International Airlines and Hotel News

Read the latest international travel news for airlines and hotels. Business travelers can stay up to date with the latest press releases from airlines that fly globally and internationally.

New BusinessElite flat beds on International Flights

Delta Air Lines has completed the installation of full flat-bed seats with direct-aisle access in BusinessElite across its entire international widebody fleet, making it the only U.S. carrier to offer full flat-bed seats and the convenience of direct-aisle access on all widebody overseas flights.

Delta Air Lines and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to nearly 370 destinations on six continents. For more information visit news.delta.com.
The completed interior fleet modifications include all Delta Airbus A330-200/300, Boeing 767-300ER/400ER, 747-400 and 777-200ER/LR aircraft, which represents Delta’s largest interior fleet modification investment in more than a decade. With these modifications complete, Delta also is the only U.S. domestic carrier to offer personal, on-demand entertainment at every seat on all long-haul international flights.

The fleet modifications are Delta’s latest investment in improving the customer experience. Since 2010, Delta also has:

  • Launched international wifi service and completed the installation of Wi-Fi on all domestic, two-class mainline and regional jets, offering more than 400,000 customers per day access to the Internet above 10,000 feet on more than 870 aircraft.
  • Transformed the sleep experience in the air by offering Westin Heavenly In-Flight bedding for customers in the BusinessElite cabin.
  • Updated BusinessElite amenity kits with stylish cases from Tumi and skincare product brand Malin+Goetz.
    Built a team of celebrity chefs and James Beard Award winners to offer customers great food and wine selections at 30,000 feet.
  • Introduced International Economy Sleep Kits and added new amenities for its Economy customers on transoceanic flights.

“We’re investing in giving our customers the wide range of options they want on long flights — from being fully connected via in-flight Wi-Fi to being fully disconnected and enjoying a great movie or comfortable sleep,” said Tim Mapes, senior vice president – Marketing. “Delta has set a new standard for our customers by adding full flat-bed seats with direct-aisle access, improved meals and amenities, and quality in-flight entertainment options.”

Beginning July 1, 2014, Delta also will operate three updated Boeing 757 aircraft with full flat-bed seats on the transcontinental route between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport. These will be the first 757 aircraft in service to feature Delta’s previously announced upgrades including full flat-bed seats in BusinessElite on transcon flights between New York-JFK and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. All transcon flights on these routes will feature full flat-bed seats by summer 2015.

New upgrades of Delta’s BusinessElite seats are available on:

  • A330 BusinessElite seat
  • 747 BusinessElite seat
  • 777 BusinessElite seat
  • 767 BusinessElite seat

DELTA TO JOIN VIRGIN ATLANTIC AT HEATHROW TERMINAL

Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) and Virgin Atlantic Airways today mark another major step forward in their partnership as Delta relocates some of its key services to join Virgin Atlantic at Heathrow Terminal 3. The move comes as both airlines start flying their new and aligned summer schedules that offer customers more choice and flexibility while reducing onward transit times.

Delta Air Lines and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to nearly 370 destinations on six continents.
Delta moves its arrival and departure terminal for several important business markets including its London to New York-JFK, London to Boston, and new London to Seattle services to Heathrow’s Terminal 3.

This move will enhance convenience and a seamless customer experience. For example, on the world’s most important business travel market between London Heathrow Terminal 3 and New York JFK Terminal 4 Delta and Virgin Atlantic will now operate from the same terminal and make it easier for customers to manage their travel plans including any last minute flight changes. The two airlines have also introduced a dedicated New York to London schedule with the customer in mind.

In co-operation with Virgin Atlantic, Delta will also operate a second daily service between London Heathrow and Detroit Metropolitan Airport effective June 2, 2014. The service will be particularly appealing to corporate customers needing an early morning arrival into London while offering more schedule choice for customers between London and the U.S. Midwest.

The two airlines’ summer schedule includes a total of 32 peak daily nonstop flights between North America and the U.K.. Of these, 25 flights will operate between London Heathrow and popular U.S. destinations such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta and Washington.

NEW SEATTLE-LONDON HEATHROW SERVICE

Delta continued its rapid expansion in Seattle with the launch of new daily nonstop service from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to London Heathrow Airport on Saturday, March 29. The route, established as part of Delta’s joint venture with Virgin Atlantic Airways, gives Seattle customers nonstop access to one of the world’s top business markets and is an important enhancement to Delta’s growing trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific network from Seattle.

Delta Air Lines and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to nearly 370 destinations on six continents. For more information visit news.delta.com
Through its trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia, Delta offers Seattle-area travelers nonstop service to Paris and Amsterdam while also providing connecting service to more than 150 additional destinations beyond those European hubs.

