The skies are getting greener

Singapore Airlines (SIA) is contributing more to greener skies by further reducing food wastage on board, cutting back on the use of plastics for in-flight items and increasing the use of sustainable ingredients in in-flight meals.
“We are proud to have embarked on a new era of greater sustainability, with an enhanced focus on environmentally responsible practices on board that will significantly reduce our carbon footprint and improve sustainable travel of our customers,” said SIA’s senior vice president customer experience Yeoh Phee Teik.
Cutting down on food waste
SIA currently employs customer surveys, data analytics and staff feedback, and works with its caterers to reduce food wastage after flights.
The airline plans to automate data collection and further leverage technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to better predict customers’ consumption patterns and further reduce cabin food waste.
Through an improved monitoring system of customers’ consumption patterns and data analytics, SIA will be able to better adjust the quantities of certain food items uplifted to minimise wastage without compromising on customer service.
Reducing use of plastics in-flight through alternative sustainable materials
SIA is also committed to reducing the use of single-use plastics with alternative sustainable materials for more in-flight items.
The airline aims to become entirely plastic straw-free by September 2019. Since September 2018, SIA has removed all plastic straws on board, apart from children’s straws. The latter will be substituted with environmentally friendly paper straws. These changes will reduce about 820,000 plastic straws each year. The airline also has plans to replace its current plastic swizzle sticks with wood-based ones by September 2019.
From May 2019, SIA will also be replacing polybags from children’s toys with recyclable paper packaging.
Several of the airline’s paper products, such as menu cards, tissue paper and toilet rolls, are made with FSC-certified paper, which have been sourced in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.
Other upcoming green initiatives include the printing of children’s colouring books and activity kits using eco-friendly soy-based ink.
Sustainable food sourcing
Expanding on the airline’s ‘From Farm to Plane’ concept introduced in 2017, which promotes environmental sustainability and supports local farming communities, SIA will be embarking on an exciting new collaboration with AeroFarms, the world’s largest indoor vertical farm of its kind based in Newark, United States.
Produce at AeroFarms is grown indoors without soil, pesticides or sunlight, using AeroFarms’ award-winning aeroponic technology.
“As vertical farms are not weather dependent but operate under a controlled environment, crops can be grown year-round, thereby increasing the amount of sustainable produce to support more of the Airline’s needs,” Mr Yeoh said.
Aerofarms will provide a customised blend of fresh produce for SIA’s Newark to Singapore flights from September 2019.
“Imagine boarding a plane and enjoying a salad harvested only a few hours before take-off – literally the world’s freshest airline food,” said SIA’s food & beverage director Antony McNeil.
SIA through its catering partner SATS currently sources certain types of produce from two local farms for flights departing Singapore. It plans to work with SATS to identify local vertical farms to work with.
Other ingredients obtained from sustainable sources include selected locally farmed fish from fisheries that are certified by Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP).

Transport union takes action against Jetstar

The Transport Workers’ Union will apply to the Fair Work Commission for good faith bargaining orders against Jetstar. The union is seeking the orders in response to threats by Jetstar that it would ground the airline, similar to the 2011 action of its parent company Qantas.

TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon said: “The travelling public has a right to know that at Christmas time they are being used as pawns by Jetstar in how it treats its workforce. Hardworking aviation workers have a right to negotiate for better conditions without being threatened with being shut out of their jobs.”

TWU said Jetstar employees are the lowest paid workers directly employed by the Qantas group. After 12 months of negotiations Jetstar is still demanding an 18-month wage freeze; demanding workers be available for a six-day week without overtime; and refusing to bring job classifications into line with industry standards. 

“Aviation is an industry marked by the fact that 21 per cent earn below the poverty line of $863 for a couple with two children. Jetstar is owned by Qantas, a company which today forecast it will make up to $1 billion profit in the first six months of 2016. While its workforce are struggling to pay bills the company is paying its chief executive $12 million,” Sheldon said.

