Monthly Archives: February 2021

GullivAir is operating to the Dominican Republic and the Maldives

GullivAir Airbus A330-203 LZ-ONE (msn 811) ZRH (Rolf Wallner). Image: 952983.

GullivAir recently started operating from Sofia to La Romana and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and Male in the Maldives.

The new airline also hopes to fly to New York (JFK) and Toronto (Pearson) as well as Delhi.

Top Copyright Photo: GullivAir Airbus A330-203 LZ-ONE (msn 811) ZRH (Rolf Wallner). Image: 952983.

GuillivAir aircraft slide show:

CMA CGM Air Cargo paints its first aircraft

Operated by Air Belgium (2nd)

CMA CGM Air Cargo of France has painted its first aircraft at Dublin, the pictured Airbus A330-243 (F) OO-CMA (msn 1688). The aircraft was formerly operated by Qatar Airways as A7-AFI. It was delivered on February 15.

The freighter will be operated for CMA CGM by Air Belgium (2nd) and will be based at Liege.

OO-CMA is the first A330 of four.

As previously reported, the airline is planning to begin operations starting on March 8, 2021 with the first Airbus A330-200F cargo flight between Liege and Chicago (O’Hare).

Copyright Photo: CMA CGM Air Cargo (Air Belgium 2nd) Airbus A330-243 (F) OO-CMA (msn 1688) DUB (Greenwing). Image: 953002.

 

Air France revises its livery with larger titles and other subtle changes

Air France's 2021 revised livery

Air France has made some subtle changes to its 2009 livery. Two aircraft (one pictured above) show off the changes (now the 2021 livery).

The revised livery of Air France is now being seen on at least one Airbus A318 and two A320s at the Paris CDG hub.

The revised livery includes slightly larger titles. The AF logo is now placed behind the cockpit. The SkyTeam logo has been moved to the rear part of the fuselage below the window line near the rear door.

Top Copyright Photo: The revised livery: Air France Airbus A318-111 F-GUGO (msn 2951) CDG (Manuel Negrerie). Image: 953000.

Below Copyright Photo: The 2009 livery on a recent delivery: Air France Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner F-HRBJ (msn 42497) PAE (Nick Dean). Image: 950660.

F-HRBJ

Air France aircraft slide show:

LAX’s runway 7R/25L gets $17.3 million overhaul

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has used the downturn in traffic to accomplish airfield enhancements. LAX issued this statement:

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) began a $17.3 million overhaul of Runway 7R/25L and two taxiways on the south side of the airfield on Friday, Feb. 26, requiring the temporary closure of the runway.

 

The work, which is not expected to have a noticeable impact on passengers, includes removal and replacement of about 6,000 feet of the runway’s asphalt surface along with Taxiways H6 and H7. In addition to the asphalt overlay, new energy-efficient LED runway centerline lights will be installed. The work is scheduled to take a little over two months to complete, and the runway is expected to reopen in early May.

 

“At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we challenged ourselves to use this time of a reduction in air traffic to complete repairs and airfield improvements more efficiently than ever before,” said Bernardo Gogna, Chief Development Officer, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA). “The replacement of the asphalt on Runway 7R/25L is an example of how we are investing in the long-term health of our airport and completing work that would have been much more disruptive if done when we were operating at full capacity.”

 

The work, which is being performed by Sully-Miller Contracting Co. at a cost of $17.37 million, also includes replacing the runway concrete approach slabs at the bridge over Sepulveda Boulevard. The LED lighting improvement will reduce maintenance costs as well as energy use. The new wearing surface is expected to last about a decade.

 

Runway 7R/25L is typically used for arriving flights. The parallel Runway 7L/25R, which is closer to the terminal buildings and typically handles departures, will be converted to use for both departures and arrivals, with some arrivals moved to the north runway complex.

 

Because Runway 7R/25L is an outboard runway, noise impacts are expected to be minimal, and overnight over-ocean operations will not be affected.

 

Contractors use a compaction roller on a test strip on the LAX airfield in January, ahead of a project that will rehabilitate approximately 6,000 feet of Runway 7R/25L and two taxiways.

About Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)LAX, the third-busiest airport in the world and second busiest in the United States in 2019, is in the midst of a $14.3-billion capital improvement program that will touch on all nine passenger terminals and build new facilities, including an Automated People Mover (APM) train, Consolidated Rent-A-Car (ConRAC) facility and a 12- to 15-gate Midfield Satellite Concourse (MSC) addition to the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

 

In 2019, LAX served nearly 88.1 million passengers and offered an average of 700 daily nonstop flights to 113 destinations in the U.S. and 1,200 weekly nonstop flights to 91 markets in 46 countries on 72 commercial airlines.

 

LAX generates 620,600 jobs in Southern California, with labor income of $37.3 billion and economic output (business revenues) of more than $126.6 billion, according to an economic study based on 2014 operations. This activity added $6.2 billion to local and state revenues and $8.7 billion in federal tax revenues. The study also reported that LAX’s ongoing capital improvement program creates an additional 121,640 annual jobs with labor income of $7.6 billion and economic output of $20.3 billion; $966 million in state and local taxes; and $1.6 billion in federal tax revenues.

 

LAX is part of a system of two Southern California airports – along with Van Nuys general aviation – that are owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), a proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles that receives no funding from the City’s general fund.

 

LAWA is leading the aviation industry in sustainability practices, with initiatives related to water management, energy (electricity) management, air quality, recycling and natural resources management. In 2019, LAX received Level III ACI Airport Carbon Accreditation from Airport Councils International-Europe.

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QANTAS and Jetstar prepare to resume international flights in October

QANTAS Airways has made this announcement:

  • Flights to most international destinations to now resume late October 2021
  • Trans-Tasman flying to ramp up from July 2021
  • New flexibility for international bookings, with unlimited flight date changes

QANTAS Airways and Jetstar Airways are now planning to restart regular international passenger flights to most destinations from October 31, 2021 – a four month extension from the previous estimate of July, which had been in place since mid-2020.

The date change aligns with the expected timeframe for Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout to be effectively complete.

Capacity will be lower than pre-COVID levels, with frequencies and aircraft type deployed on each route in line with the projected recovery of international flying. International capacity is not expected to fully recover until 2024.

The Group remains in close consultation with the Federal Government around the reopening of international borders and will keep customers updated if further adjustments are required.

QANTAS is assessing the use of digital health pass apps to help support the resumption of COVID-safe international travel. The CommonPass and IATA Travel Pass smartphone apps are being trialled on the airline’s international repatriation flights.

QANTAS network

QANTAS is planning to resume flights to 22 of its 25 pre-COVID international destinations including Los Angeles, London, Singapore and Johannesburg from October 31, 2021.

QANTAS won’t initially resume direct flights to New York, Santiago and Osaka, but remains committed to flying to these three destinations. In the meantime, customers will be able to fly to these destinations under codeshare or oneworld arrangements with partner airlines.

Jetstar network

Jetstar plans to resume flights to all of its 13 international destinations. Frequencies will be adjusted in line with the projected recovery of international flying.

Trans-Tasman

QANTAS and Jetstar are planning for a significant increase in flights to and from New Zealand from July 1, 2021.

The Group has the ability to respond to travel bubbles that may open.

  • Underlying Loss Before Tax: $1.03 billion
  • Statutory Loss Before Tax: $1.47 billion
  • $6.9 billion revenue impact from COVID-19 crisis in HY21 (down 75%)
  • Underlying operating cash flow: $1.05 billion
  • Total liquidity of $4.2 billion, providing capital for restructuring and buffer against uncertainty
  • Domestic airlines generating positive underlying cash flow
  • Losses in Qantas International offset by record Qantas Freight performance
  • Continued strong cash generation by Qantas Loyalty
  • Restructuring program on track to deliver $0.6 billion in cost benefits in FY21
  • International flying now aiming to restart end-October 2021

The Qantas Group has continued to navigate the impacts of the COVID crisis as it positions the company for recovery and balance sheet repair.

