LATAM Cargo continues its fleet expansion

LATAM Cargo has announced the arrival of another freighter aircraft as it continues its fleet expansion.

The carrier said that it had taken delivery of its fifth B767-300 freighter this year, which brings its all-cargo fleet to a total of 16 B767Fs.

The freighter is the last the airline is due to receive in 2022.

“This aircraft will allow us to continue strengthening our value proposition through a broader and deeper network. The B767-300F’s blend of size and competitiveness enables us to offer our customers more and better routing options,” said LATAM Cargo chief executive Andrés Bianchi.

The new aircraft will be utilized on transatlantic flights and “benefit the transportation of general cargo, fresh flowers and fruits, among other products”.

In July, the airline announced plans to expand its cargo network on the transatlantic trade.

In the second half, the LATAM Group’s cargo operators will almost double their capacity between Europe and the Americas, increasing weekly flights by 85% from seven to 13.

This represents a 160% increase in weekly flights on the trade compared with 2019 levels, LATAM said.

First Canadian operator to use the Environtainer Releye RLP

Air Canada Cargo will be the first Canadian operator to use the new live monitored, temperature-controlled certified aircraft containers, the Envirotainer Releye RLP and larger RAP, as part of the AC Absolute solution.

The Releye RLP and RAP containers are designed to meet the strictest requirements in pharmaceutical air freight. With their unsurpassed 170 hours of autonomy (more than one week) on a single battery charge, it will maintain the temperature and protect the cargo longer than any other available solution.

These containers enter service following the recent inauguration of Air Canada Cargo’s new cold chain handling facility at its Toronto Pearson International Airport hub, a testament to its continued focus on strong operational integrity and continued investment in cold chain infrastructure.

The Releye RLP and RAP containers are equipped with 18 integrated sensors that monitor important aspects during shipping, including their location, internal and external temperature, battery level, humidity, door openings, cargo loaded, and GPS so customers can track their shipments in real time.

Air Canada is CEIV Pharma certified by IATA, which signifies that the airline meets the highest standards of safety, security, compliance and efficiency in the transport of pharmaceuticals.

Air Canada Cargo is the country’s largest air cargo provider, as measured by cargo capacity, with a presence in over 50 countries and self-handled hubs in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Chicago, London, and Frankfurt. Air Canada Cargo offers air freight lift and connectivity to hundreds of destinations across six continents using Air Canada’s domestic and international passenger flights, cargo-only flights with its fleet of Boeing 767-300 freighter aircraft, and trucking services.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi to expand network with the launch of flights to Kuwait and the Maldives

Abu Dhabi, UAE—Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, the ultra-low-fare national airline of the UAE, today announces it will launch two new routes from Abu Dhabi to the idyllic island paradise of the Maldives, and the airline’s fifth key destination in the Gulf, Kuwait. Tickets are on sale now on wizzair.com and on the airline’s mobile app, with fares starting from just AED 99* for Kuwait and AED 319* for Maldives.

From October, Wizz Air will offer flights four times a week on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from Abu Dhabi to Male, the main international airport in the Maldives. Located in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is an unrivalled holiday destination, boasting white sandy beaches, spectacular sunsets and colourful reefs brimming with wildlife.

With year-round tropical weather, this picturesque paradise promises ultimate escapism from everyday life. For those yearning to discover what the islands have to offer, Wizz Air’s new route unlocks affordable travel options for those within the UAE and for self-connecting passengers travelling from Central and Eastern Europe via the Wizz Air network.

Flights to Kuwait, located in the North-Western corner of the Persian Gulf, will operate daily from Abu Dhabi, providing travellers with the opportunity to experience authentic Arab traditions and learn about its unique history over the years.

Kuwait City is home to some of the top tourist attractions in Kuwait, such as the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Center, the Grand Mosque of Kuwait and Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Center. The city is also known for its Souq Al Mubarakiya, one of the country’s oldest markets, which offers an exotic sensory experience.

