Monthly Archives: June 2021

Air France and SNCF to operate an additional 7 “Train + Air” services

Air France made this announcement:

For over 25 years, Air France and SNCF French Railways have been offering their customers a service allowing them to combine train and air travel in the same reservation. Called “Train + Air”, it is used every year by more than 160,000 customers to and from Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly airports.

As of today, Air France customers can book a combined “Train + Air” trip on 7 additional routes, for travel as from 19 July 2021:

  • between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Aix-en-Provence TGV, Bordeaux Saint-Jean, Marseille Saint-Charles and Montpellier Saint-Roch;
  • between Paris-Orly (via Massy TGV station) and Avignon TGV, Marseille Saint-Charles and Valence TGV.

This extension of this network increases the number of stations offered by Air France as part of the “Train + Air” service to 18: Aix-en-Provence TGV, Angers Saint-Laud, Avignon TGV, Bordeaux Saint-Jean, Champagne-Ardenne TGV, Le Mans, Lille Europe, Lorraine TGV, Lyon Part-Dieu, Marseille Saint-Charles, Montpellier Saint-Roch, Nantes, Nimes, Poitiers, Rennes, Saint-Pierre-des-Corps, Strasbourg and Valence TGV.

Thanks to “Train + Air”, customers have a single reservation for their entire journey and a guaranteed seat on the next available flight or TGV INOUI train, free of charge, if their flight or train arrives late.

As part of the Flying Blue frequent flyer programme, they also earn Miles on the rail leg. In addition, Air France customers travelling in the La Première or Business cabin also travel in first class on SNCF trains.
Digital tests on the CDG and/or Massy TGV – Lille and CDG and/or Massy TGV – Strasbourg routes
To make this combined “Train + Air” journey even simpler, Air France and SNCF are currently testing a new, fully digitalized service, for customers departing from Lille Europe and Strasbourg who have a connection on an Air France flight at Paris-Charles de Gaulle or Paris-Orly.

Qatar Airways to launch new route to Lusaka and Harare from August 6

Zambia and Zimbabwe are being added to Qatar Airways expanding list of destinations in Africa from early August, bringing its award-winning service to two important southern African destinations.

The new service to Lusaka and onwards to Harare is scheduled to be operated with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It will connect passengers in Zambia and Zimbabwe with Qatar Airways’ global network of more than 140 destinations. With the addition of these two new routes the carrier will operate over 100 weekly flights to 27 destinations in Africa.

Flight schedule starting 6 August:

Wednesday, Friday and Sunday

Doha (DOH) to Lusaka (LUN) QR1455 departs: 02:20 arrives: 08:50

Lusaka (LUN) to Harare (HRE) QR1455 departs: 10:20 arrives: 11:20

Harare (HRE) to Lusaka (LUN) QR1456 departs: 18:55 arrives 19:55

Lusaka (LUN) to Doha (DOH) QR1456 departs: 21:25 arrive 05:55 (+1)

British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) demands action from the UK government

British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) issued this statement:

BALPA urges Government to act now as research shows devastating effect on UK airlines and airports

UK aviation industry is the ‘hardest hit’ in Europe by restrictions on international travel, an analysis of official European air traffic data for June 2021 by The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) has revealed.

The analysis of data from European air traffic agency ‘Eurocontrol’  has been published by BALPA – the trade union for British pilots – ahead of a national Travel Day of Action on Wednesday (June 23).

The number of flights into and out of the UK has collapsed by three-quarters (73%) in the latest official data, compared to 2019. The data shows that Gatwick and Manchester airports are the worse affected in Europe, with Heathrow and Stansted close behind.

According to world trade body the International Air Transport Association, 860,000 jobs in UK aviation travel and tourism have been lost or are on furlough and are at risk of being lost.

The Government claims to have given £7bn in support to UK aviation but most of this is either standard furlough payments or loans which the industry will struggle to pay back with virtually no income. By contrast, European and US Governments have given direct financial support to their airlines which the UK Government promised but has failed to deliver.

