Airlines

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
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.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
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.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
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.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
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.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
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.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
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.

Business • Economy
easyJet reports £835 million loss in 2020, worst results in its 25-year history
easyJet reports £835 million loss in 2020, worst results in its 25-year history
Credit: unsplash/Jan Rosolino

British multinational budget airline easyJet has reported a £835 million loss in the year to 30 September 2020, compared to £427 million in profits in 2019. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, both easyJet's revenue and passenger numbers declined by approx. 50%,

"I am immensely proud of the performance of the easyJet team in facing the challenges of 2020. We responded robustly and decisively, minimising losses, reducing cash burn and launching the largest cost out and restructuring programme in our history – all while raising more than £3.1 billion in liquidity to date," so chief executive, Johan Lundgren

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

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
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
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.

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
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
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 • 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.