The new routes will see Wizz Air Abu Dhabi fly to a total of 34 destinations within a five-hour flight time radius of Abu Dhabi, since the airline launched in January 2021.  The arrival of a fifth aircraft later this year means flights to Kuwait and the Maldives will be operated on a brand-new Airbus A321neo aircraft, which offers the lowest environmental footprint. Today’s expansion reaffirms Wizz Air’s long-term commitment to offering ultra-low fares to a variety of diverse destinations from Abu Dhabi, whilst stimulating the local economy and job market.

Owain Jones, Development Officer at Wizz Air, said: “We are excited to announce two new Wizz Air Abu Dhabi routes, which reaffirm our commitment to supporting the UAE’s travel and tourism industry by connecting its capital with many popular holiday destinations regionally and globally. With the arrival of our fifth Airbus aircraft in October, we are delighted to enhance connectivity with our neighbour countries across the GCC with flights to Kuwait, as well as providing our customers with affordable flights to the Maldives. We are particularly excited about the launch of flights to the Maldives, a tropical paradise destination high up on travellers’ bucket list. The WIZZ team looks forward to welcoming customers onboard our young and green aircraft very soon.”

Strategically located in the UAE, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi provides ultra-low fare, hassle-free and efficient travel options to Alexandria (Egypt), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Amman (Jordan), Aqaba (Jordan), Athens (Greece), Baku (Azerbaijan), Belgrade (Serbia), Dammam (Saudi Arabia), Kuwait City (Kuwait), Kutaisi (Georgia), Manama (Bahrain), Male (Maldives), Muscat (Oman), Nur Sultan (Kazakhstan), Salalah (Oman), Santorini (Greece), Sarajevo (Bosnia), Sohag (Egypt), Tel-Aviv (Israel), Tirana (Albania) and Yerevan (Armenia) among others.

The ease of COVID-19 restrictions and the removal of PCR test requirements for vaccinated travellers has made travel simpler again allowing for more spontaneous travel opportunities.

The airline has a young fleet composed of four brand new state-of-the-art Airbus A321neo aircraft, offering the lowest fuel burn, emissions and noise footprint. Wizz Air Abu Dhabi has the lowest environmental footprint among its competitors in the region, supporting the airline’s long-term commitment to sustainability.

For ultimate peace of mind during this uncertain time, passengers can book tickets with confidence, thanks to WIZZ Flex. With WIZZ Flex, passengers can cancel their flight up to three hours before departure without any fee and receive 100% of the fare immediately reimbursed in airline credit.

Etihad Cargo posts record mid-year revenue

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Etihad Aviation Group, has announced record-breaking results for the first half of 2022, achieving year-on-year revenue growth of 6 per cent compared to H1 2021 and contributing 35 per cent of Etihad Aviation Group’s operating revenue.

In addition to recording an increase in overall revenue, Etihad Cargo maintained a strong Delivered as Promised rate of 86 per cent, a 2 per cent increase compared to its 2021 full-year results, along with an 83 per cent freighter On Time Performance (OTP) rate despite the challenging handling environment across the network.

Etihad Cargo saw growth across a number of premium products in the first half of 2022. For example, the performance of PharmaLife, Etihad Cargo’s award-winning, dedicated pharmaceutical shipment solution, increased by 46 per cent compared to H1 2021.

Contributing to this growth have been the new developments Etihad Cargo has launched to enhance its PharmaLife capabilities, including improved thermal covers that dramatically increase the protection of pharmaceutical cargo during aircraft loading and offloading. Etihad Cargo also posted a 52 per cent increase in the performance of its LiveAnimals product, for which the carrier was awarded International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) Live Animals certification in 2022.

Martin Drew, Senior Vice President Global Sales & Cargo of Etihad Aviation Group,  commented, “The growth Etihad Cargo has achieved across its PharmaLife and LiveAnimals products has been made possible by the hard work and commitment of dedicated teams that have thrived on the challenge of providing world-class cargo solutions to customers. Etihad Cargo’s commitment to expanding capabilities has been demonstrated through the carrier’s ongoing investment in infrastructure and solutions that ensure cargo is transported safely and in compliance with international standards.”

