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Swiss International Air Lines to increase Miami-Zurich flights for winter 2014

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Air & Sea

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) will increase frequencies on its popular daily Miami-Zurich route to 14 flights per week during the Winter 2014-15 season. Strong demand on the transatlantic route, which operated 10 weekly flights during the Winter 2013-14 season, prompted Switzerland’s flagship airline to add the four additional weekly flights.

The added frequencies will take effect on October 27 and operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays through March 27, 2015. SWISS operates daily flights between Miami and Zurich year-round and increases flight frequencies during the busy winter travel months. The carrier normally operates the route using Airbus A330-300 aircraft and will add Airbus A340-300 aircraft to help accommodate the additional flights.

“Miami-Dade County continues to be an attractive international destination, and we welcome the news that longtime airline partner SWISS will be increasing their already-substantial flight offerings from MIA next winter,” said Miami-Dade Aviation Department Director Emilio T. González. “As a consistently strong performer that connects two premier cities, the Miami-Zurich route is a natural candidate for this sort of expansion.”

New cabins for SAS long haul aircraft

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Air & Sea

SAS is updating the interior of its long haul fleet with new seats, new entertainment system and WiFi access.

Seven SAS Airbus A330/A340s are having cabin upgrades. The interior design is ultra modern with greater cabin comfort in the shape of new seats in all classes. To make flights even more comfortable, a new on-demand entertainment system with HD large screens is being installed along with WiFi access.

The materials and color scheme in the new cabins have been chosen to create a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere. The seating in SAS Go and SAS Plus is designed with good storage to create extra space. All seats in SAS Business have direct access to aisles and can be folded flat for maximum comfort. The bedding comes from Hästens, the oldest bed manufacturer in Sweden, to ensure that passengers enjoy a high class sleeping experience.

"SAS customers will enjoy a totally new travel experience in our upgraded cabins. The new interior is designed to meet the needs of frequent flyers and substantially enhances our customer offer," says Rickard Gustafson, President and CEO of SAS.

The first plane with the new cabin is expected to go into service in early 2015 and the majority of the SAS long haul fleet will have the new interior within 12 months. SAS currently flies long haul to New York, Chicago, Washington, San Francisco, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo and Houston (from August 2014).

New United concourse at Boston Logan offers customers modern, streamlined airport experience

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Air & Sea

United Airlines and Massport yesterday unveiled a new 10-gate concourse in Boston Logan International Airport's Terminal B that lets customers travel more quickly and efficiently while enjoying state-of-the-art amenities.

Scheduled to open April 30, the Terminal B concourse brings United's Boston operations together under one roof, offering greater convenience and consistency to the airline's customers.

The new space features several of the latest self-service technologies that will streamline the airport experience for seasoned travelers and enable United employees to spend more time with customers who need extra assistance. These modern features include self-tagging baggage kiosks, automated self-boarding gates and a new customer service center that allows passengers to resolve routine travel issues more easily.

United and Massport invested more than $170 million to build the 97,000-square-foot Terminal B concourse, which includes a new ticketing lobby, improved security screening checkpoints and a spacious United Club lounge for the airline's premium customers. Travelers will also enjoy the concourse's contemporary design and conveniences, highlighted by accessible in-seat power and a variety of comfortable seating choices.

"From our intuitive self-tagging kiosks to our efficient self-boarding gates, the new Terminal B concourse offers more of the products and services our customers value," said Jeff Foland, executive vice president of marketing, technology and strategy at United. "We're grateful to Massport for their partnership in constructing this impressive facility, and for helping deliver a more flyer-friendly experience to our customers."

"The opening of United Airlines' new concourse at Terminal B is an investment in the future of Logan Airport," said Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. "With increased customer service and convenience, United's presence in Terminal B will continue to make Boston a top destination for domestic and international travel. I thank United Airlines and Massport for their leadership and partnership."

"This magnificent building is an investment in customer service and convenience," said Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn. "It brings United into one terminal, instead of two, it connects both sides of Terminal B, it has interactive technology to improve the airport experience, and it has new, locally based concessions such as Berkshire Farms."

United Club Lounge

The new United Club at Logan Airport - the fourth lounge to feature the airline's new design concept - provides a getaway where customers can relax or maximize productivity. Located atop the Terminal B concourse, the 8,000-square-foot lounge features spectacular views of the airfield and Boston Harbor. The club has an aviation theme with contemporary furnishings, complimentary Wi-Fi, abundant power outlets and a wide range of beverage and snack choices.

