Current Airline Capacity Cuts COVID19

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Ryanair cuts flights as EU virus rates hit bookings

By Tom EspinerBusiness reporter, BBC News
RyanairImage copyrightEPA

Ryanair has said it will cut capacity by 20% in September and October following "notably weakened" bookings in recent days.

The airline said the drop was driven by "uncertainty over recent Covid case rates in some EU countries".

It said cuts will mostly be in flight numbers as opposed to route closures.

Ryanair said they will be "heavily focused" on countries where virus rates have led to the UK and Ireland re-imposing travel restrictions.

The UK has re-imposed 14-day quarantines on travellers coming from countries including Spain, France and Sweden. Ireland has similar travel restrictions for countries including Germany and the UK.

Ryanair had increased flights to 60% of its normal schedule this month after resuming services in July.

But on Monday a spokesman for Ryanair said: "These capacity cuts and frequency reductions for the months of September and October are unavoidable given the recent weakness in forward bookings due to Covid restrictions in a number of EU countries.

"Any affected passengers in September received email notification earlier today advising them of their options."

These include passengers being able to move flights, and get cash or voucher refunds, as set out under EU regulations.


Easyjet closes bases

Meanwhile, rival airline Easyjet has confirmed that it will close bases at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle, with the loss of 670 jobs.

There could be up to about 1,200 further job losses as Easyjet works through plans to cut staff due to the coronavirus pandemic.

EasyJet planeImage copyrightREUTERS

Easyjet began consultations on its plans to close the hubs in June, after an announcement that it would cut staff numbers.

The majority of crew at those bases have opted for voluntary redundancy, and that process will start for pilots this week, a spokesperson said.

Out of the total number of all crew who have been at risk of redundancy, 93% have opted to take the voluntary package, which is "enhanced" - that is, they get more money than through compulsory redundancy.

The aviation industry has been hit hard by coronavirus lockdowns and travel restrictions.

In July, Ryanair's UK cabin crew and pilots agreed to temporary pay cuts to reduce job losses.

In Germany, however, the airline said it would shut its base at Frankfurt Hahn airport after German pilots rejected pay cuts.

British Airways wants to axe up to 12,000 jobs from its workforce of 42,000, and has said 6,000 have volunteered for redundancy.

Emirates said in July that as many as 9,000 jobs could go.

Plane-maker Airbus announced plans to cut 15,000 jobs in June while engine manufacturer Rolls Royce will axe 8,000 roles.

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How's that line of reasoning working out so far?

I believe this to be a legitimate synopsis of the current situation and is being updated as changes come available.

Well done John.  Nice, concise and easy to interpret.

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AUGUST 21, 2020 / 12:56 PM / UPDATED A DAY AGO

Delta, union in talks to avoid furloughs after 1,806 pilots take early retirement


CHICAGO (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) and the union representing its pilots said on Friday they remain in talks to avoid furloughs after 1,806 pilots agreed to early retirement programs, with the airline pointing to the outlook for a pandemic recovery as key to its final decision.

In a memo to pilots, Delta’s head of flight operations John Laughter said there had been “additional changes to travel demand and recovery forecasts” in recent weeks that the airline is assessing as it charts a path for a multi-year recovery.

Delta will communicate more next week, he said, without providing more details.

A Delta spokesman said “furloughs remain a last resort and we continue to stay engaged with ALPA to find a way to spread the flying among the pilots to reduce or avoid furloughs altogether.”

Delta had sent warnings of potential furloughs to 2,258 pilots, the Master Executive Council (MEC) of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) said in a statement, adding it hoped for additional voluntary options for pilots similar to programs at other major carriers.

Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Grant McCool

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United Airlines to cut 16,370 jobs as the pandemic rages
 By Tracy Rucinski 1 hour ago

CHICAGO (Reuters) - United Airlines is preparing to furlough 16,370 workers when federal aid expires on Oct. 1 as the coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate the airline industry, it said on Wednesday.
Chicago-based United had over 90,000 employees before the pandemic brought the industry to a near standstill in March. It warned in July that 36,000 jobs were at risk of involuntary furloughs as demand remained weak.

Some 7,400 employees have opted to take early retirement or departure packages and the company is working through several other voluntary temporary leave programs to further reduce the number of furloughs, United officials said.

The leaves would give the company flexibility to call back staff once travel returns, they said.

Airlines received $25 billion in U.S. government stimulus funds in March meant to cover payrolls and protect jobs through September, when the industry had hoped for a rebound.

As bailout money runs out without a travel recovery in sight, airlines and unions have lobbied Washington for another $25 billion but talks have stalled as Congress has struggled to reach agreement on a broader coronavirus assistance package.

U.S. passenger airlines are still collectively losing more than $5 billion a month as 30% of planes remain parked. Passenger travel demand is down about 70% and, on average, planes that are flying are half-full.

United's schedule for September is 63% smaller than a year ago.

United's cuts will affect around 2,850 pilots, 6,920 flight attendants, 2,010 mechanics and 1,400 management and administrative positions, among others, though negotiations continue with pilots to reduce the final number.

Rival American Airlines last week said it would lay off 19,000 workers without federal aid. Including voluntary departures or leaves, its 140,000 pre-pandemic workforce will shrink by 30%. Delta Air Lines plans to lay off nearly 2,000 pilots without wage concessions, but has not said how many jobs for workers including flight attendants and mechanics are at risk.
President Donald Trump has said his administration would help U.S. airlines but has not given any details.

Congress also approved another $25 billion in loans for airlines under the first stimulus package, but not all of them are tapping the funds.

