Transportation

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Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Delta loses $5.7 billion in second quarter, cuts number of planned flights in half
Delta loses $5.7 billion in second quarter, cuts number of planned flights in half
Credit: unsplash.com/Miguel Ángel Sanz

Covid-19 is taking its toll on the airline industry. Delta is reporting a 88 percent decline in revenue, which contributes to a $5.7b net loss in the second quarter of 2020. The sharp decline forces the airline to cut the number of planned daily flights for next month in half, adding only 500 instead of the planned 1,000.

“Demand has stalled as the virus has grown, particularly down here in the South, across the Sun Belt, coupled with the quarantine measures that are going in place in many of the Northern states,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian told CNBC.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Volkswagen fires software boss after only 14 days
Volkswagen fires software boss after only 14 days
Credit: Copyright: Volkswagen AG

Under the name "Car.Software.Org" VW aims to develop its own operating system for all VW car models and increase the team to around 10,000 employees. On July 1, Christian Senger officially became head of "Car.Software.Org".

Among other things, he is on the board of directors of the core Volkswagen brand and has headed the development of the electric vehicles series "ID". Since March 2019 he has been working on the "Car.Software.Org" project. Now he was released after only 14 days, due to discrepancies with other VW managers. Audi boss Markus Duesmann will develop the VW software now. Volkswagen did not comment on the conflict.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Tesla announces it could probably offer fully autonomous self-driving vehicles by the end of the year
Interior view of Tesla Model 3
Interior view of Tesla Model 3 Credit: unsplash.com/David von Diemar

During the WAIC (World Artificial Intelligence Conference) in Shanghai Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, announced by video message that the automobile manufacturer could probably update their partly autonomous self-driving vehicles from Level 2 to Level 5 by end of the year.

Autonomous self-driving is divided into 5 levels. Currently, the most autonomous self-driving vehicles are shipped with Level 2 - 3.

Level 1 - Driver Assistance: for example using cruise control.

Level 2 - Partly Automated Driving: for example, the car can keep track, brake and accelerate on the freeway at the same time.

Level 3 - Highly Automated Driving: The vehicles can handle certain driving tasks independently and without human intervention, but only for a limited period and under suitable conditions.

Level 4 - Fully Automated Driving: The vehicles can drive independently, for example, the driver could take a nap but generally only in select conditions and on certain roads.

Level 5 - Full Automation/completely autonomous: no human driver is required. The people in the car become passengers.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Air New Zealand halts new bookings on request of Government
Air New Zealand plane at Auckland Airport
Air New Zealand plane at Auckland Airport Credit: unsplash.com/Will Waters

Air New Zealand is limiting capacities on international inbound flights to "help ensure the country is able to provide quarantine accommodation for inbound passengers." In its recently issued press release, the airline also announced a temporary hold on new bookings following a request from the New Zealand Government and that affected customers would be contacted. Domestic and outbound flights are not affected by these restrictions.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Union seeks Embraer's Board ouster after failed Boeing deal
E190 airplane from Embraer
E190 airplane from Embraer Credit: Antônio Milena/ Agência Brasil

The Sindicato dos Metalúrgicos de São José dos Campos e Região, the workers' union representing employees of Embraer, filed a lawsuit on Friday seeking to dismiss the company’s board after the $4.2 billion failed merger with Boeing.

"Embraer has been treated merely as a market issue. This is a strategic company for the country and can't be at the mercy of shareholders' interests. It is necessary to hold the Administrative Council responsible for the crimes that are being committed against this national patrimony and its workers ", states union director Herbert Claros.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Ryanair to challenge TAP bailout in courts
Ryanair to challenge TAP bailout in courts
Credit: Marc Najera

Ryanair announced Friday it would go to European courts to challenge the latest Portuguese government’s investment in TAP. The government reached a deal with private shareholders of TAP to increase its state in the company to 72.5%.

