We promise there aren’t that many thorns in this week’s rose-filled Aviation Wrap, but we can’t guarantee it’ll smell as good as the real deal.
Air NZ extends Australian booking pause
New Zealand’s national carrier, Air New Zealand, has placed a hold on future bookings to Melbourne until late October, following the extension of a hold on international arrivals to the capital city.
Air New Zealand chief commercial and customer officer Cam Wallace said the decision was made to prevent further disruption to customer journeys.
In other news from the flag carrier, Air New Zealand has outlined what to expect as a Kiwi while travelling during New Zealand’s changed coronavirus alert levels, including mandatory face masks on flights departing Auckland, and enhanced social distancing at larger airports, among other measures.
The statement follows Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement on 11 August that the Auckland Region will enter COVID-19 Alert Level 3 for a period of at least three days, while the rest of New Zealand will move to Alert Level 2.
That move also prompted Air New Zealand not to carry passengers on an Auckland to Rarotonga flight on Saturday 15 August.
Meanwhile, Travelport has announced it has signed a multi-year content agreement with Air New Zealand, which includes the continued use of Travelport Rich Content and Branding – the tech player’s leading airline merchandising tool.
Sydney Airport completes institutional component of equity raising
Sydney Airport has completed the institutional component of a $2 billion fully-underwritten pro rata accelerated renounceable one for 5.15 entitlement offer of new stapled securities.
The institutional entitlement offer raised gross proceeds of approximately $1.3 billion and will result in the issue of approximately 287 million new securities, the company said.
The airport also revealed last week that its July 2020 traffic was down 91.8 per cent on the prior corresponding period, with as few as 317,000 passengers received.
Sydney continues to observe a limit of 350 passenger arrivals per day, a move that came in a bid to ease pressure on NSW Health.
Virgin Australia drops ‘Let Your State Surprise You’ sale with $79 fares
Virgin Australia is helping Australians who are able to holiday with a mammoth flight sale with fares from just $79.
The ‘Let Your State Surprise You’ sale ends at midnight this Wednesday 19 August 2020, with travellers encouraged to holiday within their state.
Economy fares are available for select travel dates and destinations between 2 September 2020 and 16 December 2020, for bookings with a minimum of two travellers.
Wizz Air launches ‘bespoke’ pilot training program for cabin crew
European low-cost carrier Wizz Air has introduced the ‘Cabin Crew to Captain’ program that helps aspiring Wizz Air’s cabin crew turn their dreams into reality through what it describes as “comprehensive” financial, travel and accommodation support.
According to the carrier, the program has been launched to “nurture talent and diversity” within the organisation, as well as support Wizz Air’s broader commitment to reaching 25 per cent female representation in the flight deck by 2030.
Fair Work quashes deal for workers forced to sleep at airports
The Fair Work Commission has quashed its 2018 enterprise agreement at Swissport, the aviation company at the centre of a scandal over workers forced to sleep at the airport, in a move welcomed by the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU).
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said the 2018 agreement forced workers to struggle on a guarantee of “just 60 hours a month and below award rates”.
“Swissport has spent four years fighting its own workers in expensive and lengthy court battles in an attempt to continue to rip them off with appalling conditions and below award rates,” he said.
“This decision is the latest case they have lost, again as the Commission clearly states their agreement doesn’t meet minimum legal requirements.”
Kaine said TWU’s message to Swissport is to sit down with their workers and negotiate a fair deal that allows workers to support their families.
The news comes after TWU warned the government against any rescue plan for Swissport, which had called for a $125 million bailout in April, without strict conditions on labour standards and an equity stake in the company.
Qatar Airways to resume flights from Auckland
Qatar Airways will resume flights from Auckland with three-weekly frequencies starting from Wednesday 19 August 2020.
The service will be operated via Brisbane utilising the airline’s Airbus A350-1000, offering 46 Qsuites in business class and 281 seats in economy.
Services will initially only carry outbound passengers from Auckland, with inbound services to be introduced in line with the easing of New Zealand entry restrictions.
This comes as the carrier prepares to resume flights to London Gatwick, which, as of 20 August 2020, will see its UK operations expand to 45 weekly flights.