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Richard Chang)

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IATA Top Doctor Says Airlines Can’t Afford to Wait for Vaccine

From BNN Bloomberg – link to story

Kyunghee Park, Bloomberg News, 4 September 2020

People are silhouetted against a window overlooking aircraft on the tarmac at Melbourne Airport in Melbourne, Australia, on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. A twin-speed economy is developing in Australia and posing a challenge for the central bank, as Chinese demand for iron ore buoys the resource-rich west while eastern states struggle with Covid-19 outbreaks and border closures. Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg

People are silhouetted against a window overlooking aircraft on the tarmac at Melbourne Airport in Melbourne, Australia, on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. A twin-speed economy is developing in Australia and posing a challenge for the central bank, as Chinese demand for iron ore buoys the resource-rich west while eastern states struggle with Covid-19 outbreaks and border closures. Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg , Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — The airline industry can’t afford to wait for a vaccine. That’s the message from the International Air Transport Association’s chief medical adviser, David Powell.

On top of face masks, regular hand washing and sanitizing of high-touch surfaces, carriers should work with regulators to introduce reliable coronavirus testing systems for passengers before they board in order to get people back on planes.

“The ideal protection is to avoid people who are infectious,” Powell said in an interview with Bloomberg News. “We need a test that’s reliable and fast enough and that’s able to be done in huge numbers.”

Right now, that’s a tall order. Manfacturers globally are struggling to meet Covid-19 test-kit demand. And the multiple tests that do exist can often sow more confusion than certainty.

Just last month a spat erupted between Singapore and China after the latter found infectious passengers on a flight from the island nation. Singapore said most of the people in question had recovered but “may continue to shed viral fragments for weeks or even months” leading to a positive test result.

With almost no one traveling for business or leisure, airlines are doing everything they can to avoid collapse. IATA, which represents 290 carriers globally, has said it doesn’t see passenger traffic recovering until at least 2024, and it expects airlines to lose more than $84 billion this year alone.

As scientists’ understanding of SARS-CoV-2 develops, the medical profession’s stance has shifted. In early February, when Covid-19 was still a big question mark in most people’s minds, Powell said the best way to avoid infection was frequent hand washing rather than wearing a mask. By May, the recommendation on face coverings was universal.

“We recognize that a percentage of Covid cases can be asymptomatic,” Powell said earlier this week. “That’s the reason for that change in position.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Lufthansa has to shrink even more than previously planned in the Corona crisis. At least 150 aircraft from the group's former 760-jet fleet will no longer take off permanently, the company announced on Monday. The number of full-time jobs to be lost will also exceed the 22,000 previously announced.

Until now, Lufthansa  with a group fleet reduced by 100 aircraft in the medium term. Due to the continued travel restrictions, only a flight offer of between 20 and 30 percent of the pre-crisis level is expected this year. Lufthansa originally wanted to have half of its aircraft in the air again by the end of the year.

Among other things, the Group is now mothballing the A380 super jumbos in the long term, unless it can return them to the manufacturer Airbus. Further A340-600 jets are to remain permanently on the ground or to be retired altogether. This will be in cured in the current quarter of impairments amounting to EUR 1.1 billion.


Corona crisis puts Lufthansa on the back - air traffic almost came to a standstill in the meantime

The Corona crisis hit Europe's largest airline group hard in the spring, as did all other airlines. In the meantime, air traffic has almost come to a standstill, and intercontinental traffic has so far only returned to a very small extent. Currently, the Group brands Lufthansa, Eurowings, Swiss, Austrian and Brussels are suffering from the complex entry restrictions of the various nation states. Only the cargo flights still bring money into the cash register.t


Only massive state aid from the four home countries, totalling NINE billion euros, has prevented the collapse of the heavily indebted MDax Group. Nevertheless, in the ongoing Corona slump, the company loses EUR 500 million in cash and cash each month. This figure is expected to fall to 400 million euros by the winter, including the abandonment of rented office space.

According to the latest figures, of the more than 138,000 employees worldwide as of the turn of the year, around 128,000 are still in the company. Employees abroad, especially abroad, have left Lufthansa, while in Germany there has not yet been an agreement with the trade unions for large groups of employees.

Commission approves €6 billion German measure to recapitalise Lufthansa

Commission approves €6 billion German measure to recapitalise Lufthansa

The European Commission has approved German plans to contribute €6 billion to the recapitalisation of Deutsche Lufthansa AG (DLH), the parent company of Lufthansa Group. The measure was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020, as amended on 3 April and 8 May 2020.

The recapitalisation measure is part of a larger support package that also includes a state guarantee on a €3 billion loan that Germany plans to grant to DLH as individual aid under the German scheme approved by Commission decision of 22 March 2020.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "Germany will contribute €6 billion to Lufthansa's recapitalisation, together with a €3 billion state guarantee on a loan. This substantial amount of aid will help Lufthansa weather the current coronavirus crisis, which has hit the airline sector particularly hard. But it comes with strings attached, including to ensure the State is sufficiently remunerated, and further measures to limit distortions of competition. In particular, Lufthansa has committed to make available slots and additional assets at its Frankfurt and Munich hub airports, where Lufthansa has significant market power. This gives competing carriers the chance to enter those markets, ensuring fair prices and increased choice for European consumers.”

navirus pandemic can be found here.

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Singapore Airlines rethinks 'flights to nowhere' idea, will instead turn Airbus into pop-up restaurant

'Restaurant A380' is just one of three ideas the airline is trying out in the coming months

United Airlines offering COVID-19 tests to some fliers

GoHealth Urgent Care CEO Todd Latz weighs in his company's partnership with United Airlines on 'Your World.'

This should definitely save on fuel costs.


Singapore Airlines has abandoned an idea to put passengers on “flights to nowhere” — i.e., short plane rides that take off and land at the same airport — in favor of simply sitting guests on a nonmoving Airbus A380 and serving up some dinner.

The national carrier of Singapore announced Tuesday that it will be offering three new “experiences” for customers who are based in Singapore, including the chance to enjoy the airline’s signature dishes inside a double-decker A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft.

