Korean Airlines expects profit this quarter Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Korean Airlines expects profit this quarter 1

Korean Air Lines Co. is will be flying in the black in the first quarter of this year. This surprising, data was released Sunday, as the company expanded its logistics business after the new coronavirus pandemic virtually suspended passenger travel.This airline in South Korea is expected to post an operating profit of 76.6 billion won ($68.3 million) for the January-March period.
Sales, meanwhile, were estimated to have decreased 26 percent over the period to 1.7 trillion won.
Korean Airlines had a loss of 82.3 billion won posted a year earlier, according to a poll released by Yonhap Infomax, the financial arm of Yonhap News Agency.

The strong performance of Korean Air’s logistics business contributes to this success.
“The amount of cargo handled by Korean Air reached a record high amount last month,” NH Investment & Securities Co. said in its report. “The disturbed travel at the Suez Canal led to more demand for air shipping services.”
Star Alliance Member Asiana Airlines Inc., which awaits a merger with its bigger rival Korean Air, is expected to post a profit in the first quarter, compared with the previous year’s loss of 70.3 billion won. 

Russia successfully tests first post-Soviet Russian-made large passenger jet Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Russia successfully tests first post-Soviet Russian-made large passenger jet 2

Aircraft tests were done in freezing conditionAircraft made 14 flights over the coast of the White Sea, part of the Barents Sea and the Subpolar Urals areaIrkut has been successfully flying the MC-21 for more than three years

Russian civil aviation authorities have conducted a test Russia’s first post-Soviet large domestic passenger aircraft, the MC-21-300.
The tests were done in freezing conditions to observe how the aircraft performs when covered with ice. The aircraft successfully completed certification tests under natural icing conditions in northern Russia and can safely fly in harsh conditions, its manufacturer Irkut Corporation, part of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), revealed earlier this week. 

The aircraft made some 14 flights lasting from three to five hours over the coast of the White Sea, part of the Barents Sea and the Subpolar Urals area. The routes were specifically picked because of the high humidity and low temperatures found there, which lead to ice formation on aircraft surfaces.
The certification flights were conducted in several steps. First, the crew looked for clouds that would create the required conditions. Special equipment installed on the plane, including 12 cameras, then allowed them to control how much of the aircraft’s surface was covered with ice and record how it was functioning. After the ice layer was thick enough, the airliner gained altitude to check its performance under those conditions. 
Ice thickness was increased with each test flight, finally reaching eight centimeters – more than enough to say that the plane successfully passed the test. According to Russian and European standards, an aircraft shouldn’t lose its designed characteristics while covered a layer of ice 7.6 cm (3 inches) thick.

After completing the certification flights, the MC-21-300 returned from Arkhangelsk to the Zhukovsky airport near Moscow.
Irkut has been successfully flying the MC-21 for more than three years, but inability to acquire US-made parts for the aircraft forced the corporation to think of ways to try to develop the aircraft using more domestic components. A variant of the MC-21, known as MC-21-310 aircraft, equipped with two Russian PD-14 engines made its maiden flight at the end of last year.

Time to clean up the airline: Wizz Air anti-worker practices exposed Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Time to clean up the airline: Wizz Air anti-worker practices exposed 4

Senior Wizz Air manager told base captains that 250 pilots need to be dismissed shortlyWizz Air management used highly problematic practices to get rid of troublemakers during COVID-19 crisisWizz Air acted after receiving several complaints, and have made major changes to the management team

A transcript of a secret Wizz Air management meeting from 4 April 2020 which was leaked to staff has been passed to the ETF, revealing that management saw the COVID-19 crisis as the opportunity to “clean up the airline” by using discriminatory and anti-worker criteria in deciding which pilots to dismiss.
In the meeting, a senior Wizz Air manager tells base captains that 250 pilots need to be dismissed shortly and that after stopping the training of 150 pilots, they need to come up with a list of another 100.

He gives them two criteria to base their decision on, starting with “bad apples, so anyone that has caused you grief on a routine basis, whether it’s excessive sickness, not doing their ground school, poor performance in their PPCs.” The other group put forward by the manager is “weak captains.” With this category, he first stays more general and says, “That person, you know. We, we know we have them, and now is the time to clean up the airline. Anyone that is not Wizz culture, alright. Anyone that kinda, is always kinda you know what, that person is a pain.”
His speech continues along these lines and gets progressively more direct in explaining the motivations behind these criteria. At one point, he says: “We’re in an opportunity here, to make the next 10 years of your life managing, easy. So we will come out of it, as a much stronger workforce, one that has the Wizz culture and that’s easy to manage in the next future, for the future going ahead.”
The manager also refers to pilots that work for Wizz Air and are employed through an external agency, CONFAIR. He suggests not looking at them for now and only suggest dismissing them as a last resort, as they are” easy to manage because we can let them go at any time,” as well as “incredibly cheap, for the company.”

The leaked document uncovers the highly problematic practices Wizz Air management has used to get rid of what they perceive as troublemakers during the COVID-19 crisis. This toxic environment is not a secret – the ETF has exposed it many times before, with workers claiming that they’ve been dismissed because of their trade union membership or even just trying to protect their fundamental rights at work.

What ETOA says about new UK travel rules and the Global Travel Taskforce Aviation Feature, Aviation News

What ETOA says about new UK travel rules and the Global Travel Taskforce 5

Setting up a traffic light system of green, amber, and red will be used to identify the travel and health risk of countries.With vaccines continuing to roll out, COVID testing will remain an essential part of protecting public health as restrictions begin to ease.The permission to travel form will be removed, meaning passengers will no longer need to prove they have a valid reason to leave the country.

The Global Travel Taskforce is an advisory body of the government of the United Kingdom. Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps announced the formation of the group on October 7, 2020 as a cross-government response to an identified need to enable the safe and sustainable recovery of international travel and to introduce a COVID-19 testing system for travelers visiting the UK.
In February 2021, the Prime Minister asked the Secretary of State for Transport to convene a successor to the Global Travel Taskforce, building on the recommendations set out in November 2020 to develop a framework for a safe and sustainable return to international travel when the time is right.

Traffic Light System
A traffic light system, which will categorize countries based on risk alongside the restrictions required for travel, will be set up to protect the public and the vaccine rollout from international COVID-19 variants.
Key factors in the assessment will include:
the percentage of their population that have been vaccinatedthe rate of infectionthe prevalence of variants of concernthe country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing
The traffic light system will work this way:

Green: arrivals will need to take a pre-departure test as well as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on or before day 2 of their arrival back into the UK – but will not need to quarantine on return (unless they receive a positive result) or take any additional tests, halving the cost of tests on their return from holiday.
Amber: arrivals will need to quarantine for a period of 10 days and take a pre-departure test, and a PCR test on day 2 and day 8 with the option for Test to Release on day 5 to end self-isolation early.
Red: arrivals will be subject to restrictions currently in place for red list countries which include a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, pre-departure testing and PCR testing on day 2 and 8.

China’s tourism to rake in $195 billion in first half of 2021 Aviation Feature, Aviation News

China’s tourism to rake in $195 billion in first half of 2021 6

More than 1.7 billion domestic trips in China are expected to be made in H1 2021In first quarter of 2021, Chinese people made 697 million domestic tripsDuring Labor Day holiday domestic tourist trips will recover to or even surpass the pre-COVID-19 level

China Tourism Academy (CTA) forecasts that country’s tourism revenue will increase 102 percent year on year and reach 1.28 trillion yuan (about $195 billion US) in the first half of 2021.
More than 1.7 billion domestic trips in China are expected to be made in H1 2021, up 85 percent year on year, the academy announced at an online press conference today.

During the upcoming Labor Day holiday from May 1 to 5, domestic tourist trips will recover to or even surpass the pre-COVID-19 level, said Dai Bin, director of the CTA.
Meanwhile, according to a survey by the academy, over 83 percent of the respondents said they are willing to travel in the second quarter of 2021, up 1.02 percentage points and 4.93 percentage points compared with Q1 of 2021 and Q2 of 2020, respectively.
In first quarter of 2021, Chinese people made 697 million domestic trips and the country’s tourism revenue reached 560 billion yuan, increasing by 136 percent and 150 percent year on year, respectively, said the CTA.

“China’s tourism consumption is enjoying a speedy recovery. It will see a consumption boom in the third quarter of this year, especially during the weeklong National Day holiday,” said Dai.

Airlines ground 737 MAX jets after Boeing warns of new potential issue Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Airlines ground 737 MAX jets after Boeing warns of new potential issue 7

Boeing recommends to 16 customers to address a potential electrical issue with 737 MAX aircraftBoeing is working closely with FAA on resolving the problemAccording to Boeing, the new issue was unrelated to the flight-control system

Boeing issued the following statement today regarding a ‘potential issue’ with some 737 MAX jets:
“Boeing has recommended to 16 customers that they address a potential electrical issue in a specific group of 737 MAX airplanes prior to further operations. The recommendation is being made to allow for verification that a sufficient ground path exists for a component of the electrical power system.

We are working closely with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on this production issue. We are also informing our customers of specific tail numbers affected and we will provide direction on appropriate corrective actions. “
Boeing said the electrical problem was discovered on an aircraft on the production line. The plane-maker said it is working closely with the FAA on resolving the matter.
According to Boeing, the new issue, in which a component in the electrical power system might not be correctly grounded, was unrelated to the flight-control system.

Following the Boeing’s release about 737 MAX’s new ‘issue’, United Airlines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines pulled dozens of their 737 MAX jets out of service for ‘inspections’ of aircraft’s electrical systems.
Alaska Airlines said it also removed all four of its Max jets from service “to allow for inspections and for work to be done.”
737 MAX jets resumed flying in December 2020 after regulators in the US, European, Canadian and Brazilian regulators approved changes Boeing made to an automated flight-control system that played a role in the crashes.

Air Astana launches Meet & Greet service Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Air Astana launches Meet & Greet service 8

New service is intended to smooth the passenger journey through the airportDeparture and arrival escorts will meet passengers at designated entrance and exit points within the terminalAssistance will be provided with baggage handling, check-in and boarding

Air Astana will introduce a Meet & Greet service for passengers on arrival and departure at Almaty and Nur-Sultan airports, as well as a transit service at Frankfurt airport, starting from 9th April 2021.
The new service is intended to smooth Air Astana passenger journey through the airport, with effortless completion of mandatory procedures currently required for international travel.

In Almaty and Nur-Sultan, departure and arrival escorts will meet passengers at designated entrance and exit points within the terminal, with assistance provided for baggage handling, check-in and boarding. In Frankfurt, passengers using the transit service will be met by the escort at the aircraft door or entrance to the terminal, with expedited transfer procedures to the connecting flight for both passengers and their baggage.
Air Astana, the flag carrier of Kazakhstan, commenced its operations in May 2002 as a joint venture between Kazakhstan’s national wealth fund, Samruk Kazyna, and BAE Systems, with respective shares of 51% and 49%.
Air Astana is a full-service international and domestic carrier and its low-cost division, FlyArystan is rapidly growing in the domestic market. The airline operates a fleet of 34 aircraft including Boeing 767, Airbus A320/A320neo, Airbus A321/A321neo/ A321LR and Embraer E190-E2.

Airbus and TNO to develop aircraft laser communication terminal Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Airbus and TNO to develop aircraft laser communication terminal 9

Laser communication technologies are the next revolution in satellite communications The project covers the design, construction and testing of the technology demonstratorThe UltraAir terminal will be capable of laser connections between an aircraft and a satellite in geostationary orbit 36,000 km above the Earth

Airbus and the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) have launched a program to develop a laser communication terminal demonstrator for aircraft, known as UltraAir.
The project, which is co-financed by Airbus, TNO and the Netherlands Space Office (NSO), is part of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) ScyLight (Secure and Laser communication technology) program. It covers the design, construction and testing of the technology demonstrator. Laser communication technologies are the next revolution in satellite communications (satcom), bringing unprecedented transmission rates, data security and resilience to meet commercial needs in the next decade.

