United’s next steps for improving accessibility

United’s next steps for improving accessibility

United Airlines has announced its next steps in making the travel experience more accessible for people in wheelchairs.

Early next year, the airline are launching a new digital filter on their website enabling passengers to determine which aircraft can accommodate different sized chairs and refunding the fare difference. One catalyst for the change was an investigation surrounding the mishandling of a wheelchair on a United flight.


Image credit: United Airlines


Explaining the new feature, the United website detailed:

The new flight filter will enable customers to enter the dimensions of their personal wheelchair as part of the flight search. The search results will prioritize flight options on aircraft with cargo hold doors large enough to accommodate the wheelchair dimensions. The size of aircraft cargo hold doors varies, so some aircraft are better able than others to handle larger motorized wheelchairs, which must travel upright.

Additionally, United are beginning a six-month pilot program at George Bush intercontinental Airport in Houston to establish better procedure in the event a wheelchair is damaged or delayed in transit. The airline also recently became the first US airline to add Braille to aircraft interiors, redesigned their mobile app for ease of use for passengers with visual disabilities, and integrated new mobile tech for ramp agents.


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Emirates and Shell ink landmark agreement on SAF at DXB

Emirates and Shell ink landmark agreement on SAF at DXB

Yesterday, a sustainability-centred agreement was signed between two giants in the industry: Emirates and Shell Aviation.

Securing over 300,000 gallons of blended SAF at Emirates’ international hub in Dubai (DXB), the agreement marks a significant step forward for the world-renowned airline. It is also the first time SAF will be supplied through the DXB airport fuelling system.

Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline said:

“We hope that this collaboration develops further to provide an ongoing future supply of SAF in our hub, as there are currently no production facilities for SAF in the UAE.  Aviation plays a vital role in Dubai and the wider UAE economy, and we look forward to continue collaborating with like-minded organisations and government entities to look at viable solutions that introduce more SAF, a fuel that is currently extremely limited in supply, into the aviation fuel supply chain and support Emirates’ efforts to reduce emissions across our operations.” 

Leading UAE’s sustainability drive, Emirates also completed the first 100 per cent SAF-powered demonstration flight earlier this year and is actively participating in a range of industry and UAE government working groups to scale the production of SAF.


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AI in aviation with Glenn Morgan

AI in aviation with Glenn Morgan

“The aviation industry is a key area where AI can play a really significant factor. It goes from everything like personalised customer service, dynamic pricing, predictive maintenance, flight operations optimisation. To everything through from baggage tracking to handling of systems, biometrics and identity, autonomous vehicles, moving towards a dark airport, and robots…”

Reflecting on the significance of AI in the industry, Glenn Morgan, MD, Airfusion Ventures highlighted some of emerging trends to look out for at the World Aviation Festival.

Joining as a moderator for several AI panels at the event, Glenn will be covering the tech’s human adoption, applications on the ground, and much more with representatives from airlines including Emirates, easyJet, United, and Cathay Pacific.

As MD, Airfusion Ventures, and an active investor in AI companies, Glenn is well positioned to engage in dynamic discussions around aviation’s engagement with upcoming technologies. Airfusion Ventures is an innovation advisory firm building bridges between leading global corporations and the emerging tech economy. As IATA Chair, Glenn also launched the industry airline digital retailing program NDC, one Order.

Watch the full discussion below to hear Glenn’s thoughts on applications of AI in the industry and a short introduction into his sessions.



For more on what to expect at the event see:


Changi to introduce passport-free immigration clearance

Changi to introduce passport-free immigration clearance

Yesterday, the Immigration (Amendment) Bill was passed to allow for end-to-end biometric clearance at the airport and checkpoints. From the first half of 2024, this will enable passengers departing Changi Airport to pass through automated immigration clearance without showing or scanning their passports.

Josephine Teo, Second Minister for Home Affairs of Singapore said:

“This will reduce the need for passengers to repeatedly present their travel documents at these touchpoints, allowing for more seamless and convenient processing. Our immigration systems must be able to manage this high and growing volume of travellers efficiently and provide a positive clearance experience, while ensuring our security.”

The Second Minister for Home Affairs also addressed concerns that this could present problems for elderly passengers or those with disabilities, explaining that manual clearance will still be possible where necessary. Answering further questions around the use of data, Josephine continued:

“The Changi Airport Group (CAG) will be bound by the terms of a data sharing agreement with ICA. It puts the onus on CAG to take all reasonable measures to ensure that the data is protected against unauthorised access, use, disclosure, modification or misuse. This includes setting up relevant access controls such as ‘Two-Factor Authentication’. ICA will audit CAG’s compliance and conduct regular checks on CAG’s system.”

