New Ryanair Base in Nuremberg Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Flights also to Cagliari and Venice in Italy
Overall there will be 27 new routes for a total of 85 flights per week, when 13 countries across Europe will be connected to the airport. In detail, the new entries are: Banja Luka, Cagliari, Chania, Dublin, Faro, Girona, Ibiza, Lviv, Madeira, Sofia, Tallinn, Valencia, and Venice.
With the addition of over 560 new routes and the opening of 16 new bases in 2021, Ryanair is aiming for even greater growth next summer with 65 new B737-8200 “Gamechanger” aircraft, offering 4% increase of seats and guaranteeing the reduction of Co2 emissions by 16% and noise emissions by 40%.
Ryanair is doubling its schedule, rebuilding tourism, and creating high-paying jobs in Germany with no aid from the state.
“We are delighted to invest in Nuremberg airport at a time when the German government is abandoning its regional airports in favor of traditional airlines and large airports,” commented Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson. The opening of our new base in Nuremberg features 13 new routes – 27 in total – and will provide greater connectivity, driving tourism and growth for the region as it recovers from the pandemic.
“The $200 million investment will not only stimulate the German economy by driving vital tourism, but will also create more than 60 direct jobs and nearly 1,000 jobs in the region. At a time when Lufthansa is shrinking its fleet, cutting jobs, and closing routes while wasting €9 billion of taxpayer money on state aid, Ryanair is doubling its schedule for summer 2022 in Nuremberg by rebuilding tourism and creating high-paying jobs in Germany with zero state aid.”

Heathrow urges Ministers to reunite families for Christmas Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Heathrow warns that new Government-imposed travel restrictions further dampen passenger confidence as demand down by 60% on pre-pandemic levels, despite the US reopening earlier in the month.
High level of cancelations by business travelers concerned about being trapped overseas because of pre-departure testing shows the potential harm to the economy of travel restrictions.
Heathrow urges Ministers to reduce restrictions as soon as it is safe to do so and to allow UK nationals from red list countries to isolate at home so that they can be reunited with loved ones for Christmas.
If the Government signals that aviation could restart soon, that will give employers at Heathrow the confidence to start recruiting and training thousands of people from the local community ahead of next summer.
Heathrow forecasts a slow start to 2022, finishing next year with around 45 million passengers – only just over half of the airport’s pre-pandemic levels. This aligns closely with the forecast published by the CAA in its Initial Proposals, and that of the airlines’ international trade body, IATA, which predicts global passenger numbers in 2022 will be about 60% of 2019 levels.
Heathrow does not expect that international travel will recover to 2019 levels until at least all travel restrictions (including testing) are removed from all the markets that we serve, at both ends of the route, and there is no risk of new restrictions, such as quarantine, being imposed. This is likely to be several years away.
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said:
“By allowing Brits to isolate at home, Ministers can make sure they are reunited with their loved ones this Christmas.  It would send a strong signal that restrictions on travel will be removed as soon as safely possible to give passengers the confidence to book for 2022, opening up thousands of new jobs for local people at Heathrow.  Let’s reunite families for Christmas.”

Russia completely bans travel from Botswana, Zimbabwe, Hong Kong, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Eswatini and South Africa Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The government of Russian Federation announced that foreigner visitors from nine African countries and Hong Kong are completely banned from entering Russia due to the spread of the COVID-9 virus.
A decree announcing new travel restrictions, was signed by Russian Prime Minister and published today.
New Russian government’s ruling effectively cancels all earlier exceptions for the diplomatic passport holders, travelers on business visa, and some other categories of visitors.
According to the decree, the countries effected are “Botswana, Zimbabwe, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Eswatini, the Republic of South Africa.”
Earlier, Russia’s anti-coronavirus crisis center reported that the entry of foreigners residing in Hong Kong or in some African countries would be ‘restricted’ due to the spread of the new strain of the infection.
On November 26, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated the B.1.1.529 variant identified in South Africa as a “Variant of Concern” and assigned it the Greek letter Omicron. 
In its statement, the WHO noted that “this variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning.” The epicenter of the spread of the Omicron strain is southern Africa.
The highest number of those infected with it has been detected in South Africa. The new strain has since been recorded in over 50 countries.

FAA: ‘No specific safety issues’ found at Blue Origin Aviation Feature, Aviation News

US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that is has concluded its probe into the Blue Origin commercial spaceflight company.
According to US federal regulator, it has found ‘no specific safety issues’ with Amazon mogul’s space firm and would not be taking any action against it.
Last September, just two months after Bezos made a spaceflight aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket system, numerous concerns were raised and made public by the Blue Origin staff.
Twenty current and former employees of the Blue Origin accused the company of a slew of wrongdoings, from sexism in the workplace to environmental damage, to ignoring safety standards.
“We have seen a pattern of decision-making that often prioritizes execution speed and cost reduction over the appropriate resourcing to ensure quality,” the disgruntled employees wrote, prompting the FAA to launch a review of the Blue Origin’s safety record.
At the time of the complaint, Blue Origin said that it stood “by our safety record and believe that New Shepard is the safest space vehicle ever designed or built.” 
Furthermore, Blue Origin spokesperson said that Alexandra Abrams, the principal author of the complaint, had been fired two years ago “after repeated warnings for issues involving federal export control regulations.”

Travel agents worldwide: Lift all travel bans now Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), Association of South African Travel Agencies (ASATA), Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA), Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Associations (ECTAA) and World Travel Agents Associations Alliance (WTAAA), collectively representing the hundreds of thousands of people who work at travel agencies and related businesses around the world, call on government leaders globally to expedite the lifting of all country- and region-specific travel bans.  
When elected officials make public policy decisions in the interest of public health, those governments have an obligation to provide financial resources to those industries and individuals most affected by their decisions. Closing borders and implementing new restrictions affects untold millions of employees in the travel and tourism industry. It also is putting already vulnerable businesses at further risk from ever recovering, while government revenues continue to be eroded due to the loss of economic activity from the industry, which represents one in every ten jobs globally according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. 
Recent and more stringent border closures have severely impacted already-complex international travel. We collectively call on global government leaders to follow the best available science when determining border measures, including testing and prohibitions. Many countries follow strong biosecurity protocols, including masking, social distancing, and vaccination requirements. The addition of new border measures has significant economic impacts on travel and tourism businesses that may not add additional community protection. It is critical that government policy is guided by science, not political pressure or the desire to be seen as “doing something” since these measures have significant, sometimes irreversible impact on businesses and jobs.
We implore governments to take responsibility for their actions by sustaining travel reliant businesses until such time as they lift restrictions and normal travel patterns re-emerge.  Thus far, government responses to this economic factor have been uneven at best. We highlight the fact that, in response to its Covid restrictions Canada has pledged support for travel-reliant businesses in that country through May of 2022, and urge other global leaders to follow their lead. 
The World Health Organization (WHO) has continued to advise against the application of travel or trade restrictions to countries experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks: “In general, evidence shows that restricting the movement of people and goods during public health emergencies is ineffective in most situations and may divert resources from other interventions…Travel bans to affected areas or denial of entry to passengers coming from affected areas are usually not effective in preventing the importation of cases but may have a significant economic and social impact.” This is line with the most recent European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) authoritative and science-based analysis, confirming that travel restrictions generally have no effective impact on the spread of the virus in Europe.

New flights from Montreal and Toronto to Bogota and Cartagena Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Colombia is closing this year with new direct routes coming from various countries. Just during the first week of December, the Latin American country has received, for the first-time, new flights arriving from Chile to Medellín with JetSMART; from Panama City to Armenia (Quindío) with Copa Airlines and from Miami to San Andrés Islands through American Airlines. Currently, Colombia has over 1.000 weekly international air frequencies, with 24 airlines connecting with 25 countries. That means over 172,000 seats available per week!
Canada is no exception. As a matter of fact, within the last few days, the air connectivity with this north American country has increased tremendously. On Dec. 2nd, Air Canada launched its new flight from Montreal to Bogotá and Avianca, Colombia’s main carrier, launched a new Toronto–Bogotá route on Dec 3rd. Air Canada has also been operating Toronto–Bogotá since July and Air Transat is coming back with its seasonal flight from Montreal and Toronto to Cartagena in the upcoming week. With these new flights, Colombia is, approximately, six hours away from Toronto and Montreal. These routes open a door of new opportunities for Canadians —and all international travelers for that matter— to discover the country’s uniqueness and its six tourist regions.
Colombia is the most biodiverse country per square meter in the world and, having into account that the country is considerably smaller than the province of Quebec and just a bit larger than Ontario, this is relevant because it allows foreigners to experience various ecosystems in the span of a few days. In fact, you can go from snow peaked mountains to crystal clear Caribbean waters in a single day!
For, Flavia Santoro, president of ProColombia, the agency in charge of promoting trade, investment, and tourism, it is only a matter of time before Colombia becomes Canada’s number one destination in South America. “The new routes to Colombia are an important step towards the recovery of our tourism industry. These flights also open up the possibility for new business opportunities that will allow us to keep positioning Colombia as a strategic trade ally for Canada and other countries as well,” she concluded.

