Airlines must forge meaningful partnerships to tackle environmental sustainability Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Airlines must forge meaningful partnerships to tackle environmental sustainability 1

Reducing plastic usage and adopting environmentally friendly materials is not enough to tackle sustainability issuesAirlines must take all possible actions to ensure passengers do not choose alternative transportAirlines risk passengers jumping to more environmentally friendly options

By forging meaningful partnerships that address root causes, airlines will give themselves the opportunity of becoming environmental leaders within their industry. Reducing plastic usage and adopting environmentally friendly materials is not enough to tackle sustainability issues, and more must be done.
Travelers are increasingly likely to be influenced by how environmentally friendly a product or service is, with industry’s Q1 2021 Consumer Survey revealing that 76% of global respondents are ‘always’, ‘often’, or ‘sometimes’ influenced by this factor, as well as how ethical/socially responsible a product or service is.

To acquire the knowledge and skills to tackle the bigger issues, airlines could acquire a stake in a company working in the area of sustainability or form strategic partnerships. In the same way that Delta Air Lines acquired an oil refinery in 2012 to gain security over its fuel supply, airlines should seek to do the same with biofuel companies. easyJet partnered with Wright Electric in 2017 to develop an electric aircraft capable of flying short distances. Wright Electric has the expertise to make it happen, and easyJet has a vested interest in the concept becoming a reality.
To combat the flight shaming movement, airlines must take all possible actions to ensure passengers do not choose alternative transport, especially on short-haul routes. As electric rail travel becomes more popular – with extensive networks across Europe and Asia – airlines risk passengers jumping to more environmentally friendly options. If progress to make the airline industry greener is slow, then the impacts could be far-reaching.
Many airlines have launched carbon offsetting schemes, reduced plastic usage, and worked to become more environmentally friendly, but these small wins are not enough to tackle the broader problem. Investment in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and alternatively powered aircraft are the next steps, and meaningful partnerships will be key to making these concepts a reality.

IAG recently committed to 10% SAF usage by 2030. With the scale of an airline group such as IAG, the investment in a dedicated facility would be wise. It would give security over supply and may allow commitments to be exceeded. Investments like this could be the way forward creating a win-win situation for any airline looking to address travelers’ concerns about air travel’s sustainability and future-proof their operations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed airlines and industry stakeholders to take a step back and focus on initiatives to accelerate the progress currently being made to make aviation greener. With travelers more likely to switch to alternative, greener transport options on short-haul routes, airlines must seek collaborative partnerships to make further progress in this space and protect their future.

Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines launch scheduled Kazakhstan flights Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines launch scheduled Kazakhstan flights 2

Turkish Airlines is to run new flights en route Turkestan-Istanbul-TurkestaPegasus Airlines will resume regular flights between Shymkent and IstanbulBoeing 737 and Airbus A320 aircraft to be used on Kazakhstan routes

Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development announced that two Turkish airlines are launching scheduled air service to Kazakhstan.
Turkish Airlines is to run new flights en route Turkestan-Istanbul-Turkestan starting from May 22, 2021. Initially, the flights will be run once a week using Airbus А321neo aircraft.

Pegasus Airlines will resume regular flights between Shymkent and Istanbul running once a week using Boeing 737 aircraft on May 23, 2021.
Turkish Airlines is the national flag carrier airline of Turkey. It operates scheduled services to 315 destinations in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, making it the largest mainline carrier in the world by number of passenger destinations.
Pegasus Airlines is a Turkish low-cost carrier headquartered in the Kurtköy area of Pendik, Istanbul with bases at several Turkish airports.

Will India cause Vistara airline service glitch to Tokyo? Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Will India cause Vistara airline service glitch to Tokyo? 3

Even as there may be general gloom on the aviation and tourism front, rays of hope are coming now and again, which are very welcome for India and Japan travel.
Vistara airline will launch flights between Delhi and Tokyo starting June 16 of this year. The once-a-week service will operate from Haneda airport in Tokyo flying to New Delhi.The possible glitch, however, is that the number of new COVID-19 coronavirus cases in India continues to break records.

One such development is that Vistara airline, the joint venture of Taj Group and Singapore Airlines (Tata SIA Airlines Limited), is set to start air services from June 16 between Delhi and Tokyo.

Vistara is an Indian full-service airline based in Gurgaon with its hub at Indira Gandhi International Airport. The carrier, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, commenced operations on January 9, 2015 with its inaugural flight between Delhi and Mumbai. Its name was taken from the Sanskrit word vistara meaning “limitless expanse.”
The once-a-week service will operate from Haneda airport in Tokyo flying to New Delhi directly under the travel bubble agreement that India has with Japan.
India and Japan have always had a healthy business and strong tourist traffic, and the new service will be welcomed even as normal services may take time to take off.

Alaska Airlines announces fleet growth and route expansion Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Alaska Airlines announces fleet growth and route expansion 4

Alaska Airlines orders for 30 additional mainline and regional aircraftBelize becomes Alaska Airlines’ newest international destinationBelize will be the fourth country Alaska flies to from its West Coast hubs

With recovery on the horizon, Alaska Airlines is taking advantage of strategic opportunities by adding 30 mainline and regional aircraft to fulfill capacity needs in the years ahead. And as more travelers search for additional leisure getaways, Alaska will begin flying to Belize City, Belize.
Growing the Alaska Air Group fleet

Alaska Airlines expects domestic travel to return to pre-COVID levels by the summer of 2022, which will require more aircraft across Air Group. To prime the airline for growth, Alaska is taking the following actions:
Adding 17 new Embraer 175 jets to the regional fleet in 2022 and 2023 – nine to be operated by Horizon Air and eight by SkyWestExercising options for 13 Boeing 737-9 MAX deliveries in 2023 and 2024
The 17 regional aircraft additions grow Air Group’s regional fleet to 111 planes: 71 at Horizon and 40 with SkyWest. Horizon will receive its nine additional E175s in the next two years: five scheduled for delivery in 2022 and four in 2023. This is in addition to three existing firm E175 orders to be operated by Horizon. All eight SkyWest aircraft will enter service for Alaska in 2022.
“Regional aircraft play a huge role in Alaska’s growing network,” said Nat Pieper, senior vice president of fleet, finance and alliances. “As our network expands, regional aircraft connect smaller communities to our larger hubs providing critical feed to assist in the development of new markets.”  

Alaska announced a restructured agreement with Boeing in December 2020 to acquire 68 737-9 MAX aircraft between 2021 to 2024, with options for another 52 deliveries between 2023 and 2026. The airline will accept the first 13 options over two years: nine in 2023 and four in 2024.
“We are excited to exercise options for more 737-9s just months after committing to 68 firm deliveries. It’s another indication that we’re ready for growth,” added Pieper.

Vaccinated? Visit Germany without test and quarantine, but not Americans and many others Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Vaccinated? Visit Germany without test and quarantine, but not Americans and many others 5

Germany is reopening the country for vaccinated or COVID-19 recovered visitorsQuarantine requirements or COVID-19 tests will no longer be necessary for this group of visitors to Germany.This regulation applies to many, but not all countries such as the United States for example.
The European Union is the first major block of countries to establish a uniformed system to respond to travel regulations during the COVID-19 pendemic.
A new EU digital vaccination pass may very well become a global standard.

Top US travel leaders urge White House to reopen international travel Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Top US travel leaders urge White House to reopen international travel 6

Travel leaders warn of dire economic consequences if US borders remain shutThe letter urges the establishment of a public-private taskforce by the end of MayThe US must be a global leader in restarting international travel

Leaders of 23 global travel companies sent a letter to President Biden Tuesday urging greater progress toward reopening international travel—as is successfully happening elsewhere in the world—and warning of dire economic consequences if U.S. borders remain shut.
The letter notes that current science, the success of the U.S. vaccine rollout, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s own guidance allows for steps toward a safe resumption of international visitation.

“While U.S. borders remain closed to much of the world, the remarkable scientific advancements to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and the tremendous vaccine deployment achieved by your administration have allowed the safe resumption of many activities,” the letter reads. “For all its economic and cultural contributions, international travel should be among them and it will hasten the economic recovery we all desire.”
The letter urges the establishment of a public-private taskforce by the end of May to develop a risk-based, data-driven roadmap for safely reopening international travel to the U.S.
The letter further states that efforts toward reopening should start by pursuing a “public health corridor” between the U.S. and the United Kingdom (U.K.), given its importance as a travel market and its similar pace of vaccinations and declining infection rates. On Friday, the U.K. categorized the U.S. in the “amber” middle tier of its new “traffic light” system for international travel.

Air Canada announces new Hawaii flights from Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Air Canada announces new Hawaii flights from Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver 7

New nonstop Montreal-Honolulu service starts December 12, 2021New nonstop Toronto-Maui service starts December 18, 2021Calgary new nonstop Honolulu service and resumption of Maui service begin December 18, 2021

Air Canada will launch more non-stop options from Canada to Hawaii this winter, including the first Montreal-Honolulu and Toronto-Maui services. These new flights complement the airline’s long-standing services from Calgary and Vancouver to the Hawaiian Islands and will enable convenient connections across Canada as well as from Europe. 
“We are seeing strong demand in the sun markets this winter with people in Canada and around the world looking ahead to holiday travel. As we finalize our schedule to position Air Canada‘s leadership in leisure travel this winter, we have added new non-stop flights to Hawaii from Montreal and Toronto in addition to our flights from Calgary and Vancouver, making it more convenient than ever for Canadians across the country to experience the Hawaiian Islands. From Europe, customers will be able to easily connect to our Hawaii flights from our Montreal and Toronto gateways. We know people will be excited to travel this winter, and we look forward to welcoming our customers onboard,” said Mark Galardo, Senior Vice President, Network Planning and Revenue Management at Air Canada.

“We are very happy that Air Canada is launching additional options to fly to Hawaii. We are looking forward to welcoming back our Canadian friends. We would like to say a big mahalo to our trusted partner Air Canada for the continuous support in sharing the aloha spirit and always embracing the Hawaiian value of mālama,” said Lorenzo Campos, Account Director for Hawaii Tourism Canada.
Air Canada‘s new Hawaii flights from Montreal and Toronto feature a choice of three cabins of service, including the airline’s premium travel experiences and Air Canada Signature Class featuring lie-flat Executive Pods.  Seats are available for sale now for next winter.  Air Canada’s new refund policy of offering customers options of refunds, an Air Canada Travel Voucher or equivalent value in Aeroplan Points with a 65% bonus should the airline cancel or reschedule a flight by more than three hours, is applicable to all tickets purchased.
Montreal to Honolulu Schedule:

Connects to/from Brussels, Frankfurt, intra-Quebec and Atlantic Canada
FlightRouteDeparture TimeArrival TimeAircraftDay of OperationBeginsAC521Montreal (YUL) toHonolulu (HNL)13:3019:54Boeing 787 DreamlinerWed, SunDec. 12, 2021AC520Honolulu (HNL) toMontreal (YUL)21:3012:02 (+1 day)Boeing 787 DreamlinerWed, SunDec. 12, 2021

Vaccinated? Visit Germany again as of tomorrow, but not for everyone Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Vaccinated? Visit Germany again as of tomorrow, but not for everyone 8

Germany is reopening the country for vaccinated or COVID-19 recovered visitorsQuarantine requirements or COVID-19 tests will no longer be necessary for this group of visitors to GermanyThis regulation applies to many, but not all countries
The European Union is the first major block of countries to establish a uniformed system to respond to travel regulations during the COVID-19 pendemic.
A new EU digital vaccination pass may very well become a global standard.