The UltraAir terminal will be capable of laser connections between an aircraft and a satellite in geostationary orbit 36,000 km above the Earth, with unparalleled technology including a highly stable and precise optical mechatronic system. The technology demonstrator will pave the way for a future UltraAir product with which data transmission rates could reach several gigabits-per-second while providing anti-jamming and low probability of interception. In this way UltraAir will not only enable military aircraft and UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) to connect within a combat cloud, but also in the longer term allow airline passengers to establish high-speed data connections thanks to the Airbus’ SpaceDataHighway constellation. From their position in geostationary orbit, the SpaceDataHighway (EDRS) satellites relay data collected by observation satellites to Earth in near-real-time, a process that would normally take several hours.
Airbus is leading the project and brings its unique expertise in laser satellite communications, developed with the SpaceDataHighway program. It will coordinate the development of the terminal and testing on the ground and in the air. As key partner of the project, TNO provides its experience in high-precision opto-mechatronics, supported by the Dutch high-tech and space industry. Airbus Defence and Space in the Netherlands will be responsible for the industrial production of the terminals. Airbus’ subsidiary Tesat brings its technical expertise in laser communication systems and will be involved in all testing activities.
The first tests will take place at the end of 2021 in laboratory conditions at Tesat. In a second phase, ground tests will start early 2022 in Tenerife (Spain), where connectivity will be established between an UltraAir demonstrator and the laser terminal embarked on the Alphasat satellite using the ESA Optical Ground Station. For the final verification, the UltraAir demonstrator will be integrated on an aircraft for flight testing by mid-2022.

As satellite services demand is growing, the traditional satcom radio-frequency bands are experiencing bottlenecks. Laser links also have the benefit of avoiding interference and detection, as in comparison to the already-crowded radio frequencies, laser communication is extremely difficult to intercept due to a much narrower beam. Thus, laser terminals can be lighter, consume less power and offer even better security than radio.
This new program is a key milestone in the roadmap of Airbus’ overall strategy to drive laser communications further, which will bring forward the benefits of this technology as a key differentiator for providing Multi-Domain collaboration for Government and defense customers.

Alaska Airlines to open lounge at San Francisco International Airport Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Alaska Airlines to open lounge at San Francisco International Airport 10

Alaska Airlines to open a new lounge just as guests start to return to travelThe announcement comes as Alaska Airlines continues to expand its presence in the Bay AreaWhen it opens, Alaska expects the Lounge to create 30 jobs in the Bay Area

Alaska Airlines guests will have the opportunity to relax in the new Alaska Lounge at San Francisco International Airport by late summer, as the airline announces updated plans for Bay Area travelers. Under this new plan, Alaska will move into the former American Airlines Admirals Club space in Terminal 2, enabling the airline to open a new lounge just as guests start to return to travel.
“We’re always looking for ways to be more responsive to our guests and offer amenities that make travel more relaxing. SFO has been the top-requested Alaska Lounge location by our guests for years,” said Sangita Woerner, Alaska Airlines‘ senior vice president of marketing and guest experience. “So many people are dreaming of travel this year, so we want to open up our newest Alaska Lounge as quickly and efficiently as possible – and renovating this space in Terminal 2 allows us to do that.”

The announcement comes as Alaska Airlines continues to expand its presence in the Bay Area. Alaska now operates more than 80 daily flights out of the Bay Area (including SFO, San Jose and Oakland) and has more than 1,700 Bay Area-based employees. In June, Alaska will begin service to Anchorage and Bozeman, Montana, from SFO. Other recent service announcements include:
Recently resumed service to Honolulu and Maui from SFO as of April 4Resumed service to Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta from SJC in early AprilNew service to Missoula, Mont., from SJC starting in May
When completed, this new lounge will be the second-largest of the Alaska Lounges at just under 10,000 sq. ft., behind Alaska’s flagship lounge in Seattle’s North Satellite Terminal. This space is also centrally located in Terminal 2, with easy access to additional dining and shopping options for guests. The Alaska Lounge at SFO joins seven other lounge locations in the Alaska Airlines portfolio, in Seattle; Portland, Oregon; Los Angeles; New York – JFK; and Anchorage.
“We’re thrilled to welcome the opening of the Alaska Lounge at SFO,” said SFO Airport Director Ivar C. Satero. “As the recovery of air travel continues, travelers can look forward to more and more amenities at SFO. The Alaska Lounge offers a great way for people to relax, recharge, and enjoy the friendly service that they’re known for.”

When it opens, Alaska expects the Lounge to create 30 jobs in the Bay Area. More details and timing will be announced over the coming months.  

Kenya Airways last London flight Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Kenya Airways last London flight 11

The UK issued a travel advisory and will not accept foreign nationals from or via Kenya starting April 9.To meet an increased demand for travel before the advisory takes place, Kenya Airways has added repatriation flights.Customers may also change bookings for later travel or request a refund with no penalties.

Come this Thursday Kenya Airways last London flight will take place after adding 2 repatriation flights to meet increased demand for travel to the UK before the travel advisory issued last week takes effect this Friday.
“Due to the increased demand for travel to the UK before the advisory takes effect on April 9, we have added 2 new flights on April 4 and 8,” read a statement from the airline’s headquarters in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

From April 9, the UK will not accept foreign nationals traveling from or via Kenya to its airports, including transit passengers who might only pass through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi.
“Customers impacted by this directive may change their bookings for later travel or request a refund with all penalties waived,” said the airline’s management.
Kenya Airways serves the East African region and partly the Central African states and the islands on the Eastern Rim of the Indian Ocean.

Volaris: 93% of 2020 capacity with 87% load factor in March 2021 Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Volaris: 93% of 2020 capacity with 87% load factor in March 2021 12

In the domestic Mexican market, demand continued to recoverVolaris’ recovery has been driven by its unique ultra-low-cost structureVolaris demonstrated flexibility focusing on capacity management in the face of a volatile demand environment

Volaris, the ultra-low-cost airline serving Mexico, the United States and Central America, reported March 2021 preliminary traffic results.
In the domestic Mexican market, demand continued to recover and we capitalized on opportunities to add capacity, ending the month with 4.6% more ASMs than in the prior year. International capacity decreased 35.4% in the month as a result of continuing US regulations on international flights and quarantine restrictions in Mexico preceding vaccination. As a result, March 2021 total capacity measured by ASMs (Available Seat Miles) was 92.8% compared to the same month of the prior year. Demand measured by RPMs (Revenue Passenger Miles) was 98% compared to the same month of the prior year. Volaris transported 1.5 million passengers in March 2021 and the booked load factor was 86.9%.

Volaris‘ President and Chief Executive Officer, Enrique Beltranena, commenting on the traffic results for March 2021, said: “Volaris’ industry leading recovery has been driven by its unique ultra-low-cost structure that has positioned the Company as the leading airline in Mexico in terms of passengers carried and provides strong fundamentals for future growth. Our steady recovery process has been focused on rebuilding our core network, managing capacity by market where we expand as demand allows and to continue to exploit new opportunities as they appear. Our March 2021 figures and our capacity management are a testament to the domestic market opportunity and to Volaris’ potential to expand its international network as the United States and Central American markets recover.”
During the first quarter of 2021, Volaris demonstrated flexibility focusing on capacity management in the face of a volatile demand environment. Volaris finished the quarter operating 88.3% of the ASMs flown in the first quarter of the prior year. For the second quarter of 2021, the Company expects to operate approximately 110% of the 2019 second quarter capacity.
The following table summarizes Volaris traffic results for the month of March 2021. For the first quarter of 2021 we are comparing versus 2020 figures. It should be noted that the COVID-19 pandemic did not start to impact demand in Mexico until the second half of March 2020. Effective April 2021 we will start comparing versus 2019.

March2021March2020VarianceYTDMarch 2021YTDMarch 2020VarianceRPMs (in millions, scheduled &charter)Domestic1,2111,1237.8%3,2563,660-11.0%International285403-29.3%9461,506-37.2%Total1,4961,527-2.0%4,2025,166-18.7%ASMs (in millions, scheduled &charter)Domestic1,3691,3094.6%4,0384,253-5.0%International353546-35.4%1,3421,843-27.2%Total1,7221,855-7.2%5,3806,095-11.7%Load Factor (in %, scheduled,RPMs/ASMs)Domestic88.5%85.8%2.7 pp80.6%86.1%(5.4) ppInternational80.8%73.9%6.9 pp70.5%81.7%(11.2) ppTotal86.9%82.3%4.6 pp78.1%84.7%(6.6) ppPassengers (in thousands,scheduled & charter)Domestic1,3371,2913.5%3,5974,229-15.0%International212276-23.3%6741,048-35.7%Total1,5491,568-1.2%4,2715,277-19.1%

Boeing’s revenue down by nearly 50 percent since 2018 Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Boeing’s revenue down by nearly 50 percent since 2018 13

Boeing’s revenue almost cut in half since 2018Boeing is falling behind rival aerospace giant Airbus in orders and deliveriesBoeing cut costs in 2020 in response to COVID-19 pandemic

Boeing is one of the biggest companies in the world, but the airline giant has had a very tumultuous last couple of years. Even before 2020’s Coronavirus pandemic, the company was already experiencing sharp declines in various metrics due to a major global controversy around one of its aircraft.
According to the latest industry analysts’ data, Boeing’s revenue of $58.16 billion in 2020 was a 42.5% decrease compared to 2018’s record-high revenue of over $101 billion – a CAGR of -24.16%.

Back in 2018, Boeing was flying high after crossing the $100 billion mark in revenue for the first time in company history. However late in 2018 and early in 2019 one of Boeing’s new aircraft models, the 737 MAX 8, experienced two crashes in the span of 5 months. Both crashes put the blame on Boeing’s new MCAS flight control system and resulted in the grounding of the entire global fleet of the 737 MAX and orders for the new model were either suspended or cancelled.
As a result Boeing’s revenue dropped by 24% YoY in 2019. To further compound the crisis that Boeing was already facing, the world was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 resulting in a huge downturn for the entire travel and tourism industry. This caused Boeing’s revenue to drop a further 24% YoY in 2020. From 2018-2020 Boeing’s revenue experienced a CAGR of -24.16%
The entire airline industry was significantly impacted by the pandemic of 2020. Many countries closed their borders to protect their citizens from the onslaught of the pandemic putting a halt to global mobility. As a result, both aircraft providers suffered significant drops in revenue in 2020 with airbus experiencing a 37% YoY drop.

However, Boeing’s problems began prior to 2020 and 2019’s safety issues are still causing Boeing to lag behind Airbus in orders and deliveries. In 2020, Airbus registered 383 gross orders compared to Boeing’s 184. After calculating for contractual adjustments and cancellations Boeing’s Net Orders falls considerably to -1194 for 2020, compared to Airbus’ 268.
In 2020 Airbus also delivered almost 400 more aircraft than Boeing, amounting to 566 and 157 respectively.
As a form of damage control, Boeing initiated a few cost-cutting initiatives in 2020. Boeing cut R&D expenditure by 23% YoY in 2020 its lowest allocation since 2005. Boeing is the larger employer of the two aircraft manufacturers with a workforce of 141,000 in 2020, after downsizing by 20,000 from 2019.

Air cargo demand up 9% in February compared to pre-COVID levels Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Air cargo demand up 9% in February compared to pre-COVID levels 14

Air cargo demand continues to outperform pre-COVID levelsVolumes have now returned to 2018 levels seen prior to the US-China trade warGlobal demand, measured in cargo ton-kilometers (CTKs*), was up 9% compared to February 2019

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released February 2021 data for global air cargo markets showing that air cargo demand continued to outperform pre-COVID levels with demand up 9% over February 2019. February demand also showed strong month-on-month growth over January 2021 levels. Volumes have now returned to 2018 levels seen prior to the US-China trade war.
Because comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the extraordinary impact of COVID-19, unless otherwise noted all comparisons to follow are to February 2019 which followed a normal demand pattern.

