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January 3, 2018

Air Travel: Big Storm in U.S. + 2017 Marks Safest Year on Record

Photo by MarianVejcik/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

A major winter storm in the U.S, a new safety report and the launch of new low-cost service between Honolulu and Singapore are the air travel headlines to watch this week in the meetings and events industry. 

Airlines Issue Change Waivers Ahead of Big Winter Storm

Airlines are issuing cancellation and change waivers ahead of Winter Storm Grayson, which is set to move up the East Coast of the United States and into New England through Thursday.

According to the latest forecast from Accuweather, snow and wintry mix are expected to continue along the southeastern U.S. coast through Wednesday night. The storm could then undergo rapid strengthening through a process known as bombogenesis before moving near the East Coast on Thursday, bringing snow, ice, high winds, and blizzard conditions. The heaviest snow and strongest winds are forecast to hit eastern New England and parts of Atlantic Canada. The storm may shut down operations at Boston’s Logan International Airport, as well as affect major air travel hubs in New York City and Philadelphia. All told, blizzard conditions are likely across an area ranging from portions of Long Island through eastern Connecticut and Massachusetts to northeastern Maine, New Brunswick and western Nova Scotia.

The following airlines have issued cancellation and change waivers as a result of the storm:

American Airlines is allowing customers scheduled to fly through affected airports January 4 – 5 to change their trip with no fee through January 8, between the same city pair in the same cabin (or pay the difference).

Customers on Delta flying January 4 – 5 can make a change with no fee, with rebooked travel to begin no later than January 8 and the new ticket to be reissued on or before that date.

For travelers on United Airlines, those headed through airports in the southeastern U.S. or the mid-Atlantic from January 3 – 4 can rebook through January 7. Customers flying through airports in the northeast January 4 – 5 can rebook through January 8.

Customers on Southwest Airlines can rebook in the original class of service or travel standby within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city pairs.

JetBlue customers flying through Charleston, SC, and Savannah, GA, on January 3, or through airports in the northeast on January 4, can rebook through January 10.

Finally, Frontier Airlines is allowing customers scheduled to fly through affected airports January 3 – 4 to rebook through January 24.

Stats: 2017 Was Safest Year for Air Travel on Record

2017 was the safest year for aviation on record, according to new data compiled by the Aviation Safety Network (ASN).

According to the ASN, there were a total of 10 fatal airline accidents in 2017, resulting in 44 occupant deaths and 35 deaths among persons on the ground. That makes 2017 the safest year ever in terms of both the number of fatal accidents and in terms of fatalities. By comparison, ASN data showed 16 accidents and 303 deaths in 2016.

Five of the recorded accidents in 2017 involved passenger flights. Out of an expected worldwide air traffic total of approximately 36,800,000 flights, that makes for an accident rate of one fatal passenger flight accident per 7,360,000 flights.

On December 31, aviation had a record period of 398 days with no passenger jet airliner accidents, the ASN said. Additionally, a record period of 792 days had passed since the previous civil aircraft accident claiming over 100 lives.

One out of 10 accident airplanes was operated by an airline on the European Union’s (EU) “blacklist.”

Scoot Launches New Service Between Honolulu and Singapore

Finally, in new flight news, Scoot, the Singapore-based, low-cost carrier, launched its new service between Singapore and Honolulu with a stopover in Osaka, Japan, on December 19. 

The Singapore-Osaka-Honolulu route marks Scoot's entry into the United States. A press conference and blessing ceremony that included Gov. David Ige welcomed the crew and passengers on the inaugural flight.

Scoot will fly the route four-times-weekly using a Boeing 787 Dreamliner with 329 seats. 

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