Air Canada and United Airlines Expand Relationship to Make Transborder Travel Easier

Air Canada and United Airlines announced a joint business agreement for the Canada-U.S. transborder market, building on their long-standing alliance, that will give more flight options and better flight schedules to customers traveling between the two countries. Customers will be able to connect to 38 codeshare destinations in the U.S. and eight of the most popular cities in Canada — all while enjoying the benefits of the carriers’ MileagePlus and Aeroplan loyalty programs. The agreement will also strengthen and grow both carriers’ networks and help accelerate their COVID-19 recovery.

“United is a world-class airline and we are pleased to significantly expand our well-established partnership to further enhance the customer journey between Canada and the U.S. by offering more choice, greater convenience and an improved airport experience,” said Mark Galardo, senior vice president of Network Planning and Revenue Management at Air Canada. “This agreement marks a new phase in our evolving relationship that will speed the recovery from the pandemic and strengthen both carriers. It will also enable us to optimize our hubs and schedules and to broaden our global network connectivity to maintain our leadership in the market.”

“With this new agreement, we are further strengthening our long-standing partnership with Air Canada,” said Patrick Quayle, senior vice president of Global Network Planning and Alliances at United. “As international travel continues to recover, this expanded partnership will provide an enhanced experience for all transborder travel.”

Customers who search for flights between the U.S. and Canada on United’s or Air Canada’s websites and apps will find more flight options scheduled at more convenient times. Codeshare between the two carriers will also be expanded and members of both the MileagePlus and Aeroplan programs will have more accrual and redemption options.

In 2019, the U.S.-Canada transborder market was the second largest international passenger air transportation market in the world and the largest international market for both Canada and the U.S., as measured by seats.

Air Canada and United already cooperate in the transborder market, according to the terms of their existing U.S. antitrust immunity. Under the joint business agreement, subject to compliance with U.S. and Canadian regulatory and antitrust requirements, the two airlines will now be able to:

  • Coordinate their networks and schedules, enabling the carriers to offer customers more choice, including more flights throughout the day and more access to each airline’s seat inventory.
  • Enhance codeshare on transborder flights, excluding certain U.S. leisure markets and territories. The carriers anticipate customers will be able to connect to 46 transborder codeshare destinations with more than 400 daily frequencies in 2022 – with opportunities to add more codeshare destinations for domestic routes within Canada and the U.S.
  • Sell seats on each other’s transborder flights and share revenue on flights between hub markets (where regulatory authorities and antitrust requirements allow), allowing the carriers to grow their overall capacities.
  • Align customer policies for greater consistency and enable the seamless provision of onboard products, establish airport co-locations where available and provide extra value to each carriers’ frequent flyer programs.
  • Allow the two carriers to work closer together to advance their sustainability objectives.

The implementation of an expanded partnership builds on the existing close cooperation of the two carriers and previously acquired regulatory approvals. United and Air Canada are also founding members of Star Alliance and a transatlantic joint business agreement with the Lufthansa Group.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Backs Eagle Plan to Combat Violence-Provoking Effects of Disinformation

By Michaela Jarvis

In an age when disinformation can promote violence, a group of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University faculty will help secondary school teachers to recognize the online manipulation tactics used by extremist organizations, using an approach known as Inoculation Theory.

“Inoculation Theory is the idea that a little bit of exposure to something dangerous will make you more resilient when confronted with something more dangerous in the future,” said Dr. Diane Maye Zorri, assistant professor in the Department of Security Studies and International Affairs, adding that she first learned about the approach from assistant professor Dr. Daniel Gressang, who has spent most of his career at the National Security Agency. “We would like to expose people to the various ways that foreign actors and malicious entities are spreading disinformation, faulty statistics, conspiracy theories and false narratives.”

The program, which will bring the approach to Volusia County Schools’ “Volusia Learns!” 2022 summer professional learning conference, was recently awarded $232,700 by the Department of Homeland Security’s Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program.

“The project aims to prevent violent organizations from recruiting and mobilizing people,” said Zorri, who is the project’s principal investigator. “The Department of Homeland Security is looking for innovative solutions that can be done at the local level. … I thought this was something that paired well with the expertise of the Security Studies and International Affairs department, as well as faculty members from the Humanities and Communication and Math departments.”

Dr. Karen Gaines, dean of Embry-Riddle’s College of Arts & Sciences, stressed the importance of such work.

“This project will not only help prevent violent organizations from recruiting and mobilizing young people but will also nudge those vulnerable individuals to more productive life outcomes,” Gaines said. “The fact that we can do this here in Volusia County to help our community gives me great pride.”

As an example of an extremist ideology that is popular in social media groups, Zorri mentioned “sovereign citizens,” which asserts that the U.S. government and federal law enforcement are illegitimate.

“The jargon and pseudo-legal rationale and statistics perpetuated by this group are very persuasive and have successfully mobilized many people,” Zorri said, noting that the movement has led to deadly confrontations with law enforcement.

