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Woman Traveler in Thailand

Travel Experts Claim Tourism Will Be More Personalized Post-Coronavirus

According to hotel, aviation, and tourism experts, the future of travel in a post-coronavirus world is going to be all about “hyper-personalization” and luxury.  International borders have already begun to reopen which has already given travellers an insight into what the industry is going to look like when it comes to travelling in this new age of living. 

Mr and Mrs Smith’s Founder and Chief Creative Officer James Lohan recently spoke with the media about travelling in a post-Covid world and claims that privacy and personalization will be on the top of every businesses list. Hotels that are already reopening to the public obviously are needing to take major precautions for both staff and guest safety. Lohan believes that guests will begin to notice more options to design their own stay when planning future vacations. 

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“Customers will be asked how they want to be looked after. Do you want your bags carried or would you rather have no contact with the staff? Would you like to have your turn-down every night or not? Do you want your room made up every day or not?”

The goal is comfort, and while many individuals are likely to opt out of travelling until a coronavirus vaccine becomes a reality, there are others who will be forced into beginning work again soon and will likely need to travel. Individuals who need to self-quarantine for other reasons will likely take advantage of hotel/rental reopenings for the summer and beyond as well. 

Lohan also predicts that serving hours for meals in hotel restaurants will likely expand to allow less individuals to be present in one space at a time. Ordering food will also become more digitized in more of a room service type of format. Minimizing face-to-face contact between staff and guests will also be top priority for everyone’s safety. 

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Hotels located in major metropolitan areas are projected to struggle the most at attracting guests to come back after lockdown. For one, many individuals will likely be anxious to enter any major city in the US by the time this pandemic ends. On the other hand, many individuals who do want to get back into the city may also avoid it due to the fact that they know everyone else will avoid it. The going out culture in cities is what makes vacationing in one so exciting, so without the travelers there to fill the streets, many would rather keep their trips simple. 

The biggest change that Lohan and other experts are projecting to occur is a decrease in how often the average individual travels, but an increase in how lavish they vacation when they do. Tourists will likely want to make travel something special, based on the fact that it’s something we’re all being denied at the moment. 

The reality is also over 40 million Americans lost their jobs within the past three months, so the market of individuals who can afford to travel is going to become much smaller for the US. However, this also means that once the economy recovers and jobs are created, individuals will likely want to wait and save for the perfect luxury trip to really make their time away from home worth it in the future. 

It won’t matter how the travel industry looks in a post-coronavirus world, however, if we don’t actually get to a place where Covid-19 is no longer an issue. Continue to take every health and safety precaution you can and listen to your healthcare professionals so that hopefully one day soon you’ll be booking a flight again to your favorite Caribbean island. 

King Air 200

South African Pilot, Refilwe Ledwaba, Is Looking To Change The Face Of Aviation

“This is my favorite aircraft. It’s called a King Air 200. I’ve got approximately 100 hours of flying on this aircraft. I absolutely love it, it just performs,” Refilwe Ledwaba said as she stood next to the hanger of the King Air 200 at the Wonderboom Airport in South Africa.   

Ledwaba has made a major impact in South Africa through her advocacy for women’s rights, especially for their right to start careers in traditionally male-dominated fields, such as piloting. Ledwaba herself is both a helicopter and a fixed-wing pilot as well as a flight instructor for all prospective pilots in South Africa. 

Her other accomplishments include being a goalkeeper for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which basically means Ledwaba could choose a specific group/charity to advocate and raise awareness for. For Ledwaba, that has become the Girls Fly Program in Africa. She also was the first black woman to be a police service pilot in South Africa.

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“For a long time, I was the only black female that was holding the highest license for helicopters, but being the first for me is not important. The important thing is the 20th person, the 30th person, then we can start talking,” she said.

Ledwaba’s philosophy here couldn’t have come at a more relevant time. Reports claim that less than 10% of the world’s pilots, aviation maintenance technicians and airline executives are women, Ledwaba is ready to multiply that number five times over and she’s starting in Africa. As previously stated Ledwaba is involved with the Girls Fly Program in Africa (GFPA), but she’s not involved in the traditional sense of the word, she actually runs the entire foundation. 

