Air Canada restarts Dublin–Toronto flights

From the Irish Times – link to source story

Airline flying three times a-week between destinations, with return flights to each on alternate days

Barry O’Halloran | 4 August 2021

The airline will use a Boeing 787-9 on the route with 298 seats, including 247 in economy. File photograph

 Air Canada has restarted Dublin-Toronto flights in a boost to the Republic’s transatlantic network.

The airline said on Wednesday that it has begun flying three times a-week between the capital’s airport and Toronto, with return flights to each on alternate days.

Air Canada will fly Dublin-Toronto on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and Toronto-Dublin on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Stephen Gerrard, Air Canada general manager sales, UK and Ireland, said the service would provide Irish customers with direct access to Toronto plus connections to 40 destinations in Canada, the US and Mexico.

The airline will use a Boeing 787-9 on the route with 298 seats, including 247 in economy.

Canada will this month begin easing restrictions for non-nationals who have been fully-jabbed with vaccines recognised by its health authorities, which include those used in the Republic.

Some curbs will remain in place until early September, when the Canadian government has pledged a further easing of restrictions, depending on progress in restraining Covid-19.

WestJet gives guests more options via Amsterdam

Airline strengthens codeshare with KLM, adds AMS connections to 18 European cities   

CALGARY, AB, July 26, 2021 /CNW/ – WestJet today announced the evolution of its long-standing codeshare relationship with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines through the placement of its “WS” codeshare on KLM-operated flights. Through the expanded codeshare agreement, guests will now have convenient access via Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (AMS) to 18 cities across Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Guests will now have convenient access via AMS to 18 cities across Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)
Guests will now have convenient access via AMS to 18 cities across Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. (CNW Group/WESTJET, an Alberta Partnership)

The enhanced partnership builds on the airline’s new non-stop 787 Dreamliner service between Amsterdam and Calgary and provides greater access between Canada and European points for travellers on both sides of the Atlantic.

“Through this expanded codeshare relationship with KLM our guests will benefit from new opportunities to travel between Europe and Canada,” said John Weatherill, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “Our Dreamliner service to Amsterdam combined with convenient connections on a world-class partner like KLM is an exciting step as we work to support the safe restart of international travel.” 

WestJet’s inaugural service between Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) and Calgary International Airport (YYC) is set to depart on August 5, 2021. The airline’s new service will operate two-times weekly beginning August 5, 2021 and will increase to three-times weekly as of September 9.  All AMS flights will be on WestJet’s 787 Dreamliner, featuring WestJet’s Business Cabin including lie-flat pods, dining on demand and WestJet’s award-winning caring service.

“This is an exciting development for inbound travel and tourism to Alberta from key European markets via Amsterdam,” said David Goldstein, CEO, Travel Alberta. “Rebuilding these targeted international air links is critical to the province’s economic recovery. We look forward to working with WestJet to re-establish Alberta’s competitiveness as a business and leisure destination emerging from the pandemic.”

Details of WestJet’s service between Calgary and Amsterdam:

RouteFrequencyStart Date
Calgary –
Amsterdam
2x weeklyAug. 5 – Sept. 5, 2021
3x weeklySept. 9 – October 31,
2021
Amsterdam –
Calgary
2x weeklyAug. 6 – Sept. 6, 2021
3x weeklySept. 10 – November 1,
2021

Details of WestJet’s codeshare with KLM via AMS:

Airport
Code
CityCountry
VIEViennaAustria
BRUBrusselsBelgium
TLSToulouse*France*
LYSLyon*
MPLMontpellier/Mauguio*
FRAFrankfurtGermany
MUCMunich
BERBerlin
HAJHanover
MXPMilanItaly
VCEVenice
LISLisbonPortugal
MADMadridSpain
GLAGlasgowUK
EDIEdinburgh
MANManchester
LCYLondon
LHRLondon

*Pending regulatory approval

About WestJet 

In 25 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 23 countries, pre-pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic the WestJet Group of Companies has built a layered framework of safety measures to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline’s Safety Above All hygiene program. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium.