Fraport and EnBW conclude new power purchase agreement for He Dreiht offshore wind farm Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Fraport AG, the publicly listed operator of Frankfurt Airport, and EnBW, the energy provider headquartered in Karlsruhe, have concluded a corporate power purchase agreement (CPPA) for the supply of electricity generated by offshore wind turbines. The long-term contract guarantees Fraport 85 megawatts (MW) from the 900 MW EnBW He Dreiht wind farm in the North Sea off the coast of Germany. The CPPA comes into force in the second half of 2026, and has a term of 15 years.
With the expiry of the previous subsidies under the German Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), PPAs are becoming a key element of the energy transition: They provide developers of renewable energy projects with a reliable source of funding while helping purchasers to quickly achieve ambitious climate targets. “Long-term power purchase agreements are a market response to advancing the energy transition even without government support,” explained EnBW CEO Frank Mastiaux. “PPAs equally benefit purchasers, project developers and the climate. For us, they are the key between renewables-generated power and our major customers.” 
The CPPA becomes operational in the summer of 2026. It will enable Fraport to transition a substantial portion of electricity consumption at its Frankfurt Airport home base to green energy. Fraport CEO Dr. Stefan Schulte said the agreement marked a key milestone in Fraport’s ongoing decarbonization strategy: “Renewables such as wind and solar are the focus of our climate strategy. They provide the firm foundations for a comprehensive package of measures to systematically reduce our CO2 emissions. Our clearly defined goal is to make Frankfurt Airport carbon-free by 2045. The power sourced from this new offshore wind park will play a central role. As an airport operator, we are especially reliant on a dependable, stable source of power that can be scaled up to meet our growing needs. In EnBW, we have found a strong partner. Compared with the conventional energy sources on which we have previously depended, the new CPPA unlocks potential savings of up to 80,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year.”
85 megawatts of green energy from the North Sea
EnBW initiated a new trend in the offshore market with the He Dreiht project in 2017. For the first time in an auction in Germany, the company secured the rights to build the 900 MW wind farm by bidding a subsidy amount of zero cents per kWh. Located about 90 kilometers northwest of the island of Borkum and about 110 kilometers west of Heligoland, He Dreiht is scheduled to go into operation in 2025. The investment decision is planned for 2023. The wind farm with around 60 turbines is currently one of the largest energy transition projects in Europe. It will also be the first to use turbines with a capacity of 15 megawatts each. By way of comparison, Germany’s first offshore wind farm, EnBW Baltic 1 built in 2011, has a capacity of 2.3 megawatts per turbine.

Air Canada’s new Boeing 767-300ER Freighter enters service Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Air Canada’s first dedicated Boeing 767-300ER freighter aircraft was put into service today and operated its inaugural flight from Toronto to Vancouver. Originally scheduled to first fly to Frankfurt, Air Canada Cargo deployed the aircraft early to provide capacity where needed.
“Our first freighter is being deployed earlier than initially planned in order to provide additional cargo capacity needed into and out of Vancouver to meet ongoing demand as a result of the flooding that disrupted British Columbia’s transportation network. The freighter is planned to operate 12 trips between our Toronto and Vancouver cargo hubs. Our teams have also worked extremely hard over the last several days to get our freighter into service early to aid in the transport of goods to Vancouver,” said Jason Berry, Vice President, Cargo, at Air Canada.
Prior to its first freighter operation, Air Canada and Air Canada Cargo had boosted cargo capacity by 586 tons into Vancouver from Toronto, Montreal and Calgary in November to allow for the transport of more critical supplies to and from British Columbia.
The first freighter aircraft is currently planned to operate between Toronto and Frankfurt for the remainder of 2021, in addition to the flights to Vancouver. In 2022, primarily out of Toronto, it will also serve Miami, Quito, Lima, Mexico City and Guadalajara. With additional airports including Madrid, Halifax and St. John’s planned when the second aircraft is delivered in the first half of 2022.
The Boeing 767-300ER freighters will allow Air Canada Cargo to offer five different main deck configurations, increasing the overall cargo capacity of each aircraft to nearly 58 tons or 438 cubic meters, with approximately 75 percent of this capacity on the main deck.

Cape Town Tourism welcomes New German Visitors with Open Arms Aviation Feature, Aviation News

In a move to prevent the introduction of SARS-CoV2-variants, the German Government had imposed a partial ban on transport and entry from countries with the widespread occurrence of such virus variants (referred to as areas of variants of concern).
With effect from 28th November 2021 South Africa, Eswatini, and Lesotho (among others) were listed as such areas of variants of concern.
Cape Town Tourism is a member of the African Tourism Board and issued the following important update and clarification on restrictions announced for travel to and from South Africa by the Federal Republic of Germany.
Today CapeTown Tourism, a member of the African Tourism Board clarifies current restrictions, welcoming German Tourists with open arms.
CapeTown Tourism explained regulations for Germans in place to Visit CapeTown
Lufthansa will continue to fly to South Africa.Flights from South Africa to Switzerland via SWISS and Edelweiss are available to passengers who are Swiss or Liechtenstein nationals as well as those who hold a corresponding Swiss or Liechtenstein residence permit. Passengers will need to have a valid negative COVID test on arrival. German tourists may travel to South Africa and continue to do so. South Africans may travel to Germany, if they are fully vaccinated and are travelling for specific reasons (e.g. certain skilled workers, students, researchers, scientists, people in professional training, skilled business travellers for the purpose of negotiating, concluding or supervising contracts).
German tourists are welcome to visit Cape Town and the rest of South Africa. Cape Town Tourism has an information
Capetown’s top places to visit are open and ready for tourists.
Aquila Private Game Reserve was started in 1999 when owner, Searl Derman, set about searching for the perfect piece of land to re-introduce the Big 5 (elephant, lion, buffalo, rhino and leopard) as well as other wild game to the Western Cape. The reserve is named after the Black Eagle (Aquila verreauxii) that is today rarely encountered and regarded as an endangered species. Aquila, a prestigious 4-star luxury getaway, is also very big on conservation and uplifting local communities in the area. Guests can experience a day trip or an overnight safari and the opportunity to experience the reserve’s natural flora and fauna by vehicle, quad bike or on horse-back.
Image by @aquilasafaris via Instagram
Two Oceans Aquarium opened at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront on the 13 November 1995 and comprises several exhibition galleries. The aquarium is named for its location, where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. The Aquarium provides an insight into the riveting world of the southern African coastline. Visitors are invited to explore and learn more about marine life with over 3000 aquatic creatures including tiny animals such as the Knysna Seahorse, to larger more fearsome ones like large ragged-tooth sharks.
Image by @2oceansaquarium via Instagram
The Green Point Lighthouse was the first to light Cape Town’s shores. The iconic red and white candy-striped structure stands proud on the Sea Point Promenade. It was first lit in 1824 and is the country’s the oldest operational lighthouse. It was later expanded to its present height in 1865. The bright colours were so that the lighhouse was distinguishable from the surrounding cottages. Today the Green Point lighthouse is open to visitors at a fee.
Image by @hg_richardson via Instagram
Since its opening shortly after the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the Green Point Park has become a popular weekend spot among locals. The park, situated alongside the Cape Town Stadium, was created from the land which was a building site during the stadium’s construction for the World Cup. Now it has been transformed into a beautiful open green space representing over 300 species of flora indigenous to the Western Cape. The park is always a hive of activity with family picnics, youngsters playing football and little ones playing on the wooden jungle gyms and swings.
Image by @venero_iphoneography via Instagram
The Perceiving Freedom sculpture was created by local artist Michael Elion and revealed in 2014. The statue is honor former South African president, Nelson Mandela. The giant pair of glasses is located on the Sea Point Promenade and stares out at Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for nearly two decades.
Image via @stemue_88 via Instagram

Qatar Airways launches new Odesa and Tashkent flights for holidays Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Qatar Airways is set to further boost its growing network with increased flight frequencies to 18 popular destinations across the globe to meet travel demand during the peak winter holiday season. This increase is part of the airline’s ongoing efforts to provide greater choice and seamless connectivity to passengers as they discover the world, via the airline’s home and hub Hamad International Airport (HIA).
This includes Qatar Airways’ inaugural services to Odesa, Ukraine, which launched with three weekly flights from 9 December 2021, and Tashkent, Uzbekistan, with two weekly flights from 17 January 2022. The airline also recently launched direct flights to Almaty, Kazakhstan, on 19 November 2021.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “Qatar Airways continues to develop its schedule and network by increasing frequencies to many popular destinations across the world while adopting the strictest safety measures both on the ground and in the air, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of passengers and staff. This increase will provide even greater choice to our business and leisure passengers, who can connect seamlessly via the World’s Best Airport, Hamad International Airport, to more than 140 global destinations.”
Qatar Airways network enhancements:
– Abu Dhabi – Increased from daily to two daily flights from 1 December 2021
–       Algiers – Increasing from four weekly to five weekly flights from 18 December 2021
–       Bangkok – Increasing from 10 weekly to three daily flights from 17 December 2021
–       Berlin – Increasing from daily to 10 weekly flights from 16 January 2022
–       Cebu – Increased from nine weekly to 11 weekly flights from 9 December 2021
–       Clark – Increased from five weekly to daily flights from 1-31 December 2021
–       Colombo – Increasing from three daily to four daily flights from 20 December 2021
–       Copenhagen – Increasing from 11 weekly to 12 weekly flights from 18 December 2021
–       Helsinki – Increasing from daily to 10 weekly flights from 01 January 2022
–       Kuala Lumpur – Increasing from 10 weekly to 13 weekly flights from 16 December 2021
–       Kuwait – Increased from two daily to three daily flights from 20 November 2021
–       London – Increased from four daily to five daily flights from 2 December 2021 to 31 January 2022
–       Medina – Increased from four weekly to daily flights from 1 November 2021

