running until the end of September, the Scottish Selection will be forged through a partnership between the airport, World Duty Free and concessionaire Delaware North.

Chefs will prepare Scottish classics such as haggis, neeps and tatties, and venison served with an Auchentoshan whisky sauce. Passengers will also be able to sample a wide range of Scotch whisky at a number of venues including Thermidors Champagne Bar and the World Duty Free Auchentoshan bar. The selection on offer range from classic malts such as Auchentoshan and Glenmorangie, through to a 40-year-old Brora priced at just under £7,000 (US$11,700).

“We’re proud to be working with our partners at Auchentoshan, Delaware North and World Duty Free to launch this amazing celebration of one of Scotland’s most famous products,” said Richard Townsend, head of retail and property at Edinburgh Airport. “Scotch whisky is renowned the world over and we want our passengers to be at the heart of our new festival.”

-Tanya Filippelli

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Love in the air on Emirates

Stuart and Victoria aboard the Emirates A380

A recent Emirates A380 flight to Brisbane had an outbreak of romance when Stuart Mackinnon proposed (successfully) to Victoria Loudon. 

According to a chronicle of events from Emirates, just after takeoff, Stuart sought the help of the flight purser cabin crew team. 
A crew member sings with the
Baradene College Concert Band
They enlisted members of Auckland's Baradene College Concert Band who happened to be traveling on the flight, Emirates’ crew transformed the Onboard Lounge into the perfect setting for that special moment. With an impromptu serenade of Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World sung by a cabin crew member, Stuart popped the question and received a resounding yes. 

“It was always going to be a truly special moment in my life but what happened took it to a level I could never have imagined. There could have been no better setting anywhere in the world. The nerves I had were put at ease with the fantastic crew members, the Captain and all the passengers,” said Stuart.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

British Airways brings 'Soccer AM' to the skies

British Airways is introducing football highlights and sports magazine shows on a number of long-haul flights this summer.

The airline is introducing popular Saturday cable show, Soccer AM on flights from August 19, available in the ‘Sport’ section of British Airways’ inflight entertainment.

The 30-minute program will be updated weekly to coincide with the latest football news and results.

“We aim to cater to all sports fans with our extensive range of popular programs,” said Richard D’Cruze, British Airways’ in-flight entertainment manager. “Now we offer more choice than ever - from action sports to the nation’s favorite sport, showing on board.”

The new channel ‘Red Bull Sports’ is also launching on board from September featuring footage from Red Bull Media House’s archives of sport programming.

-Tanya Filippelli