Monthly Archives: September 2020

Ukraine International adds more international flights

Ukraine International Airlines has made this announcement:

Effective October 1, 2020, Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) is adding more international routes and better connections throughout its route network. One of the immediate benefits is the convenient connections from key international cities to Ukraine and to Europe and the Middle East. These new schedule additions have been made with the full realization of the current Pandemic impacting travel throughout the world and Ukraine’s recent restrictions on welcoming foreign travelers. Travelers will see more flight choices in October, with the limited schedule being operated remaining virtually unchanged until October,24. The new schedule reflects the government of Ukraine lifting restrictions for foreign visitor arrivals at the end of September. UIA passengers will now have the opportunity to have easy seamless one-stop connections from throughout Europe and The Middle East to important destinations throughout the UIA route network.

NEW INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS:

  • Kyiv – Brussels (BRU) – Kyiv
  • Kyiv – Dusseldorf (DUS) – Kyiv
  • Kyiv – London (LGW) – Kyiv
  • Kyiv – Prague (PRG) – Kyiv
  • Kyiv – Baku (GYD) – Kyiv

MORE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT CONNECTIONS VIA KYIV (KBP)

From Amsterdam (AMS), London (LGW), Paris (CDG), Brussels (BRU), Milan (MXP), Dusseldorf (DUS) Munich (MUC), Prague (PRG) to:

  • Dubai (DXB)
  • Cairo (CAI)
  • Baku (GYD)
  • Yerevan (EVN)
  • Istanbul (IST)
  • Tel Aviv (TLV)

From Dubai (DXB), Cairo (CAI), Baku (GYD), Yerevan (EVN) to:

  • Amsterdam (AMS)
  • London (LGW)
  • Paris (CDG)
  • Brussels (BRU)
  • Milan (MXP)
  • Dusseldorf (DUS)
  • Munich (MUC)
  • Prague (PRG)
  • Tel Aviv (TLV)
  • Istanbul (IST)

From Tel Aviv and Istanbul to:

  • Amsterdam (AMS)
  • London (LGW)
  • Paris (CDG)
  • Brussels (BRU)
  • Milan (MXP)
  • Dusseldorf (DUS)
  • Munich (MUC)
  • Prague (PRG)
  • Dubai (DXB)
  • Yerevan (EVN)
  • Baku (GYD)

INTERNATIONAL CONNECTIONS TO UKRAINE VIA KYIV (KBP)

From Amsterdam (AMS), London (LGW), Paris (CDG), Brussels (BRU), Milan (MXP), Düsseldorf (DUS) Munich (MUC), Prague (PRG), Tel Aviv (TLV) and Istanbul (IST) to:

  • Kharkiv (HRK)
  • Lviv (LWO)
  • Kherson (KHE)
  • Odesa (ODS)
  • Dnipro (DNK)

From Dubai (DXB), Cairo (CAI), Baku (GYD) and Yerevan (EVN) to:

  • Kharkiv (HRK)
  • Lviv (LWO)
  • Odesa (ODS)
  • Dnipro (DNK)

UIA aircraft photo gallery:

Ryanair cuts capacity in October by another 20%

Ryanair has announced that it would cut its October capacity by a further 20% (in addition to the 20% cut already announced in mid-August). Ryanair now expects its October capacity to fall from 50% to approximately 40% of its October 2019 levels, but expects to maintain a 70%+ load factor at this reduced schedule.

Ryanair confirmed that these capacity reductions were necessary due to damage caused to forward bookings by continuous changes in EU Government travel restrictions and policies, many of which are introduced at short notice, which undermine consumers’ willingness to make forward bookings. In some countries (most notably Ireland), where the Government have maintained excessive and defective travel restrictions since July 1, 2020, COVID-19 rates have risen in recent weeks to 50 per 100,000 pop. – more than double those of Germany and Italy – where intra-EU air travel was freely permitted since 1 July.

