Lufthansa invests in TripActions

Buying Business Travel | January 21, 2020

Lufthansa Group has become the first airline company to invest in business travel platform TripActions, kicking off a strategic partnership. The investment – made through the Lufthansa Innovation Hub – comes as TripActions continues to expand into Europe after opening offices in London and Amsterdam in 2018. It marks Lufthansa’s fourth investment in a tech company and closes a Series D funding round with more than US$250 million raised at a valuation of US$4 billion. TripActions was shortlisted for Best Self-Booking Tool at the 2020 Business Travel Awards. According to the company, the investment from Lufthansa adds to its global momentum and supports its growth into the UK. It claims to have seen 1,000 per cent growth in the country and predicts a doubling of employee headcount in the market 2020.

Spotlight

"In 2012, the aviation industry experienced the safest year on record, according to IATA, with a very low accident rate. This achievement is despite constant expansion in air traffic, which is expected to continue into the future. With this expansion comes a demand for parallel improvements in safety, so that the number of accidents does not increase. "


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COMMERCIAL AVIATION

United CEO: 100 Planes Are Parked Amid Regional Pilot Shortage

Simple Flying | December 16, 2021

Major US airline executives faced questioning from the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on Wednesday. One of the topics that came up were recent cuts to some regional routes, including some market exits. Several others offered their input. However, it was United’s CEO, Scott Kirby, who had the most to say. According to his testimony, nearly 100 regional aircraft are parked at United due to the ongoing pilot shortage. United has regional jets parked over pilot shortage “We have almost 100 airplanes effectively grounded right now – regional aircraft, because there’s not enough pilots to fly them, which means we just can’t, at the moment, fly to all the small communities that we would like to.” -United’s CEO, Scott Kirby United Airlines made headlines just a few months ago when it pulled service to a handful of destinations, mainly those receiving regional services, due to these pilot shortages. With so much appetite from large mainline carriers for pilots and continued growth in the low-cost sphere, there are not enough pilots to meet demand. In addition, training pilots is no easy task, and the cost to enter the industry has been highlighted as a barrier to training pilots. United’s CEO emphasized the different ways United was looking at alleviating the problem. One of them is the United Aviate Academy, which only recently saw its first class of students start their education on the way to becoming a pilot. United has also made a considerable push at various levels to get people to become pilots, including sending a Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to highlight the Aviate program and the various pathways for entering United as a pilot. “Service to small communities is incredibly important to American Airlines. We serve some 230 cities in the United States. Obviously, a number of those are smaller communities…and we would like to serve more, frankly, over time.” -CEO of American Airlines, Doug Parker American Airlines highlights that part of its sizable brand and presence is focused on connecting the small- and medium-sized cities to the rest of the world. American has traditionally used regional jets to expand its domestic network to new cities. Regional pilots are a vital part of the industry While flying a CRJ or an Embraer regional jet might not be the flashiest job in the aviation world, it is one of the most important for airlines. Regional jets are part of an extensive feed network that airlines build up as a method of supporting its hubs and moving vital cargo around the country and the world. Moreover, regional pilots are a pipeline to mainline service. Outside of hiring from the military, private, or cargo world, US airlines often recruit from the regional carriers. However, the demand up from regionals to mainline carriers is outpacing the number of pilots that regional airlines are hiring. This is due to various issues, including a lack of more widespread funding to help send people to training.

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AVIATION TECHNOLOGY

Nok Air signs two strategic agreements with Sabre to power growth and support the Thai carrier's far-reaching new business model

Sabre Corporation | December 20, 2021

Thai airline Nok Air today announced strategic new long-term agreements with both Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR) a leading software and technology provider that powers the global travel industry, and its subsidiary company, Radixx, to support the evolution of the carrier's new business strategy. Nok Air has selected an extensive suite of products from Sabre and Radixx to expand distribution and revenue generation opportunities. The agreements support the carrier's repositioning to serve its growing customer base of premium travellers and value-based customer segments. The Sabre and Radixx products will power future business model evolution as Nok Air expands its international operation, develops new airline partnerships and explore further technical capabilities and innovations beyond today. Radixx will provide a fully integrated passenger service system for Nok Air that spans reservations, inventory, pricing, e-commerce, agency distribution, departure control, load control, loyalty and other related capabilities. In parallel, under a new Sabre distribution deal, Nok Air will distribute its airline content across Sabre's global travel marketplace, opening the door to new international markets and growing its Thailand home market on the Sabre Global Distribution System (GDS). "We have ambitious business expansion plans, including launching new domestic and international routes, restructuring our fleet and adding new jets as we transition selected segments to a premium service to reflect our quality service, So, it was imperative to us that we chose the right technology partner to support us in all of our goals to streamline our operations, improve efficiencies and open new revenue opportunities and new markets while improving the experience for our travellers." -Wutthiphum Jurangkool Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Nok Air. The carrier, which operates out of Bangkok's Don Mueang International Airport, will utilize the following Sabre and Radixx products as Thailand re-opens to vaccinated international travellers: Radixx Res – Radixx's core passenger system will enable Nok Air to manage all passenger operations and sales channels in order to expand distribution channels and partnerships. Radixx Go and Radixx Go Touch – new digital capabilities to evolve Nok Air's check-in operation at airports, enhance customer service and enable additional ancillary revenue-generation opportunities across airport touchpoints. Radixx Go Touch enables airline employees to transact full airport departure control capabilities from a mobile device, allowing some flexibility from the constraints of physical airport desks and counters. Radixx ezyCommerce – an integrated e-commerce and mobile solution to power Nok Air's business-to-consumer for passengers and business-to-business channels for travel agents and corporates. Radixx Loyalty – new capabilities will enable Nok Air to strengthen the offering of its Nok Air Fan Club, including enhanced online servicing, automation and redemption options for members. Radixx Insight – valuable business data and analytics to enable better decision-making, while powering the airline's internal back-office systems. Sabre's Global Distribution System – to enable expansion into new global markets, ensuring its fares have the widest possible distribution. "We're delighted to further expand our footprint in APAC while opening up access to new global markets and segments for Nok Air as well as providing new digital capabilities for the carrier, creating additional revenue-generation opportunities and, ultimately, enabling Nok to create improved experiences for travellers at all touchpoints." -Chris Collins, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Radixx "At Sabre, we are laying out our strategic plans to create our own catalysts for growth, so we are thrilled to be able to support Nok Air on its own transformational journey, Our new dual-deal alliance with Nok Air, incorporating both PSS and GDS solutions, is the perfect example of how Sabre and Radixx are able to combine synergistic technological offerings to create effective, innovative end-to-end solutions for airlines of all sizes and cost models." -Rakesh Narayanan, Vice President, Regional General Manager, Asia Pacific, Travel Solutions Airline Sales, Sabre. About Sabre Corporation   Sabre Corporation is a leading software and technology company that powers the global travel industry, serving a wide range of travel companies including airlines, hoteliers, travel agencies and other suppliers. The company provides retailing, distribution and fulfilment solutions that help its customers operate more efficiently, drive revenue and offer personalized traveller experiences. Through its leading travel marketplace, Sabre connects travel suppliers with buyers from around the globe. Sabre's technology platform manages more than $260B worth of global travel spend annually. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world.

