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Crystal Skye joins the Crystal fleet

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Air & Sea

Crystal AirCruises has welcomed the newest member of its expanding fleet, Crystal Skye, during an official handover ceremony held at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington. The exquisitely outfitted Boeing 777-200LR was delivered to Crystal’s CEO and president, Edie Rodriguez from Greenpoint Technologies. Crystal Skye is the largest privately owned tour jet in the world and is deployed for chartered service, accommodating some of the world’s most discriminating groups and travelers. Crystal Skye will be christened in Las Vegas on August 12.

“We are ecstatic to welcome Crystal Skye to the family, as she marks the beginning of a new chapter and realm of luxury travel for guests who seek the unmatched Crystal Experience,” says Rodriguez. “As we embark on new global adventures with Crystal Skye, we are inspired by the shared vision of our own experts and those at Greenpoint Technologies, who brought this sky-high dream to fruition.”

With a spacious design for up to 88 guests, Crystal Skye is appointed with features rarely found in even the most luxurious private jets. She has the highest crew to passenger ratio of any twin-aisle aircraft and a non-stop range of 19.5 hours, allowing travelers to explore the far reaches of the earth while enjoying the personalized service for which Crystal is renowned worldwide. Bespoke Crystal Exclusive Class seats are designed for maximum personal space and ergonomic comfort, and convert to 180-degree lie-flat beds. The expansive social lounge with stand-up bar fosters friendly camaraderie among luxury travelers. Cuisine will be prepared by an executive chef, in two state-of-the-art galleys and paired with an elegant premium wine list from the Crystal SkyeCellar.

Crystal collaborated with Greenpoint Technologies for the extremely specialized development of Crystal Skye, as the company is renowned for its innovation and leadership in the creation of superior aircraft design. Greenpoint Technologies worked alongside Crystal’s own experts to conceive the standard of excellence and luxury required to ensure the unparalleled guest experience aboard a Crystal vessel, then brought the vision to life. The interior installation of Crystal Skye began in August 2016 at Greenpoint’s Moses Lake facility in Washington, focusing on exclusive features such as a 24-seat lounge with a central bar, sofas, custom coved ceilings, the largest wine cellar in the sky and ample space to socialize. Stone veneers, colored LED lighting and other premium details adorn the extraordinary interior.

Bret Neely, Executive Vice President at Greenpoint Technologies says, “Our goal for this program was to create a luxurious interior showcasing the elegant brand Crystal has established with their cruise ships, yachts, and riverboats. Greenpoint is a company built on Teamwork. Both internally and externally with our customers. It was amazing to see the combined core team come together to focus on Crystal’s guest experience, resulting in the beautiful and functional interior we see today.”

Norwegian’s UK subsidiary given tentative approval by US DOT for transatlantic operations

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Air & Sea

Norwegian's British subsidiary, Norwegian UK (NUK), was been given tentative approval by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) for a foreign air carrier permit. The approval reaffirms that the NUK application is in full compliance with the EU–US Open Skies Agreement.

When finalized by the DOT, the permit will allow Norwegian’s UK subsidiary to operate low-cost flights between the U.S. and Europe.

Once final approval is received from the DOT, NUK will be able to establish a seamless operation and more effectively utilize its long-haul fleet – this includes the use of the same aircraft on all long-haul routes, such as the U.S., Singapore, Argentina and other future long-haul markets Norwegian is looking at in Asia and South America.

“Tentative U.S. approval for our UK subsidiary is a positive step toward being able to offer millions of passengers even more new routes and lower fares," said Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos. "We look forward to final DOT approval for Norwegian UK’s foreign air carrier permit soon, which will allow us to continue delivering more flights, more choice and more jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.”

SAS to fly direct from Stockholm to Miami from October

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Air & Sea

Today SAS is announcing a new direct route between Stockholm and Miami from October 2017, which will depart once a week on Sundays starting October 29th. The new route is in response to demand from SAS’ customers, with the direct routes from both Oslo and Copenhagen proving very popular. SAS now flies direct from Stockholm to Miami, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Hong Kong in Asia.

“We have been looking forward to opening another direct route to the USA, this time between Stockholm and the popular destination of Miami,” says Annelie Nässén, VP Global Sales at SAS. “We always try to offer our customers a unique and special travel experience with SAS and we now fly direct from Scandinavia to seven destinations in the USA.”

The route between Stockholm and Miami International Airport is operated by an Airbus 330 featuring the new SAS cabin. Including this new route, SAS now has 12 direct routes to the USA, four of which were launched in 2016. The new route between Stockholm and Miami joins existing routes from Oslo and Copenhagen to Miami. SAS also launched a direct route from Stockholm to Los Angeles last year as well as a new route from Copenhagen to Boston which will now be served three times a week by an SAS A330, increasing seat capacity with 55 %.