Global demand, measured in cargo ton-kilometers (CTKs*), was up 9% compared to February 2019 and +1.5% compared to January 2021. All regions except for Latin America saw an improvement in air cargo demand compared to pre-COVID levels and North America and Africa were the strongest performers.
The recovery in global capacity, measured in available cargo ton-kilometers (ACTKs), stalled owing to new capacity cuts on the passenger side as governments tightened travel restrictions due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases. Capacity shrank 14.9% compared to February 2019.
The operating conditions remain supportive for air cargo:

Conditions in the manufacturing sector are robust despite the recent spike in COVID-19 outbreaks. The global manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was at 53.9 in February. Results above 50 indicate manufacturing growth versus the prior month.
The new export orders component of the manufacturing PMI – a leading indicator of air cargo demand– picked up compared to January.

Lufthansa Airbus A350-900 “Erfurt” will become climate research aircraft Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Lufthansa Airbus A350-900 “Erfurt” will become climate research aircraft 15

Converting an aircraft into a climate research plane poses major challengesIn three stages, the “Erfurt” will now become a flying research laboratoryThe “Erfurt” is expected to take off from Munich at the end of 2021 for its first flight in the service of climate research

Predicting the weather even more accurately, analyzing climate changes even more precisely, researching even better how the world is developing. This is the goal of a globally unique cooperation between Lufthansa and several research institutes.
Converting an aircraft into a climate research plane poses major challenges. Lufthansa has chosen the most modern and economical long-haul jet in its fleet – an Airbus A350-900 named “Erfurt” (registration D-AIXJ). In three stages, the “Erfurt” will now become a flying research laboratory.

In Lufthansa Technik’s hangar in Malta, the first and most extensive conversion work was carried out. Preparations were made for a complex air intake system below the belly. This was followed by a series of test insertions, at the end of which came the certification of a climate research laboratory weighing around 1.6 tons, the so-called CARIBIC measurement laboratory. The acronym CARIBIC stands for “Civil Aircraft for the Regular Investigation of the atmosphere Based on an Instrument Container”. The project is part of a comprehensive European research consortium.
The “Erfurt” is expected to take off from Munich at the end of 2021 for its first flight in the service of climate research, measuring around 100 different trace gases, aerosol and cloud parameters in the tropopause region (at an altitude of nine to twelve kilometers). Lufthansa is thus making a valuable contribution to climate research, which can use these unique data to assess the performance of current atmospheric and climate models and thus their predictive power for the Earth’s future climate. The special feature: Climate-relevant parameters can be recorded at this altitude with much greater accuracy and temporal resolution on board the aircraft than with satellite-based or ground-based systems.
“The conversion of our A350-900 ‘D-AIXJ’ into a climate research aircraft is something very special for us. We were immediately enthusiastic about the plan to continue CARIBIC on our most fuel-efficient aircraft type. In this way, we can continue to support climate and atmospheric research in its important task on long-haul routes. We are helping to ensure that particularly important climate-relevant parameters are collected just on that altitude where the atmospheric greenhouse effects is largely generated”, says Annette Mann, Head of Corporate Responsibility at the Lufthansa Group. “I am pleased that we can implement this ambitious project together with our partners in record time and thus contribute to improving today’s climate models.”

IATA: Negative passenger demand trend continues in February Aviation Feature, Aviation News

IATA: Negative passenger demand trend continues in February 16

Total demand for air travel in February 2021was down 74.7% compared to February 201International passenger demand in February was 88.7% below February 2019Total domestic demand was down 51.0% versus pre-crisis (February 2019) levels

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that passenger traffic fell in February 2021, both compared to pre-COVID levels (February 2019) and compared to the immediate month prior (January 2020).
Because comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the extraordinary impact of COVID-19, unless otherwise noted all comparisons are to February 2019, which followed a normal demand pattern.

Total demand for air travel in February 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was down 74.7% compared to February 2019. That was worse than the 72.2% decline recorded in January 2021 versus two years ago.
International passenger demand in February was 88.7% below February 2019, a further drop from the 85.7% year-to-year decline recorded in January and the worst growth outcome since July 2020. Performance in all regions worsened compared to January 2021.
Total domestic demand was down 51.0% versus pre-crisis (February 2019) levels. In January it was down 47.8% on the 2019 period. This largely was owing to weakness in China travel, driven by government requests that citizens stay at home during the Lunar New Year travel period.

“February showed no indication of a recovery in demand for international air travel. In fact, most indicators went in the wrong direction as travel restrictions tightened in the face of continuing concerns over new coronavirus variants. An important exception was the Australian domestic market. A relaxation of restrictions on domestic flying resulted in significantly more travel. This tells us that people have not lost their desire travel. They will fly, provided they can do so without facing quarantine measures,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

Qatar Airways operates world’s first fully COVID-19 vaccinated flight Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Qatar Airways operates world’s first fully COVID-19 vaccinated flight 17

The special flight will showcase all the measures the airline has put in placeQR6421 passengers will be serviced by fully vaccinated staff at check-inPassengers on board will be able to livestream the historic experience

Qatar Airways continues to lead the recovery of international travel, operating the world’s first fully COVID-19 vaccinated flight today. QR6421 will depart Hamad International Airport at 11:00 AM carrying only vaccinated crew and passengers onboard, with passengers also to be served by fully vaccinated staff at check-in. The special flight, which will return to Doha at 14:00, will showcase all the measures the airline has put in place to ensure the highest standards of safety and hygiene on board, including its latest innovation, the world’s first ‘Zero-Touch’ in-flight entertainment technology. The special service will be operated by the airline’s most technologically advanced and sustainable aircraft, the Airbus A350-1000, with the flight also fully carbon offset in line with the carrier’s environmental responsibilities.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “Today’s special flight demonstrates the next stage in the recovery of international travel is not far away. We are proud to continue leading the industry by operating the first flight with a fully vaccinated crew and passengers and providing a beacon of hope for the future of international aviation. With aviation being a critical economic driver both globally and here in the State of Qatar, we are thankful for the support we have received from our government and local health authorities to vaccinate our staff, with over 1,000 vaccinations being administered per day.”

Passengers on board will be able to livestream the historic experience thanks to Qatar Airways’ industry leading Super WiFi onboard that combines the latest technology from Inmarsat, SITA for Aircraft and Thales.
To show its gratitude to those who have played key roles throughout the pandemic, Qatar Airways gave away 100,000 complimentary return tickets to healthcare workers and 21,000 to teachers around the world in 2020.

Countries and Airlines Accepting the IATA Travel Pass Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Countries and Airlines Accepting the IATA Travel Pass 18

20 airlines accept and honor the IATA Travel Pass for its passengers. See the list.Singapore is the first country to accept the IATA Travel Pass, more countries to follow IATA Pass is an initiative by the global aviation group to encourage the opening of borders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After 20 airlines accept the new IATA Travel Pass, now also the first country welcomes visitors having the IATA pass.
 The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed Singapore’s acceptance of pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test results on the IATA Travel Pass.

From 1 May 2021, passengers traveling to Singapore will be able to use IATA Travel Pass to share their pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test results upon check-in with their airline, as well as on arrival at the immigration checkpoints at Changi Airport. This is part of an ongoing collaboration between the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and IATA to facilitate seamless and efficient travel through digital certificates of COVID-19 tests.
To re-open borders without quarantine and restart aviation governments need to be confident that they are effectively mitigating the risk of importing COVID-19. This means having accurate information on passengers’ COVID-19 health status.
Informing passengers on what tests, vaccines and other measures they require prior to travel, details on where they can get tested and giving them the ability to share their tests and vaccination results in a verifiable, safe and privacy-protecting manner is the key to giving governments the confidence to open borders. To address this challenge IATA is working on launching the IATA Travel Pass, a digital platform for passengers.

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“Having the confidence of an aviation leader like Singapore accept IATA Travel Pass is hugely significant. Ongoing trials put us on track for IATA Travel Pass to be a critical tool for the industry’s restart by delivering verified travel health credentials to governments. And travelers can have complete confidence that their personal data is secure and under their own control. The success of our joint efforts will make IATA’s partnership with the government of Singapore a model for others to follow,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
“We have built upon our long standing and deep partnership with IATA to develop solutions to facilitate travel. This latest collaboration with IATA demonstrates our shared commitment to drive the adoption of digital health certificates and restore international air travel. As we look to safely rebuild the Changi air hub, we will continue to explore other solutions that can provide similarly secure and verifiable means of sharing health certificates for safe international travel,” said Kevin Shum, CAAS Director-General.
Digital health certificates will be a key feature in air travel moving forward. Establishing trusted, secure solutions to verify the health credentials of travellers will be critical in facilitating smooth air travel and safeguarding public health. The IATA Travel Pass is a personal secure digital wallet solution that can be used by passengers to obtain and store their COVID-19 test results from accredited laboratories.  

Following the successful trials by Singapore Airlines, the Singapore health and border control authorities will accept the IATA Travel Pass as a valid form of presentation of COVID-19 pre-departure test results for entry into Singapore. The information presented on the IATA Travel Pass will be in a format that satisfies Singapore’s prevailing COVID-19 pre-departure test requirements for entry into Singapore.
More than 20 airlines have announced trials of the IATA Travel Pass. 
Airlines trying the IATA Travel Pass

Travelers to Singapore intending to use the IATA Travel Pass should check with the airline they are traveling with for eligibility to use the IATA Travel Pass. 

TAP Air Portugal passengers can now be tested at Lisbon Airport Aviation Feature, Aviation News

TAP Air Portugal passengers can now be tested at Lisbon Airport 19

TAP offers its passengers a COVID-19 testing service at Lisbon airportThe results of the tests are sent directly to the passenger by e-mail within 30 minutesNew service is available in the UCS building, which is located at the Rua B building 8 next to ​​Lisbon Airport

TAP Air Portugal, in partnership with UCS, the Group’s Health Care Unit, now offers all TAP passengers a COVID-19 testing service at Lisbon airport.
The results of the tests are sent directly to the passenger by e-mail within 30 minutes in the case of the Rapid Antigen Tests; and between 6 to 8 hours in the case of PCR Tests.

For now, this new service is available in the UCS building, which is located at the Rua B building 8 next to ​​Lisbon Airport. From April 19, the UCS services will also be available at the departures area of ​​the airport.
The testing service can be scheduled directly on the UCS website.
Additionally, through May 31, TAP’s Book with Confidence program allows customers to change their bookings at no cost.

TAP Air Portugal is the flag carrier airline of Portugal, headquartered at Lisbon Airport which also serves as its hub. TAP – Transportes Aéreos Portugueses – has been a member of the Star Alliance since 2005 and operates on average 2,500 flights a week to 90 destinations in 34 countries worldwide.

Iran’s Kish Air launches Kazakhstan flights Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Iran’s Kish Air launches Kazakhstan flights 20

Iranian airline launches Kazakhstan serviceKish Airlines flies from Gorgan to AktauKish Airlines is an air carrier operating from Kish Island, Iran

According to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), the official news agency of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iranian Kish Airlines launched air service between Gorgan, Iran and Aktau, Kazakhstan.
The inaugural flight from Gorgan arrived at Aktau Airport on April 1, 2021.

Kish Airlines is an air carrier operating from Kish Island, Iran. It operates international, domestic and charter services as a scheduled carrier. Its main base is Mehrabad International Airport, Tehran.
At present Kish aIR IS OPERATING two dry leased and two purchased Russian-made Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft and a fleet of medium-range MD-80 series aircraft and short-range Fokker 100 on its domestic and international routes.

