Category Archives: Aviation Feature

New Calgary to London Heathrow flights on WestJet now Aviation Feature, Aviation News

WestJet today announced route details for its new nonstop service to London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR), from the airline’s largest, global hub, Calgary International Airport.
The new route provides access to London’s largest airport with close and rapid access to important destinations in London. Flights between the two global hubs are set to operate four-times weekly, beginning March 26, 2022.
Details of WestJet’s service between Calgary and Heathrow:
RouteFrequencyStart DateCalgary – HeathrowTuesday, Wednesday, Friday, SaturdayMarch 26 – October 28, 2022Heathrow – CalgaryWednesday, Thursday, Saturday, SundayMarch 27 – October 29, 2022
“As the airline with the most flights from Alberta, this is an important recovery milestone as we forge new connections between Canada and one of the world’s most sought-after global hubs,” said John Weatherill, WestJet Chief Commercial Officer. “We continue to strengthen our network, offering more options for business and leisure travelers and these investments will expedite our industry’s recovery while ensuring Western Canada builds back from the pandemic more connected than ever before.”
As confidence in business and leisure travel continues to rise, WestJet‘s newest route will operate this spring on the airline’s 787 Dreamliner. WestJet’s 787 service features the airline’s Business Cabin including lie-flat pods, dining on demand and elevated Premium and Economy Cabin options.
“We are committed to the expansion of our global hub in Calgary and supporting the recovery of many sectors who rely on travel and tourism,” continued Weatherill. “As the airline with the most non-stop European destinations from YYC, we are looking forward to guests benefitting from more options and increased connectivity for travel between Canada and the UK.”
With the addition of Heathrow to WestJet‘s network this spring, WestJet will connect Calgary to 77 non-stop destinations throughout the year.  WestJet will also continue to offer non-stop flights between Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax to London, Gatwick.

New Omicron travel bans are threatening air travel recovery Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that the recovery in air travel continued in October 2021 with broad-based improvements in both domestic and international markets.
It also warned that the imposition of travel bans by governments, against the advice of the World Health Organization (WHO), could threaten the sector’s recovery. 
Because comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the extraordinary impact of COVID-19, unless otherwise noted all comparisons are to October 2019, which followed a normal demand pattern.
Total demand for air travel in October 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was down 49.4% compared to October 2019. This was improved over the 53.3% fall recorded in September 2021, compared to two years earlier.
Domestic markets were down 21.6% compared to October 2019, bettering the 24.2% decline recorded in September versus September 2019.
International passenger demand in October was 65.5% below October 2019, compared to a 69.0% decline for September versus the 2019 period, with all regions showing improvement.
​​​​“October’s traffic performance reinforces that people will travel when they are permitted to. Unfortunately, government responses to the emergence of the Omicron variant are putting at risk the global connectivity it has taken so long to rebuild,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General. 

Avianca Airline Sees a Brand New Day: Steps Out of Bankruptcy Aviation Feature, Aviation News

After entering Chapter 11 on May 10, 2020, the company successfully achieved agreements with its creditors, raised fresh investments of $1.7 billion, and obtained approval for its plan of reorganization, emerging with a solid balance sheet, significantly reduced debt, and over $1 billion in liquidity.
Avianca has revamped its business model to be significantly more efficient, reaffirming its commitment to providing reliable and on-time service, combining a value proposition that includes the best attributes of low-cost airlines, while retaining key differentiators that allow it to be the most convenient travel alternative for millions of passengers in Latin America and the world. 
Looking ahead, Avianca will continue to strengthen its value proposition, adjusting its products and services to the needs of its customers.
As per the approved plan of reorganization, the new shareholders will invest in Avianca Group International Limited, a new holding company, which will be domiciled in the United Kingdom and will consolidate the group’s investments in all of its subsidiaries (including Aerovias del Continente Americano, its Colombian subsidiary, and TACA International, its Central American operation). The prior holding company, Avianca Holdings was domiciled in Panama.

