Author Archives: Harry Johnson

Volocopter Chengdu: New German-Chinese joint aircraft venture announced Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Volocopter Chengdu: New German-Chinese joint aircraft venture announced 1

Germany’s Volocopter teams up with Geely Holding Group to establish a joint venture in Chengdu, China.The joint venture will take charge of production and market operation of Volocopter products in the Chinese market.The joint venture plans to help promote urban air mobility in China in the coming three to five years.

A new joint aircraft company, named Volocopter (Chengdu) Technology Co., Ltd., or Volocopter Chengdu for short, has been announced by Germany’s Volocopter, a specialist in the manufacture of autonomous air vehicles, and a second-tier subsidiary of Geely Holding Group.

The joint venture will be located in Chengdu, capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province, and will take charge of production and market operation of Volocopter products in the Chinese market.
Volocopter Chengdu also signed orders with Volocopter for 150 aircraft, including logistics unmanned aerial vehicles and manned aircraft.
Air vehicles and their parts will be produced in Hubei Geely Terrafugia, a manufacturing base of Geely in China, according to the joint venture.
Volocopter Chengdu will also attend the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition (Airshow China) on September 28.
“Today marks another important milestone on our journey to bring affordable electric air mobility to China, the biggest single market opportunity for the UAM industry,” said Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter.
UAM refers to a new mode of urban transportation that uses electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft to move people or goods within lower urban and suburban airspaces. It helps relieve the strain on increasingly congested city roads and allows people and goods to reach their destinations faster and more safely.
Volocopter is currently the world’s first and only eVTOL aircraft manufacturer that has obtained design and production approval from European Union Aviation Safety Agency.

IATA announces speakers for World Air Transport Summit in Boston Aviation Feature, Aviation News

IATA announces speakers for World Air Transport Summit in Boston 2

The International Air Transport Association announced the program and speakers for the World Air Transport Summit (WATS).World Air Transport Summit (WATS) will be held in conjunction with the IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Boston, USA, 3-5 October.Session topics include addressing the challenge of climate change, safely reconnecting the world during COVID-19, diversity and inclusion in aviation, collaborating with value chain partners, and air cargo.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the program and speakers for the World Air Transport Summit (WATS), which is being held in conjunction with the IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Boston, USA, 3-5 October.

“I’m very excited that the World Air Transport Summit will again take place as a live event for the first time since June 2019. Virtual forums are no substitute to the value created when people meet face to face. As we plan for the industry recovery from COVID-19 and address critical climate change issues, the in-person discussions and debates among the industry’s top leaders and stakeholders will be particularly significant,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
Session topics include addressing the challenge of climate change, safely reconnecting the world during COVID-19, diversity and inclusion in aviation, collaborating with value chain partners, and air cargo. The always popular CEO Insight Debate will return, moderated by CNN’s Richard Quest, anchor of Quest Means Business.
Aviation’s response to climate change will top the agenda. The keynote address will be delivered by Rachel Kyte, Dean of the Fletcher School, Tufts University and former special representative of the UN Secretary-General and Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Energy for All. Kyte previously was the World Bank Group vice president and special envoy for climate change, leading the run-up to the Paris Agreement.
This will be followed by a panel of key stakeholders focused on sustainability including:
Guillaume Faury, Chief Executive Officer, Airbus  Stanley Deal, Chief Executive Officer, Boeing Commercial Airplanes  Annie Petsonk, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs, US Dept. of Transportation Pieter Elbers, Chief Executive Officer, KLM Dr. Jennifer Holmgren, CEO, LanzaTech

Canada announces extension of the flight ban from India Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Canada announces extension of the flight ban from India 3

As Canada prepares for the return of direct flights from India to Canada, Transport Canada is announcing an extension of the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) restricting flights to Canada from India.Everyone in Canada is advised to avoid non-essential travel outside Canada – international travel increases the risk of exposure to, and the spread of COVID-19, including infection caused by new variants.Border and public health measures also remain subject to change as the epidemiological situation evolves.

Canada continues to take a risk-based and measured approach to re-opening the border while prioritizing the health and safety of everyone in Canada.
As Canada prepares for the return of direct flights from India to Canada, Transport Canada is announcing an extension of the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) that restricts all direct commercial and private passenger flights to Canada from India until September 26, 2021, at 23:59 EDT.

