Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.


IDEAS: Emirates Launches Sustainable Luggage Collection Crafted Using Upcycled Aircraft Interiors

8 months ago

Emirates has launched a limited edition collection of luggage, bags and accessories created by using upcycled materials from retrofitted aircraft.

‘Aircrafted by Emirates’ consists of a range of made to order suitcases, backpacks, handbags, cardholders, toiletry bags and belts that have been created using old aluminum headrests, leather and seatbelts collected during the retrofit of the carriers A380 and 777 aircrafts. 

Credit: Emirates

The luggage collection has been designed and handmade by tailors in a dedicated workshop at the Emirates Engineering facility in Dubai.

Aircrafted by Emirates is set to go on sale towards the end of 2024 at official Emirates Stores, with all sale proceeds being donated to children in need via the Emirates Airline Foundation

“At Emirates, we are committed to constantly evolving our sustainability efforts, and looking at every aspect of our products and supply chain. We knew these materials could be given a second life, because they are originally of very high quality. We challenged our team to be as creative and innovative as possible, and here we are, with our own accessories workshop in Emirates Engineering Centre! This initiative is a passion project for our team, and we are immensely proud of how it aligns with both our innovation and sustainability aims, and even better – that all proceeds will benefit worthy causes via the Emirates Airline Foundation,’ said Ahmed Safa, divisional senior vice president for engineering at Emirates.  

A number of pieces of luggage from the collection will  be on display at the Dubai Airshow next week.

Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.


Europe’s Upcoming Ban on ‘Climate Neutral’ Marketing to Affect Travel Brand Greenwashing

9 months ago

The European Union is on track to ban marketing claims such as “climate neutral” by 2026 that scientifically based certification can’t validate.

Claims such as “carbon neutral,” “environmentally friendly,” and “eco” will require companies to verify their products’ merits through third-party certification schemes. 

Travel companies are among the industries that may be affected by the looming ban. For example, airlines may need to change booking interfaces that offer “climate-neutral” flights in exchange for buying carbon offsets supporting projects that lack credibility.

The rules okayed on Wednesday still need formal approval from the European Union parliament and its member states — expected in November. But it would be procedurally rare for the rules to be denied.

The move came on the same day United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said “humanity has opened the gates to hell” in its failure to stop rising carbon emissions and a forecasted increase in extreme weather.

EU press release on its climate claims rules

Travel Agents

Travel Agents Could Have a Say in New Rules For Passengers

1 year ago

Travel agents could bring a real-world perspective to complex rules shaping the protection of air travel passengers, as part of a modernization proposal for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) watchdog for aviation consumer protection.

The Modernization Act (H.R. 3780) would see the Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee (ACPAC) membership include a dedicated travel agency seat to the advisory body. The bipartisan bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Dina Titus (D-NV), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), John Garamendi (D-CA), Marc Molinaro (R-NY) and Julia Brownley (D-CA) on Thursday, 1 June. 

The five most recent ACPAC meetings, starting in December 2021, have centered around two major DOT regulatory proposals on ticket refunds and transparency in airline fees – crucial to business operations of travel agencies, whatever their final forms take. 

“Roughly half of all airline tickets in the U.S. are sold through the agency channel. Giving these small business owners, 70 percent of whom are women, an elevated voice in the DOT regulatory process will help the Department meet its consumer protection mission,” said Zane Kerby, CEO and president of the American Association of Travel Advisors (ASTA). 

Travel agents provide valuable insights through real-world impacts of complex proposals pending before DOT, currently missing from ACPAC’s process, added Eben Peck, ASTA’s executive vice president.

In its current form, ACPAC membership consists of one representative each of U.S. airlines, consumer groups, airports and state or local governments.  


IDEAS: Airbus Shares Its Vision for the Cabin of the Future

1 year ago

Aerospace designer and manufacturer Airbus has shared what they feel will be the next generation of passenger experience, with their sustainability and tech-driven Airspace Cabin Vision 2035+.

Environmental impact is a central focus, along with consumer comfort, in their product vision. Airbus will integrate “smart systems design” to optimize energy consumption and resources, while also using lightweight materials “enhanced by bionic principals and 3D-printing technologies,” as the company aims to focus on less carbon-intensive solutions in their manufacturing in the future.

Airbus states these innovations will contribute to the industry targets of Net-Zero by 2050.

At the Skift IDEA Awards, we are looking for the projects that are defining the future of guest experience, including aviation, hospitality, and tourism innovations.

If you have an exciting project to share, head to the Skift IDEA Awards today and start your submission. The final deadline for entries is June 20, 2023.


IDEAS: Fully Electric Seaglider Projected for Regional Travel in 2025

1 year ago

Electric seaglider manufacturer, Regent, unveiled a full-scale mock-up of its commercial seaglider prototype in April, with passenger service projected for 2025. Southern Airways is slated to receive the first 12-passenger seagliders serving coastal and island travelers.