“Management have refused to constructively discuss our claims to ensure the workforce is able to earn a decent and fair wage. Jetstar’s tactics are more akin to the bargaining style of 18th century Victorian industrialists rather than a modern airline,” he added.

The TWU has written to Jetstar ahead of lodging an application to the Fair Work Commission today under the Fair Work Act 2009 which dictates that bargaining representatives must meet good faith bargaining requirements.

Airline removes ads that take shine off SA tourism

Airline AirAsia X has been asked to abolish advertising that promotes its overseas flights as being better value than travelling to South Australian tourism destinations.

In advertising on the back of public buses, the airline promoted flights to Kuala Lumpur as cheaper than the cost of a weekend at Kangaroo Island.

South Australia’s opposition leader Steven Marshall said the advertising push could hurt local tourism, adding that the ads should not have been released, Prime7 reported.

"Taking a swipe at our great tourist attractions in South Australia is completely unacceptable when they're advertising on the back of state assets, that is state government buses," he said.

"Our tourism operators are doing it tough at the moment. There's no doubt about it. It's a slow market.

"We would like to see a clause put in the state government contract when they're using state government assets like our state buses that they won't do anything that is, you know, an outright attack on our South Australian products.

"It seems an incredible situation where the State Government is spending millions of dollars each year promoting our tourism attractions only to then spoil it all by allowing other people to take a swipe at our great tourist attractions here in South Australia."

Tourism Minister Leon Bignell said the government approached the airline about the ads as soon as they were discovered.

Bignell said the AirAsia X has agreed to remove them.

"Someone saw them on the back of a bus, alerted us to it and we made contact straight away so it's all in hand and they're taking the ads down already," he said.

"They could see our point of view, we said 'Look it's not really in the spirit of how we want to work with AirAsia X.'

"We don't actually get involved in helping airlines get people to leave South Australia. That's not in our interest."

AirAsia X will begin flights our of Adelaide in October.

London to Sydney ‘in five hours’ on new jet

British engineers have unveiled plans for a hypersonic jet which could fly from Europe to Australia in less than five hours, reports the ABC.

The A2 plane, designed by engineering company Reaction Engines based in Oxfordshire, southern England, could carry 300 passengers at a top speed of almost 6,400 kilometres per hour – five times the speed of sound.

The LAPCAT (Long-Term Advanced Propulsion Concepts and Technologies) project, backed by the European Space Agency, could see the plane operating within 25 years, the firm’s boss Alan Bond told the Guardian daily.

"The A2 is designed to leave Brussels international airport, fly quietly and subsonically out into the north Atlantic at mach 0.9 before reaching mach 5 across the North Pole and heading over the Pacific to Australia," he said.

The plane, which at 143 metres long would be about twice the size of the biggest current jets, could fly non-stop for up to 20,000 kilometres.

It operates on liquid hydrogen, which is more ecologically friendly as it gives off water and nitrous oxide instead of carbon emissions.

Passengers would have to put up with having no windows, due to problems with heat produced at high speeds.

Instead, designers may put flat screen televisions where the windows would be, giving the impression of seeing outside.

Fares would be comparable with current first class tickets on standard flights.

The flight time from Brussels to Australia would be four hours and 40 minutes.

"It sounds incredible by today’s standards but I don’t see why future generations can’t make day trips to Australasia," Mr Bond said.

"Our work shows that it is possible technically; now it’s up to the world to decide if it wants it."

Rebuilding Iraq’s airline

The Government of Iraq has placed an order for 30 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, the first step in re-establishing that country’s scheduled commercial aviation operations. Iraq has also contracted options for 10 additional 737s.

Valued at $2.2 billion at current list prices, the order was previously accounted for on Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries Web site attributed to an unidentified customer.

In addition, Iraq and Boeing are finalising an agreement for 10 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which will allow an Iraqi national airline to provide longer-range commercial service. The 787s will be added to Boeing’s order book when the contract is completed.