Using biometrics to create a “single token of authentication” is predicted to enhance the efficiency of passenger processing at the airport and empower Changi to manage the increasing number of travellers passing through its gates.


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AI that “gives you back time.” Maximising predictive data with FlightAware

AI that “gives you back time.” Maximising predictive data with FlightAware

The industry’s become really good at using that data and those tools at optimization on days where things are going well and delivering a really good experience for passengers. But I think where AI in particular has a place is the bad days, the days where there’s weather or some other issue. And then once those delays start, the whole system becomes more challenging and unpredictable.”

Paul Gibson, VP of product at FlightAware explained AI’s potential for elevating operations. Predictive data can help to guide airports and airlines, optimising their available resources and improving decision-making. As the industry battles with increased disruption from extreme weather and staff shortages, the ability to harness the full power of data using AI can open up a considerable competitive advantage.

Looking towards the future, Paul also pointed out several ways the uses of AI will evolve from longer term predictions around mass disruption to sustainability.

Get your ticket for the World Aviation Festival to hear more from Paul who will be joining speakers from Emirates and United Airlines, answering the question, “How can we better-integrate AI to improve overall operations?”



FlightAware, is best known for the flight tracking website and app, but it specialises in collecting data from multiple sources to tell the story of each flight. The data is then interpreted and enriched, including with some AI technology to deliver information to customers so they can use it to empower their business. For two years, FlightAware has been part of the Collin’s Aerospace family, enabling an even greater impact on the industry.

For more on what to expect at this year’s World Aviation Festival see:


Industry trends and event insights with Sinead Finn

Industry trends and event insights with Sinead Finn

Sinead Finn, Founder, affinnity joined for a brief discussion in preparation for the World Aviation Festival. The conversation touched on notable trends shaping the industry landscape, a glimpse into her upcoming sessions, and a comment on the event’s evolution.

Discussing the Revenue Management panel that Sinead will be moderating, the affinnity Founder explained:

“I’m really excited about our panellists and we’ve got some great airlines on there. So we’ve got EasyJet, we’ve got Sun Express, and Lufthansa – it’s a good spread across all the airline types. It’ll be really interesting to see what they have to say about revenue and how revenue is moving and how technology is helping.”

Sinead also highlighted two prominent trends in the industry to look out for in discussion at the event. Firstly, the loyalty shift towards building relationships beyond travel, rooted in an elevated understanding of individual customers. Secondly, the cost of sustainability going forward and how airlines will navigate this.

Watch the full interview below.



For more on what to expect at World Aviation Festival see:


Reducing disruption with climate resilience: Extreme weather

Reducing disruption with climate resilience: Extreme weather

Reducing disruption with climate resilience: Extreme weather


SITA recently published an article on leveraging technology for climate resilience. It highlighted that disruption caused by weather conditions account for 75 per cent of air traffic delays, “costing airlines billions of dollars each year in extra fuel, maintenance, crew, and compensation expenses.”

Patrick Edmond, Managing Director, Altair Advisory told Aviation News:

“Airlines have always had to deal with disruption, often caused by extreme weather. The reality of climate change is that this kind of disruption will become more frequent – whether it’s due to extreme high or low temperatures, wind, rain, or snow – and increasingly airlines will have to treat this as ‘business as usual’ instead of something exceptional.”

Extreme weather events are on the rise and, although they are just one of the many symptoms of climate change, they form the focus of this article. Confronted with the challenges of a hostile climate, the industry’s response comes in two broad parts:

The first, a push towards sustainable aviation. The industry must resolve its negative contribution to climate change; this requires extensive investment and commitment, willingness to embrace new technologies, and experimentation with alternative energy sources.

The second, which is explored here, is climate resilience: the need to adapt to the environmental consequences of climate change. This will enable the industry to navigate the impact of complex weather conditions whilst minimising disruption for passengers.


The impact of extreme weather on the industry

An informal survey by the World Aviation Festival had a look at the impact of extreme weather events on travel experiences and the results can be seen below.



Although this was just a small sample to canvas opinion on the topic, wider research shows the number of extreme weather events has grown “substantially” over the past 10-15 years and this has very tangible consequences for travel. As these events become more frequent and intense with the rising global temperature, this translates to delays, cancellations, and more disruption to passengers.

EUROCONTROL’s article, ‘Understanding the impact of climate change on aviation’ highlighted several of the ways weather events impacted the industry, ranging from damaged communications equipment, flooded control towers, and even melted runways when, in 2012, high temperatures melted the tarmac at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, trapping a plane as its wheel became stuck.

In addition to disrupting operations, the necessary counter actions themselves can result in further sustainability setbacks.