United in Boston

United has served the Boston community for decades, providing customers up to 50 daily departures to each of the airline's domestic hubs and access to United's leading global route network. The airline will operate its first flights out of the new Terminal B concourse on April 30.

Beginning May 19, United will launch service with the newest addition to the United Express fleet, the Embraer 175 aircraft, on the Boston-Chicago route. The Embraer 175 offers more personal space for customers, with wider seats and aisles than other regional aircraft.

Asiana takes delivery of its first A380

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Air & Sea

South Korea’s Asiana Airlines has taken delivery of its first Airbus A380, becoming the eleventh operator of the type in the world. The A380 was handed over to Park Sam Koo, Chairman of Kumho Asiana Group, by Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO, during a special ceremony on Sunday, May 26 in Toulouse, France.

Asiana Airlines has ordered six A380s, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines. The airline has specified a premium three class layout for its fleet, seating a total of 495 passengers, with 12 private suites in First Suite, 66 fully flat seats in Business Smartium and 417 seats in Travel Class. All seats are equipped with the latest on-demand in-flight entertainment systems.

“We are delighted to receive our first A380 today, which is key to our future vision and fleet modernisation strategy”, said Park Sam Koo, Chairman of Kumho Asiana Group. “I am confident that Asiana can further enhance its level of customer service and that the A380 will play a significant role in helping us to remain at the forefront of the airline business.”

“We are extremely proud to see the A380 flying in the colours of Asiana Airlines”, said Airbus President and CEO, Fabrice Brégier. “The A380 offers the most efficient solution to meet increasing demand on the world’s most heavily travelled routes and in the largest growth markets. With the aircraft in its fleet Asiana will be able to develop further its position as one of the world’s leading international carriers.”

Asiana Airlines will initially deploy its new flagship aircraft from Seoul on regional services in Asia to Tokyo, Hong Kong and Bangkok, followed by long-haul routes to Los Angeles.

As part of its widebody fleet modernisation strategy, Asiana Airlines also has 30 of the all-new the A350 XWB on order. The A350 XWB will offer a step change in efficiency, with operating costs 25 per cent lower than the competition. The A380 and A350 will complement an existing Airbus fleet at Asiana that currently includes the A330 and A320 Family.

Airbus currently has 324 firm orders for the A380, from 20 customers.

Helsinki Airport provides non-stop scheduled flights to 20 long-haul destinations

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Air & Sea

Helsinki Airport's solid position as a significant air traffic hub in Europe will further strengthen as Finnair will commence direct route flights to Phuket and Krabi in November and December.

This means that the number of regularly operated intercontinental destinations will be as high as 20. Of these, 15 are in Asia, 4 are in North America, and 1 is in the Middle East. The total number of direct scheduled and charter connections to global destinations is 130.

"The number of frequent, regular scheduled connections is an important indicator when assessing the international significance of an airport," says Joni Sundelin, business director at Finavia.

According to Sundelin, once-a-week charter flights are a vital part of traffic. However, route flights, operated several times per week and on a daily basis, without making a stop, build the foundation for the long-term development of the airport as well as to the well-functioning and reliable connections of Finns to destinations all around the world.

At the moment, approximately 60 airlines operate at Helsinki Airport. The seven largest operators are the scheduled airlines Finnair, Flybe, Norwegian, SAS, Lufthansa and KLM, and the holiday flight airline TUI Group. Every day, about 500 aeroplanes depart from or arrive at the airport.

"Last year, we passed the milestone of 15 million passengers. This means that Helsinki Airport is currently wrestling in the league of medium-sized international airports when measured both in the number of destinations and passengers," says Ville Haapasaari, airport director at Finavia.

Haapasaari's estimate is that the number of passengers in about five or six years could be almost 20 million. The majority of the growth comes from transfer travel. Last year, more than 25% were transfer passengers.

"Helsinki Airport is Finland's hub for international traffic." 84% of the airport's passengers fly abroad. This is also indicated in the passenger profile, as 45% of passengers are foreigners. This change has taken place in ten years", says Haapasaari.

The competition between airports over passengers, and especially over the Asian traffic, is becoming increasingly intense. Finavia has launched an extensive development scheme of about one billion euros with the goal of retaining Finland's good flight connections and improve the competitiveness of Helsinki Airport.

The first phase of the development scheme, i.e. increasing the check-in and security control capacity of Helsinki Airport, will be completed before the summer holiday season. Improvement work at network airports, worth about €35 million, will also be in progress in the spring and summer.

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