Omicron: New Threat or Nothing Significant? Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Indications are that future hotel bookings, meetings, and other hotel-related activity will be impacted by the presumed expectation of future travel impediments, whether self-imposed, company-imposed or government-mandated, according to HotStats.
October data, which had only Delta to deal with, saw a striking resurgence in the Middle East, bolstered by Expo 2020 in Dubai, a 182-day World Expo that began at the beginning of October and runs through March.
Other global regions were not able to replicate the success of Dubai and the broader Middle East. In the US, major indices were still down double digits in October 2021 v. October 2019.
Since a rapid uptick in occupancy from the beginning of the year through the summer, hitting an apex in July, occupancy in the US has since more or less flatlined, a signal that the leisure boom could not be sustained at the same levels prior.
After Austria reinstituted a lockdown on November 22, it has extended it until December 11, becoming the first EU country to take such a measure in the face of the COVID-19 surge.
Portugal reintroduced tighter restrictions, making face masks mandatory and mandating a digital certificate proving vaccination or recovery from COVID in order to enter restaurants, movie theaters and hotels.
As Asia-Pacific continues to piece together its comeback, it, too, is tightening borders in response to the Omicron specter. Japan this week announced the country would bar foreign arrivals, only weeks after easing restrictions for visa holders, including short-term business travelers and international students. And the Philippines has barred arrivals from seven European countries, including the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy.
What about flights?
On the other hand, as many travel experts ponder whether the new Omicron variant will crash holiday travel plans, a recent survey by Medjet (run in mid-November, sent out to an email opt-in base of over 60,000 travelers), showed that prior surges and variants didn’t have travelers rushing to cancel plans. The airline also announced, as of close of business yesterday, the highest November overall sales in the company’s almost 30-year history.
As of November 15, over 84% of the airline’s members who responded had future travel plans in place. 90% reported planning to take a domestic trip in the next nine months (65% within the next three months), and 70% expected to take an international trip within the next nine months (24% within the next three months). While 51% of them reported that previous variants and spikes had affected their future travel plans, only 25% of respondents reported having actually canceled because of them.
Additional findings included:
•             51% said previous variants and spikes had already affected future travel plans (27% answered “no,” 23% weren’t sure yet).
•             45% said becoming infected with COVID-19 and variants was of concern, while 55% listed other illnesses, injuries or safety threats their top concern.
•             Of those concerned about COVID, only 42% were worried about testing positive and not being able to return; 58% were more concerned about being hospitalized for COVID while away from home.
•             Business travel was still way (way) down, with only 2% responding that their next trip would be for business.
•             70% intend to travel with family, 14% with friends, 14% solo.
As a reminder, the current US Omicron restrictions only apply to foreign nationals. For US citizens and visa holders returning to the US, the re-entry requirements are still the same: a negative COVID viral test no more than 3 days prior to return flight for fully vaccinated passengers, no more than 1 day for unvaccinated passengers. More information on requirements, and definitions of “fully vaccinated” can be found on the CDC website.   

ITA Airways firms up order for 28 new Airbus aircraft Aviation Feature, Aviation News

ITA Airways firms up order for 28 new Airbus aircraft 1

ITA Airways, Italy’s new national carrier, has firmed up an order with Airbus for 28 aircraft, including seven A220s, 11 A320neos and 10 A330neos, the latest version of the most popular A330 widebody airliner. The order confirms the Memorandum of Understanding announced on 30th September 2021. In addition, the airline will pursue its plans to lease A350s to complement its fleet modernization.