Ryanair welcomes the EU Commission’s plan to remove intra-EU travel restrictions, subject only to the ECDC weekly update on COVID case / positive test trend rates by EU country and region, and calls for this coordinated approach to be immediately implemented by all EU States, especially Ireland, so that EU citizens can make essential bookings for business and family travel, free from the worry of flight cancellations and/or defective quarantine restrictions.

Ryanair aircraft photo gallery:

 

The changing situation of Berlin’s airports

Berlin’s Tegel Airport (TXL) will close on November 8, 2020 as traffic shifts to the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER).

BER is adjacent to Berlin Schönefeld Airport in Schönefeld.

Additionally on October 25, 2020, Schönefeld Airport will become Terminal 5 of BER. Although Terminal 1 of the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport will be only be opening on 31st October 2020, the IATA code for the entire airport location will change with the start of the 2020/2021 winter flight schedule. SXF becomes BER.

It may be that passengers flying from Schönefeld in October take off from Schönefeld (SXF), but land at BER as the new code is applicable for all flights as of October 25 (last day of the holidays in Berlin-Brandenburg) going from or to the Schönefeld location. The code ‘BER’ is already in the booking systems of the airlines or stored on booking platforms and will be shown on booking confirmations and tickets. In practice that means: while the city code BER was previously used for all airports in the Berlin-Brandenburg airport location and travelers were able to search for flights from Schönefeld and/or Tegel, the code will be explicitly assigned to the Schönefeld location from October 25, 2020. The three-letter code SXF will disappear.

Map: Wikipedia.

Unprecedented industry appeal to European Commission President to end quarantines and develop common EU Testing Protocol

Airlines For Europe issued this open letter to the European Commission:

25 travel and tourism bodies as well as unions across Europe united today in an unprecedented call for European Commission leadership to replace quarantine restrictions with an EU Testing Protocol for Travel in a bid to save the livelihoods of more than 27 million Europeans who work in the sector.

In an open letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the groups – which represent over 5,000 member companies and their workers, point to a continued lack of co-ordination and diverging travel restrictions as crippling their business. The letter is signed by representatives from across the tourism and travel sector and their workers, including airlines, airports, railways, ground handlers, caterers, travel retailers, air navigation service providers, tour operators, hotels, restaurants, cafes, travel agents, road transport operators and logistics services, camp sites, holiday parks, taxi operators, tourism boards and authorities and all their associated supply chains.

“With an estimated 55% fewer flights, an overall revenue loss of some €140 billion across the European aviation industry and a growing number of frustrated travellers, it’s about time that Europe shows some leadership in getting travel restrictions coordinated properly across the continent”, said Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director, Airlines for Europe (A4E).  More than 20,000 A4E airline passengers were denied boarding this summer due to the chaotic, fragmented situation.

The letter comes as the latest data from airport body ACI EUROPE shows a continued decline in passenger traffic at Europe’s airports during the first two weeks of September – now standing at a loss of -73%; down from sluggish ‘peak recovery level’ of -65% mid-August.

“This chaotic situation requires your immediate personal involvement” states the letter to Mrs. von der Leyen. “We are thus urging you to make this issue a top priority and calling on you to address this issue directly with Heads of State and Government”.

“We are therefore also urging you to ensure that the Commission takes the lead in the development of an EU Testing Protocol for travel and its implementation to avoid quarantines and re-open borders”.

The sectors which have united in this call for immediate action point to the fact that the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) formally advises states against extreme travel restrictions, which are neither risk-based nor proven effective where community transmission is already present – which is the case across Europe.

The letter concludes by highlighting the core pillars and essential purpose of the European goals. The reduction and removal of quarantines is, state the signatories, “instrumental in re-establishing the free movement of people, ending current discriminations and restoring the essential functionality of the Single Market”.