In the six month period – which covered Victoria’s extended lockdown and nationwide border closures – the Group managed to limit a $6.9 billion drop in revenue into a $1.03 billion Underlying Loss Before Tax.

The Group generated Underlying EBITDA of $86 million, reflecting the fundamental resilience of the portfolio.

The Group’s Statutory Loss Before Tax was $1.47 billion. This included further redundancy and restructuring costs of $284 million (in addition to the $642 million provided for in FY20) and a further $71 million write down of the A380 fleet in-line with its Australian dollar market value.

CEO COMMENTS                                                                                          

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: “These figures are stark but not surprising.

“During the half we saw the second wave in Victoria and the strictest domestic travel restrictions since the pandemic began. Virtually all of our international flying and 70 per cent of domestic flying stopped, and with it went three-quarters of our revenue.

“Despite the huge challenges, these results show the Group’s underlying strength.

“When we had the opportunity to fly domestically, we saw significant pent up travel demand and generated positive cash flow.

“Qantas Loyalty still had significant income because the program has evolved to the stage where the vast majority of points are earned from activity on the ground. Qantas Freight had a record result and has been a natural hedge to the lack of international passenger flying, which has created a shortage of cargo space globally.

“These factors couldn’t overcome the massive impact of this crisis, but they have softened it.

We’ve maintained a high level of liquidity because we were quick to cut costs and because we’ve been able to raise debt and equity. This gives us the breathing room to deal with the levels of uncertainty we’re still facing, and funding for the restructuring that will ultimately speed up our recovery.

“Our priorities remain the safety of everyone who travels with us, getting as many of our people back to work as possible and generating positive cash flow to repair our balance sheet.

“The COVID vaccine rollout in Australia will take time, but the fact it’s underway gives us more certainty. More certainty that domestic borders can stay open because frontline and quarantine workers will be vaccinated in a matter of weeks. And more certainty that international borders can open when the nationwide rollout is effectively complete by the end of October.”

GROUP DOMESTIC

The Group’s domestic flying operations across Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar generated positive underlying cashflow despite a circa 70 per cent decline in both revenue and capacity.

Underlying EBITDA was positive $71 million, with depreciation and amortization taking this to an EBIT loss of $407 million.

Improved planning processes have allowed rapid network and schedule changes that minimize exposure to sudden border closures and maximize revenue opportunities within a patchwork of restrictions. Twenty-three new domestic routes were announced in response to changing demand patterns as people looked for opportunities to travel within Australia. More new routes are planned in the second half.

Continued demand from the resources sector provided strong cashflow, with four additional Airbus A320s moved to Western Australia to support growth.

Broader restructuring will deliver significant and ongoing unit cost improvements across Qantas and Jetstar, with further cost reductions to be realized in the second half.

The Group’s domestic market share rose to around 70 per cent, helped by the addition of more than 20 large corporate accounts as well as growth in small-to-medium enterprises choosing Qantas in particular.

Both Qantas and Jetstar saw extremely strong leisure demand during periods when travel restrictions eased. Jetstar saw a trebling of bookings in November, with more than 250,000 bookings during sale activity.

GROUP INTERNATIONAL AND FREIGHT

Continued border closures meant international operations remained largely grounded throughout the first half, resulting in an Underlying EBITDA loss of $86 million for Group International, with depreciation and amortization taking this loss to $549 million. This was mostly driven by the cost of carrying the assets in these businesses but partly offset by a record performance by Qantas Freight.

The lack of passenger flights has created a temporary global shortage of space for cargo at a time when e-commerce is also surging – which Qantas Freight has been able to capitalize on. While this will ease when more international passenger services resume, much of the increased demand for e-commerce is expected to continue.

Qantas Freight received its first of three Airbus A321 freighters in October, taking its total operational fleet to 19. In addition, some of the Group’s passenger A330s and 787s are being used for freight-only operations.

Repatriation services operated on behalf of the Australian Government, plus flights to New Zealand as part of a one-way bubble arrangement, meant the Qantas Group operated 8 per cent of its pre-COVID flying – providing important operational readiness for the eventual opening of borders.