–       Paris – Increasing from two daily to three daily flights from 15 December 2021
–       Phuket – Increasing from daily to 11 weekly flights from 16 December 2021
–       Salalah – Increasing from three weekly to five weekly flights from 1 January 2022
–       Sharjah – Increased from daily to two daily flights from 18 November 2021
–       Zurich – Increasing from daily to 10 weekly flights from 1 January 2022

2022 Best and Worst US Cities for Layovers Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Unless you’re stranded at an airport with a spa, an arcade, a rotating art exhibit, or live music — yes, those airports exist — long layovers can be dreadful.
So rather than spend endless hours or days inside a crowded airport, why not take a mini excursion in the city?
Ahead of the busy holiday travel season, travel industry experts ranked 56 of the largest U.S. cities served by large- and medium-hub airports to determine 2022’s Best and Worst Cities for Layovers.
The analysts looked at each city’s share of delayed and canceled flights, including average departure delay times. They also searched for cities that are easy to navigate, especially from the airport, and offer plenty of fun things to do and see without breaking your bank.
Check out the five best (and five worst) cities for layovers below, followed by surprising findings from our report.
2022’s Best Cities for LayoversRankCity1Portland, OR2Boise, ID3Anchorage, AK4New York, NY5Honolulu, HI
2022’s Worst Cities for LayoversRankCity52Cincinnati, OH53Durham, NC54Newark, NJ55Detroit, MI56Fort Worth, TX

What is the best Booster Vaccine for Travel? Aviation Feature, Aviation News

What is the best Booster Vaccine for Travel? 1

The African Tourism Board Chairman Cuthbert Ncube said: ” Our travel and tourism industry was in the process for a slow recovery. We feel those that closed borders to Southern Africa must reopen them as fast as they were closed, should the new Omicron variant not be as threatening as first assumed.”
Juergen Steinmetz, chairman of the World Tourism Network agreed: “We have to learn how to live with the virus. We cannot eliminate Delta, Omicron, or any version of the COVID-19 pandemic at this time. I agree with Cuthbert. Even if Omicron spreads faster compared to Delta, but is less deadly and less severe, international borders should reopen immediately. Omicron was currently detected in countries around the world. It’s definitely not an African issue. The key is vaccination and testing. We need to work on, that soon no one should be able to board an international flight without having received a rapid PCR test within hours before boarding. Rapid PCR tests are available and should become standard equipment at international airports around the globe. This cost could be integrated into the tax or fee calculation of airline tickets.”

South African lead scientists, including Dr. Alex Sigal, confirmed in initial blood trials, that it appears a fully vaccinated person having received two doses of Pfizer may not be fully protected against the new highly contagious Omicron variant.
However, it’s highly likely that those people who have received the third dose are expected to have a high degree of protection. There is no conclusive study yet, so these are initial findings.
Scientists from Durban, South Africa found that the Omicron variant can partially evade the protection from two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
While those fully vaccinated people were mostly able to neutralize the Omicron variant, scientists said the booster doses would likely help to fend off infection with the virus even more.
Scientists in Australia have discovered a new “stealth” version of the Omicron Covid-19 variant that could be harder to track, with the Queensland Government confirming they’ve detected a case of the “stealth” strain.
Genetically distinct but falling under the Omicron umbrella, standard PCR tests seem unable to distinguish the new version of the virus from other strains such as Delta or the original Covid-19 strain. Instead, the variant needs to be confirmed via testing through whole-genome analysis.
Because of this, some researchers are calling the new variant “Stealth Omicron”.
Dr. Anthony Fauci in the United States on Tuesday told news agency Agence France-Presse that the omicron variant is “almost certainly” not more severe than delta. He also reiterated that it would take at least several more weeks to understand key questions surrounding omicron’s severity.
This was also confirmed in South Africa where analysts conclude, that although the number of cases is surging rapidly in South Africa, the death rate is still not that high to raise concerns.

New flights from Toronto to Los Cabos, Punta Cana and Kingston on Swoop now Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Swoop this week celebrates the launch of three new inaugural flights from Toronto Pearson International Airport with the departure of new non-stop service to Los Cabos, Mexico, on December 4, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, on December 5 and Kingston, Jamaica on December 8.
“The launch of these three new routes demonstrates that Swoop’s accessible and affordable fares have caught on in Toronto and highlights the demand we are seeing for ultra-low fare travel across Canada,” said Bert van der Stege, Head of Commercial and Finance, Swoop.
“We know Canadians are long overdue for a warm vacation or reunion with family and friends and while government-imposed travel restrictions continue to evolve, our travelers require and appreciate clarity and guidance on their upcoming travel plans.”
As Canada’s leading ULCC, Swoop continues to support travelers navigate and adhere to testing requirements for travel through its partnership with Azova, a leading digital health technology platform.
“Congratulations to our partners at Swoop on launching three new routes to destinations that have traditionally captured the imagination and excitement of Canadian travelers—and just in time for the cold weather,” said Craig Bradbrook, Chief Operating Officer at the Greater Toronto Airports Authority.
“With Toronto Pearson‘s globally recognized Healthy Airport program continually evolving to keep pace with the latest public health guidance, our valued passengers can rest assured that if they’re planning on travelling this winter, their health and safety is our top priority from curb to boarding and back again.”

Love Actually is all around at Heathrow now Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Love Actually is all around at Heathrow now 2

18 years on from first hitting the big screen, the iconic opening scene of Love Actually at Heathrow has been recreated for today’s times.

Love Actually script-supervisor Lisa Vick has modernized the monologue first voiced by Hugh Grant in the 2003 box office hit, whose words reminded people that love can be found everywhere. 
The new words reflect the ongoing challenges caused by the pandemic and the emotion of reuniting with friends and family as the world slowly opens back up. The one-minute recreation is narrated by British actress Martine McCutcheon, who played Natalie in the movie. 
The scene has been reshot at Heathrow Terminal 3, the same location it was filmed in almost two decades ago. It features footage of real-life passengers emerging in Arrivals and reuniting with loved ones in time for Christmas, after months and even years of being apart.
The festive film launches as Heathrow expects to face a busy Christmas despite demand being suppressed by the ongoing impact of COVID-19. Research commissioned by Heathrow earlier this year found that two in three people (62 percent) haven’t seen a loved one in over a year, with 40 percent of the UK having loved ones who live abroad. 
Following the easing of travel restrictions, Heathrow has seen increases in people booking flights this winter as travelers set their sights on flying home for Christmas. Additional data from Heathrow reveals the weekend of 17/18/19th December are set to be the most popular days to travel during the Christmas period, with Dubai, New York and Dublin the most popular destinations.

FAA: Massive 5G rollout new threat to aircraft safety Aviation Feature, Aviation News

In a series of directives, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has warned that a large-scale rollout of mid-band 5G systems may create a serious aircraft safety risk by interfering with navigation equipment and causing flight diversions.
US federal civil aviation regulator particularly raised concerns about 5G potentially interfering with radio altimeters – sensitive aircraft electronics used by pilots to safely land in poor visibility conditions. Altimeters tell how high an aircraft is above the ground when a pilot cannot see it.
According to the FAA, the planes and helicopters would not be able to use many guided and automatic landing systems at airports with potentially high 5G interference since these systems are likely to be unreliable in these conditions.
Earlier, companies AT&T and Verizon Communications agreed to postpone the commercial launch of their C-band 5G wireless services until January 5 amid the FAA’s concerns. Now, the US agency believes that the “unsafe condition” posed by the upcoming use of 5G networks requires immediate action before that date.
“Radio altimeter anomalies” could lead to “loss of continued safe flight and landing” if they remain undetected by pilots or an aircraft’s automated systems, the FAA said. Landing during low visibility periods could be “limited” due to 5G concerns, an FAA spokesman told The Verge. One of the FAA directives also said that “these limitations could prevent dispatch of flights to certain locations with low visibility and could also result in flight diversions.”
The FAA also said that its two directives issued on Tuesday, which also include revised safety guidelines, were particularly aimed at gathering “more information to avoid potential effects on aviation safety equipment.”
The agency still believes that “expansion of 5G and aviation will safely co-exist.” It is also in talks with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the White House, and industry representatives to work out the details of limitations that are to be outlined in the coming weeks.
The FCC said it looks forward to “updated guidance from the FAA.” The aviation watchdog said that specific notices could be issued for areas “where the data from a radio altimeter may be unreliable” due to 5G signals.
AT&T and Verizon said in late November they would take precautionary measures to limit the potential interference of their networks for at least six months. The FAA argued on Monday that was insufficient.
Verizon responded yesterday by saying that there was “no evidence” of C-band 5G networks actually posing any risks to aircraft in “dozens of countries” that already use them. The company added it plans to “reach 100 million Americans with this network in the first quarter of 2022.”

