Tampa International undergoes terminal modernization

Beginning in 2011, Tampa International Airport embarked upon its largest expansion in the airport’s history – a $1 billion terminal modernization to dramatically transform facilities and improve operational efficiency, increase capacity, and enhance the passenger experience. As a primary driver of economic growth in the region, the terminal improvements ensure the airport can accommodate some 35 million passengers per year, double the annual amount recorded in 2013.

Tampa International Airport looked to AirIT, part of the Amadeus group’s Airport IT business unit, to deliver the technology required. The airport will expand AirIT’s EASE™ Shared Use passenger processing platform and implement AirIT’s Airport Operational Database/Resource Management System (AODB/RMS) and Data Archival and Retrieval (DAR) solution. AirIT’s Extended Airline System Environment (EASE™) represents the present and future in airport passenger processing technology, allowing airline carriers to operate in their own native system environments while delivering cost savings and enhanced operational flexibility to airport operators.

In addition to the EASE™ expansion, AirIT’s shared use platform will be supported by a full implementation of AirIT’s AODB and Resource Management System (RMS), in order to optimize the airport’s dynamic resource planning capabilities.

The Phase II technology package also includes the implementation of AirIT’s Data Archival and Retrieval (DAR) system as well as integration with the airport’s existing property and revenue management platform, PROPworks®. PROPworks® is AirIT’s cornerstone Business Systems solution and is considered a standard in the industry. PROPworks® is in operation at more than 100 airports sites worldwide, including four of the five busiest airports in the US.

Alaska Air Cargo adopts SmartKargo Portal

Alaska Air Cargo has launched a new booking and tracking capability powered by SmartKargo.

Alaska’s adoption of the SmartKargo Portal functionality now leverages all IATA standard C-IMP messages to communicate with the airline’s existing systems landscape.

It also provides the technology to adopt the paperless transformation of key business processes, including e-AWB and the capability to digitally collect, store and transmit associated documentation via e-pouch.

In addition, the advanced SmartKargo Link capability within the solution facilitates interlines opportunities by streamlining processes and communications for Alaska Air Cargo and its partner airlines.

The SmartKargo booking engine also features direct access to bookings by customers via passenger-style airline booking interface, templates for repetitive bookings, real-time pricing, real-time capacity allocation, real-time confirmations and real-time notifications.

The booking engine functionality conforms to all regulatory requirements and is fully Integrated with all applicable checks required for ‘Known Shipper Requirement’ and automated integration with TSA data.

Alaska Air Cargo managing director, Jason Berry says, “Last week, we initiated a new era at Alaska Air Cargo with the beginning of our new 737-700 freighter capability.

“The new booking engine will now power our capability for real-time communications with our customers – providing them with the industry’s most robust real-time Track and Trace user interface.

“In addition, the simple booking interface is pre-loaded with IATA commodity codes and other regulatory information, to streamline the process. These are just a few of the new capabilities that will help us fully extend our culture of customer excellence to our cargo customers.”

SmartKargo chief executive officer, Milind Tavshikar says the advanced booking engine launched by Alaska Air Cargo was built to exemplify ‘ease-of-use’ via a one-screen interface that enables customer self-service, streamlined ratings and airline provided visibility at every shipment milestone.

He adds, “Hands-on access to real-time data, built-in business intelligence and the technology to facilitate the digital transformation of business processes work together to support operational efficiencies, better customer experience and increased revenues.”

Boeing to acquire Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation

Boeing plans to acquire Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation, a world-class innovator, developer and manufacturer of advanced aerospace platforms, under an agreement signed by the companies. Aurora specializes in autonomous systems technologies to enable advanced robotic aircraft for future aerospace applications and vehicles.

“The combined strength and innovation of our teams will advance the development of autonomy for our commercial and military systems,” said Greg Hyslop, chief technology officer and senior vice president of Boeing Engineering, Test & Technology. “Together, these talented teams will open new markets with transformational technologies.”

Leveraging autonomous systems that include perception, machine learning and advanced flight control systems, Aurora has designed, produced and flown more than 30 unmanned air vehicles since the company was founded in 1989. Aurora Flight Sciences is a leader in the emerging field of electric propulsion for aircraft. During the last decade, Aurora has collaborated with Boeing on the rapid prototyping of innovative aircraft and structural assemblies for both military and commercial applications.

