United Airlines enhances relationship with Brazilian airline Avianca

United Airlines is working with both Avianca Holdings S.A. and Avianca Brasil to enhance and deepen the companies´ commercial and strategic relationships, the company said.

United and Avianca Brasil are members of Star Alliance, a global airline alliance which provides service to 192 countries via 28 member airlines.

By deepening existing Star Alliance and strategic partnerships, United´s president Scott Kirby expects to build the airline´s Latin American network.

United Airlines and United Express operate more than 4,500 flights a day to 339 airports across five continents. In 2016, United and United Express operated more than 1.6 million flights carrying more than 143 million customers.

United operates 737 mainline aircraft, and this year, the airline anticipates taking delivery of 19 new Boeing aircraft, including 737 NGs, 787s and 777s, as well as six used Airbus A319 aircraft. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance.

Air Canada to begin seasonal service to Iceland

Air Canada will launch summer seasonal service from Canada to Reykjavik, Iceland, operating flights four times weekly from Toronto and three times weekly from Montreal, subject to government approvals, the airline said.

Special introductory fares start as low as USD 698 round trip, all in, and tickets are now available for purchase.

The new non-stop services will be operated by Air Canada Rouge starting in June 2017 with 136-seat A319 aircraft offering a choice of premium and economy classes of service. All flights provide for Aeroplan accumulation and redemption, Star Alliance reciprocal benefits and, for eligible customers, priority check-in, Maple Leaf Lounge access at the Toronto and Montreal hubs, priority boarding and other benefits.

In 2017, Air Canada continues its global strategic expansion and will launch new international services between Toronto-Mumbai, Toronto-Berlin, Toronto- Reykjavik, Montreal-Shanghai, Montreal-Algiers, Montreal-Marseille, Montreal- Reykjavik, Vancouver-Taipei, Vancouver-Nagoya, Vancouver-Frankfurt, and Vancouver-London Gatwick.

Air Canada is serves more than 200 airports on six continents, and in 2016 served more than 45 million customers. The airline provides scheduled passenger service directly to 64 airports in Canada, 57 in the United States, and 91 in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and South America. It is a founding member of Star Alliance, a global airline alliance which provides service to 192 countries via 28 member airlines.

Etihad Aviation, Lufthansa launch new partnership

Etihad Aviation Group and Lufthansa German Airlines have unveiled details of a new commercial partnership, including a USD 100 million global catering agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate in aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul, the Etihad group said.

The four-year catering contract will see Lufthansa´s LSG Sky Chefs provide catering services to Etihad Airways in 16 cities in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

Etihad Aviation Group and Lufthansa Technik (LHT) also signed an MoU to explore cooperation in maintenance, repair and overhaul services across Etihad Airways and its airline equity partners, and opportunities for synergies with Etihad Airways Engineering.

The companies are exploring further cooperation in a number of other areas as well, to improve their competitive offering globally and in the European market freight operations, procurement, and passenger services.

The previously announced codeshare between the two airline groups goes on sale today, February 1, for flights between Abu Dhabi and Germany. The codeshare agreement will grow both carriers´ global networks, giving Lufthansa increased access to important feeder markets throughout the Indian Subcontinent via Abu Dhabi, while Etihad will gain access into South America through Germany.

Etihad Aviation Group is a diversified global aviation and travel group comprising five business divisions — Etihad Airways, Etihad Airways Engineering, Etihad Airport Services, Hala Group, and Airline Equity Partners. The group has minority investments in seven airlines: airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia, Jet Airways, Virgin Australia, and Swiss-based Darwin Airline, trading as Etihad Regional.

From its Abu Dhabi base, Etihad Airways flies to, or has announced plans to serve, more than 110 passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. The airline has a fleet of over 120 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, with 204 aircraft on firm order, including 71 Boeing 787s, 25 Boeing 777Xs, 62 Airbus A350s and 10 Airbus A380s. For more information, please visit: etihad.com.

Lufthansa is a global aviation group divided into the three strategic areas of hub airlines, point-to-point business, and service companies. The group´s network carriers, Lufthansa, SWISS, and Austrian Airlines, serve its home market from their Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, and Vienna hubs. Its Eurowings brand offers short- and long-haul point-to-point services in the private travel market, and its service companies offer cargo, MRO, and catering.

The Lufthansa Group´s airlines currently serve 255 destinations in 101 countries. Its total fleet comprises some 600 aircraft, and its member airlines will be taking delivery of 214 new aircraft, including A350 and A321neos between now and 2025.

Alaska Airlines to start nonstop service between Orange County and Albuquerque in August

Alaska Airlines will begin daily, nonstop-service from Orange County´s John Wayne Airport to Albuquerque starting Aug. 18, the airline said.

