Garuda Indonesia, the national flag carrier of Indonesia, has appointed JPA Design, an International transport design specialist, to create the interiors of its new aircraft cabins. This is the same agency that provided the design consultancy for Singapore’s new Premium Economy Class cabins. The airline has expanded its fleet and builds on its reputation as a world-class carrier. In recent years, many airlines from Indonesia have sadly gained themselves a reputation for having a very bad safety record. However, the Indonesian national flag carrier's senior management have worked very hard to uplift its branding image and improve itself. The airline is an official 5-star carrier, and has recently won a number of awards for excellent customer service on and off the plane.
Garuda’s new aircraft orders modernizes its fleet and will support additional short, medium haul flights and routes. JPA Design’s new cabin interiors for both Business and Economy class will feature on 50 new 737 MAX aircraft, scheduled for first delivery in 2017 and will be retrofitted to Garuda’s existing long-haul wide body Airbus A330-300 fleet.
Garuda’s intention is to progressively re-brand all its aircraft interiors – both narrow and wide body – in order to achieve consistency across its entire fleet.
Nicodemus P. Lampe, Director of Services at Garuda Indonesia, commented, “Strong competition was forcing airlines to innovate their product gradually and we are pleased to work together with JPA Design on creating the next generation of our Business and Economy aircraft cabin interiors. As Garuda Indonesia continuously strives on its ongoing service enhancement program to provide its passengers with the best possible full-service air travel experience, we need to collaborate with industry members that share the same vision regarding service excellence, particularly in terms of reliability and quality.”
JPA Design’s interior scheme – yet to be revealed – will be aligned to the airlines brand drivers as defined by branding specialists Landor Associates; Garuda’s new look Business Class: “an experience of accessible luxury that is energetic, authentic and dynamic.” Economy is defined as “an uplifting experience that is dynamic, positive and warm.”
Tim Manson, Design Director at JPA Design, said; “Competition is getting tougher and passengers now expect more out of their flying experience. For an airline to successfully compete against the worlds’ best, you need to provide an element of surprise and luxury and ensure that you give those discerning customers an unforgettable travel experience.”
On working with Garuda, Manson went on to say; “Being selected to work with an airline that has such keen ambition and one that places passenger comfort and joy at the heart of all they do, is a great opportunity for JPA Design. We both share in the commitment to constantly innovative and strive for best in class solutions. To be design partners with Garuda Indonesia, the third airline we have worked with that is a member of the exclusive 5-Star Airline Award, is a real honour.”
The Cast Of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” On ANA Charter Flight From Los Angeles To The London Premiere
Japan’s largest airline, All Nippon Airways (ANA), proudly shuttled the whole cast and crew of the latest Star Wars movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, from the World Premiere in Los Angeles (namely Hollywood) to the London Premiere in its custom R2-D2™ ANA JET, a Boeing 787-9.
Starting at the Premiere on Monday 14th December, ANA laid out a large scale model of their 777 Star Wars Jet which was signed by the stars of the franchise. The scale model was modelled after the BB-8™ ANA JET took to the red carpet. The jet is another aircraft decorated with special livery featuring BB-8, the new Star Wars droid introduced in the film. The jet is a Boeing 777-300ER and is scheduled to begin its service on international routes from March 2016, principally between North America and Japan.
“ANA is proud to be part of the global celebration for Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” said Osamu Shinobe, President and CEO of ANA. “As we fly passengers to Japan and across the world, we aim to provide our guests with the magic and joy that these films spark.
As the first aircraft to be decorated with Star Wars livery, there was no question that the R2-D2 ANA Jet was chosen to fly between the U.S. and U.K. premieres of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Following the World Premiere of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Hollywood, the film’s stars including Harrison Ford and newcomers Daisy Ridley and John Boyega (both proud Londoners!), the director of The Force Awakens J.J. Abrams, and producer and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, flew on the chartered flight from Los Angeles to London. The flight number of the trip was NH 1977, in honor of the first Star Wars film release in 1977, and the callsign of the flight was "All Nippon 1977 heavy".