IATA: Follow WHO advice and rescind travel bans now Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called for governments to follow World Health Organization (WHO) advice and immediately rescind travel bans that were introduced in response to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Public health organizations, including the WHO, have advised against travel curbs to contain the spread of Omicron. WHO advice for international traffic in relation to the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant states that:
“Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread, and they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods. In addition, they can adversely impact global health efforts during a pandemic by disincentivizing countries to report and share epidemiological and sequencing data. All countries should ensure that the measures are regularly reviewed and updated when new evidence becomes available on the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of Omicron or any other variants of concern.”
Time-Limited Science-Bases Measures 
The same WHO advice also notes that states implementing measures such as screening or quarantine “need to be defined following a thorough risk assessment process informed by the local epidemiology in departure and destination countries and by the health system and public health capacities in the countries of departure, transit and arrival. All measures should be commensurate with the risk, time-limited and applied with respect to travelers’ dignity, human rights and fundamental freedoms, as outlined in the International Health Regulations.” 
“After nearly two years with COVID-19 we know a lot about the virus and the inability of travel restrictions to control its spread. But the discovery of the Omicron variant induced instant amnesia on governments which implemented knee-jerk restrictions in complete contravention of advice from the WHO—the global expert,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

Three Jabs of Pfizer is the Answer on Reopening Borders? Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Three Jabs of Pfizer is the Answer on Reopening Borders? 3

The African Tourism Board Chairman Cuthbert Ncube said: ” Our travel and tourism industry was in the process for a slow recovery. We feel those that closed borders to Southern Africa must reopen them as fast as they were closed, should the new Omicron variant not be as threatening as first assumed.”
Juergen Steinmetz, chairman of the World Tourism Network agreed: “We have to learn how to live with the virus. We cannot eliminate Delta, Omicron, or any version of the COVID-19 pandemic at this time. I agree with Cuthbert. Even if Omicron spreads faster compared to Delta, but is less deadly and less severe, international borders should reopen immediately. Omicron was currently detected in countries around the world. It’s definitely not an African issue. The key is vaccination and testing. We need to work on, that soon no one should be able to board an international flight without having received a rapid PCR test within hours before boarding. Rapid PCR tests are available and should become standard equipment at international airports around the globe. This cost could be integrated into the tax or fee calculation of airline tickets.”

South African lead scientists, including Dr. Alex Sigal, confirmed in initial blood trials, that it appears a fully vaccinated person having received two doses of Pfizer may not be fully protected against the new highly contagious Omicron variant.
However, it’s highly likely that those people who have received the third dose are expected to have a high degree of protection. There is no conclusive study yet, so these are initial findings.
Scientists from Durban, South Africa found that the Omicron variant can partially evade the protection from two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
While those fully vaccinated people were mostly able to neutralize the Omicron variant, scientists said the booster doses would likely help to fend off infection with the virus even more.
Scientists in Australia have discovered a new “stealth” version of the Omicron Covid-19 variant that could be harder to track, with the Queensland Government confirming they’ve detected a case of the “stealth” strain.
Genetically distinct but falling under the Omicron umbrella, standard PCR tests seem unable to distinguish the new version of the virus from other strains such as Delta or the original Covid-19 strain. Instead, the variant needs to be confirmed via testing through whole-genome analysis.
Because of this, some researchers are calling the new variant “Stealth Omicron”.
Dr. Anthony Fauci in the United States on Tuesday told news agency Agence France-Presse that the omicron variant is “almost certainly” not more severe than delta. He also reiterated that it would take at least several more weeks to understand key questions surrounding omicron’s severity.
This was also confirmed in South Africa where analysts conclude, that although the number of cases is surging rapidly in South Africa, the death rate is still not that high to raise concerns.

Cathay Pacific signs new agreement with Travelport Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Travelport and Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific, today extended their long-standing relationship with a renewed and expanded multi-source content distribution agreement which includes a commitment to work with Travelport in advancing its New Distribution Capability (NDC) initiatives.
With this new long-term agreement, Travelport will continue to support Cathay Pacific by providing Travelport-connected agencies around the world with real-time access to search, sell, and book its content and inventory.
The agreement will see the content available to agents progressively expanded, to include a larger range of fares as well as ancillaries than had previously been unavailable.
Martin Xu, General Manager Sales and Distribution at Cathay Pacific said: “The longevity of our relationship is ample testament to the fruitful partnership we’ve enjoyed with Travelport over the past decades. With the expanded flight offerings, fares and ancillaries available in this new agreement, we look forward to helping agencies connected to Travelport generate even more value for their customers.”
Sue Carter, Head of Asia Pacific, Air Partners at Travelport added: “We are delighted to be able to offer even more of Cathay Pacific’s content, especially as we progress with our work on NDC. Simplifying access to multi-source content, while simultaneously making it easier to sell is exactly what our new Travelport+ platform is designed to do, and we’re confident this new agreement will generate more value than ever before for Cathay Pacific and our connected agencies alike.”

South African Airways and CemAir sign new interline agreement Aviation Feature, Aviation News

South African Airways (SAA) has signed a co-operation agreement with local and regional carrier CemAir that extends the route network reach of both operators and offers customers using both airlines on a multi-destination voyage a seamless check-in experience.
SAA’s Interim Chief Executive Officer Thomas Kgokolo says, “Airlines the world over constantly strive for efficiency and the benefit for the customer is that this agreement is convenient and lowers the cost of booking one ticket instead of two separate tickets. Fares will be issued on one itinerary and ticket, guaranteeing connectivity to more than one destination. It also allows passengers to through check-in their baggage between connecting flights of the two carriers without goingthrough an entire check-in process again.”
“Over the past few years, we have watched CemAir grow into a respected aviation brand with a loyal and growing customer base. This interline arrangement enables flight scheduling connection and flexibility for time-sensitive passengers. It also adds more destinations to the route network of both airlines. These additional routes are ones not currently serviced by SAA and includes Luanda, Durban, Hoedspruit, George, Kimberly, Bloemfontein, Plettenberg Bay, Margate, Sishen and Gqeberha. We are thrilled to be partnering with CemAir”, says Kgokolo.
Miles van der Molen, Chief Executive Officer of CemAir said, “We are excited to partner with South African Airways, one of the oldest airlines on the continent and a brand known by perhaps every South African. Our interline partnership will provide our customers with savings and convenience as passengers can now seamlessly connect between the two growing networks. As we continue our expansion during the COVID period, we realize now more than ever that partnerships are key to our success and working with SAA could not have come at a better time. We hope this is just the first step in a commercial partnership that will last many years.”
This interline agreement informs SAA’s continuing strategy to grow the carrier, responsibly, profitably, and sustainably after resuming operations at the end of September.

Robert Isom new American Airlines CEO as Doug Parker retires Aviation Feature, Aviation News

American Airlines Group Inc. today announced that Doug Parker will retire as Chief Executive Officer of American Airlines on March 31, 2022.
Robert Isom, currently president of American Airlines, will succeed him as CEO.
Isom also will join the airline’s board of directors on that same date, and Parker will continue to serve as chairman of American’s board.
“I have worked with Robert for two decades and I am incredibly pleased that he will be the next CEO of American Airlines, which is truly the best job in our industry,” Doug Parker said. “Robert is a collaborative leader with deep operational expertise and global industry experience. His efforts to guide and support our team throughout the pandemic have been nothing short of phenomenal. We are well-positioned to take full advantage of our industry’s recovery, and now is the right time for a handoff we have planned and prepared for. I feel extremely fortunate to hand the reins to this clear and capable leader.”
Parker added, “It has been the privilege of my life to serve for 20 years as an airline CEO. I am forever grateful to the American team, whose commitment to taking care of each other and our customers has never wavered and will continue to drive our success going forward.”
Isom, who was named president in 2016, brings more than 30 years of global industry and leadership experience across finance, operations, planning, marketing, sales, alliances, pricing and revenue management.
“I am humbled to serve as CEO of American Airlines,” said Isom. “Over the past several years, our airline and our industry have gone through a period of transformative change. And with change comes opportunity. Today, our more than 130,000 dedicated team members fly more people than any other U.S. airline on the youngest fleet of all the network carriers, and we are positioned to continue to lead the industry as travel rebounds.”
Isom added, “I want to thank Doug for his partnership over the past two decades. He is a leader and teacher who inspires all around him and leaves an incredible legacy at American and in our industry. Looking ahead, I am deeply honored to be working alongside the best team in the industry and know that we will achieve great things together.”
Lead Independent Director John Cahill said, “The board views succession planning as one of our most important mandates, and today’s announcement represents the culmination of a thoughtful and well-crafted succession planning process. Robert is an excellent team builder who has worked to bring people together throughout his career. He is the right leader to carry American forward into its next period of growth.”
Cahill concluded, “Over the span of his 35-year career, Doug has been an architect and advocate for a more vibrant, resilient and secure aviation industry. At American, Doug has overseen unprecedented investment in our team and our product and set the standard for servant leadership, tirelessly championing our people and establishing an accessible and inclusive culture. We look forward to continuing to benefit from Doug’s sound judgement, deep industry knowledge, persistence and optimism as chairman of our board.”

