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News Digest – Press Releases – 1st Half February 2013

Below is a listing of press releases received February 1 onwards, till date. We will be appending more press releases at the end of this article regularly as and when new releases are received.

CATHAY PACIFIC INTRODUCES WORLD’S BEST BUSINESS CLASS AND NEW PREMIUM ECONOMY CABINS ON HYDERABAD-HONG KONG FLIGHTS

Cathay Pacific Airways today announced that passengers can enjoy a new level of luxury when travelling between Hyderabad and Hong Kong with the introduction of the airline’s award-winning new Business Class cabin and its new Premium Economy Class cabin on the route. Following the recent launch of flights from this city, Hyderabad will now offer a three-class configuration – new Business Class, Premium Economy Class and the new long-haul Economy Class for passengers travelling to Hong Kong from 1 February 2013.

The airline’s new Business Class cabin is the result of a genuine collaboration between its customers and the Cathay Pacific team. The product design allows passengers to control their degree of privacy and openness while enjoying the renowned personal service that sets Cathay Pacific apart from other airlines. As one enters the cabin, the sense of space and openness immediately catches the passenger’s attention. Clean, sculpted lines define private, lie-flat seats with direct aisle access. Abstract patterns, richly woven fabrics, fresh-cut orchids and original artwork harmonise to create a warm, premium residential feel.

After listening to its customers and incorporating their feedback into the product design, Cathay Pacific was voted “World’s Best Business Class” in the 2012 Skytrax World Airline Awards™ in July, in which more than 18 million airline passengers from around the world voted.

Cathay Pacific’s new Premium Economy Class was designed with the entire customer experience in mind. It features a quieter, more spacious cabin than the traditional Economy Class with between 26 and 34 seats per aircraft. The seat pitch is 38 inches – six inches more than Economy Class – and the seat itself is wider and has a bigger recline. It has a large meal table, cocktail table, footrest, a 10.6-inch personal television, an in-seat power outlet, a multi-port connector for personal devices and extra personal stowage space.

The new long-haul Economy Class seat features a cradle mechanism to enhance the level of comfort in the recline position. Each seat comes with the latest high-resolution touch-screen personal television, a USB outlet and an iPod/iPhone outlet to allow passengers to connect their own mobile devices to view content through their personal television. The seat also offers improved living space and more personal storage space.

Cathay Pacific General Manager South Asia, Middle East & Africa Charlie Stewart-Cox said: “At Cathay Pacific, we always do our best to make our customers feel special. We are thrilled that the new products are making an appearance on our flights from Hyderabad. This is certainly another big step in our commitment to provide outstanding products and services to our passengers in India.”

Cathay Pacific has recently introduced new award winning in-flight products in Delhi and Chennai and has also extended its presence in India with a new four-times-weekly service between Hong Kong and Hyderabad. Together with sister airline Dragonair, the group now operates 46 weekly flights from six cities in India.

oneworld News

Malaysia Airlines joins oneworld

• World’s premier airline alliance adds another leading award-winning Asian carrier

• oneworld network expanded in one of world’s fastest growing regional economies

• Malaysia Airlines aircraft unveiled in oneworld livery as part of marketing drive

• oneworld Visit Malaysia pass offered to encourage tourism throughout Malaysia

• Double miles promotion for frequent flyers to celebrate

• New benefits added for top tier oneworld frequent flyers

• Malaysian Transport Minister witnesses its welcome on board at Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia Airlines becomes part of oneworld® at midnight Kuala Lumpur time tonight, adding one of Asia’s leading airlines to the global airline alliance that aims to be the first choice for frequent international travellers the world over.

From its first flight tomorrow morning – MH386 which leaves Kuala Lumpur at 1.40 am for Shanghai Pudong – the national airline of Malaysia will be offering oneworld’s full range of services and benefits. Another key focus flight for the airline tomorrow will be the first departure by the first of its aircraft featuring the full oneworld livery – an Airbus A330-300 operating flight MH 129 to Melbourne from Kuala Lumpur at 10.15 am.

For Malaysia Airlines, joining oneworld completes the latest phase of its repositioning plan. Becoming part of the world’s premier global airline alliance will strengthen its competitiveness, enabling it to offer customers an unrivalled alliance global network served by partners including some of the best and biggest airlines in the world.

Customers benefit from expanded global network and increased competition

Malaysia Airlines, which serves more than 60 destinations in almost 30 countries, will substantially expand the alliance’s network in one of the world’s fastest growing economic powerhouses, South East Asia.

