Roundtrip ticket prices increase 7.5% for 1Q 2017

Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) has reported that the average US roundtrip ticket price for March 2017 was USD 498, up a few dollars from USD 487 in February and USD 464 in January, the company said.

The consolidated dollar value of airline tickets sold by US-based travel agencies increased 6.4% in March as compared to 2016, totaling USD 8.8bn vs. USD 8.3bn. Total fares also increased 8% to USD 7bn compared to USD 6.5bn in 2016. The number of passenger trips settled by ARC for US travel agencies also saw an increase of nearly 8% to more than 26,516,000 compared to nearly 24,610,000 in March 2016.

Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD) sales, which include fees for products and services such as upgraded seats, checked luggage, an unaccompanied minor, pet-in-cabin, etc., comprised nearly USD 9.3m, a 239% increase over 2016. EMD transactions increased 376% to nearly 159,000 in March 2017 compared to nearly 33,400 in 2016.

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

Frontier Airlines awards 3 year maintenance contract to PEMCO

Aviation maintenance and engineering company PEMCO World Air Services (PEMCO), a wholly owned subsidiary of Air Transport Services Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATSG), has secured a three-year maintenance agreement with US-based low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines, the company said.

Maintenance services will be performed primarily at PEMCO´s maintenance facilities at the Tampa International Airport. The agreement builds on a relationship with Frontier that started in 2015 with PEMCO´s interior modifications to Frontier´s A319s and A320s.

The new three-year agreement covers heavy checks, induction checks, exit checks, drop-in maintenance, on-call maintenance, and away maintenance, and includes options for extension in two one-year intervals.

Denver, Colorado-based Frontier Airlines serves more than 55 cities in the United States, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and will launch nonstop service to San Juan on June 11, both Philadelphia and Orlando. Frontier´s fleet currently consists of more than 60 Airbus A320-family passenger aircraft.

PEMCO World Air Services, an Airborne Maintenance and Engineering Services (AMES) company, serves customers from airlines to private operators. PEMCO and AMES, wholly-owned subsidiaries of Air Transport Services Group (NASDAQ:ATSG), offer 320,000 sq. ft. of hangar space in Tampa, Florida and 315,000 sq. ft. of hangar space in Wilmington, Ohio. Together, they provide heavy maintenance, line maintenance, cargo conversions, engineering services, material sales, and manufacturing to the aviation sector.

ATSG is a provider of aircraft leasing and air cargo transportation and related services to domestic and foreign air carriers and other companies that outsource their air cargo lift requirements.

Horizon Air, Teamsters reach tentative agreement for pilots

Horizon Air and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) have reached a tentative agreement to amend their existing eight-year contract for the carrier´s 620 pilots, the company said.

This year Horizon Air is adding 13 E175 regional jets to its existing fleet of Q400s, which provide an improved regional experience for guests. The proposed agreement gives Horizon Air the ability to attract and retain the best pilots in the regional industry through enhanced salary and bonus provisions.

Horizon Air and IBT ratified their existing contract in January 2016. Once voted on and ratified by Horizon pilots, the Letter of Agreement will run with the current contract and becomes amendable in December 2024.

Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group, flies to 44 cities across the United States and Canada.

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. With Alaska and Alaska Global Partners, customers can earn and redeem miles on flights to more than 900 destinations worldwide. Alaska Airlines, Virgin America and Horizon Air are subsidiaries of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK).

Environment benefits from NextGen aircraft arrival procedures at MSP

The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) has measured environmental impacts of adopting Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) NextGen aircraft arrival procedures at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) and has determined the new procedures have resulted in the biggest known air quality benefit of any single action in MSP history, the commission said.

Previously, aircraft approaching the airport would descended in stages reducing altitude and leveling off until landing. With the new arrival procedures implemented at MSP in March 2015, called optimized profile descents (OPD), pilots continue flying at cruise altitude longer, and once they start their descent, they continue it until they land. Keeping the plane throttled back reduces fuel burn and associated greenhouse gas emissions.

