The aviation industry is always up to something—here’s what has been happening.
Cathay Dragon Acquires New Airbuses
In spite of the challenges other airlines are facing, one Asian company remains bullish. Cathay Pacific’s sister airline Cathay Dragon has purchased 32 Airbus A321neo jets for more than US$4 billion. The new planes have a 7,400-kilometer range and are considered more cost effective, spacious, and environmentally friendly than Cathay Dragon’s older aircraft.
The Hong Kong-based airline says that the acquisition will enable them to expand their current network. The increased seating capacity—from 168 seats in its Airbus A320s to 240 seats in the new aircraft—makes the Airbus A321neo a better fit for Hong Kong’s busy airport. According to the airline, this will also lead to more affordable airline ticket prices in the future.
To be delivered between 2020 and 2023, the A321neos will be refurbed with Cathay Dragon’s trademark cabins, seats, and inflight entertainment. The icing on the cake is the fact that these new aircraft are 50 percent quieter than older models—perfect for passengers eager to snooze off.
Qatar Airway takes Fine Dining to New Heights, Literally
Doha-based Qatar Airways has launched a bespoke dining service. Passengers aboard the first and business classes can select one main course from the airline’s à la carte menu as early as 14 days in advance and up to 24 hours before take off.
This is possible by logging in to the airline’s My Trips section on its website or through its app. The service has been introduced on some flights to Europe, North and South America, Australia, and New Zealand. On board menus will be refreshed regularly, so one can expect something new every time they travel with the Middle East carrier.
A Robot Joins Air New Zealand
Sydney Airport has welcomed a new staff member to its ranks. It’s not human—it’s a robot named Chip. He’s been greeting passengers at Air New Zealand’s check-in desks and departure gates during a five-day experiment that started yesterday and will end on August 25.
The mouth-less robot is a joint project of Air New Zealand and Commonwealth Bank, and was developed to understand how humans and robots interact. First introduced to the bank’s Sydney Innovation Lab last year, Chip is Air New Zealand’s latest venture in using technology to enhance passengers’ flight experience.