This spring Delta will also begin expanded Seattle service from Anchorage; Fairbanks, Alaska; Juneau, Alaska; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Portland, Ore.; San Diego; San Francisco; San Jose, Calif.; and Vancouver to support its growing international gateway that currently serves London Heathrow, Amsterdam and Paris-Charles de Gaulle as well as Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo-Narita, and Tokyo-Haneda.

In June, Delta will begin new international service from Seattle to Seoul and Hong Kong, bringing Delta’s total nonstop transoceanic destinations to nine, as many as all other Sea-Tac international carriers combined. Every transoceanic Delta flight from Seattle features full flat-bed seats in BusinessElite, Economy Comfort seating and personal, on demand entertainment at every seat throughout the aircraft. All international flights will feature Ku-band satellite Wi-Fi by the end of 2015.

Business travel increases, Amtrak asks for Money

Corporations Kick Off 2013 By Booking More Travel

Corporations started off the new year by booking more travel, according to Pegasus Solutions, a major processor of electronic hotel transactions.

January booking gains surged nearly 8% for the global hotel market, according to Pegasus. Rates increased 2.1% over the year before. In North America, corporate bookings increased 5.4% over 2012 and rates grew 2.3%.

Cayman Marriott

Business travel showed its biggest improvements outside North America; reservations for all other regions combined passed 2012 by 11.2%, according to Pegasus. (Source: Pegasus press release).

Hotels Should See Strong Revenues and Profits This Year

Despite fears about sequestration, the U.S. hotel industry should continue to see strong gains in both revenue and profits, according to the monthly edition of Hotel Horizons, produced by PKF Hospitality Research.

It projects a 6.1% increase in revenue per available room and a 10.2% boost on bottom-line net operating income. Although uncertainty about sequestration has tempered economic growth, it has not shut down lodging demand, according to R. Mark Woodworth, president of PKF-HR. It expects occupancy rates to increase by 1% and average daily rates to rise by 5%. (Source: PKF-HR press release).

Car and Rail

Amtrak Seeks More Federal Money for Investment, 17% Less for Operating Support

Amtrak is asking for more federal capital investment to improve and expand inter city passenger rail for fiscal year 2014, but is asking for 17% less in federal operating support.

Last year it covered 88% of its operating costs with ticket sales and other non-federal sources of income, up from 85% the preceding year. It is asking for more federal capital investment just over $2 billion to improve and expand inter city passenger rail. (Source: Amtrak press release).

Spotlight On…
Business Travel Sentiment

The Global Business Travel Association’s 2013 Industry Pulse for U.S. business travel buyers finds buyers are optimistic about travel in 2013 but bracing themselves for higher costs.

  • They expect prices to increase from 4.6% for domestic economy airfare to $492 per trip to 8.3% for international economy fares to $1,318 per trip.
  • They expect hotel rates to rise 3.7 % or $161 for domestic hotels and 8% or $297 for international hotels per night.
  • Most travel managers expect higher rates (65%) and airline fees (60%) will drive higher spending.
  • Two in five (42%) expect more trips to drive increased spending and 33% expect to spend more because they’re putting more travelers on the road.

Source: GBTA press release

Airlines News, Passenger load, Priority boarding, Electronic Devices

Delta Airlines

Airlines Are Fullest They´ve Been Since 1945

U.S. airlines had an average load factor of 82.8% last year, their highest since 1945, according to the latest figures from the Department of Transportation.

Load factors were even higher for domestic flights, averaging 83.4%. In addition, U.S. airlines carried 0.8 % more total system passengers in 2012, 736.6 million, than in 2011.

And the biggest carrier, when measured by number of passengers carried, was Delta Air Lines, carrying more system passengers than any other. It was the third year in a row that Delta hit this metric. Southwest Airlines carried more domestic passengers than any other airline for the ninth year in a row. United Airlines, its merger with Continental now complete, carried the most international passengers. (Source: DOT press release).

AA Tests Giving Priority Boarding to Passengers Who Check Bags

American Airlines is giving passengers who check their bags prioritized boarding in a test in four markets, letting them board between groups one and two.

Higher load factors and passengers’ desire to save on baggage fees and to skip the wait at the baggage carousel have made dealing with carry-on bags more time-consuming for airlines.

Flight attendants often urge passengers to quickly stow their bags in order to have an on time departure. In addition, flight attendant unions are reporting increased injuries among flight attendants and passengers from hoisting heavy bags into overhead bins or from improperly stowed bags falling out. American is testing the priority boarding in Austin, Washington Dulles Baltimore and Fort Lauderdale. (Source: American Airlines, industry interviews).

