July 30, 2021
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Alaska Airlines to deploy AI flight planning nationwide
(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Alaska Airlines plans to deploy an artificial intelligence system to plan flight routes for aircraft across its US operations. "This is as game changing for aviation as Google Maps and Waze has been for driving," said Pasha Saleh, Alaska's director of flight operations.
Full Story: GeekWire (7/29),  Fortune (tiered subscription model) (7/27) 
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Company Watch
United Airlines announced five grand prize winners in its "Your Shot to Fly" sweepstakes. The contest offered MileagePlus members who uploaded proof of vaccination the opportunity to win free travel for a year. More than one million members entered the contest in less than a month. "We were proud to do our part to encourage more Americans to get their shot and were thrilled by the overwhelming response we received," United CEO Scott Kirby said.
Full Story: USA Today (7/29) 
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US airlines flew more than 2.2 million passengers to Mexico in June, 24% more than in June 2019, setting a new monthly volume record.
Full Story: TravelPulse (7/29),  Mexico News Daily (7/27) 
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DFW-based Envoy Fleet Service Clerk Jordin Andrade will be joining the world's elite athletes as he competes in the 400-meter hurdles for Cape Verde. Andrade has spent the last year following a strict schedule as he trained to compete while studying for his Doctor of Chiropractic degree and working at the Dallas airport.
Full Story: American Airlines American Stories (7/30) 
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Inside Aviation
A survey of more than 5,000 by the Association of Flight Attendants found that 84% of flight attendants have confronted unruly passengers this year and 17% have experienced a physical incident. The Transportation Security Administration expects to train hundreds of flight attendants in self-defense classes this summer and fall.
Full Story: The Dallas Morning News (tiered subscription model) (7/29),  CNN (7/28),  CNBC (7/29) 
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Gainesville Regional Airport in Florida celebrated the opening of a nearly $16 million terminal expansion, a project that was completed ahead of schedule and funded mostly with federal grants. "Once people are vaccinated a lot of them are taking trips to see family members they haven't seen for a long time, they're going to come to this beautiful, new, bright, sleek, convenient, gorgeous airport," said Erin Porter, the airport's public relations manager.
Full Story: WCJB-TV (Gainesville, Fla.) (7/29) 
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CapitalOne plans to open a lounge at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport this fall and additional branches in 2022 in Denver and at Dulles International Airport near Washington D.C.
Full Story: Adweek (7/29) 
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Airlines Give Back
Japan-based Hawaiian Airlines employees joined a cleanup project at Shirarahama Beach in the Kansai region, recognizing a "sister" relationship between Shirarahama and Honolulu's Waikiki Beach. "Through these activities, we can share with residents and travelers what it means to travel pono (responsibly) and why preserving our coastal communities is an important step in building a sustainable future," said Takaya Shishido, Japan country director for the airline.
Full Story: Hawaiian Airlines blog (7/29) 
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Next for Takeoff
Southwest Airlines tax accountant Kiki Gao relates that her internship at the airline, which included meetings with company leaders, sold her on the company's culture. "Having a servant's heart is an important attribute at Southwest and my favorite way to serve others is to find a small way to make someone else's day better," Gao said.
Full Story: The Southwest Airlines Community (7/29) 
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