When baggage handlers go on strike

On 26/05/2013, in Airline corner, by steve

It is almost two weeks ago that baggage handlers of Swissport in Brussels decided on industrial action aimed at getting some relief from the high work pressure. Some flight were cancelled but most operated more or less normally… with one exception. Baggage was unloaded by airline personnel and brought into the terminal but without any attempt at sorting… After three days, more than 30 thousand pieces of baggage were piling up everywhere and arriving passengers were told not even to try and look for their bags. They would get them eventually…


Now, almost two weeks later, a huge amount of bags are still languishing in the old terminal, a few of them exhaling a smell that is a mixture of a dead dog and rotten cabbage. Obviously, the carefully packed foodstuff coming from faraway homes has all spoiled and will end up in the dustbin, together with some of the bags that have been soaked in the ghastly smell.

Poor Brussels Airlines is working day and night to ensure that passengers get an email asking them where the bags should be delivered… But as you can see on the picture, it is still way to go.

They are flexible though and the more adventurous passengers are allowed into Skyhall to search for their bags and if they find them, they are allowed to take it with them if they show proof of ownership.


United 787s back in business

On 13/05/2013, in Airline corner, by steve

Domestic flights begin this month and international flights in June

United Airlines is preparing to reintroduce Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights, bringing back the world’s most advanced and efficient aircraft on domestic and international routes.

crew“Our customers responded extremely well when we introduced the 787, and we know they’ll welcome it back,” said Pete McDonald, United’s chief operations officer. “Boeing and the FAA were diligent in their work to fix the battery issue, and now the Dreamliner is poised to fly the missions we planned and provide our customers with the features and reliability they want on their long-haul flights.”

Boeing already converted two of United’s six Dreamliners to the new FAA standards and will soon convert the remainder of United’s fleet. The airline has scheduled flights to begin on May 20 on routes from Houston to other domestic hubs. United will begin international 787 flying on the Denver-Tokyo route on June 10.

United Airlines and United Express operate an average of 5,446 flights a day to more than 370 airports across six continents. In 2012, United and United Express carried more passenger traffic than any other airline in the world and operated nearly two million flights carrying 140 million customers. United is investing in upgrading its onboard products and now offers more flat-bed seats in its premium cabins and more extra-legroom economy-class seating than any airline in North America.

Click here to read the full article


ATC China 2013 – Conference and Exhibition. Beijing, 25-26 June 2013

On 12/05/2013, in Events, by steve


Technology innovation for Next Generation ATM Systems in China

Why This Event?

towerChina will build 70 new airports and expand 100 existing airports within the next three years. The air traffic volume is also expected to grow 10-15% per year over the next ten years. This surging demand will greatly boost required investment in China’s ATM system and provide numerous opportunities for global ATM stakeholders.

To cope with intense pressure from growth, China urges the development and application of new ATC technologies and the construction of a number of key ATC projects to improve its operational efficiency and service capacity.

ATC China 2013 is the unique and premier business occasion in China to gather ATM professionals from all major sectors together for business collaboration and industry knowledge sharing. It is time to get on board the most promising ATM Market!


Scan the QR code or click here to register.



Airline mixes up its beverage service with an American-made, award-winning craft spirit

On 10/05/2013, in Airline corner, by steve

titos-signed-bottleUnited Airlines announced that Tito’s Handmade Vodka will be the exclusive vodka brand served on all of the airline’s flights worldwide. United customers have enjoyed the award-winning craft vodka since the company began serving the spirit on May 1.

Tito’s Handmade Vodka, an Austin-based company, is one of the fastest growing micro distilleries in the United States. The handcrafted spirit earned a unanimous Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and it was awarded a score of 95 by Wine Enthusiast for its impeccable purity and clean taste.

“United was looking for a great tasting vodka for our customers, and we’ve found it in Tito’s Handmade Vodka,” said Lynda Coffman, United’s vice president of food services. “Tito’s is a small-business success story with an outstanding product. United has a rich history in Texas, and we are proud and excited to bring Tito’s around the globe to more than 370 destinations worldwide.”

Tito’s Handmade Vodka is now sold in all 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canadian provinces.

“Over the years, people have embraced my handmade vodka, traveling with it on their own and spreading the word. Now that Tito’s Handmade Vodka is inflight, I’m glad its debut is with United Airlines,” said Tito Beveridge, founder and master distiller of Tito’s Handmade Vodka. “We’re excited for the new venture with United and look forward to offering flyers around the world the chance to experience a true American spirit.”