The R2-D2 ANA Jet is the first ever aircraft in the world to feature a Star Wars character on its exterior and is a product of an agreement between ANA and The Walt Disney Company (Japan) Ltd. First unveiled at the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, Calif., earlier this year, the R2-D2™ ANA JET, a Boeing 787-9, started its regular flight in October and now flies to various destinations, including Europe, Asia, China and the U.S.
Video: "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" The World Premiere
On December 14, Emirates announced that it will expand its services in mainland China with four weekly flights to Yinchuan (INC) and Zhengzhou (CGO) utilising a Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, starting from 3rd May 2016. These services will offer new international connectivity for two of China’s fastest growing cities, and expand Emirates’ destination offering on the mainland to five, including: Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.
Yinchuan, the capital of Ningxia, lies to the West of the Yellow River and to the East of Helan Mountain. With a large Muslim population, it serves as a gateway connecting China to Arabic countries, and is positioned as a hub for economic and trade cooperation and cultural exchange between China and the Middle East.
Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan Province and a major transportation interchange for central China, is an educational, technological and economic centre. The second largest city in central China, Zhengzhou’s strategic location has enabled the city to become one of the largest economic hubs in China.
“With the opening of these new strategic routes, Emirates looks forward to contributing to the enhancement of China’s trade links with the rest of the world, in particular with the UAE and Arab world. We believe the new international air links that we are launching will help create tourism and trade opportunities for Chinese business and leisure travellers that may not otherwise exist,” said HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group.
“With our established network across Africa, Europe and the Middle East, Emirates is a ready-made connector of people and trade, and we look forward to further developing aviation links with China in a mutually beneficial way.”
Emirates’ new services will connect Yinchuan and Zhengzhou with many new destinations via a convenient connection in Dubai, and help boost trade and tourism flows to the growing central and western parts of China where these cities are located.
Emirates flights to Yinchuan and Zhengzhou will depart on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from Dubai as EK326 at 02:45hrs arriving at Yinchuan Hedong International Airport at 13:35hrs. The service will then depart from Yinchuan at 15:20hrs and arrive at Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport at 17:00hrs. The return flight, EK327, will depart Zhengzhou at 21:10hrs, arriving at Yinchuan at 22:55hrs. It will then depart Yinchuan at 00:40hrs, arriving in Dubai at 04:30hrs the next day*.
Timings of the new service have been scheduled to allow for seamless connections to many Middle East, European and African destinations.
The services will be operated by a three class configured Boeing 777-200LR aircraft, offering 266 seats and 14 tonnes of cargo capacity in the bellyhold.
Popular commodities expected to be transported on these services include electronics, such as mobile phones from Zhengzhou, and agricultural products such as goji berries and cashmere from Yinchuan.
Supporting China’s “Belt and Road Initiative”
As China looks to connect with the world through the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, Dubai is well-positioned to support China in achieving the mutual benefits that will come from this Initiative, including deeper levels of co-operation and exchange.
Located at the crossroads of East and West, Dubai is the largest import-export hub in the Middle East, connecting the world through its strong governance, extensive trade networks and global connectivity links.
Ties between Dubai and China continue to grow stronger. A growing number of Chinese banks and businesses are establishing branches within Dubai’s business and financial districts and the city is now home to over 3,000 Chinese companies and 200,000 Chinese residents. Growth in visitor numbers to Dubai from China grew by 25% in 2014.
Emirates has been a large part of this growth story, being the first airline to establish non-stop connectivity between the Middle East and mainland China, first with freighter operations to Shanghai starting in 2002, followed by passenger services in 2004. Currently serving 54 cities in 30 of the 65 countries identified as part of the Belt and Road Initiative, Emirates is uniquely positioned to support China in advancing its trade and investment links with these countries.
“As China's regions continue to open up to the global economy, Emirates remains keen to support this with the further expansion of air services in mainland China. In particular we’re interested in exploring the opportunity of daily services to Hangzhou and Chongqing, and a second daily service to Guangzhou,” said HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
Passengers travelling on Emirates’ Boeing 777-200LR will be able to enjoy the airline’s award-winning ice entertainment system with up to 2,000 channels of on-demand entertainment to choose from, including Mandarin language movies and music.
Emirates flights to and from China also cater to the needs of the Chinese market with Mandarin-speaking cabin crew on board, and inflight cuisine options with popular Chinese dishes. As with all Emirates flights, passengers travelling on the Yinchuan and Zhengzhou services will enjoy the generous Emirates baggage allowance of 30kg in Economy Class, 40 kg in Business Class and 50 kg in First Class.