Brian Strutton, BALPA Acting General Secretary responded to the release of these latest statistics:

“It’s official. The UK aviation industry is the hardest hit in Europe, caused by the UK Governments ludicrously cautious restrictions on international travel. Hapless Ministers give all the appearance of deliberately attacking aviation and tormenting the public with their mixed messages over summer holidays. BALPA is demanding that the UK Government gets its act together and opens the US routes and European holiday travel destinations that it has blocked with no published evidence at all.

“If the country is going to build back better from the pandemic and build new international links with partners for trade and travel, we are going to need a thriving aviation industry. There is no time to hide behind task forces and reviews. This week pilots will be calling on the Government to act now to save jobs by taking a transparent, evidence-based approach to travel restrictions, extending the furlough scheme and helping airlines and airports weather this storm through direct financial support.”

BALPA pilots will join colleagues from across the aviation and travel industry to take their message to MPs in Westminster, and MSPs in Holyrood, as part of the nationwide Travel Day of Action on Wednesday, June 23, 2021. Pilots will also join action at Heathrow, Bristol, Edinburgh and Manchester airports.

Pilots are calling for the UK Government to:

  • Allow international travel to return safely and in a risk managed way by properly implementing the Global Travel Taskforce’s plan for a transparent traffic-light system, by expanding the Green list in line with the evidence and making restrictions more proportionate, whilst keeping a strong red list to guard against variants.
  • Bring forward a package of tailored financial support, including extension of furlough support, recognising that the travel sector’s ability to trade and generate income is much slower than first anticipated and more gradual than for businesses in the domestic economy.

EUROPE’S TOP 10 STATES BY % OF DAILY ARRIVALS/DEPARTURES 9 JUNE 2021 VERSUS 2019

United Kingdom -73%
Germany -62%
Italy -61%
Netherlands -60%
Spain -58%
Greece -55%
France -53%
Portugal -52%
Turkey -50%
Norway -48%

EUROPE’S TOP 20 WORSE AFFECTED AIRPORTS BY % OF DAILY ARRIVALS/DEPARTURES 9 JUNE 2021 VERSUS 2019

London Gatwick -92%
Manchester -83%
Dublin -80%
Copenhagen Kastrup -78%
Dusseldorf -78%
Munich -77%
Stockholm Arlanda -76%
Zurich -73%
Helsinki Vantaa -73%
Rome Fiumicino -72%
Oslo Gardemoen -70%
Brussels -70%
London Heathrow -69%
London Stansted -68%
Paris Orly -67%
Vienna -67%
Geneva -63%
Amsterdam -63%
Frankfurt -63%
Barcelona -55%

EUROPE’S TOP 10 WORSE AFECTED AIRLINES BY TRAFFIC 9 JUNE 2021 VERSUS 2019

Brussels Airlines -97%
Norwegian Air Shuttle -92%
Aer Lingus -91%
easyJet -88%
SWISS -84%
British Airways -84%
Finnair -81%
Eurowings -80%
SAS -79%
TUI Group -78%

Source for all tables – Eurocontrol report “COVID 19 Impact on European Aviation” 10 June 2021. 

American Airlines cancels hundreds of amid staff shortages

From CBS Evening News:

“American Airlines, canceled hundreds of flights over Father’s Day weekend.

In a statement, American Airlines blamed the disruptions in part on “unprecedented weather,” saying, “We never want to disappoint, and feel these schedule adjustments will help … minimize surprises at the airport.”

“With all due respect, weather is always going to be there. That’s not going to cause hundreds of cancelations unless there’s a typhoon,” CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg said.

“You have problems with staffing, you have problems with trainings, you have a problem with logistics, and the numbers are just getting worse and worse,” Greenberg continued.

American Airlines says the remainder of their furloughed pilots won’t be fully ready to fly until at least the end of the month.”

Read the full article: American Airlines cancels hundreds of flights amid staff shortages, maintenance issues – CBS News

Delta to hire 1,000+ pilots by next summer, opens more European routes

From CNBC:

“Delta Air Lines told staff on Monday that it expects to hire more than 1,000 pilots by next summer, the latest move by an airline to cater to a rebound in travel demand.