"Today marks a new beginning for Iraq," Minister of Finance Bager M. Jabor Al Zubaidy said during a signing ceremony that was also attended by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Scott Carson.

In recent months Boeing and Iraqi officials have discussed how Boeing can assist with the reconstruction of Iraq’s aviation infrastructure and preparation for delivery and operation of new airplanes. Boeing will offer advice and expertise in areas such as the planning and development of airport infrastructure throughout Iraq; helping train aviation sector personnel; aiding in the selection and acquisition of airline support equipment; and arranging for cost-effective maintenance and service solutions for used aircraft obtained prior to new airplane deliveries.

Emirates flies high, earns lots

Sheiikh Ahmed Emirates Airlines

The Emirates Group has announced its 20th consecutive year of net profit, notching a new profit record despite soaring oil prices and challenging business conditions in the second half of its 2007-08 fiscal year.

Group net profits increased 54.1 per cent to AED 5.3 billion (US$ 1.45 billion) for the financial year ended 31st March 2008, on revenues of AED 41.2 billion ($ 11.2 billion) compared to the previous year’s AED 31.1 billion ($ 8.5 billion). The group net margin improved to 13.2 per cent from 11.4 per cent in the previous year.

The group also retained a robust cash balance of AED 14.0 billion ($ 3.8 billion), compared with AED 12.9 billion ($ 3.5 billion) the previous year. Emirates will pay a dividend of AED 1 billion ($ 272.5 million) to its owner, the Government of Dubai. In 2007-08, the group estimates a direct contribution of AED 22 billion ($ 6 billion), and another AED 25 billion ($ 6.8 billion) in indirect contribution to the UAE economy.

The 2007-08 Annual Report of the Emirates Group – comprising Emirates Airline, Dnata and subsidiary companies – was released in Dubai at a news conference hosted by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman and chief executive, Emirates Airline and Group.

The group’s latest record performance reflects its success in growing customer demand through the strategic expansion of its business operations across six continents, supported by ongoing investments in the latest technology, products and customer service while keeping a tight rein on costs. This is illustrated by the 21.2 million passengers who flew with Emirates in the latest financial year, 3.7 million more than in the previous year; as well as the expansion of Dnata’s international ground handling operations to 17 airports in seven countries.

Fuel costs remained the top expenditure for the 4th year running, accounting for 30.6 per cent of total operating costs compared with 29.1 per cent the previous year and 27.2 per cent the year before. 

The airline’s  fuel risk management programme continued to reap rewards, saving the company AED 888 million ($242 million) in 2007-08, as WTI crude oil prices hovered around the US$ 90 per barrel mark in the second half of the fiscal year, 50 per cent more than US$ 60 per barrel in the same period the year before. In total, the fuel risk management has saved in excess of AED 3.7 billion ($ 1 billion) since the financial year 2000-01. 

In his opening review in the 2007-08 Annual Report, Sheikh Ahmed highlighted some major milestones for the group which included the move of most of the company’s Dubai-based staff to the new Emirates Group Headquarters; the launch of 11 new passenger and freighter destinations across the globe including Emirates’ first South American destination; and the massive 2007 Dubai Air Show aircraft order which has been described as the largest in civil aviation history worth US$ 34.9 billion at list prices.

He also noted that the continued ability to attract and retain the best talent for the company’s growing requirements will be one of the Group’s biggest challenges.

He said: “As we plan for the next decade, our biggest challenges will be to find more pilots, engineers, cabin crew and skilled staff across our various business units. Fortunately, Emirates has thus far been a strong employer brand, with more than three million unique visitors browsing job opportunities on our online recruitment website last year, from which we received over 288,000 applications for positions within the Group. Being based in Dubai also has its advantages as the city itself is already preparing to welcome 15 million visitors by 2010 and there is massive investment in infrastructure to serve and attract the increasing number of expatriates.”

