Monthly Archives: April 2021

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 1

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.

Jamaica’s UK travel ban to be lifted starting May 1 Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Jamaica’s UK travel ban to be lifted starting May 1 2

The ban brought travel between Jamaica and the UK to a haSeveral countries around the globe have also been forced to institute similar travel bansSince reopening its borders last June, Jamaica has welcomed approximately 1.5million visitors

Jamaica’s travel ban on the United Kingdom (UK) that is slated to come to an end tomorrow, April 30, will not be extended. This means that the ban, which was instituted as part of the measures under Jamaica’s Disaster Risk Management Act, will be lifted as of May 1, 2021.
Speaking on the significance of the lifting of the ban, Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett said, “On Saturday May 1, Jamaica will reopen its borders to international visitors from the United Kingdom. This will enable the critical gateways of Heathrow and Gatwick airports, to have transit for passengers coming through and who are fully compliant with health and safety protocols required for international travel.”

The ban brought travel between Jamaica and the UK to a halt and was done as part of the island’s efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Several countries around the globe have also been forced to institute similar travel bans as apart of their COVID-19 management measures. However, with the global deployment of COVID-19 vaccines there has been an increase in confidence as it relates to travel and tourism.
“Jamaica’s position at this time is critical in relation to the opening up of the summer tourist season and in fact, the importance of enabling the diaspora, particularly the strong British clientele that have always come to the island. The lifting of the ban is also against the background of the improved vaccination program in the UK and the fact that pretty close to 50% of UK residents have received their second dose of vaccinations.”
Since reopening its borders last June, Jamaica has welcomed approximately 1.5million visitors under the island’s robust health and safety protocols.

“The opening of the borders is important in the context of not just Jamaica’s tourism but Caribbean tourism, as so many of these countries benefit from transiting through Jamaica for British and European nationals.
It is important also against the background of the recent call by the Caribbean Tourism Organization urging a review of the categorization of Caribbean countries by the UK; given the fact that we have the lowest death rates and highest recovery rates and exemplary COVID-19 management,” added Minister Bartlett.

Statia further opens up its borders Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Statia further opens up its borders 3

All incoming travelers must be fully vaccinateVisitors who are not fully vaccinated must go into quarantine for 10 daysThe third phase of the road map will start when 50% of the population of St. Eustatius is vaccinated

The Public Entity St. Eustatius will further open up its borders on Sunday, May 9th, 2021 by introducing the second phase of the road map. As of this date family members of residents and Statians that want to return home can enter the island. Also, visitors from Curaçao, Aruba, St. Maarten, Bonaire and Saba are welcomed to Statia. The only condition is that all incoming travelers must be fully vaccinated.
Everyone else can also visit Statia but must go into quarantine for 10 days if they are not fully vaccinated.

Third phase
The third phase of the road map does not have a starting date but will start when 50% of the population of St. Eustatius is vaccinated. When this is reached, fully vaccinated visitors can come to Statia without the mandatory quarantine of 10 days. Up till now in total 879 persons (which is 37%) received both doses of the Moderna vaccine.
Fourth phase

In the fourth phase everyone can enter the island, also not vaccinated visitors, without the need to go into quarantine. The condition is that the majority of the Statian residents must be vaccinated, which is 80%.
The easing of measures started on April 11, 2021 which was the first phase of the road map of the opening of the island. As of that day, Statian residents that are fully vaccinated do not need to go into quarantine anymore when entering Statia after traveling abroad.
Careful deliberation

The decision to further easy the measures was taken after careful deliberation and only after consulting the key partners involved. These are the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports in the Netherlands (VWS), the National Institute for Health and Environment (RIVM), the Public Health Department and the Crisis Management team in Statia.

St. Kitts & Nevis updates travel requirements for fully vaccinated international air travelers Aviation Feature, Aviation News

St. Kitts & Nevis updates travel requirements for fully vaccinated international air travelers 4

A traveler is considered fully vaccinated when two weeks have passed since receiving their second dosFully vaccinated air travelers will be asked to “Vacation in Place” at a Travel Approved hotel for only nine daysTraveler must complete the Travel Authorization Form on the national website

Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honorable Timothy Harris announced a change to the travel requirements for those International Travelers, arriving by air, who have been fully-vaccinated against COVID-19 effective May 1, 2021.
International travelers who are fully vaccinated are required to submit their official Vaccination Record Card when completing their travel authorization process at national website, in addition to their 72-hour RT-PCR test and other required arriving passenger documentation.

