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AlbaStar Airlines requests €25m from Spanish government

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With only 12 years in service, the young carrier has seen better days. In fact, in the five years preceding the crisis, the company recorded 4 in green and expansion plans were constantly considered. However, the pandemic has severely hit its balance sheet and has therefore resorted to the SEPI, a state-owned industrial holding that manages the €10,000m rescue fund created after the crisis.

This way, the Palma de Mallorca-based company is set to become the latest airline – after Air Nostrum and Wamos Air, among others – to receive some sort of cash injection under high public scrutiny. This injection follows the polemic that originated with Plus Ultra’s €53m intervention back in March, where the little strategic character of the airline was widely questioned.

Despite proving a consistent and viable business model before the crisis (in 2019, it posted a €3.37m profit), its contribution to the Spanish aviation market remains rather subjective.

The total number of passengers that flew out or from Spanish cities in 2019 was 158,000, representing less than 1% of the total national traffic according to Aena, the country’s airport operator. Last year, these figures drastically worsened as the airline recorded only 3,000 travelers with 65 operations, down from 1,323 in 2019.

A great percentage of these operations, on the other hand, is destined to the Italian market, coinciding with the origin of the principal shareholders of the company: a 27% is participated by Kenobi Club Tour Operator SRL, Italy Aviation Service holds a 25%, while Antonio Corrado Spadaccini and Nasreddin Ibrahim hold approximately 12% and 21% respectively.

The latter is also the chief executive of Nasair, an Eritrean carrier that belongs to a UAE-based company called “Nasair Holding FZE,” involved in the 2013 offshore leaks. This information has been reported by the Spanish news portal “eleconomista.es,” adding further controversy to the potential rescue package.

AlbaStar b737
AlbaStar’s Boeing 737-400. Photo by Jero Vida | AeroNewsX

With this being said, the company would remain eligible for the €25m it is demanding. Moreover, a large part of its 203 employees (most of them in temporary lay-off schemes) are based in the Balearic Islands, and the company supports local tourism by bringing lots of Italian travelers during the summer season.

It is also true that many businesspeople doubt the real impact of the airline’s operations in the area as the airline mainly serves intra-Italian routes as well as charter flights to pilgrimage destinations like Lourdes or Mecca.

The fleet, consisting of 5 Boeing 737-800 and a single Boeing 737-400 – all of which are on lease – will not be altered as the carrier renegotiated all its contracts expecting the charter operations to bounce back this year already.

AlbaStar seems to be committed to keeping the airline afloat, but it will have to face the reluctance of the great public that, driven by nationalistic sentiments amid the crisis, won’t easily condone the cash injection over other businesses in the industry that are also suffering and that could as well be more relevant to the country.

The last word will be the government’s, though, whose verdict on Plus Ultra was positive and justified by María Jesús Montero, the current Treasury Minister, as an act of general interest. According to the socialist government, the aviation sector plays an indispensable role in the tourism sector that accounts for more than 12% of the national GDP.

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Source: https://aeronewsx.com/albastar-airlines-requests-e25m-to-spanish-government/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=albastar-airlines-requests-e25m-to-spanish-government

Aviation

This Ultra High Tech Business Class Seat Can Remember Who You Are

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Wouldn’t it be great to board a plane and have your business class seat remember the perfect position for your inflight comfort? It would be even better if it could also remember how warm or cool you like your space, and the lighting you enjoy at different stages of the journey. That’s exactly what the Waterfront seat from Panasonic intends to do. Let’s take a look.

Panasonic Waterfront Seat
The Waterfront seat will remember your preferences. Photo: Teague

The next generation of business class

Business class seats have come a long way since the first herringbone configuration debuted on British Airways. Modern business class not only lets fliers lie fully flat for their trip; it also brings new standards of entertainment, space and privacy. But Panasonic, in partnership with Teague and Formation Design Group, wants to kick things up a notch from here.

Debuted at the Consumer Electronic Show no less than five years ago, Waterfront is designed to be everything a business class seat should be, and a whole lot more besides. This next-generation seat takes technological integration to the next level, bringing everything from smartphone control to unprecedented personalization for a more unique travel experience.

Panasonic Waterfront Seat
The seat ticks all the usual PaxEx boxes. Photo: Teague

From an airline perspective, it’s an easy design to accommodate, as it relies on the reverse herringbone layout that is so familiar to premium cabins. For passengers, it ticks all the boxes of direct aisle access, a door for privacy and copious amounts of personal space. But let’s take a look at what makes this seat a little bit different.

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What’s good about Waterfront?

For starters, Waterfront has been built for optimal passenger comfort. The shape and position of the back and base cushions have been developed through an extensive study of user behavior. Building on research, real-life analysis was conducted with users of the Jazz seat, allowing Panasonic and its partners to develop a supportive, ergonomic shape for the seat.