Additional “experiences” include the family-friendly tours of the Singapore Airlines training facility, to start in late November, and the new SIA@Home meal kits, for those who want to try recreating the airline’s cuisine at home.



“With Covid-19 drastically reducing the number of flights operated by the SIA Group, we have created unique activities that would allow us to engage with our fans and customers during this time,” explained SIA Chief Executive Officer Goh Choon Phong in a press release. “These experiences offer something for everyone — from frequent flyers who miss our world-class in-cabin products and service, to couples and families who want an exclusive dining experience, and parents who are after an enjoyable activity-filled day with their children during the school holidays.”


Guests who book a seating at the pop-up will also be treated to a tour of the A380, take-home souvenirs and access to the airline’s in-flight entertainment options while dining.

Guests who book a seating at the pop-up will also be treated to a tour of the A380, take-home souvenirs and access to the airline’s in-flight entertainment options while dining. (Singapore Airlines)

Singapore Airlines introduced its new suite of experiences after abandoning an idea to begin operating “flights to nowhere,” wherein passengers would be able to buy tickets for a ride in a Singapore Airlines aircraft that would take off and land back at Changi Airport.

The idea, which already proved quite popular when Qantas tried it, was ditched following scrutiny over the environmental impact and carbon footprint of the “nowhere” flights, Singapore’s Today Online reported.



Instead, Singapore Airlines is now hoping that its new “experiences” — and especially its Restaurant A380 — will prove just as popular. To sweeten the deal, guests who successfully reserve a space during the limited-time event (seatings are currently only planned for Oct. 24 and 25) will be also be treated to a tour of the A380, take-home souvenirs, and access to the airline’s in-flight entertainment options while dining.


"Restaurant A380" will operate out of an Airbus A380 parked at a gate in Singapore's Changi Airport.

"Restaurant A380" will operate out of an Airbus A380 parked at a gate in Singapore's Changi Airport. (eXm Company/H. Goussé/Singapore Airlines)

Reservations for the dining experience open Oct. 12.

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Maybe not a surprise....


SAA suspends operations, no funding found

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South African Airways (SAA) is being put under “care and maintenance” by administrators in charge of its restructuring, meaning a complete stop of the carrier's operations.

The information was revealed in an internal notice, issued on September 29, 2020, and obtained by Reuters.

“The BRPs (administrators) have made a decision to suspend all the airline operations with immediate effect,” the notice states. According to the document, the South African flag carrier will remain in such state until there will be funding to restructure it.

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MIAMI – Today, more than 32,000 American Airlines (AA) and United Airlines (UA) employees were placed on furlough. According to NPR, around half of the 13,432 employees involuntarily furloughed by UA were inflight services employees. Financial relief for airlines from the CARES Act ran out today, leading to the furloughs. 
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Delta delays US$5B of jetliner deliveries in blow to Airbus

Mary Schlangenstein, Bloomberg News | 13 October 2020

Delta Air Lines Delta Air Lines , Bloomberg News

Delta Air Lines Inc. is delaying $5 billion in jetliner deliveries until after 2022, dealing a blow to Airbus SE as the U.S. carrier braces for years of weak travel demand.

The deferral agreement includes about US$2 billion in planes that were scheduled to be handed over this year, Delta said in a statement Tuesday as it reported worse-than-expected quarterly results. The delays will also affect a small number of CRJ regional jets made by Bombardier Inc., Delta said, without disclosing the total number of aircraft affected.

The revamped delivery schedule will ease cash strains during the next two years as Delta shrinks its operations to contend with the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused an unprecedented collapse in commercial flying. Like other airlines, the Atlanta-based company has already slashed spending by parking planes, cutting flights and thinning its employee ranks in response to the crisis.

“This has less to do with the outlook for demand and more to do with our cash situation,” Delta Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian said in an interview. “It’s an indication of a great partnership with Airbus and the recognition that we’re playing the long game and are still going to take these aircraft.”

Delta fell 2.1 per cent to US$31.94 ahead of regular trading in New York.

The deferrals underscore the pressure on Airbus and rival Boeing Co. to preserve orders even as their customers have little need for new aircraft — and undelivered jetliners stack up outside the factories of both planemakers. Delta is also planning to retire 400 aircraft by 2025, including 200 this year.

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Slower Burn

Reflecting efforts to cut spending, Delta expects daily cash burn to average $10 million in December, and US$10 million to US$12 million for the fourth quarter as a whole. That’s down from $24 million in the third quarter. Delta lowered operating costs 50 per cent in the three months ending Sept. 30 from the same period a year earlier.

“We’re getting a pretty good line of sight to break even by the spring,” Bastian said of the outlook for the company’s cash burn. “The fact that we get down to US$10 million is pretty darn good when we were at US$100 million in March.”

Revenue will hit as much as 35 per cent of year-earlier levels in the fourth quarter, up from 10% in the second quarter, Bastian said. He expects continued improvement over the next six months as travel edges up one per cent to two per cent a week, with 2021 a “year of recovery.”

Delta reported an adjusted third-quarter loss of $3.30 a share, worse than the US$2.97 shortfall that was the average of analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Adjusted revenue plunged 79% to $2.65 billion, while analysts had expected US$3.12 billion.

The results excluded pretax charges of about $4 billion from the cost of fleet restructuring as well as voluntary worker retirements and separation programs. Those items were partially offset by aid from the federal government that was recognized in the quarter, Delta said.

About 58,000 workers have left the carrier voluntarily, including 18,000 permanent departures. Those reductions are enabling Delta to avoid layoffs among most workers, including flight attendants, mechanics and baggage handlers, until the start of next summer at the earliest. The carrier remains in talks with its pilots union and has deferred furloughs until Nov. 1.

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How United Airlines Is Trying to Plan Around a Pandemic

The airline has to figure out which planes to stash in the desert and which ones to park at airports without knowing when demand will recover.