“Today the strategic partnership with Airbus takes an important step forward with the finalization of the order we announced last September. In addition to this agreement, possibilities for further collaboration have emerged, in particular regarding technological developments in the aviation sector and digitalization, where Airbus is the market leader. All this is part of the actions to achieve our environmental sustainability objectives, ” said Alfredo Altavilla, Executive President of ITA Airways.
“We are very proud to partner with ITA Airways in building its long-term future with the most efficient, latest technology Airbus aircraft. This agreement supports ITA Airways business objectives to develop its network in Europe and internationally in the most sustainable way,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International.
These new Airbus aircraft will expand the initial ITA Airways fleet with a new generation aircraft with better environmental performance, equipped with latest technologies and state-of-the-art cabins to guarantee maximum operational efficiencies for the airline and the best comfort to travelers.
The A220 is the only aircraft purpose-built for the 100-150 seat market and brings together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation geared turbofan engines. With a range of up to 3,450 nm (6,390 km), the A220 gives airlines added operational flexibility. The A220 delivers up to 25% lower fuel burn and CO2 emissions per seat compared to previous generation aircraft, and 50% lower NOx emissions than industry standards. In addition, the aircraft noise footprint is reduced by 50% compared to previous generation aircraft – making the A220 a good neighbor around airports.
The A320neo Family is the most successful aircraft family ever and displays 99,7% operational reliability rate. The A320neo provides operators with 20% reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions – The A320neo Family incorporates the latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklet wing tip devices. The Airbus’ A320neo Family offers unmatched comfort in all classes and Airbus’ 18-inch wide seats in economy as standard.
The Airbus A330neo is a true new-generation aircraft, building on features popular for the A330 Family and developed for the latest technology A350. Equipped with a compelling Airspace cabin, the A330neo offers a unique passenger experience with the latest-generation in-flight entertainment systems and connectivity. Powered by the latest Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, and featuring a new wing with increased span and A350-inspired winglets, the A330neo also provides an unprecedented level of efficiency – with 25% lower fuel-burn per seat than previous-generation competitors. Thanks to its tailored mid-sized capacity and its excellent range versatility, the A330neo is considered the ideal aircraft to support operators in their post-COVID-19 recovery.

Fraport and TAV win tender for new Antalya Airport concession Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Placing the highest total bid of 7.25 billion euros, Fraport AG and its partner TAV Airports Holding won today’s auction for the new concession to operate Antalya Airport (AYT), the gateway to the Turkish Riviera. A percentage of 25% of the bidding price is payable up front within 90 days after closing of the concession contract. The existing concession for Antalya Airport – managed by the Fraport and TAV joint venture – expires at the end of 2026. 
The agreement for the new concession is expected to be signed within the first quarter of 2022, pending approval of the Turkish competition and airport authorities. Fraport-TAV’s mandate as the concessionnaire will include operations of the passenger terminals and other “landside” infrastructure, such as retail areas, public parking, and passenger screening. The operational period for the new 25-year concession will begin in early 2027 (after expiration of the existing contract).
Under the agreement, infrastructure projects will have to be completed before the operational period of the new concession begins. These projects include the expansion of Terminal 2 and the domestic terminal, as well as creating new facilities for VIP/CIP passengers.
Commenting on the successful bid for the new AYT concession, Fraport AG’s CEO Dr. Stefan Schulte said: “We delivered a convincing bid backed by our many years of successfully operating and developing Antalya Airport as one of the world’s premier tourism hubs. Together with our partner TAV, we look forward to continuing this dedication to customer service, innovation and operational excellence in the decades to come.”
Fraport AG has been active in Antalya for more than two decades. Since 1999, Fraport has successfully secured Antalya’s position as one of the leading tourist gateways in the Mediterranean region for visitors from across Europe and around the world. With numerous airlines and an extensive route network, AYT has become Turkey’s second busiest airport outside of Istanbul. 
In 2019, Antalya Airport reached an all-time record of more than 35 million passengers. Due to the global pandemic, traffic dropped by nearly 73 percent year-on-year in 2020 to about 9.7 million travelers. However, traffic started rebounding in 2021 – particularly since the summer – to about 20 million passengers for the January-to-October period.