*Flight times are as per summer schedule
阿联酋航空公司及集团主席兼首席执行官阿姆德·本·萨伊德·阿尔马克托姆殿下(His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum)表示：“通过开通这些具有战略性意义的新航线，阿航希望为促进中国与其他地区的贸易往来做出更大贡献，特别是阿联酋和阿拉伯世界。我们相信，新的国际航线将帮助中国的商务旅客创造全新的贸易机会，并为休闲旅客提供无与伦比的旅行体验。”
On December 14, 2015, Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Cognizant (NASDAQ: CTSH), a leading provider of information technology, consulting, and business process outsourcing services, announced a strategic agreement to drive digital transformation across the airline and its equity partners. The agreement was signed between Dr John Burgin, Head of Cognizant Digital Works, APAC and Middle East and Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways' Chief Commercial Officer.
Under the three-year, multi-million dollar deal, Cognizant will help Etihad Airways define its digital strategy and reimagine the guest experience along a guest’s travel journey across the group. By bringing together its digital strategy, technology, industry and experiential design expertise, Cognizant will conduct a comprehensive study of Etihad Airways’ current business and technology footprint to outline and operationalise a best-in-class digital ecosystem, enabling multi-channel distribution, customer persona segmentation and personalised marketing techniques.
Through data and customer insights, Cognizant will enable Etihad Airways, and subsequently its equity partners, to better understand the needs of their guests. Combining this research with streamlined best practices, processes and technology, the airline will provide guests with customised offerings, tailored travel solutions, and enhanced experiences throughout their journey based on their loyalty status and personal preferences such as product and service features, preferred seating, meal choices, holiday destinations and more. For the airline, this means unlocking new revenue streams, enhancing its brand and building new commercial models.
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Our guests are increasingly turning to digital channels to connect with us, and therefore we recognise the importance of delivering a personalised and seamless guest experience across all touch-points. Our partnership with Cognizant will help us define a superior digital experience roadmap that enhances the customer journey from planning to booking, in the airport and on the plane, and improve guest loyalty by attracting and engaging with guests in new and innovative ways. The scope includes digital tools and data insights for our customer-facing staff to further enhance their ability to provide a more customised and personalised service to our guests.”
Robert Webb, Etihad Airways’ Chief Information and Technology Officer, said: “This partnership is core to our technology and innovation strategy, which will empower us and our equity partners to redefine an exceptional digital guest experience that matches our remarkable inflight and on-ground experience. We chose Cognizant because of its leadership in digital transformation programmes, deep travel and hospitality industry experience, and long-term partnerships with digital technology leaders.”
Francisco D’Souza, Chief Executive Officer, Cognizant, said: “We are pleased to partner with Etihad Airways to create a world-class airline guest experience by harnessing the power of digital technologies. For Cognizant, ‘digital’ means the ability to connect technology, data science, devices, design, and business strategy to transform processes and experiences. This engagement marks the coming together of two pioneering organisations whose growth strategy is underpinned by digital innovation. The Cognizant Digital Works team looks forward to helping Etihad Airways and its equity partners deliver control, simplicity and transparency to the modern connected traveller. The digital initiative will further strengthen Etihad Airways’ leadership position as a premium brand known for high-touch customer service.”
As part of the engagement, Cognizant will manage Etihad Airways’ existing web applications and portals and integrate them into the new digital platform. A new Digital Centre of Excellence will be established to drive innovation with the airline’s key technology partners.
Cathay Pacific Airways, the airline of Hong Kong, have announced a 10% increase in their flights between the UK and Hong Kong, showcasing a high demand for the popular long-haul city pair. Currently, the airline, which is one of founding members of the Oneworld Alliance, flies only to London Heathrow and Manchester in the U.K. However, with this move, a total of 43 flights a week between the UK and Hong Kong will be enabled, with the introduction of a new four-times-weekly service to London’s Gatwick Airport, starting from 2 September, 2016. The carrier stopped flying to Gatwick back in 1993, and it would be great news for the airline to start flying from London's southern airport. Gatwick usually hosts North American and European carriers (including charter flights), but in recent years, the airport has started hosting the likes of Emirates, Turkish, Iraqi Airways and Air China to name a few. The addition of Cathay Pacific Airways to Gatwick's list of airlines will give the airport an even more international feel to it.
