Lufthansa Business Travel News

Airlines news wifi aviation bio fuels & performance

Atlanta Arport Clock tower

Airlines’ On-time Performance is Best in Two Years
U.S. airlines reported their best on time performance in two years in April, according to the Department of Transportation’s latest figures.

Just over 86% of flights arrived within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival time, the best since November 2009. And, airlines are getting better at keeping track of your bags. April’s mishandled baggage report was down to 2.63 reports per 1,000 passengers from 3.3 in April 2011 and 3.09 in March 2012. Airlines also reported no tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights or more than four hours on international flights. (Source: DOT press release).

U.S. Air Passenger Traffic Up Slightly
The number of passengers U.S. airlines carry continues to increase, according to the latest statistics from the Department of Transportation.

The first three months of 2012 continued the growth trend of 2011, when system and domestic load factors hit an all-time high. U.S. airlines carried 2.8% more passengers in the first quarter of 2012 than in the first quarter of 2011. That meant that overall, passenger numbers were up 1.4%. The March 2012 passenger total was 3.6% above March 2010. Delta Air Lines carried the most total passengers.

Southwest Airlines carried more domestic passengers. United Airlines, which merged with Continental Airlines, carried the most international passengers. (Source: DOT press release).

U.S. Air Capacity Dips
Airlines might be carrying more passengers, but they’re flying fewer seats as U.S. carriers continue to trim capacity. In March, domestic capacity decreased by .6%t and capacity system wide was down .3%.

This is an ongoing trend; in late June both Delta Air Liens and United Airlines reduced their total seats by about 1 percent, anticipating slackening demand after Labor Day. (Source: DOT press release, news reports).

Delta to Offer In-flight WiFi on Its International Fleet
Delta Air Lines, the airline that has more planes equipped with WiFi than any other domestically, said that it will start offering in in-flight Internet service on its long-haul international fleet in early 2013.

Once it completes installing WiFi on all of its international aircraft in 2015, it will have more than 1,000 planes with WiFi. Lufthansa now offers WiFi on some transatlantic flights; Virgin Atlantic is introducing it later this year. (Source: Delta, Lufthansa press releases, news reports).

Aviation Continues to Work on Bio fuel Development
KLM flew the longest commercial bio fuel flight ever to the Rio+20 sustainable development conference in Rio de Janeiro late last month. It’s part of an ongoing aviation industry effort to develop use of bio fuel.

Lufthansa just wound up a six-month trial in which it used a 50-50 blend of bio fuel and regular fuel on its planes. Air New Zealand has flown bio fuel test flights and is working on developing bio fuel production in New Zealand.

British Airways said it plans to use a fuel derived from waste by 2015, while Virgin Atlantic said it will use fuel derived from waste gases by 2014, cutting its carbon footprint by 50 percent.

European carriers, bio fuel producers and the EU commission last year signed a pact to produce 2 million tons of bio fuel by 2020. In the U.S.A., United Airlines, Boeing, Honeywell’s UOP, the Chicago Department of Aviation and the Clean Energy Trust have formed the Midwest Aviation Sustainable Bio fuels initiative. Its goal: to promote bio fuel development in a 12-state region. (Source: press releases)

Fuel prices Traffic growth International wifi

Business travel

Southwest’s Kelly Calls Fuel Prices Aviation’s Greatest Threat
Gary C. Kelly, chairman, president and CEO of Southwest Airlines, said that the greatest and most serious challenge facing aviation is the cost of fuel. Speaking at the Wings Club in New York last month, he said that a look over the past decade shows the havoc soaring fuel prices wreak on aviation.

Kelly, who was just named vice chair of the Air Transport Association board, said that the ATA has three major goals: make a serious effort to develop alternative fuels, modernize air traffic control and develop the latest next generation aerospace technology. “Otherwise we see a continuing diminunization of air transport domestically,” he said. (Source: Kelly´s speech).

Air Traffic Growth Slows But Outlook Remains Positive
Air traffic growth slowed slightly in November, growing 8.2 percent year over year as opposed to the 10 percent increase reported in October, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Even with that decline, however, passenger and freight traffic are growing at an annualized rate of between five and six percent, which is in line with industry´s historical growth trends.