Etihad Cargo also reported an 81 per cent electronic airway bill penetration rate, demonstrating the carrier’s continued investment in digitalisation. To further enhance its customers’ booking journey, Etihad Cargo added more features to its new online booking portal in 2021, which resulted in 57 per cent more bookings made via the portal. The carrier also launched a Mandarin version of its website and booking portal, cementing Etihad Cargo’s strategic footprint in China. This key market contributes over 20 per cent of the carrier’s operations.

As part of Etihad Aviation Group’s vision to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, Etihad Cargo has embarked on several sustainability projects. The carrier entered into an agreement with B Medical Systems to develop and launch the industry’s first airline-specific passive temperature-controlled container units for the transportation of pharmaceuticals. Etihad Cargo has also replaced original aluminium unit load device (ULD) containers with environmentally friendly, lightweight ULDs, which can provide a weight-saving of over 200 kilogrammes, lowering fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

Drew concluded, “Following these positive mid-year results, Etihad Cargo remains committed to working closely with partners and customers to ensure the carrier remains their air cargo partner of choice. Etihad Cargo will continue to expand operations and add key routes to fully support the capacity demands of customers.”

Etihad Cargo’s network currently offers cargo capacity to 79 destinations across Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the Americas with 564 weekly rotations. The carrier also operates charter flights and utilises an extensive road feeder service network to service demand across non-network destinations. The carrier has been recognised for its performance and contribution to the wider air cargo industry, winning several awards including Air Cargo Operator of the Year at the Logistics Middle East Awards, Most Innovative Air Cargo Airline at the Transport & Logistics Middle East Innovation Awards, Cargo Airline and Air Cargo Pharma Service of the Year at the Aviation Achievement Awards and Sustainable Air Cargo Airline of the Year – Asia and Middle East at the Frieghtweek Sustainability Awards.

Azerbaijan Airlines upgrades fleet on Dubai-Baku flights

BAKU, Azerbaijan—With passenger travel demand between Dubai and Baku increasing, Azerbaijan Airlines announced it is upgrading its fleet on the route to better serve passengers.

Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) says its daily flights to Dubai will now be serviced by the more advanced wide body Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner and Boeing 767-300/300ER aircraft; resulting in a significant upgrade in both seating numbers and inflight services compared to the narrow body aircraft which was previously operating the route.

The Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner has a capacity of approximately 210 passengers in three cabin classes, and the Boeing 767-300/300ER has a capacity of 198 passengers.

Dubai is one of the most popular destinations in the Azerbaijan Airlines route network, with thousands of tourists from Azerbaijan visiting Dubai and the UAE annually.

The airline said the use of these wide-body aircraft in this market is due to the emerging importance of the Dubai and UAE market for Azerbaijan not only as a holiday destination, but also as a transit route for tourists from around the Gulf States using Dubai as a transit hub to then visit Azerbaijan, as well as Baku as a transit hub for traveling to Europe and the countries of the region.

UAE residents enjoy a one-month visa on arrival when visiting Azerbaijan, which has been a major factor in attracting an increasing number of visitors from the UAE.

“The demand for travel from the UAE to Azerbaijan after the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow, which allows the airline to operate flights on wide-body aircraft, thus offering our passengers even better comfort and quality of service,” said Nazim Samadov, the First Deputy Executive Director of Azerbaijan Airlines. “In the near future it is also planned to increase the frequency of services between the two cities to be performed twice a day.”

Wizz Air introduces new routes to KSA from Europe and the UAE

BUDAPEST, Hungary—Wizz Air, Europe’s fastest growing and most sustainable airline, is launching in September exciting new routes from Dammam, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to Rome, Vienna and Abu Dhabi, the airline announced.

The Abu Dhabi route will be operated by Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, Wizz Air’s joint venture airline with ADQ. The airline said the new destinations are the first step towards a growing presence in KSA which will provide for the first time truly affordable, hassle-free, point to point travel for tourists and residents in the Kingdom, Europe and the UAE, strengthening global connectivity.

The new routes by Wizz Air introduce a new era of travel to the Residents of KSA by unlocking affordable travel opportunities and giving them access to WIZZ’s incredibly low fares. Tickets for all routes are already on sale on wizzair.com and the airline’s mobile app, with fares starting from 24.99€.

In May, Wizz Air signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Investment for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia supported by the Saudi National Air Connectivity Programme (a Ministry of Tourism initiative) to support the development of the Saudi Tourism Sector.