He also reiterated the Emirates Group’s support for Dubai’s new low-cost airline, which has been established as a separate entity from the Emirates Group; and remarked on competition in the region, saying: “This is a big cake and admittedly, Emirates has a big slice of it, but there is plenty for the other airlines and we welcome them to the region.”

Emirates Airline’s revenues totalled AED 39.5 billion ($ 10.8 billion), an increase of 32.3 per cent from AED 29.8 billion ($ 8.1 billion) the previous year. Airline profits of AED 5 billion ($1.37 billion) marked a 62.1 per cent increase over 2006-07’s record profits of AED 3.1 billion ($844 million).

This result was due to improved yields and higher load factors on increased capacity; as well as other operating gains.

In 2007-08, the airline’s fleet expanded with 11 new Boeing 777s delivered, including Emirates’ first 777-200LR passenger aircraft. At the end of the financial year Emirates’ fleet reached 114 aircraft, including 10 freighters, boasting an average age of 67 months – one of the youngest commercial fleets in the skies.

The record aircraft order at the 2007 Dubai Air Show brings Emirates’ total order book, excluding options, to 182 aircraft at the end of March 2008, worth approximately US $58 billion.

During the year, the airline launched passenger services to seven new destinations – Newcastle, Venice, Sao Paulo, Ahmedabad, Toronto, Houston and Cape Town – and strengthened its existing network by adding services onto existing routes most notably to high-demand cities in China, India, Middle East and Africa.

Passenger seat factor increased to 79.8 per cent from 76.2 per cent the previous year. Traffic increased faster by 16.6 per cent to 14,739 million tonne kilometers as compared to the capacity increase of 13.7 per cent to 22,078 million tonne kilometers. While yield improved for the sixth consecutive year to 236 fils (64 US cents) per RTKM (Revenue Tonne Kilometre), up from 216 fils (59 US cents) in 2006-07; high jet fuel prices and rising costs drove breakeven load factor up to 62.7 per cent from 59.9 per cent last year.

Emirates SkyCargo performed well in what was a turbulent year for the air cargo industry, marking healthy revenue and tonnage carried despite high fuel prices, a U.S. slowdown from the sub-prime crisis, and bad weather affecting agricultural production in key areas. The division carried 1.3 million tonnes of cargo, an improvement of 10.9 per cent over the previous year’s 1.2 million tonnes and recorded a revenue increase of 20 per cent to AED 6.4 billion ($ 1.8 billion), up from AED 5.4 billion ($ 1.5 billion) in 2006-07.

Cargo revenue contributed 19 per cent to the airline’s total transport revenue, yet again one of the highest contributions of any airline in the world with a similar fleet. During the year, Emirates SkyCargo introduced freighter-only destinations to Djibouti, Hahn, Toledo and Zaragoza. At the end of the financial year, the freighter fleet was 10 aircraft – five leased and five owned. In all, Emirates SkyCargo carried freight in 114 aircraft, including bellyhold space in the passenger fleet, to 99 cities on six continents.

Dnata recorded strong revenue growth of 27.2 per cent to AED 2.6 billion ($718 million), compared with AED 2.1 billion ($565 million) the previous year. Profits reached AED 305 million ($83 million) despite a challenging year for airport and cargo operations with ongoing construction at Dubai airport and peak traffic congestion.

As Dnata moves into its 50th year of operation in 2008, it remains at the core of Dubai’s rapid traffic growth, handling 119,510 aircraft (up nine per cent), 35.6 million passengers (up 18.4 per cent), and 632,549 tonnes of cargo (up 18.2 per cent).

During 2007-08, Dnata continued to expand its international ground handling operations, investing in ground handling businesses in Switzerland, Australia and China, to bring its reach to 17 airports in seven countries. It opened FreightGate-5 in Dubai Airport Freezone to handle premium freight, and also saw operations at Dubai Terminal 2 increased with the opening of a 37,000 square foot extension that will serve 700 more flights per week and an annual throughput of approximately 5 million passengers.

