Iberia operates 23 repatriation flights and more than 100 tons of medical supplies

Iberia has made this announcement:

  • In recent days Iberia has operated special repatriation flights to Algeria, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Morocco, Japan, Panama, Peru, Poland, Dominican Republic, Senegal, and Uruguay.
  • The airline has also made seven flights to Shanghai to pick up medical supplies arrange in collaboration with the public and private sectors.
  • From its own stocks Iberia has donated 9,000 duvets, 2,200 pillows with cases, 5,500 hospital gowns and 20,000 toilet kits including toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, socks, etc.
  • It has also loaned airport handling equipment to the Barcelona convention centre to assist in the setting up of a new hospital, and has donated 500 duvets and 540 toilet kits.


Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, Iberia has operated a total of 23 repatriation flights to/from Algeria, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Japan, Morocco, Panama, Peru, Poland, Dominican Republic, Senegal, and Uruguay, with the support of Spain’s Foreign Ministryand the diplomatic missions to Spain of the respective countries. These flights have enabled more than 6,000 people to reach their homes.


In addition, since the state of emergency was declared in Spain in mid-March, more than 70,000 people have travelled in scheduled Iberia flights to countries around the world, including the US, Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica, Brazil, and Chile.

Medical Supplies from China

Iberia is also taking part in public-private sector collaborative schemes to bring medical supplies to Spain from China.

  • With the Spanish Federation of Health Technology Companies (FENIN), and the high-technology Oesía Group, Iberia has already operated five flights and the airline has programmed three flights each week to Shanghai.
  • Alongside the clothing maker Inditex, Iberia made a flight to Shanghai for medical supplies and another to Tokyo to pick up stranded Europeans wanting to return home.
  • In cooperation with the Spanish government, this past week Iberia made one flight to Shanghai to bring back respirators, face masks, and protective personal equipment (PPE) for Spanish hospitals.

Iberia is carrying out all these operations in collaboration with its sister company IAG Cargo, responsible for coordination with both freight forwarders and handling teams in Shanghai and Madrid airports.

In addition to cargo operations, Iberia has picked up from Brussels and Munich 34 respiratorsdonated by small businesses for the intensive care units of five Madrid hospitals.


Donations to hospitals

In collaboration with its own Mano a Mano international relief organisation and its ENVERA work centre from the disabled, along with Madrid regional health agencies and the ALAER logistics company, Iberia has donated the following goods to anti-COVID-19 efforts:

  • Some 9,000 duvets, 2,200 pillows with cases, and 20,000 toilet kits with toothbrush, toothpaste, combs, socks, etc. to the field hospital being set up in the Madrid IFEMA convention centre.
  • More than 5,000 disposable paper gowns from its own medical service unit to Madrid Gregorio Marañón hospital.
  • Supplied by Iberia’s Mano a Mano NGO, 1,400 barrier gowns to the Gregorio Marañón hospital.


Iberia has also loaned airport handling equipment to assist in the setting up of a new hospital in the Barcelona Fira convention centre, and has donated 500 duvets and 540 toilet kits for this hospital.

At a particularly difficult period for the airline business, Iberia and its staff are committed to continuing to serve the country and to lend support to the people who need it most.


Lufthansa brings home thousands of vacationers from New Zealand

Lufthansa made this announcement:

Lufthansa is bringing vacationers home on behalf of the Federal Foreign Office from New Zealand back to Europe. Five Airbus A380s with 509 seats each and five Boeing 747s with 371 seats each flew from Auckland and Christchurch, the country’s two largest cities, departing from Frankfurt during the week. A total of 210 crew members are making their way to the island state in the South Pacific to bring vacationers back home. The flights go from Auckland and Christchurch to Bangkok and then on to Frankfurt. The crew will change in Bangkok in order to be able to comply with the prescribed rest periods. A crew has flown ahead for this.

The first two flights arrived in Frankfurt on the night of Tuesday April 7th and Wednesday April 8th. Flight LH355, a Boeing 747 with the registration D-ABVP, arrived in Frankfurt at 11:30 p.m. from Christchurch.  An A380 with the registration D-AIMC, arrived an hour later from Auckland under flight number LH357.

Numerous Lufthansa employees have volunteered to take care of the 900 passengers at night and provide them with snacks and drinks. The arrival of the returnees is being prepared together with Fraport, the Federal police and the health department.