By Niraj Chokshi

Oct. 15, 2020Updated 5:49 p.m. ET

A United Airlines plane undergoes inspection at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago before it is cleared for flight. The airline is trying to predict where travelers will fly, a challenge in the best of times. A United Airlines plane undergoes inspection at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago before it is cleared for flight. The airline is trying to predict where travelers will fly, a challenge in the best of times.Lucy Hewett for The New York Times

A United Airlines plane undergoes inspection at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago before it is cleared for flight. The airline is trying to predict where travelers will fly, a challenge in the best of times.Lucy Hewett for The New York Times

When the coronavirus pandemic wiped out travel in the spring, United Airlines slashed its flight schedule, salted away aircraft in the New Mexico desert and parked planes at hangars around the country.

That was the easy part.

Now, with what is normally the peak summer season behind it and travel proceeding in fits and starts, the airline is continuing to fine-tune every facet of its business, from maintenance to flight planning, as it tries to predict where a wary public will fly, a challenge even in the best of times.

“We can really throw away the crystal ball, which was hazy to begin with,” said Ankit Gupta, United’s vice president for domestic network planning.

This week, the airline announced a $1.8 billion loss during the third quarter, with revenues down 78 percent compared to the same period a year ago. While United said it was ready to “turn the page” from survival to rebuilding, it said it didn’t expect a recovery to begin in earnest until 2022.

A United technician, Neil Libby, working on an engine.Lucy Hewett for The New York Times
James McCarty, an inspector, looking over a United plane.Lucy Hewett for The New York Times

Passenger volumes for U.S. airlines are down about 65 percent, according to an industry group, and major carriers have taken on enormous debt as they lose billions of dollars each month. After hopes for a second congressional rescue package faded last month, United furloughed more than 13,000 workers and American Airlines furloughed 19,000.

But while every airline is struggling, each struggles in its own way. United relies far more than its rivals on international travel, which is deeply depressed and is expected to take far longer than domestic travel to bounce back. Lucrative business travel will be slow to return, too, and the airline said this week that it had amassed more than $19 billion in cash and other available funds to cope with the downturn.

“We’ve got 12 to 15 months of pain, sacrifice and difficulty ahead,” United’s chief executive, Scott Kirby, said on an earnings conference call on Thursday. “But we have done what it takes in the initial phases to have confidence — it’s really about confidence — in getting through the crisis and to the other side.”

In navigating that path, the airline has focused on finding savings while positioning itself to serve the few passengers who still want to fly. When the virus devastated travel in March and April, the airline took hundreds of planes out of circulation. Among the first to go were twin-aisle jets used for international flights, which dropped early as countries closed borders. Single-aisle planes — the kind used for domestic routes — followed soon after.


As the virus devastated travel in March and April, United took hundreds of planes out of circulation. As the virus devastated travel in March and April, United took hundreds of planes out of circulation.Lucy Hewett for The New York Times

About 150 planes were sent to long-term storage in Roswell, N.M. — yes, that Roswell — where the dry conditions are better suited for long-term aircraft preservation. Many others were parked at United’s hub airports in and near cities including Chicago, Washington and Newark, where technicians could more easily get them back into service if needed.

Since July, United has brought back more than 150 of the planes that the airline or its regional carriers had grounded, it said on Thursday. About 450 are still stashed away, but must be maintained in a way that allows flexibility.

To get it right, Tom Doxey, United’s senior vice president for technical operations, and his team consult models created by computer scientists and solicit guidance from maintenance crews. Generally, two considerations loom large: how soon a plane will need substantial maintenance and the likelihood that it will be among the first to start flying again.

“If you have an aircraft that maybe is less likely to come back soon, you kind of want it at the back of the parking lot,” Mr. Doxey said. “It goes into prolonged storage and it probably goes to a desert location.”

Many of the planes idled by the pandemic have been stored in hangars and storage lots at hubs, such as O’Hare Airport.Lucy Hewett for The New York Times

As demand for domestic flights picks up, United will most likely put single-aisle Airbus A320s or Boeing 737s to use, so it keeps many at the ready, he said. The same goes for the Boeing 777s or 767s, which can be used for international travel, whenever it rebounds. Planes that recently underwent intensive maintenance are kept closer at hand, too, than those that may soon be due for a deeper examination.

Fortunately for Mr. Doxey and United, some travel trends have started to emerge, making his job easier. Most of the people still flying are staying within the country, visiting friends and relatives or vacationing outdoors. If airline planners are right, travel to powdery ski slopes in the West may pick up soon, too. Those flights would put United’s smaller single-aisle planes to use.

Planning routes in such lean times can be incredibly complex, with airlines weighing a range of variables on limited resources. Not only do the right planes need to be in the right places, but planners must be sure that they have the gate agents, baggage handlers, flight attendants and pilots needed for each flight — out and back — all while trying to accommodate erratic travel trends.

To predict winter demand, Mr. Gupta and his domestic planning team consulted with resort operators and staff members near ski towns to gauge how many flights the company should add to snowy destinations. Based on recent and historical trends, they also added an unusual mix of direct flights to Florida this winter from the Northeast and the Midwest. On Thursday, United began offering preflight coronavirus tests to customers headed from San Francisco to Hawaii to help them avoid the state’s quarantine requirements and hopefully increase sales. It is also planning to expand service on dozens of routes to tropical destinations near and within the United States and resuming flights on nearly 30 international routes.

Parking planes at major airports like O’Hare allows technicians to get them back into service more easily if needed.Lucy Hewett for The New York Times

With few people flying internationally, though, United has less need for its wide-body jets, which account for a quarter of its fleet. But it has found a use for some of those bigger planes: When demand for air cargo spiked, United put its larger, fuel-efficient 787s to work hauling goods.