Before the bailout, the Portuguese state had 50% of TAP and Atlantic Gateway, owned by Brazilian-American aviation businessman David Neeleman and Portuguese entrepreneur Humberto Pedrosa, had 45% of the airline, which suffered heavy losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Alitalia to resume international flights from Milan
Alitalia to resume international flights from Milan
Credit: ERIC SALARD (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Alitalia on Wednesday resumed international flights from Milan Malpensa airport to Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and London, as Italy gradually reopens its airports to foreign travellers and scraps restrictions imposed to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.

Also, during this month, the company will start flying to a dozen domestic destinations from Milan Malpensa.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Airbus to cut 15,000 jobs as pandemic causes plunge in demand
Airbus A380
Airbus A380 Credit: unsplash.com/G-R Mottez

In a statement released on Tuesday, Airbus announced it would be cutting around 15,000 jobs over the next twelve months as the company experiences a plunge in demand for new aircraft. The European Aerospace corporation has production facilities in Spain, the UK and Germany and employs over 134,000 people globally.

"Airbus is grateful for the government support that has enabled the company to limit these necessary adaptation measures," the statement read. "However with air traffic not expected to recover to pre-Covid levels before 2023 and potentially as late as 2025, Airbus now needs to take additional measures to reflect the post Covid-19 industry outlook."

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Boeing 737 MAX certification flight tests to begin Monday
Boeing 737 MAX
Boeing 737 MAX Credit: Aka The Beav (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Pilots and test crew members from the US Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing aim to kick off Monday a certification test campaign for the 737 Max on Monday, expected to last at least three days.

The 737 Max has been grounded since March 2019, two crashes - a Lion Air flight and an Ethiopian Airlines flight - within five months of each other involving a faulty flight control system, known as MCAS.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Amazon bought Zoox – a self-driving car startup – for $1 billion
Amazon bought Zoox – a self-driving car startup – for $1 billion
Credit: Amazon, Zoox

Amazon is expanding its portfolio yet again. The company acquired Zoox, a self-driving car startup located in California with almost 1,000 employees for a rumoured $1 billion deal. Zoox has been working on developing a self-driving electric car that doesn't have a steering wheel so that it can drive in either direction. Zoox CEO Aicha Evans will continue leading the company and said that "this acquisition solidifies Zoox's impact on the autonomous driving industry."

"Zoox is working to imagine, invent, and design a world-class autonomous ride-hailing experience," said Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s CEO, Worldwide Consumer in a statement on Amazon's blog. "Like Amazon, Zoox is passionate about innovation and about its customers, and we're excited to help the talented Zoox team to bring their vision to reality in the years ahead."

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Lufthansa shareholders approve €9 billion bailout
Planes parked in Frankfurt
Planes parked in Frankfurt Credit: Oliver Roesler (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Lufthansa shareholders voted in favour of a €9 billion bailout from the German government on Thursday, following a tense week in which Heinz Hermann, the company's most significant shareholder, threatened to block the deal.

"We have no more money," Chairman Karl-Ludwig Kley told shareholders. "We are living from the reserves we set aside. Without support, bankruptcy looms in the next few days."

Ryanair announced it plans to challenge the deal through European courts.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
More than 30% of civilian pilots in Pakistan have fake licenses
PIA international airoplane
PIA international airoplane Credit: Shadman Samee (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Pakistan's aviation minister, revealed 262 pilots in the country paid someone else to take the pilot license exam on their behalf. Pakistan has 860 active pilots serving its domestic airlines, including the country's flagship PIA.

Khan said that pilots holding fake licenses or degrees, working in any airline, will be grounded immediately.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
EasyJet raises $520 million in share sale
Airbus A320 of EasyJet
Airbus A320 of EasyJet Credit: MercerMJ (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

EasyJet raised about $520 million in a share sale, almost 15% of its existing share base, to enable the company to survive for many more months even if air travel does recover in a slower pace than predicted.