The level of air travel is now four percent above the pre-recession peak of 2008. North American carriers´ November passenger levels equal the pre-recession levels of early 2008. Giovanni Bisignani, IATA´s director general and CEO, said that a strong end to 2010 has boosted the year’s profit forecast to $15.1 billion. (Source: IATA press release).

U.S. Carriers See Continued Growth; Global Air Capacity is Up
U.S. airline revenue grew 14.5% in November, according to the Air Transport Association, which tracks a core group of carriers, including major network carriers, low-cost carriers and regional airlines.

It was the 11th consecutive month of revenue growth. The miles flown by paying passengers rose 6.5 percent, while the average price to fly a mile rose 7.5 percent. Passenger revenue improved 11 percent domestically and 23% in international markets.

Separately, OAG, which tracks air traffic, said that global air capacity grew 6% in December. Over the last ten years, the number of available seats worldwide has increased 40 percent, while the number of flights has increased 24%.

Capacity in the Americas and Europe are growing at a modest rate while Africa, Asia Pacific and the Middle East are increasing at much higher rates. The improving global economy is having a positive impact on passenger demand. (Source: OAG, ATA press releases).

Inflight WiFi Goes International
Lufthansa passengers traveling on long-haul flights can use inflight WiFi on intercontinental routes. The service, which initially will be provided on select North Atlantic routes, will be available on nearly the entire Lufthansa intercontinental network by the end of 2011. The service will be free this month. (Source: Lufthansa press release).

Delta Reinstates Codesharing With Aeromexico After FAA Upgrades Mexico to Category 1
The Federal Aviation Administration’s decision to upgrade Mexico´s federal civil aviation authority to Category 1 means that Delta Air Lines has been able to reinstate code sharing with AeroMexico, Delta´s SkyTeam partner. A Category 1 rating is required to allow U.S. carriers to code-share with an international airline. (Source: Delta press release).

Delta Air Lines
Delta is expanding the First Class cabin on more than 60% of its mainline domestic fleet, approximately 350 aircraft, as it responds to business customers´ requests for more premium cabin seating. The addition of First Class cabins to all Delta Connection regional jets with more than 60 seats, does not impact Delta´s previously announced capacity guidance.

Delta expanded its Asia Pacific network with new nonstop flights between Japan and Honolulu & the Pacific island of Palau. The new service to Palau brings the number of Asia-Pacific destinations offered by Delta to 17. The Nagoya-Honolulu route is a new competitive option for customers traveling between the two cities. Delta´s new service between its Tokyo-Narita hub and Palau operates 4 times weekly and is the only service that connects the two airports.

December News release: Security, CLEAR Program & WIFI

Delta Kiosk

Majority of Travelers Are Okay With Scanners, But Hands Off on The Pat Down!
By 2-to-1 margin, most Americans approve of using naked-image, full-body X-ray scanners for passengers going through airport security checks, but fewer than half support the new pat-down procedures, according to a new ABC News in Washington Post poll. 64% of U.S. travelers support using scanning machines.

Half as many are opposed and strong supporters outnumber strong opponents, also by 2-to-1. But when it comes to a full-body pat-down on travelers who decline the full-body scan, or whose electronic screening indicates a need for further examination, 48% see the new pat downs as justified.

Half say that the pat down goes too far, including a majority, 54%, of people who fly at least once a year. (Source: ABC News).

CLEAR Trusted Traveler Program is Back
The CLEAR Trusted Traveler Program is back and in business. The program speeds registered participants through a designated CLEARlane at security check points at participating airports, shut down at the end of 2009, when CLEAR and its parent company filed for bankruptcy.

It has relaunched with new owners and management. Members present their CLEARcards whose encrypted biometrics includes fingerprints and iris images, to verify their identity. It is relaunched in Denver and Orlando airports. (Source: CLEAR).

Recovering Economy Fuels Increase in Air Travel Spending
Air miles flown by passengers in the U.S. increased 7% in October and the average cost to fly one mile rose 10%, according to the latest figures from the Air Transport Association. It was the 10th consecutive month of revenue growth for airlines. U.S. airlines have added domestic seat capacity at an accelerated rate over the last 4 months, increasing 3% this November over last November, according to the aviation data company OAG.

Canada is lagging the U.S., however, and Mexico is still feeling the impact of Mexicana’s demise, with international flights into Mexico down 10% in frequency and 7% in seats. Frequency and seat capacity in Central America are down 18% and 17% respectively, since Mexicana went out of business. (Source: ATA, OAG press releases).