Please see below the travel requirements for international air travelers effective May 1, 2021:
A traveler is considered fully vaccinated when two weeks have passed since receiving their second dose of a two dose vaccine series (Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna or AstraZeneca/Oxford) or two weeks after they have received a single dose vaccine (Johnson + Johnson). The traveler’s official COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card will be accepted as proof.Fully vaccinated air travelers will be asked to “Vacation in Place” at a Travel Approved hotel for only nine (9) days vs. the current 14 days.Effective May 20, 2021 fully vaccinated air travelers will be allowed to enter the destination’s sporting venues.Traveler must complete the Travel Authorization Form on the national website and upload an official COVID-19 RT-PCR negative test result from a CLIA/CDC/UKAS approved lab accredited with ISO/IEC 17025 standard taken 72 hours prior to travel. For their trip, they should bring a copy of the negative COVID- 19 RT-PCR test and their COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card as proof of completion of their vaccination. Please note, acceptable COVID-19 PCR tests must be taken by nasopharyngeal sample. Self-samples, rapid tests, or home tests will be considered invalid.Undergo a health screening at the airport which includes a temperature check and a health questionnaire. Upon arrival, if a fully vaccinated traveler is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 during the health screening, they can be required to undergo a RT- PCR test at the airport at their own cost (150 USD).All fully vaccinated air travelers are free to move throughout the Travel Approved hotel, interact with other guests and partake in hotel activities only.Fully vaccinated air travelers staying beyond 9 days are required to be tested on day 9 (USD 150 visitors’ cost) of their stay and once their test is negative, they may integrate into the Federation participating in tours, attractions, restaurants, beach bars, retail shopping, etc.Effective May 1, 2021 fully vaccinated air travelers are not required to submit an exit RT-PCR test. If a pre-departure test is still required for the country of destination, the RT-PCR test will be taken 72 hours prior to departure. Example: If a person is staying 7 days, their pre-departure test will be on day 4; if a person is staying 14 days, their pre-departure test will be taken on day 11.

Seychelles now connected to Bucharest Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Seychelles now connected to Bucharest 5

Seychelles CEO welcomes first charter in a series connecting passengers to the island nation.Approximately 500 passengers will arrive within the next 4 weeks as the islands reopen tourism.Between March 15 and April 15, 2021, Seychelles has recorded 15,465 visitors disembarking on its shores.

The charter, first of a series, is expected for the next 4 weeks and will connect some 500 passengers to the small island destination, which has reopened its doors for tourism since March 2021. 
The passengers disembarked from the A320Neo aircraft, Pti Merl Dezil into sunny Seychelles and were entertained by a group of local dancers dressed in traditional attires performing cultural dances and songs. 

Making their arrival in paradise memorable, visitors received a small token from the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) while waiting for their documents to be processed by the health and immigration officers.

Do not take off your face mask just yet Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Do not take off your face mask just yet 6

The initial TSA face mask requirement went into effect on February 1 with an expiration date of May 11.The face mask extension requires face masks at airports, onboard commercial aircraft, on over-the-road buses, and on commuter bus and rail systems through September 13, 2021.CDC guidelines still require individuals to wear a face mask, socially distance, and wash their hands or use hand sanitizer.

“The federal mask requirement throughout the transportation system seeks to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation,” said Darby LaJoye, the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the TSA Administrator. “Right now, about half of all adults have at least one vaccination shot and masks remain an important tool in defeating this pandemic. We will continue to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to evaluate the need for these directives and recognize the significant level of compliance thus far.”
The CDC recently announced that fully vaccinated travelers with an FDA-authorized vaccine can travel safely within the U.S., but the CDC guidelines still require individuals to wear a face mask, socially distance, and wash their hands or use hand sanitizer. The extension of the face mask requirement is consistent with this most recent CDC guidance. TSA encourages all commuters, and airline and bus travelers, including people considering international travel, to stay up to date with any changes to these requirements by checking the TSA and CDC websites prior to taking their trip.