Collapse: Air travel plunge mars International Civil Aviation Day Aviation Feature, Aviation News

In its latest report, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) said that in 2020, when the spreading COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of many borders, the total number of international airline passengers worldwide plunged by up to 74%, compared to 2019.
‘Collapse,’ ‘unprecedented decline in history,’ and ‘stagnation’ were the terms used by the ICAO to describe the current state of global air travel, as the aviation industry marks its annual International Civil Aviation Day today.
COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic drop in global air travel, with airlines losing $371 billion in gross passenger operating revenues as they were forced to reduce the number of seats on offer by 66%.
Global airports lost over 60% of passenger traffic and more than $125 billion in airport revenues last year, compared to the pre-pandemic 2019.
For 2021, the ICAO predicts a moderate recovery in domestic travel, while international travel looks set to remain stagnant.
The agency says the actual figures for this year will depend on the duration and magnitude of the outbreak and containment measures, the degree of consumer confidence in air travel, and economic conditions, among other factors.
But with the new and potentially more vaccine-resistant Omicron variant spreading around the world, and countries introducing new restrictions, the future of civil aviation looks uncertain.
The ICAO actively monitors the economic impact of the pandemic on civil aviation and publishes reports and forecasts on a regular basis.
Before the pandemic, global airlines carried over four billion passengers a year, supported over 65 million jobs, and generated $2.7 trillion in global economic activity, according to UN estimates.
International Civil Aviation Day was established by the UN in the 1990s to commemorate the signing of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (also known as Chicago Convention) on December 7, 1944.

CDC adds 7 new travel hotspots to COVID-19 ‘stop list’ Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly advises against any travel to nations on its ‘Level 4’ COVID-19 risk countries.
“Avoid travel to these destinations,” CDC instructs. In fact, the CDC generally recommends avoiding any international travel at all until a person is fully vaccinated.
But if a person still “must” travel, the CDC strongly recommends they are fully vaccinated before the trip.
As a result, Americans are now advised against traveling to some of the world’s most popular tourist destinations after they were added to the list of ‘very high’ COVID risk places.
France, which was the world’s top travel destination in the times before the COVID-19 pandemic, has just landed on the CDC ‘stop list.’ That’s after the European nation that once hosted tens of millions of tourists a year was assigned the highest COVID-19 risk level.
And France was not the only tourist hotspot to hit the list on today.
It was accompanied by a popular safari destination – Tanzania – the sunny Mediterranean island of Cyprus, and also Jordan, the Middle Eastern nation housing a popular ancient archeological site and tourist attraction of Petra.
A total of seven nations have been added to the list, including the tiny European states of Andorra and Liechtenstein as well as Portugal.
Now, almost all of Europe is designated as a ‘very high’ risk destination by the CDC among a total of 80 nations on that list.
The countries falling into this category have reported more than 500 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the past 28 days.
The only exceptions are Spain and Italy – another two of the world’s most popular tourist destinations – as well as Sweden, Finland, and Malta. But don’t just rush to pack your bags, since these nations are all designated as ‘high’ risk destinations and the CDC would like to see any person fully vaccinated before traveling there.

Top new travel trends of 2021 Aviation Feature, Aviation News

New travel industry report reveals the top travel trends of 2021, which, unsurprisingly, are all driven by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
They are:
US Leisure travel has led the recoveryThe paralysis of Asia Pacific continued while Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and much of Africa have proved most resilientThe Middle East started to reviveDomestic travel has been dominant, particularly in large countriesMajor European airlines have struggled disproportionatelyThere has been a relative decline in long-haul travelDoha and Amsterdam have advanced in the battle of the hubsNew variants have continued to pose a potent threat
US Leisure travel has led the recovery
A comparison of the world’s top destination cities, before the pandemic in 2019, and throughout 2021, illustrates the strong trend towards leisure travel leading the recovery. Several major cities have been pushed down or out of the top 20 rankings, whereas major leisure destinations, particularly for US holidaymakers, have climbed high. While Dubai remains at the top of the list (it is a major leisure destination as well as a substantial travel and commerce hub), the most notable rises include, Miami, from 18th to 5th, Madrid from 16th to 10th and new into the list, Cancun (Mexico) at 2nd, Cairo (Egypt) at 9th,  Punta Cana (Dominical Republic) at 12th, San Juan (Puerto Rico) at 13th, Lisbon at 14th, Athens at 15th, Mexico City at 16th, Palma Mallorca at 17th, and Frankfurt at 20th. The two highest risers, Cancun and Miami, are both major leisure destinations popular with US holidaymakers. Most of the new entrants lower down the list are also leading leisure destinations, popular with European holidaymakers. Doha, which entered at 7th, has done particularly well as a hub for transits.
Major pre-pandemic destinations, which have fallen out of the top 20 list include ten major cities: Bangkok, Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai, Jeddah, Los Angeles and Osaka.

ASUR airports report 4.9 million passengers in November 2021 Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste, S.A.B. de C.V. ASUR, an international airport group with operations in Mexico, the U.S. and Colombia, today announced passenger traffic for November 2021 reached a total of 4.9 million passengers, 7.2% above the levels reported in November 2019, reflecting a continued overall recovery in travel demand and the rollout of vaccination campaigns in the US and gradual advances in Mexico, despite restrictions and requirements in certain countries of the world to contain the spread of the virus.
When compared to pre-pandemic levels of November 2019, ASUR passenger traffic increased 5.2% in Mexico and 6.9% in Puerto Rico and 12.8% Colombia. Passenger traffic growth in Mexico and Colombia was driven by both domestic and international traffic, while domestic traffic growth more than offset passenger lower international traffic in Puerto Rico during the period.
This announcement reflects comparisons between November 1 through November 30, 2021, from November 1 through November 30, 2020, and November 1 through November 30, 2019. Transit and general aviation passengers are excluded for Mexico and Colombia.
Passenger Traffic SummaryNovember% Chg 2021vs 2020% Chg 2021vs 2019Year to date% Chg 2021vs 2020% Chg 2021vs 2019201920202021201920202021Mexico2,785,2771,663,7062,929,72876.15.231,047,97214,578,20425,866,85377.4(16.7)Domestic Traffic1,411,2821,049,8291,443,17237.52.315,196,2258,106,14713,517,01466.8(11.1)International Traffic1,373,995613,8771,486,556142.28.215,851,7476,472,05712,349,83990.8(22.1)San Juan, Puerto Rico779,725440,548833,26889.16.98,510,5374,331,9498,762,283102.33.0Domestic Traffic700,055421,750772,16483.110.37,610,3224,062,1308,283,897103.98.9International Traffic79,67018,79861,104225.1(23.3)900,215269,819478,38677.3(46.9)Colombia1,036,353455,4731,169,245156.712.810,880,9443,610,6669,227,477155.6(15.2)Domestic Traffic890,063396,621997,056151.412.09,234,6033,100,8997,878,717154.1(14.7)International Traffic146,29058,852172,189192.617.71,646,341509,7671,348,760164.6(18.1)Total Traffic4,601,3552,559,7274,932,24192.77.250,439,45322,520,81943,856,61394.7(13.1)Domestic Traffic3,001,4001,868,2003,212,39272.07.032,041,15015,269,17629,679,62894.4(7.4)International Traffic1,599,955691,5271,719,849148.77.518,398,3037,251,64314,176,98595.5(22.9)

Travel apartheid: Nigeria condemns new UK restrictions Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Nigeria is the latest country to be added to the UK’s travel ‘red list’ on today. The red list means that the only people allowed to enter the UK from them are UK or Irish nationals and residents. Anyone returning from red-list nations has to self-isolate for 10 days at their own expense in a government-approved hotel. All 11 states on the list located in Africa.
In today’s interview to the BBC on Monday, Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom decried Britain’s travel restrictions, enacted to counter the spread of new Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus.
Nigeria’s representative in the UK, Sarafa Tunji Isola, condemned the targeted approach taken by the UK government that limits travel to and from some African nations, calling it a “travel apartheid.”
Great Britain‘s decision to impose restrictions on Nigeria was announced on Saturday, with the British government citing how the ‘vast majority’ of Omicron cases in Britain have been linked to ‘overseas travel from South Africa and Nigeria.’
Nigeria’s Isola is the latest foreign official to denounce the restrictions, with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres having also used the term “travel apartheid” last week while speaking to reporters in New York. The UN chief claimed that travel restrictions, such as those imposed by the UK, are “not only deeply unfair and punitive”, but are ultimately “ineffective.”
Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo also criticized countries for imposing restrictions on African nations, calling the measures “instruments of immigration control.”
UK minister Kit Malthouse refuted the allegation, stating that the use of the phrase “travel apartheid” is “very unfortunate language.” Defending the restrictions, he argued that they are helpful in giving British health officials “a little bit of time” to “work on the virus and assess how difficult it’s going to be.”
The UK’s Department of Health and Social Care has also stood by the restrictions, noting that the government will continue to keep the potential risk posed by individual countries and territories under review as regards what levels of precaution are required.

