Thursday, 2 April 2020

Braathens Regional Airlines stops all flights

The Swedish regional carrier Braathens Regional Airlines -BRA  has announced that it would be halting all flights due to the falling demand for air travel as the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow. 

“With the government’s and the Public Health Authority’s strong call for the Swedish population not to travel within the country, we have no customers left that fly with us and we therefore need to further adapt our traffic to the new conditions,” the airline confirmed and was cancelling all flights between April 6 and May 31.

Domestic routes cancelled from April 6 - May 31: 
  • Malmö - Stockholm Bromma 
  • Göteborg - Stockholm Bromma 
  • Visby - Stockholm Bromma 
  • Umeå - Stockholm Bromma 
  • Ängelholm/Helsingborg - Stockholm Bromma
  • Östersund - Stockholm Bromma
  • Östersund - Gothenburg 
  • len - Stockholm Bromma
  • Sälen - Malmö
  • Sälen - Ängelholm / Helsingborg

International routes cancelled from April 6 - May 31: 
  • Stockholm Bromma - Tallinn 
  • Stockholm Bromma - Riga 
  • Stockholm Bromma - Torp / Oslo 
  • Stockholm Bromma - Helsinki
  • Gothenburg - Berlin 
  • Gothenburg - Lyon 
  • Malmö  Berlin 
  • Växjö - Berlin 

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

We're not breaking the boss of KLM

Peter Elbers, the CEO of KLM has told the media that the Dutch airline is not in talks with its French parent about breaking up,  despite much speculation in the Netherlands that talks were ongoing.

Elbers insisted the Dutch company is not considering a break with its parent Air France-KLM during this crisis and was trying to shore up funds to cope with the financial consequences of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are not working on disentanglement scenarios,” he is reported to have said during a call with the media on Wednesday.  “We’re working on financing.”

According to Elbers talks were ongoing with the Dutch Finance Ministry about a vast capital injection, however, there is some political disquiet about potentially propping up the French side of the group with any bailout funds.
See below for the update

Etihad Cargo deploys cargo-only Boeing 787s to complement freighter fleet and ensure continuity of UAE and global key trade lanes

Carrier will tweak its freighter network to 
adjust to passenger suspension

Launches passenger freighter network in line with the current environment to ensure continuity

Following the directive issued by the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, and the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) of the United Arab Emirates to temporarily suspend all passenger services to and from the UAE, Etihad Cargo continues to play a vital role in connecting key cargo markets and ensuring the UAE’s import and export needs are adequately covered in line with current demand.

To complement its fleet of Boeing 777 Freighters, Etihad Cargo is introducing a fleet of Boeing 787-10 aircraft as passenger freighters to operate 34 weekly flights, serving 10 markets initially. Each aircraft will provide capacity for 12 Lower deck pallets and four containers, carrying up to 45 tons of payload.

The passenger freighter network will introduce capacity, subject to permits, into India, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, South Korea and other places where borders remain open for cargo. On top of that, the current freighter schedule will be enhanced by additional flights into Riyadh, London, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Cathay Pacific Airways fined £500,000 over data breach

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined Cathay Pacific Airways Limited £500,000 last month for failing to protect the security of its customers’ personal data.

Between October 2014 and May 2018, Cathay Pacific’s computer systems lacked appropriate security measures which led to customers’ personal details being exposed, 111,578 of whom were from the UK and approximately 9.4 million more worldwide.

The airline’s failure to secure its systems resulted in the unauthorised access to their passengers’ personal details including: names, passport and identity details, dates of birth, postal and email addresses, phone numbers and historical travel information.

Avianca performs its first freighter flight in a 787 aircraft

Avianca Cargo flew its first cargo flight in the early morning on Thursday 26th March using a normal passenger Boeing 787 aircraft.

This first flight made the route Bogota - New York - Bogota and carried approximately 40 tons of essential and priority cargo.

Amid the extraordinary situation facing the world by the spread of COVID-19, Avianca Cargo is providing uninterrupted freight transport service now with the support of aircraft and passenger crew, to contribute to the supply of food, medical equipment, toiletries, and medicines. Early today, a 787-800 aircraft, dedicated to passenger transport, made its first cargo flight, carrying nearly 20 tons of essential goods on each journey in its "belly." With this flight, the cargo operation has already been transported 15,000 tons in the means of the crisis.

