Author Archives: Linda Hohnholz eTN editor

Wizz Air CEO Jozsef Varadi: Life today is very complicated Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Wizz Air CEO Jozsef Varadi: Life today is very complicated 1

When conditions are right, consumers will come back to the air, the conditions are really the sense of safety.Passengers who are vaccinated, will likely feel safe to fly again as long as there are no government-imposed restrictions on travel.While some countries are easing restrictions, some are actually hardening restrictions on travel, so it is still a very unpredictable and very volatile situation.

Peter Harbison began the interview by welcoming József Váradi, who’s the CEO of Wizz Air. Peter suggested they kick off their discussion with big picture stuff.
The interview started with Wizz CEO offering an overview of Europe and of the whole COVID-19 pandemic in general. He discussed the big issues with Peter of CAPA – Centre for Aviation as he sees it coming up in the next 3 months that Wizz Air will have to face.

Peter Harbison:
Very warm welcome. Haven’t spoken to you for quite a while, József, but a lot happened in the meantime. Let’s kick off with big picture stuff, and what are the big issues that you see coming up in the next three months?
József Váradi:

Thank you, Peter, for inviting me your show. Looking at life today, I think it’s very complicated. You certainly need to look at a consumer, whether the consumer wants to fly or not. Obviously, the consumer wants to fly, there is nothing wrong with the consumer. You can see some of the markets, [inaudible 00:00:56] is really catching up. I think at the moment it is performing around 80% of its 2019 capacity levels. It’s expected to exceed a big summer capacity relative to 2019. I think what it really tells you is that when the conditions are right, the consumers come back to the air, to the franchise of flying very, very quickly and the conditions are really, the sense of safety. If you are vaccinated, I think you feel safe to fly again and two, there are no government-imposed restrictions on travel, so you can easily go.
But that doesn’t really apply to Europe at this point in time. I think the consumer’s willingness to fly is totally there, it has remained intact. Actually, many of the people are just fed up with being locked down and they want to go, they want to breathe fresh air but at the same time, they are highly restricted by government-imposed restrictions.
And in certain cases it’s just almost impossible to travel. Now it is slowly changing, but it is not a straight line. It is more like a roller coaster. You see some countries easing restrictions, but still today you are seeing some countries actually hardening restrictions on travel, so I think it is still a very unpredictable, very volatile and we will see how that’s going to go. We definitely got, I don’t think Europe at the level of the US, certainly not from a domestic perspective. It is still complicated.

Peter:
Yeah. I think comparisons with the US are probably a bit difficult because it’s probably the only market that has got back to that level, China excepted. But one of the things, József, even in the US where they’re getting back to fairly full flights and obviously there’s a lot of demand there, getting back to close to 2019 levels, yields are still very well down. They’re still down 20, 30 percent average economy yields. What is driving that? Is it just too much capacity coming in too quickly or is it just uncertainty in terms of revenue management?
József:
Well, I think the history of the industry is that, especially when it comes to recovery from difficult situations that is over capacity and as I said it’s hard because of the imbalance between supply and demand, you’ve seen the yield environment dragging and I think this is what you should be expecting. Pretty much everybody in the world that in the recovery phase, that will be too much capacity coming out to the market, which is probably the right thing for stimulating traffic and encouraging the consumers to come back into flying. But at the same time, from a financial, former standpoint, obviously this is going to put pressure on the industry.

Hawaiian Airlines brings back flights to Tahiti Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Hawaiian Airlines brings back flights to Tahiti 2

This resumption of service is following the launch of a pre-travel testing program between Hawaiʻi and French Polynesia that allows for quarantine-free travel within the two archipelagos.Hawaiian will reinstate once-weekly nonstop flying between Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) and Tahiti’s Fa’a’ā International Airport (PPT).Flights will be conducted on the airlines’ 278-seat Airbus A330 aircraft.