50 Embraer eVTOLs ordered for Sydney new air taxi services Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Eve Urban Air Mobility Solutions (Eve), an Embraer company, and Sydney Seaplanes, a leader in the transition to sustainable aviation, today announced a partnership that will lay the foundation for new electric air taxi operations in Greater Sydney. With the partnership, Sydney Seaplanes has placed an order for 50 of Eve’s electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOL), with progressive deliveries expected to commence from 2026.
The new partnership accelerates the progress towards 100% of greater Sydney’s local tourism and commuter flights coming from zero emission electric aviation.
“This is an exciting development for Sydney Seaplanes. Sydney needs a post-COVID lift and what better way to do that than by developing high-tech and zero carbon jobs that support transport, tourism and the vibrancy of this wonderful city. Eve’s eVTOL technology will integrate seamlessly with our electric amphibious fleet to deliver a range of tourism and commuter journeys. Subject to community consultation, we expect some flights will operate from our iconic Rose Bay aviation terminal in Sydney Harbour. This service will have widespread appeal which will allow us to open new routes beyond the Harbour and throughout the greater Sydney region,” said Aaron Shaw, CEO of Sydney Seaplanes.
“We are pleased to support Sydney Seaplanes as they seek to bring new mobility solutions to Sydney. The Greater Sydney market offers significant potential for scaled Urban Air Mobility operations, to make the most of the iconic beauty of Sydney Harbour and to improve the efficiency of movement to complement existing transport modes. Eve will support this new partnership with comprehensive solutions for aircraft operations including air traffic management solutions, maintenance, training, and other services,” said Andre Stein, President & CEO of Eve Urban Air Mobility.
Benefitting from a startup mindset and backed by Embraer‘s more than 50-year history of aircraft manufacturing and certification expertise, Eve unveils a unique value proposition by positioning itself as an ecosystem partner by offering a suite of products and services with the highest levels of safety standards. Eve’s human-centered, eVTOL design combines disruptive innovation and a simple and intuitive design. In addition to the aircraft program, Eve is harnessing the expertise of both Embraer and Atech, a subsidiary of the Embraer Group, in providing globally recognized air traffic management software to create the solutions that will help safely scale the UAM industry going forward.

Nike CFO new member of United Airlines Board of Directors Aviation Feature, Aviation News

United Airlines Holdings, Inc. (UAL) announced today that Matthew Friend will join its Board of Directors. Friend, currently Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Nike, Inc., brings more than two decades of corporate finance and strategy experience to the airline’s Board.

“As we emerge from the pandemic as a leader in the industry and stand ready to accelerate our business, United will benefit greatly from Matt’s deep financial acumen and stewardship of one of the leading consumer brands on the planet,” said United CEO Scott Kirby. “Plus, his years of global corporate experience will help inform our effort to continue to be a force for good across the country and around the world.”
“Any time we bring on a new board member, we’re focused on adding experienced leaders with skill sets and unique perspectives that will benefit United,” said Ted Philip, Chairman of the Board of Directors. “As the world reopens and travel demand continues to surge back, the United Board will benefit from Matt’s extensive global finance, strategy and business planning skills to help guide the airline as it charts a successful future.”
“United has shown real leadership over the past 18 months and has worked to redefine itself in the eyes of its employees, customers and the communities it serves,” said Friend. “The airline is determined to capitalize on this momentum, and I’m thrilled to join the board at this exciting time in its history.”
Friend was named EVP and CFO of Nike, Inc. in March 2020. Since then, he has helped steer Nike through a significant business transformation. Previously, Friend held the roles of CFO for Nike Operating Segments and VP of Investor Relations. He has also served as CFO of Nike Brand, Global Brands & Functions, Emerging Markets, and as VP of Corporate Strategy and Development. Friend is a member of Nike’s Executive Leadership Team and the senior management representative to the Audit & Finance Committee of the Nike, Inc. Board of Directors.
Friend began his career in investment banking with Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.

Southwest Airlines announces new leadership changes Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Southwest Airlines Co. today announced Leadership changes and appointments within various departments of the Company.   
Justin Jones is promoted to Senior Vice President Operational Strategy & Design, where he will lead the airline’s modernization and operational improvements in this newly created role. Jones previously served as the Vice President Technical Operations Planning and Performance, where he was responsible for Contract Services, Heavy Maintenance Planning, Maintenance Reliability and Records, Training, Business Intelligence, Aircraft Appearance, and Strategic Planning for Technical Operations. Jones has held a variety of performance and strategy roles throughout the Company and started with Southwest in 2001 as a Revenue Management and Pricing Analyst.
With this change, Angela Marano, currently Managing Director Business Transformation, is promoted to Vice President Business Transformation, and she and her Team will move from the Finance Department to the new Strategy & Design Team. The Business Transformation Team provides a variety of services and capabilities, including Innovation/Human-Centered Design, Continuous Improvement, Emerging Trends, Data Science, and Automation. Marano has been at Southwest Airlines for 23 years, starting in 1998 in Technology and has held several Leadership roles in Technology and Corporate Strategy.
Jonathan Clarkson was recently promoted to Vice President Marketing, Loyalty, & Products. Clarkson was most recently a Managing Director, overseeing general management responsibilities for the Company’s award-winning frequent flyer program, Rapid Rewards, as well as our partnerships. He also has responsibility for business management of Southwest’s ancillary revenue products (EarlyBird Check-In, Upgraded Boarding, Hotels, Cars, etc.) and leads the Business Performance/Data Science and Customer Insights/Testing & Optimization Teams in Marketing.
Jim Dayton is transitioning to Vice President Cybersecurity and Chief Information Security Officer, following Managing Director of Chief Information Security Officer Michael Simmons’ departure from the Company. In Dayton’s new role, he will be responsible for all aspects of cybersecurity across Southwest Airlines‘ facilities, airports, and aircraft. Dayton joined Southwest in 2012 and has held several senior-level Leadership positions. In his most recent role, he had responsibility for leading the Operations portfolio within Southwest’s Technology Department and worked alongside Flight Operations, Inflight Operations, Network Operations Control, and Safety & Security to modernize many of Southwest’s most critical operational systems.
John Herlihy has also been promoted from Managing Director to Vice President Technology Operations and Enterprise Initiative Delivery. Herlihy will oversee the Technical Operations Portfolio supporting Southwest’s aircraft maintenance applications and ecosystem of products. Additionally, he will lead the newly formed Enterprise Initiative Delivery Team, which is focused on the delivery of critical department-wide cybersecurity improvements and data privacy. He joined Southwest in 2017 and oversaw several major product implementations within the Technical Operations Department.

New flights from Miami to Chetumal on American Airlines Aviation Feature, Aviation News

American Airlines recently inaugurated its 28th destination in Mexico with the launch of its Miami (MIA) to Chetumal (CTM) route, continuing its Mexico expansion plan for 2021.
The new route has twice-weekly frequency on Wednesdays and Saturdays on the aircraft Embraer 175, with capacity for 76 passengers: 64 seats in the main cabin and 12 seats in business class.
RouteFrequencyTimeAircraftMIA-CTMWednesdays and Saturdays10:50 a.m.Embraer 175CTM-MIAWednesdays and Saturdays1:50 p.m.Embraer 175
“American has a commitment of almost 80 years of service in Mexico, and we’re proud to close this 2021 inaugural flight from Miami to Chetumal,” said José Maria Giraldo, Director of Operations for Mexico, Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador for American Airlines. “We’re excited to be able to open the doors of Chetumal to more travelers from the United States and the World.”
The opening ceremony was attended by the Governor of the State of Quintana Roo, Carlos Manuel Joaquin Gonzalez, who said, “this pioneering flight in the state capital will benefit the entire southern region and expand its tourism offering, contributing to our goal of strengthening the economy and development of this region.” 
Dario Flota Ocampo, director of Quintana Roo Tourism Board, said “we appreciate the interest that American Airlines has always shown to support the tourist destinations of the Mexican Caribbean, we hope this route will help generate traffic in both directions so that it is mutually beneficial and continues for a long time to come.” 
“This year American celebrates 40 years of service in the state of Quintana Roo, operating from Cancun, and today with our new service in Chetumal, we will offer better access to tourists who wish to visit the state capital, as well as the tourist destinations of Bacalar and different surrounding archaeological zones,” said Vicky Uzal, commercial director at American Airlines for Mexico.
American Airlines currently operates over 750 weekly flights to 28 destinations in the country, including two destinations in Quintana Roo: Chetumal (CTM) and Cancun (CUN).