Kazakhstan to check airline passenger COVID-19 status before allowing airport entry Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Kazakhstan to check airline passenger COVID-19 status before allowing airport entry 9

Nur-Sultan Airport launches new program that allows to identify passenger COVID-19 ‘status’Airline passengers will have their QR codes scanned to identify their COVID-19 statusPassenger’s COVID-19 status can also be checked via an identification number or passport

Kazakhstan’s main airport in the capital city of Nur-Sultan launches new program that allows to identify COVID-19 ‘status’ of passengers prior to allowing them to enter the airport premises. Sanitary Epidemiological Control Committee The program named Ashyq will commence on May 12, 2021, the country’s Sanitary Epidemiological Control Committee announced today.
Airline passengers will have their QR codes scanned to identify their COVID-19 status based on the data from the Single integration site of PCR tests and the Health Ministry’s COVID-19 Control Center before entering the airport in Nur-Sultan city.

The “green” status is given to people who have a PCR test with a negative result passed within 72 hours. People with the “blue” status are without a PCR tests and not contacts. They are allowed to move freely, except for the places where a PCR tests is a must. People with the “yellow” status are allowed to visit groceries and pharmacies near their homes, but not permitted to visit other public sites. People with the «red» status have their PCR tests with a positive result. They are obliged to observe a strict home quarantine regime.
The Ashyq program aims at ensuring safety of air passengers by not allowing those with “red” and “yellow” statuses to enter the airport. Passenger’s COVID-19 status can also be checked via an identification number or passport.

With vaccinations in full swing, US traveler is becoming more confident Aviation Feature, Aviation News

With vaccinations in full swing, US traveler is becoming more confident 10

Vaccinations are continuing to roll out across the USA, so the American consumer is becoming more confident where travel is concernedUS travelers have almost doubled bookings to foreign destinations in AprilMost recent information from CDC shows that 58.5% of Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

US-based travelers have almost doubled bookings to foreign destinations in April 2021, as compared to January 2021, according to data released today by online travel experts.
The latest data shows a significant increase of 89%, with 7 of the top 10 destinations showing increases of more than 100%. 

Vaccinations are continuing to roll out across the USA, so the American consumer is becoming more confident where travel is concerned. This, coupled with the stringent hygiene protocols put in place by airlines and airports worldwide, is fueling rising interest in booking airline tickets to global destinations,
In April, US travelers’ top 10 destinations outside of the contiguous United States, ranked by percent of bookings increase, are Greece, showing a 337% increase in airline ticket bookings when compared to January numbers; Israel 259%; the Bahamas 203%; Jamaica 143%; the Dominican Republic 134%; Costa Rica 106%; Puerto Rico 103%; Mexico 95%; El Salvador 67% and India 19%.
The most recent information from the CDC shows that 58.5% of Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. That is a 79% increase from slightly more than one month ago. Air travel numbers are moving upward, and the industry analysts expect to see them continue to rise as summer arrives in the northern hemisphere.

Canada announces new funding programs to support nation’s airports Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Canada announces new funding programs to support nation’s airports 11

Airports have played a crucial role since the start of the pandemic by continuing to provide essential air servicesTwo new contribution funding programs launched to help Canada’s airports recoverAirports Capital Assistance Program is receiving a funding top-up of $186 million over two years

The global COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the air sector in Canada. Airports have been significantly affected, experiencing major decreases in traffic over the past 15 months. Despite these consequences, airports have played a crucial role since the start of the pandemic by continuing to provide essential air services, including traveling to medical appointments, air ambulance services, community resupply, getting goods to market, search and rescue operations, and forest fire response.
Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honorable Omar Alghabra, launched two new contribution funding programs to help Canada’s airports recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic:

The Airport Critical Infrastructure Program (ACIP) is a new program providing close to $490 million to financially assist Canada’s larger airports with investments in critical infrastructure-related to safety, security or connectivity;
The Airport Relief Fund (ARF) is a new program providing almost $65 million in financial relief to targeted Canadian airports to help maintain operations.
In addition to launching these two new funding programs, the Minister announced that Transport Canada’s Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP) is receiving a funding top-up of $186 million over two years. The ACAP is an existing contribution funding program which provides financial assistance to Canada’s local and regional airports for safety-related infrastructure projects and equipment purchases.
“Canada’s airports are major contributors to our country’s economy, and play a key role in sustaining the social and economic well-being of our communities, and our local airport workers. These programs will help ensure that, as Canada works towards recovery and travel restart post pandemic, our airports remain viable and continue to provide Canadians with safe, reliable and efficient travel options, while creating and maintaining good paying jobs in the airport sector,” said The Honorable Omar Alghabra.

Pobeda Airlines begins full-scale flight program from Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Pobeda Airlines begins full-scale flight program from Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport 12

Arrival of the low-cost airline will ensure the expansion of the airport’s route networkThe airline is serviced in Terminal DPobeda’s summer schedule includes flights from Sheremetyevo to 14 domestic destinations

Russian low-cost airline Pobeda Airlines, a member of the Aeroflot Group, has begun operating a full-scale flight program Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport.
Pobeda Airlines began operating flights from Sheremetyevo as part of the Aeroflot Group’s strategy to optimize the Group’s route network and fleet, taking into account the high demand for low-cost travel.

The modern infrastructure, production resources and qualified personnel of Sheremetyevo Airport make it possible to provide efficient ground handling of the airline’s turnaround flights within 25 minutes. The handling operator of Sheremetyevo Airport, Sheremetyevo Handling LLC, in cooperation with the airport’s divisions and other companies of the Group, provides services for passengers and aircraft in the shortest possible time to ensure return flights. The technologies for servicing aircraft and passengers provide for the accelerated or parallel execution of a number of operations, taking into account all safety measures.
“The full-scale program of flights of Pobeda Airline from Sheremetyevo is another step in the development of our base partner – Aeroflot Group,” said Mikhail Vasilenko, Director General of JSC SIA, “and we are delighted to welcome one of the fastest growing airlines in Europe. The arrival of the low-cost airline will ensure the expansion of the airport’s route network and provide our passengers with new opportunities in terms of airfares.”
The Director General of Pobeda, Andrei Kalmykov, said, “Launching flights from our second Moscow airport makes Pobeda even more convenient and affordable for our clients. Now they can choose not just fares, destinations and departure dates, but even the airport in Moscow. We are seeing over 90% of capacity already on our first flights, which is typical for Pobeda.”

The airline is serviced in Terminal D. Pobeda passengers are offered a wide range of services and opportunities while waiting for their flight. Travelers with children can visit the comfortable mother-and-child room, and passengers with disabilities have access to the modern Saturn Lounge in the terminal. Passengers will also appreciate the high level of services in the Sleep Lounge, a sleep and relaxation room located in the public area of Terminal D. The comfortable Sochi business lounge is available to business-class travelers and features an exquisite and spectacular interior design.

Heathrow: Expansion of list of countries expected to be open for summer needed Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Heathrow: Expansion of list of countries expected to be open for summer needed 13

Heathrow welcomes government plans to automate border checksGovernment should publish a list of countries expected to be on the green list for the summerHeathrow lost 6.2 million passengers in April

Heathrow lost 6.2 million passengers in April, down 92.1%, compared to pre-pandemic 2019 figures, following over a year of restrictions on non-essential travel.
Whilst Heathrow welcomes the lifting of the travel ban from May 17, the green list is overly cautious, given the other controls in place on passengers travelling from low risk countries. The next review in 3 weeks’ time should bring a significant expansion to the list of “green” countries, including the United States, to increase trade, reunite friends and families with their loved ones. Government should help people plan ahead by publishing a list of countries expected to be on the green list for the summer holidays so that passengers are not faced with high prices for last minute bookings.

The rapid progress on vaccination and increased confidence in its effectiveness against variants of concern should allow a significant simplification of the “traffic light” system at the end of June, including allowing fully vaccinated people to travel without restrictions.
Heathrow welcomes government plans to automate border checks, but until they have been implemented, Ministers should ensure that every desk is staffed at peak times to avoid unacceptable queue times in immigration. 
Fewer passenger flights are severely impacting the UK’s supply chain and British exporters, with only 116,000 metric tons of cargo travelled through Heathrow last month, compared to over 132,000 in April 2019, down 12%. Reopening critical trading routes such as the United States will enable exporters to reconnect with key global networks and unlock billions of pounds worth of trade and exports.

Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye, said: “The Government’s green list is very welcome, but they need to expand it massively in the next few weeks to include other low risk markets such as the United States, and remove the need for fully vaccinated passengers to take two expensive PCR tests.  Border Force’s claims that “long queues in immigration are inevitable” smack of complacency – they are completely avoidable if Ministers ensure that all desks are staffed at peak times.”
Traffic SummaryApril 2021Terminal Passengers(000s)Apr 2021% ChangeJan toApr 2021% ChangeMay 2020 toApr 2021% ChangeMarketUK62541.7228-75.3764-82.2EU173158.8618-86.74,021-83.2Non-EU Europe54628.7180-83.4876-82.4Africa54681.9245-69.1601-80.7North America63132.6244-92.5862-94.8Latin America652.827-91.3148-88.0Middle East370.4292-82.31,100-84.2Asia / Pacific8782.6382-82.61,098-88.9Total536159.82,216-85.19,472-86.7Air Transport MovementsApr 2021% ChangeJan toApr 2021% ChangeMay 2020 toApr 2021% ChangeMarketUK773215.52,893-68.18,993-76.1EU2,53767.28,672-79.947,851-74.2Non-EU Europe638211.22,215-77.39,389-75.8Africa551344.42,298-36.76,124-55.1North America2,46995.58,775-53.224,730-67.4Latin America97169.4417-70.91,944-64.1Middle East1,08689.24,498-40.113,625-51.6Asia / Pacific1,72290.56,887-34.720,891-50.4Total9,873103.336,655-64.7133,547-68.7Cargo(Metric Tons)Apr 2021% ChangeJan toApr 2021% ChangeMay 2020 toApr 2021% ChangeMarketUK6313.962-56.4163-69.7EU10,333206.839,46577.893,3679.0Non-EU Europe5,604267.622,509121.858,42020.6Africa6,535261.229,15432.776,371-7.9North America41,510106.8145,292-2.4382,994-25.3Latin America1,153302.64,383-61.926,650-43.5Middle East18,70294.171,5326.2215,796-12.0Asia / Pacific32,254126.3119,64318.1336,376-18.0Total116,096127.9432,04112.61,190,137-16.9

High cost of PCR tests negatively impacts international travel recovery Aviation Feature, Aviation News

High cost of PCR tests negatively impacts international travel recovery 14

Pricing of PCR tests is a critical factorHaving to take two tests during a trip adds significant costMultiple tests are likely to be key in planning an international trip for some time

Vaccination rollouts have been pinpointed as a catalyst for the recovery of travel, but the pricing of PCR tests is also a critical factor and risks holding back recovery in the long-term.
Prices for COVID-19 PCR tests do vary, but can dramatically increase the cost of an international trip. Research by Which? in April 2021 found that the average price of one PCR test was £120 (US$166) in the UK. Having to take two tests during a trip adds significant cost and this can serve as deterrent to traveling. This calls for yet more sector collaboration to reduce costs and make it more feasible for a travel restart.