For more information about everything WestJet, please visit westjet.com

Rise Higher: Air Canada Launches New Brand Spot and Proudly Flies The Flag Transporting Team Canada to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games

MONTREAL, July 21, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada today unveiled its comprehensive program in support of Team Canada’s journey to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which includes today’s launch of “Rise Higher”, a new brand spot. The airline began flying Team Canada athletes, coaches and support staff from Toronto and Vancouver to Japan on July 1 onboard a 787 Dreamliner in a special livery. Air Canada is further celebrating the country’s athletes through innovative activations, exclusive access and engagement opportunities for fans.

“As a proud supporter of Team Canada going to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we are transporting more than 740 Olympians and Paralympians, coaches and support staff. The Canadian Olympic and Paralympic teams represent the very best of Canada when they fly our country’s flag at the world’s foremost sports competition, and in support and celebration of our country’s athletes, we created a special ‘Fly the Flag’ livery to honour them,” said Andrew Shibata, Vice President – Brand at Air Canada.

“Our country’s athletes inspire so many of us with their drive, focus and determination to be the best at what they do. Their resilience to keep working towards their goals despite the challenges that came up with the pandemic is motivating. We are proud to pay tribute to them with the launch of a new brand spot titled ‘Rise Higher’ that will be featured during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. We are also excited to engage Canadian fans to cheer on and connect with Team Canada in unique and innovative ways with never-before-seen initiatives that have been developed to enable fans to experience the 2020 Games as if they were there,” concluded Mr. Shibata.

“We are so proud to have Air Canada fly our team to and from Tokyo 2020 this summer. After a difficult year, we know our athletes will be ready to compete thanks to the world-class comfort and professionalism that Air Canada brings to every flight,” said Jacquie Ryan, Chief Brand & Commercial Officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee.

“Thank you to Air Canada for all of its support leading into Tokyo 2020,” said Catherine Gosselin-Després, Executive Director, Sport of the Canadian Paralympic Committee. “Boarding the flight to the host city is a significant part of the overall experience and the unofficial start of the Games for most, and we are confident our athletes, coaches, and support staff will feel comfortable en route to Tokyo thanks to Air Canada.”

In addition to its unwavering support in transporting Team Canada safely to and from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Air Canada is proud to:

  • Premier its new “Rise Higher” brand spot during the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony broadcast, which is being released concurrently online via Air Canada’s social media channels;
  • In collaboration with CBC/Radio-Canada, encourage Canadians to share how they #FlytheFlag/#HautLeDrapeau as they cheer on Team Canada in Tokyo. Canadians could win two round-trip tickets to anywhere Air Canada flies in North America or a spot to participate in one of six exclusive virtual experiences where they will have a unique opportunity to talk to athletes live from Tokyo;
  • Give Canadian fans the chance to interact with some athletes and be among the first to welcome them back home while they are onboard their Air Canada flight through one of five Twitter Q&A sessions hosted by Team Canada. Details on how to participate will be posted via Team Canada’s social channels;
  • Support athletes travelling from major airports across Canada with Air Canada’s own employee-driven initiative that involves the collaboration and dedicated efforts of Air Canada employees to ensure a seamless customer experience;
  • Give athletes distinctive, individual care kits, including Canadian-made travel essentials to make their flight more comfortable, a complimentary Wi-Fi streaming pass courtesy of our partner Intelsat, and Aeroplan points;
  • Provide all athletes with complimentary 35K status which includes free checked bags, through the Aeroplan Elite Podium Program;
  • Celebrate Team Canada’s journey with a special seat sale from Canada to all destinations Air Canada flies to. Seats are available for booking now, with further details at aircanada.com.

Air Canada has been a sponsor of the Canadian Olympic Team since 1988 and a sponsor of the Canadian Paralympic Team since 2007.

Travelling internationally? Find the latest government entry requirements via IATA’s Timatic website. Customers are responsible for ensuring they meet all government entry requirements, including holding the correct travel documents, visas, any required health certificates, and all other eligibility requirements for any flights they purchase. Government requirements may change with little notice.