Emirates Skywards introduces loads of ways to earn miles
Emirates Skywards, the loyalty program of Emirates and flydubai, has introduced a thousand new ways to earn miles while shopping online with popular UK and US-based brands.
Members can now visit skywardsmilesmall.com, choose from more than 1,500 brands, and splurge on shopping – all while racking up miles that can be used for discounted flight tickets and other rewards.
In the wake of the Port of Beirut explosions, which have devastated many parts of Lebanon’s capital city, Emirates is standing with Lebanon to provide critical emergency relief and aid to the hundreds of thousands of people affected by the blasts.
Emirates SkyCargo plans to ramp up its freighter operations to Lebanon by dedicating over 50 flights to deliver much needed airlift to the country.
The airline is also providing people around the world the opportunity to donate cash or pledge their Skywards Miles through a dedicated, secure and convenient portal through the Emirates Airline Foundation.
Singapore Airlines and Temasek Foundation partner to support World Food Programme
In more humanitarian news, Singapore Airlines and the Temasek Foundation are partnering with the World Food Programme (WFP) to support the global COVID-19 response to help transport essential medical supplies and other health and humanitarian items by air to points of need around the world.
Providing the logistics backbone for global COVID-19 efforts, WFP operates a network of hubs and passenger and cargo airlinks to ensure a steady flow of supplies and support to the frontlines of the pandemic.
Since these services commenced in May, WFP has managed more than 800 humanitarian flights to 159 countries.
Zeno introduces enhanced airline safety data and advanced hotel search filters
Serko Limited has announced the introduction of enhanced information on airline COVID-19 measures in Zeno, the next generation travel management application, to help travellers make more informed flight purchase decisions.
Zeno now provides standardised information on airline offerings, including mask requirements, pre-flight temperature checks, passenger capacity, blocked adjacent seats and aircraft cleaning.
According to the company, the data makes it easy for travellers to compare different airline measures at a glance, and helps travel managers to determine which providers meet the safety and traveller wellbeing standards of their travel programs.
British Airways says goodbye to first of its last 747 jumbo jets
British Airways will today (local time) retire its first Boeing 747 since announcing last month that all 31 of its jumbo jets had, sadly, flown their last commercial services.
The Boeing 747-400, registration G-CIVD, will depart from London Heathrow on Tuesday 18 August at 9am under flight number BA9170E after more than 25 magnificent years of flying.
British Airways’ fleet of 747s are being retired at an accelerated rate as a result of the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the airline and the aviation sector, which is not predicted to recover to 2019 levels until at least 2024.
The news comes after Qantas farewelled the ‘Queen of the Skies’ with a final flight last month.
Air Astana resumes direct flights to Frankfurt
Air Astana will resume direct flights from Kazakhstan’s capital Nur-Sultan to Frankfurt on 18 August 2020, with services initially being operated four-times a week, increasing to daily services by September.
Flights will be operated using the latest Airbus A321LR aircraft, with flight times being six hours and 20 minutes outbound to Frankfurt and five hours and 45 minutes on the return to Nur-Sultan.
The schedule of the flight has also been updated to a morning arrival in Frankfurt, enabling maximum connectivity with partner airlines across Europe and North America.
Air Astana’s fleet of A321LR aircraft boast 16 flat-bed Business Class seats and 150 economy class seats furnished with personalized inflight entertainment screens. The flight between Nur-Sultan and Frankfurt is operated in codeshare partnership with Lufthansa.
United now cleaning flight decks with UVC lighting
United Airlines is now cleaning pilot flight decks with Ultraviolet C (UVC) lighting technology on most aircraft at its hub airports to disinfect the flight deck interior and continue providing pilots with a sanitary work environment.
The airline is using handheld, AUVCo blades from the American Ultraviolet company to kill any viruses that may reside on sensitive switches and touch screen displays within the flight deck.
United has tested a variety of uses for UVC lighting as a disinfectant and consulted with its United CleanPlus partners at the Cleveland Clinic to determine that the flight deck was the most effective use of the technology.
Featured image source: iStock/Janice Chen