Using data supplied by airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the MAC has become the first airport operator in the nation to measure the impacts of OPD. The MAC estimates that airlines burn 2.9 million fewer gallons of fuel per year using OPD procedures than they would using traditional staged descents on approach to MSP. As a result of the reduced fuel burn, arriving aircraft emit 28,465 fewer metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually than they otherwise would.

Since airlines began using OPD arrivals at MSP in March 2015, they have conserved more than 5.8 million gallons of fuel, saving an estimated USD 9.5m in fuel costs and preventing more than 57,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere, the equivalent of removing more than 12,000 cars from the road, or planting 54,000 acres of forest.

Last month, Airports Council International-North America presented the MAC with a 2017 Environmental Achievement Award for developing a way to measure use and environmental benefits of OPD. The award recognized the MAC in the Innovative and Special Projects award category.

DDN names GM of IME Business Unit

DataDirect Networks (DDN) has announced Jessica Popp as the company´s general manager (GM) of the newly created Infinite Memory Engine (IME) business unit, the company said.

In this new role, Popp will leverage more than 20 years of experience in storage software and engineering management to build a world-class development organization for DDN´s IME business. In addition, she will oversee the growth of the IME development and quality assurance teams, advance the IME feature set, and accelerate customer acquisition and revenue growth.

Prior to joining DDN, Popp was the engineering director of the High Performance Data Division at Intel Corporation, where she managed the development and support of the Lustre parallel file system and related products.

DataDirect Networks (DDN) is the world´s big data storage supplier to data-intensive, global organizations. For more than 18 years, DDN has designed, developed, deployed and optimized systems, software and storage solutions that enable enterprises, service providers, universities and government agencies to generate more value and to accelerate time to insight from their data and information, on premise and in the cloud.

STAjets founder nominated for EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2017

STAjets´ president and owner, Kurt Belcher, has been selected as a 2017 Nominee and semi-finalist for the 2017 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the company said.

The Entrepreneur Of The Year program seeks to honor leaders who shape today´s ideas into tomorrow´s exceptional companies. Finalists and winners will be announced between now and June 2017.

Belcher is the visionary behind the STAjets brand, private air charter company. His Orange County childhood home overlooked John Wayne Airport, which at the time consisted of one building with a fence that airlines pulled up to. Little did he know that the future of John Wayne Airport would include him and his brand, the fastest growing and largest privately owned aviation company at the airport.

Looking to engage further and give back to the STAjets clientele, Belcher created the company´s signature Membership Program, which offers 5% instant cash back for each flight booked through the program.

In 2013, Belcher was recognized for his contributions in business and the community in OC Metro´s “40 Under 40” honorees- placing him alongside other notable, young, high achievers in business, non-profit, government and education. In September 2013, he received a special Congressional recognition for Outstanding Business Leadership.

STAjets is a private charter, aircraft sales, management, and maintenance brand. It has a fleet of 23 private jets and 7 locations across the country. Locations include Orange County, Los Angeles, San Jose, San Bernardino, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and New York. The STAjets headquarters is located at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California.

Twistlock releases Twistlock 2.0 containerized environments

Twistlock, the provider of cloud container security solutions, has launched Twistlock 2.0, the company said.

The latest release of Twistlock´s flagship product includes an updated user interface, significant performance improvements and several new features that enable organizations to stop an attack before it starts.

While Twistlock 2.0 was built to handle even the most stringent of security requirements found in many enterprises, it also benefits smaller development teams that need more simplicity and agility to take their innovations to market more quickly and safely.

To better help companies stay in front of a potential compromise, Twistlock 2.0 builds on the capability to identify vulnerabilities as part of the continuous integration (CI) process and relies on frequent monitoring to prevent the deployment of unsafe and non-compliant images in the first place.

Initially introduced in Twistlock 1.6 as a way to visualize how containers interact with each other, Runtime Radar 2.0 builds on that capability to provide a single view into the status, connectivity, and risk state of an organization´s environment. In a single glance, Runtime Radar allows organizations to visualize their entire environment from relationships between pods to processes to network calls,file access and system calls for individual containers.

