Back to the Skies – Heathrow to Rome Fiumicino

Last July I had the opportunity to fly again after 6 months in semi London lockdown, a time in which I was prevented to witness the sky splendour from an aircraft window seat. Although it wasn’t that bad since I had time learn some new skills, and have some travel reminiscences, but still I wanted to return to sky!. I am grateful for the countless travel experiences that I would not change for the world… or in fact… I would change for the world!,

Well, I was keen to start travelling the moment airports and destinations opened their frontiers. So I followed updates day-to-day. I realise that sometimes is easy for us, as to criticize about the management of this virus in terms on travel governments regulation, but at the same time I recognise that this virus has taken us all by surprise, it has taken over the world, a world where airlines and airports have seen the major challenge of all times.

The first city I wanted to visit again was Rome since I have amazing friends there and the region itself has unlimited blessings of nature and cultural spots. As soon as feasible flights were available I reserved my flights and there I went to delight in Italian culture and cordiality once again.

London Heathrow

I flew from London Heathrow Terminal 2 directly to Rome Fiumicino with Alitalia, on-board the Airbus 321. In normal circumstances flights from Sky Team airlines depart from Terminal 4, but due to the current situation, airlines frequencies have changed dramatically and utilisation of resources at airports too. Ensure you always check your departing terminal at the time of doing your web check-in. This will allow you to be on time and have a pleasant airport experience.

The cost of this round trip airline ticket was GBP226, from which GBP76 was the actual fare, GBP13 Air Passenger Duty, and the rest were a list of various other jet fuel surcharges and airport taxes. It did not include checked baggage, only hand baggage, which was fine for me.

Travelling to Heathrow airport was stress-free by tube. Upon arrival the navigation process was prompt and efficient, only travellers are allowed in the terminal. There was a counter with sanitising gel and facemask complimentary for passengers.

As I was entering the baggage drop area, I was handed a paper health check questionnaire, which I had to fill and hand over before proceeding to be allowed to travel to Italy. Maybe it would have been better for Alitalia to create an online form for such questionnaire to be actioned at the time of web check-in,

The ambience of Heathrow felt bizarre to me, I travel from Heathrow regularly and one way or another I like the convergence of people, over 80 million inquisitive minds normally cross-paths at this airport per year. The normal dynamism has always been unique, so alive, so busy… but not that day, that day it felt restrained, passive, and at times gloomy.

Temperature checks were being undertaken to all passengers at the boarding gate and boarding was carried out by groups (according to your seat number). The aircraft was the Airbus 321, from the A320 family, best sellers for short hauls flights. Upon entering the plane was spotless, with stylishly renovated interiors.

Middle seats were left empty, which I think would be a short term procedure, while things get back to normal since this is not sustainable for airlines economics, I was thrilled to have more space though.

Arrival AT Rome Fiumicino AIRPORT

The flight went smoothly without any particular differences pre-Covid apart from being at half occupancy and people wearing facemasks. Upon arrival at Rome Fiumicino airport, it was relaxed process, no additional health checks and no further questions were asked, (I guess with the initial airport form at Heathrow was enough for the Italian authorities). I was now ready to enjoy Marina di Cerveteri, a coastal location 40 km of Rome, where my dearest friend Mile lives. Happy days!

Fiumicino International Airport is named after the one of the most famous renaissance painter, Leonardo da Vinci. The normally serves as middle hub for Italy, with over 45 million passengers per year. The feeling was also of unusual calmness.

Departing back to London:

My flight was departing form Terminal 1 at Fiumicino, and when I entered the terminal I had the chance to appreciate briefly some great pieces, which illustrate the legacy of Leonardo Da Vinci. These can be appreciated in the departure area. The exhibition was called “The wings of Leonardo. The genius and flight”, and was inaugurated in May last year with pieces such as. “The Flying Man” the aim of the exhibition was to recreate the artist genius mind and the first flying machines in history. I think is a great initiative to bring cultural heritage and art to the airports of the world, I love It.!

I checked out other piece such as Vitruvian Man, Da Vinci believed that the human body is an analogy for the workings of the universe, I can agree with him!

I also checked out a gorgeous piece, which I particularly liked called ”el abrazo” by the Argentinian artist Alejandro Marmo. This piece of art showed me about people experience at an airport, good bye hugs, and welcome hugs, overall emotional hugs, those that we have been missing so much this year but that will return soon. Well that was my personal interpretation anyway.

Thanks for reading!

“In every crisis, doubt or confusion, take the higher path – the path of compassion, courage, understanding and love.”  Amit Ray

Love

❤️

from

Jenny

Note: Several airlines have irresistible flights offer to travel to Italy and several other countries. If you need advice or best destination to travel to at the moment, please contact me as I offer bespoke travel advice.

From Hong Kong Airport Chek Lap Kok to Tokyo & Pokemon Store

After our fantastic travel experience in Hong Kong, we were ready for the next adventure: Tokyo, a destination chosen by my little boy.

As I commented on my last entry, it was straightforward and inexpensive to get to Hong Kong airport from Tseung Kwan o. Once there, well, I studied the airport a little.

My son’s motivation to go to Tokyo was merely based on wanting to check out the Tokyo Pokemon Mega Store and buy as much stuff he could afford with his savings and travel points. He is a follower and master player of everything related to Pokemon.

 

Hong Kong Airport (HKG)

The airport is built on reclaimed land on the island of Chek Lap Kok, which is why it is also known by this name. Its size is similar to that of London Heathrow Airport, giant and immaculate, it is also well signposted, and it is effortless to navigate. This airport is a crucial connection centre to China and the rest of Asia.