Jetstar airlines in Asia had their own COVID-related impacts, which couldn’t be softened to the same extent as Australian-based parts of the Group. In response, cash outflows and fleet sizes are being reduced, including six A320 aircraft from Jetstar Japan that will be relocated to the Australian domestic market given opportunities locally for cash positive flying.

QANTAS LOYALTY

Qantas Loyalty generated a strong cash contribution of $454 million despite limitations on travel redemptions and a 10 per cent decline in total credit card spending on Qantas Points Earning Credit Cards – two of its main revenue drivers.

Underlying Earnings Before Interest and Tax were $125 million (down 29 per cent versus pre-COVID).

Loyalty’s performance showed the benefits of diversifying the program in recent years, as well as high levels of engagement from members continuing to earn points on the ground.

Qantas health insurance grew in a generally static market and an expansion into home insurance was launched in December 2020. Shifts in consumer behavior during lockdown saw record revenue for Qantas Wine (up 74 per cent) and the Qantas Rewards Store (up 41 per cent).

Frequent Flyers continue to prioritize using their points for travel, with record levels of redemptions for flights (up 2.5 times) when domestic travel restrictions eased in November. A further spike is expected once international travel resumes, which will also drive earnings.

Qantas Loyalty signed multi-year deals with three of the major banks, including a significant expansion with Commonwealth Bank to be rolled out later this calendar year. A new and much broader partnership with Accor will also launch in mid-2021.

LOOKING AFTER CUSTOMERS

Looking after customers remains core, with a focus on creating COVID-safe environments across Qantas and Jetstar and offering high levels of flexibility to help offset uncertainty on borders. Recent initiatives and improvements include:

  • Fly Well – using technology to minimize physical contact at airports; social distancing in lounges; providing masks and sanitizing wipes on board; and enhanced cleaning throughout. (The allied Work Well program applies COVID-safe principles for employees in both frontline and office-based roles.)
  • Fly Flexible – offering unlimited date changes on all Qantas domestic and international fares through to at least February 2022, removing the biggest barrier to booking while border uncertainty persists.
  • Rewarding loyalty – a further 12 month status retain offer for Frequent Flyers; offering status match to high-tier members of other airline programs; and increasing the number of reward seats on domestic flights by 50 per cent.
  • Better value – extending complimentary drinks service on all Qantas domestic flights, in addition to existing inclusions like free Wi-Fi on 737s; eligible customers have access to 35 domestic lounges compared to the main competitor’s seven; Jetstar domestic fares as low as $19.
  • Extension of flight vouchers – Qantas has extended credit vouchers to enable travel until 31 December 2023 on domestic or international flights, with Jetstar doing the same for vouchers issued due to COVID-19 disruptions.
Jetstar Airways aircraft slide show:

Swiss takes off with Confiserie Sprüngli

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) is extending its ‘SWISS Saveurs’ food and beverage concept for Economy Class travellers which has already proved such a success in Geneva to its short- and medium-haul services from and to Zurich from the end of March. In doing so, SWISS will be working exclusively with Confiserie Sprüngli, the long-established and internationally renowned Swiss family firm, whose recipes will be used for all the fresh items on the SWISS Saveurs menu. In compiling its new range of for-purchase inflight snacks and drinks, SWISS is putting a firm emphasis on offering a wider selection of items, on freshness and quality, on regional accents and on sustainable packagings. The new food concept will also bring other reputed Swiss brands on board along with smaller local suppliers. And SWISS will further be offering its own new mineral water from the Glarus Alps, which will be distributed to all travelers free of charge.

In introducing its SWISS Saveurs inflight culinary concept for short- and medium-haul Economy Class travelers from and to Zurich from 30 March onwards, Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) is embarking on an exclusive new partnership with Confiserie Sprüngli, the internationally renowned Swiss company which is now in the hands of the sixth generation of its original founding family. Established in 1836, Confiserie Sprüngli has long been a byword for Swiss chocolate tradition and for products of outstanding quality and freshness made with natural ingredients. In this unique collaboration, all the fresh items on the new SWISS Saveurs menu such as muesli, salads, sandwiches and sweet pastries will be prepared using recipes of this Zurich-based traditional Swiss company.