The new destinations support the growing Saudi Arabian tourism sector, aligning with the Vision 2030 programme, a strategic and ambitious vision to triple passenger traffic in the Kingdom by 2030. The ultra-low-cost routes will boost the burgeoning tourism industry and significantly increase connectivity for residents in Europe and the region, with key strategic government partners collaborating to add to the Saudi aviation ecosystem.

“Saudi Arabia is a very exciting market and our expansion will bring ultra-low-cost travel to the Kingdom. Our regular flights to Dammam will provide year-round sun for tourists, and provide a mix of destinations for residents of the Kingdom. We want to thank our partners for their support during the expansion, especially the Air Travel Connectivity Programme, the Ministry of Investment, GACA, the Dammam airport, and the government of Saudi Arabia,” said Robert Carey, President of Wizz Air.

Khalil Lamrabet, CEO of The Air Connectivity Program, added: “We are delighted to have been able to work with both Wizz Air and Dammam Airport to grow traffic, in particular inbound tourism, from key European markets into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We look forward to the success of these routes and working with both our partners to grow the Wizz Air network into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Fahd bin Sulaiman Al-Harbi, CEO of Dammam Airports Company, said: “We are very happy to welcome Wizz Air flights at King Fahd International Airport. Strengthening the global connectivity of the Kingdom is very important and Dammam Airport Company (DACO) continues to develop new destinations to serve the citizens and residents of the Eastern province. We are ready to welcome tourists and impress them with the beauty of Dammam.”

Dammam, a modern metropolis nestled on the tranquil Arabian Gulf, offers visitors green parks, airy waterfronts, and sandy beaches alongside a bustling arts, sports, and entertainment scene. The capital of the Eastern Province, Dammam is a popular location with adventurous travellers, who can enjoy fishing, diving, and swimming.

Etihad Airways to welcome over 2.7 million guests this summer

ABU DHABI, UAE—Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi International Airport have geared up resources and are ready to welcome 2.7 million network passengers over the summer months, following a surge in demand for global travel.

Over 1.4 million passengers will depart from Abu Dhabi International Airport, including 330,000 local joiners, with more than 1100 weekly network-wide departures.

Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “As travel rebounds from the impact of the global pandemic, Etihad has witnessed a vast increase in bookings over recent weeks. With summer holidays upon us and to manage the increase in passenger numbers, Etihad has bolstered operations both locally and across our global network to ensure guests enjoy a seamless airport and flight experience.”

Importantly, guests are reminded to check-in online, use the Verified to Fly service to submit any Covid-related travel documents for prior approval, and arrive at the airport early.

Qatar Airways Steps into the Metaverse with ‘QVerse’ Virtual Reality and World’s First MetaHuman Cabin Crew

DOHA, Qatar – Qatar Airways has officially entered the metaverse by launching QVerse, a novel virtual reality (VR) experience for visitors to the airline’s website. The national carrier of the State of Qatar is also the first global airline to introduce a MetaHuman cabin crew offering a digital interactive customer experience.

Users of the www.qatarairways.com/QVerse website can now virtually tour and navigate the Premium Check-in area at Hamad International Airport (HIA), the cabin interior of the airline’s aircraft, including the award-winning Business Class – Qsuite, and the Economy Class cabin, by using their own Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs). 

“With physical boundaries beginning to be challenged by the metaverse on an increasingly larger scale, it is exciting to embrace a technology that enables all travel enthusiasts to enjoy a unique immersive experience of our award-winning products and services,” said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker.

He added: “Our status as the first airline to introduce a MetaHuman cabin crew is testament to our unwavering desire to innovate and delight our customers. We are constantly looking forward to adopting and introducing novel technologies that enhance our passengers’ complete journey.”

The experience was developed using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, the world’s most advanced real-time 3D creation tool, and MetaHuman Creator, a cloud-based app for creating high-fidelity digital humans.

Qatar Airways is the first global airline to introduce a MetaHuman cabin crew, featuring a digitally-created high-fidelity 3D human model named ‘Sama’ – whose name is of Arabic origin and translates to ‘sky’. ‘Sama’ offers an interactive customer experience through engagement with the user, taking them on a virtual journey of discovery, while presenting the unique features in both the Business and Economy Class cabins through a narrated script.