Research by Professor Paul Williams found that flight paths may become more convoluted to avoid stronger and more frequent patches of turbulence, lengthening some journey times and increasing the overall consumption of jet fuel. Similarly, the EUROCONTROL article reports that in 2019, over 1 million km were flown as a result of avoiding a major storm. This corresponds to over 6,000t of extra fuel consumed, or over 19,000t of CO2 produced.


Climate resilience

While the industry strives to meet sustainability targets, it must also build climate resilience to combat the challenges posed by climate change.

ICAO describes aviation climate resilience as:

“The ability for the aviation system operations and infrastructure to be able to withstand and recover from external perturbation resulting from the impacts of climate change. Therefore, anticipation of and adaptation to these impacts are vital to ensure a reduction in the magnitude of consequences of climate change to the whole aviation system.”

Technology plays a pivotal role in climate resilience. Innovative solutions help to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from adversities caused by climate change. These include but are not limited to, advanced air traffic management (ATM) systems, remote sensing and satellite technologies, and advanced weather forecasting systems. A couple of examples of technologies employed to address the surge in extreme weather occurrences include:

American Airlines’ HEAT tool which “dynamically moves flight schedules around to ensure that customers, crew, and aircraft keep moving when weather threatens to disrupt the schedule.” HEAT optimises data about weather, customer connections, gate availability, volume of passengers on each flight, and any air traffic control or crew constraints. American’s algorithm has so far prevented nearly 1,000 flight cancellations across their network.

SITA eWAS and SITA Mission Watch. This aggregates multiple weather feeds, ensuring accuracy and reliability in weather forecasts. These solutions provide pilots and dispatchers with high-resolution, real-time, 4D weather forecasts, enabling them to visualize flight plans over weather conditions.

In building climate resilience, it is imperative the industry invests in and leverages cutting edge technology. At World Aviation Festival,  there will be a specific IROPS Summit looking at how to manage disruption by utilising technology. The sessions will include speakers from AirAsia, WestJet, Lufthansa, KLM, and more.

Additionally, sustainability will form a core topic at the event exploring everything from digitalisation, ecosystem collaboration, and preparing for optimal SAF production, in the first day alone. Speakers include Lauren Riley, Chief Sustainability Officer and Managing Director, Global Environmental Affairs at United Airlines, and Jane Ashton, Sustainability Director at easyJet. Patrick Edmond will be moderating a panel asking “When can we expect the industry to be prepared for optimal SAF production, and what will this bring?”


Airports: The emerging landscape, tech, and innovation with NEC Corporation of America

Airports: The emerging landscape, tech, and innovation with NEC Corporation of America

“Those types of capabilities where it impacts the passenger’s experience greatly provides a negative context to what used to be pretty glamorous air travel. The last thing anybody wants going on vacation or even a business trip is disruptions. So a lot of airports and airlines as well are investing heavily on how to prevent, or when a disruption does happen, how to recover quickly and with the least impact to the travellers.”

Noting how COVID accelerated the adoption of technology in airports, Bill Carleton, Director of Advanced Recognition Systems, NEC Corporation of America mapped out some of the ways that the industry has leveraged technology to improve the passenger experience post-pandemic. NEC Corporation of America is a leading technology integrator with a special focus on safety, security, and efficiency.

Exploring the potential that the World Aviation Festival has for driving progress in the digitisation of airports, Bill explained the event:

“Bring[s] together both the the executive levels, travel technology companies, and pretty much everyone in between who helps make things work both front house and back end house in the airports; to catalyse innovation by just having conversations and talking about what are the problems being faced in this region or that part of the world.”

Watch the full interview below.



For more on what to expect at the World Aviation Festival see:


From physical passport to Digital Travel Credential (DTC)

From physical passport to Digital Travel Credential (DTC)

As digital boarding passes and travel documents increasingly become the norm, how long will it be until the physical passport is no longer needed?

Mobile-based Digital Travel Credential (DTC) are paving the way for a future where the traditional passport is no longer necessary. ICAO explains a DTC:

“Is intended to temporarily or permanently substitute a conventional passport with a digital representation of the traveller’s identity, which can in turn be validated using the travel document issuing authority’s public key infrastructure.”

There are already pilots testing out the logistics of this shift. Finnair is the latest to experiment with the technology, launching a “world first” pilot programme alongside the Finavia and the Finnish Police. Running from late August until February 2024, passengers on Finnair flights to London, Edinburgh, and Manchester can register as a voluntary DTC user and use the ID when leaving air/or arriving in Finland.

The project is designed to test the DTC in a real border control environment, “allowing smooth and fast border crossings without compromising security.”