“We are delighted to have teamed up with such an internationally renowned yet locally based partner with such a long tradition and such a focus on culinary excellence for this collaboration, which will enable us to offer a wide range of fresh top-quality snacks to our Economy Class customers, too,” says SWISS Chief Commercial Officer Tamur Goudarzi Pour. “We’ll be breaking new ground here with our packagings as well, where we’ll be using sustainable materials wherever we possibly can.”

 

The new Sprüngli products will be available on short- and medium-haul services from and to Zurich from 30 March and on services from and to Geneva from 28 April. SWISS Saveurs will be offered on flights of 50 minutes or more duration. The new menu extends to Bircher muesli, a pretzel with air-dried beef, a vegetable brioche and Sprüngli’s famous Luxemburgerli mini-macaroons. The prices per item range from CHF 7.50 for a Bircher muesli or a sandwich to CHF 18.50 for a freshly prepared hot meal (on longer flights). The product range will be updated every three to six months. SWISS’s tried-and-trusted Business Class concept for its short- and medium-haul services remains unchanged.

Sustainability is a further key consideration with the new fresh products. Most SWISS Saveurs items will be packaged in PaperWise material, which is made from agricultural waste using only renewable energy, and is thus entirely carbon-neutral. Those items that cannot yet be offered in PaperWise packaging will be packed in FSC-certificated cardboard or kraft paper. Production of the new fresh items will also be more closely tailored to customer demand, which will help to minimize food waste.

Further Swiss classics and new discoveries

To provide its inflight guests with an even broader range of for-purchase SWISS Saveurs items, SWISS will be supplementing its new exclusive fresh Sprüngli products with further Swiss classics such as Ragusa, Kägi Fret, Zweifel chips and Caotina hot chocolate. And there’ll be smaller Swiss producers to discover, too: the coffee will come from the small Zurich-based miró manufactura de café roastery, which sources all its beans solely from fair-trade suppliers; and the beverages range will include a gin from Turicum of Zurich and WhiteFrontier craft beer from Martigny in Canton Valais.

The snacks and drinks will be priced between CHF 3 and CHF 12. And the full range of SWISS Saveurs items can be viewed on swiss.com. SWISS will continue to offer all its inflight guests its popular SWISS Chocolates, along with a complimentary bottle of water.

Exclusive ‘SWISS Altitude 1150’ mineral water for every inflight guest

Together with SWISS Saveurs, SWISS is also launching a new mineral water together with its water supplier RAMSEIER Suisse AG that is produced exclusively for the airline in Switzerland’s Glarus Alps: ‘SWISS Altitude 1150’, a name inspired by the source spring’s elevation at 1,150 metres above sea level. The new mineral water will be served only on SWISS flights, and will be distributed to all passengers free of charge in a recyclable bottle in an unmistakable SWISS design. In a first step, SWISS Altitude 1150 will be provided on SWISS’s short- and medium-haul services, with the offer then gradually extended throughout the SWISS long-haul network.

Swiss aircraft photo gallery:

Swiss aircraft slide show:

Icelandair lands in Antarctica

Icelandair made this announcement on social media:

We usually fly closer to home, near the Arctic Circle, but this flight was even cooler: Today, an Icelandair Boeing 767-300 landed at the Norwegian research station Troll in Antarctica. The charter flight is to pick up the research center’s scientists and fly them home to Norway.

The journey has involved a lot of planning due to the unique conditions (e.g. a landing strip on ice), and involves 6 pilots, 13 crew and 1 flight engineer. They’re all on their way back to the northern part of the globe, and we look forward to sharing more of their adventures in Antarctica with you next week – because snow, ice and wind are truly our elements.

Icelandair aircraft photo gallery:

Icelandair aircraft slide show:

COVID-19 heavily influences Norwegian’s January traffic figures

Norwegian Air’s traffic figures for January are heavily influenced by lower demand caused by continued travel restrictions across Europe.