About Air Canada

Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline, and in 2019 was among the top 20 largest airlines in the world. It is Canada’s flag carrier and a founding member of Star Alliance, the world’s most comprehensive air transportation network. Air Canada is the only international network carrier in North America to receive a Four-Star ranking according to independent U.K. research firm Skytrax. In 2020, Air Canada was named Global Traveler’s Best Airline in North America for the second straight year. In January 2021, Air Canada received APEX’s Diamond Status Certification for the Air Canada CleanCare+ biosafety program for managing COVID-19, the only airline in Canada to attain the highest APEX ranking. Air Canada has also committed to a net zero emissions goal from all global operations by 2050. 

Air Canada Cargo marks milestone with 10,000th cargo-only flight since onset of the pandemic

5 July 2021

When worldwide travel was dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020, it had severe consequences on the movement of goods around the world by air as passenger flights, which carried up to 59% of air cargo globally, disappeared almost overnight.

The Air Canada and Air Canada Cargo teams understood that transporting critical medical and other vital supplies was imperative to combating the COVID-19 crisis, in Canada and globally. As passenger flights were suspended, Air Canada Cargo immediately began operating cargo-only flights in the belly of unscheduled passenger aircraft to meet the urgent demand for cargo transport. Simultaneously, work was being done to reconfigure the passenger cabins of some aircraft and implement a cargo-only flight schedule to keep the economy and the supply chain moving.

July 5, 2021, marks the 10,000th cargo-only flight for Air Canada Cargo, AC7251 from Toronto to Buenos Aires. Those 10,000 flights, including regularly scheduled operations and special on-demand flight, have carried everything from PPE for our healthcare heroes, critical vaccines, food, mail and even pets back home to their loved ones in Australia.

“It is remarkable that Air Canada is marking its 10,000th cargo-only flights since March 2020, a major accomplishment under the difficult circumstances. The pandemic changed our business at unprecedented speed, and the collaboration and creativity across branches and teams has been a defining moment for the Cargo group, and all of Air Canada,” said Jason Berry, Vice President, Cargo at Air Canada. “The cargo-only flights, which include both scheduled and on-demand flights, have helped provide stability in the global supply chain at a time when distributing essential and vital supplies was critical.”

Air Canada Cargo has been able to achieve this milestone thanks to the hard work of hundreds of dedicated employees across all branches of the company, its supply chain partners and the support of its customers, who came together to find solutions.

“10,000 cargo-only flights is just the beginning and our future is bright. Montreal cargo really worked hard this past year and we are all very proud of that,” said Mamun Ansari, Cargo Service Manager in Montreal.

“Our 10,000th cargo-only flight means we have been resilient during these challenging times. We have been able to adapt, be part of the necessary supply chain moving things such as vaccines,” said Tanith Pinto, Cargo Service Manager in Toronto.

“It is a moment to be proud of and specifically at Air Canada Cargo to see how we have evolved during the course of the pandemic,” said Thomas Getzie, Cargo Service Manager in Vancouver.

“It is just great for the Frankfurt team to know that we have been an important part of the success story. I believe the entire cargo team can really be very proud,” said Leandro De Souza, Area Sales Manager – Cargo – Germany.

“Launching these cargo-only flights during a global pandemic remains, for all of us who were involved, a career highlight. I know I speak for all my colleagues on the Asia-Pacific team when I are proud to represent Air Canada,” said Brayden Zhou, Cargo Manager.

Air Canada set up its network of cargo-only flights using Boeing 787 Dreamliners, Boeing 777 and Airbus A330-300 aircraft on international routes.

Air Canada was also the first airline in the world to go to market with reconfigured widebody passenger aircraft, having removed the seats in the cabin to allow for light freight. Air Canada has converted a total of 11 aircraft, a mix of Boeing 777s and A330-300s.

The evolution at Air Canada Cargo will continue this fall with the arrival of the first of several dedicated freighter aircraft, giving its global customers reliable and predictable capacity.

“As passenger flights pick up, we look forward to continuing to serve our cargo customers and facilitating the movement of goods by air through belly capacity and continued cargo-only flying as we prepare for the arrival of our first Boeing 767-300ER freighters in the fall,” Jason Berry concluded.