US Travel praises extension of federal mask mandate Aviation Feature, Aviation News

US Travel praises extension of federal mask mandate 7

Transportation Security Administration has extended travel mask mandate until September 13Masks to be worn on airplanes, in airports and on public transportationUniversal wearing of masks in an effective safeguard against spreading the virus and boosts public confidence in traveling
U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes issued the following statement on the announcement that the Transportation Security Administration has extended until September 13 the federal requirement that masks be worn on airplanes, in airports and on public transportation:
“Extending the federal mask mandate for travel is the right move and has the travel industry’s full support.

“The universal wearing of masks in the travel environment is both an effective safeguard against spreading the virus and boosts public confidence in traveling—both of which are paramount for generating a sustained reopening of the travel economy.”

Qatar Airways flies essential medical supplies to India free of charge Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Qatar Airways flies essential medical supplies to India free of charge 8

Qatar Airways intends to transport 300 tons of aid to IndiaCargo shipment will include PPE equipment, oxygen canisters, other essential medical itemsQatar Airways Cargo has already transported well over 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for UNICEF

Qatar Airways is supporting international efforts to tackle the second COVID-19 surge in India by shipping medical aid and equipment to the country free of charge from global suppliers. The airline intends to transport 300 tons of aid from across its global network to Doha where it will be flown in a three-flight cargo aircraft convoy directly to destinations in India where it is most desperately needed.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “The State of Qatar has a long and special relationship with India, and we have watched with great sorrow as COVID-19 has once again caused a significant challenge to the country.

“As one of the world air cargo leaders, with an extensive international network, we stand ready to provide humanitarian support by transporting these much-needed supplies, and help the country fight back against this appalling virus. Qatar Airways Cargo has already transported well over 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for UNICEF as part of the five-year MoU to support UNICEF’s Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative.”
The cargo shipment will include 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.

US bans travel from India amid soaring coronavirus surge Aviation Feature, Aviation News

US bans travel from India amid soaring coronavirus surge 9

Most travel from India to US banned due to pandemicThe policy will take effect on Tuesday, May 4US citizens told to get out of India as soon as possible

US administration announced that most travel from India will be banned starting Tuesday amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in the country.
“On the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Administration will restrict travel from India starting immediately,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced Friday. 

“The policy will be implemented in light of extraordinarily high COVID-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in the India,” she said.
“The policy will take effect on Tuesday, May 4.”
The move comes on top of international travel restrictions already in place requiring people to have a negative test result before coming to the United States. The move is not expected to apply to U.S. citizens.

Earlier, US citizens were told to get out of India as soon as possible as the country’s COVID-19 crisis worsens at an astonishing pace.
The US Department of State issued a Level 4 travel advisory – the highest of its kind, telling US citizens “not to travel to India or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so.”
According to the department, there are 14 direct daily flights between India and the US and other services that connect through Europe.

The COVID-19 spike in India has worsened tremendously over the past weeks. New coronavirus cases in the country have skyrocketed to more than 380,000 in a single day.

Southwest Airlines adds nine flights from Kansas City International Airport Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Southwest Airlines adds nine flights from Kansas City International Airport 10

Some destinations are entirely new routes and some are pandemic-related service restorationsThe announcement comes as passenger numbers are on the increaseFully vaccinated people do not need to get COVID tests before or after domestic travel

Southwest Airlines announced that the carrier will add or resume service to nine U.S. cities from Kansas City International Airport (MCI) as part of a major system-wide expansion. Some cities are entirely new routes and some are pandemic-related service restorations.
Southwest Airlines‘ announcement comes as passenger numbers are on the increase as more and more Americans become vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just announced new guidelines for vaccinated people, stating that fully vaccinated people do not need to get COVID tests before or after domestic travel, and fully vaccinated people do not need self-quarantine after domestic travel.

“We are happy about Southwest’s decision to make significant increases here for Kansas City travelers just in time for summer,” said Pat Klein, director of Kansas City’s Aviation Department. “We are especially excited that our travelers will have the opportunity to enjoy new nonstop destinations.”
Routes to begin during summer 2021 are as follows:
Austin (AUS) 1 flight per day – Service restoration

Panama City (ECP) 5 flights per week – Service restoration. Was weekend only
Miami (MIA) 1 flight per week, Saturdays only – New nonstop destination from MCI for Southwest
Portland (PDX) 1 flight per week, Saturdays only – Service restoration

Pensacola (PNS) 1 flight per day – Service restoration. Was weekend only
San Diego (SAN) 6 flights per week – Service restoration
Orange County (SNA) 1 flight per day – New nonstop destination
Sarasota (SRQ) 1 flight per week, Saturdays only – New nonstop destination
Destin-Ft. Walton Beach (VPS) 1 flight per week, Saturdays only – New nonstop destination from MCI for Southwest