TAP Air Poprtugal passengers can now be tested at Lisbon Airport Aviation Feature, Aviation News

TAP Air Poprtugal passengers can now be tested at Lisbon Airport 21

TAP offers its passengers a COVID-19 testing service at Lisbon airportThe results of the tests are sent directly to the passenger by e-mail within 30 minutesNew service is available in the UCS building, which is located at the Rua B building 8 next to ​​Lisbon Airport

TAP Air Portugal, in partnership with UCS, the Group’s Health Care Unit, now offers all TAP passengers a COVID-19 testing service at Lisbon airport.
The results of the tests are sent directly to the passenger by e-mail within 30 minutes in the case of the Rapid Antigen Tests; and between 6 to 8 hours in the case of PCR Tests.

For now, this new service is available in the UCS building, which is located at the Rua B building 8 next to ​​Lisbon Airport. From April 19, the UCS services will also be available at the departures area of ​​the airport.
The testing service can be scheduled directly on the UCS website.
Additionally, through May 31, TAP’s Book with Confidence program allows customers to change their bookings at no cost.

TAP Air Portugal is the flag carrier airline of Portugal, headquartered at Lisbon Airport which also serves as its hub. TAP – Transportes Aéreos Portugueses – has been a member of the Star Alliance since 2005 and operates on average 2,500 flights a week to 90 destinations in 34 countries worldwide.

US domestic air travel to make full recovery by early 2022 Aviation Feature, Aviation News

US domestic air travel to make full recovery by early 2022 22

Consumers are looking forward to summer travelExperts are now predicting that the US will reach herd immunity by mid-June to early July — three to six weeks ahead of earlier forecastsThe overall comeback of travel will depend on how fast nations get their populations vaccinated

Leisure travel in America will push the US domestic airline industry to a COVID recovery by early 2022.
A year ago, industry analysts would have thought that a full domestic recovery in this timeframe for the US was almost impossible, but the combination of pent-up demand, economic stimulus, and access to vaccines is making a difference. It is still too early to talk about a full recovery for the overall industry, but the experts expect some of the airlines to start turning cashflow positive in a matter of months, particularly in the US.

The rapidly increasing availability of vaccines and economic stimulus from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act are two reasons for the increase in domestic leisure travel in the US. Both factors also happened to coincide with the timing of spring break across many states, which caused a spike in demand.
Consumers are also looking forward to summer travel, and the experts are now predicting that the US will reach herd immunity by mid-June to early July — three to six weeks ahead of earlier forecasts.
In mid-March, US travel demand rose to more than 50 percent of 2019 levels, which is the highest it has been on a sustained basis since the start of the pandemic.

The opposite is true with corporate and international travel, which is still down more than 80 percent from 2019. These segments of the market will not recover before 2023.
The loss of business travel is a real challenge for some full-service airlines, because they depend on high-yielding customers to provide more than half of their profits and a third of revenues in major economies such as the US. To compensate for the loss of business and international travelers, full-service carriers are starting to sell more services a la carte, aimed at a broader customer base with different needs and less willingness to pay.
The analysis of US Department of Transportation data reveals revenue per available seat mile (RASM) for full-service airlines fell 50 percent year-over-year in the second quarter of 2020, making it one of the darkest periods for US carriers. Meanwhile, the RASM for low-cost airlines fell 23 percent in the same three months. The third quarter of 2020 brought the performance of the two airline groups closer together, with full-service carriers declining 45 percent and low-cost carriers down 38 percent.

The overall comeback of travel will depend on how fast nations get their populations vaccinated and standardize their health passport travel protocols and testing regulations, but the demand to travel is here.

Ethiopian On-Time Performance surpasses industry average Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Ethiopian On-Time Performance surpasses industry average 23

Ethiopian makes a substantial investment to enhance its customer serviceOn-Time Performance refers to an airline departure or arrival that occurs within 15 minutes of the scheduled timeThe last three months have been extraordinarily productive in terms of efficiency

Ethiopian Airlines Group announced that it has reached 91% On-Time Performance of all global flight departures for the last three months while the industry average stands around 85%. The airline has operated a total of 18,385 flights in January, February, and March in which it has scored 91% on-time departures.
We have recognized from our customers’ feedback that the COVID-19 TravelRequirements, and especially the expiry of Negative PCR Test certificates by manycountries after 72 hours, have made on-time flight departures and smooth connectivity more important than ever in the past. As a result, our winning team has made it its top priority and achieved record levels of flight punctuality.

Ethiopian Airline Group CEO Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam said, “As a customer-centricairline, we make a substantial investment to enhance our customer service. When customers choose Ethiopian, we make sure that they get the best possible experience with us including arriving to their destinations on time. The last three months have been extraordinarily productive in terms of efficiency in our flight operation. I am proud of my colleagues who are committed to eliminate any inconvenience for our esteemed passengers.”
On-Time Performance refers to an airline departure or arrival that occurs within 15minutes of the scheduled time. Punctuality is of paramount importance for passengers as delay or cancellation affects their itinerary and makes passengers incur extra costs.

Tourism after COVID: A bitter-sweet reality revealed by WTN co-chair Dr. Taleb Rifai Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Tourism after COVID: A bitter-sweet reality revealed by WTN co-chair Dr. Taleb Rifai 24

Dr. Taleb Rifai wears many hats. The former UNWTO Secretary General positions include the African Tourism Board and Project Hope, International Institute for Peace Through Tourism, World Tourism Forum Institute. ,Global Resilience and Crisis Management Center, and he is the co-chair for the World Tourism Network (WTN) Watch Dr. Taleb Rifai taking a lead in telling the world the truth about the future of the travel and tourism world. This truth should be the base for a better tomorrowThree interviews, three stories by a mentor for World Tourism.

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WTTC, UNWTO is not ready to realize the reality in how travel and tourism will look after COVID-19. It will not be back to anything we know about. May the truth sets us free. This is the indication given by the number one tourism mentor in the world, Dr. Taleb Rifai.
Dr. Taleb Rifai served as a two term UNWTO Secretary General until December 31,2017 and still regarded one of the most influential personalities in the global travel and tourism industry.

One of the many positions this Jordanian native is involved in, as the co-chairman of the newly formed World Tourism Network he has made an enormous impact in the rebuilding travel discussion started by WTN.
Watch how Dr. Rifai is seen by people in power in his country and experience him during a state visit to Costa Rica when he was still UNWTO secretary-general. ,
With the world facing the worst crisis in the history of tourism, Dr. Rifai returned from his well deserved retirement and has been a mentor to so many in the world. With effective leadership lacking in the current UNWTO, Dr. Rifai has been the quiet mover and shaker in the background. He can do this because of the legacy he left as a truly global citizen. Tourism is an industry of hope and optimism.
He came to a reality, that tourism will not just return to what it was. Dr. Rifai has a vision for the future after COVID-19. The environment and sustainability has a big role in this vision.

He said: “The travel and tourism industry is a very conservative and slow moving sector. The world managed to send a man to the moon before it invented two wheels on a suitcase.”
The Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism & Development year was in 2017. Listen to what Dr. Rifai had to say when he still was Secretary-General of UNWTO.In 2020/21 the world looks very different. In an interview from earlier this week with a university for a research project, Dr. Rifai said :”Sustainability is not equal conversation. You have to know how to grow.”
“It can be argued if Manhattan was more beautiful before Skyscrapers were built. I am not against Skyscrapers, but it;’s important where and how they are build.”
Sustainability and tourism is about people. The walls between people have to be lowered, people need to interact with each other.
Dr. Taleb doesn’t think the world will get back to normal and lays out his thoughts in this interview with a Portuguese news outlet . Dr. Rifai will talk about aviation, cruises, destinations, and he will explain why tourism will not go back where it was, but go forward.

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Air Canada and Transat terminate proposed acquisition agreement Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Air Canada and Transat terminate proposed acquisition agreement 25

Proposed acquisition of Transat by Air Canada canceledAir Canada and Transat had originally agreed in June 2019 on the acquisitionTerms were amended in 2019 and revised in 2020 due to severe economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic

Air Canada and Transat A.T. Inc. announced today that they have mutually agreed to terminate the Arrangement Agreement for the proposed acquisition of Transat by Air Canada.
Air Canada and Transat had originally agreed in June 2019 on the acquisition, the terms of which were subsequently amended in August 2019 and then revised in October 2020 as a result of the severe economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As previously disclosed, the acquisition was conditional on the approval of various regulatory authorities, including the European Commission (“EC”). In order to meet that key condition, Air Canada offered and enhanced a significant package of remedies, which went beyond the commercially reasonable efforts required of Air Canada under the Arrangement Agreement and what has been traditionally accepted by the EC in previous airline merger cases. Following recent discussions with the EC, it has become evident, however, that the EC will not approve the acquisition based on the currently offered remedy package.
After careful consideration, Air Canada has concluded that providing additional, onerous remedies, which may still not secure an EC approval, would significantly compromise Air Canada’s ability to compete internationally, negatively impacting customers, other stakeholders and future prospects as it recovers and rebuilds from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Especially in this challenging environment, it is essential that Air Canada focus on creating the optimal conditions for its full recovery by preserving and leveraging all of its key strengths and assets including its strong employee culture.
Both Air Canada and Transat have agreed to terminate the Arrangement Agreement with Air Canada paying Transat a termination fee of $12.5 million, and with Transat no longer under any obligation to pay Air Canada any fee should Transat be involved in another acquisition or similar transaction in the future.

Aeroflot’s inaugural flight touches down in Seychelles Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Aeroflot’s inaugural flight touches down in Seychelles 26

hailed as the great come-back after a 17-year hiatus from the islands.Plane welcomed with water canon salute, musicians, dancers, and entertainment.Flight opens the way to twice-weekly flights between the two countries, and Russian travelers will now be able to fly non-stop to the island destination.

The inaugural eight-hour 35 minutes flight was hailed as the ‘great come-back’ as Aeroflot is returning to the islands after 17 years.
The flight was greeted on arrival by the Seychelles’ Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde, Minister of Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Anthony Derjacques and other officials from the tourism and aviation fields.

A total 402 passengers disembarked to a typical Creole ambience as local musicians and dancers provided lively entertainment, after the plane had gone through the symbolic water canon salute.
The landmark flight opens the way to twice-weekly flights between the two countries, and Russian travelers will now be able to fly non-stop to the island destination.
The return flight will now leave Mahé tonight at 11.05 p.m. with a flying time of 8 hours 50 minutes. Following the official cutting of ribbons, Minister Radegonde expressed his delight at Aeroflot for coming back and re-establishing air links between the two countries.
He saluted the airline for this great show of confidence in the destination during a time that had seen innumerable route cuts in the industry.

