Hot happenings in the skies this week include a new runway for Heathrow (and Schiphol eats cake).

This weekly post is my ‘round tuit’. Included are stories which caught my eye and others which I couldn’t cover in-depth during the week, but thought Flight Chic readers would want to know about.

1. Heathrow finally gets its 3rd runway!

2. SAS takes delivery of A320neo

3. Inside China Airlines’ new A350

4. Iceland: the next battleground for North Atlantic LCC growth?

5. KLM’s LCC Plans

6. A curious sort of strike action by KLM crew

Monday, from 05:00 until 23:00, for just 10 minutes at a time. They always have put safety first.

7. A different airline strike averted.

8. KLM’s chat-based customer service strategy

9. JetBlue replaces Birchbox with Hayward and Hopper for Mint Amenities

“We loved the Hayward and Hopper sense of New York sophistication and old Hollywood style — a nod to our launch cities that fell in love with Mint from the start,” said Jamie Perry, vice president of marketing at JetBlue.

While perhaps being a bit hard on JetBlue, Harteveldt makes some interesting points in this article. If it ain’t broke…

10. Delta completes international Wi-Fi installation

  • Gogo high-speed Ku-Band satellite
  • World’s largest Wi-Fi equipped fleet
  • 1100 aircraft serving 3,500 connected flights daily
  • ~700 domestic mainline aircraft
  •  +180 international wide-body aircraft (Boeing 747, 777, 767, 757-200 and Airbus A330)
  •  ~all Delta Connection two-class regional jets
  • More than 400,000 Delta customers get access to In-Flight Wi-Fi
  • Began installation in 2008 for domestic and 2012 for international aircraft.
  • Free access to delta.com for flight search/bookings, check SkyMiles account, flight status, book hotel and car services

“We’ve invested billions of dollars in making our customers feel more at home in the sky through comfort, connectivity and entertainment,” said Joe Kiely, Delta’s Managing Director – Product and Customer Experience. “Completion of international Wi-Fi installation means our customers are more connected than ever when flying to the more than 50 countries we serve around the world.”

11. ZAL Technical Centre, Hamburg Reaches 25 Residents

Just 10 months after the research centre was completed, more than 90 percent of the available space has already been let.

List of companies now innovating in Hamburg: 
1. ZAL GmbH (as the institution in charge of the building)
2. Airbus
3. Airbus Group Innovations
4. Universities (currently involved in the university space at ZAL: TU Hamburg-Harburg, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Helmut-Schmidt-University)
5. Lufthansa Technik
6. Diehl
7. THK
8. ProTechnicale
9. Züblin
10. Parker
11. SFS Intec
12. Fraunhofer IAP (Pyco)
13. Spitzner Engineers
14. ZAL Förderverein (the association of minor stakeholders of ZAL)
15. Fraunhofer IFAM
16. FIT AG
17. Zodiac Aerospace
18. Siemens
19. DLR (German Aerospace Center)
20. Altran
21. Innos Sperlich
22. iDS Industrial Design Studio
23. B/E Aerospace
24. 3D Contech
25. Solvay

The latest tenant is Belgian company, Solvay, which specialises in polymers for aviation. At the ZAL TechCenter, it will primarily be involved in the TD4 “Aerospace Production & Fuselage Engineering” (Industry 4.0) research area.

12. Iberia wins CAPA “Airline Turnaround of the Year” award for 2016

The award recognises Iberia’s transformation process as “the most impressive and innovative amongst airlines”.

In 2014 Iberia reported its first operating profits since the outbreak of the economic crisis.

In 2015, the airline increased those profits five-fold while expanding the operating margin to 5.2%—its highest level since 2005.

CAPA noted that these results coincided with double-digit capacity growth, and that the airline headed by Luis Gallego was the biggest contributor to ASK growth at the IAG group in 2015.

CAPA’s Executive Chairman Peter Harbison said: “Iberia’s turnaround in the challenging Spanish market has been remarkable. Iberia has achieved major labour productivity improvements, quite an accomplishment in Europe, and unit cost reductions. Strategically the establishment and expansion of Iberia Express has demonstrated that it is possible for legacy European airlines to combine an LCC cost base with a full-service brand.”

“This award is a recognition of the commitment and efforts of all Iberia employees, the real protagonists of our transformation process. It certainly encourages us to continue on the path we have marked out to consolidate the achievements made so far.”—Luis Gallego, Iberia Chairman.

13. Icelandair joins A4E

A4E now represents 13 airline groups and more than EUR 100 billion in revenues.

“We are looking forward to jointly work with A4E on a number of common matters affecting our industry´s operating environment. We should align our efforts, on behalf of our customers, to minimise various operational cost in the airline industry, e.g. lowering the cost of the EU´s airports. A4Es key policy issues are also affecting our daily operation and therefore we need to form a strong voice in Europe”, said Birkir Holm Gudnason, CEO of Icelandair.

14. Remembering a legend: Bob Hoover dies at 94

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