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