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Icelandair to launch service to Philadelphia and Tampa

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Air & Sea

Icelandair today announces further expansion of its global network with new year-round service from Tampa International Airport (TPA), and seasonal flights from Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). Flights begin May 30, 2017 from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with four weekly non-stop flights to Iceland, and on September 7, 2017 from Tampa Bay, Florida with two weekly flights.

"Tampa Bay and Philadelphia will further strengthen Icelandair’s presence in the eastern United States by better serving our passengers with faster travel times to more than 25 destinations in Europe. Floridians and Philadelphians alike will now have a refreshing alternative when traveling to Iceland and beyond, while Icelanders and Europeans will have direct access to the sunny beaches and many attractions of the Tampa Bay area, and direct access to the historic city of Philadelphia, the fifth largest city in the United States. This is an exciting and significant moment for Icelandair and we look forward to welcoming both Philadelphia and Tampa Bay aboard in 2017," said Birkir Holm Gudnason, CEO of Icelandair.

Icelandair, in operation since 1937, has a long, illustrious history of bridging North America and mainland Europe through Iceland. The airline has helped boost tourism to its home country in record numbers and in bolstering Iceland as one of Europe’s hottest destinations. Today, Icelandair continues to grow by adding new aircraft to its modern fleet, more destinations and popular amenities including personal in-flight entertainment and gate-to-gate Wi-Fi access. With today’s announcement of Tampa Bay and Philadelphia, Icelandair will now offer service from 18 North American gateways.

“This new flight is just one more example of Tampa’s growing prominence as an international gateway,” said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “That’s important because international air service at TPA boosts economic activity, business opportunities and tourism for the entire region.”

“We are very pleased to welcome Icelandair to PHL and look forward to offering non-stop service to Reykjavik,” said Chellie Cameron, CEO, Philadelphia International Airport. “This capital city is a gateway to a beautiful country and to its Scandinavian neighbors. We are proud to increase our non-stop international destinations and open a new market to our travelers.”

From Tampa Bay, Icelandair flight FI884 will depart from Tampa International Airport (TPA) on Mondays and Thursdays at 6:55pm EST, arriving non-stop to Icelandair’s hub at Keflavik International Airport (KEF) the following morning at 6:10am GMT. Total flight time is just over seven hours, in time for connections to more than 25 destinations in Europe, including Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, London and Paris. Return service departs Keflavik on Icelandair FI885 at 5:10pm on Sundays and Wednesdays, with same-day arrival in Tampa Bay at 9:00pm.

From Philadelphia, Icelandair flight FI828 will depart from Philadelphia on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 8:35pm EST, arriving at Keflavik International Airport (KEF) the following morning at 6:10am GMT. Total flight time is approximately five hours and 30 minutes. Return service departs Keflavik on Icelandair flight FI829 at 5:00pm, with same-day arrival in Philadelphia at 7:15pm.

Crystal AirCruises unveils design for Boeing 777 luxury jet

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Air & Sea

Crystal’s CEO and president, Edie Rodriguez, has unveiled the latest designs for the first aircraft, a Boeing 777-200LR, as part of the company’s Crystal AirCruises experience.

In fall 2017, Crystal’s acclaimed luxury and exclusivity will elevate to new heights with Crystal AirCruises transporting just 84 guests to some of the world’s most exotic and remote locales in decidedly first class accommodations on 14-, 21- and 28-day itineraries. Crystal’s privately owned Boeing 777-200LR is currently being transformed to meet Crystal’s exceptional standards of customization, and will boast plush, fully reclining Crystal Exclusive Class seats, airy social spaces, large flat-screen TVs, Crystal’s famous butler and concierge services and Michelin Star-inspired cuisine.

“Crystal AirCruises is not just a thrilling new venture for Crystal, but a groundbreaking development in the luxury travel industry,” says Rodriguez. “Even the savviest travelers and guests who have sailed on our award-winning ocean cruises many times will relish brand new opportunities to explore places impossible to reach by water, all with Crystal’s signature personalized service and the highest standard of luxury at every point of travel.”

Crystal’s Boeing 777-200LR is larger and newer than any private jet travel option, appointed with features more commonly found in luxury suites. The custom Crystal Exclusive Class seats fully recline to lie-flat beds, measuring 73.5 inches long, for maximum personal space and ergonomic comfort, while the expansive social lounge with stand-up bar, two divans and four dining tables with dedicated seating for six guests fosters friendly camaraderie among luxury travelers. Cuisine will be prepared by a dedicated executive chef in two state-of-the-art galleys and paired with an elegant premium wine list.