In Photos: Air Canada Gets Olympic Ready With A Special Livery

From Simple Flying – link to source story

by Tom Boon | June 30, 2021

Air Canada is launching a new special livery just in time for the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The new livery is plastered on one of the airline’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. The aircraft is set to enter general circulation with Air Canada before being placed on the airline’s Tokyo Narita route during the Olympic Games.

Air Canada, Olympic Livery, Boeing 787
Air Canada is getting into the Olympic spirit. Photo: Air Canada

Once every four years, or occasionally five years when there’s a pandemic, the Olympic Games are hosted. Typically this means a mammoth logistical challenge, getting teams, fans, and even flames worldwide. Air is usually the most practical option, with airlines willing to lend a hand.

Air Canada’s Olympic livery

Many airlines get involved in the festivities with special aircraft liveries. There are a few special liveries to share, but first, we’ll take a look at why we’re here. Air Canada has applied an Olympic-themed livery to C-FVLQ, a three-and-a-half-year-old Boeing 787-9.

Air Canada, Olympic Livery, Boeing 787
The livery is in English and French. Photo: Air Canada

The livery is relatively simple but gets the job done. On the aircraft’s port side, “Fly The Flag” is written in big black and gold lettering. Meanwhile, on the other side of the aircraft, the same lettering reads “Haut Le Drapeau”, the French expression with the same meaning. On both sides, it also says “Go Canada Go!” in all gold lettering.

Air Canada, Olympic Livery, Boeing 787
Air Canada says Go Canada Go! Photo: Air Canada

According to the fleet number listed on the side of the aircraft, the livery has been applied to C-FVLQ. This is a 3.54-year-old Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, according to ch-aviation.com. It completed its first flight on December 18th, 2017, before being delivered to Air Canada on January 12th.

Air Canada, Olympic Livery, Boeing 787
The aircraft will fly to Tokyo’s Narita Airport during the Olympic Games. Photo: Air Canada

As of February 28th, the aircraft had completed 14,884 flight hours across 1,812 flight cycles. It arrived in Toronto to get its paint job on Sunday before operating its first flight in the new livery to Vancouver today.

Other Olympic Liveries

The Olympic livery from Air Canada is by no means the only one that has ever been launched. There are typically two reasons that airlines may choose to apply an Olympic livery, and both can be explained using British Airways. When London was the host city of the 2012 games, the airline decked out an Airbus A319, G-EUPC in a special livery to carry the Olympic Flame to the UK. 

Air Canada, Olympic Livery, Boeing 787
The Firefly livery carried the Olympic Flame to the UK in 2012. Photo: British Airways

As was seen with Air Canada’s livery, airlines also create special liveries to carry their teams to and from the games. For example, after the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro, British Airways put a gold nose on the Boeing 747 bringing the team home, representing the 27 gold medals won by the team, putting it in second place overall behind the United States with 46 golds.

Air Canada, Olympic Livery, Boeing 787
A golden nose brought the UK team back from the 2016 Olympic Games. Photo: British Airways

Air Canada’s Fleet In 2021

From Simple Flying – link to source story

As Canada’s largest airline, Air Canada has a diverse fleet based across its four hub airports. The network airline has a mix of both widebody and narrowbody aircraft coming from both Airbus and Boeing. The carrier has gone through some changes in the past few years, with more significant upheaval taking place during the global health crisis. Let’s take a look at Air Canada’s fleet as it stands in 2021.

The Boeing 787 is Air Canada’s flagship aircraft. Photo: Air Canada

Air Canada’s fleet composition

According to data from Planespotters.net, Air Canada has the following aircraft in its fleet. The quantities are noted in parentheses.

Aircraft from Airbus*:
  • A220-300 (22)
  • A320 (18)
  • A321 (15)
  • A330-300 (16)

*We should note that the airline ordered the A220 when it was still known as the Bombardier CSeries.