At the time of writing, the new route is still subject to government approval. The new service will complement the airline’s current five-times-daily service to Heathrow Airport for a total of 39 flights a week between Hong Kong and London – more than any other carrier on this competitive route (British Airways and Virgin operate the other non-stop flights on the route). In addition to serving London, Cathay Pacific also offers a four-times-weekly service between Hong Kong and Manchester in the United Kingdom, catering for the large Chinese diaspora that lives in Manchester and the surrounding northern British cities.
Cathay Pacific plan to operate the Gatwick service with its brand new Airbus A350-900 aircraft, which will eventually feature the ‘yet to be revealed’ refreshed Business Class cabin, as well as a spanking new Premium Economy Class and Economy Class cabin. When it does so, Cathay will become the first A350 operator into Gatwick. The aircraft will feature the airline’s much needed refreshed livery design (please click here to check it out!)
Want to know what's it like to fly with Cathay Pacific? Check these flight reviews that I wrote:
Doha-Hong Kong (Airbus A330, Business Class)
London Heathrow - Hong Kong (Boeing 747-400, Premium Economy Class)
Hong Kong - London Heathrow (Boeing 777-300ER, Business Class)
Various flights with Dragonair (all Business Class) - Dragonair is part of the Cathay Pacific Group
On the 5th of December, Alitalia, the national flag carrier of Italy, welcomed its first new medium-haul interior to match the new brand style introduced in the airline’s long-haul cabins. This commences the major cabin refurbishment project of Alitalia’s short and medium fleet of 96 aircraft, and is scheduled to be completed by April 2016.
The project will commence with four aircraft to be retrofitted per week, which will match the airline’s plans to repaint each of the aircraft in the new livery that was launched in June this year. The refurbishment work on each aircraft will take around five days from start to finish, and more than 14,000 black leather seats, complete with elegant beige stitching, will be fitted on board the Alitalia aircraft. Taking design cues from their new Airbus A330 aircraft interiors, each seat will have new coloured headrests – beige for Business Class and red for Economy Class. Every plane will be fitted with new ‘wood effect’ bulkheads which will feature the brand new distinctive Alitalia logo.
“The aim is give a greater feel of Italian style and quality on board the aircraft that will hopefully attract new customers and retain existing ones.” Marco Martinasso, Alitalia’s Vice President of Marketing said. “We have shifted from a typically technical type of refurbishment which relied more on functionality, airworthiness and acceptable aesthetics to a new focus on customers and higher levels of service. We want our customers to experience a higher degree of comfort by providing a much better standard of cabin.”
Earlier this year, Alitalia unveiled a revamped brand livery at a lavish ceremony, with the first Airbus A330 rolled out in the new colors (video below).
Singapore Airlines has just unveiled what seems to be one of the most most breathtaking digital-ad videos this year by an airline company. The video, which is available on YouTube, showcases how paper model artist Luca Iaconi-Stewart has created a replica of the Singapore Airlines suite of seating products. Luca claimed global fame earlier this year when he showed off his Air India Boeing 777 1:60 scale model made purely of Manila paper (complete with retractable landing gear) which was created in precise detail. In a similar fashion, in this video, Luca painstaking creates the suite with immaculate detail.
It seems Singapore Airlines has commissioned the artist to showcase the effort that goes into creating every real-life SIA aircraft in the fleet, and the results speak for themselves.
About Airline PR
This is a special section on Airline Branding, and Airline Public Relations written by me on all the flights I have been fortunate enough to have been on. These are not records taken from somewhere else, but are actual flights I have been on. Most of the flight trips are officially sponsored by the airline companies in order to promote their certain routes, and aircraft. Airline promotion and PR related work in the aviation industry is one of my expertise.
Watch exclusive videos below taken in the cockpit of a Boeing 777-300ER in-flight over Chinese Airspace.
Special thanks goes to
B777-300ER Cockpit Video 1
B777-300ER Cockpit Video 2
Proud media partner of QATAR AIRWAYS