A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was announced as the ‘Airline of the Year’ by the international air transport rating organisation, Skytrax, in addition to securing five additional awards, including World’s Best Business Class, World’s Best Business Class Airline Lounge, World’s Best Business Class Airline Seat, World’s Best Business Class Onboard Catering and Best Airline in the Middle East.

Lufthansa Cargo orders 10 more freighters

FRANKFURT, Germany—Buoyed by strong demand for air cargo services, Lufthansa Cargo announced it has ordered 10 more new freighters—three Boeing 777Fs and seven new-generation Boeing 777-8Fs—the first of which could be acquired as early as July this year.

Described as the largest investment in the company’s history, Lufthansa said the new cargo planes will make it possible to market additional freight capacities in the short to medium term with an aircraft type currently available in the industry and established in the Lufthansa Cargo fleet.

Apart from buying new planes, Lufthansa says it has also extended its leases for two Boeing 777F freighters (current technology), which run through 2024 for seven more years each or through 2031.

The first of the 777F aircraft, which could be acquired on the used market at short notice, is expected as early as July 2022. Two more brand-new B777Fs will follow at a later date.

Lufthansa Group is also reportedly making forward-looking investments in seven new B777-8Fs, a technically enhanced freighter version of the B777F. Delivery of these aircraft is expected at a later date between 2027 and 2030.

Currently, Lufthansa Cargo’s freighter fleet consists of a total of 15 Boeing 777Fs, four of which are operated by AeroLogic. In addition, there is the capacity of two A321 freighters and the belly capacity of passenger aircraft operated by Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings Discover.

With the order of 10 Boeing freighters, Lufthansa Cargo will offer its customers expanded capacities within its global long-haul network in the future.

“We are very pleased that we have been able to set an important course for our future and the growth of Lufthansa Cargo with the decision to order ten additional widebody freighters. We can offer our customers significantly more capacity in the short and long term, and also ensure that we operate the most modern and efficient freighters in their class. The investments in the next freighter generation, the Boeing 777-8F, will significantly reduce CO2 emissions,” Dorothea von Boxberg, Chairperson of the Executive Board and CEO of Lufthansa Cargo, noted.

“We are, thus, taking another important step on our way to CO2-neutral airfreight. These major investments in Lufthansa Cargo are a sign of confidence in the future development of the airfreight market and in the role that Lufthansa Cargo will continue to play in it.”

The new Boeing 777-8F is considered the most powerful freighter aircraft. It has a range of 8,167 kilometers (4410 nautical miles) and a maximum payload of 118 metric tons. Compared to the 777F version, it has 17 percent more cargo volume. Thanks to the two efficient GE9x engines from General Electric Aviation, fuel consumption is low, which in turn saves emissions. This enables Lufthansa Cargo to run a much more sustainable business and low operating costs.

 

Emirates resumes 170 weekly flights to India

Dubai, UAE—Emirates reinstated in April its pre-pandemic flight frequencies of 170 weekly flights to nine cities across India.

The airline said the move comes amid the Indian government’s decision to restore international flights to and from the country in line with established bilateral agreements from the end-March 2022.

Emirates will be operating the following flights:

Emirates has also brought back its customer-favorite Airbus A380 on a daily basis between Dubai and Mumbai in March 2022. Emirates flight EK 500/ 501 is operated by the iconic double decker aircraft.

Customers travelling on Emirates across all classes of travel can enjoy an unparalleled flying experience with spacious cabins and signature service. During their flight, Emirates customers can savor regionally inspired meals and more than 4,500 channels of content on its award-winning in-flight entertainment system, ice. 

Customers travelling in First and Business Class with Emirates from Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi can avail complimentary chauffeur drive service to the airport and on arrival at select locations within the airline’s global network. Customers travelling in premium cabins and Emirates Skywards members in select membership tiers will also have access to Emirates’ exclusive lounge experience in Dubai and select airports around the world.

Emirates’ flexible booking policies are extended through 31 May 2022.