Airline News

Airline News

Cathay Pacific Airways will start daily nonstop service from New York (JFK) to Hong Kong starting July 1, 2004. It will be the only daily nonstop between the two cities and, with the continuation of the airline’s existing one-stop service via Vancouver, Cathay will be the only airline operating double daily service between New York and Hong Kong. The airline serves 24 cities in the United States, either direct or through code share passenger services. Cathay Pacific will operate the new service with Airbus A340-600 and follow a route over the North Pole. Passengers will save approximately three hours journey time and avoid the inconvenience of an intermediary stop. Currently from the U.S., Cathay Pacific offers double daily nonstop service from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, daily nonstop service from San Francisco to Hong Kong, daily direct service from New York to Hong Kong (increasing to double daily frequency with nonstop service July 1) and daily nonstop service from New York to Vancouver.

Delta Air Lines says it and its fellow SkyTeam members are gearing up for an increase in international travel this summer. So far this year, international traffic is up 6 percent, and that should continue throughout the rest of the year, said Paul Matsen, Delta senior VP of international and alliances. The International Air Transport Association is predicting a 7 percent annual growth in global passenger traffic. There will be several new flights this summer by Delta, which will also be adding new or expanding codesharing flights with Aeromexico, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Southern, Emirates and Korean Air.

Delta Air Lines will increase its international service by expanding its own flights and placing its code on flights operated by its SkyTeam partners. In April it will launch a second daily flight from Atlanta to Cancun and two weekly flights from Atlanta to St. Lucia. It also is adding two new daily flights from New York JFK to San Juan. In May, the carrier will begin new daily service from Cincinnati to both Amsterdam and Rome and a second daily Atlanta-Munich flight. June additions include daily flights from JFK to Santo Domingo, a thrice-weekly JFK to Athens flight and new service from Cincinnati to Cancun. This summer Delta will place its code on flights to destinations in Europe, Asia and the Middle East operated by AeroMexico, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Southern, Emirates and Korean Air. In addition, it will expand its code share agreement with Continental and Northwest to include flights to 11 cities in the Caribbean, 12 in Latin America and 14 in Canada.

Emirates will offer in-flight e-mail service across its fleet using Tenzing software. The system will be installed initially on new A340- 500s beginning in the first quarter of 2004 and progressively across the entire fleet.

Iberia will adopt a two-class service product on A340 long-haul services, eliminating first class in favor of an enhanced business- class cabin with lie-flat seatbeds, audio-video on demand, satellite phones and text messaging. It will invest eur100 million ($125 million) to equip 31 A340s with the new product, which will be rolled out on the airline’s first three A340-600s in Oct. and installed across the fleet by the end of 2005.

JetBlue Airways, which already offers passengers 24 channels of live DirecTV programming in-flight, reached agreement with XM Satellite Radio and News Corp., a media and entertainment conglomerate, under which the airline will add up to 100 channels of digital satellite radio and movies to its in-flight entertainment system. JetBlue said it expects to introduce the system on its fleet of A320s in 2004 and on its new fleet of Embraer 190s as they are introduced into service beginning in 2005.

KLM will operate daily service to Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai this summer, deploying the new 777 on flights to Tokyo and Shanghai. Beijing will be served using 747-400s. KLM and Northwest will boost flights between their respective Amsterdam and Minneapolis/St. Paul hubs from two to three daily and the number of weekly services to Houston, which serves as partner airline Continental’s hub, will rise from seven to nine. Additionally, weekly flights to San Francisco will increase from six to seven and to Vancouver from five to seven. Capacity will grow on KLM’s daily flights to Toronto as a 747-400 replaces an MD-11 on the route. Service to Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles also will increase this summer. Bonaire will be served with 11 weekly flights, Curacao with seven, St. Maarten with two and Aruba with five.

Lufthansa’s new $350 million business class product, which includes a new flatbed seat concept and upgraded in-flight entertainment system, will first appear on Lufthansa’s new Airbus A340-600, which will begin service next week. The carrier will also add the new product on its new A330-300 aircraft and retrofit existing aircraft with the business class product early next year.

OneWorld partner airlines continue to expand their code sharing links. The latest is between American and British Airways, now that the AA code has been placed a number of BA flights at London Gatwick. BA also has placed its code on American flights to 26 destinations in the U.S. and Latin America. BA also has increased its code sharing with Iberia. The Spanish airline now codeshares on BA flights from London Heathrow to Dubai, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Iberia also places its code on U.K. carrier Comair to Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth from Johannesburg. BA is placing its code on Iberia flights between Barcelona and Munich. Swiss, which will join the alliance later this year, is also code sharing with BA.

Orbitz has added activities and services to its online offerings. Users can now book airport shuttles, theme park tickets, sightseeing tours and activities such as deep-sea fishing and winery tours. The activities can be booked at the same time as the air, hotel or vacation package.

Overstock.com www.overstock.com has added luxury cruises to its product mix. Its cruise inventory features hundreds of vessels and more than 5,000 itineraries and ports of call. Overstock.com, a closeout retailer, offers an array of brand-name merchandise at discounted prices.

Singapore Airlines has become the launch customer for Boeing’s new Airplane Health Management system that monitors the health of aircraft in flight and relays the information in real time to the ground. Primary source of the data is the central maintenance computer or condition monitoring system. Boeing said AHM also can collect electronic logbook data from the new Electronic Flight Bag being introduced on the 777-300ER.

Song, Delta Air Lines’ low-fare carrier, said that 75% of its fleet has been outfitted with its in-flight entertainment system and it is on schedule to complete the entire fleet by March 31 2004. Song’s IFE system will feature live satellite television, video on demand pay-per- view movie programming, MP3 audio programming and interactive video games.

US Airways will paint 10 aircraft in a new Dot-Com livery to remind customers that they can book their flights from Usairways.com. The aircraft will also have the logo “No booking fees. No brainer” as part of an advertising campaign that will proceed this month. Ben Baldanza, senior VP of marketing and planning, said, “We want to significantly raise awareness of the consumer benefits of buying at usairways.com, including the fact that we do not charge service fees like many other sources.”

US Airways said Expedia customers now can purchase its tickets through all Expedia points of sale. Last December the airline said it no longer would sell its tickets through Expedia following the online travel website’s decision to raise the booking fee it charges customers to purchase US Airways tickets from $5 to $8.99.

Virgin Atlantic Airways will operate additional seasonal service to London from Boston, Washington and Newark June 1-Oct. 30 2004. It will add three flights per week between London and both Boston and Washington as well as one weekly Newark service.

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