COVID-19 has tightened budget constraints for many. Industry’s latest consumer survey found that 50% of global respondents ‘completely’ or ‘somewhat’ agreed they have reduced household budgets in the last year. Additionally, 54% (‘completely’/somewhat’) are also now following a strict weekly/monthly budget, highlighting that the added expenditure of an international getaway could be problematic.
A vaccination or negative COVID-19 tests prior to departure and/or on arrival and upon landing are currently needed to legally travel to and from many countries. It will take a considerable amount of time for a whole population to be vaccinated and therefore multiple tests are likely to be key in planning an international trip for some time. The costs associated with this will reduce the ability for many individuals to be able to travel any time soon.
Family outbound travel is what could really be set back here. Even if some older members of the family are vaccinated and do not have to pay for COVID-19 tests, those aged under 18 are still likely to have to pay for a test – not just one, but multiple. This could fall onto the parents, adding further costs, which will undoubtedly not be welcomed.

TUI is the first tour operator to make a bold move on reducing the costs of testing for international travel. The operator recently announced that it planned to offer COVID-19 PCR tests for £20 for UK tourists traveling to countries on the government’s ‘green list’. In partnership with government authorized test provider Chronomics, management declared plans to make travel this summer as ‘easy and affordable’ as possible.
This is a well-considered strategic move from the tour group, demonstrating that the cost of testing for COVID-19 can be considerably cut if partnerships are formed. More operators and airlines should be collaborating with authorized test providers to make travel more accessible and generally more affordable in an ongoing uncertain situation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lufthansa Group Airlines extend option to change reservations without a fee Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Lufthansa Group Airlines extend option to change reservations without a fee 15

Unrestricted booking thanks to flexible rebooking conditionsNew flight can be booked for a travel date up to one year in the futureNo need to immediately commit to new travel date and destination

Anyone planning a trip in the coming weeks and months can book flights with the Lufthansa Group Airlines without worrying, despite the pandemic, because Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings continue to offer flexible rebooking options. If passengers want to rebook their trip, they do not even have to decide immediately on a new travel date or destination.
Since the end of August, all fares of the Lufthansa Group Airlines can be rebooked without a rebooking fee. This fare offer was valid for both new and rebooking until the end of May. Now the offer is being extended again: all airline fares can still be rebooked free of charge as often as desired until July 31, 2021, if the rebooking is also made before that date. After that, another rebooking is possible free of charge. The newly booked flight can be booked within the entire ticket validity up to one year in the future. Customers can also change their itinerary as they wish, depending on availability, and, for example, fly from Munich to New York instead of Frankfurt to Rio de Janeiro.

Passengers who would like to postpone their original trip but cannot yet decide on a new date and destination have the option of initially canceling their booking without committing to a new travel date. The customer’s ticket remains in the system as a credit until they decide to make a new reservation and thus redeem it. The new booking must then only be made by August 31, 2021. Departure date in this case only has to be next year, by July 31, 2022.
Lufthansa Group Airlines had already made it possible for its customers to rebook their tickets without a fee last year. The waiver of the rebooking fee applies worldwide for all new bookings in all fares on short, medium and long-haul routes. This enables flexible travel planning for all Lufthansa Group Airlines customers.
However, additional costs may arise for rebookings if, for example, the original booking class is no longer available when rebooking to a different date or to a different destination.

US airlines revenue dropped almost 50% in 2020 Aviation Feature, Aviation News

US airlines revenue dropped almost 50% in 2020 16

In 2020, US airlines experienced a 47% YoY decrease in revenues from 2019 Airlines from the US collectively registered a net loss of 24.6 billion in 2020In 2020, the total number of passengers handled by US carriers dropped by over 60% to just 369 million

The travel and tourism industry was one of the most affected by 2020’s Coronavirus pandemic. According to latest data, the total operating revenue of all US airlines amounted to just $130 billion in 2020 – a 47% YoY decrease from 2019.
U.S. Airlines Total Revenue Almost Cut in Half Due To Pandemic

Operating revenue for US airlines increased yearly since 2015, but 2020’s pandemic put an end to this momentum. In 2019, total operating revenue reached $248 billion, a number that decreased by 47% in 2020 to just $130 billion. 2020’s figure was also the lowest recorded within the reporting period of 2004 – 2020.
Airlines from the US collectively registered a net loss of 24.6 billion in 2020 a 256% decrease from 2019 when US airlines registered a combined net profit of $15.71 billion. 2020’s net loss was an even greater contraction than the one felt during the recession of 2008 when net loss was at $18.17 billion.
US Carriers Handled 60% Fewer Passengers In 2020

In 2019, US carriers handled an estimated 926 million passengers, made up of 811 million domestic passengers and an estimated 115 million international passengers. In 2020, the total number of passengers handled by US carriers dropped by over 60% to just 369 million.
Domestic travel dropped by almost half a billion passengers to just 335.35 million. The domestic passenger load factor was also the lowest in 2020 during the reporting period at just 58.86% compared to the high of 85.11% recorded in 2019.
An even bigger decline was seen in the number of international passengers that were handled by US carriers. In 2020 the number dropped by a staggering 90% to just 34 million passengers.

The airline industry was crippled by the pandemic despite the strong momentum that has been built over the last few years. More than a year after the virus took the global economy hostage, much uncertainty still remains about what the ‘new normal’ will look like and what it means for the future of air travel.

Allegiant announces new Senior Vice President / Senior Counsel Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Allegiant announces new Senior Vice President / Senior Counsel 17

Goldberg specializes in corporate finance and securities lawGoldberg joined Allegiant in 2017 after serving as outside counsel for over 15 yearsGoldberg has more than 40 years of legal practice experience

Allegiant today announced Rob Goldberg has been promoted to the position of senior vice president / senior counsel.  Goldberg specializes in corporate finance and securities law. He joined Allegiant in 2017 as vice president / senior counsel after serving as outside counsel for the company for more than 15 years. He also serves as secretary to the company’s Board of Directors.
“Rob’s decades of experience in the aviation industry, combined with his special expertise in securities law and financing transactions makes him an incredibly valuable member of our team,” said Allegiant President John Redmond. “His work has been integral to Allegiant’s development since the early 2000s, and his expertise and stewardship will continue to serve the company well through our next phase of growth.”

Goldberg has more than 40 years of legal practice experience. Prior to joining Allegiant, he was a shareholder partner in the law firm Ellis Funk, P.C., based in Atlanta, Ga. He had previously practiced with the firm Altman, Kritzer and Levick, P.C. in Atlanta, where he was also a partner.  During his career, Goldberg has taken three different airlines public – Atlantic Southeast Airlines in 1982, ValuJet Airlines in 1994, and Allegiant Air in 2006.
A graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and Emory University Business School, Goldberg is admitted to the bar in Georgia, South Carolina and Nevada.

Global vaccine rollouts spur the return of travel Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Global vaccine rollouts spur the return of travel 18

CDC news made 43% of Americans feel more comfortable travelingStart of 2021 saw travel turn a corner with monthly search volumes showing strong growthMany travelers continue to prioritize domestic over international travel and are taking trips closer to home

The Q1 2021 Travel Recovery Trend Report was released today. The quarterly trend report features data from custom research and Expedia Group first-party data combined with actionable insights to help ensure travel brands are best prepared to reconnect and reengage with travelers as spring and summer travel ramps up.
Traveler behaviors and preferences have evolved significantly over the past year, meaning travel brands can no longer rely on historical marketing strategies to inform their recovery plans. Industry experts know people are eager to start traveling again, but how they engage with travel brands, and what they expect, has changed. This report spotlights the latest data and trends to help travel brands develop strategies, messaging and content that aligns with what travelers want – and need – to book their next trip.

Key findings from the Q1 2021 Travel Recovery Trend Report include:
Global Vaccine Rollouts Spur the Return of Travel 
After a turbulent year for the travel industry in 2020, the start of 2021 saw travel turn a corner with monthly search volumes showing strong growth throughout Q1. The increase in searches and traveler demand is linked with growing momentum for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and travel guidelines.

With one of the world’s leading vaccine rollouts, search trends in the U.S. illustrate the correlation between major vaccine announcements and week-on-week search growth. In week-over-week searches, the week of March 15 saw the largest spike in searches – an increase of 30% – following the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) release of guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals. The CDC news made 43% of Americans feel more comfortable traveling — or drove them to book an upcoming trip.
Global Search Window Remains Short
Continuing a trend seen throughout much of last year, the majority of global Q1 2021 searches fell within the 0 to 21 days search window, as uncertainty around global travel saw travelers opt for more opportunistic, short-term trips, often close to home. While this trend seems to be strengthening for domestic trips, longer search windows for international trips are beginning to emerge.

This trend is particularly pronounced in the EMEA region, where searches 91 days out or longer represented almost 40% of international searches made in Q1 2021, up from around 25% in Q4 2020. This is good news for ‘bucket-list’ or once-in-a-lifetime type destinations or attractions looking to attract long-haul travelers.

Pegasus Airlines re-connects Budapest Airport with Istanbul, Turkey Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Pegasus Airlines re-connects Budapest Airport with Istanbul, Turkey 19

Turkish Pegasus Airlines flies back to Budapest AirportTurkish low-cost carrier will operate the 1,080km link with its fleet of 180-seat A320sInitially, Budapest-Istanbul flights will be conducted twice-weekly
Flights from Budapest to Istanbul’s Sabiha Gӧkçen Airport have returned with Pegasus Airlines. The route resumes direct connectivity between Hungary’s capital city and Turkey’s major city which bestrides Europe and Asia, across the Bosphorus Strait.
The Turkish low-cost carrier will operate the 1,080km link with its fleet of 180-seat A320s, initially twice-weekly as travelers and the business community welcome the relaunch.

“Bringing back business safely is a key priority at our airport and it is hugely positive to welcome Pegasus Airlines back to Budapest,” said the spokesperson for Budapest Airport.
“Reinstating the popular Istanbul route will provide business and leisure opportunities, as well as the welcome return of visitors to our beautiful city. Re-opening connectivity, boosting trade and tourism, while providing our customers with more connectivity, convenience and choice is our primary goal.”
Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport, formerly known as Budapest Ferihegy International Airport and still commonly called just Ferihegy, is the international airport serving the Hungarian capital city of Budapest, and by far the largest of the country’s four commercial airports.

Pegasus Airlines is a Turkish low-cost carrier headquartered in the Kurtköy area of Pendik, Istanbul with bases at several Turkish airports.

Countdown to reopen Saudi Arabia for Tourism with conditions Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Countdown to reopen Saudi Arabia for Tourism with conditions 20

Travel Operators in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), are gearing up for Saudi’s Arabia resumption of international flights.According to the Saudi Ministry of Interior, the travel ban will be lifted on 17 May for specific groups and tourists.A major booking platform, saw a 52% increase in international flight searches and a 59% increase in international hotel searches, following the announcement.
Around 25% of travelers are looking to travel within the 15 days of Saudi resuming flights where the search demand for this period has increased by 80% since the date of the announcement.
Egypt topped the list for the flight search destinations, followed by Philippines, Morocco, Jordan and Turkey. We also saw new vacation destinations emerge for flight searches such as Maldives, Tunisia, Ukraine, Greece, and Sri Lanka.

Saudi Arabia constitutes a significant percentage of the tourism sector in the Middle East. The country has been handling the pandemic very well, reinstating confidence for travelers.
Those who are allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia include citizens who received two doses of coronavirus vaccine or who passed 14 days after taking the first dose of the vaccine as well as people who have recovered from coronavirus, given they have spent less than six months since their infection as confirmed by the data displayed on Tawakkalna App. In addition to the citizens who are under the age of 18 years, provided that they show an insurance policy before traveling approved by the Saudi Central Bank.
Departing travelers out of Saudi Arabia need to show a PCR test certificate from an accredited screening center in the Kingdom. Upon return to the country, travelers will have to quarantine for seven days and take a PCR test at the end of the week.