Hawaiian began its inaugural Hawaiʻi – Tahiti air travel in June 1987. Flights were then suspended in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The carrier’s resumption of flights is made possible by the new pre-travel testing program established by Hawaiʻi Gov. David Ige and French Polynesia President Édouard Fritch — a result of low COVID-19 cases within the 2 destinations. “We look forward to reconnecting our islands, but most importantly, reconnecting family members who have not seen each other for over a year,” said Peter Ingram, President and CEO at Hawaiian Airlines. “We appreciate the tremendous work by the governments of French Polynesia and Hawaiʻi to open up travel between our regions.” Both Hawaiʻi and French Polynesia will implement strict travel requirements for resident and visitor safety. Those traveling inbound from PPT to HNL must complete and upload a negative test result from the Institut Louis Malardé, a state-approved testing partner, to the state of Hawaiʻi’s Safe Travels program. Guests traveling outbound to PPT from HNL will need to provide proof of vaccination and have fulfilled the government of Tahiti’s COVID-19 entry requirements prior to travel. Those not compliant will be subject to a 10-day quarantine.“Many of Hawaiʻi’s residents have family in Tahiti, and welcoming our guests from French Polynesia to Hawaiʻi is an important step in maintaining the close relationship between our two regions,” said Hawaiʻi Gov. David Ige. Hawaiian Airlines flight HA481 will depart HNL at 3:35 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7 and arrive at PPT at 9:30 p.m. Flight HA482 will depart PPT at 11:30 p.m. the same evening and arrive into HNL at 5:15 a.m. the following day.  Hawaiian’s “Keeping you safe” enhanced cleaning includes frequent disinfecting of lobby areas, kiosks, and ticket counters, electrostatic aircraft cabin spraying, plexiglass barriers at staffed airport counters, and sanitizer wipe distribution to all guests. The carrier requires all guests to complete a health acknowledgement form during the check-in process indicating they are free of COVID-19 symptoms and will comply with the company’s updated mask policy for the entirety of their journey.
#rebuildingtravel

Airline pilot hero Sully may become ICAO US ambassador Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Airline pilot hero Sully may become ICAO US ambassador 3

Sully is the US Airways pilot that conducted the safe landing of badly-damaged Airbus A320-214 on New York’s Hudson River.Just 2 minutes into the flight, the airplane flew into a flock of Canada geese, and both engines were so damaged that it caused an almost complete loss of thrust.With credentials and sound thinking like this, Sully should be a shoe-in to serve on the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Retired airline pilot C.B. “Sully” Sullenberger, most famous for negotiating this emergency landing with no fatalities, has been named to serve as U.S. representative on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
US Airways flight 1549, also called Miracle on the Hudson, was a flight of a passenger airliner that made an emergency landing in the Hudson River on January 15, 2009, shortly after taking off from LaGuardia Airport in New York City. Five people were seriously injured, but there were no fatalities.

The airplane, an Airbus A320 operated by US Airways, took off from LaGuardia at approximately 3:25 PM. It was destined for Charlotte, North Carolina. On board were 5 crew members, including Capt. Chesley (“Sully”) Sullenberger III, and 150 passengers. About 2 minutes into the flight, the airplane flew into a flock of Canada geese. Both engines were severely damaged, causing an almost complete loss of thrust. Repeated attempts to restart the engines were unsuccessful.

Interview: Inside the mind of Finnair CEO Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Interview: Inside the mind of Finnair CEO 4

On the table was the current situation with regard to Finnair, with regard to its capacity and traffic for example.The airline CEO discusses the impact of COVID-19 and travel restrictions as well as possible ways forward.Currently, Finnair is at around 12 percent of 2019 seat levels, so the climb out and up is going to take a lot of hard work and finesse.

Read on for this in-depth interview with Finnair CEO Topi Manner, or just sit back and listen via the link.
We start with Jonathan Wober of CAPA – Centre for Aviation welcoming Topi Manner to the discussion.

Jonathan Wober:
Well, good morning and welcome to another edition of CAPA Live, and I’m delighted to welcome to discussion today Topi Manner, the Chief Executive of Finnair. Topi, welcome and thanks for joining us.
Topi Manner:

Thank you, Jonathan. Good to be here.
Jonathan:
I just want to start by asking about the current situation with regard to Finnair, capacity, traffic, etcetera. You’ve been operating at very low levels of capacity. The current week, according to data from OAG and CAPA suggests that you’re at around about 12% of 2019 seat levels in the first week of May, thereabouts. Europe overall is about 40%, so you’re considerably below the European average. Is it frustrating to you because Finland seems to be quite low on infection rates and quite high on vaccination rates, but why can’t your government get more connectivity negotiated, and why can’t you operate at higher levels?

Topi:
I mean, that’s right. It is a bit frustrating that the travel restrictions are so stringent in Finland, and that is certainly impacting our operations. As of now, we operate approximately 15% of our capacity and that includes the Asian long-haul flights that we started already last summer. I mean, currently we are flying to Tokyo, to Seoul, to Shanghai, and to Bangkok and Hong Kong. And that long haul traffic is greatly supported by our cargo demand. Now for the next summer, for this summer, we have been releasing what I would call to first release of our summer network, and that includes that we plan to fly to something like 60 destinations, and especially European short haul will be on the menu. And we also look forward to increasing flights to North America, so increasing frequencies to New York and also introducing Chicago and Los Angeles.