Front of the Plan Filling Up Internationally, But Growth in Seat Capacity Slows
On international flights, more travelers are flying in the front of the plane, according to the latest figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Passengers flying in first and business class internationally rose 13.8% in July, according to figures IATA released last month. For the first half of 1010, even when including losses due to the volcano that shut down Europe in April, premium travel was up 11.9%.

This is more than double the average 45% growth in premium travel in the years before the recession. However, yields are still down from pre-crisis levels. (Source: IATA press release).

More WiFi in the Sky
Delta Airlines is installing onboard wifi on the 223 aircraft in its regional fleet operated by Delta carriers. This expands by 40% the number of Delta aircraft featuring GoGo in-flight internet service.

Meanwhile, Lufthansa is introducing in-flight wifi on long-haul intercontinental routes.

It will roll it out first on the North Atlantic and offer it free through the end of January. Lufthansa was an early adopter of in-flight Wi Fi, in 2003. (Source: Delta, Lufthansa press releases).

Lufthansa Business Lounge and Beer Garden

Just in time for spring, Lufthansa guest traveling through Munich are in for a Bavarian first: Beginning this March 23rd, customers and Business Class guest can relax in a Lufthansa lounge with its own beer garden.

In cooperation with Munich's Franziskaner brewery, Lufthansa customers will enjoy draft beer on tap and Bavarian pretzels while relaxing at traditional beer tables overlooking the scenic, Bavarian Alps.

The beer garden is integrated in the refurbished Business Lounge in the Schengen departure area (Gate area G, opposite G28) of terminal 2.

Covering a total floor space of 11,840 sq. feet or 1,100 sq. meters, the lounge is equipped with more than 300 seats and has new opportunities for customers to work, or simply unwind and relax.

Source: Lufthansa News

Airlines News and Updates

Global Air Travel Keeps Falling
IATA (the International Air Travel Association) said that global air travel dropped for the second month in a row, with international passenger traffic down 1.3 percent compared to October 2007. That was a smaller decline than September’s 2.9 percent drop.
Airlines

North American traffic declined 0.8 percent; Asia Pacific traffic was down 6.1 percent, European traffic was up 1.8 percent. IATA’s head, Giovanni Bisagnani, said that recession is now the biggest threat to airline profitability. (Source: IATA press release).

Fewer Planes in the Air Boost Performance
The airline industry’s capacity cuts, resulting in fewer flights operating daily, have contributed to the improvements in on-time performance shown above.

Notably, in September, when the share of flights arriving on time rose to 84.9%, carriers implemented the bulk of the large capacity cuts announced at the height of the summer’s oil-price surge. (Source: Wall Street Journal)

Trend: Premium Economy Offers More Comfort but Still Coach
As tightening travel budgets restrict first and business class bookings, interest in the premium economy class is resurfacing. A dozen international airlines flying to the U.S. now offer extra legroom, wider seats and seats that recline lower in premium economy cabins at a cost that’s slightly more than coach but notably less than business class. Some carriers even include better meals, early boarding, access to faster airport security lines, and other amenities. (Source: The Wall Street Journal)

United Makes It A Little Easier to Pay Baggage Fees and Buy Extra Leg Room
More airlines are making it a little easier for consumers to pay baggage and other fees.

United Airlines canceled its previously announced plans to increase the domestic second bag fee from $25 to $50 one way, and now lets you pay your baggage fee in advance on its website instead of at check-in. You can now upgrade online instead of at check-in to Economy Plus, which starts at an additional $14 one way for up to five additional inches of legroom. Next spring, your travel agent will be able to book your baggage and upgrade you to Economy Plus.

Northwest Airlines is another carrier that now lets you pay your baggage fee in advance when you check in online; Spirit Airlines discounts your baggage fees when you pay online. Look for more airlines to make it easier to pay a variety of fees in advance, either through your travel agent or on their website. (Source: United, Northwest and Spirit press releases).

Lufthansa Italia
Lufthansa has launched its new Lufthansa Italia, which it is billing as a blend of Lufthansa’s reliability and quality with Italian flair.

It will begin flying a fleet of six aircraft in February between northern Italy and major European destinations.