Its addition to oneworld makes Malaysia – which has one of the world’s 30 biggest national economies and with a population of almost 30 million – a home market for the alliance. Its capital Kuala Lumpur, the world’s 10th most visited city by international visitors according to the latest annual Mastercard survey, is now a oneworld hub.

Malaysia Airlines connects new 16 destinations and one country – Brunei – to the oneworld map. More significantly, it will strengthen the alliance’s connectivity between many key business cities in Asia and other parts of the world.

Its addition expands oneworld’s global coverage to 842 destinations in 156 countries, served by some 9,000 departures a day operated by a combined fleet of some 2,500 aircraft, carrying nearly 340 million passengers a year, with annual revenues of US$ 110 billion. Add oneworld’s other members elect – Qatar Airways and Sri Lankan Airlines – and the alliance network will reach 860 destinations in 159 countries.

Currently three of oneworld’s active member airlines serve three points in Malaysia, with Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Royal Jordanian flying to Kuala Lumpur, Cathay Pacific operating to Penang and its Dragonair regional affiliate to Kota Kinabalu.

New Visit Malaysia pass to encourage tourism throughout the country

Malaysia Airlines’ addition to oneworld will make travel to Malaysia from all over the world much easier, by seamlessly connecting its network to those of its new oneworld partner airlines.

To encourage travellers to experience the world renowned Malaysian Hospitality throughout the country, the airline and alliance today launch their Visit Malaysia pass, offering attractive discounts on regular published fares for domestic flights bought in conjunction with a flight on a oneworld carrier to the country. For details, see separate news release.

This new fare will be available for sale from midnight tonight – when Malaysia Airlines’ global network will be covered by oneworld’s extensive full range of alliance fares and sales products.

‘Double miles’ offer to frequent flyer members to celebrate

The 2 million members of Malaysia Airlines’ Enrich loyalty programme will from midnight tonight enjoy the full range of oneworld frequent flyer benefits when travelling with any oneworld member airline worldwide – airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines (see notes below), Qantas, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and around 30 affiliated airlines.

Enrich members will be able to earn and redeem miles on any oneworld flight. In celebration of the airline’s addition to the alliance, they will receive double Enrich award miles when flying on Malaysia Airlines’ oneworld partners between 15 February 2013 and 15 April 2013 on tickets bought from today to 15 April 2013 (see notes below).

Enrich Platinum cardholders will have Emerald status in the oneworld programme. Enrich Gold will be equivalent to oneworld Sapphire and Enrich Silver will be oneworld Ruby.

From midnight tonight, Enrich Platinum and Gold members will be able to use any of the 550 airport lounges worldwide offered by oneworld member airlines whenever they fly with any of the alliance’s carriers (see notes below).

Also from midnight tonight, the 125 million members of the established oneworld airlines’ frequent flyer programmes will be able to earn and redeem awards and tier status points and receive all other oneworld benefits when flying Malaysia Airlines. (See notes below)

To celebrate the addition of the new recruit to oneworld, members of established member airlines’ loyalty programmes will receive double the normal mileage awards when flying on Malaysia Airlines between 15 February 2013 and 15 April 2013 on tickets bought from today to 15 April 2013`, to mark its addition to the alliance.

For further details of the frequent flyer promotion, see separate news release.
New benefits for top tier frequent flyers

As part of its strategy of positioning itself as the first choice airline alliance for frequent international travelers, oneworld is marking the addition of Malaysia Airlines by adding tomorrow two key new benefits for top tier frequent flyer cardholders in any oneworld member airline frequent flyer programme.

From midnight tonight, frequent flyer cardholders with oneworld Emerald status will be entitled to:

An extra checked baggage allowance, above the standard limit for the cabin class in which they are traveling – either one additional item where the piece concept applies, or an extra 20 kg (44 lbs) where the weight concept applies – when they fly on any oneworld member airline.
Use fast track lanes through security when flying from select key airports worldwide on select oneworld member airlines.
For further details of these new frequent flyer benefits, see separate news release.
Malaysia Airlines A330-300 in alliance livery headlines drive to highlight oneworld membership

Malaysia Airlines today unveiled the first aircraft in its fleet to be decorated in a special oneworld livery – one of its 10 latest Airbus A330-300s – spearheading a massive marketing drive to promote the airline’s addition to the alliance.

