Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying

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KLM suspends all of its long-haul flights
Boeing 787-900 above the dutch coast
Boeing 787-900 above the dutch coast Credit: KLM

The Dutch airline KLM will suspend all its intercontinental flights and some European routes from Friday now that the Netherlands requires a rapid coronavirus test before entry.

New requirements mandated by the government require passengers to obtain a negative Covid-19 rapid test result no later than four hours prior to departure to the Netherlands. In addition, passengers must also have a negative result from a PCR test conducted within 72 hours from their flight's departure to be let into the country.

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United Airlines posts a loss of $1.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020
An United Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9
An United Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 Credit: United Airlines

United Airlines Holdings Inc. late Wednesday posted its fourth straight quarter of losses, saying it expects its capacity to be down at least 51% in the current quarter. The company swung to a net loss of $1.9 billion during the last quarter of 2020, with operating revenue of $3.41 billion, compared with $10.9 billion a year ago.

United stock has lost about 50% in the past 12 months, contrasting with gains around 16% for the S&P 500 index.

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Boing confirms production of 747 will end in 2022
Boing confirms production of 747 will end in 2022
Credit: unsplash.com / Nick Herasimenka

On Tuesday Boing announced it will end production of the 747 in 2022 with the last four 747s being sold to Atlas Air Worldwide. The 747 revolutionised aviation when it was first introduced in the 1970s by hauling more people, at lower cost. However, since upgrading to a new 747-8 model in 2011, only 47 were sold to passenger carriers as the upgrade could not complete with the Airbus A380.

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Germany starts using new government jet Airbus A350-900

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) was allowed to use the Airbus A350-900 for the first time for a trip to Egypt.

The new jet is 67 meters long, can reach speeds of up to 960 kilometers per hour, flies more than 13,000 meters high and can reach any destination worldwide without a stopover.

Being the the first of three new acquisitions, the two other A350-900s are to be delivered for the Bundeswehr's "white fleet" by 2022.

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Black box of missing Indonesian Boeing 737-500 has been found

Search teams on Sunday discovered the flight recorder of the missing Boeing 737-500 of the Indonesian company Sriwijaya Air in the sea. This was announced by the country's army chief.

After the suspected crash of the passenger plane, police also reported the discovery of body parts of passengers. The body parts were found off the coast of the capital Jakarta, a police spokesman told Metro TV. The plane, operated by Indonesian airline Sriwijaya Air with 62 people on board, had disappeared from radar just minutes after takeoff on Saturday and had been considered missing ever since.

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Indonesian Boeing 737 has gone missing mid-flight

According to reports from the BBC and Flightradar24.com an Indonesian Boeing 737 has gone missing and lost contact en route to Pontianak in the West Kalimantan province.

The plane had taken-off from Jakarta and lost 3,000m in altitude in less than one minute before losing contact.

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Ryanair to operate "few, if any" flights to or from the UK & Ireland
Ryanair to operate "few, if any" flights to or from the UK & Ireland
Credit: unsplash.com/Sangga Rima Roman Selia

Due to new lockdowns in Ireland, the United Kingdom and some other EU countries, the Irish low-cost airline Ryanair is drastically cutting its flight offerings starting January 21, the company announced Thursday.

From January 21, Ryanair plans to operate "few, if any" flights to and from British and Irish airports. This will apply until the severe travel restrictions are lifted.

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Boeing 737 Max passenger flights resume in the U.S. for the first time since March 2019
Boeing 737 Max - N120IS
Boeing 737 Max - N120IS Credit: Steve Lynes (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Boeing 737 Max has returned to passenger service in the U.S. Tuesday morning with an American Airlines Flight 718 departed Miami International Airport at 10:40 (ET) for New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

This was the first U.S. commercial flight of Boeing’s 737 Max since two deadly crashes prompted a worldwide grounding of the planes in March 2019.

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Virgin Atlantic passengers require negative Covid-19 tests to fly from London to US
Virgin Atlantic passengers require negative Covid-19 tests to fly from London to US
Credit: Alan Wilson, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Virgin Atlantic has announced that all passengers travelling from London to the United States will be required to show proof of a negative Covid-19 vaccine. The new requirement will go in effect on December 24.