Qatar Airways network to expand to more than 90 destinations with resumption of Amman, Entebbe, Hanoi, Seychelles, Windhoek and Yerevan

Qatar Airways made this announcement:

Qatar Airways continues to lead the aviation industry offering more global connectivity than any other airline. With the airline’s network never falling below 30 destinations since the onset of the pandemic, the resumption of services to Amman, Entebbe, Hanoi, Seychelles, Windhoek and Yerevan and the launch of new flights to Accra will see the airline’s global network more than triple in size by mid-October. The airline’s resilience and commitment to providing connectivity has also seen it launch several new destinations since the start of the pandemic, including Accra, Brisbane and Cebu.

The airline’s variety of fuel-efficient efficient aircraft and strategic network management has enabled it to quickly resume flights and expand services in line with passenger demand. The following destinations are planned to resume flights or increase frequencies:

  • Amman (daily flights started 15 September, carriage of passengers limited to AMM-DOH only)
  • Clark (increasing to nine weekly flights from 20 September)
  • Copenhagen (increasing to 10 weekly flights from 15 October)
  • Dhaka (increased to seven weekly flights from 19 September)
  • Entebbe (three weekly flights starting 2 October)
  • Hanoi (four weekly flights starting 3 October)
  • Madrid (increasing to 10 weekly flights from 1 October)
  • Manchester (increasing to 17 weekly flights from 15 October)
  • Manila (increasing to 17 weekly flights from 2 October)
  • Seychelles (three weekly flights starting 15 October)
  • Stockholm (increasing to 10 weekly flights from 15 October)
  • Windhoek (three weekly flights starting 15 October)
  • Yerevan (five weekly flights started 15 September, increasing to daily from 5 October)

According to the latest IATA data, Qatar Airways has become the largest international carrier between April to July by fulfilling its mission of taking people home. This enabled the airline to accumulate unmatched experience in carrying passengers safely and reliably and uniquely positioned the airline to effectively rebuild its network. The carrier has stringently implemented the most advanced safety and hygiene measures on board its aircraft and in Hamad International Airport.

Qatar Airways aircraft photo gallery:

Harvard study: Masks, when worn throughout travel, offer significant protection from COVID-19

From Delta Air Lines:

Face masks are an essential part of a layered strategy to keep customers safe and reduce transmission of COVID-19 throughout air travel, according to a new technical bulletin published this week by faculty at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study’s conclusions reference recent research that suggests the universal use of masks in settings such as those on aircraft may reduce infection risk from respiratory particles to less than 1 percent.

“The use of face masks is critically important throughout the air travel process, from entering the airport for departure to leaving the destination airport,” according to the Harvard report. “When the use of masks is implemented with other measures built into aircraft operations, such as increased ventilation with HEPA filtration in the aircraft and disinfection of surfaces, these layered [interventions] offer significant protection from acquiring COVID-19 through air travel.”

Harvard’s bulletin – part of a set of evidence-based recommendations to reduce the public health risks of flying during the COVID-19 pandemic – also cites another report that describes two COVID-19-positive passengers who traveled on a 15-hour flight with 350 other passengers; both wore masks, and no one else on the flight was infected.

Delta was one of the first airlines to require customers and employees to wear a mask or face covering across Delta touchpoints at airports and onboard the aircraft. It’s an extension of our safety commitment, and enforcement is a responsibility we take seriously. We ask customers to acknowledge as part of the check-in process their willingness to wear a mask throughout travel. And we insist that customers who have an underlying condition that prevents them from wearing a mask complete a “Clearance-To-Fly” process upon arrival at the airport.

“There’s no doubt that wearing a face mask is one of the most important ways to stay safe in the airport and on board, and it’s why we were so quick to incorporate it into our approach to protecting our customers and employees,” said Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer Bill Lentsch. “Thanks for doing your part to stay safe and protect those around you.”