Delta in April said it would resume hiring midyear as bookings began to recover from the coronavirus pandemic slump, starting with about 75 pilots from June through August.”

Read the full article: Delta hiring 1,000 pilots by next summer as travel demand returns (cnbc.com)

In other news, Delta has announced flights to Amsterdam, Lisbon and Frankfurt are now open to U.S. travelers:

Beautiful Groenburgwal canal in Amsterdam with the Soutern church (Zuiderkerk) at sunset in summer |

  • The Netherlands, Germany and Portugal reopen to U.S. travelers
  • Delta operating more flights to Amsterdam than any other U.S. airline
  • Italy eliminates COVID-tested travel protocol; fully vaccinated travelers can enter without additional requirements
  • See full schedule for open Europe destinations

After more than a year of restrictions on international travel, Europe is reopening for U.S. leisure and other non-essential travelers – with the Netherlands, Germany and Portugal being the latest countries to welcome back those seeking new adventures or reconnecting with loved ones.

Beginning June 24, the Netherlands will open to all U.S. travelers without testing, vaccination, or quarantine requirements. Portugal announced its reopening on June 15, requiring travelers to present a negative 72-hour PCR/NAAT test or a negative 24-hour antigen test upon entry.

Italy has also eased its entry requirements alongside Germany – customers can provide either proof of vaccination, a negative antigen/PCR/molecular test result within 48 hours from arrival or proof of COVID-19 recovery. As such, Delta has ended its pioneering COVID-testing protocol for all Italy flights effective June 21, and upcoming flights will now follow the standard entry requirements.

Customers venturing across the pond can easily connect to Delta’s Amsterdam hub with over 50 weekly flights from nearly every U.S. hub by July 7: Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK, Seattle and Salt Lake City – making Delta the largest U.S. airline serving the Netherlands. Delta’s longtime partnership with KLM has also helped the airline maintain AMS service since the beginning of the pandemic, keeping a vital gateway open for essential travelers connecting across Europe.

On Aug. 1, Delta returns to Lisbon with daily service from New York-JFK, more than a year since pausing flights due to COVID-19.

Delta will also continue operating nonstop daily service between Atlanta and Frankfurt. Customers can connect from almost 150 U.S. cities to Delta’s largest hub, providing multiple opportunities for a one-stop departure to Germany’s busiest airport.

Open Destinations in Europe

Here’s a snapshot of the European destinations that are currently open or that will open throughout the summer to vaccinated travelers and/or travelers with negative tests. See Delta’s Return to International Travel page for details specific to each destination

Destinations Schedule Details
Amsterdam, Netherlands

 

  • Twice-daily from ATL on Airbus A350-900 and A330-300, increasing to three times a day July 7
  • Daily from DTW on A350-900
  • Daily from JFK and SEA on A330-900
  • Five times a week from BOS and MSP on A330-300 (MSP increases to daily July 7)
  • Three times a week from SLC on A330-200, increasing to five July 7
Frankfurt, Germany

 

  • Daily from ATL on Airbus A330-300
Lisbon, Portugal

 

  • Resuming four times a week from JFK on Aug. 1 on Boeing 767-300ER
Paris, France
  • Three-times-weekly MSP service begins July 7 on A330-300
  • Twice-daily service from ATL on Airbus A350-900 and A330-300
  • Daily service from JFK on Airbus A330-300
  • Three-times-weekly service from DTW on Boeing 767-300ER
Nice, France
  • Three-times-weekly service from JFK begins July 8 on Boeing 767-400
Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • New four-times-weekly service from JFK begins July 2 on Boeing 767-300ER
Athens, Greece
  • New daily service from ATL begins July 2 on Airbus A330-300
  • Twice-daily service from JFK on Airbus A330-300
 