“The resumption of direct flights from Moscow to Victoria testifies to the confidence of the Russian national carrier in our tourism industry. Seychelles is a much sought-after destination in Russia and in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The Russian market has always been a profitable one for Seychelles, featuring in the top 7 destinations every year. It is a high-yield market, with an average stay of 9 to 13 nights. But visitor arrivals have been impeded by the lack of direct flights from Moscow, “he said. 
Minister Radegonde described the touching down of the aircraft as a beautiful and joyous moment for the country, adding the return of the flight will help in the recovery of the Seychelles tourism industry.
Minister Radegonde noted that the Russian market was a profitable one and said the direct flight will help to accelerate and grow it further. 
 “With the introduction of twice-weekly flights by Aeroflot, I am hopeful that we can not only reclaim, but increase, our share of the Russian and the CIS market. It is within our ability to do so. We can do it if we all work together as a team – government and the private sector together.” 
Aeroflot now joins four other airlines, which have resumed flights to Seychelles, whereas six others are expected back between April and October 2021.
Aeroflot also expressed their joy to be back on the Seychelles’ route. 
 “We are very proud to be the very first European airline to come back to Seychelles in 2021 with a regular service between Moscow and Mahé, which is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque and authentic travel destinations across the globe,” said the airline’s Marketing Director, Anton Myagkov.
 “The new Seychelles’ service truly highlights Aeroflot’s extensive route network. As a global full-service airline, we perfectly match our premium onboard product and in-flight service with the exclusive touristic product of the Seychelles islands.”
Mr. Myagkov added that the current passengers’ demand for this service already exceeds all their expectations, causing a sellout of the first flight in just a few days. “This has enabled Aeroflot to increase the operating frequency to two flights per week starting from Sunday 09th April,” he said.
Commenting on the new flight, the Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Sherin Francis, also present to welcome the Aeroflot flight, said the news of the return of Aeroflot has been met with much enthusiasm by the Seychelles trade.
“We are pleased to welcome back this new service to our shores. Russia is one of our top originating markets and we expect this new route and direct link to expand our reach in the market and that region,” she said.
She added that the increased seat capacity is significant and underlines the airline’s confidence in the Seychelles’ product, which is a highly sought-after destination.
More news about Seychelles
#rebuildingtravel

Ukraine International Airlines is gradually restoring its flight network Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Ukraine International Airlines is gradually restoring its flight network 27

Despite numerous travel restrictions in early 2021, UIA has done a commendable workFrom January, 1 to March, 31, 2021, about 30 000passenger requests were considered and processedThe airline seeks to resume normal operations as soon as conditions permit

Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) continues to gradually restore its flight network despite the factors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, which affect the operation of the airline and the entire aviation industry as a whole.
Despite numerous travel restrictions for both Ukrainian citizens and passengers of foreign countries in early 2021, UIA has done a commendable work and is ready to share its work results for the 1st quarter of 2021 (compared to the pre-crisis 1st quarter of 2020):

The number of performed scheduled flights: 1 424, which is 82% less than during the same period in 2020;Number of charter flights: 1 116, compared to 419 flights in 2020;The total number of passengers carried: 322 732, which is 67% less than during the same period in 2020, in particular:
passengers on regular flights: 121 047 (900 516 in 2020);passengers on charter flights: 201 685 (75 520 in 2020);
Percentage of transit passengers is 34% (including all scheduled flights), compared to 46% in 2020;The volume of cargo and mail transportation (both on regular and charter flights) is 743 000 kg, which is 76% less than during the same period in 2020.
From January, 1 to March, 31, 2021, about 30 000 passenger requests were considered and processed and 6 711 576 US dollars were refunded to passengers. In total, during 12 months of its activity during the pandemic from April 2020 to March 2021, UIA refunded more than $33 million to passengers.
UIA is now closely monitoring the epidemiological situation, governmental guidelines and regulations to all countries where the airline operates. The airline seeks to resume normal operations as soon as conditions permit.

North Korean Air Koryo announces resumption of China flights Aviation Feature, Aviation News

North Korean Air Koryo announces resumption of China flights 29

North Korea has closed all ports of entry by land, sea or air in January 2020North Korea is showing “increasing signs” of easing its border restrictions with ChinaEarlier, Air Koryo released its flight schedule to the Russian port city of Vladivostok

North Korea’s Air Koryo appears to be set to resume operating two flights between Pyongyang and Beijing this week, the airline’s website showed today. It is still not entirely clear whether and when exactly the service will resume after more than a year of suspension amid COVID-19 pandemic cross-border restrictions.
The flight schedule posted on North Korean national flag carrier’s website, the airline’s JS251 flight will depart from Pyongyang at 4:00 p.m. and arrive in Beijing at 5:50 p.m. on Thursday. Another flight is scheduled to depart from Beijing for Pyongyang on Friday.

As of 4:30 p.m., however, no flight took off from Pyongyang, according to a real-time flight tracker. Some speculated that the airline could have tested its website in preparation to resume flights to China.
Earlier today, a unification ministry official told reporters that the North Korea is showing “increasing signs” of easing its border restrictions with China.
North Korea has closed all ports of entry by land, sea or air in January 2020 in an efforts to block the coronavirus from spreading into the country.
Earlier, Air Koryo released its flight schedule to the Russian port city of Vladivostok, but did not operate the flights there either.

North Korea has not reported any case of COVID-19 virus infection, but it has called for nationwide efforts to prevent the virus from breaking out on its soil through intensified border controls and tightened quarantine processes.

Walsh takes the helm at IATA Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Walsh takes the helm at IATA 30

Willie Walsh has officially taken on the role of Director General of the organizationWalsh joins IATA after a 40-year career in the airline industryWalsh is deeply familiar with IATA, having served on the IATA Board of Governors for almost 13 years

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that Willie Walsh has officially taken on the role of Director General of the organization. He succeeds Alexandre de Juniac. 
“I am passionate about our industry and about the critical work that IATA does on behalf of its members, never more so than during the COVID-19 crisis. IATA has been at the forefront of efforts to restart global connectivity, including developing the IATA Travel Pass. Less visible but of equal importance, airlines continue to rely on IATA’s financial settlement systems, Timatic and other vital services to support their day-to-day operations. I am grateful to Alexandre for leaving behind a strong organization and a motivated team. Together, the IATA team is absolutely focused on restoring the freedom of movement that airlines provide to billions of people around the world. That means your freedom to visit friends and family, to meet critical business partners, to secure and retain vital contracts, and to explore our wonderful planet,” said Walsh.

“In normal times over four billion travelers depend on aviation each year and the distribution of vaccines has put the value of efficient air cargo in the spotlight. Airlines are committed to delivering safe, efficient, and sustainable services. My goal is to ensure that IATA is a forceful voice supporting the success of global air transport. We will work with supporters and critics alike to deliver on our commitments to an environmentally sustainable airline industry. It’s my job to make sure that governments, which rely on the economic and social benefits our industry generates, also understand the policies we need to deliver those benefits,” said Walsh.
Walsh was confirmed as IATA’s 8th Director General by the 76th IATA Annual General Meeting on 24 November 2020. He joins IATA after a 40-year career in the airline industry. Walsh retired from the International Airlines Group (IAG) in September 2020 after serving as its CEO since its inception in 2011. Prior to that he was CEO of British Airways (2005-2011) and CEO of Aer Lingus (2001-2005). He began his career in aviation at Aer Lingus in 1979 as a cadet pilot.
Walsh is deeply familiar with IATA, having served on the IATA Board of Governors for almost 13 years between 2005 to 2018, including serving as Chair (2016-2017). He will work from the Association’s Executive Office in Geneva, Switzerland.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG announces virtual Annual General Meeting on May 4 Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Deutsche Lufthansa AG announces virtual Annual General Meeting on May 4 31

Shareholders can submit questions to the Executive Board until May 2ndThree Supervisory Board members are up for electionThe Annual General Meeting will be broadcast live

Today, Deutsche Lufthansa AG invited its shareholders to the 68th Annual General Meeting on May 4th, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. The meeting will once again be held virtually, recognizing the need to apply current infection control regulations to protect the health of shareholders.
The Annual General Meeting will be broadcast live on lufthansagroup.com. Shareholders, who have registered for online services in advance can also take part in the voting online.

Shareholders have the opportunity to submit questions on the agenda to Executive Board by midnight on May 2nd. For the first time, shareholder statements may also be submitted as a video or an audio message.
Angela Titzrath and Dr. Michael Kerkloh, the two members of the Supervisory Board nominated by the Economic Stabilization Fund of the Federal Republic of Germany and previously appointed by the court, will be up for election on May 4th.
Stephan Sturm will resign from the Supervisory Board with effect from the conclusion of the Annual General Meeting.  As his successor, the Supervisory Board recommends to the Annual General Meeting the election of Britta Seeger.
Another item on the agenda is the creation of a new Authorized Capital C in accordance with §7b WStBG of up to 5.5 billion euros with a term of five years. The authorization enables Deutsche Lufthansa AG to flexibly use financing opportunities to raise equity on the capital market. The amount of Authorized Capital C is a technicality, derived from the amount of Silent Participations I and II of the Economic Stabilization Fund, as a potential capital increase under Authorized Capital C would be directly linked to the repayment of stabilization measures. In the event of a capital increase, the shareholders would be granted subscription rights. The Company has not taken any decision on a capital increase in utilization of Authorized Capital C.

Alaska Airlines officially joins oneworld alliance Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Alaska Airlines officially joins oneworld alliance 32

Oneworld alliance transforms Alaska into a truly global airlineAlaska will add seven new airline partners and enhance its six existing partnerships with oneworld memberAlaska Mileage Plan members can earn miles when they fly any of the other 13 member airlines

Marking a milestone in its 89-year history, Alaska Airlines today celebrated its first day as a member of oneworld. Alaska becomes the 14th full member of the global alliance, just eight months after receiving a formal invitation from oneworld in July 2020.
“Joining oneworld is joining a family of the best airlines in the world,” said Ben Minicucci, Alaska Airlines‘ CEO. “Being a part of the alliance allows us to provide fantastic global connectivity, a seamless travel experience and more valuable loyalty offerings for our guests. This alliance transforms Alaska into a truly global airline, connecting our strong West Coast network and destinations across North America with the worldwide reach of our oneworld partners.”

With safety protocols in place due to the pandemic, Alaska and oneworld hosted a virtual celebration and news conference today in Seattle, the airline’s hometown. Fellow airline members from around the world welcomed Alaska to the alliance with video greetings and provided versions of employees performing the Alaska Safety Dance, briefly renamed the Global Safety Dance.
“With Alaska Airlines now part of oneworld, we are excited to offer to customers even more destinations and flights, strengthened by Alaska’s leading network on the U.S. West Coast,” said oneworld CEO Rob Gurney, who joined Minicucci in Seattle for the event. “For oneworld top-tier customers, the joining of Alaska will provide even more opportunities for their status to be recognized as we look forward to a recovery in international travel.”
For Alaska and its guests, oneworld provides a global network of flights to as many as 1,000 destinations across more than 170 countries and territories. With its membership in the alliance, Alaska will add seven new airline partners and enhance its six existing partnerships with oneworld members.
“We’re delighted to welcome Alaska to the oneworld family. As the industry recovers from COVID, airline alliances are going to be more important than ever. Alaska will be an asset to the alliance, positioning oneworld to deliver even more value to our customers and member airlines,” said oneworld Governing Board Chairman and Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

Effective today, all Alaska Mileage Plan members can earn miles when they fly any of the other 13 member airlines. Mileage redemption for flights on airlines that Alaska did not have previous partnerships with will occur in the coming months.

Emirates restarts transatlantic link between Milan and New York JFK Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Emirates restarts transatlantic link between Milan and New York JFK 33

Emirates will resume direct service between Milan Malpensa and New York John F Kennedy International AirportMilan-New York JFK flight will be an extension to Emirates’ existing flights to MilanResumed service between Dubai-Milan-JFK will offer more choice to travelers

Emirates has announced it will resume its direct service between Milan Malpensa and New York John F Kennedy International Airport from June 1st, 2021, re-opening year round connectivity between Europe and the US.
The Milan-New York JFK flight will be an extension to Emirates‘ existing flights to Milan EK205, operated by the Boeing 777-300 ER, offering 8 seats in First Class, 42 lie-flat seats in Business and 304 ergonomically designed seats in Economy class. The airline’s service to and from New York JFK will increase to three times daily to support the newly resumed link, facilitating trade and tourism while providing customers worldwide with more connectivity, convenience and choice.

Emirates flight EK205 will depart Dubai (DXB) at 09:45hrs, arriving in Milan (MXP) at 14:20hrs before departing again at 16:10hrs and arriving into New York John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK) at 19:00hrs the same day. The return flight EK206 will depart JFK at 22:20 hrs, arriving in Milan at 12:15hrs the next day. EK206 will depart once again from Milan the next day at 14:05hrs bound for Dubai where it will arrive at 22:10 hrs (all times are local).
Emirates has recently reaffirmed its commitment to the US with the resumption of services to 11 gateways (including Orlando and Newark in June). The resumed service between Dubai-Milan-JFK will offer more choice to travelers heading from Europe, the Middle East, West Asia, and Africa via Dubai or Milan as well as give seamless access to other US cities beyond New York via the airline’s codeshare agreement with Jetblue.
The airline has safely and gradually restarted operations across its network. Since it safely resumed tourism activity in July, Dubai remains one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations, especially during the winter season. The city is open for international business and leisure visitors. From sun-soaked beaches and heritage activities to world class hospitality and leisure facilities, Dubai offers a variety of world-class experiences. It was one of the world’s first cities to obtain Safe Travels stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) – which endorses Dubai’s comprehensive and effective measures to ensure guest health and safety.