GFPA’s main goal is to introduce girls in elementary, middle, and high school to STEM subjects; science, technology, engineering, and math. When Ledwaba was a child, she was raised by just her mother, who also had to raise six other kids. Her mother always instilled a hard work ethic in Ledwaba, and made it clear to her from a young age that the possibilities are limitless when it comes to what she wants to do with her life. 

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Initially, Ledwaba claimed her mother inspired her to work hard to become a doctor, however, when she was in school she got a job as a flight attendant to help pay for her education. From that moment on she was fascinated by all things aviation, so much so that she began taking private flying lessons, which has led to her career today.

As the world develops and continues to industrialize, more careers are going to require a degree in STEM, so Ledwaba’s goal is to introduce these subjects to girls at a young age to spark an interest early on. More often than not, girls are steered away from focusing on STEM subjects in terms of specialized studies, and Ledwaba is gearing up to change that. 

“I’m working to diversify the face of women in the aviation industry by being accessible, being available, and being visible. I want a future where a small child can just wake up like, ‘I’m going to do that one day,’ and not have doubts.” 

She’s already held multiple aviation/space camp programs through GFPA in South Africa, Cameroon, and Kenya. Ledwaba also emphasizes on the GFPA website that while their focus is on empowering young girls, they also reach out to young boys as well to join their school outreach programs and camps. While the main goal is equality amongst the sexes in STEM careers, Ledwaba is just as invested in young people of all demographics gaining an equal opportunity to succeed if they want it. So far, the GFPA and Ledwaba’s work has helped over 100,000 young girls and boys through their multiple STEM programs.

Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand Wins ‘Airline Of The Year’ For The Sixth Time

Air New Zealand has officially been named “Airline of the Year” by AirlineRatings.com, which is an Australian travel safety and review website that ranks the world’s top airports every year. Air New Zealand is no stranger to holding this title, as it’s long been praised as one of the nicest and safest airlines internationally. It also has held the “Airline of the Year” five other times; this year was a bit of a shock, however, as Singapore Airlines was looking to grab the honor for 2020, since they won the award last year, but at the last minute New Zealand snatched the crown from under them. 

The title was given to New Zealand this year in part because of their “record breaking performance as an airport” and “environmental leadership” compared to other airports sustainability efforts, according to the official statement

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“In our analysis, Air New Zealand came out number one in most of our audit criteria, which is an outstanding performance when it’s up against carriers with more resources and scale on this same list of best airlines for 2020. Air New Zealand’s commitment to excellence in all facets of its business starts at the top with outstanding governance and one of the best executive teams in aviation through to a workforce that is delivering consistently to the airline’s strategy and customer promise,” said AirlineRatings.com Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Thomas in a press release.

According to the same press release, the AirlineRatings.com Airline Excellence Awards are the most coveted titles in terms of aviation travel honors. The website is run by a total of seven editors and has employee’s that combined have over 200 years in the airline industry experience. The release states that the staff reviews every airline and bases their rankings and awards on 12 key criteria. The criteria includes overall passenger reviews/experiences, relationship amongst staff, age of the airline’s fleet, total company profitability, investment ratings and product offers. 

Representatives from the website have stated that Air New Zealand winning the title for a total of six times now is only a further testament to how hard the staff works and communicates with its passengers. The airport has over 12,500 employees, and every department has received stellar reviews on their perspective duties throughout the years. The award is a testament to department to department communication, something that has caused many other airports to dwindle in quality. 

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The top five best Airlines named by the website are (from 1 to 5) Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Qantas, and Cathay Pacific Airways. In total the website annually ranks the “top 20” airlines every year, all based on the same criteria discussed above. 

In addition AirlineRelations.com gives credit to other airlines based on more specific award titles; although “Airline of the Year” is equivalent to the “Album of the Year” title at the Grammy’s. Singapore Airlines was not only ranked number two for best airlines, but also took the First Class Award for their extensive and quality first class suite packages. 

Australia’s Qantas won Best Domestic Airline Service and the coveted Best Lounges. “Qantas is a consistent winner across many categories in our list of best airlines 2020, 2019, and more. Its customer approval rating is at an all-time high, and it continues to innovate with lie-flat beds being added to its A380s. The judges were unanimous on the airline’s lounges which are exceptional and its domestic airline product, particularly on transcontinental A330 flights, is a standout,” said Thomas

Other awards distributed included “Best Catering” and “Best Business Class” both of which were won by Qatar Airways. Virgin Airlines Australia won an award for “Best Economy Class” seating and Cebu Pacific won the “Most Improved Airline” award. Emirites also held a top ten spot for best airlines, and won awards for “Best Long-Haul Flights” and “Best In-Flight Entertainment.”