Resorts are leading the searches for travelers with 58% growth, followed by the apartments and hotels.
Around 68% of travelers searching for flights are solos, 20% families, and 12% are couples.
Saudi Arabia is has been rolling out the COVID-19 vaccination to its residents. It has one of the lowest new cases per capita in the MENA region.

Travelers are feeling more reassured where airports and hotels are reinstating the confidence in travel. With stringent precautionary measures followed and safety measures that meet the high standards, we expect a steady recovery for the tourism sector.
Source: Wego

Russian low-cost carrier Pobeda to launch additional Cyprus flights in mid-June Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Russian low-cost carrier Pobeda to launch additional Cyprus flights in mid-June 21

Flights from Perm to Larnaca will start on June 14First flight from Yekaterinburg is scheduled for June 15First flight from Kazan is scheduled for June 16

Russian budget carrier Pobeda announced that it will will launch service from Yekaterinburg, Kazan and Perm to Larnaca, Cyprus in mid-June.
Ticket sales are already available for purchase on the company’s website, according to Pobeda Airlines statement.

“Flights from Perm to Larnaca will start on June 14. The first flight from Yekaterinburg is scheduled for June 15 and from Kazan – June 16. Flights over the summer season will be made once per week at each destination. Pobeda has not operated flights to Larnaca from these cities before,” the company said.
Earlier, Pobeda also launched weekly flights from Larnaca to Moscow, one per week.
The scheduled air service between Russia and Cyprus is suspended now due to COVID-19 pandemic. Airlines can only make freight and passenger flights with tickets available for sale for specific groups of nationals only. All Russian citizens are now eligible to enter Cyprus but two coronavirus tests are required. Since May 10, everyone vaccinated with Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine can arrive at Cyprus without tests.

Pobeda also opened freight and passenger flights to Berlin, Cologne, Gyumri and Riga earlier.

The British are traveling, but not on Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, Etihad, or Emirates Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The British are traveling, but not on Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, Etihad, or Emirates 22

Just 12 countries and territories made the so-called “green list” in the UKAfter May 17, UK citizens will be allowed to book a holiday to Portugal, Israel, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Iceland, Gibraltar, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, South Georgia, and the Sandwich Islands, St. Helena, Tristan de Cunha, and Ascension Islands.Not only the United States but tourism leaders in Spain, Italy, Bahamas, Jamaica, Ireland, and many more countries are disappointed, upset and alarmed.
The Green list issued by the UK Foreign office will be renewed every three weeks, but countries could be added or removed anytime.
The UK made it illegal for its citizens and residents to travel on holiday, and May 17 is the magic day to reverse this.

Demand for travel to Portugal, Israel, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Iceland, Gibraltar, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, South Georgia, and the Sandwich Islands, St. Helena, Tristan de Cunha, and Ascension Islands will be enormous, and the travel and tourism industry in these countries feel rewarded, some also worried.

US Travel: Placing US on UK Amber list does not make any sense Aviation Feature, Aviation News

US Travel: Placing US on UK Amber list does not make any sense 23

U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement on today’s release of the U.K.’s “traffic light system” for international travel:
“The U.K.’s decision to put the United States on their amber status for reopening just isn’t backed by the science. Putting the U.S. on amber status ignores the scientific data regarding increasing vaccination rates, lower infection rates and that the U.S. has the right strategies in place to mitigate risk.

“The U.S. needs to demonstrate leadership and come to the table with the U.K. and increase dialogue to allow for a reopening of travel with one of our most important international partners.
“The U.S. economy will lose $262 billion and 1.1 million jobs if its borders remain shut, and putting a roadmap and timelines forward to quickly create a U.S.-U.K. travel corridor would be low-risk for both countries and high-reward economically.”
When do the new rules come into force?

From 12.01am on 17 May. Until then people have to carry a declaration form bearing one of a small number of reasonable excuses, including essential work, education, to provide care or attend a funeral or participate in elite sport.
What do the green, amber and red lists mean for travelers?
The color list each country is on will dictate whether and where passengers arriving from them need to quarantine.

People coming from green list countries need a negative pre-departure COVID test, and they will not have to isolate at all upon their return. They will have to take PCR test on day two after their arrival. PCR tests are specified because they are more accurate than lateral flow tests.
Those entering England from amber countries will need a negative pre-departure COVID test, have to isolate at home for 10 days and get a PCR test on days two and eight. They can still use the test-to-release system on day five, a negative test result meaning they can end their quarantine immediately.
Travelers arriving from red list countries will need a negative pre-departure COVID test, undergo managed quarantine at a hotel for 10 days that cannot be cut short, and get a PCR test on days two and eight.
UK government has said people should not travel to amber and red countries for leisure.

Premier Private Jets acquires Oakland Air FBO at Oakland County International Airport Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Premier Private Jets acquires Oakland Air FBO at Oakland County International Airport 24

Oakland Air is a full-service FBO, air charter and certified repair station at Oakland County International AirportThe PTK facility will be rebranded Premier Jet ServicesPremier’s entry into the FBO arena will allow them to better manage fuel purchases and overnight aircraft maintenance needs

Premier Private Jets, a Part 135 air charter company headquartered in Stuart, FL, has acquired Oakland Air, a full-service FBO, air charter and certified repair station at Oakland County International Airport. The acquisition brings Premier’s charter fleet to 14 and greatly expands their capacity in the maintenance arena. The PTK facility will be rebranded Premier Jet Services. 
“We are absolutely thrilled with this major acquisition, the first of many we anticipate happening as we expand Premier’s footprint around the country,” said Josh Birmingham, Chief Executive Officer of Premier Private Jets. “This acquisition will expand our ‘floating fleet’ of light and medium jets across the entire eastern part of the United States. We believe we can deliver better customer service at lower cost by in-sourcing key functions in our operations, and this is the first of many steps we will be making as we grow this exciting and expanding business model.”

Premier’s entry into the FBO arena will allow them to better manage fuel purchases and overnight aircraft maintenance needs. With aircraft based at strategic locations at airports targeted to business and leisure travel, Premier offers quicker response to customer schedules and offers competitive pricing through cost efficiencies. 
“The Premier Jet Services FBO brand now gives us the opportunity to fully control the customer air charter experience from the ground up,” Birmingham stated. “We expect to acquire additional FBOs and are presently seeking new opportunities.”
In addition to supporting Premier Private Jets operations, the newly-acquired FBO will be expanded to attract private aircraft owners and third-party operators in Pontiac and the surrounding area. The company plans to modernize its passenger terminal facilities at PTK including an all new lobby, complete with a state-of-the-art air filtration system capable of defending against viruses such as COVID-19.  “I’m excited about our plans to build a world-class FBO, complete with  in-flight catering and café kitchen, as well as being the first to offer sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to all aircraft using Oakland County International Airport,” Birmingham concluded.

US Leisure and Hospitality sector hamstrung by lack of international and business travel Aviation Feature, Aviation News

US Leisure and Hospitality sector hamstrung by lack of international and business travel 25

The sector’s unemployment rate continued to decline17% of Leisure & Hospitality jobs have been lost and not yet recovered since February 2020Travel in the US is only operating at just over half strength

The Leisure & Hospitality industry gained 331,000 jobs in April—outperforming the overall US jobs increase of 266,000, and offsetting jobs losses in other sectors.
The sector’s unemployment rate continued to decline, from 15.9% in January to 13.0% in March and just 10.8% April—but remains significantly worse than overall US unemployment (6%).

Despite the gains in recent months, 17% of Leisure & Hospitality jobs have been lost (and not yet recovered) since February 2020. Leisure & Hospitality also accounts for 35% of all U.S. jobs still lost since February of last year.
“Leisure & Hospitality is significantly outperforming overall job creation even though travel in the US is only operating at just over half strength,” said US Travel Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes. “International travel and business travel accounted for 41% of all travel spending in 2019, but those two segments remain virtually halted.
“This disappointing jobs report would have been significantly worse without Leisure & Hospitality, and we’re missing a huge opportunity to restore jobs by not prioritizing the reopening of two key segments of the travel industry.”

IATA: Rise in Spanish airport charges will damage economic recovery, hurt jobs Aviation Feature, Aviation News

IATA: Rise in Spanish airport charges will damage economic recovery, hurt jobs 26

Passenger demand plummeted by 76% in 2020 and is not expected to fully recover until 2024The number of destinations with direct links to Spain fell from 1,800 (2019) to 234 (2020)More than 1.1 million Spanish jobs have been lost or put at risk and over EUR 60 billion of GDP has been lost

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) warned that proposals by AENA to increase user charges at the 46 airports it operates across Spain could damage Spain’s economic and employment recovery from COVID-19. 
The proposals presented to the DGAC for approval include a request to increase charges by 5.5% over five years. They would also open the door for AENA to recover its lost revenues due to the COVID-19 crisis, for services which were never operated, or which airlines couldn’t access.

“The whole aviation industry is in crisis. Everybody needs to reduce costs and improve efficiency to repair the financial damage of COVID-19. Having analyzed AENA’s situation, airlines believe that AENA could reduce its charges by 4%. So proposing to pass the burden of financial recovery on to customers with a 5.5% increase is nothing short of irresponsible. The DGAC should immediately reject the request and instruct AENA to work with the airlines on a mutually agreed recovery plan,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
Pre-pandemic, AENA declared EUR 2.59 billion of dividends over the 2017-19 period, and it has several options to cover its losses. “AENA can easily finance short-term losses without increasing costs to its customers. It has an excellent credit rating to access financing. Its shareholders have been well-rewarded and must now share some of the pain. And, like the rest of the industry, it must look at operational efficiencies to lower costs, which are by no measure the cheapest in Europe,” said Walsh.
A healthy air transport sector—with all parties focused on reducing costs—will be critical in recovering from the devastating impact that COVID-19 has had on the tourism and transport sector: 

Passenger demand plummeted by 76% in 2020 and is not expected to fully recover until 2024The number of destinations with direct links to Spain fell from 1,800 (2019) to 234 (2020)More than 1.1 million Spanish jobs have been lost or put at risk and over EUR 60 billion of GDP has been lostThe contribution of travel and tourism to Spain’s economy fell from 12% to 4%. 
“An early recovery in travel and tourism is vital for Spain’s economic success. But higher costs will delay a tourism rebound and keep jobs at risk. AENA should keep in mind the long-term interests of both its shareholders and the country. And both are better served with cost-efficient airport infrastructure. The Spanish government is actively looking to open borders and restart air travel. AENA needs to contribute to that effort, not erect a short-sighted and self-interested roadblock,” said Walsh. 