The Finnish flag carrier is not the first to experiment with this technology with IDEMIA and a Dutch Consortium testing the use of DTC-1 on KLM flights between Canada and the Netherlands for three months back in March.

Funded by the Commission, Finland’s DTC trial hopes to assess the technology’s ability to make the travel process easier for everyone. Would you be willing to leave your passport at home?


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Loyalty, gamification, and NFTs:  Lufthansa Innovation Hub

Loyalty, gamification, and NFTs: Lufthansa Innovation Hub

At the end of the August, Lufthansa Innovation Hub went live with a unique loyalty experience in partnership with Miles & More.

Available through the Uptrip app, Lufthansa Group Airlines passengers can collect trading cards, completing collections to redeem rewards. These include airport lounge access, flight upgrades, or status and award miles.

Notably, passengers can elect to exchange every card for NFT trading cards, storing them in their own crypto wallets, as the app is integrated with Web3 technologies.

For the passengers, the process of collecting cards is simple:



Christopher Siegloch, Head of Program Development Miles & More, said

“We are delighted to see so much interest in Uptrip. Gamification elements introduce participants to Web3 technologies such as NFTs in a fun way. Furthermore, we have managed to transfer the enthusiasm for collecting that people know from trading card booklets into a digital space […] Together with our customers, we are testing and developing another exciting feature in the Miles & More universe.”

In the next few months, the app plans to transition to the next phase: The Uptrip marketplace. Here, passengers will be able to connect with other travellers through the App, trading cards with one another to complete collections faster. This will also see an expansion of the range of available rewards.

Earlier in August, Etihad launched its second non-fungible token (NFT) collection. The “ultra-exclusive 300-piece NFT collection” mirroring the Boeing 787 Dreamliner associated with the Mission Impossible franchise. Although eye-catching, the translation of these into real world benefits is the most interesting part of this release. Holders of the new NFT collection will receive a 12-month Etihad Guest Silver Tier Status, priority check-in, a 25 per cent boost in earning Etihad Guest Miles, and lounge access at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

At the World Aviation Festival, Joao Fernandes, Venture Development, Uptrip will give a presentation on “A new approach to Airline Loyalty using Gamification and NFTs.” Lufthansa Innovation Hub’s MD and Director Strategic Innovation will also be sharing their thoughts on innovation in the industry. Book your ticket now to avoid missing out. 


For more on how airlines have been embracing NFTs in varying ways including tickets, payments, and in the metaverse. Read below:


The UK hydrogen alliance: Accelerating decarbonisation

The UK hydrogen alliance: Accelerating decarbonisation

The aviation industry connects people, boosts economies, and fosters international collaboration. To enable its long term benefits to continue, aviation urgently needs to decarbonise.

For now, the path to a decarbonised aviation sector is not yet clear, with hydrogen, SAF, synthetic fuels or batteries, and many more approaches all working towards a greener future.

This week, major players in the UK aviation and renewable energy sectors established the Hydrogen in Aviation (HIA) alliance. Members including easyJet, Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Ørsted, GKN Aerospace and Bristol Airport will work collaboratively to accelerate the delivery of zero carbon aviation, urging more attention should be paid to the potential of the direct use of hydrogen.

Composed of members that have already begun developing new hydrogen powered aircraft and tested hydrogen powered jet engines, HIA is well positioned to fast-track the industry’s progress.

Sabine Klauke, Chief Technology Officer at Airbus said:

“As Airbus continues to mature the aircraft technologies needed to deliver hydrogen-powered flight, a united industry voice is needed to secure a robust ecosystem of renewably-sourced hydrogen. Joining our peers from across the UK aviation landscape in a targeted approach to policy and investment action brings us closer to a decarbonised future of flying.” 

The alliance urges collaboration across policy makers, promising to work constructively with Government, local authorities, and the aviation and hydrogen sectors. Eager to position the UK as a global leader of hydrogen in aviation, Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet and first Chair of HIA, said:

“There is no doubt that the UK has the potential to become a world leader in hydrogen aviation, which could bring with it a £34bn per annum boost to the country’s economy by 2050, but in order to capture this opportunity, rapid change is needed and the time to act is now.

We must work together to deliver the radical solutions required for a hard to abate industry like aviation so we can protect and maximise the benefits that it brings to the UK economy and society and that we know British consumers want to be preserved. 

HIA looks forward to working with the UK Government to ensure the right funding, regulatory and policy changes are implemented to accelerate the delivery of zero carbon aviation.”

It is likely we will see more alliances and partnerships forged, as the industry strives towards sustainability.