Delta has implemented layers of protection from check-in to baggage claim to deliver a new standard of cleanliness, more space and safer service and care for customers and employees alike. When added to measures such as sanitizing aircraft surfaces with electrostatic spray before 100% of flights, blocking middle seats while capping aircraft capacity, and changing aircraft HEPA filters twice as often as recommended, mask-wearing provides a consistent layer across all travel touch points that can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Delta continues to make the necessary decision to ban customers who refuse to wear masks onboard. So far, more than 300 individuals have been barred from future Delta flights for failing to comply with this critical safety precaution.

Delta Air Lines announces upsize of SkyMiles financing to $9 billion

Delta Air Lines today announced the upsize and pricing of the previously announced private offering by Delta and its indirect wholly owned subsidiary, SkyMiles IP Ltd. An aggregate of $2.5 billion in principal amount of 4.5% senior secured notes due 2025 and an aggregate of $3.5 billion in principal amount of 4.75% senior secured notes due 2028 (collectively the “Notes”) are expected to be issued on Sept. 23, 2020, subject to customary closing conditions. The Notes will be issued at a price to investors of 100% of their principal amount. Concurrently with the issuance of the Notes, Delta and SkyMiles IP Ltd. expect to enter into a credit agreement providing for a $3.0 billion term loan facility (“New Credit Facility”), also subject to customary closing conditions. In total, the Notes and New Credit Facility will provide gross proceeds of $9.0 billion, an increase of $2.5 billion from the anticipated original $6.5 billiondeal size, at a blended average annual rate of 4.75%.

News Releases Air Canada to make complimentary COVID-19 insurance coverage available to international travelers

Air Canada has made this announcement:

Air Canada today announced that it is including complimentary COVID-19 emergency medical & quarantine insurance for eligible customers booking round-trip international flights. The coverage, available for new bookings made in Canada from September 17 until October 31, 2020, inclusive, provides emergency medical and quarantine insurance designed to give customers added confidence when booking flights and travelling abroad.

“At Air Canada, we know people have personal, family and business reasons to travel. To give them greater confidence as they do so, we have engaged Manulife to offer all Canadian residents complimentary COVID-19 emergency medical & quarantine insurance when they book round-trip flights for travel outside of Canada. Combined with our industry leading airport and onboard biosafety protocols, including Air Canada CleanCare+, and our flexible rebooking policies, customers can be assured that when they book and travel with Air Canada their safety and well-being is our top priority,” said Lucie Guillemette, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Air Canada.

The Manulife COVID-19 Emergency Medical Certificate of Insurance (the “Plan”) is available for new international, round-trip bookings made in Canada between September 17 and October 31, 2020, inclusive, for travel completed by April 12, 2021. If, when abroad, customers test positive for COVID-19, the Plan will provide eligible customers coverage that includes:

  • Up to CDN $200,000 per insured for COVID-19 treatment medical expenses.
  • Up to CDN $150 per person for quarantine costs (meals + accommodation); Up to CDN $300 per family per day up to a maximum of 14 days.
  • Up to CDN $500 for expenses related to return home if the advisory from the Canadian government goes from Level 3 to Level 4 while at destination.

The Plan is available to all Canadian residents, subject to eligibility requirements, and is underwritten by The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (“Manulife”), Canada’s largest provider of travel insurance. It is the most extensive geographical coverage included by a Canadian airline for Canadian residents, covering every international destination Air Canada serves. For full details, including applicable terms and conditions, please see: http://www.aircanada.com/covid-19-insurance.

Air Canada also recently announced that customers booking with Air Canada Vacations will be offered COVID-19 Coverage and Assistance Plan provided by Allianz at no additional cost designed to cover emergency medical and quarantine expenses if COVID-19 is contracted while travelling. It is available to all eligible customers who book an Air Canada Vacations package for travel by April 30, 2021 to eligible destinations. For details please see aircanadavacations.com.