Guests will also enjoy creature comforts and conveniences including Bose Noise Cancelling headphones, Apple iPads, complimentary global WiFi, 24-inch interactive TVs with on-demand programming and music library, individual USB ports and power outlets, and a live cockpit-to-ground listening channel. Custom blankets, lumbar and pillows, plush duvets and mattress toppers – as well as spacious lavatories appointed with ETRO amenities – offer more than the comforts of home during the global journeys.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx proposes U.S. airlines and cities for new scheduled service to Havana

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Air & Sea

As part of the Obama Administration’s effort to normalize relations with Cuba, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today proposed to select eight U.S. airlines to begin scheduled flights between Atlanta, Charlotte, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York City, Orlando, and Tampa and Havana as early as this fall. Today’s proposal comes nearly one year after the United States and Cuba reestablished diplomatic relations in July 2015.

“Today we take another important step toward delivering on President Obama’s promise to reengage Cuba,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Restoring regular air service holds tremendous potential to reunite Cuban American families and foster education and opportunities for American businesses of all sizes.”

A dozen U.S. airlines applied for the chance to operate scheduled passenger and cargo service to Havana. Collectively, the airlines applied for nearly 60 flights per day to Havana, exceeding the 20 daily flights made available by arrangement between the two governments. The Department’s principal objective in making its proposed selections was to maximize public benefits, including choosing airlines that offered and could maintain the best ongoing service between the U.S. and Havana.

The airlines receiving the tentative awards are Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and United Airlines.

DOT’s proposal allocates nonstop Havana service to areas of substantial Cuban-American population, as well as to important aviation hub cities.

The Department’s process of selecting carriers offers an opportunity to present the public with a wide array of travel choices in the type of airline (network, low-cost, ultra-low-cost); choices of airport; and choices of non-stop or connecting service. The DOT’s proposed selections would simultaneously address service needs while promoting competition.

On February 16, 2016, Secretary Foxx and Department of State Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin signed an arrangement with their Cuban counterparts opening the way for scheduled air service between the two countries to resume after more than 50 years. This new arrangement will facilitate visits for travelers that fall under one of 12 categories authorized by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. At the time of the signing, the administration announced that scheduled service would begin later in 2016.

Under the arrangement, each country may operate up to 20 daily roundtrip flights between the U.S. and Havana. The arrangement also provides each country with the opportunity to operate up to 10 daily roundtrip flights between the U.S. and each of Cuba’s nine international airports, other than Havana, for a total of 90 daily roundtrips. DOT announced the approval of six U.S. airlines’ applications to serve cities other than Havana on June 10.

Norwegian launches flights from the U.S. to Barcelona

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Air & Sea

Norwegian has announced it will launch flights from four cities in the United States – Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Newark and Oakland – to Barcelona, Spain, in June 2017. The nonstop flights to Spain follow the airline’s recent new service from the U.S. to Paris, France, launched in July this year. Norwegian will also add service from Oakland to Copenhagen, Denmark, offering five nonstop routes to Europe from the Bay Area by next spring.

New York (Newark Liberty International Airport) to Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) will launch on June 6, 2017, and operate twice a week until the end of August when it becomes a four weekly service. This will be Norwegian’s first service from Newark; the airline’s other flights from New York City operate from John F. Kennedy International Airport, where Norwegian has year-round service to Copenhagen; London; Oslo; and Stockholm; as well as seasonal service to Guadeloupe and Martinique in the French Caribbean.

Service from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Barcelona will launch on June 5, 2017, and operate twice weekly until the end of August, when it becomes a thrice weekly service. Flights from Oakland International Airport (OAK) to Barcelona will launch on June 7, 2017, and initially operate twice weekly until the end of August, from when it will operate three times a week. The new twice-weekly Oakland to Copenhagen service will launch on March 28, 2017.

Flights from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) to Barcelona will launch on August 22, 2017, and operate twice weekly.

“Continued U.S. expansion is key to Norwegian’s global strategy, and we’re excited to offer affordable fares to even more nonstop European destinations so that travelers can enjoy our award-winning onboard service. We now offer a greater amount of nonstop routes from the U.S. to Europe than any other European airline, and we look forward to continue adding additional routes and frequencies so that American travelers have even more choices,” said Thomas Ramdahl, Norwegian’s Chief Commercial Officer.

Launch fares in Economy to Barcelona from both Fort Lauderdale and New York/Newark start as low as $189 one-way, including taxes; fares from both Los Angeles and Oakland start from $199 one-way, including taxes. Launch fares to Copenhagen from Oakland start at $179 one-way, including taxes. All fares are now available for sale on Norwegian’s website, Norwegian.com/us. Additionally, the website’s low fare calendar displays the lowest available fares to all of Norwegian’s destinations.

The lowest fares in Norwegian’s Premium Cabin to Barcelona from New York/Newark start at $649 one-way including taxes; Premium fares from both Los Angeles and Oakland start at $849 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.

“We welcome this initiative of Norwegian which is undoubtedly an important development in connectivity with Spain and a qualitative leap in regards to the U.S. West Coast, where San Francisco will be connected for the first time with an airport in Spain. These new routes from Barcelona will allow the continuing growth of more than two digits experienced by the outbound US tourism traveling to Spain in the last two years. Spain is recognized and loved by many Americans for its history, culture, gastronomy and people, so we are convinced that the flow of Americans traveling to our country will continue to increase. Norwegian has made a wise decision that will surely benefit Spain’s tourism. Our most sincere congratulations,” said Elisa Sainz, Consul for Tourism Affairs, Tourist Office of Spain.

Barcelona is the seventh European city with nonstop service to the U.S. in Norwegian’s ever-growing route network. The carrier offers a total 44 routes from the U.S., 37 of which are to Europe and seven are to the French Caribbean. Upcoming routes from the U.S. include Las Vegas to London launching on October 31; Las Vegas to Oslo launching on November 1; and Fort Lauderdale to Guadeloupe launching on December 17.

Norwegian operates one of the world’s youngest fleets comprised of brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliners. All long-haul flights include both a Premium and an Economy cabin.

Singapore Airlines to re-launch nonstop service to U.S.

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Air & Sea

Singapore Airlines (SIA) is to launch non-stop flights between Singapore and San Francisco and will add a second daily service to Los Angeles in an expansion of its US operations.

The non-stop Singapore-San Francisco flights will be operated on a daily basis with effect from 23 October 2016 using Airbus A350-900 aircraft.

SIA currently serves San Francisco twice-daily, with one flight operating via Hong Kong and the other via Seoul Incheon. With the launch of non-stop Singapore-San Francisco services, the Singapore-Seoul-San Francisco flight will be re-routed to operate as a Singapore-Seoul-Los Angeles service, also from 23 October 2016. This will result in a second daily service to Los Angeles, complementing existing flights that operate on a Singapore-Tokyo Narita-Los Angeles routing.

Flying time for the new Singapore-San Francisco services will be between 14:35hrs and 17:45hrs depending on direction and time of year, over a journey of around 13,600km. They will be the longest flights in SIA’s network until 2018, when a new variant of the A350-900 will enter service, enabling even longer flights between Singapore and both Los Angeles and New York. SIA is the launch customer for the new variant, the A350-900ULR, with seven of the type on order.

“Our customers have been asking us to offer more U.S. services and we are pleased to be able to do so. With new non-stop San Francisco flights and the increase in frequency to Los Angeles, customers will have two flights to choose from each day to both of these popular US West Coast destinations,” said Senior Vice President Marketing Planning, Lee Wen Fen.

SIA has at the same time taken the decision to suspend services to Sao Paulo in Brazil as a result of the sustained weak performance of the route. SIA operates three weekly flights to Sao Paulo via Barcelona and the last flight will be operated on 20 October 2016. Services between Singapore and Barcelona will continue to be operated.

The A350-900 is able to operate non-stop San Francisco flights on a year-round basis, although depending on headwinds there will be some payload restrictions which will result in some seats not being offered for sale. The aircraft is configured with 253 seats in Business Class, Premium Economy Class and Economy Class.

Flights will be conveniently timed to depart Singapore in the morning, also arriving in San Francisco in the morning to enable onward connections to other destinations. Return flights from San Francisco will also depart in the morning, arriving in Singapore in the early evening.

In addition to San Francisco and Los Angeles, SIA’s US network includes flights to Houston via Moscow and New York JFK via Frankfurt.

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