No Emergency Plans: ATCEUC releases a Snapshot on Air Traffic Management in Europe Aviation Feature, Aviation News

No Emergency Plans: ATCEUC releases a Snapshot on Air Traffic Management in Europe 27

On 23 March 2021 EUROCONTROL issued a Data Snapshot with an analysis of the evolution of the ATM costs in Europe since 1998. Using those data ATCEUC offers its considered opinion on the EUROCONTROL analysis. Since spring 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous effect on the whole aviation sector showing that none of the stakeholders had foreseen these events nor had an emergency plan to handle a systemic crisis like this. Therefore, in a late and unilateral response, in November (eight months after the breakout of the pandemic and the drop in air traffic) the European Commission issued Regulation IR 2020/1627 which aims to alleviate the impact of the pandemic, but on airspace users only. 
 Currently the EC is trying to force the States to enforce the ad-hoc recommendations issued by the PRB, but the figures they suggest, especially those on cost-efficiency, were not agreed by the Member States and the revised Union-wide performance targets for the ATM network for the third reference period (2020-2024) are now under appeal. 
 While the traffic drop was drastic and ATCEUC agrees with the principle that airspace users shouldn’t be left to bear the consequences alone (and they haven’t…), this crisis must not be used as a pretext to impose unjustifiable financial measures on ANSPs right at a crucial moment when they most need to invest on newer technologies in order to be ready for the recovery. 

Fraport to Assume Responsibility for Management and Performance of Security Checks at Frankfurt Airport from 2023 Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Fraport to Assume Responsibility for Management and Performance of Security Checks at Frankfurt Airport from 2023 28

Fraport AG and the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI) sign contract for the transfer of security management tasks Fraport to be responsible for the organization, management and performance of airport security checks Federal Police will continue to supervise screening – Security remains an overriding priority – BMI and Fraport to commence a new chapter in their partnership
The handover is governed by a contract between Fraport AG and the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI) signed recently by both parties.
Fraport AG’s executive board chairman, Dr. Stefan Schulte, said: “We will assume management of aviation security at Frankfurt Airport from 2023. While this entails great responsibility, it will allow us to apply our experience and expertise to the operational management of the screening process – leading to reduced waiting times, to the benefit of all passengers.”

Before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, waiting times at Frankfurt Airport checkpoints were one of the main causes of complaints among passengers and airlines. By assuming responsibility for screening tasks, Fraport hopes to implement integrated management of the majority of passenger-facing processes to achieve greater efficiency and potentially reduce waiting times. 
Schulte added: “Negotiations with the Ministry and the Federal Police were very constructive. We wish to offer our express thanks for the positive working relationship and spirit of trust enjoyed in recent years. Together, we will continue to ensure that passenger safety and security remain the top priority.”
In addition to the organization, management and performance of the security checks, Fraport will be assuming responsibility for procurement of security equipment from January 1, 2023, as well as for calculating the corresponding fees and invoicing airlines. 

Specifically, in compliance with the requirements defined by the Federal Police, Fraport will decide 
When security lines are opened and closed.How many staff will be deployed on each line.Which BMI-certified devices will be procured.Which BMI-certified devices will be deployed at which checkpoints.How the security check process will be organized in concrete terms. Which service providers will be contracted to perform the checks.
Dr. Pierre Dominique Prümm, Fraport board member and Executive Director Aviation and Infrastructure, explained: “The Federal Police remain responsible for all security-related issues and define the requirements we must fulfill. This ensures that security remains the overriding principle.” 
In other words, even when management tasks are transferred to Fraport, the BMI remains the most senior aviation security authority in Germany. The Ministry defines the type of security checks to be made, and specifies the devices to be used. Consequently, the staff of the contracted security company will perform the checks on behalf of Fraport AG, but in accordance with the Ministry’s specifications, and under the supervision of the Federal Police. The staff who perform screening must meet the requirements and possess the qualifications defined by the government authorities. 

Prümm added: “In close cooperation with the federal authorities, we will now move quickly to draw up an infrastructure plan and to establish the parameters for future collaboration with service providers for security screenings. Our strategic and operational plans for the organization and performance of security checks will also be closely coordinated with the corresponding government agencies and the airlines.” 

Two air passengers fined in Canada for presenting fake COVID-19 test results Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Two air passengers fined in Canada for presenting fake COVID-19 test results 29

Air travelers are prohibited from knowingly providing false or misleading COVID-19 test documentationPassenger was fined $6,500 for presenting an altered COVID-19 test and knowingly boarding a flight from Dominican RepublicPassenger was fined $2,500 for presenting an altered COVID-19 test and knowingly boarding a flight from USA

Pre-departure testing of air travelers is a key component of the Government of Canada’s measures to protect Canadians from COVID-19, and helps prevent air travel from being a source for the spread of the virus.
Transport Canada has issued fines to two individual passengers for presenting false or misleading COVID-19 pre-departure tests.

The first passenger was fined $6,500 for presenting an altered COVID-19 test and knowingly boarding a flight from the Dominican Republic to Toronto on February 8, 2021. In this case, the passenger also made a false declaration to the air carrier about their health status.
The second passenger was fined $2,500 for presenting an altered COVID-19 test and knowingly boarding a flight from the United States to Toronto on April 3, 2021.
Under the Interim Order Respecting Certain Requirements for Civil Aviation Due to COVID-19, air travelers are prohibited from knowingly providing false or misleading COVID-19 test documentation. Under the Order, travelers must obtain a negative result on a COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of boarding any flight inbound to Canada or a proof of a positive test result within at least 14 days and no more than 90 days prior to arrival, and present the results to the air crew prior to boarding their flight. Any passenger failing to comply with the Interim Order could be subject to fines of up to $5,000 per violation.

The Government of Canada continues to strongly advise Canadians that this is not the time to travel. Transport Canada will continue to investigate incidents reported to the department and will not hesitate to take enforcement action where it is warranted.

Volaris: 107% of 2019 capacity with 82% load factor in April 2021 Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Volaris: 107% of 2019 capacity with 82% load factor in April 2021 30

In the domestic Mexican market, demand continued to recoverInternational capacity decreased 16.7% versus April 2019Volaris transported 1.9 million passengers in April 2021

Volaris, the ultra-low-cost airline serving Mexico, the United States and Central America, reports April 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 17.8% more ASMs (Available Seat Miles) than in April 2019. International capacity decreased 16.7% versus April 2019, as a result of COVID-19 related international travel restrictions. Total capacity for the month of April measured by ASMs was 107.3% of the same month in 2019. Demand measured by RPMs (Revenue Passenger Miles) was 104.6% as compared to the same month in 2019. Volaris transported 1.9 million passengers in April 2021, 3.3% higher than April 2019, and the booked load factor was 82.4%.

Volaris’ President and Chief Executive Officer, Enrique Beltranena, commenting on the traffic results for April 2021, said: “Our recovery was sustained in April and we believe there is room for improvement in the trans-border US market during the following months. We are gradually seeing a better booking trend as customers make plans for spring and summer travel, especially in our core VFR and leisure segments.”
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 April 2021.

April 2020VariationApril 2019VariationYTD April 2021YTD April 2020VariationYTD April 2019VariationRPMs (in millions, scheduled &charter)Domestic1,423425.5%13.1%4,67919.0%0.7%International409748.7%-17.1%1,355-12.8%-26.8%Total1,832474.4%4.6%6,03410.0%-7.1%ASMs (in millions, scheduled &charter)Domestic1,701480.2%17.8%5,73926.2%6.0%International523627.6%-16.7%1,865-2.6%-21.0%Total2,224509.2%7.3%7,60417.7%-2.2%Load Factor (in %, scheduled,RPMs/ASMs)Domestic83.7%(8.7) pp(3.5) pp81.5%(4.9) pp(4.2) ppInternational78.3%11.2 pp(0.4) pp72.7%(8.5) pp(5.9) ppTotal82.4%(5.0) pp(2.2) pp79.4%(5.5) pp(4.2) ppPassengers (in thousands,scheduled & charter)Domestic1,606478.8%6.7%5,20315.4%-5.5%International306952.0%-11.7%981-8.9%-24.9%Total1,912523.8%3.3%6,18310.7%-9.2%

Vaccinations revive international travel Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Vaccinations revive international travel 31

Countries that make clear promises to welcome vaccinated travelers are being rewarded by strong surges in flight bookingsGreece, and Iceland have announced that they will welcome vaccinated visitors this summer have seen inbound flight bookings pick up dramaticallyThe correlation between vaccination rates and outbound travel is strong

According to the latest industry analysis of the most recent fight booking data available, vaccinations appear to hold the key to reviving international travel.
Two destinations, Greece, and Iceland, which have announced that they will welcome vaccinated visitors this summer have seen inbound flight bookings pick up dramatically from the moment of their announcements.

Three origin markets, Israel, the US and the UK, where vaccination campaigns are particularly well advanced, have seen outbound flight bookings climb more steeply than elsewhere.
Greece, whose economy is highly dependent on tourism, has led the way in announcing a willingness to welcome visitors who have been vaccinated, passed a COVID-19 test or recovered from the disease.
That public position has been rewarded in flight bookings from major outbound markets such as the US and the UK. For example, it tops the list of most popular destinations for British travellers this summer; so much so that confirmed tickets for travel between July and September are currently 12% ahead of where they were at the equivalent moment in 2019.

Furthermore, analysis of the most resilient destinations in Europe this summer reveals that seven of the top ten cities are Greek, with the island of Mykonos leading the list, with summer bookings currently standing at 54.9% of what they were at the equivalent point, pre-pandemic.
It is followed by the Spanish island, Ibiza, where bookings are at 49.2%. The next eight destinations in order of resilience are Chania (GR) 48.9%, Thira (GR) 48.1%, Kerkyra (GR) 47.5%, Thessaloniki (GR) 43.7%, Palma de Mallorca (ES) 41.2%, Heraklion (GR) 36.6%, Athens (GR) 33.2% and Faro (PT) 32.8%.

LATAM Group: Zero waste to landfill by 2027 and carbon neutral by 2050 Aviation Feature, Aviation News

LATAM Group: Zero waste to landfill by 2027 and carbon neutral by 2050 32

LATAM and TNC will collaborate in order to identify conservation projects, protect iconic ecosystemsBefore 2023, the group will eliminate single-use plastics, recycle all waste on domestic flights, make its LATAM lounges 100% sustainableLATAM Group will expand its Solidarity Plane program for free transportation of people and cargo for the health, environmental care and natural disasters sectors

Achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, zero waste to landfill by 2027 and protecting iconic ecosystems in South America, are some of the commitments that are part of the LATAM Group Sustainability Strategy, launched today.
“We are facing a critical moment in the history of humanity, with a serious climate crisis and a pandemic that has changed our society. Today, it is not enough to do the usual. As a group we have the responsibility to go further in the search for collective solutions. We want to be an actor that promotes the social, environmental and economic development of the region; therefore, we are assuming a commitment that seeks to contribute to the conservation of ecosystems and the well-being of the people of South America, making it a better place for all of them,” said Roberto Alvo, CEO of LATAM Airlines Group.

One of the most important announcements was the first stage of a collaboration with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), to plan conservation and reforestation actions in iconic ecosystems in the region. TNC is a global environmental organization that works based on science, creating solutions for the most urgent challenges of our planet, so that nature and people may prosper together. 
“With more than 35 years of experience in Latin America, our scientific studies have shown that forest restoration and regeneration can efficiently contribute to the Nationally Determined Contributions’ (NDCs) goals. TNC believes that multisectorial collaboration accelerates the implementation of nature-based solutions to mitigate the impacts of climate change, protect biodiversity, and develop a more prosperous future for people in the region,” said Ian Thompson, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Brazil.
A strategy for the next 30 years

The sustainability strategy for the next 30 years includes four pillars of work: environmental management, climate change, circular economy and shared value. The lines of action were designed collaboratively with experts and environmental organizations from across the region.
Regarding the climate change pillar, the group announced that it will work to reduce its emissions through the incorporation of sustainable fuels and new aviation technologies that are expected to be available beginning 2035. “The environment cannot wait 15 years to have the necessary technologies to reduce emissions. This is why we will work in parallel to promote these transformations and offset our emissions through nature-based solutions,” said Roberto Alvo, CEO of LATAM Airlines Group.