The distinct design features “oneworld” in 6 ft (2 metre) high blue letters along a white fuselage and the airline’s standard tailfin, serving as a huge flying billboard highlighting that Malaysia Airlines is now offering the full range of oneworld services and benefits.

Malaysia Airlines Group Chief Executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya was joined by visiting CEOs from other oneworld member airlines to roll out the aircraft with its new look from the company’s hangar at Kuala Lumpur International Airport this morning. Its first flight in its new design will be tomorrow (Friday 1 February) to Melbourne, as flight MH 129, departing from Kuala Lumpur at 10.15 am.

Before then, overnight tonight oneworld logos will be applied by the side passenger entrance doors on Malaysia Airlines’ entire fleet of 88 aircraft as part of a massive rebranding programme that will also see the alliance logo added virtually wherever the Malaysia Airlines’ name is displayed – at airport check-in desks and signage, on its website, tickets, boarding passes and all items of stationery.

Malaysia Airlines’ addition to oneworld tomorrow will be promoted with of one of the biggest marketing campaigns in the airline’s history, too, with an extensive advertising campaign to highlight the new alliance services and benefits available to its customers.

All cardholders in its Enrich frequent flyer programme have been sent new membership cards, bearing the oneworld logo and “gemstone” tier indicator, to ensure they receive their alliance benefits from tomorrow when travelling throughout the entire oneworld global network.

Malaysia Airlines’ addition to oneworld completes what has been one of the biggest projects in the airline’s history, with working groups covering some 20 streams of activity, bringing its various internal processes and procedures into line with the alliance’s requirements, and running extensive employee training and communications programmes.

Since accepting its invitation to join the alliance in June 2011, Malaysia Airlines has expanded its code-sharing relationships to four established oneworld partners – Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines and Royal Jordanian.

Qantas has been supporting Malaysia Airlines through its alliance implementation project, as its oneworld sponsor airline, with backing from the central oneworld team.

Behind the scenes, the project has been smoothed by oneworld’s new information technology (IT) hub, using latest “cloud” and web-based technology, which makes it easier, more efficient and faster to link new airlines into the alliance. Malaysia Airlines is the second alliance recruit to benefit.

CEOs and senior executives from all oneworld airlines attend joining ceremony

Chief Executives and senior executives from all oneworld member airlines gathered at Malaysia Airlines’ Kuala Lumpur home base today to welcome on board the alliance’s latest recruit.

After hosting a press conference, they joined some 500 other VIP guests from across Malaysia’s travel and tourism sector, and the Malaysia Airlines’ team that had worked on the oneworld project, at a gala dinner at which the guest of honour was Malaysia’s Minister of Transport Dato’ Seri Kong Cho Ha.

Among those joining Group Chief Executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya at today’s ceremony were senior executives from all oneworld member airlines and members elect including:

Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce.
oneworld CEO Bruce Ashby.
Cathay Pacific Airways Chief Executive John Slosar
Finnair President and Chief Executive Mika Vehvilainen
Japan Airlines Chairman Masaru Onishi.
Member elect SriLankan Airlines Chairman Nishantha Wickramasinghe and Chief Executive Kapila Chandrasena.
What the CEOs said

Group Chief Executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said: “Becoming a member of oneworld is one of the most significant landmarks in Malaysia Airlines’ history. It will strengthen our competitive position considerably, enabling us to offer our customers a truly global network together with our partners who include some of the best and biggest airlines in the world. At the same time, it will enable us to benefit from all the financial benefits that come from being part of a global alliance, through additional passenger feed and the learning from best practices that it affords. As an airline that has always be proud to offer the highest quality Malaysian Hospitality, we are very pleased and honoured to be lining up as part of what is clearly the world’s top quality airline grouping.”

Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce added: “Qantas has been delighted to support Malaysia Airlines throughout its oneworld joining process, and we are very pleased now to be able to welcome another great airline on board the world’s premier global airline alliance.”

oneworld Chief Executive Bruce Ashby stated: “oneworld aims to be the first choice alliance for the world’s frequent international travellers – with an unrivalled collection of quality carriers, delivering unmatched benefits to customers and to member airlines alike. That remains our focus today, as the alliance adds another great airline. Malaysia Airlines strengthens the alliance’s offering in the growing economic powerhouse of South East Asia, just as we expect oneworld to strengthen Malaysia Airlines’ competitive and financial positions.”
Logos, photographs and video

Logos and photographs for oneworld, Malaysia and the alliance’s other member airlines can be downloaded in high resolution print quality format from http://www.oneworld.com/news-information/image-gallery and from facebook.com/malaysiaairlines

About Malaysia Airlines

Malaysia Airlines serves more than 60 destinations in almost 30 countries across Asia, Australasia, Middle East, Europe, and North America, including oneworld hubs Hong Kong, London Heathrow, Los Angeles, Sydney and Tokyo Narita.