Once the restriction on direct flights expires, travelers eligible to enter Canada will be able to board direct flights from India to Canada with the following additional measures:  
Travelers must have proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test from the approved Genestrings Laboratory at the Delhi airport taken within 18 hours of the scheduled departure of their direct flight to Canada.
Prior to boarding, air operators will be checking the travelers’ test results ensuring they are eligible to come to Canada, and that fully vaccinated travellers have uploaded their information into the ArriveCAN mobile app or website. Travelers who are unable to meet these requirements will be denied boarding.
As a first step, on September 22, 2021, three direct flights from India will arrive in Canada and all passengers on these flights will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival to ensure that the new measures are working.
After the resumption of direct flights, travelers who are eligible to enter Canada who depart India for Canada via an indirect route will continue to be required to obtain, within 72 hours of departure, a valid negative COVID-19 molecular test from a third country – other than India – before continuing their journey to Canada.  
Everyone in Canada is advised to avoid non-essential travel outside Canada – international travel increases the risk of exposure to, and the spread of COVID-19, including infection caused by new variants. Border and public health measures also remain subject to change as the epidemiological situation evolves.

Airbus and Air France target most energy efficient flights Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Airbus and Air France target most energy efficient flights 4

Launched in February 2021, ALBATROSS is a large-scale initiative of major European aviation stakeholder groups led by Airbus.ALBATROSS follows a holistic approach by covering all flight phases, directly involving all relevant stakeholder groups.Starting from September 2021, live trials will involve around 1,000 demonstration flights, showcasing mature operational solutions with potential fuel and CO2 emission savings.

Airbus, Air France and DSNA, the French Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP), have begun working towards the development of “most energy efficient flights”, following their inaugural demonstration flight from Paris to Toulouse Blagnac on the day of the Airbus Summit event. The aircraft flew an optimized trajectory, marking the first of a series of trials planned during 2021 and 2022 within the framework of the Single European Sky ATM Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU) “ALBATROSS” project.

Launched in February 2021, ALBATROSS is a large-scale initiative of major European aviation stakeholder groups led by Airbus. It aims to demonstrate, through a series of gate-to-gate live demonstration flights across Europe, the feasibility of implementing most energy efficient flights in the short term, by combining several R&D technical and operational innovations. 
“ALBATROSS” follows an holistic approach by covering all flight phases, directly involving all relevant stakeholder groups (such as airlines,  ANSPs,  network managers, airports and industry) and addressing both operational and technological aspects of aviation and Air Traffic Management (ATM). Many solutions will be put into practice during the flight demonstrations, from new precision approach procedures to continuous climb and descent, a more dynamic management of necessary airspace constraints, sustainable taxiing and  sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) usage. 
Thanks to the transmission of four-dimensional trajectory data, ATM will be able to optimize and better predict an aircraft’s trajectory, thereby enabling it to immediately and concretely reduce a flight’s environmental footprint.
Starting from September 2021, these live trials will involve around 1,000 demonstration flights, showcasing mature operational solutions with potential fuel and CO2 emission savings. First results are expected to be available in 2022.
The ALBATROSS partners are Airbus, Air France, Austro Control, DLR, DSNA, Eurocontrol, LFV, Lufthansa, Novair, Schiphol, Smart Airport Systems, SWEDAVIA, SWISS, Thales AVS France and WIZZ AIR UK.
The funding of the project is provided by the EU under the Grant Agreement No 101017678.

India wants UK to scrap quarantine for vaccinated Indians Aviation Feature, Aviation News

India wants UK to scrap quarantine for vaccinated Indians 5

Fully vaccinated visitors from India still required to go to 10-day COVID-19 quarantine.The Covishield vaccine was developed jointly by Oxford University and AstraZeneca and is manufactured by Serum Institute of India.Britons vaccinated in the UK with the same Indian-made jabs are not required to quarantine.

The United Kingdom has announced that it will relax COVID-19 pandemic curbs for fully vaccinated foreign visitors starting early next month.
But the list of countries with approved vaccines does not include India, despite the country using a locally made version of the AstraZeneca vaccine developed in the UK, and it causes some political unease and threats of reciprocal retaliation from Indian officials.
The Covishield vaccine, developed jointly by the Oxford University and AstraZeneca and manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India, is not recognized by the United Kingdom under the new rule despite being technically identical to the doses given to millions of Britons.
The AstraZeneca vaccine makes up most of the doses given to Indians to date. A smaller number have taken an indigenous vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech, which is not in use in the UK.
India’s foreign minister has urged the British government authorities for an “early resolution of quarantine issue” with Indians visiting the United Kingdom still being required to quarantine even if they are fully vaccinated.
New entry rules, that come into effect in October, have angered many Indians, who branded the decision as discriminatory. Britons vaccinated in the UK with the same Indian-made jabs are not required to quarantine.

