flydubai operates repatriation flights

By Featured

On 19 March, flydubai operated flights across four continents in order to repatriate citizens.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, airlines have played a big role in returning people to home soil but flydubai has reached destinations including Thailand, Sudan, Russia, Iran, Croatia, and Egypt under the approval of the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). The airline has even reached Somaliland and Afghanistan, operating 23 rescue flights so far.

Visitors stuck in the UAE were flown out of Dubai International Airport Terminal to their home countries, with UAE nationals boarding the plane for the return flight. Not only were people bought back to their home countries, but the airline was able to deliver various medical supplies in both directions on these flights, and whilst many airlines are providing repatriation flights, flydubai excelled by offering them free of charge.

The CEO of the airline, Hamad Obaidalla stated that the airline will remain focused on contributing to an easy movement of goods to where they are needed and bringing people home before adding, “We look forward to resuming our operations when the time is right and we are working closely with the authorities.”

LOT Polish Airlines pulls out of Condor purchase

By General News

LOT Polish Airline owner, PGL, has pulled out of its purchase of German carrier Condor, after announcing in January that it would make a bid.

The decision has arisen due to the current impact of the COVID-19 pandemic which has damaged the whole aviation industry. PGL announced that the company “informed Condor about its withdrawal from the purchase of this company.”

In January 2020, Condor broke from the Thomas Cook Group and shortly after was contacted by PGL who wanted to purchase the airline. This deal would have accumulated to 300-million euros but is now unlikely to be carried out due to the current situation facing the industry.

Remaining hopeful, a Condor spokesperson stated that “We are also in talks about state aid because of the effects of the Corona crisis. Our flight operations will continue as normal – as far as possible due to the effects.”

American Airlines receives financial aid

By General News

American Airlines Group Inc has announced that the US Department of the Treasury has approved $5.8 billion in financial aid from the Payroll Support Program (PSP).

The funding is aimed to support team member salaries and benefits, sustaining the critical air service that the frontline service is providing. American is still operating important connections to those in need including medical professionals and people returning to their families.

American Airlines Chairman and CEO, Doug Parker commented, “The support our government has entrusted to us carries immense responsibility and an obligation that American Airlines is privileged to undertake.”

The airline is also seeking a potential addition loan of about $4.75billion to support its staff until September 2020, when the programme ends. Parker added, “It is our privilege to continue flying through the downturn and to be in a ready position as our country and the world return to the skies.”

South African airways

SAA repatriation flight lands in Miami after 20 years

By General News
South African airways

As a part of its repatriation service, South African Airways has flown to Miami for the first time in 20 years in order to bring citizens home.

South African Airways has used one of its new A350s to carry out this mission, although it has parked 39 of its 44 other aircraft.

The flight departed from Johannesburg, stopping at Dakar before continuing the journey. Despite this connection to Miami International Airport (MIA), “it’s likely it won’t be a regular sitting there.” SAA’s US focus is on New York and Washington DC with its codeshares with other airlines including United and Jetblue.

VA Airline Training supports students

By General News

With many airlines and companies requesting government aid due to the coronavirus, VA Airline Training (VA) has announced it will be stepping up to support its candidates “in various ways during this extremely challenging period, with further service enhancements.”

VA state it will provide additional APS MCC (Airline Pilot Standard Multi-Crew Cooperation) training free of charge, believing that “APS MCC graduate core skills and currency should be maintained in preparation for attending future airline assessments.”

The BA’s ‘Bursary 24’ will offer further financial help, providing 24 more £500 bursaries throughout April and May 2020. This means pilots booking a VA or Ryanair APS MCC will be able to secure the course, with dates moved to a later time in order to accommodate the delays in  flight training due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anthony Petteford, Managing Director of VA Airline Training stated that “The current situation is difficult for everyone…We will do what we can to support and help them achieve their APS MCC certificate so that they are genuinely airline ready when the recovery does come.”

Australian regional airlines hold onto lifeline

By General News

The Australian government has offered a “lifeline” to the country’s regional airlines with a suspected aviation aid package of AUS$1 billion.

This support will allow airlines such as Regional Express (Rex) to continue operations despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, unions and ground-handling companies have stated that they are receiving little aid which has failed to support its workers.

Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack has announced that an $198 million Regional Air Network Assistance package aims to maintain critical air services throughout regional Australia by securing operations to certain routes. The funding will focus on safety-related costs, regulatory compliance and support “minimum operational capability.”

A further $100 million has been provided for smaller regional airlines to continue operations. Airlines including aero-medical and service providers will potentially be eligible for monthly assistance until 30 September.

McCormack further stated that the package will: “provide vital financial support for airlines servicing regional and remote locations”, allowing core routes for domestic air freight to remain functional and essential workers to remain employed.

With the reduction of about 80% of flying activity, many flight crew and engineers have been suspended. Therefore, this funding is expected to support many jobs in order to reduce the impact on the airlines and airports staff.

Airlines for Australia and New Zealand (A4ANZ) has also benefited from the financial package as airlines have become “critically disrupted by border closures.” A4ANZ Chief Executive, Alison Roberts said: “as a nation, we are more dependent on aviation than most countries around the world and, the Deputy Prime Minister said today, regional aviation has been smashed by COVID-19.”

However, the Transport Workers’ Union has highlighted that some of the country’s biggest ground-handling companies including Menzies Aviation believe that they have been ignored. They have stated that “no planes can operate if the airports – regional or major – do not have any ground handlers.”

Final flight for Trans States Airlines

By General News

American regional airline, Trans States Airlines has operated its final flight after announcing in early March that it would go out of business in response to the COVID-19 impact on capacity.

The airline operated for United Express and originally planned to operate until the end of 2020.

Trans States’ President and CEO, Rick Leach stated: “While I’m still grappling with the fact that this sad day has come much sooner than planned, I can’t help but reflect with great pride on our journey together and some of the many accomplishments that have made us a true pioneer in the regional industry.”

Cape Air

Cape Air operates new P2012 Traveller

By General News
Cape Air

Cape Air is preparing for the inaugural flight of its new Tecnam P2012 Traveller aircraft at Quincy Regional Airport.

Quincy Airport is the second airport to receive the aircraft since its arrival in the US, as a part of Cape Air’s fleet upgrade. It is planned to be operated on flights to St. Louis and Chicago, with of more the type to be added in coming months.

Cape Air Spokesperson, Erin Hatzell stated that: “That the Tecnam will improve the passenger experience with about 30% more cabin capacity than the previously used Cessna 402. Passengers have access to charging ports, cup holders, under-seat storage, air conditioning, LED lighting and a larger window.”

The airline currently has seven P2012 Travellers within its fleet but plans to have 20 by the end of the year. It has an order for an additional 90 after the initial 20 have been delivered, which the Cape Air intends to introduce them into more markets, once more crews have been trained.

Braathens Regional Airlines takes a break

By Featured

Swedish-based Braarhens Regional Airlines has announced that it is suspending all of its flights from 6 April 2020 until June. Although attempting to continue operations, new government guidelines have created a significant reduction in passengers.

The airline has been gradually reducing its network, terminating several regional routes on 23 March including connections from Stockholm Bromma to Ronneby, Kristianstad and Halmstad. However, with unnecessary travel now discouraged, the Braathen decided to cut its network further.

The airline commented that “We at [Braathens Regional Airlines] have done everything we can to maintain our air traffic for Sweden and for our customers. In the past week, we have struggled with only a few flights, but due to the Government’s and the Public Health Authority’s strong call for the Swedish population not to travel inland, we do not have any customers left who fly with us and therefore need to further adapt our traffic to the new conditions”.

easyJet founder fears for airline’s future

By General News

EasyJet founder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has voiced his concern of the airline’s financial difficulty, caused by the current drop in travel demand.

Haji-Ioannou believes that “the airline could run out of money as soon as August if drastic steps are not taken soon.” In order to benefit easyJet’s position, he expressed the want to cancel its forthcoming order of 108 Airbus aircraft as a move to ease its financial concerns. The order is worth an estimated £4.5billion but is “jeopardising the future of the airline”.

The founder also states that easyJet should look to reduce its fleet from 350 to 250 to reduce costs, as well as removing directors. However, the airline’s CEO, Johan Lundgren indicated that there is a possibility of gaining financial support from the UK government, although it would “not need loans” if the Airbus order can be cancelled.