Aircraft from Boeing:
  • 737 MAX 8 (24)
  • 777-200LR (6)
  • 777-300ER (19)
  • 787-8 (8)
  • 787-9 (29)
The average age of Air Canada’s A330-300s is 16 years. Photo: Air Canada

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Outside of regular passenger service

There are aircraft within the Air Canada fleet that are outside of the airline’s passenger operations.

Notably, we have the airline’s private/charter subbrand, Air Canada Jetz. This sub-group consists of four Airbus A319s. This fleet traditionally consisted of three A319s, but it appears a fourth was added in December 2020.

Used to transport touring musicians, sports teams, or private groups, these aircraft have an all-business configuration of 58 seats. With the exception of a short pandemic run, these aircraft tend to stay out of Air Canada’s regular passenger operations.

The Jetz jets flew an all-business-class service during the Winter of 2020 but are typically reserved for special charter operations. Photo: Ken Fielding via Wikimedia Commons 

As we will mention further in this article, Air Canada retired its 767s at the start of the health crisis. However, some of these are slated for a full conversion to freighters. The airline says that two freighters are expected to be in service in time for this year’s fourth-quarter peak airfreight season.

With seven 767s on the list for conversion, it looks like the remaining five will be converted next year, in 2022. This was confirmed by the carrier’s current Chief Financial Officer and future Chief Executive during the earnings call in which Simple Flying attended:

“We’d love to have all seven up and operating by the end of next year. These are typically little bit of a longer process and slots are not really available, but we are certainly working on having all seven up and running by Q4 of next year.” – Michael Rousseau, Chief Executive Officer, Air Canada

Coming and going

On the outgoing side of things, it was in May 2020 that Air Canada announced the early retirement of 79 aircraft. 

Retirements included five 767-300ERs, 16 A319s, and 14 E190s in the mainline fleet. Another 25 767-300ERs and 22 A319s that made up Air Canada Rouge were also retired.

Air Canada took delivery of its first A220 back in January 2020. Photo: Air Canada

Looking at future aircraft, Air Canada has a decent number of Boeing 737 MAX 8s and Airbus A220-300s yet to be delivered. There was a little bit of a back-and-forth when the carrier announced it would be canceling some of its orders last November. The plan would have seen the airline cancel orders for 12 A220s and 10 737 MAX 8s.

However, one condition of the carrier’s government rescue package was that it would proceed with its planned orders for both aircraft types. As it stands, 16 737 MAX 8s and 23 A220-300s are still on the way.

As you can see from the list of aircraft, Air Canada has a fairly diverse fleet- which is quite typical of a large network carrier that operates both short-haul and intercontinental service.

Air Canada Supports India Relief Efforts by Transporting Critical COVID-19 Medical Supplies

Cargo-only flight to ship ventilators, oxygen cylinders, oxygen generators and PPE to Delhi

MONTREAL, May 18, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Air Canada today announced it is supporting India relief efforts in collaboration with the Toronto Business Development Centre (TBDC) and the Government of Ontario by operating a cargo-only flight to Delhi, providing urgent medical supplies to the Indian population which has been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are all deeply saddened by the devastating situation in India, and no one can remain indifferent to what is happening now in that part of the world,” said Jason Berry, Vice-President, Cargo at Air Canada. “When flights to India were suspended on April 22, the movement of essential goods between the two countries was also halted. Today, with this exceptional cargo-only flight, we are grateful to be able to help and contribute to these relief efforts by shipping critical medical supplies. We worked closely with the Toronto Business Development Centre and the Government of Ontario to ensure timely support, in solidarity with the affected communities.”

Air Canada

“We share a strong and deep relationship with India, and we stand with its people and frontline workers during these difficult times. India is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer and has so far shipped over 66 million doses around the globe. We invite the global community to help them fight the pandemic because unless everyone is safe, no one is safe.” Vikram Khurana, Chairman Toronto Business Development Centre.

An Air Canada Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will operate a cargo-only flight today with 40 tons of essential supplies from Toronto Pearson Airport to Delhi. The freight includes critical medical equipment such as oxygen cylinders, oxygen generators and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Air Canada will also be carrying 100 ventilators donated recently by the Saskatchewan Government.