Lufthansa integrates health data app into digital travel chain Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Lufthansa integrates health data app into digital travel chain 34

Internationally recognized, digital test certificate CommonPass facilitates travel in times of pandemicIntegration now possible on all flights from Frankfurt to the USAPre-Check of digital test certificates now also available before all return flights from Palma de Mallorca to Germany up to 72 hours before departure

Lufthansa introduces new offer for travel to the U.S.: Passengers who have had a COVID-19 test done at Lufthansa partner Centogene before departure can now conveniently receive their test results in the internationally recognized app CommonPass. This applies to all Lufthansa flights from Frankfurt to the United States as well as the corresponding feeder flights via Frankfurt from Hamburg, Cologne, Berlin and Düsseldorf.
Lufthansa is thus realizes another step in the digitization of test certificates, making travel easier in times of pandemic. In addition to the new digital certificate, the airline recommends that its guests continue to carry their original printed certificates with them when traveling until further notice.

Customers can conveniently download the app from the Android or IOS App Store and then upload their test results to the app – after receiving an access code from Lufthansa by e-mail 72 hours before their departure. The app then automatically compares the test certificates with the relevant current entry restrictions of the destination country and creates a travel certificate on this basis, provided it is a valid test document for the relevant destination. The certificate shows only the really relevant information, such as the test result, the test method, validity period and an hour counter since the time of testing, and thus does not reveal any other personal health information. In addition, Lufthansa passengers who use the CommonPass app before their flights to the U.S. will receive free access to the Senator Lounge at Frankfurt Airport between 8 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. in the morning.
CommonPass can be used not only at boarding, but also takes a cross-industry approach. The added value for travelers will be further enhanced by the fact that in future other establishments can also be able to integrate the test results, such as concert halls or cinemas. Proof of vaccination can also be saved in the app in future.
Pre-check of digital test certificates

Best 2021 Frequent Flyer Programs named Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Best 2021 Frequent Flyer Programs named 35

Airfare savings will be increasingly important in the months aheadTravelers shouldn’t assume they can just pick up where they left offMajor airlines are offering more rewards value in an attempt to lure people back into their planes

With U.S. air travel expected to rebound in 2021, as coronavirus concerns decline and more areas open for business, airfare savings will be increasingly important in the months ahead.
To help travelers make the best decisions for their wallets, travel experts today released a report on 2021’s Best Frequent Flyer Programs, which ranks the 10 largest domestic airlines based on 21 key metrics, ranging from the value of a point/mile to blackout dates for rewards flights.

United MileagePlus is the best frequent flyer program of 2021, ending a five-year streak for Delta SkyMiles atop the rankings.The average airline rewards program gives frequent flyers 11% off their airline spending, and these programs are all free to join. Hawaiian Airlines offers the most rewards value per dollar spent, followed by Frontier Airlines.Five of the 10 largest airlines are offering more rewards in 2021 than in 2020, sweetening the pot by an average of 30%.The Citi Premier Card and the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard are 2021’s best airline credit cards.
Are the best frequent flyer programs different than before the pandemic?
The hierarchy of the best frequent flyer programs has changed a bit since the coronavirus pandemic began, so travelers shouldn’t assume they can just pick up where they left off. The biggest change is United MileagePlus dethroning Delta SkyMiles as the top program, ending Delta’s five-year run atop the rankings. Major airlines are also offering more rewards value in an attempt to lure people back into their planes. Five of the 10 largest carriers have increased their rewards value – by 30% on average.
Will people be penalized for not flying in 2020?
Frequent flyers will not be penalized for staying grounded due to COVID-19. Most of the major frequent flyer programs have adjusted their policies to give people extra time to meet elite-status requirements. For example, Delta SkyMiles, American Airlines AAdvantage, and United MileagePlus are all extending existing elite status through January 2022.

What are some of the best ways to save on airfare?
The best way to save on airfare is to join your favorite airlines’ frequent flyer programs for free, which will save you 11% on average, and then comparison shop for flights well ahead of your trip. Using the right credit card to pay for airfare can also be a smart way to save more. If you’re brand-loyal to a particular airline, you should use that airline’s credit card. Otherwise, a general travel rewards credit card will be a better way to earn free flights.

Corsair takes delivery of its first Airbus A330neo Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Corsair takes delivery of its first Airbus A330neo 36

Corsair will benefit from cost-effective and eco-efficient solutionsThe aircraft features 352 seats in a three-class layoutCorsair already operates an Airbus fleet of five A330 Family aircraft

Corsair has taken delivery of its first A330-900, on lease from Avolon, to join the French airline’s fleet.
By selecting a total of five Airbus A330neos, Corsair is executing its strategy to become an all-A330 operator. Thanks to the A330neo’s latest technologies, Corsair will benefit from cost-effective and eco-efficient solutions, while providing passengers with the best comfort standards in the quietest cabins in its class.  

The aircraft features 352 seats in a three-class layout, providing all the comfort and amenities of Airbus’ leading ‘Airspace’ cabin, including state-of-the-art passenger in-flight entertainment (IFE) and full WiFi connectivity throughout the cabin.
The A330neo is powered by Rolls-Royce’s latest-generation Trent 7000 engines. The Corsair aircraft will also be the first A330neo to feature an increased maximum take-off weight of 251 tonnes. This capability will allow the airline to fly long-haul destinations up to 13,400 km (7,200nm) or benefit from ten tons more payload on board.
The A330neo is a new-generation aircraft and successor to the hugely popular A330ceo widebody family. As well as the new engine option, the aircraft benefits from a host of innovations, including aerodynamic improvements and new wings and winglets that together contribute to 25% fuel-burn and CO2 reductions.
Corsair, which already operates an Airbus fleet of five A330 Family aircraft, became a member of the Airbus Skywise ‘Open Data Platform’ in 2020, thus benefiting from several Skywise-based services, such as  a real-time in-service fleet performance analysis capability (aircraft health monitoring), reliability analysis and predictive maintenance.

Lost Luggage Report: 853,000 bags mishandled by US airlines in 2020 Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Lost Luggage Report: 853,000 bags mishandled by US airlines in 2020 37

Allegiant Air takes best care of your luggage for a second year in a rowAmerican Airlines overtakes Envoy Air as the worst luggage handlerTop 3 US airlines in 2020 luggage handling are Allegiant, Southwest and Hawaiian

Every year, travel experts create a report showcasing mishandled luggage by the US airlines, and 2020, despite the COVID-19 situation, would be no different. Of course, there was a lot less travel in 2020 than 2019, and that shows in the lost luggage numbers. Compared to the previous year, air traffic has been reduced significantly, and we can see that reflected in the lower number of bags mishandled in 2020 as compared to 2019.
In 2019, a total of 2.8 million bags were mishandled by U.S. airlines. In 2020, only 853k bags were mishandled,  which is almost 2 million less than the previous year. The change started abruptly, when coronavirus pandemic measures went into effect. Specifically, there was almost 19 times less checked baggage in April than in January, reflective of the huge drop in passengers during this period.

In this research, we have collected data from 16 US airlines. The results show that in 2020, they boarded a little more than 200 million bags and handled a bit more than 850,000 incorrectly, which means that the chances of your bag being mishandled in 2020 were only around 0.4%.
For the second year in a row, Allegiant Air takes the lead as the best airline for the safety of your luggage, with only 0.15% of the bags enplaned being mishandled. Allegiant Air is followed by Southwest Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines, making them the top three airlines for safe luggage handling. Allegiant Air was founded in 1997 as WestJet Express and it is wholly owned by Allegiant Travel Company, a publicly traded company with 4,000 employees.
In 2019, Envoy Air took the last place for safe luggage handling. However, in 2020 the airline provider was overtaken by American Airlines and now comes in as second-worst. American Airlines and Enjoy Air mishandled, respectively, 0.597% and 0.587% of the baggage they were in charge of last year. American Airlines, together with its regional partners, operates an extensive international and domestic network with almost 6,800 flights per day to almost 350 destinations in more than 50 countries.

How to bypass COVID-19 arrival lines in Honolulu and Maui? Aviation Feature, Aviation News

How to bypass COVID-19 arrival lines in Honolulu and Maui? 38

Arriving airline passengers in Honolulu or Maui have a way to bypass COVID-19 testing checks and questioning when flying certain Airlines.What had been in place by United Airlines, Alaska Airlines is now also offered to Southwest Airlines passengers. This is to bypass lengthy lines in Honolulu and Maui after arrival receiving a pre-clear before leaving the US mainland. Southwest Airlines has a “maybe” in its stipulation and remains quiet about what this “maybe” could be
It appears United Airlines, Alaska and Southwest Airlines may have just become the most attractive airline to fly visitors to Hawaii, so they can get a headstart on their Hawaiian vacation in getting to Waikiki Beach, Wailea, or Kaanapali Beaches.
According to a press release received by Southwest Airlines, the airline now makes it a lot easier for its passengers to get to Hawaii’s resort hotels.

What Southwest Airlines isn’t telling in its release is this service was already available to passengers of competing airlines, such as United Airlines passengers.
Southwest Airlines is following other airlines and is giving its passengers the opportunity to present evidence of their compliance with the Hawaii Safe Travels program before they even leave the US mainland.
Customers who have uploaded an approved negative COVID-19 test result required travel information and completed a health questionnaire before departing the mainland may be eligible to bypass airport screening when arriving in Honolulu (Oahu) and Kahului(Maui).
The keyword is “maybe” is a stipulation mentioned by Southwest Airlines. eTurboNews tried to get verification on the “may be”, but SouthWest Airlines had no comments.

Hong Kong Airlines to trial Travel Pass in support of travel recovery Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Hong Kong Airlines to trial Travel Pass in support of travel recovery 39

Under this trial, Hong Kong Airlines will work closely with IATA to test its Lab App, a key module in Travel PassPassengers on a selected route will be invited to participateThe app also enables passengers to link their COVID-19 test results to a digital version of their passport created through the appHong Kong Airlines will trial a digital health passport as part of the carrier’s ongoing contributions towards the safe reopening of borders and international travel. Developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a globally recognized trade organization and advocate for airlines, Travel Pass will provide travelers with easy access to COVID-19 entry requirements for their destination and accredited testing centers at their point of departure. The app also enables passengers to link their COVID-19 test results to a digital version of their passport created through the app.
Under this trial, Hong Kong Airlines will work closely with IATA to test its Lab App, a key module in Travel Pass. Passengers on a selected route will be invited to participate by first downloading the app and creating a digital profile before selecting a participating medical service provider for testing. A secure, encrypted channel will then enable the registered laboratory to verify the passenger’s identity and directly send the outcome of the COVID-19 test, or proof of vaccination to the traveller’s mobile device. This will then be checked against IATA’s global registry of COVID-19 health requirements, a system used by the majority of airlines and airports globally, to ensure regulatory requirements are complied, before the passenger receives an “OK to Travel”.

Hong Kong Airlines Director of Service Delivery Mr Chris Birt applauds the customer-oriented digital initiative from IATA, which will help both travelers and airlines manage verifiable health credentials for future travel.
“Hong Kong Airlines has been working hard to make travel safe for our customers. We welcome the opportunity to contribute our inputs into the development of Travel Pass and will continue to support IATA’s efforts in leading the recovery of international travel. Given the constantly changing environment of the current pandemic and frequent modification of border restrictions by governments, Travel Pass is undoubtedly the best go-to app for passengers to access the most updated travel information, ensure they comply with the latest entry requirements and allowthem to manage their digital health documents in a safe and secure way,” he added.
“Restarting international aviation safely has been at the forefront of IATA’s Travel Pass initiative. We are proud to partner Hong Kong Airlines to trial the app and demonstrate that this technology can securely, conveniently and efficiently help manage passenger travel health credentials,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President Airport, Passenger, Cargo, Security.
Hong Kong has recently announced the easing of quarantine requirements for inbound travelers. The 14 days of mandatory quarantine at a designated hotel, followed by a week of selfmonitoring will apply to travelers arriving from low-risk places as well as those arriving from medium-risk places and have been vaccinated. The government is also in discussions with 16 countries on allowing people who have been vaccinated to travel.

