Alaska Airlines to serve Mexico City from San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego

The US Dept. of Transportation has tentatively awarded Alaska Airlines slots at Mexico City´s Benito Juarez International Airport from San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego with flights starting this summer, the airline said.

The year-round nonstop service will operate once daily between Mexico City and San Francisco, once daily between Mexico City and San Diego, and twice daily between Mexico City and Los Angeles. The new service is the ninth destination Alaska serves to Mexico from California.

The Mexico City flights will operate using fuel-efficient Boeing 737 and Embraer E175 aircraft. Tickets and flight schedule details will be announced at a later date, following final government approval.

Alaska Airlines and Virgin America along with their regional partners, fly 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. With Alaska and Alaska Global Partners, customers can earn and redeem miles on flights to nearly 1,000 destinations worldwide. Alaska Airlines, Virgin America and Horizon Air are subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK).

Aireon to begin initial validation of space-based ADS-B surveillance

Aireon has formally received control from Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM) of the first Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) payload hosted on an Iridium NEXT satellite, a major milestone on the path towards 100% global air traffic surveillance, the company said.

Aireon now begins a rigorous, in-depth testing and validation process, verifying the capability of the ADS-B payloads. Known as an Initial Performance Verification (IPV), this process will last approximately two weeks before transitioning to a Detailed Performance Verification (DPV) that will focus more specifically on calibrating the payloads for optimal performance.

Procedures for the IPV were under development for over a year with valuable insight provided by Iridium, Harris Corporation, NAV CANADA, and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Aireon´s space-based ADS-B system will be operational in 2018, shortly after completion of the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation. The service will provide Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) with global air traffic surveillance and airlines with real-time flight tracking. It is expected to help reduce fuel costs, increase safety, and enable more efficient flight paths.

Aireon is deploying a global, space-based ADS-B system capable of surveilling and tracking ADS-B equipped aircraft around the globe in real-time. Coverage will span oceanic, polar, and remote regions, where current surveillance systems are limited to line-of-site and densely populated areas.

In partnership with NAV CANADA, ENAV, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), and Naviair, as well as Iridium Communications, Aireon is developing an operational, global, space-based air traffic surveillance system expected to be available by 2018.

TripIt feature suggests best time to leave for the airport

TripIt, from Concur, has launched Go Now, a new feature available to TripIt Pro users that suggests the best time to leave for the airport based on a traveler´s current location, flight status, and local traffic conditions, the company said.

In addition to suggesting the best time to leave for the airport, Go Now then reminds the traveler when it´s time to leave for a flight. The new feature also includes a countdown clock, allowing travelers to see how long they have until they need to head to the airport.

Go Now is available on the TripIt iOS and Android apps. While TripIt organizes travel plans in one place for free, a subscription to TripIt Pro is required to access the new feature.

TripIt from Concur, a travel-organizing app, organizes all travel plans in one place by creating a master itinerary for each trip with all travel details in one place; this is a free service. The premium service, TripIt Pro (USD 49/year) adds real-time flight alerts, refund notifications, and the ability to track rewards points and miles.

Concur, an SAP company, has taken companies of all sizes and stages beyond automation to a completely connected spend management solution encompassing travel, expense, invoice, compliance and risk. The company provides time-saving tools, technology, and connected data to help businesses reduce complexity and see spending clearly, so they can manage it proactively.

TripIt feature suggests best time to leave for the airport

TripIt, from Concur, has launched Go Now, a new feature available to TripIt Pro users that suggests the best time to leave for the airport based on a traveler´s current location, flight status, and local traffic conditions, the company said.

In addition to suggesting the best time to leave for the airport, Go Now then reminds the traveler when it´s time to leave for a flight. The new feature also includes a countdown clock, allowing travelers to see how long they have until they need to head to the airport.

Go Now is available on the TripIt iOS and Android apps. While TripIt organizes travel plans in one place for free, a subscription to TripIt Pro is required to access the new feature.

TripIt from Concur, a travel-organizing app, organizes all travel plans in one place by creating a master itinerary for each trip with all travel details in one place; this is a free service. The premium service, TripIt Pro (USD 49/year) adds real-time flight alerts, refund notifications, and the ability to track rewards points and miles.

Concur, an SAP company, has taken companies of all sizes and stages beyond automation to a completely connected spend management solution encompassing travel, expense, invoice, compliance and risk. The company provides time-saving tools, technology, and connected data to help businesses reduce complexity and see spending clearly, so they can manage it proactively.

Delta removes MD-88 aircraft from scheduled flying at LaGuardia

Delta (NYSE: DAL) has stopped flying MD-88 aircraft on roughly 30 daily scheduled flights at New York´s LaGuardia Airport, the airline said.

The airline will instead fly existing MD-88 routes on a mix of quieter, more fuel-efficient Airbus A320 family aircraft, Boeing 737s, and a limited number of MD-90 mainline aircraft in order to minimize environmental impact at the airport and reduce overflight noise for nearby residents.

Later this year, Delta service between Atlanta and LaGuardia will fly on larger-gauge Airbus A320s and Boeing 737-900ERs, which feature all-new, modern interiors with large, sculpted overhead bins and, on the Boeing 737-900ER, seat-back in-flight entertainment.