Safe air travel: Tips for reducing risk of infection while flying Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Safe air travel: Tips for reducing risk of infection while flying 33

Book to fly when it is the least crowdedDon’t fly if you might be sickRemember to bring supplies

The latest numbers from the TSA show passenger counts more than 1 million per day every day since March 9th of this year.  This is good news for the travel industry, and the traveling public.  But while consumers are increasingly ready for the excitement of travel to come back into their lives, heightened awareness of  hygiene-related safety protocols should remain top of mind.
Airlines and airports worldwide have instituted protocols and requirements to help keep the flying public safe. To aid in continued safety vigilance, air travel experts are sharing their top tips for strategies to reduce the risk of infection while flying.

Tip No. 1:  Book to fly when it is the least crowded.  Flights leaving between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. often have smaller passenger numbers.  Earlier flights can be filled with deal seekers, and airports are traditionally the busiest between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.  Further reduce exposure to large crowds by flying on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, traditionally the slowest days of the week for air travel.
Tip No. 2:  Do not fly if you might be sick.  Your immune system is weaker when you are sick, so if you are feeling under the weather, put off travel to another day.
Tip No. 3:  Use Contactless Check-In at the airport, and everywhere else.  Check in for your flight before you arrive at the airport, then use self-check to drop off your bags.  Download your boarding pass to your phone and sign up for text alerts to notify you of gate or schedule changes from your travel provider.
Tip No. 4: Keep social distance at the airport and on the plane. You will want to keep at least six feet distance between yourself and other passengers whenever possible. Always keep your mask on and consider wearing a face shield. If you have a longer layover, think about renting an airport pod, if available, to limit the number of people you encounter. Once you get on the plane and have sanitized your space, then sit down and do not leave your seat during the flight.
Tip No. 5: Don’t fly if you might be sick. Your immune system is weaker when you are sick. Even if you just have a little under-the-weather feeling, you are putting yourself at higher risk to catch other illnesses. If tests are available for diseases that make people ill in your area or the area you are going to, then get tested before you start traveling. After all, ruining a trip by being sick is no fun at all.
Tip No. 6: Remember to bring supplies. Prepare to keep yourself healthier by bringing some supplies with you in your carry-on bag. You can bring up to three ounces of hand sanitizer. Choose an option that has at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropyl alcohol. You should also bring a mask to wear on the plane. Wearing gloves helps you avoid contact with contaminated surfaces. You will also want to pack along a small container of disinfecting wipes to wipe down your seat, video screen, buttons, seat belt and other surfaces that you might touch during the flight.
With COVID-19 still prevalent, be sure to check local travel regulations and notices for any restrictions, rules, and safety guidelines that may be in place. For additional information please visit the CDC website for up-to-date health and wellness information. 

National Airways Corporation acquires a 25% stake in Discovery Jets Aviation Feature, Aviation News

National Airways Corporation acquires a 25% stake in Discovery Jets 34

Discovery Jets is a Jet Management Company based in Fort Lauderdale, FloridaDiscovery Jets has grown from strength to strength since its inception in 2016Discovery Jets operates an expanding fleet of VIP corporate jets across North America, Central America and the Caribbean

National Airways Corporation (NAC) announced the acquisition of a 25% stake in Discovery Jets, the fast growing Jet Management Company based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Discovery Jets has grown from strength to strength since its inception in 2016 and it now operates an expanding fleet of VIP corporate jets across North America, Central America and the Caribbean with an imminent expansion into the long-range market.
Martin Banner, CEO of NAC said, “In our 75th year, we are very proud to announce this acquisition, in line with our strategy of expanding our global footprint. We will be working very closely with Cheryl, Darren and their team to expand the range of service offerings, mirroring what we do at NAC where appropriate. Being a partner in this business with a Part 135 license in the USA is going to be an exciting growth opportunity for us. We welcome Discovery Jets to our NAC family, and we look forward to working closely with them to maximize the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Darren Banham, CEO of Discovery Jets says “We have worked closely with NAC for almost 18 months and their likeminded mentality and synergy with the industry made for a very attractive business partnership. The wealth of experience that Discovery Jets has direct access to, will without doubt, shorten our path to becoming a key and fundamental operator within the North, South and Central American markets while expanding our fleet conservatively to accommodate the demand.”

Families of Boeing crash victims demand Biden and Buttigieg replace FAA management Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Families of Boeing crash victims demand Biden and Buttigieg replace FAA management 35

Victims’ families demand replacement of FAA Administrator Steven Dickson and Safety Director Ali BahramiThe demand was delivered to the Department of Transportation (DOT) todayFamilies expressed disappointment that the administration has not yet changed the existing management team at FAA

More than 900 family members and friends from across the world who lost loved ones in the March 2019 crash of a Boeing 737 MAX jet (Flight ET302) in Ethiopia have signed a letter demanding that President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg replace FAA Administrator Steven Dickson, Safety Director Ali Bahrami and other top leadership at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 
The demand was delivered to the Department of Transportation (DOT) today in a meeting between top DOT officials and several ET302 victims’ family members from France, Ireland, Canada and the U.S. The families expressed disappointment that the administration has not yet changed the existing dysfunctional, pro-industry management team at FAA and that this must be done to restore confidence in the agency.  The morning meeting lasted well over an hour.

Michael Stumo and Nadia Milleron of Massachusetts who lost their daughter Samya Rose Stumo, Chris Moore of Canada who lost his daughter Danielle, Ike Riffel of California who lost his two sons Melvin and Bennett, Javier DeLuis of Massachusetts who lost his sister Graziella and others from Ireland and France – participated in the video meeting.
“It is astounding that the current leadership is still in place several months after the Biden administration took over,” said Chris Moore. “Congressional committees said the FAA took an adversarial position with them. Internal FAA surveys show the management is to pro-industry, giving short shrift to engineering safety.”
“A new team must replace Administrator Steve Dickson, Ali Bahrami (Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety); Earl Lawrence (Executive director, Aircraft Certification Service) and Mike Romanowski (Policy and Innovation Division Director, Aircraft Certification Service,” said the 900-plus signatories in the letter.

“We find it difficult to believe that Ali Bahrami is still the FAA Safety Director,” said Nadia Milleron. “FAA staff have complained that he is too protective of Boeing, he claimed to have no knowledge of the FAA risk assessment projecting 15 more crashes after the JT610 crash, and he told my son and me that FAA did everything right.  Obviously, they did not.”

United Airlines expands India relief efforts Aviation Feature, Aviation News

United Airlines expands India relief efforts 36

United announces launch of new online fundraising campaignUnited is working directly with its partner organizations, as well as engaging with community leadersUnited supports victims of COVID-19 crisis in India

Today, United Airlines expanded its efforts to support those impacted by the COVID-19 crisis in India with the launch of a new online fundraising campaign. Customers can donate to the airline’s relief partners: Airlink, Americares, GlobalGiving Foundation and World Central Kitchen. United is offering up to 5 million bonus miles to encourage MileagePlus® members to support this effort and will match each donation up to a total of $40,000 in cash donations. In addition, United is currently the only U.S. airline serving India, and over the last few days has helped transport more than 300,000 pounds of critical medical supplies to the region.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have been committed to leveraging our resources and relationships to provide support to communities hit hardest by COVID-19,” said Luc Bondar, vice president of marketing & loyalty and president of MileagePlus at United Airlines. “As India faces this crisis, our generous customers, employees and MileagePlus members have stepped forward to ask how they can support those in need, and we are proud and humbled to facilitate this critical work.”

United is working directly with its partner organizations, as well as engaging with community leaders to assist the impacted communities. Focus areas for some of the airline’s partners include:
Airlink: Transportation of medical supplies and PPEAmericares: Supporting COVID-19 treatment facilities, donating critical medical equipment, PPE and supplies for health workers and educating the community on COVID-19 prevention and vaccinationWorld Central Kitchen: Hot meal distribution to health care workers by partnering with local restaurants
In addition to its fundraising efforts, United will also continue to leverage its cargo operations to transport greatly needed medical equipment to the region. Between April 28 and May 2, United operated 20 flights that transported more than 300,000 pounds of medical supplies to India. This included donations from the U.S. India Chamber of Commerce and the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce in Houston that brought 50 ventilators through the USICOC Foundation to the Indian Red Cross Society. United is continuing to coordinate humanitarian cargo efforts with partner, Airlink, which provides tactical coordination to help break through supply chain barriers to execute rapid response airlifts of humanitarian aid. United has proudly served India since 2005 and employs more than 300 individuals in the country. The online campaign platform is currently scheduled to be available for donations through June 15. United will continue to evaluate how it can provide support to the region.

Turkey and Russia to hold talks in Antalya on tourism and flight restrictions Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Turkey and Russia to hold talks in Antalya on tourism and flight restrictions 37

From April 15 through June 1, Russia is limiting regular air service with TurkeyFlight restrictions don’t not have any political implication, Kremlin claimsRussian-Turkish expert group on tourism safety to meet in Antalya

According to Turkish Ambassador to Russia Mehmet Samsar, Ankara has proposed to Kremlin to hold a meeting of Russian-Turkish expert group on tourism safety in Antalya in the second half of May in order to demonstrate safety measures and enhancements undertaken by Turkish authorities.
“Last week, we sent our official invitation to the meeting of the Turkish-Russian working subgroup on tourism safety which was planned for April but had been postponed, with a proposal to hold it in the second half of May in Antalya so that Russian authorities can see the undertaken measures and don’t have any remaining issues,” the ambassador said.

From April 15 through June 1, Russia is limiting regular air service with Turkey ‘due to a new coronavirus outbreak there.’ The number of flights was reduced to two per week on a mutual basis.
Kremlin is denying political context behind Russia’s decision to restrict flights to Turkey. Russia’s decision to restrict passenger flights to Turkey has no political implication and is prompted solely by a ‘spike in the COVID-19 cases’ in that country, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
“No, it does not [have a political implication],” the Kremlin official said when asked if the restrictions have a political implication, in particular that related to the recent statements of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Ukrainian issue.

“The situation is solely epidemiological in nature,” Peskov declared.