In January, 74,224 customers flew with Norwegian, a decrease of 96 percent compared to the same period last year. The capacity (ASK) was down 98 percent, and the total passenger traffic (RPK) was down by 99 percent. The load factor was 35.9 percent, down 45 percentage points.

Jacob Schram, CEO of Norwegian, said: “The pandemic continues to have a negative impact on our business as travel restrictions remain. We are doing everything in our power to come out of the examinership as a stronger, more competitive airline and we look forward to welcoming more customers on board as travel restrictions are lifted.”

Norwegian operated eight aircraft on average in January, mainly on domestic routes in Norway. The company operated 96.8 percent of its scheduled flights in January, whereof 90.4 percent departed on time.

In other news, Norwegian also reported its fourth quarter results. As expected, the results were heavily impacted by COVID-19 and travel restrictions in all markets. The net loss was NOK 16.6 billion, including impairment of NOK 12.8 billion. The operating expenses before leasing and depreciation were reduced by 82 percent compared to the same quarter last year. In 2020, the company reduced net interest-bearing debt by NOK 18 billon. The examinership process in Ireland and the reconstruction process in Norway that were initiated in the fourth quarter are on track.

The pandemic continues to have a negative impact on the aviation industry. Demand was severely affected by changing travel restrictions and the continued spread of COVID-19 across Norwegian’s key markets. Out of a current fleet of 131 aircraft, an average of 15 were operational during the fourth quarter, mainly on domestic routes in Norway. Norwegian carried 574,000 customers, a decrease of 92 percent compared to the same period in 2019. Production capacity (ASK) was down 96 percent and passenger traffic (RPK) decreased by 97 percent. The load factor was 52.4 percent, a decrease of 32.5 percentage points compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.

Jacob Schram, CEO of Norwegian, said: “2020 was an exceptionally difficult year for the aviation industry and for Norwegian. Consequently, the fourth quarter results are as expected. Unfortunately, many of our employees are furloughed or have lost their jobs, partly due to the company’s decision to cease long-haul operations. Despite the difficulties the pandemic has caused, there is a great fighting spirit and engagement within the company, and together we will build new Norwegian when we exit the reconstruction processes. Now, we are doing everything we can to emerge as a more financially secure and competitive airline with an improved customer offering, and as soon as Europe begins to reopen, we will be ready to welcome more customers on board.”

In the fourth quarter of 2020, Norwegian entered an examinership process in Ireland and a reconstruction process in Norway. Both processes are progressing as planned and are on track. The purpose of the processes is to reduce debt, reduce the size of the fleet and make the company financially attractive to secure new capital. Norwegian targets to reduce its debt significantly to around NOK 20 billion and to raise NOK 4 – 5 billion in new capital. In 2020, the company reduced net interest-bearing debt by NOK 18 billon, mainly through conversion to equity. Going forward, Norwegian will focus on a strong and profitable Nordic and European network. The company plans to serve these markets with approximately 50 narrow body aircraft in 2021. However, the ramp-up is dependent on the development of the pandemic, travel restrictions and government advice in key markets.

Norwegian operated 90.1 percent of its scheduled flights in the fourth quarter, whereof 94.1 percent departed on time.

Norwegian aircraft photo gallery:

Norwegian aircraft slide show:

Austrian Airlines to fly again to Montreal and New York JFK, sells 3 Boeing 767-300s

Austrian Airlines has made this announcement:

Destinations

• As of May, Austrian Airlines expands its long-haul service
• Montreal and New York JFK back on offer
• “Our long-haul services are back on a slight climb”, says CCO Michael Trestl

Austrian Airlines is expanding its long-haul services in the upcoming summer flight schedule. From May, Austria’s home carrier will once again be flying three times a week to Montreal and New York JFK. As Newark was already in service up to now, the total number of flights to New York will increase to eight connections per week as of May.