It ultimately plans to operate its own Italian airline. It will first operate to Paris and Barcelona, and then will add Brussels, Budapest, Bucharest, Madrid, London and Lisbon. (Source: Lufthansa press release).

Delta Realigns Fees
Delta Air Lines, which recently acquired Northwest Airlines, is aligning the fee structures of the two carriers. It has dropped award ticket fuel charges instituted to cope with soaring fuel costs and reduced the cost of telephone reservations from $25 to $20.

It has eliminated curbside check in administrative fees and aligned the two carriers’ baggage fees. In addition, Delta now offers passengers Coach Choice seats for an additional fee when they check in online 24 hours before departure. These are certain aisle, window or exit row seats. (Source: Delta press release).

June Footnotes for Airlines

Airlines Up Fares Again for 16th Time This Year
Airlines continued to increase fares and search for new revenue streams to help them cope with soaring fuel prices.

United Airlines initiated what was the 16th fare hike to stick since the beginning of the year, with fare increases that ranged from $10 to $60, depending on the route. Other legacy carriers—Continental Airlines, US Airways and Northwest matched.

American Airlines upped some fares and other carriers tacked on increases as well.

Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare.com, an airline comparison website, said that airlines have no choice but to pass on the cost of fuel to consumers and when passengers do begin to push back in significant numbers the airlines have no choice but slash capacity by that same amount. (Source: FareCompare.com.)

American Cuts Flights, Staff, Charges for First Checked Bag, Ups Other
Fees

American Airlines said it would charge its passengers $15 for their first checked bag as well as cut domestic flights by 11 to 12 percent as part of its efforts to cope with fuel costs.

At press time, no other carrier had followed American’s lead in charging for the first checked bag; Southwest Airlines, in fact, pointedly stated that it continues to let its customers check two bags—for free.

American, meanwhile, upped other fees, including those for oversized bags (from $100 to $15); ticket change fees from $100 to $150 for domestic tickets and from $100 to $200 to $150 to $250 for international tickets. It also upped its reservation service fee and AAdvantage Award ticket fees up by $5 each to $20. US Airways took another tactic—it said it would eliminate free snacks, although it will continue to serve free soft drinks.

And Midwest Airlines said it would begin charging $20 to check a second bag.
(Source: American, Southwest, Midwest Airlines press releases).

Major Carriers Continue to Experiment With All-Business Class Flights
The number of air travelers flying first or business class is dropping at increasingly faster rates, according to the International Air Transport Association, an industry group.
And three transatlantic carriers that offered premium seating—MAXJet, Eos and Silverjet—have ceased flying. But major carriers continue to experiment with the oncept. Singapore Airlines has introduced all-business class flights between New York and Singapore.

In October, Lufthansa will introduce all-business class service between Boston and Munich. That’s in addition to the all-business class service it operates between Chicago and Düsseldorf, Newark and Düsseldorf and Frankfurt and Düsseldorf.

Meanwhile, on June 19, OpenSkies, a British Airways-backed carrier that has three classes of service but has allocated nearly two-thirds of the plane to premium seats, will begin to fly between New York and Paris. And L’Avion, the all-business class French carrier, is now code sharing with OpenSkies to offer three flights daily between Paris and JFK (Sources: IATA, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, OpenSkies and L’Avion press releases.)

Network Carriers Add International Flights, Low Cost Carriers Add
Domestic

Some U.S. carriers are adding flights, many focusing on international routes. Northwest Airlines has begun flying between Memphis and Columbia, Mo., and began serving Taipei via Tokyo. Delta Air Lines began flying from New York to Georgetown, Guyana and will start flight from Atlanta to Kuwait in November.

On the domestic front, JetBlue has begun daily service from Boston’s Logan International Airport to Chicago O’Hare and New Orleans. Southwest Airlines is adding flights from Denver to San Francisco and from Denver to Omaha in September.
(Source: Northwest, Delta, JetBlue and Southwest press releases).

New Virgin Atlantic Boston Clubhouse
At last, it’s here – the new Boston Clubhouse has opened its doors and is now accepting Upper Class flyers and Flying Club Gold members for some preflight rest, relaxation and pampering. Boston Clubhouse features a deli counter and bar, dedicated business area with PCs, free WiFi connection, charging facility for mobiles and blackberries, dining, lounge seating, free newspapers and magazines.