Southwest Airlines returns to Costa Rica in June Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Southwest Airlines returns to Costa Rica in June 11

Daily service from Houston, TX begins on June 6, 2021Seasonal service from Baltimore/Washington begins on June 21, 2021Southwest Airlines is closely monitoring ongoing government restrictions for travel

Southwest Airlines Co. announced a return of daily service to both international airports in Costa Rica: Liberia, Guanacaste (LIR), and the capital region, San Jose (SJO), beginning in June 2021.
“We’re excited to continue reestablishing previously served international service by reuniting the warm Hospitality of Costa Rica with the Heart and value of Southwest,” said Andrew Watterson, Southwest Airlines Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer. “We’re seeing more demand for our international routes that already take our Customers to Aruba, Cancun, Cozumel, Havana, Los Cabos, Montego Bay, Puerto Vallarta, and Punta Cana.”

DAILY SERVICE FROM HOUSTON (HOBBY) BEGINS JUNE 6, 2021
Southwest will resume daily nonstop service to Liberia, Guanacaste, Costa Rica (LIR), and San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO), on June 6, 2021, with additional connecting service to cities in the U.S.
SEASONAL SERVICE FROM BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON (BWI) BEGINS JUNE 12, 2021

The carrier will operate additional nonstop service for the summer season on Saturdays between Baltimore/Washington (BWI), and Liberia, Guanacaste, Costa Rica (LIR), beginning June 12, 2021.
Southwest Airlines is closely monitoring ongoing government restrictions for travel. Each state or country may require varying levels of documentation, testing, and potential verification of test results. 
ADDITIONAL SERVICE IN DENVER, CHICAGO, ST. LOUIS, KANSAS CITY, AND ORANGE COUNTY/SANTA ANA

“New flights in our summer flight schedule also bring more Mile High Heart with additional nonstop service between Denver and the coasts—with new or returning links to Savannah/Hilton Head, Sarasota/Bradenton, Norfolk/Virginia Beach, and additional flights to Long Beach, Calif., and Seattle,” Watterson added. “We’re bringing more flights in both Chicago airports, and we continue to spread our love across the Midwest with new flights in St. Louis and Kansas City, both of which are now linked nonstop to Orange County/Santa Ana.”

Spirit Airlines gives Kansas City more go Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Spirit Airlines gives Kansas City more go 12

Spirit Airlines adds four sunny spots in Florida from Kansas CitySpirit will start flying from Kansas City International Airport to Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Pensacola and TampaSpirit is growing their presence at Kansas City International Airport through new routes and additional frequencies

Summer travel is about to be as smooth as the best Kansas City jazz, thanks to new nonstop options from Spirit Airlines. The carrier is adding flights to cities stretching from South Florida to the state’s panhandle.
Spirit Airlines’ bright yellow planes will start flying from Kansas City International Airport (MCI) to Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Fort Myers (RSW), Pensacola (PNS) and Tampa (TPA) between now and early June. The new destinations nearly double the airline’s list of cities served from MCI, complimenting expanded service with more flights to Orlando (MCO), Las Vegas (LAS) and Myrtle Beach (MYR) each week.

“Our Kansas City Guests told us they’re ready to get out and travel as vaccination efforts continue, and we’re responding with an unbeatable list of options stretching from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale,” said John Kirby, Spirit Airlines Vice President of Network Planning. “Kansas City knows Spirit treats its Guests like family, gets them there on time and leaves them with more money to spend on all the fun stuff once they arrive.”
Flights from Kansas City (MCI)DestinationFlights AvailableLaunch DateFort Lauderdale (FLL) NEWDailyJune 10Fort Myers (RSW) NEWTue./Thur./Sun.June 10Pensacola (PNS) NEWMon./Wed./Fri./Sat.June 10Tampa (TPA) NEWMon./Wed./Fri./Sat.June 9Detroit (DTW)Mon./Wed./Fri./Sat.Existing ServiceLas Vegas (LAS)2x DailyIncreased ServiceLos Angeles (LAX)DailyExisting ServiceMyrtle Beach (MYR)Tue./Thur./Sun.Increased ServiceOrlando (MCO)2x DailyIncreased Service