The flight took off at 01:30 local time in Colombia, with 4 pilots being part of Avianca and landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport at 07:30 hours. The cargo was carried at the bottom deck of the aircraft, the section dedicated to this purpose.

'Over 320,000 jobs in Asia Pacific at risk in US$36bn duty free & travel retail industry'

Photo Melbourne Airport
Over 320,000 local jobs across the Asia Pacific region and a $36bn industry are at risk of being overlooked by politicians as they devise financial rescue measures to cope with the COVID-19 crisis. 

The Asia Pacific Travel Retail Association (APTRA) is calling on governments in over 45 countries across the region to support 320,000 local and front-line employees in the region by including the duty free and travel retail industry in the same financial support packages as airlines, airports and maritime industries.

'The Economic Impact of Duty Free and Travel Retail in Asia Pacific' (October 2019), details a US$36bn industry providing 320,000 jobs, contributing almost US$15bn to GDP across Asia Pacific.

Sheremetyevo Airport takes more measures to protect the health of passengers

Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow has taken additional measures to protect passengers and prevent the importation and spread of coronavirus COVID-19 in Russia, including closing terminal D.

The following measures have been implemented and are currently in place at Sheremetyevo International Airport:

In order to maintain social distance (In Russia this is advised to be 1.5 metres yet elsewhere 2 metres is considered the minimal distance) in places of possible passenger congestion, bright floor markings have been applied, including at the check-in line and in the pre-flight inspection zone, passport control zone and baggage claim area;
Information manuals have been posted in the arrivals areas. The manuals are titled "Arrived from abroad? Stay at home," and give guidance for remotely taking sick leave in order to avoid violating the regime of self-isolation. The QR code on the poster leads directly to the e-sick leave registration page.
Disinfection of all rooms has been strengthened at Sheremetyevo Airport, and wet cleaning will be carried out more frequently. The most stringent measures have been taken in Terminal F, where special coatings impregnated with a disinfectant have been applied at exits of the terminal to disinfect passengers' shoes.

Major data breach at Marriott effects approximately 5.2 million guests

A major data breach at Marriott might affect up to 5.2 million guests the hospitality firm has confirmed today,.

The list of personal details that might have been breached is astounding and includes names, address - both email and postal, phone numbers, birthdays, gender, preferences and even details of any other linked loyalty programmes - like frequent flyer names and numbers.

At the moment the firm sats there is no reason to believe that Marriott Bonvoy account passwords or PINs, payment card information, passport information, national IDs, or driver’s license numbers has been compromised, yet the investigation is still ongoing. 

How could such a massive data loss happen?  Well, hotels operated and franchised under Marriott’s brands use an application to help provide services to guests at hotels. Towards the end of February 2020, Marriott found out that an unexpected amount of guest information could have been accessed using the login credentials of two employees at a franchise property. According to the company's investigation, they believe this data harvesting started in mid-January 2020. 

UK's coronavirus COVID-19 recreational general aviation guidance

Current government guidance on coronavirus precludes recreational GA flying.
Stay at homeonly go outside for food or health reasons or travelling to and from work, but only where you cannot work from homewhen outside, stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people, wash your hands as soon as you get home

Photo RAF/Crown Copyright
The UK's Civil Aviation Authority and Department of Transport have issued the latest guidance for recreation general aviation. 

This is being observed in practice by the vast majority of the GA community, and we are grateful to them for doing so. The message we are receiving from the GA community is that they fully appreciate the need for these restrictions, and observing them is being widely encouraged throughout the community. Again, we are grateful for this.

Because the directive to stay at home is being well observed, we do not perceive a need to introduce a specific ban on flying by visual flight rules (VFR) as seen in some European countries.

This will have the significant benefit of allowing flexibility, and allowing GA flights to resume as overarching restrictions on movement are lifted.

The above does not apply to search and rescue operations, or where it absolutely necessary to fly to, or for, work. In all of these activities, we expect public organisations and businesses to be socially responsible in the decisions they make, and to apply social distancing guidelines.

$1.5 Billion P-8A Poseidon contract for Boeing

Photo Boeing
It has been confirmed this week that the US Navy is going ahead with a much anticipated $1.5 billion production contract for the next 18 P-8A Poseidon aircraft from Boeing.