This mini clip, where my little one walks happily is from the Interior of Midfield Concourse, which is located west of Terminal 1 between the two existing runways. As you can see, the area was practically empty, spotless and we felt very comfortable while waiting for the flight. It did not seem busy at all, so I thought it is incredible that they handle more than 70 million passengers a year, it feels quite spacious.

I know that many people might not be interested in learning about airports, but for me, they mean an impressive point of convergence, where so many parallel stories occur at once. I find it fascinating how, during their evolution, they manage to operate, grow and maintain themselves in an industry as vulnerable and dynamic as aviation. Today the biggest challenge is that this operation is increasingly ecological and sustainable for the benefit of our entire society.

We reach At the Midfield Concourse via the internal automated subway. Hong Kong Airlines, our airline of the day, has been using this area since the airport opened in 2015.

 

Hong Kong Airlines (HX)

For this trip, I booked a flight with the least expensive option that was Hong Kong Express at the time, when I got to the boarding gate I asked if they could allow me first to enter the plane and they did. So here it is.

Hong Kong Express is a low-cost airline, these types of airlines are known as LCC, and that day we flew aboard their Airbus 320. Their entire fleet of 24 aircraft is from the Airbus 320 family. The whole travel experience from booking, onboard, meals, excellent service and punctuality was superior that most European carriers.

The flight duration was 4 hours and 30 minutes. We arrived at Narita airport in Tokyo on time and happy with the new adventure that awaited us. Luckily in Tokyo, people do speak more English, compared with people in China. It was easy to get the information to get to our hotel from Keisei Narita SkyAccess Station to Takaracho Station, and airport/train staff were accommodating.

 

Mega Pokemon Store Tokyo:

Not much to say from me, apart from that before my eyes, the store is just like any other toy store, big, full of expensive things and enthusiastic children walking around excitedly. My son’s version would be different than mine, though, for him it was a dream come true. I was happy to see him so happy.

Mega Tienda Pokemon Tokio - By Jenny Rojas (6)

In the Tokyo Mega Store of Pokémon, it is possible to find any Pokémon item you can think of, such as stuffed animals, key chains, cards, cards, clothes and poke balls. It has items from both the new saga and the original ones.

My son had been collecting “travel points”, a system I invented to keep him motivated and interested in learning about the culture in China and Hong Kong. He earned points daily for his interest, for his endurance on walks and also for good behaviour. And so these travel points were redeemable for use in the Pokemon store. Everything worked super well, and he turned out with all this:

“So there’s this boy. He kinda stole my heart. He calls me ‘mom’.”

❤️

Jenny

Chengdu to Guilin – & Longsheng Rice Terraces – Ancient Zhuang – Diaojiaolou – Day 8

After a few months since my last entry, I just happened to have some time to do some writing. And yes it is about China, all positive here. Enjoy…

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As our time in Chengdu came to an end, we prepare for our next destination: Guilin. Over 1100 km separate these two cities, so arranged for us to fly there.

 

Flight Journey:

 Chengdu Shuangliu Airport (CTU) is quite big, modern and with all amenities expected of contemporary airports. This is the main airport in Sichuan province and a very important gateway for western China and Air China.

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The airport handles over 50 million passengers yearly and has two runways. Our flight today was only 1.45 minutes, onboard a Shandong Airlines Boeing 787-800, I was able to issue and manage my flight’s thanks to their ticketing agreement with Hahn Air, and overall the service was decent and much superior to similar short journeys in Europe.

We landed at Guilin Liangjiang (KWL), the main airport in the Guangxi region which handles around nearly 9 million passengers yearly with one runway.

 

Guilin to Longsheng  

We landed at 13:05 to the airport and we left straight from there to our visit to Longsheng to visit the famous rice fields. The car journey was approximately two and a half hours and distance approximately 100 km from Liangjiang International Airport.

The visit to today to appreciate the well-known Longi rice fields.

Guilin to Longji Rice Terrace Journey - Day8 - Jenny Rojas

Longsheng Rice Terraces:

Longsheng Rice Terraces also named Longji Rice or Dragon Backbone Terraces, Emily told us that Longji means dragon spine in Chinese. They cover a number of villages in Longsheng including Jinkeng, Ancient Zhuang, Ping’ an, and Huangluo Red Yao Village, among others.

These terraces have a long history of over 700 years, originally built during the Yuan dynasty offer the most impressive multi-coloured agricultural view that truly took out my breath away! Literally!. While we walked under the extremely hot weather around the village we also enjoyed our guided walk.

We arrived at a village called Ancient Zhuang, we were told it is the least modernized Zhuang minority village in Longsheng, located in the middle of Yuecheng Mountain, north of Guangxi province and started hill-walking thru it. This area is home to the Zhuang people, who still preserve large wooden housing and stone carving culture.

We were both struggling with the heat but we still appreciated our local guide, Emily, telling us many stories about the local culture and how these 5 colours terraces are grown, local farmers. The terraced fields are dispersed between 300 m to 1100 m above sea level. The scenery is spectacular, sort of a piece of art painted by nature, I was pleased and captivated by it all.

The Dragon’s Backbone Terraces are the result of the deep knowledge of the land and vigorous work of the Zhuang community that came about through the centuries.

Diaojiaolou

 

We also experienced local life by visiting a local house where we “chatted” (with my fluent Chinese right!) with the most beautiful 83 years young lady, (her skin was amazingly smooth)!. She allowed us to visit her lovely wooden house.

These type of houses are called Diaojiaolou, which sort of translate “stilt house”, they are built on a mountain slope, held over columns over the ground.