Island resorts leading recovery in global leisure travel Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Island resorts leading recovery in global leisure travel 40

Tourists attracted by easy access, reasonable restrictions, low COVID cases, good vaccination rates and a natural environment with quiet beachesEmirates increases weekly schedule to Maldives & Seychelles over Easter holidays as Middle East demand soarsSri Lanka, Cyprus and Greek islands also preparing for summer influx of international arrivals

Island resorts around the world will lead the recovery in leisure travel, according to the latest industry research.
Many island economies are dependent on tourism and nowhere is this more apparent than in the Indian Ocean islands of the Maldives (28% of GDP) and the Seychelles (over 55% of GDP), which are both expecting a bumper Easter holiday period. With both islands less than four hours 30 minutes away, Emirates has added an extra four flights taking its weekly schedule to 28 flights.

Meanwhile, Air Seychelles is launching a weekly flight to Dubai to cope with the increased demand, which is in addition to two extra flights a week that Emirates is adding to its existing schedule of five weekly flights to Mahe.
“Both islands tick all of the proverbial boxes for tourists,” said Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market. “Even though demand maybe pent-up, visitors will still want direct flights, easy access, reasonable restrictions, low COVID cases, good vaccination rates, open and in some cases isolated resorts, with a natural environment including quiet beaches,” added Curtis.
The Maldives is expecting to have its 500,000 inhabitants vaccinated by August and with less than 100,000 citizens, the Seychelles is hoping for 100% vaccination within the coming months. 
And although both countries have a list of approved countries, the Seychelles and the Maldives only require visitors to provide a negative PCR test 72 or 96 hours respectively, prior to arrival, no proof of vaccination or quarantine is required.

Eastern Airlines invests in New Distribution Capabilities Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Eastern Airlines invests in New Distribution Capabilities 41

Eastern Airlines achieves IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) Level 4 CertificationCertification enables a dynamic and cost-effective distribution model for Eastern AirlinesEastern Airlines’ NDC Level 4 Certification was facilitated through its partnership with TPConnects

Eastern Airlines, historically known as one of the “Big Four” carriers in the United States, announced that it has achieved the New Distribution Capability (NDC) Level 4 Certification from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The certification enables a dynamic and cost-effective distribution model for Eastern Airlines as it further improves the airline’s communication capabilities with its travel partners using rich content. 
Eastern Airlines‘ NDC Level 4 Certification was facilitated through its partnership with TPConnects, an IATA NDC Dual Level 4 Certified IT Provider and Aggregator. Additionally, as its travel technology partner, TPConnects revamped Eastern Airlines’ recently launched Internet Booking Engine (IBE). Along with the IBE the airline’s Travel Agency booking portal is also powered by TPConnects NDC Offer and Order Management Solution. It enables the airlines to control various interfaces through a single Middleware and provide Offers to customers in real time.

Steve Harfst, President & CEO, Eastern Airlines, said, “IATA’s NDC Level 4 Certification is a pivotal investment that assists Eastern’s mission in providing underserved markets with direct, nonstop flights at the best value. We can now ensure that our passengers have direct access to relevant content across both direct and indirect distribution channels that are unique to their wants and expectations. The NDC standard allows Eastern to efficiently create, deliver, and control inventory that is both reliable and secure for the passenger. Our travel partners can now benefit from access to our full range of product offerings, merchandising, and servicing capabilities and the end-to-end order lifecycle from booking to completion. We look forward to our continued partnership with TPConnects, a proven technology expert in the field, as we transform the way we go to market and deliver enhanced customer experiences as part of the Eastern Promise.
Rajendran Vellapalath, CEO, TPConnects, said, “Our latest partnership with the American carrier Eastern Airlines is a milestone with many firsts, much to the credit of the collaboration and the expertise it brought to the table. It is indeed a testimony to our follow-the-sun approach where teams across time zones collaborated successfully to simultaneously deliver multiple NDC-enabled products for the airline. This is especially significant for TPConnects as we expanded our product portfolio with the delivery of the Internet Booking Engine within TPConnects Airline Solutions. Given the scope of the partnership, we are committed and well-positioned as the partner-of-choice to support Eastern Airlines with a gamut of industry-leading services and innovative travel technology solutions.”

IATA wants Governments to get rid of expensive PCR Covid tests Aviation Feature, Aviation News

IATA wants Governments to get rid of expensive PCR Covid tests 42

The OXERA-Edge Health report, commissioned by IATA, found that antigen tests are:Accurate: The best antigen tests provide broadly comparable results to PCR tests in accurately identifying infected travelers. The BinaxNOW antigen test, for example, misses just one positive case in 1000 travellers (based on an infection rate of 1% among travelers). And it has similarly comparable performance to PCR tests in levels of false negatives.Convenient: Processing times for antigen tests are 100 times faster than for PCR testingCost-efficient: Antigen tests are, on average, 60% cheaper than PCR tests.
Assessment of the effectiveness of rapid testing for SARS-CoV-2 resulted in the following statement:
“Restarting international aviation will energize the economic recovery from COVID-19. Along with vaccines, testing will play a critical role in giving governments the confidence to re-open their borders to travelers. For governments, the top priority is accuracy. But travelers will also need tests to be convenient and affordable. The OXERA-Edge Health report tells us that the best-in-class antigen tests can tick all these boxes. It’s important for governments to consider these findings as they make plans for a re-start,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.OptionsTesting requirements are currently fragmented, which is confusing to travelers. Moreover, many governments do not allow rapid testing. If the only options available for travelers are PCR tests, these come with significant costs disadvantages and inconvenience. And in some parts of the world, PCR testing capacity is limited, with first priority correctly given to clinical use.“Travelers need options. Including antigen testing among acceptable tests will certainly give strength to the recovery. And the EU’s specification of acceptable antigen tests offers a good baseline for wider international harmonization of acceptable standards. We now need to see governments implement these recommendations. The goal is to have a clear set of testing options that are medically effective, financially accessible, and practically available to all prospective travelers,” said de Juniac.

Emirates marks UAE vaccination milestone with special flight Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Emirates marks UAE vaccination milestone with special flight 43

A380 flight to carry fully vaccinated crew and passengers onboardFlyers to experience Emirates’ newest A380 cabins and latest on-ground technologies that enable a smooth and speedy journey through the airportProceeds from the flight to be donated to the Emirates Airline Foundation

Emirates is showcasing the UAE’s remarkable progress in its vaccination program with a special flight that will carry only fully vaccinated crew and passengers onboard.
On 10 April 2021, special flight EK2021 will depart Dubai International Airport at 12:00hrs local time, to cruise over various areas across the UAE. The flight will return to Dubai at 14:30hrs local time.

The one-off flight EK2021 is a unique event that not only celebrates the success of the UAE’s vaccination program to date, but also highlights Emirates‘ progress in vaccinating its staff and in particular its pilots and cabin crew. Aviation has been and continues to be an irreplaceable force for good, connecting people and cities, facilitating important trade flows and passenger journeys that bring economic prosperity and joy to millions of people.
Passengers will have the opportunity to experience Emirates’ newest A380 aircraft which features the airline’s brand-new Premium Economy seats, and refreshed cabin interiors across all cabin classes.
Passengers traveling on EK2021 will be able to experience all of Dubai International Airport’s services and amenities on the ground before boarding.
In addition, customers can also try out first-hand, all the latest measures to help travelers enjoy a safe and smooth journey, including the new biometric and contactless technology which Emirates has recently implemented at the check-in areas and boarding gates at Dubai airport.

This month, Airbus has launched a travel companion app called “Tripset”. The application aggregates and provides flight and travel information to ease and restore passenger’s trust in their end-to-end journey when traveling by air during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tripset allows for passengers to be informed with the latest and most relevant travel conditions, restrictions and health requirements in place, without having to consult a variety of sources.

Southwest Airlines orders 100 troubled Boeing 737 MAX jets Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Southwest Airlines orders 100 troubled Boeing 737 MAX jets 44

Deal raises Southwest’s 737 MAX commitment to more than 600 jets between the 737-7 and larger 737-8Southwest aims to modernize future fleet with improved fuel efficiency, environmental performance and operational flexibilityOrder brings stability to Boeing’s largest commercial program and its suppliers

Boeing and Southwest Airlines today announced the carrier will continue to build its business around the 737 MAX family with a new order for 100 airplanes and 155 options across two models. The deal comes after a multi-year fleet evaluation by Southwest and means that Boeing and its suppliers could build more than 600 new 737 MAX jets for the airline through 2031.
Southwest Airlines had been exploring options to modernize the largest component of its fleet: the 737-700 that serves the airline’s needs for a 140-150 seat airplane. With the new agreement, the airline reaffirmed the 737-7 as its preferred replacement and growth airplane. The jet will complement the 737-8, which serves Southwest’s needs for a 175-seat model. Both 737 MAX family members will reduce fuel use and carbon emissions by at least 14% compared to the airplanes they replace, helping to improve operating costs and environmental performance. Southwest said the solution allows it to maintain the operational efficiencies of an all-Boeing 737 fleet to support its low-cost, point-to-point route network.

“Southwest Airlines has been operating the Boeing 737 series for nearly 50 years, and the aircraft has made significant contributions to our unparalleled success. Today’s commitment to the 737 MAX solidifies our continued appreciation for the aircraft and confirms our plans to offer the Boeing 737 series of aircraft to our Employees and Customers for years to come,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest’s chairman and CEO. “We are proud to continue our tradition of being the world’s largest operator of an all-Boeing fleet.”
“In addition to supporting our efforts to operate sustainably and efficiently, the 737 MAX offers Employees and Customers travel comforts such as a quieter cabin, larger overhead bin spaces, seating with adjustable headrests, and more galley space for onboard service,” said Mike Van de Ven, Southwest’s chief operating officer.
The new purchase agreement takes Southwest’s order book to 200 737-7s and 180 737-8s, more than 30 of which have already been delivered. Southwest will also have 270 options for either of the two models, taking the carrier’s direct-buy commitment to more than 600 airplanes. The airline also plans additional 737 MAX jets through third-party lessors.
“Southwest Airlines has long been a leader and bellwether for the airline industry and this order is a big vote of confidence for commercial air travel. As vaccine distribution continues to pick-up, people are returning to the skies and fueling hopes for a full recovery and renewed growth across our industry,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We are deeply honored by Southwest’s continuing trust in Boeing and the 737. Their fleet decision today brings more stability for our biggest commercial program and will ensure that our entire 737 family will be building new airplanes for Southwest for years to come.”

As part of the agreement, Southwest will also expand its use of Boeing’s digital solutions to support its 737 MAX fleet, including Airplane Health Management, Maintenance Performance Toolbox and digital navigation charting tools. Boeing will also provide system software upgrades and new wireless communications-enabling equipment to support Southwest’s operations.

Qatar Airways expands network to more than 140 destinations this summer Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Qatar Airways expands network to more than 140 destinations this summer 45

Qatar Airways will operate over 1,200 weekly frequencies across 23 destinations in Africa, 14 in the Americas, 43 in Asia-Pacific, 43 in Europe and 19 in Middle EastQatar Airways offer passengers more flexible travel options via Hamad International AirportHaving never stopped flying throughout the pandemic the airline remains one of the world’s leading airlines for safety and innovation

Qatar Airways is pleased to announce its summer schedule, maintaining its position as the leading international carrier providing reliable global connectivity. Having never stopped flying throughout the pandemic the airline has worked diligently to be the world’s leading airline for safety, innovation and customer experience. By the peak of the IATA Summer Season, the national carrier of the State of Qatar plans to operate over 1,200 weekly flights to more than 140 destinations.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are proud to lead the recovery of international aviation, implementing the highest standards of bio-safety and hygiene and investing in the latest innovations to simplify travel and restore passenger confidence during the most challenging period in aviation’s history.