Its present fleet of 88 aircraft – including its flagship Airbus A380s – operates more than 250 departures a day. It boarded 13 million passengers in 2011, generating revenues of MYR 13.6 billion (US$ 4.5 billion).

Malaysia Airlines describes its distinctive brand as an extension of the special culture of warmth and friendliness unique to Malaysians. This inimitable Malaysian sense of graciousness is branded as “Malaysian Hospitality” and symbolized by the acronym MH, which is also the airline’s flight code.

Both Malaysia Airlines and its Kuala Lumpur hub are among the industry’s most frequent winners of awards for quality service. Malaysia Airlines itself has won the World’s Best Cabin Staff title from the UK based Skytrax airline quality rating agency in seven of the past 11 years.

Last year, Malaysia Airlines marked the entry of its first A380 into its fleet by having its Five-Star Airline status renewed by Skytrax – as the airline embarked on a series of improvements to reposition it as a premium carrier.

About oneworld

oneworld is an alliance of the world’s leading airlines committed to providing the highest level of service and convenience to frequent international travellers. oneworld airlines include airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines, and around 30 affiliates. SriLankan Airlines and Qatar Airways are on track to join soon.

Between them, these airlines:

Serve some 860 airports in almost 160 countries, with more than 9,300 daily departures.
Carry almost a million passengers a day on a combined fleet of more than 2,500 aircraft.
Generate nearly US$ 120 billion annual revenues in total.
oneworld member airlines work together to deliver consistently a superior, seamless travel experience, with special privileges and rewards for frequent flyers, including earning and redeeming miles and points across the entire alliance network. Top tier cardholders (Emerald and Sapphire) enjoy access to some 550 airport lounges. The most regular travellers (Emerald) can also use fast track security lanes at select airports and extra baggage allowances.

oneworld is currently the holder of three leading international awards for airline alliances – named the Best Airline Alliance by Global Traveler in its GT Tested Reader Survey 2012 Awards for the third year running, the World’s Leading Airline Alliance in the 2012 World Travel Awards for the 10th year running, and Australian Business Traveller Best Airline Alliance in 2012 for the second year running.


Boeing to Showcase Range of Advanced Capabilities at Aero India 2013

BANGALORE, India, Feb. 1, 2013 ‒ Boeing [NYSE: BA] will showcase a broad range of aerospace capabilities at the upcoming Aero India 2013 show, to be held Feb. 6-10 at Air Force Station Yelahanka in Bengaluru.
Boeing’s exhibit in Hall E will feature commercial and defense products and services of interest to India, including a P-8 mobile console, a Maritime Surveillance Aircraft console and a Virtual Maintenance Training Demo. Product models will include the will include the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, 777-300ER (Extended Range) and 737 MAX commercial airplanes, as well as the C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifter, P-8I maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft, AH-64D Apache attack helicopter, CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift transport helicopter, and V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. Boeing subsidiary Insitu will display full-scale models of the ScanEagle and Integrator unmanned aerial vehicles in the Boeing exhibit.
A C-17 Globemaster III military transport will fly at the show and go on static display for visitors.

Boeing will hold a series of media briefings during the show, as listed below. Media attending the show should check the briefing schedule daily at the media centre for updates.
The company will keep the news media and the public updated about activities at the show at http://boeing.com/AeroIndia2013/ and through Twitter feeds @BoeingAirplanes, @BoeingDefense and @Boeing.

Note: All times listed below are local to Bengaluru.

WEDNESDAY, February 6

15:30 P-8I – Performing to Plan Briefing – Press Conference room (50-seater), Media Hall, Aero India Venue
P-8I Program Manager Leland Wight briefs reporters on Boeing’s performance to plan on the P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft program. The P-8I, designed specifically for the Indian Navy, is the next generation in maritime patrol and reconnaissance, and will provide maritime security for India.

THURSDAY, February 7

12:00 Boeing Commercial Airplanes Overview – Press Conference room (50-seater), Media Hall, Aero India Venue
Dinesh Keskar, senior vice president of Asia Pacific and India Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, provides an overview of the Indian commercial aviation market and the Boeing products and services that are the backbone of the industry.