The medical equipment donated by government agencies and partners is new and these supplies will be consigned to the Red Cross upon arrival in India.

About Air Canada

Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline and, in 2020, was among the top 20 largest airlines in the world. It is Canada’s flag carrier and a founding member of Star Alliance, the world’s most comprehensive air transportation network. Air Canada is the only international network carrier in North America to receive a Four-Star ranking according to independent U.K. research firm Skytrax. In 2020, Air Canada was named Global Traveler’s Best Airline in North America for the second straight year. In January 2021, Air Canada received APEX’s Diamond Status Certification for the Air Canada CleanCare+ biosafety program for managing COVID-19, the only airline in Canada to attain the highest APEX ranking. Air Canada has also committed to a net zero emissions goal from all global operations by 2050.

Air Canada Marks the 70th Anniversary of its Montreal–Paris Route

  • Air Canada is the North American airline that has offered service to France the longest

MONTREAL, April 1, 2021 – Today, Air Canada, the longest-serving North American airline in France, is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its Montreal–Paris route.

On April 1, 1951, a four-engine, 40-passenger Canadair North Star, registered as CF-TFO and operated by Trans-Canada Air Lines (now Air Canada), touched down for the very first time at Orly airport, in the suburbs of Paris.

Initially entailing a layover in London, UK, the flight between Montreal and Paris quickly became a non-stop, weekly service after its initial success.

Air Canada’s Montreal-Paris route serves Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport on a year-round basis. The regular schedule consists of two daily flights in summer season and one daily flight in winter season.

Air Canada’s flights are operated with Boeing 777-300ER aircraft (450 seats), Airbus A330-300 aircraft (297 seats) or Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners (298 seats). Customers have a choice of three service classes: Air Canada Signature Class, Premium Economy and Economy.

“This is an important milestone for our airline, our customers and, more specifically, Air Canada’s French colleagues,” said Mark Galardo, Senior Vice President, Network Planning and Revenue Management at Air Canada. “This 70th anniversary is a testament to the special, enduring relationship between the two cities, which have a long history of partnership and collaboration. This transatlantic flight from Canada sees the most demand and is a key part of our DNA. In addition, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis, Air Canada has never suspended its Montreal–Paris route during the pandemic, and our sole ambition is to re-establish Air Canada’s presence in other French cities in order to continue to strengthen the ties that unite us.”

For the last 70 years, Air Canada has continued to bolster its presence in France and the French Caribbean, and to increase its commitment to French territories. 

Before the onset of the pandemic, Air Canada served seven French cities: Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, and Nice, as well as Fort-de-France and Pointe-à-Pitre in the Caribbean. The airline operated up to 45 weekly flights from its hub airports in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, which offered connections to more than 50 destinations in the Americas.

About Air Canada

Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic and international airline, and in 2020 was among the top 20 largest airlines in the world. It is Canada’s flag carrier and a founding member of Star Alliance, the world’s most comprehensive air transportation network. Air Canada is the only international network carrier in North America to receive a Four-Star ranking according to independent U.K. research firm Skytrax. In 2020, Air Canada was named Global Traveler’s Best Airline in North America for the second straight year. In January 2021, Air Canada received APEX’s Diamond Status Certification for the Air Canada CleanCare+ biosafety program for managing COVID-19, the only airline in Canada to attain the highest APEX ranking. Air Canada has also committed to a net zero emissions goal from all global operations by 2050.

WestJet, JetBlue, Bamboo Airways Secure London Heathrow Slots

From AirlineGeeks – link to source story

March 27, 2021 | By Winston Shek

On Friday, the Airports Council of the United Kingdom released its latest slot allocation report on its airports, including London Heathrow. The report listed multiple airlines that secured slots including JetBlue, Bamboo Airways and WestJet, amid a slowdown in air traffic at the busiest airport in the United Kingdom.

WestJet

WestJet obtained slots to London Heathrow for daily flights to Calgary and Vancouver. The Canadian carrier was allocated 732 slots, allowing it to start services as soon as May 1. Currently, the low-cost Canadian airline has slots at neighboring Gatwick that allow four daily services a day to Calgary, Halifax, Toronto and Vancouver. It is unknown whether WestJet will utilize Heathrow instead of Gatwick.