A Boeing 747 had already picked up Lufthansa travelers from Auckland a week ago.

Since mid-March, the Lufthansa Group airlines have flown back over 70,000 vacationers to their home country from 77 airports on all five continents with 360 special flights. 55 more flights are currently in preparation.

Lufthansa aircraft photo gallery:

Lufthansa Group decides on first restructuring package, will retire 18 wide bodies

Lufthansa Group made this announcement:

  • Significant decline in air travel also expected for period after the Coronavirus crisis 
  • Suspension of aircraft leads to the first permanent capacity reduction
  • The inevitable downsizing of flight operations shall be implemented in a socially responsible manner, among other things, through collective employment models

The Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG does not expect the aviation industry to return to pre-coronavirus crisis levels very quickly.  According to its assessment, it will take months until the global travel restrictions are completely lifted and years until the worldwide demand for air travel returns to pre-crisis levels.  Based on this evaluation, today the Executive Board has decided on extensive measures to reduce the capacity of flight operations and administration long term.

The decisions taken will affect almost all flight operations of the Lufthansa Group.

Lufthansa Airbus A380-841 D-AIMG (msn 069) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 946766.

Above Copyright Photo: Lufthansa Airbus A380-841 D-AIMG (msn 069) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 946766.

At Lufthansa, six Airbus A380s and seven A340-600s as well as five Boeing 747-400s will be permanently decommissioned. In addition, eleven Airbus A320s will be withdrawn from short-haul operations.

The six A380s were already scheduled for sale to Airbus in 2022. The decision to phase out seven A340-600s and five Boeing 747-400s was taken based on the environmental as well as economic disadvantages of these aircraft types. With this decision, Lufthansa will be reducing capacity at its hubs in Frankfurt and Munich.

Furthermore, Lufthansa Cityline will also withdraw three Airbus A340-300 aircraft from service. Since 2015, the regional carrier has been operating flights to long-haul tourist destinations for Lufthansa.

Eurowings will also be reducing the number of its aircraft. In the short-haul segment, an additional ten Airbus A320s are planned to be phased out.

Eurowings long-haul business which is run under the commercial responsibility of Lufthansa, will also be reduced.

In addition, the implementation of Eurowings objective of bundling flight operations into only one unit, which was defined before the crisis, will now be accelerated. Germanwings flight operations will be discontinued. All options resulting from this are to be discussed with the respective unions.

The restructuring programs already initiated at Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines will be further intensified due to the coronavirus crisis. Among other things, both companies are working on reducing their fleets. SWISS International Air Lines will also adjust its fleet size by delaying deliveries of new short haul aircraft and consider early phase-outs of older aircraft.

In addition, the Lufthansa Group airlines have already terminated almost all wet lease agreements with other airlines.

The aim remains the same for all employees affected by the restructuring measures: to offer as many people as possible continued employment within the Lufthansa Group. Therefore, talks with unions and workers councils are to be arranged quickly to discuss, among other things, new employment models in order to keep as many jobs as possible.

Lufthansa aircraft slide show:

Eight million protective masks arrived in Munich on Lufthansa Cargo

  • Cargo aircraft carrying a total of 26 tons of protective equipment from Shanghai
  • Bavarian Minister-President Dr. Markus Söder, German Federal Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer and Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr welcome the aircraft upon arrival

A Lufthansa Cargo aircraft carrying eight million protective masks on board landed in Munich, late Tuesday afternoon. The Boeing 777F, named “Olá Brazil”, departed Shanghai earlier this morning and after a brief stopover in the South Korean capital Seoul, the aircraft continued its flight to Munich, where it landed punctually at 5:50 pm.

The aircraft was welcomed personally by the Bavarian Minister-President Dr. Markus Söder, the German Federal Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer and the Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Carsten Spohr.

The eight million masks were packed in 4,000 cartons, weighing 26 tons all together. The shipment was transported by Lufthansa Cargo on behalf of the Bavarian State Government in cooperation with the logistics company Fiege.

“The cooperation with Bavaria and partners such as Lufthansa for the rapid procurement of the protective equipment is excellent. All procedures are perfectly coordinated. Whether it is logistics, assignments, decisions, reliability – it all fits together,” said Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer.