15:00 ScanEagle Tour and Briefing – Boeing Stand E1.10
Dale McDowell, Insitu Pacific director of Business Development and Strategy, briefs reporters on the capabilities of the ScanEagle and Integrator unmanned aerial vehicles and conducts a tour of two full-size models.


CASSIDIAN appoints Peter Gutsmiedl as first Head of Asia-Pacific

New role complements existing position as India CEO
Cassidian sees considerable growth potential in Asia
India operations set to expand into regional hub
1 February 2013 – Cassidian has appointed Peter Gutsmiedl as the company’s head of operations in Asia-Pacific. Gutsmiedl takes up this newly created role in addition to his position as India CEO.

Gutsmiedl’s additional responsibility for the region reflects a realignment of Cassidian’s business structure. To better tap growth opportunities worldwide, Cassidian has reorganized its newly integrated Sales and International Operations Division along the lines of three major regions: Asia-Pacific, Americas and Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA). As the in-charge of Asia Pacific, Gutsmiedl supports the recently appointed Cassidian Chief Sales Officer Christian Scherer.

“India plays a strategic role for us and continues to be the main focus in Asia”, explains Cassidian CEO Bernhard Gerwert. “In addition to further increasing our industrial footprint in India, we also plan to tap considerable growth potential in the wider region.” Commenting on the new leadership appointment, Gerwert adds: “Peter Gutsmiedl has been instrumental in positioning Cassidian for a comprehensive long-term partnership with India. He is the perfect choice for also strengthening Cassidian’s reach in other Asian markets, while building on our established Indian base.”

Welcoming his new responsibility, Gutsmiedl says: “I am looking forward to expanding Cassidian’s Indian operations into a springboard for strong and sustained growth in Asia-Pacific. The capabilities at our Engineering Center in Bengaluru allow Cassidian to customize products from our global portfolio according to local requirements. This gives Cassidian a competitive advantage in India which we can also leverage to target other Asian markets with similar requirements.”

Besides combat aircraft opportunities, Cassidian sees potential especially in the areas of professional mobile radio, avionics for fighter aircraft and helicopters, radar/EW systems and border control systems and infrastructure in the region.

As a regional hub, India gains further importance for Cassidian. The company is committed to establishing a world-class defence industrial footprint there and is working towards plugging India firmly into its global value chain. In its Engineering Center in Bengaluru, around 60 Indian engineers are engaged in challenging assignments. Cassidian is also consulting the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) on topics related to India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), besides jointly reviewing an indigenous Airborne Early Warning & Control Radar (AEW&C) system with the same organisation. Recently, Cassidian India was awarded the globally recognized aerospace industry quality certification EN/AS 9100 – another example of continuously deepening engagement.

About Peter Gutsmiedl
Peter Gutsmiedl (55) has more than two decades of experience in various senior and board level roles at Cassidian. He has played a key role in the success of Cassidian programmes related to Eurofighter Typhoon, Tornado, F-18, F-4, A400M, AWACS, Euro Hawk and several UAV programmes. Before taking up the position of India CEO, Gutsmiedl served as Head of Engineering at Cassidian Air Systems. He was also Head of Programme Management for Strike Aircraft & Airborne Mission Systems. Peter Gutsmiedl holds a PhD in Physics from the Technical University of Munich.

About CASSIDIAN (www.cassidian.com)

Cassidian, an EADS company, is a worldwide leader in global security solutions and systems, providing Lead Systems Integration and value-added products and services to civil and military customers around the globe: air systems (aircraft and unmanned aerial systems), land, naval and joint systems, intelligence and surveillance, cyber security, secure communications, test systems, missiles, services and support solutions. In 2011, Cassidian – with around 23,000 employees – achieved revenues of € 5.8 billion. EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2011, the Group – comprising the Divisions Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of € 49.1 billion and employed a workforce of more than 133,000.


AOPA and ALEA TAKE ACTION ON NTSB SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS

Feb. 1, 2013

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman today praised two organizations for their response to NTSB safety recommendations.

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association took action that exceeded the NTSBs recommendations following the investigation into the Aug. 9, 2010 airplane accident in Alaska that killed former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens. The NTSB recommended that AOPA educate pilots about the benefits of notifying passengers about the location and operation of survival and emergency communication equipment aboard the airplane.

