AviationAviation Wrap: From airplane-themed restaurant by Thai Airways to camping in a converted ex-Etihad aircraft.

Airlines and airplanes get new lease of life on the ground

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Thai Airways serves up a treat for passengers missing their airline meals.
Thai Airways serves up a treat for passengers missing their airline meals.

Thai Airways goes to ground with new meals service

Craving airline food? Miss phad Thai or green curry? Thai Airways has come up with a novel way to keep staff employed and tempt the palates of customers who miss their meals at 30,000 feet.

The airline has opened to the public an airplane-themed restaurant in what is normally the staff cafeteria at its Bangkok HQ. The restaurant uses airplane parts and seats to lend an authentic aircraft feel to the restaurant, which is staffed by Thai Airways employees, including grounded cabin crew and catering chefs.

Prices range from between 95 baht and 180 baht (US$3-5) for cooked-to-order meals.

Camping in a converted ex-Etihad plane. Image courtesy of Apple Camping.
Camping in a converted ex-Etihad plane. Image courtesy of Apple Camping.

Camp out in an A319

A former Etihad Airbus 319 aircraft has been modified into short-stay Arabian Nights accommodation by Apple Camping in Pembrokeshire in Wales.

The fuselage of the A319 now serves as a room and the galley as a kitchen, while the back of the fuselage also features a small outdoor seating area. It has its own kitchen trolly-dolly style, shower and toilet.

Apple also has a camp made from a Lockheed JetStar which retains a most of the original features, including a bar area. On the back is a double bedroom in the style of a first-class ship’s cabin while the cockpit includes an X-box with flight games.

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport says it has recovered 90% of domestic passengers lost since the pandemic.
Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport says it has recovered 90% of domestic passengers lost since the pandemic. Photo Credit: ziggy_mars/Getty Images

China air travel nears full recovery

Domestic air travel in China is expected to fully recover by early September, according to travel analyst ForwardKeys.

Arrivals at airports across China reached 86% of 2019 levels in the second week of August, and bookings hit 98%, largely for travel in mid-to-late August.

ForwardKeys predicts a full recovery as schools and university students travel ahead of the start of term in September.

“This is a highly significant moment because it is the first time since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak that a major segment of the aviation market anywhere in the world has returned to pre-pandemic levels,” Olivier Ponti, a ForwardKeys executive, said.

“The big question is whether heavy discounting will still be needed to maintain the recovery or whether the industry will return to profitability during the Golden Week holiday in October.”

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport says it has recovered 90% of domestic passengers lost since the pandemic.

Vietjet’s ground handling services
Vietjet’s ground handling services

Vietjet launches self-handling ground operations

Vietjet has kick-started its self-handling ground operations at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, becoming the first-ever private carrier to set up its own ground handling arm in Vietnam.

This move aims to improve the airline’s service quality, independence and the flexibility to adjust its flight schedules to meet seasonal flight operations especially in peak periods to manage its operations cost.

The Hanoi ground services was launched to help the Vietnamese carrier to "optimise our cost-reducing opportunities while enhancing ground handling service quality and create more sources of revenue”, said Vietjet Vice President Nguyen Thanh Son.

Scoot now connects Semarang and Yogyakarta in Indonesia.
Scoot now connects Semarang and Yogyakarta in Indonesia.

Scoot eyes Indonesia flights

Scoot has opened bookings to Semarang and Yogyakarta from the Scoot website, mobile app and registered travel partners.

These are two of six destinations, including Balikpapan, Lombok, Makassar and Manado, previously operated by SilkAir and which are being transferred to Scoot. The first operation will be the Singapore-Yogyakarta route starting from 29 September.

Scoot is “highly encouraging” passengers to check-in online for their flights.

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