News Bits: AA integrates pilot scheduling, Gogo upgrading network, Delta adds seasonal Europe flights

Late last week several news items popped up that are of interest to the air traveler. The Wall Street Journal carried stories about American Airlines integrating legacy US Airways pilots into its pilot scheduling system. The paper also reported that Gogo, the provider of inflight WiFi to numerous airlines including American and Delta, will be upgrading its terrestrial network to support faster onboard connectivity. Delta Air Lines released a press release announcing 2017 seasonal service from various US cities to Dublin, Ireland and Lisbon, Portugal. Let's get more of the details.

American Airlines to integrate US Airways scheduling system

American Airlines merged with US Airways three years ago but has continued to use both airlines' respective pilot and aircraft scheduling systems. Management of the respective airlines' flight deck crews and planes has been done separately and are siloed. This past weekend that changed as the airline integrated the US Airways pilots and aircraft into its legacy scheduling systems. Going forward, the airline will have the ability to schedule all pilots and aircraft from a single system. That means "US Airways pilots will share cockpits with their counterparts from American, and the company will be able to mix and match aircraft in a way that better anticipates demand and can respond more efficiently to poor weather."

Gogo inflight WiFi network upgrade coming by 2018

Gogo Inflight Wifi logo.jpg

A second article that caught my eye reported that Gogo, the provider of inflight internet services to numerous airlines including American and Delta, will be upgrading its network. The enhancement will support higher WiFi speeds than those currently offered which are now slow by modern standards. The update will be based on the current state-of-the-art LTE mobile data standard. What astounds me as a former wireless telecom engineer is that  the current network has gone without a major upgrade since 2008! I was still working in engineering at that point and my employer at the time was conducting RFPs for its LTE network launch. That means that Gogo is behind by at least one, if not two, upgrade cycles. Granted, as the article notes, things have changed dramatically on the mobile data front since that time. In 2008, the iPhone was still relatively new and the smartphone explosion had not yet occurred. The iPad was still on Apple's drawing board and you didn't see MacBooks, Surfaces and other laptops on every table when you walked into Starbucks.  The faster service is expected to be available by 2018.

Delta expands seasonal service to Europe

Delta announced last week that it would launch new seasonal flights to Europe from Boston and New York beginning in 2017. From Boston, the airline is adding service to Dublin, Ireland, while, from New York-JFK, Delta will add flights to Lisbon, Portugal and Berlin, Germany (Tegel).

From the press release:

Delta is expanding service from New York and Boston to Europe in summer 2017 with new service between Boston and Dublin and between New York and Lisbon, as well as returning service between New York and Berlin.

Starting May 25, 2017, Delta will introduce nonstop seasonal service between Dublin Airport and Boston Logan International Airport. This flight will complement Delta’s existing services to Dublin from New York-JFK and Atlanta.

Also on May 25, the airline will begin serving Portugal when it launches a daily seasonal flight between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Lisbon Airport, and will resume flights to Berlin with the launch of nonstop service between JFK and Tegel Airport.

All flights will operate in conjunction with Delta’s joint venture partners Air France-KLM and Alitalia.
— "Delta announces new routes to connect New York-JFK, Boston to Europe," Delta News Hub
Delta's seasonal service to Europe from Boston and New York starts May 2017

Delta's seasonal service to Europe from Boston and New York starts May 2017

The Dublin and Lisbon routes will be operated by Boeing 757-200 aircraft and the Berlin flight will utilize Boeing 767-300 equipment.