In response, AOPA produced a video to educate pilots about briefing passengers on emergency equipment such as basic VHF radio operation, the cockpit emergency locator transmitter switch and the location of emergency gear. The video also included a sample passenger safety briefing. AOPA also developed a printable checklist for use in the aircraft. All this information is available on its website at www.aopa.org/asf/video/passenger-safety-briefing.html.

“This is a perfect example of an organization embracing not only the letter, but the spirit of our recommendation,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, chairman of the NTSB. “This will result in a higher level of safety for general aviation passengers, who often are friends and family.”

Hersman also praised the action of the Airborne Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission in implementing multiple NTSB recommendations as a result of its investigation into the June 9, 2009 crash of a helicopter operated by the New Mexico State Police. The NTSB recommended rest standards to prevent pilot fatigue, training in encountering instrument meteorological conditions and encouraged the installation of flight-tracking equipment and 406-megahertz emergency locator transmitters on their aircraft.

“The fact that the Airborne Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission implemented all of the NTSB’s recommendations in just six months is to be highly commended,” Hersman said.


NTSB issues seventh update on JAL Boeing 787 battery fire investigation

February 1, 2013

WASHINGTON – The National Transportation Safety Board today released the seventh update on its investigation into the Jan. 7 fire aboard a Japan Airlines Boeing 787 at Logan International Airport in Boston.

The auxiliary power unit battery, manufactured by GS Yuasa, was the original battery delivered with the airplane on December 20, 2012. It is comprised of eight individual cells. All eight cells came from the same manufacturing lot in July 2012. The battery was assembled in September 2012 and installed on the aircraft on October 15, 2012. It was first charged on October 19, 2012.

Examination and testing of an exemplar battery got underway earlier this week at the Carderock Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center laboratories in West Bethesda, MD. The tests consisted of electrical measurements, mass measurements, and infrared thermal imaging of each cell, with no anomalies noted. The cells are currently undergoing CT scanning to examine their internal condition. In addition, on Thursday, a battery expert from the Department of Energy joined the investigative team to lend his expertise to the ongoing testing and validation work.

NTSB investigators were made aware of reports of prior battery replacements on aircraft in the 787 fleet, early in the investigation. As reported Tuesday, Boeing, a party to the investigation, is providing pertinent fleet information which investigators will review to determine if there is any relevance to the JAL investigation.

An investigative group continued to interpret data from the two digital flight data recorders on the aircraft, and is examining recorded signals to determine if they might yield additional information about the performance of the battery and the operation of the charging system.

Next week, the NTSB battery testing team will initiate a non-invasive “soft short“ test of all cells of the exemplar battery. This test will reveal the presence of any high resistance, small or “soft” shorts within a cell. Also, an NTSB investigator will travel to France with the battery contactor from the JAL event battery, for examination at the manufacturer. The battery contactor connects a wiring bundle from the airplane to the battery.

Investigators are continuing their work in Washington and Japan and the team in Seattle continues to observe the FAA-led review of the certification process for the 787 battery system. The flow of information from these observations helps to inform NTSB investigative activity in the US and around the world.

Additional information on the NTSB’s investigation of the Japan Airlines B-787 battery fire in Boston is available at http://go.usa.gov/4K4J.

The NTSB will provide another factual update as developments warrant. To be alerted to any updates or developments, follow the NTSB on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ntsb.


MINISTER APPRECIATES AIR INDIA’S ROLE IN HAJ OPERATIONS 2012

Hon’ble Union Minister of Civil Aviation Mr. Ajit Singh has appreciated the commendable performance of Air India and its employees who were associated with the Haj Operations 2012, in a letter sent to Air India’s Chairman & Managing Director Mr. Rohit Nandan. “It shall be a matter of great satisfaction for me if Air India continues to provide such efficient and successful services for Haj Operations in future also”, the minister added.

Air India transported over 54000 of the total of 1.25 lakh Haj pilgrims for the year 2012, from 11 embarkation stations, some of which were smaller and critical airports like Srinagar, Bhopal, Jaipur, Indore, Ahmedabad, Ranchi, Kolkata, Mangalore, Gaya, Bangalore. “It is a matter of great pleasure that in spite of all odds, Air India completed the Haj Operations – 2012 in a highly professional and efficient way”, said the Minister.

Air India deployed two B747-400 aircraft, two A330 aircraft from its own fleet. In addition it also chartered one A310 and two A320 aircraft. A few flights were also operated with B737 aircraft. Air India operated nearly 400 special flights for the Haj pilgrims in two phases – First phase from 17th September 2012 to 20th October 2012 and the Second phase from 1st November 2012 to 2nd December 2012.