“Since its inception, Aurora has been focused on the development of innovative aircraft that leverage autonomy to make aircraft smarter,” said John Langford, Aurora founder and chief executive officer. “As an integral part of Boeing, our pioneered technologies of long-endurance aircraft, robotic co-pilots, and autonomous electric VTOLs will be transitioned into world-class products for the global infrastructure.”

AI investments in UAE to touch Dh33 billion this year

As the United Arab Emirates (UAE) takes significant strides toward embracing Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies and further developing a knowledge-based economy, businesses must seize the opportunity and architect for disruption instead of becoming victims to it, a senior executive has said.
AI investments in the UAE have recorded over 70 percent increase over the past three years, and economic analysts have projected investments to touch Dh33 billion by the end of this year.
Businesses in the UAE across different sectors including as healthcare, education, oil and gas, and aviation are on their way to start integrating cognitive systems into their business.
Saeed Al Dhaheri, Chairman of Smartworld, said, during the CIOMajlis held recently in Dubai, “UAE is on the forefront when it comes to adopting the latest smart technologies. Technology is driving businesses now and as CIOs we need to see the impact of artificial intelligence on our operations and how we can leverage on it. It is also about training, training the systems training the network for higher efficiencies.”
CIOMajlis is an initiative by Smartworld, a joint venture between Etisalat and Dubai South, that aims to contribute to realising the vision of the National Innovative Strategy with the goal of making the UAE the world’s most innovative country by 2021.
Addressing Chief Information Officers (CIOs) from across the UAE, on the topic ‘Enable cognitive business to drive innovation’, Anthony Butler, IBM Cloud CTO, Middle East and Africa, said: “Business strategy and technology are now inseparable and that businesses today are using cloud and cognitive technologies to deliver more insight-driven, innovative customer experiences.”
Worldwide revenues for cognitive and artificial intelligence (AI) systems are estimated to reach $12.5 billion in 2017, an increase of 59.3 percent over 2016, according to International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts.
Global spending on cognitive and AI, termed as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, will continue to see significant corporate investment over the next several years, achieving a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 54.4 percent through 2020 when revenues will be more than $46 billion, according to the forecast.
Businesses in the UAE across different sectors including as healthcare, education, oil and gas, and aviation are on their way to start integrating cognitive systems into their business.
Worldwide, interest in implementing AI systems is surging among companies and institutions, according to market intelligence firm Tractica. Revenue generated from the direct and indirect application of AI software will grow from $1.4 billion in 2016 to $59.8 billion by 2025, Tractica forecasts.

Airline and airport CIOs embrace artificial intelligence

Airlines and airports are embracing new technologies and turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to support their customer service. Over the next three years 52% of airlines plan major AI programs or R&D and 45% of airports will invest in R&D in the next five years, according to the SITA 2017 Air Transport IT Trends Insights.

Airlines are looking at how technology can help minimize the impact of disruption on the passenger experience and their business. Over the next three years 80% of them plan to invest in major programs or R&D into prediction and warning systems, which rely heavily on AI.

Another technology that is catching the attention of the industry is chatbots. Today, 14% of airlines and 9% of airports already use chatbots. The report shows however, that there is significant appetite among air transport CIOs to embrace this technology over the next three years. By 2020, 68% of airlines and 42% of airports plan to adopt AI-driven chat bot services.

SITA’s report also shows that mobile app development is a top priority among airlines and airports. Over the next three years 94% of airlines and 82% of airports plan major mobile programs or R&D. The main area of focus is in the commercialization of their mobile services with airlines looking to boost both direct and ancillary sales via their apps. In fact, airlines expect sales via their mobile apps to double by 2020 and reach 17% of their total sales. Streamlining services into one single app to deliver a seamless experience is a priority for almost every airline (94%) and a high priority for more than half (58%).

Nearly three quarters of airlines use in-house developers for their passenger apps but 42% also use bespoke developers or large tech companies. In contrast, 46% of airports develop their passenger apps in-house and the same proportion use external developers.

Airports plan to use chatbots for services such as notifications and airport guides. They are also looking to beacons and sensors to help provide context and location-aware services. SITA’s research shows that 40% consider this area a ‘high priority’ for app development and a further 43% consider it a ‘priority’. Airports clearly recognize the opportunity to provide useful and relevant mobile services to passengers to optimize time spent at the airport.