Tourists from Poland: Seychelles is almost ready for a new market! Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Tourism Seychelles conducted its first physical event in Poland since the outbreak of the pandemic last week, as it enticed travel professionals to sell the Seychelles islands again, especially now that the market will benefit with a direct flight soon.
The big news of the evening event held for Warsaw was the announcement of the introduction of a planned the twice-weekly direct flight between Warsaw and Mahe Island. It was planned to start on January 15, 2022 but is on hold due to the emerging new COVID strain.
Once ready the new flight will be operated by local airline Air Seychelles which was represented at the event by its GSA team, AIRLINES GSA in Poland who assisted the Tourism Seychelles team in organizing this event. “We strive to offer the Polish travelers the best flight options and fly them to one of the most beautiful destinations,” Mr. Radoslaw Grabski from TAL Aviation – AIRLINES GSA said.
Telling the 60 travel agents and tour at the start of the evening event that Seychelles was counting on their support towards the reactivation of travel to the destination, the Tourism Department’s Director-General for Destination Marketing, Mrs. Bernadette Willemin, welcomed the announcement of the Air Seychelles flights to Warsaw, saying it would give a big boost to the market and help grow.
“It is today evident that Seychelles remains one of the most popular and sought-after destinations in the world. We remain optimistic that things can only get better for Seychelles and for the Polish market,” Mrs. Willemin said. She noted that since the re-opening of the border in March, the destination has seen a steady uptick of tourists from the Polish market and that for week 45 of the year, it proudly occupied the 5th position in the Top 10 best-performing markets leaderboard for Seychelles.
More on Seychelles Tourism visit www.seychelles.travel

New flights from Bangkok to Phnom Penh on Bangkok Airways Aviation Feature, Aviation News

PG 931 flight was warmly welcomed by Cambodia’s distinguished guests which included H.E. Sao Wathana, Director of Phnom Penh International Airport (State Secretary) and Personal Advisor to H.E. Dr Minister (5th from right) and Mr. Mayoon Udom, Station Manager of Bangkok Airways Public Company Limited (4th from left). 
The resumed services between Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) and Phnom Penh (Cambodia) are operated by an Airbus A320 aircraft, starting with four flights per week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday) and will be increased to a daily flight from 16 December 2021 – 26 March 2022. The outbound flight PG931 departs Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi International airport) at 08.50hrs. and arrives at Phnom Penh International Airport at 10.05hrs. The inbound flight PG932 leaves Phnom Penh International airport at 10.55hrs. and arrives in Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi International airport) at 12.10hrs. 
Bangkok Airways strictly follows precautionary measures against the COVID-19, including disinfecting and cleaning key areas such as check-in counters and passenger lounges. The airline’s precaution and prevention plans follow the standards and guidelines of the Department of Disease Control, the Ministry of Public Health, and The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT).  

Russian tourists trapped in South Africa after new flight ban Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Russian government banned flights from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Madagascar, Swaziland, Tanzania and Hong Kong last week, in the wake of discovery of new COVID-19 Omicron variant.
By now, it is widely believed though, that Omicron strain of the coronavirus may have already been brought to Russia by tourists returning from Egypt, a claim that Russian health authorities deny.
In the meantime, hundreds of Russian holidaymakers have been trapped in South Africa, unable to return home due to an almost universal ban on flights out of the region.
According to Russian state-run news agency, up to 1,500 Russian citizens may still be in South Africa after Moscow abruptly halted all passenger flights to and from there over new COVID-19 strain fears.
Russia’s Consulate General in Cape Town said it was trying to work out some alternative options for the evacuation of the Russian citizens, possibly involving assistance from European and other foreign airlines. 
According to the consulate’s Telegram channel, up to 15 Russians will be able to fly home on a charter flight around December 1.
“According to early information, the repatriation flight with the support of Ethiopian Airlines will be carried out on December 3 on the Cape Town-Addis Ababa-Moscow route,” the consulate also advised. The airfare on this commercial flight will depend on the number of passengers booked.
According to some news sources, ‘several dozen’ Russian nationals have in recent days left South Africa for other countries on the continent, from where they can try to continue their journey back home.
Airlines that continue to fly from South Africa have increased their fares, due to surging demand, while European Union-based carriers deny boarding to non-EU citizens.