Vodka is the number one-selling spirit served on United flights and is commonly requested on the rocks. Vodka tonic and Bloody Mary cocktails are the airline’s customers’ most preferred inflight sipping styles.

Tito’s Handmade Vodka is available for sale in economy class on flights where a beverage service is offered and may be purchased for $7 with a major credit or debit card in United’s cashless cabins. Customers flying in United’s premium cabins may enjoy the spirit at no cost.


Customers can see their TSA Precheck status before arriving at the checkpoint

On 05/05/2013, in Battle stations, by steve

The by now well known one size fits all approach to aviation security is slowly giving way to a risk-based model which is expected to provide the same, or even improved, level of security while making the screening process smoother. Part of this is the TSA’s Precheck prescreening procedure.

tsaUnited Airlines has now announced it is providing advance notice to customers who are selected for the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) prescreening program TSA Precheck. Eligible United customers will start to see the TSA Precheck indicator on mobile boarding passes, boarding passes printed at home or from the kiosks at some airports, allowing customers to effectively route themselves to available TSA Precheck lanes.

“Our customers tell us how much they appreciate that TSA Precheck expedites their security screening experience. By giving advance notice of TSA Precheck eligibility, in collaboration with TSA, we are making the screening process easier and more seamless,” said Alex Marren, United’s senior vice president of network operations and United Express.

The TSA Precheck logo will appear directly above an eligible passenger’s name on printed boarding passes. On mobile boarding passes, customers should look for the TSA Precheck logo at the top right corner above the barcode. The TSA Precheck indicator will appear on boarding passes throughout a customer’s itinerary whether or not the airport has TSA Precheck, so customers are encouraged to check that the airport is a participating location here.

Click here to read the full article


United Airlines Proudly Sponsors International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association Global Convention in Chicago

On 02/05/2013, in Airline corner, by steve

IGLTAUnited Airlines, an official sponsor of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) Global Convention, welcomes tourism professionals from more than 20 countries as they meet in Chicago for the organization’s 30th annual event May 2 – 4.

IGLTA, one of the world’s leading travel networks, is dedicated to connecting and educating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) travelers and the businesses that welcome and support them along the way.

“With more than 85,000 co-workers from around the world, United proudly celebrates the richness of not just our employees’ diverse backgrounds, but our customers’ too,” said Dave Hilfman, United’s senior vice president of worldwide sales, during the IGLTA press conference today at the Willis Tower Skydeck. “As we say, diversity flies with us. And United is honored to sponsor IGLTA’s convention in Chicago this year.”

The airline has a long-standing relationship with IGLTA spanning more than 10 years.

This sponsorship aligns with United’s commitment to create a work environment where all its employees across the world feel included and empowered to make a measurable difference in its success. United offers policies, programs, benefits, privileges and recognition designed to reward and support the success of its diverse workforce.

Earlier this year, Equality Illinois named United 2013 Business Leader of the Year for its LGBT policies. In 2012, United received a perfect score for the fifth consecutive year on the 2013 Corporate Equality Index, an annual survey administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation that ranks top companies on their policies regarding LGBT employees.


Dreamliners back in the air, controllers back on the job…

On 01/05/2013, in Viewpoint, by steve

devilUnless I am very much mistaken, the grounding of the Boeing 787 has been the longest in aviation history and only the DC-10 comes close, but that was in another time and age. Just a coincidence, of course, but still a telling story and a sign of this age the FAA’s enforced decision last month to furlough air traffic controllers due to a shortage of money caused by the federal budget restrictions implemented by politicians with little understanding of what this would cause in specialized areas like aviation.

Boeing screwed up big time with the 787 battery system as did Washington with its lawn-mower approach to straightening the federal budget.

Of course this was not the first major issue with the design of the 787. The center wing-box is now much heavier that was originally foreseen due to additional bits that had to be bolted on when it was discovered that the first load calculations were incorrect. Not that Airbus did any better with the 380. Incompatible software at different fabrication locations resulted in wire harnesses being too short, probably another first for the industry. Then cracks found on the rib-feet of the wings were discovered accidentally… while engineers were looking at the wing of the Qantas 380 that had one of its engines go boom. While the cracks did not pause an immediate safety problem, had they not been discovered like this, it is anybody’s guess what might have happened later on.

The way air traffic management should be financed has been a matter of debate for a long time now. In Europe, full cost recovery means that basically the airspace users pay everything and there is no danger of the money running out. Except of course if the airspace users themselves go belly up as had happened, well, more or less, after 9/11.

Click here to read the full article


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