Airline briefs 14/04/12
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Virgin Atlantic to offer mobile connectivity
Virgin Atlantic has announced it is to become the first British airline to offer full mobile phone connectivity onboard its aircraft. The carrier is to launch a new mobile phone system on its A330-300 which allows customers to make and receive phone calls; send and receive text messages, email and have web access. It will be available in all cabins originally on flights from London to New York, before being rolled out across its B747s. “We have listened to what customers want and connectivity in the air is always on the wish list,” said Greg Dawson, director of corporate communications at Virgin Atlantic.
Air India halts international bookings
The ongoing Air India pilot strike has forced the national carrier to halt all international bookings until 15 May. Forty-six pilots have been sacked by the airline, after more than 400 captains called in sick last week in protest against the training of former Indian Airlines pilots. Meanwhile, Kingfisher Airlines pilots also staged called in sick last week to protest against non-payment of salaries.
US Airways boosts trans-Atlantic routes
US Airways has announced it will fly from Glasgow to Philadelphia this summer. The new route will operate daily from the Scottish airport, as well as Barcelona, Athens, Glasgow, Venice and Lisbon. Flights from Dublin to Charlotte will also be available in seasonal travel periods, alongside flights from Madrid and Rome to the hub. US Airways is also rolling out its new Envoy business class cabin on its fleet of Airbus A330s.
Aer Lingus Regional launched its flights between London Southend and Dublin last week with traditional ceilidh music, cocktails and a plane-shaped cake. The flights, operated by Aer Arann, offer further connections onto New York, Orlando, Boston and Chicago and offers pre-clearance US immigrations at Dublin so passengers can fly as domestic travellers. “Dublin is a welcome addition to the services we offer, especially with the very exciting potential for convenient onward journeys to the USA,” said Alastair Welch, managing director at London Southend Airport.
SIA, SAS seal joint venture
Singapore Airlines (SIA) has signed a joint venture with Scandinavian airline SAS. The new deal, which follows a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in January, covers joint operations on routes between Singapore and Scandinavia. Subject to regulatory approval, the Star Alliance partners will co-ordinate flight schedules and sales activities for services connecting Singapore’s Changi airport with both Denmark and Sweden. SIA and SAS currently operate three weekly codeshare flights between Singapore and Copenhagen, while a new route connecting Changi to Stockholm is also being planned