At this year’s World Aviation Festival, Jane Ashton, Sustainability Director, easyJet will be speaking alongside Caroline Drischel, Head of Corporate Responsibility, Lufthansa Group, Gonçalo Pires, Chief Financial Officer, TAP Air Portugal, Yvonne Moynihan, Chief Corporate and ESG Officer, Wizz Air, and others discussing how the aviation ecosystem can work better to achieve global sustainability goals. Book your ticket now to hear what they have to say.

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Retail: Emerging trends, innovation, and key themes with Ann Cederhall

Retail: Emerging trends, innovation, and key themes with Ann Cederhall

As the industry’s landscape evolves, innovation is key. At World Aviation Festival, Ann Cederhall, Consultant at LeapShift will be sitting down with industry leaders, facilitating discussion around the future of PSS, new modal connections, NDC, emerging trends, and much more.

In this short interview, Ann, author of The State of Airline Retailing whitepaper, highlights a few key trends to look out for at the event and outlines how these will be explored.

This year’s retail agenda is packed with thought-provoking sessions working through industry challenges, exploring the impact of new tech, and empowering the adoption of innovative strategies. Some of the key industry speakers include Tamur Goudarzi Pour, Chief Commercial Officer and Member of the Management Board, Swiss International Air Lines; Julio Rodriguez, Chief Commercial Strategy Officer, IAG; Tiddo Veldhuis, Director Product Strategy, KLM; and Justin Jovignot, Director, Commercial Strategy and Distribution, TAP Air Portugal.



To hear directly from industry leaders at the World Aviation Festival get your ticket now.


Twelve takeaways from SITA’s 2023 Passenger IT Insights report

Twelve takeaways from SITA’s 2023 Passenger IT Insights report

“Travelers are telling the industry loud and clear: the more they are subjected to clunky and inefficient processes, the more likely they are to consider other options. They demand that the industry offer the same digital options they use in their daily lives to make travel easier. 

As the industry pushes for a seamless travel experience, boosting efficiency and digitisation, it is vital that passenger expectations are understood.

SITA’s 2023 Passenger IT Insights report, released earlier today looks at the evolving landscape of passengers expectations and technology adoption, providing a useful guide as aviation continues to invest in digitising the travel experience.


SITA 2023 Passenger IT Insights


Here are twelve key findings from the report:

  1. Passengers are increasingly comfortable using technology and demanding new services during travel.
  2. Rates of technology adoption are on the rise at each stage of the journey with 92 per cent of passengers using booking tech in 2023.
  3. The two areas showing the biggest increases in technology adoption this year have been dwell time (+7 per cent) and check-in (+6 per cent).
  4. The use of mobile devices has grown steadily over the years and travellers rely more on mobile apps for booking and connectivity during dwell time and on board.
  5. Areas like baggage handling and border control lag behind in the availability of technology and passenger comfort levels with its use.
  6. Boarding, security, and identity verification remain the three areas where average comfort levels are highest when it comes to the use of biometrics – Boarding (7.59), security (7.57), and identify verification (7.42) out of 10.
  7. Passengers want to see better flight options and more automated checks before arriving at the airport, enabling them to arrive at the airport ready to fly.
  8. Three in four passengers expect to book intermodal trips in the coming year, with growing interest in technology to streamline processes such as baggage handling across the entire journey.
  9. When identifying valuable smart solutions on an intermodal journey, 33 per cent expressed desire for a feature enabling them to drop off their baggage at the journey’s start point and have it seamlessly delivered to the destination.
  10. Sustainability initiatives have grown in importance to passengers in 2023.
  11. Despite playing a key role in the passenger decision-making process, sustainability may not influence their decision to travel more.
  12. At the booking stage, passengers have indicated that the primary source of anxiety is now flight delays and cancellations.

Expressing confidence in the industry’s investment in digitisation, David Lavorel, CEO, SITA said:

As the industry looks to ramp up spending on technology, they can rest assured that passengers will welcome automated, self-service options in the airport. It will also help airlines and airports grow without sacrificing the passenger experience.

With the demand for travel looking strong and the industry committed to technological advancement, the findings of this report will help to keep the industry at the forefront of innovation whilst prioritising passenger expectations.


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Sustainability and innovation at Abu Dhabi International Airport’s Terminal A

Sustainability and innovation at Abu Dhabi International Airport’s Terminal A

In two months, Abu Dhabi International Airport will welcome travellers to its new state-of-the-art terminal: Terminal A.