FlyNAS launches direct flights between Saudi and Seychelles from July 2021 Aviation Feature, Aviation News

FlyNAS launches direct flights between Saudi and Seychelles from July 2021 5

New flights, which will make travelling to Seychelles easier for residents of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.With the arrival of FlyNAS, the Ministry of Tourism is looking forward to seeing an increase in the number of visitors from the Saudi Arabian region.Seychelles is accessible as never before, and with no visas required from any nationality.

FlyNAS will commence its nonstop flights operating three times a week from Jeddah, with fast connections to or from Riyadh and Dammam. Operating on Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays, the 5 hr40 minute flight will be operated on and brand new A320 Neo aircraft with a capacity of 174 seats.
The new flights, which will make travelling to Seychelles easier for residents of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was initiated in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, alongside the Seychelles Tourism Board and the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority. 

Accessible as never before, and with no visas required from any nationality, Seychelles, land of diversity and discovery is a great place to spend quality time and to reconnect with nature.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest outbound market in the Middle East and with many in the Kingdom looking to go overseas after the opening of borders, the Seychelles Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism Mr Sylvestre Radegonde said, “The destination has recorded approximately some 300 Saudi Arabian since January 2021. With the arrival of FlyNAS to our shores, the Ministry of Tourism is looking forward to seeing an increase in the number of visitors from the Saudi Arabian region. The three weekly flights to Seychelles from Jeddah represent another great opportunity for our destination, as not only will Seychelles be accessible directly to Saudi Arabian nationals but also the expatriates living in the Kingdom.

Delta emergency landing: Passenger yelling and banging on cockpit door Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Delta emergency landing: Passenger yelling and banging on cockpit door 7

Passenger bangs on cockpit door yelling to stop the plane.Both crew and passengers jumped into action to detain the passenger and take him to the back of the plane.The passenger was removed once the emergency landing was made in New Mexico.

After the flight took off, the man ran to the cockpit door and started banging on it, reportedly yelling “Stop the plane!”
Passengers and Delta crew got the man to the floor, secured his feet and hands with zip ties, and he was carried to the back of the plane until the emergency landing could be completed.

The plane made the emergency landing in Albuquerque after which the FBI met the plane and removed the passenger informing there “is no threat to the public at this time.”

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Jessica Robertson, chief content officer for Togethxr, was on the flight and tweeted: “I was on this flight in the 3rd row – witness to everything. Terrifying but our @Delta flight attendant Christopher Williams acted quickly.”
“Thanks to the crew and passengers of Delta Flight 386, LAX to Nashville (BNA), who assisted in detaining an unruly passenger as the flight diverted to Albuquerque (ABQ). The aircraft landed without incident and the passenger was removed by law enforcement,” Delta said in a statement, CBS Los Angeles reported.

Copa Airlines restarts flights from Panama to Bahamas on June 5, 2021 Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Copa Airlines restarts flights from Panama to Bahamas on June 5, 2021 8

Flights will initially operate Saturdays and Mondays and as of June 17 will operate Sundays and Thursdays.Passengers with a full vaccination certificate are exempt from negative PCR-RT COVID-19 test, if vaccinated at least 14 days before entry.Other passengers welcome by submitting negative PCR-RT COVID-19 test taken up to 5 days before their trip, applying online for a Health Visa, and completing a daily health questionnaire.

As of June 5, Copa Airlines restarts flights from Panama, connecting with the main cities of Latin America, to Nassau, Bahamas. The flights will initially operate Saturdays and Mondays and as of June 17 will operate Sundays and Thursdays.
“At Copa Airlines we are pleased to announce that on June 5, we will resume our regular operation to Nassau with 2 flights per week, so that tourists can enjoy wonderful days of rest and experience unforgettable holidays in The Bahamas, since this destination offers a lot of experiences, and each island has its own appeal, with beautiful landscapes, gastronomy and sandy beaches immensely white,” said Christophe Didier, Copa Airlines’ vice-president of Global Sales.

As of May 1, passengers with a full vaccination certificate (including the second dose, if applicable) for Covid-19 of AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria), Johnson & Johnson, Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech immunizers are exempt from the negative PCR-RT COVID-19 tests requirement, as long as they have been vaccinated at least 14 days prior to entry into The Bahamas.