33 countries announce new travel bans and restrictions Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The newly discovered Omicron strain of the coronavirus has forced many states to urgently close their borders to some or all foreign arrivals.
In an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19 Omicron variant into their territories, 33 countries around the world have announced outright travel bans or enhanced travel restrictions of various degrees by now.
The degree of border control severity varies from country to country, with China, Israel, Morocco and Japan closing their borders entirely, while other states only tightening COVID-19 testing protocols at the border.
Complete Foreign Arrivals Bans
China – China already had stringent border controls in place, with only citizens and resident permit holders allowed into the country.
Israel – Israel banned foreigners from entering the country for 14 days. Israeli citizens will be able to come back to the country but will need to quarantine, even if fully vaccinated.
Japan – Japan closed its borders to non-citizens for one month, this includes foreign exchange students and those travelling for business.
Morocco – Morocco canceled all incoming flights for two weeks.

First new case of COVID-19 Omicron strain confirmed in Japan Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The government of Japan announced today that a man in his 30s, who tested positive for coronavirus at the Narita International Airport, upon his arrival from Namibia on Sunday, was indeed infected with the dreaded new Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus.
This is the first officially confirmed case on the Omicron strain infection in the country.
According to the health ministry officials, the man had no symptoms when being at Narita International Airport but developed a fever on Monday, while two family members traveling with him have tested negative and are quarantined at a government-designated facility.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met with cabinet members including Health Minister Shigeyuki Goto to discuss how the government will respond to the detection of the Omicron strain in Japan, which has seen a decline in COVID-19 cases.
Yesterday, Kishida announced that the government will in principle ban the entry of all foreign nationals. He pledged to act quickly on concerns over the new Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Ban on foreign arrivals started on Tuesday and will last for about one month, during which Japanese citizens and foreigners with resident status returning from high-risk areas are required to quarantine for up to 10 days in a government-designated facility.
Japan has already taken such stricter measures on people who have recently been to any of the nine African countries – Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Japan will also suspend the recent easing of entry restrictions beginning November 8, which has allowed vaccinated business travelers to have a shorter quarantine period and started to accept entry applications from students and technical interns on the condition that their host organization agrees to take the responsibility of monitoring their movement.
Starting on Wednesday, the country will also set its daily cap for arrivals at 3,500, down from 5,000. Returning Japanese citizens and foreign residents will be required to isolate for two weeks regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated.
Yesterday, 82 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were recorded across Japan, a low figure being likely a result of a drop in testings over the weekend. The previous wave of infections caused by the Delta variant in summer saw a peak at more than 25,000 daily cases.

New flight from Doha to Tashkent on Qatar Airways Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Qatar Airways will add Tashkent, Uzbekistan to its global network with twice weekly flights. The first flight from Doha to Tashkent will take off on 17 January 2022, operated by an Airbus A320 aircraft, featuring 12 seats in Business Class and 120 seats in Economy Class.
The new service will enable passengers flying to and from Tashkent to enjoy seamless connectivity to over 140 destinations, including UAE, Saudi Arabia, India and the U.S., via Hamad International Airport in Doha.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “We see tremendous growth potentials in Central Asia and this new service to Tashkent will serve to boost trade opportunities and attract tourists wanting to discover this beautiful destination. Passengers from Tashkent will now have access to more than 140 destinations when travelling with the World’s Best Airline via the World’s Best Airport, Hamad International Airport.”
Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan lying at the core of the ancient Silk Road, will become Qatar Airways’ newest destination in 2022 and the latest addition to its network in Asia. It is the largest city in Central Asia, offering visitors panoramic views, varied cuisine and plenty of places to see and discover.
Flight Schedule
Doha – Tashkent (All times in local)
Monday and Friday
Doha (DOH) to Tashkent (TAS)         QR377            Departs: 18:55            Arrives: 00:30 +1
Tuesday and Saturday
Tashkent (TAS) to Doha (DOH)         QR378            Departs: 01:50            Arrives: 04:00