“Especially now, cargo flights are of utmost importance for medical facilities but also for craftsmen and large corporations. We are doing everything we can to maintain supply chains during this crisis and ensure that people receive sufficient supplies. This is an important part of our corporate responsibility as a leading European aviation group,” said Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

At present, all 17 Lufthansa Cargo freighters are continuously operating to transport urgently needed goods, such as medical supplies, around the world and to Germany. In addition to the regular cargo flights, this week there will be 25 special flights with Lufthansa passenger aircraft, which will be used solely as freighters. A further 60 cargo flights with passenger aircraft are planned for next week.

American Airlines providing more flexibility for customers traveling this summer

American Airlines is providing customers additional flexibility for customers in light of concerns around the coronavirus (COVID-19).

For existing travel

American has extended its offer to waive change fees for customers who have summer travel through Sept. 30, 2020. The offer is available for any of American’s fares, and customers will have until Dec. 31, 2021, for future travel. Fare rules may apply depending on the ticket.

  • Any ticket purchased on or before April 7, 2020, for travel through Sept. 30, 2020, will not incur change fees prior to travel. Customers must pay any fare difference, if applicable, at time of ticketing of the new fare.
  • All AAdvantage® award tickets are included in this offer.
  • Customers are allowed to change their origin and destination cities as part of this new offer.
  • Travel must be completed by Dec. 31, 2021.

For new travel purchases

American has also extended its offer to waive change fees for customers who purchase new travel through May 31, 2020. Customers will have even more flexibility since any ticket purchased by May 31, 2020, will not incur change fees prior to travel. The offer is available for any of American’s published nonrefundable fares.

  • Any ticket purchased from March 1 at 4:30 p.m. CT through May 31, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. CT will not incur change fees prior to travel.
  • This is available for any of American’s nonrefundable published fares.

HNA’s Africa World Airlines helps the Ghanaian government in the fight against COVID-19

HNA Group has made this announcement:

With the spread of COVID-19 worldwide, Africa, the continent with the largest concentration of developing countries, faces severe challenges in terms of funding and shortages of material and equipment needed for epidemic prevention and control. HNA Group’s Africa World Airlines (AWA), a Ghana-based domestic airline, has been actively working with the local government to combat the outbreak.

At 3 pm GMT on March 29, Africa World Airlines donated $100,000 to the Ghanaian government during a ceremony at the presidential palace. Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, Chief of Staff of the Republic of Ghana; Togbe Afede, president of the National House of Chiefs of Ghana; Wang Shiting, Chinese ambassador to Ghana; Chai Zhijing, commercial counselor of the Chinese embassy in Ghana; and Luo Cheng, co-chairman of Africa World Airlines, attended the event.

At the ceremony, Mrs. Osei-Opare, on behalf of President Akufo Addo, expressed their thanks to Africa World Airlines. She said that China was the first country to donate to Ghana and that the donation served as a demonstration of the sincere friendship between the two countries and peoples.

The Chinese ambassador, Mr. Wang, said that since its inception, Africa World Airlines has become the leading airline not only in Ghana but also throughout western Africa and that its air services have not only connected major cities in its home country, but also significantly improved connectivity throughout the region. He also spoke highly of the airline’s support to Ghana in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.

HNA implements the One Belt, One Road initiative by building an “air bridge” creating connectivity along the route

Since the One Belt, One Road initiative was launched nearly seven years ago, HNA, a leader in the civil aviation industry, has been actively engaged in the initiative’s implementation. HNA’s airlines now operate nearly 50 routes within the regions targeted by One Belt, One Road. Through air transport, the group has created a One Belt, One Road network that plays a key role in achieving the goals of the initiative. Africa World Airlines is the first air carrier to receive an investment from a Chinese company on the African continent. The investment is a breakthrough in terms of Chinamoving from traditional investment and serving as contractors in Africa to the continent’s aviation service industry.

In September 2018, speakers at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation once again stressed the need to deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Africa, consolidating the impetus in building a closer Sino-African community.

Over the past seven years, Africa World Airlines has grown into the largest passenger airline in Ghana, with 98% local employees and an over 60% market share. The airline has provided great support to Ghana’s efforts in establishing the country as the region’s aviation hub, and has provided the momentum for the development of a local aviation market and tourism industry.

