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

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

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

Air Canada has made this announcement:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ATR has made this announcement:

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

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

Above Copyright Photo: For FedEx Express. (Eurospot)

Norwegian commits to reduce CO2 emissions by 45 percent by 2030

Norwegian Air Shuttle made this announcement:

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

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

Will require 500 million litres sustainable aviation fuels

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

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

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

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

Will remove all non-recyclable plastics

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

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

A solid foundation

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

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

China Eastern introduces a CIIE-themed Boeing 777-300

China Eastern Airlines made this announcement:

The high-profile China International Import Expo (CIIE)-themed airplane will fly to Sri Lanka, the last destination of its global tour, on Sept. 18.

The plane will fly to Beijing Daxing International Airport on Sept. 25 to mark the first anniversary of the airport’s operation.

The special CIIE-themed aircraft was jointly launched by China Eastern Airlines (CEA) and the CIIE Bureau on July 2 and made its maiden flight to Pairs one day later, marking the beginning of its global tour.

Serving as the image ambassador of the CIIE during its global tour, the aircraft will fly to 10 countries, including France, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the United States, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and Sri Lanka, with a total range exceeding 100,000 kilometers.

Meanwhile, the CIIE-themed airplane has attracted great attention from international aviation enthusiasts for its gorgeous appearance and “Fly with CIIE” has become a hot topic on social media platforms.

A Boeing 777-300ER jet (B-2002), which is CEA’s international long-haul flagship aircraft with the largest passenger capacity, the longest range, and leading passenger service system, was chosen as the world’s first CIIE-themed airplane.

The dominant tones of the colored aircraft were the shades of yellow and blue, which are also the theme colors of the CIIE. Besides, the CIIE’s mascot panda “Jinbao” holding a four-leaf clover on the plane expresses good wishes to passengers from all over the world and promotes the CIIE’s idea of openness and cooperation.

CIIE exhibitors from various countries expressed their expectations about the flight schedules of the plane after they were released.

Australian vitamin maker Blackmores has participated in the expo in the past two years and will take part in the third CIIE.

“It’s a very important platform for international cooperation for all companies participating in the China International Import Expo. Encouraging exporters and importers to share some innovations and new products is also important,” said the company’s CEO Alastair Symington, expressing his expectation to attend the third CIIE in Shanghai.

Besides, CEA launched full-process featured services such as CIIE-themed passenger entertainment system, broadcast and boarding passes, and given a CIIE-themed makeover at overseas airports including CIIE mascot dolls, CIIE-themed airplane models, and billboards of the aircraft’s global tour, providing an immersive experience for passengers. A large number of passengers stopped to take pictures.

CEA also chose the digit 115 as a lucky number, which indicates Nov. 5, the opening day of the expo, to present CIIE souvenirs to the passenger with the check-in serial number of 115 on the airplane’s each flight.

The CIIE-themed plane will fly to Beijing Daxing International Airport on Sept. 25 to mark the first anniversary of the airport’s operation. It will also continue its domestic tour in major cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xi’an, and Kunming to support local governments and enterprises in attending and publicizing the CIIE. The plane will mainly operate flights between Beijing and Shanghai during the third CIIE from Nov. 5 to 10.

As the seventh-largest airline in the world and the largest main base airline in Shanghai, the host for the CIIE, CEA will play multi-roles of a sponsor, carrier, purchaser, and service provider.

CEA will seize the opportunities brought by the expo to realize “purchasing, flying and serving worldwide.” It will continue to optimize the external cooperation of the aviation industry chain, serve the expo, and inject new vitality and new impetus into the internationalization strategy and high-quality development of enterprises for mutual benefits.

Southwest bolsters the Southwest Promise by keeping middle seats open for fall travel

Southwest Airlines today renewed its ongoing commitment to supporting the well-being and comfort of its Customers and Employees by announcing that the carrier will continue limiting the amount of seats sold on every flight to allow middle seats to remain open through Nov. 30, 2020. Additionally, as part of The Southwest Promise, the airline requires face masks to be worn at all times, has implemented physical distancing measures in airports and onboard aircraft, and maintains a stringent cleaning schedule of its facilities and aircraft throughout each day.

“As we transition into autumn and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday season, we want Southwest Customers to have the confidence of knowing that middle seats will remain open through Nov. 30 to accommodate their fall travel plans,” said Ryan Green, Southwest’s Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “Southwest has been operating flights with middle seats open throughout the summer and has added thousands of flights to in-demand destinations to provide extra seats for on-board physical distancing and added comfort.”

As always, Southwest Customers may choose their own seats. In Southwest’s open seating environment, families, or those traveling together, may still sit together and occupy a middle seat for their convenience. Previously, middle seats were open through Oct. 31, 2020.