Saudi Arabian Airlines to place aircraft order with Airbus and Boeing

Saudi Arabian Airlines will start talks with Airbus and Boeing about a narrow-body aircraft order before the end of the year, the state carrier’s top executive said recently.

The requirement for flyadeal, its new low-cost subsidiary airline, will be for “probably 30 … single-aisle aircraft,” Director-General Saleh Bin Nasser Al Jasser told Reuters in Dubai.
The talks aimed at acquiring Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 aircraft will start “much sooner” than December 31, he said at a meeting between aviation authorities from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Flyadeal launched domestic flights in September and plans to start operating international routes by mid-2018. It has agreed to lease eight A320s from Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) with the first delivered in August.

Al-Jasser had said before flyadeal’s launch that the airline would operate an entirely leased fleet of between 25 and 50 aircraft by 2020.
Share listing for cargo business
Earlier, Al Jasser told reporters that Saudi Arabian Airlines could list shares in its cargo business next year.
Under Saudia’s privatisation plan it aims to next float 30 per cent of the shares in the cargo subsidiary, a share market listing which “could be in 2018,” Al Jasser said.
He said after that the airline’s private aviation or medical business could be listed.
Reuters reported in May that Saudia had engaged with advisers for the full sale of its medical unit, which is called Saudia Medical Services, based in Jeddah.
The airline has also said it plans to list its maintenance and flight academy units, and the airline itself.
Saudi Airlines Catering Co raised $347 million with an IPO of 30 per cent of its shares in 2012. Saudi Ground Services Co was listed in 2015.

flydubai and Emirates sign codeshare agreement

Emirates will expand its network to 29 flydubai destinations across three continents through codeshare, the two Dubai-based carriers said in a joint statement.

The move is in the wake of a recent partnership agreement both airlines reached, which will see the creation of additional city pair connections in a phased manner.

Emirates, which currently have code-sharing agreements with around 20 airlines across the world, said in July that it entered into an ‘extensive partnership’ with flydubai, which will involve a greater integration of services offered between the two airlines.

The new partner network, through its codeshare, will offer greater frequency and easier access to more global destinations with the advantage of connecting baggage to the final destination. Passengers can book from today on Emirates.com through the Emirates Contact Centres or the travel agents network with travel commencing from 29 October 2017.

Connecting in Dubai’s aviation hub offers a smooth transfer experience and under the new partnership passengers will benefit from a reduced minimum connection time (MCT) between Emirates’ home in Terminal 3 and flydubai’s in Terminal 2 of 120 minutes.

In this first phase of the partnership, Emirates Skywards members can earn Skywards miles and Skywards Tier Miles on codeshare flights as per the existing Skywards mileage programme.
Emirates and flydubai partnership codeshare destinations include Asmara (Eritrea), Belgrade (Serbia), Kiev Zhulyany (Ukraine), Juba (South Sudan), Krasnodar (Russia), Samara (Russia), Kazan (Russia), Mineralnye Vody (Russia), Odessa (Ukraine), Prague (Czech Republic), Rostov-on-Don (Russia), Sarajevo (Bosnia & Herzegovina), Skopje (Macedonia), Sofia (Bulgaria), Tbilisi (Georgia), Kuwait (Kuwait), Baku (Azerbaijan), Lucknow (India), Ahwaz (Iran), Bandar Abbas (Iran), Esfahan (Iran), Lar (Iran), Shiraz (Iran), Najaf (Iraq), Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), Muscat (Oman), Salalah (Oman), Yekaterinburg (Russia), and Bucharest (Romania).

Oman Air Cargo signs outsourcing contract with Jettainer

Oman Air Cargo, has signed a five year ULD (Unit Load Device) outsourcing contract with Jettainer. According to the agreement, Jettainer will be granted Oman Air Cargo’s ULD management effective October 2017.

With Oman Air’s endeavor to ‘become the best’, and its continuing commitment to a lower environmental footprint, Oman Air Cargo will be utilizing lightweight ULDs, constructed of carbon fibre as well as partly recycled composite materials. This significant change will result in the reduction of CO2 emissions, improved payload, as well as an increase in fuel efficiency.