This gorgeous young-looking lady showed us around her house with pride. The ground floor is generally left just for animals, people live on the first floor. There were handicraft and souvenirs for sale at her house and we purchased some of them to thank for her hospitality.

“Oh to be a dragon!! a symbol of the power of Heaven – of silkworm size or immense; at times invisible.”  Marianne Moore

 

Love

💖

from Jenny

Today Chicago Convention 75th Anniversary – Freedoms of the Air

Today, 7th of December, on the day of the 75th Anniversary of the well-known Chicago Convention, I am on board on a plane, flying from London to Malta, on a whim trip I just feel like doing to escape the cold breeze of London. It does make me reflect so much on how things change over time, how much progress can occur thanks to the miracle of the human mind. In Aviation in this case, so much has taken place with just over 100 years of its beginning. Also, who would have thought just 50 years ago, when the Jet era began, that someone today could do this (London to Malta), nearly 3000 km journey in just 3 hours and just by purchasing an airline ticket for £70 round trip (that is 300000 Colombian Pesos!), well for me it does still fascinates me just like the first time I flew. I do not take flying for granted, ever…every time I fly, my nose is stuck to the window, while I appreciate the cotton white-bluish sky where most of the dreams take place. This is what I feel like writing about it today…aviation and just a few of its milestones, read on!…

This year, 2019, marks various aviation historic events; the hundredth-anniversary celebration of the two oldest commercial airlines in the world: KLM and Avianca, and of course, the 75th anniversary of the famous Chicago Convention, the treaty that placed the standards and procedures for peaceful Global Air Navigation. A great century of accomplishments for the aviation industry.

Air travel can every so often spark controversy, because it crosses numerous places as well as intricate global regulation, and sadly sometimes some sort of political agenda. We, as travellers sometimes fail to well appreciate the tenacious journey that aviation has gone through and the amount of ruling that involves the development of open commercial aviation as it exists today. This is why I took the time to write this article today, aimed to provide some awareness.

The Chicago Convention

Firstly a recap of what the 1944 Chicago Convention was all about, and the main points to remind ourselves to stop taking commercial aviation for granted and be more grateful for the opportunities it has brought to humankind. It turns out that in the year of 1944, leaders of 52 countries got together to reach an agreement that essentially was about how to peacefully share the immense blue sky that covers our planet, that in my fairy-tale view has no limits, but in reality, it does certainly has quite a few.

The meeting was fundamentally driven by and at the end of the Second World War, to prevent countries from potential disputes concerning air traffic navigation. The United States was the country with the initiative, (as one of the best-positioned after the war) and therefore it was held in the city of Chicago.

The war left numerous technical advances to the world of aviation because they were key for strategic war tactics. However, after the war, countries have to come about with a change of scenario and develop a method to commercially manage aviation. More precisely to include the rules of international airspace navigation and its safety legislation, which were out of date since the last agreement in 1919, in Paris, when aviation was only beginning.

As you can imagine, being at a time of confusion, at the end of the war, this was a very anxious period and it was challenging for many participating countries because they were still vulnerable or partially occupied. Despite all of this, the need to seek solutions to develop commercial aviation after the war persisted and the summit went ahead.

Along these lines, on December 7, 1944, the agreement was reached and signed by 52 countries, and two years later it was ratified, while at the same time forming an organization called ICAO, which would be the body in charge of monitoring policy compliance.

Today, 75 years later, the convention brings together 193 countries, which include all members of the United Nations.

One of the most important things established in the Chicago Convention is the absolute sovereignty that each country has over the airspace above its territory, and that there shall not be hostile attacks whatsoever to any commercial aircraft, (that would sound obvious to anyone) but just to make sure it was understood by all this was ratified in writing in here.

The Five Freedoms of the Air

Another thing of great importance, at this convention, where the famous freedoms of the air were conceived. Most specifically known as, “The five freedoms of the air” that would become the key instruments for the development of commercial aviation. They defined the parameters for the transport of passengers and cargo, associated with the airlines’ nationality and their route network. These freedoms have been since then, present in the political spotlight because it standardises commercial aviation between countries. Here I am providing you with a few examples:

Chicago Convention Jenny SkyIstheLimit - Freedoms of the Air

  • First freedom – Transit right: It grants an airline of a country “A” to air navigate over another country “B” without landing. This one seems quite an obvious.. right? So much that we as travellers might not even realise that there is a ruling for it, but could you even imagine air aviation without the ability to fly over another country, well don’t think so…(Well unless you dig into what happened to Qatar). Just my flying today from the UK to Malta overfly the skies of France and Italy. Without this first freedom, it would be not possible to make this journey today.

 

e.g Avianca, a Colombian airline, flying from its home country “A”, flight route is Bogota to London, in the United Kingdom, direct non-stop journey. On this journey Avianca is flying over the air foreign territory of Venezuela, “Country B” but without landing. So the first freedom right is applied here during the Bogota Caracas flyover.

 

  • Second freedom – Transit right:  It grants an airline of a country “A” to operate air services over another country territory “B”, landing for technical or non-commercial reasons only. (e.g refilling, maintenance, emergencies) Without embarking or disembarking passengers, mails or cargo. This freedom used to be essential in the old days because aeroplanes needed to land in other countries for fuel refilling. Nowadays aircraft’s technological advances allow even an ultra-long-haul journey without stops! So not so required that much more these days.

e.g Avianca, a Colombian airline, flying from its home country “A”, route Bogota with destination London, in the United Kingdom. On this journey, Avianca is flying through air foreign territory, Venezuela, Country “B” stopping in Caracas along the journey for technical reasons (fuel refilling, emergency).  