Reykjavik, Iceland

  • New service from BOS on Boeing 757-200
  • Service from JFK on Boeing 757-200, upgrading to 767-300ER from July 2
  • Daily service from MSP on Boeing 757-200
Milan, Italy
  • Daily service from JFK on A330-300
Rome, Italy
  • New service from BOS begins Aug. 5 on A330-300
  • Daily service from ATL on Airbus A330-300
  • Three-times-weekly service from JFK on Airbus A330, increasing to daily July 1
Venice, Italy
  • Three-times-weekly from JFK begins July 2 on Boeing 767-300ER
  • Five-times-weekly service from ATL begins Aug. 5 on Boeing 767
Barcelona, Spain
  • Four-times-weekly service from ATL begins Aug. 5 on Boeing 767-300ER
  • Three-times-weekly service from JFK on Boeing 767-300ER, increasing to daily Aug. 5
Madrid, Spain
  • Three-times weekly from ATL begins Aug. 5
  • Daily service from JFK on Boeing 767-300ER

Flights to Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain are operated in partnership with Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic. Our flights to Italy are operated in conjunction with Alitalia. This schedule, including routes and frequency, remains subject to change.

Delta Discover Map

As the European Union takes steps toward reopening borders, it is up to individual member countries to decide when and how to lift their restrictions. Customers are encouraged to review entry requirements, including whether a vaccination certificate or negative COVID-19 test is required, on the Delta Discover Map or check the official government website of their destination country.

Kalitta Air revises its livery

Kalitta Air has revised its livery. The first aircraft to wear the revised livery is the pictured Boeing 747-4KZF N403KZ (msn 34018). The company made this announcement on social media:

Introducing Kalitta Air’s new paint scheme on our 747-400F! A beautiful day for a beautiful plane. Very proud to see this project come to fruition.

Photo: Kalitta Air.

Kalitta Air aircraft slide show:

Kenya Airways to restore the London Heathrow route

Kenya Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner 5Y-KZE (msn 36042) ZRH (Ton Jochems). Image: 942202.

Kenya Airways will restore the Nairobi – London (Heathrow) route on June 26, 2021.

Flights were suspended on April 9, 2021.

Route Map:

Video:

Top Copyright Photo: Kenya Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner 5Y-KZE (msn 36042) ZRH (Ton Jochems). Image: 942202.

Kenya Airways aircraft slide show:

Hawaiian Airlines to resume Tahiti service

Hawaiian Airlines has announced the resumption of its Tahiti service following the launch of a pre-travel testing program between Hawaiʻi and French Polynesia that allows for quarantine-free travel within the two archipelagos. Beginning Aug. 7, Hawaiian will reinstate once-weekly nonstop flying between Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) and Tahiti’s Fa’a’ā International Airport (PPT), utilizing its 278-seat Airbus A330 aircraft.


Hawaiian has served as the leading carrier for Hawaiʻi-Tahiti air travel since its inaugural service in June 1987. The airline suspended its PPT service flights in March 2020 due to the pandemic. The carrier’s resumption of flights is made possible by the new pre-travel testing program established by Hawaiʻi Gov. David Ige and French Polynesia President Édouard Fritch — a result of low COVID-19 cases within the two destinations.

Both Hawaiʻi and French Polynesia will implement strict travel requirements for resident and visitor safety. Those traveling inbound from PPT to HNL must complete and upload a negative test result from the Institut Louis Malardé, a state-approved testing partner, to the state of Hawaiʻi’s Safe Travels program. Guests traveling outbound to PPT from HNL will need to provide proof of vaccination and have fulfilled the government of Tahiti’s COVID-19 entry requirements prior to travel. Those not compliant will be subject to a 10-day quarantine.

Hawaiian Airlines flight HA481 will depart HNL at 3:35 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7 and arrive at PPT at 9:30 p.m. Flight HA482 will depart PPT at 11:30 p.m. the same evening and arrive into HNL at 5:15 a.m. the following day.

Meanwhile the first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (N780HA) has been painted by Boeing at North Charleston, SC site pending delivery.

Looking back: A photo from the past:

 

Air France adds its 10th Airbus A350-900, trials IATA Travel Pass

Air France on June 18 took delivery of its 10th Airbus A350-900. The aircraft, registration F-HTYK, rolled off the Airbus assembly line in Toulouse and took off for Paris-Charles de Gaulle, where it will operate on the airline’s long-haul routes.

The front of the fuselage bears the name ‘Aubusson’, named after the town in the Creuse region of France, whose tapestries are famous throughout the world. Since 2019 and the delivery of the first Airbus A350, Air France has resumed the legendary tradition of naming its aircraft after French cities. Aubusson is the 46th city to be honored in this way.

In a few days’ time, ‘Aubusson’ will be joined at Paris-Charles de Gaulle by ‘Cannes’, Air France’s 11th Airbus A350.


Renewing the Air France fleet, a powerful way of reducing its environmental footprint

With the Airbus A350-900, Air France is accelerating the change towards more sustainable air transport, in line with its HORIZON 2030 commitments.

The latest-generation A350 consumes 25% less fuel than previous-generation aircraft (i.e. 2.5 litres per passenger per 100 kilometres) thanks in particular to the use of 67% lighter materials: 53% composites and 14% titanium. Its noise footprint is also reduced by 40%.

Between now and 2025, Air France will take delivery of 38 Airbus A350s to modernize its long-haul fleet.

The renewal of the short and medium-haul fleet will begin in September, with the delivery of the first of the 60 Airbus A220s ordered by Air France.
A new definition of comfort

The Air France Airbus A350 has 324 seats, with 34 in the Business cabin, 24 in the Premium Economy cabin and 266 in the Economy cabin.

On board, customers enjoy:

  • a spacious and quiet cabin,
  • windows that are 30% larger,
  • an optimized air pressure system providing a more comfortable cabin atmosphere with regularly renewed cabin air,
  • lighting adapted to the different flight phases.
  • In Business, the seat turns into a real 2 metre-long lie-flat bed, guaranteeing restful sleep. In Premium Economy, the brand new “Recliner” seat is 48cm wide and reclines to 124°. In Economy, the seat has been redesigned for even more comfort, with a reinforced ergonomic seat cushion, a 118° seat recline, as well as a 79-cm seat pitch. Each cabin features large individual High Definition touch screens.
    In other news, on June 17, 2021, Air France started the trial of IATA Travel Pass on flights from New York-JFK and Barcelona-BCN to Paris-Charles de Gaulle. With this experiment, the airline seeks to offer its passengers an improved customer experience by streamlining the checking of COVID-19 test results.

Available on smartphones, IATA Travel Pass app enables travelers to:

  • Check up on the latest COVID-19 related entry requirements for their country of destination, for non-vaccinated travelers
  • Have the results of COVID-19 tests performed at partner laboratories sent directly into the app,
  • Securely store these documents in the app so they can demonstrate to airlines and authorities that they meet the relevant entry requirements, without having to divulge further information about their personal health.

IATA Travel Pass should also bring greater speed and efficiency to the checks performed at the airport.

This trial is free of charge for customers and offered on a voluntary basis. It is open to customers traveling on Air France-operated flights with Paris as their final destination from New York JFK until 8 July, and from Barcelona BCN until 30 June 2021.

IATA Travel Pass meets the strictest data protection requirements. All the user’s health details remain on the app: at no point are they transmitted or centrally stored, which assures the user of total control over all their personal data.

The trial marks a further step in making travel simple and reliable again and highlights Air France’s commitment to exploring the best options available to provide its customers with the highest level of health and safety.

These efforts have notably been recognized by a 4-star score at the Skytrax Covid-19 Airline Safety rating, and more recently by a Diamond Award at the APEX Health Safety rating powered by SimpliFlying.

Passengers traveling to Corsica and the French Overseas Departments on departure from Paris-Orly airport can already present their proof of vaccination and the results of a COVID-19  test using the state-supported TousAntiCovid App, which will be compatible with the European Green Pass which will come into force on 1 July, 2021.