“With the health and safety of our customers and people always our number one priority, we will require all travellers to present evidence of a negative LAMP or PCR Covid-19 test, taken up to 72 hours prior to departure, including on-site at the airport,” Virgin said in a statement.

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Cabin crew asked to wear nappies to "reduce virus risk"
Cabin crew asked to wear nappies to "reduce virus risk"
Credit: unsplash/@ewxy

The Chinese aviation regulator has sparked some controversy today by requesting that cabin crew wear disposable nappies, and refrain from using onboard toilets to reduce the risk of catching COVID-19.

This advice has been published in a new guideline book for airlines under 'personal protective equipment'.

The regulator was quick to point out that this requirement is only for flights into high COVID-19 areas; where infection exceeds 500 per 1 million people.

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Airline fires top manager after pilots flew penis-shaped flight route
Airline fires top manager after pilots flew penis-shaped flight route
Credit: Courtesy of Flightradar

Pilots of the Russian state-controlled airline Pobeda have chosen a route that traces the contours of a male sexual organ during an unauthorized maneuver with an aircraft with 100 passengers on board.

The airline's supervisory board has now drawn the consequences in this case: The head of the company was warned and his deputy fired, as the Moscow newspaper "RBK" reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, the pilots wanted the maneuver to be understood as a solidarity action for the Russian soccer player Artjom Dsjuba. As the captain of the national team, Dsjuba had been excluded from the games in November after an intimate video of him was widely viewed on the Internet.

The departure from the route, which was dangerous for passengers, was said to have occurred on a flight from Moscow to Ekaterinburg on November 11. Pobeda is a subsidiary of the Russian airline Aeroflot.

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KLM to offer Covid-19 tested flights between Amsterdam and Atlanta
Boeing 777-200 ER of KLM at Amsterdam's Schipol Airport
Boeing 777-200 ER of KLM at Amsterdam's Schipol Airport Credit: Hugh Llewelyn (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

KLM announced on Friday it would begin offering Covid-19 tested flights between Amsterdam and Atlanta. The Dutch airline is the latest example of a European company adopting a testing strategy to increase passenger confidence in flying amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the KLM plan, travellers receive one test five days before their flight, another shortly before the flight, and a third after landing.

"Until an approved working vaccine is available worldwide, this testing program represents the first step towards the international travel industry's recovery," KLM CEO Pieter Elbers said in a statement.

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Ryanair to close base in Vienna
Ryanair to close base in Vienna
Credit: unsplash/Portuguese Gravity

British budget airline Ryanair will close its Vienna, Austria, base by the end of 2020, the Austrian national public service broadcaster ORF reports. Vienna-based employees are being told they can either relocate to a different location or lose their job.

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Qantas CEO announces Covid-19 vaccination requirement in order to fly
Qantas CEO announces Covid-19 vaccination requirement in order to fly
Credit: unsplash.com / John Kappa ツ

According to the CEO of the airline Qantas, implementing a Covid-19 vaccination requirement for passengers would be "a necessity" as soon as vaccines become widely available. He also stated that "talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe" this requirement could be a widespread measure against the virus.

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IATA: Airlines would need another $80 billion in aid to survive
BER Airport
BER Airport Credit: Érico Andrei (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

According to IATA, airlines would need an additional $80 billion to survive the Covid-19 crisis. Governments already injected $160 billion into the sector.

IATA has predicted a painfully slow recovery with a return to pre-crisis traffic levels only in 2024 and passenger numbers still down 30% next year.

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FAA approves Boeing's 737 Max to fly passengers again
Boeing 737 Max - N120IS
Boeing 737 Max - N120IS Credit: Steve Lynes (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an order Wednesday that paved the way for the troubled Boeing 737 Max to carry passengers again, ending the jet's 20-month grounding.

After the FAA announcement, the Air Line Pilots Association released a statement saying it "believes that the engineering fixes to the flight-critical aircraft systems are sound and will be an effective component that leads to the safe return to service of the 737 MAX."

When the aircraft returns to the skies, some airlines are likely to downplay the "Max" label using the plane's formal variant names, such as "737 -7" or "737 -8," Reuters reports, citing industry sources familiar with the branding.