Jettainer’s highly efficient management solutions allow reducing the existing container fleet of Oman Air by about 20 percent to 1,200 units. Among the ULDs used so far were still 600 aluminum AKE containers. These are replaced by state-of-the-art environmentally friendly lightweight AKEs. Another 200 lightweight containers will be added to the Oman fleet as part of the airlines expansion in the near future.

“In line with our strategy to ’become the best’, and strengthen our status as a leading international cargo carrier, we are excited to work with an industry leader such as Jettainer in order to offer our clients the best possible service in line with leading industry standards. Our agreement with Jettainer comes at a time of excellent growth and modernization of the cargo division, as we continue forward with our aggressive growth plan. We are confident Jettainer is a partner that shares our positive outlook and offers us the right services and technology to further improve our offerings, “said Mohammed Al Musafir, Senior Vice President Commercial Cargo, during the signing ceremony at the cargo handling facility at its hub at Muscat International Airport.

“With this cooperation, we continue to expand our presence in the strategically important Gulf region. This is an enormous dynamic market, which enables us to proceed with our course of growth in the long term”, said Martin Kraemer, Head of Marketing and PR at Jettainer, after the ceremony at Muscat.

Emirates to launch fourth daily service to Australia

Emirates is set to introduce a fourth daily service from Dubai to Sydney from 25 March 2018, complementing its existing three daily A380 services and improving connections globally.

The new service will be operated by Emirates’ iconic A380 aircraft and will increase passenger capacity on the route by 6,846 seats a week, inbound and outbound between Sydney and Emirates’ hub in Dubai, and represents a 7.3% increase in capacity for Emirates’ Australian services.

The move will provide passengers travelling from Europe and North Africa greater connectivity to Australia. It also builds on Emirates’ partnership with Qantas, meeting continued demand for services to Dubai and complementing Qantas’ re-routing of its current Sydney to London service via Singapore (instead of Dubai).

Emirates’ new service will offer passengers an afternoon departure from Sydney and a convenient arrival in main European cities the following morning. It also introduces a new option for passengers to depart London and main European cities in the morning with an afternoon arrival in Sydney the next day with a short connection in Dubai.

Earlier this year Emirates announced plans to enhance its Australian services, with a third daily service set to be introduced between Dubai and Brisbane from 1 December 2017 and operated by a B777-200LR. Emirates will also upgauge its third daily flight between Dubai and Melbourne from a B777-300ER to an A380 from 25 March 2018. This change will ensure A380 aircraft will service all three of Emirates’ daily flights to Melbourne.

Between 25 March and 30 March 2018, the inbound service EK416 will depart Dubai at 20:40, arriving in Sydney at 17:20 the following day. Due to daylight savings from 31 March 2018, the arrival time changes to 16:30 the following day.

Between 26 March to 31 March 2018, the outbound service EK417 will depart Sydney at 17:05, arriving in Dubai at 00:25 the following day. Due to daylight savings from 1 April, the outbound service EK417 will depart Sydney 16:15, arriving the same time the following day. An A380 aircraft will operate all services.

Etihad Airways introduces additional weekly flights to Medina

Etihad Airways is re-timing its daily Abu Dhabi – Medina flights to a daytime operation and will also introduce three additional weekly services during the peak winter period.

Effective 1 February 2018, the current overnight departure from Abu Dhabi will be replaced by a mid-morning flight offering an attractive schedule for travellers flying between the UAE’s capital city and Medina in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The new daytime schedule will also improve connectivity to a number of destinations served by Etihad Airways across the Indian Subcontinent such as Colombo, Delhi, Islamabad, Karachi and Mumbai. There will also be new two-way connections to key North Asian markets, including Beijing, Seoul and Shanghai.

Ahead of the scheduling change, the airline will also increase frequency from 7 to 10 flights a week for two months between December 1 and 31 January 2018 to cater for demand during the peak Umrah travel period. The additional capacity will be operated with a two-class Airbus A320 featuring 16 seats in Business Class and 120 in Economy.

Mohammad Al Bulooki, Etihad Airways Executive Vice President Commercial, said: “The re-timing of our Medina flights to a daytime operation and introduction of additional services strengthens our business proposition and commitment to the Saudi Arabian market.

“The changes will greatly benefit our guests travelling between Abu Dhabi and Medina, and offer improved connectivity across the Indian Subcontinent and Asia.”