HNA leverages its experience to help Africa World Airlines accelerate development with Chinese programs

HNA has been following a strategy of encouraging Chinese companies to invest in Africa and support them when they do, opening international routes that connect with African countries and establishing its first overseas airline in the region. Despite the high prices for air transportation, the low number of passengers, the challenges brought about by the Ebola virus, losses in the African aviation industry and the risk of bankruptcy that has plagued most airlines in the region at one time or another, HNA has backed the African subsidiary with an investment of more than US$30 millionand watched it turn a profit just two years after inception. By doing so, HNA has created a model for cooperation between the Chinese and African aviation sectors.

Since its inception 27 years ago, HNA has accumulated extensive operation and management experience in the aviation industry. Africa World Airlines is another example of HNA’s rich experience in managing airlines in overseas markets. HNA has leveraged its own professional aviation management capabilities and rich management experience in day-to-day operation and safety, and in providing a level of service that shows a real interest in the passenger’s experience and comfort, helping its African subsidiary grow and expand.

Based on the local situation, HNA has always taken safety management as a priority. The airline’s proven record in terms of safety has been a key factor in why charter flight operators have overwhelmingly chosen to work with its two-year old subsidiary. Meanwhile, by controlling costs, employing local staff, offering systematic training, continuously improving service quality, and fulfilling social responsibilities, Africa World Airlines has become a preferred choice among local travellers. All these factors have played in role in the airline being able to turn a profit in such a short time.

HNA Group has taken many steps in optimizing its own international operation and safety management, corporate culture, brand building and cultural integration, to create a model that is representative of the development of China’scivil aviation industry.

Sino-African cooperation in aviation creates an international brand, extending the industrial chain and boosting Africas economic development

Africa World Airlines’ growth has had the knock-on effect of fueling tourism to the degree that it has become the fastest growing industry in Ghana, replacing the timber industry as the country’s third largest foreign exchange earner. Ghanahas also shifted its focus from primary industries such as agriculture and mining to tertiary industries such as tourism and aviation. In line with the shift, Chinese investors have moved from traditional plays such a mining and project contracting to service-oriented ones. The Chinese-invested Africa World Airlines has won a series of awards including the Best Airline Award from the Ghana Tourism Authority, the first Safest Airline Award from the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, and Africa’s Best Brand from the World Brand Congress.

In order to promote the adoption of its high-tech, value-added products in Africa and optimize the structure of its fleet, HNA Group, via Africa World Airlines and other airlines, will bring China’s technologically mature ARJ21 regional passenger jetliner to Africa to meet local needs for such aircraft. The move will help create opportunities for Chinese manufacturers who are looking to become involved in the civil aviation industry along the One Belt, One Road route, while providing China-made aircraft with wider access to international markets.

In time of need, supporting Ghanas fight against COVID-19

According to a spokesperson for Africa World Airlines, since its investment in the Ghanaian airline, HNA Group has integrated its own development roadmap into the national development strategy, aiming to facilitate the rapid growth of Africa World Airlines with HNA’s advanced aviation management experience. In Ghana, corporate social responsibility is particularly important. Operating an airline is a long-term commitment rather than an investment with a short-term exit plan. As a result, being socially responsible must be a key component of corporate development. As Africa now needs to ramp up its efforts in preventing and controlling the spread of COVID-19, Africa World Airlines needs to focus on its corporate social responsibility and do its part to help local governments fight the epidemic.

The COVID-19 outbreak has served to heighten something that HNA Group has always taken to heart and made part and parcel of its corporate philosophy: being of service to society and helping others in a time of need. The Hainan-based global airline strives to support national diplomacy and local development. The company has to date transported 97,321 pieces of equipment (1,200+ tons) for use in COVID-19 prevention, sent 2,877 medical personnel via 24 charter flights to Hubei, repatriated 713 stranded passengers via 5 charter flights to Hubei, and transported 60 tons of medical supplies in the first freight charter to Hungary in support of the international fight against the epidemic. The various efforts involved an investment of nearly 70 million yuan, demonstrating the social responsibility of the Chinese carrier.

Reuters: Boeing making new 737 MAX software updates to address computer issue

From Reuters:

“Boeing Company said late on Tuesday it will make two new software updates to the 737 MAX’s flight control computer as it works to win regulatory approval to resume flights after the jet was grounded following two fatal crashes in five months.”

Read the full story.