Timetable:
ARN-MIA SK 957. Departure: 09.25. Arrival: 14.15
MIA-ARN SK 958. Departure: 16.05. Arrival: 07.35

Norwegian launches flights from the U.S. to Rome

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Air & Sea

Norwegian has announced it will launch flights from three cities in the United States – Los Angeles, New York City/Newark and Oakland/San Francisco – to Rome, Italy, from November. Rome will be the airline’s seventh long-haul European destination served from the U.S. following Barcelona, which will launch this June; Paris; London; and the three Scandinavian capitals of Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm.

The world’s fastest-growing airline will launch at least 25 new routes out of the U.S. this year, including 12 transatlantic routes to be operated by the Boeing 737-MAX to Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Norway, as well as three new routes to the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, from Providence, Rhode Island, and Fort Lauderdale. Norwegian operates one of the world’s youngest fleets, and the new Rome routes will be served by brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

“Rome is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, and a favorite among Americans, so it was an obvious choice for us as we continue to expand our transatlantic presence. Soon Norwegian will offer more transatlantic routes than any other airline in the world. More U.S. routes mean we will create more American jobs and offer American travelers even more affordable fares,” said Thomas Ramdahl, Norwegian’s Chief Commercial Officer.

Service from Newark Liberty International Airport to Rome’s Leonardo Da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport will launch on November 9, 2017, and operate four times a week until the early February 2018 when it increases to six times per week.

Service from Los Angeles International Airport to Rome will launch on November 11, 2017, and operate twice weekly until February, when it becomes a thrice weekly service. Flights from Oakland International Airport to Rome will launch on February 6, 2018, with a twice weekly service.

Economy launch fares to Rome from Newark start as low as $189 one-way, including taxes; fares from both Los Angeles and Oakland start from $229 one-way, including taxes. The lowest fares in Norwegian’s Premium Cabin to Barcelona from Newark start at $539 one-way including taxes; Premium fares from both Los Angeles and Oakland start at $719 one-way including taxes. Premium service includes a dedicated check-in counter, additional luggage allowance, fast track security, lounge access, priority boarding, sleeper seats, all meals and drinks.

All fares are now available for sale on Norwegian’s website. Additionally, the website’s low fare calendar displays the lowest available fares to all of Norwegian’s destinations.

Rome will be the 13th European city with nonstop service from the U.S. in Norwegian’s ever-growing route network. Overall, Norwegian now offers 52 transatlantic flights from 13 U.S. airports to Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, as well six routes to the French Caribbean, totaling 58 routes out of the United States. Upcoming launches from the U.S. include: Los Angeles to Barcelona (June 5); New York/Newark to Barcelona (June 6); Oakland/San Francisco to Barcelona (June 7); Newburgh/Stewart to Edinburgh (June 15); Providence to Edinburgh (June 15), Hartford to Edinburgh (June 17); Newburgh/Stewart to Belfast (July 1); Newburgh/Stewart to Dublin (July 1); Providence to Belfast (July 1); Providence to Bergen (July 1); Newburgh/Stewart to Bergen (July 2); Newburgh/Stewart to Shannon (July 2); Providence to Dublin (July 2); Providence to Cork (July 3); Providence to Shannon (July 3); Orlando to Paris (July 31); Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona (August 22); Denver to London (September 16); Seattle to London (September 17); Providence to Guadeloupe (October 29); Providence to Martinique (October 30); Fort Lauderdale to Martinique (October 30); New York/Newark to Rome (November 9); Los Angeles to Rome (November 11); and Oakland/San Francisco to Rome (February 6, 2018).

Alaska Airlines to retire Virgin America brand

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Air & Sea

Alaska Airlines and Virgin America today shared their vision for the future of the combined carrier, as the company solidifies its status as the West Coast's premier airline.

After careful consideration, the combined company will adopt Alaska's name and logo, retiring the Virgin America name likely sometime in 2019. However, the combined airline will adopt many of the brand elements that Virgin America enthusiasts love about their favorite airline, including enhanced in-flight entertainment, mood lighting, music and the relentless desire to make flying a different experience for guests. The goal is to create a warm and welcoming West Coast-inspired vibe.

"Our goal from the very beginning of this merger was to become the go-to airline for people on the West Coast, with low fares, convenient flights, a premium product and genuine, caring service," said Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Air Group. "Three months in, we've dramatically grown our presence in California and are united behind a new purpose: Creating an airline people love."

Alaska has been actively growing the airlines' newly combined networks since closing the merger in December. Earlier this month, the airline announced 21 new markets with 25 new daily departures out of San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and San Jose, California – marking the largest addition of routes in the company's history.

"We spent the last 10 months conducting extensive research and listening carefully to what fliers on the West Coast want most," said Sangita Woerner, Alaska Airlines' vice president of marketing. "While the Virgin America name is beloved to many, we concluded that to be successful on the West Coast we had to do so under one name - for consistency and efficiency, and to allow us to continue to deliver low fares."

In addition to low fares, network growth and award-winning service, Alaska will spend the next few years making major enhancements to its already award-winning guest experience and incorporating favorite elements of the Virgin America experience.

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