Airplane Flying

Data Is Fueling Changes in Aviation Engineering

Airline passengers are easy to upset, often rightly bemoaning delays and disruptions. But for the operator, with a plane on the tarmac grounded by mechanical failure, the frustration is even more intense.

The Federal Aviation Administration estimates this inertia equates to an eye-watering loss of at least $150 per minute.

With optimal reliability and an uptime vital just to break even, squeezing every drop of efficiency from an aircraft’s assets has become critical to the sector’s future health. Forecasts, from aviation consultancy Cavok, predict global sectors spending on maintenance, repair and overhaul will hit $100 billion by 2021, with smarter analysis of aircraft data playing a central role.

In turn, engine and airframe manufacturers are incorporating predictive models in their offerings to airlines, which will not only help identify faults and component failures, but also pre-empt issues before they become more serious.

“Predictive technology is great at finding a needle in a haystack and helping engineers pinpoint the areas they need to focus on. With experienced aircraft engineers proving scarce and many now retiring, these solutions are set to become even more vital in gathering and utilising all this invaluable knowledge and information,” says Torsten Welte, global vice-president for aerospace and defence at enterprise software company SAP.

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Mr Welte traces the genesis of this traction to the power-by-the-hour approach for engine maintenance, which Rolls-Royce pioneered in commercial aviation in the 1980s.

“When Rolls-Royce innovated the model with performance-based contracts that charge customers per flying hour of the engine, it became a case of ‘we must keep the engine running or we won’t make any money’,” he says.

“This changed the dynamics in the aviation industry between manufacturer and operator, and drove a different behaviour from the former that was now far more focused on getting the most out of their resources at all times.”

The exponential rise in data has continued to fuel momentum. IBM figures reveal that an average aircraft generates between 500 to 1,000 gigabytes of data. Data analytic platforms such as SAP HANA tap into this business intelligence to monitor fuel speed, torque and pressure with internal predictive algorithms making recommendations in real-time so parts can be sourced and engineers reassigned even while the plane is airborne, and it doesn’t stop there. The technology is also able to tackle the information silos which have traditionally undermined the effective sharing of key intelligence across the aviation ecosystem.

Mr Welte says: “In some countries, due to local ownership rights, performance data is owned by the pilot rather than the airline, which means they have to get permission to access it. Elsewhere, a manufacturer does not necessarily have access to maintenance data which is often owned by the airlines’ own maintenance systems, so it’s all very disjointed.”

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Another process undergoing significant transformation is the traditionally complex task of tail planning; in essence, assigning the most appropriate aircraft to a flight route. For example, if an aircraft has an issue that adversely affects fuel burn, it will be allocated to the shortest flight.

Typically, an airline would spend three to four hours working on a plan which can be subject to 150 changes daily. Until recently, the process had barely evolved from the handwritten schedules of the mid-1980s, with many airlines still transferring the information manually into spreadsheets comprising a dozen pages.

Dubai-based airline Emirates is one of the big names now automating the process, having adopted software vendor IFS Aviation and Defence’s predictive technology.

“Previously, the plans were devised based on the judgment of someone with perhaps 10 to 20 years’ experience, but our technology means we can tap into historical data that goes back 40 years, all in a matter of minutes,” says IFS business development head Espen Olsen.

“Maintenance history, fuel consumption, climate, forecast – all these characteristics are put into the algorithm to calculate the best option, which means reduced risk, increased fuel efficiency, and improved fleet utilisation and maintenance planning.”

Mr Olsen believes the Middle East is driving this market: “They see an issue and do something about it without over-analysing the problem, and they are definitely ahead of Europe when it comes to using this technology. One manufacturer does something visionary and everyone follows.”

More broadly, he is seeing a lot of interest from oil and gas companies inspired by the latest innovation in aerospace and defence. “There has been so much money in this market in the past, they didn’t have to consider how they could become more efficient,” says Mr Olsen. “Yet since the downturn, they are now far more focused on extending the life of equipment and how, as a service provider to the industry, they can commit to a 10-year contract on a fixed basis and still make money. Increasingly, predictive analytics has the answers.”