Back, leg and headrests are all infinitely repositionable, letting users choose their favorite position. Not only that, but heating, cooling and airflow is supplied in localized zones, with passengers able to choose what temperatures and ventilation they get, and where. Full control of the LED lighting color and intensity will let passengers create their own bespoke ambiance while occupying the seat.

Panasonic Waterfront Seat
Customize your suite with smartphone controls. Photo: Teague

All the settings can be controlled from the passenger’s own smartphone. Here, they can also control what content they view on the massive 24 inch UHD 4K TV screen, as well as ordering snacks and drinks direct from the IFE. They can even take a selfie during the flight using the built-in camera on the IFE monitor, and then share it to their social media using the onboard WiFi!

Panasonic Waterfront Seat
Get suggestions for your favorite food, beverages and entertainment. Photo: Teague

But the icing on the cake is the next-level personalization of the Waterfront seat. As soon as a passenger boards, they are prompted to link their smartphone to the IFE system. At this point, the system will remember them from their former flights, and will make suggestions for entertainment, food and drink based on their previous choices.

They can even save seat positions and heat/light options in the app, so the seat immediately returns to their favorite position on boarding. And if that smartphone battery runs low, wireless charging surfaces in the pod will keep it topped up.

When will we see it on planes?

The Waterfront was revealed in 2016, but was not intended to be ready for airlines until around last year. Given the slowdown in aviation and the world in general over the past 18 months, it’s no surprise that it hasn’t been taken up by any airlines yet.

There’s also something of a challenge to overcome before we see Waterfront in the premium cabin of our favorite airline. For the most part, seats are designed in isolation of all the other perks of premium cabins. To offer a fully rolled-up product like this is a challenging concept for airlines, who are more used to selecting IFE screens and providers themselves.

Nevertheless, investing in a fully equipped product could well be beneficial for airlines, having only one supplier to deal with in the event of a problem. But it’s still a relatively new concept, and not one that has been fully embraced to date.

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Source: https://simpleflying.com/ultra-high-tech-business-class-seat/

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Qatar Airways Qsuite Vs Emirates Business Class – Which Is Better?

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Business class is getting better all the time. Flat beds are, of course, now standard, and many airlines go further with suite-style seating and facilities such as onboard bars. In this article, we take a look at two of the best business class products – from Middle Eastern airlines Qatar Airways and Emirates.

Qatar Airways Qsuites
The Qsuite is one of the best business class products around. Photo: Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways Qsuite

Qatar Airways offers one of the best business class products with its Qsuite. The Qsuite is offered on the A350-1000 and some A350-900 and 777-300 aircraft, but not the A380.

The Qsuite is a spacious suite-style product. There is a seat, which converts to a fully flat bed, and a sizeable ottoman next to it. This can be lowered for more space or raised to use as an armrest. There is a small fixed table as well as a much larger pull-out table for work or dining.

Qsuite
The Qsuite is renowned as one of the best business class products in the world. Photo: Qatar Airways

Seats alternate backward and forwards, which can take some getting used to, but doesn’t diminish the product, and allows middle seats to be combined in a unique manner. The middle seats can be joined together in groups of two or four to create private cabins, an interesting option for both families and business travelers.

Where the Qsuite really sets itself apart, for business class, is with its closing door. These are fully closable private suites, not a partial door, as seen, for example, with the British Airways Club Suite.

Qsuite has led to Qatar Airways winning the award for best business class with Skytrax World Airline Awards in 2018 and 2019. Simple Flying reviewed it on a 16-hour flight to Los Angles.

Qsuite
The four person suite makes family travel or business meetings simple. Photo: Qatar Airways

Emirates business class

Emirates has a new business class on the A380 and an older one on its Boeing 777 fleet. The A380 product is much better, with open suites arranged in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration. Each seat has a full-length table area next to it and plenty of storage space.

It is not as spacious as the Qsuite overall, though. Both are comparable in width, but the Qsuite offers an impressive total length/pitch of 103 inches, compared to 72 inches with Emirates (based on information from Seatguru).

There is also a great bar area on the A380. One disadvantage though is the size of the cabin. With 14 rows of business on the upper deck, it can be noisy and lack privacy.

Emirates A380 business class
Business class on the A380, great seats but a huge cabin. Photo: Emirates

There is a different product on the 777 fleet, however, which is unfortunately not as good. The seats are standard business class seats (not suites) arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration.  These have much less space than the suite-style seats, and the possibility of being stuck in a middle seat. This is due to be replaced on the new 777X but will be around for a while yet.

Emirates 777 business class
A stylish but older style business class is offered on the Emirates 777. Photo: Emirates

Emirates has a significant advantage over Qatar Airways, and most other airlines, though. It offers a complimentary chauffeur service to and from the airport in most of its destinations. This is an excellent end-to-end offering that makes business class travel feel more relaxed and efficient.

