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Flying Taxis’ Best Ride Is to the Helicopter Market

Cabdrivers don’t need to worry about being replaced by flying cars. Helicopter makers might need to a little bit.

Vertical Aerospace, a British startup devoted to the development of electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing vehicles, or eVTOL, has just received a preorder for 25 aircraft plus an option for 25 more from Bristow Group, a U.S.-owned operator of civil helicopters, the air-taxi company told The Wall Street Journal.

Vertical, which in June struck a deal with a blank-check investment vehicle to go public, already has announced preorders and options for 1,050 vehicles. Buyers include American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and plane lessor Avolon Holdings, which said Tuesday that it had already placed 250 of them with Gol and Grupo Comporte, a Brazilian airline and transport operator, respectively.

Excerpt from WSJ

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Southwest Airlines Cancels Over 1,800 Flights

Weekend snarl is the latest difficulty for the carrier after it struggled over the summer

Southwest Airlines Co. canceled more than 1,800 flights over the weekend, citing bad weather and air-traffic-control problems in Florida that rippled throughout its operation.

The airline canceled over 1,000 flights Sunday, or 28% of its schedule, according to FlightAware, a flight-tracking website. Over 500 flights were delayed.

The problems started Friday evening, when severe weather in Florida prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to impose an air-traffic-management program, resulting in a large number of cancellations and leaving customers and crew members out of place, an airline spokesperson said Saturday.

Southwest scrambled to reset its network Saturday, canceling more than 800 flights that day, or 24% of its operation, according to FlightAware.

Excerpt from WSJ
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Shell to Start Making Lower-Carbon Jet Fuel as Regulations Loom

Anglo-Dutch energy giant is first big oil company to disclose production, sales targets for SAF as demand from airlines ramps up

Royal Dutch Shell PLC is the first major oil company to announce targets for low-emission jet-fuel output and sales as airlines look to buy more of the fuel to meet climate-change goals and get ahead of proposed European Union regulations.

The Anglo-Dutch energy giant, a top provider of jet fuel, said it plans to produce 2 million metric tons of so-called sustainable aviation fuel a year by 2025, up from none today. It wants SAF to account for at least 10% of the jet fuel it sells by 2030, including fuel it sources from outside...

Excerpt from WSJ

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Southwest Targets Expanded CX for Recovery and Beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic has been nothing if not a grueling test for the airline industry, but Southwest is using the lessons it’s learned as a springboard for ongoing growth.

COVID-19 may have battered the travel industry to an unprecedented degree, but for technology leaders at Southwest Airlines, the experience has also taught some valuable lessons. Today, the airline is using that insight to chart a new course for the future.

“We have learned a lot about our existing system capabilities,” says Jeff Jones, vice president of commercial and customer technology with the airline. For example, “in the early days of the pandemic, the number of schedule revisions was astronomical—no one ever anticipated volumes like that. We saw some areas we needed to reinforce, and we made a lot of improvements.”

Business plummeted as the pandemic took hold, recounts Jim Dayton, vice president of air and ground operations technology. “We went from 4,000 flights a day to fewer than 1,500; those we did run were close to empty,” Dayton says. Yet even as the airline cut external IT support by 40% and reduced its technology budget by about 50%, it still delivered on 75% to 80% of its 2020 goals. “We have learned a lot about efficiencies, resilience, team sizes, and teamwork.”

Excerpt from WSJ

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