Before the pandemic, the airline operated more than 300 daily flights abroad, but that figure dipped to 11 during the depths of the crisis. Next month, the airline plans to operate more than 150 international departures each day. To understand when and how that demand might recover, Patrick Quayle, who oversees international network planning for United, and his team track a range of indicators, including national travel restrictions, the travel habits of dual citizens and the economic ties between countries.

Most of the people in the U.S. who are still flying are staying within the country, visiting friends and relatives or vacationing outdoors.Lucy Hewett for The New York Times
United operated more than 300 daily international flights before the pandemic, but that figure has been as low as 11 during the pandemic.Lucy Hewett for The New York Times

“It’s a bit of playing United Nations and looking at alliances and looking at passport data, and it’s a bit of gut feeling, to be quite candid,” he said.

As difficult as planning has been, it is becoming even harder. The federal stimulus passed in March, the CARES Act, gave passenger airlines $25 billion to help keep tens of thousands employed. It also made life a little easier for network planners, allowing them to worry less about whether a flight would cover labor costs, a major expense, and freeing them up to make last-minute changes knowing that there were far more employees available to work than needed. The aid expired last month, though, and prospects of another round of funding have largely faded.

There may be some reason for hope, though. The Transportation Security Administration screened nearly one million people at airport checkpoints on Sunday, the highest number since mid-March, though it was still less than 40 percent of the number screened on the same weekday last year. Whatever happens in the months to come, Mr. Doxey said, United is prepared: “We have a plan in place.”

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'It's heartbreaking': Air New Zealand job cuts continue as hundreds more cabin crew made redundant

  • 29/10/2020

The total number of Air NZ job losses since the beginning of COVID-19 is now over 4000. Photo credit: Getty.

Air New Zealand is making hundreds of its remaining cabin crew members redundant as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on.

"It's heartbreaking. It's basically everyone with under 25 years of service, gone," one crew member who had just been told the bad news said to Newshub.

On top of the 385 staff who were given notice in September, Air NZ has confirmed it's ending a furlough arrangement it had in place with 550 cabin crew.

In documents sent to Newshub, staff were given a timeline of when any changes would take place. The documents say that feedback from both unions and employers would be considered up until October 14 and that in the week of October 27, the airline would "notify impacted employees".

Staff were informed as part of the consultation process that any crew who were employed after the Multi-Union Collective Agreement (MUCA) would be made compulsorily redundant, while those on older, pre-MUCA contracts would essentially be made redundant on a 'last on, first off' basis.

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The airline has confirmed that around 4000 employees have lost their roles since the start of COVID-19, a figure which includes the 550 international cabin crew on furlough.

Air NZ's chief operating officer Carrie Hurihanganui said September's schedule reductions as a result of a decline in passenger demand on international routes, meant the airline had to look at reducing its number of employees.

"Air New Zealand entered into consultation with the remaining international cabin crew around further reductions. Our international schedule remains largely limited by border restrictions and unfortunately there is not enough flying to provide sustainable rosters for the number of international cabin crew we have," Hurihanganui said.

"That consultation has now completed and we have confirmed we will be going ahead with the reduction of around 385 full time equivalent roles.

"Due to the terms of our two different collective contractual agreements for international widebody crew, in order to action those redundancies, we now also have to wind up a furlough arrangement with around 550 international cabin crew who finished working in the business in July.

"We are working closely with our unions to see if there is a different way we can provide these crew with a pathway back to Air NZ."

Employee union, E tū says the cuts are "appalling" given the airline plays a vital part of New Zealand's international trade routes and has received hundreds of millions of dollars of public money this year.


International cabin crew on the 777 and 787 fleets have been worst hit by the lay-offs at Air NZ, with 85 percent of them losing their jobs, according to E tū

In a statement, E tū says there are two groups affected by these latest redundancies: the existing 787 crew who will lose their jobs just before Christmas and furloughed crew who lost their jobs back in July.

Hundreds of crew opted for a company's furlough scheme whereby instead of collecting their redundancy pay-out, they went on leave without pay in the hope that when flying restarted they might be able to return and regain some employment benefits.

"Because of the scale of the company's cuts some crew on furlough may now lose any hope of returning to work," says E tū head of aviation, Savage.

"Trust between cabin crew employees and Air NZ is at an all time low due to those 2013 attempts to decrease terms and conditions, and subsequent attempts to lessen crew working standards. When COVID-19 hit, 787 crew were looking at possible strike action after protracted CA negotiations had failed to address their poor rates of pay."

Despite the job cuts here in Aotearoa, the airline is understood to be keeping the 58 Chinese nationals who work for the airline in Shanghai.

This has not been well received by the workforce's union.

"The Shanghai base has always been about paying crew less and devaluing the role of cabin crew. Outsourcing is a barrier to raising standards in aviation and it needs to end," E tū head of aviation, Savage, said in September.

But the airline says these workers must be Chinese due to employment laws in China, and that none of the Shanghai-based crew are currently working.

"Our Shanghai crew base is contracted to Air NZ through Foreign Airlines Service Corporation (FASCO), which is a government agency in China. It is a requirement of the Chinese authorities that Chinese nationals are hired through this organisation. However, Air NZ considers and has always treated these crew as Air New Zealanders," Hurihanganui said.

"None of our 58 Shanghai-based crew are currently operating, nor have been since February this year. Our Shanghai-based crew are currently stood down on a furlough-type arrangement with FASCO. These flights are currently being operated by our New Zealand-based cabin crew."

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Singapore Airlines Group to retire 26 aircraft

As part of its post-COVID strategy, Singapore Airlines Group has announced the accelerated retirement of 26 aircraft. Slated for phase-out are two A319s and five A320s from Silk Air, four A320s from Scoot and seven A380s, four B777-200ERs and the four B777-300s from Singapore Airlines.

To reduce future capital expenditure, Singapore Airlines also reached an agreement with Airbus to defer orders. A specific break-down and timeline hasn't been provided by both companies. The airline has outstanding orders with Airbus for the A320neo, A321neo and A350. Singapore Airlines is also in advanced negotiations with Boeing to defer orders it has with the US manufacturer. It has B737-8s, B787s and B777-9s on order.