As of 31st March 2008, the Group employed 35,286 staff, representing 145 different nationalities. During the year, the Group hired more than 7,000 people including some 2,000 cabin crew and 400 new flight deck crew.

For the full report and accounts, visit: www.ekgroup.com.

Photo: Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum

All the way to Mexico

Emirates SkyCargo is fast-tracking its expansion into the Americas, offering offline cargo capacity to Mexico from 14th November, after having launched direct non-stop services to Sao Paulo and Toronto in October.

Emirates SkyCargo has appointed Mexican Cargo Sales Representative as its Cargo Sales Agent and its Mexican operation is now officially open for business. Cargo from Mexico will connect to Emirates’ route network from New York and Frankfurt, using interline partners such as Atlas Air, Aeromexico and Mexican. The Atlas Air freighter capacity will be offered every Thursday from Frankfurt to Mexico and on the return flight every Friday.

Fresh produce such as fruits, vegetables, coffee and cotton; temperature sensitive products; and oil industry machinery are expected to dominate exports from Mexico. Aircraft and auto parts, metalworking machines, agricultural machinery, electrical goods, electronics and various manufactured goods from Emirates SkyCargo’s network are expected to make their way into Mexico.

Emirates SkyCargo’s cool chain solutions that maintain constant temperatures for shipments throughout its transportation cycle, across countries and different climactic conditions, are slated to become a huge success in the Mexican market.

Emirates SkyCargo now serves the Americas with belly-hold capacity in three daily services to New York; six non-stop weekly services to Sao Paulo; and three non-stop weekly services to Toronto. On 3rd December it will launch thrice-weekly non-stop services to Houston.

Singapore Airlines Cargo launches e-freight program

Singapore Airlines Cargo is replacing the paper documents that typically accompany airfreight, with electronic information.

Over the past several months, the airline has been working closely with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and actively engaging key industry players like freight forwarders, ground handling agents, local customs administrations and airport authorities at several locations to prepare for the pilot programme.

Yesterday, the paper-free era for SIA Cargo began with the simultaneous launch of e-freight shipments between Singapore and London, and between Singapore and Amsterdam. The airline also plans to commence e-freight trials between Singapore and Hong Kong from 16 November 2007.

Goh Choon Phong, president of SIA Cargo commented: “Pushing for cost efficiency is a key priority for SIA Cargo, and the e-freight initiative will benefit all partners in the airfreight supply chain by eliminating cumbersome documentation that costs the industry over a billion dollars a year.  I thank all the key industry players for their dedication, teamwork and commitment to make this historic project a success.

“Moreover, replacing paperwork with electronic information is also in line with our corporate mission to keep our operations environmentally friendly,” he added.

 

 

Etihad and Virgin Blue form interline partnership

Etihad Airways and Virgin Blue today announced a comprehensive interline agreement which will provide travellers, and presumably air cargo, with seamless connectivity to 22 Australian cities and from Brisbane and Sydney to Abu Dhabi and beyond.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive officer, said, “The closer cooperation with Virgin Blue will enhance significantly the travel experience and potential destinations for Etihad customers flying to Australia.

“Etihad strives to make as many global destinations available to our customers whether it is opening up new routes of our own or through strategic agreements with other airlines.”

Virgin Blue Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, said,“The new interline partnership means Virgin Blue Guests who also choose to book international travel with Etihad can travel from anywhere on our network to any of Etihad’s 45 international destinations with ease.”

Etihad launched its daily service from Abu Dhabi to Sydney in March 2007, which was followed in September by the opening of its three flights a week servicing the Brisbane.

The Sydney route has proved such a success, with more than 60,000 passengers flying on the sector since its launch, that in March 2008 Etihad will increase the service to 11 flights a week.

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