“Urged early resolution of quarantine issue in mutual interest,” Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said in a tweet today after a meeting with his British counterpart Liz Truss in New York, where both are attending the United Nations General Assembly.
Britain’s move could also lead to retaliation from New Delhi, with an Indian government official saying it was likely to take reciprocal steps if the issue is not quickly resolved.
“The basic issue is that, here’s a vaccine – Covishield – which is a licensed product of a UK company manufactured in India of which we have supplied five million doses to the UK at the request of the government,” India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told reporters in New Delhi.
Calling the non-recognition of Covishield “a discriminatory policy”, he said negotiations were under way with the UK over the new requirements.
“But if we don’t get satisfaction we would be within our rights to impose reciprocal measures.”
The British High Commission in New Delhi said the UK was working with India to resolve the issue.
The rule, that mandates 10 days of self-isolation for travelers arriving from India, also apply to many other countries using Covishield, including most African ones.

10 gay-friendly travel destinations in US and around the world Aviation Feature, Aviation News

10 gay-friendly travel destinations in US and around the world 6

Orlando, Florida is the most gay-friendly city in the USA with a large LGBTQ+ population.Palm Springs ranks second place and has one of the highest concentrations of LGBTQ+ residents in the USA.Palm Springs scores particularly highly for its safety and abundance of accommodation.

As travel restrictions continue to lift, many hopeful travelers are booking trips overseas, including the LGBTQ+ community. 

Unfortunately, LGBTQ+ travelers still have to be mindful of safety and legislation concerns in some destinations around the world, with homosexuality still illegal in 69 countries.
To ensure the LGBTQ+ community feel safe and comfortable when traveling, industry experts have ranked destinations across the US and around the world based on factors covering their LGBTQ+ friendliness, as well as things like accommodation options and affordability, to reveal the most LGBTQ+ friendly vacation destinations. 
Top 10 LGBTQ+ friendly destinations in the USA 
RankCityAnti-discrimination scoreNumber of LGBT eventsSafety index scoreBars & clubs listed on Tripadvisor per 100,000 peopleNumber of hotels per 100,000 peopleAverage nightly hotel price (weekend) ($)LGBTQ+ score /101Orlando, Florida100648.07408,941$2717.102Palm Springs, California100564.14106,214$2246.293Fort Lauderdale, Florida100250.79312,473$1655.954New York City, New York1001652.737276$2135.945San Francisco, California1001042.6930213$2065.856Iowa City, Iowa100075.291581$995.837New Orleans, Louisiana100434.9250611$2095.778Tempe, Arizona100054.44103,434$1005.659Austin, Texas100463.3118345$2025.5310Missoula, Montana99066.7119269$1475.48
Orlando is the most gay-friendly city in the USA with a large LGBTQ+ population. As well as being a tolerant and accepting city (with Walt Disney World hosting annual “Gay Day” events”), Orlando has a high number of bars and clubs (40 per 100,000 people) and the proximity to Walt Disney World means there’s also a huge number of hotels in the area (8,941 per 100,000 people).

Rotterdam The Hague to Milan Bergamo flights on Transavia now Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Rotterdam The Hague to Milan Bergamo flights on Transavia now 7

Transavia commences link to Rotterdam The Hague Airport from Milan Bergamo Airport.Rotterdam is a major logistic and economic center and an important addition to Milan Bergamo’s network.For a new airline partner to recognize the potential of the market is a noteworthy sign of Lombardy’s capacity and increasing demand.

Milan Bergamo Airport has announced the commencement of Transavia’s link to Rotterdam The Hague, marking the addition of the third new airline to the Lombardy gateway in recent months. Launching a three-to-four times weekly service to the second largest city in the Netherlands next summer, the Dutch low-cost carrier will significantly increase Milan Bergamo’s route map to north-west Europe.