  • Third freedom – For Traffic Right: It grants an airline of a country “A” permission to operate air services to another country territory “B” with the consent to disembark passengers, mail and cargo, only if those were originally taken from its own country “A”.

Avianca, a Colombian airline, flying from its home country, route Bogota with destination London, in the United Kingdom. On this journey Avianca is ending its journey in London and passengers, mails and cargo are disembarked. So the third freedom is granted here.

  • Fourth freedom – For Traffic Right: The right of an airline of a country “A” to operate air services from another country territory “B”, allowing the embarkation of passengers, mail and cargo, only when the destination is its own country territory “A”. In other words, this freedom is simply the opposite of the third. e.g

Avianca, a Colombian airline, route London (UK) to Bogota (Colombia). Avianca is granted here four freedom since it can take/embark passengers, mails and cargo from a foreign country (UK), Country “B” with destination its own country Colombia “Country A”.

4th Freedom.png

  • Fifth freedom – For Traffic Right: and one of the most important freedoms for financially viable air networks. Also known as Freedom of Sequential Transport. It grants the right to an airline of a country “A” to embark passengers, mail and cargo in a foreign country “B” and transport them to third countries “C”, when the original journey is departing from its own country “A”. e.g

e.g  Qatar flight from Doha, Qatar, acting as country “A” to Sao Paulo, Brazil, country “B” and onward flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina Country C, where air tickets are available for sale for any these three sectors because airline has fifth freedoms rights: Here the display of the whole flight:

This particular freedom alone has caused a lot of controversy between countries because when it is approved to airlines, it sparks the argument of imbalanced competitive advantage. For instance, main US airlines protested against the dominant Middle East ones for years claiming an illegal economic advantage. But why? Well, this example can help to explain it: 1) Dubai (Emirates Hub Airport) to New York Newark, this flight has a stop in Athens, Greece on the way, operated by Emirates (one of my favourite airlines by far!) and Emirates has fifth freedom rights on both. As you can imagine US airlines were furious and alleged that Emirates had the “unfair” opportunity to profit and drain traffic on this European route, which can be good long haul routes with potential for both leisure and business travellers. The dispute is now over thanks to a US-EUA Agreement signed last year, but I wanted to highpoint this debate with a real example..

Further, four air freedoms that have been established after the Chicago Convention over the years, which are also important as they involve further variations that include third point’s traffic rights as extensions of base routes or taking advantage of geographical fly paths. If you want more information about these freedoms to check them out the ICAO page here.

Conclusion and thanks for reading !!!

To conclude, the Chicago Convention and the freedoms of the air, are the foundation for diplomatic air global navigation. They are the instruments of international law to establish air routes. Air freedoms act as regulators of free airflow and transit through the invisible borders of the sky. What is important to remember here, is that next time you are flying you appreciate how much international synergy goes into making worldwide travel function viable and functioning well.

“Aviation is proof that given the will, we have the capacity to achieve the impossible.”

 

Love

❤️

from

Jenny

The elephant in the room: Sustainability and the future of Aviation: My experience in WTM Sustainable Tourism Day

It is undeniable the major global developments that have been possible thanks to the aviation industry, our entire world is subject of its social and economic domino effect. Not for nothing, quite a few airlines are celebrating with great fanfare their hundredth anniversary this year. A century of tremendous developments and technological revolution. Just today, an ultra-long-haul journey is taking place as I write this, the London to Sydney non-stop milestone test flight is occurring as I write this! A 19hr hours journey than 80 years ago used to take over 12 days and over 4 transfers. One outstanding achievement if you ask me.

But not everything comes from free. Last week I attended one of the aviation conferences at the WTM, during the World Responsible Tourism Day and this is the summary of what I learned on the day.

The session was held with the panel of specialists in the area, who discussed the various outlooks of sustainability and how the industry might be falling behind its goals of reducing its greenhouse emissions. One of the panellists, Justin Francis, an activist and influencer for all related sustainable travel matters, was present and ready to challenge the industry.

Jenny Rojas - JennySkyIsTheLimit - My WTM2019 Experience - The Future of Aviation - The Elephant in The Room

During the session, various points of view were shared to explain the challenges that the aviation industry holds within the complexity of our current society and business landscape. The aviation industry is perceived to be the Achilles heel of the travel industry since it accounts for 80% of its carbon emissions. As you can imagine, the effect can be very dramatic in the near future because aviation is forecasted to grow at a rate of at least 5% yearly. We are living now in a generation of travellers, and simply cannot stop flying, the roll on the dice seems now to be unstoppable. Justin highlighted that by the year 2050, carbon emissions are forecasted to increase by 300%.

Now., it is important to highpoint that no other industry is doing great in this area either, Angela Foster, Speaker from Aerial Consulting, said that ground transport in general accounts from 23% of total emissions in the UK. Similarly, deforestation alone accounts for 11% of the UK total. Globally and all industry related, air travel accounts for 2% of global emissions. Therefore, other industries also need to be hard-pressed for bigger sustainable efforts.

Aviation has at least started a series of initiatives that are notably costly on their balance sheets. Most significantly in terms of R&D: One example is the use of alternative jet fuel, the so-called biofuel, which has produced some positive results in recent years for airlines such as United Airlines. Even so, still plenty more to do in this area, particularly because to be able to consider biofuel usage globally, we need to consider also the slow waiting time. This is a process of long research, tests, and heavy regulation, an advance that does not produce significantly fast results.