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For sale: 34 Thai Airways aircraft

Thai Airways is offering 34 aircraft for sale, 32 widebodies and two narrowbodies. The sale is part of the airline's restructuring programme. Most notable is that Thai is offering all their remaining B747-400s for sale, marking another airline ending operations with the Queen of the Sky.

The exact breakdown is one A300-600, two B737-400s, three A340-500s, six A340-600s, ten B747-400s, six B777-200ERs and six B777-300s.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Airport looks to expand after PAL airlines pullout delivers a ‘major blow’

From CBC News – link to source story

Decision to stop direct flights from Charlo to Wabush, N.L., a setback for northern New Brunswick workers

CBC News · Dec 29, 2020

airport.jpg Charlo Airport Authority said PAL Airlines’ decision to stop flying direct from Charlo to Wabush, N.L., and discontinue all commercial flight services is a major setback. The last direct PAL flight left Charlo on Tuesday. (CBC News file photo)

The last PAL airline flight left Charlo Airport in northern New Brunswick on Tuesday, dealing a “major blow” to the airport and to workers who relied on a convenient direct route to jobs in Newfoundland and Labrador.

St. John’s-based PAL Airlines had been flying two flights a week out of Charlo Airport since 2013.

Earlier this month, on Dec. 10, PAL notified the Charlo Airport Authority that it was withdrawing those flights, with the last commercial flight between Charlo and Wabush on Dec. 29. PAL flights to Wabush, in western Labrador, will now leave from the Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport.

The Charlo Airport Authority responded later with a statement that the decision was a significant setback, both for residents who depended on the airline and for the airport itself. All commercial flight services offered by PAL Airlines were also discontinued.

“This is a major blow to the Charlo’s airport given that, despite the pandemic, the airport has seen an increase in air movements compared to 2019,” the authority said.  

On Tuesday, the day the last flight departed, Charlo Mayor Denis McIntyre said the announcement was “sad new for us.”

Many northern New Brunswick workers in the construction and mining industry depended on PAL’s regular flights to get to jobs in Newfoundland and back home again, McIntyre said. The airport is a drive of about 77 kilometres northwest from Bathurst and about 32 kilometres east from Campbellton. 

“A lot of workers from Restigouche, Bathurst and other areas came to Charlo to fly out,” McIntyre said in an interview Tuesday night. “Now they have to travel two to three hours to get to the [Moncton] airport, and the flight times there don’t always line up for them.”

McIntyre acknowledged it’s “been a tough year” for all airports because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I hope things will change with the vaccine coming out,” he said. “I hope they’ll come back to Charlo.”

brad-mann.jpg Brad Mann, who sits on Charlo Airport’s board of directors, said the airport is looking ahead and hoping to expand more flights from other airlines in the wake of PAL’s decision to pull out. (Serge Bouchard/Radio-Canada file photo)

Charlo Airport saw growth in 2020

Brad Mann, who sits on the Restigouche Regional Service Commission and on Charlo Airport’s board of directors, said the airport is looking forward and hoping to expand more flights for some of the other companies.

“We’ve got four different companies that are talking to us,” Mann said in an interview with CBC News on Tuesday. “Of course, I wouldn’t reveal names or sources … but we’re quite confident that we’ll be fine.”

Mann said that although the airport has dealt with PAL for years, it was no secret this has been a tough year for airlines, and “I never like to put our eggs all in one basket.”

“That’s why we expanded out and entertained some other airlines coming in. You never like to lose any business, but it’s two flights a week and over the last year they’ve been down 63 per cent on their flights. So it’s good that we reached out and we have some other business as right up to today.”

Charlo Airport is one of the few in Atlantic Canada that experienced growth in 2020, with traffic up six per cent year-to-date, Mann said.

Asked how the airport has managed this in the midst of a pandemic, Mann cited several factors, including an “exceptional staff,” an ability to service many plane sizes, “one of the better runways” and a good location.

“The best way in and out of northern New Brunswick is with Charlo. We’re right next to the Quebec border, which seems to be a big, big plus for us with that location,” he said. 

Still, he conceded, the PAL pullout has upset many northern New Brunswickers.

“There are a lot of workers working in Wabush and a lot of them are from our area,” Mann said. “They have made it known that they’re not happy with PAL’s decision. So they’ll be reaching out to other airlines.”  

With files from Radio-Canada

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Air Canada axes sole flight due to coronavirus slump

From Bermuda’s Royal Gazette – link to source story

Sarah Lagan | Dec 30, 2020

?uuid=47E4C7FF-D897-4559-ADC6-97FFA21FD98A&type=primary&function=cover&source=false&width=800Flights suspended: An Air Canada jet in flight (File photograph)Related Stories

Air Canada is to ground its flights to Bermuda for more than a month.

The airline said its Toronto to Bermuda service would be suspended after its January 8 flight until February 12 because of a massive slump in business caused by the coronavirus.

A spokeswoman for Air Canada said: “Air Canada currently operates one flight weekly to Bermuda from Toronto.

“Reflecting current market conditions, this flight will be temporarily suspended …”

The spokeswoman clarified today: “The last flight will operate January 8, 2021 before the resumption of service in February.”

WestJet, also Canadian, confirmed that its suspension of many international flights, including the service from Toronto to Bermuda, would remain in force.

A spokeswoman for the airline said: “The Covid-19 crisis hit WestJet and the global aviation industry with devastating force.

“Since the beginning of March, guest traffic has dropped significantly – we are operating at approximately a 75 per cent reduction year over year and have been forced to suspend the vast majority of our flying due to the pandemic.”

But she insisted: “We remain committed to service to Bermuda from Toronto and it is our intent to resume operations as soon as it becomes economically viable to do so.”