Source: Regent

Regent also recently named David Neeleman, co-founder of Breeze Airways, JetBlue, and Azul Airlines, and Dennis Muilenburg, former CEO of The Boeing Company to its Board of Advisors. The company aims to improve regional transportation through its electric seagliders, providing fast, sustainable coastal travel.

Archer Aviation, which is backed by United Airlines and Stellantis NV, also aims to make about 250 battery-electric air taxis available for service in 2025, pending FAA approval.

At the Skift IDEA Awards, we are looking for the projects that are defining the future of guest experience, including aviation, hospitality, and tourism innovations.

If you have an exciting project to share, head to the Skift IDEA Awards today and start your submission. The final deadline for entries is June 20, 2023.


Carlyle Aviation Restructures SpiceJet Debt to 7.5% Stake in Indian Carrier

1 year ago

Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet said it has restructured its outstanding lease rental worth over $100 million to aircraft leasing firm Carlyle Aviation Partners into equity shares and convertible debentures.

SpiceJet’s board of directors approved issuing fresh equity shares of $29.5 million to Carlyle Aviation, following which the aircraft leasing firm will now have over 7.5 percent stake in the Indian carrier.

As a part of the proposed restructuring with Carlyle Aviation Partners, SpiceJet will also exchange its outstanding lease liabilities for an aggregate amount of $65.5 million into convertible debentures of SpiceJet subsidiary — SpiceXpress and Logistics.

“This restructuring will substantially reduce the existing liabilities of the company and will help in fund raising for business operations,” the company said in a note to investors.

The airline further mentioned that the board has proposed raising fresh capital of up to $303 million through eligible securities to qualified institutional buyers, pending approval from company members.

Carlyle Aviation Partners is the commercial aviation investment and servicing arm of Carlyle’s $143 billion global credit platform.

SpiceJet has also agreed to enter into a business transfer agreement with its subsidiary SpiceXpress and Logistics for transfer of its cargo business undertaking on slump sale basis.

“Accordingly, the cargo business shall be exclusively undertaken by SpiceXpress and Logistics effective April 1 or such other date as may be finalized,” the note from the company read.

SpiceJet had earlier announced its plan to transfer its cargo and logistics services on a slump sale basis to its subsidiary SpiceXpress to help the company raise funds independently.

SpiceJet’s total liabilities, as of December 31, stood at $1.7 billion. In the three months that ended December 2022, the company’s logistics arm raked in a net profit of $1.4 million on revenues of $14.5 million.

Skift had earlier reported that Ajay, Singh, the airline’s chairman and managing director, was reportedly in talks with a Middle Eastern carrier and an Indian conglomerate to partially sell a portion of his 60 percent stake in the budget airline.


Cathay Pacific Appoints Customer Chief Ronald Lam as New CEO

2 years ago

Cathay Pacific announced on Wednesday that CEO Augustus Tan would be stepping down on December 31 and chief customer and commercial officer, Ronald Lam would succeed him.

Even after appointed the CEO of Catahay Pacific, the airline has said Lam would continue to serve as chair of HK Express, Cathay’s low-cost subsidiary.

Lam was appointed chief customer and commercial officer in 2019. He joined the Cathay Pacific Group as a management trainee in 1996 and has since held a number of senior leadership roles in Hong Kong and overseas, including CEO of HK Express.

As the airline looks to increase its passenger flight capacity and strengthen connectivity, Lam would lead the airline through its post-Covid recovery and the introduction of the three-runway system at Hong Kong International Airport, Patrick Healy, chair of Cathay Pacific Group, said in a press statement.

“The company’s dual-brand strategy comprising Cathay Pacific as a premium full-service airline and HK Express as a wholly owned low-cost carrier have positioned it well to take advantage of the recovery and continue contributing to the long-term success of the Hong Kong hub,” Healy said.

Healy also spoke of Tang’s critical role in the airline’s restructuring in 2020 and its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic

Releasing its September figures, the airline has said that it would continue to add more flights in the coming months.

In addition to the flight sectors previously scheduled for November and December, the airline had announced that it would be adding more than half a million seats with an increase of around 700 sectors in November and 1,200 in December.

Japan and London Heathrow sectors would be witnessing a substantial increase in passenger flights in November and December, the airline had said.

In another board reshuffle announced Wednesday, Lavinia Lau will replace Lam as the chief customer and commercial officer from January 1 and Alexander McGowan will replace Gregory Hughes as chief operations and service delivery officer, effective April 1.


AirAsia India-Air India Merger by 2023 as AirAsia Sells Off India Stake to Tatas

2 years ago

Budget carrier AirAsia India is likely to be merged with Air India Express by the end of 2023. An operational review process is underway to integrate the two carriers, Air India said in a statement this week.