The Southwest Promise: A Multi-Layered Approach to Cleaning and Comfort

In addition to keeping middle seats open this fall, Southwest continues supporting the comfort and well-being of Customers and Employees by executing a multi-layered approach to cleaning and physical distancing.

Prior to Travel:

Face Coverings Required: All Southwest Customers and Employees over the age of two are required to wear a covering over their mouth and nose throughout the travel journey. If a Customer does not have a face covering, the Southwest Team will have face masks available at the airport and onboard our aircraft to ensure compliance with the policy.

Customer Health Declaration: Customers are required to acknowledge an awareness of the carrier’s face covering policy and confirm they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and have not been diagnosed with, or exposed to, COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to travel. They also are required to confirm they do not have a fever when they travel. The declaration appears during the online check-in process via the Southwest app, Southwest.com, the carrier’s mobile website, SWABIZ.com, and airport kiosks.

In the Airports:

Airport Cleaning: Southwest is cleaning ticket counters, gates, kiosks, and baggage claim areas multiple times per day. Additionally, the airline is utilizing electrostatic sprayers to apply a disinfectant to Southwest’s airport areas at least once per week.

Physical Distancing in Airports: Southwest is now boarding in smaller groups of 10 to allow for distancing and queuing only on one side of boarding poles in the gate areas. Additionally, new airport signage and floor markers highlight and encourage proper distances throughout the boarding areas. Southwest also has installed Plexiglas® at ticketing and gate counters and baggage service offices to provide more protection during in-person transactions and interactions between Employees and Customers.

Don’t Forget Your Hands: Hand sanitizer is available at check-in kiosks, ticket counters, and gates.

Onboard our Aircraft:

HEPA Filters: Every aircraft is equipped with a sophisticated air recirculation system that introduces fresh outside air into the cabin while inflight, resulting in a complete exchange of cabin air every two to three minutes. Southwest uses HEPA filters onboard that remove 99.97% of airborne particles*—similar to the technology found in hospitals (*measuring 0.3 micrometers or greater in diameter passing through the filter).

Enhanced Overnight Aircraft Cleaning: Southwest deep cleans each plane from nose to tail for nearly six to seven labor hours every night, including all high-touch surfaces such as seat belt buckles, tray tables, air vents, arm rests, galleys, and lavatories.

Electrostatic Aircraft Spraying: Both an electrostatic disinfectant and an anti-microbial spray are applied on every surface of the aircraft, killing viruses on contact and, then, forming an anti-microbial coating, or shield, for 30 days.

Cleaning Before Every Flight: Sani-Cide EX3, a broad-spectrum disinfectant, is used to clean all onboard lavatories and every tray table before every flight. Additionally, cleaning wipes are available for Customers onboard, upon request.

Bloomberg: Lufthansa to decide on the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-400 fleets next week

According to Bloomberg, Lufthansa will consider the retirement of the remaining Airbus A380s, most of the Airbus A340s, and all of its Boeing 747-400s next week at a board meeting.

The Boeing 747-8 Intercontinentals and some Airbus A340-600s will be retained.

Lufthansa aircraft photo gallery:

Eurowings introduces “temperature discount”

Eurowings has made this announcement:

As of now the largest German vacation airline Eurowings offers for the first time a so-called “temperature discount” on its website eurowings.com. The height of the discount is calculated according to the monthly average temperature in the respective country, which is advertised. The airline is thus defying the crisis in air travel with new services, entertaining campaigns and attractive offers.

No longer just dreaming, but booking today: Because the southern climate of Italy, which in September averages a pleasant 23.1 degrees Celsius, is particularly worthwhile for travel lovers today: with the newly introduced Eurowings “temperature discount”, guests who book a direct flight to Italy today will receive a flight discount corresponding to the average temperature of 23.1%.

All destinations in Italy that Eurowings flies to are included in the campaign: Cagliari, Bari, Naples, Venice, Lamezia Terme, Brindisi, Milan, Rome, Catania, Bologna and Olbia. Further information can be found at eurowings.com. The next country with the new “temperature discount” has already been selected – and will be published shortly.

With the Eurowings flexibility guarantee, Eurowings customers can change flights free of charge up to seven days before departure. Flights can also be flexibly rebooked at any time, for example if travel plans change.

Eurowings aircraft photo gallery:

Lufthansa Trachtencrew takes off again this year

Lufthansa Group made this announcement:

Even if the Munich Oktoberfest cannot take place as usual this year, Lufthansa is holding on to the beautiful tradition of the Trachtencrew flights. As a tribute to the world-famous folk festival, eleven flight attendants will take off for New York/Newark on September 22 with the Airbus A350. At the same time, passengers on board of Lufthansa CityLine can experience the traditional costume crews on numerous European flights. From September 21 to 25 the flights will take passengers from Munich to Copenhagen, Helsinki, Manchester, Berlin and Vienna and  to the holiday destinations Santorini and Sylt.