Silver Airways begins service to Anguilla on June 2, 2021 Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Silver Airways begins service to Anguilla on June 2, 2021 9

Flights for the summer will run 2 times a week between San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Anguilla,The Anguilla Tourist Board will be partnering with stakeholders on island and with travel advisors in-market to promote the air service.Resuming these flights is an important step in reopening Anguilla to international travel.

The summer flights will operate twice weekly between the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico and the Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport in Anguilla through August 6, 2021. Silver Airways is the parent company of Seaborne Airlines. Seaborne has operated in Anguilla for many years.  
“I am proud to have been a part of the initial negotiations with Seaborne Airlines in 2014 that culminated in regular service to Anguilla. We are delighted to welcome Silver Airways to Anguilla after this lengthy hiatus caused by the pandemic,” said the Hon. Minister of Tourism, Mr. Haydn Hughes. “Silver/Seaborne has been our valued partner for many years, and the San Juan gateway is vital to the growth of our industry. Maintaining and expanding access to Anguilla is essential for tourism development, and the restoration of this service is an important step as we reopen our island to international travelers,” he continued.

“We are honored to service Anguilla, which has long been one of our most popular routes,” declared Captain Steven Dowda, Vice President of Caribbean Operations for Silver Airways and Seaborne Airlines. “Anguilla’s tourism product is exceptional, and our relationship with Anguilla is a strong and mutually beneficial one. We look forward to working closely with our tourism partners here to grow arrivals to the island and increase service this winter.”
The Silver Airways service will operate twice a week, on Thursdays and Saturdays, with two rotations each day for a total of four flights per week.

Copa Airlines resumes flights to The Bahamas on June 5, 2021 Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Copa Airlines resumes flights to The Bahamas on June 5, 2021 10

The Airline offers direct connections from São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia and Porto Alegre to Nassau, and The Bahamas.Travelers staying 14 days or more in The Bahamas can return through the United States, provided they comply with all protocols and visa requirements of the country.The Bahamas follows strict health and safety protocols, in order to minimize the spread of COVID-19 among visitors and residents.

“At Copa Airlines, we are excited to offer alternatives for Brazilian tourists to reach the Islands of The Bahamas. We believe that in Nassau you can enjoy wonderful days of rest and live an unforgettable holiday, thanks to its wide range of different experiences, ready to be discovered. In addition, each island in The Bahamas has its own attractions, with beautiful landscapes, gastronomy and immensely white sandy beaches,” said Christophe Didier, Vice President of Sales at Copa Airlines.
Travelers staying 14 days or more in The Bahamas can return through the United States, provided they comply with all protocols and visa requirements of the country. Some hotels and resorts in The Bahamas are offering special promotions for those staying more than 14 days, such as Grand Isle in The Exumas and Margaritaville Resort in Nassau. This opportunity is ideal for tourists who plan on a long vacation in The Bahamas or want to continue on to the United States.

“In The Islands of The Bahamas, there are countless opportunities for that long-awaited dream vacation, and the warm, hospitable people of The Bahamas look forward to welcoming visitors from Brazil. Resorts, hotels and other tourism related companies follow strict health and safety protocols, which have been implemented to ensure our visitors a safe, carefree, enjoyable vacation experience,” said the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar, the Bahamas Minister of Tourism & Aviation.

Emirates President welcomes virtual Arabian Travel Market Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Emirates President welcomes virtual Arabian Travel Market 11

Three-day event opens under the theme “A news dawn for travel and tourism.”President of Emirates believes demand for air travel could come back at a staggering rate by Q4 2021 if the vaccine program beats the virus.Aviation, regional tourism, destinations, and technology are some of the key topics discussed on the first day of ATM Virtual 2021.

Under the same theme of “A new dawn for travel & tourism,” the three-day event, which was specifically designed for those industry professionals unable to attend the in-person ATM event, kicked off this year with Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates, who gave a candid outlook about the recovery of the aviation industry.
During a virtual conversation with top aviation consultant, John Strickland, who conducted the interview from London, Sir Tim initially gave his opinion on the recovery timescale of the aviation sector.

“The ideal situation is that the vaccine program beats the virus by Autumn of this year and we get some relief then demand will come back at a staggering rate. Low cost (airlines) will benefit from intra-European travel, the US domestic market, China’s domestic market and international travel will (also) return in large numbers,” said Sir Tim.
“But the problem (with this scenario) will be twofold. The ability of airlines to meet the demand when it comes and two, the conditionality of country access requirements,” he added.

Seychelles now connected to Bucharest Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Seychelles now connected to Bucharest 12

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.