Author Archives: Harry Johnson

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.

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

Alaska Airlines announces fleet growth and route expansion 3

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.

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 4

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 5

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

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 6

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 7

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 8

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 9

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 10

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 11

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 12

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.