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German capital airport BER opens after nine years of delays
German capital airport BER opens after nine years of delays
Credit: unsplash.com / reisetopia

After a delay of nine years, the new airport of the German capital Berlin the BER has been opened. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, only a few thousand passengers per day are expected at the new airport in the coming weeks.

Berlin will now close the inner city airport Tegel. The last plane is scheduled to take off there on November 8.

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Harvard study finds ventilation systems on planes filter out 99% of airborne viruses
Harvard study finds ventilation systems on planes filter out 99% of airborne viruses
Credit: unsplash.com / Alev Takil

A study by Harvard University found that the ventilation systems on planes filter out 99% of airborne viruses and "effectively counters the proximity travelers are subject to during flights." Thus the risk of contracting Covid-19 on airplanes is lower than in a grocery store if precautions are being followed, including wearing masks and screening passengers for symptoms.

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Deutsche Bahn extends train routes between German metropolises
Deutsche Bahn extends train routes between German metropolises
Credit: unsplash.com / Yannes Kiefer

Deutsche Bahn has published its new timetable, which comes into effect on the 13th of December. The company intends to offer 13,000 additional seats by the end of the year by expanding its train fleet. Among other things, the long-distance trains will then run between Hamburg and Berlin at 30-minute intervals. From June 13, 2021, the railroad plans to deploy its XXL-ICE with 918 seats on the Hamburg-Frankfurt-Basel-Zurich-Chur route for the first time.

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SpaceX and Pentagon sign contract to jointly develop rocket that is able to ship weapons around the world
SpaceX and Pentagon sign contract to jointly develop rocket that is able to ship weapons around the world
Credit: unsplash.com / Tim Mossholder

A new military contract has been signed by SpaceX and the Pentagon with the goal to develop a new rocket. Using a specialized rocket that is able to land after the flight, the Pentagon would be able to move "the equivalent of a C-17 payload anywhere on the globe in less than an hour".

The first tests are expected to begin in 2021.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
KLM flight from Bucharest to Amsterdam searched after bomb threat
A KLM Boeing 737
A KLM Boeing 737 Credit: Julian Herzog (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Reuters reports that the Saturday KLM flight from Bucharest to Amsterdam (KL1376) was evacuated before just before the departure on after a bomb threat was received, which later appeared to have been a false alarm.

KLM informed that passengers and crew have been taken off-board of the Boeing 737 and are safe, the flight will departure now on Sunday

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Dutch minister in doubt of Air France-KLM's future without more cost cuts
Dutch minister in doubt of Air France-KLM's future without more cost cuts
Credit: Nabil Molinari (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The Dutch Finance minister Wopke Hoekstra said Sunday Air France-KLM needs to lower its costs to survive its current crisis. Air France-KLM stated last month that it was losing 10 million euros per day due to the Covid-19 crisis.

In an interview with the Dutch public television, Hoekstra said, "The survival of Air France-KLM is not a given, They will have to address their cost base even as things stand now. And suppose this situation lasts until the end of next year, then they will have to cut even deeper."

Back in July, French and Dutch governments loaned a total of €10.4 billion, and in return, KLM has said it would reduce its staff by 20%, and Air France would reduce 16% of its workforce, through 2022.

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Lufthansa has 1.2 million outstanding applications for Covid-19 related ticket refunds
Lufthansa has 1.2 million outstanding applications for Covid-19 related ticket refunds
Credit: unsplash.com/Kevin Hackert

AUA parent Lufthansa is making progress with the reimbursement of cancelled tickets from the Corona crisis. In the current year, the group has now returned 2.5 billion euros to 5.6 million customers, the group announced on Friday. However, this still leaves 1.2 million applications open, with a volume of around 600 million euros.

In the past seven days, 20,000 cases were settled daily, according to the company. If things had continued at the same pace without new cancellations, the applications would have been cleared in 60 days. The Group had announced that it would settle the cases from the first half of the year by the end of August.

According to EU law, airlines are obliged to refund the ticket price within seven days if they initiate cancellations. Following the collapse of air traffic in March, Lufthansa switched off automatic refund processes and insisted on individual case reviews.