The company has said it does not expect passenger demand to come back to pre-pandemic levels until 2023 and is planning to cut up to 4,500 jobs.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Volkswagen in talks to acquire French car rental firm Europcar
Europcar in the Hamburg Airport
Europcar in the Hamburg Airport Credit: Hamburg Airport

Reuters reports that German carmaker Volkswagen approached French car rental firm Europcar, that struggles to cope with the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The deal, if completed, would signal a reversal of strategy for Volkswagen, that sold Europcar in 2006 for €3.32 billion.

In May, Europcar's competitor Hertz filed for bankruptcy protection.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
London City Airport reopens and resumes commercial air travel
Airplane approaching London City Airport
Airplane approaching London City Airport Credit: unsplash.com/Daniel Klein

London City Airport is reopening after having stopped all private and commercial flights on March 25. The airport will focus on domestic flights first, with the first plane departing to the Isle of Man on Sunday. Flights to European cities are expected in the coming weeks.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Ride provider Lyft announces that they'll electrify "100 percent" of its vehicles by 2030
Ride provider Lyft announces that they'll electrify "100 percent" of its vehicles by 2030
Credit: unsplash.com/Austin Distel

The ride-sharing provider Lyft has announced that it plans on transitioning to electric or zero-emission vehicles by 2030. They stated that "100 percent" are the goal and according to the co-founder and president, John Zimmer "Now more than ever, we need to work together to create cleaner, healthier, and more equitable communities". Lyft did not close how much the project will cost.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
American Airlines bans passenger over refusal to wear mask

A spokesperson for American Airlines has announced that a man was banned from flying with the airline after the person refused to wear a facemask and was kicked off the plane. This has been the first enforcement of the new rule after American Airlines had announced it. The airline stated that the person had ignored requests by the crew, offered a later flight and then later banned after the incident had been reviewed. The ban will be lifted when American Airlines decides to lift the mask requirement alltogether at some point in the future.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Swedish and Danish governments to rescue SAS airline
SAS plane at Gothenburg Landvetter Airport, Sweden
SAS plane at Gothenburg Landvetter Airport, Sweden Credit: Miguel Ángel Sanz

The Scandinavian airline SAS presented on June 15 a recapitalisation plan estimated in $1.3 billion. The company's two principal shareholders Sweden, with a 14.8% stake in the carrier, and Denmark, with a 14.2% share, are expected to inject capital to help the airline face the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The aim of the plan is to ensure that SAS is fully funded and that shareholders’ equity will be at levels reported before the COVID-19 pandemic when anticipated business volumes return to pre-corona levels in 2022,” SAS said in a statement.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
German airline Condor to cut up to 1,000 jobs
Condor Airlines Airbus A320
Condor Airlines Airbus A320 Credit: Condorfan2205 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Condor's CEO, Ralf Teckentrup, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung the German airline will have to cut “between 650 and 1,000 jobs,” due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company formerly owned by the Thomas Cook Group Plc is also planning a move to a smaller headquarters and save € 1 million per month.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
World's largest car battery maker announces battery that lasts over one million miles
Electric car charging
Electric car charging Credit: Vlad Tchompalov

CATL, Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd, the world's largest manufacturer of car batteries for electric vehicles has announced production readiness of a breakthrough battery.

The chairman of the company that supplies Tesla and Volkswagen has announced that it has created a battery that lasts over 1.2 million miles and can run for 16 years.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Ford recalls 2.1 million cars: Doors can open while the vehicles are moving
Ford recalls 2.1 million cars: Doors can open while the vehicles are moving
Credit: Jeremy Chen

For the third time, Ford will recall cars, SUVs and vans to fix a defect with their doors, that could open while the vehicle is moving. The recall will cover 2.1 million vehicles in the US and Canada.