For the first time, Air India introduced city check-in at Mecca and Medina, where baggage was collected 24 hours in advance, thus facilitating passengers to report at the airport with hand baggage only. As a national carrier, Air India has been undertaking special Haj flight operations for many years now.

The performance of the National Carrier has been highly appreciated by all including the Haj Committee of India, the State Haj committees, the Consul General of India in Jeddah, the airport operators at Jeddah and Madina, the General Authority for Civil Aviation in Saudi Arabia, the Haj Ministry in Saudi Arabia and the pilgrims in general.


Bengaluru Gears up to Host Aero-India 2013

Aero India, the largest Air Show in Asia and one of the world’s most important military aviation exhibitions, is all set to kick start at Air Force Station Yelahanka, Bengaluru from the 06th February to 10th February 2013. This biennial air show and aviation exhibition which is organised by the Defence Ministry of India along with the Indian Air Force, Defence Research and Development Organisation, Department of Space and the Union Civil Aviation Ministry aims at showcasing the range of products and services offered by the Indian Defence Industry in the international market. It also provides an exposure to Indian Armed Forces, R & D personnel and young engineers, to the latest technologies and advancements in the Aviation and Aerospace Industries.

The Ninth edition of Aero India 2013 would be inaugurated by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony on the 06 February 2013. The participation in Aero India has grown exponentially by both, Indian and international industry since the first edition, in December 1996. This growth has immensely contributed towards modernization of the aviation and aerospace sector of the three wings of the Armed Forces of India.

The Growth Trajectory

While Aero India 2011 saw the participation of exhibitors from 29 countries with more than 600 companies and gross exhibition area of 75,000 Sqm, the Ninth Edition of this International Aerospace Exhibition is expected to see the participation of over 700 companies and 78 overseas delegations covering an approximate gross exhibition area of 1,25,000 Sqm. Major participants in this are companies from the United States, Israel, Russia, France, UK, Germany and Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Ukraine, Australia, Belarus, Czech Republic, Japan, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Netherlands, Romania, Sweden, UAE and Singapore.

Major Attractions

This edition of Aero India would see the participation of the world famous aerobatic team from the Czech Republic popularly known as the ‘Flying Bulls’ or ‘Red Bulls’, the Russian Air Force aerobatic team ‘Russian Knights’ and our favorite Indian Air Force ‘Sarang’ helicopter aerobatic display team comprising indigenous Dhruv helicopters.

Youth Pavilion

With an aim to reach out to the youth of the country a Youth Pavilion dedicated to encouraging participation from undergraduate students from prominent engineering colleges of India has been initiated this year. This novel initiative intends targeting young Indian minds and stimulating them to focus towards development in the field of Aviation and Technology in general and military aviation in particular.

The Domestic Participation

The leader of the Indian representation (DRDO – ADA) with the largest indoor & outdoor area of approx. 2561 sq m, is closely followed by HAL, BEL and TATA. This edition has seen a large increase in participation by medium and small Indian and Foreign industries.

International Participation

The largest international participation indoor (area-wise) is by the USA and outdoor by EADS. USA is followed by Israel and Russia in this category. Maximum participants from any single country is from USA , followed by France , UK , Russia , Germany , Israel and Belgium .

A total of 27 countries are participating with 10 country pavilions namely Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Israel, Russia, Germany, France, USA, UK and Ukraine.

Media and PR

The Aero India show has elicited the interest of media from across the globe and an unprecedented number of journalists have registered themselves for the event. A Sate of the art Media Centre with all modern facilities and workspace is provided to the media personnel at the venue. A large number of Press Conferences are scheduled to be held at the two media halls where the participating companies would meaningfully engage with the media and various other stake holders.

Visitors and Security

Improving upon the past air shows, a large number of initiatives have been taken to improve upon the visitor’s experience and security this time. Registration for visitors to the air show and sale of tickets is online, wherein a unique ID would be generated on filling the details. The tickets can then be collected from 10 ticket collection centers in the city on production of the unique ID generated. Photo ID is mandatory for entry to the air show. There is NO CASH sale of tickets for the air show this time. For details please visit www.aeroindia.in .

Layered security would be provided by the state police and specialised security agencies including the DSC, CISF, Para SF and GARUD commandos. A comprehensive security plan with Counter Terrorism Squads, Bomb Disposal Squad and CCTV surveillance is in place. Likewise, a comprehensive disaster management plan has been put in place and exercised to cater for various contingencies.


VIRGIN ATLANTIC TAKES FINE ART TO THE SKIES

Airline collaborates with British artist, Ben Eine, to launch first ever commercial art gallery in the air

In a world first, Virgin Atlantic has launched a commercial art gallery at 35,000ft, offering Upper Class passengers flying between London and New York the opportunity to view, and purchase, a series of one-of-a-kind paintings by renowned British artist, Ben Eine, all from the comfort of their seat.

The Gallery in the Air, which takes place between 1 to 28 February 2013, is the latest cutting-edge initiative from Virgin Atlantic to further enhance passengers’ inflight shopping and entertainment experience, taking the display and sale of fine art into uncharted territory. Long-haul travellers wishing to experience the Gallery in the Air’s first exhibition – which will feature a collection of ten bespoke works of art priced between £2,500 and £15,000 in Ben Eine’s trademark typography style – are able to book their seats now on the Virgin Atlantic website. Each piece is inspired by the adventurous and innovative spirit of Virgin Atlantic, its entrepreneurial owner Richard Branson, and the iconic transatlantic cities of London and New York.

Upper Class passengers will be able to enjoy the art gallery experience at every step of their journey. The eye-catching canvases will be on display across the London Heathrow, JFK and Newark Clubhouses and, as passengers take their seats, they can take a virtual tour of the Gallery in the Air, look behind-the-scenes at the making of the Virgin Atlantic artworks by Eine in his studio and buy the unique pieces of art for themselves in exactly the same way as they would a duty-free shopping purchase.

Eine is famed for his striking and cutting-edge street art style featuring vibrant and often controversial letters and phrases. He shot to international fame when David Cameron presented one of his works to President Obama as a gift on his first official state visit in 2010, but is perhaps best known for ‘Alphabet Street’ – the shutters and murals he painted in his trademark colours and typography in Middlesex Street, London.

To create the Gallery in the Air, Eine not only called upon his own experiences of the airline and his view on the two transatlantic cities of London and New York, but also undertook research on Sir Richard Branson himself, reading his biographies and watching many of his inspirational speeches. The resulting artworks feature words and phrases including: ‘VIRGIN ON THE IMPOSSIBLE’, ‘NOTHING TO LOSE’, ‘GREAT ADVENTURE’ and ‘MAN AND HIS MACHINES’ as well as ‘NEW YORK SAUCE’, ‘AFTERNOON TEA’ and ‘TWENTY FIRST CENTURY METROPOLIS’ – the latter of which is an update of the canvas that currently hangs in the White House.

Ben Eine, artist, says:
“My philosophy through all my work, be it on canvas or on the street, is about pushing boundaries and not simply going with the flow because everyone else is doing something a certain way. I respect Virgin Atlantic’s brave and challenging attitude and the way it goes against the grain, so I jumped at the chance to be part of the first ever Gallery in the Air. We have created a completely original way of appreciating and buying art – a new frontier for the industry.”
An addition to the Gallery in the Air collection, set to be on display at the London Heathrow Clubhouse, is a one-of-a-kind, not for sale portrait of Virgin Atlantic founder, Sir Richard Branson, built up of hundreds of pixels in a similar style to another of Eine’s iconic pieces – a portrait of HRH Prince Charles which resides on the side of a building in his hometown of Hastings.

Sir Richard Branson says:
“We like to do things differently at Virgin Atlantic and are always finding new ways to surprise and entertain our customers. Our new Gallery in the Air is the first ever commercial art gallery in the sky and is a good example of this.
“I am a huge fan of Ben’s work and like us, he does things differently and doesn’t follow the crowd. We’re delighted to be working with him, mixing things up a bit and having a bit of fun along the way”

The Gallery in the Air with Ben Eine is set to be the first in a series of unique on-board collaborations with renowned artists, and is the latest feature of Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class cabin that aims to enhance the passenger experience on long-haul flights.

Following a £100M investment in early 2012, the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class cabin has received a number of significant enhancements in recent months. With luxury and comfort at its heart, the cabin sets a new standard for the industry and boasts an in-flight bar and social area, newly designed seats, ambient lighting, a cutting edge in-flight entertainment system and even custom glassware and tableware, making it the most luxurious way to travel by air.

About Devesh Agarwal

A global frequent flyer with over 20 years and four million air miles, he combines his knowledge, experience, skills and passion in aviation, product management, branding, social media, logistics and marketing on Bangalore Aviation. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter. A product management expert he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010.
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