FAA Continues to Examine Changing Policies on Inflight Reading Devices

A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman would not comment on press reports that the Federal Aviation Administration might allow passengers to read their Kindles or Nooks during take-off. However, the spokesman did confirm that the FAA’s Portable and (PED) Advisory and Rulemaking Committee is continuing to examine policies for using cell phones, electronic readers and tablets on planes and will end deliberations in July.

The FAA actually allows airlines to decide what can and can’t be used right now on planes, but the FAA provides guidance on those policies. The current guidance requires passengers to turn everything off below 10,000 feet. The committee is not looking at cell phone use, which is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission. The committee has more than two dozen members, who include representatives of the FAA, Amazon, airlines, pilot and flight attendant unions, aircraft manufacturers, the FCC, the consumer electronics association and others. (Source: FAA interview).

IATA Forecasts Bigger Profits for Airlines in 2013

The latest financial forecast from the International Air Transport Association projects larger industry profits in 2013 for most airlines around the globe than it had estimated in December.

Tony Tyler, IATA´s director general and CEO, credited the improvement to optimism for the global economy. “Passenger demand has been strong and cargo markets are starting to grow again,” he said. IATA said that it expects North American airlines to make a $3.6 billion profit, which is slightly ahead of the $3.4 billion IATA originally projected for the year and well above the $2.3 billion profit reported in 2012.

Other regions were reporting smaller profits–$800 million in Europe, $1.4 billion in the Middle East, $600 million in South America and $100 million in Africa. IATA said that the recovery could be derailed by factors such as the continuing Eurozone crisis, specifically naming what it called the draconian bailout proposal for Cypriot financial institutions.
Tyler pointed out that travel demand has been supported by robust growth in emerging markets, reflecting a longer-term shift in the center of gravity in the industry. (Source: IATA press release).

WIFI Upgrades, Airline Fees, Electronics, In Flight Study

Delta flatbed in business class.

Upgrading Inflight wifi

Inflight wifi junkies know that when a lot of their fellow passengers are online, service speed plummets. Some research indicates just having 10% of passengers online can hurt internet speeds. But airlines are moving from air-to-ground to satellite technology to improve the inflight experience.

Southwest Airlines has quietly installed satellite-based wifi on more than 400 of its aircraft—about 75% of its fleet—and is adding movies and on-demand TV shows. Jet Blue Airways has begun the installation and certification process for its satellite wifi this month. And United Airlines has started offering satellite-based wifi on some of its international wide-body aircraft.

It is also offering it on two aircraft flying domestic routes and is charging more for the satellite service. United offers wifi on about 20 of its aircraft now and expects most of its fleet to have satellite wifi by 2015.
(Source: press releases and industry interviews)

Southwest Introduces Early Boarding Option

Southwest Airlines has introduced a fourth way for passengers to improve their boarding position with its new $40 early boarding option.

Southwest does not assign seats but boards its passengers by groups—A, B and C. However, Business Select passengers always have the coveted A1-15 boarding slots. Now, when those are available, ticket agents can sell them for $40 to other travelers, 45 minutes before the flight departs.

Southwest passengers have other ways of getting a better chance at getting the seat they want. For $10, they can buy EarlyBird boarding, which automatically checks passengers in 36 hours before departure, 12 hours before general boarding becomes available. The earlier you check in, the better your boarding position, so travelers can also move up in the boarding line by checking 23 hours and 59 minutes before their departure.
(Source: interviews)

Changing Airline Fees

Having trouble keeping up with all the different fees airlines charge? Well, it’s not surprising, given the fact that airlines changed those fees more than 50 times last year, according to Travel Nerd, which developed an airline fee comparison and shopping tool.

More than half of the fee changes were for baggage, but a significant number of fee changes were for services such as selecting seats, priority boarding or changing tickets. It found that ultra-low-cost carriers Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air accounted for 18 of the fee changes.
(Source: Travel Nerd)

FAA Studies Use of Portable Electronics In Flight

The Federal Aviation Administration is studying the use of portable electronics in flight, considering whether or not to let passengers keep their devices on during takeoff and landing.

The question is whether or not electromagnetic interference from devices poses a safety threat to aircraft navigation or communication systems. There are other concerns—such as whether handhelds could become projectiles during an aborted landing.

The group is not looking at cell phone use because that falls under the authority of the Federal Communications Commission.
(Source: FAA press release)

Third Quarter Domestic Airfares Up 1.8%

Third quarter domestic airfares were up 1.8% over a year earlier according to the Department of Transportation’s latest figures. Not adjusted for inflation, the $367 third-quarter fare is the fifth highest since the DOT started tracking fares in 1995.

