Round Trip is your weekly roundup of what’s been happening in the passenger experience and airline ancillary revenue space. Here are the top stories from this past week:
33 years after its founding in 1984, Richard Branson announced that he will be selling 31% of his stake in Virgin Atlantic to Air France-KLM, staying on as Chariman with a 20% interest. Now, the largest shareholder in Virgin Atlantic is Delta with 49% interest in the brand.
This new strategic partnership will allow Virgin, Delta, Air France-KLM, and other partner, Alitalia, to directly compete with the partnership between American Airlines and British Airways by streamlining their schedules and cooperating on frequent flyer schemes to provide better service for customers.
Branson stated, this is “a fantastic opportunity to extend our network and create a stronger customer champion, as well as being extremely beneficial to our people and the Virgin Atlantic brand”.
Due to a Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) shutdown of the proposal for a joint venture between Global Eagle Entertainment and Shareco, the investment agreement has been terminated.
If it was to go through, Shareco would have become the majority shareholder in Global Eagle, investing $416 million for a 34.9% stake. This raised national security concerns with the CFIUS as this shift in power would mean that Shareco, a Chinese-owned company, would have the ability to nominate members to Global Eagle’s board of directors, among other concerns.
Originally, the deal was constructed to give Global Eagle the ability to provide inflight entertainment and wifi services to HNA-owned airlines, which as of the end of 2016 accounted for over 1200 airlincrafts.
Global Eagle and Shareco will continue their commercial partnership, allowing Global Eagle to service 3 of HNA’s 14 airlines.
Tigerair’s last flight took off on July 24th, marking the shift to all future flights taking off under the Scoot brand. To mark this shift, Scoot has launched a new tagline, “Escape the Ordinary”, and new campaign, “Permitted on Board”, aiming to help launch Scoot in 35 new locations.
Their goal is to show that Scoot has “spunk” and “sass”, challenging the status quo that budget airlines mean zero luxuries. Jacqueline Loh, Head of Marketing, Product & Ancillary Revenue at Scoot commented on this thought process by saying, “Consumers have low expectations of low-cost carriers (LCC). When they choose to fly budget, they are prepared to trade off certain inflight ‘luxuries’ such as legroom, overhead cabin space, inflight entertainment found on full-service airlines. We don’t believe flying budget should be a bland experience!”
As the current Tigerair fleet gets a repainting to take on the Scoot brand, flight attendants will also be changing their look with new uniforms to help emphasize the rebrand.
Air China, one of China’s major airlines, has chosen Panasonic’s IFEC solution, eX3, for its fleet of Airbus A350 aircraft, the first of which to be delivered in December 2017.
From the company’s press release, Panasonic stated, “By selecting eX3, Air China will offer a unique passenger experience that includes audio and video on demand, a content library that can offer up to 300 movies, 200 TV shows, games, music, a moving map, and much more.”
Along with entertainment, the eX3 aircraft will become equipped with better inflight connectivity.