Highlighting the airport’s commitment to elevating the passenger experience, Elena Sorlini, Managing Director & Interim CEO, Abu Dhabi Airports, said:

“Terminal A underscores our dedication to providing our international passengers and partners with a premium airport experience. The terminal exemplifies our commitment to excellence and offering exceptional services that meet the evolving priorities of today’s travellers. Through leveraging the latest technologies, Abu Dhabi’s reimagined airport experience will offer a seamless passenger journey, fostering connectivity, interactions, business, trade and tourism, all of which are essential elements in strengthening Abu Dhabi’s position on the world stage.”

Built to accommodate 45 million people the terminal leverages a range of interconnected biometric systems, making it capable of processing 11,000 passengers per hour. Moreover, the journey from pre-travel to boarding gate will be digitised and checkpoints streamlined to create an elevated and efficient experience for passengers.


Image credit: Abu Dhabi Airports


In addition to winning international design awards for its striking architecture, the new terminal has been constructed with sustainability as a core principle. The building boasts a fully integrated solar photovoltaic system on the car park roof currently powering a three-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) plant saving nearly 5,300t of CO2 annually.

As the product of cutting-edge technology, dedication to passenger experience, and commitment to sustainability, the new terminal will explore what can be achieved when innovation, customer-centricity, and sustainability converge.


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Who should foot the £100m bill from last week’s ATC failure?

Who should foot the £100m bill from last week’s ATC failure?

Last week’s ATC failure caused widespread chaos with over a quarter of UK flights cancelled, causing disruption for thousands of passengers on one of the busiest travel weeks of the year.

Although the problem originated in the National Air Traffic Services’ (Nats), it is estimated the cost to airlines will be around £100 million.

As the airlines offer changes or refunds, attempting to rectify the situation for their passengers, the question arises – who should be footing the bill?

Willie Walsh, Director General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) argues this burden should not fall to airlines.

In an interview with Sky News, Walsh asserted:

“In this event, as we’ve seen in many other events its very clear that the cause of this problem was completely outside the control of airlines and yet they will be responsible for carrying the bill. We believe [compensation should be paid] by the people who caused the problem and in this case the problem very clearly caused by Nats. They should be held to account and they should pay for the expenses that have been incurred.”

IATA’s Director General pointed to the incident as a great example of why the passenger compensation scheme needs to be rebalanced, explaining:

“This regulation that was introduced in 2004 […] is very different to what people had expected when it was first introduced. When that was introduced it was thought that airlines were responsible for delays and therefore should bear the cost associated with that.”

The financial burden of major travel-related disturbances is a significant challenge for airlines. Airlines incur huge costs getting displaced passengers to their respective destinations, paying for refunds, expenses, and more all whilst trying to maintain their regular flight schedule. Do you think it is airlines that should pay for this latest disruption?


Later this month at World Aviation Festival, the IROPS summit sessions will look at customer recovery as well as prediction and prevention. Here, the importance of prioritising communication with passengers and the human aspect of disruption is explored whilst also touching on the applications of technology. To hear from speakers from airlines including AirAsia, TAP Air Portugal, and United get your ticket now. 


BLR Terminal 2 reschedules international operations to 12th September

BLR Terminal 2 reschedules international operations to 12th September

Originally intended to commence on August 31st, Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru’s (BLR Airport) Terminal 2 (T2) is now scheduled to begin international operations on September 12th from 10:45am.

A spokesperson explained the last minute decision to postpone was:

“Taken after careful evaluation and consideration of various factors, including regulatory compliance, operational efficiency, and passenger convenience.”

Singapore Airlines is set to operate the first flight (SQ 508) to arrive at the new terminal at 10:55am.


Credit: Str/Xinhua. Terminal 2 of Kempegowda International Airport in Bangalore, India.


The new terminal is built on the key pillars of technology and sustainability and will play a crucial role in boosting the economic growth of the region and the country, by creating more opportunities for businesses in and around the airport. To learn about the tech advancements integrated into the airports’ operations and its sustainability initiatives watch this interview with Hari Marar, MD & CEO BLR from January.



Read the original article here: “Terminal in a Garden,” the airport terminal built on the key pillars of Technology and Sustainability. An interview with Hari Marar, MD & CEO, Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL).


IATA on Schiphol flight cuts: “Rushing this process could result in retaliatory international action.”

IATA on Schiphol flight cuts: “Rushing this process could result in retaliatory international action.”

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has spoken out about the controversial Schiphol flight cuts arguing they must not proceed under the leadership of a “caretaker government.”

Last week, Bloomberg reported that Royal Schiphol Group plans to cut capacity by eight per cent starting this winter were at an impasse due to legal challenges as well as Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government moving into caretaker mode ahead of elections in November.