However, third-quarter 2012 fares were $243 in 1995 dollars, down 18.1% from the average fare of $297 in 2000, the inflation-adjusted high for any third quarter.
(Source: DOT)

Air Travel News, Expected growth, Airline apps, Airline Lobby

Air Travel Expected to Grow 5% Per Year for the Next 20 Years
Despite rampant press coverage of the fiscal cliff and campaign rhetoric of a struggling economy, air travel just keeps on growing.

Boeing’s Current Market Outlook 2012, a long-term forecast of air traffic volume and airplane demand, finds air travel to be “remarkably resilient.” It said that 2011 air traffic was 6% greater than 2010, and it expects this trend to continue for the next 20 years, with world passenger travel increasing 5% annually every year.

The report noted that airlines are managing aircraft more strategically to boost yields and cover higher fuel costs. It said that airlines are matching their capacity to seasonal demand, keeping passenger load factors at historic highs. This growth forecast comes despite the fact that global economic growth is expected to be below its long-term average well into 2013.

Separately, the International Air Travel Association issued its own forecast that projected air passenger numbers will increase 5.3% annually for the next four years. (Source: Boeing, IATA).

Most Stressful Airports
Business travelers named what they consider the most stressful airports in a new survey by Concur, the online travel and expense Management Company.

At the top of the list: Chicago´s O´Hare International, followed by Los Angeles International and JFK. More than half of respondents, 56%, said the long distances separating gates and terminals were O´Hare´s biggest problem. JFK had the longest lines according to 49%.

Common problems that travelers said plague many airports are confusing signs 28%, poor service by staff 28% and too few or overcrowded bathrooms by 19%. Other complaints: poor Wifi 18% and not enough electrical outlets 18%. The most hassle-free airports were Dallas Fort Worth, thanks to its clear signs 42%, good Wi Fi and a good selection of dining options 41%. (Source: Concur press release).

Airline Apps Most Popular Mobile Tool for Business Travelers

Nearly 90% of business travelers use mobile apps and 62% of them use them on every trip, according to a study released by Concur, the travel and expense management company.

Airline apps top the list of most used 44% followed by map apps 41% and hotel apps 30%. Just 43% of business travelers use business expense mobile apps, even though nearly 80% call expense reporting as a major pain.

Nearly a quarter, 22%, uses five or more business travel related apps during their trips. Most of the business travelers 89% said that mobile apps improve their travel experience. (Source: Concur press release).

Airlines Start Lobbying for National Airline Policy
Airlines for America, the airline trade association, has begun lobbying Congress and the American public for a national air policy. A4A says that U.S. carriers play an integral role in the U.S. economy but are hindered by high tax rates that exceed those levied on tobacco and alcohol, products that are highly taxed in order to have consumers use them less. In addition, airlines say they have to wrestle with a regulatory burden that is expensive.

Airlines are also lobbying for improvements to the national air traffic control system and for a national energy policy to help stabilize volatile fuel prices.

The A4A national air policy campaign also calls for helping U.S. carriers to compete with foreign carriers that don’t have the tax and regulatory burdens U.S. carriers have. A4A announced the campaign in Washington and has set up a consumer website, NationalAirlinePolicy.com, and Facebook page. (Source: A4A)

Airline merger & International air traffic

Airline merger

American Merger Talks Heat Up
US Airways, which has is pursuing a reluctant American Airlines, has signed a nondisclosure agreement with American’s parent company, AMR, according to a memo US Airways’ CEO Doug Parker sent to employees.

The two airlines have agreed to exchange confidential information to work in good faith on evaluating a potential combination. Parker said that the NDA means only that the airlines have agreed to talk about the possibility of merging. AMR’s CEO Tom Horton initially resisted the idea of a merger.

AMR has also signed an NDA with British Airways, Alaska Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Jet Blue Airways and Virgin America. (Source: press reports).

International Air Traffic Continues to Grow at a Slower Pace
Global air traffic grew 3.4% in July 2012 over a year earlier, down from a growth rate of 6.3% in June and 6.5% for the first half of the year, according to the International Air Traffic Association.

It blamed the slowdown on a recent fall in business confidence in many economies. Airlines are responding to slower growth by holding capacity, which means planes are flying full—and profitably. Traffic is growing, but at a slower pace, said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO. And he said that, combined with rising fuel prices, means a tough second half of the year. (Source: IATA press release).

FAA to Study Use of Handhelds on Planes
The Federal Aviation Administration FAA has created a committee to study the use of portable electronic devices on planes. Right now, the FAA leaves the decision of how passengers can use handhelds in flight up to airlines.

