A potential new budget airline in Europe and the world’s longest biofuel-powered flight lead this week’s air travel news.
In budget news this week, an entrepreneur and part-time Ryanair pilot, Alvaro Oliveira, is looking to launch a new low-cost carrier in Europe, according to The Telegraph. Tentatively called Swiss Skies (a working title), the proposed airline would be based in Basel, serving destinations in the United States, Asia, Middle East and Brazil. A fleet of 38 A320neo aircraft is planned by 2023.
In sustainable travel news, this Friday United Airlines operated a flight from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Zurich using a blend of sustainable aviation fuel -- 30 percent biofuel and 70 percent conventional jet fuel -- making it the longest flight to date by a U.S. airline powered by a biofuel volume of this size. SFO has signed a memorandum of understanding with fuel producers and a group of eight airlines, which includes United, to work cooperatively on expanding the use of sustainable aviation fuel at the airport.
In new flight news, this week Air France announced plans to fly from Paris - Charles de Gaulle to Dallas - Fort Worth, making it the 13 destination in the United States operated on departure from the airline. From March 31 to June 30 and from September 4 to October 25, 2019, the flight will operate on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, adding a Saturday frequency from July 1 to September 1, 2019. The flight will operate on an Airbus A330.
Also this week Air Italy launched new service between Milan and Bangkok. Operated on new long-haul Airbus A330-200 aircraft, the new service runs four times weekly, increasing to five times weekly from October 28.
This week Icelandair announced a second bank of flights as part of its 2019 schedule, beginning in May of that year. The new bank of flights will operate to major cities in Europe, including Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Oslo, Paris, Stockholm, and Zurich, as well as to Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York, Toronto and Washington, DC. The new bank of fights from North America will arrive in Iceland at approximately 9:30 am with connections to Europe departing around 10:30 am. Flights returning from Europe land in Keflavik around 6:30 pm with departures to North America at approximately 8:00 pm.
In airport news, this week St. Lucia’s Minister for Tourism Dominic Fedee announced that development is underway for a major expansion of the Caribbean island’s Hewanorra airport, The Telegraph reports. The project, which is estimated to cost over $100 million, includes an expansion of the airport’s existing, single terminal, as well as construction of a new terminal with air conditioning, restaurants, shops and executive lounges.
In product news, this week Brussels Airlines launched a new layover option for travelers connecting through Brussels. The Belgium Stop Over product offers travelers free access to several museums and attractions in Belgium on stopovers ranging from one to five days.
Finally, this week Delta’s first Airbus A220-100 rolled out of the paint shop at the A220 assembly line in Mirabel, Quebec. Delta said that it will be the first U.S. airline to take delivery of the A220, which will have updated interiors and improved fuel performance. The first aircraft is scheduled to begin service in 2019.