Publishing its response to the proposed cuts yesterday, IATA urged that pushing through the flight cuts now would be “irresponsible on several levels,” citing the below in a robust defense of their stance:

  • It will demonstrate a contempt of the necessary democratic and legal scrutiny required of such a highly irregular and economically damaging proposal.
  • It will place the Netherlands squarely in conflict with its trading partners defending their rights under international agreements and bilateral treaties,
  • It should provoke the EU to defend its own laws which require rigorous application of the Balanced Approach, and
  • It will cause significant harm to the economy and jobs.

Willie Wash, Director General, IATA added:

“Airlines are fully committed to addressing noise issues at airports under a proper Balanced Approach process. It is essential that any decision be postponed until a fully functioning and accountable government with a fresh mandate is in place. This unprecedented and complex proposal can then be considered carefully, with the legal questions settled and the full facts and implications understood and in the public domain, and with sufficient time for the air transport industry to adapt if necessary, when a final decision is known.”

Last month, a World Aviation Festival poll asked whether people thought Schiphol could serve as an example for other airports to follow in decreasing their flight capacity:



Has IATA’s latest response changed how you would vote?


Later this month, Willie Walsh will be giving a keynote interview and speaking on a CEO panel at World Aviation Festival answering the question “What is the future of the global aviation industry as we return to profitability and how will sustainability challenges, digital experiences, macro economics, tech trends and passenger behaviours help shape the outlook for 2024 and beyond?” alongside the CEOs of Pegasus Airlines, IAG, TAP Air Portugal and the President of Emirates. Book your ticket now to hear directly from industry leaders.


For more on Schiphol see:


Are banks really an ally of airlines in co-brand credit card offerings?

Are banks really an ally of airlines in co-brand credit card offerings?

Do banks really care about a customer who is loyal to an airline brand and intends to strengthen this relationship further by opting one of the same airline’s co-brand credit card?

Airlines must delve into scenarios where the bank takes a decision not to issue a co-brand card. There needs to be a mechanism in place for the airline to crack this problem.

More importantly, the issue won’t arise if the same airline is agile enough to offer the same card at least considering the rising frequency of spend on its own routes and air ancillaries, and as a result, members of its own frequent flyer program (FFP) going up the tier ladder.

Timing is another concern. Airlines might chose to wait for offering a co-brand credit card when they issue an upgrade voucher or any communication that acknowledges the activity of their FFP members, but it might not match the intent of FFP members who are looking for a quicker call to action.


Indicators for the airline

Before highlighting a case where the bank chose not to issue the card, it must highlighted that the window of acting for airlines is clearly there.

There are plenty of indicators evaluating how much time a member is spending within the loyalty app or the interactions with the staff at the airport regarding the tier benefits that can be availed. Also, is the loyalty app doing its job by offering the co-brand credit card or an email from the airline regarding the same? To make the matter worse, what if the same customer decides to opt for another airline card just because of an ongoing relationship with another bank, which wastes no time in issuing the card when requested!

This was the case when State Bank of India (SBI), after making me wait for more than two months, decided not to issue a co-brand card with Air India, owing to “a business decision”, that was taken “in good faith and certainly in no way is indicative of” my business worthiness, as stated by the bank.

The follow-up was mostly done by the customer here, with the final verdict also being shared on the insistence of the customer. Also, the disappointment on the emotional count was way higher as there was a long-haul trip planned with Air India when all this was happening.

And in doing so notching up a tier higher with the airline!

Looking at the competitiveness in a market like India, where financial technology (fintech) companies regularly send updates to customers about their credit score and that too from multiple sources (CIBIL, Experian, Equifax etc.), a customer himself or herself can ascertain their payment history, credit card utilisation, credit age, total accounts (bank accounts, credit card accounts etc.), credit “health” report etc. And in no time one ends up receiving offers for pre-approved loans and credit card from fintechs just because one clicked on offers! What is stopping airlines from evaluating the same in a proactive manner (first party data can be availed at least)?

Eventually a bank might chose not to offer the card, but an airline’s relationship with their FFP member takes a beating.


What can an airline do?

As seen in this case, banks have their own evaluations regarding the profile of the customer.

As an expert in this arena, Mark Ross-Smith asserted that airlines need to have a “collaborative” pact with such partners.

Other than finding a way out about such incidents to be updated about the activity of their own FFP member in an earnest manner (may be partners cross-check and corroborate on their respective first party data and in case of airlines, they can go beyond the first party data now that even in developing countries there are several ways to check the profile of the applicant), airlines need to work on options for extending a similar product via another bank.

Also, rather than relying on a partner bank to bring the customer, since the interest of the customer here is to up the ante by parking their spending via airline-involving co-brand card, airlines must identify ways to expand the basket of offerings since its works in their interest, too.

