It seems hard to believe that it’s already four weeks since I last updated you. In that time, as usual, we experience a number of challenges in the early summer including OTP, stock issues on the aircraft and vPOS system issues (vPOS is the UK’s new onboard selling system), there has been some really great progress being made and I am confident we will recover these downfalls as we approach the peak season.
As always, competition is tough for both our UK & Nordic source markets, and increasing, that said, the Nordic are having great summer for bookings but in the UK the recent spell of good weather always impacts bookings, so maybe a few rain showers would be helpful!
From a Northern Region Airlines integration perspective, we received the great news through the Swedish CAA that both Stuart Gruber and Dawn Wilson have been accepted as nominated persons for Flight Operations and Ground Operations respectively. This continues to be ground breaking, since we are the first airline in Europe to have multiple instances of one person holding two nominated person roles (see below for definition) across two countries, UK and Sweden.
Every airline must have Nominated Persons, acceptable to the Authority, who are responsible for the management and supervision in the areas of Flight operations, Crew training and Ground operations and Continued Airworthiness.
For the Northern Region Airline, we now have:
- Myself as Accountable Manager, holding two accountable manager roles. The term ‘Accountable Manager’ is used to describe the single individual who is designated as the person responsible to a Regulatory Authority in respect of the functions which are subject to regulation, and carried out by an aircraft operator
- Stuart Gruber, holding two Nominated Person Flight Operations roles, UK & Sweden
- Carl Downing, holding two Nominated Person Crew Training roles, UK and Sweden
- Dawn Wilson, holding two Nominated Person Ground Operations roles, UK and Sweden
- Graham Oliver, holding Nominated Person for Continued Airworthiness, UK
- Ian Johnston, holding Nominated Person Continued Airworthiness Sweden
Nominated Person should:
- Possess the appropriate practical experience and licenses required for them to carry out their duties;
- Have practical experience and expertise in the application of aviation safety standards and safe operating practices;
- Have comprehensive knowledge of relevant NAA regulations and the operator’s operational policies and practices; and
- Have familiarity with quality systems.
This is very much down to the trust the authorities have in our business and to the hard work done to align manuals, routines and processes so that they are literally almost identical. The Safety, Compliance and AOC (SCA) team has been instrumental in making this happen by working very closely with the authorities in both our countries.
Progress has been made towards the transfer of our 767s to the UK G-registration later this year. The latest information is that G-OBYH will rejoin the TOM fleet on 31st October 2017. One of our aircraft based in the Nordics, SE-RFR, is due to go into heavy maintenance in Shannon, Ireland on 9th November 2017 during which time the aircraft will be rebranded as TUI and registered as G-OBYK when it joins the TOM fleet for the first time. Both aircraft will then join the other two 767 aircraft in the TOM fleet to support TUI Nordic over the Winter 17/18 season using locally based crew.
At last month’s Paris Air Show the TUI Group became the first European operator to select the 737 MAX 10 which is the largest member of 737 family and is the most profitable single-aisle aeroplane. The selection is for 18 aeroplanes and these will replace the 737 MAX 9 that we had on order. Our first 737 MAX 10 delivery is expected in December 2020, which is almost two years after our planned entry for the MAX 9, which means we will operate MAX 8s until the MAX 10 arrives.
Meanwhile work continues across all four TUI Group airlines in preparation for the first 737 MAX 8 which will be delivered to TUI in January 2018. The first aircraft will fly to Brussels and have several Entry Into Service (EIS) modifications before operating for TUI Belgium. The first 737 MAX 8 for the Nordics will be delivered in February 2018 and the UK in November 2018.
Boeing this week visited our engineering facilities in Luton and Brussels for a two-day 737 MAX Service Readiness Review meeting. The purpose of the visit was for Boeing to gain clarification on TUI’s EIS plan and readiness. The two days included presentations from various functional and airline project managers and was well received by Boeing.
Following the recent announcement that the TUIfly Germany joint venture plans with Etihad have ceased, the TUI Group is now looking at alternative options. This includes looking for other partners, potentially standing alone, or re-joining TUI Aviation. It will take a few months to explore these options, but I will keep you informed.
In the past six weeks, as many of you know, we have encountered difficulties in onboard stock shortages in the UK. Unfortunately, for a variety of circumstances, changing our retail supplier, setting up a centralised warehouse and introducing vPOS together, have all contributed to some of the problems we have encountered at the start of season. However, I am pleased to report that most of these issues have been rectified and we are working hard to fix the outstanding items and are continually looking at improvements. I will ensure we have additional communications to support all those affected.
Despite these issues our Cabin Crew in both airlines have been doing a fantastic job and our eCSQ results are not only better than last year, we’re ahead of target!
At the very end of June as part of the ‘Big Reveal’ we unveiled the new Self-Service bag drop area at Gatwick. This is a fantastic example of our drive to create an effortless airport experience. Congratulations to everyone who worked with the management at Gatwick Airport Ltd (GAL) to make this happen.
Last Thursday (13th July) we held the Airline’s annual Townhall in the UK during which we focussed on the hugely successful ‘Up in the Sky’ initiative.
The full recording of the session will be available shortly, but in the meantime here’s a link to the photo montage that was created.
We’ve almost completed Up in the Sky with just a few UK&I and Northern Region Airlines Board members yet to participate, so we are now collating the feedback which has been both constructive and very positive.
For those of you taking holiday over the next couple of weeks, I wish you all a great time with your families and friends. For those of you working – keep up the great work!