The Bermuda Tourism Authority said yesterday it would adjust its marketing and communications plans in the Toronto market to take account of the change.

Glenn Jones, the authority’s interim chief executive, said: “In the BTA’s regular updates with stakeholders about airlift, we are always careful to point out the fluidity of airline schedules in the current environment.

“Changes are frequent. In an early December update, we highlighted Air Canada’s reduction in service from once weekly to none for a period of about four weeks.

“Since becoming aware of this development, the BTA has made the necessary first quarter adjustments to marketing and communications plans in the Toronto market.”

A spokeswoman for British Airways said it was sorry it was operating a reduced service.

She added: “Our focus is on keeping crucial air links open where possible – bringing home customers currently abroad and transporting vital goods, and ensuring people who are permitted to travel can continue to do so safely.”

The BA spokeswoman said the airline would contact customers on cancelled flights to offer refunds.

She added flights could be rescheduled at and customers could also request a voucher for future travel “if their flight continues to operate”.

The spokeswoman said customers should check the latest UK Government travel advice at

She added latest BA flight information was at

American Airlines, JetBlue, Delta and United Airlines did not respond to questions on whether they planned to cut flights to the island.

Airport operators Skyport did not respond to a request for comment.


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How the COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the airline business

From The Globe and Mail – link to source story

Eric Atkins Transportation Reporter | January 3, 2021 

COVID-19 vaccines and tests offer hope the airline industry will see customers return in 2021, but it will be several years before the industry can shake off the devastation caused by the pandemic.

The world’s airlines have grounded 30 per cent of their fleets, laid off thousands of employees and amassed billions of dollars in debt to survive the downturn. A resurgent pandemic, new and varied border closings, consumer gloom and a poor economy all threaten to prolong the misery for airlines, which will not break even until late 2021, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Afull recovery to 2019 passenger levels will not happen until perhaps 2024, IATA says, although estimates vary. That’s because the usual measures airlines use to predict demand for seats and flights – the economy, past sales, per-seat profits and more – have been replaced.

Seat sales are now dictated by consumers’ fear of becoming sick or stranded, and by government travel restrictions, which can change daily.

This means airlines have to change the way they plan their schedules, and be set to make last-minute cancellations or additions to meet demand. Amid the uncertainty of the pandemic, travellers are less likely to book long term, and will make their travel plans based on the immediate state of the pandemic and public-health rules.

“The way that airlines have forecast demand in the past is out of the window, that’s absolutely changed,” said Jeremy Bowen, chief executiveof Cirium, an aviation consultancy.

Chartss – link to source story

Now, airlines will schedule flights six to eight weeks in advance, instead of six months or a year ahead, in order to be able to quickly add or remove flightsbased on seat sales, Mr. Bowen said.

About 40 per cent of airline bookings in the Northern Hemisphere in August and September were made just three days before the flight, Mr. Bowen said. “As an airline, it’s virtually impossible to know whether to cancel that flight and consolidate it with another one, or hold your nerve and hope that it is going to book and you can fly profitably in three days. So the ways of forecasting demand are changing and will continue to change over the next two to three years.”

The data airlines use to predict demand will change, as well. Social media chatter about destinations, and data from Google searches for resorts, seat prices and travel websites will rise in importance. “Those things didn’t used to be primary sources. They now are because there’s nothing else to go on,” Mr. Bowen said.

Narrow-body, single-aisle aircraft will dominate the fleets of most airlines, replacing the fuel-guzzling wide-body planes, analysts say.

The Airbus and Boeing 737 Max planes – loved for their long range and fuel efficiency – will serve on medium-length and even long-haul flights as airlines rid their fleets of older Boeing 747s and 767s, which are larger and less fuel efficient.

About 30 per cent of the world’s fleet is in storage, and the planes still flying are carrying fewer passengers and flying less often, Cirium says.


As of Dec. 17, Air Canada had 36 planes parked in Arizona and 11 in Kansas City, where warm weather makes storage and maintenance easier. Air Transat had six planes parked in Brazil, while WestJet had six in Arizona. Porter Airlines has 27 planes parked at Toronto’s Billy Bishop airport and one in Thunder Bay.

In total, Canada’s four biggest airlines had 180 of their 345 planes in storage. Air Canada has said it will retire 79 of its aircraft, while its rivals are expected to shed several as well.

About 600 to 700 planes around the world are inactive, many waiting to be cut up for parts or scrap metal, said Richard Brown, managing director at U.K.-based aviation consultancy Naveo Ltd. Other aircraft will be returned to service as needed.

“The airlines are playing a wait and see game at the moment,” Mr. Brown said. “And the big challenge for the airlines is rightsizing their fleet for the demand that will come back.”

Air Transat has been retiring its wide-body Airbus planes, the A310 and A330, and its older Boeing 737s, as it takes delivery of Airbus A321 Neos, a narrow-body model that can cross the Atlantic Ocean.

Air Canada, which is retiring the Boeing 767, Airbus A319 and Embraer 190, is expected to reintroduce its 24 737 Max planes when safety changes that were made after two other airlines suffered fatal 737 Max crashes are approved by Ottawa. Air Canada will also take control of Air Transat’s updated fleet if regulators approve its takeover.

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Air Canada suspending passenger service to Yellowknife on Jan. 23

Airline says it's cutting operations due to 'stifled demand,' travel restrictions, quarantine rules

CBC News · Posted: Jan 12, 2021 1:08 PM CT | Last Updated: 11 minutes ago
Air Canada is one of the biggest companies in Canada and in one of the hardest hit industries by COVID-19. On Tuesday it said it was suspending all passenger operations to Yellowknife effective Jan. 23. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Air Canada is suspending passenger service to Yellowknife on Jan. 23 and until further notice.

The airline said in an email Tuesday that it's cutting flights to the city due to "stifled demand from ongoing travel restrictions and blanket quarantine rules."