Delta operates roughly 270 daily departures from its LaGuardia hub on a mix of mainline and regional aircraft to more than 50 destinations across North America.

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.

Eco-Site receives USD 50m investment from Guggenheim Partners

Durham, North Carolina-based Eco-Site, Inc., a wireless tower and densification solutions company, has announced a USD 50 million investment from funds managed by Guggenheim Partners, with Guggenheim Corporate Funding, LLC acting as administrative agent and lead arranger, the company said.

The funds are available to support Eco-Site´s continued growth as the company continues to successfully complete infrastructure solutions for major US telecom carriers. Eco-Site´s model of building, owning and operating wireless infrastructure in the most desirable areas delivers customized, scalable solutions carriers need as they invest in network coverage, capacity and 5G capability.

Eco-Site offers superior real estate solutions for wireless network densification. Founded in 2012 by wireless industry executives with over 150 years of combined carrier and infrastructure experience, we address the problem of network densification head on. With access to millions of available parcels–along with tens of thousands of retail properties– we provide carriers customized, scalable results to meet their ever-changing network needs. We build, own and operate wireless infrastructure sites in the most desirable areas.

Guggenheim Partners is a global investment and advisory firm with more than USD 260bn in assets under management as of 12.31.2016, and including consulting services for clients whose assets are valued at approximately USD 63bn. The firm´s 2,300 professionals based in more than 25 offices around the world provide investment management, investment banking, and insurance services.

Inbenta, NTT Communications partner to expand AI offering in Japan

Inbenta has partnered with NTT Communications Corporation (NTT Com) in Japan, as part of its strategic global expansion, the language company said.

Through the partnership, NTT Com will offer Inbenta AI-engine-powered support, chat, and support search services to small businesses through enterprise markets under the branding of COTOHA Chat & FAQ.

The partnership, through Inbenta´s use of AI to understand the semantics of questions and thereby inform the resulting answers, will significantly improve cost-to-serve rates, support access, support resource availability, customer self-service rates, and overall customer satisfaction rates, based on similar Inbenta partnership success worldwide.

Inbenta specializes in natural language processing and semantic search to improve the customer experience. Support services such as dynamic FAQs, knowledge management, and chatbots improve business website searches, customer self-service, and e-commerce conversions.

ARC MarketPlace reaches 10th anniversary

Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) has announced that ARC MarketPlace, a website providing travel agents with commissionable goods like worldwide activities, tours, airport transfers, car rentals and passport/visa services, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary, the company said.

Nearly 16,000 unique travel agents have used the website in the past 10 years, up from about 270 users in 2007. ARC MarketPlace offers more than 50,000 tours and activities in approximately 1,250 cities in 177 countries.

ARC MarketPlace is a free resource open to all travel agents, both ARC and non-ARC accredited.

The Airlines Reporting Corporation provides air travel intelligence and drives commerce in the travel industry with leading business solutions, travel agency accreditation services, process and financial management tools, and high-quality data. In 2016, ARC settled USD 86bn worth of carrier ticket transactions for nearly 7,000 travel agencies with more than 12,000 points of sale. The company is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, with offices in Louisville, Kentucky; Tampa, Florida; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

BCM One wins 2017 Internet Telephony award

Technology solutions provider BCM One has announced that TMC media company has named Sophia, BCM One´s telecom expense optimization tool, a recipient of a 2017 Internet Telephony Product of the Year award, the company said.

These awards recognize the most innovative and highest quality IP communications brought to market, or updated, in the past year.

Sophia, BCM One´s proprietary tool, provides corporate telecom infrastructures with the capabilities to manage technology spend more efficiently, saving companies significant money across their technology spend. BCM One´s Sophia tool creates optimization opportunities for businesses including their cloud and mobile usage. Sophia has helped businesses realize telecom savings of up to 20% of their annual spend within the first year.

New York City-based BCM One provides a single source for integrated technology solutions that help advance a company´s business objectives. Through partnerships with over 50 leading technology suppliers, BCM One offers managed solutions for organizations including unified communications, cloud solutions, telecom expense optimization and connectivity solutions. companies engage with BCM One for the planning, network design, deployment and/or management of their technology solutions.

Internet Telephony magazine provides unbiased views of the complicated converged communications space.

Global buyers rely on TMC´s content-driven marketplaces to make purchase decisions and navigate markets. This presents branding, thought leadership, and lead generation opportunities for vendors/sellers.

SAS takes delivery of 1 Airbus A320-200neo from CDB Aviation

CDB Aviation Lease Finance has delivered a new Airbus A320-200neo aircraft to Scandinavian airline, SAS, the company said.

The aircraft represents CDB Aviation´s first delivery of a total of six A320-200neos as part of a sale and leaseback transaction with the flag carrier.

CDB Aviation Lease Finance is a wholly owned Irish subsidiary of China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co LTD (CDB Leasing), a 33-year-old Chinese leasing company that is backed mainly by the China Development Bank.

CDB Leasing, the only leasing arm of the China Development Bank, is engaged in aircraft, infrastructure, ship, commercial vehicle, and construction machinery leasing.