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News Roundup – 18th April 2017. A Summary of Airline News from the Past Week

News Roundup – 18th April 2017. A Summary of Airline News from the Past Week

News Roundup – 18th April 2017. A Summary of Airline News from the Past Week - A Qatar Airways A380

Qatar Airways is pushing ahead with plans to introduce an entirely new Indian airline.  The carrier will be 100% foreign-owned, taking advantage of new rules introduced only recently by the Indian government.  But as Qatari officials plan inspections of Indian airports, a senior Lufthansa executive has warned of a ‘misadventure’ by entering the Indian aviation market.

As the fallout from United flight 3411 continues, Delta Air Lines has moved to prevent a similar incident happening on its aircraft.  The carrier has upped denied boarding compensation to a maximum of $9,950 USD.  Elsewhere, the Canadian Transport Minister has warned: “When passengers purchase an airline ticket, they expect and deserve that the airline will fulfil its part of the transaction.” New legislation to protect passenger rights will be introduced this Spring.

Finally, is Singapore Airlines about to introduce a luxe new First Class suite?  That’s the rumour that’s emerged following a leaked seat map for the carrier’s new Airbus A380 aircraft.  A full summary continues below…

Qatar Airways Pushes Ahead with New Indian Airline but Lufthansa Warns of a ‘Misadventure’

14th April 2017 – Courtesy Business Standard and LiveMint

More details are starting to emerge, following news that Qatar Airways is looking to create a 100% foreign-owned Indian airline.  The new carrier will be based in Bengaluru and has already appointed an executive search firm to recruit staff for the airline.

Qatari officials are also said to be preparing for an impending visit to India to carry out assessments at Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi airports.  An unnamed official has been quoted as saying: “We have been informed that 6-8 delegates from Qatar will be reviewing facilities at major airports,” – but no exact dates have yet been announced.

However, Wolfgang Will, senior director for South Asia at German airline, Lufthansa has warned that starting a new airline in India would be a ‘misadventure’.  In a barely veiled assessment of Qatar’s plans, Will stated: “You only go make business when you have business plans which give you hope that you can be very successful.”

“And I did not hear up to now of any domestic airline in India making a lot of profit.”

Is Singapore Airlines Introducing a Six Suite First Class on its New A380?

14th April 2017 – Courtesy Australian Business Traveller

Has Singapore let slip plans for its new First Class cabin?  An apparently leaked seat map shows just six suites in a luxurious 1-1 configuration on the top deck of the A380 – Similar to Etihad Airways.  The new layout would reduce the First Class cabin by half from its current iteration on the airline’s fleet of super jumbos.

The seat map appeared briefly on the Singapore Airways website but Australian Business Traveller notes that the picture was named “test.pdf and labelled ‘Layout 3’.

Using photos of the new Singapore A380 undergoing tests in France, the new layout would match with what can be seen from the outside of the aircraft. Three sets of two windows to the front of the upper deck.


Etihad Pilots Turn Plane Around so Grandparents Can Visit Their Dying Grandson

17th April 2017 – Courtesy The Evening Standard

News has emerged of a truly heart-warming act by Etihad Airways staff on a recent flight from Manchester Airport in England to Abu Dhabi.  It’s believed that the aircraft was preparing for take-off when an elderly couple onboard received a text message from a relative telling them that their grandson was gravely ill in hospital.

The couple told a member of cabin crew who quickly informed the flight deck.  The Captain immediately turned the plane around and returned to the gate so the couple could get off.  Staff then arranged a car and luggage collection so that the couple could get to their grandson as quickly as possible.  Sadly, the child passed away although his grandparents made it to his bedside to say goodbye.

Becky Stephenson, the couple’s travel agent said of the incident: “I’ve been in the travel business for 25 years and never heard of this happening.”

“My customers were so grateful that staff were very helpful and they were taken care of.”


Delta Air Lines Increases Denied Boarding Compensation

17th April 2017 – Courtesy

As U.S. airlines respond to the fallout from United flight 3411, Delta is hoping that a new rule change will prevent anything similar happening onboard one of its aircraft.  As you’ll no doubt remember, the United Airlines incident occurred when none of the passengers were willing to give up their seat for a pay-out of $800 USD.  But gate agents at the time didn’t have the power to raise that upper limit.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines has now raised the upper limit that gate agents can offer to $2,000 USD – Up from the previous figure of $800 USD.  And in exceptional circumstances, that compensation amount can go all the wait up to $9,950 USD (with authorisation from a senior manager).  A huge increase in the previous maximum of $1,350 USD.

Commenting on the rule change, a Delta spokesperson said: “To reinforce our commitment to our agents and their ability to care for our customers, we will be increasing the maximum allowable compensations limit for voluntary denied boardings (VDBs) systemwide,”


Canada Mulls Introducing a ‘Passengers Bill of Rights’

14th April 2017 – Courtesy Skift

Marc Garneau, Canada’s Transport Minister has announced plans to introduce new legislation that would prevent passengers being involuntarily bumped from flights.  A letter was sent to every airline that flies into and out of Canada, warning that an incident similar to United flight 3411 would not be tolerated in the country.

The letter read: “When passengers purchase an airline ticket, they expect and deserve that the airline will fulfil its part of the transaction.”  It continued: “When that agreement is not fulfilled, passengers are entitled to clear, transparent and enforceable compensation.”

The legislation is due to be introduced this Spring and will outline what passengers can expect from airlines in overbooking incidents.  The law will also address lost and delayed luggage.  Garneau expects cooperation from airlines in introducing the new rules.

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