The FAA committee will be made up of representatives of aircraft manufacturers, mobile technology providers, airlines, including flight attendants and pilots, as well as airline passenger organizations. Passengers are increasingly interested in staying connected while in flight. This is an effort to learn if there are ways for more electronic devices to be used without interfering with the radio frequencies pilots use.

The group will look at a variety of issues, including how to test for safety. The group is not looking at whether or not to allow cell phone use while in flight. (Source: FAA press release).

Delta to Reduce Mileage Rewards for Some Unpublished Fares
Delta Air Lines is reducing mileage passengers can earn when they buy certain unpublished fares. These include group fares, consolidator fares, tour or group package fares and student fares.

Travelers flying using negotiated corporate, governments and sports fares will continue to get full mileage credit. Other airlines also limit or provide no mileage awards for some unpublished fares. (Source: news reports).

TSA Expands Pre Program to Phoenix Sky Harbor
The Transportation Security Administration has introduced its Pre program at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, with US Airways as its partner.

Participants who are from certain airline frequent flyer programs or who participate in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Trusted Traveler program provide biometric information about themselves and qualify for expedited screening.

The Pre is now available in 22 airports with partner carriers US Airways, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. (Source: TSA press release).

Hotel room reports Hilton HHonors updates

Business travel

The Hotel Room of the Future: Using Your Smartphone to Customize Your Room
In the next decade, hoteliers may be using technology to tailor your room to your preferences right down to the lighting, air conditioning and perhaps even the color of the room.

According to the ITB World Trends Report, you´ll be able to enter your own profile, either via a PIN on your smartphone or by using biometric authentification, and the room will automatically adjust variables to suit your preferences.

The hotel room of the future will be designed to aid relaxation, according to the study, with curves instead of sharp edges, smart energy beds and wall displays whose screens let guests connect with different communications channels. Business travelers could work via these screens. (Source: ITB press release).

U.S. Hotels Report Rates, Occupancies Continue to Rise
The USA hotel industry saw occupancy increase 9% to 53.3% in November, according to STR, which provides global hotel performance data. Average daily rates rose 2.5% to $96.70.

And revenue per room rose 11.8%. Room rate growth accelerated across most hotel segments, with the luxury segment showing the greatest increase: 5.8%. PKF-HR´s Hotel Horizons industry forecast said that while ADR has grown, it will continue to lag the recovering. (Source: STR, PKF press releases).

Hilton HHonors Offers Up to Quadruple Points
Hilton HHonors guest loyalty program, which includes more than 3,600 hotels, is running a new global promotion: More Nights, More Points, through March 31. Members can receive up to quadruple points for stays in participating hotels. Stay two nights, earn double points. Stay three nights, earn triple points.

Stay four nights and earn quadruple points. Members can earn both HHonor points and airline miles for the same stay at participating hotels. (Source: Hilton press release).

Wyndham Baltimore Peabody Court Hotel, located in historic Mount Vernon Square, has opened a new chapter in its legacy. The 104-room hotel has become the city´s first hotel in five years to fly the Wyndham flag. Major upgrades to the rooms include the latest HD flat panel TVs and the upgraded Wyndham amenity package.

InterContinental Hotels Group, has roots in Venezuela tracing back to the early 1950´s, announces the opening of the InterContinental Maracaibo. It will be IHG's 21st InterContinental Hotels & Resorts property in Latin America and the Caribbean. The InterContinental Maracaibo has picturesque views of Venezuela´s famous Lake Maracaibo, and is located near the city´s newest commercial and residential districts, within walking distance of business centers, banks, corporate offices, shopping and recreation.

Wyndham Hotels and Resorts announced the completion of the first phase of the 322-unit Koloa Landing at Poipu Beach Wyndham Grand Resort, the brand´s first new build project in Hawaii. Phase One includes the opening of 85 villas, lagoon pools, and fitness center.

When completed, the resort will feature a central pool with water slide, poolside bar and grill, sand bottom area, cascading waterfalls and swim-through grotto, lagoon-style pools, several hot tubs, fitness center, day spa, covered parking and semiprivate elevators to each front door.

Business Travel in the Spot Light

Business travel continues its rebound, according to the Business Travel’s 2010 third quarter Business Travel Monitor North America. Pricing power is shifting toward suppliers, leading toward higher prices for both air and hotel. Airlines have been especially successful in limiting capacity and increasing fares.

  • Year over year, average domestic fares are up six percent.
  • Average international fares are up eight percent.
  • Hotel rates are up three percent domestically.
  • U.S. cities with the highest year-over-year rate increases: New York, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas and San Francisco.
Source: Business Travel press release.

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.