Giacomo Cattaneo, Director of Commercial Aviation, SACBO says: “Home to the largest port in Europe, Rotterdam is a major logistic and economic center and an important addition to our network. For a new airline partner to recognize the potential of the market is a noteworthy sign of Lombardy’s capacity and increasing demand.”
Joining Milan Bergamo’s established service to Eindhoven, the launch of Transavia’s link to Rotterdam will give the Air France-KLM group carrier a 30% share of the airport’s Dutch network. Now offering close to 300 flights to the Netherlands next summer, the Lombardy region will have vital connections to Europe’s seventh largest economy by GDP.
Marcel de Nooijer, Transavia CEO, says: “We are confident looking forward to the summer of 2022 and are pleased with the addition of our new connection with Milan Bergamo. This enables us to continue to respond to the wishes of our passengers who want to discover new destinations. This summer we have seen that the Dutch are keen to travel again, for example on a holiday or to visit family. We see that the bookings for this autumn are picking up and we also have high expectations for winter. We hope to carry this momentum through to the summer of 2022.” 
Rotterdam The Hague Airport (formerly Rotterdam Airport, Vliegveld Zestienhoven in Dutch), is a minor international airport serving Rotterdam, the Netherlands’ second largest city and The Hague, its administrative and royal capital. It is located 3 NM (5.6 km; 3.5 mi) north northwest of Rotterdam in South Holland and is the third busiest airport in the Netherlands.
Orio al Serio International Airport, branded as Milan Bergamo Airport, is the third busiest international airport in Italy. It is located in the municipal territory of Orio al Serio, 3.7 km southeast of Bergamo in Italy.

US Travel Agents: International travel rules changes long overdue Aviation Feature, Aviation News

US Travel Agents: International travel rules changes long overdue 8

Biden Administration enables vaccinated travelers to enter the US with a negative COVID-19 test result prior to travel from early November.ASTA views these changes as a key milestone toward restarting the international travel system on which so many of its members depend.US administration’s announcement marks a key shift in managing the risks of COVID-19 from blanket considerations to assessment of individual risk.

The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) issues the following statement in response to reports that the Biden administration will lift travel restrictions starting in November on inbound travelers who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus:

“We welcome the Biden Administration’s announcement of long overdue changes to the myriad inbound travel restrictions that have been in place since early 2020. We view this as a key milestone toward restarting the international travel system on which so many of our members depend.
“Based on news reports, the plan incorporates several of the common-sense measures we called for along with our travel industry colleagues recently, including expeditiously developing clear vaccination and testing standards, loosening entry restrictions for fully-vaccinated travelers, and aligning standards with the governments of our main outbound markets, including Canada, the EU, and the U.K.
“There are bound to be challenges in implementing this program between now and November, and we (ASTA) look forward to working with the Administration and our members to resolve them as expeditiously as possible.
“The travel industry as a whole will not recover from COVID until international travel restarts in earnest. Today marks a big step forward toward that goal.”

USA to end travel ban for vaccinated foreign visitors Aviation Feature, Aviation News

USA to end travel ban for vaccinated foreign visitors 9

United States will allow fully vaccinated foreign visitors to enter the country via air travel only.Travel policy changes announced today will not affect the restrictions along the land borders of the United States.Thousands of foreign travelers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to enter the US starting Novemner.

The White House pandemic coordinator, Jeff Zients, announced today that the United States will end travel restrictions on foreigners who are fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, reopening the USA to thousands of international visitors starting in November of this year.

According to Zients, the changes in travel policy will only apply to air travel and will not affect restrictions along the land border.
US Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant issued the following statement today on the Biden Administration’s decision to ease foreign travel restrictions to the United States:
“The U.S. Chamber is pleased that the Biden Administration plans to lift the current COVID-related international travel restrictions in November. Allowing vaccinated foreign nationals to travel freely to the United States will help foster a robust and durable recovery for the American economy.”
U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement on today’s announcement that restrictions on international air travel will be lifted for vaccinated individuals:
“The U.S. Travel Association applauds the Biden administration’s announcement of a roadmap to reopen air travel to vaccinated individuals from around the world, which will help revive the American economy and protect public health.
“This is a major turning point in the management of the virus and will accelerate the recovery of the millions of travel-related jobs that have been lost due to international travel restrictions.
“The U.S. Travel Association expresses its deep appreciation to the President and his advisors – in particular Commerce Secretary Raimondo, who has been a tireless advocate – for working with the industry to develop a plan to restart international travel and safely reconnect America with the world.”