Twistlock is the industry´s first enterprise security suite for container security. Twistlock´s technology addresses risks on the host and within the application of the container, enabling enterprises to consistently enforce security policies, monitor and audit activity and identify and isolate threats in a container or cluster of containers.

Discovery Air Fire Services acquired by MAG Aerospace

Woodbridge, Virginia-based MAG Aerospace (MAG) has acquired Northern Ontario-based Discovery Air Fire Services Inc. (DAFS), formerly a subsidiary of Canada-based specialty aviation provider, Discovery Air, the company said.

This acquisition adds aerial forest fire management, specialized charter aviation, and environmental monitoring services to MAG´s already robust ISR service offerings.

DAFS is an aerial operations company active in the Canadian aviation industry with primary bases in Dryden, Kenora, and Sudbury Ontario. The company is focused on the provision of airspace and aircraft management (Birddog) services, as well as aerial fire surveillance and air charter. DAFS also has an imagery division that provides low level infrared services, multispectral imagery, and electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) services.

MAG Aerospace provides and enables global situational awareness. Private equity backed by the Clairvest Group, MAG Aerospace delivers manned and unmanned ISR operations, aviation training, aviation logistics, and technical services to federal, global, civilian, and commercial customers around the world.

Penske Truck Leasing launches fleet connection platform

Penske Truck Leasing has launched its new connected fleet solutions, the company said.

Using a proprietary, device-neutral data platform, Penske Truck Leasing can now connect its systems with virtually any truck and engine configuration or telematics service provider.

Penske´s connected fleet solutions also enable faster roadside assistance call triage and improved vehicle maintenance through remote diagnostics, location data, and big data analytics. The approach also provides a technological path to providing predictive vehicle maintenance.

Penske believes it is the first truck leasing company to provide connected fleet solutions at such size and scale. Today, the company is using its connected fleet solutions platform with more than 20,000 vehicles in its truck rental and logistics fleets and is adding customer vehicles daily. The remote diagnostics capability is also currently in use at Penske´s in-house 24/7 Roadside Assistance call center.

Penske Truck Leasing Co., L.P., headquartered in Reading, Pennsylvania, is a partnership of Penske Corporation, Penske Automotive Group, GE Capital Holdings and Mitsui & Co., Ltd. A global transportation services provider, Penske operates more than 240,000 vehicles and serves customers from more than 1,000 locations in North America, South America, Europe, Australia and Asia. Product lines include full-service truck leasing, contract maintenance, commercial and consumer truck rentals, used truck sales, transportation and warehousing management and supply chain management solutions. Visit to learn more.

Five9 decreases abandon rate from 7% to under 1%

Five9, Inc. (NASDAQ: FIVN), a provider of cloud software for the enterprise contact center market, has announced that a nationally recognized financial services company has decreased abandonment rates from 7% to under 1% leveraging its Five9 Virtual Contact Center (VCC) to better automate and route inbound calls for an enhanced customer experience, the company said.

Since expanding its existing Five9 implementation, the financial services company, which services and subservices loans for borrowers and third-party clients, has experienced an increase in agent productivity and customer satisfaction.

This is due largely to enhancements such as caller authentication and self-service options that enable customers to resolve many issues without agent involvement.

The Five9 VCC deployment also enabled the company´s 200 agents, who field thousands of inbound calls per week from customers seeking to make payments, resolve questions about their loans and discuss potential loan modifications, to speed the time it takes to answer calls by an average of 47 seconds. The lender intends to continue expansion of its Five9 contact center solution through the future deployment of social, chat and other digital and online capabilities in order to stay ahead and exceed customers´ expectations.

Five9 is a provider of cloud software for the enterprise contact center market, bringing the power of the cloud to thousands of customers and facilitating more than three billion customer interactions annually. Since 2001, Five9 has led the cloud revolution in contact centers, helping organizations transition from legacy premise-based solutions to the cloud. Five9 provides businesses with cloud contact center software that is reliable, secure, compliant and scalable, which is designed to create exceptional customer experiences, increase agent productivity and deliver tangible business results.