The flights will operate from Terminal 2. From Heathrow’s Terminal Finder tool, it displays a slot for a 9 a.m. arrival and 11 a.m. departure for Vancouver service and 11:20 a.m. arrival and 1:20 p.m. departure for Calgary service.

Tentatively, WestJet has filed a return to London at the end of May as the airline plans its return to transatlantic service when Canadian borders reopen. Last year, WestJet resumed 3x weekly service from Calgary to London Gatwick before canceling it due to the closure of Canadian borders.

These flights will operate using WestJet’s Boeing 787-9 featuring 320 seats, including 16 business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, 28 premium class seats in a 2-3-2 configuration and 276 economy class seats in a 3-3-3 configuration.

JetBlue

Additionally, JetBlue secured 270 slots to London Heathrow, with 180 slots designated for New York-JFK service and 90 slots for Boston service. With its New York-JFK slots, the New York-based carrier can commence daily service as soon as August 2. Meanwhile, its Boston services can commence daily flights as soon as Sept. 16. Additionally, in the filing, it is shown that JetBlue will fly out of Terminal 2.

It is unknown whether these slots are temporary due to the COVID-19 pandemic or permanent. The slot allocations apply for service through October 30, known as the end of the “summer season.”

The airline has the option of pursuing 270 slots to the less preferable London Gatwick. In exchange, JetBlue returned its slots for flights to London Stansted. Whichever airport JetBlue chooses, it will operate its brand-new A321LR, featuring its new Mint business class in a premium-heavy configuration. In a statement, per The Points Guy, JetBlue stated, “We can’t wait to launch transatlantic service later this year and love all the enthusiasm and speculation for where JetBlue will touch down. We can only expect this speculation will increase as we get closer to an announcement, and we won’t comment on our specific plans until we have made a final decision on our initial London airport.

We have always said that we have a viable path into more than one London airport and that over the long term we expect to serve multiple airports in London – just as we do in New York, Los Angeles, South Florida, and Washington, D.C. JetBlue has applied for multiple slots at various airports and we are discussing the availability of various permanent and temporary slots with the slot coordinators. Those discussions are continuing and we will evaluate what each London airport is proposing before making a final decision that best supports our transatlantic strategy.  We believe JetBlue’s incredible service and low fares would be welcomed in all of London’s area airports, and we look forward to sharing official news once we have completed the process with each airport.”

In previous weeks, rumors of London Heathrow service for JetBlue left aviation enthusiasts speculating. For example, the airline loaded London Heathrow into its booking engine as a destination. However, JetBlue denied this as “routine IT testing.” Furthermore, eagle-eyed aviation enthusiasts spotted the service in the airport’s “Terminal Finder” tool, with the corresponding start date of Aug. 2. If the tool is correct, JetBlue would arrive at London Heathrow at 10:05 p.m. and 10:10 p.m. and depart London Heathrow at 6:00 a.m. and 6:10 a.m. for its Boston and New York services, respectively. 

Earlier in January, JetBlue filed complaints to the Department of Transportation about not having access to Gatwick and Heathrow after the U.K’s first round of summer slot allocations.

Bamboo Airways

Finally, Bamboo Airways received slot allocation to fly six times a week to London Heathrow. Specifically, the Vietnamese low-cost carrier secured slots to fly to Ho Chi Minh City three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and Hanoi three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. At the start of May, the airline is eligible to utilize its slots.

Based on Heathrow’s Terminal Finder tool, both flights will arrive at 3:30 p.m. and depart at 5:40 p.m. Similarly, Bamboo Airways will fly out of Terminal 2. 

The flight would operate using the airline’s only long-haul aircraft, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The aircraft features a 26 seat business class in a 1-2-1 configuration, a 21 seat premium economy class in a 2-3-2 configuration and a 247 seat economy class in a 3-3-3 configuration.