"Operating in this environment is not sustainable and we have made difficult decisions to suspend all passenger operations to Yellowknife airport until further notice, effective January 23, 2021." 

In the email, the airline says its "overall network capacity" is down about 80 per cent from 2019.

It says it will continue to evaluate and adjust its routes based on the trajectory of the pandemic and travel restrictions. 

The airline did not immediately respond to a request for an interview.

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Air Canada to suspend operations in Fredericton

From CBC News – link to source story

All passenger flights will be suspended because of ‘stifled demand,’ travel restrictions, airline says

Marie Sutherland · CBC News · Posted: Jan 12, 2021

covid-airlines-20201014.jpg Air Canada announced Tuesday that it will cancel all passenger flights to Fredericton International Airport indefinitely, beginning Jan. 23. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

The province’s airports have been dealt another blow with the announcement that Air Canada will suspend all flights to Fredericton International Airport as of Saturday, Jan. 23.

Air Canada confirmed the news in a statement Tuesday.

“We continue to experience stifled demand due to COVID-19 and ongoing travel restrictions and quarantine requirements,” Pascale Déry, Air Canada’s director of communications for Quebec, Eastern Canada and Europe, said in an email.

“As a result, we are suspending until further notice all passenger flights to Fredericton, beginning Jan. 23.”

Remainder of the article: Air Canada to suspend operations in Fredericton – Canadian Aviation News (

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Air Canada announced Tuesday that it will cancel three passenger flights out of Newfoundland and Labrador, beginning Jan. 23. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Air Canada is cutting three flight routes in Newfoundland and Labrador, according to an email from a company spokesperson Tuesday.

Service between Gander and Halifax, Goose Bay and Halifax, and St. John’s and Toronto ends Jan. 23.

“We continue to experience stifled demand due to COVID-19 and ongoing travel restrictions and quarantine requirements,” the company’s media spokesperson told CBC News in a statement.

“As a result, we are suspending until further notice all passenger flights to these destinations.”

The statement goes on to say the company regrets the impact on customers and communities but maintains it is increasingly difficult to continue to operate in such a challenging environment.

The spokesperson said the airline’s overall capacity is down 80 per cent from last year.

“Air Canada will continue to evaluate and adjust its route network as required in response to the trajectory of the pandemic and travel restrictions,” the statement says.


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Passenger counts dropped by more than 50% when the Covid testing requirement went into affect.  AC and others should just park them all for a month.


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Air Canada slashes capacity, cutting more jobs

Published Wednesday, January 13, 2021 10:37AM EST

MONTREAL -- Air Canada says it is reducing its first-quarter capacity by 25 per cent, a move that will mean the loss of about 1,700 jobs at the airline.

The Montreal-based carrier says the cuts will also affect more than 200 employees at its Express carriers.

Air Canada says with the cuts its capacity in the first quarter of 2021 will be about 20 per cent of what it operated in the first quarter of 2019.

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5 hours ago, boestar said:

Passenger counts dropped by more than 50% when the Covid testing requirement went into affect.  AC and others should just park them all for a month.


I agree. Shut it all down. Maybe the feds would then be inclined to help out. "We have your backs!"

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Air Canada suspends flights out of Prince Rupert and Kamloops

From CBC News – link to source story

Around 1,700 employees will be affected across Canada for the first quarter of 2021, airline says

CBC News · Posted: Jan 13, 2021

covid-air-canada-layoffs-20200320.jpg Air Canada is one of the biggest companies in Canada and has been one of the hardest hit by COVID-19. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Air Canada has announced it will be cutting a number of its routes starting Jan. 23. That includes all flights out of the B.C. cities of Prince Rupert and Kamloops. 

The move is part of the company’s restructuring under its COVID-19 Mitigation and Recovery Plan, which will reduce “approximately 25 per cent of its planned capacity for … the first quarter of 2021,” a statement Wednesday morning said. 

As a result of these system-wide changes, 1,700 employees across the country will be affected, in addition to over 200 employees at its Express carriers. The airline says it is “working with its unions on mitigation programs.”

Other routes affected are those out of Yellowknife, Fredericton and Newfoundland locations.

Kamloops mayor ‘beyond disappointed’

Ed Ratuski, the managing director at the Kamloops Airport, said he received an email Monday morning about the cancellations and he expects them to remain in effect through March.

“It’s definitely going to extend our recovery from COVID,” he said. “Our concern is … what kind of impact this reduction in service will have on workers who have to travel by air to support their families locally.” 

Ratuski says he understands the “uncomfortable decisions” Air Canada has made, noting the airport has seen an 85 per cent reduction in service for this time of year. 

Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian says he’s “beyond disappointed” to see the the city’s only direct air connection to Vancouver cancelled. 

“When you have places like the B.C. Lottery Corporation that have their provincial headquarters in Kamloops, it’s just unfathomable that you would have no air access for them to shuffle employees back and forth,” he said.

Christian said city staff will be pursuing discussions with Pacific Coastal Airlines, Central Mountain Air and WestJet to see if they can fill the flight gap.

Air travel ‘vital’ to Prince Rupert

Rosa Miller, corporate administrator for the City of Prince Rupert, said the city is disappointed with the suspensions.

There are “significant growth opportunities” in what is the third largest port in Canada, she said, so disruptions to travel mean “disruption toward growing Canada’s global trade interests” and the province’s economic recovery.

Michelle Boomars-MacNeil, president of the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce, said discussions began Wednesday morning to try and convince Air Canada to reverse its decision while there is still time. 

“It is absolutely a vital connection for our community,” she said. “I don’t think it’s acceptable that our business community and … citizens need to be travelling the highway to an airport almost two hours away, especially during winter.

Air Canada says it will contact customers who have been affected by the cancellations and they will be “offered options, including refunds for eligible customers and alternative routings where available.”

With files from Daybreak Kamloops and Daybreak North

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