The company said Wednesday the previous door latch recalls were done because of defective pawl spring tabs that could crack and fail in high temperatures. The previously recalled vehicles may not have had the latches replaced, or repairs may not have been done correctly, the company said in a statement.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Lufthansa to offer Covid-19 testing at Frankfurt and Munich airports
Lufthansa to offer Covid-19 testing at Frankfurt and Munich airports
Credit: Miguel Ángel Sanz

Starting on early July Lufthansa plans to offer Covid-19 tests at airports in Frankfurt and Munich. An outsourced company will conduct the tests, and results will be available within four hours.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Airline industry expects a US$84 billion loss in 2020
Aerial view of JFK Airport, New York
Aerial view of JFK Airport, New York Credit: unsplash.com/Miguel Ángel Sanz

The IATA's financial outlook for the global air transport industry is grim. The airline industry is expecting a record loss of US$84 billion and a net profit margin drop of 20 percent with a forecast revenue loss of 50 percent or US$419 billion. IATA's CEO and Director General Alexandre de Juniac said the industry is losing an average of US$230 million per day, calling 2020 'the worst year in the history of aviation'. Assuming there is no 'second and more damaging wave of COVID-19', de Juniac is hopeful that 'the worst of the collapse in traffic is likely behind us'.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Honda's global operations hit by cyber-attack
Honda's global operations hit by cyber-attack
Credit: Honda

Japanese manufacturer Honda has said in a statement it is dealing with a cyber-attack that is impacting its operations around the world.

"Honda can confirm that a cyberattack has taken place on the Honda network," a spokesperson said. "We can also confirm that there is no information breach at this point in time".

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Volkswagen names Ralf Brandstätter as the new CEO of its VW car brand
Ralf Brandstätter
Ralf Brandstätter Credit: Volkswagen

Volkswagen announced Ralf Brandstätter as the new CEO of the VW brand, to lead cost-cutting efforts at the company’s largest plants in Germany.

Brandstaetter, current COO of VW, replaces Herbert Diess who will retain his title of CEO of Volkswagen Group.

Transportation • Public, Railway & Bus Transportation
Belgium to give all residents 10 free train journeys to encourage domestic tourism
Brussels Central Station
Brussels Central Station Credit: Andrew Nash (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The Belgian government announced Saturday the state would hand out ten free rides, with a bike place included, to every Belgian resident for use across the national network between July and December, as part of a package of measures to boost domestic tourism and the economy.

The plan suffered criticism from Sophie Dutordoir, SNCB CEO, that said in a message posted on Twitter: "The way in which a decision was taken yesterday without any consultation raises serious questions,"

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Austrian Airlines gets €450 million bailout
An Austrian Airlines Boeing 767-300ER departing JFK Airport
An Austrian Airlines Boeing 767-300ER departing JFK Airport Credit: Adam Moreira (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Austrian government announced today that it is granting Austrian Airlines €450 million bailout that will protect Vienna as a transit hub and safeguard carrier's jobs.

Ministers told during a press conference the structure of the bailout will be €300 million in loans by a banking consortium, 90% of which to be guaranteed by the government, and €150 million in direct grants.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Emirates and Etihad extend reduced pay until September
Emirates and Etihad extend reduced pay until September
Credit: N509FZ (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Emirates and Etihad Airways will extend the period of reduced pay for their staff until September as they try to preserve cash during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Emirates Group, based in Dubai, said last week that it could reduce the number of employees by about 30% due to the economic impact of the global pandemic.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
United Airlines to close three international flight crew bases
Boeing 747-400 by United Airlines at Frankfurt Airport
Boeing 747-400 by United Airlines at Frankfurt Airport Credit: Jonekw13 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

United Airlines announced in an internal memo to crew it is closing its international bases for flight attendants in Frankfurt, Hong Kong, and Tokyo effective October 1.

“This was certainly a very difficult decision to make, and we recognise that closing any base places a hardship on those who live near those locations,” John Slater, United’s Senior VP for Inflight Services, said in the memo.

The only international base the company will maintain is for London’s Heathrow Airport.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Germany plans on making electric car charging options mandatory for petrol stations
BMW electric hybrid vehicle on charging station in Munich
BMW electric hybrid vehicle on charging station in Munich Credit: Marc Heckner

As part of the countries economic recovery plan from the Covid-19 pandemic, Germany has announced that it aims to boost the usage and sales of electric cars. One planned measure will require all petrol stations to offer charging options for electric vehicles.