“With five destinations in North America and three in Asia, including Tokyo and Bangkok, our long-haul services are back on a slight climb this summer. Unfortunately, however, we are still a long way from reaching cruising altitude. We hope that a rapid increase in the vaccination rate and a corresponding relaxation of travel restrictions will give us a further boost in the future”, says Austrian Airlines CCO Michael Trestl.

Austrian Airlines was already able to announce an increase in its summer flight schedule last week. From the end of March, various destinations will be resumed, including Barcelona, Dubrovnik and Florence. Hanover will be served by Austrian Airlines again for the first time since 2009. In addition, numerous vacation destinations are back on offer, for example in Greece, Italy and Spain. In the intercontinental route network, Amman, Bangkok, Chicago and Tokyo are back in the flight schedule.
In other news, Austrian Airlines has found a buyer for the three long-haul aircraft that were up for sale. The Boeing 767-300ER aircraft will go to the US company MonoCoque Diversified Interests. The purchase agreement has already been signed. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price. The first aircraft, registered OE-LAT, will leave Vienna at the beginning of March for Pinal Airpark, Arizona. The aircraft is currently undergoing all the necessary preparations for the handover. The next transfer flight is scheduled for May with the Boeing 767 registered OE-LAX.

At an average of 28.5 years, the three B767s sold are among the oldest aircraft in the Austrian Airlines fleet. The remaining three B767s are between 20 and 22 years of age. After the completed handover, Austrian Airlines will continue to have nine long-haul jets at its disposal, which will connect Austria with destinations around the globe – from the USA to the Far East. In detail, these are six Boeing 777s with over 300 seats and three Boeing 767s with over 200 seats.

Until the beginning of 2022, 28 aircraft will leave the fleet of Austria’s home carrier: In addition to the aforementioned three Boeing 767-300ERs, 18 Dash turboprops (below) and seven Airbus A319 jets (above) will be handed over. Ten turboprops have already left Vienna, with the remaining eight to follow soon. This means that the fleet will consist of around 60 aircraft by the beginning of 2022. As mainly smaller aircraft will be retired, this corresponds to a capacity reduction of around 20 percent.
Finally, Austrian Airlines operated its 100th cargo flight with this announcement:

• Milestone flight celebrated with special livery
• More than 2,000 tons of relief supplies transported from Asia to Austria and Germany
• Partnership to be expanded through additional cargo flights

The need for relief supplies in the form of protective gloves, masks and suits as well as rapid antigen tests has continued uninterruptedly since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis. For this reason, Austrian Airlines has established an airlift to Asia since March 2020 on behalf of the air cargo experts time:matters, a subsidiary of Lufthansa Cargo, in order to directly transport urgently needed protective materials to Vienna, Frankfurt or Linz. In doing so, the Austrian Airlines team worked particularly closely with the local branch office of time:matters in Vienna at all times. More than 2,000 tons of relief supplies could be brought to Europe on some 100 flights from Xiamen, Shanghai and Penang. Austrian Airlines’ Boeing B767 and 777 aircraft with built in seats were deployed on these flights as well as the B777 “Prachter”. This German word represents a mixture of the words normally used for passenger aircraft and cargo planes. The passenger seats on these jets are temporarily removed in order to increase cargo volumes.

Boeing 777-200 (OE-LPA) takes off with special livery to commemorate the 100th flight
On the occasion of the 100th cargo flight jointly operated by Austrian Airlines and time:matters, the converted Boeing 777 cargo aircraft of the Austrian flag carrier was given a special livery over the last few days by the experts at Austrian Technik. The tail section of the aircraft now displays the time:matters logo as well as lettering to point out the anniversary flight taking off from Vienna and heading to Penang. The aircraft will return to Vienna again on February 28, 2021 carrying urgently needed relief supplies.
Austrian Airlines aircraft photo gallery:
Austrian Airlines aircraft slide show:

IAG reports a 2020 loss of €6,923 million

International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) on February 26, 2021 presented Group consolidated results for the year to December 31, 2020.