The program will give teachers tools and exercises for instructing young people about the dangers of such manipulation.

“The good news is that most extremist violence is not perpetuated by secondary school students,” said Zorri. “But this is where Inoculation Theory comes into play. By inoculating students early, the theory suggests they will be less susceptible to radicalization in the future.”

British Airways Passenger Smears Fecal Matter Across Cabin Prior to Departure

A British Airways passenger defecated on the floor of the plane and smeared it into the seats — sickening travelers, according to reports taking unruly passenger behavior to new lows. The passenger, whose name was not released, began to “flip out” in protest just before the flight from London’s Heathrow Airport to Lagos, Nigeria, on Oct. 7.

He took off his pants and defecated on the aircraft’s main floor. He then began rubbing the feces into the carpet, curtain and seats. Emergency services officials came, according to a witnesses.

“During boarding a passenger stripped from the waist down and defecated on the galley floor. He sat in it and rubbed it onto the galley floor and aisle carpets,” the witnesses’ report states. “He walked in it and started running up the aisle as far as Door 4. He smeared his arms to elbow in fecal matter, and door seats as he went.”

“The curtains and carpets were severely contaminated. Very important that a hygienic biohazard and deep clean is carried out and properly supervised and signed off,” a report states.

Flight BA075 was delayed three hours while the Boeing 777-336 aircraft was taken out of service and sanitized. The report called the event a “hygienic biohazard.”

Toronto Airport Closed Due to Suspicious Package

Two people were detained in connection with a possible explosive device found at Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport Ferry Terminal October 21. The discovery prompted an evacuation of the airport. Operations at the airport were suspended. Toronto police said the two persons of interest were in custody and cooperating with the investigation.

Officials at the airport notified police about a suspicious package at the ferry terminal on the mainland side. It was described as a potential explosive device, but according to PortsToronto, which operates the airport, a “device” attached to a bicycle parked near the terminal was discovered. Police evacuated the ferry terminal and closed the pedestrian tunnel to the airport. The discovery of the device caused the closure of Billy Bishop Airport for the rest of the day. In a subsequent statement Saturday evening, the port authority said the incident led to two Air Canada flights diverting to Hamilton. They added that the runway had closed for the evening.

“We’re doing our best to investigate that angle and learn what they know as quickly as we can,” said Acting Insp. Jason Albanese at the scene.

Police tweeted that a controlled explosion was being conducted in the area and residents could hear a “loud bang.”

Family Kicked Off Qantas Flight

An Australian family was been kicked off their Qantas flight home from Bali, after an altercation with flight attendants. The man was seen saying, “Get out of my face,” to one of the flight attendants. Eventually, the family left the aircraft as requested but the man insisted his wife was crying because the company’s employees had been rude to her and requested they come and apologize to his wife.

Fentanyl Found Packaged in Candy at LAX Airport

On October 19, 2022, at approximately 7:30 in the morning, LA County Sheriff’s Narcotics Bureau Detectives and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents assigned to a task force at the Los Angeles International Airport seized approximately 12,000 suspected fentanyl pills.

The suspect attempted to go through TSA screening with several bags of candy and miscellaneous snacks with the intent of boarding a plane.  However, it was discovered that inside the “Sweetarts”, “Skittles”, and “Whoppers” candy boxes were fentanyl pills and not  candy.  The suspect fled prior to being detained by law enforcement but has been identified and the investigation is on-going.

The agency warned that with Halloween approaching, parents should make sure they are checking their kids candy and not allowing them to eat anything until it has been inspected by them. If you find anything in candy boxes that you believe might be narcotics, do not touch it and immediately notify your local law enforcement agency.

Delta’s Air+Rail Program Aims to Connect Customers to 20 More Destinations in Europe

Delta Air Lines has expanded travel options to Europe using its Air+Rail program providing train connections to 20 more destinations, including 12 new cities for Delta customers in The Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland and the U.K.

First launched in August 2021, for travel between Amsterdam and the Belgian cities of Brussels and Antwerp, this expansion enables connectivity directly from Brussels, Manchester, Rome Fiumicino and Zurich airports with one Delta ticket booking for the whole journey. Delta will also add the service from Geneva when its nonstop flights from New York-JFK begin in April 2023. The airline is working with leading rail operators in each country to provide onward train journeys via stations located at the airports.

“Building more Air+Rail connections into our schedule provides a greater choice of destinations for our customers, including a number of these cities not currently served by Delta or our European partners, such as Bern, Rotterdam and York,” said Alain Bellemare, Delta’s President – International. “Expanding our footprint in Europe also makes it more convenient for customers to get to popular city centre locations whether traveling for business or pleasure to make the most of their time away.”

Customers can use the train to travel from:

  • Brussels Airport to Breda and Rotterdam in the Netherlands with operator SCNB.
  • Manchester Airport to seven cities in the U.K. with operator TransPennine Express.
  • Rome Airport to four Italian cities including Bologna and Florence with operator Trenitalia.
  • Zurich/Geneva Airport to seven cities in Switzerland, including Bern and Lausanne with operator SBB.