The tradition of Trachtencrew flights is as long as it is successful at Lufthansa. The first flights in traditional costume took place as early as 1957, and even back then they were already  fascinating Lufthansa passengers all over the world. In 2006 the idea was taken up again and the maiden flight went – as well as this year – to New York. Since then, the Lufthansa Trachtencrew has been heading to 25 destinations from China to Japan, India and the USA, as well as  destinations all over Europe.

The Dirndl of the Lufthansa long-haul crews was createdby the Munich costume designer Angermaier: The flight attendants’ Wiesn-Dirndl is dark blue with a silver-grey apron, the men wear short leather pants with a dark blue vest in the fabric of the Dirndl.

It has also been a long-standing tradition for Lufthansa’s passenger service staff in Terminal 2 to welcome passengers in Dirndl and traditional costume suits during the Wiesn season.

Bavarian delights on board and in the Lufthansa lounges

Munich’s Lufthansa Lounges also continue the tradition of previous years. In the lounges, passengers can choose between typical Bavarian dishes such as Leberkäs’, cabbage or potato salad. There are also roasted almonds, pretzel pearls and Oktoberfest beer.

On board of the Business Class, trout and Bavarian cream are served  during the month of September, a Weissbier can be ordered on request as well.

 

Alaska Airlines brings back ‘Get the Row with BOGO’

Alaska Airlines made this announcement:

Alaska Airline’s ‘Get the Row with BOGO’ is back! Beginning today through Sept. 16, guests traveling by Oct. 31 could get a whole row to themselves when they book a flight and get a second ticket on the same flight for just the taxes and fees.

Alaska Airline’s ‘Get the Row with BOGO’ is back! Get the whole row for you and your guest with the middle seat blocked through Oct. 31, 2020

“Our hope is that with this offer, as well as our Next-Level Care and middle seat blocking through Oct. 31, our guests are given further peace of mind while traveling to our more than 115 destinations this fall,” said Sangita Woerner, Alaska Airlines’ senior vice president of marketing and guest experience. “We have added layers of safety to keep our guests and employees safe when they are ready to fly, and hope to see many of them in the skies in the coming months.”

When guests make the decision to fly again, they will be met with the same Alaska hospitality they have come to know and love, as well as new layers of safety to keep everyone healthy. As part of nearly 100 Next-Level Care safety measures, Alaska is:

  • Extending physical distancing on board for fall travel with blocked middle seats on all mainline flights and reduced capacity on regional flights through Oct. 31*.
  • Strengthening face mask policies, including:
    • Requiring all guests over the age of two to wear a mask or face covering, with no exceptions. If a traveler does not wear a mask, they will not be allowed to fly. This policy applies to anywhere Alaska conducts business – at ticket counters, gate areas and inflight.
    • In late June, Alaska empowered its flight attendants to issue a final notice to any guest – in the form of a yellow card handed to them – who repeatedly disregards or disobeys the requirement to wear a mask or face covering. If a guest still does not comply after that warning, their travel with Alaska will be suspended immediately instead of undergoing a review process.
  • Over the coming weeks, new touch-free options for Alaska guests and employees will include the ability:
    • To pre-order meals and purchase food and beverages on board using a stored credit card (pending return of food and beverage for purchase in main cabin).
    • To print bag tags without having to touch check-in kiosks.
    • For agents to scan boarding passes up to six feet away while boarding.
    • To receive a text message instead of a printed boarding pass if guests don’t already have the Alaska Airlines mobile app.
    • To get an emailed receipt for baggage instead of printed receipt.
  • Continuing enhanced cabin cleaning procedures that exceed CDC guidelines, including cleaning between flights, using electrostatic disinfectant sprayers for a next-level clean.
  • Extending flexible travel policies, with Peace of Mind waivers that allow for no change or cancellation fees for flights booked through Dec. 31, if travelers’ plans should change**.

Terms and conditions

For the BOGO sale, tickets must be purchased by 11:59 p.m. (PT) on Sept. 16, 2020, for travel between Sept. 15, 2020 and Oct. 31, 2020. To get the row, select seats when purchasing. Day of week and other restrictions apply. View complete terms and conditions at Alaskaair.com/GETYOURROW.

* Blocked middle seats are only available on Alaska Airlines flights 1-1999. Our regional aircraft do not have middle seats. An open middle seat is not guaranteed. Certain occasions, such as aircraft changes or re-accommodating guests from a previously canceled flight, may require guests to be seated next to someone not in their party.  If you’re uncomfortable with the distance between you and others on your date of travel, please speak with a customer service agent about your options.

** Change and cancellation fees are waived for all tickets purchased through December 31, 2020, and on January 1, 2021, we will be eliminating change fees permanently. Learn more about our flexible travel policy.