COVID-19 situation and management actions:

• Passenger capacity in quarter 4 was 26.6 per cent of 2019 and for the full year was 33.5 per cent of 2019 and continues to be adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, together with government restrictions and quarantine requirements

• Current passenger capacity plans for quarter 1, 2021 are for around 20 per cent of 2019 capacity, but remain uncertain and subject to review

• 969 cargo-only flights operated in quarter 4 • Additional funding of €3.4 billion secured in quarter 4, including £2.0 billion commitment from UK Export Finance finalized in February 2021 and $1.0 billion EETC for British Airways, $0.2 billion sales and leaseback transactions for Iberia and €150 million for Aer Lingus backed by the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), with €0.8 billion bridge financing facilities repaid

• 2020 capex reduced by €2.3 billion, from plans at the start of the year, to €1.9 billion, with €0.5 billion due to seven aircraft deliveries delayed from Q4-20 into 2021; 2021 capex expected to be lower than 2020

• British Airways reached agreement to defer €495 million of pension contributions due between September 2020 and October 2021

• British Airways reached agreement in principle over restructuring plans for cargo employees, following agreement with the other main British Airways employee groups earlier in 2020 • Group continues to focus on cost reduction, increasing the variability of its cost-base and liquidity initiatives

IAG period highlights on results:

• Fourth quarter operating loss €1,471 million (2019: operating profit €93 million), and operating loss before exceptional items €1,165 million (2019: operating profit before exceptional items €765 million)

• Operating loss for the year to December 31, 2020 €7,426 million (2019: operating profit €2,613 million), and operating loss before exceptional items €4,365 million (2019: operating profit before exceptional items €3,285 million)

• Exceptional charge before tax in the year to December 31, 2020 of €3,061 million on discontinuance of fuel and foreign exchange hedge accounting, impairment of fleet and restructuring costs; exceptional charge before tax for quarter 4 €306 million

• Loss after tax and exceptional items for the year to December 31, 2020 €6,923 million (2019: profit €1,715 million) and loss after tax before exceptional items: €4,325 million (2019: profit before exceptional items €2,387 million)

• Cash of €5,917 million at December 31, 2020 down €766 million on December 31, 2019. Committed and undrawn general and aircraft facilities were €2.14 billion, bringing total liquidity to €8.1 billion. Including €2.2 billion proceeds from the UK Export Finance (UKEF) gives total pro-forma liquidity of €10.3 billion.

Luis Gallego, IAG’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “In 2020, we’re reporting an operating loss of €4,365 million before exceptional items compared to an operating profit of €3,285 million in 2019. Total operating losses including exceptional items relating to fuel and currency hedges, early fleet retirement plus restructuring costs came to €7,426 million.

“Our results reflect the serious impact that COVID-19 has had on our business. We have taken effective action to preserve cash, boost liquidity and reduce our cost base. Despite this crisis, our liquidity remains strong. At 31 December, the Group’s liquidity was €10.3 billion including a successful €2.7 billion capital increase and £2 billion loan commitment from UKEF. This is higher than at the start of the pandemic.

“In 2020, our capacity decreased by 66.5 per cent while our non-fuel costs went down 37.1 per cent thanks to the extraordinary effort across our business. The Group continues to reduce its cost base and increase the proportion of variable costs to better match market demand. We’re transforming our business to ensure we emerge in a stronger competitive position.

“IAG Cargo’s turnover increased by almost €200 million to €1.3 billion. Cargo helped to make longhaul passenger flights viable. In addition, we operated 4,003 cargo-only flights in the year.

“I would like to thank our employees across the Group for their remarkable commitment, resilience and flexibility through this crisis. They have adapted quickly to new ways of working and made big sacrifices in terms of salary and working time. Our people have played a central role in all we have achieved during these challenging times.

“The aviation industry stands with governments in putting public health at the top of the agenda. Getting people traveling again will require a clear roadmap for unwinding current restrictions when the time is right.

“We know there is pent-up demand for travel and people want to fly. Vaccinations are progressing well and global infections are going in the right direction. We’re calling for international common testing standards and the introduction of digital health passes to reopen our skies safely.”