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December 13, 2017



Today's Top Stories



Industry News | Comfort & Ambience | Entertainment & Connectivity | Catering & Services


Lufthansa Abandons Bid for Niki Amid EU Antitrust Concerns

Lufthansa confirmed today it is dropping its efforts to acquire Niki, citing ongoing objections by EU antitrust regulators against the proposed deal. The Austrian leisure carrier, named after its founder, former Formula One champion Niki Louda, is still part of insolvent carrier airberlin. The move comes after the European Commission (EC) said last week that it had “deep competition concerns” about Lufthansa's plan to buy 81 aircraft from airberlin’s fleet, plus Niki’s assets, for $250 million. Meanwhile, the EC approved easyJet’s $47-million deal to buy some of airberlin’s landing slots and the right to operate from Berlin Tegel Airport.

DW | Related EU clears EasyJet purchase of some AirBerlin assets – Travel Weekly



SIA Receives First Airbus A380 With Redesigned Cabin

Singapore Airlines has taken delivery of its first revamped Airbus A380, featuring brand-new seats and in-flight entertainment seatback displays. The interior upgrades are the first for SIA’s superjumbo since the airline began flying A380s 10 years ago. The reconfigured cabin includes an expanded premium economy section. Of the 471 seats, there are six first-class suites, 78 in business class, 44 in the premium economy cabin and 343 economy-class seats. SIA’s existing A380 fleet has a total of up to 441 seats.

The Straits Times | Related SIA offering more premium economy seats – The Straits Times



Finnair Now Accepts Apple Pay for Ticket and Ancillary Purchases

Finnair customers can now use Apple Pay to buy plane tickets and make ancillary purchases, through the carrier’s mobile website and iOS app. Like other digital wallet services, Apple Pay is all about seamlessness: With the iPhone X, a user can authenticate a payment by staring at his or her screen. Emirates was the first carrier to accept Apple Pay for ticket purchases, and JetBlue and easyJet also accept Apple Pay. Singapore Airlines accepts both Apple Pay and Android Pay, while KLM was among the first non-Chinese airlines to accept WeChat Pay.

APEX Media | Related Finnair Joins 14% of Airlines That Use Chatbots – APEX Media



KLM Integrates Its Chatbot With Google Home

Blue Bot (BB), KLM’s service bot, is now expanding into the voice-driven world of home automation. BB originally entered service in September 2017, as part of KLM’s move into Facebook Messenger, and is now integrated into Google Home as of today. “KLM’s new service on Google Home with BB is the next step in its innovative digital strategy and the first step in voice, offering personalized service through Google Home with the help of artificial intelligence," said Pieter Groeneveld, senior vice-president, Digital, Air France-KLM.

APEX Media | Related KLM’s Trip Whisperer “Care Tag” Offers Location-Specific Travel Tips – APEX Media



Trump Administration Holds Talks With Airlines Over Gulf Carrier Subsidies

US State Department officials met with US and Gulf airline representatives yesterday to discuss allegations that state-run Emirates, Eithad and Qatar Airways received more than a combined $50 billion in subsidies. The Trump administration is so far resisting calls to crack down on the three Gulf carriers, but The Hill reports that more aggressive penalties could be imposed further down the line, according to one of its sources.

Reuters | Related US travel group defends Gulf airlines in Open Skies dispute – Gulf Business



India Will Issue In-Flight Wi-Fi Rules by End of Month

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) announced today that in-flight connectivity will soon be allowed over Indian airspace. TRAI’s chairman Ram Sewak Sharma, said the rules and regulations for IFC will be released by the end of the month. Once issued, airlines will set up connectivity infrastructure and offer in-flight Wi-Fi to passengers.

The Times of India | Related Startups queue up for Trai’s public Wi-Fi pilot – Economic Times



Kymeta Still “Years Away” From Entering Aviation Market

Kymeta could still be years away from introducing its flat panel antenna products to the aviation market. Steve Sybeldon, Kymeta’s vice-president, Business Development and Sales, said developing for aviation comes with unique challenges, such as wider temperature ranges and regulatory hurdles. “The advantages of the Kymeta product [are that] it’s flat, it’s light, and there are no moving parts,” he said. “But it would take us longer to qualify our product to have it installed and operational on the aircraft. Beyond that … we have [to get] FAA certification.”      

Via Satellite | Related Kymeta to Develop Ka-Band Terminals for NASA – Via Satellite





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