This deal includes eight aircraft for the U.S. Navy, six aircraft for the Republic of Korea Navy and four aircraft for the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

The Republic of Korea Navy and Royal New Zealand Air Force acquired the aircraft through the Foreign Military Sales process and will receive the same P-8A Poseidon variant designed and produced for the U.S. Navy. The Royal New Zealand Air Force is expected to begin receiving aircraft in 2022 and the Republic of Korea Navy is expected to begin receiving aircraft in 2023.

The P-8 is a long-range multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft that is based on Boeing's 737 Next-Generation aeroplanes, with some extra bits of military kit.  These extras include maritime weapons, bomb bay, pylons for weapons, two weapons stations on each wing and can carry 129 sonobuoys. The aircraft is also fitted with an in-flight refuelling system to facilitate much longer missions on patrol over friendly, or indeed unfriendly skies. The P-8 can fly high -up to 41,000 ft and get to the area of interest fast with a speed of up to 490 knots.

Goh Choon Phong's letter to Singapore Airlines customers

Goh Choon Phong the CEO, Singapore Airlines has sent a letter to all of the airline's customers regarding the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 crisis. 
Photo SIA
Dear Valued Customer,
I hope you and your loved ones are well in these extraordinary times.

Few, if any, of us could have imagined a global pandemic like this as country after country bans international travel due to a viral outbreak. While the measures to contain Covid-19 have been taken from a public health perspective, they have crippled the airline industry and presented us at Singapore Airlines with the greatest challenge in our history.

Our customers and staff always remain our top-priority. That principle guided many of our decisions over the last two months as we responded to the increasingly global scale of the outbreak, as well as the growing number of border closures that have decimated air travel.

We know that you trust us to deliver a safe flying experience and ground environment. That is why we modified our in-flight service to reduce the risks to our customers and crew while in the air, and stepped up our cleaning and disinfection procedures both in the aircraft and our ground facilities such as the SilverKris lounges.

A pilot breaking the stereotypes at KLM

As a stewardess, it’s always a thrill to be introduced to a female pilot ahead of a flight. This is not something that happens often, because there are still very few women in the cockpit, unfortunately. At KLM, only 5.8% of pilots are women. Jacqueline Vollebregt (53) is one of them. She is a captain aboard the Boeing 777/787 and has been with KLM for 27 years, writes Mijke Broerse on the KLM blog.
Photo KLM

Mijke spoke to Jacqueline about her life and career to get an insight into life as pilot breaking stereotypes

As a child, did you dream of becoming a pilot?
“Not at all. My mom’s academic career ended after she completed the school for home economics, much to her frustration. That’s why she always told me I could become whatever I wanted to be. But I had no idea what that might be. I left school at 16 to become a courier. During a holiday trip with a friend, I was invited to take a look in the cockpit. It was wonderful! A couple of years later, I still felt the itch and decided to take flying lessons at the Martinair Flight Academy. From that moment on, I knew this was it! But I needed to get the right qualifications first, so I kept working as a courier and completed the required, university-level school in the evening.

To cover the costs of attending the National Flight Academy, I moved in with my parents again and worked like crazy. On weekdays I did homecare services and in the weekends I worked at a department store (V&D). I also delivered newspapers. The problem was I could only get a loan from the bank if I personally invested 36,000 guilders. Once I’d saved 30,000 guilders, I borrowed the remaining 6,000 from my parents. And so I enrolled at the National Flight Academy at the age of 24. Two years later, I was recruited by KLM.”

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Air Iceland Connect to be absorbed into Icelandair

In another cost-cutting exercise, the Icelandair Group has decided to integrate the operations of its domestic and regional airline Air Iceland Connect into the normal operations of Icelandair. 

Air Iceland Connect operates domestic flights in Iceland and scheduled flights to Greenland. All supporting functions, such as sales, marketing, operations, finance, HR and IT will be integrated into Icelandair’s operations. The firm has remained silent on the number of job losses the integration will cause, however it is understood that at least 53 positions will be lost in the short term.

The Air Operators Certificate (AOC) of Air Iceland Connect, however, will remain separate, and its crew members will remain employed by the company. 

The role of Managing Director will be discontinued. Arni Gunnarsson, Managing Director of Air Iceland Connect, will become Managing Director of Icelandair Group’s subsidiary, Iceland Travel, replacing Bjorn Viglundsson who has served as Managing Director since June 2019. Arni joined Air Iceland Connect in 1999 as Sales & Marketing Manager and has served as Managing Director since 2005.