ATR’s first ever purpose-built regional freighter takes flight

ATR has made this announcement:

ATR, the world number one regional aircraft manufacturer, today announces the successful first flight of its new purpose-built regional freighter aircraft. The flight took off at 14:00 from its Saint-Martin site and lasted two hours. During the flight, crew onboard performed a number of tests to measure the new aircraft’s flight envelope and flight performance. The first delivery of this aircraft will be to FedEx Express, the world’s largest cargo airline and express transportation company, who placed a firm order for 30 aircraft, plus 20 options, in November 2017. The arrival of this new freighter further cements ATR’s leadership position in the regional freighter market where ATR cargo aircraft already represent a third of the in-service regional freighter fleet.

The brand new straight-from-factory cargo aircraft will offer a number of unique advantages to operators. With a Large Cargo Door included as part of the original design and the same wide cross section as all ATR aircraft, the freighter will be able to accommodate bulk cargo and industry-standard pallets and containers. The aircraft will also provide operators with the very latest avionics suite, which can be continuously upgraded. This effectively futureproofs the -600F’s state-of-the-art cockpit by allowing cargo airlines to take benefit from future innovations, which will further enhance the aircraft’s efficiency.

Above Copyright Photo: For FedEx Express. (Eurospot)

Norwegian commits to reduce CO2 emissions by 45 percent by 2030

Norwegian Air Shuttle made this announcement:

Norwegian has launched a new environmental sustainability strategy that will begin immediately and deliver several industry leading targets. Cutting CO2 emissions by 45 percent, remove all non-recyclable plastics and recycle all single-use plastics are key commitments in the new strategy. The goal is in line with the 1.5°C target set forth in the Paris Agreement.

Jacob Schram, CEO of Norwegian, said: “At Norwegian we take our responsibility towards the environment seriously, and that is why we must look to the future and implement a strategy that produces immediate and tangible benefits for the environment today. Norwegian will continue to instigate a positive change across the industry in this field that will benefit not only the environment but also our customers and our business. The low-cost business model is the sustainability model as it enables efficient energy and resource management.”

Will require 500 million litres sustainable aviation fuels

To limit global warming to 1.5°C, carbon emissions must be reduced by 45 percent by 2030 compared to 2010 levels, according to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2018). We commit to improve the carbon efficiency of our operations and will reduce our carbon emissions by 45 percent per passenger kilometer (RPK) by 2030 – compared to 2010 levels. This will be achieved through both fleet renewal and sustainable aviation fuels.

The airline commits to utilising between 16 and 28 percent sustainable aviation fuels by the end of the decade, depending on the level of fleet renewal. The target amounts to up to 500 million litres sustainable aviation fuels by 2030.

To achieve this important goal, it is also crucial to get in place a regulatory framework that actively rewards carbon efficiency and increases both the production and use of sustainable aviation fuel.

Jacob Schram said: “We encourage producers to ramp up production of sustainable aviation fuels. Norwegian will be actively engaging with producers to kick start this vital contribution to the industry and take advantage of the emission savings that these fuels offer.”

Will remove all non-recyclable plastics

Initial elements of the sustainability strategy will also include a 100 percent reduction of non-recyclable plastics and 100 percent recycling of single-use plastics by 2023.

Anders Fagernæs, Norwegian Head of Environmental Sustainability, said: “More sustainable and smarter options are becoming a greater part of the considerations that customers make when choosing which airline to fly with. We will champion this attitude and become the customers sustainable choice by reducing and recycling plastic waste, promoting sustainable aviation fuel and continuing to fly one of the world’s youngest fleets to achieve a 45 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030.”

A solid foundation

Norwegian is already one of the world’s leading fuel-efficient carriers due to its modern fuel-efficient aircraft. Norwegian was the first airline to sign the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) pledge, committing to become carbon neutral by 2050.

The airline was also voted the world’s most fuel-efficient airline on transatlantic routes in 2015 and 2018 by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) and since 2010 the airline has reduced its emissions by 28 percent.