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Air India plane breaks into two after landing in Kerala
Boeing 737 that crashed in Calicut
Boeing 737 that crashed in Calicut Credit: Konstantin von Wedelstaedt (Public Domain)

The Air India Express plane from Dubai crashed in the southern city of Calicut in Kerala. The Boeing-737 plane had 191 passengers and crew on board when it crashed under heavy rain on Friday, police said.

At least fifteen people including both pilots died in the crash. Most onboard have been evacuated and at least 50 injured, including 15 in serious condition, have been taken to hospital, authorities said.

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Italy threatens to ban Ryanair over Covid-19 compliance
Boeing 737 Ryanair
Boeing 737 Ryanair Credit: Dylan Agbagni (Creative Commons Attribution 1.0)

ENAC, the Italian air transport regulator, has threatened to suspend Ryanair from flying to Italy over what it claims were "repeated violation of anti-Covid-19 health measures drafted by the Italian government".

Ryanair said in a statement that ENAC’s assertions were "factually incorrect" and that the company "complies fully with the measures set out by the Italian government."

Italian rules require passengers to maintain distance from others unless other precautions are taken including controlled boarding and disembarkation to avoid close contact, temperature tests and the wearing of face masks.

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Embraer reports commercial aviation revenue down by 82%
KLM Embraer 190
KLM Embraer 190 Credit: Dylan Agbagni (Public Domain)

Embraer announced Wednesday that its commercial aviation revenue had fallen by 82% to $109 million in the second quarter because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company had a net loss of $315 million in the quarter.

The company also stated that 50% of its aircraft orders have been deferred to 2022, but despite having no cancelled orders, Embraer cautioned that long deferrals would make 2021 difficult.

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EVA Air will have a Hello Kitty-themed flight to nowhere on August 8
EVA Air Boeing 777-300ER with Hello Kitty painting
EVA Air Boeing 777-300ER with Hello Kitty painting Credit: Jeffhuang0627 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

EVA Air announced Monday it will be celebrating Father’s Day, August 8 in Taiwan, by selling tickets to a Hello Kitty flight to nowhere. The company is looking for innovative ways to get in the air again despite travel restrictions to other countries.

The Hello Kitty-themed plane will take off from Taipei Taoyuan Airport and will land three hours later back at the same location.

During the flight, guests onboard will be treated to a special amenity kit filled with gifts, and be given the chance to purchase Hello Kitty duty-free items at a steep discount. The company also announced passengers would be served a meal designed by Michelin three-star chef Motokazu Nakamura.

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Airbus to reduce production of A350
Airbus A350
Airbus A350 Credit: wallycacsabre (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Airbus announced Thursday that it will reduce the production of the A350 aircraft to only five units per month, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the company's second-quarter results. Airbus had already reduced the A350 production from 9.5 to 6 planes per month in April.

The company is cutting up to 15,000 jobs to deal with the crisis, which it expects to hold output down by 40% for some two years compared with pre-crisis levels.

CEO Guillaume Faury stated, “We believe it is going to be a long and slow recovery,”.

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Boeing to end production of the 747 in 2022
Boeing 747-400 Dreamliner
Boeing 747-400 Dreamliner Credit: Brian (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Boeing CEO, Dave Calhoun, has announced Wednesday the company will end production of the 747 in 2022. Boeing will keep producing the aircraft at a rate of one every two months until the programme ends, with the US president’s Air Force One expected to be one of the last deliveries.

According to analysts, the end of the 747 programme has been hastened by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has put Boeing’s customers under even greater pressure and forced them to re-evaluate the usage of planes that rely on hundreds of passengers to be profitable.

Qantas, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Lufthansa already decided for the retirement of their 747 fleets.

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Germany: Berlin airports begins mass Covid-19 testing
Berlin Tegel Airport
Berlin Tegel Airport Credit: Matti Blume (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Berlin airports began large scale and free Covid-19 testing on Wednesday. The Berlin Brandenburg Airport Company (FBB), the Charité and the Berlin Senate planned that returnees from high-risk areas could be tested as soon as they land on the German capital.

Passengers with a negative coronavirus test result will not be required to go into the 14 days domestic quarantine.