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COMMERCIAL AVIATION

Volaris Reports January 2022 Traffic Results: 45% YoY demand growth with an 81% Load Factor

Volaris | February 04, 2022

Volaris (the "Company") (NYSE: VLRS and BMV: VOLAR), the ultra-low-cost airline serving Mexico, the United States, Central and South America reports its January 2022 preliminary traffic results. Considering the consistent recovery in its markets, Volaris will no longer include comparisons to 2019 performance. In January, Volaris' capacity (measured in ASMs) increased 32.2% YoY, while demand (measured in RPMs) was up a strong 45.4% YoY. This drove a 7.4 pp YoY increase in load factor to 81.3%. In the month, Volaris transported 2.3 million passengers, representing a 48.7% increase YoY. While demand remained strong in the month, in response to the Omicron variant, Volaris reduced its ASMs 1.5% as compared to December 2021. Considering January's reported figures and the capacity currently on sale for February and March, consolidated ASMs for the first quarter of 2022 are expected to remain flat as compared to the fourth quarter of 2021, implying around 50% ASM growth versus the first quarter of 2021. We believe that this closely matches the demand trends that we are seeing in our markets. "Volaris started the year with solid traffic results, stimulating demand in our core leisure and VFR markets while carefully managing capacity in response to Omicron. Equally important, we fulfilled our commitment to Volaris' customers and maintained high schedule reliability despite industry-wide operational issues triggered by the Omicron variant." -Volaris' President and CEO Enrique Beltranena About Volaris: Controladora Vuela Compañía de Aviación, S.A.B. de C.V. ("Volaris" or the "Company") (NYSE: VLRS and BMV: VOLAR), is an ultra-low-cost carrier, with point-to-point operations, serving Mexico, the United States, Central and South America. Volaris offers low base fares to build its market, providing quality service and extensive customer choice. Since the beginning of operations in March 2006, Volaris has increased its routes from 5 to more than 185 and its fleet from 4 to 102 aircraft. Volaris offers more than 510 daily flight segments on routes that connect 43 cities in Mexico and 27 cities in the United States, Central and South America with one of the youngest fleet in Mexico. Volaris targets passengers who are visiting friends and relatives, cost-conscious business and leisure travelers in Mexico, the United States, Central and South America. Volaris has received the ESR Award for Social Corporate Responsibility for eleven consecutive years.

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COMMERCIAL AVIATION

VAH Announces Closing of $500 Million Warehouse Facility

Voyager Aviation Holdings, LLC | February 28, 2022

Voyager Aviation Holdings, LLC (“VAH”), a global full-service aircraft asset lessor and manager, announced the closing of a five-year senior secured warehouse facility with an initial committed amount of $500 million (“the Facility”). Citibank, N.A. (“Citi”) acted as Global Coordinator and Co-Structuring Agent alongside Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC (“Credit Suisse”) as Co-Structuring Agent. Citi and Credit Suisse both acted as Joint Lead Arrangers on the Facility. The initial syndicate of lenders also includes Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley. “This $500 million Facility, with participation from marquee aviation lenders, demonstrates the confidence the market has with the VAH platform. In addition to the previous steps taken, this facility further provides the capital and flexibility required to execute on our strategic growth plan. It will also support our focus on the already improving market conditions and growing aircraft demand from our airline customers. VAH is positioned well to be a leader in the global aircraft investment and management space.” -Mike Lungariello, President and CEO of VAH Milbank acted as legal advisor to VAH with Vedder Price acting as legal advisor to the lenders. VAH was also supported in the transaction by Matheson as Irish legal advisor, Walkers as Cayman legal advisor, and KPMG as Irish tax advisor. Citi is acting as the Administrative Agent and the Security Trustee. About VAH: VAH is a privately held aviation investment firm and commercial aircraft asset lessor and manager with offices in Stamford and Dublin. Its assets of approximately $2 billion consist primarily of young and modern aircraft on lease to a global customer base of prominent passenger and cargo airlines.

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Spotlight

"In 2012, the aviation industry experienced the safest year on record, according to IATA, with a very low accident rate. This achievement is despite constant expansion in air traffic, which is expected to continue into the future. With this expansion comes a demand for parallel improvements in safety, so that the number of accidents does not increase. "

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