Airline Industry

Business • Economy
EasyJet is "hanging by a thread" due to Covid-19 pandemic, union official says
EasyJet is "hanging by a thread" due to Covid-19 pandemic, union official says
Credit: unsplash.com/Frederick Tubiermont

According to a union official, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has left the British low-cost airline group EasyJet "hanging by a thread".

"If easyJet don’t have a good summer and make money next summer, I suspect none of us will have a job this time next year," pilots’ union official Martin Entwisle said in a now leaked recording of an EasyJet staff conference call. Entwisle claimed the information was shared by the company’s chief financial officer, Andrew Findlay, who allegedly warned that the company's situation was "even worse than their worst fears."

"The easiest way to put it is: the company is hanging by a thread," Entwisl added.

EasyJet has denied that Entwisl's comments "reflect what EasyJet or its finance officer said."

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
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.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
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.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
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.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
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.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
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,”.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
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.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Boeing 737 MAX not expected to fly before October
Boeing 737 MAX
Boeing 737 MAX Credit: Jeroen Stroes Aviation Photography (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Reuters report that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is unlikely to unground the Boeing 737 MAX before sometime in October. The aircraft was grounded in March 2019 after two fatal accidents that killed 346 people.

Boeing has said it expects to resume deliveries of the 737 MAX before September 30 following regulatory approval.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
British Airways retires entire 747 fleet
British Airways BOAC liveried aircraft
British Airways BOAC liveried aircraft Credit: British Airways

British Airways (BA) will retire its entire Boeing 747 fleet with immediate effect after the downturn in travel sparked by the Covid-19 outbreak. The company, the world’s largest operator of the 747, had initially planned to retire the last of its 747 on 2024.

BA said in a statement: "It is with great sadness that we can confirm we are proposing to retire our entire 747 fleet with immediate effect.".

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Senegal: International flights resumed
Check-In area at Aéroport international Blaise Diagne, Senegal
Check-In area at Aéroport international Blaise Diagne, Senegal Credit: Jjm2311 / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Senegal resumed international flights on July 15th. Air traffic had been on hold for almost four months. Travelling passengers have to produce a negative Coronavirus test that's not older than seven days.

Marie Khemesse Ngom Ndiaye, General Director of Public Health: "‘Today, to come to Senegal, we demand strict compliance with border measures, namely the wearing of masks. Everybody wears a mask, you have the physical distance, even at the seats where you rest. We have alcohol-based gels everywhere, even at the ATMs."

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 • 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
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 • 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
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'.