Alaska started service to Albuquerque from Seattle in 2014. The airline recently announced that it would begin service between Portland, Oregon, and Albuquerque, also starting Aug. 18. Tickets for the new routes are on sale now.

Flights will be operated by Horizon Air with 76-seat E175 jets, which feature 12 seats in first class, 12 seats in premium class and 52 seats in the main cabin. The E175 boasts cabin dimensions on par with a narrow-body jet.

Alaska Airlines, together with Virgin America and its regional partners, flies 40 million customers a year to 118 destinations with an average of 1,200 daily flights across the United States and to Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica, and Cuba. Alaska Airlines, Virgin America, and Horizon Air are subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK).

Lockheed Martin returns first F-22 Raptor from ICR facility to USAF ahead of schedule

Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) has completed the first F-22 Raptor at the company´s Inlet Coating Repair (ICR) Speedline facility and delivered the aircraft back to the United States Air Force (USAF) ahead of schedule, the company said.

Periodic maintenance is required to maintain the special exterior coatings that contribute to the 5th Generation Raptor´s Very Low Observable (VLO) radar cross-section. The increase in F-22 deployments, including ongoing operational combat missions, has increased the demand for ICR.

The USAF contracted Lockheed Martin to establish the Speedline in Marietta, Georgia, in August 2016 and to perform this work on a total of 12 aircraft; a follow-on contract is anticipated.

Additionally, Lockheed Martin is providing modification support services, analytical condition inspections, radar cross section turntable support, and antenna calibration.

The first F-22 arrived at the Marietta facility in early November. A second aircraft arrived in early December 2016, and a third in late January 2017.

Lockheed Martin provides sustainment services to the F-22 fleet through a USAF-awarded performance based logistics contract and a comprehensive weapons management program called follow-on agile sustainment for the raptor (FASTeR). As the original equipment manufacturer and support integrator for the F-22 Raptor, the company works closely with the USAF to integrate a total life-cycle systems management process to ensure the Raptor fleet is ready to perform its mission.

Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 97,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.

Silicon Valley Airport partners with AvatarMind to create new robot playground

Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) has debuted the new iPal Playground from AvatarMind, the first interactive play space featuring the iPal humanoid social robot, the company said.

The only installation of its kind in the US, the iPal Playground features AvatarMind´s new iPal social companion robots to play with, entertain, and even educate travelers–adults and children alike–passing through SJC. The playground includes a maze, as well as an interactive play space where visitors can sing, dance and talk with iPal, and explore the child-sized robot´s educational apps.

Located near Gate 25 in Terminal B, the play area also gives guests an opportunity to get hands-on experience with the robot and learn how to become one of the first customers to bring home their own iPal ahead of its retail availability in 2017.

Designed as an educational and safety companion for children, iPal engages children in active learning, social interaction, and fosters an interest in science and technology. iPal not only helps parents keep an eye on children remotely with its built-in camera, microphone and mobile app/web-based monitoring capability, but it also provides fun, age-appropriate, tablet-based educational content to supplement classroom curricula. iPal is based on the Android operating system and the robot´s 6-inch screen enables child-safe web and social media access.

The iPal Playground expands on SJC´s recent deployment of #SJCRobots, the airport´s new robot customer service agents that help passengers find dining, shopping, and other services while entertaining and engaging them during their travels.

AvatarMind was founded in 2014 by a group of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and robotics experts. The company specializes in artificial intelligence, motion control, sensors and power management technologies for the development of highly capable, affordable humanoid robots.

Mineta San Jose International Airport is Silicon Valley´s airport, a self-supporting enterprise owned and operated by the City of San José. SJC serves more than 10.8 million passengers annually, with 173 peak daily departures on 14 domestic and international carriers to 40 nonstop destinations.

Hawkeye launches free business aircraft productivity calculator

Hawkeye Aircraft Acquisitions LLC, a private aviation consulting firm, has launched a free web-based Business Aircraft Productivity Calculator to help individuals and companies determine the time savings and value a business aircraft can provide over commercial airlines, the company said.

The tool was designed to provide a high level overview of the hours, productivity, and the value of time saved.

Taking less than 5 minutes to complete, users are able to select travel destinations and pick from three different aircraft types; super-mid, large, and “My Aircraft”, resulting in block speeds and hourly operating costs based on the selected criteria. When choosing “My Aircraft” users are able to provide their own block speed and operating costs to allow for a more accurate analysis of the costs of their own aircraft, charter, or a fractional share.

Additional features include the ability to input ground travel time for the nearest airport serviced by commercial airlines as well as links to look up current commercial airfare for the inputted trip.

For the value of the time saved, users input salary ranges for C- Level executives and upper management employees. The tool then calculates common productivity factors from NBAA and No Plan No Gain reports to determine a value for the time saved when using a business aircraft.

Hawkeye Aircraft Acquisitions (HAA) is a boutique aviation consulting company. HAA was created to provide an easier and more productive method to evaluate complex aviation solutions. Through application of resources, data, and industry expertise, the company identifies the best solutions. Services include aircraft acquisitions, marketing, fleet planning, ASA certified appraisal services, and general aviation consulting services.

Online UAS training portal launched by Avion Unmanned

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Training Team at Avion Unmanned in Huntsville, AL has launched their Online UAS Training Portal, the company said.

Designed and developed to prepare groups and individuals in law enforcement and the commercial sector for the challenges they face in the operation of UAS (drones) in the National Airspace System (NAS), the UAS training portal offers self-paced remote training that encompasses recently released Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) UAS regulations.

The portal utilizes the cloud-based TalentLMS (Learning Management System). Training includes courses in aircraft systems, aerodynamics, flight control software, weather, airspace, etc., from the Part 107 Remote Pilot Exam.

Compared to the 5-day in-person training course, the Online UAS Training Portal allows students to experience the same proven training criteria used to educate law enforcement and public agencies.

Avion Unmanned is eyeing customizations to the standard training packages to address specific needs and organizations such as aerial photography for construction, mapping and photogrammetry, specific aircraft platforms, and programs that will only be available to police and emergency response units.

Avion Unmanned is a branch of Avion Solutions training assets geared toward UAS operations in the national airspace and fostering a positive environment for UAS industry growth in the US.

Wheels Up partners with Peloton to offer new member benefits

Wheels Up, a membership-based private aviation company, has announced a new partnership with fitness industry-focused tech company Peloton, the company said.

Through February and March 2017, new Wheels Up Members will be gifted a Peloton bike, as well as a one-year subscription to the extensive library of live and on-demand Peloton classes. All existing Wheels Up Members will also have the opportunity to engage in this partnership through additional on-going benefits.

Peloton´s technology creates an engaging, studio fitness experience in the home, bringing all the benefits of a group indoor cycling class to riders in a private and convenient way. Through the 22″ HD touchscreen, riders can join live classes or select from an entire library of on-demand classes led by elite Peloton instructors, as well as track their progress and compete against other riders on the real-time leaderboard.

Wheels Up is a membership-based private aviation company that significantly reduces the upfront costs to fly privately, while providing unparalleled flexibility, service and safety. The company offers guaranteed availability to its private fleet of new Beechcraft King Air 350i and Citation Excel/XLS aircraft to individual, family and corporate members.

With the Wheels Up mobile app, members can seamlessly book flights, manage their accounts, participate in ride-share opportunities and select Hot Flights, a vast selection of one-way “empty leg” flights that are posted daily to the app and updated in real time. Members also have access to Wheels Down, a program featuring exclusive events and experiences, unique partner benefits and a full-service luxury concierge.

Wheels Up acts as agent for the Wheels Up members, and is not the operator of the program aircraft. Air carriers participating in the program exercise full operational control of the program aircraft. Any aircraft owned or leased by Wheels Up are dry leased to the operating air carrier to facilitate operations by that carrier.

Delta to expand nonstop service from Cincinnati

Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) is expanding travel options for Cincinnati customers, with more seats, improved schedules and upgraded aircraft to the most popular destinations available this summer, the airline said.

Customers will experience enhanced service in 13 of the 35 destinations Delta offers in Cincinnati and a total seat growth of 6 percent in the market. And more than 75 percent of all flights will operate with aircraft providing a First Class cabin, the largest amount ever offered in Cincinnati.

Upgrades will take place in nine major markets. The airline will offer expanded service with additional daily flights to Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Orlando and Toronto; aircraft upgrades offering First Class for some Denver and all Minneapolis flights; seasonal extensions for Fort Myers and Seattle; improved schedules for Charlotte, Hartford, Newark, and Philadelphia to allow for convenient day trips for business and leisure travelers with morning departures and evening returns, and more evenly distributed flights for improved coverage throughout the day.

Delta will operate 82 peak-day departures to 35 total destinations this summer including Delta´s popular nonstop service to Paris-Charles de Gaulle in conjunction with joint venture partner Air France KLM. Cancun and Toronto service round out Delta´s international offerings.

Delta Air Lines serves nearly 180 million customers each year. Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to 323 destinations in 57 countries on six continents. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta employs more than 80,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of more than 800 aircraft. The airline is a founding member of the SkyTeam global alliance and participates in the industry´s leading transatlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia as well as a joint venture with Virgin Atlantic.