American Airlines executives gathered Feb. 18 to celebrate the airline opening four new gates at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. American now operates more than 700 daily flights from 93 gates, some 90% of the airport's flights. The airport's ongoing expansion plans could add even more flights for American, which serves 149 destinations in 25 countries from the Charlotte hub.
JetBlue has adopted new changes "to assure the independence and objectivity" of its board of directors, and three members, including the current chairman, Joel Peterson, will retire at the end of 2020. Peter Boneparth was named chairman of the board, and the airline also extended the contract of CEO Robin Hayes through July 2022.
Southwest Airlines has promoted Alan Kasher from vice president of flight operations to senior vice president of air operations, succeeding Craig Drew, who will transition to a consultant role after a long career at Southwest. Bob Waltz, formerly flight operations senior director of compliance and operations, succeeds Kasher as vice president of flight operations.
Hartsville Regional Airport in South Carolina has been awarded $500,000 in state funding, which will combine with federal grants to support construction of a new $1.6 million terminal. The city hopes to begin work in the fall.
When a Southwest Airlines dispatcher's daughter faced disappointment as her leukemia canceled a planned birthday party, he posted a message asking for birthday greetings. Southwest employees across the country responded with an avalanche of gifts and good wishes.
Volocopter, which recently tested the prototype of its electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft in Singapore, and Grab, a ride-hailing company, are collaborating to examine the viability of urban air mobility in Southeast Asia. They will seek out appropriate cities and routes in the region and perform joint flight tests before potentially partnering to provide air taxi services.
Syracuse Hancock International Airport in New York is considering the replacement of its exit portals -- round glass tubes that enable passengers to depart from the two gate areas using a sensor system, while stopping people who have not gone through security from entering. The portals save the airport $580,000 annually in staffing because a guard does not need to be posted at the exit, but the tubes have been subject to many complaints and confusion for passengers, who say the tubes create an unnecessary logjam.
Federal security standards for driver's licenses and other forms of ID used to fly in the US become more restrictive on October 1, and state governments are urging residents to make sure they have a compliant ID. Transportation Security Administration spokesperson Lisa Farbstein says TSA has "no plans to provide an alternate verification process to confirm a traveler's identity."
While the convenience of online shopping has taken a serious toll on many brick-and-mortar stores, airport retail establishments are thriving. Air travel has become more reasonably priced, resulting in crowded airports filled with potential shoppers, and luxury brands are increasingly taking up space, as the option for duty-free shopping is particularly appealing on high-end purchases.
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