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Check out Air Canada’s first upgraded Airbus A321 with an all-new interior and cabin

ANA Turns Aircraft Seat Covers into Slippers as Part of an Upcycling Initiative to Reduce Waste
  • Cabin improvements include larger overhead bins, new seating, and a state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system
  • Industry-first exterior cameras on a narrow-body aircraft provide customers real-time, high-definition flight views on IFE seatback screens 
  • Aircraft will serve as an onboard trial environment for new technologies such as Bluetooth audio at seatbacks and free high-speed Internet available to all customers

Customers on board Air Canada flight AC692 operated by Fin 451 (C-GITU) on Saturday got an aerial view of the takeoff with new exterior cameras linked to the aircraft’s seatback entertainment system.

The new camera capability, a first for a narrow-body aircraft, is one of numerous advancements announced with the airline’s first updated Airbus A321, which has been overhauled from nose to tail.

Air Canada is investing in customer comfort throughout its fleet of Airbus A321 and A320 aircraft, which will include a new cabin interior, new technologies and services such as Bluetooth music, and free high-speed internet sponsored by Bell.

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Highlights of new cabin features:

  • Larger overhead bins – Latest Airbus Airspace XL design, the largest overhead bins in-class that will also be installed on the Airbus A321XLRs.
  • Upgraded seating – Presents a standardized product across the Air Canada narrowbody fleet in both Business Class and Economy. The new seats are designed to optimize passenger personal space, improve ergonomics, and provide more storage giving customers a more comfortable experience.
  • Bluetooth audio – Air Canada’s newest IFE system will feature a Bluetooth-enabled seatback monitor. Customers will be able to connect their personal headsets while watching video on demand, live TV, or listening to podcasts or music. This initiative helps reduce usage of single-use headphones and supports Air Canada’s sustainability objectives in reducing waste.
  • New exterior cameras – Customers can now watch their flight live thanks to a new first-in-class narrowbody tail and belly camera system providing high-resolution, real-time video of the aircraft exterior. 
  • Full colour LED mood lighting – New cabin lighting system will allow different ambiances to be set depending on time of day and phase of flight.
  • Fast and reliable Wi-Fi – Upgraded satellite-based connectivity.
  • Power options at all seats – All customers have access to power outlets, USB-A, and USB-C.

Air Canada’s remaining 14 Airbus A321s and eight A320s will be upgraded beginning in the fall and continuing through the end of 2025. Customers will benefit from an improved narrow-body cabin experience, similar to that of the Airbus A220 and Boeing 737 MAX aircraft that make up the majority of Air Canada’s narrowbody fleet.

The new cabin also reduces the overall weight of the A321 by approximately 240 kilograms, which reduces fuel consumption for the entire fleet by more than 2.4 million litres once the work is completed and GHG emissions by 6,256 tCO2 equivalent per year, or the equivalent of the electricity used annually by 4,185 Canadian homes.

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Virgin Atlantic Sued Over Alleged Age Discrimination: Cabin Crew Seek Justice

Virgin Atlantic Sued Over Alleged Age Discrimination: Cabin Crew Seek Justice

Virgin Atlantic finds itself embroiled in legal proceedings as over 200 former cabin crew members launch a lawsuit against the airline, alleging discriminatory practices during the period of the pandemic.

The dispute centers on accusations that the company unfairly targeted older employees for dismissal while retaining newer, less costly hires.

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The pandemic’s onset in March 2020 triggered a cascade of challenges for the aviation industry, leading Virgin Atlantic to ground a significant portion of its fleet. In response, the airline swiftly implemented cost-cutting measures, including the reduction of its workforce by over 40%, amounting to the loss of 3,000 jobs.

Additionally, it established a “holding pool” for potentially rehiring redundant staff once normal operations resumed. However, the crux of the legal battle lies in the claim that Virgin Atlantic retained approximately 350 new cabin crew members, some with minimal training periods as short as a week.

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While simultaneously letting go of experienced onboard managers, many of whom boasted an average age of 45 years and two decades of service. This perceived discrepancy forms the backbone of the lawsuit, with former employees contending that age became a determining factor in the airline’s decision-making process.

In response, a Virgin Atlantic representative stated: “Virgin Atlantic had to make very difficult decisions following the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the aviation industry.” Regretfully, this meant a 45% reduction in the total number of employees within the company.

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End of an Era: Qantas Retires Final Boeing 767 Freighter

End of an Era: Qantas Retires Final Boeing 767 Freighter

Qantas has officially bid farewell to its last Boeing 767 aircraft, marking the end of an era that began nearly four decades ago.

The final 767, a dedicated freighter variant registered as VH-EFR, operated its last flight on May 17, 2024. This concluding journey took it from Hong Kong (HKG) to Sydney (SYD) under the flight number QF7526, closing the chapter on Qantas’s use of the 767 after 39 years.

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The Australian airline commemorated the occasion with an Instagram post on Friday, announcing the retirement of VH-EFR, their last remaining 767. According to Cirium Ascend Fleet Analyzer data, this aircraft is a little over 18 years old. It joined the Qantas fleet in 2011, having previously served Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) as a cargo plane.

Despite being owned by Qantas, the aircraft was operated by Express Freighters Australia under the Qantas Freight brand.

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The Boeing 767 has had a versatile history with Qantas. Initially, the aircraft was used on international routes, flying to destinations in New Zealand, Asia, and North America. Following the 1992 merger with Australian Airlines, the 767s were increasingly deployed for domestic services as well.

Although Qantas is retiring this specific freighter, the Boeing 767-300 freighter model remains active globally. Records indicate that 280 of these aircraft are still operational, serving 14 airlines around the world.

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United Flight Diverts to Shannon, After Stuck Laptop in Business Class Seat

United Flight Diverts to Shannon, After Stuck Laptop in Business Class Seat

A United Airlines flight from Zurich to Chicago O’Hare was forced to make an emergency diversion to Shannon, Ireland.

On Saturday afternoon after a passenger got their laptop wedged in a Business Class seat aboard the Boeing 767-300. Operating as United Flight 12, the aircraft departed from Flughafen Zürich at 9:46 a.m. local time and took off at 10:08 a.m.

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The captain decided to divert the flight not because the passenger couldn’t access their laptop, but because any device powered by lithium-ion batteries that becomes inaccessible could pose a significant safety risk.

Such devices, if damaged or overheated, could lead to a thermal runaway event, potentially causing a fire on board. The Boeing 767-300, featuring United’s relatively new Polaris business-class cabin, landed safely at Shannon Airport in County Clare at 1:43 p.m. IST (Irish Summer Time) and reached the gate at 1:51 p.m.

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In a statement, United Airlines acknowledged the diversion: “United flight 12 scheduled from Zurich to Chicago landed safely in Shannon to address a potential safety risk caused by a laptop being stuck in an inaccessible location.” This situation led to the cancellation of the flight, and the airline is working to reroute the 157 passengers who found themselves unexpectedly in Ireland.

Frequent flyers are often reminded in airline safety videos not to move their seats if they lose mobile phones or other gadgets powered by lithium-ion batteries within the seats. Attempting to retrieve such items by moving the seat can damage the battery and potentially cause a dangerous situation.

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