Otherwise, with agile companies like Ross-Smith’s statusmatch.com offering a traveller, with strong financial or any other attractive credentials, an option to try out another airline’s loyalty offering, airlines are in risk of losing out.

There comes a time when a traveller expects more in their loyalty cycle and a brand can’t fall short or take an association for granted.


Acting before customer does

In the above discussed case, since SBI chose not to go ahead and Air India clearly wasn’t in the loop (and their communication for the same card came in almost two weeks after I had received a card from Air Vistara), the closure came in the form of one applying for another co-brand card.

Interestingly in this case, since Air India and Air Vistara are seemingly in the process of merging their respective FFPs, as a member of Air Vistara FFP, the gold status eventually paved for the lounge access of Air India in New Delhi. So customers are shrewd enough to find ways to meet their respective goals, as airlines tend to have generous offers and alliances in place. If a customer is made to work hard then chances are the competition will lap up and won’t commit the same mistake.

It would be prudent for airlines to validate how their members, be it for active or inactive ones in terms of flying or spending, are progressing on parameters that are deemed correct to issue co-brand cards. This can be done with partner banks or even risk management organisations (for e. g. credit score specialists).

May be it is time airlines look for partners who are willing to make the experience for a traveller better and contribute in a meaningful way in the overall loyalty lifecycle.


Article by Ritesh Gupta


The top ancillary products according to airBaltic

The top ancillary products according to airBaltic

Defined as “revenue beyond the sale of tickets that is generated by direct sales to passengers, or indirectly as a part of the travel experience,” ancillaries are a key channel of revenue in the industry. They help airlines remain competitive, allow for flexibility, and form a critical aspect of airline business strategy.

airBaltic, the Latvian national airline recently announced their most popular ancillary products for the first half of 2023. The airline recently celebrated a record high half-year profit, reaching 291 million EUR, a 52 per cent increase to the previous year and a 33 per cent increase from 2019.

The top three ancillaries were not particularly surprising:

  1. Checked baggage – Increased by 10 per cent compared to the same period last year.
  2. Advanced seat reservation – Increased by 24 per cent compared to the same period last year.
  3. Heavy hand baggage – Increased by 40 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Eva Plakane, SVP Revenue Management of airBaltic commented:

“We see a consistent demand for various ancillary products, designed to enhance passenger comfort and the whole flight experience. In the first half of this year, the total revenue from the additional products has surged by 39 per cent, compared to the same period the year before […]  Overall, air travel is not anymore just a flight – it is a more in-depth engagement with customer by offering full travel experience from start to finish. Passengers want to make flying comfortable and enjoyable.”

One interesting trend is the growing number of passengers that have chosen to travel with their pets. Since 2022, the number of animals transported by the airline doubled, exceeding 6,600 animals this year.

Other notable patterns are the popularity of advanced seat reservation with over 14 per cent of passengers now opting for this feature, and a surge in demand for the transportation of special equipment (+83 per cent), pointing towards the return of passengers’ sports routines with skis, golf bags, and even surfboards needing transportation.


At World Aviation Festival, an ancillary panel featuring Plusgrade, Frontier Airlines, Vueling Airlines, and Spirit Airlines will answer the question: “How are recently emerging trends such as bleisure, intermodal, and longer stays affecting ancillary sales and do we have the products to react quickly enough?” Get your ticket now to avoid missing out.

For more on ancillaries see:


Passport verification: An airport bottleneck or a digital, offsite self-service?

Passport verification: An airport bottleneck or a digital, offsite self-service?

“We’re investing in technology that takes processes traditionally only available at an airport and makes them possible from your smartphone. This new Mobile Verify technology creates a seamless airport experience for guests traveling internationally — eliminating the uncertainty that comes with having to wait in airport lines.”

Here, Charu Jain, Senior Vice President of Innovation and Merchandising at Alaska Airlines highlights the technology that is bringing the airline closer to its goal of getting passengers through the lobby in five minutes or less.

Yesterday, Alaska Airlines showed it will be using biometric identities to elevate the airport experience, reimagining passport verification as a digital, offsite self-service instead of an airport bottleneck. As a result of the airline’s new partnership with Airside, international travellers with a US or Canadian passport will now be able to securely verify their passport at home for free, skipping the airport check-in desk.

Passengers will be able to do this days or even weeks before their flight through the Airside app. Notably, the app can verify and store passengers’ passports, temporarily sharing it with the airline for that specific flight. The result is passengers only need enrol once, further contributing to its efficiency.

Self-service tools are central in enhancing convenience, elevating the airport experience, and delivering a more personalised service for passengers. This is the latest show in Alaska Airlines’ innovative approach to leveraging the power of mobile tech.


For more on digital identity see: