Category Archives: Uncategorized

Transport Canada introduces additional requirements to allow for the return to service of the Boeing 737 MAX

Transport Canada issued this statement:

The Government of Canada remains committed to keeping Canadians, the travelling public, and the transportation system safe and secure.

Today, Transport Canada issued an Airworthiness Directive for the Boeing 737 MAX which outlines the required modifications to be made to the aircraft prior to a return to service in Canadian airspace. This concludes the department’s review of the aircraft.

As part of Transport Canada’s independent review process, the department’s civil aviation certification and flight safety experts were instrumental in guiding the aircraft design changes. Additionally, the department has gone even farther by introducing unique Canadian measures to further enhance the safety of the aircraft.

In addition to all reviews, and to provide additional assurances that all measures are in place, an Interim Order that clearly indicates Transport Canada’s expectations and requirements for additional training for crew members was also issued for operators. It is complementary to the design and maintenance requirements of the Airworthiness Directive.

As a final step in this process, Transport Canada will lift the existing Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) which prohibits the commercial operation of the aircraft in Canadian airspace on January 20, 2021. This will allow for the return to service of the aircraft in Canada.

Transport Canada has spent well over 15,000 review hours on the Boeing 737 MAX. This review has seen Canada take a significant leadership role in the overall project helping shape many decisions taken by the state of design authorities, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It has also resulted in Transport Canada issuing its own unique Airworthiness Directive as opposed to the adoption of the FAA Airworthiness Directive.

Throughout the department’s independent review, it has worked extensively with the FAA and other key certifying authorities, including the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil (ANAC), as well as Canadian airline operators, crews and union associations on the implementation of these measures.

Through oversight activities, the department has confirmed that Canadian operators are implementing the required measures and will be ready for the return to service of the aircraft in the coming days and weeks. Canadian airline operators have also collaborated in the development of the new training program. In addition, since Transport Canada approved the revised training program for the three Canadian Operators on December 21, 2020, these airlines have been actively training their pilots.

Qatar Airways and Oman Air agree on code-share expansion

Qatar Airways has made this announcement:

Qatar Airways continues to expand its portfolio of strong, globally strategic partnerships by signing an expanded code-share agreement with Oman Air that will boost connectivity and provide more flexible travel options for both airline’s customers. The expanded code-share agreement is the first step in further strengthening strategic cooperation between the two airlines that first began in 2000. Sales of the additional destinations will commence in 2021.

The code-share expansion will significantly increase the number of destinations available to Oman Air passengers from three to 65* on the Qatar Airways’ network across Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, India, and the Middle East. Qatar Airways passengers will also benefit from additional connectivity, with the ability to book travel on an additional six destinations across Africa and Asia in Oman Air’s network. Both airlines will also explore a number of joint commercial and operational initiatives to further optimize their partnership.

Qatar Airways’ strategic investment in a variety of fuel-efficient, twin-engine aircraft, including the largest fleet of Airbus A350 aircraft, has enabled it to continue flying throughout this crisis and perfectly positions it to lead the sustainable recovery of international travel. The airline recently took delivery of three new state-of-the-art Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, increasing its total A350 fleet to 52 with an average age of just 2.6 years. Due to COVID-19’s impact on travel demand, the airline has grounded its fleet of Airbus A380s as it is not environmentally justifiable to operate such a large, four-engine aircraft in the current market. Qatar Airways has also recently launched a new program that enables passengers to voluntarily offset the carbon emissions associated with their journey at the point of booking.

The national carrier of the State of Qatar continues to rebuild its network, which currently stands at over 110 destinations with plans to increase to 129 by the end of March 2021.

*Subject to regulatory approval

Oman Air aircraft photo gallery:

Oman Air slide show:

Canada suspends flights from the United Kingdom for 72 hours

The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued this statement:

Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is guided by the latest science and research. The Government of Canada is closely monitoring the genetic variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 identified in the United Kingdom and is working with international partners, including the World Health Organization, to better understand this variant and its impacts.

Earlier today, the Prime Minister convened a meeting of the Incident Response Group to discuss the new variant of COVID-19 identified in the United Kingdom. Minister of Health Patty Hajdu, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair, Minister of Transport Marc Garneau, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc, and Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne participated in the meeting.

Genetic variation of viruses such as the one that causes COVID-19 is to be expected and have been previously observed in parts of the world this year. While early data suggest that the United Kingdom variant may be more transmissible, to date there is no evidence that the mutations have any impact on symptom severity, antibody response or vaccine efficacy.

Evidence is, however, limited at this time and more research is needed in Canada and around the world. Given the high number of cases of a variant COVID-19 virus observed in some areas in the United Kingdom, the decision has been made to suspend entry into Canada of all commercial and private passenger flights from the United Kingdom for 72 hours, effective midnight tonight.

Canada has had robust travel restrictions and border measures in place since March 2020, including mandatory quarantine measures, which require travellers to quarantine or isolate for 14 days immediately upon entry to Canada. Those measures remain in place.

Additionally, passengers who arrived in Canada today from the United Kingdom are now subject to secondary screening and enhanced measures, including increased scrutiny of quarantine plans. Passengers who arrived recently from the United Kingdom will also receive additional direction from the Government of Canada.

Etihad inaugurates 2020 ecoDemonstrator

Etihad Airways made this announcement:

Following the launch of the Etihad Greenliner Program at the 2019 Dubai Airshow, and the arrival of the flagship Greenliner in January 2020, Etihad Airways today (December 15) officially inaugurated the latest aircraft in its journey towards sustainability, with the pioneering 2020 ecoDemonstrator entering commercial service following a series of industry-leading test flights across the United States. The aircraft, a brand-new Boeing 787-10 registered A6-BMI, is the latest arrival to Etihad’s 39-strong fleet of 787 Dreamliners, making the UAE national airline one of the world’s largest operators of the technologically advanced aircraft type. 

As the 2020 ecoDemonstrator, in partnership with Boeing, NASA and Safran Landing Systems, Etihad’s 787 Dreamliner was used as a flying testbed to accelerate technological developments with the goal of making commercial aviation safer and more sustainable. A familiar sight in the skies over the American Northwest in recent months, the uniquely branded Dreamliner, kitted out with complex testing equipment, conducted extensive research flying above Montana and between Washington state and South Carolina.

To celebrate its launch into regular service, the special aircraft has been fitted with a commemorative plaque highlighting its contribution to sustainability, while its fuselage still retains some of the original ecoDemonstrator flight-test branding, including the ecoDemonstrator and Boeing logos, in addition to the words ‘From Abu Dhabi for the World’, a reimagined version of the airline’s famous tagline.

During the ecoDemonstrator program, A6-BMI was decked out with special equipment for eight days of specialized testing on seven initiatives to enhance safety and reduce CO2 emissions and noise. Flights took place in Glasgow, Montana, and during two transcontinental trips between Seattle, Washington, and Charleston South Carolina. During testing, a series of flights gathered the most detailed NASA aircraft noise information to date from approximately 1,200 microphones attached to the outside of the 787 and also positioned on the ground. 

The information will improve NASA’s aircraft noise prediction capabilities, advance ways for pilots to reduce noise and inform future quiet aircraft designs. Two cross-country flights across the United States demonstrated a new way for pilots, air traffic controllers and airline operations centers to communicate simultaneously, resulting in optimized routing, arrival times and reduced CO2 emissions.

As part of the program, Etihad and Boeing tested two innovative ‘wellness’ technologies that will help airlines combat the treatment of COVID-19, by safely and quickly cleaning high-touch surfaces. These were a handheld ultraviolet light disinfecting system and an antimicrobial coating that helps prevent the growth of bacteria on tray tables, arm rests and other surfaces. 

The highest permissible blend of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) was used throughout the program, as well as on the delivery flight from Charleston to Abu Dhabi. As a result, over 60 tonnes of emissions were avoided on the delivery flight alone. 

The aircraft’s delivery flight to Abu Dhabi saw Etihad collaborate with multiple Airspace Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) including the FAA, UK NATS and EUROCONTROL to optimise the flight path, cutting fuel burn by more than one tonne and CO2 emissions by approximately four tonnes. Following Etihad’s special flights to Brussels and Dublin in January and March 2020 respectively, this initiative continues to demonstrate Etihad’s strong track record in collaboration with ANSPs to optimize airspace utilization to deliver lower fuel consumption, noise and carbon emissions.

Etihad and Boeing also collaborated on testing new route planning technology on A6-BMI’s delivery flight. Boeing’s in-development capability forecasts a range of potential weather scenarios and suggests best available route options.

Etihad and Boeing’s partnership on the ecoDemonstrator program delivers on the airline’s commitment for its Boeing 787 Dreamliners to be a testbed for technology acceleration as part of the Etihad Greenliner program, and has demonstrated Etihad’s relentless commitment to sustainability in spite of the current COVID-19 crisis. Etihad continues to be committed to a minimum target of zero net carbon emissions by 2050 and halving of the airline’s 2019 net emission levels by 2035.

In line with Abu Dhabi’s vision and commitment to the reduction of Carbon Emissions to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, sustainability and environmental protection is in Etihad’s DNA. Playing its part as the United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s flag carrier, Etihad’s focus on sustainable developments in aviation aligns with many other initiatives of both the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and the whole of the UAE. 

As an active member of the International Civil Aviation Organization, the UAE was among the first countries to voluntarily sign the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). Today, the UAE is working closely with the ICAO international fuel group on Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) as well Low Carbon Aviation Fuel (LCAF), both of which can play a critical role in enabling the safe and sustainable growth of the aviation sector while reducing its carbon intensity.

Photo: Etihad Airways.

 

New rules for service and emotional support animals on planes

Canine Companions for Independence issued this statement:

Big changes for passengers flying with service and emotional support animals will go into effect at the end of December after the Department of Transportation released updated rules for the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) this week. The DOT received input from the public, including leading service dog provider Canine Companions® and the international governing body for service dogs, Assistance Dogs International (ADI) – of which Canine Companions is a founding member.

Recently, the presence of service dogs and emotional support animals on planes has skyrocketed, resulting in increased incidences of untrained dogs, cats, pigs and more causing disturbances with sometimes serious consequences. In a recent study by the two organizations, 25% of service dog users reported incidents of out of control dogs interfering with trained service dogs mid-flight.

“A flight attendant advised a customer that if their emotional support dog wouldn’t stop barking at Miles that they would have to deplane.” says Chet McDoniel, who is partnered with Canine Companions Service Dog Miles to assist with challenges associated with quadruple limb differences.  The situation got more unusual, according to McDoniel. “The customer complained saying Miles should leave! The flight attendant was really supportive defending our rights, especially since Miles was behaving impeccably.”

The new ruling has effectively eliminated emotional support animals from flying in the cabin, instead reverting to the rules and requirements for pets – requiring that the animal be in a carrier at all times or flown in cargo, and pet fees are permitted. Importantly, task-trained psychiatric service dogs like those Canine Companions trains to assist veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, are now appropriately grouped with task-trained service dogs for other disabilities.

“We recognize that many people benefit enormously from having an emotional support animal,” says Paige Mazzoni, Canine Companions’ CEO. “However, these dogs don’t receive the same level of socialization and training to be prepared for the experience of riding in an airplane or managing the unique stressors of air travel, resulting in unsafe situations for airline staff, the public and legitimate service dogs.”

Changes like those put forth by the DOT make traveling with a task-trained service dog safer and therefore more accessible for passengers traveling with service dogs.

Reuters: Airlines set to lose $157 billion amid worsening slump – IATA

From Reuters:

“Airlines are on course to lose a total $157 billion this year and next, their main global body warned on Tuesday, further downgrading its industry outlook in response to a second wave of coronavirus infections and shutdowns afflicting major markets.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which in June had forecast $100 billion in losses for the two-year period, said it now projects a $118.5 billion deficit this year alone, and a further $38.7 billion for 2021.”

Read the full article.

CDC: Screening travelers for symptoms of COVID-19 was ineffective

According to a new report by the CDC, temperature and symptom-based screening at U.S. airports did not help to catch many COVID-19 cases, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that reviewed programs used at US airports until mid-September, 2020.

Read the full report.

BER Airport receives operating permit

The Joint Aviation Authority of Berlin-Brandenburg (Gemeinsame Obere Luftfahrtbehörde Berlin-Brandenburg, LuBB) has presented Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH (FBB) with permission to begin operations and the airport operating certificate for Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt (BER). Both documents are necessary to operate a commercial airport in Germany and are, therefore, a requirement for opening BER.


Since July 2020, the airport company has successfully tested BER together with 9,000 volunteers as part of the internationally established and proven ORAT program. The training program will continue until October 15, 2020 with the aim of further refining procedures.


BER commissioning will begin with the opening of BER’s Terminal 1 on October 31, 2020. On this day, an easyJet aircraft and a Lufthansa aircraft will arrive at the same time and be the first to be received and handled at the new terminal’s Main Pier. On the morning of November 4, 2020, FBB will start operations on the southern runway with a Qatar Airways aircraft landing. BER’s new night-time flight restrictions will also apply starting on this day. The transfer from Tegel to BER will be complete with the last flight, operated by Air France, from Berlin-Tegel to Paris on  November 8, 2020.

ATAG: The collapse of global air travel due to COVID-19 is putting 46 million jobs at risk

Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) issued this statement:

The severe downturn in air traffic this year caused by Covid-19, followed by a slow recovery will result in a loss of up to 46 million jobs normally supported by aviation around the globe, according to new industry figures released today.

Under normal circumstances, aviation and the tourism it facilitates supports 87.7 million jobs worldwide. Over 11 million jobs are within the sector itself, employed at airlines, airports, civil aerospace manufacturers and air traffic management. The near total shutdown of the system for several months, as well as the stop / start nature of the reopening means that air travel will not recover to pre-Covid levels until around 2024.

Executive Director of the cross-industry Air Transport Action Group, Michael Gill said: “With the expectation that we will see less than half the passenger traffic this year than we carried in 2019, we know that a lot of jobs in air transport and the wider economy relying on aviation are at risk. Some companies are already making difficult decisions, with many colleagues being impacted by the downturn.

“Our analysis shows that up to 4.8 million jobs in aviation may be lost by the beginning of next year, a 43% reduction from pre-Covid levels. When you expand those effects across all the jobs aviation would normally support, 46 million jobs are at risk. These include highly-skilled aviation roles, the wider tourism jobs impacted by the lack of air travel and employment throughout the supply chain in construction, catering supplies, professional services and all the other things required to run a global transport system.

“It is absolutely incumbent on governments to do whatever they can to help the sector get back on its feet so we can bring back those jobs and that economic activity. And this must go beyond schemes to support employment. Passengers and businesses need certainty around travel – not to be subject to random quarantine declarations and constantly changing lists of acceptable and unacceptable destinations.

“We know it is tough to make these decisions. But as testing improves and the prospect of a vaccine becomes clearer, we hope that more stability in the travel environment also leads to a more stable return to the wider economic role of air transport.”

Key facts outlined in Aviation: Benefits Beyond Borders, include that in a normal year:

  • Air transport supports 87.7 million jobs and $3.5 trillion in global economic activity.
  • Over 11 million people work directly for the industry itself. Aviation jobs are, on average, 4.3 times more productive than other jobs in the economy.
  • Air travel carries 35% of world trade by value ($6.5 trillion worth in 2019), but less than 1% by volume (61 million tonnes in 2019).
  • Airfares today are around 90% lower than the same journey would have cost in 1950 – this has enabled access to air travel by greater sections of the population.Scope of the industry: 1,478 airlines flew 33,299 aircraft on 48,000 routes between 3,780 airports in airspace managed by 162 air navigation service providers.
  • 58% of world tourists travel to their destinations by air.