Delta says using its Air+Rail service is easy as bookings include both segments, with those flying in Delta One receiving first class rail travel as standard. Customers need to collect their bags from the airport before arriving at the train station where tickets can either be printed in advance or collected from the station ticket office. If disruptions occur, Delta says they will be able to travel on the next available train or flight.

Collins Aerospace Bolsters AirPlan Functionality with the Addition of FlightAware Foresight Data

Collins Aerospace says it is maximizing the functionality of its ARINC AirPlan solution with the integration of FlightAware Foresight predictive data giving customers a more accurate view of airport operations. Collins Aerospace acquired FlightAware in 2021 as part of its focus on improving the passenger experience and growing the aviation connected ecosystem.

Since its launch in 2020, AirPlan has enabled airports to manage all their resources — including gates, check-in desks and baggage belts — from a single application on any computer or mobile device connected to their network. With the addition of Foresight predictive data, airports will receive more precise flight ETAs and Taxi-out times, which increases the accuracy and efficiency of the information used to optimize airport operations.

“The integration of FlightAware data into AirPlan is a great example of how Collins is turning data into value for our customers,” said Rakan Khaled, general manager, Airport Solutions for Collins Aerospace. “Anytime we can help an airport increase their efficiency we’re also helping them save money and improve the sustainability of their operations—which is the goal of every customer we work with.”

Additional AirPlan benefits include a customizable interface to meet individual user needs; the ability to schedule swing gates ahead of time to reflect their planned international and domestic configurations; customer service support provided by experienced staff; and cybersecurity support to help ensure systems are protected and secure.

Biden-Harris Administration Extends Rest Periods for Flight Attendants

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a final rule requiring that flight attendants receive longer periods of rest between shifts. The new rule increases the rest period to 10 consecutive hours.  

“Flight attendants, like all essential transportation workers, work hard every day to keep the traveling public safe, and we owe them our full support,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “This new rule will make it easier for flight attendants to do their jobs, which in turn will keep all of us safe in the air.”

The new rule updates the previous requirement of nine consecutive hours of rest between shifts. It also fulfills the requirements of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, which directed the FAA to increase the minimum rest period for flight attendants with scheduled duty of 14 hours or less and eliminate the provision that permitted rest to be reduced in certain circumstances.

“Flight attendants perform critical safety roles. This rule puts them and safety first,” said Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen.  

The FAA held two public comment periods totaling more than 105 days on the proposed rest requirement in 2019 and 2021. The agency reviewed over 1,000 comments from flight attendants, airlines and the public.

The final rule will become effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Aeroterm Selects Lödige Industries for Modernization Project at New York’s JFK Airport

Aeroterm, North America’s largest third party on-airport developer, has selected Lödige Industries, the world’s leading provider of cargo terminal solutions, to install a state-of-the-art automated cargo system at John F. Kennedy International Airport‘s new 350,000-square-foot cargo facility. Lödige’s system will be exclusively used by Worldwide Flight Services (WFS), the main cargo handler at JFK. 

The new cargo facility, which is being built on a 26-acre site, will include greater ramp capacity to handle three of today’s large modern air cargo freighters (Group VI aircraft) simultaneously. It will also have more than 50 dock doors for the efficient transfer and tracking of goods through the facility.

Lödige’s system will feature two elevating transfer vehicles with a ULD storage rack for 218 ULD positions and three-level ULD racks to ensure high storage density in WFS’s new terminal and free up space for other handling activities, amongst other things. This advanced level of automation guarantees efficient throughput and high safety standards, as well as optimal operational processes, areas that are very important for WFS. The equipment also includes three truck docks, a castor deck area and 14 elevating workstations. 

When completed in early 2024, JFK’s new cargo facility is expected to handle an annual throughput of approximately 350,000 tonnes.

“Our new cargo facility, equipped with Lödige’s state-of-the-art systems, is designed for maximum efficiency. Thanks to this market-leading cargo handling technology, we are ideally equipped for future growth and can offer our customers the best possible service at all times,” says Jeffrey Bounds SVP Program Management & Center of Excellence|The Americas from WFS. 

“As the first new cargo facility built at JFK in two decades, this project is an essential step in revitalising JFK as a cargo hub,” said Bryan Rosenberger, vice president Design & Construction at Aeroterm.  “On each development project, Realterm partners with both local and global groups for best-in-class expertise in design, construction and specific air cargo equipment. We are excited to partner with Lödige on this development.”

“The US cargo industry is showing a great sense of optimism this year and we are proud to contribute to JFK’s ambitious modernization program. We are confident that our high-efficiency cargo handling solutions and years of local experience will support WFS in achieving its quality, speed, and safety goals and continue to grow through increased efficiency in the new facility,” said Jonathan Hardy, Managing Director USA at Lödige Industries.