High COVID-19 testing costs could stall international travel recovery Aviation Feature, Aviation News

High COVID-19 testing costs could stall international travel recovery 38

Only France complied with WHO recommendation for the state to bear the cost of testing for travelersThe average minimum cost for testing was $90The average maximum cost for testing was $208

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on governments to ensure that high costs for COVID-19 testing don’t put travel out of reach for individuals and families. To facilitate an efficient restart of international travel, COVID-19 testing must be affordable as well as timely, widely available and effective.
An IATA sampling of costs for PCR tests (the test most frequently required by governments) in 16 countries showed wide variations by markets and within markets. Findings include:

Of the markets surveyed, only France complied with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation for the state to bear the cost of testing for travelers.
Of the 15 markets where there is a cost for PCR testing to the individualThe average minimum cost for testing was $90.The average maximum cost for testing was $208.
Even taking the average of the low-end costs, adding PCR testing to average airfares would dramatically increase the cost of flying for individuals. Pre-crisis, the average one-way airline ticket, including taxes and charges, cost $200 (2019 data). A $90 PCR test raises the cost by 45% to $290. Add another test on arrival and the one-way cost would leap by 90% to $380. Assuming that two tests are needed in each direction, the average cost for an individual return-trip could balloon from $400 to $760. 
The impact of the costs of COVID-19 testing on family travel would be even more severe. Based on average ticket prices ($200) and average low-end PCR testing ($90) twice each way, a journey for four that would have cost $1,600 pre-COVID, could nearly double to $3,040—with $1440 being testing costs.
“As travel restrictions are lifted in domestic markets, we are seeing strong demand. The same can be expected in international markets. But that could be perilously compromised by testing costs—particularly PCR testing. Raising the cost of any product this significantly will stifle demand. The impact will be greatest for short haul trips (up to 1,100 km), with average fares of $105, the tests will cost more than the flight. That’s not what you want to propose to travelers as we emerge from this crisis. Testing costs must be better managed. That’s critical if governments want to save tourism and transport jobs; and avoid limiting travel freedoms to the wealthy,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

IATA: Air cargo demand reaches all time high in March 2021 Aviation Feature, Aviation News

IATA: Air cargo demand reaches all time high in March 2021 39

March demand reached the highest level recorded since the series began in 1990Weaker performance by Asia-Pacific and African carriers contributed to softer growth in MarchGlobal capacity, measured in available cargo ton-kilometers (ACTKs), continued to recover in March

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released March 2021 data for global air cargo markets showing that air cargo demand continued to outperform pre-COVID levels (March 2019) with demand up 4.4%. March demand reached the highest level recorded since the series began in 1990. Month-on-month demand also increased albeit at a slower pace than the previous month with volumes up 0.4% in March over February 2021 levels.   
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 March 2019 which followed a normal demand pattern.

Global demand, measured in cargo ton-kilometers (CTKs), was up 4.4% compared to March 2019 and 0.4% compared to February 2021. This was a slower rate of growth than the previous month, which saw demand increase 9.2% compared to February 2019. A weaker performance by Asia-Pacific and African carriers compared to February contributed to softer growth in March. 
Global capacity, measured in available cargo ton-kilometers (ACTKs), continued to recover in March, up 5.6% compared to the previous month. Despite this, capacity remans 11.7% below pre-COVID-19 levels (March 2019) due to the ongoing grounding of passenger aircraft. Airlines continue to use dedicated freighters to plug the lack of available belly-capacity. International capacity from dedicated freighters rose 20.6% in March 2021 compared to the same month in 2019 and belly-cargo capacity of passenger aircraft dropped by 38.4%.
Underlying economic conditions remain supportive for air cargo:
This is evidenced in the new export orders component of the manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) which stood at 53.4 in March. Results above 50 indicate manufacturing growth versus the prior month. Demand for exports grew broadly in March. This was concentrated in developed countries during January and February.Delivery times for manufactured goods are increasing which normally indicates increased demand for air cargo in efforts to reduce shipping time.Global trade rose 0.3% in February – the ninth consecutive monthly increase and the longest continuous growth in more than two decades.
“Air cargo continues to be the bright spot for aviation. Demand reached an all-time high in March, up 4.4% compared to pre-COVID levels (March, 2019). And airlines are taking all measures to find the needed capacity. The crisis has shown that air cargo can meet fundamental challenges by adopting innovations quickly. That is how it is meeting growing demand even as much of the passenger fleet remains grounded. The sector needs to retain this momentum post-crisis to drive the sector’s long-term efficiency with digitalization,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.  

IATA: Domestic air travel demand sees upsurge in March but international travel still down Aviation Feature, Aviation News

IATA: Domestic air travel demand sees upsurge in March but international travel still down 40

International passenger demand in March was 87.8% below March 2019International traffic remained largely restrictedTotal domestic demand was down 32.3% versus pre-crisis levels

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

Total demand for air travel in March 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was down 67.2% compared to March 2019. That was an improvement over the 74.9% decline recorded in February 2021 versus February 2019. The better performance was driven by gains in domestic markets, particularly China. International traffic remained largely restricted.International passenger demand in March was 87.8% below March 2019, a very small improvement from the 89.0% decline recorded in February 2021 versus two years ago. Total domestic demand was down 32.3% versus pre-crisis levels (March 2019), greatly improved over February 2021, when domestic traffic was down 51.2% versus the 2019 period. All markets except Brazil and India showed improvement compared to February 2021, with China being the key contributor, as already noted. 
“The positive momentum we saw in some key domestic markets in March is an indication of the strong recovery we are anticipating in international markets as travel restrictions are lifted. People want and need to fly. And we can be optimistic that they will do so when restrictions are removed,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General. 

Lufthansa Group and BASF roll out sharkskin technology Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Lufthansa Group and BASF roll out sharkskin technology 41

Lufthansa Technik and BASF succeed in making the breakthrough as part of a joint projectAeroSHARK is a surface film that mimics the fine structure of a shark’s skinAeroSHARK is to be rolled out on Lufthansa Cargo’s entire freighter fleet in 2022

The lower the frictional resistance of an aircraft in the air, the lower the fuel consumption. Using nature as a role model, the aviation industry has been intensively researching ways to reduce aerodynamic drag for many years. Now Lufthansa Technik and BASF have succeeded in making the breakthrough as part of a joint project. AeroSHARK, a surface film that mimics the fine structure of a shark’s skin, is to be rolled out on Lufthansa Cargo’s entire freighter fleet from the beginning of 2022, making the aircraft more economical and reducing emissions.
The surface structure consisting of riblets measuring around 50 micrometers imitates the properties of sharkskin and therefore optimizes the aerodynamics on flow-related parts of the aircraft. This means that less fuel is needed overall. For Lufthansa Cargo’s Boeing 777F freighters, Lufthansa Technik estimates a drag reduction of more than one percent. For the entire fleet of ten aircraft, this translates to annual savings of around 3,700 tons of kerosene and just under 11,700 tons of CO2 emissions, which is the equivalent of 48 individual freight flights from Frankfurt to Shanghai.

“Responsibility for the environment and society is a key strategic topic for us,” says Christina Foerster, Member of the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG with responsibility for sustainability. “We have always played a leading role in introducing environmentally friendly technologies. The new sharkskin technology for aircraft shows what strong and highly innovative partners can achieve collectively for the environment. This will help us to achieve our goal of climate neutrality by 2050.”
“The aviation industry is facing similar challenges to the chemical industry: ongoing progress must be made with climate protection despite high energy requirements. By collaborating closely and successfully combining our know-how in surface design and aerodynamics, we have now succeeded in taking a major step forward. This is an excellent example of sustainability in practice, achieved through partnership-based collaboration and innovative technologies,” says Dr. Markus Kamieth, Member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF.
“We are proud that we will now be able to operate our entire freighter fleet even more efficiently in the future thanks to sharkskin technology and reduce the carbon footprint of our modern fleet further. The investments we have made in rolling out AeroSHARK at Lufthansa Cargo consciously reaffirm our commitment to the United Nation’s sustainable development goal on climate action,” explainsDorothea von Boxberg, Chief Executive Officer of Lufthansa Cargo AG.

Uganda suspends travel to and from India Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Uganda suspends travel to and from India 42

Following the surge of COVID-19 cases taking place in India, Uganda has stopped all travel to and from the country.Fly Emirates and Kenya Airways which fly out of Entebbe International Airport in Uganda announced similar measures.Regardless of the route, all travelers who may have been in India or traveled through India in the last 14 days shall not be allowed into Uganda.

This was announced over the weekend by the Honorable Minister of Health (MOH), Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, following the first recorded case of the India strain of the coronavirus.  
Earlier in the week, Fly Emirates and Kenya Airways which fly out of Entebbe International Airport, had announced similar measures following related concerns last week.

“Further to the existing COVID-19 control measures, all travelers and passengers originating from India shall not be allowed into Uganda starting at midnight of May 1, 2021,” she said.
This is regardless of the route of travel. In addition, all travelers who may have been in India or traveled through India in the last 14 days regardless of route taken shall not be allowed into Uganda.

Qatar Airways Cargo convoy flies medical aid and equipment to India Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Qatar Airways Cargo convoy flies medical aid and equipment to India 43

300 tons of aid from around the world departed in a three-aircraft cargo convoy from Doha to IndiaConvoy is part of the freight carrier’s WeQare initiativeCargo shipment included PPE equipment, oxygen canisters and other essential medical items

Three Qatar Airways Cargo Boeing 777 freighters departed to India today, carrying approximately 300 tons of medical supplies from around the world to support COVID-19 relief efforts. The three flights departed one after the other bound for Bengaluru, Mumbai and New Delhi as part of Qatar Airways Cargo’s WeQare initiative.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “Having seen with great sorrow the impact this further wave of COVID-19 infections has had on people in India, we knew we had to be part of the global effort to support the valiant health care workers in the country.

“As the leading air cargo carrier in the world, we are in a unique position to offer immediate humanitarian support through the provision of aircraft to transport much needed medical supplies, as well as coordinating logistical arrangements. We hope today’s shipment and further shipments in the weeks to come will help ease the burden on local medical workers and provide relief to the impacted communities in India.”
Ambassador of India to Qatar, His Excellency Ambassador Dr. Deepak Mittal, said: “We deeply appreciate the gesture of Qatar Airways to carry free of charge essential medical supplies to India and supporting the fight against COVID-19.”
Today’s cargo shipment included PPE equipment, oxygen canisters and other essential medical items, and consists of donations by individuals and companies around the world in addition to existing cargo orders.

Lufthansa Group purchases 10 highly efficient long-haul aircraft Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Lufthansa Group purchases 10 highly efficient long-haul aircraft 44

Lufthansa Group announces purchase of five Airbus A350-900s and five Boeing 787-9 aircraftAircraft contribute strongly to enhancing sustainability by reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions by 30 percentLufthansa Group fleet: less aircraft model variety, more efficiency

Lufthansa Group is accelerating the modernization of its fleet. New, highly cost and fuel-efficient aircraft are replacing older types on short, medium and long-haul routes. As a result, the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG decided to buy ten long-haul aircraft: five Airbus A350-900s and five Boeing B787-9. The Supervisory Board approved the purchase today. These aircraft will be operated by Lufthansa Airline and strengthen the 5-star premium offer of the Group’s core brand.
As part of the long-standing fleet renewal program, a total of 175 new aircraft will be delivered to Lufthansa Group airlines this decade.

Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, said:
“Even in these challenging times, we are continuing to invest in a more modern, more efficient and a lower emission Lufthansa Group fleet. At the same time, we are pushing ahead with the modernization of our long-haul fleet even faster than planned prior to the coronavirus pandemic due to anticyclical opportunities. The new aircraft are the most modern of their kind. We want to further expand our global leadership role, among other things, with cutting-edge premium products and a state-of-the-art fleet – especially because we have a responsibility to the environment.”
Boeing 787-9

The first Boeing 787-9 are scheduled to fly for Lufthansa as early as next winter, with others to follow in the first half of 2022. Today’s decision brings the total number of firm orders for Boeing 787-9s and Boeing 777-9s to 45 aircraft.
Due to the dramatic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on global aviation, aircraft that had been ordered by some airlines could not be delivered in the past twelve months. Lufthansa held talks with Boeing and found a way to buy five 787-9 that were already manufactured. At the same time, the Group reached an agreement with Boeing on a restructured delivery plan.