IATA: Global air cargo demand up 9.4% in October Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released October 2021 data for global air cargo markets showing that demand continued to be well above pre-crisis levels and that the capacity constraints have eased slightly.   
As comparisons between 2021 and 2020 monthly results are distorted by the extraordinary impact of COVID-19, unless otherwise noted, all comparisons below are to October 2019 which followed a normal demand pattern.
Global demand, measured in cargo ton-kilometers (CTKs), was up 9.4% compared to October 2019 (10.4% for international operations). 
Capacity constraints have eased slightly but remain 7.2% below pre-COVID-19 levels (October 2019) (-8.0% for international operations). 
Economic conditions continue to support air cargo growth but are slightly weaker than in the previous months. Several factors should be noted: 
Supply chain disruptions and the resulting delivery delays have led to long supplier delivery times.  This typically results in manufacturers using air transport, which is quicker, to recover time lost during the production process. The global Supplier Delivery Time Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) reached an all-time low of 34.8 in October; values below 50 are favorable for air cargo.
Relevant components of the October PMIs (new export orders and manufacturing output) have been in a gradual slowdown since May but remain in favorable territory. 
The inventory-to-sales ratio remains low ahead of the peak year-end retail events such as Christmas. This is positive for air cargo as manufacturers turn to air cargo to rapidly meet demand. 
Global goods trade and industrial production remain above pre-crisis levels. 
The cost-competitiveness of air cargo relative to that of container shipping remains favorable. 

China clears Boeing 737 MAX return to its skies Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) announced today that troubled Boeing 737 MAX jets have been cleared to return to flying in China – the last major market where the aircraft was awaiting approval.
China has the largest 737 MAX fleet after the US, with 97 aircraft operated by 13 carriers before the suspension.
“After conducting sufficient assessment, CAAC considers the corrective actions are adequate to address this unsafe condition,” the CAAC said on its website, ending nearly a three-year ban on the aircraft in China.
According to the CAAC, Chinese pilots will need to complete new training before commercial flights can start while Boeing is required to install additional software and components.
The United States allowed flights to resume in December 2020 after certain software and wiring modifications had been made. The European Union gave its permission in January. Brazil, Canada, Panama, and Mexico, as well as Singapore, Malaysia, India, Japan, Australia, and Fiji have also given their approval. 
“The CAAC’s decision is an important milestone toward safely returning the 737 MAX to service in China,” Boeing said, adding it was working with regulators “to return the airplane to service worldwide.”
In 2020, China overtook the US to become the world’s biggest aviation market, according to the Center for Aviation data.

France places Mauritius on its new ‘scarlet’ list Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Mauritius’ Public and Private Tourism Sector Committee issued the following joint statement today:
Mauritius’ tourism industry acknowledges the French government’s decision to place Mauritius on their new “scarlet” list on a temporary basis, along with nine other countries in Southern Africa.  
This decision comes at a very unfortunate time for the Mauritian tourism sector, two months after the opening of our borders to vaccinated foreign visitors. France being one of our main markets, we are currently measuring the impact this decision will have at a time when bookings for the end of the year were most promising.
Despite the French government’s announcement, Mauritius remains an open destination and we will continue to welcome visitors who wish to discover or rediscover our island, in compliance with the health protocols currently in place. Tourism operators will continue to make every effort to ensure the safety of their employees and visitors. 
Local authorities are in contact with the relevant French authorities. In addition, representatives of the joint public/private tourism committee have already requested an official meeting with the French Ambassador, Her Excellency Florence Caussé-Tissier. Official meetings with other diplomatic representatives will follow.
As a reminder, the priority of the Government of Mauritius has always been to protect the health of Mauritians, residents and visitors to the island. In response to the discovery of the Omicron variant Mauritius has suspended air connections with a number of countries.
Mauritius is very well protected against the import of COVID-19. Our public health protocols are widely regarded as best-practice, and we have an extremely high vaccination rate, with over 89 percent of the adult population already vaccinated. Tourism employees were prioritized for vaccination, which means that visitors are welcomed and serviced exclusively by vaccinated staff.
The tourism industry continues to support the national vaccination program, which has recently been intensified with the inclusion of young people under the age of 18, as well as the introduction of the third dose booster program, which has already benefited over 100,000 Mauritians. 
The Mauritian tourism family remains united in the face of this new challenge. We call on the French government to review this decision as soon as possible to minimize the impact on an industry on which more than 150,000 people depend, and which is only just getting back on its feet.

Ukraine to Tel Aviv flights on Ukraine International Airlines now Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) reminds about the possibility to use regular flights between Ukraine and Israel despite the new quarantine restrictions that apply when entering the territory of the State of Israel.
Currently, anyone who has been in the red zone for the past two weeks must be isolated in a state-funded COVID-19 hotel before receiving a negative PCR test at Ben Gurion International Airport. The passenger may then complete a period of complete isolation (14 days) or 7 days subject to an additional negative PCR test on the seventh day of isolation.
In addition, on flights on this route, the airline has also introduced special promotional fares for tickets between Tel Aviv and Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, Dnipro, Zaporizhia and Lviv.
Ukraine International Airlines strongly advises to closely monitor the update of rules and epidemiological restrictions of a destination country.
Ukraine International Airlines PJSC, often shortened to UIA, is the flag carrier and the largest airline of Ukraine, with its head office in Kyiv and its main hub at Kyiv’s Boryspil International Airport.

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. 

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.

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.   

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.

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

ITA Airways firms up order for 28 new Airbus aircraft 4

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

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

Airbus: New 100% sustainable-fuels emissions study shows early promise Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Initial findings from a world-first study of the impact of 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on both engines of a commercial jet have provided promising early results.
The ECLIF3 study, involving Airbus, Rolls-Royce, German research center DLR and SAF producer Neste, marks the first time 100% SAF has been measured simultaneously on both engines of a commercial passenger aircraft – an Airbus A350 aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.
In-flight emissions tests and associated ground testing on the ECLIF3 program began earlier this year and have recently resumed. The interdisciplinary team, which also includes researchers from the National Research Council of Canada and The University of Manchester, plans to publish its results in academic journals towards the end of next year and 2023.
Findings from the study will support efforts currently underway at Airbus and Rolls-Royce to ensure the aviation sector is ready for the large-scale use of SAF as part of the wider initiative to decarbonize the industry. Aircraft are currently only allowed to operate on a 50% blend of SAF and conventional jet fuel, but both companies support the drive to certify 100% SAF use.
In April, the A350 flew three flights over the Mediterranean Sea pursued by a DLR Falcon chaser plane to compare in-flight emissions of both kerosene and Neste’s hydro-processed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) sustainable fuel. The team also carried out compliance tests using 100% SAF and no operational issues were experienced.
In-flight emission tests using 100% SAF and a HEFA/Jet A-1 fuel blend resumed this month, while ground-based emissions testing to quantify the benefits of SAF on local air quality were also performed. The research team found SAF releases fewer particulates than conventional kerosene at all tested engine operating conditions, which points to the potential for reduced climate impact and improvement in air quality around airports.
In addition, SAF has lower density but higher energy content per kilogram of fuel compared to conventional kerosene, which brings some aircraft fuel-efficiency advantages due to lower fuel burn and less fuel mass to board to achieve the same mission. Detailed analysis by the team is on-going.
“Engines and fuel systems can be tested on the ground but the only way to gather the full set of emissions data necessary for this program to be successful is to fly an aircraft in real conditions,” said Steven Le Moing, New Energy Program Manager at Airbus. “In-flight testing of the A350 offers the advantage of characterizing direct and indirect engine emissions, including particulates from behind an aircraft at high altitude.”
Simon Burr, Rolls-Royce Director of Product Development and Technology, Civil Aerospace, said: “This research adds to tests we’ve already carried out on our engines, both on the ground and in the air, which have found no engineering obstacle to our engines running on 100% SAF. If we are to truly decarbonize long-haul air travel, then 100% SAF is a critical element and we are committed to supporting its certification for service.”
The DLR Falcon chaser aircraft is equipped with multiple probes to measure emissions at cruise level down to a distance of only 100 meters from the A350 and feed them into scientific instrumentation for analysis.
“SAF has been shown to have a significantly lower carbon footprint over its life cycle compared to conventional jet fuel and now we are seeing it is advantageous in reducing non-CO2 effects too,” said Markus Fischer, DLR’s Divisional Board Member for Aeronautics. “Tests such as these are continuing to develop our understanding of 100% SAF, its use in flight and we are seeing positive signs for its potential in climate mitigation. We look forward to studying the data from the second series of ECLIF3 flights, which restarted with a first chase flight above the Mediterranean earlier this month.”
In 2015, DLR performed the ECLIF1 campaign, investigating alternative fuels with its Falcon and A320 ATRA research aircraft. These investigations continued in 2018 with the ECLIF2 campaign which saw the A320 ATRA flying with a mixture of standard jet fuel and up to 50% HEFA. This research showed the advantageous emission performance of fuel mixtures up to 50% SAF and paved the way for the 100% SAF test flights for ECLIF3.