If Bamboo Airways were to operate the flight, it would face no competition. However, in the future, if it were to retain the slot, the airline would face competition from Vietnam Airlines. In the past, Bamboo Airways had stated intentions to fly to London and Frankfurt in the first quarter of 2021, which was delayed due to the closure of Vietnamese borders. Additionally, during COVID-19, Bamboo Airways had operated a repatriation flight to London Heathrow using its Boeing 787-9 as part of a series of repatriation efforts for the airline.

In the future, Bamboo Airways plans a long-haul expansion due to its influx of new long-haul Boeing 787-9 aircraft. To fund it, the airline announced that it would file an initial public offering (IPO), listing 105 million shares on two Vietnamese stock exchanges. It expects a $2.7 billion market capitalization for its IPO. Additionally, the Vietnamese carrier anticipates a summer ramp-up of demand, allowing it to fly to international destinations like to London Heathrow. Furthermore, Bamboo expects to launch U.S. flights in Q4, according to Bloomberg.

222 Boeing 787s Affected By New FAA Airworthiness Directive

From Simple Flying – link to source story

by Linnea Ahlgren | February 18, 2021

On Friday, February 19th, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will publish an  Airworthiness Directive (AD) requiring the inspection of approximately 222 Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets. The deadline for initial checks of the jets’ decompression panels in the bilge barriers is set to 45 days from the AD’s publication.

787 production line
The FAA is issuing a new AD requiring visual inspection of the forward and aft bilge barriers of approximately 222 Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Photo: Boeing

Looking for disengaged or damaged panels

The directive requires repetitive visual inspection of the bilge barriers located in the forward and aft cargo compartments to look for disengaged or damaged decompression panels. This is to be followed by their subsequent reinstallation in case of the former and replacement in case of the latter.

The FAA said that the AD was prompted by reports where inspections of the bilge area – performed as the result of another airworthiness directive issued in 2018 – had revealed multiple incidents of torn decompression panels.

The Administration further stated that this represented a different unsafe condition than the one addressed in the 2018 AD. Thus, a new directive had to be issued to address the specific condition, which could lead to the loss of continued safe flight and landing of the airplane if not taken care of.

“In the event of a cargo fire, significant leakage in the bilge area could result in insufficient Halon concentrations to adequately control the fire,” the airworthiness directive, seen by Simple Flying, states.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Takes First Test Flight
Boeing is currently developing a modification to address the problem with the panels, the FAA says. Photo: Getty Images

Boeing is working on a modification

Initial inspections are to be completed by the end of next month, 45 days following the AD’s publication, and then repeated within 120 days. According to FlightGlobal, the FAA estimates that each inspection cycle will cost $56,610.

Meanwhile, the directive added that Boeing is currently developing a modification to address the issues. Once this is developed, approved, and available, the FAA says that it might consider additional rulemaking.

Decompression panels separate the cargo area from the passenger area. They can open to act as pressure relief vents and allow a larger quantity of airflow into the cargo compartment.Advertisement:

…and background on the problem from 2016–dislodged panels–that uncovered the new problem.https://t.co/D1m2wb4xl2 pic.twitter.com/LloRFv0fUx

— Sean Broderick (@AvMROSean) February 17, 2021

While the particular airworthiness directive may be new, the issue with the panels in itself is not. Boeing issued a service bulletin for inspection of the bilge barriers back in 2016, upon which the specific problem was discovered.

Boeing Displays Commercial Aircraft For Media Ahead Of Farnborough Air Show
In August last year, Boeing discovered a manufacturing issue that could weaken the 787’s fuselage. Photo: Getty Images

Not the only Dreamliner quality concern

Unfortunately, this is not the only 787 quality issue currently on Boeing’s list of concerns. In December last year, the manufacturer expanded its scope of examinations of some areas of the 787’s circumferential fuselage join, which the company told the Seattle Times may not meet skin flatness tolerances. The problem, discovered in August, although not an immediate safety concern, could weaken the fuselage structure.

Other Dreamliner manufacturing errors that the planemaker has reported include wrong-sized shims due to software malfunction, troubles with the autopilot flight-director systems, and problems that affect horizontal stabilizers.

Simple Flying has sought Boeing for a comment, but the manufacturer was not immediately available to respond.