IATA: US reopening to vaccinated travelers is excellent news Aviation Feature, Aviation News

IATA: US reopening to vaccinated travelers is excellent news 10

Biden Administration enables vaccinated travelers to enter the US with a negative COVID-19 test result prior to travel from early November.Allowing access to the US for those vaccinated will open travel to the US for many who have been locked out for the past 18 months. This announcement marks a key shift in managing the risks of COVID-19 from blanket considerations at the national level to assessment of individual risk.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the decision by the Biden Administration to enable vaccinated travelers to enter the US with a negative COVID-19 test result prior to travel from early November.
Importantly, this supersedes the so-called 212f restrictions which prevented anyone from entering the US if they had been in 33 specific countries including the UK, Ireland, all Schengen countries, Brazil, South Africa, India, and China within the last 14 days.
Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General
“Today’s announcement is a major step forward. Allowing access to the US for those vaccinated will open travel to the US for many who have been locked out for the past 18 months. This is excellent news for families and loved ones who have suffered through the heartache and loneliness of separation. It’s good for the millions of livelihoods in the US that depend on global tourism. And it will boost the economic recovery by enabling some key business travel markets,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.
“This announcement marks a key shift in managing the risks of COVID-19 from blanket considerations at the national level to assessment of individual risk. The next challenge is finding a system to manage the risks for travelers who do not have access to vaccinations. Data points to testing as a solution. But it is also critical that governments accelerate the global rollout of vaccines and agree a global framework for travel where testing resources are focused on unvaccinated travelers. We must get back to a situation where the freedom to travel is available to all,” said Walsh.

COVID-19 furlough ends at worst time for UK tourism Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The end of furlough couldn’t really have come at a worse time of year for the UK travel industry.Although UK domestic recovery is on track for a 2022 rebound, the industry must navigate the normally tough winter period first.Striking a balance will cause headaches for many travel firms – especially those heavily reliant on international travel.

With the UK’s furlough scheme set to end this month, the travel companies will be forced to cut costs in order to survive the winter. Travel and Tourism industry experts warn that such measures may well include redundancies.
The end of furlough couldn’t really have come at a worse time of year for the UK travel industry. The tough winter season is upon us, and cost-cutting measures will be essential for survival. Unfortunately, this means redundancies are likely, as this is one of the easiest ways to save money.
Industry analysts forecast UK domestic travel to rebound to 2019 levels during 2022, when it will reach 123.9 million trips. However, international outbound trips will take longer and will not return to pre-COVID levels until 2024, when they will hit 84.7 million trips.
Although domestic recovery is on track for a 2022 rebound, the industry must navigate the normally tough winter period first. Without sufficient demand, revenues will continue to be suppressed and companies will struggle. A fine balance must be struck between redundancies and future agility.
Industry experts also point out the dangers of dropping employee numbers to UK travel companies, If companies begin making employees redundant, they are less able to respond to sudden upticks in demand. Striking a balance will cause headaches for many travel firms – especially those heavily reliant on international travel. The quickly changing nature of travel restrictions may see a sudden spike in demand for certain destinations at short notice. If a firm is understaffed, it could miss out on much-needed revenue. Conversely, retaining too many staff could result in costs spiraling out of control.
Extending the furlough scheme for the travel industry could buy time for the sector until demand begins to strengthen. However, the prospect is slim.

India ups its airlines’ capacity to 85% of pre-COVID levels Aviation Feature, Aviation News

India ups its airlines’ capacity to 85% of pre-COVID levels 11

Indian government relaxes COVID-period restrictions on the country’s domestic air carriers.Indian airlines will now be allowed to operate at 85 percent of their pre-pandemic capacity.Indian domestic airlines will also be allowed to set their own fares for tickets beyond 15 days of the booking date.

India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation raised the cap on domestic air carrier capacity today, enabling Indian airlines to operate at 85% of their pre-COVID-19 capacity instead of current 72.5%.

Indian civil aviation authority also changed the price cap formula, allowing domestic airlines set their own fares for tickets beyond fifteen days of the booking date.
Until today’s adjustments, the price caps were applicable on tickets up to 30 days from the booking date.
The changes announced by the Ministry of Civil Aviation will allow Indian air carriers to operate more flights and will push up passenger loads with the onset of the national festive season next month.
India’s domestic air traffic has increased 34% to 6.7 million in August on a sequential basis on the back of an increase in capacity to 72.5%.
Increased vaccination and relaxed COVID-19 testing requirements have helped too. Industry-wide seat occupancy too rose to over 70% last month.
The relaxation of flight capacity and easing of the pricing restrictions comes after several rounds of negotiations between India’s Civil Aviation Ministry and CEOs of Indian airlines.
The move to cap capacity and fares severely divided the industry with Ronojoy Dutta, CEO of India’s largest airline IndiGo, calling to remove government interference over price and capacity, saying this prevents airlines from making commerce-based decisions.
Operators of the country’s largest airports —Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore — have urged the government to end the caps on capacity and price as this is obstructing the return of passengers and badly hurting the revenues of India’s mostly privately owned airports.