NASA Johnson Space Center Director is stepping down Aviation Feature, Aviation News

NASA Johnson Space Center Director is stepping down 45

Mark Geyer is the recipient of the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, and Meritorious and Distinguished Presidential Rank AwardsGeyer’s career has included key positions in the International Space Station ProgramVanessa Wyche will serve as acting director

Mark Geyer, director of NASA‘s Johnson Space Center, is stepping down from his position leading the center to focus more time on his health and family in light of a cancer diagnosis.
“Mark has had an exceptional impact on this agency, leading the nation’s key human spaceflight programs for decades. Under Mark’s leadership, Johnson has moved the United States into a new era of human space exploration,” said NASA Administrator Sen. Bill Nelson. “We’re fortunate to continue to have Mark and his decades of expertise serving the agency in his new role as senior advisor to the associate administrator.”

“It has been my honor to lead the Johnson Space Center team,” Geyer said. “JSC is a group of extremely talented professionals all dedicated to the mission of expanding human exploration of the solar system. The diverse scope of work they accomplished and the challenges they overcame inspired me every day.  I have been so blessed to work here.” 
Before being named to lead Johnson in May 2018, Geyer’s career has included key positions in the International Space Station Program, serving as program manager of the Orion Program, and supporting the agency as deputy associate administrator in the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. He is the recipient of the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, and Meritorious and Distinguished Presidential Rank Awards.
Vanessa Wyche, who has served as deputy director of Johnson since August 2018, will serve as acting director. Before becoming deputy director, Wyche, a 31-year NASA veteran, served as assistant center director, director of the center’s Exploration Integration and Science Directorate, worked in the executive office of the NASA administrator, served as a flight manager for multiple space shuttle missions, and has led other center-level technical and program organizations.

European Commission urges EU countries to reopen to vaccinated foreign travelers Aviation Feature, Aviation News

European Commission urges EU countries to reopen to vaccinated foreign travelers 46

People fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should be allowed to enter EUCurrently the European Medicines Agency has granted emergency approval for Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & JohnsonYravelers will only be allowed to enter EU if they are coming from a country with a ‘good epidemiological situation’

People fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should be allowed travel to and within the European Union, provided that the coronavirus outbreak has been sufficiently quelled in the country they are traveling from, the European Commission (EC) said today.
The EC today advised the European Union countries to lift restrictions on “non-essential” travel for foreigners who have received all necessary doses of a vaccine authorized for use within the EU, at least 14 days before arrival. Brussels added that states could choose to extend the guideline to include all vaccines that have been signed off by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use. Currently the European Medicines Agency has granted emergency approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson jabs.

The proposal also said that European Union states that choose to waive coronavirus testing or quarantine requirements for vaccinated EU citizens should extend the policy to vaccinated travelers from outside the bloc. 
However, travelers will only be allowed to enter the European Union if they are coming from a country with a “good epidemiological situation.” The bloc’s executive leadership said that as the health crisis improves worldwide, it hopes to raise the threshold of new coronavirus cases used to determine which countries will be greenlit for cross-border travel. The list will be reviewed and updated every two weeks. 
The EC said that until its ‘green certificate’ vaccine passport system is fully implemented, member states should accept proof of vaccination from non-EU countries, provided the documentation can be authenticated and contains all relevant data. Member states could create web portals that will allow foreign travelers to ask for recognition of a vaccine passport from a non-EU state, as well as request a green certificate once it comes into use. 

United Airlines awarding millions of miles to healthcare workers Aviation Feature, Aviation News

United Airlines awarding millions of miles to healthcare workers 47

United Airlines is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the MileagePlus program this monthMileagePlus has evolved to meet the ever-changing needs of our members as well as reward their loyaltyUnited is giving away four million miles to essential healthcare workers

United Airlines is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the MileagePlus program this month, and to recognize this milestone the airline is giving away four million miles to essential healthcare workers. The contest will recognize four deserving healthcare workers with one million miles each. In addition, United is showing its appreciation to MileagePlus members around the world with domestic and international fare sales, surprise customer giveaways and 10 exclusive promotions with MileagePlus partners.
“Throughout the past forty years, MileagePlus has evolved to meet the ever-changing needs of our members as well as reward their loyalty,” said Luc Bondar, vice president of marketing & loyalty and president of MileagePlus at United Airlines. “That’s why we celebrate this major milestone by offering our members generous promotions throughout May. We’re also taking this occasion to launch the contest to show appreciation for the healthcare workers who stepped up to protect our communities during the pandemic.”

Essential Healthcare Worker Contest
From now until May 17, 2021, customers are invited to nominate any frontline healthcare worker in the U.S. that goes above and beyond to make a difference for their community and embody some of United’s core values including:
Safe: They make the world a safer place for everyone around them.Caring: They show appreciation for all members of their community by being welcoming, kind and compassionate.Dependable: They’re the person you can rely on for anything, big or small.Determined (Efficient): They keep things going even when the going gets tough.
Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of expert judges comprised of Dr. Pat Baylis, corporate medical director at United, Luc Bondar, and Dr. Jim Merlino, chief clinical transformation officer at Cleveland Clinic. Four winners will be announced in June and each will receive 1 million MileagePlus miles, which never expire like all MileagePlus miles, allowing these heroes to book award flights to more than 1,000 destinations when they are ready to travel. The contest is just the latest way the airline is showing support for healthcare workers during the pandemic; in 2020, United flew more than 3,000 healthcare workers to hotspots around the U.S. and Guam to be on the frontlines of battling COVID-19. 

Health Without Borders launched by World Tourism Network Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Health Without Borders launched by World Tourism Network 48

The World Tourism Network (WTN) started its initiative Health Without Borders | Santé sans FrontiersNo one is safe until everyone is safe. Tourism, business travel, and the MICE industry will not be back until everyone is safe.The key to re-launch tourism is a vaccination opportunity for everyone in our interconnected world.
Some may say the COVID-19 issue is exclusively an issue for Health Authorities, or Domestic and Foreign ministries. eTurboNews earlier reported about the unequal distribution of the vaccine.
World Tourism Network believes the global travel and tourism industry should be very much part of the discussion. COVID-19 is affecting the travel industry like no other sector.

Because there is no way to separate travel from the world’s current, or future pandemics, and tourism is about bringing people together, the WTN recognizes the need for the global travel and tourism industry to become an integrated part of the decision making and policy process in a response to the current COVID-19 and should there be future pandemics.
The world’s Statemen and Nobel laureates recognize that in an interconnected world No one is safe until everyone is safe.
In the modern world, the travel and tourism industry plays an essential role in this vision. It is for this reason that the WTN’s international project “Health without Borders/ Santé sans Frontiers” seeks universal vaccine coverage for all people around the world.

The WTN aligns with the idea the “travel and tourism” industry supports an international focus on countries and regions unable to get full access to the vaccine.The WTN, representing international small and medium-sized businesses around the world recognizes that these are the first businesses to suffer during a pandemic and travel closure.The WTN pledges its efforts not only to increase cooperation between countries by working closely with stakeholders, but it also seeks to facilitate the international movement of tourists by addressing restrictive travel barriers and fostering mutual understanding and collaboration.The WTN extends its hand not only to other organizations and initiatives in the travel and tourism industry but to NGO’s, health professionals, government leaders, and the pharmaceutical industry.
WTN’s “Health without Borders” initiative seeks a world with greater international cooperation, thus allowing people a safe and healthy world in which to exercise their human right to travel.
One step toward this goal is universal vaccination thus creating global herd immunity.
The WTN encourages all to join in as it seeks a more humane world and a world in which the global tourism industry can help the world to see the first blossoms of greater health and prosperity.

WTN will be inviting ministers of tourism and heads of tourism authorities later this month to meet virtually and take part in this important discussion. In the last 24 hours ministers from 10 countries already confirmed participation.

“Anyone interested in this subject has an opportunity to participate.
WTN is ready to listen and welcome experts and entrepreneurs. WTN is ready to shout if necessary. WTN is ready to cooperate with any government, organization, entity, or person that can assist and contribute. WTN is not a political organization.
“COVID-19 and tourism are connected and everyone’s business. It takes cooperation and communication to make this work,” says Juergen Steinmetz”, founder, and Chairman of WTN.
Click on the Health Without Border Interest Group for more information.Join the World Tourism Network so you can be part of this interest group from the very beginning.
Go to www.wtn.travel/register to become a member and check “Health Without Borders” as an interest group.
Visit www.wtn.travel and www.rebuilding.travel for more information.

Aeromexico obtains court approval on aircraft fleet transactions Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Aeromexico obtains court approval on aircraft fleet transactions 49

Aeromexico to add twenty-four new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to its fleetAeromexico to add four 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft to its fleetUnited States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York has approved Aeromexico’s entry into the Transactions

Grupo Aeroméxico, S.A.B. de C.V. announces that following the information disclosed on April 23, 2021, regarding Aeromexico’s agreement to increase its fleet with twenty-four (24) new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, including B737-8 and B737-9 MAX and four (4) 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft as part of its restructured agreements with the manufacturer and certain lessors and Aeromexico‘s related agreements with other suppliers and financial entities and collectively, the Company informs that the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, presiding over Aeromexico’s Chapter 11 voluntary financial restructuring process, has approved Aeromexico’s entry into the Transactions.
Aeromexico will continue pursuing, in an orderly manner, its voluntary financial restructuring through Chapter 11, while continuing to operate and offer services to its customers and contracting from its suppliers the goods and services required for operations. The Company will continue to strengthen its financial position and liquidity, protect and preserve its operations and assets, and implement the necessary adjustments to face the impact from COVID-19.

Grupo Aeroméxico, S.A.B. de C.V. is a holding company whose subsidiaries are engaged in commercial aviation in Mexico and the promotion of passenger loyalty programs. Aeromexico, Mexico’s global airline, has its main operations center in Terminal 2 of the Mexico City International Airport. Its destination network has reach in Mexico, the United States, Canada, Central America, South America, Asia and Europe. The Group’s current operating fleet includes Boeing 787 and 737 aircraft, as well as the latest generation Embraer 190. Aeromexico is a founding partner of SkyTeam, an alliance that celebrates 20 years and offers connectivity in more than 170 countries, through the 19 partner airlines. Aeromexico created and implemented a Health and Hygiene Management System (SGSH) to protect its clients and collaborators at all stages of its operation.

The India COVID horror virus calls for adjustments by airlines worldwide Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The India COVID horror virus calls for adjustments by airlines worldwide 50

The India COVID-19 variant carries two mutations including the L452R and E484Q which have been seen separately before in other variants but never together in one variant. In light of the spread of the B1.617 COVID variant, FlyersRights renewed its call for social distancing on planes and at airports in the United States, temperature checks, rapid testing, and waiver of change fees. The World Tourism Network wants IATA and ICAO to take this initiative on a global platform. In a letter to the US Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, FlyersRights.org highlighted how studies show that blocking middle seats significantly reduces the spread of COVID-19.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday that the state has confirmed the first case of the India variant of COVID-19 B1.617, which has been dubbed a “double-mutant” variant.
Working against it is a new double mutation version of the deadly COVID-19 virus making it spread faster and deadlier. In India, this version killed more than 200,000 people as of Wednesday and counted for a never-before-seen record of 362,757 new infections in just one day.

US-based Flyers Rights organization under the leadership of attorney Paul Hudson rang the alarm bells appealing to airlines to add safety features. For US airlines, Hudson wants the middle seat open again and additional measures to assure social distancing in airlines and airports.
Currently, many airlines fly at capacity on passenger flights in the United States. Leisure travel has been picking up tremendously.
Even though Flyers Rights specifically deals with US airlines only, World Tourism Network echoed the request to be implemented worldwide and in global cooperation. World Tourism Network is asking IATA and ICAO to support Flyers Rights.

Flyers Rights sent this urgent letter to US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg:
Read the full letter on the NEXT page.