Which one is best? Qatar just gets ahead

You can’t go wrong with either Qatar Airways or Emirates business class. They both offer some of the best seats of any airline, excellent onboard service, and a bar/lounge area. Overall the excellent seat, with its extra space, privacy, and ability to combine multiple seats makes Qatar our top choice.

Remember as well that both airlines have a different business class product on other aircraft. This is better with Qatar Airways, in our opinion, so you are less likely to end up with a lower standard product for any connecting flights. This will improve when Emirates introduces the 777X, but its current 777 business class is a letdown in comparison.

On the ground, both airlines offer top-grade lounges, but Emirates may have the edge here with its included chauffeur service.

Qatar Airways also has another advantage in being in the oneworld alliance. This makes its business class more accessible to frequent flyers and is bookable as a mileage award with any of the other oneworld airlines. To book an award ticket with Emirates, you would need to be a miles collector with them.

Have you flown business class with Qatar Airways or Emirates? Let us know your thoughts and preferences in the comments.

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Source: https://simpleflying.com/qatar-qsuite-vs-emirates-business/

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Liberty Hall appoints Kevin Vicha as CEO of Bromford

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Liberty Hall appoints Kevin Vicha as CEO of Bromford

Liberty Hall Capital Partners, a private equity firm, today announced the appointment of Kevin Vicha to the role of Chief Executive Officer of Bromford Industries.

Vicha is succeeding Bromford’s current CEO, Gary Lowe, who announced his retirement after more than twenty-nine years of service. Lowe will continue to serve as a non-executive director of Bromford.

“Over the past five years, Bromford has been transformed from a three site, UK-centric business into a leading global supplier of engine components, fabrications and assemblies with operations located in three countries on three continents. Bromford is now entering a new period of sustained growth, and Kevin is the right person to manage that growth,” said Rowan Taylor, Liberty Hall’s founding and Managing Partner. “Kevin’s proven track record in operations, strategy, customer relations and management of complex business environments makes him an ideal leader for Bromford. We also want to thank Gary for his many years of exemplary leadership and service over the past decade, including his leadership through our purchase of Bromford in 2016 and Bromford’s strategic acquisitions of AeroCision, Accrofab and Numet Machining Techniques.”

Vicha added: “I am honoured to take on this role and join the outstanding professionals at Bromford. For decades, Bromford has been a steadfast leader in the industry, and I look forward to working closely with the team and our customers to further realise the company’s significant growth potential.”

Lowe added: “It has been a privilege to lead and work with such a dedicated and supportive workforce and see the business expand. I wish Kevin and all those involved with Bromford every success in the future.”

Conor Malloy, Principal at Liberty Hall concluded: “It has been a pleasure working with Gary through Bromford’s significant growth and transformation since our initial investment in March 2016. We’re thrilled to welcome Kevin to the team to lead the next phase of Bromford’s value creation.”

www.libertyhallcapital.com

www.bromfordindustries.co.uk

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Source: https://www.aero-mag.com/liberty-hall-appoints-kevin-vicha-as-ceo-of-bromford/

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Northrop Grumman air-launches Pegasus XL rocket for US Space Force

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Northrop Grumman has successfully launched a payload into orbit for the US Space Force (USSF) using the company’s Pegasus XL rocket.

The Tactically Responsive Launch-2 (TacRL-2) payload was launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base.

The USSF’s tactically responsive launch concept seeks to introduce speed, agility, and flexibility into the launch enterprise in order to respond to dynamic changes in the space domain or an operational theatre and insert or replace assets on orbit much faster than standard timelines to meet emerging combatant command requirements.

Pegasus, the world’s first privately-developed commercial space launch vehicle, is an air-launched three-staged rocket carried aloft by Northrop Grumman’s specially modified Stargazer L-1011 aircraft.

Shortly after its release from Stargazer, at approximately 40,000ft above the Pacific Ocean, Pegasus ignited its first stage, beginning its successful flight carrying TacRL-2 to its intended orbit.

“This Pegasus launch was a clear demonstration of our team’s ability to provide rapid and responsive operational needs,” said Rich Straka, vice president, launch vehicles, Northrop Grumman. “Our team was able to execute the design, integration and testing of the TacRL-2 launch vehicle in less than four months from contract award.”

This is the 45th launch of Pegasus, which uses solid propulsion to offer maximum responsiveness by enabling launch to a wide variety of orbits on short timelines. This capability provides customers with the flexibility to operate from virtually anywhere on Earth with minimal ground support requirements.

Pegasus has launched more than 90 satellites into low earth orbit from five separate launch sites in the US, Europe and the Marshall Islands.

www.northropgrumman.com

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Source: https://www.aero-mag.com/northrop-grumman-pegasus-space-force-14062021/

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