Another initiative is the modernization of aircraft fleets to more fuel-efficient types, thus capitalizing modern aircraft technologies that decrease fuel consumption by up to 30% compared to older aircraft and which also optimise passengers load factors. Fleet upgrading has been this decade’s cup of tea in aviation, as most airlines are happy to undertake this renewal as it provides them with the chance to revamp their cabin classes to satisfy their diverse and ever-changing market. Changes need to be environmentally and economically viable so this is a very good example.

Of course, the whole landscape is complex, aviation is not only subject to several environmental concerns, but also to several regulatory frameworks, economic and political challenges and numerous social aspects. All of it places the industry into a position of vulnerability. The key to achieving a more sustainable aviation sector is the ongoing scanning of new technologies and ideas by all its stakeholders. Also, their continuing commitment to the implementation of ongoing solutions.

Commercial aviation technologies are indeed improving, although perhaps not at the rate expected to achieve significant reductions straight away. As you can realise, technology must be both sustainable but also feasible economical. There are so many industries if not all, that depends on aviation, our entire global economy, as I said before, it is a domino effect, so let’s put things into perspective of the reality we face today.

Neil Clougley, from Faradair Aerospace, brought into the session the fascinating subject of electric power system technologies that belief or not is now already available in airports around the world. Let’s think for a moment, the most expensive phases of a flight are the take-off and landing. This is because is when the major fuel consumption occurs. Well, this type of technologies, as explained by Neil, reduce this consumption between 30% & 40% by relieving specific functions such as the lift stage. I found this extremely interesting, if it works as Neil explained, this would immediately reduce a fair amount of emissions globally, if there were to be adopted massively around the world of course. This is a call to action really. I am optimistic and surely mankind has proven remarkable abilities through history. This type of technology might just be one of the best solutions to pursue now to try to solve this puzzle.

Many airlines have committed to reducing its greenhouse emission, I believe they do want a world where they can fly to as well in the future. For instance, IAG, and Qantas have alleged that they will reduce its carbon emissions significantly by the year 2050, they just need to provide details on their specific plans to accomplish so.

Peter Castellas, CEO of Tasman Environmental Markets, also brought some other initiatives that can if globally adopted, to provide an effective carbon offsetting solution. These include: Investment in Off-setting projects with strong action plans, global education about what carbon emissions really are since there is a lot of misinformation out there. On the education topic, Peter continued, one example is the one by Qantas, the Australian flag carrier, which engages directly with the consumers in the moment of purchase, when they are given choices for off-setting initiatives. One might think no one ever looks at these things when buying an airline ticket, but in fact, many people do, and many also seem to start taking part in these initiatives. Peter mentioned and by domino effect, this initiative has brought to Qantas 30% of more consumers engaged in carbon off-setting reduction. This niche and simple solution that connects buyers and sellers seem then to be an excellent idea to integrate consumers purchase decisions with the products sustainable features. This organically creates more environmentally choices and might just be a transition to a low-carbon economy mindset.

 

Another hot topic, brought by Justin, was the tax subsidise that he says airlines do have, and he strongly suggests that fuel taxation should be enforced to invest in more research and development. I agree totally that constant research is essential, as there is no just a one-time solution to this problem. The aviation industry evolves every day, and hence solutions need to follow this rate. However, I wonder how fuel taxation can be clearly managed to produce clear results and efficient investments. Aviation’s already heavy fixed cost, fees and other taxes, but lacks clarity about the returns, benefits and investments of such taxes. So this is something that if implemented must be transparent and clearly shared with airlines.

One well-intentioned idea that came up from someone in the audience was that if for example, the UK government committed to reducing the APD, then airlines can commit to switching to power electronic technologies. As I cited before, solutions must be both sustainable and economical to sustain the industry. I actually think this would a good start.

These days, and also due to the low-cost revolution, passengers now take more flights than ever, simply because they are often cheaper or similar priced than other means of transport. It really does make sense to me. How can one incentive people to travel less when there is fierce competition out there that allow them to travel as much as they want for extremely affordable prices? Low-Cost Carriers have not only supplied services for a given demand, but they also gave actually created fresh new demand, and they do that all the time. Their variable-cost-business nature allows them to do so. This is great news for consumers, but no so great for the carbon emissions issue, as they obviously produce more take-off and landings than long haul carriers. Perhaps a minimum price regulation can be implemented y/o enforce here?.

There was another idea that came up in the session, to do with the hub to hub only services, rather than feeder services. However, as you can imagine, doing the only hub to hub journeys would not be economically feasible at all for legacy and network airlines, as I mentioned airline industry is very vulnerable and depends on numerous factors. The current market demands services from and to all size city destinations, including small cities, and therefore feeder flights are a vital part of the air network.

To end this small article summary, I conclude: The three columns of sustainability are Social, Economic and Environmental.

Governments and stakeholders must appropriately manage implementation. In my view, we cannot go back to the old days, aviation has brought enormous advancements to our current world. Furthermore, it is a real challenge to massively and rapidly change consumers’ mindset. No single solution is a solution. The solution is actually a mix of solutions, some of them mentioned in this article. This set of initiatives put together in synergy are the one that can produce a real change: R&D, Electric Power Solutions, and fleet modernization and optimisation, education to change organically mindset and transparency, corporations and investors commitments globally for environment project and constant monitoring of implementation processes.

Thanks a lot for reading

With Love

 

“Aviation is proof that given, the will, we have the capacity to achieve the impossible”. Eddie Rickenbacker

🙏✈️In Love with the air..line industry✈️🙏

❤️

Jenny

KLM and its 100 Years of Remarkable Aviation History, a journey of past and present

‪Today I combined two beautiful things I dearly love: music and aviation … this video is mixed in different times: Contemporary Dutch Producer and Composer Jen Reijnders and its latest song salsa libre « La Flecha y mi Corazon « 🎼 ……

 

 

 

1919, a year when the growing importance to Civil Aviation took place, after the First World War and times of Colonisation. The first airline in the world was established, the 7th October 1919, Royal Dutch Airline for the Netherlands and Colonies. Today, we celebrate together with the KLM UK Team, other travel partners, and my lovely colleague Berenice Roure, its 100th anniversary at one of the most amazing venues in London, The National Gallery. KLM is the oldest airline in the world (the second oldest is Avianca the airline of Colombia). ‬
KLM 100 Years Celebration - Veloso Tours - Berenice Roure - Jenny Rojas (6)
‪KLM has a fascinating history of service, from its humble beginnings, when it started flights operations from Croydon Airport, the predecessor of London Heathrow, to Amsterdam in 1920. This flight was operated using DeHavilland DH-16, with a capacity of 4 passengers!. 100 years later and now KLM serves over 162 destinations worldwide, from its hub at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, with a fleet of over 120 modern aircraft. The history of KLM embodies the greatness of the aviation industry. An industry that imagined a connected world, then designed it and moved then and also now, into the diverse directions of human history to unify it through the skies.

 

 

 

The history of aviation embarks wars, technological innovation, and the jet age! The golden age which brought a social breakthrough that revolutionized the way people fly. Now, part of the AirFrance & KLM group, as part of the Sky Team, KLM keeps growing as an aviation leader, demonstrating once again that despite, the aviation industry being of the most vulnerable of industries, it will never disappear but rather keep connecting the globe through the sky.

 

 

✈️ 🙏😊
Once again love is in the Air…..line industry
Jenny

IBERIA & BA – FAM Trip London to Madrid Airport May 2019

CLICK ME –  IBERIA – BA FAMILIARISATION TRIP TO MADRID 

We meet at 06:00 at the check in area Zone A in London Heathrow Terminal 5. This gave us enough time to pass through security and enjoy a nice Starbucks coffee before the flight BA458 London Heathrow (LHR) to Madrid (MAD): Airbus 321:

 The flight run on time and all the logistic by the airline run efficiently. We travelled on-board the Airbus 321-200, part of the 320 family. With a range of 5600 km and a maximum speed of 828 k/p. The A320 family is of the world best sellers air-planes, in direct competition with the Boeing 737 series. The aircraft had power sockets in the every seat. British Airways has 22 of the aircraft with a variety of seat configuration, ranging from 154 up to 177.This type of aircraft is used for domestic and short European routes but also covers middle long routes such as Tel Aviv and Moscow.

 

Madrid Terminal 4 Airport Tour:

 Great tour, I certainly enjoyed learning about the huge procedures at Madrid Airport, the behind scenes visit at SATE was a great highlight.

Introduction to Madrid Barajas Airport is the largest in Spain, custom-built to be compete with major hub airports within Europe. It counts with four parallel runways. The main building includes a sequence of parallel spaces which allow plenty of daylight to penetrate inside the building. The design aim to facilitate the different phases of the passenger’s journey at the airport, from check-in, security control, lounges and aircraft gates. It has an area 3,050 ha (twice the size of Heathrow!).

Madrid Airport FAM Trip Jenny Rojas - 14 May 2019 (9)

Interesting facts: The airport ceiling design by Richard Rogers, consists of 200,000 m2 of bent composite bamboo sheets, and is then the one of the largest industrial bamboo project in the world! Pretty impressive.

Connections:

Terminal T4 consist of two buildings, T4 and its satellite, the T4S, connected through an automatic underground train. Terminals T1, T2 and T3 have six boarding areas: A, B, C, D, E and F, connected to the terminals.

The Remote-controlled train links terminal T4 with terminal T4S Satellite. It can be used for passengers with boarding pass. The journey takes 3 minutes and it is a 24/7 service. Both stops are in level -2.Transfers to other terminals (T1 T2 T3), is operated the free shuttle bus, a transport service operating 24 hours a day.

 

SATE: (Automated Baggage Processing System).

One of the main highlighted, I enjoyed a lot the education visit to SATE. I learned that over 12,000 pieces of luggage per hour are conveyed daily through high-speed trays beneath Terminal T4 at the Madrid airport. This is basically like a baggage highway!, where every bag drives directly to its destinations accurately through the conveyors avenues, an impressive engineering system designed by Siemens, with an investment of 300 million euros.

 

The enormous underground structure embraces 115 kilometers in length, moving baggage through the 2.5 km between Terminal T4 and T4S. The most significant characteristic of SATE, is its extreme automation as a connection hub. As such the main function of the SATE are efficiency of baggage connections. The structure covers 176 check-in counters; two special baggage lines; six transfer lines; 12 training courses where luggage is collected to take them to the air planes; four stations for manual reading and three levels of luggage inspection.

When the checked baggage comes in the system, then its ten-digit bar code is read and incorporated into its specific journey, identifying travellers and its final destination. All this controlled by various safety regulations and efficiently to be loaded into the aircraft hold.

 

T4 Satellite Premium Lounge Velazquez. The spacious lounge is really a highlighted, the shower, family areas, baby centre and buffet menu very impressive. Really lovely views to the airplanes, and plenty of space to work and catch up with some relaxing time. I especially enjoyed Ben presentation about BA & IB and was surprised by his knowledge at such young age he is passionate about aviation and I enjoyed listening to his presentation.

 

 

The lounge is located at the Terminal 4 Satellite building. The 26,900 square foot lounge has a capacity of 500 passengers. The lounge, although belonging to Iberia, can be use by all One-world alliance passengers travelling in Business or First or holder of the Sapphire and Emerald levels of the loyalty program. Being in terminal 4S, means the access to this lounge is limited to flights outside the Schengen area, as is located after exit immigration.

Amenities include a sit down restaurants plus buffet lounge with various hot and cold dishes. It also provides spaces for relax, private spaces for families, showers, game consoles,TV rooms and a spacious bar offering a variety of wines and local drinks.

 

That is all, now back to London…

 

“Maybe I live in the gates that lead to outbound world flights. Maybe that is my home”

THANK YOU

JENNY ROJAS

 

 

Greetings – Ryanair – Italy – – Velletrii

I’m back!

Greetings and blessings for reading my blog. I have been withdrawn from it for a while, perhaps because, without realising it, I got trapped in the midst of the hectic Londoner-mother-girlfriend-full time working life. Well, at least that is my explanation.

Even though I am not a virtuous writer, but what I do love is sharing experiences. Hereafter, here I am back sharing together with you, through my life quests.

I decided I am going to start to write about not just my journeys but also my day to day social experiences, with a bit a mixture like themes.

 

Last Year (2018)

2018 was one of the most remarkable of my life. I had the opportunity to celebrate my 40th Birthday, surrounded by adored family and friends. I had the fortune to informally get to know stunning places and new wonderful people, conversations that took my understanding of the world to a higher level.

I also had the joy to truthfully fall in love with someone for the first time in a decade. Even though, I am not longer with this wonderful man. I still feel a profound sense of gratefulness to the universe the blessing of lovely moments. I am sure one day we will be friends again. Today I cheer for the good memories and for the bad ones too. After all, there are no mistakes in life, only lessons.

I as well, lived precious moments with my dear son, my family and my brilliant colleagues. I was too lucky to experience salsa dancing with the added value of having learned more about its roots and history. How its fusion came about and the interesting diaspora exchange that took place to give birth to this most amazing mix of mixed called Salsa. This through the mutual sharing with various salsa experts and documentaries, something that to be honest I had not done ever before.

 

Today, I am going to start sharing about some new travel and some personal spiritual learning I am going to though, you see? I have been in deep self-reflection for the last few days. I discovered how blessed I am to have an amazing network of beautiful friends who love me and respect me for who I really am, despite all my weaknesses and paradoxical character.

I have thrived for positive attitude for many years now, I practice daily quotes, listen to daily positive affirmations, and of course love more than anything listening to people’s stories, humans we are all fascinating. I can truly say I am the perfect listener since I get mesmerized but people’s stories and life adventures. I seem to attract young warmth hearted people, who seem simply not to bother at the fact that I am just a little bit crazy.

I have been reading and listening audios about how to increase my spirituality to live more in the now and I just recently I found an audiobook called, the monk who sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma. Thanks to my friend Carolina’s recommendation. It has been quite breath-taking.

This book has already inspired me so much to rekindle my spiritual endeavours and reconnect to my truth self-spirit, my divine essence.  It is actually very exciting to write down new goals, new desires, new dreams and set a real timeline to them. It will be truly stimulating to take the risk to see them progress. I am sure there won’t be any failure on my path, only enriched experiences.

First, I decided to go and reconnect to some of the great souls how I have the fortune to call friends. Something I decided to call, round-the-friends-travel-tour.

 

First one: Velletri! Whooot??, don’t you know where is it? Come on! , get on Google and read about it before keep reading. This is what I called: “the land of the pretty”, o “la Tierra de Los bonitos”, simply because this is the nickname, of my dear friends I am visiting there. A couple of friends whom I met years ago in London, one of those gold treasures that life has given me. They have invited me so many times to see visit them, and so I took them on and booked me a flight out of the blue impulse of my internet!

 

Ryanair: The Flight: London Stansted (STN) to Rome Ciampino (CIA):

The best way to reach Velletri from London is flying on one of the most well-known low-cost carriers (LCC) in Europe: Ryanair, due to its low-cost business model, this airline reach airports that traditional carriers would not. Such as Ciampino, the alternative airport to Fiumicino in Rome. I guess most of you know about this airline, so I promise I will just talk a bit about it.

Ryanair is the biggest low-cost carrier in Europe, with over 115 million passengers transported in 2018, it is certainly one of the most successful LCC airlines in the world. Together with a fleet of over 430 Single model Boeing 737 aircraft and 220 destinations. Ryanair offers one of the most competitive prices accessible to the mass audience. Don’t you love the airline industry! Well I do, and that includes this controversial 35 years old LCC, not sure because of the unique and “charming” character or Mr O’Leary, for its astonishing growth owed to EU deregulation or because it takes me to places another airline would not.

Rome Ciampino Giovan B Pastine: It is located southeast of Rome. The airport is the secondary airport serving Rome and it is the hub of many low-cost carriers such as Ryanair. It handled nearly 6 million passengers in 2018.

Velletri, is lying on the hills to 332 mts. This town welcomes visitors with ancient as well as modern-day experiences. Located in the Metropolitan City of Rome, on the Alban Hills, In Lazio, Central Italy.  The mark of this picturesque place, it is the endless charm of the landscape, the evocative sceneries and the welcoming spirit of its inhabitants, which have made the city the centre of an important area of wine production. Velletri is one of the most economically flourishing centres of the jurisdiction, with a population of nearly 54K inhabitants.

 

Velletri has also always been a land of soil fertility. Since Roman times a dense road network was established, along which several rural villas, where the olive tree was throughout cultivated.   Something significant trivia to remember about Velletri is the unearthing of the statue of Athena Pallade (Greek goddess of wisdom, in 1797. The 59 fragments of the statue were in such good condition so that it was possible to easily re-join them and today it is kept in the Louvre Museum in Paris. (Check min. 1:06 here)

Velletri - Italy - Jenny Rojas JennySkyIsTheLimit (14)

During my visit to Velletri 7 years ago, I had the pleasure to witness the view of Lake Albano, a small volcanic crater lake in the Alban Hills of Lazio. I had the opportunity to view from far, Castel Gandolfo, overlooking the lake. A true natural topographical marvel that will unexpectedly take your breath away.

 

Bonitos – The Pretty Ones:

During my current visit, March 2019, I dedicate most of my time at my friend’s house, which is a lovely land of peace and calmness via Colle Ottone. Each morning I woke at the sound of lovely birds and surrounded by beautiful rural views and unique nature. The peace and quiet life of the place, allowed to enjoy truly the time with my friends’ bonitos, while enjoying an excellent homemade meal and local drinks.

I also visited Parque Muratori, where each Thursday, shoppers get his hands ready to grab good quality clothing items at bargain prices. I was indeed one of those. I also enjoy wonderful views of the landscape from there.

I did so enjoy so much sharing the best karaoke nights you could ever have in your life with my friend Ana Maria and sing along as some rancheritas combined with some 80s songs by Prisioneros!… without scaring the neighbours. I am ready to taste the best home-made Italian food. I was nervous at the beginning since I have only been vegan for 14 months and did not know what to expect as Italian love the meat. I tell you, I ate the most delicious home-made food and freshly grown veggies, such as black cabbage. All cooked with passion and kind spirit, those of my friend’s bonitos. I enjoyed the company of wonderful people and brought with me memories which last for a lifetime. Bonita, Marco y little angel Santiago, my thoughts and gratefulness is with you.

“Italy, and the spring and first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy.”– Bertrand Russell 🙏

Part1-Velletri

🙏

Part-II-Velletri

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vietnam Airlines: Hanoi (HAN) to Ho Chi Minh (SGN)

I had been fantasizing with my time and was determined that after Hanoi, I would travel to Hue and Hoian, which was very much recommended by many other travellers I met in my journeys. But, after actually checking the options, I realised that this would have extended my trip by at least five extra days, if I wanted to properly explore them. Hue is 650 km away from Hanoi, so quite long car journey, an extra flight or sleeper train. It would have been great, but I was already pushing it and l had on my list other countries to visit in southeast Asia. In the end, I decided to cut it short and fly direct from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh (better known as Saigon). I had the curiosity to see this famous city, as I used to sell this destination a lot when I worked as a flight specialist for a concierge company back in 2012.

The search

I found three airlines servicing this route, Vietnam Airlines, Jet Star and Vietjet. I also noticed that Vietnam Airlines operates the route in their newest aircraft A350-900 for at least two of their daily flights from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh, so I thought it was a great opportunity to experience this new generation aircraft; the fare was nearly double than the others two airlines though. 😬😬 I then remembered that I had few air miles on my Flying Blue Account (Air France Frequent Travel Program), so I decided to check it out to see if had enough for this journey. To my surprise and delight, I did! So I booked my ticket using 10000 miles and paid only €3.12 for taxes. It was so easy, I simply logged in my flying blue account, search for the flight and book it there and then. This was only possible as both Air France and Vietnam Airlines as part of the Skyteam so it is possible common air miles rewards.

Airbus A350-900 Vietnam Airlines2 I knew little about Vietnam Airlines before, so I did not have great expectations or anything like that.

Intro: Vietnam Airlines is based in Hanoi and it is the national airline of Vietnam and owned by the government. It uses a mixed fleet of Airbus, Boeing planes and ATR planes to operate its large Asian network. The airline also operates routes to Europe and Australia. Vietnam Airline is part of the Sky Team alliance.

My experience at the airport went effortlessly and quick, and Vietnam Airlines staff were at all times helpful. Upon entering the plane, I found a really stylish seating with 9 abreast configuration, nice flight attendant’s smiles along the aisle greeting passengers and a big touchscreen to keep me happily entertained. The seat also had a charging port for my mobile, which it very handy for me since I am usually short of battery. I got a window seat, as usual. My seat, according to my online reading was 32 inches pitch, but it certainly felt much bigger (unless perhaps I’m shrinking!)

The crew was extremely friendly and welcoming, and on top of that the atmosphere lighting felt very relaxing, I was feeling great. Also, for a short flight of only 2 hours 10 minutes, it actually included a full meal! which was lunch at the time of my flight. I found it particularly tasty just perhaps not as nice looking as they airline website show them though.

Apart from appreciating a lovely farewell view of Hanoi, I also enjoyed some reading about the airline industry in Vietnam: I learned that Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh route is one of the busiest air routes in the world! (From 5th-7th busiest over the last few years), I then understood why the airline uses new generation long-range aircraft such as B787 and A350 for a domestic route!. I was on board the A350, which features seating for 305 passengers spread across Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class.

The overall experience was top, I was gladly surprised by the high-level service onboard and all the inclusions. My personal preference for seat configuration is 2-4-2, it did not bother me too much on this occasion.

Top airline and absolutely recommended.!

My Rating from 1 – 5 *:Service:                                    *****

  • Aircraft configuration             ****
  • Meal, Drinks, Snacks               *****

If you require assistance booking with Vietnam Airlines let me know, I am happy to help.

Safe travels and don’t forget to smile 🙂

❤️

Jenny

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