The merger news follows Malaysia-based AirAsia Aviation Group’s announcement on Wednesday that it has sold off its remaining 16.67 percent stake in AirAsia India to Tatas-owned Air India.

The agreement that will fetch AirAsia $18.83 million, also states that AirAsia India can continue to use the ‘AirAsia’ brand name for 12 months.

Aimed at having a single low-cost carrier for the Air India group, following the merger the entity will be branded as Air India Express, a statement read.

In June, Indian watchdog Competition Commission of India had approved the proposed acquisition of the entire shareholding of AirAsia India by Air India.

Following the acquisition of Air India and Air India Express in January, the Tata Group now owns four airlines — Air India, Air India Express, AirAsia India and Vistara. Vistara is a joint venture with Singapore Airlines.

In a recent interview with Skift the Vistara CEO when asked about a possible merger between the airlines under the Tata fold had said that there are certain discussions that have been happening which he is not privy to.

Commenting further on AirAsia selling off its remaining stake to Air India, Group CEO of AirAsia Aviation Group, Bo Lingam, said Covid has allowed them to re-examine priorities, and the group feels it is best suited for AirAsia to develop an Asean-only business with airlines in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

“We will use the experience and knowledge we have gained from operating in the Indian domestic market to grow the Asean-Indian market in logistics and passenger services to a far greater extent,” Lingam added.

Launched in 2014, AirAsia India currently flies to 18 destinations with a market share of 5.9 percent.


Emirates Calls Travelers to ‘Fly Better’ With Its Gerry The Goose Campaign

2 years ago

After Hollywood celebrities Jennifer Anniston and Chris Hemsworth, Gerry the Goose is winging it as the newest brand ambassador for Dubai-based carrier Emirates. The brand campaign featuring Gerry, a Canadian goose, will run in 25 countries for one month, starting August 30.

As part of its ‘Fly Better’ campaign, Emirates said it “is inviting customers to take a gander at the benefits and services of the airline.”

Created through computer-generated imagery, Gerry the Goose is shown onboard an Emirates flight enjoying the finer things in life while watching “The Goose (enough of the puns, already!), The Bad and The Ugly.” Right outside the plane window, his tired friends are shown make their “monumental journey” through wind and rain from one continent to the other.

As Gerry remarks, “If you’re going to fly, you may as well fly better.”

“In terms of the qualities and profile we look for in our brand ambassadors — we are spreading our wings,” said Richard Billington, senior vice president of marketing and brand at Emirates. 

Earlier this month, Emirates announced that it would be investing over $2 billion to enhance its inflight customer experience, including a massive programme to retrofit over 120 aircraft with the latest interiors, plus an array of other service improvements across all cabins.

Through the pandemic we’ve continued to launch new services and initiatives to ensure our customers travel with the assurance and ease, including digital initiatives to improve customer experiences on the ground, said Tim Clark, president of Emirates. “Now we’re rolling out a series of intensive programmes to take Emirates’ signature inflight experiences to the next level.”

For the eleventh consecutive year, Emirates also returns as the official airline of the ongoing US Open Tennis Championships.

Emirates has been building up connectivity in response to growing customer demand on the back of rising travel confidence and the easing of international travel protocols. In an earlier forecast Clark had said that the airline would return to profitability by next year.


Indian Airport Lounge Aggregator DreamFolks Hopes to Open IPO on August 24

2 years ago

India-based airport lounge services aggregator, DreamFolks Services, will be launching its initial public offering in India on August 24. 

DreamFolks Services, through its asset-light business model, integrates global card players, credit card and debit card issuers with airlines and various airport lounge operators. The company also manages loyalty programmes for airlines.

Starting out as an agrregator of airport lounges, DreamFolks now calls itself “a provider of end-to-end technological solutions for building and delivering services that improve the airport experience.”

The initial public offering will open for subscription on August 24 and close on August 26.

The initial public offering is entirely an offer for sale through which the company’s promoters — Liberatha Peter Kallat, Dinesh Nagpal, and Mukesh Yadav — will offload 17 million shares, which constitutes around 33 percent of the post-offer paid-up equity share capital of the company, according to a PTI report.

With the Indian lounge market set for a massive boost, DreamFolks’ decision to go public is said to be rightly timed.

The number of airport lounges in India is expected to increase to 70-90 by 2025 and 150-160 by 2030, as per estimates based on a Frost & Sullivan research. Currently, India has around 54 airport lounges, with 31 percent of the lounges concentrated in the three key metropolitan airports of New Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai.

The total number of operational airports is expected to reach 295 by 2040 with industry revenues expected to grow to $28.6 billion by 2040.

DreamFolks can also take heart from the fact that the non-aeronautical earnings per passenger went up from around $2 in the financial year of 2017 to $4.2 in the financial year of 2021, indicating that passengers are willing to spend more.

The aviation sector has been contributing roughly 3.5 percent to India’s gross domestic product.