“Having never stopped flying throughout the pandemic, we have used our unrivalled experience and modern, fuel-efficient fleet to operate a sustainable and reliable network our passengers, trade partners and corporate customers can rely on. We also continue to offer the largest international network, including launching seven new destinations, to provide the connectivity our passengers and cargo customers need.
“As the global vaccine rollout begins to gather pace, we look forward to a gradual easing of entry restrictions throughout 2021 and welcoming back our millions of passengers on board the World’s Best Airline.”
Qatar Airways Cargo has played a vital role in maintaining a reliable schedule across the network of destinations. Since the onset of the pandemic, Qatar Airways has helped transport over 500,000 tonnes of medical supplies and delivered more than 15,000,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to over 20 countries. The cargo carrier continues to focus on supporting its customers’ business and enabling global trade, while supporting impacted regions worldwide.
Qatar Airways continues to expand its network of destinations, offering more flights to international destinations than any other airline. By the middle of summer 2021, Qatar Airways’ plans to rebuild its network to more than 140 destinations including 23 in Africa, 14 in the Americas, 43 in Asia-Pacific, 43 in Europe and 19 in Middle East. Many cities will be served with a strong schedule with daily or more frequencies.

Fly Leasing sold Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Fly Leasing sold 46

Fly Leasing Limited announces agreement to be acquired by an affiliate of Carlyle Aviation PartnersFLY’s Board of Directors enthusiastically recommends this transaction to its shareholdersFLY shareholders will receive $17.05 per share in cash, representing a total equity valuation of approximately $520 million

Fly Leasing Limited announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by an affiliate of Carlyle Aviation Partners, the commercial aviation investment and servicing arm within The Carlyle Group’s $56 billion Global Credit platform.  Under the terms of the Merger Agreement, FLY shareholders will receive $17.05 per share in cash, representing a total equity valuation of approximately $520 million. The total enterprise value of the transaction is approximately $2.36 billion. FLY’s portfolio of 84 aircraft and seven engines is on lease to 37 airlines in 22 countries.
“This transaction represents strong value for FLY shareholders at a time when airlines are facing an extremely difficult environment and smaller aircraft lessors are disadvantaged in the debt markets,” said Colm Barrington, CEO of FLY. “After a thorough review and evaluation of its options, FLY’s Board of Directors enthusiastically recommends this transaction to its shareholders.”

The per share cash consideration represents a premium of approximately 29% to FLY’s closing price on March 26, 2021 and a 43% premium to the volume-weighted average share price during the last 30 trading days. 
The Board of Directors of FLY has approved the Merger Agreement, acting upon the recommendation of a special committee appointed by the Board of Directors and consisting solely of independent and disinterested directors, and has recommended that FLY shareholders vote in favor of the transaction.
The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021 and is subject to customary closing conditions, including applicable regulatory clearance and the approval of FLY’s shareholders.  Given the pending transaction, FLY will not host a first quarter earnings call.
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC is acting as financial advisor to FLY and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Clifford Chance US LLP, Conyers Dill & Pearman, and McCann FitzGerald are acting as FLY’s legal counsel.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP is acting as legal counsel to BBAM LP, FLY’s manager and servicer. 
RBC Capital Markets is acting as financial advisor and providing financing to Carlyle Aviation on the transaction. Milbank LLP and Wakefield Quin Limited are acting as legal counsel to Carlyle Aviation Partners.

Lufthansa launches second flight to the Falkland Islands Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Lufthansa launches second flight to the Falkland Islands 47

Airbus A350-900 will be carrying 40 crew members and scientists will be collecting measurement dataGerman Aerospace Center (DLR) with monitoring instruments will also be on boardReason for this second flight to Falkland Islands is to rotate Polarstern crew and to pick up the research expedition team

Tomorrow, Lufthansa will be departing for its second non-stop flight from Hamburg to Mount Pleasant (MPN) in the Falkland Islands on behalf of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven. This time the Airbus A350-900 will be carrying 40 crew members of the research vessel Polarstern as well as scientists from the German Aerospace Center (Deutschen Zentrums für Luft- und Raumfahrt). During the flight, the scientists will be collecting measurement data that will provide further insights on the influence of the Earth’s magnetic field in regards to aviation. Therefore, the second flight to the Falkland Islands is already contributing to science on its way to the South Pole.
The Airbus A350-900 will be transferred from Munich to Hamburg at 14:30 tomorrow, and is scheduled to arrive at Hamburg Airport at 3:40 p.m. with the flight number LH9923. The same evening, LH2574 will take off for Mount Pleasant at 9:30 p.m. The aircraft with the registration D-AIXQ, christened with the name of the city of Freiburg is the newest member of the Lufthansa A350 fleet and one of the world’s most sustainable and efficient long-haul aircraft.

“With the second flight to the Falkland Islands, we are not only pleased  to be able to support the AWI’s polar research expedition, but also to make an important contribution to further research into the Earth’s magnetic field,” says Thomas Jahn, Fleet Captain and Falklands Project Manager. “We have already been supporting climate research projects for more than 25 years now.”
The reason for this second flight to the Falkland Islands is to rotate the Polarstern crew and to pick up the research expedition team. Since the beginning of February, a team of about 50 researchers have been collecting important data on ocean currents, sea ice and the carbon cycle in the Southern Ocean, which, among other things, enable reliable climate predictions. On the way back from the research area in the southern Weddell Sea, Polarstern stopped at Atka Bay, where an additional 25 scientists boarded the ship: Specifically the summer staff as well as the winter team of Neumayer Station III, with the latter returning to Germany after more than 15 months in the Antarctic.  On 2 April, Lufthansa will be bringing AWI’s international research team and the DLR scientists back to Germany from the Falkland Islands. The landing is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. on April 3 at Munich Airport with the flight number LH2575.
The first flight from Hamburg to the Falkland Islands, which took place at the end of January 2021, was the longest non-stop passenger flight in Lufthansa’s history. The Airbus A350-900 arrived at the Mount Pleasant military base after flying over 13,000 kilometers in more than 15 hours.
In order to make the research as climate-friendly as possible, the Alfred-Wegener-Institut will also compensate the CO2 emissions of the flight.

United Airlines returns to JFK with coast-to-coast flights Aviation Feature, Aviation News

United Airlines returns to JFK with coast-to-coast flights 48

United Returns to JFK with most premium seats from the NYC areaFlights feature a reconfigured Boeing 767-300ER airplane with 46 business class seats and 22 United Premium Plus seatsUnited now provides service from all three major airports in New York City area

United Airlines is back at John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK), now operating direct service to the airline’s West Coast hubs – Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) from New York City. The airline will use its Boeing 767-300ER aircraft which features 46 business class all-aisle-access seating, and 22 United Premium Plus® seats. The airline operates the most premium seats between the New York City area and Los Angeles and San Francisco combined.
United Airlines is currently flying one round-trip flight, five days a week to each West Coast airport, with plans to double the number of flights as demand grows. The carrier is back at JFK following a five-year hiatus and now offers service from all three major airports in the New York City area.

“United’s return to JFK reflects not only our strong commitment to the New York City area, but also to increasing service to and from the places our customers want to fly,” said Ankit Gupta, Vice President of Domestic Network Planning and Scheduling. “With the addition of JFK, United now offers unmatched service, greater convenience, more choice and a best-in-class product for travelers throughout the New York City region as they return to the skies.”
“We’re happy to welcome United Airlines back to Kennedy Airport,” said Charles Everett, General Manager of John F. Kennedy International Airport. “We remain committed to providing the highest level of safety, accessibility and ease of travel for all of the passengers who use the Port Authority’s airport facilities, and United’s decision is a great step in that direction.”
United’s operations at JFK’s Terminal 7 will provide seamless access for customers. The lobby area offers self-service kiosks, along with eight podiums which are conveniently located steps away from the TSA check point. Just a short walk from security screening, travelers will find the United-operated gates. Customers will also benefit from easy connections to more than a dozen Star Alliance partners at JFK, including access to 15 destinations in 14 countries as of March 2021.

Manila limits International Airline Passenger Arrivals to 1,500 after record COVID numbers Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Manila limits International Airline Passenger Arrivals to 1,500 after record COVID numbers 49

February 17 Manila recorded a high 1,718 new COVID cases, on March 28 the same city recorded 10,000 new infectionsAuthorities in Manila locked down the capital city of the PhilippinesForeign travel is now restricted to 1,500 international arrivals to Manila International Airport.
Manila and neighboring regions reported 10,000 new COVID-19 cases and are putting the city under lockdown until Easter Sunday.
In addition, the Civil Aeronautics Board has issued guidelines concerning air transportation limiting the arrival of international travelers to Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to a maximum of 1,500 passengers a day.

This, however, shall subject to amendment as may be determined by the Department of Transportation.
The board has warned all airline companies operating in NAIA not to exceed the allowed capacity, otherwise, hey will be penalized pursuant to Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2021-01 dated 08 January 2021, issued by the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC), Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), and the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB);
Domestic commercial operations shall be allowed subject to compliance with the requirements or restrictions on capacity and frequency of flights that may be imposed by all the LGUs outside of the NCR+ bubble, the board added.

WestJet leads domestic recovery with 11 new routes Aviation Feature, Aviation News

WestJet leads domestic recovery with 11 new routes 50

WestJet offers new nonstop service for 15 communities across Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and OntarioWestJet restarts previously suspended service to Atlantic Canada and Quebec CityStimulating air travel benefits all Canadians and supports those hardest hit

WestJet today announced 11 new domestic routes across Western Canada. The routes will offer new nonstop service for 15 communities across Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. The enhancements follow an announcement made earlier in the week to return previously suspended service to Atlantic Canada and Quebec City.  
“As we look to the coming months with cautious optimism, we know our restart agenda will be pivotal to Canada’s economic recovery,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. “Stimulating air travel benefits all Canadians and supports those hardest hit; with one in every 10 Canadian jobs tied to travel and tourism, the ripple effect benefits our whole country.”  

The new routes include service between Toronto (YYZ) and Comox (YQQ); between Ottawa (YOW) and Victoria (YYJ) and eight new routes connecting the prairie provinces to British Columbia tourism destinations, such as Regina (YQR) to Kelowna (YLW). Full schedule details and start dates are outlined below. 
“We are at an inflection point; one that is buoyed by the rollout of vaccines, months of learning how to take appropriate precautions, and a view to Canada’s beautiful summer months that allows us to spend more time outdoors,” continued Sims. “If Canadians were to shift two-thirds of their planned international-leisure travel spend towards domestic tourism, it would help sustain 150,000 jobs and accelerate recovery by one year, all while seeing what Canada has to offer.” 
New routes: 
Route Frequency Effective from Toronto – Fort McMurray 2x weekly (Wed, Sun) June 6, 2021 Kelowna – Saskatoon 2x weekly (Thu, Sun) June 24, 2021 Kelowna – Regina 2x weekly (Thu, Sun) June 24, 2021 Saskatoon – Victoria 2x weekly (Thu, Sun) June 24, 2021 Winnipeg – Victoria 3x weekly (Thu, Sat, Sun) June 24, 2021 Edmonton – Kamloops 2x weekly (Thu, Sun) June 24, 2021 Edmonton – Penticton 2x weekly (Thu, Sun) June 24, 2021 Edmonton – Nanaimo 2x weekly (Fri, Sun) June 25, 2021 Prince George – Abbotsford 2x weekly (Fri, Sun) June 25, 2021 Ottawa – Victoria 1x weekly (Sat) June 26, 2021 Toronto – Comox 1x weekly (Sat) June 26, 2021