Airlines: The Best and The Worst Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Delta Airlines is named as the best US domestic airline, while Ana All Nippon is named the best international airline in the world, in new research.
The 5 best domestic airlines in the USA
RankAirlineArrivals on Time (July 2021)Complaints Jan-June 2021Staff Service (/5)Meals (/5)Seat Comfort (/5)Inflight Entertainment (/5)Maximum Baggage Allowance (kg)Airline Index Score /101Delta AirLines86.7%494333323.08.92Hawaiian Airlines87.7%115333222.58.53Horizon Airlines83.5%17433122.58.44Alaska Airlines77.5%211333223.08.15JetBlue65.1%665333322.57.7
Taking the top spot is Delta, scoring highly as it has the second-highest percentage of arrivals on time (86.7%) and a relatively low number of complaints, 494 from January to June of 2021.
Coming in second is Hawaiian Airlines. Based in Honolulu, it is the tenth-largest commercial airline in the US. Despite coming second overall, it is the most punctual airline with 87.7% of flights leaving on time. However, it is let down by the lack of inflight entertainment, only scoring two out of five.
The 5 best international airlines around the world
RankAirlineComplaints Jan-June 2021Staff Service (/5)Meals (/5)Seat Comfort (/5)Inflight Entertainment (/5)Maximum Baggage Allowance (kg)Airline Index Score /101Ana All Nippon Airways345444239.62Singapore Airlines234444309.53Korean Air Lines214444239.24Japan Air Lines Company454444239.25Qatar Airways2674444259.0
Based in Tokyo, Ana All Nippon Airways is the largest airline in Japan by both revenue and passenger numbers. It ranks the highest in customer-rated staff service, the only airline in our list to score full marks in our airline index for this factor. It also has a relatively low number of complaints at 34.
Singapore Airlines ranks number two due to its high baggage allowance of 30 kilos, a low number of complaints (23), and high seat comfort, having won awards for their aircraft seating. Singapore Airlines scores four out of five for every category in our index, so it’s no surprise this carrier comes second in our ranking as the best international carrier.
The 5 worst international airlines around the world
RankAirlineComplaints Jan-June 2021Staff Service (/5)Meals (/5)Seat Comfort (/5)Inflight Entertainment (/5)Maximum Baggage Allowance (kg)Airline Index Score /101Viva Air Colombia121111203.42VivaAerobusS272111153.63Volaris Airlines3792221104.04Ryanair33322104.25Interjet4902221254.6
The low-cost airline Viva Air Colombia is named the worst airline in the world. This carrier scores one out of five in our index for meals, seat comfort, and inflight entertainment due to the fact that few amenities are offered to customers free of charge. Although it did receive the lowest number of complaints overall.
Based at Monterrey International Airport in Mexico, VivaAerobus Airline carries passengers internally as well as operates international flights to cities in the US. It scores one out of five in our index for both inflight entertainment and meals and two out of five for staff service.  
The full report can be seen here.

Uganda Airlines New Inflight Menu: Grasshoppers? Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Embarrassed at the reactions that went viral on social media which took to poking fun at Ugandans came the veiled statement whereby, while rebuking the errant passenger, the airline also suggested adding the local delicacy Nsenene (long-horned grasshoppers) on their menu for regional and international flights.
“We have picked lessons from the incident. Some of our customers enjoy Nsenene,” an airline statement read. “We are considering adding Nsenene, a local Ugandan delicacy, on our menu for regional and international flights on request. This addition of Nsenene shall bring the Ugandan culture to the world. The move will boost tourism marketing and the livelihood of people in the grasshopper value chain going forward.”
Uganda Airlines, however, warned against reoccurrences of such conduct onboard, warning that exposing passengers to such unruly market experience onboard shall result in the passenger being offloaded without further consideration.
The Uganda Airlines Public Relations Manager, Shakira Rahim, said in a televised interview on NTV that the airline shall question the said passenger upon his return to send a signal to passengers who conduct themselves in a unpalatable manner onboard. She defended the crew whom she said had tried to refrain the gentleman to give room for embarking passengers. “You can never do that on an international flight, because there are passengers onboard who are going to continue their journey elsewhere. Food that has not gone through our standard and quality checks is not allowed onboard; that is the issue, and that is the standard,” Rahim said. 
Commenting on the same, Public Affairs Manager of the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, Vianney Lugya, said: “Grasshoppers are not among the list of prohibited items. It is, therefore, not a security matter that grasshoppers ended up on an aircraft. The only issue to be looked into is how the passenger conducted themselves on an aircraft. The only circumstance that is looked into is if the country where the aircraft is proceeding to prohibits that item.”
A furious Minister of Works and Transport, General Katumba Wamala, under whose docket the airline falls, did not mince his words at cracking the whip by ordering disciplinary action on the staff who were on duty at the time of the incident. Wamala tweeted: “About the video making rounds on social media of someone vending Nsenene aboard @UG_Airlines, I have spoken to the leadership of the airline to take action against the staff who were in charge when this happened.” General Wamala has presided over the airline since his appointment in 2019, and the last thing he would tolerate is blemish on the airline.
eTN has since learned that Paul Mubiru, the trader in question, despite making a public apology, has  been arrested when immigration officers at the arrivals section at Entebbe International Airport swung into action upon his return from Dubai today, November 19,, 2021 at 11:49 am. He was detained at the airport police station and is awaiting charges. Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA), to which he belongs, has also weighed in on the matter by vowing to punish Mubiru who is also a purchasing agent on behalf of several city traders.
For some, Mubiru may be seen as a hero judging by the passengers – mainly Ugandan traders that ply the Dubai route for trade – including a couple of Chinese passengers who partook in purchasing the delicacy. To others, he is a villain worthy of contempt for embarrassing the nation. To them, such manners are a preside of ground passengers on public buses where preaching and trading in items
from soft drinks, remedies for potency, hypertension, and diabetes all in one, are commonly dispensed by traditional or self-proclaimed doctors with no inhibitions whatsoever.
Mubiru may well be vindicated by history if the airline makes good on their promise to add those delicious critters to their inflight specials.

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New Guyana to Barbados flights on interCaribbean Aviation Feature, Aviation News

InterCaribbean Airways announced services from Georgetown (GEO), Guyana to Barbados (BGI), with connecting flights to St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVD), Antigua (ANU), Grenada (GND), Dominica (DOM), and St Lucia (SLU). 
An onward flight via Barbados to Antigua, will continue to Providenciales and connect onwards to Havana, Cuba.
With these new routes and well-timed flights that connect to onward flights to the United Kingdom, the USA, and Canada, we look forward to welcoming customers from across the world.
interCaribbean expects to connect Georgetown to additional Caribbean points in the very near future to deliver on a truly connected Caribbean with interCaribbean Airways.
Flights are scheduled to begin operations on December 17, 2021 in time for the holiday season with 12 weekly flights planned to operate between Georgetown and Barbados.
Minister of Public Works, Juan A. Edghill welcomed the airline to the Guyana market at a ceremony hosted at Dukes Lodge in Georgetown on November 5, 2021. Minister Edghill said there is insufficient connectivity between Guyana and the rest of the Caribbean, and the Guyana government is therefore pleased with the additional airline joining its friendly skies.
In announcing the service at a launch event in Georgetown attended by Ministers, Diplomats based in Guyana, and members of the business community. According to Mr. Gardiner, “With the open-for-business efforts of this government, we were able to put everything in place, and we are here to make the announcement, and make the service a reality from December 17.”

Qatar Airways gears up for FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The first ever FIFA Arab Cup will take place in Qatar from 30 November to 18 December, with Qatar Airways as the Official Airline Partner of the tournament.
With 16 participating nations, fans can now look forward to the tournament. The qualifying countries have been drawn in four groups: Group A: Qatar, Iraq, Oman and Bahrain; Group B: Tunisia, UAE, Syri­­­­a and Mauritania; Group C: Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Palestine and Group D: Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon and Sudan.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “With less than a year to go until the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, this tournament will be the perfect test run for us as Official Airline and Official Partner of FIFA to prepare for the big stage. As this will be the first ever FIFA Arab Cup, Qatar will showcase the best of pan-Arab football. We want to provide a seamless primary touchpoint for fans, players, coaching staff and officials during their journey and stay here so that they can enjoy the best tournament possible.”
As FIFA’s Official Partner, Qatar Airways has sponsored mega events including the 2019 and 2020 editions of the FIFA Club World Cup, and will sponsor the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Qatar Airways also sponsors some of the world’s biggest football clubs including Al Sadd SC, Boca Juniors, FC Bayern München, K.A.S. Eupen, and Paris Saint-Germain.
The national carrier of the State of Qatar continues to rebuild its network, which currently stands at over 140 destinations. With more frequencies being added to key hubs, Qatar Airways offers unrivalled connectivity to passengers, making it easy for them to connect to a destination of their choice.