Impact of Covid-19:

  • Aviation-supported jobs potentially fall by 46 million to 41.7 million (-52.5%)
  • Direct aviation jobs (at airlines, airports, manufacturers and air traffic management) fall by 4.8 million (a 43% reduction compared with pre-Covid situation)
  • Nearly 39,200 special repatriation flights took nearly 5.4 million citizens home after borders closed in March 2020.
  • Nearly 46,400 special cargo flights transported 1.5 million tonnes of cargo, mostly medical equipment, to areas in need during the height of the pandemic response

The report, which can be downloaded at www.aviationbenefits.org, was prepared by ATAG along with other global aviation industry associations and builds on extensive research by Oxford Economics.

Brussels Airlines expands its schedule to Africa

Brussels Airlines has made this announcement:

  • Brussels Airlines to operate 42 medium haul routes and 16 long haul routes during the winter season 2020/2021 (October 25 until March 27)
  • Up till 40% more flights to and from Africa
  • Extra flights during winter holidays to Banjul, Bujumbura, Dakar, Douala, Entebbe, Freetown, Kigali, Kinshasa, Monrovia and Yaoundé
  • Daily flights to Abidjan
 

Intercontinental network

At the start of the winter season, 14 destinations will be included in the airline’s intercontinental offer, with a sole focus on Africa. The airline will expand its offer with 12% as of October 25, 2020 . As of this winter, Brussels Airlines will fly to Abidjan on a daily base. During winter holidays, extra frequencies will be added to Banjul, Bujumbura, Dakar, Douala, Entebbe, Freetown, Kigali, Kinshasa, Monrovia and Yaoundé.  During this peak period, running from the beginning of December until the beginning of January, the airline will offer 40% more flights compared to September/October 2020. In February 2021, also Luanda and New York JFK are planned to be added to the network.

All destinations and frequencies of the intercontinental network are listed below.

Short and medium-haul network

New in the airline’s portfolio is the brand new Berlin Brandenburg Airport, to which it will move its Berlin flights as from November 8. During the holiday periods in autumn, winter and the spring break, Brussels Airlines will operate extra flights to European holiday destinations Alicante, Gran Canaria, Faro, Malaga, Lisbon and Tenerife. Next to these most popular destinations, the airline offers a variety of sunny holiday and beautiful winter destinations, including Catania and Lanzarote but also Kraków and Oslo.

Refunds

Beginning of September, Brussels Airlines announced that it will reimburse every passenger who is entitled to a refund and to accelerate the refund process, with a vast majority of the pending refund requests expected to be resolved by the end of October. At present, the airline has executed over 50% of the delayed refund cases.

Flexible booking conditions

The Belgian airline continues to offer its passengers maximum rebooking flexibility. Passengers holding a Brussels Airlines ticket booked before August 25th, who wish to postpone their travels or whose flight was cancelled, are able to use the value of their ticket later. They have the time until January 31, 2021 to contact the airline to book a new flight. The new journey can take place until 31 December of 2021. Since 25 August, all newly booked tickets remain flexible and can be changed multiple times free of charge.

Passengers whose flights were cancelled and who do not want to make use of the rebooking options can apply for a refund using the online form on the Brussels Airlines website.

Additional frequencies on the intercontinental network

Destination September/October Winter season Peak period (December until January)
Abidjan 6 7 7
Accra 2 3 3
Banjul 1 2 3
Bujumbura 1 1 1
Cotonou 2 2 2
Dakar 5 5 6
Douala 3 3 4
Entebbe 2 2 3
Freetown 2 3 4
Kigali 1 1 2
Kinshasa 3/4 4 6
Lome 2 2 2
Monrovia 2 3 4
Yaounde 3 3 4
    +12% +40%

Brussels Airlines aircraft photo gallery: